Finra CEO Pumps The Breaks On Massive Data-Collection Proposal

dbpix-people-richard-ketchum-tmagArticle blog profiles Finra CEO’s, Rich Ketchum, decision to stop working on the proposal for a massive data-collection system with concerns over secruity issues. Ketchum is expected to report to Congress tomorrow, Friday, May 1, 2015, to explain why. Since the proposal’s start it has received much resistance by others in the industry due to fear of putting the clients and risk and seems Finra is now starting to agree. This blog update is courtesy of InvestmentNews’ Mark Schoeff Jr.  and his article, “Finra CEO Rick Ketchum backs off data collection plan“, with an excerpt below.

Finra is putting the brakes on its proposal for a massive data-collection system over concerns about the security of customer information, the organization’s chief executive is expected to tell Congress on Friday.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has received strong industry resistance to its so-called Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System over its potential costs and the possibility that it will expose customer data to hackers. The comment period for the proposal ended on Dec. 1 last year.

In prepared testimony, Finra chief executive Rick Ketchum said that although CARDS will not collect client names, addresses and Social Security numbers, Finra shares concerns about “bad actors” being able to obtain information that “could possibly be reengineered to identify individuals.”

The regulator is studying the potential data-security threats, Mr. Ketchum will tell the House Financial Services Committee, and is evaluating whether CARDS data can be collected through “existing data sources.”

To continue reading about what Ketchum is expected to tell Congress tomorrow, click here.

Overstock Looking Into Brokerdealers Only Bitcoin-Style Exchange

Utah Software Engineer Mints Physical Bitcoins blog update profiles the continued intergration of the popular cyrpto currency, Bitcoin, as Overstock has revealed plans that it may issue up to $500 million in stock through blockchain-style technology, such as bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a form of currency that is tied directly to the Internet and is the world’s first free market, decentralized global currency. It is operated through an open-source software so there is no central control unlike the US dollar or Euro. Similarly to gold, only 21,000,000 Bitcoins will ever be created so the value of the Bitcoin continues to rise as time goes on. Bitcoins can be exchanged for goods and services as well as currencies such as the US dollar and the Euro. As long as people trust that Bitcoin has value, people will continue to invest in it.’s database has many qualified brokerdealers who are prepared to help you navigate the world of Bitcoin and how you can use it to your advantage when it comes to investing. 

Overstock is an American online retailer headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. It initially sold surplus and returned merchandise on an online e-commerce marketplace but in recent years has expanded to sell new merchandise as well. 

This blog update is courtesy of Finextra News’ article, “Overstock looks to issue Bitcoin-style stocks” with an excerpt below.

Last year Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne hired developers and lawyers in an effort to create a platform – dubbed ‘Medici’ – that could use the core blockchain technology to create a cryptosecurity trading system, in which computer algorithms are used to trade virtual stocks issued by public companies.

The firm has now filed a prospectus related to the sale of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission, adding: “We may decide to offer any of the securities described in this prospectus as digital securities, meaning the securities will be uncertificated securities, the ownership and transfer of which are recorded on a cryptographically-secured distributed ledger system using technology similar to (or the same as) the distributed ledger technology used for trading digital currencies.”

The prospectus says that these digital securities would not be traded on any existing exchange but on a specific system registered with the SEC as an ATS open only to subscribers that agree to trade exclusively through vetted broker dealers.

To continue reading about the brokerdealer-only Bitcoin exchange plan for Overstock, click here. Additional coverage on this story can also be found at .

SEC Locks Retail Brokers Out Of Stock Market Reform Meeting

Locksmith blog update profiles the SEC intentionally leaving retail brokers out of their upcoming meeting on stock market reforms. The group will meet four times a year and review old rules and advice the SEC on new regulation. Retail brokers are confused because the SEC has always made it a priority to protect retail investors so leaving retail brokers out of this advising group is raising questions.  This update is courtesy of Reuters’ John McCrank in his article, “SEC’s stock market reform club locks out retail brokers” with an excerpt below.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is convening a group of financial industry veterans for the first time next month to consider stock market reforms, but one group will be conspicuously absent: retail brokerages.

The SEC’s 17-member Market Structure Advisory Committee includes representatives of fund companies, an exchange, off-exchange trading venues, dealers, and academia, among others. The group, which meets four times a year, will review old rules, and advise the SEC on a range of new regulations designed to make sure the market is as stable and fair as possible.

Still, given that the SEC has said its main priority is to protect retail investors, the omission of retail brokers raises questions, because without their point of view the panel may recommend changes that favor institutional investors, analysts said. Retail investors place around 16 percent of all U.S. stock orders.

“There’s a missing gap of protecting retail order flow,” said Larry Tabb, chief executive of capital markets advisory firm TABB Group.

That gap was also noticed by committee member Joseph Ratterman, chairman of No. 2 U.S. exchange operator BATS Global Markets. He said he mentioned his concern to SEC Chair Mary Jo White shortly after the committee was announced and that she was supportive of him, along with committee member Jamil Nazarali, from market making firm Citadel Securities, formally representing retail interests.

To continue reading this article from Reuters, click here.

Safeway Could Go Public With IPO Just Months After Going Private

safeway_store-304 blog update profiles rumors surrounding grocery store chain, Safeway, and the possibility of the chain going public just months after being purchased by AB Acquisition. AB Acquisition took Safeway private and merged it with merged it with Boise, Idaho’s grocery store chain, Albertsons, which AB Acquisition purchased in 2006. The company has been rumored to hire investment bankers to plan an IPO, the company’s spokesman said that the company does not”comment on rumors.” This blog update is courtesy of the San Fransico Chronicle’s Kathleen Pender and her article “Just taken private, Safeway may go public again this year: report” with an excerpt below. 

Talk about quick flips: The company that took Safeway private just three months ago is already planning to take it public again this year, according to a CNBC report quoting unidentified sources. If true, it would be Safeway’s third initial public offering.

The report said that AB Acquisition, the holding company that operates Safeway and Albertsons, has hired investment bankers to plan an IPO.

In a deal that closed Jan. 30, an investor group led by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought the Pleasanton grocery chain and merged it with Boise, Idaho’s Albertsons, which it had purchased in 2006.

Private equity firms typically buy public companies and restructure them, which often involves selling or closing underperforming divisions, then resell them to another company or have a fresh IPO. The process typically takes years, not months.

An IPO would almost certainly include both Safeway and Albertsons, which operate as a combined company even though their grocery stores maintain separate names. Cerberus has made many changes at Albertsons including closing and selling many stores and selling off the underlying real estate. It hasn’t had time to do much at Safeway, other than laying off headquarters employees.

To continue reading about the possibility of a Safeway IPO, click here.


BrokerDealers Bringing In The Bucks:

brokerdealer etf blog update profiles the revenue and profit performance of the US Broker-Dealer space as demonstrated by the pricing action in the iShares US Broker-Dealer ETF (NYSE:IAI) when compared to the returns of the S&P 500 (see chart). Below extract is courtesy of coverage from

Independent broker-dealers generated double-digit revenue growth in 2014, and a broker-dealer- related exchange traded fund is outperforming in the financial space so far this year. database is the global financial industry’s leading source of BrokerDealer information, with detailed information on thousands of BDs in upwards of 30 countries worldwide.

Over the past three months, the iShares US Broker-Dealers ETF (NYSEArca: IAI), which tracks U.S. investment banks, discount brokerages and stock exchanges, has increased 7.8%, compared to the 2.5% gain in the broader Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF). Year-to-date, IAI was up 0.7% while XLF dipped 1.5%.

The 25 largest independent broker-dealers generated a 10.3% year-over-year rise in revenue over 2014, reports Bruce Kelly for InvestmentNews.

Top independent broker-dealers include LPL Financial LLC (NYSE: LPLA), which garnered $4.3 billion in revenue, and Raymond James Financial Services (NYSE: RJF), which added $1.6 billion. IAI includes a 3.4% tilt toward LPLA and a 4.7% weight in RJF.

The industry is experiencing an increase in fees. Revenue from investment products and services that charge a fee instead of a commission rose 20% in 2014 among the top 25 independent broker-dealers, mirroring a growing trend in the services industry.

For the full article from, please click here