Coronavirus turns the City into a ghost town

Jul 27, 2020

First Read

Seeking a Laid-Back Business Venture? A Cannabis Dispensary May Not Be For You
Suzanne Cosgrove – John Lothian News

Opening and running an Illinois dispensary to sell legal cannabis products begins and ends with regulation, and failing to comply is fraught with peril, attorneys from FoxRothschild told participants in this weekend’s Sparklist Summit.

“Disclose, disclose, disclose,” attorney Bill Bogot, co-chair of the cannabis practice at FoxRothschild, said during a Saturday webinar titled, “Legalized Cannabis in Illinois: Key Legal and Regulatory Issues,” which was directed toward new cannabis business owners and dispensary license applicants.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

Back on July 16, ErisX CEO Tom Chippas gave a presentation to the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee about bitcoin volatility and how it stacked up versus other popular trading products. Last week, I interviewed him for a podcast, asking him about his presentation and the conclusions he reached. We posted the interview Friday and it is listed below, But here is the link as well

Matt Raebel is coming into the offices on Fridays to shoot The Spread with Producer Mike Forrester behind the cameras. They are doing this on their own volition and are to be commended for their enterprise and risk management. Also, Matt Raebel continues to shine in front of the camera in delivering this weekly video series about options. Nice work, guys!

Suzanne Cosgrove went the extra mile to cover the Sparklist Summit on Saturday about opening and running an Illinois dispensary to sell legal cannabis products. Also, to help cover some vacation and medical leave in the coming weeks, JLN has named Suzanne Acting Managing Editor.

We are looking for a new sponsor or sponsors for The Weekend Update. If you are interested, contact me at

The latest podcast from IEX titled “Boxes + Lines; A market structure podcast” with Ronan Ryan and John Ramsay is available.

The movie “Caddyshack” is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its release back in 1980. And just for the record, Baby Ruth candy bars don’t float.

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


The FIA reminds us that this is the last week that recordings of its IDX-V (V for virtual) annual International Derivatives Expo will be available. Those who registered for the event will be able to access the recordings until this Friday. To view the recordings and read the commentary, login to and then visit


Tom Chippas atTACks Bitcoin Volatility

ErisX CEO Tom Chippas is a member of the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee (“TAC”) and its cryptocurrency subcommittee. At the latest TAC meeting on July 16, which was conducted virtually, he gave a presentation about bitcoin and its volatility during this spring’s chaotic market action and how bitcoin fared versus other commonly traded equities and derivatives. John Lothian, also a member of the TAC, interviewed Chippas about his presentation and its findings. Here is the podcast interview.

Watch the video »


The Spread: Opportunity Knocks

This week on The Spread, MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity goes virtual, the CFTC gets closer to finalizing new derivatives trading rules, and more.

Watch the video »


Mason Gaffney, Who Argued for Taxing Only Land, Dies at 96; He was at the forefront of a tax-policy movement based on the ideas of Henry George, which helped spark the Progressive movement in the 19th century.
David Cay Johnston – NY Times
As Mason Gaffney bicycled to a Boy Scout meeting in 1940, a chauffeur-driven car clipped him, leaving him with injuries that kept him bedridden for months. During his convalescence his mother, appreciating his restless intellectual curiosity, gave him books to read, including complex tax policy textbooks in which he learned about Henry George, whose late-19th-century ideas helped sparked the Progressive movement.

*****They had me with this story with “Eagle Scout.” Interesting story about a young boy with an inquisitive mind and a dedication to an idea about the best tax policy.~JJL


Sinclair Postpones Controversial Show About Coronavirus; In pulled ‘America This Week’ episode, a medical researcher makes unsubstantiated claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci helped manufacture the virus
Lillian Rizzo – WSJ
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the owner of 191 television stations across the U.S., delayed the airing of an interview about the alleged origins of the coronavirus pandemic that drew widespread criticism on social media.

*****Somewhere in this story is Eric Bolling, the former NYMEX trader turned broadcaster who left Fox News after having been exposed for bad behavior.~JJL



Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was the Bloomberg opinion piece AOC’s Powerful and Historic Floor Speech, about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Representative Ted Yoho’s verbal attack on her. Second was the LinkedIn Tribute to Philippe Buhannic by Louis-Armand de Rougé of Windsor Group. Third was Risks of failure in $6.6tn forex market at record high, study shows, from the Financial Times.


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Lead Stories

Coronavirus turns the City into a ghost town; The success of homeworking is threatening to transform London’s financial district
Daniel Thomas, Stephen Morris and Oliver Ralph – FT
When Stephen Welton went into the City of London last week, the veteran financier felt like he was walking through a “ghost town”. The chairman of the Business Growth Fund, one of the UK’s largest investors in small businesses and start-ups, who has worked in the City for more than three decades said: “You could practically see the tumbleweeds.”

America’s Race Movement Affects You, Too; In pure economic terms, there are too many of us to ignore.
Jacqueline Simmons – Bloomberg
Black Americans, myself included, were not surprised by what happened to George Floyd and countless others who preceded him. Or, sadly, those who will surely follow him. Enraged, yes. Hurt? Incredibly. Surprised, no. These days, I’m often asked whether I regret returning to the U.S. after spending 23 years working and living in France and the U.K. As I near the end of my first year back, the answer is a hard no. I’d rather have a front-row seat to watch, query, and appreciate the shift that’s occurring here. Europe, for the record, has its own issues with systemic racism in schools, institutions, and workplaces. But, country by country, it also provides a sturdier economic safety net and a more equitable health-care system, which have made managing the pandemic far easier for people across income brackets.

Coronavirus Is Back With a Vengeance in Places Where It Had All but Vanished; Hong Kong, Japan and Australia are seeing new waves of infections after relaxing Covid-19 restrictions
Philip Wen, and Joyu Wang – WSJ
Australia reported only a handful of new coronavirus cases in early June, while Hong Kong went three weeks without a single locally transmitted infection that month. Japan had already lifted a state of emergency in May after the number of new cases dropped to a few dozen nationwide.

Hedge-fund fees fall to an all-time low. Source: HFR; Hedge Fund Fees in Free Fall Is the New Reality For a Humbled Industry
Nishant Kumar, Demetrios Pogkas and Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
Hedge-fund fees had already been shrinking before the pandemic ripped through global markets. Now, they’re in terminal decline.

The EU’s Tobin Tax Is Being Resurrected; An EU financial transaction levy is back on the table. It would be far better to try to harmonize corporate tax in the bloc to close much-abused loopholes.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
When the European Union first suggested a tax on financial transactions a decade ago, the idea was savaged by banking lobbyists and nixed by many of the bloc’s members. The U.K. said it was “madness.” The initial ambition to raise up to 35 billion euros ($40.6 billion) a year was reduced to a mere 3.5 billion euros, with only 10 countries agreeing to take part. As of last year, the project was barely alive.

Gold soars to record high, stocks stay uncertain
Marc Jones – Reuters
Gold soared to an all-time high on worsening ties between China and the United States, a weakening dollar and ultra-low interest rates on Monday, while stock markets looked uncertain before a corporate earnings deluge.

Ray Dalio Warns of U.S.-China ‘Capital War’ That Would Hit Dollar
Tony Czuczka – Bloomberg
Bridgewater founder lays out scenario for expanded clash; Sees dollar’s stability under threat from U.S. own policies
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio said conflict between the U.S. and China could expand into a “capital war” that he suggested would harm the dollar. The founder of Bridgewater Associates laid out a scenario for the next clash between the two countries, based on measures he said are within the realm of possibility. He also warned that loose fiscal policy and ideological divisions are pushing the U.S. into decline.

U.S. Pot Legislation Suddenly Seems More Likely: Cannabis Weekly
Jennifer Bissell-Linsk – Bloomberg
Joe Biden’s rising election odds bolsters chances of reform; Marijuana regulation could be passed as soon as 2021
The U.S. could legalize marijuana at the federal level as soon as 2021 if Joe Biden is able to win the presidential election and Democrats take control of the Senate. It’s a dramatic change in expectations from three months ago when it appeared Donald Trump would most likely win re-election, and CIBC analysts had put the odds of meaningful reform at “near-zero” for 2020 and “unlikely” for 2021.

How Remote Work Will Create Economic Winners and Losers; Working from home is about more than just Slack and Zoom. It could increase wages for some, but also inequality and insecurity.
Noam Scheiber – NY Times
When the pandemic hit and tens of millions of American workers suddenly redeployed to their basements and living rooms, it was easy to imagine that their workdays would unfold roughly as before, with communication tools like Slack and Zoom substituting for face-to-face interactions (and maybe with slightly greater multitasking opportunities).

Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All; Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.’
Chip Cutter – WSJ
Four months ago, employees at many U.S. companies went home and did something incredible: They got their work done, seemingly without missing a beat. Executives were amazed at how well their workers performed remotely, even while juggling child care and the distractions of home. Twitter Inc. TWTR -2.34% and Facebook Inc., among others, quickly said they would embrace remote work long term. Some companies even vowed to give up their physical office spaces entirely.

As bankers return to the office, industry body warns of new risks of bad conduct
Huw Jones – Reuters
Returning to the office will bring new challenges for banks and brokerages seeking to enforce good conduct by staff, after the bulk of their employees worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic, a financial markets industry body said on Monday.

Men still get top roles at financial firms, despite diversity push; Only 21% of the City’s most senior roles go to women, a survey from Pinsent Masons has revealed
Emily Horton – Financial News
Only one in five of the most senior roles at City firms were awarded to women last year, showing that despite the well-intentioned initiatives little progress has been made around diversity.

Germany’s Bund May Be About to Lose Its Crown; The EU’s new pandemic bond will represent a challenge to Europe’s undisputed credit-market champion.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
There’s a new kid in debt town, with the closest thing so far to a true “euro bond” about to be sold in prodigious size to pay for the European Union’s new 750 billion-euro ($869 billion) pandemic fund. It will represent a challenge to Europe’s undisputed credit-market champion: the German bund.

HSBC Defends Cooperation With U.S. Prosecutors, Denies Setting Trap for Huawei; Asia-focused, British bank says it is rooted in China and a supporter of the country’s economic and social development
Margot Patrick – WSJ
HSBC Holdings HSBC -0.47% PLC has issued a statement defending its cooperation with U.S. prosecutors in a case against China’s Huawei Technologies Co. after Chinese state media said the bank had set Huawei up.

Vanguard Challenges Bond Behemoths With Active Funds; Assets in actively managed bond funds push past half-trillion mark for the first time
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Vanguard Group, the titan of low-cost index funds, is coming after a fast-growing pocket of the money-management industry: actively managed bond funds. The firm’s investment dollars in such funds pushed past the half-trillion mark for the first time in June, a potential problem for competitors such as BlackRock Inc., BLK -1.30% Fidelity Investments, Pimco and Western Asset Management Co., which have long dominated bond investing.

‘That’s Ridiculous.’ How America’s Coronavirus Response Looks Abroad; From lockdowns to testing, we showed people around the world the facts and figures on how the U.S. has handled the pandemic.
Video by Brendan Miller and Adam Westbrook – NY Times
The United States leads the world in Covid-19 deaths, nearing 150,000 lost lives. The unemployment figures brought on by the pandemic are mind-boggling. The Trump administration’s slow and haphazard response has been widely criticized. But what does it look like to young people around the world, whose governments moved quickly and aggressively to contain the coronavirus?


Coronavirus ravaged Florida, as Ron DeSantis sidelined scientists and followed Trump
Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Isaac Stanley-Becker, Lori Rozsa and Josh Dawsey – Washington Post
As Florida became a global epicenter of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis held one meeting this month with his top public health official, Scott Rivkees, according to the governor’s schedule. His health department has sidelined scientists, halting briefings last month with disease specialists and telling the experts there was not sufficient personnel from the state to continue participating.

US tops 1,000 coronavirus deaths 4 days in a row as experts urge the country to shut down
Christina Maxouris, CNN
As more Covid-19 records get broken, debates on whether to send kids back to school or to shut down the economy again are coming to a head. More than 1,000 people died every day for four straight days last week due to Covid-19. That brings the total US death toll from the virus to more than 146,000 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Covid-19 is pushing doctors to the brink. Medicine needs to recognize they’re human and need help.
Opinion by Esther Choo – Washington Post
In the last year of my residency training, I wasn’t myself. I was exhausted but lay awake between shifts, unable to sleep. I went four days without eating. I lost 12 pounds in a month. I couldn’t muster interest in much of anything, including my own wedding plans. In brief, I had an ordinary disease, which hit me at an ordinary time, in an ordinary way. So, I did what doctors with depression do: I hid it. I smiled through my shifts until I couldn’t, then I would walk into the bathroom outside the trauma hallway, cry, wash my face and walk out smiling.

New Zealand Financial Markets Authority Immediate Priorities During The COVID-19 Response And Recovery

A Big Unknown in Covid-19 Vaccine Development: How Long Will Protection Last? Early trials suggest vaccines can induce antibody production, but it is too early to know how long they will work
Jared S. Hopkins, Daniela Hernandez and Peter Loftus – WSJ
If any of the most-advanced Covid-19 vaccines prove to work safely, they may protect people for months or years rather than the rest of their lives, according to emerging science and health experts.

Germany Fears New Outbreaks; Indonesia Cases Surge: Virus Update
Bloomberg News
Health officials around the world are trying to tackle second waves of the pandemic, with outbreaks from China to Spain and Germany underlining the difficulty of stamping out the virus.

Bavarian Farm Outbreak Adds to Germany’s Second-Wave Concerns
Iain Rogers – Bloomberg
After the outbreak at a farm in Bavaria, Germany is facing “very concerning” trends of rising coronavirus infections, the country’s public-health authority warned.

Covid-19 Cases Soar in Young Adults Bored of Social Distancing
Bloomberg News
Staying home is taking a social and psychological toll; Young adults are stepping out, becoming increasingly infected
Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis. Psychological fatigue with social distancing is emerging as a major challenge for curbing a pandemic now into its eighth month. That’s especially so among young adults who are less fearful of the coronavirus, and suffer greater economic and social costs when they stay home.

Sinclair Pulls the Plug on Fauci Propaganda — This Time; Will the broadcasting company now drop a program attacking the prominent public health expert, or just repackage it?
Timothy L. O’Brien – Bloomberg
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is one of the largest television station operators in the country, with 191 stations in 89 markets broadcasting to 629 channels. For the most part, the company operates in small, conservative metropolitan locations. Most viewers aren’t likely to be aware of the Sinclair brand, because the thousands of hours of programming it produces each week air on channels affiliated with such household names as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and Univision.

Second wave of coronavirus in Asia prompts fresh lockdowns
Stephen Coates – Reuters
Countries around Asia are confronting a second wave of coronavirus infections and are clamping down again to try to contain the disease, with Australia recording a record daily rise in cases and Vietnam locking down the city of Danang.

Hong Kong bans restaurant dining as it battles new wave of coronavirus
Hong Kong banned gatherings of more than two people on Monday, closed down restaurant dining and introduced mandatory face masks in public places, including outdoors, as it tries to rein in a new coronavirus outbreak.

Florida records 9,300 new coronavirus cases, blows past New York
Diane Craft – Reuters
Florida on Sunday became the second state after California to overtake New York, the worst-hit state at the start of the U.S. novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a Reuters tally.

Can Covid Spread With Air Conditioning? HVAC Makers Plan Upgrades
Thomas Black – Bloomberg
More research points to airborne transmission of coronavirus; Companies scramble to prepare office space for workers’ return
The long-staid world of HVAC is suddenly in the spotlight. With research showing the coronavirus may spread through shared air, property managers are rushing to upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems before reopening buildings. That’s leading to costly upgrades for equipment that armies of professionals used to take for granted.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Taiwan Futures Exchange Wrapped Up Its Strongest Half Year

ACRA And SGX RegCo Emphasise Importance Of High-Quality Financial Statements Amid COVID-19
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) emphasise the importance of high-quality financial statements that adequately reflect issuers’ current financial position to investors amid the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

REGULATOR’S COLUMN: What SGX RegCo expects of financial reports amid COVID-19
The interim financial reports for the period ended 30 June 2020 may be the first reports on issuers’ financial performance since COVID-19 took hold and brought on various challenges and restrictions. Significant uncertainty, or even threats to business prospects, have hit issuers across various sectors.

HKEX Welcomes Hong Kong’s First A-Share L&I Products

TRADE Calls: Aquis Exchange – Best execution and NEX takeover
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Alasdair Haynes, chief executive and founder of Aquis Exchange, joins The TRADE to discuss why he believes best execution should be at the heart of the MiFID II review, and how the acquisition of NEX Exchange will be transformational for Aquis.

Goldman Sachs expands SIGMA X MTF to emerging markets; SIGMA X MTF has added Czech Republic and Hungary markets as Goldman Sachs looks to incorporate emerging markets to its trading venue.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Goldman Sachs has confirmed it has expanded its product universe for the SIGMA X multilateral trading facility (MTF) to include emerging markets.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Joins ICE ETF Advisory Committee; Becomes a key development partner for the platform
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today announced that JP Morgan Asset Management has joined the ICE ETF Hub advisory committee as a development partner for the platform.

JPX completes commodity derivatives transfer and clearing organization integration
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) today completed the scheduled transfer of futures and options on precious metals, rubber and agricultural products from Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) to Osaka Exchange (OSE), and the integration of Japan Securities Clearing Corporation (JSCC) and Japan Commodity Clearing House (JCCH) . This concludes JPX’s transition to a Comprehensive Exchange.


The Importance Of Humans In Fintech
Sean Harper – Forbes
Fintech startups are revolutionizing old industries with new technology. But the most successful brands in this category are and will continue to be those that recognize the importance of human-powered service. These brands will win customer trust for the long run by supplementing and enriching their tech solutions with knowledgeable human employees.
Let’s examine why humans are so important to the success of fintech, and I’ll offer tips for fintech brands hoping to succeed over the long haul.

Etrading Software Increases The Breadth Of Its Managed Service Offerings – Expanding Its Operations In Europe And Asia With Additional Hires

The Derivatives Service Bureau Extends Global Participation In Technology Forum

Launch Of UK Tech For Growth Programme To Increase Access To Financial Services In Africa
The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has today launched its ‘Tech for Growth’ Programme to enhance the role technology can play in expanding access to financial services, and support future trading opportunities between the UK and emerging economies.

This Top Fintech Company is Transforming Financial Markets (and They’re Hiring Now)
Colin Dodds – The Muse
Unless you’re a trader or you work in fixed-income markets, there’s a good chance Tradeweb will be unfamiliar to you. But for the last 20 years, the firm has been changing the way that institutions, advisors, and other investors buy and sell the bonds and other obligations in the $100 trillion-plus global fixed-income markets.

Crypto Long & Short: Where Fintech Ends and Crypto Begins
Noelle Acheson – Coindesk
An interesting op-ed by Leah Callon-Butler in CoinDesk this week got me to change my mind about something pretty fundamental.
She asked: “Is crypto fintech?”
My instinctive answer was “no!” For me, fintech is technology applied to finance, while cryptocurrency is a technology unto itself. That technology is giving rise to a new type of finance.


Bitcoin Is a Form of Money, DC Federal Court Rules
Zack Voell – Coindesk
Bitcoin is a form of “money” covered under the Washington, D.C., Money Transmitters Act, a federal court said Friday, Bloomberg reported In the case of United States v. Harmon, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote that money is “commonly means a medium of exchange, method of payment, or store of value.”

Increasing Demand For Tether Gold As Commodity Tops US$1,900
Tether Gold (XAU?), a digital asset providing ownership of physical gold (XAU) custodied in Switzerland, has witnessed increasing demand as the price of gold surpasses US$1,900 a troy ounce amid increasing geopolitical tensions.

As Bitcoin Flounders, The Price Of These Smaller Cryptocurrencies Has Suddenly Soared
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
Bitcoin has been trading sideways since its supply squeeze in early May—though many other smaller cryptocurrencies have surged during that time. The bitcoin price has remained firmly under $10,000 per bitcoin despite a raft of positive developments for bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency space.

The Future for Unregulated Bitcoin Exchanges; CoinDesk’s Anna Baydakova talks to non-custodial p2p exchanges Hodl Hodl and Bisq about why we still want no-KYC bitcoin.
Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
To KYC or not to KYC? In this episode, CoinDesk’s Anna Baydakova talks to Hodl Hodl and Bisq, two non-custodial, no-KYC bitcoin exchanges. One year ago, the Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering watchdog, ruled that crypto transactions data should be controllable, and ever since the question has been not if you KYC your users but how you do it.

Philippines Is Among Asia’s Pioneers In Leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology For Bond Distribution

China-Backed Crypto Guru Wants to Unify World’s Blockchains
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Startup leads China’s first national blockchain project; Aims to integrate over 100 public networks within a year
The blockchain world today is thousands of disparate platforms that can’t talk to each other. So a little-known startup hatched one of the most ambitious plans yet to bridge all the divides — and it’s got the backing of the Chinese government.

Ripple Exec Unveils P2P Payments Platform Using XRP
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
A Ripple executive has unveiled a payments platform based on XRP that will work in popular web browsers. Craig DeWitt, the blockchain payment infrastructure firm’s director of product, made the announcement via Twitter on Sunday claiming “anyone can use it” to purchase physical goods online using the XRP cryptocurrency. Payburner, a personal project of Dewitt’s, is a non-custodial XRP wallet designed to operate as a plug-in within the Chrome and Brave web browsers.

Coinbase’s latest institutional review reveals it has 35 million customers
Frank Chaparro – The Block
Coinbase H1 2020 institutional review reveals Coinbase’s client base stands at 35 million across its institutional and retail business arms. It also shows they are expanding their trading capabilities and want to help fintechs dive into crypto. ADVERTISEMENT A review of the cryptocurrency landscape by Coinbase’s institutional team has revealed new details about the size of its client base and the exchange’s future plans.

FTX to Launch ‘Scalable’ Decentralized Exchange in Weeks
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
Established derivatives player FTX is building an alternative exchange for the growing decentralized finance (DeFi) space on top of highly-scalable chain Solana Dubbed Serum, the initiative claims to offer a scalable and liquid decentralized exchange (DEX) for derivatives, solving some of the structural vulnerabilities and limitations in the existing DeFi space. Solana is said to be able to process 50,000 transactions per second, compared to Ethereum, which can currently handle 15. Being highly scalable means Serum can run an orderbook onchain – improving the exchange’s liquidity, according to the white paper.

The Boston Fed is seeking a software engineer to work on digital currency projects
Momina Khan – The Block
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston wants to recruit a software engineer to work on digital currency, according to a job listing first reported by CoinDesk. The ideal candidate would have five years of experience in software engineering, familiarity with AWS, GCP, or Azure and proficiency in Java or C, C++, among other requirements stated in the listing. Moreover, the candidate will be required to work full-time for one year in the digital currency experiments domain run by the Applied FinTech Research team. Apart from its core duty, the hire will also be coding, running large-scale tests and finding solutions to outcomes, and managing relations both inside and outside the team.

MakerDAO becomes first DeFi protocol to hit $1 billion in total value locked
Yogita Khatri – The Block
MakerDAO, a non-custodial lending protocol, has become the first decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol to hit $1 billion in total value locked. The milestone means MakerDAO users have $1 billion worth of funds locked in the protocol for lending purposes. With that mark, MakerDAO now dominates the DeFi space with nearly 28% share, according to tracker DeFi Pulse. MakerDAO is followed by Compound and Synthetix, which have ~$764 million and ~$423 million in total value locked, respectively, per the tracker. Aave, Balancer and Curv Finance are part of the top 10 protocols.

Brian Armstrong explains how Coinbase Analytics extends ‘goodwill’ to regulators
Frank Chaparro – The Block
San Francisco Coinbase is best-known for being the poster child for cryptocurrency trading in the U.S., but a relatively new service has been increasingly making headlines: Coinbase Analytics. The product licenses Coinbase’s data and analytics software for AML to third-parties including government agencies, which has drawn the ire from certain factions of the crypto world. In an episode of What Bitcoin Did, host Peter McCormack asked CEO Brian Armstrong whether new service was at odds with the ethos of bitcoin.


Election Officials Are Vulnerable to Email Attacks, Report Shows; Six jurisdictions used software that Russian spies have targeted in cyberattacks
Robert McMillan – WSJ
Many of the thousands of county and local election officials who will be administering November’s presidential election are running email systems that could leave them vulnerable to online attacks, a new report has found.

Private-Equity Executives Pour $92 Million Into 2020 Races; Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, who gave $10 million to a group aiming to defend the Senate’s Republican majority, leads political spending in the industry
Chris Cumming – WSJ
The private-equity industry is pouring millions of dollars into the 2020 elections, with some donors hoping to prevent full Democratic control of Capitol Hill and the potential for tighter oversight of their sector.

A.O.C. and the Jurassic Jerks; For the Cave Man President and his party, clubbing women is not a path to victory.
Maureen Dowd – NY Times
President Trump is oh so proud of having mastered the ability to intone, “Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.” But the more pressing issue is whether he is a person who can master talking to women through a TV camera without sounding like a cave man.

Tony Blair says government should investigate Russian interference in EU referendum; In a wide-ranging interview, Tony Blair also praises current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and says he is doing a “great job”.
Alan McGuinness – Sky
There should be a government investigation into whether Russia interfered in the EU referendum, Tony Blair has told Sky News, as he also warned Scottish independence was a “possibility”.

Russia report: ‘Inexcusable’ government failed to order investigation into alleged Brexit interference, says former top diplomat; Exclusive: Former British ambassador to Moscow’s comments come after publication of damning report by Intelligence and Security Committee
Ashley Cowburn – The Independent
Government failure to investigate alleged Russian interference in the European Union referendum is “inexcusable”, according to the UK’s former top diplomat in Moscow. The remarks from Sir Anthony Brenton, the ambassador to Russia between 2004 and 2008, come after Boris Johnson dismissed a call from the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to conduct an assessment of the Kremlin’s activities in the 2016 vote.

Trump Advisers Still Touting ‘V-Shaped’ Economic Recovery; Kudlow points to improving data on home sales and manufacturing, predicts unemployment will decline despite surges in new coronavirus infections
William Mauldin – WSJ
President Trump’s top economic advisers say they still expect a rapid economic recovery despite surges in new coronavirus infections that have rattled consumers and led to new limits on business activity.

Sen. Loeffler blasts ‘political stunt’ after WNBA players’ national anthem walkout
Georgia Republican is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream
Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, Georgia Republican, decried as “shameful” the Saturday walkout by WNBA players during the national anthem in a protest over racial and social injustice. “Shameful. This isn’t unifying Americans. It’s a political stunt that disrespects every man, woman & child who has given their life for this country,” tweeted Ms. Loeffler. “The WNBA has fully embraced the BLM political movement & turned its back on the American flag. That’s not sports—it’s politics.”

Scotland is tipping in favour of independence; UK government needs a positive strategy to preserve the union
The editorial board – FT
It is an irony Boris Johnson might appreciate that the debate over Scottish independence has become a mirror image of the pre-2016 arguments over Brexit. The prime minister and his Conservatives say Scots are better off “remaining” in a strong union with their largest trading partner. Independence supporters appeal to national pride and identity — to taking back control, to coin a phrase. And their argument is gaining ground. Mr Johnson’s misfiring visit to Scotland last week will do little to reverse polls that for the first time show more Scots favour ending the union with England than keeping it.


FCA launches enhanced Financial Services Register to protect consumers
The FCA has today launched its updated Financial Services (FS) Register – including a simpler design and clearer language.

Relief applications and documents now lodged through ASIC Regulatory Portal
We have made changes to the way applications for relief and various fundraising and corporate finance documents are submitted to us.

Agencies Adopt Final Rule on the Orderly Liquidation of Covered Broker-Dealers under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have adopted a final rule required by the Dodd-Frank Act clarifying and implementing provisions relating to the orderly liquidation of certain brokers or dealers (covered broker-dealers) in the event the FDIC is appointed receiver under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act. The FDIC and SEC developed the final rule in consultation with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

SEC Charges Trustify Inc. and Founder in $18.5 Million Offering Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Trustify Inc., an online marketplace purportedly designed to connect customers to a network of private investigators, and its founder and CEO Daniel Boice with fraudulently offering and selling over $18.5 million of securities to more than 90 corporate and individual investors.

Investing and Trading

The Message Behind Gold’s Rally: The World Economy Is in Trouble
Steven Frank, Vivien Lou Chen, and Elena Mazneva – Bloomberg
U.S. five-year real yields are hovering near seven-year lows; Precious metal topped $1,900 an ounce first time since 2011
It’s easy to forget now but there was a time early on in the pandemic when the price of gold was in freefall. It was a curious thing, what with the virus sparking a collapse in the global economy, and it would prove in time to be one of the great head-fakes in the recent history of financial markets. For the pandemic of 2020 would soon show itself to be the driving force behind one of the most ferocious rallies the gold market has ever seen. At the close of trading in New York on Friday, bullion had spiraled to $1,902.02 an ounce, some 30% higher than the low it hit in March and just 1% off a record high set back in 2011.

Impact-Investing Boom Gives Funding Jolt to $1 Trillion Asset Manager; Nuveen funds are focused on combating income inequality and climate change.
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
In less than a decade, Rekha Unnithan invested $1 billion in a niche part of the market that was once so small most people on Wall Street hadn’t even heard of it.

Fed meeting expected to leave U.S. bond-stock relationship out of whack
Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Karen Pierog – Reuters
The Federal Reserve’s whatever-it-takes approach to stave off economic calamity has kept interest rates near zero and helped drive U.S. stocks back to pre-pandemic record levels, while weakening the usual dynamic between safe-haven U.S. Treasuries and riskier equities.

Apple Removed From JPMorgan Focus List in Latest Sign of Caution
Ryan Vlastelica – Bloomberg
Firm sees limited near-term upside ahead of quarterly results; Analysts remain optimistic over Apple’s long-term potential
Apple Inc. was removed from JPMorgan’s Analyst Focus List, with the firm seeing limited near-term upside going into the release of the iPhone maker’s quarterly results. Based on its most recent close, Apple shares have climbed nearly 31% over the past three months, easily exceeding the nearly 18% gain of the S&P 500 information technology index, and returning more than twice the roughly 12% rise of the S&P 500. The stock rose 1.1% before the bell on Monday.

Emerging-Market Traders Defy August Risks to Bet on Strength
Netty Idayu Ismail, Simon Flint, and Sydney Maki – Bloomberg
Fidelity International is optimistic on developing currencies; Colombia forecast to cut rates; Ghana, Kenya may be on hold
If emerging markets can get through the final week of the month without too many hiccups, some investors might consider July to be a platform for recovery. The benchmark MSCI stock index has risen more than 7% this month, underpinned by gains in Brazil, China and India, while the Hungarian forint and Czech koruna have led a rally in currencies. Brazil and South Africa have just helped drive the Bloomberg Barclays index of domestic bonds to a fifth week of gains, their longest-winning streak since January, while dollar bonds have clocked up a 13th positive week, the best result since 2011.

Rob Arnott Says It’s ‘Insanely Stupid’ to Chase Market Bubbles
Sarah Ponczek and Michael P. Regan – Bloomberg
Comparisons of 2020 to the internet bubble have grown louder; Research Affiliates co-founder speaks on What Goes Up podcast
Rob Arnott has a warning for everyone who is confident they’ll know when it’s time to sell a soaring stock like Inc. or Tesla Inc.: getting out before the crash is much harder than it looks.

Why ‘tracking difference’ is a vital metric for passive ETFs; The total expense ratio is the ‘price tag’ of a fund — but it does not tell the full story
Steve Johnson – FT
In theory, the overwhelming majority of ETFs are very simple creatures. They are passive vehicles, designed to replicate the return of a diversified index of securities, whether that be equities, bonds or something more outlandish.

US investors demand data in fight against racial discrimination; Companies come under growing pressure to deliver information and concrete progress
Billy Nauman – FT
The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May provoked weeks of protests about racial injustice around the world and electrified the political landscape in the US.

Zero-fee ETFs fail to capture investor interest; Slow progress of recently launched vehicles contrasts with $9bn raised by Fidelity’s tracker funds
Siobhan Riding – FT
Innovative tracker funds that were launched to great fanfare because of their negative or non-existent fees have failed to gather significant assets, underlining the challenges facing new entrants to the cut-throat passive investment market.

Chinese listings surge on Wall Street despite tensions; IPOs more than double this year even as Beijing’s relations with Washington plummet
Hudson Lockett and Primrose Riordan – FT
Chinese companies have raced to sell shares on Wall Street this year even as relations between Washington and Beijing plunged to their lowest ebb in decades.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

A Front-Row Seat for the Arctic’s Final Summers With Ice; Freaked out scientists and gleeful captains of fossil-fuel tankers are now sailing through climate history in the melting polar region.
Laura Millan Lombrana, Anna Shiryaevskaya, and Mira Rojanasakul – Bloomberg
On a sparkling day on May 18, the nearly 300-meter-long tanker Christophe de Margerie set sail from the northern Russian port of Sabetta. Crossing the so-called Northern Sea Route in the Arctic waters, in just under three weeks it moored at the Chinese port of Yangkou, unloading its shipment of liquefied natural gas.

Mutual Fund Industry Tries to Figure Out How to Define ESG Funds
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
The Investment Company Institute, the leading trade association for U.S. mutual fund companies, is racing to define ESG investing to help consumers understand more broadly what they are actually getting from the sustainable and socially responsible funds.

U.K. Companies With More Women on Executive Boards Outperform on Profits
Ryan Hesketh – Bloomberg
Large U.K. firms whose executive boards are one-third female are 10 times more profitable on average than all-male boards, and the gap in performance is growing, according to gender diversity consultancy The Pipeline.

Why did so many ESG funds back Boohoo? High rating given to fast-fashion retailer by MSCI puts sustainable investment scoring systems under scrutiny
Attracta Mooney and Patricia Nilsson – FT
Just weeks before Boohoo was hit with fresh allegations about poor working practices in factories that make its clothes, MSCI gave the UK fast-fashion retailer a clean bill of health.

Climate change: asset managers join forces with the eco-warriors; The pandemic has persuaded some investors of the potential financial damage from global warming
Attracta Mooney and Patrick Temple-West – FT
As 2020 kicked off, Dan Gocher at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a shareholder advocacy organisation, was feeling “pretty optimistic” about its plans to force big Australian energy companies to tackle climate change.


Former Bridgewater Associates Co-CEO Eileen Murray Sues Firm; Suit claims hedge-fund giant is withholding compensation over disclosure of gender-bias dispute
Juliet Chung – WSJ
Former Bridgewater Associates co-chief executive Eileen Murray filed suit against the world’s largest hedge fund on Friday, alleging Bridgewater is withholding an estimated $20 million to $100 million in deferred compensation because she disclosed her gender-discrimination dispute to a third party.

Philippines’ Largest Bank Posts Rare Loss, Braces for Defaults
Ditas B Lopez – Bloomberg
BDO Unibank Inc., the Philippines’ largest lender by assets, posted its first loss in more than a decade after bolstering provisions for bad loans due to the pandemic.

Investors in Woodford’s collapsed Equity Income fund set to be handed back £200m this week
Joannne Hart – This is Money
Long-suffering investors in Neil Woodford’s collapsed Equity Income fund are set to be handed back about £200million this week. The fresh round of cash payouts is equivalent to about 5p per share.

Hedge Fund Fees in Free Fall Is the New Reality For a Humbled Industry
Nishant Kumar, Demetrios Pogkas and Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
Hedge-fund fees had already been shrinking before the pandemic ripped through global markets. Now, they’re in terminal decline. One of London’s fastest-growing hedge funds is enticing new investors by agreeing to forgo performance fees until returns hit a key threshold. In Hong Kong, a fund boss is offering to cover all losses, a concession that’s almost unheard of in this rarefied world. And famed investor Kyle Bass has told clients he’ll charge his usual 20% cut of profits only if he earns triple-digit returns in a new fund he has started.

Credit Suisse Invested $100 Million in Ant, Expects Windfall
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse is said to have invested during Ant’s 2018 round; Swiss bank invested when Ant was valued at $150 billion
Credit Suisse Group AG invested nearly $100 million in Ant Group during its last funding round, according to people familiar with the matter, setting the Swiss bank up for a potential windfall as the Chinese internet giant prepares to go public.

UK Treasury and banks in talks on coming wave of bad Covid debt; Small businesses set to default on billions of pounds worth of loans made to keep them afloat during pandemic
Daniel Thomas, Stephen Morris and George Parker – FT
The Treasury is in talks with the UK’s largest banks about an industry-wide plan to help tackle the tens of billions of pounds of bad debts expected under the government’s light-touch coronavirus “bounce back” loans scheme.


China’s Move to Buy Arctic Gold Mine Draws Fire in Canada; As world powers seek dominance in sensitive region, opponents of purchase say blocking deal is in Canadian national interest
Vipal Monga – WSJ
The purchase of a gold mine in the Canadian Arctic by a state-run Chinese company is triggering alarms in Canada over China’s expanding presence in a region that is growing in strategic importance for its shipping lanes and resources.

Swiss Region May Soon Beat Hong Kong as Best Company Tax Haven
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Canton of Nidwalden to have lowest tax in 2025, study says; Swiss reforms to push corporate taxes down across the country
Hong Kong will soon lose its status as the place with the world’s lowest corporate tax, replaced by the small mountainous canton of Nidwalden in Switzerland, a study found.

China Doesn’t Want to Conquer, Just Do Business; Pompeo’s warnings of a facing a “maritime empire” miss the point.
Robert D. Kaplan – Bloomberg
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the purpose of China’s People’s Liberation Army is not to protect its homeland but to “expand a Chinese empire.” Earlier this month, he warned China not to treat the South China Sea “as its maritime empire.” Pompeo is actually way behind the curve. China has been in one form or another an empire for thousands of years. And its current imperial incarnation is not specifically because of its actions in the South China Sea.

Pandemic Forces Digital Change on Japan’s Analog Businesses
Tsuyoshi Inajima, Grace Huang, and Takashi Mochizuki – Bloomberg
Japanese businesses are being yanked into the 21st century; Manual entry, fax machines and approval stamps are going away
The coronavirus pandemic may be a drag on economies across the globe, but in Japan it’s bringing long-overdue change in work habits and tools.

Iraq Set to Reduce Food Imports by Boosting Wheat Production
Khalid Al Ansary – Bloomberg
More than 5 million tons to be harvested: Agriculture Ministry; Baghdad seeking talks with Turkey, Iran on river water supply
Iraq, formerly the Middle East’s second-biggest wheat buyer, expects to be self-sufficient in the staple crop for a third consecutive season. The country forecasts harvesting more than 5 million tons of wheat for the season ending in August 2021, in excess of the 4.5 million tons needed for its subsidized national food program, Agriculture Ministry Spokesman Hameed Al-Nayef said by phone. Farmers have sold 4.9 million tons to the government so far in the current season ending next month, about the same amount as in 2019, according to the Grain Board, which procures wheat for local sale.

Egypt’s Giant Oil Pipeline Toward Europe Slows to a Trickle
Ryan Hesketh and Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Flows tumbled as Saudi Arabia slashed output for OPEC+ cuts; Inventories held in northern Egypt most likely increased
Egypt’s Sumed pipeline was designed to pump 2.5 million barrels of Persian Gulf crude from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean every day. Since May, a slump in oil demand and OPEC+ oil production cuts seem to have combined to slash flows to about a quarter of that.

New York Swelters With Heat Set to Challenge 19th-Century Highs
Brian K Sullivan – Bloomberg
Heat advisories warn of sultry conditions across Northeast; New York will add to its string of 90-degree days this July
New York and the U.S. Northeast will get a string of hot days this week and daily records going back to the 19th century could topple in Manhattan and Boston on Monday. The high in New York’s Central Park could reach 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius), one-degree shy of the record for the date set in 1869, said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. Boston is set to tie its high of 98 for July 27 set in 1872.


The hard Brexit choices that could yet deliver a deal; Disagreements between EU and UK are lessening despite frustrating series of talks
Peter Foster, Jim Brunsden and George Parker – FT
The EU-UK future-relationship talks remain deadlocked on two main sticking points — fishing rights and state subsidies — with no immediate solutions in sight despite Michel Barnier and David Frost meeting for further discussions this week.

Germany calls on UK to show more realism in Brexit negotiations
Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin – The Guardian
Angela Merkel’s government has called for more realism from the UK in the ongoing trade and security talks, after the EU capitals were given a “sobering” update by Michel Barnier following the recent round of Brexit negotiations. After a presentation by the EU’s chief negotiator to ambassadors from the 27 member states on Friday, a spokesman for the German government, which holds the rolling EU presidency, said the bloc was ready to move negotiations quickly forward but “expressed the need for more realism in London”.

49% of voters believe Kremlin interfered in Brexit referendum
Michael Savage – The Guardian
Almost half the British public believes the Russian government interfered in the EU referendum and last year’s general election, according to a poll. The latest Opinium poll for the Observer found that 49% of voters think there was Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, with 23% disagreeing. Some 47% believed Russia interfered in the December general election.


We Looked At How The Stock Market Performed Under Every U.S. President Since Truman — And The Results Will Surprise You
Halah Touryalai, Sergei Klebnikov – Forbes
Conventional wisdom says that those liberal Dems are generally bad for the economy and the stock market because of their big government tendencies, while fiscally conservative Republicans are good. This widely accepted belief is actually fake news if you look at data going back to the end of World War II. “Stock markets do perform better under Democrats than under Republicans. That’s a well-known fact, but it does not imply cause and effect,” says Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. From 1952 through June 2020, annualized real stock market returns under Democrats have been 10.6% compared with 4.8% for Republicans.

How A Professional Writer Turned Herself Into A World Class Poker Player
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
Switching careers is always difficult. But former New Yorker staff writer Maria Konnikova did it in dramatic fashion. Konnikova decided that the best way to learn about the role of skill and luck in life is through poker, and so she decided to become a great poker player. And she made it happen, winning just over $300,000 in tournament play in a couple of years. On this episode, we speak with her about how she did it, and her new book, “The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned To Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win.”

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