Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff
Welcome to the weekend, if you remember what those are. They used to be the days where you did not have to get up and go to work, at least for many of us. Instead, they are now just more days for other types of work.
One of the firms JLN friend Brendan Bradley is working with is Fregnan. They just secured further funding to accelerate their growth in AI drive analytics. Fregnan can provide automated, unbiased research on companies based on Machine Learning from the underlying financial statement information ingested – some firms are considering creating themed Indices for ETFs etc based on firms with given response to the current environment, for example those that have historically had a positive or negative impact from GDP or currency changes etc. Their website is https://www.fregnan.com
We have almost exhausted the videos we shot before mid-march for the Open Outcry Traders HIstory Project. The next two we will be publishing will be David Johnson, a longtime Morgan Stanley executive, and Joyce Selander, a CBOT financial markets trader.
If you are interested in participating in the Open Outcry project, please contact me. We can shoot videos remotely with a little help from your end.
Also, we are working on another series titled, “The Path to Electronic Trading” covering personal stories about how people helped facilitate the move to improve open outcry efficiency through the introduction of electronic solutions and how that ultimately led to electronic trading.
We are looking for people who want to share their stories and also firms that want to sponsor the series, which we expect to be very popular. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org in either case.
Have a great week and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Nasdaq has news about new tickers being added to the Nasdaq Fund Network, in an article from Planadviser, “As CIT Market Expands, More Get Coveted Tickers,” about collective investment trusts becoming more transparent. Example: Hand Benefits & Trust Co. has gone live with more than 30 CIT tickers on the Nasdaq Fund Network.~SR
Ken Griffin Buys Basquiat Painting for More Than $100 Million
Katya Kazakina – WSJ
Citadel founder Ken Griffin paid more than $100 million for a canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat, the late black artist who focused on issues of race and inequality. “The vast majority of Ken’s art collection is on display at museums for the public to enjoy” said Zia Ahmed, a Citadel spokesman. “He intends to share this piece as well.”
*****Have we run out of houses to buy?
CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Bitcoin (BTC)
The newest version of bitcoin’s core protocol was released this week, which included an experimental piece of software called, “Asmap.” The function of “Asmap” is to protect bitcoin from a so-called “Erebus” attack, which would allow a large Internet operator – like a nationalized Internet operator or Amazon Web Services – to restrict and spoof peer-to-peer transactions.
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was JLN’s Vendors, the Virus and Volatility, about how software vendors in the financial sphere are managing in the COVID-19 lockdown. Second was The Small Exchange Secures $4 Million From Interactive Brokers and Phillip Capital from Businesswire. Third was CFTC Chairman on the investing landscape in 2020 versus 2008 financial crisis, in which CNBC’s Bob Pisani chats with a heavily bearded CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert.
178,630,863 pages viewed; 24,144 pages; 224,391 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
1,394 pages; 12,354 edits
A Goldman Executive Has Advice for His White Colleagues; Expressions of solidarity are appreciated. Here’s what I would appreciate more.
Frederick Baba – Bloomberg
To everyone who’s asked me some variant of “how’s it going?” over the past month, I’ve probably lied. Or lacked the words to articulate it fully, but I’m giving it a shot. Obviously, my experience is just one along a continuum of black experiences, and I don’t presume to speak for all black people — or even all black people at Goldman Sachs, where I have worked for six years. But the past few months have been demoralizing, and family/friends/colleagues I’ve spoken with and listened to across the firm and country seem to share this feeling.
HKEX says many U.S.-listed Chinese firms plan Hong Kong listings
John McCrank – Reuters
Many U.S.-listed Chinese firms will likely list on the Hong Kong exchange this year, in part because of U.S. political pressure following China’s new national security legislation on Hong Kong, the head of the exchange said on Thursday.
Whistleblower Who Revealed Currency Abuses at BNY Mellon Gets $50 Million; SEC makes its largest payment ever for an individual providing a lead on illegal market practices
Dave Michaels – WSJ
A former trader at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. BK 2.80% who alerted authorities to the bank’s pattern of overcharging big clients on currency trades was awarded a $50 million whistleblower payment Thursday.
SEC Awards Record Payout of Nearly $50 Million to Whistleblower; Whistleblower Program Reaches $500 Million in Total Awards
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a nearly $50 million whistleblower award to an individual who provided detailed, firsthand observations of misconduct by a company, which resulted in a successful enforcement action that returned a significant amount of money to harmed investors. This is the largest amount ever awarded to one individual under the SEC’s whistleblower program. The next largest is a $39 million award to an individual in 2018. Two individuals also shared a nearly $50 million whistleblower award that same year.
Rare Stock Tweak During Pandemic Adds Millions to a C.E.O.’s Potential Payout; Raytheon Technologies, the defense contractor, reset the stock price it would use to calculate certain compensation for its chief and other employees.
Peter Eavis and Anupreeta Das – NY Times
Raytheon Technologies, one of the country’s biggest defense contractors, recently cut salaries for thousands of employees as the pandemic crimped business. Around the same time, it also quietly made a change to the pay package of its chief executive, Gregory J. Hayes, that could increase his future income by millions of dollars.
Pompeo calls Nasdaq’s strict rules a model to guard against fraudulent Chinese companies
Humeyra Pamuk – Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned American investors against fraudulent accounting practices at China-based companies and said the Nasdaq’s recent decision to tighten listing rules for such players should be “a model” for all other exchanges around the world.
Bourse chief says Hong Kong to benefit from ‘less friendly’ Washington; Charles Li anticipates wave of blockbuster Chinese listings for HKEX as US-Beijing tensions rise
Primrose Riordan and Hudson Lockett and Philip Stafford. – FT
Hong Kong would benefit from a wave of stock market listings by Chinese companies due to a “less friendly” Washington, said the head of the city’s bourse, as a series of blockbuster share sales arrive against a backdrop of rising US-China tensions.
PBOC Says It Supports Hong Kong’s Role as a Financial Center
China’s central bank said it will “unswervingly” support Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center, in a statement backing the Beijing government’s controversial move to introduce a national security law for the territory.
China Says It Will Take ‘Necessary Measures’ on U.S. Blacklist
The Chinese government said it will take “necessary measures” to safeguard the interests of domestic companies, after fresh U.S. restrictions on a blacklist of 33 companies took effect Friday.
London Metal Exchange plans ‘low-carbon’ aluminium trading; For first time in its 143-year history, LME lines up platform for greener metal
Henry Sanderson – FT
The London Metal Exchange plans to launch a platform to trade ‘low-carbon’ aluminium mostly produced with renewable energy, marking the first time a metal will be traded based on its environmental footprint in the exchange’s 143-year history.
Goldman Sachs executive’s email making plea for racial equality goes viral at firm
Imani Moise and Sinead Cruise – Reuters
An email by a Goldman Sachs Group Inc employee about his experiences of racial injustice and criticizing managers at the Wall Street bank for not supporting junior bankers from diverse backgrounds went viral at the firm this week.
A Conclave of America’s Top CEOs Talks Race and Making Change; More than 300 chief executives, mayors and government officials gather online for a rare peer-to-peer conversation about race relations and social justice
Kathryn Dill – WSJ
Leaders of General Motors Co., Johnson & Johnson, American Airlines Group Inc. and other big businesses gathered via Zoom this week for a roundtable about the business impacts of the coronavirus. With protests gaining momentum across the U.S., the participants quickly changed the subject.
Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Pleads Not Guilty in Poultry Price-Fixing Case; Judge restricts Jayson Penn’s contact with some customers; other executives also plead not guilty
Jacob Bunge and Brent Kendall – WSj
The chief executive of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he conspired to fix chicken prices, while a judge barred him from contacting poultry buyers allegedly victimized by the scheme.
America’s Natural-Gas Woes Are Imported; Natural-gas inventories are bulging before summer has begun and neither domestic supply nor demand is the reason
Jinjoo Lee – WSJ
Remember “freedom gas?” U.S. drillers facing a yearslong glut at home relished the opportunity to export the heating and generation fuel, but the global pandemic’s effect on demand is punishing them. At a time when it should just be recovering from the winter, natural-gas storage is more than 18% higher than the five-year average, according to figures released Thursday morning. Prices reflect the storage glut: Henry Hub near-term futures are at $1.82 per million British thermal units, just 27 cents above their multiyear low hit earlier this year. They have declined almost 17% in the year to date.
Explainer: No one really knows how many Americans need unemployment benefits
Jonnelle Marte – Reuters
Another 1.9 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday, marking 11 straight weeks in which millions of Americans have filed claims for jobless benefits.
Judge Denies Bernie Madoff’s Request for Early Release; The Ponzi scheme mastermind will probably die in prison after a judge rejected his request, which he made after learning he has kidney disease.
Jack Nicas – NY Times
A federal judge says Bernard L. Madoff should die in prison. Mr. Madoff, who stole billions of dollars in history’s largest Ponzi scheme, asked for his freedom in February after he learned he has kidney disease. On Thursday, Judge Denny Chin — who had handed down Mr. Madoff’s 150-year sentence more than a decade ago in New York — denied the request.
SIFMA Strongly Opposes Allowing SROs to Bulk Download CAT Data; Raises PII Concerns
In a comment letter filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on improving the data security requirements in the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) NMS Plan, SIFMA emphasized its concerns with the security of the CAT, particularly with regard to the ability of self-regulatory organizations (SROs) to bulk download CAT Data. SIFMA also notes that heightened firm involvement is critical. Given the vast experience firms have in handling and protecting sensitive customer data, allowing them increased input could significantly help bolster the overall security of CAT Data.
Brazil Surpasses Italy in Coronavirus Deaths; Toll Tops 34,000
Shannon Sims – Bloomberg
Brazil reported a record 1,473 new deaths in 24 hours; Lockdowns ending in some parts of the country, malls opening
Brazil reported a record number of daily coronavirus deaths, surpassing Italy to become third in the world in number of fatalities from the disease.
Quarantine Is Terrible, But It Works; Anyone who says lockdowns don’t work is simply wrong: Restricting human contact has had a dramatic effect on Covid-19’s infection rates.
Mark Buchanan – Bloomberg
In March, many governments around the world imposed strict controls on human meetings and movement — “lockdowns” — to slow the spread of coronavirus. The pandemic’s curves were soon “flattened,” sparing health services from being overrun. Now, in China, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, authorities are cautiously relaxing the rules. Lockdowns have been costly, but they helped us avoid a far worse catastrophe.
Pollution May Be Down, But Carbon Dioxide Is Soaring; The concentration of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere reached a new record in May.
Eric Roston – Bloomberg
It took no time for countries under quarantine to see energy use plummet, and with it, pollution levels. But even as citizens of Los Angeles and Jalandhar exuberantly posted photos of the Hollywood sign and the Himalayas visible without smog for the first time in decades, climate scientists warned the dramatic drop in emissions would do little if anything to slow the pace of global warming.
Wary Canadians start spending as COVID-19 restrictions ease, boosting economy
Julie Gordon – Reuters
The Canadian economy is showing green shoots with reports on home sales, consumer spending and new job postings trending upwards after the coronavirus pandemic forced shutdowns and caused a record plunge in economic activity.
U.S. Business Bankruptcies Rose 48% in May; Year-to-year jump in chapter 11 filings shows toll of coronavirus pandemic
Katy Stech Ferek – WSJ
Corporate bankruptcies spiked during May as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the U.S. economy, pushing the number of filings to levels recorded in the wake of the 2007-09 recession.
History Suggests the Handshake Will Survive the Pandemic; Although kissing and other physical forms of greeting have experienced periods of decline in the past, they don’t tend to last. Human contact is enduring.
Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
Ever since the novel coronavirus upended the world, people have rushed to predict which norms are gone forever. Chief among them: the handshake, with all its symbolism of sealed deals and sportsmanship. Yet history suggests such physical pleasantries aren’t so easily eradicated.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Cboe Global Markets Lists for Trading the First Proxy Model, Semi-Transparent ETFs with Fidelity
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Trio of Fidelity’s active equity ETFs employ an innovative tracking basket methodology;mWith launch of these ETFs, Cboe expands the suite of actively managed, semitransparent ETFs listed on its exchange
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today announced it has listed for trading three actively managed, semi-transparent exchange traded funds (ETFs) from Fidelity Investments: the Fidelity Blue Chip Value ETF (ticker: FBCV), Fidelity Blue Chip Growth ETF (ticker: FBCG) and Fidelity New Millennium ETF (ticker: FMIL). With the launch of these ETFs, Cboe expands the suite of actively managed, semi-transparent ETFs listed on its exchange.
HKEX Enhances Product Offering with NetEase Debut
NetEase Futures and Options to be introduced on 11 June; HKEX informed issuers they can list derivative warrants on NetEase shares when the shares debut on HKEX’s securities market
NetEase shares to be included in Designated Securities Eligible for Short Selling on 11 June
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce today (Friday) that it will offer investors more options on NetEase, Inc. (NetEase, stock code: 9999) shares on the debut date (11 June 2020).
HKEX Welcomes First Listing of Commodity L&I Product in Hong Kong Market
First commodity L&I Product listed in Hong Kong; Complements HKEX’s existing gold ETFs and further enriches product diversity
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to welcome today (Friday) the first listing of a commodity Leveraged and Inverse Product (L&I Product) in the Hong Kong market – CSOP Gold Futures Daily (2x) Leveraged Product (stock code: 7299).
Nodal Exchange sets records in power open interest in May with majority of market; Nodal Exchange achieved record open interest in power futures in May 2020.
Nodal Exchange continues to improve its strong position in the North American monthly power futures market with its highest volume May ever. Nodal had total traded volume in May of 182 Million MWh which surpassed its previous record of 162 Million MWh from May of 2019. Nodal has now set a monthly volume record in 21 of the past 22 months. Nodal achieved 42% market share of traded volume this month in power futures and 50.3% of open interest with a record 1,051 million MWh representing $53.7 Billion of notional value (both sides). Nodal Exchange had 59% of open interest in PJM contracts and 56% in ISO-NE contracts in May.
Nasdaq Stockholm Orders Hitech & Development Wireless Sweden Holding AB To Pay A Fine Corresponding To Eight Annual Fees
The Disciplinary Committee of Nasdaq Stockholm has found that Hitech & Development Wireless Sweden Holding AB (publ) (“HDW” or the “Company”) has breached the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Rulebook (the “Rulebook”) and has therefore ordered the Company to pay a fine of eight annual fees, corresponding to an amount of SEK 800 000.
Nasdaq head says SEC needs to address overseas accounting issues
Regulators need to address transparency and accounting issues at companies based in foreign jurisdictions that are looking to go public through the U.S. markets, Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) Chief Executive Adena Friedman said on Thursday.
Miami International Holdings Reports May 2020 Trading Results and New Daily Market Share Record for MIAX Exchange Group
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) today reported May 2020 trading results for its three fully electronic options exchanges – MIAX, MIAX PEARL and MIAX Emerald (together, the MIAX Exchange Group). The MIAX Exchange Group collectively executed over 63.2 million equity option contracts in May for a combined average daily volume (ADV) of 3,160,831 contracts, representing a total U.S. equity options market share of 12.36%.
Deutsche Wohnen SE is promoted to DAX; Deutsche Lufthansa AG changes to MDAX / changes take effect on June 22
Deutsche Börse Group
STOXX Ltd., Qontigo’s global index provider, announced changes in the DAX index family effective Thursday, June 22, 2020. The shares of Deutsche Wohnen SE are included in the DAX index and replace the shares of Deutsche Lufthansa AG there. The basis is the fast exit rule.
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Reminder regarding Eurex Circular 027/20 “Money market futures/options and ETF futures/options: Change of the partition ID and/or multicast addresses with effect from 13 July 2020”; Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash
In this newsflash we would like to draw your special attention to Eurex circular 027/20 “Money market futures/options and ETF futures/options: Change of the partition ID and/or multicast addresses with effect from 13 July 2020”.
Fintech and Covid-19: how advisers can adapt to new normal
Ammar Akhtar – FT Adviser
The coronavirus has had a profound impact on all of our lives.
It has brought about radical changes that were unthinkable a mere six months ago – and many of these changes will remain in place long after social distancing measures are eased.
In the financial services sector, the global pandemic has further accelerated the need for technology.
Fintech Will Continue to be a Major Disruptor for Banks
Ben Hernandez – ETF Trends
Social distancing may have kept customers away from brick-and-mortar banks more often than not, giving financial technology time to shine. As consumers forge on following the pandemic, the ease of use provided by fintech could be a major disruptor for banks.
New York Department of Financial Services Signs Fintech focused MoU with French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority
Omar Faridi – Crowdfund Insider
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has reportedly become the first state regulator to commit to a Fintech Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority, an independent administrative authority, which oversees the activities of banking institutions and insurance service providers based in France.
Slack finds work from home trend fails to accelerate growth; Messaging app’s shares tumble as performance pales in comparison to new favourite Zoom
Richard Waters – Ft
Shares in the workplace messaging app Slack tumbled 15 per cent in after-market trading on Thursday as the company revealed that the global shift to working from home had barely lifted its revenue growth rate from before the crisis.
Future of fintech in a post-Covid world
Amit Nigam – Times of India
The world after coronavirus will be different from the one that entered the Covid-era. This world will boast of a new order of things while facilitating a distinct routine for the people in the post-lockdown, post-pandemic future. This transformation will be marked by the persistence of social distancing-codes and other health & hygiene-focused lifestyle adjustments across all spheres that have already become a norm since the onset of the pandemic.
Liquidnet appoints trading alpha head for Americas equities business; Simon Maughan joined Liquidnet as a product manager following its acquisition of analytics provider OTAS Technologies.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Liquidnet has promoted from within in with its recent appointment of a new head of trading alpha for its Americas equities business.
Goldman Sachs sees record $24.1 million trade on SIGMA X period auction; Record trade was executed in May within a single auction call on the SIGMA X MTF trading venue at Goldman Sachs.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Goldman Sachs has said it saw a record trade of $24.1 million executed on its SIGMA X multilateral trading facility (MTF) periodic auction last month.
UBS Investment Bank leads $17.5 million investment in JP Morgan-backed communications FinTech Cloud9; Cloud9 Technologies has raised $17.5 million in its latest funding round, led by new investor UBS.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
UBS Investment Bank has led a $17.5 million funding round in communications FinTech Cloud9 Technologies, which is already backed by major institutions including JP Morgan and Barclays
Bitcoin Die-Hards Revisit Roots With Virtual Conference Giveaway
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Crypto hype intensifies as Bitcoin hovers around $10,000 level; No better time to learn about crypto, blockchain: Alon Goren
Crypto mania is back in full force and the latest iteration of excitement during these pandemic times comes in the form of a new wrinkle on one of the oldest promotions: Free Bitcoin.
Bitcoin mixer Wasabi Wallet under Europol’s lens for facilitating dark web transactions
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Wasabi Wallet, a privacy-focused bitcoin wallet that helps shuffle coins for anonymity purposes, is under Europol’s lens for facilitating dark web transactions. Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, internally presented a two-part report on Wasabi Wallet earlier this year, primarily analyzing the wallet’s use for criminal activities.
A Picasso artwork was just sold for cryptocurrency
Adriana Hamacher – Decrypt
A Pablo Picasso artwork, Danse du ventre devant homme impassible, has been sold for cryptocurrency—the first time an entire, original work by the world famous artist has been sold in this way. The artwork, translated as Belly dance before impassive man, was bought from a private seller by a Swiss company called Idoneus, which made the announcement on Tuesday. It states its aim as expanding the value of the luxury asset market.
Bitfinex Spin-Out Says Funds Are Lining Up for Its New Decentralized Exchange
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
Bitfinex-incubated DeversiFi claims its re-released decentralized exchange (DEX) is receiving interest from institutions, thanks to a privacy layer that can protect their trading strategies from rivals.
After COVID-19, 2020 Could Be the Biggest Year Yet for Crypto Scams
Rachel McIntosh – Finance Magnates
Earlier this week, cybersecurity firm Cipher Trace published a report with findings that so far this year, nearly $1.4 billion dollars in cryptocurrency have been stolen by malicious actors. On the surface of things, it looks as though the crypto space might be cleaning up its act: while the number is sizeable, the figure is considerably less than the amount of cryptocurrency that had been stolen around the same time last year; both 2019 and 2020 are showing exponential increase in thefts over 2018, when $1.7 billion was stolen through the year.
Coinsquare CEO confirms client data was stolen by a former employee after report of SIM swap threat
Saniya More – The Block
Canadian crypto exchange Coinsquare said that an internal theft last year by a former employee resulted in personal information on some of its customers landing in the hands of a hacker or group of hackers. Details of the incident were included in a story published earlier this week by news outlet Vice, which reported that the hacker or hackers intend to use the information – which contains email addresses, phone numbers and, in some cases, physical addresses – to perform SIM swap attacks. A SIM swap attack involves a fraudulent actor who uses personal information to effectively hijack a person’s phone number.
Bullishness Building in Bitcoin Options Market, Data Suggests
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
Option market traders look to be placing bets for a continued upward move in bitcoin, according to a key metric. The put-call open interest ratio, which measures the number of put options open relative to call options, fell to 0.43 on Thursday – the lowest since March 24, according to crypto derivatives research firm Skew. The data takes into account open interest at leading derivatives exchanges Deribit, OKEx, CME, LedgerX and Bakkt. Notably, the ratio has declined sharply from 0.81 to 0.43 over the last four weeks.
Celsius Network surpasses $1 billion in cryptocurrency deposits since launch in 2018
Celsius Network (https://celsius.network/), the industry-leading cryptocurrency interest-earning platform, announces today that it has surpassed $1 billion in total cryptocurrency deposits less than 2 years after launching its mobile app. This announcement comes on the heels of Celsius acquiring more than 110,000 active users and after achieving profitability earlier this year.
U.S. regulator seeks public input as it reviews crypto, DLT activities in the banking sector
Michael McSweeney – The Block
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – which regulates banks in the U.S. – is seeking feedback from the public on the digital activities of national banks and federal savings associations, which includes actions related to cryptocurrencies and digital assets. The OCC published two notices on Thursday, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which cover a range of topics related to its remit as a regulator of U.S. banks. It’s the second of two notices that focuses on digital activities and hones in on the topic of crypto.
Fed Paper: Central Bank Digital Currencies Could Replace Commercial Banks – But at a Cost
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Central bank digital currencies might one day replace commercial banks. But that comes with risks, according to new research from the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia. The 32-page research paper – titled “Central Bank Digital Currency: Central Banking for All?” – investigated the implications of an account-based central bank digital currency (CBDC), focusing on its potential competition with the traditional maturity transformation role of commercial banks.
Ousted Bitmain Co-Founder Takes Beijing Office with Hired Guards: Report
Rachel McIntosh – Finance Magnates
The power struggles between the cofounders of cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain appear to have heightened to a fever pitch. Jihan Wu removed co-founder Micree Zhan from the company last year; since then, Zhan has been working to fulfill a vow that he made to return to the company using legal means. What has already been a highly public spat between the two co-founders took a rather aggressive turn on June 3rd, when Zhan reportedly attempted a physical takeover of Bitmain’s office in Beijing. According to CoinDesk, the office has been mostly empty of employees for the last several months due to the COVID-19 quarantine.
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty falls 9.29 percent
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty — a metric for the ease by which miners can create new transaction blocks on the network – fell on Thursday. The difficulty dropped to 13.7 trillion at block 633,024. The fall represented the second-biggest move of its kind for 2020, and the fourth such decline since the start of the year.
Goldman Sachs Reports a Democrat ‘Blue Wave’ More Likely; Goldman Sachs says the increasing odds of a Democratic “blue wave” in November have also raised the chances of a corporate tax rise.
Rob Lenihan – The Street
The increasing odds of a Democratic “blue wave” in November have also raised the chances of a corporate tax hike, according to a Goldman Sachs report.
Federal Plan to Control D.C. Protests Has 7,600 Personnel Tapped
Anthony Capaccio – Bloomberg
Includes 1,700 active-duty military in reserve outside city; Joint Chiefs of Staff directorate compiles the daily tally
The federal plan to contain continuing protests in Washington, D.C. currently employs about 7,600 civilian law enforcement, National Guard and active-duty Army personnel stationed just outside the city, an array of forces Attorney General William Barr and others say is justified to defend the capital at a time of unrest.
Senators Push ‘Unprecedented’ Sanctions on China Over Hong Kong
Daniel Flatley – Bloomberg
Measures would target banks working with China on security law; Some lawmakers question whether Senate effort may backfire
A Senate Republican who’s sponsoring legislation to penalize banks that work with Chinese officials moving to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong said his bill would bring “unprecedented” action to the issue.
Trump Team Envisions Up to $1 Trillion for Next Stimulus Round
Saleha Mohsin and Justin Sink – Bloomberg
McConnell has said no plans to act on stimulus until July; House last month passed a $3.5 trillion stimulus bill
Trump administration officials increasingly expect to spend up to $1 trillion in the next round of economic stimulus, according to people familiar with the matter, though action on a measure is unlikely until at least next month.
Presidential Campaigns Targeted by Suspected Chinese, Iranian Hackers; Google says phishing attacks from China targeted Biden campaign, those from Iran aimed at Trump campaign staff
Robert McMillan – WSJ
Campaign staffers working on the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been targeted with online attacks coming from Iran and China respectively, Google said, in a sign that the meddling four years ago in the U.S. presidential election by Russia could be pursued more widely this time.
Mattis’s Rebuke of Trump Is a Big Deal; Rarely has a former defense secretary publicly criticized a president he once served — and never in such harsh terms.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
It’s hard to get across what a big deal it is that former Defense Secretary James Mattis has not only publicly criticized President Donald Trump, but done so in extremely strong terms. In a statement issued Wednesday, Mattis talked about “those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” and said that “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” He added that Trump was engaged in a “deliberate attempt” to “divide us,” something he says no other president in his lifetime has done. (For the record, Mattis is 69, so he’s talking about everyone since Harry Truman.)
Japan Financial Services Agency – G20: Efforts On Governance Issues In Decentralized Financial Systems – “BGIN” – New Global Network
A Decentralized financial system underpinned by blockchain could attain full P2P (Peer to Peer) financial transactions without intermediaries. While such systems can offer a variety of opportunities and benefits, they could also undermine the ability to enforce existing regulations.
As stated in the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration under Japan’s presidency (June, 2019), a consensus has been reached on the issue of governance of decentralized financial systems based on blockchain technology and the importance of strengthening dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders, including regulatory authorities and engineers.
ESMA promotes convergence in the supervision of costs in UCITS and AIFs
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has published today a supervisory briefing on the supervision by National Competent Authorities (NCAs) of costs applicable to Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). This briefing comes in response to the need to improve convergence across NCAs in the approach to undue costs.
ESMA fines Scope Ratings EUR640,000 for failings in covered bonds ratings
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulators, has fined Scope Ratings GmbH (Scope) EUR640,000, and issued a public notice, for breaches of the Credit Rating Agencies Regulation (CRAR) in relation to the systematic application of its 2015 Covered Bonds Methodology (CBM) and its revision.
Bank of America to pay $7.23 million for mutual fund overcharges: FINRA
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) agreed to pay $7.23 million in restitution and interest to settle a U.S. regulator’s accusations that it overcharged customers on mutual funds.
FINRA Orders Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. to Pay $7.2 Million in Restitution to Customers Overcharged for Mutual Funds
FINRA announced today that it has ordered Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. to pay more than $7.2 million in restitution and interest to customers who incurred unnecessary sales charges and paid excess fees in connection with mutual fund transactions. The firm did not have supervisory systems and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that these customers, who collectively held more than 13,000 Merrill Lynch accounts, received available sales charge waivers and fee rebates.
Canadian Securities Regulators Streamline At-The-Market Distribution Regime
The Canadian Securities Administrators today published final amendments that streamline at-the-market (ATM) distributions in Canada, and reduce regulatory burden for issuers, exchanges and investment dealers. ATM distributions will now be available to issuers without having to incur the time and cost of applying for exemptive relief to conduct such distributions.
Canadian Securities Regulators Implement Mandatory Transparency Of Debt Markets
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today finalized mandatory post-trade transparency requirements for government debt securities and expanded transparency requirements for corporate debt securities. With these changes, information about trades in corporate and government debt securities will be publicly available and disseminated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), the information processor (IP).
Insurance Company Settles SEC Charges for Failing to Disclose Executive Perks; Perks Were Four Times Higher Than Disclosed
Washington D.C., June 4, 2020 —
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against Bermuda-based insurance company Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. for failing to fully disclose perquisites and benefits provided to its former chief executive officer.
CFTC Unanimously Approves Final Rule at June 4 Open Meeting
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission at its open meeting today unanimously approved a final rule prohibiting persons from seeking to claim a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) registration exemption who have, or whose principals have, incurred any of the relevant statutory disqualifications listed in the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
Opening Statement of Commissioner Dawn D. Stump before the Meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the emotional toll recent events are having on our country and offer my sincere hope that we will emerge from this time with greater resilience and communal understanding. We are fortunate to live in a true democracy. In the United States, we enjoy certain freedoms within that democracy, and as children we are explicitly taught that the First Amendment to our Constitution protects the freedom of speech.
Statement of Support by Commissioner Brian Quintenz Regarding Amendments Prohibiting CPO Exemptions under Regulation 4.13 on Behalf of Persons Subject to Certain Statutory Disqualifications – Final Rule
I am pleased to support today’s final rule amending the procedures for certain commodity pool operators (CPOs) to claim an exemption from registration. It is sound policy to prevent a firm from claiming a registration exemption if the entity or its principals are “statutorily disqualified” under section 8a(2) of the Commodity Exchange Act, when the same disqualification would prevent them from registering with the Commission.
Statement of Commissioner Rostin Behnam Regarding Amendments to Registration and Compliance Requirements for CPOs and CTAs: Prohibiting Exemptions under Regulation 4.13 on Behalf of Persons Subject to Certain Statutory Disqualifications
I support today’s adoption of a final rule (the “Final Rule”) requiring any person that files with the CFTC a notice claiming an exemption from registration as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) under Regulation 4.13 of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA” or the “Act”) to affirmatively represent that neither the claimant nor any of the CPO’s principals has in its background any statutory disqualifications listed in section 8a(2) of the CEA, which are required to be disclosed as a part of a CPO registration application with the Commission.
Statement of Commissioner Dawn D. Stump Regarding Final Rule Prohibiting Exemptions Under Rule 4.13 on Behalf of Persons with Certain Statutory Disqualifications
One of the great strengths of our derivatives markets – today, just as in the past – is their dynamic nature. These markets are constantly, and often rapidly, evolving in terms of the scope of products traded, the platforms on which those products are traded, and the participants that trade them. As a result, “one-size-fits-all” rules often turn out not to be a “good fit” at all.
Opening Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz before the Meeting of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Liberty and Justice for All
Mr. Chairman, shortly after becoming Chairman of the CFTC you started a new practice where we begin our public meetings by saying the Pledge of Allegiance:
Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz Regarding Prohibiting Exemptions from Commodity Pool Operator Registration for Persons Subject to Certain Statutory Disqualifications
I support today’s final rule to prohibit commodity pool operators (“CPOs”) or their principals who are subject to statutory disqualification under Section 8a(2) from claiming an exemption from registration. This rule narrows a loophole in our CPO registration framework and strengthens the Commission’s regulations to protect customers and market integrity.
Statement of Chairman Heath P. Tarbert in Support of Final Rule Preventing Bad Actors from Relying on CPO Exemptions
As Robert Louis Stevenson aptly put it, “Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” Today we are focused on the consequences of bad acts that result in “statutory disqualification” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). These acts include the most serious types of financial crimes, such as embezzlement, theft, extortion, fraud, misappropriation, and bribery. Once an individual is statutorily disqualified, the CFTC may deny or revoke his or her registration. The same is true for corporate entities.
ASIC cancels licence of retail OTC issuer Forex Capital Trading Pty Ltd
ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of retail over the counter (OTC) derivative issuer Forex Capital Trading Pty Ltd (Forex CT).
Investing and Trading
Ocean shipping shrinks as pandemic pummels retailers
Jonathan Saul, Lisa Baertlein, Sonya Dowsett – Reuters
The $1 trillion container shipping industry is in a slowdown. Literally. Some shipping lines, whose retail customers are being hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, are reducing sailing speeds and taking longer routes around Africa, avoiding Suez canal passage fees, according to the companies and ship-tracking specialists.
Where to Check Up on the Health of Your Pension Plan; Also: Answering a reader’s question on Social Security benefits
Glenn Ruffenach – WSJ
I will be eligible for a pension when I retire, but the markets and the Covid-19 outbreak have me worried about the health of my retirement plan. How can I figure out where my pension stands?
Virtual certainty? Bankers ask if success of remote roadshows will last
Scott Murdoch, Joshua Franklin – Reuters
Who needs expensive lunches at glitzy hotels and fancy restaurants to court investors for bond deals or the sale of new shares on the stock exchange?
‘How it’s going …’ Goldman executive’s email on racial inequality in America
Frederick Baba, a managing director at Goldman Sachs who is black, sent the following email to colleagues at the bank on June 2:
Neil Woodford is unlikely to make a comeback — but could value investing? Value stocks are unfashionable and cheap — they’re already bouncing back
Merryn Somerset Webb – Ft
At the end of 2017 I wrote about the unusual-looking value on offer from our domestic stock market. Thanks to a mix of Brexit- and Corbyn-related hysteria, British equities were among the cheapest in the world.
Australia shakes up foreign investment laws for national security
Kirsty Needham, Scott Murdoch – Reuters
Australia announced the biggest shakeup of its foreign investment laws in almost half a century on Friday, including giving the government the power to force the sale of a business if it creates a national security risk.
What the Hong Kong Dollar Peg Is and Why It Matters
Tian Chen and Fion Li – Bloomberg
Pegged to the U.S. dollar since 1983, the Hong Kong dollar is usually a dull currency. Except when it isn’t. Heightened tension between the U.S. and China over the city’s autonomy has focused attention on it yet again.
Carbon Intensity of Permian Oil Wells Seen Plunging, Rystad Says
Hailey Waller – Bloomberg
Important metric of climate threat seen dipping to record low; Permian explorers ramped up flaring of unwanted gas for years
Shale drillers will cut carbon dioxide-emissions intensity in the Permian Basin to a record low later this year, Rystad Energy estimates.
Green Tasmania Could Help Wean Australian Cities Off Coal
James Thornhill – Bloomberg
Tasmania aims to generate twice the power it needs by 2040; Plan hinges on multibillion-dollar cable link to the mainland
Tasmania wants to turn itself into a battery. The island state off the Australian mainland’s southern tip is pursuing what its leaders say is the world’s most ambitious renewable energy target, boosting hydro and wind generation to twice its own needs by 2040 and exporting the rest via a planned undersea cable. The strategy could play a key role in weaning the nation’s urban centers of Sydney and Melbourne off their reliance on coal.
Massachusetts directs agency to study phase-out of natural gas
Valerie Volcovici, Nichola Groom – Reuters
Massachusetts’ top attorney asked the state’s public utilities regulator on Thursday to probe the future of the natural gas industry as the state moves away from burning fossil fuels because they contribute to climate change.
EU, UK Still at Loggerheads in Post-Brexit Negotiations
Associated Press via the New York Times
BRUSSELS — With the deadline for a possible extension of the Brexit transition period looming, a fourth round of talks on a future trade deal between the European Union and the U.K. ended Friday without result. Following four days of video discussions between officials from the two teams of negotiators, the sides remained at loggerheads on many topics, including on regulations for businesses. Their positions on fisheries remain distant, with the U.K. opposed to EU demands for long-term access to British waters.
Brexit: UK backtracking on commitments, says Michel Barnier
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments in the latest round of post-Brexit trade talks. He said no “significant progress” had been made this week, and insisted the UK “respect” negotiation rules. But the UK said the talks had been “positive” and it remained “committed to a successful outcome”. The two sides are opposed over issues including fishing rights, competition rules and police cooperation.
Brexit Heads Back to Political Leaders as Talks End in Stalemate
Ian Wishart and Tim Ross – Bloomberg
The latest round of talks between the U.K. and European Union over their future relationship is set to finish without a breakthrough, with both sides stuck after another week of difficult negotiations. Officials are still far apart on trade and other crucial issues ahead of a key deadline at the end of the month, and the tense atmosphere hasn’t improved significantly, according to people familiar with the matter. Both sides are due to make separate statements on the situation on Friday after a final session of discussions.
N Ireland business calls for 6-month delay in Brexit trade plan
Arthur Beesley – FT
Business leaders in Northern Ireland have called for the deferral of new Brexit trade checks due in January, warning that they still lack crucial details after “little or no engagement” with the UK government on the plan. The demand for a pause of at least six months after the end of the UK’s transition from the EU on December 31 came as regional trade bodies said coronavirus disruption meant business has “little bandwidth or financial capacity” to deal with new post-Brexit arrangements.
EU’s Barnier Accuses U.K. of Backtracking as Talks Hit Stalemate
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
European Union Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier accused the U.K. of backtracking on commitments it made when it left the bloc as he warned this week’s talks over their future relationship had made no progress. “There has been no significant progress since the start of these talks,” Barnier told reporters in Brussels on Friday after the conclusion of the final week of negotiations before Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets top EU officials. “In all areas, the U.K. continues to backtrack on the commitments it had undertaken in the political declaration.”