Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff
JLN is getting ready to publish another commentary about the Jitesh Thakkar case. We are sending an email to four CFTC Commissioners beforehand as a courtesy, since we are asking them for help in this case. We now have 2374 signatures on the Change.org petition for Justice for Jitesh. If you have not signed, now is your chance to step up.~JJL
The federal court for the Northern District of Illinois yesterday certified a class action against Kraft Foods Group connected to the case the CFTC is pursuing against the company alleging that Kraft manipulated the CBOT wheat futures market in 2011. This is the same case whose settlement was thrown out by a federal appeals court late last year because it included a gag order on the government. The classes that were certified include some long position holders in the December 2011 and March 2012 wheat futures and options contracts and some who wrote puts on those contracts. Qualification for the class also depends on when the contracts were entered into. ~Thom Thompson
If you want to go to Florida early for some extra sunshine, golf and a learning experience before the FIA Boca Raton International Conference, think about going to the Cboe RMC in Bonita Springs, FL from March 2 to 4. Find out more at www.cboermcus.com.~JJL
Impossible Foods and other plant-based meat companies are now introducing imitation ground pork and sausage, drawing some opposition from the meat industry, WSJ reports. Pork is the world’s most widely consumed meat.~SR
Brian Oliver, the head of fixed income, currencies and commodities sales and relationship management for Europe and Asia at Citadel Securities has left the company after four years with the US-based market maker.~SR
Did you know you can listen to the CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast on Spotify and Google Play, as well as on JohnLothianNews.com? Check out our most recent episode with JLN’s Thom Thompson if you haven’t already!~MR
London Stock Exchange denies cyber attack as UK probes trading outage
Anna Menin – City AM
The London Stock Exchange has denied that a cyber attack was responsible for a major trading outage in August, as UK security agencies reportedly investigate the cause of the incident.
***** The question is really how many cyber attacks a day do the exchanges get?~JJL
Perfect Channel Announce The Appointment Of Garry Jones As Chief Executive Officer
Perfect Channel (www.perfectchannel.com), a leading market technology provider, working with major real economy and financial marketplaces, announces the appointment of Garry Jones as Chief Executive Officer, effective 1st January 2020.
*****Congratulations to our longtime friend Garry Jones on his appointment as CEO.~JJL
A Borrower Will Be 114 When Bonds Backed by Her Student Loans Mature; Billions in bonds wouldn’t be paid off in time, so issuers extended maturities by decades to avoid downgrades
Cezary Podkul – WSJ
Julie Chinnock is 50 years old and owes about $250,000 in student loans. She was happy to get a new payment plan that lowered her monthly bill, but the holders of two bonds backed by her loans were probably less cheerful.
******Student loan debt is the biggest threat to economic growth in the U.S.~JJL
NSE Unveils AI-Backed Knowledge Hub To Personalise Financial Learning
Kritti Bhalla – Inc43.com
NSE Knowledge Hub will track users’ learning behaviour; The platform will curate learning according to users; Piyush Goyal believes that the system will be beneficial for railway employees
National Stock Exchange (NSE), on January 6, launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform, NSE Knowledge Hub, to assist banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry and educational institutions in educating and skilling employees and students for the opportunities in the financial sector.
***** I am excited and scared about this all at the same time.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our most read story on Monday was the Open Positions page at the NFA, which always seems to be a popular subject. Next was The Financial Times’ Wall Street banks ramp up research into quantum finance. Third was the Bloomberg opinion piece The Death of Brokerage Fees Was 50 Years in the Making.
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Edward Wedbush, the Founder of Wedbush Securities, Dies at 87
Dan Reichl – Bloomberg
Edward W. Wedbush, founder of the Los Angeles-based brokerage and investment bank Wedbush Securities, has died. He was 87. Wedbush died Jan. 5 at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, the closely held firm said in a statement. No cause of death was given.
‘Never seen anything like it’: The Australia bush fires are generating vast areas of violent weather
Andrew Freedman and Matthew Cappucci – Washington Post
Among the many apocalyptic scenes from the Australian bush fires has been the presence of explosive, towering clouds appearing in the skies above the fire zones of southeastern Australia. These clouds, the most fearsome of which is known as pyrocumulonimbus, or pyroCb for short, are fire-generated thunderstorms.
SOFR Options Debut; First Trades Anticipate Higher Volatility
Elizabeth Stanton – Bloomberg
Options on SOFR futures became available for trading Monday, and at least one transaction was done — a straddle, in which a put and a call with the same strike are bought, anticipating an increase in volatility. The trade involved the 98.625 strike in December 2020 options on three-month SOFR futures, according to Chris Grams, a spokesman for CME Group Inc., which lists the contracts. Five straddles were traded at a price of 37 ticks, according to several traders familiar with the transactions who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Trading Picks Up but Debt Sales Wane for Fed’s Libor Replacement; Discrepancy in how traders and companies are adopting SOFR reflects complexity of the transition process to new benchmark
Daniel Kruger – WSJ
Traders in the futures market are beginning to embrace the Federal Reserve’s proposed replacement for the troubled London interbank offered rate. The same can’t be said for companies issuing new debt.
Goldman Sachs Lifts the Veil to Woo Skeptical Shareholders; An overhaul of the bank’s financial disclosures will peel back the curtain on its lending and proprietary bets and reshape its quarterly reports
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 1.02% will release new details about how and where it makes money, a shot of transparency it hopes will win over skeptical investors and boost a stock price stuck in neutral.
Australia’s Wildfires Are So Hot, They’re Generating Thunder and Lightning; About 130 fires continue to burn across New South Wales state, with 31 more in neighboring Victoria
David Winning and James Glynn – WSJ
Wildfires ravaging much of southeastern Australia burned so hot that they created their own thunderstorms and lightning—similar to conditions during a volcanic eruption or atomic bomb blast.
UBS Wealth Unit Revamp Gathers Pace With 500 Jobs Set to Go
Marion Halftermeyer and Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Lender to split wealth business in Europe, Middle East, Africa; UBS seeks to speed up decision making in focus on regions
UBS Group AG expects to cut as many as 500 private banking jobs as the lender moves forward with a wealth management overhaul aimed at strengthening regional units and speeding up decision making.
BNP Paribas to Launch Singapore e-FX Hub
Colin Lambert – P&L
BNP Paribas has unveiled plans to launch an e-FX pricing and trading hub in Singapore, supporting the bank’s efforts in spot, forwards, swaps, NDFs and options markets as well as in precious and base metals.
BNP Joins JPMorgan in Setting Up Singapore Currency Trading Hub
Ruth Carson – Bloomberg
BNP Paribas SA is planning to join JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. by setting up an electronic currency trading and pricing platform in Singapore. The facility will support electronic trading of 50 currencies in spot, forward, swaps, non-deliverable forwards and options, according to a company statement. It will also allow trading of precious and base metals.
SGX Review May Yield New Curbs on Singapore Retail Bond Growth
Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Singapore’s announcement last week that it may require future retail bond issues to have a minimum level of support from institutional investors would likely curtail future issuance in a market hit by a high-profile default.
Wall Street influencers: who to look out for in 2020
Welcome back to Due Diligence, your must-read dealmaking briefing. To kick off the first newsletter of the year, here are some of Wall Street’s most influential names in 2020.
FCA and Bank of England announce proposals for data reforms across the UK financial sector
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (Bank) today outlined their plans to develop their data and analytics capabilities. Both authorities depend on access to high-quality data to fulfil their respective missions of maintaining monetary and financial stability, market integrity, effective competition and consumer protection.
With brokerage fees at $0, will these other costs drop too?
Grant Easterbrook – MarketWatch
Recently, Charles Schwab SCHW, +0.70% , TD Ameritrade AMTD, +0.65% and E*Trade ETFC, +0.28% eliminated trading commissions on stocks and ETFs. Can you expect to see $0 fees and commissions coming soon for other financial products and services?
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
December rounds off a strong year for Eurex
Clearing volumes at Eurex, the leading European derivatives exchange, continued their upward trend in December, recording triple digit growth in average daily cleared volumes. Significant increases in volumes were also seen at Eurex Repo and EEX. Despite year-on-year volumes of traded derivatives contracts at Eurex being slightly down in December 2019, the year as a whole saw some very positive developments across a number of individual product segments. For instance, options on the STOXX Europe 600 Banks and Total Return Futures on the EURO STOXX 50 both saw traded volumes more than double in 2019 compared to 2018. And many other products saw double-digit growth. 2019 also saw Eurex roll out its ESG derivatives offering and the milestone of half a million traded contracts was reached on 12 December.
Understanding the role of CCPs in systemic safety – a WFE workplan
The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) has announced a 12-month workplan to gain a better understanding about the role and nature of CCPs. Therefore, the WFE will engage with all stakeholders while continuing to promote the principles that first made the CCP model the trusted approach to counterparty credit issues. The WFE program will take a comprehensive, first-principles look at all relevant questions, including the rationale for CCPs in the financial system and society. It will factor in research that has been produced in this area while avoiding a selective or one-sided approach.
TSE Holds the first meeting for the Study Group to review Minority Shareholder Protection and other Framework of Quasi-Controlled Listed Companies
Today, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (“TSE”) held the first meeting for the “Study Group to review Minority Shareholder Protection of Quasi-Controlled Listed Companies.”
Arne Staal joins LSEG as Head of Research and Product Management, ISD
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today announces that Arne Staal has joined the Group as Head of Research and Product Management, Information Services. In this newly created role, Arne will lead the two complementary areas of the Information Services Division, linking up research and thought leadership to product strategy and product development. The combined function will collaborate closely with sales and other client facing and operational functions.
Intercontinental Exchange Reports December, Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Statistics
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, today reported December, fourth quarter and full year 2019 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at http://ir.theice.com/ir-resources/supplemental-information in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.
TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – December 2019
TMX Group Limited today announced December 2019 trading statistics for its marketplaces – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange.
ASX Monthly Activity Report – December 2019
Frankfurt Certificate Exchange: Bitcoin certificate was the most popular product in 2019; Trading volume totaling 12.3 billion euros in structured products / share of foreign trading participants increases to over 15 percent
Deutsche Börse Group
A Bitcoin certificate was the most popular investment product on the Frankfurt certificate exchange in 2019. Mini-futures on the Dow Jones and Barrick Gold were in the lead in leveraged products. Overall, the trading volume in structured products was EUR 12.3 billion, ten percent less than in 2018.
Annual verification of Due Diligence of Eurex Deutschland Exchange Participants
Eurex Deutschland needs to verify that all exchange participants are compliant with the admission criteria of Eurex Deutschland on an annual basis.
Shenzhen Stock Exchange Implements Strict Governance Over The Market And Improves Its Targeted Regulatory Capacity – Summary Of Disciplinary Actions Of SZSE In 2019
In 2019, in the journey of sweeping reforms of the capital market, SZSE stayed true to its founding mission. It implemented fully the guiding principles of the Party’s 19th National Congress, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the Central Economic Work Conference, and adhered to the work requirements of “the four awes (stand in awe of the market, rule of law, professionalism and risks) and one joint force (The capital market’s development needs all the efforts made by all sides)” by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
Dalian Commodity Exchange Deals With 116 Abnormal Transactions In Q4
To deeply implement the requirement of the “strict and comprehensive regulation by law”, earnestly fulfill the front-line regulation responsibility, intensify market regulation efforts, and maintain the good market trading order, Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) has continued to crack down on all kinds of violations.
ASX blasts ambush tactics of foreign short sellers
William McInnes – AFR
The Australian Securities Exchange has accused foreign short sellers of deploying “ambush tactics” to attack listed companies, and suggests the corporate regulator could take action against them.
BNP Paribas plans launch of FX trading engine in Singapore; BNP Paribas follows JP Morgan and Citigroup in establishing an FX pricing and trading engine in Singapore.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
BNP Paribas will establish an electronic FX pricing and trading engine in Singapore, making it the latest bank to work alongside the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in a bid to develop the region as an FX trading hub.
Fintech users just can’t get enough of traditional banks
Jemima Kelly – FT
Challenger banks have grown pretty impressively in Britain over recent months. London-based Revolut, which is in the process of raising funds at a reported valuation of between $7bn and $8bn, now has more than 8m customers across the globe; rival Monzo says it is signing up 55,000 new customers every week; and Berlin-based N26, which has over 3.5m users in total in various countries, signed up over 200,000 customers in the first six months alone of its arrival in Blighty (it has signed up more since).
Winklevoss Capital joins $5M seed round for crypto tax reporting platform TaxBit
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Winklevoss Capital, the venture firm led by crypto exchange Gemini co-founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has joined a $5 million seed funding round for tax reporting platform TaxBit. The round also saw participation from Dragonfly Capital Partners, Collaborative Fund, TTV Capital and Valar Ventures, among others, according to an announcement published Monday. TaxBit, which helps automate cryptocurrency tax calculations and reporting for individuals and businesses, looks to utilize the fresh capital to grow its software platform and customer base, both in the U.S. and internationally in countries like Canada, the U.K., and Australia.
Crypto fund NGC has raised $20M for its targeted $25M fund
Celia Wan – The Block
NGC Ventures has raised around $20 million for its Fund II, according to the firm. The new fund, with a targeted size of $25 million, will deploy a wide array of investment strategies, from buying tokens, equities, and structured products to quant trading, staking, and mining. As NGC founding partner Tony Gu pointed out in a blog post dated August, the venture firm is adopting an “all-weather investment strategy” that focuses on different investment vehicles according to different stages of market cycles (accelerating growth, inflation, slowing growth, deflation).
Digital currencies will not displace the dominant dollar; Proposals of a ‘synthetic hegemonic’ alternative face steep obstacles
Gita Gopinath – FT
The global discussion on the future of money has been irreversibly altered in the six months since Facebook announced plans for a digital currency. While Libra’s own prospects have dimmed, major central banks are considering whether “public” digital currencies are needed to fill a gap in retail payment needs.
World’s Largest Bitcoin Mine Lures New Clients to Texas Hotspot
Eyk Henning and Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg
Firms to lease capacity at Northern Bitcoin’s Texas facility; Data center will have an initial capacity of 300 megawatts
SBI Holdings Inc. and Japanese internet-service provider GMO Internet Inc. are about to start extracting Bitcoin at the world’s largest crypto mine, located in the industry’s new hotspot: Rockdale, Texas.
Bitcoin: Should cryptocurrency owners make a will?
Liz Clements – BBC News
“I’m not thinking of dying at this age, but I think just making that as easy as possible for everyone is crucial.” Jack Davies, 23, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, wants to make sure the cryptocurrency he and his family own is accessible in the event any of them pass away. And with good reason. Research estimates up to 3.8 million Bitcoin, worth up to $30bn (£22.8bn) today, has been lost, with much having gone to the grave with holders who failed to tell anyone how to retrieve it. While some experts argue cryptocurrency is a risky and volatile investment, it continues to grow in popularity. One Cardiff firm believes it has an answer to safeguarding it beyond the grave.
Baidu launches public beta for its ‘Xuperchain’ blockchain project
Yilun Cheng – The Block
Baidu, the Chinese Internent giant, has launched the public beta for its “Xuperchain” open-network blockchain. On Jan. 6, Baidu Xuperchain announced the launch of its public beta during an online press conference. Until March, users can pay as low as 1 Chinese yuan, or approximately $0.14, to deploy a blockchain application, according to the company’s website.
PwC Switzerland hires team behind smart contract auditing startup
Yilun Cheng – The Block
The team behind blockchain startup ChainSecurity has joined PwC Switzerland as the professional services firm looks to offer smart contract auditing. Based in Zurich, ChainSecurity was founded in 2017 as a spin-off of ETH Zurich, a research lab that focuses on blockchain security. The firm offers technical audits for smart contracts and helps clients identify weak points in their projects. According to PwC’s Jan. 5 press release, ChainSecurity has worked with over 75 blockchain companies, exchanges, and banks. Its partnership with PwC will likely allow the firm to scale its operation in Europe.
OKEx COO resigns to start his own blockchain consultancy firm BitWork
Yogita Khatri – The Block
OKEx’s chief operating officer (COO) Andy Cheung has left the Asian cryptocurrency exchange. Cheung has started his own blockchain consultancy firm BitWork in Hong Kong, according to an announcement Tuesday. With his new venture, Cheung aims to help drive the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. “My goal is to drive mass cryptocurrency adoption. But my contribution can be very limited in a cryptocurrency exchange. I decided, and we agreed amicably, that I can better achieve my goals with a new venture,” said Cheung, who served OKEx since its launch in 2017, per the announcement.
Kraken received 50% more regulatory inquiries last year; says compliance costs are increasing
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken received almost 50% more law enforcement inquiries from global regulators in the last year as compared to 2018. Sharing an infographic from its “2019 Transparency Report” on Twitter, Kraken said Monday that it received a total of 710 requests in 2019 compared to 475 in 2018, with the majority (432) coming from U.S. agencies. “Team America still ahead with 61% of total requests, down from 66% last year. Other geos gaining fast. Trend is obvious. Costs are increasing, even in a relatively flat market,” said the exchange.
Virginia lawmaker calls for study into blockchain-backed state elections
Mike McSweeney – The Block
A lawmaker in Virginia has submitted a resolution that calls on the state government to study the use of blockchain in elections. The bill, pre-filed just before the end of the year by State Delegate Hala S. Ayala, calls for the state’s Department of Education to “study the use of blockchain technology to protect voter records and election results.” As it further explains: “In conducting its study, the Department of Elections shall (i) determine the kinds of blockchain technology that could be used to secure voter records and election results, (ii) determine the costs and benefits of using such technology as compared to traditional registration and election security measures, and (iii) make recommendations on whether and how to implement blockchain technology in practices affecting the security of voter records and election results.”
No, bitcoin is not the new gold
Trista Kelley – Marketsinsider
Bitcoin bulls like to claim that bitcoin is a great haven investment, like gold, in times of geopolitical uncertainty. Traders fleeing from risky trades when global turmoil increases tend to flock to seemingly safe, solid bets like gold.
Former CFTC Chairman Spotlights Binance.US As It Joins Powerhouse Crypto Committee
The former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, J. Christopher Giancarlo, is spotlighting on a new announcement from Binance.US.
Bitcoin’s threat to the global financial system is probably at an end
Richard Whittle, Research Fellow in Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University and Gavin Brown, Senior Lecturer, Finance, Manchester Metropolitan University
2020 could well be the year that the cryptocurrency dream dies. This is not to say that cryptocurrencies will die altogether – far from it. But to all the financial romantics who have cheered the rise of bitcoin and other digital currencies over the past decade, there is a reckoning coming. Like it or not, the vision of a world in which these currencies liberate money from the clutches of central banks and other corporate giants is fading rapidly.
Elizabeth Warren Is ‘With Bernie’—Except When It Comes to Capitalism; As campaign heats up, one of the Massachusetts senator’s challenges is distinguishing herself from Sanders
Joshua Jamerson and Eliza Collins – WSJ
The unity between the Democratic primary’s two liberal firebrands, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is being tested as Iowa’s caucuses next month loom over the 2020 race.
How Deepfakes Make Disinformation More Real Than Ever
William Turton and Andrew Martin – Bloomberg
One video shows Barack Obama using an obscenity to refer to U.S. President Donald Trump. Another features a different former president, Richard Nixon, performing a comedy routine. But neither video is real: The first was created by filmmaker Jordan Peele, the second by Jigsaw, a technology incubator within Alphabet, Inc. Both are examples of deepfakes, videos or audio that use artificial intelligence to make someone appear to do or say something they didn’t. The technology is a few years old and getting better. So far, it’s mostly been used to create phony pornography, but many worry that it has the potential to disrupt politics and business. Researchers at New York University have called deepfakes a “menace on the horizon,” with the “potential to erode what remains of public trust in democratic institutions.” With U.S. elections approaching, Facebook is tightening its policy.
Farmer: Trump’s $28 billion bailout isn’t worth the trade war
Adriana Belmonte – Yahoo Finance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved $28 billion in market facilitation payments to American farmers to offset negative effects of the U.S.-China trade war, with about $19 billion paid out through the end of 2019 and the rest coming this year.
White House proposes regulatory principles to govern AI use
David Shepardson – Reuters
The White House on Tuesday proposed regulatory principles to govern the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) aimed at limiting authorities’ “overreach”, and said it wants European officials to likewise avoid aggressive approaches.
Let Bloomberg Be Bloomberg; Far from apologizing, he should defend what his policies have done for African-Americans.
William McGurn – WSJ
Just before Michael Bloomberg threw his billions into the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination, the former New York City mayor did what most political consultants probably told him he needed to do. He appeared at a black church in Brooklyn, where he apologized for the New York City Police Department’s use of a tactic popularly known as stop-and-frisk.
ASIC further suspends the AFS licence of Halifax Investment Services
ASIC has extended the suspension of the Australian financial services (AFS) licence held by Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd (Halifax) until 8 January 2021, effective 18 December 2019.
Accused Insider Trader Says Feds Have the Wrong Person on Trial
Bob Van Voris – Bloomberg
Lavidas lawyer says Centerview banker is source of stock tips; Prosecutors say Lavidas passed along tips he got from his dad
A New York man on trial for passing insider tips to an investor who made millions says prosecutors got the wrong person.
ESMA assesses EU financial market impact of circuit breakers
The European Securities and Markets Regulator (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, today publishes a study on the market impacts of circuit breakers.
ESMA clarifies SFTR reporting
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today its final report, its Guidelines on reporting under the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR), amended SFTR validation rules and a statement on Legal Entity Identifiers (LEI).
Investing and Trading
Louis Dreyfus buyout cost heiress $825m; Margarita Louis-Dreyfus borrowed $1bn from Credit Suisse to finance purchase of stake from family members
Neil Hume – FT
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus paid $825m to buy a 16.6 per cent stake in the agricultural trading house that bears her name from family members.
US investors throwing money at hottest start-ups; Fundraisings for groups such as challenger bank Chime have been heavily oversubscribed
Miles Kruppa – FT
The US challenger bank Chime quadrupled its valuation over the past nine months, and investors still offered it about $1.8bn when it decided to raise $500m in December, according to one person with direct knowledge of the process.
Oil Traders Lose Faith in Geopolitical Rallies; ‘If you bought any geopolitical rally last year, you were wrong,’ one trader says
Sarah Toy – WSJ
Escalating tensions in the Middle East are giving oil prices a boost, but some investors are skeptical the rally has legs after other recent geopolitical flare-ups in the market quickly eased.
European ETF market surpasses $1trn milestone
James Baxter-Derrington -Investmentweek
The European ETF/ETP market has broken a key milestone as its assets surpassed the trillion-dollar mark to end 2019 with $1.027trn, according to preliminary data from ETFGI.
Guide to the Cross-border Application of US, EU and Japan Margin Rules for Non-cleared Derivatives
A large number of counterparties will come into scope of initial margin (IM) requirements for noncleared derivatives in 2020 and 2021. This has increased the focus on the applicability of the rules to cross-border trading relationships.
Woodford and partner shared £13.8m in dividends in final year; At least 300,000 investors still trapped in former star stockpicker’s flagship fund
Owen Walker – FT
Neil Woodford and his business partner shared £13.8m in dividends in his company’s final full financial year, even as investors deserted its funds due to chronic underperformance.
Franklin Templeton heads for sixth year of outflows; Company looks set to be worst among US fund managers as Hasenstab vehicle bleeds assets
Richard Henderson – FT
Franklin Templeton is set to mark 2019 with more outflows than any other US fund manager, according to the latest data from research group Morningstar, led by an exodus of investors from a bond fund run by emerging markets guru Michael Hasenstab.
Brevan Howard Main Hedge Fund Gains 8% in 2019 as Inflows Return
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Master fund received first net inflows in five years in May; Billionaire co-founder Howard overhauled hedge fund business
Brevan Howard Asset Management’s flagship hedge fund returned 8.4% last year, building on its 2018 gain and helping to pause a bleeding of assets.
Lloyds plans £4bn Sonia shift for covered bond extension clause; Consent solicitation aims to flip one-year Libor-linked grace period on fixed instruments to RFR
Helen Bartholomew – Risk.net
Lloyds Bank is aiming to future-proof more than £4 billion ($5.26 billion) of fixed rate covered bonds by re-hitching a Libor-linked extension period to the discredited benchmark’s successor risk-free rate, Sonia.
Goldman Sachs Announces New Business Segments
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) today announced new business segments for the reporting of its financial results, beginning with its 2019 fourth quarter and annual results to be announced Wednesday, January 15. The business segments are: Investment Banking, Global Markets, Asset Management and Consumer & Wealth Management.
Goldman Sachs shakes up business units ahead of quarterly results
Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has overhauled its main business units ahead of its quarterly results next week, the Wall Street bank said on Tuesday, as it seeks to provide investors with greater transparency into its financial performance.
Lynch’s ‘Unusual Level of Control’ at Autonomy Worries Judge
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
Mike Lynch questioned by judge over oversight of Autonomy; HP brought claim “out of buyer’s remorse,” Lynch’s lawyers say
An auditor’s comment on Mike Lynch’s “unusual level of control” at Autonomy Corp. may come back to trouble the software company’s founder as a London judge prepares to decide whether a $5 billion fraud took place at the firm.
Former Barclays Executive Tells Jury That He Isn’t ‘That Clever’
Franz Wild – Bloomberg
Prosecutor starts cross-examination of Roger Jenkins in London; Jenkins and two others charged with fraud over 2008 Qatar deal
Former Barclays Plc executive Roger Jenkins told a London jury at his fraud trial that he and his colleagues wrestled with how an arrangement to pay Qatar fees for a 2008 deal would look to outsiders before adding that he was “not that clever.”
More Zimbabwe Bank Jobs at Risk as Lenders Push Digitization
Godfrey Marawanyika – Bloomberg
After shedding 8% of their workforce last year, Zimbabwean banks may cut more jobs in 2020 as the economy shrivels and the sector increasingly shifts away from cash and toward digital services.
India allows late foreign-exchange deals to lure trade home; London has overtaken Mumbai to become the top center for trading the rupee
Subhadip Sircar – Economic Times
India’s monetary authority allowed banks to offer foreign-currency transactions outside of local market hours, a move aimed at boosting trading volumes at home.
UK stands down on emergency preparations for no-deal Brexit – Sky News
Juby Babu – Reuters
Britain’s emergency preparations for a no-deal Brexit have been halted “with immediate effect”, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal to leave the European Union is expected to be approved by members of parliament, Sky News reported here on Monday. Civil service chiefs working on the contingency plans, known as Operation Yellowhammer, have been asked to stand down, Sky News reported, citing a letter by a senior official at the Department for Exiting the EU.
Johnson Faces Pressure From Business Over Post-Brexit Trade Deal
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
After feeling ignored over Brexit for the last four years, British business is hoping for a change of fortune in 2020. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to start trade talks with the European Union, U.K. companies are gearing up to lobby for a final accord that limits any economic disruption. At stake is access to the U.K.’s single biggest export market.
UK needs “proper, long-lasting” Brexit trade deals- carmaker Rolls-Royce
Britain needs to strike “proper, long-lasting” post-Brexit trade deals with both the European Union and the rest of the world, the boss of carmaker Rolls-Royce told Reuters on Tuesday.
Economists Grapple With Bias and Harassment in Their Ranks; After a year of revelations about racism and sexism, the profession’s annual meeting reflected signs of progress, but also work to be done.
Ben Casselman, Jim Tankersley and Jeanna Smialek – NY Times
When the nation’s economists gathered here over the weekend, the event looked different than in past years. There was a woman holding “office hours” to help victims of sexual harassment and abuse. Job interviews were no longer conducted in hotel rooms, where female candidates had long felt uncomfortable. There was a long list of panel discussions on racism and sexism in the profession.
IRS Personal Income-Tax Audits Drop to Lowest Level in Decades; Just 0.45% of individuals were audited in 2019, following years of budget cuts
Richard Rubin – WSJ
Individual taxpayers are half as likely to get audited as they were in 2010, after tax enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service fell to the lowest level in at least four decades.