Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Maureen Downs has been re-elected as the chair of the NFA Board of Directors. Also, Don Thompson of JP Morgan is to serve as vice chair. Also, elected to two-year terms as public directors were: Michael C. Dawley, BlueFin Partners LLC; Douglas E. Harris, Promontory Financial Group LLC; Ronald S. Oppenheimer; Todd E. Petzel, Offit Capital Advisors LLC; and Michael R. Schaefer.
There is a difference of opinion in London over SPACs, with the FT editorial board telling its readers “Why London should resist the Spac craze” and former London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet and Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave co-founder, saying “London should be centre of ‘Spac revolution'”.
It is amazing how little publicity “Beans in the Teens” is getting. Prices at the CBOT/CME soybean futures are roaring, with March 2021 beans rallying over $2 since the beginning of December 2020.
Symphony’s David Gurle has been trapped in Hong Kong by the travel restrictions since October of 2020. He said he hopes to be able to get back to his family and France in April if things open up. He uses video conferencing to have every lunch and dinner with his family back in France. I will have more about David in an upcoming story.
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Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Boy, Square really seems to be going all-in on bitcoin. Square, the payments platform created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has reportedly bought 3,318 bitcoin (BTC), or $170 million worth. Square also recently reported that its Cash App sold $1.76 billion worth of bitcoin to its customers in the last quarter of 2020, and sold a total of $4.57 billion over the course of last 2020, generating about $97 million in gross profits from bitcoin alone, $41 million of which came from Q4 of 2020.~MR
Peter Fredriksson – The Path to Electronic Trading
Peter Fredriksson was with OM in Sweden when they offered the first electronic trading platform. He later worked for Cinnober, which was one of many firms to be spun out of OM over the years, along with TriOptima and Orc (now Itiviti).
NFA’s Board of Directors re-elects Maureen C. Downs to serve as Chair
At its February meeting, NFA’s Board of Directors re-elected Maureen C. Downs, Phillip Capital, Inc., to serve a one-year term as Chair. The Board also re-elected Don Thompson, JPMorgan Chase & Co., to serve as Vice-Chair.
*****The brilliant Maureen Downs gets another term. Good choice.~JJL
France’s Latest Plan to Save Businesses Has Europe Intrigued; The country is resurrecting a financial instrument introduced in 1978. Other governments on the Continent are watching.
William Horobin – Bloomberg
Emmanuel Macron’s government is digging deep into its policy toolbox to find ways to transition the economy back to normality and fulfill the president’s pledge to support businesses and workers, “whatever the cost.” A plan being prepared in Paris would deploy state guarantees to back EUR20 billion ($24 billion) of so-called participative loans.
****I like innovation. What is this?~JJL
Isolated, Bored Employees Could Use a Little TLC These Days; There are things bosses can do to make workers feel valued and connected.
Arianne Cohen – Bloomberg
When people say they’ve hit a “pandemic wall,” they’re sometimes talking about all the dishes they’re doing, the “hard pants” they haven’t worn in months, and the same, stupid walk they take every day. But the conversation is mostly about work. It’s critical that companies help meet employees’ baseline psychological needs. Our stability, experts say, depends on having control over our days, as well as a sense of belonging, purpose, and growth. In normal times we meet those needs through interactions with co-workers, neighbors, romantic partners, family members, friends, and exercise buddies. Our current dependency on roommates and Zoommates means our minds, which are constantly monitoring for these external inputs, can feel starved, says organizational psychologist Lydia Woodyatt, an associate professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, who runs a popular corporate workshop on psychological needs and the workplace.
*****It’s important in times like these to take care of yourself. Do little things to make your day a little easier, even if it’s as simple as adding a little extra scoop of sugar in your coffee one morning.~MR
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was The Beach Bum Who Beat Wall Street and Made Millions on GameStop, from The Ringer. Note: this story is filed under “gambling.” Second was the Wall Street Journal’s As Wall Street Migrates to Florida, Hedge-Funders Move to Offload Manhattan Homes. Quote from a real estate agent: “What’s there to do in Florida? It’s great if you’re a golfer or you want to play tennis, but it’s a cultural wasteland.” Third was CNBC’s ‘Flat out false’ — Ken Griffin says Citadel doesn’t use personal information from retail investors.
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Clearinghouse Urges Faster Trade Settlement Amid GameStop Scrutiny; DTCC calls for speeding up the time it takes to settle securities trades to one day from two
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
The clearinghouse operator whose $3 billion margin call spurred Robinhood Markets Inc. to limit trading in GameStop Corp. GME -2.24% is urging an overhaul of the stock market’s plumbing that could reduce the risk of such a scenario repeating. The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. said in a report on Wednesday that Wall Street should speed up the time it takes to settle securities trades to one day from two, and it called for a broad effort by the industry and regulators to achieve that goal by 2023.
Shares in Hong Kong bourse operator plunge as city increases trading tax; Government’s move to raise duty for the first time in almost 30 years threatens core HKEX business
Hudson Lockett and Nicolle Liu – FT
Shares in Hong Kong’s bourse operator tumbled after the city’s government said it would raise the stamp duty charged on equity trades in the Asian financial hub, threatening the group’s biggest revenue stream. The move by finance secretary Paul Chan on Wednesday to increase stamp duty from 0.1 to 0.13 per cent of the value of each trade came as Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing reported record profits for the 2020 financial year.
Michael Bolton wants you to break up with your brokerage; Did someone say froth?
Jemima Kelly – FT
It’s hard to know when to call the top in this crazy market isn’t it? But surely, surely, this has to be some kind of indicator: Yes that’s a new ad featuring Michael Bolton, from Public.com, the stock trading app that, unlike all the other stock trading apps, is “on the mission to open the stock market to everyone by making it inclusive, educational, and fun”. (We think they might have meant “on a mission” but we guess after splashing out on Michael Bolton they didn’t have anything left for a copy-editor.) Its investors and advisors include NFL star JJ Watt, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, and Will Smith.
Hong Kong’s First Trading Tax Hike Since 1993 Pummels Stocks
Kiuyan Wong and Felix Tam – Bloomberg
HKEX shares sink 8.8% at the close, biggest loss since 2015; Mainland-based funds sell record $2.6 billion of city’s shares
Hong Kong unveiled its first stamp-duty increase on stock trades since 1993, sparking a broad selloff in the $7.6 trillion market and sending shares of the city’s exchange to their biggest plunge in more than five years. The plan for a trading-tax hike to 0.13% from 0.10% is part of a raft of new measures announced in Hong Kong’s budget on Wednesday that included increased spending to help residents weather the pandemic. Even as the city’s economy has plunged over the past year, stock prices and trading have surged amid a global market boom.
Robinhood CEO Tells Portnoy Limits Prevented Liquidity Crunch
Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou – Bloomberg
Barstool Sports’ Portnoy has been a fierce critic of Robinhood; Tenev said restrictions were to meet deposit requirements
Robinhood Markets’ decision to restrict buying of GameStop Corp. shares and other “meme” stocks last month ensured the retail brokerage wouldn’t face a liquidity crunch. In a live interview Tuesday night, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy pressed Robinhood Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev on one of the main questions that have haunted his firm since it restricted customers from trading GameStop during a Reddit-fueled frenzy last month. It was a precautionary move to meet deposit requirements and prevent a “liquidity issue,” he said.
Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation; Competition in the electricity-supply business promised reliable power at a more affordable cost
Tom McGinty and Scott Patterson – WSJ
Texas’s deregulated electricity market, which was supposed to provide reliable power at a lower price, left millions in the dark last week. For two decades, its customers have paid more for electricity than state residents who are served by traditional utilities, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found.
Hong Kong Stock Exchange Looks for Next Act After Record Year
Kiuyan Wong – Bloomberg
New CEO Aguzin slated to take over in May after approval; Exchange faces pressure to expand links to mainland investors
A year anticipated to be full of headwinds for Hong Kong’s stock exchange turned euphoric instead. The challenge is now to add to the momentum. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. is estimated to report on Wednesday that profit rose 22% to a record HK$11.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2020, according to a Bloomberg survey of 25 analysts.
SOFR adoption stalls after US Libor delay; Stay of execution, RFR illiquidity and fallback reliance slow SOFR adoption Robert Mackenzie Smith – Risk.net
The derivatives market’s transition to the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) has stalled since regulators granted US dollar Libor an 18-month reprieve, with traders blaming poor liquidity and the industry’s reliance on new fallback language for a dearth of new swaps linked to the successor rate since November.
Why London should resist the Spac craze; Any changes to UK listing rules will require careful consideration
The editorial board – FT
Rarely has a single investment trend attracted such a widely disparate band of promoters. The mania for special purpose acquisition companies, which transformed capital markets last year, has already swept up sports coaches, former US politicians and ex-investment bankers.
London should be centre of ‘Spac revolution’, says ex-LSE chief
Xavier Rolet and Matthew Elliott call for reforms to attract blank-cheque companies
Laurence Fletcher – FT
The City of London should strive to become a global centre for Spacs to fend off rivals in the wake of Brexit, said Xavier Rolet, former London Stock Exchange head, and Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave co-founder .
UK energy market faces ‘instability’ over carbon trading delay; Power companies call for clarity from government on post-Brexit schemes
Leslie Hook, Nathalie Thomas and Mehreen Khan – FT
The UK’s leading power companies have warned that the energy market faces “instability” if the government fails to provide urgent clarity on Britain’s post-Brexit carbon trading scheme. The scheme, which came into force at the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1 to replace its EU counterpart, is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting a cap on the levels heavy polluters can produce and forcing them to buy carbon credits to cover their annual output.
NY attorney lasers Bitcoin’s key funding mechanism; The NY Attorney-General’s ruling on Tether and Bitfinex stands to destabilise the way dollars flow into the bitcoin value system. But Bitcoin’s meme warriors are buffering up their defences.
Izabella Kaminska – FT
It’s been a volatile and stressful week in cryptoland. First Elon Musk, the electric boss of eccentric car company Tesla (or was it the other way round) and one of bitcoin’s most high-profile supporters, tweeted on Saturday that the cryptocurrency’s price “seems high”.
ASIC launches immunity policy for market misconduct offences
ASIC has released an immunity policy for certain contraventions of the Corporations Act, which includes serious offences such as market manipulation, insider trading and dishonest conduct in the course of carrying on a financial services business. Under the new policy, an individual who has engaged with others to manipulate the market, commit insider trading or engage in dishonest conduct when operating a financial services business (Part 7.10 of the Act) can, in certain circumstances, seek immunity from both civil penalty and criminal proceedings. Applications for immunity under ASIC’s policy are only available to individuals, not corporations.
Morgan Stanley Courts Startup Employees With Stock-Plan Deal; The bank said it struck a deal with Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini to take over the stock plans it manages for thousands of clients
Justin Baer – WSJ
Morgan Stanley MS 0.13% is betting a partnership in Silicon Valley will lead to new long-term clients for its wealth-management business. The bank said Tuesday that it struck a deal with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to take over the stock plans the law firm manages for thousands of clients. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Startups often offer stock as part of an employee’s pay. Wilson Sonsini created its own stock-plan software decades ago to help clients track the value of their employees’ holdings as companies matured from early-stage startups and raised outside money to finance their growth.
Texas Power Grid Board Members Resign Following Freeze; The chair, other members of Ercot board had faced criticism for not residing in Texas
Katherine Blunt – WSJ
The chair and four other members of the Texas power grid operator’s board are resigning after blackouts left millions across the state without electricity and heat during a deep freeze last week.
The EU Finally Suits Up for the Vaccine Race
Michael Winfrey – Bloomberg
Almost a month after the European Union slapped export controls on coronavirus vaccines in a desperate attempt to get its immunization program back on track, its supply outlook finally looks brighter.
India to Open Private Vaccine Market With Shots for Elderly
Bibhudatta Pradhan and Chris Kay – Bloomberg
People over 60 and those at risk over 45 to get vaccines; Experts have called for private market to open to speed drive
India will start vaccinating people over the age of 60 and those above 45 who suffer from co-morbidities starting March 1, allowing the partial opening of a private market for shots as the government faces mounting criticism over the slow pace of its inoculation campaign.
Denmark’s Parliament Agrees to Ease Lockdown, Stores Reopen
Morten Buttler – Bloomberg
Denmark’s parliament will ease a lockdown imposed shortly after Christmas by agreeing to open retail stores nationally and schools in some regions with falling cases of Covid-19. The Nordic nation will also allow groups of as many as 25 people to participate in outdoor sports and culture activities. Other restrictions including closures of restaurants and bars will continue through April 5.
Lagging Rest of Europe, Ukraine Finally Starts Virus Jabs
Kateryna Choursina – Bloomberg
Ukraine, the biggest European country yet to start vaccinations against the coronavirus, administered its first shot on Wednesday. Yevhen Horenko, an emergency doctor in Cherkasy in central Ukraine, received an AstraZeneca vaccine, along with nine other people, according to the Health Ministry. The government plans to inoculate about 370,000 people, mainly doctors and nurses, in the first round of immunization.
Israel to use excess Covid vaccines for international diplomacy; First countries to receive doses will be Honduras, Czech Republic and Guatemala
Mehul Srivastava – FT
Israel will wield some of its excess supply of coronavirus vaccines as international humanitarian aid, using its glut of jabs to pursue diplomatic goals while Palestinians wait for aid shipments for their own supplies.
Ghana becomes first country to receive free Covax vaccines; African officials complain of delay in delivery to other member states
Neil Munshi and David Pilling – FT
Ghana has become the first country in the world to receive coronavirus vaccines under the World Health Organization-backed Covax facility for low- and middle-income countries, marking the beginning of what has been called the largest vaccine procurement programme in history.
Central Europe braced for third wave of coronavirus; Czech Republic warns health service may require help from EU states as deaths surge in Slovakia
James Shotter and Valerie Hopkins – FT
Officials in the Czech Republic have warned that the country’s health system is on the brink of “absolute exhaustion” and may need help from abroad, as central Europe braces for a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past two weeks the country has recorded 968 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people, the EU’s highest infection rate in per-capita terms, forcing many hospitals to delay non-Covid-related treatment.
Anti-vaxxers are targeting black people, warns US Covid adviser; Head of task force says jab sceptics are capitalising on mistrust in healthcare system
Kiran Stacey – FT
Anti-vaccination campaigners are targeting black Americans with misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, one of Joe Biden’s top health advisers has warned.
Sturgeon unveils cautious framework for easing lockdown in Scotland; Tiered system of regional restrictions likely to replace national curbs at end of April
Mure Dickie – FT
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday set out a framework for easing coronavirus restrictions that was markedly more cautious than the UK government’s route map for England but aims to move Scotland out of national lockdown by the last week in April.
Covid test being considered as alternative to vaccine passport; PM acknowledges ‘philosophical’ concerns over introduction of virus status certification
Jim Pickard, Daniel Thomas, Sarah Neville and Kate Beioley – FT
The UK government reassured people on Tuesday they will not face major restrictions if they refuse to have a coronavirus jab with officials considering a recent Covid-19 test result as an alternative to ‘vaccine passports’.
FDA to Release Review of J&J’s Single-Dose Vaccine; Disclosure of the detailed analysis is the next step toward potential authorization of the shot
Thomas M. Burton and Peter Loftus – WSJ
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to disclose on Wednesday its detailed analysis of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, a key step that could lead to authorization of the shot’s deployment against the pandemic.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Protects Against Severe Illness and May Reduce Transmission, F.D.A. Analyses Find
A shipment of vaccine doses arrived in West Africa as part of the Covax initiative, ramping up a mass inoculation operation aimed at poor and middle-income countries.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Miami International Holdings Completes Follow-on Investment in MidChains Along with Co-investors Mubadala and ADQ
Miami International Holdings (MIH), the parent holding company of MIAX®, and MidChains, an upcoming virtual asset trading platform, today announced that MIH has completed a follow-on equity investment in MidChains’ parent holding company, MEEG Holdings Limited. The parties previously announced MIH’s initial investment and intent to pursue joint technology licensing and product listing opportunities.
SIX strengthens ESG and alternative data offering with investment in Orenda
SIX is taking a majority stake via growth investment in Orenda Software Solutions (“Orenda”), a Canadian-based AI platform specializing in ESG and alternative data sets. This step is part of the strategy of SIX to help its customers drive more insights with data, providing consumption-ready data and analytics for faster and more informed decisions.
TP ICAP launches Matchbook Rebalance in the US; The pure-electronic solution is available across high yield and emerging markets, with plans to launch in investment grade products in Q1 of this year.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Interdealer broker TP ICAP has launched its electronic trading solution aimed at reducing residual risks in fixed income portfolios in the US market. Matchbook Rebalance runs matching sessions for traders to clear up unwanted positions and mitigate secondary risk in fixed income portfolios.
Arctic Bioscience lists on Euronext Growth Oslo
The biotech company Arctic Bioscience has today been admitted to trading on Euronext Growth (ticker code: ABS). Arctic Bioscience is a Norwegian biotechnology company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing ingredients extracted from herring roe.
Learning from experience – Eurex Webcast on direct CCP clearing for OTC IRS & Repo
Our recently held webcast was a perfect opportunity to directly learn from experts. Frank Odendall, Head of Securities Financing Product & Business Development, Eurex was joined by Jan Grunow, Head Investment Operations, Swiss Life Asset Managers and Roelof van der Struik, Senior Investment Manager, PGGM to talk about the experiences Swiss Life and PGGM had with ISA Direct.
HKEX 2020 Consolidated Financial StatementsPDF
As at 24 February 2021, the board of directors of HKEX comprises 12 Independent Non-executive Directors, namely Mrs Laura May-Lung CHA (Chairman), Mr Apurv BAGRI, Mr CHAN Tze Ching, Ignatius, Mr CHEAH Cheng Hye, Mrs CHOW WOO Mo Fong, Susan, Ms FUNG Yuen Mei, Anita, Mr Rafael GIL-TIENDA, Dr HU Zuliu, Fred, Mr HUNG Pi Cheng,
Benjamin, Mr LEUNG Pak Hon, Hugo, Mr John Mackay McCulloch WILLIAMSON and Mr YIU Kin Wah, Stephen, and one Executive Director, Mr TAI Chi Kin, Calvin, who is also HKEX’s Interim Chief Executive.
Presentation by HKEX Interim Chief Executive Calvin Tai and Group Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Lau on 2020 Final Results Announcement
HKEX 2020 Final Results
ICE Announces Update on Murban Crude Oil Futures Ahead of Launch on March 29, 2021; First expiry month will be June 2021; ADNOC confirms pricing for Murban will be based on Murban Futures price from June; Pricing mechanism for ADNOC’s Upper Zakum, Das and Umm Lulu grades will be priced at a differential to Murban Futures price
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, today announced an update on Murban Crude Oil futures.
BTIC Spread Eligibility for the Adjusted Interest Rate S&P 500 Total Return Index Futures Contract
Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) listed the Adjusted Interest Rate S&P 500 Total Return Index Futures contract (Rulebook Chapter 357B; Commodity Code: ASR/BTIC Code: AST) (the “Contract”) for trading on CME Globex electronic trading platform and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort effective on September 21, 2020 (see SER 8631 dated August 4, 2020).
Launch of JPX Data Catalogue
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) and Osaka Exchange, Inc. (OSE) have started offering the JPX Data Catalogue to provide users with a list of both free and paid data services in a readily searchable and viewable format.
Assessing the rise of DeFi – and how data will drive fintech in 2021
Christopher Brown – The Block
2020 saw a notable increase in the need for and availability of fintech solutions across various industries, such as personal banking, transportation, and food service, with many apps already utilising data aggregation techniques to make one-touch purchases and payment options the new standard. Companies like Uber and Amazon use frictionless data aggregation to curate a unique user experience while realising new revenue opportunities.
Why Are We Seeing a Fintech App Every Day?
Shahin Jahromi – PaymentsJournal
Another day, another fintech app, but the big question is, who’s driving the demand: financial innovators keen on disrupting the system, or financial savvy consumers who now understand what they want from their financial services provider?
Well, as always, it’s not always that clear cut.
Let’s wind back to the start of fintech for a minute. Those creating fintech companies were dubbed disruptors, storming the inner citadel of the traditional banks and financial institutions, determined to bring down the system and forge a new era of inclusivity for all.
Remote working causes next-generation technology spending hike; A survey by Broadridge found that buy- and sell-side firms expect to increase the share of their overall IT budget spent on next-gen tech by a third.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
A survey by Broadridge has found that firms on the buy- and sell-side expect to increase their spending on AI, blockchain, and cloud technologies by 33% in the next two years.
Raiffeisen Bank employs AxeTrading and Integral to enhance bond trading; The trio have teamed up to offer bond trading clients real time streaming of FX prices into their bond workflow through a new trading solution.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has employed fixed income software provider AxeTrading and foreign exchange (FX) technology provider Integral to enhance its bond trading offering.
Fintech startup Finix closes on $3M in Black and Latinx investor-led SPV
Mary Ann Azevedo – TechCrunch
Many founders talk about their desire for a more diverse investor base. Richie Serna took that desire and made it a reality. Serna, who founded payments infrastructure startup Finix in 2016, had raised more than $95 million in venture funding from the likes of Lightspeed Venture Partners, American Express Ventures, Homebrew, Precursor Ventures, Insight Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Visa and Activant Capital. The San Francisco-based fintech last raised $30 million in an extension of its Series C round last August. At the time, Finix — which says its mission is to make every company a payments company — said it had seen its transaction volume more than quadruple from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020.
i2c Collaborates With Millennial – And Gen Z-Focused FinTech Zytara
Digital payment and banking technology provider i2c has teamed with Zytara, a FinTech firm geared toward millennial and Generation Z gamers and their households. The collaboration comes on the heels of Zytara’s recent ZUSD stablecoin rollout announcement, according to a Tuesday (Feb. 23) press release. “We’re proud to partner with Zytara on this ground-breaking and globally ambitious initiative,” i2c CEO Amir Wain said in the release. “Their vision of creating specific financial products tailored to this untapped and fast-growing demographic is a great example of the kind of innovation FinTechs are bringing to life in 2021.” Zytara’s online banking platform will provide a collection of offerings, such as virtual and tangible debit cards, a spending account and access to investing tools, the release stated.
Bitfinex Settles New York Probe Into Tether, Hiding Losses
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
No reserves were held at times to back Tethers as claimed; Companies banned from doing business with New Yorkers
The crypto exchange Bitfinex reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Letitia James over allegations that it hid the loss of commingled client and corporate funds and lied about reserves.
CoinShares Is Launching an Exchange-Traded Ethereum Product
Olivia Raimonde – Bloomberg
Fund will be listed in Switzerland and custodied by Komainu; ETHE is latest in a string of crypto passive investment funds
CoinShares, a St. Helier, Jersey-based digital-asset investment house with over $4 billion under management, is launching a physically backed, exchange-traded Ethereum product.
New Deputy to Lead Philippine Central Bank’s Digital Push
Siegfrid Alegado – Bloomberg
The Philippine central bank has created a new unit to boost its handle on digital payments as more Filipinos transact online. Mamerto Tangonan, who was appointed a deputy governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, will head a new sector focused on payments and currency management, Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a virtual briefing Wednesday. The appointment was made earlier this month.
Tether and Bitfinex agree to pay $18.5m penalty after New York probe; State’s attorney-general accused groups of covering up ‘massive’ financial losses
Adam Samson – FT
Cryptocurrency Tether and exchange Bitfinex have agreed to pay an $18.5m penalty after New York’s attorney-general accused them of covering up “massive” financial losses.
SEC’s Hester Peirce Says ‘Alluring’ DeFi Space Needs Legal Clarity; The commissioner sees DeFi as “a very good test” to see if regulators can regulate in a way that empowers investors and markets alike.
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Hester Peirce said regulators need to provide “legal clarity and freedom to experiment” to allow decentralized finance (DeFi) to compete with the traditional financial system. In a speech Monday for the George Washington University Law School “Regulating the Digital Economy” conference, Peirce described DeFi as “a very good test” for regulators to regulate in such a way that it empowers investors and markets. Peirce made reference to “anti-Wall Street sentiment” evidenced in events such as the GameStop trading frenzy, which, she said, have “inspired some to call for throwing the legacy financial system out entirely” and replace it with DeFi.
Kraken CEO defends crypto exchange after ETH price plunge on its platform
Frank Chaparro – The Block
“Please don’t trade on leverage if you don’t understand the risks.” That’s what Kraken’s Jesse Powell said to one user upset in the aftermath of a significant price decline on the crypto exchange’s ETH/USD market. On Monday, as crypto markets whipsawed, the price of ETH on Kraken sharply fell to $700 — dislocating from the broader market. As previously reported, Coinbase’s low for ETH at that time was just above $1,500. Powell later took to Twitter and the broader press to explain that the move was caused by extreme selling, not a malfunction of the exchange’s trading engine.
MicroStrategy Bets Another $1B on Bitcoin; MicroStrategy turned a veritable mountain of zero-interest debt into its single-largest bitcoin allocation yet.
Danny Nelson – Coindesk
MicroStrategy announced the purchase of another $1.026 billion in bitcoin Wednesday, turning mountains of zero-interest debt into one of the single largest (dollar-denominated) bitcoin investments ever executed by a publicly traded company. CEO Michael Saylor’s business intelligence firm bought the 19,452 BTC at an average price of $52,765 per coin. It now holds 90,531 BTC (+2.45%) worth $4.78 billion at press time, almost certainly bolstering its perception among Wall-Street types as a de-facto bitcoin ETF, albeit one wildly overpriced.
Ripple cryptocurrency crashes as MoneyGram puts relationship on ice
Noah Manskar – New York Post
Ripple Labs’ cryptocurrency tumbled Tuesday after MoneyGram said it paused its relationship with the tech firm while it battles the feds in court. The price of XRP — the digital coin at the center of a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Ripple — sank nearly 22 percent to roughly 47 cents as of 2:10 p.m. after MoneyGram revealed that it suspended trading on Ripple’s platform.
US House Subpanel to Look at Crypto as Part of Examination of How Domestic Terrorism Is Funded
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
A subcommittee of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee is expected to discuss how to thwart current and future avenues relating to the financing of domestic terrorism, including cryptocurrency. According to a memo on Monday, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy will hold its hearing on Thursday, Feb. 25. Specifically, it will assess various means of terrorist financing including crowdfunding, charities, content subscriptions, cryptocurrencies and other funding mechanisms amid the backdrop of what occurred on Jan. 6.
Paxos Plans to File for a Clearing Firm License; CEO Charles Cascarilla said the crypto firm, which already settles equities trades, hopes to apply for a clearing firm license soon.
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Stablecoin issuer and crypto exchange Paxos is applying to become a clearing firm with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Clearing firms act as intermediaries in the U.S. securities markets, facilitating payments and the transfers of securities for exchanges. If approved, Paxos would become one of just a handful of clearing firms in the U.S., joining the Depository Trust Company (DTC), Options Clearing Corporation and others. Charles Cascarilla, the CEO and founder of Paxos, told CoinDesk TV Tuesday that the company, which already settles U.S. equities trades, was hoping to become a full clearing firm.
India’s Central Bank Chief Airs ‘Major Concerns’ About Crypto Risks
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has expressed “major concerns” about cryptocurrencies as the Indian government reportedly plans an outright ban on the use of such assets bar an official digital rupee. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said in an interview with CNBC-TV18 that, although there are benefits around using blockchain technology, the central bank is worried about the risk cryptocurrencies pose to financial stability. “[The issue] is under consideration in the government and I do expect and I think sooner or later the government will take a call and if required the Parliament also will consider and decide,” said Das.
PNGX Exploring Providing Greater Access To Equity Financing For SMEs; Ether’s massive sell-off could have been a ‘single whale’ dumping his life savings, Kraken CEO says
Isabelle Lee – Business Insider
The massive selloff in the cryptocurrency ether on Monday was not an error, the CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, said. Instead, “it could be that a single whale just decided to dump his life savings.” The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization saw its price plummet by more than 50% on the exchange at the beginning of the week. “We’re in the process of investigating,” Kraken CEO Jesse Powell told Bloomberg on Tuesday. “There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a trading-engine malfunction. It seems like trades processed accurately.”
More Than 150 Executives Back $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan
Jennifer Jacobs – Bloomberg
CEOs of Goldman, AT&T, Blackstone sign letter to lawmakers; Democrats moving forward with plan despite GOP opposition
Senior executives from more than 150 companies are voicing support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass coronavirus relief. The letter is signed by leaders across industries, including David Solomon, chairman and chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs; Stephen Schwartzman, the chairman and CEO of Blackstone; Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google; and John Stankey the CEO of AT&T.
Joe Biden’s $1.9tn package is a risky experiment; It might be no bad thing if the US fiscal stimulus ended up somewhat smaller than now proposed
Martin Wolf – FT
How much fiscal stimulus is too much? The debate on this question among economists who support the goals of Joe Biden’s US administration has become fierce. That is no bad thing: policy should be debated. In this crisis, as during the 2008 financial crisis, one has to evaluate the risks of doing too little against those of doing too much.
US considers sanctions against Russia over SolarWinds hack; Senate hears cyber intruders wielded more tools than previously realised
Katrina Manson and Hannah Murphy – FT
The Biden administration is readying sanctions and other measures to punish Russia over a cyber espionage campaign as the Senate heard that hackers potentially used a dozen different ways to infiltrate government and corporate networks.
HANetf recruits top industry executive Manooj Mistry; Former head of ETFs at DWS will lead product development as chief operating officer
Chris Flood – FT
Visit the FT’s ETF Hub for news and analysis, investor education and tools to help you select the right ETFs. One of the most prominent executives in the European exchange traded fund industry has joined HANetf just as the London-based investment boutique has passed the $2bn milestone for assets under management.
Tax Hikes for High Earners Are on the Table in Some States; Governors in New York, Minnesota and elsewhere urge higher income and capital-gains taxes to fortify pandemic-weakened budgets
Karen Langley – WSJ
State officials across the U.S. have grappled for months with the budgetary effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, some governors are proposing tax increases. Prominent proposals include calls to raise billions of dollars across several states through taxes on the income and capital gains of higher earners.
Opening Statement of Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam before the Market Risk Advisory Committee
Good morning and welcome to the first virtual meeting of the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC or Committee) of 2021. I want to thank Commissioners Quintenz, Stump, and Berkovitz for joining today’s meeting. I also want to thank and acknowledge the MRAC members, the subcommittee chairs, and the speakers who will participate in today’s panels.
U.K. Trader Probe Halted After Judge Questions FCA Priorities
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
Judge says case didn’t seem ‘one of the FCA’s high priorities’; Move could be a setback to FCA’s Cum-Ex investigations
The U.K.’s investigation into a trader involved in controversial Cum-Ex transactions was stopped in its tracks after a London judge questioned the regulator’s apparent lack of commitment to probing the European tax scandal. The Financial Conduct Authority was ordered to pause its probe until 2022, after a separate court decides on a case brought by Danish tax authorities against former hedge-fund manager Sanjay Shah.
U.K.’s Financial Crimes Agency Wants Companies to Invest in Compliance; Two cases with diverging outcomes illustrate the value of a strong compliance program, the director of the Serious Fraud Office says
Dylan Tokar – WSJ
The U.K.’s major economic crimes investigative agency has taken steps to emphasize the need for companies to invest in programs and procedures designed to prevent wrongdoing, its director said on Tuesday.
ESMA publishes Guidelines to harmonise CCP supervisory reviews and evaluation under EMIR
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published the final report on Guidelines aimed at assisting competent authorities in the application of EMIR provisions that deal with the review and evaluation of central counterparties (CCPs).
ESMA publishes second Annual Report on waivers and deferrals for non-equity instruments
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its second Annual Report on waivers and deferrals for non-equity instruments under MiFIR.
Steven Maijoor delivers statement on GameStop at the ECON Committee
ESMA Chair, Steven Maijoor, addressed today the Members of the European Parliament within the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). He was invited together with the European Commission’s Director for Financial Markets, Ugo Bassi, for an exchange of views on GameStop share trading and related phenomena.
PODCAST: Behind the Process: How an Enforcement Action Becomes an Enforcement Action
Formal disciplinary action or informal action, settlement or complaint. Or, the one you never hear about: no action. There are a lot of possible outcomes for an Enforcement investigation. And a disciplinary action is far from guaranteed at the outset of the process.
SEC Charges Two Former KPMG Auditors for Improper Professional Conduct During Audit of Not-for-Profit College
The Securities and Exchange Commission today suspended two former KPMG auditors from practicing before the SEC in connection with settled charges against the two for improper professional conduct during an audit of the now defunct, not-for-profit College of New Rochelle. The SEC previously charged the college’s former controller with fraud in connection with the college’s fiscal year 2015 financial statements.
SEC Awards More Than $9.2 Million to Whistleblower for Successful Related Actions, Including Agreement With DOJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more than $9.2 million to a whistleblower who provided information that led to successful related actions by the U.S. Department of Justice, one of which was a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) or deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). The whistleblower previously received an award for contributions to an SEC enforcement action based on the same information that supported the award for the related actions, a prerequisite for eligibility for a related-action award.
Federal Court Sanctions Former New Jersey Energy Broker for Role in Disclosures of Material Nonpublic Information
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a consent order on February 19, 2021, resolving CFTC charges that Ron Eibschutz, a former energy broker and New Jersey resident, sought and obtained disclosures of material nonpublic information from two former employees of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.
Opening Statement of Commissioner Dawn D. Stump Before the Market Risk Advisory Committee
Thank you, Acting Chairman Behnam and Alicia, for holding, what I anticipate, will be a very informative meeting with robust debate around a number of important issues facing not only the markets regulated by the CFTC, but so many topics of interest to the public more generally.
FCA responds to High Court decision to stay proceedings in enforcement case
The Claimants issued a judicial review to challenge a decision by the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee not to stay the regulatory proceedings against the first Claimant.
FCA returns funds to victims of unauthorised deposit taking and collective investment schemes
The FCA has obtained High Court Approval to return £3.42 million to compensate victims of a series of unauthorised deposit taking and collective investment schemes.
British Columbia Securities Commission Finding More Compliance Deficiencies At Investment Firms
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) is identifying more compliance deficiencies among investment adviser and dealer firms, with client statements and promotional statements becoming the most problematic areas, according to the latest Compliance Report Card from the BCSC.
SIFMA Paper Outlines Negative Impact Of Stock Transfer Tax On New York Economy
SIFMA today issued a whitepaper titled “Economic Contribution of the New York Financial Services Sector and Review of the Stock Transfer Tax.” The analysis outlines the significance of the financial services sector to the city and state of New York and suggests that the stock transfer tax (STT) could have a negative impact on both the city and the state economy.
Serbian Founder of Digital-Asset Companies Indicted in International Cryptocurrency Scheme
US Department of Justice
A Serbian man was charged in an indictment today for his alleged participation in a coordinated cryptocurrency scheme in which he solicited U.S. investors using two fraudulent online investment platforms. Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.
Investing and Trading
UBS Team Says Get Ready for Another Global Equity Rotation
Cormac Mullen – Bloomberg
Liquidity tailwind for market to fade in 2Q: UBS strategists; Market drivers likely to shift to growth and earnings
Less easy financial conditions will likely lead to lower overall returns in global markets while favoring growth stocks over value, according to UBS Group AG. Growth and earnings will become bigger drivers of returns next quarter, strategists including Bhanu Baweja wrote in a note Monday. A bottoming in real rates and credit spreads will signal the end of a liquidity “tailwind,” they said.
Here’s How Much Wealth You Need to Join the Richest 1% Globally; It takes $8 million in Monaco, but about half that amount in the U.S. and Switzerland. Singapore too has a high threshold, a new report shows.
Benjamin Stupples and Yoojung Lee – Bloomberg
Joining the ranks of the richest 1% is never easy, but it’s especially hard in Monaco. You need to be worth almost $8 million to make the cut in the Mediterranean principality, where residents typically don’t pay income taxes, according to research on more than two-dozen locations by Knight Frank.
Bond investors suffer worst start to year since 2015; Rising yields reflect worries that US stimulus and virus vaccines will stoke inflation
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
The global bond market is suffering its worst start to a year since 2015 as investors grow increasingly confident that the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will boost economic growth and fan serious inflationary pressures for the first time in decades.
Commodities price surge raises fears of ‘overshoot’; Inflation-hedging bets pour fuel on sector rally
Neil Hume, Emiko Terazono and David Sheppard – FT
From corn to crude and copper, commodities have enjoyed a stellar start to 2021 as investors scour the market for inflation hedges and bets on the “greening” of the global economy.
Jerome Powell Sees Easy-Money Policies Staying in Place; Fed likely to hold interest rates near zero and continue asset purchases for some time, chairman says
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reaffirmed the central bank’s commitment to maintaining easy-money policies until the economy has recovered further from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Powell Focuses on Economic Need at Key Moment in Markets and Politics; The Federal Reserve will continue to support the economy, its chair, Jerome H. Powell, pledged, even as concerns about inflation rise.
Jeanna Smialek _ NY Times
The economy is down nearly 10 million jobs since last February, prospects for a rapid recovery — while brighter — remain far from assured, and as Democrats try to move a $1.9 trillion relief package through Congress, Republicans argue that it’s too big and could lead to inflation that would hurt consumers and businesses.
GameStop CFO Resigns Weeks After Stock-Market Frenzy; The videogame retailer didn’t provide a reason for Jim Bell’s exit
Nina Trentmann and Mark Maurer – WSJ
GameStop Corp.’s finance chief is leaving weeks after a social-media-led frenzy sent the company’s share price soaring, only for it to fall afterward. The Grapevine, Texas-based videogame retailer said Jim Bell will resign as executive vice president and chief financial officer March 26. He was appointed in June 2019.
Structured Notes Saw Record Demand in a Volatile 2020. Investors Should Mind the Fine Print.
Evie Liu – Barron’s
The stock market has kept rallying over the past few months, yet talk about a potential bubble is on the rise as well. At the same time, historically low interest rates have pushed income-seeking investors to look elsewhere for higher yields. All this has helped fuel the increasing popularity of structured notes, or debt securities linked to complicated derivatives trades that offer higher returns and some level of protection.
Lysol Maker RB Posts Record Annual Sales on Strong Demand for Disinfectant. The Stock Is Up.
Rupert Steiner – Barron’s
Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser posted record annual sales growth after the Covid-19 pandemic triggered strong demand for its disinfectant products.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Texans’ Frozen Pipes Are Warnings of Yet Another Climate Threat; Power outages are just the start. Aging policies and infrastructure are making drinking water vulnerable to extreme weather.
Leslie Kaufman and Kim Chipman – Bloomberg
At first, Amanda Fuller thought she was one of the lucky ones. Then the water stopped running. As Texas started dipping into single-digit temperatures overnight Sunday, power companies began instituting blackouts across the state, but Fuller’s home just outside Austin stayed warm and bright. On Monday, though, as she was fixing a mid-morning a snack for her two children, ages one and six, the water from the tap suddenly “went to a trickle within a few seconds and was gone,” she said. It turned out the freeze had caused several water mains to break and disrupted power to the city’s primary water treatment plant.
Big Oil’s Biggest Banker Is Pledging to Change Its Ways; JPMorgan has only painted the broad strokes when it comes to a plan to be more green. The clamor for details is growing.
Tim Quinson – Bloombereg
More than any other bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. finds itself stuck at the center of a fossil-fuel quagmire. On one hand, the Wall Street giant is the leading financier to corporate polluters. On the other, JPMorgan is the top arranger of green bond sales, the proceeds of which are supposed to go to clean-energy projects.
Europe Seeks Stronger Protection for Economy From Climate Risks
Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg
EU Commission unveils new climate change adaptation strategy; Europe wants to become world’s first climate-neutral continent
The European Union is bolstering its 14-trillion-euro ($17 trillion) economy against damage caused by the impacts of climate change, from droughts to floods and forest loss.
JPMorgan Brazil Executive Urges Race Be Added to ESG Scores
Cristiane Lucchesi and Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
‘It’s the only way to move the needle,’ Gilberto Costa says; Executive is trying to bring more Black people to the bank
Corporations must be more transparent about diversity in their ranks to help investors recognize those with sub-par inclusion practices, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Brazil executive director Gilberto Costa. Relying on data about a company’s environmental, social and governance policies isn’t enough, Costa said in an interview, urging that racial-equity metrics be included in ESG scores as well.
DeepGreen Metals Said In Talks to Go Public Via Sustainable SPAC
Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
DeepGreen Metals Inc., which plans to produce metals used in electric-vehicle batteries, is in talks to go public through a merger with Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Cathie Wood Funds Hit by Biggest Investor Outflow on Record
Sam Potter – Bloomberg
Investors pulled $465 million from ARKK in a day, data show; Fund just recorded worst two-day decline since September
Three of Cathie Wood’s exchange-traded funds posted their largest outflows on record after a selloff engulfed some of the star money manager’s biggest bets. Investors pulled $465 million from Ark Investment Management’s flagship product, the ARK Innovation ETF (ticker ARKK), in the latest trading session for which flow figures are available, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A Banking Breed Is Heading For Extinction; Why does anyone need a global retail lender?
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
Despite a multitude of existential threats, traditional deposit-taking banks with brick-and-mortar branches look set to survive a while longer. But there’s one particular breed of this type of lender that’s headed for extinction: the global retail bank. While some consumers will still fancy popping into their local bank, why would anyone need an international corporation to provide this service?
SPAC Investors Don’t Love Lucid; Also Infinity Q, GameStop, WeWork, fantasy soccer and Long Blockchain.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
A special purpose acquisition company is a blank-check company that raises money from investors in an initial public offering, puts the money in a pot, and uses the pot to buy a stake in some existing private company, merging with that company (in a “de-SPAC merger”) and taking it public.
Michael Bolton invites Robinhood users to break up with their app
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
A rival to Robinhood is encouraging users to dump the stock-trading app in favor of its own — and it’s tapping Michael Bolton to seal the deal. Public — a New York-based startup that’s looking to capitalize on Robinhood’s recent trouble with regulators and customers alike — tweeted out a video on Tuesday of the breakup balladeer singing a version of his 1989 hit “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?”
HSBC sets sights on Asia as profits plummet; The bank said it would be targeting wealth management and commercial banking to achieve ‘double digit growth’ in Asia alongside pledging to invest $6 billion in the region.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
UK-based investment bank HSBC has made plans to shift its business focus to Asia after reporting significant revenue declines in its 2020 annual results. The bank said it would be investing $6 billion in Asia alongside focusing its efforts on wealth management and commercial banking to achieve ‘double digit growth before tax in the region’.
Investment Firm Halts Redemptions on $1.8 Billion Fund; Infinity Q Capital Management bans its chief investment officer from trading after discovering issues valuing the fund’s holdings
Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
Investment firm Infinity Q Capital Management LLC asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to halt redemptions on one of its mutual funds and forbid its chief investment officer from trading after discovering issues valuing the fund’s holdings.
Frankfurt, We Have a Problem. Bond Yields Are Rising; As U.S. Treasury yields drive European borrowing costs higher, Christine Lagarde may have to intervene to cap outright levels.
Marcus Ashworth and Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
It’s less than a year since European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde was forced to backtrack after her comment that “we’re not here to close spreads” roiled bond markets. As rising U.S. Treasury yields drive European borrowing costs higher, she now faces the prospect of having to intervene to cap outright levels.
Petrobras Weighs CEO Change as Brazilian President Turns Up Pressure; Move by Jair Bolsonaro to place army general atop oil giant is seen as meddling in state firm
Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes – WSJ
The financial future of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras hung in the balance Tuesday as its board moved forward with plans to approve President Jair Bolsonaro’s controversial appointment of an army general to the company’s helm in an apparent bid to force the firm to subsidize fuel prices.
Brexit: U.K. Accepts EU Request for More Time to Scrutinize Brexit Deal
Ian Wishart and Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
The U.K. agreed to allow the European Union to delay ratification of their post-Brexit trade deal by a month, injecting more uncertainty into the already fragile start to the two sides’ new relationship.
In a letter to the European Commission on Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said that he expects that the EU “should be able to satisfy its internal requirements” by the end of April and the U.K. “would therefore not be asked to further extend the period of provisional application.”
Brexit trade delays getting worse at UK border, survey finds
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
Delays importing and exporting goods to and from the EU have worsened since Brexit was introduced at the start of the year and will result in stock shortages and price rises for consumers, according to a report.
A survey of 350 supply chain managers found that two out of three had experienced delays of “at least two to three days” getting goods into the UK, compared with 38% who reported delays in a similar survey in January.
Brexit: Irish Sea border grace periods to be discussed
John Campbell – BBC
The grace periods mean that checks and controls on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are not yet fully implemented.
The first of those, which covers food and parcels, is due to end in April.
The UK government, with the support of business groups, has asked the EU for an extension until 2023.
Devastating, unviable, admin overload: UK stage companies count cost of Brexit
David Jays – The Guardian
Brexit or Covid? Hardly a cheerful choice, but when I ask Colette Hansford, executive producer at Hofesh Shechter Company, which will be most decisive for UK theatre and dance companies, she doesn’t hesitate. “Brexit will have the bigger impact because it’s a long-term restriction. We’re a flexible, dynamic sector and can work our way out of Covid – but if we can’t produce and export our work, that’s going to have a devastating effect.”
Brexit is a machine to generate perpetual grievance. It’s doing its job perfectly
Rafael Behr – The Guardian
Brexit has changed everything about Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and also nothing. For anyone trying to do business across borders newly gummed with bureaucracy, the comparison is stark and painful. But in politics, an old pattern is playing out – a cycle of suspicion and self-sabotage that began long before the 2016 referendum.
Brexit: EU trade in trouble as more than a fifth of UK firms consider decreasing exports
Lucy Harley-McKeown – Yahoo
Nearly a quarter (23%) of UK exporters to the EU have said they plan on reducing or eliminating their activity in the bloc in the next 12 months, following the ratification of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
That’s according to results from the latest British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey, in partnership with Moneycorp.
Facebook pledges to pay $1bn for news; Tech group’s spending on publishers over next 3 years will match that promised by Google
Alex Barker – FT
Facebook has pledged at least $1bn to pay for news over the next three years, matching Google’s spending plans in a move that aims to contain the fallout from the social media group’s shortlived ban on news in Australia.