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Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary from the John Lothian News staff and guests editors.

Are you on the right side of Bitcoin history? Standard

1997 or 1637? Shortly after JLN was published yesterday the news broke that the CME Group would be listing bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of the year, joining the Cboe in such an offering. The price of bitcoin surged to new highs? Why did the price go up? Because a new group of suckers,…errr, new traders would be reached with this news and want to buy bitcoin. Why would they want to buy it? Because it is going up of course. Greed. Why are the CME Group and Cboe offering bitcoin futures? Because, it is 1997 and you have…

VIX Bits: The Thermometer Isn’t Broken Standard

On the 30th anniversary of the ‘87 market crash last week, Cboe, in collaboration with ProShares, hosted a panel discussion “Current Dynamics of the VIX Market.” There was a lot to glean – from the applications of VIX ETPs to unique characteristics of VIX futures to general perceptions of volatility. Dominic Salvino, Group One’s VIX options specialist, had an analogy for the current low levels of VIX, comparing it to high February temperatures in Chicago. On February 18, the thermometer reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit, only the fourth time that’s happened since 1971. Is that weird? Yes. Is it worth noting?…

Deep Dive: The Boom In Big Data Could Mean Democracy For All Standard

Note: Scroll to the bottom to view the video in three smaller segments.  The global financial markets are facing perhaps the biggest technological cycle in its history, with the growth of faster technology and the advent of cloud and now new data mining tools. JLN’s Jim Kharouf spoke with Drew Shields, chief technology officer at Trading Technologies and Julie Armstrong, executive director, global head of market technology services at CME Group about the latest trends in data and how that is reshaping the industry. Armstrong said that the industry trend may be toward a common data format, or even a…

The Kooky News for Friday the 13th Standard

Befitting the day, there are indeed some weird happenings in our markets. First, recall the release yesterday – TradingScreen Majority Shareholders Initiate Criminal Legal Action Against Giampiero Grandi, Board Chairman, For Misappropriation Of Corporate Assets. TradingScreen responded to that release with a statement, saying the allegations made were: “false, baseless, and meritless, and has been propagated by the company’s disgruntled former CEO [Philippe Buhannic], who was fired by the Board for cause last year after intentionally hitting an employee in front of numerous witnesses and attempting to cover it up, as well as for other corporate malfeasance. This individual neither…

We All Love Data: Barchart’s Latest Move Continues The Trend Of Firms Pushing Further Into The Data Space Standard

It’s all in the data. Yesterday’s announcement from Barchart about its new commodities data offering, called cmdty, is part of the drumbeat of new products and services that are designed to bring something new to the market participants they serve. “We want to differentiate ourselves,” said Keith Petersen, head of strategy at  Barchart. “Aggregating and compiling new data sets and cleaning them so people don’t have to do that themselves and distributing that to them in easy-to-use formats, that’s our value-add.” In many ways, this is only the beginning for data. In Barchart’s case,  the cmdty product’s focus is on…

Cybersecurity is very, very tough: How a SIFMU’s cyber chief sees the threat Standard

The OCC’s new chief security officer talks about risks and prevention.  It’s alarming and getting ugly. The Equifax hack in March compromised the personal information of an estimated 40 percent of the United States population. The Bangladeshi central bank is down $81 million after the SWIFT messaging system was hacked in early 2016. The SEC recently disclosed that a 2016 hack of its EDGAR database may have resulted in trading on nonpublic information for personal gain. Then there are the cyber breaches of retailers: Target in 2013, which settled for $18.5 million, and Home Depot in 2014, which settled for…

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…