EU leaders clash over vaccine distribution in tense summit

Mar 26, 2021

First Read

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Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

The Wall Street Journal’s owner is buying Investor Business Daily for $275 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. “News Corp NWS 3.08% agreed to buy digital-first financial news and research publisher Investor’s Business Daily for $275 million, a deal that will further expand the company’s portfolio of publications catering to investors.”

Don’t forget to fill out the JLN survey. We will donate to three respondents’ favorite charities. We’ll also award a $250 Amazon gift card to one of the participants. Click on the image above to take the survey.

Lynne Marek of PaymentsDive has a new story titled “Illinois moves to create special charter for digital assets trust.” The subheadline says: “Illinois angles to get a jump on other states, and an edge in attracting new business, by creating a new special banking charter for digital asset trusts.” BTW, you can follow her on Twitter at @LynneMarek.

You might be interested in the “Trading and Best Execution Summit – APAC” an online event by Capital Markets Strategies that examines trading and best execution issues impacting institutional investors. The event will be broadcast from Hong Kong on April 20 and April 21. Check the link for local times.

Former Bakkt CEO and former Senator Kelly Loeffler has been tweeting a little lately in support of the election law signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp yesterday. Her Twitter handle is @KLoeffler

From our friends at SGX about their website: “As at 26 Mar 2021 06:25 PM | Please be informed that due to website maintenance, there will be intermittent access to our site from 08:00 am 27 Mar 2021 to 08:00 pm 28 Mar 2021 (Singapore time). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.

We are a bit backed up with video stories to publish, partly because of losing a video editor and also because Patrick Lothian has been on paternity leave. He returns Monday. Look for us to start cranking out some of the recently shot videos and others we have had on the shelf for a while.

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


Late yesterday, CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz dropped a long dissent to ErisX‘s last-minute withdrawal of its proposed football gambling contracts. Yep, it seems that the mere withdrawal of ErisX’s application was not going to get in the way of Quintenz railing against his own commission’s (possible) decision against ErisX because ErisX had forfeited the game. In his statement, the commissioner rails against an order that was never ordered. Along the way, he mocks the “all-pro” CFTC staff who, he confesses, worked diligently enough but did not appreciate the U.S. Constitution the way he does. Implying that the CFTC is just not willing to do the hard work, Quintenz also says it is “understandable” for the CFTC “to not want event contracts trading under its jurisdiction” as the basis for turning down ErisX’s NFL contracts. In his 8,500-word piece, Quintenz ignores the fact that the CFTC has regulated Nadex’s offering of 10,000 different event contracts since 2004. The CFTC recently licensed Kalshi to be another events contract trading venue.~Thom Thompson

A little more than a week ago, during Boca-V, CFTC Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam was telling FIA President Walt Lukken how collegial the commissioners were. Then last Friday, Commissioner Dawn Stump consented to fining Coinbase yet was impelled to skewer the commission’s allocation of its resources in an unusual published statement. Less than a week after that, CFTC Commissioner Quintenz had the agency publish his 8,500-word dissent to a commission action that in fact did not take place. If this is how collegiality works, you have to wonder what it is like when the commissioners do not get along.~Thom Thompson

Some 400 days into the global pandemic, the session at this week’s Eurex Derivatives Forum titled “The Changing Shape of Markets” dealt briefly with the havoc wreaked on European equity options and dividend futures markets when corporate payouts were thrown into doubt last year. John Keogh, chairman of the Susquehanna International Group‘s Executive Committee, said now that dividend policies are returning to normal, dividend contracts might again be used for hedging dividend risk or, as he has heard, even as an inflation hedge by those who see inflation picking up this year. Speaking with Annette Weisbach, CNBC correspondent for Germany, Keogh also said that European options markets might need to learn a lesson from the recent experience in the interest rate markets where ESMA, the EU regulator, says 60% of over-the-counter interest rate transactions are cleared. He said that a similar move for equity options, also forcing them onto exchanges, might be a welcome development. Keogh also expressed concern that retail order flow for options tends to go into structured products like warrants rather than onto exchanges.~Thom Thompson

Will Acworth, senior VP, publications, data and research at FIA, just published his take on last week’s FIA-Boca-V conference. Reviewing the highlights, he says Boca offered six lessons for the derivatives industry. The list is not surprising: 1) Brexit is poised to disrupt the clearing landscape in Europe; 2) exchange leaders are worried about political risk in relations with China; 3) the rise of retail is spilling over into derivatives; 4) ESG is the next “mega trend” for the institutional side of the business; 5) the tide is turning on digital assets; and 6) fintech is entering a golden age. More details on his observations are here.~SC


Game Stopped: Put Odd Lots on the Tape
Thomas J. Jordan, President & CEO, Jordan & Jordan
To be clear, I believe the United States has the best markets for retail investors in the world. There are approximately 6 million non-professionals who receive free real-time market data, paid for by a broker, and can receive an execution (with no commission) and a confirmation within seconds. However, as was clearly communicated during the U.S. House of Representative Committee on Financial Services meetings, there are legitimate issues that should be debated to continually improve our Capital Markets.

*****When I was a cub reporter with Commodity News Service, the author was the managing director of Americas for Knight-Ridder, the firm that owned the wire service.~JJL


Marex Spectron acquires Starsupply; Continues to expand through acquisition and organic growth
Marex Spectron
Marex Spectron, an essential tech-enabled liquidity hub connecting clients to global energy, commodities and financial markets, has today announced the acquisition of Starsupply, a leading Rotterdam-based broker of physical oil products. This is the latest in a series of acquisitions that has seen Marex expand its presence in specialist commodity markets and confirm its market leadership

*****Now I know where the “Spectron” comes from, a galaxy far far away.~JJL


Closing the DEI Gap: a Q&A with Candace Washington of Pivotal Impact (Part I)
3Points Communications
In recognition of Black History Month last month and Women’s History Month this month, and of the reminders they bring about the work we all can do to make sure that our spaces are inclusive, 3Points’ Katie O’Shea spoke with Candace Washington, the founder and CEO of Pivotal Impact. Pivotal Impact is a talent and organizational development consulting firm that helps emerging leaders build the skills to navigate workplaces and helps organizations build and maintain diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures. Like 3Points, Pivotal Impact has a particular focus on helping fintech organizations.

*****3Points and Pivotal Impact were made for each other.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
The most-clicked piece on Thursday was a video done by the Financial Times, Game Stop’s wild ride: how Redditors took on Wall Street.
Next up was the Bloomberg Opinion piece We Must Start Planning For a Permanent Pandemic, which also was among Wednesday’s top three stories. And No. 3 was the news from the Wall Street Journal that Fidelity Plans to Launch Bitcoin ETF.


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Filecoin
Filecoin announced this week that it has integrated with Chainlink, allowing it to connect with other blockchain protocols like Ethereum. The integration will automate data transfers between Filecoin’s storage features, and allow developers to potentially create functions that enable smart contracts to operate between blockchains like Ethereum and Filecoin. For example, because of the integration, a smart contract developer could potentially create a smart contract that accesses Filecoin’s decentralized data storage.


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Lead Stories

EU leaders clash over vaccine distribution in tense summit; Austrian chancellor leads criticism of plans for allocating extra BioNTech/Pfizer doses
Michael Peel, Mehreen Khan and Sam Fleming – FT
EU divisions over vaccine distribution were laid bare at a summit on Thursday as governments failed to agree on how to provide additional jabs to member states in need of emergency supplies. Leaders clashed during a marathon videoconference which ended with no resolution to demands from predominantly poorer eastern member states for part of 10m in additional BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines.

On Sports and SPACs; Alex Rodriguez isn’t like the other athletes getting into blank-check firms.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Professional athletes can sell almost anything, from soda to sneakers to car insurance. But lately they’ve used their star power to sell SPACs, the blank-check acquisition vehicles that have raised more than $90 billion this year. Amid frenzied competition for merger deals, about a fifth of SPACs launched since last year have brought athletes on board in hopes of standing out when pitching to start-ups they hope to take public, Matthew Goldstein and DealBook’s Lauren Hirsch report.

SPACs Are a Pretty Wild Party for Wall Street’s Finest; The SEC is right to look at the involvement of investment banks in the SPAC frenzy. There’s not enough transparency.
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
Few of Wall Street’s parties have ever been quite this exuberant. Since the pandemic struck, investment banks have been earning billions of dollars from a surge in stock-market listings of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). What for decades was a relatively small area of finance — using listed blank-check companies to acquire promising businesses and thereby take them public — has exploded. The amount raised in north America by these vehicles this year has risen to $92 billion, driving the market for initial public offerings to new records. Investment banks have been drinking freely from this punch bowl of easy money.

Athletes Pitch Wall Street’s Hot New Toy, but Not Just to Their Fans; Super Bowl winners, N.B.A. greats and tennis royalty are tied up with blank-check companies. That can help SPACs sell themselves to start-up targets in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Matthew Goldstein and Lauren Hirsch – NY Times
Madison Avenue has long known that athletes can sell almost anything. From soda to sneakers to car insurance, consumers eagerly snap up whatever their favorite sweat-drenched star is pitching.

Why China’s New Tech Exchange Has Regulators Worried
Bloomberg News
While China has some of the world’s biggest technology companies, many are listed in the U.S. and Hong Kong. A trading venue opened in Shanghai two years ago made it easier for them to access funding at home. The Nasdaq-style SSE STAR Market has relatively relaxed rules on listing and trading that drew the attention of big names including Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. But it also attracted a slew of other companies lured by the prospect of easy cash, prompting moves by regulators to tamp down the frenzy amid a broader drive to curb risks in the financial system.

BOE Says Artificial Sterling Libor Could Continue for a Decade
William Shaw and Silla Brush – Bloomberg
‘Synthetic’ Libor powers would be assessed for up to 10 years; Options for dollar tenors ending in 2023 to stay under review
U.K. regulators have raised the prospect that an artificial sterling Libor number could be published for up to a decade after the controversial benchmark is retired at the end of this year.

UK and EU begin diverging on financial regulation after Brexit; Prospects for supervisory ‘equivalence’ fade as each side pursues differing rules
Philip Stafford – FT
The UK and EU have already begun to diverge in the way they oversee financial markets as hopes the two will reach a broad agreement on supervisory “equivalence” in the wake of Brexit fades. Britain has outlined tweaks to areas including the rules surrounding equity, fixed income and commodities trading just months after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31. The subtle rule changes strike at the contrasting philosophies between the EU and UK on how markets should be regulated. Among the potential changes, the UK plans to scrap caps on the amount of trading done in dark pools, private venues where investors can trade shares without signalling their plans to the rest of the market in advance.

How to handle the gamification of investing; Regulators are fretting about the new breed of young day traders
The Editorial Board – FT
Some might be surprised to learn that Britain’s financial regulator has an Instagram account. Insiders joke that TikTok may not be far off. Needs must, when the watchdog revealed this week that four out of 10 young people do not fully appreciate that high-return investments mean they might lose money. They have to be warned somehow, and social media is where novice investors are gleaning tips.

America’s banks have too much cash; Abundant liquidity is meant to help markets. It might soon cause trouble
The Economist
When bond markets seized up in the spring of 2020 the problem was a shortage of cash. A global dash for dollars caused bond yields, which move inversely to prices, to spike. It sent the greenback soaring in currency markets. And it caused trading in Treasuries, usually the world’s most liquid market, almost to dry up. Today the opposite problem looms: a surfeit of money. It stems from the Federal Reserve’s response to last year’s crisis. The central bank calmed markets by buying vast quantities of bonds with newly created cash, and has continued its purchases, at a current pace of at least $120bn a month.

Robinhood Mulls Platform for Buying Into IPOs, Reuters Says
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Online broker filed confidentially for its own IPO this week; Small-dollar, novice investors have been a focus for Robinhood
Robinhood Markets is building technology that would allow customers to buy into initial public offerings, including its own, Reuters reported Thursday.

One Ultra-Rare Metal Is Doing Much Better Than Bitcoin This Year
Eddie Spence – Bloomberg
Iridium has surged 131% so far this year on tight supplies; It’s hard to invest in, with most deals by industrial buyers
There’s one metal that’s leaving all commodities — and even Bitcoin — in the dust this year. The challenge for investors is buying it. Iridium, one of the rarest precious metals and mined as a byproduct of platinum and palladium, has surged 131% since the start of January, far beating Bitcoin’s 85% gain. It has rallied on supply disruptions in the past year and rising demand for use in electronic screens, refiner Heraeus Group said.

Why Robinhood is keeping its IPO filing confidential
John Detrixhe – Quartz
Robinhood, the brokerage that has become a byword for the boom in retail trading, is planning to go public. Like many companies that embark on an initial public offering these days, Robinhood is keeping its registration confidential.

The US needs to rediscover the meaning of investment; Fortunes are made in financial markets without benefiting the real economy
Oren Cass – FT
American capitalism has undergone a transformation into a system that might more properly be called “uncapitalism”. The real economy now serves the financial sector, instead of vice versa. Investment shortfalls and overheated financial markets have contributed to stagnant productivity and wages, declining international competitiveness and rising wealth inequality.

Hong Kong ‘Homecoming Listings’ Are All the Rage, but New York Is Still the Life of the Party; U.S.-listed Chinese companies are flocking to Hong Kong, but it hasn’t translated into a trading boom
Jing Yang and Xie Yu – WSJ
U.S.-listed Chinese companies are flocking to go public in Hong Kong amid heightened political tension. But when it comes to trading, New York remains the place to beat. Starting with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ‘s landmark stock sale in November 2019, 12 Chinese firms whose shares already trade in the U.S. have done so-called secondary listings in Hong Kong, raising a total of $33.6 billion, according to Dealogic data. The most recent to debut was search-engine operator Baidu Inc., while online-video specialist Bilibili Inc. will start trading Monday.

Wall Street legend Joe Moglia’s next act, Bill Sweet on President Biden’s tax proposals
The Reformed Broker
Joe Moglia went from being a college football coach to Merrill Lynch’s top producer in the world to the Chairman of TD Ameritrade. And then, when the opportunity presented itself, he returned to his coaching roots and took over Coastal Carolina’s football program. Now he’s back in business, bringing OppFi public on the NYSE. Joe stops by to talk to Josh about the new stuff he’s working on and the important stuff he’s learned over the course of his legendary career.

Intercontinental Exchange approves 24 members ahead of ICE Futures Abu Dhabi launch
Reuters Staff
The Intercontinental Exchange has approved 24 exchange members, of which 18 will be clearing members for ICE’s new exchange in Abu Dhabi. ICE plans to launch the new exchange, IFAD, alongside 18 related cash settled derivatives on March 29. The key new derivatives are the Murban futures linked to the Emirati crude oil grade.

News Corp to Buy Investor’s Business Daily for $275 Million; Media company says IBD has minimal overlap with subscriber base of its Dow Jones unit and will bolster profitability
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Colin Kellaher – WSJ
News Corp NWS 3.08% agreed to buy digital-first financial news and research publisher Investor’s Business Daily for $275 million, a deal that will further expand the company’s portfolio of publications catering to investors. The New York media company said Thursday that its Dow Jones unit, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s, would operate Investor’s Business Daily. Investor’s Business Daily will continue to exist as a stand-alone brand. The publication, which News Corp is buying from O’Neil Capital Management, has nearly 100,000 digital subscribers across its platforms, News Corp said.


Soaring French Infection Rate Causes Concern in Germany
James Regan, Ania Nussbaum, and Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
Germany expected to declare France a high-incidence country; The move will likely include required tests for travelers
France extended a lockdown to three additional regions amid a surge in coronavirus cases, leading Germany to consider declaring the country a high-incidence virus area and requiring tests for entry. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Thursday that the decision to step up measures, which is expected imminently, wouldn’t lead to border controls between the neighboring countries.

EU Drugs Regulator Set to Approve BioNTech, Astra Vaccine Sites
Alberto Nardelli, Nikos Chrysoloras, and Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
EMA will clear plants producing AstraZeneca, BioNTech vaccines; Manufacturing sites are key to EU efforts to boost delivery
The European Medicines Agency is expected to grant regulatory approval to two vaccination plants in the Netherlands and Germany as soon as Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Dutch Halix plant, which is based in Leiden, is manufacturing the drug substance for the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine and has been awaiting approval to distribute the doses amid a significant shortfall of the shot for the EU.

EU Cautiously Backs Vaccine Curbs That Invite Retaliation
Ian Wishart, Viktoria Dendrinou, and Chiara Albanese – Bloomberg
Macron says bloc isn’t being selfish in stopping exports; EU sees curbs as a deterrent to companies like AstraZeneca
European Union leaders gave their guarded support to a plan to restrict vaccine exports after it emerged the bloc sent more shots to the rest of the world than it has given to its own people.

Vaccine Nationalism Keep World’s Poorest Waiting for Shots
Chris Kay, Jason Gale, and Michelle Fay Cortez – Bloomberg
Rising infections, domestic criticism seen leading to limits; Developing countries receiving only fraction of allocation
Growing vaccine nationalism in major producers like India are hitting the world’s most disadvantaged nations the hardest, leaving them waiting for millions of doses promised through a World Health Organization-backed inoculation initiative. The plans to keep more vaccine supply for domestic use are exacerbating what the WHO’s head this week called a “grotesque” supply chasm between rich and poor nations, dealing another blow to the prospect of global solidarity in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vaccine Trial for Children Under Age 12 Has Begun, Pfizer Says
Robert Langreth – Bloomberg
Pfizer Inc. said that dosing has begun in a pediatric study of its Covid-19 vaccine, a trial that will ultimately involve more than 4,500 children under age 12.

China’s CanSino Says European Vaccine Order Talks Are Underway
Bloomberg News
CanSino deal would mark first inroad into advanced economies; Chinese makers face concerns over lack of full data disclosure
CanSino Biologics Inc. said it’s in talks with a number of European countries about orders for its Covid-19 vaccine, which if signed would mark the first recognition of Chinese drugmakers’ inoculations in the developed world amid concerns over their relative lack of data disclosure.

Global Tourism Looks Shaky With Herd Immunity a Distant Dream; Vaccine passports may help spur more travel, but vaccination rates suggest many countries have a long road ahead.
Minh-Any Nguyen – Bloomberg
Global tourism can’t revive until more nations tame Covid-19. But at present vaccination rates, it will take years before many tourism-dependent countries vaccinate 75% of their population—the level at which viral transmission eases.

India forced to rethink vaccine export plans as infections surge; Government is ‘calibrating’ supply schedules to cope with international and domestic needs
Stephanie Findlay – FT
India says it is “calibrating” its vaccine exports in an attempt to balance surging domestic demand with international orders, raising doubts over the Serum Institute’s capacity to meet its commitments.

Disputes leave AstraZeneca boss with chronic vaccine headache; Questions mount over whether Soriot’s dash and drive, which enthral investors, have resulted in missteps
Last summer, eight years into his term as chief executive of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot was riding high. The share price was up 200 per cent on his watch. The company’s pipeline had been transformed since the Parisian saw off a takeover bid from Pfizer in 2014. And the UK-Swedish pharma group was working with Oxford university on the world’s leading vaccine candidate for Covid-19.

Biden doubles vaccine goal to 200m in first 100 days; US president also defends record on immigration at first White House news conference
James Politi – FT
Joe Biden has doubled his goal for coronavirus vaccinations to 200m in his first 100 days in office, as he used to his first presidential press conference to claim progress against the pandemic and set the stage for battles with Republicans on immigration, the economy and voting rights.

Health scares test confidence of Europeans in AstraZeneca vaccine; Early signs that many still want jab despite temporary ban over blood clot fears
Leila Abboud, Guy Chazan and Silvia Sciorilli Borelli – FT
Boris Monastier, a Paris pharmacist, has 50 people waiting to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine despite the series of missteps that have dogged the jab’s rollout. “We’ve not had a single cancellation,” he said. With access to only two vials a week, demand for the vaccine far exceeded his supply.

Sweden clears AstraZeneca vaccine for use in over-65s; Jab remains on hold for younger people while Denmark maintains suspension for all age groups
Richard Milne – FT
Sweden is set to resume use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, although only for people aged 65 and over, but neighbouring Denmark has extended its suspension of the jab for three more weeks, authorities in both countries said on Thursday.

U.S. Covid Cases Are Rising Again, Reversing Months of Progress
Nic Querolo and Emma Court – Bloomberg
Covid cases in the U.S. are rising again, reversing course after months of decline and threatening another setback in the return to normality. The seven-day average of new cases jumped to 57,695 Wednesday, 9.5% above the prior week, marking the biggest increase since Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Organisational changes in BME Clearing
José Manuel Ortiz-Repiso, new CEO, and Xavier Aguilá, General Manager; Ignacio Solloa, until now General Manager of BME’s CCP, retires after over 30 years in the company
José Manuel Ortiz-Repiso, head of the Clearing unit, has been appointed CEO of BME Clearing, while Xavier Aguilá will become General Manager. These appointments follow the retirement of Ignacio Solloa, until now General Manager.

MEMX Completes Rollout of Groundbreaking Exchange Architecture;Partnering with Penguin Computing and Intel, Data-driven Model uses Open Standards to Deliver Location Agnostic, Scalable, Environmentally Friendly Exchange
Members Exchange
Members Exchange (MEMX), a market operator founded by a diverse group of participants to benefit all investors, today announced the successful deployment of its unique data-centric exchange architecture. MEMX completed the final piece of its US equities technology implementation with the integration of its user portal and trading system on March 22, 2021.

ICE announces Exchange Members and Clearing Members approved to trade and clear ICE Futures Abu Dhabi markets
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, today announced the Exchange Members and Clearing Members approved to directly trade and clear ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (“IFAD”) markets, ICE’s new exchange in Abu Dhabi.

London Stock Exchange Starts $2.5 Billion European Bond Sale
Laura Benitez – Bloomberg
Company selling four, seven and 12-year euro tranches; Deal also includes offering of nine-year sterling bonds
The London Stock Exchange Group kicked off the European leg of an international offering of bonds to refinance the debt that paid for its $27 billion acquisition of Refinitiv Holdings earlier in the year. The exchange started taking orders on Friday for a four-part offering of euro and sterling bonds, according to a person familiar with the matter. The respective tranche sizes are set, and will not grow, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak about it.

The LSE-Refinitiv Honeymoon Is Over; Reality sets in.
Hide Not Slide
2021 has not been a pleasant year for the London Stock Exchange. LSE’s stock plummeted after reporting FY 2020 earnings on March 5, with shares now severely underperforming market indices and -20% YTD. The culprit? Refinitiv. A 16 month honeymoon between the two firms has already faded so soon after their tie-up became official. Investors are coming to terms with the fact that an exchange marriage of this size is tough to pull off and will require more investment than many are willing to wait for.

JP Morgan executes first electronic total return swap on Tradeweb SEF; The trade with JP Morgan was the first fully electronic standardised total return swap based on IHS Markit’s iBoxx UDS liquid high grade index at Tradeweb.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Investment bank JP Morgan has acted as a counterparty to the first electronic standardised total return swap on trading platform provider Tradeweb. The swap transaction was based on IHS Markit’s iBoxx US liquid high grade index and executed on Tradeweb’s swap execution facility (SEF).

EFIC1 lists on Euronext Amsterdam; First SPAC Tailored For European Fintechs Raises EUR415 Million
Euronext today congratulates European FinTech IPO Company 1 (EFIC1), a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) and the first SPAC tailored for European FinTechs, on its listing on the Amsterdam Exchange (ticker symbol: EFIC1 and EFICW).

Equity Index Derivatives: Additional information on the compression service for listed derivatives
The Exchange Council of Eurex Deutschland took the decision to amend the Conditions for Trading at Eurex Deutschland (Trading Conditions) to enable third party compression service providers to offer compression services for listed derivatives at Eurex Deutschland, as outlined in the attachment, with effect as of 29 March 2021.

Eurex to launch further Total Return Futures on STOXX indices; Launch of EURO STOXX Banks Index TRFs and EURO STOXX Select Dividend 30 TRFs
Deutsche Börse Group
Building on the success of the EURO STOXX® 50 Total Return Futures and the strong demand from market participants, Eurex will expand the segment to other key STOXX indices. As of 29 March, the exchange will launch EURO STOXX® Banks Index TRFs and EURO STOXX® Select Dividend 30 Index TRFs.

Exchange Council appoints Frank Hoba to the management of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
The Exchange Council of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB) appointed Frank Hoba as a member of the management team at its meeting today. He succeeds Dr. Martin Reck, who will leave Deutsche Börse in the course of 2021 at his own request and on the best of terms.

Friedrich Vorwerk Group SE now in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Deutsche Börse Group
Friedrich Vorwerk Group SE (ISIN: DE000A255F11 ) has been listed in the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since today . At the start of trading, the shares were quoted at EUR 46.88. The issue price was 45.00 euros. The IPO was accompanied by Berenberg, Jefferies and Hauck & Aufhäuser. Berenberg also acts as a designated sponsor in Xetra trading. Baader Bank is the specialist at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures Contract – Effective April 26, 2021
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures Contract

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy, Equity, FX and Metal Margins – Effective March 26, 2021
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.

Withdrawal of Application for Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium Regularity
CME Group
Notice herby is given that The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX”) and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) (collectively, the “Exchanges”) received a request from Brink’s Incorporated to voluntarily withdraw their application for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium regularity at their Ozone Park, NY location.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures Contract – Effective April 26, 2021
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures Contract

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures Contract
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures Contract.

Initial Listing of the Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures Contract
CME Group
Effective Sunday, April 25, 2021, for trade date Monday, April 26, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) will list the Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures contract (the “Contract”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort, as more specifically described below.

Increase of Spot Month Position Limits and Accountability Levels of Six (6) European Natural Gas Futures and Option Contracts
CME Group
Effective with the May 2021 contract month and beyond, the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) will increase the spot month position limits for four (4) physically delivered European Natural Gas futures and option contracts from 6,000 to 50,000 futures contract equivalents. Additionally, the Exchange will increase the spot month position limits for two (2) financially settled European Natural Gas futures contracts from 1,450 to 12,000 futures contract equivalents as noted below and in Exhibit A of NYMEX Submission No. 21-120. Please note that the spot month limits in the April 2021 contract month are unchanged.

Reopening of Index Consultation on Revisions to Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Index
In view of the upcoming market restructure, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) previously conducted an Index Consultation in relation to planned revisions of TOPIX and other indices. In response to this, TSE has revised its proposals about the treatment of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Index and has therefore reopened the Index Consultation on this issue.

Use of RMB-denominated Chinese Government Bonds as Margin for Derivatives Transactions
A large number of financial institutions in Asia-Pacific are expected to be brought into scope of phases five and six of the initial margin (IM) requirements for non-cleared derivatives in September 2021 and September 2022. As part of their preparations, market participants will need to know which high-quality liquid assets they can post as IM and understand any regulatory or legal impediments that may affect their choice.

Moscow Exchange To Add New International Stocks For Trading
From 1 April 2021, an additional 18 international stocks will be admitted to trading on MOEX. This will bring the number of shares and depository receipts of international issuers available for trading on Moscow Exchange to 105.


Ex-Commerzbank CEO’s Fintech SPAC Falls in Amsterdam Debut
Swetha Gopinath and Myriam Balezou – Bloomberg
EFIC1 raised 415 million euros in the initial public offering; The SPAC is biggest such IPO in Europe amid blank-check boom
A special-purpose acquisition company backed by Martin Blessing, a former chief executive officer of Commerzbank AG, fell as much as 1.5% after raising 415 million euros ($489 million) in the biggest such listing in Europe since a global blank-check boom took off last year.

Citi promotes markets FinTech head to digitise institutional client services business; Sandeep Arora becomes chief investment officer and head of digital for the institutional clients group at Citi after over 30 years with the bank, according to an internal memo.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Citi has appointed its global head of FinTech and innovation for the markets and securities services division to digitise services for its entire institutional client base. According to an internal memo seen by The TRADE, Sandeep Arora has been promoted to chief investment officer and head of digital for Citi’s Institutional Client Group (ICG) to drive the acceleration of the ICG’s digital offering.

Outsourcing data management a focus for most buy-side firms, survey finds; A new study from BNY Mellon of 200 asset managers found an overwhelming 97% plan to outsource their data management infrastructure.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
Asset managers are gearing up to outsource their data management to service providers within the next three years, according to a recent survey from BNY Mellon. Of the 200 asset management executives interviewed by the investment bank, an overwhelming 97% said that outsourcing their data management infrastructure is a key area of focus.

SIP Accounting 101; Many consider the U.S. SIP to be the example for market data around the world. However, closer to home, it is at the center of a lot of the “data debate.” What’s fair and equitable? It is a difficult question to answer.
Phil Mackintosh – Nasdaq
Many consider the U.S. SIP to be the example for market data around the world. However, closer to home, it is at the center of a lot of the “data debate.”


Germany Creates Bridge Between Blockchain and Euro
German authorities have developed technology allowing investors to buy and sell securities on the blockchain in return for central bank money, bridging a gap between two worlds that once seemed irreconcilable.

Baby boomers next to jump into crypto, Galaxy Digital’s Novogratz predicts
Anna Irrera and Tom Wilson – Reuters
Wealthy baby boomers will be the next generation to jump into cryptocurrencies as they become more mainstream, potentially bringing billions of dollars to the rallying sector, said Mike Novogratz, founder of crypto firm Galaxy Digital.

Biggest Bitcoin Fund’s Woes Worsen as Discount Hits Record
Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
GBTC sinks to record 14% discount to its underlying crypto; Trust acts like a ‘leveraged play’ on Bitcoin prices: Seyffart
Bitcoin’s worst selloff since December is dealing a particularly harsh blow to the biggest fund tracking the cryptocurrency. The $29.4 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker GBTC) has dropped about 20% so far this week, nearly double the decline in the world’s largest cryptocurrency. GBTC closed over 14% below the value of its underlying holdings on Wednesday as a result — a record discount, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The dislocation has deepened despite Grayscale Investment LLC parent Digital Currency Group Inc.’s plans to purchase up to $250 million worth of GBTC shares.

China Digital Yuan Will Co-Exist With Alipay, WeChat, PBOC Says
Bloomberg News
Central bank’s e-yuan will be a back-up to tech platforms: Mu; PBOC could be first central bank with digital currency
China’s central bank said its planned digital currency will co-exist with technology platforms like Ant Group Co.’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat Pay, which currently dominate the online payments market. One of the key reasons for the People’s Bank of China developing its own electronic yuan was to provide a back-up to Alipay and WeChat Pay, which together make up 98% of the mobile payments market, said Mu Changchun, director of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute. He spoke Thursday during a panel discussion organized by the Bank for International Settlements.

Junior Isas or NFTs? Dangers lurking for the digital generation; £9bn in child trust funds are maturing so let’s make it easier for their newly adult owners to carry on saving
Merryn Somerset Webb – FT
Remember child trust funds (CTFs), Gordon Brown’s attempt to make sure that all young people had something to their name when they turned 18? Well, their time has come. They started maturing in September. That’s nice for any of the young people who were eligible. Even if their parents did nothing about it, there will still be a useful pile of cash knocking around in a default fund for them to find.

Central bankers’ crypto experiments should put investors on alert; Banks’ digital currencies could displace the rationale for private sector projects
Gillian Tett – FT
This year, bitcoin has mesmerised many investors. Never mind the fact that it has doubled in price, after tripling in 2020; nor that figures such as Elon Musk have backed it — this week he tweeted that Tesla cars will be sold in bitcoin. What is even more remarkable is that some establishment players such as Citigroup now think bitcoin “may be optimally positioned to become the preferred global currency for trade” in the future, a role currently occupied by the dollar.

NFTs: art, advertising, or both? When cultural norms are in limbo, it pays to invest in the propagation and preservation of iconic internet moments
Izabella Kaminska – FT
The NFT market is being cast as a market for art. But what it might really represent is a new type of advertising or rankings system for cultural influence and propagation. Also worth asking is whether the truly disruptive element of cultural tokenisation might be in liberating the art world from the excessive influence of the small network of powerful dealers, auction houses and middlemen who currently dictate what does and does not constitute art and in so doing withhold it from more popular aesthetic appreciation? That, at least, was the democratising promise of Fintech and crypto vis-a-vis banking. (Whether it succeeded is still up for debate.)

ETH likely a ‘significantly safer’ investment than NFTs, says L’Atelier BNP Paribas CEO
Yogita Khatri – The Block
L’Atelier BNP Paribas CEO John Egan has said that ether (ETH) is likely a “significantly safer” investment than non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at this point. That is because Ethereum provides an infrastructure to NFTs, according to Egan. “Ethereum is clearly the big winner when it comes to NFTs,” Egan told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday. “So starting with Ethereum and adjacent infrastructure to Ethereum is probably a significantly safer investment at this point.”

China Proposes Global Rules for Monitoring CBDCs
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
The director of the Digital Currency Research Institute at the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is proposing a set of global rules for monitoring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Speaking at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) seminar on Thursday, Mu Changchun laid out the proposals, explaining that CBDC fund flows should be “synchronized” to help regulators “monitor the transactions for compliance,” according to a Reuters report. “Interoperability should be enabled between CBDC systems of different jurisdictions,” he said.

Crypto Must Apply Safety Lessons of the Existing Financial System
Rick McDonell – Coindesk
There is a revealing, albeit slightly morbid, maxim that “safety standards are written in blood.” Humans and human-created systems generally tend to be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to developing protective rules. Nevertheless, today’s construction workers and consumers are more shielded from danger than those of the past because we’ve learned from prior mistakes.
Rick McDonell was the executive secretary of the Financial Action Task Force from 2007 until 2016. Prior to that, he was chief of the United Nations Global Program against Money Laundering at the UNODC. He is now executive director of ACAMS, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.

Bitcoin Gains Ahead of $6B Options Expiry After Market Finds $50K Floor
Damanick Dantes – Coindesk
Bitcoin rose for the first time in three days as traders looked past Friday’s record $6 billion expiration of option contracts to a stronger market next week as April begins. “Returns after prior bitcoin options expiration dates have tended to be positive,” David Grider, strategist at Fundstrat, told clients in an email. “The market is calm based on bitcoin VIX falling, with room to fall further.” BTC was changing hands at roughly $52,700 as of 12:03 coordinated universal time (8:04 a.m. ET), up 2.9% on the day.

Major Chinese banks are now allowing people to apply for digital yuan wallets
Wolfie Zhao – The Block
Major Chinese state-owned banks have opened the doors to applications from members of the public seeking access to digital yuan wallets in Shanghai and Beijing. The development indicates that the multi-stage digital yuan tests occurring in different parts of China are in the process of widening in scope. Specifically, six state-owned commercial banks in Shanghai are now allowing public users to apply for wallet activations, according to a Tuesday report from the Chinese state media outlet Securities Times.

New Zealand Fund Manager Says It’s Put 5% of Retirement Plan’s Assets Into Bitcoin
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
New Zealand Funds Management Ltd. (NZ Funds)’s KiwiSaver growth fund has invested 5% of its money in bitcoin, according to a report by local news outlet Stuff. The KiwiSaver Growth Strategy Fund, which had NZ$350 million (US$244 million) in assets at the end of December, first began investing in cryptocurrency in October 2020, according to a company product disclosure document.

This CEO Says The Future of Finance is Decentralized With Bitcoin as the Greatest Opportunity of All
Insider Monkey Interviews
Yahoo Finance
The DeFi and CeFi ecosystems can be truly symbiotic. Where one fails the other shines. DeFi brings security, scalability and often increased yields for investors they can’t get inside the traditional financial ecosystem. Centralized finance brings liquidity. Many CeFi investors are opening their eyes to the advantages of the blockchain and smart contracts and how they can enhance their own portfolio performance using this technology. As the CEO of RSK, a secure smart contract platform, Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar views the future of finance as a decentralized one, with Bitcoin as the greatest DeFi opportunity of all.


Britain and Europe Discover the Limits of Vaccine Warfare; Winning the immunization race isn’t much use if your neighbors are suffering. Let’s hope the post-Brexit vaccine truce can hold.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
After five years of bad-tempered Brexit trade barbs, border closures and the occasional lawsuit, Britain and the European Union have admitted through clenched teeth that they need each other — when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines, at least. This week’s joint EU-U.K. statement on vaccine cooperation provides an opening to work better together on the pandemic, something that would chime with Joe Biden’s U.S. administration also taking a more multilateral turn. It isn’t, however, a kumbaya moment between two frenemies over the post-Brexit relationship, which will remain difficult in many areas.

Wall Street Trading Tax Gets Conservative Group’s Unlikely Tout
Daniel Avis – Bloomberg
American Compass think tank also urges breaking up banks; Former Romney aide Cass has vision for post-Trump conservatism
A conservative think tank is throwing its support behind proposals long associated with progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders: taxing stock trades and breaking up Wall Street investment banks.

Reddit crew aims to form super PAC in support of retail traders
Yahoo Finance
A growing band of retail traders is coming together to make it clear that they hate Wall Street almost as much as they “like the stock,” perhaps highlighting the growing potency of average investors in a new era of investing.

New York Lawmakers Pass Libor Legislation to Ensure Smooth Shift
Bloomberg Tax
Measure would aid about $2 trillion of debt tied to benchmark; Bill will now head to Governor Andrew Cuomo for consideration
The New York state legislature Wednesday approved a measure that would help prevent hundreds of billions of dollars of financial contracts from descending into chaos when the London interbank offered rate starts phasing out at the end of the year.

Canadian supreme court upholds Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax; Ruling seen as vindication of Liberal party’s focus on climate despite opposition from some provinces
Derek Brower – FT
Canada’s supreme court has ruled that the federal government can impose a carbon price across the country against the wishes of some provinces, finding that “global warming causes harm beyond provincial boundaries and that it is a matter of national concern”. The ruling will be seen as vindication for Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberal party, which made climate a centrepiece of its re-election bid in 2019 and in December committed the country — the biggest exporter of oil to the US — to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine; Extremist organizations are now bashing the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.
Neil MacFarquhar – WSJ
Adherents of far-right groups who cluster online have turned repeatedly to one particular website in recent weeks — the federal database showing deaths and adverse reactions nationwide among people who have received Covid-19 vaccinations. Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”

It’s time to put a price on carbon, America’s top oil and gas lobbying group says
Matthew Daly, Matthew Brown – AP
oil and gas industry’s top lobbying group on Thursday endorsed a federal price on carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, a reversal of longstanding policy that comes as the Biden administration has pledged dramatic steps to address climate change. The American Petroleum Institute, whose members include ExxonMobil, Chevron and other oil giants, announced the shift ahead of a virtual forum Thursday by the Interior Department as it launches a months-long review of the government’s oil and gas sales.

Fear of Inflation Finds a Foothold in the Bond Market; There is little evidence for a big jump in prices, but some economists and bond investors fear President Biden’s policies could lead to inflation.
Nelson D. Schwartz – NY Times
The so-called bond vigilantes may be back, 30 years after they led a sell-off in Treasury securities over the prospect of higher government spending by a new Democratic administration.


CFTC Charges Former Fuel Oil Trader with Manipulating Fuel Oil Benchmark; Trader Admits to Manipulative and Illegal Conduct, Enters into a Cooperation Agreement
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Emilio José Heredia Collado of Lafayette, California for engaging in attempted manipulation and manipulation of a U.S. price-assessment benchmark relating to physical fuel oil products. Heredia engaged in this unlawful conduct for more than four years while employed as a fuel oil trader at a commodity trading firm and then at the U.S. affiliate of a multinational commodity trading company that acquired it.

SEC questions banks over their work with Spacs; US regulator sends requests for information after boom in blank-cheque fundraising
Ortenca Aliaj and Patrick Temple-West – FT
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has sent requests for information to groups involved in the listing of blank-cheque companies, intensifying regulatory scrutiny of a booming area of financial activity. In recent days, the agency had sent letters to banks concerning their work with special purpose acquisition companies, or Spacs, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

UK regulator ‘didn’t understand’ effect of loophole on investors being exploited in LCF scandal;
Senior executive admits to failings over policing ‘toxic interface’ between regulated and unregulated activities
Kate Beioley – FT
The UK financial regulator “didn’t understand” in 2019 the “toxic interface” between the regulated and unregulated activities of businesses that it oversaw, at the time of a £236m retail-investment scandal, a senior executive told MPs on Thursday.

European regulator fires warning shot over fund liquidity; Esma calls on asset managers to head off potential problems when clients head to the exits
Chris Flood – FT
Europe’s top financial regulator has called on asset managers to ensure mutual fund customers can still pull out their money in times of stress, after a series of restrictions in recent years angered investors and sparked concern over illiquid holdings in supposedly easily tradable products.

U.K. Financial Regulator Pushes for More Whistleblowing; The Financial Conduct Authority this week launched a campaign that clarifies the whistleblowing process at the agency
Mengqi Sun – WSJ
The U.K.’s financial regulator is pushing for individuals to come forward if they have information on possible wrongdoing in a new campaign that clarifies the whistleblowing process at the agency.

SEC opens inquiry into Wall Street’s blank check IPO frenzy
The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an inquiry into Wall Street’s blank check acquisition frenzy and is seeking information on how underwriters are managing the risks involved, said four people with direct knowledge of the matter. The SEC in recent days sent letters to Wall Street banks seeking information on their special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, dealings, the four people said.

ESMA consults on the framework for EU Money Market Funds
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, today launches a consultation on potential reforms of the EU Money Market Funds Regulation (MMFR). ESMA aims to review the stress experienced by MMFs during the March 2020 crisis and assess the roles played by markets, investors and regulation, and proposes potential reforms.

FINRA Alerts Firms to Recent Increase in ACH “Instant Funds” Abuse
FINRA warns member firms that, over the past two months, we have observed a sharp increase in new customers opening online brokerage accounts and engaging in Automated Clearing House (ACH) “instant funds” abuse to effect securities trading. (FINRA has previously warned firms about trends in losses from schemes involving electronic funds transfers, such as those involving outbound wire transfers and ATM withdrawals.1)

Statement of Commissioner Brian D. Quintenz on ErisX RSBIX NFL Contracts and Certain Event Contracts; Any Given Sunday in the Futures Market
In December 2020, ErisX filed a self-certification that their RSBIX NFL futures contracts involving the moneyline, point spread, and total points on NFL football games meet the requirements of the CEA for a contract listed by a registered Designated Contract Market (DCM). Prior to 2018, sports gaming was limited by a federal law which only allowed it to legally occur in Nevada. After Murphy v. NCAA[1] struck down that law, multiple states have legalized sports gambling and thereby allowed legitimate business activity in that area. Since the derivative markets’ historical use is the hedging of commodity price risk associated with economic activity, contracts relating to the outcome of sporting events could now have a legitimate economic and hedging purpose for businesses in these states. Such was the intent of ErisX’s contracts.

CFTC Charges Former Fuel Oil Trader with Manipulating Fuel Oil Benchmark;Trader Admits to Manipulative and Illegal Conduct, Enters into a Cooperation Agreement
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Emilio José Heredia Collado of Lafayette, California for engaging in attempted manipulation and manipulation of a U.S. price-assessment benchmark relating to physical fuel oil products. Heredia engaged in this unlawful conduct for more than four years while employed as a fuel oil trader at a commodity trading firm and then at the U.S. affiliate of a multinational commodity trading company that acquired it.

FCA publishes feedback to Call for Input on open finance
We have published a feedback statement to our Call for Input on open finance. Open finance refers to the extension of open banking-like data sharing to a wider range of financial products, such as savings, investments, pensions and insurance.

Joint Bank of England and FCA review of open-ended investment funds
The Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority have published the findings of their joint survey of UK-authorised open-ended funds.

Federal Reserve announces temporary and additional restrictions on bank holding company dividends and share repurchases currently in place will end for most firms after June 30, based on results from upcoming stress test
U.S. Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced that the temporary and additional restrictions on bank holding company dividends and share repurchases currently in place will end for most firms after June 30, after completion of the current round of stress tests. Firms with capital levels above those required by the stress test will no longer be subject to the additional restrictions as of that date. Firms with capital levels below those required by the stress test will remain subject to the restrictions.

The Legal and Economic Implications from Recent UK Spoofing Cases
The National Law Review
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”)[1] has in recent years intensified its efforts in securities and commodities markets to detect and pursue the type of disruptive trading behaviour called “spoofing.” This emphasis coincides with a similarly increasing focus by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) on spoofing cases in the US. Spoofing may take different forms, but usually involves the placing of non-bona fide orders, often of large quantity, on one side of the market while trying to execute a bona fide order on the other side of the market. Once the bona fide order has been executed, the trader cancels the non-bona fide orders quickly. To date, more than 40 enforcement actions targeting spoofing have been filed against individuals and companies by US regulators and more than 5 have been filed by UK regulators. In February 2019, Julia Hoggett, the FCA’s Director of Market Oversight, delivered a speech about the FCA’s commitment to tackling market abuse, calling compliance with such rules “critical to the integrity and health of our financial markets.”[2]

Investing and Trading

What a Long Suez Canal Closure Means for the Oil Price; Faltering demand isn’t the only reason crude markets have been unmoved by the Suez blockage. The waterway just isn’t what it once was for oil tankers.
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
We’re probably looking now at the longest ever accidental closure of the Suez Canal, the vital trade link from the Middle East and Asia to Europe and North America, but oil markets aren’t blinking. The container ship Ever Given — 440 meters long, 59 meters wide and riding at a depth of 15.7 meters in the water — is stuck fast, with its bow wedged into the eastern bank of the canal and its stern in the western bank. Photos showing the vessel’s bow right up to the edge of the canal suggest that almost 50 meters of the ship are aground. Getting it free isn’t simple and could take several more days.

Here’s Why So Many People Intend to Die With Money in the Bank; Close to two-thirds say “saving as much as I can makes me feel happy and fulfilled.”
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
There’s a school of thought that you should spend down all your assets in retirement and “bounce the check to the undertaker,” as Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, our publisher, likes to say. But not many Americans subscribe to that school of thought. A fascinating new survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute explores how people feel about spending in retirement. It doesn’t fit with finance theory. “There’s just something we’re not getting quite right in understanding how people navigate retirement,” Lori Lucas, the president and chief executive officer of EBRI, said March 24 in announcing the results.

The return of the inflation spectre; Growing worries about the return of a long-forgotten bugbear highlight increasing risks for savers
Martin Wolf – FT
A spectre is haunting investors: the return of inflation. But is it a plausible threat? And what would it mean if it did return? These are almost certainly the most important economic questions investors confront. Unexpectedly high inflation would raise interest rates, destabilise exchange rates, ignite unrest in labour markets, push the highly indebted towards default and destabilise asset markets.

Companies raise record $140bn in US junk bond market in first quarter; Fundraising exceeds record at height of Covid crisis, when groups sprinted to fortify their finances
Joe Rennison – FT
Companies have issued $140bn in the US junk bond market over the past three months, outpacing a record dash for cash in the second quarter of 2020 when groups raced for funding to survive the shock of coronavirus.

WeWork Agrees to SPAC Deal That Would Take Startup Public; Planned merger with the BowX Acquisition would value WeWork at $9 billion including debt
Maureen Farrell – WSJ
WeWork has agreed to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would take the shared-office provider public nearly two years after its high-profile failure to launch a traditional IPO.

Media Startups Axios and the Athletic Discuss Merger, Eyeing SPAC Deal; Deal would be part of plan to create larger company with a portfolio of digital-media publishers
Benjamin Mullin – WSJ
Sports-media outlet the Athletic is in merger talks with news startup Axios, according to people familiar with the matter, part of a plan to build a larger online-publishing company that could include going public through a blank-check firm. The discussions are at an early stage and could fall apart, the people said. Financial terms couldn’t be learned.

Odell Beckham Jr. Jumps Into SPAC Surge; The NFL wide receiver is set to be a strategic adviser to a SPAC sponsored by Tribe Capital, sources say
Dave Sebastian – WSJ
Odell Beckham Jr., the National Football League wide receiver, is the latest celebrity to join the SPAC frenzy. Mr. Beckham has signed on to become a strategic adviser for a special-purpose acquisition company sponsored by the tech-focused venture-capital firm Tribe Capital Management LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.

This Bull Market Has a Troubling Reliance on Speculation; Hyman Minksy’s three stages of debt help us understand the extraordinary stock market rally that began a year ago this week
James Mackintosh – WSJ
Earnings, valuation and rampant speculation have all played a role in the extraordinary bull market that began a year ago this week. The latest combination of the three has a troubling reliance on the speculative element.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

A Living Wage: The Latest ESG Challenge For Corporate Governance
Michael Peregrine – Forbes
Proposals and pressures associated with payment of a “living wage” to employees may present themselves on the boardroom agenda much sooner than corporate leaders expect.
Long considered controversial from economic and shareholder perspectives, living wage concepts are receiving more attention in the context of economic policy, social responsibility and ESG investing. As progressive perspectives concerning income equality, and executive and employee compensation, are becoming more mainstream, corporate leaders should prepare for greater engagement in this important conversation.

Enforcement of ESG Rules Restricting ERISA Retirement Plans on Hold
King & Spalding – JDSupra
The U.S. Department of Labor will not enforce two of its final rules, published in November and December 2020, restricting ERISA retirement plans’ consideration of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) factors in the investment of plan assets, according to a March 10, 2021 enforcement policy statement. The move follows President Biden’s executive order directing federal agencies to review regulations promulgated during the Trump Administration that may be inconsistent with his administration’s policy objectives related to health and the environment. The DOL “intends to revisit the” ESG rules, but provided no timeline for doing so. Plan fiduciaries who want to consider ESG factors when choosing and managing investment options, however, may feel betwixt and between—still subject to a pair of regulations that private litigants may seek to enforce through ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims.

The Evolution of ESG from CSR
Piyush Gupta – Lexology
The genesis of both, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) standards, is the same – adoption of practices and policies by corporations that are intended to have a positive influence on the world. Companies have historically looked at options to operate in ways that enhances society and the environment, instead of contributing negatively to them.
However, through the course of last few years, the focus has shifted from a purely outward-looking analysis to a more dynamic approach focusing on both internal and external factors of an organisation.

Yes, ESG is complicated. Together, we can simplify it.
Maha Eltobgy, Janine Guillot – World Economic Forum
A coherent, comprehensive system of corporate disclosure is needed to ensure markets can understand risks and opportunities related to social and environmental issues. A globally-accepted system for corporate disclosure could provide important new insights into the vital interconnections between business and the world in which it operates. Around the world, investors collectively allocate tens of trillions of dollars, aiming for that money’s highest and best use. However, in the absence of consistent, comparable, and reliable sustainability information, these investors are effectively aiming with one eye closed.

Sustainability Bonds Could Hit $150 Billion by Year’s End
Ben Hernandez – ETF Trends
According to global investment firm JP Morgan, sustainability bonds could grow into a $150 billion market. Despite the pandemic, ESG investing took off as more investors sought to allocate more capital into the social issues they cared about. The MSCI ACWI ESG Focus index ballooned to 60% within the last 12 months and 37% within the last three years. Now, sustainability-linked bonds are coming into the limelight in ESG investment circles. These bonds act like traditional bonds in that they are used as financing tools for the issuer, but the focus is different.

Jerome Powell advocates greater diversity at the Federal Reserve.
Jeanna Smialek – NY Times
Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said on Thursday that the central bank was trying to make its economic employee base more racially diverse and he was not satisfied with its progress toward that goal so far.


Deutsche Bank’s Sewing Set to Give Up Investment Bank Role
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Lender is said to name investment bank head in coming months; CEO Sewing’s dual role was seen with skepticism by regulators
Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is set to relinquish his role overseeing the lender’s sprawling investment bank, in a move aimed at appeasing regulators and freeing him up to focus on his restructuring of the institution. Germany’s largest lender will likely decide on a successor over the next couple of months, said people familiar with the plans. The bank is vetting candidates, with an internal replacement most likely at this point, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the private information.

Deutsche’s Sewing to give up dual role as head of investment bank; Largest German lender prepares management reshuffle in run-up to annual shareholder meeting
Olaf Storbeck – FT
Christian Sewing will give up direct oversight of Deutsche Bank’s all-important investment bank, caving in to concerns from regulators over the chief executive’s excessive workload and potential conflicts of interest, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Cathie Wood ETF Has Bought Into a Serena Williams-Backed SPAC
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
ARK Robotics fund purchased around 800,000 shares of the SPAC; Jaws Spitfire recently entered deal to buy 3D printing company
Cathie Wood’s ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics exchange-traded fund has bought shares of a blank-check company backed by tennis star Serena Williams. In recent days the ARKQ ETF purchased about 800,000 shares in Jaws Spitfire Acquisition Corp., according to data from ARK Investment Management LLC. Jaws Spitfire, which counts Williams as a board member and Starwood Capital LLC Chief Executive Officer Barry Sternlicht as its chairman, on Tuesday entered a merger deal with 3D printing company Velo3D Inc. to take it public, sending shares of the special-purpose acquisition company down more than 5% that day.

JPMorgan and Goldman handed mall stakes after American Dream turns sour; Lenders to New Jersey mega-project get a 49% holding of other big shopping centres in restructuring deal
Eric Platt and Joe Rennison – FT
JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and a group of real estate investors are set to take a stake in Mall of America, the largest shopping centre in the US, after its owner defaulted on another multibillion-dollar development in New Jersey.

BlackRock slashes fees on style ETFs as price war escalates; Intensifying competition has prompted aggressive price reductions
Chris Flood – FT
Visit our ETF Hub for investor news and education, market updates and analysis and easy-to-use tools to help you select the right ETFs. BlackRock has opened a new front in the price war among exchange traded fund providers by slashing fees across a suite of nine US equity style investing ETFs with combined assets of $7.6bn.

Vanguard Corrects Investment Error in 529 Education Savings Plan; The firm steered more money than intended into stock funds for some college savers in a Nevada-administered plan
Dawn Lim – WSJ
American financial giant Vanguard Group said it made investment errors in several customers’ education-savings accounts. The asset manager steered more money to stock funds last year than it intended for some individuals in a roughly $27 billion education-savings plan administered by the state of Nevada. Vanguard provides investment-management services for the plan.


Bank Loyalty Takes Almost Three Decades to Break in South Africa
Roxanne Henderson – Bloomberg
South Africans stick with their main bank for nearly three decades before switching, roughly double the time it takes Americans to move and 70% longer than U.K. citizens, according to a report by Discovery Bank. Younger South Africans, though, were 20% more likely to shop around than the average customer, according to the digital bank, owned by the country’s largest health insurance administrator Discovery Ltd. The bank used anonymized data from the health business to assess how long customers stayed with their lender.

China Sets Duties on Australia Wine for 5 Years as Ties Sour
Bloomberg News
Decision follows series of actions against Australian exports; Penfolds’ owner Treasury Wine Estates to see tariffs of 175.6%
China will impose tariffs of more than 200% on Australian wine for five years, formalizing curbs that have been in place for months amid an increasingly fraught relationship with Canberra.

New York Times Sells NFT Column in an Auction for $560,000
Gerry Smith – Bloomberg
‘Why can’t a journalist join the NFT party?’ columnist writes; Publisher plans to donate proceeds from the sale to charity
The New York Times sold an article tied to an NFT, or nonfungible token, for about $560,000, another sign of the red-hot market for digital collectibles. “Buy This Column on the Blockchain!” from Times journalist Kevin Roose was turned into an NFT and auctioned off on the open market, with the proceeds going to the newspaper’s Neediest Cases Fund, which supports charitable causes.


Brexit News: Charts Show Financial Impact on London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
A month after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Boris Johnson was asked whether he thought the finance industry would keep its rights to trade freely in the bloc. “I do, I do,” he told reporters. It was never that simple.
Half a decade later, billions of dollars in assets and thousands of jobs have moved to the continent after the U.K. negotiated a bare-bones trade deal with the EU that largely sidelined finance, giving cities across the bloc the chance to lure firms in flux. While the two sides may be just about to ink an agreement to cooperate on financial regulation, neither expects the return of business as usual.

Brexit: UK lost ‘significant’ access to EU policing data under deal, report warns
Britain has lost “significant” access to EU policing data under the Brexit deal negotiated at the end of last year, a House of Lords report has said.
It also concluded that post-Brexit law enforcement arrangements are “complex” and “untested”.
And peers warned it would take much longer for vital data to be passed to frontline police officers.

Britain and the European Union – Hopes of a better post-Brexit relationship with the EU are fading
The Economist
Since becoming prime minister in July 2019, Boris Johnson has often referred to EU countries as “our friends and partners”. Many of his fans believed that, once Brexit was done, a more co-operative relationship between the two would be possible. Even those who criticised Mr Johnson’s December trade deal for its thinness hoped closer collaboration on issues ranging from the environment to foreign policy would allow Britain and the EU to build on it. Yet three months on, the relationship seems scratchier than ever.

How to fix Brexit’s Northern Ireland protocol problem
Raoul Ruparel – Politico
Three months into Brexit, we need a permanent fix to problems at the Northern Ireland border.
The Northern Ireland protocol — which essentially keeps NI inside the EU’s customs union and single market for goods — means checks and controls need to be imposed on goods moving from Great Britain (GB) to NI.
But ongoing problems for businesses in Northern Ireland saw the U.K. controversially and unilaterally extend grace periods for food products moving from GB to NI. That led to much anger in Brussels. Despite the tensions, both sides have committed to make the protocol work. So here’s what’s at stake, and how they might do it.

Seven Charts Show How Brexit Has Already Changed the City of London; Here’s how Europe’s financial capital is holding up after the U.K.’s departure from the EU.
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
A month after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Boris Johnson was asked whether he thought the finance industry would keep its rights to trade freely in the bloc. “I do, I do,” he told reporters. It was never that simple.


A Year Into Remote Work, No One Knows When to Stop Working Anymore; Workers are exhausted from nonstop working from home; many managers want to get everyone off the treadmill and breathing again
Chip Cutter – WSJ
The daily alarm Katie Lipp sets isn’t meant to wake her up. It reminds her to go to bed. The employment attorney in Fairfax, Va., said she has tried a range of techniques to set boundaries while working long days from home running her law practice during the pandemic. Few measures work as well as the 9:45 p.m. alarm she started setting last month, though she admits to snoozing it occasionally to fire out one last email.

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