Hits & Takes
Congratulations to Dawn DeBerry Stump and Dan M. Berkovitz, who have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.~JJL
Musicians wanted. A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO) is expanding its Chicago charity event, Rocktoberfest, and is looking for musicians to perform on its acoustic stage at City Winery on October 11. This year features long-time industry professionals such as Apple’s Ray McKenzie, CME’s Steve Staszak, ADMIS’s Kurt Johnson and many others. If you’d like to play and help raise some money for children in need of prosthetic limbs and surgeries in developing countries, click here for more information.~JK
James Egan, chief commercial officer of ABN AMRO, will be speaking at the FOW Trading Brazil event on September 5 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on “The International View: What’s hot in the global derivatives markets?” You can still register for the event here.~JJL
Since President Donald Trump has complained about bias at Google without offering any evidence, we created a Top Ten List of potential conservative search engines for Pro-Trump News to compete with Google:
Coinbase is reporting “42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on crypto or blockchain.”~JJL
MWE World of Opportunity – Discussing “InfoSec”
“How many small or medium business can survive a $3.5 million hit? When small and medium business get hit, they typically go out of business. When the big ones get hit, know what they do? They change their names.”
If it is connected then it can be hacked, says Mike Phillips, a founding partner of VSEC, an information and cyber security firm. And there is a lot to be connected – by 2020 it is estimated some 50 billion devices will be on the web.
In this video from MarketsWiki Education’s Chicago event, Phillips talks about the state of information security (“InfoSec”), how he came to be a security professional and what can be done to protect your information.
FIA Congratulates Dawn Stump And Dan Berkovitz On Their Confirmation To Be CFTC Commissioners
FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken today made the following statement on the U.S. Senate confirmation of Dawn DeBerry Stump and Dan M. Berkovitz to be commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) :
***** Yes, congratulations. We finally have a full slate of CFTC commissioners.~JJL
Almost Famous on FinTwit; A fake Warren Buffett account on Twitter is racking up followers with folksy wisdom
By Spencer Jakab – WSJ
Celebrities have a lot of followers on Twitter , including those whose fame stems from their financial acumen. Those followed closely include economist Mohamed El-Erian, bond king Jeffrey Gundlach, former Fed boss Ben Bernanke and soon-to-be-retired Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein.
***** Just an impersonator.~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
It’s all about Chicago. Tuesday’s top stories were led by one issue – Class B shares at the CME Group, and a 4-year-old story written by our friend Jeff Carter. Crain’s Chicago Business’s Lynne Marek led the way with CME Group floats plan to buy out Class B shareholders, shrink board of directors. Second was Carter’s column in Futures Magazine, now Modern Trader, in Why you should care CME plans to cut B shareholder reps on board by half. Third was Jessica Darmoni’s piece Is it only Chicagoans that think Chicago is great?
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Senate Confirms CFTC Nominees, Filling All Agency Seats; Agency has held off on advancing rules until it had full slate of five members
Dave Michaels – WSJ
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed two nominees to join the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, bringing the main U.S. derivatives regulator to full strength for the first time since 2014.
US, Canada securities regulators involved in more than 200 crypto probes
Hannah Murphy – FT
The trade body for securities regulators in North America has said that there are more than 200 active investigations into initial coin offerings and other cryptocurrency-related investment products, as authorities increasingly target the nascent marketplace.
****Finance Magnates here
MTS and JSE to deliver South Africa’s first electronic government bond trading platform
London Stock Exchange Group
SEDOL Masterfile expands its data offering with US fixed income additions; Trading platform has gone live today, 29 August 2018; MTS has over 30 years experience in electronic fixed income markets
MTS, the electronic bond trading platform that is part of London Stock Exchange Group, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), South Africa’s leading financial markets operator, today announce reaching an agreement to open South Africa’s first electronic government bonds trading platform powered by MTS. The move seeks to enable global access to, and enhance transparency in, the South African government bond market, offering access to deep pools of secondary market liquidity. This relationship is a first for MTS in African sovereign bond markets.
Swiss Banks Survive ‘Economic War’ of Global Secrecy Crackdown
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
First data transfer to European governments due in autumn; Ex-UBS banker’s arrest 10 years ago started global crackdown
When Switzerland pushes the button to send data on offshore bank accounts to foreign tax agencies this fall, it will be doing what was once virtually unthinkable: abandoning the absolute secrecy once afforded to anyone parking their cash in Zurich or Geneva.
Thomson Reuters to close $17 billion deal with Blackstone on 1 October; Blackstone is purchasing a 55% stake in the Financial & Risk business at Thomson Reuters, which will be renamed Refinitiv upon closure.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Thomson Reuters is expected to close the sale of a 55% interest in the company’s Financial & Risk business to private equity firm Blackstone on 1 October.
****Reuters on the Reuters story here.
Senate confirms Richard Clarida as Fed vice chair
Sam Fleming – FT
Richard Clarida has been confirmed by the Senate to be the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve board, in an appointment that will beef up the monetary policy expertise at the US central bank at a time when it is coming under fire from the president over its plans to lift short-term interest rates.
SEC Charges Moody’s With Internal Controls Failures and Ratings Symbols Deficiencies
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Moody’s Investors Service Inc., one of the nation’s largest credit ratings agencies, has agreed to pay a total of $16.25 million in penalties to settle charges involving internal control failures and failing to clearly define and consistently apply credit rating symbols. This marks the first time the SEC has filed an enforcement action involving rating symbol deficiencies.
****The FT here.
Deutsche Bank chief calls for ‘unified regulation in Europe’; Christian Sewing says fragmented rules are a hindrance to cross-border M&A
Olaf Storbeck in Frankfurt – FT
Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing said on Wednesday he views Europe’s still fragmented banking regulation as a roadblock for cross-border mergers on the continent.
What Wall Street Didn’t Learn From the Recession
Sallie Krawcheck – Ellevest
We’re approaching the 10-year anniversary of the most convulsive part of the financial crisis: the implosion of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent Great Recession. And so, in between the Trump-Can-You-Believe-It-News-Du-Jour, you’re seeing a rash of articles on it: its causes, where the major actors are now, how it led to greater wealth inequality, how it thus may have led to the rise of populism.
I was there. I was running Smith Barney at the time.
And here’s what you’re not going to read in these anniversary articles … anywhere: the role of gender as a factor in the crisis.
Andrew Bailey and FCA have moral authority and a platform to hold those responsible for wrongdoing to justice
Alex Brummer – Daily Mail
A decade on from the financial crisis, finally a senior regulator has shown the courage to speak out on the failure of UK authorities to make bankers pay the price of bringing the system down.
U.K. Says Disruption to Satellite Navigation Would Cost Billions
Alex Morales – Bloomberg
Britain pledges 92 million pounds to scope Galileo replacement; EU has said U.K. can’t retain full Galileo access after Brexit
A sustained disruption to navigation systems would cost the British economy 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) a day, the U.K. government said, as it outlined steps to develop its own alternative to the European Union’s Galileo satellite array.
Fund managers turn to innovation to beat glum forecasts; Search begins for approaches that deliver better products, cost efficiency and client engagement
Pascal BlanquÈ – FT
Necessity is the mother of invention. This imperative has hit asset management as it enters an era of lower returns and higher volatility.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Borsa Istanbul begins work on setting up swap market
Hurriyet Daily News
Turkey’s main stock exchange Borsa Istanbul has started work on setting up a swap market, beginning with foreign currency markets, it said in a statement on Aug. 27.
It added that work on deepening existing derivative markets and other efforts to raise added value for the economy would be accelerated.
Thai Exchange Chief Confident Foreigners Will Return to Stocks
Anuchit Nguyen and Haslinda Amin – Bloomberg
Economic growth, company profits are reasons to buy equities; Foreign investors have over $6 billion in Thai stocks in 2018
Thailand’s pace of economic growth and corporate earnings will help attract the return of foreign investors to the nation’s equities after the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates and a global tariff dispute spurred a more than $6 billion exodus of international funds, according to the stock exchange’s chief.
Deutsche Boerse Invests in Liquidity Management Blockchain Firm HQLAx; The investment comes 6 months after the two firms partnered to develop a blockchain trading solution.
David Kimberley – Finance Magnates
Deutsche Boerse Group, an exchange operator and provider of transactions services, announced this Tuesday that it has made a sizeable investment in HQLAx, a provider of liquidity solutions to institutional investors.
Hunting Alpha With The Sling-Shot Of Big-Data, The Bow Of Cloud-Computing And The Spear Of Machine-Learning: A View From The Primordial Swamp By BMLL Technologies
BMLL Technologies via Mondovisione
Market participants strive to use research and development (R&D) as the mechanism by which they attempt to consistently outperform the market. Renaissance Technologies Medallion fund has a long-run Sharpe ratio of 2.5 (post-cost) and is famously one of the most successful trading vehicles of all time. While such outperformance is not easy it is thus possible. The R&D tools used by the likes of Renaissance Technologies can be categorized into the following; data, compute and analytics. Further sub-categorizations are also possible, such as: data into price and non-price. Compute into different ASIC types, such as CPU and GPU. Analytics into ‘plumbing’ and ‘value-add’.
$31 Million NEX Project Could Be Biggest Casualty of Blockchain Cuts
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Project Infinity, launched in May 2017 by NEX Group (formerly ICAP), could be the biggest bloodletting the distributed ledger sector has seen to date, having cost roughly $31.7 million and hemorrhaged dozens of jobs, former employees say.
China’s Silicon Valley Threatens to Swallow Up Hong Kong; The push to create a $1 trillion economy is facing resistance.
John Follain – Bloomberg
The completion of one of the world’s longest bridges stands as the biggest monument to China’s success in reuniting its colonial-era concessions. Overcoming the political divide may prove much harder.
UBS closes robo-advisor Smartwealth after less than two years
Jessica Clark – City AM
UBS Smartwealth was aimed at customers with a minimum of £15,000 to invest (Source: Getty)
Swiss banking giant UBS has closed its robo-advice service Smartwealth less than two years after its UK launch.
Ripple Not Included: New Morgan Creek Fund Excludes Pre-Mined Cryptocurrencies
Michael del Castillo – Forbes
Some cryptocurrencies took a big step toward institutional adoption today, with the launch of the Morgan Creek Digital Asset Index Fund. Backed by the Morgan Creek institutional investment house that currently manages $1.5 billion in assets, the fund gives pensions, wealthy families, endowments and accredited investors a way to gain exposure to bitcoin, ethereum and eight more of the largest cryptocurrencies by market value.
Survey finds a surprising barrier to blockchain adoption
Aaron Hankin – MarketWatch
Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underlies cryptocurrencies and that proponents say will disrupt everything from financial payments to supply chains, is finding acceptance among global corporate institutions.
Cryptocurrency storage firm Kingdom Trust obtains insurance through Lloyd’s
Suzanne Barlyn, Anna Irrera – Reuters
Kingdom Trust, a company that stores digital currency for investors, has secured insurance coverage through Lloyd’s of London SOLYD.UL to protect against theft and destruction of those assets, the company said on Tuesday.
IronFX And EmurgoHK Create Joint Venture With Launch Of New Crypto Exchange
IronFX and EmurgoHK intend to launch their regulated exchange as a seamless bridge between crypto and traditional online trading. The new destination, called IronX, will operate as a regulated, service-focused exchange, creating a highly efficient trading ecosystem that facilitates funding via both FIAT and Crypto. Against the successful ongoing private IRX Token sale, IronX is aiming to launch as early as Q4 2018.
Quartz Launches Paid Cryptocurrency Newsletter; Newsletter will cost $15 per month, or $150 annually
Benjamin Mullin – WSJ
Quartz is the latest media company attempting to cash in on the growing enthusiasm for cryptocurrency.
Bithumb to Restart User Registrations as Bank Agrees Contract Renewal
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
Bithumb, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, is reportedly renewing its contract with the country’s Nonghyup Bank – a move that will allow the firm to once more accept new account registrations.
U.S. Congress skeptical of Trump’s Mexico trade deal
Richard Cowan and Makini Brice – Reuters
President Donald Trump’s trade deal with Mexico could struggle to win approval from Congress unless Canada comes on board, lawmakers from both parties said on Tuesday, saying support from Democrats would be needed to pass a purely bilateral deal.
Trump’s farmer bailout begins. USDA spends $1.2 billion to buy surplus food
Katie Lobosco – CNN
The government is starting to pay farmers that have been hurt by the fallout of President Donald Trump’s widening trade feuds.
Canada’s Trudeau says he will defend dairy farmer protections in NAFTA
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday his position on the supply management system that protects Canada’s dairy farmers has not changed and he will defend it as Canada works to renew the NAFTA trade deal with the United States and Mexico.
Trump warns Google, Facebook, Twitter to be careful
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Google, Facebook and Twitter to tread carefully on Tuesday after recently accusing internet and social media firms of political bias and censorship, without providing evidence.
U.S. Probing Whether Malaysian Fugitive Laundered Funds to Pay Chris Christie and Trump Lawyer; Jho Low under investigation for alleged embezzlement of $4.5 billion from 1MDB fund
Bradley Hope, Tom Wright and Rebecca Davis O’Brien – WSJ
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether a fugitive Malaysian financier laundered tens of millions of dollars through two associates and used the funds to pay a U.S. legal team that includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a lawyer who represents President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.
Statement of CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz on Staff No-Action Relief for Excluding Certain Loan-Related Swaps from Counting Toward the Swap Dealer Registration De Minimis Threshold
The necessity of today’s staff relief underscores yet again the deficiencies of using notional value as the metric for swap dealer registration. As I have stated previously, notional value is a poor measure of activity and a meaningless measure of risk, and therefore is an inadequate metric by which to impose the large costs and achieve the substantial policy objectives associated with swap dealer regulation.
****The relief order is below.
DSIO Issues Time-Limited, Conditional No-Action Relief for Excluding Certain Loan-Related Swaps from Counting toward the Swap Dealer Registration De Minimis Threshold
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) announced today that it has issued conditional, time-limited no-action relief to a banking entity for not counting certain loan-related swaps towards its swap dealer de minimis threshold (under paragraph (4) of the “swap dealer” definition in Regulation 1.3).
Federal Court Orders Former Church Pastor Wesley Allen Brown, Maverick International, Inc., and Edward Rubin to Pay More than $8.6 Million for Commodity Fraud Scheme that Preyed on Church Congregation; Brown Is Currently Serving a Seven and One-Half Year Prison Sentence in Florida
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Judge Brian J. Davis of the Middle District of Florida has ordered Defendants Maverick International, Inc. (Maverick), and its principals Edward Rubin and Wesley Allen Brown to pay $8,605,274.92 in combined restitution and civil monetary penalties for commodity futures fraud, commodity pool fraud, and related violations of federal commodity laws. Maverick purportedly maintains offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Rubin resides in Winnabow, North Carolina. Brown was a resident of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is currently incarcerated in Florida, serving a seven and one-half year sentence for securities fraud, embezzlement, and other crimes related to the conduct at issue in the CFTC’s action.
FINRA announced today the election of three Governors to its Board of Governors:
Timothy C. Scheve, President and Chief Executive Officer of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, was elected by large firms as a Large Firm Governor, one of three representatives of large firms on the Board. Scheve joined the FINRA Board of Governors in April, when he was appointed to fill an unexpired term.
Investing and Trading
Mnuchin Isn’t Worried About the Yield Curve
Brendan Murray and Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Treasury chief lauds Fed’s Powell, in contrast to Trump; Flatter yield curve benefits Treasury issuing debt: Mnuchin
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he’s “not at all concerned” about the convergence of short- and long-term market interest rates at a time when some investors are worried the flattening yield curve signals a U.S. recession is coming.
One Man’s Quest to Make Socially Responsible Investing More Responsible
Sarah Ponczek and Rachel Evans – Bloomberg
Impact Shares creates funds with charities, passes along fees; Investors cheer socially responsible ETFs, but don’t buy them
It’s an age-old investing question. Can you do good and do well at the same time? Ethan Powell is on a mission to prove that you can.
Short Bets on World’s Biggest Tech Stocks Surge to $37 Billion
Eric Lam and Matt Turner – Bloomberg
FAANG short bets have jumped 40 percent in the past year; Alibaba, China’s Ping An Insurance, Tesla, Amazon top list
Short positions against the so-called FAANG group of the largest U.S. technology stocks have surged by more than 40 percent in the past year as investors bet against some of the biggest drivers of the global bull market.
How to Build a Sustainable Bond Portfolio; ‘Good’ bonds are hard to find, so Wall Street is getting inventive.
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
Wall Street’s do-good investment boom is finally taking notice of the credit markets. Sustainable investment assets grew 37?percent last year, according to Bloomberg data, but the majority of those funds focus on stocks. That’s leading to some awkward conversations on Wall Street, as wealthy investors and foundations increasingly want to align their entire portfolios with their social mission but are finding few opportunities to do so in fixed income.
Carbon price hits decade high in boost for cleaner fuels; EU’s creation of a reserve to mop up surplus credits has helped drive level higher
David Sheppard – FT
The price of carbon credits in the EU has hit the highest level in a decade in a move that should start to encourage switching to cleaner fuels.
Deutsche Bank CEO Warns of Rising Pressure to Consolidate
Steven Arons and Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
Sewing reaffirms ‘global ambition’ in conference speech; Regulatory burden, IT spending needs will overwhelm many banks
Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing has a stark message for the thousands of banks spread out across the European Union: bulk up or die.
Turkey Brings Back Interbank Borrowing Limit as Stress Eases
Ercan Ersoy – Bloomberg
Central bank tightens policy after unrestricted funding period; As bank run concern eases, investors still call for rate rise
Turkey’s central bank reintroduced borrowing limits for overnight transactions at its interbank money market, effectively tightening liquidity after a two-week period of unrestricted funding that aimed to contain stress from the nation’s currency crisis.
Banks increase trader surveillance amid #MeToo movement; Study finds surveillance systems are eight times more likely to flag alerts for inappropriate trader behaviour than for potential market abuse.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Banks are increasing their surveillance efforts to monitor traders and stamp out inappropriate behaviour as the #MeToo movement continues to shine a spotlight on the industry.
A $35 Billion Selloff Is Pulling Down Japan’s Stock Market
Tom Redmond and Shingo Kawamoto – Bloomberg
Foreigners’ net selling this year is the most since 1987; Strategists cite everything from trade war to tax hike fears
It’s shaping up to be the biggest exodus in more than three decades. Foreigners have dumped a net 3.9 trillion yen ($34.7 billion) in Japanese equities so far this year, according to data from Japan Exchange Group Inc. that runs through Aug. 17. That’s on course to be the largest annual selloff since 1987, the year of Wall Street’s famous Black Monday market crash.
As Turkey Teeters, Germany Considers Offering a Financial Lifeline; Berlin fears a meltdown of the Turkish economy could spill over into Europe with dire consequences
Bojan Pancevski – WSJ
The German government is considering providing emergency financial assistance to Turkey as concerns grow in Berlin that a full-blown economic crisis could destabilize the region, German and European officials said.
Bitesize: Snowed In
Will Abel – Bank Underground
UK GDP growth slowed sharply at the beginning of this year. Over the same period, Britons suffered through unseasonably cold weather, popularly known as “The Beast from the East”. Are the two related?
Special Report: Appetite for destruction – Soy boom devours Brazil’s tropical savanna
Jake Spring – Reuters
When farmer Julimar Pansera purchased land in Brazil’s interior seven years ago, it was blanketed in tiers of fruit trees, twisted shrubs and the occasional palm standing tall in a thicket of undergrowth.
Theresa May says a no-deal Brexit ‘wouldn’t be the end of the world’; Prime minister attempts to distance herself from pessimistic Treasury forecasts that incensed the Tory right
Dan Sabbagh in Cape Town – The Guardian
Theresa May claimed that a no-deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world” as she sought to downplay a controversial warning made by Philip Hammond last week that it would cost £80bn in extra borrowing and inhibit long-term economic growth.
France to Prepare Contingency Plans in Case of No-Deal Brexit
Francois De Beaupuy – Bloomberg
The French government will prepare contingency plans in case the European Union and the U.K. fail to agree on terms of their divorce, underlining rising concern that Britain may crash out of the bloc with no deal ready on time.
London-based OTF to move operations to Paris ahead of Brexit; Kyte Broking is moving forward with plans to establish an incorporated French entity before the Brexit deadline in March next year.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
A London-based inter-dealer broker and organised trading facility (OTF) operator has confirmed plans to transfer its business to Paris as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First; The city has another serious water problem.
Christopher Flavelle – Bloomberg
One morning in June, Douglas Yoder climbed into a white government SUV on the edge of Miami and headed northwest, away from the glittering coastline and into the maze of water infrastructure that makes this city possible. He drove past drainage canals that sever backyards and industrial lots, ancient water-treatment plants peeking out from behind run-down bungalows, and immense rectangular pools tracing the outlines of limestone quarries. Finally, he reached a locked gate at the edge of the Everglades. Once through, he pointed out the row of 15 wells that make up the Northwest Wellfield, Miami-Dade County’s clean water source of last resort.