Bitcoin Liquidity Shifts to the US as Spot ETFs Reshape Crypto Markets

Feb 20, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Another sign of the dominance of AI in the current stock market; Nvidia has overtaken Tesla as Wall Street’s most traded stock, highlighting its significance following its rise to become the third most valuable U.S. company, Reuters reported.

China’s leading stock exchanges suspended a major hedge fund’s accounts for three days for selling shares worth 2.57 billion yuan ($360 million) within a minute, disrupting market order. Ningbo Lingjun Investment executed these sales through various accounts as stock prices fell. Both the Shenzhen and Shanghai exchanges have barred Lingjun from trading until Feb. 22, Bloomberg reported. China’s regulators don’t like selling, especially that fast, when the market is going down.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has a newly-appointed chairman, Wu Qing, who is a veteran official with experiences across regulators and exchanges. His nickname is “Broker butcher,” a moniker he acquired for his stringent actions against brokers violating regulations while serving as the director of the risk management office at CSRC from 2005 to 2009, South China Morning Post reported. He kind of makes Gary Gensler sound like a lightweight.

FIA on LinkedIn welcomed Connamara Technologies as a new member of the FIA. You can read Connamara’s new member profile HERE.

SGX Group highlighted on LinkedIn it has joined forces with Bursa Malaysia, Indonesia Stock Exchange, and The Stock Exchange of Thailand to unveil the ASEAN-Interconnected Sustainability Ecosystem (ASEAN-ISE). This new initiative seeks to foster sustainable development across ASEAN countries by establishing a cohesive sustainability ecosystem.

David Silverman, head of corporate development for tZero Group, Inc., is looking to fill a position at a firm tZero owns. He is seeking an experienced finance professional to serve as Principal Financial Officer and FINOP of Speed Route (SPDR). SPDR is a regulated U.S. broker dealer that assists more than 100 U.S. broker dealers in the routing of their customer orders to various U.S. securities trading venues. You can find the details for the job HERE.

David has great appreciation for job postings in JLN, as he once found a job as the COO of the Intellectual Property Exchange through a listing I posted.

The London Office of HKEX is actively seeking candidates with a robust background in sales or business development to join its expanding team. HKEX aims to recruit professionals who will focus on the proprietary, quant trading, and systematic investment sectors. A strong existing network within the European client base in these areas is highly desirable. More information about the vice president, business development – quant-driven trading job is available HERE.

Finland plans to establish 300 new shooting ranges to promote national defense interest among its citizens, aiming to enhance their shooting skills amidst growing threats from Russia, as stated by a member of Finland’s defense committee, The Telegraph reported. Finland’s new motto: Ready, aim, defend! With 300 new shooting ranges, it’s like saying to threats, “You’ll find us well-prepared and well-aimed.” (I think the Finns are trying to remind Russia what happened when the Soviets invaded Finland in 1939. Finnish soldiers, while far fewer in number than the Soviets, turned out to be excellent marksmen and gave the Soviets no end of trouble. ~JB )

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


The webinar, “Concept to Reality: Real-life sustainability and ESG case studies on realizing the promise of generative AI,” takes place March 14, 2024, 12-1 pm ET. Mike Stiller, New Initiatives, Capital Access Platforms, Nasdaq, will join moderator Lori Gustavus, director, Europe, GreenBiz Group, and other panelists, for the webinar, which features case studies on leveraging generative AI to meet ESG objectives. Register here. ~SAED

Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
From Humble Beginnings to Trading Success: The Journey of Leonard Kok from John Lothian News.
Term of the Week: Right to Buy or an Obligation to Sell from John Lothian News.
Stocks are vulnerable to a 5% ‘air-pocket drawdown’ as greedy traders short volatility, research firm says from Business Insider. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


Options Discovery Episode 30: Risk Management For Options Portfolios; Hilary Till, Principal At Premia Capital Management, Discusses This And More With JLN’s Asma Awass.

In this episode of Options Discovery, Asma Awass discusses the benefits and risks of options portfolios. This episode includes a breakdown of why a trader might want to create an options portfolio as well as how beta affects the risk of a portfolio. Asma then sits down with Hilary Till, principal of Chicago-based Premia Capital Management, LLC and a consultant with Premia Research LLC, who shares more insight on risk management for portfolios. You can check out Premia Research LLC here:

Watch the video »


Risk Management For Options Portfolios: Hilary Till, Principal At Premia Capital Management, Discusses Risk Management Strategies In This Options Discovery Full Interview.

In this Options Discovery full interview, Asma Awass speaks with Hilary Till, principal of Chicago-based Premia Capital Management, LLC and a consultant with Premia Research LLC. Hilary addresses a variety of topics from her career, including her background in statistics & computer science and how she got into the options industry. Hilary gives more insight into the different kinds of research and publications she has done. She also shares her experience managing risks on portfolios for large companies. You can check out Premia Research LLC here:

Watch the video »


Sinking skyscrapers, new beaches: Chicago faces the climate crisis; The city has reinvented itself before and may need to do so again
Patti Waldmeir – Financial Times (opinion)
Chicago is sinking. From melting glaciers to underground hotspots, global warming could threaten the city’s elegant skyscrapers and breathtaking lakefront, climate scientists say. Of course, this Midwestern metropolis is far from alone in suffering the scourge of subsidence. Venice, Jakarta, New York and cities along the US East Coast are all sinking too. But marooned inland, Chicago doesn’t share their rising sea-level worries – although it was built on marshland. According to a recent study by Northwestern University, there’s a “silent hazard” beneath the streets: subsurface heat islands that deform the ground. Northwestern researcher Alessandro Rotta Loria says it’s the first study to quantify the effect of “underground climate change” on urban infrastructure, which threatens cities around the world, especially those built near water.

***** This might explain why homeless people like to set up camp on lower Wacker Drive, if there are hot spots under the city.~JJL


Two Rothschild Bank Clans Fight Over Clients, Power and the Family Name; The Swiss and French branches are both leveraging the family name to win a bigger piece of the lucrative global wealth-management pie. The odds are rising that the best way forward would be a merger.
Tara Patel, Marion Halftermeyer and Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
One of Ariane de Rothschild’s bankers returned from the Middle East a few months ago with some troubling news for her Swiss private bank, Edmond de Rothschild Group. A prized, multi-millionaire client told him another representative of the firm had come calling – only, the business card the customer showed him had the logo of Rothschild & Co, a rival Paris-based entity run by Ariane’s estranged cousins-in-law.

****** If they merged with all the bogus firms using the Rothschild name, it would set the record for corporate mergers.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our most read story on Monday was Bloomberg’s Steven Kelly on Rethinking Bank Rules After the Collapse of SVB. Second was January Corporate and Municipal CUSIP Request Volumes Flat Year-Over-Year, from CUSIP Global Services. Third was JPMorgan to Pay Over $350 Million for Trade-Reporting Lapses, from Bloomberg.



Lead Stories

Bitcoin Liquidity Shifts to the US as Spot ETFs Reshape Crypto Markets; Key metric shows comparative market depth gains in the US; Nation’s new Bitcoin ETFs have become a locus for investors
Sidhartha Shukla – Bloomberg
Bitcoin has become easier to trade on US crypto exchanges compared with platforms overseas, a shift in liquidity attributed to the impact of the nation’s new exchange-traded funds for the largest digital asset. US trading venues on average accounted for almost half of bids and asks within 2% of Bitcoin’s mid-price so far this year, a period that straddles the launch of the US spot ETFs, data from research company Kaiko show.

As Putin Threatens, Despair and Hedging in Europe
David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger – The New York Times
As the leaders of the West gathered in Munich over the past three days, President Vladimir Putin had a message for them: Nothing they’ve done so far – sanctions, condemnation, attempted containment – would alter his intentions to disrupt the current world order. Russia made its first major gain in Ukraine in nearly a year, taking the ruined city of Avdiivka, at huge human cost to both sides, the bodies littered along the roads a warning, perhaps, of a new course in the 2-year-old war. Alexei Navalny’s suspicious death in a remote Arctic prison made it ever clearer that Putin will tolerate no dissent as elections approach.

London Stock Exchange owner to double chief executive’s pay
Adam Mawardi – The Telegraph
The owner of the London Stock Exchange is planning to double the pay of its chief executive amid concerns that City bosses are being lured to deep-pocketed US rivals. David Schwimmer, boss of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), will reportedly have the opportunity to earn twice his current maximum package of £6.25m under proposed changes to the group’s pay policy. Mr Schwimmer, who took the helm in 2018, was paid £4.7m last year. This included base pay of £1m, plus a £1.4m annual bonus and around £2m in long-term incentives.

LSE Group Boosts Paid Leave For All New Parents to 26 Weeks; Increased offer part of gender equity commitment, company said; Extended benefit will apply to workforce around the world
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu – Bloomberg
The London Stock Exchange Group Plc is rolling out 26 weeks of paid parental leave for new parents globally, surpassing the benefit offered by some of the world’s biggest finance firms. The policy will come into effect from July 1 for employees who have been at the company for more than 12 months, and can be followed by an eight-week phased return to work, working 80% of normal hours at full pay.

Man Group chief: Being different is my superpower; Robyn Grew is happy to defy caricatures as she prepares to present full-year results for the world’s biggest listed hedge fund
Jill Treanor – The Times
Robyn Grew spends so much time travelling that her business card has two sides: one with her details in New York and one with her details in London. The chief executive of what is often described as the world’s biggest listed hedge fund – Man Group – is formally based in its offices on the banks of the River Thames, but being responsible for $160 billion of assets held for institutional investors such as pension funds means she is forever on the move.

European funding for Ukraine chicken magnate angers farmers; Development bank has poured nearly $1bn into large agribusinesses in war-torn country
Andy Bounds and Raphael Minder and Barbara Erling – Financial Times
Europe’s development bank has pumped nearly $1bn into chicken farms and other large Ukrainian food businesses since Russia’s full-scale invasion, funding cheap exports that have recently helped swell farmer protests across the EU. Since 2022, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has lent $890mn to Ukraine’s producers of eggs, poultry and sugar, which will soon face quotas to protect EU jobs, the bank told the Financial Times.

Investors plough record amounts into US farmland; Value of agricultural acreage more than doubles in bet that prices will soar in world suffering scarcity of resources
Susannah Savage – Financial Times
Investors are pouring record amounts of money into US farmland as they snap up an asset expected to outperform as the world’s population grows sharply while natural resources become scarcer. The value of farmland held by investment groups has more than doubled over the past three years, according to the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).

BHP says Australian support for nickel miners ‘may not be enough’ to save industry; Group’s first-half net profit dropped almost 90% after metal’s price collapsed
Nic Fildes – Financial Times
BHP said the Australian government’s intervention to save the country’s nickel industry “may not be enough” as a write-off in the value of its nickel operations drove a near 90 per cent drop in first-half net profit. Australia’s nickel industry is confronting a crisis with a number of companies suspending operations due to a collapse in the metal’s price driven by a supply glut from Indonesia.

China regulatory chief’s appointment indicates investor confidence, market reforms are top of the agenda
South China Morning Post
The Chinese securities watchdog’s new head, “Broker butcher” Wu Qing, has lost no time in tackling the turmoil that has rocked the country’s stock markets, after it hit five-year lows this month, unveiling a slew of proposals aimed at reviving market confidence. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said late on Monday that its newly-appointed chairman Wu Qing led a host of meetings immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday to discuss topics around regulating and preventing risks in the country’s capital markets, as well as promoting their “high-quality growth”.

Crypto hedge fund accused of ‘criminal’ mismanagement in dispute over FTX; Swiss prosecutor raided Geneva-based Tyr last August following complaint by investor TGT
Laurence Fletcher and Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
One of the cryptocurrency industry’s highest-profile hedge fund firms has been accused of “criminal” mismanagement and raided by a Swiss prosecutor, in a dispute with an investor over losses suffered following the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. Geneva-based Tyr Capital Partners is alleged to have ignored an internal risk limit and investor warnings over its exposure to FTX, according to legal documents filed in the Cayman Islands by an investor and seen by the Financial Times.

Bad property debt exceeds reserves at largest US banks; Loan loss provisions have thinned even as regulators highlight risks in commercial real estate market
Stephen Gandel – Financial Times
Bad commercial real estate loans have overtaken loss reserves at the biggest US banks after a sharp increase in late payments linked to offices, shopping centres and other properties. The average reserves at JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have fallen from $1.60 to 90 cents for every dollar of commercial real estate debt on which a borrower is at least 30 days late, according to filings to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

When China Is a Value Trap and Japan a Growth Play; Global investors are fleeing China for Japan. They are weaving a fairy tale along the way.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
Two recent articles from Barron’s, my old home before Bloomberg Opinion, struck me for their observations on the two biggest economies in Asia. One noted that Toyota Motor Corp. was looking like a growth stock, even as the Japanese automaker stayed with its traditional business and hardly sold any electric vehicles. Toyota has risen 32% this year. The second piece, a feature published days later, was titled “China Used to Be the World’s Best Growth Story. Now It’s a Value Play.”

Bahamas Bank Deltec Accused of Giving Bankman-Fried ‘Secret’ Credit to Buy Tether; Deltec is alleged to have provided a short-term line of credit; Court documents suggest a tighter web than previously known
Zeke Faux – Bloomberg
It was one of the remaining puzzles after Sam Bankman-Fried’s conviction on fraud charges: what was the relationship between the one-time crypto billionaire, a Bahamas bank whose chairman created the cartoon Inspector Gadget, and cryptocurrency Tether? Text messages, a declaration from Bankman-Fried’s former colleague and ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, and other documents published as part of a lawsuit filed against alleged enablers of his scheme suggest a tighter web of connections than previously known.

An Executive Bought a Rival’s Stock. The SEC Says That’s Insider Trading; Defense lawyers say the case is the first to involve ‘shadow insider trading’
Dave Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
Biotech executive Matthew Panuwat bought options on another drug company’s stock-and earned a windfall of $120,000. The Securities and Exchange Commission now says he committed insider trading, even though he didn’t buy his employer’s stock and didn’t have inside information about the company he bet on.

TD Securities joins LCH SwapAgent as first Canadian bank member; Addition of TD Securities increases total member count at LCH SwapAgent to 44, spanning 12 countries.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
TD Securities has gone live as a member on LCH SwapAgent, becoming the first Canadian bank member to do so. LCH SwapAgent’s member count has now grown to 44, spanning 12 countries, which have holistically registered over $5.9 trillion in notional at LCH SwapAgent in 2023 – with average daily volume (ADV) up 78% year-on-year.

AIEx Opens New Chapter for Trading in APAC
When it comes to the increased adoption of electronic trading in interest rate swaps and other derivatives products, 2023 was a truly transformative year for Tradeweb clients across the Asia Pacific region. More traders than ever before are moving away from voice trading and manual processes and embracing electronic execution. We’ve seen this in the steady increase in clients using our automation tool – Automated Intelligent Execution (AiEX).

Ukraine Invasion

The Secret Oil-Trading Ring That Funds Russia’s War; A little-known trader from Azerbaijan assembled a clandestine network that moves vast quantities of petroleum to China, India and other new markets
Joe Wallace, Anna Hirtenstein & Costas Paris – The Wall Street Journal
In the early days of the Ukraine war, data trickled out showing that a mysterious firm called Nord Axis had become one of the biggest global traders of Russian oil. The company seemed to have sprung from nowhere. It had been incorporated in Hong Kong nine days before Russia’s invasion. A man from Belize who was a nominee director said later that year that he didn’t know why Nord Axis had been founded or who its owners were. With Western buyers of Russian oil beating a retreat, Nord Axis and several other obscure firms were keeping the nation’s most important industry afloat by finding new places to sell the oil, generating billions of dollars in revenue for President Vladimir Putin’s war effort.

Putin grants HSBC approval to sell Russian unit to Expobank
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave approval on Monday for HSBC to sell its Russian unit to privately-owned Expobank, paving the way for the British lender to extricate itself from the Russian market after months of negotiations. HSBC said in June 2022 that it had agreed to sell a 100% stake in the unit, HSBC Bank (RR) LLC, to Expobank. Moscow has steadily tightened restrictions on foreign asset sales since then, with banks requiring Putin’s approval for any deal.

Brain Drain From Putin’s Russia Is Far From Over; As we approach the third year of the war in Ukraine, Moscow’s loss could be the West’s gain.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
It’s the end of an era for Russia’s best-known tech company, Yandex NV, once hailed as the country’s answer to Alphabet Inc.’s Google and valued at $30 billion before the invasion of Ukraine. This month, it agreed to sell its domestic business for about $5.2 billion, a cut-price level for the Russian tycoons picking it up under the Kremlin’s watch. Yet the deal also hints at a wartime brain drain of scientific and engineering talent that the West could do more to capture.

Ukraine Says It Shot Down All 23 Russian Drones Early Tuesday
Olesia Safronova – Bloomberg
Ukraine says it shot down all 23 Shahed drones and missiles launched from Russia early on Tuesday, the Air Force said in a post on Telegram. The drones were shot down over eastern Kharkiv, central Poltava, Kirovohrad, Dnipropetrovsk, southern Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions, the Air Defence said. Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov said three people were injured, while several residential houses, as well as an enterprise and electricity substation were damaged. Several households remain without electricity supply, he said.

As Russia pushes forward, Ukrainian soldiers say U.S. aid delays have left them exposed; A shortage of ammunition has contributed to the loss of the eastern city of Avdiivka and eroded morale among units that find themselves outmanned and outgunned.
Daryna Mayer, Yuliya Talmazan and Dan De Luce – NBC News
On Ukraine’s front lines, soldiers have their eyes on the enemy slowly advancing across the country’s muddy fields – and on Washington, where an ally’s inaction is doing as much to dent their morale. “The situation on the battlefield is getting worse every week,” one soldier serving in the southern Zaporizhzhia region told NBC News.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

How Israel’s war went wrong; The conflict in Gaza has become “an era-defining catastrophe.” It’s increasingly clear what – and who – is to blame.
Zack Beauchamp – Vox
At the end of November, Israeli reporter Yuval Abraham broke one of the most important stories of the war in Gaza to date – an inside look at the disturbing reasoning that has led the Israeli military to kill so many civilians. Citing conversations with “seven current and former members of Israel’s intelligence community,” Abraham reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had changed its doctrine to permit far greater civilian casualties than it would have tolerated in previous wars. IDF leadership was greenlighting strikes on civilian targets like apartment buildings and public infrastructure that they knew would kill scores of innocent Gazans.

What to Know About the U.S. Draft Resolution Calling for a Temporary Gaza Ceasefire
Anna Gordon – Time
The U.S. has drafted a resolution for the U.N. Security Council that calls for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and warns against Israel’s planned offensive in Rafah. The draft resolution calls for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable” but the language falls short of the immediate ceasefire other Security Council members want, CNN reported.

Israel’s GDP contracts nearly 20% in fourth quarter amid Gaza war
Natasha Turak – CNBC
Israel’s gross domestic product shrank nearly 20% in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to official figures. The contraction was significantly larger than expected, as analysts predicted a contraction of around 10%. It reflects the toll of the country’s war against Hamas in Gaza, now entering its fifth month.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Saudi Stock Exchange Says Foreigners Missing Out on Peer-Beating Returns
The operator of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange said foreign investors’ exposure to the bourse isn’t high enough, showing that they’re missing out on returns that have beaten most emerging-market peers. While flows have been positive for the the past five years, “the representation of foreign investors in the market is still, in my opinion, not at the level we would anticipate,” Khalid Al-Hussan, the chief executive officer of Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co., told Bloomberg Television at the Saudi Capital Market Forum 2024.

CME Group to Launch Micro Euro-denominated Bitcoin and Ether Futures on March 18
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced it plans to further expand its cryptocurrency derivatives offering with the addition of Micro Bitcoin Euro and Micro Ether Euro futures on March 18, pending regulatory review.

Harnessing efficiencies through bundled euro trading and clearing
The landscape for euro clearing is changing as buy-side firms seek to harness margin efficiency and cost savings by centralizing their euro trading and clearing at one CCP. This article explores why firms are building out their euro cross-product exposure at Eurex and the future of Eurex as the “home of the euro yield curve”.

ICE Reports Record Open Interest of Over 90 Million Contracts Across Total Futures and Options Markets
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced that its global futures and options markets reached record open interest of 90.2 million contracts on February 15, 2024, with ICE’s commodities futures and options markets hitting record open interest of 61.8 million contracts on February 16, 2024. ICE’s energy futures and options portfolio hit record open interest of 57 million contracts on February 16, 2024, with global natural gas futures and options recording record open interest of 38.5 million contracts.

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. Commences Consent Solicitation with Respect to Black Knight InfoServ, LLC’s Outstanding 3.625% Senior Notes Due 2028
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE) (“ICE”) announced today that it is commencing a consent solicitation (the “Consent Solicitation”) with respect to the outstanding 3.625% Senior Notes due 2028 (CUSIP Nos. 092174AA9 (144A) and U0921BAA6 (Reg S)) (the “BK Notes”) issued by Black Knight InfoServ, LLC (“BK”), a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE. Pursuant to the Consent Solicitation, ICE is soliciting consents (the “Consents”) from each holder of the BK Notes to amend the BK Notes and the related indenture under which they were issued (the “BK Indenture”) to eliminate (a) the covenant to furnish certain reports, documents and information to holders of the BK Notes and the trustee under the BK Indenture (the “Reporting Covenant Proposed Amendment”) and (b) substantially all of the other restrictive covenants and all of the events of default, other than payment-related and guarantee-related events of default (the “Other Proposed Amendments” and, together with the Reporting Covenant Proposed Amendment, the “Proposed Amendments”).

ASX Announces A$275 Million Medium Term Notes Issue
ASX is pleased to announce that it has today priced its inaugural notes issue, an A$275 million issue of floating rate, unsecured medium term notes under its newly established Medium Term Notes Programme dated 18 August 2023 (Notes). The Notes have a coupon of 3 month BBSW + 93bps, were priced at par and mature on 26 February 2027. They are denominated in Australian dollars, and issued to Australian and international institutional investors. They do not qualify for retail investor distribution.

LSEG launches global parental leave
LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) today announces a significant enhancement to its parental leave offering, creating a single global benchmark of 26 weeks’ paid leave to support colleagues at key life moments and reinforcing its commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. From 1 July 2024, all LSEG employees with more than 12 months’ service will be offered 26 weeks of fully paid leave, when they welcome a child into their family, regardless of the parent’s gender, how they become a parent or where they are located globally, allowing all LSEG parents to have an equal opportunity to take on caregiving for their children.

TD Securities joins LCH SwapAgent
Securities Finance Times
TD Securities has joined LCH SwapAgent as its first Canadian bank member. SwapAgent is a service offered by UK clearing house LCH Group, aiming to improve standardisation and efficiency within the bilateral derivatives market. The service has 44 members over 12 countries, and recorded an average daily volume (ADV) up 78 per cent year-on-year in 2023.

National Stock Exchange and Government of Goa sign MoU to facilitate fund raising for SMEs in the State
National Stock Exchange of India
India’s leading stock exchange, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Government of Goa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to spread awareness amongst MSMEs of the state regarding fund raising via IPO mechanism using NSE Emerge which is the SME platform of NSE. MOU exchanged, in the presence of Shri. Mauvin Godinho, Honorable Minister of Transport, Industry Panchayat Protocol, Government of Goa, Shri Puneet Kumar Goel, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Goa and Smt. Swetika Sachan, IAS, Secretary Industries Government of Goa, between Smt. Egna Cleetus, Director – Industries, Trade & Commerce, Government of Goa and Dr Harish Ahuja, Senior Vice President, National Stock Exchange, today at Panjim.


Google Lays Off Thousands More Employees Despite Record Profits One Year After Laying off 12,000 Employees As Workers Begin Worrying AI is Slowly Replacing Them
Caleb Naysmith – Benzinga
Google has initiated significant layoffs across its various teams, including the Voice Assistant, hardware, engineering and ad sales teams, marking a continuation of the tech industry’s trend towards reducing workforce expenses. The layoffs have affected hundreds of employees within the Voice Assistant unit; hardware teams responsible for Pixel, Nest and Fitbit products; and a considerable portion of the augmented reality (AR) team. This move is part of Google’s broader effort to streamline operations and align resources with its most significant product priorities. According to The Verge, the total number is in the thousands. This comes at a time when Google parent, Alphabet Inc., reported record profits in late January. The company reported $20.4 billion in net income in Q4.

Monzo targets £4bn valuation in fresh funding round; Fintech could finalise deal in next two weeks to raise as much as £350mn
Ivan Levingston and Stephen Morris – Financial Times
Monzo is nearing a new round of funding that would value the British digital bank at about £4bn, according to people familiar with the matter, in a sign of investor confidence in its expanding business. The UK fintech could finalise a deal as soon as the next two weeks to raise as much as £350mn from a mix of new and existing investors, the people said. The company would be valued at about £3.6bn on a so-called pre-money basis and about £4bn with the fresh capital taken into account.

TikTok faces EU investigation for possible breaches of strict new digital rulebook
Associated Press via NY Post
The European Union said Monday it is investigating whether TikTok has broken the bloc’s strict new digital rules for cleaning up social media and keeping internet users safe. The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, said it has “opened formal proceedings to assess” whether TikTok has breached the Digital Services Act, which took effect last year.

Liquidnet’s head of primary markets to depart; Departing head has been with Liquidnet since 2014; previously held positions at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Liquidnet’s head of primary markets, Jonathan Gray, is set to leave the firm after nearly a decade, The TRADE can reveal. Gray initially joined Liquidnet in 2014 as head of fixed income sales for EMEA, helping build the firm’s buy-side client base in fixed income. Gray joined Liquidnet from Morgan Stanley, where he served as a managing director, responsible for convertible bond sales, trading risk and research.

TradeTech FX US: World’s largest asset managers mull over how to succeed with a hybrid set-up of build versus buy
Claudia Preece – The Trade
At the TradeTech FX US conference in Miami last week, a panel of experts including some of the largest asset managers gathered to discuss what the market is prioritising when asking the ever-hot topic of ‘buy versus build,’ sharing their perspectives and empirical advice for 2024 and beyond. Speaking to priorities going forward, one panellist – speaking under Chatham House rules – asserted the importance of combining human perception with automation when looking to streamline workflows.

Commercial Bank International expands adoption of Bloomberg MARS for primary risk management; The bank will adopt three additional modules of the solution, following the previous adoption of MARS front office to aid with its Libor transition.
Wesley Bray – The Trade

AI tokens continue to rally following OpenAI’s unveiling of Sora text-to-video generator
Brian McGleenon – The Block

Inside the Funding Frenzy at Anthropic, One of A.I.’s Hottest Start-Ups; The company raised $7.3 billion over the last year, as the lure of artificial intelligence changes Silicon Valley deal-making.
Erin Griffith and Cade Metz – The New York Times


FBI, UK Crime Agency Say They Have Disrupted LockBit Gang; Law enforcement from 11 agencies joined in cyber operation; Ransomware websites used by hackers seized to thwart attacks
Jamie Tarabay and Jordan Robertson – Bloomberg
A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and UK National Crime Agency, said they have disrupted LockBit, one of the most prolific hacker groups of all time, including shutting down websites the organization used for ransomware payments. A post on the gang’s website Monday said it’s “now under the control” of the UK agency, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

SaaS Compliance through the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
The Hacker News
The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework is one of the world’s most important guidelines for securing networks. It can be applied to any number of applications, including SaaS.

EU Policy. Commission evaluating role of ENISA amid deadlock over cyber certificates
Cynthia Kroet – Euronews
The assessment comes as EU countries cannot agree on voluntary cybersecurity certification schemes. The European Commission is seeking feedback from industry and national governments on the functioning, efficiency and scope of work of Europe’s Cyber Security Agency ENISA, according to a consultation sent to companies last week. The aim of the questionnaire is to evaluate ENISA’s working practices, as well as the potential need to modify the agency’s mandate and any financial implications.

How to make sense of the new SEC cyber risk disclosure rules
Shankar Somasundaram – Help Net Security
SEC’s new cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident disclosure rules, which require increased transparency around cybersecurity incidents, have been in effect since December 18, 2023. For businesses that already harbor concerns over their cybersecurity protections, visibility, and incident response preparedness, meeting the SEC’s new incident reporting rules can be a serious challenge. Crucially, these rules impact private enterprises as well as publicly traded corporations, calling for organizations of all shapes and sizes to examine and potentially revise their practices.


Crypto no longer outsider at famed Miami Beach ETF conference
Eleanor Terrett – Fox Business
Crypto gets a lot of shade in traditional finance circles. Less so these days, and as a reporter on the crypto beat, one of the best examples of the mainstreaming of the digital asset business came last week at the annual Exchange ETF Conference sponsored by the biggest money management firms in the world. From what I saw, crypto didn’t just have a seat at the so-called adult table of investing; it was the featured guest. And, it speaks volumes about the evolution of the industry that has seen its share of downs and now ups following the recent regulatory approval of 11 spot bitcoin ETFs that now give retail investors exposure to the world’s largest digital asset.

CME to launch Euro-denominated micro bitcoin and ether futures next month
James Hunt – The Block
The CME plans to launch euro-denominated micro bitcoin and ether futures on March 18, pending regulatory approval. The news follows a surge in open interest and trading volume for CME bitcoin and ether futures last month. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) plans to launch euro-denominated micro bitcoin and ether futures on March 18, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Startup founded by former FTX exec closes second funding round
Mark Weinraub – Bloomerg via Crain’s Chicago Business
Architect Financial Technologies said it raised $12 million in capital, its second round of fundraising since its launch in January 2023. The Chicago-based startup is led by Brett Harrison, who was previously president of FTX US before the crypto giant collapsed. Architect, which develops trading and portfolio management software for assets around the world, said it planned to use the money to support the launch of its U.S. derivatives brokerage for retail and institutional investors.

Defendant had ‘no idea’ bitcoin funds were proceeds of alleged £5bn fraud, UK court told; Jian Wen has pleaded not guilty to charges of laundering money for her fugitive former boss who is wanted in China
Eri Sugiura – Financial Times
A British-Chinese woman accused of laundering bitcoin derived from a huge investment fraud in China has denied that she knew the cryptocurrency was the proceeds of crime, a court in London heard on Monday. Jian Wen, 42, has been charged with three counts of money laundering on behalf of her former employer, Yadi Zhang. Zhang is a fugitive from the authorities in Beijing who allege she stole approximately £5bn in China between 2014 and 2017. Her whereabouts are unknown.

UK seeks to lock in new stablecoin rules within next six months: Bloomberg
Danny Park – The Block
The UK government is “pushing very hard” to legislate new regulations on stablecoins and crypto staking services within the next six months, the country’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury Bim Afolami said Monday during an event hosted by Coinbase, according to Bloomberg. The official said that the government intends to “get these things done as soon as possible” over the next six months, Bloomberg reported. While the UK has yet to set a date for its next general election, it is legally bound to take place by January 2025.

Worldcoin’s 140% Rally Is Bringing Relief to 3AC, FTX Creditors; WorldCoin is the project co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; Bankrupt 3AC and FTX estate among largest Worldcoin holders
Sidhartha Shukla – Bloomberg
It’s been a testing year for creditors of bankrupt investment firms Three Arrows Capital and Alameda Research, but a recent surge in the price of crypto token Worldcoin is giving them some solace. Worldcoin, the coin of the crypto project co-founded by OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman, has jumped about 140% over the last seven days, according to CoinGecko data, rallying primarily after OpenAI announced the release of text-to-video application Sora. The advance has been losing some steam in the last 24 hours, with the token down 11% and trading at $6.81 apiece as of 1:20 p.m. London time on Tuesday. It reached an all-time high of $7.95 on Monday.


The strange loyalty of Putin’s global fan club; Admirers of the Russian leader may soon lead the world’s three largest democracies
Gideon Rachman – Financial Times
It would be comforting to believe that the death of Alexei Navalny will finally make Vladimir Putin an international pariah. But recent history and current politics suggest otherwise. It is sadly likely that Russia’s leader will continue to be treated with respect – and even admiration – in large parts of the world. No one should expect that Xi Jinping will jettison Putin simply because another sudden death has taken place in Russia. China’s leader shares Putin’s hatred of pro-democracy activists. What is more surprising is that Putin also continues to have friendly relations with the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful democracies.

To save capitalism, get rid of venture capitalists
Andrew Orlowski – The Telegraph
Is Adam Neumann the luckiest man on earth? When the WeWork founder walked out of his company for the last time, he must have been whistling a happy tune. During his tenure in charge of the co-working office company, he’d built up his own multimillion-dollar portfolio of swanky property. The exit deal he negotiated was even sweeter. It allowed him to cash in as much as $1bn of stock, while also pocketing a $185m consulting fee on the side. Thousands of WeWork employees who were made redundant got rather less.

Wall Street Is Already Placing Bets on the Biden-Trump Rematch; Traders and strategists are thinking about all the ways that November’s election could alter the mood in markets.
Joe Rennison – The New York Times
Nine months ahead of the presidential election, investors are already thinking about how financial markets might respond to the outcome of the vote, and how they should trade to prepare for it. Stock markets have soared to record highs in recent weeks, while government bond yields, which underpin interest rates for consumers and companies, are down from a recent peak in October. Despite the uncertainty of making political predictions, money managers are already contemplating how the election could alter the mood in markets.

No, Wind Farms Aren’t ‘Driving Whales Crazy’; Donald Trump has attacked President Biden’s climate and energy policies with gusto, but many of his criticisms are simply untrue.
Lisa Friedman – The New York Times
As the South Carolina Republican primary approaches, former President Donald J. Trump, the front-runner, is increasingly hammering President Biden with inaccurate statements on energy issues. Mr. Trump – who has called climate change a “hoax,” “nonexistent” and “created by the Chinese” – rolled back more than 100 climate and environmental protections during his administration, while promoting the development of fossil fuels. He has claimed, falsely, that windmills cause cancer, that energy efficient buildings have no windows and that solar rooftops leave older people without air-conditioning in the summer.

Cameron government knew Post Office ditched Horizon IT investigation
Andy Verity – BBC
BBC Graphic showing the Post Office logo and WestminsterBBC
David Cameron’s government knew the Post Office had ditched a secret investigation that might have helped wrongly accused postmasters prove their innocence, the BBC can reveal. The 2016 investigation trawled 17 years of records to find out how often, and why, cash accounts on the Horizon IT system had been tampered with remotely.

Germany to Approve Cannabis Bill This Week in Legalization Drive; Minister sure law will pass despite some internal opposition; Drive is first step in broader push to curb illegal market
Louise Moon – Bloomberg

Is the EU’s Covid recovery fund failing? After initial success, doubts over the rescue plan’s ability to deliver higher growth in the long term are starting to set in
Paola Tamma – Financial Times

Japan Moves to Allow Investment Funds to Hold Crypto; Limited partnerships can buy crypto under proposed rule-change; Venture capital, investment funds raise capital from LPs
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg

South Korea’s opposition party vows to endorse spot bitcoin ETFs: report
Danny Park – The Block


China’s securities watchdog opens ears for proposals to revive market
China’s securities watchdog said it held a series of seminars on Sunday and Monday with market participants who proposed tighter scrutiny of company listings and trading behaviour as part of efforts to revive market confidence. The meetings were led by the watchdog’s newly-installed chairman Wu Qing and held immediately after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, reflecting the urgency to stabilize a market that dropped to five-year lows early this month.

Former Bank of China chairman indicted for bribery in nation’s long-running anticorruption drive
Associated Press
The former chairman of the Bank of China has been indicted on bribery charges, prosecutors said Monday, adding to a long list of business and government officials who have been brought down by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s yearslong anticorruption drive. Liu Liange is accused of taking advantage of his positions at the Bank of China and previously as president of the Export-Import Bank of China, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement posted on social media.

Former Commodities Trader Charged with Multimillion-Dollar Wire and Commodities Fraud Scheme
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey
A Chicago man was charged today in a fraud scheme that defrauding victims of over $3.7 million, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced. Phillip Galles, 57, is charged by indictment with one count each of wire fraud and commodities fraud.

Former commodities trader charged in multimillion-dollar fraud scheme
NJ Today
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey charged a Chicago man for orchestrating a sophisticated scheme that bilked victims out of more than $3.7 million. Phillip Galles, 57, faces charges of wire fraud and commodities fraud, according to an indictment filed on Friday, February 16, 2024. The indictment alleges that Galles, a former commodities trader, engaged in a fraudulent scheme under the guise of his purported investment company, Tyche Asset Management, based in Chicago.

The FCA gives up on Globo prosecutions; Greek travesty
Dan McCrum – Financial Times
Congratulations to Konstantinos Papadimitrakopoulos and Dimitris Gryparis, the former Globo executives whom Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority will no longer attempt to prosecute for fraud. Globo was an Aim-quoted provider of mobile phone software that collapsed in 2015 after short seller Gabriel Grego and FT Alphaville revealed that claimed business partners and resellers had never heard of the company. One turned out to be a laptop repair shop in Mumbai.

In Rare Move, China Stock Watchdog Vows to Heed Market Criticisms to Avert $5 Trillion Rout
China’s securities regulator said it will take heed of all suggestions, even criticism, from market participants and address their concerns promptly, a rare gesture that underlines its resolve to shore up the nation’s $8.6 trillion stock market.

Investing and Trading

Nvidia dethrones Tesla as Wall Street’s most traded stock
Noel Randewich – Reuters
Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA.O) is replacing Tesla (TSLA.O) as Wall Street’s most traded stock, adding to its prominence after becoming the third-most valuable U.S. company and showing more evidence of how central AI-related bets have become to investors. Nvidia’s outsized representation in day-to-day stock trading could leave investors more vulnerable should the chipmaker’s revenue growth fail to meet investors’ high expectations and puncture a Wall Street rally that has been fueled by euphoria about artificial intelligence.

Billionaire Michael Dell backs former Goldman Sachs executives’ new credit shop; Family office to provide first outside funding for credit asset manager 5C Investment Partners
Eric Platt – Financial Times
Billionaire Michael Dell’s investment vehicle has agreed to back two former senior Goldman Sachs executives who are launching a private credit investment firm. Dell’s family office, known as DFO Management, has agreed to provide the first outside capital to 5C Investment Partners, according to people briefed on the matter. Dell’s vehicle will take a passive stake in 5C and invest in the firm’s first fund, which plans to provide senior loans to mid-sized and large businesses.

London Capital & Finance ran ‘Ponzi’ scheme, court told; Sums raised by investment firm allegedly spent on earrings, horses and shotguns
Alistair Gray – Financial Times
London Capital & Finance ran a “Ponzi scheme” where money raised from UK retail investors was spent on diamond earrings, horses, shotguns and membership of Annabel’s nightclub, a court has been told. The now-insolvent investment firm funnelled funds raised from 11,600 investors to individuals connected with the “minibond” company before its failure, the High Court heard.

Bond Funds Are Not as Safe as You Thought; If your pension-savings strategy involves fixed-income products, you may want to reconsider.
Stuart Trow – Bloomberg
If you’re investing in bond funds for your pension, you’re probably doing it wrong. Don’t have to take my word for it; just consider the Bank of England. The Bank’s travails have highlighted the perils of bond investing, not just for personal investors, but also for the professionals. Bond yields have risen sharply since MPC members revealed a three-way split on February 1st. Two voted for tighter policy, one to ease and the rest for interest rates to remain unchanged.

A $6 Trillion Wall of Cash Is Holding Firm as Fed Delays Cuts; Last year’s cash surge ‘wasn’t a flash in the pan,’ Crane says; Corporate cashpile hit a record $4.4 trillion in third quarter
Alex Harris and Nina Trentmann – Bloomberg
Investors are plowing billions into money-market funds by the day. Corporate treasurers are hoarding record amounts of cash. The market is digesting a glut of Treasury bills without a hiccup. For an asset class that many market prognosticators all but left for dead to start the year, there’s still plenty of life left in cash.

Capital One to Buy Discover for $35 Billion in Year’s Biggest Deal; All-stock deal subject to shareholder, regulatory approvals; Price represents 26.6% premium to Discover’s Feb. 16 close
Liana Baker and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg

Super Micro Short Sellers Notch $1.2 Billion as Shares Tumble
Carmen Reinicke – Bloomberg

Your 401(k) Will Be Gone Within a Decade; The intellectual case for getting rid of tax-advantaged retirement plans is strong, and the political case is catching up.
Allison Schrager – Bloomberg

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Walking progress backward: The ESG dilemma for corporate America; The era of grand ESG declarations may be waning, but the need for responsible business practices that positively impact the world remains the same.
Scott Syphax – Fast Company
In recent years, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives have become a cornerstone of corporate America’s ethos. However, as we navigate the post-George Floyd era-before which companies boldly embraced causes aligned with ESG-there are unmistakable signs of a retrenching attitude. The shifting political climate, coupled with the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, and the aggressive actions of several states’ attorneys general, has brought corporate America to a pivotal crossroads regarding its commitment to ESG.

Exclusive: India seeks $26 billion of private nuclear power investments
Sarita Chaganti Singh – Reuters
India will invite private firms to invest about $26 billion in its nuclear energy sector to increase the amount of electricity from sources that don’t produce carbon dioxide emissions, two government sources told Reuters. This is the first time New Delhi is pursuing private investment in nuclear power, a non-carbon-emitting energy source that contributes less than 2% of India’s total electricity generation. The funding would help India to achieve its target of having 50% of its installed electric generation capacity use non-fossil fuels by 2030, up from 42% now.

French Firms Trade US Tax Credits to Spur Renewable Projects; Schneider to buy tax credits to help fund Engie’s projects; Tax savings will then be used to buy renewable energy credits
Naureen S Malik – Bloomberg
Two French energy companies are taking a novel approach to using a rule in the US Inflation Reduction Act to spur more clean power by transferring tax credits. Schneider Electric SE will pay $80 million to acquire tax credits, which in turn will help fund four Engie North America projects that are slated to come online in Texas this year, said John Powers, vice president of global cleantech and renewables at Schneider. Schneider will then use the tax savings to buy 110,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy credits annually – for an undisclosed amount – from Engie’s projects over 10 years. The companies say this is the first time a financing arrangement pairs the tax credit transfers with renewable credits.

Natural gas prices plunge as US set for warmest winter on record; Lower demand during mild weather has coincided with surging production
Myles McCormick – Financial Times
US natural gas prices have plunged to a near-three-decade low as what is set to be the country’s warmest winter on record slashes demand for the heating fuel just as production surges to record levels. Winter months, when heating demand is highest, are on track this year to be the mildest since reliable records began in 1950, analysts said, leaving gas usage much lower than expected.

Green Product Makers Struggle to Sell to US City and State Governments; Cities and states around the country have green goals and huge buying power, but old procurement practices die hard.
Stephen Lee – Bloomberg
The snowstorms that walloped the US in January sent thousands of salt trucks onto the roads, scattering a cheap, readily available mineral that does a good job of melting ice – but at a high cost to the environment. Road salt causes $5 billion in corrosion damage every year to bridges, roads and cars, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It also leaches into drinking water supplies, wilts crops, kills wildlife and eats away at infrastructure, possibly including the pipes that contaminated the water in Flint, Michigan, in 2014.

EU Industry Calls for Green Shift Help to Rival China and US; Industry leaders call for lower energy costs and less red tape; Commission President von der Leyen looks to win over business
John Ainger and Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg

Airlines’ Chief Pleads for More Green Fuel to Save Air Travel; ‘This is an existential issue,’ IATA chief Willie Walsh says; Sustainable fuel is airlines’ best bet to reach net zero
Angus Whitley – Bloomberg

UK’s climate action plan inadequate and unlawful, campaign groups tell court
Sam Tobin – Reuters

Government-Involved ESG Litigation
J. Michael Showalter, Amy Antoniolli – National Law Review

Wireless Charging for Electric Cars Is Inching Closer to Reality; As EV sales climb, more companies are embarking on wireless-charging pilot projects. But hurdles remain before powering up without a plug can go commercial.
Tope Alake – Bloomberg

COP28 president urges countries to set plans for fossil fuel transition
Gloria Dickie – Reuters

Comment: Companies need to put their money where their mouths are – especially in an election year
Alison Taylor – Reuters (opinion)

Current net-zero policies could drive inequality across the UK, research warns
Matt Mace – edie

Gloucestershire vertical farm is one of UK’s ‘most advanced’
Dave Harvey – BBC

ESG Is Business as Usual for Boards
Anne Simpson – Directors and Boards


Barclays to return £10bn to shareholders; Chief CS Venkatakrishnan sets out ambitious plan to boost revenue and revive bank’s depressed valuation
Stephen Morris and Oliver Ralph – Financial Times
Barclays has pledged to return £10bn to shareholders over the next three years as part of an ambitious plan by chief executive CS Venkatakrishnan to boost revenues and rebalance the lender away from investment banking. In a series of changes set out alongside the bank’s full-year earnings on Tuesday, Barclays also said it would shake up its corporate structure and top leadership, establishing five divisions under mostly new management.

Barclays Vows to Return £10 Billion to Investors in Overhaul; Firm reorganizes into five businesses, shuffles top executives; Bank plans to cut £2 billion in costs by 2026 to boost returns
Jan-Henrik Foerster – Bloomberg
Barclays Plc said it will go on a major cost-cutting drive, reorganize its reporting structure and return at least £10 billion to shareholders in the coming years, ending months of speculation about the future direction of one of Europe’s largest investment banks. The British bank achieved a return on tangible equity of 9% for 2023 and is aiming to get that metric above 12% in 2026, according to a statement on Tuesday. To achieve its new targets, Barclays said it will reduce costs by £2 billion ($2.52 billion) over that time while it boosts revenue to £30 billion.

Barclays Doesn’t Want to Be Cool; The London-based lender’s latest strategy keeps the focus on two out-of-favor areas: investment banking and the U.K.
Jon Sindreu – The Wall Street Journal
Few themes have been as unpopular among investors in recent years as European investment banking and the U.K. Barclays wants to double down on both. The bank’s shares jumped around 6% Tuesday, despite disappointing 2023 financial results. Pretax earnings fell 6%, but investors cheered the promise of at least £10 billion, equivalent to around $12.6 billion, in dividends and buybacks between 2024 and 2026, as part of a broader strategic overhaul and cost-cutting campaign.

Barclays Leans Away From Wall Street in Revamp Plan; The U.K lender will cap the share of assets devoted to its sprawling investment-banking arm in favor of its home business
Josh Mitchell – The Wall Street Journal
Barclays, one of Europe’s last major trans-Atlantic investment banks, is shifting its priorities from New York to London. Chief Executive C.S. Venkatakrishnan unveiled a broad plan Tuesday to lift the U.K. lender’s share price from a 15-year slumber. The crux: a renewed focus on lending to British households and businesses-and a little less focus on the volatile, rough-and-tumble world of Wall Street.

Why Private Credit Is Booming and Banks Are Fighting Back
Kat Hidalgo – Bloomberg
Need a loan for a new factory or a buyout deal, but don’t like the terms your bank is offering? There’s a $1.7 trillion industry that’s ready to help. Private credit came of age after the 2008 financial crisis as an alternative to banks at a time when regulators were clamping down on risky lending by deposit-taking institutions. Today it’s become a serious rival to mainstream lending for all kinds of businesses, from real estate firms to tech startups. Money is pouring into private credit funds from wealthy investors, retirement plans, sovereign wealth funds, and even the banks that compete with them. Some have argued that private credit should become a permanent fixture in capital markets and investment portfolios. Yet it’s not clear how this opaque corner of finance will cope when the next big recession hits.

Deutsche Bank CEO Gets Inspiration From a Board Game
Patricia Kowsmann – The Wall Street Journal

Bill Ackman Rockets Up Best-Paid Hedge Fund List by Doing Very Little; Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman collected $610 million last year, while Izzy Englander and Ken Griffin topped Bloomberg’s annual ranking.
Tom Maloney and Hema Parmar – Bloomberg

Segantii Hedge Fund Assets Shrank by $1 Billion Since March; Fund lost less than 1.4% in January, following decline in 2023; Segantii’s fund saw assets fell to about $4.8 billion
Bei Hu – Bloomberg

Work & Management

Unrealistic deadlines, constant surveillance: How bad bosses create toxic workplaces
Dylan Croll – Yahoo Finance
First days on a new job are often straightforward. Meet new colleagues, set your email signature, get to know the boss. Not for Ted, a scientist in the Midwest. On his first day at a biology research lab, his new manager sat behind him and timed him as he completed various tasks. When she thought he was too slow, she rebuked him. Unrealistic deadlines followed along with the expectation that employees come into the office before she did at 7:30 a.m. and stay until after she left at 8 p.m. His manager was toxic.

Gen Z are treating employers like bad dates: 93% ghost interviews and 87% have not even shown up for their first day of work
Orianna Rosa Royle – Fortune via Yahoo!Finance
Ghosting isn’t just for dating anymore. Now Gen Z are treating their would-be employers like bad dates and not showing up for job interviews or their first day on the job without as much as a phone call. Employment website Indeed surveyed 1,500 businesses and 1,500 working people in the U.K. and found that job ghosting is rife, with 75% of workers saying they’ve ignored a prospective employer in the past year. But the youngest generation of workers are by far the worst offenders.

Wellness Exchange

Droughts Risk Spurring HIV Cases in Rural African Women; Increased poverty and hunger results in more transactional sex; Almost two thirds of population relies on subsistence farming
Janice Kew – Bloomberg
African women, already among the most vulnerable in acquiring HIV, are increasingly at risk as droughts intensify across the continent, according to researchers at the University of Bristol. That’s as poverty-stricken female subsistence farmers in countries with some of the highest incidence of the virus tend to seek money from other activities such as transactional sex, according to the study published Tuesday in AIDS and Behavior. HIV causes the auto-immune disease AIDS.

Largest ever global study of COVID vaccines finds small but real link to neurological, blood, heart-related conditions
Jason Gale and Bloomberg via Fortune
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long Covid symptoms from a coronavirus infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood, and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date.

The Case Against an Annual Physical; For some of us, the yearly exams might not be doing much to boost long-term health
Alex Janin – The Wall Street Journal
Is your annual physical a waste of time? A growing number of physicians say the value of a yearly physical depends in part on your age and health history, and that some young, healthy patients can afford to skip it. Some studies have suggested that the annual visits aren’t doing much to improve our long-term health, and a growing shortage of primary-care doctors can drag out appointment wait times. Plenty of doctors still recommend an annual checkup, but more are changing what they do in that appointment, focusing on habits such as sleep, exercise and diet with less poking and prodding in a physical exam.


Investors Are Turning Wary of Crowded India Trade After Run-Up
Abhishek Vishnoi and John Cheng – Bloomberg
The stellar rally in Indian equities that’s made them an investor favorite has run into headwinds that go beyond elevated valuations. Earnings misses, the attractiveness of rival markets amid expectations of a dovish policy shift by the Federal Reserve and a nascent recovery in Chinese equities are casting doubts over India extending a rally that saw the nation’s main gauges posting a record eighth straight year of gains in 2023.

US Bid to Loosen China’s Grip on Key Metals for EVs Is Stalling; Washington’s efforts have so far had limited success, and some mining executives complain of a lack of coherent strategy at a time when metal prices are falling.
Mark Burton, Joe Deaux, Michael J Kavanagh, Jennifer A Dlouhy, and Annie Lee – Bloomberg
Insiders liken it to a “panic button.” And for more than 80 years, the primary job of the National Defense Stockpile has been to keep the US military supplied with essential raw materials and protect against supply shocks. So when China surprised the markets by restricting exports of two niche industrial metals last year, top-level officials in the Pentagon-controlled agency-and the White House-faced an uncomfortable reality: Its panic button no longer worked. The realization triggered a different kind of alarm in Washington.

China Freezes Accounts of Quant Fund After It Dumped Stocks
China’s two main stock exchanges froze the accounts of a major quantitative hedge fund for three days after the money manager dumped 2.57 billion yuan ($360 million) in shares within a minute Monday. Ningbo Lingjun Investment Management Partnership executed the sell orders through multiple accounts starting from 9:30 a.m. as shares declined, “disrupting normal trading order,” the Shenzhen exchange said in a statement Tuesday. The Shanghai bourse imposed a similar freeze on Lingjun, which will be barred from trading stocks until Feb. 22.

India Farmers Reject Government Offer on Guaranteed Crop Prices
Swati Gupta and Pratik Parija -Bloomberg
Indian farmer groups rejected a government offer to guarantee minimum prices for some crops currently traded with no such safeguard, and are expected to resume the ongoing protest on Wednesday. The farmers, who are seeking price guarantees for 23 crops, traveled toward the Indian capital last week demanding that the government fulfills that promise, made at the end of the 2021 protest. After multiple rounds of talks, the federal government offered to guarantee minimum prices on a small number of crops, including pulses. Growers had temporarily halted their protests to consider the proposal.

Everything China’s Doing to Rescue Its Battered Stock Market
Bloomberg News
Chinese stocks have struggled for traction since returning from the Lunar New Year break, adding pressure on Beijing to provide more support and restore confidence in an economy grappling with a property slump and stubborn deflation.

How India Became the World’s Most Nimble Energy Buyer; With a rapidly growing population and economy, India is thirsty for oil and natural gas-at the right price
Megha Mandavia – The Wall Street Journal

Tractors roll into downtown Prague as Czech farmers join protests
Eva Korinkova – Reuters

Finland to open 300 shooting ranges to boost interest in national defence
James Rothwell – The Telegraph

Russia Loses Bid to Overturn $50 Billion Award in Yukos Case
April Roach – Bloomberg

Russia’s Seaborne Crude Flows at Risk as India Shuns Key Grade; Difficulties selling Sokol crude into India are far from over
Julian Lee – Bloomberg

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