Update: Illinois Offers Object Lesson on Pros vs. Cons of Cannabis Business
Suzanne Cosgrove – John Lothian News
There can be both highs and lows in the cannabis business. The Reddit crew learned that lesson this week when they bought, then sold, stocks in the sector. The state of Illinois presents another example.
Illinois logged an impressive $669 million in retail adult-use cannabis sales in 2020, or about $1 billion in total sales for the year when you include medical marijuana sales. However, the mechanics of Illinois social equity and craft growers’ licensing continue to drag along as 2021 unfolds.
In the latest chapter of the licensing saga, Illinois’ cannabis craft cultivation, infusion and transportation applicants (the ones that were not disqualified in their original applications filed months earlier) were recently given 10 days to submit supplemental responses for scored sections of applications, with a deadline of midnight last Friday.
To read the rest of this story, go here.
Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
MarketsWiki went over the 200 million page view mark yesterday. The site does a little over 2 million page views per month, but the first year we only did 1 million page views and the second 2 million page views. The work continues with Matt Raebel and Thom Thompson moving the content from CryptoMarketsWiki over to MarketsWiki, which will help enhance traffic as well. And intern Owen Rehling’s work has been extended to make sure all the contract specifications data is up to date. He is working on background information on some contracts as well.
And if you donate to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign, we will build you your own page on MarketsWiki if you don’t have one and put the GoFundMe campaign badge on your page to signify you have contributed to the campaign.
We would still like some more people to fill out our survey. The link is above. We are giving a chance at a cash prize and donations to charities for people who fill out the surveys.
The New York Times is reporting that Bloomberg is laying off “nearly 100 journalists.” Many of those laid off are editors as Bloomberg is attempting to make their editorial operations more streamlined and efficient, kind of like JLN is.
Ronan Ryan and John Ramsay of IEX have a new crazy video out to promote the D-Limit order type that shows them eating hot peppers, repeatedly. It is part of their whole LIT Hot Sauce promotion. There has to be an easier way to promote an order type that helps protect traders’ orders. The language is a little rough in the video, but then I would swear too if I were eating those peppers.
The SEC has issued an order granting OneChicago, LLC’s request to withdraw from registration as a national securities exchange solely for the purposes of trading security futures products.
With the UK having the worst economy in 300 years, now would be a good time for the U.S. to buy them out and just take them over. Can we do that? H/T to James (Jim) McTague (@Mctaguej) for the idea.
Patrick Hyland is the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Patrick is a director of sales at Softek U.S., which provides middle and back office post-trade solutions to clearing firms, fund administrators and any trade reconciliation provider. Patrick had his start with Dow Jones Telerate back in 1990 and later worked for Reuters, ABN AMRO, Bear Stearns and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, among other firms. Thank you to Patrick and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.
Yesterday I interviewed Colin Lambert from Sydney over Zoom about the launch of his new FX news service TheFullFX.com. On Wednesday, I interviewed Tom Sosnoff of TastyTrade for the Open Outcry Traders HIstory Project. Look for the Colin Lambert interview next week and the Tom Sosnoff interview soon.
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 FIA has announced its first round of keynote speakers for Boca-V. They are: Rostin Behnam, acting chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union, European Commission; and Michael Saylor, chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy. You can register for the conference (which will be virtual) here.~SR
The CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast Episode 17: The Ripple Effect
In this episode of the CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast, Matt Raebel and Thom Thompson discuss some of the biggest stories of the year so far.
Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021. Registration is open!Eurex invites you to join the virtual edition of the Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021! It will take place on 23-24 March 2021 covering European and the US time zones.
The Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021 will be held as virtual edition with thought leadership insights, industry debates, keynote speeches and virtual networking opportunities. The Derivatives Forum is the leading European event focused on trading and clearing for derivatives and securities financing across asset classes.
We look forward to welcoming you on March 23.
Nasdaq: 50 Years of Market Innovation; This month marks the 50th anniversary of Nasdaq’s launch in 1971. The story of Nasdaq’s first five decades highlights its impact on trading today.
Phil Mackintosh – Nasdaq
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Nasdaq’s launch in 1971.
The story of Nasdaq’s first five decades highlights its impact on trading today. The introduction of computers to markets, and sharing of quote data more widely, led to the automation of trading. With that automation came huge cost savings that, together with the internet, have democratized investing and helped the U.S. market stay the biggest, deepest and most cost-efficient market to list and trade in in the world.
*****Congratulations to Nasdaq. May your next 50 be even better!~JJL
Is the Regulatory Sheriff Looking at Robinhood? FINRA Increases Focus on “Game-Like” Securities Trading Apps
Jennifer S. Freel, Laurel S. Fensterstock and Milan J. Sova – Vinson & Elkins
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) recently released its annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Activities Report (the “Report”).
*****Here is a commentary from Allan Schoenberg’s new law firm employer.~JJL
‘There is no lack of talent, only a lack of opportunity’ – The Greenwood Project; The Chicago non-profit introduces high achieving minority students to careers in the financial industry
Kirsten Hyde – MarketVoice
The Greenwood Project, a non-profit organization that introduces Black and Latinx students from under-resourced communities in Chicago to financial careers via education, mentoring and internships, is looking for more financial firms to partner with as it expands.
*****If you want to grow your business, here is the opportunity to develop some incredible talent.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Crain’s Chicago Business’s Illinois bids for NYSE data hub—but the door may be open to a bigger move. Second was another Crain’s story, Citadel’s Griffin expected to testify at House GameStop hearing. Third was Trading at the Speed of Light: How Ultrafast Algorithms Are Transforming Financial Markets, from Princeton University.
CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Tether (USDT)
Amid the bitcoin and altcoin mania over the past few weeks, bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum have captured a lot of attention from the media…but there was one crypto asset that flew under the radar. Tether, the world’s first stablecoin, exceeded a global market cap of $30 billion this week for the first time ever, surpassing Cardano (ADA), Polkadot (DOT), and XRP. This made it the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Tether’s role in the cryptocurrency markets has mainly been a source of liquidity since it was created in 2014. Converting bitcoin into Tether has been an easy way to liquidate one’s bitcoin holdings into fiat currency, since USDT tokens are backed 1:1 by USD, according to Tether’s bank, Deltec Bank – though many have scrutinized this claim over the years, with good reason. These days, despite the fact that there are many more stablecoins in the digital asset markets, and many services capable of converting bitcoin to fiat, USDT remains a popular choice for traders.
200,044,879 pages viewed; 25,368 pages; 230,234 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
1,495 pages; 13,574 edits
City of London’s Brexit Tab Rises With Stock and Swaps Moves
Silla Brush and Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
Share trading, interest rate swaps and jobs are leaving; London’s backers insist it will flourish as a global hub
The City of London has little to celebrate from the first six weeks of freedom from the European Union. The financial district lost its crown to Amsterdam as Europe’s top place to buy and sell stock. Traders have shifted interest-rate swaps out of the U.K. capital. Relocations of bankers are set to continue in 2021.
Stock Funds See Biggest Inflows Ever as BofA Warns Top Is Near
Ksenia Galouchko – Bloomberg
U.S. large-cap and tech shares lead inflows into stocks: BofA; BofA Bull & Bear indicator is approaching sell signal level
Investors poured a record amount of money into equity funds, especially technology stocks, prompting strategists at Bank of America Corp. to warn that the exuberance may precede a correction. Stock funds had inflows of $58 billion in the week through Feb. 10, led by investments into U.S. equities and the tech sector, according to BofA and EPFR Global data. Market players pulled almost $11 billion from cash funds and about $800 million from gold, while bonds got a $13 billion inflow, according to the Feb. 11 note.
UK economy shrinks by most in 300 years; Gloomy outlook for 2021 after pandemic batters economy in 2020
Valentina Romei – FT
UK economic output fell 9.9 per cent in 2020, the largest drop in 300 years and more than twice the fall during the financial crisis, laying bare the scale of the pandemic’s impact.
European IPOs mark best start to year since 2015 with EUR8bn haul; Tech and ecommerce companies seize on investor demand for lockdown winners
Nikou Asgari – FT
A flurry of tech and ecommerce listings have given Europe’s market for initial public offerings its best start to the year since 2015, as extended pandemic lockdowns fuel investor enthusiasm for digital companies.
Big money ditches New York, moves family to Palm Beach; Hedge funds and private equity tycoons escape aggressive state taxes and progressive lawmakers
John Dizard – FT
High-end investment managers are getting a legal separation from New York. Palm Beach is getting the kids. When Covid-closed offices, restaurants and public venues are able to open for ”normal” business it will be clear that the centre of gravity of the hedge fund, private equity and family office world will have shifted to Florida. Specifically to Palm Beach (known locally as the ‘island’) and West Palm Beach. “The move by the industry had already started,” says one Palm Beach investor. “Covid and the confinement has just compressed five years into one.”
Amsterdam punctures City’s post-Brexit hopes; UK politicians bear much of the blame for ignoring the importance of financial services
The editorial board – FT
Ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, the City of London knew it would have to fight to keep the crown of Europe’s leading financial centre. Cities across the bloc had been jostling to win business away from London long before the referendum. Now, less than six weeks after Britain’s actual departure on New Year’s Eve, Amsterdam has emerged as an early winner. Having already picked up activity in swaps and sovereign debt markets, the Dutch city stole London’s crown as Europe’s largest share trading centre last month.
Angry customers show up at Robinhood’s headquarters in the wake of GameStop chaos
Yasmin Khorram and Kate Rooney – CNBC
Some Robinhood traders who can’t get in touch with customer service are trying another tactic: showing up at its front door.
A handful of Robinhood’s clients have driven to the start-up’s headquarters in California, demanding to speak to a representative and in some cases, vandalizing the property, according to police reports.
Gen Z deserves more support from employers; Younger workers will thrive if leaders make a commitment to prioritise mental health
Elizabeth Uviebinene – FT
“Where are you?” “What are you working on now?” “If you’re away from your laptop for more than 15 minutes, drop me a message — even if you are on a tea break.” It’s been almost a year since many employees started to work from home, and it’s clear that for some managers this has meant inundating their teams with archaic micromanagement practices that should have been left in the office — or better still, the 1980s.
Bailey’s tough talk on EU raises City worries over post-Brexit access; Hopes of a breakthrough on equivalence for Britain’s financial services sector look remote as UK and Brussels stand firm
Chris Giles and Daniel Thomas and Mehreen Khan – FT
Andrew Bailey’s trenchant criticism of the European Commission has deepened anxieties in the City of London that the UK and EU will fail to agree a series of equivalence deals that will allow the UK to trade more freely in Europe’s financial services market following Brexit.
GameStop Mania Highlights Shift to Dark Trading; On some days, more than half of shares changing hands in U.S. are traded outside public stock exchanges
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The stock market is going dark thanks to a boom in activity by individual investors and manic trading in stocks such as GameStop Corp. GME -0.20% A record 47.2% of U.S. equity trading volume in January was executed outside public stock exchanges, up from 39.9% a year earlier, according to data from Rosenblatt Securities, a brokerage firm.
The Rise and Fall of the GameStop Frenzy; Interest in the videogame retailer is fading, according to several market metrics
Caitlin Ostroff and Peter Santilli – WSJ
GameStop’s rocket ship has come back to earth. A Reddit-fueled day-trading craze last month pushed shares of GameStop Corp. GME -3.55% , the videogame retailer, as high as $483, but the hype has fizzed. Shares traded Thursday around $50, off almost 90% over the past two weeks.
U.K. Economy Suffers Biggest Slump in 300 Years Amid Covid-19 Lockdowns; Lockdowns in Britain contributed to the largest contraction of the world’s major economies in 2020
Jason Douglas and Paul Hannon – WSJ
The U.K. economy recorded its biggest contraction in more than three centuries in 2020, according to official estimates, highlighting the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic toll on a country that has also suffered one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks.
Fresh blow for London as euro derivatives trading floods out; Share of euro-denominated swaps market tumbles from 40% in December to 10% last month
Philip Stafford – FT
Trading in a key euro-denominated derivatives market flooded out of London last month to rival financial centres in New York, Amsterdam and Paris, in the latest evidence of the blow dealt by Brexit to the UK financial centre. The trading of euro-denominated swaps in London dropped from nearly 40 per cent of the market last July to 10 per cent in January, according to a survey published by data provider IHS Markit on Thursday.
Virtu boss defends payment for order flow after Reddit frenzy; Market makers’ relationship with online brokers has come under scrutiny
Aziza Kasumov and Philip Stafford – FT
Virtu Financial, one of the world’s largest market makers, has defended the practice of paying retail brokers to take their share deals, arguing there is no evidence that payment for order flow harms the market.
Virtu Threatens to Exit N.Y. If ‘Foolish’ Finance Tax Passed
Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Virtu Financial Inc. is ready to pack its bags if New York lawmakers implement a financial-transaction tax. The electronic market maker joined the New York Stock Exchange in threatening to leave the state if Democrats enact a surcharge on stock trades to help close a projected four-year revenue loss, estimated at $39 billion. Lawmakers argue that reinstating the tax would raise about $13 billion annually, helping to avert cuts to services such as education and health care during the pandemic.
Barnier Signals More Delay for London Banks Eyeing EU Market
Tom Metcalf and Maria Tadeo – Bloomberg
Chief Brexit negotiator says process not open to negotiation; Michel Barnier also warns firms trying to skirt new rules
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned the bloc won’t be hurried into granting U.K. financial firms free access to the bloc’s single market. “Equivalence decisions are, and will remain, unilateral of each party and aren’t subject to negotiation,” he said at the European Business Summit in Brussels Thursday. “We will take no risk about financial stability.”
One third of US buy-side firms looking at outsourced trading, study finds; Study by Greenwich Associates found that one third of institutional investors see outsourced trading desks as a solution for managing trading flow and best execution.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
One third of institutional investors in the US and Canada are considering outsourced trading as a solution for various business challenges, according to a survey by Greenwich Associates
Close, Reopen, Repeat. Restaurants Don’t Know What Covid-19 Will Dish Out Next;Multiple stops and starts are making daily life even more challenging for small businesses as they grapple with shifting government directives and employee illnesses. ‘You are almost on standby all the time.’
Ruth Simon – WSJ
In the days before the reopening of St. Felix Hollywood, employees scrambled to yank plywood boards from windows, pry congealed syrup from clogged soda machines, scour dusty cooking equipment and scrub the kitchen floor.
The Question Some Company Owners Don’t Want to Deal With; Tales from two sons whose fathers died without a succession plan.
Paul Sullivan – NY Times
Ivo Puidak, who cooked for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as the head chef at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago, built the Galena Canning Company into a thriving specialty food business, selling premium barbecue sauces, salsas and seasonings around the country.
WallStreetBets Traders Set Cannabis Stocks Alight; Individual investors on Reddit’s popular online forum are talking up marijuana stocks, sending shares of some U.S.-listed companies soaring
Will Horner – WSJ
The day traders behind GameStop Corp.’s meteoric rise last month are turning their attention to cannabis stocks, betting that President Biden’s administration will push for further decriminalizing the drug.
Next Stop for Electric-Vehicle SPAC Mania: the Jetsons; Archer may take the lead in developing electric air taxis after merging with a blank-check company, but widespread adoption is still science fiction
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
Wall Street has found a combination even more faddish than blank-check companies and electric vehicles: Blank-check companies and Jetsons-style flying taxis. While there is some promise in the idea, investors had better hope that this isn’t too much glamour packed into one.
Where Are the Customers’ Fully Autonomous Yachts? A Wall Street analyst’s ‘buy’ recommendation is worth a read in this frothy market
Charley Grant – WSJ
In a go-go market, who needs Wall Street research reports? Just take a quick glance at the recommendation and price target and get busy trading. But a portfolio manager who merely skims Stifel analyst Scott Devitt’s Wednesday note with a “buy” recommendation on Uber Technologies and a $67 price target is missing out.
Germany to Curb Austrian, Czech Travel Over Mutation Risk
Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
State leader wants entry controls from neighboring countries; ‘There will be no exceptions’ to pre-entry test, Soeder says
Germany plans to impose border checks and restrictions on travel from Austria and the Czech Republic this weekend over concerns about aggressive mutations of the coronavirus, potentially disrupting cross-country commuters and commerce.
Japan Panel Clears Pfizer Vaccine, With Shots to Start Next Week
Lisa Du – Bloomberg
Government may give official approval as early as Sunday; Inoculations to start in the middle of next week, Suga says
A Japanese panel signed off on Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, paving the way for the nation to launch an inoculation effort that has faced criticism for being one of the last among developed countries.
Expedia Misses Estimates in Sign of Lingering Covid Effects
Brody Ford – Bloomberg
Vaccine brings hope but rising cases made an impact in quarter; ‘Expect things to be bumpy for a while,’ CEO tells analysts
Expedia Group Inc. reported another steep drop in revenue in the fourth quarter, missing analysts’ estimates amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and new pandemic-related restrictions that weighed on travel in the last few months of 2020.
Amazon Hires Founders of Covid-19 Testing Startup to Curb Spread
Priya Anand – Bloomberg
Caspr Biotech employees have joined project codenamed Artemis; E-commerce giant has been working on testing lab since 2020
Amazon.com Inc. has hired several employees of a Covid-19 testing startup as part of efforts to curb outbreaks among its workers. Caspr Biotech’s cofounders, Chief Executive Officer Franco Goytia and Chief Strategy Officer Carla Gimenez, joined Amazon in December, according to a person familiar with the situation. The pair, along with several other startup employees, are working on a project codenamed Artemis. It’s unclear whether Amazon acquired Caspr Biotech.
We need a remedy for the vaccine data epidemic; Scientific research into coronavirus has accelerated but the onslaught of information can be overwhelming
John Gapper -FT
Who among us is not confused by the sheer volume of news and information about Covid-19 and the vaccines meant to halt the pandemic? There are deliberate anti-vaccine lies, such as rumours spread in Asian communities that the injections contain animal products. But the biggest difficulty is knowing what is scientifically true.
With More Vaccines Secured, Biden Warns of Hurdles to Come; The Biden administration has secured more coronavirus vaccines, but the president struck a cautious tone about logistical issues that could keep some Americans from being vaccinated.
Katie Rogers and Noah Weiland – NY Times
The Biden administration said Thursday it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult, but President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean that many Americans will still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.
Drugmakers Look for New Ways to Test Covid-19 Vaccines; Researchers aim to measure how much immune response a shot triggers—potentially useful for assessing new shots and new uses
Peter Loftus – WSJ
As more Covid-19 vaccines become available in the U.S., it is getting tougher to run large clinical trials to test a new vaccine’s ability to prevent disease because people are less willing to take a placebo—forcing drugmakers and researchers to look for workarounds as they vet the next generation of shots and test new uses for authorized ones.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq Completes Acquisition of Verafin
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ), a global technology company, announced today the completion of its acquisition of Verafin, an industry pioneer in anti-financial crime management solutions. The agreement to acquire Verafin was announced on November 19, 2020.
FTSE Fixed Income Country Classification Review – Timing of March 2021 Results Announcement; FTSE Russell announces that the FTSE Fixed Income Country Classification March 2021 Review Results will be published on Monday 29 March 2021 after U.S. market close.
The FTSE Fixed Income Country Classification Framework assigns a Market Accessibility Level of 0,1 or 2, with 2 representing the highest level of accessibility for foreign investors, for local currency fixed-rate government bond markets. These Market Accessibility Levels are incorporated in the index inclusion rules for the FTSE World Government Bond Index (WGBI), FTSE Emerging Markets Government Bond Index (EMGBI) and indexes that derive their membership from them.
New York Stock Exchange Threatens to Leave NYC Over Transfer Tax
Rebecca Baird-Remba – Commercial Observer
The president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) claims that she may be forced to move trading operations to a more tax-friendly locale if the state legislature imposes a stock transfer tax, according to an op-ed published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal.
Retail Trading Reaches Record At CME
Shanny Basar – Traders Magazine
Global retail participation on CME Group increased 50% last year and growth is expected to continue Julie Winkler, chief commercial officer at CME Group, said on the results call today that global retail participation on CME was a record last year after increasing 50% over 2019. The largest retail volume was in equity index contracts, but participation in metals rose 50% and volumes also grew in foreign exchange and energy. “Our digital education outreach reached 2.5 million traders, 15 times as many active traders as doing physical events,” she continued.
MEMX hits out at US exchanges over legal row on market data with SEC; Nasdaq, Cboe, and NYSE have sued the US regulator over its decision to overhaul real-time consolidated data feeds for the US equities market, also known as SIPs.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Recently launched US equities exchange MEMX has called its competitors’ decision to take legal action against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over market data reforms “disappointing”.
ESG Core Investments lists on Euronext Amsterdam
Euronext today congratulates ESG Core Investments, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) with a unique Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) profile, on its listing on the Amsterdam Exchange (ticker symbol: ESGT and ESGWA).
Euronext Norwegian Derivatives contracts expands to green stocks
From today options and futures will be listed on the green companies Tomra, NEL og Scatec. In December 2020, the Oslo Børs Derivatives market successfully migrated onto the Euronext Optiq® platform, further supporting the growth of Oslo Børs thanks to an enlarged pool of liquidity and investors, and a flexible and agile trading technology.
Medesis Pharma lists successfully on Euronext Growth to launch several phase II clinical trials; EUR7.4 MILLION RAISED – MARKET CAPITALISATION OF EUR29.5 MILLION
Euronext today congratulates the biotech company Medesis Pharma from Montpellier for its listing on Euronext Growth Paris (ticker code: ALMDP).
Virtual roundtable on Swiss LIBOR and SARON®: the state of things in Switzerland
Since the 2022 decomissioning of the Swiss LIBOR rate approaches, it is about time for an inventory of what has been achieved and what are the essential next steps.
Initial Listing of the Options on Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Price Index Futures – Quarterly PM (European-Style) Contract
Effective Sunday, March 7, 2021 for trade date Monday, March 8, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will list the Options on Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Price Index Futures – Quarterly PM (European-Style) contract (the “Contract”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort as more specifically described in the table below.
EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
In Q4 2021, subject to applicable regulatory approvals, EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.
CME Globex Notices: February 8, 2021
Critical System Updates
New – iLink 3 Configuration File Update for New Release – February 17 NEW
iLink 2 on MSGW Decommission – Migrate to iLink 3 Now
Update on Order Routing and Front-End Audit Trail Requirements for iLink 3
iLink 3 SBE Schema Update – March 7
New – Anchor Leg Pricing Enhancement – March 21 NEW
CME FX Link Enhancements – March 28
CME FX Link Enhancements: Drop Copy Impact – March 28
GLink Network Infrastructure Upgrade at Aurora Co-Location Facility
CME STP Notices: February 11, 2021
New Aggressor Indicator Flag on CME STP – February 21
Enhancements for Exercise and Assignment Trades on CME STP – February 22
CME STP FIXML API Connectivity Documentation
The London Metal Exchange Selects Itiviti For Automated Client Onboarding As Part Of Trading Infrastructure Overhaul Mondoviisione
Itiviti, a leading technology and service provider to financial institutions worldwide, today announced that the London Metal Exchange (LME) has chosen Itiviti’s FIX Conductor and VeriFIX Enterprise solutions to automate the onboarding process for their clients.
Sterling Trading Tech Achieves Record Growth in 2020
Sterling Trading Tech
Sterling Trading Tech (STT), a leader in technology solutions for equity, equity options, futures and digital asset trading, announced that the firm has achieved record growth companywide in 2020.
Ribbit came to Robinhood’s rescue. Will its bet pay off? Fintech investor looks to capitalise on IPO of contentious share-trading platform
Miles Kruppa – FT
When Robinhood needed cash quickly, it didn’t turn to its oldest or largest financial backer. It called on Micky Malka, a Venezuelan venture capitalist known for his Rolodex in the heady world of fintech.
OppFi is the latest fintech to go public via SPAC
Miriam Cross – American Banker
Opportunity Financial, a fintech that partners with banks to offer loans to consumers with low credit scores, is going public.
The Chicago company announced Wednesday that it is merging with FG New America Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition corporation, or blank-check company, based in Itasca, Ill. The combined company’s common stock is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker OPFI, with the transaction expected to close by the end of the second quarter.
Key Insights for Obtaining FinTech Patents
As with other rapidly-evolving technologies, the FinTech space is experiencing a frenzy of patent activity. As its name implies, FinTech is part financial innovation (“fin”) relating to new aspects of finance and finance-related business models, and part technological innovation (“tech”) relating to the application of, and enhancements to, technology that enables the fin-related innovations.
Exberry and Digital Asset team up with Baymarkets to add clearing to their end-to-end digital asset exchange platform; For the first time, and with the integration of Baymarkets Clara Clearing System, market participants can register, trade and clear traditional, alternative and digital assets on one integrated platform
Exberry (the exchange technology pioneer), Digital Asset (the creators of the open source Daml shared ledger development framework) and Baymarkets (the developer of the Clara clearing system) today announced the availability of cutting edge exchange infrastructure with central counterparty clearing functionality. This partnership will enable new digital asset marketplaces to launch on a fully-compliant, end-to-end exchange platform encompassing registry, custody, trading, matching and clearing services.
JPMorgan’s Pinto Says Client Demand Isn’t There Yet on Bitcoin
Nour Al Ali – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Co-President Daniel Pinto said that client demand isn’t there yet on Bitcoin, but he’s certain that’ll change at some point. “If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved,” Pinto said in an interview with CNBC. “The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”
BeanCoin Currency Casts Lifeline to Darkened New Orleans Taverns
Shannon Sims – Bloomberg
Crowdfunded project to pump cash flow to struggling businesses; City ordered all bars shut for peak season on virus concern
New Orleans drinking holes are facing financial disaster as city leaders shut them down for Mardi Gras — their busiest time of the year — but a homegrown currency is offering a lifeline. A local group called the Krewe of Red Beans launched a crowdfunded “currency” program this week that’ll funnel cash to bars so they can stay afloat amid the citywide shutdown. The cash-fronting mechanism is cheekily named BeanCoin but it’s not a cryptocurrency, since it’s not a digital currency and its value doesn’t fluctuate.
Nigeria Delays Plans to Regulate Cryptocurrencies and Dealers
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended previously announced plans to regulate cryptocurrencies, until those dealing in them are able to open bank accounts in the West African nation. Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered financial institutions to close accounts dealing in cryptocurrencies, saying the transactions posed risks to the economy, but those measures are now on hold.
Miami Pushes Crypto With Proposal to Pay Workers in Bitcoin
Jonathan Levin and Michael Smith – Bloomberg
Mayor also wants to allow residents to pay taxes with crypto; Miami is exploring investing funds in leading cryptocurrency
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez proposed paying municipal workers and collecting taxes in Bitcoin, expanding a campaign to promote cryptocurrencies. The mayor wants to allow the City of Miami’s workers to choose to receive all or a portion of their pay in Bitcoin, according to a resolution passed by the city’s governing commission. In addition, the mayor proposed allowing people to pay all or part of property taxes or city fees in crypto.
Bitcoin hits record as US financial giants embrace cryptocurrency; BNY Mellon and Mastercard unveil new services within 24 hours of each other
Robert Armstrong – FT
The bitcoin price hit a record high on Thursday after two major US financial institutions announced new cryptocurrency projects, edging digital assets closer to mainstream use in ordinary purchases and as an investment.
Building Black Wealth With Satoshis and Cash App
Ian Gaines – Coindesk
In an environment that is proving less secure over time, we’re giving more thought to the preservation and proper allocation of our wealth. But how does one participate in a system that continues to advantage people who are positioned nearest to the financial nucleus? How do you participate when, without apology or consequence, they can shut off a game they are inconveniently losing? How is this possible, and why is it the only system we are “allowed” to opt into if we want to generate wealth for our family?
Ian Gaines is a Media Manager at Erickson Immigration Group. Black Bitcoin Billionaire, an online platform that educates individuals about living a self-sovereign life, is working with Cash App to give Black families one million satoshis by the end of February, which is Black History Month in the U.S.
PayPal CEO says the payments giant wants to be ‘the digital wallet for global CBDCs’
Aislinn Keely – The Block
PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said Thursday that he sees PayPal playing a significant role in the utility of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). On the company’s investor day call, Schulman said PayPal is gearing up to be “the digital wallet for global CBDCs.” PayPal’s newly unveiled product roadmap for crypto includes becoming a CBDC platform. Schulman said he sees PayPal’s digital wallets becoming the way in which central banks distribute tokens to consumers. “PayPal is a perfect complement to central banks and government to distribute those CBDC in a modern way so that more people can access the digital economy, and we think that is a focus area of this new business unit we have put together.”
*****See also: “PayPal’s Crypto Products Coming to the UK in Months” by Nathan DiCamillo, Coindesk.~MR
Jack Dorsey, Jay Z to fund bitcoin development with new 500 BTC endowment
Wolfie Zhao – The Block
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey says he and well-known rapper Jay-Z are giving 500 bitcoin to set a new endowment. Dorsey wrote in a Tweet on Friday that the new endowment, called ?trust, is set to fund bitcoin development with an initial focus on teams in Africa and India. The 500 BTC is worth over $23.5 million at bitcoin’s current prices. “It’ll be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us. We need 3 board members to start,” Dorsey said while adding a board member application form.
India to ban cryptocurrency investment completely: Report
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The Indian government is said to be levying a complete ban on cryptocurrency investment. BloombergQuint reported the news on Thursday, citing an unnamed “senior Finance Ministry official.” The ban won’t be imposed overnight, according to the official, who said the government would give a three-to-six month transition period for existing investors to liquidate their investments. Since India’s central bank doesn’t back cryptocurrencies, the government will ban their usage in all forms through a law that will be introduced in Parliament, said the official. The ban would also restrict crypto trading via foreign exchanges, per the report.
Nigeria’s SEC Puts Plans to Regulate Crypto on Hold in Light of Central Bank Ban
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Thursday it has put plans to regulate cryptocurrencies on hold in light of the central bank’s decision to ban them, according to a report by the Guardian Nigeria. The regulatory body released a statement officially confirming any plans to regulate the cryptocurrencies are now on hold following a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive ordering banks to close any accounts transacting with cryptocurrencies. “For the purpose of admittance into the SEC regulatory incubation framework, the assessment of all persons and products affected by the CBN circular of Feb. 5, 2021, is hereby put on hold until such persons are able to operate bank accounts within the Nigerian banking system,” the SEC said in a statement seen by the publication.
BNY Mellon commits to digital assets with dedicated crypto custody platform; BNY Mellon will offer its new digital assets custody and administration services later this year via new dedicated unit.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
BNY Mellon has set up a new unit dedicated to building the industry’s first integrated multi-asset digital custody and administration platform to cater for the rapidly evolving digital assets space.
House Democrats rest case in Trump impeachment trial, urging senators to convict
Kathryn Watson, Melissa Quinn, Grace Segers and Stefan Becket – CBS News
Washington — House Democrats leading the prosecution of former President Donald Trump at his Senate impeachment trial concluded their arguments for conviction on the third day of proceedings, zeroing in Mr. Trump’s words and actions in the run-up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol to urge senators to find him guilty. “If you think this is not impeachable, what is? What would be?” said Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager. “If you don’t find this a high crime and misdemeanor today, you have set a new, terrible standard for presidential misconduct in the United States of America.” The impeachment managers presented video evidence, media reports and court documents to demonstrate how some members of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol believed they were acting at the direction of the president.
Democrats Push to Borrow More Money as Deficit Is Set to Shrink Slightly in 2021; Top Democrats and some of President Biden’s advisers are considering borrowing money to fund a sweeping infrastructure package as the nation’s fiscal situation improves more rapidly than expected.
Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane – The New York Times
As top Democrats continued to push a $1.9 trillion economic aid package through the House, some lawmakers and aides to President Biden raised the prospect of borrowing even more money to finance the president’s next set of spending plans, on infrastructure, buoyed by new projections that showed the nation’s fiscal picture was not as dire as officials feared in the fall. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released updated forecasts that showed a $2.3 trillion deficit for the 2021 fiscal year, an amount lower than last year’s $3 trillion deficit but still the second highest since World War II. While that projection did not include Mr. Biden’s stimulus proposal, Democrats viewed the report as giving them room to borrow more money given that it projected a rosier longer-run economic picture than last fall.
Citadel and Reddit Executives Expected at GameStop Hearing
Kate Kelly and Mike Isaac – NY Times
Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire hedge fund manager, may be among the executives who testify at next week’s Congressional hearing about the recent madcap trading in shares of GameStop that bruised many big investors, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Wanted: Banker Who Became Literal Poster Boy of Cum-Ex Scandal
Karin Matussek and Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
New Zealander Paul Mora hunted by Germany via Interpol; Ex-banker once had rock-star status in dividend arbitrage
People strolling through shopping malls or train stations across Germany this week saw something different on the billboards that typically advertise chocolate bars or dating sites: the face of a man wanted for suspected tax evasion.
GameStop Mania Is Focus of Federal Probes Into Possible Manipulation; Justice Department has subpoenaed information from Robinhood Markets, others
Dave Michaels – WSJ
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether market manipulation or other types of criminal misconduct fueled the rapid rise last month in prices of stocks such as GameStop Corp. GME +2.51% and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., AMC -3.28% according to people familiar with the matter.
UK regulator threatens Lastminute.com with legal action over holiday refunds; Travel company has seven days to repay £1m to 2,600 customers, says CMA
Alice Hancock, Kate Beioley and Philip Georgiadis – FT
Lastminute.com, the online travel company, is facing legal action from the UK’s competition regulator unless it refunds £1m to customers whose holidays were cancelled last year.
US suspends trading in penny stock as regulator sharpens gaze; Social media chatter prompted billions of shares of defunct company to change hands
Eric Platt and Hannah Murphy – FT
US securities regulators on Thursday suspended trading in a seemingly defunct company whose shares had attracted the attention of investors over the past two months. The decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to bar trading in SpectraScience, a Minnesota healthcare company, comes as new and inexperienced retail traders have flooded into the country’s $45tn stock market, drawing scrutiny from policymakers in Washington.
Feds reportedly probing traders behind GameStop frenzy
Ben Feuerherd – NY Post
Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating whether market manipulation or other financial criminal activity fueled the meteoric rise of stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment last month, a report said Thursday. Investigators from the Justice Department’s fraud section and the US Attorney’s office in San Francisco have requested information from stockbrokers and social media companies that helped spark the trading hysteria that lasted for about two weeks at the end of January, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
ASIC permanently bans former Sydney financial adviser
ASIC has permanently banned former Sydney financial adviser Mr Daniel Stuart McSweeny from providing financial services. Mr McSweeny was an authorised representative of Australian Financial Services Group Ltd (in liquidation) between 12 April 2006 and 19 December 2012. He was also a director of FF&I Holdings Pty Ltd (in liquidation) during the period it was an authorised representative of Australian Financial Services Group Ltd between 11 May 2007 and 1 May 2013.
ASIC update: Compensation for financial advice related misconduct as at 31 Dec 2020
Six of Australia’s largest banking and financial services institutions have paid or offered a total of $1.24 billion in compensation, as at 31 December 2020, to customers who suffered loss or detriment because of fees for no service misconduct or non-compliant advice.
SEC Suspends Trading in Inactive Issuer Touted on Social Media
The Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended trading in an inactive company amid questions surrounding online promotion of the company’s securities and recent trading activity.
Statement of Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee on Contingent Settlement Offers
Acting Chair Allison Lee – SEC
In consultation with the Divisions of Enforcement, Corporation Finance, and Investment Management, today I am taking action to reinforce the critical separation between the Commission’s enforcement process and its consideration of requests for waivers from automatic disqualifications that arise from certain violations or sanctions. To ensure that these processes remain fair and serve investors’ interests, the Division of Enforcement will no longer recommend to the Commission a settlement offer that is conditioned on granting a waiver. This return to the division’s long-standing practice ensures that the consideration of waivers is forward looking and focused on protecting investors, the market, and market participants from those who fail to comply with the law.
OneChicago, LLC; Order Granting OneChicago, LLCs Request to Withdraw from Registration as a National Securities Exchange Solely for the Purposes of Trading Security Futures Products
Investing and Trading
Invest in a Better You This Year in a Way That’s Actually Fun; A portfolio that’s good for your body, your mind, and your soul.
Matthew Kronsberg – Bloomberg
Eating quinoa won’t make you a better person, and you don’t have to sludge through coding classes to sharpen your mind. In his new book, Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning , Tom Vanderbilt takes up pursuits that are actually fun—surfing, chess, even juggling—and finds power in being a novice. “You’re freed from the worries of impostor syndrome—that anxiety of not being the expert,” he writes, “because no one expects you to be any good.” Here, we celebrate enjoyable investments in your mind, body, and spirit with a pick-and-choose portfolio.
Michael Dell’s investment firm is a new force in football finance; MSD Partners financed the takeover of Burnley and provided loans to Southampton and Derby
Samuel Agini – FT
As players compete in empty stadiums, clubs shun flashy signings and once-fat TV revenues shrink, an unlikely new force has emerged in English football: a US firm that invests some of PC pioneer Michael Dell’s fortune.
Why Women Investors Won’t Embrace Stocks; Female investors have a cautious view of equities. That is a problem—for women as well as the rest of the finance world.
Carol Ryan – WSJ
“I think we’re a bit outnumbered, but we’re here.” So said one commenter on a Reddit thread about whether women joined in the recent WallStreetBets trading frenzy. Female investors largely sat out the riskiest punts taken on stocks like GameStop. That may be no bad thing considering the videogame retailer’s stock is down over 80% from its late-January peak. But low female participation in stock-market investing more generally is a problem, for women and the finance industry alike.
Is Elon Musk the new stock market oracle?
Thornton McEnery and Noah Manskar _ NY Post
Has the “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffett been replaced by Elon Musk, the “Oracle of Memes”? The futurist billionaire, chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, and world’s richest person is now also able to move markets, from cryptocurrencies to actual stocks, using a single tweet.
Here’s why GameStop reportedly decided not to cash in on Reddit rally
Noah Manskar – NY Post
GameStop considered cashing in on the recent Reddit-fueled rally in its stock price — but regulatory concerns stopped the retailer from pulling the trigger, a new report says. The Texas-based video-game chain weighed the possibility of selling new stock as rookie traders on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum pumped up its share price in their war against short-selling hedge funds, Reuters reported Thursday.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Companies Are Rushing to Pinpoint Climate Risks, But It’s Often Impossible; Businesses want to know exactly when and where they’re exposed. Scientists say their models can’t provide such specific information.
Kate Mackenzie – Bloomberg
In this era of inescapable climate dangers, from wildfires to floods and extreme heat, businesses need to know how vulnerable they are to global warming.
ESG Core Rises in Europe’s First Sustainable SPAC Listing
Swetha Gopinath – Bloomberg
Company sold 25 million units at 10 euros each in offering; Listing is the first in 2021 of a European blank-check firm
ESG Core Investments BV rose in its Amsterdam trading debut Friday after raising 250 million euros ($303 million) in the first initial public offering of a sustainability-focused blank-check company in Europe.
Top Banker in Oil-Rich Norway Says Polluters Can’t Be Cut Off
Jonas Cho Walsgard – Bloomberg
The biggest bank in western Europe’s largest oil producing nation has provided more cash to companies that pollute than any of its Nordic peers. But DNB ASA of Norway says such rankings fail to acknowledge that ostracizing all firms not yet deemed green could ultimately hurt the environment.
Investment firm Covalis looks to raise $1bn for ESG fund; Launch comes as hedge funds increasingly see moneymaking opportunity in green investing
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Covalis Capital, an investment firm that made large gains after raising money during last spring’s market turmoil, has launched a fund that will try to profit from trends in environmentally focused investing.
ECB urged to ‘decarbonise’ its EUR2.4tn corporate credit holdings; Call by French central bank governor intensifies debate on how far monetary policy should go in tackling climate change
Martin Arnold – FT
France’s central bank governor has called for a “decarbonisation” of the multitrillion-euro holdings of corporate bonds at the European Central Bank, intensifying the debate on how far monetary policy should go in tackling climate change.
Brexit deals London another blow with loss of euro derivatives volumes; A report by IHS Markit found that UK market share in euro-denominated swaps fell from 40% to 10% in January.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The UK’s market share in euro-denominated swaps plummeted from roughly 40% to just over 10% in January this year, data by IHS Markit has revealed. The data published by IHS Markit on 11 February found that UK market share in euro swaps traded on multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) and organised trading facilities (OTFs) fell 30% in the first month of the year.
Deutsche Bank Ditches Debt Sale for German Opioid-Maker
Laura Benitez and Ruth McGavin – Bloomberg
Gruenenthal agrees extension of EU535m loan with bank lenders; Lenders wary of risks linked to potentially addictive drugs
Deutsche Bank AG has scrapped its plan to sell hundreds of millions of euros of debt for German pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal GmbH due to a lack of interest from investors, according to people familiar with the matter.
Credit Suisse Pays $600 Million to Settle U.S. Mortgage Case
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Swiss bank provisioned $850 million for U.S. legal cases; Legal provisions drove bank to warn on fourth-quarter loss
Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $600 million to settle a lawsuit over mortgage securities that collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis, an accord that locks in an expected hit to its profit.
T Rowe Price eliminates brokerage commissions on third-party ETFs; The change also applies to stocks and follows similar fee cuts by other brokerages
Carmen Germaine – FT
T Rowe Price will drop commissions on online purchases of third-party ETFs and stocks in its brokerage accounts, joining other trading platforms that have slashed fees for retail customers.
France’s Beet Plantings to Slump Despite Neonic Ban Lift
Manisha Jha – Bloomberg
2021-22 beet acreage seen falling to as low as 380,000 ha: CGB; Conditions on neonic use, low prices to pressure sowings
Lifting the ban on use of neonicotinoids — insecticides that harm bees but help control crop diseases — has failed to encourage French beet growers to increase acreage. That will pressure output in the European Union’s top sugar producer a year after the beet yellows virus ravaged yields and pushed production to a two-decade low.
Immigration to Canada Falls by Half on Pandemic
Shelly Hagan and Kait Bolongaro – Bloomberg
Immigration into Canada fell by almost half last year, hitting its lowest level in more than two decades as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted travel across borders. Final government data released Thursday show Canada added 184,370 permanent residents in 2020, down from 341,175 a year earlier. That appears to be the lowest intake since the late 1990s, according to Statistics Canada data. It’s also well short of the 341,000 newcomers Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government had targeted in 2020.
A Currency Strategy That’s Drawing More Hot Money to India
Subhadip Sircar – Bloomberg
Forward premiums hit four-year highs on RBI intervention; RBI said last week forward premium rates are on its radar
The Reserve Bank of India’s strategy to shift some of its currency intervention to the forwards market is adding to its problems. Its balancing act to keep the rupee stable amid heavy foreign inflows while also keeping excess liquidity in check is flooding the market with more foreign funds, prompting a vicious cycle of interventions.
China’s record corn purchases have traders wondering if bump can last; Prices surge to near eight-year high as demand from Beijing fuels grain market rally
Emiko Terazono and Sun Yu – FT
Record purchases by China have sent corn prices soaring since the end of last year, leaving farmers and analysts pondering how long the surge can be sustained.
Russia’s top gold company shifts mines to hydropower; Move by Polyus to ditch use of coal comes as global warming becomes bigger issue in Russia
Henry Foy – FT
Russia’s biggest gold producer will power its two biggest mines using hydropower, in a major step towards efforts by private businesses to reduce emissions across the country’s vast industrial sector.
China Is Approaching Its Own Peak Oil; Country’s energy companies are starting to look ahead to demand topping out around mid-decade
Nathaniel Taplin – WSJ
Big Oil has become used to a ravenous China. But Chinese energy companies are starting to look ahead to an overall peak in oil demand around mid-decade. Sinopec, SHI -0.60% China’s largest refiner, estimated in December that the nation’s demand for oil products will peak in 2025.
Brexit: Trade friction ‘not teething problems’
Ione Wells – BBC News
Increased friction in trade and travel with Europe is a product of “political choices”, a Welsh minister has said. Jeremy Miles MS said it was “irresponsible” to claim changes had been “unexpected” or were “teething problems”. They were consequences of putting “sovereignty” above the “well-being” of people, he said. The UK government said it was “always clear” leaving the customs union and single market would have an impact. Mr Miles spoke as the Welsh Government publishes its analysis of the deal the UK government agreed with the EU in December and is preparing to outline what has changed since 1 January and how that affects people in Wales.
City of London’s Brexit Tab Rises With Stock and Swaps Moves
Silla Brush and Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
The City of London has little to celebrate from the first six weeks of freedom from the European Union. The financial district lost its crown to Amsterdam as Europe’s top place to buy and sell stock. Traders have shifted interest-rate swaps out of the U.K. capital. Relocations of bankers are set to continue in 2021. “Brexit is a body blow to the London financial center,” Xavier Rolet, former head of London Stock Exchange Group Plc, said in an interview. “I’m very deeply worried that Brexit is going to kill the golden goose and we are already seeing the first signs that this has started to happen.”
Brexit: UK, EU vow to address Northern Ireland issues after ‘frank discussion’; UK and EU officials described talks in London as “constructive” after tensions were raised over the Northern Ireland border. Issues over the supply of goods was high on the agenda.
Britain and the EU vowed on Thursday to resolve post-Brexit trade frictions over the Northern Ireland border in the wake of the UK’s departure from the bloc. Northern Ireland was barely mentioned in the parliamentary debates prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum. Yet the nature of the 499-kilometer (310-mile) border separating north from the south has become one of the most contentious issues since, not least over trade and the vulnerability of the peace accord struck in 1998 — the Good Friday Agreement — that largely ended sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland that had ensued since the late 1960s.
Brexit trade deal leaves Welsh fishermen ‘devastated’
Paul Pigott – BBC News
Wales’ £39m commercial fishing sector will be “devastated” by changes under the Brexit trade deal, fishermen have warned. New rules to replace the EU Common Fisheries Policy mean 76 French and Belgian trawlers can fish within six miles of the Welsh coast until 2026. It means many Welsh fishermen may struggle to survive, the Welsh Fishermen’s Association said. The UK government said it protected fishermen’s rights. But those working in Wales said they were already struggling with export red tape.
U.K. Stockpiled Imported Goods Ahead of Brexit Deadline
Lizzy Burden – Bloomberg
Stockpiling rose in December before the U.K. left the European Union’s single market and customs union — just as it did before two Brexit deadlines in 2019. The spike in imports was compounded by border disruption when France blocked travel to stop the spread of coronavirus, as well as shipments of medicinal and pharmaceutical products to deal with the pandemic. Across the fourth quarter, the total trade deficit excluding non-monetary gold and other precious metals widened by 10.9 billion pounds ($15 billion) to 14.3 billion pounds.
Brexit cost will be four times greater for UK than EU, Brussels forecasts
Richard Partington – The Guardian
The economic blow dealt by Brexit will be four times greater in the UK than the EU, according to the latest forecasts by Brussels. A month into the new relationship, the European commission said the UK’s exit on the terms agreed by Boris Johnson’s government would generate a loss in gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2022 of about 2.25% in the UK compared with continued membership. In contrast, the hit for the EU is estimated to be about 0.5% over the same period. Equivalent to lost economic output worth more than £40bn over two years, the commission said that although worse damage had been avoided thanks to the 11th-hour trade deal signed in December, substantial barriers to trade still remained and would come with a heavier cost for Britain.
Mnuchin’s Wife as a Killer Hedge Fund Manager Camps Up Trump Era; Louise Linton, the spouse of former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, wrote, directed, and stars in Me You Madness.
James Tarmy – Bloomberg
Somewhere near the end of Me You Madness, a movie starring, written, and directed by Louise Linton, her character explains why the people she’s murdered and dismembered deserved to die.
Alden Is in Talks to Buy Tribune Publishing
Cara Lombardo and Lukas I. Alpert – The Wall Street Journal
A hedge fund that owns a big stake in Tribune Publishing Co. is in talks to buy the newspaper chain behind titles including the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.
Alden Global Capital LLC, Tribune’s largest shareholder with a 32% stake, is discussing a deal with the publishing company to buy the shares it doesn’t already own, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal for Tribune could be reached this month, the people said, though they cautioned that the negotiations are far from over and could still fall apart.
Details couldn’t be learned. Tribune had a market value of around $560 million early Thursday.