Forefront Communications

Forefront Week in Review: August 25, 2019

Old Mission

Sam Belden

Sam Belden

After a couple of weeks off, the Forefront Week in Review is back in business. To our loyal readers, thanks for continuing to share your Sundays with us as we recap top recent stories from the action-packed world of trading and market structure.

Unemployed traders have encountered a tough job market this summer, but an upcoming hiring spree at Goldman Sachs, reported by a number of outlets, should provide a glimmer of hope — for those who are qualified. Apparently, the staffing push is wholly focused on coders, making for a stark reminder of where Wall Street is heading. If you have a tech-heavy skill set and are fluent in various programming languages, the big banks will beat down your door, but those who can’t adapt will continue to be left in the cold.

In other news, London hedge fund Eisler Capital hired Goldman’s global head of electronic futures, officials in London mulled cutting trading hours, and some initial backers of Facebook’s Libra project are beginning to distance themselves from the initiative.

This week’s Week in Review features stories by Sridhar Natarajan of Bloomberg, Dan DeFrancesco of Business Insider and Samuel Agini and Emily Horton of Financial News, among others. Keep scrolling for more, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Forefront Fintech Digest if you’re not on our list already.

Broker News

Goldman Plans Hiring Spree in Trading (Only Coders Need Apply)
Bloomberg News | Sridhar Natarajan

Goldman Sachs’ trading division is planning its biggest hiring spree in years. The catch? The entire effort is focused on coders, a sign of where Wall Street is headed. The firm is looking to add more than 100 engineers for tech-related roles on the trading floor in the coming months, according to Adam Korn, co-head of engineering in the trading division. Goldman plans to raid its rivals in the tech and finance industries, with most of the new positions to be based in New York and London.

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Exchange, ATS and Clearing News

Cutting Trading Hours Is Not Enough to Boost Diversity, Warn City Execs
Financial News | Samuel Agini & Emily Horton

Shortening UK stock market hours will not be enough to remedy the diversity problem on London’s trading floors, according to City executives who are urging the industry to do more to broaden its appeal to women and working parents. Financial News reported this week that the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, a bank lobby group, and the UK’s Investment Association, which represents the country’s £7.7tn asset managers, are working on proposals to trim the eight-and-a-half hour trading day in European equity markets.

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Vendor News

Cloud9 and IPC Prep Next-Gen Voice Trading
Markets Media | Staff

IPC, a leading provider of communications and networking solutions for the financial markets, and Cloud9 Technologies (“Cloud9”), a leader in cloud-based communications, are working together to offer an advanced, open voice trading and collaboration solution. This agreement will provide the global trading community with a unified solution for endpoint connectivity, mobility, advanced data analytics and business continuity planning. Users and firms will have access to one of the broadest worldwide communities of financial markets comprising top-tier buy-side and sell-side firms, inter-dealer brokers, trade life-cycle providers and others.

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Buy Side News

London Hedge Fund Eisler Capital Hires Goldman Sachs Veteran and Global Electronic Futures Head
The TRADE News | Hayley McDowell

London-based macro hedge fund, Eisler Capital, has hired managing director and the global head of electronic futures at Goldman Sachs for a business development role. Henry Howell, who has been with the US investment bank for the past 16 years, joined the hedge fund in July this year, according to his LinkedIn profile. The TRADE has contacted Eisler Capital for comment. Founded by former Goldman Sachs partner and global co-head of securities trading, Edward Eisler, Eisler Capital raised a significant $1 billion from investors before it officially started trading in 2016.

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M&A/Investment News

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Citi Are Wall Street’s Most Active Fintech Investors. Here are the 22 Startups They Poured Money into this Year.
Business Insider | Dan DeFrancesco

It has been a busy year for fintech investing as money continues to pour into the space. But it’s not just venture capital firms making big bets — three of Wall Street’s largest members are also in on the action. Since 2012, Goldman Sachs, Citi, and JPMorgan are the US banks that have made the most investments in fintechs, according to data from CB Insights. This year proved no different, with the trio investing in 22 fintechs so far.

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Regulatory & Legal News

Banks Get Some Relief in Volcker-Rule Changes
Wall Street Journal | Lalita Clozel

Banks are on the verge of getting some relief from Volcker-rule limits on speculative trading, one of the industry’s priorities in amending the regulations put in place after the financial crisis. Two financial regulators on Tuesday approved changes relaxing trading restrictions for midsize banks and easing compliance for the biggest banks. The Volcker rule, part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, bars financial firms from making speculative trades with their own funds through a complicated set of restrictions.

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Blockchain & Crypto News

Facebook’s Libra Backers Look to Distance Themselves from Project
Financial Times | Hannah Murphy & Shannon Bond

Intensifying regulatory scrutiny of Facebook’s Libra digital currency has spooked some of the project’s early backers, with at least three privately discussing how to distance themselves from the venture. The 28 members of the Libra Association, which include Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Spotify and the Facebook subsidiary Calibra, made a non-binding pledge to invest at least $10m in the project, which Facebook unveiled in June, with the aim of shaking up the global payments market. However, the proposed currency has prompted a fierce backlash from global watchdogs and politicians, including an official investigation by EU antitrust officials.

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Forefront Client News

Fifth Annual Wall Street Rides FAR Event Approaches
John Lothian News | Spencer Doar

Is there a chance you’ll be in New York during the first week of October? If so, you’ll want to check out the fifth annual Wall Street Rides FAR bike ride event which raises money for the Autism Science Foundation. In this video, event founder Bryan Harkins, Cboe executive vice president and co-head of markets division, talks about how the event has evolved and grown over the years.

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Greasing the Algo-Wheels
HFM Technology | Victoria Pavlova

Trading automation, and algo-wheels in particular, have seen wide adoption since their advent, but are not without controversy. “In the [pre-automation] days, firms would do a transaction cost analysis and laminate sets of execution rules printed on A4 sheets – i.e. if these conditions apply, they would choose a certain algorithm. What an algo-wheel does is bring these sets of rules into an automated expression,” explains Pascal Kuyten, senior software engineer and quant analyst at trade tech specialist Tora.

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That’s all for this week. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Forefront Trading Digest for more headlines like these.

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