Europe Is Heading Toward a New Financial Crisis; ETFs Could Rock the Bitcoin World

Apr 12, 2021

First Read

$35,126/$300,000 (11.7%)
Sterling Trading Tech

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

We had a new donation to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign on Friday for $1,000 from anonymous. However, it turns out anonymous was really Sterling Trading Tech and they did wish to let it be known they are supportive of our efforts to preserve industry history with our video series. They also appreciated their competitor Trading Technologies matching their donation. Support our efforts to preserve industry history and have your donation to our GoFundMe campaign matched by TT.

The videos from the Eurex Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021, held on March 23 and 24, are now available here.

The Washington Post is reporting that “John Naisbitt, futurist and best-selling author of ‘Megatrends,’ dies at 92.” He was very influential during my years in college and his work was very popular. It helped me look at the big picture, or “megatrends” and I am sure helped influence the creation of this newsletter.

FIA is hosting an online webinar on May 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. SGT, titled Commodities in the current volatile environment.

At SGX, total securities market turnover value on SGX increased 50% month-on-month (m-o-m) in March to S$38.7 billion, the highest since March 2020.

Peter Johnson of Jump Trading reported on LinkedIn that it was another big week for Jump with the following happenings:
Acquisition of Jump portfolio company HubTran by TriumphPay announced, Coinbase joins the DeFi Alliance (co-founded by Jump), Pyth DeFi data oracle announced bringing institutional grade data to DeFi, New The Jump Off Point podcast featuring Dave Olsen and Sam Bankman-Fried discussing the institutionalization of crypto and announcing Pyth and a new blog from Yelena Shkolnik on Composable Commerce.

I really like the way that the FIA has been rolling out the longer versions of the Hall of Fame videos for each of their recent inductees. The latest person they highlighted was Gay Huey Evans, the chair of the London Metal Exchange. These longer videos were produced courtesy of John Lothian Productions and all the Hall of Fame videos are narrated by Patrick Lothian. We contracted with FIA to produce the shorter videos they showed during the Hall of Fame ceremony during FIA Boca-V. However, we produced the longer versions as part of our efforts to tell industry history. We appreciate FIA giving us the opportunity to produce these videos on their behalf.

Shawn R. Somers is now head of NY ICE Futures U.S. Market Regulation at ICE, according to LInkedIn.

Congratulations to golfer Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese golfer to win the Masters Tournament.

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

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OCC reports highest volumes in its history in Q1 2021; CFTC cracks down on binary options – The Spread
JohnLothianNews.com

This week on The Spread, the OCC and several major exchanges report trade volumes, the CFTC orders a Brooklyn man to pay $1 million in penalties over a binary options scheme, and more.

Watch the video »

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Episode 9: Investing in Innovation
ISDA
Technological innovation could transform derivatives markets, but how do you identify technologies with true potential, and what parts of the trade lifecycle are most in need of a tech upgrade? Industry veteran Mark Beeston, founder and partner at Illuminate Financial, shares his perspective.
/bit.ly/3t74Iyf

*****Business is about two things: innovation and marketing.~JJL

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TP ICAP Launches Parameta Solutions
TP ICAP Group plc
TP ICAP Group plc (“TP ICAP”), a diversified global markets infrastructure and data solutions provider, today announced that it has launched the brand Parameta Solutions. Parameta Solutions is the new identity of TP ICAP’s data and analytics and post-trade offerings. The business provides clients with unbiased OTC content and proprietary data, in-depth insights across price discovery, risk management, benchmark and indices and pre and post-trade analytics. Its nascent post-trade solutions offering will help market participants control counterparty and regulatory risks through a growing range of tools that manage balance sheet exposure, as well as compression and optimisation services.
/bit.ly/3wOlch7

*****Branding on branding on branding.~JJL

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On the matter of virtual conferences; The strengths and weaknesses of the online exchange of ideas.
Daniel W. Drezner – Washington Post
This week on Earth 2, my doppelganger would be explaining the dearth of Spoiler Alerts columns because of his attendance at the International Studies Association (ISA) annual meeting. On that Earth, ISA would be held in Las Vegas for the first time, a year after being held in Honolulu. These sites would have stood in marked contrast to the more traditional (and less expensive) locales in which ISA has held its conferences in the past: Baltimore in February, Toronto in March; you get the idea.
/wapo.st/2Qfsda3

*****There are some strong reasons to continue to hold online conferences and incorporate elements of the online conferences into the in-person conferences. What is the question?~JJL

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The Wall Street Journal’s Internal Audit; A look at what the newsroom’s internal study — The Content Review — concluded about the paper’s faults.
Edmund Lee – NY Times
For over a year, a special team of editors within The Wall Street Journal analyzed the state of the newsroom and produced a detailed, lengthy report on what the paper is doing right, and, more important, what the paper is doing wrong. The stakes are high. Subscriptions to The Journal are growing — but not fast enough. News Corp, the company that owns The Journal, wants the broadsheet to double its readership. The study, called The Content Review, concluded that that goal would be difficult without sweeping changes.
/nyti.ms/3s6oad7

*****Good story about the conflict at the WSJ over its future. When the WSJ loses a subscriber, it is mostly because they died or their college discount expired.~JJL

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Murdoch’s News Corp accused of undermining democracy; Ex-Australia PM says media group is ‘most powerful political actor’ in country and has divided the US
Jamie Smyth – FT
Malcolm Turnbull has accused Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp of eroding democracy in the US and Australia by dividing people and undermining institutions with lies and populist rightwing ideology. The former Australian prime minister told a parliamentary inquiry that Donald Trump’s presidency was to some extent a creation of the media mogul and that the attack on the US Congress in January was a consequence of partisan campaigns led by Murdoch’s Fox News.
/on.ft.com/2QkfnqJ

*****All you have to do is open your eyes and your mind and some things are evident.~JJL

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Friday’s Top Three
The top story on Friday was a New York Times opinion piece written by a former software engineer, After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again. The story also was No. 1 on Thursday. The second most-read story also was in the Top Three last week. A Yahoo Finance story, No. 2 was JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon outlines ‘serious weakness’ of virtual work. And No. 3 was a personal finance article from The Wall Street Journal, Bitcoin and Taxes: A Guide to the Tax Rules on Owning Cryptocurrency.

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Lead Stories

Europe Is Heading Toward a New Financial Crisis; Completing the EU’s banking union might be the only way to avoid the dreaded “doom loop.”
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
Europe faces a predicament. Even as it struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s setting itself up for another crisis — this one financial. To ensure the viability of the common currency at the heart of the European project, the EU’s leaders will have to cooperate in ways they’ve so far resisted. Adopting the single currency has yielded great benefits, from frictionless trade to improved global competitiveness. But the euro also obliged member states to relinquish the independent monetary policies that can help backstop national debts and financial systems. One result is that distress at banks presents a heightened threat to individual governments’ finances, and vice versa — the so-called “doom loop” that played out in spectacular fashion during the early 2010s, when the euro area nearly broke apart.
/bloom.bg/3d8jwY0

ETFs Could Rock the Bitcoin World; Potential arrival of the low-cost crypto vehicles is already being felt in the market
Telis Demos – WSJ
What exchange-traded funds did to the traditional investment industry over decades might happen in a fraction of the time for the world of cryptocurrency players. There is a growing sense that a bitcoin ETF might finally arrive in the U.S. in the not-too-distant future. The nominated chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler, has taught courses on cryptocurrency. The bitcoin market has experienced huge growth in recent months and now has the involvement of some big institutions. VanEck, Fidelity and others are again seeking regulatory approval for bitcoin ETFs.
/on.wsj.com/3s8JIFZ

Companies Are Selling Their Real Estate at the Fastest Pace Ever
Jack Sidders – Bloomberg
EMEA firms sold $32 billion of their properties last year; Offices comprise just over a third of the transactions
Companies are selling record amounts of real estate as they rush to shore up their Covid-battered balance sheets. Firms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa sold 27 billion euros ($32 billion) of corporate properties in 2020, according to a report by broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. That was slightly more than a year earlier, even as overall real estate deals collapsed during the pandemic.
/bloom.bg/3shucbe

Brené Brown on Why Good Leadership Has Nothing to Do With Your Salary; The researcher, professor and author also says, “Another pandemic is going to follow this one—it’s already started; we’re months into it now—which is a real mental-health pandemic.”
Lane Florsheim – WSJ
In our series My Monday Morning, self-motivated people tell WSJ. how they start off the week. Last week, the researcher, professor and writer Brené Brown was visiting Austin, Texas, from her home base of Houston. Having gotten both rounds of her vaccine, she was meeting a good friend and producer whom she works with on her Dare to Lead and Unlocking Us podcasts and whom she hadn’t seen in person in over a year. “It was so emotional. It was so weird. Hello? What’s happening?” she says. “We touched fingertips.” She says that the moment validated one of her beliefs: “We’re wired for human connection and story, and in the absence of it there is always pain and suffering.”
/on.wsj.com/3sbvxjx

Companies Can’t Stop Overworking; Excess work isn’t good for anyone, employers included. So why are we still doing it?
Corinne Purtill – NY Times
“We want them to be challenged, but also to operate at a pace where they’re going to stay here and learn important skills that are going to stick. This is a marathon, not a sprint.” That was David Solomon’s response to complaints of grueling working conditions for junior analysts at Goldman Sachs — in 2013. (The bank’s current chief executive was then Goldman’s co-head of investment banking.) Shortly thereafter, the bank announced a “Saturday rule” forbidding most work from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday.
/nyti.ms/3s8HHcT

SEC Review Highlights Potentially Misleading ESG Practices Among Funds; Regulator found instances where firms didn’t consistently disclose their environmental, social or governance strategies
Kimberly Chin – WSJ
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday it has found some investment firms that tout socially responsible investing were potentially misleading investors, part of the agency’s enhanced review of funds that claim to support environmentally friendly policies but don’t adhere to them. These funds broadly market themselves as trying to invest in companies that pursue strategies addressing environmental, social or governance issues from climate change to corporate diversity. The SEC didn’t disclose the names of firms or how many were involved in the review.
/on.wsj.com/324wIqj

A Quant’s Take on Innovation: ‘Data Can Only Take You So Far’
Michael P. Regan and Lisa Abramowicz – Bloomberg
Long a passive advocate, Gregg Fisher is getting more active; Smart Eye, Fiverr are examples of small innovators he’s buying
When Gregg Fisher sold his drum kit to buy a computer and start an investing firm in the 1990s, the notions of passive factor investing and quantitative strategies were still in the embryonic stages. Fast-forward three decades and those types of strategies are everywhere, but Fisher has moved on to a new approach: Blending his quant background with the lessons he’s learned as an entrepreneur to find attractive small-cap stocks at his new firm Quent Capital.
/bloom.bg/3tbAqu9

Chicago Academic Says Muni Market Promotes Inequality
Joseph Mysak Jr – Bloomberg
New book describes how muni bonds shaped modern San Francisco; Black communities were ‘continuously deemed unworthy of debt’
Destin Jenkins is an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago and author of a new book, “The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City,” and if the denizens of MuniLand haven’t heard of him, they will soon. That’s because he has something to say that is very relevant to the discussions we’re having right now about racial equality. He writes, for example, about things like the municipal market being used for “the infrastructural investment in whiteness.”
/bloom.bg/3ggDcLp

New Tokyo Stock Exchange chief all in for ESG but wary of SPAC boom; ‘Japan cannot be left out’ as global exchanges compete for investment, says Yamaji
Ryo Igawa – Nikkei
The Tokyo Stock Exchange will push Japanese companies to adopt more robust governance rules through an ambitious reorganization in a “big step toward becoming the bourse of choice for global investors,” the new TSE chief told Nikkei in an interview.
/s.nikkei.com/3dRgEhc

24 Exchange Launching FX Swaps Trading
Colin Lambert – The Full FX
The still nascent race to deliver electronic FX swaps trading has a new entrant with 24 Exchange launching an anonymous order book for what is the largest FX market in the world. Progress has been slow in delivering electronic FX swaps trading for the interbank market, it has long been the preserve of LSEG’s Refinitiv Matching and, more recently, Deutsche Boerse’s 360T launched MidMatch for FX swaps. Other platforms have been circling the issue, seeking either an angle or the investment required to deliver a successful FX swaps trading platform, but have now been trumped by 24 Exchange, which is delivering on a promise made by founder and CEO Dmitri Galinov, to deliver a multi-product trading business.
/bit.ly/328kwVO

Banks Need to Be Safer Than Is Needed. Yes, That’s a Paradox; The ‘last taxi in the station’ problem explains banks’ requirement for liquidity.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
A buffer that can never be used is no buffer at all. A crate of Spam in the basement that you’re not allowed to eat, even if you’re starving. The last taxi at the train station that no one’s allowed to take, because there must always be one taxi at the station. Why even call it a buffer if it doesn’t provide any cushion, any relief in an emergency?
/bloom.bg/2QhMjQG

Credit Suisse, After Archegos, Faces Tough Choices on Investment Bank; Swiss lender’s investment bank has grown profits quickly, but now is expected to be scaled back for safety
Margot Patrick – WSJ
When Credit Suisse CS -2.74% Group AG announced a $4.7 billion hit from the Archegos Capital Management meltdown, there was a silver lining: The rest of its investment bank did so well in the quarter, the overall pretax loss would only be $1 billion. The situation exposes the bank’s dilemma. Its investment bank, which takes on more risk, has been its profit engine, making up for its larger, slower-growing wealth-management business. But now it is expected to be scaled back for safety, with Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein saying its structure and strategic relevance would be evaluated.
/on.wsj.com/2PMIxPH

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Bows to Beijing With Company Overhaul; People’s Bank of China said Ant representatives were summoned to a meeting Monday
Jing Yang – WSJ
Ant Group Co., the financial-technology giant controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, will apply to become a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank, overhauling its business to adapt to a new era of tighter regulation for internet companies. In a statement, the People’s Bank of China said Ant representatives were summoned to a meeting Monday with four regulatory agencies that also included the country’s banking, securities and foreign exchange overseers. It said a “comprehensive, viable rectification plan” for Ant has been formulated under the regulators’ supervision over the past few months.
/on.wsj.com/3sb0ynQ

The Economy Is Recovering: How to Invest When Everything Is Expensive; Stock valuations have never been so stretched at the beginning of an economic cycle. Savers need to plan for lower future returns.
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
The good news for your portfolio is that the economic rebound from Covid-19 is looking like a fact. The bad news is that financial assets have never been so expensive at the start of a recovery. Stock markets have shaken off concerns about rising bond yields and are setting new highs. As of Friday, the S&P 500 index is up 10% this year.
/on.wsj.com/3mEGs4c

HSBC agrees to produce documents in Meng Wanzhou extradition row; Chinese tech group sought material bank provided to US in case against chief financial officer
Tabby Kinder and James Kynge – FT
HSBC has agreed to hand over documents to Huawei that the bank gave to US prosecutors after legal pressure by the Chinese technology group as it attempts to block the extradition of its chief financial officer from Canada to the US.
/on.ft.com/324LBZZ

Coronavirus

World’s Worst-Hit Covid Region Starts Reopening Despite Warnings
Peter Laca, Slav Okov, and Jan Bratanic – Bloomberg
More countries in Eastern Europe reopen schools, restaurants; Experts warn against rushed steps as new virus strains spread
Eastern European countries are easing lockdown measures to mollify their frustrated citizens, even as the region remains the world’s most deadly area for the coronavirus pandemic. The lifting of restrictions and those still in place vary in the more than dozen nations stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea, with the rapid spread of new virus variants and botched vaccine roll-outs pushing hospitals to the brink. Nine of the worst 10 nations for Covid-19 fatalities are now former Soviet satellites.
/bloom.bg/3dQWhki

U.S. Government Is Preparing an Emergency Rule To Protect Workers From Covid; Observers say a standard is coming soon; here’s what it might look like.
Robb Mandelbaum – Bloomberg
Mask mandates are coming down across the country, even as Covid cases are rising in most states. But the Biden administration appears poised to reinstate masking and other social distancing rules for recalcitrant governors — at least in the workplace. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is preparing to issue new short-term regulations to protect workers from catching Covid-19 on the job, according to lawyers tracking the agency’s efforts. They could be made public as early as this week, these lawyers say, and take effect soon after that.
/bloom.bg/3eaUPtp

Low Efficacy of Chinese Shots Fuels Concern About Global Rollout
Bloomberg News
Senior official acknowledged vaccines’ efficacy is ‘not high’; Sinovac efficacy rate affirmed at 50%, lower than other shots
Concern is mounting that China’s Covid-19 vaccines are less effective at quelling the disease, raising questions about nations from Brazil to Hungary that are depending on the shots and the country’s own mammoth inoculation drive.
/bloom.bg/3sfJ6OR

The Other Reason the Labor Force Is Shrunken: Fear of Covid-19; Around 4 million adults aren’t looking for jobs, not because they’re scarce but because of worries about catching the coronavirus
Gwynn Guilford – WSJ
A little over a year ago, Chanee McLaurin was a few weeks into a new job selling insurance when she began to hear coughing in her office. Co-workers, one after another, stopped showing up. Then she overheard a colleague whispering into her phone that she had been diagnosed with flu-like symptoms. “I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to go home. And I’m probably not going to come back,'” said Ms. McLaurin, who is 29 and lives in a suburb of Dallas.
/on.wsj.com/3wQMMKs

I’m vaccinated, but I’m really not ready to leave my pandemic cocoon
Steven Petrow – Washington Post
As we lurch into pandemic year two, I find myself strangely reluctant to leave my pandemic cocoon. Not a week goes by without someone asking if I’ve gotten my “Get Out of Jail Free” card — the vaccine — but until recently, I’ve told almost no one that I got the shots last month. How could it be that now, with my escape route in sight, I shrink from the exit?
/wapo.st/328mNQQ

Coronavirus vaccine technology is paving the way for a whole new approach to flu shots
Lindsey Bever – Washington Post
The technology used in two of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration may enable scientists to develop flu shots in record time, but also make inoculations that could be more effective and protect against numerous flu strains for years at a time.
/wapo.st/3uFhHHZ

Not ready to return to ‘normal’? Here’s your guide for easing back in; The end of isolation feels closer than ever, so we rounded up expert tips
Aviva Loeb – The Lily
The end of isolation feels closer than ever, with many states opening up vaccines to anyone 16 and older. Students are returning to in-person learning, and some companies are beginning to talk about bringing employees back into offices. President Biden has said that by the Fourth of July, the United States will resemble something like normal.
/bit.ly/324AcJF

Vaccine Requirements Spread in U.S., Sowing Concern on Overreach
David R Baker – Bloomberg
Universities are among those requiring Covid shots to attend; Patchwork results without federal government being involved
Covid-19 vaccination requirements are fast becoming facts of life in the U.S., spreading business by business even as politicians and privacy advocates rail against them. Brown, Notre Dame and Rutgers are among universities warning students and staff they’ll need shots in order to return to campus this fall. Some sports teams are demanding proof of vaccination or a negative test from fans as arenas reopen. Want to see your favorite band play indoors in California? At bigger venues, the same rules apply. A Houston hospital chain recently ordered its 26,000 employees to get vaccinated.
/bloom.bg/3tgxFrG

As variants surge, efforts in a patchwork of surveillance have ramped up to detect them
Erin Cox,Jenna Portnoy – Washington Post
The nation dramatically stepped up its surveillance for coronavirus variants in recent weeks, but experts say there’s much further to go if the Washington region — and the rest of the country — wants to stay ahead of new and potentially dangerous versions of the virus.
/wapo.st/3wP0EF9

Pfizer vaccine may be less effective against South African and UK coronavirus variants, according to Israeli study
Alex Nicoll – Insider
Coronavirus variants first found in South Africa and the UK are able to partially “breakthrough” the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to an Israeli study that studied real-world infection data. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
/bit.ly/3sbtBYu

Covid-19 Continues to Shift, Along With Our Expectations; We’re all itching to return to normal, but every day raises new questions about what that might look like.
Brooke Sample – Bloobmerg
Nearly a year and a half into the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have resigned ourselves to living in a changed world. But how we’ll manage everyday life in the long term remains a series of wide-open questions: What will workplaces be like in six months? When can tourists finally plan overseas trips? (And will locals welcome them back?) How do we reconcile the debate over vaccine passports? The disease itself has changed as variants emerge; rich countries chug along toward herd immunity; and regions, states, cities and small towns reopen — or don’t. We’ve all had enough of Covid, but that doesn’t mean it’s had enough of us.
/bloom.bg/2OFB8ku

U.K. Races Toward Elusive Milestone in Quest to Curb Covid
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
UCL model suggests three-quarters of population has antibodies; Scientists see too many unknowns to say Covid’s end is near
The U.K.’s increased Covid-19 immunity raises prospects of moving on from the worst of the pandemic, with some scientists saying the country could cross a key threshold as soon as Monday.
/bloom.bg/3d8nfog

India Bans Exports of Covid Drug Remdesivir Amid Virus Surge
Bibhudatta Pradhan – Bloomberg
India has prohibited exports of the drug Remdesivir, used to treat Covid-19, as the country registered a record number of daily new coronavirus cases. The government took the step amid a sudden spike in demand for the injection, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday, adding that “there is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days.”
/bloom.bg/3sbqMqb

Coronavirus: US midwest sees signs of a new wave as hospitalisations soar; ICU beds fill in Michigan as case counts approach November highs, while Minnesota and Illinois also face growing numbers
Oliver Milman – The Guardian
There are ominous signs of a new wave of coronavirus infections building in the US midwest, even as vaccinations continue to gather pace across the country. In Michigan, hospitalisations have soared and intensive care beds are being rapidly filled. An average of 7,226 cases a day were confirmed in the state last week, according to Johns Hopkins University data, approaching record highs seen in November. Michigan’s public health system “is overwhelmed”, warned the state’s top medical official, Joneigh Khaldun.
/bit.ly/3s6gVCd

Covid-19 Drug Prevents Symptomatic Disease in Study, Regeneron Says; Drugmaker says it will ask federal health regulators to clear use among people who haven’t been vaccinated
Joseph Walker – WSJ
An antibody drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. REGN -0.25% reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 infection by 81% compared with a placebo in people living with someone infected by the new coronavirus, a study found. The results point to potential new preventive applications for the drug, which is already in use to treat earlier Covid-19 cases.
/on.wsj.com/2OH1d2J

Equity index derivatives: Tradability of Micro Futures for Participants in the U.S.
Eurex
With effect from 19 April 2021, the following additional products will be activated for tradability in the U.S.: Micro-DAX® Futures (FDXS), Micro-EURO STOXX 50® Futures (FSXE)
/bit.ly/3mC1X5K

MiFID II/MiFIR: Personal data for buyer/seller identification for the AOTC trading capacity in the non-MiFIR transaction report
Eurex
With this circular, we would like to draw your attention to Regulation (EU) 600/2014 which relates to the reporting requirements of non-MiFIR trading participants according to Article 26 (5) MiFIR for orderly provision of the relevant data, and remind non-MiFIR trading participants of their obligations.
/bit.ly/326QCRH

March 2021 monthly figures at Eurex; OTC Clearing at Eurex continues to show strong momentum
Eurex
Following on from a 20 percent year-on-year rise in February, notional outstanding volumes at Eurex grew by 21 percent in March compared to the same month last year – from 17,575 billion to 21,226 billion EUR. Average daily cleared volumes (ADV) jumped by 140 percent – from 75 billion to 181 billion EUR – with the IRS ADV showing a 96 percent rise.
/bit.ly/3s529vq

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

MIAX and Vesica Advance Strategic Partnership
Press Release
Miami International Holdings (MIH), the parent holding company of MIAX, and Vesica Technologies (Vesica), a trading analytics startup making financial data more accessible to individuals, today announced that MIH has completed a follow-on equity investment in Vesica and the finalization of their licensing agreement. The parties previously announced MIH’s initial investment and partnership in late 2020.
As part of the license agreement, Vesica’s SHIFT SearchSM (SHIFT) platform will be made available for options and equities data through the MIAX website, www.MIAXOptions.com. The first phase of SHIFT for options data is now live and accessible via the MIAX website.
/prn.to/3g8qmP1

EGX Announces The Trading Hours During The Holy Month Of Ramadan
Mondovisione
Main market and SMEs market (NILEX) trading session; 10:00 am – 1:30 pm, preceded by a discovery session at 9:30 am. Orders recording (deals market) for volume transactions; 9:15 am – 9:45 am.
/bit.ly/3g2O3sb

Norse Atlantic lists on Euronext Growth
Euronext
Euronext today congratulates Norse Atlantic Airways on its listing on Euronext Growth Oslo (ticker code: NORSE). Norse Atlantic Airways is a new airline serving the low-cost, intercontinental market between European and US destinations with a fleet of modern, fuel-efficient and more environmentally friendly aircrafts.
/bit.ly/3a3ij2d

Unicredit SpA Becomes New Operating Member Of BME Clearing In The Fixed Income Segment
Mondovisione
BME Clearing, BME’s Central Counterparty, has reached an agreement with Unicredit SpA for it to become a new operating member in the Fixed Income segment. With its incorporation, there are now 25 clearing members in this segment, including the main banks and financial institutions operating in Spain. It will become BME Clearing’s third international counterparty as of April 15.
/bit.ly/3mFO6LD

Euronext to roll out block trading facility for SME stocks
Tuba Raqshan – Asset news
The pan-European stock exchange will roll out its new block trading facility for small- and mid-cap stocks later this year, Asset News has learnt.
/bit.ly/3sc59pC

BME adds UniCredit as fixed income clearing member; With the addition of Unicredit, BME Clearing now has 25 clearing members in the fixed income segment.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Spanish exchange operator Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (BME) has expanded its list of fixed income clearing members with the addition of Italian investment bank UniCredit. UniCredit has reached an agreement with BME’s central counterparty (CCP), BME Clearing, to become a new operating member in the fixed income segment.
/bit.ly/3schFFG

TP ICAP rebrands data and analytics division; Combined data and analytics and post-trade business at TP ICAP, Parameta Solutions, will provide clients with OTC proprietary data, benchmarks, and indices.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Interdealer broker TP ICAP has rebranded its data and analytics division and combined it with the post-trade business under one umbrella. Operating as Parameta Solutions, the new division includes TP ICAP’s data and analytics products and solutions with post-trade services.
/bit.ly/3mEKQ3a

TMX Group Equity Financing Statistics – March 2021
TMX
TMX Group today announced its financing activity on Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) for March 2021. TSX welcomed 27 new issuers in March 2021, compared with 21 in the previous month and 10 in March 2020. The new listings were 17 exchange traded funds, four technology companies, one mining company, two life sciences companies, one communications & media company, one closed-end fund, and one special purpose acquisition company. Total financings raised in March 2021 decreased 29% compared to the previous month, but increased 114% compared to March 2020. The total number of financings in March 2021 was 81, compared with 61 the previous month and 42 in March 2020.
/bit.ly/325cJbl

Amendments to the Options on Black Sea Wheat Financially Settled (Platts) Futures and Options on Black Sea Corn Financially Settled (Platts) Futures Contracts to Convert from European Style to American Style Expiration
CME Group
Effective Sunday, April 25, 2021 for trade date Monday, April 26, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT” or “Exchange”) will amend the Options on Black Sea Wheat Financially Settled (Platts) Futures and the Options on Black Sea Corn Financially Settled (Platts) Futures contracts (the “Contracts”) to convert the Contracts from European style to American style expiration. There is no open interest in the Contracts.
/bit.ly/3mC2YuA

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM:PHILLIP CAPITAL INC.
CME, CBOT, NYMEX & COMEX RULES: 811. POSITION CHANGE DATA
Position change data must be submitted to the Clearing House each trading day not later than the time specified by the Clearing House. Position change data will be in such form and contain such information as prescribed by the Clearing House. When requested, the identification of accounts will be made available to the Financial and Regulatory Surveillance Department.
561. REPORTS OF LARGE POSITIONS (In pertinent part)
PENALTY: On March 19, 2021, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $5,000 was assessed against Phillip Capital Inc. for its violation of Rule 811 and 561. The breakdown is as follows: CME-$1250; CBT-$1250; NYMEX-$1250; COMEX-$1250.
/bit.ly/3dbyxZ3

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM: PHILLIP CAPITAL INC.
CME, CBOT, NYMEX & COMEX RULES: 811. POSITION CHANGE DATA
Position change data must be submitted to the Clearing House each trading day not later than the time specified by the Clearing House. Position change data will be in such form and contain such information as prescribed by the Clearing House. When requested, the identification of accounts will be made available to the Financial and Regulatory Surveillance Department.
561. REPORTS OF LARGE POSITIONS (In pertinent par
PENALTY: On March 19, 2021, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $5,000 was assessed against Phillip Capital Inc. for its violation of Rule 811 and 561. The breakdown is as follows: CME-$1250; CBT-$1250; NYMEX-$1250; COMEX-$1250.
/bit.ly/3saCUrI

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM: PHILLIP CAPITAL INC.
CME, CBOT, NYMEX & COMEX RULES: 811. POSITION CHANGE DATA
Position change data must be submitted to the Clearing House each trading day not later than the time specified by the Clearing House. Position change data will be in such form and contain such information as prescribed by the Clearing House. When requested, the identification of accounts will be made available to the Financial and Regulatory Surveillance Department.
561. REPORTS OF LARGE POSITIONS (In pertinent part)
PENALTY: On March 19, 2021, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $5,000 was assessed against Phillip Capital Inc. for its violation of Rule 811 and 561. The breakdown is as follows: CME-$1250; CBT-$1250; NYMEX-$1250; COMEX-$1250.
/bit.ly/325dIZ5

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM: PHILLIP CAPITAL INC.
RULES: 811. POSITION CHANGE DATA
Position change data must be submitted to the Clearing House each trading day not later than the time specified by the Clearing House. Position change data will be in such form and contain such information as prescribed by the Clearing House. When requested, the identification of accounts will be made available to the Financial and Regulatory Surveillance Department.
561. REPORTS OF LARGE POSITIONS (In pertinent part)
PENALTY: On March 19, 2021, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $5,000 was assessed against Phillip Capital Inc. for its violation of Rule 811 and 561. The breakdown is as follows: CME-$1250; CBT-$1250; NYMEX-$1250; COMEX-$1250.
/bit.ly/3d8uBrS

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM:MAREX NORTH AMERICA, LLC
CBOT RULE: 854. CONCURRENT LONG AND SHORT POSITIONS
Set forth below are the procedures that much be followed for concurrent long and short positions and hold-open accounts.
A. Concurrent long and short positions in the same commodity and month may be held by a clearing member at the direction of a customer or on behalf of an omnibus account; however, it shall be the duty of the clearing member to ascertain whether such positions are intended for offset or to be held open prior to final transmission of position data to the Clearing House. B. Concurrent long and short positions in physically delivered contracts subject to spot month position limits that are held by the same owner during the time that spot month position limits are in effect must be offset by transactions executed in the market, by allowable privately negotiated transactions, or fulfilled through the normal delivery process, provided however that trades may be offset via netting, transfer or position adjustment to correct a bona fide clerical or operational error on the day the error is identified and the quantity of the offset does not represent more than two percent of the reported open interest in the affected futures contract month. Permissible Exceptions Notwithstanding the foregoing:
PENALTY: On March 19, 2021, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $2,500 was assessed against Marex North America LLC for its violation of Rule 854.
/bit.ly/3d9MTsU

SGX welcomes Zhongda (HK) Futures as Derivatives Trading Member
SGX
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed Zhongda (HK) Futures Limited (Zhongda (HK) Futures) as a Trading Member of its derivatives market. Established in 2015, Zhongda (HK) Futures provides global securities and futures trading services for institutional and individual investors worldwide and is a core member enterprise of Wuchan Zhongda Group, a major conglomerate in eastern China with multiple lines of businesses.
/bit.ly/3s6nQvb

SGX reports market statistics for March 2021
SGX
Securities market turnover and SDAV rose in March, capping robust first quarter; Derivatives perform strongly across multiple asset classes
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today released its market statistics for March 2021. Global markets were buoyed by investor optimism on the strength of the economic recovery, with Singapore’s stock market in particular ranking amongst the strongest of the global benchmarks. Total securities market turnover value on SGX increased 50% month-on-month (m-o-m) in March to S$38.7 billion, the highest since March 2020. For the January-to-March period, turnover was up 12% from the preceding quarter (q-o-q) at S$94.2 billion. Securities daily average value (SDAV) rose 24% m-o-m to S$1.7 billion, gaining 18% q-o-q to S$1.52 billion. The average securities clearing fee for the quarter was 2.68 basis points, comparable with the preceding quarter.
/bit.ly/2OGLOzj

Fintech

Technology’ Is the Most Useless Word in the English Language; As the term has expanded to include companies of almost every description, it’s lost its descriptive value.
Alex Webb – Bloomberg
Has the descriptor “technology” exhausted its usefulness? Facebook, DoorDash, and Qualcomm are all, in day-to-day parlance, tech companies. But they’re very different businesses. The first earns its money by selling advertising space, the second is a food delivery business, and the third makes semiconductors. Facebook and DoorDash have heaps of proprietary software, but Qualcomm is the only company whose actual product is technology.
/bloom.bg/3tcB6Qe

Eventus Systems wins Best Sell-Side Market Surveillance Product in WatersTechnology’s 2021 Sell-Side Technology Awards
Eventus Systems
Eventus Systems, Inc., a leading global provider of multi-asset class trade surveillance and market risk solutions, announced that its Validus platform has won the award for Best Sell-Side Market Surveillance Product in WatersTechnology’s 2021 Sell-Side Technology Awards.
/bit.ly/3dXtZEK

Ant to Be Financial Holding Firm in Overhaul Forced by China
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Chinese regulators summoned Ant for meeting on April 12; Ant to fold all financial operations into holding firm
China told Ant Group Co. to become a financial holding company that will be regulated more like a bank, directing an overhaul that was set in motion when the fintech giant’s record initial public offering was abruptly halted last year. At a meeting on Monday, the central bank ordered Ant to rectify its business in five areas, including eliminating unfair competition in its payments business, managing liquidity risks in its major fund products, ending a monopoly on information and improving corporate governance, according to a government statement. It also told the firm to cut the outstanding value of its money-market fund Yu’ebao.
/bloom.bg/3daiDhF

Microsoft in Talks to Buy AI Firm Nuance Communications
Liana Baker, Kiel Porter, and Dina Bass – Bloomberg
Price under discussion would value Nuance at $56 a share; An agreement could be announced as soon as this week
Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology company Nuance Communications Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The price being discussed could value Nuance at about $56 a share, though the terms may still change, one of the people said. That would give Nuance an equity value of about $16 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The price would be a 23% premium to Friday’s close.
/bloom.bg/328lukU

Russell Fernandes And Mark Price Announced As Co-Founders Of 4OTC
Mondovisione
4OTC, the FinTech provider of connectivity services for Digital Assets and FX, today announced that Russell Fernandes and Mark Price have joined Alexis Atkinson as Co-Founders.
/bit.ly/3tfkU0v

Klarna is one of the biggest names in buy now, pay later. But cofounder Niklas Adalberth questions the consumerism at the heart of the $31 billion fintech.
Hayley Cuccinello – Insider
The pandemic has fueled online shopping and a boom in “buy now, pay later,” which allows shoppers to pay for purchases in installments. Chief among these fintech giants is Klarna, a Swedish firm that raised $1 billion last month at a valuation of $31 billion.
/bit.ly/3mGJ15C

J.P. Morgan ties up with BillDesk for online payments partnership
Saloni Shukla – Economic Times
Payments aggregator BillDesk on Monday announced a partnership with global financial institution J.P. Morgan to offer online payments solutions to the bank’s corporate clients in India. Through this partnership, J.P. Morgan’s clients in India will be able to independently initiate statutory and utility payments online with more than 100 merchants that BillDesk partners with, securely and without additional manual assistance from their partner banks.
/bit.ly/3g2Gxxi

Trustly announces plan for Nasdaq Stockholm IPO; Swedish payments company is latest fintech to signal intention to list on public markets
Richard Milne – FT
Swedish payments company Trustly has become the latest fintech start-up to announce its intention to list on the stock market, saying on Monday that it was seeking a valuation of about $9bn.
/on.ft.com/3te9I4d

‘Russia’s Amazon’ plans heavy investment and move into finance; Ozon boss takes another leaf out of tech giant’s playbook as he fends off emerging rivals
Max Seddon – FT
Ozon, Russia’s second-largest ecommerce player, will expand into financial services and groceries as it squares off against emerging rivals from the country’s finance and tech sectors who also want a piece of the rapidly growing market.
/on.ft.com/3tdaCy3

Iress partners with Cosaic to integrate ChartIQ with market data platform; Market data platform Iress Pro will gain access to Cosaic’s ChartIQ through a strategic partnership between the two FinTech firms
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Markets trading software provider Iress has partnered with FinTech Cosaic to integrate the firm’s charting software, ChartIQ, onto its market data platform, Iress Pro. Iress said the addition of ChartIQ will bring next generation charting capabilities to its clients, and incorporate pre-and post-trade analytics tools to help users visualise the complete lifecycle of a trade.
/bit.ly/3tbCZMN

Facial Recognition For Payments Authentication To Be Used By Over 1.4 Billion People Globally By 2025 – Growth Driven By Software-Based Capabilities And FaceID
MondoVisione
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of users of software-based facial recognition to secure payments will exceed 1.4 billion globally by 2025, from just 671 million in 2020. This rapid growth of 120% demonstrates how widespread facial recognition has become; fuelled by its low barriers to entry, a front-facing camera and appropriate software. The research identified the implementation of FaceID by Apple as accelerating the growth of the wider facial recognition market, despite the challenges to facial recognition during the pandemic with face mask use.
/bit.ly/3scytwv

Cryptocurrencies

The Future of Digital Currency May Be Chinese; China has led the world in electronic payments, and its central bank is pushing forward with its digital-currency plan. The U.S. needs to pay attention.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
Last year, the People’s Bank of China seized the opportunity presented by the pandemic to rush its central bank digital currency into the hands of Chinese consumers, conducting trials in three cities — Shenzhen, Suzhou and Chengdu — as well as the Xiong’an New Area near Beijing. Crucially, its design is two-tier, with the PBOC dealing with the existing state-owned commercial banks and other entities (including telecom and tech companies), not directly with households and firms. The abbreviation “DC/EP” (with the slash) captures this dual structure. The central bank controls the digital currency, but the electronic payment platforms can participate in the system, alongside the banks, as intermediaries to consumers and businesses. However, the easiest option for consumers will clearly be to withdraw “e-CNY” from bank ATM machines onto their smartphones’ e-wallets. The system even allows transactions to happen in the absence of an internet connection via “dual offline technology.” In 2018, I predicted there would soon be “bityuan.” I only got the name wrong.
/bloom.bg/3wNb4oF

Bitcoin Nears Record Before Largest U.S. Crypto Exchange Listing
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Token briefly surpasses $61,000 though short of all-time high; Coinbase is scheduled to go public on the Nasdaq on April 14
Bitcoin neared an all-time high on Monday as bullish sentiment gathered steam ahead of a listing by the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange. The token rose as much as 2.6% to $61,229, the highest in nearly a month, before falling back to trade little changed. On March 13, Bitcoin reached a record of $61,742. The cryptocurrency is up almost ninefold in the past year, a return that towers above that of more familiar assets like equities or bullion.
/bloom.bg/2Qhgxn0

Coinbase’s Lofty Valuation Might Erode as Crypto Markets Mature
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase Global Inc. is gearing up for what investors expect to be a blockbuster stock-market debut, though doubts persist about its lofty valuation. Coinbase plans to go public Wednesday through a direct listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The company, which runs the largest U.S. exchange for bitcoin and other digital currencies, could achieve a bigger market capitalization than any of the world’s traditional exchange operators. But it faces a number of threats, including competition in the fast-evolving cryptocurrency industry, that could undermine its stock price in the long run.
/on.wsj.com/3toi75r

Biden Team Eyes Potential Threat From China’s Digital Yuan
Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter. Now that China’s digital-currency efforts are gathering momentum, officials at the Treasury, State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council are bolstering their efforts to understand the potential implications, the people said. American officials are less worried about an immediate challenge to the current structure of the global financial system, but are eager to understand how the digital yuan will be distributed, and whether it could also be used to work around U.S. sanctions, the people said on the condition of anonymity.
/bloom.bg/3a4zQqK

SEC Begins Review of WisdomTree Bitcoin ETF as Active Applications Hit 8
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has kicked off its review of WisdomTree’s bitcoin ETF application, starting the countdown clock to a final decision. The SEC published a public notice Friday announcing it would begin evaluating the WisdomTree Bitcoin Trust, which the ETF giant filed with Cboe BZX Exchange. WisdomTree first filed for this ETF last month, but has previously attempted to launch a regulated financial product with exposure to cryptocurrencies. A bitcoin ETF would provide retail and institutional investors a chance to invest in a regulated financial product incorporating the world’s oldest cryptocurrency, without requiring them to invest in the crypto directly. This is seen as a potentially safer way to gain exposure to the still-young crypto sector, which can be volatile or frothy at times.
/bit.ly/3tcK4wS

Binance Allows Users to Trade Tokenized Stock Tokens Starting With Tesla
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is allowing its users to buy fractions of companies’ shares with a new tokenized stock trading service starting with Tesla. The crypto exchange announced Monday the launch of Binance Stock Tokens, zero-commission digital tokens which qualify holders for returns including dividends. From 1.35 p.m. UTC April 12, users will be able to buy fractions of Tesla shares which trade at $677 a share at the time of writing. Users will be able to purchase as little as one hundredth of a Tesla share, with prices settled in Binance USD (BUSD).
/bit.ly/32kGa9v

Web traffic to crypto exchanges dropped nearly 9% in March
MK Manoylov – The Block
Crypto exchange web traffic data compiled by The Block shows a slight decrease in volume between February and March. It follows several months of growth in monthly traffic to exchanges. Exchanges saw 395.2 million visitors in March. That was 8.5% less than February. Still, March had the third-highest crypto web traffic numbers on record. The second-highest number came in February, and the biggest traffic month ever for exchanges was back in January of 2018.
/bit.ly/3t7iYXQ

Bitcoin miner maker Canaan reports $68 million in 2020 revenue
Wolfie Zhao – The Block
Hangzhou-based bitcoin mining hardware maker Canaan estimates its Q1 revenue to be not less than 400 million yuan, or $61 million, which is already close to what it made for the year of 2020. The firm disclosed its earnings reports for Q4 on Monday, saying it made a gross profit of $5.8 million on a net revenue of $68 million for 2020. That means the average price for its 6.6 million terahashes second of computing power sold in 2020 was $10 per TH/s, which is much lower than market average.
/bit.ly/2Qf6j6O

JPMorgan Testing Blockchain Solution to Improve Transfers With Taiwanese Banks
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
JPMorgan announced Monday the launch of a blockchain solution that aims to reduce the number of rejected or returned payments. The U.S. banking giant is testing the solution “Confirm” with 12 banks in Taiwan including CTBC Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank and First Commercial Bank for money transfers to Indonesia using JPMorgan’s clearing solution “PayDirect.” The banks will be able to request and receive confirmation of beneficiaries’ account information in near-real time, according to JPMorgan’s announcement.
/bit.ly/2OJ94Ne

Crypto Long & Short: Peter Thiel Defines Bitcoin’s Accidental Role in Global Politics
Noelle Acheson – Coindesk
The battle over bitcoin’s evolving role just became a piece in a complex game of political strategy. Peter Thiel’s talk earlier this week at a Richard Nixon Foundation event thrust the cryptocurrency even further out onto the geopolitical stage and highlighted two important macro narratives that investors should keep an eye on, not just for their potential impact on crypto returns. Here’s one extract from his comments: “I do wonder whether bitcoin should be thought of as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S. It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the U.S. dollar.”
/bit.ly/3uGpy88

Politics

Millionaire Banker Beats Economist to Take Ecuador’s Presidency
Stephan Kueffner – Bloomberg
Guillermo Lasso, 65, will be sworn in as president next month; Win by Lasso set to reassure bondholders on upholding IMF plan
Career banker Guillermo Lasso won Ecuador’s presidential election after a late surge in support, reassuring bondholders in the default-prone country and shoring up U.S. ties. Lasso beat out economist Andres Arauz, a left-wing protege of former president Rafael Correa, by a clear margin in Sunday’s runoff vote. Arauz, who conceded defeat, won February’s first round by 13 percentage points.
/bloom.bg/3wNssKa

Texas Gov. Abbott says state is ‘very close’ to herd immunity. The data tells a different story.
Reis Thebault – Washington Post
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “simple math” is behind the recent decline of coronavirus cases in his state: Take the number of people who have been vaccinated and combine it with the number who have been infected. The result, he argued, is something “very close” to herd immunity — the point at which enough of the population is immune that the virus can no longer easily spread.
/wapo.st/2QhOCmO

Biden Team Eyes Potential Threat From China’s Digital Yuan
Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Officials want to understand implications of China’s efforts; Yuan makes up just a fraction of forex compared to dollar
The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency, according to people familiar with the matter.
/bloom.bg/3a4zQqK

More than 100 corporate executives hold call to discuss halting donations and investments to fight controversial voting bills
Todd C. Frankel – Washington Post
More than 100 chief executives and corporate leaders gathered online Saturday to discuss taking new action to combat the controversial state voting bills being considered across the country, including the one recently signed into law in Georgia. Executives from major airlines, retailers and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures, according to four people who were on the call, including one of the organizers, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor.
/wapo.st/3sf96dk

CEOs Plan New Push on Voting Legislation; Companies from PayPal to AMC have signaled they will support joining effort for voter access, people say
Emily Glazer, Chip Cutter and Te-Ping Chen – WSJ
Dozens of chief executives and other senior leaders gathered on Zoom this weekend to plot what several said big businesses should do next about new voting laws under way in Texas and other states. Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express Co. , and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., urged the leaders to collectively call for greater voting access, according to several people who attended. Messrs. Chenault and Frazier cautioned businesses against dropping the issue and asked CEOs to sign a statement opposing what they view as discriminatory legislation on voting, the people said.
/on.wsj.com/3ta9RWk

We Asked Congress’s Freshmen to Give Up Stock Trading. Few Were Willing; Playing individual stocks is a losing strategy more often than not, and it poses political risk. But only a handful of newly minted lawmakers saw it that way.
Ron Lieber – NY Times
It’s easy to forget that just a year ago, senators from both parties were under Justice Department scrutiny for potentially profiteering from the coronavirus with well-timed stock trades. Both of Georgia’s Republican senators took a pounding over their trading. Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who defeated Senator David Perdue, side-eyed Mr. Perdue’s transaction reports and declared him a crook. Mr. Perdue lost, and so did his Georgia colleague, Kelly Loeffler.
/nyti.ms/3mDpp2B

Regulation

Federal Court Orders The Alista Group, LLC and Florida Man to Pay More Than $2.6 Million in Precious Metals Fraud
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced today that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered an order granting the CFTC’s motion for entry of default judgment against defendants The Alista Group, LLC of Orlando, Florida and other locations, and Luis M. Pineda Palacios, a/k/a Luis Pineda of Orlando, Florida. The order finds that the defendants failed to answer the CFTC’s complaint which alleged that Alista and Pineda had engaged in precious metals fraud and illegal, off-exchange precious metals sales to retail customers.
/bit.ly/3mvIjs4

Swiss watchdog asked Credit Suisse on Greensill risks – SonntagsZeitung
Reuters Staff
The head of Switzerland’s financial regulator FINMA questioned Credit Suisse Group AG over risks in its dealings with now-insolvent finance firm Greensill Capital “months” before the bank was forced to close $10 billion of funds linked to Greensill, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday.
/reut.rs/328U6Do

Exclusive: China’s antitrust regulator bulking up as crackdown on behemoths widens
Reuters Staff
China’s competition watchdog is adding staff and other resources as it ramps up efforts to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour, especially among the country’s powerful companies, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
/reut.rs/3d7N0oW

BaFin Faces Criminal Probe Over Wirecard Supervision, Trades
Karin Matussek – Bloomberg
Frankfurt prosecutors open investigation after February visit; Case prompted by citizens’ complaints over handling of company
The fallout from the collapse of Wirecard AG continued as German financial regulator BaFin faces a criminal probe into how it oversaw the payment processor and whether some of the agency’s staff illegally traded the stock. Frankfurt prosecutors said Monday they opened the probe after reviewing information collected from BaFin in February when they visited the regulator’s offices.
/bloom.bg/3tc4V3k

Chinese regulators fine Alibaba record $2.8bn; Ecommerce group penalised for abusing market dominance as Beijing steps up scrutiny of tech sector
Ryan McMorrow and Yuan Yang – FT
Chinese regulators have fined Alibaba a record Rmb18.2bn after finding that the ecommerce group had abused its market dominance. The $2.8bn penalty, which was set at 4 per cent of Alibaba’s 2019 revenues, concludes an antitrust investigation into the company founded by Jack Ma. It comes as Chinese authorities have stepped up scrutiny on dealmaking and anti-competitive practices in its once lightly regulated technology sector.
/on.ft.com/3daoZ0e

Goldsky director charged with dishonest conduct
ASIC
On 12 April 2021, Kenneth Charles Grace appeared in the Tweed Heads Local Court charged with eight counts of engaging in dishonest conduct and one count of operating a financial services business without a licence. At the relevant time, Mr Grace was the Director of Goldsky Asset Management Australia Pty Ltd, Goldsky Global Access Fund Pty Ltd and Goldsky Investments Pty Ltd (Goldsky) as well as a US-based company, Goldsky Asset Management LLC.
/bit.ly/3sjQsBj

Ainsworth writes down assets
ASIC
ASIC notes the decision by Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (Ainsworth) to write down certain assets in its financial report for the half-year ended 31 December 2020. Ainsworth reported impairment of non-financial assets of its Latin American business of $23.1 million, an increase in estimated expected credit losses on trade receivables of $6.0 million and $3.4 million in inventory write-downs.
/bit.ly/3mGJKE7

SEC Awards Approximately $2.5 Million to Whistleblower
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of approximately $2.5 million to a whistleblower whose information and ongoing assistance to the staff significantly contributed to the success of an SEC enforcement action.
/bit.ly/2QevPZK

FINRA Reminds Members About Options Account Approval, Supervision and Margin Requirements
FINRA
With the recent increase in the number of customers seeking to open brokerage accounts and trade options, FINRA reminds members of the requirements for determining whether to approve a customer to trade options. Regardless of whether the account is self-directed or options are being recommended, members must perform due diligence on the customer and collect information about the customer to support a determination that options trading is appropriate for the customer. In addition, FINRA reminds members that options accounts are subject to specific supervisory reviews, including, among others, reviewing the compatibility of options transactions with investment objectives and with the types of transactions for which the account was approved, and are subject to other FINRA rules that apply when opening customer accounts, including among others, customer identification requirements under anti-money laundering rules. FINRA also reminds members of the margin requirements for options transactions.
/bit.ly/3d8Ums8

Investing and Trading

Simple Math Is About to Cause an Inflation Problem
Reade Pickert – Bloomberg
No economic question is being debated more hotly right now than whether the U.S. will see a sharp rise in inflation. But the answer for the next few months is simple: Yes. Due to the way the government’s inflation metrics are calculated, what will appear to be significant price increases are all but guaranteed. The phenomenon is known as the base effect, a term worth keeping in mind when new figures make the argument even wilder.
/bloom.bg/3gaWU

Larry Summers: ‘I’m concerned that what is being done is substantially excessive’; Former treasury secretary criticises the scale of Biden’s fiscal policy and warns it could lead to overheating and wasted resources
Martin Wolf – FT
The world economy is struggling to escape the economic shock of Covid-19. During the worst of this pandemic, high-income countries provided a scale of fiscal and monetary largesse previously only seen in world wars.
/on.ft.com/3uGWNYW

Fed’s Powell says reopening economy too quickly could cause new coronavirus spike; In a ’60 Minutes’ interview, the top central banker said the pandemic still controls the fate of the economic recovery
Rachel Siegel – Washington Post
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned in an interview broadcast Sunday that reopening the economy too quickly could lead to another worrisome jump in coronavirus cases, arguing that the country has not completely turned the corner and that the pandemic continues to pose major risks to any recovery.
/wapo.st/3s6en77

Bloomberg Confirms its BSBY Short-Term Credit Sensitive Index Adheres to IOSCO Principles
Bloomberg
Bloomberg today announced that an independent assurance review of the Bloomberg Short-Term Bank Yield Index (BSBY) confirmed that the short-term credit sensitive index adheres to the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Principles for Financial Benchmarks. The review was conducted by a global, independent accounting firm and the final report is expected to be available shortly.
/bloom.bg/3mF7atn

U.K.’s Longest-Maturity Bond Offer Has Buyers Waiting to Pounce
James Hirai – Bloomberg
DMO is selling gilts maturing in 2071 twice this quarter; 50-year debt sales have seen record oversubscription rates
U.K. bond investors eager for the government to sell more of its longest-dated debt appear to have gotten their way. A bond auction on Tuesday will include a 1 billion-pound ($1.37 billion) offering of gilts maturing in 2071 with more scheduled for sale in June. Minutes of a conference call with the Debt Management Office last month revealed investors asked for more of the bonds because there isn’t enough to go around. It also cited dealers reporting strong demand for the longest-dated gilts.
/bloom.bg/2PZqju6

Inflation Is the Only Signal That the Post-Covid Boom Will Heed
Ben Holland – Bloomberg
Economists are steadily ditching other cues to tighten policy; Deficit warnings fall flat; full employment is a moving target
Economics used to offer lots of metrics that claimed to show when growing economies were approaching some kind of speed limit. But increasingly, inflation is the only one that’s taken seriously. A lasting surge in prices would likely convince policy makers that it’s time to tap the brakes on expansionary measures adopted in the pandemic, like high public spending or low borrowing costs. That’s why Tuesday’s consumer-price data in the U.S. will be so closely watched — though it’ll take more than a single month’s numbers to change minds.
/bloom.bg/3dancbR

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Goldman Sachs Says Humans Beat Algorithms When It Comes to ESG
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has found that successful sustainable investment decisions require a human touch that algorithms have so far been unable to match. In Copenhagen, where Goldman is expanding to grab more of the cash-rich Nordic asset management market, smart environmental, social and governance investing calls are key to winning business. And as Nordic countries blaze a trail in all things ESG, whatever works in the region is likely to become a template for other parts of the world.
/bloom.bg/2QfucLx

Fannie Mae Green Bonds May Inspire Canada ESG Mortgage Debt
Esteban Duarte – Bloomberg
Bonds to help vulnerable groups including seniors, refugees; The instruments could also be used to retrofit buildings
Fannie Mae could be among green and social debt issuers worldwide that Canadian lenders could look to as the North American country seeks to bridge a funding gap of as much as C$120 billion ($95 billion) for affordable housing as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government’s housing agency said.
/bloom.bg/3mEbIAl

A carbon registry leaves polluters with nowhere left to hide; Fossil-fuel producers’ lack of transparency is hampering our chances of halting global warming
Mark Campanale – FT
No one yet knows which countries will extract the last barrel of oil, therm of gas or seam of coal. But the jostling has started. Every nation has reasons to believe it has the “right” to continue fossil fuel extraction, leaving others to deal with the climate crisis.
/on.ft.com/3scgg1S

Japan’s GPIF, forerunner on ESG investing, pulls back as trend catches on
Shoko Oda, Emi Urabe and Chikafumi Hodo – Japan Times
After taking over the helm of the world’s biggest pension fund in 2015, Hiromichi Mizuno helped chart a course that not only made sustainable investing big in Japan, but also raised the strategy’s global profile. The Government Pension Investment Fund’s former chief investment officer sidestepped public bemusement and criticism at home, as he sought to turn GPIF into a fund that — as one Harvard Business Review article put it — tried to “change the world” through its approach to environmental, social and governance investing. But at a time when the pandemic has accelerated the global push toward ESG themes, the ¥178 trillion fund seems to be mostly treading water.
/bit.ly/3a6qydN

BlackRock Has Launched Two Behemoth Sustainable ETFs. What to Know.
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
BlackRock’s plan to double the number of sustainable exchange-traded funds it offers to 150 by the end of this year is on track, thanks in part to two new mammoth ETFs. BlackRock on Thursday launched the BlackRock U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTU) and the BlackRock World ex U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (LCTD), which are benchmarked to the Russell 1000 index and the MSCI World ex-USA index, respectively. The launches, after a record number of billion-dollar disasters in 2020, show that sustainable investing is “mainstream,” particularly as countries and companies adopt net-zero carbon emissions targets in concordance with the Paris agreement on climate change, says Carolyn Weinberg, BlackRock’s head of product for its ETF operation, iShares. “Sustainable characteristics matter,” Weinberg says.
/bit.ly/3mJikgL

Business schools urged to integrate ESG topics in core courses
Sarah Murray – FT
When Erika Karp started her MBA in 1989, the term “sustainable development” had barely entered the corporate lexicon — let alone the business school curriculum. But even today, with sustainability at the top of the commercial agenda, Karp — who went on to found the impact investment group Cornerstone Capital — thinks business schools must do more to integrate social and environmental topics into their courses. She says one part of her Columbia Business School MBA was highly relevant to her work in sustainable finance, even back then. “One of the best courses was called managing innovation,” recalls Karp, who now works as chief impact officer at Pathstone, the US family office that this year acquired her firm. “The term the professor used was ‘frame-breaking change’. And what I saw in the world of sustainability and impact investing was potentially frame-breaking change.”
/on.ft.com/2RiH6IX

Institutions

Credit Suisse Plans Hedge Fund Unit Overhaul After Archegos Hit
Ambereen Choudhury and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Bank already started reducing risk by changing financing terms; Swiss lender considering cuts to business in coming months
Credit Suisse Group AG is planning a sweeping overhaul of the hedge fund business at the center of the Archegos Capital blow up, as the drama forces Wall Street banks to reconsider how they finance some of their most lucrative clients. The Swiss bank is weighing significant cuts to its prime brokerage arm in coming months, people familiar with the plan said. The lender has already moved to tighten financing terms with some funds, and hopes changes to the unit can allow it to forgo major cuts to other parts of the investment bank, which just had a banner quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.
/bloom.bg/3wJwKSz

Harvard-Backed TPRV to Unwind Hedge Fund, Return Outside Cash
Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
Harvard-backed TPRV Capital is shutting down its hedge fund after investors pulled their cash. After three-and-a-half years, “we are unwinding the fund and returning all remaining capital to our investors,” the firm wrote in a letter to clients Friday. Institutional investors have been redeeming either due to disappointment over the fund’s performance or because they were reallocating their cash away from fixed-income relative value or volatility strategies, Chief Operating Officer Luca Toscani said in an interview.
/bloom.bg/3dan8sz

Ark ETF crossholdings draw scrutiny over potentially fraught linkages; Space Exploration and Innovation ETF is largest shareholder in sister 3D Printing fund
Steve Johnson – FT
Cathie Wood’s Ark space exploration ETF has become the biggest holder of another one of the investment manager’s funds, a move that has stirred concern among some analysts who worry about potentially fraught linkages.
/on.ft.com/3daod3t

Millennium builds out risk management with ex-Goldman Sachs hires; Hedge fund is set on business expansion after navigating market volatility through pandemic
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Millennium Management, one of the biggest hedge fund winners from last year’s coronavirus-driven market turmoil, has further beefed up its risk management by hiring three former Goldman Sachs partners.
/on.ft.com/326y6Jd

Regions

Norway’s Sovereign Hedge Fund Prepares to Flex Its Muscles; Nicolai Tangen has been in charge of the world’s biggest wealth fund since September. He’s starting to steer a riskier course.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
What happens when a hedge fund star takes charge of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, with $1.3 trillion to play with? The fund starts to act a little less like a massive index tracker, and a little more like an adventurous hedge fund. So far, the shifts are subtle. But how much risk could wind up being too much for the owner of about 1.5% of the world’s equities?
/bloom.bg/3g4Z2RU

Singapore Dealer Prepares Vault for 15,000 Tons of Silver
Ranjeetha Pakiam and Yvonne Yue Li – Bloomberg
Warehouses from U.S. to Asia are being set up to meet demand; Analysts see silver outperforming gold on retail, solar buying
Inside a six-story high warehouse near Singapore’s Changi airport, a vast hangar-like space is waiting to be filled with a precious metal that usually plays second fiddle to its more lustrous sibling. The vault that’s being built by Silver Bullion Pte Ltd. will — when completed in the first half of next year — be able to store 15,000 tons of silver. It’s only holding around 400 tons of the metal at the moment, but the vacant space is an indication that silver appears to be on the cusp of a promising few years.
/bloom.bg/3mGOfON

Grab’s $34 Billion SPAC Deal Puts Southeast Asia Tech on the Map
Yoolim Lee, Manuel Baigorri, Abhishek Vishnoi, and Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Sea Ltd. will have good company soon in Grab, Traveloka, Gojek; Region lags China and the U.S. in showcasing internet economy
Grab Holdings Inc. and Traveloka are poised to become public companies in coming months, kickstarting a coming-out party for Southeast Asia’s long-overlooked internet scene.
/bloom.bg/3mIlyBo

Total Signs Agreements with Uganda on East Africa Oil Project
Fred Ojambo and Paul Burkhardt – Bloomberg
Cnooc also a partner in project to produce and transport crude; Development will make East African nation significant exporter
Total SE signed agreements along with Ugandan officials for an oil development set to transform the East African nation into a significant crude producer and exporter. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne was among those who signed deals Sunday, according to a broadcast of the ceremony attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The agreements faced multiple delays since the first commercial discoveries of oil were made 15 years ago. China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, Cnooc Ltd., and Uganda National Oil Co. are also partners who participated.
/bloom.bg/2Qix8qJ

Huawei, HSBC Strike Deal in Hong Kong Over Documents in Extradition Fight; Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou believes documents will help in her battle against extradition from Canada to the U.S.
Dan Strumpf – WSJ
A monthslong legal fight by Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to obtain documents from HSBC Holdings HSBC -1.29% PLC as part of her battle against extradition to the U.S. resulted in a settlement in a Hong Kong courtroom. At a hearing in Hong Kong’s High Court on Monday, lawyers for Ms. Meng and HSBC confirmed that the two sides had struck a deal over the documents. Ms. Meng believes the papers will help her legal fight in Canada, where she is in hearings to try to prevent her extradition on charges related to alleged sanctions-busting sales to Iran.
/on.wsj.com/3tdpUmf

Brexit

Boris Johnson Can Limit Brexit’s Economic Damage; Could the split with the EU actually help fix the U.K.’s productivity gap?
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Last week, the U.K.’s opposition Labour Party broke its three-month silence over Brexit to accuse the government of hiding evidence by not publishing an economic impact assessment. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves cited Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that leaving the European Union has reduced Britain’s gross domestic product by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2021 and will lead to a 4% hit to U.K. productivity over the longer term.
/bloom.bg/323X3VA

‘Hostile’ EU’s Vaccine Spat With U.K. Boosts Support for Brexit
Tim Ross – Bloomberg
British voters’ attitudes are hardening against the European Union in the wake of the clashes between London and Brussels over coronavirus vaccines that have marked the 100 days since the U.K. completed its divorce from the bloc. A new Bloomberg poll shows support for Brexit has grown since the historic 2016 referendum, and almost two-thirds of adults believe that being outside the EU helped the U.K.’s vaccination program to succeed. In the survey of 2,002 people conducted online by JL Partners for Bloomberg, 67% of respondents said the EU has behaved in a “hostile” way toward Britain in the dispute over vaccine supplies. Just 13% said the bloc had acted like an “ally and a friend.”
/bloom.bg/3g0eCy4

UK MPs and business figures seek to improve Brexit trade deal
Peter Foster – FT
A cross-party group of MPs and several business figures have set up an independent commission to scrutinise and improve the UK’s trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world. The move comes after the government in January ordered the closure of a House of Commons select committee with a remit to examine Britain’s relations with the EU, leading to accusations from MPs that it was avoiding scrutiny of the Brexit trade deal. The new trade and business commission, which formally launches this week, will involve MPs from all political parties and include Hilary Benn, Labour chair of the now defunct Commons committee on the future relationship with the EU.
/on.ft.com/324qy9O

Brexit Britain’s Biggest Test Might Be the Ability to Survive
Rodney Jefferson and Dara Doyle – Bloomberg
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a fondness for grand projects, but few are as eye-catching as the proposal for a physical link over the Irish Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Whether a multi-billion-pound pipe dream or a token of ambition befitting the post-Brexit era, a feasibility study is underway as part of the government’s review of how to better bind the United Kingdom and its four constituent nations. A more immediate concern may be whether the link could one day connect two independent states that are no longer part of the U.K. As Britain marks 100 days since turning its back on the European Union, tussles have broken out with the continent over issues from customs checks to vaccination shots and financial services.
/bloom.bg/3sc9JUQ

Almost Half of U.K. Exporters Say Sales Dropped After Brexit
Lucy Meakin – Bloomberg
U.K. exporters reported lower sales in the first quarter after Covid-19 and the completion of Brexit added to shipping delays, higher transport costs and more extensive paperwork. The British Chambers of Commerce said 41% of businesses had lower revenue from overseas sales in the first quarter of the year, up from 38% in the final three months of 2020. Hotels, retailers and catering firms were the worst hit, according to the group’s survey of more than 2,900 U.K. exporters. The figures add to evidence that Britain’s exit from the European Union has upended supply chains also damaged by the pandemic. Companies have been complaining about additional red tape such as export health certificates to shift goods into the bloc. The goverment has described border friction as “teething problems.”
/bloom.bg/2QihcVa

EU and UK edge towards accord on trade rules for Northern Ireland
Jim Brunsden, Laura Noonan, and George Parker – FT
The UK and the EU are making progress in talks on how to apply post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, raising hopes of an agreement that could help reduce tensions that have spilled over into violence on the streets of Belfast. Officials on both sides said that recent days of intensive contacts had given cause for optimism that the UK and EU can craft a “work plan” on how to implement the Northern Ireland protocol, which sets the post-Brexit terms for goods to flow between the region and Great Britain. EU Brexit commissioner Maros Sefcovic and his UK counterpart David Frost may meet to review progress this week.
/on.ft.com/3mDvD2p

U.K. Business Leader Optimism at All-Time High as Lockdown Eases
Lucy Meakin – Bloomberg
U.K. business leaders were the most optimistic on record last quarter as the country set out its plan to exit Covid restrictions and Brexit risks receded. The upswing in confidence helped push expectations for hiring and business investment to their highest levels in almost six years, according to a survey of chief financial officers by Deloitte. Respondents said they anticipate a strong recovery in profits over the next year. The brighter outlook reflects the easing of lockdown curbs amid a mass vaccination program and hopes that disruptions caused by Britain leaving the European Union will dissipate this year. Companies that sought to minimize new spending on staff and equipment last year are now moving away from defensive strategies, the poll found.
/bloom.bg/3fYgU0G

Miscellaneous

Why We’re Freaking Out About Substack; A company that makes it easy to charge for newsletters has captivated an anxious industry because it embodies larger forces and contradictions.
Ben Smith – NY Times
Danny Lavery had just agreed to a two-year, $430,000 contract with the newsletter platform Substack when I met him for coffee last week in Brooklyn, and he was deciding what to do with the money. “I think the thing that I’m the most looking forward to about this is to start a retirement account,” said Mr. Lavery, who founded the feminist humor blog The Toast and will be giving up an advice column in Slate.
/nyti.ms/3g2BhK4

Vox Media to Buy Owner of Preet Bharara’s Podcast; Bharara, a former Manhattan U.S. attorney, will join Vox Media as a host and creative director
Benjamin Mullin – WSJ
Vox Media said it is acquiring Cafe Studios Inc., publisher of a popular podcast hosted by former Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, part of a bid to expand its growing audio business. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal. Mr. Bharara will join Vox Media as a host, co-founder and creative director of Cafe, which will continue to exist as a brand. Mr. Bharara will report to Vox Media Studios President Marty Moe.
/on.wsj.com/3tb6NcD

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