Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
You can tell people are managing their risk more in interest rates following the recent bank collapses and the impending possible debt ceiling debt default, as the CME Group announced it had not only set a record 17 million contracts of open interest in Treasury futures, but it was the fifth consecutive day of records in open interest. The CME U.S. Treasury futures open interest reached 17,222,551 contracts on May 12.
BornTech announced it has sharpened its business focus through a strategic transaction in which it completely divested its colocation and managed hosting business lines to TNS, Inc.
David Prosperi, vice president and managing director of KemperLesnik, is quoted in an article titled “Should Your Business Talk About Politics Online?” David knows something about political risk, having worked on two presidential campaigns and served in the Reagan administration.
Bevon Joseph has a blog post titled “Mental Health and Resilience: A Founder’s Journey” in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
John McKenzie, CEO of TMX Group Ltd., announced on LinkedIn that TMX Group made a $25,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross 2023 Alberta Fires Appeal to lend support to the communities affected by the Alberta wildfires. He also suggested that if you would like to make a donation of your own, please visit www.redcross.ca
The Futures For Kids Fun Run in London is on May 25 and already there is a good sign up for the event. You can still register or sponsor. Details are HERE.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Eventus has a new report called “Trade Surveillance Priorities of Global Regulators – A Guide for Compliance Leaders,” in which it analyzes the priorities of several global regulators and highlights ways to keep firms ahead of the curve and ready for future regulatory changes. More information and the free downloadable report are available here.~SR
Jason Radzik on BNP Paribas’ Growth, ION, FTX, and Industry Ethics
JLN spoke with Jason Radzik, managing director at BNP Paribas, at the 2023 FIA conference in Boca Raton in March about the company’s growth and acquisitions, the ION attack, and the consequences for the industry of the FTX collapse.
CME Group CEO Duffy says exchange is prepared to leave Chicago ‘if we had to’
CME Group is prepared to leave Chicago if the city and state take steps that are perceived as “ill-conceived,” Chief Executive Officer Terry Duffy said in an interview. Duffy’s remarks, made in an episode of the Odd Lots podcast, come as Mayor Brandon Johnson is being sworn into office after proposing additional taxes, including one on financial transactions, to help boost the city’s revenue. That plan was fiercely opposed by Chicago’s exchanges and investment firms. A higher levy would also require state approval to pass.
****** CME has been preparing to leave Chicago for many years, from selling real estate to diversifying globally. It is no longer the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It is the CME Group. With the world of work from home, CME Group could be anywhere and everywhere.~JJL
Jump Trading Did Secret Deal to Prop Up TerraUSD Stablecoin, SEC Says; Chicago firm made about $1 billion through dealings with crypto mogul Do Kwon’s company, according to the agency
Alexander Osipovich – The Wall Street Journal
U.S. high-speed trading giant Jump Trading entered a secret deal to prop up the TerraUSD cryptocurrency a year before the coin’s collapse, new court filings show, highlighting the ties between Chicago-based Jump and disgraced crypto mogul Do Kwon. The Securities and Exchange Commission posted the court filings late Friday as part of its fraud lawsuit against Mr. Kwon and his company, Terraform Labs.
***** That is the problem with secrets, they never stay secret.~JJL
1,000-Franc Bills Account for Half of All Swiss Cash, SNB Says; Swiss cash in circulation rose to more than 90 billion francs; Vice President Martin Schlegel comments in magazine interview
Bastian Benrath – Bloomberg
More than half of all Swiss cash in circulation, almost 50 billion francs ($56 billion), is held in 1,000-franc bills, though a significant part of those notes might be in other countries, according to Swiss National Bank Vice President Martin Schlegel. “We assume that a good portion is also circulating abroad and is used to store value,” Schlegel told Die Volkswirtschaft. “This is a compliment and a vote of confidence in Switzerland and the SNB: People trust that our money will keep its value.”
****** I am sure none of these 1000-Franc bills are used in drug transactions.~JJL
Paris Is Trying to Steal the UK’s Fintech Crown; A growing number of startups are setting up in the city as the French government pushes to be at the forefront of Europe’s financial technology sector
Aisha S Gani – Bloomberg
It was not in vogue to found a startup in Paris when Jordane Giuly graduated a decade ago. “The cool thing was to go into banking or consulting. Three quarters of my friends did that when they started working.” Giuly returned to Paris after completing his master’s degree at Stanford to start a string of companies that didn’t quite take off, before he co-founded expense management platform Spendesk in 2016, which was valued last year at $1.5 billion. Giuly left in 2020 to co-found Defacto, a firm that offers credit infrastructure.
****** Look out, Charles, your crown is about to be stolen – the fintech one.~JJL
LME Fights to Regain Trust After Last Year’s Nickel Crisis; ‘We are competing for people’s confidence’: CEO Chamberlain; Exchange holding first in-person Asia conference since 2019
The embattled London Metal Exchange is still trying to rebuild faith in its nickel contract after an epic short squeeze last year, according to Chief Executive Officer Matthew Chamberlain. The crisis last March, when the metal used in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries spiked 250% in little more than 24 hours, brought the venerable LME to the brink of collapse. It raised doubts about the exchange’s viability as the world’s benchmark pricing mechanism for nickel and was followed by plunging trading volumes and frequent wild price swings.
***** If the LME would like to try some gentle persuasion rather than fighting, John Lothian News is ready and waiting to help tell their story.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was RIP, Lumber-Futures Contract That Jumped During Covid-19, from The Wall Street Journal. Second was US crypto tsar promises crackdown on digital platforms, from the Financial Times, about Eun Young Choi, who was appointed director of the DOJ’s national cryptocurrency enforcement team last year. Third was ‘France Is for the French’: Brexit Expats Adjust to Life in Paris, from Bloomberg.
27,317 pages; 244,783 edits
Chicago’s Empty Office Towers Threaten Its Future as a Major Financial Hub; City’s real estate market had worst quarter since the pandemic; New Mayor Brandon Johnson faces city’s flailing fortunes
Isis Almeida and Shruti Singh – Bloomberg
In the heart of Chicago’s financial center, a seven-story building occupying much of a city block was once home to the world’s largest options exchange. Now, it’s collecting dust. The property, for decades home to the floor where options traders jostled and screamed orders at each other, has been on the market since 2019, but owner Cboe Global Markets Inc. can’t find a buyer.
The digital euro: a solution seeking a problem? Europe’s central bank is pushing ahead with the development of electronic currency even as politicians question its purpose
Martin Arnold and Sam Fleming – Financial Times
When more than 1,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Amsterdam in early February, they directed their ire at something that does not even exist: the digital euro.
SVB’s Former CEO Says Fed, Social Media Contributed to Bank’s Collapse; Becker cites efforts made to overhaul bank in his testimony; Signature Bank executives are also set to testify Tuesday
Max Reyes – Bloomberg
The fastest pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in decades combined with negative social media sentiment contributed to the failure of SVB Financial Group’s Silicon Valley Bank, said Greg Becker, former chief executive officer of the company. “The messaging from the Federal Reserve was that interest rates would remain low and that the inflation that was starting to bubble up would only be ‘transitory,'” Becker said in written testimony.
SEC Urges Judge to Reject Coinbase Demand for Rules Explanation
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
The US Securities and Exchange Commission asked a judge to deny Coinbase Global Inc.’s request to compel the agency to respond to a rule-making petition the company submitted last year focused on how securities laws apply to cryptocurrency. Coinbase, the biggest crypto exchange in the US, sued for the order last month, claiming the commission hasn’t been reasonable or prompt in providing a response. The exchange is also seeking a formal notice-and-comment process to allow the public to weigh in.
Swiss Fund Manager GAM’s Appeal to Billionaires Remains a Mystery; A mooted takeover of the Swiss asset manager has aroused the ire of Xavier Niel.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
Why do billionaires bother with GAM Holding AG? The struggling Swiss asset manager is the subject of an activist campaign by French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel. The battle is reminiscent of the adage about fights in academia: They get vicious because so little is at stake.
Ermotti Counts on UBS Veteran Martin to Clean Up Credit Suisse; Beatriz Martin helped trim UBS’s investment bank a decade ago; Now she’s in charge of sifting through Credit Suisse’s assets
Marion Halftermeyer and Sonia Sirletti – Bloomberg
Beatriz Martin’s first job at UBS Group AG was to help shrink the investment bank after a $2 billion loss from a rogue trader. Eleven years later, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti is turning to her again for a key role in the biggest restructuring in global finance.
Stock Market Anomaly Is Playing By Its Own Rules; From cap-weighted outperformance to a lag for banking stocks, we’re in a rise that looks very weird. What’s going on?
John Authers – Bloomberg
Patterns and correlations, like rules, were made to be broken. Markets are aiming to allocate capital in an economy that is constantly evolving, so no relationship is ironclad. That said, the advance of the US stock market looks really, really weird.
How a publicity-shy chair is revamping Deutsche Bank; In his first year, Alexander Wynaendts has made management more accountable
Olaf Storbeck – Financial Times
It took Alexander Wynaendts 13 days to prove his sceptics wrong. When the Dutch former insurance executive joined Deutsche Bank in May last year, investors feared that the new chair might be a mere figurehead. Lacking an internal power base, much banking expertise or many connections in Germany, they were concerned that Wynaendts would be pushed around by Deutsche’s management.
US crypto clampdown pushes exchanges to go offshore; Overseas rivals taking market share with less fear of regulatory reprisals
Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
US cryptocurrency exchanges are setting up offshore venues in a hunt for overseas customers and to escape being ensnared in a regulatory blitz from US authorities. Two of the largest venues, Nasdaq-listed Coinbase and Gemini, have stepped up plans to launch marketplaces outside the US following enforcement cases against domestic crypto companies.
US grabs majority of euro swaps trading after Brexit rift; European traders turn to New York during March market jitters
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
The US has cornered the majority of trades in the $100tn euro swap market as the stand off between London and Brussels over financial services pushed traders to send more of their deals to New York.
Icahn Has Faced Many Probes But Hindenburg Claims Stand Apart; US information request came a day after short seller’s report; Ex-prosecutor says US likely investigating Hindenburg claims
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
Icahn Enterprise LP’s disclosure of a May 3 inquiry from federal prosecutors in New York sent the company’s shares reeling, but it’s far from the first time Carl Icahn has faced a government probe. If the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York is examining the allegations made about Icahn Enterprises by short seller Hindenburg Research, however, that could be a far more sweeping probe than even the one into Icahn’s ties to Ivan Boesky, legal experts said.
The $30 Trillion ETF Market Is Coming; Brown Brothers Harriman predicts the next decade will see the sector triple in size. On Trillions, we discuss the new products investors want.
Eric Balchunas and Joel Weber – Bloomberg
Exchange-traded funds could go from $9 trillion in global assets today to $30 trillion in the next decade as investors far and wide continue to migrate from mutual funds. This is the prediction that Brown Brothers Harriman reached in their 10th Annual ETF Survey last month.
Yellen Reiterates That the U.S. Could Run Out of Cash by June 1
Alan Rappeport – The New York Times
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen reiterated on Monday that the United States could run out of money to pay its bills by June 1 if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit, adding to the pressure on President Biden and congressional leaders as they race to reach an agreement to avert a default. The projection comes a day before Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other top lawmakers at the White House after a weekend of staff-level negotiations.
Elon Musk Issued Subpoena in Lawsuit Over JPMorgan’s Ties to Jeffrey Epstein
Khadeeja Safdar and David Benoit – The Wall Street Journal
Elon Musk is being asked to turn over documents as part of a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Virgin Islands against JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to court documents filed Monday. The U.S. Virgin Islands said it wants information from Mr. Musk because it believes the Tesla chief executive “is a high-net-worth individual who Epstein may have referred or attempted to refer to JPMorgan,” according to the court filing.
New York Fed economists explain why SVB and Signature Bank suddenly turned into rural 1930s banks without deposit insurance
Tristan Bove – Fortune
In the wake of Depression-era bank runs that caused thousands of financial institutions to fail, the government began doing something different in the 1930s-it created the FDIC and started insuring deposits. It was intended to make people feel confident in the banking system, and less likely to pull their money out.
Russia’s Seaborne Flows of Crude Oil Climb to a New High; The volume leaving Russia on tankers has risen by 10% since early April
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Russian crude oil flows to international markets continue to rise, even as the country insists it is slashing production. Four-week average seaborne shipments, which smooth out some of the volatility in weekly numbers, rose again in the period to May 12, as they have in four of the past five weeks. Flows are now up by 10% since the first week of April and hit a new high for the period since Bloomberg began tracking them in detail at the start of 2022.
Giving Ukraine Missiles Is the Best – the Only – Option; Britain leans into its role as leading Ukraine arms supplier
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
As the war in Ukraine grinds on, and the barbarism of Vladimir Putin’s forces grows more ghastly, taboos about which weapons systems should be given Ukraine for its defense have gradually broken down. It finally seems to be dawning on Western powers that the real escalation risk comes from Ukraine having insufficient means to defend itself.
China Envoy Begins Ukraine Mission as Xi Aims to Play Peacemaker; Li Hui to visit Ukraine, Russia in bid to restart talks; China has been criticized for not condemning Moscow’s attack
A top Chinese envoy will begin his tour of Ukraine and four other nations in Kyiv on Tuesday, in a trip designed to bolster President Xi Jinping’s credentials as a global peacemaker.
Russia Hasn’t Made Its Pledged Crude-Output Cuts, the IEA Says; Russia needs to cut 300,000 b/d in May to reach target: IEA; Energy Ministry data says cuts exceeded 400,000 b/d in April
Russia hasn’t implemented its pledged crude-output cuts, with exports hitting a postwar high as Moscow seeks to boost energy revenue to fund military spending, according to the International Energy Agency,
Kyiv says it repelled ‘exceptional’ barrage of Russian missiles; Ukraine denies Moscow’s claim that its air strike on the capital destroyed a US-provided Patriot defence system
Roman Olearchyk and Max Seddon – Financial Times
Ukraine said it repelled an unprecedented barrage of Russian missiles over Kyiv early on Tuesday, denying Moscow’s claims that it had succeeded in taking out a US-made Patriot system.
EU urged to crack down on imports of Indian fuels made with Russian oil; Brussels’ chief diplomat says bloc must look at ways to curtail Moscow’s revenues from refined products
Henry Foy and David Sheppard – Financial Times
The EU should crack down on India reselling Russian oil as refined fuels including diesel into Europe, the bloc’s chief diplomat has said, as western nations move to tighten sanctions on Moscow’s energy sector.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Abaxx Provides Corporate Update and Quarterly Development Activities
Abaxx Technologies Inc. (NEO:ABXX)(OTCQX:ABXXF) (“Abaxx” or the “Company”), a financial software and market infrastructure company, majority shareholder of the Abaxx Commodity Exchange (Abaxx Singapore Pte Ltd), and producer of the SmarterMarkets™ Podcast, summarizes development activities over the past quarter and the general progress of the Company’s business plans. Highlights: Completed full systems integration and commenced operational readiness testing; completed first user acceptance testing (“UAT”) and progressed systems toward final completion of regulatory requirements in Q2. Completed commercial onboarding of first clearinghouse settlement bank; signed collateral management services agreement with South East Asia’s largest bank by assets.
CME Group U.S. Treasury Futures Open Interest Surpasses Record 17 Million Contracts
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that open interest (OI) in its U.S. Treasury futures reached a record 17,222,551 contracts on May 12, the fifth consecutive day of record OI. Prior to the record week, the previous OI record of 16,698,659 contracts was set on February 19, 2020. “Market participants continue to turn to our deeply liquid U.S. Treasury futures in record numbers as they navigate historic uncertainty and manage fixed income risk,” said Agha Mirza, CME Group Global Head of Rates and OTC Products
EEX Press Release – Signing in Vilnius: Gas exchange GET Baltic becomes part of EEX Group EEX
With a formal signing, Lithuania’s gas transmission system operator Amber Grid and the European Energy Exchange (EEX) today sealed the acquisition under which EEX will take 66% of the shares in the regional gas exchange GET Baltic. As a result, the gas exchange operating in the three Baltic countries and Finland will become part of EEX Group. Amber Grid will hold the remaining 34% of the shares and will continue to support the further development of the gas business in the dynamic Baltic Sea region.
Nasdaq Announces 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders for June 21, 2023, at 8:00 AM ET. Shareholders of record will be able to vote and ask questions online during the meeting. The virtual meeting website will be accessible 15 minutes prior to the meeting start by visiting:
TMX Group pledges support to the 2023 Alberta Fires Appeal
TMX Group today announced a $25,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross 2023 Alberta Fires Appeal in support of efforts to help those impacted by wildfires in the province. Donations will enable the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide immediate and ongoing relief, recovery and resilience efforts in response to fires, and community preparedness and risk reduction for future all-hazard disaster events within Alberta.
Swiss Listings Have Been a Drag on Chinese Stocks; Chinese shares listed on Swiss exchange have fallen amid anemic trading
Dave Sebastian – The Wall Street Journal
Switzerland has become an alternative fundraising venue for Chinese companies wanting to sell shares abroad as U.S.-China tensions simmer. There is one problem: Shares of most of the Chinese companies that listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange have fallen significantly since they priced their European stock offerings, and there has been very little trading in them.
SIX integrates with FlexTrade’s Spark EMS to bolster streaming of real-time global market data; New offering will provide access to global market data across various outputs as well as an off-the-shelf trading solution that can help reduce time-to-market for new fund launches.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
SIX and multi-asset execution and order management systems provider FlexTrade Systems have integrated global real-time market pricing and reference data from SIX into FlexTrade’s Spark cloud-based EMS solution.
Tradeweb appoints new chairman as Lee Olesky announces retirement; Incoming successor has been part of Tradeweb’s board since 2022; previously held positions at Warburg Pincus, LCH Clearnet Group, Swiss Re and JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Tradeweb has announced that chairman Lee Olesky will retire from its board of directors at the end of Q2 , with Jacques Aigrain set to succeed him as chairman, effective 1 July.
There’s no such thing as a digital native; Technology is changing too rapidly for us to assume that the next generation will fully understand it
Stephen Bush – Financial Times
Call it the Abe Simpson principle. The cartoon patriarch, upon being told by his son Homer that he wasn’t “with it”, responded: “I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me.” Then he warned his son: “It’ll happen to you.”
BornTec Sharpens Business Focus Through Strategic Transaction
BornTec, a market leader in providing data driven solutions for surveillance, risk, compliance, and regulatory reporting in global markets, has sharpened its business focus with a recently completed divestiture of its colocation and managed hosting business lines to TNS, Inc. Derek Haworth, CEO and co-founder, heralded a new era for BornTec following the transaction.
Two U.S.-Listed Online Brokers Cut China Apps as Regulatory Pressure Persists; Futu and Tiger Brokers earlier agreed to stop accepting new customers from mainland China
James T. Areddy and Elaine Yu – The Wall Street Journal
Two Nasdaq-listed online brokerages that cater to clients in China are preparing to further curtail their offerings in the country, amid tightening controls by Beijing on private firms, capital flight and data flows.
Possible Cyberattack Disrupts The Philadelphia Inquirer
Michael Levenson – The New York Times
A possible cyberattack on The Philadelphia Inquirer disrupted the newspaper’s print operation over the weekend and prompted it to close its newsroom through at least Tuesday, when its staff will be covering an expensive and fiercely contested mayoral primary. Elizabeth H. Hughes, the publisher and chief executive of The Inquirer, said that the newspaper discovered “anomalous activity on select computer systems” on Thursday and “immediately took those systems offline.”
ChatGPT is about to revolutionize cybersecurity
Unless you purposely avoid social media or the internet completely, you’ve likely heard about a new AI model called ChatGPT, which is currently open to the public for testing. This allows cybersecurity professionals like me to see how it might be useful to our industry.
They dox Chinese hackers. Now, they’re back.
Aaron Schaffer – The Washington Post
For years, a pseudonymous blog called “Intrusion Truth” has shed light on Chinese hacking operations by naming suspected Chinese hackers. Now, after around five months of relative silence, they’re back – and turning their sights to Wuhan.
Huntress, which helps businesses fight cyberattacks, raises $60 million
Luisa Beltran – Fortune
Fortune has learned that Huntress’ Series C round came in at $60 million and was led by Sapphire Ventures. Also participating were Forgepoint Capital and JMI Equity who re-upped. Casber Wang, a Sapphire partner, is joining Huntress’s board. Huntress has collected $118 million in total.
How DeFi can keep out bad apples while upholding crypto’s core ideals
Kurt Hemecker – Forkast
The U.S. Treasury recently came out with its 2023 DeFi Illicit Finance Risk Assessment, which outlined the need for the decentralized finance industry to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. This is to prevent bad actors, such as cybercriminals, ransomware attackers, scammers and agents of sanctioned governments, from laundering funds through decentralized finance. First, it’s worth noting that far more illicit finance occurs in traditional financial systems compared to DeFi, but with the help of zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, it’s also very feasible for DeFi applications to comply with AML laws while retaining user data privacy.
Gensler: SEC ‘Stands Ready to Help’ as Crypto Startups Face Wave of Enforcement Actions
Pedro Solimano – Decrypt
“The rules have already been published,” asserted Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler during a keynote speech on Monday, strenuously pushing back on criticism that the SEC has not provided useful guidance for crypto companies looking to remain in compliance with federal law.
Is Bitcoin Useless?
Rakesh Sharma – Investopedia
Ordinarily, a 10th anniversary is a cause for celebration and reflection. But there were few accolades for Bitcoin in 2018. That year, Bitcoin celebrated 10 years since Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the digital currency in response to the global financial crisis. By decentralizing the financial ecosystem, Nakamoto attempted to shift the balance of power from a select group of financial institutions to the wider public.
Bitcoin Has a ‘Real Problem’ in U.S.: Paul Tudor Jones
Jamie Crawley – CoinDesk
Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said that bitcoin (BTC) has become less attractive thanks to what’s become an unfriendly regulatory picture in the U.S. and what he expects will be lower inflation going forward. “Bitcoin has a real problem because in the United States, you have the entire regulatory apparatus against it,” Jones said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
EU’s Crypto Legal Framework Inches Towards Law With Finance Ministers’ Sign-Off
Jack Schickler, Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
Landmark new crypto rules were signed off on Tuesday by finance ministers of the European Union (EU). The EU’s Council, which represents 27 member states, unanimously approved the Markets in Crypto Assets regulation (MiCA), making the bloc set to be the first major jurisdiction in the world with a crypto licensing regime. It also agreed new anti-money laundering measures on crypto funds transfers.
BlockFi Claims Against FTX, Alameda ‘Largest Driver’ of More Than $1B in Asset Recoveries, Firm Says
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
South Korea Probes Crypto Exchanges Upbit, Bithumb on Ex-Lawmaker’s Transfers
Lavender Au – CoinDesk
Bankrupt Crypto Lender Celsius Transfers $75M of Ether to Staking Service Figment
Krisztian Sandor – CoinDesk
Tornado Cash dev Alexey Pertsev faces a hearing this month – here’s what to expect
Inbar Preiss – DL News
Bitcoin Has a ‘Real Problem’ in U.S.: Paul Tudor Jones; The billionaire hedge fund manager also said lower inflation is also going to be a headwind for the crypto.
Jamie Crawley – CoinDesk
Crypto’s Most Influential Companies Often Follow Their Own Rules – Even After FTX’s Collapse
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
Bitcoin is a bubble with ‘no inherent value and is terribly overpriced,’ top economist Steve Hanke says
Zinya Salfiti – Markets Insider
Bank Executives Face Grilling as US Lawmakers Pry Into Failures; Ex-SVB managers likely get questioned on bonuses, stock trades; Fed and FDIC officials also in hot seat regarding oversight
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
The fight over who bears the blame for the recent US bank failures will turn ever more political on Tuesday when lawmakers grill the lenders’ former senior managers and top regulators. Greg Becker, ex-chief executive officer of Silicon Valley Bank, and Scott Shay, who served as chairman of Signature Bank, are among those set to testify in the Senate Banking Committee. US lawmakers and regulators have accused leadership at both banks of mismanagement.
IRS Weighs Creating a Government-Run Tax-Prep Option; Companies such as TurboTax are leaning on lawmakers to fight a change
Richard Rubin – The Wall Street Journal
The Biden administration is considering creating a government-run alternative to TurboTax and H&R Block, drawing resistance from Republicans and companies fearing a loss of business. Democrats and consumer advocates have been pushing for the Internal Revenue Service to offer free online tax filing on its website, particularly for people with straightforward returns.
I.R.S. Acknowledges Black Americans Face More Audit Scrutiny; The commissioner, Daniel Werfel, said the agency was working to correct unfairness in the enforcement of the tax code.
Alan Rappeport – The New York Times
The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that Black taxpayers have been far more likely to be audited than others and that it is considering changes to its case selection process to address discrimination in how the tax code is enforced. The acknowledgment came after the publication of research this year showing that Black taxpayers were disproportionately audited, prompting calls from members of Congress for a review into the methodology and algorithms that help determine who is selected.
US to Buy 3 Million Barrels of Oil for Reserve in August; Energy Department to seek offers to buy sour crude oil; Country’s emergency stockpile is at lowest level since 1980s
Jennifer Jacobs and Ari Natter – Bloomberg
The US is soliciting bids for up to 3 million barrels of sour crude oil to refill its depleted Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Deliveries into the emergency government stockpile are planned for August, with awards to be announced in June, the Energy Department said in its solicitation Monday. The move marks the agency’s second attempt to begin replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after it released more than 200 million barrels last year, in part to curb high energy prices.
Generation X Is Worried That Social Security Won’t Survive; Survey finds Americans born between 1965 and 1980 are concerned that government benefits won’t be there to support them in retirement.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
More than half of the people classified as Generation X say they won’t be financially prepared for retirement. To make matters worse, only 45% of Gen X – Americans born between 1965 and 1980 – said they were “very or somewhat confident” that Social Security will be there to support them when they need it, according to a survey released Monday by Northwestern Mutual.
Downing Street Rejects Farage’s ‘Brexit Has Failed’ Claim
Patrick Daly – Bloomberg
Disinformation dangers lurk in the EU’s media freedom act
Anika Collier Navaroli – Financial Times
Credit Suisse Deal Set to Face Historic Parliamentary Probe; Lawmakers take key vote to convene an inquiry commission; Inquiry will not stop deal, may yield information on takeover
Bastian Benrath – Bloomberg
UK Doesn’t Work for Other Global Regulators, Antitrust Head Says
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
The UK’s competition watchdog vowed to continue to put Britain first after her agency announced its arrival on the global stage by blocking Microsoft Corp.’s $69 billion Activision Blizzard Inc. deal.
SEC Isn’t Considering Short-Selling Ban, Gensler Says; Gensler says such measures haven’t worked in past instances; Critics have floated short ban in response to bank declines
Benjamin Bain – Bloomberg
US regulators aren’t currently weighing a ban on selling stocks short as wild trading continues in the shares of some regional banks. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler batted down the prospect of such a ban, saying that similar restrictions haven’t worked in the past. Critics have argued that such measures are necessary because recent declines in some bank stocks have little to do with a lender’s outlook.
“Lessons from Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow:” Remarks before the Atlanta Federal Reserve Financial Markets Conference
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
So the story goes, in 1871, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern. Her barn was enflamed. The fire spread quickly through the wooden buildings of Chicago, and 2,100 acres burned. In the following years, Chicago rebuilt itself with new rules and an upgraded fire department to limit the risk of flames raging across the city. Those Chicagoans understood this wasn’t just a simple accident of a cow and a lantern.
SEC Charges Red Rock Secured, Three Executives in Fraud Scheme Targeting Retirement Accounts
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against El Segundo, California-based Red Rock Secured LLC, its CEO, Sean Kelly, and two of its former Senior Account Executives, Anthony Spencer and Jeffrey Ward, in connection with a fraudulent scheme that involved convincing hundreds of investors to sell securities in their retirement accounts to buy gold and silver coins at prices that included markups far greater than the defendants had promised.
SEC Charges 10 Microcap Companies with Securities Offering Registration Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against 10 microcap companies for offering and selling securities in unregistered offerings that failed to comply with Regulation A, which provides a limited exemption from registration under the Securities Act to allow companies to raise money from the public as long as they meet specific requirements.
Remarks at ICAEW Event – World-Class Regulation: Building Trust and Transparency in International Markets
Commissioner Mark T. Uyeda – SEC
Thank you, Julia [Penny] for that introduction. And thank you to the ICAEW for inviting me to share some thoughts on corporate accounting standards in a global context, particularly between the United States and the United Kingdom. New York and London have been top destinations for corporate issuers to raise capital, and one significant factor has been high-quality financial reporting requirements for companies listed in those jurisdictions. My remarks reflect solely my views as an individual Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission” or “SEC”) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the full Commission or my fellow Commissioners.
Meeting the challenge in our changing global markets
We often present ourselves as being part of a generation plunged in a state of constant turbulence, the ones who stand to see the most change in our lifetimes thanks to transformations in everything from technology to climate to markets. Yet on this very day, in 1866, a dramatic change was foisted on American consumers. Congress passed legislation which paved the way for a new metal to be used for coins. This 5 cent coin was largely made of copper with 25% nickel but became known as nickel and today, May 16th, is officially Nickel Day. Before this, coins were usually gold or silver but the American Civil War had destroyed monetary supply as people were hoarding precious metals.
SFC welcomes appointment of Executive Director
Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) welcomes the appointment by the Financial Secretary of Ms Lisa Chen as Executive Director (Legal Services) for a term of three years effective from 22 May 2023. Ms Chen is currently Senior Director of the SFC’s Enforcement Division and was previously Deputy Chief Counsel of the Legal Services Division (Note 1).
Investing and Trading
Investing Book That Flopped 32 Years Ago Now Sells for Thousands
Spencer Jakab – The Wall Street Journal
Walk past the famous lions and up the steps of the New York Public Library’s main branch and, in addition to a huge collection of books anyone with a card can borrow, there are rarities such as 400-year-old copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio and an even older Gutenberg Bible. Another title that can’t leave the premises is an ordinary looking, modern hardcover on investing written by a still-living author.
Turkish Markets Slump as Bets on Return to Orthodoxy Unravel; Stocks and bonds slump, state banks said to support lira; Erdogan will face opposition rival in run-off ballot on May 28
Tugce Ozsoy, Kerim Karakaya and Netty Idayu Ismail – Bloomberg
Turkey’s markets slid as the nation heads for a runoff election, with stronger-than-expected support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrong footing investors who were betting on a quick end to his unconventional economic policies. The benchmark stock index, the BIST-100, closed 6.1% lower after earlier falling as much as 6.7%, triggering a circuit breaker.
ISDA AGM Studio: Debbie Toennies and Jacques Vigner
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Debbie Toennies, managing director and head of regulatory affairs for the Corporate and Investment Bank at JP Morgan, and Jacques Vigner, chief strategic oversight officer for global markets at BNP Paribas, talk to ISDA’s head of capital Panayiotis Dionysopoulos about the importance of harmonizing the Basel III capital rules across jurisdictions.
Record buyback spree attracts shareholder complaints; Purchases by the world’s biggest 1,200 companies triple in a decade to rival dividends in scale
Arjun Neil Alim, Emma Dunkley, George Steer and Chris Flood and Nicholas Megaw and Madison Darbyshire – Financial Times
Record levels of share buybacks are attracting complaints from a growing number of prominent investors concerned that the practice is boosting executive bonuses but providing only limited benefits to shareholders.
Japan stock index hits 33-year high as investors warm to Tokyo story; Interest spurred by corporate governance reforms and search for alternative to China
Leo Lewis and Katie Martin – Financial Times
Japan’s stocks reached their highest level in 33 years on Tuesday, propelled by growing hopes of higher governance standards and more serious regard for shareholders after decades of lacklustre returns.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Norway’s $1.4tn oil fund to step up ESG proposals to US companies; World’s biggest sovereign investor to expand use of shareholder motions after successful trial
Richard Milne – Financial Times
Norway’s $1.4tn oil fund will step up its use of shareholder proposals to send messages on environmental, social and governance topics to US companies after quietly testing them out at a small number of annual meetings.
Credit Suisse Managing Director Says Bank Actively Seeking ESG Debt Deals; UBS is studying which Credit Suisse businesses to keep; Credit Suisse has emerged as leader in debt-for-nature swaps
Natasha White – Bloomberg
A senior investment banker at Credit Suisse AG says his team is actively seeking new deals in a rapidly growing corner of ESG financing, even as the future of the unit after the takeover by UBS Group AG is in question. The Swiss bank stands out as a pioneer in a corner of environmental, social and governance investment known as debt-for-nature swaps, a market that it has so far dominated. But this year’s near-collapse and government-engineered rescue by UBS Group means that businesses in the loss-making investment bank are now being taken under the microscope for their fit into the longer-term UBS strategy.
Banks Face Regulatory Scrutiny Over Interest-Rate Risks; Supervisors querying lenders in bid to stem further failures; Bigger policy changes face long odds in a divided Congress
Craig Torres and Katanga Johnson – Bloomberg
US regulators are ratcheting up oversight efforts across the banking system as they lack the ability to quickly overhaul rules to blunt turmoil that’s already collapsed four mid-sized lenders. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have been peppering lenders over the past several weeks with questions related to interest-rate risks and commercial real estate exposure, according to people familiar with the matter.
San Francisco Fed Ties to S.V.B. Chief Attracts Scrutiny to Century-Old Setup
Jeanna Smialek – The New York Times
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has drawn attention to the relationship between the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, which was in charge of overseeing safety and soundness at the lender, and the bank’s former chief executive, Greg Becker, who for years sat on the San Francisco Fed’s board of directors.
FTSE Russell launches the FTSE UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series
FTSE Russell today announces it has launched the FTSE UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series as part of the continued expansion of its multi-asset ESG and Climate index product range. The UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series applies a range of (product and conduct) exclusions, significantly reduces the carbon emissions and reserves exposure of the Index (vs the underlying benchmark) and tilts the weights of the universe towards companies with better ESG characteristics.
Goldman Banker Wins Promotion, Then Leaves for Rival Two Weeks Later; Goldman’s M&A COO jumps to boutique firm Perella Weinberg; Exit shows challenges banks face in retaining Black executives
Sridhar Natarajan and Liana Baker – Bloomberg
A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker quit his post just two weeks after landing a plum position in the firm’s prized merger advisory unit. Troy Broderick, who was named chief operating officer of the financial giant’s M&A business earlier this month, is leaving for boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The exit follows that of Russ Hutchinson, who got the same role at Goldman Sachs in November, only to depart five months later.
Blythe Masters Warns of ‘Devastating Loss’ If AI Goes Unchecked; The former JPMorgan executive also discusses the likelihood of a US recession and whether contagion risk among banks has been contained, on “Bloomberg Wealth With David Rubenstein.”
Francesca Maglione – Bloomberg
Few technologies are likely to be as transformative to the financial-services industry as artificial intelligence, said Blythe Masters, the former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive who helped create credit-default swaps. “We can see with our own eyes and feel and become enamored with the way in which these ingenious programs are able to interact with us,” Masters said on an episode of “Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein.” “It will change not just the financial-services landscape, but pretty much everything we do.”
Morgan Stanley Weighs Cutting 7% of Asia Investment Bank Jobs; Bank may cut over 40 bankers in region, mostly China focused; Staff may be notifitied this week; final decisions pending
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley is considering a 7% cut in its Asia-Pacific investment banking workforce, with China taking the biggest hit as deteriorating relations with the US and weaker economic growth curb dealmaking, people familiar with the matter said.
Elon Musk subpoenaed in JPMorgan lawsuit over Jeffrey Epstein ties; Lawyers are seeking documents about whether billionaire Tesla boss was introduced to bank by late sex offender
Joe Miller and Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
Elon Musk has been subpoenaed in connection with a lawsuit accusing JPMorgan of facilitating late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s human trafficking operation in the US Virgin Islands.
Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay Shareholders $1 Billion to Settle Class-Action Suit; Shareholders claimed the bank and its past leadership were moving slower to address regulatory issues than they acknowledged publicly
Ben Eisen – The Wall Street Journal
Wells Fargo agreed to pay shareholders $1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the bank of overstating its progress in cleaning up after its 2016 fake-accounts scandal.
Work & Management
The Disappearing White-Collar Job; A once-in-a-generation convergence of technology and pressure to operate more efficiently has corporations saying many lost jobs may never return
Chip Cutter and Harriet Torry – The Wall Street Journal
For generations of Americans, a corporate job was a path to stable prosperity. No more. The jobs lost in a monthslong cascade of white-collar layoffs triggered by overhiring and rising interest rates might never return, corporate executives and economists say. Companies are rethinking the value of many white-collar roles, in what some experts anticipate will be a permanent shift in labor demand that will disrupt the work life of millions of Americans whose jobs will be lost, diminished or revamped partly through the use of artificial intelligence.
UBS Poaches Half Dozen Tech Bankers From Barclays
Liana Baker – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG is hiring a group of a half dozen technology, media and telecommunications bankers from rival Barclays Plc, according to people familiar with the matter. The hires include Richard Hardegree, Laurence Braham, Ozzie Ramos, Richard Casavechia, Neil Meyer, Jason Williams and Ken Tittle, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The bankers are located in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, the people said.
Amazon Plans to Add ChatGPT-Style Search to Its Online Store; Company’s AI ambitions appear in job listings for engineers; Move rivals Microsoft, Google efforts to infuse search with AI
Matt Day – Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. plans to bring ChatGPT-style product search to its web store, rivaling efforts by Microsoft Corp. and Google to weave generative artificial intelligence into their search engines. The e-commerce giant’s ambitions appear in recent job postings reviewed by Bloomberg News. One listing seeking a senior software development engineer says the company is “reimagining Amazon Search with an interactive conversational experience” designed to help users find answers to questions, compare products and receive personalized suggestions.
Business Lunches Are Back in New York, Chicago as Pandemic Fades
Daniela Sirtori-Cortina – Bloomberg
Business lunches are on the rise in major cities across the US, suggesting that at least some pre-pandemic corporate habits are returning to normal. In New York, the number of seated diners on weekdays at noon climbed every month between January and April from the prior year, according to data from online reservations platform OpenTable. Only Fridays in March were almost unchanged from 2022.
Trying to lose weight? Avoid sugar substitutes, the World Health Organization warns
Katie Kindelan – GMA
People who are trying to lose weight should avoid using zero calorie non-sugar sweeteners, according to a new recommendation released Monday by the World Health Organization.
Appeals Court Pauses Ruling That Threatened Free Preventive Health Care
Emily Baumgaertner – The New York Times
A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily blocked a lower court decision that overturned the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all health plans fully cover certain preventive health services. The move by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans will put on hold a decision from March that had threatened insurance coverage for recommended services like depression screenings for teenagers and drugs that prevent transmission of H.I.V. The Justice Department had appealed the decision, and the appeals court’s stay will stand while the appeals process plays out.
China’s Demand for Oil Hits Record as IEA Raises Global Forecasts; Outlook highlights widening divide between booming demand in the developing world and lackluster requirements in Europe and North America
Will Horner – The Wall Street Journal
China’s insatiable demand for oil is growing at a faster-than-expected pace, threatening to tighten crude markets and send oil prices higher as supplies struggle to keep up, the International Energy Agency said. The Paris-based agency’s latest outlook points to a widening divide between booming demand for crude across the developing world and lackluster demand in Europe and North America where economic prospects look bleak.
The High Cost of Eating Is Crushing Europe; Inflation rates may be slowing, but food markets across the continent tell a different story. On this episode of Stephanomics, we ask why.
Molly Smith and Stephanie Flanders – Bloomberg
Inflation rates may be slowing broadly across Europe, but you wouldn’t know it after a trip to the grocery store or dining out. And there’s only so much governments can do to help their people cope. In this week’s Stephanomics podcast, Bloomberg reporter Alessandra Migliaccio takes you across the continent to see how much more it costs to make some of the world’s most famous dishes, from France’s coq au vin to pizza margherita in Italy.
Bird Flu Hits Brazil, World’s Top Chicken Exporter, for the First Time Ever; Cases detected in two wild birds on Espirito Santo’s coast; Exporter group says unlikely shipments will be curbed for now
Tatiana Freitas – Bloomberg
The virus that’s ravaged poultry flocks in the US and Europe has just hit Brazil, the world’s largest chicken exporter, for the first time ever. Avian influenza was detected in two wild birds on the coast of Espirito Santo, a state in the nation’s southeast, according to a statement from Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry. The country is home to some of the world’s biggest poultry producers including BRF SA and JBS SA. Shares of both companies declined.