Clueless Wall Street Is Racing to Size Up Zero-Day Options Boom

Mar 3, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

At “The Digital Transformation of Finance” program last night at The John L. Keeley Jr. Center for Financial Services and the Department of Finance at DePaul University, I was introduced to those in attendance simply as “The Great John Lothian” by DePaul Associate Professor of Finance Lamont Black. No other description was given except for him saying those professionals in the room know who I am.

Having ascended to greatness, I wonder what shall I do with this? Some of my other favorite “great” things are the Great Lakes, The Great British Bake Off, the movie The Great Escape and of course, movies about The Great War.

Actually, when Lamont introduced me, I thought he said, “The Grape John Lothian,” but that did not make sense as I was wearing brown.

Professor Black asked me to make some comments about the history of financial innovation in Chicago, allotting me two or three minutes. As if? I decided to start with World War II and how the markets at the Chicago Board of Trade had price controls except for the lard market. After the war the exchange experienced an existential risk of having to re-establish its relevance. The president of the exchange at the time was Richard Uhlmann, the father of former CBOT Chairman Fred Uhlmann. Richard devised an academic prize as part of the centennial celebration of the CBOT for the best paper about the markets, and the exchange held a symposium that included drinking sessions at the bar of the Union League Club of Chicago. Those papers were the academic backbone that underpinned the modern era of expansion into financial futures at the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges. I also included a reference to financial futures starting in New York, but ultimately succeeding in Chicago. That was the story I told before Professor Black eased up next to me to indicate the time for the Great John Lothian was up.

Do you want to know what stock is really popular? It is not a surprise by any means. Tesla. The Wall Street Journal reports “Tesla Stock Is More Popular Than Ever Among Individual Investors.” The subheadline is “Net retail purchases of the shares total nearly $14 billion so far this year.”

I have not replaced that $20 bill I put in the basket on Fat Tuesday for the pancake dinner and I can’t remember the last time I used an ATM machine. In fact, I am concerned I have forgotten my PIN number for my ATM card. The Wall Street Journal has a story titled “The Number of ATMs Has Declined as People Rely Less on Cash.” The subheadline is “The pandemic drove digital-payment surge for many, but those who depend on cash are feeling crunch.”

Sometimes when there are layoffs at your company and you survive, you have survivor’s guilt and you are paralyzed by it. Well, The Wall Street Journal has a story titled “How to Be a Good Friend When a Co-Worker Is Laid Off.” The subheadline is “As layoffs ripple through tech-and beyond-colleagues who keep jobs wonder how to help.”

The Security Traders Association‘s (STA) Washington DC Spring Update will be on April 19, 2023. Save the date.

The STA also announced on LinkedIn the addition of Erin Kelly as assistant vice president and director of communications at STA. She will manage communications and relationships with both external audiences and STA.

Nicole Lapp Caffrey is starting a new position as manager, market surveillance at CME Group. She has been with the CME Group since 2014 in market surveillance.

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


Ceres Global is March 22-24, 2023 in New York City at the New York Marriott Marquis. An audience of institutional investors, C-suite executives, national policymakers, and thought leaders will attend keynotes and panels examining systemic risks and solutions related to the climate crisis, water scarcity, and nature loss. View the agenda and learn more here.~SAED


The Value of Building Relationships in PR: A Personal Perspective
David Prosperi – Medium
I recently had lunch with a long-time journalist friend, and I was struck by the first words out of his mouth when he sat down at the table. He was astonished, and appreciative, that I had reached out to have lunch with him, because, as he put it, some PR professionals no longer reach out to their journalist contacts to check in on them – “How’s the family? What is the latest in your world?” And, what I usually like to ask my friends and business contacts, “How can I help you?”

****** The networking artist formerly known as David Prosperi.~JJL


OCC Announces Megan Cohen Promoted to General Counsel
The Options Clearing Corporation
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today announced the promotion of Megan Cohen to General Counsel and Corporate Secretary effective March 1, and the retirement of Chief Legal Officer Janet Angstadt in early July. Ms. Cohen will work closely with Ms. Angstadt, OCC’s Board of Directors and Management Committee to facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities.

****** More change and smooth transitions at the OCC. With so many smooth transitions going on there, you would think they were in the automobile industry. Sorry, that is transmission.~JJL


Justice Department Seeks to Spread the Pain of Corporate Fines to Executives at Fault; Under a new pilot program, companies will be able to deduct from their criminal penalties money they claw back from culpable executives, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says
Dylan Tokar – The Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department is looking to hit lawbreaking corporate executives where it hurts: their paychecks. A new pilot program introduced this week encourages companies to leverage their compensation policies to reward good behavior by executives while punishing those who are involved in criminal offenses, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Thursday.

****** Ouch! That is going to leave a mark.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our most clicked item Thursday was the picture of John Lothian napping in the back of a session at the AFM Annual Conference in Budapest in 2012, taken by Pat Kenny. Second was the picture of “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” Pat Kenny, at that same event in a tuxedo. And third was the web page to register for this year’s AFM 25th Annual Conference from June 6-7 in Budapest.


MarketsWiki Stats
27,225 pages; 243,252 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Clueless Wall Street Is Racing to Size Up Zero-Day Options Boom; BofA pushes back on JPMorgan’s “Volmageddon 2.0” warning; Peter Tchir pens a story on 0DTE’s life and picks a theme song
Lu Wang – Bloomberg
It’s a time-honored tale. A new force enters the market – quantitative easing, leveraged ETFs, high-frequency trading – and a cottage industry on Wall Street is born devoted to exposing the risks it supposedly poses for investors. Now it’s happening again with a new breed of high-octane stock options known as zero-day-to-expiration, or 0DTE, which allows investors to buy and sell with contracts that have a shelf life of less than 24 hours. Everyone from amateur sleuths on Reddit to highly paid Wall Street technicians have joined the fray, dispensing daily theories about how big a threat these quick-trigger instruments pose.

Insider-Trading Cases Once Deemed Too Hard to Crack Are Now Targets of U.S. Government; New enforcement actions focus on executives who used prearranged trading plans
Dave Michaels and Mark Maremont – The Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are hunting for a new type of insider-trading case, one that once seemed too daunting for regulators and prosecutors to touch. What distinguishes the new targets is the use of prearranged trading plans, which chief executives and other officers of public companies have historically used to insulate themselves from accusations of insider trading. Executives set up the plans, often with the advice or approval of a company lawyer, and put their often lucrative sales of company stock on autopilot.

‘There are no domestic equity investors’: why companies are fleeing London’s stock market; Lure of higher valuations and a deeper pool of investors in the US have sparked a string of departures
Nikou Asgari, Daniel Thomas, Harriet Agnew and Katie Martin – Financial Times
More UK companies are drawing up plans to shift their stock market listings to the US, bankers say, in a growing exodus that threatens to undermine London’s effort to reinvent itself as a vibrant hub for global equities. CRH, the world’s biggest building materials company, on Thursday became the latest business to seek an exit from London, following in the footsteps of gambling group Flutter whose shareholders are due to vote on a secondary US listing in April.

London Metal Exchange faces prospect of fines over nickel market chaos; Financial Conduct Authority launches enforcement action against metals exchange over decision to freeze trades
Harry Dempsey and Laura Noonan – Financial Times
The London Metal Exchange faces the prospect of hefty fines and censure after the UK’s top financial regulator launched an enforcement investigation into the company over the decision to freeze nickel trading during last year’s market mayhem. The Financial Conduct Authority said the probe, the first such action it has launched against an exchange, would include actively monitoring the LME’s efforts to improve its conduct, controls and governance.

FTX Says $8.9 Billion in Customer Funds Are Missing; Much of the shortfall can be traced to Alameda Research, which borrowed a total of $9.3 billion from customers’ accounts before FTX filed for bankruptcy
Alexander Saeedy – The Wall Street Journal
FTX says it has identified a deficit of $8.9 billion in customer funds that it can’t account for, the first time the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange has pinned down how much money has gone missing. In a public presentation released on Thursday, FTX said it had identified around $2.7 billion of customer assets, compared with $11.6 billion of balances outstanding on customer accounts. The estimated value of FTX’s assets and liabilities are based on crypto prices on the day of the company’s bankruptcy filing in early November.

Fears for London market after SoftBank’s Arm and building group CRH opt for New York; Moves to list the chip designer and building materials giant in US come as UK tries to sharpen appeal
Daniel Thomas, Anna Gross and George Parker, and Richard Waters – Financial Times
Fears for the future of the London stock market are mounting after SoftBank and the world’s largest building materials group shunned the City in favour of New York. SoftBank this week rejected a London listing for Cambridge-based chip designer Arm despite an intense lobbying effort from three successive UK prime ministers, said two people with knowledge of the discussions. The Japanese group has long looked to a US listing as the best chance to recoup the $32bn it spent buying Arm in 2016, given the higher valuation US investors put on tech stocks.

Bridgewater Overhaul Explains New Hedge Fund Reality; By limiting the size of its funds, the firm is implying that it doesn’t have the confidence that it can always find opportunities for any amount investors care to give it. That wasn’t the case under founder Ray Dalio.
Aaron Brown – Bloomberg
In October I wrote that the retirement of Ray Dalio, who founded Bridgewater Associates and ran it for almost half a century, signaled the end of an important era in the hedge fund industry. Dalio was the last of the great investors who started their funds in the 1970s, of whom many hedge fund stereotypes are still based. Now Bridgewater’s new managers are reshaping the firm to make it more similar to the new generation of hedge funds.

What Wall Street Gets Wrong About Xi Jinping’s New Money Men; China’s new lineup of top economic policy makers is about to take the stage. The view that they offer nothing more than a lurch to the left is too simplistic.
Tom Orlik and Tom Hancock – Bloomberg
China is about to see its biggest reshuffle in decades as a generation of internationally respected economic officials makes way for a clutch of politicians better known for strong ties with President Xi Jinping than academic credentials or overseas exposure. That prospect is ratcheting up anxiety from Wall Street and Washington to the UK and Japan, with concerns the new lineup will prove to be Xi yes-men who take China further toward state intervention and international isolation – away from the path set by a dynasty of pro-market officials that have called the shots since Deng Xiaoping first opened the door between China and the world.

Coinbase Buys Crypto Asset Manager One River in Bet on Institutional Demand; Eric Peters to serve as CEO, CIO of new division for exchange; Ex-SEC Chairman Clayton predicts more industry consolidation
Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc., still reeling from a plunge in trading volume on its exchanges, is expanding into a less-volatile corner of the cryptocurrency ecosystem with the purchase of One River Digital Asset Management. Unlike most of the prominent names in crypto, One River Digital, founded by macro trader Eric Peters as a unit of his hedge fund, has built a business to serve only the needs of institutional clients such as pension funds, avoiding retail customers altogether. That focus on long-term capital and money management over trading has left it less exposed to the kinds of wild swings in token prices and crypto exchange activity that others, including its new owner, are wrestling with now.

Crypto-Focused Silvergate Debacle Unlikely to Spread to Broader Banking; Silvergate’s trouble is particular to the bank, and limited; Will likely add to lawmaker and regulator debates about crypto
Felice Maranz – Bloomberg
A rare run on a US bank is unfolding at the moment as crypto-focused Silvergate Capital Corp. plunges. But the damage to the broader financial system is likely contained, as the trouble facing Silvergate is particular to the bank and mostly limited to its customers and other crypto-linked firms.

State Street to merge $1.8bn ETF into larger fund; Asset manager will also close three smaller ETFs that track Bloomberg sustainable accounting SASB indices
Sonya Swink – Financial Times
State Street Global Advisors plans to merge away a $1.8bn small-cap equity ETF into a larger vehicle, and shutter three tiny ETFs, filings show. The SPDR 600 Small Cap ETF (SLY) will be absorbed by the $5.2bn SPDR Portfolio S&P 600 Small Cap ETF (SPSM), effective June 9.

Silvergate Exodus Worsens After Bank Questions Its Own Survival
Max Reyes, Yueqi Yang and Matt Turner – Bloomberg
Silvergate Capital Corp.’s woes deepened on Thursday, a day after the bank raised questions about whether it can stay in business, with the shares plummeting to a record low and key partners cutting off ties to the crypto-friendly bank. The bank set off alarms with a filing Wednesday that said losses might leave Silvergate with less capital than it needs, and that it’s evaluating its ability to continue as a going concern.

Investors Shore Up Stablecoins as Silvergate Exodus Worsens; Stablecoin volume ticks up as crypto firms move money around; Many trading desks no longer making payments via Silvergate
Sidhartha Shukla – Bloomberg
Investors are shoring up the circulation of stablecoins even as the broader crypto market weathers a downturn, turning to dollar-equivalent tokens as a substitute for cash following the unraveling of crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital Corp. The sector’s two largest stablecoins by market value, Tether’s USDT and Circle’s USDC, showed an uptick in activity during morning hours in India on Friday. The 24-hour trading volume for USDT stood at $43.2 billion on March 3, compared with $39.9 billion for the whole of the previous day, while USDC volumes jumped to $4 billion from $3.4 billion, according to pricing data from CoinGecko.

Ripple’s CEO Expects a Decision on SEC Suit Over XRP This Year; Decision is ‘going to be pivotal for the whole industry’; US is falling behind because of enforcement emphasis, CEO says
Hannah Miller and Kailey Leinz – Bloomberg
Brad Garlinghouse said the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s suit against his crypto payments company, Ripple Labs Inc., is “going to be pivotal for the whole industry” and that he expects a decision on the case this year. The SEC’s recent increase in crypto enforcement actions is keeping the US behind other countries in terms of establishing productive crypto regulation, he said.

NatWest Traders in Regulatory ‘Red Zone’ After String of Unexpected Losses; Firm’s daily trading losses exceeded limit last year; The bank has proposed changing its risk models to the PRA
Harry Wilson and William Shaw – Bloomberg
NatWest Group Plc has proposed changing its risk models after suffering a string of unexpected losses that left its trading unit in the regulatory “red zone.” NatWest Markets Plc exceeded its risk estimates on 16 days in 2022, and booked actual trading losses that were larger than expected on 10 days, according to recent company filings. This was more than allowed by financial supervisors.

How Gas From Texas Becomes Cooking Fuel in France; Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe is importing U.S. natural gas like never before to heat homes, generate electricity and power factories
Benoît Morenne, Dave Cole and Dan DeLorenzo – The Wall Street Journal
Cities across Europe are keeping the lights on and heating homes with natural gas fracked from wells in Texas and Louisiana, as U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas to the continent reach record levels. After its tanks rolled into Ukraine, Russia all but cut its flows of pipeline gas to Europe, by far its largest customer. The curtailment forced Europe to tap into supplies of American LNG like never before, its shores attracting tankers filled with the liquid gas by the hundreds. Between 2021 and 2022, exports of U.S. LNG to Europe more than doubled, according to commodities-data firm Kpler.

Fireside Friday with… Taskize’s James Pike; The TRADE sits down with James Pike, head of business development at Euroclear-owned Taskize and former global head of institutional client services and global head of co-equity operations at Morgan Stanley, to learn why Europe is still struggling with settlement failures – and what can be done about it.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Specialising in client services, securities and settlements, Pike was with Morgan Stanley for almost 18 years before he joined Taskize in December 2022. He was instrumental in helping to implement the central securities depositaries regulation (CSDR), which went live in February 2022, and now heads up business development growth for Taskize, Euroclear’s workflow platform that helps the group and its clients resolve matching and settlement problems both before and after settlement date.

TD completes $1.3 billion Cowen acquisition to advance US investment banking growth strategy; The acquisition adds new capabilities in US equities to TD’s remit; Cowen client base is expected to benefit from TD’s balance sheet and capital markets business.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
TD Bank Group has completed its all-cash $1.3 billion acquisition of Cowen, first announced in August last year. The bank said the acquisition will create an integrated North American dealer that will significantly advance its growth strategy in the region through the addition of Cowen’s US equities sales trading, and execution, as well as research capabilities.

Exegy accelerates growth strategy with a series of executive leadership appointments; The firm has promoted from within for its new chief executive officer and chief technology officer, alongside a new addition for the role of chief financial officer.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Global trading infrastructure provider Exegy has made a string of key senior appointments including a new chief executive office, chief financial officer and chief technology officer – as part of its accelerated growth strategy. David Taylor has been promoted to the role of chief executive officer, after serving in product strategy and engineering leadership roles at Exegy over the last 18 years.

Ukraine Invasion

Putin Orders New Rules for Defense Firms in Case of Martial Law; State could take over companies that fail to meet obligations; Measure is latest Kremlin step toward militarizing the economy
Bloomberg News
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Friday laying out new rules for tightening control of companies that fail to fulfill defense contracts in the event martial law is imposed, the latest step in the Kremlin’s preparations for militarizing the economy as its invasion of Ukraine stretches into a second year. Under the decree, the state would get the power to take over firms that fail to meet their obligations under military contracts during the period of martial law, suspending the rights of owners and shareholders. A government working group is to be set up on the operations of arms companies under martial law, according to the order, the text of which was published Friday.

Russia’s Revenue From Oil and Gas Almost Halved in February; Budget’s proceeds from oil taxes fell 48% from a year ago; Gas revenue declined 42% due to lower exports to Europe
Bloomberg News
Russia’s oil and gas revenue almost halved in February after Western restrictions on crude and petroleum products took effect and gas exports to Europe fell. Tax revenue from oil and gas plunged 46% in February from a year ago to 521 billion rubles ($6.91 billion), the Finance Ministry said on Friday. Proceeds from crude oil and petroleum products – which accounted for over two thirds of energy tax revenue last month – fell by 48% to 361 billion rubles, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Tycoon Deripaska Warns Russia May Run Out of Money in 2024
Bloomberg News
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska said Russia could find its coffers empty already next year and needs investment from “friendly” countries to break the hold of sanctions on the economy. “There will be no money already next year,” Deripaska said Thursday at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum in Siberia. “We will need foreign investors.”

Russia Is Cutting Currency Sales With Steady Energy Revenues
Bloomberg News
Russia will reduce the amount of foreign currency it plans to sell through early April as energy revenues show signs of stabilizing despite restrictions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine. The Finance Ministry said Friday it will sell 119.8 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) during the March. 7-April 6 period under a budgetary mechanism aimed at insulating the economy from the ups and downs in oil prices. The amount is over 40% less than in the previous month.

Germany seeks to buy Leopard tanks from Switzerland; Purchase of mothballed vehicles would allow allies to backfill their stocks as they cobble together shipments for Ukraine
Laura Pitel and Sam Jones – Financial Times
Germany has asked Switzerland to sell some of its decommissioned Leopard 2 tanks as it struggles to cobble together two battalions of the fighting vehicles to send to Ukraine. Berlin has requested that its neighbour sell some of its 96 mothballed Leopard 2 tanks to the German arms producer Rheinmetall. That could allow European countries to fill gaps in their own stocks after promising the modern fighting vehicles to Kyiv, or encourage nations that have been reluctant to spare tanks to increase their commitments.

EU plans to deliver jointly funded ammunition to Ukraine within weeks; Capitals to use EUR1bn from European Peace Facility to buy shells for Kyiv
Andy Bounds and Henry Foy – Financial Times
Ukraine is set to receive vital artillery ammunition within weeks after Brussels proposed reimbursing countries that provided shells from their stockpiles, according to EU officials. All EU countries except Denmark have joined a project that paves the way for common procurement of replacement supplies, an official said. “I think this will go fast, very fast. And I think we’re talking about a matter of days, weeks, rather than a matter of months,” the person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Putin’s Secret Weapon on Energy: an Ex-Morgan Stanley Banker; Young Russian technocrats with deep knowledge of the West are vaulting to the Kremlin’s upper echelons of power
Benoit Faucon – The Wall Street Journal
Russia urgently needs to develop new markets for its oil and gas companies, with Western sanctions cutting into the backbone of its economy. It’s relying on a 37-year-old former Morgan Stanley banker to keep profits flowing. Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s deputy energy minister, is part of a cadre of young technocrats with deep knowledge of the West, fast-tracked by Vladimir Putin to the upper echelons of power. Mr. Sorokin, who studied finance in London, has negotiated deals in Africa and the Middle East. He played an early role in the development of OPEC+, the partnership between Russia’s oil industry and the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Justice Department Hiring Dozens of New Prosecutors to Enforce Russian Sanctions; Department will add 25 new prosecutors to section enforcing sanctions and export controls against Russia and other adversaries
Dylan Tokar and Ian Talley – The Wall Street Journal
The Biden administration is expanding its cadre of federal agents probing violations of sanctions and export controls against Russia, top officials said Thursday, as the U.S. seeks to shut down holes in the West’s economic pressure campaign. The Justice Department’s move adds 25 new prosecutors to its counterintelligence and exports controls section, part of its broader ongoing effort to ensure that companies and other third-parties aren’t helping Russia evade U.S. sanctions, Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen said.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

LME Faces Rare UK Probe Into Conduct During Nickel Crisis; FCA enforcement investigation could lead to fines for the LME; BOE says LME Clear must improve governance, to appoint monitor
Jonathan Browning and Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The UK markets watchdog opened an investigation into the London Metal Exchange focusing on potential misconduct during last year’s massive nickel short squeeze, escalating pressure on the embattled exchange and raising the prospect of financial penalties. The probe by the Financial Conduct Authority’s enforcement division is the first public action of its kind targeting a UK exchange, and will focus on the LME’s actions, systems and controls in the run-up to the suspension of the nickel market a year ago. The Bank of England, which regulates the LME’s clearinghouse, said separately that its governance and risk management must be improved, and that it plans to appoint an independent monitor.

Tradeweb Reports February 2023 Total Trading Volume of $27.4 Trillion and Record Average Daily Volume of $1.43 Trillion
Tradeweb Markets Inc.
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, today reported total trading volume for February 2023 of $27.4 trillion (tn). Average daily volume (ADV) for the month was a record $1.43tn, an increase of 21.5 percent (%) year-over-year (YoY).

Intercontinental Exchange Reports February 2023 Statistics
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported February 2023 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet. February highlights include: Record commodity futures and options open interest (OI) of 50.7M contracts on February 22; Energy OI up 6% y/y, including record OI of 46.8M contracts on February 22; Total Natural Gas OI up 14% y/y North American natural gas ADV up 4% y/y; OI up 18% y/y, including record U.S. basis futures OI of 10.1M contracts

Bursa Malaysia And Maybank To Co-Host Invest Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 2023
Bursa Malaysia
Bursa Malaysia Berhad (“Bursa Malaysia” or the “Exchange”) and Maybank will co-host the 21st instalment of Invest Malaysia (“IMKL 2023”) on 8 March in Kuala Lumpur. The forum, which is Malaysia’s largest annual capital market gathering, is expected to attract an estimated 1,000 local and foreign fund managers, attending in person and online, with an estimated total AUM of USD10 trillion (approximately RM44 trillion).

Expansion Of Stock Connect Eligible Stocks To Take Effect 13 March
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce today (Friday) that the expansion of eligible stocks under the Stock Connect programme will take effect from 13 March 2023, enabling eligible shares of international companies that are primary-listed in Hong Kong to be included in Southbound trading. In addition, as part of the expansion, eligible constituent stocks of the SSE A Share Index and the SZSE Composite Index that meet certain requirements will be included in Northbound trading. The full expanded list of stocks eligible for Northbound trading is now available on HKEX website. The expanded list of eligible stocks for Southbound trading has been announced by Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) on their websites.

LME Response To FCA Update Statement
Summary 1. This notice provides the LME’s response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) update statement issued on 3 March 2023. LME response 2. The LME notes the FCA’s announcement today in respect of its review of the events surrounding the LME’s suspension of the nickel market in March 2022. The LME welcomes the FCA’s constructive engagement and comments on the steps taken by the LME since the suspension.

LME Clear Response To Bank Of England Update Statement
Summary 1. This circular provides LME Clear’s (LMEC) response to the Bank of England’s (the Bank) update statement issued on 3 March 2023. LME Clear response. 2. The Bank has carried out a review of the operation of LMEC during the period following the nickel events in March 2022. The review was conducted with the assistance of an identified “skilled person”. This follows the publication of the findings from the Oliver Wyman independent review, which was commissioned by LMEC and the London Metal Exchange (the LME).

Joint Press Release on list of designated Qualified Stock Brokers (QSBs)
Certain stock brokers, due to various factors like their size, trading volumes and amount of clients’ funds handled by them, occupy a significant position in the Indian securities market leading to concentration of activity among few stock brokers. In order to further strengthen the compliance and monitoring requirements relating to such stock brokers and to ensure efficient functioning of securities market. SEBI, vide Gazette Notification dated January 17, 2023, amended the SEBI (Stock Brokers) Regulations, 1992 for designating certain stock brokers as Qualified Stock Brokers (QSBs).

The number of private investors on the Moscow Exchange reached 24 million people
The number of individuals with brokerage accounts on the Moscow Exchange in February 2023 reached 24.0 million (+517.8 thousand people), they opened 40.4 million accounts (+866.4 thousand accounts).


Exegy Announces Executive Leadership Appointments
Exegy Inc.
Exegy Inc., a global leader in intelligent market data and future-proof trading technology, announced today that David Taylor has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer. In addition to Taylor’s appointment, Exegy has hired Peter Feret as Chief Financial Officer and promoted Jason White to Chief Technology Officer.

Capitolis Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of The World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023
Capitolis, the technology company reimagining capital markets, has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023, the premier showcase for organizations that are moving the world forward. These companies are setting the standard with some of the greatest accomplishments of the modern world.


Announcing the Release of the Administration’s National Cybersecurity Strategy
US Department of State
The White House released its National Cybersecurity Strategy today to establish an affirmative vision for a secure cyberspace that creates opportunities to achieve our collective aspirations. In this decisive decade, the United States will advance cyberspace as a tool to achieve our goals in a way that reflects our values: economic security and prosperity; responsive and rights-respecting democracy; and a vibrant and diverse society. Our rapidly evolving world demands a more intentional, more coordinated, and better-resourced approach to cyber defense. We face a complex threat environment, with state and non-state actors developing and executing novel campaigns to threaten our interests. At the same time, next-generation technologies are reaching maturity at an accelerating pace, creating new pathways for innovation as well as increasing digital interdependencies.

Biden administration wants to hold companies liable for bad cybersecurity
Dan Goodin – Ars Technica
The Biden administration on Thursday pushed for new mandatory regulations and liabilities to be imposed on software makers and service providers in an attempt to shift the burden of defending US cyberspace away from small organizations and individuals.

Layoffs to continue in 2023, but least likely for cybersecurity workers
Goh Chiew Tong – CNBC
With economic headwinds and a looming recession, more layoffs are imminent – if not expected. However, one sector appears to be relatively safe – for now. In fact, experts say cybersecurity jobs could even increase during the economic turmoil.


Cryptocurrency consumer advocacy group rallies retail investors to push back on SEC crackdown
Eleanor Terrett – FOX Business
A small cryptocurrency consumer advocacy group is launching a campaign against the Securities and Exchange Commission and its crackdown on crypto, FOX Business has learned. The Digital Currency Trader’s Alliance (DCTA) has launched an online advertising campaign calling on retail investors to lobby their congressional representatives to fight back against SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s regulation by enforcement strategy, which, the non-profit group claims, is unfairly harming cryptocurrency retail investors.

Crypto Companies’ New Crisis: Banks May Not Take Their Money
Joe Light – Barron’s
Silvergate Capital is in crisis mode after the crypto bank warned about its ability to “continue as a going concern.” The disclosure, made in a securities filing late Wednesday, sent its stock crashing 55% on Thursday to around $6 a share. The disclosure also raised questions about the future of crypto companies’ relationships with banks; liquidity in the token market; and whether anyone could step into Silvergate ‘s (ticker: SI) shoes if the company doesn’t survive its latest crisis of confidence.

Was Silvergate on Borrowed Time as Regulators Backed Banks Away From Crypto?
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
One of the crypto sector’s core banks, Silvergate Capital Corp., is being hollowed out in a classic customer retreat familiar to students of bank-run history. The latest and most severe flight of customers from the La Jolla, California-based institution was accelerated this week by the bank’s own disclosures, including an admission that its health could be threatened by “investigations from our banking regulators,” according to a March 1 document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tether Has No Exposure to Sinking Crypto Bank Silvergate, Says CTO
Mathew Di Salvo – Decrypt
The chief technology officer of Tether has said his company has no exposure to Silvergate, as companies across the crypto industry line up to distance themselves from the troubled bank. Silvergate is a U.S. bank that caters to the crypto industry, which has historically struggled to obtain banking, but has been rocked by financial woes as of late.

The crypto winter is coming for Silvergate Capital
Scott Nover and Nate DiCamillo – Quartz
Silvergate Capital is in trouble. The California-based company had become a popular place for cryptocurrency companies to bank. But in a regulatory filing on March 1, Silvergate wrote that it is concerned that it could soon become “less than well-capitalized,” which is one way to put it. In January, Silvergate reported losses for the fourth quarter of 2022 totaling more than $1 billion and warned that those losses could keep mounting. The company also cut 200 jobs – about 40% of its workforce – in January, citing “the economic realities facing the digital asset industry today.”


The Murdoch Empire – and Fox News – Is at a Crossroads; Murdoch knew on-air talent was promoting fake election stories; Conservative network is readying another GOP election season
Gerry Smith and Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Back in 2021, Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch was described by President Joe Biden as the “the most dangerous man in the world,” such was the raw power his cable news network had in shaping public opinion. Flash forward to now, where a more diminished figure emerges from court filings revealed this week as part of a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., one forced into an uncomfortable admission: He could have stopped the promotion of the false idea that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump, but feared the network would lose loyal viewers and irritate the then-president.

US adds two dozen Chinese groups to trade blacklist; Targeted companies include chipmakers accused of assisting China’s military and surveillance tech exporters
Demetri Sevastopulo and Qianer Liu – Financial Times
Washington has put 28 Chinese groups on a trade blacklist for allegedly breaching US sanctions by sending technology for nuclear and missile programmes to third countries or procuring banned products for China’s military. The commerce department placed the groups on its “entity list”, which in effect prohibits US companies from supplying them with technology produced in America. Some of the companies were blacklisted for providing technology to an Iranian entity previously targeted by US sanctions.

Binance a ‘Hotbed of Illegal Financial Activity,’ U.S. Senators Claim
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
Three U.S. senators have written to Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, asking for details about its money-laundering controls and accusing Binance of being a “hotbed of illegal financial activity.” The story was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. According to the letter to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, which was dated Wednesday, the group requested details of the company’s balance sheets, internal procedures and any communications about alleged efforts by Zhao to limit compliance.

Rishi Sunak is Breaking the Triple Tory Habit of Failure; Britain has something that it hasn’t had for years – a competent prime minister. As long as he doesn’t implode.
Adrian Wooldridge – Bloomberg
Britain has had three failed prime ministers in a row. Theresa May was a senior civil servant rather than a politician. Boris Johnson was a brilliant campaigner but a lousy chief executive. As for Liz Truss, the less said the better. For a while, it looked as if Rishi Sunak might be the frightful fourth: too rich for an out-at-the-elbows country and too slick for a people who like to imagine their leaders in taverns named The Dog and Duck. His “five priorities” came across as boring and technocratic – the sort of thing that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. managers send to their subordinates. He idiotically failed to meet the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis arguably his closest soulmate in the European Union – when he was in Britain. Johnson’s supporters were itching for a fight. Even Truss briefly reemerged from her cave to deliver a lecture on growth.


SEC Charges Global Transportation Company Greenbrier and Former CEO for Failing to Disclose Perks and Payments
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against Oregon-based freight transportation supply company, The Greenbrier Companies Inc., and its founder and former CEO and Chairman, William A. Furman, for failing to disclose perks provided to Furman and other Greenbrier executives and compensation Furman received from Greenbrier’s charters of Furman’s private plane for travel by company executives, including Furman.

Congressional Republicans aren’t happy with an SEC effort to rein in crypto platforms
Julie Tsirkin and Jason Abbruzzese – NBC News
Congress’ biggest proponents of cryptocurrencies are pushing back against a Securities and Exchange Commission bulletin that would affect how banks and financial institutions account for digital assets. House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., who are each working on legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, said Thursday in a letter to the SEC that they have “concerns” about a Staff Accounting Bulletin known as SAB 121.

Voyager Bankruptcy Judge Says He Is ‘Absolutely Shocked’ by SEC Objection to Binance.US Deal
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles appeared heavily skeptical about an attempt by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to stop a purchase by Binance.US of assets of defunct crypto lender Voyager Digital at a Thursday court hearing. The securities regulator said the $1.02 billion deal should be blocked because Voyager’s token could constitute an unregistered security.

SEC’s Gensler Steps Up Warnings to Money Managers on Everything From AI to Crypto
Lydia Beyoud – Bloomberg
Gary Gensler is stepping up warnings to asset managers about their use of predictive data analytics and how they work with digital-asset firms. The head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday that predictive data technologies may create “inherent conflicts” of interest related to the duty that investment advisers have to their clients. Gensler said that he’d asked the agency’s staff to recommend how to address the issues.

SEC’s Gensler Open to Trading-Revamp Tweaks After Criticism
Lydia Beyoud and Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said he’s open to changing the agency’s proposed overhaul of Wall Street trading rules as market participants vigorously debate and, in some cases, mount opposition to the measures. While institutions have been quick to provide input on the proposed rules, the regulator is also very interested in hearing from individual investors, Gensler said Thursday. Ultimately, the agency is more inclined to hold the interests of the investing public above others, he said.

FCMs are Custodians: The SEC’s Proposed Safekeeping Rule Will Present Challenges for Them
Much has been, and remains to be, written on the SEC’s recent proposal to replace the custody rule for registered investment advisers with a new “safekeeping” rule. The implications are indeed far-reaching for registered advisers and their clients, alike. Less apparent on the face of coverage of the SEC release are the no less far-reaching implications for qualified custodians – banks, broker-dealers, futures commission merchants and foreign financial institutions.

Prepared Remarks Before the Investor Advisory Committee
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Good morning. I am pleased to join the Investor Advisory Committee. As is customary, I’d like to note that my views are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of the Commission or SEC staff. I want to start by welcoming our new Investor Advocate, Cristina Martin Firvida. I also would like to thank this Committee with regard to one of your recent recommendations. The Financial Accounting Foundation announced recently that it will make the Financial Accounting Standard Board’s accounting standards available to the public at no cost.

Remarks at the Meeting of the SEC Investor Advisory Committee (IAC)
Commissioner Jaime Lizarraga – SEC
Good morning, and thank you to all members of the Investor Advisory Committee for your time and input today. It is a pleasure to welcome Christina Martin Firvida as the Commission’s new Investor Advocate. We’ve had the opportunity to meet on several occasions. The unique perspective she brings to the Commission will be of enormous value to the interests of working families who invest in our capital markets.

Remarks at Meeting of the SEC Investor Advisory Committee
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce – SEC
Good morning and thank you Christopher [Mirabile] and good morning to all of you as we meet for this first Investor Advisory Committee (“IAC”) meeting of 2023.As always, I am grateful for your willingness to take so much time out of your busy lives to serve on the IAC. Before I offer some brief remarks on today’s agenda, I want to welcome Cristina Martin Firvida to her first IAC meeting as the Commission’s new Investor Advocate. Cristina comes to us after many years working in the non-profit sector, most recently at AARP, where she was the Vice President overseeing Financial Security and Livable Communities. When you speak with Cristina, you can hear the excitement and passion she has for her new role. Cristina is committed to investor protection and education, and in our conversations I can tell that she is also someone who appreciates the dynamism of our capital markets and their capacity to transform lives. I look forward to working with her.

SEC Charges Father and Son Financial Advisory Duo
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it filed fraud charges yesterday against the father and son financial advisory team of Kevin Kane and Sean Kane of York, Pennsylvania.

Investing and Trading

This ETF Is Betting Against Jim Cramer’s Picks; He makes a lot of investing calls, and not all of them pan out.
Joel Weber and Eric Balchunas – Bloomberg
Jim Cramer-the host of Mad Money on CNBC-makes a lot of investing calls. It’s part of his shtick. And as you can easily divine from social media, not all of them pan out. The new Inverse Cramer Tracker ETF (SJIM), which might be one of the most entertaining exchange-traded funds ever imagined, is aiming to turn Cramer’s “Midas touch” into big returns by shorting stocks he’s bullish on. It also goes long on Cramer’s bearish bets. For good measure, there’s also a Long Cramer Tracker ETF (LJIM).

These 1980s Suburban Offices Back Blackstone’s Securities in Default; The notes are backed by a portfolio of Finnish offices, stores; Blackstone has been trying to sell the underlying properties
Kati Pohjanpalo and Jack Sidders – Bloomberg
The prospectus for Blackstone Inc.’s now-defaulted commercial mortgage-backed security extolled the central location and tenants of its top holdings. The properties included two hypermarkets with two of Finland’s biggest retailers S-Group and Kesko Oyj as tenants, according to the note’s offering documents. Still, two thirds of the portfolio was made up of small suburban office properties, many appearing to date from the 1980s, with less than EUR10 million ($10.6 million) of the loan facility allocated to each of them.

Koch Industries appoints co-chief executive from outside namesake family; Dave Robertson to join 87-year-old Charles Koch in heading powerful US private company
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – Financial Times
Charles Koch, the billionaire who turned Koch Industries from a 300-person oil and ranching business into America’s second-largest private company over half a century, has decided to share power with an executive from outside his family. Dave Robertson, a veteran of nearly 30 years at the Wichita, Kansas-based group, is stepping up from the role of chief operating officer to be co-chief executive along with Charles Koch as part of a reshuffle, which the company said would ensure that it continued to “succeed well into the future”.

The new widow-maker trade; Beware the temptation of shorting CGBs
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
The male-dominated finance industry will occasionally dub something a “widow-maker trade” if it offers superficially enticing but wildly dangerous bets that destroy multiple careers. It’s an evocative phrase, so naturally journalists love it. The classic hall-of-fame widow-maker trade is shorting Japanese government bonds, which has driven countless macro traders mad over the past three decades or so.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Take Five: Will Joe Use his Veto?
Chris Hall – ESG Investor (commentary)
A selection of this week’s major stories impacting ESG investors, in five easy pieces. There were different perspectives in the US and UK this week on the rights and obligations of investors and businesses to consider ESG risks. Joe says ‘no’ – US President Joe Biden’s expected veto to a Congressional Review Act – backed by 50 senators to 46 on Wednesday – will not end opposition to the Department of Labor’s new rule permitting consideration of ESG factors in US retirement plans. Two Democrat defections and three absences were needed to pass a joint resolution, already backed 216-204 in the House of Representatives, underlining that the anti-ESG movement is far from over.

‘I never think about trends’: Gabriela Hearst brings sustainability to Chloe show; Paris fashion week sees Chloe creative director balancing sustainability and fashion
Jess Cartner-Morley – The Guardian
The real passion of Gabriela Hearst, the creative director of the Parisian house of Chloe, is sustainability, not fashion. But she works in a luxury business where clothes and handbags pay bills and salaries. Can she balance the books between the environmental and business bottom lines? It is this question, rather than what length skirts should be this season, that keeps Hearst up at night. “I never think about trends. If I hit a trend it’s a complete accident. I inherited my mum’s wardrobe, my daughters take their denim from me. Quality is everything. People ask why my clothes cost so much. It is because the fabric and construction will last your lifetime and beyond.”

Q&A: Will the UK’s new farm payments cut emissions and help nature?
Q&A: Will the UK’s new farm payments cut emissions and help nature? The UK government has released details of its new funding schemes for farms in England, which are intended to boost the nation’s biodiversity and help to tackle climate change. The new system of “environmental land management schemes” (Elms) has been described by the government as the “biggest change in agricultural policy in half a century”. Under the programme, farmers and landowners can apply for public money to support up to 270 activities that benefit the environment, from restoring hedgerows to avoiding insecticides. There will also be funds available to support more ambitious rewilding projects.

Japan’s Top Steelmaker Eyes $700 Million ‘Green Steel’ Project; Nippon Steel to replace coal with hydrogen to cut emissions; Australia or Brazil are possible sites for the new investment
Masumi Suga – Bloomberg
Japan’s biggest steelmaker is considering a major investment in a green steel project powered by hydrogen as a global push to decarbonize one of the world’s most polluting industries gathers pace. Nippon Steel Corp. is exploring a project outside its home market that may cost an estimated 100 billion yen ($733 million) or more, according to Takahiro Mori, executive vice president who oversees global operations. Australia and Brazil are among possible sites, where high-grade iron ore is accessible along with cheaper electricity than in Japan, he said in an interview.

Mapping the Global Youth Climate Movement; Our latest report with Climate Vanguard explores the evolving strategic culture of young climate protestors
Jack Johnson, Noah Herfort – GreenEconomyCoalition
A new survey published ahead of the youth climate strike on 3rd March shows that the young climate movement is more than just Fridays For Future: in fact, years of inaction on climate change is radicalising an entire generation of young activists.Of 292 youth climate groups identified across every continent except Antarctica, well over half identified “a system that puts profit over people and planet” as the root cause of climate and ecological breakdown; 89% of this group specified the system as capitalism and (neo-)colonialism.

Senate sends resolution nixing DOL ESG rule to Biden’s desk; veto expected
Brian Croce – P&I Online
A joint resolution that would nullify the Department of Labor’s new rule permitting retirement plan fiduciaries to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights will head to President Joe Biden’s desk after the Senate on Wednesday approved the measure. Mr. Biden has promised to veto the resolution.

A Rose by Any Other Name? Identifying Responsible Investing Funds
Tom Roseen – TabbForum
At year’s end, there were 802 ETFs or unique conventional funds flagged in Lipper’s database as being committed to RI practices. These funds have stated goals of not just considering ESG in the decision-making process but committing the majority of their assets to their stated responsible goals without making concessions on returns. According to Tom Roseen, Head of Refinitiv Lipper Research, with these diverse RI options blossoming, investors need to make sure that they do the extra due diligence when researching RI funds. In the U.S., mutual fund and ETF assets earmarked for funds dedicated to responsible investing (RI, aka ESG, sustainable, socially responsible, or impact investing) practices only accounted for 1.3% (+$371.3 billion) of the assets under management (+$29.225 trillion). Nonetheless, the number of RI offerings continues to grow as investors search for strong risk-adjusted returns while staying true to their ethical, moral, sustainable, and religious convictions.

2023 Off & Running in Different ESG Directions?
Douglas A. Thompson – TabbForum
What is in store for Fed climate-related financial risk management, the House Financial Services ESG Working Goup and FTC Green Guides? Douglas A. Thompson, Partner and Global Banking Sector Co-Leader at BCLP, discusses these and a number of early 2023 ESG related developments that we should continue to watch unfold this year. Just over a month into 2023, we are poised for friction between the Biden Administration’s ESG strategy efforts and those of certain Congressional leaders now in the majority. A variety of proposed rules and legislation continue to move forward.

New TPI Chief Faces Rising Investor “Aspirations”blank
Jack Grogan-Fenn – ESG Investor
Asset owner-led initiative looks to expand breadth and depth of company, sector, asset class coverage on climate action. The Transition Pathway Initiative Global Climate Transition Centre (TPI Centre), has appointed Carmen Nuzzo as its new Executive Director, bringing “extensive experience” that will help the organisation meet the sustainability “aspirations of the investment world”, Professor Simon Dietz, research lead for the TPI, told ESG Investor. Nuzzo will officially join the TPI Centre in May from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), where she has served as Head of Fixed Income for the international investor network since April 2017.

Investors want information about climate risk. We’re happy to give it – and think all companies should.
Stuart Landesberg – Sacramento Inno (opinion)
Since becoming a public company earlier this year, the team at Grove Collaborative has quickly come to understand the expectations of our investors. Among other things, they want to know how our company is doing financially, what the outlook is for the coming year, and the biggest risks to our continued success. This kind of information has, of course, long been central to the way capital markets operate. Financial disclosures are clearly critical to investors and market efficiency, and that’s why companies are expected to provide this information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It’s a commonsense requirement – no questions asked.

Europe’s ESG Funds Sell More of Their Adani Group Shares; Number of ESG funds with Adani names falls 6% in 2 weeks; KLP sold Adani Green stake after Hindenburg published report
Sheryl Tian Tong Lee and Natasha White – Bloomberg
European ESG funds have sold off some of their Adani Group holdings, with the number listed as including the embattled Indian conglomerate down by 6% over the past two weeks. Shares bearing the Adani name now appear in about 480 so-called Article 8 funds – entities promising to promote environmental, social and governance goals under European Union rules, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s down from more than 500 in mid-February.

Thailand Targets $57 Billion Investment in Green, Tech Sectors
Pathom Sangwongwanich – Bloomberg
Thailand expects foreign and local companies to pump in about 2 trillion baht ($57 billion) into sectors such as electric vehicles, smart electronics and technologies to build a green and sustainable economy by 2030. The fresh investments may generate 625,000 new jobs and add 1.7 trillion baht to the nation’s gross domestic product, the Board of Investment said in a statement on Friday. The agency plans to promote five targeted industries, including electric vehicles, bio-circular and green, innovation and smart electronics among the potential investors.


Banker stole millions from customers – and then lost it on the stock market, feds say
Brendan Rascius – Miami Herald
A banker stole over $2 million from his clients in New York City and could now face decades in prison, federal officials said. The banker, a 32-year-old man, was arrested on March 1 in Brooklyn, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He is accused of abusing “his position as a business relationship manager at a financial institution to steal millions from his clients, including elderly clients,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in the release.

BofA Strategists See Cash Back in Vogue With Markets on Edge; Cash funds see $68 billion of inflows in week through March 1; Global equities to outperform US as China recovers, BofA says
Farah Elbahrawy – Bloomberg
With bonds and stocks once again falling in unison, cash is the ultimate refuge. Global cash funds had inflows of $68.1 billion in the week through March 1, while $7.4 billion left equity funds, according to a note from Bank of America Corp, citing EPFR Global data. At $8.4 billion, bonds attracted new funds for a ninth straight week, strategists led by Michael Hartnett said. It’s a sign of nervousness as higher-than-expected inflation data means that global central banks will probably keep raising interest rates, dashing hopes that the stellar equity-market rally since the start of the year will endure. US stocks had their worst week of 2023 last week, falling 2.7%.

State Street to merge $1.8bn ETF into larger fund; Asset manager will also close three smaller ETFs that track Bloomberg sustainable accounting SASB indices
Sonya Swink – Financial Times
State Street Global Advisors plans to merge away a $1.8bn small-cap equity ETF into a larger vehicle, and shutter three tiny ETFs, filings show. The SPDR 600 Small Cap ETF (SLY) will be absorbed by the $5.2bn SPDR Portfolio S&P 600 Small Cap ETF (SPSM), effective June 9.

Work & Management

Office Mandates. Pickleball. Beer. What Will Make Hybrid Work Stick?; Hybrid work has been choose-your-own-adventure, but now C.E.O.s are making their choices more permanent.
Emma Goldberg – The New York Times
The freight elevator doors opened onto 50,000 square feet of office real estate. Right now, it is empty, but Seth Besmertnik, chief executive of the software company Conductor, gestured at the beams and concrete floor with pride. He has plans for his company’s new office – conference rooms, a pickleball court and, of course, all of his 200 employees in the New York City area.

Can’t Give Employees Raises? Add Benefits; Paid mental health days or a sabbatical program would boost employee loyalty without locking in the higher costs of across-the-board pay bumps.
Sarah Green Carmichael – Bloomberg
Despite fears of a slowdown, the labor market is still pretty tight. Most companies aren’t laying people off. They are more concerned about retaining the workers they have. But how? Inflationary pressures mean employees want raises, but employers might not want to grant pay increases in an uncertain economy.

Wellness Exchange

New drugs could spell an end to the world’s obesity epidemic; The long-term effects must be carefully studied. But the excitement is justified
The Economist
A new type of drug is generating excitement among the rich and the beautiful. Just a jab a week, and the weight falls off. Elon Musk swears by it; influencers sing its praises on TikTok; suddenly slimmer Hollywood starlets deny they have taken it. But the latest weight-loss drugs are no mere cosmetic enhancements. Their biggest beneficiaries will be not celebrities in Los Angeles or Miami but billions of ordinary people around the world whose weight has made them unhealthy. Treatments for weight loss have long ranged from the well-meaning and ineffective to the downright dodgy. The new class of drugs, called glp-1 receptor agonists, seems actually to work. Semaglutide, developed by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical firm, has been shown in clinical trials to lead to weight loss of about 15%. It is already being sold under the brand name Wegovy in America, Denmark and Norway and will soon be available in other countries; Ozempic, a lower-dose version, is a diabetes drug that is also being used “off label” for weight loss. A rival glp-1 drug, made by Eli Lilly, an American firm, is due to come on sale later this year and is more effective still.

‘An addiction’: masks come off slowly in Hong Kong as habit outlasts Covid; Asian financial hub was one of last places to lift mandate but many prefer to keep faces covered
Primrose Riordan and Chan Ho-him, Eri Sugiura Song Jung-a and Mercedes Ruehl – Financial times
With the end of Hong Kong’s mask mandate this week, teachers at the Chinese YMCA Primary School knew their pupils would be anxious about attending class without a face covering. The children posed for pictures together in a lesson called “how to appreciate smiling faces”.

Covid was top line-of-duty death for US police for third year running in 2022; Report shows pace has slowed, however, with 70 law enforcement deaths recorded in the line of duty
Melody Schreiber – The Guardian
Covid was the top cause of death in the line of duty for American law enforcement for the third year in a row in 2022, according to a recent report, though the pace has slowed. When the pandemic first hit, many law enforcement officers did what they could to lower the risks of catching Covid-19 – taking some reports over the phone rather than in person, trying to limit contact within departments and with the public.


Rules to Curb Illicit Dollar Flows Create Hardships for Iraqis; The regulations were meant to prevent dollar transfers to those targeted by U.S. sanctions on Iran, Syria and Russia. But they have ended up harming ordinary Iraqis who need U.S. currency for business or travel.
Alissa J. Rubin – The New York Times
When the United States and Iraq put tough new currency rules into effect recently, the intent was to stem the illicit flow of dollars to those targeted by U.S. sanctions on Iran, Syria and Russia, as well as to terrorist organizations and money launderers. But in a country with a primarily cash economy, the changes created unintended hardships for ordinary Iraqis who need dollars for legitimate business purposes or travel abroad. Dollars have run short, and the cost in Iraqi dinars at some local currency traders has surged.

Sami protesters, Greta Thunberg, end demonstrations against wind turbines
Victoria Klesty and Nora Buli – Reuters
Hundreds of Indigenous and environmental campaigners, including Greta Thunberg, blocked the main road to Norway’s royal palace on Friday as they ended their nine-day protest to tear down wind turbines built on reindeer pastures used by Sami herders.

Tunisia imports record Russian gasoil as other buyers disappear
Ahmad Ghaddar and Rowena Edwards – Reuters
Tunisia imported record volumes of Russian gasoil and diesel last month as an EU embargo forced Moscow to find new customers for its oil products, according to traders and tracking data. Tunisia imported nearly 77,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Russian gasoil and diesel in February, compared with 20,000 bpd in January and 25,000 bpd in December last year, data from analytics firm Kpler showed. Most of the February volumes were delivered by Russia’s Lukoil (LKOH.MM) and Dubai-based trader Coral Energy, the Kpler data showed. In January, Coral delivered all of Tunisia’s Russian imports, the data showed.


The Past, Present and Future of Financial Media
Nicole Samoroukova – The Reformed Broker
It was a lot of fun hanging with my old friend Howard Lindzon on his show this week. Listen above or wherever fine podcasts are played.

Match Fixing Has Existed for Centuries. Gambling Apps Are Making It Worse; Match fixing has been around since the Olympics in ancient Greece. Online sports betting is just making it more common.
Timothy L. O’Brien – Bloomberg
Once upon a time, snooker – a cousin of pool and billiards with roots in the British Raj – was a boutique, almost backwater, pastime. No longer. Its popularity has soared globally, particularly in China, and it may be included as a sport in the 2024 Olympics.

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