Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The STA is holding the 88th Annual Market Structure Conference in person on October 6-8 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC with the title “The Great Return.” That is a very good title and it is a very good conference. Register HERE.
There are many kinds of fraud in the markets, and in response the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued fraud advisories over the years. Here is the list of fraud advisories they have issued:
– Commodity Pool Fraud
– Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud
– Precious Metals Fraud
– Commodity Trading Systems Sold on the Internet
– Profits Based on Seasonal Demand or Other Well-Known Public Information
– Profits from the War on Terrorism
– Phony Futures and Options Websites
– False Promises of Profits as a Result of Natural Disasters
– Binary Options and Fraud
And if you see any of these types of fraud, you can let the CFTC know at Submit a Tip.
SGX has acquired MaxxTrader from FlexTrade Systems for a cash consideration of approximately US$125 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed by December 2021. SGX said “Together with wholly-owned subsidiary, BidFX, the acquisition paves the way for SGX to build an integrated and scalable FX platform that will become AsiaâEUR™s largest one-stop venue for international FX OTC and futures participants.” — SGX
Also, SGX has issued the following notice on its website: “As at 23 Jul 2021 04:42 PM | Please be informed that due to website maintenance, there will be intermittent access to our site from 08:00 am 24 July 2021 to 08:00 pm 25 July 2021 (Singapore time). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The NFA is looking to add to their Compliance, OTC Derivatives, IT and Human Resources teams in their Chicago and New York offices. If you are interested in exploring careers with the NFA, you can find more information HERE. Joining NFA as an intern and then as a full-time employee was a great experience for Robin Wood, who was interviewed for our MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity series.
I had a fat finger error of sorts with Amazon. I was trying to buy a gift card for my cousin JackâEUR™s daughter, Margaret, but I was having issues with the Amazon website. It was not responding to my purchase. Evidently I pushed the link 25 times for a $25 gift card and she received 25 gift cards from me totaling $625 in value. I love my cousinâEUR™s daughter that much, but I was not trying to express it that way.
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
âEUR˜Weed Out the DreamersâEUR™ to Make Hemp Sustainable
In a midyear update with JLN, PanXchange CEO Julie Lerner says the hemp industry needs to turn its focus to farm economics; sees continued promise in carbon credits.
Mask Wearing Is Back. Going Back to the Office Might Be Delayed. The Covid Crisis IsnâEUR™t Over.
Josh Nathan-Kazis – Barron’s
As a new wave of Covid-19 infections arrives in the U.S., dimming hopes for a near-term economic recovery, President Joe BidenâEUR™s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that some vaccinated people may want to consider wearing masks indoors again. Fauci acknowledged on a CNBC interview late Wednesday there have been a growing number of breakthrough Covid-19 infections in vaccinated people as the Delta variant has spread, but said that the available vaccines offer strong protection against severe disease caused by Delta.
******As I have been saying, I have not yet seen a fat lady in horns getting ready to sing.~JJL
Doubts cloud hopes of a Labor Day office comeback; The Delta virus variant and transport problems could thwart companies who want staff back at their desks
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – FT
Labor Day has long provided a unique punctuation mark in the US calendar, branding the first Monday of September as the unofficial end of summer. After that day, crowded beaches, national parks and Hamptons restaurants fall quiet as children return to school and adults get back to business.
***** Maybe next year.~JJL
Harry Rosenfeld, Who Saw News in a âEUR˜Third-Rate Burglary,âEUR™ Dies at 91; He assigned Woodward and Bernstein to follow the Watergate break-in for The Washington Post and fended off efforts to supplant them.
Sam Roberts – NY Times
Harry M. Rosenfeld, who injected his brash brand of journalism into The Washington Post, where he oversaw the two reporters who transformed a local crime story into the national Watergate corruption scandal that toppled the Nixon administration, died on July 16 at his home in upstate Slingerlands, N.Y. He was 91. The cause was complications of Covid-19, his daughter Amy Rosenfeld Kaufman said.
***** We all want editors like Harry.~JJL
Study Finds âEUR˜Single Largest DriverâEUR™ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump; Cornell University researchers analyzing 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that President Trump was the largest driver of the âEURœinfodemic.âEUR
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Noah Weiland – NY Times
Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump. That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall âEURœmisinformation conversation,âEUR making the president the largest driver of the âEURœinfodemicâEUR âEUR” falsehoods involving the pandemic.
***** There is a responsibility when one has great power to use it for good. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our most read story on Thursday was Gold Trader’s Chat Bragged About ‘How Easy’ It Is to Manipulate Prices, from Yahoo Finance. Second was Young Talent Isn’t Following the Money to Wall Street, a Bloomberg opinion piece. Third was our MarketsWiki page for Thom Thompson, whose last day as an editor for John Lothian News is today. We will miss him and his illuminating stories and opinion pieces on legal and other matters.
26,490 pages; 234,702 edits
Crypto Nomads: Surfing the World for Risk and Profit; A new generation of industry leaders have set up offshore trading exchanges largely beyond the reach of American regulators.
Eric Lipton and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
It is just after midnight in Hong Kong, and Sam Bankman-Fried stares at the trading data on his six monitors, watching a global cryptocurrency crash happening in real time. Mr. Bankman-Fried, a 29-year-old from California, often works around the clock, as he was on that May evening. He naps on a beanbag set up near his computer. A folded up blanket sits on the floor. HeâEUR™s worth at least $8 billion, on paper.
SGX acquires FlexTrade FX OMS for $125 million; SGXâEUR™s proposed acquisition of MaxxTrader for $125 million from FlexTrade Systems follows its acquisition of the remaining stake in BidFX in June last year.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Singapore Exchange (SGX) has agreed to acquire the FX order management system (OMS) from FlexTrade Systems, MaxxTrader, for $125 million in a bid to further expand its FX remit. The transaction, which is expected to be completed by December, will accelerate SGXâEUR™s ongoing plans to build an FX ecosystem and marketplace that offers access to clients globally looking to trade over the counter (OTC) and on-exchange currency derivatives.
U.S. SEC chair says agency to restart swaps regulation effort
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to embark on a renewed effort to write “long overdue” rules for the registration and regulation of security-based swap execution facilities, Chair Gary Gensler said on Wednesday.
Water Shortages Threaten Iran With Political and Economic Apocalypse; The countryâEUR™s own environmental expert has predicted massive population displacement as provincial aquifers on the verge of running dry.
Bobby Ghosh – Bloomberg
Amid the escalating protests over water shortages in IranâEUR™s oil-producing Khuzestan province, government officials in Tehran are unable to fall back on the old excuse that nobody could have seen the crisis coming. They themselves did. In 2015, Isa Kalantari, a former Iranian agriculture minister, warned that water scarcity would force 50 million Iranians âEUR” 60% of the population âEUR” to leave the country. He complained that officials in Tehran had for too long ignored the problem, adding: “And now that they understand it, itâEUR™s a little late.”
Eurozone businesses expand at fastest pace for 21 years despite Delta variant; Expansion rate slows in UK as rising infections and worker shortages weigh on recovery
Martin Arnold and Valentina Romei – FT
Eurozone businesses have reported their fastest expansion in activity for more than two decades, bolstering economistsâEUR™ hopes of a rapid rebound this summer despite the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.
Michael Rees: how a private equity chief turned the tables on his peers ; The Dyal Capital billionaire won favour by acquiring stakes in other firms but made enemies by selling a slice of his own
Mark Vandevelde and Sujeet Indap – FT
Until Michael Rees became a billionaire this year, he was arguably the most popular man on Wall Street. Like other successful financiers, Rees works in private equity, an industry with $3tn in unspent capital and a seemingly insatiable appetite for buying houses and hospitals, theme parks and prison payphone systems, genealogy websites and just about anything else that generates cash.
TermâEUR™s time has come; The cash markets are finally about to get what theyâEUR™ve long been asking for âEUR” an officially endorsed dollar term rate to replace Libor
Claire Jones – FT
WeâEUR™ve written before about why the lack of an officially endorsed term rate for US dollar Libor is a particularly thorny issue âEUR” even when placed against the many-pronged rose bush that is Libor transition. No longer. Or not much longer, at least.
For Airlines, ItâEUR™s Looking More Like 2019 Again; U.S. carriers are reaping the rewards as a surge in domestic air travel has exceeded forecasts.
Niraj Chokshi – NY Times
The aviation recovery is gaining momentum. A summer travel bonanza is exceeding expectations, helping airlines earn profits again and brightening the outlook for the rest of the year. ItâEUR™s a welcome relief for a battered industry and a sign that the rebound that began this spring appears to be here to stay.
Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why; There are millions of U.S. vacancies as the pandemic eases, but the reasons are more complicated than what those with a partisan agenda claim
Justin Lahart – WSJ
Telling one story about why employers are struggling to hire workers doesnâEUR™t come close to explaining what is going on with the job market. Economists expect FridayâEUR™s employment report to show that the economy added 706,000 jobs in June, a step up from MayâEUR™s 559,000 and what would in normal times be a big number. These arenâEUR™t normal times, though. The U.S. is still 7.6 million jobs short of what it had before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and earlier this year there were hopes that, as more Americans got vaccinated, the job market would be closing that gap far more quickly than it has.
JPMorgan to Double Advisers as Wall Street Vies for Wealthy
Jennifer Surane and Anders Melin – Bloomberg
Lender to add more than 500 in boutique wealth business; Wall Street banks bulking up units that cater to the affluent
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is planning to more than double the advisers in its traditional broker business as the Wall Street giant plots an expansion in wealth management amid intensifying competition for rich clients.
London Becomes Jobs Hot Spot as Finance and Consulting Hire
Eamon Akil Farhat – Bloomberg
EY, Citigroup and PwC step up recruiting as lockdown eases; Tightening labor market is adding to inflation concerns
LondonâEUR™s jobs market has sprung back to life, becoming a hot spot for the first time since the pandemic closed vast sections of the economy, two separate surveys showed. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation said London had six of the top 10 areas in the U.K. for new job postings in the week ending July 18. Consulting and financial firms were among the top companies seeking staff in the city, led by EY, Citigroup Inc., PwC and KPMG, a report by the job search website Indeed showed.
European Commission Approves Joint Venture of IHS Market, CME Group
The two will combine their post-trade services.
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
The European Commission has granted unconditional European Union antitrust approval to the proposals of IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) and CME Group (NASDAQ: CME) to form a joint venture combining their post-trade services. In its public confirmation on Thursday, the European regulator specified that it does not have any competition concerns with the formation of the joint venture.
‘Flash Boys’ exchange IEX dives into DeFi through Solana-based data project
Frank Chaparro – The Block
IEX Group is entering the DeFi market; The firmâEUR™s cloud division âEUR” IEX Cloud âEUR” is joining Solana-based data project Pyth; It will contribute some of the firmâEUR™s data on-chain for developers to use.
Brad Katsuyama’s IEX has long been critical of how exchanges like Nasdaq and Intercontinental Exchange charge for market data. So it’s not surprising the New York-based trading firm is jumping on the bandwagon of Pyth Network, a new decentralized finance data project.
Fauci says fully vaccinated people ‘might want to consider’ wearing a mask indoors as a precaution against the Delta variant
Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce – Reuters
Fully vaccinated Americans may “want to consider” masks indoors, Dr. Anthony Fauci said; He said the Delta variant had an “extraordinary capability of transmitting from person to person.” More fully vaccinated Americans are getting COVID-19, albeit with milder, or no, symptoms.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, said fully vaccinated people might “want to consider” wearing masks indoors to help protect against the Delta coronavirus variant, which is spreading fast across the country.
Moderna to supply 35 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan in 2022 and 2023
Jaimy Lee – Bloomberg
Shares of Moderna Inc. MRNA, +0.74% gained 0.3% in trading on Thursday after the company said Taiwan purchased another 35 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. The deal could also include Moderna’s variant booster shot if and when it is authorized. Twenty million doses are expected to be delivered in 2022 and another 15 million in 2023. Moderna’s stock has jumped 209.8% since the beginning of the year, while the broader S&P 500 SPX, +0.20% is up 15.1%.
Pfizer Shot Halts Severe Illness, Allows Infection in Israel
Yaacov Benmeleh – Bloomberg
Shields against severe illness, hospitalization versus delta; Variant has been infecting vaccinated people across world
Pfizer Inc.âEUR™s Covid-19 vaccine provided a strong shield against hospitalization and more severe disease in cases caused by the contagious delta variant in Israel in recent weeks, even though it was just 39% effective in preventing infections, according to the countryâEUR™s health ministry. The vaccine, developed with BioNTech SE, provided 88% protection against hospitalization and 91% against severe illness for an unspecified number of people studied between June 20 and July 17, according to a report Thursday from the health ministry.
Longer Gap Between Pfizer Doses Boosts Antibodies, Study Finds
Janice Kew – Bloomberg
Extended intervals between shots also boosted helper T cells; Effect seen in variants of concern, including delta strain
An interval of eight to 10 weeks between doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE boosts the effectiveness of the two-shot regimen compared with a shorter interval, a U.K. study found.
Sinopharm Covid-19 Vaccine May Offer Poor Protection for Elderly, Study Finds
A new study suggests that a Sinopharm vaccine offers poor protection from COVID-19 among the elderly, raising questions for dozens of countries that have given the Chinese companyâEUR™s shots to their most vulnerable populations.
With 50,000 Cases a Day, One Country Opens Up as Another Suffers
Michelle Fay Cortez, Soraya Permatasari, and Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
While Indonesia is under siege, the U.K. starts to open up; Lack of shots in developing world poses risk for rich nations
The pandemic has a new epicenter, with Indonesia taking the lead in the dismal Covid-19 stakes after a recent streak of 50,000 infections a day. The surge in the worldâEUR™s fourth-most populous country is being accompanied by what are now tragically familiar stories. Hospitals are short of life-saving oxygen and drugs, and people are dying alone, their loved ones absent or behind protective screens. Indonesia is seeing more than 1,000 virus fatalities every day, with a fresh record of 1,566 deaths registered on Friday.
What’s Worse Than a Pandemic? A Twindemic; We used to think the seasonal flu was no big deal. After Covid, that just looks silly.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
On the list of things to worry about in the age of SARS-CoV-2, boring, old winter flu probably doesnâEUR™t rank highly. Especially not in the middle of a summer heat wave. And yet it should. Humanity has grown so accustomed to annual waves of influenza that it was the baseline comparison when Covid first arrived. (ItâEUR™ll be just another flu, we said.) The implication was that levels of influenza sickness, hospitalization and death were acceptable, even inevitable.
Tokyo Olympics Cases Jump as Games Start, Athletes Infected
Masumi Suga – Bloomberg
Covid-19 cases linked to the Games rises to 110 infections; Nineteen new cases connected to Olympics disclosed on Friday
JapanâEUR™s Olympics organizers reported a record number of new daily coronavirus infections linked to the Games, including three athletes, bringing the total to 110 just hours before the opening ceremony is scheduled to start in a nearly empty stadium in Tokyo.
Taiwan to Downgrade Covid-19 Alert Level Next Week as Cases Fall
Cindy Wang – Bloomberg
Masks are likely to stay mandatory as some curbs remain; Partial easing comes as vaccination campaign picks up pace
Taiwan will ease some Covid curbs from next week but will stop short of a full-blown opening up over concerns removing restrictions too soon could lead to a resurgence in cases.
Pfizer Halts Severe Delta Illness; Olympics Cases: Virus Update
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SEâEUR™s Covid-19 vaccine provided a strong shield against hospitalization and more severe disease in cases caused by the delta variant in Israel in recent weeks, even though it was just 39% effective in preventing infections.
IbizaâEUR™s hopes of summer-long party crashed by resurgent Covid crisis; Businesses on tourism-reliant Spanish island forced to adjust to ever-changing travel rules
Ian Mount – FT
With the holiday season in full swing, the bars around IbizaâEUR™s Platja dâEUR™en Bossa should be packed with the young revellers who descend on the Spanish island each summer to soak up its famed party atmosphere.
US seals deal for another 200m doses of PfizerâEUR™s Covid vaccine; Agreement will enable âEUR˜broad accessâEUR™ to jab, says pharma groupâEUR™s chief
Hannah Kuchler – FT
The US government is buying an additional 200m doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, expanding its total order to 500m of the messenger RNA shots.
The Next Target for mRNA Vaccines After Covid-19: The Flu; Gene-based shots have been critical in fighting the coronavirus; now vaccine makers want to replicate that success in the yearly fight against influenza
Denise Roland – WSJ
mRNA vaccines beat out many traditional approaches in the race to develop shots against Covid-19. Now, they are squaring up to an old viral nemesis: influenza. Sanofi SA, SNY -0.16% GlaxoSmithKline GSK -0.23% PLC and Pfizer Inc. PFE 1.10% are all working on mRNA shots against seasonal flu, betting the technology will be more effective, and quicker and cheaper to make than traditional shots. But there are still big challenges to overcome: mRNA vaccines require ultracold storage and can cause unpleasant, and in very rare cases, dangerous, side effects.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
SGX expands reach into FX OTC with acquisition of MaxxTrader
US$125 million acquisition further strengthens FX as a core pillar of growth under SGXâEUR™s multi-asset strategy; Together with wholly-owned subsidiary, BidFX, the acquisition paves the way for SGX to build an integrated and scalable FX platform that will become AsiaâEUR™s largest one-stop venue for international FX OTC and futures participants
Singapore Exchange (SGX), AsiaâEUR™s most international multi-asset exchange and largest foreign exchange (FX) derivatives marketplace, today announced it is further extending its reach into the FX over-the-counter (OTC) space by fully acquiring the single source and direct-to-market FX trading platform, MaxxTrader.
Nasdaq, Inc. Announces $475 Million Accelerated Stock Repurchase Program
Nasdaq, Inc. (the “Company”) (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced that it has entered into an accelerated stock repurchase agreement (“ASR”) with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (“Goldman Sachs”) to repurchase $475 million of the CompanyâEUR™s common stock. The ASR was entered into pursuant to the CompanyâEUR™s share repurchase program, under which $1.46 billion remained available as of July 21, 2021.
Performance Bond Requirements – Energy Margin – Effective July 23, 2021
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. The rates will be effective after the close of business on 7/23/2021.
Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy, Equity, & Metal Margins – Effective July 23, 2021
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 Clearing.RiskManagement@cmegroup.com
CME STP Notices: July 22, 2021
Enhancement to Trade Number in CME STP – September 19
CME STP FIX
Enhancement to Trade Number in CME STP FIX – September 19
CME STP and STP FIX
Market Data Trade Entry ID Field – September 26
SIX Reports Solid Set of Results for First Half of 2021
In the first six months of the year, SIX generated operating income of CHF 745.8 million (+19.5%), and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounting to CHF 226.1 million (+49.2%); Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came to CHF 153.8 million; Group net profit amounted to CHF 108.2 million; The contribution from BME in 2021 is reflected in full in the income statement
Vodafone CEO Hints at Spin-Off of Mobile Money Platform M-Pesa
Thomas Seal – Bloomberg
M-Pesa could grow âEUR˜in different waysâEUR™ after legal carve-out; M-Pesa has become a pillar of some East African economies
Vodafone Group Plc hinted it could spin off its African mobile money service M-Pesa after its popularity soared through the coronavirus pandemic. The platform offers peer-to-peer transactions in countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo. ItâEUR™s now pushing into new financial services like small loans, payroll and savings.
Philippines Suspends Social Media LykaâEUR™s Payment System
Siegfrid Alegado – Bloomberg
The Philippine central bank has suspended the use of tokens offered by social media platform Lyka as a method of payments in the country, in a sign of tighter enforcement of rules on financial technology.
Intel chief says more consolidation needed in chip industry; US manufacturer also expects supply chain crunch to come to a head this summer
Richard Waters – FT
IntelâEUR™s chief executive said more consolidation was needed in the chip manufacturing industry, days after a report that the US chipmaker was in talks to buy GlobalFoundries for $30bn.
How blockchain is shaking Swift and the global payments system; A crucial linchpin of the worldâEUR™s financial plumbing is ripe for disruption
Gillian Tett – FT
Last month, the Brussels-based utility called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) announced that six global banks had embraced its plan to upgrade cross-border payment systems.
FIA Tech expands Atlantis brokerage platform with US listed options; Alongside the expanded listed options offering, FIA confirmed that it had gone live with brokerage processing for two major banks.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
FIA Tech, a subsidiary of the Futures Industry Association (FIA), has expanded its brokerage service, Atlantis, with the addition of support for US listed options. The US listed options functionality was developed in assistance with the Option Clearing Corporation (OCC) and two major banks have gone live with brokerage processing of the new offering.
The Big Apple And the Second City: Two Trading Towns United, Part II
Tony Huck, Chief Executive Officer, Score Priority – Traders Magazine
As I mentioned in my last post, these past few months IâEUR™ve been thinking about the marketâEUR™s evolution during the course of my career, an exercise brought upon by the rapid changes weâEUR™re seeing all around us as we figure out both the reopening and our new normals.
Most of my career has mirrored the flight path of a jet flying the OâEUR™Hare to LaGuardia route. So, my thought process surrounding these decades of increasingly intertwining equity and derivatives markets centered around the relationship between Chicago and New York. I left off establishing the two citiesâEUR™ market foundations: two different trading cultures centered around different asset classes.
The Cybersecurity 202: Cyber pros are on the lookout for hacks targeting the Tokyo Olympics
Joseph Marks and Aaron Schaffer – The Washington Post
Law enforcement and cyber defenders are sounding alarms about the possibility of digital attacks from Russia or elsewhere hitting the Summer Olympics kicking off this weekend in Tokyo. The FBI this week alerted about the possibility of such an attack, warning that hackers could disrupt live broadcasts, knock ticketing and other digital systems offline, steal and release athletesâEUR™ and teamsâEUR™ personal data or even lock up critical Olympics tech and hold it for ransom.
Estonian Botnet Operator Pleads Guilty in U.S. Court
Ionut Arghire – Security Week
An Estonian national has pleaded guilty in a United States court to two counts of computer fraud and abuse over his role in creating and operating a proxy botnet. The man, Pavel Tsurkan, 33, compromised more than 1,000 computers and routers worldwide, including those of at least 60 victims in Alaska. He then used these devices to create an Internet of Things (IoT) botnet called âEURœRussian2015,âEUR which he operated using the domain Russian2015.ru.
Kaseya Obtains Universal Decryptor for REvil Ransomware
Tara Seals – Threat Post
The vendor will work with customers affected by the early July spate of ransomware attacks to unlock files; itâEUR™s unclear if the ransom was paid. Kaseya has obtained a master decryptor key for the REvil ransomware that locked up the systems of at least 60 of its customers in a spate of worldwide cyberattacks on July 2.
Industrial Cybersecurity Firm SynSaber Launches With $2.5M in Seed Funding
Eduard Kovacs – Security Week
SynSaber, a new industrial cybersecurity company, announced its launch this week with $2.5 million in seed funding from SYN Ventures, Rally Ventures and Cyber Mentor Fund. SynSaberThe Chandler, Arizona-based company was founded in 2020 by Jori VanAntwerp, who serves as the companyâEUR™s CEO, and Ron Fabela, its CTO. VanAntwerp previously worked at Gravwell, industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos, CrowdStrike, McAfee and FireEye. Fabela also worked at Gravwell and Dragos, as well as several other major companies.
France orders spyware investigation following Pegasus Project reports
Drew Harwell and Michael Birnbaum – The Washington Post
The French government said Thursday that investigations are underway into reports from The Washington Post and other international news organizations that phone numbers for President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders, as well as for activists and journalists, were found on a list that included some people targeted by government clients of the Israeli surveillance giant NSO Group and its spyware tool Pegasus. The journalism consortium, operating as the Pegasus Project, revealed that the numbers for three presidents, 10 prime ministers and the king of Morocco had all been discovered among the more than 50,000 phone records on the list.
NigeriaâEUR™s Central Bank Says Its Digital Currency Pilot Will Start October 1
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The Central Bank of Nigeria is set to launch the pilot of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) on Oct. 1, the Peoples Gazette reported Friday. The bankâEUR™s information technology director, Rakiya Mohammed, announced the date during a webinar on Thursday. Hyperledger fabric blockchain, the open-source and permissioned distributed ledger, has been tapped to run the project named GIANT. Mohammed also said the bank may conduct a proof-of-concept before the end of 2021. Financial officials in Nigeria have been grappling with how best to deal with the rise of cryptocurrencies in the African nation, which prohibited transactions on cryptocurrencies in the banking sector in March.
BitcoinâEUR™s Censorship-Resistance Was a Step Change in History
Brady Dale – Coindesk
When he wasnâEUR™t getting enough attention from the public back in 2017, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon used to play this game: HeâEUR™d just say something dismissive about bitcoin and it was sure to put him in the headlines. So, a prominent entrepreneur at the time, Adam Ludwin, then CEO of early enterprise blockchain company Chain, decided to play along.
BlockFi Faces Crackdown by a Third US State, Texas; The Lone Star stateâEUR™s cease-and-desist order would bar BlockFi from offering interest accounts without registering with the stateâEUR™s securities regulator.
Danny Nelson, Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Texas regulators alleged on Thursday that BlockFiâEUR™s Interest Account (BIA) product is a security under state rules in the latest blow to the crypto lenderâEUR™s business model.
Blockchain Protocol Thorchain Suffers Another Hack Totaling $8M; Thorchain told CoinDesk a hacker deployed a custom contract that was able to trick the Bifrost into receiving a deposit of fake assets.
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Thorchain has been hit by another exploit, this time costing around $8 million, Thorchain confirmed to CoinDesk on Thursday. Thorchain also told CoinDesk a hacker deployed a custom contract that was able to trick the Bifrost into receiving a deposit of fake assets. The network then processed a refund to them of real assets. Thorchain told CoinDesk it was fairer to describe the incident as a “grey hat” exploit rather than a white hat one.
Last week, the protocol was drained of around 4,000 ether (ETH, +4.52%) in a separate incident.
BlockFi Is Pursuing Plans to Go Public âEUR” Even as Regulators Close In; The crypto lender is days away from closing a $500 million Series E, sources say. A timetable for a public listing is circulating among investors.
Zack Seward – Coindesk
BlockFi aims to go public in 12 to 18 months, according to documents circulated to investors Wednesday amid growing regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency lender. The New Jersey-based company declined to comment on the current state of its plans.
Amazon Is Looking to Hire a Digital Currency Lead; The successful candidate will have expertise in cryptocurrency and central bank digital currencies, according to a job posting.
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Amazon is looking for a Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead as the internet giant progresses with plans to bring its payments systems into the crypto age. The position, based in Seattle, Wash., will work within AmazonâEUR™s Payments Acceptance & Experience team. The company is seeking “an experienced product leader to develop AmazonâEUR™s Digital Currency and Blockchain strategy and product roadmap,” according to a job posting on the companyâEUR™s website.
VCs Pumped $4B Into Crypto Firms in Q2: CB Insights; It was a record sum for the sector, headlined by Circle, Ledger, Paxos and more.
Ian Allison – Coindesk
The second quarter saw a record $4 billion in venture capital raised by cryptocurrency firms, amid a bumper crop of $30.8 billion in fintech deals generally, a 29% increase from the year before, according to business trend watcher CB Insights.
Kazakhstan Data Center Operator Enegix to Host Bitmain Machines; The center, commissioned in late 2020, is Enegix’s third location and is designed to host more than 50,000 mining rigs.
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Data center operator Enegix is to host Beijing-based crypto miner producer BitmainâEUR™s equipment at its 180MW facility in Kazakhstan. The center, commissioned in late 2020, is Enegix’s third location and is designed to host more than 50,000 current-generation mining rigs, according to an announcement Friday.
Trump-Styled MagacoinâEUR™s Website Exposes Sensitive Details of New Users: Report; A hacker was able to breach the websites’ security where they exposed the email addresses and passwords of users who bought Magacoin.
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The identities of 1,000 new users signing up to a website associated with a Donald Trump-themed cryptocurrency have been exposed. According to a report by The Guardian on Thursday, some of the identities belong to conservative media personalities and Republican figures who own a crypto linked to the website that is described as a “digital currency for the MAGA community.”
IRS Tweaks Crypto Question Language on 2021 1040 Draft Form; The revised question asking taxpayers about crypto assets is much simpler and clearer.
Nelson Wang – Coindesk
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service may finally be close to more clearly stating how crypto assets should be taxed.
In a draft form of the 1040 form for 2021 released on Wednesday, the tax agency has proposed asking the question “At any time during 2021, did you receive, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any financial interest in any virtual currency?”
FTX CEO Says US Is Next Big Target Market; “When you look at FTX US, there’s an enormous amount of potential growth in the states,” Sam Bankman-Fried said Thursday on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program.
Marc Hochstein – Coindeskl
Flush with $900 million of fresh capital, Hong Kong-based crypto derivatives exchange FTX has an eye on expanding business in its CEOâEUR™s home country. âEURœWhen you look at FTX US, thereâEUR™s an enormous amount of potential growth in the states,âEUR CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said Thursday on CoinDesk TVâEUR™s âEURœFirst MoverâEUR program.
India considering phased roll out of central bank digital currency
Manish Singh – Techcrunch
IndiaâEUR™s central bank is considering launching a digital currency, according to a top executive, giving a clear indication of its intentions for the first time after previously stating that it was studying the idea.
JPMorgan to give all wealth clients access to crypto funds – Business Insider
JPMorgan Chase & Co will allow all of its wealth management clients access to cryptocurrency funds, Business Insider reported on Thursday, citing sources.
Republicans urge supporters to embrace vaccines in abrupt shift of tone; Strategists say party fears being blamed for surge of infections in red states
Kiran Stacey and James Politi – FT
High-profile Republicans this week lined up to call for their supporters to be inoculated in a sharp break with the loud vaccine scepticism expressed by many party members.
Bill Would Strip Social Media of Protections for Health Misinformation; Sen. Amy KlobucharâEUR™s measure covering Covid-19 would create exception to law known as Section 230 shielding platforms from suits
Siobhan Hughes – WSJ
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) introduced a bill Thursday that would strip online platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. of their liability protections if their technologies spread misinformation related to public-health emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
First Energy stock surges after agreeing to $230 million penalty to resolve DOJ investigation
Tomi Kilgore – MarketWatch
Shares of First Energy Corp. FE, +4.29% charged up 4.4% toward a one-year high after the Ohio-based utility said it reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pay $230 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into allegations of bribery disclosed in July 2020. As part of the three-year deferred prosecution agreement, the company will pay the $230 million penalty, split equally between the U.S. Treasury and the Ohio Development Service Agency.
MiFID II penalties quadrupled to â‚¬8.4 million in 2020, ESMA reveals; Figures from ESMA show penalties issued in relation to breaches of MiFID II by regulators in Europe rose from â‚¬1.8 million in 2019 to â‚¬8.4 million in 2020.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Sanctions and measures related to MiFID II failings imposed by regulators across Europe quadrupled in 2020 with 2019, the EU markets watchdog has revealed. National competent authorities (NCAs) issued a total of 613 sanctions and measures last year, reaching an aggregated value of â‚¬8.4 million across 23 of the 30 EEA member states.
ASIC publishes Cost Recovery Implementation Statement 2020-21 for feedback
ASIC today published its draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) for 2020-21. The CRIS outlines ASICâEUR™s estimated regulatory costs for 2020-21 and how these will be recovered as industry levies under the industry funding model. The indicative levies published in the CRIS are based on our planned regulatory work and associated costs for the 2020âEUR”21 financial year. Final industry levies will be based on ASICâEUR™s actual regulatory costs and the business metrics submitted by entities in each subsector. Final levies will be published in December 2021 and invoiced in January 2022.
SEC Halts Alleged Ongoing Offering Fraud Involving Cycling Companies
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an emergency action including a temporary restraining order and asset freeze to stop an alleged fraudulent offering of securities and misappropriation of investor assets by Outdoor Capital Partners LLC and its director Samuel J. Mancini of Denver, Colorado. The SEC alleges that the defendants made false statements in raising millions of dollars for an investment fund ostensibly to purchase controlling interests in three Italian cycling companies, but never made the acquisitions and instead fraudulently diverted money raised.
SEC Charges California Resident in Microcap Fraud Scheme Targeting Retail Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has filed an emergency action charging California resident Charlie Abujudeh with running microcap fraud schemes targeting retail investors.
YJ Fischer to Join SEC as Director of the Office of International Affairs
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointment of YJ Fischer as Director of the Office of International Affairs (OIA), effective Aug. 2. Ms. Fischer previously served in various roles at the U.S. State Department during the Obama Administration, including as assistant coordinator for implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement.
FINRA Announces Update of the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules
FINRA is making available updates to interpretations in the Interpretations of Financial and Operational Rules that have been communicated to FINRA by the staff of the SECâEUR™s Division of Trading and Markets (SEC staff). The updated interpretations are with respect to Securities Exchange Act (SEA) Rules 15c3-1 and 15c3-3.
U.S. Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of CFTC in Fraud Case Against Monex Deposit Company and its Principals; Ruling Marks CFTCâEUR™s Second Win in the Ninth Circuit
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction in the CFTCâEUR™s anti-fraud enforcement action against Monex Deposit Company (Monex) and its affiliated companies and principals on July 20. The courtâEUR™s ruling marks the second time the CFTC has prevailed in the Ninth Circuit in the Monex case.
FCA and Payment Systems Regulator publish updated evidence on cash access
The FCA and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have published an updated assessment of the UKâEUR™s access to cash infrastructure, taking into account the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), alongside new research on consumers who rely on cash.
Deutsche Cannabis AG: BaFin Imposes Administrative Fine
On 9 July 2021, BaFin imposed an administrative fine amounting to 20,000 euros on Deutsche Cannabis AG.
Investing and Trading
How Options Trading Is Driving Up StocksâEUR”and Driving Them Down
Andrew Bary – Barron’s
Options trading by retail investors may account for the strength in the S&P 500 during the morning this year and weakness in the afternoon. The S&P 500 is up 9% in morning trading so far in 2021, while the index is down 5% in the afternoon, according to a note Thursday from Chris Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy at Susquehanna Financial Group.
Are We Living in an MMT World? Not Yet; Sure, Congress wrote some giant checks during the pandemic. But the architects of Modern Monetary Theory say tolerance for deficits and spending is only part of their mission.
Ben Holland, Katia Dmitrieva, Mattthew Boesler – Bloomberg
In the pandemic, the U.S. government has spent money on a scale not seen since World War IIâEUR”without worrying too much about how it would pay the bills. That looked to some people like the triumph of Modern Monetary Theory.
FT stock picking contest: winners and losers at the half way mark; Elon Musk, GameStop and Airbnb keep investors guessing in 2021
Katie Martin and Martin Stabe – FT
This year in markets cannot so far match the drama of 2020 âEUR” even in the wake of this weekâEUR™s gyrations. As a test case of how fast risky asset prices can collapse and of the awe-inspiring power of central banks to drag them back up, last year was hard to beat.
US airlines return to profit as European counterparts languish; Large domestic market, generous government aid and vaccine rollout underpin rebound
Claire Bushey and Philip Georgiadis – FT
US airlines are returning to profitability more quickly than their European counterparts thanks to generous government aid, a much larger domestic market and a relatively quick vaccines rollout.
Coffee prices near 7-year high after Brazilian frosts; Freezing temperatures in countryâEUR™s largest growing regions raise concerns over next yearâEUR™s crop
Emiko Terazono – FT
Freezing temperatures brought on by severe frosts in BrazilâEUR™s coffee belt this week have stoked fears of lower production, sending prices to near seven-year highs.
Tin Prices Reach Records as Delta Variant Disrupts Supply; Traders are betting that electronics demand will remain strong while the coronavirus limits tin production in Southeast Asia
Hardika Singh – WSJ
Tin prices are surging to all-time highs, lifted by wagers that coronavirus disruptions in Southeast Asia will fuel shortages of the industrial metal. The price of tin to be delivered in three months has soared to about $34,000 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange in recent days, piercing its previous record from a decade ago. Prices are up about 9% this month and nearly 70% for the year.
One of the worldâEUR™s biggest investors reducing bond holdings
Singaporean sovereign wealth fund “significantly” lower returns amid geopolitical uncertainty and rising yields.
Gen Z women are breaking into the venture-capital boys club; The new entrants hope their arrival is a sign that the VC establishment is open to new perspectives on which ideas deserve funding
Nitasha Tiku – Washington Post
Paige Finn Doherty never pictured herself as a venture capitalist âEUR” until she binge-watched HBOâEUR™s âEURœSilicon ValleyâEUR during winter break in college.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Centrica Drops as U.K. Price Cap on Energy Bills to Be Extended
Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Government to trial automatic supplier switching from 2024; The price cap saves households as much as 100 pounds a year
Centrica Plc, the U.K.âEUR™s biggest energy supplier, fell to a seven-month low after the government announced plans to extend its price cap on the most expensive energy tariffs beyond 2023.
India Speeds Up Green Approvals as Environmentalists Call Foul
Rajesh Kumar Singh and Vrishti Beniwal – Bloomberg
Environment Ministry says it cut project approval time in half; Activists fear pace may be compromising the environment
IndiaâEUR™s Environment Ministry has almost halved the time it takes to clear projects, cheering companies hit by the pandemic and worrying green activists concerned the increased pace may come at a cost.
Thermal coal prices soar as demand for electricity rebounds; Popularity of fossil fuel as a stopgap to generate power reveals difficulties of clean energy transition=
Neil Hume – FT
Supply disruptions, a drought in China and rebounding electricity demand have fired up the market for thermal coal, making the worldâEUR™s least liked commodity one of this yearâEUR™s best-performing assets.
With 100 days until COP26, the Paris agreement pledges are crucial; Extreme weather has shown the rich world how vulnerable it is to climate change
Christiana Figueres – FT
Those of us concerned about the escalating climate crisis may be surprised that the worldâEUR™s major oil powers agreed last week to increase production levels. Opec talked of the “strengthening of market fundamentals”. In the short term, perhaps. But the cartelâEUR™s latest deal cannot disguise the steady destruction of its business case in the medium term.
Japan PM SugaâEUR™s net-zero pledge sparks fierce debate; The prime ministerâEUR™s surprise declaration is forcing Japan to rethink its energy strategy
Robin Harding – FT
When Yoshihide Suga became prime minister of Japan in September 2020, nobody really knew what his agenda would be. He had promised to continue the policies of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, but that was about it.
Japan faces heat over BangladeshâEUR™s coal power; Funding commitment for Matarbari scheme sits awkwardly with carbon pledges
Benjamin Parkin – FT
Some 4,000km from Japan, on a verdant, mangrove-lined island in south-eastern Bangladesh, sits one of the biggest and most controversial tests of TokyoâEUR™s commitment to help phase out fossil fuels.
Ex-chair of worldâEUR™s biggest pension fund sounds caution on ESG; Eiji Hirano says JapanâEUR™s Government Pension Investment Fund must stay focused on returns
Leo Lewis – FT
The ex-chair of the board of the worldâEUR™s largest pension fund, who oversaw its $1.7tn portfolio as it became a pioneer of responsible investment, has warned the institution to remember its core duty to Japanese pensioners: returns.
Corporate Japan gets serious about ESG; Managers are waking up to the need for concrete action on sustainability and human rights
Kana Inagaki – FT
For Hitachi, the appointment of its first chief environment officer in April meant closing a critical gap in its sustainability efforts. In recent years, the Japanese industrial group has undergone a radical makeover. It withdrew from its thermal power business, spent $6.4bn to buy Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABBâEUR™s electricity grid assets, and strengthened its global presence in railways.
Sony boss shows a passion for social purpose; Kenichiro Yoshida sees an ESG focus as crucial to the entertainment groupâEUR™s future success
Kana Inagaki – FT
When the Covid pandemic forced many of his employees to work from home, Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida took every opportunity to speak about the companyâEUR™s stated “purpose”.
JPMorgan to Double Advisers as Wall Street Vies for Wealthy
Jennifer Surane and Anders Melin – Bloomberg
Lender to add more than 500 in boutique wealth business; Wall Street banks bulking up units that cater to the affluent
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is planning to more than double the advisers in its traditional broker business as the Wall Street giant plots an expansion in wealth management amid intensifying competition for rich clients. The bank aims to hire more than 500 advisers in coming years, bringing its total in the unit to 1,000, said Kristin Lemkau, who oversees the lenderâEUR™s U.S. wealth-management arm. JPMorgan will also try to knit the unit closer to wealth managers who work in retail branches and help advisers more efficiently guide clients to other parts of the bank.
Top Hedge Fund Gains 400% as China Battles Commodity Prices
When ChinaâEUR™s government started paying more attention to surging commodity prices a few months back, hedge fund manager Richard LeeâEUR™s trading models told him a correction was imminent.
UBS Group to hike salaries of junior bankers, directors -source
Anirudh Saligrama – Reuters
Swiss lender UBS Group AG plans to raise the salaries of global banking analysts, associates and directors, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, following a trend set by Wall Street peers. First-year analysts will earn about $100,000 annually while second- and third-year analysts will get $105,000 and $110,000, the person said late on Wednesday, without disclosing current salaries or percentage increases.
Credit Suisse brings UBS’ Kruck in as asset management chief of staff
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Oliver Hirt – Reuters
Credit Suisse has hired UBS’ David Kruck, with new divisional head Ulrich Koerner bringing in a former colleague to join him at the top of the bank’s asset management team.
Fund Managers Struggle to Keep Up With New Guideposts for ESG
Frances Schwartzkopff and Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Much of the confusion revolves around the âEUR˜SâEUR™ in ESG; Schroders exec says social issues underpin company performance
Many of the worldâEUR™s biggest asset managers say theyâEUR™re increasingly struggling with some of the rules guiding the $35 trillion market for environmental, social and governance investing. Much of the confusion revolves around defining the “S” in ESG. The guideposts are generally seen as confusing and this is “going to become a bigger issue going forward,” according to Rick Redding, chief executive of the New York-based Index Industry Association.
Danske CEO Points to Risks Still Facing Bank; Shares Fall
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
The chief executive of Danske Bank A/S said the lender still faces a number of hurdles, including a sluggish retail business, raising questions about managementâEUR™s ability to live up to long-term profitability targets.
Goldman Spinoff Simon Tops $800 Million as WestCap Invests
Gillian Tan -Bloomberg
Simon Markets, a financial-technology platform that spun out of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., secured up to $100 million in a financing round led by growth equity firm WestCap.
Secretive Hedge Fund Raises $1 Billion to Make Big Leveraged Bets
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Eisler Capital, one of EuropeâEUR™s most secretive hedge funds, has raised about $1 billion for a new money pool that plans to use leveraged bets to juice its track record of reliable single-digit returns.
Australia Prepared to Pay Price in Dispute With China, Trade Minister Says
Eric Martin and Michael Heath – Bloomberg
Australia is prepared to take the economic hit from ChinaâEUR™s trade measures in order to defend its sovereignty, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said, even as he pursues efforts to open dialogue with counterparts in Beijing.
An Ethanol Plant in Zimbabwe Is Expanding, Despite Its Critics; The venture is cutting fuel imports, but opponents say the community is paying the price.
Ainyange Auntony, Matthew Hill – Bloomberg
Two decades of economic turmoil have starved Zimbabwe of foreign currency, at times creating fuel shortages. A controversial ethanol project, run by Green Fuel (Pvt) Ltd., is helping curb the need for imports and is providing jobs, as it steadily expands output. Activist groups say nearby farmers in Chisumbanje in the nationâEUR™s southeast werenâEUR™t adequately compensated for the land now used to grow sugar cane for the plant.
CroatiaâEUR™s Plan to Put Tesla on Euro Coins Reignites Balkan Feud
Misha Savic – Bloomberg
SerbiaâEUR™s central bank said it would take action if Croatia is allowed to put an image of scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla, an ethnic Serb born in present-day Croatia, on euro coins when it joins the currency union. While Croatia wonâEUR™t join the euro zone before 2023, passions over claiming Tesla — one of many disputes between the Balkan neighbors and wartime foes — is setting their respective central banks on a collision course.
TaiwanâEUR™s thematic ETF market takes off as competition increases; Many newly launched thematic funds have outstripped their broad-market peers in terms of size
Rebecca Feng – FT
The number of new thematic exchange traded funds in Taiwan has jumped this year, as fund managers try to stand out amid mounting competition.
Wild Superyacht Secrets I Learned When I Became a Deckhand; From cannabis buffets to choppering in caviar, posh charter life can be a rough ride for the crew.
Brandon Presser – Bloomberg
At a shipyard in the NetherlandsâEUR”the worldâEUR™s megayacht maternity wardâEUR”the largest vessel of its kind is being custom-built for Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos at a projected cost that tops $500 million. With more than 400 feet of sleek aluminum and steel, it will join an elite new vessel category: the gigayacht.
Help! IâEUR™m Traveling to Europe. All the Requirements Are a Dizzying Mess; For three confused but vaccinated travelers, our columnist tries to make sense of the new rules of entry into the European Union.
Sarah Firshein – NY Times
Dear Tripped Up,
I know that vaccinated Americans are not required to quarantine when visiting France, but are they required to take a Covid test âEUR” either going there or returning home? And although I updated my Clear app to show that I have been vaccinated, I donâEUR™t know who is responsible for looking at it: Is it the airline when you check in, an officer when you go through security or someone on the ground when you land? Bob