November 23 2015

elb2The short sellers’ summer favourite is back with a vengeance – Playtech terminates the Plus500 deal. Whither now for Plus500? Well, I suspect a touch of volatility is in the winter air… Meanwhile it may be the last look for last look (here’s hoping).

Elsewhere hype, bravado & a court system which probably won’t appreciate the reality of IDB life as Indian investors grow restive at the lack of IPO process for exchanges to embrace capitalism at all levels in India.

Interesting snippets all round, I particularly like using Traiana to streamline emerging markets forex trades. Happy scrolling:

Public Markets

Playtech Terminates $700 Mln Deal To Buy Plus500, Warns Ava Trade Deal At Risk

Alliance News

Plus500 Share Price Falls After Playtech Walks Away From £460m ($700 Mln)  Having Failed To Get Approval From FCA

Jessica Morris – CITY A.M.

Playtech on Monday said it has terminated its agreement to acquire Plus500 over concerns it will not be able to secure UK FCA approval before the end of 2015, and warned that the collapse of the Plus500 deal increases the risk that its purchase of AvaTrade also may get cancelled. In response, Plus500 outlined its plans for an independent future, proposing an interim dividend of USD0.2121 per share, and a share buyback programme.

Plus500 press release here.

QV Premium: Plus500 Turmoil & Deal – Brief – Part 2, Exchange Deals Brief.


CME: Shrinking Locally To Grow Abroad

Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business

CME revenue on its electronic platform from clients outside the U.S. hit a record 32% during Q3—up from 30% at the end of last year—as volatility and volume spiked. CME’s offshore headcount also has reached a high of 440 employees this year. At the same time, CME has pared its Chicago workforce to 1,800 this year from 2,100 in 2012. Staff outside the U.S. has grown to 17% of employees, up from 7% five years ago.

PLY: Payrolls / consultants – I know analysts obsess about the former but how many can really granularise the latter (at any exchange)?


ICAP Brokers Ran Four-Year Libor Con on Tom Hayes, Read Says

Liam Vaughan – Bloomberg

Brokers at ICAP ran an elaborate, four-year con on Tom Hayes, tricking the former UBS trader into believing they were helping him rig Libor.

PLY: Again, as per at least one of the Barclays settlements this year, the whole edifice of male hubris which pervaded the banter-centric world of the IDBs has been portrayed as a world where SPECTRE style mastercriminal conspiracies were taking place. The truth is as cloudy as the beer they all drank.


Fairness of SEC Judges Is In Spotlight (subscription)

Jean Eaglesham – Wall Street Journal

Comments from judges raise worries of defendants that they won’t be able to get a fair hearing.

PLY: Reminds me a bit of those glory days for the early Irish Supreme Court when 3 generals decided the cases and not a single defendant ever won.


Barclays’ FX Fine: The Death Knell For Last Look?

Farah Khalique – Euromoney

The $150 million fine imposed on Barclays last week for abusing its last-look policy on clients’ currency orders until as recently as three months ago signals another nail in the coffin for the controversial practice, say analysts.

PLY: Last look has no place in a modern market structure.


India – Investors Fret Over Inordinate Delay In Listing Stock Exchanges

Oommen A. Ninan – The Hindu

The inordinate delay in listing of stock exchanges is worrying investors who say SEBI should not delay the process any further as it is creating uncertainty and excuses for some exchanges not to list.

BSE has already applied and is waiting for the regulator to approve its application. But the National SE’s management is yet to decide on it. MCX, a commodity exchange, is the only listed exchange in the country.

PLY: India could do with progressing towards capitalism and having helped some investors with due diligence years ago, I share their frustration that the market is not better developed and while I am deeply impressed by Chitra Ramkrishna as the latest brilliant mind to run the NSE, I would love to see the process move faster towards open transparent capitalist markets.


China Brokerage Falls After Chief Goes Missing (subscription)

Jennifer Thompson – Financial Times

Hong Kong listed shares in Guotai Junan International shares plunged 15% in the first 10 minutes of trading after the mainland brokerage said it could not contact its chief executive. Uncertainty over the whereabouts of Yim Fung, who is also the company’s chairman, comes as Beijing is intensifying scrutiny over stock market irregularities following the summer meltdown of equities in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

PLY: Some say he went out to lunch and was never seen again, only to be reported “missing, presumed fed” – as Douglas Adams so memorably described the disappearance of a Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy Editor.


The Trading Firm Eager For Mifid II (subscription)

Tim Cave – Financial News

Financial firms across Europe breathed a sigh of relief when regulators said that Mifid II – which will rewrite the EU’s rules on trading from top to bottom – may be delayed by a year to 2018. One exception, however, was KCG.

PLY: KCG are be applauded for their preparation.


Hands On With Linq, Nasdaq’s Private Markets Blockchain Project

Pete Rizzo – CoinDesk

Private Markets

Nigerian SE Demutualisation: Financial Advisers, Stakeholders Mull Sale

Taofik Salako – The Nation

Secondary disposal of shares in the planned demutualisation of the Nigerian SE (NSE) might be undertaken through a combination of share offering methods. NSE in October announced the appointment of a consortium of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Chapel Hill Denham (CHD) as financial advisers on the proposed demutualisation of the exchange.


Japanese Government To Draft Regulatory Bill For Bitcoin By Early 2016


Special Section: FTI, NSEL, India at the Crossroads

PLY: MCX and FTIL flat to small off.

IGL Finance Moves Contempt Petition Against CA Body

N Sundaresha Subramanian  – Business Standard

Says complaint proceeding against NSEL auditor not completed.


Trading At Dhaka SE Starts After 90 Minutes Delay


The floor opened at 12:00pm instead of the regular 10am on Sunday.*

*Yip, that feels more like 120 minutes to us too…


Bitcoin Group IPO Delayed Again After ASIC Request for Mining Expert

Leon Pick – Finance Magnates


Launch Of SGX Platts Dated Brent Swap & Futures

Commodities Now

SGX will launch SGX Platts Dated Brent Swap and SGX Platts Dated Brent Index Futures contracts on Monday, 7 December 2015. The first contract month to be listed at launch is the December 2015 contract.


Banks Eye Traiana For EM Forex Netting Service (subscription)

Robert Mackenzie Smith – Risk

A group of large banks has tapped Icap-owned Traiana to help streamline the settlement process for spot and derivatives trades in emerging market currencies. The plan is to use Traiana’s NetLink service for portfolio reconciliation across counterparties so banks can make a single net payment to each other.

PLY: Good idea. Very good idea. Also reminds us of the core strength of the ‘New” ICAP – lots of digital heft in tricky to emulate processes.


Tough Road Ahead For LME’s New Steel, Aluminium Contracts

Maytaal Angel & Eric Onstad – Reuters

New steel and aluminium contracts to be launched Monday by LME are expected to attract initial interest from customers, but building up strong liquidity in the current bear market may be challenging.


LSE Launches ‘LinkedIn For Corporate Access’ (subscription)

Anna Irrera – Financial News

LSE has formally launched its LinkedIn-style platform that will help listed companies and institutional investors connect online ahead of the looming shake-up of rules on corporate access.


CFTC To Discontinue Collecting & Issuing Reports On Index Investment Data


Career Paths

Nasdaq CEO Greifeld Plans To Name Adena Friedman As COO & Heir Apparent

Charlie Gasparino – FOX

Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld has told Wall Street executives he is likely to announce that Nasdaq’s President Adena Friedman, who holds the same title as Hans-Ole Jochumsen, will take on the newly created role of COO–a move market insiders say Greifeld is making to clear Friedman’s path to run the Nasdaq when he retires. Under the plan, which has not been finalized, Friedman will maintain her current role as president. If all goes according to plan, an announcement of the management shakeup is likely in the coming weeks.

PLY: Is that a show of power or a show of trying to hang on? I always reckoned Bob had his board pretty much sewn up in a manner of labradorian supplicancy. However, it is interesting insofar as it ought to be no surprise but then formalising something might cause some to wonder. Hmmm, is that to Machiavellian for a Monday morning?


New York’s Shameless Attorney General (subscription)

Ken Langone – Wall Street Journal


ESMA Vacancy Notice – Seconded National Expert – Corporate Finance Profile (Deadline: 22/12/2015)


Financial Calendar

24.11 – CFTC Open Commission Meeting (more here)

All forthcoming exchange / investment related events are now listed in our Events page.


Crowdfunding & P2P Sector Set To Consolidate (subscription)

Hugo Greenhalgh – Financial Times

Investors in the UK can currently choose from 189 platforms, including sites offering equity and lending as well as other finance-raising models. There are more than 200 new launches globally each year, according to Crowdsurfer. Industry experts believe such numbers are unsustainable in the long term…

PLY: Yes and no, depends how deep the revolution goes. Ultimately there will be an ample sufficiency but the need for finance and the transparent failure of the status quo at the micro level means this trend can continue for some time yet (unless the blob kills it of course).

Other stories

From December’s Trading Places: “The Only Reason For Time….” – Ian Salmon, Markets Advisor, Accedian Networks



Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission Proposes Changes To The ATS Guidelines



Irish SE Joins WFE Global Financial Education & Entrepreneurship Initiative



Investment Industry Regulatory Organization Of Canada (IIROC) & The Chambre De La Sécurité Financière (CSF) Sign Disciplinary Information-Sharing Agreement In Quebec – Financial Services Regulators Collaborate To Strengthen Investor Protection


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