On the mend
John Lothian reported in yesterday. He had a rough night before last, which happens when you pull out the IVs that pipe in the pain medicine. So he thought he would stay another day in the hospital, watch some more “Live with Kelly and Michael,” eat some more hospital food and ponder what else surgeons might work on next.


Under New Management: Alan Campbell Looks To Expand Interest In Bloomberg Commodity Index
Jim Kharouf – JLN

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index, or BCOM, was taken on by Bloomberg in a partnership with UBS last July and now has several months as its new administrator. The index, previously known as the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index, is traded as a futures contract at CME Group and Eurex, as well as as an ETF, but it has much more potential ahead of it, said Alan Campbell, global product manager, head of buisness development of Bloomberg Indices.

“The capability is already there to trade the product,” Campbell told John Lothian News. “We need to do a job in educating people on the different types of access points.”

Read the rest of the article on JohnLothianNews.com


Futures For Kids Stair Climbing Results
Last week, in London, about 70 walkers raised around £30,000 and other activities for FFK Day will have raised another £10,000 or so.
In Chicago, stair climbers Nick Garrow – Societe Generale / Newedge, Pierre Tamisier – Societe Generale / Newedge, Ian Grieves – Object Trading, Russell Levens – GH Financials, Peter Hutchison – Triana, Steve “the Mountain Goat” Chivers – Jefferies. The group climbed (on the stairmaster at the health club FFC, a total of 1,811 floors, which is 30 times the CBOT building and 18 times the Willis (really Sears) Tower. The group raised over $3,100 for the cause with Garrow leading the way with 602 floors, and Tamisier doing 600 floors. Not bad for a couple hours of climbing.


Tour Trading Technologies’ office: Pretty patents and a bar full of history
Chicago Tribune
Trading Technologies, which builds technology for derivatives traders, has been around for more than 20 years. A year ago, the company consolidated three floors into two at 222 S. Riverside Plaza. CEO Rick Lane took Blue Sky for a spin.

**JK – If you haven’t been to the TT Tech Tap for an event, or visit, I’d highly recommend.


Wall Street Paychecks to Get Bigger
MoneyBeat – WSJ
Finance workers can expect a small lift in their paychecks this year. Payouts in the financial-services sector are poised for a modest increase, according to compensation consultancy Johnson Associates, as varying levels of market activity and deal making around the world help some businesses and dampen others.


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NYSE creates a new bitcoin index
The New York Stock Exchange is diving deeper into the world of Bitcoin with the introduction of a bitcoin pricing index.
The index, which will be made available through NYSE’s Global Index Feed and free on its website for a limited time, is intended to serve as a definitive benchmark for valuing the currency — in the same way that the LIBOR index is used to measure global interest rates.

**JK – Hmm, this Bitcoin thing is catching on.


A Scientific View of Wall Street Ethics
MoneyBeat – WSJ
A survey of ethics in the financial sector has set many hands a-wringing. Despite an overhaul of financial regulation and earnest promises by all to leave any traces of unethical or illegal behavior in the past, 47% of respondents to a survey of 1,200 financial professionals released Tuesday said it is likely their competitors had engaged in wrong-doing. On first impression, that seems startling. If traders, investment bankers and money managers themselves see the business as corrupt, others should approach financial markets warily. Yet not everything is as it seems.

**JK – As my favorite wrestler turned governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura used to say “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”


Lead Stories

Regulators Point to Risks From Rapid-Fire Trading, Clearing
The rise of computerized trading and the changing roles of big banks are reshaping financial markets and potentially raising new vulnerabilities, U.S. regulators said in their annual report on financial-system threats. The Financial Stability Oversight Council—a group of senior officials including the heads of the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission—also pointed to emerging risks from clearinghouses, a group of middlemen firms that have become a crucial part of market infrastructure.

***JK – So you reshuffled all the cards, changed the game and what da you know, you still have risk.

UBS to Pay Over $500 Million in Fines for Manipulating Currencies and Libor
The Swiss bank UBS said on Wednesday that it would pay more than $500 million in fines to the authorities in the United States for its role in the manipulation of currency markets and benchmark interest rates. UBS said it would not face a criminal charge over currency misconduct but would be required to separately plead guilty to a criminal charge for its prior conduct over the manipulation of the interest rates, including the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, after the Justice Department tore up a 2012 nonprosecution agreement.

***JK – Just curious, with record fines, where exactly does all that money go?

Five big banks face criminal charges and $5 bln bill over FX rigging
Five of the world’s biggest banks are expected to be hit with a combined bill of more than $5 billion and criminal charges on Wednesday in a settlement with U.S. and British authorities over rigging of currency markets.

Euronext Soothed Skeptics When CEO Quit by Sticking to Strategy
Bloomberg Business
Euronext NV management and investors were surprised when Dominique Cerutti said he was leaving the European exchange operator. They appear to have gotten over it.

CME sees more contracts after June power launch
Futures & Options World
CME Group has said it will launch more power contracts after it starts on June 15 phase one of CME Europe’s power initiative with the launch of eight European power contracts. “We expect to add further power contracts on additional market areas in due course, in order to offer our clients choice and efficiency across their European energy needs,” senior director for energy EMEA at CME Group, Henrik Hasselknippe, told FOW.

Financial Stability Oversight Council Releases Fifth Annual Report – Council Votes To Further Enhance Transparency And Governance
Press Release
The Financial Stability Oversight Council (Council) today unanimously approved its 2015 annual report, which was developed collaboratively by the members of the Council and their agencies and staffs. This annual report, which is the Council’s fifth, provides a consolidated and unified view of the key challenges facing our financial system and offers a road map of the Council’s key priorities for the upcoming year.

Debate Over Currency Cheating Intensifies in Trade Talks
Thirty-six years ago, Japan lowered import tariffs on foreign automobiles to zero, ostensibly opening the world’s fourth-largest auto market to full international competition. Yet United States automakers say 93 percent of the cars on Japan’s well-tended roads are still made in Japan by Japanese companies.

Buy-side ‘can’t justify’ clearing OTC derivatives in Europe yet
The Trade News
Buy-siders at this year’s Euroclear Collateral Conference have said they are not clearing OTC derivatives in Europe until regulators make it mandatory. With the rollout of new central clearing rules for OTC derivatives now penciled in for early 2016, the general consensus among panelists and the audience was that they would not be clearing the bilateral products prior to implementation.

When Central Bankers Whisper Secrets
Bloomberg View
At a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve is being probed for leaking information to investment firm Medley Global Advisors, you’d think central banks worldwide would want their interactions with market players to be as impeccable and unimpeachable as possible. To its shame, the European Central Bank seems to have no such ambitions.


CFTC’s Massad says “special call” problem fixed, but Giancarlo skeptical
Neil Roland, MLex
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has solved a problem that led to hundreds of trading information requests being erroneously sent to companies, Chairman Timothy Massad said, though the agency’s Republican commissioner expressed skepticism.

Senate Democrats Counter-Offer GOP on Financial Regulation Bill
Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are poised to oppose a Republican-backed bill altering financial-sector oversight, throwing a roadblock in front of legislation with wide support from the banking industry.

SEC Chief of Staff Lona Nallengara to Leave Agency
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that SEC Chief of Staff Lona Nallengara will be leaving the agency at the end of June. SEC Chair Mary Jo White named Mr. Nallengara as chief of staff in May 2013. He is the lead advisor to the Chair on all issues involving the SEC, including policy development, rulemaking, strategy, and management of the agency. He also serves as the SEC deputy to the Financial Stability Oversight Council and is the primary SEC liaison with other financial regulators.

Risk Data Aggregation: Why Regulators and Banks Are Finally Paying Attention
Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, Practical Law, Thomson Reuters
A summary of the risk data aggregation principles and requirements applicable to banks.

SIFMA Outlines Five-Part Effort To Address Cyber Threats In Testimony To Congress
Press Release
SIFMA president and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., today testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit hearing entitled, “Protecting Critical Infrastructure: How the Financial Sector Addresses Cyber Threats.”

CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee Announces Agenda for Upcoming Public Meeting
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced the agenda for the upcoming Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) public meeting that will be held on June 2, 2015 at CFTC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Bank Of England Release Of Historic Minutes
Press Release
The Bank of England today published the minutes of Court from 1976-87 and Committee of Treasury minutes from 1947-87, marking the last substantial publication in a series of historic minute releases.

ASIC Releases First Licensing Activity Report
Press Release
ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said the report is intended to assist applicants, current licensees and professional registrants better understand ASIC’s assessment of applications and highlight areas of specific focus, to improve overall and ongoing compliance.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Eurex: Weekly Euro Bund Options Successfully Launched – Average Daily Volume Around 9,000 Contracts So Far In May
Press Release
The launch of Euro Bund options with weekly expiration dates on the international derivatives market Eurex Exchange (a subsidiary of Deutsche Börse Group) on 20 April 2015 has met with considerable demand. The average daily traded volume since launch has reached more than 8,000 contracts. Open interest peaked above 61,000 contracts.

Euronext to work with Chinese exchange on ETFs and indices development
The Trade News
Euronext has announced intentions to work with Chinese trading venue Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) to develop ETFs and indices. With demand for exposure to the Chinese markets growing, and entry being facilitated through Hong Kong’s Stock Connect, other exchanges are seeking ways to work with Chinese platforms.

CME Group Announces Eight New European Power Contracts on CME Europe
Press Release
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives market place, announced today the launch of eight new European Power futures contracts on CME Europe. European Power futures are base load and peak load contracts covering the German, French, Spanish and Italian markets and are all cash settled against the leading power auctions for each market. This is a significant expansion of the CME Europe utility slate of contracts and further enhances the choice of contracts available to participants across the whole energy market spectrum.

HKEx says key to build spot market influence in major commodities
The Hong Kong stock exchange said on Wednesday a major issue for the exchange was to ensure it has influence in spot market trading in key commodities in coming years. “Everybody thinks warehouses is a big issue for LME (London Metal Exchange). It is a very big issue for the LME. It is not a very big issue for the Hong Kong Exchange,” Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Chief Executive Charles Li said at a conference.

BATS Chi-X Europe Overhauls ETF Trading Tariffs
Press Release
BATS Chi-X Europe (BATS), Europe’s largest stock exchange, has announced new trading tariffs to incentivise tighter price formation and promote deeper liquidity as it continues its campaign to improve the European marketplace for exchange-traded funds and products (ETFs/ETPs).

London Stock Exchange Targets Cost Cuts, New Revenue In LCH.Clearnet
London South East
London Stock Exchange Group PLC Wednesday said it wants to make an additional EUR40 million in cost savings per year by the end of 2017 in its post trade operations, where it also wants to capture between EUR175 million and EUR250 million per year in potential revenue opportunities by the end of 2018.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

ETF model puts active managers to the test
As this column often notes, active investors charge too much. This is only in part because they are greedy. It mainly reflects the problem that their costs exceed the small returns they can collectively eke out of stock markets over and above market benchmarks.

U.S. panel highlights ETFs, bond funds as potential risks
Exchange-traded funds and fixed income mutual funds could potentially pose risks to the marketplace during times of stress, according to a report released by a panel of U.S. regulators on Tuesday.

Wall St eyes revival of crisis derivative
Banks and large investors are seeking to revive a derivative market widely blamed for its role in fanning the financial crisis, as they search for ways to forestall volatility when interest rates rise.

Banks Have Learned Lessons on Risk Taking: Richard Haass
Bloomberg Business
Richard Haass, president at Council on Foreign Relations, and Bloomberg’s Keri Geiger discuss the potential implications for the banking industry as five banks prepare to plead guilty on FX rigging charges brought by the United States. They speak on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

The $10 Hedge Fund Supercomputer That’s Sweeping Wall Street
Bloomberg Business
It sounds like the mother of all spreadsheets: 1 million rows, 1 million columns — 1 trillion entries in all. Fortunately, Braxton McKee isn’t using Excel. Instead, he’s tapping into the cloud to crunch all that market data on the cheap with software he built that learns as it goes.

Goldman Sachs Sees $45 Oil by October
Bloomberg Business
Bloomberg’s Alix Steel reports on the energy and oil markets. She speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.”

Banks & Brokers

UBS to pay $545 mln over forex scandal, rivals await fate
UBS will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates and pay $545 million to U.S. authorities to settle their probe into alleged manipulation of foreign exchange rates. The Swiss bank’s payment is part of what is expected to be a combined $5 billion settlement by five of the world’s biggest banks with U.S. and British authorities over alleged manipulation of the $5-trillion-a-day forex market.

Icap not keen on “expensive” Trayport – CEO
Futures & Options World
Michael Spencer, chief executive of interdealer broker Icap, has ruled his firm out of the running for Trayport, the energy trading business put up for sale by rival broker BGC Partners last month. Speaking on an earnings call, Spencer told investors: “We have looked at Trayport in the past, it’s a very good asset but we thought it was rather expensive. So I think it’s very [unlikely] unless the price drops markedly.”

JPMorgan executive pay wins slim support from shareholders
Shareholders of JPMorgan Chase & Co narrowly approved on Tuesday the 2014 compensation packages for CEO Jamie Dimon and other top executives in a rebuke from investors over the bank’s pay practices.

Wealth Adviser: Confronting Conflicts Among Broker Teams
MoneyBeat – WSJ
Brokerages have been pushing more of their advisers to operate as teams to improve the overall client experience while better positioning the advisers to grow their practices. But teaming can also lead to conflicts among the advisers, which can drag down morale and productivity, and fracture a team beyond repair. “It’s a real challenge in the industry,” recruiter Danny Sarch tells Wealth Adviser at WSJ.com. When team conflicts do arise, it is often up to local managers to handle the matter. In one case, a manager with Wells Fargo Advisors called in a psychologist to get a troubled team back on track.

ICAP’s EBS And BrokerTec Combine Business Operations And Launch New Brand
Press Release
EBS BrokerTec, ICAP’s market-leading electronic foreign exchange and fixed income business, announces today that six months since EBS and BrokerTec merged divisions under a new management structure it has made significant progress in combining its business operations. In addition, EBS BrokerTec also unveils a new brand and website which can be found at: www.ebsbrokertec.com

Ex-Deutsche Bank trader files case against FCA
Christian Bittar, a former star trader at Deutsche Bank, has lodged a challenge against the UK’s financial regulator, alleging that it improperly identified him when it fined the lender last month as part of a record $2.5bn settlement over Libor manipulation.

Clearing & Settlement

ESMA Publishes Clearing Obligation CP for Additional IRS Classes
The CP follows the publication of clearing obligation CPs for interest rate derivatives classes, credit derivatives classes and foreign-exchange non-deliverable forward (NDF) classes, the publication of a final report on the clearing obligation for certain interest rate derivatives classes, and a feedback statement on NDF classes.

Helping clearing houses avoid a crash
Financial News
Lehman Brothers wasn’t the first bank to fail overnight but when, in 2008, it did, the world’s economy teetered on the brink of collapse. One of the unsung heroes of that harrowing period was clearing house LCH.Clearnet, which was thrust into the heart of the volcano through its role as the middleman in most of the bank’s derivatives trades.

The Debate: managing collateral
Securities Lending Times
DTCC, Torstone, SGSS and State Street give their take on regulatory requirements around OTC derivatives and their opinion on the best collateral management systems.

Banks Give Green Light to Same-Day Payments
American Banker
U.S. banks have approved a proposal to allow consumers and businesses to send same-day electronic payments among the nation’s 12,000 financial institutions, according to the industry organization that developed the idea.

JP Morgan’s top Euro swap clearer leaves
Futures & Options World
JP Morgan has parted company with its European head of swaps clearing Hester Serafini, marking the latest change among the world’s top clearing banks as they adapt to a dynamic regulatory regime.

Indexes & Products

Shenzhen dramatically expands index to increase tech shares ahead of stock connect with
The Straits Times
The Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Wednesday sharply increased the number of stocks included in a benchmark index to 500 from 40, ahead of the planned launch of a cross-border stock connect with Hong Kong.

MSCI Inclusion May Not Boost China Stocks as Much as Hoped
MoneyBeat – WSJ
China’s stock markets have been soaring this year, partly due to hopes that domestic shares will be included in global stock indexes. But the numbers suggest investors might want to curb their expectations: An increased weighting of Chinese stocks in MSCI Inc.MSCI +0.09%’s emerging markets benchmark will be a “game changer” for Chinese firms trading in the U.S., but not for those trading on the mainland, say analysts at Citi.

Smart beta usage growing says FTSE Russell report
The latest FTSE Russell Smart Beta report, Smart Beta: 2015 Global Survey Findings from Asset Owners, found that for strategic allocations of smart beta, ETFs are in demand among respondents with less than USD1 billion in assets under management.

S&P Dow Jones Indices Licenses Several Indices to AccuShares
S&P Dow Jones Indices (“S&P DJI”), one of the world’s leading providers of financial market indices, announced today that is has licensed seven spot indices to AccuShares Investment Management, LLC (“AccuShares”) for the launch of exchange traded funds based upon the indices.

Deutsche Börse Welcomes UniCredit As New ETF Issuer On Xetra
Press Release
The first ever European convertible bond ETF, from new issuer Structured Invest S.A. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of UniCredit Bank AG), has been tradable on Xetra since Wednesday. UniCredit subsidiary HVB sold its Indexchange ETF unit to Barclays in 2007. This new product marks UniCredit’s return to the ETF market.


Technology’s impact on financial market growing
Sarawak Daily News
Technology is starting to have a major impact on the financial market with digitisation and financial innovation developments taking place in the market, said Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Chairman Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh.

Markets bracing for second coming of Y2K as leap second fever takes hold
The Australian
Australian financial markets officials have been quietly working to mitigate any unintended consequences from what many are dubbing the next Y2K bug — a “leap second” due to be included in international time next month.

How London’s Tech City is starting to grow up, whether it wants to or not
The capital’s tech entrepreneurs are attracting big backers and creating major businesses, even if they don’t look quite how some might have expected.


SEC Charges BHP Billiton With Violating FCPA at Olympic Games
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged global resources company BHP Billiton with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when it sponsored the attendance of foreign government officials at the Summer Olympics. BHP Billiton agreed to pay a $25 million penalty to settle the SEC’s charges.

UK court dents flash crash trader’s hopes of bail release
The hopes of Britain’s “flash crash” trader of being released from custody as he fights a U.S. extradition request were dented on Wednesday when the High Court refused to vary his bail conditions.

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority Bans And Fines Paul Reynolds £290,344 For Misleading And Unsuitable Advice
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Paul Reynolds (formerly known as Paul Brian Reynolds) £290,344 and banned him from performing any function in relation to regulated activities on the basis that he is not fit and proper because he lacks integrity.

Hong Kong regulator probes Hanergy for market manipulation -source
Chinese green energy firm Hanergy, whose shares plunged nearly 50 percent on Wednesday, is under investigation by Hong Kong’s market watchdog for alleged market manipulation, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Environmental & Energy

Obama: climate change poses risk to U.S. military, national security
Roberta Rampton – Reuters
By Rising seas, thawing permafrost and longer wildfires caused by warmer global temperatures threaten U.S. military bases and will change the way the U.S. armed services defend the country, President Barack Obama is set to say on Wednesday.

Here’s How Much Cheap Energy Really Costs
Bloomberg Business
“Energy subsidy,” as the phrase is tossed around Washington, typically refers to any financial help the government gives to producers of oil, wind, or other sectors of the energy industry.

Corporate CO2 targets will fail to deliver on 2C target, report warns
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Just a small number of the world’s heaviest emitting companies have set greenhouse gas reduction targets that will be ambitious enough to prevent global temperatures rising by more than 2C by the end of the century, new analysis has shown today.

Confidence in Carbon Market set to continue
Commodities Now
The renewed confidence in the carbon market seen in 2014 is set to continue throughout 2015 according to the respondents of the annual Point Carbon Market Survey from Thomson Reuters.


LME’s Owner Seeks Commodities Trade Link to Mainland China
Bloomberg Business
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. is in the early stage of creating a commodities trading connection with mainland China. HKEx, owner of the London Metal Exchange, the world’s biggest metals bourse, aims to make international benchmark commodity futures available to traders in China while offering mainland contracts to overseas traders, Chief Executive Officer Charles Li said Wednesday.

Financial Secretary Sounds a Warning on Hong Kong Stock Market Fluctuations
Economic Times
Hong Kong’s stock market suddenly became much more active following the Easter holiday. Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang said in a conference on May 18 that the increase in stock market activity since the second quarter has resulted in a record market daily turnover.

Some Countries Have Become Less Unequal
Bloomberg Business
The gap between the rich and the poor has been growing across the world. But there is a handful of countries in the Asia-Pacific region where it has decreased, and it isn’t just the Piketty effect.

Even the Bears May Be Too Bullish on China
Bloomberg Business
As China’s economy slows, economists are proving too bullish. The median forecasts in Bloomberg surveys for industrial production, fixed-assets investment and retail sales have all overshot the reality so far in 2015.

Frontier Markets

Foreign investors take up to $15bn from emerging markets in May
Investors have withdrawn as much as $15bn from emerging market bond and equity markets since the start of this month in response to a sudden rise in bond yields in developed markets, according to the Institute of International Finance.

China effect weighs on emerging market exports
The impact of China’s slowing economy is depressing export earnings across the developing world, not only from countries that rely on commodity production but increasingly also from manufacturing exporters that have hitherto enjoyed buoyant demand.

READ MORE: John Lothian Newsletter: Regulators Point to Risks From Rapid-Fire Trading, Clearing; UBS to Pay Over $500 Million in Fines for Manipulating Currencies and Libor; CME sees more contracts after June power launch.

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