How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts

Apr 7, 2021

First Read

$33,626/$300,000 (11.2%)
Charlie Carey


Trading Technologies Announces Matching Program to Benefit GoFundMe Campaign for MarketsWiki Education Video Series and John Lothian News

As a pioneer of electronic trading, we at Trading Technologies value our industry’s rich history. We recognize the need to preserve our legacies and lessons to broadly educate and inspire those to come. This is what John Lothian News is doing through the Open Outcry Traders History Project, The Path to Electronic Trading, The History of Financial Futures series and MarketsWiki.

JLN established a GoFundMe campaign during the pandemic to support this work. So far, it has generated $33,626 of its $300,000 goal.

To encourage broader giving, we are stepping up and announcing that we will match the next $20,000 in donations to this campaign. And we are challenging the other sponsors of JLN to launch their own matching programs.

Why support JLN?

As the saying goes, you’ll never get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. This is why it’s so important to support these initiatives.

Through rich storytelling, the JLN team is working to capture the history that led us to this modern era, where anyone—from a small family farm to a global corporate conglomerate—can efficiently and effectively manage risk. They’re celebrating the game changers who catalyzed innovation and growth, sharing personal anecdotes through a series of fascinating on-camera interviews in the Open Outcry Traders History Project and The Path to Electronic Trading series. And they’re offering valuable insights and advice to students considering employment in this industry through the MarketsWiki World of Opportunity events.

JLN needs funding to continue this ambitious work. It’s critical to educate not only those who have already built careers in this industry, but also the next generation of capital markets professionals.

Our first donation to be matched is from Charlie Carey, a CME Group board member, former CME Group vice chairman and former CBOT chairman, in the amount of $1,000. Please join us in making your contribution here.


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Thank you to Trading Technologies and Harris Brumfield, Tim Geannopulos, Farley Owens and Elise Fleischaker for the amazing challenge match for our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. It is great to have such enthusiastic support for our efforts to preserve industry history through our various video series and a great demonstration of TT’s industry leadership.

MIAX has announced that the SPIKES futures will trade with zero exchange fees for a limited time. SPIKES is a “volatility trading product created by MIAX, offered by MGEX and traded via the CME Globex platform. Trade 23 hours a day, 5 days per week with highly accurate data and peak transparency,” according to a MIAX notice.

When the volume is at record highs, what do you do? Hold a webinar to celebrate it. The FIA is holding a first-quarter 2021 exchange-traded derivatives webinar on May 5 (10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET ) that will highlight “the main trends in trading activity in Q1 2021 in the global exchange-traded derivatives markets, with category and regional breakdowns as well as exchange and contract rankings.”

FIA’s Will Acworth will moderate and speakers include: Alex Kramm, managing director and senior equity research analyst, UBS, and Keith Parker, managing director and head of U.S. and global equity strategy, UBS. The event is open to the public and the press, as it should be. Register HERE.

Bob Fitzsimmons of Wedbush Futures interviewed Jose Miguel De Dios, CEO of MexDer and Raphael Juan, CIO of CMA Markets, in a video titled “Wedbush Partners with CMA Markets to Offer MexDer Products.”

Charlotte Crosswell is stepping down as CEO of Innovate Finance and will hand over the reins to Janine Hirt in May.

CME Group Board Member Charlie Carey, the former and last chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, is the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Charlie is the chairman of the Commodity Markets Council and of the CME Group Foundation. He was chairman of the CBOT starting in 2003 and oversaw its demutualization and stock market listing and, with then-CME chairman and now Executive Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy, was instrumental in negotiating the merger of the two Chicago exchanges first announced in October 2006. Thank you to Charlie and to Trading Technologies International for matching his donation and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history and now have your support matched by TT.

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


The American Financial Exchange (AFX) last month began publishing a 30-day interest called AMERIBOR Term-30, currently available on its website as well as on Bloomberg and other vendor terminals. The new rate is calculated following the market close and published and delivered to data distributors at 7:30 a.m. CST the following business day. AFX says the new rate is “designed to be a ‘plug and play’ replacement for the one-month LIBOR.” A white paper explaining the methodology used to calculate the AMERIBOR Term-30-day rate is available on the AFX website here. ~SC



New CFTC Customer Advisory Cautions the Public to Beware of Trading Based on Internet Hype
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued a Customer Advisory strongly encouraging the public to research and understand the commodity futures markets, physical markets, and securities markets before trading based on information on social media. The advisory also warns of the risks associated with futures trading or buying physical commodities, such as precious metals. The Market Participants Division (MPD) issued the customer advisory in recognition of National Financial Capability Month, which began April 1.

*****Are you sure this is new and not from say … 2000 or 1999?~JJL


CFTC Orders New York Man to Pay More than $1 Million for Role in Fraudulent Binary Options Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Glenn Olson formerly of Brooklyn, New York, for his role in a binary options fraud that harmed U.S. customers involving Blue Bit Banc, a United Kingdom company, and Blue Bit Analytics, Ltd, located in Turks and Caicos.

*****It is really heads or tails if the CFTC will ever get its money.~JJL


The Pandemic Isn’t Over, But We’re Over It; The beginning of the end of the pandemic as seen from Florida, New York and Rhode Island.
Joe Nocera and Faye Flam – Bloomberg
Joe Nocera: I’ve just finished a couple of weeks in Delray Beach, Florida, and I have to tell you: It’s a whole different pandemic down here. The restaurants are full; the stores are hopping. Waiters and salespeople wear masks, but most other people don’t, not even in crowded bars. South Floridians are acting as if the pandemic is over, even though it plainly isn’t. Most of my friends in New York tend to view Floridians as idiots, at least when it comes to Covid-19. They’re convinced that Governor Ron DeSantis is hiding the true number of fatalities, and that his refusal to impose a mask mandate and his insistence on keeping the economy relatively open are the irresponsible acts of a Trump wannabe.

*****It ain’t over until it is over.~JJL


Viewpoint – Listen to customers and markets will follow; Customer choice, competition, and market access will drive vibrant derivatives markets
Walt Lukken, President and CEO
Global cleared derivatives markets have been through a lot in the last year. But I am encouraged by the fact that, even in the face of these challenges, our industry remains resilient and adaptable as we face the future together. These strengths were on display yet again at FIA’s virtual Boca conference in mid-March. Although virtual events have obvious limitations, they allow us to reach all corners of the globe, thanks to cutting out the hurdles of cost and travel. We saw 1,700 attendees sign up for this annual event — more than any other Boca in FIA history, with participants representing traders, brokers, exchanges, clearinghouses, technology vendors and regulators from more than 30 countries.

*****If Walt Lukken were one of the wise men from the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible, I bet he would be the one bringing the gold. He is a wise man.~JJL


Amazon supports higher corporate taxes in U.S.: Bezos
Reuters Inc is in support of a rise in U.S. corporate tax rates, the e-commerce firm’s outgoing chief executive officer Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday.

*****A very smart move, or pitchforks would have been one of the top sellers on Amazon.~JJL


Cryptocurrency & Pizza: How This ‘Dough’ Came To Explain So Much
Luke Stokes – MondoVisione
Since its very early days pizza has played a key role in understanding Bitcoin and conceptualising its utility. When Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin (BTC) in 2010 he was unwittingly making the worst deal of his life – and probably the century – given the stratospheric rise in the ‘Big Daddy’ of cryptocurrencies of late.


Tuesday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Tuesday was from the Wall Street Journal, China Creates Its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy. The second was an Amazon link to Leo Melamed’s new book, Man of the Futures: The Story of Leo Melamed and the Birth of Modern Finance. And third was a Financial Times opinion piece that looked at how Evanston, Illinois, is dealing with racial injustice, Illinois town starts spending to address the racial divide.


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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

How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts; The Chicago-based hedge fund manager has rebounded from the brink of collapse during the last financial crisis
Robin Wigglesworth, Laurence Fletcher and Ortenca Aliaj – FT
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Citadel was on the brink of collapse. Many thought it was beyond rescue. Today, after navigating the market fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the Chicago-based hedge fund has cemented its position as one of the industry’s titans — and one of its most prominent magnets for criticism. The change in fortunes marks a dramatic rehabilitation engineered by the group’s self-assured founder Ken Griffin, 52, who bragged in 2015 that Citadel manufactures money like an automaker manufactures cars.

U.K. Launches New Competition Watchdog Targeting Big Tech; Digital Markets Unit to police how largest global technology firms wield their market power
Parmy Olson – WSJ
The U.K. launched a new regulatory body aimed at policing allegations of anticompetitive behavior among the world’s largest technology companies, adding another agency to a growing list of watchdogs scrutinizing how tech giants use their market heft.

A New York Stock Market Gets a Brexit Bounce From Europe
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
April 7, 2021, 4:00 AM CDT
OTC Markets gains as trading in European shares leaves London; Company intends to use growth to market to European issuers
The purveyors of U.S. penny stocks now have a booming business in blue chips — European blue chips. While Brexit drove most London equities trading to platforms in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris, some has migrated to New York’s OTC Markets Group, known primarily for owning the “pink sheets” where thousands of speculative U.S. stocks are bought and sold.

JPMorgan’s Dimon Says ‘This Boom Could Easily Run Into 2023’
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
CEO says ‘fintech and big tech are here’ as banks lose ground; He also blames U.S. dysfunction for curbing economy’s growth
Jamie Dimon said he’s optimistic the pandemic will end with a U.S. economic rebound that could last at least two years. “I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer said Wednesday in his annual letter to shareholders. “This boom could easily run into 2023.”

Jamie Dimon forecasts post-pandemic boom for US economy; JPMorgan chief says government spending programmes could fuel ‘Goldilocks moment’
Imani Moise – FT
A huge rise in US government spending will boost the world’s largest economy over at least the next two years, said the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase. Jamie Dimon offered the upbeat outlook in his annual letter to shareholders, in which he asserted that high savings rates, stimulus programmes, a potential infrastructure package and “euphoria around the end of the pandemic” were likely to jump-start the US economy.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Sees ‘Goldilocks Moment’ for U.S. Economy; Stimulus, infrastructure spending and vaccines could fuel an economic boom into 2023, he tells shareholders in his annual letter
Orla McCaffrey – WSJ
The leader of America’s biggest bank said the U.S. economy is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic into a boom that could last until 2023. In his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, JPMorgan JPM -0.70% Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said strong consumer savings, expanded vaccine distribution and the Biden administration’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan could lead to an economic “Goldilocks moment”—fast, sustained growth alongside inflation and interest rates that drift slowly upward.

JPMorgan’s Chief Sees a Boom Coming; Jamie Dimon tells the bank’s investors to prepare for an economic upswell.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
The annual letter to shareholders by JPMorgan Chase’s chief Jamie Dimon was just published. The widely read letter is not just an overview of the bank’s business but also covers Mr. Dimon’s thoughts on everything from leadership lessons to public policy prescriptions.

Jamie Dimon sounds the alarm on the future of American prosperity
Matt Egan – CNN Business
New York (CNN Business)Jamie Dimon is very bullish on the US economic recovery from the pandemic. And yet the JPMorgan Chase CEO is deeply concerned about the future of America. In his annual shareholder letter Wednesday, Dimon wrote that the Covid-19 pandemic, the “horrific murder” of George Floyd and the painfully slow economic growth of the past two decades are all symptoms of a broader problem: “inept” public policy and broad government dysfunction.

This Bank Regulation Is Undermining the Recovery; Modifying the leverage ratio would be safe and sensible.
Bill Dudley – Bloomberg
The Federal Reserve is deploying vast resources to ensure that the U.S. economy recovers as fully as possible from the coronavirus pandemic. It and other regulators shouldn’t let a flaw in banking rules get in the way. At issue is the leverage ratio, a rule that requires the largest U.S. banks to have at least $5 in equity capital for each $100 in assets. Unlike other capital requirements, which consider the riskiness of assets, the leverage ratio rule doesn’t differentiate: Everything counts toward the total, from subprime loans to the cash reserves that banks hold at the Fed. It’s meant to act as a backstop, guaranteeing that capital doesn’t fall below 5% of assets no matter what the risk-sensitive measures permit.

Forget equivalence, the City of London needs a post-Brexit plan; Latest ‘deal’ between EU and UK offers little in the way of progress
Helen Thomas – FT
The latest “deal” between the UK and the EU was meant to clear a path to a new way of operating for the City of London. In reality, it feels more like the end of the road. The memorandum of understanding agreed last month, depending on who in the City and Brussels you talk to, was minimalist, bare bones, a nothingburger, no progress or motherhood and apple pie.

Millions Are Tumbling Out of the Global Middle Class in an Historic Setback; An estimated 150 million slipped down the economic ladder in 2020, the first pullback in almost three decades.
Shawn Donnan, Vrishti Beniwal, Marisa Wanzeller, Shannon Sims, Prinesha Naidoo, Randy Thanthong-Knight, Suttinee Yuvejwattana, Phil Kuntz and Michelle Jamrisko – Bloomberg
One of the most economically significant trends of the past few decades has been the emergence of a global middle class. The expectation that this cohort of consumers would continue to grow relentlessly, as rising incomes in developing countries lifted millions out of poverty each year, has been a central assumption in multinationals’ business plans and the portfolio strategies of professional investors.

Stock Trades Settled in Hours Not Days as Blockchain Model Grows
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Paxos Trust Co., a blockchain startup that caters to financial institutions, has settled stock trades within hours of the transactions, rather than days, in a preview of what may soon be commonplace on Wall Street. The trades last month were on behalf of customers of Credit Suisse Group AG and Instinet LLC, Paxos Chief Executive Officer Chad Cascarilla said in an interview. Paxos is testing its technology to transfer shares and money in near-real time in what could be a threat to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s half-century dominance in equity markets.

CRS Reviews Role of “Payment for Order Flow” in Debate over “Zero Commissions”
Steven Lofchie – Cadwalader
The Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) reviewed the role that “payment for order flow” (“PFOF”) plays in the “surge in retail investor securities trading at major discount broker-dealers.” In its report, CRS described PFOF as a controversial rebate subsidizing the “non-existent commissions.” CRS stated that when broker-dealers do not pass the PFOF rebates onto clients, the economic incentives to send retail orders to rebating market-makers create potential conflicts of interest. CRS noted that this argument is why the United Kingdom has “effectively banned” PFOF.

ISDA and FIA Respond to EC’s Roadmap Consultation on CSDR
On April 4, 2021, ISDA and FIA submitted a joint response to the European Commission’s (EC) roadmap consultation on the review of Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR). In the response, the associations outline the need to clarify the scope of the settlement discipline regime with respect to derivatives transactions. In the context of margin transfers and physically settled derivatives, the associations ask the EC to prioritize reforming the settlement discipline regime’s mandatory buy-in rules in the upcoming CSDR review.

Lex Greensill assured staff of ‘enormous’ liquidity before collapse; Financier said Chubb was ‘very supportive’ in ill-fated dash for vital insurance cover
Robert Smith – FT
Lex Greensill told employees that his company enjoyed “enormous” liquidity just three weeks before the finance firm collapsed into insolvency. Greensill, a 44-year old Australian financier now at the centre of a growing corporate and political scandal, reassured staff in an internal video on February 15 that a crucial set of funds at Credit Suisse was robust, while explaining that the company was on the verge of finalising a new insurance policy.

Grant Thornton says most UK staff want to stay away from office after pandemic; Nine out of 10 at Britain’s sixth-largest accountant wish to work predominantly from home
Michael O’Dwyer – FT
The vast majority of Grant Thornton’s UK employees want to spend less than half of the working week in the office after the pandemic, according to the accountant’s chief executive David Dunckley. This marks the latest demonstration of the likely lasting effect of lockdowns on working practices, a week after PwC announced its staff would spend between two and three days a week in the office as part of a hybrid model.

Fink promises cultural change at BlackRock after discrimination allegations; Annual letter to shareholders comes as law firm probes misconduct claims
Michael Mackenzie and Billy Nauman – FT
BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink said the asset manager was aiming to “reset behavioural expectations” across the company as it deals with a series of allegations about discrimination and sexual harassment. In his annual letter to shareholders, Fink said he recognised the need to improve the company’s diversity and inclusion and admitted that BlackRock’s culture was “not perfect”.


California plans to lift virus restrictions in June if certain benchmarks are met.
Jill Cowan and Eileen Sullivan – NY Times
California plans to lift all its coronavirus restrictions on June 15, provided there are enough Covid-19 vaccines available for anyone age 16 or older and hospitalizations remain low and stable, state officials announced on Tuesday. The move in June will allow Californians to return to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, houses of worship and concerts without strict capacity limits for the first time in well more than a year. President Biden has said there will be enough vaccines available for all adults by the end of May.

Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states
Russ Bynum, Michelle R. Smith – AP
Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots.

India’s Virus Epicenter Has Only Three Days of Vaccines in Stock
Dhwani Pandya – Bloomberg
India’s western state of Maharashtra — the epicenter of a renewed wave of Covid-19 infections — says it has only three days worth of vaccines in stock even as the country reported a record number of daily new cases. Rajesh Tope, the state’s health minister, told reporters Wednesday that the administration had only 1.4 million doses of the immunizations left and was likely to run out in about three days. He said the administration has asked the federal government to arrange for additional shots so that the province’s vaccinations can keep pace.

Tokyo Eyes Tighter Virus Restrictions as Cases Rebound in Japan
Gearoid Reidy – Bloomberg
Tokyo is planning to seek a return to stricter virus measures as coronavirus cases in the Japanese capital hit a two-month high, less than three weeks after a state of emergency was lifted. The capital recorded 555 cases on Wednesday, the most since early February, as officials feared a “rebound” in cases had begun to hit earlier than expected, amid an increase in virus variants. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she’d decide on formally requesting the measures after consulting with experts.

Covid Boosts Risks for Mental, Neurological Disorders in Study
Fiona Rutherford – Bloomberg
Research compared Covid-19 versus flu, respiratory infections; Anxiety, mood disorders, stroke, dementia seen at higher rate
A third of Covid-19 survivors were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition in the six months after being infected, according to the first large-scale research to compare the risks to other illnesses, including influenza. The University of Oxford study analyzed health records of 236,379 Covid-19 patients infected last year, according to a report in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. As might be expected, anxiety and mood disorders were the most common diagnoses, at 17% and 14% of patients respectively. But the study also found 7% of those made sickest by the virus had a stroke and 2% were diagnosed with dementia.

Indonesia’s Jokowi Slams Richer Nations for Vaccine Nationalism
Haslinda Amin, Tassia Sipahutar, and Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
Indonesian President Joko Widodo slammed richer nations for vaccine nationalism that’s hampering the world’s supply of Covid-19 vaccines and prolonging the global pandemic. “We must give vaccine access to all countries,” Jokowi, as the Indonesian leader is known, said in an interview on Wednesday. “Poor countries, developing countries, developed countries must be given equal treatment. If not, the pandemic will not end.”

Biotech start-up behind AstraZeneca vaccine files for US listing; Vaccitech IPO likely to be seen as a loss for London as UK seeks to become hub for life sciences investment
Hannah Kuchler – FT
Vaccitech, the start-up that owns crucial biotechnology behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the US. The Oxford start-up, co-founded by Sarah Gilbert, who led the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine, could price its offering as early as this month, according to people familiar with the matter. Vaccitech declined to comment.

India to restart Covid vaccine exports in June if local cases fall; Serum Institute says it hopes to ship jabs abroad ‘without compromising the needs of our country’
Stephanie Findlay – FT
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, will resume exports of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in June but only if domestic coronavirus cases decline. India suspended vaccine exports in March in an attempt to balance surging domestic demand with international orders.

Oxford pauses AstraZeneca Covid vaccine study on children; Clinical testing of jab with small group aged 6-17 suspended ahead of risk review from regulators
Clive Cookson and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe – FT
Oxford university has paused a small clinical trial in children of the Covid-19 vaccine developed with AstraZeneca, ahead of new risk assessments this week by regulators investigating possible links between the jab and rare but potentially fatal blood disorders in adults. The suspension of the trial, which was running tests in 300 volunteers aged 6 to 17, is the latest setback for a product seen as a mainstay of vaccination programmes in the UK and around the world.

U.K. Carriers Push Air Bridge to U.S. Amid Vaccination Success; British aviation industry takes heart from CDC travel guidance and recovering U.S. air market
Benjamin Katz – WSJ
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. are pushing for the establishment of a travel corridor between the U.K. and U.S. without requirements for expensive Covid-19 tests and quarantines on both sides of the Atlantic, as carriers here try to capitalize on a robust vaccination drive and falling coronavirus cases.

Likely Legal, ‘Vaccine Passports’ Emerge as the Next Coronavirus Divide; Businesses and universities want fast, easy ways to see if students and customers are vaccinated, but conservative politicians have turned “vaccine passports” into a cultural flash point.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Adam Liptak – NY Times
Cathay Pacific airlines, convinced that digital proof of coronavirus vaccination will bring about the return of safe international travel, asked its pilots and crew to try out a new mobile app that showed their vaccination status on a recent flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

Biden Moves Up Vaccine Eligibility Deadline for All Adults to April 19; The president pushed up his target date by two weeks, matching the timetable already being put in place by many states.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg – NY Times
President Biden on Tuesday moved up by two weeks, to April 19, his deadline for states to make every American adult eligible for coronavirus vaccination, following the lead of states around the country that are already meeting that timetable.

Are youth sports an engine of B.1.1.7 outbreaks?
Ariana Eunjung Cha – Washington Post
Dan Culhane, 62, took extraordinary precautions when he returned to the ice as a youth hockey referee in January. He triple-masked, wore a plexiglass face shield on his helmet and donned his gear at home to minimize time indoors.

London Stock Exchange Group Plc Publication Of Final Terms
The following sets of final terms (together the “Final Terms”) relating to Notes issued pursuant to the Company’s and its subsidiaries, LSEG Netherlands B.V. and LSEGA Financing plc’s £10 billion Global Medium-Term Note Programme are available for viewing:

BME And BBF Fintech Launch The First International Hack & Disrupt! Edition, The First Fintech And Insurtech Hackaton
The event, supported by BBK, Plaza Financiera Bilbao and F10, will bring together companies, entrepreneurs and startups to solve challenges on 23, 24 and 25 April; Among the hackaton prizes are a field trip to Switzerland and direct access to the final interview to participate in the F10 incubation and acceleration programme
On 23, 24 and 25 April, Bilbao will host the “Hack & Disrupt!” event, the first hackathon focused on the international fintech and insurtech sector that focusses on sustainable finance. Over two days the gathering will bring together companies, entrepreneurs and startups to solve global technological challenges as a team. BME and BBF Fintech are the organisers of this event, which is sponsored by BBK, Plaza Financiera Bilbao and SIX’s startup accelerator, F10.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Cboe Global Markets Reports March 2021 Trading Volume; European Equities ADNV up 9 percent and Global FX ADNV up nearly 4 percent over February 2021; Options ADV up 18 percent and U.S. Equities – Exchange Matched ADV up nearly 20 percent year-to-date; In March, Cboe successfully launched trading in Mini-Russell 2000® Index options and U.S. Equities Early Trading Hours
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
CHICAGO, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), a market operator and global trading solutions provider, today reported March monthly trading volume statistics across its global business lines and provided guidance for selected revenue per contract/net revenue capture metrics for the first quarter of 2021.

Traders Q&A: Relocating Exchanges
Editorial Staff – Traders Magazine
With Jeffrey Britell, Senior Vice President – Global Network Services, IPC
What financial exchanges are contemplating moving jurisdictions, and why?
It’s public knowledge that financial exchanges on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are at least discussing the possibility of relocating to new jurisdictions, albeit for different reasons. In the United Kingdom, exchanges are concerned about the regulatory implications of “Brexit,” and have said they’re researching the process of shifting operations to mainland Europe. In the United States, financial transaction taxes are being debated at the state level currently, such as in New York, and exchanges are considering moving should those taxes be implemented.

Alan Allman Associates lists on Euronext Paris
Euronext today congratulates Alan Allman Associates, an international ecosystem of consulting firms, on its listing in Compartment C of Euronext’s regulated market in Paris (ticker code: AAA).

TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – March 2021
TMX Group Limited today announced March 2021 trading statistics for its marketplaces – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange (MX).

Strong commodity prices and improved financial conditions boost Ag Economy Barometer
CME Group
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 12 points in March to a reading of 177, marking the highest reading for the barometer since October 2020. The rise was attributed to producers’ more optimistic view of the future. The Index of Future Expectations snapped a four-month decline, rising 16 points to a reading of 164 in March. The Index of Current Conditions tied with its previous all-time high, rising two points to a reading of 202. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from March 22-26, 2021.

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture and Energy Margins – Effective April 07, 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.

Product Modification Summary: Expansion of SPAN Settlement DPL for E-mini Crude Oil Futures Contract – Effective April 26, 2021
CME Group
Expansion of SPAN Settlement DPL for E-mini Crude Oil Futures Contract

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Micro Bitcoin Futures Contract – Effective May 3, 2021
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Micro Bitcoin Futures Contract.

Expansion of the Listing Schedule of the Euro/US Dollar (EUR/USD) Monthly Volatility-Quoted Options and Japanese Yen/US Dollar (JPY/USD) Monthly Volatility-Quoted Options Contracts
CME Group

Notification of Brand No Longer Produced
CME Group
Please be advised that the following brand currently listed as deliverable against the Exchange’s Silver, Gold (GC), and Gold (Enhanced Delivery) futures contracts is no longer produced:

Initial Listing of the USD Malaysian Crude Palm Oil Day 15th Bullet Futures USD Malaysian Crude Palm Oil Day 10th Financial Options Contracts
CME Group
Effective Sunday, May 2, 2021, for trade date Monday, May 3, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will list the USD Malaysian Crude Palm Oil Day 15th Bullet Futures and USD Malaysian Crude Palm Oil Day 10th Financial Options contracts (the “Contracts”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort as more specifically described below.

New York Stock Exchange to delist Chinese property company Danke for failing to report financial results, respond to exchange queries;Delisting comes after Danke, formally known as Phoenix Tree Holdings, failed to report financial results, respond to NYSE inquiries; WeWork-like residential property company has not reported financial results since first-quarter 2020
Chad Bray – South China Morning Post
The New York Stock Exchange said it planned to delist the Chinese online home platform Danke for failing to report its financial results in a timely fashion and for failing to respond to repeated requests from the American bourse’s regulatory arm.

HKEX: Adjustment Of Yanzhou Coal Structured Products, Futures And Options http://
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) has announced the arrangements for the adjustment to Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited (Yanzhou Coal) structured products, futures and options to account for Yanzhou Coal’s special dividend issuance.

Refinance Activity Spiked in February Close to Pandemic Refinance Surge Peak, ICE Mortgage Technology Millennial Tracker Finds
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Refinance activity increased sharply for Millennial borrowers in February, according to the ICE Mortgage Technology™ Millennial Tracker from ICE Mortgage Technology™, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services. According to recent data, refinances closed during this period accounted for 54% of all loans to members of the generation, up from 46% the month prior. This brought refinance share to a level not seen since April 2020 during the peak of the pandemic refinance surge, when it hit 55%.


‘A majority trust a robot over a human to manage their finances’: Personal finance expert
Yahoo Finance Video
Personal finance expert and host of the “So Money” podcast, Farnoosh Torabi, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted personal finances.

Plaid valued at $13.4bn following collapse of sale to Visa; Fintech start-up had agreed to sell at a much lower price but US DoJ blocked the deal
Miles Kruppa – FT
Investors valued Plaid at $13.4bn in the fintech start-up’s first round of fundraising following its abandoned sale to Visa, marking a stark reversal in fortune after the US government sued to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

Fintech in Brief: Banking Agencies Request Information on the Use of Artificial Intelligence by Financial Institutions
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP – JDSupra
On March 29, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (collectively, the Agencies) announced a request for information (RFI) aimed at a variety of stakeholders on the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) by financial institutions. RFIs are often the Agencies’ first step towards formal rulemaking, particularly in new and emerging policy areas. RFIs also can signal greater regulatory scrutiny during the examination and supervision process.

China Pulls Plug on Online Student Loans as Fintech Credit Curbs Spread
China’s 36 million university students are starting to learn what it’s like to live without easy credit.
Last month authorities effectively shuttered student access to the once ubiquitous online loan industry, a sprawling collection of apps, fintechs and other unregulated lenders. Internet platforms were told to stop offering online loans to students and unwind existing credit. Banks will need to seek regulatory approval before promoting such loans on campus.

Irish fintech Sentenial bought by EML Payments for US$83.1m
Joanna England – Fintech Magazine
EML Payments, the Brisba ne-based prepaid solutions provider, will boost its operations and will be processing an estimated $90bn annually following it’s acquisition of the European fintech Sentenial. EML Payments has acquired 100% of the Irish fintech, Sentenial Limited, and all its subsidiaries, including the open banking arm, Nuapay for the $83.1m deal. The news has already had a positive impact on EML’s valuations fro investors, as the company’s shares rose by 9% to AUS$5.60 following the announcement. The news follows on from EML’s acquisition of another leading Irish fintech – Prepaid Financial Services Limited 12 months ago, which was bought for $202.15m in March 2020.

JD Digits Plans Finance Holding Company as China Tightens Rules
Bloomberg News
JD Digits Technology Holding Co. is planning to set up a financial holding company to comply with regulatory rules in China’s fintech sector, according to people familiar with the matter. The holding unit, which will be regulated more like a bank, is expected to be separate from JD Digit’s other technology business, the people said requesting not to be named because the matter is private. As part of the restructuring, JD Digits, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Inc., has let go of some staff and is weighing divesting some of its stakes from past investments, the people said.


The IRS is targeting Kraken and Circle users it thinks are avoiding taxes on crypto trades
Jack Newsham – Business Insider
Two lawsuits filed by the federal government last week serve as a reminder for traders in the bull market for cryptocurrencies: Don’t forget to pay taxes on your crypto gains. On March 30, the IRS went to court to uncover the names of people who used exchanges run by Circle Internet Financial Inc. and Payward Inc., better known as Kraken. The agency said there are signs people aren’t reporting income from their crypto transactions on the platforms.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Assailed by Investor Over Discount
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Letter to board asks for tender offer to prop up share price; Marlton says discount as of March 31 equals $3.1 billion loss
An activist family office that owns shares in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is demanding a tender offer to boost prices that have fallen about 8% below the value of the digital assets it holds. As of March 31, the share price represented a $3.1 billion loss to shareholders compared with the Bitcoin it holds, according to a letter that Marlton LLC sent Tuesday to the board of Grayscale Investments LLC, the trust’s parent. Marlton declined to say how many trust shares it holds.

Binance CEO Goes All-in on Tokens: ‘I Just Want to Keep Crypto’; The founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange says he likes liquidity and doesn’t like borders.
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Changpeng Zhao, 44, has spent his life trying to overcome borders. As a child growing up in China, he waited for years until his family could win permission to see his father in Canada, then pursued a career (including a few years at Bloomberg LP) that took him around the world. Now, as chief executive officer of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto­currency exchange, he’s trying to get more people to use a global form of money and says his company—which booked more than $800 million in revenue last year—doesn’t need a headquarters. Zhao spoke to Bloomberg Markets in early March from Shanghai about his career and the growth prospects of crypto and his company. He also responded to critics who question Binance’s regulatory compliance. His comments were edited for length and clarity.

Coinbase’s Nasdaq Listing Fuels Frenzy in Korean Crypto Stocks
Youkyung Lee – Bloomberg
Hanwha Investment, a holder of Dunamu, has more than tripled; Dunamu operates the leading South Korean crypto exchange Upbit
The upcoming Nasdaq listing of Coinbase Global Inc. has fueled a frenzy among Korea investors to pile into the nation’s cryptocurrency stocks, making a broker with a minority stake in a local crypto exchange the best-performing large stock year-to-date.

Former BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes Surrenders to Face Charges
Chris Dolmetsch and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Hayes and his co-founders are accused of flouting banking laws; BitMEX was a pioneer in opening crypto to smaller investors
Former BitMEX Chief Executive Officer Arthur Hayes turned himself in to face U.S. charges that he failed to take steps to prevent the pioneering cryptocurrency exchange he co-founded from being used for money laundering. A Singapore resident, Hayes on Tuesday surrendered to U.S. authorities in Hawaii, six months after federal prosecutors in New York accused him and his BitMEX co-founders of conspiring to skirt U.S. laws requiring the implementation of money-laundering controls. He appeared before a federal judge in Honolulu and, pursuant to an earlier agreement, was released on $10 million bond pending future court proceedings in New York.

*****See also: Former BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes surrenders to US authorities: report by Kollen Post from The Block.~MR

Crypto Won’t Be Money Until IRS Accepts It for Taxes, Top Forex Strategist Says
Lawrence Lewitinn – Coindesk
Just because bitcoin has quintupled in value over the past few months, that doesn’t mean the U.S. dollar is about to get knocked off its perch as the world’s leading currency, according to a top foreign exchange analyst. For one thing, central banks around the globe own roughly $3.1 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury debt that is denominated in greenbacks, and so have little incentive to let the dollar lose power to a cryptocurrency, said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. “What stands behind [the U.S. dollar] is something that the crypto space has not yet innovated and that is that central banks hold their dollars in Treasury bonds — not just in dollars but they have these Treasury bonds behind them,” Chandler said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” show Tuesday.

Coinbase Earned More in First Quarter Than in All of 2020
Paul Vigna – The Block
Coinbase Global Inc. profited handsomely off bitcoin’s first-quarter rally, bringing in more earnings and revenue in the first three months of 2021 than it did in all of 2020. The company, which provides a variety of financial services focused on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, released estimated results for the first quarter ahead of next week’s highly anticipated direct listing. It expects to report net income between $730 million and $800 million on revenue of $1.8 billion. By contrast, for all of 2020, the company earned $322 million on revenue of $1.3 billion.

Coinbase Earned More in First Quarter Than in All of 2020; Cryptocurrency company reaped rewards from bitcoin rally as it looks ahead to next week’s planned direct listing
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Coinbase Global Inc. profited handsomely off bitcoin’s first-quarter rally, bringing in more earnings and revenue in the first three months of 2021 than it did in all of 2020. The company, which provides a variety of financial services focused on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, released estimated results for the first quarter ahead of next week’s highly anticipated direct listing.

Grayscale adds Chainlink to its large-cap digital asset fund
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Grayscale Investments announced Tuesday a rebalancing of its large-cap crypto fund, a move that adds the Chainlink token to the entity’s list of held digital assets. In statements, Grayscale said that it “adjusted the Fund’s portfolio by selling the existing Fund Components in proportion to their respective weightings and using the cash proceeds to purchase Chainlink (LINK) in accordance with the Fund’s construction criteria.” The move comes months after Grayscale incorporated a series of trusts in January, including one focused on Chainlink. That same month, Grayscale removed XRP from the Digital Large Cap Fund. The Grayscale Chainlink Trust was among those launched in March, as the firm previously announced.

Ripple Granted Access to SEC Documents on Bitcoin, Ether in Ongoing XRP Fight
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Ripple won the right on Tuesday to peek into the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) internal communications on how it determines whether a cryptocurrency is a security. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency firm is hoping to find evidence the regulator defined XRP, at some point, as being similar to bitcoin and ether, two cryptocurrencies largely accepted as non-security instruments, according to a report by Law360. The distinction is important as the SEC is alleging that Ripple and two of its executives violated U.S. securities laws in selling XRP to retail consumers. The case may lead to a court ruling on how and when a cryptocurrency is considered a security that other startups in the U.S. could use as informal guidance in the future.

Annabelle Huang has gained over 10,200% on her first ether purchase. The partner of the billion-dollar Amber Group shares how she pivoted from traditional financial services to crypto — and 2 emerging blockchain opportunities on her radar.
Vicky Ge Huang – Insider
Annabelle Huang’s life before and after switching to digital assets couldn’t be more different. In 2017, while working in foreign-exchange structure first for Deutsche Bank and then Nomura in New York, Huang bought her first ether — the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network — at about $20.


France Signals Progress in U.S. Talks on Global and Digital Tax
William Horobin and Francine Lacqua – Bloomberg
Le Maire says agreement is near as in-depth talks accelerate; France is mulling U.S. proposals on digital taxation: Le Maire
France signaled a sharp acceleration in international talks with the U.S. to overhaul global corporate tax rules and resolve the thorny issue of how to levy the profits of tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Voting Fight Signals a Rupture Between Big Business and the GOP; Trump’s racialized politics made it harder for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and other corporations to stay on the sidelines.
Joshua Green – Bloomberg
Like so much else in American politics, the corporate backlash to Republican-led voter-suppression bills in Georgia and Texas is a direct consequence of Donald Trump’s presidency—in this case, the manner in which it ended. Companies from Coca-Cola Co. to Delta Air Lines Inc. to Microsoft Corp. and dozens of others have condemned a wave of new voting restrictions pushed by Republicans to limit or ban absentee voting, mail voting, drop boxes, and even providing water to people standing in line to cast their ballot.

‘The rich shouldn’t feel like the enemy’: Is New York turning on the wealthy? Progressives want the richest residents to pay more tax to help repair the city. But some are threatening to leave for Florida.
Joshua Chaffin – FT
On a recent morning, Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and New York City mayoral hopeful, was providing comfort to one of the city’s beleaguered communities. “You are part of New York,” Adams reassured them. “And so if people have not stated it, thank you for being here, and please remain here!” He was talking to the rich.

Republicans Have Declared War on Coca-Cola and Baseball; Mitch McConnell wants corporate America to stop being “stupid” about the ongoing battle over voting rights.
Michelle Cottle – NY Times
Are you a Republican voter irked by the state of American politics? If so, party leaders have some exciting marching orders for you: Dump your Diet Coke and shut off that episode of “NCIS” — or whatever ViacomCBS show you may be watching. Cash in your Delta plane tickets, close your Citibank account, flush your Merck meds and tell your kids not to ship you anything via UPS. And, oh, yeah, no patronizing Major League Baseball until further notice. Not the Yankees. Not the Dodgers. Not even the poor Pirates.

McConnell Now Decries Corporate Politicking He Once Championed
Mark Niquette and Bill Allison – Bloomberg
Senate minority leader responds to Georgia voting law backlash; McConnell has long pushed for unlimited corporate donations
Mitch McConnell is telling U.S. chief executives to stay out of politics in response to the corporate backlash against a new GOP Georgia voting law — a shift for the Senate Republican leader who has long encouraged corporate political activity in the form of donations.


CFTC Orders New York Man to Pay More than $1 Million for Role in Fraudulent Binary Options Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Glenn Olson formerly of Brooklyn, New York, for his role in a binary options fraud that harmed U.S. customers involving Blue Bit Banc, a United Kingdom company, and Blue Bit Analytics, Ltd, located in Turks and Caicos.

Commissioner Stump to Speak at Texas A&M Bitcoin Conference 2021

Senate Economics Legislation Committee inquiry into the ‘Your Future, Your Super’ Bill: Opening statement
Opening statement by ASIC Chair James Shipton at the Senate Economics Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Your Future, Your Super) Bill 2021, 7 April 2021, Parliament House, Canberra.

CBA to pay $7 million court penalty for overcharged interest – Royal Commission case study
The Federal Court of Australia has ordered the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to pay a $7 million penalty after the Court had previously declared that CBA made false or misleading representations and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct (21-025MR).

SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges Actor with Operating a $690 Million Ponzi Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief in an emergency enforcement action against Los Angeles-based actor Zachary Horwitz and his company, 1inMM (one in a million) Capital, LLC in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme that raised over $690 million. Horwitz and 1inMM allegedly told investors that they were buying film rights, purportedly to resell them to Netflix and HBO; in fact, 1inMM actually had no business relationship with either company.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against Lawyer Who Assisted Fraud; Securities and Exchange Commission v. Martin Shkreli, et al., 15-cv-7175 (KAM) (E.D.N.Y.)
On April 5, 2021, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a final consent judgment against Evan Greebel, the former lawyer to Retrophin, Inc., a publicly traded pharmaceutical company founded by Martin Shkreli.

ESAs publish joint Annual Report for 2020
The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) – EBA, EIOPA and ESMA – published today its 2020 Annual Report, providing a detailed account of all the joint work completed over the past year.

Podcast: Exam and Risk Monitoring Program: Responding to COVID-19 and Looking Ahead
Last year, as FINRA staff looked to adjust to a new exam and risk monitoring program structure, the industry and the world was struck with an unprecedented global crisis.

Modifications to TRACE Dissemination Protocols for Specified Pool Transactions (MBS)
As announced in Regulatory Notice 21-02, FINRA is modifying the convention for rounding the original Loan-To-Value ratio used in the dissemination of transactions in agency pass-through mortgage-backed securities and Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed asset-backed securities traded in specified pool transactions. This change will become effective on Monday, May 17, 2021. On that day, the TRACE RDID Master File will be updated with the security changes.

Investing and Trading

Credit Portfolio Trading Booms; Changing the way bond markets do business
Lynn Martin, President, ICE Fixed Income and Data Services
It’s a dynamic transforming bond markets: the ability to move large, multi-faceted bond portfolios fast and with precision. Portfolio trading now comprises nearly 5% of total bond market trading volumes, around three times the amount in previous years, according to TRACE estimates. The momentum is clear. In the first quarter of 2021, over $4.2 billion in U.S.-based notional activity was executed at ICE, up from $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, over double the volume of the prior quarter.

Intel’s Latest Hail Mary Is a $20 Billion Bet on American Manufacturing; The chipmaker helped create Silicon Valley—but cultural complacency and a missed mobile boom have left it far behind competitors.
Ian Knight, Tom Giles – Bloomberg
The statement, conveyed as the third bullet point of a quarterly earnings release, was both mind-numbingly technical and inscrutably terse—almost to the point of meaninglessness for anyone who was not a professional investor or analyst. “Accelerating 10nm product transition,” it read, “7nm product transition delayed versus prior expectations.”

Sovereign Supply Glut Joined by Busiest Borrower in East Europe
Maciej Onoszko and Irina Vilcu – Bloomberg
Romania seeks 12-year and 20-year maturity in first 2021 sale; Italy and Portugal also in Europe’s primary market Wednesday
Romania is back in the international debt markets as it ratchets up spending to boost infrastructure projects and Covid-relief efforts. In its first foray this year, the east European nation is offering 12-year notes to yield about 225 basis points above midswaps and 20-year notes at a margin of about 265 basis points, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly.

Europe’s biggest lab group plans Frankfurt IPO; Synlab takes advantage of investor appetite for pandemic growth stocks with EUR400m issue of new shares
Erika Solomon – FT
Europe’s largest laboratory services provider Synlab has announced plans for a public offering, pitching itself as an opportunity for investors to cash in on coronavirus-related growth and consolidation in the healthcare market.

Vitol made record profits during 2020 oil swings; World’s largest independent crude trader rebounds from first-quarter plunge as net income soars to almost $3bn
Neil Hume and David Sheppard – FT
Vitol made record profits in 2020 as the gyrations in global energy markets triggered a windfall for the world’s largest independent oil trader. Despite being blindsided by crude’s sharp fall at the beginning of the pandemic, the group earned a gross profit of $5bn in 2020 and net income of almost $3bn, according to figures shared with the Financial Times by people in the industry who have seen the privately held company’s accounts.

Shell Warns Oil-Price Gains Partly Offset by Hit From Texas Freeze; Energy giant says higher oil prices will buoy first-quarter results but Texas weather caused $200 million hit
Sarah McFarlane. – WSJ
Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A 0.13% PLC said gains it made from higher oil prices in the first quarter would be partly offset by disruption related to the winter storm in Texas, knocking the energy giant’s recovery from the pandemic. The company said Wednesday that the cold snap had hurt its production, refining and chemicals operations in the state, and would reduce earnings by around $200 million.

Optiver expands into Asia Pacific with Singapore office; The new base at Optiver will focus on derivatives trading in commodity and equity products on Singaporean and global exchanges.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Dutch market maker Optiver has further expanded its footprint in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of a new office in Singapore this year. The development will increase Optiver’s focus on derivatives trading in commodity and equity products based on Singaporean and other global exchanges, said Singapore managing director, Zhivko Zhelev.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Russia May Be Carbon’s Last Refuge; The top fossil fuel exporter can’t afford to fumble its transition to a greener era. So far, all the wrong survival instincts are kicking in.
Clara Ferreira Marques – Bloomberg
Second in a four-part series on oil-dependent economies and their transition to a zero-carbon future. Read part one on Saudi Arabia here. Part three on Nigeria and part four on Canada will appear tomorrow and Friday. When it comes to the energy transition, Russia is like Wile E. Coyote: suspended in mid-air. Reassured by today’s prices and all too aware that tinkering with hydrocarbon production carries political risk, Moscow has pushed back inevitable change. It has obfuscated climate conversations and dismissed the idea of a wholesale shift to a greener future as a Western conceit. Unfortunately, as the plunging Looney Tunes cartoon canine knows, it’s a strategy that can only work for so long.

Bond Vigilante Calls Out ‘Dead Fish’ Credit Investors on Climate; Former debt strategist goes after financial backers of fossil fuels.
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Ulf Erlandsson isn’t your typical climate campaigner: He prefers the trading desk to the picket line. He pushed Amundi SA, Europe’s largest asset manager, into divesting bonds in an Indian bank that was financing a coal mine, shamed HSBC Holdings Plc for failing to hold that same bank to account, and pressured a Japanese lender to announce it would stop funding coal power.

Tech Companies Are Setting the Most Ambitious Net-Zero Goals; Wall Street giants and Big Pharma are trailing Silicon Valley, while Big Oil is way, way behind.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
Of the 10 largest U.S. companies by market value, only four have announced plans to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050. As it turns out, they all happen to be technology companies: Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Inc. and Facebook Inc. Alphabet Inc.’s Google claims to have had already achieved the target, saying it’s been fully offsetting its emissions since 2007.

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Strikes a Milestone Green Deal
Lars Erik Taraldsen and Ott Ummelas – Bloomberg
Norway’s $1.3 trillion wealth fund just made its first investment in clean energy infrastructure, more than a year after it was given the go-ahead to move into the asset class. The world’s biggest sovereign investment vehicle has agreed to buy 50% of the 752 megawatt Borssele 1 & 2 offshore wind farm from Orsted A/S of Denmark. The deal is worth just under 1.4 billion euros, or about $1.6 billion, it said.

How the US can stimulate private investment in cutting carbon; The federal government has levers to pull to enable transition
Brad Handler – FT
Conventional wisdom has it that US president Joe Biden can effect only modest progress on climate change legislation because of the Democrats’ razor-thin Senate margin. But this undervalues the levers the administration can pull, including motivating the private sector. A slew of executive orders has shown Biden’s resolve. The review of oil and gas leasing and permitting practices on federal land, for example, is likely to result in better emissions management. Thus, the government can set standards and exert pressure on industry.

UK plc fails to report adequately on climate risks; Many companies not setting targets or monitoring efforts in line with TCFD framework
Attracta Mooney – FT
Fewer than 50 UK public companies are comprehensively reporting on climate risks and setting targets in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), despite investor pressure and government plans to make the global framework mandatory.

BlackRock Must Hit ESG Targets or Pay More to Borrow Money; The money manager and its lenders tied costs around a $4.4 billion credit facility to BlackRock’s diversity and sustainability goals
Dawn Lim – WSJ
Investment giant BlackRock Inc. BLK -0.29% will need to hit its staff-diversity targets and other sustainable-business goals to keep its corporate borrowing costs down. The firm struck a financing deal with a group of banks that links its lending costs for a $4.4 billion credit facility to its ability to achieve certain goals, like meeting targets for women in senior leadership and Black and Latino employees in its workforce.

BNP Paribas ­- THEAM Quant Europe Climate Carbon Offset Plan Enhances Investment Process
The fund, created in partnership with BNP Paribas Global Markets and managed by BNP Paribas Asset Management (‘BNPP AM’), aims to generate returns from exposure to listed companies with robust Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) standards focusing on those with the strongest energy transition scores[1]


Credit Suisse Emerges as Archegos Loser With $4.7 Billion Hit
Marion Halftermeyer and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Risk chief Warner, investment bank head Chin to leave; Bank cuts dividend, suspends buyback after writedown
Credit Suisse Group AG emerged as the big loser in global investment banks’ race to the exits following the implosion of Archegos Capital Management, with the fiasco leading to a quarterly loss and a major shakeup at the top of the Swiss bank. The firm will take a 4.4 billion franc ($4.7 billion) writedown tied to its Archegos exposure, forcing it to cut its dividend and suspend share buybacks. The company’s investment bank head and chief risk officer were among more than half a dozen executives replaced over the worst trading debacle in over a decade.

Credit Suisse Scandal Toll Goes Ever Higher as Rivals Thrive
Marion Halftermeyer and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Analysts foresee lost business, focus on capital over growth; Its stock already is tumbling this year in break with industry
In an era of prosperity for investment banks, Credit Suisse Group AG is careening from one crisis to another and then another — this time, with a $4.7 billion writedown tied to billionaire investor Bill Hwang’s trading blowout. The staggering hit — the largest yet linked to market-shaking losses run up by Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management — prompted sweeping management changes at the Swiss bank Tuesday and cast fresh doubt on its checkered record of managing risks. It caps a catalog of costly errors at Credit Suisse — most recently the collapse of Greensill Capital — in what was supposed to be the start of steadier era under Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein.

Ex-SocGen Bankers Challenge Fines Over Putin Foe’s $700 Million Deposits
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Pair appealing fine for not reporting suspicious activity; Accounts belonged to former Russian senator Sergei Pugachyov
Two former Societe Generale SA bankers are challenging Swiss fines issued for failing to report suspicious deposits worth more than $700 million made by a one-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The former head of SocGen’s Swiss private bank and the ex-head of compliance, who can only be named as L. and K. under Swiss reporting restrictions, are appealing fines totaling 90,000 swiss francs ($96,000) at a trial starting Wednesday in Bellinzona.

Goldman Sachs bought £75m of Deliveroo shares to prop up IPO price; Investment bank took on equivalent of a quarter of stock traded in first two days after London listing
Arash Massoudi, Tim Bradshaw and Bryce Elder – FT
Goldman Sachs bought about £75m in Deliveroo shares to prop up trading in the UK food delivery group after investors shunned its market debut, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

HSBC’s painful retreat from France; Private equity firm Cerberus set to swoop on lender’s ‘fallen angel’ retail network
David Keohane – FT
With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to hammer the global economy, a French labour union leader described the bidding war for HSBC France’s retail bank as like being “caught between the plague and cholera”. The twin pestilences that Eric Poyet of Force Ouvrière was decrying are the private equity groups AnaCap and Cerberus competing to take over 230 HSBC branches in the country.

China reveals co-operation with EU on green investment standards; People’s Bank of China chief said the move was part of goal to be carbon neutral by 2060
Selena Li and Robin Yu – FT
China’s central bank has revealed that it is co-operating with the European Union to converge green investment taxonomies across the two markets, aiming to implement a jointly recognised classification system for the environmental credentials for businesses by the end of this year.

Cathie Wood Extends Hot Hand With ARK Space Exploration ETF; Some criticize inclusion of Deere and other companies that appear to have no significant ties to fund’s area of focus
Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Cathie Wood’s new ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF ARKX -0.19% is already on track to be one of the most successful fund launches ever despite criticism that it doesn’t necessarily reflect the nascent space-exploration market. Investors poured $445.6 million into the actively managed exchange-traded fund, known as ARKX, in its first four days of trading, according to FactSet data through Monday. That trounces the industry average of three years to gather $100 million and puts the fund on course to top $1 billion in assets within days, analysts said.

Nomura names former Barclays and UBS executive wholesale chief information officer; Sameer Jain joins Nomura as wholesale chief information officer after nearly 30 years at Barclays and UBS in senior technology focused roles.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Investment bank Nomura has named a former Barclays and UBS executive with nearly 30 years of experience, Sameer Jain, as chief information officer for its wholesale division. In his new role, Jain will work closely with wholesale leadership and Nomura’s digital office and group data department to align the digitalisation and data strategy for the wholesale division.


Investors Brace for Asia’s Worst Stock Market to Fall Even Further
Ian C Sayson – Bloomberg
Abad of AB Capital has doubled his cash holdings this year; Government reimposed lockdown in Manila, four other provinces
A rout that’s made the Philippine benchmark equity gauge the worst performer in the Asia Pacific region risks worsening in the wake of fresh virus curbs. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index has tumbled 7.7% so far in 2021. While a two-day bounce has lifted the gauge above a critical 200-day support line, surging Covid-19 infections and fears of a lengthy lockdown in Manila have prompted investors such as Gerard Abad to hoard cash as they brace for further turbulence.

U.S., Vietnam to Mutually Resolve Currency Issue, Says U.S. Envoy
Xuan Quynh Nguyen – Bloomberg
The U.S and Vietnam will work through differences over the Southeast Asian country’s currency and timber practices, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said during a Hanoi briefing.


‘Dishonesty’ over Brexit fuelled loyalist anger, says Stormont minister
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
Northern Ireland’s justice minister has said the government’s “dishonesty” over the consequences of hard Brexit has contributed to the anger felt by loyalists, as police counted the cost of 41 officers injured during violence on the streets over four nights. Naomi Long’s remarks came as tensions escalated in Northern Ireland, with the first minister and Democratic Unionist party leader, Arlene Foster, hitting out at the “arrogance of Sinn Féin” and telling the BBC the IRA council still existed. Long attributed the violence to a combination of loyalist protests over police success in cracking down on paramilitary gangs and disquiet she says has been stoked by Westminster leaders’ false rhetoric over Brexit.

Nematodes become latest casualty of post-Brexit trade glitches
Peter Foster – FT
From langoustines to artisanal gin, Brexit has proved a drag on exports of British agrifood products to the EU, but there is one item that has failed to make it across the English Channel at all: the beneficial nematode. The microscopic parasitic worms used by amateur gardeners and commercial growers across Europe as a natural pest-control solution for slugs and insects have proved an impossibly slippery proposition for the official bureaucracy in both the EU and the UK. At the factory in Littlehampton on the UK’s south coast that claims to be the world’s only commercial production site of slug-killing nematodes, the failure to complete a single shipment to Europe in the three months since Brexit is a source of mounting frustration.

Sterling sinks to two-week low vs euro, one-week low vs dollar
Ritvik Carvalho – Reuters
Sterling sank on Wednesday as profit-taking by traders after a strong first quarter for the British currency pulled it to a week’s low against the dollar and its lowest in two weeks against the euro. The pound fell on Tuesday, losing 0.6% against the dollar and over 1% against the euro – its worst day against the single currency in five weeks as investors took cash off the table. By 0803 GMT on Wednesday, the pound was down 0.14% against the dollar at 1.3802, having hit a one-week low of $1.3773 in early deals. It traded 0.15% lower to the euro at 86.03 pence.


Edelman U.S. names new CEO;Lisa Osborne Ross becomes first Black woman to run a PR operation of this size.
I-Hsien Sherwood – Crain’s Chicago Business
Lisa Osborne Ross has been named CEO of the public-relations giant founded in Chicago. Edelman is naming a new U.S. CEO, Lisa Osborne Ross, who will become the first Black woman to lead a PR firm of this size, which has $540 million in U.S. revenue, 13 offices and more than 2,300 employees across the country. Ross, formerly the U.S. chief operating officer of the firm founded in Chicago in 1952, takes up her new post May 3. She will report to Matthew Harrington, global president and chief operating officer. Edelman’s current U.S. president and CEO, Russell Dubner, has been named global vice chairman and chair of the newly formed Edelman Trust Institute.

Dutch Police Arrest Suspect in Van Gogh Heist; The stolen artwork, ‘Parish Garden in Nuenen, Spring,’ hasn’t been located
Giovanni Legorano – WSJ
Police arrested a 58-year-old man suspected of stealing a painting by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh last year, although authorities have yet to locate the work of art. Police said Tuesday the man is also suspected of stealing a painting by Frans Hals, another Dutch master. Both paintings were stolen last year from different museums in the Netherlands.

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