(23.05.2008) У Citadel - один из наиболее мощных по интеллектуальной силе аналитических отделов среди всех инвестиционных фондов, а также есть «запасная» компьютерная система, расположенная где-то за пределами Чикаго.
…Два основных фонда, через которые Citadel торгует на биржах, называются Kensington Global и Wellington. Сейчас на Citadel приходится 2-3% дневного оборота торгов на Нью-Йоркской, Лондонской и Токийских биржах (около 70 млн. акций), почти 10% рынка казначейских облигаций и около 15% рынка опционов. На рынке опционов Citadel – единственный хедж-фонд, который может действительно серьезно на влиять на торги.
Фонд не ограничивает свою торговлю перечисленными инструментами, а зарабатывает буквально на всем, что продается и покупается: от фьючерсов на газ до валюты
With the world's most mysterious, and profitable, quant fund - Renaissance Technologies - recently finding itself in an unfamiliar place: under the harsh public spotlight, and worse - in the context of its co-CEO Robert Mercer's questionable political support of Donald Trump - we wondered one month ago how long before regulators start sniffing around to uncover the "secret sauce" that has generated some $60 billion in profits for LPs of the giant money-making machine. The answer: a few weeks. According to the NY Post, regulators from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are probing the "secret trading code" at RenTec run by Democrat, and Hillary Clinton supporter, James Simons and Republican and Trump's most influential financial backer, Robert Mercer. The CFTC has reportedly asked to dig into the trading software at the $65 billion hedge fund, "James Rowan, the fund’s chief operating officer, told an audience of hedge fund managers on Tuesday in New York, according to two people who were in the audience." But, like every other secretive quant fund, RenTec is pushing back against the CFTC’s request out of fear that the code will “leak,” Rowan told the managers, according to those present. Jonathan Hitchon, chief operating officer of quantitative hedge fund Two Sigma, which manages an estimated $40 billion, was also on the panel echoing Rowan’s concerns. Hitchon is on the board of the Managed Funds Association, which called out the CFTC for “overreaching in its authority” in a letter sent last month. The push by the CFTC to expose the trading code of the world's most popular quant fund comes as a time when investors are increasingly on edge about the threat of passive investing in a one-way market, with lingering questions about what might happen if all the quants start selling at the same time. The pushback by Simons’ firm is the latest sign that the government is plowing into so-called “quant funds,” which use highly technical trading algorithms to try to beat the market. It is a growing area in the hedge fund space as more hedge funds, including Steve Cohen’s Point72, are increasingly hiring more developers to build algorithms. These algorithms are often black boxes, and are so complicated that it would be nearly impossible to figure out what they’re designed to do, or why they do it. As long-time readers will recall, back in 2009 Zero Hedge led a brief campaign seeking to unveil the mystery inside either Medallion or RIEF B, which however failed to penetrate RenTec's unbreakable armor. Now it is the CFTC's turn: "regulators are concerned there could be an illegal trading practice, like creating fake orders to move the prices of illiquid stocks, which is known as spoofing." To be sure, it's not just RenTec that is on edge. The post notes that last year the CFTC "first outlined the regulations that would allow it to scrutinize hedge funds’ algorithms. Other major funds, like Citadel and Two Sigma, slammed the proposal, saying that sharing the code made it more likely it could fall into the wrong hands." Even the CFTC admitted last year that there are problems with its plan to require quant funds to share code. “This requirement has garnered an enormous amount of attention from market participants concerned with the prospect of handing over highly valuable, proprietary business source code to an agency of the US government that has an imperfect record as a guardian of confidential information,” CFTC Commissioner Christopher Giancarlo said in September. Meanwhile, despite its pushback, Renaissance is complying with the CFTC’s request for the code, "and is exploring ways it can share the code in a secure setting but not have it left sitting on a CFTC file where it could be vulnerable to hacking and being leaked, Rowan said." The problem, as RenTec and traders know, is that once the "black box" ends up in the hands of regulators, it is as good as public. Which is why in 2009, Goldman went ballistic when Sergey Aleynikov allegedly stole the bank's quant trading code, and was promptly arrested and spent time in prison, even though he has twice acquitted of the charge, though he’s still facing charges on an appeal. That code was Goldman’s “secret sauce,” New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged in 2012. Whether or not RenTec's most valuable asset leaks in the public, here, for those interests, is the public breakdown of RenTec's top equity positions as of March 31.
Этот бюджетный смартфон первым под брендом Fly получил ОС Android 7.0, поверх которой установлен еще и лончер от "Яндекса". На фоне ожидаемых с учетом цены характеристик выделяются экран с Full HD-разрешением и дактилоскопический сканер. Читайте в обзоре смартфона Fly Cirrus 13 об этих и других его плюсах и минусах.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ken Griffin, founder and chief executive of hedge fund firm Citadel LLC, said on Wednesday that the run-up in the U.S. stock market was not over but that investors should be...
Every year, the world's richest and most powerful business executives, bankers, media heads and politicians sit down in some luxurious and heavily guarded venue, and discuss how to shape the world in a way that maximizes profits for all involved, while perpetuating a status quo that has been highly beneficial for a select few, even if it means the ongoing destruction of the middle class. We are talking, of course, about the annual, and always secretive, Bilderberg meeting. And just like last year's meeting in Dresden, the primary topic on the agenda of this year's 65th Bilderberg Meeting which starts today and ends on Sunday, is one: Donald Trump. Ironically, this year "the storm around Donald Trump" as the SCMP puts it, is not half way around the world, but just a few miles west of the White House, in a conference centre in Chantilly, Virginia, where the embattled president will be getting his end-of-term grades from the people whose opinion actually matters: some 130 participating "Bilderbergs". The secretive three-day summit of the political and economic elite kicks off Thursday in heavily guarded seclusion at the Westfields Marriot, a luxury hotel a short distance from the Oval Office. As of Wednesday, the hotel was already on lockdown and an army of landscapers have been busy planting fir trees around the perimeter, to try protect "coy billionaires and bashful bank bosses" from prying lenses and/or projectiles. Perched ominously at the top of the conference agenda this year are these words: “The Trump Administration: A progress report”. So is the president going to be put in detention for tweeting in class? Held back a year? Or told to empty his locker and leave? If ever there’s a place where a president could hear the words “you’re fired!”, it’s Bilderberg. Sarcasm aside, the White House was taking no chances, sending along some big hitters from Team Trump to defend their boss: national security adviser, HR McMaster; the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross; and Trump’s new strategist, Chris Liddell (curiously, neither Gary Cohn nor Steven Mnuchin will be there although the controversial new Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Jose Barroso will be present). Could Trump himself show up to receive his report card in person: we are confident he will tweet all about it... which is probably why he will never be invited. Stil, none other than Henry Kissinger, the gravel-throated kingpin of Bilderberg, visited the White House a few weeks ago to discuss “Russia and other things”, and certainly, the Bilderberg conference would be the perfect opportunity for the most powerful man in the world to discuss important global issues with Trump. Sarcasm aside, what are among the "Trump agenda" items to be discussed? The publicly list is as follows: The Trump Administration: A progress report Trans-Atlantic relations: options and scenarios The Trans-Atlantic defence alliance: bullets, bytes and bucks The direction of the EU Can globalisation be slowed down? Jobs, income and unrealised expectations The war on information Why is populism growing? Russia in the international order The Near East Nuclear proliferation China Current events The US president’s extraordinary chiding of NATO leaders in Brussels is sure to be first and foremost on the Bilderberg discussing panel. The Bilderbergers have summoned the head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, to give feedback. Stoltenberg will be leading the snappily titled session on “The Transatlantic defence alliance: bullets, bytes and bucks”. He’ll be joined by the Dutch minister of defence and a clutch of senior European politicians and party leaders, all hoping to reset the traumatised transatlantic relationship after Trump’s galumphing visit. As the Guardian puts it, the guest list for this year’s conference is a veritable “covfefe” of big-hitters from geopolitics, from the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, to the king of Holland, but perhaps the most significant name on the list is Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US. According to the meeting’s agenda, “China” will also be discussed at a summit attended by Cui, the US commerce secretary, the US national security adviser, two US senators, the governor of Virginia, two former CIA chiefs and any number of giant US investors in China, including the heads of the financial services firms the Carlyle Group and KKR. And for good reason: as last night's PMI numbers showed, the Chinese economy - the global growth dynamo - is finally contracting. If China goes, the rest of the world will follow. Additionally, the boss of Google Eric Schmidt, who warned in January that Trump’s administration will do “evil things”, is expected to attend, too. The executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s holding company, has just come back from a trip to Beijing, where he was overseeing Google AI’s latest game of Go against humans. He declared it “a pleasure to be back in China, a country that I admire a great deal”. It’s possible three days spent chatting to the Chinese ambassador could even be good for business. Several journalists are participating in this year’s forum, including London Evening Standard editor George Osborne and Cansu Camlibel, the Washington bureau chief for Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. But per convention, news outlets are not invited to cover the event. “There is no desired outcome, no minutes are taken and no report is written,” the group stated. “Furthermore, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.” Ex-deputy secretary of state William Burns and former deputy assistant secretary of defence Elaine Bunn, both Obama-era officials, will also attend. Burns, the current president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has warned that Trump “risks hollowing out the ideas, initiative and institutions on which US leadership and international order rest.” With one of the agenda items titled simply enough "can globalisation be slowed down?" it is no surprise that anti-globalisation protesters have already descended on the location of the meeting. * * * Below is a full list of this year's participants: CHAIRMAN Castries, Henri de (FRA), Former Chairman and CEO, AXA; President of Institut Montaigne PARTICIPANTS Achleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG Adonis, Andrew (GBR), Chair, National Infrastructure Commission Agius, Marcus (GBR), Chairman, PA Consulting Group Akyol, Mustafa (TUR), Senior Visiting Fellow, Freedom Project at Wellesley College Alstadheim, Kjetil B. (NOR), Political Editor, Dagens Næringsliv Altman, Roger C. (USA), Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore Arnaut, José Luis (PRT), Managing Partner, CMS Rui Pena & Arnaut Barroso, José M. Durão (PRT), Chairman, Goldman Sachs International Bäte, Oliver (DEU), CEO, Allianz SE Baumann, Werner (DEU), Chairman, Bayer AG Baverez, Nicolas (FRA), Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Benko, René (AUT), Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, SIGNA Holding GmbH Berner, Anne-Catherine (FIN), Minister of Transport and Communications Botín, Ana P. (ESP), Executive Chairman, Banco Santander Brandtzæg, Svein Richard (NOR), President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA Brennan, John O. (USA), Senior Advisor, Kissinger Associates Inc. Bsirske, Frank (DEU), Chairman, United Services Union Buberl, Thomas (FRA), CEO, AXA Bunn, M. Elaine (USA), Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Burns, William J. (USA), President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Çakiroglu, Levent (TUR), CEO, Koç Holding A.S. Çamlibel, Cansu (TUR), Washington DC Bureau Chief, Hürriyet Newspaper Cebrián, Juan Luis (ESP), Executive Chairman, PRISA and El País Clemet, Kristin (NOR), CEO, Civita Cohen, David S. (USA), Former Deputy Director, CIA Collison, Patrick (USA), CEO, Stripe Cotton, Tom (USA), Senator Cui, Tiankai (CHN), Ambassador to the United States Döpfner, Mathias (DEU), CEO, Axel Springer SE Elkann, John (ITA), Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Enders, Thomas (DEU), CEO, Airbus SE Federspiel, Ulrik (DNK), Group Executive, Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S Ferguson, Jr., Roger W. (USA), President and CEO, TIAA Ferguson, Niall (USA), Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University Gianotti, Fabiola (ITA), Director General, CERN Gozi, Sandro (ITA), State Secretary for European Affairs Graham, Lindsey (USA), Senator Greenberg, Evan G. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Chubb Group Griffin, Kenneth (USA), Founder and CEO, Citadel Investment Group, LLC Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Editor-in-Chief and Anchor "Otto e mezzo", La7 TV Guindos, Luis de (ESP), Minister of Economy, Industry and Competiveness Haines, Avril D. (USA), Former Deputy National Security Advisor Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Professor of Economics, Leiden University Hamers, Ralph (NLD), Chairman, ING Group Hedegaard, Connie (DNK), Chair, KR Foundation Hennis-Plasschaert, Jeanine (NLD), Minister of Defence, The Netherlands Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investments LLC Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder, LinkedIn and Partner, Greylock Houghton, Nicholas (GBR), Former Chief of Defence Ischinger, Wolfgang (INT), Chairman, Munich Security Conference Jacobs, Kenneth M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Lazard Johnson, James A. (USA), Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners Jordan, Jr., Vernon E. (USA), Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies Kengeter, Carsten (DEU), CEO, Deutsche Börse AG Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc. Klatten, Susanne (DEU), Managing Director, SKion GmbH Kleinfeld, Klaus (USA), Former Chairman and CEO, Arconic Knot, Klaas H.W. (NLD), President, De Nederlandsche Bank Koç, Ömer M. (TUR), Chairman, Koç Holding A.S. Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR Kravis, Marie-Josée (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute Kudelski, André (CHE), Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group Lagarde, Christine (INT), Managing Director, International Monetary Fund Lenglet, François (FRA), Chief Economics Commentator, France 2 Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chairman, KBC Group Liddell, Christopher (USA), Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Initiatives Lööf, Annie (SWE), Party Leader, Centre Party Mathews, Jessica T. (USA), Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace McAuliffe, Terence (USA), Governor of Virginia McKay, David I. (CAN), President and CEO, Royal Bank of Canada McMaster, H.R. (USA), National Security Advisor Micklethwait, John (INT), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP Minton Beddoes, Zanny (INT), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist Molinari, Maurizio (ITA), Editor-in-Chief, La Stampa Monaco, Lisa (USA), Former Homeland Security Officer Morneau, Bill (CAN), Minister of Finance Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates Murtagh, Gene M. (IRL), CEO, Kingspan Group plc Netherlands, H.M. the King of the (NLD) Noonan, Peggy (USA), Author and Columnist, The Wall Street Journal O'Leary, Michael (IRL), CEO, Ryanair D.A.C. Osborne, George (GBR), Editor, London Evening Standard Papahelas, Alexis (GRC), Executive Editor, Kathimerini Newspaper Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), CEO, Titan Cement Co. Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute Pind, Søren (DNK), Minister for Higher Education and Science Puga, Benoît (FRA), Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor and Chancellor of the National Order of Merit Rachman, Gideon (GBR), Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, The Financial Times Reisman, Heather M. (CAN), Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc. Rivera Díaz, Albert (ESP), President, Ciudadanos Party Rosén, Johanna (SWE), Professor in Materials Physics, Linköping University Ross, Wilbur L. (USA), Secretary of Commerce Rubenstein, David M. (USA), Co-Founder and Co-CEO, The Carlyle Group Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations and Former Treasury Secretary Ruoff, Susanne (CHE), CEO, Swiss Post Rutten, Gwendolyn (BEL), Chair, Open VLD Sabia, Michael (CAN), CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec Sawers, John (GBR), Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Deputy Assistant to the President, National Security Council Schmidt, Eric E. (USA), Executive Chairman, Alphabet Inc. Schneider-Ammann, Johann N. (CHE), Federal Councillor, Swiss Confederation Scholten, Rudolf (AUT), President, Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue Severgnini, Beppe (ITA), Editor-in-Chief, 7-Corriere della Sera Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), Senior Fellow, Harvard University Slat, Boyan (NLD), CEO and Founder, The Ocean Cleanup Spahn, Jens (DEU), Parliamentary State Secretary and Federal Ministry of Finance Stephenson, Randall L. (USA), Chairman and CEO, AT&T Stern, Andrew (USA), President Emeritus, SEIU and Senior Fellow, Economic Security Project Stoltenberg, Jens (INT), Secretary General, NATO Summers, Lawrence H. (USA), Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University Tertrais, Bruno (FRA), Deputy Director, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital Topsøe, Jakob Haldor (DNK), Chairman, Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S Ülgen, Sinan (TUR), Founding and Partner, Istanbul Economics Vance, J.D. (USA), Author and Partner, Mithril Wahlroos, Björn (FIN), Chairman, Sampo Group, Nordea Bank, UPM-Kymmene Corporation Wallenberg, Marcus (SWE), Chairman, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB Walter, Amy (USA), Editor, The Cook Political Report Weston, Galen G. (CAN), CEO and Executive Chairman, Loblaw Companies Ltd and George Weston Companies White, Sharon (GBR), Chief Executive, Ofcom Wieseltier, Leon (USA), Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy, The Brookings Institution Wolf, Martin H. (INT), Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times Wolfensohn, James D. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Wolfensohn & Company Wunsch, Pierre (BEL), Vice-Governor, National Bank of Belgium Zeiler, Gerhard (AUT), President, Turner International Zients, Jeffrey D. (USA), Former Director, National Economic Council Zoellick, Robert B. (USA), Non-Executive Chairman, AllianceBernstein L.P. Natrually, the secretive nature of the group has given birth to conspiracy theories. Some have claimed that the Bilderberg is a group of rich and powerful kingmakers seeking to impose a one world government. Whether that is true remains in the eye of the beholder, however one thing is clear: as the graph below shows, the members are connected to virtually every important and relevant organization, media outlet, company and political entity in the world.
Когда 5 мая в легендарном отеле King David получили подтверждение, что президент Дональд Трамп остановится у них, а не у соперников - в Waldorf Astoria или David Citadel, начался двухнедельный логистический аврал.
Authored by M.K.Bhadrakumar via The Strategic Culture Foundation, When President Donald Trump received President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday at the White House, his legendary deal-making prowess was be on trial. Trump has not been in a tearing hurry to receive Erdogan. During the first 100 days of his presidency, Trump received the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan (twice), Iraq and Palestine. Yet, none of them belongs to a Nato member country and or is a crucial “swing” state in Trump’s messianic war against ISIS, as Turkey is. Could it be Erdogan’s dalliance with ISIS in the past that put a dampened Trump’s enthusiasm for this “strongman”? But then, Saudi Arabia too was promoting al-Qaeda groups in Syria. Or, was it Erdogan’s growing friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin that discouraged Trump? But then, Trump greeted Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the White House as an old ally. Clearly, the only good reason could be that Trump deliberately decided that there is a time for everything – even for meeting Erdogan. Trump thoughtfully let the Turkish referendum on constitutional reform run its course first. Trump now has the answer. Erdogan extracted a “yes” vote in the referendum alright, and is set to concentrate executive power in his hands, but, paradoxically, he is a wounded man, having lost the referendum vote in all major cities, especially Istanbul, which has been his citadel. Erdogan barely scraped through. On the other hand, an invigorated German-French axis following the resounding election victory of Emmanuel Macron means that a consolidated EU pressure is building on Erdogan to curb his authoritarian drift. Erdogan knows that a rupture of Turkey’s ties to the West would have grave economic and political consequences. Meanwhile, if Erdogan had calculated that he could play off the US and Russia, that is also not to be. Trump simply outflanked him by opening a line to Putin regarding Syria before he met Erdogan. Erdogan has been naïve. The Kremlin won’t risk annoying Trump. Détente with the US is an overriding concern for Russia. All things taken into account, therefore, Trump did the right thing to meet Erdogan in the fullness of time. Trump’s decision to sign the executive order allowing the Pentagon to transfer heavy weapons to the Kurdish militia on the eve of Erdogan’s visit underscores it. Trump is looking for a quick victory in Raqqa. The liberation of Raqqa will be prime time news in America. Who’d pay attention anymore to “a showboat” such as James Comey when the pictures are beamed from Raqqa into the living rooms of America? The Pentagon commanders estimate that the Kurdish militia with US air support will liberate Raqqa successfully and swiftly. Indeed, latest reports suggest that the Kurdish militia has reached within two kilometers of Raqqa city limits. Simply put, Erdogan who was hoping to dissuade Trump from aligning with the Kurds will now have to discuss concerns over post-liberation Raqqa. The ground beneath Erdogan’s feet has dramatically shifted. He still can resort to strategic defiance by resorting to air strikes against the Kurdish militia, similar to the attacks staged by the Turkish air force on April 25 on the town of Sinjar (Iraqi Kurdistan) and on targets in the Karachok Mountains (northeastern Syria). However, the US and Russian deployments to the Kurdish cantons in northern Syrian show that both Washington and Moscow have factored in such a possibility and have a tacit understanding that only their physical presence might act as a deterrent against Erdogan’s adventurism. This opens up a tantalizing prospect – US and Russia having an unwritten division of labor to “tame” Erdogan. The Russian diplomacy has shown masterly skill in shepherding Turkish policies away from covert backing for extremist groups toward new directions that help to end the fighting in Syria. The Russia-US cooperation in Syria drastically curbs Erdogan’s elbow room. What are Erdogan’s options? Trump has put him out of business since the US is no longer using Turkish proxies to push the “regime change” agenda in Syria. American retrenchment affects Saudi and Qatari policies, too. Besides, Erdogan will be wary of provoking Trump. Apart from the discord over the extradition of Islamist preacher Fetullah Gulen, the US is keeping under detention the top executive of Halkbank Mehmet Hakan Attila whom it implicates in the sensational criminal case (which is also linked to Erdogan’s immediate family members) regarding abuse of the US financial system to conduct fraudulent transactions on behalf of Iranian entities. Will Erdogan retaliate by shutting down Incirlik air base? Such a possibility exists, but remains unlikely. At any rate, Washington is focused on the liberation of Raqqa, and access to Incirlik is a secondary issue at the moment. The bottom line is that Erdogan is running out of options and may be coming under pressure, finally, to (re)open his own channels to the Kurdish groups. Indeed, Turkey got along well with the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan and a similar deal can be worked out with Syrian Kurds. Being the consummate pragmatist that he is, Erdogan may well decide to pick up the threads of the peace process with the Kurds from where he summarily left them in 2015 due to compulsions over forthcoming electoral battles culminating in the March referendum to transform Turkey into a presidential system. Significantly, Erdogan has reacted with extraordinary restraint to the Pentagon move to arm Kurds in Syria. He is mulling over his options. Trump can encourage him to seek a deal with Kurds. It may not be the mother of all deals, but a historic deal nonetheless, which will go a long way to stabilizing Syria and the wider Middle East.
Last week news emerged that as a result of the deteriorating local economy, coupled with a plunge in hedge fund profits, the capital of Connecticut - Hartford - was preparing for bankruptcy. Among the reasons cited by Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan was that wealthy people are “dramatically less wealthy than they were before.” It turns out that, at least relatively speaking, he was correct. According to the latest annual ranking by Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine, the woes that have plagued hedge fund LPs who have paid 2 and 20 (or 1 and 10 as the case may ) for seven consecutive years of market underperformance have finally spread to management and in 2016 the 25 top paid hedge fund managers made a combined $11 billion. Although that sounds like a lot, it's actually the lowest total since 2005, when the top 25 earned just $9.4 billion. It's also just a little over half of what the top 25 managers earned just three years ago, when they reaped a total of $21.2 billion. The average top earner made $440 million in 2016. The median earner made $250 million, the lowest since 2011, when the median earner made $235 million. Surprisingly, even in 2008, when the stock market and many hedge funds were down by large-double-digit percentages, the highest earners made more money as a group: $11.6 billion. To qualify for the top 25 this year, managers needed to earn "only" $130 million, the lowest floor since 2011, when a manager required $100 million to make the list. Last year's comparatively lower numbers underscore the dichotomy of the hedge fund industry in 2016. And while data scorekeepers like HFR talked up the fact that the average hedge fund had its best year since 2013, that does not accurately portray what really happened on a fund-by-fund level. Rather, there has been a group of managers that enjoyed strong double-digit gains last year. However, looking beyond this top-performing group reveals that a significant proportion of the largest hedge fund firms - those whose principals are more likely to make the most money - either suffered small losses or eked out low-single-digit gains. As has been the case in recent years, in 2016 compensation was led by the quants who have been least impacted by the death of fundamental analysis in a centrally-planned market. RenTec's James Simons topped the table for the second year in a row, earnings $1.6 billion, down only $100 million from the previous year, after his two main funds posted double digit returns. In second place was Bridgewater's Ray Dalio, which manages around $160bn in assets for 350 institutional clients, with earnings of $1.4 billion. As the FT notes, the popularity of the computer-driven funds helped the quants rack up their eighth consecutive year of inflows in 2016, doubling their assets since 2009 to $918 billion, according to Hedge Fund Research. After the top two earners, the ranking amounts drop considerably: two more quants filled out the third and ourth spot: Two Sigma founders John Overdeck and David Siegel, who each made $750 million. Last year their Compass Fund rose by double digits. Continuing a trend from the previous year, quantitatively focused firms, so called because they mostly or totally rely on computers to make their investment decisions, were among the big winners in 2016. The four highest earners on this year's ranking hail from quant firms. A total of13 managers from last year's "Rich List" are among the top 25 earners this year; with several of qualifying even though they posted their worst results in several years. They include Kenneth Griffin of Citadel, the top earner in last year's ranking, who slipped to 6th place after his total earnings fell by about 65%. In 2016, Citadel's main multistrategy funds, Wellington and Kensington, rose a little more than 5 percent, their smallest gain in eight years. Notably, some of the best-known names in the industry, including Bill Ackman, John Paulson and Eddie Lampert failed to make the list. Among those missing in the Top 25 this year but qualified for last year's top ranking, four are from firms headed by so-called Tiger Cubs that lost money on their long-short funds in 2016. They include Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management, Andreas Halvorsen and Daniel Sundheim of Viking Global Investors, and Stephen Mandel Jr., of Lone Pine Capital. As a result, this is the first time since 2010 that no one with ties to Julian Roberton's Tiger Management qualified for the top 25 ranking. Just to put these earnings in context, even the lowest-ranking manager on Alpha magazine’s expanded top-50 list made more money in 2016 than any big United States bank executive, including Jamie Dimon of J. P. Morgan, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, all of who have been criticized for their big paychecks.
Last week we showed a fascinating statistic demonstrating just how poor market breadth has been in the latest push higher by the S&P: according to Goldman, as of May 10, just 10 companies have been responsible for half, or 46% to be exact, of the entire S&P's rally YTD. And with the 13-F reporting period now over, we now know the reason why just six tech stocks were reponsible for the majority of the S&P's upward surprise YTD - virtually every prominent hedge fund piled into them. The breakdown presented below, courtesy of Bloomberg, reveals just how urgent the scramble for "growth" was in the first quarter. As Bloomberg adds, with an average gain of 26% , "it’s hard to overstate the influence of just six stocks on the U.S. stock market in the first quarter: Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. and Netflix Inc." Here’s where some of the best-known hedge funds stood on the companies according to filings covering positions on March 31. Facebook (FB) Top new buy: Corvex (+850,000) Boosted stake: Adage (+822,100) Citadel (+4,289,917) Lansdowne (+899,846) Melvin (+963,021) Moore (+850,492) Omega (+194,100) Point72 (+2,020,400) Pointstate (+2,564,100) Renaissance Tech (+2,141,800) Ruane Cunniff (+300,000) Soros (+284,400) Tiger (+338,396) Cut stake: Sylebra (-358,944) Top exit: Airain (-229,332) * * * Apple (AAPL) Top new buy: Moore (+255,000) Boosted stake Adage (+140,600) Berkshire (+75,881,454) * * * Amazon (AMZN) Top new buy: Melvin (+251,084) Moore (+58,183) Renaissance (+329,255) Boosted stake: Lansdowne (+35,525) Pointstate (+265,878) Cut stake: Viking (-535,762) Top exit: Soros (-28,100) * * * Microsoft (MSFT) Top new buy: Moore (+1,190,000) Boosted stake: Pointstate (+2,758,200) Viking (+7,068,972) Top exit: Renaissance Technologies (-2,368,100) * * * Alphabet (GOOGL) Boosted stake: Moore (+47,860) Omega (+19,440) Pointstate (+267,500) Cut stake: Lansdowne (-99,638) Tiger Global Management (-97,750 and -67,800 GOOG) Viking (-388,219 and -4,017 GOOG) Top exit: Airain (+14,612 and -12,577 GOOG) Soros (+1,300 and -20,200 GOOG) * * * Netflix (NFLX) Top new buy: Omega (+77,700) Lansdowne (+30,164) Tiger (+429,000) Boosted stake: Tybourne (+590,966) Cut stake: Melvin (-175,000) Viking (-556,280) Source: Bloomberg
Market makers Citadel Securities and XTX join UK start-up platform
Writing from the road... Author Vince Lanci on marketslant.com We have written many times about manipulation in this column. We seek justice and fairness in the markets that we continue to consider "free". First some thoughts on the trail of trader-speak I've been pouring over recently. The takeaway is this: getting over the circumstantial evidentiary bar to be permitted to get to discovery was a big deal. Rosa Abrantes has done much to get these cases as far as she has. But now, forensic work at the operational level is needed. And it just is not easy to prove the cases. Now, even with chats and trade logs, the facts can almost never be known. Within the constraints of our legal system, it is much harder to prove manipulation then the plaintiffs would have you think. This refers to the precious metals cases, the current FX cases, and the pending treasury cases. We are now at the discovery level, thousands of documents with chats and messages back-and-forth between traders are available for the plaintiffs to review. This is great. But can the lawyers understand intent from written words? He was just kidding! Can you prove otherwise? PROVING INTENT IS NOT EASY This is because the facts needed to prove "intent" are in the traders heads. And without intent you cannot win. In the three legged stool that is the legal system, intent is hardest leg to establish. I think "means, and opportunity" are the other 2. Trader conversations are not prose, to say the least. It is near impossible without inflection and confirmation in chats to determine, or differentiate sarcasm from sincerity. How can one divine intent from a chat where a trader alternately asserts he's infallibly correct in an opinion, and then laughs at himself for having such an outrageous opinion? No, the burden of proof that the plaintiffs must satisfy is very difficult in this circumstance. Note my own spelling in these very articles that the Soren K group posts. My own trading messages were difficult to translate let alone divine my intent. Frequently brokers would object to my horrible typing. I would respond with "My misspelling is protection against your execution error. If you mess up I can always blame you for not clarifying." I would then follow that with a LOL. Was I joking? How can you tell? Frankly, I was truly sloppy and not detail oriented. But it also served to me as a hedge against what sometimes was poor service. I insisted on clarification. This was one way I got it. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE SAYS TRUTH WITHOUT FACTS LOSES In one instance I was subject to an eight hour deposition regarding a manipulation case in natural gas options. It Involved a major bank in Canada, a major energy exchange, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund, a new electronic trading platform, and traders who executed on that platform of which I was one. I was a material witness and wasn't a party to either side of the prosecution. But I ended up essentially being an expert witness because of the questions asked by one excellent attorney. It was clear that they were not able to divine intent at the trading and forensic level of other participants in that scandal. They sought evidence of manipulation between the hedge fund and a bank employee. There was none to be found in the trades, or chats as damning as they may have been in appearance. It was that day that I learned in the legal world, conditional probability and narrative do not hold up when there are no facts to back it up. TRADERS USE CONDITIONAL PROBABILITIES TO MAKE DECISIONS IN UNCERTAINTY. JUDGES RISK NOTHING. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO FACTS. WITHOUT FACTS, A CASE GETS SETTLED ON THE COURT STEPS. And the facts proving intent were in the peoples' heads. Short of a download of their brains the cases cannot be won easily. It was made obvious to me later by my own attorney that the focus should've been on something entirely different then the line of questioning being asked. His advice was meant to let me know that if something was going on it would've been impossible for them to divine it from trying to figure out what traders are doing and why they're doing it. The plaintiffs actually settled days later in part most likely because of the information given during my testimony. Ironically months before my deposition, one of the prosecuting law firms' consultants tried to hire me for their case. They actually called me seeking me as an expert witness. First question to me was: Can you ever lose money by selling American Options and buying financial look alikes? I shit you not. This was their angle to prove that the EOO trades their clients' trader had done were fraudulent from the get-go as not even being real trades. That trader was under the bus before the case started. And theexchange would have been next I bet if they were proven right. My response was "I am qualified to do this, but if you check your list I'm a material witness in the case as I participated in the trades." Based on their discovery interview on me, I now know that case would have ended differently had they been able to translate, correlate and corroborate trades to chats. HFT IS EASIER TO PROVE It is actually easier to prove intent in HFT cases. And that is because the programming used is essentially a trader's intent in code. Programmers write down exactly what the trader wants to do! But that won't happen as long as it is run by bigger players. Mike Coscia was an impediment to other bigger firms' HFT rigging. Ask NANEX's Eric Hunsader. Once you get a hold of a firm's programmer, intent is easily proven. This is why you will increasingly hear form firms like Goldman and Citadel: "The programmer is privy to proprietary secrets and cannot be deposed." Secrets as in "INTENT TO SPOOF"? CHATS DO NOT PROVE INTENT Reviewing some of the Gold and FX conversations, even in context of the actions, is not such an easy proof of manipulation as the prosecutors would have you believe. It seems to me that the plaintiffs have a less than 50/50 chance of conviction and will settle on the court steps if they scare the defendants sufficiently. Deutsche bank in our opinion was a fluke. A fluke because they had much bigger fish to fry with the DOJ. Why else would a bank walk away from its London precious metals vault only two years after opening? LOST IN TRANSLATION The Gold, Silver, Fx and now the Treasury manipulation cases are not easily proven using facts. And our legal system just does not burn witches without proof anymore. Having been a material and expert witness in these type things, the accusers are not usually prepared for the arcane speech traders use. Just as when a lawyer says "res ipse loquitor", a trader can say, "it's going down, I guarantee it! Lol." And no one an KNOW what he really intended. How can the plaintiff prove that the LOL is him not mocking himself? Often times it is self recognition of his own failure, hubris, and ego. This, as opposed to him laughing at some unsuspecting victim. So, given this, how can the plaintiffs pretend to know what goes on in the traders mind? There is lexicon, trader sarcasm, wishful thinking as opposed to willful manipulation, and the old adage that "no one is bigger than the market." FACTOIDS ARE NOT FACTS Point here is that to win, all the defense has to do is make it clear that no one can know what the words written were intended to convey. In a legal system that needs facts, and where those facts are in the heads of the chat writers, it is not a slam dunk to get the evidence recognized as fact and not interpretation of what we feel a person may or may not have intended. Lacking expert forensic preparation that links and correlates the chats with time stamped subsequent actions, all the plaintiffs will likely get is conjecture and muddied waters. Facts will not be proven we bet. Not without narrative and contradictions found in discovery process. A ton of circumstantial material will not substitute for a real fact. And unless litigators can prove contradiction of deposed traders on the stand between what they wrote, their actions, and what they say in discovery, the case is not easily won. Read what Matt Levine has to say on the topic below. Vince Lanci. [email protected] Twitter @vlancipictures Marketslant Articles Trader chats. by Matt Levine. My basic theory of post-crisis financial scandals is that the main illegal thing that traders do is send each other dumb emails and chat messages. So many of these scandals are hard to describe in objective terms. The Libor scandal was about submitting fake numbers in Libor surveys, but even non-scandalous Libor submissions were pretty fake, so the only way to distinguish the bad fakes from the good ones was by finding chat messages saying things like "LOWER MATE LOWER !!" What was scandalous in the foreign-exchange-fixing scandal was that banks traded ahead of customer orders, but that was also legal; what was illegal was the dumb chats between those banks sharing customer information. The chats and emails are evidence of substantive illegality -- illegal collusion, manipulation, etc. -- but also display an attitude. If they were written in dull legalese, they would have created much less of a reaction; regulators might not even have noticed the problem. But they weren't; they were filled with obscenity, slang, misspelling, and promises of Champagne, all of which tend to enrage prosecutors and juries and the public. Anyway I enjoyed this story about the irreducible atomic unit of dumb trader chat: A five-word message to a rival banker was enough to cost former Citigroup Inc. trader David Madaras his job as the bank fought to appease regulators probing the foreign-exchange scandal engulfing the industry. Citigroup’s Timothy Gately disclosed the message on the first day of Madaras’s employment lawsuit in London Tuesday. The executive said the April 2011 chat constituted gross misconduct and firing Madaras was the only appropriate sanction. "he’s a seller/fking a," Madaras told a rival trader who had just disclosed the identity of a client, Gately said in a filing prepared ahead of the hearing. That chatroom message "validated an external trader’s disclosure of a client name," Gately said in the filing. The first three words -- "he's a seller" -- are substantive misconduct, disclosing a client's order to a competitor, and enough to get you fired in an atmosphere of heavy scrutiny of that sort of thing. The next two -- "fking a" -- are substantively superfluous, but you can't have a scandalous trader chat without obscenity and misspelling. You can't imagine a trader actually being fired for typing "he's a seller," but of course one was fired for typing "he's a seller/fking a." This is partly a matter of psychological makeup -- how could the traders resist cursing? -- but it might also be a matter of technology. What search, what flags, brought that chat to the executives' attention? Does compliance monitor every time traders type "he's a seller"? (Presumably they type that a lot!) Or is there a search for "fking," and other variant spellings, that triggers review?
By Justin Elliott A political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college. Steven Munoz was hired by the Trump administration as assistant chief of visits, running an office of up to 10 staffers charged with the sensitive work of organizing visits of foreign heads of state to the U.S. That includes arranging meetings with the president. At The Citadel, five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. In one incident, a student reported waking up with Munoz on top of him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals. In another, on a trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., a student said that Munoz jumped on him in bed and he “felt jerking and bouncing on my back.” An investigation by The Citadel later found that “certain assaults likely occurred.” A local prosecutor reviewed the case and declined to seek an indictment. Munoz’s hiring raises questions about the Trump administration’s vetting of political appointees, which has been both slow and spotty, with multiple incidents of staff being fired only weeks into their jobs, including for disloyalty to Trump. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. Munoz, a Miami native, worked as a political consultant in South Carolina after graduating from The Citadel in 2011. He was publicly reported to be under investigation the following year around the time he was working for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. Stories from that time, which outline some but not all of the allegations against Munoz, are easy to find via a simple Google search. Details of the case, drawn from an extensive, previously unreported police case file, also raise questions about The Citadel’s response to the alleged string of assaults, according to experts in campus sexual assault. After one student reported to a school official in 2010 that Munoz had sexually assaulted him, The Citadel didn’t discipline Munoz. Instead, it gave him a warning. Over the next year and a half, Munoz allegedly assaulted four other students. Those incidents weren’t reported until well after Munoz graduated in 2011. Munoz referred questions to his lawyer, the prominent Charleston defense attorney Andy Savage, who denied the allegations. “I believe that certain disgruntled cadets made exaggerated claims of wrongdoing concerning Munoz’s participation in boorish behavior that was historically tacitly approved, if not encouraged, by the Institution,” Savage said. Upon graduation, The Citadel gave Munoz an award for “leadership, sound character and service to others.” The citation said he could “always be counted upon to help classmates who need assistance and to mentor younger cadets adjusting to life at The Citadel.” A Citadel spokeswoman, Kim Keelor, said the committee that gave the award would not have known about the 2010 allegation because of privacy law. Keelor said of the case overall: “The college proceeded thoughtfully in addressing the reports in accordance with its policy and related processes, and with great concern for those involved and the protection of their privacy.” When more students came forward the year after Munoz graduated, The Citadel banned him from campus and referred the case to state police, who did an extensive investigation. When The Citadel later conducted its investigation, it interviewed complainants and witnesses and concluded in 2014 that assaults occurred “based upon a ‘preponderance of evidence,’” according to a statement from the school to ProPublica. ***** The Citadel is a storied public college based in Charleston, South Carolina, where students, known as cadets, get military instruction as well as traditional coursework. Many join the armed services after graduation. Freshman are dubbed “knobs” for their shaved haircuts. They go through what the school refers to as “strict indoctrination.” They are subordinate to upperclassmen. There have been repeated hazing problems for many years, and there was a major scandal involvingsexual abuse at the school’s summer camp in the mid-2000s. The students who accused Munoz of assaults say that he abused his power as an upperclassman and student leader. Here is what one Citadel student told police about his encounters with Munoz in 2009 and 2010 during his freshman year: Munoz coerced threatened and convinced me to allow inappropriate touching, grabbing, and kissing by leading me to believe it was what I needed to do to gain acceptance in the corps of cadets. He threatened to call my upperclassmen who would be upset if I did not comply with him. The student told police he and Munoz would sometimes return to campus early and stay at the home of a Citadel professor, where “during the night Munoz would enter my room and continue the touching.” Another student who was a freshman in 2011 traveled with Munoz, then a senior, as part of the Republican Society trip to the annual CPAC event in Washington. The student later said in a statement to police that Munoz had jumped on him two times. In one incident, after the freshman was caught with alcohol, Munoz informed the younger student that he would not be citing him for the violation, then came into the freshman’s hotel room: I was groggy, [Munoz] jumped on me, I felt jerking and bouncing on my back, I threw my elbow up which threw him off the bed to the floor. A third student, who met Munoz through the Republican Society, described Munoz setting up a series of meetings with him alone in Munoz’s room to talk about how to get leadership positions in campus organizations. He instructed me to sit on his bed during these meetings. … After a few meetings he began to rub my leg with his hand. He moved his hand under my shorts and the first time I pushed his hand off my leg he said he was just playing and that he did it with his other knobs so I shouldn’t mind. I had seen this in the past and when I asked my classmates about the interaction, they said when they resisted, he yelled at them for not trusting him and Mr. Munoz made them stay longer in his room. In another meeting, Munoz “put his other hand down my underwear until I again pushed him away, but he did not stop. He said as a new leader I had to learn to trust other leaders on the team and this was how I should show him I trusted him.” Munoz said “he read the Bible and knew what it said and I should not question his love of God. He continued to rub my leg and rub my private area. … He said this needed to stay between us and dismissed me.” The first incident reported to the school took place in April 2009. As later recounted by a state police investigator, Munoz, then a sophomore, and a freshman were at an off-campus house watching TV and consensually spooning. The freshman later woke up in the middle of the night, “thinking he was having a wet dream, but it was Munoz on top of him with fully body contact, kissing him with his tongue in his mouth. Munoz had his left hand down [the other student’s] shorts touching his penis.” The following year, in February 2010, the student reported that incident to a Citadel official, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Janet Shealy. The reporting student told Shealy he didn’t “want to do anything but informal,” according to her notes. School officials set up a mediation session in which Munoz and the other student met in a conference room. In that meeting, according to Shealy’s notes, Munoz “said it was consensual and that accuser started it.” The other student left “upset,” saying that Munoz had “lied.” Shealy and another Citadel official, Col. Christopher “Hawk” Moore, met with Munoz again to tell him there would be no disciplinary action taken. Munoz was warned and told to write a statement about what happened. Experts on campus sexual assault questioned how The Citadel handled that initial report. “The school has the responsibility to keep people safe on campus,” said Colby Bruno, an attorney at Victim Rights Law Center. “The school should have investigated this more thoroughly. Instead of investigation they went to this mediation.” Bruno pointed out that the federal government’s guidance on how schools should respond to sexual assault under federal civil rights law explicitly says that even voluntary mediation is not appropriate in assault cases. “Sexual assault is about power and control,” Bruno said. “You can’t sit two people down who have an imbalance of control and power to have a balanced mediation.” Citadel spokeswoman Keelor said in a statement that the school’s policy on mediation differs from the federal guidance “because it was developed under the direction of the Department of Justice and the federal courts during the school’s transition to coeducation” in 1996. Keelor said after the 2010 assault report “the college conducted an investigation.” She said the school could not give details about any specific case. But she said in a statementthat generally an “informal investigation” would include interviewing both students and providing options for support services. The statement also details how the Citadel requires sexual assault prevention classes for each year of a student’s time at the school. Shealy, The Citadel’s sexual assault response coordinator, declined to comment. Bruno said a thorough investigation would include speaking to potential witnesses or people who had seen Munoz or the other student soon after the alleged assault. When more students came forward in fall 2012 — more than a year after Munoz graduated — The Citadel referred the case to the state police, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The school also sent a campus-wide email notifying students of the allegations and banned Munoz, then an alumnus, from campus. One student said in a statement to campus police that he had come forward so long after what happened because he had heard of other incidents and “I want this school to be safe from sexual predators.” Over the course of several months, police interviewed the five alleged victims, who said they were willing to press charges. (None of them responded to our requests for comment.) The incidents were classified variously as forcible fondling, sexual battery and simple assault. In March 2013, the state police referred the case to the office of the Charleston County prosecutor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson. A week after receiving the nearly 200-page case file, the prosecutor said in a letter to police that her office would not seek indictments against Munoz because “there is no probable cause that he committed a crime prosecutable in General Sessions Court.” Wilson’s office did not respond to requests for comment. In 2014, according to The Citadel, Munoz requested that the school review its decision to ban him from campus. That’s when the school conducted its own investigation and found that “certain assaults likely occurred.” Later that year, the school partially rescinded the no-trespass order, “permitting general access to public facilities and events, but no direct cadet interactions.” Asked why, the school pointed to the prosecutor’s decision not to seek indictments. Savage, Munoz’s lawyer, said in his statement: “Steven Munoz, a graduate of the Corp with a sterling reputation for honesty, integrity and all Corp values, was used as a whipping boy in an attempt by the institution to change its shameful image shaped by its ignorance of the conduct of Skip ReVille and Michael Arpaio.” ReVilleand Arpaio were at the center of widely covered Citadel sexual assault and child abuse scandals. At the time two of the allegations against Munoz surfaced in 2012, Savage told The Post and Courier newspaper that the allegations were not only false, but also politically motivated. Savage claimed that an unnamed Citadel employee — who was also the mother of one of the alleged victims — had released information on the allegations because she disliked Munoz’s conservative politics. Savage declined our request to provide details to substantiate his claim. Savage also criticized the investigation of the case, saying that “several cadets complained that they were being pressured to provide misleading statements.” They were “pressured to report interactions that the cadets considered typical barracks banter as if they felt it was inappropriate,” he said. When asked for details, Savage provided the name of one student, who Savage said was a witness, not a victim. The student is not cited as a witness in the nearly 200-page police case file, and was not immediately available for comment. Savage also criticized the school’s investigation, saying he was not given enough time to provide witnesses or statements. Since Munoz graduated, he has been president of a Charleston-based political consulting firm called American Southern Group, according to his LinkedIn profile. The Trump campaign paid the firm tens of thousands of dollars for “event consulting,” according to disclosure filings. Munoz was then hired to work on Trump’s inaugural committee. He joined the State Department on Jan. 25, a spokesperson confirmed. The agency declined to comment further. During the Obama administration, vetting of potential political appointees like Munoz was extensive. A possible hire would be thoroughly examined by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel before being offered a job. That would include everything from a Google search to running a person’s name through criminal records and news databases. Any significant negative media reports or criminal accusations would lead a file to be flagged for further scrutiny by White House lawyers, according to a former staffer in the office who vetted Obama appointees. Sexual assault allegations would be a serious flag. In the Obama years, candidates under consideration for jobs were passed over because of, for example, a drunk driving case or for being a registered lobbyist. President Trump’s personnel office is being run by a former Republican Capitol Hill staffer, Johnny DeStefano. But not much is known about how the office checks the backgrounds of political appointees. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about details of its vetting process. Timeline April 2009: Alleged assault of Student #1 occurs. November 2009-May 2010: Alleged assaults of Student #2 occur. February 2010: Student #1 reports assault to The Citadel. February-March 2010: School officials meet with Munoz and Student #1 for mediation. Officials warn Munoz but take no disciplinary action. April 2010: Alleged assault of Student #3 occurs. February 2011: Alleged assault of Student #4 occurs. March-April 2011: Alleged assault of Student #5 occurs. May 2011: Munoz graduates. September 2012: After receiving more reports of past alleged assaults, The Citadel refers case to state police. The school bans Munoz, now an alumnus, from campus. March 2013: After an investigation of over five months, state police send case file to the office of the prosecutor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson. March 2013: Prosecutor declines to seek indictments. 2014: Munoz requests that school review no trespass order. The Citadel “conducted an investigation, interviewing complainants and witnesses. Based upon a ‘preponderance of evidence,’ it was concluded that certain assaults likely occurred,” according to a spokesperson. Later in 2014, the no-trespass order was partially rescinded, allowing Munoz to attend public events at the college, but limiting interactions with students. Like this story? Sign up for ProPublica’s daily newsletter to get more of their best work. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
BELGRADE (Reuters) - The 21st-floor offices of Studio B boast an unrivalled view of the Serbian capital, taking in Orthodox Church domes, a Gulf-financed property development and a citadel built by Celtic, Roman, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rulers.
BELGRADE (Reuters) - The 21st-floor offices of Studio B boast an unrivalled view of the Serbian capital, taking in Orthodox Church domes, a Gulf-financed property development and a citadel built by Celtic, Roman, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rulers.
“My fantasy is we actually break up the big banks,” billionaire Ken Griffin of Citadel, told an audience of big name investors and corporate executives at the Milken Global Institute Conference on Monday.
Even though conditions are dire, the remaining citizens of the once thriving city are trying to pick up the pieces of their former livesNear Aleppo’s ancient citadel, the scent of rose and jasmine rises from the rubble of a half-destroyed shop covered in bullet holes. Months ago it was a battleground, but for years before that it was a perfumery, and war has not changed its smell.For centuries Aleppo’s souk, its alleyway marketplace, was world-famous. The city was one of the westernmost points on the Silk Road and in both modern and ancient times it was full of haggling customers, canny businessmen, donkeys, and piles of goods – pistachios, za’atar and soap – from across the region. Continue reading...
ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - High on a rocky outcrop, just 50 miles from the fighting that is wrecking historic sites across Iraq, workers are busy laying out floor tiles, determined to save at least one ancient structure amidst the turmoil.
Authored by Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com, Central banks around the world have colluded, if not conspired, to elevate and prop up financial asset prices. Here we'll present the data and evidence that they've not only done so, but gone too far. When we discuss elevated financial asset prices we really are talking about everything; we're talking not just about the sky-high prices of stocks and bonds, but also of the trillions of dollars’ worth of derivatives that are linked to them, as well as real estate in dozens of countries and locations. All are intricately linked together. For instance, stocks are elevated, in part, because bond yields are so low. Sam for real estate. Here are three questions most alert investors are asking: Question #1: When will financial assets ever ‘correct’ and fall in price? Question #2: How much does overt propping by the central banks have to do with today's elevated prices? Question #3: How much does covert propping by central banks play a role in these inflated markets? These are important questions to consider because if central banks have been too involved and gotten themselves mixed up in trying to ‘wag the dog’ by using elevated financial asset prices as a means to drive economic expansion -- then the risk is a big implosion in financial asset prices if their efforts fail. The difficulty, as always, is that you can't print your way to prosperity. It's never worked in history and it won't work this time either. You can, however, print (or borrow) to delay a correction, after which a boost in real economic growth (or additional income) had better materialize to save your bacon. But if enough growth does not emerge to both pay back all the old outstanding loans plus all the newly created debt and currency, then you're going to experience a worse correction than if you had not tried to print/borrow your way to prosperity. As I’ve outlined before, that economic boom the central banks have been staking everything on been MIA the entire time during the “recovery” following the Great Recession. And there’s no sign of it showing up any time soon. The latest Atlanta Fed GDPNow forecast for the US stands at a paltry 0.5%: (Source) Folks, that just isn’t going to cut it. You cannot justify a massive increase in debt and sky-high stock and bond prices on the basis of such “growth.” So something has to give. Either much higher GDP (income) growth is right around the corner, or these financial asset prices are grotesquely over-inflated. To explain this in depth, let's tackle those questions above one at a time, in reverse order. Question #3: How much does covert propping by central banks play a role in these inflated markets? This one is fascinating. It takes forensic analysis and connecting a few dots to make the case that central banks are propping up a lot more than they admit to. Before we begin, whether it is a central bank directly, or one of its agents or proxies, it doesn't matter who's doing the intervention if any one of these entities (or all of them) is responsible for goosing asset prices for the purpose of achieving a policy aim. Second, my motivation here has nothing to do with having a trade going against me and then seeking to explain it away as some nefarious working of a secret group. Instead, this is about pointing out that the preponderance of evidence points to repeated and direct market intervention by “some entity” that appear to be very afraid to see stocks and bonds decline in price (or for gold to go up too much). Here are three pieces of data for you to consider. The NY Fed moved part of its market group operations to the same place that Citadel (one of the key ‘proxy' suspects in this story) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) just magically happen to have their operations. For those of you unfamiliar with the CME, that’s the place one uses massive leverage to participate in (or move) markets. Futures, options and other derivative products which are the perfect vehicles for telegraphing loaded messages to all the robot computers that watch the CME feeds like hungry hawks. The CME actually has a Central Bank Incentive Program. The CME incentive programs are reserved for their very best (i.e., highest volume) customers. So we can state, without question, that central banks are heavy participants at the CME. No central bank admits to having any of the CME products on their balance sheet. An additional fourth observation is that the equity markets continue to experience remarkable recoveries time and time again, even when only the slightest weakness in prices is seen, and at all key support levels. So let’s break all that down and dig a little deeper. The (cover) story behind the NYFed moving its market-oriented trading operations to Chicago was because they allegedly got worried by superstorm Sandy and wanted to relocate a little further inland, away from the effects of any future such storms. It’s just a massive coincidence that the chosen spot happens to be right where the CME lives: Wary of natural disaster, NY Fed bulks up in Chicago April 14, 2015 The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago. Some market technicians have transferred from New York and others were hired at the office housed in the Chicago Fed, according to several people familiar with the build-out that began about two years ago, after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan. Officials believe the Chicago staffers can now handle all of the market operations that are done daily out of the New York Fed, which is the U.S. central bank's main conduit to Wall Street (Source) Shortly after this news became known (and there is only this sole Reuters article to pull from, I couldn’t find any other major news outlet that covered it) some sharp eyes at ZeroHedge noticed that the new job offerings that opened up soon after in the Chicago area included this job description element: Perform account services to foreign central banks, international agencies, and U.S. government agencies. You’ll find out why that’s meaningful in the next few paragraphs. It will support the contention that moving the Fed's offices to the Chicago area might have had less to do with superstorm Sandy and more with preventing superstorm financial meltdowns. Now let’s look at the CME's Central Bank Incentive Program ("CBIP"). Here’s the notice from the CME webpage. (Source) The first two things we note in the program is that it heavily discounts fees to central banks to help them conduct “proprietary trading of CME products.” As a reminder, those 'products' are options and futures (both leveraged derivatives). We can also note that the program is reserved for non-US central banks (more on that in a minute) and that the trading can be conducted by a “manager or representative.” Could that representative or agent be a NYFed staffer? We don’t know, but it’s not forbidden in the rules. And we know the NYFed was actively recruiting for people whose job description included the duty of “Perform account services to foreign central banks, international agencies, and U.S. government agencies.” Next, let’s take a look at the most recent discount schedule for the CBIP and see what it can tell us: Well, first up it’s obvious that the central banks are playing with a huge array of leveraged derivative products. Second, we might glean something from the offered discounts. Assuming that the heavier the trading the greater the discount, this table makes sense to me. Everything in yellow has a discount of 30% or greater. The heaviest discounts are applied to Eurodollar futures and options, a category that makes perfect sense for central banks to play in given their legal role and public mandates. Coming in next in order are US Treasury futures and options. Again, these make sense if central banks have exposure to US Treasury bonds that they’d like to hedge, and I have no complaint with these. However, I cannot find a good reason that central banks should be monkeying around in US stock futures. Nor can I make a good case for energy, agricultural or metal contracts. Yet they all appear on there. Note in orange at the bottom are thee metals contracts. We can deduce that they are bought and sold by central banks, but coming in at a 27% discount, perhaps not in the same large quantities as other products. This doesn’t seem odd to me because the commercial bullion banks do such a good job of smashing gold and silver with disturbing regularity and zero regulatory response. Perhaps the central banks only feel the need to intervene every so often. Finally, I have no idea what “Other financial products” are at the CME but they're traded often enough to garner the largest discount (49%) on the entire table. One wonders if perhaps this isn’t a “masked bucket” that includes everything the central banks would prefer was not revealed at all. The central bank that I could imagine might have some justification for hedging stock exposure, as opposed to buying stock futures to goose the market at key moments, would the Swiss National Bank because they have about $60 billion in direct US equity ‘investments.’ But there’s nothing remotely on here that looks anything like a CME option or future product: (Source) Nor is there anything on their income statement that looks like a CME related gain or loss. Further, I have not been able to find a single central bank that admits to using CME products. But we know that they are, so having some secrecy there is clearly important to them. This supports the “market propping” idea because admitting such a thing is simply a big no-no….unless you are the Bank of Japan which not only buys equities and ETFs hand over fist, but openly does so specifically on down days when the Japanese stock markets could use a helping hand going in the “right “ direction (which is always "up"). The Fuse Is Lit... Many people might be tempted to shrug their shoulders and say “why should I care if the central banks are monkeying around the in the markets?” In Part 2: The Coming Conflagration, where we answer Question #2 and the all-important Question #1 raised above, it becomes abundantly clear why all of us should care -- deeply. A tumble from these heights would destroy jobs by the millions, wipe out trillions of (phony) wealth, and invite great populist angst opening up the possibility of truly horrible leaders to emerge. As I’ve quipped to some people, if you don’t like Trump you are going to positively *hate* whoever comes next if the current wealth gap persists (or worsens). But make no mistake: it will be the ordinary people who will be forced to eat the losses when all this blows up. So we should care. As well as remain very alert to what the Federal Reserve and other central banks are doing. Because if they fail, it’s our wealth, our jobs -- and possibly even our lives -- on the line. Click here to read the report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)
В четверг открылась очередная ежегодная встреча членов Бильдербергского клуба. Среди 133 гостей, собравшихся на этой неделе в австрийском городке Тельфс-Бюхен, 21 политик. В их числе – министр финансов Великобритании Джордж Осборн...