EDI challenges new CME fees as anti-competitive and illegal

Dec 8, 2020

First Read

$17,161/$300,000 (5.7%)
Paul Cusenza and Adam Minick


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Look for news today about a group of data providers with a letter to the CFTC and key legislators about the CME Group’s adding a fee for historical data. It is directly related to the lead story today from EDI.

The CME will award the CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications to Stanford University Economics Professor Susan Athey on December 11 at 10 CT at a virtual event.

The first Englishman to receive a shot of the vaccine for COViD-19 was named William Shakespeare. You can’t make this stuff up.

Seven years ago yesterday, John Lothian News published its first Special Report about bitcoin titled “A Bitcoin for your thoughts.”

There is a story on Huffington Post that Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s repetition of the phrase “radical liberal” to describe her election opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock, during their Sunday evening debate on CNN spawned a drinking game. Unfortunately, she said the phrase so many times that all the participants died from alcohol poisoning. She repeated the phrase so many times, even a Fox News host mocked her for it.

Don’t forget to bid on the Futures For Kids auction. Instead of the IDX Gala Auction, here is a virtual one at the holidays.

There were two new donors to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign, Adam Minick and Paul Cusenza. Adam Minick is a director for corporate strategy at the CME Group. Paul Cusenza is the chairman & CEO of Nodal Exchange and Nodal Clear. Thank you to both Adam and Paul and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

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


Eventus Systems and ADAM are holding a webinar on Wednesday, December 9 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on “Digital Asset Market Trade Surveillance.” The webinar will explore how trade surveillance impacts the digital assets industry in gaining widespread institutional acceptance. Speakers are Michelle Bond (ADAM) and Travis Schwab (Eventus).
The areas covered will include:
– Introduction to Michelle Bond, ADAM’s mission and membership
– Highlights of ADAM’s Code of Conduct and how it originated
– Timing for approval of a Bitcoin ETF
– ADAM’s position on becoming a self-regulatory organization (SRO)
– Rules that impact industry participants (e.g. FATF’s Travel Rule)
– Looking ahead into 2021: The impact of the new administration on digital asset legislation
You can go HERE to register. ~SR

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has acquired Sapient’s platform for compliance management reporting and plans to integrate CMRS with DTCC Report Hub to enable firms to manage pre and post reporting processes. DTCC says it will create “the industry’s most comprehensive pre and post trade reporting solution.” ~SR


Pope Francis gives his blessing to Council for Inclusive Capitalism; Alliance marks an embrace of big business and finance by the Vatican
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – FT
Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a coalition of large investors, companies, unions and foundations that are pledging to make capitalism less socially and environmentally damaging. The Vatican will on Tuesday lend its name to the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, whose members must commit to measurable action to create a more equitable and trusted economic system, including adherence to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

*****A blessing from the Pope is always a good thing, except for things like Crusades.~JJL


Could your child be recruited as a money mule? Huge rise in online fraud sees criminals target students to spirit away the proceeds
Claer Barrett – FT
“Would you like to make some extra money working from home?” If you’re young, gifted and broke, the ping of a social media message offering the chance to make “same-day cash” could be tempting.

*****My kids would be more “money giraffes.”~jJL


Florida police raid home of former state Covid-19 data scientist
Casey Tolan and Curt Devine – CNN
Florida police raided the home of a former state coronavirus data scientist on Monday, escalating a feud between the state government and a data expert who has accused officials of trying to cover up the extent of the pandemic.

******This is just wrong on so many levels. Whoever ordered this should be fired or impeached. There is no reason to be waving guns in front of children or having guns out at all except for sending a message of intimidation.~JJL


Kelly Loeffler disqualified herself at Sunday night’s debate
Greg Sargent – Washington Post
Of all the vile ways that Republicans have sought to justify President Trump’s effort to overturn his election loss, one of the worst is the ubiquitous claim that Trump is merely pursuing his legal right to contest the results.

*****The argument is not that she is supporting President Trump’s legal means for contesting the results of the election, but that she is supporting extralegal means.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was FCA market oversight director named CEO of London Stock Exchange from The Trade News, about LSE’s new leader, Julia Hoggett. Second was the Bloomberg opinion piece, Should You Use Investing Apps Like Robinhood? Third was JLN’s An Evening Supporting Scouting Comes In Many Different Names, by John Lothian.


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Lead Stories

EDI challenges new CME fees as anti-competitive and illegal
Challenger data provider, Exchange Data International (EDI), has written to the CFTC, the heads of the relevant Committees of the US House of Representatives, and the US Senate – which oversee the CFTC – requesting they investigate the CME Group’s (CME) plans to charge for what has always been a no-fee service. Legal advice taken by EDI views the CME’s new fee policies as illegal, anti-competitive, and extremely disruptive. If the CME is allowed to proceed with its actions, the practical impact will be devasting for redistributors of the data, especially the small and mid-sized vendors.

Russian oligarch’s son racked up $50m in day trading losses; Ex-wife of billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov accuses their son of helping to hide assets in divorce battle
Jane Croft – FT
The opening day of a trial, in which the former wife of a Russian billionaire has accused their son of helping his father to hide assets in one of Europe’s biggest ever divorce battles, has laid bare the lifestyle of the super-rich. The High Court heard that Temur Akhmedov, 27, who is being sued by his mother Tatiana, was given a £29m London flat when he was just 19 and lost $50m in day trading whilst still a university student.

California Water Futures Begin Trading Amid Fear of Scarcity
Kim Chipman – Bloomberg
Water joined gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world. Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike are now able to hedge against — or bet on — future water availability in California, the biggest U.S. agriculture market and world’s fifth-largest economy. CME Group Inc.’s January 2021 contract, linked to California’s $1.1 billion spot water market, last traded Monday at 496 index points, equal to $496 per acre-foot.

SIX and SBI Planning Digital-Asset Exchange Based in Singapore
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
SIX Digital Exchange and SBI Digital Asset Holdings Co. plan to create an exchange for digital assets that’s based in Singapore and will start operation by 2022. The plan, which is subject to regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, sees formalized Singapore operations next year, with the goal of launching active offerings by 2022 at the latest, according to a statement. Connectivity to Swiss and Japanese businesses as well as other partnerships are expected to follow. The joint venture’s issuance, exchange and CSD platforms are expected to be fully regulated by existing Singapore law.

Trading outages strike again for US retail brokers; Robinhood and Interactive Brokers suffer latest in a series of glitches
Eric Platt and Philip Stafford – FT
Interactive Brokers and Robinhood suffered more outages on Monday — the latest in a series of glitches as online stock-trading brokerages struggle to cope with surging demand from retail investors. Interactive Brokers said it had experienced a “significant failure” in a data storage system and it was working with a vendor on “analysis and recovery”. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based company apologised and added it expected services to be restored “promptly” after an outage stretching over several hours.

Demand for Corporate Bonds Drives Inflation-Adjusted Yields to Zero; The development highlights how demand for fixed-income assets is reducing their potential returns
Sam Goldfarb – WSJ
The average U.S. investment-grade corporate bond now yields less than a key measure of investors’ inflation expectations, a first that highlights how demand for fixed-income assets is reducing their potential returns.

‘An MBA in Corruption’: How Top Oil Trader Paid Bribes for Years
Andy Hoffman and Jack Farchy – Bloomberg
Vitol legal settlement shows it won deals through corruption; Trafigura and Glencore also face bribery allegations in Brazil
For years, the world’s largest oil trading firm has maintained that it has “zero tolerance” for corruption. Now Vitol Inc. has admitted that it was paying bribes through a network of shell companies and sham contracts. As recently as July 2020, while publicly repeating those assurances, Vitol was bribing government officials in Ecuador and Mexico.

Brooklyn Federal Financial-Crime Unit Steps On Manhattan Turf
Patricia Hurtado – Bloomberg
U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn launches bank integrity task force; Manhattan prosecutors have historically led white-collar cases
Brooklyn-based federal prosecutors will staff a new task force to investigate and charge corporations and individuals who use the U.S. banking system to launder money, setting up a bigger role in white-collar cases that have historically been dominated by their Manhattan counterparts.

Overvalued Startups Could Be ‘Shorted’ by New Firm; Apeira Capital wants to bring hedge-fund-style techniques to startup investing
Tomio Geron – WSJ
Venture investors often bid up prices on hot startup deals with little regard for the price they’re paying. Sometimes these companies live up to the hype. But not always. Enter Apeira Capital.

Goldman Sachs joins backers of Chicago fintech firm; The investment bank led an $81 million equity investment in Amount, the tech offshoot of online consumer lender Avant.
Steve Daniels – Crain’s Chicago Business
Amount, the tech offshoot of Chicago-based online consumer lender Avant, has raised $81 million from investors including a notable newcomer—Goldman Sachs. The infusion, announced last week, brings the total of new equity raised by Chicago’s Amount to $139 million for the year.

Robinhood Is Losing Thousands of Traders to a China-Owned Rival; Webull offers free trades and has picked up users after outages at Robinhood this year.
Bloomberg News
Even in a year full of surprises on Wall Street, this one stands out: A Chinese-owned brokerage has quietly built one of the fastest-growing retail trading platforms in the U.S. Webull, founded by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. alum Wang Anquan, has increased its roster of brokerage clients by about tenfold this year, to more than 2 million, by offering free stock trades with a slick online interface. While that’s still a fraction of the more than 13 million at Robinhood, the broker that popularized commission-free trading, Webull says it’s been peeling off users from its rival. The company has plans to pursue a big funding round from private U.S. investors and may expand into automated financial advice and money management with a so-called robo-adviser service.

Goldman Sachs to Acquire 100% of China Securities Joint Venture; Firm is first global bank to seek full ownership of its securities business in the country
Jing Yang – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is moving to acquire 100% ownership of its securities joint venture in China, deepening its investment in the world’s second-largest economy after partnering with a domestic brokerage for 17 years. The New York-based bank is applying with Chinese regulators to take full control of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Co. and has signed an agreement to acquire the 49% share of the venture it doesn’t own, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Companies Face New Pressures to Diversify Boards. It’s Sensitive; Nasdaq and California efforts to bring more minorities and other underrepresented groups into boardrooms raise awkward recruiting challenges; Avoiding being ‘tokenized’
Chip Cutter – WSJ
One of the biggest board recruiting rushes in U.S. corporate history is set to commence, and it is likely to be a delicate one.

Pimco Co-Founder Bill Gross Makes Public Request to Settle Dispute With Neighbor; The conflict involves a backyard-art installation and repeatedly playing the theme song to ‘Gilligan’s Island’
Justin Baer – WSJ
Bill Gross, the co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., offered to resolve a legal dispute with his Orange County, Calif., neighbor on Monday by donating expected legal fees to charity.


All Eyes on U.K. for Western World’s First Covid Shots
Emily Ashton and Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg
Elderly and health-care workers first in line for Pfizer shot; Johnson warns that virus threat still rising in some areas
The U.K.’s National Health Service launched what it has called the biggest immunization campaign in its history, starting Covid vaccinations across the country.

Pandemic brings lasting changes to city centres; Retail and banking convulsed by shift online while office space needs a rethink
Société Générale shuts branches and increases focus on online banking
Today’s news that France’s Société Générale will shut 600 branches as part of a cost-cutting drive is just the latest example of how the pandemic is not only accelerating changes in the way we do business but also bringing major changes to our built environments.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Stanford University Economics Professor Susan Athey to Receive CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications; Panel of leading economists to discuss intersection of markets and COVID-19
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), announced its 14th Innovative Quantitative Applications Prize recipient. Susan Athey, Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is the 2019 CME Group-MSRI Prize winner for her work in the economics of digitization and marketplace design. A virtual event honoring Athey will be hosted by CME Group on Dec. 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. CT.

Former risk head at Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank joins LSEG as risk chief; Balbir Bakhshi joins the London Stock Exchange Group as chief risk officer after more than 25 years’ industry experience at Credit Suisse and more recently Deutsche Bank.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has hired a veteran risk executive who has held senior roles at Credit Suisse and more recently Deutsche Bank as its group chief risk officer.

Eurex veteran joins Quantitative Brokers in senior sales role to lead Asia expansion; Tim Gits joins Quantitative Brokers as sales director after 12 years at Eurex and will target expansion into Asia Pacific.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Execution algorithm provider Quantitative Brokers has appointed a former Eurex veteran as its new sales director, The TRADE can reveal. Tim Gits joins Quantitative Brokers to oversee its expansion strategy and team growth including strategic sales hires, and product development on the firm’s algo suite. A spokesperson at Quantitative Brokers confirmed his appointment.

Trust Stamp lists on Euronext Dublin; MARKET CAPITALISATION OF US$28 million
The North American company is a global provider of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered identity services; Euronext is the leading pan-European stock exchange for Tech listings with 500+ issuers in the Tech sector
Euronext today congratulated Trust Stamp, the global provider of AI-powered identity services, on its listing on Euronext Growth in Dublin (ticker code: AIID).

GNP Energy admitted to trading on Euronext Growth
GNP Energy, a supplier of electricity, has today been admitted to trading on Euronext Growth (ticker code: GNP).

Deutsche Börse AG’s Supervisory Board extends Dr. Christoph Bohm
Deutsche Börse AG
The Supervisory Board of Deutsche Börse AG has appointed Dr. Christoph Böhm (54) extended by five years until the end of October 2026. In his role as CIO / COO, Dr. Böhm took over the information technology division of Deutsche Börse Group.

TMX Group Equity Financing Statistics – November 2020
TMX Group today announced its financing activity on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) for November 2020.

Barclays Launches BARX Book for Equities, a New Single-Dealer Platform Developed in Partnership With Nasdaq
Barclays today announced the launch of BARX Book for Equities, a new single-dealer platform developed in partnership with Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ). Hosted by Nasdaq on its leading market technology infrastructure, BARX Book for Equities provides institutional clients access to the bank’s unique, principal liquidity for U.S.-listed single names and exchange-traded funds, and is Barclays’ most recent innovation for equities within BARX, the firm’s multi-asset electronic trading platform.

Nasdaq, Inc. Prices $1.9 Billion Senior Notes Offering
Nasdaq, Inc. (the “Company”) (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced that it priced a public offering of $600,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 0.445% senior notes due 2022, $650,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 1.650% senior notes due 2031 and $650,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 2.500% senior notes due 2040 (the “Offering”). The Company expects to use the net proceeds from the Offering, together with cash on hand and proceeds of other debt, to fund the cash consideration payable by the Company in connection with its pending acquisition of Verafin Holdings Inc. (“Verafin”), to repay certain outstanding indebtedness of Verafin and its subsidiaries and to pay related expenses, and for general corporate purposes. The Offering is expected to close on December 21, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.

Product Modification Summary: Amendments to the Strike Price and Listing Schedule for Certain Options on Great British Pound/U.S. Dollar (GBP/USD) Futures Contracts – Effective February 01, 2021
CME Group
Amendments to the Strike Price and Listing Schedule for Certain Options on Great British Pound/U.S. Dollar (GBP/USD) Futures Contracts

Product Modification Summary: Delisting of Six (6) Natural Gas (Platts IFERC) Futures Contracts – Effective December 07, 2020
CME Group
Effective December 7, 2020 the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX or Exchange) delisted the below products from CME Globex and CME ClearPort.

Delisting of Six (6) Natural Gas (Platts IFERC) Futures Contracts
CME Group
Effective today, Monday, December 7, 2020, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) delisted six (6) natural gas (Platts IFERC) futures contracts (the “Contracts”) as set forth in the table below. There is no open interest in the Contracts.

Effective Dates for Spot Month Position Limits in the January 2021 Core Products
CME Group

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture and Energy Margins – Effective December 07, 2020
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

JPX Monthly Headlines – November 2020
JPX group companies undertake various initiatives and disseminate information with the aim of providing the most attractive markets to all users. Every month, we showcase the highlights of these efforts in short and concise summaries just for you.


Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank funded Wirecard’s India deal; Failed payments group borrowed EUR250m from the lenders to buy two companies referred to in fraud allegations
Olaf Storbeck – FT
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank provided the bulk of the funding for Wirecard’s acquisition of a pair of Indian companies referred to in the fraud allegations against the defunct Germany payments group, documents seen by the Financial Times reveal. In 2015 Wirecard turned to the German banks when it agreed to pay up to EUR340m to a Mauritius-based fund for two India-based sister companies, Hermes i Tickets and GI Technology. The seller, dubbed Emerging Markets Investment Funds 1A, had acquired the targets just weeks earlier from their original owners for less than EUR40m.

IHS Markit integrates risk and performance analytics from MSCI with thinkFolio; The partnership between IHS Markit and MSCI will allow their mutual clients to leverage MSCI’s analytics through workflows on thinkFolio.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Data and analytics provider IHS Markit has partnered with MSCI to integrate its risk and performance analytics with investment management platform thinkFolio.

Deutsche Bank finalises major cloud partnership with Google; The strategic multiyear partnership with Google is the first of its kind in the financial services industry, said Deutsche Bank.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Deutsche Bank has employed the services of Google Cloud to speed up its migration of its operations and services onto the cloud. Deutsche Bank has finalised a major agreement with Google to migrate its operations and systems to the cloud, including its Autobahn institutional electronic trading platform.

BSO Creates Bespoke Ultra Low Latency Cloud Connectivity Service for CryptoStruct GmbH; Using BSO’s global network, CryptoStruct simplifies how professional traders connect to, analyse and trade on cryptocurrency markets
BSO, the leading global telecoms operator powering the digital age, has delivered a unique ultra low latency connectivity service for CryptoStruct. This bespoke cloud-to-cloud service underpins CryptoStruct’s professional market data platform.

SteelEye and txtsmarter To Offer End-to-End Communications Capture and Surveillance; Providing clients with a full view of all communications, including Apple iMessage, Android SMS/MMS, and WhatsApp, in SteelEye’s advanced surveillance platform
SteelEye, the compliance technology and data analytics firm, and txtsmarter, the Enterprise Information Archiving compliance platform, today announced a strategic partnership to combine txtsmarter’s Intelligent Compliance™ complete messaging capture and archiving service with SteelEye’s advanced communications surveillance solution. As a result, clients can access native messaging data within the SteelEye platform to assure full regulatory compliance.


UBS’s Hamers Sees a Lot of Potential for Swiss Digital Assets
Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG’s Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers sees “almost unlimited potential” for digital assets and tokenization in Switzerland. Hamers’ remarks were some of his first public comments since taking over from Sergio Ermotti last month. He was speaking on the same panel as Credit Suisse Group AG’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein at The Singapore Fintech Festival.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s crypto token takes off—but you can’t buy it in the US
Daniel Roberts – Yahoo Finance
On Friday, Wozniak launched his new company Efforce, a blockchain-based “energy efficiency market” for crowdfunding eco-friendly business projects. (“We created Efforce to be the first decentralized platform that allows everyone to participate and benefit financially from worldwide energy efficiency projects, and create meaningful environmental change,” Wozniak, who is cofounder but not CEO of Efforce, said in a press release.)

Biden Administration Will ‘Ultimately Be Supportive’ of Crypto: Circle CEO
Jaspreet Kalra – Coindesk
Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire believes the incoming Joe Biden presidential administration in the U.S. will “ultimately be supportive of cryptocurrency because it represents a seismic shift as large as the commercial internet.”

Spain’s Second-Largest Bank Will Soon Launch Crypto Services: Sources
Ian Allison – Coindesk
BBVA, the second-largest bank in Spain, with about $840 billion in assets, is poised to enter the cryptocurrency trading and custody space, according to two people familiar with the plans.
The Spanish bank will begin its crypto offering out of Switzerland, said a source. Switzerland has relatively comprehensive rules around digital assets, set out by the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

German Stock Exchange’s Crypto Trading App Surpasses $1 Billion Volume This Year
Kevin Helms – Bitcoin.com
Cryptocurrency trading on the app provided by Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart, has hit record volumes. One billion euros in cryptocurrencies have been traded on the exchange’s crypto trading app, Bison, so far this year.

Latin American crime cartels turn to crypto to clean up their cash
Diego Oré – Reuters
In April 2019, Mexican police arrested suspected human trafficker Ignacio Santoyo in a plush area of the Caribbean resort of Playa del Carmen after linking him to a prostitution racket extending across Latin America.
Yet it was not the 2,000 women Santoyo is alleged to have blackmailed and sexually exploited that ultimately led to his capture, but the bitcoin he is suspected of using to help launder the proceeds of his operations, officials said.

Facebook hopes to launch its crypto and wallet in 2021, top exec says
Helen Partz – Cointelegraph
Global regulators should grant Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Diem “the benefit of the doubt” to greenlight its launch in 2021, a top executive at Facebook Financial said.
David Marcus, the head of Facebook Financial, or F2, said that both cryptocurrency Diem and related crypto wallet Novi could be launched next year. Speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2020 on Dec. 8, he stated that regulators should finally let Facebook move forward with its cryptocurrency:

CoinGecko challenges CoinMarketCap’s dominance as a crypto market resource
Turner Wright – Cointelegraph
The gap is narrowing between crypto analytics providers CoinMarketCap and CoinGecko when it comes to the number of website visits each receives per month.
According to a Dec. 1 report from news outlet The Ken, CoinGecko had 20.6 million monthly desktop and mobile visitors as of October, compared with CoinMarketCap’s 29 million. These numbers represent a 135% increase in site traffic for the Singapore-based firm since May, when CoinMarketCap drew four times as many visitors as the competitor.

Steve Wozniak’s Blockchain Venture Lists Cryptocurrency Token, Reaches $950M In 13 Minutes
Catherine Ross – Benzinga
Steve Wozniak’s blockchain venture Efforce has listed its cryptocurrency token on the HBTC exchange. What Happened: Efforce listed the token under the symbol WOZX on Dec. 3. It reached “$950M in the first 13 minutes, 10 times the listing price,” according to a company press release.


Soaring eurozone government debt reignites call for cancellation; Pandemic will push sovereign borrowings above size of bloc’s economy for first time
Martin Arnold – FT
Eurozone governments’ borrowing has rocketed to fund their response to the coronavirus pandemic, reigniting longstanding calls for the European Central Bank to ease debt burdens by forgiving sovereign bonds it owns.

Conservative Lawsuits Fuel Distrust of Election Results; Legal challenges have been unsuccessful but could lay groundwork for movement to change voting laws
Jacob Gershman – WSJ
Phill Kline says he has filed so many legal challenges to the presidential-election results that he can’t keep track. “It’s hard for me to keep up, honestly,” said Mr. Kline, a former Republican attorney general of Kansas who runs the Amistad Project, an election-focused offshoot of the Thomas More Society, a conservative legal group in Chicago best-known for antiabortion and religious-rights casework.

Paul Sarbanes, senator from Maryland who led overhaul of corporate accounting rules, dies at 87
Bart Barnes – Washington Post
Paul S. Sarbanes, who as a young Maryland congressman drafted and introduced the first article of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon and as a five-term U.S. senator tightened the regulation of corporate accounting practices after corruption scandals at Enron and other businesses, died Dec. 6 in Baltimore. He was 87.

Covid-Aid Talks Jolted by Election Results, Pandemic’s Surge; Democrats and Republicans converge on $900 billion coronavirus relief bill after long impasse
Kristina Peterson – WSJ
When Rep. Ro Khanna called for Democrats to embrace a $1.8 trillion coronavirus-relief deal with the White House back in mid-October, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t happy.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler Won’t Say If Senators Should Be Barred From Selling Stocks; The GOP senator faced criticism for selling millions in holdings after Congress began receiving private briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nick Visser – Huff Post
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) refused to say if members of Congress should be banned from trading stocks on Sunday amid ongoing criticism after she and other lawmakers traded millions of dollars in financial holdings during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ex-Citi, Deutsche Bank Australia Heads to Face Cartel Trial
Peter Vercoe – Bloomberg
Stephen Roberts, Michael Ormaechea among six bankers charged; Case centers on ANZ Bank’s A$2.5 billion share sale in 2015
The former Australian heads of Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG are among six bankers who will stand trial on cartel-activity charges over a share sale by an Australian bank in 2015. The two Wall Street firms, along with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. will also face trial over the alleged cartel behavior, which centers on a A$2.5 billion ($1.9 billion) stock sale by ANZ Bank, Australia’s competition regulator said in a statement Tuesday.

UK watchdog plans global revenue fines if Big Tech behaves badly; British regulators are stepping up their power to take on Silicon Valley giants
Kate Beioley and Tim Bradshaw – FT
Technology companies that intentionally abuse a new code of conduct will be liable for fines of up to 10 per cent of their global revenue, under competition plans proposed by the UK on Tuesday, raising the prospect of billions of dollars of potential penalties.

Clarifying intra-fund advice; Intra-fund advice has no special status over other personal advice
Superannuation members can receive limited financial advice about their superannuation from their superannuation fund at no extra cost. This advice model is generally referred to as intra-fund advice. However, the term ‘intra-fund advice’ has been subject to some confusion. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what intra-fund advice is and what ASIC expects of intra-fund advice providers.

ASIC extends relief from portfolio holdings disclosure
ASIC has deferred the first reporting date for superannuation funds to disclose their portfolio holdings because the regulations supporting the requirements have not yet been made.

Steven Maimoor Delivers Keynote About Paradoxes of Sustainability Reporting
Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), has delivered today a keynote speech at the webinar “A new standard for a new capitalism: accelerating corporate responsibility through non-financial information” organised by the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Recovery.

SEC Issues Multiple Whistleblower Awards Totaling Nearly $3 Million
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced whistleblower awards to five individuals for information provided in three different enforcement actions for combined payments of nearly $3 million.

Investing and Trading

Asia’s Markets Are Red Hot And the Money Just Keeps Pouring In
Cormac Mullen – Bloomberg
ANZ’s Goh expects inflows to the region to continue in 2021; Inflows to EM ETFs reached the highest since January last weekBe it stocks, bonds or almost any other asset class, foreign cash is pouring into Asia on bets it will be fastest-growing region as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Passive funds’ share of European investment market jumps to 20%; Many fear ‘kickback’ payments linked to actively managed funds will limit growth in region
Steve Johnson – FT
Index-tracking funds now account for a fifth of the European investment market for the first time, following a surge that has led to passive investing doubling its share of the pie over the past decade.

Investors see lower risk of default by US airlines; Credit default swap prices tumble as lawmakers discuss aid package and vaccine nears
Claire Bushey – FT
The price of insuring against a debt default by US airlines has fallen sharply as investors anticipate the industry will get a new round of bailout funding to help see it through to a coronavirus vaccine next year.

Conagra to Sell Peter Pan Peanut Butter Brand to Post Holdings; Conagra has been shifting away from making and selling peanut-butter spreads sold under private brand names
Micah Maidenberg – WSJ
Conagra Brands Inc. CAG -0.34% is selling its Peter Pan peanut butter line to Post Holdings Inc., POST -1.47% the company that helps produce spreads sold under that brand name.

How to Invest in Gold; Many on Wall Street recommend having at least a small portion of a portfolio invested in gold.
Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Gold is an alternative to stocks and bonds that many investors use as a safe haven: an asset that can hold its value during times of market volatility or economic uncertainty. There are several different ways you can invest in gold from futures contracts to exchange-traded funds, and many on Wall Street recommend having at least a small portion of your portfolio invested in the metal through one of these methods.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Cattle muddy Brazil’s path to sustainable farming; High-tech agribusinesses cut down on chemicals while unscrupulous ranchers cut down trees
Bryan Harris – FT
Three years ago, SLC Agrícola took a punt on a technology that integrated infrared cameras into its machinery for spraying herbicide on its vast soya, cotton and corn plantations.

Agroforestry offers green alternative to slash-and-burn; Mixed-use schemes enable depleted soils to become productive again
Sam Cowie – FT
Alberto Oppata grows cocoa, black pepper, açaí, peach palm and pitaya on his 100 hectare farm in Tomé-Açu, in Brazil’s northern Pará state. The great-grandson of Japanese immigrants, who arrived in the region nearly a century ago to found an agricultural colony, today Mr Oppata is president of the Tomé-Açu Mixed Agricultural Co-operative (Camta). The organisation is a pioneer of agroforestry within the Amazon biome, a vast tract of land extending over several Brazilian states — and into neighbouring countries — and consisting largely of rainforest.

Business leaders see ESG as crucial to competitiveness; An FT roundtable reveals a growing emphasis on sustainability alongside profitability
Michael Stott and Bryan Harris – FT
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have been rising up the agenda for companies and investors around the world. They have a particular resonance in Brazil, not just because of its vast natural riches but also because of its huge agribusiness sector.

The battle over ESG investing; Proposed US rule change to mandate lending to fossil fuel companies is ill-advised
The editorial board – FT
Should banks be required to lend to all comers? A proposed rule change by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a banking regulator, to ensure “fair access” to finance would mandate banks to rely solely on financial considerations when lending. Any banks which used environmental, social and governance criteria to refuse loans to, say, oil and gas companies operating in the Arctic, could face penalties. The likes of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JPMorgan have all done so.


Money Managers’ Record-Low Fees Are About to Sink Even Lower
Suzy Waite and Lucca De Paoli – Bloomberg
More than 50% of managers plan to reduce fees, survey shows; Average charges in Europe already at a record low: Morningstar
The pressure on money managers is ramping up as the industry’s record-low fees are set to be squeezed even further in 2021. More than half of asset managers plan to reduce charges next year, according to a survey from Brown Brothers Harriman out Tuesday. Average fees in Europe have already hit a record low, as the rising popularity of cheap passive products increases competition, Morningstar Inc. said in a separate report.

The ‘Warren Buffett of Bonds’ Is Stepping Back From Fund Management
Michael McDonald – Bloomberg
Fuss isn’t retiring and will remain as senior adviser; He will no longer help run flagship $9 billion Bond Fund
Dan Fuss, the legendary fund manager considered the Warren Buffett of bonds, plans to step away from portfolio management at Loomis Sayles after more than four decades at the firm.

Citigroup Names Antonios as First Female Head of MENA Business
Archana Narayanan – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. appointed Elissar Farah Antonios as the first woman to run its Middle East & North Africa operations, among the U.S. bank’s fastest-growing businesses in emerging markets.

Grantham stumbles on $200m profit after Spac swoop on battery maker; Despite big gain, investor thinks blank-cheque listing vehicles are ‘reprehensible’
Robin Wigglesworth and Eric Platt – FT
Famed investor Jeremy Grantham has “by accident” made about $200m from a personal investment in battery-maker QuantumScape after it merged with a listed blank-cheque company — despite deriding the US craze for so-called Spacs as “reprehensible”.


China Doesn’t Need That Much Pork After Record Imports This Year
Bloomberg News
Overseas purchases next year may drop 30%, says Rabobank; Beef imports seen strong on rising consumption in homes
Pork imports by the world’s top consumer may fall as much as 30% next year as the recovery of China’s hog herd from African swine fever exceeds expectations, Pan Chenjun, a senior livestock analyst with Rabobank, said on Tuesday.


Johnson Warns ‘Very Difficult’ Talks May Fail: Brexit Update
Joe Mayes, Nikos Chrysoloras, and Ania Nussbaum – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned a time may be coming to recognize that Brexit negotiations have failed, as he prepares to travel to Brussels for crisis talks on a future trade deal.

Johnson to go to Brussels in search of way out of Brexit stalemate; UK PM set for make-or-break talks with Von der Leyen after ‘no tangible progress’ on key trade differences
George Parker and Peter Foster, Jim Brunsden and Sam Fleming – FT
Boris Johnson is to travel to Brussels for make-or-break talks on a UK-EU trade deal, with negotiations deadlocked and warnings that there was “every chance” they may fail.

Brexit deal uncertainty unnerves investors; Consensus investor view that UK and EU will strike an agreement challenged as deadline approaches
Katie Martin – FT
Investors have got this far without believing the Brexit bluster. The government has said for months, even years, that it is prepared to drop out of the EU single market and customs union without a deal, but fund managers have opted to write this off as posturing for a domestic audience and for Conservative party internal politics.

Brexit negotiators ‘very gloomy’ over trade deal, with talks on ‘knife’s edge.’ Again.
William Booth and Michael Birnbaum – Washington Post
LONDON — According to the players, Brexit talks are “on a knife’s edge.” It’s “down to the wire.” It’s “crunchtime.” Sound familiar? It is. Even Brexit obsessives have lost track of how many “crunchtimes” have come and gone over these many years of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union.


MSNBC’s Jones Named First Black Leader of a Cable News Network
Gerry Smith – Bloomberg
Rashida Jones, head of breaking news and major events at Comcast Corp.’s NBC News and MSNBC, is poised to become president of MSNBC in a historic first for cable news. Jones is taking over for longtime MSNBC head Phil Griffin on Feb. 1, NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde said in a memo to staff Monday. The executive, who shares a name with a famous actress, will become the first Black leader of a major cable news network.

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