Global futures and options trading reaches record level in 2020; CFTC chair steps down, academic Chris Brummer in lead to replace him: sources

Jan 22, 2021

First Read

$26,351/$300,000 (8.8%)

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The CFTC and the SEC have new acting chairs, with Rostin Behnam taking the CFTC reins and Allison Herren Lee leading the SEC.

The CFTC also put out a press release titled “Heath P. Tarbert Concludes Historic Tenure as CFTC Chairman.” They forgot to mention his tenure was “epic,” “unprecedented” and “unparalleled.” They also noted in the release that he remains one of the five commissioners at the agency with a term that expires on April 13, 2024. This continues to give the CFTC a Republican tilt with a three to two advantage. However, Republican Brian D. Quintenz had previously said he was leaving the Commission.

The FIA, as is their practice, issued a press release congratulating the new President and Vice President. What was different was the reference to the “peaceful transfer of power.” Then they congratulated Russ Behnam on being named the CFTC’s new acting chairman. The FIA is so proper and polite, you might think they were Canadian.

Here is the text of the FIA statement: “FIA congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris on their swearing-in and welcomes the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected leaders of the US. On behalf of FIA’s worldwide membership, we look forward to working with the incoming administration on the challenges before us. We also congratulate Russ Behnam on his designation as Acting Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We look forward to working with Acting Chairman Behnam and his fellow commissioners on the immediate challenges of the cleared derivatives industry both here and around the world. Today, FIA joins with our members in celebrating the workings of our democracy and the resilience of the American people.”

The FIA also yesterday put out this notice, “Global futures and options trading reaches record level in 2020.” We have made that our lead story for today because, like, it is rad news.

The Barclay CTA Index showed a gain of 2.49% in December and 5.18% for 2020. Half of the gains of the year in the last month, while the stock market was roaring, is not a stirring recommendation for managed futures.

Interestingly though, Barclays reports that “All sectors tracked in the Barclay CTA Indices were in the black for December. The Cryptocurrency Traders Index set the pace gaining 19.66%, while the MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders Index returned 4.25%. The Diversified Traders Index advanced 3.87%, the Systematic Traders Index was up 2.71% and the Discretionary Traders Index gained 2.05%.”

They also noted that “In similar fashion, all managed futures sectors posted 12-month gains in 2020. The Cryptocurrency Traders Index led the way returning 171.32% for the year, followed by the Agricultural Traders Index, up 14.20%, and the Discretionary Traders Index, gaining 8.56%. The Diversified Traders Index returned 6.57% in 2020, while the Systematic Traders Index advanced 5.26%.”

I guess the cryptocurrency space was the place to be, if you can stomach it, have money to burn and want to take a ride on the wild side.

Nasdaq has appointed Jeremy Skule Chief Strategy Officer. He is now their executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Congratulations Jeremy.

Notice from SGX’s website: As at 22 Jan 2021 03:15 PM | Please be informed that due to website maintenance, there will be intermittent access to our site from 08:00 am 23 Jan 2021 to 08:00 pm 24 Jan 2021 (Singapore time). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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

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Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh’s latest column is called “A Record Pace for SPACs” and looks at what SPACs are, how they work and how they trade. You can read the article and/or listen to the podcast here. ~SR

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Sponsored Content
【Special Report】 First year anniversary workshop of TOCOM/JPX Electricity Futures

Asia’s Most Successful Electricity Futures at Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM)/Japan Exchange Group (JPX) celebrated its first year of listing in a co-hosted webinar with Quick Corp. on December 15, 2020. The event was attended by over 250 people from 152 companies.

At the workshop, Mr. Hatakeyama, Director-General for Commerce and Service Industry Policy of METI gave an opening remarks and Mr. Ishibashi of Astmax Trading, Inc. gave a keynote speech on Electricity trading and Risk management. In the panel discussion, traders from different power companies shared their experiences in using TOCOM Electricity Futures and their internal risk control systems. They pointed out that there is still a huge opportunity in Electricity Futures market in Japan and requested the exchange to list new products such as those covering the Hokkaido and Kyushu areas and change the product design to extend contract months.

For more details, please refer to the following link
https://www.tocom.or.jp/uploads/en_news/2021/report_E.pdf

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Nasdaq Appoints Jeremy Skule Chief Strategy Officer
Nasdaq
Today, Nasdaq (NDAQ) announced Jeremy Skule has been appointed to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Expanding his scope in this new role, Skule will lead the Global Strategy Organization to drive strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, venture investing, NasdaqNext innovation, and will be responsible for the company’s positioning as an innovative data, technology and analytics leader. In addition, he will also continue to oversee Nasdaq’s Marketing and Communications division, now part of Global Strategy.
/bit.ly/365jgVD

*****An excellent move by Nasdaq.~JJL

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Japan stands firm on Tokyo Olympics schedule, denies report of cancellation
Jack Tarrant and Chris Gallagher – Reuters
Japan stood firm on Friday on its commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied reports of a possible cancellation but the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during a global pandemic. Though much of Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Tokyo Olympic organisers have vowed to press ahead with the re-scheduled Games, which are due to open on July 23 after being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus.
/reut.rs/3iytOBQ

*****The flip flop is going to be the big new sport at the Olympics.~JJL

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Banished by Trump but Brought Back by Biden, Fauci Aims to ‘Let the Science Speak’; Using the kind of blunt language that so often infuriated the former president, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the health threat from the virus was still “very serious.”
Michael D. Shear – NY Times
Most of the times Dr. Anthony S. Fauci made an appearance in the White House briefing room in 2020 — before eventually being banished from public view for his grim assessments of the coronavirus pandemic — he had President Donald J. Trump glowering over his shoulder.
/nyti.ms/39TY1Y6

*****I missed having a government that valued science.~MR

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Barclay CTA Index Gains 2.49% in December, 5.18% for 2020, According to Backstop BarclayHedge; The risk on trade re-emerges as investor optimism returns to the driver’s seat
PRweb
Managed futures funds finished 2020 with another positive month and gained 2.49% in December, according to the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, a division of Backstop Solutions. For the year, CTAs returned 5.18%. “Global equity and commodity markets benefitted from robust price rallies while safe haven assets such as bonds and the U.S. dollar declined,” said Sol Waksman, president of BarclayHedge. “Progress on economic stimulus measures and coronavirus vaccine approvals raised hopes that a return to normalcy was on the way.”
/bit.ly/361E5kI

*****Makes me want to go back into the CTA business.~JJL

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Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was John Lothian News’ Why Do You Hire a Super Salesman to Run Trading Technologies? by John Lothian. Second was Trading Technologies’ Trading Technologies Names New Chairman and CEO. Third was Reuters’ In hidden message on White House website, Biden calls for coders.

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CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Ether (ETH)
The price of Ethereum hit an all-time high on Tuesday, January 19, reaching over $1,400 per ETH token. Ether, the world’s second-most popular digital asset, has seen over 90 percent gains this year, even more so than bitcoin (BTC). Currently, there are approximately more than 114 million ETH in circulation, with a market capitalization of $139.9 billion; for comparison, there are approximately 18.6 million BTC in circulation, with a market cap of approximately $573.8 billion
bit.ly/2EFAxGN

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MarketsWiki Stats
198,029,118 pages viewed; 25,121 pages; 229,395 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages

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Lead Stories

Global futures and options trading reaches record level in 2020
FIA
FIA today released yearly statistics that show the total number of futures and options traded on exchanges worldwide reached a record level of 46.77 billion contracts in 2020, up 35.6% from 2019. Total futures trading rose 32.7% to 25.55 billion. Total options trading rose 39.3% to 21.22 billion. Open interest, which measures the number of outstanding contracts at a point in time, also reached a record high, reaching 987.3 million contracts at year-end, up 9.7% from December 2019.
/bit.ly/3qEnKuj

CFTC chair steps down, academic Chris Brummer in lead to replace him: sources
Jarrett Renshaw, Karen Brettell, Michelle Price – Reuters
Heath Tarbert stepped down as Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chair on Thursday, with Georgetown University academic Chris Brummer emerging as a leading candidate to replace him, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.
/reut.rs/2LYRq6y

US emerges as early winner of shift in derivatives trading from London; Netherlands also picks up business as Brexit pushes dealing away from UK
Philip Stafford – FT
The US and the Netherlands have emerged as early winners of the shift in derivatives trading out of London following the UK’s exit from the EU. Data released on Thursday by IHS Markit highlight the move in trading this month from the City that came after a financial services agreement was omitted from the UK and EU’s post-Brexit deal.
/on.ft.com/3qJKt8o

Brazil’s B3 overtakes CME Group in rankings for largest derivatives exchange; CME Group had previously been ranked second largest in terms of trading volume, losing first place to the National Stock Exchange of India last January.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US derivatives exchange CME Group has dropped to third place in a ranking of the largest derivatives exchanges globally, losing second place to Brazil’s B3, statistics from the Futures Industry Association (FIA) have revealed.
/bit.ly/3a9YINd

UK trading venues see EU market share plummet post-Brexit, report finds ;Market share in European STO stocks for UK-based venues fell from 16% to 2.5% when looking at addressable and non-addressable liquidity, report from Liquidnet reveals.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
UK-based trading venues saw market share in European share trading drop to just 2.5% following the UK’s departure from the EU, a report from Liquidnet has revealed. In the first two weeks of trading in 2021, UK venues market share in European STO (share trading obligation) stocks fell from 16% pre-Brexit to 2.5% post-Brexit when looking at both addressable and non-addressable liquidity.
/bit.ly/3a9YXb5

Interim CFTC chair appointed as Heath Tarbert steps down; Heath Tarbert confirmed in December that he would be resigning as chairman and chief executive when president Joe Biden took office in early 2021.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The chairman and chief executive of the US derivatives trading watchdog, Heath Tarbert, has stepped down following Joe Biden’s inauguration. While a permanent replacement for the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is found, commissioner Rostin Nehnam [sic] will assume the role of acting chairman, effective immediately.
/bit.ly/36078oU

Launch of TSE API Services
JPX
On February 1, 2021, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (President & CEO: Kiyota Akira, hereinafter referred to as “TSE”) will launch a new service to distribute timely disclosure information and Stock Price* in Web-API format in order to further improve the convenience of market data distributed by TSE. By creating an environment in which it is easy to acquire market data through the use of these API services, TSE expects that fintech companies will create new investment-related information services, financial institutions will digitize business processes, and research institutes will revitalize analytical operations.
/bit.ly/3o8fqBo

Eurozone on Brink of Recession Amid Covid Wave, Slow Vaccine Rollout; High infection rates, lockdowns led to a deeper decline in services activity as 2020 began
Paul Hannon – WSJ
The eurozone economy has suffered a weak start to the year, with high coronavirus infection rates and government restrictions increasing the risk of a second recession since the pandemic first struck last year. Fresh Covid-19 outbreaks that authorities have struggled to contain are continuing to weigh on economic activity and have damped expectations for a strong global recovery in the first half, although the start of vaccination campaigns has raised hopes for a stronger rebound in the second.
/on.wsj.com/2Nsx9a5

SPACs Rescued Wall Street From the Covid Doldrums; Initial public offerings from so-called blank-check companies gave a boost to banks’ stock-selling operations
David Benoit – WSJ
In 2020, underwriters were the kings of Wall Street. The biggest investment banks recorded better-than-expected years, even though a global pandemic sent shockwaves through businesses and households. No business grew more than their operations selling stocks. In the spring, clients bracing for economic trouble turned to stock markets to raise cash. In the latter part of 2020, it was the SPACs—special-purpose acquisition vehicles—that raised billions of dollars as a quick and suddenly popular way to get more companies into the public markets’ wide-open arms.
/on.wsj.com/361w8Mo

Rostin Behnam Named Acting Chair of U.S. Derivatives Regulator
Benjamin Bain – Bloomberg
Rostin Behnam, a Democratic member of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, will serve as acting chair of the derivatives regulator until the Senate confirms President Joe Biden’s permanent nominee.
/bloom.bg/39SHTpB

Covid ‘changing’ investment advisory industry, says funds chief; Taking new role at Netwealth, Edward Bonham Carter says pandemic has prompted savers to reassess their finances
Stefan Wagstyl – FT
The Covid-19 pandemic is driving householders to reassess their financial affairs and consider changing financial advisers, says veteran funds chief Edward Bonham Carter. ‘There is change coming in the market. People want different things from the industry,” says the 60-year-old vice-chairman and former chief executive of Jupiter Fund Management. “I don’t think change has been particularly fast in our industry. But I think Covid is making people look at their financial affairs.”
/on.ft.com/39YGfTo

Companies Are Selling Stock at Record Pace to Start the Year; U.S.-listed companies have conducted 57 follow-on stock offerings this year through Wednesday, raising $12.35 billion
Karen Langley – WSJ
Public companies have been taking advantage of a hot stock market by issuing shares at record pace in January.n U.S.-listed companies have conducted 57 follow-on stock offerings this year through Wednesday, raising $12.35 billion. Both numbers are records for this point in the year, according to Dealogic data going back to 1995.
/on.wsj.com/2LZ1rkd

Coronavirus

Johnson Signals Third U.K. Lockdown Could Last Into Summer
Alex Morales and Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
Government considering plan to pay more people to stay at home; Minister announces $1,000 fines for attending lockdown parties
The U.K.’s third coronavirus lockdown looks set to endure as the government warned it’s too early to contemplate easing restrictions.Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel did not repeat previous assurances that the U.K. will be getting back to normal by April, even as the mass vaccination program continued to expand to reach 5 million people.
/bloom.bg/3qG2fcy

Pfizer Vaccine Safe for Elderly Despite Norway Scare, WHO Says
Naomi Kresge – Bloomberg
The World Health Organization said it sees no evidence that Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine contributed to the deaths of elderly people and urged that the shot still be used.
/bloom.bg/3bWCb90

Vaccines Turn Into Geopolitics in Europe’s Most Volatile Region; The EU is delaying getting shots to the Balkans and that’s created an opportunity for Serbia’s populist president.
Jasmina Kuzmanovic, Misha Savic, and Jan Bratanic – Bloomberg
The coronavirus exposed lingering divisions in the Balkans, and now Europe’s most volatile region is once again cleaving along geopolitical and ethnic lines over efforts to get people vaccinated.
/bloom.bg/39WGlei

Billionaire Angers Swiss With Early Covid Shot
Janice Kew and Corinne Gretler – Bloomberg
Rupert received vaccine at Swiss clinic linked to his family; He got inoculation as ‘test patient’ before the wider public
Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert received his first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic his family has investment ties to in Switzerland, sparking a controversy in the country about who should get inoculated first. The South African billionaire got the shot at Hirslanden AG, which is owned by Mediclinic International Plc, a hospital operator the Rupert family has invested in through Remgro Ltd. Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger said he was one of 12 test patients in the canton of Thurgau shortly before vaccinations were offered to a wider public on Jan. 12.
/bloom.bg/2NrV2i2

Pro-Beijing Hong Kong politicians to be vaccinated before city residents; Group will travel to mainland China as wider inoculation rollout delayed in territory
Primrose Riordan and Nicolle Liu – FT
A group of more than 200 pro-Beijing politicians in Hong Kong is set to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in mainland China, ahead of the rest of the city’s population, in order to attend the Chinese Communist party’s premier political event this year.
/on.ft.com/3c2FJqk

Covid-19 Data Remain Mired in Inconsistencies; A year after first U.S. case, testing is uneven, case counts are too low and death tallies are incomplete
Jo Craven McGinty – WSJ
When the daily demands of pandemic management subside, researchers will want to survey the damage wreaked by Covid-19 and assess how health-care systems and policy makers responded to the scourge.
/on.wsj.com/3sLOHy7

Studies of South African Coronavirus Strain Raise Concerns About Immune Response; Findings suggest vaccine makers may need to update shots as virus evolves, as with flu vaccinations
Gabriele Steinhauser – WSJ
Three new laboratory studies are raising concerns that the immune response triggered by a Covid-19 infection or vaccination may be less effective at protecting against the new strain of the coronavirus that first emerged in South Africa.
/on.wsj.com/3qJv6gg

Japan has pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccine doses for more than four times its population, says report; Japan has procurement deals with half of the companies leading the COVID-19 vaccine development race, according to GlobalData.
Europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com
According to a new study, Japan reserved approximately $6.32bn from its emergency budget to secure COVID-19 vaccines. The report states the country is “aggressively making efforts to vaccinate its population… with a strong focus on signing pre-orders”. So far, Japan has signed multiple deals with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax, such that its pre-ordered doses exceed four times the country’s actual population.
/bit.ly/3qAMvaO

Saudi Arabia, Brazil Set to Get Vaccines as India Begins Exports
Archana Chaudhary and Rishaad Salamat – Bloomberg
Expect to house global supply chains, foreign secretary says; Trade, Indo-Pacific, technology among top priorites with U.S.
India will begin commercial shipments of Covid-19 vaccines to Brazil and Morocco Friday, followed by Saudi Arabia and South Africa, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempts to burnish his credentials as a key global leader.
/bloom.bg/3sP5HmT

Biden Team Vows Tough Enforcement of Anti-Virus Travel Steps
Alan Levin and Keith Laing – Bloomberg
Biden to order masks, quarantines in fight against Covid-19; Measures such as quarantines are tough to police, some warn
The Biden administration is vowing tough enforcement of new safety measures it is imposing on travelers to curb the spread of the coronavirus even as some in the travel indusry say elements of the plan will be difficult to police.
/bloom.bg/39NL4Pi

Covid Cases Fall in 46 States, But Biden Warns of More Death
Jonathan Levin – Bloomberg
Covid-19 cases are declining in 46 states, reducing pressure on long-burdened hospitals. But the U.S. hasn’t yet seen the full fallout from the earlier infections, and deaths are likely to keep mounting at a brisk pace.
/bloom.bg/3c3CMWf

Biden Inherits a Vaccine Supply Unlikely to Grow Before April; But with 200 million doses pledged for the first quarter of the year, some experts say President Biden’s plan for 100 million shots in 100 days is far too modest.
Sharon LaFraniere and Noah Weiland – NY Times
As the Biden administration takes power with a pledge to tame the most dire public health crisis in a century, one pillar of its strategy is to significantly increase the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
/nyti.ms/3qH2S5F

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

MPC Energy Solutions lists on Euronext Growth Oslo
Euronext
The renewable energy company MPC Energy Solutions has today been admitted to trading on Euronext Growth Oslo (ticker code: MPCES). “MPC Energy Solutions has been created given the demand of our clients for low-carbon, cost-competitive and reliable power supply in an evolving energy market environment. Closing our private placement and raising USD 100 million growth capital was an excellent start to 2021,” says Martin Vogt, CEO of MPC Energy Solutions.
/bit.ly/2NjwI1A

HKEX Welcomes Inclusion of STAR Market Stocks into Stock Connect and Further Expansion of Southbound Stock Connect Trading
HKEX
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce the inclusion of eligible A-shares listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s (SSE) Sci-Tech Innovation Board (STAR Market) into Stock Connect, effective from Monday, 1 February 2021. As previously agreed by HKEX, SSE and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE), STAR Market-listed shares that are constituent stocks of the SSE 180 Index and SSE 380 Index, or have corresponding H-shares listed in Hong Kong for A+H companies, will be eligible for Northbound trading under Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect following the existing inclusion arrangements. Their corresponding H-shares will be included in Southbound trading of Stock Connect when the Northbound arrangements take effect.
/bit.ly/3iA29QO

Performance Bond Requirements – Energy, Ags Margin – Effective January 22, 2021
CME Group
“As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.
/bit.ly/3obxYAC

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy, Equity, Interest Rate & Metal Margins – Effective January 22, 2021
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. Please email any questions to Clearing.RiskManagement@cmegroup.com.
/bit.ly/2McnvYr

February 2021 Delivery Date Memo
CME Group
Important dates and events through the month relevant to delivery and clearing procedures.
/bit.ly/2MbPqb8

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER: WEDBUSH SECURITIES INC.
RULE VIOLATION: 536. RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS FOR PIT, GLOBEX AND NEGOTIATED TRADES
F. CTR Enforcement Program and Sanction Schedule
The Market Regulation Department will conduct audits of clearing members in order to verify the accurate recording and submitting of required audit trail information.
PENALTY: Pursuant to the Rule 536.F sanction schedule, Wedbush Securities Inc. was issued a $2,500 fine on January 5, 2021 for its first violation of Rule 536.F. within 24 months.
/bit.ly/2Y6U64y

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER: MACQUARIE FUTURES USA LLC
RULE VIOLATION: 536. RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS FOR PIT, GLOBEX AND NEGOTIATED TRADES
F. CTR Enforcement Program and Sanction Schedule
The Market Regulation Department will conduct audits of clearing members in order to verify the accurate recording and submitting of required audit trail information.
PENALTY: Pursuant to the Rule 536.F sanction schedule, Macquarie Futures USA LLC was issued a $2,500 fine on January 4, 2021 for its first violation of Rule 536.F. within 24 months.
/bit.ly/2Y3PKeC

CME Globex Notices: January 18, 2021
CME Group
Critical System Updates
Update – iLink 2 on MSGW Decommission – Migrate to iLink 3 Now UPDATE
Update on Order Routing and Front-End Audit Trail Requirements for iLink 3
iLink 3 SBE Schema Update – March 7
Update – CME FX Link Enhancements – March 28 UPDATE
Update -CME FX Link Enhancements: Drop Copy Impact – March 28 UPDATE
/bit.ly/3o3WVy5

CME STP Notices: January 21, 2021
CME Group
CME STP
CME STP Support of BrokerTec Markets – February 1
BrokerTec Stream on CME STP – February 1
New Aggressor Indicator Flag on CME STP – February 21
Enhancements for Exercise and Assignment Trades on CME STP – February 22
CME STP FIXML API Connectivity Documentation
/bit.ly/2Y3BgeJ

SGX reports 1H FY2021 net profit of S$228 million
SGX
/bit.ly/2KEfZoX

Fintech

Alphabet Shuts Loon Project to Beam Internet From High-Altitude Balloons
Nico Grant and Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
Google parent Alphabet Inc. shut down Loon, an audacious project to beam internet service from high-altitude balloons, after the unit failed to develop a viable business model “While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business,” Loon Chief Executive Officer Alastair Westgarth wrote Thursday in a blog post. “Developing radical new technology is inherently risky, but that doesn’t make breaking this news any easier. Today, I’m sad to share that Loon will be winding down.”
/bloom.bg/39PpBpm

China Says Crackdown on Fintech Not Aimed at Specific Firms
Bloomberg News
Rectification measures on internet platforms have shown effect; Regulator says banks should continue cooperation with fintech
China’s banking regulator said recent measures to rein in financial technology firms that have hit hard at giants such as Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. weren’t aimed any specific company and have been well received by some in the industry.
/bloom.bg/3sO5a4Y

China Tightens Grip on Homegrown Fintech Firms After Ant Debacle; The cancellation of Jack Ma’s IPO has smaller players bracing for a regulatory crackdown.
Bloomberg News
In late 2020, as Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. prepared for a $35 billion initial public offering, many outside China wondered if the country’s financial technology giants were becoming a global competitive threat to U.S. and European banks and payments companies. Ant’s Alipay app, used for everything from hailing cabs to investing, had already rewired financial services in the world’s second-largest economy. There was just one problem: Inside China, policymakers were growing uneasy about the sudden dominance of their homegrown superstars.
/bloom.bg/3bZ6eNn

Colt Technology Services announces new EVP of HR; Tessa Raum has been named EVP HR of Colt, bringing a wealth of experience in the technology industry to the position.
LinkedInTwitterFacebookRedditPinterest
Webwire
Colt Technology Services has today announced the appointment of Tessa Raum as Executive Vice President (EVP) for HR. This role sees Tessa join the Executive Leadership Team, reporting directly to Keri Gilder, Colt’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
/bit.ly/3iDueql

Fiserv to Release Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Results on February 9, 2021
Fiserv, Inc.
Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, will announce its fourth quarter and full year financial results after the close of regular market trading on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.
/fisv.co/39TD8fz

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin’s Worst Week Since March Rattles Faith in Crypto Boom
Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Digital coin set for one of its worst weeks since March 2020; Price down sharply from early January high of almost $42,000
The sharp selloff in Bitcoin this week is stoking fresh questions about the sustainability of the cryptocurrency boom. Prices for the digital asset have tumbled 14% this week, marking the steepest decline since March. Bitcoin was steady on Friday, holding near $31,000 and commentators have cautioned that a sustained drop below $30,000 could presage further losses.
/bloom.bg/2LTXw8p

Cryptos Won’t Work as Actual Currencies, UBS Economist Says
Mark Cranfield – Bloomberg
Supply can’t be reduced when demand falls, Donovan says; Many digital assets offer uncertain levels of spending power
Cryptocurrencies may never be able to work as actual currencies, according to UBS Global Wealth Management. The “fundamental flaw” inherent in cryptocurrencies is that supply can’t be reduced when demand is slumping in most cases, Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS GWM, said in a video this week. That means they can’t be considered currencies, he said.
/bloom.bg/39Yhbft

GBTC’s premium has fallen below 5% from about 40% a month ago
Yogita Khatri – The Block
GBTC’s premium has fallen below 5% from about 40% a month ago. The sharp fall suggests that some large investors might be cashing out their gains or just arbitraging premiums away. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) product’s premium has fallen below 5% from about 40% a month ago, according to data tracked by The Block. The current premium stands at about 3%. The sharp fall in GBTC’s premium suggests that some large investors might be cashing out their gains or just arbitraging premiums away.
bit.ly/3p98rcM

Why Everyone From Square to Facebook Is Now Hosting the Bitcoin White Paper
Zack Seward – Coindesk
Some of the Bitcoin community’s most prominent voices (and also Facebook subsidiary Novi) are now hosting the Bitcoin white paper. The move follows legal threats from nChain Chief Scientist Craig Wright levied against the nonprofit that has long hosted crypto’s foundational document. “Yesterday, both Bitcoin.org and Bitcoincore.org received allegations of copyright infringement of the Bitcoin white paper by lawyers representing Craig Steven Wright,” the nonprofit wrote Thursday morning.
bit.ly/3plKZcx

Yellen: US government should consider benefits of cryptocurrencies and digital assets
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, who previously headed up the U.S. Federal Reserve, said in written testimony on Thursday that cryptocurrencies and digital assets have the potential to “improve the efficiency of the financial system.” As she noted in her written remarks: “Bitcoin and other digital and cryptocurrencies are providing financial transactions around the globe. Like many technological developments, this offers potential benefits for the U.S. and our allies.” “At the same time, it also presents opportunities for states and non-state actors looking to circumvent the current financial system and undermine American interests. For example, the Central Bank of China just issued its first digital currency,” she continued.
bit.ly/39SH5Ba

AlgoNerve LLC Launched Most Advanced Crypto Trading Platform Successfully
Sagar Patra – Lastly
AlgoNerve LLC has successfully launched their highly advanced cryptocurrency trading platform for traders worldwide. With the dawn of a new era, AlgoNerve LLC has launched the best crypto trading platform for people to use it globally. The firm uses a few sets of technologies that consists of neuroscience, quantum technologies, and Artificial Intelligence for ideal algorithmic cryptocurrency trading. With a launch of such a powerful platform, the company is already creating a buzz among crypto trading enthusiasts.
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Kraken Adds 26 New Crypto Trading Pairs to Capture Growing UK, Australia Markets
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has more than doubled the number of trading pairs available to customers using pounds sterling (GBP) and the Australian dollar (AUD). In a press release Thursday, the exchange said the move expands its presence in two markets that have “substantial upside potential.” “The digital currency industry is at a critical tipping point as institutional investors start to allocate into the asset class,” said Kraken’s managing director for Australia, Jonathon Miller. “Through a marked expansion in trading pairs … clients globally will be able to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies at the bleeding edge.”
/bit.ly/2Y2nsku

The city of Shenzhen is planning yet another $3 million digital currency test
MK Manoylov – The Block
The Chinese city of Shenzhen is seeking to boost awareness and use of digital currency by giving 20 million yuan (over $3 million) away to its citizens, according to the Chinese news publication Xinhuanet. Shenzhen residents can receive 200 yuan worth of digital currency in “red envelopes” through a lottery, mirroring past trial runs. This initiative represents the third of its kind. Eligible participants who can register for the random drawing include merchants and employees of firms who will be present in the city during the Spring Festival. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued the digital yuan for this lottery, which Xinhuanet reports opened on Wednesday.
bit.ly/3pa8g0T

Social Networks Are the Next Big Decentralization Opportunity
Ben Goertzel – Coindesk
The fundamental flaws in modern social media infrastructure are nothing new, and nor is the idea of using blockchain and other decentralized technologies to help remedy them. But never before have these issues risen to the fore as they are currently. Never before have so many people been so aware of the ethical and practical weaknesses at the heart of Big Tech’s systems for controlling our communications.
bit.ly/3o424WV

Increased Mainstream Adoption of Bitcoin Cuts Diversification Benefit, JPMorgan Says
Zack Voell – Coindesk
JPMorgan strategists questioned bitcoin’s utility as a reliable investment hedge in a memo published Thursday. Calling bitcoin the “least reliable hedge during periods of acute market stress,” strategists Federico Manicardi and John Normand questioned bitcoin’s ability to function as reliable diversification investment through times of economic uncertainty. “Mainstreaming is reducing diversification benefits and leading to underperformance during crises,” the memo said. Bitcoin’s recently heightened correlation with traditional markets, moreover, could “erode diversification value over time” if the strong positive correlation continues, they wrote.
bit.ly/3pa8wNp

Bitcoin Plunge Has Newbies Scrambling to Google Double-Spend
Vildana Hajric and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Bitcoin, the largest crypto, falls as much as 11% on Thursday; ‘This doesn’t look sinister to me,’ says Coin Metrics’s Carter
Bitcoin plunged more than 10% Thursday, sparking a hunt for reasons the notoriously volatile asset was selling off. One that captured attention questioned the very viability of the token itself — though it turned out not to be cause for concern.
/bloom.bg/2LYOeYC

Politics

Markets love the colour of Biden’s money; But the trillions of dollars of stimulus packages will surely result in inflation
Merryn Somerset Webb – FT
You are a global equity investor. You look to America. You see stock markets at or near record levels on every measurement. You see a global health pandemic, which the US appears to be managing particularly badly. And you see a nasty economic contraction, which has floored the retail and hospitality sectors and wreaked havoc on the labour market.
/on.ft.com/3a0VdbQ

Wall Street frets as Elizabeth Warren ally takes consumer protection role; A revitalised CFPB could focus on bank fees, payday lenders and student loans
Robert Armstrong and Patrick Temple-West – FT
After four years of hibernation during Donald Trump’s administration, the US financial regulator charged with protecting consumers was always going to get a new lease of life under President Joe Biden.
/on.ft.com/2LUjXdC

Federal Judge Denies Parler’s Bid to Force Amazon to Resume Service; Parler sued the tech giant Jan. 11, claiming it kicked the social network off its servers for political and anticompetitive reasons
Sarah E. Needleman – WSJ
Parler has lost an early bid to force Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 1.34% to resume providing web-hosting services for the social network. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein denied Parler’s motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday, writing in a 14-page ruling that the company didn’t meet the threshold for granting such a request. However the judge ruled that the court wasn’t yet dismissing Parler’s underlying claims against Amazon.
/on.wsj.com/39RnzFm

Biden Orders Sweeping Assessment of Russian Hacking, Even While Renewing Nuclear Treaty; There will be no “reset” of the American relationship with Moscow, administration officials say. But in an era of constant confrontation in cyberspace, the president seeks to avoid a nuclear arms race.
David E. Sanger and Julian E. Barnes – NY Times
President Biden ordered a sweeping review on Thursday of American intelligence about Russia’s role in a highly sophisticated hacking of government and corporate computer networks, along with what his spokeswoman called Moscow’s “reckless and adversarial actions” globally and against dissidents inside the country.
/nyti.ms/3qIRiXL

To Understand Bitcoin, Just Think of It as a Faith-Based Asset; The world’s favorite cryptocurrency was developed by a mythical figure whose writings are considered sacred texts. Its other religious trappings include true believers, holidays, and diets.
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
Bitcoin has been around for more than a decade, and the total value of all outstanding coins recently broke $700 billion for the first time. Yet there’s still no consensus as to what precisely it is—one reason it can also plunge so spectacularly, as it has today. (Its price is currently below $31,300, down from a peak above $41,600 earlier this month.) It’s called a cryptocurrency, but it doesn’t exactly behave like a currency. These days it’s trendy to call it “digital gold”—but it’s not a commodity exactly. Some think of it more like a startup, or a company like Facebook Inc. or PayPal Holdings Inc. Others call it a Ponzi scheme and think it’s a matter of time before it hits what they consider its true value ($0).
/bloom.bg/3qF1noD

Regulation

ESMA updates Guidelines on written agreements between CCP college members
ESMA
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published the final report on its revised Guidelines regarding written agreements between members of CCP colleges.
/bit.ly/3971HGy

Allison Herren Lee Named Acting Chair of the SEC
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has designated Allison Herren Lee as Acting Chair of the agency. “It’s an honor to continue my service on the Commission in this new role,” Acting Chair Lee said. “I have tremendous respect for my colleagues on the Commission and the exceptional staff across the agency, and look forward to working closely with them. Together we will continue the agency’s work of protecting investors and ensuring market integrity.”
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CFTC Names Rostin Behnam Acting Chairman
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced that the members of the Commission have unanimously elected Commissioner Rostin Behnam as Acting Chairman effective immediately.
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Heath P. Tarbert Concludes Historic Tenure as CFTC Chairman
CFTC
Heath P. Tarbert today concluded his tenure as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s 14th Chairman and Chief Executive. Mr. Tarbert took office on July 15, 2019 and on December 10, 2020 announced he would step down from the chairmanship in early 2021. He currently remains one of the agency’s five Commissioners, with a term expiring on April 13, 2024.
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Investing and Trading

Russian Diamond Giant Says Gem Market Rebound Has Further to Run
Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
Alrosa raised diamond prices after record sales in December; Miner plans to sign new three-year client contracts in April
Russian diamond giant Alrosa PJSC expects the gem market to continue recovering after record sales in December allowed it to raise prices. Alrosa joined its biggest rival De Beers in increasing prices this month as the diamond industry rebounds from a pandemic-induced standstill in the first half of 2020. “Abnormally” high sales of $521.6 million last month underlined a strong demand recovery in key U.S. and Chinese markets, Alrosa Chief of Sales Evgeny Agureev said in an interview on Thursday.
/bloom.bg/365BTsB

Europe’s Bond Traders Fear ECB Muzzling Its Most Powerful Tool
John Ainger – Bloomberg
Lagarde stresses flexibility of pandemic bond purchase program; Italian bonds lead post-ECB losses as politics back in focus
Europe’s bond traders are wasting no time in showing European Central Bank’s President Christine Lagarde just how much they need the institution’s support, one day after she signaled the option of buying less debt, if warranted.
/bloom.bg/3qINp57

In a Market Full of Optimists, These Are the Most Expensive Stocks; Tesla is on the list, of course, but investors are also expecting rebounds from industries hit hard by lockdowns.
Mark Glassman – Bloomberg
The stocks with the highest prices relative to expected earnings include the usual suspects: those of tech-driven companies with potential for fast growth. But some are included in the S&P 500 Value index, traditionally home for low-priced stocks. In many cases, earnings are depressed because of the coronavirus pandemic—some are in travel-related businesses—but investors are betting they will bounce back when it ends.
/bloom.bg/3c1m5Lb

With Democrats in Control, Investors Are High on Cannabis; Weed businesses are counting on the political shift to help them win access to financial markets and perhaps even national legalization of pot.
Tiffany Kary – Bloomberg
For Kim Rivers, chief executive officer of Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp., the beginning of the year is usually busy with strategy reviews or fielding calls about the state of the nascent industry. But almost overnight on Jan. 6, as Democrats cemented their hold on both Congress and the White House, interest in her company reached a new high. Suddenly the number of meetings lined up for her January investor conferences doubled, and the calls from investors and analysts skyrocketed.
/bloom.bg/3qLSY2u

BofA Warns U.S. Policy Is Fueling a Bubble in Wall Street Prices
Michael Msika – Bloomberg
Strategists note risk of taper tantrum, volatility events; BofA forecasts a market correction in the first quarter
Bank of America Corp. strategists warned the “extreme rally” on Wall Street that has pushed stocks to record highs, fueled by strong U.S. policy stimulus, is forming a bubble in asset prices. “D.C.’s policy bubble is fueling Wall St’s asset price bubble,” strategists led by Michael Hartnett wrote in a note on Friday. “When those who want to stay rich start acting like those who want to get rich, it suggests a late-stage speculative blow-off.”
/bloom.bg/2Northb

No One Knows If the Market Is Too High—But Your Emotions Probably Are; A few simple rules can help you stay on track when it seems like there are bubbles everywhere.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
Signs of bubbly markets are everywhere. Commission-free apps have encouraged home-bound speculators to try their hand at trading tech stocks and options. Bitcoin soars—and plunges—on a daily basis. Gen Z and millennial investors have turned to the viral video app TikTok, where the hashtag #stocktok has 351 million views and everybody seems to be on the verge of becoming a “Teslanaire.”
/bloom.bg/2LUiFPO

Don’t Bank On the Glut of Savings Being Spent; Consumers finally have a cash cushion that they will be hesitant to deplete as the pandemic lingers.
Gary Shilling – Bloomberg
There is no shortage of market participants who are looking for a resurgence of inflation. They point to all the money piled up that U.S. consumers can spend as soon as the economy fully reopens. Bank deposits have leaped from $13.2 trillion at the end of last January to $16.1 trillion at the end of 2020. At 12.9% in November, the household saving rate was double the pre-pandemic level. If it fell back to normal levels, consumer spending would surge by about 6% and boost gross domestic product by four percentage points.
/bloom.bg/3sNuvvF

How did our stockpickers fare in the time of Covid-19? Find out what happened in a rollercoaster year and join our competition to choose five shares for 2021
Robert Smith – FT
January is a time of reflection. After our new year’s hangovers have worn off, many of us try to take stock of the previous year, in a bid to understand what went wrong and how we could have done better.
/on.ft.com/3qG61Tg

Investors See Battery and Chipmakers as Safer Than Tesla and Nio; They don’t have the super high valuations EV makers carry, and their competition isn’t as fierce.
Katrina Nicholas – Bloomberg Green
Shares in RAC Electric Vehicles Inc., an electric-bus maker in Taiwan that has lost money for the past seven years, spiked 27% on Jan. 12. The jump was the latest example of the recent stock market mania surrounding the EV industry.
/bloom.bg/361IaW4

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Giant Swedish Wind Park Targets Turbines as Tall As Eiffel Tower
Lars Paulsson – Bloomberg
Svevind is preparing application for turbine up to 300 meters; Swedish wind power generation jumped by 40% last year
The developer of Europe’s biggest onshore wind park in Sweden has its eyes on a new milestone in renewable energy.
/bloom.bg/2NtjDmA

Water looms large for European thematic ETF providers; Survey shows more than 90% of issuers thought demand from clients was set to grow
Emma Boyde – FT
The dazzling performance of the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), which delivered a 231 per cent return in 2020, has had exchange traded funds providers casting around for the next big thing.
/on.ft.com/3sNvR9J

Investing in China Isn’t Easy. Focusing on ESG Can Help.
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
China is on a path to becoming the largest economy in the world—but many investors remain wary of it. The country has attracted international condemnation for its harsh treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority group in Xinjiang province—treatment that includes restrictions on travel, education, speech, and worship, as well as forced sterilization and abortion. China has cracked down on pro-democracy initiatives in Hong Kong. And its record on corporate governance is spotty, at best. Yet even as China is criticized for its social practices, it’s making rapid progress on its environmental actions. The world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, it has big ambitions to make its economy green, slashing pollution and emissions.
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The changing face of impact investing: Greater awareness of social issues and the road to a defined ESG strategy; Clearly defined objectives still required for lasting change
Alex Hoctor-Duncan – Investment Week
The environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues facing the world today are no doubt on the rise. This goes hand-in-hand with the rising popularity of impact investing. According to the latest annual survey from the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the market was worth $715bn at the end of 2019.
bit.ly/2NsIPJX

ESG just a buzzword for ‘doing the right thing’
Nelson Bennett – Business In Vancouver
Not so long ago, those involved in mining and exploration could attend a conference, like this week’s Association for Mineral Exploration (AME) Roundup, without ever hearing about “ESG” – the guidelines for being socially and environmentally responsible. But for the mining and exploration sector in particular, it has become unavoidable. If you attend a session on financing, you are going to hear about the importance of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), and all that goes with it –social licence, sustainability, climate risk and diversity and inclusion.
bit.ly/2NnmQE1

Elon Musk Says He Will Give $100 Million For Carbon Capture Prize
Devon Pendleton – Blomberg
Elon Musk said he plans to donate $100 million toward a prize for the best carbon capture technology, weeks after he became the world’s richest person.
/bloom.bg/2LUVk0q

Biden Poised to Freeze Oil and Coal Leasing on Federal Land
Jennifer A Dlouhy and Ari Natter – Bloomberg
Federal territories generate nearly 10% of U.S. oil production; Oil industry leaders have vowed to fight moratorium in court
President Joe Biden is poised to suspend the sale of oil and gas leases on federal land, which accounts for about 10% of U.S. supplies, according to four people familiar with the matter.
/bloom.bg/39NLCEQ

Institutions

Bank of America to Pay Bonuses for Staff Working Through Pandemic
Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp. plans to pay its employees special bonuses for their work throughout the pandemic. The lender will give $750 to eligible staff who earn $100,000 or less annually, while higher-paid employees will receive a stock award, according to a memo to staff from Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan. The contents of the memo were confirmed by a bank spokeswoman.
/bloom.bg/3sML4YH

ETFs Aren’t Just for Indexes Now That Active Sees the Light; The success of Cathie Wood’s exchange-traded funds revives investor interest in stockpickers—and asset managers’ hopes for higher fees.
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
This is the year that investors will have to stop using the words “index funds” and “exchange-traded funds” interchangeably. That was never quite accurate, but for most of their history ETFs’ main appeal was that they delivered very low-cost exposure to broad market indexes such as the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. And then along came Cathie Wood.
/bloom.bg/39RlqJO

Fidelity Personal-Investing President Kathleen Murphy to Retire in 2021 For more than a dozen years, she led a business that now oversees $3.6 trillion in assets
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments’ Kathleen Murphy will retire later this year as president of the money manager’s sprawling personal-investing business. Ms. Murphy, 57 years old, plans to step down by midyear, Fidelity Chief Executive Abigail Johnson wrote in a memo to staff Thursday. The firm expects to name a successor in the coming months. Ms. Murphy plans to take some time off before returning to Fidelity in a different role.
/on.wsj.com/3604MGA

Hedge-fund tycoon says investors are like frogs slowly boiling in a pot
Thornton McEnery – NY Post
If you start to feel warm — with a sudden urge to hop out of the stock market — there might be a reason for that. A prominent hedge-fund tycoon said investors are like frogs who are getting slowly boiled in a pot as he warned of the risks of easy money from the US government to offset economic damage from the pandemic.
/bit.ly/3c5xM3w

TradeStation Group Subsidiaries Rated “#1 Platform Technology” for the Ninth Consecutive Year and Inaugural “#1 Crypto Technology” in StockBrokers.com’s 2021 Online Broker Review; TradeStation Securities Also Continues “Best in Class” Winning Streak in Active Trading, Platform & Tools, Options Trading, Commissions & Fees and Futures Trading
TradeStation Group, Inc. (PRNewsfoto/TradeStation Group, Inc.)
TradeStation Group, Inc. (“TradeStation”), a Monex Group company, today announced two #1 rankings for its subsidiaries in StockBrokers.com’s 2021 Online Broker Review. TradeStation Crypto, Inc. (“TradeStation Crypto”), which offers a cryptocurrency brokerage platform, was the inaugural winner of “#1 Crypto Technology.” TradeStation Securities, Inc. (“TradeStation Securities”), an award-winning* broker-dealer and futures commission merchant and TradeStation Group’s principal operating subsidiary, was awarded the title of “”#1 Platform Technology” for the ninth year in a row, all while achieving “Best in Class” accolades in five categories.
/prn.to/3sHeqrk

Regions

French Economic Contraction Accelerates on Pandemic Curfews
Paul Gordon – Bloomberg
France’s private-sector economy shrank at a faster pace in January as curfews hit consumption. IHS Markit’s index of activity dropped to 47, the fifth straight month it’s been below 50, which marks the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
/bloom.bg/39WgcMQ

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index Battles Midlife Crisis: Boring Stocks and Blacklists; The index and its mix of stocks will be getting a makeover
Frances Yoon – WSJ
The Hang Seng Index, the main barometer of Hong Kong’s $6 trillion stock market, has fallen behind the times and now faces an uncertain future. While the Hang Seng is off to a strong start for 2021, gaining 8.1% so far, it is in some ways catching up with other markets, after a dismal year in which it underperformed other benchmarks and retreated 3.4%.
/on.wsj.com/366i18C

Templeton’s India Closures Leave a Bad Taste; Regulators need to stop the nudges and forcibly wield their authority on behalf of investors in suspended funds.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
The courtroom drama over shutting down six of Franklin Templeton’s local Indian mutual funds will soon come to an end, but the denouement shines an unkind light on how the country is running its capital markets.
/bloom.bg/3sI1Jg5

China Imports Oil Doctored to Skirt U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela
Lucia Kassai – Bloomberg
With chemical additives, Hamaca crude becomes “Singma Blend”; Origins erased, rebranded cargo is sold to Chinese buyers
It may be the oil market’s worst-kept secret: Millions of barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude, embargoed by the U.S., have been surreptitiously going to China. The cat-and-mouse games that avoid detection and sanctions include ship-to-ship transfers, shell companies and silenced satellite signals. But there’s another aspect to the dodge. It involves “doping” the oil with chemical additives and changing its name in the paperwork so it can be sold as a wholly different crude without a trace of its Venezuelan roots.
/bloom.bg/3sPbI3e

Brexit

EU Warns City of London That Brexit Finance Deal Is Distant
Silla Brush, Alexander Weber, and Maria Tadeo – Bloomberg
No deadline on equivalence, Commissioner McGuinness says; Brexit has ‘come home to roost’ for U.K., access will change
The European Union’s top financial-services official warned the City of London that any deal for the industry remains a distant prospect. Mairead McGuinness, European commissioner for financial services, said in a Bloomberg TV interview Friday that the EU doesn’t have a fixed timeline for reaching a decision on financial services and emphasized that Brexit would inevitably hinder access to the bloc.
/bloom.bg/2NssQvr

Brexit’s Border Flashpoint Is Now Tale of Two Vaccine Regimes; The different pace of rollouts captures the tension within the EU over its comparatively slow approval of Covid-19 shots.
Dara Doyle – Bloomberg
The Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in the Irish border city of Drogheda received some more bad news this month. Its supply of vaccine had run out, upending a plan to inject all of its front-line workers.
/bloom.bg/39TKsYv

Inside the Brexit deal: the agreement and the aftermath; As businesses adapt to the UK’s new trade deal with the EU, negotiators on both sides reveal what really happened
Asillo3D
George Parker, Peter Foster, Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden – FT
The Brexit denouement had finally arrived. As the year drew to a close, Boris Johnson stood triumphant in the House of Commons and proclaimed the rebirth of Britain as “an independent nation” on the brink of a free-trading future.
/on.ft.com/3qLVjdM

Brexit: Retailers warn they could burn goods stuck in EU
Simon Browning – BBC
UK retailers could abandon goods EU customers want to return, with some even thinking of burning them because it is cheaper than bringing them home. They say the new EU trade deal has put costly duties on returns at a time when firms are already struggling. The BBC has been told UK High Street and luxury brands have a mounting volume of goods stuck with courier services on the continent. None of the retailers would comment on the problem. Adam Mansell, boss of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), said it’s “cheaper for retailers to write off the cost of the goods than dealing with it all, either abandoning or potentially burning them.”
bbc.in/3o7SvpY

Inside the Brexit deal: the agreement and the aftermath
George Parker, Peter Foster, Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden – FT
The Brexit denouement had finally arrived. As the year drew to a close, Boris Johnson stood triumphant in the House of Commons and proclaimed the rebirth of Britain as “an independent nation” on the brink of a free-trading future. “We are going to open a new chapter in our national story,” he declared on December 30, as MPs approved his EU trade deal, secured on ­Christmas Eve after months of painful negotiations with Brussels. But as his bright new dawn for Britain broke in 2021, the impact of Johnson’s deal was already being felt in the real world. David Howson, president of Cboe Europe, one of London’s biggest exchanges, sat at his computer and watched stunned as EUR6bn of EU share dealing shifted away from the City to facilities in European capitals. “Having been in this industry for over 20 years, I’ve never seen a ‘Big Bang’ liquidity transition of this type before in share trading and I hope it’s not something I have to experience again,” he says.
on.ft.com/3qLVjdM

Brexit’s Border Flashpoint Is Now Tale of Two Vaccine Regimes
Dara Doyle – Bloomberg
The Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in the Irish border city of Drogheda received some more bad news this month. Its supply of vaccine had run out, upending a plan to inject all of its front-line workers. The anger that ensued in one of the world’s worst virus outbreaks was made more stark by the situation about half an hour’s drive away. Across the invisible line that divides Ireland in the European Union and Northern Ireland in the U.K. lies Daisy Hill Hospital in the town of Newry. About 75% of the north’s health and social care staff have been vaccinated.
bloom.bg/3o5Y4VB

Brexit has given competitive edge on car battery tariffs, says Nissan chief
Jasper Jolly – The Guardian
Nissan has said Brexit has given the company an edge, as the Japanese carmaker said it will buy more batteries from within the UK to avoid tariffs. The owner of the UK’s largest car factory, in Sunderland, also said it would push ahead with the production of a new version of its Qashqai SUV this year, after it delayed the new model as the coronavirus pandemic wrought havoc on car sales and production. Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, said: “Brexit gives us the competitive advantage not only within the United Kingdom but outside the United Kingdom also.”
bit.ly/3qHYMdt

Miscellaneous

My tug-of-war with algorithms; ‘I despise them — but they give me the things I love’
Lilah Raptopoulos – FT
One afternoon in June, I was out with a stranger at my local park. The algorithms recommended we meet. He told me he had been reading How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, a buzzy bestseller by Jenny Odell. “I just read that!” I said, but before the conversation could begin it was cut. “Well, that’s not surprising,” he said. “I mean, we both live in Brooklyn, we probably follow the same people, same reference points, you know.” And then he changed the subject.
/on.ft.com/3qFVUhi

A billionaire New York hedge-fund CEO just dropped $20 million on a Miami Beach mansion as Wall Street firms plan moves to Florida
Katie Warren – Business Insider
New York hedge-fund executive Dan Loeb has picked up a Miami Beach mansion for $20 million, Katherine Kallergis reported for The Real Deal. Loeb, the founder and CEO of New York-based hedge fund Third Point, is worth about $3 billion, according to Forbes.
/bit.ly/3c3DoLx

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