China Creates Its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

Apr 6, 2021

First Read

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

JLN published two videos yesterday, one with SGX CEO Loh Boon Chye and the other with The Full FX Co-Founder Colin Lambert. Lambert talks about the new publication he and Michelle Hemstedt launched and Boon Chye talks about how FIA Boca-V went, how SGX’s expansion into the U.S. has added trading volume, and about equity product happenings.

Our friends at FEX Global and Trading Technologies jointly announced a deal to connect the TT platform to FEX market participants. It allows all energy, commodity and environmental derivatives listed on FEX Global to be traded through TT.

CME Chairman Emeritus Leo Melamed‘s latest book will be published in hardcover on April 27. The name of the book is “Man of the Futures: The Story of Leo Melamed and the Birth of Modern Finance.”

Two Coinbase employees were married by exchanging NFTs as well as rings so they could get married on the blockchain. This puts new meaning into the phrase the “old ball and (block)chain.”

ICE put out their volume and open interest numbers from March today and they sizzled. Highlights from the first quarter of 2021 included total average daily volume (ADV) up 30% versus the fourth quarter of 2020. Open Interest at the exchange was up 4% year year-over-year and up 10% compared to December 31, 2020. Some of the products with increases in average daily volume included Brent, TTF gas, ags and metals, sugar, interest rates and Sterling. SONIA ADV was up 627% year on year, including a record 226 thousand contracts on March 9.

Tradeweb announced they had record volume in March with an average daily volume of $1.07 trillion per day.

There is a story in the Financial Times by Patti Waldmeir that Jeremy Grant wanted me to see and share. It is about racial disparities between two parts of Evanston, Illinois, one predominantly white and the other predominantly black. The difference in life expectancy between these two sections of the same town is 10 years; if you are black you have 10 fewer expected years to live. It is a microcosm of the historic racial disparities we have in the U.S. Evanston has decided to try to do something in the form of reparations for people impacted by redlining practices in the previous century.

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Help us preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.

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


Catching up: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on Friday reported another record for monthly sales of adult-use cannabis in March 2021, surpassing $100 million for the first time since it was legalized in the state. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that March marked the one-year anniversary of the month the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. It was also March 2020 (on the 13th) when then-President Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States a national emergency. ~SC


The Full FX Co-Founder Colin Lambert Talks with John Lothian News

Out of the ashes of last fall’s closing of Profit & Loss, longtime P&L editor Colin Lambert and the former commercial director of P&L, Michelle Hemstedt, have launched a new publication, The Full FX. John Lothian News interviewed Lambert in Sydney over Zoom recently about starting the publication, who is involved, and what the plan is.

Watch the video »


SGX’s CEO Talks With John Lothian News

John Lothian News interviewed Singapore Exchange CEO Loh Boon Chye over Zoom in Singapore after the FIA Boca-V conference. Boon Chye talked about SGX, its new products and marketing during the pandemic.

Watch the video »



FEX Global, the Newly Launched Australian Futures Exchange, Contracts with Trading Technologies to Distribute the TT Platform to Market Participants; All energy, commodity and environmental derivatives listed on FEX Global are now tradable through TT
Trading Technologies International, Inc.
Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a global provider of high-performance professional trading software, infrastructure and data solutions, and FEX Global, a newly launched Australian futures exchange, today announced that FEX Global has contracted with Trading Technologies to provide the exchange’s trading participants with the company’s TT trading platform.

*****TT is starting to remind me of the early 2000s when they were announcing a new API or plans to write to one every week.~JJL


Billionaires John, Laura Arnold to give 5% of wealth yearly
Haleluya Hadero – AP
Billionaire philanthropists John and Laura Arnold have committed to donate 5% of their wealth annually as part of an effort to encourage increased, timelier donations to charities. The Arnolds, who live in Houston, are the first billionaires to sign on to the advocacy organization Global Citizen’s “Give While You Live” campaign, which calls on the world’s billionaires to give at least 5% of their wealth every year to a cause. The Arnolds’ pledge Monday came as part of an alliance between Global Citizen and the Arnold-led Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving — a coalition of donors, experts and nonprofits who want Congress to raise giving requirements.

*****John Arnold is a former Enron analyst/trader who was dubbed the “king of natural gas” by colleagues and founded the hedge fund Centaurus Advisors after Enron collapsed.~JJL


Citadel Gets the Spotlight; With banks hobbled by new regulation after the financial crisis, Citadel Securities became a major force in trading. But the GameStop episode that revealed the firm’s huge role in U.S. listed markets has attracted the attention of politicians and regulators.=
Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
For the world of finance, it was must-watch TV. A U.S. congressional committee summoned an odd assortment of Wall Street characters to testify about a saga that captured so much public attention it was discussed on Good Morning America. How did amateur traders, billionaire hedge fund managers, social media posts, and an opaque market structure fuel a dizzying surge, and sudden crash, in the shares of video game retailer GameStop Corp.?

******No wonder Heath Tarbert joined Citadel. He likes the spotlight.~JJL


After Covid-19, Office Leases Largely Come With Bargain Rates; Companies looking for offices in large U.S. cities are seeking less space but longer terms
Peter Grant – WSJ
Big companies are making plans to stick with city-center office buildings, but they are cutting back on space and driving down rent prices for years to come, according to an analysis of U.S. office leasing trends prepared for The Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s leasing information comes from the data firm VTS, which tracks tens of thousands of negotiations across the U.S. between landlords and tenants. Landlord and tenant discussions in seven of the largest office markets offer an early glimpse into the evolving workplace strategies for hundreds of companies after a year of largely remote work.

******Right now my plans are to continue to work from home when my lease is up unless I get or can find a bargain basement deal on some office space.~JJL


Illinois town starts spending to address the racial divide; Reparations programme aims to distribute funds for housing among discriminated against families
Patti Waldmeir – FT
I live on one side of the railway tracks in a small town outside Chicago, and most of the city’s black residents live on the other side. In US census tract 8092, on the mostly African-American side of Evanston, Illinois, the average life expectancy at birth is 75.5 years.

*****In an unrelated factoid, when I started following Trading Technologies, their Chicago office was in Evanston.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
The most-read story on Monday was an opinion piece published by Business Insider, Robinhood, Retail Brokers Still Quietly Screwing Over Users. The second most read was from Yahoo Finance, which looked at The New York Stock Exchange’s massive post-COVID question. And third was from TD Ameritrade by (former JLN staffer) Doug Ashburn, Where Does My Order Get Filled? Taking Stock of the U.S. Market.


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Lead Stories

China Creates Its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy; A cyber yuan stands to give Beijing power to track spending in real time, plus money that isn’t linked to the dollar-dominated global financial system
James T. Areddy – WSJ
A thousand years ago, when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power. It might seem money is already virtual, as credit cards and payment apps such as Apple Pay in the U.S. and WeChat in China eliminate the need for bills or coins. But those are just ways to move money electronically. China is turning legal tender itself into computer code.

Archegos Saga Not So Tragic for Wall Street’s Big Brokers; The collapse has highlighted some issues in prime brokerage that could end up playing to the biggest banks’ advantage
Telis Demos – WSJ
The saga of Archegos Capital Management has put the spotlight on a little-known but vital business for Wall Street: Prime brokerage. The resulting scrutiny could impact this engine of trading, but it might also wind up playing into the hands of the biggest banks. The biggest source of banks’ equities-trading revenue was once cash trading, or the relatively straightforward business of helping clients execute trades. But while commissions narrowed over the last decade or so, prime brokerage revenue grew. Prime brokers provide financing for trading clients like hedge funds, leading to both lending income and trading activity. Banks can also use their prime units to pool trading and risk exposures to help drive profitability across their trading desks. Morgan Stanley MS -0.28% in 2019 referred to prime as “sort of the center of the machine” for equities.

Credit Suisse May Let Fund Clients Take Hit on Greensill Losses
Patrick Winters and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Bank considers that Greensill risks were known to investors; Lender pledged to return more cash to investors by mid-April
Credit Suisse Group AG is leaning toward letting clients foot the bill for eventual losses in funds that the bank ran with former billionaire Lex Greensill’s company, according to a person familiar with the matter. The bank considers that the risks around Greensill were known and the funds were only marketed to investors able to assess such risks, the person said, declining to be identified discussing private matters. The Zurich-based lender didn’t take any substantial loss due to Greensill in the first quarter.

Crypto Lobby Forms to Shake Reputation as Criminals’ Currency
Joe Light – Bloomberg
International watchdog proposes harsh anti-crypto rules; Industry groups see wave of donations for expected battle
Even as cryptocurrencies steadily gain support on Wall Street, they’re still regarded by regulators as a tool for criminals to conceal shady transactions — posing a challenge to the nascent industry as it seeks to win wider respect. That’s creating a potentially lucrative opportunity for new groups in Washington advocating for digital currencies. Some prominent crypto lobbying organizations say they’ve increased their membership and raised millions of dollars to help improve the industry’s image.

Corporate America’s Not-So-New Allies; Democrats are coming to business’ political aid over social issues. That’s not as big a shift as it might seem.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
For decades, corporate America was seen as a natural ally of the Republican Party. But as companies increasingly use their clout to speak out on social issues, a rift has emerged. “Parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” Senator Mitch McConnell said yesterday after a series of statements from big businesses about restrictions to voting rights in Georgia and elsewhere. At the same time, liberal Democrats who made their careers bashing big business may have reason to rethink who their friends are, Andrew writes in his latest column.

Stock clearing stalwarts face increasing threat from blockchain; Instinet and Credit Suisse skip main US clearing house and settle deals on digital ledger
Philip Stafford – FT
Credit Suisse and broker Instinet said on Tuesday they had settled privately-negotiated stocks deals on a blockchain for the first time, speeding up the completion of share trades to just a few hours, compared with the current system of two days.

Fidelity, Square, Coinbase Launch Bitcoin Trade Group; Council will lobby policy makers, serve as industry’s voice in championing digital currencies
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments, Square Inc. SQ 0.19% and several other financial firms are forming a new trade group that aims to shape the way bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are regulated. The Crypto Council for Innovation will lobby policy makers, take up research projects and serve as the burgeoning industry’s voice in championing the economic benefits of digital currencies and related technologies. Crypto investor Paradigm and Coinbase Global Inc., which operates a cryptocurrency exchange, also signed on as initial members of the group.

Credit Suisse Executives to Depart After Archegos Losses
Jan-Henrik Foerster, Patrick Winters, Saijel Kishan, and Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
Investment bank chief Chin to leave as part of wider shakeup; Lara Warner, chief risk officer, is also departing the firm
Credit Suisse Group AG is shaking up its executive ranks after the Zurich-based lender was hit hard by the collapse of Archegos Capital Management. Investment bank chief Brian Chin is set to leave in an exit that may be announced as soon as Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the move hasn’t been made public. Chief Risk Officer Lara Warner is also departing, along with a number of business heads, although Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein will be spared.

BlackRock Breaks Wall Street Ranks With Planned Racial Audit
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Glass Lewis recommends shareholders vote for BofA racial audit; Investor withdraws Morgan Stanley proposal after agreement
BlackRock Inc. is breaking ranks with peers on Wall Street by doing a deep dive into its business to see how it may have contributed to racial inequities in the financial system. The world’s largest money manager plans to undergo an independent racial audit of its operations, following a request from a shareholder. Companies including Airbnb Inc. and Facebook Inc. have taken similar steps in the past few years.

The Fed Is Making Wall Street Forecasters Pay Attention to Black Unemployment; The shift may help speed the economic recovery for low-income groups.
Matthew Boesler – Bloomberg
To get an idea of what Jerome Powell’s Federal Reserve will do next, Wall Street economists are having to try their hand at forecasting new variables — like the Black unemployment rate. That shift in focus could itself contribute to the outcome that the Fed chair says he wants: an economic expansion reaching corners of the labor force that have been slower to recover in the past.

Robert Mundell, Nobel Laureate Who Inspired the Euro, Dies at 88
Nancy Moran and Sho Chandra – Bloomberg
Widely regarded as a pioneer in modern international economics; His research made him the intellectual father of the euro
Robert Mundell, the Nobel Prize-winner and supply-side economist who was considered the intellectual father of the euro, has died. He was 88. His death was confirmed by Sophia Johnson, assistant director of the program for economic research at Columbia University, where Mundell was professor emeritus.

What Is Archegos and How Did It Rattle the Stock Market? Bill Hwang’s investment firm had $30 billion in bets on major stocks that unraveled in March
Juliet Chung and Margot Patrick – WSJ
Investor Bill Hwang set off a storm in the stock market in March when his firm, Archegos Capital Management, and its banks, began liquidating huge positions in blue-chip companies, according to people familiar with the transactions. The sales sent individual stocks swooning and have left at least three banks with major damage. Credit Suisse said on April 6 that it would take a $4.7 billion hit because of the meltdown.

Texas Storm Is Windfall for Some Wall Street Firms; Natural-gas plants owned by Fortress, Kennedy Lewis and others saw increased demand when subfreezing temperatures hit the state
Juliet Chung and Katherine Blunt – FT
A handful of Wall Street firms that bet big on the power sector in recent years made millions in paper profits when the winter storm in Texas boosted demand for the electricity generated by plants they own. SoftBank Group Corp.’s 9984 -1.12% Fortress Investment Group LLC and Kennedy Lewis Investment Management LLC, a $3 billion credit hedge fund in New York, were two of the biggest winners in the trade. Other significant investors include Avenue Capital Group, Guggenheim Partners LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management arm and Pacific Investment Management Co.

Record Tradeweb Volume Averages More Than $1 Trillion Per Day in March and First Quarter 2021;March ADV Up 7.3% Year Over Year; First Quarter ADV Up 18% Year Over Year
Tradeweb Markets Inc.
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, today reported record total trading volume for March 2021 of $24.7 trillion (tn). Average daily volume (ADV) for the month was a record $1.07tn, an increase of 7.3 percent (%) year over year (YoY). For the first quarter of 2021, total trading volume was a record $65.1tn and ADV was a record $1.06tn, an increase of 18.0% YoY, with preliminary average variable fees per million dollars of volume traded of $2.77.

Goldman Sachs plans to return staff to London office – Guardian
Reuters Staff
Goldman Sachs Group Inc is preparing to have hundreds of staff back in its London office this week as companies eye a return to normal working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday.

Hundreds of Bankers Return to JPMorgan, Goldman London Offices
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
About 15% of JPM’s London workers came to the office last week; Goldman expects attendance to rise to about 20% within weeks
Hundreds more JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers have returned to their London offices since the U.K. government eased its “stay at home” guidance on March 29. About 15% of JPMorgan’s staff in the city — about 1,800 people — came into the office last week, up from about 10% since Christmas, according to a person familiar with the matter. Goldman is expecting attendance to increase in the coming weeks to about 20% of its roughly 6,000 workers in the U.K. capital, another person said, asking not to be named discussing private information.

Yellen warns that slow vaccine rollout in poor countries poses threat to U.S., global economies; Republican opposition to treasury secretary’s global initiatives has intensified in recent weeks
Jeff Stein – Washington Post
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday called for speeding up the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in poorer nations, arguing the United States and global economies are threatened by the impact of covid-19 on the developing world.

Covid-19 Has All but Killed a Lifeline in Poor Economies—Hustling for Work; Driving taxis, selling food on the street and other odd jobs that usually keep millions employed in the developing world have yet to return
Eun-Young Jeong – WSJ
When times get tough in the developing world, many workers eke out a living by doing odd jobs, driving taxis or selling snacks on the street. In the post-Covid economy, even those options aren’t working out for many people. In the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, Khemawan Achewapanish said she is earning less than $3.50 a day selling noodles and desserts at a temple food stall—about one-tenth of what she used to earn. Foot traffic remains light, and “nobody wants to spend,” she said.

The Robinhood Generation Is Debating Old School Investors on Trading Stocks; The wrangling over the best way to go about investing is not only playing out online, but also making its way into the family sphere.
Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
In the Before Times, those seeking thrills, excitement and drama pursued the arts, or perhaps joined the armed forces. Anything, really, except the decidedly uncool prospect of spending one’s days tied to a desk and looking at a bunch of numbers. Not anymore. Now, getting a Robinhood trading account, checking the price of GameStop Corp. or Tesla Inc., analyzing market data on Excel sheets and buying shares for no reason other than “we like the stock” is considered not only hip, but also a mark of rebellion against the establishment.


Virus Variants Stoke Need for Vaccine Cash, Rockefeller Says
Jason Gale – Bloomberg
IMF should approve $650 billion in additional reserve assets; Funding to support developing countries vaccinate populations
A plan to end the Covid-19 pandemic by speeding up immunizations could be financed through a record asset allocation via the International Monetary Fund, according to the Rockefeller Foundation.
The IMF should approve and swiftly distribute $650 billion in additional reserve assets to help developing economies vaccinate as much as 70% of their populations by the end of next year, the Rockefeller Foundation said in a report Monday.

Covid Mutants Multiply as Scientists Race to Decode Variations
Robert Langreth – Bloomberg
Genomic data on infections floods computers compiling evidence; Mutant called D614G started off cascade of covid variants
When Bette Korber, a biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, spotted the first significant mutation in the Covid-19 virus last spring, some scientists were skeptical. They didn’t believe it would make the virus more contagious and said its rapid rise might just be coincidence. Now, 11 months later, the D614G mutation she helped discover is ubiquitous worldwide, featured in the genomes of fast-spreading variants from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. Meanwhile, new mutations are popping up in increasingly complicated patterns, spurring a drive by top biologists to devise new ways to track a fire hose of incoming genomic data.

A Look Inside the Anti-Vaxx Playbook; How the anti-vaccine establishment is waging war against Covid-19 vaccines.
Kristen V Brown – Bloomberg
In October 2020, a who’s who of the anti-vaccine movement gathered for a virtual conference. Speaker after speaker hit on the same point: The pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to grow the movement — and they didn’t plan to waste it. In the eighth month of the global pandemic, it was clear the activists had found their moment: The world had never been more receptive to their message. In the fourth episode of “Doubt,” a new series from the Prognosis podcast that explores vaccine hesitancy, we look at how anti-vaccine extremists have used the pandemic to grow their base.

In Michigan’s latest coronavirus surge, there’s a new kind of patient
Miguel Marquez – CNN
Michigan is in another coronavirus surge and hospitals are again on the front line, but this time they have a new type of patient: younger and healthier. Fred Romankewiz was on his way to get vaccinated, but he didn’t feel well so he canceled the appointment and got a Covid-19 test instead. Though he’d been inches from the coronavirus finish line, the 54-year-old construction materials salesman from Lansing now tested positive.

FSB Chair Updates G20 On COVID-19 Support Measures, And A Roadmap To Address Climate-Related Financial Risks
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) today published a letter from the FSB Chair, Randal K. Quarles, to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors ahead of their virtual meeting on 7 April. The FSB also delivered to the G20 a report on factors to be considered in extending, amending and ending COVID-19 support measures.

New Long Covid Treatments Borrow From Brain Rehab Tactics; Cognitive problems are among the most persistent and common lasting effects of Covid. Now some patients are getting help from brain rehab programs.
Sumathi Reddy – WSJ
The newest patients in cognitive rehabilitation programs didn’t suffer concussions, traumatic brain injuries or strokes. They got Covid-19. Cognitive problems are some of the most persistent and common long-term symptoms that people struggle with months after getting Covid. Patients report short-term memory problems, slow processing speeds, poor word recall and difficulty multitasking. To help them, doctors at medical centers including Mayo Clinic, Yale and Johns Hopkins are starting to refer some patients to cognitive rehabilitation more typically used for patients with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

Covid-19 Speeds Up Rehab of New York Philharmonic’s Venue; Canceled concerts will allow the $550 million renovation of David Geffen Hall to be completed nearly two years ahead of schedule, orchestra officials say
Charles Passy – WSJ
The $550 million renovation of Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, will be completed nearly two years ahead of schedule in fall 2022, officials with the arts complex and the orchestra said Monday.

J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine: How Effective Is the One-Dose Shot and What Else You Need to Know; The vaccine is the first in the U.S. requiring just one dose and supplies should accelerate the country’s vaccination drive
Peter Loftus – WSJ
Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ 0.37% Covid-19 vaccine was authorized for use in the U.S. by federal health regulators in late February and supplies of doses are ramping up. It is the third shot to be cleared after vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE BNTX 1.32% and from Moderna Inc. And it is the first shot requiring just one dose, rather than two. Here’s what we know and don’t know:

Covid-19’s Ground Zero Shifts to India; Family gatherings, political rallies fuel increase in infections as country tries to ratchet up its vaccination drive
Eric Bellman and Vibhuti Agarwal – WSJ
Ground zero of the world’s Covid-19 outbreak shifted to India Monday as it recorded more than 100,000 fresh cases for the first time, topping the daily totals everywhere else in the world. The South Asian nation is locking down neighborhoods and restricting travel again even as it tries to ratchet up its vaccination drive to save lives and salvage its nascent economic recovery.

Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine Production to Double at Contract Manufacturer Catalent; Deal set to boost output of finished vials of the biotech’s Covid-19 shot from Catalent’s Indiana plant from next month
Jared S. Hopkins – WSJ
Contract drug manufacturer Catalent Inc. CTLT -0.74% is expanding its U.S. production of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc., MRNA -1.99% a development that could ensure the U.S. has ample supply as it ramps up vaccinations. Catalent has reached an agreement with Moderna that will nearly double the vaccine output at the contract manufacturer’s Bloomington, Ind., plant this month to about 400 vials a minute, according to people familiar with the matter.

Norwegian Cruise to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for guests and crew
Reuters Staff
Cruise operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said on Monday it would require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all guests and crew when it restarts trips from U.S. ports in July.

White Evangelical Resistance Is Obstacle in Vaccination Effort; Millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Tenets of faith and mistrust of science play a role; so does politics.
Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham – NY Times
Stephanie Nana, an evangelical Christian in Edmond, Okla., refused to get a Covid-19 vaccine because she believed it contained “aborted cell tissue.” Nathan French, who leads a nondenominational ministry in Tacoma, Wash., said he received a divine message that God was the ultimate healer and deliverer: “The vaccine is not the savior.”

Iran’s Covid-19 Cases Surge to Record High After Public Holiday
Arsalan Shahla and Patrick Sykes – Bloomberg
New cases surged to 17,430 on Tuesday, surpassing the previous record of 14,051 reported in late November last year, the Health Ministry said, adding that a further 174 deaths were reported overnight.

Covid-19 Vaccine Developed By U.S. Army Begins Human Testing; The vaccine has shown preliminary signs of protecting against new strains, Army researchers say
Peter Loftus – WSJ
The U.S. Army will start testing among adult volunteers an Army-developed Covid-19 vaccine that researchers say may protect against a variety of coronavirus variants. Army doctors plan to start testing on Tuesday the protein-based shot in as many as 72 adults ages 18 to 55 at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., the institute said. The team will test whether the vaccine safely induces the desired immune response in study subjects.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Statistics From Nasdaq Nordic Exchange March 2021
Monthly statistics including stock and derivative statistics; Volumes and Market cap; Most traded companies; Most active members; Listings and members.

Dubai Financial Market Plans To Expand Equity Futures Opportunities With The Launch Of Three New Contracts On 18 April 2021
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) today announced that it is planning to launch new equity futures contracts on individual stocks of three leading listed companies including; Aramex, Air Arabia and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (DU), on 18 April 2021, in line with its strategy to diversify investment opportunities.

Intercontinental Exchange Reports March and First Quarter 2021 Statistics
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported March and first quarter 2021 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.

April 2021 Stock, ETF, and Corporate Bond Update- Effective April 5, 2021
CME Group
April 2021 Stock, ETF, and Corporate Bond Advisory is now available on CME DataMine.

April/May OTC Product and Reporting Releases
CME Group
OTC IRS Production – April/May OTC Product and Reporting Releases: OIS Enhancements, CAD CDOR tenor Cessation, and Indicative Margin Report changes

Record 122 teams at NUS-SGX Stock Pitch Challenge 2021, NUS emerges winner
A team from National University Singapore (NUS) has won the NUS-SGX Stock Pitch Challenge 2021, which returned this year for its seventh edition and saw a record 122 teams from 19 pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions competing. The NUS-SGX Stock Pitch Challenge is an initiative that connects the academic and corporate worlds of equity research and investment management, and aims to encourage the younger generation to consider investing early. As a platform for students to showcase their research skills, the challenge involves students pitching their stock recommendations to a panel of judges, comprising academics, equity research analysts and finance professionals, over a period of two weeks.

“Revisions of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code and Guidelines for Investor and Company Engagement” etc. published
The Council of Experts Concerning the Follow-up of Japan’s Stewardship Code and Japan’s Corporate Governance Code (Chairperson: Hideki Kanda, Professor of Gakushuin University Law School), jointly established by TSE and Financial Services Agency has now published an important proposal for the revisions of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code and Guidelines for Investor and Company Engagement.


LinkedIn Is Letting Loose With a Clubhouse Lookalike
Austin Carr – Bloomberg
Hey y’all, it’s Austin, asking once again if you’ll “please add me to your LinkedIn network.” The phrase has become synonymous with the kind of mundane and mechanical social engagement that happens on Microsoft Corp.’s social platform for professionals. But last week, LinkedIn said it would add some pizzaz: It’s now developing its own version of Clubhouse, the hot invite-only audio chat app.

Audio app Clubhouse floats payment feature for creators
Reuters Staff
Audio-chat app Clubhouse said on Monday it will launch a monetization feature for its creators on the platform and that it will not receive any payment from it. Starting Monday, all users will be able to send payments through the platform, Clubhouse said. The payments feature will initially be available among a small test group, and then rolled out to other users in waves.

Worldline Accelerates The Digital Transformation Of Commerce With Its New AXIUM Platform
Worldline [Euronext: WLN], the European market leader in payment and transactional services, accelerates the digital transformation of commerce with its new AXIUM platform, comprising innovative Android POS and an unrivalled suite of payment and business services.

Santander International Selects Temenos And Syncordis To Launch Its Digital Banking Platform In The Cloud And Become “Future-Ready”
Syncordis, the global Temenos implementation partner and product experts, and Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the banking software company, announced that Santander International, part of the Banco Santander group, has selected Temenos SaaS, implemented by Syncordis, to power-up its core banking platform transformation.

Fintechs look beyond survival after pandemic battering
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Shortly before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Revolut was knocking through the floors of its London headquarters to improve its rapidly-expanding office. A week later, the UK digital bank was writing to customers to reassure them it would not go bust. As the crisis quickly sent markets into turmoil and shut economies, the chief executive of rival Monzo took to Twitter in an attempt to calm nerves. Another digital competitor, Starling, announced it would furlough dozens of employees, only to quickly reverse course. After years riding a wave of investor enthusiasm that enabled them to focus on winning customers at the expense of profits, the pandemic forced Britain’s three largest digital banks to cut costs and rapidly find new income streams.

India Fintech App Cred Raises Funds at $2.2 Billion Valuation
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
Firm raises $215 million in round led by Falcon Edge, Coatue; App rewards customers for paying credit-card bills on time
Financial-technology provider Cred completed a fundraising round valuing the company at $2.2 billion, another unicorn to emerge from India’s red-hot startup scene. The $215 million Series D round was led by new investor Falcon Edge Capital LP and existing backer Coatue Management LLP, Cred said in an emailed statement Tuesday. DST Global, Tiger Global and Greenoaks Capital were also among existing investors participating.

Fintechs look beyond survival after pandemic battering; Britain’s biggest digital banks are hoping the Covid-19 crisis has shifted consumers’ behaviour
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Shortly before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Revolut was knocking through the floors of its London headquarters to improve its rapidly-expanding office. A week later, the UK digital bank was writing to customers to reassure them it would not go bust.


Two Coinbase employees wed by exchanging NFTs. ‘We got married on the blockchain,’ the bride says.
Margaux MacColl – Insider
Sure, diamonds may last forever, but you know what else does? Non-fungible tokens. Last month, Coinbase employees Rebecca Rose and Peter Kacherginsky got married in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Except, when it came time to swap rings, they whipped out their phones and swapped non-fungible tokens, or NFTs in addition to exchanging traditional rings.

Crypto Market Cap Surpasses $2 Trillion After Doubling This Year
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Bitcoin makes up about half of value of more than 6,600 coins; Grayscale said it will seek to convert Bitcoin Trust to ETF
The total market value of cryptocurrencies pushed past $2 trillion for the first time, doubling in about two months amid surging institutional demand. Bitcoin, the largest of the more than 6,600 coins tracked by CoinGecko, is worth more than $1 trillion alone after its price more than doubled in 2021 to $58,858. The five next biggest coins — Ether, Binance Coin, Polkadot, Tether and Cardano — have a combined value of about $422 billion.

How DeFi Is Minting the Next Class of Millionaires
Davis Richardson – Worth
The upcoming millionaire class has more in common with degenerate gamblers heading to Foxwoods than Warren Buffett. They hurl their retirement funds into cryptocurrencies with colorful animal icons, mocking financial iconoclasts like Buffett for panic selling Delta stock at the onset of the pandemic. They gather in Telegram chatrooms to trade tips, mobilize support around certain digital assets and talk smack about bears and naysayers.

Why Sotheby’s and Christie’s Adore NFTs; Billionaire-owned auction houses like Sotheby’s and speculative crypto-art make logical bedfellows.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
Franco-Israeli telecom billionaire Patrick Drahi stunned the art world in 2019 when he bought venerable auction house Sotheby’s for $3.7 billion, raising eyebrows with his outsider style, appetite for debt and executive appointees parachuted in from the world of cable networks and banking.

Riksbank Tests Digital Currency Based on Blockchain Technology
Dominic Chopping – WSJ
Sweden’s central bank said Monday it has developed and tested a digital currency solution based on blockchain technology as part of its e-krona project. The pilot program aims to test a technical solution to increase the Riksbank’s knowledge of how an e-krona could function and be used as a complement to cash.

Grayscale ‘100% Committed’ to Making Biggest Crypto Fund an ETF
Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
At $39 billion, GBTC would rank among 30 largest U.S. ETFs; Converting to an ETF has been the plan since ‘Day 1’: CEO
The company behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency trust intends to flip it into an exchange-traded fund as soon as U.S. regulators allow. Grayscale Investments LLC is “100% committed” to converting the $39 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker GBTC) into an ETF, the company said in a blog post Monday. While the Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to approve the structure, several issuers have filed applications in recent weeks after North America’s first Bitcoin ETFs began trading in Canada in February.

Singapore Warns Public Against Crypto as World Warms to Bitcoin
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Singapore once again warned the public about the risks of trading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, a market that while relatively small in the city-state has surged in significance over the past year. “Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, as their value is typically not related to any economic fundamentals,” Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said in response to a parliamentary question on Monday. “They are hence highly risky as investment products, and certainly not suitable for retail investors.”

Goldman’s Former Head of Digital Asset Markets Joins Startup
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s former Head of Digital Asset Markets, Justin Schmidt, just became head of strategy at crypto-trading engineering company Talos. Schmidt left Goldman late last year as the firm was getting close to offering investment vehicles for Bitcoin and other digital assets to clients. During Schmidt’s tenure, Goldman also invested in cryptocurrency prime broker BitGo Inc. “Justin comes from a very traditional background, he understands the trade lifecycle and the requirements of our clients,” said Anton Katz, who prior to co-founding Talos was head of trading technology for AQR Capital Management. “We are trying to bridge the gap between institutional investors and digital assets.”

Artists Jump Into NFTs, Seeing a Digital Bonanza; Urs Fischer is the latest to put NFT art up for auction, joining what could be a game-changer for how artists, galleries and auction houses do business
Kelly Crow – WSJ
An NFT frenzy is raging and artists want in. From museum darlings to digital upstarts, artists across the marketplace say nonfungible tokens could be a game-changer, roiling gallery loyalties and reshaping what creators can demand financially and how they work. NFTs are tokens that amount to digital certificates of authenticity and allow images that exist only on screens to be traded and tracked.

Tether to launch USDT stablecoin on Polkadot and Kusama
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Tether announced Tuesday that it would launch its USDT stablecoin on the Polkadot and Kusama networks. The launch schedule isn’t determined yet as the formation of parachains is pending, said Tether. Parachains are individual blockchains that run parallel within the Polkadot ecosystem (Polkadot and Kusama). They can interact with each other and also with external networks such as Ethereum using bridges. This flexibility helps address the problems of scalability, security, and interoperability of blockchains. Tether will first launch on Kusama, Polkadot’s experimental cousin network. Kusama helps projects prepare for deployment on Polkadot. It is built using Substrate (a blockchain development kit) and has nearly the same codebase as Polkadot.

Bitcoin futures and options trading volumes reached all-time highs in March
MK Manoylov – The Block
Monthly volumes for bitcoin futures and options both broke all-time highs in March, according to data compiled by The Block Research. Bitcoin futures volume reached $2.13 billion last month, or 1.90% larger than the previous high, which was recorded in January. The top players accounting for March’s bitcoin future volumes were Binance with 33.84% of the volume, Huobi with 22.32%, and OKEx with 13.75%.

Winklevoss twins slam Facebook as their crypto business booms
Noah Manskar – NY Post
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss waged a famous legal battle against Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s beginnings. Now, they’re predicting the social network’s demise.


Johnson Eases Lockdown But Foreign Travel on Hold for U.K.
Tim Ross – Bloomberg
Non-essential shops to reopen, pubs to serve outside April 12; Resumption of global travel could be delayed beyond May 17
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed restaurants, pubs and shops will open again as England’s lockdown is eased next week, but the ban on foreign travel may remain for longer. The earliest date for resuming non-essential international travel will be May 17 and officials warned Monday that a further delay could be required if coronavirus infections continue to surge elsewhere in the world. A decision will be taken nearer the time, they said.

Republicans ramp up attacks on corporations over Georgia voting law, threaten ‘consequences’; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is criticizing companies that oppose the new Georgia voting law.
Marianna Sotomayor and Todd C. Frankel – Washington Post
Republicans are attacking corporations over their decision to condemn the controversial Georgia voting law, part of the party’s embrace of the populism espoused by President Donald Trump even as it creates tensions with traditional allies in the business community. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday accused corporations of siding with Democrats’ portrayal of the law as the new Jim Crow, which he called an attempt to “mislead and bully the American people.” He argued that it would expand, not restrict, voter access to the polls, and his statement included a threat of unspecified “serious consequences” if companies continued to stand opposite Republicans on a variety of issues.

Yellen Pushes for Global Minimum Tax Rate on Multinational Corporations; Treasury secretary makes the case for President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal
Richard Rubin and Kate Davidson – WSJ
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued for a global minimum corporate tax rate Monday, seeking international cooperation that is crucial to funding the administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. President Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% would push the U.S. from the middle of the pack among major economies to near the top. The Biden plan would also impose a 21% minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign income, remove an export incentive and raise taxes on some foreign companies’ U.S. operations.

‘Stay out of politics,’ Republican leader McConnell tells U.S. CEOs, warns of ‘consequences’
Richard Cowan – Reuters
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at corporate America on Monday, warning CEOs to stay out of the debate over a new voting law in Georgia that has been criticized as restricting votes among minorities and the poor.

Richest New Yorkers Face Tax Hike Under Proposed Budget Deal
Keshia Clukey and Donna Borak – Bloomberg
Wealthiest NYC residents to see highest combined U.S. tax rate; Roughly $200 billion budget deal could come as soon as Monday
The richest New York City residents could soon face the highest combined state and city tax rates in the U.S. Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement to raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers as part of a roughly $200 billion budget deal expected to be announced as early as Monday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

New York State Is Set to Raise Taxes on Those Earning Over $1 Million; The deal, a sign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s weakened influence, would mean wealthy New York City residents would pay the highest combined local tax rate in the nation.
Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley – NY Times
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New York State legislative leaders were nearing a budget agreement on Monday that would make New York City’s millionaires pay the highest personal income taxes in the nation, a stark result of the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Biden and Democrats Detail Plans to Raise Taxes on Multinational Firms; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. would support a global minimum tax, while top Democrats unveiled their own plan to raise taxes on multinational firms.
Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport – NY Times
The Biden administration and top Democrats in Congress began detailing plans for significant changes to how the United States and other countries tax multinational corporations as they look for ways to raise revenues and finance President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.


SEC Promotes Investor Awareness During National Financial Capability Month
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is embracing National Financial Capability Month as an opportunity to encourage all investors, especially first-timers or those relatively new to investing, to take the time to visit and utilize an array of resources to help them get acclimated.

Auditor Charged for Failure to Register with PCAOB and Multiple Audit Failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the institution of administrative proceedings against a Texas-based CPA for allegedly failing to register his firm with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and alleged wholesale failures in auditing and reviewing the financial statements of a public company client.

SEC Issues Notice of Substituted Compliance Application and Proposed Substituted Compliance Order for United Kingdom and Reopens Comment Period for Notice and Proposed Substituted Compliance Order for France
The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to take two actions to continue to advance implementation of security-based swap regulation under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Commission is publishing a notice of application and proposed substituted compliance order in response to an application from the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition, the Commission is re-opening the comment period on the notice of application and proposed substituted compliance order in relation to the application by France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR).

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on International Priorities to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
U.S. Department of the Treasury
America is strongest when we engage with the world. When I was born, the United States was still recovering from the Great Depression and World War II. These tragedies cost countless lives; too many families lost nearly everything. But from the devastation we learned an invaluable lesson: the United States must not go it alone.

Citadel Securities names former CFTC chairman Tarbert chief legal officer; Heath Tarbert joins the market maker shortly after leaving the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) at the end of January.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US-based market maker Citadel Securities has tapped the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for its next chief legal officer, adding a notable market figure to its ranks. Citadel Securities confirmed in a statement that it had appointed former CFTC chairman and chief executive officer, Heath Tarbert, to the role of chief legal officer, effective from 5 April. Tarbert will be responsible for all legal and compliance operations.

ASIC’s expectations about new internal dispute resolution requirements
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Regulatory Guide 271: Internal dispute resolution[1] (RG 271) was released in July 2020 and contains updated standards and requirements that will drive financial services firms to ensure they handle consumer complaints in a fair and timely manner. RG 271 supersedes Regulatory Guide 165 Licensing: Internal and external dispute resolution, and is intended to raise internal dispute resolution (IDR) standards in the industry by encouraging firms to address systemic issues that may exist across their business.

ESMA publishes 2020 report on enforcement of corporate disclosure
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, today publishes its Annual Report on enforcement and regulatory activities related to corporate reporting in the European Economic Area. In 2020, European enforcers examined 729 financial statements, which led to actions against 265 issuers. Further 132 enforcement actions resulted from the examination of non-financial statements (39 actions) and the presentation and disclosure of the alternative performance measures in management reports (93 actions).

FCA to repeat Covid survey of firms for fourth time
Chloe Cheung – FT Adviser
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is repeating its mandatory survey of regulated firms to understand how their financial positions have changed during the pandemic. In a statement published on its website last week (March 29) the regulator said it would issue its survey for a fourth time, to help it obtain a more accurate view of firms’ financial resilience as a result of coronavirus.

Investing and Trading

Do-Nothing SPACs Sag, Offering Investors a $1.1 Billion Return
Crystal Kim and Tom Contiliano – Bloomberg
Hundreds fall below $10 as investors get impatient for results; They’re selling for less than cash raised in initial offerings
What would you do if someone offered to let you buy dollars for 99 cents and walk away with a billion-dollar profit? That’s the opportunity, at least in theory, presented by underwater SPACs. Some 300 special purpose acquisition companies debuted in the first quarter of this year, creating an oversupply with at least 302 that hadn’t bought anything yet and were trading for less than the cash raised in their public offering. They’re also facing an eventual deadline to liquidate if they don’t come up with a deal.

Nirvana for Stocks Rests on Faith in Fed Doves; It’s the best of both worlds for equities, with economic data strong and bond yields contained. How long that can continue depends on central bankers.
John Authers – Bloomberg
As Good as It Gets?
April is showering the U.S. with economic good news. The last two days of last week brought startling good numbers on manufacturing from the ISM purchasing managers’ survey, followed by an excellent jobs report on Good Friday. The question was whether the services sector, more directly affected by the pandemic slowdown, would be able to revive to the same extent. On Monday, the ISM services survey for last month came in with the highest figure since it started in 1997, while beating expectations by the biggest margin since Bloomberg began compiling economists’ estimates in 2008. So, yes, the services sector is doing well too:

State Street Global Markets: Investor Confidence Increased In March By 2.0 Points To 93.9
State Street Global Markets has released the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for March 2021. The Global Investor Confidence Index increased to 93.9, up 2.0 points from February’s revised reading of 91.9. The increase in Investor Confidence was driven by the European ICI, which rose 12.6 points to 90.7, and the North American ICI, which rose 1.1 points to 94.4. Meanwhile, the Asian ICI dropped 4.9 points to 93.2.

Twitchy resilience becomes norm in equity markets; First quarter shows central bank largesse is still the driving force for investors
Katie Martin – FT
Somehow, equity markets have made it to the end of the first quarter of 2021 in one piece, demonstrating bulletproof resilience to both well-understood and out-of-the-blue challenges. The opening months of the year clearly provided nothing on the scale of the pandemic shock from the same period in 2020. But several mini-quakes arrived along the way. First, hordes of market novices humbled some of the sharpest minds in hedge funds in the GameStop saga.

GameStop to capitalize on ‘stonks’ rally with $1 billion stock sale plan
Uday Sampath Kumar, Joshua Franklin – Reuters
GameStop Corp on Monday increased the value of new stock it may sell from $100 million to $1 billion, as the U.S. video game retailer seeks to capitalize on a surge in its shares from a Reddit-driven rally this year.

GameStop Stock Mania Is Making Its Turnaround Possible; The Reddit-fueled surge in the video-game retailer’s share price is paying off, helping to raise cash and boost its chance of success.
Tae Kim – Bloomberg
What a crazy year it’s been for GameStop Corp. Last April, it was left for dead. Predicting an imminent demise for the retailer, hedge funds piled on their bearish bets and the company’s market value sank to a few hundred million dollars. A year later, thanks to big buying from the Reddit crowd, GameStop is worth about $13 billion and is now looking to raise as much as $1 billion in capital to fund internet entrepreneur Ryan Cohen’s turnaround plan. This year’s GameStop stock mania may make its business transformation possible.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

A Top U.S. Seller of Carbon Offsets Starts Investigating Its Own Projects; The Nature Conservancy’s review calls into question millions of dollars of credits sold to JPMorgan, BlackRock, and Disney.
Ben Elgin – Bloomberg
Following concerns that it is facilitating the sale of meaningless carbon credits to corporate clients, the Nature Conservancy says it’s conducting an internal review of its portfolio of carbon-offset projects. The nonprofit owns or has helped develop more than 20 such projects on forested lands mostly in the U.S., which generate credits that are purchased by such companies as JPMorgan Chase & Co., BlackRock Inc., and Walt Disney Co., which use them to claim large reductions in their own publicly reported emissions.

Diversity Drives Are Wasted Without the Data; Investor pressure could help companies do more to promote workplace fairness than relying on the dubious benefits of unconscious bias training.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
The movement against unconscious bias training, once a key element of employers’ diversity and inclusion strategies, is growing. A controversial U.K. report into racial inequality has called for organizations to drop the courses entirely. It may actually be too soon to write them off, but investor pressure may help find something better.

Minority business owners struggled to get Paycheck Protection Program loans.
NY Times
The government’s central small business relief effort, the Paycheck Protection Program, has made $734 billion in forgivable loans to nearly seven million businesses. But minority-owned businesses were disproportionately underserved by the program, a New York Times analysis found. “The focus at the outset was on speed, and it came at the expense of equity,” said Ashley Harrington, the federal advocacy director at the Center for Responsible Lending.


Archegos Appeared, Then Vanished; Also the long-awaited GameStop ATM, Voltswagen, retail traders and NFTs.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Fine, yes, Archegos
One thing about margin lending is that if you borrow money to buy stocks, and your stocks go up, you automatically deleverage. If you use $15 of your own money and borrow $85 from your broker to buy $100 worth of stock, 1 you have 85% leverage; if the stock then goes up to $200, you are down to 42.5% leverage. You still owe your broker $85, but now you have $200 worth of stock. If the stock then falls by 25% to $150, that’s fine: You are still in the black, and your broker still has ample security for its loan.

Goldman Plans 40% Bigger Nordic Team in Asset Management Bid
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs is expanding its Nordic headcount by 40% as the Wall Street firm targets a bigger share of asset management and investment banking services in one of the world’s richest regions. Peter Hermann, who runs Goldman’s European pension and insurance strategies unit, says the expansion means the bank will have 70 people spread across offices in Copenhagen and Stockholm by the end of the year. The hiring round reflects “a global strategy to move closer to our clients,” Hermann said in an interview at the bank’s offices in Copenhagen.

Credit Suisse Takes $4.7 Billion Archegos Hit, Replaces Warner
Marion Halftermeyer and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Risk chief Warner, investment bank head Chin to leave; Its shares are the worst performers among peers this year
Credit Suisse Group AG will take a 4.4 billion franc ($4.7 billion) writedown tied to the implosion of Archegos Capital Management and replace more than half a dozen executives in response to the firm’s worst trading debacle in over a decade.

Changes in the Executive Board of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG
Credit Suisse AG
Credit Suisse Group AG announced today that Thomas Grotzer, who previously served as General Counsel and Member of the Executive Board of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG, has been appointed interim Global Head of Compliance for the Group, effective immediately. As a result, he will step down from his role as General Counsel of Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AG and also from its Executive Board. His successor will be announced in due course.

Credit Suisse replaces executives after reporting big loss from Archegos.
Jack Ewing – NY Times
Credit Suisse said Tuesday it would replace the head of its investment bank and the chief of risk and compliance after losses from its involvement with Archegos Capital Management, the collapsed hedge fund, totaled nearly $5 billion.

Credit Suisse Sells $2.3 Billion of Stocks Tied to Archegos
Drew Singer, Sridhar Natarajan, Crystal Tse, and Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
Bank offered ViacomCBS, Vipshop, Farfetch shares in blocks; Shares in the three companies fell in post-market trading
Credit Suisse Group AG unloaded about $2.3 billion worth of stocks tied to the Archegos Capital blowup more than a week after some rivals dumped their shares and skirted losses. The Swiss bank hit the market with block trades tied to ViacomCBS Inc., Vipshop Holdings Ltd. and Farfetch Ltd., a person with knowledge of the matter said. The stocks traded substantially below where they were last month before Bill Hwang’s family office imploded.

Disclosures show Ark has removed limits on company ownership; Previously the ETFs could invest only up to 30% of their assets in a single company amounting to no more than 20% of its outstanding shares
Carmen Germaine – FT
Ark Investment Management has removed restrictions from its exchange traded funds that limited how much the funds could hold in a single company, recent disclosures show.


New Zealand Agrees to Open Travel Corridor With Australia
Matthew Brockett – Bloomberg
Ardern announces travel ‘bubble’ will begin on April 19; Warns travelers to be ready for disruption in case of outbreak
New Zealand has agreed to open a quarantine-free travel corridor with Australia in a major boost for its ailing tourism industry. The so-called travel bubble will open on April 19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday in Wellington. It will restore unrestricted, two-way travel between the two neighbors for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close their international borders more than a year ago.

Has Saudi Aramco Given Up on a Global IPO? A new partnership with the Saudi government would reduce its attractiveness to foreign investors.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
Saudi Aramco has been invited by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to participate in a new initiative whereby it will invest tens of billions of dollars in the future of Saudi Arabia. To which one might respond: Doesn’t Aramco do that already?

China Asks Banks to Curtail Credit for Rest of Year
Bloomberg News
PBOC wants new loans to stay around 2020 levels, people say; Officials are shifting attention from pandemic to bubble risks
China’s central bank asked the nation’s major lenders to curtail loan growth for the rest of this year after a surge in the first two months stoked bubble risks, according to people familiar with the matter. At a meeting with the People’s Bank of China on March 22, banks were told to keep new advances in 2021 at roughly the same level as last year, said the people, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Some foreign banks were also urged to rein in additional lending through so-called window guidance recently after ramping up their balance sheets in 2020, one of the people said.

Global Brands Find It Hard to Untangle Themselves From Xinjiang Cotton; Under pressure to renounce cotton harvested in a Chinese region marked by gruesome repression, they face a backlash from nationalist Chinese consumers.
Peter S. Goodman, Vivian Wang and Elizabeth Paton – NY Times
Faced with accusations that it was profiting from the forced labor of Uyghur people in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang, the H&M Group — the world’s second-largest clothing retailer — promised last year to stop buying cotton from the region.

Don’t let Spac mania sway London’s IPO reforms; The UK listing process should be made more open and transparent
Helen Thomas – FT
This year’s IPO market has every pandemic celebration well and truly covered. Takeaway courtesy of Deliveroo. Drinks from Virgin Wines. Greetings from your nearest and dearest via Moonpig. So good that you might choose to spend your next birthday this way. Except of course you won’t. The appeal of restaurants, bars and real live human companions will almost certainly win the day.

How Saudi Arabia Can Thrive in a Post-Oil World; The country has a surprising amount to gain in a low-carbon future, while staying on the current path could become a question of survival.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
On the face of it, no country has more to lose from the transition away from fossil fuels than Saudi Arabia. Before the discovery of oil, it barely existed as a nation. Its founding monarch Ibn Saud’s 1933 oil concession to Standard Oil Co. of California came just months after he was proclaimed king of a land that hadn’t been unified in 1,000 years.

Florida Toxic Waste Crisis Could Be Key to China Rare Earths Fight; Cleaning up radioactive tailings from old phosphate mines could be an opportunity for the U.S. to counter Beijing’s hold on strategic resources.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
Leaks of wastewater at a former phosphate mine prompted evacuation orders and a state of emergency near Tampa Sunday, amid fears that a pile of radioactive mine tailings could collapse. Believe it or not, President Joe Biden should be seeing an opportunity wrapped in this crisis.


Bankers talk of being sold out as London waits for its own Brexit deal
Joumanna Bercetche – CNBC
Despite a breakthrough last month, London-based bankers are nervously waiting for Britain and Brussels to agree on a post-Brexit relationship for their financial services industries.

Brexit and design rights: A practical guide
Prior to the end of the Brexit transition period, there were a number of ways to benefit from design protection in the UK. As with many areas of IP, the UK’s departure from the EU has changed the way designs are now protected in the UK. Vanessa Harrow, Managing Director of Trademarks in the UK, sets out the changes and how this affects the considerations for IP owners.

Pimfa warns on post-Brexit regulation wave
Jon Yarker – FT
Pimfa has issued a warning to advisers on new regulations being introduced post Brexit. The FCA, PRA and Treasury are all bringing forward regulations which the trade body warns will have significant impacts on UK wealth managers and large advisory firms. Pimfa has specifically identified the Investment Firm Prudential Regime as one for firms to be aware of, due to its similar size and complexity to Mifid II. IFPR is designed for Mifid II investment firms to ensure they have sufficient strength and resilience to withstand volatility of the economic cycle.

British chocolatiers had a crap Easter, and Brexit’s to blame
Lillian Stone – Yahoo News
No elaborate jewel-filled chocolate eggs this Easter
Easter means two things: celebrating a guy who escaped from a tomb and eating tons of chocolate. That seems like a recipe for success for chocolate magnates, but British chocolatiers had a hellish Easter season this year—and it’s all because of Brexit.

Bikemaker Brompton warns of soaring costs for UK manufacturers
Harry Dempsey – FT
Brompton, the foldable-bicycle maker, is facing a pile-up of problems from material shortages to rising production costs in a sign of growing pressure on some of Britain’s most successful companies. The pandemic-induced boom in demand for cycling and a 6 percent jump in the price for its handmade bicycles will not be enough to offset extra costs from aluminium shortages, more expensive steel, higher shipping rates and Brexit, according to Will Butler-Adams, managing director. “If you roll all of this together — logistics costs, Brexit costs, not enough people making bike parts — then it means customers paying more,” he told the Financial Times.


An Auctioneer Who Can Sell Almost Anything, at Record Prices; Rahul Kadakia of Christie’s has sold the most expensive wristwatch, the priciest blue diamond and even, early on, a salad.
Kathleen Beckett – NY Times
Rahul Kadakia may have brought the hammer down on the auction world’s priciest wristwatch sale — 31 million Swiss francs ($33 million) for a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime — but an early career experience was far less lofty. “Sell me this salad,” François Curiel, then Christie’s global head of jewelry and chairman of its European operations, instructed a 24-year-old Mr. Kadakia one day at lunch in Geneva.

Prospective Hires Plied With $1,500 Signing Bonuses and Pizzas; Despite high unemployment, a record share of small businesses say they have jobs they can’t fill.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, Melissa Anderson laid off all three full-time employees of her jewelry-making company, Silver Chest Creations in Burkesville, Ky. She tried to rehire one of them in September and another in January as business recovered, but they refused to come back, she says. “They’re not looking for work.”

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