Behind the Mysterious Demise of a $1.7 Billion Mutual Fund

Apr 20, 2021

First Read

$40,276/$300,000 (13.4%)
Mike du Plessis, Trading Technologies and Anonymous

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Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Gary Gensler has named senior members of his staff, including Prashant Yerramalli, Heather Slavkin Corzo, Kevin Burris and Scott Schneider. — SEC

The CME Group announced they will launch Mexican F-TIIE interest rate futures on May 24, 2021, pending regulatory review.– CME Group

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) congratulated on LinkedIn the Guangzhou Futures Exchange #GFEX on its official launch. “HKEX, as a founding shareholder, will fully support GFEX to become an innovative, market-oriented and international futures exchange. We look forward to working with GFEX to promote the development of mutual market access and of the #green and low-carbon markets in the region.” — LinkedIn

The New York Times has a fascinating graphic display of how air circulates on airplanes. If you are interested in flying, it is worth a look. The story is titled “How Safe Are You From Covid When You Fly? It is by Mika Gröndahl, Tariro Mzezewa, Or Fleisher and Jeremy White. — NY Times

A good pandemic indicator is Coca-Cola. It has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak as have many venues that serve Coke, like restaurants and sporting venues. Coke is issuing an alarm, the WSJ reports. — WSJ

The vice president of the United States during my later teenage years, Walter Mondale, died at the age of 93 yesterday. He was the 42nd vice president of the U.S. and the first to work in the White House on a daily basis. — WSJ, FT, NY Times

Down in the Miscellaneous section at the bottom of the newsletter we have several stories about the Super League that JPMorgan is supporting in European football. Lots of emotion and some anti-competitive aspects to this move.

For the fourth year in a row Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. What is it that they are doing right? — NY Times

We have had three new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. The first was by an anonymous source and the other from TP ICAP Senior Managing Director Mike du Plessis. Mike has had a long career working for major investment banks, including UBS, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers. He was a floor broker for NatWest Markets. He says this about his floor experience in his LinkedIn profile: “NatWest Markets Graduate Trainee. After the grad boot camps and credit training I took the opportunity to move to the burgeoning LIFFE floor. It was an immense privilege to have experienced physical markets close up – an unparalleled learning experience.” The last donation was from Trading Technologies, matching another $1,200.

Thank you to Anonymous, Mike du Plessis and Trading Technologies and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving 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

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On the lighter side: Today’s date of 420 is widely viewed as a holiday in cannabis culture and it’s not new. An article in the Chicago Tribune published Monday dates the start of its significance back 50 years, to 1971, when 4:20 p.m. was said to be the weekly meeting time for a group of California high school students nicknamed the Waldos to smoke pot. JLN began to look at the cannabis sector much more recently, through a business and legislative lens. On that note, the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois today is hosting a free virtual 420 resource fair for current and aspiring industry professionals from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. CT. You can register here. ~SC

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Tom Ascher – Open Outcry Traders History Project – Part Two
JohnLothianNews.com

In Part Two of the JLN interview with Tom Ascher for the Open Outcry Traders History Project, Ascher talks about getting involved in exchange politics. He joined CBOE’s board and later became its vice chairman. At one point, his non-trading activities became his main focus.

Watch the video »

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Oil Marks Anniversary of Crash Below Zero With Rally Above $64
Sharon Cho and Alex Longley – Bloomberg
Demand prospects gain, while Libyan output falls amid dispute; WTI crude futures advance 1.3%; Brent’s prompt spread rallies
Oil jumped above $64 a barrel, a year to the day after futures for the U.S. benchmark collapsed below zero, with the world’s most important commodity extending a powerful rally on bets for better demand.
/bloom.bg/3ehSBbx

*****A year ago WTI traded below zero and opened new risks for derivatives traders to consider. One thing JLN likes to do is create pages in MarketsWiki for significant market days, like WTI going under zero or a stock market crash. I asked JLN editor Thom Thompson, a trained economist, to create a page in MarketsWiki for the WTI under zero day. The result is this page: NYMEX WTI futures trade below zero. He has more to add, but he has made a significant start. Thank you, Thom.~JJL

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MIAX expands futures division with new hires from Cboe and Citi; Matt McFarland and Thomas Jarck join Miami International Holdings as part of the expansion of its futures division, MIAX Futures.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
MIAX Futures, the subsidiary of Miami International Holdings (MIH), has hired two executives from Cboe Global Markets and Citigroup as part of its futures division expansion. Matt McFarland joins MIAX as vice president after spending the last 13 years at rival US exchange Cboe Global Markets, most recently as vice president and head of futures for the last two years.
/bit.ly/3eeODjX

*****Matt McFarland made a superhero landing.~JJL

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New micro futures from Eurex – a cost-efficient way to access European markets
Eur3ex
In response to increasing interests from market participants for smaller-sized futures contracts, Eurex has launched a new micro product suite – Micro-DAX, Micro-EURO STOXX 50 and Micro-SMI Futures. The new micro futures have low daily margin rates and are a cost-efficient way for global investors to access the European equity index futures markets. The Eurex micro contracts have a multiplier value of 1 which makes the contract value calculation simpler as it equates to the respective product index price. In comparison to the regular futures contracts, Eurex micro contract values are significantly smaller, further reducing potential portfolio tracking errors and providing investors with precise hedging opportunities.
/bit.ly/3xdqoLx

*****It is big news for a very small launch.~JJL

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Monday’s Top Three
The top story on Monday was a pandemic-related feature from The New York Times, There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. Next-up was a timely look at Ameribor by the Wall Street Journal, Libor-Replacement Competitor Gains Strength From New Offerings. And the third most read item was a listing from DRW for a Compliance Officer.

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MarketsWiki Stats
202,941,027 pages viewed; 25,644 pages; 231,751 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages

Recently updated pages include
Coinbase
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People’s Bank of China
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CryptoMarketsWiki Stats

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Lead Stories

Behind the Mysterious Demise of a $1.7 Billion Mutual Fund; An analysis of Infinity Q Diversified Alpha Fund’s disclosures reveals misvaluations and anomalies in a large derivatives portfolio
Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
A U.S. mutual fund that suffered nearly $500 million of losses appears to have misvalued its large derivatives portfolio, according to an analysis of the fund’s disclosures by The Wall Street Journal, academics and traders. The Infinity Q Diversified Alpha Fund disclosed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission valuations of investments that in at least three instances were incorrect or inconsistent with market conditions, said traders and academics. One valuation was mathematically impossible, said a former Morgan Stanley managing director who reviewed the disclosures.
/on.wsj.com/2QlE6eJ

Xi warns against economic decoupling and calls for new world order; China’s president launches veiled attack on US at Boao business forum
Ryan McMorrow – FT
Xi Jinping has called for a new world order, using a speech at China’s flagship business event to launch a veiled attack against US global leadership and to warn against economic decoupling. “International affairs should be handled by everyone,” the Chinese president told the Boao Forum for Asia, an event billed as the country’s answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Last year’s summit was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
/on.ft.com/3x9av8R

Gary Gensler Names Initial Senior Staff Members
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointments of Prashant Yerramalli, Heather Slavkin Corzo, Kevin Burris, and Scott Schneider to Gary Gensler’s senior staff, responsible for advising him on matters before the Commission. “I am incredibly honored that these four individuals joined this team to work on behalf of American investors,” said Gensler. “Prashant, Heather, Kevin, and Scott bring wide-ranging perspectives and diverse experience to the Commission and will work closely with our dedicated career staff to execute the SEC’s critical mission.”
/bit.ly/2RGGA7O

Tokyo Has Decided to Seek State of Emergency, Mainichi Says
Kana Nishizawa – Bloomberg
Daily virus cases in Tokyo have surged to January levels; Tokyo may ask restaurants to close, TV network TBS reported
Tokyo has decided to ask the Japanese government to declare a state of emergency, Mainichi newspaper reported, as authorities step up restrictions to contain a surge in coronavirus infections ahead of an Olympics just three months away.
/bloom.bg/2QashIw

How Credit Suisse rolled the dice on risk management — and lost; Senior executives pushed compliance to become ‘more commercial’ and dissenting voices were suppressed
Stephen Morris, Tabby Kinder, Owen Walker and Robert Smith – FT
Five months before Greensill Capital’s collapse, Credit Suisse invited a special guest to present to its top ranks in Asia. The visitor was hailed as the sort of bold entrepreneur the bank wanted to do business with: Lex Greensill.
/on.ft.com/3gCszCP

Credit Suisse Halts Star Trader’s Fund Launch on Risk Concerns
Antonio Vanuzzo, Laura Benitez, and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Platform set to take advantage of market dislocation in credit; Collapse of Archegos and Greensill triggered bank overhaul
Credit Suisse Group AG paused the launch of a credit fund run by star trader Hamza Lemssouguer as it dials back risk in the aftermath of the twin implosions of Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital, according to people familiar with the decision.
/bloom.bg/3gvn1tL

Credit Suisse Prime Brokerage Co-Heads to Leave Bank After Archegos Losses; Prime brokerage co-heads John Dabbs, Ryan Nelson to depart, according to memo
Juliet Chung and Margot Patrick – WSJ
Credit Suisse CS -1.38% Group AG said two executives in charge of its prime brokerage unit will leave in the wake of its $4.7 billion loss from the collapse of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management.
/on.wsj.com/2RPjQ5L

A Digital Currency to Fight Data Overlords; Europe’s privacy-first approach could seize back some power from tech companies sweeping up personal information.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
From e-commerce firms and payment processors to governments, everyone with half a server and an algorithm wants our data. So it’s a pleasant surprise to see at least one central bank expressly rejecting the idea of sweeping up personal information in designing its electronic cash.
/bloom.bg/2Q9NO45

EU’s Bond Bonanza Will Reshape the Capital Markets; The European Union is set to challenge Germany’s status as the benchmark borrower in euros.
Marcus Ashworth and Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
The fixed-income landscape is set to be transformed as the European Union revs up to borrow $1 trillion by selling bonds in its own right. While talk of creating a market to rival U.S. Treasuries is overblown, the forthcoming flood of securities will offer investors a genuine alternative to German bunds as the region’s debt benchmark.
/bloom.bg/3n395YV

New Carbon Market Pays Southern Pine-Growers Not to Cut; Companies such as Microsoft, Royal Dutch Shell pay timberland owners to keep trees standing in an effort to offset emissions
Ryan Dezember – WSJ
Here is a new way for Southern pine growers to get paid for their timber: Leave it standing. Companies eager to offset their emissions are paying Southern timberland owners not to cut more than a million acres of mill-bound pine trees until next year. The idea is that the longer the timber stands, the more carbon the trees can sponge from the atmosphere before becoming two-by-fours and telephone poles.
/on.wsj.com/3v8z6sz

Cryptocurrency Giant Binance Hires Former Top Bank Regulator; Brian Brooks, an acting head of Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under Trump, will become CEO of Binance.US
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
A former top U.S. banking regulator is set to join Binance, one of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, in the latest move by a cryptocurrency company to deepen its ties to Washington. Brian Brooks, an acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under the Trump administration, will become the new chief executive of Binance.US, the U.S. affiliate of overseas crypto-exchange giant Binance Holdings Ltd.
/on.wsj.com/3v2PPxA

A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has Arrived; Never before have so many countries, including China, moved with such vigor at the same time to limit the power of a single industry.
Paul Mozur, Cecilia Kang, Adam Satariano and David McCabe – NY Times
China fined the internet giant Alibaba a record $2.8 billion this month for anticompetitive practices, ordered an overhaul of its sister financial company and warned other technology firms to obey Beijing’s rules. Now the European Commission plans to unveil far-reaching regulations to limit technologies powered by artificial intelligence.
/nyti.ms/2QkCSR5

Dogecoin fans push ‘Doge Day’ while global stocks fall.
Eshe Nelson – NY Times
Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency started as a joke, now has a market value that can’t be laughed at: more than $50 billion. On Tuesday, traders of Dogecoin were trying to push up the price to coincide with 4/20, or April 20, a date associated with smoking cannabis.
/nyti.ms/3xarCY4

Treasury Announces Coordinated Climate Policy Strategy with New Treasury Climate Hub and Climate Counselor
U.S. Department Of The Treasury
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a coordinated climate policy strategy that will: Bring to bear the full force of the Treasury Department on domestic and international policymaking, leveraging finance and financial risk mitigation to confront the threat of climate change. These actions will position the economy for strong and sustainable growth consistent with a net-zero emissions future.
/bit.ly/3x81ih7

Coronavirus

New Virus Wave Sparks Fresh Worker Exodus From India’s Cities
Sudhi Ranjan Sen and Dhwani Pandya – Bloomberg
The country now has the fastest growing pandemic in the world; Migrant workers are scarred from last year’s strict lockdown
India’s surging epidemic has forced both its financial and political capitals into lockdown, spurring a fresh exodus of migrant laborers fleeing the cities fearing vanishing jobs as panic rises over the ferocity of the country’s second Covid-19 wave.
/bloom.bg/3n7mSh9

Bharat Biotech to Boost Vaccine Output as India Reels From Covid
Chris Kay – Bloomberg
Bharat Biotech International Ltd., an Indian vaccine maker, will ramp up production of its Covid-19 shot to about 700 million doses on an annual basis as the South Asian country struggles to contain a fresh and virulent coronavirus wave. The planned expansion comes after India’s government last week gave the firm a 650 million rupee ($8.7 million) grant. New Delhi has pushed Bharat Biotech to double its output by June and churn out nearly 100 million doses of its inactivated Covaxin shot per month by September as the nation reports record daily infection and death rates.
/bloom.bg/3xdjGoP

Talking Vaccine Doubters Off The Fence Can Beat Anti-Vax Sentiment; The only way to end the pandemic is to respectfully listen to the concerns of those wary of vaccines
Kristen V Brown – Bloomberg
In a misleading video that recently went viral on Facebook, a man narrates as he scrolls through possible Covid-19 vaccine side effects, including death, reported in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, a government-run clearinghouse for potential issues with vaccines.
/bloom.bg/3el4Ow0

UK adds India to travel ‘red list’ after Covid cases surge in country; Boris Johnson cancels trip as authorities lock down Delhi and restrict oxygen use in battle with new variant
Stephanie Findlay and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe – FT
The UK government on Monday said India will be added to its “red list” of countries, as the country battles a new variant and a surge in coronavirus cases that is overwhelming hospitals.
/on.ft.com/3v5OK86

India bank shares fall as Covid surge raises default fears; Lockdowns put borrowers under more pressure and compound lenders’ losses from last year
Benjamin Parkin – FT
Shares of Indian banks have tumbled as investors fear a wave of defaults owing to the surge in Covid-19 infections and a new round of local lockdowns. The National Stock Exchange’s Nifty Bank index, which tracks Indian lenders, has fallen 17 per cent since a record high in February as India’s second coronavirus wave has accelerated, compared with a loss of 6 per cent in the broader Nifty 50 index over the same period.
/on.ft.com/3xcefqc

Johnson & Johnson sells $100m of coronavirus vaccines in first quarter; Healthcare company is awaiting findings from regulators on whether it can resume rollout of its jab
Nikou Asgari – FT
Sales of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine hit $100m in the first three months of the year as the company awaits findings from regulators on whether it can resume the rollout of its jab.
/on.ft.com/2QgD4kh

A Covid-19 Lesson for the U.S. From Three Countries With Rapid Vaccination Rollouts; Israel, the U.K. and Chile have different experiences after quickly delivering inoculations
Jason Douglas in London, Dov Lieber in Tel Aviv and Ryan Dube – WSJ
Rapid Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in Israel, the U.K. and Chile hold an important lesson for the U.S. as it navigates back to normalcy: Risks remain, even after inoculating a significant share of your population. The three countries have so far had contrasting experiences. Israel has reopened its economy and is closing down its Covid-19 treatment wards. Chile, by contrast, has locked down again and shut its borders. The U.K. is taking it slow, with a staged reopening planned over the next few months.
/on.wsj.com/3xdnnuH

World can bring pandemic under control within months – WHO chief
Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay – Reuters
The world can bring the global COVID-19 pandemic under control in the coming months provided it distributes the necessary resources fairly, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told a news briefing on Monday.
/yhoo.it/3v1h7o7

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group to Launch Mexican F-TIIE Interest Rate Futures
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will introduce interest rate futures based on the Central Bank of Mexico’s Overnight TIIE funding rate (F-TIIE). Monthly contracts based on the Mexican F-TIIE Rate will become available for trading on May 24, 2021, pending regulatory review.
/bit.ly/2Qi2lKT

Reminder: CME Optimizer Software Version 16 Release, Mandatory Upgrade Required April 26, 2021
CME Group
As a reminder, in conjunction with CME expanding the Portfolio Margin program to include SOFR Futures contracts, CME has released Optimizer software version 16. Optimizer users must upgrade to the newest build by the production deadline April 26, 2021. Firms who do not upgrade on the production deadline will experience subsequent Optimizer failures.
/bit.ly/3xdMDBk

Amendments to CME, CBOT, NYMEX/COMEX Rule 702 – Effective May 03, 2021
CME Group
Amendments to CME, CBOT, NYMEX/COMEX Rule 702. (“Clearing Member Duties to the Clearing House”) of Chapter 7 (“Delivery Facilities and Procedures”)
/bit.ly/3v5Wzuw

Amendments to CME, CBOT, and NYMEX/COMEX Rule 559. (“Position Limits and Exemptions”)
CME Group
Effective on trade date May 3, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME”), The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT”), New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX”), and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) (collectively, the “Exchanges”) are adopting amendments to CME CBOT, and NYMEX/COMEX Rules 559. (“Position Limits and Exemptions”).
/bit.ly/2RKZMBn

Position Limits and Accountability Levels
CME Group
Effective on trade date Monday, May 3, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, this Market Regulation Advisory supersedes CME Group Market Regulation Advisory Notice RA2101-5RR from March 15, 2021. It is being issued based on amendments to CME, CBOT, and NYMEX/COMEX Rule 559 (“Position Limits and Exemptions”) that harmonize the rule text with language already contained in RA2101-5RR and the CFTC’s final rules concerning position limits. Specifically, the amendments codify the requirements attendant to market participants who submit a position limit exemption application after exceeding a position limit.
/bit.ly/3xcl62U

May 2021 Delivery Date Memo
CME Group
Important dates and events through the month relevant to delivery and clearing procedures.
/bit.ly/2QlIytX

Amendments to NYMEX/COMEX Rule 703.A. (“Conditions for Approval”) of Chapter 7 (“Delivery Facilities and Procedures”) – Responsible Sourcing for NYMEX Platinum and Palladium and COMEX Silver
CME Group
/bit.ly/3v8Dhof

COMEX Exchange Transaction Fee Amendments Effective June 1, 2021
CME Group
Effective June 1, 2021, Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) will increase certain transaction fees as more
specifically described in the tables below.
/bit.ly/3aqfZm3

Amendments to NYMEX/COMEX Rule 703.A. (“Conditions of Approval”) of NYMEX/COMEX Chapter 7 (“Delivery Facilities and Procedures”) – Responsible Sourcing for NYMEX Platinum and Palladium and COMEX Silver
CME Group
Effective Monday, May 3, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“NYMEX”) and the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”, and collectively the “Exchanges”) will amend Chapter 7 of the Exchanges Rulebook to revise the requirements for responsible sourcing for NYMEX platinum and palladium and COMEX silver deliverable against the respective physically delivered futures contracts listed on the Exchanges (collectively, the “Rule Amendments”). See NYMEX/COMEX Submission No. 21-193.
/bit.ly/3txBw3Q

B3 Launches High-Density Racks At Its Data Center – The New Product Is Part Of B3’s Co-Location Services, Which Allow Installation Of Infrastructure To Operate At Extremely Low Latency
Mondovisione
Today B3 begins providing the market with high-density racks that have an energy capacity 2.5 times greater than what was provided previously at its high-technology data center at Santana do Parnaíba (São Paulo, Brazil).
/bit.ly/3v1ioLV

EEX To Expand Dry Bulk Freight Portfolio With Launch Of Handysize 7TC Futures
Mondovisione
/bit.ly/3gqaOpW

OCC Announces Clearing Fee Reduction to Two Cents Effective June 2021
OCC
As part of its continued commitment to deliver operational excellence to the users of the U.S. equity derivatives markets, OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today announced a reduction in clearing fees from four and a half cents ($0.045) per contract to two cents ($0.02) per contract effective June 1, 2021, subject to regulatory review.
/bit.ly/32oZ4Mm

China’s new Guangzhou exchange eyes carbon futures
Argus Media
China has formally launched its fifth futures exchange, in the southern city of Guangzhou, focusing on environmental products possibly including carbon futures.
/bit.ly/3twRkno

Fintech

MI5 warns of spy threat from professional networking sites; Over 10,000 in government, business and academia targeted in past 5 years by hostile states, says British intelligence
Helen Warrell – FT
More than 10,000 British nationals have been targeted online in the past five years by hostile states such as China, as foreign spies increasingly manipulate professional networking sites to recruit new agents and steal secrets.
/on.ft.com/3gnWJth

Why the Chip Shortage Is So Hard to Overcome; Semiconductor producers are trying to increase output, but the small gains are unlikely to fix the shortfalls hampering production of everything from cars to home appliances to PCs
Eun-Young Jeong and Dan Strumpf – FT
The world’s leading suppliers of semiconductors are pushing to overcome the prolonged chip shortage that has hampered production of everything from home appliances to PCs to autos. Chip makers are trying to eke out more supply through changes to manufacturing processes and by opening up spare capacity to rivals, auditing customer orders to prevent hoarding and swapping over production lines. The bad news is, there are no quick fixes, and shortages will likely continue into next year, according to the industry’s executives.
/on.wsj.com/3ef5FhX

Refinitiv Wealth Management Report – The Race For Digital Differentiation – Highlights The Growing Needs Of Self-Directed And Advisory Clients
Mondovisione
Refinitiv today released the findings of its Wealth Management report titled ‘The Gold Standard: The Race for Digital Differentiation’. The report is the second in a two-part series and examines how investors’ trading activities, data needs and digital expectations have changed and continue to evolve.
/bit.ly/3xcmcvy

Alphabet’s CapitalG leads $40 million round in fintech Mantl
Mary Ann Azevedo – Tech Crunch
Community banks and credit unions aim to be the heart of the, well, communities, they serve. But without the big budgets of larger institutions, keeping up technology-wise can be a challenge. And not only are they competing with legacy players, there is also a slew of digital banks that have emerged in recent years, as well. Enter Mantl, a startup that has developed technology to make it easier for people to open accounts digitally at community banks and credit unions so that those institutions can increase deposits and ultimately, profits. Founded in 2016, New York-based Mantl has been described by some as “the Shopify of account opening.”
/tcrn.ch/3x4ipAB

Singapore-based fintech STACS raises $3.6M to develop blockchain platforms for financial institutions
Catherine Shu – Tech Crunch
Singapore-based fintech Hashstacs Pte Ltd (STACS) announced today it has raised $3.6 million USD in pre-Series A funding. The company develops blockchain platforms that can work with financial institutions’ existing infrastructure, and its core technology is also used in GreenSTACS for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments. The round was led by Wavemaker Partners, which focuses on enterprise and deep tech companies in Southeast Asia, with participation from the Tribe Accelerator, a program for blockchain startups backed by the Singaporean government. STACS participated in Tribe last year, along with Project Ubin, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s blockchain-based multi-currency payments network initiative.
/tcrn.ch/3arkPiP

VGS and Quo to discuss integrating compliance with fintech
William Girling – Fintech Magazine
Taking place on 6 May at 10am PT/1pm ET, the event will feature Very Good Security’s (VGS) VP of Business Development & Strategy, Peter Berg, as well as guest speaker Tucker Haas from Quo Finance. The session’s title – ‘Grow your business by offloading security and compliance’ – provides an indication of compliance’s value in modern finance. Indeed, in the wake of the pandemic’s acceleration of digital transformation, the rapid adoption of digital tech across the business spectrum has made it one of the most important industry trends of recent times.
/bit.ly/32uNQpt

China’s central bank to build out fintech cloud infrastructure after clipping the wings of Ant Group, JD.com
Celia Chen – South China Morning Post
China’s central bank said it is accelerating infrastructure development for its own financial technology, which includes upgrades to its data centres and the network linking all central bank offices and branches, along with creating a “central bank cloud” in 2021, in a bid to keep pace with a financial industry that is increasingly shaped by data, artificial intelligence and Big Tech. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) aims to strike a balance between “growth and supervision” of fintech, the bank said in a statement on its website following the conclusion of its nationwide technology work conference on Monday. The bank will draft a new plan for the industry this year, it said.
/bit.ly/2RL53ZH

Cryptocurrencies

Dogecoin, Once a Joke, Moves Mainstream; Traders on online forums are whipping the meme cryptocurrency’s price higher following a meteoric 8,000% rally so far this year
Caitlin Ostroff and Caitlin McCabe – WSJ
A cryptocurrency that was created as a joke exploded into plain view on Wall Street on Monday, with a surge in dogecoin sending its 2021 return above 8,100%—more than double the gains on the S&P 500, including dividends, since 1988.
/on.wsj.com/3v97DHv

Plumber Buying Doge Shows Retail Investors’ Power in Crypto
Katherine Greifeld and Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Bitcoin plunged as much as 15% after false weekend report; Individual investors still ‘dominate’ crypto markets: McClurg
A rocky weekend for the legions that poured into all things crypto after Coinbase Global Inc.’s direct listing did little to undermine its grip on retail traders. Dogecoin rallied another 20% or so Monday, even after most of the biggest tokens, including Bitcoin slumped further. To Mike McGlone, a Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist, the recent run-up in the joke token is exemplary of retail’s involvement in crypto markets. His plumber told him recently that he’d bought in.
/bloom.bg/3n3a23r

Venmo to Allow Customers to Buy, Sell and Hold Cryptocurrencies
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Bitcoin, Ethereum to be available through PayPal’s Venmo app; Company expects users to ‘want to share this fun experience’
Crypto trading is coming soon to a Venmo feed near you. PayPal Holdings Inc. on Tuesday will begin allowing select customers of its Venmo app to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies as consumers increasingly look for ways to pile into the digital assets. The firm will make it available to all the app’s users, who number more than 70 million, within the next few weeks.
/bloom.bg/3aqkEEy

Dogecoin at $50 Billion Makes It Bigger Than Ford and Kraft
Yakob Peterseil – Bloomberg
The token has soared more than 400% in the past week; It’s all part of the dizzying trajectory for Dogecoin
For a cryptocurrency created as a joke, Dogecoin now finds itself in some serious company. After a 400% rally in the past week, the total value of all circulating Dogecoins in the world is about $50 billion, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.com.
/bloom.bg/2RQcOxC

Dogecoin Rips in Meme-Fueled Frenzy on Pot-Smoking Holiday
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
DogeDay trends on social media, pushing prices near 42 cents; ‘Dogecoin is symptomatic of the zeitgeist,’ says Trenchev
Fans are driving Dogecoin higher to mark a day known for celebrating pot smoking. The Shiba Inu-themed token traded near 42 cents on Tuesday, further stoking the social media frenzy that’s being propelled by the #DogeDay hashtag trending on Twitter on April 20, or 4/20 — pot-user slang for smoking cannabis.
/bloom.bg/3x47qal

Silvergate’s Exchange Network Handled $166.5B in Crypto-Related Transactions in Q1
Nate DiCamillo – Coindesk
Silvergate Capital’s Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), a fiat on-ramp for bitcoin (BTC, -2.16%) markets, processed 166,772 transactions and transferred $166.5 billion over the network during Q1, the company said in an earnings report released before market open on Tuesday. The La Jolla, Calif.-based bank, which serves major crypto firms such as Coinbase, Gemini and Kraken, added 135 digital currency customers in Q1. Those customers included nine cryptocurrency exchanges, 88 institutional investors and 38 other types of crypto customers. Q1 net income was $12.7 million, up 40% over Q4.
/bit.ly/3dyjsRz

Time Magazine now accepts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for digital subscriptions
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The 98-year old publication Time Magazine now accepts bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for digital subscription payments. Announcing the news on Monday, Time said it has partnered with Crypto.com for the feature, which is currently only available in the U.S. and Canada. Global access is expected to be rolled out “in the next several months.” Time will accept all cryptocurrencies currently supported by Crypto.com Pay, a Crypto.com spokesperson told The Block. These include bitcoin, ether, dogecoin, XRP and litecoin, as well as DeFi tokens Uniswap, Aave, Balancer, and Compound.
/bit.ly/3v3DsBp

Nasdaq to list options for Coinbase stock
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Exchange giant Nasdaq is set to list options contracts for Coinbase stock. The listing will take place on Tuesday, a Nasdaq representative told Reuters on Monday. Stock options give traders the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a stock at an agreed-upon price and date. There are two types of options: puts, which is a bet that a stock will fall, and calls, which is a bet that a stock will rise. Options trading has exploded in recent months, reportedly thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and commission-free trading offered by popular mobile investing apps like Robinhood.
/bit.ly/3swREBm

Facebook-Backed Diem Aims to Launch Stablecoin Pilot in 2021: Report
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
The Facebook-backed Diem project (formerly Libra) could launch a digital currency stablecoin pilot in 2021, according to reports. The pilot will be launched with a single stablecoin pegged to the U.S dollar, CNBC reported Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. It will be based largely on payments between individual consumers, potentially with the option for users to buy goods and services. The Diem project is currently in talks with Swiss regulators to secure a payment license.
/bit.ly/3gpYjuM

OKEx Goes Live With Bitcoin Lightning Network Deposits, Withdrawals
Colin Harper – Coindesk
Crypto exchange OKEx’s support for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is now live. The Lightning Network is a second layer that works atop Bitcoin to facilitate faster and cheaper transactions than Bitcoin’s primary network. The exchange announced the integration in February. “OKEx is pleased to announce that BTC Lightning Network is now live on OKEx website, enabling much faster and cheaper BTC transfers. OKEx users are now able to use the Lightning Network for both BTC deposits and withdrawals,” a press release reads.
/bit.ly/3xdMvBQ

WallStreetBets Selects BSCstarter to Host Exclusive Public Token Sale; BSCstarter to host WallStreetBets’ highly anticipated IDO of $WSB to the BSC community
Globe Newswire
BSCstarter (https://www.bscstarter.finance), the first community-focused fundraising platform, today announced the launch of $WSB token through an exclusive partnership with WallStreetBets DApp (https://wsbdapp.com), a decentralized application of the popular subreddit /r/wallstreetbets. The WallstreetBets DApp is a creation of WallStreetBets (https://twitter.com/wallstreetbets), an establishment behind the global movement against the current financial system, financial institutions, and Wall Street. Inspired by their aligning visions of a financial democracy, BSCstarter and WallStreetBets DApp will launch the official $WSB token through an Initial Dex Offering (IDO) on BSCstarter’s launchpad.
/yhoo.it/2QjiEqH

Politics

Why Business Leaders Are Taking Political Stands; Companies are feeling pressure from younger customers and their own employees to take a position on voting rights, other issues
Gerald F. Seib – WSJ
Once upon a time, it was pretty simple to compose a political strategy for a big American corporation: Give some political contributions to mainstream Republican politicians who could be counted on to push agreeable tax and regulatory policies, find a few dollars for some moderate Democrats to provide a bit of bipartisan insurance, and then keep your mouth shut when political debates flared up.
/on.wsj.com/3anVaYz

As Biden prepares for climate summit, U.N. says the world is ‘on the verge of the abyss’
David Knowles – Yahoo News
Just days before President Biden kicks off a climate summit with world leaders, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization released a report Monday warning that “time is fast running out” to keep global temperatures in check.
/yhoo.it/2QFkbqU

Colleges’ Foreign Cash at Risk as Congress Targets China’s Clout
Daniel Flatley, David McLaughlin, and Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
Senators propose security scrutiny of some grants, contracts; China biggest single source of overseas money to universities
A broad attempt by Congress to stem China’s influence could put at risk research collaborations and funding that U.S. universities count on by subjecting some foreign gifts and contracts to national security reviews. Senators are seeking increased oversight of grants and contracts to universities from overseas as part of a bipartisan package of legislation designed to increase U.S. competitiveness with China in science and technology.
/bloom.bg/3sA44Io

Blinken says US must lead green energy revolution to combat China; Secretary of state warns America risks losing out on chance to shape climate future
Katrina Manson and Leslie Hook – FT
US secretary of state Antony Blinken has cast renewable energy investment as imperative to America’s rivalry with China days ahead of a White House climate summit where Washington’s leaders hope to reassert global influence on climate policy.
/on.ft.com/3aoN6H1

2021 Is a Tipping Point for Female Leaders; Female-led countries like New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Taiwan have fared better during Covid-19.
Stefanie K. Johnson – Bloomberg
Will 2021 be the year that leadership becomes feminine? As the year begins, there are more top female leaders than ever before. In the U.S., about a quarter of the legislature is female. Kamala Harris just became the first woman Vice President. Half of the Biden-Harris administration’s cabinet is female — another first. Women leaders are making gains in business as well. For the first time in history, all S&P 500 firms have at least one female board member. The number of women CEOs in the S&P 500 hit an all-time high (though still only 7.8%) at the end of 2020.
/bloom.bg/3uZJJxO

American Airlines’ chief explains his opposition to restrictive voting laws.
David Gelles – NY Times
The American Airlines chief executive, Doug Parker, spoke to workers last week about his decision to publicly oppose restrictive voting legislation pending in Texas, saying that people of color feel “as though these laws are making it much harder for people like them to vote.”
/nyti.ms/2Qi4TZt

Markets Haven’t Priced in Biden’s Tax Hikes Yet; Higher corporate rates may have a big impact. Investors should start preparing.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Take This Seriously
Four years ago, corporate tax reform was on the agenda, but few took it seriously. What happened next? Tax reform did come through by the end of the year, under President Donald Trump and a unified Republican Congress, but it was in a very different and less ambitious form than first mooted. That led to a brief but spectacular melt-up in stock markets. It didn’t lead to any great lasting changes for the economy.
/bloom.bg/3v8naqK

Voting Rights Inspire Company Words While Actions Fall Short
Mike Dorning – Bloomberg
Statements aside, most haven’t backed proposals in Congress; Levi hails John Lewis Act in rare case of explicit support
Corporate America is sounding the alarm over moves in Republican-led states to limit access to voting. But few companies have been willing to put their political might behind federal laws to protect those rights, underscoring the challenge to stopping such efforts, which disproportionately affect voters of color.
/bloom.bg/3vbmjWF

Regulation

NFA orders former Stuart, Fla. commodity trading advisor JDN Capital LLC never to reapply for NFA membership and orders its former sole principal Joshua David Nicholas not to reapply for NFA membership for eight years
NFA
NFA has ordered JDN Capital, LLC (JDN Capital), a former NFA Member commodity trading advisor located in Stuart, Fla., never to reapply for membership or act as a principal of an NFA Member. NFA also ordered JDN Capital’s former sole principal and associated person Joshua David Nicholas not to reapply for membership for eight years and never to act as a principal of an NFA Member. If Nicholas seeks NFA membership following the eight-year period, he must pay a $125,000 fine.
/bit.ly/3akoKy3

SEC Chief Gary Gensler Picks Top Labor Union Official for Policy Role; Heather Slavkin Corzo’s appointment raises expectations for a progressive policy agenda
Dave Michaels – WSJ
Gary Gensler, the new chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission, on Monday tapped a labor-union investment official as his policy director, raising expectations that the agency will embrace progressive policy goals.
/on.wsj.com/3ejaaI3

Only criminals profit from turf wars in global law enforcement; UK’s Serious Fraud Office chief has come under ‘unfair’ attack in the Unaoil energy bribery case
Ephraim Wernick – FT
The facts read like a crime thriller. Over several years, investigators and prosecutors at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office teamed up with colleagues in other countries to uncover one of the energy industry’s largest corruption cases.
/on.ft.com/3ewItfl

UK scraps MiFID II requirements in ambitious capital markets reform; Proposed reforms to the UK capital markets include the removal of the share trading obligation and the controversial double volume caps for dark trading.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out plans to scrap certain MiFID II requirements in an ambitious plan to reform the UK’s capital markets regime following Brexit. The proposed changes announced by the HM Treasury on 19 April include the removal of several MiFID II restrictions inherited from Europe such as the share trading obligation (STO) and the double volume caps (DVC) related to dark pool trading.
/bit.ly/3n0PHMr

SEC’s New York and San Francisco Regional Offices to Co-Host a Webcast Exploring the Experiences of Tech Entrepreneurs of Color When Capital Raising
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its New York and San Francisco regional offices will co-host a virtual event discussing the experiences of tech entrepreneurs of color when raising capital for businesses. The event will be on April 27, 2021, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET and is free to the public via live webcast.
/bit.ly/3gqtHt8

SEC Charges Binary Options Trading Platform and Two Top Executives with Fraud
SEC
On Friday, April 16, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Israeli-based Spot Tech House Ltd., formerly known as Spot Option Ltd., and two of its former top executives, Malhaz Pinhas Patarkazishvili (also known as Pini Peter) and Ran Amiran, with deceiving U.S. investors out of more than $100 million through fraudulent and unregistered online sales of risky securities known as binary options.
/bit.ly/3v5pq2d

TRAQS Access
FINRA
As a reminder, effective today, FINRA has replaced digital certificates with Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) for access to the TRAQS website. All TRAQS users are now required to use MFA credentials to gain access to TRAQS and will be denied access to TRAQS if they have not converted. The URL to access TRAQS is https://www.finratraqs.org
/bit.ly/3ef9Yd7

Modifications to TRACE Dissemination Protocols for Specified Pool Transactions (MBS) – Test File Available Now
FINRA
As announced in Regulatory Notice 21-02, FINRA is modifying the convention for rounding the original Loan-To-Value ratio used in the dissemination of transactions in agency pass-through mortgage-backed securities and Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed asset-backed securities traded in specified pool transactions. This change will become effective on Monday, May 17, 2021. On this day TRACE RDID Master File will be updated with the security changes.
/bit.ly/3x8nXtR

FCA Business Plan 2021/22
UK FCA
We will publish our 2021/22 Business Plan in July, rather than April.
/bit.ly/3xdNm5w

Alsford Page & Gems Limited censured and agrees to pay extended warranty insurance customers £399,902
UK FCA
The FCA has publicly censured Alsford Page & Gems Limited (APG) and APG will pay compensation totalling £399,902 to customers who purchased extended warranty insurance policies during the period 1 February 2013 to 21 March 2016.
/bit.ly/3ao7E2a

Levelling the playing field – innovation in the service of consumers and the market
UK FCA
Speech by our CEO, Nikhil Rathi, to FinTech Week.
/bit.ly/2Qjh4Fh

British Columbia Securities Commission Sanctions Marketing Director And Lead Strategist For Obstruction Of Justice
Mondovisione
A British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) panel has imposed a total of $70,000 in financial sanctions on a marketing director and her colleague at FS Financial Strategies Inc. (FS)for coaching an investor to lie to a BCSC investigator.
/bit.ly/2RGmF90

Investing and Trading

How the Pandemic Made Lumber America’s Hottest Commodity
WSJ
Demand for lumber has skyrocketed during the pandemic, sending prices to all-time highs. This video explains what is driving the lumber boom, who is profiting, and why those growing the trees aren’t reaping the benefits.
/on.wsj.com/2QgBuyS

Lumber Prices Soar, But Logs Are Still Dirt Cheap
Marcy Nicholson – Bloomberg
Fees paid for trees in Louisiana fall to lowest since 2011; Margins grow for sawmills amid U.S. homebuilding frenzy
Lumber prices have soared to records. Demand for wood is skyrocketing. The shares of wood suppliers are surging. And yet, trees themselves are dirt cheap in places like Louisiana, where timber supplies are plentiful. The so-called stumpage fee, or what lumber companies pay to land owners for trees, for Louisiana pine sawtimber on March 31 was $22.75 per short ton, according to the latest data from price provider TimberMart-South. That’s the lowest since 2011.
/bloom.bg/3glQRkh

Cresting Flood of U.S. Treasury Supply May End Auction Woes
Elizabeth Stanton and Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Barclays, TD strategists predict scale of auctions to be cut; Pace of borrowing seen as far more than needed amid recovery
The rising tide of U.S. Treasury sales may be cresting — and not a moment too soon. Steep increases in the size of U.S. government bond auctions over the past year are showing signs of making it difficult to drum up demand.
/bloom.bg/3apGSGB

Berkshire directors rebuked over pay for likely Buffett successors; Shareholder adviser ISS urges investors to withhold support for compensation committee
Patrick Temple-West and Eric Platt – FT
The shareholder adviser ISS is recommending investors withhold their votes from four directors at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in a rebuke of the company’s executive pay policies. The refusal to back the re-election of four members of Berkshire’s compensation committee reflects concern over the pay packages awarded to vice-chairs Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, who ISS said earn some of the largest base salaries of any executives at US public companies.
/on.ft.com/3gpXMZK

US government bond investors left bewildered by ‘bonkers’ market move; Uncertainty abounds after unusual market reaction to upbeat economic data
Colby Smith and Joshua Oliver – FT
Bond investors are bewildered after last week’s stellar US economic data sparked a rally in haven US Treasuries — a market reaction that breaks the typical dynamic for fund managers.
/on.ft.com/2Q8Ie1P

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Australia Backs Big Emitters to Lead Way to Net-Zero Emissions
Jason Scott – Bloomberg
PM confirms he will attend President Biden’s climate summit; Nation remains world’s largest exporter of coal and gas
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed he will attend President Joe Biden’s climate summit this week, as pressure mounts on his coal-industry backing government to commit to a hard target for net-zero emissions.
/bloom.bg/32smxwd

EU Coal Laggard Faces Snags in Plan to Spinoff Dirty Assets
Maciej Martewicz – Bloomberg
Polish assets ministry working on plan revitalize utilities; EU, internal tensions and unions all may block the overhaul
Poland’s plan to carve out coal-fired power plants sparked a rally in the country’s biggest utilities. Now for the hard part — approving it.
/bloom.bg/3tBaiJF

UK prepares to set out steeper climate targets; New goal of cutting carbon emissions by 78% expected ahead of climate summit with Biden
Jim Pickard and Leslie Hook – FT
The UK will this week commit to steeper cuts in carbon emissions as it prepares to host the UN’s COP26 climate summit later this year, according to people briefed on the plan.
/on.ft.com/3gth4NI

Barclays pulls out of underwriting debt deal to fund Alabama prisons; Bank had faced criticism from investors over its involvement in the fundraising
Aziza Kasumov and Colby Smith – FT
Barclays has pulled out of underwriting an $840m debt deal by CoreCivic to fund the building of two prisons in Alabama, after the bank came under scrutiny for its involvement.
/on.ft.com/3v9ZC57

Natural gas producer EQT backs Biden’s methane crackdown; Industry’s emissions under scrutiny as administration moves to reimpose restrictions
Justin Jacobs – FT
EQT, America’s largest natural gas producer, is backing a push from Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration to crack down on methane pollution as the US natural gas industry’s emissions come under increasing scrutiny from investors and potential buyers.
/on.ft.com/2Qlghng

Exxon Mobil makes a pitch for capturing emissions and a carbon price.
Clifford Krauss – NY Times
Under growing pressure from investors to address climate change, Exxon Mobil on Monday proposed a $100 billion project to capture the carbon emissions of big industrial plants in the Houston area and bury them deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico.
/nyti.ms/3x5Cnel

Exxon Floats $100 Billion Government-Backed Carbon Capture Hub
Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg
Effort would require government funding to help pay for it; Project could bury 50 million tons a year of CO2 by 2030
Exxon Mobil Corp. proposed a giant, $100 billion hub to capture carbon dioxide emissions along the U.S. Gulf Coast in Texas but warned that government funding would be required to pay for and develop it.
/bloom.bg/3gx0IDE

The One-Way Bet on Carbon Credits Has Limits; European emission allowances, one of this year’s hottest commodities, have room to rise further—as long as investors don’t all pile in at once
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
European carbon credits are as close as investors can come to a sure thing. Ironically, the chief thing that might trip them up is too much excitement too soon. Tradable allowances on the European Union’s emissions trading system (ETS) have been one of the best-performing commodities of 2021, up nearly 36% so far to more than EUR44 a metric ton of carbon dioxide. The project’s early stumbles, which left the benchmark carbon price below EUR10 for much of the mid-2010s, are now a distant memory.
/on.wsj.com/3arIyiV

Australia’s Top Banks Step Up Hiring in Green Finance Push
Nabila Ahmed and David Scanlan – Bloomberg
Australia’s biggest banks are expanding their sustainable finance teams even as they struggle to find talent in the fast-changing sector. Commonwealth Bank of Australia has doubled the size of its sustainable division, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. has boosted its group to 14 people, with more hires on the way.
/bloom.bg/3emdYbT

Institutions

CEO Debacle at Danske Bank Draws Warning From Shareholders
Morten Buttler and Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Danske Bank A/S has once again lost a chief executive, ushered out under yet another cloud of scandal. Denmark’s main shareholder group says the question now is whether there’s such a thing as a qualified CEO with a perfectly clean record.
/bloom.bg/3v2ex16

Swedish hedge fund IPM hit as pandemic upends quant models; Abrupt economic swings have created a tough environment for ‘macro’ managers
Laurence Fletcher and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
One of Europe’s oldest computer-driven hedge fund managers has suffered a sharp drop in assets, the latest quantitative investment group to fall victim to the coronavirus-driven market turmoil.
/on.ft.com/3el6VzW

Commerzbank launches FX algos on BidFX platform; Traders using the BidFX platform can now access the FX algo suite from Commerzbank directly in latest partnership.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Commerzbank has rolled out its suite of five FX algorithmic trading strategies on the BidFX platform as part of its latest expansion. The move means traders using the BidFX platform can now access the algo suite directly, including a range of execution strategies suited to trading preferences and requirements.
/bit.ly/3xbXLyw

Equities traders looked to high-touch trading in volatile market, JP Morgan survey shows; Recent survey by JP Morgan found that nearly a third of equities traders said their use of high-touch trading had increased during the pandemic.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Just under 30% of equities traders increased their use of high-touch trading during 2020, according to a recent equities survey by investment bank JP Morgan. The poll of 200 equities traders globally revealed that 28.1% had changed their execution strategies to incorporate more high-touch trading while working from home between March and June last year.
/bit.ly/3el2Bka

Hedge Fund Giant Warns of SPAC Blowup After Betting $1 Billion
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Marshall Wace has built up long and short exposure to SPACs; It’s now increasing short bets as potential for trouble grows
Hedge fund giant Marshall Wace is ringing alarm bells about the booming SPAC market after building up long and short bets on blank-check companies that total more than $1 billion.
/bloom.bg/3eatlnm

Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse cuts heads as Goldman and Morgan Stanley thrive. HSBC’s new set-up looks a bit drab
Sarah Butcher – eFinancialCareers
As John Dabbs and Ryan Nelson leave Credit Suisse, they could dab their eyes for what might have been. In a different world, the two men who took over Credit Suisse’s prime broking business after a clear out in 2018, might be lauded for their good work in a business that generates giant revenues. Instead, they’re leaving in a state of semi-disgrace after Credit Suisse prime broking business lost $4.7bn following the collapse of Archegos Capital Management.
/bit.ly/3v4jx5h

We got a peek at JPMorgan’s latest plans for its new NYC headquarters, which reveal clues about how the bank views the future of office work
Daniel Geiger – Insider
Jamie Dimon, the chief executive at JPMorgan Chase, said in a letter to shareholders last week that the coronavirus pandemic will “significantly reduce” the firm’s need for office space. The bank’s return-to-work plans, he added, call for about 60 desks for every 100 employees.
/bit.ly/3egFIhY

CalPERS Takes Legal Action to Recover Stolen Dormant Retiree Assets
CalPERS
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has filed a lawsuit to protect member assets, after discovering that a 25-year employee had allegedly accessed 10 dormant retiree accounts and fraudulently redirected approximately $685,000 to bank accounts in the employee’s control.
/bit.ly/2QgOG6R

OCC Congratulates New SEC Chair Gary Gensler
OCC
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today congratulated Gary Gensler on becoming the new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair. Craig Donohue, OCC Executive Chairman, said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors and my OCC colleagues, we congratulate Gary Gensler on becoming the new SEC chair. His deep expertise in public policy combined with his wealth of knowledge about the global financial markets will serve the Commission and the investing public well. We look forward to working with him and the other Commissioners on key issues related to ensuring continued confidence in the financial markets and the broader economy.”
/bit.ly/3duvlHX

Regions

Germany Tops 1,000 Swine Fever Cases as Virus Fight Drags On
Megan Durisin – Bloomberg
Pork exports from EU’s producer at risk of remaining subdued; Farmers are also grappling with rising feed costs, regulations
Germany’s deadly pig-disease outbreak has topped 1,000 cases, delaying its return as a major meat exporter as the battle to stamp out the virus persists. The rising count risks keeping exports subdued from the European Union’s top pork producer, benefiting other sellers in the bloc and the Americas. Meat buyers like Vietnam and Singapore have eased initial prohibitions on German supply, but a ban in top importer China is limiting the upside. Beijing is unlikely to lift it before mid-year at minimum, according to a Rabobank report from March.
/bloom.bg/3ao2OBW

Brexit

U.K. Abolishes Emergency Brexit Permits for Truck Drivers
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
The U.K. government abolished an emergency Brexit rule requiring lorries crossing the English channel to obtain a permit before entering the county of Kent.
/bloom.bg/32xybWp

U.K. Aerospace Warns Brexit Deal Threatens Parts Production
Charlotte Ryan – Bloomberg
U.K. aerospace-industry trade lobby ADS warned that Britain could lose business to the European Union after the Brexit deal failed to resolve issues concerning design-approval for plane components.
/bloom.bg/32se77U

Brexit: Johnson says UK trying to cut ‘ludicrous’ Northern Ireland checks
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
Boris Johnson has said he is trying to get rid of the “ludicrous” Brexit border checks in Northern Ireland by “sandpapering” the protocol he signed with the EU in January 2020.
In a TV interview in Northern Ireland he also said the protocol had been misinterpreted and border checks were supposed to be light touch.
/bit.ly/3n2QPPu

UK logistics groups buoyed by Brexit
Harry Dempsey – Financial Times
A set of little known British logistics companies behind the supply chains of well-known corporate brands such as Zara, Nike and Argos have become unexpected Brexit winners.
A surge in demand for warehouse space and custom clearance services has boosted a range of groups in the sector, which has already been buoyed by the boom in online shopping following the pandemic.
/on.ft.com/2QFAoMS

Miscellaneous

The Billionaire Takeover of European Football; Florentino Perez and the Agnellis want football clubs to get a bigger share of the games’ value. You can see why they’re eager for change.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and the billionaire Agnelli family are united by a frustration with the economics of European soccer. Their attempt to overhaul Europe’s top football league appears to be based on the principle that the top clubs should thrive commercially like the other businesses they oversee.
/bloom.bg/3n2wUA8

The Antitrust Case Against Europe’s Breakaway Soccer League; Any way you look at it, the proposed Super League reduces competition.
Alex Webb – Bloomberg
We’re used to the idea of sport sometimes being uncompetitive, where one or two teams dominate the proceedings. Think of Italy’s Serie A soccer league, which Juventus Football Club SpA has won nine years in a row, or France’s Ligue 1, which Paris Saint-Germain has won for seven of the last eight years.
/bloom.bg/2P3lNdF

A battle for the soul of European football; Super League plans would import a US-style model of competition
The Editorial Board – FT
Never has football seen a clash like this. The proposed European Super League pits a US model of a tournament played among members of a largely closed group against the more open style of footballing competitions in the “old continent”.
/on.ft.com/3as9HST

JPMorgan draws public ire for financing a breakaway European soccer league.
Michael J. de la Merced and Jason Karaian – NY Times
European soccer fans are known for their intense passion for the sport. Now, they are aiming their ire at the American banking giant JPMorgan Chase for backing the so-called Super League.
/nyti.ms/3apA5wW

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CME to permanently close most trading pits

CME to permanently close most trading pits

First Read $40,626/$300,000 (13.5%) Anonymous ++++ Hits & Takes John Lothian & JLN Staff Without fanfare or amplification from its executives, the CME Group shut the books on most -- but not all -- of its floor trading history Tuesday afternoon with the...

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