BofA Hit Hardest as EU Fines Bond-Trading Trio $34 Million; Hong Kong exchange posts record profit on trading and IPO boom

Apr 28, 2021

First Read

$40,526/$300,000 (13.5%)
Trading Technologies


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

It is a busy day today with the Options Industry Conference and FIA’s Law & Compliance conference kicking off. The JLN team is covering OIC more broadly and some L&C afterwards if we can get some interviews.

I really miss the swag of OIC, which is typically some of the best of any conference. I still have my cowboy boots from NYSE when the conference was in Texas, though I have not worn them for years.

In an effort to bring diversity to the OIC conference, they have the following women on the program: The Honorable Allison Herren Lee, commissioner, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission; The Honorable Jill Sommers, senior advisor, Patomak Global Partners (and former CFTC commissioner); Annabelle Baldwin, chief revenue officer, SpiderRock Holdings;
Julie Bauer, chief external relations officer, OCC; Alicia Crighton, managing director, Goldman Sachs; Arianne Criqui, senior vice president, Cboe Global Markets; Ryan Jachym, vice president, Goldman Sachs; Denise Knabjian, managing director, OCC; Lori Schock, director, Office of Investor Education & Advocacy, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Everyone is getting into or expanding their ESG offerings. The Montréal Exchange announced the launch of the S&P/TSX Composite ESG Index Futures. — TMX

The CME Group announced plans to launch E-mini S&P Europe 350 ESG Index Futures, building on the company’s successful E-mini S&P 500 ESG Index futures contract. This new product will be available for trading on May 24, pending regulatory review. — CME Group

Allan Schoenberg may be gone from Nasdaq, but the team there is keeping CEO Adena Friedman in the public eye. Today there is a story in Insider titled “Inside Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman’s mission to stay ahead of Wall Street’s growing adoption of the public cloud.” — Insider

Joshua Brown, the Reformed Broker, has a commentary titled “‘Stock Market Bubble’ Searches Explode.” Consider this an early warning system. — The Reformed Broker

Starbucks reported customers have returned and they expect higher profits. It is probably a bunch of people sitting in Starbucks drinking coffee searching for a “Stock Market Bubble.”

Also, New York Governor Coumo announced offices could go from 50% occupancy to 75% occupancy, which is sure to drive more Starbucks consumption. — WSJ

And the CDC eased the face mask guidelines for being outside, so you can drink your Starbucks outside too if you are fully vaccinated, with an emphasis on “fully.” — WSJ

I am very proud of the readership of this newsletter as the Emily Ratajkowski story was only the third most-read story on Monday.

I really liked the FT’s cheese market story yesterday by Emiko Terazono. The writing was fun and it was good reporting. I liked the “sharp” increase in trading reference. The main cheese contract represents the price of block and barrel cheese. I was a little confused the first time I read the phrase block cheese market, asking myself is this block trading, or trading of blocks. Or both? — FT

Trading Technologies matched our weekly donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign, raising the total to $40,576. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign and have your contribution matched by TT.

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


Wall Street beware: the SEC’s Gensler carries a big stick; Amid frothy markets and frenzied dealmaking, a few high-profile cases will soon get financiers’ attention
Brooke Masters – FT
The last time Gary Gensler ran an American financial regulator, he was charged with cleaning up the mess left by the 2008 crash. Now the new chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission faces a rather different task: policing volatile and frothy markets that may be hiding all kinds of misbehaviour.

*****Beware, the big bad Gensler is about to strike?~JJL


Heading Back to the Office? Ask for Air Filters, Not Bleach
Tim Loh – Bloomberg
Ventilation more important than disinfectants, experts say; JPMorgan bringing U.S. workforce back as soon as July
As vaccinations speed up and companies look to reopen their offices, workers want something in return: confidence that it’s safe to be there, elbow to elbow with colleagues they’ve encountered only on screens for months. Employers are touting measures to curtail the risk of infection with Covid-19, but not every action is equally effective, according to experts. Some of the most widely adopted steps may not help much at all.

*****One of the things my church did while we were not holding in-person services was to upgrade the air system.~JJL


The U.S. Has the Shots It Needs, But Vaccine Doubt Is Prolonging the Pandemic; Skepticism threatens to drag out Covid restrictions.
Kristen V Brown – Bloomberg
By his count, Jonathan Damato has brought at least a dozen people back from the dead. Over 20 years as a New York City paramedic, those are the moments he remembers most. The ones that called him to the job early on and kept him coming back, a year into a pandemic, in one of the world’s worst hot spots. “Clearly, we’re masked up, you know, you’re protected, but you’re exposing yourself to this every single day,” he says.

*****Are Americans skeptical? I don’t believe it.~JJL


To vanquish Covid the world must get better at sharing; Pharmaceutical companies should temporarily surrender IP and expertise for the good of humanity
Ellen ‘T Hoen – FT
The world is scrambling to find ways to ramp-up Covid-19 vaccine production. But the intellectual property, including the knowhow needed to increase yields and manufacturing, is held by a handful of pharmaceutical companies. And they are not sharing it with the world.

*****Everything we need to know, we learned in kindergarten.~JJL


Charles de Vaulx’s apparent suicide a tragic Wall Street tale
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
A prominent investor’s apparent suicide after his financial empire collapsed is being mourned as a Wall Street tragedy. Shortly before 1 p.m. Monday, Charles de Vaulx entered the posh Midtown tower at 717 Fifth Ave. that had long housed the offices of International Value Advisers, an investment firm founded 14 years ago, according to police. Minutes later, de Vaulx — who built IVA into a financial powerhouse with $20 billion in assets at its peak before it abruptly liquidated last month — plummeted from the 10th floor, according to a building employee. Responders at the scene pronounced him dead at 1:05 p.m. Police are investigating the death of the 59-year-old, Moroccan-born financier, but no foul play is suspected. And de Vaulx had not been accused of any wrongdoing.

*****Tragic story. There is much more to life, always!~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
The top story on Tuesday was from Bloomberg, City of London Plans for Life After Covid as Its Offices Empty. The second most-clicked was a podcast by Carlos Watson on Ozy that was No. 1 on Monday, Adena Friedman Spills the Stock Exchange’s Secrets. And the third was the announcement of Eventus’ redesign, Introducing the NEW Eventus.


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Lead Stories

BofA Hit Hardest as EU Fines Bond-Trading Trio $34 Million
Aoife White – Bloomberg
Traders colluded for sovereign-bonds sold to pension funds; Deutsche Bank dodged fine after revealing details of scheme
Bank of America Corp. Credit Suisse Group AG and Credit Agricole SA were fined about 28.5 million euros ($34 million) by European Union regulators for colluding on trading of U.S. supra-sovereign, sovereign and agency bonds. Bank of America got the largest individual penalty of 12.6 million euros, while Credit Suisse was fined 11.9 million euros and Credit Agricole was ordered to pay more than 3.9 million euros. Deutsche Bank AG participated in the cartel but dodged a potential penalty of about 21.5 million euros because it was the first to inform the EU about the illegal behavior.

Hong Kong exchange posts record profit on trading and IPO boom; City’s bourse benefits from series of big listings by Chinese groups
Hudson Lockett and Tabby Kinder – FT
Hong Kong’s stock exchange operator has notched its best-ever quarterly profit as a flood of trading and initial public offerings boosted the bourse ahead of a new chief executive taking the helm. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said on Wednesday that post-tax profits jumped 70 per cent year on year in the first quarter to HK$3.8bn (US$490m) as core business revenue driven by turnover and listing fees rose more than a third to a record HK$5.5bn. Investment income swung to a gain of HK$418m from a loss in the first quarter of 2020.

Four Years of Brexit Drama Ends as EU Lawmakers Back Deal
Richard Bravo and Katharina Rosskopf – Bloomberg
Lawmakers voted in favor of supporting EU-U.K. agreement; Decision marks final step in the formal ratification process
European Union lawmakers gave their approval to the post-Brexit trade accord with the U.K., marking the final step in the ratification process and the end of four years of political brinkmanship. Members of the EU’s legislature voted to give their consent to the EU-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement with 660 supporting and five against, ensuring that commerce will continue without the chaotic disruption to business a no-deal Brexit once threatened.

MEPs brand Brexit a ‘historic mistake’ as they approve trade deal; Zero-tariff agreement with the UK approved by huge majority, paving the way for final ratification
Jim Brunsden – FT
Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU cleared its last political hurdle on Wednesday, after the European Parliament approved it by an overwhelming majority.

Florida isn’t replacing New York after all
Hillary Hoffower – Insider
Florida’s palm trees seem to be no match for New York’s skyscrapers. When New York City became the epicenter of the pandemic, some of the city’s wealthiest fled south in a seeming mass exodus. But a year later, Bloomberg reported, the migration has turned out to be more of an “urban shuffle.” While the Sun Belt region did see an increase in residents, most of the city dwellers who moved stayed pretty close to home.

Deutsche Bank Sees Remote Work for Up to Three Days a Week
Jeff Black and Daniel Schaefer – Bloomberg
CFO says hybrid arrangement could mean 60% of time at home; Lender is already cutting office space at asset management arm
Deutsche Bank AG is working on plans to allow staff to work from home up to three days a week, as it considers one of the most flexible return-to-office policies among large international banks. The Frankfurt-based lender is “moving to provide our employees some additional flexibility in hybrid working models,” Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Wednesday. “It’s a range of 40 to 60 percent, we think, of flexibility. And it will really be up to the employee, but in a structured way with the manager so we know when people are expected to come to the office.”

Standard Chartered Considers Slashing Singapore Office Space
Faris Mokhtar and Alfred Cang – Bloomberg
Floor cuts could be biggest recent downsize by a bank in hub; Joins DBS, Citi and Mizuho in trimming footprint in city-state
Standard Chartered Plc is weighing options to downsize its office space in what could become the biggest floor cuts by a bank in Singapore in recent years, according to people familiar with the matter.

Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Credit Agricole Fined by EU for Bond-Trading Cartel
Three banks fined a combined total of $34.4 million. Deutsche Bank avoided a penalty by informing the EU about the cartel.
Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
The European Union fined Credit Suisse Group AG CS 3.31% , Bank of America Corp. BAC 1.19% and Crédit Agricole SA for illegally colluding on trades in government bond markets at the expense of their clients. The three banks were together fined EUR28.5 million, equivalent to $34.4 million. Deutsche Bank AG DB 1.73% also participated in the trades, but wasn’t fined because it alerted the EU about the existence of the alleged cartel.

Ant IPO-Approval Process Under Investigation by Beijing; Focus is on how Jack Ma won speedy permission for stock listing last year
Lingling Wei – WSJ
Beijing is investigating how Jack Ma won speedy approvals for his Ant Group Co.’s stock listing last year, according to people with knowledge of the matter, signaling that state actors are getting embroiled in the crackdown on the tech billionaire.

Robinhood Has a Customer Service Problem; The brokerage is taking weeks or longer to resolve routine user issues as it gears up for an IPO later this year
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Trading on Robinhood Markets Inc. takes seconds. Getting an account problem fixed can take weeks. Robinhood is wading through a flood of customer-service requests stemming from the trading app’s soaring popularity and its January decision to curb trading in highflying stocks including GameStop Inc. GME 5.23% In some cases, Robinhood has locked customers’ accounts for more than a month, denying them access to their money, according to interviews with users and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Charles Schwab is creating work ‘families’ to help its 400 remote interns make the most of their experience this summer
Anita Ramaswamy and Reed Alexander – Insider
Brokerage giant Charles Schwab, which holds some $7 trillion in client assets, will host its internship program virtually again this summer, a spokesperson for the firm told Insider.

Archegos Blowup Claims Another Swiss Victim; UBS wants to move beyond its $860 million loss on Bill Hwang’s family offices, but investors deserve more of an explanation on what went wrong.
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
For UBS Group AG, the world’s biggest wealth manager, a $774 million loss on one client may not have been material in what was otherwise a blockbuster first quarter. But the surprise hit from the implosion of Archegos Capital Management, revealed on Tuesday, raises deeper questions about the risk taking that underpins the firm’s growth in its investment bank and wealth businesses.

Will ‘Global Britain’ clamp down on money laundering?; Regulatory easing after Brexit risks attracting more dirty money to London
Tom Burgis – FT
In March 2014, a few days after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Crimea, a British official arriving for a meeting of the UK’s National Security Council failed to shield his notes from the Downing Street photographers. Any response to the Kremlin’s aggression should not, the notes read, “close London’s financial centre to Russians”. The government subsequently explained that it “wanted to target action against Moscow and not damage British interests”.

The Federation Of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges Holds “Meet The Market With FEAS | Astana International Exchange & Sydney Stock Exchange” Virtual Event
On April 28th, 2021, The Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS), alongside with its members Astana International Exchange and Sydney Stock Exchange, held the “Meet the Market with FEAS | Astana International Exchange & Sydney Stock Exchange” virtual event.

DTCC: Operational resilience planning, in 2021 and beyond
David LaFalce, DTCC via IUBS Intelligence
Planning for operational resilience will unquestionably be a strategic priority for firms over the course of 2021 and beyond. In an increasingly interconnected and digitalised world, organisations can be vulnerable to disruptive events related to technology-based failures, system outages and cyber-attacks. This has been further highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with organisations needing to adjust their operational resilience plans to take into account not only the health impact to employees, but also the effects such as the shift to remote working. At the same time, because of climate change, firms also need to consider the increased likelihood of natural disasters threatening significant operational disruption.


Can You Have Alcohol After the Covid Vaccine?
Anahad O’Connor – The New York Times
Moderate drinking is unlikely to impair the immune response to the Covid vaccine, but heavy drinking might.
After a long year and a lot of anticipation, getting the Covid-19 vaccine can be cause for celebration, which for some might mean pouring a drink and toasting to their new immunity. But can alcohol interfere with your immune response?
The short answer is that it depends on how much you drink.

CDC Relaxes COVID-19 Mask Guidelines For Vaccinated Americans
The new guidance relaxes outdoor mask recommendations for people who have waited two weeks after their final shot.
Nina Golgowski and Lydia O’Connor – Huffington Post
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new coronavirus guidelines for vaccinated Americans on Tuesday that include updated recommendations on mask-wearing while outdoors.

Britain and EU May Both Be Wrong on Astra’s Vaccine; The U.K. and Europe are recommending different age cutoffs for inoculations using Astra’s shot to limit blood-clot risks. Neither of them are right.
Sam Fazeli – Bloomberg
When it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations, Britain has been a bit of a renegade. At the outset of the global rollout, the U.K. — in an effort to inoculate as many people as possible as quickly as possible — started its campaign by lengthening the time interval between the first and second shots beyond what was indicated from trials.

India’s New Vaccine Strategy Is Bad Economics; Putting a price on shots could lead to unjust, lopsided distribution. The cost to the consumer should be zero.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
After a tightly centralized vaccination drive that has delivered the required two shots to less than 2% of the population, India is opening up its inoculation strategy in the middle of a raging pandemic. Can the new approach flatten the curve?

‘It’s Like a War’: Inside an India Hospital Desperate for Oxygen
Ruth Pollard and Sudhi Ranjan Sen – Bloomberg
Families drive hundreds of kilometers to find beds, oxygen; Modi facing backlash over government’s pandemic response
At his crowded emergency room in central Delhi, Ali Raza can’t focus much on when the next delivery of oxygen will arrive — 12 of his 20 doctors are down with Covid-19, and the patients just keep coming. “We always anticipated a second wave in April and May, but we never knew it would hit us so hard and so fast,” said Raza, the director of emergency and trauma at Moolchand Hospital. “They arrive gasping and they all need oxygen.”

Where Can You Fly Right Now? India’s Outbreak Stalls Global Travel Rebound; A budding air-traffic recovery in one of the world’s biggest markets has been stopped in its tracks.
Layan Odeh and Siddharth Vikram Philip – Bloomberg
The ferocious surge in new coronavirus cases that has turned India into the global pandemic hotspot has also reversed one of the airline industry’s biggest travel comebacks. Carriers in India had reached 87% of their pre-pandemic seat capacity through early April, based on a Bloomberg analysis of data from flight tracker OAG. That progress has now unraveled as the surge in infections led to a pullback in domestic flights, which make up the vast majority of the market.

Sanofi Bets Late Covid Vaccines Can Play Role in Pandemic
Tim Loh – Bloomberg
French drugmaker Sanofi, a laggard in developing Covid-19 vaccines, defended its ongoing efforts by saying the shots could still have a role to play as the pandemic evolves. Acknowledging the two products under development are “quite behind,” Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon told journalists that “with the evolution of the pandemic, they could find a place.”

Single Covid vaccine dose cuts risk of household transmission ‘up to half’; Public Health England releases most comprehensive research yet into effect of immunisation
Sarah Neville – FT
A single dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 can cut the risk of passing the disease on to household members by up to half, according to the most comprehensive real-world study into post-immunisation transmission risk.

How Pfizer Makes Its Covid-19 Vaccine
Emma Cott, Elliot deBruyn and Jonathan Corum – NY Times
Inside this facility in Chesterfield, Missouri, trillions of bacteria are producing tiny loops of DNA containing coronavirus genes — the raw material for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

More News

Brazil Covid-19 Variant Spreads Across South America in Warning to World; Countries that recently had pandemic under control, including Uruguay and Chile, are now seeing surging hospitalizations and deathsWSJ

New York Opens Vaccine Appointments to Walk-Ins as Demand Wanes; Gov. Cuomo says state will follow new federal guidance on masksWSJ

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

CME Group Inc. Reports First-Quarter 2021 Financial Results
CME Group
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2021. The company reported revenue of $1.3 billion and operating income of $725 million for the first quarter of 2021. Net income was $574 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.60. On an adjusted basis, net income was $641 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.79. Financial results presented on an adjusted basis for the first quarter of 2021 and 2020 exclude certain items, which are detailed in the reconciliation of non-GAAP results.1

CME Group to Launch E-mini S&P Europe 350 ESG Index Futures
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will launch E-mini S&P Europe 350 ESG Index futures, a targeted risk management tool to align with environmental, social and governance (ESG) values. Building on the company’s successful E-mini S&P 500 ESG Index futures contract, this new product will be available for trading on May 24, pending regulatory review.

The European interviews Cees Vermaas of The International Stock Exchange
For the fifth video in the remote interview series, The European interviewed Cees Vermaas, Chief Executive Officer of The International Stock Exchange (TISE). Cees Vermaas spoke about how TISE began its journey, how it is ensuring its employees are safe throughout the pandemic and how it managed to have one of its most successful years to date despite the economic turbulence.

BIDS Trading May Grow Beyond U.S. Equities
Shanny Basar – MarketsMedia
BIDS Trading, which operates the largest block-trading alternative trading system by volume in the US, could begin to trade other asset classes in addition to expanding its core US equities business and growing internationally.

ICE Mortgage Technology’s Latest Origination Insight Report Shows Significant Reduction in Time to Close
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
ICE Mortgage Technology TM, a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today shared that the time to close all loans decreased over the first quarter of 2021, from 58 days in January to 52 days in March, according to the MarchOrigination Insight Report. Time to close all purchase loans decreased over the quarter, from 57 days in January, to 53 days in February, and down to 51 days in March. Refinances saw similar decreases in days-to-close, falling from 59 days in January, to 52 in both February and March.

Poll Results of 2021 Annual General Meeting and New Appointments
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) today (Wednesday) hosted its 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM). All proposed resolutions as set out in the notice of AG

HKEX 2021 First Quarter Results

Annual General Meeting – Chair’s statement by Don Robert
London Stock Exchange Group
Given the UK Government’s continued restrictions on public gatherings and our desire to protect the health and safety of you and all our stakeholders, we are unable to host this meeting in person but we look forward to some measure of normality returning next year. In the meantime, thank you for your continued understanding.

London Stock Exchange Group Directorate Changes
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group plc (LSEG) today announces that Tsega Gebreyes and Ashok Vaswani will join the Board as Independent Non-Executive Directors, effective 1 June 2021. Tsega will join the Risk and Remuneration Committees and Ashok the Audit and Risk Committees. They will both also join the Nomination Committee.

London Stock Exchange Group plc: Q1 2021 Trading Statement
London Stock Exchange Group

Candidates for Directors, etc.
We today announce that Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) and its subsidiaries have nominated candidates for
directors, etc. JPX and its subsidiaries will put forth the following candidates for approval at their respective
annual general shareholders meetings and ordinary general meeting of members to be held on June 16, 2021. The
new candidates are as follows.

Japan Exchange Group, Inc. and Consolidated Subsidiaries Consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 (Based on IFRS), unaudited

Overview of Earnings for FY2020
Japan Exchange Group, Inc.

Decision on Matters Regarding Acquisition of Own Shares (Acquisition of Own Shares based on Provisions of the Articles of Incorporation Pursuant to Article 459, Paragraph 1 of the Companies Act)

3rd Medium-Term Management Plan; Update for FY2021
Japan Exchange Group, Inc

Additional Contribution Along with Extension of Trust Period of Stock-Granting Trust in Stock Compensation Plan for Executives
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (hereinafter “JPX”) decided today at the meeting of its Compensation Committee that it will extend the trust period of and make additional contribution to the stock-granting trust (hereinafter the “Trust”) of the stock compensation plan for executives (meaning executive officers and those equivalent thereto, excluding persons such as outside directors, directors who are members of the Audit Committee, and auditors; hereinafter the same) of JPX and its subsidiaries that provide the core businesses of JPX Group (hereinafter the “core subsidiaries”; JPX and the core subsidiaries are hereinafter collectively referred to as the “implementing companies”; and this plan shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Plan”).

More News

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy, Agriculture – Effective April 28, 2021CME Group

Amendments to the Spot Month Position Limits for the Black Sea Corn Financially Settled (Platts) Futures and the Options on Black Sea Corn Financially Settled (Platts) Futures ContractsCME Group

Initial Listing of the Mexican Funding TIIE (Monthly Contracts) Futures ContractCME Group


Constellation Partners with Segmint to Revolutionize Transaction Data; The enrichment of merchant payment transaction data creates an ecosystem for an enhanced customer experience and platform development
Constellation Digital Partners
Constellation Digital Partners, the first unique open-development platform for digital banking services announced a new partnership with data and analytics company, Segmint® to enrich Constellation’s customer-based transaction data for its Digital Banking Platform to include mobile and online banking.

JPMorgan Joins Temasek, DBS in Blockchain Payments Platform
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is teaming up with Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. to create a new blockchain-based platform for payments, trade and foreign exchange settlement.

Stephen Straker joins EDI as Business Development Manager for Canada
Market data vendor Exchange Data International (EDI) has hired former Head of Sales at GFT Group Stephen Straker, for the role of Business Development Manager, Canada. Stephen will lead EDI’s programs in Canada and is already networking with key market participants.

Microsoft Sales Show Strong Growth in Gaming, Cloud; Investor enthusiasm has brought software giant near a $2 trillion valuation
Aaron Tilley – WSJ
Microsoft Corp. MSFT 0.16% extended its pandemic-fueled run of strong quarterly earnings that have bolstered investor enthusiasm in the software giant, bringing the company near a $2 trillion valuation.


Indonesia futures regulator mulls crypto transaction tax
Asia News Network
Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trade Regulatory Agency (Bappebti) is considering a plan to tax cryptocurrency transactions amid rising public interest in the digital asset, especially in the past year. According to the agency, which falls under the trade ministry, the government is expected to impose a type of final income tax (PPh Final) on transactions using virtual currency, to be automatically levied by the 13 cryptocurrency trading platforms registered with Bappebti.

Illinois moves to lure crypto businesses; A bill sailing through the Legislature would establish rules of the road for new companies safeguarding bitcoin and other digital currencies on behalf of investors.
Steve Daniels – Crain’s Chicago Business
Illinois is rolling out the welcome mat for cryptocurrency investors and the firms that serve them. Springfield is on the verge of clearing legislation that would establish a new state trust charter for companies that hold bitcoin and other digital currencies on behalf of investors. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign it.

OKCoin CEO Hong Fang Shares What It Is Like to Be a Woman in Crypto
Sienna Park – Coindesk
The House passed a bill geared toward ultimately clarifying digital asset regulation in the U.S. If it becomes law, the industry might finally have the regulatory clarity it has been seeking.

Bitcoin Is Not the Harbinger of Financial Change, but DeFi Is
Tim Fries – Benzinga
The closer one is to the sun, the more blinded one becomes. These words of wisdom can be found in some form or another, relaying simple truth about human endeavors. The closer we are to the subject matter, the more likely we’ll miss important concepts outside of our concentrated focus—and engage in muddled thinking. This applies to the complex and pioneering world of blockchain in a number of ways. Fortunately, after many milestones crossed, we can take a more objective view in the rear-view mirror.

Iran Central Bank to Allow Money Changers, Banks to Pay for Imports Using Mined Crypto
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Iran’s central bank is reportedly allowing the country’s financial institutions to use cryptocurrency, derived from sanctioned miners, to pay for imports. According to a report by the Financial Tribune on Saturday, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has notified money changers and banks of its amended regulatory framework for crypto payments.

Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev says he’s working to make it easier to withdraw crypto – Mark Cuban says this is the biggest thing standing in dogecoin’s way
Sophie Kiderlin – Insider
Robinhood is trying to make cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals easier, the company’s CEO Vlad Tenev said on Twitter on Tuesday, in response to feedback from billionaire and crypto-supporter Mark Cuban. “Shark Tank” star investor Cuban had tweeted the biggest factor standing in the way of cryptocurrency dogecoin growing its foothold was people were unable to use their holdings of the meme coin on the online trading app to make purchases.

tZERO Partners with Engineered Tax Services to Provide Its Clients Secondary Trading Opportunities; Engineered Tax Services is One of the Largest Tax Advisory Firms in the U.S. with a Network of 3,000+ CPA Firms & Diversified Client Base
tZERO, a leader in blockchain innovation and liquidity for digital assets, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Engineered Tax Services, Inc. (ETS), the country’s largest licensed tax credits and incentives advisory firm. ETS is a licensed engineering firm with over 150 employees that focuses on federal, state, and local tax credits and incentives. ETS caters to a diversified client base, which largely consists of several thousand private CPA firms and their related clients in the businesses of real estate, manufacturing, and energy. This partnership will introduce tZERO to ETS clients seeking technology services to digitize their capitalization tables (i.e., tokenization). tZERO’s tokenization standard is interoperable with the tZERO ATS trading ecosystem, giving issuers optionality to a secondary liquidity solution.

10 Years Ago Today, Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Sent His Final Message
Pete Rizzo – Forbes
On April 26, 2011, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto sent his final emails to fellow developers in which he made clear he had “moved on to other projects,” at the time handing over a cryptographic key he had used to send network-wide alerts.

US Bank will launch crypto custody, pending compliance tests
Kollen Post – The Block
Per an April 27 blog post, U.S. Bank is finalizing cryptocurrency custody services. The actual announcement says that the new services are contingent upon the selection of a sub-custodian to contract under U.S. Bank. Christine Waldron, Chief Global Strategy Officer for Global Fund Services at U.S. Bank, told The Block “We have made the selection. We’re working through our operational integration and our risk and compliance process.” There is, however, no confirmed timeframe for when these services will go live.

BitMEX Launches New Program to Reward Partners, Drive Platform Traffic
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX is looking to rebuild its brand through a new partner program it hopes will drive user traffic to the platform. The “BitMEX Partner Programme” aims to connect users with trading tools to “enhance their trading experience” while simultaneously rewarding up to 12 fresh industry partners. The partners, in turn, will steer user activity to the platform, according to a press release shared with CoinDesk on Wednesday. In order to achieve its goal, BitMEX said it will be working with its partners to build technical integrations into the exchange, including providing them with access to the platform’s API, white-glove service and internal resources.

More News

Billionaire Mark Cuban Says Dogecoin Is Better Than a Lottery Ticket; The owner of the Dallas Mavericks weighed in on the “meme” cryptocurrency in an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”Bloomberg

Crypto Wunderkind’s Tokens Surge on Best-Performing List; Solana digital coin has surged about 40% in the past week; Sam Bankman-Fried also runs FTX exchange and helps with Serum — Olga Kharif — Bloomberg

Golden State Warriors Up NFT Game With Championship Collection; Digital collectibles to commemorate the team’s six NBA titles; Some proceeds will go to the Warriors Community Foundation — Joanna Ossinger — Bloomberg

Coinbase Pro Delays Rollout of Tether Trading Citing API Issues — Sebastian Sinclair — Coindesk

Binance Smart Chain-based DeFi project Uranium Finance exploited, lost $50 million — Yogita Khatri — The Block


A Chicago tech firm follows Coinbase in banning politics talk at work; Political discussion at work is “a major distraction” that “saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places,” Basecamp’s co-founder, Jason Fried, wrote in a blog post on Monday.
Basecamp, a productivity software maker founded in Chicago, said that it’s banning employees from “societal and political discussions” on internal workplace tools. The move, which was met with swift criticism online, mirrors the controversial no-politics-at-work policy set by crypto startup Coinbase Global Inc. last October.

U.K.’s Johnson Struggles to Defuse Row Over Integrity, Sleaze
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
Spokesman deflects question on Downing Street refurbishment; Government does not deny Johnson said should let virus ‘rip’
Boris Johnson remains embroiled in a row over his integrity and conduct as U.K. prime minister, with his administration struggling to move beyond questions over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and allegations surrounding the refurbishment of his official residence.

Merkel Calls for Deeper Cooperation With China on Covid Vaccines
Arne Delfs and Jing Li – Bloomberg
German leader speaks during talks with Chinese counterpart; China’s Li wants nations to maintain ‘healthy and stable ties’
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germany and China to join forces to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and raised the prospect of deeper cooperation on Covid-19 vaccines. In her opening remarks during virtual talks Wednesday with her Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, Merkel said the two nations should “speak openly and transparently about vaccine production.”

America’s Ultra-Rich Fear Biden Will Close Their Favorite Tax Loopholes; The U.S. president, along with Democrats in Congress, have floated plans to end a long list of sometimes-obscure perks and exclusions.
Ben Steverman – Bloomberg
The rich shouldn’t be too afraid of Joe Biden’s tax plans. It’s the really rich who should be getting nervous. The U.S. president is set to unveil a tax package on Wednesday that promises to raise revenues from those earning $400,000 or more a year. But executives and professionals making over $500,000 annually already pay relatively high tax rates.

China plots regional influence push as India battles Covid crisis; Beijing promises vaccines and medical aid to neighbours as rival’s death toll tops 200,000
Amy Kazmin and Benjamin Parkin and Farhan Bokhari – FT
A wave of coronavirus infections is spreading beyond India to its neighbours, creating an opening for China to make inroads into a region New Delhi considers its backyard by providing vaccines and medical assistance.


Acting Chairman Behnam to Speak at the NYU Stern School of Business Second Annual Volatility and Risk Institute Conference

SEC overstepping authority in NMS plan, Nasdaq claims in court; Nasdaq’s counsel argued that the regulator does not have the power to give more votes to non-exchange organizations in the Sips’ operating committees.
Joanna Wright – Waters Technology
A lawyer for Nasdaq told a court of appeals on Monday that the US markets regulator is overstepping its authority in ordering the biggest exchanges to come up with a new governance plan for the public consolidated feeds of US equities market data, which would give more voting power to broker-dealers and other organizations that sit on the operating committees governing these feeds.

Transition to RFRs Review: First Quarter of 2021
The Transition to Risk-free Rates (RFRs) Review analyzes the trading volumes of over-the-counter (OTC) and exchange-traded interest rate derivatives (IRD) that reference selected alternative RFRs, including the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), the Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA), the Swiss Average Rate Overnight, the Tokyo Overnight Average Rate, the Euro Short-Term Rate and the Australian Overnight Index Average.

China Is Probing Ant’s Speedy Listing Process After Halting IPO
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloolmberg
Investigators are examining why Ant’s listing was fast tracked; Probe includes multiple agencies, has been ongoing for months
Chinese authorities are probing the speed with which Ant Group Co.’s ill-fated listing was approved, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Credit Agricole fined EUR28 million for role in bond trading cartel; Deutsche Bank blew the whistle on the cartel and so was not fined alongside Bank of America, Credit Agricole and Credit Suisse despite having traders active in the scheme.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Agricole and Credit Suisse have been fined a total of EUR28 million in Europe after colluding on bond trading activity as a cartel.

FCA secures bankruptcy of 3 individuals involved in an unauthorised share scheme
On 6 May 2020, following a trial, the High Court ordered the payment of nearly £3.62 million in restitution to members of the public who bought shares that were promoted unlawfully. We provide an update on the case.

The Council of Experts Concerning the Follow-up of Japan’s Stewardship Code and Japan’s Corporate Governance Code
FSA Japan

The New GLOPAC Web Page Is Now Ready
FSA Japan
The new GLOPAC website provides easy-to-understand information on what GLOPAC is, how the program is run, and the benefits of participating in the program. The site also includes information* on current visiting fellows, former fellows, and the interns who are participating or have participated in the GLOPAC program. The website is intended to further strengthen the GLOPAC network by making it easier for participants to connect with each other and find information about events for fellows.

Stewardship Code : 304 institutional investors have signed up to the Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors as of March 31, 2021
FSA Japan
The Council of Experts Concerning the Japanese Version of the Stewardship Code (Chairman: Professor Hiroyuki Kansaku, University of Tokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics) published the Principles for Institutional Investors (Japan’s Stewardship Code, hereinafter referred to as “the Code”) on February 26, 2014.

Virtual Meeting of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR)
FSA Japan
From April to 21, 2021, the 21st meeting of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) was held in virtual form. The CPAAOB/FSA and other member authorities from 54 jurisdictions attended the meeting.

Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs Elected New Vice Chair of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR)
FSA Japan
At the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators’ Plenary Meeting from April 19 to 21, 2021, NAGAOKA Takashi, Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs and Director of the Office of Japanese Delegation for IFIAR, was elected new Vice Chair of the IFIAR for a two-year term.

Investing and Trading

Hobson’s choices take Ariel in new directions; Strategic shifts, a management shake-up and a boardroom overhaul reflect the co-CEO’s growing clout at one of Chicago’s most prominent investment firms.
Steven R. Strahler – Crain’s Chicago Business
When Ariel Investments’ John Rogers speaks to students, they have a uniform request, he says: “They all want to meet Mellody.” That would be Mellody Hobson, Ariel’s co-CEO, largest shareholder and, increasingly, its public face. In recent months, she has been putting her stamp on the $16 billion-asset mutual fund firm, pushing it into new lines of business, shaking up management and overhauling the board.

Bonds Beat Stocks at Pension Funds, Turning 60/40 Inside Out
Liz McCormick and Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Top 100 public companies have over 50% of assets held in debt; State, local government pensions to buy more, JPMorgan says
The debate over the traditional 60/40 portfolio seems endless, but for pensions at least, it’s over — and bonds won. The retirement funds of the top 100 U.S. public companies, with combined assets of about $1.8 trillion, have ratcheted up their fixed-income allocations to a record level. At the end of their last fiscal year, they held 50.2% of assets in debt, while slashing money parked in equities to an all-time low of 31.9%, according to a recent report from pension advisory firm Milliman Inc.

Hitachi to Sell Metal Unit to Bain Group for $3.5 Billion
Masumi Suga – Bloomberg
Conglomerate will sell its stake at 1,674 yen per share; Bain to launch a tender offer in Nov. to buy remaining shares
Hitachi Ltd. is selling its metal unit to a group led by Bain Capital for 382 billion yen ($3.5 billion), accelerating the Japanese conglomerate’s plan to restructure its sprawling business. Hitachi, which owns more than half of Hitachi Metals Ltd., will sell its stake at 1,674 yen per share, the Tokyo-based company said Wednesday. Bain, which is part of a consortium that includes Japan Industrial Partners and Japan Industrial Solutions, will also launch a tender offer in November to acquire the shares in Hitachi Metals that the parent doesn’t own.

People Like Having Jobs; Even with inflation on the rise, consumer confidence is surging
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
If you follow the discussion on Twitter (or frankly among a lot of people in markets) you’d think that the big economic issue facing people right now is rising inflation. Gas prices. Lumber prices. Grain prices. Home prices. Yes, they’re all up a lot, and obviously this is a reason for concern, particularly if it continues unabated.

Global IPOs begin 2021 at breakneck pace; Year-to-date comparison shows record dealmaking in first four months of year
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – FT
Listings on stock markets around the world are running at a record pace, with both deal numbers and values at their highest levels for the start of any year in at least two decades.

California Is Awash in Cash, Thanks to a Booming Market; In a single year, the state’s financial outlook has gone from surplus to deficit to surplus as capital gains tax collections have risen amid a soaring stock market and I.P.O. boom.
Matt Phillips – NY Times
As the pandemic raged last May, California was reeling. Spending on unemployment assistance and health care had jumped, while tax revenues were on the verge of cratering. State officials, just months earlier counting on a $5.6 billion budget surplus, now anticipated a $54 billion shortfall. Severe cuts would be needed, making an already frightening recession even worse.

Trade360 and FX Arabic Signals launch a new telegram channel to help you trade better
The multi-award-winning online broker, Trade360 proudly announces a new collaboration with FX Arabic Signals for the release of a new Telegram channel for the Arabic-speaking world. The channel aims to make trading more profitable for traders of all levels of expertise, allowing them to make better-informed decisions and take advantage of more opportunities as they arise. It will focus on trading as it relates to the GCC region, with extra attention to local news, asset development and local stocks.

Pricey Corn Has Farmers Feeding Wheat for Humans to Livestock
Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
China’s expanding hog herd is vacuuming up the world’s feed grains and forcing traders to dip into wheat reserves, a crop that’s normally saved for humans to eat. According to Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the biggest agricultural traders, corn arriving in China will soon be more expensive than wheat.

Marlboro-Maker Philip Morris Keeps Cannabis Options Open
Tiffany Kary and Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg
Company has shied away while BAT and Altria have invested; CEO says PMI would prioritize “smoke-free” products in pot
After keeping its distance from cannabis, Marlboro-maker Philip Morris International Inc. is beginning to take a closer look at the suddenly hot market.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Climate Fund Choices for Investors Are Multiplying; Some 76 new green funds were introduced in 2020, bringing the worldwide total to about 400 offerings.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
It’s been almost a week since nearly every major world leader—even Vladimir Putin—gathered virtually to focus on the global climate crisis. And now it seems even the banks are starting to get on the bandwagon. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., two of the world’s biggest providers of financing to the fossil-fuel industry, have increased their commitments to sustainable and clean-energy projects. Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley announced similar plans.

Facing Drought, Southern California Has More Water Than Ever; Previous droughts motivated the greater Los Angeles region to build new storage and create lasting conservation habits. But vulnerabilities still remain.
Laura Bliss – Bloomberg
The cracked and desiccated shoreline of Lake Mendocino made a telling backdrop for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s message at a news conference last week: Drought conditions are here, and climate change makes the situation graver.

UK woos sovereign wealth funds over green investments; Minister says talks also take place with overseas pension schemes on energy projects
Daniel Thomas and Jim Pickard – FT
The UK is in talks with some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth and pension funds about investing in British green energy projects, including gigafactories and offshore wind farms.


JPMorgan tells U.S. staff they’re due back in the office in July; A “consistent rotational schedule” will be subject to a 50 percent occupancy cap until U.S. authorities revise their social distancing guidelines, a memo said.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. became the first major U.S. bank to mandate a return to offices for its entire U.S. workforce as soon as July. The lender’s top decision-making body, led by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, said in a memo to staff Tuesday that it “would fully expect that by early July, all U.S.-based employees will be in the office on a consistent rotational schedule.” JPMorgan is the largest bank employer in the Chicago area.

HSBC to Cut Office Space 20%, Reduce Business Travel by Half
Silla Brush and Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
Shift to hybrid working is changing demand for offices; Lender sees some business trips being replaced by video calls
HSBC Holdings Plc expects to cut its office footprint by 20% this year and is budgeting for half its previous business travel costs as the adoption of flexible working spurs changes to longstanding practices.

Goldman Sachs President John Waldron just laid out 3 ways the bank is aiming to win the war on burnout, and they don’t include special bonuses or fancy vacations
Reed Alexander – Insider
Wall Street executives are racing to deploy solutions for burnout among junior talent, which they fear could be stoking thoughts of premature attrition from the industry. Remedies have included a combination of special bonuses, salary raises, and lavish offerings.

Lloyds Bank profits surge after reversal of loan loss provisions; Outgoing chief executive António Horta-Osório warns that Covid ‘continues to have a significant impact’
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Lloyds Banking Group’s profits surged in the first quarter this year as a brighter economic outlook led the bank to reverse some of the provisions it had made for potential loan losses after the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.

BlackRock fee cut portends new Hong Kong ETF price skirmish; Management charges on the iShares FTSE A50 China ETF have been slashed from 0.99% to 0.35%
Selena Li – FT
BlackRock’s decision to slash fees on its flagship China A-share exchange-traded fund in Hong Kong, suggests the market is becoming more competitive and could spark a price war, some industry participants say.

Deutsche Bank Avoids Archegos Meltdown, Reports Profit Surge; Bank benefits from frenzied investor activity in a volatile market and companies raising funding and merging
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
Deutsche Bank AG DB 1.73% reported its strongest quarter in seven years thanks to activity at its investment bank, while the lender escaped the implosion of Archegos Capital Management that badly hit some rivals.

Fidelity Launches Platform for Fund Managers to Profit From Short Sellers; Boston firm launched securities-lending business in-house two years ago and is now extending those services to other asset managers
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments Inc. is ramping up a business that helps money managers profit on those eager to bet against stocks. Fidelity said this week it is launching a platform for fund managers looking to lend out their holdings to other investors, including short sellers. Fidelity’s move is the latest sign that the money-management industry, which once dismissed the business as unnecessary and even a bit unseemly, has come full circle. Lending out securities has emerged as an important source of extra revenue, juicing returns and keeping clients from fleeing to cheaper investments.

Jamie Dimon launching coalition that aims to boost hiring of ex-cons
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
If you’re struggling to find work because you’re an ex-con, try hitting up Jamie Dimon. The hard-charging chief executive of JPMorgan Chase said this week he is helping launch and co-chair the Second Chance Business Coalition, a group that aims to expand hiring of former criminals.

Ed Wicks: change on the horizon
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Ahead of TradeTech, global head of trading at Legal & General Investment Management, Ed Wicks, gives his thoughts on some of the hottest topics discussed at TradeTech Europe this year, including remote working, automation and outsourced trading.

Eden Simmer: the future of the buy-side trading desk
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Ahead of TradeTech, head of global equity trading at PIMCO, Eden Simmer, tells The TRADE that a hybrid trading desk composed of traders with remote and physical office presence can offer a number of advantages.

Neil Joseph: automating trader workflows
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Ahead of TradeTech, European head of equity trading at JP Morgan Asset Management, Neil Joseph, tells The TRADE that automation helped his trading desk navigate a 40% increase in volumes in 2020.

Two Former Bankers Square Off Over Birth of a London Hedge Fund
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
Former Deutsche Bank trader accused of cutting out a partner; Anish Mathur says former partner called him ‘one trick pony’
A former Deutsche Bank AG trader faces a London trial this week over claims he cut out a one-time business partner who introduced him to key clients for his new hedge fund.


Covid Outbreak Grips Canada Oil Sands Just as Roughnecks Fly In
Robert Tuttle – Bloomberg
Area declares local emergency as cases spread among workers; Outbreak comes amid heavy maintenance work in production sites
In the U.S., Covid-19 infections are shrinking by the day. In France, officials are preparing to ease lockdown restrictions and jump-start air travel. In the U.K., workers are returning to offices in numbers not seen since the start of the pandemic as the vaccination rollout continues and cases fall.

Murdoch Empire Rules Out Creating British Version of Fox News
Thomas Seal – Bloomberg
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has decided against creating a U.K. version of Fox News, a network that dominates U.S. cable news while drawing criticism for its polarizing content. The company’s British boss, Rebekah Brooks, told employees in a memo Tuesday that it wouldn’t make economic sense to launch a traditional cable network in the market. News Corp. is opting to focus on online video rather than so-called linear TV, she said.

China Regulating Tech Won’t Choke 10 Trillion Yuan Business
Chang Shu – Bloomberg
The Chinese government’s scrutiny of internet companies should be positive for online commerce — and consumption more broadly — over the longer term. Curbing monopolies now may be painful for the incumbents, but more competition should be good for consumers and growth of the industry. Bloomberg Economics sees online shopping expanding to account for about a third of consumer spending over the next few years.

Pandemic Was a ‘Boon’ for African Wealth Funds Investing Locally
Roxanne Henderson – Bloomberg
Some funds had to help finance public spending during crisis; Report published Wednesday surveyed wealth funds across Africa
The global pandemic was a moment of vindication for African sovereign wealth funds focused on their local economies as the Covid-19 crisis stoked demand across industries from pharmaceuticals to farming.

Alternatives Gain Favor With Latin American Investors
A rising appetite for alternative investments among pensions drives global private-equity expansion in the region
Luis Garcia – WSJ
Institutional investors in Latin America are showing increased appetite for alternative assets, and global private-equity firms are taking notice.


Brexit Trade Deal Gets a Final OK From E.U. Parliament; The vote is the formal end of a Brexit process that began nearly five years ago. But mutual mistrust remains high.
Steven Erlanger – NY Times
The European Parliament has voted by a large margin to give the European Union’s final approval to a Brexit deal already beset by difficulties, complaints and a court challenge. The tally, released Wednesday, was 660 in favor, with five against and 32 abstentions.

Four Years of Brexit Drama Ends as EU Lawmakers Back Deal
Richard Bravo and Katharina Rosskopf – Bloomberg
European Union lawmakers gave their approval to the post-Brexit trade accord with the U.K., marking the final step in the ratification process and the end of four years of political brinkmanship. Members of the EU’s legislature voted to give their consent to the EU-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement with 660 supporting and five against, ensuring that commerce will continue without the chaotic disruption to business a no-deal Brexit once threatened. But the deal has left businesses grappling with additional paperwork, and it doesn’t necessarily spell an end to hostilities between the two sides. London and Brussels are still at loggerheads over how the accord will work in Northern Ireland, while the EU’s threat to jeopardize Britain’s supplies of coronavirus vaccines has soured relations.

Ireland confident of solution for post-Brexit Northern Ireland trade
Padraic Halpin – Reuters
Ireland’s foreign minister said he firmly believes Britain and the European Union can solve outstanding issues around post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland, particularly if a middle ground can be found on animal and animal product checks. Trade barriers introduced between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom have caused deep anger among many pro-British unionists in the region and were partly responsible for over a week of nightly street violence this month. British and EU negotiators have said they will step up talks in the coming weeks to solve what Simon Coveney described on Tuesday as “practical frustrations” in how the Northern Ireland protocol is being implemented.


Is it worth doing a PhD to secure a job in finance? Your questions for our expert — and readers’ advice
Jonathan Black – FT
Is it worth doing a PhD in finance? While I do not intend to be an academic, will the qualification increase my chances of securing a position in the banking industry? Anonymous

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