Hits & Takes
The last week of June is going to be busy. First, on June 25 I will be teaching the journalism and communications merit badges in Chicago as part of the Trading Tech 300 program, now branded under the bigger brand of Scout Tech.
Then on Tuesday, June 26 I fly to New York for meetings and to be ready for the Crypto Evolved event on Wednesday, June 27 at the New York Athletic Club. My friends from Viable Markets have been gracious enough to ask me to moderate a panel on Silicon Valley to Wall Street.
Finally, on Thursday, July 28 back in Chicago I will be attending FinTank’s WealthTech 2018 event. I encourage you to consider either event if you are in New York or Chicago. Tickets are still available.~JJL
CME Group has a video out with Blu Putnam – Factors Likely to Shape Fed’s Interest Rate Path in H2 2018.~SD
FIA IDX 2018 – Stuart Williams Says ICE Interest Rates Heating Up
Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, said regulatory and macro-economic trends are putting some wind behind its interest rate complex, a welcome sign for a market that stagnated during the post-2008 crisis. Speaking with John Lothian News at the FIA IDX conference in London in June, Williams said industry adoption of MIFiD 2 rules beginning in January, rising interest rates and the uncertainty of Brexit should continue to bolster volumes in these markets in the coming months.
“It’s been the combination of political uncertainty in the UK not only driving Sterling, but also Europe, which has been driving our euro denominated products and changes in monetary policy,” Williams said. “The interest rate cycle is now coming out of the doldrums.”
Cinnober appoints Peter Lenardos as Group CFO
Cinnober announces the appointment of Peter Lenardos as the new CFO for the Cinnober Group. Mr. Lenardos is an established professional with extensive experience in the financial sector as both an investment banker and ranked research analyst, with an international network in the institutional investment community, and among global market infrastructure and asset management companies. He has proven transaction, capital raising, valuation and forecasting capabilities.The change in management takes place as current CFO Ninni Pramdell has announced her intentions to leave the company for other opportunities.
***** This is a great hire at a Minium.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our top two stories yesterday were about Tether and Bitfinex and a new university study that says the firms were involved or used to manipulate bitcoin’s price this year. Bloomberg’s piece Tether Used to Manipulate Price of Bitcoin During 2017 Peak: New Study was at the top followed by the New York Times’ Bitcoin’s Price Was Artificially Inflated Last Year, Researchers Say. In third was the Wall Street Journal’s Demolishing Monopoly From Below: How Two Radicals Would Remake Markets
127,901,388 pages viewed; 23,162 pages; 213,424 edits
Study Finds ‘Speed Bumps’ Help Protect Ordinary Investors; SEC economist’s conclusions bolster models like upstart exchange IEX, which aims to slow ultrafast traders
Cezary Podkul – WSJ
Stock markets should take a break. Literally. That is the message in a paper published on Wednesday by an economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission who concluded that a brief delay in stock trading would protect ordinary investors from high-frequency traders.
Big Investors Don’t Want Wall Street Analysts Snooping on Them; Investors are concerned that sharing readership habits with banks’ other clients could give rivals an edge
Telis Demos – WSJ
Some of the world’s biggest investors have a message for Wall Street: Stop reading over our shoulder. Banks, under pressure to find new ways to boost revenue in their giant research arms, are collecting loads of data on what their clients are reading and when. But some investors who make trading decisions based on that research are pushing back.
Aquis shares jump more than 20% in trading debut; Shares in the UK share trading venue rose by more than a fifth on Thursday morning
Philip Stafford – FT
Shares in Aquis Exchange, the UK share trading venue, rose by more than a fifth on their debut in London on Thursday, further underlining investors’ enthusiasm for new issues.
European Central Bank to End Bond-Buying in December
Piotr Skolimowski – Bloomberg
Interest rates to stay unchanged until at least summer 2019; President Draghi will explain decision at 3:30 p.m. in Riga
The European Central Bank will halt its bond-buying program by the end of this year — a landmark decision that sets the euro area up for an exit from years of massive monetary support.
Fed lifts rates amid stronger inflation, drops crisis-era guidance
Howard Schneider, Jason Lange – Reuters
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday, a move that was widely expected but still marked a milestone in the U.S. central bank’s shift from policies used to battle the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.
Moscow Financier Goes AWOL as Global Clients Hunt for Millions
Ksenia Galouchko and Hugo Miller – WSJ
It was an unseasonably warm December evening in the Russian capital and spirits were high inside Sixty, a restaurant atop a skyscraper overlooking the Moscow River where vintage Krug pops at $1,000 a bottle. Employees of the GL network of companies were cheering as their boss, German Lillevyali, showered them with golden Oscar replicas, 10,000-euro debit cards to shop in Milan and, for his very best performer, a $70,000 car. Six months on, there’s nothing left to celebrate.
Comcast Bid for Fox Will Set Tone for Merger Mania; With a federal judge’s approval of AT&T-Time Warner, mega deal-making in media can commence
Elizabeth Winkler – WSJ
Judge Richard Leon said, let there be deals. Just how wild the deal making will get will become clear quickly, when Comcast CMCSA -0.19% finally makes its bid for assets owned by 21st Century Fox . FOX 7.48%
Who’s Minding The Bitcoin Store?
Themis Trading Blog
Last November, we warned that bitcoin futures should not be approved. The CFTC decided, however, to go ahead and allow the CME and Cboe to begin trading bitcoin futures due to the fact that the exchanges “self-certified” the contracts. Our warning was based on our suspicion that bitcoin futures prices were reliant on prices generated from the underlying cryptocurrency exchanges which are unregulated.
Macron Pushes to Privatize State Assets in Big Philosophical Shift; The French government said it would change laws that prevent the state from selling shares in state assets
William Horobin – Reuters
President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business overhaul of France shifted up a gear Wednesday as the government announced plans to privatize state assets and pour funds into risky technology investments, a break with tradition in a country where the state has wielded power in the boardrooms of large companies.
After nine years of U.S. recovery, Fed sheds anxieties
Jonathan Spicer – Reuters
The Federal Reserve is guiding a U.S. economy that is as close to ideal as it could have dreamed a decade ago, when the darkest days of the recession forced it to take big risks to protect workers, banks and economies around the world from further devastation.
A little-known business at Robinhood has exploded, and now it’s launching a service to go after the most serious traders
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
When most people think about Robinhood, free stock trading and its red-hot crypto feature typically come to mind.
Madoff customers’ recovery tops 75 percent with Merkin settlement
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
The court-appointed trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff’s firm on Wednesday announced a $280 million settlement with one of the swindler’s earliest investors, enabling customers to recoup more than 75 percent of the principal they lost.
Female Industry Veterans Hired to Lead OpenDoor Sales Team
OpenDoor Securities, LLC (“OpenDoor”), the first all-to-all marketplace for illiquid US Treasuries, has named Marie Patton as Chief Administrative Officer and Co-Head of Sales, and Lauren McFall Gardner as Managing Director and Co-Head of Sales. In addition to her collaboration with McFall Gardner spearheading the sales and marketing functions of the Company, Patton will also focus on optimizing day-to-day operations for the CEO and coordination among all internal department heads as CAO. Both will report directly to CEO, President and Co-Founder Susan Estes.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
SIX selects Clearstream as a partner for fund business
SIX has chosen Clearstream Banking as a strategic partner to consolidate its fund business. With Clearstream’s Vestima settlement infrastructure, all fund types – from mutual funds to hedge funds – can be processed through a single platform.
IPO of home24 is the sixth IPO in three years Deutsche Bˆrse Venture Network; Startup network counts over 500 companies and international investors for the first time / Leupold: “Startups now much more visibile to investors”
Tomorrow’s IPO of home24 SE (ISIN: DE000A14KEB5) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange is the sixth IPO of a startup from the Deutsche Bˆrse Venture Network. The platform, which has been bringing together young companies with national and international investors for exactly three years, has now exceeded the number of 500 members for the first time – home24 has been involved since its founding.
Eurex EnLight: targeting a new segment
Taking into account clients’ needs, we are extending the product range of Eurex EnLight into the equity derivatives space.
Aquis Exchange sees its shares soar on trading debut
Sebastian McCarthy – City AM
UK share trading venue Aquis Exchange saw its shares jump by more than 20 per cent on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in a very successful debut listing for the firm.
HKEX extends CEO contract another three years; Charles Li was appointed CEO at HKEX in 2010 and his contract renewal will see him remain in the role until 2021.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has extended the contract for its current chief executive by another three years.
How AI May Help Speech Transcription For Ops
Financial Technology Forum
OpenDoor bolsters team with new hires from ICAP and NEX Group; OpenDoor appoints two new co-heads of sales and chief administration officer from ICAP and NEX Group.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
OpenDoor Trading, an all-to-all marketplace for illiquid US treasuries, has hired two female trading industry veterans for senior sales roles.
Cinnober promotes senior financial advisor to CFO; Peter Lenardos joined Cinnober in April as a senior financial advisor from Royal Bank of Canada.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Exchange and clearing technology services provider Cinnober has appointed one of its senior financial advisors as chief financial officer following the departure of former CFO, Ninni Pramdell.
Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters; In a major reorganization, the retail veterans who once decided what to sell on the site have lost out to the marketplace data scientists.
Spencer Soper – Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. has long used robots to help humans move merchandise around its warehouses. Now automation is transforming Amazon’s white-collar workforce, too.
How AI May Help Speech Transcription for Ops
Morgan Stanley’s CEO let it slip just how many billions the bank is spending on tech
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
Morgan Stanley is spending around $4 billion annually to invest in technology, CEO James Gorman said on Tuesday.
Itiviti Recognized at Intelligent Trading Technology Awards; Itiviti’s UL Smart repeats success at ITT Awards 2018, voted winner of the SOR category for the second straight year
Itiviti Group AB
Itiviti, the leading global provider of multi-asset trading technology and financial infrastructure, today announced that its UL Smart solution was named Best Smart Order Routing System at the Intelligent Trading Technology (ITT) Awards 2018. UL Smart thus repeated its success, winning the same industry award in the Smart Order Routing (SOR) category for 2017 as well.
Banks’ Payment Service Zelle To Overtake Venmo, Study Says
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Ticker Tocker Unveils List Of 17 Broker Partners And Technology Providers For Initial Pilot Launch
Ticker Tocker, a new integrated trading productivity platform to support both leader and novice traders to quickly find, test, learn, share, and/or execute trades, announced today an updated list of its broker partners and technology providers. Set to make its official debut in early September, Ticker Tocker, which is currently running an exclusive pilot program, has unveiled a new list of more than 15 new brokers which are now accessible through its broker agnostic platform.
Top 100 cryptocurrencies added to Thomson Reuters market sentiment feed; Thomson Reuters included Bitcoin on its market sentiment data feed in March this year.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Thomson Reuters has expanded its market sentiment data indices to include the top 100 cryptocurrencies, shortly after Bitcoin was added to the data feed.
Has bitcoin come to the end of its Tether?
Remember Tether, the eurodollar-lookalike digital currency that many people suspected of playing a major role in propping up the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
Bitcoin Extends Its Collapse
Todd White – Bloomberg
Digital token is down as much as 20 percent in four days; Professor who rang VIX alarm says tether used to boost Bitcoin
Bitcoin extended losses, bringing its four-session slide to as much as 20 percent, as questions mount about whether the world’s biggest cryptocurrency was manipulated during last year’s record price surge.
Banks unlikely to process payments with distributed ledgers for now, says Ripple
Anna Irrera – Reuters
Banks are unlikely to use distributed ledgers to process cross-border payments for now because of scalability and privacy issues, according to Ripple, one of the most prominent startups developing the technology.
Now we know the outrageous scale of the Trumps’ White House dividend
Jill Abramson – The Guardian
Donald, Ivanka and Jared’s money-grubbing during this presidency puts the Clintons in the shade
I’m feeling nostalgic for Hillary’s Goldman Sachs speaking fees. Remember when we got our ethical knickers in a twist over Clinton’s $225,000 (£170,000) Wall Street speeches? Those worries seem positively quaint when compared with what’s happening now. At least Bill and Hillary put off their offensive buckraking until after they had left public office. The Trump family shows no such restraint. Why wait? Donald, Ivanka and Jared are getting theirs while serving in the White House. And, as with much scandalous behaviour in Washington these days, they insist their behaviour is perfectly acceptable.
Sarah Sanders, Raj Shah planning to depart the White House S
Jacqueline Alemany – CBS News
Two of the most visible members of the Trump administration are planning their departures, the latest sign of upheaval in a White House marked by turmoil.
White House, In Shift, Pushes to Revive U.S. Export-Import Bank; Kimberly Reed to be tapped to lead agency that has been in limbo for three years
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
The Trump administration is moving to bring back to life a long-hobbled agency that smooths export deals between U.S. manufacturers and overseas buyers, potentially ending a three-year freeze that has held up more than $40 billion of export deals.
TDDS 2.0 Bandwidth Modification
Beginning Monday, October 22, 2018, FINRA will increase the bandwidth rate for the Trade Data Dissemination Service 2.0 (TDDS 2.0) vendor feed from 800 kilobits per second (kbps) to 2,500 kilobits per second (kbps).
AT&T-Time Warner Decision Shows Need to Rethink Antitrust Laws
James B. Stewart – NY Times
The last time there was an antitrust ruling as important as the one handed down Tuesday by Judge Richard J. Leon, cellphones didn’t exist. There was no such thing as the internet. Personal computers were years away from mass adoption.
Federal Court Orders Jamal Y. Vance and His Company All City Investments, LLC to Pay over $770,000 in Penalties for Solicitation Fraud and Failure to Register as a Commodity Trading Advisor
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Alison P. Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a Consent Order against Defendant Jamal Y. Vance, finding that Vance committed solicitation fraud in connection with off-exchange foreign currency (forex) transactions and failed to register with the CFTC as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA), as required.
CFTC Charges Omega Knight 2, LLC, Aviv Michael Hen, and Erez Hen with $5.5 Million Precious Metals Fraud; CFTC Also Charges Defendants with Engaging in Illegal, Off-Exchange Precious Metals Transactions
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Defendants Omega Knight 2, LLC (Omega Knight), its owner and president, Aviv Michael Hen (Aviv Hen) of Great Neck, New York, and Erez Hen (Eric Hen) of Florida.
Brazil watchdog fines Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada for forex manipulation
Brazil’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday fined Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) a total of 42.9 million reais ($11.6 million) for meddling with foreign exchange rates charged to clients.
FCA investigation of HBOS delayed by further cache of evidence
Caroline Binham – FT
A cache of potentially important evidence has been sat on, leading to further delays in the UK financial regulator’s longstanding investigation of HBOS, the lender that collapsed at the height of the financial crisis.
Big Banks’ Regulatory Bonanza Not as Advertised; The largest Wall Street banks have reason to be disappointed with the progress on financial deregulation so far under Trump
Aaron Back – WSJ
In the early days of the Trump administration, expectations were high for sweeping financial deregulation that would be a boon to bankers. While much of that agenda has been realized, large banks have reason to be disappointed. This week marks the first anniversary of a U.S. Treasury Department report that laid out the administration’s deregulatory vision for banks and credit unions.
Investing and Trading
ECB to End Bond-Buying Program as Crisis-Era Policies Wind Down; The move draws a line under a contentious policy that at times provoked sharp criticism
Tom Fairless – WSJ
The European Central Bank laid out plans Thursday to wind down its EUR2.5 trillion ($2.9 trillion) bond-buying program, closing a controversial chapter in its short history and setting it on a path toward higher interest rates.
Burned by the Fed? Bond Buyers Have an Unlikely Haven; U.S. leveraged buyout loans offer a refuge from Asia’s debt distress.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
Bond investors troubled by rising global interest rates and spreading defaults in China may find an unlikely haven in middle America.
Rising rates and deficit spell big trouble for the U.S., warns bond king Gundlach
Barbara Kollmeyer – MarketWatch
With a rate hike from the central bank all but baked in, the excitement may have to come from dot-plot projections or the Q&A session with Chairman Jerome Powell, which is tipped to be a doozy. Markets are happy to wait it out, still snoozing after proclamations of peace with North Korea failed to move the needle.
Investors fear the Fed may be flying blind
Dion Rabouin – Yahoo Finance
The Federal Reserve appears poised to raise U.S. overnight interest rates on Wednesday, but many investors believe that they may be driving blind as they move forward.
Investors make costly mistake if they ignore fees
Gail Marks Jarvis – Reuters
Individual investors could be throwing away as much as $7 billion a year on expensive index funds that are no better than cheaper funds – without even realizing it.
Leverage Angst Worse Than ’08 Grips Stocks, Ignored by Bonds
Sid Verma – Bloomberg
Weakest companies trail in S&P 500, even as their bonds win; More investors see excesssive leverage than at crisis peak
Equity and debt investors are placing opposing bets on Corporate America’s financial health. The rift is unlikely to last.
The Kelly Criterion: You Don’t Know the Half of It
Alon Bochman – CFA Institute Blog
Despite expending substantial resources on a formal financial education, I did not encounter the Kelly criterion in business school or the CFA curriculum. I came across it almost by accident, in William Poundstone’s delightful book Fortune’s Formula. Created in 1956 by John Kelly, a Bell Labs scientist, the Kelly criterion is a formula for sizing bets or investments from which the investor expects a positive return. It is the only formula I’ve seen that comes with a mathematical proof explaining why it can deliver higher long-term returns than any alternative.
UBS London headquarters sold for £1bn; Property company founded by tycoon Li Ka-shing strikes latest big London real estate deal
Judith Evans – FT
UBS’s London headquarters has been sold to the property company founded by the Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing in the capital’s latest £1bn office real estate deal.
StanChart to Hire 750 Staff for New Polish Tech, Services Hub
Gavin Finch – Bloomberg
Asia-focused bank plans to open the new office in September; Warsaw also lured JPMorgan due to skilled workers, lower costs
Standard Chartered Plc is opening a new office in Poland, taking advantage of lower-cost skilled labor to build a hub for cyber-security and other technological support as it pushes outside its Asian heartland.
Lehman Settles $1.2 Billion Derivatives Fight With Credit Suisse; Creditors will recover about $280 million over losses tied to terminated derivatives contracts when Lehman filed for bankruptcy
Patrick Fitzgerald – WSJ
The remnant of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has settled a $1.2 billion derivatives lawsuit with Credit Suisse Group AG, wrapping up one of the last remaining big legal battles involving the failed investment bank nearly a decade after its collapse.
Hedge Funds’ Best Ideas? Those Are Just Stocks They’re Dumping
Sarah Ponczek – Bloomberg
Harvard Business School PhD published paper in April; “Stocks were their ‘best ideas’ but not likely any longer”
Ever wonder why hedge fund managers are so willing to get up on a stage and tell the world about their best ideas? A new study suggests an answer: the ideas are getting old, and they need a spot to sell.
French asset manager Comgest bets on London with new office launch
James Booth – City AM
French asset manager makes UK push with office launch in Mayfair (Source: Getty)
Paris-headquartered asset manager Comgest has backed London with the launch of its first UK office in Mayfair.
Investing in North Korea Is Not for the Faint of Heart
Andy Sharp – Bloomberg
The U.S. realtor-in-chief sees oceanfront condos and a turnaround play. Others see a money pit.
Foreign Investors Are Biggest Buyers of Chinese Government Debt; Surge is largely due to the bonds’ inclusion in a major global index and the yuan’s resilience
Shen Hong – WSJ
Foreign investors have emerged as the biggest buyers of government bonds in China’s domestic market this year, a surprise development that is largely due to the inclusion of Chinese bonds in a major global index and the yuan’s resilience.
The Franco-German deal that could derail Europe’s competition police; The proposed merger of Siemens and Alstom’s rail businesses is designed to fight off competition from China
Rochelle Toplensky and Alex Barker in Brussels – FT
Few corporate deals can boast of being brought together with the help of a French president, or promoted as a vision of Europe’s future by a German chancellor. But the proposed merger of the rail operations of Siemens and Alstom to create a European champion has always been about more than pure business sense.
Erdogan threatens ‘operation’ against Moody’s; Turkish president says he will act against ratings agency after election
Adam Samson – FT
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to conduct an “operation” against Moody’s, less than two weeks after the ratings company placed Turkey on review for a downgrade, state-run media reported.
Bookmaker William Hill ‘inundated’ by U.S. sports teams seeking sponsorship: CEO
Hilary Russ – Reuters
U.S. sports teams are clamoring for sponsorship deals with British bookmaker William Hill PLC as legal sports betting starts to take off in the United States, the chief executive of the company’s American division told Reuters on Wednesday.
Macro Risk Advisors Expands Strategy Team with Hire of John Kolovos as Chief Technical Strategist; MRA also bolsters its roster of buy-side talent with the promotion of Mayank Seksaria and hire of Vinay Viswanathan
Macro Risk Advisors
Macro Risk Advisors (MRA), a leading provider of global market risk analysis and execution services for institutional investors, announced today the hire of John Kolovos as Chief Technical Strategist, as well as the promotion of Mayank Seksaria to Chief Macro Strategist. Vinay Viswanathan has also been hired as the firm’s Derivatives Strategist.