Forefront Communications

Forefront Week in Review: March 24, 2019


Sam Belden

Sam Belden

Welcome back to the Forefront Week in Review, where we take another look at top recent stories from the action-packed world of trading and market structure.

Before we get to the headlines, we’d like to relay some news that concerns the media itself. Robin Wigglesworth, the U.S. markets editor for the Financial Times, has been named the paper’s global finance correspondent and will move from New York to Norway this summer. Wigglesworth will be dealing with much of the same subject matter in his new role, but from a more global, big-picture perspective. Before joining the FT, he spent two years as Bloomberg’s Nordic economics and politics correspondent, so the move to Norway is a homecoming of sorts. We at Forefront are lucky to work with outstanding individuals in the media as well as on the client side, and we wish Robin all the best in his new endeavor.

Looking at the news cycle, there was a major acquisition last week: BlackRock has reportedly agreed to a $1.3 billion deal to acquire eFront Financial Solutions, which provides software solutions to the alternative investment industry. The news broke just one week after Brookfield Asset Management agreed to acquire Oaktree Capital, signaling that BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager by AUM, may have been feeling just a little pressure to identify new sources of revenue in light of that deal.

This week’s Week in Review features stories by Wigglesworth, Alex Morrell of Business Insider, Will Hadfield of Bloomberg News and Frank Chaparro of the Block, 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

A Leaked Memo Shows a Shakeup Is Underway in Bank of America’s Sales and Trading Division, as a Star Sales Exec Is Switching Roles and Another Is Leaving the Firm
Business Insider | Alex Morrell

There’s been a shakeup in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s fixed-income, currencies, and commodities division, as a star sales exec is shifting into trading and another business head is moving on. Karen Fang, the head of sales and structuring for FICC in the Americas, is leaving her post for a senior role in trading, according to an internal memo seen by Business Insider. “Karen Fang will transition into a new role within FICC Trading as the head of Counterparty Portfolio Management (CPM), Structured Notes (CFD) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs),” the memo said. “In addition, Karen will join the Environmental Social Governance Committee.”

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Exchange, ATS and Clearing News

LSE Hires Wood to Look After European Clients After Brexit
Bloomberg News | Will Hadfield

The LSE has named Adam Wood head of Europe for Turquoise, the exchange group’s European equity market. Wood will look after Turquoise’s EU27 clients after Brexit, a spokesman for LSE said. Turquoise is Europe’s second-biggest dark pool; it’s also the largest share trading venue that’s still waiting for Britain’s politicians to make progress on Brexit before it moves EU trades to its subsidiary on the continent. Wood joined LSE in January from Russian broker BCS Global Markets, his LinkedIn profile shows.

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Vendor News

Trade Informatics Appoints Andrew Shortland as EMEA Chief
The TRADE News | John Brazier

Trade Informatics has announced the appointment of Andrew Shortland as its new CEO for the EMEA region. Shortland, a former head of international equities at brokerage Jefferies where he helped build the firm’s equities and ECM businesses in both Europe and Asia, will be tasked with leading the regional expansion of Trade Informatics, as well as increasing its ranks of data analysts and client services teams. Prior to his time at Jefferies, Shortland was senior managing director and head of international equity trading at Bear Stearns, and held previous roles with Citigroup Scrimgeour Vickers and Morgan Stanley.

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Buy Side News

Millennium and Bluecrest Made Macro Hires from Goldman and RBC
eFinancialCareers | Sarah Butcher

Two bank macro traders just made the leap into the hedge fund game. Sachin Goel and Anthony Rodriguez just got themselves jobs at Millennium Management in London and BlueCrest Capital Management in New York, respectively. Goel started last month; Rodriguez arrived in March. Rodriguez skipped to BlueCrest from Goldman Sachs, where he spent the past nearly four years as a macro sales trading analyst on the rates desk. At BlueCrest he will be a ‘trader.’ Goel is an actual portfolio manager at Millennium Management. He previously spent two years in rates options trading at RBC Capital.

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M&A/Investment News

BlackRock Close to Buying Risk Platform eFront for $1.3bn
Financial Times | Robin Wigglesworth

BlackRock is in advanced talks to snap up a risk management platform for the burgeoning “alternative” asset management industry for about $1.3bn, according to people familiar with the matter. The $6tn New York asset manager led by Larry Fink is finalising an agreement to buy eFront, an analytics company for the private equity, real estate and direct lending industries, from Bridgepoint, its private equity owner.  BlackRock plans to combine eFront with Aladdin, the analytics platform that is the crown jewel of its “Solutions” business that caters to other asset managers and institutional investors.

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Regulatory & Legal News

CAT Opens Reporting Registration
Markets Media | Rob Daly

Industry members and third-party trade-reporting providers who have an SRO membership and handle quotes or orders in NMS equities securities, OTC equities, or listed options have until June 27 to register as CAT reporters. Firms that do not have an obligation to report to OATS have a responsibility to report to the CAT and will need to register, according to Paul McKenney, a senior director at FINRA. The recently named plan processor has added a registration tab to the CAT NMS Plan’s homepage and started taking submissions on March 18.

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Blockchain & Crypto News

BitGo Brings on Early IEX Employee from CoinList to Forge Relationships with Wall Street
The Block | Frank Chaparro

Rob Salman, the trading veteran and early IEX employee, has found a new home in the cryptocurrency world. The former head of business development at CoinList, the token sale platform, joined crypto custody provider BitGo as its new head of business development, reporting to CEO Mike Belshe. The Block first reported on Salman joining CoinList as well as his exit. The University of Texas graduate dove into crypto last year after spending 20 years in the U.S. equity trading and exchange world. He was one of the founding employees at upstart equities exchange IEX.

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Forefront Client News

A Startup That Scrapes the Web for Banks and Hedge Funds Just Raised Money from Visa’s Former CEO in a Sign of the Growing Importance of the $2 Billion Industry
Business Insider | Dakin Campbell

Alternative data has started to pay. That’s one conclusion to take from today’s news that alternative data startup Thinknum had raised $11.6 million in a series A round from investors including Green Visor Capital, according to a statement. Joe Saunders, the Visa CEO who took the network public in 2008, is the fintech VC’s general partner. Thinknum will use the money to invest in the product, find new clients like corporations, and hire engineers to its staff of about 20, according to co-founder Justin Zhen.

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Caspian Teams With Deribit To Offer Options And Futures Crypto Trading
BlockTribune | David Pimentel

Cypto trading platform Caspian has integrated its platform with crypto options and futures exchange Deribit to become the first institutional platform to offer both options and futures trading in crypto. Caspian is a joint venture between Hong Kong-based blockchain firm Kenetic and OEMS global trading platform Tora. It provides institutional grade trade order, execution, compliance and risk management features to meet investors’ regulatory and operational needs.

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Cboe’s Bob Books Elected Chair of the SIPs
Globe Newswire | Staff

The Operating Committees of the Securities Information Processors (SIPs) today announced that Bob Books has been elected to serve as chair. Mr. Books has extensive experience with the SIPs, having been an active participant in committee matters over the past eight years and the head of a number of subcommittees and working groups. He succeeds NYSE Chicago’s Emily Kasparov, who served as chair for four years.

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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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