CFTC Report on Negative Oil Prices Leaves Key Questions Unanswered; Goldman Sachs to Start Paris Trading Venue as Brexit Nears

Nov 24, 2020

First Read

$16,111/$300,000 (5.4%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

To download the CFTC’s interim report on the April 20 WTI implosion, CLICK HERE.

If you would like to read the NFA’s 2020 Annual Review, you can find it by CLICKING HERE.

The Quantitative Brokers team is hiring. Click HERE to learn more.

In Elmhurst, IL we received our first snow of the season. It is just a dusting of snow on the grass, but I believe it was brought on by neighbors putting up their Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.

We have not received any new donations to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Please help us preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign. HERE is a video about the mission of MarketsWiki Education to learn more about our efforts to educate the next generation and capture the stories of generations of open outcry traders and electronic trading pioneers.

I am going to deep fry the turkey again this year for Thanksgiving. It is a very fast process, though dangerous. But it tastes great!

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


Via The Washington Post: Although “There’s no evidence that having a beard per se makes you more or less vulnerable to the coronavirus,” according to Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an infographic that addresses 36 different types of facial hair styles, and whether or not they are N95 mask-friendly.~SR

The OCC’s cleared volume Friday was 28.6 percent higher than its YTD average.~MR


CFTC Staff Publishes Interim Report on NYMEX WTI Crude Contract Trading on and around April 20, 2020
Staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) today published an interim report regarding the circumstances leading up to, on, and around April 20, 2020 for the West Texas Intermediate Light Sweet Crude Oil futures contract (WTI Contract) traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

*****A whodunit without the who? Not even a whatdunit.~JJL


The Queen expresses an interest in blockchain; One must say one finds it all a little surprising.
Jemima Kelly – FT
Remember the Centre for Evidence Based Blockchain? They’re the ones who put out a report back in September that found that, despite having set up a dedicated centre for it, “evidence based blockchain” was actually pretty hard to come by.

*****Is this the Queen’s Gambit?~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was The Trade’s NYSE sales head departs for role at HFT Jump Trading, a repeat from yesterday’s top three. Second was Bloomberg’s Goldman Partner With Taste for Speed Says Market Has Hit Limits, about Goldman Sachs global co-head of futures and equities electronic trading Elizabeth Martin. Third was CFTC’s Tarbert: Global standards for crypto and CCPs are top industry priorities, from the FIA’s MarketVoice.


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Lead Stories

CFTC Report on Negative Oil Prices Leaves Key Questions Unanswered; The Commodity Futures Trading Commission looked into why oil prices plummeted into negative territory in April, but its report didn’t single out any likely cause
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
A long-awaited Commodity Futures Trading Commission report into the collapse of crude-oil futures to minus $40 a barrel in April has declined to identify a reason for the crash, prompting criticism from one of the agency’s own commissioners. The rapid descent into negative territory on April 20 sparked calls from market participants and others for a swift and thorough investigation by federal regulators.

Goldman Sachs to Start Paris Trading Venue as Brexit Nears
Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
U.S. bank planning to open Europe version of London dark pool; With EU and British authorities at odds, U.K. trading may move
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is planning a European stock trading platform to ensure its clients can still buy and sell shares even without a post-Brexit agreement to allow dealing in London. The Wall Street bank has applied to French regulators to start a Paris-based trading venue called SIGMA X Europe, according to the company. It intends to open before Jan. 4 subject to regulatory approvals.

After Chaotic 4 Years, Wall St. Is Itching to Unfollow @realDonaldTrump; President Trump turned his Twitter feed into a singular source of market volatility. Now, investors are looking forward to markets free of presidential tweets.
Matt Phillips – NY Times
In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, President Trump began telling his supporters that if former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected, market mayhem would follow.

Politics, Science and the Remarkable Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine; The furious race to develop a coronavirus vaccine played out against a presidential election, between a pharmaceutical giant and a biotech upstart, with the stakes as high as they could get.
Sharon LaFraniere, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland, David Gelles, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Denise Grady – NY Times
The call was tense, the message discouraging. Moncef Slaoui, the head of the Trump administration’s effort to quickly produce a vaccine for the coronavirus, was on the phone at 6 p.m. on Aug. 25 to tell the upstart biotech firm Moderna that it had to slow the final stage of testing its vaccine in humans.

Asia edging towards integrated capital markets – SGX’s Loh; Asia Risk 25: full regional co-operation could still be 10 to 15 years away, says Singapore exchange head Loh Boon Chye, SGX
Blake Evans-Pritchard –
Capital markets integration in Asia has remained tantalisingly out of reach for decades. But important steps are helping it to edge closer, says Loh Boon Chye, head of SGX, one of Asia’s largest derivatives exchanges.

Goldman Sachs to launch SIGMA X MTF in Paris as post-Brexit venue; The SIGMA X Europe MTF will go live prior to 4 January to service European clients Goldman Sachs has confirmed.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
US investment bank Goldman Sachs will launch its SIGMA X multilateral trading facility (MTF) in Paris to continue servicing European clients post-Brexit. In a statement, Goldman Sachs said it will launch SIGMA X Europe MTF before 4 January next year and it will be available alongside its UK-based SIGMA X MTF. The Paris venue will include its dark pool and periodic auction order book.

IOSCO Annual Meeting Addresses The Impact Of COVID 19 And Other Critical Matters On Securities Markets
Members of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) gathered online for the organization´s 45th Annual Meeting last week to discuss the impact of COVID 19 on capital markets and other priority issues facing securities market regulators and supervisors today. Some 480 members from 159 jurisdictions participated in the event.

Lessons from China’s decision to halt Ant Group’s giant IPO; Intervention by Beijing might spur entrepreneurs to take a lower profile
Henny Sender – FT
ll trying to parse the fallout from the recent decision to pull the blockbuster initial public offering of Ant Group. China’s biggest financial technology group had been set to raise $37bn in the world’s largest IPO before Beijing’s intervention this month. Now China watchers are looking at what the far-reaching ripple effects will be of the unanticipated policy move — and its future victims and beneficiaries.

Janet Yellen prepares for second act at pinnacle of US economic policymaking; Former Fed chair set to take helm at Treasury as coronavirus resurgence threatens recovery
James Politi and Colby Smith – FT
Shortly after Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be vice-president in August, Janet Yellen, the former US Federal Reserve chair, briefed the pair on the slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and what they could do about it.

Jamie Dinan’s York Capital Management to Largely Wind Down Hedge Fund Operations;
York Capital to focus on businesses with longer term capital, according to letter
Juliet Chung – WSJ
Billionaire hedge-fund manager Jamie Dinan told employees and investors in York Capital Management Monday that the firm was largely getting out of its struggling hedge-fund business to focus on better-performing units. Mr. Dinan said he planned to shut down York’s European hedge funds and to turn its flagship U.S. hedge fund into one running mainly internal money. The strategies together manage less than $3 billion after years of weak performance and investor defections.

Yellen Is an Excellent Choice for Treasury Secretary; A Treasury that believes in sound economics and broad agreement where possible would be a welcome change.
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
President-elect Joe Biden reportedly plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as the next Treasury secretary. She’d be an impeccable choice. Her breadth of experience in economic policy making, her pragmatic and progressive worldview, and her calm consensus-seeking temperament make Yellen the ideal partner for the president that Biden wants to be, and needs to be.

Investors welcome Yellen as Biden’s Treasury nominee
Kate Duguid, Sinéad Carew – Reuters
Investors gave their approval on Monday to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be the next Treasury secretary, touting her experience at the central bank as critical to helping the country weather coronavirus-fueled economic struggles.

Suited avatars and digital offices: traders and bankers embrace VR
Elizabeth Howcroft, Saikat Chatterjee – Reuters
Once the preserve of gamers, virtual reality (VR) has been seized on by the financial sector as a way of enlivening home working for lonely traders or isolated executives and replicating real-world sales, networking or training events.

Bitcoin at $100,000 in 2021? Outrageous to some, a no-brainer for backers
Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss – Reuters
Bitcoin investors, which include top hedge funds and money managers, are betting the virtual currency could more than quintuple to as high as $100,000 in a year.

Time to Reform Finance’s Office Culture: Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam; Executives say that remote working threatens corporate cohesion. Now’s the time to make their businesses more inclusive.
Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam – Bloomberg
Everywhere, the stewards of capitalism are in flux, grappling with the implications of a radically different future that’s set to play out from home offices, living rooms, and kitchen tables around the world.

U.S. Found Not Liable for Puerto Rico Bond Losses; A Washington judge rules against bondholders seeking to hold Uncle Sam responsible for losses on a $3 billion bond
Andrew Scurria – WSJ
The U.S. government isn’t liable for losses on $3 billion in Puerto Rico pension bonds, a federal judge said Monday, rejecting efforts to put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for compensating investors. Judge Richard A. Hertling of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims said bondholders can’t hold the U.S. government responsible for losses they may incur in the court-supervised restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debts. A federally

Who Will Miss the Coins When They’re Gone? We used to carry and trade bits of metal everywhere, but a pandemic shortage and the rise of digital money are making jingly pockets a distant memory for many.
Alan Yuhas – NY Times
They gather unloved in jars and under cushions, unearthed only when laundry needs doing. They rattle in coat pockets, music to some ears and a nuisance to others. They sink into fountains and lurk in wells, a fortune in wishes but a nightmare to sort and count.

Is the New Owner of the Mets Funny? An Investigation; Steven Cohen crafted an image as a secretive, and ruthless, billionaire. On social media he’s showing an approachable side that couldn’t feel less like his predecessors with the team.
David Waldstein – NY Times
For a decade, Carlo Cerilli has been telling every Mets employee he encountered that the team ought to mark the spot in the parking lot where Cleon Jones caught the final out of the 1969 World Series at Shea Stadium. He had all but given up hope that anyone was listening.

Trump’s China Blacklist Sparks Reviews at Index Compilers; MSCI, FTSE Russell seek feedback from investors after move to ban Americans from investing in some Chinese companies
Frances Yoon – WSJ
Index compilers FTSE Russell, JPMorgan Chase JPM 2.88% & Co. and MSCI Inc. MSCI 0.42% are rethinking their stance on securities from companies that the U.S. government says help the Chinese military.


Astra Shot That Works Better in Small Doses Raises Questions
Stephanie Baker – Bloomberg
Initial half-dose was far more effective than full regimen; Astra may add new arm to U.S. trial for further study
The news reached Sarah Gilbert Saturday evening that the Covid-19 vaccine she’s developed with AstraZeneca Plc appeared to work. But the University of Oxford professor had expected a key number: Was it more than 90% effective, as others have been — or less?

The Best and Worst Places to Be in the Coronavirus Era
Rachel Chang, Jinshan Hong and Kevin Varley – Bloomberg
As Covid-19 has spread around the world, it’s challenged preconceptions about which places would best tackle the worst public health crisis in a generation. Advanced economies like the U.S. and U.K., ranked by various pre-2020 measures as being the most prepared for a pandemic, have been repeatedly overwhelmed by infections and face a return to costly lockdowns. Meanwhile, other countries—even developing nations—have defied expectations, some all but eliminating the pathogen within their borders.

Inside Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking
Rachel Chang and Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Everyone is fighting the same coronavirus, but nearly a year into the pandemic, quality of life and control of the pathogen’s spread look vastly different across the world. Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking scores the largest 53 economies on their success at containing the virus with the least amount of social and economic disruption.

Sounds Strange, But There Could Be Too Many Vaccines; People confronted with many options might freeze up and choose none.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Launching dozens of vaccine development projects made perfect sense early in the Covid-19 pandemic, because it increased the chances that at least one would succeed. But what was prudent then is problematic now. Scientists, to their credit, have outdone themselves. So many vaccines may be soon be available that people will have a hard time deciding which one to get—and could end up choosing none.

Putin Can’t Take Russia’s ‘Safe’ Covid Vaccine, Kremlin Says
Ilya Arkhipov – Bloomberg
President can’t volunteer for ‘uncertified’ jab, Peskov says; Russia has the world’s fifth-highest total of Covid-19 cases
President Vladimir Putin told fellow world leaders last week that both of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccines, including one he championed as the world’s first inoculation against the disease, are safe and effective. That doesn’t mean he’s taken a jab. “We have not yet begun widespread vaccination and the head of state can’t take part in vaccination as a volunteer. It’s impossible,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday, in response to a question on whether Putin had been inoculated. “The president can’t use an uncertified vaccine.”

Vaccinating a nation: can Biden manage America’s biggest health project? The smooth functioning of the supply chain is vital if the US is to ensure trust in a mass immunisation programme
Kiran Stacey – FT
Across the US, vast “freezer farms” are popping up — warehouses containing row after row of ultra-cold storage equipment designed to house a vaccine against Covid-19 when one is approved.

Remdesivir: the rise and fall of a Covid wonder drug; Gilead’s antiviral drew praise from the White House and a scramble for orders. But does it work?
Donato Paolo Mancini, Hannah Kuchler and Michael Peel – FT
In May, when President Donald Trump announced the emergency approval of remdesivir, the first antiviral to treat Covid-19, he hailed its developer Gilead as a “great American company” with “the hot thing”. Six months later, Mr Trump is on his way out, shares in the California biotech are down 29 per cent from their April highs, and remdesivir is being compared to Tamiflu: a wonder drug that wasn’t.

Covid-19 Has Become Less Deadly, but That Could Change as Cases Rise; The U.S. death rate has declined by a third since April, researchers say
Sarah Toy – WSJ
The death rate from Covid-19 is falling in the U.S., according to infectious-disease experts and biostatisticians, a signal of advancements in treatment of the disease. But the death rate could climb with the latest nationwide rise in cases, they warn.

Decades of work, and half a dose of fortune, drove Oxford vaccine success
Alistair Smout, Kate Kelland, Ludwig Burger – Reuters
It took Oxford University’s brightest minds decades of work to give them the expertise to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. In the end, it was a momentary error – and a dose of good fortune – that carried them over the line.

Covid on Track to Kill 30,000 More in U.S. by Christmas, CDC Model Shows
Nic Querolo – Bloomberg
After a week that shattered daily case, testing and hospitalization records, Covid’s trajectory is slated to steepen in the U.S. Coronavirus, which has killed more than 256,000 Americans so far, is on track to claim another 30,000 lives by mid-December, according to forecasts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model shows weekly cases and deaths both rising every week for the next month, the maximum range of the agency’s projection.

Cargill’s CEO on Preventing Covid-19 Surge From Disrupting the Food Supply; David MacLennan discusses boosting employee safety while maintaining meat production, and why food-industry workers deserve priority vaccine consideration
Jacob Bunge – WSJ
David MacLennan steered one of the world’s biggest food suppliers through Covid-19’s world-wide spread in the spring. Now he is bracing for another surge. Cargill Inc., a 155-year-old company with 155,000 employees in 70 countries, straddles the global food- and agriculture-supply chains, processing farmers’ crops, packing meat and distributing sugar, salt, cotton and other commodities. Its plants supply some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, supermarket chains and restaurants.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Germany’s DAX Index Changes Rules After Wirecard Collapse; The $1.2 trillion index is adding companies and aiming to improve governance of its members
Paul J. Davies – WSJ
Germany’s leading stock index expanded its size and changed rules to boost the quality of its constituent companies, a move sparked in part by the collapse of payment company Wirecard AG because of a multibillion-dollar fraud.

Deutsche Börse launches Xetra market close mechanism; Traders will be able to enter orders on Xetra for 10 minutes after the closing auction has ended when tool goes live on 24 November at Deutsche Börse.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
European exchange operator Deutsche Börse will launch a new market phase for traders to execute at the official closing price for all securities in Xetra. Named Xetra Trade-at-Close, the mechanism will go live on 24 November and will allow market participants to enter orders on Xetra after the closing auction has ended.  All instruments on Xetra including blue chips, small and mid-caps, ETFs and ETPs can be traded through the tool.

SEGRO ensures its presence in EU stock markets post-Brexit with a dual listing on Euronext Paris
Euronext today congratulates SEGRO PLC, a British real estate investment trust, on its dual listing in Compartment A of Euronext’s regulated market in Paris (ticker code: SGRO). SEGRO, which celebrated its 100th birthday this year, is a leading owner, asset manager and developer of modern warehousing and industrial property in Europe. It currently owns or manages 8.1 million square metres of space, spread over eight different European countries, Germany and France being two of the most important locations after the United Kingdom.

Trading hours at Eurex Exchange on 30 December 2020
Eurex Circular 092/20 Trading hours at Eurex Exchange on 30 December 2020

The leading German index, the DAX, is being strengthened by additional quality criteria and alignment with international standards; Broad acceptance for rule changes
Deutsche Börse Group
STOXX Ltd., the global index provider of the financial services provider Qontigo, today presented revised rules for the DAX selection indices (DAX, MDAX, SDAX and TecDAX). These are now being introduced successively.

HKEX Seeks Views on New Proposal to Modernise Hong Kong IPO Settlement Process
HKEX today launches its concept paper on FINI, setting out a new proposal to streamline Hong Kong’s IPO settlement process;Time gap between IPO pricing and trading to be shortened 80 per cent, from five business days to as little as one business day, making it amongst the most competitive in the world; Proposal will deploy intelligent technology to drive efficiency, alleviate funding lock-ups and digitalise Hong Kong’s IPO franchise
Feedback on the Concept Paper is sought by 15 January 2021
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is today (Monday) pleased to publish a Concept Paper seeking market feedback on its proposal to comprehensively modernise and digitalise Hong Kong’s IPO settlement process.

ICE Benchmark Administration expands ICE Term SONIA Reference Rates methodology to include Tradeweb’s Dealer to Client data
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, announces that ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“IBA”) has expanded the input data used in its ICE Term SONIA Reference Rates “Waterfall” methodology to include Tradeweb’s dealer to client data.

Expansion of the Listing Schedule of Monthly Options on Euro/US Dollar and Japanese Yen/US Dollar Futures Contracts
CME Group
Effective Sunday, January 10, 2021, for trade date Monday, January 11, 2021, and pending all relevant Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will expand the listing schedule of monthly options on the Euro/US Dollar (“EUR/USD”) futures contract and the Japanese Yen/US Dollar (“JPY/USD”) futures contract (the “Contracts”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort as noted in the table below.

SGX welcomes the listing of Nikko AM’s ETF benchmarked to premier ChinaBond-ICBC RMB Bond Index
NikkoAM-ICBCSG China Bond ETF provides investors with easy access to Chinese government and policy bank bonds; This is the maiden ETF linked to the ChinaBond-ICBC RMB Bond Index which SGX is the first exchange outside of China to disseminate
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed the listing of NikkoAM-ICBCSG China Bond ETF, providing global investors with another unique opportunity to capitalise on the world’s second largest fixed income market that is fast growing in size and foreign participation.

Shenzhen Stock Exchange Market Bulletin, November 23, 2020 – Issue 33
China’s actual use of foreign capital surged 18.3 percent on a yearly basis to 81.87 billion yuan ($11.83 billion) in October of this year, marking the seventh consecutive month for the country to witness positive growth in foreign direct investment, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. Foreign direct investment in China grew by 6.4 percent year-on-year to 800.68 billion yuan between January and October. In dollar terms it increased by 3.9 percent to $115.09 billion

Oslo Derivatives LCH SA Second Dress Rehearsal In EUA On 25 November
Euronext informs clients that LCH SA will organise a second Dress Rehearsal involving clearing members on Wednesday 25 November 2020. The Euronext Next EUA (p-EUA) environment will remain open as usual, but as a result of this Dress Rehearsal, no trades performed on the Next EUA environment will be passed on to LCH SA on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

Vienna Stock Exchange Introduces “Trade At Close” And Extends Official Trading Hours By 10 Minutes
The Vienna Stock Exchange is extending its daily trading hours from 1 December 2020. With the latest update of the XETRA® T7 trading system, the “Trade at Close” (TaC) functionality will be introduced. It enables market participants to trade at the official closing price up to 10 minutes after the closing auction. No new price formation occurs during this time. Trading participants who wish to take advantage of this function must mark their orders accordingly. Existing liquidity can thus also be used after the closing auction in the regulated exchange environment with full pre- and post-trade transparency. On average, around one third of all transactions take place in the closing auction.

Wiener Börse Welcomes Aventa To “Direct Market Plus”
Today is the first trading day of Aventa AG in the direct market plus, the entry segment of the Vienna Stock Exchange. Price determination will take place in a single intraday auction around 1:30 p.m. The corporate group, headquartered in Graz, deals with planning, realisation and brokerage of real estate in and around the major conurbations in Austria. At the start of trading on the Vienna Stock Exchange, the company’s management board rang the opening bell. “The direct market plus is the ideal starting point for a company of our size to develop step by step on the capital market. We are delighted that we are now a listed company that is transparent and tradable for investors,” said Aventa board member Bernhard Schuller on the occasion of the start of trading.

DTCC Launches Pilot Program For New Insurance Information Exchange (IIEX) Platform – IIEX To Transform The Way Clients Consume And Leverage Insurance Data
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced a client pilot program for its new Insurance Information Exchange (IIEX) service, a transformative new platform that will help clients turn massive quantities of insurance data and information across 15.6 million policy records into actionable insights. The pilot program is backed by a consortium of industry-leading insurance carriers and distribution partners who are collaborating with DTCC on the development of the service.


Rap Star, Media Mogul and Civil Rights Icon Bank on Fintech Change; The three founders describe why they’re starting a new type of banking platform.
Karen Toulon and Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Andrew Young has been a mayor, a U.S. representative, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Now he says he’s counting on a new digital banking platform, focused on Black and Latino communities, to address some of the systemic injustices he’s been fighting throughout his career. With rapper and activist Michael Render, better known as “Killer Mike,” and Bounce TV founder Ryan Glover, Young is helping to start Greenwood, named in honor of the Tulsa community known as the “Black Wall Street” before it was destroyed by a White mob in 1921.

Virtu and MarketAxess ETF analytics tool receives backing from ETF issuers; Charles Schwab Investment Management and WisdomTree Asset Management have signed on to Virtu’s ETF analytics tool.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Virtu Financial has confirmed it has onboarded two wealth management firms to its recently launched eNav exchange traded funds (ETFs) analytics tool. Charles Schwab Investment Management and WisdomTree Asset Management have become clients of the service, which calculates the bid and ask prices of ETFs based on their underlying components and/or proxy assets to offer greater transparency for ETF valuations.

PayPal CEO Sees Staff Working From Home More Often After Virus
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
PayPal Holdings Inc. employees will probably spend more time working from home even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. The company envisions the vast majority of staffers splitting their time between working from home and from one of the company’s offices, Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The firm employed about 23,200 people globally at the end of last year, with almost half based in the U.S.

LoneStar Selects The People’s Network as their Preferred Network Provider for Asset Tracking
Please welcome LoneStar Tracking, one of our most recent users of The People’s Network! LoneStar is a leader in GPS tracking and environmental monitoring systems, based in Texas.

Decentralized Networks Are The Future Of Telecoms, Should Telcos Be Worried? Part One
Charles Towers-Clark – Forbes
Wireless networks aren’t sexy, and they’re certainly not transparent. That could soon change. Telcos have controlled the communications stack, and have had users at their mercy for decades. But the internet has completely transformed in that time, now hosting 4K videos as well as millions of IoT sensors, and some are questioning whether telcos are fit to serve the next generation of internet users.


Bitcoin Pierces $19,000 for First Time Since 2017
Todd White – Bloomberg
Bitcoin surpassed $19,000 for the first time since 2017 as the mania over digital currencies continues to grip Wall Street. Bitcoin climbed as high as $19,103 before paring the advance, trading up 2.2% to $18,817 as of 10:25 a.m. in London. Prices are approaching an all-time high with many pointing to the wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies among traditional investors as the catalyst behind the surge.

Bitcoin finally finds a rationale in doomsday scenarios; The digital ecosystem draws support from being the currency of last resort
Izabella Kaminska – FT
This coming January it will be 12 years since Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency bitcoin, established the first digital transaction in the system by mining the so-called genesis block.

Ethereum Races Clock to Collect Enough Coins for Big Upgrade
Matthew Leising and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Ethereum, the most-actively used blockchain in the world, is approaching its deadline to convince users to pledge enough digital currency to enable a network upgrade that would allow it to process a similar number of transactions as Mastercard Inc. and Visa Inc. Since Ethereum went live it 2015 it has relied on an energy-intensive and slow method to ensure the computers on its network agree on the current state of its digital ledger. Ethereum developers have been working for years to transition to a system that instead uses a pooled amount of the digital currency Ether to secure the network and allow it to reach consensus much faster.

IRS Sends Warning Notices to Crypto Investors
Bilal Jafar – Finance Magnates
The Internal Revenue Service in the United States (IRS) is reportedly sending warning letters to crypto holders again and claiming that they owe taxes on under-reported gains of crypto holdings. Similar letters were sent to cryptocurrency users last year. According to a blog post, published by crypto tax service provider,, the company received several queries related to CP2000 notices. An IRS issue CP2000 notice is sent to an individual if the agency thinks that there is a difference between the income information IRS has on file and the information a person has reported on tax returns.

Binance to List Options Contracts for Litecoin
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is to offer options contracts for the world’s seventh largest cryptocurrency, litecoin. According to a blog post on Tuesday, the litecoin (LTC, +0.37%) contracts will go live on Wednesday at 07:00 UTC. A Binance representative told CoinDesk via email that the latest listing comes in response to “user demand,” adding that options are an “important hedging tool, especially during a market rally.” Options are a type of financial instrument enabling traders to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price either before or on a particular date.

CoinDesk Is Spinning Up an Ethereum 2.0 Node. Here’s How to Follow Our Journey
Christine Kim, William Foxley – Coindesk
CoinDesk just snagged a front-row seat to a seminal event in the crypto industry. Ticket price: 32 ETH. As a media outlet covering nascent technologies, we believe we can sometimes chronicle their development more effectively by participating in them. To that end, we’re spinning up a validator for the upcoming launch of Ethereum 2.0 as part of a fact-finding mission. This required us to acquire the minimum amount of ETH (for about $15,000) to stake on the new network. The goal is to deepen CoinDesk’s editorial coverage to better serve our readers.

Gazprombank Switzerland Executes First Bitcoin Trades, Announces Payments Initiative
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Gazprombank (Switzerland), an arm of the bank owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, has carried out the first client transactions as part of its new bitcoin services. Announced Tuesday, the bank’s launch of institutional cryptocurrency services comes after approval was granted by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. “Digital assets will become increasingly important for our clients and the global economy,” said the bank’s CEO, Roman Abdulin.

JPMorgan reports ‘modest outflows’ for gold funds as more than $1 billion poured into Grayscale in Q3
Frank Chaparro – The Block
“Drop gold.” Crypto enthusiasts will remember that slogan from an ad campaign Grayscale ran last year to woo investors to its suite of crypto funds. Now, more than a year later, it appears that investors are heeding the recommendation of the crypto asset management firm. Michael Sonnenshein, a managing director at firm, said that 2020 has been a year marked by “unprecedented capital inflows for the Grayscale business.”

Aggregated open interest on Bitcoin, Ethereum options hit all-time highs this weekend
MK Manoylov – The Block
The aggregated open interest on bitcoin options reached $4.53 billion on Nov. 22, having grown $1.13 billion since Nov. 15. That’s nearly a 25% increase in a week, according to data from The Block Research. In addition to Bitcoin, the aggregated open interest on Ethereum options reached $780.05 million. Ethereum option open interest jumped $221.09 million, or 39.5%, in a week, according to The Block Research.

SIFMA Issues Whitepaper on Digital Security Tokens
SIFMA today issued a whitepaper titled “Security Tokens: Current Regulatory and Operational Considerations for Broker-Dealers and a Look Towards the Future.” The paper, which was co-authored by SIFMA and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, provides a foundational understanding of how distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital assets such as security tokens interplay with the current securities market. It also describes the key operational challenges faced by U.S. broker-dealers hoping to adopt this technology and recommends where regulatory clarity would be helpful in addressing these challenges. SIFMA developed the whitepaper in collaboration with its member working groups, and determined and identified the activities, requirements, and considerations for market participants engaging in operationalizing security tokens.


Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary Sets Up Biden to Go Big on Stimulus
Saleha Mohsin and Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Ex-Fed chair seen working closely with Powell to help economy; Yellen has pushed for additional fiscal spending amid pandemic
President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary signals that he plans to act aggressively to revive the world’s biggest economy, putting a former Federal Reserve chair who’s not shied away from stimulus at the helm of his economic policy.

Donald Trump tells government to co-operate with Biden transition; President instructs officials to do ‘what needs to be done’ but stops short of concession
Kadhim Shubber – FT
Donald Trump on Monday said his administration would begin co-operating with Joe Biden’s transition team, bowing to Republican pressure to start the transfer of power even as the president vowed to continue contesting his election loss.

US democracy could emerge stronger after Donald Trump’s assault; Georgia’s secretary of state survived a frontal attack by a sitting American president — so will the country
Peter Spiegel – FT
The US 2020 election saga has entered the phase where little-known local officials are suddenly thrust into international celebrity. During the 2000 contretemps, that person was Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state whose not-so-subtle finger on the recount scales helped hand the White House to George W Bush. Now it’s the turn of Brad Raffensperger.

How the 2020 Election Deepened America’s White-Collar/Blue-Collar Split; The nation’s economic divisions continue to mirror its political divisions, with both growing wider
Aaron Zitner and Dante Chinni – WSJ
The job and wage growth that President Trump hoped would propel him to a second term was particularly strong in metropolitan America. Yet the Americans who live where the economy is thriving most—in the nation’s cities and their surrounding communities—voted to reject the president.

Biden Allies Ask Brainard to Stay at Fed, Dimming Treasury Odds
Saleha Mohsin and Peter Martin – Bloomberg
Brainard seen as favorite for Treasury before election; Progressives in Democratic Party push for Yellen at Treasury
Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard has been told by allies of President-elect Joe Biden that she should stay at the central bank, according to people familiar with the matter, further dimming odds she’s chosen as the next Treasury secretary.

Janet Yellen at Treasury Points to Era of Fed Control; The former central bank chief will be in lockstep with Jerome Powell from Day 1, even if Congress isn’t.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
Janet Yellen is poised to become the most economically powerful woman in the world. Again. Bloomberg News described her in exactly that way in October 2013, when President Barack Obama nominated her to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as Federal Reserve chair, a role she would hold for four years during two administrations. This time, Yellen is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to serve as the next Treasury secretary.


Forex broker TFS-ICAP fined £3.4m for misleading clients; FCA imposes penalty for encouraging trading with fake reports over 7-year period
Matthew Vincent – FT
A foreign exchange derivatives broker has been fined £3.4m by the UK financial regulator for giving clients misleading information over a period of seven years to encourage them to trade.

ESAs propose to adapt the EMIR implementation timelines for intragroup transactions, equity options and novations to EU counterparties
The European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), have today published a final report with draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) proposing to amend the Commission Delegated Regulation on the risk mitigation techniques for OTC derivatives not cleared by a CCP (bilateral margin requirements) under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

ESMA publishes translations for Guidelines on enforcement of financial information
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today the official translations of its guidelines on enforcement of financial information?.

Reminder – Transparency Services Initiatives
Earlier this year, FINRA introduced its Transparency Services Infrastructure Initiatives project and created a web page detailing this effort. Items highlighted on this web page include an infrastructure upgrade to the existing TRACE Trade Reporting system web application (TRAQS), a new web application for Issue Management, and enhanced Reference Data tools including firm access to manage their own entitlement. FINRA Continues the work on these initiatives and encourages firms to review the information on our page.

2021 and First Quarter of 2022 Report Filing Due Dates: Annual Report; FOCUS; Form Custody; Supplemental Statement of Income (SSOI); Supplemental Schedule for Derivatives and Other Off-Balance Sheet Items (OBS); and Supplemental Inventory Schedule (SIS)
To assist members in their financial reporting obligations, FINRA is issuing this Notice to provide the due dates for Annual Report, Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS), Form Custody, and supplemental FOCUS Report filings that are due in 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.1 Members are reminded that all such filings submitted to FINRA must be made electronically through FINRA Gateway.

SEC Issues Statement on European Central Counterparties Seeking to Register or Request Exemptions From the SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued a Policy Statement and Guidance focused on central counterparties (CCPs) authorized under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) that may seek to access and operate in the U.S. securities markets. The Statement provides transparency into the Commission’s processes and highlights efficient ways that CCPs based in the European Union (EU) can register as a clearing agency or request exemptions from certain requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

SEC Charges E-Commerce Startup and CEO With Defrauding Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a San Francisco-based e-commerce startup and its chief executive officer with misleading investors about purported contracts with well-known consumer brands.

Technology Advisory Committee to Meet on December 14
The Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) announced today that it will hold a public meeting on Monday, December 14, 2020, via teleconference in accordance with the agency’s implementation of social distancing due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz is the sponsor of the TAC.

Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz Regarding the CFTC Staff Report on the Trading of Nymex WTI Crude Oil Futures Contracts On and Around April 20, 2020
The Report issued today (November 23, 2020) by the CFTC Staff, “Interim Staff Report: Trading in NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures Contract Leading up to, on, and around April 20, 2020” (Report) is incomplete and inadequate. The Report fails to determine the cause of the unprecedented plunge in the price of the WTI futures contract and divergence from physical markets on April 20, the penultimate day of trading in the May contract. Rather, it provides a general recitation of economic conditions in the weeks and days leading up to April 20, and offers only aggregated statistics regarding trading on that day. Unfortunately, this Report does not provide the public with an adequate explanation for the extraordinary price collapse on April 20.

Statement of Commissioner Rostin Behnam Regarding Staff Report on April 20, 2020 Trading in NYMEX WTI Crude Oil Futures Contract
I commend the Division of Market Oversight and the Office of the Chief Economist for issuing today’s Staff Report on the April 20, 2020 trading in the West Texas Intermediate Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures contract (WTI Contract) on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Staff Report).

Building trust in sustainable investments
Speech by Richard Monks, Director of Strategy at SRI Services and Partners ‘Good Money Week’ panel discussion.

Monetary Authority Of Singapore Launches World’s First Grant Scheme To Support Green And Sustainability-Linked Loans
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today the launch of the Green and Sustainability-Linked Loan Grant Scheme (GSLS), which will be effective as of 1 January 2021. The first of its kind globally, the GSLS seeks to support corporates of all sizes to obtain green and sustainable financing by defraying the expenses of engaging independent service providers to validate the green and sustainability credentials of the loan. The grant also encourages banks to develop green and sustainability-linked loan frameworks to make such financing more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Investing and Trading

Stock-Market Titans Amazon, Google and Facebook Are Also Driving Commercial Real Estate; Tech’s soaring property demand has been mostly a boon for cities, although it has fueled some concerns over rising rents and gentrification
Konrad Putzier – WSJ
The biggest U.S. tech companies are providing a jolt to the slumbering commercial real-estate business, emerging as major tenants and acquirers of office and other space while many nontech firms are trying to tear up their leases.

JPMorgan Asset Says 60/40 Rethink Needs Alternative Investments
Andreea Papuc – Bloomberg
Alternative investments such as hedge funds will become essential parts of post-pandemic portfolios due to low interest rates and fewer opportunities for diversification, according to JPMorgan Asset Management. The fund giant said nontraditional investing can span private equity, alternative credit, real estate and infrastructure, as well as adopting strategies like short selling and leverage. Such approaches will evolve from optional to indispensable over the next 10 to 15 years, the firm said in its annual Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions report.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Green Is Good for Power Traders Chasing $430 Billion Market
Lars Paulsson, Rachel Morison, and Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
Shell, Vitol on hiring sprees to cash in on renewables; Traders guaranteed as much as $3 million for changing jobs
The itch is back for Paul Mead. After almost a decade investing in vineyards and startups in his native New Zealand, the former Barclays Plc and Enron Corp. trader wants to return to the power market.

Sunak should be wary of tokenism with green gilts; Popularity of similar investments does not necessarily make them a good idea
Tommy Stubbington – FT
No one can accuse UK chancellor Rishi Sunak of going out on a limb by pledging to sell the UK’s first green gilt next year. Nearly four years have passed since Poland won the race to sell the first sovereign green bond, with a host of others in Europe and emerging markets following in its wake.

Sunak should be wary of tokenism with green gilts
Tommy Stubbington – FT
No one can accuse UK chancellor Rishi Sunak of going out on a limb by pledging to sell the UK’s first green gilt next year. Nearly four years have passed since Poland won the race to sell the first sovereign green bond, with a host of others in Europe and emerging markets following in its wake. Investors hungrily gobbled up Germany’s inaugural green Bund in September. And with Joe Biden set to bring his climate agenda to the White House next year, some investors are speculating that the US could soon join the party.

From Buffett With Love: Meet The Activists Shaking Up Small Cap Stocks
Hank Tucker – Forbes
The Oracle of Omaha famously detached his investment strategy from his civic pursuits. Lauren Taylor Wolfe and Christian Alejandro Asmar’s Impactive Capital borrows from his buy-and-hold value book—but overlays a large amount of sustainability and inclusion.


Credit Suisse to Take $450 Million Charge on Hedge Fund York
Patrick Winters and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
York winding down most hedge fund strategies after tough year; Charge adds to troubles at Credit Suisse asset management unit
Credit Suisse Group AG expects to book a $450 million impairment on its stake in York Capital Management as the U.S. firm winds down most of its hedge-fund strategies, the latest in a series of hits to the bank’s balance sheet and reputation.

BlackRock Bets $1 Billion on Personalized Index Investing
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Aperio runs about $36 billion in separately managed accounts; Personalized indexes gaining popularity for wealthy investors
BlackRock Inc. is betting on the future of personalized index investing. The world’s biggest asset manager agreed to buy Aperio, a creator of tailored index strategies, from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital and Aperio employees for $1.05 billion in cash, according to a statement Monday. Sausalito, California-based Aperio oversaw about $36 billion in assets as of Sept. 30 for ultra-wealthy clients and institutions.

BlackRock to Buy Equity-Index Provider Aperio for $1 Billion; The all-cash deal is a move to add more personalization to its offerings
Kimberly Chin and Dawn Lim – WSJ
BlackRock Inc. BLK 1.51% is acquiring Aperio Group LLC, a firm that helps build custom portfolios for wealthy individuals, for $1.05 billion, in a push by the world’s largest money manager to add more personalization to its offerings.


China’s Finance World Opens Up to Foreigners, Sort Of
Bloomberg News
Even as the trade war was crimping the flow of goods between the U.S. and China, the Chinese government was opening doors in another arena, inviting in more foreign banks, insurance providers and other financial services companies. China has also been making it easier for foreigners to buy its stocks and bonds — something many fund managers are required to do now that major index compilers are including Chinese assets in their gauges — to the growing dismay of some U.S. politicians. The take-up is gathering pace but the going has been tough, even before the economic disruption and increased political tension caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Peru joins select group of nations selling century bonds; Investors offered sovereign debt maturing in 2120 even as political crisis roils nation
Colby Smith and Gideon Long – FT
Peru has joined a select group of countries issuing debt that matures in 100 years, as investors looked past the acute political crisis that has engulfed the country in recent weeks.

Europe’s Failings Are Back for Everyone to See; A vaccine won’t cure Covid’s long-term damage to the economy. The EU must rediscover its earlier urgency in tackling the fallout.
Ferdinando Giugliano – Bloomberg
In the first half of 2020, Europe mounted a bold and swift economic response to the Covid recession. As the second wave of the pandemic triggers a new slowdown, policy makers appear to have lost some of their mojo.


City of London makes late scramble to soothe Brexit disruption; Companies and regulators adapt despite lack of clarity on post-December market access
Philip Stafford and Jim Brunsden – FT
The UK finance industry is making last-minute arrangements to avoid disruption when the country leaves the EU’s single market next month, with Paris snagging a new trading hub for Goldman Sachs and a dual listing for FTSE 100 stalwart Segro.

Brexit Deal Outline May Emerge Within Days, Irish Premier Says
Dara Doyle – Bloomberg
Ireland’s premier said he is hopeful the outline of a post-Brexit deal trade deal between the U.K. and European Union will be clear by the end of the week as negotiators race to seal an accord. Speaking to reporters in Dublin on Monday, Micheal Martin said progress on fishing and ensuring fair competition has been made, but more is left to be done. “It’s down to political will,” he said. “One must remain hopeful.”

No-deal Brexit to cost more than Covid, Bank of England governor says
Richard Partington – The Guardian
The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, has warned that the economic cost of a no-deal Brexit would be bigger in the long term than the damage caused by Covid-19. Bailey said failure to agree to a deal before the Brexit transition expires at the end of December would cause disruption to cross-border trade and damage the goodwill between London and Brussels needed to build a future economic partnership.

Brexit’s data compliance burden could cost UK firms up to £1.6BN, says think tank
Natasha Lomas – TechCrunch
An analysis of the total cost to U.K. businesses if the country fails to gain an adequacy agreement from the European Commission once it leaves the bloc at the end of the year — creating barriers to inbound data flows from the EU — suggests the price in pure compliance terms could be between £1 billion and £1.6 billion. The assessment of the economic impacts if the U.K. is deemed a third country under EU data rules has been carried out by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) think tank and UCL’s European Institute research hub — with the researchers conducting interviews with more than 60 legal professionals, data protection officers, business representatives and academics from the U.K. and EU.

The EU thanks Joe Biden for his ‘clear support’ in Brexit dispute with the UK
Thomas Colson – Business Insider
The EU has thanked President-elect Joe Biden for his support after he warned Boris Johnson not to undermine the Good Friday Agreement in pursuit of a favourable Brexit deal. Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, ‘thanked the President-elect for his clear support of the Withdrawal Agreement the EU concluded with the UK last year.’ It came after Biden publicly warned Boris Johnson in October that a UK-US trade deal was off the table if Boris Johnson undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

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