Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The National Futures Association announced yesterday that Maureen C. Downs has been re-elected to serve as chairman of the board of directors and Don Thompson of JP Morgan Chase & Co. has been re-elected to serve as vice chairman. The announcement also contained the list of directors and public directors who had been elected and those elected to serve one-year terms on the executive committee.
Thomas H. Lee, the private equity billionaire who invested in Refco before it went public, has died at the age of 78, Bloomberg reported. The New York Post, citing police sources, said Lee died in his Manhattan office of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
The nightmare on Sam’s street is not over, as federal prosecutors brought more charges against Sam Bankman-Fried yesterday, adding four more criminal counts on top of the eight he was already facing, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Financial Times has a story about the indictment documents that were just released, under the headline, “New SBF indictment docs just dropped; The greatest hits.” My question is, why was there not a whistleblower in here somewhere? This operation appears so sloppy, someone should have stepped up.
One of former President Jimmy Carter’s post-presidency activities was to get involved with Habitat for Humanity and to rehabilitate old homes or build new homes. He helped rehabilitate or build 4,000 homes. That is quite a legacy, for a man who was a church school teacher/peanut farmer from Georgia.
In some good news, in a story in the New York Post by Reuters, the USDA is predicting that egg prices will fall 30 percent this year. That is still too high for kids to buy eggs to egg houses, but low enough to have an occasional omelet.
If you missed the Tradier Options Summit in Partnership with Cboe – Winter 2023, you can watch the whole thing via the YouTube recap video. The collaborative, virtual event was led by a wide range of industry experts and thought leaders, so if you missed it, here is your second chance.
Hans-Ole Jochumsen, former Nasdaq executive, is now an independent director at Euronext Clearing.
On March 13, CME Group will offer a Molybdenum Oxide (Platts) futures contract, which will be financially settled based on the monthly arithmetic average assessment published by Platts each day of the contract month.
ICE is looking for a social media manager in New York. You can find out details for the position HERE.
Journalist and author Leah McGrath Goodman is joining The Daily Upside as lead editor and senior writer for a new publication to be launched called “Power Corridor.” It is focused on the interplay between Wall Street and Washington and the ever-changing power balances driven by global economics and geopolitics.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
GLOBExCHANGE Destination Net Zero takes place Feb. 27 – Mar. 1, 2023, at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. Collaboration across sectors is the charge in Toronto as climate and sustainability leaders meet to set priorities in the next 10 years to achieve net zero by 2050. You can learn more and register for GLOBExCHANGE here. An important free event marks the last day of GLOBExCHANGE: The United Nations Environment – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Regional Roundtable on Sustainable Finance for North America. UNEP FI members and the finance community will discuss next steps to mainstreaming sustainable finance in North America. This in-person event is free on March 1, 2023, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST also at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. Points of discussion will be net zero targets, ESG regulation, sustainable insurance, addressing biodiversity risks in financial decision making, financing a just transition, and more. If you cannot attend in person, you can register for the live stream here. ~SAED
Leo Melamed – Open Outcry Traders History Project Podcast
Leo Melamed was the first person to be interviewed for the Open Outcry Traders History Project video series by John Lothian News and MarketsWiki Education. Here is the first podcast we have made from the video series, starting with Leo’s story.
Norm Singer – Open Outcry Traders History Project
Trader Moved Off to Floor and Helped Start Hundreds of Traders’ Careers
Veteran trader and FCM executive Norm Singer was interviewed for the Open Outcry Traders History Project by John Lothian News.
Eight Ways the Russia-Ukraine War Changed the World; The conflict drove up food and energy prices, invigorated NATO, altered military doctrine and revived American influence abroad
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a year ago today, set off a cascade of global repercussions for energy, economics, geopolitics and the role of American leadership. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed or wounded. Millions more have fled their homes. The war also united the West, recast global energy trade and exposed the limits of U.S. military manufacturing.
***** How has your life changed since Russia invaded Ukraine? Can you count eight ways?~JJL
First DeSantis Took On Disney. Now He’s Coming for Wall Street; The Florida governor’s battle with Disney is a cautionary tale for corporate America and could be the launching pad for a 2024 presidential campaign.
Nic Querolo and Felipe Marques – Bloomberg
Ron DeSantis has a warning for corporate America: Get on board, or else … It’s a message designed for Republican voters across the US and could serve as the launching pad for a 2024 presidential bid by Florida’s 44-year-old-governor. It also has potential repercussions for Wall Street and the $4 trillion municipal bond market.
****** Dear Ron, don’t mess with Wall Street. You won’t like the results.~JJL
Pritzker vows to keep Ken Griffin’s pick for president out of the White House
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he’s willing to spend what it takes in the next election to help President Joe Biden keep his job – and keep Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump out of the White House. “It’s very important to me that we elect a Democratic president and that we make sure to keep DeSantis, Trump and the retrograde views that they carry out of the White House,” Pritzker, a longtime Democratic donor, said in an interview Thursday with Bloomberg News in Chicago. “I’ll continue to support Democrats in the best way I can to help them get elected.”
****** We all need a hero. Who knew it was going to be JB Pritzker? Of course, Gov. Pritzker might keep Gov. DeSantis out of the White House by running himself and using his billions to win.~JJL
Shortage of Onions Threatens a New Chapter in Global Food Crisis; Soaring prices at the vegetable market are threatening nutrition and forcing governments from Morocco to the Philippines to protect supplies.
Agnieszka de Sousa, Souhail Karam and Maria Kolesnikova – Bloomberg
Lalaine Basa would buy a kilo of onions to make spring rolls at her catering business north of Manila. She’s now changed her recipe to use half the amount because of soaring prices in the Philippines. In the Moroccan capital Rabat, Fatima no longer buys onions and tomatoes because they are too expensive. She gets artichokes to cook tagine instead. “The market is on fire,” said the mother of three.
*****Sure the onions are going up in price, but how much are the onion bags worth?~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was the announcement on LinkedIn that Geneva Trading is looking for “extraordinary traders and trading teams to join the company in one of its global office locations or remote.” Second was How Putin blundered into Ukraine – then doubled down, from the Financial Times. Third was Split verdict in federal insider trading case involving Chicago attorney, friend, which was our top story Wednesday.
27,216 pages; 243,080 edits
How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Changed Financial Markets; Investors say the conflict could make global inflation more entrenched
Anna Hirtenstein – The Wall Street Journal
A year after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, markets have absorbed many of the short-term impacts, but investors say the conflict could have longer-lasting financial consequences. The Russian ruble has gyrated, first tumbling against the dollar, then rebounding due to capital controls and an influx of petrodollars, then selling off again as energy sanctions started to bite. It is now roughly back to where it was preinvasion.
ICE’s Global Commodity and Energy Markets Reach Record Open Interest Across Futures and Options
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced record open interest across its global commodities and energy futures and options markets. On February 22, 2023, open interest hit a record 50.7 million contracts across commodity futures and options, surpassing the previous record set in October 2021. ICE also hit record open interest that day of 46.8 million contracts across its global energy futures and options markets, beating the previous record set in April 2022.
U.S. regulators warn banks to be on alert for crypto-related liquidity risks
Pete Schroeder and Hannah Lang – Reuters
Top U.S. banking regulators issued a fresh warning to banks to be on guard for any liquidity risks from cryptocurrency-related clients, cautioning some of their deposits could prove volatile. In a joint statement issued Thursday, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said banks should have robust tools in place to monitor funds placed by crypto-asset related entities. The agencies noted deposits placed with banks for the benefit of crypto consumers, as well as stablecoin reserves, could be subject to rapid outflows.
Wall Street Banks Are Cracking Down on AI-Powered ChatGPT; Banks currently restricting chatbot’s use, people familiar say; ChatGPT has sparked intense interest across industries
Gabriela Mello, William Shaw and Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
Wall Street is clamping down on ChatGPT with Citigroup Inc. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. all imposing restrictions on the fast-growing technology that generates text, images and other media in response to a short prompt. Citigroup has blocked access to the product, part of automatic restrictions that are imposed around third-party software, a person familiar with the matter said. Goldman’s traders are similarly restricted, another person said. Wells Fargo is doing likewise under standard control procedures for implementing third-party software, according to a spokesperson for the bank.
Goldman expects $2.3 billion more in potential losses from legal disputes
Goldman Sachs Group Inc is expecting to incur $2.3 billion more in potential losses from legal proceedings than the reserves it had set aside for such matters last year, a regulatory filing by the investment bank showed on Friday. That was in line with what the bank had estimated at the end of its third quarter in September, but was higher than the $2 billion loss it projected in 2021. Goldman has been a target of lawsuits ranging from its role in Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal to the collapse of Archegos Capital Management in 2021. A long-running gender bias lawsuit alleging widespread bias against women in pay and promotions at the Wall Street bank is also expected to head to trial later this year.
Peacetime Would Be a Black Swan Event For Energy; Even if an end to the war in Ukraine isn’t imminent, energy producers need to consider the possibility before they invest in long-term projects
Carol Ryan – The Wall Street Journal
The “Russia question,” what role the country’s fossil fuels might play in peacetime, may not be the most pressing issue for energy bosses and the investors backing them. But it is rightly on their minds. The year since Russia invaded Ukraine has been a roller coaster for energy markets. Oil prices have been volatile, with the global Brent benchmark peaking at $133 a barrel in March before falling back around $80 today-below where they traded on the first day of the war. That is nothing compared with natural gas. After Moscow cut pipeline supplies to Europe, the region’s benchmark TTF day-ahead gas price hit a level equivalent to almost $580 a barrel of oil in late August.
The rise and fall of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, who went from being a crypto billionaire to being arrested and charged with fraud
Lakshmi Varanasi, Sarah Jackson, Britney Nguyen – Business Insider
Just months ago, Sam Bankman-Fried was a 30-year-old with a mop of brown hair and enough clout to go by his initials, SBF. He had a cryptocurrency exchange called FTX, a trading firm called Alameda Research, and $15.6 billion to his name, according to estimates from Bloomberg. He had catapulted into one of the biggest names in crypto in a matter of four years and was setting his sights on mainstream finance.
New SBF indictment docs just dropped; The greatest hits
Alexandra Scaggs – Financial Times
After months of piecing together the parts of FTX’s collapse, it’s nice to finally have the full details of the government’s charges against Sam Bankman-Fried. That’s right: The full indictment is out! It’s an interesting read in full, but for readers who don’t have time for all 39 pages, we’ve collected some of the most notable bits here.
Ex-Pharma Executive Charged With Insider Trading of Kodak Stock
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
A former Phlow Corp. executive and his cousin were charged in New York with insider trading for allegedly trading on nonpublic information about a pandemic-related government loan to Eastman Kodak Co. Through his job, Andrew Stiles learned of Kodak’s application for loans to make chemicals for drugs tied to the fight against Covid-19, federal prosecutors said Thursday in a statement. He traded on the information and passed it to his cousin, Gray Stiles, who also bought shares based on the tip, officials said.
U.S. billionaire financier Thomas Lee dies at 78, family says
Greg Roumeliotis – Reuters
American billionaire financier Thomas H. Lee, considered a pioneer of private equity investment and leveraged buyouts, died at the age of 78, his family said in a statement on Thursday, without noting the cause of his death. The New York Post, citing unidentified police sources, reported Lee was discovered dead on Thursday morning at his Fifth Avenue Manhattan office, headquarters of his investment firm, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The World’s Most Painful Trade Is Finally Ending as Dollar Peaks; A weaker dollar will cool some of the price pressures that have been evident around the world.
Ruth Carson – Bloomberg
Some of the world’s top investors are betting the worst of the dollar’s rampage is over after the surge upended the global economy in ways that had few parallels in modern history. Having skyrocketed to generational highs last year – deepening poverty and turbocharging inflation from Pakistan to Ghana – the currency has now entered what some forecasters are calling the start of a multi-year decline.
The Ranks of 401(k) Millionaires Are Shrinking; New Fidelity data show a steep drop in seven-figure account balances.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
The 401(k) millionaire club has shrunk by a third. Fidelity Investments had just 299,000 seven-figure workplace retirement accounts at the end of 2022, down from 442,000 a year prior, according to data from the asset manager. The decline in million-dollar-plus savings came as the average 401(k) lost 20% of its value last year, hit by the slump in bonds and mega-cap tech stocks.
Thoughts on T+1âEUR¯and the SEC’s open meeting
The SEC’s open meeting of 15 February may well have produced a disappointing result – but it was not a surprise. The chosen date for T+1 implementation in the US – 28 May 2024 – could present multiple complex issues, but the widespread prediction that Labour Day in September 2024 would be specified by the SEC was always a hope – it wasn’t based on reality. The SEC always favoured the Q1 date, therefore it believes it has demonstrated flexibility.
LSEG extends Yield Book analytics partnership with Citi; Extended partnership will lead to the expansion of deep models, analytics and model infrastructure, while equipping clients with analytic tools that are necessary for managing their businesses.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has extended its long-standing Yield Book partnership for analytics with Citi. Yield Book and Citi provide fixed income analytics and models to the industry, aiding institutional investors with managing their investments and risk management needs.
Jerome Powell’s Worst Fear Risks Coming True in Southern Job Market; Paychecks are climbing at the service businesses eyed by Fed; That’s feeding through into closely-watched inflation gauge
Catarina Saraiva and Steve Matthews – Bloomberg
In downtown Nashville, chef Matt Farley is serving up trouble for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Acme Feed and Seed, the restaurant and honky tonk he manages on the main live-music drag, has been jacking up prices for everything from fried chicken to a rack of ribs. There are two big reasons. Food supplies are way more expensive – pork costs two-and-a-half times what it used to, for example. More worrying for the Fed, so are workers.
Illinois Wins Upgrade to Highest S&P Credit Rating Since 2016; S&P upgraded the state’s debt by one notch on better finances; Upgrade comes about a week after governor’s budget address
Shruti Singh – Bloomberg
Billionaire Governor J.B. Pritzker vaulted Illinois into a higher tier of credit ratings for the first time since 2016 after working to improve the state’s beleaguered finances. On Thursday, S&P Global Ratings raised Illinois’ general-obligation debt by one notch to A-, shedding its position as the only US state without an A-level rating. The outlook on the bonds is stable after the upgrade, which impacts about $26.5 billion of general-obligation debt, according to S&P.
Regulators oppose Binance US’s $1bn deal for Voyager assets
SEC warns that part of the rescue package may be in breach of securities law
Scott Chipolina and Philip Stafford – Financial. Times
US markets regulators have opposed Binance US’s proposed $1bn acquisition of the assets of bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Voyager Digital, warning that part of the rescue package may violate securities law.
The two sides of crypto in Ukraine war; Plus updates on all the big names, including Binance and FTX
Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the FT’s Cryptofinance newsletter. One year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we’re looking at the role crypto has played in the conflict Crypto’s impact on geopolitical issues does not often make for uplifting reading. The US, for example, fears digital assets can offer actors under sanctions a fresh means of skirting the financial system.
Why Joe Biden is the unsung hero of Ukraine; US president is often lampooned for being gaffe-prone, but he has done well to bring fractured alliances together in dangerous times
Nick Allen and Dominic Nicholls – The Telegraph
If the youthful and vigorous Volodymyr Zelensky is the model of a wartime leader, the man he embraced on Kyiv’s streets on Monday presents a stark contrast. At 80 years old, Joe Biden has spent much of his first term as US president fending off accusations – not always from his political enemies – that he is too doddering and gaffe-prone to lead.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy declares ‘we will defeat everyone’, as war drags into second year
Max Hunder and Dan Peleschuk – Reuters
The war in Ukraine entered its second year on Friday with no end in sight, a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowing “we will defeat everyone” and global leaders set to impose new sanctions on Russia and countries supporting its war effort. In a video message, Zelenskiy said: “…we are strong. We are ready for anything. We will defeat everyone.”
China’s Cease-Fire Proposal for Ukraine Gets Quick Dismissal; 12-point blueprint would offer some reprieve for Russia; Position paper unlikely to win support from Kyiv, allies
China called for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine in a 12-point proposal for ending the war that appeared to offer some reprieve to Moscow and little chance of winning broad support as the conflict enters its second year. Several of the measures outlined by China in a position paper issued Friday would, if carried out, offer clear benefits to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
China rolls back unconditional support for Russia; Beijing is keen to repair ties with its leading trade partners in the west
James Kynge – Financial Times
This was the warm-up act. The visit of Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, to Moscow this week was designed to set in train a fresh Chinese approach to bilateral ties almost a year after Russia ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Although the headline quotes from Wang’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin played up promises to “deepen political mutual trust” and “strengthen strategic co-ordination”, Beijing’s real objectives are much more complex, according to Chinese official sources and commentators.
Experts predicted a wheat shortage after Russia invaded Ukraine. Why didn’t it happen?
Michelle Cheng – Quartz
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year, experts at various outlets warned shipments of wheat could be cut off, which could spur shortages of the grain. The shortages would then lead to higher prices for pantry staples, from flour to pasta to bread. Together, Russia and Ukraine export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat. Most wheat is imported by countries with limited production capabilities, and the largest growth markets for wheat imports are North and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Russia’s Richest Lose $67 Billion of Wealth After a Year of War; Sweeping sanctions from the US, UK and European Union have cost the country’s tycoons more than just a portion of their vast fortunes.
Jack Witzig – Bloomberg
The 23 Russian billionaires who ranked among the world’s 500 wealthiest people had a combined net worth of $339 billion on Feb. 23, 2022, the day before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine. A year later, with the conflict anything but resolved, Russia’s rich and powerful have lost $67 billion from their collective fortunes, a 20% drop that’s more than four times as large as the rest of those on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Poland Delivers Four Leopard Tanks to Kyiv at One-Year Mark; Ukraine is seeking more armored vehicles to repel invasion; Poland has been lobbying allies to deliver German-made tanks
Piotr Skolimowski and Natalia Ojewska – Bloomberg
Poland sent its first four Leopard 2A4 battle tanks to Ukraine, a symbolic gesture to mark one year since Russia’s invasion as western allies rush to arm the embattled nation’s forces amid intensified Kremlin-ordered attacks. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced during a visit to Kyiv on Friday that the delivery of the remaining batch of its 14 German-made combat vehicles will follow soon. Poland will also send 60 modernized Soviet-era PT-91 tanks in the coming days, he added.
How Biden’s Shock-and-Awe Tactic Is Failing to Stop Russia; The economic punishment of Russia was touted as a game-changer. Instead it’s turned into a war of attrition – and a race against time.
Daniel Flatley – Bloomberg
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s West Wing office was crammed with sleep-deprived staffers on the morning of Feb. 26, 2022. Clad in jeans and button-down shirts, clutching coffees or cold pizza, they were waiting for President Joe Biden to join on a secure line. Russia had invaded Ukraine two days earlier. The burning question of the day: How to stop a war.
Russia’s ‘dangerous’ move raises fears of new nuclear arms race; Putin’s decision leaves few incentives for countries such as China to adhere to a global anti-proliferation regime
Henry Foy, Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Ben Hall
Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the last remaining arms control agreement with the US has increased fears over uncontrolled nuclear proliferation and a potential new arms race.
Ukraine Marks Successes, Mourns Losses as War Enters Second Year; Zelensky pledges to pursue victory against Russia this year as Western weapons flow to Ukraine
Yaroslav Trofimov – The Wall Street Journal
Ukraine on Friday marked the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, celebrating the nation’s resilience against a much more powerful enemy as it prepared for a spring offensive to reclaim lands still occupied by Moscow. The mood in the Ukrainian capital was of pride and defiance, with the national opera theater holding a concert called “Ukraine: Free and Unbreakable.” The Polish prime minister and other high-level foreign delegations flocked to the city, on the heels of this week’s visits by President Biden and by the prime ministers of Italy and Spain.
This War May Be Heading for a Cease-Fire
Sergey Radchenko – The New York Times
After a year of brutal fighting, in which thousands of lives have been lost, civilian infrastructure destroyed and untold damage caused, the war has reached a stalemate. Neither side will countenance a negotiated settlement. On the battlefield, battered armies contest small strips of territory, at a terrible cost. The threat of nuclear escalation hangs in the air.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Johannesburg Bourse Says It Has a Power Plan as Crisis Worsens; JSE says it can run its systems for at least six or seven days; South African power cuts have reached record levels this week
John Viljoen – Bloomberg
The operator of South Africa’s main stock exchange says it has enough diesel on hand to burn in generators and keep its systems running for at least six or seven days, updating clients as the country grapples with a deepening electricity supply crisis. Arrangements are in place to get more of the fuel and to add to water supplies stored at the Johannesburg exchange, operator JSE Ltd. said on Thursday in what it said was a response to frequently asked questions.
LME Nickel to Trade in Asian Hours for First Time Since Crisis
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The London Metal Exchange will reopen nickel trading during Asian trading hours from March 20, in what is likely to provide an important liquidity boost for the market that has struggled to recover after last year’s crisis. The LME halted trading for a week and canceled billions of dollars of transactions in the nickel market in March 2022 in an effort to rein a runaway short squeeze centered on top producer Tsingshan Holding Group Co. Trading has remained suspended during Asian hours, which was when prices spiked most sharply during the squeeze, and currently opens at 8 a.m. London time.
OCC Welcomes Jefferies Executive Joseph Lewis to Board of Directors
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today announced the appointment of Joseph Lewis, Managing Director, Co-Head of Corporate Hedging and FX Solutions at Jefferies, to its Board of Directors. Lewis brings more than 20 years of experience in interest rate and foreign exchange derivatives. “We are pleased to welcome Joe as he brings a wealth of risk management knowledge and experience in the global derivatives market,” said Craig Donohue, OCC Executive Chairman. “He is a widely respected leader with an innovative, forward-thinking mindset, and we will greatly benefit from his counsel as we progress in our transformation efforts, while continuously working to promote stability and market integrity.”
HKEX Welcomes Additional Stock Connect Trading Days; Corporate Market Operations Mutual Market
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) welcomes the announcement today (Friday) by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission on additional Stock Connect trading calendar enhancements, adding up to over 10 trading days to Northbound and Southbound Connect each year. Currently, Northbound trading on Stock Connect would be closed on the trading day before a Hong Kong public holiday, because banking services aren’t available in the Hong Kong market on public holidays. The enhancements will enable Northbound trading under Stock Connect on all trading days that are mutual to the Hong Kong and Mainland China markets. Similar adjustments will also be made to the Southbound arrangements of Stock Connect.
MIAX Wins Multiple Industry Awards for Trading Technology and Innovation
Miami International Holdings, Inc., owner of Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC (MIAXÂ®), MIAX PEARL, LLC (MIAX PearlÂ®), MIAX Emerald, LLC (MIAX EmeraldÂ®), Minneapolis Grain Exchange, LLC (MGEXTM), The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX), and Dorman Trading LLC, announced today that MIAX has been named the “Best Trading Platform” at the Fund Intelligence Operations and Services Awards 2023. MIAX was also selected as one of 40 organizations in the inaugural TabbFORUM’s NOVA Awards, which honor the financial industry’s ongoing commitment to technology-driven innovation. NOVA Awards selections are the result of TabbFORUM research, nominations and recommendations solicited from the financial community, and take into account the role of innovation within an organization, as well as the organization’s industry impact and leadership.
NSE Indices launches India’s first Municipal Bond Index
NSE’s index services subsidiary, NSE Indices Limited today launched India’s first ever Municipal Bond Index, Nifty India Municipal Bond Index at a SEBI workshop on Municipal Debt Securities at Bengaluru. The Nifty India Municipal Bond Index tracks the performance of municipal bonds issued by Indian municipal corporations across maturities and having investment grade credit rating. The index includes municipal bonds issued as per the Securities Exchange Board of India Issue and Listing of Municipal Debt Securities Regulations, 2015. Presently, the index has 28 municipal bonds issued by 10 issuers all having credit rating in the AA rating category. The index constituents are assigned weights based on their outstanding amount.
Nickel Market Update – Asian Trading Hours
London Metal Exchange
Summary 1. This Notice provides an update to the market in relation to a planned return to Asian trading hours for the LME Nickel market, with effect from the start of trading on 20 March 2023 (the “Commencement Date”).
SGX RegCo issues Trade With Caution alert on the shares of Healthbank Holdings
Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”) urges investors and potential investors to exercise caution when dealing in shares of Healthbank Holdings Limited (“HHL”). From 22 August 2022 to 1 November 2022, a total of 4,378,600 HHL shares were traded versus no trades executed in the 2 months before that. In particular, from 25 October 2022 to 1 November 2022, the share price soared by 75%, or $0.090, from $0.120 to close at $0.210.
Slam Dunks Might Be Securities; Also Ozy, VC regrets and MoviePass.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Imagine a video game. There’s an online multiplayer video game, MattQuest, made and run by a video-game company, QuestCo. In the game you play a character, and the character can wear a hat. QuestCo periodically releases exciting new limited-edition hats for characters, which you can buy, from the company, with real money.
Crypto Twitter went wild speculating about Coinbase’s blue dot. Here’s what it meant
Ben Weiss – Fortune
On Wednesday, Coinbase’s main Twitter account posted a six-second video of a blue dot fading into a black background. Thursday’s date-Feb. 23, 2023-was all that was revealed. Speculation on Crypto Twitter ran rampant.
Nvidia adds $79 billion in market value after CEO Jensen Huang says ChatGPT represents an inflection point for artificial intelligence
Matthew Fox – Business Insider
Nvidia soared on Thursday after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings results and talked up the potential artificial intelligence will have on its business. The stock surged as much as 15% in Thursday trades, adding $79 billion in value to the company’s market capitalization.
A longtime DOJ cyber official gives an exclusive exit interview
Tim Starks and Vanessa Montalbano – The Washington Post
Adam Hickey, who has spent more than a decade at the Justice Department working on high-profile cyber cases, is leaving the department to go into the private sector. Hickey most recently served as deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD), where he supervised the office devoted to investigating and prosecuting nation-backed computer intrusions.
US Drug Enforcement Agency Seized $1.8M From Binance in 2022
Sam Reynolds – CoinDesk
Federal officials seized nearly $1.8 million in cryptocurrencies from six Binance accounts tied to drug traffickers. A U.S. Court in Eastern Michigan granted a civil forfeiture request for approximately $1.8 million in today’s value of cryptocurrencies that were seized in May 2022 as part of an operation to disrupt a cash pipeline that funneled the proceeds of narcotics sales to Mexico via stablecoins.
Sam Bankman-Fried Faces More Criminal Charges From Federal Prosecutors
Corinne Ramey and James Fanelli – The Wall Street Journal
Federal prosecutors charged Sam Bankman-Fried with several additional financial crimes and offered expansive new details about the FTX founder’s alleged conduct before the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange. A new indictment unsealed Thursday charges the 30-year-old Mr. Bankman-Fried with four more criminal counts, on top of the eight prosecutors brought in an indictment they filed in December, weeks after FTX’s implosion.
Amidst crypto credit crunch, institutional Digital Asset Lending Platform CLST appoints industry veteran, Roshan Robert as President & COO to increase transparency and efficiency of crypto loans markets
CLST AG – PR Newswire
CLST, an institutional peer-to-peer lending platform for digital assets has announced the appointment of Roshan Robert as its President & COO starting February 2023. Mr. Robert will be joining as a cofounder to lead the expansion of the company across jurisdictions and to enhance the product breadth in service of a larger set of institutional credit requirements. His appointment comes at a time when increased transparency and accountability in digital asset lending markets are sorely needed.
Sam Bankman-Fried Hit With Additional Bank Fraud Charges in New Indictment
Nikhilesh De, Jack Schickler and Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces additional charges, including bank fraud allegations, under a new indictment unveiled Thursday morning. U.S. officials are now charging the onetime crypto wunderkind with bank fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitter in addition to the eight counts he already faced. Bankman-Fried also faces a modified campaign-finance law charge, conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions.
IMF against making crypto legal tender, issues action plan
Ken Martin – Fox Business
The International Monetary Fund is recommending that countries not give cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin status as legal tender. The IMF made that point as a part of a nine-point action plan for how countries should treat crypto assets. The financial agency’s Executive Board provided guidance to IMF member countries in the discussion of a paper, “Elements of Effective Policies for Crypto Assets.” The IMF said action is necessary after the collapse of a several crypto exchanges and assets over the last couple of years.
Regulators Warn Banks on Crypto Risks. It’s the Latest Sign of a Broad Crackdown.
Joe Light – Barron’s
Top federal regulators on Thursday warned banks of the risks of taking deposits from crypto firms, adding to similar guidance that some in the digital-asset industry have claimed is making it harder to find banks willing to do business with them. In a joint statement, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said that certain kinds of deposits by crypto companies-such as ones held for customers and reserves for so-called stablecoins-were vulnerable to rapid inflows and outflows, and that banks needed to pay special attention to the liquidity risks they cause.
Three Arrows Capital liquidator to sell NFTs to help recoup $3.5B owed to creditors, Apes and Punks likely on the block
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez – Fortune
The liquidator of failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital is coming for its prized NFTs. In a notice published Wednesday, the liquidator, Teneo, said the process of offloading the bankrupt firm’s NFTs would begin after March 23 as part of a bid to recoup the $3.5 billion it owes to creditors.
Trump Subpoenas Ex-Deutsche Bank Private Banker in New York Fraud Case
Erik Larson – Bloomberg
Former President Donald Trump subpoenaed his longtime private banker for documents and testimony in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s suit accusing him and his real estate company of using false asset valuations to dupe banks and insurers.
The $1.8 Trillion Student Debt Bubble Is Now the Supreme Court’s Problem; With White House plan in limbo, people with stretched budgets are bracing for the resumption of required payments after a three-year pause.
Claire Ballentine, Ella Ceron and Mackenzie Hawkins – Bloomberg
The $1.8 trillion student debt bubble is about to burst. After a three-year pause, payments on federal student loans are set to resume in the next six months, and the economic consequences will be far-reaching: More than 4 million Americans are expected to fall behind on their debt and millions more will struggle with the added costs as inflation slams consumers. Even those who can handle the bills will have less money to spend elsewhere, with experts predicting more delinquencies on credit cards and auto loans as the impact cascades through the economy.
Yellen Warns China That Helping Russia Will Bring Serious Consequences; US won’t tolerate deals to help Russia evade sanctions: Yellen; G-7, US to impose fresh sanctions one year after invasion
Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned China and other nations against providing material support to Russia, saying any such actions would amount to an evasion of sanctions and would “provoke very serious consequences.” “Not only have we been clear with the Chinese government, we’ve also made it clear to Chinese firms and to Chinese banks that we would not tolerate trade deals that helped Russia to evade sanctions,” she said in an interview Friday on MSNBC Television. “We will crack down and enforce our sanctions and the consequences will be very severe.”
Vivek Ramaswamy’s fund manager Strive sticks to its ‘anti-woke’ mission; While its founder plots US presidential run, ETF provider presses ahead with challenges to proxy advisers
Brooke Masters and Patrick Temple-West – Financial Times
When Vivek Ramaswamy, the crusader against “woke capitalism”, announced a run for president this week, he resigned from active involvement in Strive, the anti-ESG fund manager he founded. His investors and co-workers are nevertheless pressing ahead with plans to provide an “anti-woke” alternative not just to index fund giants BlackRock and State Street but also to proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis.
Offshore Wind Halt Urged By Native Americans Seeking Sway; The largest lobbying group for Native Americans in the US demands Washington put offshore wind development on hold after complaints tribes have been cut out of the process.
Jennifer A Dlouhy – Bloomberg
The National Congress of American Indians on Thursday called for a moratorium on offshore wind development along US coasts, insisting the Biden administration do a better job protecting tribal interests. The decision by the largest lobbying group for tribes in the US follows a plea Tuesday by 30 New Jersey governors to halt offshore wind activity so government officials can investigate recent whale deaths.
Canadian privacy regulators launch joint investigation into TikTok
Ismail Shakil – Reuters
Canada is launching a joint federal and provincial investigation into short-video app TikTok over concerns about the Chinese-owned platform’s collection, use and disclosure of personal information, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said on Thursday. The federal privacy regulator, as well as provincial counterparts in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, will examine whether TikTok’s practices are in compliance with Canadian privacy laws, the commissioner’s office said in a statement.
Russia Launches Ship to Rescue Space Station Astronauts; The Soyuz will replace a damaged ship docked at the ISS; Uncrewed spacecraft to launch early Friday from Kazakhstan
Loren Grush – Bloomberg
An uncrewed Russian spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan early Friday local time, serving as a lifeboat for three astronauts currently on board the International Space Station that will allow them to return to Earth safely after a delayed homecoming. The trio, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, flew to the station in September and were slated to come back this spring before their return ship was damaged.
In Resilience Efforts, Companies Welcome Regulator Role; Organizations are not just giving regulators recognition; they are incorporating guidance into internal operations
Risk & Compliance Journal – The Wall Street Journal
Executives with responsibility for resilience recognize and respect the role that regulators play in resilience, and understand that the types of events that now frequently occur and the potential threats that they pose are too large and widespread for any single organization to address, according to Deloitte’s 2022 Global Resilience Survey report.
Breaking Down the SEC Plan on Exchange Fees
John Ramsay – IEX via TabbForum
The SEC’s new rules to overhaul stock trading in the U.S. is a hotly debated and analyzed topic, as market participants attempt to understand the ramifications of the rule changes. In this article, John Ramsay, Chief Market Policy Officer at IEX, looks at the proposal to change the cap on fees that exchanges can charge participants to access their displayed quotes. Mr. Ramsay also explains the proliferation of “highly complicated fees and rebate ‘tiers'” in this analysis, the second of a three-part series. In our recent post, we began our review of the SEC’s proposed changes to Regulation NMS,1 the comprehensive set of rules adopted for U.S. equities in 2005.2 That post looked at changes to the one cent minimum “tick size” that affects how markets can rank and display orders, in light of the dramatic market changes that have occurred since 2005.
The SEC’s Stablecoin Hammer, Courtesy Terraform Labs and Do Kwon
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Terraform Labs and Do Kwon last week, alleging the terraUSD stablecoin was a security, alongside various other tokens and products. This feels pretty important.
Australian Markets Regulator Is Reviewing Binance Australia’s Derivatives Services
Amitoj Singh – CoinDesk
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), is conducting a targeted review of Binance Australia’s derivatives business, the regulator said on Friday. The development comes a day after Binance said that it had incorrectly tagged 500 Australian users as “wholesale investors,” resulting in their derivative positions being unceremoniously closed. Local regulations do not allow retail traders to trade futures and financial derivatives.
CFTC Charges Several People and Companies in a $145 Million Ponzi Scheme; Charges Include Lying to the National Futures Association to Conceal the Fraud
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, charging fraud and misappropriation against Marcus Todd Brisco of Wailuku, Hawaii and his companies Yas Castellum LLC of Denver, Colorado, and Yas Castellum Financial LLC of Wailuku, Hawaii; Tin Quoc Tran of Katy, Texas; Francisco Story of Draper, Utah; Fredirick “Ted” Safranko of Vancouver or Ontario, Canada; Michael Shannon Sims of either Sunny Isles Beach, Florida or Roswell or Atlanta, Georgia; and SAEG Capital General Management LP (SAEG) of Draper, Utah.
The Market Risk Advisory Committee to Meet on March 8
The Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, March 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EST) at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. Members of the public will also have the option of attending virtually. Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson is the sponsor of the MRAC.
Notices to Members; NFA’s Board of Directors re-elects Maureen C. Downs to serve as Chair
National Futures Association
At its February meeting, NFA’s Board of Directors re-elected Maureen C. Downs, Phillip Capital, Inc., to serve a one-year term as Chair. The Board also re-elected Don Thompson, JPMorgan Chase & Co., to serve as Vice-Chair.
SEC Is Not the Right Regulator for Stablecoins, Circle CEO Says
David Pan and stacy-marie ishmael – Bloomberg
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is not the right regulator for stablecoins, according to Jeremy Allaire, the chief executive and founder of Circle Internet Financial Ltd. The Boston-based firm is the issuer of the second-largest stablecoin, USD Coin, with over $42 billion in circulation. Stablecoins usually aim to maintain a one-to-one ratio with key assets such as the dollar by holding comparable reserves, and act as a crucial medium between the traditional financial system and digital assets.
The SEC’s Crackdown on Ethereum Staking Has a Silver Lining
Jackson Wood – CoinDesk
While this year’s price performance of the two largest cryptocurrencies has been impressive, with bitcoin (BTC) up over 46% year to date and ether (ETH) up over 37% YTD, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been aggressively pursuing increased regulation on cryptocurrencies and has sued large cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians.
SEC Charges Cousins for Insider Trading in Kodak Stock Ahead of Company’s Planned Govt. Partnership to Assist in Response to COVID-19
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Andrew Stiles for insider trading in the stocks of Eastman Kodak Company and Novavax Inc. based on nonpublic information related to both companies’ planned government partnerships to assist in the fight against COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. The SEC also charged Andrew Stiles’ cousin, Gray Stiles, of Richmond, Virginia, for insider trading in Kodak stock that netted the two more than $1.5 million in illegal profits.
SEC Charges Ozy Media and its CEO Carlos Watson with Widespread Scheme to Defraud Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged media and entertainment company Ozy Media Inc., its CEO Carlos R. Watson, Jr., its former COO Samir Rao, and its former Chief of Staff Suzee Han with defrauding investors of approximately $50 million through repeated misrepresentations concerning the company’s basic financial condition, business relationships, and fundraising efforts. Rao and Han have agreed to resolve the charges against them.
SEC Charges Cousins for Insider Trading in Kodak Stock Ahead of Company’s Planned Govt. Partnership to Assist in Response to Covid-19
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Andrew Stiles for insider trading in the stocks of Eastman Kodak Company and Novavax, Inc. based on nonpublic information related to both companies’ planned government partnerships to assist in the fight against COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. The SEC also charged Andrew Stiles’s cousin, Gray Stiles, of Richmond, Virginia, for insider trading in Kodak stock that netted the two more than $1.5 million in illegal profits.
SEC Charges Former Private Equity Firm Consultant and Close Friend with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday charged Kevin Van de Grift and Gil Friedman with insider trading ahead of the April 9, 2018 public announcement that private equity firm Francisco Partners Management, L.P. agreed to acquire payment systems company Verifone Systems, Inc.
Puerto Rican Company and Managing Member Settle Fraud Charges
On February 22, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico against defendants Back to Green Mining, LLC and JosÃ© JimÃ©nez Cruz. The SEC filed its action on September 21, 2021, charging Back to Green Mining and its two managing members, JimÃ©nez and Manuel Portalatin, with participating in a fraudulent and unregistered offering in a purported “green” mining venture. On September 23, 2021, the district court entered a consent judgment against Portalatin.
ASIC prosecutes 81 individuals for failing to assist registered liquidators
ASIC has prosecuted 81 individuals from 1 July 2022 to 31 December 2022 for failing to assist registered liquidators. These prosecutions follow the failure of company officers and other individuals to comply with fundamental governance obligations to provide registered liquidators with access to company books and submit a report on company activities and property (ROCAP) where a company has been placed in external administration.
MAS Imposes Due Diligence Requirements for Corporate Finance Advisers
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today issued a Notice imposing mandatory baseline standards of due diligence and conduct requirements for corporate finance (CF) advisers  . These requirements raise the standards of conduct of CF advisers, improve the quality of disclosures and allow investors to make informed decisions.
Investing and Trading
Two charged with insider trading in Kodak before COVID loan announcement
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
A former pharmaceutical executive and his cousin were charged on Thursday with insider trading in Eastman Kodak Co stock based on tips that the company was lining up a $765 million loan early in the COVID-19 pandemic to make pharmaceuticals. According to papers filed in Manhattan federal court, Andrew Stiles had been a vice president at Phlow Corp, a medicine supply chain company working with Kodak, when he passed material nonpublic information about the loan to his cousin Gray Stiles.
Supply Squeeze Sparks 122% Rally in Little Known Metal Market; Molybdenum concentrate prices have doubled in the past year; For Freeport, a $5 change in moly means $375 million in cash
James Attwood – Bloomberg
The world’s hottest metals market at the moment is molybdenum, the obscure commodity that’s used to help toughen steel. A key benchmark for molybdenum – which boosts the performance of alloys in pipelines, jet engines and power-generation turbines – surged 122% in the past year to 5,510 yuan ($799) a ton, as of Wednesday.
Stock Picker Beating 99% of Peers Bets on Japanese Real Estate; One of best-performing fund managers sees gradual BOJ shift; Financials, property, cyclical shares favored by Man GLG
Winnie Hsu – Bloomberg
A top-performing fund manager for Japanese stocks is betting on a revival of the nation’s property shares after worries over the Bank of Japan’s hawkish shift drove the sector’s underperformance. Such fears are overblown, according to Emily Badger, who co-manages the MAN GLG Japan CoreAlpha Equity fund that beat 99% of its peers in 2022. While the Bank of Japan will eventually abolish its yield curve control and ultra easy monetary policy, the process will be gradual and the sector’s depressed valuation already reflects such expectations, she said.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
The E.S.G. Fight Has Come to This: Bankers Suing Lawyers Kentucky passed a law targeting banks and their climate policies. Bankers sued the attorney general. Whose definition of investment risk should prevail?
Ron Lieber – The New York Times
Bow-tied bankers do not often sue a state’s lawyer in chief. So when it does happen, it’s time to pop the popcorn and gather around to watch. In October, Kentucky’s attorney general ordered some of the nation’s biggest banks and investment firms to turn over piles of documents that had the word “climate” or “environmental” in them. The bankers went to court to fight him.
February 2023 ISSB Update and podcast now available
This month the ISSB made its final decisions on all the technical content of its initial Standards. The ISSB has now entered the drafting and balloting process of the Standards, ahead of their expected issuance at the end of Q2 2023. A full summary of the February 2023 ISSB meeting is available in the ISSB Update, and you can also listen to Vice-Chair Sue Lloyd and Chair Emmanuel Faber in the latest episode of the ISSB podcast.
A lithium CEO on how the world will change
Tim McDonnell – Semafor
The last few weeks have gone pretty well for Jon Evans, CEO of Lithium Americas, a company that is developing what will likely become the biggest lithium mine in the United States, at Thacker Pass in Nevada. General Motors said last month it would invest $650 million into the company to develop the Nevada mine, and then a district judge in the state largely upheld a federal decision to approve Thacker Pass following challenges from environmental groups. I spoke to him about what comes next.
Home batteries are more than just a backup; A rapidly growing startup sees them as a path to virtual power plants, and a key to making the grid more sustainable and resilient.
Mike De Socio – GreenBiz
On the surface, Sonnen might look like just another company that sells big batteries for home energy storage. But Blake Richetta, the company’s CEO, says that’s a big misunderstanding of Sonnen’s mission – and the potential for home battery technology in general. “We are not this backup power business,” Richetta said. “We are a [virtual power plant]-focused business.” In fact, Sonnen generates about 80 percent of its revenue from the virtual power plant model. The company, owned by Shell, launched in Germany more than a decade ago, and since establishing itself in Europe has started to expand in the U.S. in recent years.
What Biodiversity Loss and COP15 Mean for Investors
Sylvain Vanston and Arne Philipp Klug – MSCI for TabbForum
A landmark agreement reached last December at the United Nations (U.N.) biodiversity conference (COP15) has put the spotlight on how nature can be preserved using, in part, the priorities and disclosures of companies and investors. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), as the COP15 agreement is known, aims to protect 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030 and phase out subsidies that harm nature. The agreement calls for all countries that ratified it to map out national action plans that could, among other steps, introduce regulations requiring companies and investors to publish their nature-related risks, dependencies and impacts.
Katten Launches New Practice Focused on ESG Risk and Investigations
Katten announced today the launch of its ESG Risk and Investigations practice led by partners Johnjerica Hodge and India D. Williams. The two will leverage their considerable experience in environmental, social and governance (ESG), corporate compliance and internal investigations to further build on the firm’s capabilities in the ESG space, which focuses on adopting environmental and social policies that promote sustainability and mitigate risk in a manner that creates long-term value for clients and investors.
Statement by Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, on the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet’s Partnership With the Government of Vietnam
The Rockefeller Foundation
The fight against climate change will be won or lost in emerging and developing countries, where far too many people still live in energy poverty – without access to enough reliable, affordable electricity to compete in the 21st century economy. These nations are too often overlooked because they are currently low emitters, but by 2050, they could collectively account for more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The world can avoid that future, and build a more sustainable one, by helping these countries transition to renewable energy now.
Ion in the fire: three banks call in lawyers after hack; Banks are examining service-level agreements for possible breaches
Luke Clancy and Costas Mourselas – Risk.net
At least three banks are weighing their legal options over a cyber attack that has disrupted derivatives trading since the end of January, and drawn the scrutiny of regulators and law enforcement agencies around the world. Ion Group, which supplies software used to process cleared derivatives trades, shut down access to some of its services on January 31 after hackers seized control of its servers.
Thomas Lee, Billionaire Private Equity Pioneer, Dies at 78; Drew acclaim for 1992 Snapple deal that brought giant return; Avoided corporate raider-style radical cost-cutting measures
Patrick Oster and Alex Wittenberg – Bloomberg
Thomas H. Lee, a billionaire who pioneered private-equity deals and leveraged buyouts through a firm that bore his name, has died. He was 78. Lee’s death was announced without details about its time or place or cause by a family spokesman, Michael Sitrick. Lee ran Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners from 1974 until 2006, when the firm had $12 billion to invest after producing triple-digit returns on some of its deals
Hedge Funds Are Having a Hard Time Running This Business; Toshiba has proved difficult to govern, but even so, foreign investors have failed to do much for its operations.
Anjani Trivedi – Bloomberg
When activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp.’s significant stake in Toshiba Corp. became public in 2021, the company was in the middle of a strategic review. Over 18 months later, the storied Japanese conglomerate’s earnings have turned to losses, private-equity firms are bidding for it at a discount and a top executive has resigned on expense-related misdeeds.
Goldman Sachs Offers Rich Clients Access to Stripe’s Multibillion Fundraise; Bank is setting up special vehicle for Stripe investment; Stripe raising about $4 billion from wide range of investors
Gillian Tan, Sridhar Natarajan, Jennifer Surane and Katie Roof – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is offering its richest clients access to a fundraising round for Stripe Inc., the payments giant that’s trying to raise billions in part to cover a looming tax bill. The bank is setting up a special vehicle open to its private-wealth clients for investing in just one asset: Stripe’s roughly $4 billion fundraise, people familiar with the matter said.
Blackstone, KKR Among Firms Driving Private Credit’s Global Push; Report finds record demand outside US and Europe last year; Opportunities rise in special situations, senior lending: GPCA
Silas Brown – Bloomberg
The $1.4 trillion world of private credit is gaining traction beyond its traditional US and European markets, as private lenders look to exploit coverage gaps and take advantage of faltering bank appetite. That’s according to a report by industry body Global Private Capital Association (GPCA), which represents investors managing more than $2 trillion in assets in developing regions.
Documents from JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon sought in Jeffrey Epstein lawsuits; Wall Street bank has been accused of ignoring red flags about the late sex offender
Joe Miller and Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
JPMorgan is facing renewed pressure to hand over documents from longstanding chief executive Jamie Dimon in litigation accusing the bank of keeping the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his associates as customers despite numerous red flags. Lawyers involved in two separate court cases – one brought by an alleged victim of Epstein and the other by the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home – respectively urged a New York judge to compel the release of Dimon’s communications prior to 2006, and from 2014 to 2019.
JPMorgan should reveal more about CEO Dimon’s role in Epstein accounts -U.S. Virgin Islands
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co should disclose more about Chief Executive Jamie Dimon’s role in business decisions related to Jeffrey Epstein, the U.S. Virgin Islands said in its lawsuit accusing the bank of aiding in the financier’s sex trafficking.
Work & Management
Crypto Retrenchment Persists With Over 2,000 Jobs Lost in 2023; Coinbase, other exchanges have announced sweeping layoffs; Other parts of the crypto sector have seen job cuts too
Muyao Shen – Bloomberg
The digital-assets industry has shed more than 2,000 jobs in the first two months of 2023, as companies continued to retrench even as crypto prices staged a partial recovery. US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. this week indicated that more layoffs could be in store, after cutting 20% of its workforce in January.
Battered by Layoffs and Remote Work, San Francisco Is Showing Signs of Life; At least in some industries.
Sarah McBride – Bloomberg
Earlier this month, I walked into a dinner given for venture capitalists at the Hotel Zetta in San Francisco and quickly fell into some interesting conversations. But as the minutes stretched on and no one on the guest list I’d seen appeared, I realized my mistake: I was indeed at a dinner with venture capitalists, just not the one I’d been invited to.
Chinese bank executive in line to take the helm at PBoC; Beijing prepares to overhaul leadership of financial institutions as economy recovers from Covid
Cheng Leng and Joe Leahy – Financial Times
Zhu Hexin, one of China’s most senior commercial bankers, is among the frontrunners to take over as governor of the country’s central bank as Beijing prepares to overhaul the leadership of its most important financial regulatory institutions next month. If his nomination is confirmed, Zhu, the chair of state-owned conglomerate Citic Group, would succeed Yi Gang as governor of the People’s Bank of China, two people familiar with the nomination said.
Analysis: Why public health officials are not panicked about bird flu
Julie Steenhuysen – Reuters
A new strain of bird flu that transmits easily among wild birds has triggered an explosive spread into new corners of the globe, infecting and killing a variety of mammals species and raising fears of a pandemic more lethal than COVID-19. But the very changes that have allowed the virus to infect wild birds so efficiently likely made it harder to infect human cells, leading disease experts told Reuters. Their views underpin global health officials’ assessments that the current outbreak of H5N1 poses low risk to people.
Explainer: H5N1 Bird Flu in Mammals Sparks Fears of Virus Spreading Among Humans
Michelle Fay Cortez – Bloomberg
An avian influenza – bird flu – outbreak with the H5N1 strain that began in 2020 has hit record levels, affecting millions of animals. As the virus mutates genetically and spreads geographically, the normal ebb and flow of infection has given way to a persistently elevated level in wild birds. They are spreading the highly contagious pathogen to domesticated poultry and a rising number of mammals, including badgers, bears, ferrets, pigs and raccoons – as well as a handful of people.
Cyclone-Hit New Zealand Exposes the Risks of a Cashless Society; People unable to buy goods after cash machines knocked out; Central bank eyes new ways to ensure access to physical money
Ainsley Thomson – Bloomberg
The cyclone that tore through New Zealand last week has exposed the dangers of a cashless society, prompting the central bank to consider new ways of ensuring access to physical money when power and telecommunications fail. New Zealanders were left unable to pay for vital goods such as food and water for days after cash machines and payment systems were knocked out by Cyclone Gabrielle, which left at least 11 people dead and displaced thousands as it cut across the upper North Island on Feb. 13 and 14.
Hong Kong Embraces Web 3.0: Will Asia Bring Crypto Back to Life?
Hong Kong, the new Promised Land of Web 3.0. Since the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2022, the city has made a string of pro-crypto moves. It has released the Policy Statement on Development of Virtual Assets in Hong Kong and the consultation conclusion to the discussion paper on crypto-assets and stablecoins, introduced a policy that requires crypto exchanges to obtain a license, and unveiled its plan to allow retail investors to trade cryptocurrencies. In addition to these policy endeavors, it has also established a Web 3.0 base, along with HK$50 million to be pumped into the city’s Web 3.0 ecosystem. It is therefore not difficult to tell that Hong Kong is on track to become a global hub for virtual assets.
How much money did India save in a year by buying Russian fuel?
Niharika Sharma – Quartz
The West-led sanctions on Russia’s oil trade following the Ukraine invasion benefited India the most. In less than a year, the country has saved an estimated $4 billion (30,000 crore rupees) by importing Russian crude oil. The amount is possibly much higher. For instance, in May 2022, supplies from Russia were priced at $16 cheaper than the average Indian imported crude oil barrel of $110. By then, Russia had already reduced $30 on every barrel sold to India, Quartz had reported.
Turkey Central Bank Warns Lenders Against Sending Dollars Abroad; Banks wired net $2.3 billion in first six weeks of 2023; Scrutiny of FX transactions intensifies in run-up to elections
Kerim Karakaya, Asli Kandemir and Beril Akman – Bloomberg
Turkey’s central bank has warned lenders in the country against sending dollars to their correspondent counterparts abroad, according to people familiar with the matter, its latest move to try to protect the lira. The request comes after commercial banks wired a net $2.3 billion to deposit accounts abroad in the first six weeks of the year, one of the people said, asking not to be named because the information is confidential. Hard-currency outflows are hampering efforts to keep the lira stable and inflation in check in the run-up to elections slated for May.