Joe O’Neill, New York Commodity Exchange(s) Executive, Passes Away
By John Lothian
Longtime New York commodity exchange executive Joe O’Neill passed away on August 4, 2018 at the age of 74. This plain statement tells little of a life lived in the most colorful of times in New York commodity exchange history or a career that included launching the first financial futures (before CME/IMM by 2 years), the creation of the Dollar Index Contract (with the help of Paul Tudor Jones) and being the consultant for the futures trading aspects of the script of the hit movie “Trading Places.”
O’Neill started working in the exchange space in New York in 1970 when there was a Coffee Exchange, a Sugar Exchange and a Cocoa Exchange. Later, there was a Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange.
To read the rest of this story, go here
Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff
According to Borsa Italiana’s monthly update for July, equity derivatives volumes were down ~38 percent to 2.2 million contracts month-over-month. (In July, FTSE Mib volatility dropped from above 20 to 14.)~SD
TLA (three letter acronym) update: when I see “API,” I think “application programming interface,” but apparently it also means “active pharmaceutical ingredients.” For more, see the story China drug scandals highlight risks to global supply chain. ~SD
MWE World of Opportunity – Zen and the Art of Potty Training
“[Mindfulness] is about using the more reflective part of your brain instead of the more reactive part – which is kind of that fight or flight mode.”
John McCrank, correspondent for Reuters, recently completely Reuters’ mindfulness course. The company instituted the mindfulness training to help employees cope with stress and improve mental health. In this video from MarketsWiki Education’s World of Opportunity event in New York, McCrank talks about the benefits he has seen since completing the course and how it unexpectedly helped with parenting.
The World Federation of Exchanges publishes H1 2018 Market Highlights report
Global market capitalisation was up 9.1% on H1 2017, though down 1.6% on the end of H2 2017.
Value and volume of trades in equity shares were up 24.6% and 14.1% on H1 2017.
IPO new listings were down 9.9%, while investment flows were up 4.1% on H1 2017.
Exchange traded derivatives volumes traded were up 17.4% on H1 2017, driven by increases in volumes traded across all asset classes, except commodity futures.
Elon Musk: ‘Dang, turns out even Hitler was shorting Tesla stock’
Shawn Langlois – MarketWatch
Elon Musk clearly relishes poking the bears, especially when his Tesla Inc. TSLA, +0.07% stock is in rally mode, like it was after last week’s earnings report. He wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass.
Early Sunday, Musk tweeted a doctored scene from “Downfall,” a 2004 film about Adolf Hitler’s final days. In the actual clip, which has been parodied many times since its release, Hitler is yelling at his generals as Allied forces close in.
****Another “Downfall” meme Tesla bit. Never fails to crack me up but I may be alone in that opinion.~JB
Tiny Wisconsin College Using Index Funds Trounces Endowment Rivals
Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
A tiny Wisconsin college that invests in index funds is shaping up to be the one to beat among school endowments.
****Take note, Harvard.~JB
Amish Uber Is the Horse and Buggy Ride You’re Expecting
Raisa Bruner – Time
You might not be able to hail a traditional Uber ride in Colon, Michigan, but you can order up an “horse and buggy — and have a guaranteed memorable experience.
****Apparently you have to flag him down in person since no smartphone, which seems to kinda miss an important part.~JB
Inside the bitter divorce war between billionaire exes
Carleton English – NY Post
When it comes to divorce, nobody does it like the Grosses. Buying up multimillion-dollar properties just to torture each other, pilfering Picassos, dumping dead fish in air vents — there’s no limit to what Bill and Sue Gross will do to exact revenge on one another.
Monday’s Top Three
Our top read stories of Monday were led by the Wall Street Journal’s Hiding Russian Money Was Easy. Quitting Was Harder. Second went to the news about ICE’s push into the crypto space with Bakkt in Fortune’s The NYSE’s Owner Is Launching a Startup Exchange for Bitcoin. Third went to Gary DeWaal’s weekly commentary Bridging The Week
130,733,940 pages viewed; 23,231 pages; 214,479 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.
Recently Updated Pages
567 pages; 4,886 edits
Regulators club together to form global ‘fintech sandbox’
Caroline Binham – The Financial Times
Alliance across UK, US and Hong Kong allows companies to test products in multiple countries Caroline Binham – FT
Watchdogs from around the world, including the UK, US and Hong Kong, have announced a new alliance as part of plans to encourage the growth of fintech, allowing companies to trial new products in multiple countries at a time.
Hammond sees dangers of bank capital shift after Brexit
Martin Arnold and George Parker – Financial Times
When people express anxiety over how many jobs banks are shifting out of the UK ahead of Brexit, some finance bosses like to say they have missed the point and should follow the money instead. To judge from a leaked account of his comments to a group of City of London business leaders last month, Philip Hammond seems to have been paying close attention to this point of view.
The chancellor told City bosses that “preventing the wholesale movement of regulatory capital into Europe was key” — which he also acknowledged during discussions at a Blenheim palace dinner for Donald Trump a few weeks earlier.
Goldman Sachs Is Considering a Custody Offering for Crypto Funds
Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. could offer a boost for the burgeoning universe of funds betting on cryptocurrencies.
The firm is considering a plan to offer custody for crypto funds, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That means the bank would hold the newfangled securities on behalf of the funds, reducing risk for clients seeking to guard against the threat of losing their investments to rogue attacks.
Turkey’s Cratering Markets Stoke Speculation Over Extreme Measures
Constantine Courcoulas, Onur Ant, and Tugce Ozsoy – Bloomberg
Desperate measures are in the air in Turkey: trading rooms are awash with talk of a bailout by the International Monetary Fund and potential capital controls. But there’s a vacuum at the core.
The central bank and government have been largely silent as the currency plummeted to record lows and the U.S. imposed sanctions and threatened more. The lira slipped for a seventh day against the dollar after falling by the most in a decade on Monday, while the yield on 10-year bonds surged above 20 percent to an all-time high.
Merrill Lynch wealth managers ditch Thomson Reuters for Factset
Robin Wigglesworth and Mark Vandevelde – Financial Times
Wealth managers at Merrill Lynch are switching to Factset and ditching rival financial information provider Thomson Reuters, an early blow to the business after it was acquired by Blackstone in a $17.3bn deal.
Trading firm Trafigura looks to build U.S. deep water oil port
Global commodities trader Trafigura has applied to build a deep water port in Texas, United States, that would be able to load supertankers, the company said on Monday, supplying badly needed oil export infrastructure to the country.
****Financial Times here
Broker TP ICAP chooses Paris as its EU hub post-Brexit
TP ICAP has chosen Paris as its European Union hub once Britain leaves the bloc, attracted by the city’s focus on banking and asset management, its new CEO said on Tuesday, as the world’s largest interdealer broker posted lower first-half profit.
New commodity funds seek to lure wary investors after giants falter
New commodity funds springing up to bet on inflation are battling for buy-in from investors still wary of past underperformance and a raft of big-name closures in the sector. At least three commodity-focused hedge funds launched in the first six months of this year, compared with two new funds for the whole of 2017, data from industry tracker Preqin found.
How USDA Will Bypass Congress to Give Farmers $12 Billion in Emergency Aid
As the Trump administration continues its zigzag policy of imposing new tariffs, the Agriculture Department has asserted its authority—without Congress—to route $12 billion from emergency crop support funds to help farmers harmed by trade practices.
Barclays Denies Crypto Products as Staff Removes ‘Digital Asset Project’ LinkedIn Info
William Suberg – CoinTelegraph
UK-based bank Barclays has denied it is working on cryptocurrency products despite two employees removing LinkedIn evidence they were doing so after receiving mainstream media attention, Business Insider reports August 6.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
ICE amends incentives to boost FANG Futures vols
Global Investor Group
ICE Futures US says all market participants would benefit from increased on screen volume and liquidity in the NYSE Fang+ Index Futures
HKEX Report: Monthly Market Highlights
…The average daily turnover of futures and options for the first seven months of 2018 was 1,207,294 contracts, an increase of 51 per cent when compared with the 799,786 contracts for the same period last year.
ICEX eyes steel, petrol and diesel futures contracts
The Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), which had launched the world’s first diamond futures contracts last year, is set to launch steel, petrol and diesel futures contracts, a top exchange official said.
Shanghai Stock Exchange to adopt call auction to determine equity prices at closing
The Shanghai Stock Exchange will apply a new mechanism to generate closing prices for equities on the mainland’s bigger bourse to suppress manipulation.
Zhang Shidong – South China Morning Post
A call auction will be implemented in the last three minutes of trading to determine final stock prices for the day starting August 20, and orders that are placed in the period cannot be retracted, the exchange said in a statement on its website. That will replace the current practice where closing prices are the weighted average for the final one-minute trade before the day’s last transaction.
OCC swells liquidity after reinforcing clearing fund
Alessandro Aimone – Risk.net
The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing house, reported a 24% – $4.3 billion – increase in liquid resources for meeting payment obligations at the end of the first quarter, in response to higher minimum clearing fund requirements implemented in March this year.
LCH-Eurex basis falls 80% as insurers head to Frankfurt
Helen Bartholomew – Risk.net (SUBSCRIPTION)
Fixed rate available at Eurex has dropped from 1.35bp to 0.25bp in past two months
The price difference between euro interest rate swaps cleared in London and Frankfurt has been slashed as derivatives end-users take advantage of better rates for receive-fixed swaps at Eurex Clearing and lay contingency plans for a disorderly Brexit.
We’re A Long Way Off From The US Being A Utopia For Fintech
Sarah Kocianski – Forbes
The US Treasury and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) both hit the headlines last week with fintech-related announcements. Treasury released a 222-page report on the subject of Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation, while the OCC almost immediately followed with the news that it would finally begin accepting National Bank Charter applications from fintechs, in line with Treasury recommendations.
INAP and Colt Data Centre Services Announce Global Alliance
INAP is partnering with Colt DCS in their North London Facility located in Welwyn Garden City, where INAP will build out a standalone, self-contained Tier 3-equivalent Data Centre space. The existing data centre will be fully operational in Q4 after INAP layers in its new cloud stack and network technology.
Fintech Firms Are Getting Closer to Being Banks in Everything But Name
Ben Walsh – Barron’s
There was a time when well-funded fintech companies would talk about how unbank-like they were. That never really matched up with the reality of what was going on. “SoFi uses its balance sheet much like a bank to originate loans,” The Financial Times noted back in 2015.
Then SoFi just went ahead and applied for an industrial loan charter, which it later pulled. But it continued doing very bank-like things, including hiring a former Goldman Sachs banker to be its CEO.
Applications’ evolution key to improving efficiency, adoption in asset servicing
Rick Baert – Pensions & Investments
Custody and asset-servicing firms are hoping that the ongoing development of technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence will not only drive efficiencies but also serve as a catalyst to have all market participants speak the same transactional language.
QuantHouse On-Boards Actant’s Automated Trading Solutions
QuantHouse today announced that Actant’s derivative trading solutions have now been added to the ever-growing QuantHouse API Ecosystem.
Facebook in talks with banks to expand customer service
Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Monday it is in talks to deepen links with banks and financial
institutions, saying it can help the firms improve their customer service.
A Culture War Is Brewing Between Bitcoin’s Old and New Money
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Satoshi Nakamoto may be long gone, but his early followers are still around and their identities still unknown. They go by pseudonyms, such as Cobra, and frequently spout unpopular, pseudo-anarchist rhetoric.
As the cryptocurrency’s price soared in recent years, Bitcoin’s Old Money and New Money coexisted with only occasional conflict. But this year, a prolonged slump has wiped out more than $100 billion in wealth, and the ensuing panic over how to stabilize the currency has incited a Gatsby-esque class war.
Memo to Krugman: 7 Problems Cryptocurrency Solves
Mark E. Jeftovic – Hacker Noon
Paul Krugman took time out from his European vacation to write why he’s a cryptocurrency skeptic. This is not surprising given who he is and what his positions have been over his career. Most of the orthodox criticisms against cryptocurrency I covered previously in my “This Time is Different: What Bitcoin Isn’t” and “What Bitcoin Actually Is” series. But it’s worth recounting how one could easily take many of these criticisms against Bitcoin, search and replace “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” for “US dollar” and come out with are more applicable criticism of the modern fiat money system.
If Crypto Can Go Mainstream It’s BAKKT to the Future
Mark Toner – Thirtyk.com
Is cryptocurrency now ready to go mainstream?
Friday’s announcement that the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange was joining forces with Microsoft, Starbucks and others to launch a crypto-focused platform called Bakkt was hailed as the “biggest news of the year” for bitcoin (BTC) by Brian Kelly, the founder of BK Capital Management.
World’s First Initial ‘Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO)’ Launches in Malta
The Maltese Islands continue to be among the prime movers in the crypto and blockchain space with new developments occurring almost every day. In fact, Tuesday was another landmark as a company called Palladium claimed to launch what it has called as the world’s first Initial Convertible Coin Offering or (ICCO) platform. In this innovative case, what has been termed as the ‘tokenized convertible warrant’ will be regulated by a prospectus which is to be approved by the Malta Financial Services Authority. This project is subject to stringent EU rules and its eventual issuance will hand investors the right to convert these tokens into Palladium shares three years after they are issued.
Ethereum-Powered Insurer Nexus Is Winning Over Blockchain Skeptics
Ian Allison – Coindesk
“My premise is that you can use blockchain to essentially trust people you don’t know – you trust the code.”
While that statement by Hugh Karp may sound like a standard line in crypto-land, his startup, Nexus Mutual, is actually building a product for those who don’t trust the code.
Or, at least, don’t trust it completely.
Thomson Reuters Deepens Investment in Crypto Data
Jamie Hyman – WatersTechnology
Thomson Reuters’ Eikon financial desktop platform now offers book and trade data on 50 cryptocurrencies through an integration with CryptoCompare.
Coinfloor Partners With Trading Technologies International on Advanced Tools and Machine Learning Integration
The United Kingdom is a very interesting place when it comes to cryptocurrency activity. Although it’s often overlooked a bit, it is home to many large exchanges. Coinfloor is one of those companies which is active in the cryptocurrency markets. The firm recently partnered with Trading Technologies International to introduce machine learning technology.
Steel Giants With Ties to Trump Officials Block Tariff Relief for Hundreds of Firms
Jim Tankersley – NY Times
Two of America’s biggest steel manufacturers — both with deep ties to administration officials — have successfully objected to hundreds of requests by American companies that buy foreign steel to exempt themselves from President Trump’s stiff metal tariffs. They have argued that the imported products are readily available from American steel manufacturers.
Trump claims credit he is not due on the economy
Lawrence Summers – Financial Times
President Donald Trump regularly and proudly takes credit for the US economy’s strong performance.
With rapid growth in the second quarter, the stock market strong, the unemployment rate back below 4 per cent and the midterm elections looming, his rhetoric and that of his supporters will probably escalate in the coming months.
AP Fact Check: Trump falsely claims economy, jobs best ever
President Donald Trump is grossly overstating the extent of U.S. economic and job gains.
In a tweet Monday, he declares that the economy has “never been better” and jobs are at the “best point in history.”
In fact, the economy and jobs are nowhere close to historic bests based on several measures. Economists have also warned that U.S. growth is largely fueled by government borrowing, as the federal deficit rises because of his tax cuts, and is thus unlikely to be sustainable after a few quarters.
Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants
Julia Ainsley – NBC News
The most significant change to legal immigration in decades could affect millions of would-be citizens, say lawyers and advocates.
New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting
Dan Alexander – Forbes Staff
A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork.
Brexit and the Buy Side: When Your Counterparty Wants to Novate
Brie Lam and Kirston Winters, IHS Markit – TABB Forum
Derivatives dealers are examining the viability of bulk-novating derivatives currently booked in UK entities to EU27 entities where they face EU27 counterparties and moving those booked in EU27 entities to UK entities where they face UK counterparties. What happens if you are a counterparty in receipt of a request to novate? IHS Markit looks at the implications.
SEC Updates List of Firms Using Inaccurate Information to Solicit Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has updated its list of unregistered firms that use misleading information to primarily solicit non-U.S. investors, adding 16 soliciting entities, four impersonators of genuine firms, and nine bogus regulators.
US Buy-Side Equity Traders Tell TABB Group A Tightening Vice Of MiFID II Regulation And Asset Flows Into Passive Vehicles Are Major 2018 Concerns
The US investment management industry this year is riding a continuing wave of strong equity market performance, but the buy side know they can’t be complacent with the tightening vice of MiFID II regulation in Europe and the rising flow of assets into passive vehicles, buy-side traders tell TABB Group in the 14th annual benchmark International US Equity Trading study, “US
Australian regulator to embed supervisors in banks
Move follows spate of scandals and criticism of watchdog for not doing enough Up to 20 staff will be embedded in Australia’s big four banks, including Commonwealth Bank of Australia Jamie Smyth – FT.com
Australia’s corporate regulator has been given power to “embed” supervisory officers within the country’s biggest banks in an attempt to improve corporate behaviour following a series of damaging scandals. The move follows a government decision to increase funding for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which has faced criticism at a public inquiry into bank misconduct for not doing enough to prevent wrongdoing.
Investing and Trading
Benchmarking Risk Parity Strategies – Part I
Berlinda Liu – S&P Dow Jones Indices blog
Since the launch of the first risk parity fund – Bridgewater’s All Weather fund – in 1996, many investment firms have begun offering risk parity funds to their clients. Risk parity funds became especially popular in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, when many investors witnessed the failure by traditional U.S. dollar-based asset allocation to provide downside protection.
Goldman Banker Takes On World’s Largest Gold Miner – and Gets Pushback
Jacquie McNish – WSJ
Mining is famously boom and bust. Money and patience are mandatory. In bad times, companies sell assets and close mines. In booms they buy up all they can.
John Thornton threw that rulebook out when he took over struggling Barrick Gold Corp. ABX -0.81% , the world’s largest gold producer. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president was an industry amateur, as were most of his top hires. He followed Goldman as a model for company compensation. Instead of buying when prices recovered, he cut costs and sold assets.
From gum to ganja: Why William Wrigley, Jr. is investing in medical marijuana
Ally Marotti – Chicago Tribune
The former head of the Wrigley gum empire is getting into the medical marijuana business.
William Wrigley Jr., once the president and CEO of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., has been named chairman of the board of directors at Surterra Wellness, a medical cannabis company with operations in Florida and Texas. Wrigley’s investment fund led a $65 million equity fundraising round that Surterra closed in July. The company has raised more than $100 million since 2015.
Sebi in final stages of allowing futures trading in petrol and diesel
Rajesh Bhayani – Business Standard
ICEX awaits regulator’s nod; move will be an important hedging tool for petrol pumps, transporters and bulk consumers
Anthony Scaramucci Is Back, and So Is SkyBridge Capital
Ben Walsh and Mary Childs – Barron’s
When Anthony Scaramucci’s voice streamed into a hedge fund conference panel in Las Vegas in May, it was met with laughter and groans. Some attending the conference—not Scaramucci’s trademark annual gathering, but one that sprang up in his absence—got up and walked out.
Jack Ma’s Private-Equity Firm Collects $2.5 Billion for Latest Fund
By Ed Ballard – The Wall Street Journal
Yunfeng Capital, the private-equity firm co-founded by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, raised $2.5 billion for its latest investment pool, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A Generation Grows Up in China Without Google, Facebook or Twitter
Li Yuan – NY Times
Wei Dilong, 18, who lives in the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou, likes basketball, hip-hop music and Hollywood superhero movies. He plans to study chemistry in Canada when he goes to college in 2020.
Mr. Wei is typical of Chinese teenagers in another way, too: He has never heard of Google or Twitter. He once heard of Facebook, though. It is “maybe like Baidu?” he asked one recent afternoon, referring to China’s dominant search engine.
AP investigation: Yemen war binds US, allies, al-Qaida
Maggie Michael, Trish Wilson and Lee Keath – Associated Press
Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.
Venezuela Is Oil Market’s Bizarro World
Venezuela has become so dysfunctional that a successful coup against President Nicolás Maduro might put downward pressure on oil prices
Spencer Jakab – The Wall Street Journal
Headlines of a failed assassination attempt against the leader of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Qatar, Angola or Libya all would be top business headlines, not just political ones. Domestic chaos in any of those oil producers, all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, could impact supply and prices globally.
Britain Is Preparing For a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. What That Means
Billy Perrigo – Time
Before Britain’s 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, Britain’s then-prime minister David Cameron adamantly refused to make plans for what his government would do if the country voted to leave. In the event, Britain voted for Brexit. Cameron resigned as the government faced the thorny question of how to leave the E.U.
U.K. Sees Brexit Deal Deadline Slipping to End-November
Tim Ross, Birgit Jennen, and Geraldine Amiel – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is resisting the European Union’s timetable for Brexit talks and is calculating that U.S. President Donald Trump might help her.
While EU officials are signaling they want September to be a showdown moment in negotiations, the U.K. is aiming for a later deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation. May’s team thinks that by the end of November the EU will be so preoccupied with the prospect of Trump disrupting a Group of 20 summit that they will want to get the Brexit deal wrapped up, the person said.
Europe Should Help the U.K. to Cancel Brexit
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
The European Union could clear the way for a second Brexit vote.
Bunge’s agribusiness head to leave company
Global grain trader Bunge Ltd said on Monday that the head of its largest unit, agribusiness, is retiring, days after the company reported a surprise quarterly loss.
****Financial Times here
Power Worth Less Than Zero Spreads as Green Energy Floods the Grid
Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
Bright and breezy days are becoming a deeper nightmare for utilities struggling to earn a return on traditional power plants.
Gary Cohn Is Happy in the Hamptons, Golfing and Crypto Investing
Amanda Gordon – Bloomberg
Trump’s former economic adviser also looking at medical tech; Working on his short game and a memoir of time in Washington
Gary Cohn may be the most famous unemployed person in the Hamptons thanks to his wife, Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn.