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Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary from the John Lothian News staff and guests editors.

Cinnober’s new CEO will have to consider the next move Standard

The news that Veronica Augustsson was out as CEO of Cinnober Financial Technologies and newcomer Peter Lenardos was in was a shock. Augustsson, who had been CEO the past six years and with the firm since 2002, grew up with the company and reached a pinnacle few women ever reach. She did so with warmth and a friendly smile, but she also had a vision to diversify the company into a variety of sectors beyond its core business of real-time clearing, risk and surveillance systems for exchanges. After all, there is a limited number of exchanges with clearing houses –…

Crypto and the Law at IIT Blockchain Conference Standard

It used to be said that August was a quiet month for the markets – but apparently no one told that to the boosters of blockchain and cryptoassets, at least in Chicago. The month of August 2018 has no fewer than three significant conferences, each with its own special flavor, kicking off with “Block (Legal) Tech: A conference about the future of the law” on August 9. Hosted by the Law Lab at Illinois Tech Chicago-Kent College of Law and FinTEx, the event gathered experienced lawyers in the cryptoasset space and regulators for a day-long look at the past, present…

10 Years of PHLX @ Nasdaq Standard

The oldest stock exchange in the United States hit another milestone – the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) celebrated its 10-year anniversary as a part of the Nasdaq family on July 24. While the ‘07-’08 timeframe is best remembered in financial circles as the time of “bailout this” and “subprime that,” it was a transformational period for non-crisis reasons at Nasdaq. Nasdaq purchased PHLX – founded in 1790 as a venue for bond trading – for $652 million in 2008. At the time PHLX was the third largest options exchange, with some 20 percent market share, behind ISE and CBOE. Nasdaq…

The Spread – Playing Ketchup – 7/19 Standard

“Summer breeze, make me feel fine.” – Seals & Croft  As there was not an installment of “The Spread” last week, we added a brief lightning round to the end of this week’s options news recap. This week’s episode also features celebrity appearances by Mr. Bill and the Kool-Aid Man. The following are links to the stories referenced in this episode:  -Bloomberg – Buffett Starts to Say Goodbye to a Pile of Equity-Index Options -JLN – Timely Capital Relief Comments From Fed Chair Powell -Reuters – IEX hires former ISE executive Ilyevsky to lead market development -Sniper in Mahwah – Shortwave Trading, Part…

YCharts Seeks to Turbocharge Growth; Adds TT’s Michael Kraines to the Board Standard

When YCharts sought to fill their open board seat, they were looking for someone who could help this Chicago Fintech success story continue its robust growth and maybe help turbocharge it. They found the answer in an executive from another Chicago fintech success story, Michael Kraines, President and CFO of Trading Technologies. YCharts sits in a sweet spot competitively: less expensive than some of the dominant players like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters, and having more functionality for its wealth advisor clientele than the free offerings from Google or Yahoo Finance. With an easy to use, intuitive interface, as well as…

David Silverman Commentary on February 5: We are a “master and slave to the system” Standard

I read the JLN essay about the events of February 5. I had heard many of the rumors that quickly emerged in the aftermath of the carnage and, as always the case in these types of situations, wasn’t sure what to believe. So, first, congratulations on the incisive and important reporting. It’s scary to consider how vulnerable the FCM community—and by extension, the entire industry—is to these periodic shocks; especially since the previously rare black swan sighting has become an increasingly regular occurrence. I suppose it’s possible to look at February 5 in a positive light. After all, every FCM…

EU Parliament and ECB Taking a Look At Cryptocurrencies Standard

Thom Thompson 475x300

Last week, which admittedly was a slow financial markets news week, headlines in the cryptocurrency press announced that a new EU report told officials not to ban bitcoin. Blockchain News said the report “. . . blasts economists who criticize cryptocurrencies.”  There was no blasting. While the report prepared by an EU policy department did provide some sound bites, it was one of five reports about central bank monetary policy toward virtual currencies that the EU Parliament had requested. If the briefing papers do guide the discussions, there is no reason to expect shifts in today’s slowly evolving bank regulatory…

NFX Basis Point Value Contracts; One quarter hubris, three quarters details Standard

The hubris is mine, not Nasdaq’s. Over 20 years ago I came up with the idea for an innovative new futures contract that would improve hedging and engage speculators in new ways in fixed income trading. The idea was basis point value futures. Today, Nasdaq announced just that: a new U.S. Treasury futures product that builds on their cash Treasury market and allows customers to use “the dollar value of one basis point” to more accurately hedge a portfolio of cash Treasurys. The proper name of the contracts is: U.S. DV01 TREASURY FUTURES. I have shared this idea with many…

AI is changing this industry. Now what? Standard

I spent last week listening to experts in artificial intelligence talk about what AI can and will bring to the markets and the broader world.   What is patently clear is that AI is here now and is only going to expand. As Jay Biondo, product manager, surveillance at Trading Technologies told me, it’s everywhere already – from Amazon’s Echo (usually called Alexa) to Netflix’s suggested picks. It’s part of Charles Schwab’s brokerage service which will allow its brokers to service thousands instead of hundreds of customers, according to Jack Boyle, vice president derivatives & trading support at Charles Schwab,…