Posts Tagged ‘front-running’

The FINRA Fiasco

The FINRA Fiasco  

FINRA may have potential massive conflicts of interests in its dealing with its internal investment portfolio. A clear example is FINRA’s behavior with its Auction Rate Securities. Evidence suggests FINRA sold its Auction Rate Securities months before the market collapsed. Insider information or really good luck?

By Ilene 

Interview with Larry Doyle at Sense on Cents

INTRODUCTION 

Background Information: 

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., or FINRA is a private corporation which functions as a self-regulatory organization (SRO, an organization that exercises regulatory authority over an industry or profession). It is not a government agency.  FINRA was formed by the merger of the enforcement arm of the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Regulation, Inc., and the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD). The merger was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in July, 2007.

FINRA performs market regulation under contract with brokerage firms and trading markets. It focuses on regulatory oversight of all securities firms that do business with the public. FINRA regulates by adopting and enforcing rules and regulations governing its members’ business activities. It often provides advice to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  (See FINRA’s website is at http://www.finra.org/.  Also FINRA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FINRA).

derivativesAuction Rate Securities (ARS)

An auction rate security (ARS) refers to a debt instrument (corporate or municipal bonds) with a long-term nominal maturity for which the interest rate is regularly reset through a dutch auction. (Auction rate preferreds are similar in nature but are shares in a fund and as such are not tied to an underlying longer term maturity loan.)

The auction failures in February 2008 led to widespread freezing of the ARS assets in clients’ accounts. Currently, the instruments trade in a secondary market but at a significant discount to par. A renewed investigation of the ARS industry was led by Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney General of New York, and William Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These investigations found industry-wide violations of law. Investors in ARSs maintain these instruments were misrepresented as liquid cash alternatives and allege that broker dealers failed to disclose the liquidity and credit risks involved.  (See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auction_rate_security.)

INTERVIEW 

Ilene: Larry, I read your recent article, “FINRA Fraud Team Must Look in the Mirror” (April 16, 2010), in which you discuss FINRA’s “new initiative to target
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Merrill Lynch Accused of Same Fraud as Goldman Sachs; Tip of the Iceberg of Fraud Charges

Merrill Lynch Accused of Same Fraud as Goldman Sachs; Tip of the Iceberg of Fraud Charges

Courtesy of Mish 

Merrill Lynch now stands accused of the same fraudulent actions as Goldman Sachs. Please consider Merrill Used Same Alleged Fraud as Goldman, Bank Says

Merrill Lynch & Co. engaged in the same investor fraud that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of committing, according to a bank that sued the firm in New York last year.

Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank BA, known as Rabobank, claims Merrill, now a unit of Bank of America Corp., failed to tell it a key fact in advising on a synthetic collateralized debt obligation. Omitted was Merrill’s relationship with another client betting against the investment, which resulted in a loss of $45 million, Rabobank claims.

“This is the tip of the iceberg in regard to Goldman Sachs and certain other banks who were stacking the deck against CDO investors,” said Jon Pickhardt, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, who is representing Netherlands-based Rabobank.

Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, created and sold CDOs tied to subprime mortgages in early 2007, as the U.S. housing market faltered, without disclosing that Paulson helped pick the underlying securities and bet against them, the SEC said in a statement yesterday.

The SEC allegations are “unfounded in law and fact, and we will vigorously contest them,” Goldman said in a statement.

“When one major firm becomes aware of the creative instrument of others, there is historically an effort to replicate them,” said Jacob Frenkel, a former SEC lawyer now in private practice in Potomac, Maryland.

SEC spokesman John Heine declined to comment on whether it is investigating Merrill’s actions.

Merrill loaded the Norma CDO with bad assets, Rabobank claims. Rabobank seeks $45 million in damages, according to a complaint filed in state court in June 2009. Rabobank initially provided a secured loan of almost $60 million to Merrill, according to its complaint.

No Surprise

That Merrill Lynch now stands accused should not surprise anyone. Nor will it be any surprise if Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are accused of similar dealings. Indeed, it may be interesting to see who is not accused.

Goldman’s statement The SEC allegations are “unfounded in law and fact, and we will vigorously contest them” is an interesting theoretical debate.

Accusations that Goldman…
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Goldman Sacked?

Goldman Sacked?

Courtesy of George Washington

The Goldman fraud indictment is obviously huge news.

The Connecticut Attorney general wants to file criminal charges:  

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And New York might not be far behind

ProPublica points out that other major banks did the same thing as Goldman.

Shahien Nasiripour writes:

Securities fraud charges against Goldman Sachs are just the beginning as federal regulators and investigators comb through the wreckage of a fraud-induced recession, caused by a pervasive and systemic culture of deceit at Wall Street’s biggest firms, say Wall Street analysts.

Are the prosecutions finally starting? Is the dam finally breaking? Has Goldman really been sacked? 

Maybe.

But Tyler Durden thinks it’s all bread and circuses. 

And as Mish points out (edited slightly for readability): 

Here is a list of some of the things the SEC has ignored.

Geithner’s Illegal Money-Laundering Scheme Exposed; Harry Markopolos Says “Don’t Trust Your Government”  

77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP  

Secret Deals Involving No One; AIG Coverup Conspiracy Unravels 

Questions Geithner Cannot Escape 

Time To Indict Geithner For Securities Fraud 

Bernanke Guilty of Coercion and Market Manipulation 

Paulson Admits Coercion; Where are the Indictments? 

Bernanke Suffers From Selective Memory Loss; Paulson Calls Bank of America "Turd in the Punchbowl" 

Let the Criminal Indictments Begin: Paulson, Bernanke, Lewis

***

We need a complete ethics overhaul but we will not see it until people are thrown into prison and corporations have to choose which business they want to be in as opposed to the current state of affairs where anything for a profit is acceptable. 

  • Firms give advice based on how much profit the firms will make on it
  • Firms trade their own books to the detriment of clients
  • Firms make upgrades and downgrades after they take positions themselves
  • Firms front-run trades
  • Firms engage in dark pools
  • Firms deemed too big to fail take advantage by upping leverage
  • Firms like Goldman Sachs (which is nothing more than a giant hedge fund with no ethics) have access to Fed funds at low interest rates to do whatever the hell they please

Is someone finally standing up to the vampire squids of the world?

Or is this yet another p.r. stunt, where deals will be cut, a few low-level patsies will be convicted, and business as usual will continue?

Only time will tell …


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Rant of the Day: No Ethics, No Fiduciary Responsibility, No Separation of Duty; Complete Ethics Overhaul Needed

I’ve posted a lot on the Goldman Sachs fraud charges and hope it marks the beginning of change. Many of my favorite bloggers believe this is a mere distraction, and GS, the corporation, will get a slap on the wrist and a fine – which means essentially nothing happens to the people responsible for an ongoing parade of front-running, misrepresentations and frauds, even if the SEC is only permitted to file civil charges.  That said, here’s Mish on the subject. (My highlights) – Ilene 

Rant of the Day: No Ethics, No Fiduciary Responsibility, No Separation of Duty; Complete Ethics Overhaul Needed

AFIS BILLBOARD POSTERS ETHICAL BEHAVIOR DEFENSE BILLBOARD #21

Courtesy of Mish  

Goldman Sachs Shares Drop After Goldman Sachs Accused of Fraud in Mortgage Deals

Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly devised to fail.

The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers.

The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment.

The instrument in the S.E.C. case, called Abacus 2007-AC1, was one of 25 deals that Goldman created so the bank and select clients could bet against the housing market. As the Abacus deals plunged in value, Goldman and certain hedge funds made money on their negative bets, while the Goldman clients who bought the $10.9 billion in investments lost billions of dollars.

“The product was new and complex, but the deception and conflicts are old and simple,” Robert Khuzami, the director of the S.E.C.’s division of enforcement, said in a statement. “Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party.”

In recent months, Goldman has repeatedly defended its actions in the mortgage market, including its own bets against it. “We certainly did not know the future of the residential housing market in the first half of 2007 anymore than we can


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HFT “Flash” Orders: Nasdaq Admission?

HFT "Flash" Orders: Nasdaq Admission?

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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High Frequency Trading Is A Scam

High Frequency Trading Is A Scam

Devil in the machineCourtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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High-Frequency Trading – My View

High-Frequency Trading – My View

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Senator Schumer apparently believes this is an unfair practice, and I agree.


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More Front-Running: Where Are The Cops?

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

More Front-Running: Where Are The Cops?


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Phil's Favorites

Consumer Bureau To Decide Who Owns Your Financial Data

 

Consumer Bureau To Decide Who Owns Your Financial Data

What Should Banks, Fintechs Be Allowed to Do With All that They Know About You?

Courtesy of Jillian S. Ambroz, DCReport

A federal agency is gearing up to make wide-ranging policy changes on consumers’ access to their financial data.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking to implement the area of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act pertaining to a consumer’s rights to his or her own financial data. It is detailed in section 1033.

The agency has been ...



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Zero Hedge

Cali Mansion Once Listed For $100 Million Sells For "Only" $48.4 Million

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Today in "a look into a luxury real estate market you will never likely participate in" news...

A famous L.A. mansion called "Opus" that was once listed for $100 million and has been on the market for over three years has finally sold - at a more than 50% haircut.

The 20,000 square foot mansion sold for $48.4 million this week, furniture included, according to Bloomberg. It is also the lates...



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Politics

Mythmakers: The Men Who Created Donald J. Trump

 

Mythmakers: The Men Who Created Donald J. Trump

Mark Burnett, Jeff Zucker, and the Trustwashing of a Fake President

Courtesy of Greg Olear, Prevail, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia 

...

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ValueWalk

Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Re And Icahn's Icahn Enterprises

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

During their recent episode of the VALUE: After Hours Podcast, Taylor, Brewster, and Carlisle discussed Einhorn‘s Greenlight Capital Re (NASDAQ:GLRE) and Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ:IEP). Here’s an excerpt from the episode:

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Re And Icahn's Icahn Enterprises

Tobias: Einhorn genius for a decade. The GOAT for a decade, a GOAT for the last decade. I think it could be back to the GOAT stage, possibly for the...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper than Pfizer's and Moderna's and doesn't require supercold temperature

 

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper than Pfizer's and Moderna's and doesn't require supercold temperature

Now there is a third possible vaccine for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Courtesy of Sanjay Mishra, Vanderbilt University

The biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has released data on what is now the third promising vaccine candidate against COVID-19 – and it has several advantages over those of its competitors, ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Friday, 12 June 2020, 08:06:43 PM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: Interesting (2)



Date Found: Saturday, 13 June 2020, 12:27:02 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: Recession Forecasts Time Frame



Date Found: Monday, 15 June 2020, 11:07:52 PM

...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Transports Sending Strong Bullish Message To Other Dow Indices?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are Transportation stocks about to send a quality bullish message to other Dow indices this month? Sure could be!

This 3-pack looks at the Dow Jones Industrials, Transports, and Utilities indices on a monthly basis.

One week from the end of a month, the DJ Transports are attempting an important bullish breakout at (1). Unless a sharp reversal takes place in the next week, Transports could close out the month at new monthly closing highs!

The Dow is attempting to close at all-time highs this month, while the Dow Utilities Index remains a few percent below 2020 highs....



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Digital Currencies

Dalio Admits "I Might Be Missing Something" As Bitcoin Surges Above $18,000

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Since the US election, Bitcoin prices (in USD) have surged a stunning 40%, also lurching higher after each vaccine headline hit.

Source: Bloomberg

Getting ever closer to its all-time record high...

Source: Bloomberg

As crypto prices soared overnight, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio stepped back into the fray, saying in a Twitter thread that “I might be missing something about Bitco...



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Mapping The Market

COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

...

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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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