Breaking News

John Lothian Newsletter: Ranks of commodities brokers dwindle as U.S. futures industry evolves; Wall Street’s Leap Second Concern Saw Minor Hiccups, But No Chaos; Euro’s Salvation Lies in Its Political Appeal

First Read

Intercontinental Exchange Announces ICE Data Services Appointments; Lynn Martin Named President and COO, David Goone Named Chairman
MarketWatch
Intercontinental Exchange,the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, announced two appointments at ICE Data Services, Intercontinental Exchange’s global data business comprising ICE and NYSE’s exchange data, analytics and connectivity services.

Lynn Martin has been named President and COO of ICE Data Services, where she will manage the global data teams and platforms including ICE and NYSE market data, SuperDerivatives, the SFTI network and colocation business. She previously served as COO of ICE Clear U.S. Martin joined NYSE Euronext in 2001 and has served in a number of leadership roles, including CEO of NYSE Liffe U.S.

David Goone, ICE’s Chief Strategy Officer, has been appointed Chairman of ICE Data Services in addition to his current roles. Goone joined ICE in 2001.
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***** Congrats to both Lynn and Dave, more among my favorite people.

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MGEX Records Highest Monthly Volume of All-Time
MGEX
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives
Clearing Organization (DCO), reports a total volume of 259,169 from June, making it the highest volume month in the history of the Exchange, shattering the previous record of 222,737, set in February of 2011.
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***** Can this one trick pony find another trick? Inquiring minds want to know.

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CME Group Announces Record Volume Day in Agricultural Products
Record Corn and Soybean futures and options volumes led agricultural trading
Jul 1, 2015
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced its Agricultural Products reached a record of 2,873,291 in trading volume on June 30, 2015, surpassing the prior record of 2,856,869 set on June 26, 2015.
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***** The wettest June in history just was completed in Illinois.

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(CTA) Call To Action: Bryan Johnson Calls For Strategic, Practical Marketing For Managed Futures
JohnLothianNews.com

Marketing is one of the toughest parts of running a managed futures firm. It takes time, money and is often outside the skill set of most CTAs. Bryan Johnson of Johnson & Co. has spent the past five years helping and teaching fund managers about its importance and how to do it. He said CTAs may in the perfect spot right now to offer managed futures and expand their businesses.

“Marketing has become more critical than it been ever before,” said Johnson, who sat down with John Lothian News at CTA Expo New York. “There’s more noise and there are more people who are misinformed than are appropriately informed. And that’s all that marketing really is – communicating, educating and informing other people about not only your space but who you are, what your processes are and what your performance is like.”
Watch the video »
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Clinton emails mention CME’s Terry Duffy, Oprah, local tax lawyer
By Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune
CME’s Duffy sought face time with Hillary Clinton. Chicagoans mentioned in newly released Hillary Clinton emails include the president of CME Group and a Chicago tax lawyer who once worked for her husband.
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**** Breaking news, Terry Duffy emailed Hillary Clinton!!! I am embarrassed to include this.

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Deadly Start to U.S. Summer as Lightning Kills Most Since 2009; How to Survive a Lightning Strike
by Brian K Sullivan
Lying flat on the ground won’t help, standing under a tree is never a good idea and if you’re a man, fishing in Florida seems to be about the worst idea of all.
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****** Tin foil hats won’t help either.

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Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia pledges his fortune to charity
Simeon Kerr in Dubai, FT
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia has pledged to donate his entire multibillion-dollar fortune to charity in the coming years — becoming the latest billionaire to make a statement of grand philanthropic intent.
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****** I have an idea for him, Futures For Kids.

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The future of news: Stop the presses!
Matthew Garrahan and Hannah Kuchler, FT
The internet era has not been kind to newspaper publishers. It has almost killed classified advertising, accelerated a decline in circulation and directed eyeballs towards a seemingly infinite supply of blogs, videos and websites. But after more than a decade of struggling to keep up with disruptive technology, a glimmer of hope has brightened the pervading gloom in the industry. And with that hope comes the very source of so many of its woes: Silicon Valley. Apple and Facebook have announced news services that could potentially create an important revenue stream for publishers, broaden their readership and — eventually — offer them a direct path to paying subscribers.
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***** Oh silly newspaper publishers.

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Lead Stories

Ranks of commodities brokers dwindle as U.S. futures industry evolves
Reuters
U.S. commodities brokerages – a key focus of reforms designed to make the financial system safer – are increasingly struggling to eke out a profit, spurring many firms to think about leaving the business, or trying to boost commissions.
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***** I was a broker, but am brokering no more. My risk exceeded my reward and I exited stage left.

Wall Street’s Leap Second Concern Saw Minor Hiccups, But No Chaos
MoneyBeat – WSJ
The leap second that worried financial markets passed largely without incident, as major U.S. exchanges altered market schedules and several large firms reduced trading activity around the addition of the extra second. Added every few years to realign clocks with the Earth’s rotation, the leap second hasn’t occurred during active trading hours since 1997, before the ubiquity of time-dependent electronic trading systems. Clocks added an extra second this year on Tuesday, June 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
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****** It was a second of silence for Mother Earth.

Euro’s Salvation Lies in Its Political Appeal; Continental solidarity may trump economic hardship and keep the common currency
By GREG IP, WSJ
Even before the euro was launched, many American economists considered it doomed, a political project erected on a flawed economic foundation. “Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity,” Milton Friedman, the Nobel economics laureate, wrote in a 1997 article.
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***** There is great value and appeal in being a European, just like there is in being an American.

ISDA Begins Tender Process for an ISDA SIMM Crowdsourcing Utility
ISDA
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) has launched a tender process to select a third party to build and operate a crowdsourcing utility for the ISDA Standard Initial Margin Model (ISDA SIMM). The utility is intended to aggregate and compile risk data to enable market participants to implement the ISDA SIMM consistently.
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The Wider Cost of Banks Behaving Badly; Mistrust of banks is hindering lending to small firms in the U.K. and recovery in the economy
By PAUL J. DAVIES, WSJ
Smaller companies in the U.K. are reluctant to take out loans not just because they are worried about carrying too much debt, but also because they fear banks will rip them off.
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***** Banks behaving badly sounds like a video offered on late night TV.

Chinese relaxation of lending rules fails to support flagging stocks
Gabriel Wildau in Shanghai, FT
Chinese investors have ignored efforts by the securities regulator to curb downward pressure on the country’s tumbling stock market, with bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen registering hefty declines on Thursday.
jlne.ws/1LJLOVo

***** Let me put out this fire by putting more gas onto it?

Global regulators propose tighter credit risk rules for banks
BY HUW JONES, Reuters
Global banking regulators have proposed a more comprehensive set of rules for banks to set aside capital to cover losses from their exposures to other lenders and limit fallout in a crisis.
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***** It is now official, the reserves required to be a bank outstrip the capital of the bank.

SEC Proposes Broadened Corporate ‘Clawback’ Rules; Panel votes 3-2 to force companies to revoke bonuses if financial statements contain errors
By ANDREW ACKERMAN, WSJ
Accounting mistakes could soon cost executives their bonuses.
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***** A whole new industry will pop up to hide assets.

Pressure rises on India’s stock exchanges to list
James Crabtree in Mumbai, FT
India’s government faces rising investor pressure to push forward with long-delayed plans to float the country’s two main stock exchanges, according to people familiar with the situation.
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Who Will Fare Best In Bond-Market Liquidity Crunch?
By SARAH KROUSE, WSJ
Wall Street has done a lot of hand wringing over corporate-bond-market liquidity in recent months as the Federal Reserve’s expected rate liftoff approaches.
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Deloitte to pay $1 mln to resolve SEC auditor independence rule charges
BY SARAH N. LYNCH, Reuters
Deloitte & Touche LLP will pay more than $1 million to settle charges that it violated auditor independence rules, after its consulting arm maintained a relationship with a trustee who served on boards for funds Deloitte audited, U.S. regulators said.
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Out of the pits, Chicago traders seeking booths with a view
By Karl Plume, Reuterts
For many Chicago commodity traders like Redmond Harkins, little will change when the city’s fabled futures pits shut down after more than 165 years of open-outcry dealing.
jlne.ws/1dA46cA

Fed’s Brainard says Fed examining possible drop in market liquidity
Reuters
The U.S. Federal Reserve has launched a study to see if U.S. Treasury markets are being hampered by a lack of liquidity, an issue some investors and others have cited as a potential risk to financial stability, Fed board member Lael Brainard said on Wednesday.
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Regulatory

Global regulators propose tighter credit risk rules for banks
Reuters
Global banking regulators have proposed a more comprehensive set of rules for banks to set aside capital to cover losses from their exposures to other lenders and limit fallout in a crisis. During the financial crisis some banks suffered big losses on their derivatives contracts due to weaker creditworthiness at banks on the other side of their trades.
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DoJ launches probe of high airline fares
Robert Wright in New York, FT
US airlines face potential fines and other legal sanctions over keeping fares high, after the justice department launched an investigation into possible collusion.
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Financial Stability Committee adopts annual report to the German Bundestag and recommends creation of new macroprudential instruments
BaFin
In its meeting on 30 June 2015, the Financial Stability Committee discussed the current risk situation in financial markets, including the market reaction triggered by the events in Greece. The Committee considers the consequences for the German financial system to be minor. It sees the German financial system as robust; to a large extent, German financial institutions have reduced their exposure to Greece a while ago.
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The new pension flexibilities – update from the FCA
UK FCA
The pensions and retirement income market is in the middle of the most significant change for more than a generation. Changes in legislation introduced by the Government, and subsequent rule changes by the FCA, have changed the choices and protections available to consumers, as they save and then choose how to access their retirement savings.
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Banks’ legal settlements over rates mis-selling under threat
London Evening Standard
Thousands of legal settlements between banks and their customers relating to the mis-selling of interest rate swaps could be torn up as a result of a High Court battle between Lloyds Banking Group and the owner of a Wolverhampton-based property company, Gary Hartland.
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Policy Development Update – Issue 24
UK FCA
The Policy Development Update provides information on our recent and forthcoming publications.
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We support Financial Action Taskforce work on de-risking drivers
UK FCA
The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) is continuing its work around drivers for ‘de-risking’, which it says go beyond anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.
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Findings from 31 December 2014 financial reports
ASIC
ASIC today announced the results from a review of the 31 December 2014 financial reports of 100 listed and other public interest entities.
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Attachment – Findings from 31 December 2014 financial reports
ASIC
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Singapore Regulator Gives First Warning on Trading SGX Stock
by Jonathan Burgos, Bloomberg
Trade with caution. That’s the message from Singapore’s regulator to investors in the city-state’s exchange operator, which jumped Wednesday by the most since July 2009. It’s the first time Singapore Exchange Ltd. has been the subject of such an alarm; the bourse itself has dished out the warning on more than 50 companies since the introduction of tougher rules in March 2014.
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Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Turnover at Deutsche Börse’s cash markets at 149.3 billion euros in June
Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse: Order book turnover on Xetra, Börse Frankfurt and Tradegate Exchange across all asset classes stood at EUR149.3 billion in June (June 2014: EUR93.7 billion).
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Key figures SIX Swiss Exchange and SIX Structured Products
SIX
In the first half of 2015, there was considerably higher trading activity on SIX Swiss Exchange and SIX Structured Products Exchange than in the corresponding period of the previous year. In all, 26,362,644 trades were executed, with a trading turnover of CHF 752.6 billion. Compared with the first half of 2014, this equates to an increase in the number of transactions of 39.6% and in the trading turnover of 30.9%. There was a daily average of 216,087 trades and a trading turnover of CHF 6.2 billion. All segments experienced higher trading turnover. Growth in the equities including funds + ETPs segment was particularly strong. This segment saw 41.2% more transactions (25,057,766) being executed, with trading turnover rising by 35.2% to CHF 567.7 billion.
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ASX tech chief says overhaul unique
Sydney Morning Herald
ASX Ltd chief information officer Tim Thurman says the mammoth overhaul of the ASX’s systems is unique in his long experience of exchange technology because everything is being replaced – including systems that are nearly 30 years old.
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South Korea plans overhaul of bourse structure to attract new listings, Stocks
The Business Times
South Korea’s sole stock market, Korea Exchange, is set to become a listed holding company that will foster more competition between its boards under government reforms aimed at better attracting firms seeking to go public.
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CBOE Holdings Reports June 2015 Trading Volume
CBOE
Total Volume of 99.2 Million Contracts Up 16% From May, Down 1% From Year Ago;
ADV of 4.5 Million Contracts, Up 6% From May, Down 5% From Year Ago
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) reported today that total trading volume in June for options contracts on Chicago Board Options Exchange® (CBOE®) and C2 Options Exchange (C2) and futures contracts on CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE®) was 99.2 million contracts, an increase of 16 percent from May 2015 and a decrease of 1 percent from June 2014.
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HKFE Announces Revised Margins for Futures Contracts
HKEx
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Average daily volume of 11 million contracts at Eurex Group in June
Eurex
In June, the international derivatives exchanges of Eurex, part of Deutsche Börse Group, recorded an average daily volume of 11.0 million contracts (June 2014: 8.0 million). Of those, 8.6 million were Eurex Exchange contracts (June 2014: 6.0 million), and 2.4 million contracts (June 2014: 2.0 million) were traded at the U.S.-based International Securities Exchange (ISE), part of Eurex Group. In total, 189.8 million contracts were traded at Eurex Exchange and 52.7 million at the ISE in June.
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ISE Holdings Reports Business Activity for June 2015
ISE Holdings
ISE and ISE Gemini combined represent 17.8% of equity options market share, excluding dividend trades.
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EEX reports large uptick in power and emissions derivatives market volume
FTSE Global Markets
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) reports that the trading volumes on the power derivatives market amounted to 184.0 TWh. Compared to the same month in the previous year, the volume increased by 84 % (99.9 TWh).
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Euronext signs MOU with ICBC
Euronext
Euronext today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the leading Chinese bank, ICBC China Ltd.. This agreement follows discussions between both groups over the last weeks initiated both in the Netherlands and France. Euronext is now completely focused on its trajectory to develop its markets as a fully equipped tool to support cross border transactions of European and Chinese corporates.
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EnterNext launches Techshare to assist unlisted European Tech Companies as they move to listing; 30 high-growth European innovators selected for EnterNext’s TechShare programme
Euronext
EnterNext, the Euronext subsidiary dedicated to promoting and growing the market for SMEs[1], today announced the September 2015 launch of its educational programme designed especially for fast-growing tech companies. Called TechShare, this unique pan-European course was created by EnterNext to familiarise innovative businesses with capital markets and gives them the information they need to take their companies to market.
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EnterNext welcomes Kiadis Pharma on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels
Kiadis Pharma raises EUR 32.7 million in successful IPO
Euronext
EnterNext, the Euronext subsidiary designed to promote and grow the market for SMEs, today welcomed Kiadis Pharma on the Amsterdam and Brussels market of Euronext (ticker code: KDS).
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Equity Trading On Vienna SE Rises In 1HY 2015 By More Than A Quarter
Mondovisione
In the first half-year of 2015 the stock prices of most companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange went up and trading volumes also increased. The leading Austrian index, ATX, gained 11.65% year-to-date, thus joining the top ranks of Europe’s leading indices.
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BME: MARF Has Admitted To Trading A Bond Issue By Masmovil For EUR27 Million
Mondovisione
MARF has admitted to trading a bond issue by Másmovil for a volume of EUR27 million, a 5.5% coupon and maturity of 5 years.
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Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

The US Private Label Mortgage-Backed Securities Market in 2015
By Christopher B. Killian and Joseph Cox, SIFMA
LEI – Financial Data This article originally appeared in The Securitisation & Structured Finance Handbook 2015/16.
The restoration of private-sector securitization – non-government guaranteed securities – is a necessary component of the broader reinvigoration of the housing system in the United States. Why has the market for Private-Label Mortgage-Backed Securities (PLS) remained largely stagnant while others have gained momentum since the financial crisis?
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OTC Derivatives Compliance Calendar updated
ISDA
jlne.ws/1dA1ECY

Gerson Lehrman Seeks New Image as Investor Cashes Out
By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN, NY Times
After an insider trading investigation tarnished some firms that match hedge funds with industry experts, the industry’s biggest player is trying to recast its image just as an early financial backer has cashed out.
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Former Wall St. Giants Tangled in Dispute Over Missing Shares
By WILLIAM D. COHAN, NY Times
The case of missing Franklin Resources stock certificates is pitting two of the most patrician names on Wall Street — onetime friends, no less — against each other in federal court in San Francisco, with conflicting narratives and accusations of extortion.
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Sweden Deepens Negative Interest Rates to Curb Gains in Krona
by Amanda Billner, Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg
Sweden’s central bank lowered its main interest rate deeper into negative levels and expanded its bond purchases to the end of the year as the turmoil in Greece raises the specter of further krona gains.
jlne.ws/1LFstDA

Banks & Brokers

ICAP appoints Jenny Knott as CEO Post Trade Risk and Information Services
ICAP
ICAP plc (IAP.L), a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk mitigation and information services, announces the appointment of Jenny Knott as CEO Post Trade Risk and Information Services.
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INTL FCStone to consolidate its 3 U.S. subsidiaries
By Mike Fox, Leaprate
INTL FCStone Inc. (Nasdaq:INTL), a leader in the development of specialized financial services in commodities, securities, global payments, foreign exchange and other markets, is announcing the completion of a merger of three of its regulated U.S. subsidiaries into INTL FCStone Securities Inc. as of July 1st. The combined firm will be known as INTL FCStone Financial Inc. and is registered as both a broker-dealer and a futures commission merchant.
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RBS stops cash management services for thousands of businesses
Emma Dunkley, FT
Royal Bank of Scotland is closing its global cash management division and referring thousands of businesses to BNP Paribas as part of a major restructure to focus on the UK market.
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Clearing & Settlement

New DTCC data products service to provide dynamic data provisioning and easier access to DTCC data
FX-MM
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation , the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced the launch of a new centralized data provisioning service, DTCC Data Products. This launch will include the expansion of DTCC’s Exchange Traded Funds and Corporate Actions ISO 20022 data product offerings.
jlne.ws/1elQZMR

Wanted: Feedback on proposed rules for OTC derivatives clearing
Channel NewsAsia
Under proposed regulations, banks that book more than S$20 billion worth of derivatives contracts must clear through domestic or foreign Central Counterparties that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
jlne.ws/1f4zTEi

CME Clearing Notice: Week of Monday, June 29, 2015
CME Group
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EBA Clearing publishes blueprint for pan-European instant payment infrastructure
Finextra
EBA Clearing has published a blueprint document spelling out high-level business requirements for a pan-European instant payment infrastructure solution.
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Indexes & Products

Inside the S&P 500: Stocks, Not Indices, Move Markets
S&P Dow Jones Indices
The S&P 500 is not only the most widely used index for ETFs and funds, it is also the index of choice for researching markets. Much of the research focuses on the index pop — how much a stock jumps when it joins the index. About ten years ago some papers on comovement appeared arguing that index membership changes a stock’s behavior and affects the overall market. The gist of the argument is that two stocks of the similar size, valuation, sector and fundamentals will behave like one-other unless one stock is a member of the S&P 500 and the other is not.
jlne.ws/1f4Cr5q

Major ETFs Sport Brand New Look Post Russell Rebalance IWM IWB
Investors.com
ETFs tracking the newly rebalanced Russell indexes received a lickety-spit makeover Monday. The large-cap index tracked by the $11.3 billion iShares Russell 1000 (ARCA:IWB) gained 48 stocks including biotech firms Receptos (NASDAQ:RCPT) and Bluebird Bio (NASDAQ:BLBD). It also lost 50 companies such as Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) and retailer Big Lots (NYSE:BIG).
jlne.ws/1elSFpA

CNH Tracker-Funds urge easier China access for inclusion to global indexes
Reuters
Foreign asset managers are seeking easier access to China’s restricted capital markets, saying it is a prerequisite for mainland-listed shares to be added to global indexes. China-listed shares known as A shares are generally only available to Chinese citizens. The market is gradually opening up with foreign investors now able to buy A shares under a cross border share connect scheme and quotas that funds apply for.
jlne.ws/1elSISn

S&P Dow Jones unveils new sustainability indices
Eco-Business
S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) has launched two new indices to help investors identify firms in the S&P 500 – comprising 500 large companies trading in United States stock markets – that have strong sustainability credentials.
jlne.ws/1elSUky

Active ETFs Gain in Canada in Challenge to Mutual Funds
by Eric Lam, Bloomberg
Actively managed exchange-traded funds are surging in Canada, posing a challenge to the mutual-fund industry that has the highest management fees in the world.
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Technology

How Bitcoin tech could shake up finance industry; The technology behind bitcoin is being used in surprising ways
By Joseph Adinolfi
It has the potential to disrupt the financial services industry — changing how we trade financial securities, eliminating the delays and wire fees that accompany international payments, opening bank records to the easy scrutiny of regulators and the public, advocates say.
jlne.ws/1dA3ALQ

Bond traders face pitfalls of technology
Joe Rennison in New York, FT
As anyone with a laptop, mobile phone or even battery-powered torch understands, technology can go wrong. And it is no different for the plethora of electronic trading venues that have sprung up trying to bolster the market for buying and selling of corporate bonds.
jlne.ws/1Nv9oD7

PayPal dips into war chest for Xoom deal
Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco and Leslie Hook in Los Angeles, FT
PayPal is spending $890m of its $6bn war chest on a deal to buy Xoom, a money transfer company, ahead of its split with parent company Ebay later this month.
jlne.ws/1gcoGBN

Markit Completes Acquisition Of Information Mosaic
Mondovisione
Markit (Nasdaq: MRKT), a leading global diversified provider of financial information services, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Information Mosaic, a leading software provider for corporate actions and post trade securities processing.
jlne.ws/1IvkoQV

Enforcement

SEC Charges Former Stockbroker With Conducting Ponzi Scheme
SEC.gov
The SEC alleges that Malcolm Segal fraudulently sold so-called certificates of deposits (CDs) to his brokerage customers by falsely claiming that he could get them higher interest rates of return on FDIC-insured CDs than otherwise available to the general public. In some instances, Segal purchased CDs on behalf of investors but secretly redeemed them early and took the proceeds. Other times, Segal did not purchase CDs at all despite telling customers he had. He raised approximately $15.5 million from at least 50 investors. Besides spending investor money on himself, Segal used it in Ponzi scheme fashion for purported interest payments and principal repayments to earlier investors.
jlne.ws/1T6nwWE

SEC Charges Hedge Fund Advisory Firm With Conducting Fraudulent Fund Valuation Scheme
SEC.gov
An SEC investigation found that AlphaBridge Capital Management told investors and its auditor that it obtained independent price quotes from broker-dealers for certain unlisted, thinly-traded residential mortgage-backed securities. AlphaBridge instead gave internally-derived valuations to broker-dealer representatives to pass off as their own. The inflated valuation of these assets caused the funds to pay higher management and performance fees to AlphaBridge.
jlne.ws/1T6nHRO

SEC Charges Deloitte & Touche With Violating Auditor Independence Rules
SEC.gov
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Deloitte & Touche LLP with violating auditor independence rules when its consulting affiliate maintained a business relationship with a trustee serving on the boards and audit committees of three funds it audited. Deloitte agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the charges. The SEC charged the trustee Andrew C. Boynton with causing related reporting violations by the funds, and charged the funds’ administrator ALPS Fund Services with causing related compliance violations. They also agreed to settle the charges.
jlne.ws/1CKDQTt

Former Sigma CEO and CFO plead guilty to falsifying books
ASIC
The former managing director and chief executive of Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Elmo De Alwis, and chief financial officer, Mark Smith today pleaded guilty to charges relating to falsifying the company’s books.
jlne.ws/1CMuVRw

Former U.S. agent pleads guilty to bitcoin theft in Silk Road probe
BY DAN LEVINE, Reuters
A former federal agent pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing bitcoins during the government’s investigation of Silk Road, and to secretly soliciting payment from the operator of the online black market for information on its probe.
jlne.ws/1HzhL1O

Environmental & Energy

Eulogio del Pino Battles to Turn Around Venezuela’s Energy Giant; Petróleos de Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and a wide range of problems.
By KEJAL VYAS, WSJ
On weekends, Eulogio del Pino treks up the Avila mountain range that towers a mile above Venezuela’s capital. It’s a steep climb, and it parallels his day job as head of Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the state energy giant with the world’s largest oil reserves.
jlne.ws/1dA2QGp

US shale has been stymied by Saudi Arabia, says Shell CEO
Christopher Adams, Energy Editor, FT
Saudi Arabia’s move to abandon its role as the balancing force in world oil markets has put the brakes on America’s energy boom, with Riyadh successfully pressuring US shale producers, according to the head of Royal Dutch Shell.
jlne.ws/1Ivh9cu

Germany to shut down coal-fired plants, extend power grid: sources
Reuters
The German government decided on Thursday to order the shutdown of several coal-fired plants in order to reach its ambitious climate goals by 2020, government sources told Reuters.
jlne.ws/1H2o7mN

Vatican ‘may’ consider divestment from fossil fuels, despite pope’s call to arms
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner – The Guardian
The Vatican may consider, but is not committed to, divesting its holdings in fossil fuels, a Catholic church official has said, despite Pope Francis’s call for bold action to fight climate change and global warming.
jlne.ws/1LF2wUU

The U.S. Is Producing a Record Amount of Milk and Dumping the Leftovers
by Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg
There’s so much milk flowing out of U.S. cows these days that some is ending up in dirt pits because dairies can’t find buyers.
jlne.ws/1GQw3V8

Asia-Pacific

Hong Kong tops world in first-half IPO takings
EJ Insight
Proceeds from initial public offerings in Hong Kong topped HK$129.4 billion (US$16.7 billion) in the first half, the largest in the world during the period. The number of IPOs rose 2.3 percent year on year to 45, excluding listings by introduction and transfers from the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM).
jlne.ws/1f4DvWU

China is Eager to Invest Trillions Abroad. Is the World Ready?
Newsweek
Zhou Liangjun was pumped. For nearly a year, he watched as the Shanghai Stock Index soared. The young marketing executive had never trusted China’s stock market, but now something appeared to have changed. The government seemed to encourage investment in equities, particularly as the country’s housing slump intensified. So early last month, he took half of his savings and plunked it into stocks on the Shanghai exchange.
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Shanghai and Shenzhen to see 400 IPOs this year: PwC
Shanghai Daily
According to PwC, Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets led the global IPO market in terms of both number of IPOs and amount of funds raised in the first half of 2015. In the first half, 187 companies listed on Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets raised a total of 146.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 260 percent and 314 percent respectively.
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Singapore housing market in steady decline since 2002
Realty Today
For the seventh consecutive quarter, the home prices in Singapore again dropped, as mortgage tightening policies held back demand in the island-state’s housing market. In a report from Bloomberg.com, Asia’s second most expensive housing market is undergoing its longest negative streak in its history.
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China’s Fix for a Margin-Debt Boom Roiling Stocks? More Leverage
Bloomberg
As China’s stock-market slump spurs margin traders to unwind record bullish bets, authorities have responded with a policy that analysts say could exacerbate the problem: make it easier to take on even more leverage.
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Speed Traders Now Have a Way to Cut Out Brokerages in Japan
by Yuji Nakamura, Toshiro Hasegawa, Bloomberg
It took them six years, but high-frequency traders have finally secured a perfect way to lower brokerage costs in Japan: cut out the middlemen.
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Frontier Markets

Sebi plans new outsourcing policy for exchanges, key entities; Says there is a need for further focus and strengthening of guidelines in the area of Business Standard
To safeguard capital markets from outside risks, regulator Sebi will soon issue a new set of guidelines to govern outsourcing by stock exchanges and other key entities in the marketplace.
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Supreme court grants status quo on IEX stake sale; CERC had ordered FTIL to divest its entire stake in Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) by Business Standard
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted status quo to Financial Technologies (FTIL) against the order of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), the power sector regulator, which had ordered FTIL to divest its entire stake in Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) by July 20.
jlne.ws/1f4uqgN

Investors strike off-market deals in Hanergy shares
Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong, FT
Shareholders in Hanergy Thin Film are doing an unusually brisk trade via private deals in spite of the stock being suspended, as investors weigh up the risks of a prolonged trading hiatus and a regulatory probe.
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Slow start after Saudis open stock market to foreigners
Yahoo Finance UK
One week after Saudi Arabia opened its stock market to direct foreign investment, U.S. mutual fund managers say they are interested but not rushing to invest in the Middle East’s biggest economy.
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Miscellaneous

Cargill responds to KFTC ruling
Cargill
Cargill today said it is disappointed with the Korea Fair Trade Commission’s (KFTC) ruling against the company on the issue of unfair trade practices.
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A Wall Street Experience: 2015 InvestWrite Winners Visit New York City
By Melanie Mortimer, SIFMA
On June 10, the SIFMA Foundation brought four middle-school and high-school students and their teachers to New York City for a Wall Street Experience.
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JBS USA Pork agrees to purchase Cargill Pork business
Cargill
JBS USA Pork has entered into an agreement with Cargill to acquire the company’s U.S.-based pork business for $1.45 billion (USD). Completion of the acquisition is subject to regulatory review and approval.
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About Author

Doug Ashburn is a former editor-at-large of John Lothian News. He left in late 2016 and is now the managing editor of T3 Custom.