China to Shake Up Financial System as Xi Jinping Installs Key Associates

Feb 23, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Today we are going to publish the first podcast in the Open Outcry Traders History Project. We are repurposing the videos in a podcast form as well to expand the reach and capitalize on the increased demand for audio content. We are starting from the beginning, so the first podcast was our very first Open Outcry Traders History Project interview with Leo Melamed. The podcast series is being engineered by my nephew Andrew Lothian, who is a talented musician and musical engineer. He is the audio engineer for our John Lothian Newsletter Daily Update podcast as well.

The Big Read in the Financial Times today is a piece by Max Seddon, Christopher Miller and Felicia Schwartz titled “How Putin blundered into Ukraine – then doubled down.” The subheadline is “The decision to invade was taken after consulting only a tiny circle. The Russian leader has since become even more isolated.” So this is a good example of making a decision without crowdsourcing, which in the case of wanting to invade another country is a security nightmare, but still has some decision-making value.

Geneva Trading is looking for successful traders and teams who are looking for superior technology, professional trader support, a culture that supports revenue growth and a commitment to personal development. You can find out more about Geneva’s search for experienced traders and trading teams HERE.

The National Futures Association knows where to fish for data scientists. They are at the University of Chicago Data Science and Analytics Career Fair today looking for students interested in careers in data science or analytics.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Kristin Johnson will be participating in a fireside chat during the Katten London Symposium on March 1. Also appearing will be new FIA Futures Hall of Fame member Gary DeWaal

I will be participating in an event on March 2 at DePaul that will focus on the growing role of technology in financial markets.

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


The World Ocean Summit and Expo takes place February 27 through March 1, 2023, at the Lisbon Congress Center in Lisbon, Portugal. This annual event brings together business and finance executives, government officials and international policy-makers, civil society and academia to trigger effective action to develop a sustainable ocean economy. This is the 10th anniversary and it is a return to a physical event. You can view the agenda and register here.~SAED


Wall Street Backs New Class of Psychedelic Drugs; Psychedelic-therapy industry gets a reality trip as investors focus on treatments costing less time and money
Matt Wirz – The Wall Street Journal
Wall Street is betting tens of millions of dollars on psychedelic drugs that backers say could treat mental illness for a fraction of what it costs to do therapy with better-known treatments. Transcend Therapeutics Inc. raised $40 million from venture-capital investors in January to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment that its 29-year-old CEO Blake Mandell says would require about half the amount of therapy as MDMA, or ecstasy, a popular hallucinogen. Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Lusaris Therapeutics Inc. have announced capital raises of about $100 million since November for similar products addressing depression.

****** I can’t wait to trade “November Magic Trip Futures.”~JJL


Rockstar Energy Creator Asks $50 Million for Home He Bought Last Year. ‘It’s Never Been Slept In’; When the billionaire entrepreneur purchased the Park City ski property in May 2022, it set a price record for Utah
Libertina Brandt – The Wall Street Journal
Billionaire entrepreneur Russ Weiner is looking to part ways with a ski home in Park City, Utah, that he bought last year. It is listed for $50 million. Mr. Weiner is the founder of the energy drink company Rockstar, which he sold to PepsiCo Inc. in 2020 for over $4.5 billion, he said. He bought the roughly 5-acre ski-in, ski-out property in May 2022 for $39.6 million. The sale set a record for the state, according to Paul Benson of Engel & Volkers, listing agent on the sale who also represented Mr. Weiner in the purchase last year.

***** If you are looking for a very nice get away ski home in Utah, you will want to consider this one. It has everything. And it has never been lived in.~JJL


North Korean Hackers Pushed Crypto Thefts to Record $3.8 Billion Last Year (Podcast); Lazarus Group, connected to North Korea, is allegedly responsible for a huge chunk of stolen crypto last year, according to Chainalysis.
Sharon Beriro and Stacy-Marie Ishmael – Bloomberg
Want to hear a big number? How about $3.8 billion. That’s the amount of crypto that hackers managed to steal last year. That’s a new record. The company behind that report, Chainalysis, also found that one specific group was responsible for a huge chunk of that stolen crypto. If you guessed that hacking group was Lazarus, connected to North Korea, you’d be correct. North Korean hackers are likely using the cryptocurrency sector to raise funds in the face of international sanctions. Lazarus allegedly stole $1.7 billion in 2022, compared with $400 million worth of crypto the year before. But what does all of this mean for the crypto market? And what can we do to prevent more hacks from happening?

******Question. Would hackers be able to steal as much money if they did not have cryptocurrency to be able to transmit the funds? If they had to use the regular banking system, with all the anti-money-laundering rules, would this kind of total still be possible? I doubt it. Which gets me back to my original theory.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Split verdict in federal insider trading case involving Chicago attorney, friend, from the Chicago Tribune. Second was Jimmy Carter has been wronged by history, an opinion piece by Edward Luce in the Financial Times. Third was Mike Wilkins’ announcement on LinkedIn that he, along with numerous other employees of R3, had been laid off and he is seeking new employment.


MarketsWiki Stats
27,215 pages; 243,068 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

China to Shake Up Financial System as Xi Jinping Installs Key Associates; Zhu Hexin and He Lifeng, two close associates of China’s leader, have emerged as leading candidates for top positions at the country’s central bank
Keith Zhai and Lingling Wei – The Wall Street Journal
Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to shake up the leadership of the country’s financial system, installing key associates to run the central bank and reviving a Communist Party body to tighten political control over financial affairs, according to people familiar with the discussions. The moves are a continuation of efforts by Mr. Xi to reshape the world’s second-largest economy. In recent years, the central bank and other financial regulators have continued to lose their already fading independent status amid Mr. Xi’s broader effort to strengthen the party’s rule.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Public Defense Shuns Traditional Legal Strategies; FTX founder has been vocal online since his indictment, unlike most defendants who remain tight-lipped on advice of counsel
James Fanelli and Corinne Ramey – The Wall Street Journal
When facing criminal charges, most defendants all but glue their mouths shut before trial at the insistence of their lawyers. Sam Bankman-Fried has chosen the opposite approach. The FTX founder, whose reign as a star of the crypto world collapsed along with his exchange in November, has maintained a prominent public presence since his extradition from the Bahamas in December. The 30-year-old has launched a Substack newsletter, been active on Twitter and continued to give media interviews, in an effort to defend himself against federal charges that he stole billions of dollars from FTX customers and defrauded investors and lenders.

Crypto Regulatory Initiatives Show SEC’s Dominance Among US Regulators: JPMorgan
Will Canny – CoinDesk
Recent regulatory initiatives have shown the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) dominant position in the U.S. in regulating the digital assets space, JPMorgan (JPM) said in a research report last week. Its actions have also shown the SEC’s bias in viewing most crypto, with maybe bitcoin (BTC) as the only exception, as securities, the report said. It noted that SEC Chair Gary Gensler started pushing back against implementing special rules for the crypto industry in September, arguing that most cryptocurrencies should be classed as securities and thus be regulated under existing securities laws.

Bank of America Says Options-Driven ‘Volmageddon 2.0’ Warning Is Overblown
Lu Wang – Bloomberg
A week after JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Marko Kolanovic issued a “Volmageddon 2.0” warning on the explosive rise in short-dated options, Bank of America Corp. strategists are pushing back. Investor positioning in hot derivative-powered trades – like S&P 500 contracts that expire within 24 hours – looks less threatening to the wider marketplace compared with the mania that led up to the 2018 volatility rout, per BofA.

After Multibillion-Dollar Fintech Binge, Wall Street Has a Writedown Hangover; Blue-chip firms spent big on companies promising new ways to make payments or manage money. Now they understand they overpaid.
Paige Smith – Bloomberg
Over the past few years, venture capitalists and Wall Street giants paid eye-popping prices for companies that promised new ways to bank, borrow or buy insurance. In 2021, global spending on these so-called fintechs reached a fever pitch at $139.8 billion, almost triple the previous year’s level, according to researcher CB Insights. But in 2022 that money dried up as a broader bear market took hold. And with fintech valuations falling precipitously, some big players are admitting they paid too much.

Calls Grow for Global Finance Architecture Reform Amid Debt Woes; Yellen says debt overhang holding back too many countries; France backs reforms to ensure support to developing nations
Anirban Nag – Bloomberg
Some of the world’s largest economies ramped up calls to increase support to troubled emerging countries ahead of a Group of 20 finance chiefs meeting. “We need to work together to ease the debt overhang that is holding back too many countries,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday. Yellen said she would push for all bilateral official creditors, including China, to participate in debt restructuring for developing countries in distress.

Wall Street set to lose out as China secures grip on IPO pipeline; Revival of listings in New York in doubt as Beijing overhauls rules on foreign share sales
Hudson Lockett and Cheng Leng – Financial Times
China has secured its grip on proposed offshore listings with new rules that bankers and lawyers say will favour Hong Kong and domestic Chinese markets over Wall Street. The rules, which come into effect at the end of March, come nearly two years after Beijing slammed the brakes on lucrative initial public offerings in Hong Kong, New York and other offshore jurisdictions as part of a sweeping regulatory crackdown.

Wall Street’s top cops entice companies to report own misdeeds; Move to encourage more self-disclosure amid decline in white-collar prosecutions
Joe Miller – Financial Times
Companies that voluntarily report wrongdoing to US prosecutors could be spared criminal penalties, the chiefs of the Department of Justice’s main New York branches said on Wednesday, in an attempt to entice early disclosures amid a steady decline in white-collar prosecutions.

Europe’s energy war with Russia is not over, warns IEA chief; Fatih Birol says continent has benefited from mild winter but has ‘much more to do’ to diversify supplies
David Sheppard – Financial Times
The head of the International Energy Agency has warned that Europe has not yet won its energy war with Russia despite a big drop in gas prices, as he urged governments to remain focused on conserving and boosting supplies. Fatih Birol said that while the EU had largely avoided a full-blown energy crisis following Russia’s weaponisation of gas supplies, which had once sparked fears of widespread shortages and blackouts, next winter could prove a greater challenge if the continent suffered colder weather.

Trade group argues U.S. SEC case unfairly labels crypto as securities
Hannah Lang – Reuters
Cryptocurrency trade association Chamber of Digital Commerce is urging a federal court to dismiss a case brought by the U.S. securities regulator against ex-Coinbase employees accused of insider trading, arguing that the case unfairly labeled several crypto assets as securities. The group said in an amicus brief filed Wednesday in a district court in Washington that if the court were to proceed with the case from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it could have wide-ranging consequences for the digital asset industry and harm crypto investors.

SEC Objects to Binance.US’ $1B Voyager Deal, Alleging Sale of Unregistered Securities
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
A $1.02 billion deal by Binance.US to purchase assets of defunct crypto lender Voyager has been opposed by New York and Federal finance regulators, who said in Feb. 22 filings it could prove discriminatory and unlawful. The move follows increasing interventions into crypto by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose probes into the alleged sales of unregistered securities recently caused crypto exchange Kraken to shutter crypto staking operations.

New York sues CoinEx, says crypto exchange failed to register with state
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
CoinEx was sued on Wednesday by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused the cryptocurrency exchange of transacting business illegally because it did not register with the state. In papers filed with a New York state court in Manhattan, James accused CoinEx of having “engaged in repeated and persistent fraudulent practices.”

JPMorgan Restricts Employees From Using ChatGPT; Verizon and other organizations have also blocked access to the popular AI chatbot
Alyssa Lukpat – The Wall Street Journal
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is restricting employees from using ChatGPT, according to a person familiar with the matter. The bank didn’t restrict usage of the popular artificial-intelligence chatbot because of any particular incident, the person said. It couldn’t be determined how many employees were using the chatbot or for what functions they were using it.

Natural Gas Drops to Pandemic-Era Low as US Supply Glut Worsens
Gerson Freitas Jr. – Bloomberg
US natural gas futures have fallen to levels not seen since pandemic-era lockdowns more than two years ago that strangled the economic activity underpinning energy demand. The combination of weaker-than-anticipated winter heating demand in the world’s biggest economy and a freak industrial outage that buried the domestic gas market in excess supplies has gutted prices for the furnace and power-plant fuel.

Pimco-Owned Office Landlord Defaults on $1.7 Billion Mortgage; The office properties owned by Pimco’s Columbia Property Trust range from New York to San Francisco.
John Gittelsohn – Bloomberg
An office landlord controlled by Pacific Investment Management Co. has defaulted on about $1.7 billion of mortgage notes on seven buildings, a sign of widening pain for the industry as property values fall and rising interest rates squeeze borrowers. The buildings – in San Francisco, New York, Boston and Jersey City, New Jersey – are owned by Columbia Property Trust, which was acquired in 2021 for $3.9 billion by funds managed by Pimco. The mortgages have floating-rate debt, which led to rising monthly payments as interest rates soared last year.

The Plan to Double the Number of UK Women Fund Managers in Just 3 Years; There are fewer than 200 women fund managers in the UK but 60 more will receive training each year. Can this change the industry?
Irina Anghel and Caroline Hepker – Bloomberg
There are currently around 200 female money managers in the UK but if 60 more are trained each year, the number of women running funds in the country could almost double by 2026. That’s far more progress than has been made in the last five years – and also happens to be the pitch of investing veteran Helena Morrissey, who’s taking things into her own hands via the Pathway Programme.

Man Group CEO Calls Out the City’s Problem With ‘Social Mobility’; Hedge fund chief Luke Ellis says asking people where they went to school won’t help the financial industry achieve diversity.
Sommer Saadi – Bloomberg
When Man Group Chief Executive Officer Luke Ellis started his career in the City almost 40 years ago, the square mile “had many of the worst aspects of the UK,” he says. It was just “a posh part of UK society that looked down on anything other than posh White men.” But in 2023, things are different. Although he cautions more progress needs to be made, especially at the senior levels, Ellis says “the City is now at least as good as the national average and probably better” when it comes to race and gender equality.

Kraken Settles SEC Charge That Its SAAS Model Was an Illegal Securities Offering
F. Phillip Hosp V, Patrick D. Daugherty – Foley & Lardner LLP
On February 9, 2023, the SEC announced that Kraken had settled charges alleging that it violated securities laws by failing to register the offer and sale of its “crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.” To settle the charges rather than fight, Kraken agreed to pay $30 million in fines and to discontinue offering its staking service to United States customers. Because crypto is a global industry, the main result of this “investor protection” maneuver by the SEC is to deprive United States citizens and residents of Kraken’s staking services as currently configured. Kraken is free to reconfigure its staking services to fit the SEC’s conception of a “security” or to continue offering staking-as-a-service (SAAS) the very same way to its many customers outside the United States.

Ukraine Invasion

Putin Has Decided to Normalize His War; His just-grin-and-bear-it message in his state-of-the-nation speech means that he has no idea how Russia wins.
Leonid Bershidsky – Bloomberg
The big news from Vladimir Putin’s almost two-hour state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday wasn’t Russia’s suspension of the New START treaty. That move amounted to little besides an extra humiliation for its Russian signatory, ex-President Dmitry Medvedev, already reduced to barking out ultranationalist invective on Telegram: Now that Russia considers itself at war with the “collective West,” its willingness to keep its end of any prior agreements shouldn’t be overestimated.

Putin’s War Is Going Really Well, According to Putin; His just-grin-and-bear-it message in his state-of-the-nation speech means that he has no idea how Russia wins in Ukraine.
Jessica Karl – Bloomberg
It’s been a year since Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to launch what he called “a special military operation” in Ukraine. For a minute there, we weren’t sure what to call it. An attack? An invasion? A premeditated assault? Now we routinely refer to it as “the war in Ukraine.” But after 12 months of the most intense bloodshed this century has witnessed, James Stavridis says the “War of Putin’s Ego” would be be more accurate.

Russia says it will play by nuclear treaty rules despite suspending deal with U.S.
Mark Trevelyan and Jake Cordell – Reuters
Russia will stick to agreed limits on nuclear missiles and keep informing the United States about changes in its deployments, a senior defence official said on Wednesday, despite the suspension of its last remaining arms control treaty with Washington. Both chambers of Russia’s parliament voted quickly in favour of suspending Moscow’s participation in the New START treaty, rubber-stamping a decision that President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday when he accused the West of trying to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia in Ukraine.

Exxon warns of Russia risks to its $2.5 billion Kazakhstan income
Sabrina Valle – Reuters
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) on Wednesday warned in a securities filing of potential risks to its Kazakhstan oil operations, which provided $2.5 billion in earnings last year. Threats to Kazakhstan oil exports have been in the spotlight since Moscow invaded Ukraine a year ago this week. Exxon and Chevron are major holders in the Central Asia country’s oil production and related export pipeline. Kazakhstan shares a 4,750 mile (7,644 km) border with Russia and its oil exports travel mainly through a Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) line through Russia and lands at a Russian Black Sea export terminal.

Russian Oil Is Still Flowing, and That Is What the West Wants; G-7 price cap and EU bans have curbed Moscow’s energy revenues without creating shortages
Georgi Kantchev, Andrew Duehren and Joe Wallace – The Wall Street Journal
A Western oil gambit aimed at Russia appears to be working. In recent months, the Group of Seven rich nations imposed a novel price cap on the global sale of Russian crude and refined products, while the European Union banned most Russian oil imports. Both moves, working in concert, were aimed at curbing Moscow’s energy revenue without choking off global supplies and sending prices soaring.

U.S. Considers Release of Intelligence on China’s Potential Arms Transfer to Russia; Western nations have intelligence that Beijing might end its self-imposed restraint on weapons supplies to Moscow
Vivian Salama, William Mauldin and Nancy A. Youssef – The Wall Street Journal
The Biden administration is considering releasing intelligence it believes shows that China is weighing whether to supply weapons to support Russia’s war in Ukraine, U.S. officials said. The discussions on public disclosure come ahead of Friday’s United Nations Security Council meeting marking one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. It follows a number of closed-door appeals to China-coordinated among North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies-that culminated in a formal warning delivered over the weekend in Munich to Wang Yi, China’s senior foreign-policy official, by a number of Western officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

Russian Support for Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Hardening; A year after the invasion, the Kremlin is confident the country is ready to keep fighting.
Bloomberg News
As Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine struggles into its second year, his transformation of Russian society is in overdrive. The Russian leader has unleashed a wave of repression not seen since his KGB hero Yuri Andropov ruled, jailing citizens for the slightest hints of questioning of his official line, a mix of Russian imperial and Soviet nostalgia that has been rushed into curricula for schools and universities across the country. Artists, writers and actors have been hounded from their jobs for even suggesting critical views, their works and exhibits replaced by new ones scrubbed for adherence to the neo-Soviet “traditional values” Putin wrote into law. Schoolchildren denounce teachers and parishioners priests for suggesting peace instead of war.

The Growing Cash Pile in Moscow That Investors Can’t Touch; Foreign investors are still earning income from Russian assets; Most believe they’ll never be able to access the cash
Sujata Rao-Coverley – Bloomberg
Billions of dollars are accumulating in Moscow beyond the reach of its foreign owners. Stock dividends, interest payments on bonds and anything else that Western investors didn’t sell before the war – it’s all part of the pile of money that’s been trapped by sanctions. The accounts are remnants of what’s left of Russia’s ties to the world of international finance, and another marker of its growing isolation. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine begins a second year and anti-war demonstrations take place this week, questions remain about what will happen to the cash stuck in Moscow.

The Economic War Against Putin Has Only Just Begun; The Russian president believes he can outlast Ukraine and its allies for another year. Unyielding economic pressure remains essential to defeating him.
The Editors – Bloomberg
In the early hours of Feb. 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded neighboring Ukraine and precipitated Europe’s worst crisis since World War II. In response, the US and its allies imposed waves of sanctions aimed at cutting Russia off from the global financial system, crippling its industry and depriving Putin of the revenue needed to sustain his campaign of naked aggression.

Russian warlord passed UK money laundering checks with mother’s utility bill; Law firm relied on gas invoice when scrutinising Wagner group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin as prospective client
Miles Johnson – Financial Times
A sanctions-hit Russian warlord who has been accused of human rights abuses around the world was able to pass UK anti-money laundering checks by submitting a utility bill in the name of his 81-year-old mother. Leaked emails seen by the Financial Times show that London-based law firm Discreet Law in 2021 requested identification documents from Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner mercenary group, as part of anti-money laundering checks, before taking him on as a client. At the time the Wagner boss, whose fighters have been accused of crimes including mass executions and rape, was under sanctions by the US, EU and UK and had been placed on the FBI’s most wanted list of international fugitives.

China tries to play peacemaker in Ukraine war to woo Europe; Beijing touts its role as a non-aligned broker but firm ties to Moscow stir western unease
Joe Leahy, Kathrin Hille, Henry Foy and Max Seddon – Financial Times
From the moment he stepped off a plane in Moscow this week, Beijing’s top diplomat Wang Yi lauded China’s friendship with Russia. The bilateral relationship was “mature” and “as stable as Mount Tai”, he told Russian president Vladimir Putin, invoking a sacred mountain in China’s eastern Shandong province.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Euronext launches euro 5.5bn bid for Allfunds; Europe’s biggest exchange operator continues mission to create capital markets empire
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
Euronext, Europe’s biggest exchange operator, has launched a bid for fund platform Allfunds as the acquisitive group continues in its quest to build a capital markets empire. Amsterdam-headquartered Euronext has offered euro 8.75 per share for Allfunds, valuing the company at euro 5.5bn. Shares in Allfunds surged as much as 29 per cent to euro 9.45 after the offer was announced on Wednesday afternoon, while Euronext’s stock fell 6 per cent.

Statement regarding recent press speculation
Euronext notes recent press speculation regarding a potential offer from Euronext for Allfunds and confirms that it has submitted an indicative offer to the Board of Allfunds and is in active discussions with Allfunds largest shareholders. This indicative offer is conditional, amongst other things, on reaching agreement with existing largest shareholders in Allfunds. This indicative offer is currently under consideration by the Board of Allfunds and Euronext reserves the right to amend its terms. There can be no certainty that this will lead to an offer being made. A further announcement will be made as and when required.

NSE receives final approval to launch Social Stock Exchange(SSE) as a separate segment
National Stock Exchange of India
National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) has received final approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on February 22, 2023, to set up a Social Stock Exchange (SSE) as a separate segment of the NSE. The Social Stock Exchange segment will provide new avenue for social enterprises to finance social initiatives, provide them visibility and bring in increased transparency in fund mobilisation & utilisation by social enterprises. Any social enterprise, Non Profit Organization (NPOs) or For-Profit Social Enterprises (FPEs), that establishes its primacy of social intent can get registered / listed on Social Stock Exchange segment.

International companies, energy and mining issuers defy market trends to lead TSX Venture Exchange in 2023; TSX Venture 50 highlights role that Canada’s premier venture exchange plays in supporting access to capital amid economic challenges
TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) today released its 2023 Venture 50┇, shining a light on the top-performing companies from Canada and around the world that are driving growth across their respective sectors. The Venture 50 showcases TSXV issuers across five sectors: energy, mining, clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, and technology. The ranking is an equal weighting of each firm’s performance during 2022 across three key indicators: market capitalization growth, share price appreciation, and trading volume.

Intercontinental Exchange Chief Financial Officer Warren Gardiner to Present at the Raymond James 44th Annual Institutional Investors Conference on March 6
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced today that Warren Gardiner, ICE’s Chief Financial Officer, will present at the Raymond James 44th Annual Institutional Investors Conference. The presentation will take place on Monday, March 6 at 11:00 am EST. The presentation will be available live and in replay via webcast and can be accessed in the investor section of ICE’s website at

HKEX Snaps Profit Decline Streak on Investments, Trading
Kiuyan Wong – Bloomberg
After six straight quarters of sliding profits, the end of 2022 brought some relief to Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. The operator of Hong Kong’s stock exchange reported an 11% increase in profit to HK$2.98 billion ($380 million) in the fourth quarter, according to a statement on Thursday. That beat a HK$2.92 billion estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. For all of 2022, net income slid 20%.

NZX Maintains Solid Earnings Through Market Cycles
New Zealand’s Exchange – Mondovisione
Group operating earnings1 of $36.6 million (excluding acquisition and integration costs) up 2.3% year-on-year; $35.1 million (including acquisition and integration costs) up 1.9%, for year ending 31 December 2022. Despite the step back in market activity in 2022, the NZX Group revenues were up 8.8% to $95.7 million for the full year, reflecting the strength of NZX’s strategy and earnings base.


How to Secure Your Twitter Account Without a Blue Subscription; It’s time to get ready for a new kind of identity verification.
Jeff Stone and Jason Leopold – Bloomberg
When Twitter announced on Feb. 17 that it will start charging people to use text-based account verification, a basic technique that all kinds of sites rely on to protect their users, the cybersecurity community reacted with a collective groan. With this type of two-factor authentication, users enter their username and password into Twitter and then receive a message to their phone with a unique code that they type in for access to the site.

Hong Kong’s new crypto regulation may lure Web3 firms back, experts say
Timmy Shen – Forkast
Upcoming regulatory changes in Hong Kong for cryptocurrency-related service providers could attract businesses and talent back to the city, as it seeks to regain its international crypto hub position, industry experts told Forkast. The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on Monday published draft rules for virtual asset trading platforms and sought public feedback. As part of the new licensing regime set to take effect in June, the SFC plans to require cryptocurrency exchanges to apply for licenses that would allow retail investors to trade certain large-capitalization tokens.

Nvidia extends its AI ambitions to the cloud; Chipmaker’s move could put it on a collision course with some of its biggest customers as the technology takes off
Richard Waters – Financial Times
Nvidia said it is moving faster to a “new business model” of selling AI services directly to large companies and governments, potentially putting it on a collision course with the big tech companies that are its largest customers. The move comes as some of the leading tech companies are designing chips to handle the huge data-crunching demands of AI, reducing their need for Nvidia’s chips in the long term.

Kepler Cheuvreux to adopt Opensee’s trade management and execution analytics solution; Offering will give users the ability to conduct independent analysis of trading data alongside tools to achieve optimal trade execution at reduced costs.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Kepler Cheuvreux has become the first financial institution to select Opensee’s cloud service for trade management and execution analytics. Opensee’s multi-dimensional, real-time data access solution will be deployed by Kepler Cheuvreux through its execution activity KCX.


Frustrated Traders Missing Key Piece of Market Jigsaw Puzzle After London Firm Hacked
Ruth Carson and Stephen Stapczynski – Bloomberg
“Frustrating,” “very annoying” and “left in the dark.” These and similar expressions have been used to describe the near month-long blackout on key global investor positioning reports that cover bets on everything from Treasuries to soybean futures – the casualty of a ransomware attack on financial firm ION Trading UK.

Hackers Are Getting Laid Off Amid Better Cybersecurity: Report
Sindhu Sundar – Business Insider
Hackers and others perpetuating ransomware threats seem to be the latest tech industry workers navigating a shaky job market. As US Department of Justice investigators and companies beef up their oversight of cybersecurity threats, the impact of ransomware attacks – hackers demand ransom payments from targets – has been blunted, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Federal panel says agencies need to focus on harmonizing cyber regulations
Tim Starks – The Washington Post
The Biden administration needs to take numerous steps to deconflict and organize the proliferation of cybersecurity regulations, according to a report that a presidential advisory committee approved Tuesday. That includes things like creating an office within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to harmonize cybersecurity rules across the federal government, or directing a trio of federal agencies to coordinate with foreign governments to develop consensus cybersecurity standards.

TikTok banned from E.U. Commission phones over cybersecurity
NBC News
The European Union’s executive branch said Thursday that it has temporarily banned TikTok from phones used by employees as a cybersecurity measure, reflecting widening worries from Western officials over the Chinese-owned video sharing app. In a first for the European Commission, its Corporate Management Board suspended the use of TikTok on devices issued to staff or personal devices that staff use for work.

CyberSmart raises $15M for an all-in-one cybersecurity and insurance solution targeting SMBs
Ingrid Lunden – TechCrunch
Cybersecurity continues to be a major area for investment among businesses, and today a startup building solutions for smaller enterprises is announcing a funding round to meet that demand. CyberSmart – a UK startup that has built an all-in-one platform providing cybersecurity technology for small and medium businesses, and cyber insurance if things go wrong regardless – has closed a Series B of £12.75 million ($15.4 million).

‘Nevada Group’ hackers target thousands of computer networks; Attacks exploit cloud server code to extort bitcoin from victims in US and Europe
Mehul Srivastava – Financial Times
A mysterious and unidentified group of hackers has sought to paralyse the computer networks of almost 5,000 victims across the US and Europe, in one of the most widespread ransomware attacks on record. The hacking unit, initially nicknamed the Nevada Group by security researchers, began a series of attacks that started around three weeks ago by exploiting an easily fixed vulnerability in a piece of code that is ubiquitous in cloud servers.


Ex-Coinbase President Joins Crypto Startup MoonPay as COO; Asiff Hirji served as Coinbase COO from 2017 until 2019; MoonPay is focused on NFTs despite broad crypto downturn
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
Digital asset startup MoonPay has appointed former Coinbase Global Inc. executive Asiff Hirji as its new president and chief operating officer, the company plans to announce Wednesday. Hirji aims to continue the company’s push into the nonfungible token market. Hirji, who stepped into his new role this month, previously served as a president of blockchain financial services firm Figure Technologies Inc. and was president and COO of crypto exchange Coinbase from 2017 until 2019.

Crypto Long & Short: Washington Plays Tennis With Crypto
Glenn Williams, Nick Baker, Jodie Gunzberg – CoinDesk
A Descent Into Partisanship for Digital Assets Won’t Benefit Anyone
I took the time last week to tune into the Senate hearing on cryptocurrencies titled “Crypto Crash: Why Financial System Safeguards are Needed for Digital Assets.” Quarterbacked by Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Tim Scott, it focused on the need for increased regulation within the digital asset space, punctuated by recent industry collapses.

SEC has to clarify what’s permissible for staking, former CFTC chair says
Timmy Shen – Forkast
It remains unclear whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement action against cryptocurrency exchange Kraken represents a broader crackdown on staking, according to Timothy Massad, former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman.

Celsius Retail Borrowers Criticize Bankruptcy Deal With NovaWulf; Under the bankrupt lender’s plan, borrowers could get back 85% of their digital collateral in five years if they move accounts to new NovaWulf platform
Soma Biswas – The Wall Street Journal
Some of the crypto customers who borrowed from Celsius Network LLC are skeptical of a deal the bankrupt lending firm has proposed that would keep their digital assets locked up for another five years.

Voyager to Hold Onto $445M of Alameda Loan Repayments Pending Court Order or Settlement
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
Estates for bankrupt crypto lender Voyager and bankrupt crypto exchange FTX reached an interim agreement on $445 million of disputed loan payments, filings from Wednesday show. Alameda Research, the trading arm of FTX, filed suit in January to claw back some loan repayments made to Voyager before its own bankruptcy filing. Under the deal, Voyager will keep hold of the disputed funds pending resolution by court order or a final settlement.

IEX taps potential partner for regulated crypto exchange; Brad Katsuyama is in talks with Coinbase to create the new exchange
Eleanor Terrett and Charlie Gasparino – FOX Business
Brad Katsuyama is hoping the second time’s the charm. Katsuyama, the Chairman of the stock exchange IEX and his staff are now in talks with publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to create a federally approved digital asset marketplace, people with direct knowledge of the matter tell Fox Business.

Binance Semi-Automates B-Token Reserves Management After Errors; Process aims to ensure reserves and client funds are not mixed; New system will require collateral to be moved before minting
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
Binance Holdings Ltd. is shifting to a “semi-automated” process for handling the reserves that back tokens it issues, following years of mismanagement in which reserves were mixed with other customer funds and at times appeared to be partially missing. The world’s largest crypto exchange acknowledged last month that it had mistakenly kept collateral for more than 40 of its 94 Binance-peg tokens in a single $16 billion wallet that also held exchange-customer funds, following inquiries from Bloomberg News.

Coinbase Not ‘Throwing in the Towel’ on NFT Marketplace Despite Weak Volume
Andre Beganski – CoinDesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase signaled yesterday that it’s not backing away from its NFT venture anytime soon. That’s despite a drastic drop in volume over time and fresh scrutiny from shareholders. After the company reported higher-than-expected sales and a loss of $577 million for its final fiscal quarter of last year, Coinbase fielded a series of questions about the business’s health on an earnings call with investors and analysts.

Bored Ape NFTs Sale Scores Former Junk Bond Traders 700% Profit; Traders sold all their Bored Ape Yacht Club tokens this week; Faruq and Anderson to focus on developing NFT research portal
Abhinav Ramnarayan – Bloomberg
Former Barclays Plc bond traders Ovie Faruq and Mike Anderson have sold a collection of iconic digital art that triggered their departure from banking and their pursuit of careers in nonfungible tokens. Faruq and Anderson sold 72 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs for between 78.08 and 78.18 Ether each this week, which translates to roughly $9.25 million, according to transactions recorded on NFT marketplace OpenSea. Faruq said the initial investment was around $1.14 million, which would make for at least 700% profit.


UK’s Sunak Suggests He’ll Seek Brexit Treaty Change From EU; British premier says he hears DUP concerns ‘loud and clear’; UK Parliament will have a say on any new Brexit deal: Sunak
Alex Wickham and Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested a coming deal with the European Union over post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland would involve legal changes to the existing treaty, something the bloc has previously opposed.

Nicola Sturgeon Was Too English for Scotland’s Good; A brilliant political career ends in humiliating failure because it was a tower of words, not action.
Adrian Wooldridge – Bloomberg
Why did Nicola Sturgeon’s career end in such humiliating failure? She dominated Scottish politics for more than a decade – eight years as first minister and, before that, seven as the government’s powerful number two; south of the border, prime ministers came and went. But she has astonishingly little to show for it: The nationalist movement is in turmoil and her country worse managed than the rest of the United Kingdom.

European Commission Blocks Staff From Using TikTok; Measure aims to protect commission from cybersecurity threats; Employees were given until March 15 to delete the app
Jillian Deutsch and Jorge Valero – Bloomberg
The European Commission suspended staff from using TikTok Inc. over security concerns related to the social media app’s data-collection practices. Staff were ordered to delete the short-video app from mobile phones and corporate devices, including personal devices that use commission apps, a commission spokesperson confirmed on Thursday.


CFTC Charges Unregistered Commodity Trading Advisor with Fraud, Misappropriation, and Unregistered Commodity Pool Operator with Misappropriation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against Richard “Rick” Miller and his company, Flip 2 Futures Trading Company LLC (F2F) of Otsego, Minnesota, charging Miller and F2F with fraud, misappropriation, and unregistered activity related to trading on behalf of a commodity pool run by Justin Dendinger and Punch Drunk Marketing LLC (PDM) of Somerset, Wisconsin.

CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee Announces Agenda for February 28 Meeting
CFTC Commissioner Summer K. Mersinger, sponsor of the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC), today released the agenda for its public meeting on Tuesday, February 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (CT) in Nashville, Tennessee at the Nashville Public Library. Members of the public may also attend the meeting virtually and in person, if space permits. See the detailed agenda here.

Wall Street Firms Fight SEC Push to Change Mutual-Fund Pricing; BlackRock, Fidelity, Schwab press for the SEC to reconsider; ‘Swing pricing’ and ‘hard close’ included in rules overhaul
Emily Graffeo – Bloomberg
A Securities and Exchange Commission proposal to overhaul how mutual-fund shares are priced has provoked fierce opposition from some of the biggest money managers on Wall Street. BlackRock Inc., Charles Schwab Corp., Fidelity Investments and Morgan Stanley are among those pushing back against a sweeping set of regulatory changes that would include the introduction of a “swing pricing” mechanism for the funds’ shares.

SEC Charges African Gold Acquisition Corp. with Internal Controls, Reporting, and Recordkeeping Failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against African Gold Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), for internal controls, reporting, and recordkeeping violations. These failures enabled African Gold’s former chief financial officer to misappropriate approximately $1.2 million from the company’s operating bank account. As a result, African Gold made materially false filings with the Commission and maintained inaccurate books and records.

Statement on the Final Rule on Extending Form 144 EDGAR Filing Hours and Celebrating the EDGAR System on its 30th Anniversary
Commissioner Mark T. Uyeda – SEC
Yesterday, the Commission adopted amendments to Regulation S-T to extend the deadline, from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, for when a Form 144 is deemed filed[1] on the date of submission.[2] This extension is a sensible change that eases the stress and burden on sellers (and their brokers, counsels, and other professionals), who must file Form 144 on the same day as placing their order to sell stock.[3] Sometimes, this need to file is not known until near the close of trading at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

ClearLoans penalised $6 million for financial hardship misconduct and other Credit Act breaches during COVID-19
The Federal Court has found Membo Finance Pty Ltd (Membo) and its sole credit representative, Richmond Group Financial Services Pty Ltd (RGFS), trading as ClearLoans, breached the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (the Credit Act) and has ordered the companies to pay over $6m in penalties. The Court found both Membo and RGFS (by its involvement) failed to act efficiently, honestly and fairly when dealing with debtors in financial hardship and commenced court proceedings to enforce credit contracts in a state other than where the borrower or guarantor lived.

FCA forces firms to stop making misleading British Steel Pension Scheme offers
Financial Conduct Authority
Under the redress scheme, firms will have to review the advice they gave and pay redress to those who lost money because the advice was unsuitable. We are concerned that these unsolicited settlement offers, which are likely to be for less money than they are entitled to under the redress scheme, are a deliberate attempt to exclude former BSPS members from the redress scheme.

Regulating investment consultants would not have prevented the LDI crisis; It is more important to increase competition and allow investors to compare performance and fees
Harriet Agnew – Financial Times
The UK financial regulator said this week it was looking for ideas about how to improve regulation of the country’s £11tn asset management industry. One idea being discussed in the wake of the pensions crisis last year is whether the full scope of investment consultancy services should come under the Financial Conduct Authority’s remit.

Investing and Trading

Covid Test Maker Lucira Goes Bankrupt as Demand for Kits Wanes; Publicly traded company makes at-home test kits for Covid-19; Lucira has assets of $146 million and debts of $85 million
Amelia Pollard – Bloomberg
Lucira Health Inc., a publicly traded maker of at-home Covid-19 tests, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday. California-based Lucira listed assets of about $146 million and liabilities of about $85 million in its bankruptcy petition. The company will keep operating during bankruptcy as it seeks to sell itself, according to a statement.

The Average 401(k) Lost 20% of Its Value Last Year; Retirement accounts took a dive in 2022 as tech stocks plunged, according to research from Fidelity.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
The average 401(k) account at Fidelity Investments lost about a fifth of its value in 2022, tumbling to $103,900 from $130,700, according to a report Thursday from the asset manager. After a year when the S&P 500 plunged 19% and bonds provided little refuge, double-digit drops are about what you’d expect for investors who didn’t retreat into money market funds. Average account balances at Vanguard were down 20%, and losses on some of the largest actively managed equity funds in 401(k) plans were far greater.

More than half of US investors see fixed income opportunities from higher interest rates, finds research; A CoreData Research study found that 55% of investors would increase allocations to fixed income if the Federal Reserve was to increase rates to 5%.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Despite growing concerns about the potential damage inflicted by interest rate hikes, US investors are leaning toward fixed income opportunities from higher interest rates, finds new research. A CoreData Research study of 120 US institutional investors found that more than half (55%) intend to increase allocations to fixed income if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to 5%.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

ESG Shock That Hit BlackRock, Pimco Triggers Split in EU;French regulator says planned SFDR review will take too long; Warning comes amid wave of corrections across EU ESG funds
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
European Union efforts to address criticism of its ESG investing rulebook are being challenged by the financial supervisory authority of France. The French watchdog wants the EU to quickly adjust the legislation that underpins the bloc’s landmark ESG investing rulebook, instead of waiting for a planned review of the regulatory framework to run its course. The investment industry needs a faster solution than the one currently envisioned by the EU’s executive arm, according to Jerome Reboul, managing director of regulatory policy at Autorité des Marchés Financiers.

Analysis: U.S. Financial Firms Need New Narrative to Combat Upcoming Political Battles over ESG
Henry Engler – Thomson Reuters
“We think that banks should be non-political. Banks should not be a political party,” says Kentucky lawmaker Andy Barr. Henry Engler, Senior Editor, Regulatory Intelligence at Thomson Reuters, points out the allegations are not new. They follow an onslaught of recent attacks and efforts by Republican state attorneys general to exclude banks and asset managers from underwriting municipal securities and other financing activities because of their perceived discriminatory ESG policies. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, having won a slim majority in November, are poised to battle the financial industry over its environmental, social and governance policies.

5 Ways To Mitigate Greenwashing-And Greenhushing-Risks
Jim DeLoach – Forbes
You probably know about “greenwashing.” But are you familiar with “greenhushing”? “Greenwashing” is an accusation that activists, investors and other stakeholders levy when they believe a company’s sustainability and environmental proclamations and disclosures lack credibility, meaning they are not supported by facts and underlying data. “Greenhushing” is a deliberate attempt to avoid greenwashing allegations by under-communicating or otherwise publicly reporting as little as possible regarding progress toward climate objectives (e.g., advancing toward longer-term net zero goals in silence).

US Farmers Are Getting Paid More for Capturing Carbon in Fields; The credits are sold to companies seeking to reduce emissions.
Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
Capturing carbon on the farm could be starting to pay off as Indigo Ag doubles the price it offers for planet-friendly growing practices. Boston-based Indigo Ag said Thursday that it issued 110,000 credits as part of its second carbon “crop.” For this round, farmers will get $30 per credit. That’s up from the initial payments to farmers of $15 in September 2021.

France’s Nuclear Energy Recovery Is Starting to Stumble
Brian Wingfield, Francois De Beaupuy and Josefine Fokuhl – Bloomberg
As Europe charts a new energy course in the absence of Russian supplies, it’s worth taking a closer look at one of the vital engines of the continent’s recovery: France. The country has Europe’s largest fleet of nuclear reactors, and their ability to rebound from a spell of prolonged outages and maintenance is key as the region diversifies its energy supplies. But there are continued signs this might not be so easy, even as France’s atomic output trends upward after slumping last year to the lowest level since 1988.

Capital Monitor’s Seven ESG Predictions for 2023
Adrian Murdoch and Daniel Flatt – TabbForum
Given US voters care greatly about companies making a positive impact, all the partisan bluster between Democrats and Republicans may subside soon. Given the emphasis on investment in climate, are the SDGs fit for purpose? These are two of the seven Capital Monitor ESG predictions for 2023. Adrian Murdoch, award-winning financial markets specialist, and Daniel Flatt, founding editor of Capital Monitor, list in detail.With 2023 shaping up to be another crucial year for the development of sustainable capital and ESG, Capital Monitor outlines what we believe will be some of the most important influencing factors.

China Considers Mandatory ESG Disclosures Framework
Regulation Asia – ESG Investor
Chinese regulators are reportedly planning to make ESG disclosures mandatory for all firms listed on domestic markets. The regulators may initially introduce the new ESG disclosure requirements on a ‘comply or explain’ basis before transitioning to a fully mandatory framework. The new framework is being designed so that it is both recognised by the international community and applicable to the local market. Voluntary ESG disclosure guidelines for local enterprises have already been developed and implemented since 1 June last year.

Canada: Integrating sustainability goals across the investment industry
Principles for Responsible Investment
Governments, as well as investors, increasingly recognise that long-term financial returns depend, to a large extent, on the viability of environmental and social systems. As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in sustainable finance policy reforms around the globe, intended to align financial flows with sustainability goals. Still, most investors and other financial actors are not yet playing their full role in addressing evolving sustainability challenges.

Nigeria’s Climate Change Act
LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
The Climate Change bill was signed into law by the President Buhari in November 2021 in order to provide Nigeria with a legal framework for the country to achieve its climate goals, achieve long-term social and economic sustainability, and resilience. Following the President’s commitment made at the COP 26 in Glasgow of achieving net zero by 2060, the Act enacts an overarching objective of achieving net zero emissions between 2050 and 2070.

Climate change and sustainability: Asian firms must ’embrace digital technology’ to deliver on environmental goals; Many Asian companies do not seem to appreciate the power of technology to conserve energy and reduce emissions, Schneider Electric’s Olivier Blum says; Only 52 per cent of 205 Hong Kong firms surveyed by the Business Environment Council embraced digital technologies in the past year to reduce their carbon footprint
Eric Ng – South China Morning Post
A lack of understanding of technologies that drive energy savings and commitment from top management to deliver on their climate goals are hampering decarbonisation progress at many companies in Asia, according to an industry executive.

New partnership launches AI-powered global climate law and policy database
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, and Climate Policy Radar are delighted to announce a new partnership to offer upgraded open data resources on global climate laws, policies and legal cases. The collaboration will bring together the partners’ world-leading databases on global climate law – the Grantham Research Institute’s Climate Change Laws of the World and the Sabin Center’s Global Climate Litigation Database – and enhance them with artificial intelligence-powered features developed by tech startup Climate Policy Radar.


JPMorgan says it is not liable for top banker’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday said it should not be held liable for a former top executive’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein in a lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. bank of facilitating its former client’s sex trafficking enterprise. In a filing in Manhattan federal court, JPMorgan said emails between former executive Jes Staley and Epstein provided no basis for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which filed the lawsuit, to suggest Staley could “detect Epstein’s sex trafficking.”

Jes Staley had ‘inappropriate’ personal exchanges with Epstein, JP Morgan admits
Simon Foy – The Telegraph
JP Morgan has admitted in a court filing that Jes Staley had inappropriate personal conversations with Jeffrey Epstein but claimed the exchanges did not victimise underage girls. The Wall Street titan said the former boss of its private bank, who went on to become chief executive of Barclays, used his work email to engage in inappropriate exchanges with the late paedophile financier.

Staley’s Ties to Epstein Spark Mea Culpa From Bowdoin President
Francesca Maglione – Bloomberg
Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose told students, faculty and staff that he was “clearly wrong” to call Jes Staley someone who “represents all that is great about Bowdoin and the culture and values here” during an interview in 2019. Staley, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s former private wealth chief and a member of Bowdoin’s class of 1979, was recently accused in a lawsuit against the bank of having “personally observed” sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein, with whom he allegedly had a “profound” friendship. Epstein, a financier who was convicted in 2008 of soliciting a minor for prostitution, was charged with sex trafficking in 2019 and died in jail of an apparent suicide.

State Street set to acquire outsourced trading firm CF Global; A deal would place the custodian alongside the likes of Northern Trust and UBS, which both also boast strong custody and outsourced trading units and subsequent synergies.
Annabel Smith – The TRADE
Financial services giant State Street is set to acquire outsourced trading firm CF Global, multiple sources familiar with the matter have told The TRADE. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed and the transaction remains subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition is believed to have been agreed in the third quarter of last year but was subject to unconfirmed delays, The TRADE understands.

UBS Set to Apply for China Mutual-Fund License; The bank’s politically neutral home market has allowed it to be more vocal about its China ambitions
Jing Yang – The Wall Street Journal
UBS Group AG is preparing to apply for a mutual-fund license in China, according to people familiar with the matter, becoming the latest Western bank to take advantage of Beijing’s relaxed rules on foreign financial institutions. The Swiss bank has held informal communications with the China Securities Regulatory Commission about its intention to apply, and plans to submit the application as soon as possible, some of the people said.

Ex-Warburg Boss Removes Judge in his Cum-Ex Case Over Bias; Judge secretly got papers form a separate Cum-Ex case: lawyer;l Fellow judges ruled that circumstances raise fairness doubts
Karin Matussek – Bloomberg
The judge in a key Cum-Ex prosecution against M.M. Warburg’s ex-chief executive officer has been removed from the case over allegations of bias. The decision was taken by other judges of the court in Bonn at the request of Christian Olearius’s lawyers, his attorney Peter Gauweiler said in an emailed statement. A spokeswoman for the tribunal couldn’t immediately comment.

iShares co-creator Morgan Stanley finally enters ETF race; Increasing popularity of actively managed vehicles has lured a number of heavyweight managers to the market
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
In a parallel universe Morgan Stanley might be Europe’s pre-eminent exchange traded fund provider. In this one it is the wet-behind-the-ears newbie, beaten to the punch by the more than 400 issuers globally that have already entered the ETF fray.

Work & Management

Wells Fargo Cuts More Than 500 Mortgage Staff on Strategy Shift
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
Wells Fargo & Co. cut hundreds of jobs in its mortgage unit this week, adding to thousands of cuts last year, as the firm retreats from a business it once dominated. The latest reductions affected more than 500 employees, according to a person familiar with the matter. Wells Fargo announced a “new strategic direction” for the business last month that includes exiting correspondent lending, a pivot that Chief Financial Officer Mike Santomassimo said last week is “largely done.”

Men Dropping Out of the Workforce Could Be Progress
Allison Schrager – Bloomberg
When I think of the working-age men I know who choose not to work, they all have something in common: a woman who earns enough to support them both. One of the big economic mysteries of our time has become why men in the prime age group of 25 to 54 are leaving the labor force. What are they doing instead? Why don’t they want to work? How do they support themselves? Those are still largely unanswered questions, but I wondered if some of my personal acquaintances offered a clue.

Highly paid oil rig worker merits overtime, U.S. Supreme Court says
Daniel Wiessner – Reuters
An oil rig supervisor who earned more than $200,000 a year working for Houston-based Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc is entitled to overtime pay, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a decision with costly implications for the oil and gas industry.

Wellness Exchange

Apple Makes Major Progress on No-Prick Blood Glucose Tracking for Its Watch; Company hits major milestone in creating blood glucose monitor; Apple disguised work behind a secretive health-care startup
Mark Gurman – Bloomberg
Apple Inc. has a moonshot-style project underway that dates back to the Steve Jobs era: noninvasive and continuous blood glucose monitoring. The goal of this secret endeavor – dubbed E5 – is to measure how much glucose is in someone’s body without needing to prick the skin for blood. After hitting major milestones recently, the company now believes it could eventually bring glucose monitoring to market, according to people familiar with the effort.

South Korea to scrap COVID test on arrival rule for travellers from China
South Korea will not require travellers from China to test for COVID-19 upon arrivals from next month although they will still need to take pre-departure tests, a South Korean official said on Wednesday, its latest easing of rules to stop the virus. South Korea imposed several restrictions on passengers from China after it lifted its stringent zero-COVID policy late last year, but it has been easing them, citing an improved COVID situation in its neighbour.

Science Could Soon Add Decades to Your Life; On the first episode of Bloomberg’s The Future With Hannah Fry, she uncovers the cutting-edge research, and conundrums, behind human longevity.
David Rovella – Bloomberg
A scientific revolution has begun, one that may bring the fantasy of immortality a little closer to reality-at least by a few decades anyway. Researchers the world over are closing in on discoveries that may help humans live much longer-perhaps well into their 100s. But with this new technology comes many unanswered questions: how will such extended lifespans affect society, both socially and financially? What will the quality of those extra years be? And, in the end, will we really want to live that long after all?


China’s Tech Rainmaker Vanishes, and So Does Business Confidence; Bao Fan’s firm says he’s unreachable, and others in the tech sector are worried for him and fear what his disappearance says about China’s heavy hand in business.
Li Yuan – The New York Times
On Valentine’s Day in 2015, two of China’s biggest ride-hailing start-ups, one backed by the tech giant Alibaba and the other by Tencent, announced they would merge after burning through hundreds of millions of dollars in a price war. Brokering the deal, while managing the egos of combative founders and investors, was Bao Fan, the rainmaker of China’s tech industry. His company, the investment bank China Renaissance, went on to advise and invest in many of China’s most successful tech companies, taking them public in Hong Kong and New York.

Want That Coffee With Olive Oil? Starbucks Thinks Italians Will.; The company has amassed an audience in Italy, and now it is betting on two very Italian ingredients.
Elisabetta Povoledo – The New York Times
Italians have rules about coffee. Cappuccino, for instance, is a morning drink, so don’t try ordering it for an afternoon pick-me-up. In most cafes, coffee is consumed standing at the counter, and variations are few, usually involving only the amount of water and/or milk to be added. Still, Starbucks, which breaks all those rules with its long menu of options that are served at any time of day, opened here in 2018 and has amassed a following. On Wednesday, the company bet on Italy once more with a combination of two ingredients at the heart of this country’s food pyramid: coffee and olive oil.

[et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="circle" icons_location="top" col_number="4" counts="true" counts_num="0" total="true" outer_color="dark"]

We visit more than 100 financial news websites daily (Would YOU do that?)

The Spread

Past JLN Newsletters