A Hack Like This Could Start the Next World War

Mar 8, 2021

First Read

$31,126/$300,000 (10.4%)
Ajay Jain


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Welcome to International Women’s Day 2021. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Choose To Challenge.” The WFE says there are over 100 women today ringing the opening bells of exchanges all around the world in support of gender equality.

The FIA today announced the 2021 Futures Hall of Fame inductees. Eight new members join 157 other honorees in the Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 on FIA’s 50th anniversary. The new members will be honored at an awards ceremony during FIA’s annual flagship Boca International Futures Industry Conference. The following individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame:

Lorna Kiewert has left 3Points Communications, where she was the point person on the Trading Technologies account, to join Finn Partners. The last time a point person on the TT account left the firm that had the account, the relationship went with the person. That was Drew Mauck when he left Strategics to form 3Points Communications back in 2010. Kiewert joined 3PTS in 2012 and was their first employee. Finn Partners has over 800 people on 3 continents and 20 offices, so she is going to a much larger firm.

The word is that the CME Group, in a move that harkens back to their livestock trading roots, will be publishing a new boxed beef index starting today. The index follows their launch of Pork Cutout futures and options last fall. Look for news about it soon.

Deutsche Börse Group, whose history dates back to 1585, is looking for someone for a very cool job I wish I could have, a collection manager for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation. It is a part-time position for one year and the candidates should be passionate about contemporary photography and have a degree in art history. You can learn more about the opportunity HERE.

The video for the DePaul University Arditti Center for Risk Management 2021 Risk Conference is available HERE. This conference brought together a distinct group of experts within the risk management industry including:

  • Dr. Richard L. Sandor, Chair and CEO of American Financial Exchange, LLC – A keynote address, moderated by Rich Mackey, Managing Director, Prime Trading
  • Jeff James, Lead Portfolio Manager, Driehaus Capital Management
  • Sunil Cutinho, President, CME Clearing
  • Suzanne Sprague, Managing Director, Credit & Liquidity Risk, CME Group
  • Max Heitner, Head of Risk, Driehaus Capital Management
  • Mike Dennis, Chief Commercial Officer, ABN AMRO Clearing Chicago LLC
  • John Lothian, Executive Chairman, John J Lothian & Co
  • Troy Kane, Head of Global Derivatives and FICC Development, Citadel Securities, and instructor at the Driehaus College of Business
  • Alli Brennan, Managing Director, Head of America’s at CQG, Inc.
  • Nancy Kearney, Vice President & Head of Operation Risk – Allstate
  • Bob Fitzsimmons, Executive Vice President Wedbush Securities
  • Lauren Blackmun, Vice President, Strategic Implementation, Bakkt
  • Lamont Black, Associate Professor DePaul University

CME Group’s Executive Director and Head of Market Regulatory Systems Ajay Jain is the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Ajay joined the CME in 2008 after being a consultant for them. He has worked his way up the organization, from technology specialists, to director of architecture, director of corporate strategy execution, senior director platform strategy, executive director cloud & business systems, executive director – global head of trade execution front ends and finally to executive director – head of market regulatory systems. Thank you to Ajay for all he does for the CME and the industry, and for giving to our GoFundMe campaign. Thank you to all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

The Dalai Lama received a COViD-19 vaccine shot, so we have that going for us.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people ]the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Today is International Women’s Day. Diversity has become a buzzword, but according to the International Monetary Fund women make up less than 2 percent of CEOs in banks and less than 20 percent of bank executive and supervisory board members. Mark the day by watching a discussion on women in economics and finance with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Their dialogue will be broadcast live on YouTube at 9 a.m. CT. Tune in here.~SC


The Spread: To The Moon And Back

This week on The Spread, Michael Bolton wants you to break up with your brokerage, Rocket Companies become “GameStop 2: Electric Boogaloo,” and more.

Watch the video »



Are markets really rigged? The fairness of the US financial system has gone on trial in the wake of the GameStop saga
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Congressional hearings lack stateliness in the virtual realm. The pomposity is starker without the grandiose backdrop of the Capitol Building, while technical snafus and amusing unmuted asides can trivialise any subject. But they can still produce understated drama, as the recent hearing over January’s stock market tumult showed.

*****There are too many people who believe this to be the case. The way markets work is people try to find an advantage and use it for their benefit. If you are on the other side of that advantage, it is easy to believe the markets are rigged against you. That is why a fair and neutral market platform is always the goal. But we have to continue to work hard to make sure that is the case.~JJL


Soccer ‘Stock Market’ in Liquidity Talks, Slashes Payouts
Joe Easton – Bloomberg
Football Index pauses technology project with Nasdaq; Firm previously told to stop presenting gambling as investing
A U.K. gambling website that offers bets on soccer players announced that it was in talks about its liquidity and paused a technology project with stock market giant Nasdaq Inc. Football Index also said that it would slash payouts to traders, which it calls “dividends,” in a move that caused an angry backlash on social media. The decision was made following consultation with legal and financial advisers, “in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Bohan said in a statement on the platform’s website.

*****The pitch of this market is not what it appears.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was Fortune’s No such thing as a free trade: How Robinhood and others really profit from ‘PFOF’—and why it harms the markets. Second was the FCA’s Announcements on the end of LIBOR. Third was from The Root’s sports section, Renee Montgomery Windmill Dunks on Kelly Loeffler, Becomes First Former Player to Be Owner, Executive of WNBA Franchise.


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Lead Stories

A Hack Like This Could Start the Next World War; There’s no end in sight to cyber disruption after the latest attack on Microsoft’s email software. You need just one to start a destructive chain reaction.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
It may be years before we get the Franz Ferdinand hack, but one cyber attack has the potential to set off a global war the likes of which we’ve never seen. Think beyond power and internet outages to banking failures, food shortages and poisoned water. In the latest offensive, Chinese-backed operatives exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange Server with vibrations felt around the world, mostly among small and medium-sized enterprises. Two months ago, the U.S. administration pointed the finger at Russia for a major attack on software provider SolarWinds Inc. which appeared to target government customers. There’s no end in sight.

Citi Sees the Days of Traders Slamming Phones Coming to an End
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Banks changing the culture of trading desks as they diversify; Still, share of women in trading remains stubbornly low
The days of traders slamming phones and breaking computers are becoming a thing of the past. Such behavior was a frequent sight when Citigroup Inc.’s Deirdre Dunn got her start on Wall Street two decades ago. One colleague even kept a mini baseball bat in his desk to hammer his phone back together. Now, with banks desperate to attract diverse candidates to their hallowed trading floors, there’s far less tolerance for that kind of hard-charging attitude, she said.

Commodities Trading Far Outstrips Tourism, New Swiss Stats Show
Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Commodities trading industry accounts for 4.8% of Swiss GDP; More than 900 trading houses account for almost 10,000 jobs
The economic importance of the commodity trading sector in Switzerland is larger than previously believed, new government statistics show. With revenues of about $33 billion in 2018, the industry accounted for 4.8% of Switzerland’s gross domestic product, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said. That’s up from previous estimates of about 4% and far larger than the Alpine country’s vaunted tourism sector, which contributed 2.9% to Switzerland’s GDP the same year.

The unravelling of Lex Greensill: a mix of bravado and financial alchemy; The potential collapse of the financial group could put many small businesses and thousands of jobs at risk
Robert Smith, Michael Pooler and Olaf Storbeck – FT
As the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept across Britain a year ago, a billionaire banker made a televised pitch to the nation offering assistance. Lex Greensill, a 44-year-old Australian who had made his name by devising ingenious ways for companies to pay their bills faster, announced a plan to ease the pressure on NHS staff fighting the virus.

Trading Chicken Feet Is Going Digital; For giants like Tyson, moving millions of pounds of meat from farmers to vendors still requires phone calls, spreadsheets and middlemen
Julia-Ambra Verlaine – WSJ
Ashley Honey spent his career surrounded by glowing computer screens, swinging hundreds of millions of euros or yen around the globe at a keystroke. Now he’s looking to deploy those cutting-edge tools on another asset class: chicken feet. If Mr. Honey has his way, the multibillion-dollar market for poultry and meat will soon join the electronic revolution that shifted financial markets from crowded pits of traders onto stacks of humming servers. In charge of strategy and partnerships across the Americas at New Zealand-based Nui, which builds electronic trading platforms for trading dairy and meat, he aims to take market share from food-product giants such as Interra by automating the trading of everything from prime rib to pigs ears.

GameStop Frenzy Emboldens Supporters of Stock-Trading Tax; Proponents say tax could help fund infrastructure programs, while Wall Street groups contend it would hurt investors
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The wild volatility in GameStop Corp. shares this year has emboldened Democrats who support a tax on stock trades. A financial-transaction tax, or FTT, would raise money by collecting a fraction of the value of securities trades. Proponents say such a tax could help fund programs like President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, while reining in high-frequency trading and excessive speculation. Critics, including Wall Street lobbying groups, say it is a flawed policy that would hurt investors.

NFTs Explained: What’s Driving Prices for LeBron James and Kings of Leon Digital Collectibles; Market for non-fungible tokens, which convey ownership of digital assets, ballooned in 2020
Caitlin Ostroff – WSJ
Christie’s is selling digital art. Kings of Leon are offering their latest album as a collector’s item—online. And NBA fans recently drove the price of a LeBron James highlights video into six figures.

Microsoft Attack Blamed on China Morphs Into Global Crisis
William Turton and Jordan Robertson – Bloomberg
Number of victims of Chinese attack continues to grow rapidly; White House warns companies to take threat “very seriously”
A sophisticated attack on Microsoft Corp.’s widely used business email software is morphing into a global cybersecurity crisis, as hackers race to infect as many victims as possible before companies can secure their computer systems. The attack, which Microsoft has said started with a Chinese government-backed hacking group, has so far claimed at least 60,000 known victims globally, according to a former senior U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation. Many of them appear to be small or medium-sized businesses caught in a wide net the attackers cast as Microsoft worked to shut down the hack.

International Women’s Day 2021: Reflection and reminding
Virginie O’Shea, founder, Firebrand Research
I don’t often do much around International Women’s Day (IWD) – it tends to pass by with some conversations and commentary with peers and friends on social channels, but not much else. Also, every year, some smart aleck asks on Twitter or another such platform why there isn’t an International Men’s Day. There is, it’s in November – look it up. But this year, I thought I’d take the time to share some personal experiences and celebrate the progress we’ve made and the miles we still have to go to reach gender equality in our industry.

Sorry Folks, the SPAC Party’s Over; With lots of SPACs now selling for less than their cash holdings, the tidal wave of money that’s propped them up may soon become a trickle.
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
Rising bond yields have been unkind to growth stocks. Their impact on the special purpose acquisition companies has been downright cruel. The SPAC boom has become the Spacpocalypse. Nobody should be surprised.

Borsa Istanbul CEO Atilla Set to Step Down Later This Month
Kerim Karakaya – Bloomberg
Borsa Istanbul Chief Executive Officer Hakan Atilla, a former banker convicted in the U.S. of busting sanctions, is set to step down after the stock-exchange operator’s annual general meeting on March 26, according to people familiar with the matter. Atilla went on a leave on Friday and isn’t planning to get back to work until shareholders convene later this month, the people said, asking not to be identified as no formal decision has been announced by the executive or the exchange.

Active ETFs top European investors’ wish list; Cryptocurrency craving is also strong amid surge in bitcoin fund assets
Steve Johnson – FT
Actively managed and cryptocurrency exchange traded funds are top of the wish list for European financial advisers and institutional investors when it comes to ETF launches.

CFA under fire over job cuts and exam delays; Administrator of the ‘world’s hardest exam’ has culled about a fifth of its workforce
Attracta Mooney – FT
CFA Institute, the organisation that oversees the popular tests to become a chartered financial analyst, has come under fire from both staff and students after it culled about a fifth of its workforce and delayed examinations around the world.

World’s Most Gender-Diverse Corporation Says Secret to Success Is Childcare
Jonas Cho Walsgard, Ott Ummelas, and Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
One of Europe’s best capitalized and top performing banks was also just named the world’s most gender diverse corporation. DNB ASA, Norway’s biggest bank, achieved the highest score for equality between the sexes of all corporations in the Equileap Gender Equality Global Report & Ranking of 2021, published this month.

Diplomats Warned of a Coronavirus Danger in Wuhan—2 Years Before the Outbreak; After seeing a risky lab, they wrote a cable warning Washington. But it was ignored.
Josh Rogin – Politico
On January 15, in its last days, President Donald Trump’s State Department put out a statement with serious claims about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement said the U.S. intelligence community had evidence that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) laboratory were sick with Covid-like symptoms in autumn 2019—implying the Chinese government had hidden crucial information about the outbreak for months—and that the WIV lab, despite “presenting itself as a civilian institution,” was conducting secret research projects with the Chinese military. The State Department alleged a Chinese government cover-up and asserted that “Beijing continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one.”


London Is Lagging on Vaccines and Britain Can’t Afford That; The U.K. capital is the engine of the country’s economy and its mayor is concerned people are getting complacent.
Neil Callanan and Emily Ashton – Bloomberg
The U.K. is way ahead of the rest of Europe on inoculating its people against coronavirus, but the metrics for its biggest population center and economic engine are looking a little less compelling. London, the metropolis of 9 million, is lagging other British regions on vaccine take-up. A study published this week also suggested infections were rising last month while the rate of decline nationally was slowing.

Beyond Big Cities, Independent Pharmacies ‘Begging’ for Vaccine
Jill R Shah – Bloomberg
Sole provider of doses in their towns, many still await supply; Small pharmacies setting up clinics at churches, factories
Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis. Dared and Renee Price are husband-and-wife pharmacists in south-central Kansas, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars and several months getting their six independent outlets in five small towns ready to deliver the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They’ve had to buy freezers, temperature monitors and a mobile refrigerator.

Mystery U.K. Person With Brazil Covid Variant Found After Lengthy Hunt
Emily Ashton – Bloomberg
Person traced to Croydon, south London, after extensive search; No sign of onward transmission, government minister says
A mystery person with a concerning Brazilian variant of the coronavirus in the U.K. has been found after an extensive hunt. Six cases of the variant, which originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, had been detected in the U.K — but the identity of the final patient was unknown because they failed to complete a test registration card.

The One Vaccine Efficacy Number that Truly Matters; Shopping for the best Covid-19 vaccine? Here’s something to keep in mind.
Faye Flam – Bloomberg
Something sounds fishy when public health experts advise us to take whatever vaccine is available even though some vaccines show much more promising efficacy numbers than others. And it’s understandable that people would want to shop for the best vaccine. Americans are accustomed to the idea of consumer choice in pharmaceuticals — why else would we have so much direct-to-consumer drug advertising? But cut through the noise and there’s only one thing that really matters: all three FDA-authorized vaccines seem to work equally well — close to 100% — at preventing hospitalization and death.

Germany Plans Aggressive Vaccine Rollout After Slow Start
Daniel Schaefer and Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Finance Minister Scholz says pace to pick up from end of March; EU’s Breton says J&J dose to receive approval this week
Germany will drastically speed up its coronavirus vaccination campaign and aims to get shots to as many as 10 million people a week from the end of March.

Syrian President, Wife Test Positive for Coronavirus
Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife have tested positive for the coronavirus, the president’s office said Monday, with both having only mild symptoms of the illness.

As Covid-19 Eligibility Expands, Interest May Wane; Vaccine hesitancy, notably among younger adults, remains a potential challenge to achieving herd immunity
Randy Yeip – WSJ
The first months of vaccine distribution have largely been targeted at populations that have shown the most willingness to receive it. Distribution plans differ from state to state, but most gave priority to older Americans in the early phases of the rollout. But as eligibility expands to encompass younger age groups, a continuing Census Bureau survey suggests uptake may slow.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Margaret Price joins MaterialsXchange
Andy Carlo – HBS Dealer
MaterialsXchange, the leader in B2B e-commerce for commodity raw material is continuing to grow their leadership team by announcing the addition of Margaret Price. Ms. Price has more than 20 years of LBM Dealer experience with operating Ridgefield Supply, which sold to US LBM late last year. Besides her career at Ridgefield Supply, Price spent several years working at Kleer Lumber, a PVC Trim manufacturer, and developed the industry’s first reverse distribution of recycling PVC waste which allowed them to receive an SCS Recycled Content Certification.

LSEG to spend £1 billion on Refinitiv integration this year; The $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics giant Refinitiv was completed by LSEG in January earlier this year.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) expects to spend $1 billion in 2021 to cover costs associated with the integration of Refinitiv and Borsa Italiana separation following two major deals across both businesses. Speaking on LSEG’s full-year 2020 earnings call, group chief financial officer, Anna Munz, told analysts that roughly £700 million of the projected £1 billion would cover legacy costs and expenditure across LSEG and Refinitiv.

LSE Group shares suffer biggest daily fall in a year; Investors worry over higher-than-expected expenses to integrate purchase of data group Refinitiv
Philip Stafford – FT
Shares in London Stock Exchange Group suffered their biggest daily fall in a year on Friday after it unveiled higher-than-expected expenses to integrate data company Refinitiv and prepare for the sale of Borsa Italiana.

Approved Application for Increase in Livestock Yard for Live Cattle Regularity
From Registrar’s Office
CME Group
Notice is hereby given that the Exchange has approved Tulia Livestock Auction for an increase in their approved Livestock Yard’s maximum daily live delivery limit at the following location:

Approved Application for Increase in Livestock Yard for Live Cattle Regularity
From Registrar’s Office
CME Group
Notice is hereby given that the Exchange has approved Winter Livestock for an increase in their approved Livestock Yard’s maximum daily live delivery limit at the following location:

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy Margins – Effective March 8, 2021
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

JPX Monthly Headlines – February 2021
JPX group companies undertake various initiatives and disseminate information with the aim of providing the most attractive markets to all users.

JPX and TSE Hold International Women’s Day Bell Ringing Ceremony
March 8 is designated as International Women’s Day by the United Nations. Every year, exchanges around the globe hold a “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” ceremony to show support for women’s active participation in society.

CME Group Foundation Awards Over $2.2 Million in Grants to Support College and Career Success for Illinois Students
PR Newswire
CME Group Foundation today announced that it has awarded over $2.2 million in grants to further support higher education and career initiatives across Chicago and Illinois. “Every stage of the pipeline from classroom to career has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic,” said Kassie Davis, Executive Director of the CME Group Foundation. “It is more important than ever to support organizations that help low-income students get to college or post-secondary training, graduate and get a strong first job.” These grants include $700,000 to support CME Group Foundation Scholars. The CME Group Foundation Scholarship Program was created for minority students majoring in finance and computer science related majors within targeted universities. The scholarships will cover up to $20,000 for each recipient for the 2021-22 school year, with potential for renewal for three years up to the 2024-25 school year.


Why Walmart is betting on banking; Retailer plans fintech start-up after high-profile hiring of Goldman executives
Robert Armstrong – FT
What, exactly, is Walmart up to? For the banking industry, the question has become pressing. This follows news that the vast retailer has poached Omer Ismail, the leader of Goldman Sachs’ start-up consumer banking business, Marcus. They grabbed one of his top lieutenants and dealmakers, David Stark, too.

MTS and Trad-X team up on European asset swaps data; A new data service from MTS and Trad-X will allow European debt issuers, insurers and investors to manage their cash flow profiles and reduce interest rate risk.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group’s European electronic bond trading platform, MTS, and Tradition’s interest rate platform, Trad-X, have launched a data service for European asset swaps. The data service allows users to produce the related asset swap risk by consolidating French, German, Italian and Spanish live and executable interdealer government bond data from MTS with real-time executable EUR interest rate swap (IRS) data from Trad-X.

HSBC launches FX hedging analytics tool for buy-side; The tool from HSBC will allow asset managers to assess the effectiveness of hedging strategies and will be integrated with the bank’s single dealer platform later this year.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
UK-based investment bank HSBC has launched an analytics tool aimed at improving the effectiveness of foreign exchange (FX) hedging strategies for institutional investors. Named FX HEAT (Hedge Efficiency Analytics Tool), the next-generation data service gives asset managers and institutions automated access to independent analytics reports.

Hong Kong fintech unicorn WeLab raises $75M led by insurance giant Allianz
Rita Liao – Tech Crunch
One of the few industries that have benefited from the COVID-19 crisis is online finance. Around the world, the pandemic has forced consumers to adopt digital banking. Hong Kong’s WeLab, a fintech company founded in 2013, saw users soar by 20% year-over-year in 2020, bringing its accumulative user base to 50 million. Facing innovative players like WeLab, which aims to bring more convenience, transparency, and affordability to consumers, financial incumbents feel compelled to reinvent themselves. That’s in part why Allianz X, a venture capital arm of the 131-year-old European financial conglomerate Allianz, led WeLab’s latest funding round of $75 million. The Series C1, which involved other investors, followed WeLab’s $156 million Series C round in late 2019.

JD’s Fintech Arm Likely to Withdraw China IPO, SCMP Says
Julia Fioretti – Bloomberg
JD Technology, the fintech unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc., is likely to withdraw its application for an initial public offering on Shanghai’s technology-heavy Star Market, the South China Morning Post reported, becoming the latest casualty of China’s wide-ranging crackdown on the country’s sprawling online finance industry. JD Technology, formerly called JD Digits, was renamed after absorbing JD’s artificial intelligence and cloud businesses earlier this year. It is considering withdrawing the listing because of “changing business circumstances” after China halted Ant Group Co.’s massive stock offering in November, the SCMP said, citing two anonymous sources.

Fintech Startup Fintern Takes On The Banks With Data-Driven Loans
David Prosser – Forbes
Gerald Chappell and Michelle He have spent much of the last decade advising leading banks on how to digitalise their operations. Now the duo, formerly of McKinsey and EY respectively, have struck out on their own with Fintern, a financial technology (fintech) startup making big promises to transform the consumer lending market. Fintern is targeting as many as 15 million Britons whose credit scores aren’t considered of sufficient quality by mainstream lenders; these borrowers either miss out on the best personal loan rates from the high-street banks or get turned down for credit altogether, forcing them to turn to much more expensive options such as payday loans or buy now-pay later products.


Binance Pledges New Controls After 99% ‘Flash Crash’ in Polkadot Futures
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, said it would consider new marketplace controls after a single large order apparently triggered a flash crash early Friday in polkadot (DOT) trading contracts.

Bitcoin could prevent society from functioning and is an ‘extreme form of libertarian anarchism,’ warns this fund manager; Tim Bond, partner and portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management, believes bitcoin could prevent society from functioning in an efficient and ethical manner.
Rupert Steiner – MarketWatch
A portfolio manager at one of London’s leading hedge funds has warned that bitcoin, probably the best known cryptocurrency, has no real social utility other than as a tool for speculation and a means to launder the proceeds of crime. Tim Bond, partner and portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management, also told MarketWatch it was damaging the planet: “To my mind, bitcoin is a particularly vile asset class.

Social Media Buzz: Crypto Mogul Bids $2 Million for Dorsey Tweet
Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
What’s buzzing on social media this morning: Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, is selling his first-ever tweet — “just setting up my twttr”– on a website called Valuables that auctions tweets. The highest bid is $2 million as of Saturday morning in New York, by Justin Sun, the Chinese crypto entrepreneur who earlier won an auction for Warren Buffett’s charity dinner.

Coinbase CEO Could Get More Than $1 Million Per Day After IPO; Brian Armstrong, whose stake in the crypto exchange is worth $15 billion, received a huge grant of options tied to the company’s share price.
Simon Hunt – Blomberg
The cryptocurrency boom has turned the compensation package Coinbase Global Inc.’s Brian Armstrong secured last year into one of the most lavish pay deals in corporate America.

John McAfee Charged Over Crypto Promotion on Top of Tax Woes
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
Cybersecurity entrepreneur allegedly didn’t disclose payments; McAfee was already charged with failing to file tax returns
Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, in custody in Spain facing U.S. tax charges, was indicted for fraud and money laundering over his use of social media to promote cryptocurrencies, as prosecutors go after illegal activity in the sector. McAfee and another man, Jimmy Gale Watson Jr., used McAfee’s Twitter account to push a variety of digital currencies without disclosing that they were being paid for the promotion, earning more than $13 million, according to federal prosecutors in New York. Watson, who the U.S. said was the executive director of McAfee’s crypto team, was arrested Thursday night in Texas and pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate judge on Friday.

Crypto Coin Outperforming Bitcoin Is About to See Supply Reduced
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Approved proposal to destroy some Ether used in transactions; Ether has already gained 536% in past year, more than Bitcoin
Ethereum blockchain developers approved one of the biggest changes to the network since its inception in 2015, a shift that could spur even bigger gains in the price of its native cryptocurrency Ether. The move will reduce the amount of outstanding Ether by destroying some of the tokens every time it’s used to fuel transactions on the world’s most-used blockchain. Known as EIP 1559, the change solves a current problem: Ethereum users can only estimate how much Ether will be needed for transactions to be processed, a guessing game that has spawned sites such as ETH Gas Station to help people know how much to pay. EIP 1559, which will become part of an upgrade in July or August, will embed an average price into the network itself making the guessing game obsolete.

Ripple Investor’s Request to Reclaim Its $175M Investment Rejected by Court
Daniel Kuhn – Coindesk
One of Ripple Labs’ largest financial backers lost its bid to reclaim its $175 million investment in the blockchain company. A Delaware court denied the multi-billion asset manager Tetragon Financial Group’s request to redeem its Ripple equity for cash in the midst of an ongoing legal battle between Ripple and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

JPMorgan Posts 34 Blockchain Jobs as It Beefs Up JPM Coin
Ian Allison – Coindesk
U.S. mega-bank JPMorgan has 34 open blockchain job positions posted on its website. It’s quite possibly a record for any company in the space (JPMorgan has been noted for its enthusiastic blockchain hiring in the past).

IRS Initiates ‘Operation Hidden Treasure’ to Root Out Unreported Crypto Income
Daniel Kuhn – Coindesk
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appears to be stepping up its enforcement capabilities with a new program dedicated to cryptocurrency tax compliance. With “Operation Hidden Treasure,” the IRS will search for unreported crypto-related income, according to the agency’s Director of the Office of Fraud Enforcement, Damon Rowe.

Ripple Investor Loses Bid to Force Stock Redemption on SEC Claim
Peter Blumberg – Bloomberg
Ripple Labs Inc. fended off an effort by a U.K. investment firm to redeem its equity in the blockchain company in the wake of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit alleging that Ripple’s XRP token is an unregistered security. A Delaware Chancery Court judge on Friday rejected a request by Tetragon Financial Group Ltd. for an order requiring Ripple to redeem Series C preferred stock held by Tetragon and to block Ripple from using any cash or other liquid assets until the payment is made.

Norwegian Oil Billionaire Joins the Bets on Bitcoin
Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
Oil billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke has come out strongly in favor of Bitcoin, as he bets the cryptocurrency will prove the best defense against the disruption facing the finance industry and central banking. Rokke’s Aker ASA, which controls oil and oil service companies and has more recently branched out into green tech and renewable energy companies, is setting up a new business, Seetee AS, to tap into the potential of Bitcoin, according to a statement on Monday.

Goldman Crypto Chief Flags Institutional Demand Driving Boom
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Bank’s survey shows 40% of its clients have crypto exposure; Goldman’s crypto trading desk to have narrow focus initially
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is seeing substantial demand for digital assets from institutions as it works to restart its cryptocurrency trading desk. In a survey of nearly 300 clients by the firm, 40% currently have exposure to crypto, according to Matt McDermott, global head of digital assets for Goldman Sachs Global Markets Division, speaking on a podcast. The situation is different now compared with the 2017 Bitcoin bubble due to “huge” institutional demand across different industry types and from private banking clients, he said.

Atari Setting Up Crypto Casino to Tap Into Nostalgia and NFTs
Joanna Ossinger and Vlad Savov – Bloomberg
Storied gaming brand moving onto the Ethereum blockchain; Partners with Decentral Games crypto gaming operation
Entertainment software company Atari SA plans to start an online casino next month, the latest step in Chief Executive Officer Frederic Chesnais’s effort to revitalize the firm.

Collectors pay big money for a slice of blockchain basketball action; Digital clips change hands for six-figure sums on NBA Top Shot, a venture marketed as sports memorabilia for the digital age
Christine Zhang and Sara Germano – FT
Professional sports leagues have earned billions over the years from the sale of licensed collectibles, taking a cut on everything from team jerseys to artwork to autographed footballs. In the US, the National Basketball Association is taking the industry to a new level: selling game highlights to fans as digital tokens on the blockchain.

UK crypto ban: Bybit to shut down operation
Rick Steves – FinanceFeeds
The regulator stated that retail consumers are estimated to save around £53m from the ban on these products. Bybit has announced it will cease to provide services to customers from the United Kingdom. The trading firm is shutting down its UK operation following the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) ban of crypto derivatives.

Rush to bitcoin? Not so fast, say keepers of corporate coffers
Tom Wilson, Anna Irrera, Jessica DiNapoli – Reuters
When Elon Musk’s Tesla became the biggest name to reveal it had added bitcoin to its coffers last month, many pundits were swift to call a corporate rush towards the booming cryptocurrency.


Biden’s White House is pondering a tax on stock trades — should you worry?
Justin Anderson – MoneyWise
The meteoric rise of GameStop (GME) stock at the start of the year had the effect many predicted it would: It attracted the attention of Washington. Last month Congress held hearings on the situation, calling the CEOs of Robinhood, Reddit, Citadel Securities and Melvin Capital, among others, to account on Capitol Hill. And lately President Joe Biden’s administration has indicated that it’s considering a new tax on investment trading.

Biden Is Shutting Out Wall Street. Investors May Be in for a Surprise.
Avi Tiomkin – Barron’s
A glance at the key economic personnel in President Joe Biden’s cabinet and administration reveals something not seen for decades under numerous presidents: Wall Street representation is conspicuously absent. Simply put, there are no prominent names from the banking and financial world in the new administration.

Biden’s USDA Chief Is Exploring Making a Carbon Bank for Farmers
Mike Dorning – Bloomberg
Vilsack says climate change is ‘the priority’ in coming year; He warns that China remains a fickle trading partner
The Biden administration has begun an intense examination of how to structure a carbon market that would encourage broad participation by U.S. farmers, including whether to guarantee a minimum price for credits given for reducing emissions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday.

French billionaire politician Olivier Dassault killed in helicopter crash
French billionaire Olivier Dassault was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash, a police source said, with President Emmanuel Macron paying tribute to the 69-year old conservative politician. Dassault was the eldest son of late French billionaire industrialist Serge Dassault, whose namesake Dassault Aviation, builds the Rafale war planes and owns Le Figaro newspaper.

Finland Postpones Local Elections to June as Pandemic Worsens
Leo Laikola – Bloomberg
Finland is postponing its countrywide local elections by two months as the coronavirus pandemic takes a turn for the worse.

Greensill’s Key Clients Included West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s Coal Company; Most of Greensill’s revenue came from five clients, according to an internal Greensill report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal
Duncan Mavin and Julie Steinberg – WSJ
Greensill Capital relied on a handful of clients for large portions of its revenue, including a coal miner owned by the governor of West Virginia, according to people familiar with Greensill’s operations and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.


CFTC Charges Two Individuals with Multi-Million Dollar Digital Asset Pump-and-Dump Scheme; First Manipulative Scheme Charged by CFTC Involving Digital Assets
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging businessman and computer programmer John McAfee, previously of Tennessee, and his former employee Jimmy Gale Watson, previously of California, for engaging in a manipulative and deceptive digital asset “pump-and-dump” scheme.

CFTC Charges Wisconsin Man with Fraud and Misappropriation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against Robert Narvett of Appleton, Wisconsin, charging him with fraud and misappropriation of more than $196,000 from at least two individuals. The CFTC’s complaint also charges Narvett for failing to register with the CFTC as a Commodity Trading Advisor as required under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

CEO of Top Irish Securities Firm Davy Resigns After Scandal
Peter Flanagan – Bloomberg
Bernard Byrne will takes over as interim chief executive; Central bank report accused Davy of ‘lack of candor’
Brian McKiernan, chief executive of Ireland’s biggest securities firm Davy, resigned after regulators accused the company of a “lack of candor” in dealing with one of the worst scandals to hit Dublin’s stockbroking community in years.

ECB Asks Banks for Details on Greensill Exposure, FT Says
Erin McClam – Bloomberg
European Central Bank supervisors have asked banks for details about outstanding loans to Greensill Capital and its client GFG Alliance, the Financial Times reported, citing four people familiar with the matter.

NSW Court of Criminal Appeal decides former TZ Limited director’s appeal against conviction and sentence
On 3 March 2021, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal delivered its decision in relation to the appeal against conviction and sentence lodged by former TZ Limited director Andrew Sigalla. The Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the appeal against conviction but allowed the appeal against sentence, with Mr Sigalla’s sentence being reduced to a term of imprisonment of nine years and six months with a non-parole period of five years and nine months.

CEO of Top Irish Securities Firm Davy Resigns After Scandal
Peter Flanagan – Bloomberg
Bernard Byrne will takes over as interim chief executive; Central bank report accused Davy of ‘lack of candor’
Brian McKiernan, chief executive of Ireland’s biggest securities firm Davy, resigned after regulators accused the company of a “lack of candor” in dealing with one of the worst scandals to hit Dublin’s stockbroking community in years.

ECB quizzes banks over exposure to Greensill and Gupta; Regulator assesses financial stability risks as talks continue over sale of parts of finance group to Apollo
Olaf Storbeck and Martin Arnold and Sylvia Pfeifer, Kaye Wiggins and Stephen Morris – FT
Europe’s top banking regulator has asked the continent’s lenders for details of their exposure to stricken Greensill Capital and its key client GFG Alliance, as officials try to understand whether the crisis is contained, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Jersey financial regulator attacks Neil Woodford’s relaunch plan; Channel island vows to uphold strong protections for fund investors
Chris Flood -FT
Jersey’s top financial regulator has launched a blistering attack on Neil Woodford’s plans for a Jersey-based fund management company, saying the island cannot be used as a “back door” to restart his career.

Hedge fund ‘warned Australian regulator’ about Greensill; John Hempton says he told Australian Prudential Regulation Authority that insurers faced out-sized risks
Robert Smith and Ian Smith and Jamie Smyth – FT
Print this page
A short-selling hedge fund manager raised concerns with Australia’s financial regulator about Greensill Capital three months before the London-based financial group warned it could implode.

SEC charges AT&T and investor relations employees over calls to analysts; Three executives alleged to have selectively disclosed information related to earnings forecasts
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Anna Nicolaou – FT
US securities regulators have charged AT&T and three members of its investor relations team with selectively disclosing information to analysts covering the US telecoms company to avoid falling short of Wall Street’s forecasts.

SEC Charges AT&T and Three Executives with Selectively Providing Information to Wall Street Analysts
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged AT&T, Inc. with repeatedly violating Regulation FD, and three of its Investor Relations executives with aiding and abetting AT&T’s violations, by selectively disclosing material nonpublic information to research analysts.

Locking down market abuse
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, – FCA
I am very happy to be able to be here for this year’s virtual webinar and thank the organisers for convening it. Last year’s event feels about 5 years ago. How strangely time has passed since then. Yet it has also been a very productive time and, I think, the overall picture is one of both strength and resilience as our market stood up to what were unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Investing and Trading

Going Down the Inflation Rabbit Hole; Should we be freaking out about inflation, or is everything a sign that economies are truly on the mend?
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the cause of countless sleepless nights. Now, it seems, inflation has begun robbing people of much-needed rest, just as good news about vaccines keeps rolling in. But is inflation really something we should be worrying about? Treasury yields have some market-watchers sweating, though Janet Yellen and Jay Powell have maintained calm as signs mount that the economy is truly in recovery. Maybe we’re justified in freaking out. Or maybe we all need a nap and some patience.

‘Hey, Hey, Money Maker’: Inside the $156 Billion SPAC Bubble; This Wall Street craze is stretching all the limits and involves flying taxis, bikini GIFs and a rapper with a taste for champagne.
Heather Perlberg – Bloomberg
Whenever greed meets reality and giddy markets collapse, Wall Street pros usually admit that they sensed the end was coming. The warning signs were so familiar, they belatedly confess, that it was difficult to believe anyone could miss them. The chain of fools was running out.

Tesla Is Plugging a Secret Mega-Battery Into the Texas Grid; The utility-scale battery located outside of Houston will connect to the same grid that faltered in February’s freeze
Dana Hull, Naureen S. Malik – Bloomberg
Elon Musk is getting into the Texas power market, with previously unrevealed construction of a gigantic battery connected to an ailing electric grid that nearly collapsed last month. The move marks Tesla Inc.’s first major foray into the epicenter of the U.S. energy economy.

Pearson details consumer shift as 2020 revenue falls; Education group aims to develop closer links with customers during online learning boom
Bethan Staton – FT
Pearson has unveiled more details of its shift to become a consumer-focused company under its new chief executive, as the education and publishing group reported a decline in annual sales.

Investors should not dismiss Cisco’s dot com collapse as a historical anomaly; Price is what you pay, pain is what you get.
Jamie Powell – FT
In the annals of investing literature, there are a few lessons which stick out. But perhaps none more so than the adage that at the right price, every asset is potentially a good investment. Even subprime CDOs. The flip side of this axiom is, of course, that if you pay too much the experience can be a painful one.

Value investor John Rogers sees an end to Big Tech’s stock market dominance; A new ‘roaring twenties’ economy will push up US interest rates, he says
Michael Mackenzie and James Fontanella-Khan – FT
The veteran value investor John Rogers predicted the US is headed for a repeat of the “roaring twenties” a century ago that will finally encourage investors to dump tech stocks in favour of companies more sensitive to the economy.

Quantum-Computing Startup IonQ Plans Public Debut in $2 Billion SPAC Merger; IonQ is competing against several big tech companies set on commercializing the technology
Sara Castellanos – WSJ
Quantum -computing startup IonQ Inc. plans to merge with blank-check firm dMY Technology Group Inc. III, which would make it the first publicly traded company specifically focused on commercializing quantum-computing hardware and software.

Investors fear new Treasury auctions will set off repeat bout of selling; Painful sale of 7-year debt last month sent quake through US debt market
Colby Smith – FT
Investors are bracing themselves for a trio of large US government debt auctions this week, after a recent sale of seven-year notes flopped and set off a bout of frenetic trading.

Chamath Palihapitiya’s ‘Super Tough Week’; The SPAC mogul defended a big stock sale.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Questions about a SPAC mogul’s stock sales
One of the most prominent names in SPACs, Chamath Palihapitiya, faced backlash last week after regulatory filings showed that he had sold his entire personal stake in Virgin Galactic, which he took public through a blank-check fund. (He will stay on as chairman, and will indirectly remain a shareholder through an investment firm that owns a stake in the company.) The news — coming as shares of many SPACs, as well as Virgin Galactic’s, tumbled amid a broader market decline — added to concerns about a blank-check bubble.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Swedish Funds Managing $250 Billion Get Slammed for ESG Record
Rafaela Lindeberg – Bloomberg
Sweden’s state-backed pension funds have “failed” to live up to a key metric when it comes to protecting the planet, according to the country’s biggest climate organization. The AP funds, which oversee about $250 billion in assets and have all committed to environmental, social and governance goals, continue to invest in fossil-fuel companies that are contributing to a dangerous rise in temperates, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation said in a report on Friday.

“Travel without polluting”: SNCF launches its CO2 emissions comparator; Train, plane, coach, car or carpooling: the website of the railway company offers a comparative tool calculating the carbon footprint of travelers according to their means of transport.
Le Figaro
” Let’s travel together towards a greener future “. A commercial argument that SNCF intends to put forward more than ever in the coming years. Since March 4, the website of the railway company has offered a comparative tool calculating the carbon footprint of travelers according to their means of transport.

PPC Plans Europe’s First Sustainability Linked High-Yield Bond
Laura Benitez and Ruth McGavin -Bloomberg
Company to hold meetings Monday for a EU500m bond sale; PPC will pay higher coupon if it falls short on emission goal
Public Power Corporation is planning to sell Europe’s first sustainability-linked high-yield bond this week, adding more weight to a fast-growing trend in the region’s loan market.

Fewer Than One in Ten Central Banks Has a Female Chief
Zoe Schneeweiss – Bloomberg
Just one of the 31 central bank governors appointed last year was a woman, with Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Hong joining a global group that now consists of 15 female central bank chiefs, according to the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum’s latest gender balance report. That means not even one in ten central banks is headed by a woman. “While attention is on new accommodative monetary policy measures and lending operations, central banks should not fall behind on measures to correct the lack of diversity,” OMFIF said.

The race to scale up green hydrogen; Long heralded as an alternative to fossil fuels, can the gas really help solve the world’s dirtiest energy problems?
Nathalie Thomas and David Sheppard and Neil Hume – FT
Just off the M1 motorway near Sheffield, on a site where thousands of steel workers once helped to forge the northern English city’s industrial reputation, a little known hydrogen company with just over 220 employees is once again attracting international attention to the region.

Oil Giants Prepare to Put Carbon Back in the Ground; Climate concerns push BP and other firms to seek new roles as pollution fighters.
Stanley Reed – NY Times
During more than three decades in the oil and gas business, Andy Lane has managed the construction of enormous facilities for extracting and transporting natural gas, in places like Trinidad and Indonesia.

Saudi Arabia’s Bold Plan to Rule the $700 Billion Hydrogen Market; The kingdom is building a $5 billion plant to make green fuel for export and lessen the country’s dependence on petrodollars.
Verity Ratcliffe – Bloomberg
Sun-scorched expanses and steady Red Sea breezes make the northwest tip of Saudi Arabia prime real estate for what the kingdom hopes will become a global hub for green hydrogen.

China’s Carbon Market to Grow to $25 Billion by 2030, Citi Says
Dan Murtaugh – Bloomberg
Bank sees expansion from turnover this year of $800 million; A fifth of global emissions now covered by tax or markets
The size of China’s carbon market will expand more than 30-fold over the next decade as it covers more industries and polluting becomes more expensive, according to Citigroup Inc.


Credit Suisse Missed Many Warnings Before Greensill’s Collapse
Lucca De Paoli, Luca Casiraghi, and Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
Bank liquidates $10 billion of funds it probed just last year; The decision adds to a series of risk management lapses
Long before Credit Suisse Group AG was forced to wind down a $10 billion group of funds it ran with financier Lex Greensill, there were plenty of red flags.

Goldman Sachs Economists See U.S. Jobs Boom as Virus Curbs Ease
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
Unemployment rate will drop to 4.1% by year end, Hatzius says; Outlook also envisages improvement in labor participation
The U.S. is on course for an employment boom this year once pandemic restrictions ease and the economy reopens, according to economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “Reopening, fiscal stimulus, and pent-up savings should fuel very strong demand growth,” Chief Economist Jan Hatzius and colleagues wrote in a report highlighting an outlook that’s more optimistic than most other forecasts. They predict the unemployment rate, currently at 6.2%, will fall to 4.1% by the end of the year.

StanChart tries to navigate moral minefield; London-based lender struggles to reconcile ‘here for good’ promise with fast-growing business in China
Stephen Morris – FT
In 2010, Standard Chartered adopted a new slogan: “Here for good.” Now, just as Google had before, with its “Don’t be evil” mantra, the bank is finding it hard to reconcile its values with its business in China.

Goldman Sachs reportedly set to make $200M off Texas winter storm
Traders at Goldman Sachs may reap huge profits from the winter storm last month that left many across Texas and other Southern states without electricity, clean water and heat, Bloomberg News reported Friday.


Saudi Arabia Is Playing Chicken With U.S. Shale; OPEC+ delays opening the taps until the post-Covid demand recovery is stronger, betting Permian Basin rivals won’t be tempted to “drill, baby, drill.”
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
“Drill, baby, drill is gone forever.” That’s the view expressed by Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman after last week’s meeting of the alliance of oil producers known as OPEC+.

China’s Hottest Companies Are Ruled by All-Male Boards
Bruce Einhorn – Bloomberg
Top EV, e-commerce names don’t have any female directors; Investors call for tougher diversity requirements in Hong Kong
Warren Buffett-backed carmaker BYD Co., Nike-rival ANTA Sports Products Ltd. and Nasdaq-listed retailer JD.com are all emblematic of the global heft of China’s companies. The Chinese giants have another thing in common: None of them have women on their boards.

China Hacking Concern Revives India Focus on Cybersecurity Plan
Archana Chaudhary – Bloomberg
New cyber strategy awaiting cabinet clearance, official says; Investigation report on alleged hacks expected in two weeks
India is mulling a new national strategy to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity amid allegations that Chinese intrusions may have affected operations at a key stock exchange and supply of electricity in the country’s commercial capital.

China’s Yuan Becomes Latest Victim of Treasury-Led Selloff
Livia Yap and Felix Tam – Bloomberg
CNY slid to lowest since Dec. 31 as stocks entered correction; All EM Asia currencies fell as Treasury yield rose past 1.6%
The Chinese yuan erased all its gains against the dollar this year, the latest to fall prey to the Treasury-led global market selloff. The onshore yuan weakened as much as 0.5%, falling past the 6.5283 per dollar level it closed at last year. At its January peak, it was up 1.6% from 2020 as the economy rebounded and investors poured money into the Chinese bond market.

‘Everyone is freaking out’: Saudi Arabia’s ultimatum rattles big business; Multinationals face pressure to relocate headquarters to kingdom as crown prince seeks to transform Riyadh
Simeon Kerr and Andrew England – FT
For decades, most top foreign executives popped in and out of Saudi Arabia for business while setting up homes in Dubai as the latter’s more liberal, western-style lifestyle trumped the oil-rich kingdom’s ultra-conservative culture when it came to establishing a regional base.


The Latest Post-Brexit Finance Fight Puts Everyone at Risk; When it comes to the crucial and highly sought-after clearing industry, compromise between the U.K. and EU is best.
Elisa Martinuzzi and Marcus Ashworth -Bloomberg
The post-Brexit war over financial services — and to what degree Europe can lure business away from the City of London — is far from over. The latest battle is derivatives clearing. But compromise is possible and would serve everyone best.

The Latest Post-Brexit Finance Fight Puts Everyone at Risk
Elisa Martinuzzi and Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
The post-Brexit war over financial services — and to what degree Europe can lure business away from the City of London — is far from over. The latest battle is derivatives clearing. But compromise is possible and would serve everyone best. Set up in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, central counterparty clearing houses (CCPs) act as middlemen between institutions trading derivatives, minimizing counterparty risk. So if one party were to default, CCPs should still have access to collateral and liquidity to prevent a domino effect of subsequent blow-ups, as happened when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008. Though not big money spinners per se, CCPs are part of an industry that surrounds more than $1 quadrillion worth of derivatives.

Shake off your ill will, Britain tells EU over post-Brexit trade
The European Union should shake off its ill will and build a good relationship with Britain as sovereign equals, Britain’s top EU adviser David Frost said on Sunday, promising to stand up for the country’s interests. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Frost again defended Britain’s unilateral move to smooth post-Brexit trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, over which the EU has promised to launch legal action for breaching the terms of the Brexit deal.

British ports say they are not ready for Brexit customs checks
Joanna Partridge – The Guardian
A string of British ports are urging the government to delay the next wave of Brexit red tape, saying that border checkposts will not be ready for the July deadline, while inland customs facilities being built are also behind schedule. With the Brexit minister, Lord Frost, reportedly considering reviewing plans for full customs checks on all imported goods, pressure is building on ministers to push back their deadlines, and set out measures for scaling back controls. Exports into the EU from the UK have been subject to controls since 1 January, but the British government decided to delay import controls until the summer to give traders time to prepare.

Brexiteer Nigel Farage steps down as leader of Reform UK
Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said on Saturday he would step down as the leader of Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit Party he launched two years ago to campaign for what was commonly known as “no deal Brexit”. Farage, who as leader of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) applied pressure on the government to hold the 2016 EU referendum, said the Brexit Party had helped the Conservatives “come to their senses” and chose Boris Johnson as their leader with a pro-Brexit agenda. “The final outcome (of Brexit) has cut off Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK and treated our fisherman terribly, but we are out and there is no going back,” he said in a statement. “Already, in terms of the vaccine rollout and trade deals around the world, we are seeing the benefits of Brexit and the EU itself turn into a laughing stock.”

Northern Ireland business activity trails UK as lockdown and Brexit bite – Ulster Bank PMI
David Elliott – Business Live
Business activity in Northern Ireland fell at the fastest rate of all UK regions last month, according to the latest Purchasing Managers Index from Ulster Bank. The keenly watched report showed the reintroduction of lockdown measures and movement restrictions have pared back activity while rising costs have put pressure on margins. Northern Ireland saw by far the fastest rate of cost inflation, hitting the highest level for over 12-and-a-half years, as the cost implications of importing goods post Brexit began to bite. Manufacturing was the sector that posted the highest rate of cost inflation, but it was evident in all sectors. Due to these costs, firms raised their own prices at the sharpest rate in the survey’s history.

The COVID/Brexit cocktail: UK lost market share in U.S., Germany and China – report
The United Kingdom lost market share in the United States, Germany and China during the COVID-19 pandemic due to global trade chaos, Brexit and poor productivity, according to new research published on Monday.
The United Kingdom performed particularly badly due to a long-term stagnation in productivity growth, according to the report by Aston University’s Lloyd’s Banking Group Centre for Business Prosperity. While all countries grappled with the tumult of COVID-19, the United Kingdom lost market share in its biggest export markets – the United States and Germany, the research showed.

EU says it agrees post-Brexit WTO agriculture quotas with U.S.
The European Union and the United States have concluded negotiations to adjust the EU’s World Trade Organization agricultural quotas following Britain’s exit from the bloc, the European Commission said on Monday. The agreement, covering billions of euros of trade, including beef, poultry, rice, dairy produce, fruit, vegetables and wine, was the result of two years of negotiations. The idea is to keep the previous import quota volumes unchanged and to share them between the European Union and Britain. The European Union is conducting similar negotiations with 21 other WTO partners and has completed them some countries, such as Argentina, Australia, Norway, Pakistan and Thailand.


These Y.M.C.A. Camps Served Children for 100 Years. Now They Are Shut; The Y.M.C.A. of Greater New York is selling three summer camps that have been a bucolic retreat for generations of poor children from the city, part of the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Daniel E. Slotnik – NY Times
Juan Escobar was 12 and skinny when he first went to a Y.M.C.A. summer camp. He weighed only 65 pounds, often didn’t get enough to eat and had chronic asthma. For much of his childhood, he lived with his mother and grandmother in a public-housing complex in the South Bronx, where, he said, he was in constant fear of robbers and bullies.

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