A New Global Monetary Order Threatens the Dollar; Is the Real Risk From India Being Detected?

May 13, 2021

First Read

$41,726/$300,000 (13.9%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

For years I have extolled the leadership of Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman and evidently I am not the only one. Friedman was named one of the world’s greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine. I wholeheartedly agree and I bet Nasdaq will buy more than one table for the banquet when Friedman is presented with the award.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting an online event, the “Global Forum on Economic Recovery” on May 18 and 19. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The Small Exchange announced it is launching Small Crude Oil, a $6,600-sized WTI contract, on May 17. We interviewed Donnie Roberts, CEO of the Small Exchange, on Tuesday and should have the interview out soon. He gives an update on the exchange since it launched and its recent growth in volume and open interest, and new contracts planned. — Small Exchange

The bank I use for business, and which has my home mortgage, U.S. Bank, has been named a “2021 World’s Best Bank by Global Finance Magazine.” — U.S. Bank

The FCA and the Bank of England dropped a big hint today about which benchmark market participants should switch to in sterling exchange traded derivatives as of June 17. — UK FCA

Bloomberg is reporting that “Bitcoin Falls Below $50,000 as Musk Calls Energy Use ‘Insane’.” I hope he did not sell his bitcoin before this statement. After calling bitcoin energy use “insane” and dogecoin a “hustle” I am not sure Mr. Musk is much of a friend of crypto anymore. — Bloomberg

The good news is reported by Joe Weisenthal in Bloomberg in a story titled “Elon Musk Just Helped Ease the Semiconductor Shortage.” — Bloomberg

Do you want to learn more about UK equities and recently launched derivatives on various FTSE 100 indexes? You can join FTSE Russell and EUREX for a webinar on Thursday, May 20, 2021 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM CDT. Register HERE.

Do you have RMB exposure? Check out the HKEX’s Mini USD/CNH Futures, which are off to a strong start with more than 80,000 contracts traded since they launched two weeks ago. Click HERE for more information on the contract. Also, the open interest of Hang SengTECH Index options set a new record of 10,384 contracts on May 11, surpassing the 10,000 mark for the first time since the contract launched in January 2021. — LinkedIn

Merrill Private Wealth Management is looking to grow its pool of associates. You can find information HERE about some of the jobs available.

Don’t forget to register for the FIA’s webinar on “UK/EU – Rebuilding a relationship.” — FIA

Speaking of FIA, FIA Tech has earned Great Place to Work® certification™ — LinkedIn

Paul Houston, the global head of FX products at CME Group, shared on LinkedIn that “CME FX Options have seen a 5x increase in block trades in 2021 YOY- with end users from the buy-side community taking liquidity from bank and non-bank liquidity providers.” — LinkedIn

The Danes can’t leave alone those mink that contracted the coronavirus and are now digging them up to stem contamination. — Bloomberg

Do you want to know more about DRW? Check out their About Us video.

I have a new idea for a James Bond movie. It is kind of like Goldfinger, except in this one the bad guys are trying to destroy the only copy of the government’s passwords for the Bitcoin that the Department of Justice has confiscated.

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. We did release the Open Outcry Traders History Project interview with tastytrade CEO Tom Sosnoff. This was the first part of our interview with him; the second part was published as part of The Path to Electronic Trading Series. Click HERE for the Open Outcry Traders HIstory Project interview.

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


ISDA wound up the final day of its 35th AGM yesterday. A link to a summary of the day’s events is here. ~SC


Tom Sosnoff – Open Outcry Traders History Project

The CEO of tastytrade, Tom Sosnoff, was interviewed by John Lothian News for the Open Outcry Traders History Project. Sosnoff was a trader on the floor of the CBOE for 20 years after growing up in New York. He moved to Chicago at the behest of some co-workers at his first job at Drexel Lambert who wanted to start a fund and wanted Sosnoff to execute the trades on the CBOE floor for them. Sosnoff leveraged his experience on the floor into other ventures, some of which worked and some of which did not. Those ventures have included Thinkorswim and tastytrade.

Watch the video »


Adena Friedman Honored as One of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune
Nasdaq President and Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman was named by Fortune magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders for 2021 in recognition of her work to address the lack of diversity in corporate America. Fortune highlighted Nasdaq’s recent board diversity proposal, which aims to drive greater transparency on corporate governance by providing a standardized disclosure framework for boardroom diversity. If approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the new listing rules would require most Nasdaq-listed companies to have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse directors, including one woman and one who self-identifies as either an under-represented minority or LGBTQ+.

***** Congratulations to Adena Friedman for this honor. I concur.~JJL


Brave new working world
Heike Eckert via LinkedIn
The current global pandemic is not the first one in history. Like the ones before, it deeply impacts our society on many levels. Amongst other things, it forces us to take a closer look at the mechanics of our social contracts. And that goes well beyond the unparalleled effort to protect the health and economic vitality of our people. One important factor currently brought into focus is the way we work and collaborate. It has become evident that the “new” post-pandemic reality will be noticeably different from our previous working world.

***** I always listen to Heike. ~JJL


Trading Technologies and CloudQuant Launch Strategic Partnership to Explore Creation of Alternative Data Offering
Trading Technologies International, Inc.
Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a global provider of high-performance professional trading software, infrastructure and data solutions, and CloudQuant (CQ), a premier vendor of alternative data (AltData), artificial intelligence and data integration technologies, today announced TT has engaged CloudQuant to advise on creation of a new data business unit. The two firms have entered into an exclusive partnership to explore the delivery of data advisory services and AltData through the TT platform to TT’s global user base.

***** TT is not standing still despite trying to sell itself. It is exploring new horizons, all the way to the cloud(quants) and beyond.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our most clicked story Wednesday was Reuters’ New York wins Brexit swaps shake-up as clearing stays in London. Second was CEO’s $17,000 Birthday Party Spurs Commodity Brokerage Lawsuit, from Bloomberg Quint. And third was Goldman Sachs executive quits after making millions from Dogecoin, from The Guardian.


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Lead Stories

A New Global Monetary Order Threatens the Dollar; There’s a parallel financial system led by stablecoins that’s starting to jeopardize the greenback’s status as a reserve currency.
Jim Bianco – Bloomberg
The history of modern finance has seen several monetary orders, from the gold standard of the 19th century to the current fiat-based era starting in 1971. Each period had its dominant reserve currency, starting with gold and then moving to the British pound and U.S. dollar. The current system is 50 years old, about the average length of previous monetary orders.

Is the Real Risk From India Being Detected? Out of self-interest, the rest of the world better help quickly to understand how a Covid variant is devastating the country.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
If you haven’t heard of B.1.617 yet, chances are you soon will. This particular Covid-19 variant is at least partly behind the overwhelming second wave in India, the current global epicenter of the pandemic. The World Health Organization has now raised B.1.617 from a “variant of interest” to a “variant of concern.” Authorities like Public Health England are already treating it as the latter, meaning there’s something worrying about one or more of the criteria on which a virus is judged — including how fast it transmits, how many it kills, and whether it evades detection or makes vaccines less effective.

Wealthy Nations’ Vaccine Spree Obscures Global Covid Misery
James Paton – Bloomberg
Diplomat Bildt’s message to world: ‘The worst isn’t over’; Sharing vaccine doses, raising billions are top priorities
Mass vaccinations, falling case counts and waning coronavirus deaths in a few wealthy countries threaten to obscure ongoing worldwide suffering from the pandemic that’s likely to last for months, and perhaps years, to come. That’s Carl Bildt’s worry as the new special envoy to the World Health Organization-backed effort set up last year to dispatch vaccines and other weapons against Covid-19. Suppressing the virus that’s advancing in India and beyond depends on persuading rich nations to share excess doses and help close a $19 billion funding gap, Bildt said in an interview.

What’s Happening in India Might Be Even Worse Than You Think
Varsha Bansal – Slate
On the night of May 3, Nabeel, a resident of Delhi, was in an ambulance with his COVID-positive brother in search of an ICU ventilator bed. (Nabeel is not his real name.) The oxygen cylinder that was helping his brother breathe was almost out, but they couldn’t find the necessary bed in hospitals around them. Nabeel’s phone was constantly buzzing with leads on where to go, but none materialized. Soon, both time and oxygen ran out, and his 32-year-old brother breathed his last breath in the ambulance on the outskirts of Delhi.

Libor Replacement Race Heats Up; Some analysts say multiple rate benchmarks are likely to emerge instead of just one
Julia-Ambra Verlaine – WSJ
New contenders are emerging in the race to get rid of the London interbank offered rate by year-end. Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. traded the first complex derivative using a Bloomberg index crafted to replace Libor, exchanging $250 million worth of an interest-rate swap earlier this month. The Bloomberg Short Term Bank Yield Index competes with the alternative preferred by regulators including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

When the World’s Best-Performing Stock Market Takes a Dive; The indiscriminate slump in Taiwan’s stock market demonstrates that sometimes flows overwhelm fundamental analysis, an increasing risk as stock buyers take on more leverage
Mike Bird – WSJ
Taiwan boasts the best-performing stock market of any MSCI index in either the developed or emerging-market universe since the beginning of 2020. This week a sharp selloff brought it close to losing that crown. The plunge is a classic story of exuberance and leverage, with lessons for investors in the U.S. and beyond.

Tesla suspends bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases over the negative environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining
Allana Akhtar and Tyler Sonnemaker – Insider
Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases made using bitcoin, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk. “We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Musk said in a tweet Wednesday.

What Crypto Insiders Think About Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts got a nasty shock Wednesday when Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Inc. and the second-richest person on the planet, announced on Twitter that his automaker wouldn’t accept payment in Bitcoin any more due to environmental concerns.

Biggest U.S. Gasoline Pipeline Restarts After Cyberattack
Jill R Shah and Sheela Tobben – Bloomberg
Colonial Pipeline was hit by a ransomware attack on Friday; Shutdown has pushed up gasoline prices and led to shortages
The largest gasoline pipeline in the U.S. is returning to service, recovering from a cyberattack late Friday that sent pump prices surging and triggered shortages across the Eastern U.S.

Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack Isn’t Just a Tech Problem; Preventing further breaches means learning to deal with a multiplying set of threats.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
If the Colonial Pipeline hack is a wakeup call, it feels like we’ve been pushing the snooze button since at least 2003. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, issued that December, identified “a wide array of critical infrastructure and key resources” as “potential terrorist targets,” including the possibility of cyberattacks. Almost two decades on, the East Coast’s main fuel artery is offline, gas tanks are running dry across the Southeast and the government is warning the more innovative drivers among us not to fill plastic bags with gasoline. So maybe HSPD-7 didn’t quite cut it.

The Hertz Gamblers Were Right; Also Bitcoins in mutual funds, SPAC deferred fees, Internet Computer and duty-free shopping.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Well, there it is: In a deal that hands a huge victory to shareholders of bankrupt Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the car renter picked Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management to buy the company out of Chapter 11, capping a dramatic brawl for control of the company.

The Meme King of Wall Street Litquidity Capital is the anonymous banker chronicling our weird, get-rich-quick economy.
Jen Wieczner – New York Magazine
On November 9, the day that Pfizer announced its coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, a video appeared on the Instagram and Twitter feeds of the Wall Street memelord known as Litquidity Capital. It was a fast-tempo mash-up of familiar GIFs from around the web, recaptioned to represent various forces in the markets. In the clip, ecstatic megachurch parishioners are labeled “MFs w/ hella calls”; an NFL player tagged as “the market” somersaults over a defender labeled “Fauci” into an end zone emblazoned ALL TIME HIGHS; a beat-up station wagon representing BEAR CUCKS goes over a cliff. This was market analysis as informative as anything you’d have seen on CNBC that day. The S&P 500 was rocketing to a record high, mom-and-pop traders were buying options with borrowed money, and investors were gambling hundreds of billions on SPACs. In this bulliest of markets, with prices popping on everything from stocks to bitcoin to corn futures, Litquidity has emerged as a giddy and astute observer of finance high and low, followed by Reddit day traders and private-equity sharks alike.

New Director Joins ISDA Board
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) has today announced the appointment of a new director and the election of eight others at its virtual Annual General Meeting. The new director is: Hideki Ushida, Managing Director, Global Markets Compliance Office, MUFG Bank, Ltd.

Five Questions with…Colin Lambert, The Full FX
Martina Doherty – MD Consulting
Colin Lambert, founder and publisher of The Full FX, is the latest guest in our Five Questions series of blogs, in which we talk to senior people in FinTech, RegTech and financial markets about their business and the wider market. Colin gives some excellent and honest advice on how to pitch stories to journalists in the B2B space as well as some insights into the opportunities and challenges for tech firms in FX.

Citigroup Starts Early Intake Program to Hire More Women Bankers
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Citi seeks to identify female talent early for internships; Bank targets 50% female representation in Asia summer program
Citigroup Inc. has started an early intake program in Asia to boost the hiring of women in its investment banking and markets businesses. The U.S. bank has rolled out a program that provided early training for 50 female students for its summer analyst hiring program, according to a press release.

Bitcoin Won’t Leave Central Bankers in the Dust; Digital pounds, dollars and euros are years away, but radical changes in wholesale banking and settlement are coming sooner than you think.
Huw van Steenis – Bloomberg
Innovation in central banking often starts in small markets. New Zealand was the first country to formally adopt inflation targeting as we now know it in 1990. Today the Bahamas and Cambodia lead China in piloting central bank money in electronic form. However, few realize it was Norway that pioneered the world’s first central bank digital currency. The experiment has some important lessons for those feverishly trying to figure out how revolutionary CBDCs will be, including the U.K., which joined the club just last month with a new taskforce.

Russia Plans Bond Buyback to Fix Pandemic-Warped Debt Market
Anna Andrianova – Bloomberg
Finance Ministry wants to reduce volume of floating-rate debt; Sanctions won’t cut foreigner share of holdings, Maksimov says
Russia’s debt chiefs are working on a mechanism that will allow the government to retire costly ruble bonds sold to raise emergency funds during the coronavirus pandemic. “The goal is to restore the right structure of the portfolio so that in the next crisis, government debt can be used to conduct an active economic policy again,” Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov said in an interview. The ministry is considering possible funding sources for the buybacks, he said, without elaborating on the timing or the amount of money that might be earmarked.

TransFICC and SoftSolutions! launch cloud-based trading service; The new service by TransFICC and SoftSolutions! offers users connectivity to multiple fixed income trading venues.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Fixed income and derivatives venue connectivity specialist TransFICC has partnered with trading technology provider SoftSolutions! to deliver a cloud-based trading service. Through the partnership, the cloud hosted trading service will offer users connectivity to multiple fixed income trading venues.

Aquis Exchange reshuffles leadership team post-Brexit; David Stevens joins Aquis as chief revenue officer based in London as financial and operations chief, Jonathan Clelland, moves to Paris as chief of Aquis Europe.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
European equities exchange Aquis Exchange has reshuffled its leadership team to reflect its new structure post-Brexit. Under the changes, chief financial and operations officer at Aquis Exchange, Jonathan Clelland, will now be based in Paris and has been appointed chief executive officer of Aquis Exchange Europe in addition to his other roles.

The Rise and Rise of the FX Liquidity Manager
Colin Lambert. – The FullFX
Geoff Jones, founder of GJJC Ltd an e-FX Consultancy, looks at the changing world of the FX liquidity manager, and offers insights into what the next generation should be looking out for.

Wellness Exchange

Radical transparency will help vaccinate the world; ‘A database of vaccine orders would enable policymakers to address imbalances in supply and price more easily’
Gillian Tett – FT
How can we create a fairer global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines? That issue has sparked anguished debate recently as some countries, such as the US, are nearing a surplus of vaccine stocks, and others, such as India, are desperate for help.

Taiwan sees a small outbreak, and its stock market plunges.
Cao Li – NY Times
Growing concerns in Taiwan about a small but worsening coronavirus outbreak drove a sharp intraday plunge in its stock market on Wednesday, as investors worried about new government restrictions on businesses in a place that has largely escaped the pandemic.

Mixing Astra and Pfizer Shots Triggers More Fatigue, Headaches
Marthe Fourcade and Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Oxford study investigates mixed Covid-19 vaccine regimens; Too early to know how well combination protects from virus
Mixing doses of two leading Covid-19 vaccines increased patients’ side effects such as fatigue and headaches in early findings from a study that has yet to show how well such a cocktail defends against the virus.

Top scientists question the need for COVID-19 booster shots
Julie Steenhuysen, Kate Kelland – Reuters
COVID-19 vaccine developers are making ever bolder assertions that the world will need yearly booster shots, or new vaccines to tackle concerning coronavirus variants, but some scientists question when, or whether, such shots will be needed.

Outbreak of Just 23 Cases Sees Rush on Vaccines in Taiwan
Samson Ellis – Bloomberg
Initial takeup slow over concerns about Astra shots’ safety; Taiwan has been a global success story in containing virus
A rising number of Covid-19 infections is prompting thousands of members of the hesitant Taiwanese public to get vaccinated. A record 11,018 people received vaccinations on Wednesday, as an increase in daily infections threatens to shatter Taiwan’s status as one of the world’s biggest success stories in containing the pandemic. Two consecutive days of record local cases this week, seven on Tuesday and 16 on Wednesday, prompted the government to reimpose restrictions on large gatherings for the first time since last summer.

Blood Expert Says He Found Why Some Covid-19 Vaccines Trigger Rare Clots; A scientist in Germany thinks he has found an answer as researchers around world examine AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson shots
Bojan Pancevski – WSJ
Scientists world-wide are racing to understand why Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca AZN 0.74% PLC and Johnson & Johnson JNJ -0.40% are causing rare but potentially deadly blood clots.

Get a vaccine, win $1m: Ohio offers lottery to beat vaccine hesitancy; The scheme is one of several unusual incentives across the US, including scholarships, bonds and beer
Maanvi Singh – The Guardian
To those who are still hesitant to get the coronavirus vaccine, Ohio’s governor is asking: would you do it for a million bucks? Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that over the next five weeks, the state will draw the names of five people from its ledger of residents who have received at least one jab, and award them $1m each. The lottery scheme will be funded by federal coronavirus relief funds, DeWine said during a televised address.

Vaccine Hesitancy Rose in EU After Pause in AstraZeneca Shots
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
Eurofound survey finds 34% hesitancy after March suspension; Findings reflect a communication failure, researcher says
Vaccine hesitancy increased in the European Union after the suspension of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine, with more than a third of adults in the bloc indicating they were unlikely to get immunized from Covid-19. After several EU countries suspended use of Astra’s shot in mid March, 34% of respondents to an online survey by Eurofound said they were hesitant to take the vaccine. Before the pause, 25% said they were “rather unlikely” or “very unlikely” to get it.

Seychelles, World’s Most Vaccinated Nation, Says Covid Cases Easing
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
Seychelles, which has vaccinated a greater proportion of its population against Covid-19 than any other nation, said a surge in cases of the disease is easing.

Teen Vaccine Drive Turns to Schools, Doctors to Get Shots Out
Riley Griffin – Bloomberg
Pfizer shot’s approval for adolescents changes the strategy; Family-oriented push could help reach both children and adults
As the U.S. launches a campaign to vaccinate teens against Covid-19, public-health officials are leaping into action on a new strategy designed to involve family doctors, pediatricians and schools.

How mRNA became a vaccine game-changer; The molecule behind the Pfizer and Moderna jabs has turned the Covid tide. Can it revolutionise medicine?
David Crow – FT
Not for the first time, Katalin Kariko was trying to convince a sceptic to take her scientific discoveries seriously. It was 2004, and she had spent about 15 years investigating messenger RNA, the genetic material that acts as a kind of courier in the human body, transporting recipes from our DNA to the part of the cell that produces proteins.

Roche chief compares waiving vaccine patents to East German nationalisation; Severin Schwan believes proposal is ‘counterproductive’ and will not solve supply shortages
Hannah Kuchler and Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
Roche chief executive Severin Schwan has warned that waiving Covid-19 vaccine patents would be a “catastrophe” comparable to East Germany’s nationalisation of drugmakers.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group Announces Record Copper Options Volume on May 10
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that a record 25,010 Copper options contracts were traded on May 10, 2021, surpassing the previous record of 16,029 contracts set on November 7, 2019.

SONIA futures trading volumes on the rise!
Sometimes I sit down to write these blogs and I have to think long and hard about the message I want to share. Other times, such as this, the ideas and sheer number of exciting things I could talk about means I need to really edit down my post (really – who wants to read 3000 words from yours truly?!).

New German 30-year Green Bond eligible at Eurex Repo
The German Federal Government yesterday, 11 May, issued a EUR 6bn 30-year Green Bond for the first time. The new bond will be eligible in Eurex Repo’s markets, including in the Green Bond GC Basket, as well as eligible for margin collateral at Eurex Clearing. This latest bond issued by the German Finance Agency shows the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving climate neutrality. Bookrunners report that the issuance was met with a positive response and healthy demand from investors.

Trading and listing activity is at its highest level in 15 years: TMX CEO John McKenzie
John McKenzie, CEO of TMX Group says Q1 trading volumes have peaked as high as 48 per cent over the last quarter. He says billions in new money driving innovation sector listings like crypto ETF’s comes from a record number of retail traders flooding into the market who now have more access than ever before, via apps.

Euronext announces the success of its approximately EUR1.8 billion rights offer as part of the financing of the acquisition of the Borsa Italiana Group
Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today announces the success of its rights offer (the “Offer”) which was launched on 29 April 2021, concurrently with the completion of the acquisition of Borsa Italiana Group (the “Transaction”).

Euronext publishes its detailed dividend payment schedule for 2021
In line with the dividend distribution policy of Euronext, it is proposed to distribute 50% of 2020 reported net profit. As a consequence and following approval of shareholders received at the Company’s Annual General Meeting held on 11 May 2021, the annual gross dividend on the 2020 results to be paid in 2021 amounts to EUR157.7 million, corresponding to a dividend per share of EUR1.47 (based on the total number of shares following the rights issue1).

Welcome to StoneX , the latest firm to become a member of London Stock Exchange and Turquoise
We are delighted to welcome StoneX, the latest firm to become a member of London Stock Exchange and Turquoise. Through its membership, StoneX and its clients will be able to benefit from access to LSEG’s deep, international pool of liquidity and innovative trading services.

New senior management appointments; Strengthening the management team for future growth
Aquis Exchange PLC
Aquis Exchange PLC (AQX.L), the exchange services company, has made a series of management changes to better reflect its post-Brexit structure, as well as its future growth and expansion plans for both its London and Paris offices. David Stevens joined Aquis this month in the newly-created role of Chief Revenue Officer. David, who will be based in London, will oversee the sales and client servicing activities across all geographies and across a number of Aquis’ revenue streams – Aquis Exchange, Aquis Stock Exchange and data. Prior to joining Aquis, David was CEO of foreign exchange broker Global Reach Group. Previous roles also include senior positions at Investment Technology Group, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

MEMX appoints head of market structure as it grabs market share; Adrian Griffiths joins MEMX as head of market structure after the new US equities exchange increased its market share significantly last month.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US equities exchange MEMX has hired the assistant general counsel at rival markets operator Cboe as head of market structure after gaining market share throughout April.

TMX Group Announces Election of Directors
TMX Group today announced that the nominees listed in the management proxy circular for the 2021 Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders were elected as directors of TMX Group Limited. Detailed results of the vote for the election of directors held at the Virtual Annual and Special Meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 are set out below.

ICE Mortgage Technology Borrower and Lender Survey Shows Momentous Surge in Technology Adoption; Record volume during pandemic shifts industry to increased digital mortgage focus
Intercontinental Exchange
ICE Mortgage Technology™, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today shared that this past year borrowers took advantage of historically low interest rates and the mortgage industry embraced digital mortgages more than ever before. According to ICE Mortgage Technology’s™ latest Borrower and Lender Insights Survey, the pandemic has permanently changed the way consumers utilize technology and those looking to buy or refinance a home are seeking lenders who offer online tools to complete their mortgage loans from home.

CME Globex Notices: May 10, 2021
CME Group
Critical System Updates
GLink Network Infrastructure Rebalance at Aurora Co-Location Facility – May 22
iLink 3 SBE Schema Update – May 14
Update – CME Globex Performance Enhancements – Starting June 6 UPDATE
New – Launch of AIR TRF Funding Values on CME Data Insights: Settlements and Valuations – June 6 NEW
New – Future Spreads Launching on CME Smart Stream on GCP JSON – June 6 NEW
New – CME FX Link Enhancements: New Zealand Dollar/US Dollar Spot FX Impact – June 27 NEW

CME STP Notices: May 13, 2021
CME Group
CME STP FIXML API Connectivity Documentation
BrokerTec Production Service Availability
New – Changes to New Release and Certification Maintenance Window for CME STP – April 28 NEW
Enhancements to Settlement Trade ID for CME STP – May 23
Enhancement to Security Sub Type for Exercise and Assignments on Options – June 6

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Adjusted Interest Rate FTSE® 100 Total Return Declared Dividend Index Futures Contract – Effective June 07, 2021
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Adjusted Interest Rate FTSE® 100 Total Return Declared Dividend Index Futures Contract.

JPX Monthly Headlines – April 2021
JPX group companies undertake various initiatives and disseminate information with the aim of providing the most attractive markets to all users. Every month, we showcase the highlights of these efforts in short and concise summaries just for you.


Symphony new CEO Brad Levy on how 100-hour weeks at Goldman set him apart; The tech firm’s incoming CEO has big plans for ‘Symphony volume two’ that include an SMS tracking tool, a return to the office – and a major shopping spree
Lucy McNulty – Financial news
Brad Levy has big changes planned for Symphony, the $1.4bn financial communications provider he is soon to take over. With a goal to turn the firm into the Amazon for financial services and “a verb” in the industry, he will be going on a major shopping spree over the next two years.

Refinitiv Planning Small Lots Move on Matching
Colin Lambert. – The FullFX
The Full FX understands that Refinitiv is planning new small lot instruments in three currency pairs, including Cable, one of its core markets. According to a technical notice seen by The Full FX the new contracts, in EUR/USD, USD/JPY and Cable, will be available in tenth pip precision and support minimum trade sizes of 100,000 units. The new instruments will only be supported on later versions of the Refinitiv FX Trading (FXT) platform and have been given different RIC codes to differentiate them from the standard one million minimum size lot sizes on the platform.

New generation of digital banks bets on minority markets
Anna Irrera, Maria Caspani – Reuters
After a doctor’s visit, three court appearances, five trips to the bank and having her name and address published in a newspaper, Billie Simmons finally got a debit card with her chosen name.

Sydney-based Morrison Securities turns to Eventus Systems for trade surveillance;
Continued uptake of Validus platform in Asia-Pacific region as Eventus signs first Australian client
Eventus Systems, Inc.
Eventus Systems, Inc., a leading global provider of multi-asset class trade surveillance and market risk solutions, announced today that Sydney-based Morrison Securities, a major Australian stock brokerage firm, will deploy its Validus platform for trade surveillance in equities, equity options and warrants. Morrison is the number one broker in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) equity derivatives market by volume and value and a leading provider of execution and clearing services to Australia Financial Services Licence (AFSL) holders.

Archegos, Trade Repositories and Initial Margin
Amir Khwaja – Clarus Financial Technology
Amongst the many questions that standout from the huge losses suffered by prime brokers in closing out the positions of Archegos Capital Management, the two that interest me most are the first lack of transparency of the derivatives (total return swaps) used for these positions and second the in-adequate risk management by the prime brokers.

Bloomberg adds pre-trade analytics tool Katana to Terminal; Pre-trade analytics tool Katana identifies relative value opportunities for bond market dealers and asset managers is now live on Bloomberg’s App Portal.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Bloomberg has added the pre-trade analytics tool by ING’s Katana to its App Portal to improve insights for bond market dealers and asset managers. Users of the Bloomberg Terminal can access the app and identify relative value opportunities generated by Katana’s proprietary machine learning technology.


Cyber risk management startup VisibleRisk secures $25M
Kyle Wiggers – VentureBeat
VisibleRisk, a joint venture between Moody’s Investors Service and VC firm Team8, today announced that it raised $25 million for its cyber risk evaluation platform. The proceeds — which come as VisibleRisk launches a new risk assessment service, Cyber Rating — will be used to expand the company’s workforce well into this year.

Biden signs executive order to strengthen US cyber security; Move comes after several high-profile hacks, including attack on crucial fuel pipeline
Hannah Murphy – FT
Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday in an attempt to bolster US cyber security defences, after a number of devastating hacks including the Colonial pipeline attack revealed vulnerabilities across business and government.

U.S. Pipeline Watchdog Rebuffed Call for Cybersecurity Rules
Ari Natter – Bloomberg
The federal agency charged with protecting the nation’s pipelines hasn’t imposed any mandatory cybersecurity requirements since its creation in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — despite dire warnings from the intelligence community about vulnerability to hackers.
Instead, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Pipeline Security Branch, which oversees nearly three million miles of pipelines, has relied on voluntary best practices and self-reporting by the industry to secure the operations. Those measures have alarmed pipeline safety advocates and been criticized as inadequate by government regulators and lawmakers.


Facebook-Backed Digital Currency Project Revamps to Address U.S. Regulators’ Concerns; Dollar-backed Diem will be based in the U.S., take steps to address money-laundering qualms
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
A Facebook Inc. FB -1.30% -backed digital currency project is being revamped in a bid to address concerns among U.S. officials that it could be used for money laundering and other illicit purposes.

Tether’s First Reserve Breakdown Shows Token 49% Backed by Unspecified Commercial Paper
Nikhilesh De, Marc Hochstein – Coindesk
Tether revealed the breakdown of its reserves for the first time, casting another sliver of light on the backing of USDT, the largest cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar. Much remains murky, however, in part because the pie charts provided by Tether on Thursday make no mention of any independent review by an accounting firm. Moore Cayman, an audit firm in the Caribbean with five employees, has published two reports this year attesting that USDT is fully backed. But the auditor (part of the Moore Global confederation of accounting and consulting firms) did not detail what exactly is backing the token.

Overnight Crypto Sensation Sets Out to Undo Internet’s Failings
Matthew Leising and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Internet Computer tokens jumped beyond $45 billion after debut; Protocol seeks to take on Ethereum, Polkadot, Binance Chain
The cryptocurrency that shot to a more than $45 billion valuation since it began trading on Monday could be just the tip of the iceberg for a new type of blockchain that hopes to remake how people interact with the world wide web. While the surge in the value attracted headlines, the Internet Computer project run by the Dfinity Foundation and its founder Dominic Williams has actually been in development for several years. The goal is twofold — to improve the slow pace of most blockchain technology and remove gatekeepers like Amazon Web Services as the centralized, for-profit entities that both blockchain and websites rely on. The token, dubbed Internet Computer Price, or ICP, allows holders to govern the network.

Digital Assets, Distributed Ledger Technology, and the Future of Capital Markets
This report highlights the results of a series of virtual global workshops and expert interviews held with financial services and technology experts in 2020. It looks at the urgent need for digital transformation in capital markets, with a view to providing strategic insights that will improve client service delivery, achieve greater efficiency and enable new services. As well as exploring the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) – now going live in many institutions – and its role in future capital markets, it examines the challenges involved in attempting industry-wide transformation and presents a framework for different approaches to DLT solutions. Finally, it presents a use case analysis of seven asset classes/product lines, including equity markets, securitized products, derivatives and securities financing.

Tether reveals a breakdown of its reserves for first time since 2014 launch
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Stablecoin issuer Tether, for the first time since its launch in 2014, has revealed a breakdown of its reserves. The breakdown, shared with The Block on Thursday, is dated as of March 31, 2021. It shows that Tether held nearly 76% of its reserves in cash and cash equivalents and other short-term deposits and commercial paper.

Digital coin ether hits record high as 2021 gains near 500%
Ritvik Carvalho, Gertrude Chavez-dreyfuss – Reuters
Cryptocurrency ether hit another record high on Wednesday, taking gains this year to close to 500% on the back of growing interest in decentralized finance applications and increasing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.

Hong Kong Looks to Expand Cross-Border Tests of Digital Yuan
Bloomberg News
Hong Kong is in talks with China to expand cross-border testing of the digital yuan after the first phase proceeded smoothly, another step toward wider adoption of the currency. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority recently conducted tests with the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China, involving a bank designated by the mainland authority, as well as merchants and bank staff, the HKMA said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Ethereum Luminary Makes $1 Billion Covid-19 Gift—in Shiba Inu Coin; Alternative cryptocurrency used in India aid contribution is piggybacking off popularity of dogecoin
Caitlin Ostroff and Paul Vigna – WSJ
Vitalik Buterin, co-creator of the crypto network Ethereum, donated more than $1 billion on Wednesday to a relief fund to combat the spread of Covid-19 in India. At least, it was $1 billion when he made the donation—in a cryptocurrency that few had heard of and whose value plunged right after news of the donation spread.

‘So Many Locked Out’: Binance Users Say Their Accounts Have Been Frozen for Months
Colin Harper – Coindesk
Binance Global exchange halted withdrawals Monday in a “temporary suspension” that affects all its users, as did other exchanges such as Coinbase. It’s not uncommon for exchanges to have downtime or freeze withdrawals at times of hot market activity. But since at least late 2020 Binance users from the U.S. and around the globe have had their accounts frozen for unconventional reasons.

Former BitMEX Executives to Face Trial in March 2022
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Three former executives of crypto derivatives trading platform BitMEX will face trial in the U.S. next spring. A date of March 28, 2022, was set by New York District Judge John Koeltl, according to documents filed May 11. Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, and Samuel Reed were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in October 2020 with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and conspiracy to violate the act, followed shortly after by the arrest of former CTO Reed. Former CEO Hayes gave himself up in Hawaii in April, following the surrender of co-founder Delo a month earlier.

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty adjusts to a new high with the biggest increase since 2014
Wolfie Zhao – The Block
Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, a measure of the network’s security and how hard it is to compete for block rewards, has just adjusted to a new high. Data sources from BTC.com and Poolin show that bitcoin’s mining difficulty adjusted to 25.05 Trillion around 9:00 UTC on Thursday at block height 683,424 with a 21.53% jump over the last record, which is also the largest single percentage increase since July 2014. Bitcoin’s mining difficulty is designed to adjust itself every 2,016 blocks based on the average block production intervals throughout the period, which typically lasts for 14 days.

Cowen to Offer Crypto Custody to Hedge Funds and Asset Managers
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
It promises ‘institutional-grade’ custody in new partnership; Wall Street is warming up to holding clients’ cryptocurrency
Century-old investment bank Cowen Inc. says it will hold cryptocurrencies for hedge funds and asset managers, a service that many Wall Street stalwarts were long reluctant to offer even as they rushed to cash in on their clients’ interest in the hot asset class.

A Glimpse Into the Crypto ETF Future
Eric Balchunas and Joel Weber – Bloomberg
While the Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to approve a crypto exchange-traded fund, similar products are proliferating abroad. These exchange-traded products offer a potential sneak peek of what may eventually come to pass in the U.S.

Stablecoin strife: crypto assets face calls for tougher oversight; Concerns over disclosure standards and consumer protections as market expands rapidly
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – FT
The stablecoin market, a crucial link between crypto and traditional currencies, is facing calls for tougher oversight, with regulations on both sides of the Atlantic lagging behind the rapid growth in digital assets.

Facebook-backed digital currency project narrows focus to US; Group abandons Swiss licence application in scaling back of global ambitions
Hannah Murphy – FT
The Facebook-led digital currency project Diem is shifting its operations to the US and will partner with a domestic bank to issue a US-dollar backed stablecoin, in a big downgrade from its initial global vision.

Crypto’s prime time prompts watchdog’s glare; International co-ordination will be vital as an asset class comes of age
The editorial board – FT
“But what is dogecoin?” Elon Musk, the self-avowed “technoking” and founder of Tesla, was asked repeatedly to comic effect during his cameo on Saturday Night Live last week. American comedy shows are not the only ones having a hard time defining what crypto assets are. Dogecoin is perhaps their most bizarre manifestation: starting as a gimmick, its value has surged more than 10,000 per cent in the past year, only to plummet by more than 30 per cent while Musk, an enthusiastic proponent, was on air joking it was a “hustle”.


Samantha Power wants to restore U.S. prestige by getting American-made vaccines ‘into arms’ around the world
Karen DeYoung – Washington Post
Late last fall, as Joe Biden prepared to take office and act on his promise to restore America’s global leadership, Samantha Power had something to say. It was all well and good for Biden to declare “America is back.” But nothing would prove it more, after four years of Donald Trump, than a show of sheer American competence.

Yang sits atop mayoral field vying to revive a battered New York City
Joseph Ax – Reuters
Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate and now New York City mayoral hopeful, bounded into a liquor store this week and listened as its owner shared how the business had suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Will Biden’s IRS Be Coming After You? Most taxpayers needn’t obsess about a White House plan to toughen enforcement. Here are the big exceptions.
Alexis Leondis – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden wants to give the Internal Revenue Service sharper teeth. He’s proposed increasing the agency’s funding by almost 70% so it can better police tax avoidance and evasion. The focus is supposed to be on wealthy taxpayers and corporations, since they’re the ones who account for the majority of tax misconduct, but what does that mean exactly? Who should be on notice?

David Cameron’s Payday Preceded Greensill Capital’s Collapse; The former U.K. prime minister made several million dollars as an adviser to Greensill. He is now the subject of a government review into his role.
Julie Steinberg, Duncan Mavin and Max Colchester – WSJ
Former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron was looking for his next act after leaving office in the shadow of the Brexit vote in 2016. He found it in Greensill Capital. He jetted around the world on the specialty finance firm’s private aircraft, lobbying corporate executives and government officials. He earned an annual salary, bonus and cashed out stock options in 2019, bringing him several millions of dollars in total, said people familiar with his compensation.

Roberta Kaplan Builds Progressive Firm Suing Trump, Defending Wall Street; A hero to liberals for helping to legalize same-sex marriage, Kaplan is now leading New York’s hottest law firm with a focus on suing Trump while taking on Wall Street — as clients.
Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Already a progressive hero for a landmark Supreme Court victory for same-sex couples, New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan only cemented that reputation in recent years with lawsuits against White supremacists and Donald Trump.

How India’s Covid-19 crisis diminished Narendra Modi; Many Indians feel abandoned by a leader who ignored signs of a second wave and appears indifferent to their plight
Amy Kazmin, Benjamin Parkin and Jyotsna Singh – FT
Anarya is haunted by her father’s last request as he lay dying in an Indian government Covid hospital, where doctors struggle with a deluge of critical patients. “The last clear words I heard from him were, ‘Get me some help. Get someone to attend to me’,” the 30-year-old art educator, who uses only one name, recalls.


SEC Charges Broker-Dealer for Failures Related to Filing Suspicious Activity Reports
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against GWFS Equities Inc. (GWFS), a Colorado-based registered broker-dealer and affiliate of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, for violating the federal securities laws governing the filing of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). GWFS provides services to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Two Individuals Charged For Their Roles In Massive Cattle Ponzi Scheme – Defendants Raised More Than $650 Million From Investors, Who Lost Tens Of Millions Of Dollars
US Department Of Justice
A federal grand jury in Colorado returned an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday charging an Illinois woman and a Georgia man with running a Ponzi scheme that raised approximately $650 million from investors across the country. According to court documents, Reva Joyce Stachniw, 69, of Galesburg, Illinois, and Ron Throgmartin, 57, of Buford, Georgia, were charged with running a Ponzi scheme, along with a third co-conspirator, Mark Ray, from late 2017 until early 2019. Ray was previously charged by criminal information for his role in the Ponzi scheme in the Central District of Illinois in February 2020.

SIFMA Recommends a Full Market Close on May 31 in the U.K. in Observance of the U.K. Spring Bank and U.S. Memorial Day Holidays
SIFMA has confirmed its previous recommendation for a full market close on Monday, May 31 for the trading of U.S. dollar-denominated fixed income securities in the U.K. in observance of the U.K. Spring Bank and U.S. Memorial Day holidays.

Italy fines Google for excluding Enel e-car app from Android Auto
Reuters Staff
Italy’s competition regulator has fined Google 102 million euros ($123 million) for excluding an e-mobility app developed by Enel from the U.S. tech giant’s Android system.

FINRA Announces Resumption of In-Person Arbitration Hearings
Steven M. Phillips of Jackson Lewis P.C. via the National Law Review
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution Services has announced it will reopen the majority of its 69 hearing locations across the United States and Puerto Rico for in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings beginning July 5, 2021.

German Regulator Orders Digital Bank N26 to Improve Money-Laundering Controls; BaFin is appointing monitor to check implementation at the digital financial firm, which operates in 25 markets
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
Germany’s financial regulator has told N26 Bank GmbH, a hot digital startup with operations in Europe and the U.S., to implement proper controls to prevent money laundering, taking the unusual step of appointing a special monitor to watch over the process.

Access to cash FCA and PSR joint statement
Access to cash and banking services remain vital for many consumers and businesses. Our Financial Lives Survey in 2020 found that 5 million adults use cash for most of their purchases. The pandemic has led to more people becoming familiar with contactless card payments and internet shopping.

The FCA and the Bank of England encourage market participants in a switch to SONIA in the sterling exchange traded derivatives market from 17 June
Following close engagement with market participants, the FCA and Bank of England support and encourage market users and liquidity providers in the sterling exchange traded derivatives market to switch the default traded instrument to SONIA instead of LIBOR from 17 June this year. This is to facilitate a further shift in market liquidity toward SONIA, bringing benefits for a wide range of users as they move away from LIBOR.

Scam alert: Self-managed super fund rollover
ASIC is aware of scams targeting Australians to establish self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs);People are cold called or emailed and asked to transfer funds from an existing super account to a new SMSF. The super balances are instead transferred to bank accounts controlled by scammers;Be wary of being cold called or contacted from people promoting SMSFs, particularly with promises of high returns
Examples of how SMSF rollover scams work
ASIC is aware of scammers persuading investors to establish an SMSF fund and transfer their superannuation balances.

FINRA Shares Practices Firms Use to Protect Customers From Online Account Takeover Attempts
FINRA has received an increasing number of reports regarding customer account takeover (ATO) incidents, which involve bad actors using compromised customer information, such as login credentials (i.e., username and password), to gain unauthorized entry to customers’ online brokerage accounts.

Proposed Rule Change to Clarify Rule 1011(p) (Specified Risk Event)
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rule 1011(p) (“specified risk event”), to correct an inadvertent drafting error and clarify the “final regulatory actions” that are included in the “specified risk event” definition for purposes of the Rule 1000 Series (Member Application and Associated Person Registration). Rule 1011(p) was among the rules approved in File No. SR-FINRA-2020-011.

Investing and Trading

Bill Gross’s Successor to Quit at 44 and Hit the Road With Kids
Vivien Lou Chen – Bloomberg
‘The pandemic has caused everybody to sort of reevaluate’; Time for cross-country trips while children ‘still like me’
At just 44, Nick Maroutsos has one of the most elite jobs in money management: the head of global bonds at Janus Henderson Investors, a firm that oversees some $400 billion. But he’s walking away from it in October to consider his second act and hit the road for cross-country trips with his young children while — as he put it — “they still like me.”

Once-Doomed Hertz Rebounded So Much Even Redditors Were Right
Katherine Doherty and David Welch – Bloomberg
Renter got boost from economic recovery, used car value surge; Stock holders set to recover $8 in cash, warrants for holdings
During the depths of the pandemic, it wasn’t even clear that Hertz Global Holdings Inc. would be around today, renting out cars. It is, and the surprises don’t stop there.

New Jersey Pension Investment Chief Leaves $77 Billion Post
Kelsey Butler – Bloomberg
Amon heads for CIO job at National Rural Electric Cooperative; Head of retirement fund plans to depart in early June
Corey Amon, who manages investments for New Jersey’s $77 billion pension fund, is leaving his post, according to state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. Amon resigned on Tuesday for a new opportunity, with his departure taking effect June 4, Muoio said in an emailed statement. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said in a separate statement that Amon is joining as its new chief investment officer, overseeing $25 billion in assets across three benefit plans. Amon is succeeding John Szczur, who is retiring.

The Era of Big Fiscal Spending Has Only Just Begun; Australia is predicting budget deficits for years to come as it musters resources to fight Covid. Its approach is a warning to the world.
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
Australia is fortifying the economy with huge government spending that will last well beyond this year’s projected global rebound. With Covid-19 infections resurgent in Asia, prompting fresh curbs on activity, it’s time to shift our thinking about the longevity of big-ticket stimulus. This isn’t going to be a one-shot deal.

Flow Traders opens Paris office under EMEA expansion; The new Paris office will become the fourth location in EMEA for Flow Traders, alongside its Amsterdam, London and Milan offices.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Market maker Flow Traders has confirmed plans to open a new Paris office as part of its continued expansion into Europe. Flow Traders has appointed Pierre-Antoine Jaunatre to head up the day-to-day operations of the new Paris office, reporting into the team in Amsterdam.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Bermuda Stock Exchange Joins United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative As Partner Exchange
The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) has announced that it has joined the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative as a Partner Exchange.

Exclusive: Fed privately presses big banks on risks from climate change
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
The U.S. Federal Reserve has asked lenders to start providing information on the measures they are taking to mitigate climate change-related risks to their balance sheets, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

U.S. West Facing White-Knuckle Summer With Power in Short Supply; Blackouts are possible from Washington to New Mexico as heat and drought force states to compete for electricity
Naureen S Malik, David R Baker, and Mark Chediak – Bloomberg
First they struck California, then Texas. Now blackouts are threatening the entire U.S. West as nearly a dozen states head into summer with too little electricity.

How Wind and Solar Power Got the Best of the Pandemic; Renewables were the only growth sector in all of energy during 2020
Nathaniel Bullard – Bloomberg
Global recessions, wars, and (yes) pandemics have a way of driving down energy demand. Last year, the International Energy Agency said the collapse in global primary energy demand brought on by Covid-19 was the biggest drop since the end of World War II, itself the biggest drop since the influenza pandemic after World War I.

Startup That Rates Carbon Offsets Finds Almost Half Fall Short; Out of 35 projects analyzed by Sylvera, at least three received a junk rating
Will Mathis and Ivan Levingston – Bloomberg
Sylvera Ltd, a London-based startup that uses satellite imagery to try and bring more transparency to the murky world of carbon offsets, raised $7.8 million to expand its business.

Swiss private banks at odds with clients over ESG; Many wealthy individuals remain sceptical when it comes to changing the world with their money
Sam Jones – FT
Switzerland used to be a place where the rich came with their money to escape the world’s problems, not to confront them. These days, the private banks that dot the pristine streets of Zurich and Geneva are no exception when it comes to the wave of enthusiasm that has broken over the asset management world for better environmental, social and governance standards.


A Tiny Fund’s Assets Jump 1,700% This Year Thanks to Carbon Boom
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
KraneShares’s KRBN is one of fastest-growing ETFs in 2021; Prices for carbon futures soar amid heightened climate debate
This year’s surge in carbon prices has turned a little-known ETF into one of the fastest-growing products in the $6.2 trillion industry.

D1 founder Dan Sundheim, whose hedge fund was rocked by the WallStreetBets frenzy, says shorting isn’t ‘evil’ but that he’s changing up his approach
Bradley Saacks – Insider
Dan Sundheim is taking Gabe Plotkin’s advice. Sundheim, the billionaire founder of D1 Capital, which manages $20 billion, said at the Sohn Investment Conference Wednesday that his firm had changed its shorting strategy in response to the social-media-fueled trading frenzy that sent

Hedge funds bet on subscription-based businesses, pharmacy and copper
Maiya Keidan – Reuters
Hedge fund managers on Wednesday recommended buying stocks of companies they believe will benefit from the movement of many services online, even though society is expected to return to more human contact after the global coronavirus pandemic ends.

Citi sets sights on 1000 wealth hirings in Hong Kong
Scott Murdoch – Reuters
Citigroup has set a target to hire 1,000 wealth professionals in Hong Kong in the next five years, as it seeks to grow its Asian client assets under management by $150 billion following a record year, a statement from the U.S bank said.

Deals Are Still the Best Balm for What Ails Fund Managers; Europe’s asset managers know they need to consolidate. Once one pulls the trigger, the rest will have to move swiftly.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
News that Schroders Plc spent months debating a purchase of M&G Plc suggests the urge to merge remains strong among European fund managers. But the plan’s failure to ever reach formal talks shows that the drawbacks of combining investment firms are still a big deterrent to actually sealing a deal.

The SPAC King Is Doing Just Fine Even as the Bubble Starts to Burst; Chamath Palihapitiya—tech billionaire, Golden State Warriors co-owner, and all-around meme lord—has a sure-thing, 100%, can’t-miss investment for you that will definitely, absolutely pay off for him.
Zeke Faux – Bloomberg
One morning last October, as wildfires raged across Northern California, President Donald Trump convalesced from Covid-19, and Congress debated how big of a stimulus bill would be needed to rescue the economy, Chamath Palihapitiya went on TV to pitch investors on the latest stock he was taking public.

Hargreaves revenues rise on back of GameStop trading; UK’s largest trading platform’s clients made 6m share deals in first 4 months of 2021
Joshua Oliver – FT
Hargreaves Lansdown’s revenues rose by more than a fifth, bolstered by record share trading in the first four months of the year, as British retail investors joined the buzz of activity around US stocks including GameStop.


Russia’s Biggest Cut Diamond Fetches $14.1 Million at Christie’s
Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
The 100.94-carat Spectacle was found by Russian miner Alrosa; Gem took a year and eight months to prepare in Moscow
A flawless 100.94-carat colorless diamond that’s considered to be the biggest polished gem from Russia sold for 12.84 million Swiss francs ($14.1 million) at Christie’s in Geneva. The Spectacle, which was cut from a rough stone discovered by Alrosa PJSC at an alluvial mine in Russia’s Far East in 2016, took a year and eight months to prepare and polish in Moscow. The gem hammered at 10.9 million Swiss francs before auction house fees were applied. It was estimated at 12 million to 18 million Swiss francs, according to Christie’s website.

Danes Start Digging Up Dead Mink to Stem Contamination Risks
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Millions of mink culled to stem a coronavirus mutation will soon be exhumed in Denmark as the government tries to prevent the dead bodies from contaminating the surrounding area.

Can New York’s Next Mayor Fix the City’s Broken Property Tax System? Mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan may have flubbed a question about housing prices, but his answer had a kernel of truth: Expensive homes in Brooklyn really are assessed for a fraction of their value.
Kriston Capps – Bloomberg
Two candidates hoping to be New York City’s next mayor stepped in it this week by flubbing a question about the price of housing in Brooklyn in interviews with the New York Times editorial board. One of those candidates, Shaun Donovan, who guesstimated that the median sales price in Brooklyn is $100,000, is the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Working From Home for Some Threatens Mass Transit for All; Ridership rates remain low in major U.S. cities, threatening the viability of public transit.
Elise Young, Danielle Moran, and Michelle Kaske – Bloomberg
While President Joe Biden pushes for $2.3 trillion in infrastructure spending with billions for mass transit, operators of commuter rail and buses are fretting over a burgeoning work-from-home culture that threatens to depress revenue for years after the pandemic.

‘Hello, My Farmer Friends!’ Works Great on Rice Growers in Hubei; A maker of green pesticides learned how to benefit from social media influencers.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
How far have influencers on social media reached? All the way to the rice paddies of Zaoyang in China’s Hubei Province, where they managed to persuade rice growers to try a new environmentally friendly, nanotech-based pesticide.


Washington Post Names AP’s Sally Buzbee as New Top Editor
Gerry Smith – Bloomberg
Buzbee has been top editor of the Associated Press since 2017; Under Baron, Post newsroom grew to more than 1,000 journalists
The Washington Post named Sally Buzbee as its new executive editor, appointing a longtime Associated Press journalist — and the first woman — to lead its growing newsroom. Buzbee, 55, has been executive editor and senior vice president of the Associated Press since 2017. Before that, she served as the news agency’s Washington bureau chief from 2010 through 2016. She had also been the AP’s Middle East regional editor.

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