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

How TikTok got caught in the crosshairs of US-China politics

 

How TikTok got caught in the crosshairs of US-China politics

Vowing to ban TikTok was a power play by the US president. Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Kerry Brown, King's College London

Donald Trump’s threat to ban TikTok, a video sharing app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, on August 1 is only the latest in a series of clashes between the US and China. With each of these events – from the US ban on telecoms company Huawei to the US response to events in Hong Kong and the co...



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Zero Hedge

UConn Becomes First Major College In The US To Cancel 2020 Football Season

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

UConn's 2020 football season will forever remain the year that could have been.

The Connecticut flagship state university set a nationwide precedent on Wednesday when its athletic department announced that it would cancel its upcoming football season over fears tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

...



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The Technical Traders

Walk Through the Gold and Silver Charts to See What to Expect

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Check out the analysis of this morning’s Gold and Silver charts by our own Chris Vermeulen, Chief Market Strategist and Founder of TheTechnicalTraders.com, to see what is in store for precious metals. Make sure you check out our Gold and Silver article from August 4th, 2020 for additional context behind our predictions and rationale for continued price appreciation.

Learn more about our ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

What the huge COVID-19 testing undercount in the US means

 

What the huge COVID-19 testing undercount in the US means

Health care workers use a nasal swab to test a person for COVID-19 in Pembroke Park, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

Courtesy of Melissa Hawkins, American University

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions recently published a study which estimated that the true number of people infected by COVID-19 could be six to 24 times high...



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ValueWalk

Beyond Meat Has Not Disclosed Its Environmental Effects

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

A recent S&P Global Market Intelligence Trucost analysis found that Beyond Meat Inc., the maker of plant-based meat alternatives, has not disclosed the full extent of its environmental impacts. This includes the amount of greenhouse gases emitted or the volume of water discharged.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Beyond Meat Has "0" Disclosure Of Environmental Impacts

Key insights from the analysis include:

  • Beyond Meat’s weighted environmental disclosure ratio, which shows what percentage of its environmental impacts it discloses...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is the US Dollar Nearing Bottom? Or Is It Different This Time?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The U.S. Dollar ran into a perfect storm in 2020: a pandemic (Coronavirus), an easy Federal Reserve, and trillions of dollars in government stimulus.

The result has been a steep decline in the greenback.

Looking at today’s chart, however, suggests that the US Dollar may be nearing a bottom. That is if recent history proves true.

The Dollar is testing its 9-year bullish up-trend support at (1) and US Dollar bulls are disappearing. In fact, investors are the least bullish the US Dollars (20% bulls) since 2011 at (2). Notice that each ...



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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: Sunday, 29 March 2020, 07:00:37 PM

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


Comment: Silver Shorts Are In a Bind | Ted Butler youtu.be/qQc0AoJp-Q8



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Comment: 5 Questions From You for Luke Gromen youtu.be/nVZD_fuxbQE


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Digital Currencies

Twitter Says "Human Error" And "Spear-Phishing Attack" Responsible For Massive Bitcoin Hack

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Twitter suffered from a major hack about two weeks ago and has now said that its staff was tricked by "spear-phishing", which is a targeted attack to trick people into simply handing out their passwords. 

Twitter staff were targeted through their phones, according to a new report from the BBC. The attacks then allowed hackers the ability to Tweet from celebrity Twitter accounts. Twitter has said it was "taking a hard look" at how it could improve its permissions and processes.

"The attack on July 15, 2020, targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack. This attack relied on ...



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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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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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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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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

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

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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