Google Aims for Commercial-Grade Quantum Computer by 2029; US regulatory scrutiny of index providers mounts

May 19, 2021

First Read

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Intercontinental Exchange sure likes bond-related technology, especially when it involves data and analytics. Its latest endeavor is an investment in BondLink, “a financial technology company that provides cloud-based debt management software solutions to governments financing infrastructure in the $4 trillion municipal bond market.” — Intercontinental Exchange

While we are on the subject of ICE, the exchange set a new open interest record of 47 million contracts on May 17. Its TTF natural gas futures reach an all-time high of open interest of approximately 1.93 million contracts. — Intercontinental Exchange

Today the World Federation of Exchange, or WFE, published its annual derivatives markets analysis, analyzing the trends in the exchange-traded markets in 2020 — WFE

In a sure sign of an improving economy, Stanford University is reinstating 11 of its sports teams. With improvement in the market and “individuals stepping up with fundraising pledges, the school changed course, adding back sports including men’s and women’s fencing, co-ed and women’s sailing and squash, the school said Tuesday in a statement.” — Bloomberg

So let’s get back to squashing, sailing and fencing already!

Our sponsor Vermiculus has signed a new agreement to provide its microservices-based clearing solution to a leading market operator in America. Vermiculus’ clearing solution is an “elastically scalable, AI-powered, real-time clearing system.” They even say its microservices architecture allows for deployment for a selection of microservices and “applying changes on the fly.” This is the first time I have ever heard of a system platform on flies. A better idea would have powered it with cicadas this summer. 😉 — Vermiculus

Gabriele Frediani has been hired as head of European expansion strategy and execution by BondIQ, a central marketplace for U.S. corporate bonds. Frediani has previously been with Katana Labs, Elixium and MTS, where he was the head of market and responsible for bond trading activity on all 17 domestic MTS Markets in Europe.

The Chicago Federal Reserve is looking for a Vice President of public affairs. — LinkedIn

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday.

Today we have an interview with Leo Melamed about his new book, “Man of the Futures.” I interviewed Leo over Zoom, with him in his office full of honors and awards for his long and fruitful career promoting futures trading around the world. Leo’s next book is a follow-up of his science fiction book, “The Tenth Planet.” This novel will be about aliens. I can’t wait.

My daughter Katherine is working this summer in West Virginia at the Boy Scouts’ Bechtel Family Summit. She is responsible for working with the Scout leaders on the “blue cards” for the merit badge program. She embarked on a three-day training session to earn a certificate for Leave No Trace that involves a trek down the New River. It is some of the best whitewater rafting in the eastern U.S. My jealousy is only surpassed by my pride. She is quite the adventurer.

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


Joseph Schifano, global head of regulatory affairs at Eventus Systems, has a blog post in RegTech Insight called Surveillance 2.0 – Turn Up the Signal, Wipe Out the Noise about the regulatory requirement for systematic market abuse monitoring.~SR

The FIA held a webinar earlier this morning, “UK/EU: Rebuilding a Relationship,” that included some not too optimistic observations by panelists about Euroclearing. According to a Reuters report on the event, Robbert Booij, ABN AMRO Clearing’s chief executive, Europe, described a forced Euro location policy as “a serious concern.” That could happen when the European Commission’s temporary equivalence with the U.K. ends next year, in June 2022. For more details, see the Reuters story here.~SC


Leo Melamed Is ‘Man of the Futures’

Leo Melamed has lived a life worthy of multiple autobiographies. And he now has written his latest, “The Man of the Futures.” The book encompasses all that occurred in his life and work since 1996, when he published “Escape to the Futures.” A lot has happened in that quarter of a century, and many of Melamed’s dreams and the predictions he made have been realized.

Watch the video »


Intercontinental Exchange Makes Strategic Investment In BondLink; Provides expanded data and analytics to the municipal bond issuer community
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced it has made a strategic investment in BondLink, a financial technology company that provides cloud-based debt management software solutions to governments financing infrastructure in the $4 trillion municipal bond market. The Series B investment is designed to accelerate BondLink’s growth and product development, including providing a variety of ICE’s market-leading data sets to municipalities as they prepare to issue bonds.

*****ICE keeps getting closer and closer to the customer.~JJL


Sexy Tea, the Lion King and Taiwan’s Lost Innocence; Covid complacency and rebellious retirees have seen the bubble burst on one of the pandemic’s great success stories.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
After 15 months leading the world as a case study in epidemic management, Taiwan’s bubble has burst. In just one week, the case count for Covid-19 infections spiked by more than 40%, and it’s likely that figure will keep climbing in coming days. Compared to India, which reported 311,170 new cases on Sunday alone, Taiwan’s 784 in a week is minuscule. Yet the sudden surge, bringing total cases to 2,017 by Monday, forced authorities to implement unprecedented restrictions and has people wondering what went wrong.

*****What went wrong?~JJL


How much is a tree worth? Investors seek to build a market for nature; Researchers are working to value the natural world to fuel new green investment initiatives
Camilla Hodgson and Billy Nauman – FT
Wall Street is built on trading in stocks and bonds. Now it is turning its attention to the financial value of the natural world and how to fit that value into investment strategies. This has left academics puzzling over weighty questions, like ‘what is a bee worth?’

*****Harlan Ten Pas once answered the question of how much a tree was worth for me. He was Scoutmaster at summer camp with his troop of Boy Scouts and a couple of them cut down a couple of trees as part of a wilderness survival merit badge for which they had to build a structure to protect themselves from the elements overnight. Unfortunately for the Scouts, that was a very bad decision, as living things are supposed to be left living. “Leave no trace” is a key tenet of Scouting, but that doesn’t mean “leave no trace” of the living tree. The Scouts were fined about $350 each for the trees they cut down. Harlan shared a lot of great Scouting stories with me when I visited him to talk about my taxes when he was at RSM.~JJL


Masks Are Off, and Nobody Recognizes Each Other; Freshly unmasked coworkers create surprise, confusion; ‘Huh, that’s not what I expected.’
Jennifer Levitz – WSJ
Katana Scannell arrived at work at a Sam’s Club in Athens, Ga., early Friday before opening hours, and headed to the back of the store. She was greeted by a young woman walking the other way: “Good morning, Katana!” Ms. Scannell, who is 21, felt baffled, and unsure who the person was: “I was like, ‘Hi?’ ”

*****The advantage of being tall is people remember me for my height rather than my face.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our most clicked story Tuesday was The Day Oil Went Negative, These Unlikely Traders Made $660 Million, a video from Bloomberg. Second was the press release from The Small Exchange, The Small Exchange Introduces Small US Crude Oil Futures. Third was John Lothian’s video interview with Donnie Roberts, Small Exchange CEO Donnie Roberts Excited by First Year of Trading.


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Lead Stories

Google Aims for Commercial-Grade Quantum Computer by 2029; Tech giant is one of many companies racing to build a business around the nascent technology
Sara Castellanos – WSJ
Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to spend several billion dollars to build a quantum computer by 2029 that can perform large-scale business and scientific calculations without errors, said Hartmut Neven, a distinguished scientist at Google who oversees the company’s Quantum AI program. The company recently opened an expanded California-based campus focused on the effort, he said.

US regulatory scrutiny of index providers mounts; SEC open to stricter rules after fining S&P Dow Jones $9m over 2018 ‘vol-mageddon’ crash
Chris Flood – FT
A top US regulator has signalled that greater scrutiny of index providers could be necessary after the Securities and Exchange Commission hit S&P Dow Jones Indices with a $9m penalty for publishing incorrect data on a key measure of US equity market volatility.

The IEA has delivered an overdue message; Oil companies are on notice that the fossil fuel era is coming to an end
Editorial Board – FT
When the International Energy Agency was created in 1974, the world was reeling from its first major oil shock. The new agency’s main job was to keep global oil supplies flowing smoothly and affordably. Nearly half a century later, the IEA has made a striking U-turn. Oil companies must stop all new projects to find supplies from this year if global warming is to be curbed, says a road map from the agency on how to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

European Union Set to Open Borders to Vaccinated Tourists This Summer; Americans will likely be allowed to visit the continent this summer
Eric Sylvers – WSJ
The European Union took a step toward opening its borders to vaccinated tourists, a move that likely means Americans and other non-Europeans will be allowed to visit the continent this summer. The decision, taken Wednesday by ambassadors from the 27 EU member countries, must still be formally approved by nations’ leaders, which could come as soon as tomorrow. It isn’t yet clear exactly when tourists will be allowed to arrive, but it is expected to be very soon, an EU spokesman said.

E-trading in European swaps accelerates as traders seek improvements in workflow; A report by Coalition Greenwich found that European swaps traders on the buy-side executed 45% of trades electronically, with the majority done via Tradeweb.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Two-thirds of buy-side firms in Europe increased their use of electronic trading for European swaps in 2020 as traders looked to improve workflow, a new study from Coalition Greenwich has found. Buy-side firms in Europe executed 45% of their interest rate swaps electronically on a dollar duration basis last year, according to the research, with the majority taking place on trading platform provider, Tradeweb.

Pipe to move into securitisation as it hits $2bn valuation; US platform says it is expanding beyond tech companies into other sectors
Miles Kruppa – FT
Pipe, the US start-up that allows companies to sell their future revenue streams for discounted sums, plans to launch securitised products by the end of the year, as it responds to demand during the pandemic.

Hopes for US crypto ETFs recede after SEC warning; Regulator vows to ‘closely monitor’ the mutual funds investing in bitcoin futures
Rheaa Rao – FT
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent notice cautioning investors about the risks of bitcoin futures used in mutual funds could spell trouble for crypto ETFs awaiting the regulator’s green light, analysts say. For now, the commission’s Division of Investment Management is only comfortable with having mutual funds hold bitcoin futures, according to a warning issued last week.

S&P Forgot to Update the XIV Index; Also SPACs, Credit Suisse departures, Hometown International and Elon Musk impersonators.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG used to have a product called XIV, the VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN, an exchange-traded note that you could buy to bet against volatility. Loosely speaking, XIV gave you the daily inverse of VIX, the CBOE Volatility Index: If the VIX went up by 5% in a day, you lost 5% of your money; if it went down by 10% in a day, you added 10% to your money. One day — Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 — the VIX went up by 115.6%, from 17.3 the previous Friday to 37.3 that day. 1 So XIV investors lost all their money that day, and XIV doesn’t exist anymore. Fine!?

ECB Warns of Financial Stability Risks Amid Market Exuberance
Carolynn Look – Bloomberg
Spillovers of a U.S. correction to Europe could be substantial; Risks to stability are ‘elevated’ and more unevenly spread
The euro-area faces elevated risks to financial stability as it emerges from the pandemic with high debt burdens and “remarkable exuberance” in markets as bond yields rose, according to the European Central Bank. The language, echoing former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s description of the dot-com bubble in the 1990s as “irrational exuberance,” highlights mounting concerns that the flood of fiscal and monetary stimulus needed to fight the crisis is also building up dangerous imbalances.

Brexit Britain’s New Carbon Market Makes Polluting Pricier
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Markets are crucial to help nations meet climate targets; First auction for new U.K. market set for later on Wednesday
The first handful of trades in the U.K.’s new carbon market on Wednesday morning indicates that polluting will be more expensive for everyone from power plants to factories than it is under the European scheme.

Nvidia tries to stop its chips being used for crypto mining; Video gamers complain of shortage of graphics cards during digital currency craze
Richard Waters – FT
The battle for high-powered silicon between the video-gaming and cryptocurrency worlds spilled into the open on Tuesday, as chipmaker Nvidia intervened to prevent its most popular graphics cards being used for crypto mining.

Why the IEA is ‘calling time’ on the fossil fuel industry; The group founded to protect oil supply has shifted its messaging to keep pace with evolving climate policy
Anjli Raval, Leslie Hook, and David Sheppard – FT
Earlier this year a full-page colour ad appeared in the press: “Who is Fatih Birol playing for?” it asked, picturing the head of the International Energy Agency dressed in football garb. The advert, placed by climate pressure group Avaaz, highlighted the awkward position of the IEA, a group founded to protect the interests of oil-consuming countries, as it starts to plan for a world without fossil fuels.

Hedge Funds Increase Bets on Private Companies; Viking, Maverick look to stand-alone private-equity funds, while Anthony Scaramucci pitches Klarna
Juliet Chung – WSJ
Hedge-fund firms are stepping up their presence in what has emerged as Wall Street’s hottest area: investing in private companies. Viking Global Investors LP, Maverick Capital Ltd., Lone Pine Capital LLC and others have taken steps recently to increase their investments in private companies. Viking, a large investor in private healthcare and biotechnology companies, is aiming to raise $1 billion from investors for its first dedicated private-equity fund, said potential clients. The new fund is expected to close on Oct. 1.

JPMorgan Chase Puts CEO Contenders in Charge of Consumer Operation; Jennifer Piepszak and Marianne Lake are succeeding Gordon Smith, who is retiring at year’s end
David Benoit – WSJ
JPMorgan Chase JPM -1.41% & Co. is putting two of the contenders to succeed Chief Executive Jamie Dimon in charge of its sprawling consumer-banking operation.

Lumber Futures’ Rout Deepens to 27%, Hinting at Rally’s End
Marcy Nicholson – Bloomberg
Lumber for July delivery sinks for a seventh straight session; Futures fall while U.S. framing lumber sees record high prices
While builders are still paying record-high cash prices for lumber, the futures market is signaling that the historic rally could be coming to a close. The lumber contract for July delivery fell $63 on Tuesday, the maximum permitted by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with the price sinking to $1,264 per 1,000 board feet. That’s the seventh straight session of falling prices for the futures contract, marking the longest streak of declines since September. Lumber’s most-active futures contract is down 27% from its May 10 peak of $1,733.50, a level more than four times higher than prices a year ago.

Trump Allies Promote Portfolios Targeting ‘Unwoke Investors’; New investment products offer opposite of so-called ESG funds
John McCormick – WSJ
A small group of conservative money managers is trying to catch up to investment funds that for years have catered to those concerned about climate change, diversity or animal rights. The nascent effort, which has attracted some prominent names, seeks to woo investors disgruntled by increased involvement by some companies in political and social issues.

Wellness Exchange

Coronavirus vaccines may not work in some people. It’s because of their underlying conditions; Early research shows that 15 to 80 percent of people with certain medical conditions, such as specific blood cancers or organ transplants, are generating few antibodies after receiving coronavirus vaccines.
Ariana Eunjung Cha – Washington Post
Maria Hoffman feels as though she has been left behind. Her adopted hometown of Charleston, S.C., is hopping — with restaurants and bars fully open, park concerts in full swing and maskless friends reuniting with hugs on streets.

Frequent Flyers Warned About Sitting on Mountain of Unused Miles
Jennifer Surane and Justin Bachman – Bloomberg
Airlines’ liabilities tied to loyalty programs swelled in 2020; Carriers could begin devaluing points and miles, analyst warns
Frequent flyers, consider yourselves warned: Sitting on a pile of unused airline miles could cost you. Liabilities tied to the five most valuable airline-loyalty programs in the U.S. soared almost 12% to $27.5 billion last year, according to new analysis by LendingTree Inc.’s consumer-finance website ValuePenguin. Airlines looking to shore up their balance sheets could reduce the value of those rewards or reinstate policies that allow miles or points to expire, the firm warned.

China Is Winning the Race to Vaccinate the World, for Now; Beijing’s Covid-19 shots are a new soft-power lever in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Iain Marlow, James Paton – Bloomberg
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a devastating public-health catastrophe the world over. For China, it’s also provided an unprecedented geopolitical opportunity. After it got the outbreak under control, and with world leaders distracted by their own countries’ health struggles, it was able to use the chaos of the pandemic to step up political crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Other nations cried foul, but China persisted. Perhaps most important, early exports of its rapidly developed vaccines have provided Beijing with a potent diplomatic calling card in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. And as the global death toll mounts, Chinese officials get to brag about their virus-fighting success around the world even as they gain greater access and influence in far-flung capitals.

Zimbabwe Has Seen the Worst of Covid-19 Pandemic, Treasury Says
Godfrey Marawanyika – Bloomberg
Nation has inoculated 832,000 people, or 2.7% of population; Mineral export earnings rose 14% last year to $3.2 billion
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are “behind us” and the nation has better economic prospects following the roll-out of a vaccination program. The country has administered about 832,000 vaccine shots against the virus, one of the fastest paces in Africa. It has recorded 38,595 infections and 1,583 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Brussels seeks to regain initiative on Covid vaccine patent debate; EU calls for countries to use flexibility in current WTO system before waiving IP rights
Sam Fleming and Alan Beattie – FT
Brussels has sought to take the initiative on the vexed topic of Covid-19 vaccine patents after being outflanked by a US proposal to override intellectual property rights. Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the European Commission, said World Trade Organization members should use existing rules to make it easier to share intellectual property (IP) for coronavirus jabs, rather than expand the ability of governments to override patents, as proposed by the US.

Oxford/AstraZeneca booster works well, study finds; Some scientists had feared repeated doses would be rendered ineffective by the immune system
Hannah Kuchler, Anna Gross and Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
A study has found that the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine works well as a third booster shot, despite concern that the immune system might fight off the adenovirus used as a delivery mechanism.

Why So Many People Are Resisting Vaccination
Nina Burleigh – WSJ
Ms. Burleigh is the author of “Virus: Vaccinations, the C.D.C. and the Hijacking of America’s Response to the Pandemic.” Early in the 20th century, it was not uncommon for children to suffer the agonies of infectious diseases or witness family members who did. Children got terribly sick and died at home. Their survivors — including some of our grandparents and great-grandparents — were intimately acquainted with the sights, sounds and smells of dying and with the deaths of siblings or their own small children.

Why Is Covid Killing So Many Young Children in Brazil? Doctors Are Baffled; Experts believe Brazil’s overloaded hospital system and uneven access to health care are among the reasons babies and small children are succumbing to the virus at a high rate.
Ana Ionova -NY Times
Fretting over a fever in her toddler that wouldn’t break, the mother took the young girl, Letícia, to a hospital. Doctors had worrisome news: It was Covid-19.

Why a major nurses union thinks it’s too soon to relax mask rules
Paulina Firozi – Washington Post
Soon after federal health officials announced new guidance telling fully vaccinated people they can go without masks in many places, the nation’s largest registered nurses union issued a critical retort: The pandemic is not over.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE invests in US municipal bond network BondLink; The investment in BondLink by ICE will support its growth and product development, including extending ICE’s data sets to municipalities as they prepare to issue bonds.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US exchange group ICE has invested in FinTech and municipal bond network BondLink to develop infrastructure servicing in the $4 trillion market. BondLink provides cloud-based debt management software solutions to governments financing infrastructure.

ICE Reports Record Futures Open Interest of 47 Million Contracts Reflecting Depth of Liquidity Across Asset Classes; Record TTF Futures OI of more than 1.9 million; Murban Futures at Record OI of 52,148
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced record Total Futures Open Interest of more than 47 million contracts on May 17, 2021. ICE’s TTF natural gas futures contract reached an all-time open interest record of approximately 1.93 million contracts on May 17 and is up 20% year over year (“y/y”). Average daily volume (ADV) in TTF futures and options has grown over 40% per year on average since 2016. TTF ADV is approximately 127,000 contracts today, based on a 250 day average, reflecting the growth in trading activity as TTF is increasingly used by the market to provide a global gas price.

ICE Expands its Global Environmental Complex With the Launch of UK Emissions Futures And Hosts First UK Emissions Auction
ICE press release
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that it has launched ICE UK Allowance (“UKA”) Futures contracts and today hosted the first auction of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (“UK ETS”).
Today, 6,052,000 UK allowances were offered for auction and all allowances were sold during the auction. Auctions of UKAs take place every other Wednesday throughout the year, between 12.00 and 14.00 UK time. Auctions have a floor price of £22 per tonne.

Intercontinental Exchange Announces Results from 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced the results of the Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was held Friday, May 14. A replay of the meeting is available at

World Federation of Exchanges publishes Derivatives Report 2020
The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) today published its annual report analyzing trends in the exchange-traded market in 2020. The Derivatives Report 2020 is based on the WFE’s annual survey of derivatives markets, which includes voluntarily provided data from WFE members, affiliates, and other infrastructure providers.

The World Federation of Exchanges Publishes Annual Derivatives Market Analysis
World Federation of Exchanges
The World Federation of Exchanges (“The WFE”), the global industry group for exchanges and CCPs, today published its annual derivatives report, analysing trends in the exchange-traded market in 2020.

Linus Digital Finance AG has been listed on the regulated market in Frankfurt since today
Deutsche Börse Group
Linus Digital Finance AG (ISIN: DE000A2QRHL6 ) has been listed in the General Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since today . The first price of the share was 27.60 euros. The IPO was accompanied by Berenberg. Baader Bank is the specialist at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

SUSE SA new in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Deutsche Börse Group
SUSE SA (ISIN: LU2333210958 ) has been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since today . At the start of trading, the shares were quoted at EUR 29.50. The issue price was EUR 30.00. The IPO was accompanied by BofA Securities, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Jefferies. BofA Securities and Morgan Stanley act as Designated Sponsors in Xetra trading. Baader Bank is the specialist at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange Closed for Victoria Day
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange will be closed on Monday, May 24, 2021 for the Victoria Day holiday.

David Harris appointed to lead Sustainable Finance product team
London Stock Exchange Group plc
LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group plc) today announces the appointment of David Harris to lead its Sustainable Finance product team, part of the Data & Analytics division. Since joining FTSE in 2002, David has played a critical role in building FTSE Russell’s sustainable finance index and data starting with the now widely recognised FTSE4Good Index Series, before supporting the development of a wide variety of products including FTSE Russell’s Smart Sustainability, Green Revenues, Climate indexes and associated data analytics.

Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of the Mexican Funding TIIE (Monthly Contracts) Futures Contract
CME Group
In connection with the listing of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME”) Mexican Funding TIIE (Monthly Contracts) Futures contract (the “contract”) on trade date Monday, May 24, 2021 (see SER-8757 published April 27, 2021), please note below and in Appendix B of CME Submission No. 21-178 the corresponding accountability levels (Rule 560), aggregation allocations (Rule 559.D) and reportable level (Rule 561) for the contract.

Closing Speech by Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo, at Sustainability Reporting Review 2021
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Professor Andrew Rose, Dean, NUS Business School
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good morning!
2. We have heard a lot about the need for businesses, governments and regulatory bodies around the world to play their part in helping to tackle climate change and step up efforts to promote sustainability. At the same time, investors are increasingly conscious about sustainable investing options. More will likely choose this kind of investing in the future.

SGX RegCo, NUS Business School see improvement in companies’ sustainability reporting quality and disclosures
Listed issuers have shown overall improvement in their sustainability reporting and the level of disclosure as compared to the last review in 2019, according to a joint review in 2021 of Singapore-listed issuers’ sustainability reports by Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) and the Centre for Governance and Sustainability (CGS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.


Vermiculus Signs a New Agreement for Providing its Microservices-Based Clearing Solution
Vermiculus Financial Technology, a global provider of clearing and trading technology, today announced it has entered into an agreement to provide its microservices-based clearing solution to a leading market operator in America. This is part of Vermiculus clearing solution, launched earlier this year, which is an elastically scalable, AI-powered, real-time clearing system. The solution with its superior microservices architecture allows for deployment of a selection of microservices and applying changes on the fly.

Lithuanian central bank rebuffs Wirecard criticism; Board member says supervisors globally need to step up exchange of information
Richard Milne and Olaf Storbeck – FT
Lithuania’s central bank insisted it was not “asleep at the wheel” over its regulation of a local fintech that prosecutors suspect was used to steal more than EUR100m from Wirecard before it collapsed and called for greater global sharing of information on financial crime among supervisors.

FCA warns UK fintechs against comparing themselves to banks; Financial regulator is concerned some companies are ‘misleading’ customers about the risks of e-money accounts
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Many fintech start-ups have been unfairly comparing themselves to banks and failing to warn consumers about the risks of signing up to their services, according to the UK’s financial regulator.

Refinitiv FX specialist joins oneZero as director of hub product management; The appointment of the 25-year FX expert continues oneZero’s focus on improving product development
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Broker-dealer trading technology provider, oneZero, has appointed Marc Reider from Refinitiv as director of hub product management. Reider will be responsible for building the execution and risk management capabilities of oneZero’s Hub technology to meet the needs of institutional clients.

Inside Marqeta’s fascinating fintech IPO
Alex Wilhelm – Tech Crunch
The IPO market is gearing up for a hot close to the second quarter and a hotter Q3. That’s The Exchange’s takeaway from recent IPO filings from (enterprise planning and communications) and a number of SPAC-led combinations from Bird (scooter sharing), Bright Machines (AI-powered microfactories) and others. Looking ahead, Squarespace (site design and hosting) will direct list this week, while Oatly (pressed grain juice) and Procore (construction tech) will price and complete traditional IPOs in the next few days. Late last week, Marqeta (card issuing and payments tech) filed as well, and just this morning, Flywire (global payments) set a price range for its own debut. The two fintechs are our targets today, though we’ll take them in sequential posts.

Nigeria is quietly rewriting fintech’s rulebook; Africa’s biggest economy is a hotbed of financial innovation, blending tech and tradition
Stephen Tayo – WIRED
It all started with a tweet on New Year’s Day, 2016. Joshua Chibueze, a computer scientist and entrepreneur based in Lagos, Nigeria, floated the idea of digitising the kolo, a wooden box similar to a piggy bank, used in many Nigerian homes to save money. Chibueze had heard that, with enough persistence, people could set aside significant sums, but when he started using a kolo himself he realised how easy it was for upwardly mobile young Nigerians like him to forget – or simply lack the discipline – to save every single day. Worse: as Nigeria’s economy was getting increasingly cashless, an old box did not sound like an effective saving device – and was a security liability.

Fintech DailyPay Is Now Considered a Unicorn
Luisa Beltran – Barron’s
DailyPay, a fintech that helps workers access their wages in real time, has raised $500 million in capital. The $500 million includes a $175 million Series D, led by Carrick Capital Partners; existing investors, including RPM Ventures, participated, a statement said. The round valued DailyPay at over $1 billion, giving unicorn status to the fintech, a person familiar with the matter said. Also included in the $500 million is $325 million in debt funding, the statement said. In all, DailyPay has raised $250 million in equity.

Singapore’s B2B Payments Firm Thunes Nets $60 Million In Funding
Singapore FinTech Thunes, which connects payment players in numerous countries, is now backed by Insight Partners in a new $60 million growth round, a press release said Tuesday (May 18). The company reportedly intends to look at expanding its network and boost its dynamic team. In addition to Insight Partners, the new round was supported by “existing shareholders,” and the support from Insight Partners will bolster Thunes’ financial and operational resources. Insight Partners, the release said, has invested in over 400 companies worldwide, with over $30 billion in capital commitments.

Horizon Software Launches Composite Spreader
Horizon Software (Horizon), provider of electronic trading solutions and algorithmic technology, today announces a new product, the Composite Spreader. This game-changing technology automates the execution of multi-leg spreads with a complete set of trading parameters and advanced safety features.


How Biden’s American Jobs Plan Seeks To Increase Cybersecurity
Edward Segal – Forbes
The White House, saying that “cybersecurity is one of the preeminent challenges of our time,” today released details on how President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan would increase the country’s cyber defenses.

Cybersecurity Journeys: The Case For Gender Diversity In Cybersecurity
Gily Netzer – Forbes
My interest in computers and technology started when I was a young child. As one of three girls, I spent much of my youth alongside my father, an enthusiast of anything related to technology, electronics and crafts. I spent my youth happily wiring stuff, welding, sorting different electronic parts, taking keyboards apart, building furniture, painting, renovating antique radios and so on. Thirty years ago, my father, who worked for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, was relocated to the U.S. during my high school years. Living in New York was an amazing cultural and language-building opportunity very few people were able to experience at the time. I loved physics, chemistry, statistics and math and was able to skip 10th grade and graduate high school in just three years.

The Cybersecurity 202: The Colonial Pipeline hack sparks concerns about economic security
Tonya Riley, with Aaron Schaffer – Washington Post
Top members of the House Homeland Security Committee say the Biden administration needs to produce a plan to secure the economy in the wake of a major cyberattack. Lawmakers argue the recent hack of the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45 percent of the fuel for the East Coast and forced the company to shut down operations for nearly a week, highlights the critical nature of such a plan. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on Homeland Security, and Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), want the Biden administration to implement a strategy for ensuring the continuous operation of critical economic functions in the event of a significant cyber disruption. The power to do so was approved in last year’s defense authorization bill, but has not been put in place.

TSA Has Been Underfunded, Understaffed While Overseeing Pipeline Cybersecurity
Brian Taylor – NPR
The TSA is one of federal agencies overseeing security of the nation’s pipelines. Critics say the TSA is understaffed and needs to do more than set voluntary guidelines for the industry to follow.

Critical cybersecurity gaps in the UK tech sector
Darren Guccione – Tech Crunch
The UK boasts one of the strongest technology sectors in the world, attracting world-class talent, rapidly growing and enjoying an ecosystem valued at $585 billion, up by more than 120% since 2017. Venture Capital investment in the UK is the third highest in the world, reaching a record-breaking $15 billion in 2020, despite the double whammy of Brexit and Covid-19. All of which makes it disturbing that many companies within the sector admit they are poorly prepared to prevent, repel or deal with the consequences of a cyberattack.


SEC Allegedly Using All Means Possible to Block XRP Holders From Presenting Evidence
Adam McCarthy – BE IN Crypto
The case being raised by XRP holders to present evidence is allegedly being blocked by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) using “red herrings, personal attacks, and irrelevant case law to distract the court from XRP holders’ meritorious request for intervention.”

Crypto Tumble Wipes $600 Billion Off Digital Tokens in a Week
Sunil Jagtiani – Bloomberg
Musk’s Bitcoin criticism, China crypto warning shake sector; Bitcoin now down almost 40% from its mid-April $64,870 record
Virtual currencies are retreating so broadly and sharply, it’s testing the durability of the cryptocurrency boom. The value of more than 7,000 tokens tracked by CoinGecko has shrunk more than $600 billion in the past week to $1.9 trillion. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, slid some 11% Wednesday to break below $40,000 and is now about $25,000 off its record high set in April.

Bitcoin’s Obstacles Mount Amid China Cryptocurrency Warning
Vildana Hajric and Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Central bank posts statement on official WeChat account; Largest cryptocurrency tumbled below key $40,000 level
Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies slumped after the People’s Bank of China conveyed a statement reiterating that digital tokens can’t be used as a form of payment. The largest token fell below $40,000 for the first time since early February, dropping as much as 10% to $38,973 on Wednesday and continuing a weeklong slide sparked by Elon Musk’s back-and-forth comments on Tesla Inc.’s holdings of the coin. Ether, Dogecoin and last week’s sensation, Internet Computer, also retreated.

Saxo Starts Crypto FX Trading Amid ‘Strong Demand’ From Clients
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin trading versus dollar, euro, yen; APAC CEO expects interest from people who like FX, tech stocks
Saxo Markets has launched a cryptocurrency offering enabling clients in select markets to trade Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin against the dollar, euro and yen from a single margin account.

Someone Just Named a Cryptocurrency After Me in Less Than One Hour
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
This morning I wrote about how, with decentralized exchanges, it’s trivially simple for someone to create a new coin and get it listed. See, it used to be in prior crypto booms that if you wanted to create your own coin, you had to do some development work. And then you probably had to pay a fair amount of money for some exchange to actually list the coin, so that it could be traded for money. But in this new world of decentralized exchanges — where the trading happens on a blockchain itself — there’s no gatekeepers and no listing fees. You just create the coin by copying and pasting some code, tweaking a few things and listing it.

MicroStrategy Builds Up Bitcoin Cache by $10 Million
Vildana Hajric and Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
The cryptocurrency bull adds 229 tokens to existing cache; Bargain-hunters take advantage of Musk’s crypto critique
MicroStrategy Inc. built up its Bitcoin cache with a new $10 million purchase, adding to Michael Saylor’s bet on the digital currency amid the latest wave of gyrating prices. The enterprise-software company known for its bullish bets on cryptocurrencies disclosed in a Tuesday filing that it bought 229 Bitcoin at an average price of roughly $43,663 each. MicroStrategy now holds approximately 92,079 Bitcoins, which it says were acquired for about $2.25 billion at an average of about $24,450 per token, the filing shows.

Digital-Asset Security Firm Ledger Hires From EToro, Opera
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Ledger SAS, a digital-asset firm, has hired two executives as it aims to make further inroads into the world of decentralized finance and Web 3.0 over the coming 18 months.

Bitcoin falls sharply after China signals crypto crackdown; Price falls to three-month low as finance industry warned not to offer cryptocurrency services
Thomas Hale and Tabby Kinder – FT
Bitcoin tumbled 14 per cent to its lowest level since early February after Chinese regulators intensified efforts to crack down on the use of cryptocurrencies by financial institutions.

BitGo onboards former NYDFS and BitLicense regulator as COO
Aislinn Keely – The Block
Crypto custody firm BitGo has added a New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) veteran as its chief operating officer. The firm announced Tuesday it has onboarded former BitLicense compliance head Cassandra Lentchner. Lentchner previously oversaw the BitLicense framework during her time with the NYDFS. She solidified the licensing framework before focusing on areas of the law related to cybersecurity at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

BlockFi Botches Promo With Outsized Bitcoin Reward Payments
Benjamin Powers – Coindesk
Bitcoin and crypto lender BlockFi has been incorrectly depositing and then trying to reverse excessive amounts of bitcoin to users’ accounts, according to users who spoke to CoinDesk and others who posted their experiences on Reddit. The issue is apparently connected to a March promotional giveaway, specifically the March Trading promotion, in which qualifying clients were eligible for a bitcoin reward bonus if they traded a certain volume in USD during the promotional period that ran from March 18 to March 31. The bonuses were to be credited to people’s accounts by May 31. On May 14, however, BlockFi tweeted that there was an issue and some participants might see an inaccurate bonus displayed on their transaction balance.


Britain’s Hardest Choices After Brexit Revolve Around China; A Q&A with leading U.K. foreign policy expert Peter Ricketts on the challenges facing Global Britain.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
In the devastation of World War II, a handful of British politicians and civil servants proved skilled in a now dying art: grand strategy. They thought deeply about global risks and long-term interests. They collaborated with the U.S. to create postwar institutions for preserving peace, protecting human rights and allowing global trade to flourish.

Challenging China: Brexit Britain experiments with battleship diplomacy; The maiden voyage of an aircraft carrier is a pivotal moment in the UK’s bid to reconcile its economic, political and security priorities
Helen Warrell and George Parker – FT
At Portsmouth’s historic dockyard, home of the Royal Navy, last-minute preparations for the new aircraft carrier’s maiden deployment are frantically under way.

Going Green, or Greenwashing? A Proposed Climate Law Divides France; Emmanuel Macron’s credentials as a leader on climate issues are being tested as business and environmental groups spar over changes to the French way of life.
Liz Alderman and Constant Mahout – NY Times
PARIS — Less meat in French cafeterias. Bans on short-distance flights. Gas heaters on cafe terraces would be outlawed. As President Emmanuel Macron moves to make France a global champion in the fight against climate change, a wide-ranging environmental bill passed by the French National Assembly this month promises to change the way the French live, work and consume.


ISDA Publishes SBS Protocol Agreement
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA) has today launched the ISDA 2021 Security-based Swaps (SBS) Protocol Agreement, aimed at helping firms meet certain rules developed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which will come into force later this year.

CFTC Orders Connecticut Firm to Pay $500,000 for Wash Sales
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against respondent SummerHaven Investment Management LLC, a Connecticut commodity trading advisor and commodity pool operator, for engaging in wash sales and non-competitive transactions on the InterContinental Exchange and various Chicago Mercantile Exchange exchanges, and for failing to diligently supervise its activities.

‘Umbrella’ companies need to be regulated; Tax laws are not properly protecting UK workers in the gig economy
The editorial board – FT
Tax changes that came into force last month mean tens of thousands more of the UK’s gig economy workers are now employed by unregulated “umbrella companies”. These are companies that employ contractors who work on temporary contracts, and shelter large businesses from the expense of hiring permanent staff. The trouble is, they are accused of watering down workers’ rights.

Zoom Arbitration One Year Later: Lessons Learned, Tips for Practitioners and the Road Ahead
The pandemic forced the world to re-evaluate how it works in a number of ways—and FINRA’s Arbitration & Mediation Forum is no exception. To keep processes moving, FINRA Dispute Resolution Services allowed hearings to proceed virtually. Now, a year later, we are looking at lessons learned, tips for practicing in a remote environment and plans for the future of arbitration and mediation.

All reporting firms moved to FCA’s new data collection platform RegData
RegData has replaced Gabriel as our data collection platform, with the last group of firms now moved across. We have completed the move of 52,000 firms and 120,000 users from Gabriel to RegData. The transition began in October 2020. We moved firms and their users to RegData in groups, based on their reporting requirements. RegData is central to our Data Strategy which will harness the power of data and advanced analytics to transform financial regulation.

Canadian Securities Regulators Publish Detailed Data For Sixth Year Review Of Women On Boards And In Executive Officer Positions
The securities regulatory authorities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan (the participating jurisdictions) today published the underlying data used to prepare the sixth year review of women on boards and in executive officer positions.

Investing and Trading

Inflation Rekindles Niche Market for Duration-Proof Credit
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Union Investment wants more supply of floating-rate notes; Citigroup strategists slash long-duration bond recommendation
A corner of Europe’s credit market is luring investors as the threat of rising government yields fuels demand for assets that can protect bond holdings from the risk of interest-rate hikes. Floating-rate notes, bonds with variable coupons as opposed to the fixed income attached to most debt, have seen a rise in issuance over the past month. The coupons are tied to market rates, so the debt’s underlying valuations are protected if monetary policies shift.

The Housing Market Has a Bottleneck That’s Even Bigger Than Lumber
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
We know that demand for housing is red hot, and yet yesterday’s housing starts number came in surprisingly weak. For the month of April we saw a decline of 9.5% from the previous month versus expectations of just a 2% decline. Of course there are lots of bottlenecks and other supply-side factors that everybody knows about. The lumber shortage is a big one. Lack of labor is another. But the sheer lack of land is an important and overlooked issue.

Stanford Revives 11 Sports Teams After ‘Improvement’ in Markets
Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
Teams reinstated include fencing, squash and sailing; Stanford’s endowment is $30 billion, one of richest in U.S.
Stanford University is reinstating 11 sports after the school discontinued them for economic reasons last July during the pandemic. After improvement in financial markets in the last 10 months and individuals stepping up with fundraising pledges, the school changed course, adding back sports including men’s and women’s fencing, co-ed and women’s sailing and squash, the school said Tuesday in a statement.

Foreign investors tiptoe into frontier markets in search of returns; European Investment Bank issues its first frontier local currency note as demand rises
Eva Szalay – FT
Investors have begun wading more deeply into frontier markets such as Uzbekistan and Tanzania as they chase higher returns and seek assets that do not move in tandem with those in larger developing nations.

Huarong’s woes are a warning to lazy investors; Beijing’s drive for efficient markets means that corporate fundamentals now matter more
Brooke Masters – FT
Irreverent overseas analysts have dubbed it “Hua-wrong”. But the problems besetting China Huarong Asset Management, the country’s largest distressed debt investor, are deadly serious.

SPAC Selloff Bruises Individual Investors; Investors retreat from companies that have gone public through blank-check firms, including Virgin Galactic
Amrith Ramkumar – WSJ
Shares of special-purpose acquisition companies and firms they have taken public are tumbling, punishing individual investors who piled into the once-hot sector.

European Companies, Flush With Cash, Turn to Stock Buybacks; Wave of share repurchases is expected to boost European stock market
Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
French retailer Carrefour SA recently began its first share buyback in a decade, spurred by strong cash flow and a belief that the economic recovery is under way. And it isn’t alone.

GameStop and AMC shorters lost $930 million
Investors are estimated to have lost $930 million on their short positions in meme stocks GameStop and AMC Entertainment over the last five trading days, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Tuesday. Shares in GameStop, which was at the heart of the so-called “stonks” retail trading mania earlier this year, have risen by a third in the last one week, while shares in cinema operator AMC are up 39 percent.

Moorgate Benchmarks Launches Fixed Income Index Calculation Service
Moorgate Benchmarks, the index company driving change, today announced the launch of a fixed income index calculation service. Building on the firm’s real-time global equity and cryptocurrency index, ETF and “indices of indices” capabilities, the new service offers clients a complete cross-asset calculation offering in addition to a full set of index design and optimisation, governance, regulatory compliance and administration services.

The Biggest Tail Risk in Markets Has Shifted; With belief in an inflationary boom now the consensus, the key danger is that the Fed will move too late.
John Authers – Bloomberg
What We Talk About When We Talk About Inflation
Inflation is the topic of the moment. Some cynics can argue that it’s only such a big deal because I and other journalists have made it so. But judging by the number of Bloomberg clients who fired in questions for the live blog Q&A session we held on the terminal Tuesday, there is quite a lot of interest out there in the financial markets. And it is the interest in inflation from investors and other consumers of financial journalism that prompts people like me to write more about it; we have the perfect example of reflexivity, in which perceptions can change reality.

Europe New-Car Registrations Soar 256% From Pandemic Low Point
William Wilkes – Bloomberg
Sales decline on sequential basis from strong showing in March; Chip shortage hampers production and could hinder recovery
Auto sales in Europe surged from the nadir reached during the initial Covid-19 outbreak, though demand still came up short of pre-pandemic levels.

Specter of 1960s Inflation Takeoff Haunts U.S. Economy Today
Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Summers is very concerned, ex-Fed Vice Chair Blinder less so; Powell insists Fed won’t repeat its past inflationary mistakes
A newly-elected president promising to tackle racial injustice and build a better and fairer economy and society. A Federal Reserve chairman who’d voiced satisfaction with the course of monetary policy the previous year. A sharply accelerating economy with an inflation rate that’s been below 2% for years.

Deutsche Bank Picks U.S. General Counsel to Head Anti-Financial-Crime Unit;Joe Salama will split his time between Frankfurt and the U.S., as the bank tries to keep a close relationship with U.S. authorities
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
Deutsche Bank AG DB -0.21% has appointed its U.S. general counsel to head its global anti-financial-crime unit, according to a memo to employees released Tuesday.

Hertz, the Original Meme Stock, Rewards Its True Believers; Small investors jumped in after a chapter 11 filing. Now, they stand to be rewarded as the company emerges from bankruptcy.
Alexander Gladstone and Becky Yerak – WSJ
When shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. soared after the company filed for bankruptcy a year ago, finance professionals reacted with a mix of confusion and scorn. Stockholders routinely get wiped out in bankruptcies, so who would put money into a stock like that?

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Banks Always Backed Fossil Fuel Over Green Projects—Until This Year; After pouring trillions into oil, gas and coal since the Paris Agreement, banks are on pace in 2021 to commit more financing to climate-friendly projects.
Tim Quinson and Mathieu Benhamou – Bloomberg
In more than five years since the world agreed to limit warming temperatures, banks have poured more than $3.6 trillion into fossil fuel—almost three times more than total bonds and loans backing green projects, according to Bloomberg data. Now this enduring disparity favoring oil, gas and coal producers might finally be at an end.

Rusal Plans to Split Company to Focus on Green Aluminum Market
Dylan Griffiths and Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
United Co. Rusal International PJSC said it’s planning to split off its higher-carbon assets to create two separate businesses, with one focused on the low-carbon aluminum market. “Rusal would focus on reinforcing its position as a leading producer of low-carbon aluminum and the new company would concentrate on the development of the domestic market and its growth potential,” the Russian metals giant said Wednesday in a statement.

Africa’s Top Geothermal Utility Seeks $2 Billion to Boost Output
David Herbling – Bloomberg
KenGen of Kenya to nearly double steam power in five years; Nation wants to make its national grid 100% renewable energy
Kenya Electricity Generating Co., Africa’s geothermal pioneer, plans to raise $1.95 billion to build new, and upgrade existing plants in a bid to almost double its power output from the renewable fuel.

The Oil That Cooked Your Fries Is Now Refueling Your Aircraft
Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
The world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel says it’s creating a new market for low-carbon jet fuel as passengers slowly return to the skies. Neste Oyj is betting that sustainable aviation fuel, SAF, will appeal to businesses eager to cut carbon emissions. The company also expects the fuel’s higher price won’t be an obstacle, as post-pandemic air travel resumes with a more climate-conscious mindset.

UK carbon price trades at £50 as market opens for first time; Early pricing levels suggest big UK polluters may face higher costs than groups in the EU
David Sheppard and Camilla Hodgson – FT
The UK carbon price hit £50 as Britain’s post-Brexit emissions credit trading scheme debuted on Wednesday, suggesting big polluters will face higher costs than companies in the EU without government intervention.


Jamie Dimon Sets Off a Darwinian Succession Race; The head-to-head competition between Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak may not be as seamless as investors might hope.
Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
When asked over the years about his plans to retire from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, in the job since 2006, has elegantly deflected the topic by sticking to a familiar refrain: “In five years.” A reshuffling at the top of the largest U.S. bank announced on Tuesday is the clearest sign yet that Dimon has in fact started the clock on the race to succeed him.

UBS Starts Round of Job Cuts Across Investment Bank, Wealth
Marion Halftermeyer and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Restarts wealth management cuts, sees hundreds of Swiss cuts; Bank has indicated $300 million restructuring charge for cuts
UBS Group AG has started a broad round of job cuts across its largest divisions as part of a restructuring plan intended to save the bank $1 billion over the next three years. The reductions are taking place in the investment bank, wealth management unit and Swiss business, ranging from managing director to junior employees, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Post-Archegos Hedge Fund Financing Faces Close Scrutiny by BOE
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Bank of England’s Hall looking at margins on leveraged bets; Regulators globally weighing changes after Archegos collapse
The Bank of England is considering closer scrutiny of the work banks carry out for hedge funds after the meltdown of Archegos Capital Management exposed gaps in oversight. Banks’ prime brokerage desks, which trade on behalf of large clients such as hedge funds, need to be able to cover losses in good times and bad and should be a “low-risk business,” said Jon Hall, external member of the BOE’s Financial Policy Committee.

JPMorgan elevates potential successors to Jamie Dimon; Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak take new roles as Daniel Pinto becomes sole president
Joshua Franklin – FT
JPMorgan Chase has elevated two potential successors to chief executive Jamie Dimon in a reshuffle of its top ranks in which co-chief operating officer Gordon Smith will step down from his roles at the end of the year.

Blackstone REIT Plans to Appoint Katie Keenan as CEO; Real-estate executive played key role in Blackstone’s debt strategy during pandemic
Peter Grant – WSJ
Blackstone Mortgage Trust Inc., a large commercial real-estate lender, is expected to appoint Katie Keenan as chief executive Wednesday, partly crediting the role she played in helping navigate the company through one of the most challenging markets in decades.

Banks Fight $4 Billion Debt Relief Plan for Black Farmers; Lenders are pressuring the Agriculture Department to give them more money, saying quick repayments will cut into profits.
Alan Rappeport – NY Times
The Biden administration’s efforts to provide $4 billion in debt relief to minority farmers is encountering stiff resistance from banks, which are complaining that the government initiative to pay off the loans of borrowers who have faced decades of financial discrimination will cut into their profits and hurt investors.

BNP Paribas Asset Management And CDP Partner To Accelerate The Development Of Biodiversity Reporting Metrics
BNP Paribas Asset Management (‘BNPP AM’) and CDP today announce a partnership to explore and support the development of common biodiversity corporate reporting metrics. With BNPP AM’s backing, CDP will start to develop a common, globally relevant corporate biodiversity reporting framework that accelerates action on nature within the private sector.

Bank of America to Raise Minimum Wage to $25 Per Hour in Race for Talent
Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Wage to hit that level by 2025; was $20 in March last year; U.S. vendors required to pay employees $15 an hour or more
Bank of America Corp. will boost its minimum hourly wage to $25 an hour by 2025 from a current $20, according to its Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan. The move follows four years of pay increases that brought the company’s minimum wage to an hourly $20 in 2020 from $15. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender will also require its U.S. vendors to pay employees dedicated to the bank $15 per hour or more, Moynihan announced in an interview on CNN. Of more than 2,000 vendors with 43,000 employees, over 99% meet that threshold, the bank said in a separate statement.


Skyscrapers Rising Next to Vacant Towers Mark New City of London; The pandemic has led to plenty of empty space, but developers are still betting big on the future of the office in the financial hub.
Jack Sidders – Bloomberg
When the Gherkin tower opened 17 years ago, its skyline-defining silhouette heralded a new era in the low-rise City of London. Now, a spate of new planned skyscrapers threaten to erase it from view and from relevance.

Lesotho May See Global Assets Seized After Contract Breach
Antony Sguazzin and Mathabiso Ralengau – Bloomberg
Frazer Solar won an arbitration award against Lesotho; Lesotho government hasn’t responded to the legal action
Lesotho faces having 50 million euros ($61 million) of its assets seized around the world after breaching the terms of a contract with Frazer Solar GmBH. Frazer Solar, which began legal action against the southern African nation in 2019 after what it said were a series of contractual breaches, won an arbitration proceeding in South Africa, in which it was awarded the damages, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. A global enforcement action has now been filed in the District of Columbia in the U.S.

China Will Need to Give Up FX Controls Eventually, PBOC Official Says
Bloomberg News
PBOC researcher Zhou Chengjun made the comments last month; Free float needed to achieve yuan internationalization: Zhou
China has to give up its control over the currency’s exchange rate eventually if it wants to achieve greater global use of the yuan, according to a central bank official. The yuan exchange rate will have to be determined by global market participants, and this will allow China to have free cross-border capital flows and pursue an independent monetary policy, Zhou Chengjun, director of the People’s Bank of China’s finance research institute, said in a speech published Wednesday.

The Second-Largest Country in the World is Running Out of Land; Canadian dream of a house with a yard is becoming unaffordable as real estate prices surge and space to build runs short.
Ari Altstedter – Bloomberg
Canada’s housing market is running hotter than just about anywhere else in the world. But despite the anxiety about irrational bidding wars and fears of the bubble bursting, what’s fundamentally driving it is a worsening imbalance between supply and demand: Buyers want large homes but increasingly can’t have them because there isn’t enough space in and around the major cities where people work.


How Zoom killed the fine art of interrupting
Rachel Kurzius – Washington Post
When Rabbi Hannah Goldstein would talk to families before a funeral in pre-pandemic times, she remembers how they would share information about a loved one with her. Everyone tended to “jump in, and someone corrects a detail and then someone adds another piece of it,” recalls Goldstein, who works at Temple Sinai in D.C. “It’s collaborative. It’s like everyone’s sort of telling that story together. Oftentimes, I think when you’re remembering a loved one, it’s like you’re telling these beloved stories that everyone’s told a million times, so everyone has their little detail that they love to share.”

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