Industry news

Date: Oct 11, 2013

October 11, 2013: CME Group, futures regulator to part with struggling AlphaMetrix; CFTC’s O’Malia: Billions in Contracts Traded as Swap Platforms Ramp Up; Nasdaq CEO Considers Testing Ground for Trading Software

Financial integrity firm AlphaMetrix reveals that its own internal controls haven’t worked properly, and the NFA and others are backing away from compliance relationships. SEF week number 1 has come and gone, and the CFTC reports hundreds of billions of dollars worth of swaps were transacted. Nasdaq’s CEO suggests creating a “production site” for a wide array of exchange participants to test their technology before inflicting it upon the trading public.

First Read

Managed Futures Bloomberged, Part 2.0: Starting Over From the Beginning
By John Lothian

I became a CTA in part because Jon Matte did not want to charge fees to his clients that he felt he did not deserve. Jon was running Defender Capital Management and had taken the management fee off his managed futures program because a change in the markets caused his system to not trade as actively as it should have.

Defender had a 30-year bond futures trading program he launched in 1999 and was one of the most successful CTA trading programs I had tracked for the last three years as of July 2001. I was a broker at The Price Futures Group and and registered with Price Asset Management. I had signed Defender to a marketing agreement and helped him reach $5 million in assets under management.

However, in September of 2001 the world changed. Jon was out of the markets when the planes hit the towers in New York, but he was impacted nonetheless. One big client, with $2 million in an account, took his money out to meet margin calls for programs hit with losses from those terrible days.

Yep, there’s more to this story, too! For the thrilling conclusion, visit the JLN blog at


Kurt Oeler

Kurt Oeler of OptionMonster Discusses Options Education

OptionMonster recently expanded into distance learning and extended their product line with more interactive programs, digital workbooks, and one-on-one mentoring. Kurt Oeler, who was recently promoted to president of OptionMonster from vice president and general manager, spoke with JLN’s Sarah Rudolph about the new developments at the company – a division of OptionMonster Holdings, Inc. – and the challenges of educating traders about options. According to Oeler, clients need a grounding in the basics before they can apply given options strategies, and some don’t fully understand that it takes a lot of time and practice to really learn all the elements involved in trading options. He also discusses the Najarians’ forthcoming book, “How We Trade Options,” a sequel to Jon Najarian’s book “How I Trade Options.” The new book covers topics such as weeklys and other new options products and also takes a personal approach by recounting some of the Najarian brothers’ journey from the Chicago open-outcry pits to the world of algorithmic trading.

Watch the video »


CME Group, futures regulator to part with struggling AlphaMetrix
The parent company of a firm CME Group Inc and the National Futures Association hired to help launch a program to improve futures customer protections said on Thursday it had financial problems and was working to improve internal controls.

***JK – Devastating news from AlphaMetrix, not to mention for the managed funds business. The letter quoted in the story from the firm, and obtained by John Lothian News, states that AlphaMetrix “has recently encountered significant cash flow issues and is working to strengthen its current financial position and its continued operations. As a result of this, the CPO has delayed fee rebates owed to certain of its third-party money managers and participants, which should have been reinvested into various pools, but were not. The fact that these fee rebates were not reinvested may have an impact on the pool’s net asset values. Additionally, the CPO has not paid management and incentive fees that were earned and owed to third party managers, yet it has withdrawn those fees from various pools.”

The letter also says that “AlphaMetrix’s and the CPO’s liabilities greatly exceed their liquid assets.”

In short, AlphaMetrix, which has prided itself as a rock solid organization that ensures financial integrity of the hedge funds and CTAs that are in its database for its clients, is now saying its own internal accounting and payments to those firms is inadequate. How they survive and repair this financial and reputational damage, given it strikes at the heart of the very services they tout, is a serious question. Accounting firm Arthur Bell has been hired to sort out the accounting issue, according to the letter.


Paul Murphy is Running the 2013 Chicago Marathon for Multiple Sclerosis
Paul Murphy is running the Chicago Marathon for Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. It is a cause very close to his family’s heart. Please make a donation for his efforts on his page at

***** Paul gets to run. I had to get out of jail for MS.


NYSE Open to Major Changes in Market Structure Debate, CEO Says
Sam Mamudi – Bloomberg
NYSE Euronext, the biggest U.S. stock exchange owner, is willing to consider major changes to how it does business as part of a discussion on reworking the structure of American markets, according to Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer.

***** You are darn right they are.


NYSE Euronext hikes data fees
Tim Cave – Financial News
NYSE Euronext has increased its fees for data on major European indices, making it the latest in a string of exchange operators seeking to reap more revenues from information services.

***** Don’t think of this as a fee increase, think of this as a revenue enhancement to guarantee continued delivery of valuable information.


96.8% of trades placed in the US stock market are cancelled
Simone Foxman – Quartz
New data from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that only 3.2% of the orders placed in the stock market in the second quarter of 2013 actually went through. Although the SEC isn’t saying as much, experts think it’s a sign that high-frequency trading are flooding the market with orders, overwhelming the average retail or institutional investor.

***** How about 96.8% of bids and offers placed are cancelled, not trades. It isn’t a trade until the fat lady sings.


Yves Baguet To Leave Clearstream – Richard Green To Succeed As CIO Of Clearstream And CTO Of Deutsche Börse Group
Yves Baguet, Member of the Executive Board of Clearstream International S.A., Clearstream’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and, since February 2013, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Deutsche Börse Group, has decided to leave the company on amicable terms effective 15 October 2013 in order to pursue new challenges. Richard Green, currently running one of the application development departments for Clearstream’s core business, will succeed Yves Baguet as CIO of Clearstream, and, ad interim, as CTO of Deutsche Börse Group.


Bloomberg Takes Another Shot at Alternatives
Dan Collins | Dan Collins Report
When a story comes out that is so slanted, so obviously part of an agenda — it is hard to know where to begin in responding to it. First off, let’s point out the obvious, Bloomberg Magazine appears to have reached a conclusion in its Oct. 7 story, “How Investors Lose 89 Percent of Gains from Futures Funds,” before it was even written. Similar to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek story in July on Hedge funds, “Cover Trail: The Hedge Fund Myth,” it reveals an agenda as well as a lack of understanding of the industry it is covering.

***** Dan Collins gets into the weeds of the Bloomberg managed futures story like the bulldog reporter he is.


TABB CEO Examines Fragmentation vs. Competition in Reg NMS Market Structure Report, Says ‘Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit’
Different investors and firms view the US equity markets differently, says market structure expert Larry Tabb, CEO of the research and consulting firm TABB Group – but how to fix the market depends upon their trading perspective. According to Tabb in a new research report, “Regulation NMS (Part II), Plugging the Gaps: Where You Stand Depends upon Where You Sit,” the key question is, what do they deem broken and in need of repair?

***** If you sit in a dark pool, do you get your assets wet?


‘Trader’: The Rare Tudor Jones Film Has Brief Run on YouTube
Christian Berthelesen – MoneyBeat – WSJ
According to Wall Street lore, billionaire fund manager Paul Tudor Jones hated the 1987 PBS documentary about him, “Trader,” so much that he bought up all the videotape copies in existence and asked the public network to stop airing it.

***** Look for the young Peter Borish in these videos.



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Lead Stories

CFTC’s O’Malia: Billions in Contracts Traded as Swap Platforms Ramp Up
Jacob Bunge – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Hundreds of billions of dollars in swap contracts have traded across new U.S. platforms that opened for business last week, according to a senior derivatives-market regulator.

Nasdaq CEO Considers Testing Ground for Trading Software
Jacob Bunge –
Exchanges should consider developing a central testing ground for new trading functions, the chief executive of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) said. A facility for exchanges, brokers and others to test new services to work out any potential bugs would improve the securities industry’s chances of avoiding market-technology failures that have vexed regulators and investors, said Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq OMX.

EU firms forced to take action to avoid US clearing rules
Anish Puaar – Financial News
US banks are facing a loss of business from small and mid-tier European buyside firms because of the cross-border application of derivatives rules included the US’ Dodd-Frank Act.

Currency risk fears delay CME Europe
Philip Stafford in London –
CME Group’s plans to launch a London derivatives exchange is being held up by concerns at the Bank of England that it could pose systemic risk to the currency trading markets, according to two people familiar with the situation.

CBOE Reopens VIX Futures Trading
Kaitlyn Kiernan – MoneyBeat – WSJ
CBOE Holdings Inc., operator of the largest options exchange by trading volume, reopened trading in its Volatility Index futures after technical issues caused a delay early Thursday.

U.S. exploring ways to modify release of sensitive economic data: WSJ
Federal officials are exploring ways to modify how the government releases sensitive economic data, in an effort to bring the system in line with fast-moving financial markets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Big fund managers go into battle over tougher US capital rules
Stephen Foley in New York and Gina Chon in Washington –
The world’s largest fund managers are preparing a lobbying push to forestall tougher capital rules in the US and greater oversight of their activities, which have been mooted in the name of financial market stability.

Britain Weighs Creating System to Reward Whistle-Blowers
Chad Bray –
The British government is considering creating a reward system, similar to ones in the United States, to encourage whistle-blowers to come forward to root out fraud and other white-collar crime.

Grain trade in the dark without monthly USDA crop report
For the first time in 40 years, farmers, exporters, processors and traders will have to live without a key monthly crop report that they rely on to forecast market direction because of the U.S. government shutdown.

CTA trend followers suffer in market dominated by intervention
Emma Cusworth –
As correlations return to normal, many CTAs hope for better performance, citing market intervention by central banks as effectively stopping markets from trending and creating short, sharp reversals

Monetary activism has little to show for it
Martin Wolf –
Six years have passed since the financial crisis in the high-income economies became evident. Five years have passed since the failure of Lehman Brothers unleashed turmoil. Four years have passed since the discovery of Greek statistical malfeasance launched the eurozone crisis. So where is the world economy? Start with a truth too easily forgotten: the state of the high-income economies remains extraordinarily feeble.


SEC Official to Muni Underwriters: “Don’t Get Cute”
Mike Cherney – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Peter Chan, assistant regional director in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of enforcement, had some advice Thursday for municipal-bond underwriters when dealing with regulators: “Don’t get cute.”

The New World of SEF Trading: Paving the Way for Change in Trading OTC Derivatives
Tim Dodd – Wall Street & Technology
As electronic trading in OTC derivatives takes place on swap execution facilities, market participants will increasingly rely on technologies like smart order routing, algorithmic trading, market making order management, and DMA, writes SunGard Front Arena’s Tim Dodd.

CFTC Rushes, Bungles Swap Market Reform; Industry Plays Along
Allan D. Grody – American Banker
Recent announcements from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission confirm the hurried, almost frenzied implementation of the new electronic swaps market, an integral part of banks’ asset/liability and risk management programs.

Mark Kronforst Named Chief Accountant In Division Of Corporation Finance
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Mark Kronforst has been named chief accountant of its Division of Corporation Finance.

SEC: Remarks of Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director of Enforcement, SCCE Annual Conference

B.C. Securities Commission to look for answers to current junior mining downturn

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Aluminium producers vent fury at LME changes to warehousing rules
Jack Farchy –
Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have been the focus of a storm of criticism of their metals warehouses during the summer. However, aluminium smelters such as Alcoa and Rusal may bear the brunt of the financial impact.

LME Has a Few Hangovers After its Party
Laura Clarke – MoneyBeat – WSJ
As the London Metal Exchange’s annual shindig in London draws to a close, the exchange’s new hierarchy may feel a sense of relief that it’s all over. While many attend the week for the social aspect, serious business is also done there. This year, though, it’s also been a platform for some to air their grievances with the exchange.

No plans to change haircuts on US Treasury collateral, CME says
Matt Cameron, Tom Osborn –
CME Group has declared it has no plans to change haircuts on US Treasury bills used as collateral for cleared trades, despite an ongoing political stand-off that could result in a default of US government debt.

Eris Exchange: October News
Open Interest Highlights; Par Rate Equivalents ; Delta Hedging OTC Swaptions; FIA Expo: November 4- 6, 2013; Eris Webinar Playback; CME Group GFLC Sponsor Said to Let Go One-Third of Employees to Cut Costs
Matthew Leising and Lisa Abramowicz – Bloomberg Group Inc. let go about a third of its workforce to cuts costs as it considers strategic options for the firm, according to people familiar with the matter. The New York-based electronic trading system dismissed more than 10 employees yesterday in an effort to reduce costs, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are private. The company listed 36 employees in its most-recent annual filing.
(via email)

Xetra/FWB: Vancamel AG Listed In Prime Standard

NZX: Clarification Of Inaccurate Statements In Media Reports

Hellenic Exchanges S.A. – Completion Of The Publication Formalities For The Draft Merger Agreement; Availability Of Merger Documents

Program Trading Averaged 30.4 Percent Of NYSE Volume During Sept. 30-Oct. 4

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Vanguard may curb 401k trading by Southwest pilots
Vanguard Group is throwing its considerable heft into a battle between fund companies and investment newsletters. The mutual fund company is threatening to prevent Southwest Airlines pilots who subscribe to a monthly newsletter called 401k Maximizer from purchasing the three Vanguard funds in their union’s retirement plan, according to officials at Vanguard, the pilots union and the newsletter.

Fixing operational due diligence red flags helps hedge funds attract investors

Top global hedge fund Brevan Howard takes emerging markets hit
Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms with $40 billion in assets, is posting lackluster performance in its flagship fund and heavy losses in its emerging market portfolio.

Flagship Citadel funds could close to new money
Harriet Agnew – Financial News
Citadel Investment Group, Ken Griffin’s $16 billion hedge fund manager, is considering closing its two flagship funds to new money.

Step one in zombie prevention: pants on
Dan McCrum | FT Alphaville
Common Sense Investment Management has not joined the ranks of the walking dead, quite yet. However, the fund of hedge funds — which until August managed $3.2bn — has seen investors pull 90 per cent of assets since the firm’s founder was arrested in connection to a prostitution sting, according to CNBC.

Weill Invests in Silicon Valley Finance Start-Up
Sanford I. Weill, a former chief of Citigroup who built the bank into a behemoth through a series of deals, has invested in Level, a start-up in San Francisco that aims to make it easier for young people to manage their finances, the company announced on Thursday.

CPPIB, Dexus Bid for Australia Office Property Fund — Update
A consortium comprising one of Canada’s biggest pension fund managers and Dexus Property Group has made a non-binding bid for Commonwealth Property Office Fund, valuing the owner of Australian office buildings at 2.7 billion Australian dollars.

Argentina to pay $500 mln to end disputes at World Bank -report
Argentina will offer about $500 million to resolve disputes with corporations at a World Bank arbitration panel, a financial daily newspaper reported on Thursday.

Institute Hires Christopher Cathey as Senior Trading Mentor

Banks & Brokers

Suit Revives Goldman Conflict Issue
At a March 2012 meeting, a group of examiners at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed that Goldman Sachs had inadequate procedures to guard against conflicts of interest — guidelines aimed at stopping firms from putting their pursuit of profit ahead of their clients’ best interests.

J.P. Morgan, U.S. Far Apart on Mortgage Pact
Devlin Barrett and Dan Fitzpatrick –
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and the Department of Justice remain far apart on a potential multibillion-dollar pact that would resolve several probes into the bank’s sales of mortgage bonds and settle potential criminal and civil charges, people close to the talks said.

Australian Lender Westpac to Pay $1.37 Billion for Lloyds Loans
Robb M. Stewart –
Westpac Banking Corp. agreed to buy the Australian assets of U.K. lender Lloyds Banking Group PLC, further concentrating the local banking market and potentially drawing regulators’ scrutiny.

BNP Paribas makes senior Asia appointments
Michelle Price in Hong Kong – Financial News
BNP Paribas, which earlier this year outlined aggressive plans to grow its investment banking and wealth management businesses in Asia, has made two senior appointments in Singapore.

The shadow banking system, crunched one way or another
Cardiff Garcia | FT Alphaville
Here’s a useful assessment of both shadow banking’s relationship to the real economy and how it will be affected by forthcoming regulatory reforms, by strategists at Barclays.

BOE Officially Boring, Economists Say
Richard Barley – MoneyBeat – WSJ
“Our ambition at the Bank of England is to be boring,” former Governor Mervyn King famously said back in 2000. And after the excitement of the global financial crisis, his successor, Mark Carney, appears to be delivering on that ambition.

Clearing & Settlement

CME Clearing: NYMEX Options Expiration Operational Procedures for the Trading Floor and Clearing Members (OS) Effective Friday, October 11, 2013

Indexes & Products

Ibex 35 finds favour with foreign investors
Jonathan López –
Spain’s main benchmark index is seeing increased interest from investors abroad following its devaluation throughout the financial crisis, say bankers. The Ibex 35 peaked at 16,000 points in 2007 but is now almost half that, leaving some investors confident it has turned the corner

India in talks with JPMorgan, others to join bond indexes
Business Standard
India is talking with JPMorgan and others to gain entry to benchmark indexes for emerging market debt in hopes of attracting billions of dollars in investment and may ease some restrictions on foreign inflows in order to do so, sources said.

Demand For SGX FTSE China A50 Index Futures Rises To A New Level
Yesterday, PowerShares, a leading ETF provider, launched a new ETF that tracks the FTSE China A50 Index. The ETF will invest primarily in the SGX FTSE China A50 Index Futures to track the Index.

Composition Of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Corporate Bond Indices as of October 15-th, 2013


SunGard Announces Departure of Harold Finders
SunGard, one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, today announced a plan to simplify the leadership structure of SunGard Financial Systems. Under the new model, Financial Systems will have two operating executives reporting directly to Russ Fradin, SunGard’s president and CEO. As a result of this change, Harold Finders, currently CEO of Financial Systems, has decided to leave the company on January 31, 2014.

tradeMONSTER and mPower Announce Strategic Partnership
tradeMONSTER and mPower Trading Systems today announced that tradeMONSTER customers, effective immediately, have access to the acclaimed Prodigio trading platform. Furthermore, Prodigio users may now choose tradeMONSTER as their execution broker for equities trading.


Previously Unknown Insider Traders in Heinz Agree to $5 Million Settlement
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that two brothers in Brazil have agreed to pay nearly $5 million to settle charges that they were behind suspicious trading in call options for H.J. Heinz Company the day before the company publicly announced its acquisition.

Libor Scandal’s ‘Rain Man’ Has New Legal Muscle Onside
Nick Kostov – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Tom Hayes, the former trader facing criminal charges related to alleged Libor manipulation, looks like he just changed the playbook.

US moves to enforce $470m Barclays energy prices fine
Gregory Meyer in New York –
The US electricity markets regulator has filed a lawsuit in California to try to enforce a $470m fine against Barclays for allegedly manipulating US energy prices, setting the stage for a protracted court battle.

[AMF Canada] Six and a half years in prison for Pierre Jolicoeur

Environmental & Energy

EPA Considers U.S. Ethanol Mandate Cut Amid Complaints
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering scaling back legal requirements on the use of ethanol next year amid complaints from refiners that statutory mandates would exceed their ability to blend it into fuels without putting engines at risk.

Hedegaard: More 2030 climate targets would be ‘wise’
The EU’s climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, has delivered a robust defence of EU climate policy and the need for ambitions to be raised higher than just one carbon dioxide emissions reduction target for 2030.

Southeast Asia agrees to adopt haze monitoring system
Southeast Asian nations agreed on Wednesday to adopt a new system to improve monitoring of smog caused by fires, an attempt to make plantation companies more accountable following the region’s worst air pollution crisis in 16 years.


Grave digger to gold digger: Singapore business shifts feed governance worries
A funeral parlor switches into gold mining; a steel trader turns into a property developer; and a food packaging firm ventures into resources. Reverse takeovers and shifting corporate business strategies on Singapore’s stock market have come under the spotlight in the wake of a recent collapse in the share prices of three companies listed on Southeast Asia’s biggest bourse.

Shanghai Stock Exchange Denies Rumor Of Launching International Board Through Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone
As there is a rumor on the market that the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) will launch an International Board through the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, it is recently learnt from the SSE that, it has neither considered nor studied launching any International Board through the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone so far. Presently, no schedule for launching the International Board has been formulated yet.

The 4th Session Of Training Course For Board Secretary Of ChiNext Board Follow-Up Course Held By Shenzhen Stock Exchange On Prevention And Control Of Insider Trading And Speculation Over Restructuring

Frontier Markets

Nigeria Stock Exchange cleans up its act
Javier Blas –
When Oscar Onyema took over as chief executive of the Nigeria Stock Exchange in 2011, the second-largest bourse by market capitalisation in sub-Saharan African, many of the companies listed on it were a byword for scandal and corruption. Three years on, the former Wall Street executive is cleaning house, winning praise at home and overseas for his fight against malpractice. Over the past two years, he has focused on rebuilding the corporate governance of the exchange itself.

Threadneedle opens in Malaysia, eyes Islamic funds
Britain’s fourth largest retail fund manager, Threadneedle Investments, plans to offer a range of sharia compliant funds in Malaysia, as the Islamic fund sector gradually revives after years of stagnant growth.

NSEL crisis: EOW arrests Jai Bahukhandi
The noose is tightening around NSEL. Second arrest has been made by the economic offenses wing (EOW). The man who was incharge of warehousing at the debt-ridden spot exchange is now behind bars. The Forward Markets Commission in its show cause notice raps the Financial Technologies board and NSEL promoter Jignesh Shah saying they were aware of the crisis at the National Spot Exchange, reports CNBC-TV18’s Ashmit Kumar.

FMC starts taking control over MCX board
The Forward Markets Commission has begun taking control of the MCX board. CNBC-TV18 was the first to report that the Financial Technologies Group’s representation on MCX board was likely to fall to one from current four members, reports Varinder Bansal.

MCX Weekly Market Report October 04, 2013 – October 10, 2013

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