• 31 May 2013 at 5:47 PM

CBOT Fines Trader For Losing Money

Umm so maybe someone wants to explain to me what happened to Glenn Hadden? He’s the head of rates at Morgan Stanley, formerly at Goldman, and he was just banned from all CME trading floors for ten days, which is a little funny because, like, what, was he going to walk around on an exchange floor? Like in a tour group? But actually he can’t use computers either,1 so basically, no Treasury futures for ten days. That starts in mid-July and, god, I’d like to be banned from a computer for ten days in July, but I guess the perks of being a successful rates trader include punishments like that.

Anyway the thing he did was … well here is the Notice of Disciplinary Action, which says that the thing he did was violate CBOT Rule 560, which requires that big “positions must be initiated and liquidated in an orderly manner.” So his offense was to trade in a disorderly way when he was at Goldman five years ago. Specifically:

December 19, 2008, during the final minute prior to expiration of the December 2008 10-Year Treasury futures contract, in order to cover the tail (a standard form of risk management activity associated with holding a Treasury futures position at expiry) for the position held by Goldman, Sachs & Co.’s Treasury Desk, Hadden, then a Treasury trader for Goldman Sachs & Co., executed a 100-lot market order, and then submitted a 50-lot limit order, which was only partially filled as a result of illiquidity in the market. During the course of these orders and subsequent fills, the market traded up 27+ ticks resulting in the final price of the December 2008 10-year Treasury futures contract settling above what was indicated by the December – March calendar spread.

So: he tried to buy a lot of Treasury futures real fast, and as a result of that he ended up paying too high a price for them. I guess that’s a little “disorderly” but also sort of underwhelming.2

What is going on? Obviously there are two possibilities: Read more »

I confess that I have not followed the swap-futurization thing closely but my assumption was that the politico-regulatory view was:

  • Swaps are evil instruments of financial instability and fraud and should be discouraged, and
  • Listed futures are mostly harmless.

I mean, look around. Swaps blew up AIG, Oakland, Monte dei Paschi, the U.S. housing market, whatever. Futures just blew up those old guys in Trading Places.

You can have various objections to this preference for futures,1 but surely the most compelling is that swaps and futures are to some reasonable approximation the same thing. They’re just delta-one exposures to some underlying quantity; calling them a “swap” or “future” doesn’t matter economically.

That, anyway, is Bloomberg’s line of argument: Read more »

To the many atrocities that can be attributed to Dodd-Frank, add the persecution of derivatives brokers. Read more »

  • 03 Apr 2012 at 6:55 PM

There’s No Betting Here, This Is A Futures Exchange

One of the joys of structuring financial products is that, when a regulatory door is closed, a window / chimney / possibility of sawing through a non-load-bearing wall is opened, and you get to look for it, and if you find it you get rich.* So I for one look forward to the response to this:

On Monday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission rejected a plan for so-called political event contracts, wary that mixing politics and trading would create a dangerous cocktail. The agency ruled, in part, that such trading amounts to gambling — and that it could unduly influence election results.

“This is a very slippery slope here,” said Bart Chilton, a Democratic member of the commission. “We need to be supercareful about handing part of our electoral process over to the trading pits.”

So now you can’t go on NADEX and buy presidential futures – have I mentioned that all my money is in Rick Perry futures? I will sell them to you at cost if you’d like – but you have, I suppose, some other options. You can buy mine, of course, or whatever else is kicking around on Intrade, and if you’d like more size you could probably go to our Anonymous Sports Book Manager, if you can find him. Read more »

  • 26 May 2009 at 12:56 PM

Sugar So Sweet

Sarad Pawar_PIB.jpgHaving set the clear example that markets are to blame for the evils of commodity price inflation, the United States is beginning to find companions in the membership list of the Market Lockdown Club.

India banned futures trading in sugar, a day after Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said the government may extend a program allowing duty-free imports of raw sugar to bolster local supplies.
The ban will remain until Dec. 31, Forward Markets Commission spokesman Anupam Mishra said today, without giving a reason for the move. While existing contracts will remain valid, new contracts won’t be allowed, he said in a telephone interview today from Mumbai.
Sugar prices have risen 3 percent on Mumbai’s National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange since April 20, when N. Sanyal, joint secretary at the food ministry, said futures trading may be halted if prices continue to rise. The increase in prices is not related to futures trading, analyst Amol Tilak said.

They love free markets. Except when they don’t.
India Bans Sugar Futures Trade With Immediate Effect [Bloomberg]

The only real upside is that the 0.3% annualized contraction in the third quarter was less than the 0.5% that was generally expected. I’m not really sure how to take that, other than as a sign that the market is hopelessly clueless. But that’s not really new, is it?
Economy Shrinks as Consumers Retreat [CNBC]