FINRA Bans Penny-Stock Broker Anastasios Belesis update courtesy of Bloomberg’s Zeke Faux.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has been banned from the brokerage industry forever on Friday.

Anastasios Belesis

Anastasios Belesis

, the former head of John Thomas Financial Inc., was barred from the brokerage industry for life by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for trading ahead of clients’ orders.

Belesis dumped the New York-based firm’s position in a penny stock that was surging while 14 customers tried and failed to sell their shares, Finra said today in a statement. The industry-funded regulator ordered Belesis to pay about $1 million plus interest to customers and fined him $100,000.

Belesis has appeared on business television and had a minor role in the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” before his boiler room across from the New York Stock Exchange closed in 2013. Trainees at the brokerage were forced to stand and bark memorized sales scripts for as long as 14 hours a day, Bloomberg News reported at the time, citing interviews with 20 former employees.

Finra said in the statement today that John Thomas didn’t hold the customer orders intentionally. Ron Cantalupo, a John Thomas broker who was accused of intimidating a colleague, was cleared by the regulator, which also dismissed charges against Michele Misiti and John Ward.

Finra’s fraud charges against Belesis were dismissed as well. He agreed to pay $500,000 in 2013 to settle accusations by the Securities and Exchange Commission that he pressured a hedge-fund manager to steer fees to John Thomas.

“He was never ever charged with running a boiler room,” Ira Sorkin, Belesis’s lawyer at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, said in a telephone interview. “To the extent there were charges brought against him for fraud, they were dismissed.”

For the original article from Bloomberg’s Zeke Faux, click here

European BrokerDealers Band Together For Equity Trading Platform blog update courtesy of Will Hadfield of Bloomberg.

Six banks are developing a new not-for-profit platform to trade European equities called Plato Partnership Ltd.

Barclays Plc (BARC), Citigroup Inc. (C), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley (MS) plan to use the venue to reduce trading costs, increase transparency and simplify markets, according to a statement.

“The platform would seek to ensure market integrity and the protection of orders with the goal of ensuring fairness for all participants,” the consortium said in the statement.

The banks intend to set up the trading venue under a trust, or similar structure, to prevent them from reneging on the principles at a later date. They will spend any profit from the platform on academic research designed to improve Europe’s market structure.

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Norges Bank Investment Management have also joined Plato Partnership.

“We feel that the time is right to launch this proposition, which would seek to enhance the market by delivering additional liquidity and functionality to market participants,” Stephen McGoldrick, Plato’s project director, said. can provide you with the ability to work with the above mentioned brokerdealers on the new equity trading platform they have created through one of’s many databases.

For the original copy of Hadfield’s article from Bloomberg, click here



High-profile ETFs and how to garner Alpha from them blog post courtesy of
Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas discussed the most ‘Warren Buffett-esque’ ETFs: Market Vectors ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:MOAT), iShares Trust (NYSEARCA:QUAL), and Direxion iBillionaire Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IBLN). These funds rely on different approaches to building up their portfolio, but tend to arrive at somewhat similar results. Continue reading

Tel Aviv Disrupt may carry Israel to MSCI Europe ETFs blog post courtesy of extract from and Tom Lydon

ETFTrends logo

In an attempt to gain acceptance into broad MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI) Europe indices, and potentially into related exchange traded funds, Israel’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange could end its Sunday open schedule and switch over to Western trading days.

Julien Assous, chief executive officer of Israel Brokerage & Investments and a member of the TASE board of directors, revealed that the bourse is considering changing the exchange’s Sunday-to-Thursday trading days, following feedback from MSCI about potential hurdles for wider acceptance, reports Gabrielle Coppola for Bloomberg.

The TASE board is contemplating shifting open days to a Monday-through-Friday schedule. Continue reading