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Bitcoin’s Trading Star is DRW’s Cumberland Mining; Itiviti and ULLINK announce tie-up; BoE chief on LSE row

First Read

Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

DRW’s cryptocurrency division is called Cumberland Mining & Materials LLC., named after the Grateful Dead song “Cumberland Blues,” about a hardworking miner, according to today’s Wall Street Journal story. ~JK

Fun fact: In the first three quarters of 2017, $2.774 trillion of MSCI Index-based futures and options traded globally. That’s nearly 50 percent more than the first three quarters of 2016.~SD

Care to express your views on cryptocurrencies without trading them? Apparently, you can buy ugly crypto holiday sweaters now (and yes, the checkout supports cryptocurrencies). Visual Capitalist has a cool infographic on BTC’s journey to $10,000, too.~SD

JLN Options from yesterday is available HERE.~JJL

Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – November 27, 2017.~JJL

Matrix Execution Technologies has launched a LinkedIn page.~JJL


Meet the World’s Longest Serving Futures Trader
Debbie Carlson – CME Group OpenMarkets
Had the employment office at Roosevelt College (now Roosevelt University) in Chicago not been next to the student lounge, Lee Stern may never have gotten into trading.

***** Don’t ever short Lee Stern.~JJL


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Initial Coin Offerings Horrify a Former S.E.C. Regulator
Nathaniel Popper – NY Times
Members of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s staff have been hearing recently from a former colleague with an urgent question: Why aren’t you cracking down on these initial coin offerings?

*****”I.C.O.s represent the most pervasive, open and notorious violation of federal securities laws since the Code of Hammurabi,” Mr. Grundfest said in an interview.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top stories yesterday were led by the mysterious case of “Other reportables” and who those others actually are. Even Citadel wants to know more in the FT’s Unknown traders gain influence in commodities markets. Second went to the baffling but not surprising story of more unknowns about Bitcoin in Fortune’s Lost Bitcoins: 4 Million Bitcoins Gone Forever Study Says. Third went to Bloomberg’s piece on index providers in Index Providers Rule the WorldóFor Now, at Least


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Lead Stories

Bitcoin’s Trading Star Is Chicago High-Speed Firm That Nods to the Grateful Dead
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
DRW’s Cumberland unit jumped in shortly after the digital currency’s plunge in 2014, putting it far ahead of Wall Street banks
One of Chicago’s largest high-speed traders has taken a central role in the bitcoin market, stepping into the vacuum created by Wall Street’s hesitant response to the booming investor interest in digital currencies.

Itiviti and ULLINK announce tie-up to form $200m tech powerhouse
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Combined entity will create a firm with $200 million in revenues and 1,000 employees globally.
Trading software providers Itiviti and ULLINK have confirmed plans to merge as they look to form a global capital markets technology powerhouse.

BoE chief Mark Carney pushes back on call to resolve LSE row; Central bank will not intervene in planned exit of exchange chief Xavier Rolet
Caroline Binham and Philip Stafford – FT
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has pushed back on a call to intervene in a governance crisis at the London Stock Exchange Group, where an activist investor is trying to force out the chairman and extend the contract of its chief executive.

****SD: Reuters – BoE’s Carney ‘mystified’ by CEO spat at London Stock Exchange

EU clearing plans for City run into resistance across bloc; Capitals want to take business from London but are less keen on central oversight
Jim Brunsden in Brussels and Philip Stafford – FT
European Commission plans to potentially force parts of the City of London’s prized clearing business to relocate after Brexit are getting bogged down because of governments’ reluctance to accept more centralised financial services supervision within the EU.

Chicago is buying into bitcoin in a big way
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Bitcoin backers have created one of the most volatile, active markets on earthóand Chicago’s trading community wants in. CME Group and Cboe Global Marketsótwo of the biggest exchanges in the worldóeach proposed a new bitcoin futures contract in recent months. When the contracts launch, the Chicago companies will convert trading to fees.

NEX Data establishes US Treasury benchmarks; Benchmarks will create reference price from transactions and orders on the BrokerTec trading platform.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
NEX Data has launched a series of US Treasury benchmarks in a bid to provide further transparency and pricing information to the market.

Global crypto-currency crackdown sparks search for safe havens
Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss – Reuters
When U.S. entrepreneur Bharath Rao looked around for the best place to raise money for his crypto-currency derivatives trading business, the United States did not make his list. Instead he chose the East African island nation Seychelles to sell the trading platform’s tokens.

Wells Fargo Bankers, Chasing Bonuses, Overcharged Hundreds of Clients; Employees say lofty rewards tied to revenue pushed foreign-exchange staff to ignore agreed-upon fees
Emily Glazer – WSJ
The whispers among employees had been around for years. They finally heard some facts during a conference call in June led by managers in Wells Fargo & Co.’s foreign-exchange operation: Some of its business customers had been cheated, according to two employees who were on the call.

Musk: I Am Not Bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto
Nour Al Ali and Chris Kingdon – Bloomberg
Not only does Elon Musk deny being the mysterious creator of bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto, but he’s also forgotten where he keeps his cryptocurrency.

Flattening yield curve faces test of its predictive powers; Debate rages over trusty gauge’s ability to predict US economic woes
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
In the pantheon of economic indicators the bond market’s “yield curve” enjoys rock star status, thanks to its uncanny ability to predict recessions. Right now it is signalling danger ahead, but can we still rely on this normally trustworthy gauge?

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

London Stock Exchange boss should go, says Carney
Katherine Griffiths – The Times
The governor of the Bank of England has waded into the boardroom row at the London Stock Exchange by signalling that its chief executive, Xavier Rolet, should go quietly.

CME Group Says Co Entered Into A New Multi-Currency Revolving Credit Facility
Effective as of November 2, entered into a new multi-currency revolving credit facility – SEC filing

Bull Run: BSE, NSE Set For High Volume Growth
Sreekumar Raghavan – Corporate Ethos
The bull run in the Indian stock market saw the key benchmark indices S&P BSE Sensex hitting a record high of 33,865 while Nifty 50 rose to a record high of 10490 as domestic funds and investors have pumped huge amount of money following the demonetisation and weakening of gold and real estate prices.

Randolf Roth: “We provide the data for brokers to argue BestEx.”
Eurex EnLight – the selective RFQ Platform. An interview with Randolf Roth, Member of the Executive Board, Eurex

REGIS-TR and IHS Markit work together on interoperable SFTR reporting solution
Deutsche Bˆrse Group
REGIS-TR, the Europe-wide leading provider of G20 transaction repository services, will work with IHS Markit, a leader in key information, analytics and solutions, to deliver an interoperable full-service reporting solution under the terms of the Regulation on Securities Finance Transactions (SFTR).

Moscow Stock Exchange changed the name of the main index to the MosBirzhi Index
On November 27, 2017, the Moscow Stock Exchange changed the name of the main indicator of the Russian stock market: the MICEX Index was renamed into the MosBirzhi Index (the English name of the MICEX Index is changed to MOEX Russia Index).


Nordic Capital-backed Itiviti Announces the Intention to Combine With ULLINK to Create a New Global
Press Release
Itiviti, backed by Nordic Capital Fund VII, today announces the intention to combine with ULLINK to build a full service technology and infrastructure provider for global and regional financial institutions.

Lime Brokerage Partners with CQG to Offer Algorithms to CQG’s Integrated Client Customers
Lime Brokerage, a Wedbush Company and a leading provider of technology and market access, today announced a partnership with CQG, a platform for integrated trade routing, global market data, and advanced technical analysis tools, to offer Lime’s suite of premium futures algorithms on CQG’s platform.

A New Marketplace to Bet on Blockchain Startups Is Opening Up
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
BnkToTheFuture to start trading in the second quarter of 2018; More than 50% of major companies could be trading by year-end
A new way for accredited investors to put money into blockchain startups is opening up. A firm called BnkToTheFuture plans to open a market in the second quarter that will let investors trade equity stakes in companies involved with the blockchain, the transaction-tracking technology that underpins digital currencies like bitcoin. BnkToTheFuture will use a blockchain ledger to keep record of those investments for clients.

Google adds ‘finance’ tab to search filters, revamps Google Finance
Alphabet Inc said on Tuesday users doing a Google search would now be able to filter results with a new “finance” tab, which works in the same way that its “images” or “news” tab does.

BoE says banks may be underestimating fintech threat
Huw Jones – Reuters
Britain’s banks may be overstating their ability to stop “fintech” firms stealing customers and eating into profits, the Bank of England (BoE) said on Tuesday.

What Bitcoin Critics and Supporters Around the World Have to Say About Crypto
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has made it hard for even those in the highest spheres of finance, technology and government to ignore – and many have an opinion about its approximate 1,253 percent gain gain in the past 12 months. People have debated the potential of cryptocurrencies since the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto released a nine-page paper explaining the technology in 2009. Here’s a look at who’s on which side and what they’re saying.

This Is How You Can Short Bitcoin
Camila Russo – Bloomberg
Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal takes a look at bitcoin’s surge toward $10,000.
Bitcoin’s assault on $10,000 has stirred bears who see fresh evidence of a bubble. There are ways to bet on a crash, but they’re even riskier than trading the cryptocurrency on the way up.


Corbyn winning power is ‘bigger risk than Brexit’ for the economy and could send stock markets plummeting, top investment bank warns
James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline
Jeremy Corbyn winning power is a bigger risk to the economy than a bad Brexit deal, a leading investment bank has warned

Casting Wall Street as Victim, Trump Leads Deregulatory Charge
Matthew Goldstein and Stacy Cowley – NY Times
A decade after the financial crisis, the federal government is easing up its policing of Wall Street and the banking industry, even without actually repealing broad swaths of regulation.

Senate tax drama intensifies as bill faces key panel vote
David Morgan – Reuters
President Donald Trump’s drive to overhaul the U.S. tax code headed toward a new drama on Tuesday in the Senate, where a pair of Republican lawmakers demanded changes to the party’s tax bill in exchange for their help in moving the measure forward.

Advantage Trump in the battle over Obama’s Wall St watchdog; The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in the president’s sights, writes Edward Luce
Edward Luce – FT
How do you react when your new boss pitches up on his first day with a large bag of doughnuts? That would depend on whether you think he is an imposter. Mick Mulvaney, the new acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ó a powerful Obama-era watchdog ó did just that on Monday. Notwithstanding Mr Mulvaney’s sugary offering, it is a safe bet that most of the CFPB’s staff were not prepared to accept his authority.


SEC Announces Agenda for December 7 Investor Advisory Committee Meeting
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the agenda for the December 7 meeting of its Investor Advisory Committee. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room at SEC headquarters at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. and is open to the public. The meeting will be webcast live and archived on the committee’s website for later viewing.

ISDA panel to reconvene on Venezuela CDS auction
Davide Scigliuzzo – Reuters
An industry committee will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss terms of two auctions that will determine the payout on some US$1.5bn of CDS contracts tied to Venezuela’s bonds.

Joseph Otting, former banker, sworn in as top U.S. bank regulator
Joseph Otting, a former banking executive and associate of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, was sworn in as U.S. comptroller of the currency on Monday to serve as the leading regulator of national banks.

US court charges Chinese ‘hackers’ with attacks on three corporations
Three Chinese citizens have been charged by a US court with hacking attacks on international corporations.
The three, said to run a cyber security firm in China, targeted Moody’s Analytics, Siemens and GPS maker Trimble, the indictment says.

Volkswagen Financial Services Australia pays $216,000 penalty for misleading advertising
Volkswagen Financial Services Australia Pty Ltd (VWFSA) has paid a penalty of $216,000 after ASIC issued 20 infringement notices for alleged misleading statements made by VWFSA as part of its ‘1% you can’t ignore’ advertising campaign.

Investing and Trading

Why Does Sequence of Returns Risk Matter for Retirement?
Peter Tsui – S&P Dow Jones Indices Indexology Blog
Sequence of returns (SoR) risk refers to the situation when the market experiences random movements in such a way that returns are not uniformly distributed. For example, in the 32-year period from 1966 to 1997, the DJIA had an annualized return of 8%. However, the returns were not evenly distributed over time. For the first half of this period, from 1966 to 1981, the Dow began at 1,000 and ended at about the same level. Then, from 1982 through 1997, the Dow grew over 15% per year, taking the index from 1,000 to about 8,000.

Index Providers Can Make or Break Passive Investors; Does “building consensus” level the playing field?
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Here are Bloomberg’s Tracy Alloway, Dani Burger and Rachel Evans on the power of index providers:

Market’s Numbness to Risk Reminds of Calm Before Storm: Axioma
Andrew Janes – Bloomberg
Cash positions are near 3-5% versus 20% at the start of 2017; U.S.-China trade war is major market risk, d’Assier says
There’s “somewhat of a numbness” to risk among investors right now that’s reminiscent of pre-crisis periods in the past, according to Olivier d’Assier, head of applied research for Asia Pacific at Axioma Inc.

Traders concerned as they anticipate further growth in passive investing; Passive investing set to grow, but just 40% of traders see the rise as a positive development for their companies.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
A survey has found the majority of traders have seen a shift from active to passive investing and 72% expect this to rise further next year.

Bitcoin bubble will burst but blockchain technology will be useful, says private equity investing giant
Lucy White – City AM
The bitcoin cryptocurrency is a bubble which will burst, but the underlying blockchain technology will have some useful applications, according to a director at Harbourvest Private Equity (HVPE).

Can you compare tulips to Bitcoins? Central banks think so
City AM
“Bitcoin is a sort of tulip”. So said European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor Constancio in September. For many that might sound like an odd statement to make, but those that know their history – and specifically the history of the stock market – will instantly know what Mr Constancio is talking about.


Decade-Old Options Pay Off for Goldman Execs
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group executives have cashed in on decade-old stock options, once worthless, that have become valuable in the year since Donald Trump’s election.

SocGen to close 15% of branches as it cuts costs
David Keohane and Martin Arnold – Financial Times
SociÈtÈ GÈnÈrale will close 15 per cent of its branch network and cut up to 900 jobs in France by 2020 as the bank looks to cut costs and accelerate its move into digital banking.

Credit Suisse CEO Says ‘Everything on Table’ to Return Profits
Jan-Henrik Foerster, Patrick Winters and Francine Lacqua- Bloomberg
‘I’m painfully aware that I had to dilute my shareholders’; Thiam is scheduled to update investors on strategy Thursday
Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam said he’s “painfully aware” that shareholders have gone through tough times and that all options are on the table to return cash to investors as profitability improves.

Ocado Short Squeeze Wipes Out $73 Million From Hedge Fund Trade
Sofia Horta E Costa – Bloomberg
Hedge funds betting against the fortunes of Ocado Group Plc got a painful surprise on Tuesday after the online grocery retailer said it had landed a client in France.

Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Full-Service Digital Bank
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
Paytm Payments Bank to offer services to unbanked millions; Rules allow payments banks to accept deposits, but bar lending
Paytm Payments Bank is targeting to become the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million bank accounts and aims to turn into an integrated financial services company that offers everything from wealth management to share trading.

Hedge Funds Too Busy Surviving to Hire Robots; Small firms aren’t investing in AI. They may live to regret it.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
Rumors of the death of hedge funds have been, as the saying goes, greatly exaggerated. The industry nevertheless faces a battle to remain relevant amid the inexorable rise of low-cost passive strategies. And the smaller players are missing a trick that may cost them in the years ahead.

Lightspeed Trading Offers a Wide Range of Trading Tools for Active and Professional Traders
Lightspeed Trading
As one of the industry’s best stock brokers for day trading, Lightspeed Trading offers a comprehensive range of trading tools for professionals in the field. Over the course of their careers, traders develop their own approaches to their day-to-day dealings. On top of that, they constantly adapt and evolve in concert with the market. Because of this, Lightspeed has developed numerous solutions that grant traders a high degree of customization and control.


Philippine Bank Penalized for $35 Million Fraud; Shares Rise
Cecilia Yap and Siegfrid Alegado – Bloomberg
Ordered to allocate capital for risk, directors suspended; Metrobank says it absorbed fraud amount, to set aside more
The Philippine central bank penalized Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. by suspending some officials and ordering it to set aside funds following an internal fraud that cost the lender 1.75 billion pesos ($35 million).

Behind Abe’s Biggest Reform Win, Old Japan Inc. Culture Lives On
Keiko Ujikane and Takako Taniguchi – Bloomberg
Some stock buybacks are linked to companies’ foundations; ‘Isn’t this simply a form of stealing,’ fund manager asks
While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s vaunted third arrow — structural reforms — has generally been rated as unsuccessful, his administration has received high marks from Japan analysts for shaking up the country’s corporate-management system.

Saudi Prince Who Wooed West Finds Few Friends in Tough Times
Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Most are quiet as Alwaleed bin Talal remains detained in hotel; Bill Gates broke silence on Monday, praising his philanthropy
For more than a quarter-century, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been making investments and building relationships in the West. He bailed out Citigroup Inc., helped refinance the ill-fated Euro Disney and backed Rupert Murdoch during the U.K. phone-hacking scandal.

How the Fall of Finance Led to French Tech’s Rise; After the financial crisis, educated French youth opted for startups instead of conventional job paths.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry – Bloomberg
France is emerging as a major European tech hub: La French Tech, as it is known, is improbably beating out Germany and rivaling London for funding levels and company valuations. A significant portion of France’s most talented young people now want to work in an innovation ecosystem rather than in secure jobs in government or traditional industries. The reason for the shift is not Emmanuel Macron, the reformer who has become French president. It long predates his rise.

A Manhattan Trial Wreaks Havoc on Turkish Markets: QuickTake Q&A
Asli Kandemir and Ercan Ersoy – Bloomberg
The trial in New York of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is accused of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, has been wreaking havoc on Turkey’s markets, after efforts led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to secure a political resolution to the case. Many investors want to see what gets revealed in that Manhattan court room before taking a risk on Turkey.

Drought and Neglect Have Decimated Iraq’s Breadbasket; Kurdish farmers, a key to independence, feel abandoned.
Alex Dziadosz – Bloomberg
East of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, malls and high-rise apartments give way to cement-block factories, warehouses, and junkyards. Tucked among a freeway, a gravel pit, and a trash heap as tall as a barn, Mohammed Osman plucks herbs from four acres of gray, cracked earth fed by sewage from a nearby drainage pipe.

Hong Kong’s China-Fueled Equity Rally Is Now at Beijing’s Mercy
Justina Lee – Bloomberg
China said to block funds that want to buy mainly in Hong Kong; Mainland is a key source of offshore inflows for city’s stocks
Hong Kong shares have been among the world’s best performers this year, but concern is mounting that China could take away the punch bowl.

Oil traders have message for Opec and Russia: don’t wobble now; Cutting production has proved successful with inventories falling and prices recovering
David Sheppard, Energy Markets Editor – FT
As Opec, Russia and other top oil producers gather in Vienna this week, the world’s top energy traders have a simple message for those trying to underpin the price: now is not the time to wobble.

China’s HNA says it will pull out of deals on Beijing’s investment blacklist
South China Morning Post
Company’s chief defends overseas investments and says it will ‘listen to orders’


Brexit to result in a sharp slowdown in UK economic growth, OECD predicts; In 2019, when the UK is set to leave the EU, the OECD expects growth of just 1.1 per cent
Ben Chu – Independent
The OECD expects Brexit to result in a sharp slowdown in UK growth

London’s Startups Stress Out Over Brexitóand Ping Pong; Vying for victory with Spanish and Italian players.
Edward Robinson – Bloomberg
In table tennis, revenge is a dish best served fast. That’s what scores of employees of Funding Circle, Ltd., the U.K.’s top online lender, craved as Ping Pong Fight Club got under way in a cavernous loft space in London’s East End last week. The stakes were high. In 2016, Funding Circle’s champion, Luis Pinto, was toppled by newcomer Francesco Lo Franco of LendInvest Ltd., another online lender. This year, Lo Franco, a 32-year-old software engineer from Rome, had a new employeróand the same forehand smash.

BOE Says Stress Test Shows Banks Can Withstand Disorderly Brexit
Stephen Morris
Barclays and RBS fall short, but don’t have to raise capital; BOE raises countercyclical capital buffer rate to 1%
The Bank of England said the U.K.’s biggest lenders emerged from its latest stress test with the strength to keep lending even during a “disorderly” Brexit.

BoE tells banks to hold extra £6bn buffer for risks beyond Brexit; Measure designed to prepare lenders for ‘material’ macroeconomic risks
Caroline Binham and Martin Arnold in London – FT
British banks could withstand the impact of a hard Brexit, the Bank of England said, but it has asked them to put aside an extra £6bn in capital to guard against other macroeconomic risks.


How Opioids Started Killing Americans; A huge study of the epidemic’s acceleration shows most deaths began with a prescription.
Natasha Rausch – Bloomberg
It’s been conventional wisdom for some time now that America’s opioid epidemic began at the pharmacy. Now there are numbers to put any doubt to rest.

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