Bryan Harkins Joins IEX Co-Founders as Group President to Lead IEX’s Commercial Growth

May 6, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

On Friday just as we were sending out JLN, IEX sent out a press release announcing the hiring of Bryan Harkins as president and IEX Co-Founder Ronan Ryan moving to the role of group chief operating officer. Also, IEX promoted Florian Seifferer to group chief strategy officer.

This is an excellent hire by IEX. Bryan is a longtime innovator and leader in the equities world and was missed greatly in the space. Congratulations to Bryan and to IEX, also to Florian and Ronan on their new roles.

May Day is typically celebrated on May 1, but in the UK the first Monday of May is celebrated as the May Day Bank Holiday. May Day is rooted in ancient traditions celebrating the arrival of spring. Traditionally, May Day, observed on May 1st, includes various festivities such as Maypole dancing, crowning the May Queen, and Morris dancing. The holiday was institutionalized as a bank holiday in the late 20th century, providing a day off work for many people to enjoy the spring weather and partake in local customs and celebrations. The Early May Bank Holiday is an opportunity for communities across the UK to engage in outdoor activities and celebrate the changing season. I hope my UK friends and family are enjoying the May Day Bank Holiday.

Your company is invited to join My Block My Hood My City as a host destination or a sponsor for the July 13 citywide event to bring together 1,000 young people, aged 13-22, for an exploration of downtown. Each participant will be equipped with a $50 exploration card to spend on delicious food, cultural goods, and activities such as movie screenings and a cultural concert. A contribution of $250 will support two youths, providing them each with a $50 gift card to enjoy various activities and delicious meals in our beautiful downtown. For more information go to:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it has appointed Nathaniel H. Benjamin as the new director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), effective May 5, 2024. Previously, Benjamin served as the chief diversity and inclusion officer at AmeriCorps. Allison Wise, who has been the acting director since October 2023, will be succeeded by Benjamin.

After OIC, Cheryl, Robby and I traveled to Beckley, WV for my daughter Katherine’s graduation from West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a degree in adventure recreation management. Tim was unable to join us when his plane in St. Louis developed mechanical issues and he could not make the connecting flight. Robby flew home to Columbia, MO on Sunday morning, then Cheryl and I decided to begin our return journey on Sunday as well, as storms are expected across the middle of the U.S. today and this week. We returned home late last night.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Cboe posts higher profit as market volatility boosts options trading from Reuters.
Cboe Annual Report from Cboe.
Societe Generale defends risk controls after unauthorised trading incident from the Financial Times. ~JB

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


Swiss National Bank exploring ways to tokenise financial assets
The Swiss National Bank is examining the best way that financial assets can be digitally tokenised as a way of making payments more secure and efficient, Chairman Thomas Jordan said on Monday. Jordan said central banks needed to decide how best to engage in the developments which advocates say will speed up and make payments cheaper.

****** I can remember when tokenizing things was a bad thing.~JJL


About the ‘T+1’ Rule Making US Stock Trades Settle in a Day
Lydia Beyoud and Greg Ritchie – Bloomberg
Even in an age of instant communication and live financial data, investors still have to wait days to take ownership of the stocks they purchase or to receive payment for the stocks they sell. That’s about to change. Starting on May 28, US trades will “settle” (complete the exchange of dollars for stock) in one day rather than two. US banks, brokers and investors have been forced to review all of their post-trade technologies and procedures to ensure they are ready for the new pace of stock trading. The change poses a special challenge to investors outside the US who need to buy dollars as part of their stock trades.

****** Twenty-two days to go. Are you ready?~JJL


CME Group CEO moves on from last year’s LPGA leadership misstep to elevate women’s sport even higher
Beth Ann Nichols – Golfweek
What a difference a year makes. One year ago, CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy was “exceptionally disappointed” in how events outside the ropes unfolded at the CME Group Tour Championship. The future of one of the most lucrative events on the LPGA schedule was uncertain after not one player showed up to Duffy’s Tuesday night dinner. Duffy’s beef was more with tour leadership than with the players. “They better get their act together,” Duffy told Golfweek last year, “because they’re going to lose people like me over stuff like this.”

****** Terry Duffy’s leadership in women’s golf can overcome a dinner that no players showed up to and more.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was the Obituary for Joseph Mazurek, a long-time futures industry broker who passed away on April 28, 2024 at the age of 67, from the Ketusky Funeral Home. Condolences to all who knew him. Second was Josh King of ICE/NYSE’s story on LinkedIn of 18-year-old Luke Grettenberger of Michigan, who rang the NYSE’s opening bell as a result of the Make-A-Wish organization. Third was Cboe Global Markets Reports Results for First Quarter 2024, from Cboe.



Lead Stories

Bryan Harkins Joins IEX Co-Founders as Group President to Lead IEX’s Commercial Growth; IEX Strengthens Organization Through New Leadership Appointments; Seasoned Exchange and Capital Markets Executive; IEX’s Co-Founder, Ronan Ryan, Steps Into the Role of Group Chief Operating Officer; IEX Promotes Florian Seifferer to Group Chief Strategy Officer
IEX Group, Inc.
IEX Group, Inc. (IEX) today announced the appointment of Bryan Harkins as its President, Ronan Ryan as its chief operating officer (COO), and Florian Seifferer as its chief strategy officer (CSO). Harkins is a great addition to the already strong IEX leadership team, with his extensive background in multi-asset exchange trading, Fintech, and capital markets. He brings exceptional experience in advancing product development and driving growth of trading platforms. Before joining IEX, Harkins held roles as the EVP, Head of Markets at Cboe Global Markets overseeing equities, derivatives, and foreign exchange trading, was the President of BIDS trading, the EVP and Head of Markets at BATS Global Markets, the Chief Operating Officer of Direct Edge, and the Chief Revenue Officer of Trumid.

Zero-Day Options Boom Will Only Grow Even As Some Investors Fear Disaster
Sam Potter and Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Two years after Wall Street’s love affair with fast-twitch stock options began, Bloomberg’s latest Markets Live Pulse survey suggests the unprecedented boom still has room to run – even as almost half of respondents fear an eventual blowup. With the notional value of zero-days-to-expiration contracts tied to the S&P 500 hitting roughly $862 billion in April, almost 90% of 300 MLIV Pulse respondents said they expect the growth to continue. The twist? They’re about evenly split on whether it will grow steadily or end in calamity.

At $2 Million Per Minute, Treasuries Mint Cash Like Never Before; With the Federal Reserve in no hurry to cut interest rates, investors are flocking back to fixed-income assets in major reset for Wall Street.
Michael Mackenzie and Liz Capo McCormick – Bloomberg
For the first time in nearly a generation, fixed income is living up to its name. This, at a certain level, is simply the consequence of benchmark rates in the US jumping from 0% to over 5% in a span two years. But at a time when all of Wall Street seems fixated on whether the Federal Reserve will actually cut interest rates this year – and heated arguments break out over whether the 10-year US bond should yield, say, 4.5% or 4.65% – it’s easy to lose sight of one important fact: That after being held hostage by zero-rate policies for almost two decades, US Treasuries are finally reverting back to their traditional role in the economy.

Robinhood Markets Gets SEC Warning Tied to Crypto Business
Rick Green – Bloomberg
Robinhood Markets Inc. has been formally warned by regulators that it may face an enforcement action tied to its cryptocurrency dealings. The so-called Wells notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission concerns Robinhood Crypto and its cryptocurrency listings, custody of cryptocurrencies and platform operations, the company said in a regulatory filing Monday. The agency’s staff told Robinhood that it made a “preliminary determination” to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action. The result could be an injunction, a cease-and-desist order, disgorgement and other penalties or limits on activities, according to the filing. The company was previously subpoenaed and has cooperated with the investigation, Robinhood said.

More than 450K J.P. Morgan retirement accounts exposed in data breach, company said
Karin Price Mueller –
The accounts of more than 450,000 people who have certain employee benefit retirement plans and receive monthly payments from J.P. Morgan were compromised earlier this year, NJ Advance Media has learned. The company said it was not a cyberattack, but rather, a software issue that wrongly allowed three “authorized system users” to access information about the accounts. The breach was discovered on Feb. 26, 2024 and it revealed names, addresses, Social Security numbers, payment and deduction amounts, as well as bank routing and account numbers for those who receive payments by direct deposit, the company said in a letter to the affected customers.
/ Wants to Sponsor More Sports After Formula One Miami; Digital asset exchange says sports deals raise its visibility; Crypto firms have sponsorships with various F1 racing teams
Vanessa Perdomo – Bloomberg aims to sponsor more sports after committing to be the title sponsor for Formula One’s Florida event, the Miami Grand Prix. The digital-asset exchange is targeting sports as a catalyst to reach non-crypto enthusiasts and “will double down on our strategy,” Chief Marketing Officer Steven Kalifowitz told Bloomberg News ahead of race weekend. The company has been the title sponsor of the Miami Grand Prix since the race debuted in 2022 in a 10-year deal worth over $10 million. In addition to the Miami title they’re a global sponsor for the racing circuit in a five-year deal worth $100 million.

How Goldman Sachs grew up: 25 years since Wall Street’s elite firm went public; Lloyd Blankfein, Hank Paulson, David Solomon and others on what has changed since its seminal listing in 1999
Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
Goldman Sachs this week celebrated 25 years as a public company. The Wall Street investment bank has not always wanted to act like one. In the early years after the initial public offering, longtime chief financial officer David Viniar was said to privately joke that “disclosing the weather is too much information”. Goldman’s IPO in May 1999 was a seminal moment for the then 130-year-old investment bank, and its 221-strong partnership, which had already spent almost 15 years debating whether to seek public equity capital.

‘Green Shoots’ Grow Out of Control on Wall Street; Bankers are dropping the phrase like seeds at spring planting, optimistic about signs of an end to dealmaking’s long freeze
AnnaMaria Andriotis and Cara Lombardo – The Wall Street Journal
Green shoots are showing across the U.S. There’s talk Wall Street is next. After a two-year frost, bankers are welcoming signs that dealmaking will finally sprout. On Wall Street, “green shoots” signal a cautious optimism of better times ahead. “Green shoots” echo other agricultural references in finance, a throwback to an agricultural age when weather, seed and sun determined times of plenty or want. The “yield” on a bond or other investment harks back to crops bearing fruit.

China Is Buying Gold Like There’s No Tomorrow; The global price of gold has reached its highest levels as Chinese investors and consumers, wary of real estate and stocks, buy the metal at a record pace.
Daisuke Wakabayashi and Claire Fu – The New York Times
As gold surged this year to its highest price ever, Xena Lin joined the frenzy by making monthly purchases of gold “beans,” pebble-like morsels of the precious metal. For Ms. Lin, a 25-year-old administrative worker in southern China, the $80 beans – small enough to rest on a fingertip and weighing about one-thirtieth of an ounce – were an affordable way to buy into the gold excitement without splurging for jewelry, gold bars or coins. She had dabbled with investing in stocks in the past, but she said buying gold, especially in this fun way, inspired her to continue investing. M”I’m still working hard to save more,” Ms. Lin said.

Berkshire shareholders reject climate, diversity, China proposals
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders on Saturday overwhelmingly rejected six proposals addressing environmental and social policy issues at Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, all of which the billionaire investor and his board opposed. By margins of more than 4-to-1, shareholders at Berkshire’s annual meeting voted against two proposals that the company’s insurance and energy operations disclose more about their efforts to address climate change including greenhouse gas emissions.

Last Credit Suisse chief executive, Ulrich Körner, to leave UBS; Swiss bank will eliminate management board of former rival within weeks
Owen Walker – Financial Times
The final chief executive of Credit Suisse, Ulrich Körner, is set to leave UBS in the coming weeks, as the Swiss bank prepares to complete a crucial step in the integration of its former rival. UBS executives are working to complete the merger of the bank’s legal entities with those of Credit Suisse by the end of May, according to people with knowledge of the plans, just over a year after the Swiss state engineered the shotgun marriage between its two biggest lenders.

The $9tn question: how to pay for the green transition; The bill for meeting climate goals will be immense. Governments worldwide are trying to figure out how to foot it
Attracta Mooney – Financial Times
In Falls County, about 30 minutes’ drive from Waco in the heart of Texas, clean energy company Avangrid is building its largest ever solar project. Due to be completed early next year, the True North solar project will have a capacity of 321 megawatts, equivalent to enough energy to provide power for more than 55,000 US homes. True North, as well as several other Avangrid projects, is a beneficiary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the US’s foremost legislation to drive green investments by providing subsidies, grants and tax credits to climate-friendly projects and companies.

Worsening Weather Is Igniting a $25 Billion Market; As companies and investors come to grips with meteorological risks, they’re looking to a niche corner of Wall Street for protection.
Sam Potter – Bloomberg
Marty Malinow’s mom never could get her head around what her son did for a living. To friends, she said he was “a stockbroker that does something with the weather.” Malinow couldn’t really object – he knew most people had no clue about financial contracts based on things like sunshine, rainfall and wind. That’s beginning to change. Against a backdrop of rising climate volatility and social shifts, demand for weather derivatives is surging. Average trading volumes for listed products jumped more than 260% in 2023, according to the CME Group, with the number of outstanding contracts currently 48% higher than a year ago. And that publicly traded corner could make up as little as 10% of all activity, according to industry estimates; outstanding derivatives may be worth as much as $25 billion based on notional value.

Hedge Funds’ Options Bets Hand Green Investors a Path to Predicting Returns; Funds’ options moves found to reveal future green stock moves; University academics base their findings on decade-long study
Sheryl Tian Tong Lee – Bloomberg
If you want to know how your green stock portfolio is likely to perform next quarter, you should take a look at hedge funds’ options bets. That’s according to a newly published academic paper which looks at a decade’s worth of data from more than 1,900 hedge fund firms through 2022. A key finding of the study is that the buildup of hedge fund managers’ put and call options on a given green equity can be used to “predict the stock’s future returns,” George Aragon, a professor at Arizona State University and a co-author of the paper, said in an interview.

The FDIC change that leaves wealthy bank depositors with less protection
Janna Herron·Senior Columnist – Yahoo!Finance
Affluent Americans may want to double-check how much of their bank deposits are protected by government-backed insurance. New rules implemented last month capped what the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will insure in a trust account at $1.25 million. Before, there was no limit on trust accounts, which are legal arrangements that ensure an individual’s assets are distributed to specific beneficiaries. The FDIC said the new rule will make it easier for consumers and bankers to understand deposit insurance rules. It is also designed to help FDIC agents more quickly determine which accounts are insured after a bank fails.

Ukraine Invasion

Russia’s War Economy Starves Crucial Oil Industry of Manpower; Army, weapons-makers compete for labor with energy companies; War has made long-term demographic issues even more acute
Bloomberg News
Russia’s oil and gas industry has been crucial for bankrolling the invasion of Ukraine, giving the Kremlin the funds to keep fighting even as the conflict drags on through its third year. But the industry is facing a shortage of manpower as the full mobilization of Russia’s economy for war exacerbates a longstanding demographic crunch.

Russia puts Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on its wanted list
The Associated Press
Russia has put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on its wanted list, Russian state media reported Saturday, citing the interior ministry’s database. As of Saturday afternoon, both Zelenskyy and his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, featured on the ministry’s list of people wanted on unspecified criminal charges. The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Gen. Oleksandr Pavlyuk, was also on the list.

Italy calls for Ukraine truce, peace talks with Putin – newspaper
Italy’s Defence Minister said on Monday economic sanctions against Russia had failed and called on the West to try harder to negotiate a diplomatic solution with President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine. Guido Crosetto told daily Il Messaggero that the West had wrongly believed its sanctions could stop Russia’s aggression, but it had overestimated its economic influence in the world.

Kremlin says Ukraine targeting forces in Crimea with U.S.-made mobile missiles
Mike Heuer – UPI
Ukraine is using recently acquired and U.S.-made and supplied mobile surface-to-surface missile systems to target Russian military assets in the occupied Crimean peninsula, the Kremlin said Saturday. Ukrainian troops launched four of the tactical ATACMS missiles Friday night into Saturday morning, which were intercepted and shot down by Russia’s air defense system, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a Telegram post.

How Western Sanctions Are Strangling Putin’s Arctic Gas Ambitions
Stephen Stapczynski – Bloomberg
Russia’s fortress economy has proved remarkably resilient to an onslaught of Western sanctions. Two years after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, it continues to fund a costly war and to prop up President Vladimir Putin. The Novatek PJSC-led Arctic LNG 2 facility, on the icy Kara Sea, is a key part of Moscow’s plans to boost exports and replenish coffers. For months now, it has been ready to ship liquefied natural gas to new markets, alternatives to the once-lucrative European pipeline trade.

Putin orders tactical nuclear weapons drills after Lord Cameron’s comments on Ukraine war
Our Foreign Staff – The Telegraph
Vladimir Putin has ordered drills simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons days after the Kremlin reacted angrily to comments on the Ukraine war by Emmanuel Macron and David Cameron. The drills are in response to “provocative statements and threats of certain Western officials regarding the Russian Federation,” the defence ministry said in a statement. It was the first time that Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, though its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises.

Russia’s Budget Is Getting Twice as Much Oil Money as a Year Ago
Russia’s oil revenue more than doubled in April from a year earlier, despite international sanctions intended to limit the flow of money to fuel President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Proceeds for the Russian budget from oil-related taxes jumped to 1.053 trillion rubles ($11.5 billion) last month compared to nearly 497 billion rubles in April 2023, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Finance Ministry data. Total oil and gas revenues in April increased

Russian finance flows slump after US targets Vladimir Putin’s war machine; Washington’s crackdown shows its leverage over global banking system
Max Seddon and Chris Cook and Anastasia Stognei – Financial Times

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Hamas says latest cease-fire talks have ended. Israel vows military operation in ‘very near future’
Josef Federman and Kareem Chehayeb – Associated Press
The latest round of Gaza cease-fire talks ended in Cairo after “in-depth and serious discussions,” the Hamas militant group said Sunday, reiterating key demands that Israel again rejected. After earlier signs of progress, the outlook appeared to dim as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to resist international pressure to halt the war. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed Hamas wasn’t serious about a deal and warned of “a powerful operation in the very near future in Rafah and other places across all of Gaza ” after Hamas attacked Israel’s main crossing point for delivering badly needed humanitarian aid, killing three soldiers. Israel’s military said it believed Hamas was targeting soldiers massed on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible Rafah invasion. Hamas said it targeted soldiers in the area.

Israel Tells Civilians to Leave Rafah as It Weighs Attack
Galit Altstein, Fares Akram and Kateryna Kadabashy – Bloomberg
Israel’s military has told civilians to move out of parts of Rafah, a possible prelude to a long-expected attack on the Gazan city. The Israel Defense Forces “will act with extreme force against terrorist organizations in your areas of residence,” a spokesman said on X on Monday morning. He urged residents of eastern Rafah to go north to an “expanded humanitarian area” near Khan Younis, another city in Gaza.

Divestment is not as easy as it may seem; As campus protests rage, passivity over their financial holdings has left universities and other institutions in a bind
Brooke Masters – Financial Times
Students all over the US have been pitching tents, barricading buildings and demanding that their universities stop profiting from Israel’s treatment of Gaza. “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” they chant. If only it were that simple. Leaving the thorny question of the wisdom and effectiveness of severing financial ties to one side, the practical challenges of doing so have multiplied since student protests prompted more than 150 universities to divest from apartheid-era South Africa. Investing has changed dramatically since then.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Reshuffle at IEX: Ronan Ryan steps into COO role
Lauren McAughtry – Global Trading
US-based alternative exchange IEX (Investors’ Exchange) has made a number of new appointments to strengthen its leadership team, with former president Ronan Ryan moving into the COO role as Bryan Harkins takes up the leadership reins. Harkins, who is taking over from Ryan as president of IEX, was previously head of markets at Cboe Global Markets, overseeing equities, derivatives, and foreign exchange trading. He has held numerous other senior roles including as president of BIDS trading, head of markets at BATS Global Markets, COO of Direct Edge, and chief revenue officer at Trumid. He also co-founded Wall Street Rides FAR (for autism research) with his wife in 2015 and serves on the board of directors for the Autism Science Foundation.

Cboe Global Markets Reports Trading Volume for April 2024
Cboe Global Markets
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), the world’s leading derivatives and securities exchange network, today reported April monthly trading volume statistics across its global business lines. The data sheet “Cboe Global Markets Monthly Volume & RPC/Net Revenue Capture Report” contains an overview of certain April trading statistics and market share by business segment, volume in select index products, and RPC/net capture, which is reported on a one-month lag, across business lines.

CME Group Reports Double-Digit Trading Volume Growth Across All Asset Classes
Omar Faridi – Crowdfund Insider
CME Group, the derivatives marketplace, reported its April 2024 market statistics set a new average daily volume (ADV) record of 26.5 million contracts for the month, up 33% from April 2023, with double-digit growth across all asset classes. Additionally, interest rate, equity index, foreign exchange and options products “set new April ADV records.” Metals also reached “a new April ADV record, including monthly records for metals options, copper futures and options, and silver options. U.S. Treasury options also reached an all-time monthly ADV record.”

CME Group Reports Record April ADV of 26.5 Million Contracts, with Double-Digit Growth Across All Asset Classes
CME Group
Highest-ever April ADV with 33% growth over April 2023; Record April ADV for interest rate, equity index, metals, FX and options products; Record monthly ADV for U.S. Treasury options. CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today reported its April 2024 market statistics set a new average daily volume (ADV) record of 26.5 million contracts for the month, up 33% from April 2023, with double-digit growth across all asset classes.

Tradeweb Reports April 2024 Total Trading Volume of $41.9 Trillion and Average Daily Volume of $1.94 Trillion
Tradeweb Markets
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, today reported total trading volume for the month of April 2024 of $41.9 trillion (tn)[1]. Average daily volume (ADV) for the month was $1.94tn, an increase of 69.1 percent (%) year-over-year (YoY). In April 2024, Tradeweb records included: ADV in fully electronic U.S. High Grade credit; Share of fully electronic U.S. High Grade; TRACE ADV in global repurchase agreements

ASX Group Monthly Activity Report – April 2024
ASX Group
Attached is a copy of the ASX Group Monthly Activity Report for April 2024.

April 2024 figures at Eurex
Interest rate derivatives at Eurex grew by 90 percent year-on-year in April. Eurex Repo’s GC Pooling market saw a 27 percent increase year-on-year in April. Notional outstanding in OTC Clearing increased by 3 percent compared to April 2023. Eurex, Europe’s leading derivatives exchange, reports a 57 percent increase in traded contracts for April compared to the previous year, up from 115.7 million to 181.5 million contracts. Interest rate derivatives went up by 90 percent to 78.7 million contracts. Index derivatives grew 39 percent to 70.5 million traded contracts and Equity derivatives also grew by 36 percent compared to April 2023.

Spot market sales statistics for April 2024
Deutsche Boerse
Deutsche Boerse Cash Market. Spot market sales statistics for April 2024. A trading volume of EUR 119.45 billion was achieved on Deutsche Boerse’s cash markets in April (previous year: EUR 85.62 billion / previous month: EUR 121.13 billion).

ICE Mortgage Monitor: Historically Strong Home Price Growth Pushes U.S. Mortgage Holders’ Tappable Equity to Record $11T
Intercontinental Exchange
Though rising rates have dampened purchase demand and allowed for modest inventory growth, a continuing deficit of homes for sale this spring is helping prices remain resilient. According to the ICE Home Price Index, prices rose 1.2% in March, more than 25% above the 25-year average increase, marking the third consecutive month of above-average home price gains. On an annual basis, home price growth eased slightly in March to +5.6% from an upwardly revised +6.0% in February. Strong home price growth in early 2024 increased mortgage-holder equity to a record $16.9T in Q1, $11T of which can be leveraged while retaining a 20% equity cushion – also an all-time high. 48M U.S. homeowners with mortgages have some level of such tappable equity, at an average of $206K per borrower, up from $185K at the same time last year.

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. Commences Private Exchange Offer for Black Knight InfoServ LLC’s Outstanding 3.625% Senior Notes due 2028
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE) (“ICE”) announced today that it is commencing a private exchange offer (the “Exchange Offer”) with respect to the outstanding 3.625% Senior Notes due 2028 (the “BK Notes”) issued by Black Knight InfoServ, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of ICE. Pursuant to the Exchange Offer, ICE is offering to issue, in a private offering to eligible holders of BK Notes, and for the consideration set forth in the table below, new notes (the “ICE Notes”) having the same interest payment and maturity dates and interest rate as the BK Notes. For BK Notes tendered by the Early Tender Deadline (as defined below) and not validly withdrawn before the Withdrawal Deadline (as defined below), eligible holders of BK Notes will be eligible to receive the Early Tender Consideration (as defined below).

NSE’s consolidated Q4 operating revenue up by 34% YoY at Rs.4,625 crores
National Stock Exchange of India
NSE, India’s leading exchange, reported consolidated revenue from operations at Rs.4,625 crores for Q4 FY24, up by 34% on a year-on-year basis. Apart from trading revenue, the revenue from operations was also supported by other revenue lines which mainly includes data centre & connectivity charges, clearing services, listing services, index services and data services. NSE posted net profit of Rs.2,488 crores on a consolidated basis for Q4 FY24, up by 20% on a yearon-year basis. The net profit margins for Q4 FY24 stood at 49%.


Jack Dorsey Leaves Bluesky Board, Calls X ‘Freedom Technology’
Vlad Savov – Bloomberg
Jack Dorsey has left the board of social networking service Bluesky, which he helped fund and popularize a year ago in the wake of regret over the sale of Twitter to Elon Musk. The Twitter co-founder took to the Musk-owned platform, now rebranded X, to tout his new philanthropic grants to open internet protocols, which he described as “freedom technology.” He also added X to that class of tech, elaborating only to say that corporations can build upon open protocols too.

French tech group Atos says Daniel Kretínsky and Onepoint make bailout; offers; Indebted IT services group is trying to agree a restructuring this month
Adrienne Klasa – Financial Times
French tech group Atos said Czech billionaire Daniel Kretínsky and David Layani’s Onepoint have made offers to bail out the heavily indebted group as it races to strike a restructuring deal this month. The Paris-listed group, which faces EUR3.65bn in debt repayments by the end of next year, said on Monday that it had received offers from four parties.

The AI Music Era Is Here. Not Everyone Is a Fan; AI songwriting has gotten shockingly good – with big implications for the music world.
Rachel Metz – Bloomberg
At first, “Simplicity’s Delight” sounds like a catchy pop song for a Velveeta commercial. The singer exalts “a humble slab of cheese” over a light guitar and breezy percussion. Listen closely and you may notice the voice sounds a little computerized – though it could be autotuned. The real giveaway that the singer may not be human comes in the second verse when they mispronounce the word “tangy.”

OpenAI Brings Custom Tech to This Year’s Met Gala Exhibition; ‘[AI] has a tremendous potential to really change and transform our relationship with knowledge and creativity, more than anything before,’ said OpenAI CTO Mira Murati, who will attend Monday’s Met Gala
Isabelle Bousquette – The Wall Street Journal
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is tapping OpenAI to bring generative artificial intelligence into its annual spring Costume Institute exhibition, whose opening is marked by Monday’s Met Gala. This year’s exhibition, themed “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion,” will feature a custom chatbot installation associated with its final garment: a dramatic, satin mermaid-esque wedding gown from the 1930s once worn by New York socialite Natalie Potter.


Biden administration rolls out international cybersecurity plan; The State Department’s international cyber strategy is aimed at setting goals for the US in leading on cyber norms at the United Nations, on AI issues and in countering China.
Maggie Miller – Politico
The Biden administration is rolling out a strategy Monday for how to build global cybersecurity cooperation, following years of stepped up threats from China, Russia and cybercriminals. The State Department’s international cybersecurity strategy is the first articulated U.S. global cyber strategy in over a decade. If successful, it could elevate the U.S.’s role globally in countering cyber threats and creating global consensus on artificial intelligence, and position the U.S. against China in setting cybersecurity norms.

The Impact Of A Cybersecurity Attack On Your Customers: Why Honesty And Transparency Matter
Christian Espinosa – Forbes
For most companies, a cyberattack is not an if but a when. Despite our best efforts with people, processes and technology, we often fall short. Some incidents are minimal, while others can devastate a business’s finances and reputation. Most articles on this subject focus on the internal workflow and response. This one is different, with the angle of the impact of a cybersecurity attack on your customers. How you handle and communicate such an event matters significantly in your survival and ability to be resilient. Let’s dive into how you, as a cyber leader, will contribute to this and why you should advocate for honesty and transparency.

AI governance and cybersecurity certifications: Are they worth it?
Maria Korolov – CSO
The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), SANS Institute, and other organizations are releasing new AI certifications in the areas of governance and cybersecurity or adding new AI modules to existing programs. These may help professionals find employment, but with the area being relatively new, experts warn certifications could be out of date almost immediately.


Lamborghini Bros No More: Crypto Is Creating a New Wealth Effect
Isabelle Lee – Bloomberg
It’s an oft-told anecdote littering social media: Those who invested early in cryptocurrencies have enjoyed life-changing wealth. How much that extra cash gives them confidence to spend more – a phenomenon economists call the wealth effect – is a hot topic whenever crypto prices are surging. A group of researchers tried to quantify it and determined that crypto bonanzas in the US aren’t exactly spent like windfalls from winning the lottery. And so far, the effect has been relatively modest on the $28 trillion American economy. But if the asset class continues to boom, the study provides insight on potential game-changers in consumer patterns.

Chris Dixon’s Campaign to Overhaul Crypto’s Grifty Reputation; Silicon Valley’s most powerful crypto investor on why the industry needs a new poster boy-who happens to be him.
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
On a chilly day in March, Chris Dixon arrives at Green Apple Books, an independent bookstore in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond neighborhood, ready to sign books. In Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of Internet, Andreessen Horowitz’s lead crypto investor argues for the virtues of blockchain, the technology that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The book is an attempt by one of the industry’s biggest boosters-he’s pumped billions of dollars into startups including Coinbase Global Inc. and Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs-to rehab crypto’s tarnished image in the wake of a year that included rock-bottom prices and prison sentences for its biggest stars.

Crypto Startups Turbocharge Valuations as Investment Picks Up; Startups are embracing so-call
Ryan Weeks – Bloomberg
Crypto startups are putting valuations in the fast lane with an aggressive form of fundraising that reflects the digital-asset industry’s recovery as well as a desire among venture funds to put money to work. This approach involves an open-ended, rolling fundraise that keeps the cash coming in and quickly lifts valuations, a contrast to the traditional venture-capital model of discrete rounds spaced over a number of years. An open-ended funding round rewards earlier investors as they benefit from a rapid uplift in a startup’s value, courtesy of commitments from later backers.


How Capital Gains Are Taxed and How That Might Change
Laura Davison – Bloomberg
Capital gains taxes are the price of making a good investment. They’re levied on profitable stock trades and real estate deals and can also apply to sales of businesses, pieces of art, collectible cars, gold or other assets. President Joe Biden has long vied to increase the capital gains rate, a goal that’s not likely to be realized before the November elections but will be a key topic of debate next year when former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts expire and Congress faces a major fight that could result in numerous tax changes.

If AI Wrecks Democracy, We May Never Know; Propaganda doesn’t need to go viral to sway elections anymore. That makes AI’s impact more insidious and harder to detect.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
This year promises to be a whopper for elective government, with billions of people – or more than 40% of the world’s population – able to vote in an election. But nearly five months into 2024, some government officials are quietly wondering why the looming risk of AI hasn’t, apparently, played out. Even as voters in Indonesia and Pakistan have gone to the polls, they are seeing little evidence of viral deepfakes skewing an electoral outcome, according to a recent article in Politico, which cited “national security officials, tech company executives and outside watchdog groups.” AI, they said, wasn’t having the “mass impact” that they expected. That is a painfully shortsighted view. The reason? AI may be disrupting elections right now and we just don’t know it.

TikTok’s Push for Users to Lobby Congress Should Be Investigated, Lawmakers Say; Exhortations to users to contact their representatives amid a debate over banning the app might have broken the law, the leaders of a House committee say
Richard Vanderford – The Wall Street Journal
TikTok should be investigated for its campaign to have users lobby Washington over legislation that could kill the video-sharing app stateside, the bipartisan leaders of a China-focused congressional committee said. TikTok’s plea to users to contact their representatives, which came amid debate on legislation on the app’s fate, could violate federal law against deceptive business practices and child protection law, the leaders of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party said Thursday in a letter to Federal Trade Commission head Lina Khan.

Gallows Humor and Talk of Escape: Trump’s Possible Return Rattles Capital; At Washington dinner parties, dark jokes abound about where to go into exile if the former president reclaims the White House.
Peter Baker – The New York Times
It has become the topic of the season at Washington dinner parties and receptions. Where would you go if it really happens? Portugal, says a former member of Congress. Australia, says a former agency director. Canada, says a Biden administration official. France, says a liberal columnist. Poland, says a former investigator. They’re joking. Sort of. At least in most cases. It’s a gallows humor with a dark edge. Much of official Washington is bracing for the possibility that former President Donald J. Trump really could return – this time with “retribution” as his avowed mission, the discussion is where people might go into a sort of self-imposed exile.

A Clean Technology Trade War Shows How Empires Fall; US hegemony may be hard to maintain. It will be all but impossible if it retreats into an isolationist shell.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
How does a great trading nation cope with the realization that its glory days are over? For the first country to head down that path – Britain – the outcome was an identity crisis that’s still ongoing after more than a century. As the US pauses at the same crossroads, it needs to consider whether free trade or protectionism promises the more prosperous route.

China is now engaged in open hybrid warfare against the West
Matthew Henderson – The Telegraph
Conflict rages in Gaza and Ukraine, and tensions heighten over Taiwan. In Beijing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just held difficult talks with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. Despite Xi Jinping’s statement at a joint press conference that the US and China should “seek common ground … rather than engage in vicious competition”, efforts at detente seem to have been fruitless. Yet in the midst of a worsening geostrategic crisis, President Biden last week signed a bill into law threatening a ban on TikTok, a social media app enjoyed by millions of young people worldwide. What does this curious nexus of events tell us?

Leena Yla-Mononen: Europe’s ‘wake-up call’ as fast-warming countries head to the polls; European Environment Agency chief says climate risks must not be allowed to fall down the political agenda
Alice Hancock – Financial Times

EU Says Ready to Use All Trade Tools to Defend Against China; Commission head speaks after talks with Xi, Macron in Paris; Von der Leyen says Chinese steel and EVs are flooding Europe
William Horobin and Samy Adghirni – Bloomberg

EU Says It’s Ready to End Rule-of-Law Dispute With Poland; Brussels has approved the release of EU aid to Warsaw; EU’s von der Leyen praises Tusk for determined reform effort
Natalia Ojewska – Bloomberg

India Battles Fake News as Election Heads to Halfway Mark
Swati Gupta – Bloomberg


Robinhood Gets SEC Notice on Recommendation of Enforcement Action Against Crypto Unit; the potential action may involve a civil injunctive action, public administrative proceeding and/or a cease-and-desist proceeding
Denny Jacob – The Wall Street Journal
Robinhood disclosed it received a notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission staff recommending that the regulator file an enforcement action against its cryptocurrency unit. The digital brokerage said the recommendation from SEC staff in a “Wells Notice” stated it advised Robinhood Crypto that it made a “preliminary determination” to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the unit for alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, according to a securities filing.

At crooked Bridgeport bank, executive blew the whistle, but no one did a thing; Barbara Glusak, who was Washington Federal Bank for Savings’ chief financial officer, kept sounding the alarm about falsified loan records, court records show. But no one heeded the warning, allowing an embezzlement scheme to continue six more years.
Tim Novak – Chicago Sun-Times
As chief financial officer of a tiny bank in Bridgeport with ties to the Daley family, Barbara Glusak knew something was very wrong in spring 2011. There was a “significant balance” on a loan owed by Robert Kowalski, a close friend of John Gembara, the president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Washington Federal Bank for Savings, according to federal court records. Yet bank employees gave an independent auditor documents showing Kowalski’s loan had been paid off. Glusak suspected those records had been falsified. So she blew the whistle, alerting two of the bank’s five board members: Gembara’s sister Janice Weston, who was the bank’s vice president, and George Kozdemba, whose late father had served on the board of the family-owned bank that the Gembaras had run for three generations.

Terraform Labs Calls $5.3 Billion SEC Fraud-Fine Bid Unjustified
Robert Burnson – Bloomberg
Terraform Labs Pte. and co-founder Do Kwon, after being found liable for fraud by a New York jury last month, told a judge they shouldn’t have to pay the $5.3 billion fine requested by US regulators because most of the firm’s stablecoins were sold overseas. The US Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in its lawsuit against Terraform and Kwon, the inventor of the failed TerraUSD stablecoin, that the firm’s collapse in 2022 wiped out $40 billion in investor assets and shook the cryptocurrency world. But in a filing Wednesday, Terraform lawyers argued the firm’s “offers and sales of tokens occurred almost entirely outside the US,” and that the SEC provided no evidence to suggest Terraform and Kwon’s “limited activities in the US directly caused any losses, much less the billions the SEC seeks in disgorgement.”

CFTC to Hold a Commission Open Meeting May 10
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced the Commission will hold an open meeting on Friday, May 10 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. Members of the public can attend the meeting in person, listen by phone, or view a live stream at

SEC Names Nathaniel H. Benjamin as Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Nathaniel H. Benjamin has been appointed the Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). Mr. Benjamin will join OMWI from AmeriCorps, where he is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, on May 5, 2024. Allison Wise, OMWI’s Deputy Director, has served as Acting Director of the Office since October 2023.

SEC Charges Audit Firm BF Borgers and Its Owner with Massive Fraud Affecting More Than 1,500 SEC Filings
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged audit firm BF Borgers CPA PC and its owner, Benjamin F. Borgers (together, “Respondents”), with deliberate and systemic failures to comply with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) standards in its audits and reviews incorporated in more than 1,500 SEC filings from January 2021 through June 2023. The SEC also charged the Respondents with falsely representing to their clients that the firm’s work would comply with PCAOB standards; fabricating audit documentation to make it appear that the firm’s work did comply with PCAOB standards; and falsely stating in audit reports included in more than 500 public company SEC filings that the firm’s audits complied with PCAOB standards.

Staff Statement on Issuer Disclosure and Reporting Obligations in Light of Rule 102(e) Order against BF Borgers CPA PC[1]
Division of Corporation Finance – Office of the Chief Accountant – SEC
On May 3, 2024, the Commission entered an order instituting settled administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings[2] against BF Borgers CPA PC and its sole audit partner Benjamin F. Borgers CPA (individually and together, “BF Borgers”), finding that, among other things, BF Borgers:

Prepared Remarks before the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Good morning. I’m pleased to speak with the Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee. As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and I am not speaking on behalf of my fellow Commissioners or the staff. Today, I understand the Committee will discuss alternative methods of capital raising in our markets, particularly crowdfunding and angel investing. The Committee will hear about crowdfunding from Dr. Melody Chang, Assistant Professor at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Ahmed Alomari and MCM Consulting; SEC Charges Rhode Island Stock Promoter with Microcap Fraud
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Ahmed Alomari and MCM Consulting, No. 1:24-cv-00172 (D.R.I. filed May 3, 2024)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Cranston, Rhode Island resident Ahmed Alomari and MCM Consulting, the entity Alomari controls, for fraud and other securities law violations related to their promotion of the stocks of at least five microcap issuers.

Robert M. Thompson; Financial Freedom Foundation d/b/a F3 Mastermind; Brandon Stucki; SEC Charges Missouri Man and His Company with Offering Fraud
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Robert M. Thompson and Financial Freedom Foundation d/b/a F3 Mastermind, et al., No. 3:24-cv-05032-MDH (W.D. Mo. May 3, 2024). The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a litigated action charging Robert M. Thompson and a private entity he controls, Financial Freedom Foundation d/b/a/ F3 Mastermind (“F3 Mastermind”) with defrauding investors in three securities offerings.

ASIC consults on updated guidance for carbon market participants
ASIC has today released a consultation paper on proposed updates to its regulatory guidance for participants in the carbon market in relation to Australian financial services (AFS) licensing requirements. The proposed updates address the implications of the safeguard mechanism reforms to the financial services and markets section of the Corporations Act 2001, as well as changes in the regulatory landscape for carbon markets, particularly Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), that have occurred since RG 236 was last re-issued in May 2015.

ASIC and UK Financial Reporting Council sign agreement to recognise audit qualifications
ASIC and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Reciprocal Arrangements which sets out the recognition of audit qualifications. The MoU allows auditors who have obtained professional audit qualifications as a statutory auditor in either the Australia or the UK, to apply more easily to have their qualification and audit rights recognised in the other country.

Investing and Trading

Bill Gross Is the Bond King, But Diversification Is Emperor; It’s hard to argue with the risks the famed investor sees from rising US debt, but bonds are an important piece of a balanced portfolio.
Aaron Brown – Bloomberg
“No other fund manager made more money for people than Bill Gross,” wrote Karen Dolan of Morningstar Inc. when naming the bond king the fixed-income manager of the decade in 2010, and she could have extended that to a 35-year title. Now Gross tells us that if we hear people bullish on bonds, “they just wanna sell you a bond fund,” and that the “total return” philosophy he originated at Pacific Investment Management Co. in the depths of 1980s’ bear market is dead.

China’s gold-buying spree could be the straw that breaks the dollar’s back
Julian Jessop – The Telegraph
Some commentators have spent decades predicting the imminent demise of the US dollar’s special status as the world’s international reserve currency. Eventually, they will be right, and that day may be drawing much closer. As usual, China could hold the key. Historically, the dollar has been the reserve currency of choice because of some clear advantages over potential alternatives.

Coffee Variety Is Priciest Since 1970s in Blow to Instant Brews
Megan Durisin – Bloomberg
Robusta coffee prices have climbed to the highest in 45 years, according to the International Coffee Organization, as a supply crunch intensifies for the variety used in espresso blends and instant drinks. The ICO’s gauge of wholesale prices rose 17% during April to the strongest since 1979, the London-based group said in a monthly report posted Friday. Vietnam – the world’s largest robusta producer – “continues to face supply difficulties” after poor harvests in both the last and current seasons, it said.

Yellen Counsels Caution on Currency Intervention After Yen Surge
Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged sharp moves in the value of the yen this week, even as she declined to say whether Japan had intervened to support the currency. “I’m not going to comment on whether they did or didn’t intervene,” Yellen told reporters Saturday following a speech in Mesa, Arizona. “I think that that’s a rumor.”

Nvidia Is Missing Link in a Strong Season of AI Earnings Reports
Jeran Wittenstein – Bloomberg
Results from the world’s biggest technology companies have brought mostly good news. There’s just one missing piece: Nvidia Corp. The company, whose dominance in chips that do the heavy lifting for AI computing have made it the focal point in a market captivated by the burgeoning technology, isn’t due to report earnings until May 22.

Goldman Sachs’ traders made $100m+ on 37% of trading days in the first quarter
Sarah Butcher – efinancialcareers
We already knew that Goldman’s fixed income and equities traders did pretty well in the first quarter: revenues in each area were up 10% year-on-year, whereas at JPMorgan they were down 7% and flat. Goldman’s 10Q helps explain why. As the chart below shows, Goldman Sachs’ markets business made more than $100m profits on 23 days in the first quarter, or 37% of the time. This was one more day than last year, when its traders also had a single day of more than $100m in losses.

Tyson Swings to a Profit as Chicken Business Rebounds
Patrick Thomas – The Wall Street Journal
Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat supplier, said improving chicken profitability helped offset losses in its beef business as a dwindling U.S. cattle supply continues to create headaches for meat suppliers. Arkansas-based Tyson, a bellwether for the American meat industry, said that lower costs and improved efficiency helped buoy its recovering chicken business for the quarter ended March 30.

Investors Were Burned by European Banks for Years-Until Now; Shares in European banks such as UniCredit have been on a tear
Caitlin McCabe and Patricia Kowsmann – The Wall Street Journal

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Shell sold millions of ‘phantom’ carbon credits; Subsidy scheme in Alberta allowed oil major to register carbon credits equivalent to twice the volume of COâ‚‚ captured
Kenza Bryan and Clara Murray – Financial Times
Shell sold millions of carbon credits tied to CO2 removal that never took place to Canada’s largest oil sands companies, raising new doubts about a technology seen as crucial to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a subsidy scheme to boost the industry, the Alberta provincial government allowed Shell to register and sell carbon credits equivalent to twice the volume of emissions avoided by its Quest carbon capture facility between 2015 and 2021, the province’s registry shows. The subsidy was reduced and then ended in 2022.

British Triathlon confident France will deliver safe Seine for Games
Manuel Ausloos and Julien Pretot – Reuters
British Triathlon has a been-there, done-that attitude when it comes to water quality issues in the leadup to big competitions and trusts French authorities to deliver a safe Olympics amid concerns about pollution levels in the River Seine. The triathlon and open-water swimming competitions at the Paris Olympics take place in the Seine and Games organisers have come under fire for refusing to organise a plan B if heavy rain makes the river, which relies on a newly built storage basin to help reduce the risks of pollution, unsuitable for swimming.

Kenya brings in emergency measures to combat ‘unprecedented’ floods; More than 200 dead and 160,000 displaced as torrential rain wreaks havoc in east African country
Andres Schipani and David Pilling – Financial Times
Kenya has introduced a series of emergency measures as it battles “unprecedented” floods that have killed more than 200 people and left vast tracts of the east African nation underwater. “No corner of this country has been spared from this havoc,” President William Ruto said on Friday, after a week of torrential rain overwhelmed the country’s rickety infrastructure, washing away roads and bridges and displacing more than 160,000 people.

Heavy rains ease around Houston but flooding remains after hundreds of rescues and evacuations
Jamie Stengle And Lekan Oyekanmi – Bloomberg
Floodwaters closed some Texas schools on Monday after days of heavy rains pummeled the Houston area and led to hundreds of rescues including people who were stranded on rooftops. A 5-year-old boy died after riding in a car that was swept away in fast waters, authorities said. Although forecasters expected storms to begin tapering off in southeastern Texas, high waters continued to close some roads and left residents facing lengthy cleanups in neighborhoods where rising river levels led to weekend evacuation orders.

Gas Stove Pollution Harms Poor and Minority Americans Most, Study Finds; Households making under $10,000 per year experience double the exposure to pollution compared to households making more than $150,000.
Alicia Clanton – Bloomberg
Cooking with gas poses a health risk, but new research shows that risk isn’t evenly distributed. Poorer Americans and racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately exposed to harmful gas stove pollutants, scientists at Stanford University, Harvard University and the Central California Asthma Collaborative found.

Massachusetts top court to hear challenges to gig worker ballot measures
Nate Raymond – Reuters
The top Massachusetts court on Monday is set to consider whether the state’s voters will get to decide two ballot proposals in November that would redefine the relationship between app-based companies like Uber Technologies (UBER.N) and Lyft (LYFT.O) and their drivers – one backed by industry and the other by labor. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court first will hear arguments in a labor-backed challenge to a ballot proposal by an industry-supported group that would ask voters to declare that the drivers for the companies are not employees but rather independent contractors entitled to some new benefits.

BP shareholders expect oil group to scale back climate target; Investors believe chief executive is prepared to be flexible as demand for oil and gas continues to grow
Harriet Agnew, Tom Wilson and Malcolm Moore – Financial Times

Is the corporate DEI panic finally over? In the US, the diversity, equity and inclusion push has quietly rolled on despite political backlash
Taylor Nicole Rogers – Financial Times

Panama Canal traffic recovers from drought caused by El Niño, study finds; Annual rainfall in 2023 was down by about a quarter compared to normal levels, researchers said
Attracta Mooney, Jana Tauschinski and Steven Bernard – Financial Times

How London’s Mayor Plans to Tackle Climate in His Next Term; From a boom in electric vehicle chargers to a “swimmable” Thames, the mayor has a lot on his green agenda.
Olivia Rudgard and Jess Shankleman – Bloomberg


JPMorgan’s Top China TMT Banker Crystal Zhu Said to Join Morgan Stanley
Pei Li, Cathy Chan, and Dong Cao – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s head of China telecommunications, media and technology investment banking Crystal Zhu has left the US lender to join rival Morgan Stanley, according to people familiar with the matter. Zhu will be co-head of Morgan Stanley’s Asia Pacific technology team, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. She will work on mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings of technology companies in the region and likely remain based in Hong Kong, the people said.

‘Too Big to Fail’ Banks Have Unfair Advantage, CFPB Chief Says
Paige Smith – Bloomberg
The US banking landscape needs to be more of a level playing field, as fewer financial choices means worse outcomes for Americans, according to US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra. Concentration in banking is worrying because there’s a perception that there’s free, unlimited deposit insurance and that the biggest firms will be bailed out no matter what, Chopra said Friday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We’ve got to take out that unfair advantage and let people compete on the merits,” he said.

Texas Ban on ‘Woke’ Banks Opens Door for Smaller Firms; Megabanks are in retreat in the $4 trillion municipal-bond market
Heather Gillers – The Wall Street Journal
The political conflict over socially conscious finance is a boon for smaller investment banks in one contentious market: Texas. The clash over environmental, social and corporate-governance investing follows state restrictions passed in 2021 on government business with financial firms perceived as taking a stand against firearms or fossil fuels. Wall Street heavyweights such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo have pulled back in Texas, even as the state’s growth has made it the nation’s top issuer of state and local debt, with $42 billion last year.

Hedge Funds’ Options Bets Hand Green Investors a Path to Predicting Returns; Funds’ options moves found to reveal future green stock moves
University academics base their findings on decade-long study
Sheryl Tian Tong Lee – Bloomberg
If you want to know how your green stock portfolio is likely to perform next quarter, you should take a look at hedge funds’ options bets. That’s according to a newly published academic paper which looks at a decade’s worth of data from more than 1,900 hedge fund firms through 2022. A key finding of the study is that the buildup of hedge fund managers’ put and call options on a given green equity can be used to “predict the stock’s future returns,” George Aragon, a professor at Arizona State University and a co-author of the paper, said in an interview.

Listless inflows dim hopes of revival for long-suffering active funds; Investors favour index trackers over stock pickers as they make a tentative return to markets
Will Schmitt and Madison Darbyshire and Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
US active asset managers are getting left behind as investors tiptoe back into the markets via index tracking funds. Active mutual funds experienced outflows of more than $50bn in the first three months of the year, according to Morningstar Direct, hurting large asset managers such as Capital Group, T Rowe Price and Franklin Templeton. Instead, investors are focusing on strategies that track an index over those that select stocks, particularly exchange traded funds.

Work & Management

Quiet management explained: Everything you need to know
Alison Roller – TechTarget
Tired of micromanaging? Quiet management empowers employees with autonomy, boosting productivity and morale. It’s a trust-based approach that can work for many teams, but not all.

Steve Jobs once said the best managers are ‘individual contributors’ who aren’t interested in managing people
Sawdah Bhaimiya – Yahoo Life
Steve Jobs once shared some advice about the best managers: He said they’re usually people who don’t necessarily want to be managers. Jobs said in a 1985 interview that when he and Apple’s other cofounders realized that it was going to be a big company, they hired professional managers.

Wellness Exchange

The global synthetic drugs crisis has hit West Africa, where people are digging up human bones to make a drug called ‘kush’
Rebecca Rommen – Insider
Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, is a bustling African port city on the Atlantic Ocean, where even the dead can’t rest, say its residents. Cemeteries are bolstering their security measures because gravediggers are stealing human bones to make powerful synthetic drugs, local journalists told Business Insider. Sierra Leone, in West Africa, declared a state of emergency in April over rising cases of synthetic drug abuse due to the spread of “kush,” which contains ground human bones, locals say.

Congress voted against funding a cure for cancer just to block a win for Biden
Dr. Thomas K. Lew – USA TODAY
As a hospital doctor, I’ve gotten pretty good at delivering bad news. Still, it never gets any easier. It certainly was not easy the day I told my 53-year-old patient, a devoted father of two, that his stomach pains were not from gallstones as everyone had assumed. Whenever a doctor says “bad news,” our minds often jump to that terrible “C”-word we fear: cancer. Unfortunately for my patient, I diagnosed him with a deadly form of cancer: cholangiocarcinoma. Over the next year, I would watch him deteriorate as he was readmitted with complication after complication.

Could ketamine be the next fix for workplace depression? Employees are being offered the ‘party drug’ through company health schemes as psychedelic-assisted therapy grows in popularity
Emma Jacobs – Financial Times
Liz Kost had “never experimented” with ketamine, an anaesthetic with a reputation for being a party drug. But she decided to give it a try when she was offered it by her employer. “It was awesome,” she says. The experience was not for fun, but for therapeutic reasons. Dr Bronner’s, the California-based organic toiletries company, where Kost is a marketing operations manager, provides fully paid-for ketamine therapy as part of its employee benefit package.

Bird flu outbreak in US cattle sparks fears over next global health crisis; While pandemic risk is low, scientists say urgent investigations into the virus are necessary
Michael Peel, Sarah Neville and Susannah Savage and Oliver Barnes – Financial Times
The bird flu outbreak in US cattle has put governments on high alert as they grapple with its potential to contaminate meat and dairy supplies, infect other mammals and transmit to humans. The surge in cases is testing improvements in disease management since the Covid-19 pandemic, notably in dealing with the threat of zoonotic conditions that can pass from animals to humans.


South Korea finds illegal stock short sales by seven more banks
South Korea’s market watchdog said on Monday it had found breaches of short-selling rules by seven more banks in the domestic stock market as part of a full-scale investigation into trading practices at foreign investment banks. Last November, South Korea introduced a ban on short selling of stocks in the domestic market, after it found illegal trading by two foreign firms in October, and launched a special investigation to look into trading practices at other banks.

China’s CICC to Demote Senior Bankers, Cut Pay to Slash Costs
Bloomberg has learned that China International Capital Corp., or CICC, is planning to demote some of its senior bankers and cut their pay in an unusual move to reduce costs. Pei Li reports on Bloomberg Television.

RBNZ must keep policy restrictive until inflation falls within target, OECD says
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Monday that New Zealand’s monetary policy must remain restrictive until inflation is brought within the central bank’s target range, and urged the government to curb spending. “Monetary policy needs to remain data dependent: when inflation will reach the central bank’s target range is uncertain and there is a risk of further negative global shocks,” the OECD report said.

Indonesia’s Q1 GDP growth beats forecasts, but outlook’s uncertain
Stefanno Sulaiman and Gayatri Suroyo – Reuters
Indonesia’s economic growth in the first quarter beat expectations, buoyed by high public spending for the country’s elections, but maintaining the strong pace will be challenging due to global developments and tight local monetary conditions.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy grew by 5.11% on a yearly basis in the January-March period, the highest growth rate in three quarters. Growth exceeded the 5% rate expected by economists polled by Reuters and the 5.04% achieved in the fourth quarter.

Japan’s finance minister says yen intervention may be necessary when there are ‘excessive’ moves
Matt Clinch – CNBC
Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki on Friday backed currency interventions by his country’s policymakers if the yen moved in sharp directions that started to affect households and companies. Speaking to reporters at the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, he said it was desirable for exchange rates to move stably.

Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron seek to ease trade tensions in Paris talks; Chinese president signals greater market access for French cosmetics and farm products
Sarah White, Joe Leahy and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
Emmanuel Macron stressed the need for more balanced commercial ties between Europe and China as he kicked off talks with Xi Jinping in Paris on Monday, with trade as well as Ukraine the focus of the Chinese president’s first trip to Europe in five years. “The international situation very clearly means we need to have a European-Chinese dialogue more than ever,” Macron told Xi in opening remarks at the Élysée Palace, flanked by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Singapore battles to revive struggling stock market; Hosting a regional exchange is one idea but critics say focus should be on improving corporate governance
Mercedes Ruehl – Financial Times
Singapore is studying proposals to shake up its struggling stock market as the gap between the financial hub’s performance and other regional exchanges widens. Singapore Exchange (SGX) is reviewing a document from the nation’s venture and private capital association, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The Singapore Venture & Private Capital Association (SVCA) includes state funds GIC and Temasek, local and global venture firms, and buyout groups including General Atlantic, Warburg Pincus and KKR.

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The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy

Lead Stories The Stock Market Has Rarely Been This Sleepy Gunjan Banerji - The Wall Street Journal It's eerily calm out there in the stock market. The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, dropped below 12 last week, a nearly five-year low. The gauge, based on options prices...

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