Latest Commentary

Bitcoin derivative trading to launch on TeraExchange

Six months after designing the structure of a swap for hedging the price of bitcoin, Tera Group announced it has won regulatory approval for trading bitcoins on its swaps execution facility TeraExchange. TeraExchange's new platform for trading bitcoin derivatives includes a newly-developed Tera Bitcoin Price Index and will trade U.S. dollar bitcoin non-deliverable forward swaps.

ICE's SuperDerivatives purchase highlights the importance of derivatives data

Exchange operator IntercontinentalExchange's announcement last week that it is buying financial market data provider SuperDerivatives for about $350 million will marry two companies that began taking a highly automated approach to the derivatives market, even before many of the derivatives markets themselves were fully committed to moving in that direction.

What banks need to learn from Alibaba

If rumors hold, Alibaba's IPO, potentially one of the largest ever, may launch as early as next week. The U.S. banking industry, wary about where the next disruptor to its business model may be coming from, might learn a thing or new from studying the Chinese e-commerce giant.

With rise of wealth management, a call for more RIA audits

The year 2014 has so far shaped up to be a banner one for wealth management. Charles Schwab's 2014 Benchmarking Study reported that registered investment advisors (RIAs) in this year's study had the highest profitability since the inception of the study in 2006.

Taking another look at treasury technology

Treasury technology might not have the allure of Google Glass. It might seem to outsiders like the quiet corner of the firm removed from flashy technology advances. But in an article that ran in bobsguide, Bank of America Merrill Lynch senior vice president and EMEA treasury specialist Des Twort argues that treasury technology is making great strides--if not right in front of our eyes, then under our noses.

Assessing the macro risks of Bitcoin

The individual risks of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been well documented and basically fall into two categories, fraud and currency risk. In the big picture, however, experts say the risks and opportunities of virtual currencies are much harder to define.

Is technology worth more than brokerage?

CME Group's planned purchase of the technology assets of inter-dealer broker GFI Group, announced last week, raised some interesting questions about how brokerage operations are valued. Through a pair of strategic transactions, CME Group isn't just valuing GFI's Trayport and FENICS technology units more highly than GFI's inter-dealer brokerage, it is valuing them more than four times as high.

 

Maker-Taker pricing continues to draw a wide variety of opinions

The issue of maker-taker pricing is one that has drawn strong opinions from both sides of the debate. Intercontinental Exchange CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, one of the practice's most vocal critics, has advocated banning maker-taker pricing altogether. In his view the pricing method "creates false liquidity by attracting people who are there solely to make rebates and not actually trade and hold risk," he says.

O'Malia signs off with warnings to correct roadblocks to liquidity

Last week, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's soon departing commissioner Scott O'Malia gave a frank assessment of the obstacles to robust liquidity that the newly electronic swaps market faces. Speaking to an audience of financial lawyers, he warned about fracturing of liquidity between US and non-US markets, and the lowered liquidity in some commodities markets that is making hedging costly.

 

The rise of RIAs takes center stage

The recently released results of Charles Schwab's 2014 RIA Benchmarking Study show record growth among independent registered investment advisors. In fact, registered investment advisors had the highest profitability of any year since the inception of the study in 2006.