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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Zero Hedge

Belgian F-16 Pilot Ejects Before Fiery Crash, Gets Caught In High Voltage Power Lines

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A Belgian F-16 fighter jet crashed in Northwestern France on Thursday, leaving one of its pilots hanging by his parachute from high voltage electricity lines, according to the BBC

Both pilots had minor injuries after they ejected from the plane, which clipped the roof of a house and crashed in a field near Pluvinger. The pilot stuck in the 250,000 volt power lines was brought down after a two hour rescue operation by French emergency ser...



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Phil's Favorites

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

 

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

Recent revelations about the lack of privacy protections in place at the companies involved in Facebook’s new Libra crytocurrency raise concerns about how much trust users can place in Libra. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Alfred Lehar, University of Calgary

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, stunned the world earlier this year with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

The launch has raised questions about the difference between Libra and existing cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of private companies competing with s...



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Digital Currencies

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

 

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

Recent revelations about the lack of privacy protections in place at the companies involved in Facebook’s new Libra crytocurrency raise concerns about how much trust users can place in Libra. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Alfred Lehar, University of Calgary

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, stunned the world earlier this year with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

The launch has raised questions about the difference between Libra and existing cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of private companies competing with s...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Look Out Bears! Fed New QE Now Up to $165 Billion

Courtesy of Lee Adler

I have been warning for months that the Fed would need new QE to counter the impact of massive waves of Treasury supply. I thought that that would come later, rather than sooner. Sorry folks, wrong about that. The NY Fed announced another round of new TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) today.

In addition to the $75 billion in overnight repos that the Fed issued and has been rolling over since Tuesday, next week the Fed will issue another $90 billion. They’ll come in the form of three $30 billion, 14 day repos to be offered next week.

That brings the new Fed QE to a total of $165 billion. Even in the worst days of the financial crisis, I can’t remember the Fed ballooning its balance sheet by $165 bi...



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The Technical Traders

Is A Price Revaluation Event About To Happen?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Skilled technical traders must be aware that price is setting up for a breakout or breakdown event with recent Doji, Hammer
and other narrow range price bars.  These types of Japanese Candlestick patterns are warnings that price is coiling into
a tight range and the more we see them in a series, the more likely price is building up some type of explosive price breakout/breakdown move in the near future.  The ES (S&P 500 E-mini futures) chart is a perfect example of these types of price bars on the Daily chart (see below).

Tri-Star Tops, Three River Evening Star patterns, Hammers/Hangmen and Dojis are all very common near extreme price peaks and troughs.  The rea...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

India About To Experience Major Strength? Possible Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

If one invested in the India ETF (INDA) back in January of 2012, your total 7-year return would be 24%. During the same time frame, the S&P 500 made 124%. The 7-year spread between the two is a large 100%!

Are things about to improve for the INDA ETF and could it be time for the relative weakness to change? Possible!

This chart looks at the INDA/SPX ratio since early 2012. The ratio continues to be in a major downtrend.

The ratio hit a 7-year low a few months ago and this week it kissed those lows again at (1). The ratio near weeks end is attempting to...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Credit Suisse raised IHS Markit Ltd (NYSE: INFO) price target from $68 to $76. IHS Markit shares closed at $67.75 on Thursday.
  • Wedbush boosted Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc (NYSE: RH) price target from $170 to $185. RH shares closed at $169.49 on Thursday.
  • Mizuho lifted Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) price target from $46 to $50. Seagate shares closed at $52.94 on Thursday.
  • UBS raised the price target for Weight Watchers Intern...


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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

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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