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Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary from the John Lothian News staff and guests editors.

Business and Friendship Went Together For Leo Melamed, Bob Wilmouth and Leslie Rosenthal Standard

Leo Melamed lost two good friends in the last few days in Bob Wilmouth and Les Rosenthal. I stopped by Melamed’s office to share my condolences and have him share some thoughts on these two futures industry leaders. He told me the futures industry as a whole lost two people who were critical to the success of the industry in the U.S. and who worked with him to help create what the late Merton Miller called the “modern era of finance.” He told me how these two CBOT leaders became his good friends. It was the threat of a transaction…

Robert K. Wilmouth Passes Away; Remembered as Respected Industry Leader and Colleague Standard

Robert K. Wilmouth, the founding National Futures Association president and CEO, passed away yesterday, the NFA said. Wilmouth served as head of the newly formed NFA from 1982 to 2003. He was succeeded by Dan Roth, who recently retired from the role and was replaced by Tom Sexton. Wilmouth also served as the president of the Chicago Board of Trade for about five years. He was brought to the exchange by then exchange chairman William D. Hagerty, Jr. Wilmouth’s futures industry career was preceded by some 27 years in banking, beginning in 1950 at the first National Bank of Chicago….

Markets as Guinea Pigs (and Other Notes from STA’s 84th Annual Market Structure Conference) Standard

The STA’s 84th Annual Market Structure Conference was held in Washington D.C. last week and its theme was “The Challenge of Change.” SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar was the first in the spotlight, highlighting those challenges which would be discussed over the course of the conference — the plight of ma and pa investors (now dubbed Mr. and Mrs. 401(k) courtesy of Commissioner Jay Clayton’s comments), capital formation for small and mid-cap companies and an array of regulatory qualms pertaining to the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT), MiFID II and pilot programs.   The decrease in IPOs and inflated stock prices among…

Interest (in) rates: CME’s suite soars Standard

Despite historical seasonality trends pointing to decreased trading activity in summer months, CME’s interest rate complex has been red hot. In the past month, CME Group has experienced records in a variety of rate-related products in terms of average daily volumes, open interest, electronic trading and investor participation. Average daily volumes (ADV) and open interest (OI) in Ultra 10-year Treasuries, Wednesday Weekly Options on Treasuries (just launched in June), electronic trading of eurodollar options are all at highs and foreign investor participation is on the rise.  (See the infographic below for more.) In August, OI in treasury options reached a record;…

Cloudy with clearing: What the next clearing house looks like Standard

John Davidson joined OCC as president and chief operating officer in May with a firm focus on ushering in the next generation of clearing technology for the world’s largest clearing organization. Davidson is one of several recent executive team hires tasked with executing the switch from one established technology platform to something new. This is no small task for Davidson, who reports to OCC Chairman and CEO Craig Donohue and works closely with Scot Warren, OCC’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. OCC’s ENCORE system now stands at about 20 years old, and while there have been many upgrades,…

Revamping data provision: YData rolls out Standard

Professionals in the trading world are turning to all sorts of data tools, from technology that scrapes Twitter for actionable sentiment to satellite imagery of shipments, all in search of alpha. Now, Chicago-based YCharts is getting into the tradeable intelligence field. Founded in 2009, YCharts offers financial data and analysis tools through a web platform which covers 50,000 stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. YData is a new offering from the firm which uses machine learning and natural language processing to scour the internet for intelligence. YData’s first feed is “Corporate Events.” But this isn’t just an earnings feed. YData searches…

CloudQuant Opens the Trading Door to a Crowd Standard

News broke today that CloudQuant allocated $15 million to a non-employee, crowd researcher using its platform. Thus begins what I think is one of the most interesting, innovative, disruptive and game changing market trading concepts. Somewhere in the United Kingdom, a professor with a day job now has had his strategy tested by CloudQuant’s platform and attracted a $15 million dollar allocation. That account is now traded by a professional with high frequency trading skills and a focus on best execution who is working on an agency basis to trade the algorithmic strategy for CloudQuant. The professor does not enter…

Thesys vs. Goliath: That’s One Big CAT Standard

Small company wins big with opportunity to build the Consolidated Audit Trail covering U.S. equities and options. FINRA, FIS, Cinnober, Thomson Reuters – what do they have in common? They are just a few of the 30 bidders who lost out on developing the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) to Thesys Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of the proprietary trading firm Tradeworx, founded in 2009. To develop and implement the CAT, Thesys partnered with IBM (which was a bidder on its own, too), as well Rosenblatt Securities and law firm Latham & Watkins. “You had some big tech companies that really understand…

Russell Suite Competition Ambiguity Raises Some Questions Standard

Exclusive. Non-exclusive. Exclusive. CME. ICE. CME again. The story of the Russell Index futures complex licensing over the years is a study in ambiguity, changing strategies and partners. We know the  will win this round as they currently hold the long term license for the products. But what will happen in the short term is ambiguous as these two global exchange giants square off and try to maintain control or pry loose the open interest in the Russell futures products. After ICE took over an exclusive Russell indexes licensing agreement from CME in 2007, CME returned the favor by recently…