Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The massive money flowing into crypto is spilling over into the regulated derivatives markets with purchases of existing periphery exchanges. FTX has bought LedgerX to get a foothold into the world of CFTC regulated Designated Contract Markets and now Crypto.com has bought Nadex and the Small Exchange from IG Group. You could throw in Cboe buying ErisX as being related. It does have the impact of taking another peripheral DCM off the market and allows Cboe to pursue a cash and futures offering in crypto.
CME Group seems to be content to just offer digital asset futures contracts so far and buying a cash exchange might disrupt their crypto settlement partners. But let’s watch this.
JLN will be providing some coverage of the speeches and panels at FIA Asia-V next week. If any of the panelists or moderators would like to sit for a post-event interview, please contact me.
Thank you to all who gave on Giving Tuesday. Thank you also to those firms and their employees who give of their time and talents as part of their giving offerings.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
There’s obviously a lot happening in the crypto universe right now, so today’s seminar, “What’s Next for Crypto Derivatives?” hosted by CoinDesk and the CME Group at 11 a.m. ET should be timely. CME has a particular interest in the topic since it plans to launch Micro Ether futures on Monday, December 6, pending regulatory review. (The contract will pair with CME Micro Bitcoin futures, launched May 3, which reached an average daily volume of 27,600 contracts in November.) Register for today’s event here.~SC
OCC November 2021 Total Volume Up 40.2 Percent Compared to November 2020; Highest total volume month on record for U.S. listed options
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, announced today that November 2021 total cleared contract volume was 949,396,907 contracts, the highest volume month on record and up 40.2 percent compared to November 2020. Year-to-date average daily cleared contract volume through November 2021 was 39,469,816 contracts, up 34.7 percent compared to November 2020.
***** Options are HOT!!! ~JJL
CEX.IO Names Former Kraken and CME Group Executive Will Evans Managing Director in U.S.; Financial industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience to fuel the firm’s global and U.S. market expansion, developing its client base across the financial spectrum
CEX.IO, a global ecosystem of products and services that connects people and businesses to the cryptocurrency economy and decentralized finance, today announced the appointment of Will Evans as Managing Director, U.S. In this role, Evans will leverage his 25-plus years in strategic business development to accelerate growth of the company’s U.S. market presence, expanding awareness of CEX.IO offerings, while diversifying its comprehensive client base.
***** This is right up Will Evans’ alley. He was in business development and CME Ventures at the CME Group.~JJL
SEC Updates List of Firms Using Inaccurate Information to Solicit Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it updated its list of unregistered entities that use misleading information to solicit primarily non-U.S. investors, adding 82 soliciting entities, eight (8) impersonators of genuine firms, and one (1) bogus regulator.
****** You should check out the list. Some of the names are very compelling. On one site I visited, the English was very bad and the caucasian people they had listed as management sure looked like stock photos. ~JJL
Oil prices have tanked so hard traders are assuming planes won’t fly for 3 months: Goldman Sachs
Brian Sozzi – Yahoo Finance
Oil prices have come down way too fast on Omicron variant concerns, says Goldman Sachs oil strategist Damien Courvalin. In fact, the price correction is borderline comical, per Courvalin’s calculations. “The lack of discretionary buying activity in the face of an uncertain new COVID variant has therefore left prices in free-fall and pricing in a dire demand outlook. We estimate based on our pricing model, that the market has now priced in a mammoth c.7 mb/d [millions of barrels per day] negative demand hit over the next three months, with no offsetting OPEC+ response,” pointed out Courvalin in a new research note on Wednesday.
***** December, January, February. Whew! I should be good for Boca.~JJL
Why Canada is unlocking its vault of maple syrup
Mark Gollom – CBC News
Canada’s maple syrup industry has become an international focus in recent days, with headlines shouting that the country has been forced to tap into its strategic reserve to make up for shortages. Quebec produces about 73 per cent of all the maple syrup in the world. And the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP), an organization that governs the province’s maple syrup producers, has said it will release about 22.7 million kilograms of maple syrup from its strategic reserve into the market by February.
***** I did not know there was a strategic maple syrup reserve. What else is being stored like this?~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Nasdaq’s announcement, Nasdaq and AWS Partner to Transform Capital Markets, about Nasdaq moving its U.S. options market into the Amazon cloud. Second was Bloomberg’s story on the deal, Amazon Cloud Will Power Nasdaq U.S. Options Market Next Year. Third was How do I bank my crypto so I can spend it? Here are the benefits and barriers of some new services for digital currency, from MarketWatch via Yahoo Finance.
26,667 pages; 236,408 edits
Crypto.com Agrees to Acquire Nadex and the Small Exchange from IG Group; Proposed acquisition opens the potential for broader derivatives and futures trading for Crypto.com’s U.S. customers
Crypto.com, the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency and financial services platform, today announced that it has executed a sale and purchase agreement to acquire the North American Derivatives Exchange® (Nadex®) — a leading U.S.-based retail-focused, regulated online exchange and clearing house offering derivative products on some of the world’s most heavily traded markets — and the Small Exchange — a revolutionary futures exchange offering smaller, simpler products also aimed toward retail customers.
Crypto.com forges deal to buy two of IG Group’s US trading assets; Digital asset exchange makes push into highly regulated US derivatives market
Joshua Oliver – FT
Crypto.com, the fast-expanding Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, has forged a deal with IG Group to snap up two assets that would give it a foothold in the tightly regulated US derivatives market. The company, which grabbed attention last month when it paid $700m to rename Los Angeles’ main basketball arena, on Wednesday agreed to a $216m deal to buy IG’s stake in a US futures exchange and a binary trading group owned by the FTSE 250 company.
Venture Capital Funding for Crypto Companies Is Surging; It has risen more than in any other year, partly driven by the investing arms of large firms already in the crypto industry.
Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Venture capitalists have bet big on crypto start-ups in 2021, investing more than $27 billion globally as of late November, more than the previous 10 years combined, according to PitchBook. Many of the investments were made by the venture capital arms of crypto companies, businesses whose continued growth will depend on the ecosystem expanding.
Forget Shell. Amsterdam Stock Market’s Having a Knock-Out Year
Nikos Chrysoloras and Swetha Gopinath – Bloomberg
Dutch shares have outperformed this year, led by tech sector; Amsterdam is becoming a major hub for SPACs, new listings
At a time when Royal Dutch Shell Plc is moving its headquarters out of the Netherlands, Amsterdam might fear losing some of the momentum that’s made it continental Europe’s pre-eminent stock-trading centre.
Twenty Years After Enron, Investors Are Still Vulnerable to Fraud; Automated data processing and a lack of face-to-face contact make it harder for auditors to spot wrongdoing.
Greg Farrell – Bloomberg
The collapse of Enron, which filed for bankruptcy protection 20 years ago today, shook the capital markets and led directly to the demise of Arthur Andersen, the auditing firm that approved Enron’s annual statements and accounting acrobatics. The scandals led to new rules and laws for corporations and auditors that were meant to prevent future frauds of such massive scale. Two decades later, no similar blowups have occurred in U.S. markets. But it’s not clear that investors are any safer today than they were before Enron Corp. failed.
Crypto exchanges ‘thought they could throw a fastball’ by the SEC, but enforcement is coming, Chairs Gensler, Clayton warn
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
Bipartisan agreement is hard to come by in Washington, but there’s little daylight between Democrat Gary Gensler and his predecessor as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Republican Jay Clayton, on the issue of cryptocurrency regulation.
SEC Chief Says Crypto Exchanges Need Regulatory Oversight
Ben Bain – Bloomberg
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler doubled down on his calls for more oversight of cryptocurrency trading platforms on Wednesday, offering new insight into his priorities as he seeks to crack down on the digital coin industry.
Crypto Crackdown Awaits After SEC ‘Fastball’ Attempt, Feds Warn; SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and former SEC chair Jay Clayton discuss the unstoppable growth of cryptocurrencies.
Brenda Bouw – The Street
Cryptocurrency exchanges continue to feel the heat from the Securities and Exchange Commission over what regulators say is a lack of protection for people who invest in digital currencies. On Wednesday, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and former SEC chair Jay Clayton discussed the skyrocketing growth of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum at the Digital Asset Compliance & Market Integrity Summit. The pair acknowledged the promise of new payment technologies but flagged the potential for fraud, scams and other abuse without the right investor backstops.
World Stock Exchange: 24-hour trade would lift liquidity and cut costs; Paul Marshall’s vision of vibrant 24-hour trading based in New York is not entirely fantastical
LEX – FT
Dismissing the London Stock Exchange as “Jurassic Park” is harsh. But hedge fund boss Paul Marshall, writing this week in the Financial Times, made a valid point. Income funds are a powerful force in the UK. Their hunger for dividends deters fast-growing start-ups from listing.
‘Sterling Lads’ Forex Fix Earns Banks $390 Million in Fines
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
EU fined HSBC, Credit Suisse, RBS, Barclays over cartel roles; Trader chatroom was used to fix forex prices, says EU
HSBC Holdings Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Barclays Plc, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc were fined 344 million euros ($390 million) by the European Commission for their involvement in a foreign-exchange price fixing cartel.
Fidelity Heads North — to Canada — With Bitcoin ETF as U.S. Fund Awaits SEC Approval
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest asset managers, plans to join the spate of companies offering investors access to Bitcoin through a Canadian ETF with U.S. regulators balking at approval of the funds. The Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF will invest in Bitcoin directly or through derivative instruments, and customers will be able to make purchases in the fund with Canadian or U.S. dollars, according to a Nov. 22 filing. The exchange-traded fund, which would be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker FBTC, could be launched as soon as Thursday.
FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign: China fights a financial fraud explosion; Tens of thousands are falling victim to fraud despite government attempts to combat the scammers
Sun Yu and Thomas Hale – FT
When Jenny Fan got a phone call in early February she thought she had won a lucky draw. The caller, who said he represented a skincare company, told Jenny — a college sophomore in the northern Chinese province of Hebei — that she was eligible for Rmb1,000 (£117) in compensation. The reason? Three months previously she had bought a Rmb200 facial cream that didn’t work on her skin.
Hedge funds wage pandemic battle for top traders; Multi-manager funds are driving traders’ compensation sky-high after thriving during coronavirus crisis
Laurence Fletcher – FT
As investors race to size up the threat from the Omicron coronavirus variant, one corner of the hedge fund industry needs no reminding that the pandemic moves markets. Helped by diversified portfolios and an ability to slash or raise their level of risk quickly, multi-manager funds including Millennium Management and Citadel have been among the industry’s winners in the wild markets of the past two years.
China’s rising vulnerability to foreign investors; Increased holdings of Chinese assets has conferred new power over the economy
Russell Napier – FT
For the first time foreigners have a large enough position in renminbi-denominated securities to influence Chinese monetary policy. Foreign investment in China has historically focused on direct investment, and investment in portfolio assets was largely confined to foreign currency denominated debt.
China’s Digital Currency Challenge: Winning Hearts and Minds; Policy makers world-wide are watching to see how Beijing goes about replacing cash
James T. Areddy – WSJ
China has convinced financial policy makers everywhere of its resolve to create a digital version of its currency, even helping to spur the Federal Reserve to study developing an electronic version of the dollar. The tougher battle might be persuading China’s consumers that they need the digital yuan, known officially as e-CNY.
AstraZeneca to Scrap Plan for U.S. Covid Booster Study
Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
A trial center tells enrollees to seek Moderna, Pfizer booster; Drugmaker declines to comment on letter to test participants
AstraZeneca Plc is dropping plans to test its Covid-19 vaccine as a booster in the U.S., according to a letter sent to participants in the clinical trial that urged volunteers to seek a third dose elsewhere.
South African Covid Daily Cases Double as Omicron Takes Hold
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
Daily infections rose to 8,561, test positivity at 16.5%; Travel bans imposed on Southern Africa, markets roiled
South Africa’s daily number of confirmed Covid-19 cases almost doubled from Tuesday as the omicron variant spreads across the country. The country recorded 8,561 infections in the last 24 hours and a positivity rate of 16.5% on tests, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Omicron Found in 74% of Covid-19 Samples in South Africa in November
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
The omicron variant was found in 74% of the 249 Covid-19 samples that were gene sequenced in South Africa in November, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.
Hong Kong to Launch China-Style Health Code on Dec. 10
Kari Soo Lindberg – Bloomberg
New app will know a user’s name, address and travel history; Hong Kong has prioritized opening up to China over elsewhere
Hong Kong will launch a China-style health code on Dec. 10 that puts the city’s tracking capabilities on par with the mainland, as the two sides prepare to resume quarantine-free travel. The Hong Kong Health Code will record a user’s real name, address and identification number, Secretary for Innovation and Technology Alfred Sit said at a news conference Thursday. The voluntary app is designed to be compatible with systems in neighboring Macau and Guangdong province in southern China, Sit added.
Omicron Could Overtake Delta in Europe in Months, ECDC Says
Kevin Whitelaw – Bloomberg
The omicron variant is spreading so quickly that it could account for more than half of Covid-19 cases in Europe in a few months, a key European health agency said on Thursday.
GSK says early data suggest its Covid drug is effective against Omicron; UK medicines regulator approves antibody treatment sotrovimab for high-risk patients
Hannah Kuchler – FT
GlaxoSmithKline’s Covid-19 antibody treatment is likely to be able to tackle the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to early data, after rival pharmaceutical groups raised concerns about whether this type of drug would remain effective.
Biden to unveil free rapid tests in bid to curb spread of Omicron variant; White House will announce measures including mask mandate to combat spread of new coronavirus strains
Kiran Stacey – FT
Americans will no longer have to pay for at-home Covid-19 tests under plans Joe Biden will announce on Thursday to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, a day after the first case was confirmed in the US.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
CME Group Reports November 2021 Monthly Market Statistics
Overall ADV increased 20% year-over-year; Interest Rate ADV rose 40%, driven by SOFR futures ADV growth of 251%; Daily trading volume surpassed 25 million contracts eight times during the month of November
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today reported its November 2021 market statistics, showing average daily volume (ADV) increased 20% to 23.1 million contracts during the month. Market statistics are available in greater detail at https://cmegroupinc.gcs-web.com/monthly-volume.
Grab to start trading on Nasdaq after world’s biggest Spac deal; South-east Asian super app offers food delivery, ride-hailing and financial services
Mercedes Ruehl – FT
Singapore-based Grab will start trading on Nasdaq on Thursday after concluding a record $40bn merger deal with a blank cheque company. The south-east Asian super app, the most valuable technology company in the region, offers food delivery, ride-hailing and financial services. It drew backing from global investors including T Rowe Price, Temasek, BlackRock, Fidelity and Mubadala for the deal.
Extension of enhanced volume rebate methodology: Amendments to the Price List
This circular contains information with respect to the service offering of Eurex Clearing AG (Eurex Clearing) and introduces amendments to the Price List of Eurex Clearing AG (Price List) regarding the following topic: Extension of enhanced volume rebate methodology until 31 December 2022.
Irish Life Investment Managers Selects ICE Index for Irish Life Euro Sustainable Corporate Bond Fund
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced that Irish Life Investment Managers (ILIM) has licensed an ICE ESG Fixed Income index, the ICE ILIM Sustainable Euro Corporate Bond Index, for its Irish Life Euro Sustainable Corporate Bond Fund.
ICE Publishes Contract Rules and Procedures and Crude Oil Quality Specification for Midland WTI American Gulf Coast Futures Contract; Midland WTI will be Underpinned by Magellan and Enterprise’s Combined Pipeline, Storage and Marine Export Facilities in the Houston Area
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced the changes which ICE plans to implement to the ICE Permian West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude Oil futures contract (ICE: HOU) as it is restructured to become the ICE Midland WTI American Gulf Coast (Midland WTI AGC) futures contract.
Two new companies and a partner join BME’s Pre-Market Environment
18 companies are already part of this open training, coaching and networking programme, which accelerates the process of access to the capital markets; The partners help to identify companies with growth potential, collaborate in the training sessions and take part in the networking with investors and companies
BME’s Pre-Market Environment (EpM), BME’s programme aimed at helping SME growth companies learn how capital markets work and how to gain access to private and institutional investors, incorporates two companies , Macco Robotics and Colectual, and a new partner, Solventis.
ED&F Man Capital Markets transforms risk and margin management with SaaS solution; The commodities merchant says it has already seen improvements to data management, aggregation and reporting capabilities since deploying the platform.
Anita Hawser – The Trade
Agricultural commodities merchant ED&F Man Capital Markets has implemented TS Imagine’s fully-hosted, SaaS solution for high-volume, real-time analytics on cross-asset exchange and OTC trading.
FactSet expands asset class offering with new fixed income trading capabilities; The new offering on FactSet’s Portware trading solution will allow clients to trade efficiently across more asset classes.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Integrated financial information provider FactSet has added fixed income trading capabilities to its Portware execution management system (EMS), which already supports electronic trading and automation services in listed assets and foreign exchange.
FlexTrade EMS and Tradefeedr integration to improve FX execution quality; One buy-side firm is already live with the integrated solution which reduces significant operational burdens in producing aggregated, normalised FX data.
Anita Hawser – The Trade
FlexTrade has integrated Tradefeedr’s unified data analytics into its FlexTRADER EMS to improve the speed and quality of FX trading decision making. A European buy-side firm, is the first FlexTrade customer to go live with the integrated solution, which provides access to real-time, analysis-ready FX data.
Instinet launches BlockCross solution into Canada after successful EMEA rollout; Service will allow traders to route conditional, block-size orders to Instinet’s Canadian alternative trading system (ATS), Instinet Canada Cross.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Instinet has launched its block trading securities solution into Canada after a successful rollout into Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at the end of 2019. Clients can now trade Canadian securities on BlockCross alongside European ones using its order management interface, routing conditional and block-sized orders to Instinet Canada Cross, its alternative trading system (ATS).
SEBA Bank and GenTwo Digital launch crypto or blended AMCs; Blended Actively Managed Certificates, using crypto and traditional assets, are a new addition to the AMC landscape.
Anita Hawser – The Trade
Swiss digital asset start-up SEBA Bank and securitisation platform GenTwo Digital have launched blended Actively Managed Certificates (AMCs) that combine crypto and traditional assets. Combined with the GenTwo Digital securitisation platform, SEBA Bank’s end-to-end offering in digital and traditional assets will allow asset managers, banks, and family offices, to build bankable products based not only on crypto but on traditional underlying assets as well, and then offer them to their clients in the form of AMCs. This eliminates the complexities and frictions involved in setting up custom investment products, it says.
TNS Provides Essential Trading Services Connectivity to Asia; Market-leading layer 1 infrastructure delivers lowest latency solutions
Transaction Network Services (TNS), a market leader in capital markets client and counterpart connectivity and the first to market with a Layer 1 network solution, has invested significantly in its backbone to provide high performance global connectivity for clients tapping the plethora of opportunities developing in Asia.
Goldman Sachs unveils Amazon-backed cloud service for Wall Street trading firms
Hugh Son – CNBC
Goldman Sachs is getting into the cloud computing business. The bank is opening up access to its trove of market data and software tools to hedge funds and asset managers in an offering designed with Amazon’s cloud division, CNBC has learned exclusively.
Verity Offers Investors Access to Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings and Controversies Research; Leveraging Sustainalytics’ ESG research and ratings, investment analysts and portfolio managers can integrate ESG considerations into their investment decision-making
Verity, a leading provider of research management software, data and analytics, today announced that Sustainalytics’ ESG Research and Ratings reports are now available through the Verity Platform. Sustainalytics is a Morningstar Company and a leading global provider of ESG research, ratings and data. Verity was formed as a result of the strategic merger between MackeyRMS and InsiderScore.
KRM22 partners with Currency.com to deliver traditional capital market control to the crypto industry
KRM22 is pleased to announce a partnership with Currency.com, the high-growth European crypto platform, with the implementation of KRM22 Market Surveillance product. An exciting opportunity to add to our growing cryptocurrency client base and continue to drive industry and regulatory standards through Market Surveillance.
FBI seized roughly $2.3 million in cryptocurrency tied to ransomware attacks
Sean Lyngaas – CNN
US law enforcement officials in August seized roughly $2.3 million in cryptocurrency tied to ransomware attacks committed by a Russian resident, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday. Aleksandr Sikerin, whose last known address was in St. Petersburg, Russia, is affiliated with a notorious ransomware gang known as REvil that has cost US businesses millions of dollars, the Justice Department alleged in a complaint filed in the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division.
Privacy & Cybersecurity Update – November 2021
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP – JDSupra
In this month’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Update, we examine the FBI’s warning to companies regarding cyberattacks targeting confidential M&A activity, as well as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s directive ordering federal agencies to remediate cybersecurity vulnerabilities. We also take a look at a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners showing a steep rise in cyber insurance premiums, New York state’s new anti-robocall laws, newly approved European guidelines for international data transfers and the U.K. Supreme Court’s decision involving a data protection suit.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Invests Heavily in Cybersecurity
McDermott Will & Emery – JDSupra
On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), unleashing over $1 trillion of federal money to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure and fund other key programs and initiatives. In addition to appropriating billions of dollars to improving transportation networks, expanding broadband internet accessibility and promoting clean energy projects, the bill allocates $2 billion to strengthening the nation’s cyber defenses. As we explain below, this is part of a broad whole-of-government approach on cybersecurity—implicating both public and private entities.
CISA announces members of team providing advice on cybersecurity threats
Maggie Miller – TheHill
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Wednesday announced the establishment of its Cybersecurity Advisory Committee and the nearly two dozen members who will provide input on efforts to enhance cybersecurity defense priorities.
The committee will include 23 individuals from government, key industry groups across multiple sectors, and leaders in nonprofit groups and journalism. They include Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D); cybersecurity group Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia; former Facebook Chief Technology Officer Alex Stamos; and Jeff Moss, founder of the Def Con hacking conference.
KuCoin Labs claims metaverse will challenge Internet 2.0
Teuta Franjkovic – Coin Rivet
KuCoin Labs, the investment and research force of crypto exchange KuCoin, has released its 2021-Q3 ‘Crypto Industry Report’. The dossier is mainly focused on the trending topics in the crypto space such as financial and economic attributes of GameFi that will probably continue to capture users.
Square changes its name to ‘Block’ as part of broader push into crypto
MK Manoylov – The Block
Jack Dorsey’s payment firm Square is rebranding the name of its corporate entity to “Block,” according to a company announcement on Wednesday. The change will become official on December 10.
DeFi protocol BadgerDAO exploited for $120 million in front-end attack
Tim Copeland – The Block
DeFi protocol BadgerDAO was exploited earlier today for $120 million; It appears that its front end was compromised and users were tricked into making unwanted transactions.
DeFi protocol BadgerDAO has fallen victim to a large hack. According to security researchers PeckShield, $120.3 million was stolen from users of the protocol.
ICOA announces launch of NFT program with the Transforming Education Donor Fund and Scholas Occurrentes to promote educational opportunities for students in under-developed countries around the world
ICOA, Inc. (OTC PINK: ICOA) (“ICOA” or the “Company”) a publicly traded Nevada company and a national provider of wireless and wired broadband Internet networks in high-traffic public locations, currently entering the DeFi, Blockchain, Crypto and NFT space through multiple acquisitions, announces the launch of an initiative with the Transforming Education Donor Fund and Scholas Occurrentes which will work to support their mission of fostering education across the globe.
Brexit fears hold back US-UK trade deal; Washington concerned that London’s threats to override Northern Ireland protocol will undermine peace in region
Aime Williams and Andy Bounds – FT
The US is delaying a deal to remove Trump-era tariffs on UK steel and aluminium because of Washington’s concerns about London’s threats to change post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland.
Advocates for cannabis banking reform hope to slip change through by the end of the year
Ben Werschkul – Yahoo Finance
The House of Representatives has now passed legislation five times to make it easier for cannabis companies to access the banking system and process customer payments.
Governors of 23 states have called for the bill to get over the finish line but each effort has fallen short of the president’s desk so far. The latest attempt for the bill’s passage, called the SAFE Banking Act, is a bit of a bank-shot set to play out in coming weeks.
Advocates, led by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D., Colo.), want to attach the legislation to the much larger National Defense Authorization bill, the annual “must-pass” legislation to fund military operations around the world that Congress needs to enact by Jan. 1, 2022.
Cryptocurrency firm executives to testify before Congress
The top executives of eight major cryptocurrency firms, including Coinbase Global Inc , will testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Dec. 8, the panel announced on Wednesday. The hearing marks the first time major players in the rapidly growing crypto markets will testify before lawmakers, as policymakers grapple with the implications of the new financial product and how to best regulate it.
Members of hacking group sentenced for stealing millions in cryptocurrency
The Justice Department on Tuesday announced the sentencing of the last member of an international hacking group indicted for allegedly stealing millions in cryptocurrency as part of a “SIM hijacking” effort. Missouri-based Garrett Endicott, the sixth and final member of a hacking group known as “The Community,” was sentenced Monday to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of more than $120,000 for his part in the cryptocurrency scheme.
OCC Chief Counsel Clarifies Bank Authority to Engage in Crypto
Moorari Shah, A.J. S. Dhaliwal – Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP via The National Law Review
On November 18, the Chief Counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a fourth interpretive letter (Letter 1179) regarding whether it is permissible for national banks and federal savings associations to engage in certain cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, and stablecoin activities. The letter clarifies ambiguities in the previous three letters including the authority of a bank to engage in certain cryptocurrency activities and the authority of the OCC to charter a national trust bank.
HSBC, Credit Suisse, Others Fined for ‘Sterling Lads’ Currency Cartel; European Union imposes collective penalties of around $400 million on the banks
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
European Union authorities fined four banks close to $400 million for manipulating the foreign-currency market by exchanging sensitive information and trading plans, including through an online chat room dubbed “Sterling Lads.” HSBC HSBC 0.61% Holdings PLC received the largest fine—EUR174 million, the equivalent of $197 million—followed by Credit Suisse AG CS -1.14% , Barclays BCS -0.10% PLC and NatWest Group NWG -1.42% PLC, formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland. UBS Group AG, which revealed the existence of the cartel formed by the banks, received full immunity, the European Commission said Thursday.
ASIC consults on communicating audit review findings to directors
ASIC is seeking feedback on its proposals to change its approach to the communication of audit quality findings identified from ASIC’s review of audit files to the directors of the entities audited.
Reminder: Increases to NFA Member swap dealer and major swap participant dues effective January 1, 2022
NFA Bylaw 1301 imposes annual dues on NFA Member swap dealers (SD) and major swap participants (MSP). The current annual dues amounts have remained unchanged, except for a reduction in MSP annual dues, since NFA established its swap regulatory program in 2013. Given the expansion of NFA’s swaps regulatory program over the past eight years, NFA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the following increases to these annual dues amounts, which will become effective January 1, 2022 for dues payable after that date:
FCA confirms new Listing Rules to boost growth and innovation on UK stock markets
The FCA has today confirmed a series of rule changes to ensure that the UK’s public markets remain a trusted and attractive place to list successful companies, providing opportunities for companies to grow from which investors will benefit.
FSA Weekly Review
Preparation for permanent cessation of LIBOR
On March 5, 2021, ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) has announced that it intends to cease the publication of LIBOR based on the current methodology referencing rates provided by panel banks (panel-based LIBOR) immediately after end-2021 except for certain US dollar LIBOR settings. While LIBOR is mainly referenced in derivative contracts such as interest rate swaps, it is also quoted in a significant number of cash products including corporate loans and bonds. Additionally, it is used in wide range of users, including not only financial institutions but also non-financial corporate and institutional investors. In this regard, there is the possibility of disruption to users if LIBOR were ceased without sufficient preparation.
Press Conference by SUZUKI Shunichi, Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Financial Services
Investing and Trading
CEOs and insiders sell a record $69 billion of their stock, and the year isn’t over yet
Robert Frank – NBC
CEOs and corporate insiders have sold a record $69 billion in stock in 2021, as looming tax hikes and lofty share prices encourage many to take profits. From Satya Nadella at Microsoft to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, CEOs, founders and insiders have been cashing in their stock at the highest pace on record. As of Monday, sales by insiders are up 30% from 2020 to $69 billion, and up 79% versus a 10-year average, according to InsiderScore/Verity, which excludes sales by large institutional holders.
The Scramble for EV Battery Metals Is Just Beginning; Global miners have an opportunity to sell ESG-friendly natural resources to the automotive and energy industries, but it will require investment
Stephen Wilmot – WSJ
Making the global economy more environmentally sustainable will require a lot more natural resources. This is an irony the mining industry will need both to exploit and to defuse. Electric vehicles highlight the problematic opportunity for miners. Although a Tesla or Porsche Taycan doesn’t have a tailpipe and usually generates much less carbon than a traditional car over a multiyear lifespan, its big lithium-ion battery requires more metal than an internal combustion engine. Consulting firm Rystad Energy expects annual lithium demand from EVs and energy storage to rise by a factor of more than 20 times by 2030 compared with last year’s level.
Renewable Natural Gas Firm Opal Fuels to Go Public in $2 Billion SPAC Merger; Opal Fuels recovers methane from landfills and dairy farms to make a diesel-fuel alternative; it is combining with blank-check firm ArcLight Clean Transition II
Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Renewable natural-gas producer Opal Fuels LLC is merging with a special-purpose acquisition company to go public with a valuation of roughly $2 billion, the companies said. White Plains, N.Y.,-based Opal produces renewable natural gas, or RNG, by capturing methane from landfills and dairy farms and converting it into an alternative to diesel fuel. It then delivers RNG to trucking customers such as United Parcel Service Inc. and Waste Management Inc. with fuel stations in 42 states. RNG can also be sold to utilities or turned into green hydrogen fuel, Opal says.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
McDonald’s Struggles to Fix Its Massive Methane Problem; Long-running promises to curb the planet-warming impact of McDonald’s hamburgers still haven’t resulted in a smaller carbon footprint for its fast food.
Ben Elgin – Bloomberg
With a sprawling empire of 39,000 restaurants in 119 countries, McDonald’s Corp. serves more beef than any other restaurant chain on the planet — between one to two percent of the world’s total. Selling hundreds of hamburgers every second has entrenched the fast-food giant as an outsized contributor to climate change.
Carbon Capture: The Vacuum the Climate May Depend On
Eric Roston and Leslie Kaufman – Bloomberg
The most recent report by the world’s top climate scientists was alarmingly clear: If we are to avoid the most calamitous consequences of warming our planet, we must get as good at taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as we’ve been at putting it in. Even if solar panels and wind turbines sprout like mushrooms, reaching “net-zero” is going to require capturing large amounts of emissions from activities that are hard to decarbonize, like making cement. Holding temperatures down will also require vacuuming huge amounts of carbon out of the air. The challenge is that current technology for both these tasks is a long, long way from being able to reach these goals.
Asset managers fail to act on pledges to divest from Brazil over deforestation; Lack of action by institutional investors comes as rate of rainforest clearing hits 15-year high
Bryan Harris and Michael Stott – FT
Several European investment groups that last year threatened to divest from Brazil over soaring deforestation have not done so, even as new figures show the pace of destruction of the Amazon rainforest is at its worst since 2006.
Britain Turns to Bankers to Blaze a Green Trail; The financial industry will be relied on to meet climate goals. NatWest, a lender to oil giants, provides a template.
Eshe Nelson – NY Times
Advocates descended on the streets of Glasgow last month, pressing banks and other financial institutions at 26th United Nations climate summit to be more responsible stewards of the climate. But a bank based just 50 miles east of the Scottish city is already showing what that might look like.
Top ESG Launches Of The Year
Jessica Ferringer – ETF.com
As of the end of November, there have been more than 40 socially responsible ETFs launched this year.
If you step back to view the broad ESG category, the largest launch in the history of ETFs occurred earlier this year when the BlackRock U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTU) ended its first day of trading with more than $1 billion.
However, that launch overshadows the numerous interesting debuts made in the ESG space this year. Three in particular seem to have caught on with investors, with assets reaching the $100 million milestone.
Goldman’s Leaders Push New, Creative Ways to Juice Their Own Pay; In a get-rich era, bank leaders feel the urge to keep up — without being too obvious about it
Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
For decades, a top spot at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was seen as the pinnacle of money and power. But in today’s era of hyper-wealth creation, the bank’s most senior leaders have come to believe they’re not getting paid enough. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon and his deputies, who’ve contended with mounting pressure to reward trainees this year, have been searching for ways to juice their own eight-digit pay packages.
Three Ex-Goldman Bankers Get Eisler Backing for Their Substack Rival
Donal Griffin – Bloomberg
Three former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers have secured the backing of Edward Eisler for a media startup that looks to challenge blogging platforms like WordPress and Substack Inc. Traders Alfred Mallol and Majid Sebti, as well as software engineer Joan Cots have raised $5 million in early funding for Excerp, according to a statement Wednesday. Among the backers of the friends-and-family round is hedge fund manager Eisler, another ex-Goldman executive.
Toronto-Dominion Profit Tops Estimates on Canadian Recovery
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
Housing strength in Canada, consumer spending boost lending; U.S. business loans slip as government support damps demand
Toronto-Dominion Bank’s Canadian operation is getting a boost from a rebound in consumer spending and the continued strength of the country’s housing market. Profit in the Canadian retail business rose 19% to C$2.14 billion ($1.7 billion) in the fiscal fourth quarter, the Toronto-based bank said Thursday in a statement. Overall profit topped analysts’ estimates.
CIBC Misses Analysts’ Profit Estimates as Expenses Accelerate
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is having a harder time keeping costs in check as inflation picks up and the lender invests in its domestic consumer franchise. Non-interest expenses rose 7.4% from the third quarter to C$3.14 billion ($2.5 billion), the Toronto-based bank said Thursday in a statement. That’s an acceleration from the previous 5.9% quarter-over-quarter gain it reported in August. Overall profit trailed analysts’ estimates.
HSBC chief warns post-Brexit fragmentation could raise costs; ECB has been pushing banks to move more staff and capital from London to Europe
Stephen Morris and Owen Walker – FT
HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn says there is a risk of higher costs for banks and their clients if Brexit leads to a more fragmented European market. The European Central Bank has been putting pressure on banks to move more staff and capital out of London to Europe. Some bank bosses are worried this will lead to duplicated roles and less efficient allocation of resources.
Abrdn seals £1.5bn Interactive Investor deal in retail push; Acquisition is boldest move yet by the FTSE 100 asset manager as it seeks to reignite growth
Harriet Agnew and Joshua Oliver – FT
Abrdn has struck a £1.5bn deal to buy Interactive Investor, the UK’s second-largest funds supermarket, as the FTSE 100 asset manager turns to the fast-growing army of retail investors to reignite growth.
Fidelity set to launch physical spot bitcoin ETF; The top-tier manager applied to launch a similar product in the US, but the SEC has only approved bitcoin futures ETFs
Steve Johnson – FT
Fidelity Investments will this week become the largest asset manager to launch a cryptocurrency exchange traded fund. The Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF (FBTC) is designed to invest in “physical” spot bitcoin, a model the US Securities and Exchange Commission has so far rejected, rather than bitcoin futures contracts, which the US financial regulator has permitted.
Goldman asset management arm takes tough stance on companies’ board diversity; GSAM to vote against groups that do not have a minimum number of female and minority board members
Patrick Temple-West – FT
Goldman Sachs has said its asset management business will vote against big companies that do not have a minimum number of female and minority board members from next year, in a decision that could affect thousands of companies.
Apollo to Buy Griffin Capital Units in Push to Reach Wealthy Individuals; Deal will add about $5 billion of assets under management in products designed for individual investors
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Apollo Global Management Inc. APO -0.18% has agreed to buy the U.S. wealth-distribution and asset-management businesses of Griffin Capital Co., marking a big step in the investment giant’s plan to expand its offerings for wealthy individuals.
Tourists Lose Bid to Claim Damage in Virus-Hit Austrian Resort
Marton Eder – Bloomberg
A court in Austria has rejected civil claims filed by two German tourists seeking damages for how local authorities responded to one of the earliest coronavirus outbreaks in Europe. The Vienna Civil Court closed the case without hearing witnesses, arguing it couldn’t be proved that the pair had contracted the virus in the resort of Ischgl, according to the Consumer Protection Association, which is representing about 6,000 claimants related to the events in March 2020.
Study: Climate Change Not Causing Madagascar Drought, Famine
Seth Borenstein – AP
Don’t blame climate change for the devastating Madagascar drought and famine, scientists said in a new analysis Wednesday. World Weather Attribution, which does real time studies of extreme weather throughout the world, examined the drought, which has left Madagascar with 60% of its normal rainfall from July 2019 to June 2021.
Cargill Reaches Tentative Deal with Union for Canadian Plant
Michael Hirtzer and Jen Skerritt – Bloomberg
Offer includes 21% wage increase over the life of contract; Union members to vote on deal as Dec. 6 strike deadline looms
U.S. meatpacking giant Cargill Inc. reached a tentative deal with the union representing about 2,000 workers at one of Canada’s biggest beef plants, bringing the sides closer to averting a strike that threatens to disrupt the country’s meat supply.
Singapore’s First Wave SPACs Said to Move Ahead With Filing Plan
Elffie Chew and Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Novo Tellus, Tikehau and Vertex near to lodging prospectuses; City-state could see first SPAC listing before year-end
Vertex Holdings Ltd., a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte, and European asset manager Tikehau Capital are preparing to lodge preliminary prospectuses for blank-check company listings in the city-state as soon as next week, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Argentina Pitches Its Weak Currency to Attract ‘Digital Nomads’; To make up for lost tourism, Buenos Aires wants international remote workers to take advantage of favorable exchange rates.
Patrick Gillespie – Bloomberg
Buenos Aires has a unique pitch to prospective remote workers: Bring your foreign currency and get more than your money would buy elsewhere — a lot more. A city campaign to lure people that get paid in dollars, pounds and other currencies for extended stays touts that Argentina has “the most competitive exchange rate in the region” and “we are a very affordable city!” It’s part of a marketing message that includes a potential 12-month visa for remote workers, along with the benefits of Buenos Aires: Warm weather, bucolic boulevards, good food and relative safety compared with other cities in Latin America.
Turkey’s finance minister resigns amid plunge in lira; Lutfi Elvan steps down and is replaced by Erdogan loyalist Nureddin Nebati
Laura Pitel – FT
Turkey’s finance minister has resigned and been replaced by a loyalist to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a sharp plunge in the lira. Lutfi Elvan, who was seen as the last remaining voice of economic orthodoxy in the Turkish leader’s cabinet, asked to be relieved of his duties, according to the country’s official gazette.