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

Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants

 

Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants

This is what a 5-megawatt, lithium-ion energy storage system looks like. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Coutesy of Jeremiah Johnson, North Carolina State University and Joseph F. DeCarolis, North Carolina State University

Due to their decreasing costs, ...



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Zero Hedge

Elon Musk Takes Out $50 Million in New Loans, Mortgaging Five Homes

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

We were one of the very first to speculate that Elon Musk had mortgaged 5 of his homes in late January, when we highlighted research by an internet sleuth on Musk's personal financial situation. According to public records cited by Tesla skeptic EVent Horizon and laid out in a timeline on Sutori in late January, Elon Musk looked as though he had leveraged some of his personal real estate.

A follow up report from Bloomberg ha...



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ValueWalk

KHC To Be Bought Out By Berkshire: Here Is Why Its A Possibility

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing buyer beware of consumer staples sellers; Stamps.com Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP) and The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) blowups; Will Buffett buy KHC?; Is the #3G model flawed?; Asia Wealth Summit; Theranos.

I’m sending out today’s email early because there’s so much juicy/timely stuff…

Q4 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Giant Topping Pattern Could Be Forming, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The first fact of the day; The long-term trend for tech remains up and the decline into the lows on Christmas Eve DID NOT break this trend!

This chart looks at NDX 100 ETF (QQQ) on a weekly basis over the past 14-years. For the past decade, since the lows in late 2009, QQQ has remained inside of rising channel (1). As you can see the decline into the end of the year lows, did nothing more than test support, which held and a strong rally has followed!

Over the past few months, QQQ could be forming a “Head & Shoulders&...



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Insider Scoop

Salesforce.com's Q4 Report Should Trigger Higher Valuation, Says Bullish Oppenheimer

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related CRM Oppenheimer Praises HubSpot's Execution, Downgrades On Valuation Benzinga's Top Upgrade...

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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: Thursday, 02 August 2018, 07:48:20 PM

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


Comment: $600 BN interest payments for US gov, print baby print



Date Found: Sunday, 05 August 2018, 09:22:26 PM

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


Comment: Hire FED interest rates always brings double trouble



Date Found: Monday, 06 August ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Are Surging: Bitcoin, Ethereum Hit One-Month Highs As Institutions Dip Toes

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Cryptocurrencies are surging while the US equity markets take the day off. Ethereum is up over 18% from Friday's 'close' and the rest of the crypto space is a sea of green. While no immediate catalyst (headline or technical level) is clear, increasing chatter over institutional investors dipping their toes in the space have prompted an extension of the positive trend.

A sea of green...

Source: Coin360

Ethereum is leading the charge follow...



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Biotech

Cancer: new DNA sequencing technique analyses tumours cell by cell to fight disease

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

 

Cancer: new DNA sequencing technique analyses tumours cell by cell to fight disease

Illustration of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, showing lymphoblasts in blood. Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alba Rodriguez-Meira, University of Oxford and Adam Mead, University of Oxford

...

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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

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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