European court rules failure to cut greenhouse gases violates citizens’ rights

Apr 9, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

I missed the April 1 tell at the top of the AI story I mentioned yesterday. It was a well-told yarn for April Fools’ Day and I was played the fool. SIMONE, I owe you one.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is hosting the 43rd annual SEC Small Business Forum on April 16-18 from 1:00-2:30pm ET. The forum will feature speakers discussing various topics related to capital-raising, including early-stage successes and challenges, building ecosystems for small businesses, and experiences of small-cap companies going public. Participants can register to attend and submit policy recommendations in advance by April 12th. Registered attendees can ask questions live during the event and prioritize capital-raising policy recommendations at the end of each session.

Former CME Executive William Knottenbelt has announced a new role on LinkedIn as a board advisor at Modelomni. Knottenbelt aims to enhance market coverage, client development, and technology utilization at Modelomni, which addresses challenges in improving trading strategy performance in financial markets. Using AI technology, Modelomni boosts traders’ abilities by providing Alpha uplift with low risk through optimized trade timing and execution. The product is currently adopted by various investment firms and family offices.

The Greenwood Project is offering a variety of volunteer opportunities aimed at making a meaningful impact on the next generation of leaders. Whether you prefer virtual or in-person engagement, there’s an option to suit your preference. Virtual Spring Sessions allow you to share your professional expertise with scholars focusing on specific career paths, while Jam Sessions offer the chance to impart industry skills to small groups of eager learners. Lunch & Learns provide an opportunity to offer insights into industry roles and topics where you excel, and Mock Interviews enable you to help scholars practice their interviewing skills and prepare for job opportunities. To get involved, simply fill out the form to sign up and feel free to share with your network.

Acuiti, in partnership with Broadridge, released a report titled “State of the Market: FCMs’ Front-Office,” examining FCM front-office operations and investment strategies for enhanced efficiency and resilience.

KalshiEX LLC has self-certified Swap (Binary Option) contracts with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), allowing traders to speculate on various events such as whether Tesla will unveil the Robotaxi before a certain date, whether Alexandre de Moraes will leave the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil before a certain date or if Brazil will ban/unban X.

In the latest episode of the Alpha Exchange podcast series hosted by Dean Curnutt, CEO of Macro Risk Advisors, Mandy Xu, head of derivatives market intelligence at Cboe Global Markets, discusses various aspects of financial markets, risk management, and capital allocation within the alternatives industry. Xu explores critical market risk indicators such as skew, implied correlation, and the innovative VIXHY (high yield), alongside insights into ODTE and the nuanced dynamics of capital flows, shedding light on the motivations driving buyers and sellers in today’s market landscape.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
LCH SA gains regulatory approval to clear cash-settled Bitcoin index derivatives from The Trade.
Volatility Forum 2024 Part II: All Options Considered from Bloomberg.
Oil funds turn bullish as Mideast conflict intensifies from Reuters. ~JB

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


Tesla’s Musk predicts AI will be smarter than the smartest human next year
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Monday predicted development of artificial intelligence that was smarter than the smartest human probably by next year, or by 2026. In a wide-ranging interview on X spaces that suffered multiple technology glitches, Musk also told Norway wealth fund CEO Nicolai Tangen that AI was constrained by the availability of electricity and that the next version of Grok, the AI chatbot from his xAI startup, was expected to be trained by May.

***** And just like that, Cliff Clavin was supplanted as the smartest human.~JJL


Swiss Failed Citizens on Climate, Human Rights Court Says; Ruling hinges on link between climate change and human rights; Plaintiffs cited forest fires, flooding as threats to life
Hugo Miller and Olivia Rudgard – Bloomberg
Switzerland failed to protect its citizens from the ravages of climate change, the European Court of Human Rights said in a landmark ruling likely to have ramifications across the continent. In a first-of-its-kind case, brought by four women and a Swiss senior-citizens’ association, the Strasbourg, France-based court ruled on Tuesday by a margin of 16 to one that the “Swiss Confederation had failed to comply with its duties” concerning climate change and so violated their right to respect for private and family life.

***** The U.S. could use a human rights court.~JJL


‘Corporate bullying’: Abrdn CIO slams press’ jabs at the company’s rebranded name
Sophie Kiderlin – CNBC
The press making jabs at the current name of asset manager Abrdn, which was rebranded from ‘Standard Life Aberdeen’, amounts to “corporate bullying,” the firm’s chief investment officer Peter Branner said. The firm announced its renaming in April 2021 and has faced consistent ridicule, jokes and jibes in the media since then. In a statement released at the time, the firm said its name was pronounced “Aberdeen”, as if the vowels remained included, and that the rebranding marked “the next stage in the reshaping of the business and future-focused growth strategy”. The firm’s CEO then described the new brand name as “modern,” “dynamic,” and “engaging.”

****** Pat, I would like to buy a vowel and solve the puzzle. E. Aberdeen. ~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was the Financial Times’ Bears and wolves stray into European politics, which was number two on Friday. Second was ‘I Am Worried’-Fed President Issues ‘Incredible’ Bitcoin Price Prediction Amid Shock Inflation Warning, from Forbes. Third was Dimon Likens AI’s Transformational Impact to Steam Engine, from Bloomberg.



Lead Stories

European court rules failure to cut greenhouse gases violates citizens’ rights; Case was brought against Switzerland by a 2,000-strong group of women
Alice Hancock – Financial Times
Europe’s top human rights court has ruled that a government’s failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions can be considered a violation of citizens’ rights, in a decision that will set a benchmark for future climate litigation. The case brought against Switzerland by a 2,000-strong group of senior Swiss women, aged mainly in their 70s, was successful on the grounds that it failed to protect citizens from the “serious adverse effects of climate change on lives, health, wellbeing and quality of life” by not meeting its own climate targets.

*****This story from Reuters, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Washington Post, Bloomberg and The Guardian.

Citadel Securities moves data and algorithm testing to Google Cloud; Miami-based market maker’s shift shows developing relationship between Big Tech and financial markets
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities has moved the testing of the algorithms that power its millions of trades a day into the cloud to cope with the vast quantities of data thrown up by financial markets. The Miami-based market maker has switched storage of trading data and running the programmes that simulate price moves out of its own servers and into Google’s cloud computing service, it told the Financial Times.

The Black Market That Delivers Elon Musk’s Starlinks to U.S. Foes; The satellite-internet devices are helping Russian fighters in Ukraine and paramilitary forces in Sudan; SpaceX hasn’t shut them off
Thomas Grove, Nicholas Bariyo, Micah Maidenberg, Emma Scott and Ian Lovett – The Wall Street Journal
A salesman at Moscow-based online retailer has supplemented his usual business of peddling vacuum cleaners and dashboard phone mounts by selling dozens of Starlink internet terminals that wound up with Russians on the front lines in Ukraine. Although Russia has banned the use of Starlink, the satellite-internet service developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, middlemen have proliferated in recent months to buy the user terminals and ship them to Russian forces. That has eroded a battlefield advantage once enjoyed by Ukrainian forces, which also rely on the cutting-edge devices.

Public Markets Are the New Private Markets; DXYZ, crypto securities law, shadow trading and the cost of firing French traders.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
A not uncommon situation is: You are an employee of a hot tech startup, you own stock in your startup, but you can’t sell it. One reason that you might not be able to sell it is that the company isn’t public yet, so the shares aren’t listed on the stock exchange and there is no easy way to sell them. But that problem can be overcome: People want to buy the stocks of hot private startups, there are online marketplaces and brokers looking for shares, and probably with a bit of effort you could find a buyer.

Yuan Trading in Russian FX Market Again Grows to Record in March
The share of yuan trading on Russia’s foreign exchange market reached a new high in March as its importance in the country’s economy continues to grow. The turnover of exchange-traded yuan amounted to 53%, while its share in over-the-counter trading also set a record of 39.6%, according to the Bank of Russia’s financial risk review for March. After Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed by the US and its allies, Moscow sought to rapidly reduce the role of dollars and euros in its economy as it redirected trade toward Asia and away from Europe.

Crypto Trader’s Criminal Trial Tests ‘Code Is Law’ Claim
David Voreacos and Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
A jailed trader accused of stealing $110 million on the Mango Markets exchange faces a criminal trial this week that will test the reach of a US crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Prosecutors charged Avraham Eisenberg with manipulating Mango Markets futures contracts on Oct. 11, 2022, to boost the price of swaps by 1,300% in 20 minutes. He then “borrowed” from the exchange against the inflated value of those contracts, a move the government claims was a theft.

‘Social order could collapse, resulting in wars’: 2 of Japan’s top firms fear unchecked AI, warning humans are ‘easily fooled’
Chris Morris – Fortune
Japan’s largest telecommunications company and largest newspaper have issued a stark warning about the artificial intelligence, saying that if it’s allowed to go unchecked, it could result in the collapse of society as we know it. The technology is also “expected to improve labor productivity to a certain degree,” they add. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) and Yomiuri Shimbun Group Holdings on Monday released a joint proposal on shaping generative AI, urging officials to revise laws surrounding the technology and saying AI is already having negative impacts on users.

Collateral Renaissance: from ugly duckling to market powerhouse; The industry has no choice. It must modernise, automate and optimise its processes or risk falling behind, market experts tell Sophie Downes
Securities Finance Times
Collateral management was once viewed as the “ugly duckling” of the financial services suite, according to Gael Delaunay, global head of collateral management at Clearstream. And much like Anderson’s fairy-tale classic, collateral has morphed into a captivating market player. Penned by Delaunay as “a fully-fledged trading activity driving profit and loss”, the service is now a vital aspect of the securities finance ecosystem. Owing to its growing importance, it also warrants significant discussion. Amid rising interest rates, operational costs and regulatory pressures, a robust collateral framework is more important than ever.

JPMorgan says CEO transition is a top priority, cites potential Dimon successors
Manya Saini and Nupur Anand – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase’s board said an orderly CEO transition was a top priority for the largest U.S. bank in the medium term, more than 18 years after Jamie Dimon took the helm. The board is “spending significant time on developing operating committee members who are well-known to shareholders as strong potential CEO candidates,” it said in a proxy statement. They include Jennifer Piepszak and Troy Rohrbaugh, recently appointed co-CEOs of JPMorgan’s expanded commercial and investment bank, Marianne Lake, CEO of consumer and community banking, and Mary Erdoes, CEO of asset and wealth management.

Jamie Dimon says America ‘slept’ while China stealthily established itself as an economic powerhouse
Eleanor Pringle – Fortune
Jamie Dimon used his annual shareholder letter from JPMorgan Chase to highlight America’s need to engage with China, a nation he says has established itself as a “potential superpower” with the influence to rival that of the U.S. However, the self-professed “full-throated, red-blooded, patriotic, unwoke, capitalist CEO” said while collaboration between the two countries is key, it’s his home nation that should be setting the global political and economic agenda.

Elon Musk predicts AI will overtake human intelligence next year; Tesla chief says infrastructure will need to keep up with technology’s demands as he seeks investment for own start-up
George Hammond – Financial Times
The capability of new artificial intelligence models will surpass human intelligence by the end of next year, so long as the supply of electricity and hardware can satisfy the demands of the increasingly powerful technology, according to Elon Musk. “My guess is that we’ll have AI that is smarter than any one human probably around the end of next year,” said the billionaire entrepreneur, who runs Tesla, X and SpaceX. Within the next five years, the capabilities of AI will probably exceed that of all humans, Musk predicted on Monday during an interview on X with Nicolai Tangen, the chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management.

Ukraine Invasion

Russian trolls target U.S. support for Ukraine, Kremlin documents show
Catherine Belton and Joseph Menn – The Washington Post
When President Biden proposed an additional $24 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine in August, Moscow spin doctors working for the Kremlin were ready to try to undermine public support for the bill, internal Kremlin documents show. In an ongoing campaign that seeks to influence congressional and other political debates to stoke anti-Ukraine sentiment, Kremlin-linked political strategists and trolls have written thousands of fabricated news articles, social media posts and comments that promote American isolationism, stir fear over the United States’ border security and attempt to amplify U.S. economic and racial tensions, according to a trove of internal Kremlin documents obtained by a European intelligence service and reviewed by The Washington Post.

Putin seeks emergency petrol as Russia runs on fumes
James Titcomb – The Telegraph
Russia has reportedly asked Kazakhstan to supply it with petrol as Ukrainian attacks on its refineries force it to import gasoline. Kazakhstan has been asked to set up a reserve of 100,000 tonnes of gasoline, equivalent to 845,000 barrels, to supply Russia should shortages arise, Reuters reported.

Iran’s Better, Stealthier Drones Are Remaking Global Warfare
Peter Waldman – Bloomberg
In January, rebels fighting the Sudanese army shot down a drone near Khartoum. As jubilant gunmen posted video of the wreckage on social media, they offered a fresh data point on how Iranian technology is remaking the global weapons trade. The drone in the video, which is clearly modeled after Iran’s Ababil model – the workhorse of paramilitaries across the Middle East since it was developed in the 1990s – reflected a design tweak: Its two front tires, instead of the usual one, provided actual battlefield evidence that Sudan is modifying the Iranian drone into its own weapon, which it calls the Zagel-3.

Eggs, Ammo and Underwear: Inside Ukraine’s New Push Against Military Graft; Renewed efforts to overhaul procurement follow a series of scandals that provoked outcry in Ukraine and disquiet among allies
Isabel Coles and Ievgeniia Sivorka – The Wall Street Journal
Masked Ukrainian security officers have raided properties, seized wads of cash and detained suspects in a recent crackdown on graft in the purchase of goods for the military ranging from eggs to artillery shells. At the same time, a quieter operation is being waged by a new team of professionals including a former energy executive called Maryna Bezrukova. From her office in a gleaming business center in Kyiv, she is on a quest to save money and ensure new arms contracts are untainted.

Everyone Wants to Seize Russia’s Money. It’s a Terrible Idea.
Christopher Caldwell – The New York Times
The Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, has brought a glimmer of hope to supporters of the Ukrainian war effort. He suggested to Fox News on March 31 that he would try to rally his divided party behind the so-called REPO Act. That piece of legislation would allow President Biden, working with European allies, to seize Russian currency reserves frozen in the West and use them to aid Ukraine. Grabbing these reserves would be politically convenient. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States and its allies have thrown more than a quarter-trillion dollars into the war, to little ultimate effect. Ukraine has lately suffered a string of battlefield defeats. Prolonging the war is a project that Americans of all political leanings have been steadily less willing to fund through taxes.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Hezbollah shoots down ‘$5m Israeli drone’
Cameron Henderson – The Telegraph
Hezbollah fighters have shot down an advanced Israeli drone worth an estimated $5 million. Footage of the incident posted on social media shows a drone on fire, nosediving to earth over Lebanese territory, Iran-aligned media outlet Al Mayadeen reported. Hezbollah claimed it was a Hermes 900 model.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Miami International Holdings Announces Troy Kane Joins Executive Management Team as President of MGEX
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH), a technology-driven leader in building and operating regulated financial markets across multiple asset classes and geographies, today announced Troy Kane has joined the company as President of Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEXâ„¢) where he will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the exchange. Mr. Kane has also been appointed CEO of MIAX Futures, a newly formed company that will manage the futures businesses of MIH where he will be responsible for the development of the company’s futures business strategy. Mark Bagan will continue as CEO of MGEX during a transition period after which time he is expected to continue with MGEX as Executive Vice Chairman of the Board.

Amendments to CME, CBOT, and NYMEX/COMEX Rule 539.C. (“Pre-Execution Communications Regarding Globex Trades”) to Decommission the Agency Cross (“A-Cross”) Crossing Protocol
CME Group
Effective on trade date April 22, 2024, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME”), The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. (“CBOT”), New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX”), and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (“COMEX”) (collectively, the “Exchanges”) will amend CME, CBOT, and NYMEX/COMEX Rule 539.C. (“Pre-Execution Communications Regarding Globex Trades”) in connection with the decommissioning of the Agency Cross (“A-Cross”) crossing protocol.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Options on Euro Short-Term Rate (euroSTR) Futures Contract – Effective May 20, 2024
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Options on Euro Short-Term Rate (euroSTR) Futures Contract

Euronext announces volumes for March 2024
Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today announced trading volumes for March 2024. Monthly and historical volume tables are available at this address: .

GPW Benchmark launched the GPWB-CENTR regional index; GPW Benchmark started publishing the new regional index GPWB-CENTR; The new index covers companies from the stock exchanges in Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Prague, Warsaw and Zagreb; GPWB-CENTR is the first index published by GPW Benchmark in the net income formula
Warsaw Stock Exchange
GPW Benchmark has started publishing the new regional index GPWB-CENTR. GPWB-CENTR is the first index published by GPW Benchmark in the net income formula, which means that its calculation takes into account not only the prices of individual instruments participating in the index portfolio, but also net dividend income, i.e. after deducting tax, in accordance with the principles taxation of legal persons having their registered office or management in Poland on the terms specified in the index rules, as well as income from pre-emptive rights, bonus shares and other income.

Base price and daily price limits for newly listing ETF: Global X Innovative Bluechip Top 10+ ETF (Code: 178A) and 2 others
Japan Exchange Group
The base price, etc. of 3 ETFs including Global X Innovative Bluechip Top 10+ ETF (Code: 178A), which are scheduled for initial listing on April 10, are as below.

7th Exchange of the Year title awarded to LuxSE
Luxembourg Stock Exchange
Today marked the release of the Environmental Finance’s Sustainable Debt Awards winner’s list for 2024. Previously known as the Environmental Finance Bond Awards, every year, this initiative seeks to recognise institutions that excel, innovate, and contribute to the successful development of the sustainable debt market. The winners of the different categories are recognised for their thought-leadership, best practice, and innovative initiatives in the field of sustainable finance throughout 2023. After an important year of strengthening sustainable finance in emerging markets and advancing financing for gender equality, LuxSE was named ‘Exchange of the Year’ for its work in these important areas of sustainable development. This makes the exchange a 7-time winner of Environmental Finance’s debt-related ‘Exchange of the Year’ title since 2017.

New Equity Option Class
Bourse de Montreal
Bourse de Montreal Inc. (the Bourse) and Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corporation (CDCC) hereby inform you that at the opening of trading on Wednesday April 10, 2024, the following new option class will be listed: Foran Mining Corporation (FOM .

TAIFEX April Newsletter
Taiwan Futures Exchange
I. News and Events. TAIFEX Posted Volume Increase in Q1. The Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) experienced a notable increase in trading volume during the first quarter of 2024. The total trading volume reached 84,497,330 contracts, with an average daily trading volume (ADV) of 1,508,881 contracts, marking a 20.51% increase from 2023. Notably, the ADV of TAIEX Options (TXO) rose to 820,776 contracts, a growth of 21.32%, Single Stock Futures (STF) surged to 262,005 contracts, significantly up by 65.39%, and TAIEX Futures (TX) grew to 153,172 contracts, an increase of 10.83%, compared to the same period in the previous year. Moreover, the night trading session played a pivotal role, posting an ADV of 431,922 contracts and accounting for 28.63% of the market’s total volume. This extended trading window provided investors with enhanced flexibility and accessibility, enhancing market participation and liquidity. Another noteworthy contributor to TAIFEX’s performance was the uptick in foreign institutional participation, climbing from 28.35% in 2023 to 31.20%.


Atos Seeks euro 1.2 Billion in Equity and Debt for Rescue Plan; Firm lined up interim financing with banks, French government; Atos aims to extend remaining debt maturities by five years
Benoit Berthelot and Irene Garcia Perez – Bloomberg
Embattled French IT company Atos SE is seeking euro 600 million ($651 million) in cash and another EUR600 million in credit lines and loan guarantees to fund the business through 2025, according to a restructuring plan presented to creditors. Atos is aiming to cut its debt by EUR2.4 billion by 2026 and wants to extend its remaining debt maturities by five years, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Bloomberg previously reported it was seeking at least EUR1 billion in fresh funds and to slash its debt by about half.

CLS decides not to move FX settlement cut-off for T+1 following evaluation; Members of the multi-currency settlement system claim that development to accommodate a move in the initial pay-in schedule could take “considerable time to implement”, therefore CLS will not shift its cut-off but will analyse T+1 impact in June and September following cycle shortening.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
CLS will not make any changes to the current FX settlement cut-off after consultation with its members, putting an end to talk of an extension to ease concerns around timings for the impending shift to T+1 for US equities, now just seven weeks away. The operator of the market’s largest multi-currency settlement system had been in discussion with members since last year and has concluded that the development to accommodate a move in CLS’s initial pay-in schedule – with a deadline of 00.00 CET deadline – would take “considerable time to implement”.

European task force calls for coordinated approach between the EU, Switzerland and the UK on T+1; Following the reveal of the UK’s T+1 plans, European task force says alignment of dates across the continent will reduce the complexity of implementation projects for firms active across multiple jurisdictions.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
The task force charged with steering the European Union’s approach to shortening the settlement cycle to T+1 has called for a co-ordinated approach with the UK and Switzerland. The statement – from the consortium of industry associations which make up the group – comes in response to the UK revealing plans to move to T+1 by the end of 2027. In the UK’s plans, its own committee did note that if the EU commits to move to T+1 within a timeframe that aligns with the UK’s plans, simultaneous adoption should be considered.

DSB releases details of industry readiness for UPI Reporting in the EU; UPI Reporting in the EU commences on 29 April 2024
Derivatives Service Bureau via Asset Servicing Times
The Derivatives Service Bureau (DSB), the global golden source of reference data for Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives, today released the latest data on industry readiness for European UPI (Unique Product Identifier) regulatory reporting requirements, which are part of the EU EMIR Refit Regulations. The European Union will implement UPI reporting from 29 April 2024 as the second G20 jurisdiction, following the US who went live from 29 January 2024, and ahead of the UK effective date in September 2024.

QuantHouse appoints Rob Kirby to lead EMEA sales and business development; Iress today announced that Rob Kirby has joined the company as QuantHouse’s Head of Sales and Business Development for the EMEA region.
QuantHouse via Asset Servicing Times
Mr Kirby brings significant industry experience including senior roles at Thomson Reuters and Refinitiv. His most recent position was Director of Trading & Enterprise Global Strategic Partnerships at the London Stock Exchange Group, where he focused on strategic enterprise relationships. He also previously held senior business development roles at QuantHouse between 2009 and 2011.

AI could add 1 million tons to copper demand by 2030, says Trafigura
Pratima Desai – Reuters

BofA says its virtual financial assistant used more than 2 billion times

Google unveils update to AI chip, new Arm-based CPU
Max A. Cherney – Reuters

Microsoft to invest $2.9 billion to boost AI business in Japan: Nikkei

Google Shows AI Model Is Enterprise-Ready After Gemini Mishaps; The company unveiled updates to its AI offerings at its annual cloud conference
Julia Love and Davey Alba – Bloomberg

Artificial Intelligence’s ‘Insatiable’ Energy Needs Not Sustainable, Arm CEO Says; AI models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT “are just insatiable in terms of their thirst” for electricity, Haas said
Peter Landers – The Trade

Opinion: Financial scammers have a new weapon to steal your money: AI
Jurica Dujmovic – MarketWatch


What security agencies, regulators, and businesses get wrong about cybersecurity
Stu Sjouwerman – SC Media
The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI recently released an advisory about Phobos ransomware, highlighting the attack methods threat actors use to target public sector entities. The report mentions the top three ways attackers gather intelligence, creating victim profiles by searching information about them, scanning for vulnerable remote desktop protocol ports and then phishing users to access vulnerable RDP ports.

DoD Moves Towards Zero-Trust Cybersecurity Framework
Aaron Knowles – ClearanceJobs
The Defense Department, after months of planning and preparation, has begun the execution of its plans to move to a zero-trust cybersecurity framework. The DoD’s goal was to complete the transition by the end of the fiscal year 2027, stated multiple senior Pentagon IT officials. “We’ve done a lot of planning, we’ve tried to educate the force, we’ve gotten the plans all submitted. And now, we’ve got to move into execution,” Deputy CIO for Cybersecurity Dave McKeown said.

Why Cybersecurity is More Crucial Today Than Ever Before
Joseph Moss – International Banker
It is an increasingly sophisticated game. As attackers evolve with successively more fiendish digital schemes, defenders respond by upping their safeguards to resolutely protect their most valuable digital assets-but not always with absolute success. And with data now the undisputed lifeblood of digitally aligned organisations, protecting the integrity and privacy of this hugely valuable resource at all costs means that cybersecurity is now invariably being propelled to the top of the agendas of corporate, investment, regulatory and governmental realms.


Crypto Market Cap to Double to $5 Trillion by Year-End: Ripple CEO
Lyllah Ledesma – CoinDesk
The value of the cryptocurrency market could almost double to $5 trillion by the end of the year, propelled by the January approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the U.S. and the mining-reward halving due later this month, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. “I’m very optimistic. I think the macro trends, the big picture things like the ETFs, they’re driving, for the first time, real institutional money,” Garlinghouse said in an interview with CNBC. “You’re seeing that drives demand, and at the same time demand is increasing, supply is decreasing,” said Garlinghouse.

China-Based Asset Managers in Hong Kong Explore Spot Bitcoin ETFs
Hope C – CoinMarketCap
Multiple asset management firms based in China have expressed interest in offering spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) through their Hong Kong subsidiaries. Harvest Fund and Southern Fund, two prominent firms managing assets exceeding $200 billion each, have reportedly been exploring the possibility of introducing such ETFs.

Bitcoin ETF issuers cast shadow over odds of SEC approving ether exchange-traded funds
Ryan Browne – CNBC
Issuers of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds on Tuesday say the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is unlikely to approve such a product for the cryptocurrency ether . The regulator has a late-May deadline to conclude its review on an ether ETF. That comes after the SEC in March delayed its original deadline for a decision on the ether ETF application. Companies ranging from BlackRock to Fidelity and VanEck, which issued spot bitcoin ETFs this year, have been waiting for approval for an ether product. Some issuers are not confident that the SEC will green light the ether applications.


How an election-packed 2024 is shaping up for world markets
In an election-packed year, markets have so far shrugged off results, with the focus squarely on the one contest that could reverberate across everything from international trade to emerging market debt: the United States presidential race in November. Voters in India, meanwhile, will cast ballots later this month, with self-styled strongman Narendra Modi expected to win a third term as prime minister in the world’s most populous country.

West Virginia Bars Citi, HSBC From Banking Contracts Over Oil
Amanda Albright – Bloomberg
West Virginia’s treasurer announced that he is restricting four financial services firms from providing state banking services because he says they “boycott” the fossil fuels industry. Citigroup Inc., TD Bank, Northern Trust Corp., and HSBC Holdings have been added to a list of companies that State Treasurer Riley Moore’s office determined engage in such a boycott based on a review of each institution’s environmental, social and governance policies and public statements. The financial firms will now be ineligible to provide banking services to the state, Moore’s office said in a press release on Monday.

GOP’s Effort to Undo 401(k) ESG Rule Centers on Investment Ties
Austin R. Ramsey – Reuters
Appeals court will consider 30-year-old tiebreaker standard; Red state attorneys general may question fiduciary loyalties. An obscure, 30-year-old test retirement plans use to break ties between substantially similar investment options has become the central focus of a Republican-led effort to undo the Biden administration’s ESG-friendly 401(k) rule. The latest round of briefs in an appeals court battle challenging the US Labor Department’s environmental, social, and corporate governance regulation have zeroed in on revisions to the “tiebreaker standard,” which 26 red-state attorneys general say violates federal benefits law.

West Virginia treasurer adds four finance firms to ESG blacklist
Isla Binnie – Reuters
West Virginia added four financial firms on Monday to a list of institutions that may be barred from some state business because the state’s treasurer deems they are boycotting the fossil fuel industry. It was the latest move in a bubbling dispute between Republican officials and Wall Street firms over use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in banking and business.

David Cameron meets Donald Trump to urge Republican support for Ukraine aid; Talks in Florida come before British foreign secretary goes to Washington for meetings with lawmakers
Felicia Schwartz and Lauren Fedor – Financial Times
UK foreign secretary Lord David Cameron has held talks in Florida with Donald Trump, as London pushes to win support from the former president’s Republican allies in Congress for more Ukraine aid. Cameron’s talks with Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, came before he was due in Washington for meetings starting on Tuesday with Biden administration officials and Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Wider war in Europe ‘no longer a fantasy’, warns EU’s top diplomat; Josep Borrell says Russia threatens the continent beyond the conflict in Ukraine
Henry Foy – Financial Times

UBS Weighs Credit Suisse China Stake Swap With Beijing Government
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg


Filling the Gap: Comments on the Proposal to Amend FINRA’s Codes of Arbitration Procedure and Code of Mediation Procedure to Modify the Qualifications for Representatives in Arbitrations and Mediations
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce – SEC
Several weeks ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission hosted a seminar for law student clinics that represent investors in securities arbitrations and mediations. These students fill a very important void by serving investors, particularly those with relatively small claims, who might not otherwise be able to find representation in disputes with their brokers. Perhaps the impressive students who spoke at the event will inspire other law schools to start such clinics.[1] Too few of these clinics exist now, however, to meet the demand for representation in securities arbitrations. The void of representation for investors with low-dollar claims remains particularly acute. A proposed FINRA rule could exacerbate the problem by preventing non-lawyers from getting compensated to represent investors in arbitration proceedings. Today, the Commission opened a thirty-day period for interested parties to file statements supporting or opposing this change. I urge the public to help us think about whether this rule is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and to protect investors and the public interest.[2]

Jury Returns Verdict Finding Defendant Matthew Panuwat Liable for Insider Trading
On April 5, 2024, after an eight-day jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a verdict in its favor in its case alleging insider trading in violation of the federal securities laws against defendant Matthew Panuwat.

FMA introduces new standard condition on business continuity and technology systems plus new process for reporting operational incidents
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tatai Hokohoko – is introducing a new standard condition for certain market licence holders following consultation. The new licence condition will focus on business continuity and technology systems. The new condition will come into effect on 1 July 2024. … The new standard condition requires licence holders to have and maintain a business continuity plan that is appropriate for the scale and scope of its service. Licence holders will also be required to make sure that their critical technology systems are operationally resilient. If the licence holder suffers an event that materially affects the supply of its service, it must notify the FMA as soon as possible, or no later than 72 hours after it has determined the event is a material incident.

New speech by Julia Leung: Keynote speech at HSBC Global Investment Summit
A speech titled “Unravelling myths and forging ahead on new pathway for Hong Kong as international financial centre” delivered by Ms Julia Leung at the HSBC Global Investment Summit was posted on the SFC website.

Investing and Trading

Arabica Coffee Steady Near 18-Month High as Cocoa Frenzy Spreads
Mumbi Gitau – Bloomberg
Arabica futures were little changed near their highest level since October 2022 as hedge funds exiting the cocoa market are now piling into coffee. Money managers increased their bullish bets to the highest on record in the week ended April 2, according to the latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. Their long positions in robusta futures are also the highest in about seven years.

Fidelity clawback of ‘free’ ETF trading costs to hit investors; Nine issuers have been told it will cost $100 to buy any of their funds if they do not make ‘support’ payments
Will Schmitt – Financial Times
Fidelity plans to start charging investors $100 per trade to buy exchange traded funds whose sponsors have not agreed to make “support payments” to the firm. The proposed increase in the cost of buying ETFs runs against a long-term trend in which trading and investment costs have dropped sharply and could ultimately stifle the development of new ETFs while squeezing smaller providers and their investors.

Gold Futures Hit Another Record on Geopolitical Tensions, Fed Hopes; Investors will be paying close attention to U.S. CPI inflation data and Fed meeting minutes on Wednesday
Joseph Hoppe – The Wall Street Journal
Gold futures prices hit a fresh high, sustained by geopolitical tensions, monetary easing hopes, Chinese economic woes, central-bank buying and algorithmic trading. June futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were recently up 1.1% at $2,376.4 a troy ounce, having hit a fresh all-time high of $2,378.2 earlier in the session. They have gained 5.3% over the last week and nearly 13% in the year to date.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

CDP: More than half of firms not mapping plastic use and production in value chains
Stuart Stone – BusinessGreen
Close to 3,000 firms disclose on plastic-related risks for the first time, but thousands have not set targets for managing impacts. Almost 3,000 companies with a combined $25tr in market value have provided data on their plastic use through the CDP platform for first time, revealing that corporate efforts to tackle plastic pollution remain hugely mixed. CDP confirmed 42 per cent of disclosing firms mapped where plastics were produced and used within their value chains in 2023, after a partnership with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Minderoo Foundation, and WWF enabled the reporting platform to facilitate disclosures on plastics-related data for the first time.

US power system set to cut coal use to record lows
Gavin Maguire – Reuters
Utilities in the United States are on track to cut the share of coal in national power generation to record lows over the coming months, as the heating demand season ends and output from clean power sources such as solar and wind farms hits record highs. During the first three months of 2024, coal’s share of the overall U.S. power mix has been around 16%, according to data compiled by LSEG, down from 17% during the same period a year ago and 24.3% during the first quarter of 2021.

Energy Transfer Files for Regulator Review in Pipeline Spat
Elizabeth Elkin – Bloomberg
Energy Transfer LP is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take a closer look at a Williams Cos Inc. pipeline project as a legal battle rages between the two companies. Energy Transfer said in a FERC filing that Williams is constructing interstate transmission pipeline facilities in Texas and Louisiana without first seeking necessary approval. The filing also asks FERC to clarify how it applies tests to determine whether a facility needs a public-interest period and a review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Relentless stretch of heat records in March unnerves climate scientists; Sea surface temperatures in March at 21.07C were the warmest observed for the 12th month in a row
Kenza Bryan and Steven Bernard – Financial Times
Record sea temperatures over an unprecedented stretch and on land for the tenth month in a row have unnerved climate scientists, driving the global average temperature rise beyond 1.5C since pre-industrial times. Sea surface temperatures in March at 21.07C were the warmest on record for the 12th month in a row, Europe’s Earth observation agency said, confounding its climatologists.

Europe needs 800bn euro to meet 2030 climate targets, says industry; Governments need massive private and public investments to expand power grids and energy storage facilities
Alice Hancock – Financial Times
Europe will need to invest 800bn euro by 2030 in its energy infrastructure alone to meet climate goals and keep its industry competitive, a new report has found. The European Round Table for Industry, an influential Brussels lobby group, said in a report published Tuesday that the EU targets of reducing and reaching net zero COâ‚‚ emissions by 2050 would require massive investments in power grids, energy storage and carbon capture facilities.

Power Bills Will Keep Rising Even After the Fed Tames Inflation; As utilities shell out to fortify, decarbonize and expand their grids, US ratepayers are footing the bill.
Will Wade and Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg

Greece Invests Over 2 Billion euro to Fight Climate Change Effects; Fire season could be challenging given high temperatures; Nation implements largest international procurement program
Paul Tugwell and Sotiris Nikas – Bloomberg

Mercuria expected to hire Kostas Bintas in metals push, sources say
Chen Aizhu, Pratima Desai and Julia Payne – Reuters

Taking stock of clean electricity progress in key markets
Gavin Maguire – Reuters

‘Changing the norm in cocoa’: Waitrose chocolate bars certified by Open Chain responsible sourcing scheme
Cecilia Keating – BusinessGreen

Westwood launches US energy ETF aiming to deliver 10% yield
Suzanne McGee – Reuters


Citigroup CEO faces growth challenge as overhaul rattles employees
Tatiana Bautzer and Saeed Azhar – Reuters
Citigroup investors have rewarded CEO Jane Fraser with a share price boost after Fraser announced a sweeping overhaul of Citi’s sprawling structure in September, cutting costs by laying off 5,000 employees. Next, they want to see growth in wealth management and investment banking. Wall Street investors have welcomed Fraser’s overhaul, but warned the CEO has major challenges ahead to boost returns and catch up with rivals, including regulatory problems, lackluster earnings and an unsettled workforce.

HSBC to accelerate China wealth expansion, on track to meet hiring target
Selena Li – Reuters
HSBC plans to accelerate the expansion of its wealth business in China despite economic headwinds and is on track to nearly double its headcount by next year, its global wealth head said, as the lender pushes ahead with its Asia pivot strategy. The bank, which makes the bulk of its revenues in Asia, also plans to expand its mainstay wealth business in India, where it re-launched private banking services last year, said wealth and personal banking CEO Nuno Matos.

HSBC to take $1bn hit on sale of Argentina unit; UK-based lender to sell business to Grupo Financiero Galicia for $550mn as it exits market racked with hyperinflation
Kaye Wiggins – Financial Times
HSBC has agreed to sell its business in Argentina to domestic lender Grupo Financiero Galicia for $550mn as it exits a market where its business has been affected by hyperinflation and a volatile currency. The UK-based lender will book a $1bn hit to its pre-tax earnings in the first quarter of 2024 as a result of the sale, the latest in a series of moves to sell off parts of its operations.

Work & Management

Highly Skilled Professionals Want Your Work But Not Your Job; Freelancers are in huge demand today, and they know it. It’s time for new rules of engagement.
Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton – Harvard Business Review
Companies today are facing a big talent-management challenge. They simply do not have the capabilities they need in-house to transform their offerings, processes, and infrastructures-and they’re increasingly unable to persuade highly skilled professionals to come on board full-time, despite making attractive offers. In many fields-particularly technology, data sciences, and machine learning-the people with the most sought-after skills are freelancers. Integrating and managing a new “blended workforce” will be one of the main managerial challenges in the years ahead. Force-fitting the model used for temporary staff onto highly skilled freelancers won’t work, however. Firms must fully integrate these professionals into a highly cohesive internal team.

More Americans now prefer hybrid over fully remote work, survey finds
Emily Peck – Axios Markets
For the first time since the pandemic, more workers prefer hybrid work arrangements than fully remote setups, according to a new report. Why it matters: Hybrid work is emerging as the clear winner in the post-pandemic work world, a surprise from a few years ago when it seemed like a fully at-home revolution was underway. Hybrid workers are happier: Their “engagement” with work increased in 2024 from the previous year, while it fell for those fully in-person or fully at home, per Morning Consult, which has been surveying workers on the topic since 2022. Zoom in: This is a conversation mainly confined to white-collar knowledge workers. Most people still work in person, though that doesn’t mean they like it.

Wellness Exchange

These are the 10 worst U.S. states to live in for your mental health, according to a new study
Alexa Mikhail – Fortune
Overall well-being is influenced by your financial standing, relationships, work, sense of purpose, and safety, but where you live and your community’s health care system also play a vital role. In an analysis published last month, Universal Drugstore, an online pharmacy, ranked the best and worst states to live in for mental health, after evaluating dozens of data points including the prevalence of mental illness and the cost of care. Montana came in number one for the best place to live for mental health, scoring 8.06 out of 10. The state had the lowest number by population of “mentally unhealthy adults” who cannot afford care, and residents took the second-least mental health sick days in 2022.

What Middle-Aged People Can Do Now to Help Prevent Dementia Later; Intervening earlier to improve brain health might help you stay sharper as you age
Sumathi Reddy – The Wall Street Journal
The fight against dementia actually starts in your 40s. Midlife, not your 70s or 80s, is when brain changes start to occur that can pave the way toward dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline later, according to a growing body of research. Intervening earlier to improve brain health-and studying the midlife brain more closely-might help people stay sharper in their later years, researchers say. Regular exercise, getting enough sleep and doing activities that keep your brain stimulated are all steps that can help you combat dementia later in life.


Hong Kong makes largest-ever gold smuggling bust
Hannah Ritchie – BBC News
Hong Kong authorities have made the city’s largest ever gold smuggling bust, seizing 146kg of the precious metal disguised as machine parts. The haul is estimated to be worth more than $10m (£8m) and was intercepted last month on route to Japan. A 31-year-old man has been arrested and released on bail pending further investigations.

Suspected smugglers were caught trying to hide $10 million of gold by painting it silver and disguising it as machinery on a cargo plane
Polly Thompson – Business Insider
Hong Kong customs officials have seized 146 kilograms of suspected gold, worth more than $10 million, on board a freight plane headed for Japan. The discovery is the largest gold-smuggling case on record in Hong Kong in terms of seizure value, according to the Customs Department. The precious metal was discovered on 27 March while officials at Hong Kong International Airport examined two air compressors scheduled to be shipped by air freight to Japan.

HKMA CEO says Hong Kong considering ‘deepening’ some connect schemes with China
Julie Zhu – Reuters
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is considering deepening some investment connection schemes between the city and mainland China, CEO Eddie Yue said on Tuesday. Yue told the HSBC Global Investment Summit in Hong Kong that there was capacity for greater “southbound” activity from Chinese investors into Hong Kong’s financial markets. “What we’re trying to do is really to deepen some of these connect schemes … It’s just the beginning of a long journey, especially the southbound flows, the capital or the investments coming out from China into the world,” Yue told the conference.

Chevron Exits Myanmar With Withdrawal From Natural Gas Project; Chevron redistributed its 41% stake in Yadana to the project’s two remaining shareholders
Kimberley Kao – The Wall Street Journal
Chevron has completed its exit from Myanmar, giving up its stake in the country’s largest natural gas project two years after saying it would depart the troubled Southeast Asian nation in the wake of a military coup. A spokesperson for the U.S. energy giant confirmed Tuesday that two of its units had formally withdrawn Chevron’s stakes in the offshore Yadana natural gas project and an associated pipeline company.

Zimbabwe’s ZiG Currency Is More Glitter than Gold; Banishing high inflation to the history books needs more than the yellow stuff.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
Zimbabwe has a painful relationship with money. At the height of hyperinflation in 2008, the African economy’s billion- and trillion-dollar banknotes could barely buy toilet paper as war, autocracy and monetary recklessness crushed confidence and ruined lives. Fresh economic woes mean memories of that time are starting to flood back: Inflation is at 55%, the US dollar has become dominant and buying a loaf of bread requires counting out 100 bills.

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