Bond Trading: Smaller BrokerDealers Displace Bulge Bracket Market-Makers

bulge bracket blog update profiles the emergence of specialist brokerdealers who are poised to displace the once dominant ‘bulge bracket’ aka “6-pack” firms in the world of making markets and providing liquidity across the bond marketplace.  As regulations and capital requirements upend the legacy role played by Wall Street’s biggest investment banks, technology advances coupled with modern day perspectives as to how to source actionable liquidity and secure best execution when trading bonds is providing an opportunity for smaller and savvy broker-dealers to play an important role. Coverage is courtesy of excerpt from feature story published by

Since 2008, there has been an increase in electronic trading of fixed income securities, along with a decrease in inventory held by larger dealers and banks.

“If we look at some of the subtle changes in market structure that have come about, we see non-traditional liquidity providers, or price makers, coming up within the marketplace,” Bill Vulpis, managing director at KCG BondPoint, told Markets Media. “By non-traditional, I mean companies other than banks and large sell-side firms, including smaller broker dealers who are reliant upon electronic platforms to make markets.”

According to a January 2015 study by Greenwich Associates, 80% of institutional investors report difficulties executing corporate bond trades of more than $15 million, reflecting decline in market liquidity caused by the pullback of fixed-income dealers in the wake of new and more stringent capital reserve requirements.

With dealer inventories shrinking, investors’ search for new liquidity providers is proving a boon to the fast-developing ranks of electronic trading platforms, according to Greenwich. All-to-all trading accounted for an estimated 6% of electronically executed U.S. trades in 2014.

To read the full article from Markets Media, click here.


BrokerDealer Crime Beat-Brokerage Execs Plead Guilty in Bond Bribery Deal

white-collar-crime blog update profiles brokerdealer firm, Direct Access Partners, pleading guilty after a scheme to bribe an offical at a Venezuelan development bank for more business. This update is courtesy of Traders Magazine article, “Former Direct Access Partners Execs Sentenced in Bribery Scheme“, with an excerpt below.

Two former top executives with institutional brokerage Direct Access Partners, a firm that shut down in December of 2013 after its clearing firm, Goldman Sachs, stopped clearing its trades, have opted to plead guilty for indiscretions regarding its bond trading business.

DAP’s former chief executive, Benito Chinea, and former managing director, Joseph Demeneses, each pleaded guilty one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and the Travel Act in connection with a scheme to bribe an official at a Venezuelan development bank, Banco de Desarollo Economico y Social de Venezuela (BANDES), in exchange for the official’s directing BANDES’ trading business to DAP.

Chinea, of Manalapan, New Jersey, and Joseph DeMeneses, of Fairfield, Connecticut, were each sentenced to four years in prison. They were also ordered to pay $3,636,432 and $2,670,612 in forfeiture, respectively, which amounts represent their earnings from the bribery scheme.

“These Wall Street executives orchestrated a massive bribery scheme with a corrupt official in Venezuela to illegally secure tens of millions of dollars in business for their firm,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in a media statement. “The convictions and prison sentences of the CEO and Managing Director of a sophisticated Wall Street broker-dealer demonstrate that the Department of Justice will hold individuals accountable for violations of the FCPA and will pursue executives no matter where they are on the corporate ladder.”

Three other DAP employees and the BANDES official pleaded guilty last year for their participation in the bond trading matter.

DAP itself filed for bankruptcy.

New York-based Direct Access Partners started out in 2002 as a New York Stock Exchange floor brokerage and grew rapidly over the years in both equities and fixed income. Sources tell Traders the firm has 130 employees.

To read the entire article from Traders Magazine, click here.

UBS Employees Become Members Of NYC “Sexual Elite” Networking Club

UBS blog update courtesy of DealBreaker’s Bess Levin and for many clients, this story could be a deal breaker. UBS, a Swiss global financial services company with its headquarters in Basel and Zürich, Switzerland, UBS is operating in more than 50 countries with about 60,000 employees around the world, as of 2014. Some of these 60,000 employees have decided to attend a “sex club” in New York City. Below is an extraction from DealBreaker

Have you spent a good deal of time gazing upon your coworkers and thinking, “Working alongside each other is nice. Watching them scarf down Seamless has its perks. Burning the midnight oil to get these pitchbooks done is more fun than you’d think. But what I’d really like to do is attend a sex party with these people. But not just any old sex party put together in a slapdash manner and attended by people who give bondage gear a bad name. I’m talking a highly organized sex party produced by pros who know what they’re doing. Maybe someone with a British accent, who only has a couple degrees of separation from the Queen of England, and can lend an air of class to the event and know how to make a decent cup of Earl Grey. Someone whose roster of clients include the crème de la crème of f*cking. Someone who is not just a sex party planner but a serious businesswoman who did 7-figures in revenue last year by providing “A-list actors, British aristocrats, Formula One owners, moneyed married couples” and banking heirs with a smorgasbord of sexual delicacies”? Then today’s your lucky day.

Leggy models in Christian Louboutin heels and Wolford stockings glide from room to candlelit room. A dapper man in a custom suit eyes them while sipping Champagne by the mansion’s fireplace. A DJ plays in a corner. Oysters are slurped at the bar. And then, in a matter of minutes, pants are off, bras are unhooked and a tangled web of nude revelers go at it on a bed plopped smack in the middle of the 12,000-square-foot home. It’s just another night at Killing Kittens — the roving members-only sex club that professes to be “the world’s network for the sexual elite.” On Saturday night, the kinky London-based club makes its New York debut. For $100 per woman and $250 per couple, the adventurous can spend hours sleeping with strangers in a swanky Flatiron loft rented for the evening. Cocktail attire and masks are required (though, needless to say, both will get shed rather quickly)…

“When [my ex-boyfriend and I] hosted a party at our house [in London], we had a bed and there were these two gorgeous silver foxes and this black girl whose legs went to Tokyo, and she was just demanding everything from them . . . it’s complete carnage,” she says. “It’s like a buffet.” […As of Tuesday, Sayle says 60 people have signed up for the NYC event, including a group of British female bankers who work at UBS’s Midtown office and a bevy of models. “They all have the same mentality,” a raspy-voiced Sayle says of her members.” They’re all overachievers.

For the entire article from DealBreaker, click here.


Investors’ Anticipation Grows As They Wait For Tadawul To Become Public

TDFXnewoffices blog update profiles the much anticipated wait for the Tadawul market to foriegn investors. The Tadawul market is the Saudi stock market that has always been closed off to foreign investors. Much speculation has led many investors to believe that Tadawul should open by April. The update is from Institutional Investors, and here is a snippet from their article:

Anticipation is growing that a long awaited opening of Tadawul, the Saudi stock market, to foreign investors will come as early as next month. Analysts believe the move will provide fresh momentum for the $500 billion market, which has risen by nearly 30 percent since mid-December. “This will be the event of the year in emerging markets,” says John Sfakianakis, a veteran economist and investment strategist in Riyadh who opened an office there in September for the London-based emerging markets specialist Ashmore Group.

Oil was trading at more than $100 a barrel in July when the government first announced its intention to open the market at some point in 2015. Since then the Tadawul has been on a roller coaster ride, hitting a peak of 11,149 in early September, then plunging more than 34 percent over the next three months as oil prices collapsed before staging a recovery. The partial rebound of oil prices since January has helped. So has the government’s ability to draw on its $750 billion in reserves, which has helped keep the economy flush.

Growth has slowed but remains positive. The International Monetary Fund projects that the economy will expand by 2.8 percent this year, down from 3.6 percent in 2014. Nonoil sectors, which account for virtually the entire stock market, should expand by 5 percent, says Bassel Khatoun, Franklin Templeton’s head of equities for the Middle East and North Africa, based in Dubai.

To read the full article from Institutional Investors on the Saudi Arabian stock market’s opening, click here.

PE Firms Raiding BrokerDealers in Battle for Young Bankers

young blog update courtesy of the New York Times Deal Book section.

Young bankers fresh out of college are in high demand for private equity firms. Firms what the brightest and best that show great tenacity and enthusiasm for Wall Street. Firms are so aggressive about finding the best candidates that recruiters are interviewing potential employees up to 18 months before the start of the actual job.

They are only in their early to mid-20s, but some young bankers on Wall Street are the most sought-after financiers around, with lucrative pay packages dangling before them.

Junior investment bankers who graduated from college only last year are being madly courted by private equity firms like Apollo Global Management, the Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and theCarlyle Group in a scramble that kicked off last weekend. After back-to-back interviews, many are now fielding offers for jobs that won’t start until the summer of 2016.

This process has become an annual rite by private equity firms, which raise money from investors (like pension funds) to buy entire companies. But it has grown more frenzied since the financial crisis, and it started this year weeks earlier than many in the industry had expected. Fearful of missing the best talent being developed at investment banks, the giants of private equity have turned Wall Street’s white-collar entry-level workers into a hot commodity.

Private-equity firms are pushing earlier than ever to lure Wall Street investment banks’ most promising talent.

“It’s as if these were star athletes,” said Adam Zoia, chief executive of the recruiting firm Glocap Search, who helps private equity firms hire young workers. “The irony is they are professionals six, seven months out of undergrad. It’s hard to imagine you can tell if someone’s a star or not.”

For the young bankers, who are known as analysts, the recruiting race is an important step on a journey to becoming a Wall Street tycoon who can command a seven-figure (or more) pay package. These workers, graduates of elite colleges, often hope to spend two years at investment banks, learning the basics of corporate finance, before leaving for private equity firms, where they can use those skills to make investments. That career path makes them prime candidates for an elite business school, or something even more financially rewarding.

Even though these youthful analysts are starting at big Wall Street firms, the sector’s reputation has lost some of its sheen since the financial crisis. At the same time, Silicon Valley is luring away talent.

But private equity firms can offer higher pay to young bankers. A private equity associate — one who is just three years out of college — can earn as much as $300,000 a year, including salary and bonus. That is roughly double what a second-year banker might earn at Goldman Sachs. “Private equity is the preferable place to be in terms of compensation,” said Jeff P. Visithpanich, a managing director at the compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates.

While data is hard to come by, a December report from Vettery, a start-up recruiting firm, said that private equity was the single most popular destination for Wall Street’s junior workers. Roughly 36 percent of junior bankers with two-year contracts in 2012 have now joined private equity firms, compared with 27.5 percent who stayed in the same division at their bank, Vettery said.

It may seem surprising that these untested financiers are being so heavily courted when the overall unemployment rate of workers between the ages of 20 and 24 in January was more than twice as high as the rate for those 25 and older.

But the process of hiring these workers has grown only more frenzied since the crisis, as financial firms increasingly believe they must work harder to attract ambitious graduates. The banks, from which these workers are being poached, are raising salaries or offering additional days off in an effort to retain them.

To read the complete article from the New York Times, click here.