Crypto Billionaire Rankles Wall Street Titans With Derivatives Plan

Apr 22, 2022

First Read

Institutional Trading, Options Growth Among Q1 2022 Trends, say FIA Webinar Participants
Sarah Rudolph – John Lothian News

The trend for the first quarter of 2022 is a revival of institutional trading – along with continued rapid growth in the options space, according to an FIA webinar Thursday morning hosted by Will Acworth, senior vice president of publications, data & research, FIA, with Morgan Stanley’s Reed Staub, executive director, head of US interest rate futures, and Erin Perzov, head of futures content.

Here are a few highlights from the webinar:

Options on futures, securities and indices grew 61% this quarter compared to Q1 last year, Acworth said. The futures space was flat as far as volume, but open interest in futures picked up this quarter.

Open interest in futures and options at the global level is higher than it was a few years ago but hasn’t changed much since last year. Total open interest in Q1 was 1.1 billion contracts, up 1.4% from a year ago and 25% from three years ago. “So it’s a slow but steady increase,” Acworth said. That indicates institutional interest, he added.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Today’s top lead story about a previously undisclosed meeting between CME Group’s Terry Duffy and FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried at the FIA’s Boca 2022 conference a month ago is a well-timed piece that I am guessing was leaked by the FTX side to help build support for their proposal before the CFTC.

This piece shows FTX has some powerful friends who are helping them in their quest to constructively disrupt the current market infrastructure and customer, broker and exchange relations.

It is interesting, too, the way they chose to frame this story, using the meeting with Terry Duffy as the hook. You have Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old billionaire, and Duffy, the 63-year-old millionaire. Bankman-Fried built his exchange in 2019; Duffy’s exchange has been around since 1898 and Duffy has been chairman since 2002, executive chairman since 2006 and CEO since the end of 2016. There is the new way of doing things that moves fast and there is the old legacy way of doing things, represented by the CME Group and Duffy. FTX has some good public relations and political advisors helping them, it would seem. On the other hand, this could just be some excellent follow-up journalism by Katherine Doherty and Allyson Versprille, who were at Boca, with an assist from fellow Bloomberg crypto reporter Yueqi Yang.

OCC Chief Operating Officer Scot Warren has given notice to the OCC board and management committee that he will retire at the end of the year after a 36 year career, the last seven at the OCC. He announced his decision on LinkedIn, saying he was not starting a new chapter, but a “whole new book.” Congratulations to Scot on his great career. We at JLN wish him and his family well in the years ahead.

Mark Green is starting a new position as senior director, technology at FINRA. Green was a longtime CME Group employee who left in March of 2019 as director of software engineering.

Kevin Davitt is leaving Cboe Global Markets for Nasdaq, starting next week. His last piece for Cboe’s Inside Volatility Newsletter is titled “The Certainty of Volatility.” Thank you to Kevin for his help with our Term of the Week while he was at Cboe. We hope we can continue to collaborate at Nasdaq.

Longtime Sungard/GMI.FIS employee Rosanne Arnet is leaving the firm for a job with Allvue Systems as director of business performance training and development.

Euronext today held a bell-ringing ceremony for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which is a ranking of the fifty fastest growing technology companies in the Netherlands. The companies are recognized for their exceptional growth performance.

The president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Evans, announced he will retire in early 2023. My question, if you get this job, can you work from home?

Today JLN is announcing the shutting of the JLN+ streaming service that showed in real time editors ripping my copy to shreds. There were complaints that all the red ink reminded people of blood, so we shut it down.

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


ICYMI: Jeremie Bacon, a Chicago fintech industry executive and co-founder of The Forge, is hosting an Earth Day Summit at The Forge: Lemont Quarries, one of the largest aerial adventure parks in North America, on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00am-5:00pm. Bacon co-founded The Forge Charitable Adventures (TFCA) to improve the health of communities by restoring and maintaining native ecosystems, promoting active stewardship of the environment, and providing access to outdoor education and recreation for everyone. You can go here to find out more.~SR


ICE Mortgage Fixed Rate Lock Index Futures Seek to Solve A Problem As Old As Interest Rate Futures

ICE is trying to solve a problem as old as interest rate futures, but is bringing to bear new resources and businesses it has acquired and grown over the last several years. That problem is how to hedge mortgage rates.

John Lothian News talked to David Farrell, chief operating officer of ICE Futures US, about ICE Mortgage Rate Lock Index futures, which are to launch on June 13, 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

Watch the video »


Ken Griffin Goes ‘All In’ to Make Mayor of Key Trading Hub the Governor of Illinois
Nick Baker – Bloomberg
You’d never guess that wealth and power in America converge here, at the intersection of Diehl and Eola roads, off Interstate 88, west of Chicago. This unassuming city — the setting of “Wayne’s World,” the Mike Myers and Dana Carvey comedy about two dweeby metalheads with a public-access TV show — has suddenly become a big-money political battleground.

***** You can think of Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin as the proxy server of Griffin’s Illinois political interests.


Work from home to beat Putin, says EU
Ben King – BBC
The EU is asking its citizens to drive less, turn down air conditioning and work from home three days a week, to reduce reliance on Russian energy. The measures, drawn up with the International Energy Agency, would save a typical household EUR450 (£375) a year.
Buying energy from Russia helps to support its economy and finance the war in Ukraine.
But Europe has said it cannot find alternative supplies, so it is asking citizens to adjust their lifestyles.

***** Work from home, bike to where you need to go, plant a garden. All sounds good to me.~JJL


‘Mr. Lithium’ Warns There’s Not Enough Battery Metal to Go Around; A mining company consultant with decades of experience doubts the industry will be able to support all the electric car production planned.
Gabrielle Coppola – Bloomberg
Batteries, and more precisely battery metals, are poised to replace chips as the new bottleneck for the auto industry. While there’s been a lot of attention on nickel, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, another key metal — lithium — is a source of concern for manufacturers dealing with all manner of supply chain challenges.

***** There is plenty of Lithium to go around. That is why we have prices. It determines who gets the commodity and who does not. If it works economically, great. If not, then not so great and look for substitutions. That is the way of the market.~JJL


Crypto Thieves Get Bolder by the Heist, Stealing Record Amounts; Hacker steals $182 million over the weekend, the fifth largest hack on record
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Cryptocurrency hacks are getting bigger. On Sunday, a hacker exploited a new algorithmic stablecoin project called Beanstalk and drained it of $182 million worth of digital assets. The hack wiped out all of the ether held by the fund. Once the ether was removed, the value of the stablecoin itself, called Bean, collapsed to 10 cents from $1 on Sunday, according to data firm CoinGecko. Most recently it was trading at 6 cents.

***** The trend is not your friend in this case.~JJL


Crypto exchange Binance removes Twitter emoji that resembles swastika
Theo Wayt – Bloomberg
Crypto exchange Binance has pulled a custom emoji it sponsored on Twitter after outraged users pointed out that it resembled a swastika. The emoji — which automatically appeared alongside the hashtags #Binance, #BNB and #BitcoinButton — was released Wednesday, which was Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

****** Maybe try some consumer test groups before you roll out a new emoji, unless this is what you were going for.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was the Financial Times’ Goldman Sachs sought to woo FTX at Caribbean meeting. Second was CoinDesk’s FTX Plan Said to Face CFTC Roundtable Next Month. Third was Hunger and Blackouts Are Just the Start of an Emerging Economy Crisis, from Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance.


MarketsWiki Stats
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MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Crypto Billionaire Rankles Wall Street Titans With Derivatives Plan; FTX’s Bankman-Fried wants algorithms to clear margin trades; Proposal draws pushback from execs including CME’s Terry Duffy
Katherine Doherty, Allyson Versprille, and Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
At a posh financial-industry gathering known for swaying palm trees and late-night yacht parties, this year’s main attraction was a face-off between a crypto billionaire and a futures-exchange kingpin. There was Sam Bankman-Fried, whose FTX platform has rapidly become a dominant venue for investing in virtual coins, going toe-to-toe with Terry Duffy, the longtime chief executive officer of CME Group Inc. at the event in Florida. Among the topics broached in their intense conversation was an FTX proposal to execute every aspect of customers’ crypto derivatives trades on its own — thus bypassing other exchanges, banks and financial intermediaries. If FTX’s bid is approved by regulators, many in traditional finance fear the model could be applied to other assets, threatening Wall Street’s stranglehold over lucrative aspects of market plumbing. The centerpiece of FTX’s plan is using algorithms rather than brokers to help clear trades, a crucial process for settling transactions that ensures sellers get their funds and buyers get the assets they’ve purchased.

Russia’s $124 Billion Crypto Market Is Pinched by Ukraine Sanctions; Binance plans to limit services to large Russian accounts; U.S. targeted largest Russia’s crypto miner Wednesday
Bloomberg News
Russia’s $124 billion crypto market is facing new restrictions from measures to punish the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine, amid warnings that digital currencies could eventually help ease the pain of sanctions. Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, said Thursday it will curb services to Russians with crypto assets exceeding the value of 10,000 euros ($10,885) in response to new European Union restrictions. Separately, the U.S. sanctioned BitRiver, which operates farms that mint about half of all digital currencies generated in Russia.

Welcome.US and Goldman Sachs Announce Partnership to Mobilize 100,000 Americans to Sponsor Ukrainians Seeking Refuge in the United States; Nearly 70 organizations sign on to welcome people fleeing Ukraine; Sponsorship effort supported by $3.6 million contribution from Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
oday, following the announcement from the Biden-Harris Administration that people fleeing Ukraine will be eligible for humanitarian parole in the United States with a sponsor through a streamlined process starting Monday, April 25, Welcome.US. is launching an initiative to mobilize 100,000 Americans to sponsor people fleeing the war in Ukraine and seeking refuge in the United States.

Expat Bankers Fleeing Hong Kong See No Easy Escape to Singapore; Authorities have introduced changes in visa requirements; Emerging markets investor Mobius has left Singapore for Dubai
Ambereen Choudhury, David Ramli and Faris Mokhtar – Bloomberg
Singapore should be the obvious winner from the gradual demise of Hong Kong as Asia’s top finance hub. It’s not quite working out that way so far. Stricter visa requirements, hiring restrictions and other bureaucratic road blocks mean that the influx of bankers into Singapore from Hong Kong in recent months has been more of a trickle than a flood.

Russia will be a ‘pariah state in the eyes of many people forever’ and there’ll be no ‘starting over’ while Putin is still in charge, expert says
Erin Snodgrass, Kelsey Vlamis – Insider
Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing increasing animosity both abroad and at home as his war in Ukraine approaches two full months. Experts cite strategy failures, mounting military losses, and the dire economic consequences of Western sanctions — all blamed almost entirely on Putin — as evidence painting a bleak picture of Russia’s future.

Goldman VP’s £350,000 Bonuses Led Way for London Dealmakers in 2021; Associate bonuses at 9 banks rose by fifth on average: survey; U.K. base salaries also rose 26%, recruiter Dartmouth says
Damian Shepherd – Bloomberg
A hectic year for dealmakers across London resulted in soaring bonuses in 2021, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers leading the pack. Goldman associates in the U.K. capital surveyed by recruitment consultancy firm Dartmouth Partners scored an average bonus of more than 180,000 pounds ($235,070) last year, a 70% jump on 2020 payouts. Vice presidents at the firm saw their bonuses more than double to an average 350,000 pounds, the report said.

Russian Oligarchs’ Billions Lead to ‘Madness’ at This Buyout Firm; The standoff between Mikhail Fridman-founded LetterOne and its key investment Pamplona is a case study in trying to split from Russian cash.
Will Louch, Dawn Lim, Benjamin Stupples, and Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
The board of investment firm LetterOne is an esteemed bunch: a British lord, a former ambassador, a pharmaceuticals titan. They help oversee more than $22 billion in assets around the world, from gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea to Spanish supermarkets and U.S. pet spas. The group’s holdings and impeccable directors are plainly visible. That’s no longer the case for its true backers.

How London became the dirty money capital of the world
FT Video
Russian oligarchs and companies have been investing in London for two decades, encouraged by British politicians of all stripes, but critics say the ‘London laundromat’ cleans dirty money from Russia and across the globe. The FT examines why it took Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to put the issue in the spotlight and whether new sanctions and measures to tackle the problem go far enough

Elon Musk Says He Has $46.5 Billion in Funding for Twitter Bid; Billionaire also says he is exploring a tender offer to acquire shares of Twitter directly from shareholders
Cara Lombardo and Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Elon Musk said he has lined up $46.5 billion to fund his bid for Twitter Inc., TWTR 1.74% ? answering the biggest question that had loomed over his takeover offer for the social-media platform. In a regulatory filing, Mr. Musk also said he was considering taking his offer straight to Twitter shareholders, bypassing a board that appears dug in. Twitter said Thursday it was reviewing the newly detailed proposal. The financing commitments—about half in bank debt and half in cash promised by Mr. Musk himself—lend credibility to an offer that lacked the details that usually accompany a bona fide takeover play. When he lobbed in his bid last week, Mr. Musk didn’t say how he planned to pay for the deal, which is expensive even for the world’s richest person.

Melvin Capital Management to Restructure as Losses Mount; Gabe Plotkin’s hedge fund to shrink to $5 billion, resume charging performance fees
Juliet Chung – WSJ
Buffeted by continuing losses, Gabe Plotkin’s Melvin Capital Management plans to shrink and take the unusual step of starting to charge incentive fees again even though clients remain significantly underwater on their investments. Melvin, which was burned badly in the meme-stock rally last year, plans to shrink to $5 billion from the $8.7 billion it managed at the end of March, according to a letter the hedge fund sent to clients Thursday that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The fund is also making a raft of other changes in the terms of its agreements with investors, Melvin told clients.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to Retire in Early 2023; Regional Fed bank announces search for new bank president
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said Thursday it would begin a search for a new president because its current leader, Charles Evans, will retire early next year. Mr. Evans, who has led the regional Fed bank since September 2007, is the longest-tenured reserve bank president. He turns 65 years old in January. Fed presidents can generally serve terms that run up to 10 years or until they turn 65. Mr. Evans began his career at the Chicago Fed in 1991.

Ukraine Invasion

Prominent Russian TV presenter says war ‘against Europe and the world’ is on the way following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
Matthew Loh – Business Insider
A prominent Russian TV presenter said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is approaching a “new stage” in which Moscow will find itself at war with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — and by extension, the entire world. “I believe the special military operation is entering a new stage. Ukrainians alone are no longer enough,” said Vladimir Solovyov, according to the translation of a video clip tweeted on Thursday by The Daily Beast’s Julia Davis.

Ukraine’s foreign minister to Bulgaria: ‘It’s time to make a choice’
Dmytro Kuleba – Reuters
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to NATO and EU member Bulgaria on Thursday to provide sorely needed military aid to help his country survive Russia’s invasion. Bulgaria has condemned the invasion, voted to support European Union sanctions against Russia and is hosting more than 90,000 Ukrainian refugees, but the four-party ruling coalition remains split over whether to send arms and ammunition to Kyiv.

Some Kremlin insiders reportedly fear Putin will use nukes in Ukraine
Grayson Quay – The Week
Some Kremlin insiders have begun surreptitiously expressing concerns about the mounting costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order the use of nuclear weapons to achieve his war goals, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Bloomberg based its report on information provided by 10 anonymous “people with direct knowledge of the situation.”

Russia Faces ‘Reverse Industrialization’ in Sanction Squeeze; Bank of Russia publishes first detailed outlook since invasion; Long, deep recession seen with return of some 1990s phenomena
Bloomberg News
Russia faces a very deep and prolonged economic contraction along with higher inflation and reduced living standards, as sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies over the invasion of Ukraine sap it of vital products and technology, according to economists at the central bank. In the most detailed public statement on the outlook since the war started, the Bank of Russia’s Research Department warned in a report that “the depth of the contraction may be quite significant and exit trajectory drawn out in time” because the supply shocks triggered by sanctions are unlikely to fade quickly.

Bundesbank warns Russian gas embargo would cost Germany EUR180bn; Central bank says sudden disruption of supplies to EU could dent economic output by 5% this year
Olaf Storbeck in Frankfurt – FT
An immediate EU ban on Russian gas imports would cost Germany EUR180bn in lost output this year, the country’s powerful central bank has warned. The Bundesbank said in its latest monthly bulletin, published on Friday, that an embargo on Russian gas would dent gross domestic product by 5 per cent in 2022, triggering a surge in energy prices and one of the deepest recessions of recent decades.

Janet Yellen calls for EU caution on Russian energy ban; US Treasury secretary warns full European import embargo on Moscow would dent global growth
James Politi – FT
Janet Yellen, US Treasury secretary, urged Europe to be “careful” about imposing a complete ban on Russian energy imports, warning of the potential harm such a move could inflict on the global economy. “Medium-term, Europe clearly needs to reduce its dependence on Russia with respect to energy, but we need to be careful when we think about a complete European ban on say, oil imports,” Yellen said during a press conference in Washington on Thursday.

Budweiser Brewer Pulls Out of Russia as Multinational Companies Weigh Options; AB InBev said it would sell its joint-venture stake, booking a $1.1 billion impairment charge
Saabira Chaudhuri – WSJ
The world’s biggest brewer is pulling out of Russia, exiting a key beer market, as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine drags on and multinational companies weigh up their options. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA said it would sell its stake in its large Russian beer joint venture, booking a $1.1 billion impairment charge. That follows moves by its biggest rivals, Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S, which operate independently in Russia, and said weeks ago that they would pull out.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Milling Yield Premium and Discount Schedule Effective September 1, 2022
in Rough Rice Futures
CME Group
Effective September 1, 2022, The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT” or
“Exchange”) will amend the milling yield premium and discount fee schedule for the Rough Rice
Futures contract. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has announced the 2022 rice loan rates by class.

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy, Equity & Metal Margins – Effective April 22, 2022
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. Please email any questions to

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy – Effective April 22, 2022
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

CME Group Delivery Dates for May 2022
CME Group
Listed below are the relevant delivery dates for the May 2022 contracts for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME”), Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT”), New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX”), Commodity Exchange Inc. (“COMEX”) and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange Limited (“DME”):

CME STP Notices: April 21, 2022
CME Group
Topics in this issue include:

CME Globex Notices: April 18, 2022
CME Group
Topics in this issue include:
-Critical System Updates
-Product Launches
-Product Changes
-Events and Announcements

EBS Market Integration Notice: New Content
CME Group
EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
Subject to applicable regulatory approvals, EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.

Equity Index Derivatives: Withdrawal of availability for trading for U.S. Participants for Eurex Eurex
Daily Futures on KOSPI 200 Futures and Mini-Futures
Eurex Circular 042/22 Equity Index Derivatives: Withdrawal of availability for trading for U.S. Participants for Eurex Daily Futures on KOSPI 200 Futures and Mini-Futures

Fit For 1.5°: How Euronext joined the Race To Zero and what you can do
ESG investing saw another year of extraordinary growth in 2021, fuelled by a range of factors. The world witnessed increasingly common extreme weather events, including Madrid’s heaviest snowfall in 50 years and Cyclone Ana displacing more than 10,000 people in Fiji.

United Nations Sanctions (Somalia) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2022
United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Regulation 2022
United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Regulation 2012 (Repeal) Regulation
Holders of Stock Exchange Trading Rights and Exchange Participants are requested to note the
following information published in the Gazette on 14 April 2022:
(1) United Nations Sanctions (Somalia) Regulation 2019 (Amendment) Regulation 2022;
(2) United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Regulation 2022; and
(3) United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Regulation 2012 (Repeal) Regulation.
Please refer to the regulations which are available on the Government website
( for details and if in doubt, consult your legal advisers.

Update on Inclusion of ETFs in Stock Connect
With reference to the Exchange Circular (Ref: CT/160/21) dated 24 December 2021 on the inclusion
arrangements of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in Stock Connect, China Connect Exchange
Participants (CCEPs) and Trade-through Exchange Participants (TTEPs) are requested to note the following in order to assess if any system or operational changes are required at their end to better prepare for the inclusion of ETFs in Stock Connect:

Update on Inclusion of ETFs in Stock Connect
With reference to the HKSCC circular (Ref: CD/CDCO/CCASS/043/2021) dated 24 December 2021
on the inclusion arrangements of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in Stock Connect, China Connect Clearing Participants (“CCCPs”) are requested to note the following in order to assess if any system or operational changes are required at their end to better prepare for the inclusion of ETFs in Stock Connect:

NSE IFSC is launching India’s first International Sustainability Platform at GIFT IFSC
On Earth Day, NSE IFSC Ltd is pleased to announce the launch of an exclusive International Sustainability Platform, a first of its kind ESG platform in India, at GIFT IFSC. It is expected to get operationalised in the second half of 2022 subject to Regulatory approvals.


‘Decentralized’ web3 startups find out the hard way there’s no safety net
Connie Loizos – Techcrunch
When the Vietnam-based outfit behind the crypto game Axie Infinity was hacked last month — hackers stole upward of $625 million in Ethereum from its blockchain, with the FBI now pointing fingers at a North Korean state-sponsored group as the culprit — questions quickly arose around who, exactly, would make the company’s customers whole.

Post-trade issues are costly, slow innovation and increase risk, finds report; Conclusions from dedicated task force present current challenges in post-trade processes as well as recommendations on how to address these issues.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
An industry-led Post-Trade Task Force has published a damning new report which highlights key challenges where change would be particularly impactful in current post-trade processes. Among those current processes or approaches to come under fire within the report were a lack of automation, inefficiencies around settlements and slow onboardings. Solutions including the increased use of legal entity identifiers, standardisation and new technologies were among those touted.

Liquidity Book Adds Bryon Cole As Director Of Buy-Side Sales
LiquidityBook, a leading provider of cloud-native buy- and sell-side trading solutions, today announced the hire of Bryon Cole as Director of Buy-Side Sales. He will be based in the firm’s New York office and report directly to Head of Global Buy-Side Sales James Baxter.

smartTrade Is Accelerating Innovation In Electronic Trading
smartTrade Technologies has today announced that, four months after its acquisition of Toronto-based TickTrade Systems, the companies are now working together as one unified group. Operating under the smartTrade name, the combined company delivers industry-leading FX trading technologies to a global client base across Europe, North America and Asia.

How Meta Platforms Fell Behind in Indian Mobile Payments; India will be a crucial market for Meta’s global e-commerce ambitions, but multiple missteps there are holding it back
Megha Mandavia – WSJ
Mark Zuckerberg has pinned his hopes on commerce to save his business from stagnating user engagement and decelerating advertising revenue growth. But in the massive market of India, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms FB 0.29% has fallen far behind in mobile payments, which serve as the crucial last step in closing an online sale. It needs to get its act together quickly if it doesn’t want to lose out to Google and Walmart WMT -0.37% in the race for controlling digital payments in the world’s second-largest internet market. Meta has a popular mobile messaging platform in the country with WhatsApp, which has its own local payment service. But so far, the encrypted messaging app has been at loggerheads with the Indian government over multiple issues, all of which are likely impacting its payment ambitions in India.


Russian state-sponsored groups threaten cybersecurity
Maria Henriquez – Security Magazine
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could expose organizations within and beyond the region to increased cyberattacks from Russian state-sponsored threat actors or Russian-aligned cybercrime groups, according to several cybersecurity authorities in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

DOE Announces $12 Million to Enhance Cybersecurity of America’s Energy Systems
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $12 million for six new research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will develop innovative cybersecurity technology to help ensure energy delivery systems are designed, installed, operated, and maintained to survive and recover quickly from cyberattacks. Protecting the security and resiliency of America’s power grid is crucial to DOE’s goal of providing cleaner and cheaper power to Americans while advancing President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Cybersecurity Trial Could Be DOJ Bellweather
Caleb Hayes-Deats – Bloomberg
A federal jury trial involving allegations that Aerojet Rocketdyne violated the False Claims Act by hiding cybersecurity problems from the government will offer an early test of how the FCA applies to allegations of cybersecurity fraud, MoloLamken partner Caleb Hayes-Deats explains. The outcome could impact the DOJ’s new cybersecurity initiative.

Cybersecurity threats facing enterprise email accounts
Security Magazine
Cyberattack levels have increased since 2019, with 89% of organizations experiencing a cyberattack between February 2021 and February 2022, compared to 78% in 2019.
A survey commissioned by Cyren and conducted by Osterman Research explored the email security threat affecting organizations that use Microsoft 365 email accounts. The report, titled “Phishing, BEC, and Ransomware Threats for Microsoft 365 Customers: 2022 Benchmarking Survey,” identified common threats and cybersecurity tactics that security leaders can use to avoid them.

What Makes a Cybersecurity Risk or Incident Material? A Look at the SEC’s Proposed Rules on Cybersecurity
Vinson & Elkins LLP – JDSupra
On March 9, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced Proposed Rules on cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident disclosure (“Proposed Rules”) to address concerns of increasing cybersecurity threats to public companies. Under the Proposed Rules, public companies must promptly disclose material cybersecurity risks and incidents. The SEC confirmed that “materiality” for purposes of the Proposed Rules would be consistent with applicable case law.

Five Eyes Alert Warns of Heightened Risk of Russian Cyber Attacks
John Besley – Press Association via Bloomberg
Critical infrastructure organisations within the UK have been urged to ramp up their cyber security defences as they face a heightened risk of Russian state-sponsored cyber attacks. An alert issued by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which consists of the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, has warned the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks against critical organisations such as the NHS, nuclear power stations and parts of the civil service.


Tron Crypto Outperforms Amid Plan for Decentralized Stablecoin
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
The Tron cryptocurrency outperformed on Friday, buoyed by a plan for a decentralized algorithmic stablecoin. Tron’s TRX gained 10% in the past 24 hours as of 9:40 a.m. in Hong Kong according to pricing data from CoinGecko, while most of the other top tokens such as Bitcoin and Ether were down slightly. TRX is now the 24th biggest crypto by market cap.

Crypto Bank Lacked Key Anti-Money Laundering Controls, U.S Says; OCC says Anchorage Digital failed to comply with regulations; Lender received conditional charter from regulator last year
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
Anchorage Digital Bank, a major cryptocurrency lender, failed to put in place controls to prevent money laundering and report suspicious transactions, according to a U.S. regulator. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said on Thursday that the bank’s compliance program last year lacked staff and internal processes to verify customers. Anchorage Digital, which didn’t admit or deny the OCC’s findings, agreed to correct the issues.

Bitcoin ETFs to Roll Out in Australia to Test Crypto Demand; Cosmos, 21Shares-ETF Securities aim to debut funds next week; Some analysts say Australia could be Asia crypto ETF gateway
Tassia Sipahutar and Tanzeel Akhtar – Bloomberg
The Bitcoin exchange-traded fund bandwagon is coming to Australia as regulators finalize approvals for products offering direct exposure to digital assets. Cosmos Asset Management said it’s preparing to launch the Cosmos Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF in coming days. It will invest in the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, a Toronto-listed fund with assets of about C$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion).


Zelensky, Rep. Cheney to receive JFK Profile in Courage award
Amy B Wang – Washington Post
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will be among the recipients this year of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, which is given by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to underscore the importance of fighting for democracy.

In Germany, Scholz the Bold Reverts to Scholz the Smurf; Two months after proclaiming a U-turn in foreign and defense policy, Germany’s chancellor seems to have lost heart.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
Two German chancellors are struggling with each other inside Olaf Scholz. His country, its allies and their common adversary in the Kremlin have to find out which one they’re dealing with. When Scholz took office in December, the temperament he displayed was still the one he had advertised during the campaign. In style, he was a knock-off of his predecessor, Angela Merkel — managing more than leading, governing in tiny increments rather than big steps, papering over controversies instead of taking stances, communicating through obfuscation more than inspiration. At the time, I called him a smurf.

How Israel Is Trying to Solve Its Ukraine Conundrum; The government will find it harder to stay on good terms with Putin in light of Russia’s atrocities, but national security considerations can’t be set aside.
Zev Chafets – Bloomberg
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the free world began a diplomatic dance, led by the U.S., that continues today. In that dance, Israel got off on the wrong foot by initially declining to co-sponsor a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Russian aggression. Israel eventually did an about-face and supported the resolution. It was one of many signals suggesting that the government wants to edge back into the Western mainstream. It will need to proceed cautiously.

Japan says disputed islands ‘illegally occupied by Russia’
Mari Yamaguchi – AP
Japan describes four islands whose ownership it disputes with Moscow as “illegally occupied by Russia” in the latest version of a diplomatic report released Friday, using stronger language to describe the territorial flap than other recent versions and underscoring the chilled relations between the two sides amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Infowars Bankruptcy May Be Abuse of Court System, Justice Department Says
Steven Church – Bloomberg
An arm of the U.S. Justice Department cast doubt on far-right radio host Alex Jones’s use of bankruptcy as three companies he once owned prepare for their first day in court Friday. The DOJ’s bankruptcy watchdog, known as the U.S. Trustee, said the companies’ Chapter 11 filing “raises numerous questions — the answers to which may demonstrate these cases are an abuse of the bankruptcy system,” according to court papers filed Thursday. The U.S. Trustee urged a federal judge in Texas to reject a request to appoint former judges to oversee a proposed victim compensation fund.

Former Domino’s Pizza Accountant to Pay Nearly $2 Million Penalty for Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a court-approved settlement requiring a Michigan-based former accountant at Domino’s Pizza Inc. to pay a penalty of nearly $2 million for insider trading in the company’s stock.

FCA secures £2,000,000 account forfeiture order
QPay Europe Limited, which claims to be a fintech start up offering due diligence and underwriting services, has consented to a court order to give up £2,000,000 held in its name following proceedings brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

FCA flags concerns over challenger banks’ financial crime defences; Some lenders fail to take details of customers’ income and occupation, regulator finds
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan and Stephen Morris – FT
The Financial Conduct Authority has raised concerns over the adequacy of challenger banks’ defences against financial crime, after a “substantial” increase in suspicious activity reports filed last year. The remarks come as the watchdog attempts to toughen its approach against money laundering, which the National Crime Agency estimates costs the UK £100bn annually.

U.K. Criticizes Challenger Banks Over Financial Crime Checks; FCA says checks at some challenger banks aren’t sufficient; Firms reviewed included six unnamed challenger banks
William Shaw – Bloomberg
The U.K.’s markets regulator has told challenger banks to improve their financial crime controls, saying some are failing to carry out adequate checks on new customers.

A Reflection on the Research Brief: Financial Education Matters; Testing the Effectiveness of Financial Education Across 76 Randomized Experiments
Dr. Billy Hensley – President and CEO, National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) Gerri Walsh – President, FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) Does financial education work? In other words, does building and improving foundational knowledge about money help people make better decisions and lead to better financial outcomes? Four prominent scholars recently came together to seek answers.

China Probes Ex-President of Merchants Bank for Violations; Tian Huiyu was investigated for serious violations of law; Bank’s shares fell 13% in past week on management change
Bloomberg News
Chinese authorities are investigating Tian Huiyu, former president of China Merchants Bank Co., for suspected violations, days after removing him from the nation’s top retail bank. Tian, 56, is being probed for alleged serious violations of discipline and law, China’s top anti-graft body said in a statement Friday, without elaborating. Earlier in the week, he was abruptly removed from the role at Merchants Bank and subject to further assignment, after spending nearly nine years building the lender into the nation’s king of retail banking.

Investing and Trading

Shareholders Gained 50 Times as Much as U.S. Workers in Pandemic
Katia Dmitrieva – Bloomberg
Shareholders in some of the biggest U.S. companies reaped wealth gains in the pandemic that outpaced pay hikes for their employees by more than 50 to 1, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. The report — focused on 22 industry leaders, including Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. — found that stockholders added some $1.5 trillion in wealth between January 2020 and October 2021. The companies spent about $27 billion on additional pay and bonuses, and five times that amount on dividends and stock buybacks, the Washington-based think tank said.

Musk Twitter Bid Hints His ‘Final’ Price Maybe Not So Final; Musk says in filing that he’s secured $46.5 billion in funding; That’s more than enough to cover his $54.20 per share offer
Tom Maloney – Bloomberg
Elon Musk has said his $54.20 per share offer for Twitter Inc. was his “best and final.” While that may prove true, he just signaled that he might go higher. The billionaire announced in a filing on Thursday that he’d secured $46.5 billion in funding for a bid to buy the social media company. That includes $25.5 billion in debt financing supported by more than a dozen investment banks, as well as a $21 billion equity commitment from himself.

Westpac penalised $113 million after multiple ASIC legal actions
ASIC – Australian Securities and Investments Commission
The Federal Court has ordered Westpac to pay penalties in the amount of $113 million for widespread compliance failures across multiple businesses, including Westpac’s banking, superannuation, wealth management and insurance brands.
Justice Beach today handed down his decision in the last of six separate civil penalty proceedings filed by ASIC against Westpac in November 2021 (21-320MR), penalising Westpac $40 million for charging advice fees to over 11,800 deceased customers.

Neglected heirs: widows who take over the family finances; Wealth managers face calls for more focus on bereaved women amid huge asset transfers
Akila Quinio and Joshua Oliver – FT
When Jane’s husband died in a climbing accident in the Alps, she faced not only shock and grief but a daunting pile of paperwork. “It’s hard . . . having been married 43 years then all of a sudden your partner is not there any more and the world is on your shoulders,” says Jane, 72, who lives in Scotland. In the midst of grief, she found it particularly difficult to sift through the couple’s financial records and make decisions about how to manage assets that were now solely in her charge.

Europe Company Bonds Suffer Worst Peak-to-Trough Drop in History; High-grade bonds have fallen a record 8.6% from latest peak; Drop worse than selloffs during Covid and financial crisis
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Europe’s corporate bond market is officially going through its worst selloff in history. A 2.6-trillion-euro ($2.8 trillion) gauge of total returns in euro-denominated high-grade debt is down 8.6% since a recent high in August. That’s the steepest peak-to-trough plunge on record, surpassing the slump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, according to Bloomberg’s index, which has a one-day lag.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Climate Change Threatens Europe With New Weather Extremes; 2021 was a year of extreme weather and natural disasters for the continent, from heat waves to flooding and droughts.
John Ainger – Bloomberg
Climate change produced another record-breaking year of extreme weather in Europe in 2021, triggering catastrophic flooding and the hottest summer on record, according to scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Summer temperatures in Europe last year were one degree Celsius above the average of the previous 20 years, and the rainfall that battered Germany and Belgium broke records, the scientists said in their annual European State of the Climate report. Globally, the last seven years have been the warmest since records began in 1850, with 2021 ranking sixth. There were worrying findings in terms of greenhouse emissions, too: concentrations of carbon dioxide and particularly methane continued to rise in the atmosphere.

Southwest Fire Crews Brace for Return of Dangerous Winds
Felicia Fonseca – AP
Firefighters are bracing for the return of ferocious winds in the Southwest after a brief reprieve allowed them to attack flames from the air for the first time in days as a half-dozen large wildfires continue to grow in Arizona and New Mexico. More than 500 firefighters were manning fire lines in the two states and more help was on the way Friday when the largest type of management team is scheduled to take command of resources at one of the biggest, most dangerous fires near Flagstaff, Arizona.


JPMorgan employees describe the ‘fear of God’ and ‘panic’ as the company tracks their office attendance
Sarah Jackson, Reed Alexander, Aaron Weinman – Insider
JPMorgan has started tracking staffers’ office attendance, and employees say it’s creating an atmosphere of mistrust and panic. Insider reported Wednesday that the banking giant has taken to monitoring employee ID swipes in order to enforce its return-to-office policies, citing four people with direct knowledge of the program. This data helps generate reports that are then used to enforce in-office quotas.

Goldman Sachs keeps intern pay at $85,000 as Wall Street rivals raise salaries
Paul Clarke – MarketWatch
Goldman Sachs has decided not to up pay for its interns, despite hiking salaries for other lower-level roles as an intense battle for talent continues. Incoming summer interns at the bank can expect a pro-rata salary of $85,000, according to a letter seen by Financial News. This is effectively the same entry-level pay level the bank offered before it hiked salaries for first-year analysts to $110,000 in August.

Billionaire Rupert-Backed Grindrod Seeks Buyers for Its Bank
Loni Prinsloo – Bloomberg
Grindrod Ltd. has revived talks with potential buyers for its South African banking business, according to people familiar with the matter, revisiting a plan previously looked at three years ago. The sales process is generating interest from South African and international buyers, said the people, who asked to not to be identified as the discussions are still private.

John Paulson’s Piano Man Gig Pays Off With Steinway IPO; The hedge fund manager has been a sensitive owner of the legendary keyboard maker and its share sale should deliver him a long-overdue payday
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
Hedge fund boss John Paulson made $20 billion for himself and clients betting against the U.S. housing market in 2008 but subsequently struggled to repeat that success. With his net worth pared back to less than $5 billion, Paulson & Co. returned what remained of investors’ cash in 2020. Now, he’s finally poised to strike paydirt again thanks to an unusual wager on an underappreciated gem — Steinway Musical Instruments Holdings Inc.

Melvin to return some capital to investors as losses grow; Gabe Plotkin seeks to reinstate incentive fees to salvage hedge fund crushed by last year’s GameStop frenzy
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Melvin Capital, the highest-profile hedge fund casualty of the meme-stock rally last year, is to return some capital to investors as it looks to kick-start performance following a difficult start to the year. The firm, founded by Gabe Plotkin, a former SAC Capital fund manager and protégé of billionaire trader Steve Cohen, told investors that it would aim to reduce its assets from about $8.7bn at the end of March to about $5bn, said a person familiar with its plans.

Global ETF and digital asset industry salaries jump 10% in a year; Total remuneration for analysts starting out in their careers has surged 42% to an average of $87,000
Alf Wilkinson – FT
Salaries in the exchange traded fund and digital assets space increased by roughly 10 per cent last year, with those at junior level seeing significant jumps in pay, according to Blackwater Search & Advisory, a consulting and recruiting firm. Blackwater, which specialises in the ETF and digital assets industry, surveyed more than 3,000 individuals across the globe to produce its annual report, which reveals that average salaries and bonuses in the sector rose by 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively in 2021.

Former Sloane Robinson trading head to join Newton Investment Management; Trading head joins investment manager after previously spending over two decades with hedge fund, The TRADE can reveal.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Former head trader at shuttered London hedge fund Sloane Robinson has joined Newton Investment Management, sources familiar with the matter have told The TRADE. Buy-side veteran Jason Reeve joins Newton in an unconfirmed title after previously spending 21 and a half years as a partner and head of trading at Sloane Robinson.

Wellness Exchange

At Least 70% of England Has Experienced a Covid-19 Infection
Ian Jones – Press Association via Bloomberg
Around seven in 10 people in England are likely to have had coronavirus since the early months of the pandemic, new figures suggest. An estimated 38.5 million people in private households – or 70.7% of the population – have had at least one infection since the end of April 2020. The figures have been compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using data from its long-running Covid-19 infection survey.

Singapore Hails ‘Happy Day’ With Most Virus Curbs Set to End; Limits scrapped on gathering sizes from 10 people currently; Masks will still mainly be required in indoor settings
Philip Heijmans – Bloomberg
Singapore downgraded the crisis level of the pandemic, scrapping all tests for incoming vaccinated visitors and limits on gathering sizes as it takes further steps to live with Covid-19. Other moves from April 26 include allowing all workers to return to the workplace and doing away with checking people’s vaccination statuses at most places, the Ministry of Health said Friday. The requirement to wear masks indoors still remains, though workers can take them off in the office when they are not interacting physically with others, it said.

The Covid vaccine market has crashed. What would revive it? Moderna’s chief says there is ‘massive oversupply’
Tom Braithwaite – FT
For most of the pandemic we have been cheering on the vaccine scientists and manufacturers, cursing shortages of glass vials or giant growbags and then rolling up our sleeves when the precious doses are made available. No longer. Vaccine tracker Airfinity this month slashed its 2022 global sales forecast for Covid-19 jabs by 20 per cent to $64.1bn. That may still be too optimistic. Johnson & Johnson this month abandoned forecasts for its own Covid shot, blaming “global supply surplus and vaccine hesitancy in developing markets”.

Covid Drugs Save Lives, but Americans Can’t Get Them
Zeynep Tufekci – NY Times
Almost two months after President Biden promised to make lifesaving drugs against Covid widely available to Americans, the medications remain hard to get for many, despite supplies, leaving large numbers of Americans to face increased risks of avoidable death and serious illness. That’s largely because, once again, a dysfunctional health care system that costs more and often delivers less than that of any other developed country has hindered our pandemic response.

Shanghai Deaths Rise as City Vows to Enforce Strict Covid Rules; Goal of “zero community spread” continues to elude officials; Lockdown fatigue has seen residents slip outside for fresh air
Bloomberg News
Shanghai vowed to step up enforcement of lockdown measures to stamp out community spread in the country’s worst virus outbreak, as the city reported 11 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday — its highest one-day toll so far.


China’s Oil Demand Is Tumbling the Most Since Wuhan Lockdown; Fuel consumption in April to drop 20% from year ago: sources; Shanghai vows to step up enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions
Bloomberg News
China is heading for the largest oil demand shock since the early days of the pandemic as the nation’s efforts to tame a rapidly spreading virus hobbles vast swathes of the economy. Demand for gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel in April is expected to slide 20% from a year earlier, according to people with inside knowledge of the country’s energy industry. That’s equivalent to a drop in crude oil consumption of 1.2 million barrels a day, they said. It will be the largest hit to demand since the lockdown of Wuhan more than two years ago. The central Chinese city was the epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic.

Malaysia Sovereign Fund Seeking Hedges as Inflation Risks Rise
Haslinda Amin and Yantoultra Ngui – Bloomberg
Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund is betting on real assets and health care investments to help cushion it from inflation that’s forcing central banks around the world to raise borrowing costs and eating into longer-term returns. “Inflation remains the biggest risk,” Khazanah Nasional Bhd. managing director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir said in a Bloomberg TV interview Thursday. “Inflation is on the top of people’s minds at the moment,” and how governments and central banks react to it.

Europe Braces for Diesel Deluge Even as Russian Flows Decline; Imports set to rise to the highest level since August 2019; Arrivals of Russian diesel to shrink to the lowest this year
Prejula Prem – Bloomberg
Europe’s diesel imports are set to soar to levels last seen before the pandemic, even as cargoes from top-supplier Russia subside. Shipments of diesel-type fuels to the continent are expected to jump to 1.45 million barrels a day this month, the highest since August 2019, according to Bloomberg calculations using data from energy analytics firm Vortexa Ltd.

How Europe’s Main Diesel Exchange Can Help Russia Keep Exporting
Jack Wittels and Archie Hunter – Bloomberg
Europe’s main commodities futures exchange is offering an anonymized conduit for Russian diesel to be supplied into the continent’s oil trading hub. Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in late February, a swath of companies said they were scaling back purchases from Moscow. In practice though, the nation’s oil and fuel is still flowing to export markets in large volumes.


Summer Camps Endangered By Wildfires, Smoke and Heat Waves; Parents and camp directors in California, Colorado and Arizona face hard choices as climate disasters threaten these programs.
Todd Woody – Bloomberg
As California parents sign up their offspring for summer camp amid forecasts of another potentially catastrophic wildfire season, an existential question looms over the annual ritual: will camp still be standing come July? The climate-driven megafires of recent years are threatening the future of summer camps, endangering a century-old tradition of spending school holidays in the pristine pine-scented air of the state’s lushly forested mountain ranges. Since 2013, wildfires in California have destroyed historic summer camps from Malibu to Tahoe. Urban camps, meanwhile are adapting to a new climate of uncertainty as heat waves and toxic smoke from faraway fires upend their business.

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