Industry news

Date: Mar 18, 2013

March 18, 2013: U.S. regulators probing high-speed traders for wash trades; Cyprus tries to rework divisive bank tax; First Derivatives to register in US as SEF

The CFTC plans to look over high-frequency trading activity for the presence of wash trades, where transactions take place without actually establishing a market position. Ministers in Cyprus float the idea that they should unceremoniously tax the savings of everyone in the country, and discover that the whole world doesn’t like the idea much. Trading tech company First Derivatives plans to register in the USA as a swaps execution facility.

First Read

Letter from the (guest) Editor Steve Grob, Fidessa
Before I got into the futures industry, I made my living selling software into the broader financial sector. In the late 90s, I was lucky enough to visit the floors of both the CBOT and the CME. To the untrained eye it was just chaos – grown men waving their arms around, shouting and screaming at each other, paper tickets everywhere, runners hunched over telephones. But it was here that global trading sentiment rippled through the pits like a shark seeking out its prey. I was hooked, instantly (by the way, I found out later that what I had witnessed was something called price discovery). But, in those early days, I didn’t know how it all worked, who was who, what the real issues were, or even what I was supposed to laugh about. Thankfully I quickly discovered the John Lothian Newsletter which did all this for me, and more, every day.

I was on my way.

John’s passion for his industry shines as brightly as his forehead and yet this is always combined with great integrity and an ability to ask the right (and sometimes awkward) questions. Since those early days, John and his team have expanded their coverage across asset classes and geographies and it is now a must read for anyone in financial markets. Despite this expansion, those original values still prevail and so I was extremely flattered to be asked to be a guest editor whilst John is incapacitated.

I’m sure John will literally be back on his feet in no time, so here goes with my first foray into newsletter (guest) editing…


Australia finds HFT fears ‘overstated’
Neil Hume in Sydney –
There is no evidence that high-frequency share traders systematically abuse or manipulate equity markets, according to regulators in Australia. The Australian Securities & Investment Commission also said public concerns about the controversial trading practices had been “overstated” and could be attributed to the increasing use of new technology by investors. However, the regulator also recommended resting times for smaller deals.

ASIC reports on dark liquidity and high-frequency trading
Press Release
ASIC today released a report and a consultation paper that examine the impact of dark liquidity and high-frequency trading on Australia’s financial markets.

***SG As always ASIC does its homework properly and comes up with a measured response. A nice change to the H(FT)ysteria we normally see.


From Our Man In Boca, Tom Groenfeldt: Dodd Frank Is To Your Grandchildren As Glass-Steagall Is To You
Mondo Visione
The regulatory foundations we are putting in place today could be around for your grandchildren, Richard Prager, MD and head of global trading at BlackRock told an audience at FIA Boca. Now there’s a scary thought — makes you wonder if the Congressmen and regulators back then were just as confused as the ones today. Probably not. Glass-Steagall was about 30 pages; Dodd Frank is over 2,000 — plenty more opportunity for confusion.

***SG Glass-Steagall was in force for more than 60 years – not bad for 30 pages


From Our Man In Boca, Tom Groenfeldt: Competition In Clearing At FIA Boca
Mondo Visione
Whether planned, accidental or alphabetical based on last names, it was probably fortunate that the FIA Boca panel on clearing placed Michael Bodson, CEO of the DTCC at the opposite end of the stage from Kim Taylor, president of CME Clearing. Their views do tend to diverge.

***SG Divergence is the new convergence. With so much changing we need different viewpoints


CME Clearing Europe Expands Services with Introduction of Interest Rate Swaps
CME Clearing Europe, CME Group‘s European clearing house, today announced that it has received FSA approval and launched real-time, open access clearing of Interest Rate Swaps (IRS).


Exchange consolidation in Asia making trading technology vulnerable to failure
The derivatives trading halt at the Osaka Securities Exchange (OSE) caused by a system failure in the Nikkei futures and options trading platform, points to the technological challenges brought about by a lack of competition among trading venues in the region, according to a securities broker at the OSE.

***SG If Europe is anything to go by then greater venue competition hasn’t solved the problem


Xiao Quits Bank of China to Take Helm at Securities Watchdog
Bloomberg News
Xiao Gang, who stepped down yesterday as chairman of Bank of China Ltd., will take on the challenge of restoring confidence in Asia’s third-largest stock market as head of the nation’s securities regulator.


U.S. Lawmakers Warn of Security Threats From Cyber attacks
Jim Snyder & Phil Mattingly – Bloomberg
The top two lawmakers on the U.S. House committee dealing with intelligence matters warned that cyber attacks are posing increasing risks to U.S. economic and national security.


Number of Cases Filed by SEC Slows
The Securities and Exchange Commission is filing significantly fewer civil fraud cases this year, as its efforts to punish misconduct related to the financial crisis start to ebb. The agency is likely to fall short this fiscal year of its record-breaking number of enforcement actions in the previous two years, said people familiar with the matter.

***JK – I was a cops & courts reporter early in my career. Measuring the number of arrests was not indicative of more, nor less crime or quality of enforcement.


Hedge funds’ reputation in the balance
John Gapper –
There is little ambiguity about the ultimate target of investigators and prosecutors in their seven-year campaign to halt insider trading by hedge funds on Wall Street. He is “Portfolio Manager A” in Friday’s historic $614m settlement with SAC, the highly successful $15bn fund.


Fed sets up risk of future disappointment
Robin Harding in Washington –
It feels almost indecent. This week, the S&P 500 came within two points of an all-time high even though the US unemployment rate is stuck at 7.7 per cent. The mood on Wall Street is still muted. A new record would be one of those that people are not quite sure whether to be proud of, like building the world’s
largest shopping mall.


Hedging plants obstacles in path of pensions reforms
Charlotte Moore – Financial News
Sometimes actions made with the purest of motives can create unintended consequences. The Dutch are now warning that measures enacted last year to ease the liability pain of their pensions industry have created issues with hedging.



MarketsWiki Page of the Day
European Central Counterparty Ltd. (EuroCCP)

MarketsWiki Recent Updates

Companies, Organizations and Groups

European Central Counterparty Limited; European Multilateral Clearing Facility N.V.; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; McGladrey LLP; Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange


36,774,234 pages viewed, 7,432 articles, 156,080 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

Lead Stories

U.S. regulators probing high-speed traders for “wash trades”
Reuters via Yahoo! News
U.S. futures regulators are looking into whether high-speed traders indulged in “wash trading,” a strategy in which they improperly buy and sell futures contracts without taking a position in the market, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the probes.

Cyprus tries to rework divisive bank tax
Cypriot ministers rushed on Monday to revise a plan to seize money from bank deposits as part of an EU bailout, in an effort to ensure lawmakers supported it in a vote later in the day.

***SG I guess the new hairstyle in Cyprus is short, back and sides

First Derivatives to register in US as SEF
Philip Stafford –
First Derivatives, a UK trading technology company, is planning to register with US regulators to operate one of the new types of swaps marketplaces mandated by incoming rules overhauling the off-exchange derivatives industry.

Brussels to hand Esma power on banks panels
Michelle Price – Financial News
The European Commission is poised to hand powers to the EU’s main financial watchdog enabling it to force banks to sit on the panels that help set important financial benchmarks. The step may prove necessary because banks are rethinking the benefit of sitting on panels in the wake of the interest rate-rigging scandal.

Treasury Probes Trading in Government Debt
The U.S. Treasury Department is probing whether traders in the $11 trillion Treasury market hoarded securities to drive up the price of 10-year notes, one of the world’s most-used benchmarks.

SAC Units to Pay $616 Million in Penalties
SAC Capital Advisors LP, one of the nation’s most successful investment firms, will pay a record $616 million penalty to settle two insider-trading cases, including what authorities called the most lucrative such scheme ever.

IMF Says EU Banks Face Further Losses
With anemic economic growth likely to lead to more losses on loans, risks to the financial stability of the European Union remain “elevated,” and urgent action is needed to adequately capitalize the bloc’s banks and establish a shared system for closing down or restructuring failing institutions, the International Monetary Fund said Friday.

Central banks want Libor replaced with several rates
Reuters via Yahoo! News
LONDON – The tarnished Libor interest rate benchmark should be replaced with a range of reference rates based on actual market transactions by banks, a global group of central bankers said on Monday. Barclays , Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS have all been fined for rigging the London interbank offered rate, which regulators are now reforming.

Greenspan Focuses on ‘Too Big to Fail’ Regulation
Dow Jones
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said in an interview on CNBC Friday that the “too big to fail” bank issue is the most important regulatory issue right now, and that he sees the problems “growing worse, not better.”

*** SG At over 2000 pages is Dodd Frank an example of “Too Big to Fail” Regulation?


Hedge funds face up to fresh AIFMD challenge
Harriet Agnew – Financial News
The UK’s hedge fund managers are being hit by uncertainty over aspects of the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ Directive because they are still lacking guidance on how the Financial Services Authority will interpret the EU’s approved text.

Why the financial lobby’s silver bullet could backfire
Ben Wright
If you have a regulatory problem and no one else can help – and if you can wake them up from their nap – maybe you can hire the Grey Team. Pensioners are fast becoming the financial industry’s last line of defence against the regulatory onslaught.

***SG Pensioners firing silver bullets backwards sounds dangerous to me

FINRA CEO Ketchum’s Speech And The Shortcomings Of Self Regulation
On March 14, 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard G. Ketchum gave a speech to the Consumer Federation of America Consumer Assembly. In keeping with such things, FINRA published a transcript of Ketchum’s prepared remarks and I urge you to read it.

SEC Issues Guidance Update on Social Media Filings by Investment Companies
The Securities and Exchange Commission today published a guidance update from its staff to clarify the obligations of mutual funds and other investment companies to seek review of materials posted on their social media sites.

CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight and Office of Data and Technology Issue Advisory Reminding All Swap Counterparties of April 10 Deadline to Obtain a CICI Identifier
The Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Office of Data and Technology (ODT) of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Advisory reminding all swap counterparties of the imminent April 10, 2013, deadline for each counterparty to obtain a legal entity identifier (LEI), currently known as a CFTC Interim Compliant Identifier or “CICI”

EDHEC-Risk Institute: Smart Beta 2.0 – Taking The Risks Of New Equity Benchmarks Into Account
In research published today entitled, “Smart Beta 2.0,” EDHEC-Risk Institute is seeking to draw the attention of investors to the risks of traditional smart beta equity indices and propose a new approach to smart beta investing to take account of these risks.

Gérard Rameix elected to ESMA’s Management Board

ESMA: The EMIR Regulation Enters Into Force Today

ESMA Publishes Guidelines On Interoperability Arrangements

ESMA Consults On Draft Regulatory Technical Standards In Relation Prospectus Supplements

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Cleartrade Exchange Launches Pioneering Liquidity Scheme For Iron Ore Derivatives – Vast Reduction In Execution Fees For Defined Volumes Via A Unique Fixed Cost Model
Cleartrade Exchange (CLTX), the Singapore Regulated Futures Exchange, has today launched an innovative scheme for its members, offering aggressive discounts on existing execution fees in return for an upfront volume commitment. The offer is limited to a total volume of 20 million tonnes and is available to all existing and joining Cleartrade Exchange members.

ISE Weekly Listings – Mini Options
The International Securities Exchange will list mini options classes during on March 18, 2013 as described below.

[CBOE] Trader E-News

[CBOE] Margin Requirements for Mini Options

[CBOE] Automation of Stock-Option Strategy Orders in Classes that Trade until 3:15 PM CST

[CBOE] Operational Details for Mini-Options Trading on CBOE

[CBOE] Restrictions on Transactions in Gold Reserve Inc. (GRZ)

SIX Exchange Regulation reaches an agreement with Tornos Holding Ltd. [pdf]

Xetra/FWB: ADLER Real Estate Aktiengesellschaft Plans Bond Issue In Entry Standard

Moscow Exchange: Final Settlement Prices Determined For March futures on RTS And MICEX Indices

Moscow Exchange Final Settlement Prices Determined For March FX And Interest Futures

Moscow Exchange: Final Settlement Prices Determined For Futures On Precious And Industrial Metals

Nominations For Directors – NZX Limited

SIFMA Market Close Recommendations For Good Friday And U.K. Easter Monday Holidays In The US, The UK And Japan

TOM MTF Statistics Week 11

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Hedge Fund Rising Stars: The best of the next generation
Financial News
This is the third annual FN 40 Under 40 Rising Stars of Hedge Funds, Financial News’ editorial pick of the brightest up-and-coming men and women in the industry. They represent the young talent pushing the European hedge fund market into the next phase of development.

Asset managers set to go for growth
David Oakley and Vanessa Kortekaas –
The UK’s biggest money managers are starting to focus on growth and dividends in a sign of rising confidence about the markets and the world economy.

‘Finding’ Hedge Fund Investors Just Got A Bit More Difficult
The hedge fund world has always walked a fine line when it comes to attracting new investors. And nowhere has this line been thinner than the one between “finders” and “solicitors” — the parties who act as the middlemen in the investor location process.

Paulson says he’s staying put, not moving to Puerto Rico
Reuters via Yahoo! Finance
Hedge fund titan John Paulson, who oversees $18 billion in assets from his offices in New York, said on Friday he has no plans to leave the island of Manhattan for the island of Puerto Rico.

Delaware Investments Wins Best Overall Small Fund Group Lipper Award…again!
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance
For the second time in three years, Delaware Investments, a member of Macquarie Group, wins Best Overall Small Fund Group in the Lipper Fund Awards. This year, the firm is recognized as best among 180 mutual fund companies in the small firm category, 26 of which were eligible to receive the award.

Ex-Goldman partner strikes out in private equity
Harriet Agnew
Hugues Lepic, a former Goldman Sachs partner, is launching Aleph Capital Partners, a European private equity firm, and is discussing a strategic partnership with $4bn US buyout group Crestview Partners, according to a person close to the situation.

Why it is still a good idea to be in the investment industry
Mike Foster – Financial News
Last August, essayist Nassim Taleb wrote an article entitled: Why It is No Longer a Good Idea to Be in The Investment Industry.

Man Group: Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2012

Taking a Trip Down the Yield Curve
An old buy-and-hold strategy is finding new fans among Treasury investors. Using a strategy called the rolldown, bond investors are purchasing longer-dated debt and planning to hold the securities for a few years.

Easy-Money Era a Long Game for Fed
The gazillion-dollar question in financial markets these days is this: When will the Federal Reserve turn to the exit ramp?

What You Can Do to Steer Clear of a ‘Custody’ Battle
New research by a leading investment lawyer questions whether assets held in custody are 100% secure if a bank goes bust, and other doubts about custody are cropping up. But by taking a few simple steps, you should be able keep your money safe.

Calastone Opens Office In Switzerland
Calastone, the global fund transaction network, today announced the opening of their new Switzerland office in Zurich.

CFTC Commitments Of Traders Reports Update

Banks & Brokers

JPMorgan Report Ignites Debate on Bank Size and Dimon Roles
Dawn Kopecki, Clea Benson and Hugh Son – Washington Post
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s efforts to hide trading losses, outlined in a Senate report yesterday, probably will ignite debate over whether the largest U.S. bank is too big to manage and ratchet up pressure on Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon to surrender his role as chairman.

Ina Drew Says Subordinates’ Deception at JPMorgan Let Her Down
Ina Drew, who was forced to leave JPMorgan Chase & Co. amid a record trading loss last year, said she relied on other executives to manage a complex book of credit derivatives and didn’t learn of their “deceptive conduct” until after she left the company.

Investment banking revenues on course for strong year
Farah Khalique – Financial News
The first hints that the best-performing investment banks will enjoy a better first quarter than last year have emerged with figures showing that fees for some are up by more than 40%, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Fed’s Fisher Says Too-Big-to-Fail Banks Should Be Shrunk
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said the government should break up the biggest U.S. banks rather than allow them to hold a “too-big- to-fail” advantage over smaller firms.

Goldman Sachs Names Barg Head of M&A Capital Markets
Dow Jones
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. named Steven Barg as head of mergers and acquisitions capital markets in New York, a new position.

HSBC Set to Cut Thousands More Jobs
HSBC is gearing up for thousands more job cuts, with Europe’s biggest bank by market value set to outline the next stage in its strategic overhaul at an investor day in two months’ time. The Financial Times reports.

Deutsche Bank Suspends Exchange-Traded Note Issuance Until April
Deutsche Bank AG is suspending offerings of new shares for 26 exchange-traded notes until it updates financial statements after an April shareholder meeting.

Ex-Deutsche Bank Broker, 5 Others Face 2014 Insider-Trade Trial
Former Deutsche Bank AG managing director Martyn Dodgson and five others will face a September 2014 trial on insider-trading charges. The trial is scheduled to last as long as three months, according to information from a court hearing today.

Morgan Stanley’s Parker Changes His S&P 500 Target After Getting The Market Multiple Wrong… Again
Business Insider
Adam Parker, Morgan Stanley’s top U.S. equity strategist, has been on the more bearish end of Wall Street when it comes to forecasting what stocks will do.

Senior former RBS bankers launch Hillbrook Partners
Giles Turner and Matt Turner – Financial News
Two of the best-regarded bankers in Royal Bank of Scotland’s advisory unit, which closed in January after the bank failed to find a buyer, have launched a new firm staffed by former colleagues.

Nomura’s Nath Leaves for Macquarie
Isabella Steger and Cynthia Koons – Deal Journal – WSJ
A senior mergers and acquisitions banker has left Nomura Holdings Inc. 8604.TO -2.89% in Hong Kong to join Macquarie Group MQG.AU -2.87%, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Saxo Capital Markets Launches ISA Trading Account
Saxo Capital Markets UK, the multi-asset online trading and investment specialist, launches today a Stocks & Shares ISA account in cooperation with ISA Manager European Pensions Management Limited.

Mizuho Securities USA Expands Fixed Income Platform With Senior Emerging Markets Sales and Trading Appointments

Indexes & Products

Canada promotes exchange-traded fund penetration
Ungad Chadda – Financial News
It is commonly believed that the SPDR S&P 500, which was launched in the US in January 1993, was the first exchange-traded fund.


Data giants go head to head with challengers
Tom Osborn – Financial News
Competition in the market for data and analytics is getting tougher. It has long been dominated by large firms, whose sheer muscle power in terms of technology and distribution has seen off challengers. But as clients look for fresh ways to cut costs, small and nimble competitors, able to undercut the entrenched providers, are beginning to gain traction.


SEC Charges Hedge Fund Firm Sigma Capital with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that New York-based hedge fund advisory firm Sigma Capital Management has agreed to pay nearly $14 million to settle charges that the firm engaged in insider trading based on nonpublic information obtained through one of its analysts about the quarterly earnings of Dell and Nvidia Corporation.

SEC Charges San Diego Lawyers and Others in an International Market Manipulation Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a group of Canadian stock promoters, two San Diego attorneys, a Bahamas-based broker-dealer, and other participants in an international “pump-and-dump” scheme involving two publicly traded U.S. companies, Pacific Blue Energy Corporation and Tradeshow Marketing Company Ltd.

UK’s Financial Services Fines Authority Lamprell Plc L2,428,300 For Systems And Controls Failings
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Lamprell plc (Lamprell) £2,428,300 for significant failings in its systems and controls resulting in Listing Rules and related breaches. Lamprell could not adequately monitor its financial performance against its budget and against market expectations and therefore failed in its obligations as a listed company to keep the market fully informed of its deteriorating financial position during early 2012.

Environmental & Energy

EPA may delay proposed greenhouse gas limits for power plants
The Washington Post
The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and anger many environmentalists.

Obama pushes research fund, seeks common ground on energy policy
President Barack Obama tried to move past partisan fights over energy policy on Friday with a modest proposal to fund research into cars that run on anything but gasoline.

Skeptical Environmentalist opposes propping up EU carbon credits
A Danish economist who gained fame as a skeptic of risks posed by global warming but now calls for international efforts to deal with it said the European Union should not approve a proposal to boost the price of carbon permits because that would not reduce emissions globally.


Bribery Allegations Surfaced Against WSJ in China
The Justice Department last year opened an investigation into allegations that employees at The Wall Street Journal’s China news bureau bribed Chinese officials for information for news articles.

Thai Bourse Market Report For February
Daily Average Trading Volume Up 80 Pct Year-On-Year To USD 2.07 Bln – Market Cap At THB 13.14 Trillion, Up 11 Pct From End-2011 – Derivatives Trading Up 98 Pct Year-On-Year At 67,777 Contracts Per Day

Singapore-based banks under pressure to hire more locals
Reuters via Yahoo! Finance
Banks and other firms in Singapore are under pressure to hire more locals and give them opportunities to advance as the government of the wealthy Asian financial centre tries to contain public anger over its policy to attract foreign talent.

Japan Exchange Group: Notice Of Revision To Earnings Forecast And Dividend Forecast For The Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2013

Abstract Of President And CEO Of Shenzhen Stock Exchange Song Liping’s Remarks At Press Conference

Shenzhen Stock Exchange Releases 2012 Retail Investor Survey Report

Dalian Commodity Exchange.: Notice On The Trading Of New Contracts

Frontier Markets

DGCX Pledges Support For UAE’s Bid To Host 2020 World Expo
The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) today announced its official support for the UAE’s bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. The Exchange will seek to raise awareness of the bid through its international outreach programmes.

ADX Discusses Cooperation With Korean Counterpart
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) received last week a delegation from Korea Stock Exchange (KRX). The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January of the year 2013 and the visit comes to further develop the ongoing cooperation between the exchanges under the terms of the MoU.

Satya Capital shifts down a gear for new Africa fund
Alec Macfarlane – Financial News
Satya Capital, the London-based African private equity investor chaired by Sudanese-born telecoms billionaire Mo Ibrahim, has scaled back its fundraising ambitions for its second fund.

Third Meeting Of The Financial Stability Board Regional Consultative Group For The Middle East And North Africa
Today, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency hosted the third meeting of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for the Middle East and North Africa (RCG-MENA) in Riyadh City. In 2011, six regional consultative groups

Tehran Stock Exchange New Year Holidays’ Announcement
Tehran Stock Exchange will be closed from Tuesday, March 19 to Sunday, March 24 to celebrate the Iranian New Year – Nowruz – Holidays. Our offices will reopen on Monday, March 25, 2013.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange Market Report For The Week Ended 15 March 2013

NASDAQ Dubai Academy Training Sessions To Cover Anti-Money Laundering And Sanctions


Former Lehman CFO Erin Callan: ‘Don’t do it like me’
Former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan talks to NBC News’ Ann Curry about the firestorm surrounding her recent oped in the New York Times. Callan discusses “leaning in,” her choice to pursue her career over motherhood, and why she’s now wondering if she made the right choice.

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