Parisian Family Office, CEO. Began Wall Street, 1982. Founded investment firm, CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors. Active Trader. White Earth Chippewa Tribal member. Was NYSE/FINRA arb. Conservative, raised on Great Plains reservations. Pureblood, clot-shot free. In a world elevated on a dopamine binge, this is his take! Written from MT Ghost Ranch on the Yellowstone River, TN farm Pamelot or San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, CASA TULE'. Always been, will always be, an optimist.
Monday, January 28, 2013
I was in my office overlooking the Pacific Ocean working in the LaJolla office of Drexel Burnham Lambert.
We had a beautiful morning for a space launch.
The plumes of hot debris raining down were all that was left.
An ugly day for the family's. An ugly day for America.
God bless them.
Today, when Greg Smith comes out with a book on his life within Goldman Sachs the internet hacks and touts are in unison that he is an outlier and that he has an ax to grind and that for some reason the guy must not have cut the mustard at the firm. All of these internet authors, most if not all, probably never having set foot on a trading floor, harping on the merits of Mr. Smith's honesty and integrity.
It's like Matt Taibbi, Greg Smith and the SEC were all wrong.
Isn't $550,000,000 a big enough statement without admitting or denying any wrong-doing?
Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2013 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former executive at New York-based broker-dealer Jefferies & Co. with defrauding investors while selling mortgage-backed securities (MBS) in the wake of the financial crisis so he could generate additional revenue for his firm.
According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut, Jesse Litvak arranged trades for customers as part of his job as a managing director on the MBS desk at Jefferies. Litvak would buy a MBS from one customer and sell it to another customer, but on many occasions he lied about the price at which his firm had bought the MBS so he could re-sell it to the other customer at a higher price and keep more money for the firm. On other occasions, Litvak misled purchasers by creating a fictional seller to purport that he was arranging a MBS trade between customers when in reality he was just selling MBS out of his firm’s inventory at a higher price. Because MBS are generally illiquid and difficult to price, it is particularly important for brokers to provide honest and accurate information.
The SEC alleges that Litvak generated more than $2.7 million in additional revenue for Jefferies through his deceit. His misconduct helped him improve his own standing at the firm, as his bonuses were determined in part by the amount of revenue he generated for the firm.
“Brokers must always tell their customers the truth, particularly in complex securities transactions in which it is difficult for investors to determine market prices on their own,” said George Canellos, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Litvak repeatedly lied to his customers and invented facts to bring additional profits into his firm and ultimately his own pocket at their expense.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut today announced criminal charges against Litvak.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Litvak worked in the Stamford, Conn., office at Jefferies, and his misconduct lasted from 2009 to 2011. Litvak’s customers included some funds created by the U.S. government under a program designed to help strengthen the markets for MBS during the financial crisis. Had these customers been aware that they could have paid less for the MBS they purchased, they likely would have done so.
The SEC’s complaint charges Litvak with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, particularly Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933.
The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Kerry Dakin, James Goldman, Rachel Hershfang, and Kevin Kelcourse in the Boston Regional Office. Mr. Goldman is a member of the Enforcement Division’s Structured and New Products Unit headed by Kenneth Lench. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Ms.
So let me get this straight. The SEC is suing Jesse Litvak for mispricing the prices of some MBS the firm had in inventory, but not suing Ben Bernanke for doing the same dam thing on a colossal scale?
Friday, January 25, 2013
Dear Mary Jo,
Congratulations on your nomination for SEC Chairman. As you may know, we at Themis Trading are, and have been, very critical of the current US equity market structure. We believe that a series of rule changes begun under the stewardship of one of your predecessors, Arthur Levitt, are largely responsible for turning deep, centralized, and diverse pools of liquidity into our current fragmented mess of a market, which includes thirteen stock exchanges and dozens of dark pools. These fragmented trading venues are shallow and non-diverse in their participation, have non-uniform matching rules, and in many cases are extremely non-transparent. And in times of market stress, this current fragmented system has an Achilles heel, which has been exposed in the May 6th Flash Crash, as well as in the countless mini-flash-crashes, botched IPOs, and algo-glitches.
Ironically, the SEC has been very aware of so many conflicts of interests and flaws in our modern market structure. It recognized many of these flaws back in the actual Reg NMS 2007 document, but chose to implement Reg NMS anyway. In 2009 it proposed banning “flash-style” orders, although it has never followed through. In that same year it proposed regulating dark pools, recognizing that publicly displayed market quotes are important for the price discovery process, although again it had never followed through.
Since May 6th 2010, the SEC has proposed some marginal patches for the exposed market structure flaws, including the removal of stub quotes and the addition of single stock circuit breakers, which are soon to be replaced by a limit up limit down safety mechanism. These actions, however, amount to little more than band aids on an infected wound. These actions do not address root plumbing issues and instabilities in our structure. They did not prevent the Knight algo disaster last August, and they will most likely not prevent the next flash crash. While our regulatory bodies are quite adept at holding roundtables, and “looking into” troublesome issues, they need to follow through in order to command respect from the investing public.
While markets are currently near historic highs, there exists a temptation to ignore problems as complex as market structure. However, we think it is precisely at this point in time that we need to fix our capital-raising system’s plumbing. We think that you have a great opportunity as the new Chairman to take a holistic approach to market reform. We hope you will seriously consider:
- Banning payment for order flow at all levels.
- Eliminating the maker-taker exchange pricing model.
- Mandating that exchanges route to each other when fragmented markets become “locked”.
- Simplifying/eliminating complex and unnecessary exchange and dark pool order types.
- Instituting dark pool regulation.
- Changing the SRO rulemaking process so as to include input from investors, and not just traders.
The time has come to recognize that the Frankenstein market that has been created, perhaps unintentionally, does not possess a sound foundation. While technology has been a crucial and cherished driver of good for investors, the SEC must make sure technology is leveraged in alignment with the goals of investors, and not traders – no matter how fast they are.
As you settle in, be prepared to be bombarded with self-interested industry participants and their lobbyists who want to sway your opinion. You are likely to hear from:
- Exchange executives. They will tell you technology has created a very cost effective and efficient market. They will say there is no need for reform and things are going smoothly despite some recent “glitches”. They will tell you not to throw out the baby with the bath water, and that all is needed is a kill switch here or there, and a lifting of a ban on locked and crossed markets. They will tell you it is a good thing for a buy order at 50 cents to exist alongside a sell order at the same price – and they not trade.
- High frequency trading firms. They will claim spreads have never been tighter and liquidity is abundant, and it is due to their activity. This is untrue. They will also tell you that the real problem is a financial media, and some old school brokers, who are scaring investors about the dangers of high frequency trading unnecessarily; the problems are simply message management.
- Lobbyists - Be prepared for this group to wave around their cherry-picked sponsored academic studies that claim high frequency trading has lowered costs for all. Make sure you ask them who funded the studies, as well as examine their assumptions.
To help you prepare for those meetings, we recommend that you gander at this robust collection of academic studies on market structure and high frequency trading.
And we also recommend you pick up the following books, one of which is co-authored by us:
- Crapshoot Investing (Jim McTague)
- Broken Markets (Sal Arnuk and Joe Saluzzi)
- Dark Pools (Scott Patterson)
- The Problem of HFT (Haim Bodek)
- The Payoff- Why Wall Street Always Wins (Jeff Connaughton)
We wish you great success in your new role. We are excited for the leadership of an SEC Chairman with a prosecutorial mindset.
Feel free to call on us any time. We would love to help you build a case for convincing investors to bring back their trust to the marketplace.
Your Friends at Themis Trading
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A reminder that if his lips are moving....
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here." Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006
Singularly responsible for adding over FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to our national debt during his first term.
I wonder if anyone will ask her about the movie that supposedly sparked all of the deaths in Benghazi.
This is what America gets after listening to her lies for 20 years.
Where I come from this Q & A is called, bullshit.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Come to think of it, I have never met a liberal/democrat/moocher/parasite who could understand the meaning of an "unfunded liability". America has trillions of unfunded liabilities. Trillions.
Imagine that when SHTF.
Monday, January 21, 2013
You can always tell how good a job the President and government is doing by how much bullet proof glass he is surrounded by during inauguration.
I'm sure the galling hypocrisy of Obama quoting from the psalms and scriptures during a televised address soon after Sandy Hook was not lost on many of us who are aware that this is the same Illinois state senator who twice voted for the measure that allowed the victims of botched abortions to slowly die of the insane butchery inflicted upon them. This is the professor of constitutional law who stated that Roe v. Wade was the "centerpiece" of his lesson plan. This is the "first black president" who fully supports a genocidal purge of his own race in a country where half of all pregnancies in the Afro-American community end in abortion. This is the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and "peace candidate" who maintains "kill lists", orders extrajudicial assassinations, and who has unleashed drone warfare on innocent civilians throughout the Middle East and North Africa and proxy armies of Islamist thugs to kill and torture Libyan black Africans.
This is a great day for freeloaders everywhere.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
They defeated a great Sprayberry HS team as well. Hats off to the speed and shot blocking of the Sprayberry boys.
The officiating was absolutely horrorific. Those three goons officiating that game should be bounced out of their jobs. The laughter and horseplay they exhibited DURING the game was enough to have their whistles removed for good.
It was the ugliest officiating I have ever witnessed. And Cambridge won despite of them.
Friday, January 18, 2013
I will watch the Falcons on Sunday and enjoy as much junk food as the next guy.
Here's hoping the Falcons and the Patriots get it done.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Sunday, January 13, 2013
My question is: Why do the bankers insist you get an appraisal of the value of your home before you get a loan, but no one is appraising the value of these college degrees?
Friday, January 11, 2013
Putting that in context folks, if you were to put $100 bills in a pile and that pile of C-notes weighed 360,000,000 pounds, that friends would be $16 TRILLION.
And these stooges in D.C. want to increase the debt.
This quote pretty much sums up not only the present and future of US budget cuts, but everything else about the US:
- PANETTA SAYS NO IDEA `WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN' ON CUTS
Friday, January 04, 2013
Thursday, January 03, 2013
The sigh of relief was palpable that Congress did something, anything to address our fall over the "fiscal cliff", a rather lame term when compared to the FISCAL CRISIS coming soon.
If I were you, and I'm not, (you are the lucky one), I would not get too excited!
We raised taxes, we penalized those succeeding and we did it in a meaningful manner.
We did not cut the national debt as sung by the chorus across the airwaves. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office we decreased revenues by $3.6 trillion over ten years. We did not protect the middle class, but because of the expiration of the payroll tax decrease, Federal taxes will rise for 77% of all working Americans. If you look at all the "pork" in the bill you might get hungry.
It's true folks, admit it. Our government eats up wealth and shits out poverty. Indian reservations are a great example. Believe it.
In a nutshell, this bill (for those in Mandaree, Pine Ridge or Crow Agency) awarded non-working Americans at the expense of those who have jobs, who actually work.
The con game was (and is) the continuation of postponement and avoidance and reckless governance of the nation we live in. May the Creator shine on you and yours this year.
I still believe the best is yet to come. I hope you do to.