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Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary from the John Lothian News staff and guests editors.

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,…

FinTank WealthTech Chicago Event Standard

FinTank, the Chicago-based fintech incubator, extended its recent run of successful financial conferences, this time teaming with Morningstar to take a look at the changing landscape of wealth management at WealthTech 2018. Topics covered included robo-advising and AI, but the meat of the material focused on the area of cryptocurrencies, with separate panels on crypto exchanges and ICOs. As is so often the case with panel discussions on these types of topics, there were tempting tidbits of information and some interesting observations but a lack of clarity and cohesion in the final analysis. You simply can’t do a complex and…

Rumi Morales Announces Joining Outlier Ventures at “Launch, Lunch & Learn” Standard

Rumi Morales, the former head of CME Ventures, is now a partner at the London-based blockchain investment company Outlier Ventures. She and Jamie Burke, the CEO of Outlier, announced the news and spoke about the company’s plans Wednesday to a packed room at the Connectory in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Morales will head up Outlier Ventures’ Chicago branch, which the company expects to be a launch pad for expansion into the rest of the U.S. She and Burke said they are looking 3-5 years ahead of what’s going on in crypto and other technology right now, and are focused on the…

Regarding the Pope and Credit Default Swaps Standard

By James M. Falvey, Contributing Editor, John Lothian News I once made the mistake of asking a Jesuit Priest what university he attended. The Jesuit, Father Phil, put down his pen and pad of paper, rubbed his hand over his forehead and back over his shiny scalp, grabbing onto the few grey strands left.  “Do you really want to know?” Phil asked me. “Yes, absolutely,” I said. “Okay. Which one?” “You went to more than one school?” I asked, sensing that there was not a quick and easy answer to my question. “Yep. Around ten.” Father Phil had a couple…

Sincere Flattery and Competition Standard

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” wrote English cleric and writer Charles Caleb Colton. The NYSE and Nasdaq have flattered each other plenty over the years as they competed globally in the exchange and OTC market space. It often seemed there was not a move NYSE made that Nasdaq did not try to match or top, and vice versa. The imitation here is not that NYSE matched Nasdaq by naming a woman, Stacey Cunningham, as head of the exchange to counter Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman. Rather, both exchanges chose the best qualified candidates for the role of president or CEO….