FIA calls on international regulators to continue progress on margin transparency

Apr 17, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Claire Kenny, senior risk management policy associate at CME Group, is getting more interesting all the time, in a Most Interesting Man/Woman kind of way. Claire completed the Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes and 41 seconds, or 7 minutes and 53 seconds per mile. She placed 8219th out of 26,483 overall and 1743 out of 11,419 of the female persuasion. She was also 1338th place out of 4862 in females 18 to 39. Pictured in the photo below is Ryan Frazier and Most Interesting Grandson Finn Fraizer, Claire, Maddy (Kenny) Frazier, Pat (Most Interesting Man in the World) Kenny and Lisa Kenny. Missing from the family photo was granddaughter Lilian Dillman, 7th months old, daughter of Corinne (Kenny) and Mark Dillman of LaCross, where he is a doctor’s assistant at the Mayo Hospital.

CFTC Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson is slated to deliver a keynote address at the Institute of International Finance’s carbon markets gathering on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The event, to be held at the Institute of International Finance headquarters in Washington, DC, will serve as a platform for discussions on recent themes and developments in carbon markets, highlighting the growing importance of sustainability and environmental considerations in global finance and investment strategies.

Commissioner Johnson will also be delivering remarks and engaging in a fireside chat at the 2024 Fintech and Blockchain Symposium, a collaborative effort between Rutgers Law School’s Center for Blockchain and Fintech and Sidley Austin LLP. Scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2024, at 10:45 a.m. (ET), the event will take place at the Sidley Austin LLP offices located at 787 Seventh Avenue in New York City. The symposium aims to address emerging trends and regulatory considerations in the rapidly evolving fields of financial technology and blockchain.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission reminds you that on April 22, your public comments are due regarding 17 CFR Parts 37 and 38 Requirements for Designated Contract Markets and Swap Execution Facilities Regarding Governance and the Mitigation of Conflicts of Interest Impacting Market Regulation Functions; Proposed Rule.

The CME Group filed with the CFTC modifications with the following COMEX market maker programs last week: Hot-Rolled Coil Steel, Ferrous Scrap and the Aluminum Market Development Program and the Aluminum Options Liquidity Provider Program.

Kalshi self-certified the following binary option/swap contracts last week:
Will album have above/below/between count streams on Spotify on date?
Will artist be above/below/between rank before date?
Will the strategic petroleum reserve hold above/below/between count barrels before date?
Will India meet its climate goals?
Will Tesla announce a low-cost electric vehicle before date?
Will Tesla release the Robotaxi to the public before date?
Will the share of electric vehicles be above/below/between percent in month?

Geneva Trading is looking for a new Futures Trader Relative Value (RV) in Chicago, Illinois. More information is available HERE.

R.J. O’Brien is hiring a new Compliance Analyst II in the Greater Chicago Area. Apply today HERE.

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:
Jittery Investors Snap Up Options Across Markets from Bloomberg.
Demand for volatility bets soars to 6-year high as Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ hits 2024 peak from MarketWatch.
Derivatives trading rules need to evolve to improve liquidity from Tradeweb. ~JB

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


Oberweis Dairy to lay off 127 workers in wake of bankruptcy filing
Robert Channick – Chicago Tribune
Oberweis Dairy, which filed for bankruptcy Friday, has notified the state it plans to lay off 127 workers. The layoffs are set to begin at the family-owned North Aurora dairy June 11 because of a plant closure, the notification said. Oberweis Dairy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday in Chicago after failing to find a buyer to rescue it from financial distress. The century-old dairy, which has been losing money in recent years, owes more than $4 million to its 20 largest unsecured creditors and about $14 million in secured bank debt, according to bankruptcy filings.

***** They milked this company for all it was worth.~JJL


World Business Chicago names new CEO
John Pletz – Crain’s Business Chicago
World Business Chicago, whose mission is to sell the city to companies as a place to set up shop or grow, has hired a veteran chief marketing officer – and a relative unknown in Chicago civic circles – as its new CEO. Phil Clement, who served as CMO at manufacturer Johnson Controls and insurer Aon, has been named by Mayor Brandon Johnson to lead World Business Chicago. Clement replaces Michael Fassnacht, a former advertising executive who was chief marketing officer under Mayor Lori Lightfoot before becoming CEO of World Business Chicago in 2021.

****** Former David Prosperi AON colleague gets a new gig.~JJL


The Global Turn Away From Free-Market Policies Worries Economists; More countries are embracing measures meant to encourage their own security and independence, a trend that some say could slow global growth.
Patricia Cohen – The New York Times
Meeting outside Paris last week, top officials from France, Germany and Italy pledged to pursue a coordinated economic policy to counter stepped-up efforts by Washington and Beijing to protect their own homegrown businesses. The three European countries have joined the parade of others that are enthusiastically embracing industrial policies – the catchall term for a variety of measures like targeted subsidies, tax incentives, regulations and trade restrictions – meant to steer an economy. More than 2,500 industrial policies were introduced last year, roughly three times the number in 2019, according to a new study. And most were imposed by the richest, most advanced economies – many of which could previously be counted on to criticize such tactics.

****** As the world prepares for World War III, this type of behavior is inevitable.~JJL


US deficit poses ‘significant risks’ to global economy, warns IMF; Fund also cites concerns over fiscal ‘imbalances’ in UK, China and Italy
Claire Jones and Sam Fleming – Financial Times
The IMF has warned the US that its massive fiscal deficits have stoked inflation and pose “significant risks” for the global economy. The fund said in its benchmark Fiscal Monitor that it expected the US to record a fiscal deficit of 7.1 per cent next year – more than three times the 2 per cent average for other advanced economies. It also raised concerns over Chinese government debt, with the country set to record a deficit of 7.6 per cent in 2025 – more than double the 3.7 per cent average for other emerging markets – as Beijing copes with weak demand and a housing crisis.

***** The U.S. is giving the spending of drunken sailors a good name by comparison.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was Forbes’ Zillow Home Sale Booster Trends Feature Wellness Enhancers. Second was the SEC litigation release re: Securities and Exchange Commission v. Scott Lindell, titled “SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Infinity Q’s Former Senior Officer for Role in Massive Valuation Fraud.” Third was Bloomberg’s Coal Keeps Powering India as Booming Economy Crushes Green Hopes.



Lead Stories

FIA calls on international regulators to continue progress on margin transparency
FIA today filed a letter with international standard-setting bodies urging further progress on efforts to increase the resilience of global derivatives markets in times of stress. The letter was submitted in response to a consultation on initial margin requirements in centrally cleared derivatives markets that was issued by Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions. The standard-setting bodies called for comment on 10 policy proposals that aim to improve participants’ understanding of initial margin calculations and potential future margin requirements. The FIA response expressed strong support for the proposed requirements for increased transparency into the process used by central counterparties to set IM requirements, saying it will give clearing members and their clients more ability to prepare for margin calls and reduce liquidity risk in financial markets.

Clearstream to invest in Digital Vault Services; Partnership underlines joint commitment to further progress digitisation of the financial markets; Investment dedicated to accelerate DVS’s offering as a market infrastructure solution for the issuance and safekeeping of digital guarantees; DVS’s Guarantee Vault to connect to Deutsche Borse’s digital post-trade platform D7 mid-term, broadening its digital asset service portfolio into the non-securities space
Deutsche Borse
Clearstream, Deutsche Borse’s post-trade business, intends to make an investment in Digital Vault Services (DVS), a pioneering fintech offering issuance and safekeeping services for digital bank guarantees and sureties in Europe. The investment is subject to applicable regulatory approvals and finalisation of legal documentation. The investment enables DVS to further enhance and broaden its offering as a market infrastructure solution for corporates and financial institutions. The mid-term plan will be to integrate DVS’s Guarantee Vault with D7, the digital post-trade platform of Deutsche Borse and its post-trade business Clearstream. This will allow D7 for the first time to expand its digital asset product portfolio to non-securities.

Booming AI demand threatens global electricity supply; Tech chiefs warn that power-hungry data centres are a bottleneck in developing artificial intelligence
Camilla Hodgson – Financial Times
Electricity supply is becoming the latest chokepoint to threaten the growth of artificial intelligence, according to leading tech industry chiefs, as power-hungry data centres add to the strain on grids around the world. Billionaire Elon Musk said this month that while the development of AI had been “chip constrained” last year, the latest bottleneck to the cutting-edge technology was “electricity supply”. Those comments followed a warning by Amazon chief Andy Jassy this year that there was “not enough energy right now” to run new generative AI services.

Justice Department To Offer Some Execs Immunity Under Whistleblower Pilot Program; The policy for executives involved in wrongdoing comes as prosecutors develop a separate financial award program for other whistleblowers
Dylan Tokar – The Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department’s criminal division will give immunity to executives who provide information about corporate misconduct they themselves were involved in, according to details of a pilot program released this week. The promise of immunity for tipsters involved in wrongdoing comes after the agency earlier this year said it would develop another pilot program that provides financial incentives to executives who blow the whistle on corporate or financial wrongdoing. That program will be aimed exclusively at executives who aren’t themselves involved in the misconduct they report, and who aren’t eligible for an award from a separate agency, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

What Migration Is Really Doing to Politics and Economies Worldwide; US voters increasingly cite migration as their chief concern. But these case studies from five continents show that governments everywhere are struggling to find solutions – with some even stoking the problem.
Alan Crawford – Bloomberg
In a year of elections, populist leaders from Europe to the Americas are pushing a narrative that migration is out of control. Yet for all the hysteria, the number of international migrants worldwide according to the latest United Nations estimate remains a small minority of the total population. Movement within national borders is still “overwhelmingly the norm,” it says. The real change of recent years, says the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), is that the core drivers of displacement – geopolitics, technology and climate change – are intensifying, with a notable rise in irregular channels for migration as safe routes are closed off.

London Raid on ED&F Man Capital Markets Ruled Lawful by UK Court; ED&F London offices were raided in 2022 over tax transactions; Less intrusive methods were “bound to fail”, said authorities
Tiffany Tsoi – Bloomberg
The raid into the London offices of ED&F Man Capital Markets Ltd., carried out on behalf of Danish and German authorities as part of their sprawling Cum-Ex trading probe in 2022, was lawful, UK judges ruled. “There were very grave suspicions about the past conduct of ED&F,” Judge Philippa Whipple said in the decision Wednesday. “It is naive to suggest that production orders might have been effective and sufficient in the circumstances.”

Silver’s Record Industrial Demand and Deficit to Underpin Prices; Industrial usage to climb further this year: Silver Institute; Prices have rallied to trade near the highest in three years
Yvonne Yue Li – Bloomberg
After a strong start to the year, silver should remain supported by record industrial usage and a supply deficit, according to the Silver Institute. Industrial consumption hit an all-time high in 2023 and is expected to expand another 9% this year, driven by green-related applications such as solar panels, the institute said in its World Silver Survey report on Wednesday. That will help the metal record a fourth straight annual supply shortage.

Does size matter any more? FT Alphaville examines the ‘death of small-caps’ narrative
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
A truism of finance is that risk and returns are correlated. The stocks of smaller companies therefore do better than bigger ones in the long run. This is a foundation stone of both investment theory and practice. Sure, they are more volatile and they can suffer long stretches of dismal performance – such as in the 1960s and late 1990s. But, over time, “small-capitalisation” stocks trump larger stocks in every single major market studied by academics over the decades. Across the world there are hundreds of billions of dollar invested purely on this basis.

Hedge funds and commodities traders urged to hold more liquid assets; Financial Stability Board highlights need for capacity to meet margin calls in case of market shocks
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
Financial policymakers have urged hedge funds, pension investors and commodities traders to keep more liquid assets on hand and develop stress tests to better withstand shocks from extreme market moves. The Financial Stability Board, which includes the world’s leading finance ministers, central bankers and regulators, said on Wednesday that after assessing a series of recent market panics, many funds and traders had made “inadequate” preparation for sudden price moves.

Gold is sniffing out monetary and geopolitical dystopia
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – The Telegraph
A powerful force is stalking the world’s gold market. It is operating in the shadows. None of the normal footprints are visible on the London bullion market or the Chicago Mercantile. Retail goldbugs have not been buyers: ETF gold funds have been shrinking since December. The crowd is piling into the Bitcoin scam instead. Yet gold has smashed through a four-year barrier around $2,000 an ounce, rising in parabolic fashion since mid-February, and hitting an all-time high of $2,431 on April 11. Is somebody preparing for an escalation of the shadow Third World War?

Suicide drones threaten to bankrupt Western militaries
Colonel Richard Kemp – The Telegraph
Yesterday marked one year since the war in Sudan started. There, Iranian manufactured drones fielded in the last few months have been turning things round for the army against the Rapid Security Force militias. Drones have also been used extensively by Tehran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen, attacking international shipping in the Red Sea. In Ukraine, Shahed drones have been used in their thousands by Putin’s forces, especially to target civilian population centres and critical infrastructure. Many people have been killed and huge damage inflicted on Ukraine’s food and energy sectors by attacking grain silos and power plants. In 2019, drones were used by Iran or one of its proxies to attack Saudi oil installations. They have also been used in multiple attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria.

Oberweis Dairy files for bankruptcy protection
Crain’s staff
Oberweis Dairy – with roots that stretch back to a horse-drawn wagon peddling milk in 1915 and later spawned the wealth that launched a successful investment business as well as less successful parlays into politics – has filed for bankruptcy protection. In an April 12 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Northern Illinois, the North Aurora-based company listed more than $4 million in debt to creditors ranging from Penske Truck Leasing to Greco & Sons, a food products wholesaler, as well as the Cook County Treasurer.

Citadel’s Griffin Pushes Ahead With Plans for Park Avenue Tower; Griffin is working with Vornado and Rudin on new skyscraper; Citadel, Citadel Securities to be project’s anchor tenants
Natalie Wong – Bloomberg
Citadel founder Ken Griffin’s efforts to build a 62-story office tower on Manhattan’s Park Avenue have taken a significant step forward. Griffin and developers Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin have filed plans with New York City for their 1.8 million-square-foot (167,200-square-meter) skyscraper at 350 Park Ave., according to a statement Tuesday. Citadel and Citadel Securities will be the anchor tenants in the building, occupying at least 850,000 square feet of its office space. The project is expected to be completed by 2032 and will include a public concourse.

A Software Billionaire Is Betting Big on a Wild Climate Fix; Mike Cannon-Brookes co-founded software giant Atlassian. Now, he’s bringing a technologist’s mindset to energy with an idea that could upend power grids around the world.
Brian Kahn – Bloomberg
Moore’s Law says that the number of transistors crammed onto microchips will double every two years, magnifying computing power with a minimum cost increase. It’s been a key benchmark for technological progress since Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore coined the rule in 1965. The concept is instructive for Mike Cannon-Brookes, the billionaire co-founder of software giant Atlassian Corp. But that’s not the sector where it’s most applicable. In his estimation, technology’s most important law applies to the radical transformation of the energy system in the coming decades.

The Global Turn Away From Free-Market Policies Worries Economists; More countries are embracing measures meant to encourage their own security and independence, a trend that some say could slow global growth.
Patricia Cohen – The New York Times
Meeting outside Paris last week, top officials from France, Germany and Italy pledged to pursue a coordinated economic policy to counter stepped-up efforts by Washington and Beijing to protect their own homegrown businesses. The three European countries have joined the parade of others that are enthusiastically embracing industrial policies – the catchall term for a variety of measures like targeted subsidies, tax incentives, regulations and trade restrictions – meant to steer an economy.

Why the EPA Is Cracking Down on PFAS in Drinking Water
Tiffany Kary – Bloomberg
Used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water, the lab-made chemicals called PFAS can be found in thousands of industrial and consumer goods. Suspected as the cause of cancers and other health problems, they’ve created billions of dollars worth of liabilities for companies. They’re often called “forever chemicals” because their strong fluorine-carbon bonds mean they persist in people, animals and the environment, adding to the risks. The US Environmental Protection Agency says no level of exposure to PFAS is safe and on April 10 imposed its first-ever drinking water limits on them, requiring water utilities to remove nearly all of the substances from tap water – a move expected to cost billions of dollars to implement. Rising concerns have prompted European Union regulators to consider tougher PFAS restrictions.

State Street’s SSGA warns investors on additional costs of T+1; Its Luxembourg Sicav board has said costs might affect certain sub-funds ‘particularly on large flows’
Jessica Tasman-Jones – Financial Times
State Street Global Advisors has warned investors they may face additional costs due to the firm’s approach to the upcoming change to T+1 settlement in the US. The Securities and Exchange Commission is reducing the settlement time for US equities and corporate bonds from two days, referred to in the industry as T+2, to one day, or T+1, on May 28. Canada and Mexico are also moving to T+1 settlement for securities.

Market Reaction to Iran Attack Tells Us Stocks Aren’t in a Bubble; The swings Friday and Monday put to bed for now concerns that a bubble has been forming
James Mackintosh – The Wall Street Journal
Investors are terrible at assessing geopolitical risks, let alone the prospects of war. But the market reaction to Iran’s attack on Israel tells us something about their current state: Investors may be putting superhigh valuations on stocks, but they’re still capable of making reasoned judgments. Even better, investors aren’t on a hair-trigger to dump their portfolios, so this adds to evidence that we’re probably not in a bubble, at least not yet.

State Street Said to Explore Acquisition of SocGen’s Custody Arm; SocGen said to be seeking more than EUR1 billion for the unit; French lender has been trying to streamline its operations
Alexandre Rajbhandari, Jan-Henrik Foerster, and Manuel Baigorri – Bloomberg
State Street Corp. is exploring a potential acquisition of Societe Generale SA’s custody business, people with knowledge of the matter said, as the French lender pushes to streamline its operations. Boston-based State Street has been discussing terms of a possible purchase of Societe Generale Securities Services, known as SGSS, the people said. Societe Generale has been seeking more than EUR1 billion ($1.1 billion) for the business, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Ukraine Invasion

Ukraine says it used 7 exploding drones to take out a $100 million Russian radar system Matthew Loh – Business Insider
Ukrainian media reported on Tuesday that Kyiv destroyed a sophisticated Russian radar complex using seven exploding drones, in another apparent sign of how the cheap unmanned devices are changing the face of modern combat. Citing an unnamed source from the Security Service of Ukraine, or the SBU, The Kyiv Independent and Ukrainska Pravda reported that the Russian system was a Nebo-U radar complex stationed in Bryansk, a Russian region bordering northern Ukraine.

Diane Francis: The dying days of the Russian Federation?
Diane Francis – Financial Post
The Soviet-Afghan War destroyed Afghanistan and eventually the Soviet Union, which dissolved in 1991 into 15 republics. Numerous satellite states in Europe were liberated at the same time. History may repeat as the Russia-Ukraine war weakens Moscow, financially and geopolitically. Russia’s 2022 invasion was about reoccupying a former colony, Ukraine, but there are other Russian republics that hope to become liberated.

If Only the West Backed Ukraine as It Did Israel; The contrast between Western allies’ response to Iran’s missile attacks and Russia’s was shameful.
Marc Champion – Bloomberg
It’s time to call ourselves out over Ukraine. Because if the approach of the West, and the US in particular, doesn’t change very soon, the country risks being first pulverized and then overrun at enormous cost – to Ukrainians, Europe and the US. No contrast could be more stark, or frankly sickening, than the experiences this weekend of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and Israel, as each came under fire from intense combined missile and Shahed drone attacks.

Ukraine’s Chances of Pushing Russia Out Look Increasingly Grim; Ukraine’s president says his forces can’t stop Russia from advancing unless the U.S. provides more military aid
James Marson and Daniel Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
On the battlefronts of the east, threadbare Ukrainian forces are doggedly holding on against mounting Russian assaults that are expected to crescendo in the summer. Thinned air defenses struggle to stop Russian 1.5-ton guided bombs from pulverizing buildings. Front lines are held by a patchwork of units that are short of their full complement of troops. Halting armored columns depends largely on small explosive drones, given meager supplies of artillery shells.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

‘I shot down drones over Israel and was back in my office sending emails by 4pm’
Melanie Swan – The Telegraph
An Israeli reservist fighter pilot said it was like “Top Gun meets Star Wars” as he described how he shot down Iranian missiles and was back at work in his office before the end of the day. The pilot, identified as “Major G”, said that taking to the skies to defend Israel from more than 350 missiles and drones was “the most complex mission of my life”. “It really was a different thing with hundreds of those UAVs and missiles in the air getting intercepted around you, like Top Gun meets Star Wars, endless explosions and interceptions going on around you,” he told The Telegraph.

Israel admits Iranian ballistic missiles struck two military bases
Nataliya Vasilyeva – The Telegraph
US officials believe that at least nine Iranian ballistic missiles hit Israeli air bases on Sunday, evading air defences, although the damage appeared to be minimal. Israel, the United States and their allies on Sunday shot down 99 per cent of more than 100 drones and dozens of cruise and ballistic missiles in an unprecedented show of force.

Iran shuts nuclear facilities and cancels inspections amid fears of Israeli attack
James Crisp – The Telegraph
Iran closed down its nuclear facilities amid fears of an Israeli attack, the United Nations has revealed. Inspectors were blocked from the sites on Sunday, Rafael Grossi, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency chief, said. The shutdown came as Israel’s war cabinet was locked in talks over how to respond to Iran’s first direct attack on its territory.

Foiling Iran’s Missile Attack Probably Cost More Than $1 Billion; Israel and allies intercepted almost all Iran’s projectiles; Some interceptor missiles used by Israel cost $3.5 million
Galit Altstein – Bloomberg
Israel and its allies won plaudits for mostly fending off Iran’s unprecedented attack on Saturday night. But the operation, lasting no more than several hours, came with a steep price tag, and points to the sheer expense of air defense as nations such as Iran improve their drone and missile capabilities. The efforts of Israel and the American, British, French and Jordanian militaries probably cost in the region of $1.1 billion, according to Reem Aminoach, a former brigadier general and chief financial adviser to the head of the Israeli military.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

With proposed standardisation under review, new WFE research provides a robust and useful method of measuring margin model responsiveness to changes in market conditions
World Federation of Exchanges
With standard setters considering further guidance on initial margin in centrally cleared markets, the World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”) has today published joint research with Dr. David Murphy, Visiting Professor at the Department of Law of the London School of Economics (“LSE”) introducing a novel measure of initial margin model reactiveness (or “procyclicality”) that, unlike other measures, does not rely on particular risk factor paths and quantifies the uncertainty in the measurements.

Re: BCBS-CPMI-IOSCO Consultative report on Transparency and responsiveness of initial margin in centrally cleared markets – review and policy proposals
Global Association of Central Counterparties
The Global Association of Central Counterparties (“CCP Global”) is the international association for central counterparties (“CCPs”), representing 42 members who operate over 60 individual CCPs across the Americas, EMEA, and the Asia-Pacific region. CCP Global appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Consultative report on Transparency and responsiveness of initial margin in centrally cleared markets – review and policy proposals 2 (“the Consultation”) proposed by the BCBS-CPMI-IOSCO.

Clearstream invests in Digital Vault Services
Deutsche Boerse at a glance
Clearstream invests in Digital Vault Services; Partnership underlines the shared commitment to the further digitalization of the financial markets; Investment aimed at strengthening DVS’s offering as a market infrastructure solution for the issuance and storage of digital guarantees; DVS’s Guarantee Vault is to be connected to Deutsche Borse’s digital post-trading platform D7 in the medium term in order to enable digital To expand the service portfolio to include non-securities. Clearstream intends to invest in Digital Vault Services (DVS), an innovative fintech company providing services for issuing and custody of digital bank guarantees and sureties in Europe. The investment is subject to the necessary regulatory approvals and final legal documentation.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management Adopts DTCC’s ITP Services as Industry Prepares for U.S. Move to T+1
DTCC, the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, today announced that Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management is leveraging DTCC’s Institutional Trade Processing (ITP) suite of services to accelerate trade processing as the industry sets its sights on the U.S. move to a T+1 settlement cycle on May 28, 2024.

ECC Press Release – Successful migration of power spot clearing services in Slovenia
European Commodity Clearing
European Commodity Clearing (ECC) and BSP Energy Exchange LLC (BSP) have successfully concluded the migration of clearing services for power spot intraday continuous and day-ahead customers in Slovenia, with over 30 customers already transferred to the ECC systems. ECC will now serve all exchanges of the newly extended Alpine- Adriatic Danube Power Exchange Group (ADEX Group) in the region, including BSP, HUPX, and SEEPEX. Furthermore, ECC’s comprehensive offering also includes market coupling services on four Slovenian bidding zone borders.

ICE Climate, Property and Loan-Level Datasets Provide Holistic Visibility into Broad-Based Housing Sector Risk
Intercontinental Exchange
Loan-level data tied to climate-driven insurance costs, property taxes, estimated utility bills, as well as property damage risk from climate events; Original ICE research on the intersection of climate risk and home affordability to be shared at AmeriCatalyst conference in Washington, DC. Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, will be presenting original research made possible by the integration of the company’s growing collection of climate, property and loan-level mortgage datasets and proprietary analytics. The research, focused on the critical intersection of climate risk and housing affordability, will be presented during the AmeriCatalyst Going to Extremes Leadership Summit in Washington, DC on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

Cboe Europe Derivatives Q1 Update
Iouri Saroukhanov – Cboe
Here at Cboe Europe Derivatives (CEDX), the first quarter flew by as we expanded our equity options franchise, achieved record index derivatives volumes and prepared for the launch of new Liquidity Provider Programmes across all our products at the start of April. Find out more below! Equity Options Expansion CEDX began offering equity options in November last year and broadened its universe of these products from 25 March. CEDX now offers more than 300 options on companies from 14 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK). You can view the complete list of underlying stocks here.

NYSE Group – T+1 Settlement Change
New York Stock Exchange
On May 28, 2024, NYSE, NYSE American, NYSE Arca, NYSE Chicago and NYSE National (the “NYSE Exchanges”) will transition to a shortened standard settlement cycle, with regular way settlement taking place one business day after the trade date (“T+1”), in accordance with SEC amendments to Exchange Act Rule 15c6-1(a). The NYSE Exchanges will also shorten the period for which transactions in stocks shall be ex-dividend or ex-rights. Currently, the NYSE Exchanges commence ex-dividend trading one trading day before the record date for a dividend or other distribution. Upon implementation of the new settlement cycle, ex-dividend trading will take place on the same date as the record date.

Margin Change
The Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) has announced the margin changed of FGF, GOF, IYF, PTF, PVF, PWF. The margins will be effective after the close of the regular trading session on 2024/04/17.


Microsoft and OpenAI bet $100 billion to free themselves from the shackles and overreliance on the world’s most profitable semiconductor chip brand for AI chips
Kevin Okemwa – Windows Central
NVIDIA is undoubtedly cashing out as we leap toward the most significant technology revolution with AI. Due to the rising demand for GPUs, the company was ranked as the world’s most profitable semiconductor chip brand for Q3 2023. This designation translates to $18.12 billion in revenue and a $10.42 billion profit. Admittedly, we’re edging closer to a point where NVIDIA can’t meet or satisfy the alarmingly high demand for AI chips as more companies warm up and adopt generative AI.

DeepMind CEO Says Google Will Spend More Than $100 Billion on AI
Thomas Seal – Bloomberg
The chief of Google’s AI business said that over time the company will spend more than $100 billion developing artificial intelligence technology – another sign of the investing arms race that has gripped Silicon Valley. Google DeepMind Chief Executive Officer Demis Hassabis was asked at a TED conference in Vancouver on Monday about a potential $100 billion supercomputer dubbed “Stargate,” being planned by Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI, according to a report in the Information last month. “We don’t talk about our specific numbers, but I think we’re investing more than that over time,” Hassabis replied, without giving details on the spending. He also said and that Alphabet Inc. has superior computing power to rivals including Microsoft. Hassabis co-founded DeepMind in 2010 before it was acquired by Google a decade ago.

C8 Technologies launches new systemic FX hedge platform; Named C8 Hedge, the new platform provides guidance for managing foreign exchange exposures to facilitate improved returns.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
London-based fintech C8 Technologies is set to launch an FX hedging platform which employs systemic trading models to help businesses manage their currency exposures. Named C8 Hedge, the new platform provides guidance to corporate treasurers and investment professionals for managing their foreign exchange exposures across a range of currencies, using online tools.

Fintech doesn’t deserve trite, tech-bro speak; Financial services is a serious business. In order to innovate effectively, you need to understand that
Liz Lumley – The Banker
Sometimes I get invited to small gatherings, usually media roundtables, where I’m not holding out for a great story, but I attend to network and occasionally find a nugget of inspiration for these blog posts. At worst, I get a nice breakfast or glass of red out if it, at best contacts for a feature or an angle for a story. However, after I attended a recent fintech roundtable focused on consumer payments, I stared at a blank screen and wondered whether what I write will paint me as a cranky, old journalist, albeit one with 30 years’ experience reporting on the technology used in the financial services space.

SiTime introduces chip aimed at saving power in AI data centers
Stephen Nellis – Reuters
SiTime on Wednesday introduced a chip that it says is designed to help data centers built for artificial intelligence applications run more efficiently. SiTime makes what are known as timing chips, whose job is set a steady beat for all the parts of a computer and keep them running together in sync, like a conductor in an orchestra directing multiple groups of instruments. The company says its new line of chips, called Chorus, can do so with 10 times more precision than older styles of timing chips.

Andreessen Horowitz raises $7.2bn and sets sights on AI start-ups; Silicon Valley venture capital group hauls in one of the largest funds since downturn in tech sector
George Hammond – Financial Times
Andreessen Horowitz has raised $7.2bn to invest in tech start-ups including those at the forefront of the generative artificial intelligence revolution, in one of the biggest fundraising efforts by a venture capital firm in years. The Silicon Valley-based group, led by veteran tech investors Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, announced on Tuesday that it has raised the money to be split across a number of new funds.

Microsoft’s AI Copilot Is Starting to Automate the Coding Industry; The assistant is saving engineers hundreds of hours a month and is helping GitHub retain its edge over rivals including Amazon and Google.
Jackie Davalos and Dina Bass – Bloomberg
When software developer Nikolai Avteniev got his hands on a preview version of Microsoft Corp.’s Copilot coding assistant in 2021, he quickly saw the potential. Developed by Microsoft’s GitHub coding platform and based on a version of OpenAI’s generative artificial intelligence, the assistant wasn’t perfect and sometimes got things wrong. But Avteniev, who works for ticket seller StubHub, was surprised by how ably it finished lines of code with just a few prompts. All he had to do was press the tab key, and Copilot filled in the rest.

Staking Pools Now Available on the Xai Blockchain, Primed to Reward Users and Foster Network Innovation; Addition of Pool Ownership set to inspire the launch of new businesses and ventures within the Xai ecosystem
Xai Foundation


Vote on EU cybersecurity label delayed to May, sources say
Foo Yun Chee – Reuters
National cybersecurity experts have shelved a vote on a draft EU cybersecurity label allowing Amazon (AMZN.O), opens new tab, Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O), opens new tab Google and Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab to bid for highly sensitive EU cloud computing contracts to May, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The European Union wants to introduce a cybersecurity certification scheme (EUCS) to vouch for the cybersecurity of cloud services and help governments and companies pick a secure and trusted vendor for their cloud computing business.

Scammers are targeting teenage boys on social media-and driving some to suicide.
Olivia Carville – Bloomberg
One word from a stranger on social media was all it took. “Hey,” she said. Jordan DeMay read the Instagram message at 10:19 p.m. on a Thursday night in March 2022. He had just kissed his girlfriend goodnight and was on his way home to pack: The next day he was escaping Michigan’s frozen Upper Peninsula for spring break in Florida. “Who is you?” he responded. Tall, athletic and blond, Jordan was a football and basketball star at Marquette Senior High School, as well as its homecoming king. The 17-year-old often received friend requests from random girls on social media. He liked the attention.

Evolution Equity Partners raises $1.1B for new cybersecurity and AI fund
Kyle Wiggers – TechCrunch
Cybersecurity has had a rough go of it lately, with investment in the sector dropping a precipitous 40% compared to the year prior. But there are promising early, even preliminary, signs of a recovery. The vast majority of chief information security officers reported higher budgets for 2024, according to the cybersecurity-focused VC firm NightDragon. And, despite lower overall investment in the cybersecurity industry in Q1 2024, the number of deals increased compared to Q1 2023, per recruitment outfit Pinpoint.


Bitcoin ETFs Are Driving a Spot Multiplier Effect, Canaccord Says
Will Canny – CoinDesk
While there has been a lot of noise about how much assets under management (AUM) bitcoin {{BTC}} exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are attracting, it is now becoming obvious that these ETFs are driving additional demand for the underlying cryptocurrency itself, broker Canaccord Genuity said in a research report on Monday. The broker held its 2024 Digital Assets Symposium last Thursday and hosted leaders from 29 crypto-related companies.

Bitcoin’s halving makes its future pay-to-play; As mining rewards fall, transaction fees must rise
Philip Stafford – Financial Times
How much does it cost to secure bitcoin and who should pay for it? Because that’s what this week’s much-discussed ‘halving’ event this week for the biggest cryptocurrency is really about. For those fortunate enough to be unaware, at some point probably on Friday, the total of bitcoins that miners receive for securing the network and validating new transactions will be halved, from a share of 900 a day to just 450. This happens every four years and it’s an important foundational principle for bitcoin.

What Bitcoiners Are Saying About the Upcoming Bitcoin Halving
Daniel Kuhn – CoinDesk
On April 19, or whenever a bitcoin miner mines block number 840,000, the amount of bitcoin {{BTC}} entering into circulation will halve from about 900 a day to 450. This event, colloquially known as the halving (sometimes halvening), looms large in the Bitcoin mindshare, one of those things that makes Bitcoin Bitcoin. Perhaps because it only comes around on Leap Years (so far), bitcoiners tend to look forward to the halving more than most crypto holidays like Bitcoin Pizza Day or the anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto publishing the white paper. But it won’t be around forever.

Bitcoin ATMs Flood Black, Latino Areas, Charging Fees up to 22%; The number of BTMs increased more than five-fold over four years to about 31,100 units nationwide
Elijah Nicholson-Messmer and Ella Ceron – Bloomberg
As digital assets roar back into the mainstream after an extended period of price declines, experts are warning about the risks of financial predation baked into of the industry’s most analog expressions: machines that convert cash to Bitcoin. Bitcoin teller machines, or BTMs, are physical kiosks that offer customers access to crypto conversions and are commonly located at gas stations, liquor or convenience stores and other places you might find a traditional automated teller machine for credit and debit cards.

Liquid Mercury Partners with GFO-X to Provide RFQ Platform for Trading Crypto Derivatives
Liquid Mercury, a leading crypto trading technology provider, announced today that it is providing a request for quote (RFQ) platform to GFO-X, the UK’s first regulated and centrally cleared trading venue dedicated to digital assets derivatives. Institutional traders will be able to source deep liquidity for trading listed options and futures contracts in large trade sizes that can be transacted as single-leg or complex, multi-leg strategies.


Hardline Republicans balk at US Speaker’s Ukraine aid plan; Mike Johnson faces possible revolt after unveiling scheme to secure more funding for allies including Israel
Lauren Fedor – Financial Times
US House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to hold votes on funding for Ukraine and Israel faced a growing threat as members of his Republican party revived a bid to remove him from office. Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie on Tuesday said he would join Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, another firebrand Republican and Donald Trump ally, in pushing forward a “motion to vacate” Johnson from the speakership.

Johnson Needs Democrats on Ukraine, Handing Them Power to Shape Aid Plan; The Republican speaker’s elaborate strategy for passing a foreign aid package over his party’s objections will require the cooperation of Democrats to pass it – and possibly save his job.
Annie Karni – The New York Times
Speaker Mike Johnson’s elaborate plan for pushing aid to Ukraine through the House over his own party’s objections relies on an unusual strategy: He is counting on House Democrats and their leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, to provide the votes necessary to clear the way for it to come to the floor. If Democrats were to provide those crucial votes, it would mark the second time in two years that Republican leaders have had to turn to the minority party to rescue them from their own recalcitrant right-wing colleagues in order to allow major legislation to be debated and voted on.

House panel says China subsidizes fentanyl production to fuel crisis in the United States
Kevin Freking – Associated Press
China is fueling the fentanyl crisis in the U.S. by directly subsidizing the manufacturing of materials that are used by traffickers to make the drug outside the country, according to a report released Tuesday by a special House committee focused on countering the Chinese government. Committee investigators said they accessed a government website that revealed tax rebates for the production of specific fentanyl precursors as well as other synthetic drugs as long as those companies sell them outside of China.

Editorial: P.T. Barnum, suckers and the plummeting stock price of Truth Social
The Editorial Board – Chicago Tribune
P.T. Barnum may or may not have said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He gets the credit in the popular mind. Whoever was the true originator of that 19th century classic observation likely would get a proper chuckle out of the ways that Donald Trump continues to make saps out of a dismayingly large slice of the American public. The latest example: The stock of Trump Media & Technology Corp., owner of the social media platform Truth Social, on which Trump routinely posts his “thoughts” of the day. Call letters: DJT. The company made a splashy public debut on March 26 via a so-called SPAC transaction. Sure, the roughly $9.7 billion market value at the open seemed a tad high for a company that generated just $4.1 million in revenue last year and posted a net loss of $58.2 million.

‘She’s such a genius’: RFK Jr. jokingly calls Nancy Pelosi ‘an incredible investor’ for making millions from well-timed stock trades – here are the Pelosis’ 2 big bets right now
Jing Pan – Moneywise
The debate over whether politicians should be permitted to trade stocks has been contentious. However, the position of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on this matter is unequivocally clear. During a recent cryptocurrency conference in Denver, an audience member asked RFK Jr. about his view on stock trading by politicians, specifically mentioning Democratic California Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The former House Speaker has received attention lately for her major wins in the market.

Elizabeth Warren Demands U.S. CFTC Chair Explain His Chats With SBF; CFTC chief Rostin Behnam previously disclosed there were meetings and messages with FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, but he hasn’t granted another senator’s call to see all the records.
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk
The head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Rostin Behnam, had a lot of contact with Sam Bankman-Friend, the disgraced former CEO of FTX, but lawmakers suggest he hasn’t been fully forthcoming about those interactions. So, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are demanding more. Warren and Grassley sent Behnam a letter calling for “an accounting of all meetings and correspondence between you and Sam Bankman-Fried during your tenure.” Over a 14-month period, CFTC officials had met with Bankman-Fried and his team as many as 10 times at the agency, and Behnam told lawmakers in 2022 that he’d also exchanged “a number of messages” with the FTX founder, who was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for the massive fraud perpetrated there.

Britain’s air defences may no longer resist a Russian first strike
Justin Bronk – The Telegraph

Post Office chief executive ‘exonerated’ of misconduct after review; External report was prompted by allegations about Nick Read’s behaviour
Suzi Ring – Financial Times

Japan-U.S. alliance holds greater responsibility for global stability; Leaders must offer more details to give substance to vision
Nikkei Asia


Police have made arrests in Toronto heist of 24 gold bars and millions in cash
The Associated Press via Fortune
Police have made arrests in the theft of a cargo container that included gold and other items worth over 20 million Canadian dollars ($14.5 million) that were stolen from Toronto’s Pearson International airport a year ago, authorities said Tuesday.

Prepared Remarks Before the 2024 43rd Annual Small Business Forum
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
In 1980, Congress directed the SEC to hold an annual Small Business Forum so the Commission could hear directly from small businesses and their investors about the unique issues that they face. Today, I’m pleased to welcome you to the SEC’s 43rd Annual Forum. I grew up in a small business household. My grandparents on one side opened and ran a grocery store and on the other side a bar, both in Baltimore. My dad, Sam Gensler, started a small business repairing vending machines. It grew into a small vending machine business that served hundreds of other small businesses in the process, such as small diners and bars. In this sense, my family’s business was part of a larger community of small businesses, whose owners were as diverse as the city of Baltimore.

AMPLIFYING VOICES: Opening Remarks at the SEC’s Small Business Forum
Stacey Bowers – SEC
While I wish I had put a nickel in my savings every time I heard it, it nonetheless remains true that small businesses and their investors are vital to our economy, no matter their life cycle stage. For instance, did you know that small businesses created over 43% of U.S. GDP last year?[1] Or that women owned or co-owned almost 45% of non-employer small businesses – that’s 11.5 million firms – and almost 40% of employer small businesses – another 2.1 million firms.[2] And were you aware that over the last 10 years, diverse businesses have created over 4.7 million jobs?[3] How about the fact that small businesses accounted for 54% of employment in rural areas?[4] Or that small public companies raised $4.6 billion in registered offerings in 2022?[5]

ISDA Extends Digital Regulatory Reporting Initiative to New Jurisdictions
ISDA has announced that it is extending its Digital Regulatory Reporting (DRR) initiative to several additional jurisdictions, enabling firms to implement changes to regulatory reporting requirements cost-effectively and accurately, reducing the risk of regulatory penalties for misreported data.

FMA cancels crowdfunding services licence for Equitise
FMA (New Zealand)
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – has cancelled the crowdfunding services licence of Equitise Pty Ltd (Equitise). The cancellation took effect on 3 April 2024. The FMA is satisfied that: Equitise materially breached certain market services licensee obligations; A material change of circumstances occurred in relation to Equitise’s licence; and Equitise no longer meets certain statutory requirements including the requirement that it is capable of effectively performing its crowd funding service and there is no reason to believe Equitise is likely to breach its licensee obligations.

Reaping the rewards of investing in women
Sheree Howard – FCA
Comprehensive school, blue collar parents, redbrick university. Three characteristics that are not always propelling people to the top of our industry. These are, however, my roots. And then there is the fact I am a woman and a mother. How have I done it? And how can we get more women to do it? I would hope that women would not now need follow my lead. There was a great deal of study and even longer hours. The truth is I was required to work harder if I wanted to move up the corporate ladder.

ASA Supports Litigation Challenging Constitutionality of SEC Surveillance Scheme
The American Securities Association (ASA) today issued the following statement in support of the litigation brought by National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPRR) and Erik Davidson and John Restivo challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) use of the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) to collect the personal and financial information of American retail investors.

Investing and Trading

Chevron arm launches $500 million fund to invest in low carbon technologies
Chevron’s venture capital arm launched on Tuesday its third fund to invest in renewable energy technologies with a $500 million commitment, as oil majors look to diversify their business in the face of pressure to reduce their emissions. Like the previous two funds, the Future Energy Fund III will focus on innovations in industrial decarbonization, emerging mobility, energy decentralization and the growing circular carbon economy, Chevron Technology Ventures said.

ISDA Margin Survey Shows $1.4 Trillion in Margin Collected at Year-end 2023
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) has published its latest margin survey, which shows that $1.4 trillion of initial margin (IM) and variation margin (VM) was collected by 32 leading derivatives market participants for their non-cleared derivatives exposures at the end of 2023, unchanged from the previous year. The $1.4 trillion total comprised $462.0 billion of IM and $944.5 billion of VM, compared to $325.7 billion of IM and $1.1 trillion of VM at the end of 2022. The 32 firms covered by the ISDA Margin Survey included all 20 of the firms subject to the first phase of regulatory IM requirements for non-cleared derivatives in September 2016 (phase-one entities), five of the six phase-two firms and seven of the eight phase-three entities.

Nornickel says new Western sanctions raise risk of metals market disruption
Reuters via
US and British sanctions imposed on Russian nickel, copper and aluminum will further increase price volatility and supply uncertainty, Russian metals-producing giant Norilsk Nickel said on Tuesday. In their latest round of Ukraine-related sanctions, Washington and London on Friday prohibited metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminum, copper and nickel produced by Russia and barred the import of the metals into the United States and Britain in order to disrupt Russian export revenue.

Trump Media Has More Stock Coming; A Trump Media product launch and S-1, a Hunterbrook investigation, whistleblower synergies and secret CEO deaths.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Trump Media & Technology Group announced some product news today, which I for one was not expecting. It has previously said that it had “begun testing” a streaming video platform, and today it announced that it “has finished the research and development phase of its new live TV streaming platform” and plans to roll it out. There are not many details about the rollout, though the platform will focus on “content that has been cancelled, is at risk of cancellation, or is being suppressed on other platforms and services.” As of noon today, Trump Media’s stock was down about 13%, because the market expected the streaming platform to be further along, with more details on the rollout and monetization plans and content partnerships. Obviously I’m kidding. That’s not why. I don’t really think the market has much in the way of organized expectations for Trump Media’s products or business. As far as I can tell, zero sell-side research analysts cover the stock. Probably more or less nobody bought the stock in anticipation of a better streaming announcement today and then had to unwind the trade this morning.

Trump Media stock sinks after company announces plans to launch live TV streaming platform
Alexandra Canal – Yahoo Finance
Trump Media & Technology Group (DJT) stock fell 14% on Tuesday after the company announced it’s launching a new live TV streaming platform. According to a press release, Trump Media – the parent company of Donald Trump’s social media platform Truth Social – will launch the live streaming service on phones, tablets, and TV through the Truth Social app.

Billionaire Gina Rinehart Builds Stake in Lynas Rare Earths
Paul-Alain Hunt – Bloomberg

Here’s How Much Bitcoin You Need To Become a Millionaire, According To Michael Saylor
Caden Pok – Benzinga

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Wildfires Are Upending Some of the Safest Bets on Wall Street; US utility debt has long been favored by risk-averse investors; But companies blamed for sparking blazes see their assets drop
Olivia Raimonde and Mark Chediak – Bloomberg
When the Texas Panhandle went up in flames this winter, the news spread fast on Wall Street. An electric utility by the name of Xcel Energy Inc. was getting blamed for the massive blaze – a lawsuit pointed the finger at its dilapidated equipment – and this was making the company’s investors very nervous. Throughout the morning of Feb. 29, investors unloaded shares. By early that afternoon, the stock was down nearly 10%. Bond prices were sinking too, triggering a spike in Xcel’s yields. For money managers who had long treated the utility’s bonds as an uber-safe asset – something almost akin to a US Treasury note – the rout, while brief, was jarring.

Biden’s Climate Law Catalyzed Investment, But Projects Still Face Snags; Panelists at the annual BloombergNEF summit said measures such as permitting reform are necessary for the US to reach its full decarbonization potential.
Jennifer A Dlouhy, Will Wade, and Josh Saul – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden’s landmark climate law has mobilized hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and private capital for clean energy. Yet, panelists at BloombergNEF’s summit in New York said money alone won’t supercharge the transition from fossil fuels. While the US spent $303 billion on the energy transition last year – thanks in part to generous tax credits and incentives in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act – the country has failed to reach its full decarbonization potential. Attendees pointed to permitting bottlenecks, connection delays and trade issues as hindrances slowing the greening of electric power grids.

Big Oil Companies Warm to Biden After Years of Bad Blood; Once a favorite foil of the White House, some U.S. oil executives have reached an unlikely truce with the president’s lieutenants
Collin Eaton – The Wall Street Journal
Heading into an election in which energy prices figure to be a key issue, President Biden and some of the country’s biggest oil companies have reached a surprising detente. The truce comes after years of acrimony: The White House routinely slammed windfall oil-and-gas profits as pump prices surged in 2022, and industry executives bemoaned Biden’s campaign promise to transition the U.S. away from oil. Lately though, top executives from Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum and other producers say they have enjoyed cozier relations with the White House, spending more time discussing-and sometimes influencing-the administration’s thinking on climate investments, energy policy and global oil markets with top Biden officials.

JPMorgan Says New SDG Guidelines to Empower Impact Investors; JPMorgan, Natixis lead taskforce in unveiling new guidelines; Goal is to help steer capital into UN SDG-aligned projects
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Impact investors are about to get a new toolbox to help them navigate capital allocations to projects claiming to be aligned with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. JPMorgan Chase & Co., together with Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, has led a group of financial firms in putting together a set of guidelines that the biggest US bank characterizes as a game changer in impact investing. The goal is to bring more structure to impact reporting from governments and corporates in order to help investors single out SDG-aligned projects and activities, according to Arsalan Mahtafar, co-chair of the taskforce and head of JPMorgan’s development finance institution.

Low-Methane Natural Gas Captures Almost Half the US Market
Tope Alake – Bloomberg
The production of responsibly sourced natural gas – a niche idea only a few years ago – is growing rapidly in the US as global buyers increasingly scrutinize the top-to-bottom emissions of the fuels they burn. The share of US supply certified as so-called RSG is estimated to hit 45% this year, up from 38% in 2023, according to a report by BloombergNEF. That would mean production at a rate of about 47 billion cubic feet per day for the certified gas, which companies say offers a lower methane footprint, among other benefits. Across the oil and gas sector, nearly 40 companies were approved to supply RSG at the end of 2023.

EU considers bringing emissions removal credits into carbon market
Kate Abnett – Reuters

Ex-Shell CEO van Beurden joins KKR to advise on green investments; Dutchman led FTSE 100 group’s push into biofuels, hydrogen and renewable power
Tom Wilson and Antoine Gara – Financial Times

The Widest-Ever Global Coral Crisis Will Hit Within Weeks, Scientists Say; Rising sea temperatures around the planet have caused a bleaching event that is expected to be the most extensive on record.
Catrin Einhorn – The New York Times

The other oil crisis: Crop failures leading to sharp increase in price of cooking oil
Amber Roltclock – BusinessGreen

Philippines divers plant nurseries for damaged coral

NBA Legend Rick Fox’s Next Act: Green Concrete Entrepreneur; Cement is a major contributor to climate change, and the actor and former basketball player is leading a startup trying to make concrete without it.
Eric Roston – Bloomberg

We need more shade’: US’s hottest city turns to trees to cool those most in need; Phoenix broke several heat records last year. Now Grant Park, which has inequitable tree cover, is seeing a tree-planting drive that promises some respite from 100F temperatures
Nina Lakhani – The Guardian

Business school teaching case study: can green hydrogen’s potential be realised Many challenges remain before the fuel can play a full role in decarbonisation. Explore the issues with this ‘instant teaching case study’
Jennifer Howard-Grenville and Ujjwal Pandey – Financial Times


US regional banks seen booking more commercial property losses, loan sales
Saeed Azhar and Matt Tracy – Reuters
U.S. regional banks are expected to set aside more money to cover potential commercial real estate (CRE) losses and sell more property loans as the sector remains under pressure a year after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Most multifamily loans are made by regional banks, so when New York Community Bank posted a surprise fourth-quarter loss it intensified fears about the industry’s exposure to commercial real estate. Multifamily properties with more than five units are a major concern, especially since the bank had booked losses on its real estate portfolio.

JPMorgan CEO Dimon sells about $33 million shares, completes planned sale
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has sold about $33 million of his shares in the bank, a regulatory filing showed on Monday, completing a previously disclosed plan to sell 1 million shares. Last October, JPMorgan had said Dimon and his family intended to sell 1 million of their 8.6 million shares, the first time Dimon was selling shares since becoming the CEO of the largest U.S. lender in 2005.

U.S. Bancorp cuts 2024 interest income forecast, Q1 profit falls 22%
U.S. Bancorp cut its forecast for full-year interest income on Wednesday and reported a 22% fall in first-quarter profit as higher deposit costs and a larger corpus of rainy-day funds to cover potential defaults continue to weigh on the sector. Lenders in the U.S. have been offering higher interest rates to retain deposits in recent months as customers increasingly seek better returns by placing their money in higher-yielding alternatives such as money-market funds.

BlackRock’s Aggressive Hunt for Growth in Saudi Arabia; The kingdom is plowing billions into infrastructure and investments-and Larry Fink is out to make sure the asset management giant gets a share
Loukia Gyftopoulou, Silla Brush, Matthew Martin, and Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg
What’s worth your time when you’ve already built the world’s largest asset management company? For Larry Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., courting the billions of dollars in assets up for grabs in Saudi Arabia is part of the answer. His Gulfstream jet lands in Riyadh several times a year, and he’s had at least two private dinners with de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Meanwhile, BlackRock has been quietly increasing its presence in the country: It was the first major global investment manager to open an office in Riyadh, and the company now employs about 20 people there, a larger local workforce than its competition. The CEO of state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco, Amin Hassan Ali Nasser, joined BlackRock’s board last year.

StoneX Partners with NatWest to Enhance Global FX Payment Systems
StoneX Financial Ltd (SFL), a subsidiary of StoneX Group Inc. (StoneX; Nasdaq: SNEX) and the UK’s biggest bank for businesses, NatWest Group PLC (LSE: NWG), have announced a strategic partnership to enhance NatWest’s international payments capabilities and provide its clients with seamless cross-border FX services. The Payments division of StoneX (StoneX Payments) will supply NatWest with third-party delivery and international FX payment services, allowing the bank’s corporate clients to transfer money to more nations with ease. This partnership will support cross-border payments and expand local payment reach in an additional set of 10 currencies, providing access to customers in markets the bank had not previously serviced.

Work & Management

Dropbox’s CEO says managers mandating returns to the office are just ‘mashing the go-back-to-2019 button’ and creating toxic relationships with staff
Orianna Rosa Royle – Fortune
Chief executives have spent the last year shaking off pandemic-era habits of working from home and permanently abandoning their fully remote work policies. Even Zoom, the company that helped to usher in the age of remote work, ordered its employees back to HQ for at least two days a week.

3 words that will totally change the way you work; Natalie Nixon says we’re on the threshhold of the Imagination Era. It’s important to know how to tap yours to change the way you work.
Natalie Nixon – Fast Company
I. Don’t. Know. These are three of the scariest-or most exciting-words in the English language, depending on your circumstances. Many economic forecasts leave the perception that 2024 is off to a rickety start. For example, the Brookings Institute cites rising geopolitical tensions, an economic slowdown in China, weak growth in many markets, and restricting trade policies. On the individual level, 2023 research from Kantar and the America at Home Study revealed that Americans prioritize their mental health and emotional well-being (at 85% and 89% respectively). We must embrace “I don’t know” when faced with unprecedented ambiguity. At the precipice of uncertainty, you have two choices: You can run away in fear or you can lean into the ambiguity. And the best way to lean into that uncertainty is to tap into a critical asset that is innate to you: your imagination.

Wellness Exchange

Web3 wellness ring lets users own their health data – and wear it too; A Web3 competitor to the popular Oura wellness ring is making personalized health insights and AI coaching possible through user-owned, monetizable data.
Savannah Fortis – CoinTelegraph
Is the future of wellness technology here? A new Solana-based wellness wearable is taking health data on-chain, allowing users to own and monetize their data. The Cudis ring, developed by BeatBit Wellness Lab, is being touted as a Web3 alternative to the popular Oura ring that has recently taken the health and wellness industry by storm.

Senator Blames ‘Pink Tax’ for Undermining Women’s Financial Wellness
A Pennsylvania lawmaker has once again put the so-called “pink tax” in the spotlight. In a new study, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., accuses corporations of disproportionately undermining the financial well-being of women by charging them more than what men pay for day-to-day products and services, a practice commonly referred to as the pink tax. “From personal care products to car insurance to school supplies, corporate CEOs are pink-taxing women and girls on products and services they need,” Casey says. “It’s clear that corporations have been making it harder for American women to save and get ahead financially.”

How to Die in Good Health; The average American celebrates just one healthy birthday after the age of sixty-five. Peter Attia argues that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Dhruv Khullar – The New Yorker
Some of my earliest memories are of summers with my grandparents, in New Delhi. I spent long, scorching months drinking lassi, playing cricket, and helping my grandparents find ripe mangoes at roadside markets. Then I’d return to the U.S., my English rusty from disuse, and go months or years without seeing them. At some point, my India trips started to feel like snapshots of loss. My grandfathers died suddenly, probably of heart attacks. My Biji, my father’s mother, fell and broke her hip in her seventies, and she spent her last years moving back and forth between her bed and her couch. My Nani, my mother’s mother, developed excruciating arthritis in both knees; in order for her to leave her fifth-floor walkup, my uncle practically had to carry her down the stairs. I have always wondered whether their fading vitality-the way their worlds contracted and their possibilities vanished-was an inevitability of aging or something that could have been averted.


CFI Announces Pioneering Simultaneous Regional Seminar Roadshow: A Testament to the Group’s Unmatched Leadership
In an unparalleled demonstration of organizational expertise and commitment to financial empowerment, CFI, the region’s leading online trading broker, announced a pioneering initiative that sets a new standard in the industry. From April 23rd to April 30th, CFI will conduct a groundbreaking series of seminars across seven countries, showcasing its unmatched ability to synchronize educational events across multiple cities in different countries simultaneously.

ISDA Survey: Japan’s Derivatives Market; Set for Expansion
Tokyo and Singapore will be the top locations for derivatives trading in the Asia-Pacific region over the next three to five years, according to market participants who responded to a survey to mark the start of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association’s (ISDA) 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Tokyo on April 16-18. Asked to rank the importance of a selection of Asia-Pacific cities, respondents cited Singapore (with a ranking score of 4.23), Tokyo (4.08), Hong Kong (3.74), Shanghai (3.73) and Sydney (3.63).

Singapore, partners to raise $5 bln to help Asia meet climate goals
Singapore plans to work with international partners to raise $5 billion to help fund Asia-focused climate projects, a senior monetary official said. The initiative, called “Financing Asia’s Transition Partnership”, uses a combination of public and private sector funding, Chia Der Jiun, managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said at a conference.

Chinese Regulators Downplay Effects of New Equities Rules; The CSRC clarified that new listing standards don’t target small-cap companies, which some investors said would be more exposed to delisting risk under the rules
Jiahui Huang – The Wall Street Journal
Chinese regulators sought to reassure investors in the wake of new rules governing its beleaguered equities markets, saying the once-in-a-decade changes will affect relatively few of the country’s thousands of publicly traded companies. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said late Tuesday that its new policy to flag companies for unsatisfactory dividends will mostly target healthy, profitable companies that pay no dividends or relatively small dividends over several years.

Nigeria’s Dollar Reserves Plunge In Tandem With Naira Rebound
Anthony Osae-Brown – Bloomberg
Nigeria is burning through foreign-exchange reserves at a rate not seen in four years, raising concerns that the central bank is depleting its dollar holdings to support the naira after pledging it would allow the currency to float more freely.Liquid reserves declined 5.6% since March 18, when the naira started its rebound from record-low levels against the dollar, to $31.7 billion as of April 12, according to Bloomberg’s calculations based on the latest available data from the Central Bank of Nigeria. That’s the biggest decline in a similar period since April 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency of Africa’s largest oil producer has recovered most of its losses since a 43% devaluation in January. That came after the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced measures to improve liquidity, attract capital inflows and allow the market to determine the naira’s exchange rate. As part of the reforms, the CBN pledged to clear a backlog of pent-up dollar demand.

Endeavour Accused of Misleading Buyer of African Gold Mines; Lilium Mining made claims in response to arbitration case; Endeavour says Lilium has missed payments of over $100 million
William Clowes – Bloomberg


Americans Throw Away Up to $68 Million in Coins a Year. Here Is Where It All Ends Up; So much change ends up in the trash that one company is digging them up for profit
Oyin Adedoyin – The Wall Street Journal
At a waste-management facility in Morrisville, Pa., workers load incinerated trash into industrial machinery that separates and sorts metals, then sends them to get hosed down. The reward: buckets of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Americans toss as much as $68 million worth of change each year, according to Reworld. The sustainable-waste processing company is on a treasure-hunt to find it. The company says that in the seven years since it started the effort, it has collected at least $10 million worth of coins.

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