Digital Asset Open Sources its Smart Contract Language; Virtu and MarketAxess join forces on global project

Apr 5, 2019

First Read

Defense rests in a “thin” case against Jitesh Thakkar; Thakkar acquitted of conspiracy
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

In a move that surprised the courtroom, the defense in the trial of U.S. v Jitesh Thakkar rested its case shortly before 1:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Thakkar’s attorney, Renato Mariotti, had called no witnesses in his defense.

For the benefit of the jury, Mariotti played about 12 minutes of excerpts from the recordings of the FBI’s two early morning surprise visits to the defendant’s home. In these recordings the jury heard, among other things, FBI Agent Brent Potter reassure Thakkar that he need not be worried, that he was not under investigation. Under cross-examination on Tuesday, Potter had testified that that had been a lie.

To read the rest of this commentary, go here.


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

In a first for this newsletter, JLN’s Thom Thompson has had the most read stories all week long with his coverage of the Jitesh Thakkar trial. Congrats to Thom on his excellent work this week covering the trial.~JJL

American Financial Exchange (AFX), which offers direct lending and borrowing for American financial institutions, announced a record day of $2.3 billion on March 28th, $8.6 billion for the week of March 25th and $29.7 billion for the month of March. The exchange now has 139 members, up from 83 a year ago.~JK

In a blog post, Trading Technologies’ APAC Director of Customer Success Jonathan Ferreira said that enhancements to the TT platform on the road ahead include “new connections to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE), Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) and Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX).”~SD

The FIA’s SEF Tracker is now updated with March data.~SD

FIA, Inc. is hiring! The Head of Global Industry Operations & Execution is a seasoned member of the global futures and cleared derivatives industry with a background in clearing operations, market infrastructure and execution. This individual will be responsible for developing and maintaining key strategic relationships with various operations, execution and infrastructure constituencies in the industry and help develop and implement the operational and technical solutions that FIA offers its membership.~JJL

ErisX has launched a blog with a post by Jessica Darmoni titled “ErisX Vision and Leadership.”~JJL

Do you know Bridge Alternatives? They have a new blog on their website HERE.~JJL

The SEC issued its first “no-action” letter to a crypto company, TurnKey Jet, Inc., as reported in a WSJ piece in JLN’s newsletter yesterday. Here’s the twist – the digital asset offered by TurnKey Jet Inc. isn’t technically a “cryptocurrency.” In fact, their product is an excellent example of why not all “digital assets” are cryptocurrencies. Check out our page on “Digital Tokens” in CryptoMarketsWiki to find out more.~MR


Thinking Global – Luc Fortin, MontrÈal Exchange
In this video, Montreal Exchange President and CEO Luc Fortin talks about the exchange’s extended hours, potentially partnering with a firm in Asia to spread the word, and the relaunch of a key interest rate derivative.
Watch the video »


Ray Dalio Sounds a New Alarm on Capitalism’s Flaws, Warns of Revolution
Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
Disparities in wealth, values leading to ‘increasing conflict’; Founder of hedge fund giant Bridgewater posts latest essay
Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund, said he believes flaws in American capitalism have created destructive and self-reinforcing gaps in education, social mobility, assets and income — and the result could be another revolution.

***** Something everyone should read.~JJL


This chart shows the gender pay gap extends all the way to the top of the corporate ladder
Andy Kiersz – Business Insider
The gender pay gap between men and women in the US continues to remain stubbornly large, and it extends even to the very top of the corporate pyramid.
According to a new study sent to Business Insider by executive networking and crowdsourcing firm ExecThread, offers made by recruiters to top-level male executives tend to be far higher than those made to their female counterparts.

***** At least it is consistent.~JJL


Weird things keep happening in the markets; The 2008 crisis and the reforms that followed sparked a profound behavioural shift
Gillian Tett – FT
A decade ago, there was a pattern in global markets, known as the “covered interest parity rule”, that was so widespread it “verge[d] on a physical law in international finance”, as the Bank for International Settlement puts it.

***** Weird things sounds like a great name for a book about the markets.~JJL


The Best Brexit Is Still No Brexit; The prime minister’s new strategy isn’t much better than her old one.
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May this week stopped trying to get her fellow Tories to back her plan for quitting the European Union, and asked the opposition Labour Party to come to her aid. Could this be that most elusive of Brexit developments: progress?

***** If JLN had an editorial board, too, it would agree.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top read story on Thursday was our ongoing coverage of the Jitesh Thakkar case by Thom Thompson in Data Day in the case of U.S. v. Jitesh Thakkar. Second was Bloomberg’s Patagonia Vests: Wall Street Will Need to Work For Them Now. Third was Phil Stafford’s piece for the FT, European investors complain over soaring cost of data


MarketsWiki Stats
148,403,104 pages viewed; 23,654 pages; 218,026 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: XRP
XRP, the native digital token of the Ripple network, was one of the digital assets used to launch Bˆrse Stuttgart’s new crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs). These products, which are tied to the price of digital assets like XRP, were designed to give investors familiarity with trading digital assets without actually having to purchase them.

CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.

Recently Updated Pages

Recently updated pages include
William Hinman
Digital Asset

CryptoMarketsWiki Stats

1,030 pages; 9,171 edits
CryptoMarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Digital Asset Open Sources its Smart Contract Language, DAML, to Enable Integration with Other Platforms
Digital Asset
Digital Asset, the creators of the DAML smart contract language, announced today that it has open sourced DAML. The source code for the DAML language, runtime, and Software Development Kit (SDK) is now freely available under an Apache 2.0 open
source license, enabling third parties to modify DAML and integrate it with other platforms. In
addition, the DAML SDK Developer Preview is now available to all developers, following a
private beta program announced last year.

*****Interesting move for a firm often ahead of the curve in the digital asset world. First mover advantage does not seem to have a lasting edge.~JJL

Virtu Financial and MarketAxess join forces on global ETF and fixed income project; Collaborative project to deliver global, multi-asset and multi-currency coverage to MarketAxess and Virtu RFQ-hub clients.
John Brazier – The Trade
Virtu Financial has announced a new partnership with MarketAxess to provide the two firm’s mutual client base with trading tools and access to global exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and fixed income securities.

****FT here.

Tradeweb IPO delivers $1bn bounty for Wall Street
Nicole Bullock and Philip Stafford – Financial Times
Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Barclays are among the Wall Street banks sharing in a $1.1bn bounty after Tradeweb Markets, the fixed-income and derivatives platform, made a strong debut on Nasdaq.

Expanded DTCC Sponsored Service Gains Immediate Traction in Evolution of the Treasury Market
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced another step has been taken in the unfolding evolution of the Treasury marketplace.

Putting Libor Out of Its Misery Is Proving Easier Said Than Done
Alex Harris – Bloomberg
Weaning off the scandal-plagued Libor benchmark is a gigantic problem for global rates markets, one that increasingly looks too burdensome for a single replacement to handle in the U.S.

**A look at SOFR, LIBOR (the newer one) and Ameribor.

Societe Generale: Managed Futures Rejoice As Trends Return To Markets
Societe Generale published its monthly update to its family of CTA indexes today, and the positive news is that all SG CTA indices posted positive performance in March, bringing the CTA Index and Trend Index back on track for 2019 year to date. In fact, it has been the best month for CTAs since the beginning of last year, in terms of returns. The uptick has been driven by trend-followers, as the Trend Index reported its best performance since January 2018 and all ten of the index constituents were positive.

Are New Repo Participants Gaining Ground?
Adam Copeland, Ira Selig, and Anya Tarascina – Liberty Street Economics
Following the 2007-09 financial crisis, regulations were introduced that increased the cost of entering into repurchase agreements (repo) for bank holding companies (BHC). As a consequence, banks and securities dealers associated with BHCs, a set of firms which dominates the repo market, were predicted to pull back from the market. In this blog post, we examine whether this changed environment allowed new participants, particularly those not subject to the new regulations, to emerge. We find that although new participants have come on the scene and made gains, they remain a small part of the overall repo market.

Digital Bank Tandem starts fundraising talks; So-called “neobanks” have raised more than $1.5bn across Europe over the past year
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Tandem Bank is set to join the wave of fast-growing digital banks raising new funds, and has started discussions with investors to support a planned overseas expansion.

Commerzbank CEO Says Merger Would Add Much-Needed Scale
Aaron Kirchfeld and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Says bank needs to grow for needed investments to pay off; ‘The alternative of doing nothing is not an option,’ he writes
Commerzbank AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke, almost three weeks into formal discussions about a combination with Deutsche Bank AG, is lobbying hard to overcome internal opposition to the idea.

Swedbank’s Chairman Quits Amid Money-Laundering Scandal; Swedbank’s former chairman, Lars Idermark, center, with the bank’s acting chief executive, Anders Karlsson, left, last week.
Jack Ewing – NY Times
A money-laundering scandal that has upended the world of Scandinavian finance ensnared another executive on Friday, when the chairman of Swedbank, one of Sweden’s largest lenders, resigned amid investigations into the activities of its subsidiaries in the Baltics.

Aquis expects UK to match EU share trading ban in no-deal Brexit
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority is expected to match a European Union share trading ban under a no-deal Brexit, the chief executive of Aquis Exchange said on Wednesday.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Miami International Holdings and Templum Enter into Strategic Partnership to List and Trade Digital Securities on a MIAX Exchange
Miami International Holdings, Inc.
Miami International Holdings, Inc. and Templum Inc. (Templum), a provider of a regulated, end-to-end solution for raising capital and secondary trading for private digital securities, today announced a strategic partnership. The collaboration allows Templum to expand into the public sector by entering into an agreement in principle with MIH to develop a fully regulated exchange to list and trade digital securities. The joint venture will be SEC-registered and operated as a facility of an exchange owned by MIH and subject to SEC approval.

TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – March 2019
TMX Group Limited today announced March 2019 trading statistics for its marketplaces – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange (Alpha) and MontrÈal Exchange (MX).

EEX Group Update: 1st Quarter 2019
EEX has successfully completed the acquisition of the shares in Grexel Systems Oy. As of February 2019, EEX holds 100% of the shares in the company.

Convening Of The Annual General Meeting Of Shareholders Of Euronext N.V.
Exchange News Direct
Euronext today announced that its Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Thursday 16 May 2019 at 10.30 CET, at Beursplein 5, 1012 JW Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Dalian Commodity Exchange: Optimizing Contract System To Fully Boost Functioning Of Iron Ore Futures
The 5th China Commodities Industry Forum, supported by Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) and organized by Xinhu Futures, was held on March 29. At the forum, a DCE official said that DCE would optimize contract rules and systems, further reduce the cost and threshold of involving in the iron ore futures market, and enhance the market operation efficiency and quality, thus fully boosting the functioning of iron ore futures and attracting the participation of overseas clients.

SGX welcomes Aarna Capital as Derivatives Trading Member
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed Aarna Capita Ltd. as a Trading Member of its derivatives market, the first from the Middle East.

Nasdaq Welcomes Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW) to The Nasdaq Stock Market
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq:TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, rang the Nasdaq MarketSite bell in Times Square today in celebration of its initial public offering (IPO) on The Nasdaq Stock Market.

Nasdaq Iceland’s Leading Index Expanded To Ten Constituents
Nasdaq (NASDAQ: NDAQ) today announced the expansion of Nasdaq Iceland’s leading index, OMX Iceland 8 (OMXI8), from eight companies to ten. The update will become effective at the market open on 1 July 2019 as part of the semi-annual review of the index. At the same time, the name and symbol of the index will be updated to reflect the increased number of constituents. The new name of the index will be OMX Iceland 10 (OMXI10).

Euronext announces volumes for March 2019
Euronext, the leading pan-European exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for March 2019. In March 2019, the average daily transaction value on the Euronext cash order book stood at EUR7,724 million, down -13.0% compared to March 2018 and up +5.6% from the previous month. In March 2019, the overall average daily volume on derivatives reached 597,534 contracts, up +1.7% compared to March 2018 and down -7.0% compared to the previous month. In detail:

MSCI and Eurex – a winning combination: record quarter for our MSCI segment
The first quarter 2019 once again confirmed our very successful strategy on MSCI derivatives. Being one of our core strategic pillars, the MSCI product suite broke a new record with 4.7 million traded contracts – the highest level of MSCI contracts ever traded at Eurex in one single quarter.


Advancements in Asia: What’s Been Done and What’s to Come
Jonathan Ferreira – Trading Technologies
Today, I’m attending FOW Derivatives World Asia 2019 in Hong Kong, where the Trading Technologies team will showcase our latest developments for cryptocurrencies, order management, trade surveillance and more. I always look forward to attending these conferences, as they present unparalleled opportunities to connect directly with clients, partners and others and share exclusive updates on enhancements to the TT platform and TT’s infrastructure within the Asia/Pacific region.

Former Eurex innovation chief appointed chairman of data sharing platform
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Data sharing platform ipushpull has appointed the former chief innovation officer at derivatives exchange Eurex as chairman of the business.

When Tech’s Hottest Names Go Public, This Is Who They Call; Julie Gao advised on stock sales that raised more than $20 billion last year, including seven of the 10 largest Chinese tech IPOs
Julie Steinberg – WSJ
As a midlevel lawyer, Julie Gao was once seen as so crucial to one company’s initial public offering that it worked her name into a contract, stating it would hire a different law firm if she left.

Google Scraps New AI Ethics Council After Outcry
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
Google is scrapping an outside council set up to evaluate its artificial intelligence efforts after a dramatic outcry about the makeup of the panel.


Barclays, RBS Join Blockchain Trial to Speed Property Sales
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Developer IPN says platform could save $160 billion globally; RBS’s Salmons says real estate industry is ripe for blockchain
Some of the world’s largest lenders, law firms and real estate companies are turning to the technology behind Bitcoin to streamline the process of buying and selling property.

Coinbase Tops JPMorgan in LinkedIn List of Most Popular Employers
Yogita Khatri – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has ranked above investment banking giant JPMorgan in LinkedIn’s top 50 U.S. employers list for 2019.

Now There’s a Canadian Dollar-Pegged Stablecoin on the Way
Yogita Khatri
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare is launching a stablecoin pegged 1:1 to the Canadian dollar (CAD). The exchange plans potential roles for its new “eCAD” token in cross-border payments and remittance, peer-to-peer lending, merchant payment solutions, as well as trade settlements and forex conversions. Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond said in an announcement Thursday: “The launch of eCAD will create the first transparent, affordable, and secure way of transferring value in Canada and beyond, without the risk of instability in the traditional cryptocurrency market.”

Canadian Court Rules Drug Dealer Must Hand Over $1.4 Million in Bitcoin
Yogita Khatri – Coindesk
A court in Toronto, Canada, has ruled that a 30-year old drug dealer must forfeit CA$1.88 million (US$1.41 million) in bitcoin used in illegal activities on the dark web.

Is Ledger’s New Nano X Wallet Worth It?
Leslie Ankney – Forbes
With what seems like a new bull run for crypto, now might be time to buy a hardware wallet. Starting this month, Ledger is selling the Nano X, a bluetooth-enabled, slightly larger update on the Nano S. Is it worth buying? I took the Nano X for a test run, comparing it to the S and the Trezor ONE wallet.

Token Sales Have Some Rules Now; Also UNICORNs, Lyft and open platforms.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
If you are an entrepreneur thinking of doing an initial coin offering, what should you make of the “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued yesterday? I think the correct answer is probably “that is a trick question, the ICO market is dead, nobody is thinking of doing ICOs anymore.” It is not uncommon for financial innovation to get a bit ahead of the rules that are supposed to regulate it, but the ICO market got so far ahead of the rules that it started, boomed, peaked and died before the rules came along.

Aussie School’s Cryptocurrency Programs Attract International Attention
Samuel Haig – Bitcoin News
In August 2017, covered a number of cryptocurrency programs that were being offered to the students of Wooranna primary school in Victoria, Australia. Nearly two years later, the school’s cryptocurrency programs continue to thrive, with the students having recently interviewed Andreas Antonopolous, and attracted visitors from Europe, North America, and Asia.

95% Of Volume Could Be Wash Trading As Bitcoin Price Surges
Tom Rodgers – Forbes
CoinMarketCap has become the default method of checking the crypto markets. But staring you in the face as you open it up every morning is one of the biggest con tricks ever pulled. It draws together the trading volume from hundreds of different exchanges. Some you will know. Binance, Kraken, Coinbase or Huobi. Some you may never have heard of.

Blockchain – Africa Rising
Tatiana Koffman – Forbes
The world is undergoing technological development at an unprecedented and explosive pace. Considered the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” this exponential growth will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. These changes are further accelerated by the advent of blockchain technology and are perhaps most palpable on the African continent.

New litecoin and XRP exchange-traded products set to begin trading in Europe
Frank Chaparro – The Block Crypto
New products tied the crypto market are set to begin trading on a European exchange, as per an announcement by XBT Provider.


Herman Cain to Be Nominated to Fed Board by Trump: Sources
Jennifer Jacobs – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump intends to nominate Herman Cain, the former pizza company executive who ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, according to people familiar with the matter.

****Reuters here and FT here

Donald Trump’s prospective Fed appointees cause deep unease; Idea that Herman Cain and Stephen Moore could join board raises concerns about independence
Sam Fleming – FT
Larry Kudlow, the US president’s top economic adviser, this week insisted Donald Trump had no desire to impinge on the Federal Reserve’s prized independence.

Jamie Dimon Weighed Presidential Run for Much of 2018: CNBC
Michelle Davis – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon weighed a presidential run last year before ultimately deciding he couldn’t secure a major party nomination, CNBC reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the situation.

‘Don’t Fight the White House’ Is Market’s Mantra; Federal Reserve fever leads market commentary.
Robert Burgess – Bloomberg
There’s an old saw in markets that says “don’t fight the Fed.” That essentially means if the Federal Reserve wants interest rates to rise or fall, or the economy to accelerate or decelerate, it will ultimately find a way to do just that, and betting on any other outcome would be foolish. But with President Donald Trump criticizing the central bank for raising rates too much and trying to stuff its board with political allies who can do his bidding, it’s now “don’t fight the White House.” At least in the short run.

Add social media to the list of things souring Americans on politics
Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Ben Kamisar – NBC News
How much has social media ruined American politics and political journalism? Well, check out these numbers from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: 57 percent of Americans say social media does more to divide the country than unite it; 61 percent say social media does more to spread unfair attacks and rumors against public figures and corporations instead of holding them accountable; 55 percent say it does more to spread lies and falsehoods rather than news and information; and a whopping 82 percent of Americans say social media does more to waste time – instead of using it well.


Financial Conduct Authority blocks FOI request on its use of spying powers to grab journalists’ sources
Freddy Mayhew – Press Gazette
The UK’s financial conduct regulator has blocked a freedom of information request by Press Gazette into its use of counter-terrorism spying powers to grab journalists’ call records and expose their sources.

****The reason not to reveal anything makes my head hurt – “The FCA said: ‘We are unable to confirm or deny whether we hold the information you have requested. This is because to confirm or deny that we hold it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise by the FCA of its functions under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the firm in question).'”~SD

Elon Musk safe for now as U.S. judge urges Tesla CEO, SEC to end tweet dispute
Brendan Pierson, Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
Elon Musk’s job as Tesla Inc’s chief executive appeared safe on Thursday as a federal judge in Manhattan urged the billionaire to settle contempt allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his use of Twitter.

****NY Post here and the WSJ here.

FCA publishes instructions for accessing and downloading FCA FITRS files
We have built FCA FITRS (Financial Instruments Transparency System) to replace ESMA FITRS in the UK.

CFTC, KSU Announce AgCon2019 Agenda; Second Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference Convening; April 11-12 in Kansas
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Center for Risk Management Education and Research (CRMER) at Kansas State University (KSU) announced the agenda for AgCon2019. The second Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference, hosted by CFTC and CRMER, will convene April 11-12, 2019 in Overland Park, Kansas. AgCon2019 will include robust presentations and discussions from leading academic researchers, as well as distinguished voices from the private and governmental sectors. Panels and participants will explore a range of current questions and topics facing the agricultural futures markets.

ESMA seeks candidate for its Stakeholder Group
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is seeking a candidate from one of the following categories – consumers, employee’s representatives, or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – to represent the chosen group’s interests as a members of its Securities Markets Stakeholders Group (SMSG).

ESMA has adopted new recognition decisions for the three UK CCPs and the UK CSD in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 12 April
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today announced that it has adopted new recognition decisions for the three central counterparties (CCPs) and the Central Securities Depository (CSD) established in the United Kingdom (UK) to reflect the extension to the Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) period to 12 April 2019.

Investing and Trading

Bankruptcies Test One of Wall Street’s Favorite Trades; The grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jet may give aircraft lessors a short-term lift, but they also face a worrying flood of planes coming into the market
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
When aviation authorities order more than 300 Boeing planes to be grounded, it should be party time for aircraft leasing companies and their Wall Street backers. Unfortunately, a recent string of airline bankruptcies gives them too much else to worry about.

Dimon Sees Recent Volatility as Harbinger of Things to Come
Michelle Davis – Bloomberg
Liquidity’s ‘new normal’ means wilder market swings, CEO says; JPMorgan chief tempers his optimism about global economy
Jamie Dimon warned investors to get ready for more wild rides like the one that upended markets at the end of last year.

Five Years Later, the First Pot Stock Is Up 2,139% Since Its Debut
Kristine Owram – Bloomberg
Five years ago today, the first pot stock began trading on the public markets, prompting a few raised eyebrows and many, many bad puns. Today, that company is worth nearly $15 billion.

Grain, Oilseed Prices Dance to a new Global Tune
Erik Norland – CME Group
Often, we think of grains and oilseeds prices as being at the mercy of the weather and the agricultural sector’s specific set of economic forces that include: planting, growing-and-harvest cycles and crop inventories. Indeed, these risk factors are important determinants of crop prices. But in addition to them, macroeconomic factors play a subtle role in agriculture. For example, during the great inflation of the 1970s, crop prices soared as the U.S. dollar (USD) plunged. Crop prices retreated during the 1980s as tight Federal Reserve monetary policy brought disinflation, and the USD rebounded.

Tradeweb Surges in Market Debut; Bond-trading company’s shares jump from $27-a-share price set for IPO
Liz Hoffman and Corrie Driebusch – WSJ
Online bond-trading platform Tradeweb Markets Inc. surged in its market debut Thursday, as investors continued to show strong interest in new issues.

Getting physical: assessing climate risks
BlackRock Investment Institute
Advances in climate and data science now allow us to gauge the likely overall economic impact of climate-related risks on a localized basis. To illustrate, the heat map below shows that 58% of U.S. metro areas will likely suffer annualized GDP losses of 1% or more by 2060-2080 under a “no climate action” scenario. Among the likely losers: Arizona, the Gulf Coast region, and coastal Florida.

Is Money Easy or Tight? It Depends on the Stock Market; There are two ways to gauge how tight monetary policy is, but both come with drawbacks
James Mackintosh – WSJ
It isn’t quite true to say that monetary policy is all in the mind, but it isn’t entirely false either. The Federal Reserve is subject to the whims of the markets, and that is rarely as obvious as in the past six months.


Medallion isn’t magic…probably
Chris Kennedy – Bridge Alternatives
Jim Simons recently participated in three interviews hosted by MIT, covering mathematics, finance, and philanthropy: Part 1: Mathematics, Part 2: Finance, Part 3: Philanthropy
These are rare and lengthy conversations with one of the industry’s most interesting and private people. As much as I enjoyed the talks, the finance portion reaffirmed my belief that Renaissance’s Medallion fund probably doesn’t owe its success to magic.

Jim Simons, Godfather of the Quants: Hiding in Plain Sight
Paul Rowady – Alphacution Research Conservatory
It was the late 90’s, a time when the moniker of “Godfather of the Quants” may have still been open for debate. Edward Thorpe, of Princeton / Newport Partners and among the first mathematicians to study patterns in financial markets, was still active. And, the protagonists for the fascinating tale about beating a Vegas roulette wheel with custom made computers embedded in their shoes (and told in the book, the Eudaemonic Pie), Doyne Farmer and Norman Packard, were still active at the Prediction Company, a unit of UBS O’Connor (which, BTW, was later sold to Millennium in 2013 and ultimately shut down in 2018 with a 27-year stat arb strategy track record including only one down year).

Here’s How Citadel, Point72 Fared Against Multi-Strategy Peers
Katia Porzecanski – Bloomberg
The first-quarter numbers are in for several of the biggest hedge fund managers who invest billions of dollars across strategies and asset classes. For the most part, the results are underwhelming.

Nobody Likes Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank’s Planned Merger
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
It’s hard to find anyone who is, at least publicly, in favor of Deutsche Bank AG’s merger with Commerzbank AG.
Even one adviser on the deal privately acknowledged what most observers suspect: putting together the two ailing German banks will only create a bigger lender with exactly the same problems. That’s not exactly an endorsement of what would be Europe’s fourth-biggest bank.

Vanguard Plans First Commodities Fund
Bernice Napach – ThinkAdvisor
Vanguard plans to launch its first commodities fund in June.
The actively managed Vanguard Commodity Strategy is intended as “a low-cost, broad-based option for advisors and institutional investors seeking additional diversification and inflation protection for a well-balanced portfolio,” said Matt Brancato, head of Vanguard’s portfolio review department, in a statement.

JPMorgan’s Dimon urges infrastructure, mortgage reform to spur U.S. growth
Elizabeth Dilts – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co chief executive Jamie Dimon on Thursday called for reforms to U.S. public policy on education, infrastructure and mortgages to repair what he called the “fraying” American dream.

Cargill to change leaders in grain trading and animal nutrition
Gregory Meyer – Financial Times
Cargill has tapped a new leader for its global grain trading business as longtime executive Gert-Jan van den Akker prepares to retire from the agricultural commodities company.

Citi’s Funding Circle Call Vindicated as Trust Faces Wind-Down
Joe Easton – Bloomberg
SME fund’s shareholders no longer willing to provide credit; Citi spurred share plunge in December on U.K. consumer warning
When Citigroup Inc. raised alarm bells last year over the finances of one of Funding Circle Holdings Plc’s key funds, the lending platform operator’s shares plummeted. It turned out to be a good call.


Norway’s $1 Trillion Fund Told to Sell Emerging Market Bonds
Sveinung Sleire and Mikael Holter – Bloomberg
Fund to cut investments in South Korea, Mexico among others; Norway decides against lifting corporate bonds out of index
Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund got the go-ahead to cut emerging market government and corporate bonds as part of an overhaul of its $310 billion fixed-income holdings.

London Banker Fired Over £5 Bike-Shed ‘Theft’ Loses Employment Suit
Kaye Wiggins – Bloomberg
Marius Caracota says tribunal’s ruling is ‘very disheartening’; Mizuho banker took a chain guard from a colleague’s bicycle
Marius Caracota, the former Mizuho Bank Ltd. executive fired for taking a chain guard from a colleague’s bicycle, lost a lawsuit over his dismissal.


Brexit gyrations make trading difficult for one financial market constituent: computers
Mark DeCambre – MarketWatch
How befuddling has the process of the U.K. exiting from the European Union been for financial markets? Perhaps, the Brexit insanity can best be encapsulated by a recent Reuters article, which reports that computers designed to trade on Brexit-related news have been flummoxed by the barrage of recent headlines that at times appear to be contradictory.

A long Brexit extension offers a chance to think again; The withdrawal agreement does not command the needed support in parliament or country
Martin Wolf – FT
Having been rejected three times by her party’s Brexiter fanatics, Theresa May has at last decided to try something else. The prime minister’s overture to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn shows, at least, a hideously belated recognition that crashing out without a deal would be utterly irresponsible. But, having burnt her bridges with the hardliners, she has to go further. It is not enough to ask Mr Corbyn for help, which might well be unforthcoming. A reason has also to be given to the EU for asking for the long extension the UK clearly needs. That should be another referendum.

Theresa May seeks to delay Brexit until June; Request comes as Donald Tusk offers to postpone UK departure by up to 1 year
Alex Barker and Henry Mance in London – FT
Theresa May on Friday asked the EU for a near three-month delay to Brexit because of parliament’s rejection of her withdrawal treaty, as Donald Tusk offered to postpone the UK’s departure from the bloc for up to one year.

May Seeks New Brexit Delay, Setting Up a Fight With EU
Thomas Penny and Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to delay Brexit until June 30, setting up a battle with the bloc ahead of a key summit next week. May wants an extension to June 30 and aims to avoid holding European elections next month, which would be politically toxic at home. But the EU’s view is that if there is an extension, it should be longer, given the deadlock in the U.K. France was quick to say it was “premature” to talk of an extension.

Brexit: Angela Merkel says Germany ‘will stand’ with Ireland
BBC News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany will stand with Ireland “every step of the way” over Brexit. She was speaking following talks in Dublin with the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) about the current deadlock. Parliament is still no closer to passing a Brexit deal, with the UK scheduled to leave the EU on 12 April. Ms Merkel was asked if it was possible to protect the integrity of the single market without an Irish border being in place. She said: “We will simply have to be able to do this. We hope for a solution we can agree together with Britain.

Brexit: Germany’s CDU leader hopes for second referendum
Katya Adler – BBC
“Have you heard about the British party guest? He’s the one who announces he’s leaving, then you find him hours later wandering around the house with no money for a taxi. When he finally goes, he takes two bottles of wine with him.” European stereotype depictions tend to portray Germans as lacking a sense of humour. But in political cartoons and on satire shows like Extra 3, Germany is finding plenty to laugh about Brexit. “Fisch und Tsch¸ss” is a slogan for the satirical news programme, The Heute [today] Show – a play on words for the traditional UK dish, fish and chips. Except Tsch¸ss in German means goodbye.


How US college bribery scandal shattered Bill McGlashan’s image; Private equity executive had built a name for ‘social impact’ investing
Mark Vandevelde and Joshua Chaffin – FT
Before he was caught discussing how to pay a $250,000 bribe to guarantee his son a place at a sought-after US university, Bill McGlashan had a plan to save capitalism.

The $100m oil trader Andy Hall finally sticks his oar in; Former master of the crude market talks famous bets and lingering regrets
David Sheppard – FT
The rowers lining up in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race this weekend will be trying hard to push thoughts of defeat from their minds. But for Andy Hall, arguably the most successful oil trader of his generation, a string of losses in the four-mile blue-riband event along the Thames weighed heavily on his shoulders for more than 20 years.

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