Bits & Pieces
By John J. Lothian
This morning we are running the video interview we did with David Lehman of the CME Group about the Live Cattle contract changes the CME is proposing. Pending CFTC approval, the new delivery specs will go into effect later this month.
We are also releasing the video from Walt Lukken’s MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity presentation in Chicago from July. He gave not one, but two great mini-presentations – the first half as an introduction to the industry and the current state, and the second half as a few career tips from a guy who has seen it all. There is something here for everyone, not just the young folks.
We are re-running a story from Bloomberg that broke late yesterday titled “The New Wall Street: Even Big Banks Want Help Navigating Markets” by Matthew Leising and Annie Massa. It is a good read.
We have secured a venue for our MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity event in Frankfurt, Germany on October 27. Our friends at Deutsche Boerse/Eurex are providing space at their Frankfurt Alte Boerse facility. We thank them for the help.
We are still working on securing venues for the London and Paris events. We will be in London on October 31 and Paris on October 25. Suggestions are welcome. We will be glad to trade an event sponsorship for a venue.
For our London event we have lined up Mark Hemsley of Bats, Scott O’Malia of ISDA, Jock Percy of Perseus and Thom Lant, formerly of CME Group. We will announce more speakers in the coming days and weeks for all the European events.
Cattle Call: CME Group’s David Lehman Explains Changes to Cattle Contract Specs
Futures markets exist primarily as a risk management tool for participants. As such, a futures contract is most effective if and when it reflects the fundamentals in the underlying cash market. On August 5, 2016, CME Group announced several changes to its live cattle futures contracts to do just that.
John Lothian News spoke with Dave Lehman, managing director of commodity research and product development at CME Group, about the changes which, pending CFTC approval, will go into effect later in August 2016.
5 trends to watch in hedge fund investor relations
Several significant trends are taking place in the hedge fund industry. Foremost among them is the demand for transparency by increasingly sophisticated investors. Following are highlights of a conversation with John Hague, lead partner in RSM US LLP’s national financial services practice; Ed Coyne, executive vice president at Sprott Asset Management; Jeff Silverman, president and head of business development at AlphaParity; and moderator David Snow of Privcap.” http://jlne.ws/2bg5IKm
***DA: John Hague looks good on screen. Check out his short takes on the front-facing back office, cyber threats, the opening up of the black box and the shift in top billing from the manager to the allocator.
Wardrobe Advice for Men as Office Fashion Returns to Casual; Saks Fifth Avenue courts male shoppers replacing suits with polished sporty looks; the surprising cost of an office-casual ensemble
By RAY A. SMITH – WSJ
New dress codes at big Wall Street firms present new wardrobe puzzles for men, and new opportunities to get them shopping.
***** When I want wardrobe advice, I just look at what John Hague is wearing. The man always looks good!
More Old Than Young: A Population Plague Spreads Around the Globe; By 2030, 56 countries will have more people aged 65 and over than children under 15
Sunny Oh – Bloomberg
It’s known as the historic reversal, and it appears irreversible: Places where the old outnumber kids. What began in 1995 in a single country, Italy, will spread to 56 nations, economies as diverse as New Zealand and Georgia, by 2030. These are the findings of Joseph Chamie, who spent a quarter of a century studying population patterns at the United Nations in New York and now is an independent researcher.
***** Demographics matter. It will be harder to increase economic growth with this stiff wind in our faces.
The New Wall Street: Even Big Banks Want Help Navigating Markets
Matthew Leising, Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Algo-driven firms like Virtu, Citadel have transformed trading; Bank retreat after financial crisis created an opportunity
After JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s shares plunged 21 percent in the opening minutes of trading on Aug. 24 last year, the world’s largest investment bank sought out an unlikely ally, Virtu Financial Inc., to help it understand what happened.
***** Here is the Matt Leising and Annie Massa story I mentioned above.
Walt Lukken, FIA – The New Normal and the Five Tips
“We’re in a very exciting industry. Fundamentally, the demand for risk management in our financial markets to service the real economy is not going to disappear. It may change on the margins and people are going to leave the business, but it is going to be here and innovating for a long time to come.”
Sometimes a MarketsWiki Education presentation is of the “buy one, get one free” variety. Walt Lukken, president and CEO of the Futures Industry Association, delivered just that – two interesting and thoughtful presentations – to a crowd of summer interns at the MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity Chicago 2016.
In the first half, Lukken offers an introduction to the futures industry from the perspective of its representative trade organization. He looks at the state of regulation and politics in the U.S. and abroad and says, despite the many headwinds, the outlook for the derivatives industry is quite positive indeed.
He then offers up five important suggestions for improving one’s career path – ideas that hold true whether one is a freshly hired intern, an occupant of a corner office in the C-suite, or anywhere in between.
Watch the video »
Chicago 2016 Video Releases to Date
Lisa Dunsky, OCC – Hit By A Brick: How Setbacks Shape Your Career
Kate Maehr, Greater Chicago Food Depository – Volunteerism: Good for the community and good for you!
Christian Domin, GlenStar Properties – Value Investing: Office Space and Associated Risks
Rob D’Arco, Rival Systems – Technology: the Center of the (Financial) World
Jeff Levoff, Partner, DRW – Make a Market: Proprietary Trading in the Modern Era
A little goes a long way: Why a small tax on Wall Street trades is a good idea; Americans pay sales taxes on all sorts of things, yet Wall Street traders pay no sales tax on stocks and bonds VIDEO
ROBERT REICH – Salon
One of Bernie Sanders’s most important proposals didn’t receive enough attention and should become a law even without a president Sanders. Hillary Clinton should adopt it for her campaign. It’s a tax on financial transactions.
***** A little bad idea is still a bad idea.
Wednesday’s Top Three
Often whistleblowers have their lives ruined but yesterday’s top story, Whistleblowers Are Poised to Collect $100 Million, shows that occasionally things work out well for them. Second, New paper by Deutsche Börse and Celent: Future of Fintech in capital markets, suggests fintech is the future of the industry so best to embrace it. In third is Trump’s Wink Wink to ‘Second Amendment People’. He tried to walk that back but, well, you decide.
U.S. Stock Exchanges to Overhaul Process for Reopening Trading After Halt; NYSE, Nasdaq, Bats exchange operators to outline unified measures aimed at smoothing trading activity
By SARAH KROUSE – WSJ
The largest U.S. stock exchanges plan to soon have a common procedure for reopening trading after a halt.
Virtu Never Loses (Well, Almost Never); In the history of electronic trading, no company has been as successful as this paradigm-changing market maker, which operates in more venues than it has employees.
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
A computerized voice rang out on Virtu Financial’s New York trading floor one Friday morning in late May: “Something’s wrong.” This was the Watcher, an automated program the electronic market-making company created to alert risk managers when any of the millions of orders it places on a given day go awry. In this case, Virtu had entered into a $1?million currency contract but then decided to cancel the order. While it took only 700?microseconds to get confirmation that the trade was on, the cancellation hadn’t been acknowledged by the exchange within 5?seconds, triggering the Watcher’s Stephen Hawking-like voice.
Will LME consolidate or fragment London’s bullion market?
By Andy Home – Reuters
The London Metal Exchange (LME) has announced the launch next year of a suite of precious metals contracts, starting with gold and silver and eventually encompassing platinum and palladium.
Fears for pensions as gilt yields turn negative; Call for inquiry into effect of BoE policy on retirement cash
by: Elaine Moore and Josephine Cumbo – FT
British government bond yields traded in negative territory on Wednesday, compounding fears that a global collapse in government borrowing costs has tipped the UK’s pension industry into a funding crisis.
New money raised by equity ETFs drops 85%; Volatile trading conditions early in the year and Brexit vote scared investors
by: Attracta Mooney – FT
The amount of new money raised by exchange traded funds exposed to global stock markets has dropped 85 per cent in the first half of 2016, in a rare sign of pressure on the passive investment industry.
The Bank of England Just Learned a Lot About Bond Market Liquidity; The flipside of low interest rates is a bunch of investors reluctant to part with sought-after securities.
Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
You can’t always get what you want. On Tuesday, the Bank of England didn’t manage to buy all the gilts it wanted at a reverse auction — the first such shortfall since it began its bond-buying program back in 2009. The ‘uncovered auction’ happened as investors proved reluctant to part with their holdings of longer-dated U.K. government bonds and could create a headache for policy makers seeking to offset the economic impact of the Brexit referendum by lowering borrowing costs.
U.S. mutual funds boost own performance with unicorn mark-ups
BY TIM MCLAUGHLIN AND HEATHER SOMERVILLE – Reuters
Some U.S. mutual funds are boosting their performance with relatively big bets on private companies such as Uber and Pinterest, which they have been marking up at a rate far greater than the broad stock market.
Trading firms grab their partners for the Mifid II shuffle
By Tim Cave and Samuel Agini – Financial News
Working together is not something financial firms have always found easy to do. But trading venues, brokers and technology providers are increasingly linking up to help clients meet new EU regulatory requirements.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq to launch incentives to spur trading in low-volume ETFs
John McCrank and Trevor Hunnicutt – Reuters
Nasdaq Inc NDAQ.O on Wednesday said it plans to increase the amount it pays to trading firms that support exchange-traded funds in an effort to make thinly traded ETFs easier to buy and sell. While there is ample trading liquidity in the most popular ETFs and other exchange-traded products (ETPs), many lesser-known names can be difficult to trade.
BSE gets approval to establish international exchange at GIFT; It will provide a platform for global securities listed on the international exchanges such as NYSE, LSE, NASDAQ
Leading stock exchange BSE today said it has got approval from the Corporate Affairs Ministry to establish BSE International Exchange and BSE International Clearing Corporation at Gujarat International Finance Tec-city (GIFT).
BSE head sees tighter algo trading rules as boon for markets
BY ABHIRUP ROY AND RAFAEL NAM – Reuters
Proposals by India’s main capital markets regulator to tighten rules on algorithmic trading could help boost confidence in markets and won’t hurt the country’s second biggest bourse, the head of Indian exchange operator BSE Ltd told Reuters.
Deutsche Boerse says shareholder acceptances for LSE merger above 75 percent
Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) said on Wednesday that more than 75 percent of its shares have been tendered for its agreed $29 billion (£22.21 billion) merger with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L).
SGX welcomes the world’s first green corporate Masala bond
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed the listing of the world’s first green corporate Masala bond from NTPC Limited (NTPC), India’s largest energy conglomerate. NTPC raised Rs. 20 billion (USD 300 million) from issuance of this five-year green bond with a coupon rate of 7.375% per annum.
IEA: World Oil Glut Has Disappeared; Paris-based International Energy Agency says, ‘Our balances show essentially no oversupply during the second half of the year’
By SUMMER SAID – WSJ
The world’s crude-oil glut is gone. From July through September, global production of crude oil will fall behind demand by almost 1 million barrels a day, said the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based agency that monitors energy trends for oil-consuming nations. And the oversupply of crude is clearing out even as OPEC producers pump at record or near record levels.
Liberal Groups Push Clinton To Reject Appointments From Wall Street
An alliance of 15 progressive groups is pressuring Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to keep people connected to Wall Street out of her transition team and the White House if she wins the November election.
Does Donald Trump Really Think the Stock Market Is About to Crash?
Jack Holmes – Esquire
Donald J. Trump is a business genius. He’ll tell you himself. So when he says, like he did this morning, that the stock market is “all a big bubble” and you should get out, maybe it’s time to listen. Maybe. The problem, as Trump sees it, is that the strong—227 percent—market growth since the 2008 financial crisis is built on an artificial environment of low interest rates from the Federal Reserve. “If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty,” he told Fox News via CNBC. “It’s all a big bubble.”
What Links Donald Trump’s Economy Team
Anupreeta Das – WSJ
A group of high-profile investors who got rich buying up distressed assets have found their latest turnaround project: Donald Trump’s campaign. The Republican presidential nominee last week announced his team of economic advisers, calling the 14 men a “formidable group of experienced and talented individuals.” The group, including nine drawn from real estate and finance, will help shape Mr. Trump’s policies on trade, jobs, regulation and taxes. Those nine are united by more than their wealth. On Wall Street, they are outsiders, known for audacious bets and, sometimes, spectacular flameouts. Five of them are among Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, contributing a total of $1.7 million in recent months to his campaign’s joint fundraising efforts with the Republican Party.
****SD: The NY Times has Donald Trump’s Economic Team Is Far From Typical
Investing and Trading
Futures Market Update – Markets and Volatility
As the summer comes to an end, we look forward to volatility returning to the market place. Historically, the summer months are a low volume trade; however, the good old saying of “sell in May and go away” has not worked this year. The equity index markets are at all-time highs and have seen about a 6.5 % overall increase since the beginning of May. Aside from the June 24th Brexit Vote causing unexpected volatility and a significant drop in the market, equity products remained quiet. However, this lack of volatility and small daily ranges, does not always carry over in all futures asset classes.
Gold Demand Rose 15% in the Second Quarter; World Gold Council said Western investors spurred demand
By JASMINE HORSEY – WSJ
Gold demand rose 15% in the second quarter, compared with the same period last year, spurred by investment demand from the West, the World Gold Council said Thursday.
U.S. prime money funds shorten up as new regulations loom
Ross Kerber – Reuters
A measure of securities turnover in U.S. prime money market funds sank to a level not seen in at least 25 years, a tracking firm said on Wednesday, as clients yank out cash and managers prepare for new regulations coming in October.
ETFs ‘steal the show’ as investors drive gold demand to a record
By Myra P. Saefong – MarketWatch
Global investment demand for gold soared to a record for the first six months of this year, as investors sought a safer place to park their money against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, according to a report Thursday from the World Gold Council.
Volatility Drives Us Mad and Steals Our Future
The Reformed Broker
Five years ago this week, one of the wildest times in the market I’ve seen in my entire career on The Street. The daily swings, driven by headlines and comments from European bankers and politicians, were breathtaking.
Your active manager: better, cheaper, less successful
James Saft – Reuters
Every year your active fund manager gets smarter, better trained and cheaper and every year she has a tougher and tougher time beating the market. It isn’t so much that alpha is dying but that the suckers are all leaving the table. As more money flows into passive strategies the sum of gains to be had at the expense of dumb money diminishes, making alpha, or outperformance, harder and harder to achieve.
Pioneer of smart-beta investing warns strategy is being abused
By Anora Mahmudova – MarketWatch
Steadily increasing flows into popular exchange-traded funds referred to as smart beta are likely sowing the seeds of a future crash that could besmirch the investment strategy’s good name, according to Rob Arnott, chairman and chief executive of Research Affiliates.
Many are cashing out of stock mutual funds
Adam Shell, USA TODAY
As stocks continue to hover around all-time highs, investors in U.S. stock mutual funds continue to cash in their chips.
Wall Street’s New Target: Dow 20000
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Dow 36000 may remain the height of stock-pumping hype, but Dow 20000 is now the baseline projection. The consensus Wall Street one-year target level for the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now 20003.93, as of yesterday, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices, up from a projection of 19914 last week. The projection gets updated once a week, and has been steadily rising as the market itself has been heading higher. It was at 18710 back on April 5.
Bad Neighbors Feed Woes for Baltic Bank Ruing Deutsche Loss
Ott Ummelas – Bloomberg
Just like in real estate, banking can be all about location. Take AS LHV Pank. Despite being the biggest locally owned lender in its home market of Estonia, it’s struggling to regain access to dollar clearing after Deutsche Bank AG stopped providing the service last month, citing a wider review of its clients. LHV’s difficulties are largely the result of geography: With a population of just 1.3 million people, it’s hard for the smallest of the three Baltic nations to justify its value in a world of global risk-reduction by banks. Compounding matters, proximity to Latvia — a hub for cash from the ex-Soviet region that’s battling a reputation for money laundering — and Russia — under U.S. and European sanctions over Ukraine — can scare off potential partners.
How much auction information is too much?
Alexandra Scaggs – FT
Some people aren’t terribly happy with the way government debt is sold in the US and UK. Consider a recent blogpost from Julian Wiseman, formerly of Societe Generale and the Bank of England. He says that after a small change in the way gilt auction results are reported, it’s possible to deduce the amount sold at the lowest price. (Gilts are awarded to bidders at the prices they offered to pay, as opposed to the US, where there’s one market-clearing price).
OpenExchange, Inc. Partners with ELITE Connect to Boost Video Conferencing across the Globe
OpenExchange Inc. announced today it has entered into an agreement that allows ELITE Connect users to access OpenExchange’s patented online meeting technology, opening up further business opportunities across the globe. OpenExchange’s assisted meeting technology, providing operator supported connections throughout the virtual meeting process and ELITE Connect’s self-service meeting capabilities, allowing users to open meetings directly, utilize a similar fundamental software process. As a result, both platforms are highly compatible and able to provide seamless inter connectivity between users.
The Lessons Learned From the Bitcoin Exchange Hacks
Joseph Wang, Bitquant Research Laboratories chief science officer, discusses what we learned from the $71 million hack of Hong Kong’s bitcoin exchange. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Swift CEO gives network top marks despite $81m Bangladesh Bank theft; Banks need to upscale their security infrastructure, says Leibbrandt
The chief executive of the world’s largest financial transaction messaging service has said he would rate the institution’s performance over the past year as ten-out-of-ten despite its infrastructure being involved in a major central bank cyber heist.
RPT- IBM’s Watson won Jeopardy, but can it win business from banks?
By Olivia Oran – Reuters
International Business Machines Corp is in an unusual fix in telling big U.S. banks they can use its Watson software of Jeopardy-winning fame as a cost-saving solution: bankers say they like it, but cannot afford it.
Five ex-Madoff employees lose new bid to void convictions
A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a new bid by five former employees of Bernard Madoff’s firm to overturn their convictions for helping their boss conceal his Ponzi scheme, which cost customers more than $17 billion. The order by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means former back office director Daniel Bonventre, account managers Annette Bongiorno and JoAnn Crupi, and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez must stay in prison, to serve terms ranging from 2-1/2 years to Bonventre’s 10 years.
N.Y. investment adviser, lawyer indicted for insider trading
A Long Island investment adviser and a former partner at a major law firm have been indicted on charges that they engaged in insider trading ahead of Pfizer Inc’s acquisition of King Pharmaceuticals Inc in 2010, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Company Paying Penalty for Violating Key Whistleblower Protection Rule
According to the SEC’s order, BlueLinx added the monetary recovery prohibition to all of its severance agreements in mid-2013, nearly two years after the SEC’s adoption of Rule 21F-17 that prohibits any action to impede someone from communicating with the SEC about possible securities law violations. BlueLinx’s restrictive language forced employees leaving the company to waive possible whistleblower awards or risk losing their severance payments and other post-employment benefits.
Kristin Snyder Named Co-Head of SEC’s Investment Adviser/Investment Company Examination Program
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Kristin Snyder has been named Co-National Associate Director of the Investment Adviser/Investment Company examination program in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). She joins Co-National Associate Director Jane Jarcho who has led the program since August 20, 2013 and was named OCIE’s Deputy Director on February 3, 2016. Together, Ms. Jarcho and Ms. Snyder oversee more than 520 lawyers, accountants, and examiners responsible for inspections of SEC registered investment advisers and investment companies.
SEC Charges Former Professional Football Player With Running $10 Million Fraud
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Richmond, Virginia, charges Robertson, Sherman C. Vaughn Jr., and the company they co-owned, Cavalier Union Investments LLC. According to the complaint, the defendants promised to invest in diversified holdings but diverted nearly $6 million of the more than $10 million they raised from investors to pay for personal expenses and used other funds to repay earlier investors.
FCA’s ‘zero tolerance’ on KYC fosters de-risking – BBA; Media and UK regulator’s approach to financial crime criticised at Commonwealth discussion
Mark Pengelly – Risk.net
Tougher rules such as the Senior Managers Regime, adverse publicity and a “zero-tolerance approach” from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are causing banks to avoid client relationships seen as risky from a compliance standpoint, a policy director at the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) told an event held in London yesterday (August 10). The comments came during a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Secretariat devoted to the topic of ‘de-risking’ – the generalised retreat…
Sebi eases format of accounting standard applicability
In a bid to facilitate smooth transition, capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has issued a revised format for publishing financial accounts in compliance with Ind AS, the accounting standards.
Buy-side most concerned Brexit will see regulatory split; A potential regulatory bifurcation is the biggest concern for asset managers following the EU referendum in the UK.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
A split in regulation following the EU referendum result in the UK has been raised as the biggest concern amongst the buy-side.
Bank of Japan review likely to defend massive stimulus programme: sources
The Bank of Japan has already prepared a preliminary outline of a “comprehensive” review of its policies due next month that will maintain a pledge to hit its 2 percent inflation target as soon as possible, sources familiar with its thinking said.
In the draft, the BOJ identifies sharp falls in oil prices, a prolonged hit to growth from a sales tax hike in 2014 and Japan’s inability to shake off its deflationary mindset as hampering achievement of its inflation target, the sources said.
Govt asks Sebi to ban sugar futures trading; The government is concerned that futures market aren’t setting correct price signals for sugar amid concerns of speculators dictating terms during a shortfall
Jayshree P. Upadhyay – Livemint
The government has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to ban sugar futures trading as it does not want a few traders and speculators setting prices in a year when there is likely to be a shortfall of the commodity.
Erdogan Warns Bank Resistance to Interest Cuts Could Be Treason
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ratcheted up pressure on the nation’s banks, saying he would consider resistance to his calls to cut mortgage rates as an act of treason.
Why China’s Bond Market Rally Is Risky Business; The rally of recent weeks in China’s bond market marks a reversal from what seemed like a moment of clarity in which investors were demanding more yield for more risk
By ANJANI TRIVEDI – WSJ
Like much of the sovereign-debt universe, China’s bonds are rallying too. And that’s where the similarities end. Despite a rising number of defaults on corporate and state-backed debt, yields on 10-year Chinese government bonds dropped to their lowest in seven years this week, touching 2.71%.
Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect ‘imminent,’ Hong Kong Exchanges CEO says
There’s less than six months left of 2016 but there’s still time yet to set up the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) chief executive Charles Li said.
China’s ICBC aims for benchmark dollar bond via Dubai by year-end
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) aims to issue a U.S. dollar-denominated, benchmark-sized bond through its Dubai office before the end of the year if market conditions permit, a senior executive at the bank said.
Grain markets weigh on Cargill’s operating profit
Gregory Meyer – FT
Cargill revealed its weakest operating profit in four years amid a slump in grain markets, intensifying pressure to reignite growth at the world’s largest agricultural trading house. The US-based private company earned $1.64bn in the fiscal year ended May 31, down 15 per cent from the year before and the least since 2012, it said on Wednesday. The figures were adjusted for items such as gains on sales of businesses. In the fourth quarter Cargill reported an adjusted operating loss of $19m, reflecting unprofitable soyabean and energy trading and a charge to account for heightened contract risks in weak shipping markets.
Arianna Huffington to Leave the Huffington Post; Huffington Post co-founder and editor-in-chief to focus on health-and-wellness startup Thrive Global
By LUKAS I. ALPERT – WSJ
Arianna Huffington, who co-founded the Huffington Post 11 years ago and built it into one of the largest digital media outlets in the U.S., says she will be leaving the company in the coming weeks to focus on a soon-to-launch startup dedicated to issues of health and wellness.
You May Be Broke and Not Know It
There are really two ways to be poor. Some people just don’t earn much money. Almost 15 percent of Americans, or 47 million people, live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Then there are the people loaded up with debt. Even people with good jobs can owe so much on credit cards, student loans, or mortgages that, on paper, they’re worth less than zero.