Dimon Likens AI’s Transformational Potential to the Steam Engine

Apr 8, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The FIA has posted the full versions of the FIA Hall of Fame videos of the honorees conducted by Walt Lukken ahead of the induction ceremony, on which the shorter versions that were shown at the Boca Raton event were based. You can see the videos posted to the FIA website’s Hall of Fame pages for most of the new Hall of Fame members, but here are the links to the videos on YouTube:

Charles P. Carey, Timothy Doar, De’Ana Dow, James Heinz, Jr. & Robert Moore, John J. Lothian, Leslie Sutphen, Pat White and Jack Wigglesworth.

John Reed Stark, a consultant who served for 18 years in the SEC Enforcement Division and was the founder and chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, has written a critical tweet about cryptocurrencies, focusing on Tether and Bitcoin. The title of his screed is “Tether Kills. Bitcoin Kills. Crypto Kills. Crypto-Related Carnage Continues to Grow Exponentially. And For What?” Reed Stark, who also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia wrote that “For Vladimir Putin’s war machine, for Iran’s terrorism operations, for China’s smuggling channels and for so many other global criminal and money laundering endeavors, bitcoin, tether and other forms of cryptocurrency have become indispensable.” His concerns mirror many of mine about the downside of crypto and what we are enabling. Enabling terrorists, arms dealers and the like just leads to more war.

With a different view on the subject is former CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. Chairman Giancarlo wants you to join him in London on May 8 at the Crypto & Digital Assets Summit, where he will address ensuring individual civil liberties and economic freedom in the coming digital networks of money & finance. The title of his keynote address is “Can CBDCs be Made Safe for Democracy?”

Risk.net had a story we missed on April 1 about an AI that nearly took down a bank as it became sentient. The question I have, given the date of the publication, is whether the story is real or not. The story is titled “SIMONE, the AI that nearly took down a bank,” with the subheadline “An algorithm designed to create new structured products ran out of control last year with almost catastrophic consequences for a major bank, as our exclusive whistleblower account reveals.” The AI created false employees, created new structured products to meet customer needs and hedged them well. The AI was tripped up when one of the phony employees was sent a case of champagne by a satisfied customer.

Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) reported March 2024 trading results for its U.S. exchange subsidiaries, including MIAX, MIAX Pearl, and MIAX Emerald, as well as Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX). Total multi-listed options volume for the MIAX Exchange Group was 137.0 million contracts, down 15.1% year-over-year (YoY). MIAX Options had 55.1 million contracts, a 13.9% decrease YoY, while MIAX Pearl Options had 48.3 million contracts, down 27.0% YoY. MIAX Emerald Options reached 33.6 million contracts, up 7.6% YoY. In U.S. equities, MIAX Pearl Equities achieved a monthly volume of 4.5 billion shares, up 1.1% YoY, with a market share of 1.87%. Total year-to-date volume for equities reached a record 13.2 billion shares, up 39.6% from the same period in 2023. In U.S. futures, MGEX reported a monthly volume of 171,307 contracts, a 29.4% decrease YoY and representing a 48.1% decrease from February 2024.

FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg will deliver a comprehensive update at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on April 10, 2024, regarding the agency’s preparations for the orderly resolution of a Global Systemically Important Bank (GSIB) under the Dodd-Frank Act. Gruenberg will outline the FDIC’s strategies to handle the failure of a GSIB, emphasizing the protection of insured depositors, preservation of value, promotion of financial stability, and prevention of taxpayer bailouts. The event will feature remarks and a fireside chat with key figures from the FDIC, IMF, and PIIE, followed by a roundtable discussion. It will take place from 10:00 to 11:45 a.m. ET at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC.

Rohit Bhat, managing director of Google Cloud for financial services and capital markets, digital assets & exchanges, is moderating a panel at Google Cloud Next ’24 on April 10th, focused on the impact of AI in Capital Markets. He will be joined by a panel including Sunil Cutinho of CME Group, Katie Meyers of Charles Schwab, and Costas Bekas of Citadel Securities. They will explore how AI is transforming quantitative research, trading, liquidity optimization, and more across the data lifecycle.

In May, FIA will host its renowned FIA Forums in Stockholm and Hong Kong. These half-day events will explore the most current regional and local issues affecting the utilization of listed and cleared derivatives. The Stockholm forum is scheduled for May 23, followed by the Hong Kong forum on May 30.

WilmerHale’s webinar series, “The Revolution Will Be Synthesized: Legal Developments in the Age of AI,” continues with its seventh installment, focusing on AI and Financial Services – Part Two. Scheduled for April 16, 2024, the webinar will explore the evolving landscape of AI integration in financial institutions, addressing key legal and regulatory considerations for banks, non-bank lenders, payment providers, and consumer-facing entities. Topics include the federal banking agencies’ supervision and regulation approach to AI, the Biden administration’s initiatives against algorithmic bias, regulatory guidance on AI principles, and proposed state legislation. Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions online during the session, and CLE credit will be provided.

The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, PSI PSI Zeta Chapter honored My Block, My Hood, My City on April 6 with a Community Partner award. Jahmal Cole, the founder of M3, as the organization is called, was very grateful to his parents, his team and his board for their support to help him become the person his parents raised him to be.

Alex Reynolds is starting a new position as managing director & global head of sales – enterprise regulatory solutions at S&P Global. Alex was previously managing director & EMEA head of sales – capital markets & regulatory solutions at S&P Global.

Tonight my alma mater’s men’s basketball team, the Purdue Boilermakers, will play for the NCAA Men’s National Championship in Phoenix, AZ against the University of Connecticut. Go Boilers!

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

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Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
US: E*Trade to acquire OptionsHouse from PYMNTS.
My Wild Ride as a DJT Day Trader from The Wall Street Journal.
MIAX Sapphire Postpones Launch from Traders Magazine. ~JB

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

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European Energy Exchange CEO Discusses Industry Trends and Growth Strategies at FIA Conference
JohnLothianNews.com

Peter Reitz, CEO of the European Energy Exchange (EEX), was interviewed by John Lothian News at the FIA International Futures Conference in Boca Raton, FL, where he discussed significant shifts in the energy sector and the impact of innovative solutions like solar peak futures.

Watch the video »

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Solar Eclipse 2024: What to Know About the Sun Going Dark in North America; When will the total eclipse start? How long will it last? Everything you need to know about the celestial event
Aylin Woodward – The Wall Street Journal
The first total solar eclipse to pass over the U.S. since 2017 is happening Monday, when the moon will scoot between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow that will plunge parts of North America into darkness. In a swath of the continent known as the path of totality-where the sun will be totally covered-temperatures will drop by 10 degrees Fahrenheit or so, winds will change direction, and some animals will go gaga as day turns to night. “The first time I saw one was life-changing and mind-blowing,” said C. Alex Young, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration solar astrophysicist. “I feel like there’s this window that opens up that allows me to see our star in a way that normally we can’t experience with our own eyes.”
/jlne.ws/43OGOuA

***** It is times like this that we find out how many modern neo-pagans are among us.~JJL

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What Trump and crypto tell us about facts vs feelings; The more an asset price is disconnected from its fundamentals the more potential it has to go ‘to the moon’
Jemima Kelly – Financial Times
This year is starting to have something of a 2021-ish vibe to it. Bitcoin is booming, an old American man looks likely to hand leadership of the free world to another old American man, Elon Musk is saying things like “Dogecoin to the moon”, and so-called “meme stocks” are back. One such stock has been attracting particular attention, and it just happens to be majority-owned by one of the aforementioned old American men: Trump Media & Technology Group. Trading under the ticker “DJT”, its share price surged in value on its market debut in late March, after merging with another 2021 throwback: a special purpose “blank cheque company” known as a Spac.
/jlne.ws/3TSpOPL

****** People bought a digital asset named Doge that was supposed to be a joke. What were the fundamentals there?~JJL

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Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was Zimbabwe Replaces Battered Dollar With New Gold-Backed Currency Called ZiG, from Bloomberg. Second was the Financial Times’ Bears and wolves stray into European politics, with the subhead “Plans to shoot large wild animals in Slovakia and Romania dismissed as electoral pandering.” Third was Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline Nears Completion After Tricky Segment Is Finished, from Bloomberg.

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Lead Stories

Dimon Likens AI’s Transformational Potential to the Steam Engine; JPMorgan CEO says AI could ‘augment virtually every job’; Dimon discusses regulation, proxy advisers in annual letter
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said artificial intelligence may be the biggest issue his bank is grappling with, likened its potential impact to that of the steam engine and said the technology could “augment virtually every job.” The CEO devoted a chunk of his annual shareholder letter to the importance of AI for the Wall Street giant’s business and for society at large. The bank has identified more than 400 use cases for the technology across marketing, fraud and risk, amassed thousands of AI experts and data scientists and begun exploring deploying generative AI, Dimon said.
/jlne.ws/4avqVvF

Tradeweb to Buy Money-Market Fund Portal ICD for $785 Million; ICD purchase marks the biggest acquisition yet for Tradeweb; It’s the third deal since CEO Billy Hult took reins in 2023
Sridhar Natarajan and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
Tradeweb Markets Inc. has struck an agreement to buy investment-technology provider Institutional Cash Distributors as it seeks growth beyond its core rates-trading business. The electronic-trading platform, long known for its fixed-income offerings, will pay $785 million in its biggest acquisition yet, according to a statement, which confirmed an earlier Bloomberg report. The deal will give Tradeweb access to one of the largest U.S. institutional money-market fund portals that works with about 500 corporate treasury organizations.
/jlne.ws/3xtaj9k

Tradeweb to Acquire ICD, a Leading Independent, Multi-Fund Investment Platform for Corporate Treasury Professionals
Tradeweb Markets Inc.
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Institutional Cash Distributors, LLC (“ICD”), an institutional investment technology provider for corporate treasury organizations trading short-term investments, for $785 million, subject to customary adjustments. The purchase price is expected to be funded with cash on hand.
/jlne.ws/3VLcgIg

A Gates-Backed Startup Is Making Fuel From Water and Carbon Dioxide; Infinium counts Bill Gates as an investor and has fuel buyers that include Amazon and American Airlines. Now, the company is trying to scale up.
Coco Liu – Bloomberg
The economy of Corpus Christi, Texas, is largely built on fossil fuels. A stone’s throw away from major oil and gas fields, the port city is home to dozens of fossil fuel companies. It exports more crude oil every year than any other city in the US. But Corpus Christi’s future fortunes, at least in the eyes of one startup, will be made off a fuel derived from carbon dioxide. If it can be scaled, that fuel could play a vital role in cleaning up the hardest-to-decarbonize portions of the transportation industry from aviation to heavy-duty trucking.
/jlne.ws/3THIRvW

US banks warn Paris cost of dismissing traders will harm financial hub ambitions; Wall Street institutions press for French labour law reforms to bring down high redundancy payouts
Sarah White – Financial Times
Wall Street banks have warned that their next wave of hiring in France may be stunted without restrictions on dismissal costs for highly paid traders, a flagship measure that has been left out of a reform package intended to bolster Paris as a financial centre. Paris has emerged as the main winner among European cities vying to become Europe’s top financial centre post Brexit, and the caps were meant to be part of an “attractiveness bill” discussed in parliament this week. However, they have not been included for now as the French government and lawmakers seek legal workarounds for implementation under the country’s protective labour laws.
/jlne.ws/3PVLzwF

SEC Wins Trial in Novel ‘Shadow’ Insider Trading Crackdown; Closely watched enforcement case expands trading restrictions; Defense lawyer argued SEC couldn’t prove intent to defraud
Rachel Graf – Bloomberg
The US Securities and Exchange Commission won a jury verdict in its ground-breaking insider-trading case that seeks to bar employees from using non-public information about their own company to place bets on rival stocks. The closely watched two-week San Francisco civil trial was the regulator’s first enforcement action targeting so-called shadow trading, a widespread phenomenon that researchers say has gone largely unchecked. Congress has never explicitly defined insider trading, leaving courts to decide when the SEC oversteps its authority.
/jlne.ws/3xs7k0L

The LSE Losing Giants Like Shell Is a Very Real Threat; The risk of losing Shell’s listing to New York is a bigger threat to the City of London than missing out on a few IPOs.
Javier Blas – Bloomberg
Ever since Brexit, the City of London has been worried about its declining role in global finance. Those concerns were most conspicuously realized in the London Stock Exchange’s failure to win last year’s biggest initial public offering – by a British company, no less. But the more substantial risk involves the bourse’s current members. You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to Wael Sawan, chief executive officer of Shell Plc, by most measures the biggest London-listed company: He’s ready and willing to look elsewhere to give his undervalued shares their due.
/jlne.ws/43Oli9c

Decoding the EU’s most threatening criminal networks
Interpol
This report delves into the inner workings of the criminal networks that pose the highest threat to the EU’s security. The report, which features a Europe-wide analysis from the perspective of law enforcement, is a first of its kind. It describes, in detail, how the most threatening criminal networks are organised, which criminal activities they engage in, and how and where they operate. The report also assesses which specific characteristics the criminal networks hold that increase the threat to the EU’s internal security.
/jlne.ws/3TRa935

Europol report identifies the most threatening criminal networks in the EU; The analysis of 821 criminal networks has resulted in the development of an ABCD framework pinpointing their main characteristics
Interpol
Serious organised crime continues to represent a major threat to the internal security of the European Union (EU). To effectively prioritise resources and guide policy action, law enforcement and policymakers need to build a clear understanding of the most threatening criminal networks active in, and affecting, the EU.
/jlne.ws/3TRa7bt

Jamie Dimon Warns U.S. Might Face Interest-Rate Spike; The head of JPMorgan Chase questions the ‘soft landing’ talk but says his bank is ready no matter what
Alexander Saeedy – The Wall Street Journal
JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon warned that U.S. interest rates could soar to 8% or more in coming years, reflecting the risk that record-high deficit spending and geopolitical stress will complicate the fight against inflation. “Huge fiscal spending, the trillions needed each year for the green economy, the remilitarization of the world and the restructuring of global trade-all are inflationary,” Dimon wrote in an annual letter to JPMorgan Chase shareholders released on Monday.
/jlne.ws/3PUXoTN

U.S. Publishes Draft Federal Rules for Cyber Incident Reporting; Companies would need to report substantial attacks within 72 hours and ransom payments within 24 hours
James Rundle – The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Wednesday published long-awaited draft rules on how critical-infrastructure companies must report cyberattacks to the government. CISA developed the rules after President Biden signed the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act into law on March 15, 2022. Officials hope reports from companies in a range of industries will allow them to better spot attack patterns and determine tactics used by cybercriminals and nation-states to help improve defenses.
/jlne.ws/4aIlskJ

The Gold Market Hunts for Answers Behind Bullion’s Sudden Surge; Gravity defying rally has confused seasoned analysts; Gold prices have surged since February to new all-time highs
Mark Burton, Jack Ryan, and Yvonne Yue Li – Bloomberg
Gold’s scorching run to an all-time high may seem easy to explain from a distance, given the fractious geopolitical climate and murky outlook for the global economy. The precious metal is famously seen as a “safe haven,” and the general view is that bullion prices should rise when interest rates fall – which many investors expect will happen later this year.
/jlne.ws/3VJTLnz

The World’s Digital Backbone Needs Defending; Trillions of dollars pass through undersea fiber-optic cables every day. More must be done to protect them.
The Editorial Board – Bloomberg
Ever since the US Navy slashed telegraph links between Spain and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, countries have appreciated the strategic value of undersea cables. Today, submerged fiber-optic lines no thicker than garden hoses have become more critical to digital society – and face greater threats – than ever before. The US and its partners should make a more forceful effort to defend them.
/jlne.ws/4aMT7do

Ray Dalio Likened Bridgewater Handoff to Raising Successful Kids; Hedge fund founder spoke on Wall Street Week with David Westin; Dalio said success of transition will determine his legacy
Matthew Griffin – Bloomberg
Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio said the hedge fund’s performance after his leadership transition to a younger generation will be the ultimate marker of his success. In an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Wall Street Week with David Westin, Dalio likened the handover to raising children.
/jlne.ws/3U3mqmj

Global dominance of biggest stocks rises to highest in decades; US equities, led by ‘Magnificent Seven’, now account for more than 70% of global developed markets
Steve Johnson – Financial Times
Global stock market concentration has risen to its highest level in decades, increasing risk for passive investors. The 10 largest stocks in the MSCI All Country World Index now account for 19.5 per cent of the widely followed benchmark of 23 developed and 24 emerging countries. This is up from less than 9 per cent as recently as 2016 and well above the dotcom era peak of 16.2 per cent in March 2000, according to MSCI data stretching back to 1994.
/jlne.ws/4aMN5cs

U.S., China to hold more financial shock exercises, Yellen says
David Lawder – Reuters
The U.S. and China are deepening co-operation on financial stability issues, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday, with more simulations of financial shocks due after a recent exercise on tackling the failure of a large bank. Wrapping up four days of meetings in China, Yellen issued a stern warning to Chinese banks that facilitating transactions providing material support or dual-use goods to Russia for its Ukraine war effort would lead to “significant consequences.”
/jlne.ws/3vQTUeb

Bond Market Risks Dislocation as Borrowing Needs Surge; Sovereign borrowing is increasing at the same time as corporates need to refinance maturing debt.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Governments are meeting more of their fundraising needs by raising debt not just through regular auctions, but also increasingly via the syndicated sales route of paying fees to investment banks to build an investor book. The latter approach used to be dominated by companies and banks, but this year sovereign-related borrowing in the euro zone and UK constitutes half of all new syndicated debt. There’s a risk that governments will crowd out companies needing access to the bond market. Total debt sales conducted in euros and sterling have risen 17% this year to a record EUR680 billion ($734 billion) in the first quarter, from EUR582 billion in the comparable period last year. All 10 of the largest euro-denominated syndicated deals this year came from government-related issuers, with Italy alone raising EUR30 billion this way. Greedy sovereigns might want to consider reverting back to their own lane of issuing debt predominantly via direct auctions.
/jlne.ws/3U891t1

The Bond Market Whisperer Who Raised £3 Trillion for Britain; Robert Stheeman warns liquidity is paramount as governments splurge on debt.
Anchalee Worrachate and Alice Gledhill – Bloomberg
As a 20-year-old trainee at a now-defunct German bank, Robert Stheeman’s first job was running the industrial paper cutter to slice the coupons off bond certificates, sometimes 500 pages thick. It was a role that set the course for a career that would take him to the top of Britain’s bond market, overseeing the biggest explosion of public sector borrowing in a generation.
/jlne.ws/3Ua6QEr

Terraform Labs and Do Kwon found liable for fraud in SEC case; US regulator notches a victory in its crackdown on the crypto sector
Stefania Palma and Steff Chávez – Financial Times
A New York jury has found Terraform Labs and its co-founder Do Kwon liable for defrauding cryptocurrency investors as part of a scheme that allegedly triggered a $40bn loss in market value. The civil verdict, handed down after a nine-day trial in Manhattan federal court, is a win for the US Securities and Exchange Commission as the regulator has unleashed a crackdown on the cryptocurrency sector. The SEC last year sued the collapsed stablecoin operator and Kwon for allegedly raising billions of dollars from investors by selling several interlinked digital securities, many of which were not registered with regulators.
/jlne.ws/4aq35S5

Portuguese Gen Z and Swiss boomers await pivotal court rulings on climate change; European human rights court to set precedent for government role in causing physical and mental harm as a result of global warming
Persis Love and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
Europe’s top human rights court will rule on a trio of climate change cases this week brought by individuals from a range of ages and backgrounds across the continent, potentially prompting governments to rethink their efforts to reduce emissions. The most prominent case is led by Portuguese nationals, aged from the early teens to mid-20s, bringing the claim that the 32 governments, including 27 EU member states plus Norway, Turkey, the UK and Switzerland, failed to adequately cut the emissions behind global warming.
/jlne.ws/4aq4Nmq

***** This story from Reuters.

Ukraine Invasion

Ukraine’s ‘Mad Max’ Trawls Swamps and Minefields for Shells; Kyiv’s ammunition shortage is so acute that a soldier who hunts for Russian shells-and makes his own bombs-has become an important supplier for some units
Ian Lovett – The Wall Street Journal
At the edge of a stream in this decimated village, Max Polyukhovich dug through the mud with his hands in search of an elusive grail. After a few moments, he pulled out a smooth gray hunk of metal, several feet long: an unused Russian artillery shell. Ukraine is so short on ammunition that Polyukhovich, a 36-year-old soldier, has become an important source of shells for brigades across the eastern front.
/jlne.ws/3J9RHh7

North Korea’s Ballistic Missiles Are Getting Valuable Battlefield Testing in Ukraine; Ukraine says dozens of North Korean missiles used in war; US Army’s Pacific commander speaks during visit to South Korea
Soo-Hyang Choi and Jon Herskovitz – Bloomberg
Russia’s use of North Korean missiles in its assault in Ukraine is giving Pyongyang a rare chance to test its weapons in combat and perhaps take away lessons that could improve their performance, a top US general said. “I don’t believe that in my recent memory that the North Korean military has had a battlefield laboratory quite like the Russians are affording them to have in Ukraine,” said General Charles Flynn, the US Army Pacific’s commanding general.
/jlne.ws/43SYUMe

With no way out of a worsening war, Zelensky’s options look bad or worse
Isabelle Khurshudyan – The Washington Post
As Russia steps up airstrikes and once again advances on the battlefield in Ukraine more than two years into its bloody invasion, there is no end to the fighting in sight. And President Volodymyr Zelensky’s options for what to do next – much less how to win the war – range from bad to worse. Zelensky has said Ukraine will accept nothing less than the return of all its territory, including land that Russia has controlled since 2014. But with the battle lines changing little in the last year, militarily retaking the swaths of east and south Ukraine that Russia now occupies – about 20 percent of the country – appears increasingly unlikely.
/jlne.ws/3VQk3Vm

Ukraine Debt Holders Explore Forming Restructuring Committee; Talks expected to accelerate after IMF spring meetings; Ukraine’s debt repayment suspension ends in September
Kerim Karakaya and Daryna Krasnolutska – Bloomberg
Some holders of Ukraine’s debt are in talks to form a creditor committee ahead of a potential debt restructuring, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Large bondholders may accelerate talks to form such a group after the International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings, scheduled to start on April 17, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. They said time pressure is intensifying as a freeze on bond repayments granted to Ukraine in 2022 is scheduled to end in September.
/jlne.ws/3VPwv7N

Israel/Palestine Conflict

They Went to Gaza to Help. An Israeli Drone Strike Ended Their Lives; The last moments of the seven World Central Kitchen aid workers who died earlier this week
Stephen Kalin – The Wall Street Journal
Months into his mission distributing free meals for World Central Kitchen in the shattered towns of the Gaza Strip, Polish aid worker Damian Soból was still his characteristically cheery self. His biggest complaints in the midst of a grinding war were that phone reception was poor and that Israeli military restrictions on movement within the Palestinian enclave slowed the charity’s operations. “Without IDF approval we can not even move more than 100m,” he texted a friend in Europe last month.
/jlne.ws/3vTqDj0

Netanyahu Pulls Some Troops From Gaza and Says Victory Near; Netanyahu says no Gaza cease-fire without hostage release; Israel is preparing for Iranian response to embassy attack
Alisa Odenheimer – Bloomberg
Military officials said on Sunday that Israel is pulling some troops out of the city of Khan Younis in Gaza, saying it had ended its mission there as the war against Hamas reached the six-month mark. Israel said its 98th Commando Division had moved out of Khan Younis and the Gaza Strip “to recuperate and prepare for future operations.”
/jlne.ws/43PG8oQ

The real threat to Israel’s existence comes from Iran, not Hamas; Damascus strikes this week will meet a response, even as the IDF’s actions in Gaza alienate supporters
John Sawers – Financial Times
It is hard to understand how the Israeli drone operators failed to know that the World Central Kitchen vehicles they struck on Monday in Gaza were a humanitarian convoy. The convoy’s movements had been shared with Israeli forces and the vehicles clearly marked for a drone camera to see. It would be a huge departure if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had directly targeted foreign aid workers – that is the sort of tactic the Russians and Syrians use, not a democracy like Israel with a free media. My experience from many conflict zones is that a cock-up is more likely than a conspiracy. But the attack reflects very badly on Israel’s disregard for civilian life in its pursuit of Hamas in Gaza.
/jlne.ws/3PVQeid

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

LCH SA gains regulatory approval to clear cash-settled Bitcoin index derivatives; Clearing services will be provided for cash-settled Bitcoin derivatives traded on GFO-X through LCH DigitalAssetClear.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
LCH SA has received regulatory approval from the French national competent authorities and European supervisory authorities to clear cash-settled Bitcoin index futures and options contracts. Clearing services will be provided through LCH SA’s new dedicated service, LCH DigitalAssetClear, for these contracts traded on the UK FCA regulated digital asset derivatives trading venue, GFO-X.
/jlne.ws/4cPSBNy

EXCLUSIVE: CME’s head of EMEA Michel Everaert leaves firm
Luke Jeffs – FOW
CME Group’s head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa Michel Everaert has left the US firm after two years in the role. London-based Everaert resigned last week and CME staff were informed on Wednesday that Everaert is now on gardening leave so he has effectively left the US exchange group. Serge Marston, CME Group’s head of sales for EMEA, is assuming Everaert’s duties on an interim basis, FOW understands. Everaert is said by sources to have found another role in the industry.
/jlne.ws/3xrT9sI

Green, Social, and Sustainability Bonds: NSE collaborates with IFC and Climate Bonds Initiative for industry wide knowledge enhancement workshops
National Stock Exchange of India
The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) is pleased to announce the completion of its inaugural deep-dive workshops specifically designed with focus on various sectors of the Indian industry. These pivotal events were held across two days at different venues: the first in Mumbai on April 3, 2024, and the second in New Delhi on April 5, 2024. These day long workshops titled ‘Deep Dive in Green, Social, and Sustainability (GSS) Bonds Issuance Process’ was a joint effort with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Climate Bond Initiative (CBI) sponsored by HSBC and The Kingdom of the Netherlands, under the IFC REGIO Technical Assistance facility.
/jlne.ws/3TOAcb8

Clearstream is participating in ECB tests on the use of DLT for the settlement of central bank money
Deutsche Boerse
Clearstream is the only central securities depository to take part in the first wave of tests; Tests are taking place as part of the development of a digital euro; Digital post-trading platform D7 is being expanded to include DLT components for tokenized securities. Clearstream, Deutsche Boerse Group’s post-trading service provider, is taking part in ECB trials and experiments conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) to demonstrate the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for the settlement of central bank money should be examined in the large customer business. The tests are taking place as part of the development of a digital euro.
/jlne.ws/4cZrJL4

EEX Group Volumes – March 2024
EEX Group
EEX Group reports its March 2024 volumes with the following highlights: EEX Group global power markets continue their strong growth also in March 2024, with a total of 1,057 TWh traded on the spot and derivatives markets (+39% YoY). Volumes on the European power spot markets increased by 12% YoY, reaching a total of 72.9 TWh. In March, EPEX SPOT registered new monthly records on the German Day-Ahead markets as well as intraday markets in the Netherlands and Great Britain.
/jlne.ws/4ah1P3z

Nodal Exchange Sets New Records and Achieves Highest Quarterly Power Trading Ever in Q1 2024
Nodal Exchange
Nodal Exchange today announced strong performance in power, environmental, and natural gas trading in the first quarter of 2024. In power, Nodal posted a record quarter in Q1 2024 with 892 million MWh power futures volume traded, surpassing Q1 2022’s record of 850 million MWh. Nodal continues to be the market leader in North American power futures having the majority of the open interest with 1.343 billion MWh, representing over $120 billion of notional value (both sides), at the end of March. This is roughly equivalent to the electricity usage of 124 million U.S. households for one year.
/jlne.ws/49sYCN1

HKEX Monthly Market Highlights March 2024
HIGHLIGHTS – Securities Market
Market capitalisation was $30.3 trillion at the end of March 2024, an increase of 1 per cent from $30.1 trillion at the end of February 2024. The average daily turnover in March 2024 was $111.2 billion, an increase of 24 per cent when compared with $90.0 billion in February 2024. The average daily turnover for the first three months of 2024 was $99.4 billion. The average daily turnover of L&I Products for the first three months of 2024 was $2.5 billion, an increase of 4 per cent when compared with $2.4 billion for the same period last year.
/jlne.ws/4arS6r6

Miami International Holdings Reports Trading Results for March 2024; MIAX Pearl Equities YTD Volumes and Market Share at Record Levels
Miami International Holdings
Miami International Holdings, Inc. today reported January 2024 trading results for its U.S. exchange subsidiaries – MIAX®, MIAX Pearl® and MIAX Emerald® (together, the MIAX Exchange Group), and Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX™).
/jlne.ws/3TPQPmC

TMX Group Equity Financing Statistics – March 2024
TMX Group
TMX Group today announced its financing activity on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) for March 2024. TSX welcomed four new issuers in March 2024, compared with 11 in the previous month and two in March 2023. The new listings were four exchange traded funds. Total financings raised in March 2024 decreased 92% compared to the previous month, and were down 79% compared to March 2023. The total number of financings in March 2024 was 18, compared with 32 the previous month and 30 in March 2023.
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Fintech

Tradeweb set to acquire Institutional Cash Distributors in $785 million cash deal; With the move, Tradeweb is set to further enhance its presence in the corporate treasury markets; acquisition is expected to close in H2 2024.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Tradeweb Markets is set to acquire Institutional Cash Distributors (ICD) for $785 million having entered into a definitive agreement. The purchase price for the acquisition of ICD – an institutional investment technology provider for corporate treasury organisations trading short-term investments – is expected to be funded with cash on hand and close in H2 2024 subject to customary adjustments and a regulatory review.

Beeks and Securities & Trading Technology (STT) Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Transform Exchange Trading and Clearing
Beeks Group
Beeks Group, a pioneer in financial cloud computing and connectivity solutions, and Securities & Trading Technology (STT), a leader in trading, clearing, and surveillance technology, are delighted to announce a strategic partnership that is set to reshape the future of exchange trading and clearing services. This collaboration introduces an innovative, service-based solution designed to meet the evolving needs of the global financial markets.
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Tracy Moore from Regtech Fenergo Comments on Role of Tech in Facilitating Compliance with Basel III Requirements
Omar Faridi – Crowdfundinsider
Fenergo is a global provider of digital solutions for client lifecycle management (CLM) and digital transformation for financial institutions. Its software digitally transforms and streamlines end-to-end CLM processes – from regulatory onboarding, data integration, client and counterparty data management, client lifecycle reviews, and remediation, all the way to client offboarding.
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Generative AI Isn’t Ubiquitous in the Business World-at Least Not Yet; ChatGPT and other tools have racked up users, but some companies are proceeding with caution, or not at all
Richard Vanderford – The Wall Street Journal
ChatGPT and other forms of generative artificial intelligence have experienced meteoric growth, but many businesses are hesitant to rush headlong into the technology. Tobacco company Reynolds American, for instance, is taking a go-slow approach, testing gen AI in a limited capacity. It is experimenting with using AI to improve analysis of large data sets, but not in high-risk finance applications or in customer-facing roles, said Chief Information Officer Aaron Gwinner.
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Wall Street Is Searching for AI Winners Across Emerging Markets; After Nvidia frenzy, investors seek better value outside US; ‘Low-hanging fruit’ seen by manager in developing countries
Srinivasan Sivabalan – Bloomberg
Some of the world’s biggest money managers are searching for the next wave of artificial intelligence winners beyond the US. At a time when the global euphoria about AI has propelled a three-fold surge in Nvidia Corp. and a 50% jump in a key US index for semiconductor manufacturers in less than a year, investors are pointing toward emerging markets for better value and a bigger pool of options.
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Will AI Create More Fake News Than It Exposes? As the technology spreads, it will force media consumers and producers to change the way they use the internet.
Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg
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Meta Changes Policy On AI-Generated Content And Manipulated Media
Emma Woollacott, Senior Contributor – Forbes
Meta has responded to criticism from the company’s independent Oversight Board, and says it plans to tighten up its policies over AI generated content. A broader range of content on Facebook, Instagram and Threads will now be labeled as ‘Made with AI’ when the company detects industry standard AI image indicators, or when posters disclose that they’re uploading AI-generated content.
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AI keeps going wrong. What if it can’t be fixed? Pessimists warn it could wipe out humanity. Optimists hail a medical revolution. Henry Mance meets the sceptics who argue that the technology is simply flawed
Henry Mance – Financial Times
The chatbot was speaking complete gibberish. “To rev the virgate, it’s enley to instil group danters,” it told one user. “I’m by. I’m in. I’m for, I’m from, I’m that,” it told another. Some users joked that it had ingested acid – or too much James Joyce. Others found that it spoke like an English tourist in Marbella: “Muchas gracias for your understanding, y I’ll ensure we’re being as crystal-clear como l’eau from now on.” It was February 21, and ChatGPT was broken.
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How Google lost ground in the AI race; The Silicon Valley group has stumbled in the rollout of generative AI. Insiders say cultural and organisational issues are to blame
Madhumita Murgia and Richard Waters – Financial Times
In early 2023, months after the launch of OpenAI’s groundbreaking ChatGPT, Google was gearing up to launch its competitor to the model that underpinned the chatbot. The search group had been testing generative AI software internally for several months by then. But as the company rallied its resources, multiple competing models emerged from different divisions within Google, vying for internal attention.
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How Tech Giants Cut Corners to Harvest Data for A.I.; OpenAI, Google and Meta ignored corporate policies, altered their own rules and discussed skirting copyright law as they sought online information to train their newest artificial intelligence systems.
Cade Metz, Cecilia Kang, Sheera Frenkel, Stuart A. Thompson and Nico Grant – The New York Times
In late 2021, OpenAI faced a supply problem. The artificial intelligence lab had exhausted every reservoir of reputable English-language text on the internet as it developed its latest A.I. system. It needed more data to train the next version of its technology – lots more. So OpenAI researchers created a speech recognition tool called Whisper. It could transcribe the audio from YouTube videos, yielding new conversational text that would make an A.I. system smarter.
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Cybersecurity

NSA Appoints Dave Luber as Cybersecurity Director; US National Security Agency appoints Dave Luber as its new cybersecurity director following the retirement of Rob Joyce.
Eduard Kovacs – SecurityWeek
The National Security Agency (NSA) has appointed Dave Luber as its new cybersecurity director, after Rob Joyce retired from the agency on March 31. Luber was announced as the next cybersecurity director of the NSA when Joyce’s retirement was revealed in February. Joyce, a highly respected member of the cybersecurity community, was appointed the NSA’s cybersecurity director in early 2021 and retired after 35 years of service.
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Linwei Ding was a Google software engineer. He was also a prolific thief of trade secrets, say prosecutors; U.S. officials say some of America’s most prominent tech firms have had their virtual pockets picked by Chinese corporate spies and intelligence agencies.
Ken Dilanian and Anna Schecter – NBC News
Though he lived in Silicon Valley, Linwei Ding spent months at a time in his native China, according to court papers. Nothing unusual about that – except that he was supposed to be working full time as a software engineer in Google’s San Francisco-area offices. Court records say he had others badge him into Google buildings, making it appear as if he were coming to work. In fact, prosecutors say, he was marketing himself to Chinese companies as an expert in artificial intelligence – while stealing 500 files containing some of Google’s most important AI secrets.
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Cryptocurrencies

Pantera Capital Crypto Fund Posts 66% Gain Aided by Solana Token; Smaller coins spurred first-quarter climb in Liquid Token Fund; Portfolio cut back exposure to Bitcoin, Ethereum-linked tokens
Olga Kharif and Suvashree Ghosh – Bloomberg
Pantera Capital’s roughly $300 million Liquid Token Fund finished the first quarter with a 66% return, helped by cryptocurrencies such as Solana amid reduced exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum-linked tokens. Gains in digital assets such as RBN, Aevo and STX also contributed to the performance in January through March, according to a shareholder letter seen by Bloomberg News.
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Decoding the EU’s most threatening criminal networks
Interpol
This report delves into the inner workings of the criminal networks that pose the highest threat to the EU’s security. The report, which features a Europe-wide analysis from the perspective of law enforcement, is a first of its kind. It describes, in detail, how the most threatening criminal networks are organised, which criminal activities they engage in, and how and where they operate. The report also assesses which specific characteristics the criminal networks hold that increase the threat to the EU’s internal security.
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‘I Am Worried’-Fed President Issues ‘Incredible’ Bitcoin Price Prediction Amid Shock Inflation Warning
Billy Bambrough – Forbes
The bitcoin price has topped $70,000 per bitcoin, up from lows of $15,000 at the end of 2022, with “leaks” this week sparking wild speculation of a Wall Street price game-changer. Now, as the market braces for a huge Federal Reserve inflation flip, Fed president Neel Kashkari has issued an “incredible” response when asked, “when will the Fed put bitcoin on its balance sheet?”
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MicroStrategy Eyes More Gains on Bitcoin Halving After 150% Rally; BTIG boosts price target to $1,800, sees $2,700 bull case; Analyst expects stock rally to pickup steam on Bitcoin halving
Carmen Reinicke – Bloomberg
MicroStrategy Inc.’s 150% surge – driven by a big bet on Bitcoin – has the scope to climb even further as the cryptocurrency soars, according to analysts at BTIG. mAnalyst Andrew Harte boosted his price target to $1,800 Friday, implying the shares could advance at least another 10% from recent trading. That’s more than double his prior target of $780.
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BlackRock Adds Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UBS as APs for Bitcoin ETF; Authorized participants in ETFs are responsible for the creation and redemption process of the fund through which they create liquidity.
Helene Braun – CoinDesk
BlackRock (BLK) has added five additional authorized participants (APs) to the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), bringing the total number to nine as the fund continues to attract billions of dollars from investors. The new APs include Wall Street banking giants Goldman Sachs, Citadel Securities, Citigroup and UBS as well as clearing house ABN AMRO, according to a prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They join Jane Street Capital, JP Morgan, Masquarie and Virtu Americas.
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Did Strong Bitcoin ETF Demand Kill Halving’s Potential Bullish Rally? The much stronger-than-expected inflows into the spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have already caused concerns about a supply shock in the bitcoin market, potentially taking away some of the impacts of the halving.
Helene Braun – CoinDesk
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After Bitcoin Surge, Crypto VC Creeps Toward a Comeback
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
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Politics

From Deepfakes to Arms Races, AI Politics Is Here; Large language models are only going to get more devious, and it’s unlikely that any sort of regulation can rein in the machines.
Niall Ferguson – Bloomberg
Two weeks ago, I asked and attempted to answer six questions about the economic and financial consequences of the artificial intelligence revolution. Today, I have even more – eight – political and geopolitical questions. They are harder to answer.
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Trump Media’s Stock Has Nothing to Do With Its Business; Want to Make America Great Again? Buy TMTG … because that’s essentially what you’re buying into.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
With time, I have become more comfortable with the answer to “what are we all doing here?” The answer is “not fundamental analysis.” Maybe it is “having fun online.” Maybe it is “playing a complex game of mass psychology.” Maybe it is “using our investments as a form of self-expression, buying stocks and cryptocurrencies we identify with and feeling better about ourselves if they go up.” The third era is new, and we do not understand the mechanisms here as well as we understand discounted cash flow analysis, but maybe there are mechanisms to discover; maybe in 10 years there will be textbooks on Meme Stock Analysis.
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Texas to Replace Ousted BlackRock with Dimensional and Intech
Shelly Hagan and Amanda Albright – Bloomberg
The Texas Permanent School Fund has selected Dimensional Fund Advisors and Intech as new money managers after announcing it would terminate BlackRock’s management of $8.5 billion in assets last month. Dimensional Fund Advisors will manage the largest share of assets, but the fund has not yet set allocation splits, according to a spokesperson for Texas Permanent School Fund. The spokesperson said the fund is working to select additional managers.
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Opinion – Trump swindles his followers – again
Dana Milbank – The Washington Post
Let’s say you’re an ardent Donald Trump supporter and you decided to invest $100,000 of your retirement savings into Trump Media because your favorite former president says it’s a “highly successful” company. Well, if you bought in during last week’s initial public offering at the peak of $79.38 a share, your $100,000 nest egg was worth only $57,000 this week when the stock hit a low of $45.26 after an April Fool’s Day crash – a 43 percent loss in just three trading days.
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South Korean Party Pledges Access to US Bitcoin ETFs in Race for Votes; Parliament poll due April 10 in Asia’s fourth-largest economy; Crypto-loving South Koreans currently can’t buy the US funds
Jaehyun Eom and Jenny Seung Min Lee – Bloomberg
Campaigning in South Korea’s parliamentary election has underlined the nation’s status as one of the world’s largest crypto markets, with both major political parties touting related inducements to win votes. President Yoon Suk Yeol’s People Power Party has vowed to delay a digital-asset tax, while the opposition Democratic Party pledged to lift curbs on exchange-traded funds – including US Bitcoin products – that directly hold tokens.
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Regulation

Chairman Behnam Announces Agenda for April 11 Agricultural Advisory Committee Meeting in Overland Park, KS
CFTC
Chairman Rostin Behnam, sponsor of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC), today provided further insight on planned discussion topics for the upcoming AAC meeting. The public meeting will be held on April 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (CDT) at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel in Overland Park, KS. Members of the public will also have the option to attend virtually.
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Commissioner Johnson Announces Agenda for April 9 Market Risk Advisory Committee Meeting
CFTC
CFTC Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson, sponsor of the Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC), today announced the agenda for the MRAC public meeting on Tuesday, April 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT), at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.
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Do Kwon Lost to the SEC. The U.S. Is Piling Up Other Crypto Wins, Too; Courts are mostly siding with regulators who say crypto should follow U.S. investor-protection laws
Dave Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
Crypto’s fight with U.S. regulators is starting to pay dividends-for the government. The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday notched a court victory against brash crypto entrepreneur Do Kwon. His TerraUSD and Luna tokens collapsed in 2022, wiping out $40 billion in value and causing huge losses for investors around the world.
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Statement on Jury’s Verdict in Trial of Matthew Panuwat
Gurbir S. Grewal – SEC
Today, after an eight day trial and only several hours of deliberation, a jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found Matthew Panuwat liable for insider trading in violation of the federal securities laws.
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Statement on Jury’s Verdict in Trial of Terraform Labs PTE Ltd. and Do Kwon
Gurbir S. Grewal – SEC
Today, after a nine-day trial, a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found Terraform Labs PTE Ltd. and Do Kwon liable for defrauding investors in crypto asset securities. Previously, the Court found that Terraform Labs and Kwon unlawfully offered and sold crypto asset securities in violation of the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933.
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SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Volkswagen Financing Subsidiary in Connection With “Clean Diesel” Emissions Fraud
SEC
On April 3, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained final judgment by consent against defendant Volkswagen Group of America Finance, LLC (“VWGOAF”), which the SEC had charged in 2019 with making false and misleading statements in connection with its 2014 and 2015 offerings of billions of dollars of corporate bonds. VWGOAF is the financing subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
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FMA introduces new standard condition on business continuity and technology systems plus new process for reporting operational incidents
FMA
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – is introducing a new standard condition for certain market licence holders following consultation. The new licence condition will focus on business continuity and technology systems. The new condition will come into effect on 1 July 2024.
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Private Credit Faces Liquidity Risks If Stress Rises, IMF Says; Report outlines potential risks across $1.7 trillion market; Rapid growth means sector hasn’t been tested in a downturn
Ellen Schneider – Bloomberg
Regulators should scrutinize the fast-growing private-credit market more closely, given potential concerns ranging from demands on funds’ liquidity to the quality of underlying borrowers, the International Monetary Fund said in a report. The study, released Monday as part of an IMF report on global financial stability, outlines the $1.7 trillion sector’s critical role in debt markets, and points to possible risks which are difficult to fully ascertain given the lack of information and transparency.
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Wirecard fugitive helped run Russian spy operations across Europe; Jan Marsalek used agents in Vienna to plot break-ins and assassinations by Russian hit squads, prosecutors claim
Sam Jones – Financial Times
Fugitive Wirecard COO Jan Marsalek used compromised intelligence officials in Vienna to spy on European citizens and plot break-ins and assassinations by elite Russian hit squads. He also obtained a Nato government’s cutting-edge cryptography machine and smuggled stolen senior Austrian civil servants’ phones to Moscow. The allegations – based on new evidence obtained by British intelligence – are contained in an Austrian police warrant for the arrest of a former Austrian police and intelligence official, Egisto Ott.
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Investing and Trading

A Smart Twist on One of the Stock Market’s Dumbest Ideas; Chipotle’s 50-for-1 stock split is a clever step that will help turn more of its employees into shareholders
Jason Zweig – The Wall Street Journal
Someone finally found a good use for one of Wall Street’s most pointless rituals. In a stock split, a company increases its number of shares outstanding. This should result in a proportional reduction in the share price, leaving the value of each investor’s total holding unchanged. It’s the same as exchanging a dime for two nickels. You’d be foolish to get excited about that, right?
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Hash Out the Inheritance Now, or Fight Your Family Later; The toughest part of estate planning isn’t writing the will, but talking about it openly with the family
Ashlea Ebeling – The Wall Street Journal
Death and money aren’t fun subjects to bring up over dinner. Yet families who make time for that awkward chat now can spare deep regrets and potentially millions in lost dollars. More than $84 trillion in wealth has been, or is set to be, transferred by estates big and small between 2021 and 2045, according to Cerulli Associates. That wave of inheritance has brought a rise in lawsuits and other conflicts over family assets.
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The Surprising Top Mutual Fund in the First Quarter; Hennessy Cornerstone Growth claims the No. 1 spot over the past year as small-to-midcap funds start to supplant the dominant large-cap growth funds
Lawrence Strauss – The Wall Street Journal
Most of the mutual funds in the top 5% of the latest Wall Street Journal Winners’ Circle list hail from the same neighborhood: Morningstar’s large-cap growth category. It’s a familiar place. The “Magnificent Seven” technology stocks that have led gains over the past year or so-including Nvidia, Microsoft and Amazon.com-remain popular holdings among funds in this category. That fund group has dominated the past few Winners’ Circle surveys.
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Why the Stock Market Keeps Changing Its Story; Exxon’s surge is an important shift in the market, a new narrative that investors would be wise to pay close attention to-in case it changes again
James Mackintosh – The Wall Street Journal
As the Magnificent Seven are downgraded to the Fab Four, perhaps the list of leading tech stocks should include an old-school name: Exxon Mobil. The oil company’s shares would come in fourth in the septet this year with a rise of 21%, after Nvidia and Meta and very close to Amazon. Behind Exxon’s surge to a new high on Friday is an important shift in the market, a new narrative that investors would be wise to pay close attention to-in case it changes again.
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Central Banks Are the Newest HODLers of Gold; The oldest money is the everything hedge for its contemporary guardians.
Merryn Somerset Webb – Bloomberg
A few weeks ago, when the gold price hit a record high, no one besides a few gold bugs seemed to care. Bitcoin also hit a record high. Everyone cared. Proof came in the personal finance pages of the UK newspapers. The FT had a piece on investing in crypto miners, a long read about what crypto still gets wrong and a cry of pain for UK investors denied the right to hold Bitcoin ETFs. The Telegraph had almost a full page on how to buy. Bitcoin also made made it into the Market Report section of the Daily Mail and got good exposure in the Times too – with another cry of pain for UK investors and the fusty bureaucrats who won’t let them get easy exposure to the asset of the century.
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Vitol posts $13bn profits in second consecutive year of bumper results; Energy trader’s earnings mean another year of large payouts for senior partners
Tom Wilson – Financial Times
Vitol, the world’s largest independent commodity trader, earned profits far in excess of its rivals for the second year running, consolidating its position as one of the most powerful players in global energy markets. The privately owned group, whose chief executive is based in London, made $13bn of net profit in 2023, according to people with knowledge of the company’s results.
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Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

‘Simply mind-boggling’: world record temperature jump in Antarctic raises fears of catastrophe; An unprecedented leap of 38.5C in the coldest place on Earth is a harbinger of a disaster for humans and the local ecosystem
Robin McKie – Bloomberg
On 18 March, 2022, scientists at the Concordia research station on the east Antarctic plateau documented a remarkable event. They recorded the largest jump in temperature ever measured at a meteorological centre on Earth. According to their instruments, the region that day experienced a rise of 38.5C above its seasonal average: a world record. This startling leap – in the coldest place on the planet – left polar researchers struggling for words to describe it. “It is simply mind-boggling,” said Prof Michael Meredith, science leader at the British Antarctic Survey. “In sub-zero temperatures such a massive leap is tolerable but if we had a 40C rise in the UK now that would take temperatures for a spring day to over 50C – and that would be deadly for the population.”
/jlne.ws/3J6dDd7

Bank Valuations at Stake as EU Splits With US Over ESG Risk; ECB studies banks’ inclusion of ESG in loan-loss provisions; EU is fast diverging from US in enforcement of ESG regulations
Frances Schwartzkopff and Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
The European Banking Federation says lenders in the region won’t be able to compete with their US rivals if regulators continue to pile on ESG rules that Wall Street remains free to ignore. The warning from the bloc’s main bank lobby comes as the European Central Bank puts pressure on lenders to capture environmental, social and governance risks, including in loan-loss provisions, marking a new frontier in ESG reporting standards.
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Opinion: Environmentalism could stop the clean-energy transition
Editorial Board – The Washington Post
Two miles remain to be built of the 102-mile Cardinal-Hickory Creek high-voltage transmission line between Iowa and Wisconsin, expected to connect more than 160 renewable-energy facilities, producing nearly 25 gigawatts of green power, to the Midwestern grid. And yet this crucial project for the climate might not get finished – because of U.S. environmental laws. At issue is the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a habitat for bald eagles and other migratory birds, through which the power line would run. On March 21, three environmental groups persuaded a federal judge to stop construction temporarily. They hope to stop it for good.
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Zurich Insurance to Halt Coverage of New Fossil-Fuel Exposures; Insurer wants credible targets from large oil and gas clients; Policy shift heralds a greater embrace of energy transition
Myriam Balezou and Gautam Naik – Bloomberg
Zurich Insurance Group AG will no longer underwrite new oil and gas projects, and is cracking down on clients planning to expand in metallurgical coal mining. The restrictions also entail asking the highest-emitting corporate customers to reduce their carbon footprints, the company told Bloomberg. Further details of the policy will be included in the insurer’s climate-transition plan, which will be announced later this year.
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Wildfires Make Utilities a Tricky Investment. Just Ask Warren Buffett; More utilities across the West are facing the prospect of significant liability costs
Katherine Blunt – The Wall Street Journal
Warren Buffett made a fortune by investing in electric utilities in the western U.S. Now, the world’s best-known investor says wildfires might undermine that strategy. PacifiCorp, a utility company owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in liability costs tied to a series of Oregon wildfires in 2020 and might owe hundreds of millions more. In his most recent annual letter, Buffett told shareholders that he might rethink utility investments in states at high risk of wildfire.
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Aon chief calls for better models for ‘stressed’ property insurance market; Industry’s reliance on history to predict losses not sufficient for era of climate, cyber and AI risks, Greg Case says
Ian Smith – Financial Times
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A Gates-Backed Startup Is Making Fuel From Water and Carbon Dioxide; Infinium counts Bill Gates as an investor and has fuel buyers that include Amazon and American Airlines. Now, the company is trying to scale up.
Coco Liu – Bloomberg
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Methane-Eating Microbes Show Promise for Wiping Out Planet-Warming Emissions; Startup Windfall Bio has developed microbes that can tackle some of the most challenging sources of methane.
Brian Kahn and Michelle Ma – Bloomberg
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How Monday’s total solar eclipse affects US grid operators
Harshit Verma – Reuters
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Biden Administration Pressed to Act on Federal Contractor Climate Disclosure; Twenty-six members of Congress urge agencies to finalize rules that would leverage the market power of the world’s largest purchaser to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Marianne Lavelle – Bloomberg
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Institutions

UBS CEO says integrating Credit Suisse will become a ‘case study’ for future big bank mergers
Jenni Reid – CNBC
The mammoth integration of failed bank Credit Suisse into its former rival UBS will act as a “case study,” UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said Friday, one that will show that big bank mergers should be allowed. “It’s going to be a case study to be evaluated globally, but also particularly in Europe, where eventually the necessity of creating stronger banks, and stronger and more competitive banks from a global standpoint of view, is in my point of view a necessity,” Ermotti told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at an event at the Ambrosetti Spring Forum in Italy.
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Swiss government’s ‘too big to fail’ proposals loom for UBS
Reuters
The Swiss government will this month present proposals aimed at protecting the country against the risk of banks deemed “too big to fail” in response to UBS’s emergence as the country’s sole big lender with its 2023 takeover of Credit Suisse. Following are key points surrounding the plan:
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Morgan Stanley cross-asset futures execution co-head to join Liquidnet; Incoming individual will co-head Liquidnet’s futures business in the Americas alongside Brian Cashin.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The co-head of cross asset execution futures at Morgan Stanley is set to leave the bank for a new role at Liquidnet. Alex Grinfeld has been appointed to co-head up Liquidnet’s futures business in the Americas. He joins Liquidnet after 11 years at Morgan Stanley. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Grinfeld was a vice president at Goldman Sachs for futures and derivatives sales trading.
/jlne.ws/3VMQRhJ

Blackstone-Backed Hedge Fund Antara Freezes Illiquid Assets; Antara creates side pocket for illiquid, private investments; Move follows two straight years of double-digit losses
Sridhar Natarajan and Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Antara Capital, a $1.3 billion hedge fund backed by Blackstone Inc., froze its hard-to-sell assets from redemptions after piling on losses. Money plowed into illiquid private investments has been withheld from redemptions and was placed in a so-called side pocket in February, after the firm posted a second straight year of slumping returns, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The move is aimed at avoiding a fire sale of those investments, which drove declines in the hedge fund’s performance in 2023.
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Work & Management

What Researchers Discovered When They Sent 80,000 Fake Resumes to U.S. Jobs; Some companies discriminated against Black applicants much more than others, and H.R. practices made a big difference.
Claire Cain Miller and Josh Katz – The New York Times
A group of economists recently performed an experiment on around 100 of the largest companies in the country, applying for jobs using made-up resumes with equivalent qualifications but different personal characteristics. They changed applicants’ names to suggest that they were white or Black, and male or female – Latisha or Amy, Lamar or Adam. On Monday, they released the names of the companies. On average, they found, employers contacted the presumed white applicants 9.5 percent more often than the presumed Black applicants. Yet this practice varied significantly by firm and industry.
/jlne.ws/4aqgnOe

Wellness Exchange

In the City, Personal Safety Starts With Your Smartphone; Turn on these settings in your phone and connected devices to add a layer of security
Shara Tibken – The Wall Street Journal
I knew something was wrong when I got to San Francisco’s Powell Street BART train station. Police tape and uniformed officers blocked my normal exit. A 17-year-old had been shot and killed there a half-hour earlier. It was 10 p.m. on a Thursday in late March. I’d felt antsy before even arriving at the station. I don’t like walking around the city’s empty downtown after dark.
/jlne.ws/3xtIE8f

Sorry, but Blood Tests Won’t Replace Stool Samples or Colonoscopies Yet; Disappointing results for colon-cancer blood tests strengthen the investment thesis for Exact Sciences, which makes a stool-based test
David Wainer – The Wall Street Journal
For years now, there has been immense excitement for liquid biopsies-blood tests that can detect cancer early. Eventually, tests like the Galleri developed by Grail could revolutionize the practice of medicine by allowing patients to catch and treat the disease early. When it comes to colon cancer, though-the second biggest cause of cancer deaths behind lung cancer-blood-based tests have proved disappointing. The latest setback came last week, after privately held Freenome announced top-line results from a clinical study for the early detection of colon cancer among average-risk adults. The results failed to impress investors.
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PSA prostate cancer tests fail to detect some aggressive forms, study shows; UK research highlights risk of over-diagnosis and gaps in spotting serious variants of the disease
Sarah Neville – Financial Times
A widely used screening test for prostate cancer is over-diagnosing insignificant cases while still missing some of the most aggressive cancers, according to the largest study of its kind. The trial, which involved more than 400,000 UK men aged 50-69, tested the effect of the Prostate-Specific Antigen “PSA” blood test, which is commonly used to decide when to send men with urinary symptoms for further checks.
/jlne.ws/4arEQCP

Regions

New Yorkers told to stay away from high-rise buildings after earthquake; Around 42 million people are expected to have felt the ground move
Susie Coen and Andrew Buncombe – The Telegraph
New Yorkers were told to stay away from high-rise buildings after a rare earthquake struck Manhattan on Friday morning. The 4.8-magnitude tremor shook the city at 10:23am, with rumbling felt as far along the east coast as Boston and Baltimore. The epicentre of the quake was near Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, about 45 miles west of New York City, and around 42 million people are expected to have felt the ground move.
/jlne.ws/49qK8NB

Exclusive | Stringent background checks on investors such as Dubai’s Sheikh Ali Al Maktoum could send wrong message about Hong Kong, sources say; Heavy scrutiny of Dubai prince launching US$500 million family office in city could have ‘potentially offended’ other overseas investors, three senior officials say
Natalie Wong, Kahon Chan and Lilian Cheng – South China Morning Post
A stringent background check by the Hong Kong government on a Dubai prince launching a US$500 million family office in the city could have “potentially offended” other overseas investors and undermined the financial hub’s reputation for welcoming business opportunities, three senior officials involved in the matter have told the Post. The officials stressed on Friday the government welcomed potential investment from Sheikh Ali Rashed Ali Saeed Al Maktoum and other Middle Eastern businesspeople, while also acknowledging the need for the administration to be “more sensitive and prudent” in avoiding any unnecessary controversies.
/jlne.ws/3vxXvOs

Miscellaneous

Hot Market for Pencils Help Kids Turn Lead Into Gold; With digital gadgets commonplace, some students have become obsessed with pencils, bidding up their trade value
Julie Wernau – The Wall Street Journal
The most valued commodity in the schoolyard marketplace is one of the most basic. Every kid wants a pencil-especially a carefully carved stub of a pencil called a mini. Sasha Portnoy, a 9-year-old from Hamden, Conn., is among those playing the market. “One or two mini-pencils for a box of Nerds. Or maybe two or three for an Airhead,” said Sasha, explaining the pencil-to-candy conversion rate.
/jlne.ws/3U7Unlz

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Past JLN Newsletters

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