Levine on Wall Street: Insider Trading 1.0 and 2.0

Matt Levine is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was an editor of Dealbreaker, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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So long Jeremy Stein .

Stein, the Fed's designated worrier about financial stability, is leaving the Fed to go back to Harvard, because if he stayed on the Fed he'd lose his tenure at Harvard and no one wants that. He has a lot still to do at Harvard. There are those who think of the Fed as the most powerful institution in the world, but here you have some contrary revealed-preference evidence. Meanwhile, DO YOU KNOW WHO'D BE GREAT AT STEIN'S JOB?

This is not a good look for BATS.

One substantive thing that IEX's Brad Katsuyama and BATS's William O'Brien shouted about on CNBC the other day was which information feed they used to compute the best bid and offer for matching stock trades. Katsuyama accused BATS of using the slow SIP feed to price trades on its Direct Edge exchange, rather than using direct feeds from exchanges, as IEX does. O'Brien denied that. "We use the direct feeds," he said. O'Brien was ... not telling the truth? Sometimes Eric Schneiderman does good work:

The exchange operator was contacted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office about the matter after the CNBC interview and was asked to clarify Mr. O'Brien's statement, according to a person familiar with the matter. The office pressed the exchange to publicly correct the inaccuracy, the person said.

You could see why the exchange would rather have let it go. But if New York's highest law enforcement official has one priority, it is stamping out inaccurate statements on CNBC. Meanwhile, here is a skeptical review of "Flash Boys," which I am enjoying immensely (the book, I mean, not the review, though also the review).

If you have inside information about a merger ...

... don't buy short-dated out-of-the-money call options on the target. I know you want to, but it never ends well. "The SEC is committed to deciphering the stories behind suspicious trades," says the SEC, and this is a very easy story to decipher.

SAC Capital has a new compliance boss .

It's "Bart M. Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor who has served as an independent monitor in a number of government investigations," and will now be the prosecutor-approved outside monitor for SAC, I mean Point72. Any useful theory of the revolving door has to incorporate the fact that the more aggressive you are as a financial regulator/prosecutor, (1) the more lucrative outside-monitoring work you'll create for former regulators/prosecutors and (2) the more suitable regulators/prosecutors will find you for such work in the future. "As a compliance monitor, Mr. Schwartz ... is expected to file a series of reports to federal prosecutors" and one suspects that his paycheck will be higher than theirs.

Bank debt is just great.

We've talked about this before, but here is a Liberty Street Economics blog post that sets out the New York Fed's (researchers' (lawyer's)) view of bail-in debt, which is aggressively positive:

All capital liabilities—parent debt and equity—serve the same function in bail-in. They protect the financial liabilities to which they are junior. They are all capital, whether recognized by Basel or not. Admati and Hellwig (2013) believe that bank capital levels must be much higher than those mandated by the Basel process. They may be correct. But parent debt typically exceeds Basel capital by a substantial margin, and bail-in uses this debt to protect the financial liabilities. Bail-in may have already done through parent debt what Admati and Hellwig advocate through equity.

Mike Konczal on futurization.

Not using "futurization" in the technical sense:

This system of buying and selling the future requires a level of control over far beyond the normal standardization and commodification that comes with capitalist societies. To specify the future in the ways that futures contracts demand means locking down its forms in advance, with an abstract conception suitable to financial exchange positing what will become lived reality. Knowledge of the future breaks down, while financial markets overwhelms areas of everyday life once fully separate from what has been traditionally seen as finance. The consequences of this domination by finance have already begun to unfold and may only intensify as finance's realms expand.

Things happen .

CEOs are punchable. High-speed trading is beautiful. Hashtag Pitch At Palace. "First real estate deal fully executed in Bitcoin" occurred in Nolita, huh. "The artist wants to be near the woodworker next to the tech firm next to the fashion designer" next to the financial blogger. "Mr. Kravitz represents a bid to be, well, cool." "Rogue alcoholic court reporter kept writing 'I hate my job.'"

The thing is, "Booz" was a terrible name for a consulting firm .

But "Strategy&" might still be worse.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

(Matt Levine writes about Wall Street and the financial world for Bloomberg View.)

To contact the author on this story:
Matthew S Levine at mlevine51@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Toby Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net