Amazon is taking over the stock market, too; U.K. starts cryptocurrency inquiry; France clamps down on crypto

Feb 22, 2018

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

What do you call a computer that sings? Adele. H/T Alexa.~JJL

LME is launching an Introduction to Physical Trading and Warehousing course in London this March.~JJL

A tidbit from yesterday’s JLN Options newsletter – the CIO for the Hawaiian pension fund that got burned selling puts is no longer with the fund.~SD

According to a study by Credit Suisse and the London Business School, rare books have a seven fold return since 1900. Meanwhile, classic cars have 242 fold returns. But how are my comic books doing?~SD

Registration is now open for the 40th Annual FIA Law & Compliance Division Conference!~JJL

Download the official 2018 New York Institute of Finance course calendar:~JJL

You can follow the National Futures Association on Twitter for more updates on industry developments and NFA news @NFA_News.~JJL

Fidessa’s Mike Wilkins will be at the @SRICFoundation‘s 2018 Trading Forum on the 27th February in Geneva.~JJL

FOW is holding an event in Amsterdam, FOW Trading Amsterdam, on March 7, 2018.~JJL


IPC collaborates with GreenKey to bring a powerful, AI-based speech recognition solution that converts real-time voice into useable data for the financial markets
IPC and GreenKey Technologies announced an agreement for a significant collaboration between the firms. The agreement brings to market a powerful AI-based speech recognition solution that converts real-time voice into useable data for financial market users.

**** I wonder what Alexa thinks of this.~JJL


Crypto exchanges welcome regulators as they woo institutional clients
Brian Patrick Eha – American Banker
When the top Japanese cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer expanded to the United States last November, its timing could hardly have been better. Led by bitcoin, digital assets were enjoying a historic bull run.
Almost immediately, despite bitcoin initially being the only asset available to buy and sell, trading volumes on bitFlyer’s U.S. exchange shot up to more than $1 million a day.

***** It used to be that regulators put the “cry” in crypto.~JJL


Barclays reveals gender pay gap of nearly 50%; UK bank struggles to promote women to senior, high-paying positions at its international division
By Paul Clarke – Financial News
Barclays pays female employees within the division that houses its investment bank nearly 50% less than their male counterparts, with the UK group struggling to promote women to senior positions.

****** Barclays, there are some people not WILD about this.~JJL


Sorry, Collectors, Nobody Wants Your Beanie Babies Anymore; Over two decades after the great Beanie Baby craze, speculators are back, hoping someone will finally buy their floppy collectibles
By Shibani Mahtani – WSJ
Cameron Percy thought he’d found a rare treasure when he moved into a new place two weeks ago. Someone had left behind dozens of Beanie Babies in a box in the basement.

***** Would you pay more if they came with a pet rock?~JJL


Risky Crypto Bet Dents Dennis Gartman’s Retirement Account
By Lily Katz – Bloomberg
‘Commodities King’ has bad day as Riot Blockchain shares tank; CNBC exposé sent stock plummeting 33 percent in one day
Making big bets on speculative assets with retirement money is something most advisers warn against, but Bitcoin fever is prompting all sorts of puzzling decisions.

***** Somewhere people are looking up the word “schadenfreude.”~JJL


CryptoCon 2018 – Impressions
Chuck Mackie, Contributing Editor, John Lothian News

You practically can’t walk down the street these days without bumping into a conference, seminar, or MeetUp about blockchain and cryptocurrencies as the bitcoin fever of 2017 has metastasized into a cottage industry bent on “figuring it out.” If the results from last week’s FinTank CryptoCon are any indication, the crypto industry is further along than you thought but still very much in its early stages.

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our most read item yesterday was our Marketswiki Page of the Day, Maureen Downs, who has taken an advisory role at Phillip Capital. Second went to the Wall Street Journal’s The Rise of Bitcoin Factories: Mining for the Masses, which features the crypto firm Bcause. Third went to the FT’s Temenos and Fidessa forge banking software tie-up


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Lead Stories

Amazon Is Taking Over the Stock Market, Too; The online retail giant has accounted for 27% of the S&P 500’s gains this year, followed by Microsoft and Netflix
By Akane Otani – WSJ
Three technology titans have powered nearly half of the S&P 500’s advance this year, a worrying sign for investors expecting a strengthening economy to lift shares of manufacturers, oil companies and other firms whose fortunes typically improve with growth.

U.K. Starts Cryptocurrency Inquiry as Lawmakers Weigh Regulation
By Edward Robinson – Bloomberg
Parliament will consider Bitcoin’s impact on banks, consumers; Inquiry follows action taken by regulators in U.S. and China
U.K. lawmakers are launching an inquiry into cryptocurrencies to investigate their benefits and risks and consider how the new technology should be regulated.

France clamps down on crypto bets, banning online ads; Products based on cryptocurrencies must be regulated like derivatives, regulator says
Hannah Murphy – FT
France’s financial regulator has said that financial products based on cryptocurrencies should be formally regulated as derivatives, meaning online trading platforms will need authorisation to offer them and can no longer advertise them online.

Second investor files lawsuit over U.S. LJM fund: court filing
Reuters Staff
A second investor on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against managers of a U.S. mutual fund that lost most of its value earlier this month during a bout of market turmoil.

Boca financial executive sues fund management firm over market-fueled collapse
David Lyons -Sun-Sentinel
A top executive of a Boca Raton financial services firm is leading a proposed class-action lawsuit that alleges he and other investors were deceived by a Chicago-based fund management firm that lost 80 percent of its value.

The top cryptocurrency traders are asking for a big shakeup to bitcoin futures
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
Some of the biggest players in the crypto market are calling for a shakeup in bitcoin futures trading. Bitcoin futures started trading on Cboe Global Markets and CME in December and have been steadily growing since, with volumes for both markets at just under 10,000 contracts traded on Wednesday, according to data from Bloomberg. At least 30 firms trade on Cboe, according to briefing documents from the exchange.

Treasury Recommends Keeping Dodd-Frank Liquidation Power; Administration proposes tweaks to orderly liquidation authority but wants to retain it
By Ryan Tracy – WSJ
The Trump administration recommended retaining the government’s power to seize and unwind a failing financial firm in a crisis, departing from some conservative Republican lawmakers and endorsing a plank of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law.

EU official to U.S.: clearing plans won’t undermine bilateral pacts
Huw Jones – Reuters
European Union representatives have sought to reassure the United States that plans to tighten oversight of foreign clearing houses operating in the bloc will not disrupt transatlantic ties on market access that took years to agree.

Elliott Views $2 Billion Bid for Fidessa as Too Low
By Scott Deveau, Neil Callahan – Bloomberg
Activist believes software firm is undervalued by Temenos; Rivals, private equity firms may be other potential suitors
Activist investor Elliott Management Corp., having acquired a stake in Fidessa Group Plc, believes that a $2 billion bid from Temenos Group AG undervalues the U.K. computer-software provider, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fidessa accepts Temenos bid as Elliott reveals stake in UK company
Nic Fildes in London – FT
Activist hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisors has built a near-5 per cent stake in Fidessa, a position it revealed after the UK financial technology company agreed to a £1.4bn cash takeover by Swiss banking software group Temenos.

Blockchain is entering the valley of despair phase, and that’s a mistake
Danny Crichton – TechCrunch
I’ve had a number of conversations with blockchain-focused people over the past few weeks. In some of those conversations — particularly with engineers — there is a palpable excitement and a belief that this technology is going to end up being their life’s work. As one blockchain hacker told me this past week, “It’s going to be a multi-decade long battle against the technologies that have been weaponized against us,” referring to the technology of the attentional economy.

Shame on You Crazy Diamond Bankers; A Swift circular sent back in November 2016 shows the regulator had reason to suspect systemic abuse.
By Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
It’s disingenuous to think that India’s biggest banking fraud was just one bent officer in a bumbling state-run lender enriching an uncle-nephew pair of greedy diamond merchants. That’s the spin Punjab National Bank is trying to put on the $1.8 billion scam that went on for seven years.

Goldman Has a $500 Million Army of Little Guys to Buff Its Image
By Dakin Campbell – Bloomberg
Firm diverted a sliver of its revenue to help small businesses; Beneficiaries flock to D.C. for hundreds of lawmaker meetings
No one would mistake them for typical Goldman Sachs clients. Marcus Moore runs a staffing firm. Jessica Johnson-Cope places security guards and rents out drug-sniffing dogs. J.R. Foster helps companies maintain their offices and buildings.

Opinion: Here’s the truth about stock market volatility that investors don’t want to admit
By Mark Hulbert – MarketWatch
Computers aren’t to blame for dizzying swings
If you blame computers for the market’s recent volatility, it’s just blaming the messenger for bearing bad news. That’s because computers are doing what their human programmers have instructed them to do. Computers may be quicker and more efficient than humans, but they only do what they’re told. By blaming them, investors avoid focusing on the truth of the matter — and how to handle it properly.

Bondageddon Is Closer Than You Think. Watch the 30-Year; Yields are approaching an important line in the sand.
By Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Bond traders have been absolutely riveted to the U.S. 10-year and it’s hair-raising creep to 3 percent. While that note’s not exactly a sideshow, they should really be diverting some of their focus to the 30 year.

Inflation Is a Bigger Danger to Stocks Than Rising Rates; Rising prices have a stronger relationship with poor market outcomes.
By Ben Carlson – Bloomberg
Not quite this much. Photographer: Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images
Investors tend to attach narratives after events like the recent bout of market volatility as a way to provide comfort in the face of market uncertainty and losses.

25 Billion Global Futures Trades
Jeff Malec – Seeking Alpha
The FIA (Futures Industry Association) is out with their annual data showing just how big the futures and options (what some might call derivatives) world is. Specifically, looking at the 2017 volume and open interest on all futures and options exchanges, 2017 held steady with 25 billion contracts

How to buy Bunge? Bond investors say ADM would likely issue equity
Tom Polansek, Karl Plume – Reuters
U.S. grain merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) would need to issue equity to help finance a proposed takeover of rival Bunge Ltd (BG.N), according to investors and bond analysts, as a years-long slump in agricultural commodity prices makes a debt-only deal too risky.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Coinbase is finally supporting new tech that could fix bitcoin’s slowness problem.
Business Insider
The $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will start using an updated version of bitcoin called SegWit. The company announced on Tuesday that it finished testing and will roll out updates throughout next week. SegWit is a politically contentious update to bitcoin which many believe will scale the popular cryptocurrency, making it faster and cheaper to use.

Chicago Stock Exchange forced to again re-evaluate future after SEC axes deal
By Declan Harty – S&P Global Intelligence
Chicago Stock Exchange Inc.’s future is now up in the air after regulators blocked an investor group’s bid to acquire the company. Two years ago, one of the smallest U.S. exchange operators struck an acquisition agreement with a consortium of China- and U.S.-based investors. The deal represented the Chicago Stock Exchange’s chance to position itself as a gateway to U.S. markets for Chinese companies to go public through.

Bitcoin Exchange Operator Charged With Lying to SEC About Hack
By Patricia Hurtado – Bloomberg
U.S. says BitFunder chief tried to cover up stolen currency; Prosecutors say he lied about knowing when theft occurred
The operator of a now-defunct cryptocurrency investment platform was charged with lying to U.S. regulators to hide the fact that hackers stole more than 6,000 of his customers’ Bitcoins.

Options Offers New Managed Colocation At Nasdaq Stockholm; Low Latency Connectivity To Nordic Feeds At Source
Options, the leading provider of global market data and colocation services for trading firms, today announced the availability of its high performance managed colocation solution at Nasdaq Stockholm, the primary securities exchange of the Nordic countries. The new service will enable colocated clients to avail of low latency connectivity to the exchange’s Nordic feeds directly at source at its Vasby data center.

Deutsche Börse sets sights on quarter of euro clearing post-Brexit; Chief calls on politicians to support his aim to move lucrative trade to Frankfurt
Olaf Storbeck in Frankfurt – FT
The new chief executive of Deutsche Börse has said he wants the Frankfurt exchange to win at least a quarter of the market for clearing euro interest rate swaps from London by 2019 and called on politicians for more support in its efforts.

Dutch Star Companies ONE Celebrates IPO on Euronext
Dutch Star Companies ONE N.V.[1], a special purpose acquisition vehicle, began trading today on Euronext Amsterdam.

Egypt successfully raises $4bn triple tranche bonds in London
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) welcomed yesterday Egypt’s $4 billion triple tranche bonds to the Main Market. The bonds, listed solely in London, are also available to trade on LSEG’s MTS BondVision, the Group’s multi-dealer-to-client trading platform for government bonds.


Jane Street’s Systematic Internaliser now available via QuantHouse’s QH API Ecosystem
QuantHouse, the independent global provider of end-to-end high performance market data and trading through API-based technologies, today announced the addition of Jane Street Financial’s systematic internaliser (SI) to its QH API Ecosystem.

Platts deploys blockchain to track oil storage data in UAE; Move is one of the first commercial uses of the technology in the energy business
David Sheppard – FT
S&P Global Platts has deployed a blockchain network for reporting oil storage data in the UAE, in one of the first real-world commercial applications of the technology to go live in the energy industry.

Blockchain: an overview; Blockchain, like the internet, is a revolutionary technology that is most likely here to stay
Demelza Hays – London School of Economics and Political Science
During the late 1990s, investors were eager to invest in any company with an Internet-related name or a “.com” suffix. Today, the word “blockchain” has a similar effect. Like the Internet, blockchains are an open source technology that becomes increasingly valuable as more people use it due to what economists call “the network effect”. Blockchains allow digital information to be transferred from one individual to another without an intermediary. Bitcoin was the first use of the blockchain technology. However, the volatility, transaction fees, and uncertain legal framework have stalled bitcoin’s widespread adoption.

Blockchain could save asset managers $2.7bn a year; Online ledger technology promises to upend processes linked to buying and selling funds
Attracta Mooney in London – FT
Blockchain could save asset managers $2.7bn a year if the investment industry shunned the laborious manual practices involved in buying and selling funds in favour of using online ledger technology, according to research published on Thursday.


Mueller Is Ending the Era of Impunity for Washington’s Foreign Lobbyists; If the goal is to find proof of election meddling, why are all the indictments about failing to register as an agent?
By Eli Lake – Bloomberg
Washington’s unregistered foreign agents, who in the past have tread the gray areas between legal and illegal with impunity, should be nervous about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Twitter purges accounts, and conservatives cry foul; The move comes as the company, stung by criticism since the 2016 election, says it is taking steps to curb ‘spammy behavior.’
By NANCY SCOLA – Politico
Twitter has pruned more suspected trolls and fake accounts from its platform, prompting several of its most outspoken conservative users to complain Wednesday that they had lost thousands of followers overnight.

The Trolling of the American Mind
Ross Douthat – NY Times
There are two Russian scandals connected to the 2016 campaign. One deserves the attention that it’s getting. The other is closer to — what’s the term I’m looking for? — fake news.


Companies Could Get More Flexibility to Start IPOs; SEC is studying a move to expand ‘testing the waters’ to all companies
By Dave Michaels – WSJ
The IPO “on-ramp” could be getting an expansion. Securities regulators hoping to spur more initial public offerings are weighing a deregulatory move that would allow all companies—not just smaller firms—to stage private talks with investors before announcing they will sell stock, according to people familiar with the matter.

Statement on Cybersecurity Interpretive Guidance
Yesterday, the Commission approved the issuance of an interpretive release to provide guidance to public companies when preparing disclosures about cybersecurity risks and incidents. The release also communicates the Commission’s views on the importance of maintaining comprehensive policies and procedures related to cybersecurity risks and incidents.

****SD: They even put out a statement about the statement – SEC Adopts Statement and Interpretive Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures

Supreme Court declines to broaden whistleblower protections
Andrew Chung – Reuters
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to broaden protections for corporate insiders who call out misconduct, ruling they must take claims of wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to be shielded against retaliation.

FDIC Sues 16 Banks as Receiver for Failed Puerto Rico Bank; Agency alleges Libor rigging scandal hurt Doral Bank
By Lalita Clozel – WSJ
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday sued 16 banks connected to the Libor rigging scandal as part of its effort to recover funds related to Doral Bank, a Puerto Rican institution that collapsed in 2015.

US ‘too big to fail’ regime set for Trump overhaul; Treasury plans ‘Chapter 14’ bankruptcy process to shield taxpayers from bank collapses
Barney Jopson in Washington – FT
The Trump administration is proposing to recast a central pillar of post-crisis financial regulation with a new “Chapter 14” bankruptcy process designed to eliminate the risk that taxpayers will have to pick up the cost of a bank failure.

Verena Ross, ESMA’s Executive Director, speaks at ECON scrutiny on Short-Selling Regulation
The Executive Director of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Verena Ross, appeared today at the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee’s (ECON) meeting in Brussels.

Opening a Brokerage Account: Part 2
More than half of Americans surveyed in a recent study said they rely on a broker or professional advisor to help them make investment decisions. If you are one of those people, you’ll want to make sure that broker or advisor is someone you trust—and someone who understands you and your goals. After all, it’s your money.

Proposed Rule Change to Eliminate the Fee for an Explained Decision
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) is filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rules 12214(e)(1) and 12904(g)(5) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (“Customer Code”) and FINRA Rules 13214(e)(1) and 13904(g)(5) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (“Industry Code”) (together, “Codes”) to eliminate the $400 fee for an explained decision.

SEC Votes to Modify Compliance Date for Open-End Fund Liquidity Classification
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to extend by six months the deadline by which open-end funds must comply with certain elements of the Commission’s liquidity risk management program rule.

SEC Adopts Statement and Interpretive Guidance on Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosures
Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to approve a statement and interpretive guidance to assist public companies in preparing disclosures about cybersecurity risks and incidents.

Statement on Cybersecurity Interpretive Guidance; SEC Chairman Jay Clayton
Yesterday, the Commission approved the issuance of an interpretive release to provide guidance to public companies when preparing disclosures about cybersecurity risks and incidents. The release also communicates the Commission’s views on the importance of maintaining comprehensive policies and procedures related to cybersecurity risks and incidents.

Securities Commission Malaysia Charges Former MD Of Johor Land Bhd And Businessman For Insider Trading
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) today charged the former Managing Director of Johor Land Bhd (JLand) with insider trading under section 188(3)(a) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA). A.F.M Shafiqul Hafiz, 71, was charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with communicating material non-public information to one Dato’ Harjit Singh a/l Gurdev Singh between 22 March 2009 and 6 April 2009.

IOSCO Consults On Guidance To Address Conflicts Of Interest In The Equity Capital Raising Process
The Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) today is proposing guidance to help its members address conflicts of interest and associated misconduct risks that may arise during the equity capital raising process.

Investing and Trading

If You Thought Frontier Investing Was High Risk, Here’s Comfort
By Srinivasan Sivabalan – Bloomberg
The World Bank has a track record of frontier market investments, says VP Oteh.
Try not to gasp, but in these days of surging volatility, frontier-market stocks are outperforming their more developed peers.

A golden opportunity just opened up for cryptocurrency traders
Frank Chaparro – Business Insider
The price of bitcoin is trading at a big premium in South Korea relative to US markets, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The price of bitcoin is trading close to $11,800 a coin on Upbit and Bithumb, the two main South Korean exchanges. That’s more than 13% higher than the price on GDAX, the US exchange operated by cryptocurrency company Coinbase.

Inside Uncle Sam’s Secret Bitcoin Hoard
When Alexandre Cazes hanged himself in a Thai jail cell in July, the 25-year-old left behind the trappings of a big-league drug dealer: villas, Lamborghinis, a Porsche, bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. But Cazes, who authorities allege operated AlphaBay, the world’s largest black-market website for drugs and weapons, also left something else: Internet “wallets” holding millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Opinion: ‘Bond vigilantes’ should die a quiet death
By Caroline Baum – MarketWatch
Bad ideas never die. They just come back to haunt us, sometimes in an altered form, but more often than not in the same silly guise.


A 2006 Boom Wouldn’t Fix Deutsche Bank or Barclays, Analyst Says
Donal Griffin and Stephen Morris – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc, two of Europe’s biggest lenders, may have trouble meeting their targets even if they improve investment-banking revenue by 50 percent this year, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Goldman Sachs Raises $2.5 Billion to Buy Stakes in Private-Equity Firms; Group will follow the permanent capital approach of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway by not setting exit dates for investments
By Dawn Lim and Laura Kreutzer – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised $2.5 billion to buy minority stakes in private-equity firms, betting on an industry that is commanding increasing influence as more businesses choose to stay private longer.

Barclays swings to net loss of almost £2bn; UK bank hit by one-off charges as it tries to cheer investors with promises on dividend
Martin Arnold, Banking Editor – FT
Barclays has announced a full-year loss of almost £2bn, hit by one-off tax and disposal charges, as it tried to boost its underperforming share price by promising to restore its dividend back to levels before it was cut two years ago.

Hedge Fund Manager Palomba Leaves Citadel After Losses
By Marton Eder, Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Palomba was one of a number of traders in a fixed income fund; Hungary interest-rate swaps rose most in about 3 years in Jan.
Hedge fund manager Uberto Palomba has left Citadel LLC after suffering losses on a Hungarian trade, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

HSBC caps back-office bonuses for thousands despite profit bounce; Announcement follows decision to pay ex-chief Stuart Gulliver $8.5m
Emma Dunkley in Hong Kong – FT
HSBC is capping bonuses for thousands of operational staff globally to streamline remuneration, just as former chief executive Stuart Gulliver has received a bumper payout.

Market divided on Bridgewater’s $22bn European ‘big short’; World’s largest hedge fund targets blue-chip companies and Italian banks
Miles Johnson – FT
There are few things that can set chins wagging among European market watchers like the world’s largest hedge fund unveiling a $22bn bet against the continent’s largest companies.

Maureen C. Downs Joins Phillip Capital Inc.
Phillip Capital Inc.
Phillip Capital Inc. (“PhillipCapital”), a self-clearing futures commission merchant (FCM) and broker dealer firm, announces Maureen C. Downs, Vice-Chairman of the National Futures Association, has been appointed as an Advisor, where she will provide strategic guidance to the executive management team.

Fidelity backtracks on passing external research costs to clients; Bermuda-based asset manager faced pressure to foot the bill itself for broker notes
Attracta Mooney, Investment correspondent – FT
Fidelity International, a leading global asset manager chaired by Abigail Johnson, has backtracked on its decision to pass on the cost of investment research to clients after coming under pressure to pay for broker notes from its own pocket.

Hong Kong-based cyrptocurrency broker taps ‘block trade’ demand from institutional investors
by Georgina Lee – South China Morning Post
Cryptocurrency brokers have started offering off-exchange trading venues for large-sized orders of digital currencies in ways similar to “dark pools” offered by their equities broking counterparts, as the new asset class increasingly attracts institutional investors. Octagon Strategy, the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency broker, said in recent months it has seen a surge in institutional investors’ demand for trading digital tokens ranging from US$1-2 million per order.


Brazil Seen as More Corrupt Than Argentina in Global Ranking
By David Biller, Charlie Devereux – Bloomberg
Brazil sinks 17 positions in Transparency International index; Venezuela and Mexico seen as most corrupt key LatAm countries
Brazil is now seen as more corrupt than Argentina for the first time in over two decades after suffering last year one of the biggest plunges among the nations tracked by a global transparency ranking.

Hungry Venezuelan Workers Are Collapsing. So Is the Oil Industry; Starving employees are growing too weak for heavy labor, hobbling the refineries that keep the economy running.
By Fabiola Zerpa – Bloomberg
At 6:40 a.m., Pablo Ruiz squats at the gate of a decaying refinery in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, steeling himself for eight Sisyphean hours of brushing anti-rust paint onto pipes under a burning sun. For breakfast, the 55-year-old drank corn-flour water.


Bank of America Commits to London Even as Brexit Draws Closer
Jack Sidders – Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp. is the latest overseas bank to commit its long-term future to the U.K. even as the country prepares for Brexit.

Brexit anxieties grow over London’s market infrastructure; Concern centres on hard EU divorce or a deal agreed only in principle
Philip Stafford in London – FT
As Theresa May tries to navigate the political minefield of Brexit, the future of the key financial market infrastructure located in London is becoming increasingly urgent.

Bank Brexodus Gets Closer as Deutsche Bank Relocates Booking
By Steve Arons, Gavin Finch, Alexander Weber – Bloomberg
Lender says it started to ‘engage with clients’ about move; Plans to complete shift this year if no transition is agreed
The banking Brexodus is coming a step closer. Deutsche Bank AG on Wednesday became the first large bank to publicly announce the beginning of a wholesale relocation of client business out of the U.K. in response to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The Frankfurt-based lender said it plans to complete the shift this year unless negotiators in Brussels agree on a transition period that will give banks more time.

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