DeFi Exchange Creator Uniswap Labs Says SEC Sent It Lawsuit Warning

Apr 11, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Futures Discovery Host Corties Draper, a student at Roosevelt University who is a CCCF Honors Fellow in the Heller College of Business, announced on LinkedIn that he has been accepted into the Master of Science in Management Science and Analytics program with a specialization in Quantitative Finance at the Illinois Institute of Technology for Fall 2024.

Corties, who was captain of the Roosevelt football team, is committed to continuing with JLN as he completes the 26 episodes of the Futures Discovery educational video series sponsored by MIAX that is intended to share Corties’ curiosity about the futures markets as he explores various topics. He has really grown into the role and I have never met anyone with more enthusiasm and passion to learn about the markets.

Congratulations to Corties on his latest academic milestone and I am sure he will do great at IIT in the fall.

Kwesi Smith, the CEO of the Greenwood Project, shared on LinkedIn that “Greenwood Project has been honored with a monumental donation of $600,000 from IG/tastytrade.”

Jason Radzik is stepping down as managing director of BNP Paribas after 16 years. He said in a LinkedIn post that he is “getting ready to embark on the next leg of the journey!” He was very thankful for working with so many talented and wonderful people at BNP and across the street.

The video from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) in which
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chairman Martin J. Gruenberg delivered an address titled “Too big to fail” provided an overview of resolution under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Anthony Marano has been promoted to director – prime services – listed derivatives – client facing middle office at Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking – SGCIB, he announced on LinkedIn. He has also worked at Northern Trust and CME Group

Robinhood is looking to hire a senior product marketing manager in London.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
– Industry Analyst Larry Tabb Discusses Cryptocurrencies, AI, and Market Dynamics at FIA Futures Conference from John Lothian News.
Debunking Options Myths from Cboe.
Funds selling options help temper US stock swings from Reuters.~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


Industry Analyst Larry Tabb Discusses Cryptocurrencies, AI, and Market Dynamics at FIA Futures Conference

At the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL, John Lothian News conducted an interview with Larry Tabb of Bloomberg Intelligence as part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush. Tabb, known for his expertise in industry and market analysis, shared his insights into cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, equity options growth and increased demand for U.S. equities during non-traditional market hours.

Watch the video »


Euronext CEO Boujnah Discusses AI, Brexit, and ESG at FIA Conference

Stephane Boujnah says you cannot afford to be late to AI, but also that exchange matching engine operators need to be precise, not roughly correct. The Euronext CEO spoke to John Lothian News at the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL, as part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush. Boujnah pulled no punches in addressing the impact of AI, Brexit, geopolitical risks, cybersecurity threats and staying competitive.

Watch the video »


Ghana Seeks to Delay Cocoa Deliveries Due to Lack of Beans; Regulator wants to postpone the delivery of contracted sales; It’s in talks over delaying at least 150,000-250,000 tons
Ekow Dontoh, Mumbi Gitau, and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Ghana is in talks with traders to postpone the delivery of at least 150,000 to 250,000 tons of cocoa until next season due to a lack of beans, in the latest sign of how a supply crunch is roiling the global market. The Ghana Cocoa Board, the regulator, is negotiating with major traders to roll over the delivery until sometime during the season that starts in October, according to five people familiar with the negotiations. The beans are supposed to be delivered during the main harvest that will end in the coming months, and some traders are asking for a big discount for the delay, two of the people said.

****** If you are in line at Starbucks for a hot cocoa, you might have to wait a little longer.~JJL


The Fate of Virgin Money and the Rising Cost of Scammers; The arms race between financial cops and robbers is heating up.
Marc Rubinstein – Bloomberg (Opinion)
Did fraudsters take down Virgin Money Plc, the UK’s sixth-largest bank? When the management team of Virgin Money UK Plc presented to shareholders on the merits of their agreed takeover by Nationwide Building Society last month, they laid out various reasons for recommending the offer. There was the price, of course – a 40% premium to the average market value over the prior three months. There was the scale: Together, the combined banks would become the second-largest provider of mortgages and savings in the UK.

****** Interesting angle; the cost of being scammed is driving consolidation in the banking sector.~JJL


The Podcast Host Who Also Manages a $1.6 Trillion Investment Fund; Top CEOs talk to Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund manager. This week’s guest was Elon Musk on the future of AI.
Jenny Strasburg – The Wall Street Journal
Darren Woods, chief executive of Exxon Mobil, fancies himself a grillmaster. His favorite cut of meat? The rib-eye steak. James Gorman, the chairman and recently departed CEO of Morgan Stanley, used to regularly get physically sick from the stress of the job. And Daniel Ek, who co-founded Spotify, is deeply conflicted about the enormous wealth he has achieved.

****** Josh King, I think you need another sideline gig.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our most-clicked item on Wednesday was the Cboe’s Debunking Options Myths, focusing on 0DTE options. Second was Stock-market rally has likely reached a ‘tipping point’ following spike in Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’, from MarketWatch. Third was How a Pioneering Blackjack Master Beats the Odds of Aging, from Bloomberg, about math professor and hedge fund manager Edward Thorp.



Lead Stories

DeFi Exchange Creator Uniswap Labs Says SEC Sent It Lawsuit Warning
Olga Kharif and Muyao Shen – Bloomberg
Uniswap Labs, the creator of the largest decentralized trading platform on Ethereum, said the US Securities and Exchange Commission has warned that it faces a potential enforcement action for operating as an unregistered exchange and broker dealer. The SEC’s Enforcement Division served Uniswap with a Wells Notice, notifying the company that it plans to recommend a legal action against it, the firm said in a blog statement. A representative for the SEC declined to comment.

UBS’s Capital Fears in Switzerland Have Arrived; The bank faces higher demands from its government after the Credit Suisse disaster, but it could have been worse.
Paul J. Davies – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG had hoped that the Swiss government wouldn’t make onerous demands for more capital in the wake of its hyper-profitable rescue of Credit Suisse last year. But with a balance sheet now twice the size of Switzerland’s economy, the understandable nervousness among officials has fueled their desire for better defenses. The Federal Council of Switzerland didn’t say exactly how much more capital UBS would need, but changes announced Wednesday seem likely to postpone or diminish the share buybacks that UBS investors are hoping for in the next few years.

US regulator criticises Swiss handling of Credit Suisse as ‘unhelpful’ FDIC chair Martin Gruenberg says US watchdogs would shut down a giant failing bank
Brooke Masters and Stephen Gandel and Owen Walker – Financial Times
Switzerland’s decision last year to merge Credit Suisse with UBS was an “unhelpful” way to deal with a failing global bank and US regulators would not shrink from a full shutdown in a similar situation, the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has warned. Martin Gruenberg spoke to the Financial Times as his agency issued a paper detailing how it would handle the collapse of a global systemically important bank (G-SIB) such as Credit Suisse. He said the FDIC was seeking to remind shareholders, creditors and executives that they cannot rely on government bailouts similar to those that stabilised the financial system after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.

Cocoa’s Surge Is Drawing Africa’s Farmers Back to the Bean; With global prices for the commodity hitting $10,000 a ton, there’s a drive to plant more trees.
Pius Lukong and Tolani Awere – Bloomberg
In Cameroon, the astonishing surge in the price of cocoa has Banyuy Elsie Kinyuy planning the next chapter of her life. In November, the 57-year-old high school tutor bought a 3-hectare (7.4-acre) parcel of land about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest from her home in Yaoundé, the capital. The cocoa trees she’s planted there should begin bearing fruit by the time she retires in three years. Laying the groundwork for Kinyuy’s career switch hasn’t come cheap. The traditional chief who sold her the plot also collected a fee of three goats, 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of palm wine and a bag of salt to grant her permission to farm the cash crop.

Algorithmic warfare raises new moral dangers; Israel’s use of an AI-enabled targeting system in Gaza has fed the debate about military technology
John Thornhill – Financial Times
One of our worst nightmares about artificial intelligence is that it will enable killer robots to stalk the battlefield dispensing algorithmically-determined death and destruction. But the real world is a lot messier than the comic books. As Israel’s bombardment of Gaza shows, we may be moving towards more invisible and insidious forms of automated decision-making in warfare. A chilling report published last week by the Israeli online magazine +972 highlighted the heavy reliance of the Israel Defence Forces early in the war on an AI-enabled mass target-generation system known as Lavender, which flagged 37,000 Gazans as suspected Hamas militants. As a result, many were bombed in their homes, often killing their families too.

Neil Woodford had a ‘defective’ understanding of responsibilities, FCA says; The former star fund manager is challenging the UK watchdog’s preliminary findings over the investment scandal
Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
Former star fund manager Neil Woodford had a “defective” understanding of his responsibilities in the run-up to the collapse of his £3.7bn Equity Income Fund, the UK financial regulator said in its first public findings after a long-running probe. The Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday that Woodford’s “unreasonably narrow understanding of his responsibilities for managing liquidity risks” ultimately led to the fund’s downfall in 2019. The collapse of his company, which trapped roughly 300,000 investors, left them nursing losses in one of the UK’s biggest investment scandals.

SEC moves to sue Uniswap in bid to hobble fast-growing DeFi sector
Jeff John Roberts – Fortune
The Securities and Exchange Commission warned Uniswap on Wednesday that it intends to bring an enforcement action against the company, which is the leading platform for DeFi-a segment of the crypto market where traders rely on computer protocols that act as automated market makers for exchanging various tokens. The warning came in the form of a so-called Wells Notice, which the SEC sends to a company prior to launching a formal lawsuit and which provides it a final opportunity to rebut any allegations. In this case, that process is likely to prove little more than a formality as the agency has reportedly been investigating Uniswap for some time, and is in the midst of a sweeping crackdown on the crypto industry.

Top Crypto Exchanges Look to Move Beyond Settlements With U.S. Regulators; Compliance chiefs at Binance, Coinbase and Kraken hope lessons taken from these settlements could help improve compliance programs within the wider cryptocurrency industry
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
Chief compliance officers from three top cryptocurrency exchanges said they continue to make additional investments in compliance controls and staffing as they look to move on from settlements with U.S. regulators over various compliance failures. Compliance chiefs at crypto exchanges Binance, Coinbase and Kraken said at an industry conference Wednesday that they also hope lessons from these settlement agreements could help improve compliance programs within the wider industry.

Adaptation Is the World’s Unheralded Tool to Deal With Climate Change; Learning how to live with a warming world doesn’t get as much attention as cutting emissions. That doesn’t make it any less vital.
Jessica Nix – Bloomberg
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a cut-and-dry way to stop climate change. But how the world responds to the impacts already taking place is a whole other can of worms – a large can, and one that can seem incomprehensible. Dubbed climate adaptation, the field doesn’t rely on a handful of solutions such as installing wind turbines and manufacturing batteries. Building a seawall, wearing clothes that keep you cool, and even relocating an entire community are all forms of climate adaptation. Adaptation looks different for every community, based on the climate threats they face now and in the future.

Switzerland lays out new ‘too big to fail’ rules in wake of Credit Suisse banking turmoil last year
Jamey Keaten – Associated Press
The Swiss government Wednesday announced steps to bolster its “too big to fail” rules aimed at avoiding potentially disastrous fallout from banking sector turmoil after woes last year at Credit Suisse before it was taken over by rival UBS. Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told reporters that the measures will aim to protect taxpayers – who were briefly on the hook to avoid a major banking sector collapse – and the Swiss economy overall.

Is the Sam Bankman-Fried Story Over?
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
Last month, I attended Sam Bankman-Fried’s sentencing hearing. Not that anyone asked, but I have some thoughts.Former crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison last month. Just like during last year’s trial, CoinDesk journalists were in attendance. The sentencing hearing took 1 hour and 59 minutes. In that time, we heard from Judge Lewis Kaplan, defense attorney Marc Mukasey, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Roos, an FTX creditor, an attorney representing other FTX creditors and Bankman-Fried himself. In some respects, the hearing was a final chance for everyone – the judge exorcized some demons in summing up who he thought Bankman-Fried was, the prosecutor dropped a final nail into Bankman-Fried’s coffin and the former CEO whiffed his last chance to define himself in court.

UBS Faces Substantially Higher Capital Rules Under Swiss Proposals
Bastian Benrath and Myriam Balezou – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG faces a “substantial” increase in regulatory capital requirements under reforms that the Swiss government is advocating for in the wake of the collapse of Credit Suisse. The Federal Council is proposing that systemically-important Swiss banks must hold significantly more capital against their foreign units, according to a wide-ranging report on banking stability released on Wednesday. In addition, bank-specific capital levels should be boosted to take future risks more into account.

Foreign terrorists targeting US ‘increasingly concerning’: FBI director
Luke Barr – ABC News
Foreign adversaries and terrorist groups are sharpening their aim at the United States — targeting cyber operations, security and “mafia-like” tactics in an “increasingly concerning” way, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a speech on Tuesday. At the American Bar Association luncheon in Washington, D.C., Wray said the agency is working to prevent a coordinated attack from terrorist groups such as ISIS-K, an affiliate of ISIS. “Foreign terrorists, including ISIS, al-Qaida and their adherents, have renewed calls for attacks against Jewish communities here in the United States and across the West in statements and propaganda,” Wray said. “The foreign terrorist threat and the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, like the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall a couple weeks ago, is now increasingly concerning. Oct. 7 and the conflict that’s followed will feed a pipeline of radicalization and mobilization for years to come.”

Can Taylor Swift Offset the Climate Impact of Her Private Jets? It’s Complicated; Swift, along with other billionaires and celebrities, has purchased carbon offsets, a market where experts and regulators are looking for more transparency.
Sophie Alexander – Bloomberg
Taylor Swift will be back on stage next month for the European leg of her wildly successful Eras tour, racking up miles as her private jet carries her from Paris to Stockholm to Lisbon. To counter her emissions, the recently minted billionaire is doing the same thing as longtime ultra-rich jetsetters like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates: buying carbon offsets.

US Betting on Energy Shift to Stem Decades of Disappearing Farms; US prime for overhaul benefiting small farmer, USDA chief says; Strategy focuses on clean energy, infrastructure investments
Kim Chipman, Michael Hirtzer, and Tarso Veloso – Bloomberg
The US is betting the transition to cleaner energy combined with massive infrastructure investments will reverse a persistent decline in family farms, creating new revenue opportunities for growers while boosting their ability to compete overseas. More than half a million farms across America’s landscape have vanished over the last four decades as policies favored consolidation. While the resulting industrial heft has bolstered the US’s status as an agriculture juggernaut feeding the world, it’s wreaked havoc on smaller and mid-sized producers and the rural economies that rely on them.

*****This story from Reuters.

CFA Final Exam Pass Rate Rises to 49%, Below the Decade Average
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
The pass rate for the final level of the chartered financial analyst exam stayed below the decade average, while first-time test takers had a higher success rate than those who chose to delay testing. In February, 49% of candidates passed the Level III test, up from 47% for those who sat for the exam in August and just above the 48% of passers in February of 2023, the CFA Institute said Thursday. Still, the results remain below the 52% average for the past decade, according to historic pass rates.

Speed of AI development stretches risk assessments to breaking point; Artificial intelligence’s complexity exposes flaws in traditional methods used to evaluate safety and accuracy
George Hammond – Financial Times
The increasing power of the latest artificial intelligence systems is stretching traditional evaluation methods to breaking point, posing a challenge to businesses and public bodies over how best to work with the fast-evolving technology. Flaws in the evaluation criteria commonly used to gauge performance, accuracy and safety are being exposed as more models come to market, according to people who build, test and invest in AI tools. The traditional tools are easy to manipulate and too narrow for the complexity of the latest models, they said.

Amazon CEO Touts AI Revolution While Committing to Cost Cuts; In his letter to shareholders, Andy Jassy says generative AI could usher in the largest tech transformation since the Internet
Steven Russolillo and Sebastian Herrera – The Wall Street Journal
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said generative artificial intelligence could be one of the largest technological transformations in decades. Writing in his annual letter to shareholders, Jassy laid out a vision for how generative AI is the company’s next pillar of growth following Marketplace, Prime and its cloud-computing unit Amazon Web Services. Amazon also said it added an AI expert to its board. “Generative AI may be the largest technology transformation since the cloud (which itself, is still in the early stages), and perhaps since the Internet,” Jassy wrote in his letter Thursday. “This GenAI revolution will be built from the start on top of the cloud. The amount of societal and business benefit from the solutions that will be possible will astound us all.”

How compliant traders can manage the generative AI synthetic data tsunami; Generative AI was last year’s technological innovation favourite, but its full potential for trading professionals is not yet entirely realised. Using AI for communications risk and compliance purposes in the sector should become commonplace argues Shaun Hurst, principal regulatory advisor at communications compliance firm, Smarsh.
The Trade
Last year saw a notable increase in the adoption of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard (now Gemini) and Microsoft’s Copilot. This trend represents an evolutionary leap in how companies across various sectors are integrating technology. As AI becomes a staple in the workplace, especially for traders and their complementary compliance teams, organisations are now faced with the challenge of understanding its full potential to identify and mitigate compliance risks, as well as manage the immense increase in the data produced.

Ukraine Invasion

Russia Seizes Over 650,000 Acres Of Farmland And Other Assets From Company With Ties To ‘Unfriendly’ Country
Kevin Vandenboss – Bloomberg
In a significant escalation of its retaliatory measures against “unfriendly” states amid heightened geopolitical tensions, Russia has seized assets of the agricultural holdings company AgroTerra Group. The move, announced on April 8, 2024, has sent shockwaves through the agricultural sector and raised concerns over food security and international trade relations. President Vladimir Putin’s decree places Dutch-registered firms AgroTerra Investments B.V. and AgroTerra Holdings B.V. under the “temporary management” of Rosimushchestvo, Russia’s federal property management agency. This action follows a series of similar asset seizures targeting Western companies, including multinational brewer Carlsberg and dairy giant Danone, which have sought to divest their Russian operations in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

How Ukraine set Russia’s biggest economic asset on fire
Melissa Lawford – The Telegraph
As Vladimir Putin held meetings with Russian police chiefs earlier this month to discuss tightening migration controls in the wake of the Moscow concert hall terror attack, foes were crossing his country’s border hundreds of miles away. A Ukrainian drone flew over the frontlines on April 2 and travelled 800 miles into Russia’s Tatarstan region before hitting the country’s third largest oil refinery, sending it up in a cloud of flames.

Russian air strikes destroy Kyiv power plant, damage other stations
Tom Balmforth – Reuters
Russian missiles and drones destroyed a large electricity plant near Kyiv and hit power facilities in several regions of Ukraine on Thursday, officials said, ramping up pressure on the embattled energy system as Kyiv runs low on air defences. The major attack more than two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion completely destroyed the Trypilska coal-powered thermal power plant near the capital, a senior official at the company that runs the facility told Reuters.

Russia Destroys Largest Power Plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv Region
Volodymyr Verbianyi and Aliaksandr Kudrytski – Bloomberg
A sweeping Russian missile attack on Ukraine destroyed the largest power generating plant in the Kyiv region as Vladimir Putin’s forces exploit gaps in the war-battered nation’s air defense as part of a renewed offensive. The strike set ablaze the turbine hall of the Trypilska plant some 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of the capital, according to Andriy Hota, the supervisory board chairman of state-owned power producer Centrenergo. The facility was hit by six missiles early Thursday, a person familiar with the strike said on condition of anonymity.

Russia’s army is now 15% bigger than when it invaded Ukraine, says US general
Kwan Wei Kevin Tan – Business Insider
Russia’s armed forces have grown larger and not dwindled during its war in Ukraine, a top US general said on Wednesday. “The army is actually now larger – by 15 percent – than it was when it invaded Ukraine,” US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told the House Armed Services Committee in a hearing.m”Over the past year, Russia increased its front-line troop strength from 360,000 to 470,000,” Cavoli continued, adding that the bolstered numbers stemmed from Russia raising its conscription age from 27 to 30.

Can Ukraine Find New Soldiers Without Decimating a Whole Generation?
Andrew E. Kramer, Josh Holder and Lauren Leatheby – The New York Times
The roughly one million men who serve in Ukraine’s army are battered and exhausted. Many soldiers have been on combat duty for two years. Tens of thousands have been lost to death or serious injury. New recruits are desperately needed. But Ukraine is running up against a critical demographic constraint long in the making: It has very few young men. Healthy men under age 30, the backbone of most militaries, are part of the smallest generation in Ukraine’s modern history. Ukraine must balance the need to counter a relentless Russian offensive by adding more troops against the risk of hollowing out an entire generation.

Ukraine’s parliament passes a controversial law to boost much-needed conscripts as war drags on
Samya Kullab and Illia Novikov – Associated Press

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Hamas Leader Says Israeli Airstrike in Gaza Killed Three of His Sons; Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh announces deaths as group balks at U.S. cease-fire plan
Summer Said, Dov Lieber and Rory Jones – The Wall Street
The head of Hamas’s political leadership, Ismail Haniyeh, said an Israeli airstrike killed three of his sons on Wednesday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, an attack that could complicate a U.S.-led plan for a cease-fire in the six-month-old conflict in Gaza. The Israeli military didn’t immediately comment on the statement. Hamas said five people died in the strike, which the group said hit a car making social visits for Eid, the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Netanyahu not consulted on killing of Haniyeh’s sons, Israeli media say
Israeli forces killed three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in an air strike in Gaza without consulting senior commanders or political leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli media reported on Thursday. Quoting senior Israeli officials, Walla news agency said neither Netanyahu nor Defence Minister Yoav Gallant had been told in advance of the strike, which was coordinated by the Israeli military and the Shin Bet intelligence service.

US Sees Imminent Missile Strike on Israel by Iran, Proxies
Donato Paolo Mancini, Jennifer Jacobs and Galit Altstein – Bloomberg
The US and its allies believe major missile or drone strikes by Iran or its proxies against military and government targets in Israel are imminent, in what would mark a significant widening of the six-month-old conflict, according to people familiar with the intelligence. The potential assault, possibly using high-precision missiles, may happen in the coming days, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss confidential matters. It is seen as more a matter of when, not if, one of the people said, based on assessments from US and Israeli intelligence.

Russia urges restraint as Iranian threat puts Middle East on edge
Russia urged countries in the Middle East to show restraint and warned against travelling to a region on edge over an Iranian threat to strike Israel, while Germany’s Lufthansa extended a suspension of flights to Tehran. Iran has vowed revenge for the April 1 airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus that killed a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers, escalating tensions in a region already shaken by the Gaza war.

Joe Biden says US support for Israel ‘ironclad’ as Iran threats increase; Tehran vows to exact revenge for Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus
James Shotter and Bita Ghaffari – Financial Times
US President Joe Biden said his administration’s support for Israel’s security was “ironclad”, following threats from Iran to exact revenge on the Jewish state for a strike on its consulate in Damascus last week. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the attack, which killed several senior Iranian commanders, was equivalent to an attack on Iranian territory, and that Israel must be “punished”.

Hamas May Not Have Enough Living Hostages for Cease-Fire Deal; The group is in discussions with Israel over releasing 40 women, children, elderly and sick captives
Summer Said, Nancy A. Youssef and Jared Malsin – The Wall Street Journal

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

DTCC Collaborates with REGnosys to Support ISDA Digital Regulatory Reporting
DTCC, the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced that it is working with REGnosys to support industry adoption of the ISDA Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR) solution and aid compliance with forthcoming global derivatives trade reporting rewrites. The ISDA DRR establishes a golden-source interpretation of market practices and trade reporting logic, developed through industry consensus.

Expanding a successful TRF offering: MSCI Total Return Futures now live
Damien Zinck, Vice President Equity & Index Sales and Zubin Ramdarshan, Head of Equity & Index Product Design, both at Eurex give unique insights into the launch of MSCI Total Return Futures on March 11th and highlight what is behind the launch of MSCI TRFs at Eurex and what they bring to the buy-side. What is behind the launch of MSCI TRFs at Eurex, and what do they bring to the buy side?

ICE Reports Record Open Interest Across its Global Natural Gas Markets with Record Trading Activity in Natural Gas Options
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced record open interest (OI) across its global natural gas futures and options markets as well as record trading activity in global natural gas options. On March 22, 2024, ICE’s global natural gas futures and options hit record OI of 40.2 million contracts, up 29% year-over-year (y/y). In North America, OI across ICE’s Henry Hub futures and options is up 33% y/y. These markets offer market participants the most liquid contracts to hedge long term exposure to U.S. natural gas prices. Meanwhile, ICE’s U.S. financial gas markets hit record OI of over 11 million futures and options contracts on April 1, 2024. ICE’s U.S. financial gas markets cover 70 hubs across North America allowing customers to manage regional supply and demand dynamics.

Ethos Launches Two New Sustainable Indices in Collaboration with SIX
Ethos has recently launched two new sustainability indices, the first for Swiss equities and the second for Swiss franc bonds. Calculated by SIX, these indices comprise equities and bonds from companies/issuers that have an adequate extra-financial performance according to Ethos’ ESG ratings. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV) has added to its range of index-linked products by launching a fund that replicates the new equity index. Ethos has launched two new indices dedicated to sustainability, an equity index and a bond index, which are both calculated by SIX. The aim of these two indices is to use a sustainability filter to eliminate companies/issuers whose ESG practices are insufficient. This way, Ethos aims to encourage investment and financing in companies or issuers whose non-financial performance is more sustainable than that of their peers.

Publication of JPX Working Paper, Vol.42 “Impact of optimization of the tick size for TOPIX Mid 400 constituents”
Japan Exchange Group
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) today published JPX Working Paper, Vol.42 “Impact of optimization of the tick size for TOPIX Mid 400 constituents”. This Japanese version was released on January 31, 2024. JPX Working Papers highlight research and studies on changes in the market and regulatory environment with the aim of raising competitiveness. Conducted by officers and employees of JPX, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, as well as outside researchers, JPX Working Papers are intended to draw comments widely from academia, research institutions, and other market participants and observers.

Special Change in KRX FactSet Digital Healthcare Index for EDGC; Since EDGC(245620) has been designated as “Investment Precaution Issue” on April 9th, 2024, KRX will remove the constituent from “KRX FactSet Digital Healthcare Index.
Applied index : KRX FactSet Digital Healthcare Index; Deletion : EDGC(245620) Effective Date. EDGC is now under trading suspension. The stock will be excluded on the third trading day after the trade resumption date. However, in case trading does not resume within 15 (market) trading days after the determination date(May 2nd, 2024), the stock will be excluded on the next trading day(May 3rd, 2024) at the last price.


Meta Debuts New AI Chip, Aiming to Decrease Reliance on Nvidia; The chip will power systems that rank and recommend content; Meta released first version of custom semiconductor last year
Aisha Counts and Ian King – Bloomberg
Meta Platforms Inc. is deploying a new homegrown chip to help power its artificial intelligence services, aiming to decrease its reliance on semiconductors from Nvidia Corp. and other outside companies. The chip, announced Wednesday, is the latest version of the Meta Training and Inference Accelerator, or MTIA, which helps rank and recommend content across Facebook and Instagram. Meta released the first MTIA product last year.

OpenAI’s Altman Pitches Global AI Coalition on Trip to Middle East; The CEO met with officials in the UAE this week to push for more infrastructure investment to support the development of artificial intelligence.
Shirin Ghaffary and Edward Ludlow – Bloomberg
OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman has been working to build a global coalition among government and industry leaders to support boosting the supply of chips, energy and data center capacity needed to develop artificial intelligence technology, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. Altman met with investors and government officials in the United Arab Emirates this week to discuss how the private sector can work with countries to support costly, large-scale infrastructure for AI, said the people, who requested anonymity to share private discussions. Altman has also spoken with officials in a number of Western countries and is holding meetings in Washington later this week, one of the people said.

Adobe Is Buying Videos for $3 Per Minute to Build AI Model; OpenAI’s Sora has increased competitive pressure on Adobe; Adobe has built AI models with stock library, procured media
Brody Ford – Bloomberg
Adobe Inc. has begun to procure videos to build its artificial intelligence text-to-video generator, trying to catch up to competitors after OpenAI demonstrated a similar technology. The software company is offering its network of photographers and artists $120 to submit videos of people engaged in everyday actions such as walking or expressing emotions including joy and anger, according to documents seen by Bloomberg. The goal is to source assets for artificial intelligence training, the company wrote.

Amazon CEO Jassy Says Generative AI Boom Will Be Built On AWS
Spencer Soper – Bloomberg Inc. Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said his company’s cloud infrastructure will become an essential part of the generative artificial intelligence boom. “While we’re building a substantial number of GenAI applications ourselves, the vast majority will ultimately be built by other companies,” Jassy said Thursday in the company’s annual letter to shareholders. “We’re optimistic that much of this world-changing AI will be built on top of AWS.”

Amazon adds Andrew Ng, a leading voice in artificial intelligence, to its board of directors
Associated Press
Amazon is adding artificial intelligence visionary Andrew Ng to its board of directors, a move that comes amid intense AI competition among startups and big technology companies. The Seattle company said Thursday that Ng, a managing director at the Palo Alto, California-based AI Fund, will replace a seat vacated by Judy McGrath, a former CEO of MTV who told Amazon she won’t run for reelection.

Race for AI Supremacy in Middle East Is Measured in Data Centers; Saudi Arabia and the UAE are rushing to build infrastructure as they vie to become the regional tech superpower.
Marissa Newman, Mark Bergen, and Olivia Solon – Bloomberg

Alphabet Heads Toward $2 Trillion With Investors Cheering AI Progress; Stock would be fourth US firm to breach $2 trillion in value; Up to last close, Alphabet shares have rallied 12% this year
Subrat Patnaik – Bloomberg


Police Scour LockBit Ransomware Evidence, Turning Up 200 Leads; The gang claimed roughly 5,000 victims.
Ryan Gallagher – Bloomberg
Police have matched a number of pseudonyms used by the LockBit hacking gang to specific individuals as they seek to track down a list of some 200 suspected cybercriminals linked to the group. In February, law enforcement agencies from 11 countries – led by the UK’s National Crime Agency and aided by the FBI – took control of LockBit’s infrastructure in a dramatic takedown of the world’s most prolific ransomware group, which had extorted millions of dollars in payments from attacks on thousands of companies. The organized crime group has claimed the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Boeing and the UK’s Royal Mail among its victims.

Regulation remains the strongest multiplier to cybersecurity growth
Andrea Benito – CIO
In 2023, the United Arab Emirates actively repelled more than 50.000 cyberattacks daily, explained the UAE Cybersecurity Council. In the first three quarters of the same year, the country successfully prevented over 71 million attempted attacks in total. According to a report from Frost & Sullivan, the GCC cybersecurity industry continues to grow, with F&S estimating it to triple in value by 2030 to reach 13.4 billion USD, countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to reduce their dependence on oil exports and are instead opting for digital tools and technologies.

Seven ways to prepare for the new CISA CIRCIA rules
John Morello – SC Media
Last Wednesday marked a significant milestone as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) unveiled its eagerly-awaited draft rules on cybersecurity incident reporting. The aim: give the federal government a better understanding of breaches impacting critical sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, energy, financial services, transportation, and water utilities.

Apple Issues New Spyware Attack Warning To iPhone Users
Kate O’Flaherty – Forbes
Apple has issued a new spyware warning to iPhone users in 92 countries, after it found they had been targeted in attacks. Apple users were alerted of the attacks via a notification email seen by Reuters. Located in India and 91 other countries, victims of the spyware attack were told adversaries had attempted to “remotely compromise the iPhone.”


How the Halving Will Impact the Bitcoin Market
Torbjorn Bull Jenssen – CoinDesk
There are many forces moving bitcoin, yet few attract the same level of attention as the halvings (when the block reward is cut in half). Historically, halvings have proven to be important catalysts for bull markets, and while the rate of impact is decreasing, the upcoming halving is likely to prove important for bitcoin’s price formation.

Bitcoin miners face survival test in ‘halving’
Lucie LeQuier – AFP
Miners of bitcoin will soon face a halving of the reward for operating the most popular cryptocurrency, in a pivotal event that is a test of survival, industry commentators say. The halving, held every four years and next due this month, exposes the weakest mining companies and individuals because it slashes their main source of income, according to experts.

China’s Harvest May Get Hong Kong Approval for Spot-Bitcoin ETF Later in April
Bloomberg News
The international arm of Chinese asset manager Harvest Fund Management Co. may get approval from Hong Kong as soon as this month to launch a spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, people familiar with the matter said. The pending green light is the second part of a two-step process for Harvest Global Investments Ltd. to list an ETF in the city that directly invests in Bitcoin, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan is not public.

Brevan Howard’s Crypto Fund Rises 35% as Macro Trading Dips; BH Digital’s first quarter jump adds to its 2023 gains; Hedge fund’s flagship Master fund fell around 2% this year
Liza Tetley and Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Brevan Howard Asset Management’s cryptocurrency fund is currently a bright spot for the hedge fund firm, which lost money on macro trades this year. BH Digital, which manages around $1.7 billion of assets, returned 34.5% in the first quarter of this year, according to people familiar with the matter. That brings total gains since the fund started trading in March 2022 to nearly 51%, one of the people said.

Bitcoin the main attraction at Hong Kong Web3 Festival ahead of ‘imminent’ ETF approval
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s biggest annual Web3 gathering concluded on Tuesday with industry executives looking to capitalise on the ballooning bitcoin price ahead of what is expected to be the city’s imminent approval of spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the virtual asset this month. Industry leaders attending the Hong Kong Web3 Festival shared extremely optimistic projections of the world’s largest cryptocurrency token, the price of which is up 58 per cent to about US$69,000 this year, as the crypto faithful hope to extend the winning streak.


Boris Johnson warns Trump: You can’t make America great again if Ukraine falls to Putin
Benedict Smith – The Telegraph
Donald Trump will fail to “make America great again” if he lets Ukraine fall into the hands of Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson has warned. The former prime minister urged Republicans in Congress, who have stalled a $60 billion aid package for Kyiv, to unite against Russia to maintain America’s status as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.

Moldova’s President Faces Protests as New Pro-Russia Front Opens
Lina Grau and Andra Timu – Bloomberg
Moldovan President Maia Sandu is facing rising domestic tensions ahead of key elections this year as protests in another Russia-friendly region – besides the breakaway Transnistria enclave – fuel concerns that Moscow is intensifying pressure to derail the nation’s pro-European path. Sandu, who’s seeking another term later this year, was met with several hundred demonstrators backed by a pro-Russia party during a visit to the small autonomous region of Gagauzia on Wednesday. The protestors briefly clashed with police in the city of Comrat as Sandu met with students and mayors to denounce “cheap propaganda” against her government and lay out European Union-funded projects aimed at improving Gagauzia’s living standards.

China sanctions 2 U.S. defense companies and says they support arms sales to Taiwan
Associated Press
China on Thursday announced rare sanctions against two U.S. defense companies over what it said is their support for arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory to be recovered by force if necessary. The announcement freezes the assets of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems held within China. It also bars the companies’ management from entering the country.

Biden, Kishida Eye Wind Power as Japan Worries About LNG Supply; US moratorium on LNG export permits drew concern from Tokyo; Japan joins effort to promote floating offshore wind energy
Yoshiaki Nohara and Shoko Oda – Bloomberg
US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to intensify efforts to harness wind power and speed the transition to clean-energy amid concerns in resource-scant Japan over access to liquefied natural gas. “The United States remains unwavering in its commitment to support the energy security of Japan and other allies, including its ability to predictably supply LNG,” the leaders said in a joint statement Wednesday after their bilateral summit in Washington.


Woodford Had ‘Defective’ Understanding of Risk, FCA Says; Stock picker Neil Woodford hit with FCA warning notice; Lawyers for Woodford say he intends to challenge the findings
Jonathan Browning and Loukia Gyftopoulou – Bloomberg
Once-famed fund manager Neil Woodford was hit with a warning notice by the UK’s financial regulator, which said he had a “defective and unreasonably narrow understanding” of liquidity risks in the lead-up to the collapse of his fund. The Financial Conduct Authority said it planned to take enforcement action against the stock picker and his defunct firm Woodford Investment Management, according to a statement Thursday. A warning notice is issued before the FCA comes to a final decision.

DOJ Is Scrutinizing Rival AI Companies Sharing Board Members; Overlap in directors or executives can violate antitrust laws; US wants to take action while industry is still developing
Leah Nylen – Bloomberg
The Justice Department is scrutinizing whether artificial intelligence companies have overlapping executives or directors, an arrangement that can violate US antitrust law, a senior agency official said Wednesday. The Justice Department is “on the lookout for AI competitors sharing board members,” Andrew Forman, deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust, said at a conference in Washington. Taking quick action to enforce rules while the industry is still developing can have competitive benefits, he said, “and that’s something that we’re particularly focused on.”

Keynote Remarks by Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson at NYU AI Convening: The Potential, Promise, and Limitations of Integrating AI in Financial Markets
Good morning. I must thank Charlton McIlwain, Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at New York University, Director of NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology, and former President of Data & Society as well as Margaret Hu, Taylor Reveley Research Professor and Professor of Law and Director of the Digital Democracy Lab at William & Mary Law School and Faculty Affiliate with the Global Research Institute and Data Science.

ASIC consults on misconduct reporting guidance for external administrators and controllers
ASIC has today released a consultation paper on proposed updates to its regulatory guidance for external administrators and controllers when reporting and lodging statutory reports about alleged misconduct.
The proposed updates provide greater clarity on ASIC’s expectations of external administrators and controllers’ compliance with the reporting obligations and ASIC’s approach to the reports it receives.

Improving regulatory guidance for registered liquidators
Address by ASIC Commissioner Kate O’Rourke at the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) National Conference, 11 April 2024.

ESAs to launch industry exercise ahead of next stage of DORA implementation; Dry run will collect information from financial entities through their competent authorities in preparation for the implementation and reporting of registers of information under DORA.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Next month, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) are set to launch a voluntary exercise to collect registers of information of contractual arrangements on the use of ICT third-party service providers by financial entities. Beginning in 2025, financial entities will have to maintain registers of information regarding their use of ICT third-party providers under the Digital Operation Resilience Act (DORA).

Investing and Trading

Bond Traders Are Preparing for a 5% Yield, No Rate Cut World
Ruth Carson and Masaki Kondo – Bloomberg
Bond traders are readying for 10-year US Treasury yields surpassing 5% as the scenario of no rate cuts by the Federal Reserve this year looks increasingly possible. Schroders Plc is shorting US bonds across some tenors as sticky inflation raises the risk of higher-for-longer rates. Pacific Investment Management Co. expects the Fed to ease policy at a more gradual pace than peers in other developed markets, with a “non-negligible” chance that it doesn’t cut at all this year.

Top commodities traders dismiss IPO route after bumper profits; Executives at Vitol, Trafigura and Mercuria say banks and export credit agencies have never been so keen to lend to them
Tom Wilson and Malcolm Moore – Financial Times
Three of the world’s largest commodity traders said their $23bn in combined profits last year showed they could continue growing strongly without having to turn to public markets. Jeffrey Dellapina, chief financial officer of Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, said there was “no chance” that it would ever consider an initial public offering.

Exclusive: CEO of commodity trader Trafigura starts handover to successor
Julia Payne, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Pratima Desai – Reuters
Jeremy Weir, longtime chief executive at commodities trader Trafigura, is priming successor Richard Holtum to take over when he decides to step back into a chairman role, five sources familiar with the matter said. Trafigura has yet to announce an official transition or a timeline for the change but management reshuffles and the retirements announced last week of two executives have paved the way for a new generation of leadership.

Sotheby’s Rare Bond to Be Backed by Rembrandt, Warhol Art
Carmen Arroyo – Bloomberg
Loans tied to art from Rembrandt van Rijn and Andy Warhol are among the assets being bundled into an unusual $500 million bond from Sotheby’s Financial Services, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Barclays Plc is in the process of marketing the asset-backed security – which packages 89 personal loans given to art collectors – and expects to price it by next week. The top five painters whose art will ultimately back the debt also include Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Frida Kahlo, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

The inequity method of accounting; California family learns about private-equity hardball while selling supermarket chain
Sujeet Indap – Financial Times
The fundamental bargain of M&A seems pretty simple. At the closing of a deal, the buyer pays the seller, and gets a business in return. It hasn’t been so straightforward for the family who agreed in 2022 to sell its California supermarket Save Mart to the private equity firm Kingswood Capital Management, which valued the grocery chain at $245mn.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Adaptation Is the World’s Unheralded Tool to Deal With Climate Change; Learning how to live with a warming world doesn’t get as much attention as cutting emissions. That doesn’t make it any less vital.
Jessica Nix – Bloomberg
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a cut-and-dry way to stop climate change. But how the world responds to the impacts already taking place is a whole other can of worms – a large can, and one that can seem incomprehensible. Dubbed climate adaptation, the field doesn’t rely on a handful of solutions such as installing wind turbines and manufacturing batteries. Building a seawall, wearing clothes that keep you cool, and even relocating an entire community are all forms of climate adaptation. Adaptation looks different for every community, based on the climate threats they face now and in the future.

Proposals for New US Power Plants Jump 90% on Surging Demand
David R. Baker – Bloomberg
As utilities race to keep ahead of rising electricity demand, developers have proposed a surge of new power plants across the US – and very few of them would run on fossil fuels. The generating capacity of proposed plants seeking to connect to the power grid jumped nearly 90% in the last three years, according to a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In 2023, the combined capacity of all those plants totaled almost 2,600 gigawatts. A single gigawatt of electricity can power 750,000 homes.

Pipeline Share Sales Highest Since 2017 as Dividends Draw Buyers
Geoffrey Morgan – Bloomberg
Dangling juicy dividends and ample liquidity at major institutional investors, shares of pipeline companies in North America have been selling at the fastest pace since 2017, and bankers say the market remains open for more. After a slow start in 2023, sales of new and existing shares in the energy sub sector raised $5.7 billion, the most in six years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And pipelines are punching above their weight – with an additional $910 million added since Jan. 1, the total raised over the past 12 months accounts for nearly half of the $14.5 billion worth of volume in the broader oil and gas industry.

Climate Group in Tumult Over New Guidelines for Carbon Market
Natasha White – Bloomberg
The board and chief executive officer of the Science Based Targets initiative were asked to resign after the United Nations-backed group loosened guidelines for how companies can use carbon credits to reduce their reported emissions. In a letter sent Wednesday, SBTi employees said the board of trustees who made the statement failed to adhere to the nonprofit’s governance structures and the CEO failed to adequately inform the staff about the board’s decision. The SBTi announced Tuesday that it will allow the use of credits to cut emissions from value chains, otherwise known as Scope 3.

******This story from Reuters.

UN climate chief calls on citizens to ‘raise their voices’ ahead of elections; Simon Stiell seeks to push global warming to top of public agenda as big polluters go to the polls this year
Attracta Mooney – Financial Times
The head of the UN’s climate change arm has urged citizens to “raise their voices” over global warming as more than half of the world goes to the polls in the months ahead. Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said there was a “disconnect” between the action ordinary people wanted governments to take to tackle global warming and the response of governments, in a speech in London on Wednesday.

UN climate chief warns there are ‘two years to save the world’
James Murray – Reuters

Biden Administration Wants Enbridge Pipeline Ruling Revisited
Robert Tuttle – Bloomberg


US active ETF flows soar past previous records; Flows jump on both monthly and quarterly basis helping assets to surge past $750bn mark
Will Schmitt – Financial Times
Flows to active US exchange traded funds have surged past previous records for both monthly and quarterly hauls, helping to drive assets held in the vehicles above $750bn at the end of March. Investors pumped $65.6bn into active ETFs in the three months to the end of March – more than 50 per cent higher than the previous record of $41bn in the fourth quarter of 2023 – as assets under management in the vehicles rose to $758bn, according to Morningstar data.

‘Tokenized Hedge Fund’ Rakes in Crypto Billions With 37% Yield
Muyao Shen – Bloomberg
A crypto token that aims to replicate a common hedge-fund trade is attracting billions of dollars worth of tokens and widespread buzz in the market. Yet the project, known as Ethena, is also stoking skepticism about the sustainability of its yields that are currently about 37%. Ethena and its USDe token, a so-called synthetic dollar, achieves its goal through crypto’s version of the basis trade, which exploits differences in prices between spot and futures markets. The strategy, known in crypto as a cash-and-carry trade, has proven particularly profitable recently as token prices march higher and higher and funding rates – the interest paid by bullish traders to maintain a futures position – surge.

BlackRock loses appeal over UK tax on $13.5bn BGI deal; Court of Appeal rules against asset manager on tax deductions relating to Barclays Global Investors acquisition
Harriet Agnew – Financial Times
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has lost an appeal relating to UK tax it sought to reclaim from HM Revenue & Customs on its $13.5bn acquisition of Barclays Global Investors in 2009. The appeal relates to a structure that was put in place by BlackRock when it bought the business from Barclays. The US part of the BGI business was acquired through a corporate structure that included a UK tax resident entity, LLC5, which was funded by $4bn of loans from another BlackRock group entity based in the US.

Hedge fund takes on shipping magnates over oil tanker deal; FourWorld takes legal action after ‘egregious’ transaction that ended deadlock over ownership of oil shipping group Euronav
Costas Mourselas and Robert Wright – Financial Times
A US hedge fund is seeking to reverse a high-profile deal between Frontline, controlled by shipping magnate John Fredriksen, and one of Belgium’s oldest shipping dynasties. Under an agreement announced last year, Frontline bought $2.35bn of oil tankers from crude oil shipping group Euronav, in exchange for selling a shareholding in the business to Compagnie Maritime Belge.

Managers to shut or convert $220bn of US money market funds before rule change; SEC rules on departure fees for institutional prime money market funds will drive up costs, say firms
Harriet Clarfelt and Brooke Masters – Financial Times
The $674bn US institutional prime money market funds sector is set to shrink by at least one-third this year, as large investment firms shut down these vehicles rather than pay for upgrades needed to meet new regulations. Cash managers including Federated Hermes, Capital Group and Vanguard say they are planning to close institutional prime money market funds holding more than $220bn in assets or convert them to another type of fund before Securities and Exchange Commission rules come into effect in early October, imposing a mandatory fee on large redemptions.

Work & Management

The Worst Part of a Wall Street Career May Be Coming to an End; Artificial intelligence tools can replace much of Wall Street’s entry-level white-collar work, raising tough questions about the future of finance.
Rob Copeland – The New York Times
Pulling all-nighters to assemble PowerPoint presentations. Punching numbers into Excel spreadsheets. Finessing the language on esoteric financial documents that may never be read by another soul. Such grunt work has long been a rite of passage in investment banking, an industry at the top of the corporate pyramid that lures thousands of young people every year with the promise of prestige and pay.

Work Advice: What to expect when fighting workplace retaliation; Restricted duties, bad assignments and bogus performance reviews are just some of the responses these workers faced after speaking out
Karla L. Miller, Columnist – The Washington Post
In my last column, I asked readers to share their own experiences with retaliation in the workplace after filing complaints. Rachel from Colorado, who asked to be identified only by her first name, worked as a ski instructor during a gap year before college. Her 32-year-old supervisor quickly shifted from casual conversations and playful teasing to “intense attention.” Get a curated selection of 10 of our best stories in your inbox every weekend. “I was not interested in him and made that clear, but it was weird because he was directly in charge of my shifts, my clients, and suggesting me for pay raises,” Rachel said in an email. She filed a report with HR, who said they would deal with the matter.

Wellness Exchange

Whooping Cough Is Surging in China With More Than a Dozen Deaths; Cases in first two months of 2024 are nearing all of last year; Covid disruptions and vaccine woes contribute to the outbreak
Bloomberg News
Whooping cough is making a post-pandemic comeback in China, with cases surging more than 20-fold in the first two months of 2024. The world’s second-most populous country reported a combined 32,380 cases of pertussis – more commonly known as whooping cough – in January and February, compared with 1,421 cases during the same period in 2023, according to the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration. There were 13 deaths.


US Buys More Taiwan Exports Than China for First Time Since 2003
Samson Ellis and Miaojung Lin – Bloomberg
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou just used a landmark meeting to underscore their view that the two sides of the strait are close as family. Trade data tell a different story. The US once again became the largest destination for Taiwan’s exports after decades of China sitting atop the list, data from the Finance Ministry in Taipei showed on Wednesday.

Chinese Buyers Cancel Corn Shipments as Beijing Supports Farmers; Importers canceled 4 or 5 cargoes set for delivery by June
Hallie Gu and Aine Quinn – Bloomberg
Chinese buyers are canceling corn shipments as they seek to comply with new government measures to support domestic farmers. Chinese importers won’t take delivery of four or five cargoes of Ukrainian corn previously booked for delivery between April and June, according to people familiar with the matter. The cancellations took place within the past two weeks, and more shipments from the European country could be scuppered in the future, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Vietnam Tycoon Lan Sentenced to Death Over $12 Billion Fraud; Lan is eligible to appeal the sentence under Vietnamese law; Court also awards 20-year prison sentence each on two charges
Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and Quynh Nguyen – Bloomberg
A Vietnam court sentenced real estate tycoon Truong My Lan to death for her role in a $12 billion fraud case, underscoring the Communist Party’s determination to crack down on corruption. Lan, 67, the chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat Group, was arrested in 2022 and eventually faced charges including bribery of government officials and violation of bank lending rules. The main case against her was that she embezzled funds from Saigon Commercial Bank between February 2018 and October 2022.

South Africa Starts Issuing Crypto Licenses, And Luno, Zignaly Among First Recipients; Regulators in the country have said they plan to authorize up to 60 digital asset firms by April.
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
South Africa has started licensing crypto firms, with Luno and Zignaly among the first batch of companies to receive regulatory approval. Regulators in the country have said around 60 firms are set to receive approval by April. South Africa’s financial regulator has started issuing crypto licenses, with exchange platform Luno and decentralized social investing marketplace Zignaly among the first bath of companies to receive approvals.

Sibanye could cut 4,000 jobs as it restructures gold operations
Diversified miner Sibanye Stillwater said on Thursday the planned restructuring of its South African gold operations could result in the loss of 4,022 jobs. In a statement, the company, which suffered an annual loss of $2 billion in 2023 from a slump in metal prices, said the restructuring was meant to stem losses at its Beatrix 1 shaft, which has been unable to deliver planned production.

Race for AI Supremacy in Middle East Is Measured in Data Centers; Saudi Arabia and the UAE are rushing to build infrastructure as they vie to become the regional tech superpower.
Marissa Newman, Mark Bergen, and Olivia Solon – Bloomberg

EU Parliament approves legal option to block Russian LNG imports
Kate Abnett – Reuters

EU launches probe into Chinese wind turbine companies; Investigation uses new powers to protect European companies from state-backed foreign rivals
Javier Espinoza and Andy Bounds – Financial Times


How a Case Against Fox News Tore Apart a Media-Fighting Law Firm; Tensions had been brewing for years inside Clare Locke, a top defamation law firm. Then came the biggest defamation case of them all.
David Enrich – The New York Times
Last April, dozens of lawyers and their guests gathered at the Columbus Inn in Wilmington, Del. The revered restaurant, with roots tracing back more than two centuries, was once a hangout for Buffalo Bill. Yet on this cloudless night, the crowd would have been happy to be partying almost anywhere. Hours earlier, the lawyers and their client, Dominion Voting Systems, had negotiated an extraordinary $787 million settlement with Fox News. The deal was struck moments before opening arguments in a hotly anticipated defamation trial, in which Fox was accused of airing inflammatory lies that Dominion had thwarted Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

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Past JLN Newsletters

SEC Charges Intercontinental Exchange and Nine Affiliates Including the New York Stock Exchange with Failing to Inform the Commission of a Cyber Intrusion; The crypto Congress: Momentum builds for ‘most significant’ digital-asset law in history

SEC Charges Intercontinental Exchange and Nine Affiliates Including the New York Stock Exchange with Failing to Inform the Commission of a Cyber Intrusion; The crypto Congress: Momentum builds for ‘most significant’ digital-asset law in history

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