City of London Plans for Life After Covid as Its Offices Empty; US futures traders gorge on cheddar amid race to lock in supplies

Apr 27, 2021

First Read

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The U.S. stock market has seen better returns in Joe Biden’s first 100 days than under any president in the past 75 years. — Markets Insider

The OCC and OIC announced that the Joseph W. Sullivan Achievement Award Winner to be honored at the 2021 Options Industry Conference is the late Joe Levin, former Cboe vice president, research and product development, who led the development of the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX). — OCC

OCC was designated a best place for working parents in Dallas. Chicago, what do you think? — The OCC

MarketWatch reported that Coindesk reported that JP Morgan would offer its clients access to a managed bitcoin fund by this summer. — MarketWatch

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler continues to build out his communications staff. The SEC named Keo Chea as director of public engagement and Aisha Johnson as director of media relations. — SEC

The CME Group’s Business Conduct Committee has been busy. The smallest fine ($500) went to member Joshua Murphy (JXM) for face shield and social distancing violations. Non-member DairyAmerica Inc. was hit with two position limit violations and fined a total of $45,000. Non-member Gaston Berto was fined $15,000 and banned for four weeks from the trading floor or accessing a CME Market for wash trades.

Members Thomas Hessling, Michael Scott Arenson and Christopher McGrath were fined $40,000, $75,000 and $85,000, respectively, for pre-arranged trading in the Eurodollar options pit that involved members of the same broker group. And finally, non-member Altshuler Shaham was fined $25,000 for position limit violations in the wheat futures. —CME Group

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Owen Rehling has been hired as a part-time employee of John Lothian News as a fact checker and assistant editor. He has been interning since his graduation from the University of Iowa. He is also a former Scout of mine and an Eagle Scout.

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


Eventus just launched a new website and logo, and its CEO, Travis Schwab, has a letter on the site explaining the changes. You can read it here and see the new website here.~SR

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Chairman and CEO Richard Sandor is one of the speakers at’s Libor Live 2021, which takes place today and Wednesday. His talk, “AMERIBOR and choice: a case study of the birth of a new benchmark,” will be delivered today at 10 a.m. CT. More information is here.~SC

The NYU Stern School of Business will tackle climate change in its Second Annual Volatility and Risk Institute Conference, set for Friday, April 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET. Speakers at the event, “A Financial Risk Framework for Climate Change: Portfolio Construction, Stress Testing, and Risk Transfer,” include an array of academics, as well as SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee and Acting CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam. The conference is free on Zoom, but registration is required. You can sign up here.~SC


Mobilize the Market to Fight Global Warming; Growing economies and protecting the climate go hand in hand.
Michael R. Bloomberg and David M. Solomon – Bloomberg
Capital markets are an extraordinarily powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Government action is certainly critical. But ultimately, reducing emissions globally depends on the private sector recognizing the commercial opportunities that sustainability presents. That’s the inspiration behind a new partnership we are announcing today.

*****Bloomberg showing leadership means you don’t have to be elected.~JJL


OCC, OIC Announce Joseph W. Sullivan Achievement Award Winner; Recipient to be Honored at the 2021 Options Industry Conference
Chicago – OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today announced that The Options Industry Council will honor the late Joe Levin, former Cboe Vice President, Research and Product Development, who led the development of the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), with the Joseph W. Sullivan Options Industry Achievement Award. The award will be presented virtually at the 2021 Options Industry Conference on April 28.

*****Can’t wait to hear more at the conference.~JJL


Pandemic Lessons From the Era of ‘Les Miserables’; Following disease outbreaks in the 19th century, Paris reimagined its streets, building the wide boulevards that the city is known for today.
Feargus O’Sullivan – Bloomberg
When cholera first arrived in Paris in March 1832, some refused to let it affect their social lives. The German poet Heinrich Heine, then living in the city, describes a masked ball held just as the first cases were announced, at which revelers danced the chahut, the high-kicking dance that later evolved into the Can-Can. Suddenly hit by shivering cold, one dancer dressed as a harlequin removed his mask, and struck horror into the crowd: his face had turned violet. This was a sign of the so-called “blue death,” caused by extreme dehydration as cholera bacteria spread in the small intestine. Some laughed and assumed it was face paint, but soon other dancers fell ill around him and were rushed to hospital. They died so quickly that some were buried still wearing the costumes they were dancing in just hours before.

*****Real estate is a big story today.~JJL


Nearly 500 People Became Billionaires During The Pandemic Year
Chase Peterson-Withorn – Forbes
Covid-19 hasn’t stopped the spread of billionaires, who multiplied at an astounding rate over the past year. A record 493 people joined Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list this year—meaning the world on average gained a new billionaire every 17 hours since Forbes last took a snapshot of billionaire wealth on March 18, 2020. The previous record for most new billionaires in a year was 290 in 2015.

*****I was not on the list, unfortunately.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Monday was Carlos Watson’s podcast interview with Nasdaq’s CEO on Ozy, Adena Friedman Spills the Stock Exchange’s Secrets. The second most-clicked was a Wall Street Journal report, India’s Covid Surge Is Most Ferocious Yet. ‘Spreading Like Wildfire.’ The third was from The New York Times, Emily Ratajkowski Is Selling a NFT at Christie’s.


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Lead Stories

City of London Plans for Life After Covid as Its Offices Empty
Olivia Konotey-Ahulu – Bloomberg
Financial district announces five-year reinvention plan; District aims to create 1,500 residential units by 2030
The City of London is planning for life after the pandemic. The overseers of the sparsely-populated area announced plans on Tuesday to build at least 1,500 homes in the next decade, along with exploring new ways to repurpose empty space. It’s already flagged ambitions to develop 122,500 square meters (1.3 million square feet) of shopping space over 15 years.

US futures traders gorge on cheddar amid race to lock in supplies; Block cheese market volumes soar as economy reopens and anticipation of grilling season
Emiko Terazono – FT
Traders in US cheese futures now hold contracts worth 64m pounds of block cheddar, a sharp increase from the start of the year, with companies racing to lock in supplies in anticipation of accelerating demand as the American economy reopens from coronavirus lockdowns.

City of London plans 1,500 homes for post-pandemic recovery; Vacant office conversions and boost for cultural and creative industries among proposals
Daniel Thomas – FT
The City of London is planning to convert offices left vacant after the pandemic into hundreds of homes as part of a recovery strategy to be launched by the UK capital’s financial district.

Anatomy of a hedge fund hack; Complexity of scams, and the time and money fraudsters are prepared to invest, highlight growing threat to smaller firms
Laurence Fletcher – FT
It was only when John made a final phone call to confirm the transfer of about EUR10m to his family trust that he realised he was about to fall victim to a highly sophisticated financial scam. A fraudster had spent two months pretending to be one of John’s business associates in order to gain his confidence and trick him into diverting a standard loan repayment to a different bank account.

Saying Au Revoir to the Most Successful Policy in Federal Reserve History; The Fed’s three-month currency swaps to other central banks cost nothing, prevented an emerging crisis and may have left markets healthier in the aftermath
Mike Bird – WSJ
You may have missed it, but last week major central banks announced the coming end of a facility that provided hundreds of billions of dollars in international swaps, and prevented a calamitous dollar funding crisis last spring. The Federal Reserve’s three-month currency swaps with other central banks will come to a close on July 1. Weekly operations with a seven-day maturity will continue. The central banks involved stressed that they could revive the longer-maturity facility if needed.

Nomura, UBS Take Global Banks’ Archegos Hit to Over $10 Billion
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Global banks’ losses related to the collapse of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management topped $10 billion after Nomura Holdings Inc. and UBS Group AG disclosed more than $3.7 billion of combined hits from the collapse of the U.S. family office.

*****Here is the WSJ version of this story.~JJL

Bankers Love Hedge Funds for a Very Good Reason; Credit Suisse is trimming its prime brokerage business post-Archegos, but that’s just an opportunity for others on Wall Street to get more lucrative work.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
As the aftershocks from the $10 billion implosion of Archegos Capital Management continue to reverberate, risk managers will be scrutinizing their equity financing desks more closely than ever. But with hedge funds rediscovering their mojo in recent months, the prime brokerage units catering to their needs are far too lucrative for investment banks to curtail their activities.

Total bank losses from Archegos implosion exceed $10bn; Nomura suspends head of prime brokerage after reporting biggest quarterly loss since 2008 due to debacle
Leo Lewis and Owen Walker – FT
Bank losses from the implosion of Archegos Capital have surpassed $10bn, after Nomura reported a $2.9bn hit and suspended its head of prime brokerage, and UBS revealed a $861m loss from the debacle.

Who Nds th Lttr E? Scottish Fund Manager Aberdeen Tries Abrdn Instead; In Google search, the company’s legacy name struggled to compete with the university, soccer club, local government and airport
Julie Steinberg – WSJ
Crtain vowls just arn’t arning thir kp anymor. On Monday, a Scottish asst managr said it would nix a fw of th troublmakrs. Specifically, and perhaps more comprehensibly, it was Standard Life Aberdeen PLC that said it would eliminate the Es, and change its name to “Abrdn.”

Biden Administration Developing Cryptocurrency Regulation — Treasury to Provide Direction to SEC
The Biden administration is reportedly developing a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency markets. The new chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, is waiting for direction from the Treasury to establish cryptocurrency regulation.

Statement by Secretary Janet Yellen On the United Kingdom’s Establishment of a Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime
U.S. Department Of The Treasury
The United States Department of the Treasury welcomes the enactment today of the United Kingdom’s new Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime, which builds upon the success of the United Kingdom’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. This new sanctions regime gives the United Kingdom an authority similar to the United States’ Global Magnitsky program and Canada’s Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, which target both human rights abusers and corrupt actors. We stand in close partnership with the United Kingdom in addressing the global challenges of corruption and illicit finance.

Still Getting Your Head Around Digital Currency? So Are Central Bankers; If you are trying to grasp Bitcoin and understand what China’s digital yuan means, America’s Federal Reserve is right there with you.
Jeanna Smialek – NY Times
America’s Federal Reserve says it is in no rush to issue a digital currency, but it is coming under intense and increasing pressure to research and understand the design and potential of digital money.

Citi Eyes Mortgage Tech in Push to Close Racial Wealth Gap
Jenny Surane – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. said it will invest in digital mortgage offerings as part of its pledge to improve homeownership rates among communities of color.

US Bank, State Street Back $30M Raise for Institutional Crypto Builder Securrency
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Institutional cryptocurrency infrastructure firm Securrency has closed a $30 million funding round, backed by banking majors U.S. Bank and State Street.

Wellness Exchange

Vaccine Hoarding Set to Backfire on Rich Nations as India Reels
Bhuma Shrivastava and Chris Kay – Bloomberg
Variants emerging in India pose worldwide threat, experts say; India’s vaccine shortages in part blamed on U.S. export curbs
For months, developed economies have hoarded Covid-19 vaccines and the raw materials needed to make them. Now, they’re being forced to act as an explosive outbreak in India raises the risk of new virus mutations that could threaten the wider world.

Business Class Opens to Masses as Affordable Covid Refuge
Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
Cashed-up leisure travelers are splurging on premium seats; Airlines losing $174 billion have found new market to exploit
Business class was that silent and spacious sanctuary for the well-heeled, at least until the pandemic destroyed global aviation. But as flights creep back, this once-exclusive haven is being invaded, by the masses. Flush with cash and a record number of air miles after a year on the ground, leisure travelers are splurging on premium seats for their first trips back. They’re not just after the plated food, champagne and little cosmetics that typically come with the higher fares. Rather, they’re trying to minimize the risk of catching Covid in the cheek-to-cheek jostle of coach.

Hong Kong to Reopen Bars, Nightclubs to Vaccinated People
Felix Tam, Natalie Lung, and Alfred Liu – Bloomberg
City working to incentivize shots amid low inoculation rate; Some restaurants will be allowed to extend dine-in hours
Hong Kong will ease social-distancing restrictions by allowing bars, nightclubs and karaoke parlors to re-open and operate past midnight only for vaccinated residents starting Thursday, as the government intensifies efforts to boost the city’s lackluster inoculation drive. Staff and customers must have received at least a first vaccine dose for the venues to open their doors, Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a briefing on Tuesday. Patrons will need to sign in using Hong Kong’s LeaveHomeSafe app.

Vietnam Reports Virus Case Tied to Visitors From India
Mai Ngoc Chau and Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen – Bloomberg
A hotel worker in the northern province of Yen Bai tested positive for Covid-19 after contact with 11 quarantined visitors from India, the provincial department of health said in a website statement.

Indian security forces called in to bolster fight against Covid wave; Retired medics drafted to help combat deepening crisis as five-star hotel converted into clinic
Benjamin Parkin and Amy Kazmin – FT
India has called in security forces to bolster its fight against Covid-19, deploying soldiers and building field hospitals as the country’s health system threatens to collapse under a deluge of infections.

As Virus Rages Abroad, Biden Promises to Ship Millions of Vaccine Doses; President Biden will send up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to countries pleading for help, but some see a medicine dropper for “a four-alarm fire.”
Sheryl Gay Stolberg – NY Times
President Biden, under intense pressure to do more to address the surging pandemic abroad, including a humanitarian crisis in India, intends to make up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine available to other countries, so long as federal regulators deem the doses safe, officials said Monday.

Is a new variant driving India’s coronavirus catastrophe? Scientists cautious about extent to which B.1.617 is behind dizzying surge in cases
Clive Cookson and Anna Gross – FT
The bewildering speed with which coronavirus has overwhelmed India’s health systems has sparked global alarm over the viral variant that emerged in the subcontinent. The B.1.617 variant has been blamed by some for the surge in infections in India, which reported more than 350,000 confirmed cases on Monday alone, a world record for one country in a single day. Health experts believed the true figure was likely to be much higher.

US factory troubles to delay shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine; Plant mix-up means FDA quality checks that ‘could have taken a few days’ will take weeks
Kiran Stacey – FT
Covid-19 vaccines made in the US by AstraZeneca will take weeks to ship to hard-hit countries instead of days because of problems at a factory owned by one of the company’s suppliers.

Tokyo Olympics Say They Can Be Held Safely. Experts Say They Need Vaccines; Games organizers point to other sports managing distanced, bubbled events during the pandemic, but none of them approaches the scale of the Olympics
Louise Radnofsky and Rachel Bachman – WSJ
With the Tokyo Games less than three months away, the International Olympic Committee has held up recent sports championships as evidence that they can proceed safely even during a pandemic. “Look at the Augusta Masters,” IOC president Thomas Bach suggested in a news conference last week, saying the golf tournament proceeded with “no problem” and produced its first Japanese champion, Hideki Matsuyama.

Singapore Is Now the World’s Best Place to Be During Covid
Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Singapore, the Place to Be
The Covid-19 news from April is a mixed bag. While the world topped one billion doses of vaccines administered in an unprecedented global effort, virus variants are challenging the fight and driving overall infection levels to fresh records.

India exported millions of vaccine doses during its own Covid emergency
Hasit Shah – Quartz
There are only two proven methods of halting, or at least mitigating, the worst impact of the pandemic. One is the “zero Covid” strategy adopted by countries like New Zealand, based on aggressive testing, tracing, border control, and enforcement of rules. The other, which the UK somehow appears to be succeeding in, is a rapid mass vaccination program.

US to share up to 60m vaccine doses amid pressure to lead global virus fight
David Smith and Hannah Ellis-Petersen – The Guardian
The US will share up to 60m doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine with other countries, the White House has announced, amid intensifying pressure for it to lead the global fight against the pandemic.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE to launch ultra-low latency wireless market data services in Europe; The wireless market data services from ICE will provide competitive latency to the London metro area and Frankfurt.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has confirmed plans to launch an ultra-low latency wireless market data offering in the London metro area and Frankfurt through ICE Global Network (IGN). The wireless market data service will enable clients to access both cash and derivatives packages in the London triangle from ICE Futures, Euronext, Cboe Europe and London Stock Exchange, as well as Eurex and Xetra from Frankfurt.

ICE Introduces Ultra-Low Latency Wireless Services in Europe; Provides competitive latency to London metro area and Frankfurt
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced the launch of its ultra-low latency wireless market data offering in the London metro area and Frankfurt by ICE Global Network (IGN).

SGX welcomes TFI Securities and Futures as Derivatives Trading Member
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed TFI Securities and Futures Limited (TFISF) as a Trading Member of its derivatives market. TFISF is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TF International Securities Group, which provides investment management services worldwide. TFISF holds the Type 1 and 2 licences issued by Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, for dealing in securities and futures contracts.

Esma Enters Final Stage In The Registration Of The First Securitisation Repositories
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, announces that it has reached the last stage in the assessment process of applications received from Securitisation Repositories (SRs) under the Securitisation Regulation (SECR).

Shanghai Stock Exchange Revises And Releases Interim Regulation On Application And Recommendation For Issuance And Listing of Enterprises On SSE STAR Market
Since the establishment of the SSE STAR Market and the pilot of the registration-based IPO system, the board has adhered to its positioning, to support and attract companies with “hard-technology” to go public. Based on the experience learned from practice, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) releases the amended Guideline for Attribute of Sci-Tech Innovation (Soft Operation) today. In the same time, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) releases the amended Interim Regulation on Application and Recommendation for Issuance and Listing of Enterprises on SSE STAR Market (the Interim Regulation for short).


Ant Valuation Seen Falling to $29 Billion in Worst-Case Scenario
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Ant Group Co.’s valuation could plummet to as low as $29 billion after becoming a financial holding company that’s regulated more like a bank, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Daniel Kaminsky, Internet Security Savior, Dies at 42; If you are reading this obituary online, you owe your digital safety to him.
Nicole Perlroth – NY Times
Daniel Kaminsky, a security researcher known for his discovery of a fundamental flaw in the fabric of the internet, died on Friday at his home in San Francisco. He was 42. His aunt, Dr. Toby Maurer, said the cause was diabetes ketoacidosis, a serious diabetic condition that led to his frequent hospitalization in recent years.

Banking and Fintech in 2021: Discover Exploding Trends
Gustav Korobov – Finextra
We have analysed different new events, regulations, developments and partnerships in fintech and banking and come up with six trends happening in the next eight months you should certainly keep in mind. When it comes to banking, the fee trend generally moves in one direction, and it is up. We are seeing many early signs that banks and fintechs are changing their approach to their fees. Some banks have already announced that they are planning to charge customers for interbank payments or increase fees for payments and account opening. Fintech companies and digital banks also continue to review their commissions.

Fintech in 2021: The Year’s Hottest Trends So Far, According to the Experts
Rachel McIntosh – Finance Magnates
For much of the world, 2020 was such a bad year that it has almost become a joke. The pandemic caused chaos in our personal, professional and social lives. The financial and fintech worlds were turned completely upside down. Companies were forced to adapt to a rapidly-changing set of restrictions and challenges; customers had an ever-evolving set of needs and companies needed to learn quickly how to meet them with limited resources.

Personal Loan Provider OneMain Acquires Financial Wellness FinTech Trim
Personal loan provider OneMain Financial is acquiring Trim, a financial wellness FinTech, according to a press release. The acquisition will allow OneMain to help its 2.2 million customers improve their finances and financial futures by integrating Trim’s customer spending tracking platform, the release stated. “Trim helps customers manage their financial goals by negotiating bills, analyzing transaction data and enabling automated savings,” the release stated. “It provides users the option to link to checking, brokerage, mortgage and other accounts.”

Broadway Technology Names Claudia Cantarella Chief Legal Officer; Long-term Broadway Executive Elevated to Senior Strategic Role
Broadway Technology
Broadway Technology, a leading provider of high-performance front-office solutions, today announced it has promoted Claudia Cantarella to the role of Chief Legal Officer. Cantarella will also join the Executive Leadership Team and direct the company’s global legal and regulatory activity, guide corporate strategy and development, and help position Broadway for continued growth.

CloudMargin Names Martin Heraghty Sales Director, DACH Region
CloudMargin, creator of the world’s first and only collateral and margin management solution native to the cloud, announced today that Martin Heraghty has joined the firm as Sales Director for the DACH region in Europe, comprising Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and Central Europe. He has over 20 years of relevant experience, including more than 15 years selling trading technology solutions.


JPMorgan to offer wealthy clients access to bitcoin fund: report
William Watts and Barbara Kollmeyer – MarketWatch
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is set to join the parade of big banks offering clients access to a bitcoin fund, according to a Monday news report. The move would give wealthy clients access to an actively managed bitcoin fund by summer, with the bank JPM, +0.30% enlisting NYDIG, an institutional technology and financial services firm dedicated to bitcoin, to serve as custody holder, CoinDesk reported, citing people familiar with the situation. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment.

Turkey Cryptocurrency Exchange Bust Spurs Move for Regulation
Firat Kozok and Taylan Bilgic – Bloomberg
Turkey is planning to regulate its cryptocurrency market after two local exchanges crumbled within days. The government is planning to establish a central custodian bank to eliminate counterparty risk following the collapse of the Thodex and Vebitcoin exchanges last week, according to a senior official familiar with the plans. Authorities are also pondering a capital threshold for exchanges and education requirements for executives at such firms, the official told Bloomberg on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity as the plans haven’t been finalized yet.

Bitcoin Predictions: Here’s What Wall Street Leaders Think About Cryptocurrency; BITCOIN BULLS AND BEARS, WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT ON CRYPTO
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise starting in late 2020 has made it increasingly difficult for naysayers to dismiss the highly volatile cryptocurrency out of hand. Since the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto released a nine-page paper explaining the technology in 2009, the biggest players in finance, business and government have debated whether it’s the currency of the future, whether it’s a currency at all, a risky, unregulated asset, a gift to organized crime, or as Nouriel Roubini put it, “the mother of all bubbles.” See who the bulls are, who the bears are, and how some have changed their tune over the years.

Musk Says Tesla Sold Bitcoin to Prove Liquidity as Cash Alternative
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Tesla CEO says firm trying to show Bitcoin as cash alternative; Billionaire adds he hasn’t sold his personal Bitcoin holdings
Elon Musk said Tesla Inc. sold 10% of its Bitcoin holdings to demonstrate the token’s liquidity, while adding that he’s retained his personal investment in the cryptocurrency. Tesla’s earnings report showed the firm — which bought more than $1 billion of the tokens earlier this year — generated $101 million in income from the sale. Musk said on Twitter that Tesla in essence was trying “to prove liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet.”

Tether claims $10bn monthly growth after New York fine; ‘Stablecoin’ operator due to provide details on assets backing $50bn in digital tokens next month
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – FT
The cryptocurrency operator Tether says it has doubled the number of its digital tokens in circulation in three months, taking their total value to $50bn just weeks after the New York attorney-general fined the company and banned it from the US state.*

Gemini’s Crypto Mastercard Set to Be Unwrapped This Summer
Jeff Benson – Decrypt
Crypto exchange Gemini is launching a credit card with Mastercard. Customers will receive a portion of cashback rewards from the card in the form of cryptocurrency. If you trade on the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, you’ll soon have a way to get crypto in your account without placing a buy order. Gemini has partnered with Mastercard on its Gemini Credit Card, due out this summer. The company promises up to 3% cash back on just about every swipe. Although holders spend in dollars, they’ll get a portion of it back in Bitcoin or over 30 other cryptocurrencies on the exchange, including Ethereum, Dai stablecoin, and Uniswap’s UNI token. Gemini says rewards will appear instantly in customers’ accounts, not monthly.

Bitcoin Options Market Eyes $4.2B Expiry on Friday
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
Bitcoin has begun the monthly options expiry week on a positive note, rising from $48,000 to over $54,000. Further gains may remain elusive for a while or unfold at a slower pace, as the max pain point for Friday’s $4.2 billion options expiry is $54,000. As discussed last month, call and put sellers, typically institutions with ample capital supply, often manipulate and pin the price of the underlying toward the max pain point while heading into the expiry.

Binance is launching its own NFT marketplace in June
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange Binance is launching its own marketplace for creating and trading non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The launch is scheduled for June, Binance announced Tuesday. It added that the platform offers users low fees, high liquidity, and a better user experience. The news comes at a time when the NFT activity is on the decline. Weekly NFT trading volumes have dropped significantly since their peak in February, according to data compiled by The Block. Weekly users and transactions of NFT platforms have also declined.

Intel, Microsoft Beef Up Customers’ Cryptojacking Defenses
Cameron Hood – Coindesk
Microsoft and Intel are working together to more quickly and effectively identify and remediate cryptojacking threats for users, Intel said Monday. Cryptojacking is the illegal use of another person or entity’s computer to mine cryptocurrency, often deployed through malware or compromised websites. Intel’s new technology aims to more accurately detect malware regardless of the malicious code’s obfuscation techniques. “This is a true inflection point for the security industry,” Intel’s Michael Nordquist said in a statement. “The scale of this CPU-based threat detection rollout across customer systems is unmatched and helps close gaps in corporate defenses.”

Iran Central Bank to Allow Money Changers, Banks to Pay for Imports Using Mined Crypto
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Iran’s central bank is reportedly allowing the country’s financial institutions to use cryptocurrency, derived from sanctioned miners, to pay for imports. According to a report by the Financial Tribune on Saturday, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has notified money changers and banks of its amended regulatory framework for crypto payments. The amendment means those institutions will now be able to pay for goods and services from other countries in a bid to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions. Some say the local crypto mining industry could generate as much as $2 million a day in revenue.

Two Nightmare Scenarios For Bitcoin
Simon Constable – Forbes
Cryptocurrencies could be damned if they do get government acceptance, and damned if they don’t. Yes, that’s right, there is a route to oblivion whichever way the cookie crumbles.

Opinion: Prices for NFTs have plunged — but that doesn’t mean they will disappear
James Bowden and Edward Thomas Jones – MarketWatch
Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (nonfungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous digital artist Pak and NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway. The auction house sold The Fungible Collection, a “novel collection of digital art redefining our understanding of value”, for more than $17 million.

Turkish Authorities Detain Four in Probe of Vebitcoin Crypto Exchange: Report
Kevin Reynolds – Coindesk
Turkish authorities have detained four people as part of an investigation into Vebitcoin, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, Reuters reported, citing a statement from a local prosecutor on Saturday.

Turkish Ban May Be Bitcoin’s Marketing Boon
Adrian Zmudzinski – Benzinga
Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) appears to be more interesting than ever to Turkish citizens after local regulators recently banned crypto transactions.


Biden Capital Gains Hike Would Hit Couples Earning $1 Million
Jenny Leonard and Jennifer Epstein – Bloomberg
Biden set to unveil proposed individual tax plan on Wednesday; White House eyeing almost doubling capital gains rate for some
President Joe Biden’s coming proposal to ramp up the capital gains tax would hit both individuals earning $1 million and married couples filing jointly earning the same amount, according to a White House official. The official’s clarification came after Biden’s top economic adviser, Brian Deese, said Monday that one element of Biden’s plan would be a change in capital gains taxes.

Biden’s Fictional War on Meat Is a Real Problem; Republican attacks on the president are increasingly detached from reality. Will voters care?
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
Some days it’s hard not to despair for the republic. I don’t have high expectations for political rhetoric. Spin? Exaggeration? Insults? They’re mostly harmless. Voters don’t need to have precisely accurate information about public policy. If what they get from their party leaders stretches the truth a bit, it’s usually close enough. Forty years ago, Republicans pretended that Democrats weren’t really willing to fight the Cold War, which wasn’t strictly true but did emphasize a real difference between the parties. Democrats accused Republicans of being eager to slash Social Security, which also wasn’t strictly true but, again, did point to a real difference. Most Democrats really did support lower defense spending and dovish policies! Many Republicans really did want to slow the growth of Social Security spending! Voters who bought the exaggerated versions were still learning about significant splits on real issues.

France, Germany Support U.S. 21% Tax Plan for Corporations
Arne Delfs and William Horobin – Bloomberg
Le Maire, Scholz in joint interview with Die Zeit, Le Figaro; France says digital tax deal also necessary for global accord
France and Germany have given their backing to the U.S. proposal for a 21% minimum tax on multinational companies, adding momentum to efforts to overhaul global rules despite reluctance from some smaller European countries.

Greensill worked within UK government without contract; Simon Case, head of civil service, tells MPs he was ‘alarmed’ financier had been given advisory role
Sebastian Payne and George Parker – FT
Lex Greensill, the financier who secured a place at the heart of the British government, acquired his privileged role without any contract or explanation of his job, two senior Whitehall officials revealed on Monday.

The EU must be bold and defend its digital sovereignty; Brussels has poured efforts into regulation, but that has left the bloc exposed
Francesca Bria – FT
Sovereignty has today transcended geopolitics and economics to acquire a digital dimension. This is due to the rise of the technology giants whose influence is now impossible to deny. In the past year, five US tech companies — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft — saw their revenue grow by a fifth, reaching $1.1tn. US tech stocks are now worth more than the entire European stock market. And Chinese companies operate at a similar scale.

Biden to Toughen Tax Enforcement to Help Pay for His Economic Agenda
NY Times
President Biden is seeking $80 billion to strengthen I.R.S. enforcement, which administration officials believe will raise at least $700 billion over a decade. Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel the country this week to promote the administration’s agenda.

Marco Rubio’s ‘Woke Capital’ Tantrum
Michelle Goldberg – NY Times
Senator Marco Rubio is extremely mad at corporations for “bending a knee to woke progressive craziness,” and he’s going to do, well, something about it. On Sunday, in a fulminating New York Post opinion article, Rubio wrote that “corporate America eagerly dumps woke, toxic nonsense into our culture, and it’s only gotten more destructive with time. These campaigns will be met with the same strength that any other polluter should expect.”

Beer, Brussels Sprouts, Bernie Madoff and Today’s G.O.P.
Paul Krugman – NY Times
On Friday Larry Kudlow, who was Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, told Fox News viewers that Joe Biden’s climate plans would force Americans to stop eating meat. On July 4, he declared, you’d have to “throw back a plant-based beer with your grilled brussels sprouts.”

Australian official warns drums of war are beating
Reuters Staff
One of Australia’s most senior security officials has said liberal democracies must brace for war while searching for peace amid elevated global tensions. Home Affairs Department Secretary Mike Pezzullo said the possibility of war was increasing.

75% of stock owners won’t be subject to Biden’s proposed capital gains tax hike. Here’s why
Greg Iacurci – CNBC
Roughly 75% of U.S. stock investors wouldn’t be subject to an increase in the capital gains tax rate due to the types of accounts they own, according to UBS.


SEC Names Keo Chea as Director of Public Engagement and Aisha Johnson as Director of Media Relations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointments of Keo Chea as Director of Public Engagement and Aisha Johnson as Director of Media Relations. Chea joins the SEC from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, effective today, and Johnson will join the SEC from the office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., effective May 10.

Increasing Opportunities for Underrepresented Founders and Investors on the Agenda for the SEC Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee Meeting on April 30
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee will meet on Friday, April 30, to home in on solutions to increase access to capital for underrepresented founders and investors from smaller, regional funds.

SEC Obtains Emergency Relief, Charges Florida Company and CEO with Misappropriating Investor Money and Operating a Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed an emergency action and obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze to stop an alleged Ponzi scheme and misappropriation of investor proceeds perpetrated by Melbourne, Florida resident Jonathan P. Maroney through several entities he controls.

Investing and Trading

Investors Are Still Returning to Movie That Defined 2008 Crisis
Thomas Pfeiffer and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
‘Margin Call’ broke ground as a realistic Hollywood bank drama; Archegos, GameStop show risk taking culture is alive and well
J.C. Chandor’s career as a screenwriter was at a low ebb when he penned “Margin Call” to capture the stomach-churning moment when an investment bank’s highly leveraged bets come crashing down. The movie, featuring Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto, distilled the angst of the 2008 financial crisis and proved against the odds that there’s dramatic potential in mortgage-backed securities, propelling Chandor to fame.

Bond investing needs a complete rethink; Lessons from the past might be less relevant for current portfolios
Dan Fuss – FT
The world is changing. The management of fixed income portfolios has to change with it. Looking forward now from any perspective is very different from times past. I managed fixed income investments from 1958 until earlier this year, riding one of the greatest bull markets in bonds. Managing any portfolio now requires a complete rethink. There are lessons from the past but their overlap with the present and the future has diminished a lot.

‘Pet mania’ brings out animal instincts in eager investors; Group of sector’s shares has beaten tech-focused Nasdaq index over past year
Naomi Rovnick – FT
The pandemic-era surge in pet ownership has sparked a huge rally in the sector’s stocks, and some fund managers believe it could prove to be an enduring investment theme once life returns to normal.

Risk strategies to adopt when markets turn mad; As froth and speculation builds, investors should prepare for shocks
Michael Mackenzie – FT
It is not hard to spot signs of the froth and speculation in current markets. Every week seems to throw up cases that challenge any precept of rational investing.

BP to Buy Back Shares as Oil Price Recovery Boosts Profit; Rebounding oil prices and strong trading results help BP pay down debt faster than expected
Sarah McFarlane – WSJ
Oil giant BP BP 1.63% PLC said it would boost returns to shareholders after higher oil prices and strong trading results buoyed its first-quarter earnings, the strongest sign yet that a recovery is under way in one of the industries worst hit by the pandemic.

Investors Stay Hungry for Inflation-Protected Bonds; Demand for inflation-protected bonds remains high despite a recent decline in Treasury yields
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Demand for inflation-protected bonds remains high despite a recent decline in Treasury yields, indicating that investors have long-term concerns about the impact of economic growth on interest rates. Investors poured a net $1.2 billion into mutual funds that buy Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, in the week ended April 21, according to data from EPFR. It was the 29th consecutive week of inflows into such funds, the longest streak since 2010.

Frédéric Pons: the second phase of systematic trading; Ahead of TradeTech, deputy equity head of dealing at Amundi, Frédéric Pons, tells The TRADE that as automated processes become a larger part of the trading landscape, adding alpha will be the second phase of this trend.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
This year, you are scheduled to speak on an all-star panel about systematic trading. What are the key issues on this topic that you are hoping to address in the discussion?

Kirstie MacGillivray: adapting to the new normal; Ahead of TradeTech, head of multi-asset dealing at Aegon Asset Management, Kirstie MacGillivray, tells The TRADE about the challenges in hiring new talent during the global pandemic.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
How has your trading desk evolved with remote working conditions?
We have experienced a rapid evolution under remote working conditions. When we first went remote, I think universally we were all extremely nervous about the prospect.

Gregg Dalley: navigating the new liquidity landscape; Ahead of TradeTech, global head of trading at Schroders, Gregg Dalley, tells The TRADE about the impact of market structure changes on liquidity since Brexit, and provides his thoughts on other hot topics such as SPACs and the consolidated tape.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Ahead of your participation on a panel discussion at TradeTech’s virtual conference on liquidity in a post-Brexit environment, tell us about the impact of market structure changes since Brexit.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Carbon Restrictions Are Finally Here to Bend the Emissions Curve; If the world wants to slow global warming, advancing clean technologies won’t be enough. We have to do the hard work of cutting fossil-fuel use
Akshat Rathim – Bloomberg
In the science-fiction novel “The Ministry for the Future,” a devastating heat wave in India kills 20 million people and spurs the creation of a secretive group called the Children of Kali. One of its tactics is to sabotage fossil-fuel powered ships and planes, which forces countries and companies to adopt zero-carbon alternatives to keep the economy ticking.

Waterways Are Drying Up in Key South American Crop-Shipping Hubs; Increasingly shallow rivers in Argentina and Paraguay are making it harder to move soybeans and grains to market.
Fabiana Batista and Jonathan Gilbert – Bloomberg
The South American drought that’s helping push corn and soybean prices to multiyear highs isn’t just threatening crops, but also the ability to haul them on waterways that are drying up.

BP targets US retail power market with cleaner fuel mix; UK oil major applies to supply electricity generated from gas and renewables
Anjli Raval and Myles McCormick – FT
BP has applied to supply US residential customers with electricity as the UK oil and gas major seeks to shift its energy mix towards cleaner fuels. The company wants to provide electricity generated from wind, solar and natural gas in California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, according to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

European sustainable index fund flows surpass all others for first time; Assets in sustainability-focused passive funds trebled in 2020
Steve Johnson – FT
Inflows into self-proclaimed “sustainable” exchange traded funds overtook those into all other ETFs for the first time in Europe in the first quarter of the year. Assets in passive funds tracking indices based on environmental, social and governance principles jumped from $59bn to $174bn last year, according to data from TrackInsight.


Goldman Sachs watching total margin loans after Archegos fund blowup – executive
Elizabeth Dilts Marshall – Reuters
Executives at Goldman Sachs Group Inc are monitoring the total amount of loans borrowed on margin after the collapse of investment fund Archegos Capital Management last month, the bank’s President and Chief Operating Officer John Waldron said on Monday.


Posh French Winemakers Pounce on Big American Vineyard Selloff; European vintners are finding toeholds in the U.S. just as some of America’s oldest wineries are ready to cash in.
Elin McCoy – Bloomberg
On a weekend afternoon, Etienne Bizot, the head of Bollinger Champagne, was sipping wine on the terrace at Oregon’s Ponzi Vineyards. He was on vacation, playing tourist in the Willamette Valley, the heart of the state’s pinot noir territory. As he compared three different Ponzi pinots alongside a plate of cheese, he gazed out at the vines. They looked splendid.

Hongkongers Moving to U.K. May Sell $19 Billion of Homes
Shawna Kwan – Bloomberg
Thousands of residents may move to U.K. under visa program; Apartment owners are likely to sell to fund relocation costs
Hong Kong homeowners may sell as much as HK$150 billion ($19.3 billion) worth of property this year when residents emigrate to the U.K. The city may see about 13,100 to 16,300 households move to the U.K. via their British National (Overseas) visas in 2021, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Patrick Wong said in a report on Tuesday. The number represents 0.9% to 1.1% of households living in privately owned homes.

More Americans Are Leaving Cities, But Don’t Call It an Urban Exodus
Marie Patino, Aaron Kessler and Sarah Holder – Bloomberg
Sarah Lorraine Goodman always wanted to settle down in her hometown of Sacramento, California, but life got in the way. After moving to San Jose for grad school in 2009, a job and a boyfriend kept her there.

Hedge-Fund Trader Wins Dismissal of $2 Billion Cum-Ex Case
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
London judge says foreign tax claims can’t be heard in U.K.; Ruling is a setback for Denmark’s attempt to recoup funds
Hedge Fund trader Sanjay Shah won a U.K. court ruling throwing out a 1.5 billion-pound ($2 billion) lawsuit filed by Danish tax officials over Cum-Ex trades. Judge Andrew Baker said in a ruling Tuesday that the U.K. wasn’t the proper place to bring a foreign tax claim. The agency said it would appeal.

A Great British Krona shortage? The Bank of England enters into a swap facility with the BIS to ease a currency shortage nobody saw coming.
Izabella Kaminska – FT
It’s not the first time that FT Alphaville has reported on potentially destabilising currency shortages in the international financial system and the emergency swap arrangements central banks have taken to ease them. Usually, however, such shortages are focused on illustrious hard currencies like the US dollar or (in the case of eastern European mortgages), the Swiss franc or the euro.

Japan targets Vietnam for first Asean oil-sharing deal; Tokyo looks to secure supply chain for companies with overseas footprint
Takashi Tsuji – FT
Japan aims to bring Vietnam into what will be its first oil-sharing deal with a south-east Asian nation, a government source told Nikkei, as Tokyo seeks to ensure an uninterrupted supply of petroleum to overseas supply chains in the event of a disruption.


France Warns U.K. of ‘Retaliation’ in Post-Brexit Banking
Ania Nussbaum – Bloomberg
Paris threatens to block financial authorizations for U.K.; French fishermen protesting to get access to U.K. waters
France is threatening to block regulations that would allow U.K. financial firms to do business in the European Union if the country doesn’t respect its Brexit commitments on fishing.

EU lawmakers debate Brexit accord before decisive vote
Philip Blenkinsop – Reuters
EU lawmakers debated the post-Brexit trade agreement between the European Union and Britain for the last time on Tuesday, ahead of a vote that is expected to give the accord overwhelming approval. That should be the final step towards ratification of the trade and cooperation deal, struck in December after more than four years of acrimonious negotiations and lingering mistrust as Britain ended 47 years of EU membership. “This is a divorce. It is a warning, Brexit. It’s a failure of the European Union and we have to learn lessons from it,” the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told lawmakers, who gave him a standing ovation for his work.

Brexit leaves UK sparkling wine producers feeling flat
Peter Foster – FT
It has been one of the coldest springs in recent memory and at the Ridgeview wine estate on England’s south coast, staff have been on nightly “frost watch”, waking some nights at 3am to light paraffin candles to save their vines’ tender emerging shoots. But for Brandon Barnham, sales manager at Ridgeview in West Sussex, which produces about 400,000 bottles a year of some the UK’s highest-rated traditional method sparkling wines, it is not just the unseasonably cold night-time temperatures that have been threatening to retard growth. Almost four months after new post-Brexit trading arrangements came into force, the industry behind English sparkling wine — playfully dubbed “Brexit juice” in some corners of Westminster — is now warning that new costs and red tape are crimping future export plans.

Brexit sees big decline in food trade between Ireland and UK
Eoin Burke-Kennedy – Irish Times
Brexit has triggered a major decline in food trade between Ireland and the UK, according to a report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The report – Food and Agriculture: A Value Chain Analysis – found exports of food and drink products to Britain fell by 35 per cent – from EUR641 million to EUR418 million – in the first two months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2018. The CSO noted that while exports to seven of Ireland’s ten largest food and drink markets actually went up during the period, the decline in exports to Britain was greater, causing a decline intotal food and drink exports.

UK accused of stranding vulnerable refugees after Brexit
Harriet Grant and Katy Fallon – The Guardian
The Home Office has been accused of failing to reunite vulnerable refugees who have the right to join family in the UK under EU law, leaving lone children and torture survivors stranded. The government faced widespread criticism when it announced that family reunion law would no longer apply after the UK left the EU, and it promised that cases under way on that date would be allowed to proceed. But charity Safe Passage and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) have told the Guardian that since Brexit there has been no clear legal way to arrange transfers. Lawyers in Greece and Italy said the Home Office has stopped responding to requests to rearrange family reunions delayed by Covid.


Trevor Lawrence signs deal with cryptocurrency app, gets bonus paid in crypto
Liz Roscher – Yahoo Sports
The NFL draft doesn’t start until Thursday, but Trevor Lawrence is already making deals like a pro football player. Lawrence, the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with the cryptocurrency investment app Blockfolio. The terms of the first-of-its-kind deal haven’t been disclosed, but he did receive a signing bonus that was paid out entirely in crypto and deposited into his Blockfolio account. A spokesperson for the company told the New York Times that his signing bonus is already worth more than it was on Friday when it was deposited.

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