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Wells joins fee-free race; SEC OKs semi-transparent ETFs for 4 asset managers


Banking Essentials Newsletter: 7th February Edition

Case Study

A Bank Outsources Data Gathering to Meet Basel III Regulations


Private Markets 360° | Episode 8: Powering the Global Private Markets (with Adam Kansler of S&P Global Market Intelligence)


Banks’ Response to Rising Rates & Liquidity Concerns

Wells joins fee-free race; SEC OKs semi-transparent ETFs for 4 asset managers

Wells Fargo Advisors will now offer fee-free trading for stock and exchange-traded funds on its WellsTrade self-directed trading platform. The news comes after Bank of America Corp. said that it will roll out commission-free online stock, ETF and options trading to all Merrill Edge Self-Directed investors. The two banking giants follow the recent trend of big brokerages cutting their commissions to zero.

Bank of America strategists are still considering the scenario that the Federal Reserve may not hit snooze on interest rates in 2020, Bloomberg News reports. There might be a chance that the Federal Open Market Committee's updated dot plot will hint at a 2020 rate increase, which would flatten the U.S. yield curve and boost the dollar, the news outlet added, citing a report from the company. However, the bank's team does not view this move as the most probable and expects that the dot plot will point to the Fed maintaining the rates.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has partnered with Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup QC Ware Corp. to explore the use of quantum computing in increasing the speed of financial calculations and how it can be used to develop new algorithms.

Citigroup Inc. announced the promotion of 14 women executives to managing directors in Asia, representing 31% of the 45 managing director appointments in the region in 2019, Bloomberg News reports, citing a memo sent by Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Babej. The bank, which has been trying to close the gender gap, is aiming to appoint women in at least 40% of its assistant vice president roles and in the levels above it.

In an interview, HighTower CEO Bob Oros said the number of the firm's acquisitions could double in 2020, with its assets possibly reaching $100 billion, InvestmentNews reports. Under Oros, the asset manager has moved away from its former business model, where wirehouse advisers become partners, to the acquisition of advisers' businesses.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given a green light to T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Natixis, Fidelity Investments and Blue Tractor to create exchange-traded funds that will make holdings public once in a quarter, as opposed to the daily releases conventional ETFs make, Bloomberg News reports. The newly approved models will use proxy baskets, allowing market makers to price their funds without revealing the whole portfolios.

Additionally, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton told lawmakers at a Senate hearing that the regulator will not put caps on amounts awarded to whistleblowers, Reuters reports. The regulator proposed a number of changes to a program rewarding whistleblowers to make it more efficient. Some of the changes include giving SEC staff more leeway in assessing awards and the choice to lower payouts that would go beyond $30 million, according to the news outlet. However, critics pointed out that this would create uncertainty and increase legal costs.

In a letter, the American Bankers Association has asked the National Credit Union Administration to withdraw or significantly revise its "seriously flawed" proposals to its chartering and field of membership rules pertaining to federal community credit unions. American Bankers Association Senior Director for Banking Policy Justin Underwood wrote that the NCUA made an "inferential leap" that is "unreasonable and unlawful" when it proposed an amendment that would define a combined statistical area, or CSA, as a single local community as long as the chosen area has a population of 2.5 million people or fewer.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: China scraps insurance JV ownership limits; Philippines probes Westpac

Europe: Credit Suisse cuts key target; HSBC's Swiss unit fined; UBS suffers court defeat

Middle East & Africa: QNB names CEO; Fitch downgrades HSBC's UAE unit; Tunisian insurer plots IPO

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Fed may signal flat rate path for 2020, but markets anticipate a bit more easing: The Federal Reserve is poised to take a break from cutting interest rates on Dec. 11, but those looking for clear guidance on how long its pause will last will likely be disappointed.

Trading activity mixed at major online brokers in October: Daily average revenue trades at Interactive Brokers Group dipped by 44,000 to 798,000, while DARTs at TD Ameritrade Holding jumped by 87,000 to 897,000 during the month.

C&I loans rise 6.3% YOY, delinquencies increase in Q3'19: U.S. banks and thrifts reported $2.216 trillion in commercial and industrial loans at the end of the third quarter, a $1.24 billion increase quarter over quarter and a $131.85 billion increase year over year.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.79% to 26,645.43, while the Nikkei 225 ticked 0.08% lower to 23,391.86.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lost 0.08% to 7,208.31, and the Euronext 100 went down 0.21% to 1,120.01.

On the macro front

The U.S. Consumer Price Index, the quarterly services survey, the Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting announcement and the Treasury budget are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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