Industry news

Date: Jul 10, 2012

July 10, 2012: SEC finalizes derivative definition rules; LME shareholders to vote on Hong Kong sale on July 25; Fed knew of Libor issue in 2007-08, proposed reforms

The SEC creates final versions of definitions to use to regulate various Dodd-Frank-covered products.  London Metal Exchange has set a date this month to vote on whether to be acquired by HKEx. The ongoing LIBOR scandal investigation produces evidence suggesting that the US Federal Reserve knew as early as 2007 that something was fishy with the way rates were being set.  In First Read today, get an update on the Peregrine/PFGBest situation, including comments from John Lothian asking some good initial questions about why pre-MF Global evidence of trouble did not prompt regulatory action.  Also, make sure you take a look at the Reuters article in the top section following PFG news, reporting that a recent survey found a full quarter of senior financial management believes that cheating is an integral part of success.

First Read

How long has this been going on?
By Jim Kharouf

I’ve known Russ Wasendorf, Sr. since early in my days covering the futures markets back in 1996. He was one of my sources, a key industry professional to speak with about all types of industry issues, trends, innovations and so on. He was often outspoken, sometimes brash in his criticism of exchanges and regulators, and a strong proponent of competition in the marketplace.

He was driven, accessible, articulate, demanding and tough. This is the futures marketplace, after all, and Russ was in the thick of it, trying to build one of the largest retail brokers in the business. So when the NFA alleged yesterday that his firm reported bank balances of $207 million in February 2010 and $218 million in March 2011, but actually held less than $10 million in each of those months, everyone wonders, how did it happen?

Continue reading >


A Stake in the Heartland
By John J. Lothian

Yesterday, while the John Lothian News team was breaking the story of Russ Wasendorf’s attempted suicide and financial irregularities at PFGBest, one of our young interns thought the PFG we were talking about stood for the Price Futures Group.  

No, it was not that PFG, I told him.  Nor was it that PAM.  The Peregrine Financial Group has an affiliate company, Peregrine Asset Management.  The Price Futures Group has a much longer established and more well known affiliate, Price Asset Management.

Also, Peregrine Financial Group is a non-clearing futures commission merchant that handles customer funds and The Price Futures Group, Inc. is an introducing broker that does not.

Now, if my mistaken intern were right, that would have made my commentary yesterday about not being a broker anymore that much more interesting.  But, alas, that is not the case.

What is that case is that we have another outrageous instance where customer funds are alleged to be missing.  Yesterday’s NFA Member Responsibility Action report said PFGBEST, which had nearly $400 million in customer funds as of its June 29, 2012 filing with the National Futures Association was supposed to have $225 million of those on deposit at U.S. Bank, which happens to be the bank of John J. Lothian & Company, Inc. too.  Instead of $225 million that was purported to be there according to PFGBEST filings with the NFA, there was less than $5 million.

Continue reading >


Accounting Irregularities Investigated At PFGBest; Apparent Exec Suicide Attempt
BY Christine Nielsen – JLN
John Lothian News has learned from company sources and an internal memo distributed to employees at Cedar Falls, Iowa- based PFGBest that funds at PFGBest have reportedly been frozen by regulators due to accounting irregularities. The National Futures Association (NFA) has reportedly put a hold on all PFGBest customer funds and put the firm on liquidation only, meaning customers can only exit trades, not enter into any new trades. In addition, a memo from PFGBest mentioned a possible suicide attempt by PFGBest’s chairman and CEO.

***JM: Updates have been added to this story, including details about the related NFA Member Responsibility Action.

Peregrine Futures Broker Probed After Founder’s Suicide Attempt
By Matthew Leising
Peregrine Financial Group Inc., a futures brokerage with $396 million in customer funds, is being investigated for alleged missing money as founder Russell Wasendorf Sr. unsuccessfully attempted suicide.

NFA takes emergency enforcement action against Chicago futures firms Peregrine Financial Group, Inc. and Peregrine Asset Management, Inc.


Many Wall Street executives says wrongdoing is necessary: survey
Reuters via Yahoo! News
If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest many today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere. A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

****  This LaSalle street executive says BS!


The Price Futures Group and Citi Announce Agreement to Introduce Price Futures Clients to CitiFX Pro
The Price Futures Group, a full service futures and options brokerage firm today announced that it has entered into a joint agreement with Citi to offer its clients access to CitiFX Pro, Citi’s online forex trading platform for active individual and small-to-mid sized institutional traders.


GFI CEO Gooch Says Hedge Funds Need to Become Market Makers
By Matthew Leising, Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle
Hedge funds will need to take more execution risk in derivative and bond markets as the Volcker rule remakes how banks and their clients trade with one another, said Michael Gooch, chief executive officer of GFI Group Inc.


Chicago Board of Trade seat sales hot despite chill on floor
By Ann Saphir and Tom Polansek – Reuters
A cadre of largely electronic traders are bidding up seats on the Chicago Board of Trade, even as trading floor veterans fear that new exchange rules threaten their ability to make a living in the famed pits.


Analysis: The law of unintended consequences
Galen Stops – FOW
The European Parliament was supposed to vote today on the implementation of Mifid, Mifir and Mad. For many in the industry, the decision to delay the vote was met with relief. Regulators are currently rushing through vast swathes of regulation and fears of unintended consequences are growing. The G20 mandate was clear: standardised OTC derivatives should be electronically traded and centrally cleared. However, the implementation of that mandate is proving to be anything but.


What The SEC, And The PCAOB, Still Don’t Admit About Chinese Frauds
I’ve written a long post at my site, re: The Auditors on the ongoing efforts of the SEC, and the PCAOB, to get a handle on the pervasive fraud by Chinese-based companies listed on US exchanges. I have never been bullish on China for investors or otherwise. In fact, I fail to see why any rational investor or company would fool themselves into thinking this time is going to be different.

Charlotte Crosswell Talks About The New NASDAQ OMX NLX
The interest rate market will get some more competition at the end of the year with the launch of the NASDAQ OMX NLX futures exchange. JLN editor-in-chief Jim Kharouf spoke with exchange CEO Charlotte Crosswell, at IDX 2012 in London, about the new exchange’s move into euro and sterling-based short-term interest rate and long-term interest rate contracts, the trading and clearing platform and who will be participating in the new market.


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Lead Stories

SEC finalizes derivative definition rules
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Securities regulators on Monday finalized rules that define what kinds of derivatives products will be regulated under the new regime created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously behind closed doors to approve definitions for terms such as “swap” and “security-based swap,” according to a statement.

LME shareholders to vote on Hong Kong sale on July 25
AFP via Yahoo! News
London Metal Exchange shareholders will vote later this month over its proposed takeover by the Hong Kong stock exchange, the LME announced in a brief statement on Monday.

Fed knew of Libor issue in 2007-08, proposed reforms
Reuters via Yahoo! News
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York may have known as early as August 2007 that the setting of global benchmark interest rates was flawed. Following an inquiry with British banking group Barclays Plc in the spring of 2008, it shared proposals for reform of the system with British authorities.

Tokyo Stock Exchange set for Osaka bourse tender
Market Watch
The Tokyo Stock Exchange will launch a tender offer this week for Osaka Securities Exchange Co., setting into motion the merger of Japan’s two largest bourses as weak market performance and fierce regional competition compel them to unite.

Bank Scandal Turns Spotlight to Regulators
As big banks face the fallout from a global investigation into interest rate manipulation, American and British lawmakers are scrutinizing regulators who failed to take action that might have prevented years of illegal activity.

EU gives Spain more time on deficit, sets bank aid
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Euro zone ministers agreed early on Tuesday to grant Spain an extra year until 2014 to reach its deficit reduction targets in exchange for further budget savings and set the parameters of an aid package for Madrid’s ailing banks.

Man Who Knew Too Much About Ratings Says They Aren’t Meaningful
Ratings companies, whose scores have helped determine the cost of money for governments and businesses for more than a century, are no longer trusted by the world’s biggest investors, according to the former head of structured finance at Standard & Poor’s.

Bank of England deputy denies ordering rate-rigging
AFP via Yahoo! News
Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker “absolutely” denies that he encouraged Barclays Bank traders to manipulate key inter-bank lending rates, he told British lawmakers on Monday.


Big Dealers Sweat as Swaps Face Reckoning
In a potential setback for large financial firms, regulators are expected to vote Tuesday on a rule requiring banks with more than $10 billion in assets to trade swaps through a central clearinghouse, according to a person familiar with the rule. The vote will be accompanied by a separate ruling on the precise definition of swaps, the financial contracts at the heart of the 2008 credit crisis. That definition will set in motion a series of other rules affecting trillions of dollars of financial contracts.

JPMorgan Silence on Risk Model Spurs Calls for Disclosure
JPMorgan Chase & Co. ’s multibillion- dollar trading loss exposed an industry practice that U.S. regulators are now likely to clamp down on: Banks keep investors in the dark about how they calculate trading risks.

Swap Definition Set to Trigger Dodd-Frank Overhaul Cascade (1)
By Silla Brush – Bloomberg
When they decide which derivatives are considered swaps under the Dodd-Frank Act, U.S. regulators will unleash a cascade of rules on the $648 trillion global market designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 credit crisis.

Paula Drake Named Chief Counsel And Chief Compliance And Ethics Officer Of SEC’s Office Of Compliance Inspections And Examinations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Paula Drake has been appointed an Associate Director to serve as Chief Counsel and Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). Starting August 6, Ms. Drake will oversee a staff of eight lawyers and coordinate the efforts of attorney advisors in the SEC’s eleven regional offices.

[Video] GFI CEO Gooch on Effects of Banking Regulation
Michael Gooch, chief executive officer of GFI Group Inc., talks about the potential implications of the Volcker rule for the financial industry and the outlook for the company. Gooch speaks with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

ESMA Publishes Two Q&A On UCITS

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Cleartrade Exchange brings access to China’s domestic steel market for first time
Cleartrade Exchange Pte Ltd has launched five steel swaps contracts, creating the first opportunity to trade Chinese domestic steel products electronically outside of China. The launch also makes electronic trading in steel scrap derivatives possible for the first time.

Malta Stock Exchange Uses Deutsche Boerse Xetra System

Clearstream’s June 2012 Figures

NYSE Liffe launches equity options on D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753

Ljubljana Stock Exchange Statistical Report For First-Half Year 2012

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Libor Scandal Seen Boosting NYSE Repo Futures: Credit Markets
By Liz Capo McCormick and Matthew Leising
The scandal impairing confidence in the London interbank offered rate, a benchmark for $360 trillion in securities, may drive demand for interest-rate futures that NYSE Liffe U.S. will start offering this month.

Citigroup Said to Keep Money Out of Own Fund Amid Volcker
Citigroup Inc. is seeking to raise money for a new hedge fund without putting its own cash into the venture, in a test of investors’ willingness to buy in when the bank isn’t sharing risk, said two people briefed on the plan.

Paulson Funds Fell in June as Rally Undercut Euro Wager
John Paulson, the billionaire hedge- fund manager seeking to reverse record losses in 2011, posted declines in all his funds last month as rising stock markets undermined his wager that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will worsen.

Longacre Co-Founder to Spin Off Fund, Manage It in New Venture
By Juliet Chung – WSJ
A co-founder of Longacre Fund Management LLC, a distressed-debt investor that moved to wind down its main funds last year amid a spate of client withdrawals, plans to spin off one of the firm’s funds and manage it through a new venture.

Cohen’s SAC starts in reinsurance business
Reuters via Yahoo! News
BOSTON – Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen is now officially in the insurance business. SAC Re Ltd, the new reinsurance unit of Cohen’s $14 billion SAC Capital Advisors, officially began operations on Monday, the group said in a statement.

IndexIQ To Shutter South Korea Fund via Yahoo! Finance
IndexIQ, the Rye Brook, N.Y.-based exchange-traded fund firm known for its pioneering hedge fund replication strategies, will close its IQ South Korea Small Cap ETF, after the fund failed to gather significant assets since its launch a bit more than two years ago.

Wall Streeters Lose $2 Billion in 401(k) Bet on Own Firms
Michael J. Moore – Bloomberg
Wall Street employees, who dispense financial advice to individuals and companies, aren’t following a basic investing tenet with their own money: diversification. Workers at the five largest Wall Street banks saw the value of company stock in their 401(k) accounts, sometimes the biggest holding of those plans, decline more than $2 billion last year, according to annual filings. Those losses don’t include shares received as bonuses.

A crumb of comfort for investors
By Gillian Tett – Financial Times
This year, investors have been gobbling up US treasuries in a desperate effort to search for safety. But would they have done better to grab Australian sovereign debt or Singaporean bank bonds, as a shield against political incompetence in a fractious world? If the wealth management arm of Merrill Lynch is to be believed, the answer could be “yes”.

June 2012 Commodities Commentary: Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Indexes Up On Grain Gains Due To Severe Drought Conditions
By Christine Marie Nielsen
The Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index was up 5.49% for the month of June as a severe drought in the U.S. Midwest curbed yields in grain crops and boosted grain market prices. The Dow Jones-UBS Single Commodity Indexes for corn, soybean meal and wheat had the strongest gains with month-end returns of 25.40%, 15.52% and 14.39%, respectively.

optionsXpress Launches Idea Generation Tool for Options Traders
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
optionsXpress, Inc., a pioneer in bringing professional technology for options and futures trading to individual investors, today announced the launch of Idea Hub, a new idea generation tool for options traders.

Banks & Brokers

Barclays’ Agius faces lawmakers over rate-rigging scandal
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – Marcus Agius, the man at the top of Barclays when its traders rigged a global benchmark interest rate, faces questions from British lawmakers on Tuesday about what he knew about a scandal that threatens a dozen more international banks.

Rates row pushes Bank of England top-job candidate into the limelight
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker has spent his entire career at the central bank, almost all of it liaising with financial markets – but now the rate-fixing scandal engulfing British banks risks thwarting his ambition to get the top job.

Morgan Stanley sheds staff as deals fall
By Tracy Alloway in New York – Financial Times
Morgan Stanley will this week complete a round of job cuts that will ultimately lead to the company shedding 100 sales and trading staff, underscoring what is expected to prove a dismal second quarter for Wall Street banks.

Dutch pension fund files claims against Goldman
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Vervoer has filed two claims totaling up to 240 million euros against a unit of Goldman Sachs Group , alleging negligence leading to losses, lawyers for the fund told Reuters.

Hypocrisy on Libor Is Massive: Hedge Fund
Guy Spier – CEO, Aquamarine Capital
It’s a free world — especially when it comes to the financial markets. When writing a contract around Libor the two contracting parties tend to be big boys. Retail customers last I checked have most of their contracts priced off the prime rate.

US panel to detail findings of HSBC probe
By Shahien Nasiripour in Washington – Financial Times
HSBC executives are due to face lawmakers next week as the US Senate’s investigative panel probes banks’ possible ties to the financing of terrorism and money laundering activities connected to illicit narcotics.

Diamond to Forgo Deferred Bonuses
Former Barclays BCS -0.39% PLC Chief Executive Robert Diamond will give up deferred bonuses of up to £20 million ($31 million) as the bank looks to defuse political anger over banker pay.

Barclays agrees $3.1 million pay-off with Diamond: Sky
Reuters via Yahoo! News
Barclays has agreed a pay-off worth about 2 million pounds for Bob Diamond, its former chief executive who quit last week following an interest rate rigging scandal, Sky News reported.

Morgan Stanley Schedules Quarterly Investor Conference Call

Clearing & Settlement

Peru bourse pushes for vertical model
By Robert Cookson in Hong Kong – Financial Times
Peru’s stock exchange is pushing the government to allow it to take full control of the country’s post-trade services provider, the latest example of a global move towards “vertical integration” of bourses.

Euroclear UK & Ireland Cuts Fees For Growing Fund Business
Euroclear UK & Ireland (EUI) has cut its investment fund order-routing fees for both high- and low-volume clients with immediate effect. The tariff for 10,000 or more orders per year has been cut by 9%, rising to a reduction of 33% for clients routing over 25,000 orders per year through the EMX Message System.

Iberclear To Chair CSD Steering Group In The Governance Framework Of TARGET2 Securities
Jesús Benito, CEO of Iberclear, the Spanish Central Securities Depository and a BME subsidiary, today was appointed Chairman of the CSD Steering Group (CSG) in the governance framework of TARGET2 Securities (T2S). He was unanimously elected by the full members of the CSG for a renewable term of two years.

DTCC Calls on Industry to “Fully Dematerialize” U.S. Financial Services Market
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation today outlined a proposal to fully dematerialize the U.S. financial services industry, helping reduce the costs and risks associated with existing physical securities.

CME Group Clearing Advisory
NYMEX Options Expiration Operational Procedures for the Trading Floor and Clearing Members (GX) Effective Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Bursa Malaysia Enhances Central Matching Facility For Straight Through Processing In Trade Settlement

Indexes & Products

Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Indexes June 2012 Performance Report

Semi-annual review of the OMX Helsinki 25 Index

IndexIQ Announces June 2012 Performance of Its IQ Hedge Family of Investable Benchmark Hedge Fund Replication Indexes


SunGard and Advent Software team on workflow for wrap/separately managed accounts
SunGard and Advent Software, leading providers of software and services for the global financial services and investment management industry, have introduced an integrated trading solution that helps “wrap” managers conduct business with sponsors directly via the SunGard Global Network (SGN) and Advent’s Moxy order management system (OMS).

Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise Adds SunGard’s Ambit Funds Transfer Pricing for Integrated Balance Sheet Management
Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise (BCN), a Swiss universal bank based in the canton of Neuchâtel and a longstanding customer of SunGard’s Ambit Asset Liability Management (ALM) solution, has now deployed SunGard’s Ambit Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP).

Panopticon Unveils HTML5 Client for its Enterprise Data Visualization Platform
The new thin client provides a complete range of interactive filtering capabilities for analytical dashboards on mobile devices, including Apple iPads and Android tablets and enables clients to maintain high levels of security for their proprietary data.

Equinix Provides Connectivity to BATS Global Markets’ Secondary Data Facility in Chicago
Equinix, Inc. and BATS Global Markets, Inc. announced that Equinix will offer its customers connectivity to BATS’ secondary data center facility in Chicago.

EADS Goes Live With The Calypso System For Treasury And Risk Management – EADS To Support Global Cross Asset Operations From Central Platform
Calypso Technology Inc., the global capital markets platform provider, today announced that EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, has implemented the Calypso system as the firm’s treasury management solution.

Fiserv names Lynch as a board member
Associated Press via Yahoo! News
Fiserv Inc., which creates the technology for online bill paying, mobile banking and other financial services, has named Dennis Lynch as a board member.

BWise Offers Best Practice Enterprise GRC Solution For UK Bribery Act And FCPA Act Compliance


Federal Court In Texas Orders Robert Mihailovich, Sr. And Growth Capital Management LLC To Pay Over $9.3 Million In CFTC Anti-fraud Action

SIX Swiss Exchange Fines Sonova Holding Ltd.

Environmental & Energy

Germany Sees ‘Intensive’ EU Carbon Talks in September, October
Germany plans talks with other European Union countries about the bloc’s long-term climate goals and expects “intensive” discussions on the EU carbon-cut pathway in autumn, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said.

The world is abandoning emissions trading: Abbott
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the world is moving away from carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes.

JPMorgan Probe Shows FERC Priority Policing Energy
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s probe of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) demonstrates a renewed focus on market manipulation as the agency beefs up its oversight of the multibillion dollar energy-trading business.


[TSE] Announcement Concerning Commencement of the Tender Offer for Shares of Osaka Securities Exchange Co., Ltd.

Osaka Securities Exchange: Announcement Of The Expression Of Opinion In Favor Of The Tender Offer By Tokyo Stock Exchange Group, Inc. For Shares Of The Company

Nomura Frozen Out of Deals Amid Scandal
As an insider-trading scandal casts a darkening cloud over Japan’s brokerages, Nomura Holdings Inc. 8604.TO -3.20% has been removed from another debt underwriting and Moody’s Investors Service has characterized the moves against Japan’s biggest brokerage as “credit negative” for the firm.

Mitsubishi UFJ suspends two London traders on Libor probe
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has suspended two London-based traders amid a growing investigation into the suspected manipulation of the Libor interbank lending rate.

Phillip Commodities Joins HKMEx as Clearing Member
The Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx) announces today a major milestone with the addition of Newedge, one of the world’s largest futures brokerages, to its roster of members.

Stock Exchange of Thailand Welcomes Malaysian State-Owned Fund

Press Conference By Tadahiro Matsushita, Minister For Financial Services – Insider Trading – Nomura Securities

FSA publishes English translation of “Guidance on Equivalency Assessment on Audit and Public Oversight Systems of Foreign Jurisdictions”

Tokyo Commodity Exchange: Good Delivery Material Price Differential For July 2012 Rubber Contract

Taiwan Futures Exchange Monthly Newsletter – July 2012

Tokyo Grain Exchange: SPAN Parameters Effective From July 17, 2012 To July 31, 2012

Osaka Securities Exchange: Notice Of Dividend Forecasts

Monetary Authority Of Singapore: Reply To Parliamentary Question On Impact Of Euro Zone Crisis On Singapore’s Banking Sector And Overall Economy

Frontier Markets

India bourse chiefs barred from shares
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore and Neil Munshi in Mumbai – Financial Times
India has banned stock exchange chief executives from owning shares in the bourses they run and required that exchanges wanting to list their shares do so only on rivals’ boards.

Dubai Group $10 Billion Talks Said to Lose RBS Support
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc , along with Commerzbank AG and Standard Bank Group Ltd., have abandoned talks with Dubai Group, to restructure $10 billion of debt, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Mauritius bourse targets miners, African issuers
Reuters via Yahoo! News
The Stock Exchange of Mauritius expects at least 10 new listings in the next year, its chief executive said on Monday, after rejigging listing requirements to attract more companies and funds looking to invest in Africa.

Tehran Stock Exchange: IPO Of Mellat Insurance


As Europe struggles, young job-seekers suffer most
Associated Press via Yahoo! News
Irene Fernandez lost her job with Spain’s postal service five months ago, a victim of government spending cuts. Since then, she’s been getting by on spending money from her mother and the $530 a month she earns grooming dogs for neighbors. Fernandez, 24, has had one job interview.

Philly Deals: ‘Jackass’ investing, not quite the Bogle way
The recent top seller on’s “investing — mutual funds” booklist is by an industry veteran from suburban Philadelphia. Not Vanguard Group founder and best-selling author John C. Bogle; the latest edition of his Common Sense on Mutual Funds ranks just fourth.Number One is “Jackass Investing: Don’t do it, profit from it,” by Michael Dever

Barclay and Diamond: The Perils of an Indispensable Boss
Was Bob Diamond really irreplaceable? Barclays’ board operated for 15 years on the assumption that he was. As a result, the UK bank’s chief executive became more powerful – and ever harder to replace.

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