Day Trading Army Bets It Can Outsmart Wall Street on AMC Stock

Jun 3, 2021

First Read

$42,276/$300,000 (14.1%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

We have Part One of the Open Outcry Traders History Project video with Peter Harrigan. That is spelled Haitch Aye Double R Eye, G A N spells Harrigan, for you fans of George M. Cohan.

Harrigan wanted to go to space as an astronaut, instead he ended up as a trader and continues in the derivatives space as CEO of Grey Swan Digital. — John Lothian News

There is a special digital feature from The Trade and Global Custodian titled “Battle for the trading desk” that “takes an in-depth look at outsourced trading and its impact on the buy-side.” — The Trade

MIH released May trading results for MIAX, MIAX Pearl, MIAX Emerald (collectively, the MIAX Exchange Group) and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. They set a series of new monthly and daily records in both volume and market share, including a new daily market share record of 16.56% on May 28, and a monthly market share record of 14.71%.

In total, the MIAX Exchange Group executed 99.6 million multi-listed options in May 2021, highlighted by a monthly record 42.8 million options contracts traded on the MIAX Options Exchange. The 99.6 million multi-listed options contracts executed represents a 57.7% increase compared to May 2020. In U.S. futures, total volume through May reached 1,371,447 contracts, a 24.0% increase from the same period in 2020, while open interest totaled 93,610 contracts on May 31, 2021, an increase of 18.0% from May 2020.

Don’t forget to register for the “Webcast: Tick size reduction of EURO STOXX® Index Futures and its impact” by Eurex and Quantitative Brokers on June 10. — Eurex

Dr. Frank Herkenhoff, former head of media relations at Deutsche Boerse, is now head of communications at ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, one of Germany’s leading research institutes.

Piyush Kalkute is joining the CME Group as a data scientist after graduating recently from Northwestern University and is very happy about it.

Richárd Végh, the CEO of the Budapest Stock Exchange announced on LinkedIn that Interactive Brokers, founded by Hungarian-born Thomas Peterffy and dating back more than 40 years, is the newest member of the Budapest Stock Exchange. If you can read Hungarian, the press release is HERE.

Robin Trott gave JLN a nice shoutout on LinkedIn for his participation in The Path to Electronic Trading video series. Look for Part Two of his interview next week. — LinkedIn

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


The Illinois Department of Agriculture this week sent deficiency notices for Illinois craft grow, infuser and transport licenses to top-scoring applicants, the latest installment in the long-running saga of social equity applicants’ efforts to be included in the state’s legal cannabis economy. Observers say the IDOA’s timing suggests the licences will not be awarded until July at the earliest. An explanation of the notices can be found here. ~SC


Peter Harrigan – Open Outcry Traders History Project Part One

Peter Harrigan is the co-founder and current CEO of Grey Swan Digital, a company that creates and trades customized derivatives. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s he wanted to become an astronaut. His career path later rocketed in a different direction, taking him to Chicago’s trading floors.

In a two-part interview with John Lothian for the Open Outcry Traders History Project, Harrigan said he learned about futures in college when he and some friends began trading one stock index figure against another in an arbitrage strategy. One of those friends went on to have a successful career at Credit Suisse and another went back to his family’s manufacturing business, he said.

Watch the video »


Pit Closures = Corn, Soybean Market Instability, Trader Says; Once Electronic Trading Took Over, Big Local Traders Trimmed Back Their Trade Size.
Mike McGinnis – Successful Farming
It’s been six years since CME Group shifted from trading agricultural commodities mostly on the floor of the exchange to its electronic trading platform (Globex). In July 2015, the exchange closed its agricultural futures trading pits, leaving open only its options trading pits. This May, CME Group officially closed all its open-outcry trading pits, ending a tradition that started in the mid-19th century.

****** New contracts to be pit traded include sour grapes.~JJL
****** Markets evolve. They are never as they once were. Things change.~JJL


Barbara G. Novick Joins Board of Directors of the American Financial Exchange (AFX)
The American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American banks and financial institutions, announced today that Barbara G. Novick, co-founder of BlackRock and current senior advisor to the firm, will serve as an independent director on AFX’s Board of Directors.

****** Big addition for AFX.~JJL


Anheuser-Busch to give away free beer when America hits its vaccination goal.
Derrick Bryson Taylor – NY Times
The brewing giant Anheuser-Busch said on Wednesday that it would offer Americans another incentive to get vaccinated: free beer. The company said in a statement that it would “buy America’s next round” of beer, seltzer or nonalcoholic beverage once the country reached President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of the adult population get at least one coronavirus vaccination by July 4. So far, 63 percent of adult Americans have received at least one dose.

*****They had me at “Free Beer.” Or better put, FREE BEER!!!!~JJL


Fake news study: Most Americans can’t spot fake news, study finds
Ryan Prior – CNN
As many as three in four Americans overestimate their ability to spot false headlines — and the worse they are at it, the more likely they are to share fake news, researchers reported Monday.
The study of surveys involving 8,200 people, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also showed Republicans are more likely to fall for fake news than Democrats are.

******One reason I launched JLN was because I wanted to be able to address the issue of fake news or faulty reporting on our markets.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top clicked story Wednesday was Four Ways to Keep Working From Home When the Boss Wants You Back, from Bloomberg Businessweek. Second was Business Insider’s New guidance says businesses can require employees to get vaccinated and bar unvaccinated employees from returning. I am sensing a theme here. And third, still on the theme of where you work, was The New York Post’s Maybe Goldman Sachs isn’t migrating to Florida, after all.


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Lead Stories

Day Trading Army Bets It Can Outsmart Wall Street on AMC Stock; The near 3,000% surge in the cinema chain’s shares this year is defying expectations, thanks to an adoring horde of individual investors.
Charlie Wells – Bloomberg
One works in the hedge fund industry in New York, the other in IT recruitment in Dallas. But in this season of meme stock mania — when fortunes can be made or lost with the next post on Reddit or Twitter or chats on Discord — the faraway worlds of Jason Mudrick and Drew Entler have collided in spectacular fashion. And, for the moment, the IT guy may just be ahead.

AMC and GameStop Frenzy Goes Beyond Casino Mentality; It would be a mistake to dismiss this phenomenon as nothing more than a mob of young irresponsible gamblers.
Mohamed A. El-Erian – Bloomberg
It has only been a few months since Reddit-enabled retail investors, or what some unflatteringly refer to as the “retail mob,” embraced GameStop Corp. and drove its valuation to the moon only to be frustrated by a sudden change against them in the rules of the game. Today, it’s all about AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., whose skyrocketing value this week has already overcome what would normally curtail investor enthusiasm. The similarities are notable, as is the broader message about what is happening to the investment landscape.

Silicon Valley bets on crypto projects to disrupt finance; Wave of ‘DeFi’ projects aim to reinvent exchanges, insurance, lending and more
Miles Kruppa – FT
Uniswap is not even three years old, but it has already turned millions of dollars into billions for venture capitalists who bet on a new kind of cryptocurrency exchange.

Global food prices post biggest jump in a decade; Data showing 40% gain in agricultural commodities raises spectre of accelerating food inflation
Emiko Terazono – FT
Global food prices surged by the biggest margin in a decade in May as one closely-watched index jumped 40 per cent in the latest sign of rising food inflation.

Libor’s US replacements: no one rate to rule them all; Several alternatives are vying to replace the doomed benchmark. And it’s complicating the transition.
Claire Jones – FT
A while back, FT Alphaville wrote about how sterling Libor’s demise was causing all sorts of headaches for the UK’s financial services industry. But the problems we’ve had on this side of the pond are nothing compared with the situation we’re seeing play out in the US right now. There are many reasons why the attempts to ditch dollar Libor are proving more difficult on the other side of the Atlantic. One of them is that there are multiple candidates vying to replace the doomed benchmark.

CrossTower appoints former Cboe and Nasdaq exec to run global exchange; New global head of exchange at CrossTower brings 25 years of industry experience and will be responsible for running global exchanges and product expansion.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Institutional crypto platform provider CrossTower has hired a former Cboe and Nasdaq executive as global head of exchange. Bryan Christian has been appointed global head of exchange at CrossTower after most recently heading up institutional services at exchange traded fund (ETF) market maker, Old Mission.

DeFi Is Helping to Fuel the Crypto Market Boom—and Its Recent Volatility; Decentralized finance differs from traditional banks because there is no centralized system. It can be risky.
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Dogecoin and NFTs have captured the public’s imagination, but money is also flooding into another hot, and risky, corner of the cryptocurrency market: DeFi. Short for decentralized finance, DeFi is an umbrella term for financial services offered on public blockchains. Like traditional banks, DeFi applications allow users to borrow, lend, earn interest, and trade assets and derivatives, among other things. The collection of services is often used by people seeking to borrow against their crypto holdings to place even larger bets.

Nasdaq Buys Majority Stake in Carbon-Removal Marketplace; Exchange operator backs in a bet that carbon capture will play a key role in greenhouse-gas reduction efforts
Dieter Holger – WSJ
Nasdaq Inc. acquired a majority stake in carbon-removal marketplace from Finnish energy company Fortum Oyj, tapping into an emerging service that more companies are expected to pay for to meet their emission-reduction targets.

SEC Is Running Out of Options to Rein In Elon Musk; Tesla CEO has resisted regulators’ demand for restraint in his public comments
Dave Michaels and Rebecca Elliott – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission has tried for several years to get Elon Musk to behave more like a typical corporate leader. It hasn’t worked. The SEC sued Mr. Musk and Tesla Inc. TSLA -3.01% in 2018 over tweets the regulator deemed fraudulent, settling the case for a combined $40 million and changes to the company’s corporate governance. As part of the deal, it also fashioned a unique way to restrain Mr. Musk’s social-media habit: forcing the company to preapprove any statement by its CEO that could move markets.

Biden Targets Crypto Tax Evaders in Global Data-Sharing Pitch
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
Administration proposes sharing data with foreign governments; Proposal is part of broader cryptocurrency tax-evasion push
The Biden administration has proposed requiring the collection of data on foreign cryptocurrency investors active in the U.S., aiming to bolster international cooperation to help in a broader crackdown on tax evasion.

Map for Global Tax Revamp Runs From London to Rome, Via Venice
Laura Davison, William Horobin, and Isabel Gottlieb – Bloomberg
G-7 countries aim for progress ahead of G-20 meetings; EU, U.S. face challenges to adopt any tax agreement at home
Global talks to revamp the international tax system and impose a worldwide minimum corporate rate have gotten fresh life in recent months, and this week’s Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting may provide additional momentum toward a broader deal in July or October.

Crypto Firms Failing to Meet FCA’s Money Laundering Regulations
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
An unprecedented number of firms are withdrawing applications; U.K. watchdog warns about risk of losses in crypto investing
The U.K. markets regulator says significant numbers of crypto firms are withdrawing applications to register with the watchdog after struggling to meet its anti-money laundering standards.

FIA Japan Elects FY2021 Board of Directors, Appoints New Officers
Futures Industry Association Japan (FIA Japan), the leading financial industry association in Japan with a focus on derivatives, held its 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 26, and elected 16 Board Members for fiscal year 2021. Following the AGM, the board members elected their new Officers for FY2021.

BOJ Calls for Faster Progress on Libor as Expiry Nears
The head of the Bank of Japan’s financial markets department says the country must accelerate efforts to prepare for the transition away from Libor. Akira Otani exclusively told Bloomberg the biggest risk for the switch is that some institutions may choose to save money by waiting to see what others do first.

AMC Extends Surge as Reddit’s Retail Frenzy Reaches New Heights
Katherine Doherty and Paul Jarvis – Bloomberg
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. extended Wednesday’s surge in premarket trading as the Reddit retail-trading army continued to gorge on the stock, sending it to heights that has left Wall Street pros perplexed. After rising 95% to a record high in the last regular session, AMC gained 13% to $71.01 as of 4:02 a.m. in New York. The money-losing movie-theater chain has a market value of more than $30 billion, making it more valuable than at least half of the companies in the S&P 500 Index.

AMC Is New King of Meme Stocks, With a 2,900% Gain This Year
Matt Turner – Bloomberg
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.’s Reddit-fueled rally has reached about 2,900% so far this year as retail traders ignore the company’s financial troubles and continue to buy heavily shorted stocks.

Banks Trial Intra-Day FX Swaps
Colin Lambert – The Full FX
As automation levels grow in the FX swaps market and demand builds for more intra-day liquidity in treasury businesses, 11 banks, including Deutsche Bank, NatWest, Bank of Ireland and Banca Mediolanum, have been trialling a platform for intra-day FX swaps.

Carbon Price Boom Attracts Investors to Emissions-Trading Market; Growth of new ETF signals increasing appetite for carbon-credit investments
David Hodari – WSJ
Investors have piled into new carbon-credit-trading funds, helping make the upstart market one of the best-performing commodities-related investments of the past year.


The pandemic is getting worse, even when it seems like it’s getting better
Ishaan Tharoor – Washington Post
Relatives of a man who died of Covid-19 attend his cremation last month in Srinagar, India. (Danish Ismail/Reuters)
In the United States, life is returning to normal. Restaurants and bars are filling up again, vacations are being booked and flights are selling out. At sporting events, maskless fans are hugging and cheering. Memorial Day weekend, the country’s unofficial start to the summer, was celebrated with much more gusto and many more family barbecues than it was a year ago.

Japan Planning to Send Covid Vaccine to Help Taiwan This Month
Isabel Reynolds and Samson Ellis – Bloomberg
Taiwan and China tensions heat up over vaccine shipments; Motegi tells parliament Taiwan has urgent need for the shots
Japan is planning later this month to send some of its Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, which has been struggling to procure its own supplies and blamed China for impeding shipments of the shots.

EU’s Trade Response to Pandemic Stops Short of Vaccine IP Waiver
Bryce Baschuk – Bloomberg
The European Union calls for an end to export restrictions; The bloc’s proposal will be presented to WTO members
The European Union will encourage World Trade Organization members to phase out export restrictions for vaccines, but will stop short of supporting an American-backed proposal to suspend intellectual property rights meant to boost the supply of Covid shots.

‘Covid Zero’ Risks Being ‘Covid Limbo’ Amid Slow Vaccine Uptake
Jason Gale and Kurumi Mori – Bloomberg
Nations must learn to tolerate some community spread: experts; Melbourne extends fourth lockdown to eliminate transmission
“Covid zero” countries that used strict border controls to keep the coronavirus largely at bay for more than a year risk being stuck in limbo and increasingly isolated unless vaccination rates pick up, public health experts said.

The World’s Best Hope to End the Pandemic Still Needs More Doses; The nonprofit Covax, which distributes Covid vaccines to mostly poor countries, has been saying for a year no one is safe until everyone is. Rich countries may finally be getting the message.
Stephanie Baker, James Paton and Ekow Dontoh – Bloomberg
On Jan. 23, 2020, the day the novel coronavirus forced the Chinese city of Wuhan into lockdown, two American doctors named Seth Berkley and Richard Hatchett met at the bar of the Hard Rock Hotel in Davos, Switzerland, to talk about vaccines.

Information on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus); Update of the English website may take a little time. For the latest information, please refer to our Japanese new window
Japan FSA
! Warning !
It has been seen that calls, email, SMS, SNS, websites, etc. are used as a means of communication by criminals taking advantage of the outbreak of COVID-19. FSA urges individuals to remain vigilant against unknown calls, email and websites as such to avoid crime related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed Countries Lock Up Covid-19 Vaccines Through 2023; Recent deals by EU, Canada and others come as developing nations clamor for doses, hardening a divide between rich and poor countries
Jared S. Hopkins – WSJ
The European Union, Canada and other developed countries have signed deals to get hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines and boosters over the next two years, furthering a divide between rich and poor countries.

EU’s Least Vaccinated Country Wants to Donate Shots to Neighbors
Slav Okov – Bloomberg
Bulgaria, the European Union country that has vaccinated the smallest share of its population, is planning to provide as many as 150,000 doses to its Balkan neighbors amid a lack of demand at home.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

NYSE Pillar Options Migration: Arca Options Pillar Cert, Client Communication, Membership Update, System Specification Updates
Pillar Certification Environment and Timeline
NYSE Arca Option’s Pillar Certification environment (“Pillar Cert”) is available for testing and now supports Outright order processing functionality with Risk Controls, in addition to Trading Floor gateway order processing and all other previously announced features.

May Index Scorecard: PHLX Gold/Silver Sector Has Strong Month
Overall performance for May among the 68 indexes tracked was slightly positive, up 0.6% on average. Of those 68 indexes, 41 had positive performance for the month. PHLX Gold/Silver Sector (XAU) was by far May’s best performer with an increase of 15.4%. In second place, the KBW Bank Index (BKX) was up 5.0%. Nasdaq US Health Care Innovators (NQHCIN) was the worst performer, declining 6.9%.

Moscow Exchange and VTB agree to develop principles of carbon unit trading
On 3 June 2021, Moscow Exchange and VTB signed an agreement to work together to develop a carbon unit trading market. The official signing ceremony, held at the XXIV St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2021), was attended by Yury Denisov, CEO of Moscow Exchange, and Yury Soloviev, First Deputy President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank.

Moscow Exchange and United Grain Company agree to jointly develop an exchange market for agricultural products
On 3 June 2021, the Moscow Exchange and United Grain Company (UGC) signed an agreement to develop an exchange market for agricultural products that will improve the settlement and delivery infrastructure. This joint development will also increase the attractiveness and popularisation of the on-exchange commodity market among agricultural producers, grain exporters and grain traders.

Moscow Exchange and Qatar Stock Exchange sign memorandum of cooperation
On 3 June 2021, Moscow Exchange and Qatar Stock Exchange signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at developing co-operation, collaboration, and strengthening the partnership between the exchanges.

Moscow Exchange, NSD and Rosseti sign memorandum of strategic cooperation
On 3 June 2021, Moscow Exchange, National Settlement Depository (NSD) and Rosseti signed a trilateral memorandum of strategic cooperation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2021).

LGX Welcomes New Green Bond From Bank Of China
In the presence of Luxembourg Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna and China’s Ambassador to Luxembourg HE Yang Xiaorong, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) and the Bank of China’s Luxembourg branch joined together today to celebrate the listing of a two-tranche green bond on LuxSE. The bond will be displayed on LuxSE’s leading platform for sustainable finance, the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX).

Intercontinental Exchange Reports May 2021 Statistics; ADV up 8% y/y; OI up 9% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported May 2021 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.

ICE Announces Record Activity in TTF and JKM Gas Complexes as They Evolve into Global Benchmarks; TTF Futures Open Interest +21% y/y; TTF Futures Volume +22% y/y; Number of participants trading TTF +83% since 2016; JKM Futures & Options OI +10% y/y; Volume +15% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced record activity in the TTF natural gas (“TTF”) and JKM LNG (Platts) (“JKM LNG”) benchmarks, which work together to provide the market with a global reference price for gas.

Nasdaq May 2021 Volumes
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today reported monthly volumes for May 2021 on its investor relations website. A data sheet showing the monthly volumes and quarterly capture rates can be found at:

CME STP Notices: June 3, 2021
CME Group
CME STP – Enhancement to Security Sub Type for Exercise and Assignments on Options – This Week
CME STP FIX – Enhancement to Security Sub Type for Exercise and Assignments on Options – This Week

CME Globex Notices: May 31, 2021
CME Group
Critical System Updates
Update – CME Globex Performance Enhancements – This Week UPDATE
Launch of AIR TRF Funding Values on CME Data Insights: Settlements and Valuations – This Week
Future Spreads Launching on CME Smart Stream on GCP JSON – This Week
CME FX Link Enhancements: New Zealand Dollar/US Dollar Spot FX Impact – June 27

Straits Times Index (STI) quarterly review – June 2021; No changes to the constituents of the STI
FTSE Russell announces that there will be no changes to the constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI), following the June 2021 quarterly review. The STI reserve list, comprising the five highest ranking non-constituents of the STI by market capitalisation, will be (in order of size) Suntec REIT, Keppel REIT, Frasers Centrepoint Trust, NetLink NBN Trust and Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust. Stocks on the reserve list will replace any constituents that become ineligible as a result of corporate actions before the next review. A full list of STI constituents can be found on the website.

SGX welcomes Synergy Futures as Derivatives Trading Member
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed Synergy Futures Limited (Synergy Futures) as a Trading Member of its derivatives market. Synergy Futures is a Hong Kong-based company that offers trading and risk management services spanning futures, options and securities to domestic and global institutional and professional investors. Synergy Futures is licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong to deal in securities and futures contracts.

Tradeweb Reports Volume Of $19.6 Trillion In May;Average daily volume (ADV) for the month was $980.4 billion (bn), an increase of 23.9 percent;(%) year over year (YoY). Average daily trades for the month totaled 59,687.
Swaps volumes were driven by record institutional SEF market share and continued engagement from international clients, across protocols and in both developed and emerging markets. In U.S. Credit, Tradeweb’s share of fully electronic High Grade TRACE was 11.2% in May, the second highest month for Tradeweb, of which a record share was driven by client activity in AllTrade. In addition, Tradeweb facilitated a record $369.3bn in Repurchase Agreements.


Synechron And Squirro Partnership: Helping To Unlock The Power Of Data For Financial Services Firms
Synechron, a leading digital transformation consulting firm focused on the global financial services industry, has proudly partnered with Squirro, the Augmented Intelligence (AI) solutions provider. The two companies have been working together to deliver award-winning and innovative solutions to financial services clients, most recently helping them extract insights from their unstructured data and unlock the power of information by leveraging AI.

Ant Wins China’s Approval to Set Up Consumer-Finance Company; Jack Ma-controlled mobile-payments company will hold a 50% stake in the new entity, with the rest held by six other shareholders
Jing Yang and Xie Yu – WSJ
China’s banking and insurance regulator said Thursday that it had approved an application by Ant Group Co. to set up a consumer-finance company, the first milestone in the financial-technology giant’s restructuring.

WealthOS raises $800,000 in seed funding
Wealth managers are fighting to empower their clients with financial security and equitable access to high quality products and services. And they are losing this battle due to the costly, inefficient, and non-digital friendly technology solutions available today.

UOB deploys Chronicle Software’s eFX pricing and trade engine
Gerald Segal –
Leading Asian bank United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) has announced that it has deployed Chronicle Software’s eFX solution for its electronic foreign exchange (FX) pricing and trade engine. Through Chronicle’s technology, UOB has the ability to take advantage of reduced latency via co-location connectivity to improve price discovery and to enhance pricing capability. In doing so, UOB said it is able to provide customers in ASEAN and across its global network access to more competitive FX pricing.

RBC partners with State Street’s BestX to launch FX TCA service; The service uses BestX technology to provide RBC Investor & Treasury Services clients with FX TCA reporting to assess the execution quality of their currency overlay services transactions.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
RBC Investor & Treasury Services (RBC I&TS) has partnered with State Street’s analytics software vendor BestX to launch an FX transaction cost analysis (TCA) service.

Jeff Bezos invests in African fintech startup Chipper Cash again — Quartz Africa
Tolu Olasoji – Quartz
Fintech remains the most funded sector in Africa’s startup ecosystem. Chipper Cash, a cross-border, peer-to-peer payment service, further substantiated this with yet another huge investment.
The fintech startup, which was founded by Ugandan Ham Serunjogi and Ghanaian Maijid Moujaled in 2018, closed a $100 million Series C round this week which it will use to introduce more products and grow its team. This latest infusion brings investments in the company over the last year to $143.8 million, reportedly making it Africa’s sixth unicorn. This is in addition to the $8.4 million raised in two seed rounds in 2019.

How Localization Can Help Solve Fintech’s Trust Issue
Nick Ustinov – Forbes
The pandemic has seen — and probably caused — a dramatic increase in the use of fintech apps. The fintech industry is forecasted to grow by hundreds of billions of dollars in 2022. Even with this growth, consumer trust in digital banking and online finance solutions remains low.
While the industry strives to improve its transparency and reputation, I believe that another potential trust-boosting aspect is often overlooked — the localization of fintech apps. Before I explain how localization can help, let’s look at the major trust issues for the fintech sector and their underlying reasons.

LiquidityBook Adds Sayant Chatterjee as Chief Operating Officer
LiquidityBook, a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based provider of buy- and sell-side trading solutions, today announced the hire of Sayant Chatterjee as Chief Operating Officer. In his role, he will drive strategic alignment across all departments and help execute plans for expansion, with a primary focus on enhancing LiquidityBook’s sell-side products and services. He will be based in the firm’s New York office.


A cybersecurity expert takes us inside a ransomware attack on a 70-employee company
Julie Peck – Insider
According to a 2019 study from Cybersecurity Ventures and Cisco, US businesses succumb to a ransomware attack on average every 11 seconds, meaning that thousands of small and medium-sized businesses all over the country will have a run-in with this debilitating and potentially devastating form of cybercrime.

NYC’s Subway Operator and Martha’s Vineyard Ferry Latest to Report Cyberattacks; Attacks on infrastructure are part of a global criminal pivot from stealing data to hobbling operations
Robert McMillan, Joseph De Avila and Jacob Bunge – WSJ
Revelations of cyberattacks on transportation systems in New York and Massachusetts heightened concerns about the threat to U.S. businesses and essential services Wednesday, after hackers held hostage the world’s largest meat processor this week.

Biden to rebuke Putin over hack of meat processor JBS; White House press secretary says ‘responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals’=
Bryan Harris, Kiran Stacey and Jamie Smyth – FT
Joe Biden will rebuke Vladimir Putin over the cyber attack on JBS, the world’s biggest meat processor, when the two presidents meet later this month, and the US does not rule out retaliating against the perpetrator it suspects is a Russian criminal gang, the White House said on Wednesday.

Cyber insurers recoil as ransomware attacks ‘skyrocket’
Ian Smith – FT
After a wave of high-profile cyber assaults, Graeme Newman, chief innovation officer at London-based insurance provider CFC, draws a parallel with today’s rapidly evolving market for cyber coverage. Insurance companies now provide emergency support services as well as financial compensation, so “the insurers own the digital fire trucks”, he said.

Cybersecurity Providers that Address the Human Element Will Attract Buyers
Dimitri Diakontonis – M&A
The attacks on JBS and the Colonial Pipeline “highlight the human element as the largest weakness of corporate IT infrastructure,” said Michael Lyon, managing director at technology-focused investment bank Vista Point Advisors, in an interview with Mergers & Acquisitions. “We expect an acceleration of M&A and investment activity in all areas of cybersecurity but particularly in cybersecurity awareness and threat intelligence.”


CrossTower names NASDAQ and Cboe exchange veteran Bryan Christian as Global Head of Exchange; Former Head of Institutional Services for ETF market maker Old Mission to drive product expansion and growth in CrossTower’s transaction business
CrossTower, one of the world’s fastest growing crypto investment and trading firms, today announced it has hired 25-year exchange industry veteran, Bryan Christian, as Global Head of Exchange. Bryan is responsible for managing CrossTower’s US and global exchanges, product expansion, and growth of the company’s transaction business, which has just surpassed $1 billion dollars in trading volumes for the first time since its trading platform launch last year.

Silicon Valley bets on crypto projects to disrupt finance
Miles Kruppa – Financial Times
Uniswap is not even three years old, but it has already turned millions of dollars into billions for venture capitalists who bet on a new kind of cryptocurrency exchange.
Instead of acting as a traditional broker, Uniswap is an automated software program that allows users to trade cryptocurrencies directly with each other, without any intermediary.

What $10M in daily thefts tells us about crypto security
Andrew Shikiar – TechCrunch
If you’re among the growing number of people interested in cryptocurrencies, you may be interested to know that nearly 7,000 people lost more than $80 million between October 2020 and March 2021 — a 1,000% increase from a year ago, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The scams include fake currency exchanges and phony “investment” websites selling the currency. More recently, more than $10 million was stolen in various cryptocurrencies in the days leading up to Elon Musk’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

Tinkoff, Russia’s top digital bank, says it wants to offer crypto
Ryan Browne – CNBC
Tinkoff, the biggest online bank in Russia, wants to offer cryptocurrency trading to its clients but says this will take time due to a tough stance from the country’s central bank.
Oliver Hughes, Tinkoff’s CEO, said Thursday that “qualified investors who know what they’re doing” want to invest in crypto.

Many crypto firms not meeting money laundering rules, UK’s FCA warns
Ryan Browne – CNBC
A “significantly high” number of cryptocurrency firms are failing to meet U.K. requirements on preventing money laundering, the country’s financial services watchdog has warned.
Businesses offering crypto-related services are required to register with the Financial Conduct Authority. The regulator introduced a temporary licensing regime for firms whose applications haven’t yet been approved to allow them to continue trading.

Biden Proposes More Stringent Regulations To Catch Crypto Tax Evaders
Shehan Chandrasekera – Forbes
Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Revenue Proposal aims to catch crypto tax evaders by reinforcing existing information reporting rules and information sharing agreements between jurisdictions.

DeFi Is Helping to Fuel the Crypto Market Boom—and Its Recent Volatility
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Dogecoin and NFTs have captured the public’s imagination, but money is also flooding into another hot, and risky, corner of the cryptocurrency market: DeFi.
Short for decentralized finance, DeFi is an umbrella term for financial services offered on public blockchains. Like traditional banks, DeFi applications allow users to borrow, lend, earn interest, and trade assets and derivatives, among other things. The collection of services is often used by people seeking to borrow against their crypto holdings to place even larger bets.

Google Will Let Crypto Wallets Run Ads; ICO Ads to Remain Banned
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the world’s largest digital advertising seller, will let companies offering cryptocurrency wallets run ads beginning in August. In 2018, Google barred ads for cryptocurrencies and related products, following a similar move from Facebook Inc. But Google soon peeled back that restriction for digital currency exchanges. Starting in August, Google will let wallets run ads on search, YouTube and other properties as long as they go through the company’s certification process.

Novogratz-Backed Firm to Invest $100 Million in Crypto Funds
Yakob Peterseil – Bloomberg
Cryptology Asset Group intends to target emerging managers; Firm is largest public holding company for crypto in Europe
An investment company co-founded by Bitcoin billionaire Mike Novogratz announced it will invest $100 million in crypto-related venture funds over the next two years.


U.S. suspends tariffs on six trading partners for digital service tax negotiations
The United States on Wednesday announced that it will impose tariffs on certain goods from Austria, Britain, India, Italy, Spain and Turkey over disputes on Digital Service Taxes (DSTs), while noting that it will suspend tariffs for six months for multilateral negotiations.

Are Republicans Really a Threat to Democracy? Some of the party’s officials seem serious about overturning elections and obstructing the right to vote.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
How worried should we be about the state of democracy in the U.S.? A group of leading political scientists who study the issue say: a lot. A whole lot. In fact, they say: “our entire democracy is now at risk.” They’re correct. If they had asked me, I would’ve signed on.

U.K. Set to Stay Cautious on Foreign Travel Amid Covid Surge
Tim Ross – Bloomberg
Officials set to announce revised ‘green list’ of countries; Prime minister prioritizes vaccine rollout, protecting Britons
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is likely to keep tight limits on international travel for the weeks ahead, denting hopes of a major summer revival for aviation and tourism businesses which have been hammered by the pandemic.

The World Should Learn From India’s Covid-19 Cataclysm; Heeding the lessons of the country’s second wave could help other nations avoid a similar tragedy
Mihir Sharma – Bloomberg
In cities at least, India’s nightmarish second wave of Covid-19 finally seems to be ebbing. Delhi has brought its test positivity rate below 2% for the first time in two months. The pandemic’s scars won’t be easily erased, however — and they should be a warning to other developing nations. Those countries must learn from India’s experience if they don’t want to repeat it.

How Modi’s fraught relationship with pandemic data has harmed India; The BJP’s creative use of numbers has made a bad situation worse
Amy Kazmin – FT
As India’s devastating Covid-19 second wave peaked last month, its daily death toll hit a record of more than 4,500. That day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government hailed a “landmark achievement”, trumpeting that more than 400,000 Indians recovered from Covid in a single day.


Commissioner Berkovitz to Keynote at the FIA and SIFMA AMG, Asset Management Derivatives Forum 2021

CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee to Meet via Teleconference June 9
Commissioner Dawn D. Stump, the temporary sponsor of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC), announced the AAC will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The meeting will be held via teleconference in accordance with the agency’s implementation of social distancing due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

SEC to avoid enforcement of Trump-era proxy adviser rules; Restrictions backed by corporate groups had curbed consultants to shareholders
Patrick Temple-West – FT
The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday said it will not enforce Trump-era rules for shareholder advisory firms, dealing a blow to companies such as ExxonMobil that have argued proxy advisers wield too much power.

Acting Chairman Behnam to Speak at ARRC’s “The SOFR Symposium: The Final Year”

ESMA to ink deal for big data capabilities; The regulator is ditching its legacy architecture to cope with massive volumes of reported data and new supervisory responsibilities.
Josephine Gallagher – Waters Technology
The European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) is in the final stages of formalizing a deal with a managed service provider that will give the regulator the big data capabilities to operate on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. The European Commission will officially sign the new contract at the end of June, Paul Hussein, team lead of supervision and analysis systems at Esma, tells WatersTechnology.

MAS issues Prohibition Orders against Mr Younis Adnan Mohammed for fraud and dishonest conduct
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has issued five-year prohibition orders (POs) against Mr Younis Adnan Mohammed, following his convictions in the State Courts for offences involving fraud or dishonesty, namely forgery and providing false information to a public servant.

SEC Awards More Than $23 Million to Whistleblowers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced awards of approximately $13 million and $10 million to two whistleblowers whose information and assistance led to successful SEC and related actions.

Warning: Qantas bonds investment opportunity a scam
ASIC is alerting investors about fake Qantas Airways Limited (Qantas) corporate bonds; Scammers are promoting Qantas bonds offered by Equity Trustees Limited on the ASX in an attempt to legitimise the existence of the fake bonds; If you are offered a financial investment, do your own independent research, including appropriate online searches, before investing and ensure you are depositing money into a bank account which matches the entity you are investing with
STOP! Don’t invest!
ASIC is aware that Australians have been directly offered fake Qantas corporate bonds with interest rates of 7.75% per annum. The investment offer is fake.

ASIC bans former Brisbane adviser for three years
ASIC has banned Brisbane-based former financial adviser Nathan Smith from providing financial services for three years. ASIC found that Mr Smith failed to provide financial advice that was appropriate and in the best interests of his clients.

ESMA sees a prolonged period of risk from market corrections
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its first Risk Dashboard (RD) for 2021 covering the first quarter of the year. The RD highlights that the main risk for EU financial markets remains that posed by a sudden risk reassessment, amid the general decoupling of securities prices from economic fundamentals, and is maintains its risk assessment at a very high level.

Redesigned eFOCUS System and SEC Security-Based Swap Reporting Requirements; Revised Supplemental Inventory Schedule
In 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments1 that revise certain of the Financial and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) reporting and annual report requirements that apply to brokers and dealers pursuant to SEA Rule 17a-52 to take account of security-based swap (SBS) activity. Further, as a result of these changes, to avoid duplication with the SEC’s new requirements, FINRA has revised3 the Supplemental Inventory Schedule (SIS) so that members that file the new FOCUS Report Part II, pursuant to the SEC’s amendments, will no longer need to file the SIS. The SEC’s new FOCUS reporting requirements, and the revised SIS, will apply beginning with FOCUS reports and SIS filings that report on the period ending October 31, 2021 and are required to be filed in November 2021. This Notice provides highlights of the upcoming changes.

Publication of costs and charges data by workplace personal pension providers
Our expectations of providers for the first publication of costs and charges information under the new rules.

Temporary Registration Regime extended for cryptoasset businesses
The extended end date will allow cryptoasset firms to continue trading while the FCA continues with its assessments.

Investing and Trading

Tourmaline Partners Adds Industry Experts David Toy and Chris Arkin to Trading Team; New hires join existing buy-side trading team, deepening APAC and derivatives expertise to meet growing demand for our highly differentiated trading services
Tourmaline Partners, LLC
Tourmaline Partners, LLC, the world’s leading outsourced trading solutions firm, today announced that industry experts David Toy and Chris Arkin have joined as senior traders. With these new hires, Tourmaline further enhances its capabilities in the Australia-Pacific (APAC) region and in the derivatives trading space, as demand broadens globally for the firm’s trading, operations and commission management expertise. Toy is based in Australia and Arkin works at Tourmaline’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

Manic Housing Market Needs a Calming Dose of Deregulation; The end of the pandemic will be a stabilizing force, but the supply of homes won’t rise to meet the demand without changes in land-use and zoning rules.
Michael R. Strain – Bloomberg
The U.S. housing market is on fire, with the supply of available homes falling drastically short of pandemic-stoked demand. Worrywarts are calling it a “crisis” and circulating weird tales of buyer desperation — including one about a supplicant in Bethesda, Maryland who apparently offered to name her first-born child after a seller — and warnings of stunted recoveries. Or maybe the thing to fear is another speculative bubble, like the one that set off the 2008 global financial crisis.

Barchart Forecasts Cut to USDA Corn Yield and Production Figures in Initial 2021 Production Estimates; End of season U.S. corn production is forecast at 14.4B bu with a yield of 173.2 bu/ac. This compares to the USDA’s 15.0B bu of production and 179.5 bu/ac yield; End of season U.S. soybean production is forecast at 4.3B bu with a yield of 49.3 bu/ac. This compares to the USDA’s 4.4B bu of production and 50.8 bu/ac yield; Free semi-monthly crop production and yield estimates for the U.S. and major production areas are available through our U.S. Crop Production Report; Access daily yield and production forecast updates through cmdtyView Pro.
Barchart, a leading provider of data services, software and technology to global commodity buyers, agriculture, and the food supply chain, announces their initial 2021 Yield and Production forecasts for U.S. corn and soybeans – which both indicate downside risk to the USDA’s projected figures from May’s WASDE report.

Elon Musk tweeted and this stock jumped, after report that regulators told Tesla his Twitter account broke court order
Jack Denton – MarketWatch
Elon Musk’s use of Twitter has twice violated a court order requiring his tweets be vetted by Tesla’s lawyers, The Wall Street Journal reported late on Tuesday. On Wednesday, shares in Samsung Publishing moved higher following new tweets from the chief executive of the electric-vehicle company, while cryptocurrency asset dogecoin soared after Musk posted a related meme.

The Stock Market Is Suspiciously Well Behaved; It’s rare for equities to move so perfectly in line with theory as they have done over the past year.
John Authers – Bloomberg
A Dose of Rationality
Wednesday was a colossally boring day in markets. There was a big exception which I’ll come to, but let’s start with the broader picture. The U.S. and global stock markets have been stuck in a very tight range for more than a month now, and that continues to be the case. Not only that, but the dramatic gains of the last 12 months can be accounted for almost entirely in terms of rising earnings expectations, which is exactly what all the textbooks say should happen. Jonathan Golub of Credit Suisse Group AG produced this spectacular chart of the rise in the S&P 500 over the last 12 months, compared with expected earnings for the next 12 months, and with the multiple paid for those earnings. Markets seldom behave so perfectly in line with theory as they have done over the last year:

U.S. Inflation Isn’t Scary Yet, But It Could Be; The current spike will probably pass, but the longer-term risk remains.
Bill Dudley – Bloomberg
The U.S. Federal Reserve is showing little concern about inflation, even though its preferred measure — the core price index for personal consumption expenditures — has increased 3.1% over the past year, far exceeding the central bank’s longer-term 2% target. Should people be worried about a wealth-destroying bout of price increases? No, and yes.

Amazon’s $34 Billion Makes It an ‘Investment Hero,’ Study Says; The e-commerce giant was far and away the leader in U.S. capital spending in 2020, according to a Progressive Policy Institute analysis.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
Democratic and Republican politicians alike are dumping on Inc. over its ceaseless expansion—marked most recently by its agreement to buy the movie studio with the roaring lion logo, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, says “they are laser-focused on expanding and entrenching their monopoly power,” while Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, tweets that Amazon “shouldn’t be able to buy anything else. Period.”

Meme Stock AMC Is Offering Its Investors Popcorn. How Fitting! There could be no better gift to shareholders than the alluring kernels of puffed-up nothingness.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
On June 2, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. announced it will offer a free large popcorn to investors in its shares the first time they attend a movie in an AMC theater this summer. This is wonderful on two levels. First, because it may be the only thing of actual value that the shareholders ever receive for their money. And second, because popcorn is the perfect metaphor for AMC shares, as I will explain below at some length (ahem).

‘Don’t Be That Sucker:’ Traders Warn Against Joining AMC Rally
Ksenia Galouchko and Lisa Pham – Bloomberg
AMC shares are up almost 3,000% this year on Reddit frenzy; Market players say buyers risk losing money in volatility
The staggering surge in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. as a result of Reddit fans’ frenzy is making professional market participants increasingly uneasy. After retail traders sent the shares of the unprofitable movie-theater chain to a record high, bringing this year’s advance to almost 3,000%, investors and strategists are warning that the chances of getting badly burned and losing money on this trade are now very high.

Defiant Meme-Stock Short Sellers Stare Down $4.5 Billion Loss
Lu Wang and Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Wagers against AMC and GameStop racked up unrealized losses; Short positions rise for ninth straight week: Goldman Sachs
The capacity of short-sellers to withstand pain is being tested anew by day traders driving up the share prices of meme stocks like AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Paper losses from the bearish wagers on 10 of the most-shorted U.S. shares amounted to $4.5 billion Wednesday, according to Peter Hillerberg, co-founder of analytics provider Ortex. That includes $2.75 billion in unrealized losses for AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. following the stock’s 95% surge, rising to nearly $4 billion after adding in GameStop Corp. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

The Federal Reserve Is Going to Sell Its Corporate Bond Portfolio. What It Means.
Alexandra Scaggs – Barron’s
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it plans to start selling its portfolio of corporate bonds and exchange-traded funds that it bought during the pandemic.

Copper Boom Has BHP, Freeport Picking Through Waste; Big miners to invest in Pritzker, Walton-backed firm Jetti Resources, which says it can extract copper from mine waste
Alistair MacDonald – WSJ
An obscure mining business part-owned by members of the Pritzker and Walton families is getting some new heavyweight investors: BHP Group Ltd. BHP -0.07% and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., FCX -1.97% two of the world’s biggest miners.

Meme stocks take off as call option buying surges; Oil prices maintain their gains following Opec+ meeting
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan and Eric Platt – FT
Meme stocks favoured by retail investors soared on Wednesday in a session that saw a large uptick in derivatives trading. Companies targeted by retail investors rallied, including the cinema chain AMC, the software group BlackBerry and the retailer GameStop all gained more than 10 per cent. AMC shares almost doubled in value by the end of the day.

Cinema chain AMC surges after luring DIY traders with free popcorn; Other ‘meme stocks’ including Bed Bath & Beyond and BlackBerry also post large gains
Madison Darbyshire – FT
AMC shares closed up 95 per cent from Wednesday morning, to $62 each, after the company’s stock price surged on the back of a promise to dish out free popcorn to investors, in the latest example of how the “meme trading” frenzy is rippling across Wall Street.

AMC stock nearly doubles — but hedge fund has ‘no regrets’ about selling
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
Shares of AMC Entertainment nearly doubled on Wednesday — but Mudrick Capital, which liquidated a $230 million position in the movie exhibitor a day earlier, isn’t eating its heart out, sources told The Post.

Buy-side trading desks increased spending to cope with pandemic, report finds; Coalition Greenwich report found that buy-side equities trading desks increased their budgets by 12% in 2020, while fixed income desk budgets declined by 1%.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Budgets for equities trading desks on the buy-side increased more than any other asset class in 2020 as firms grappled with changing market conditions during the pandemic, a Coalition Greenwich report has found.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Blue Bonds to Test Waters for Sustainable-Debt Demand in LatAm
Ezra Fieser – Bloomberg
IDB Invest to sell bonds for Latin America maritime projects; Region on pace to top 2020 record for sustainable debt sales
A development bank is preparing to test whether the craze for sustainable debt extends to Latin America’s oceans. IDB Invest is structuring the sale of what would be the region’s first blue bond, with proceeds to be used to finance maritime projects such as sustainable fisheries across the region and tourism developments in the Caribbean.

HeidelbergCement to Build Carbon-Neutral Plant in Sweden; German cement maker also intends to increase use of greener fuels such as biomass
Maitane Sardon – WSJ
HeidelbergCement AG plans to tap into carbon capture and storage to turn one of its cement plants into what it says will be the world’s first carbon-neutral site for cement production, in an effort to help lower the cement industry’s high carbon footprint.

Engine No 1, the giant-killing hedge fund, has big plans; After forcing its way on to Exxon’s board, the newly minted activist investor is ready to raise more cash
Derek Brower and Ortenca Aliaj – FT
It has been depicted as a new David-and-Goliath tale for Wall Street: a tiny hedge fund called Engine No 1 went up against the mightiest oil company in the US and won three seats on its board, with a mandate to prepare it for a future free of fossil fuel.


Jeremy Haney Joins Old Mission as Head of Talent Management
Old Mission
Old Mission, a global, multi-asset market-making firm, today announced the addition of Jeremy Haney as Head of Talent Management. Mr. Haney is Old Mission’s latest senior hire, overseeing all people operations globally in a newly-created role as the firm continues its rapid growth. He is based at Old Mission’s headquarters in Chicago.

A Fund Named YODA Is Coming to London as Space ETFs Go Global
Yakob Peterseil – Bloomberg
Issuer behind U.S.-listed UFO will launch new product in U.K.; Cathie Wood’s space ETF was one of the most successful debuts
The ETF space race is going global, as a new intergalactic-inspired product prepares for its London debut in the coming days. With a ticker pulled straight from the pop-culture playbook, YODA will be the first exchange-traded fund in Europe tracking the “space economy,” according to a release from issuer Procure Holdings.

Hedge Funds Opt for Some Days of Remote Work—at Least for Now
Katherine Burton – Bloomberg
Industry survey shows three days a week in office is popular; Executives say privately they hope workers show up more often
Most hedge funds plan to let their employees work remotely at least one day a week starting in September — a more flexible approach than Wall Street banks that are already summoning staff back to the office. What many senior managers aren’t saying openly is that such accommodations may not last.

Standard Chartered Joins Crypto Rush, Days After HSBC Opts Out
Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
Bank will work with Hong Kong-based digital asset specialist; Lender has ‘strong conviction’ virtual currencies here to stay
Standard Chartered Plc is setting up a joint venture to buy and sell virtual currencies such as Bitcoin — days after its biggest rival HSBC Holdings Plc said it would swerve the crypto trading craze.

Tradovate to Offer New FairX Futures Commission-Free; Tradovate Continues to Bring Innovation to Futures by Offering “No Fees” Approach, with Commission-Free Trading of New FairX Futures
FairX is a new futures exchange* that intends to offer smaller futures contracts designed for active individual traders, and Tradovate will be one of the first brokers to offer trading on FairX from day one when the new exchange launches. Tradovate is also the first firm to announce commission-free trades for FairX futures for its clients.

Trafigura warned Credit Suisse over Gupta invoice last year; Commodities trading house raised concern in July 2020 over a bill it apparently owed one of industrialist’s companies
Robert Smith and Neil Hume – FT
Commodities trader Trafigura warned Credit Suisse last year that the bank’s supply-chain finance funds appeared to contain a suspicious invoice from industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s business empire, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

Deutsche tells US bankers they must be back in office by September 6; German lender joins European peers in taking more gradual approach than Wall Street rivals
Joshua Franklin – FT
Deutsche Bank has told its roughly 1,500 US investment bank employees that they must be back in the office by early September as it became the latest Wall Street lender to spell out its return-to-work policy.

JPMorgan applies to take full control of China securities venture
Wall Street banks are bulking up in world’s second-biggest economy
Thomas Hale – FT
JPMorgan has applied to take full control of its securities joint venture in China, in the latest example of a US bank expanding its foothold in the country’s financial markets.

Neil Woodford: two years on, the unanswered questions; More than 300,000 investors are still waiting for answers
Joshua Oliver, Kate Beioley and Claer Barrett – FT
Two years ago, 61-year-old Alison Blinston was heading to the airport for a holiday when her husband spotted an online news article that would change the couple’s financial fortunes. “What’s the name of that fund you have your pension in?” he asked.

Deutsche Bank adds Vietnam hedging rules to FX platform; Hedging rules added to Deutsche Bank Vietnam’s Autobahn platform will allow foreign institutions to manage Vietnam Dong exposures in post-trade transactions.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Deutsche Bank Vietnam has extended the hedging rules its FX platform, Autobahn, to help clients better manage their exposure to the Vietnam Dong (VND).


Biggest India Bank Torn Between BlackRock and Funding Coal
Suvashree Ghosh – Bloomberg
State Bank of India one of nation’s biggest energy lenders; Investors raise concerns about bank’s fossil fuel lending
India’s biggest bank is caught between investors like Larry Fink and Narendra Modi. State Bank of India needs to finance coal projects to meet the Indian leader’s push to electrify more homes, yet it wants to back renewable projects to appease global money managers including Fink’s BlackRock Inc., Storebrand ASA and Amundi SA. For now it’s doing a bit of both.

Russia Cuts Dollar Holdings From $119 Billion Wealth Fund Amid Sanctions
Evgenia Pismennaya – Bloomberg
Holdings shifted to euros, yuan and gold, Siluanov says; Asset transfer to take place within central bank reserves
Russia will eliminate the dollar from its National Wellbeing Fund, shifting to euros, yuan and gold, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said, as the Kremlin seeks to reduce exposure to U.S. assets amid threats of sanctions. The transfer, which affects about $119 billion in liquid assets, will take place within the central bank’s huge reserves. As a result, its market impact — if there is one — could be hard to trace. The Bank of Russia has steadily reduced holdings of dollars in the last several years as sanctions pressures from the U.S. and European Union have grown.

Iberdrola’s 6,500-Basis-Point Bond Typo Carries Legal Risks
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Spanish utility gave the wrong bond spread on its term sheet; A London law firm sees potential for an investor settlement
Iberdrola SA’s 6,500-basis-point typo on a bond document has put the Spanish utility into a legal gray area. The company made the error on a term sheet filed for regulatory purposes, listing the spread over Euribor as 65% instead of 65 basis points. Even though a correction was issued last month, it could still be a costly mistake, according to Jake Hardy, a partner at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP with more than 20 years of experience in financial litigation.

Hong Kong’s Auditor Watchdog Says Major Improvements Are Needed
Kiuyan Wong – Bloomberg
Auditing work on Hong Kong’s listed companies needs a “significant improvement” with almost three-quarters of inspections showing sub-par work, according to the accounting industry watchdog.

‘Draghi put’ holds Italy’s bond markets in thrall; Former ECB chief has presided over calm bond markets since his appointment as Italy PM
Tommy Stubbington – FT
In his eight years as president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi developed an almost legendary ability to rein in borrowing costs for eurozone governments. Investors appear to be crediting him with similar powers as Italy’s prime minister, judging from the calm that has descended on the region’s bond markets since he took office in February.

ChinaAMC completes takeover of BMO’s Hong Kong ETF range; The Chinese manager makes acquisition to expand its business with the territory’s $1tn MPF pension fund
Echo Huang – FT
ChinaAMC (HK) has completed its takeover of BMO Global Asset Management’s seven Hong Kong exchange traded funds and plans to use the acquisition to expand its market share in the territory’s HK$1tn ($128.8bn) Mandatory Pension Fund.


When Will Covid Pandemic Really End? Covax Says Poor Nations Need Vaccines
Stephanie Baker, James Paton and Ekow Dontoh – Bloomberg
The nonprofit Covax, which distributes Covid vaccines to mostly poor countries, has been saying for a year no one is safe until everyone is. Rich countries may finally be getting the message.

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