DTM copycats at it again part 8
One of the great fears in the blogosphere is that smart people are actually reading your stuff. This puts pressure on you to 1) perennially come up with unique topics of relevance to a disparate group of readers, and 2) not rely on what Rick Segal defines as: I read something in the paper (or saw it on TV) and this is what I think of it.
I was reminded of this fear on Tuesday when a seasoned former UBS equity research analyst admitted to me that he stopped by this space from time to time. He also allowed that one of his favourite themes was the gentle yet loving teasing that we do of the DTM when they don’t tip their hat to story ideas that they get from blogs such as ours (see prior posts, including “Keep an eye on Apple’s Steve Jobs part 2” June 13-08, “Is imitation truly flattering? part 2” May 30-08, “Desjardins DTM Deja Vu” May 13-08, “DTM copycats at it again” February 14-08, “First with the news, and free to boot” December 19-07, “News flash!: Dead Tree Media unearths connection between subprime and corporate debt” June 27-07, “Is imitation truly flattering?” June 16-07).
As one of Senator Hillary Clinton’s press handlers said last week at a conference on the U.S. media’s coverage of the primary season: “How does it feel that Matt Druge is your assignment editor?” Ouch.
So, to put a smile on the face of that former UBS analyst, here is today’s “DTM copycats are at it again” offering. Our June 16th “Water torture at the hands of the U.S. Attorney” blog:
Tucked away in an unremarkable Friday afternoon Bloomberg story about MF Global was more than a few nuggets about the snail-paced water torture that the U.S. Attorney is putting Bank of Montreal (BMO:TSX, NYSE) through:
The company today disclosed two investigations into natural- gas trades it helped facilitate. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York is probing over-the-counter gas trades of a customer, the Bank of Montreal. In addition, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent a so-called Wells notice in May, saying it may recommend legal action over two natural-gas trades in 2004, according to MF Global’s regulatory filing.
The natural-gas trades related to Bank of Montreal are also being investigated by a New York County grand jury. An unnamed BMO trader, using a broker at MF Global, “allegedly mismarked his book,’’ MF Global said, meaning he entered incorrect or false trade data.
The Bank of Montreal last year lost $618 million in natural- gas trades, the largest loss ever by a Canadian bank. The bank said last May it had “increased concerns’’ about the reliability of quotes from its main broker, Optionable Inc. After increasing the size of its loss, BMO said it was investigating “whether any potential irregularities in trading and valuation took place,’’ according to a May 17, 2007 statement.
The CFTC and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are also involved in the investigation, MF Global said. Neither MF Global nor its broker have been named as targets of the probe, the company said.
This is an excerpt from the June 19th edition of The Globe and Mail:
U.S. futures brokerage probed over BMO trades
One of the world’s biggest futures and options brokers has been swept up in an investigation that is focused on trades at the Bank of Montreal, demonstrating that the saga stemming from BMO’s energy trading losses is not over yet.
Bermuda-based MF Global Ltd., whose main office is in New York, has disclosed in filings with regulators that it has been co-operating in an investigation that “centers around trading by a market making energy trader at Bank of Montreal who allegedly mismarked his book.”
The investigation is being carried out by a grand jury in New York in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office there, and both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are involved, MF Global said.
Nothing in this piece advanced the original Bloomberg story of a week ago. And the point that BMO wasn’t yet out of the woods with the U.S. Attorney had, ahem, already been highlighted here on Monday.
As the Associated Press is trying to corral the use of its stories in blogs (something about copyright), why shouldn’t this be a two-way street? To my friends at the DTM Editor Pen, please send a $50 cheque (payable to the Wellington Financial Charitable Foundation) to Suite 2520, 161 Bay Street, Toronto, M5J 2S1 for the story idea and all will be forgiven; and we certainly won’t bring up the “P” word!
It could also just be one massive coincidence.