Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The FIA has published a reflection on the 20-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, honoring the many acts of bravery and courage shown that day. — FIA
Here is a remembrance from David Greenberg, a former board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange, about 9/11. — LinkedIn
CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz announced yesterday he is stepping down and leaving the commission on October 15, 2021. Berkovitz is a Democrat and this opens another commissioner slot for President Biden to nominate and fill the position. If new commissioners are not nominated and confirmed by then, it will create a situation in which the two remaining commissioners will be Acting Chairman Rostin Behnam and Republican Commissioner Dawn Stump. Thank you to Commissioner Berkovitz for his many years of service to the CFTC.
Yesterday I interviewed Doug Engmann for the Open Outcry Traders History Project. Engmann was a market-maker on the Pacific Stock Exchange options floor and served as its acting chairman. He told me the story of what he called the “greatest moment” in the history of options trading, which was following the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco that left the PSE traders unable to trade on their exchange as the building had no power and was being inspected in the earthquake’s aftermath.
The greatest moment was when the four exchanges, the SEC and the OCC collaborated to allow the PSE traders to trade on quickly constructed trading pits in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York on the CBOE, PHLX and NYSE, respectively. In this week’s version of “John’s Take” in The Spread I tell this story and show cuts of my interview with Engmann as he shared this greatest moment. He said this saved the PSE and may have even saved the options industry.
HERE is a 1989 memo from the CBOE announcing the plan for the four exchanges to facilitate the PSE traders and the CBOE’s specific instructions for it.
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2021 was awarded to Cao Fei for her solo exhibition Blueprints (2020). The artist was awarded the prestigious £30,000 prize at an awards ceremony in the Photographers’ Gallery in London on Thursday, September 9, 2021. — Deutsche Börse
NYSE has a job opening for a manager in equity product development. — NYSE
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
There is a month to go until the return of LME Week and the LME Metals Seminar on October 11. The seminar offers conversation, debate and insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the metals, mining and investor industries, the exchange says. Early-bird tickets are available until September 30. You can go here to register and pay for either in-person or online tickets. Tickets include access to the LME Metals Seminar and all networking sessions.~SR
FIA reflects on 20-year anniversary of September 11, 2001
Today, FIA reflects on the events of September 11, 2001, and honors the many acts of bravery and courage shown on that day. We mourn the loss of life from the terrorist attacks, and we pay tribute to the heroism of the first responders who were responsible for saving so many. None of us can forget the shocking collapse of the World Trade Center towers that contained hundreds of people from our industry. Today we honor those men and women who lost their lives and express our condolences to the friends and families they left behind.
***** No one forgets that day who lived through it. I will never forget.~JJL
Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz: Intent to Depart
I plan to depart the CFTC on October 15, 2021. To every thing there is a season, and now is a time for me to turn to other challenges. For the last twenty years I have had the privilege of working with and for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as the U.S. Congress and the private sector, to strengthen the integrity of our financial markets. Legislation enacted in 2008 to “close the Enron loophole” and the subsequent passage of the comprehensive Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act eliminated legislative gaps that permitted excessive market speculation and contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. Since 2010, the CFTC has worked tirelessly to issue rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act, vigorously enforce the requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act, and harmonize our regulations with those of other federal agencies and our international counterparts. As a result of these efforts, the U.S. swaps market today—with mandatory clearing and transparent trading of standardized swaps, registered and regulated swap dealing, margin requirements for uncleared swaps, and comprehensive swap data reporting—is more resilient, more transparent, more liquid, less susceptible to manipulation, and more cost-effective for end users. Our derivative markets are stronger than ever and as a result, our economy is stronger too.
***** Dan deserves a big pat on the back for his service.~JJL
FEX Global, Begins the First Week of Trading on its Australian Futures Exchange.; 10,920 Megawatt Hours of VIC $300 Strike 5 Minute Cap Contracts traded.
Despite hard Covid Lockdown in Sydney, FEX Global in its first week of trading has seen market participants utilize the FEX energy futures market to manage their electricity volatility. The first trade on the market being in VIC $300 Strike 5 Minute Settlement Quarter 2, 2022. FEX Global has opened with futures and options in Australian power and will continue to further expand its product offering in Q4 2021 subject to regulatory approvals. The first trade was transacted via Trading Technologies, CME clearing and displayed on Refinitiv and Bloomberg terminals. Snowy Hydro Australia Ltd, the Australian dynamic and growing integrated energy business, was on one side of the first trade. Cameron Fisher General Manager Trading commented “Snowy Hydro has long been an active supporter of competition in energy markets and we are pleased to help drive innovation of risk management markets in Austra
**** FEX Global had its first trades. This is a great story, which I hope to have more about soon.~JJL
Inside the cult of crypto; Debate? No thanks. Doubts? Not welcome. How the world of cryptocurrency diehards really works
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Chris DeRose was noodling away on the internet when he stumbled over an intriguing post on Slashdot, a forum for extremely online hyper-geeks like himself. “How’s this for a disruptive technology,” a user wrote on July 11 2010, enthusiastically describing a decentralised, peer-to-peer digital currency with no central bank, no transaction fees and beyond the reach of any government. Using computers to solve cryptographic puzzles would earn people “bitcoins”.
***** Cult is a good word.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Here’s why Coinbase is in hot water over crypto lending — and how the SEC is sending a shot across the bow for DeFi, from MarketWatch. Second, continuing that topic, was Coinbase Threat Shows There’s a New Crypto Sheriff in Town from Bloomberg. Third was the top story from Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal’s On 9/11, Split-Second Decisions by Employees at ICAP Affected the Rest of Their Lives.
26,617 pages; 235,807 edits
Generation 9/11: Following Parents They Lost Onto Wall Street
Children of those killed on Sept. 11 are continuing their parents’ legacies in the world of finance — some in the very same investment firms.
Mary Biekert – Bloomberg
The little girl set her dad’s sneakers by the door. He snugged the laces and set off to work. Just another day. A bright September Tuesday. That girl, Maggie Smith, is 22 now. It’s been two decades since her father, Jeffrey Smith, jogged across Lower Manhattan that morning to his office at the investment banking firm of Sandler O’Neill & Partners, on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. He was killed when the twin towers were brought down that day — one of the 2,753 people who died after the attack in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
U.K. Warns Three Mystery Traders for Spoofing Over Brexit Summer
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
FCA issues initial notice against the traders at a single bank; Watchdog says the traders deliberately engaged in market abuse
The U.K.’s financial regulator is investigating three traders at the same bank for engaging in market abuse in the weeks before and after the Brexit vote in 2016. The Financial Conduct Authority published the warning notice against the unnamed traders Friday, accusing the trio of deliberately engaging in a form of spoofing by placing orders they didn’t intend to execute in the summer of 2016. A warning notice comes after an internal investigation but before a formal ruling by the regulator’s decision-making panel.
‘A gaping loophole’: dirty money fight still unfinished 20 years after 9/11; Private equity firms and hedge funds operate under looser standards than banks and brokers
Gary Silverman – FT
In the weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the US moved to choke off funding for terrorists and other global bad actors. As part of the Patriot Act of 2001, it required financial firms of various sorts to implement anti-money laundering programs similar to the ones in place at banks.
Climate change risks triggering catastrophic tsunamis, scientist warns; Melting of ice sheets could unleash intense seismic activity as weight on crust below is reduced
Clive Cookson – FT
The world is underestimating the geological consequences of global warming, which could trigger catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis as the melting of ice sheets reduces the weight on the crust below and unleashes intense s
Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe now complete, Gazprom says; Baltic Sea project still needs final checks and certification for gas to flow
Nastassia Astrasheuskaya, Roman Olearchyk and David Sheppard – FT
Russia is on the brink of being able to ship more gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline after Gazprom said it had finished building the contentious project.
Libor Alternative Is Winning Over Derivatives Traders; Trading in financial contracts tied to Wall Street’s preferred alternative, SOFR, has surged
Julia-Ambra Verlaine – WSJ
Efforts to replace the troubled London interbank offered rate are showing signs of progress. Trading in derivatives tied to Wall Street’s preferred alternative, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, surged 78% in August, according to TD Securities. The increase comes ahead of a year-end deadline to phase out Libor, which helps set interest costs on trillions of dollars in financial products but was marked for scrap several years ago after a manipulation scandal.
Switzerland Gives Green Light to Crypto Trading Exchange; Stock exchange SIX’s digital arm SDX will let investors, via regulated institutions, trade, settle and store digital tokens
Margot Patrick – WSJ
Switzerland cleared the way Friday for more trading of bitcoin and other digital assets in the country by authorizing a new digital stock exchange. Stock exchange SIX said its new SIX Digital Exchange, or SDX, will let investors, via regulated institutions, trade, settle and store digital tokens through one venue, underpinned by “the highest Swiss standards of oversight and regulation.” Financial regulation around cryptocurrencies and digital assets is a hodgepodge globally, with some countries welcoming the upstart industry and others seeking to ban it.
Swiss exchange SIX receives regulatory clearance for digital asset bourse
Swiss stock exchange SIX has received regulatory approval from the financial market supervisor for its new SDX bourse, it said on Friday, paving the way for it to go live with its marketplace for digital assets. “The digitalization of financial markets continues apace, and while the final shape of the market is still evolving, this is an important milestone in providing institutional investors with a safe and robust infrastructure,” SIX’s global head of exchanges Thomas Zeeb said in a statement.
CFTC Will Join Other Agencies on Biden’s Competition Commission
Josh Wingrove – Bloomberg
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will join President Joe Biden’s competition council, which will hold its debut meeting on Friday, said a White House official familiar with the plans.
Act fast or miss the digital payments boat, BIS tells central banks
Huw Jones – Reuters
Major central banks should press ahead now with digital currency projects to avoid falling behind comparable private sector payment initiatives that are already taking root, a Bank for International Settlements official said on Friday.
Central banks must ‘act now’ on crypto boom, Benoît Coeuré says; Policymaker warns decentralised finance and stablecoins will ‘challenge’ banks’ business models
Eva Szalay – FT
Stablecoins and decentralised finance will challenge banks’ business models and monetary authorities must act more quickly to develop official digital assets, veteran policymaker Benoît Coeuré said in a speech on Friday. The comments from Coeuré, a senior official at the Bank for International Settlements and former member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, highlight the increasing angst among financial authorities over the boom in cryptocurrencies and other digital finance innovations.
EXCLUSIVE U.S. DOJ looking into conduct of Allianz fund managers
Tom Sims and Chris Prentice – Reuters
Allianz funds hit by coronavirus market turmoil in 2020; Investors suing Allianz for $6 billion in damages; Allianz disclosed U.S. justice department probe in August; DOJ looking into possible misrepresentation of risk – sources
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into German insurer Allianz (ALVG.DE) is looking at possible misconduct by fund managers and misrepresentation of risk to investors, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Fed officials offload shares to avoid conflicts of interest; Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren will refrain from trading for remainder of their tenures
Colby Smith and Eric Platt – FT
Two Federal Reserve officials said they would sell their portfolios of shares by the end of the month after coming under scrutiny for investing and trading in a year when the US central bank took extraordinary steps to shore up financial markets.
When is a market bubble not a bubble? Working out how much speculative excess there is in a market, whether housing or stocks, is tough
Robin Harding – FT
In one of the defining sequences of The Big Short, a film about the 2007-08 financial crisis, a team of hedge fund managers go to Florida. They meet a pair of sleazy mortgage brokers who reveal how the US housing market is propped up by subprime loans to strippers, people with no job or income and immigrants who do not understand the paperwork. One of the managers calls up his trader and declares: “Hey, there’s a bubble.”
Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans
Zeke Miller – AP News
In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives. “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
Attacking anti-vaccine movement, Biden mandates widespread COVID shots, tests
Jeff Mason and Ahmed Aboulenein, Trevor Hunnicutt – Reuters
President Joe Biden took aim on Thursday at vaccine resistance in America, announcing policies requiring most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations and pushing large employers to have their workers inoculated or tested weekly.
Covid Testing ‘Lottery’ Needs Overhaul, Warns U.K. Watchdog
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
U.K. CMA says competition alone won’t address consumer concern; Covid testing market under fire for ‘harmful practices’
The Covid travel testing market is a “lottery” which risks becoming a “race to the bottom” that greater competition alone won’t fix, the U.K.’s antitrust watchdog warned.
Biden demands US companies introduce vaccine mandates; Administration says employees at larger corporations must take jab or regular tests
Kiran Stacey and James Politi – FT
The Biden administration will demand that US companies force employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to weekly testing as part of a plan designed to curb the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
UK prepares for ‘mix and match’ Covid vaccine booster programme; Government officials say using different jabs for third doses should provide better protection
Sebastian Payne, Sarah Neville, Hannah Kuchler and Oliver Barnes – FT
The UK is preparing to become the first big country to administer “mix and match” coronavirus vaccines for its booster programme, according to senior government figures.
When it comes to vaccinating the world, we must fix distribution; Investment in infrastructure is critical if we are to beat this pandemic and prepare for the next
Gillian Tett – FT
In recent weeks, Covid-19 has created new jitters for US investors. Not only is the Delta variant spreading, but vaccine hesitancy is still plaguing parts of the country. Elsewhere, concerns are bubbling about whether Joe Biden’s administration can really roll out booster shots this autumn, as promised.
Some Vaccines Last a Lifetime. Here’s Why Covid-19 Shots Don’t; Researchers have calculated a key number—the threshold of protection—for other vaccines. Covid-19’s is still a mystery.
Jo Craven McGinty – WSJ
Why don’t Covid-19 vaccinations last longer? Measles shots are good for life, chickenpox immunizations protect for 10 to 20 years, and tetanus jabs last a decade or more. But U.S. officials are weighing whether to authorize Covid-19 boosters for vaccinated adults as soon as six months after the initial inoculation.
Biden’s New Vaccine Push Is a Fight for the U.S. Economy; The effort reflects the continuing and evolving threat the coronavirus pandemic poses to the economic recovery.
Jim Tankersley – NY Times
President Biden’s aggressive move to expand the number of vaccinated Americans and halt the spread of the Delta variant is not just an effort to save lives. It is also an attempt to counter the continuing and evolving threat that the virus poses to the economy.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
MIAX Reports Record SPIKES Futures Trading on MGEX in August 2021, Daily Record Volume of 13,342 Contracts Traded on September 8, 2021
August 2021 Average Daily Volume of 3,904 contracts, up 144.7% over July 2021
MIAX®, creator and operator of high-performance securities exchanges, products and services, today announced average daily volume (ADV) for SPIKES® Futures in August 2021 reached 3,904 contracts, a new monthly record and representing a 144.7% increase over the 1,596 ADV in July 2021. In addition, SPIKES Futures volume on September 8, 2021 totaled a new daily record of 13,342 contracts. SPIKES Futures markets continue to see improved market quality, with an expanded group of market participants contributing to tight bid/ask spreads and available size to trade. MGEX is also planning to extend its zero fee exchange policy for SPIKES Futures until December 31, 2021.
LSEG hits EUR1 trillion milestone amid five-year Turquoise Plato anniversary; CEO of LSEG’s Turquoise, Robert Barnes, tells The TRADE that since its partnership with Plato, Turquoise Plato clients have traded more than EUR1.1 trillion in equities.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) Turquoise celebrated the five-year anniversary of its agreement with the Plato Partnership to rebrand its block trading and uncross services last week, a relationship which has facilitated over EUR1 trillion in equities traded. The exchange operator’s agreement with Plato, which was originally signed in 2016, brought the newly rebranded Turquoise Plato to market with the aim of developing efficiencies in the European equities block trading space.
Euronext announces annual review results of the CAC 40 ESG®
Euronext today announced the results of the annual review for the CAC 40 ESG®, which will take place after markets close on Friday 17 September 2021.
Euronext announces annual review results of the CAC® Family
Euronext today announced the results of the annual review for the CAC® family indices, which will take place after markets close on Friday 17 September 2021.
Euronext announces September 2021 quarterly review results of the ISEQ® Family
Euronext today announced the results of the quarterly review for the ISEQ 20®, ISEQ 20® Capped and ISEQ® Small, which will take place after markets close on Friday 17 September 2021 and be effective from Monday 20 September 2021.
Equity Derivatives: Introduction of Single Stock Futures, Equity Options and Single Stock Dividend Futures
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland took the following decisions with effect from 4 October 2021:
Introduction of 9 Single Stock Futures pursuant to Annex A of Attachment 2,
Introduction of 11 American-style Equity Options pursuant to Annex B of Attachment 2,
Introduction of 24 Single Stock Dividend Futures pursuant to Annex D of Attachment 2,
Inclusion of the new Single Stock Dividend Futures in the existing Liquidity Provider (LP) scheme effective from 1 November 2021
Annual prolongation of Single Stock Dividend Futures Liquidity Provider (LP) scheme until 31 December 2022
TMX Group Equity Financing Statistics – August 2021
TMX Group today announced its financing activity on Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange for August 2021. TSX welcomed 10 new issuers in August 2021, compared with 19 in the previous month and 14 in August 2020. The new listings were nine exchange traded funds and one clean technology company. Total financings raised in August 2021 increased 1% compared to the previous month, and increased 35% compared to August 2020. The total number of financings in August 2021 was 33, compared with 46 the previous month and 49 in August 2020.
SGX reports market statistics for August 2021
Uneven economic recovery in Asia spurs investment and risk-management demand; SGX’s commodities offering enables participants to hedge against cargo and freight volatility
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today released its market statistics for August 2021. An uneven economic recovery in Asia spurred demand to invest and manage risk across multiple asset classes. SGX’s commodity derivatives suite was a standout performer as price swings and supply-chain disruptions continued to challenge physical markets.
Change of Central Contract Month for 10-year JGB Futures Trading
Concerning 10-year JGB Futures, since the trading volume of the December 2021 contract (second contract month) surpassed that of the September 2021 contract (nearest contract month) in today’s auction market, the central contract month pertaining to temporary trading halt (Circuit Breaker rule) is as follows from September 13, 2021 (trading day).
HKEX To Introduce New Mobile Market Data Service
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce today (Friday) an enhancement to its suite of market data offerings, with the introduction of a new mobile market data subscription service. The new service, which is expected to commence on 1 October 2021, will allow retail investors to access live streaming local securities market data exclusively from their mobile devices.
— Performance Bond Requirements: Energy, Equity, FX, Interest Rate, and Metal Margins – Effective September 10, 2021 — CME
— Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy and Interest Rate Margins – Effective September 10, 2021 — CME
— OTC IRS Production Advisory – IRS Trade Register Enhancement — CME
— Summary: Amendments to the Strike Price and Listing Schedule for Options on E-mini Russell 2000 Index Futures Contracts – Effective October 04, 2021 — CME
ION expands derivatives business with Clarus Financial Technology acquisition; Acquisition of Clarus will expand ION’s post-trade clearing and settlement platform and complement its margin pricing and valuation service.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
ION Markets has confirmed it has acquired derivatives analytics specialist Clarus Financial Technology in a deal that will boost the firm’s post-trade processing platform. The real-time margin and risk management analytics for cleared and uncleared OTC derivatives will be integrated with ION’s clearing, settlement and reporting platform, XTP, as part of the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
SimCorp expands Dimension platform with Qontigo partnership; The partnership will give buy-side users of SimCorp’s Dimension platform fully managed portfolio optimisation and risk management services.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Trading and investment software provider SimCorp has partnered with Deutsche Börse’s Qontigo to offer clients a portfolio optimisation, and risk management and modelling service. The services will be available on SimCorp’s buy-side front-to-back investment management system, SimCorp Dimension, originally launched in August last year on Microsoft Azure as part of its ongoing cloud strategy.
CloudMargin says its network now includes almost 60 custodians as it facilitates UMR readiness; Collateral and margin management specialist has connected with a significant number of custodians given its relative infancy in the space.
Jon Watkins – The Trade
CloudMargin has connected to nearly 60 custodian banks globally for cash, securities and third-party SWIFT settlement, as it helps firms prepare for the final phases of Uncleared Margin Rules (UMR). The cloud-based collateral and margin management solution provider said it is also connected to the four major tri-party agents.
Fintech Startups Are Dominating Global VC Deals
Vlad Savov – Bloomberg
Regardless of whether you agree with El Salvador that Bitcoin is the future, the present very much belongs to fiat currencies.
The most in-demand startups among private investors are all, in one form or another, focused on digitizing existing money structures. Whether it’s person-to-person payments, insurance and loan applications handled via an app or bringing small businesses online, the field of financial tech is venture capital’s favorite thing this year. That’s particularly palpable in my region of the world, where South Asian and Southeast Asian fintech startups are getting funded every day at mushrooming valuations.
How London’s FinTech Startup Scene Stays on Top
Back in the days when co-working meant making a cappuccino in Starbucks last an entire morning, London’s digital entrepreneurs were much more of a curiosity than a community.
In the last decade, that has changed, and although its FinTech scene might be smaller than Silicon Valley in scale, London sees no shortage of capital flowing in as startups far and wide make the city their chosen base for European expansion.
What It Takes to Create a Leading Fintech Hub
Eric Chin – Entrepreneur
There is no doubt in my mind that Singapore is emerging as a key fintech hub not just for Asia, but for the world. The fintech startup scene here is tremendously vibrant, and its momentum continues to build.
Dozens of Singaporean fintech startups, many of them with an international outlook, have raised $656 million in this first quarter alone. The country is also now home to leading global players such as Revolut, Grabpay and M-Daq, as well as hundreds of other aspiring fintech startups.
Fintech group ION takes control of Italy’s Cerved after takeover bid
Elisa Anzolin – Nasdaq
Fintech group ION has succeeded in its bid to gain control of Italian credit management and data group Cerved CERV.MI, data from the Italian bourse showed on Thursday.
Borsa Italiana said that Cerved’s investors tendered shares equivalent to 78.9% of the bid’s target, exceeding the minimum threshold of two-thirds of the company’s shares set by Dublin-based ION, led by Italian businessman Andrea Pignataro.
Why You Should Buy Cybersecurity ETFs
Neena Mishra – Yahoo! Finance
Since many companies in this space are newer and riskier, it is preferable to look at cybersecurity ETFs for diversified exposure to this promising but volatile area. The ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK) tracks a modified equal weighted index of companies providing cyber security solutions. It has an expense ratio of 60 basis points.
Experts Link Sidewalk Malware Attacks to Grayfly Chinese Hacker Group
Ravie Lakshmanan – The Hacker News
A previously undocumented backdoor that was recently found targeting an unnamed computer retail company based in the U.S. has been linked to a longstanding Chinese espionage operation dubbed Grayfly. In late August, Slovakian cybersecurity firm ESET disclosed details of an implant called SideWalk, which is designed to load arbitrary plugins sent from an attacker-controlled server, gather information about running processes in the compromised systems, and transmit the results back to the remote server.
Building a Unified BCDR Strategy to Protect Data
Joe Noonan – Security Boulevard
Data is the lifeblood of every business. But protecting data can be a huge challenge for organizations because of varying legal and regulatory compliance standards—and the way data lives under constant threat from cybercriminals, error-prone employees and more. The pandemic and the shift to a remote workforce means information lives in more places than ever before. Amid the rush during the early weeks of the pandemic, some businesses may have deprioritized or disregarded their data protection strategies—putting their data at risk.
Digital Driver’s Licenses: Unintended Consequences
Mark Rasch – Security Boulevard
Maryland recently joined seven other U.S. states to permit users to carry “digital driver’s licenses.” Under the program—which initially will work with Apple devices like iPhones—users can download a digital credential—a digital driver’s license—to their phones. The digital ID would be carried in the Apple digital wallet in much the same way as a regular ID is carried in a regular wallet.
Michael Dell: Curbing Ransomware Requires Layered Defense
Jessica Lyons Hardcastle – SDx Central
When asked if ransomware is a solvable problem, the Dell Technologies founder and CEO, speaking at a ransomware virtual event today, said it’s a topic that comes up in every conversation he has with customers. “It’s going to take a tremendous effort across multiple layers of defense, including public-private partnerships, to tackle this and the other cybersecurity-related issues,” Dell said, adding he was “very pleased” to see the White House take steps to curb ransomware. This includes an open letter to private-sector companies outlining best practices to prevent attacks and an executive order on improving the United States’ cybersecurity posture.
Bancoagrícola partners with Flexa to enable bitcoin acceptance across El Salvador; The largest financial institution in El Salvador selects Flexa to power bitcoin payments for the bank’s clients and services, including Wompi and other payment methods
Flexa – PR Newswire
Bancoagrícola®, member of Grupo Bancolombia and the largest financial institution in El Salvador with more than 1,000 service points across the country, today announced that it has enabled bitcoin payments for consumer and merchant customers through a new partnership with Flexa, the world’s leading pure-digital payments network. Through this new integration, Bancoagrícola is now accepting bitcoin (BTC) across its network for payments toward loans, credit cards, and merchant goods and services in compliance with the new “Bitcoin Law” effective September 7.
World’s Biggest Comic-Book Publishers Spook Artists With NFTs
Madis Kabash – Bloomberg
Marvel, DC told artists not to sell NFTs of their characters; Publishers plan on marketing digital collectibles themselves
It’ll surprise few that after a digital mosaic sold for $69 million in March as an NFT, or non-fungible token, comic-book giants Marvel and DC informed their artists they shouldn’t try the same with the likes of Black Widow or Batman.
Crack On With Digital FX, Ex-ECB Official Tells Central Banks
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
Coeure says central bank e-money has ‘unique advantages’; ‘CBDCs will take years to be rolled out,’ so no time to waste
Central banks need to press ahead with developing their own e-currencies or risk being overtaken by a world going digital, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Mastercard to buy CipherTrace as bet on crypto deepens; Deal for anti-money laundering company is payment giant’s latest move into digital assets
Hannah Murphy – FT
Mastercard has agreed to buy blockchain analytics company CipherTrace, which sells cryptocurrency anti-money laundering services, as the payments company deepens its bet on digital assets.
Crypto Fans Borrow to Buy Homes, Cars—and More Crypto; Upstart lenders make it easy to take out loans backed by cryptocurrency holdings. Regulators are watching.
Rachel Louise Ensign – WSJ
Michael Anderson mined bitcoin in his dorm room and left a corporate job to invest in cryptocurrency projects. When he bought his first home in San Francisco this year, he didn’t turn to a bank. Instead, he borrowed against his cryptocurrency. Crypto enthusiasts such as Mr. Anderson are tapping their holdings to buy homes, cars and, often, more crypto. They are getting these loans from upstart nonbank lenders and automated, blockchain-based platforms.
Growing Use of Cryptocurrency in Afghanistan Poses Security Concerns; If the Taliban were to adopt cryptocurrency as part of a national economic policy, it could aid efforts to circumvent sanctions
Ian Talley – WSJ
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has fueled a surge in the use of cryptocurrency as Afghans grasp for ways to cope with a deepening financial crisis, market analysts and local traders say, a trend that may offer hope for an ailing economy, but that poses concerns for Western security officials.
UK FCA: More power needed to oversee digital currency promotions
Ed Drake – Coingeek
The U.K.’s financial services regulator has said more powers are needed to regulate digital currency promotions and advertisements, over concerns that there is still serious scope for investors to be misled about the options available to them.
Up to $4.2 Billion in Lost Bitcoin Can Be Recovered – Be Wary of Scams
Ya?l Bizouati-Kennedy – Bankrates
Approximately 20% of all Bitcoins are lost due to lost private keys, which represents a range of between 68,110 and 92,855 Bitcoin that are recoverable — or between $3.6 and $4.2 billion, a new study says.
Don’t Fret About a Backlash to Biden Vaccine Mandate; Remember that many unvaccinated Americans aren’t hardcore resisters, just people who need a push. The president gave them one.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
In the wake of President Joe Biden’s announcement on Thursday of new, more aggressive tactics against the Covid-19 pandemic, including expanded vaccine mandates, some of those who support vaccination are worried that it could all backfire. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar put it this way: “Unfortunate consequence of this speech — by forcing American vaccine holdouts to choose between vaccine and job — will be to harden opposition to vaccinations.”
Biden’s Smart Covid Plan Depends on Enforcement; The late-summer Covid-19 surge shows that simply urging Americans to get their shots wasn’t enough. A more ambitious strategy is necessary — and that includes mandates.
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
On Thursday, President Joe Biden took bold new steps to defeat the resurgent pandemic — by strengthening the Covid vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors, pushing big private companies to impose mandates of their own, and announcing a series of other initiatives. He was right to act, and these measures deserve wide support.
The coup in Guinea that shook the aluminium market; Country became mining powerhouse under ousted leader but people’s lives barely changed
Neil Munshi and Neil Hume – FT
Guinea’s first elected president came to power more than a decade ago promising to stand up to global mining giants and improve the lives of the poor in the resource-rich west African country.
Democrats Eye Taxing Stock Buybacks and Partnerships to Pay for Agenda; Senate Democrats say a 2 percent tax on the money companies use to buy back stocks and tightened rules around taxing partnerships would raise $270 billion for their $3.5 trillion social policy bill.
Jonathan Weisman and Peter Eavis – NY Times
Senate Democrats are coalescing around imposing a new tax on corporations that buy back their stocks to boost share prices and tightening rules around business partnerships that have allowed rich companies to shield profits from taxation.
Wells Fargo hit with new $250 million fine for failure to pay back wronged customers
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
A top U.S. banking regulator fined Wells Fargo $250 million and placed new restrictions on the bank’s business after finding shortcomings in its earlier efforts to pay back customers it had previously harmed.
The SEC vs Coinbase; A rundown of the most important global business stories you need to know for the coming day, from the newsroom of the Financial Times. Available every weekday morning.
Leading economists polled by the FT expect the Fed to raise interest rates next year
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics – Opening statement – 10 September 2021
Opening statement by ASIC Chair Joe Longo at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, 10 September 2021, Parliament House, Canberra.
Check against delivery
I am pleased to be able to appear before the Committee for the first time in my role as Chair of ASIC. My colleagues and I welcome the opportunity to answer your questions.
Lawyer and former company officers associated with Members Alliance and Benchmark groups facing 72 criminal charges
On 10 September 2021, Mr Richard Marlborough, Mr Colin MacVicar, Mr David Domingo, Mr Liam Young and Mr John Ramsden appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with criminal offences relating to the collapse of the Members Alliance and Benchmark group of companies in 2016 and 2017.
Inquiry into the implications of common ownership and capital concentration in Australia – Opening Statement
Opening statement by ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, 10 September 2021, Parliament House, Canberra.
Prepared Remarks Before the Investor Advisory Committee
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Thank you for the kind introduction. I’d like to note that my views are my own, and I’m not speaking on behalf of my fellow Commissioners or the staff. I’m glad to participate in my second meeting of the Investor Advisory Committee. I thank the members for your time and willingness to represent the interests of American investors. Investor protection is at the heart of the SEC’s three-part mission.
Remarks at the Meeting of the Investor Advisory Committee
Commissioner Elad L. Roisman – SEC
Good morning, and thank you for gathering to discuss two important topics. Before I go further, I want to say that my remarks are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or my fellow Commissioners.
Remarks at Meeting of Investor Advisory Committee
Commissioner Hester Peirce – SEC
Thank you, Jennifer. And thank you to the rest of the Committee for your hard work, which is evident in today’s two draft recommendations and the panel discussions you have planned for today.
Investing and Trading
Container Shipping Giant Freezes Spot Rates Amid Trade Chaos
Brendan Murray – Bloomberg
The world’s third-largest container carrier said it’s capping spot rates for ocean freight for the next five months, yielding to pressure from some customers and regulators concerned that global trade disruptions have pushed the cost of shipping too high.
Spread of ‘Delta’ COVID-19 knocks wind out of UK economy in July
Andy Bruce and William Schomberg – Reuters
Britain’s economy unexpectedly slowed to a crawl in July as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spread rapidly after lockdown restrictions were eased and as a ‘pingdemic’ kept many workers at home self-isolating.
Italy Braces for Pasta Inflation Amid Soaring Durum Wheat Prices
Flavia Rotondi – Bloomberg
Drought and heat have hurt the wheat harvest in Canada; Durum wheat is a key ingredient in the production of pasta
Italians may soon reckon with higher pasta prices amid a fall in durum wheat production. “Our family has been in this business for 110 years, but we have never experienced a situation like this”, Giuseppe Ferro, chief executive officer of La Molisana SpA, one of the country’s biggest pasta producers, said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore on Friday.
Uranium prices soar as investors scoop up nuclear power fuel; Bets on clean energy and economic rebound drive yellowcake prices to their highest level since 2014
Henry Sanderson and Neil Hume – FT
Nuclear power companies are facing competition for supplies of uranium from financial investors, who are betting on sharply higher prices and demand for the radioactive material used to fuel reactors.
Companies rush to exploit fizzing bond markets; Fundraising surge shows the lengths investors will go to in search of some returns
Katie Martin – FT
Companies are scooping money out of a bond market awash with liquidity at a startling pace. This is either a happy reflection of an unusually well functioning market or a cause for concern.
Fed Officials Prepare for November Reduction in Bond Buying; Phasing out the Fed’s pandemic-era stimulus by the middle of 2022 could clear the path for an interest-rate increase
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
Federal Reserve officials will seek to forge agreement at their coming meeting to begin scaling back their easy money policies in November. Many of them have said in recent interviews and public statements that they could begin reducing, or tapering, their $120 billion in monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities this year. While they are unlikely to do so at their meeting on Sept. 21-22, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell could use that gathering to signal they are likely to start the process at their following session, on Nov. 2-3.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Credit Suisse ESG Head Wants ‘More Pressure’ on Rating Firms
Frances Schwartzkopff and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG’s sustainability chief added his voice to a growing chorus of industry professionals calling for the regulation of ESG ratings. Daniel Wild, global head of ESG strategy at the Zurich-based bank, says there’s currently inadequate oversight of the firms that grade businesses on their environmental, social and governance metrics. Neither the data the ratings firms use nor the approaches they take are clear, he said.
Standard Chartered Opens Gas, Carbon Trading Desk as Prices Soar
Will Mathis, Greg Ritchie, and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
So-called energy transition desk started operating last month; EU gas and carbon prices have surged to records this year
Standard Chartered Plc opened a desk to trade natural gas and carbon following a record-breaking run for both commodities.
‘Huge’ Financial Risks Face Climate Change Deniers, Swedish Minister Says
Rafaela Lindeberg and Francine Lacqua – Bloomberg
Companies and investors who fail to recognize how rapidly the planet is overheating are exposing themselves to enormous financial risks, according to Sweden’s minister in charge of financial markets.
Harvard’s $42 Billion Fund to Stop Investing in Fossil Fuels
Kevin Crowley and Stephen Stapczynski – Bloomberg
Announcement follows years of pressure from students; Harvard vowed last year to create a 2050 net zero plan
Harvard University will stop investing in fossil fuels and instead use its giant $42 billion endowment to support the green economy, joining a growing wave of investors moving away from pollutive industries.
Selling Green Bonds Has Never Been So Easy or Cheap in Europe
Priscila Azevedo Rocha – Bloomberg
‘Investors are willing to pay more’ on green deal, Spain says; Pricing differences may fade as ESG label gets widely applied
There has never been a better time to sell green bonds in Europe. A boom in ESG investing has pushed up the “greenium” investors are willing to pay for debt that complies with a set of environmental, social, and governance criteria, according to Deutsche Bank AG. That’s flushed out debut green deals from issuers as diverse as Spain and Oreo-cookie maker Mondelez International Inc.
Battery Makers Tied to Power Grid Attract Big Investors; Investment firms have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to startups developing so-called long-duration batteries
Scott Patterson – WSJ
Big investors are charging into startups touting experimental new battery technologies that would make it possible for renewable energy sources to produce most of the country’s electricity. Deep-pocketed investment firms such as TPG, Apollo Global Management and Paulson & Co. in recent months have plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into the companies, which make what are called long-duration batteries.
UPDATE 1-Sportradar aims to raise as much as $532 mln in U.S. IPO
Switzerland-based sports data provider Sportradar Group AG is aiming to raise as much as $532 million in a U.S. initial public offering (IPO), a regulatory filing showed on Tuesday.
Hong Kong watchdog still watching IPO sponsor banks, has several open cases
Hong Kong’s markets watchdog expects to penalise more brokers for misconduct over listings in the financial hub, particularly smaller firms, its enforcement director said on Wednesday, despite some large fines levied recently.
China’s Season of Stock Market Turbulence Continues: A Timeline
Olivia Tam and Low De Wei – Bloomberg
China’s overhaul of tutoring companies ignited a volatile period for stock markets both onshore and in Hong Kong this summer, leaving investors on edge. As autumn arrives traders remain on guard for what regulators may target next as Beijing tightens its grip on a range of sectors from private education to digital gaming, e-cigarettes, property and insurance.
Hong Kong Plans to Limit Retail Investor Access to SPACs
Kiuyan Wong – Bloomberg
Hong Kong plans to curb access for retail investors to buy and trade blank check companies as regulators in the city prepare to roll out a framework this month. The city will propose to only allow what it deems as professional investors with assets of more than HK$8 million ($1 million) to participate in both the primary and secondary market of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing the plan before it has been made public.
China launches long-awaited Wealth Connect, wrapping in HK, Macau
Scott Murdoch and Samuel Shen – Reuters
China kicked off on Friday a long-awaited scheme, called Wealth Management Connect, that links its southern province of Guangdong with Hong Kong and Macau, as Beijing moves to pull the two territories closer.
Chinese Women to Drive $5.3 Trillion Consumer Boom, UBS Says
Chinese women will be the main drivers of an expected $5.3 trillion boom in consumer spending over the next decade as their incomes rise, UBS Group AG said.
China to sell oil from state reserves in bid to contain prices; Beijing announces move days after Opec+ resisted calls to increase output faster
Tom Wilson and David Sheppard – FT
China has announced it will sell oil from its state petroleum reserves for the first time, as Beijing steps up efforts to rein in inflationary pressures stemming from commodity markets.
The CFA Route to Finance Is Cheap But Proving Very Stressful; The chartered financial analyst designation is less expensive than top MBA programs, but it can take longer to achieve and most don’t even pass.
Claire Ballentine and Natasha Abellard – Bloomberg
Schmoozing won’t get you anywhere in the CFA program. To earn the chartered financial analyst certification, Wall Street’s aspiring asset managers need to have a stone-cold mastery of skills like valuing stocks and analyzing financial statements — not after-hours networking drinks that are hallmarks of an expensive MBA program, an alternative path to getting a job.