Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Today’s lead story talks about Amsterdam ousting London as the top venue for share trading. Amsterdam makes the claim to be the world’s first stock exchange, so the world is just cycling back to where it began.
The FIA EPTA is hosting a free webinar titled “Reviewing Europe’s algorithmic trading rules” on Wednesday, February 24 from 15:00 PM – 16:00 PM GMT. The webinar is moderated by Piebe Teeboom, Secretary General, FIA European Principal Traders Association (FIA EPTA) and will include speakers Johannah Ladd, Managing Director Europe, Quantlab Group, Ed Monrad, Head of European Market Structure, Optiver and Jonah Platt, U.S. Head of Government and Regulatory Policy, Citadel Securities. You can register HERE.
In May look for the publication of “Trading at the Speed of Light: How Ultrafast Algorithms Are Transforming Financial Markets” by University of Edinburgh professor Donald MacKenzie. The publisher calls it “A remarkable look at how the growth, technology, and politics of high-frequency trading have altered global financial markets.”
Thomas Meyer, the new head of marketing for Cove Markets, has a piece in Bitcoin Magazine titled “Balancing Calls For Bitcoin Regulation While Preserving Satoshi’s Dream.” I wonder if Satoshi uses a MyPillow when he is dreaming.
Elton John and Michael Caine have collaborated on a video for the NHS in England to encourage people to get the coronavirus vaccine.
I found out last night my son Tim has a Robinhood account and has traded more stock than me, including one profitable trade in GameStop. He is learning to trade and using good risk management while trading volatile stocks and one crypto trade.
The Mike O’Connor who donated to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign is a commodity broker trading desk manager with ADMIS. He was formerly an eDesk manager with Iowa Grain, where he was also a trading floor manager.
We had no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021. Registration is open!Eurex invites you to join the virtual edition of the Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021! It will take place on 23-24 March 2021 covering European and the US time zones.
The Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021 will be held as virtual edition with thought leadership insights, industry debates, keynote speeches and virtual networking opportunities. The Derivatives Forum is the leading European event focused on trading and clearing for derivatives and securities financing across asset classes.
We look forward to welcoming you on March 23.
We Need an Operation Warp Speed for the World; Developed countries must drive higher global production of Covid-19 vaccines.
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
A scramble for Covid-19 vaccines has broken out among some of the world’s wealthiest nations. This is understandable — but too narrow a focus on their own needs is shortsighted as well as ethically wrong. Letting the pandemic rage on in poorer parts of the world will imperil their own efforts to end the emergency. Self-interest aligns with what should be a moral imperative. Increasing the supply of vaccines for everybody needs to be given a much higher priority.
*****To reiterate a point made yesterday, yes we do need to do this.~JJL
Nouriel Roubini: bitcoin is not a hedge against tail risk; Elon Musk may be buying it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should follow suit
Nouriel Roubini – FT
Claims that bitcoin is the new “digital gold” are feeding a new bubble in it and other cryptocurrencies. The last one in 2017-18 saw bitcoin go from $1,000 to $20,000 and then fall back to $3,000 by the end of 2018. Since the fundamental value of bitcoin is zero and would be negative if a proper carbon tax was applied to its massive polluting energy-hogging production, I predict that the current bubble will eventually end in another bust.
*****My preferred hedge against tail risk is a bunker with food, water and ammo.~JJL
Short Selling Is Even More Dangerous Now; Betting against a company’s shares has always been financially perilous. The Reddit crowd’s call to arms increases those risks.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
Investors who seek to profit from a decline in a company’s share price have always taken greater financial risks than their long-only peers. Now, they face the additional danger of running afoul of Redditors piling into the market’s most-shorted stocks. For the sake of efficient capital markets, here’s hoping the short-selling crowd can hold its nerve.
******Beware of the Reddit army.~JJL
Dutch Speedskaters Waited 24 Years for Canals to Freeze. Then the Pandemic Froze Their Dream Race; The historic Elfstedentocht race requires thick ice for skaters to race between 11 cities. This year may be cold enough—but coronavirus rules are blocking it.
Joshua Robinson – WSJ
The Netherlands have been waiting 24 winters for a cold snap like this one. Not too windy, not too snowy, and temperatures sinking like a bike in a canal. That’s because these are the precise conditions required for the ultimate Dutch sporting event: a 200-kilometer speedskating race on frozen waterways through 11 cities in Friesland.
******No skating on thin ice for them, but add to the list of pandemic cancellations.~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Hehmeyer to Merge with Nortide, Creating Hehmeyer Nortide AG, from Yahoo Finance. Second was Fidelity Holds Secret Weapon to Take On Robinhood and Vanguard, from the Wall Street Journal. Third was US stock exchanges sue SEC over data rule changes, from the Financial Times.
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Amsterdam ousts London as Europe’s top share trading hub; UK’s departure from the EU prompts shift in dealing of stocks and derivatives
Philip Stafford – FT
Amsterdam surpassed London as Europe’s largest share trading centre last month as the Netherlands scooped up business lost by the UK since Brexit. An average EUR9.2bn shares a day were traded on Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise in January, a more than fourfold increase from December. The surge came as volumes in London fell sharply to EUR8.6bn, dislodging the UK from its historic position as the main hub for the European market, according to data from CBOE Europe.
Citadel’s Griffin expected to testify at House GameStop hearing; The session will give lawmakers their first chance to hear directly from executives whose companies were at the center of a storm that rattled Wall Street and reverberated far beyond its trading floors.
Ken Griffin, Citadel’s billionaire founder, is expected to testify next week at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on wild market swings in shares of GameStop Corp. and other stocks, according to three people familiar with the matter.
US brokers’ race to attract investors stokes concerns over risks; Robinhood’s no-fee approach encouraged fee-cutting frenzy before lockdowns fanned demand
Madison Darbyshire and Colby Smith – FT
The era of commission-free trading has driven a relentless race among US brokers to defend their market share, fuelling a trading frenzy that has set off alarm bells among veteran investors and analysts.
CSOP kicks off launch of Hong Kong’s Star Market ETFs; The exchange traded funds will track Shanghai’s science and technology board
John Sedgwick – FT
A Chinese asset manager has launched the first Hong Kong exchange traded fund to track China’s Star Market, a Shanghai-based science and technology board that has drawn huge interest on the mainland since it was established 18 months ago.
Bitcoin to Come to America’s Oldest Bank, BNY Mellon; The custody bank plans to eventually treat digital currencies like any other asset
Justin Baer – WSJ
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. BK -0.52% , the nation’s oldest bank, is making the leap into the market for cryptocurrencies. The custody bank said Thursday it will hold, transfer and issue bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on behalf of its asset-management clients. In time, BNY Mellon will allow those digital assets to pass through the same plumbing used by managers’ other, more traditional holdings—from Treasurys to technology stocks—using a platform that is now in prototype. The bank is already discussing plans with clients to bring their digital currencies into the fold.
GameStop Frenzy Echoes Sharp Moves Long Seen in Cryptocurrency Markets; Groups who organize online and target a specific asset are a staple of the crypto world
Paul Vigna – WSJ
The flash mob that drove up the price of GameStop Corp. GME 1.77% and other heavily shorted stocks took Wall Street by surprise. In the cryptocurrency market, such behavior is commonplace. Groups of investors who organize on social media and target a specific asset—often one small and illiquid enough to be easily influenced—are a staple of the crypto world. Although digital currencies have made inroads with professional investors, they are also still subject to pumping schemes that proliferate on social-media platforms like Discord and Telegram.
The Brexit share trading exodus; On 4 January 2021 as the Brexit transition period came to an end, EUR6 billion of trading volumes left London. Annabel Smith examines the impact of this and asks what the future holds for the industry.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
In the final weeks of 2020, it was apparent that no agreement on equivalence was likely to be reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union with regards to share trading. The wholesale shift of liquidity that took place on 4 January, moving EUR6 billion in daily volumes away from the City to trading venues in European capitals such as Paris and Amsterdam, was shocking even to those who were most prepared.
Illinois bids for NYSE data hub—but the door may be open to a bigger move; With the stock exchange’s chief threatening to move the entire operation away from the New York area, Illinois officials see a chance to broaden their current pitch for the data center to include the entire HQ.
Greg Hinz – Crain’s Chicago Business
The state of Illinois has put in a formal bid to lure the electronic backbone of the New York Stock Exchange here. And with the NYSE now saying that tax considerations may force it to move its headquarters, too, Illinois is preparing to try to capture the entire operation as well.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce picks first female chief; Suzanne Clark takes the top job at the powerful Washington lobbying group next month.
Suzanne Clark, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will take over as chief executive officer of the powerful Washington lobbying group next month.
KPMG’s UK boss steps aside as firm probes comments that offended staff; Bill Michael is reported to have dismissed unconscious bias as ‘complete crap’
Madison Marriage – FT
KPMG UK chairman Bill Michael is stepping aside while the Big Four accountancy firm investigates “alleged comments” he made during an online meeting with staff, a spokesperson said on Wednesday. The move comes after the FT reported comments made by Michael at a meeting with the firm’s financial services consultancy team on Monday where he told staff to “stop moaning” and to stop “playing the victim card”.
Bank of England boss slams EU approach to UK equivalence; Andrew Bailey says EU and UK equivalence process has not been straightforward as he urges now is not the time to have a regional argument.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The head of the Bank of England has condemned the EU’s approach and failure to reach an agreement with the UK on equivalence post-Brexit. Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, made the case for an open global economy and financial markets system during a speech at Mansion House in London.
Can Jane Fraser Fix Citigroup? The bank’s new boss will take on a major turnaround job.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Next month, Jane Fraser will take over Citigroup — and a major turnaround effort. “The sprawling institution has been limping along in third place among the four biggest U.S. banks, underwhelming its investors and irritating regulators,” The Times’s Emily Flitter writes. She spoke with Ms. Fraser about the scale of the challenge and how she plans to tackle it.
Shell says its oil production has peaked.
Stanley Reed – NY Times
Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday made the boldest statement among its peers about the waning of the oil age, saying that its oil production had reached a high in 2019 and was now likely to gradually decline. Shell’s “total oil production peaked in 2019,” the company said in a statement, and added that it expected a gradual decline of oil production of around 1 to 2 percent annually in coming years.
Financial pain of Covid ‘not shared equally’
Kevin Peachey – BBC
More than five million people have fallen into a “fragile” financial position owing to the coronavirus crisis, with young working adults among the hardest hit. People from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were also more seriously affected than others, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said. The regulator said “the pain is not being shared equally”.
Andrew Bailey’s credibility at stake in clash with judge; The Bank of England boss is enmeshed in a fractious dispute about FCA job
Ben Martin, Philip Aldrick – The Times
When the Treasury went hunting for a new Bank of England governor in 2019 it published a job advertisement calling for candidates who inspired “confidence and credibility” in the public arena. Less than a year into the top job at Threadneedle Street, Andrew Bailey’s credibility is already being called into question.
Wall Street’s Brashest Media Analysts Aim to Be Its Richest Too; LightShed Partners is looking to invest in the next Netflix.
Lucas Shaw – Bloomberg
Rich Greenfield, part of a brash team of Wall Street media analysts, is known for calling out companies on social media. Now he’s getting ready to put his money where his mouth is. LightShed Partners, the research firm that he helped start in 2019, has raised $75 million to invest in emerging media and technology companies. The firm, which already publishes research reports on names such as Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Facebook Inc., will invest the money in about 25 companies over the next couple of years.
US banks push Fed for extension of Covid capital relief; One-year easing of leverage ratio was introduced after ructions in Treasuries market
Colby Smith and Laura Noonan – FT
US banks are pressing the Federal Reserve to extend concessions that loosened capital requirements when the pandemic struck, arguing that financial markets would be at risk if the relief expires as planned next month.
LIBOR Update: IBA Announcement Expected
Proskauer Rose LLP via JD Supra
This bulletin provides a timely update on two emerging issues related to LIBOR transition – namely, requirements that administrative agents (including private credit lenders acting in that role on their facilities) may be required under the terms of their credit agreements to provide notices of and, potentially, make amendments with respect to, a forthcoming announcement from the administrator of LIBOR, ICE Benchmark Administration (“IBA”).
A Brief History of Elon Musk’s Recent Market-Moving Tweets; From Signal to Dogecoin, the man keeps moving the needle all over the place.
Dorothy Gambrell – Bloomberg
When Elon Musk tweeted “use Signal,” earlier this year, he was talking about the messaging app made by a nonprofit organization. But soon, the stock price of Signal Advance Inc., a tiny and entirely unrelated medical device company in Texas, was up 5,100%. Such is the power of Musk, the world’s richest person, and his more than 46 million Twitter followers.
The Stock Market Bubble Is Just Getting Started
Jacob Sonenshine – Barron’s
If stocks are in a bubble, the puffing up has likely just begun, though some pockets within the market are further along in the process than the major indexes. With the S&P 500 up more than 20% since Sept. 23, the start of a fresh rally in stocks, some wonder if the market has come too far, too fast. But the Russell 2000 index of mostly small-capitalization companies, which often move more dramatically than large-caps, has risen almost three times as much as the S&P 500 in that time.
Fidelity Cashes In Most of GameStop Stake; Firm sold nearly all positions in GameStop last month, ending run as volatile stock’s largest shareholder
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments sold nearly all of its positions in GameStop Corp. GME 1.77% last month, just as shares of the videogame retailer were surging. Fidelity’s GameStop stake dropped to 87 shares on Jan. 29 from 9.3 million shares, or 13% of the company, on Dec. 31, according to securities filings. The sales ended Fidelity’s run as the volatile stock’s largest shareholder. It has been an eventful year for GameStop and its investors.
Israel Health Ministry Pushes Law Requiring Shot or Test in Jobs
Ivan Levingston – Bloomberg
Israel’s Health Ministry is promoting legislation that would require teachers, transportation workers and salespeople to get vaccinated or take frequent Covid-19 tests as a condition to work, according to Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch. “If you’re facing crowds and you see different people, you’ll have to be in some way protected in order to save other people’s lives,” he said in an interview.
Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Recommended for All Adults by WHO Panel
Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg
Expert group’s move clears way for use in developing countries; Some EU countries have advised against Astra shots for elderly
A World Health Organization panel recommended AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine for all adults over 18, paving the way to speed up inoculations in developing countries. The recommendation may encourage more countries to use the vaccine broadly, after some European Union members advised against giving it to the elderly because of insufficient trial data. The shot’s effect in older people is expected to be the same as for younger recipients, according to Alejandro Cravioto, chairman of the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.
Mexico should receive AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Sunday, president says
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that the country should receive around a million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine sent from India in the early hours of Sunday.
Vaccines vs variants: the race to immunise the developing world; The spread of new Covid strains has made it even more urgent to launch rapid vaccination programmes in poorer countries
David Pilling, Stephanie Findlay and Bryan Harris – FT
On a balmy day in January on the outskirts of Pune, a city of 3m people in Maharashtra state, women in saris are sitting on plastic chairs under a humming fan waiting for their first shot of Covishield as the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is known in India.
AstraZeneca aims to accelerate adaptation of vaccine for new Covid variants; Pharma group hopes to cut time needed to reach production at scale to 6-9 months
Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
AstraZeneca aims to cut the time needed to mass-produce a version of its Covid-19 vaccine adapted to new virus variants to six to nine months. The comments from the pharmaceutical group, which developed its jab in partnership with Oxford university, come as the world is locked in a race between vaccine development and new viral variants.
Single dose of Pfizer vaccine shows signs of success in UK; Early data need confirmation but government push to extend gap between jabs receives a boost
Anna Gross, Sarah Neville and Sebastian Payne – FT
Official data from the UK’s vaccination campaign show that a single dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer jab offers good protection against Covid-19, boosting the government’s approach of extending the gap between doses.
Iran’s vaccination drive becomes ensnared in geopolitics; Tehran has fuelled doubt over western vaccines but is now struggling to convince Iranians to take Russia’s jab
Najmeh Bozorgmehr – FT
With huge national fanfare, Iran rolled out its Covid-19 vaccine campaign with a television broadcast of the health minister’s son receiving Russia’s Sputnik V jab. “My father would not have let me have this vaccine if there was any problem with it,” said Parsa Namaki, the son of health minister Saeed Namaki and a student in Iran’s top engineering school. “I insisted,” he added, “in case it can have any impact to help build public trust.”
Possible Early Covid-19 Cases in China Emerge During WHO Mission; WHO team scrutinizing cases of 90 patients with coronavirus-like symptoms in October 2019, two months before Beijing acknowledged first infections
Drew Hinshaw, Jeremy Page and Betsy McKay – WSJ
BEIJING—About 90 people were hospitalized with Covid-19-like symptoms in central China in the two months before the disease was first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, according to World Health Organization investigators, who said they pressed Beijing to allow further testing to determine whether the new virus was spreading earlier than previously known.
How Merck, a Vaccine Titan, Lost the Covid Race; After ending its own Covid-19 vaccine trials, the company said that it was actively discussing with governments how to help its competitors make their shots.
Katie Thomas – NY Times
From Ebola to H.I.V. to river blindness, the American pharmaceutical giant Merck has been on the front lines of the biggest public health emergencies in recent history.
A Humble Syringe Could Help Speed U.S. Vaccination Effort
Emma Court and Anna Edney – Bloomberg
Special syringes needed to get extra Pfizer doses from vials; Big government push to vaccinate before new variants spread
In the race to get people immunized in the U.S., pharmacists made a key discovery — that vials of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine contain an extra dose. Extracting that extra bit of vaccine, however, hinges upon the availability of a specialized syringe that is in short supply.
Los Angeles temporarily shuts five vaccination sites over shortages.
Derrick Bryson Taylor – NY Times
Facing a shortage of coronavirus vaccine doses, Los Angeles will temporarily close five of its inoculation sites, including one of the country’s largest, at Dodger Stadium, the mayor said on Wednesday.
Fully vaccinated people can skip Covid quarantines, CDC says
Maggie Fox, CNN
People who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus — right now that means with two doses of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine — can skip quarantine if they are exposed to someone infected with the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Miami International Holdings Completes Follow-on Investment in MidChains Along with Co-investors Mubadala and ADQ
Miami International Holdings
Miami International Holdings (MIH), the parent holding company of MIAX®, and MidChains, an upcoming virtual asset trading platform, today announced that MIH has completed a follow-on equity investment in MidChains’ parent holding company, MEEG Holdings Limited. The parties previously announced MIH’s initial investment and intent to pursue joint technology licensing and product listing opportunities.
Euronext publishes Q4 and Full Year 2020 results
STRONG PERFORMANCE IN 2020 DRIVEN BY CONTINUED BENEFITS FROM POST TRADE AND STRENGTHENED MARKET POSITION IN TRADING ACTIVITIES. 2022 GUIDANCE ACHIEVED 2 YEARS IN ADVANCE
Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2020.
SIX launches first ESG indices for Swiss bond and equity markets; Swiss equity and bond market indices cover ESG criteria for the first time as SIX aims to facilitate investor demand for sustainable strategies.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The SIX Swiss stock exchange has confirmed the launch of new environmental, social and governance (ESG) indices for equity and bonds markets in Switzerland as demand for sustainable investment continues to soar.
How to accelerate cleared repo for the buy-side?
It started about two years ago and, since then, CCP cleared repo for the buy-side has been increasingly and intensively discussed in Europe. Why this sudden interest and how can one turn the growing interest into growing business? Frank Odendall, Senior Vice President, Head of Securities Financing Product & Business Development, Eurex, has some ideas.
Derivatives markets respond to dividend and ESG demands
2020 was an unprecedented year for global derivatives markets as volatility gripped global markets fueled by the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. elections and Brexit negotiations. In this article, Eurex speaks with Daniel Mannion from Susquehanna International Group (SIG) about the impact this had on trading as well as a closer look at the growth of dividend futures, ESG and pro-rata pricing and a look ahead to growth areas in 2021.
Euro Fixed Income Futures: Definition of reporting and position limits for March 2021
Position limits apply only to long positions in the front month contracts of the products concerned. Reporting limits will be valid from 26 February 2021 after close of trading until
3 March 2021 after close of trading.
MSCI Saudi Arabia Futures: Change of Minimum Block Trade Size
As of February 2021, Eurex will reduce the Minimum Block Trade Size for the Futures on MSCI Saudi Arabia (FMSA) from 25 to 5 contracts.
Preliminary results for the 2020 financial year
Deutsche Börse AG
Deutsche Börse AG has published its announcement on the preliminary results for the 2020 financial year.
The annual press conference will take place on Thursday, February 11 at 9:00 a.m. and will be broadcast publicly on www.deutsche-boerse.com .
2021 Half-Year Results Market Release
2021 Half-Year Results Presentation and Speaking Notes
Appendix 4D and 2021 Half-Year Financial Statements
2021 ASX Half-Year Financial Statements
2021 Half-Year Results Presentation Slides
Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy, Interest Rate & Metal Margins – Effective February 11, 2021
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. Please email any questions to Clearing.RiskManagement@cmegroup.com.
Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Interest Rates – Effective February 11, 2021
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.
Nodal Exchange Sets Daily Trading Record In Power Futures
On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Nodal Exchange achieved a new daily trading record in power futures with a total traded volume of 56.2 million MWh which is equivalent to the electricity that 5.3 million homes would consume in a year in the USA. This surpasses the previous daily trading record of 42.0 million MWh from February 4th, 2020.
MayStreet Names Manisha Kimmel Chief Policy Officer; Market data expert and former SEC senior policy advisor joins MayStreet to accelerate growth among key client and regulatory constituencies
MayStreet, the industry’s leading market data infrastructure provider, today announced the appointment of Manisha Kimmel as Chief Policy Officer. Manisha joins MayStreet from the Securities and Exchange Commission, where she served as Senior Policy Advisor, Regulatory Reporting in the Office of the Chairman. Over the course of her two-year tenure at the agency, she was instrumental in the successful implementation of the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT), working with various internal and industry stakeholders to get the high-profile system live. At MayStreet, Manisha will leverage her considerable regulatory and market expertise to help the firm continue its rapid growth.
Former SEC regulatory reporting advisor joins data platform MayStreet; Manisha Kimmel takes on a new role as chief policy officer at data infrastructure provider MayStreet after two years with the SEC.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
A senior policy advisor for the US financial watchdog who was key in the implementation of the notorious consolidated audit trail (CAT) system has joined market data infrastructure provider, MayStreet. Manisha Kimmel has been appointed chief policy officer at MayStreet where she will deploy her expertise in financial regulation and markets as the firm targets growth of the business.
Robinhood CEO Defends High-Frequency Trading in Latest Blog Post
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Says customers don’t understand financial system’s plumbing; CEO says this post will be part of occasional series
Robinhood Markets Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev defended the role high-speed traders play in modern markets following criticism over its decision to halt purchases of “meme stocks” last month. A crucial problem is that many investors don’t understand the “plumbing” of how financial markets work — including what high-frequency traders do, Tenev said in a blog post.
Digital overhaul helped Norway’s DNB weather pandemic; Bank now competing with newer fintech entrants alongside traditional lenders, says CEO
Richard Milne – FT
DNB, Norway’s biggest bank, is reaping the rewards of an early focus on digitalisation and cost control that has helped it weather the pandemic better than most other European lenders. It plans to pay a dividend for both 2019 and 2020.
Fintech Fundraising Fuels Hope for U.K. Finance Post-Brexit; Companies such as Checkout, Monzo and Revolut have made the U.K. the largest market for fintechs outside the U.S.
Simon Clark – WSJ
U.K. financial-technology startups are raising fresh investment cash at a fast clip, a boost for London as it tries to hold on to its role as a global financial center post-Brexit. London-based Checkout Ltd., a behind-the-scenes processor of online payments for businesses, became Europe’s most valuable venture-backed company last month after raising $450 million from investors including New York-based Tiger Global Management and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC, in a round that valued it at $15 billion.
Desktop Interoperability on the Trading Desk
Everyone is talking about the desktop interoperability (interop) movement, collaboration, and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It’s a sign of the evolution of the modern desktop in capital markets where traders want a better user experience, more efficient workflows, and seamless data shared across applications.
The London Metal Exchange selects Itiviti for automated client onboarding as part of trading infrastructure overhaul
Itiviti, a leading technology and service provider to financial institutions worldwide, today announced that the London Metal Exchange (LME) has chosen Itiviti’s FIX Conductor and VeriFIX Enterprise solutions to automate the onboarding process for their clients.
Fenics GO named OTC Trading Platform of the Year
Fenics GO, a pioneering electronic trading platform operated by the Fenics division of BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC Partners,” “BGC” or the “Company”), has been named the winner of the 2021 OTC Trading Platform of the Year award by Risk.net, the financial industry’s leading publication for in-depth news and analysis on risk management, derivatives and regulation.
Mastercard to Allow Some Cryptocurrencies in Digital Asset Boom
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Company to prioritize consumer protection, compliance, it says; Bitcoin hit record after Tesla became latest blue-chip backer
Mastercard Inc. will begin allowing cardholders to transact in certain cryptocurrencies on its network, becoming the latest company to embrace digital assets. The firm is also “actively engaging” with central banks around the world on their plans to launch new digital currencies, according to a Mastercard blog post on Wednesday. The company will prioritize consumer protections and compliance in its own plans, Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, said in the post.
Dogecoin? A lot of ‘retail punters are going to lose money,’ says crypto expert
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
Crypto venture capitalist Nic Carter says dogecoin has the potential to harm individual investors, as a number of celebrities and captains of industry have been touting the cryptocurrency that was created as a joke back in 2013.
Dogecoin’s Surging Price Has Resurrected Its Technical Development
Colin Harper – Coindesk
It was all a meme. Well, Dogecoin still is a meme – just a more expensive meme. And as the price rises from the depths, Dogecoin’s historically scattered development is rising with it. Take Dogecoin lead maintainer, Ross Nicoll, for example. His last commitment to the open-source project on Github came in October of 2019, but in the past two weeks he’s taken on a handful of new pull requests to make changes to the coin.
Balancing Calls For Bitcoin Regulation While Preserving Satoshi’s Dream
Thomas Meyer – Bitcoin Magazine
Bitcoin was created in 2009 as a way to remove third-party intermediaries that are typically needed to conduct monetary transactions. According to a message inscribed in the coinbase parameter of the first block in Bitcoin’s blockchain, this was at least partially in response to the Great Recession that lasted from 2007 through the early part of 2009. Most of us remember the difficulties that banks and other institutions faced as the credit crisis raged on.
Meet the entrepreneurs bringing bitcoin to institutions
Leigh Cuen – Tech Crunch
There’s a popular misconception that the cryptocurrency industry is a realm of rogue tech-bro cowboys. But the reality is many of the most ambitious entrepreneurs in fintech are betting big on institutional bitcoin adoption.
Ethereum Surpasses Bitcoin To Become Largest Network For ‘Trustless’ Money Settlement
According to a metric that tracks the on-chain transfer value of blockchain networks, Ethereum recently surpassed Bitcoin to become the largest network for trustless money settlement.
Surge in Crypto Trading Elicits Criticism From Thai Officials
Anuchit Nguyen – Bloomberg
Retail investors’ “excessive speculation” in cryptocurrencies may fuel instability in Thailand’s capital markets, according to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. Local retail investors have been shifting their savings into cryptocurrencies in search of higher returns, Arkhom told a capital market conference Thursday. Trading of cryptocurrencies on the nation’s licensed exchanges jumped to about 65 billion baht ($2.17 billion) in January from 19 billion baht a month earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on its website.
Twitter finance chief says company might invest in bitcoin
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
A top Twitter executive said the social network is considering following Tesla’s surprise move this week to invest in bitcoin. Twitter’s finance chief, Ned Segal, said Wednesday morning that the social media giant is considering adding bitcoin to its balance sheet, following the lead of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose electric-car company said Monday it has bought $1.5 billion worth of the premier cryptocurrency as an investment.
Analysis: Investors lukewarm on Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin splurge
April Joyner, Kate Duguid – Reuters
Investors in high-flying electric carmaker Tesla Inc are questioning whether Elon Musk’s $1.5 billion outlay into bitcoin will be as good for the company as it has been for the cryptocurrency.
Twitter CEO Donates $1M to Coin Center
Zack Voell – Coindesk
Jack Dorsey donated $1 million to cryptocurrency policy think tank Coin Center, per a tweet announcement from the organizations director Jerry Brito. The donation comes amid Grayscale’s donations campaign for Coin Center offering to match up to $1 million in donations on top of an additional $1 million gift from Grayscale. “Thank you for your incredible work,” Dorsey told Brito on Twitter. These donations are the latest in a flood of support for the Washington, D.C.-based organization. In late December, crowdsourced donations on Gitcoin and other gifts from crypto companies saw hundreds of thousands of dollars gifted to Coin Center.
Bitcoin Options Market Sees Low Odds of Sky-High Rally in 2021
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
Bitcoin’s options market is assigning a low probability of prices rising above $100,000 this year despite widespread expectations for a meteoric rally in the wake of Tesla’s recent purchase of the top cryptocurrency. At press time, the options market is pricing 12% odds of the cryptocurrency trading in seven figures before the end of December, according to data source Skew. The probability of a break above $70,000 is around 21%.
Bitcoin to Come to America’s Oldest Bank, BNY Mellon
Justin Baer – WSJ
Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the nation’s oldest bank, is making the leap into the market for cryptocurrencies. The custody bank said Thursday it will hold, transfer and issue bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on behalf of its asset-management clients. In time, BNY Mellon will allow those digital assets to pass through the same plumbing used by managers’ other, more traditional holdings—from Treasurys to technology stocks—using a platform that is now in prototype. The bank is already discussing plans with clients to bring their digital currencies into the fold.
The cult of cryptocurrency
John Mac Glionn – Spectator Australia
The?first rule of Crypto Club: You constantly talk about Crypto Club. The second rule of Crypto Club: You constantly talk about Crypto Club. How do you know someone is involved in crypto? Oh, don’t worry, they’ll soon let you know. Full disclaimer: I’m a member. We call it a club, you see, because nobody wants to admit that they are part of a cult.
Robinhood lobbying targets legislation that could hurt its business model
Kate Rooney, Brian Schwartz – CNBC
Robinhood is preparing a lobbying effort on key pieces of legislation that if passed, could weigh on its business model. The stock trading start-up registered its in-house team to begin lobbying on Feb. 5, according to a new registration report reviewed by CNBC. The filing gives a first glimpse into what legislation the start-up plans to target in the wake of Joe Biden becoming president and Democrats taking control of Congress. Some bills on the registration report could negatively impact Robinhood’s revenue model of profiting off of customer trades.
Ken Griffin expected to testify at House ‘Reddit Rally’ hearing: Reports
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
Congress is eyeing both Main Street and Wall Street to testify at its upcoming “Reddit Rally” hearing, including billionaire trader Ken Griffin. The hearing before the House of Representatives on Feb. 18 is expected to include testimony from Griffin, founder and CEO of investment giant Citadel, according to Bloomberg, as well as key executives from no-fee trading app Robinhood and hedge fund Melvin Capital, according to Reuters. Executives from website Reddit, home to trading forum WallStreetBets, are also expected to appear, a person with knowledge of the hearing agenda told The Post.
Most Republicans see Democrats not as political opponents but as enemies
Philip Bump – Washington Post
The idea is a simple one: A country in which people with at-times differing views of how things should be run get together and vote on representatives who will enact policy. The candidates with the most support take office, working to build consensus for the policies their constituents want to see. Both before and after the election, there’s an expectation that disagreements will be resolvable and resolved. This is an idealized version of our system, of course, but that’s how ideals work. Central to American politics is the idea that even if your candidate loses, the winner will advocate for you. But in an era in which the winners of elections in November are often those who manage to clamber over their primary opponents in the spring, the idea that a Democratic legislator will feel beholden to Republican constituents — or vice versa — seems almost quaint.
Mark Cuban tried to take politics out of sports. The rightwing ecosphere exploded
Bryan Armen Graham – The Guardian
From the moment nearly five years ago when Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem to start a conversation over racial inequality and social injustice, the collective plea from the American right has been loud and clear: Keep politics out of sports. Well, Mark Cuban obliged them. Then all hell broke loose.
ISDA-Clarus RFR Adoption Indicator: January 2021
ISDA-Clarus RFR Adoption Indicator was 10.0% in January, flat compared to the prior month. The indicator tracks how much global trading activity (as measured by DV01) is conducted in cleared over-the-counter and exchange-traded interest rate derivatives (IRD) that reference the identified risk-free rates (RFRs) in six major currencies. On a traded notional basis, the percentage of RFR-linked IRD decreased to 11.8% of total IRD in January compared to 13.3% the prior month.
Norton Rose Fulbright releases 16th annual Litigation Trends Survey
Norton Rose Fulbright
In global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright’s 16th annual Litigation Trends Survey, nearly half of the corporate counsel respondents state that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused either an increase or decrease in their volume of disputes.
BOE’s Bailey Says U.K. Won’t Slash Regulation After Brexit
David Goodman – Bloomberg
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said it’s not in the U.K.’s interest to dramatically ease banking rules following Brexit. While rules may change, Britain intends to keep up with international standards, he said.
Accounting watchdog told Wirecard it did ‘not want’ to investigate fraud; In 2016 and 2017 Germany’s FREP decided against looking into alleged accounting irregularities at disgraced payments firm
Olaf Storbeck – FT
Germany’s accounting watchdog told Wirecard in 2016 that it did “not want” to formally investigate fraud allegations raised by short sellers and asked the now-disgraced payments company to prepare arguments “why the accusations are unfounded”, according to people briefed on the matter.
Financial Institutions Want More Clarity on Anti-Money-Laundering Changes; Compliance professionals hope government will provide more input on its expectations following the enactment of an anti-money-laundering reform law, a recent poll found
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
Financial-sector compliance professionals want more input from the government on how to make their anti-money-laundering programs effective. Last year, regulators proposed amending U.S. anti-money-laundering rules to give financial institutions greater flexibility in the way they allocate resources within their compliance programs. While the industry in general supports the new standards, more detail is needed on what constitutes an effective compliance program, a survey of compliance professionals found.
Douglas Johnston successfully appeals three of nine counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception
On 10 February 2021, Mr Douglas Gordon Johnston was partially successful in appealing his conviction of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. The Victorian Court of Criminal Appeal overturned three counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception contrary to section 82(1) of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), but upheld six counts of the same charge.
Nothing Micro About Microcap Fraud: Investing in Low-Priced Stocks
Major events and times of uncertainty—such as the current COVID-19 pandemic—have long been exploited by unscrupulous, typically unlicensed, promoters to perpetrate fraud, and microcap securities remain one of their primary tools for such schemes. This and other types of financial fraud continue to be an area of focus for FINRA and other regulators.
FINRA Urges Firms to Review Their Policies and Procedures Relating to Red Flags of Potential Securities Fraud Involving Low-Priced Securities
Low-priced securities1 tend to be volatile and trade in low volumes. It may be difficult to find accurate information about them. There is a long history of bad actors exploiting these features to engage in fraudulent manipulations of low-priced securities. Frequently, these actors take advantage of trends and major events—such as the growth in cannabis-related businesses or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—to perpetrate the fraud.2
FCA finds the Covid-19 pandemic leaves over a quarter of UK adults with low financial resilience
The FCA has released its latest Financial Lives survey (FLS), looking at consumers’ financial situations, the financial products they choose and their experiences of engaging with financial services firms.
FCA: More than half of UK adults ‘financially vulnerable’; ‘Devastating situation,’ says expert
Adam Saville, Jenna Brown – Cover Magazine
Figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have exposed the extent to which the Covid-19 crisis is impacting the finances of adults in the UK. The regulator’s Financial Lives Survey, which benchmarks the nation’s financial resilience, showed that more than half (52%) are in some sense considered vulnerable (27.7m).
BoE’s Bailey says quick fixes to avoid LCF collapse were not possible
Huw Jones, David Milliken – Reuters
Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey angrily hit back at criticism that he failed to overhaul a regulator quickly enough to avert the collapse of the London Capital & Finance investment firm, saying the regulator had been a “broken machine.”
The Case For An Open Financial System – Speech By Bank Of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, Given At The Financial And Professional Services Address, Mansion House http://
Andrew Bailey looks at the benefits of a global financial system, and talks about the UK’s current and future role in it.
Investing and Trading
British Entrepreneur Tobin Plans Amsterdam Tech SPAC
Aaron Kirchfeld – Bloomberg
Crystal Peak blank-check firm seeks over 200 million euros; SPAC boom in U.S. slowly making its way to European markets
Michael Tobin, the U.K. data center entrepreneur-turned-motivational speaker, is seeking to raise a technology-focused blank-check firm in Amsterdam as the SPAC boom makes its way across the Atlantic.
Treasuries supported by Fed pledge of ‘patiently accommodative’ policy; Two-year US government bond price briefly hits a record high
Naomi Rovnick – FT
Government bonds rallied on Thursday after the head of the US central bank stressed there would be no rapid changes to monetary policy for the world’s largest economy.
WallStreetBets Traders Set Cannabis Stocks Alight; Individual investors on Reddit’s popular online forum are talking up marijuana stocks, sending shares of some U.S.-listed companies soaring
Will Horner – WSJ
The day traders behind GameStop Corp.’s meteoric rise last month are turning their attention to cannabis stocks, betting that President Biden’s administration will push for further decriminalizing the drug.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Solar and Wind Are Reaching for the Last 90% of the U.S. Power Market; They’ve both grown exponentially over the last 30 years. Now there’s just one more decimal place to go.
Nathaniel Bullard – Bloomberg
Three decades ago, the U.S. passed an infinitesimal milestone: solar and wind power generated one-tenth of one percent of the country’s electricity. It took 18 years, until 2008, for solar and wind to reach 1% of U.S. electricity. It took 12 years for solar and wind to increase by another factor of 10. In 2020, wind and solar generated 10.5% of U.S. electricity.
Credit Suisse Says Quick Climate Wins May Reduce Investor Impact
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
For climate-focused investors, Credit Suisse Group AG has pointed out an awkward irony in a new report: Reducing a portfolio’s carbon footprint doesn’t necessarily lead to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. “Decarbonizing your portfolio isn’t the same as building a portfolio that helps to decarbonize the world,” James Gifford, the bank’s head of impact advisory, wrote in the report published Thursday.
Shell announces new emissions goals as it aims to be net zero by 2050; Petrol and diesel production set to be 55 per cent lower by 2030, says energy group
Anjli Raval – FT
Royal Dutch Shell said its oil production and total carbon emissions related to its business had peaked as it outlined more ambitious climate targets in a bid to become a net-zero company by 2050.
How tech went big on green energy; To meet ambitious climate pledges, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have become the dominant buyers of clean power
Leslie Hook and Dave Lee – FT
Standing on top of a giant wind turbine in Texas, 300 feet above the ground, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos raised a bottle of champagne above his head, and smashed it against the machine. He was christening Amazon Wind Farm Texas, a 253MW facility near the town of Snyder — and couldn’t resist a slight grin at the camera, as the champagne dripped down the turbine.
Bawag Is Said to Emerge as Frontrunner to Buy German-Owned Depfa
Jan-Henrik Foerster and Eyk Henning – Bloomberg
Austrian lender negotiating deal for public sector financier; Kommunalkredit, LBBW had earlier studied Irish business
Austrian lender Bawag Group AG is emerging as the frontrunner to acquire Depfa Bank Plc, the public sector financier being sold by Germany, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Credit Agricole to Resume Payouts as Covid Provisions Fall
Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
Lender posted a quarterly profit, beating analyst forecasts; French bank plans to pay larger dividend after pandemic freeze
Credit Agricole SA joined European rivals in expressing optimism that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic may have passed, reporting lower provisions and plans to pay a higher-than-expected dividend. The Paris-based lender said Thursday it remained profitable in the fourth quarter with net income of 124 million euros ($150 million), despite a goodwill charge at its Italian unit that analysts had expected to drag the bank to a loss.
Commerzbank Scraps Dividends as Knof Embarks on Next Turnaround
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Lender posts 2.7 billion-euro loss on restructuring costs; CEO Knof is focusing on cost cuts after growth proves elusive
Commerzbank AG said it won’t pay a dividend for at least two years and signaled it may post another loss this year as new Chief Executive Officer Manfred Knof ditches a failed growth strategy in favor of deep cost cuts. While the bank expects to post an operating profit in 2021, revenue will probably decline “slightly” as it focuses on profitable client relationships, it said Thursday. Commerzbank posted a fourth-quarter loss of 2.7 billion euros ($3.3 billion) after writing down assets hit by the pandemic and booking costs for future job cuts. That’s the worst loss since at least 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.
A Loss-Making Indian Bond Trade Could Finally Yield Profits, SocGen Says
Subhadip Sircar – Bloomberg
A loss-making trade between Indian bonds and swaps may finally turn profitable, according to Societe Generale. Buying overnight indexed swaps to hedge India bond risk was termed a “widow-making trade” for most of the three years to early 2020, Kiyong Seong, a rates strategist wrote in a note. That’s because interest rate derivatives outperformed government paper amid easy monetary conditions.
Top 15 hedge fund managers earn $23.2bn in 2020, more than Iceland’s GDP
WION Web Team
For most of the world, 2020 will go down in the record books as one of the worst years in global history. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly two million people died, tens of millions lost their jobs and countless faced unprecedented disruption to their daily lives. But it was also a very profitable year for the elite few financial executives betting on the health of the global economy.
Kuwait Currency Peg in Spotlight With State Unable to Borrow
Netty Idayu Ismail and Fiona MacDonald -Bloomberg
12-month forward contracts for dinar hit highest since March; Fitch cut Kuwait outlook to negative, citing ‘liquidity risk’
The Kuwaiti dinar’s peg to a basket of currencies is coming under scrutiny as concerns grow that one of the world’s richest nations is running short of cash. Derivatives are showing signs of pressure after 12-month forward contracts on the Kuwaiti dinar rose to about 305 points in the offshore market Thursday, the highest since the oil rout in March. Most other Gulf currency forwards have declined this year as the recent recovery in crude prices eases the risks to their energy-dependent economies.
London’s Top Investors Warn on Post-Brexit Easing of IPO Rules
Suzy Waite and Benjamin Robertson – Bloomberg
Asset managers caution against eroding investors’ rights; Government is weighing rule revamp to lure tech, science firms
Some of the biggest buyers of U.K. shares have a warning for officials weighing one of the most radical shakeups of the London stock market’s rules in years: not so fast. Asset managers are urging caution as the government considers easing the path to public markets for startups to help post-Brexit London compete with rival financial hubs like Amsterdam and New York. The industry, which oversees about 1 trillion pounds ($1.4 trillion) in U.K. equities, wants to ensure that investor rights aren’t eroded in the push to attract the next Tesla Inc.
Bailey Says EU’s Brexit Finance Access Demands Are Unrealistic
Tom Metcalf and Silla Brush
Bank of England governor criticizes EU stance at virtual event; Bailey says low regulation for the industry not on the cards
The governor of the Bank of England said the European Union’s post-Brexit requirements to grant market access for financial services are unrealistic. “The EU has argued it must better understand how the U.K. intends to amend or alter the rules going forwards,” Andrew Bailey said at a virtual event hosted by the City of London on Wednesday. “This is a standard that the EU holds no other country to and would, I suspect, not agree to be held to itself.”
EU Rebuffs U.K. Call to Reset Their Post-Brexit Relationship
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
The European Union rebuffed the U.K.’s call to reset the two sides’ relationship, saying Britain needs to honor the promises it made on Northern Ireland as part of the Brexit deal. In a letter to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic gave a cool response to Britain’s request to delay the implementation of border checks on some goods entering the province, saying that measures the U.K. previously signed up to “urgently need to be fully and faithfully implemented.”
Brexit: Preserving NI protocol is ‘the only way’ forward, warns EU
Preserving post-Brexit trading rules for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is “the only way” to avoid a hard border, warns the EU. European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic has written to the UK’s Michael Gove, saying “teething problems” needed to be resolved. It comes after Mr Gove called for an urgent “reset” of the arrangements that came into force on 1 January. Mr Sefcovic and Mr Gove will discuss the issues in London on Thursday. The so-called Northern Ireland Protocol was designed to ensure an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.
Brexit could cost London’s economy £9.5bn a year with services sectors taking brunt; Sadiq Khan urges government to strike financial services equivalence deal with EU
James Booth – Financial News
Brexit could cost London’s economy £9.5bn a year with the capital’s services sectors hit hardest, new research has found. London’s financial and professional services sectors could lose £2bn a year post-Brexit, analysis of the government’s Brexit trade deal commissioned by the mayor Sadiq Khan found.
EU’s Barnier: UK must accept what Brexit means, deal on N.Ireland
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said Britain must accept the realities of Brexit and it was the UK’s exit from the EU that had caused tensions between London and Brussels over Northern Ireland, not the divorce protocol. Britain has been seeking changes to the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit deal after the European Commission sought briefly to prevent vaccines from moving across the open border between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland. “Both parties must be conscious of their responsibilities in applying fully this protocol. The difficulties on the island of Ireland are caused by Brexit, not by the protocol,” Michel Barnier told a European Business Summit event on Thursday. “The protocol is the solution.”
Half of UK exporters to EU are having Brexit difficulties, survey finds
Richard Partington – The Guardian
Half of British exporters to the EU are facing difficulties with mounting Brexit red tape and border disruption after a month of the new rules, according to one of the most comprehensive business surveys since leaving the bloc. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that 49% of UK-based exporters in a survey of 470 firms had suffered problems with post-Brexit arrangements since the start of the year, as companies struggled to adapt and faced higher costs due to extra border checks and paperwork. Little more than a month into the UK’s new relationship with Brussels, the leading business lobby group warned that urgent action from both the British government and the EU was necessary to solve severe issues with cross-border trade.
Fintech Fundraising Fuels Hope for U.K. Finance Post-Brexit
Simon Clark – WSJ
U.K. financial-technology startups are raising fresh investment cash at a fast clip, a boost for London as it tries to hold on to its role as a global financial center post-Brexit. London-based Checkout Ltd., a behind-the-scenes processor of online payments for businesses, became Europe’s most valuable venture-backed company last month after raising $450 million from investors including New York-based Tiger Global Management and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC, in a round that valued it at $15 billion. British fintechs, including Revolut Ltd. and Monzo Bank Ltd., raised a combined $4.3 billion last year, second only to the nearly $22 billion raised in the U.S. That put the U.K. ahead of places like China and Germany, according to PitchBook data.
Reddit Is America’s Unofficial Unemployment Hotline
Ella KoezeFeb. – NY Times
In early December, Alex Branch’s car broke down. A 23-year-old former arcade employee in southern Virginia, Mr. Branch had been receiving unemployment benefits since he was laid off in March, and figured he would have no problem paying for the repairs. But when he checked his bank account, he was troubled to find that the payments had stopped. He had failed to get useful information from his state’s unemployment office before, so he turned to the one place he figured he could get an explanation: Reddit.