Hits & Takes
Cold. Cold. Cold. Don’t go outside unless you have to if you are in the U.S. Midwest. It is just plain, frostbite creating, death-inducing cold.~JJL
Minneapolis is very smart as they have a skyway system between buildings where you don’t have to wear a coat to walk around town. I would still wear a sweater. Other northern cities have them too. The CBOT Building has one that connects to the Cboe, but it has been closed for years.~JJL
My daughter Katherine turned 21 last week. I can’t believe time went by so fast.~JJL
EEX shared this: Yesterday, #EEX reached a new daily record volume of 16.9 TWh in Phelix-DE Futures, the benchmark product for European #power trading. The previous record of 16.8 TWh was traded on 14th September 2018.~JJL
The Chinese government started looking at a new version of the long languishing foreign investment law that would address foreign ownership of enterprises in China as part of the country’s opening up initiative. In other China news, Chinese investors, leery of the stock market, are increasingly looking at provincial bonds.~SD
Bloomberg is reporting that Canada is holding a lottery to decide who gets the stock ticker “POT.”~JJL
It’s an ever-changing market: for a cool infographic, check out this depiction of U.S. stock market sector weightings from 1800 on. (Obviously, there are some approximations in this.)~SD
The Exchange Traded Product That Lost 99% Of Its Value Is Finally Dying
Luke Kawa – Bloomberg
VXX matures this week after 10 years betting on volatility; Futures market expected to absorb any large liquidations
The most popular way to play volatility is going to its grave this week, but the impending death of an exchange-traded note sold by Barclays Plc is not the end of the story for futures traders.
****The transition out of VXX, and its numerous related VIX futures hedges, to new positions appears to have been orderly, even though VXX headed into Tuesday with a good chunk of its historical AUM in tow (~$500m). For an in depth look at some of the mechanics involved in the maturation of a exchange traded debt obligation that uses derivatives on an index that is calculated using derivatives based upon an index, see this Six Figure Investing blog.~SD
U.S. Slips Out of Top 20 in Global Corruption Index
Casey Quackenbush – Time
The U.S. has plummeted in an annual corruption index, falling out of the top 20 countries for the first time since 2011, watchdog Transparency International said in a new report that links the global erosion of democracy and tidal wave of autocrats to an uptick in graft.
****** Did they take Chicago out of the index?~JJL
‘Life-threatening’ temperatures hit record daily low in Chicago
David Struett – Chicago Sun-Times
Temperatures fell early Wednesday to make it the coldest Jan. 30 in Chicago on record.
By 4 a.m., it was already minus 19 degrees, which beats the last record daily low of minus 15 on Jan. 30, 1966, the National Weather Service said.
Temperatures will continue to fall throughout Wednesday, possibly reaching between minus 20 and minus 28 degrees, the weather service said.
***** Whatever you want to do today, just don’t do it outside.~JJL
Chicago Pit Traders Have Weathered Worse Than an Arctic Freeze
Lydia Mulvany – Bloomberg
Scott Shellady, known in the trading pits of Chicago for his trademark “cow jacket,” isn’t going to let a historic blast of Arctic freeze on Wednesday keep him away from the options pits at the world’s largest derivatives exchange, even though many of the city’s workers are planning to hunker down at home. “I come from a family of farmers,” said Shellady, who commutes into the city from northwest Indiana. “And there’s a word in English that describes the weather we’re having. Winter.”
***** For Scott Shellady and me, it does not hurt we have some extra insulation to guard from the cold.~JJL
Why investors suck at selling stocks; Research suggests portfolio managers take the process of buying shares more seriously
Katie Martin – FT
Professional portfolio managers have two basic functions in life: buying stuff and selling stuff. New research suggests they do a shockingly bad job of the latter, and it is costing them dearly. What is more, they do not even seem to realise they are doing it.
***** My father always said people know when to buy, but don’t know when to sell. I guess he was right.~JJL
Is Free Fair To All? (Editorial)
Phil Mackintosh – Nasdaq
It seems we’re all getting used to getting things for free. Cloud storage, email, social media and lots of the apps we download to our phones.
But is free good for a stock market too?
The economic problem with providing anything for free is well knownóyou get too much consumption of the free goodówhich is not an efficient use of resources. It’s known as the free-rider problem.
****** Free….Free, Free, Free!
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story of the day yesterday was Forbes’ How This 24-Year-Old Former NYSE Equity Trader Made History. Second was the info story on Chicago’s mayoral candidates from WBEZ, Chicago Mayoral Election Candidate Questionnaire. There you can see which candidates support or oppose a transaction tax on the financial markets. Third was The Wall Street Journal’s Two Groups Account for $1 Billion in Cryptocurrency Hacks
141,230,010 pages viewed; 23,394 pages; 216,374 edits
Nasdaq makes move to acquire Oslo Bors by outbidding Euronext; Exchange group has said it has unanimous approval from the board of directors at Oslo Bors to acquire the Norwegian exchange for $770 million.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
US exchange operator Nasdaq has officially launched a rival bid for Norwegian stock exchange Oslo Bors with an offer that exceeds Euronext’s initial bid made earlier this month.
London Stock Exchange acquires stake in Euroclear; UK exchange group acquires 4.92% stake in Euroclear as two look to work together on commercial collaboration and product development.
Jon Watkins – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has acquired a 4.92% stake in Euroclear for EUR278.5 million, following a similar move by one of its trading venue rivals last year.
Fidelity Is Said to Plan March Launch of Bitcoin Custody Service
Matthew Leising and Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Service may help institutional investors ease into crypto; Commonplace in other assets, custody’s absence keeps pros out
Fidelity Investments is targeting a March launch date for its Bitcoin custody service, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, as the mutual-fund giant moves forward with a plan that could help ease fears of trading cryptocurrencies.
NYSE, Nasdaq Rival Aims to Shed Light on Fee Profits; The exchanges don’t disclose profit margins for these kinds of services
Gretchen Morgenson – WSJ
Brokerage firms and banks have complained for years about rising fees at big stock exchanges. Now, they are getting a glimpse of the potential profits the exchanges could be making from them. On Tuesday, Investors Exchange, a small exchange that competes with the NYSE, Nasdaq Inc. and Cboe Global Markets Inc. CBOE -1.23% for stock trades, filed an analysis with the Securities and Exchange Commission comparing its costs of providing comparable market data and connectivity to clients with fees levied by the big exchanges.
London Stock Exchange buys stake in settlement house Euroclear; UK bourse boosts presence in Europe with EUR278m share in one of biggest settlement houses
Sarah Provan – FT
The London Stock Exchange Group has snapped up a 4.9 per cent stake in Belgian-based settlement house Euroclear, looking to increase its influence in one of the key utilities of global market plumbing.
LSE’s Schwimmer Makes Dealmaking Debut With Euroclear Stake
Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
London Stock Exchange Group Plc unveiled the first deal under its new leadership, agreeing to take a minority stake in settlement giant Euroclear Holding SA/NV.
London’s renminbi trading eclipses pound-euro; Trading volumes in the Chinese currency against the US dollar rise 17 per cent
Eva Szalay – FT
London’s push to become a major trading hub for the Chinese currency is paying off, with trading volumes for the renminbi eclipsing those for the pound against the euro for the first time last year, according to a survey from the Bank of England.
The Brexit Bill: Here’s the Damage So Far; The divorce from the EU might be delayed, softened or even abandoned, but the cost of separation is already apparent.
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has already come at a cost regardless of where Brexit goes from here. Some of the damage is tangible, such as jobs, investment and capital; some of it less so, like international clout and talent.
Theresa May Survives a Critical Brexit Vote
Stephen Castle – NY Times
British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a critical vote in Parliament on Tuesday that could have delayed Brexit, undermining her strategy for leaving the European Union and undercutting the country’s constitutional protocol.
John Phizackerley receives no further payout from TP ICAP
Philip Stafford – FT
John Phizackerley received only the minimum legal and contractual entitlements to settle his sacking from TP ICAP last year, the UK interdealer broker disclosed on Wednesday.
TP ICAP downgrade triggers spat with Moody’s; Agency said lower rating reflected interdealer broker’s increased costs and debt levels
Philip Stafford – FT
TP ICAP has become embroiled in a public dispute with Moody’s Investor Services after the UK interdealer broker was downgraded by the credit rating agency.
MiFID II sees global equities trade execution rates decline; Analytics on average global commissions shows that rates have declined across developed and emerging markets.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Execution rates on equity trades globally have fallen significantly over the course of 2018 as MiFID II unbundling rules in Europe take hold, according to Greenwich Associates.
Europe should beware the lure of bigger banks; As long as continent-wide deposit insurance remains out of reach, mergers will be risky
Simon Samuels – FT
In many ways it was hardly a surprise that the chairman of UBS, Axel Weber, said recently, when commenting on European banks, that “what Europe needs in order to catch up with American firms is European champions, banks that are larger in size”. Last year was a bad one for European bank shares, capping a torrid decade after which, for most large banks, profits and share prices are still well below pre-crisis levels.
‘Exchanges owe us answers’ says IEX as it discloses market data and connectivity costs; IEX becomes first exchange operator to disclose its costs with the detailed report revealing incumbent exchanges are grossly marking up fees.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Investors Exchange (IEX) has publicly disclosed its costs of producing market data and connectivity, suggesting that incumbent exchanges could be marking up charges for such services by as much as 4,000%.
London Metal Exchange quizzed by regulators on phone trades; European regulations calling for price transparency pose a problem for LME’s phone-trading
By Samuel Agini – Financial News
Europe’s top financial regulator has clashed with one of the City of London’s oldest exchanges over a quaint method of trading employed in the metals markets.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq to Make an Offer to Acquire Oslo B¯rs VPS with Unanimous Support from Oslo B¯rs VPS Board of Directors
Nasdaq starts bidding war on the Oslo Stock Exchange; While Euronext has secured control over more than half of the shares in the Oslo Stock Exchange, the US Nasdaq comes in from the sidelines. They offer seven kroner more per share than Euronext.
Marius Lorentzen, Asgeir Aga Nilsen and Anders Nybakken Kvale -E24
Nasdaq AB, which is owned by the US Nasdaq stock exchange, announces on Wednesday that they are now making an offer to buy all the shares in Oslo B¯rs at NOK 152 per share.
Nasdaq bids $771 million for Oslo Bors in Euronext challenge
Terje Solsvik, Gwladys Fouche – Reuters
Nasdaq Inc on Wednesday made a rival bid for Oslo Bors VPS, setting up a takeover battle with Euronext for the 200-year-old Norwegian stock market operator.
Nasdaq Announces Quarterly Dividend of $0.44 Per Share
The Board of Directors of Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq:NDAQ) has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.44 per share on the company’s outstanding common stock. The dividend is payable on March 29, 2019 to shareowners of record at the close of business on March 15, 2019. Future declarations of quarterly dividends and the establishment of future record and payment dates are subject to approval by the Board of Directors.
Nasdaq Private Market Facilitates a Record $12 Billion in Transaction Volume in 2018; Strong market activity and investor demand drives record-setting jump in secondary liquidity
The Nasdaq Private Market, LLC (NPM), a leading provider of liquidity solutions for today’s private securities, has released its 2018 Year End Private Company report, which summarizes private company liquidity activity on the NPM platform.
London Stock Exchange Group plc announces acquisition of 4.92% stake in Euroclear Holding SA/NV
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group plc (“LSEG”) announces it will acquire an aggregate 4.92% stake in Euroclear’s share capital for EUR278.5 million (£241.9 million)
Staying ahead of the curve: the fintech trends 2019 (part II)
In the first part of this article, we reported on the most important technology trends that experts expect to disrupt, shift and change the way our industry will do business in 2019. What will Deutsche Bˆrse and especially Eurex do to further implement new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain? We spoke to our in-house experts about “what’s cooking” at Deutsche Bˆrse and Eurex.
Equity derivatives: Introduction of Single Stock Futures and equity options; withdrawal of admission of Single Stock Futures and equity options
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland took the following decisions with effect from 4 February 2019:
EEX And GDT Take Next Steps Towards Joint Venture For A European Dairy Auction
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) and Global Dairy Trade (GDT) have successfully concluded the initial consultation period regarding the establishment of a joint venture to operate a European-based auction mechanism for European dairy products.
‘Next steps taken’ towards European dairy auction venture
Sylvester Phelan – Agriland.ie
The initial consultation period regarding the establishment of a joint venture to operate a European-based auction mechanism for European dairy products has been concluded by the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and Global Dairy Trade (GDT).
Barchart Announces Integration of OnDemand APIs into MATLAB
Barchart, a leading provider of financial market data and technology, has announced a partnership with MathWorks. New integration with MATLAB, the programming environment from MathWorks for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation will now allow traders, financial engineers, risk managers and analysts currently using MATLAB and its Datafeed Toolbox to directly access Barchart’s OnDemand API solutions and to gain access to Barchart’s data from within MATLAB.
TickSmith Achieves Amazon Web Services Financial Services Competency as well as Advanced Technology Partner Status in the AWS Partner Network
TickSmith, a FinTech software company specialized in Big Data technology, announced today that they have achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Financial Services Competency status as well as Advance Technology Partner status in the AWS Partner Network (APN). These designations recognizes TickSmith for delivering solutions built on AWS to help financial clients better ingest, manage, and categorize the growing amount of data that firms need to cope with to minimize risk, navigating compliance requirements, and improve the performance of running advanced analytics at scale.
Ant Financial raised almost as much money in 2018 as all fintechs in US and Europe
John Detrixhe – Quartz
When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.
A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam
Dakin Campbell – Business Insider
A fintech startup that acts as a data hub for Wall Street bond investors has raised new money to fuel its expansion just as analysts grow worried about a softening mortgage market and the implications for the American consumer.
dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.
Global fintech funding has soared but big banks are shying away from buying disruptive upstart firms
Madeline Shi – Business Insider
Global fintech funding hit record high last year, but M&A in the space hasn’t followed suit.
VC-backed fintech companies raised nearly $40 billion (up 120%) across 1,707 deals globally (up 15%) over the past year, according to data tracker CB Insight’s latest fintech report on Tuesday.
Despite this funding surge, big banks have largely stayed on the sidelines when it comes to buying these upstarts.
IHS Markit buys stake in blockchain start-up Cobalt; Investment comes as banks hunt for cost savings in currencies trade processing
Eva Szalay – FT
Data and analytics company IHS Markit has bought a stake in currencies start-up Cobalt, in an effort to boost the use of blockchain technology to handle the fiddly business of trade processing.
JPMorgan Says Blockchain Is Making Progress Outside Crypto
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Research chair Chang says meaningful impact 3-5 years away; Trade finance, supply chain seen as areas for advancement
It may take a few years for blockchain’s impact to be felt meaningfully, but it will provide some advancements in certain areas even as cryptocurrencies falter, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
What Gemini’s ‘Revolution Needs Rules’ Campaign Means For The Crypto Community
Samantha Radocchia – Forbes
Regulations are a tricky subject in even the most established and traditional industries.
But in an emerging space, the debate can quickly get heated. For instance, Geminióa crypto exchange headed by the Winklevoss twinsórecently splashed advertising all over NYC. The ads were adorned with the catchy, albeit somewhat cryptic, phrase “Revolution Needs Rules.”
SWIFT Chief Announces Trial DLT Integration With R3
Ian Allison – Coindesk
SWIFT, the global banking payments network, is to begin testing its gpi payments standard with R3’s Corda platform. Speaking on stage at the Paris Fintech Forum this morning, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said: “Later today we are announcing integration with R3.”
BlockFi scores new funding from Coinbase Ventures, sets sights on international expansion
Ryan Todd – The Block Crypto
Coinbase Ventures is joining the growing list of investors backing crypto lending, providing an extension of BlockFi’s $4 million convertible note issuance in December.
Blow To Bitcoin As CEO Warns Crypto Winter Could Turn ‘Nuclear’
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market has been suffering through a year-long bear market that was branded “crypto winter” late last year for its debilitating effect on the industry.
European Union: ESMA And EBA Publish Supervisory Policy Statements On Crypto-Assets
Michael Huertas – Mondaq
QuickTake: With a range of issues identified, can the EU afford inaction?
The European Banking Authority (EBA) and more recently its sister European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), as well as the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) have used 2018 to accelerate their further policymaking or delivery of actions that flow from various “FinTech Action Plans1 as well as their multi-annual supervisory priorities.
Bitcoin’s Three Biggest Problems In Reaching The Masses
Panos Mourdoukoutas – Forbes
Bitcoin has gained a great deal of buzz in recent years. And it has made a few people very rich in the process. Those who were on the right side of the market at the right time, that is.
Trump Says the Economy Is Unstoppable. Most Economists Say Otherwise
Jim Tankersley – NY Times
The Trump administration’s rosy view of the economy is increasingly diverging from a decidedly more cautious outlook from other prognosticators, including economists at the Federal Reserve and elsewhere, who are warning that growth is slowing, in part because of the president’s own policies.
Harley-Davidson Profit Is Wiped Out by President Trump’s Tariffs
Gabrielle Coppola – Bloomberg
Earnings per share miss estimates by widest margin since 2009; Retail deliveries in home market dropped 10% in fourth quarter
Harley-Davidson Inc. barely broke even in the last quarter of a year in which the struggling American icon got caught up in President Donald Trump’s trade wars. The motorcycle maker’s shares plunged the most in a year.
Malpass emerges as leading contender to head World Bank; US Treasury undersecretary has struck a sceptical tone on multilateral institutions
Sam Fleming – FT
The US is narrowing its list of potential nominees to lead the World Bank, with David Malpass, a senior Treasury official, emerging as one of its finalists, people familiar with the matter said.
Steven Mnuchin Draws Claims of Conflict of Interest in Decision on Russian Oligarch
Kenneth P. Vogel – NY Times
Democrats in Congress raised ethical concerns on Tuesday about connections between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and a billionaire Republican donor who stands to benefit financially from the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska’s companies.
Trump Will ‘Never Be Safe’ From Russian Intelligence and Will Have ‘No Defense,’ Retired General Says
Jason Lemon- Newsweek
Retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey warned that President Donald Trump will “never be safe” from Russian intelligence due to his one-on-one private meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last year.
ESMA appoints new chair of the Investment Management Standing Committee
The Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has appointed the following individual to serve as chair of its Investment Management Standing Committee (IMSC):
ESMA updates Q&A on Benchmark Regulation
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today an update of its Q&As on the European Benchmark Regulation (BMR).
Proposed Rule Change to Extend the Expiration Date of FINRA Rule 0180 (Application of Rules to Security-Based Swaps)
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to extend the expiration date of FINRA Rule 0180 (Application of Rules to Security-Based Swaps) to February 12, 2020. FINRA Rule 0180 temporarily limits, with certain exceptions, the application of FINRA rules with respect to security-based swaps.
Proposed Rule Change to Expand Time for Non-Parties to Respond to Arbitration Subpoenas and Orders of Appearance of Witnesses or Production of Documents
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rule 12512(d) through (e) and FINRA Rule 12513(d) through (e) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (“Customer Code”) and FINRA Rule 13512(d) through (e) and FINRA Rule 13513(d) through (e) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (“Industry Code” and together, “Codes”), to expand time for non-parties to respond to arbitration subpoenas and orders of appearance of witnesses or production of documents, and to make related changes to enhance the discovery process for forum users.
Proposed Rule Change Relating to FINRA Rule 6750 (Dissemination of Transaction Information)
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rule 6750 to provide that FINRA may publish or distribute aggregated transaction information and statistics on non-disseminated TRACE-Eligible Securities at no charge.
CFTC’s Release Schedule for Delayed Market Data Reports
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Market Intelligence Branch of the Division of Market Oversight today announced an updated release schedule for CFTC market data reports that were delayed during the lapse in appropriations. The goal of the new report schedule is to provide market participants with data as quickly as possible, given the agency’s resource constraints.
FCA proposes new measures to encourage effective stewardship
The FCA is proposing new measures and gathering views on how to encourage effective stewardship in the interests of investors. Most UK consumers hold investments, for example through their pensions, which are looked after by asset managers. Asset managers have a duty to oversee these investments in their clients’ interests.
FCA launches consultation on General Insurance value measures data
Today the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation proposing new rules requiring firms to report General Insurance (GI) value measures data to the FCA for publication. Alongside the Consultation Paper, the FCA has also published a third annual value measures dataset, covering the period August 2017-August 2018.
Commissioner Berkovitz states his opposition to proposed swap trading rules
Brad Rosen – Wolters Kluwer
In remarks before the Commodity Markets Council State of the Industry 2019 conference, Commissioner Dan Berkovitz lays out a comprehensive argument that the CFTC’s proposed swaps trade execution requirement undermines competition
Standard Chartered fined $40M for currency rigging ‘cartel’
Kevin Dugan – NY Post
A top Wall Street watchdog on Tuesday slapped a big bank with a $40 million fine over a brazen currency rigging scheme that had traders referring to themselves as a “cartel” and openly boasting about their ability to “bully” other currency traders.
As the EUR500 note slowly dies, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff is getting his wish
John Detrixhe – Quartz
For lovers of large-denomination paper money, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff is enemy No. 1. His book, The Curse of Cash, outlines the case for getting rid of as much of paper money as possible, and larger notes in particular, because of the role cash plays in money laundering and tax evasion.
Investing and Trading
New UK stewardship code to look at adoption of ESG criteria; Auditing watchdog consults on principles to dictate how asset managers will police investee groups
Owen Walker – FT
The UK’s auditing watchdog has proposed that fund managers take environmental, social and governance factors into account when overseeing the companies in which they invest.
PwC and EY to ban non-essential consulting for audit clients; Industry has faced criticism after string of high-profile accounting scandals
Madison Marriage – FT
PwC and EY said on Tuesday that they will stop providing non-essential consulting services to audit clients by 2020.
Conflict of interest changes open doors for specialist consultancies; Proposals increase scrutiny of big firms but create opportunities for smaller rivals
Andrew Hill – FT
Advice about risk and regulation has been a big growth area for the largest consultants in recent years. Now the biggest firms ó notably the Big Four accountancy and professional services groups ó may need to take their own medicine.
GE Powered the American CenturyóThen It Burned Out; How the company that was once America’s biggest, the maker of power turbines, the seller of insurance, the broadcaster of ‘Seinfeld,’ became a shadow of its former self
Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann – WSJ
They came by the dozens in luxury sedans, black Ubers and sleek helicopters. As they did each August, General Electric’s most important executives descended on a hilltop above the Hudson River for their annual leadership gathering.
Charting GE’s Historic Rise and Tortured Downfall
General Electric Co. has unraveled. The onetime icon of American industry last year suffered its biggest annual stock decline of the modern era as it was booted from the Dow Jones Industrial Average; investors were blindsided by multiple multibillion-dollar charges against earnings; and the board ousted the chief executive officer, handing the reins to an outsider for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the company’s pension remains the most underfunded in the country, its accounting is under federal investigation and its power segment is searching for a way out of a terrible slump.
SanBio’s crash causes margin calls, drags down Japan’s start-up market
Ayai Tomisawa – Reuters
A crash by a Tokyo biopharmaceutical firm’s shares on Wednesday ended a month-long rally in Japan’s start-up market that was fueled by retail investors feeling small-cap stocks could rise despite global economic risks.
Disclosure is a lure for green bond investors; Saving the planet is not first priority for some in the environmental finance market
Kate Allen – FT
Sales of green bonds have boomed from zero to almost $200bn a year in just over a decade. This explosive growth has been largely ascribed to investors’ eagerness to back companies promising to improve the environment, but there is another powerful reason why green bonds have become popular: disclosure.
SocGen Plans Investment Bank Job Cuts After Trading Slump
Fabio Benedetti Valentini – Bloomberg
Bank said to plan saving at least 100 million euros annually; SocGen said to be weighing cuts in areas such as fixed income
Societe Generale SA is making a last-ditch effort to boost its performance after a trading slump threatened Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea’s targets.
Credit Suisse Wins Bid to See Secret Bank Bonus Data in Tax Case
Kaye Wiggins – Bloomberg
London court lets Swiss lender see how much other banks paid; Figures to be disclosed in lawsuit over crisis-era bonus levy
Credit Suisse Group AG won a court bid to see how much money its rivals paid under a one-time U.K. banker bonus tax that was levied amid public anger in the wake of the financial crisis.
Venezuela Has 20 Tons of Gold Ready to Ship. Address Unknown
Patricia Laya and Andrew Rosati – Bloomberg
Lawmaker claims Russian airplane has come to whisk it away; Gold accounts for much of the country’s remaining hard assets
Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra dropped a bombshell on Twitter Tuesday: The Russian Boeing 777 that had landed in Caracas the day before was there to spirit away 20 tons of gold from the vaults of the country’s central bank.
Treasury agency had role in controversial RBS unit GRG
Andy Verity – BBC
Evidence has emerged of a government agency’s role in the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) controversial Global Restructuring Group (GRG). The Asset Protection Agency influenced GRG’s strategy including decisions that determined business customers’ fortunes, the BBC has learnt.
Exclusive: U.S. regulator drops fine against Citi over fair-lending claims – sources
Patrick Rucker – Reuters
A top U.S. bank regulator has decided not to fine Citigroup for discriminating against minority mortgage borrowers, dropping the public rebuke that some officials had sought, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Janus Henderson closes Australian equities funds worth $352 million
Paulina Duran – Reuters
Fund manager Janus Henderson is closing down its three Australian equities funds due to tough fund-raising conditions, and will return nearly A$490 million ($352.65 million) to investors, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs securities division engineering co-head to retire: memo
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday that Konstantin Shakhnovich, co-head of engineering for the U.S. bank’s securities division, is retiring, according to a memo seen by Reuters.
S&P route into China’s $12tn bond market faces perils; First licence for foreign credit-rating agency promises to unlock flows from abroad
Don Weinland and Emma Dunkley – FT
S&P Global’s breakthrough into China’s domestic ratings scene is promising to bring a new level of clarity to foreign investors hoping to take a bigger slice of the country’s $12tn bond market.
European Cannabis Products Have Been More Popular Than Expected
Sam Unsted – Bloomberg
The pot growth story has mostly focused on developments in Canada and the U.S., but one broker says medical cannabis and wellness products are proving a bigger money spinner than it had expected in Europe.
U.S. Midwest Freezes, Australia Burns: This Is the Age of Weather Extremes
Somini Sengupta – NY Times
In Chicago, officials warned about the risk of almost instant frostbite on what could be the city’s coldest day ever. Warming centers opened around the Midwest. And schools and universities closed throughout the region as rare polar winds streamed down from the Arctic.
Eight Asian Billionaires Aged Over 90 Control $125 Billion
Venus Feng – Bloomberg
It’s been a mournful start to 2019 for two of Asia’s richest families. Eka Tjipta Widjaja, who began as a coconut and palm-oil trader at age 15 before building a multibillion-dollar empire in Indonesia, died Saturday at 98. A week earlier, Henry Sy, a shoe salesman who became the wealthiest man in the Philippines, died at 94. Their combined fortunes exceeded $16.5 billion.
Brazilian coffee glut weighs on global growers; Record output drives down prices and piles pressure on farmers
Emiko Terazono – FT
All eyes in the coffee market are on Brazil, as record production levels have knocked global prices to near 12-year lows.
Japan’s 10-day holiday stirs concern in traders and investors
Hideyuki Sano, Tomo Uetake – Reuters
To mark the ascension of Japan’s new emperor, the government has declared an unprecedented 10-day holiday from late April to early May, worrying investors, who say a market shutdown could cause disruption and unsettle the yen.
Want to Bet on Currency Market Risk? The Aussie Is Fast Becoming Main Game in Town
Cormac Mullen – Bloomberg
AUD correlations with stocks higher than other DM and EM FX; Currency one of the cheapest risk-off hedges in FX, RBC Says
Australia’s dollar, a favorite among traders for betting on risk in currency markets, is even more attractive than usual as a proxy, Royal Bank of Canada says.
Canada Is Holding a Lottery to Decide Who Gets the Stock Ticker POT
Kristine Owram – Bloomberg
Exchanges to hold first random lottery to determine winner; POT likely to join tickers WEED and MJ in cannabis lexicon
The stock symbol POT is up for grabs on Canadian exchanges and demand is so high that they’re holding a lottery for the first time ever to determine who gets it.
Parliamentary backing sets May on Brexit collision course with EU; Prime minister’s U-turn persuades Eurosceptics to support her move to renegotiate deal
George Parker, Laura Hughes and Alex Barker – FT
Theresa May faces a clash with Brussels after the House of Commons backed her efforts to rewrite her own draft Brexit treaty, an attempt to break the deadlock at Westminster.
After 15 years on Wall Street, I use a 100-year-old psychology framework to show bankers and hedge funders how to get to the top
Justin Doyle, Level Up with JD
I am an executive coach for senior professionals in investment banking, private equity and hedge funds. I help them get promoted and make more money in smarter ways with less stress. I was an M&A banker at Goldman Sachs and worked at top funds like Perry Capital and Moore Capital for 15 years before I became a coach. We are all smart and have the technical skills to do the job; getting ahead is about improving how we interact with our colleagues and clients.