CFA Society Chicago NewsBrief
Dec. 17, 2013

Chicago Fed's Evans backs scrutiny of high-frequency firms
The Wall Street Journal
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said federal regulators should proceed with plans to impose stricter rules on high-speed computer trading. Mr. Evans, in a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, embraced the CFTC’s push to develop rules aimed at taming the practice of computer trading, which has led to market disruptions such as August’s failure at Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and the 2010 “flash crash” which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapse more than 1,000 points before rebounding.More

2014's higher interest rates call for a shift in strategy
CFA Chicago
Following the financial crisis, monetary policy and politics have significantly shaped the investment environment. In early 2014, a new chair will take the helm at the Federal Reserve. What opportunities might the investment landscape offer in 2014? What should investors consider in developing their 2014 investment strategies? How might higher interest rates impact investment choices? Join us for our forecast event where keynote speaker, Austan Goolsbee and our panel of leading strategists in economics, equities, and fixed income will share their insights and outlook for 2014.More

Educating the industry since 1980
CFA Chicago
T. Bondurant "Bon" French, CFA, is responsible for the management of Adams Street Partners and actively participates as an investment professional. French has been with Adams Street Partners and its predecessor organizations since 1980 and has been instrumental in the development of its private equity investment strategies, fund management and client service. Join CFA Chicago on Feb. 25 for the T. Bondurant "Bon" French Distinguished Speaker Series.More

Sheila Bair's 5 'rules of the road' for women in the workplace
CFA Institute's Enterprising Investor
Anyone who witnessed the unfolding of the global financial crisis would be familiar with Sheila Bair — perhaps as much for her role as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 to 2011 as for her many battles, including those with Tim Geithner, former head of the New York Fed. Bair has been called “hard-charging,” “outspoken,” and — less charitably — “noisy and aggressive and opinionated.” But no matter what adjective one ascribes to the former regulator, most agree on this: She was a tireless advocate for financial reform and distressed home owners and never shied away from confronting her critics head on.More

$3.7 billion LPL practice picks up Chicago firm
Financial Planning
A big LPL practice with $3.7 billion in assets under management is picking up a $300 million Chicago-area firm. The merger with Summit Wealth Advisors gives Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group, which already serves client in 40 states, a retail presence in Itasca, Ill., and by extension a bigger footprint in Chicago's high-net-worth market. Summit's five advisors join 40 advisors at Wealth Enhancement Group, and take on the larger firm's brand. Summit's founder, Kevin Meehan, will become regional president for Chicago.More

City Council adopts financial analysis office
Chicago Tribune
Chicago aldermen voted Dec. 11 to give themselves a way to check the math behind big-ticket, politically combustible deals that come out of the mayor's office, but the new Office of Financial Analysis ended up pleasing few on the City Council. Some don't want $3,000 diverted from their closely guarded discretionary spending accounts to help pay for bureaucrats they're not convinced will have enough to do. Others questioned how independent the office will be and whether it'll have real teeth. The widespread displeasure and unanswered questions didn't stop those who pushed for the measure from claiming victory and declaring that win important.More

Pritzker, Duchossois families do a deal
Crain's Chicago Business
Renewing a business relationship they've had for decades, the wealthy Chicago Pritzker and Duchossois families are doing a deal that will make them joint owners of a company. Elmhurst-based Duchossois Group Inc. sold a controlling stake in Eden Prairie, Minn.-based flat-screen mount company Milestone AV Technologies to Chicago-based Pritzker Group, led by brothers J.B. and Tony Pritzker. At Pritzker Group, the transaction is in keeping with J.B. and Tony's plans to do more private-equity deals and build up their corporate portfolio.More

A glimmer of hope on Illinois' pension mess
Crain's Chicago Business
Amid all the woe and worry over public-employee pension funding shortfalls in Illinois, it's nice to see a little good news. A recent report from pension consultants at Mercer shows that funding levels at corporate pension plans have reached their highest level since the financial crisis of 2008. As of Nov. 30, pension plans sponsored by companies in the Standard & Poor's 1500 had enough assets to cover 93 percent of their obligations to current and future retirees, according to the report.More

Criminal action is expected for JPMorgan in Madoff case
The New York Times
JPMorgan Chase and federal authorities are nearing settlements over the bank’s ties to Bernard L. Madoff, striking tentative deals that would involve roughly $2 billion in penalties and a rare criminal action. The government will use a sizable portion of the money to compensate Mr. Madoff’s victims. The settlements, which are coming together on the anniversary of Mr. Madoff’s arrest at his Manhattan penthouse five years ago on Dec. 11 would fault the bank for turning a blind eye to his huge Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case who were not authorized to speak publicly.More

Facebook to join the S&P 500
Chicago Tribune
Standard & Poor's on Dec. 11 said Facebook Inc. will join its S&P 500 stock index after the close of trading on Dec. 20, cementing the social media network's rise into one of the biggest, most powerful U.S. companies. The decision follows Facebook reporting its fourth straight profitable quarter in October, one of the criteria that S&P uses to determine eligibility for the index. Facebook shares rose 4.3 percent to $51.51 following S&P's announcement after regular market hours.More

Chicago Fed's Evans backs scrutiny of high-frequency firms
The Wall Street Journal
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said federal regulators should proceed with plans to impose stricter rules on high-speed computer trading. Mr. Evans, in a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, embraced the CFTC’s push to develop rules aimed at taming the practice of computer trading.More

J.B. Pritzker: Chicago is tech hub but needs capital, young talent
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago has transformed from being a technological desert to birthing tech startups that have achieved more than $50 billion in collective market value — but it’s still a challenge to attract startup capital and to keep young talent from fleeing to Silicon Valley, venture capitalist and billionaire J.B. Pritzker said recently.More

Why this pension deal is good for Illinois taxpayers
Crain's Chicago Business
Decades of dire warnings and several years of legislative negotiations culminated with the passage of comprehensive state pension reform legislation in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. Gov. Pat Quinn has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, setting up an inevitable legal challenge before the Illinois Supreme Court.More

CME Group Inc. declares $2.60 per share annual variable dividend
The Options Insider
CME Group Inc. announced on Dec. 12 that it has declared its annual variable dividend at $2.60 per share. The dividend is payable Jan. 14, 2014, to shareholders of record Dec. 27, 2013. According to CME Group's press release, when the company adopted its annual variable dividend structure in February 2012, it intended to determine the excess cash available at the end of each year, with the level to either increase or decrease year to year based on operating results, potential investment activity and other forms of capital return. With the $2.60 per share annual variable dividend to be paid in 2014, it totals more than $872 million.More