While Bitcoin has attracted an oversized amount of attention, both positive and negative, several executives at financial services firms are increasingly looking past Bitcoin to the blockchain technology that underpins it--and they see strong potential for financial services.
In the wake of this summer's cyberattack on JPMorgan, a Wall Street trade group representing hundreds of securities firms, banks and asset managers is speaking up on how the securities industry's cybersecurity should be managed. Detailed audits that are customized to individual firms' business models and an industry crisis response plan will be required to safeguard the industry, the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association said in an 11-page paper released last week.
On the heels of news that the cyberbreach at JPMorgan Chase & Co may have affected as many as 76 million customers, chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon announced last week that the firm will double its $250 million annual computer security budget over the next five years.
It has been more than half a year since the first made-available-to-trade deadlines in February signaled the real launch of swaps trading on Swaps Execution Facilities or SEFs, and the trends on SEF usage remain so erratic that it's hard to read the tea leaves.
A wide cross-section of foreign exchange industry players has joined forces to form a currency markets trade group as the FX industry rehabs its image following rate fixing scandals. The group, called the Foreign Exchange Professionals Association, says it will use education, research and advocacy to advance "a sound, liquid, transparent and competitive global currency market."
Firms in Hong Kong and Shanghai have reportedly been working around the clock to be ready for the October go-live date of the link between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, but for many in the region the technology issues may be the least of it. Stock Connect, or the "Through Train," as some firms have reportedly dubbed the link, has the potential to open up the Shanghai stock market to much more western investment--or it may be poised to suck capital away from other exchanges in the region, depending on your perspective.
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.
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.
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.
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.