Ibbo’s Kilt Challenge
By Mark Ibbotson
I am wearing a kilt to the IDX 2018 Gala for Futures for Kids because I believe in this charity’s mission!
Each year, FIA hosts the IDX Gala in aid of Futures for Kids, an organization that raises funds on behalf of the futures and options industry for charities that strive to provide better lives and futures for children internationally. Over the last nine years, the IDX Gala has raised more than £1.4 million for Futures for Kids, including through the Kilt Challenge.
Since 2010, various giants from the futures industry (to wit – John Lothian and Bill Herder) have accepted the sporran and the challenge to beat the previous year’s Kilt Challenge fundraising record. In 2017, the CME Group’s Kim Taylor beat the records set by the seven men that had taken on the Kilt Challenge – raising more than £13,500. After dropping a special note and a lipstick in the sporran, Kim challenged me, GH Financials’ Mark Ibbotson, to don the kilt and beat her fundraising record!
I am a long-time supporter of Futures for Kids and am proudly taking on this fashion challenge and curious tradition for the kiddos – and I am looking for your support. Donate now and help me raise £14,000 for Futures for Kids.
To donate, click HERE
The Options Industry Leader Series 2018 – Nasdaq’s Kevin Kennedy
Brought to you by the OCC
In this video from the 36th annual Options Industry Conference in Amelia Island, Fla., Kevin Kennedy, Nasdaq senior vice president and head of U.S. options, talks about how the industry weathered low volatility, Nasdaq’s proprietary product suite and capital requirement issues.
Hits & Takes
According to the FIA, worldwide exchange traded derivatives volume in April was down 9.9 percent month over month to 2.307 billion contracts.~SD
The consortium of firms that includes TMX Group working on digital ledger technology developed a proof of concept that “shows that it is possible to deliver payments in a way that has never been done before.”~JK
Only 8.5% of bitcoin and cryptocurrency traders are female. Women’s intuition?~JB
On Thursday 17 May 2018, the second annual cricket competition for the David Setters Trophy will be taking place in the City. The day will be host to a cricket tournament where six organisations will compete to see who will be taking home the coveted trophy.~JJL
This month, NFA hosted a CPR/AED training for staff. SOS Technologies Chicago was onsite to teach participants how to properly handle an emergency situation by using CPR and AED’s located throughout the office. Via LinkedIn.~JJL
Timothy James Lothian did graduate from the University of Missouri at Columbia on Saturday. It is official. I heard his name called and saw him walk across the stage.~JJL
The stock market is in good hands
Mike Ferguson and Mike Williams, Equity Markets Association via Business Insider
American investors today benefit from an efficient, well-regulated, and easily accessible financial system that is both trusted and respected globally.
*****State Farm is buying what?~JJL
Stop getting The Flintstones wrong
There’s a lot of sense in Nouriel Roubini’s column for Project Syndicate on ICO flimflam and it’s all undone by one big mistake…The Flintstones has a currency. Clams.
***** Nouriel Roubini clearly did not spend enough time watching cartoons.~JJL
Whistleblowing; Piling On; Mismarks; Insider Trading; Let’s Talk About ICOs
Gary DeWaal – Bridging the Week
The chief executive officer of a major worldwide banking group agreed to pay the equivalent of US $870,000 as fines to two United Kingdom regulators, and had the equivalent of US $677,000 of prior pay clawed back by his employer because he tried to uncover the identity of a possible whistleblower. Separately, The Department of Justice announced a new policy aimed at minimizing “piling on” of penalties on corporations for wrongdoing where multiple sections of the DOJ are involved, as well as multiple domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies. However, there is a precondition – cooperation!
Friday’s Top Three
Our top read story of the day on Friday was the JLN piece by Sarah Rudolph, Chicago Venture Capital Firms Are Funding Fintech. Second was the New York Times’ article Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t. Third went to the FT story Former JPMorgan trader charged with conspiring to fix currency prices
The Spread – Week of 5/7 to 5/11
This week’s episode of The Spread touches on all the important things in options news last week… like pets dressed in varying historical garments. (But it all makes sense because it has to do with the Consolidated Audit Trail, otherwise known as the CAT.)
125,893,736 pages viewed; 23,103 pages; 213,005 edits
Michael Bloomberg Slams ‘Epidemic’ Of Political Lies As Danger To Democracy; “How did we go from a president who could not tell a lie to politicians who cannot tell the truth?”
Mary Papenfuss – Huffington Post
Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg lashed out Saturday at the “epidemic of dishonesty” in politics that he said poses “one of the most serious dangers” to American democracy.
CME Group and Crypto Facilities Launch Ether Reference Rate and Ether Real Time Index
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, and Crypto Facilities Ltd, a world-leading cryptocurrency trading platform, today launched the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (Ether Reference Rate), which will provide a daily benchmark price in U.S. dollars at 4 pm London time, and CME CF Ether-Dollar Real Time Index (Ether Real Time Index), which will allow users access to a real-time Ether price in U.S. dollars.
Payments Canada, the Bank of Canada, TMX Group, Accenture and R3 Demonstrate Feasibility of Instantaneous Equity Settlement through Distributed Ledger Technology
Payments Canada, the Bank of Canada, TMX Group and Accenture have demonstrated that the instantaneous clearing and settlement of securities on-ledger is feasible, showing for the first time that both central bank cash and assets can be tokenized to complete an instant, end-to-end equity settlement on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) Establish Partnership to Grow Cross-Border Capital Raising Opportunities for Technology Companies
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) today announced that they have established a partnership focused on growing capital raising opportunities for companies, particularly in the technology sector.
The 130-Year-Old Bankruptcy That Created a $5 Billion Oil Giant
Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg
Texas Pacific Land Trust has surged almost 2,200% since 2010; Mineral rights offer revenues linked to Permian oil production
The hottest oil stock from the U.S. shale boom has never pumped a single barrel of crude. Texas Pacific Land Trust, a listed land bank created out of a railroad bankruptcy more than a century ago, has climbed more than 2,200 percent since 2010, outperforming the stocks of shale oil producers, service companies and prospectors alike. It’s now worth more than $5 billion.
Futures Algos: A Class of Their Own
Larry Tabb – TABB Forum
The agency futures business typically has been supported by the more profitable equities and fixed income businesses, often forced to fight for tech resources and to creatively adopt solutions that didn’t exactly fit. This was especially true for trading algorithms, developed predominantly for equity trading but re-patterned for the global futures markets. This, however, is changing. Independent third-party technology firms are developing specialized futures algos that are breaking the dated equity mold by providing solutions specifically geared to a market that dwarfs equities.
Farmers Across High Plains Brace for Hard Times as Drought Bears Down; Drought could affect everything from cotton to cattle to farming-equipment sales
Jim Carlton – WSJ
This time of year, Shawn Holladay is usually sitting atop a tractor, laying cotton seeds into rows of red soil on his farm here on the High Plains.
Swaps users to get three choices for synthetic Libor; Consultation due next month as industry tries to avoid big losses on benchmark’s death
Lukas Becker – Risk.net
Swaps users will be invited to decide next month on how to create a synthetic Libor rate, as the industry attempts to avoid potentially huge transfers of value in the event of the benchmark’s death.
HSBC claims first trade-finance deal with blockchain; Bank says letter of credit for Cargill opens door for technology in $9tn market
Don Weinland in Hong Kong – FT
HSBC has completed the world’s first commercially viable trade-finance transaction using blockchain, opening the door to mass adoption of the technology in the $9tn market for trade finance.
Banks Rush Into Chinese Black Box; Majority control of local securities ventures won’t be a bonanza.
Nisha Gopalan, Anjani Trivdes – Bloomberg
To assume China’s black box will produce a bonanza for global banks would be naive. Global banks are rushing to plant their flags in China. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll be winners. Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. lodged an application to take a majority stake in a securities company, having exited a venture where it was a junior partner.
The Mystery of A vs B Uncovers a London Fight Club for the Rich
Franz Wild – Bloomberg
London remains the destination of choice for major court cases; Glencore, Deripaska and Angola were all recently in court
On a sunny Friday morning in central London, journalists were looking for A v B, a case scheduled for London’s commercial court. Finding the lawsuit could lead to illuminating details about a fascinating case of sanctions, alleged corruption and mines producing a metal used in Tesla Inc. batteries.
A Crypto Tycoon, Banking Heir and the Mysterious Fight for Gold
Thomas Biesheuvel – Bloomberg
Gold miner Petropavlovsk is facing a second investor revolt; Key issue will likely be whether ex-CEO, chairman can return
The battle for some of Russia’s richest gold mines has an unusual cast of characters: the scion of one of Europe’s great banking families, a Kazakh tycoon with his own cryptocurrency, hedge fund D.E. Shaw, and mystery shareholders.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
CME Group in deal to offer ether reference rate
CME Group Inc said on Monday it had launched the CME CF ether-dollar reference rate along with crypto-trading platform Crypto Facilities Ltd to provide real-time ether price in dollars.
Euro Fixed Income Futures: Definition of reporting and position limits for June 2018
The reporting and position limits for the June 2018 contracts in the Euro Fixed Income Futures were set as follows:
Extension of trading hours for selected benchmark futures and MSCI futures
Eurex Deutschland plans to extend its trading and clearing hours (together: “extended service hours”) for selected Equity Index, Fixed Income, Volatility and MSCI futures into the Asian time zone in
Thomson Reuters reports Q1 loss on one time charge on financial and risk sale
Thomson Reuters Corp. reported a loss in its first quarter as it took a one-time charge related to the sale of its financial and risk business announced earlier this year.
Thomson Reuters expects higher 2018 costs, shares drop
Jessica Toonkel – Reuters
Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.N) (TRI.TO) forecast its corporate costs would more than double for the year but revenue would only increase modestly. The prediction sent shares of the news and information company down 4 percent as investors fretted about earnings growth after it completes a plan to sell a majority stake in its largest unit.
Facebook suspends 200 apps over data misuse investigation
Facebook Inc has so far suspended around 200 apps in the first stage of its review into apps that had access to large quantities of user data, a response to a scandal around political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Chinese hackers defy government warnings on Beijing Def Con; Authorities had ordered local attendees not to share knowledge with international community
Yuan Yang in Beijing – FT
One of the world’s biggest American hacker conferences has attracted large numbers of people to its first China event, despite the government warning its citizens against sharing their tools with the international community.
Blockchain Week: Snoop Dogg, Dorsey Bring Crypto to the Masses
Lily Katz – Bloomberg
New York City to draw thousands to industry events, parties; Speakers range from Twitter CEO to St. Louis Fed president
Who says the hype around Bitcoin is over? Even with the world’s best known virtual currency down more than 50 percent from its record high, thousands of advocates are expected to descend upon New York in what’s been dubbed Blockchain Week. Named after the decentralized computer ledger technology that’s been pitched as the solution to everything from inefficient financial transactions to global poverty, the affair represents a push to bring more blockchain jobs to the world’s financial capital.
Korea’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Raided Over Suspected Fraud
Daniel Palmer – Coindesk
Prosecutors in South Korea have reportedly raided the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, UPbit.
100+ Crypto Exchanges in South Korea – Government’s Real-Name System Ineffective
Kevin Helms – Bitcoin.com
There are reportedly more than 100 exchanges in South Korea, most of which are not using the government’s real-name system. None of the small and medium-sized exchanges can use this system since banks have opted to only provide this service to the country’s largest exchanges.
Facebook reportedly plans to launch its own cryptocurrency
Chaim Gartenberg – The Verge
Facebook is reportedly planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, according to a report from Cheddar’s Alex Heath.
This Crypto Vending Machine Can Tell If You’re 21 And Sell You Beer
Pete Rizzo – Coindesk
“We’re definitely not in the beer-vending business.” That might not be something you’d expect the marketing manager for a crypto tech company to clarify, but it’s perhaps now necessary when discussing Civic, the startup founded by entrepreneur and “Shark Tank South Africa” star Vinny Lingham in 2016.
Steve Eisman of ‘The Big Short’ Bashes Cryptocurrency: ‘I Don’t See the Purpose of It’; He rose to fame off the bat of his predictions about the 2008 financial crisis
Steven Russolillo – WSJ
Steve Eisman, the money manager who earned celebrity status for correctly betting against subprime mortgages a decade ago, isn’t such a fan of the investing craze around cryptocurrencies.
Why Switzerland attracts cryptocurrenices
The FT’s Ralph Atkins explains why the Alpine country is attractive to start-ups developing new cryptocurrencies.
Inside the Multi-Year Quest to Create a Bitcoin ETF
Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
When Bitcoin first began generating headlines, there were some who thought the cryptocurrency was a fraud and others who thought it was the next big thing. Greg King, CEO of Rex Shares LLC, was one of the latter. Like the Winklevoss twins, he set out to create an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would allow people to invest in Bitcoin in a new way. But many years later, the U.S. securities watchdog hasn’t approved such plans. On this edition of the Odd Lots podcast, we use the Bitcoin example and King’s experience to explain the inner workings of ETFs.
Facebook is reportedly considering its own cryptocurrency
Swapna Krishna – Engadget
Facebook is reportedly looking into creating its own cryptocurrency. According to Cheddar, it would be a way for the social network’s billions of users to make electronic payments on the platform, as well as outside it. There are no real details about the project; all we know is that a source who asked not to be identified told Cheddar, “They are very serious about it.”
Crypto custody solutions for institutional investors
David Wills – FTSE Global
As a growing number of investors enter the cryptocurrency world, the question of how crypto custody works with existing systems is becoming a pressing issue. The market is figuring this out as it goes in piecemeal fashion, but a more comprehensive solution is needed
ZTE reprieve paves way for next round of US-China trade talks; Beijing confirms vice-premier’s DC visit after Trump U-turn on telecoms group
Tom Mitchell and Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing, and Shawn Donnan in Washington – FT
US President Donald Trump’s surprise reprieve for ZTE Corp has paved the way for a Chinese delegation’s arrival in Washington for at least three days of talks aimed at averting a trade war, according to people briefed on the discussions.
Moscow may provide some support for Deripaska’s Rusal, GAZ
Denis Pinchuk – Reuters
Russia is considering providing support to tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s Rusal (0486.HK) and GAZ GAZ.MM, two companies hit by U.S. sanctions, but will not go as far as buying stakes in his firms, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Monday.
A Financial-Crisis Settlement Shows Trump Team’s Lighter Touch on Banks
Greg Farrell and Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg
Bank says it’ll pay $4.9 billion, half what analysts expected; HSBC also seeking to resolve Obama-era subprime mortgage probe
If HSBC Holdings Plc, UBS Group AG and Wells Fargo & Co. were concerned that the Trump administration might continue the big-ticket bank penalties of the Obama era, there are mounting signs that they need not be.
Talking Money With Mom: Gender, Generation and Financial Knowledge
Erika Karell – FINRA
You might have heard about the gender gap that exists between men and women when it comes to financial literacy. Financial literacy—having the knowledge to make informed financial decisions—has been linked to a number of important outcomes, including wealth accumulation, stock market participation and retirement planning. So it’s an important topic for the whole family.
FinCEN issues an Advisory on the FATF-identified jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies
On April 27, 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an Advisory announcing that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had updated its list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. NFA Member FCMs and IBs should review this Advisory to ensure that their AML programs have the most current information on FATF-identified jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies and revise their AML programs accordingly. A copy of the Advisory is available on FinCEN’s website.
FCA secures confiscation orders totalling £1.69 million against convicted insider dealers
Today, His Honour Judge Pegden QC sitting at Southwark Crown Court made confiscation orders in the sum of £1,074,236 against Martyn Dodgson and £624,521 against Andrew Hind. The orders must be paid within 3 months or Mr Dodgson will face a further 7 and a half years in prison and Mr Hind will face a further 5 and a half years.
IT consultant charged with gaining unauthorised access to data and insider trading
IT consultant Steven Oakes, of Sydney, New South Wales, has been charged with a total of 115 offences for unauthorised access to data held in a computer, insider trading, and destroying or concealing books required by ASIC. The filing hearing for Mr Oakes’ charges was listed at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 14 May 2018.
ASIC consults on short selling proposals
ASIC is seeking feedback on various proposals relating to both naked and covered short selling.
Investing and Trading
Wall Street Is Getting In On the House Flipping Game; Residential transitional loans command juicy interest rates of 8% to 12% but come with risks
Ryan Dezember and Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
KKR & Co. is raising its bet on high-interest, short-term home loans, the latest sign that Wall Street firms are aiming to cash in on the risky but lucrative house-flipping market.
Recycling, Once Embraced by Businesses and Environmentalists, Now Under Siege; Local officials raise fees and send recyclables to landfills as economics erode
Bob Tita – WSJ
The U.S. recycling industry is breaking down. Prices for scrap paper and plastic have collapsed, leading local officials across the country to charge residents more to collect recyclables and send some to landfills. Used newspapers, cardboard boxes and plastic bottles are piling up at plants that can’t make a profit processing them for export or domestic markets.
Boom in green bonds attracts green rating agencies; Business of judging a borrower’s green credentials raising regulatory scrutiny
Kate Allen in London – FT
The growing influence of a new kind of credit rating aimed at green bonds has prompted calls for greater regulation of how a borrower’s environmental credentials are judged in the rapidly expanding market.
How to make sense of the volatile natural gas market; Rising prices in Asia seem to suggest we are at the start of a new super cycle
Nick Butler- FT
Why has the price of natural gas risen so much in Asia this year? The Japanese import price is at a three-year high, having increased almost 15 per cent year on year. Was there not supposed to be a glut? That raises the question of whether we are at the beginning of a new super cycle that sees the price rising even higher.
Scepticism persists on ‘ETFs for good’; Investors want responsible options but remain concerned about performance
Chris Flood – FT
Widespread protests against lax US gun laws erupted in February after the mass shooting of 17 people at a high school in Florida.
Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys; Digital banking has created openings for criminals and lenders must fight back
Bill Winters – FT
The criminals are no longer simply winning when it comes to money laundering; they’re harnessing a growing arsenal of digital capabilities to completely change the game.
Goldman Sachs eyes Germany for expansion of Marcus; US bank plans further European rollout of consumer operation after UK launch
Laura Noonan and Patrick Jenkins in London – FT
Goldman Sachs plans to extend its Marcus consumer bank across Europe and has picked Germany as the market to follow its imminent UK launch, the chief executive of the bank’s London-based international arm told the Financial Times
Eisman of ‘The Big Short’ Fame Recommends Shorting Deutsche Bank
Peter Vercoe and Yvonne Man – Bloomberg
Bank has profitability issues, may need more capital: Eisman; Eisman is also betting against Canadian banks, Wells Fargo
Steve Eisman, the Neuberger Berman Group money manager who famously predicted the collapse of subprime mortgages before the 2008 financial crisis, recommended shorting Deutsche Bank AG shares.
About That Argentine Peso: One Bank Says It’s Too Risky to Short
Aline Oyamada – Bloomberg
Just how risky is it to trade the Argentine peso these days? One bank says it’s so dangerous that investors shouldn’t even bet against it.
The multi-billion-dollar scandal that brought down Malaysia’s grand old party
Rozanna Latiff – Reuters
Malaysia’s new government, led by 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has vowed to bring back billions of dollars allegedly stolen from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The alleged misappropriation of $4.5 billion from the fund, founded by ousted premier Najib Razak, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other countries like Switzerland and Singapore.
Malaysia’s Antigraft Boss Quits as Mahathir Prepares 1MDB Probe; But the country’s attorney general—who cleared former leader Najib of 1MDB wrongdoing—is refusing to go, sources say
Yantoultra Ngui and Tom Wright – WSJ
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad increased pressure on the country’s attorney general to step down, while Malaysia’s antigraft chief resigned, as the new government prepared to relaunch investigations into financial scandals surrounding former leader Najib Razak.
Jignesh Shah wants High Court to quash CBI probes against him
Embattled businessman Jignesh Shah today said that he has filed an appeal at the Bombay High Court seeking to quash CBI’s FIR and to declare the searches by the central agency as illegal.
JPMorgan applies to set up majority-owned securities business in China
Sumeet Chatterjee – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Monday it has applied to China’s securities regulator to set up a securities business in which the U.S. bank would own a majority stake under recently relaxed ownership rules.
China’s night-owl retail investors leverage up to dominate oil futures trade
Meng Meng, Josephine Mason – Reuters
As 9 pm approaches every weekday night in China, a small army of individual investors from around the country log onto trading apps on their mobile phones and laptops.
UK ‘held to ransom’ by hard Brexit demands, says David Miliband
Former foreign secretary returns to political fray to join cross-party campaign
George Parker- FT
David Miliband, former Labour foreign secretary, returned to the British political fray on Monday to join a cross-party campaign for a soft Brexit.
U.K. Urgently Needs Post-Brexit Foreign Policy Plan, Panel Says
Thomas Penny – Bloomberg
The U.K. must spell out plans for post-Brexit co-operation on foreign and security policy before next month’s European Council if it is to live up to its goal of continuing to work closely with its European Union allies, lawmakers said.
A Wine Billionaire Emerges in Bordeaux; Four decades after her father bought Chateau Margaux, Corinne Mentzelopoulos has built the vineyard into a billion-dollar business.
By Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
When her father died in 1980, Corinne Mentzelopoulos inherited a business empire that included 1,600 grocery stores, 80 buildings in central Paris, a hotel that was once the home of Louis XIV—and a run-down vineyard the family had purchased almost on a whim three years earlier.