Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Longtime CBOE executive Phil Slocum passed away September 3 at the age of 69 from complications from appendiceal cancer. Slocum retired in 2017 after 42 years, his entire adult working career, at the exchange. Slocum was appointed in 2015 as the firm’s first chief risk officer.
Here is the recap of his career in his own words from his LinkedIn profile:
Phil Slocum joined the CBOE in 1975 as a management trainee and Trading Floor Price Reporter. During the 70’s and 80’s he coordinated trading floor, computer room and office expansion projects and the design and successful relocation of the CBOE to a new building. During the next decade Phil helped conceive and implement CBOE’s trading automation. During the 90’s he directed CBOE’s competitive efforts to win order flow commitments from member firms. In 1999 he became responsible for planning and directing all Exchange trading functions. As head of the Trading Operations Division, he was responsible for Trading Systems, Help Desk, Floor Operations, Market Data, Intermarket Linkage, Post Trade Processing and Telecommunications with a primary focus on the conception, rollout and enhancements of CBOE’s Hybrid trading system. In 2014 he facilitated negotiations with FINRA to transition most of the CBOE Regulatory Services staff and functions to FINRA. In 2015 he led CBOE’s acquisition of market data and analytics firm Livevol. Phil was President of the CBOE Livevol Board of Directors, a member of the CBOE PAC Board, a member of CBOE’s Financial Disclosure and Controls Committee and a Trustee of the CBOE Retirement Plan. In December 2015 CBOE appointed Phil to be its first Chief Risk Officer.
JLN wishes to offer our condolences to the Slocum family and his friends and former colleagues at the Cboe and the options industry.
Today Cboe Europe Derivatives launched with clearing provided by EuroCCP, Cboe’s pan-European clearing house. The first trades were successfully executed and cleared, Cboe reported. — Cboe
Silvana Davi, a high school senior and daughter of Silvia Davi, has penned a commentary “A Teenager’s Perspective & Message on 9/11- 20 Years Later: Reflect, Give Back & Never Forget.” The commentary helps tell the story of the charity Tuesday’s Children.
IOSCO has published a paper titled “Guidance For Intermediaries And Asset Managers Using Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning.” — IOSCO
Broadridge has hired Ted Bragg and Jim Kwiatkowski to join the LTX leadership team to help develop a “next generation” corporate bond trading platform. Bragg most recently served as vice president and head of fixed income at Nasdaq and Kwiatkowski most recently was managing director and global head of transaction sales at the London Stock Exchange. That is a nice talent onload by Broadridge. — Broadridge
Daniel Gorfine, former head of the CFTC’s LabCFTC, is looking to hire at his firm Gattaca Horizons LLC. He is looking for someone interested in fintech/financial services policy and is a strong and effective writer. — Gattaca Horizons LL
The Wall Street Journal reports American men are giving up on going to college and fallen behind as a record number of women head there. At the end of the 2020-21 school year, women made up an all-time high 59.5% of college students, while men were just 40.5%. Sounds like a good time to be a man at college, actually. — WSJ
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Postponing a Return to Office Gets Companies Nowhere; Covid’s delta wave has employers deciding to extend work-from-home arrangements again because of all the uncertainties. So why pick January for a return?
Justin Fox – Bloomberg
The planned autumn 2021 return to the office is being delayed. Until January, purportedly. That’s when Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google, Microsoft Corp. and some other major employers of knowledge workers now say they expect people back at their desks, 22 months after sending everybody home at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
***** Fox’s concluding line is: “But trying to wait out the pandemic seems to be a recipe for never going back to the office at all.”
How Office Culture Changed in the Pandemic—From Workers Who Went Back Ages Ago; Some employees have been toiling in cubicles for months while private offices sit empty; shifting rules and surprise doughnuts
Te-Ping Chen – WSJ
A year and a half into the pandemic, many workers have yet to return to offices. But plenty others have been coming in since the early days of Covid-19—and they have much to say about what to expect. Some workers returned because their job descriptions required it, others because their bosses feared company culture would erode if they didn’t. Some never left. Many say they have learned to live with constant uncertainty as they navigate shifting safety protocols, sudden quarantines and occasional outbreaks.
***** They had me at surprise doughnuts.~JJL
Toss the Clorox Wipes, Stock Up on Masks to Be Safe at Work; Doctors and researchers recommend masking up and eating outdoors, even for those who are vaccinated
Betsy Morris – WSJ
For workers heading back to offices this fall, avoiding the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 is likely at the top of their list of priorities. Delta spreads fast among those who are unvaccinated and unmasked, and it is also more transmissible among fully vaccinated people, according to the latest research. In May, half the students in an elementary class in Marin County, Calif., tested positive for the virus after exposure to an infected, unvaccinated teacher. The teacher reportedly took her mask off to read aloud to her students, according to a report published last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
***** It sounds like Ceres Cafe in the CBOT Building should install more tables outside on the Financial Place plaza.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was Traders Return With Trepidation to London’s Iconic Metals ‘Ring’ from Bloomberg. Second was Gensler’s brewing battle with Robinhood could prove bloody from the New York Post. Third was The Taliban invited The Telegraph to tea, and issued a chilling warning to the West, from The Telegraph.
26,612 pages; 235,762 edits
After the 9/11 Attacks, Wall Street Bolstered Its Defenses; While advances in technology have changed markets radically, some now worry cyberattacks pose a leading threat to trading operations
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The nearly weeklong stock-market shutdown that followed the Sept. 11 attacks seems unimaginable in today’s world of round-the-clock trading. During the past 20 years, advances in technology and broad efforts to bolster U.S. market infrastructure have made such outages rare. Last year, when the coronavirus pandemic led to plunging stock prices, record volumes and an abrupt shift to remote work on Wall Street, the stock market stayed open and its core systems operated largely glitch-free.
UK regulator calls for greater powers against risky crypto ventures; FCA chair singles out social media influencers as he says urgent action needed to protect consumers
Joshua Oliver – FT
UK consumers need to be protected from dubious crypto investments being promoted online, with vulnerable people at risk of jeopardising their financial futures, the Financial Conduct Authority’s chair has warned. Charles Randell, the FCA chair, said urgent action was needed to stop risky or fraudulent crypto investments from luring investors — including via social media influencers who “pump and dump” new coins.
Cboe and EuroCCP Debut New European Derivatives Market
Cboe Global Markets
Cboe Europe Derivatives launched on Monday 6 September with clearing provided by EuroCCP, Cboe’s pan-European clearing house; First trades successfully executed and cleared;
New exchange underscores Cboe’s growth as a global market infrastructure provider
Cboe Europe, the pan-European exchange operator and subsidiary of Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), today announced the successful launch of Cboe Europe Derivatives (‘CEDX’), a new Amsterdam-based futures and options marketplace.
CEDX opened for trading on Monday 6 September, offering futures and options based on Cboe Europe single country and pan-European indices, and successfully executed and cleared its first trades. Contracts traded on CEDX are cleared at EuroCCP, Cboe’s pan-European clearing house, allowing customers to benefit from efficiencies in trading and clearing.
London warned of risk of losing status as top financial centre; TheCityUK calls for tax and labour reforms to help compete with New York and Hong Kong
Daniel Thomas and Philip Stafford – FT
London’s position as a leading global financial centre is under threat without reforms to tax and labour rules alongside other policies to strengthen international trade links and expand into new markets, one of the City’s main lobby groups has warned.
China and Big Tech: Xi’s blueprint for a digital dictatorship; By controlling a huge volume of data, Beijing is conducting a grand experiment in 21st century authoritarian governance
James Kynge and Sun Yu – FT
When Elon Musk insisted in March that Tesla cars were not being used to spy on China, it was reported as a one-off interaction between the head of the world’s most valuable car company and the custodians of its fastest-growing market. “If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down,” Musk told a high-level conference in China via video link. Responding to the Chinese government’s ban on Tesla cars from entering military compounds, Musk insisted that the data collected by sensors fitted to Teslas was always handled confidentially.
Exclusive: SEC Chair Gensler eyes corporate disclosures to curb consolidation
Brian Cheung – Yahoo Finance
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler will lean on corporate disclosures as the Biden administration sets its eyes on curbing anti-competitive behavior. In a meeting of the newly-formed White House Competition Council set to take place later this week, Gensler will also emphasize the agency’s examination of the impact of revenue models like payment for order flows, a senior SEC official told Yahoo Finance.
Deals Spree Puts Banks on Track for Busiest Ever Year; In the first eight months of 2021, companies have announced deals worth more than $1.8 trillion in the U.S
Peter Rudegeair and David Benoit – WSJ
Takeovers are taking over. Corporations world-wide embarked on an unprecedented deal spree this year, emerging from the depths of the pandemic looking to bulk up and address the vulnerabilities it exposed. Simultaneously, buyout firms and blank-check companies have been deploying hundreds of billions of dollars at a feverish pace.
El Salvador’s dangerous gamble on bitcoin; Adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender risks economic stability and personal finances
The editorial board – FT
Is it cool to adopt cryptocurrency as legal tender? El Salvador thinks so. On Tuesday, the small Central American nation became the first in the world to adopt bitcoin as an official currency. Taxes may be paid in the cryptocurrency and merchants must accept it alongside the US dollar, the national currency since 2001, if they have the technology.
El Salvador Becomes First Country to Adopt Bitcoin as National Currency; Crypto advocates prepare for ‘B-Day’ as the government rolls out bitcoin ATMs, an e-wallet and stylish kiosks
Santiago Pérez – WSJ
Tuesday is B-day, or Bitcoin-day, in El Salvador. The tiny and impoverished Central American nation became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender on Tuesday, allowing Salvadorans to use the cryptocurrency to buy a cup of coffee, get a haircut or even pay taxes and home loans.
COVID Isn’t the Only Reason Travel Will Never Be the Same; This unpredictable weather is crowding cooler climes and making the planning of COVID-postponed getaways a crapshoot.
Winston Ross -Daily Beast
Tucked into a dramatic cape on the central Oregon coast, the Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast has for a quarter-century lured travelers to a setting rich with history and a nourishing eight-course meal each morning. Of late, the lighthouse has become a beacon away from a burning West.
Action on Climate Change Is Urged by Medical Journals in Unprecedented Plea; Rising temperatures threaten ‘catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse,’ editors of 220 journals from around the world say
Robert Lee Hotz -WSJ
Editors of 220 leading medical, nursing and public-health journals from around the world called for urgent action on climate change, in a joint editorial published on Sunday. The editorial, which appeared in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, warns that current efforts aren’t enough to address health problems resulting from rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Bank For International Settlements To Open Its Doors To Visitors For A Special Exhibition In The Autumn
The Bank for International Settlements, the world’s oldest international financial organisation, will open its doors to the public in October for a special exhibition marking its 90 years of promoting global monetary and financial stability. The BIS 90 Years exhibition and Open Week will showcase the Bank’s unique role in the global financial system, looking at its history since 1930 and with a particular focus on the BIS today and tomorrow.
Bitfinex Securities Ltd. Launches Regulated Investment Exchange
Bitfinex Securities Ltd.
Bitfinex Securities Ltd. a provider of blockchain-based investment products, has launched its regulated investment exchange in the AIFC (Bitfinex Securities), aiming at increasing accessibility to a large set of financial products for members who wish to diversify their portfolio.
China-to-Hong Kong travelers will no longer need quarantine
Travelers arriving in Hong Kong from China will no longer need to quarantine, Hong Kong’s top official said Tuesday, easing curbs imposed after summer outbreaks of the coronavirus on the mainland.
Israel’s Covid Surge Shows the World What’s Coming Next; The former leader on vaccines is now focusing on boosters to protect the vulnerable after cases rose to a record.
Daniel Avis – Bloomberg
Israel, once a front-runner in the global race to move on from Covid-19, is now one of the world’s biggest pandemic hot spots. The country that was once predicted to be the first to vaccinate its entire population had the highest per-capita caseload of anywhere in the week through Sept. 4, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Its world-beating inoculation rate, meanwhile, has tumbled down the league table.
Israel’s Rising Covid Cases Aren’t So Scary This Time; Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is betting that Covid booster shots will provide adequate immunity from serious illness.
Zev Chafets – Bloomberg
Israel has been the world’s laboratory during much of the Covid era. It was the first country to achieve mass inoculations, first to add a booster to the two-shot regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine and first to broaden inoculation to children who are 12 and over. By the start of the summer, it appeared to be on the way to becoming the first country to achieve herd immunity.
Getting a Covid-19 Vaccine Can Still Save Your Life; But many people won’t believe it without better data showing exactly how effective vaccines remain.
Cathy O’Neil – Bloomberg
The battle lines in the war on Covid-19 have been getting blurrier, as infections surge and studies offer changing and sometimes conflicting data on exactly how much protection vaccines provide. Amid the fog, we mustn’t lose sight of a crucial truth: Vaccines still work, and they’re still a miracle.
Hong Kong relaxes Covid quarantine rules for visitors from mainland China; Businesses welcome change in policy but some complain scheme is one-sided
Primrose Riordan and Tabby Kinder – FT
Hong Kong will allow people from mainland China to visit without having to face its quarantine procedures in the city’s first serious relaxation of its strict Covid-19 entry requirements for tourists.
Scepticism and fraud hamper Covid vaccine take-up rates in Romania and Bulgaria
Some doctors have reportedly been issuing jab certificates to unvaccinated people
Marton Dunai – FT
Vaccine scepticism is helping to keep Romania and Bulgaria’s Covid-19 vaccination rates the lowest in the EU, exposing the union’s poorest nations to higher risks amid a fourth wave of the pandemic fuelled by the contagious Delta coronavirus variant.
Venezuela’s government and opposition agree efforts to ease vaccine access; Fresh round of talks also yields joint statement on border dispute with Guyana
Gideon Long – FT
A fresh round of talks between Venezuela’s government and the US-backed opposition has yielded an agreement which could ease access to coronavirus vaccines as well as a common position on a border dispute with neighbouring Guyana.
Covid Live Updates: U.S. Surpasses 40 Million Cases
The milestone total was reached as a Delta-driven surge races through the unvaccinated population. Australia’s prime minister is facing a backlash for visiting his family in another state while most of the country is in lockdown.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Cboe collaborates with SmartStream for newly launched European derivatives exchange; SmartStream’s reference data utility (RDU) has made Cboe Europe’s data available to its clients following its launch on 6 September.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Cboe has collaborated with reference data utility (RDU), SmartStream Technologies, to expand the data coverage of its new European derivatives exchange which launched earlier this week. Through the collaboration, the RDU has made Cboe Europe’s data available to its clients via its Exchange Traded Derivative Service to ensure that all participants are familiarised with the processes needed to manage the new exchange’s data.
DTCC’S FICC Launches New Sponsored General Collateral Service As BNY Mellon, Federated Hermes And J.P. Morgan Securities Execute First Triparty Repo Trades
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced the launch of its Sponsored General Collateral (GC) Service, a new offering from its Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (FICC) subsidiary, and that the first trades have been executed by BNY Mellon, Federated Hermes and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC.
August 2021 monthly figures at Eurex
Notional outstanding volumes in interest rate swaps (IRS) jumped by 31 percent in August 2021 compared to the same month last year, from 7,740 billion EUR to 10,148 billion EUR. Across all instruments, total notional outstanding grew by 7 percent across the same period, from 19,266 billion EUR to 20,612 billion EUR. With respect to average daily cleared volumes, the figure for IRS was up by 96 percent year-on-year in August – growing from 9 billion EUR to 19 billion EUR – while the overall figure showed a small drop of 4 percent, from 72 billion EUR to 69 billion EUR.
DAX with ten new members; German leading index expanded to 40 members; Largest index reform in the history of the DAX completed; Changes come into force on September 20
Deutsche Börse Group
STOXX Ltd., Qontigo’s global index provider, today announced the new composition of the DAX index family. The German leading index DAX is increased to 40 values, which represents a significant development of the index and the German capital market. At the same time, the MDAX will be reduced from 60 to 50 members.
Clearstream is realigning its business portfolio after careful review of its strategic holdings
Deutsche Börse Group
Clearstream is selling its 50 percent stake in the European trade repository REGIS-TR to its joint venture partner Iberclear, part of SIX, which takes full control of the company. The decision to sell was made as part of the ongoing strategic review of Clearstream’s business portfolio. In line with the Compass 2023 strategy, future strategic efforts will focus on expanding the custody business and further strengthening the company’s leadership position in fund services.
ICE and ADP Introduce Workforce Demographics Data for Municipal Bond Investors; Provide deeper insights into U.S. Municipal Bond issuers
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.(NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, and ADP (NASDAQ: ADP), a leading global technology company providing human capital management (HCM) solutions, today announced the launch of a new data service that helps investors better understand and assess the economic stability and creditworthiness of fixed income issuers in the U.S. municipal bond market.
Quarterly MWCB Testing – September 11, 2021
As previously announced, the Securities Information Processors (SIPs) will conduct industry testing of Market-Wide Circuit Breaker (MWCB) Levels 1, 2 and 3 on Saturday, September 11, 2021, from 8:30am – 11:15am ET. NYSE, NYSE American Equities, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Chicago, and NYSE National will participate in the test from their primary data sites in Mahwah. Please click here for details.
Status and Conclusion of Acquisition of Own Shares
TP ICAP’s Liquidnet expands bond electronification with new primary markets offering; The new offering will provide an electronified debt capital markets (DCM) workflow for new issue announcements alongside a new protocol for trading new issues at Liquidnet.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Liquidnet, TP ICAP’s institutional trading network, has launched a new primary markets offering aimed at delivering end-to-end electronification of a bond’s trading lifecycle. The new offering will provide an electronified debt capital markets (DCM) workflow for new issue announcements alongside a new protocol for trading new issues for users at Liquidnet.
BMO partners with start-up to deploy AI for derivatives structured note pricing; The partnership between BMO and Riskfuel Analytics builds on a previous pilot project where the pair also developed a solution to speed up autocallable notes.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
BMO Financial Group and Toronto-based start-up Riskfuel Analytics have partnered to improve pricing and scenario analysis of structured derivatives transactions using artificial intelligence.
Broadridge Hires FinTech Fixed Income Veterans to Join LTX; FinTech Veterans Ted Bragg and Jim Kwiatkowski join LTX leadership team to drive next generation corporate bond trading platform digitization
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR), a global Fintech leader, today announced that Ted Bragg and Jim Kwiatkowski have joined LTX, a Broadridge company offering a new AI-driven digital trading platform for corporate bonds. Bragg and Kwiatkowski join the LTX leadership team, working closely with LTX CEO Jim Toffey to accelerate the digitization of corporate bond trading.
Former ICE Futures Europe president joins Qomply as advisor; New advisor at Qomply spent nearly 20 years at ICE, serving as its president for its European futures business for 11 and a half years.
Annabel Smith -The Trade
The former president of ICE Futures Europe has joined transaction reporting technology firm, Qomply, as a strategic advisor. David Peniket joins the tech firm after serving for 18 years at Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), including 11 and a half years as president of its European futures business.
Sequoia Heritage, Stripe and others invest $200M in African fintech Wave at $1.7B valuation
Tage Kene-Okafor – TechCrunch
Francophone Africa has its first unicorn, and if you’ve been following tech on the continent, you will be very unsurprised to hear that it’s coming from the world of fintech.
Wave, a U.S. and Senegal-based mobile money provider, has raised $200 million in Series A round of funding. The investment is the largest-ever Series A round for the region, and it values Wave at $1.7 billion.
Are you ready for FinTech? Top countries that are providing new solutions.
Yuliya Barabash – FinExtra
I must admit that many countries are looking to become Fintech innovators since investments in the industry are impressive, and everyone wants to get their “piece of the pie”. However, the leadership still belongs to the ones who spotted the Klondike first: USA, Great Britain, Singapore, Lithuania and Switzerland. And all of them lead in the payment sector, DeFi and cryptocurrencies.
But how does one measure progress?
This Fintech Reported Blowout Earnings and Has a $40 Billion Market Opportunity
Matthew Frankel – The Motley Fool
Several financial technology companies, or fintechs, have reported impressive results in the past month or so, but Bill.com Holdings (NYSE:BILL) is one of the clear winners. In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Aug. 30, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, and Industry Focus host Jason Moser discuss what made Bill.com’s latest earnings report so strong.
Robinhood Targets Influencers — Bankers Turn to YouTube — Top Fintech Lawyers
Jordan Parker Erb – Business Insider
Robinhood is targeting a new asset class: social media influencers. According to a job listing, the brokerage is hiring a growth marketing manager who will help deepen its ties to the “creator community” and oversee influencer campaigns. Why Robinhood wants to team up with digital creators.
Palantir Misconfiguration Allowed Unauthorized FBI Access
Christopher Burgess – Security Boulevard
In the midst of the high-profile prosecution of Virgil Griffith, who is being tried in federal court for assisting North Korea in evading sanctions, the Department of Justice informed judge Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) that the case evidence had been accessed by unauthorized FBI employees.
Securing Networks in a Perimeterless World
Tim Callan – Security Boulevard
Firewalls were once considered the pinnacle of cybersecurity: erect a strong enough one around the network and everything inside will be secure. Today, those digital walls are less effective than ever. The concept of the perimeter has broken down. Organizations conduct transactions with vendors, suppliers, customers and other individuals outside the network on a regular basis. Personal device use is rampant, with employees using their own personal phones and tablets for work purposes, logging into corporate networks via unsecured Wi-Fi networks. IoT has also become an essential part of business operations and comes with its own set of vulnerabilities that exist well outside the four walls of a company HQ.
Germany protests to Russia over wave of cyber attacks
Guy Chazan – FT
Germany has accused Russia of launching a spate of cyber attacks on politicians amid suspicions that Moscow is interfering in this month’s election to decide who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor. Germany’s foreign ministry said it held Russia responsible for illegally targeting a number of national and regional politicians with “phishing” emails to gain access to personal details.
Foreign Minister: Hungary Intelligence Services Doing Utmost Against Cyber-Attacks
Hungary’s intelligence services will make every effort to protect the country against cyber-attacks and trace every possible threat, foreign minister Szijjártó told an international security conference held in the Parliament in Budapest on Monday.
Dubbed “Bitcoin Day”, the occasion will see El Salvador become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender.Global communities pledge to buy $30 worth of BTC on “Bitcoin Day”
Sean Dickens – Coin Rivet
To mark El Salvador officially making Bitcoin legal tender, global Bitcoin communities have pledged to buy $30 worth of BTC on Tuesday September 7. Dubbed “Bitcoin Day”, the occasion will see El Salvador become the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender.
El Salvador Buys 400 Bitcoins Ahead of Nationwide Rollout
Michael McDonald and Ezra Fieser – Bloomberg
El Salvador bought 400 Bitcoins as it prepares to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender from Tuesday, President Nayib Bukele said in a post on Twitter. The currency has a market value of about $20 million at current prices. The country plans to buy “a lot more” of the coins, Bukele said in a separate post, after buying the first batch of 200.
Crypto Investor Who Bet on Ether Eyes New Blockchain Fund
Heesu Lee – Bloomberg
Entrepreneur Kim started investing in Ether back in 2015; His firm Hashed plans second blockchain fund this month
As Simon Seojoon Kim tells it, he started investing in Ether, the coin that fuels the Ethereum network, back in the year it started — 2015. His friends told him he was crazy as he ploughed a big part of his life savings into the new cryptocurrency. By the end of March 2017, he’d put in close to $400,000.
India Must Accept Crypto as an Asset, Says Former Central Banker
Suvashree Ghosh – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrencies should be treated as an asset or commodity in India and governed by existing laws for exchanges, a former senior central bank official said in remarks that contrast the Reserve Bank of India’s current approach to the virtual coins.
Bitcoin Faces Biggest Test as El Salvador Makes It Legal Tender
Michael D McDonald and Ezra Fieser – Bloomberg
Country buys 400 Bitcoins worth $20 million ahead of roll-out; Poll shows Salvadorans remain skeptical about the plan
Bitcoin is undergoing the biggest test in its 12-year history as El Salvador becomes the first country to adopt it as legal tender Tuesday. Both enthusiasts and detractors of cryptocurrencies will be monitoring the experiment to see if a significant number of people want to transact with Bitcoin when it circulates alongside the U.S. dollar, and whether it brings any benefits to the violent, impoverished Central American nation.
Keeping up with Kardashians on crypto; Didi rival state-funded, Amazon roll-up merchants, Theranos blood brothers
Chris Nuttall – FT
While the authorities in major economies are taking a cautious approach to cryptocurrencies, the developing world is showing much greater acceptance of the value of digital tokens, in every sense.
Go ahead, smother yourself in “NFT perfume”; You’ve bought the GIF, now have a whiff.
Jemima Kelly – FT
You may or may not be aware that NFTs — which we have written about before here and here and here if you want to get more of a feel for what they are all about — are having another moment.
Republicans try to censor big business, LOL
Rick Newman. – Yahoo Finance
Republicans will cut your taxes and keep them low. But there’s a price: You have to side with the Party of Trump in political battles, even if it might mean breaking the law. This latest twist in the GOP’s self-preservation strategy is a threat by the top House Republican, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to retaliate against any business that complies with requests from the committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. “If these companies comply with the Democrat [sic] order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy tweeted on Aug. 31. “A Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable.”
Groups Seek Delay of COP26 Climate Talks Unless More Can Attend
John Ainger and Alex Morales – Bloomberg
UN conference seen as key in fight against global warming; Greenpeace seeks vaccine access, financial help for attendees
The U.K. should postpone international climate talks due to start late next month unless it can help delegates — especially those from poorer countries — gain access to vaccines and financial support so that they can attend, according to a network of organizations including Greenpeace.
S. Africa to Seek More Ambitious Financing Goal at Climate Talks
Paul Burkhardt – Bloomberg
South Africa will seek to increase the funding provided to developing nations for the energy transition as one of its goals at climate talks in Glasgow in November. The South African delegation’s expectations for the so-called COP 26 conference include a start of “the process for determining a new and more ambitious goal for long-term finance, increasing beyond the $100 billion per year from 2025,” the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said in a presentation to lawmakers on Tuesday.
Crypto and Sports: A Marriage Made in … Well, We’ll See; Digital currencies look to football, basketball, and wrestling fans to expand their investor base.
Alex Webb – Bloomberg
Sports teams, buffeted by the pandemic, need money. And, after a blockbuster year, cryptocurrency investors have a lot of it. For digital currencies to continue that upward trajectory, however, they need to “expand the investor base”—a euphemism for finding new and, almost by definition, less sophisticated investors willing to pump up the price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and any other cryptocurrency that is the flavor of the day.
Norway’s oil rises to top of election agenda as climate fears grow; Greens want immediate halt to exploration while bigger parties stand behind industry
Richard Milne – FT
Norway’s voters are to give their verdict next week in what has become a “climate election” — jolted into life by the UN report last month that issued a stark “code red” over the impact of environmental change.
UK FCA Head: Crypto Promotions Need Stricter Regulation
Rahul Nambiampurath – BeInCrypto
The head of the U.K.’s FCA, in a speech, said that crypto promotions require more oversight and that the agency needs more power to ensure investor protection.
Kardashian’s Instagram Crypto Plug Irks U.K. Finance Watchdog
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
FCA warns of risks of being lured into crypto by influencers; Investors should be prepared to lose their money, FCA says
Consumers risk being lured into the “cryptobubble with delusions of quick riches” by high-profile influencers such as Kim Kardashian, the U.K.’s financial regulator warned in a speech Monday.
Allianz Probed by German Regulator Over Hedge Fund Business
Stephan Kahl and Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
BaFin action follows U.S. investigations into Structured Alpha; Company said the matter may have material impact on earnings
German regulator BaFin has started its own investigation into Allianz SE’s Structured Alpha Funds, which are at the center of lawsuits and probes in the U.S. following steep losses during the pandemic. BaFin is looking at the extent to which Allianz officials outside the Florida-based funds knew of the events leading up to the losses, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal information. Reuters reported on the BaFin probe earlier.
ASIC publishes guidance on breach reporting
ASIC today released regulatory guidance to help credit and Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensees to meet new breach reporting obligations. Set to commence on 1 October 2021, the breach reporting reforms address long-standing concerns about breach reporting by making the reporting consistent, clearer and timely across the industry.
Allianz Australia Insurance and AWP Australia ordered to pay penalties of $1.5 million for misleading sale of travel insurance on Expedia websites
The Federal Court has ordered Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd (Allianz) and AWP Australia Pty Ltd (AWP) to pay penalties of $1.5 million in relation to the sale of travel insurance policies through Expedia websites.
ESMA Announces Hearing On Emir Reporting Guidelines
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, will hold an open hearing on EMIR Reporting Guidelines. The hearing is part of ESMA’s consultation on draft Guidelines on a wide range of topics related to data quality, data access and reporting under EMIR Refit.
The risks of token regulation
Speech by Charles Randell, Chair of the FCA and PSR, to the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime.
IOSCO Publishes Guidance For Intermediaries And Asset Managers Using Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning
Investing and Trading
U.K. Stock Pickers Rake In Cash as Investors Snub Index Funds
Ronan Martin – Bloomberg
Active equity funds’ inflows surge ahead of passive rivals; Market volatility, ESG demand see index trackers lose favor
Faith in asset managers has finally returned as British investors sidestep index trackers and flock to funds overseen by humans. Actively managed equity funds in the U.K. raked in 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in August compared to just 4 million pounds for their passive rivals, the largest gap since data provider Calastone began tracking the activity in 2015. Stock pickers have hauled in triple the cash of index funds this year, thanks to market volatility and surging demand for sustainable investments.
ECB still needs to put theory into practice; Slowing asset purchases to support the economy would send the wrong signal
Elga Bartsch – FT
The European Central Bank achieved the first important step of its strategic revamp when it launched its new monetary policy framework in early July. Its governing council meeting this week offers a chance for the ECB to communicate how the new framework will be implemented in practice, particularly when it comes to guidance on its asset-buying programmes that are intended to stimulate the economy by keeping bond yields low.
Indian stocks hit record on resurgence of foreign buying; Country’s equities on track for best performance since 2017, outpacing crackdown-hit China
Hudson Lockett – FT
A rally for Indian equities has outstripped gains in the rest of Asia and put the country’s market on course for its strongest performance since 2017, as foreign buying returned on signs of economic recovery following rampant Covid-19 outbreaks this year.
More Russian Companies Set to Join New York IPO Frenzy; Health-food provider VkusVill and SPB Exchange are preparing for U.S. share offerings in coming months
Georgi Kantchev – WSJ
Health-food provider JSC VkusVill and stock exchange PJSC SPB Exchange are preparing for initial public offerings in the U.S. this year or early next, according to people familiar with the companies, the latest in a string of Russian corporations joining the global IPO rush.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Infrastructure Giant in Australia Maps Out Carbon Reduction Plan
Matthew Burgess – Bloomberg
IFM to cut infrastructure portfolio emissions by 40% by 2030; Fund soon to outline plan for stocks, debt and private equity
One of Australia’s biggest infrastructure investors has pledged to almost halve carbon emissions across its portfolio of toll roads, airports and oil pipelines by the end of this decade as the global asset management industry steps up commitments to tackling climate change.
World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Steps Up ESG Focus in Real Estate
Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
The sovereign wealth fund of Norway says it’s working on a strategy update to ensure its $30 billion property portfolio lives up to the carbon neutrality goals mapped out in the Paris Agreement.
Spain Joins Green Rush With Debut Sovereign Bond Offering
James Hirai and William Shaw – Bloomberg
Treasury offers 20-year note, looks to raise 5 billion euros; Madrid pulled in 60 billion euros of demand from investors
Spain is the latest European nation turning to a hot market for green debt as it seeks to fund projects that mitigate climate change. The nation is seeking to raise 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) by offering a bond maturing in 2042 via banks Tuesday. The Treasury pulled in 60 billion euros of demand, with the spread set at six basis points above comparable bonds, after offering a so-called “Early Bird Special” that rewarded investors for placing earlier orders with a higher allocation.
Why stewardship failings pose questions for whole asset management sector; The watchdog’s review is a welcome attempt to focus on substance when it comes to stewardship and ESG
Helen Thomas – FT
“Funding the future is a privilege; we use it wisely and responsibly” reads the report of one asset manager that did not make the grade as one of the first signatories to the UK’s new stewardship code.
George Soros Calls BlackRock’s China Investment ‘Tragic Mistake’
Russell Ward – Bloomberg
George Soros criticized BlackRock Inc.’s China push as a risk to clients’ money and U.S. security interests, in the billionaire financier and philanthropist’s latest broadside against investment in the world’s second-largest economy.
UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse preparing further insurance claims for Greensill-linked funds
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi – Reuters
A first insurance claim has been filed and more are being prepared in Credit Suisse’s efforts to recover funds from its insolvent supply chain finance linked to Greensill, the Swiss bank said on Tuesday.
Goldman Sachs Needs This IPO To Go Extremely Well; The bank should be wary of exploiting investors’ likely strong demand when it lists assets run by the bank’s fund management unit
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. doubtless wants every initial public offering it’s involved in to go well. But the U.S. investment bank has a lot riding on one in particular: the potential London listing of Petershill Partners. This vehicle for owning stakes in private-equity firms could be a hot property. Even so, Goldman would be ill-advised to push IPO investors to the limit of what they’re willing to pay.
Multilateral development banks can do more to aid the recovery; They have been held back by restrictive capital requirements and a desire to maintain AAA credit ratings
Leslie Maasdorp – FT
The economic crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the most serious setback to development progress and poverty alleviation in recent memory. There is an urgent need, therefore, to explore how to increase the lending capacity of multilateral development banks (MDBs) to enhance their support for economic recovery efforts already under way.
Flipkart founder files to launch Vanguard ETF vehicle; The Navi Total US Stock Market Fund of Fund will feed into Vanguard’s US-listed Total Stock Market Index Fund
Ysrael Dumasig – FT
Navi Mutual Fund, the fund unit acquired by Sachin Bansal, co-founder of massive Indian online retailer Flipkart, is set to make a Vanguard strategy available in the country through a new fund-of-funds scheme.
China to push on with opening capital markets to foreign investors
China will further open its capital markets to foreign investors, the country’s top securities regulator said on Monday, adding that it will pursue pragmatic cross-border cooperation to regulate overseas-listed Chinese companies.
Exclusive-Allianz under investigation in Germany over investment funds
Tom Sims – Reuters
German regulators have launched an investigation into the country’s biggest financial company, Allianz, after the demise of some of its U.S. investment funds last year, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Unrelenting Supply Squeeze Darkens Germany’s Economic Outlook
Carolynn Look – Bloomberg
ZEW expectations gauge drops to 26.5 vs. est. decline to 30.3; Euro-area economy grew faster than initially reported in 2Q
Investor confidence in the German economy declined for a fourth month in September after global supply disruptions worsened and infection rates surged, threatening to disrupt Europe’s strong recovery.
Evergrande’s troubles shake China’s property bond market; Trading suspended for second time since Friday as Moody’s downgrades indebted developer again
Thomas Hale – FT
Trading in China Evergrande bonds was suspended for the second time in days on Tuesday and rating agency Moody’s downgraded the property developer for a third time since June, sending jitters through the country’s real estate debt market.
Profitable Australian companies urged to repay government Covid support; Dozens of businesses that received billions in JobKeeper funds made money during the pandemic, says lobby group
Anthony Klan – FT
Some of Australia’s biggest companies are under pressure to repay billions of dollars of Covid-19 support provided under a scheme after it emerged that they had made money during the pandemic.
??UK recovery expected to withstand autumn surge in Covid cases; Experts say the link between cases and economic performance is likely to become more nuanced
Chris Giles and Oliver Barnes – FT
Economists and epidemiologists are increasingly confident that the UK’s economic recovery will be able to withstand an autumn rise in coronavirus cases as school term starts, workers return to offices and people socialise more indoors.
Cairn to return ‘up to $700m’ to investors as it nears India tax settlement; UK-based oil and energy group is working with New Delhi to expedite end of long-running dispute
Benjamin Parkin, Jyoti Mann and Nathalie Thomas – FT
Cairn Energy said it expected to return “up to $700m” to investors as the UK oil and gas group indicated it was close to settling its long tax dispute with the Indian government. India’s parliament last month approved a bill rescinding a 2012 law allowing it to pursue taxes retrospectively against overseas companies. That followed an international arbitration tribunal’s ruling last year that ordered India to pay Cairn about $1.7bn in compensation for the 2014 seizure of its stake in Cairn India.
Have an Older iPhone? Here’s a Guide to Getting the Best Performance; To rejuvenate your increasingly vintage model, check its battery health, free up storage and weigh your repair options
Nicole Nguyen – WSJ
New iPhones are just around the corner—but before you rush to buy one of the new ones, take a closer look at the one you’ve got. If you’ve had it for a few years, you may be able to eke out another year (or two!) with just a few upgrades. For one thing, Apple will continue to support phones as old as the iPhone 6S and the first-generation iPhone SE when it rolls out iOS 15 this fall. (Sorry, iPhone 6 users: You didn’t make the cut.)