The Markets in Financial Instruments and amending Regulation (MiFIR) released on October 20, 2011 looks to introduce competition in the European derivatives space through open access to central counterparties (CCPs) and trading venues, and fair licensing of and access to benchmarks. These changes came as a shock to certain major dominant players in the derivatives market, but were welcomed by those looking to enter the derivatives markets. After all, derivatives margins are a lot higher than those in equities. Since the launch of derivatives products on the Turquoise platform, Turquoise’s Adrian Farnham has been particularly vocal on this space.
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Earlier this week, EISI, the largest North American provider of financial-planning software by number of advisors, announced its sale to Zywave, a provider of employee benefits and property & casualty insurance software solutions. This deal was most likely brokered between the two private-equity firms that own EISI and Zywave.
Mid-October found the U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) -- the regulatory overseer of government-sponsored entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- and the Obama administration considering a limited pilot program that seeks greater private-investor participation through private purchases of first-loss positions in new GSE issuances of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs). This program does not require congressional approval, but it does require the FHFA to sign off.
As a consumer positioned in an arthritic, eye-sight-challenged generation, it is my firm belief that mobile phones have significant drawbacks as a tool for loan origination, no matter how clever the application. I am also completely convinced that tablets (the iPad in particular) lack drawbacks. From a delivery-channel perspective, the lightweight tablet, with its adjustable type size and ease of input, appeals to baby-boomer and Gen-Y customers alike.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the three-day Eurofinance event in Rome. Here are some reflections from my conversations with bankers, software vendors, and corporate treasurers:
- The attendance was considerable. Official numbers said more than 2,000 participants. This confirms not only the level of attention reached by the event, but also the relevance attributed by participants to the opportunity to network with peers and understand what the market offers today. Some corporate treasurers noted that one of the main reasons for them to attend was to establish new contacts and learn what bank products and technology solutions are available.