Observations – Statistics – Commentary
More Reflections on FIA’s Boca Raton Meetings
OK, I am less surly today. It is amazing how when you just tell the world you are in a surly mood that people get out of your way as you are walking around the office or office building. It is enough to cheer a guy right up.
The Futures Industry Association’s International Conference in Boca Raton is going through a transition. This year’s conference seemed tired. Perhaps part of that is that so many exchanges and exchange leaders have disappeared. CBOT? Gone. Nymex? Andato. NYBOT? Gone. Winnipeg? Alle’.
In the place of the CBOT and NYMEX, we have the 98% of the US futures market CME Group. The CME Group did not send one political figure down to the event. It was purely a high end staff driven event, with managing directors seemingly on a mobile phone under every palm tree. Gone were the colorful figures of years gone by known simply by their first names. Leo, Jack, even Terry where nowhere to be found. Former CFTC Chairman, former NYMEX and current CME Group board member CEO Jim Newsome was at the conference, who will be announcing his next move soon. Jim Oliff was there too. I saw Craig, but only from afar though.
ELX was there at the event and was bumped out of sponsoring the Thursday night event by the CME Group. No one has been able to explain how that happened to me, though I think it could be called an EFF (exchange for funds). KCBOT was there, but not on the agenda. Same for MGEX.
The best the conference could do for inter-exchange rivalry chicanery was the CME’s changing the theme of the Thursday night CME Group hosted party from “Fire& Ice” to “Fire & Frost,” at least that is what the ICE team was snickering about.
The exchange leader panel that included CME, ICE, Eurex and NYSE Euronext could best be described as tepid. I was in the back row, up against the wall nodding off. In fact, a certain CBOE executive gave me a gentle kick to wake up. I wish she would have kicked one of the panelists instead.
Gone are the big parties thrown by Eurex during the Rudy Ferscha era. Also gone from Boca are the big name speakers since Russ Wasendorf Sr. took his PFG Best “American Hero” speakers over to the CME Group’s Global Financial Leadership Conference. Gary Gensler was the biggest name on the agenda. Former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder was the Friday speaker. Sorry if I don’t get excited by that. By contrast, the Options Industry Conference at the end of April features author, Malcolm Gladwell. Like I said, the FIA’s Boca Raton conference seems tired.
Perhaps what we are witnessing is the end of the Damgard era of the FIA. The long-serving FIA president’s time may be winding down. Perhaps this is one reason the Boca conference seems worn. Like the college basketball coach who has stayed on while letting recruiting fall off, maybe Mr. Damgard’s reign is over extended and none of the college boosters told him yet. Or maybe it is just that the industry has changed during his tenure so much that the format just seems exhausted.
On the positive side, Boca remains a great event for meetings with industry participants and players. This year the conference featured the best press corps the event has had since I began attending. The FT sent two reporters, including a blur named Jeremy Grant. Reuters had three reporters. Dow Jones sent two reporters, who it turns out had never met each other before. Sarah, meet Jacob. Jacob, meet Sarah. There were two from the editorial staff of Futures Magazine. Greg Burns from the Chicago Tribune was there for the first time since the year ICE bushwhacked the CBOT/CME deal. There were many others present representing their various publications, including Tom Hudson now with the Nightly Business Report.
Also on the positive side was the large number of non-US exchanges present. Some of the biggest news to come from the event seemed to involve one non-US exchange or another. I learned way more about Indian exchanges at the conference than I did any US exchange. Perhaps this is a trend that deserves more attention at the conference. Yes, they had the BRIC session but the global nature of the industry should be addressed in a different way. Maybe exchange leaders should be mixed and matched with global customers, or other non-US or European exchange leaders. Maybe we need to feature some Goldman or CME lobbyists to tell us what is REALLY happening in Washington. Perhaps that would provide some new life to a conference which is still relevant and should remain so.
There were plenty of industry vendors present, but their numbers seemed down. The growth sector of participants seemed to be the proprietary trading groups and hedge funds that sent representatives. However, long gone is the group of floor traders that seemed to show up late on Thursday or Friday, though a group of CBOE Lessors did have a meeting there.
There, it was good to get all this out. I am definitely feeling less surly.
Five Minutes With Jill E. Sommers
Commissioner Jill E. Sommers is serving her second term at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). She sat down with MarketsWiki’s Jessica Titlebaum at the Futures Industry Association’s (FIA) International Boca conference to discuss her career path, the current issues coming across her desk and her opinion of Bart Chilton’s remarks on the Exchange of Futures for Futures (EFF) controversy.
Q: How did you get on your current career path?
A: My senior year of college I moved to Washington D.C. and worked for Senator Bob Dole. He was a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, which has oversight over derivatives. After working for Dole, I worked for a consulting firm and did work at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Before joining the CFTC, I worked at the government affairs office at the CME for six years.
Five Minutes With Jill E. Sommers
Wall Street Dominance of Swaps Must End, Brokers Say
By Matthew Leising and Shannon D. Harrington
March 16 (Bloomberg) — MF Global Holdings Ltd., Jefferies Group Inc. and at least 19 financial firms want regulators to force swaps clearinghouses to lower entry barriers that restrict competition in a $605 trillion derivatives market dominated by the world’s biggest banks.
**** Clearinghouses are supposed to even the playing field, that is unless the clearinghouse club is so exclusive that only the really big boys get to play.
Unrepentant Bankers Undercut Reform With Vengeance: David Pauly
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Bankers should be a humble crew. Their reckless trading almost ruined the world economy. But they are as arrogant as ever. While bank chiefs pay lip service to reform, their lieutenants in the trenches resist government attempts to prevent future financial disasters with the same old Chamber of Commerce gusto. Bank lobbyists in Washington, for instance, have their cannons aimed at the proposed Volcker Rule, which would prevent banks from trading for their own account and from running hedge and leveraged-buyout funds.
**** The Michael Lewis interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes is going to hurt the banking crowd with the AARP crowd.
ALGO Technologies launches next generation trading technology
Names Hirander Misra as CEO and Howard Morgan as Chairman
LONDON / NEW YORK, 15th March 2010 – ALGO Technologies Limited is launching today to deliver next generation trading technology solutions with a particular focus on algorithmic trading, execution and market data services.
**** ALGO, ALGO, ALGO. Where did point and click go?
Academics Say Maker-Taker Pricing Distorts Markets
Traders Magazine Online News
The maker-taker model deployed by exchanges and ECNs benefits neither liquidity providers nor liquidity takers. Worst of all, it distorts stock prices. That’s the conclusion of a new study by a trio of academics, including two former chief economists at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
**** This is kind of like saying that different shap boats will cause different types of waves. Really?
MGEX Announces Partnership with DCM Applicant to Provide Clearing Services
MGEX (Exchange) announced its partnership with The Trend Exchange (TrendEx). MGEX will provide clearing services to TrendEx, which intends to offer risk management products based on domestic box office receipts. The alliance between MGEX and TrendEx marks the initial time the Exchange will provide clearing and settlement services to another entity. As a Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), MGEX will provide full clearing services including clearing all trades made on the TrendEx trading platform, counter party risk management of trades, and collect and maintain performance bonds for TrendEx contracts.
**** Can anyone quote me the “Green Zone” versus Hard Red Winter Wheat spread quote in the December?
Hedge Funds Fail When ‘Rock Stars’ Are in Charge: Matthew Lynn
Commentary by Matthew Lynn
March 16 (Bloomberg) — The ideal hedge fund should be like a good local restaurant: reliable, high-quality, a loyal group of customers, and unknown to the rest of the world. Pierre-Henri Flamand is just the latest star trader who should remember this. The 39-year-old is leaving Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to start his own hedge fund.
*** New Book, “When Rock Stars Fail”
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EU fails to agree on hedge fund law
By John O’Donnell
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union finance ministers failed on Tuesday to settle their differences over a new law to control hedge funds, a spokeswoman for the bloc’s Spanish presidency said.
EU Finance Ministers Fail to Agree on Hedge-Fund Law (Update3)
By Stephanie Bodoni and Ben Moshinsky
March 16 (Bloomberg) — European Union finance ministers failed to agree on a draft law to regulate hedge funds and private equity firms, which the U.K. said could hurt London’s competitiveness as a financial centre.
EU hedge fund curbs delayed: presidency
(BRUSSELS) – Plans for European finance ministers to vote on controversial new laws curbing the hedge fund industry on Tuesday were dropped at the last minute, the EU’s Spanish presidency said.
David Prosser: A battle the hedge funds must win
Outlook: If the UK’s Financial Services Authority is satisfied that US hedge funds based here are safe, that should be enough for the EU
D-Day then for the Alternative Investment Fund Management (AIFM) directive, which the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) will attempt to finalise this afternoon. France and Germany continue to insist that the directive should proceed mostly unamended, while the UK, where great parts of the EU’s hedge fund and venture capital industries are based, is increasingly panic-stricken.
Brown intervenes in hedge fund talks
By Nikki Tait in Brussels and George Parker and Brooke Masters in London
European Union finance ministers on Tuesday abandoned efforts to get a compromise deal over the EU’s controversial proposals to reform hedge funds and private equity after a last-minute intervention by Gordon Brown, the British prime minister.
EU, US agree to work together on derivatives markets
(BRUSSELS) – EU and US officials agreed Monday to work together to improve the transparency of derivatives markets, favoured by speculators, after Washington warned Brussels against over-regulating hedge funds.
Flaherty says European proposal to tax banks ‘a mistake’
News Investment Executive
Dodd unveils sweeping financial regulation plan
By JIM KUHNHENN
WASHINGTON – A new Democratic Senate bill to tame the financial markets would give the government new powers to break up firms that threaten the economy, force the industry to pay for its failures and create an independent consumer watchdog within the Federal Reserve.
Dodd: The End of “Too Big to Fail”
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said this morning that his newly-proposed legislation to rewrite federal financial regulations, coming a year and a half after the excesses of Wall Street drove the U.S. economy near the precipice, would prevent the recurrence of banks being “too big to fail.”
Dodd injects momentum into reform
By Tom Braithwaite in Washington
Chris Dodd, Democratic chairman of the Senate banking committee, on Monday proposed a tougher-than-expected curb on proprietary trading in a financial regulation bill that injected new momentum into reform efforts.
FT.com / US & Canada
Dodd’s Financial Rules Bill Dilutes Obama Plan to Seek Support
By Phil Mattingly and Alison Vekshin
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd’s plan for the biggest Wall Street regulatory overhaul since the 1930s drops provisions he sought in November and dilutes others as he seeks bipartisan support.
Dodd Eases Exclusion of Swaps Set to Be Cleared (Update1)
By Matthew Leising
March 15 (Bloomberg) — Senator Christopher Dodd’s draft legislation to regulate the $605 trillion private swaps market makes it easier to exclude trades from being processed by clearinghouses, compared with his plan released in November.
Sen. Dodd urges quick action on financial reform
(Reuters) – Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd on Tuesday said Congress needs to fast track financial reform despite Republican pleas to slow down the process to rewrite sweeping new rules.
Reform Bill Adds Layers of Oversight
By SEWELL CHAN
WASHINGTON – The 1,336-page bill to overhaul financial regulation that Senate Democrats put forward on Monday with the backing of the Obama administration calls for Washington to play a more active role in policing Wall Street.
CFA Institute Offers “Strong Support” for Key Items in Senate Bill
Securities Industry News
The CFA Institute, the association that administers the CFA exam program worldwide, said today that it supports critical areas of the new Senate Banking Committee bill on financial regulatory reform.
‘Stricter’ OTC Derivatives Bill Expected, Morgan Stanley Says
By Matthew Leising
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Derivatives legislation expected from U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Judd Gregg will be “stricter” than the plan released yesterday by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, according to Morgan Stanley.
At Lehman, Watchdogs Saw It All
Lehman Brothers executives weren’t the only ones in the building when they were moving billions of dollars in liabilities off their books at the end of each quarter with magic accounting. So were the Feds, The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in his latest DealBook column. Regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Fed sent emergency teams to monitor most of the big banks after the collapse of Bear Stearns. They had constant access to Lehman’s books, and not just the dolled up quarterly reporting. So where was the government while all this “materially misleading” accounting was going on?
Lehman Report: Why the U.S. Balked at Bailing Out Lehman
As Lehman Brothers teetered, a public debate raged: Would the U.S. government save it the way it saved Bear Stearns and AIG? The official line from the government was no. But many couldn’t believe it, given the systemic risk posed by a Lehman collapse.
Lehman Brothers’ whistle blower was ousted: report
(Reuters) – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK) ousted whistle blower Matthew Lee just weeks after he had raised concerns with Lehman’s auditor about the firm’s accounting in 2008, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Lehman’s $50bn Whistleblower Fired
The Wall Street Journal reports that Lehman Brothers laid-off 14-year firm veteran Matthew Lee in June 2008, claiming he was just part of a right-sizing initiative.
Here Is The City
Lehman report raises derivatives clearing fears
By Gregory Meyer and Aline van Duyn
Details which have emerged about the scramble at CME, the world’s biggest futures exchange, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, have raised questions over how effectively clearing houses can process the growing volume of derivatives
Lehman Bankruptcy Report Illuminates Need for Derivatives Regulation
The Washington Independent
Financial reform efforts pit US against Europe
By STEVENSON JACOBS
The Associated Press
NEW YORK – U.S. policymakers are struggling to agree on new rules to avoid another financial crisis. A global consensus? Even harder. Efforts are raging on three continents, with at least as many ideas about the proper fixes. Unless the U.S., Europe and Asia adopt uniformly strict regulations, banks and high-risk traders will shift operations wherever rules are loosest. Experts warn another crisis could follow.
Carbon-trading delays prompt market exit
Newedge Group, one of the world’s biggest independent futures brokers, has closed its energy and environmental markets business in Australia after the country’s carbon-trading reforms stalled.
China, Not UN, Controls Carbon Offsets, Stanford Says (Update1)
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Mathew Carr
March 15 (Bloomberg) — China’s control over the prices of power from wind is dictating the supply of tradable emission credits in the UN carbon market, the world’s second biggest, according to a report from Stanford University.
Taiwan says to cut CO2 emissions 30 pct by 2020
By Ralph Jennings
TAIPEI, March 16 (Reuters) – Taiwan has pledged to sharply cut the growth of its carbon emissions as part of global efforts to fight climate change, officials said on Tuesday.
CO2 at new highs despite economic slowdown
Levels of the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere have risen to new highs in 2010 despite an economic slowdown in many nations that braked industrial output, data showed on Monday.
EPA Studying Own Carbon-Trading System, Official Says (Update2)
By Simon Lomax
March 15 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration is considering a carbon-trading system under existing law if Congress doesn’t pass cap-and-trade legislation that allows companies to buy and sell the right to pollute, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said today.
Kerry backs cap-and-trade plans for US utilities
One of the Senators leading a bi-partisan effort to agree a compromise version of the climate change bill currently stalled in the Senate, yesterday confirmed that the bill was likely to include a scaled back emissions cap-and-trade plan targeting only utilities.
E.ON Calls for EU-Wide Carbon Policy; GDF Suez Seeks Visibility
By Catherine Airlie and Kari Lundgren
March 15 (Bloomberg) — European countries should avoid setting national taxes or minimum prices for emissions trading as they seek to boost investments in low-carbon energy generation, E.ON AG Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck said.
Governors Seek National Power Standard to Boost Wind Industry
By Kim Chipman
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Congress must set a national renewable-power standard and revamp the electric grid to help the burgeoning U.S. wind-energy industry reach its potential and compete globally, governors from 29 states said.
Esposito Securities, LLC Joins Chicago Climate Futures Exchange
Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE) announced today that Esposito Securities, LLC, a firm that provides institutional trading services to clients including registered investment advisors, hedge funds, mutual funds, ETFs, closed end funds and unit investment trusts, has become a Trading Privilege Holder (TPH) of the Exchange.
Pick an option, Brown tells Labor
THE federal government needs to make a decision between calling a double dissolution election on an emissions trading scheme or cutting a deal with the Senate on an alternative program soon, the Greens leader, Bob Brown, says.
Notice: ECX Easter Holiday Trading Hours 2010
For more environmental trading news, subscribe to the Environmental Markets version of the John Lothian Newsletter edited by Jim Kharouf.
Visit http://www.jlnenvironmental.com to subscribe.
Exchange & ECN News
Boston Options Says TMX Group May Cut Stake to Boost Liquidity
By Nina Mehta
March 15 (Bloomberg) — Boston Options Exchange Group LLC, owner of the second-smallest U.S. market for equity derivatives, said Toronto-based TMX Group Inc. may cut its 54 percent stake as part of an effort to boost trading volume.
BATS Warns Against Blanket Regulation For Off-Exchange Trade
By Jacob Bunge, Dow Jones Newswires
The top executive of BATS Exchange said Monday that off-exchange electronic trading platforms should bear more regulatory responsibility as they gather a greater share of U.S. stock trading activity.
Ratterman: Equities Markets “Shining Example” of Reliability
Securities Industry News
The chief executive of a developer of lightning-fast electronic exchanges said Monday that equities markets are a “shining example” of resilience and efficiency, through the financial turmoil of the last three years. Joe Ratterman, the chief executive of BATS Exchange, the creator of digital marketplaces designed to compete with the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq system and other operators, told about 3,000 traders, rivals, media commentators and financial analysts in an email Monday that it was time for “our industry to go on the offense against those that would seek to regulate and/or tax the securities industry out of existence.”
CME May Steer More High-Frequency Traders Toward Risk Controls
By Jacob Bunge, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
BOCA RATON, Fla. -(Dow Jones)- CME Group Inc. (CME) may push more high- frequency traders to use its in-house risk-control measures. CME estimates that proprietary trading firms account for as much as 40% of its volume, and the rise of high-frequency strategies has seen regulators turn more attention to their risk profile.
Direct Edge’s exchange status to spawn new products
The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of equities trading venue Direct Edge’s application to become an exchange will allow the company to launch new products, according to William O’Brien, the platform’s CEO.
The Trade News
Direct Edge Exchange Transition Information
NASDAQ OMX Appoints Mary McDermott-Holland as Vice President of Transaction Services Business
NEW YORK, Mar 16, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) — The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:NDAQ) today announced that Mary McDermott-Holland has been appointed as Vice President of NASDAQ OMX Transaction Services. Ms. McDermott-Holland will join NASDAQ OMX effective April 6 and report to Eric Noll, Executive Vice President of NASDAQ OMX Transaction Services.
London Stock Exchange promotes best practice in investor relations
The London Stock Exchange is this week sending copies of a new edition of its guide to investor relations to the companies on its markets. “Investor Relations – A Practical Guide” provides practical assistance to companies, whether quoted or considering a stock market flotation, on best practice in investor relations, examining the key principles firms should consider when developing their investor relations strategy.
CME Group Inc. Announces Date of First-Quarter 2010 Earnings Release, Conference Call
CHICAGO, March 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — CME Group Inc. will announce earnings for the first quarter of 2010 before the financial markets open on Thursday, April 29, 2010. The company has scheduled an investor conference call that day at 7:30 a.m. Central time.
FESE European Equity Market Report – Februaty 2010 Figures – Now Available With Dark Pool MTFs Figures
BME’s Report: Listings And Public Offerings, The Pillars Of Economic Transformation And Stock Market Growth
The report describes Spain’s extraordinary economic development over the last 25 years, with GDP that has increased more than five times since 1986, the year the country joined the EU. The report highlights the importance of the stock exchange as the key driver of this phenomenon, as it channels multiple corporate activities that have made possible the transfer and secure reallocation of significant capital and equity flows.
FORTS: Final Settlement Prices Determined For Futures On Precious Metals
REVISED-March 2010 Final Foreign Currency Settlement Prices
Banks, Brokers & Dark Pools
Lehman plans to end bankruptcy, create new company
By Emily Chasan
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK) on Monday filed a plan with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan to wind down its remaining assets and operations — and end the largest U.S. bankruptcy case in history. Under the proposed Chapter 11 plan, a newly created business called LAMCO would manage what is left of Lehman’s commercial real estate, mortgages, principal investments, private equity, corporate debt and derivatives assets.
Barclays had eyes on UBS before Lehman
By Megan Murphy and Patrick Jenkins
UBS, one of the banks hit hardest by the financial crisis, was Barclays’ preferred merger target only weeks before it acquired the US assets of a stricken Lehman Brothers, the Financial Times has learnt.
FT.com / Companies / Banks
Barclays Said to Have Sought UBS Over Lehman in 2008
Barclays, which acquired Lehman Brothers’ North American assets in its global push to expand, actually had its eyes on other prey, The Financial Times reports.
IRS: new UBS-style foreign bank prosecution “shortly”
By Pascal Fletcher
HOLLYWOOD, Florida (Reuters) – U.S. tax authorities are expected to “very shortly” launch another prosecution against a foreign bank similar to the tax evasion case they pressed against Switzerland’s UBS AG, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent said on Monday.
Three More Countries Probing UBS Tax Fraud
(AP) UBS AG of Switzerland said Monday that authorities in Britain, Canada and Australia are investigating the bank’s offshore business in the wake of revelations that it helped U.S. customers evade their taxes for years.
RBS CEO Hester Says Share Sale May Pay Health Budget for a Year
By Andrew MacAskill
March 15 (Bloomberg) — The U.K. government will be able to pay the national health budget for a year through the sale of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc if it gets “value” from its shares, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester said.
Citigroup Aids Unit as Volcker Rule Spurs Defectors (Update1)
By Bradley Keoun
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., the bank 27 percent owned by the U.S., is bolstering a unit that trades stocks with the lender’s own money after a proposed government ban of proprietary trading helped spur eight of its 22 employees to defect, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Citigroup Ups Stake in Banco de Chile
Billionaire Alwaleed happy with Citigroup’s Pandit
CAIRO (AP) — The Saudi billionaire with the largest individual stake in Citigroup Inc. on Monday ruled out boosting his investment firm’s holdings in the U.S. banking giant at present, but predicted its best days are yet to come.
Where Big Banks Rule (and Where They Don’t)
The New York Times has a nice graphic showing which parts of the country favor small banks and which favor large banks. Any bank with more than $65 billion in assets counts as “large” here, and that includes most of the national banks you’ve heard of: Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo, among others.
HSBC names global banking marketing chief
HSBC has appointed Sarajit Mitra as global head of marketing and client experience for its global banking and markets division.
Deutsche Bank’s Epley Said to Leave for Nomura Job (Update1)
By Cristina Alesci and Zach Mider
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Mark Epley, head of Deutsche Bank AG’s team that caters to private-equity firms, is leaving to take a job at Nomura Holdings Inc., said a person with knowledge of his plans.
Deutsche Bank confirms 2009 net income of $6.9B
FRANKFURT – Deutsche Bank AG says it made net income of euro5 billion ($6.9 billion) in 2009 and that it expects the banking market to progress slowly toward “a new form of normality” this year and next.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Bolsters Convertible Sales and Trading Team with Senior Hire
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a full service investment bank that specializes in the financial services sector and a wholly-owned subsidiary of KBW, Inc. (NYSE: KBW – News), today announced plans to bolster its presence in the convertible securities market by appointing industry veteran Rick Jeffrey as Senior Vice President and head of the business.
TD AMERITRADE’s thinkorswim Named “Best Online Broker” in Barron’s 15th Annual Ranking
OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–thinkorswim, Inc., part of TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: AMTD – News), ranked #1 in the 2010 edition of the annual Barron’s review of online brokers, for the second year in a row. It is the fourth time in five years that thinkorswim has won this coveted distinction.
Lehman Might Put All Bankruptcy Creditors in Same Payment Pool
By Linda Sandler
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which filed an initial plan of reorganization yesterday, said it might resort to a pooling of assets that would diminish returns for lenders with strong claims and benefit those with weaker ones, if creditors don’t agree to its proposals.
Judge to bank: You can’t sack ex-employee
By: K. C. Vijayan
ON THE day the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) retrenched its trader, Mr Scott Cousins, it found out that he had sent e-mail messages containing confidential bank data to his personal e-mail account. RBS fired him 11 days later – and withdrew his $455,000 retrenchment package.
HSBC unit spent $310,000 lobbying gov’t in 4Q
The SEC News Digest
The SEC News Digest provides daily information on recent Commission actions, including enforcement proceedings, rule filings, policy statements, and upcoming Commission meetings.
SEC Charges Former Executives in Illegal Scheme to Enrich CEO With Perks
Washington, D.C., March 15, 2010 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three former senior executives and a former director of an Omaha-based database compilation company for their roles in a scheme in which the CEO funneled illegal compensation to himself in the form of perks worth millions of dollars.
CFTC Seeks Public Comment on Request From CME Clearing and NYMEX Involving Contracts Traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange
Washington, DC – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) is requesting public comment on a petition submitted by the Clearing House Division of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME Clearing) and the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (NYMEX) to amend an existing order in connection with contracts traded on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME).
CFTC Charges Raleigh, North Carolina Man And His Company, Yellowstone Partners, Inc., with Operating a Foreign Currency Ponzi Scheme
Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that it charged Dennis Todd Hagemann and Yellowstone Partners, Inc., both of Raleigh, N.C., with operating a Ponzi scheme involving the fraudulent solicitation of at least $700,000 from at least nine individuals to trade foreign currency futures (forex) managed accounts and/or a pooled investment. Defendants also allegedly attempted to solicit funds from at least one other individual.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission charges Hagemann of running $700k Ponzi scheme
The troubles continue to mount for Dennis T. Hagemann, the Raleigh man accused of operating a foreign currency Ponzi scheme.
Triangle Business Journal
‘Unhappy Returns’ scheme costs local investors $7.9M
Hawaii News – Starbulletin.com
A Florida man was arrested yesterday in Punta Gorda for allegedly defrauding 64 Hawaii residents in a $10 million multistate Ponzi scheme, U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni announced yesterday at a news conference. Patrick Rakotonanahary, president and chief executive of Cyber Market Group LLC, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 counts of wire fraud for collecting investments from more than 100 individuals nationwide, including $7.9 million from Hawaii residents between Dec. 20, 2007, and last May. The 34-year-old attracted investors by promising a return of 6 to 10 percent interest per week, based on the trading of foreign currencies (Forex). The minimum commitment was $30,000.
CFTC’s New York Regional Office will be Closed Until Monday, March 22, 2010, Due to a Fire in the Basement.
CFTC’s Gensler Takes His Message On Credit Derivatives To Europe
By Sarah N. Lynch
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler took his regulatory pitch for derivatives to Europe on Tuesday, urging international coordination in tightening oversight of over-the-counter markets.
CFTC chief questions ‘naked’ short selling ban
By Nikki Tait in Brussels
Gary Gensler, head of the US agency that regulates a large part of the derivatives market, told the European parliament on Tuesday he did not believe that a ban on “naked” short selling of credit default swaps would be effective. In the face of repeated questions from MEPs, with a clear appetite for regulatory action in the wake of the Greek crisis, Mr Gensler said: “I’m not sure I know how an outright ban would work technically.”
Gensler Says Lack of Derivative Rules a Factor in Greece Crisis
By Peter Chapman
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said the lack of rules on derivatives may have been a factor in the Greek debt crisis.
Remarks of Chairman Gary Gensler, OTC Derivatives Reform, European Parliament, Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Brussels, Belgium, March 16, 2010
Speech by SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar: Making Sure Investors Benefit From Money Market Fund Reform
Investment Company Institute and Federal Bar Association Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 15, 2010
Securities Attorney Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison for Role in Pump-and-Dump Schemes
WASHINGTON-A securities attorney was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for defrauding investors in stock manipulation schemes involving 19 publicly traded companies, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today.
Federal Bureau of Investigation – The Washington Field Office: Department of Justice Press Release
Ex-Merrill Trader Is Banned for Mismarking Positions (Update2)
By Caroline Binham
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Alexis Stenfors, a former senior trader at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit in London, was banned for at least five years from holding a similar position after he mismarked positions to cover up losses.
Trader banned for hiding $100m of losses
Alexis Stenfors, an ex-Merrill Lynch trader, has been banned by the FSA for deliberately mis-marking positions.
FSA bans trader for ‘mis-marking’
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today banned Alexis Stenfors, a former proprietary trader at Merrill Lynch International Bank (MLIB), from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity on the grounds that he is not a fit and proper person.
ASIC action better late than never
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has displayed its lightning fast reflexes and willingness to protect investors by cancelling the financial services licence held by City Pacific, the Gold Coast investment firm that was tipped into liquidation more than six months ago.
FinCEN Issues Guidance on Obtaining and Retaining Beneficial Ownership Information
On March 5, 2010, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance to clarify and consolidate existing regulatory expectations for obtaining beneficial ownership information for certain accounts and customer relationships.
Madoff Family Members Ask Judge to Throw Out Trustee Lawsuit
By Bob Van Voris
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Bernard Madoff’s brother, sons and niece asked a bankruptcy judge to throw out a suit filed against them by the trustee liquidating Madoff’s firm, who claims they contributed to investor losses at the firm.
Investments – Indexes – Managed Futures – Managed Funds
Ebullio Hedge Fund Fell 86% Last Month on Metals Loss (Update1)
By Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Ebullio Capital Management LLP’s commodity hedge fund slumped more than 86 percent last month because of losses in industrial metals.
Assets under management fell to $1.47 million, from $42.3 million in November, according to the company’s February report to investors. The Southend-on-Sea, England-based fund pledged to honor requests from investors to return money after “quite substantial” redemptions in February and March.
Hedge Funds May Get $222 Billion Inflows in 2010, Survey Says
By Bei Hu
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Hedge funds globally may attract $222 billion of fresh capital this year, according to a survey by Deutsche Bank AG, marking the first annual net inflow since the global financial crisis hit in 2007.
SSARIS Advisors, LLC Honored at InvestHedge Fund of Hedge Fund Awards
WILTON, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SSARIS Advisors, LLC, an absolute return hedge fund and fund of funds manager and a State Street Global Alliance portfolio company, announced today that it was honored at the annual InvestHedge Fund of Hedge Funds Awards ceremony held last night in New York City. SSARIS garnered a win in the “Global Multi-Strategy ($500 million -$1 billion) over 3 years” category for its Multi-Manager Absolute Return Strategy. The Strategy was also nominated in the “Global Multi-Strategy ($100 million – $500 million)” category. In the category of Arbitrage, SSARIS was nominated for its Multi-Manager Relative Value Strategy.
Vanguard Introduces Actively Managed Stock Fund
VALLEY FORGE, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vanguard is adding to its family of 30 actively managed stock funds with Vanguard Explorer Value Fund, which focuses primarily on stocks of small and medium-size U.S. companies. The fund is now accepting investments during a two-week subscription period that is expected to conclude on March 30, 2010.
Technology ‘Bar’ May Lead to Consolidation of Hedge Funds
Securities Industry News
The technology ‘investment bar’ required to meet investor and regulatory requirements from financial system reforms may be high enough to lead to consolidation of hedge funds, according to a synopsis of discussions held at the Global Hedge Fund Forum in New York and London this year.
CalPERS Seeks Majority Vote Standard At Top Publicly Traded Companies
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System today announced plans to ask 58 of the top U.S. companies in its global equity portfolio to voluntarily adopt the majority vote standard in uncontested elections for corporate directors. If the companies fail to act they could face a shareholder resolution by the Pension Fund.
BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey Finds Sentiment Moving Against Europe, in Favor of U.S.
NEW YORK and LONDON, March 16 /PRNewswire/ — Investors have recovered their bullishness towards equity markets but are shifting their focus away from Europe and into the U.S. and Japan, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch Survey of Fund Managers for March.
21 New Amundi ETFs Launched on Xetra
ETFs cover MSCI Europe sector indices for the first time/ XTF segment now contains 610 index funds
How to invest in fed funds futures
TD Ameritrade readies launch of new retail platform; ETF proxies another option
By Deborah Levine, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The avenues for investors to make bets on the direction of the Federal Reserve’s interest rates are increasing as more retail investors and day traders get involved in futures, analysts say.
Russell 3000 Index set to gain 16 IPOs
Financial services sector accounts for about half of the first quarter’s additions
TACOMA, WA, MARCH 16, 2010 – Russell Investments is set to add 16 initial public offerings (IPOs) from the first quarter of 2010 to the U.S. broad-market Russell 3000- Index. These 16 stocks are scheduled for inclusion to Russell Indexes after the close of U.S. markets on March 31.
SunGard Announces 2009 Results
SunGard, one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, today reported that revenue for the full-year 2009 was $5.51 billion, down 2% from 2008. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.50 billion, down 7% from 2008. Adjusted income from operations was $1.16 billion, down 5% from 2008. Excluding the results of Availability Services and one of our trading systems businesses, a broker/dealer described below, adjusted income from operations was up 3%.
CQG Connects to MathWorks MATLAB to Advance Automated Trading
CQG is a provider of integrated global market data, low-latency trade routing, and advanced technical analysis software, while MathWorks is a developer of mathematical computing software.
Brady Acquires Viveo Switzerland To Extend Its Reach In Commodities Markets
Brady plc (BRY.L), the leading supplier of trading and risk management solutions for metals and commodities, announces today its acquisition of the commodities business of Viveo Switzerland SA. Viveo Switzerland is a leading solutions provider, principally for soft commodities, oil, gas and metals. Its technology, client base and deep domain knowledge is seen as a strong addition to Brady’s portfolio of trading and risk technology.
Alacra Launches PulsePro Financial Intelligence Application
Free Month of ‘Open Access’ Lets Professionals Profit from
Transformative Idea Generation Tool
New York – March 16, 2010 – Alacra, Inc., a leading provider of online business information solutions, today announced the launch of PulsePro, a web application that advances existing intelligence gathering techniques. From the deluge of web-based news alerts, headlines and press releases, Alacra PulsePro accurately extracts only pertinent business events, including analyst comments, CEO remarks, M&A rumors and debt restructurings.
APX Launches Portfolio Access Offering Single Account View for REC and Voluntary Carbon Registries
A Comprehensive Portfolio View for Asset Management and Monitoring
Hoboken, NJ – March 16, 2009 – APX Environmental Markets, the leading infrastructure provider for environmental markets, is pleased to announce the launch of APX Portfolio Access, a web-based solution that provides a single sign-on and aggregated view of an environmental asset portfolio across renewable energy certificate (REC) and voluntary carbon offset registries.
Lasalletech and Chelmer form a strategic partnership for sales and support of the Lasalletech FIX productivity tools in Asia and the Middle East.
Technology Group, LLC March 10, 2010 – The Lasalletech product suite includes tools that make the process of developing and deploying a FIX service offering more efficient, saving
companies time and money. Companies using Lasalletech’s tools can enhance productivity and improve communication during the entire FIX lifecycle starting with the definition and publication of the specification.
Facebook Overtakes Google as Most Popular U.S. Website
Facebook has overtaken Google (GOOG) to become the most popular website in the United States for the first time, according to new data from Hitwise, which measures Internet traffic. For the week ending March 13, the social networking juggernaut registered 7.07% market share, beating the search giant’s 7.03% market share.
Break the law and your new ‘friend’ may be the FBI
By RICHARD LARDNER
WASHINGTON – The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too. U.S. law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that offers a tantalizing glimpse of issues related to privacy and crime-fighting. Think you know who’s behind that “friend” request? Think again. Your new “friend” just might be the FBI.
Trend: Trading on Social Media
By DONNA KARDOS YESALAVICH
Hedge funds and proprietary-trading shops are working to automate trading on information and sentiment from the blogosphere and Twitter, an effort that could make social media even more influential. The move reflects the continued evolution of automated trading through computer algorithms, with social media being targeted as the latest potential gold mine that could give trading firms an edge.
Bloomberg offers free trial of NASDAQ OMX’s Nordic Equity TotalView
Mayor Daley A-Twitter?
Social media has reached a new level of government today. Former Chicagoista/current News Hour-ian Kate Gardiner tipped us off to what appears to be Mayor Daley’s Twitter account.
Gorkana US Alert: Monday 16th March 2010
Freelance Update – Debbie Carlson
Debbie Carlson is now accepting freelance commissions. She was most recently at Dow Jones Newswires where she was a Commodities Editor. Debbie writes about financial markets with a specialization in commodity markets and agriculture. She can be reached on +1 (773) 226 6011 and email@example.com
Freelance Update – Carlise Newman
Carlise Newman is now accepting freelance commissions. She is currently a Writer/Editor at RJO Futures where she writes and edits articles and marketing materials related to commodities news. Carlise is a writer and editor with over ten years of financial experience producing content for magazines, newsletters, and online media. She can be reached on +1 (773) 218 1612 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Briefing.com Economic Calendar
CBOE Events Calendar
Economic Release Calendar
The Economic Release Calendar (PDF) is a schedule of government, academic and industry economic releases, provided as a service to CME customers.
Outlook good for Japan’s new commodity ETFs
By Myra P. Saefong, MarketWatch
TOKYO (MarketWatch) — ETF Securities will list 14 commodity exchange-traded funds on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this week — the largest-ever such launch for Asia — and based on the performance of their counterparts in Japan and elsewhere, they’ll likely be well received.
Deutsche Bank’s Lee Zhang Said to Talk With ICBC (Update3)
By Cathy Chan and Aaron Kirchfeld
March 16 (Bloomberg) — One of Deutsche Bank AG’s top executives in Asia is in discussions about joining Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s largest lender by market value, said people with knowledge of the matter.
TSX on mission to China
Peter Koven, Financial Post
The Toronto Stock Exchange is preparing to embark on a landmark mission to China that represents its first attempt to draw Chinese institutional investors into Canadian stocks.
Taiwan Exchange to Lift Trading Limit ‘Anytime’ (Update3)
By Weiyi Lim and Susan Li
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Taiwan’s stock exchange expects the limit for gains and losses for share prices to be raised “anytime” after detailing the proposal in parliament yesterday, Chairman Schive Chi said.
ITG launches Asian dark pool service
American technology group ITG on Tuesday launched a trading platform that aims to link together Asia’s “dark pools”, the opaque trading networks that compete with traditional stock exchanges
FT.com / FT Trading Room
TGE Agrees To Implement TOCOM’s Trading Platform
Following discussions since August last year, the Board of Directors of the Tokyo Grain Exchange Inc. (TGE ) decided at the meeting today that is was possible to make an agreement on the conditions to implement the Tokyo Commodity Exchange’s (TOCOM) trading platform and to work towards its realization.
Tokyo Grain Exchange: New Trading Hours From April 12, 2010
[OSE] Request for Public Comments: Additional Revisions of Futures and Options Trading Rules with Introduction of New Derivatives Trading System (Draft)
HKEx Publishes Its 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange Weekly Market Views – Mar 14, 2010
Van Agtmael Says Emerging Markets Need ‘Breather’ (Update2)
By Shiyin Chen and Haslinda Amin
March 16 (Bloomberg) — Antoine van Agtmael, who coined the term “emerging markets,” said equities in developing nations are fairly valued and need a “breather” after last year’s record rally.
Nigeria: NSE – Dangers of Ignoring Local Investors
Lagos – Investors and capital market stakeholders have expressed fears that there may soon be a repeat of the capital market price crash if spirited efforts are not put in place to ensure that foreign investors did not take control of activities in our local market.
LSE impressed with Colombo Bourse
Charumini de Silva
Trading at the Colombo (CSE) and the London Stock Exchanges (LSE) has been excellent. The London Stock Exchange is confident about future activities in Sri Lanka. London Stock Exchange Information and Technology Director David Lester told Daily News Business this year is equally important for Sri Lanka and the UK as the entire world is recovering from the global economic meltdown.
Saudi legal reforms may take years to show impact
RIYADH – Plans to modernise Saudi Arabia’s legal system – key to reassuring foreign investors – will take years due to a chronic shortage of qualified judges and lawyers and resistance from the powerful religious elite.
New Exchange Advisory Group, AVENUES, Says Fragmentation Invites More Market Abuse
The fragmentation of exchange trading and data which has followed from MiFID has substantially increased the potential for market abuses to take place, according to a new exchanges advisory group which has been set up to look at the problem.
Goldman Is to Greece What Merrill Was to Enron
Did big banks break the law during our recent global debt-fuelled boom? The usual answer is: no – they just took advantage of loopholes and captured regulators. The world’s biggest banks are widely supposed to be too sophisticated to be tripped up by the legal system.