New for Traders: Week ending August 3

Regulation

  • National Futures Association proposed a rule that would require FCMs to provide online, view-only access to bank balances for customer segregated and secured amount accounts to the firm's designated SRO.
  • CME Group proposed a number of new rules and changes to the oversight of the futures industry in an open letter to customers after PFGBest filed for bankruptcy. Among these rules is a requirement for FCMs to provide daily segregated funds reports to regulators and an increase in the frequency of surprise reviews of customer funds.

Technology

  • CME Group announced the launch of CME Direct Messenger, a sophisticated instant messaging platform for traders in the energy markets. CME Direct Messenger will be powered by market-leading instant messaging software developed by Pivot, Inc., which was recently acquired by CME Group.
  • Linedata announced the release of the latest version of its Linedata Front Office Trading Platform. The platform offers enhanced portfolio management tools and workflows, expanded execution tools and analytics and streamlined allocation tools.
  • BGC Partners announced it has signed an agreement with Thesys Technologies to invest in the creation of high-speed microwave data networks for the financial community, starting with the fastest route between Illinois and New Jersey, designed to transmit critical trading data related to the futures, equities, fixed income and other markets, between CME Group, Nasdaq and ELX Futures data centers.
  • Dot Commodity announced the launch of a low-latency connectivity service to the Tokyo Commodity Exchange for Trading Technologies’ X_Trader. Dot has selected KVH Co., Ltd. (KVH) as the service provider for the new low-latency connectivity environment, and will leverage KVH’s proximity solutions, a combination of data center, network and managed IT services to achieve ultra-low latency at one-tenth or less of existing TOCOM connectivity services.
  • SunGard has extended its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)*-based Valdi to connect to the SIX Swiss Exchange Liquidnet Service (SLS). As a non-displayed liquidity pool for block equity trading, SLS offers traders access to volumes that are not available on “lit” or visible order books of traditional stock exchanges and Multilateral Trading Facilities.

Commodities

  • Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced that all cleared OTC products listed on ICE's OTC energy market will be transitioned to futures products in January 2013. These products will continue to be listed and traded on the ICE platform and cleared at ICE Clear Europe, and block trades will continue to be available subject to applicable requirements.
  • ICE announced the introduction of 29 new cleared OTC contracts. The new contracts include oil and refined petroleum product swaps, North American power swaps and natural gas liquids (NGLs) swaps. ICE is also introducing its first uranium swap
  • The board of LME Holdings Limited, the parent company of The London Metal Exchange (LME), announced that ordinary shareholders of LME Holdings approved all the resolutions required in connection with the proposed scheme of arrangement to implement the acquisition of LME Holdings by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited (“HKEx”).

Options

  • ICE Futures US will end floor trading for certain options contracts, including some soft commodities contacts, and become fully electronic starting Oct. 19. ICE spokesman Lee Underwood said that “there has been an emphatic shift from floor to electronic execution in the options market, and as a market operator we have an obligation to respond.” Underwood also said that ICE Futures US will shift its business from lower Manhattan to Midtown Manhattan in mid-2013.
  • The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) introduced a process for trading SPX Variance Strips (ticker: VSTRP). SPX Variance Strips are designed to electronically trade a large and complex portfolio of S&P 500 options (SPX) in a single transaction, replicating S&P 500® implied variance exposure. Additionally, “V-Strips” will employ a quoting convention similar to that used in over-the-counter (OTC) variance trading.

Forex

  • FOREX.com, the online retail trading division of GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc., announced the launch of a new service in Canada. FOREX.com Canada (www.forex.com/ca) allows Canadian residents to trade more than 70 products, including 50 currencies and a variety of commodity markets, including energy, precious metals and agricultural commodities
  • Citi selected Dow Jones & Co.’s specialized FX news service, DJ FX Trader, to provide real-time data releases and global economic news to its FX traders and sales staff. The content is delivered through the bank’s in-house information service, CitiFX Wire.

Financials

  • Eurex Exchange announced that its VSTOXX® Mini Futures can be traded in the U.S., effective immediately. This gives U.S.-based customers the opportunity to trade European volatility via this mini futures contract listed on Eurex Exchange. They have been listed since June 2009.
  • On July 18 OCC received notice it has been designated as a systemically important Financial Market Utility (SIFMU) by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) as part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law.
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