Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Intercontinental Exchange’s strategy of moving into real estate data came into clearer focus today as it announced the launch of a suite of U.S. residential mortgage locked rate indices. ICE said, “The new indices will be calculated daily and will track the average interest rate of new residential home loan applications processed by ICE Mortgage Technology.” This is a direct attack on CME Group’s Treasury complex and Eurodollars, which have historically been used to hedge mortgage rate exposure. Read more about the new products HERE.
The FT has a special report titled “Responsible Investing.” The titles of the articles are as follows:
– Investor scepticism on ESG points to a maturing market; Concerns about greenwashing have grown as sustainable finance has gone mainstream
– Does it pay to steer clear of sin stocks? The case for excluding ESG laggards is not clear-cut, though regulation may soon tip the balance
– Climate change drives push for greener pensions; Providers see engagement with savers as key to achieving net-zero ambitions
– Sustainable investors ponder Chinese opportunities; The country’s net zero ambition is attractive, its human rights record less so
– Boards face growing pressure from ESG petitions; Activist shareholders are winning more support in their efforts to raise corporate standards
– Bond funds wrestle with human rights dilemma; Pressure is growing on managers to stop lending to unsavoury regimes
– Does crypto belong in an ESG portfolio? Probably not for bitcoin — but possibly yes for blockchain
– Regulators put ESG fund names under the microscope; Asset managers are keen to benefit from a surge of investor money, but ESG branding can be risky
The Nodal Exchange continues to blaze new territory. On October 13, the first Maine Class 2 REC futures were traded on October 13th: 700 lots of V23 and V24 futures at $5.50 and $5.75 respectively. Maine Class 2 RECs were launched in September along with NAR Registered Wind and Solar RECs, Maryland Compliance Tier 2 and California Portfolio Content Category (PCC) 3 REC contracts.
Colin Powell has died at the age of 84 from complications from COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated against the virus. Powell was the first Black U.S. secretary of state and a longtime top military officer. He was a courageous man who was wounded in Vietnam and later rose to the rank of four-star general. He will be missed. — Reuters
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Exchange Analytics, which offers futures/derivatives and securities compliance training and certification, has launched its new course offerings for 2021-22. They include courses on anti-money laundering, CFTC customer protection, cybersecurity, ethics and market conduct, Regulation Best Interest, and several swap dealer compliance courses. For more details you can go here.~SR
The FIA reported late Friday that global exchange-traded derivatives volume and open interest both posted their highest levels on record in September. A total of 5.6 billion futures and options traded last month, with options volume once again exceeding futures. The September futures and options volume total was up 33% from the same period a year ago. The FIA said 3.1 billion options changed hands, compared with 2.5 billion futures. Year-to-date, total volume for 2021 was 44.7 billion contracts, up 32.7% from the first nine months of 2020, the FIA said. Not surprisingly, equity index and individual equity contracts have fueled this year’s gain.~SC
Stock Rally Resumes Despite Mixed Bag of Data; John’s Take Dives Into FIA Tech’s Atlantis; Covered Calls Unmasked – The Spread – October 15, 2021
– Equity options volatility ebbs as markets resume rally, fixated on upbeat earnings;
– John’s Take looks at FIA Tech’s expanded Atlantis service for options brokers;
– Why use Covered Calls? The options Term of the Week with Jermal Chandler.
HKEX Launches MSCI China A 50 Connect Index Futures
HKEX’s MSCI China A 50 Connect Index Futures starts trading today; Launch marks major milestone in strengthening Hong Kong’s role as gateway to China for global investors; Competitive and attractive new product launches with fee waiver on trading until June 2022
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to welcome today (Monday) the launch of its new A-share derivatives contract, the MSCI China A 50 Connect Index Futures. This represents a significant step in the further expansion of HKEX’s derivatives product suite and reinforces HKEX’s role as the go-to marketplace for China trading and investments.
***** The battle of the SGX A50 and the HKEX A 50 is on.~JJL
CFTC Orders Tether and Bitfinex to Pay Fines Totaling $42.5 Million; Tether to Pay $41 million Over Claims that Tether Stablecoin was Fully Backed by US Dollars; Bitfitnex to Pay $1.5 Million for Illegal Transactions While Operating Bitfinex Cryptocurrency Trading Platform and Violation of Prior CFTC Order
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order simultaneously filing and settling charges against Tether Holdings Limited, Tether Limited, Tether Operations Limited, and Tether International Limited (d/b/a Tether) for making untrue or misleading statements and omissions of material fact in connection with the U.S. dollar tether token (USDT) stablecoin. The order requires Tether to pay a civil monetary penalty of $41 million and to cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged.
******Normally it is a bad thing when firms that hold collateral lie about that collateral. And it is also bad when it takes this long to determine what happened when there was all kinds of chatter about it at the time.~JJL
The Man Who Turned a State Into America’s Switzerland; How “Wild Bill” Janklow, a very creative governor of South Dakota, built a financial center catering to the world’s most powerful banks and wealthiest clients.
Stephen Mihm – Bloomberg
The release of the so-called Pandora Papers revealed that the world’s wealthiest people will go to great lengths to protect their assets from the taxman. No surprise there. But what’s come as a bit of shock to many is the revelation that a sparsely populated American state with fewer than a million people has become the new Switzerland when it comes to parking assets away from prying eyes.
****** I have been to Switzerland. I have seen pictures of South Dakota. South Dakota is no Switzerland, assets or no assets.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was Bloomberg’s How Donald Trump, Elon Musk, and Gwyneth Paltrow Short-Circuit Your Ability to Think Rationally. Second was The Reddit crowd has found a new tactic in the war against Wall Street: cutting brokers out altogether, from MarketWatch. Third was another Bloomberg story, $7 Trillion Worth of Stocks Are Exposed to Crypto Risks.
26,635 pages; 236,033 edits
CFTC fines Tether, Bitfinex $42.5 million for misleading customers; The move further deepens debate over crypto oversight jurisdictions
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday filed and settled charges with Tether Holdings Ltd. for misleading customers about the quality of the reserves that back its stablecoin, Tether, USDTUSD, -0.03% while also fining associated crypto exchange Bitfinex for operating as an unregistered futures commission merchant. The CFTC said in a press release that Tether misrepresented the stablecoin when it claimed that the token was “100% backed by” fiat currency assets, including U.S. dollars DXY, 0.00% and euros. “In fact Tether reserves were not fully backed the majority of the time,” the CFTC said. The agency found that Tether only held sufficient reserves of dollars to back outstanding tether tokens 27.6% of the days during a 26-month sample between 2016 and 2018.
Global Investors Gain a New Way to Bet on Stocks in China; Hong Kong’s stock exchange launches trading of futures tied to a MSCI index of 50 stocks listed in Shanghai or Shenzhen
Quentin Webb – WSJ
Hong Kong started trading in futures tied to an index of stocks from mainland China, giving global investors a new tool for betting on Chinese markets. The futures are linked to the MSCI China A 50 Connect Index, which was launched in August. The benchmark covers major A shares—as stocks listed in either Shanghai or Shenzhen are known—that are accessible to international investors through the Stock Connect system that links onshore markets with Hong Kong.
Is the army of lockdown traders here to stay? Brokers and platforms are hopeful some of the retail boom will outlast the pandemic
Joshua Oliver and Madison Darbyshire – FT
Kristine Licuanan lasted less than 24 hours as a day trader. Locked down in London, the 37-year-old in January snapped up £200 of shares in video game retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC, unloved stocks catapulted to record highs in a frenzy of speculative buying that convulsed the US stock market earlier this year.
Bitcoin Comes to the Big Board; An exchange-traded fund tied to the cryptocurrency is set to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, a milestone for the industry.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Stephen Gandel, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent weeks, approaching record high prices above $60,000, as crypto enthusiasts anticipate history in the making. Tomorrow morning, ProShares will launch a long-awaiting exchange-traded fund on the New York Stock Exchange linked to Bitcoin futures, the firm and the exchange told DealBook. The E.T.F. will give investors exposure to Bitcoin without having to hold the cryptocurrency directly, via any ordinary brokerage account.
China Opens Stock, Commodity Derivatives to Foreign Investors
China’s regulator expanded the investment scope for foreign investors, adding key commodity and stock market derivatives in the latest move to open its financial markets even as Beijing’s crackdown on a broad section of its private sector has roiled markets.
Hong Kong’s IPO Market Withers as Billion-Dollar Listings Lapse
Julia Fioretti – Bloomberg
Hong Kong’s primary-listing market is going through a dry patch in what is normally the busiest time of the year. Several potential billion-dollar initial public offerings ranging from supermarket owner WM Tech Corp. to health-care startup We Doctor Holdings Ltd. have let their applications lapse in recent weeks as regulatory scrutiny and stock market weakness crimps listings.
Brussels vows ‘no cliff edge’ over EU banks’ access to UK clearing; Financial services commissioner says there will be no ‘sudden twists and turns’ over licence
Sam Fleming and Mehreen Khan and Philip Stafford – FT
The EU’s financial services chief has pledged to avoid market instability or a “cliff edge” over a decision on European banks’ ability to access UK clearing houses, comments that will raise investors’ expectations that Brussels is preparing an extension to its temporary permit.
Today’s Tech Founders Don’t Just Own the Company. They’re Also Getting Huge Pay Packages.
Startup creators once tended to take little or no remuneration as CEOs. Now, some are getting giant stock awards, making them among America’s best-compensated corporate chiefs.
Eliot Brown – WSJ
Archer Aviation Inc. is years from producing its only planned product, a four-passenger electric air taxi that the main U.S. regulator hasn’t yet certified. It hasn’t generated any revenue. Still, the co-founders of this three-year-old company got a huge payday last month, a $99 million special stock award that stands to quadruple if Archer hits other milestones—thanks to a compensation package they negotiated before it listed publicly on Sept. 17.
LME asks members for swift plans in case EU cuts off clearing
Huw Jones – Reuters
The London Metal Exchange has told customers in Europe to draw up contingency plans in case the European Union severs their access to clearing houses in Britain after next June. The EU has granted Britain so-called ‘temporary equivalence’ access since it cut ties with the bloc last December, allowing the LME and clearing houses run by the London Stock Exchange and ICE to continue serving customers on the continent until June 30, 2022.
Big university endowments make billions in returns in a bumper year.
Stephen Gandel – NY Times
University endowment managers, long criticized for the fees they pay to private equity firms and hedge funds, have something to show for it: eye-popping returns. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that its endowment had gained 56 percent in its most recent fiscal year, which ended in June. Yale also published its latest returns Thursday, with its endowment up 40 percent over the same period, its third-highest annual return since 1970. Dartmouth posted a return of nearly 47 percent. Duke reported a 56 percent return.
MemeMarkets: The SEC report on January’s meme stock short squeeze is coming soon
Thornton McEnery, Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
Ever since Robinhood HOOD, +0.24% halted trading on meme stocks like GameStop GME, -0.30% and AMC Entertainment AMC, +1.67% at the chaotic apex of January’s wild meme stock trading frenzy, retail investors and Wall Street have been waiting with bated breath to see how regulators will respond.
Hong Kong Muscles In on Singapore’s China Stock Futures Monopoly
Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Hong Kong is starting futures contracts that make it easier for international investors to bet on mainland Chinese stocks, intensifying rivalry between the city’s bourse and its Singapore counterpart. Analysts expect that the new product, which launches Monday, from Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. could take several years to gain traction, but that it will ultimately provide formidable competition to the offering available from Singapore Exchange Ltd.
March Madness 2.0: The Archegos fallout; The disastrous entanglement with Archegos Capital Management and its spectacular collapse has left the prime brokerage industry reeling with over $10 billion in losses across the Street. The event has resulted in a major shift in attitudes around risk management, but how far-reaching will these changes be on their reIationships with clients? Asks Joe Parsons.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
Bill Hwang was considered a stock-picking genius throughout Wall Street. After setting up his family office in 2013, Hwang turned the $200 million that was left over from a shuttered hedge fund into $20 billion over the course of seven years, establishing himself as one of the most liquid investors throughout banking circles.
London Stock Exchange Group Announces Appointment Of Ivan Gilmore As LCH Head Of Cash Equities
Today, London Stock Exchange Group announces Ivan Gilmore will take up the post of Head of Cash Equities for LCH, Ltd and SA. In the role Ivan will be responsible for the development and management of both businesses, overseeing the clearing of cash equities products and providing the strategic vision and leadership to the services.
Hong Kong ‘naturally’ suited to developing carbon trading products, can leverage Guangzhou exchange link, experts say; With proximity to China and access to global investors, city the top choice for a voluntary carbon trading platform regionally and globally, Hong Kong Green Finance Association executive says; Scale of trading in voluntary carbon offsets currently around US$320 million, CME says
Enoch Yiu – South China Morning Post
It is not too late for Hong Kong to develop carbon emissions futures products, as the market in mainland China is still in its nascent stages, and exchanges overseas do not cover carbon emissions offsets traded in the world’s second-largest economy, industry watchers said.
India Embraces Stock Investing as Local Market Surges; A bull market is accelerating a decadelong shift in how Indian families are investing
Shefali Anand – WSJ
Indian stocks have risen more than any other major market in the world this year and that is enticing millions of local investors to put their savings into equities, further buoying the market.
‘Crazy’ Bets on $200 Oil Invade the Options Market; Traders are wagering U.S. crude’s rally to a seven-year high is just the beginning, despite a softening global economic expansion
Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
A roaring trade in bullish crude-oil options says the 2021 energy rally is far from over. Traders once again are betting that the U.S. oil benchmark will surge above $100 a barrel, from a recent $82, as early as December. U.S. crude, known as West Texas Intermediate or WTI, is up 10% this month, and 70% this year, but it hasn’t hit $100 since the oil crash of 2014.
Bakkt set to start trading on NYSE next week
Kristin Majcher – The Block
Digital asset platform Bakkt Holdings has completed its merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced on Friday. Bakkt will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as a public company starting Oct. 18, ICE said in a press release. It will use the ticker “BKKT.”
Maybe Goldman Sachs Should Take the Rest of the Year Off; The Wall Street giant reported total revenue for the first nine months that was greater than any previous 12-month total and blew through third-quarter expectations.
Paul J. Davies – Bloomberg
Another day, another dollar — or rather another few billion dollars in surprisingly strong results from a big U.S. bank. Goldman Sachs blew away the superlatives Friday with forecast-beating profits and revenues across the board for the third quarter. You could almost hear the analysts throwing bouquets for outgoing Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr on his last call. Its shares were up more than 3%.
Goldman Sachs Has the Recipe for Long-Term Gains; Bank’s huge returns in deal making might not be sustainable forever, but across-the-board improvements to its overall business bode well
Telis Demos – WSJ
As the autumnal poem goes, nothing gold can stay. Except maybe Goldman Sachs GS 1.78% shares. While big commercial banks have been getting huge earnings uplifts from releases of loan-loss reserves, that is not as much the case for Goldman Sachs, which isn’t a lender to the same degree. Instead, what is extraordinary for Goldman right now is just how much money it is making in Wall Street businesses such as merger-and-acquisition advising, a bigger contributor for the bank than many peers. Revenues in financial advisory more than tripled in the third quarter from a year ago. Over the first three quarters of the year, they doubled from a year earlier.
Vaccines, masks? Japan puzzling over sudden virus success
Mari Yamaguchi – AP
Almost overnight, Japan has become a stunning, and somewhat mysterious, coronavirus success story. Daily new COVID-19 cases have plummeted from a mid-August peak of nearly 6,000 in Tokyo, with caseloads in the densely populated capital now routinely below 100, an 11-month low.
How to Sell the Covid Vaccine, Hollywood-Style; Ava Duvernay and Reese Witherspoon’s agent on a public-health sales pitch.
Burt Helm – Bloomberg
Persuasion in my business is all about energy: If my client is excited about a project or a story they want to tell, it’s magnetic, and I transfer that energy from one conversation to another, from conference room to conference room, until it begets actual, tangible results. When you are truly, genuinely into an idea, you can feel it in the room. Someone describes a pitch they truly love, and the good idea changes your temperature. And when you relay it to someone else later, you know it’s changed their temperature, too.
How to Stop People From Being Self-Destructive; The founder of a drug treatment center on overcoming vaccine denial—without dunking on anti-vaxxers.
Burt Helm – Bloomberg
I see it in substance use struggles all the time: Families are afraid, angry—their kid’s behavior is so obviously harmful and destructive. So their urge is to rage at them: Just freaking stop already! Stop being a scary person! Stop upsetting us! It’s natural to want to scream: Would you get a frickin’ vaccine already? But screaming won’t change other people’s minds. In fact, it will only cause them to dig in and get defensive.
Valneva says Covid jab yields stronger immune response than AstraZeneca’s; Trial results come a month after UK terminated a contract with the French company
Hannah Kuchler, Jim Pickard and Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
Valneva’s Covid-19 vaccine elicits a stronger immune response with far fewer side effects than the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, according to trial results published a month after the UK terminated a EUR1.4bn deal with the French vaccine maker.
Pfizer and Moderna forecast to almost double vaccine sales in 2022; Bullish projections show mRNA jab producers could generate more than $90bn in sales next year
Jamie Smyth – FT
BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna will dominate the Covid-19 vaccine market next year, generating a massive $93.2bn in combined sales, almost double the amount in 2021, according to new forecasts.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Powell dies of COVID-19 complications
Will Dunham – Reuters
Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state and top military officer, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement on Facebook.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
CME Sees Record Open Interest in Bitcoin Futures Ahead of ETF Debut
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
The amount of money locked in the bitcoin futures contracts on the global derivatives giant Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) surged to record highs on Friday as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) greenlighted futures-based exchange-traded funds (ETF) tied to the cryptocurrency.
ICE Announces Completion of Merger Between Bakkt and VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced that Bakkt Holdings, LLC (“Bakkt”), the transformative digital asset marketplace launched in 2018 by ICE and a marquee group of investors and strategic partners, has completed its merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings (NASDAQ: VIH), and will begin trading as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, October 18, under the ticker “BKKT”.
ICE Launches Transaction-Based Indices for Residential Mortgage Interest Rates
Calculated using anonymized rates data from ICE’s leading loan origination platform
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced the launch of a suite of U.S. residential mortgage locked rate indices. The new indices will be calculated daily and will track the average interest rate of new residential home loan applications processed by ICE Mortgage Technology.
Silver Lake Announces Strategic Investment in Euroclear through Agreement with ICE to Acquire Intercontinental Exchange’s 9.85% Stake
Silver Lake, a global leader in technology investing, and Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced an agreement in which Silver Lake will make a long-term strategic investment in Euroclear Holding SA/NV by acquiring ICE’s 9.85% stake in the company’s share capital for EUR709 million.
HKEX launches new A-share derivatives contract; The trading venue will offer global investors and risk managers an efficient solution to trade and manage their China exposure, while US regulators also certify for US investors.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has launched its new A-share derivatives contract, the MSCI China A 50 Connect Index Futures. The offshore A-share equity and derivatives trading venue will offer global investors and risk managers an efficient solution to trade and manage their China exposure.
Euronext and Borsa Italiana launch new MIB ESG Index
First ESG blue-chip index launched in Italy; The index combines measurement of economic performance with ESG impacts, in line with the UN Global Compact principles; Euronext is partnering with V.E, part of Moody’s ESG Solutions, to power this second national ESG blue-chip index1
Euronext today announced the launch of its new MIB® ESG Index1, (gross return Bloomberg code: MIBESG), the first Italian blue-chip Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index designed to identify major listed Italian issuers that demonstrate best ESG practices. The MIB® ESG is Euronext’s second national ESG index, after the CAC40 ESG launched in March 2021.
Challenges, successes, new methodologies and products – what’s happening on Eurex EURO STOXX 50 ESG Index Futures and Options?
The launch of a new product is always a good opportunity to look back at a product family as a whole. Christine Heyde, Equity & Index Product Design at Eurex joined us to assess the development of the EURO STOXX 5O® ESG Index Futures and Options in light of the introduction of its weekly and month-end option expiries.
LCH now accepts Singapore Dollar and Government Securities as initial margin
LCH, a leading global clearing house, has announced the expansion of its range of eligible securities to include Singapore Dollar denominated cash and securities (government bonds and treasury bills) as collateral. The inclusion will commence from 18th October 2021.
Introducing the New TSX Market on Close (MOC); TMX Group launches enhanced closing auction facility, the definitive source for equities closing prices in Canada
TMX Group today launched the new TSX Market on Close® (MOC®), a facility designed to enable investors to source liquidity and participate in trades at the closing price. The new features of the enhanced MOC facility are aimed at providing clients with an improved trading experience, and delivering benefits to the broader Canadian capital markets ecosystem with increased efficiency in determining end-of-day valuations for eligible Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and select TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) listed issues.
— Amendments to Rule 200101. (“Contract Specifications”) and Rule 200104. (“Delivery”) of the Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures Contract to Include the Plains Marketing, L.P. Delivery Terminal Commencing with the February 2022 Contract Month and Beyond — CME
Facebook Is Creating 10,000 Jobs in EU to Help Develop a Metaverse
Ivan Levingston – Bloomberg
Facebook Inc. said it will create 10,000 new high-skilled positions in Europe within the next five years as part of the social media giant’s push to develop a metaverse — but the U.K. will miss out. Target markets for the hiring include the Republic of Ireland, which unlike Northern Ireland remains part of the European Union, as well as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Netherlands. A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed to Bloomberg the U.K. wasn’t being included.
Why the world needs a Bill of Rights on AI; For the first time, decisions on humans are being made by machines
Editorial Board – FT
Soon after the US constitution was ratified, the Bill of Rights added specific guarantees on freedom of expression and assembly, and rights to fair trials — aiming to set limits on the powers of the government that had just been created. This is the precedent scientific advisers at the Biden White House have invoked as they propose a new Bill of Rights that aims to protect citizens in the face of the transformative technology of artificial intelligence. It is an admirable initiative, but one that should extend globally, not just to Americans.
KBC AM fixed income dealer departs for Tradeweb product development role; New product development manager with Tradeweb’s AiEX and workflow solutions team has spent the last 15 years as a buy-side fixed income dealer at KBC Asset Management.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
A former buy-side fixed income dealer at KBC Asset Management has left the company after 15 years to join Tradeweb in a senior product development role. According to an update on social media, Joeri Wouters has left KBC to join the fixed income trading platform provider as a product development manager in its AiEX and workflow solutions team.
Walmart, With Eyes on Amazon, Tries to Build a Fintech Startup; Former Goldman executives look to marry their expertise with retailer’s consumers and data to offer financial services
Sarah Nassauer and Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Walmart Inc. WMT -0.08% is building a new weapon in its war with Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.39% : a fintech startup. The retail giant is helping launch a new company, helmed by two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 1.50% executives, that aims to provide financial services for its millions of customers and workers. The firm is a joint venture with Ribbit Capital, LEAP 0.50% known for investing in Robinhood Markets Inc. HOOD -1.42% and other digital financial businesses.
Treasury Analysis Identifies Cryptocurrency Exchanges Associated With Ransomware
The department is tracking a huge increase in ransomware disclosures but data suggests the events are still grossly underreported.
Miriam Baksh – Nexgov
The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is using a combination of greater ransomware disclosures and commercially available tools for blockchain analysis to figure out which cryptocurrency exchanges are facilitating payments to ransomware criminals.
“This analysis allowed FinCEN to chart the flow of ransomware payments in [Bitcoin] to identify which [Convertible Virtual Currency] exchanges and services ransomware actors used to launder their proceeds,” reads a report Treasury released Friday. The report found Bitcoin to be the most commonly used cryptocurrency for ransomware payments.
Cybersecurity legislation is waiting in the wings
Aaron Schaffer – The Washington Post
Members of Congress have proposed a range of cybersecurity legislation that could make it to President Biden’s desk amid a ransomware epidemic and major hacks by groups linked to China and Russia.
Broadly, the bills aim to strengthen the government’s response to hacks like ransomware, which has hit critical infrastructure sectors like pipelines and food production and emerged as a “core national security challenge,” according to Biden.
Russian IT Firm Softline Seeks $1.9 Billion Valuation in IPO
Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
Firm plans London primary listing, secondary listing in Moscow; IPO proceeds to go toward acquisitions, business development
Softline Holding Ltd., an IT services and cybersecurity provider founded by Russian businessman Igor Borovikov, set a price range for its initial public offering in London and Moscow that values the company at as much as $1.93 billion.
Sinclair Broadcast Group Provides Information On Cybersecurity Incident
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) today provided information on a recent cybersecurity incident.
On October 16, 2021, the Company identified and began to investigate and take steps to contain a potential security incident. On October 17, 2021, the Company identified that certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted. Data also was taken from the Company’s network. The Company is working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review.
Crypto Miners Are ‘Literally Printing Money,’ Says Wall Street Firm DA Davidson
Aoyon Ashraf – Coindesk
D.A. Davidson, the Wall Street investment banking and research firm, launched research coverage of bitcoin mining companies Core Scientific, Marathon Digital, Riot Blockchain and Hut 8 Mining with buy ratings for all the stocks.
Crypto CEO: A viable central bank digital currency would have to be ‘the law’
Jennifer Schonberger – Yahoo Finance
The year after Satoshi Nakamoto put out a white paper on a concept for a new peer-to-peer currency called bitcoin (BTC-USD), Jonathan Dharmapalan realized that digital currencies are the future.
Jacobi Bitcoin ETF is cleared for launch
Teuta Franjkovic – Coin Rivet
Jacobi Asset Management has been given approval from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to launch a centrally-cleared Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). It is the world’s first tier one Bitcoin ETF.
Investment advisers ‘extremely skeptical’ about first U.S. bitcoin ETF: ‘It’s a hard thing’ to recommend ‘an inferior’ crypto product
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
Every week we highlight the most timely news in the crypto and blockchain industry, from developments in digital-asset companies, exchanges, funds and ventures, as well as important sector research and data.
First U.S. bitcoin ETF looks set to debut Monday or Tuesday from ProShares Trust
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
ProShares looked set to offer the first bitcoin BTCUSD, +3.37% exchange-traded fund, marking a major milestone in the crypto sector as digital assets gain greater mainstream adoption. The fund provider submitted an amended filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for a bitcoin futures ETF, which carried all the hallmarks of a regulatory filing that sets the table for a launch soon, said Todd Rosenbluth, head of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA, in a phone interview.
Boris Johnson Hosts Business Leaders’ Dinner Amid U.K. Investment Push
Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
British prime minister is seeking post-Brexit economic boost; Dinner precedes investment summit in London on Tuesday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a dinner Monday with 20 of the world’s most powerful executives ahead of a summit designed to boost investment into the U.K.
Rise and fall: the scandal that toppled Austria’s Sebastian Kurz; State prosecutors are investigating an allegation that taxpayers’ money was used to fund the former chancellor’s rise to power
Sam Jones – FT
In the end, the only thing quicker than the rise of Sebastian Kurz was his downfall. For the past four years, the 35-year-old has been the master of Austrian politics. But a scandal that broke just 12 days ago has brought his second chancellorship to an abrupt end. Police raided ministries across Vienna, revealing the existence of a probe by Austrian state prosecutors into grand corruption at the heart of government. Kurz is its central suspect.
Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Get Fed Trading Ban Proposal by Oct. 15 as Requested; Regional Fed banks told the senator in a letter that a central bank review of its ethics code would drive any changes the Fed makes
Michael S. Derby – WSJ
Regional Federal Reserve Banks haven’t presented Sen. Elizabeth Warren with a plan to ban stock trading by senior central bankers as the Democrat from Massachusetts requested last month. Ms. Warren had written to the 12 bank presidents on Sept. 16 asking for the ban, following disclosures that the leaders of the Dallas and Boston Fed banks had been trading stocks and other investments even as they helped set the nation’s monetary policy. Both officials later resigned.
Stablecoin Giant Tether Hit With $41 Million Fine in Latest Crypto Crackdown; Regulator says company misrepresented dollar reserves behind its digital tokens; Tether said issues have since been addressed
Paul Kiernan and Paul Vigna – WSJ
Tether Ltd., the largest stablecoin issuer, agreed to pay a federal regulator a $41 million penalty Friday, the latest result of the Biden administration’s broader crackdown on cryptocurrency markets. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Tether of falsely claiming that it backed each of its crypto tokens with an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars. It marked the first time the CFTC has applied to a stablecoin the broad legal definition of a “commodity,” which gives the agency authority to police fraud and manipulation.
ESMA appoints new chair to replace Steven Maijoor; Incoming chair has been promoted to the position after serving as executive director at ESMA for the last decade.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The EU’s securities markets regulator European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has appointed a new chair, promoting its long-term director to the position. Verena Ross will take on the role, replacing Steven Maijoor who served the maximum term as chair of ESMA, having held the position since April 2011.
ASIC sues debt collection company for breaching consumer credit protection laws
ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Ultimate Credit Management Pty Ltd. ASIC alleges that between 10 May 2019 and 11 December 2019, Ultimate Credit Management began proceedings against 24 borrowers in NSW even though the borrowers lived in other states.
ASIC proposes extending its CFD product intervention order
ASIC has today released Consultation Paper 348 Extension of the CFD Product Intervention Order (CP 348), seeking feedback on a proposal to extend its product intervention order imposing conditions on the issue and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients until it is revoked or sunsets on 1 April 2031.
SEC Awards $40 Million to Two Whistleblowers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced awards of approximately $40 million to two whistleblowers whose information and assistance contributed to the success of an SEC enforcement action.
European Supervisory Authorities publish sectoral reports the on supervisory independence of competent authorities
The three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) – the EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – published today their individual reports on the supervisory independence of competent authorities (CAs) in their sectors. Based on the CAs’ self-assessment, the three reports highlight that the independence of CAs is multi-faceted and dependent on a number of legal, institutional, operational and cultural factors.
2022 Holiday Margin Extensions Schedule
FINRA is publishing this Notice to assist firms with making accurate submissions in connection with requests for Federal Reserve Board Regulation T, SEA Rule 15c3-3 and FINRA Rule 4210 extensions of time around holidays when exchanges or banks are closed. The schedule included in this Notice specifies the due dates for filing requests of extensions of time prior to and after a holiday when the exchanges or banks are closed in 2022.
Second Reminder: Upcoming Effective Date for Changes Relating to FINRA ADF and TRF Timestamp Granularity
On November 15, 2021, the FINRA equity trade reporting facilities (the Alternative Display Facility, the FINRA/Nasdaq Trade Reporting Facilities and the FINRA/NYSE Trade Reporting Facility, through which member firms report OTC transactions in NMS stocks to FINRA1) will begin supporting timestamps up to nanosecond (HH:MM:SS.sssssssss) granularity in accordance with amendments to FINRA’s equity trade reporting rules. As discussed in FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-41, FINRA has amended its rules to require firms to report time fields in trade reports submitted to a FINRA equity trade reporting facility using the same timestamp granularity that they use when reporting to the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT). Technical specifications have been published and can be found here (for the ADF) and here (for the TRFs). In addition, all participants are now able to test with the ADF and the TRFs and are encouraged to complete testing before the November 15th go-live date.
Statement of Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam Regarding the Departure of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz
“I’m pleased to thank Dan for his service as Commissioner of the CFTC. His has been an invaluable voice advocating for customer protection, market integrity and transparency, and fair and equitable market access since rejoining the agency in 2018. Whenever we have discussed challenges over the past few years, such as those related to new technologies, emerging markets and risk, and a global pandemic, Dan has promoted thoughtful, reasoned, and empathic deliberation, helping the CFTC remain at the forefront of the policy discussion. Though his departure is a loss for the Commission, we are all fortunate that his work on behalf of the public will continue. I look forward to continuing our friendship and service together.”
Concurring Statement by Commissioner Dawn D. Stump Regarding Tether and Bitfinex Settlement
I agree with the Commission’s findings that the respondents in the Tether matter violated Section 6(c)(1)(A) of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulation 180.1(a)(2), and that the respondents in the Bitfinex matter violated Sections 4(a) and 4d of the CEA and Part VII. A of the Commission’s June 2, 2016 Order finding that BFXNA had violated the then-effective Sections 4(a) and 4d of the CEA.
CFTC’s Interest Rate Benchmark Reform Subcommittee Selects November 8 for SOFR First for Non-Linear Derivatives
The Interest Rate Benchmark Reform Subcommittee, a subcommittee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC), voted to select November 8th as the date for switching interdealer trading conventions from LIBOR to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) for U.S. Dollar (USD) non-linear derivatives under the MRAC’s SOFR First initiative. Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam is the sponsor of MRAC.
FCA writes to a further 950 DB pension advice customers potentially entitled to compensation
The FCA has now written to a total of 3,591 defined benefit (DB) pension transfer advice customers this year to tell them they may be entitled to compensation.
Investing and Trading
Why this ETF of ‘sin’ stocks is likely to reward investors with saintly results
Mark Hulbert – MarketWatch
One of several reasons I have for betting that the fund will outperform the S&P 500 (SPX) is the historical outperformance of so-called sin stocks. Consider the results of a study conducted by Elroy Dimson, a finance professor at Cambridge University, Paul Marsh, a finance professor at the London Business School, and Mike Staunton, director of that institution’s London Share Price Database. The chart below shows what they found for alcohol and tobacco stocks’ performance over the past 120 years.
The 60/40 Portfolio Isn’t Dead, Just More Expensive; Split your investments any way you like, just be ready to pay a lot more to find safety in this market.
Allison Schrager – Bloomberg
Volatile, pandemic-riven markets for stocks and bonds has Wall Street ready — again — to declare the traditional 60/40 portfolio split a dead strategy. The prospect of a low-growth, high-inflation economy (stagflation) dims the prospects of both investment categories, and certainly demands a rethink of where to stash your savings.
Bitcoin’s Super-Swift Rebound May Have Been Made in China; The most convincing explanation for the cryptocurrency’s record-testing rally may be its resilience in the face of a clampdown by Beijing.
John Authers – Bloomberg
From Beijing With Love?
Bitcoin, the biggest of the cryptocurrencies, nearly set a new all-time high this weekend. That wouldn’t be so surprising, given the way that the price has shot ever closer to the moon over the last decade. But the speed with which the digital currency has rebounded from its latest selloff suggests that something is changing.
Why Buying a Second or Even Third Home Is Becoming More Popular Than Ever; Low interest rates, pandemic-era savings and a hybrid-work revolution are making it more feasible for people to split their time.
Claire Ballentine, Alice Kantor – Bloomberg
In the Before Times, people had to make a choice: Squeeze into the chaos and energy of the city, or live large amidst the beauty and boredom of the countryside. The pandemic led many to reevaluate this lifestyle choice, upending global housing markets. Prices skyrocketed and bidding wars abounded in the suburbs, while demand plummeted in many big cities. Now, those who can afford it want both.
Visco Says Flexibility Should Remain Part of ECB’s Toolkit
The European Central Bank should keep a high degree of flexibility in its post-crisis stimulus measures, and one way it may do so is by buying more European-Union issued debt, Governing Council member Ignazio Visco said.
THG chief Matthew Moulding to give up special share rights; UK ecommerce group announces changes to share structure as it seeks to move up to LSE’s premium segment
Jonathan Eley and Adrienne Klasa – FT
THG plans to scrap a controversial takeover defence and move to the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange as it tries to restore investor confidence after sharp falls in its share price. The Manchester-based ecommerce company, formerly known as The Hut Group, said on Monday it would abolish the “special share” rights held by co-founder and chief executive Matthew Moulding by the end of 2022.
Academics cast harsh light on composition of S&P index; Report alleging companies ‘curry favour’ by buying debt ratings called ‘flawed’ by benchmark compiler
Nicholas Megaw and Philip Stafford – FT
For some listed companies, gaining membership of a major stock index is akin to joining an exclusive club, recognition for years of hard work. But a trio of academics this week came up with a hypothesis on another way to get in: a short-cut that involves hard cash.
How CFOs Set Their Outlooks Amid Waves of Virus: One Day at a Time; Finance chiefs say they have had to tweak their forecasts with greater frequency and granularity than ever before in response to infection rates globally
Kristin Broughton and Mark Maurer – WSJ
Finance chiefs are drawing on early-pandemic playbooks to create forecasts for the months ahead, tweaking their models week by week, sometimes day by day, as coronavirus infection rates vary across countries. Still, companies continue to confront residual effects of the pandemic, such as shipping bottlenecks and manufacturing slowdowns tied to lockdown measures in Southeast Asia.
The U.S. is playing a game of COVID denial and the financial cost to Americans is dangerously high; The pandemic must be paid for — by reduced business earnings, lower household incomes, or both
Satyajit Das – MarketWatch
The U.S. is playing a game of COVID denial and the financial cost to Americans is dangerously high. Investors are convinced that the COVID pandemic is temporary and a return to normality is inevitable. As is increasingly evident, the costs of COVID and the U.S. response have profound implications for the upbeat outlook supporting elevated financial asset prices. The pandemic hit a weakened U.S. economy that has never fully recovered from 2008.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
ECB Tells Banks to Map Climate Risk in Trading, Loan Books
Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
Climate stress test to take place from March to July 2022; Lenders to be asked to predict loan book changes over 30 years
The European Central Bank said lenders in the region will have to estimate the risk they could face from climate change in both their lending and trading operations when they undergo a stress test next year.
How to Cut Emissions Faster? Make It Count in CEO Pay; The quest to de-carbonize the global economy shouldn’t be all talk. Executive pay and incentives should include climate metrics.
Paul J. Davies – Bloomberg
Executives from Barclays Plc, BlackRock Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other big names in finance will gather with hundreds of investors at a U.K. summit on Oct. 19 to extol the virtues of green investment and fighting climate change. But how many of these leaders are directly and personally invested in cutting emissions or cleaning up portfolios through their executive pay schemes?
The Global Energy Drought May Herald a Future of Excess; In producing electricity, a buffer of waste is a good thing. In the renewable era, we’ll need that more than ever.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
Our energy system is built upon a mountain of waste. Believe it or not, that’s a good thing. Look at the journey that power takes to your plug socket from its original source, and you’ll find excess and overcapacity every step of the way. All electricity grids are designed with a reserve margin — some 10% or so in excess of expected peak demand, that can be called on in exceptional circumstances to prevent blackouts.
Dutch Consider Budget Loophole to Boost Green Investments
Diederik Baazil – Bloomberg
Coalition talks in The Hague could set precedent for EU; The Netherlands has traditionally opposed looser budget rules
The main political parties in the Netherlands are discussing a new approach to climate-related investments that would mean they don’t count toward the country’s headline budget deficit.
Behind the Energy Crisis: Fossil Fuel Investment Drops, and Renewables Aren’t Ready; The transition to cleaner energy sources isn’t far enough along to meet a surge in demand
Christopher M. Matthews, Collin Eaton and Benoit Faucon – WSJ
An energy price shock is serving as a reminder of the world’s continued dependency on fossil fuels—even amid efforts to shift to renewable sources of energy. Demand for oil, coal and natural gas has skyrocketed world-wide in recent weeks as unusual weather conditions and resurgent economies emerging from the pandemic combine to create energy shortages from China to Brazil to the U.K.
Green Investing Looks to Clean Up the Maritime Industry; Wall Street is embracing a new kind of environmentally friendly debt aimed at lowering ocean pollution
Julia-Ambra Verlaine – WSJ
First bonds went green. Now they are going blue. Seaspan Corp., the world’s largest containership lessor by cargo-carrying capacity, sold nearly $1 billion of so-called blue bonds earlier this year that sought to entice new investors by promising to fund vessels that will lower emissions and pollution at sea.
RPT-Wall Street banks set to profit again when Fed withdraws pandemic stimulus
Matt Scuffham – Reuters
Wall Street banks have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic-era trading boom, fueled by the Federal Reserve’s massive injection of cash into financial markets.
Barclays Trading Boss Saw the $6 Billion London Whale Coming
Stefania Spezzati – Bloomberg
As an example of why investment banks should listen to their risk managers, C.S. Venkatakrishnan’s experience at JPMorgan Chase & Co. is hard to top. Back in March 2012, just weeks into a senior risk job at the Wall Street giant, his team flagged the potential for $6.3 billion of losses from a murky derivatives trade in London.
Private equity’s strange love affair with hydra-headed leadership; Clear executive authority and responsibility under the care of independent boards and chairs beats the co-chief approach
Andrew Hill – FT
Private equity partners love to talk about the crisp, no-nonsense management and oversight they apply to the companies they own. Why, then, do buyout firm founders insist on entrusting their creations to one of the worst management models by repeatedly appointing co-chief executives when they leave?
Goldman Sachs Cleared to Own All of China Unit; U.S. bank has operated a Chinese joint venture for 17 years
Quentin Webb – WSJ
Chinese regulators approved Goldman Sachs (GS 3.80%) Group Inc.’s application to take full ownership of a key local unit, another step in China’s gradual opening of its financial system to major players from the U.S. and elsewhere. Goldman in December 2020 sought approval to increase its stake in a domestic Chinese business that it has co-owned since 2004. The New York-based bank said Sunday that China’s financial markets regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, had given its assent.
JP Morgan subsidiary Neovest appoints new chief executive officer; Incoming CEO brings 17 years’ experience in the financial services industry to order and execution management platform as the firm looks to further grow.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The order and execution management system (OEMS) owned by JP Morgan, Neovest, has appointed a new chief executive officer, promoting its chief commercial officer to the position. Jimmi Shah will take on the role after joining Neovest two years ago to create and execute on its commercial, client and product strategy.
An Ohio Pension Manager Risks Running Out of Retirement Money. His Answer: Take More Risks; Farouki Majeed and other retirement-system officials are turning to private equity, private loans and real estate to plug gaps in their ‘leaking bucket’
Heather Gillers – WSJ
The graying of the American worker is a math problem for Farouki Majeed. It is his job to invest his way out. Mr. Majeed is the investment chief for an $18 billion Ohio school pension that provides retirement benefits to more than 80,000 retired librarians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other former employees. The problem is that this fund pays out more in pension checks every year than its current workers and employers contribute. That gap helps explain why it is billions short of what it needs to cover its future retirement promises.
Hedge Funds Need a New M&A Playbook in Germany; Bidders are settling for less control over German takeover targets to prevent deals from getting derailed. The result is an unwelcome fudge.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Merger arbitrageurs once found it easy to force bidders for German companies to pay a full price for a takeover target. But acquirers are adopting a new playbook to keep meddlesome hedge funds at bay. For the German corporate sector, it’s a pyrrhic victory.
Where’s the beef? China meat ban leaves Brazilian officials baffled; Suspension of shipments following mad cow cases threatens $4bn a year trade
Bryan Harris, Emiko Terazono and Edward White – FT
Authorities in Brazil are growing increasingly concerned over a Chinese ban on Brazilian beef which has lasted more than a month and threatens to decimate exports worth around $4bn per year. Brasília voluntarily suspended shipments of the protein to China — its largest market — in early September after confirming two cases of “atypical” mad cow disease in separate meat plants across the country.
US investment drive to take on China in Latin America; Initiative will fund infrastructure in effort to compete with Beijing’s growing influence in region
Michael Stott – FT
The US hopes to win back ground lost to China in Latin America with an ambitious new initiative to fund infrastructure. Foreign investment in Latin America was long dominated by the US and Europe, but for the past 15 years Chinese policy banks have funnelled more than $137bn of investment to governments and state corporations in the region, according to a database compiled by the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.
For Britain’s chicken farmers, Brexit and COVID brew a perfect storm
Kate Holton and James Davey – Reuters
When Nigel Upson checks the plucked chicken carcasses dangling from a rotating line at his poultry plant in England, he sees cash haemorrhaging out of his business from a collision of events that has distressed every part of the farm-to-fork supply chain. Like food manufacturers across Britain, Upson was hit this year by an exodus of eastern European workers who, deterred by Brexit paperwork, left en masse when COVID restrictions lifted, compounding his already soaring cost of feed and fuel.
The Pinterest whistleblower leading the charge against NDAs; After breaking a contract by speaking out on discrimination, Ifeoma Ozoma penned a law to help others do the same
Taylor Nicole Rogers – FT
Ifeoma Ozoma was irritated when social media site Pinterest expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement last year as George Floyd’s murder sparked a US national reckoning on race. A month earlier she had quit her job in the company’s public policy team having grown disillusioned, like many black Americans, at the disparity she saw between her employer’s public stance on civil rights and her experience there as a black woman.
‘Hours of my life I’m never going to get back’: As offices reopen, workers resist bringing back the commute
Charisse Jones – USA TODAY
When Wendy White, 57, quit her job in March, a key reason was her company’s insistence employees return to the office in the midst of a pandemic. White, the single mother of an 11-year-old son, had no child care options and was fearful of taking public transportation while COVID-19 was spreading. Now she is considering two job offers, one that would allow her to continue working remotely with occasional travel, and another in New York City, less than twenty-five miles from her Madison, New Jersey home.
At Axel Springer, Politico’s New Owner, Allegations of Sex, Lies and a Secret Payment; A high-flying German media giant is ahead on digital media but seems stuck in the past when it comes to the workplace and deal-making.
Ben Smith – NY Times
A high-level editor at the powerful German tabloid Bild was trying to break things off with a woman who was a junior employee at the paper. He was 36. She was 25. “If they find out that I’m having an affair with a trainee, I’ll lose my job,” the editor, Julian Reichelt, told her in November 2016, according to testimony she later gave investigators from a law firm hired by Bild’s parent company, Axel Springer, to look into the editor’s workplace behavior. I obtained a transcript through someone not directly involved.