Chicago Politico & Owner of Cabrera Capital Mrkts in 4mil Loan Default


(Crains Chicago Business)-Martin Cabrera, Jr, the chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, who’s also on the city’s Public Building Commission and who’s also owner/founder of minority broker-dealer Cabrera Capital Markets, has been hit with a lawsuit alleging he has defaulted on a $3.3 million loan.

Martin Cabrera Jr., founder and CEO of Cabrera Capital Markets, positioned as a minority-owned broker-dealer, hasn’t paid anything on the loan since March 2015 and now owes a total of $4.1 million, including accrued interest and attorney fees, according to the complaint, filed last month in Cook County Circuit Court. Cabrera, a broker-dealer that seeks to leverage their diversity profile to win contracts from cities and states that have diversity and inclusion mandates has also been subject to Finra disciplinary actions.


Martin Cabrera, Jr.

Cabrera, a leader in Chicago’s Hispanic business community, borrowed the money from a venture led by a man named Ventura Carlos Rojas Cardona. Court documents did not state the purpose of the loan, which Cabrera took out in April 2014.

“It’s unfortunate that it got this far, but it’s a complicated matter, and we hope to resolve it soon,” Cabrera said. He declined to comment further, saying he shouldn’t discuss pending litigation.

Cabrera Capital is a financial services firm that offers investment banking and sales and trading and is often involved in underwriting government bond offerings. Martin Cabrera also is part of the well-connected group in line to manage a $248 million redevelopment of Midway International Airport.

Ventura Carlos Rojas Cardona wound up in the national news about four years ago, when it came out that he and his brother, Alberto Rojas Cardona, were major fundraisers and donors for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. The Obama campaign returned more than $200,000 in donations from them after the New York Times reported that their brother was Juan Jose Rojas Cardona, also known as Pepe, a Mexican casino owner who had fled drug and fraud charges in the United States.

Efforts to reach Ventura Carlos Rojas Cardona directly were not successful. An attorney representing him did not return calls. Alberto Rojas Cardona, who signed the loan to Cabrera in April 2014, said he was no longer involved in that investment.

Cook County property records show that Cabrera provided the Cardona venture a $3.3 million mortgage in May on a Pilsen apartment building he owns, a sign that he may have offered the property to secure the defaulted loan.

In 2012 Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Cabrera chairman of the Plan Commission, a panel that reviews zoning change requests. Cabrera has served since 2011 on the board of the Public Building Commission, a city-county agency that approves public building projects. Cabrera also is past chairman of the board of the City Colleges of Chicago and a board member of Museum of Science and Industry.  Full story from Chicago Crains here

Deutsche Bank Steps in Doo-Doo, Again!


Germany’s Biggest Bank Banged $12.5 mil by Finra for Hooting and Hollering via Firm’s Squawk Box

For those not following the travails of Germany’s biggest investment bank and broker-dealer Deutsche Bank, suffice to say this bank has had its full share of comeuppance throughout the past many months. If nothing stings more than getting hit with a big fat fine from Finra, the sting is more palpable when its a $12.5 million smack for hooting and hollering confidential information over a company-wide ‘squawk box.’ Below courtesy of Business Insider columnist Portia Crowe:

(Business Insider) Aug 8-Deutsche Bank allowed potentially confidential research and trading information to be broadcast over internal speakers, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra.

That body fined Deutsche Bank $12.5 million after finding that the German bank was aware that broadcasts, known as “hoots” or “squawks,” contained potentially confidential or price-sensitive information but “repeatedly ignored red flags” suggesting it wasn’t adequately supervising the loud systems.

Traders regularly communicate across desks over internal speaker systems known as “squawk boxes.”

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At least one registered representative of the firm communicated potentially confidential and/or material nonpublic information to customers as a result of the supervisory deficiencies, according to a filing from Finra.

That provided the recipients with a potential informational advantage over other customers.

“Deutsche Bank’s disregard of years of red flags including internal audit findings, risk assessments, and compliance recommendations was particularly egregious given the risk that material nonpublic information could be communicated over squawk boxes,” Finra’s chief of enforcement, Brad Bennett, said in a statement.

Deutsche Bank neither admitted to nor denied the charges. The full story via this link to Business Insider

Broker-Dealers: CAT Got Your Tongue?


Broker-Dealers are continuing to add to their compliance and regulatory ‘need-to-do’ checklist and in a recent SIFMA submission to the SEC, the list of items under the category Consolidated Audit Trail aka CAT compliance is only growing longer.  One senior compliance officer representing a regional broker-dealer went so far as to suggest that when questioning a staff member as to the status of a recent technology upgrade to the audit trail system, he received a blank look in response and found himself asking, “What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?”  The staffer replied, “Not my tongue, my b-a-#-@-s!”

Below, courtesy of Traders Magazine’s Patrick Flannery, please find find a consolidated view of what broker-dealers are now contending with in terms of implementation challenges.

For broker-dealers, the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) may seem to be another weighty technical challenge, whose cost and implementation challenges will fall disproportionately on their shoulders (and their budgets). In fact, last week, SIFMA submitted a letter to the SEC detailing exactly how burdensome CAT will be.

The current plan, according to SIFMA, “would impose the vast majority of CAT-related costs on broker-dealers.” In its letter to the SEC, the US lobbyist asked the agency to demand that the parties developing CAT, namely, the exchanges and FINRA, explain how they justify requiring “broker-dealers to bear any of the financial burden of funding a system that exists to receive and process information that broker-dealers are required to report under SEC regulations.”

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What’s more, while the data submitted to CAT will give regulators better oversight, which is expected to help promote market fairness, several securities industry insiders have begun to question what type of access broker dealers will have to this data.  As we understand, it’s unclear at this point whether broker-dealers will to be able to directly query the very data that they must bear the burden (and cost) of collecting and reporting.

Despite these challenges, things may not be as bad as they seem. For those who learn to understand the value of the data they’re collecting, and how it can be mined for market insight, there’s potential for significant upshot.

The Heavy Lifting

CAT will be a much more detailed and sophisticated form of audit trail than FINRA’s OATS system, to which firms currently report data for regulatory oversight purposes, and as a result, reporting requirements will be significantly more complex. The data that CAT will consolidate is voluminous, and for many firms, who have this data stored in disparate systems, gathering, organizing and time stamping CAT data for reporting purposes will be a substantial if not a near-colossal undertaking.

Some aspects of CAT reporting are so challenging it’s hard to see the bright side. For example, every broker-dealer, exchange and all other self-regulatory organizations (SROs) reporting to CAT will have to establish and maintain a system of unique IDs for customers, accounts, counterparties and orders. The ultimate goal:  the entire life cycle of any equity or options order can be preserved for future review. A trade, originated through a retail broker, e.g., that is routed through a broker-dealer and executed on an exchange, should be able to be stitched together and reconstructed from CAT data so that the full picture is viewable from multiple perspectives.

When an original order is received, firms will have to capture and report an ID number of the customer originating the order, a CAT order ID, an identifier of the firm receiving the order, terms of the order and a time stamp measured to CAT time-stamping requirements (currently 50 milliseconds).

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Boutique Broker-Dealers Grab Equities Orders Away from Bulge Bracket


Regional and Boutique Broker-Dealers are in land grab mode for institutional execution business as the ‘six-pack’ aka bulge bracket firms find themselves continuously paring back staff and reducing services due to the costs associated with each part of their business pods. The small and mid-size “agency-only” equities execution firms are increasingly gaining share, yet at the same time, institutional brokerage commission schemes for equities execution remains in a downward spiral. The exception, according to a recent study by Greenwich Associates, is “the boutique firms that provide a combination of high-touch service along with high-tech execution tools will stand out among those vying for business from the investment manager community.”


Larry Peruzzi, Mischler Financial Group

According to Larry Peruzzi, Managing Director and Head of International Equities for agency-only firm Mischler Financial Group, “The feedback we continue to hear from buy-side traders is consistent with the latest Greenwich Associates survey; investment managers want premium high-touch coverage from boutique BDs that can also provide best-in-class order routing and trade execution technologies.” Added Peruzzi, “Large investment managers are still looking to a broker’s research capabilities in the course of adding to a broker-rotation schedule, but the unbundling movement has made independent equities research, including those that have ‘buy-sell-hold’ recommendations, a commodity item that can be obtained away from those captive investment manager-executing broker relationships.”

(Traders Magazine Aug 2 2016)– As ‘bulge bracket’ brokers are faced with ever tightening budgets and focusing more on their larger institution accounts, the mid- and small-size brokers are poised to snatch up those clients left without an executing broker.

The bulge firms, after years of shrinking commissions amid a unique confluence decreased trading volumes, increased technology spend and a heavier regulatory compliance burden have shed staff and cut costs to the bare bone. Thus, having to make due with smaller trading desks and providing a modicum of service expected from the top tier banks, other brokers have been able to step in and grab underserved customers. And more importantly, the commissions that come along with providing both execution and research services.

“We’re definitely seeing this trend right before our eyes here,” said Doug Rivelli, co-head of US equity sales and trading at Auerbach Grayson. “As the trend of unbundling commissions has taken hold on a global scale, the traditional trading desk has had to become more focused on execution quality and broker trading services and firms like us have been able to capture market share.”

This phenomenon was reported also by market consultancy Greenwich Associates, who reported this week that mid-sized/regional brokers’ share of commission payments from institutional U.S. equity trades is increasing.

According to Greenwich, a s recently as 2007, the nine leading bulge-bracket brokers captured 78% of commissions paid by institutional investors on trades of U.S. equities. This year, they are claiming only 60%–down a full two percentage points from 2015. Much of the lost share has flowed to mid-sized/regional dealers, which as a group now take home 28% of U.S. equity commissions, up from just 11% in 2007.

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