How zero-fee trading helped Citadel cash in on retail trading boom; London Stock Exchange chief appointed CEO of FCA

Jun 22, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton was thrown into a political firestorm on Friday night when U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a letter that the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Geoffrey Berman was stepping down and was to be replaced by Clayton, a former corporate attorney with deep Wall Street ties. It was one of those headlines you did not believe when you first read it.

Berman tried to fight his dismissal before finally resigning over the weekend, but there will be a House of Representatives investigation into the whole episode that could delay Clayton’s appointment. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan is a powerful position with a history of Wall Street prosecutions. But it is likely not a Wall Street issue that prompted Bernman’s firing, but rather something political.

In the meantime, it appears some teenagers on TikTok punked the campaign of President Donald Trump by registering in large numbers for his Tulsa campaign rally with no plans to go, which had a crowd much smaller than the campaign anticipated. It was nice to see no large protest or any violence in Tulsa over the weekend.

The corporate and public examination of racist images and statues claimed the statue of Teddy Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History in New York and the brand “Eskimo Pie.” Whatever they call the chocolate wrapped around ice cream, it is still a favorite of mine.

It is not too late to get a free ticket to FIA’s IDX-V, which starts tomorrow. Email me if you are interested in a ticket.

Also, you will want to register for the webinar on the “2020 Russell US Indexes Reconstitution: Unlike any seen before?” It is presented by Jermal Chandler (Cboe Options Institute), Amy Whitelaw (BlackRock), Philip Lawlor and Catherine Yoshimoto (FTSE Russell). It is live online Jun 25 at 9:00 am Chicago time or after on demand for 60 mins.

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

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The FIA’s member update email reminds us that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will hold an open meeting on June 25 to consider five rulemakings, which include final rules on 1) an inter-affiliate exemption from swaps clearing requirements, 2) post-trade name give-up for trades on swaps execution facilities, and 3) the Volcker Rule restrictions on proprietary trading. Also on the agenda: a proposed rule on “electronic trading risk principles” and an extension to the compliance date for the sixth phase of margin requirements on uncleared swaps.~SR

Another important reminder: FIA IDX-V, the virtual version of the FIA’s yearly IDX conference, starts tomorrow, June 23 and runs through June 25. It starts at 14:00 BST / 9:00 EDT daily, and each session is 2.5 hours long. Registration is a flat rate of £35 for members and includes one month’s access to the recordings post-event. You can go here to register.~SR

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The Spread: Reopened for Business
JohnLothianNews.com

This week on The Spread, Cboe reopens its doors to resume hybrid trading, FIA’s Walt Lukken invites you to a virtual IDX, and more.

Watch the video »

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Sponsored Content

 

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Young Americans Struggle to Find Jobs, Internships This Summer
Alexandre Tanzi – Bloomberg
Fewer openings in leisure, hospitality sectors due to virus; Lack of summer work experience can hurt future employment
Annie Christie, a rising sophomore at Northeastern University, applied for dozens of summer internships without any bites before she posted an ad on her neighborhood chat board looking for odd jobs in Bethesda, Maryland.
/bloom.bg/2YobMtn

*****We will hold a free session of MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity on July 22. Whether you have an internship or not, you are welcome to attend.~JJL

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CrossTower secures $6 million seed funding round on its mission to mainstream digital asset investing and trading; Founded by capital markets veterans, CrossTower is backed by Gerard Lopez, a world-renowned entrepreneur and one of Europe’s top tech investors
CrossTower
CrossTower, a new trading platform founded by capital markets veterans on a mission to mainstream digital asset investing and trading, today announced the completion of a $6 million seed funding round led by Gerard Lopez, founder and CEO of several prominent start-up ventures and tech security companies, an early investor in Skype and one of the top technology investors in Europe.
/bit.ly/2BrPONa

****CrossTower is led by two former presenters for MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity, Kapil Rathi and Kristin Boggiano.~JJL

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Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday was NFA Case #: 20BCC00009, regarding LTG Trading and Gary Fullett. Second was Bloomberg’s We Will Be Living With the Coronavirus Pandemic Well Into 2021. (The article is worth reading for the pictures alone.) Third was another virus-related story, Don’t Return to the Office Until You Read This, also from Bloomberg.

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Lead Stories

How zero-fee trading helped Citadel cash in on retail trading boom; Higher volumes and wider spreads have driven outsized returns for market makers
Richard Henderson – FT
Citadel Securities and its majority owner Ken Griffin are among the big winners from a boom in retail investing, cashing in on the zero-fee trading that has lured huge numbers of first-time investors to the US stock market. Chicago-based Citadel Securities accounts for 40 of every 100 shares traded by individual investors in the US, making it the number one retail market maker, according to Piper Sandler. The company is a big buyer of customer trades from the leading US retail brokerages such as Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade, which have slashed commissions to zero to keep up with fast-growing challengers such as Robinhood.
/on.ft.com/2VnnH9d

London Stock Exchange chief appointed CEO of FCA; Nikhil Rathi will lead the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority as CEO after six years with the London Stock Exchange.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The chief executive officer of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) has been appointed CEO of the UK’s financial watchdog, following Andrew Bailey’s recent move to become governor of the Bank of England.
/bit.ly/37PakU9

Ousting of U.S. prosecutor thrusts low-profile markets regulator into unwelcome spotlight
Chris Prentice, Katanga Johnson – Reuters
Friday’s surprise decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to replace a top federal prosecutor has thrust one of the Trump administration’s more low-profile, bipartisan officials into the spotlight, shocking people who know and have worked with him.
/reut.rs/37OYDwC

New Yorkers Now Can Return to the Office. Most Are Staying Away; Real-estate brokers and landlords expect only 10% to 20% of Manhattan’s office workers will return on Monday
Konrad Putzier – WSJ
New York City will allow companies to reopen their offices on Monday after a three-month lockdown from the pandemic. Few employees seem ready or willing to go back. Most companies are taking a cautious approach. Some are keeping offices closed, while others are opening them at reduced occupancy and allowing employees to decide if they prefer to keep working from home. Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive for the tri-state region at real-estate services firm CBRE Group Inc., said many New York City clients don’t plan on being fully back in the office before Labor Day. And maybe only then if schools have reopened.
/on.wsj.com/3hQnZ1J

The real ‘Money Heist’ is taking place in private equity; The depressing part is the willingness of pension funds simply to hand over the swag
Jonathan Ford – FT
One of the more successful TV shows on Netflix this summer is an adrenaline-charged Spanish crime caper, Money Heist. It is about a glamorous group of bank robbers who execute an audacious, if scarcely plausible, plan to break into the Royal Mint in Madrid and take control of the printing presses, where they proceed to hold out as long as they can against a ferocious police siege. What happens next is that, well, money-printer goes brrrrr.
/on.ft.com/2Nwp3tX

LSE’s Nikhil Rathi to become FCA’s new chief; Former civil servant beats frontrunner Woolard to the top job at UK’s financial regulator
Matthew Vincent – FT
Nikhil Rathi of the London Stock Exchange has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority to oversee the next stage of the UK’s regulatory response to the Covid-19 crisis.
/on.ft.com/3hRSDYI

Apparent suicide by 20-year-old Robinhood trader who saw a negative $730,000 balance prompts app to make changes
CNN
The family of a 20-year-old student says he died by suicide after confusion over an apparent negative balance of $730,000 on his Robinhood account. Now they are demanding answers from the millennial-focused trading app.
/cnn.it/37RfsHf

A truly ugly transatlantic trade war is looming; Both the US and EU are being unreasonable, be it over digital taxes, food, gas or cars
Wolfgang Münchau – FT
The US does not want the rest of the world to tax the monopoly profits of its tech companies. The Germans want to press ahead with a sordid gas pipeline deal with Russia. The EU protects its car industry from foreign competition, but hyperventilates when US President Donald Trump threatens the same for European car imports. These are some of the main signs of a fast approaching transatlantic trade conflict.
/on.ft.com/3dmfmbN

Will public debt be a problem when the Covid-19 crisis is over? There is unanimity about macroeconomic policy for now, but not about exit strategy
Gavyn Davies – Fulcrum Asset Management – FT
Since Covid-19 disrupted global growth early this year, the major advanced economies have made some of the biggest policy changes ever seen in such a short time. As Lenin put it, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” We have just experienced several of those weeks.
/on.ft.com/2YRxlBK

The Most Popular U.S. Bond Market Trade Has Now Gone Global
Stephen Spratt – Bloomberg
Strategists converge on Japan 10-, 30-year curve steepeners; Wall Street banks still in favor of steeper U.S. yield curve
Strategists globally are converging on one bond market trade: betting on a steeper yield curve. The strategy is gaining in popularity as two trends cause the curve to steepen. With short-end yields anchored by near-zero policy rates in major economies, Wall Street banks are arguing that a rebound in global growth paid for with new bond supply will send longer-dated yields climbing.
/bloom.bg/2BvOj0k

Powell Says Crisis Exposes Long-Standing Inequalities; Coronavirus pandemic has featured ‘particular cruelty’ with disproportionate effects on already hard-hit regions or sectors, Fed chairman says
Nick Timiraos – WSJ
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic has exposed a range of “troubling inequalities,” most of which have predated the current crisis.
/on.wsj.com/37Rxb1t

‘There’s Probably Never Been More Uncertainty,’ Fed Official Warns; Federal Reserve policymakers underlined economic risks, yet the central bank’s point man on supervision suggested regulators would not disclose how specific banks might fare.
Jeanna Smialek – NY Times
Federal Reserve officials warned on Friday that the U.S. economic outlook remained wildly uncertain, as parts of the country see a new surge in coronavirus infections.
/nyti.ms/3dhNGVy

How the Coronavirus Will Reshape World Trade; In the post-pandemic world, more economic activity will be designated vital to national security, accelerating pressures on globalization
Jacob M. Schlesinger – WSJ
When the global economy finally gets beyond the pandemic, expect it to be less globalized than before. Governments, including many longtime advocates of global trade, are using the crisis to erect barriers to commerce and bring manufacturing home. Japan now pays companies to relocate factories from China. French President Emmanuel Macron pledges “full independence” in crucial medical supplies by year-end. In Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike back new “Buy American” requirements for government health spending.
/on.wsj.com/3djiYLz

Europe Will Have a Digital Tax, No Matter What, Says Breton
Geraldine Amiel – Bloomberg
EU commissioner voices optimism on stimulus plan adoption; Thierry Breton sees Europe achieving its green transition
There will be a European tax on giant digital corporations, even if a current project harbored by the OECD fails, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Saturday, in an interview with France Inter radio.
/bloom.bg/37SYp7y

Bond Markets Risk Tectonic Shift With Trillion-Euro EU Debt Seen
James Hirai – Bloomberg
EU recovery plan could lead to bloc becoming major debt issuer; EU, agency debt seen near 1 trillion euros by end-2021: Citi
As European leaders marshal fiscal forces to steer the economy out of crisis, the bond market is bracing for what could be a major structural shift. The European Union’s push for a jointly-funded program to finance pandemic reconstruction efforts could see the bloc becoming one of the region’s top debt issuers, in a market until now dominated by individual governments.
/bloom.bg/3eotG4X

Wall Street Rewrites Market Playbooks for Pandemic’s Second Wave
Ruth Carson and Abhishek Vishnoi – Bloomberg
Traditional views of stocks and bonds no longer work; Foreign exchange trading has seen extraordinary moves
As the world braces for a second wave of infections from the coronavirus, stocks are priced for a booming global economy, bonds point to a protracted downturn and currency volatility is rising. Investors are increasingly uneasy with these conflicting signals among asset classes, but they are also resigned to them, and have adjusted their playbooks accordingly.
/bloom.bg/30Rah8V

UBS Tells Rich Clients to Leave Stock Bubbles to Day Traders
Ksenia Galouchko – Bloomberg
Retail traders are fueling a rally in lesser known companies; Charles Day recommends clients hold large-cap growth stocks
The world’s largest wealth manager has a message for any clients tempted to follow day traders into some of the equity market’s more exotic stocks in search of a fast buck: don’t even go there.
/bloom.bg/3hKrU08

Day Trading Surges In Popularity, This Won’t End Well
Simon Moore – Forbes
An increase in furloughed employees, broader access to commission-free trading and a strong couple of months in the market have increased day trading for U.S. markets. For most traders, this won’t end well studies show.
/bit.ly/3emDdtm

The Masters of the Diamond World Are Losing Control; For years, De Beers and Alrosa have kept a tight grip on the rough-diamond trade.
Thomas Biesheuvel and Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
For decades, shopping for uncut diamonds was a tightly scripted affair: First, persuade De Beers to add you to its list of handpicked customers. Then, 10 times a year, attend a week-long sale to buy exactly the amount De Beers offers you at whatever price it chooses.
/bloom.bg/2zQTHL4

Buyer Beware: Oil Stockpiles Are Enormous; Enough oil has gone into storage to drive every U.S. truck around the world five times.
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Remember negative oil prices and the fear that every storage tank on the planet would get filled to the brim? That seems a long time ago, with West Texas Intermediate crude now hitting $40 a barrel and the buildup of stockpiles poised to go into reverse. The warning sent by that trip below zero was heeded. Oil production was slashed and the crisis averted.
/bloom.bg/3doAuy3

Coronavirus

WHO reports largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases
Associated Press
The UN health agency said Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases tallied and the U.S. next at 36,617. Over 15,400 came in in India.
/bit.ly/37OYhGt

Wall Street Expects a Covid-19 Vaccine Before the U.S. Election
Cristin Flanagan – Bloomberg
Wall Street predicts the White House will push through approval of one or maybe even two Covid-19 vaccines to help bolster Donald Trump’s chances before the U.S. presidential election.
/bloom.bg/2NlOhLm

White House Says It’s Bracing for an Autumn Wave
WSJ
A top official said the Trump administration was working to replenish the medical stockpile as health experts rejected the president’s view of the pandemic. India’s crowded hospitals have been turning people away.
/nyti.ms/3hQp2ib

Coronavirus Cash Needs Prompt Companies to Rethink Investments; Numerous firms decide cash is king as they liquidate their big stakes in other companies
Corrie Driebusch – WSJ
Large companies have swiftly sold big positions in other firms after the coronavirus pandemic sparked a scramble for cash and caused them to rewrite their investing playbooks. Among the big sales: In May, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. PNC -2.26% sold its more than $13 billion stake in BlackRock Inc., BLK -0.25% a position it had held for roughly a quarter of a century. It was one of the largest secondary sales in history.
/on.wsj.com/37QNEmk

Coronavirus Cash Needs Prompt Companies to Rethink Investments; Numerous firms decide cash is king as they liquidate their big stakes in other companies
Corrie Driebusch – WSJ
Large companies have swiftly sold big positions in other firms after the coronavirus pandemic sparked a scramble for cash and caused them to rewrite their investing playbooks. Among the big sales: In May, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. PNC -2.26% sold its more than $13 billion stake in BlackRock Inc., BLK -0.25% a position it had held for roughly a quarter of a century. It was one of the largest secondary sales in history.
/on.wsj.com/37QNEmk

How the world’s largest maker of rubber gloves is coping with Covid; Top Glove founder pledges to expand output to fight ‘very strong, very smart’ virus
Stefania Palma – FT
As the founder and chairman of the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer, Lim Wee Chai was not new to health crises when coronavirus struck this year. In its three-decade history, his company Top Glove has responded to outbreaks of H1N1 influenza, Sars and Ebola as well as the HIV/Aids epidemic.
/on.ft.com/37OLe7G

Senegal president admits virus will delay oil projects; Macky Sall says ripple effects from pandemic are having devastating effect on business
David Pilling and Neil Munshi – FT
Senegal has been forced to delay its first oil and gas projects by up to two years because of coronavirus, President Macky Sall said, in a sign that aftershocks from the crisis are battering even economies that have avoided the worst of the pandemic itself.
/on.ft.com/37RNlb0

Australia Fears Second Wave as State Tightens Virus Controls
Jason Scott – Bloomberg
Victoria extends its state of emergency for four weeks; Aussie dollar declines as virus setback weighs on currency
Australia’s second-most populous state has tightened coronavirus controls as a spike in cases triggers fears the nation could be hit by a second wave of infections. Victoria extended a state of emergency by four weeks to July 20, halved the number of visitors allowed in homes to 5 and delayed a planned increase in the size of gatherings in cafes, restaurants and pubs.
/bloom.bg/2YVCI2R

Covid-19’s Second Assault on America Is Already Underway: What you need to know
David R Baker – Bloomberg
Since the coronavirus pandemic began late last year, doctors have warned that infections could come in waves. A country, state or city that somehow avoided the first, deadly surge rolling outward from China in January might still bear the brunt of a second round of infections, or a third. Absent a vaccine, even hard-hit communities that shut down economies to squelch outbreaks earlier this year could see case counts rise again as they reopened
/bloom.bg/2YnOZhj

U.K. Fund Beating 99% of Peers Bets on Post-Covid-19 Disruptors
Heejin Kim – Bloomberg
Baillie Gifford’s Urquhart says virus has accelerated changes; Adyen, Meituan Dianping, Peloton among the fund’s favorites
A top-performing fund manager who bought Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. more than a decade ago is betting on winners from the Covid-19, believing the pandemic will fundamentally change people’s lifestyles.
/bloom.bg/3hQC53e

What the Black Death and Spanish Flu Can Tell Us About What Comes Next
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
Nobody knows what the post-COVID future looks like. But there are some lessons to be learned from previous pandemics. On today’s episode, we speak with Jamie Catherwood of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, aka the “Finance History Guy.” Jamie talks to us about what he’s learned from studying both the Spanish Flu and the Black Death about what this crisis means for markets and the economy.
/bloom.bg/2VTK8Bb

Here’s What Rishi Sunak Could Do to Stimulate the U.K. Economy
Alex Morales and David Goodman – Bloomberg
Chancellor set to ramp up spending on infrastructure, skills; VAT cuts among many options being weight up in government
As evidence mounts of the economic destruction being wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is examining ways to get consumers and businesses spending once again.
/bloom.bg/3epnqdc

France shows Europe can keep Covid-19 in check after reopening; Overall trend in Spain, Italy and Germany is lifting hopes for summer, despite an emergence of clusters
Leila Abboud and Dan Dombey – FT
On June 21, like every year since 1982, France held its Fête de la musique — a feat few had imagined possible only weeks ago. The novel coronavirus that paralysed the country for months and has yet to be eradicated made its presence felt: the all-night street music festival featured fewer concerts and DJ sets than usual, and organisers had to come up with creative safety measures — such as musicians playing on mobile stages mounted on trucks.
/on.ft.com/3epx9QO

Japan’s Work Culture Gets a Needed Covid-19 Shock; Remote work may have finally persuaded the nation’s corporate leaders that endless hours at the office are a waste.
Noah Smith – Bloomberg
Japan’s corporate culture is stuck in a bad place. But the coronavirus pandemic might have given it just the nudge it needs to get out of the trap. From the 1960s through the 1980s, the country developed a corporate system that worked well. Managers, rather than shareholders, controlled companies, allowing long-term planning and investment, keeping employment levels high and fostering economic equality. Workers were hired with the presumption that they would be at one company for their entire career, which gave their employer an incentive to spend lots of resources training them. And everyone worked very long hours.
/bloom.bg/3dn6u5P

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

London Stock Exchange plc appointments
London Stock Exchange Group
Michael Findlay has been appointed Non-Executive Chair of London Stock Exchange plc, as of 24 June. Michael Findlay has worked in financial services for over thirty years and brings deep capital markets and corporate experience, having held senior positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Moelis & Company LLP and UBS. His current directorships include Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of Royal Mail plc and Chair of Morgan Sindall Group plc.
/bit.ly/2zWAzvm

Fintech

Jack Ma’s Fintech Giant Ant to Drop ‘Financial’ From Its Name; The Alibaba affiliate wins Chinese regulator’s approval to change its name to Ant Technology Group Co.
Stella Yifan Xie – WSJ
China’s largest financial-technology company is rebranding itself to emphasize the tech rather than the finance, after earlier drawing scrutiny from regulators. Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., BABA -1.30% said it received approval from China’s top business and commerce regulator to change its name to Ant Technology Group Co. in its business-registration records.
/on.wsj.com/37OOLms

Wirecard fights for survival as fraud comes to light; German regulator admits mistakes as payments group withdraws previous results
Olaf Storbeck, Dan McCrum and Stefania Palma – FT
Wirecard acknowledged for the first time on Monday the potential scale of a multiyear accounting fraud, as the Germany payments group warned that EUR1.9bn of cash on its balance sheet probably does “not exist”.
/on.ft.com/37Sfsac

Wirecard Scandal a ‘Complete Disaster,’ Says German Regulator
Nicholas Comfort – Bloomberg
Germany’s top financial regulator on Monday said he accepts criticism of how his institution handled allegations of accounting irregularities at Wirecard AG, after the fintech acknowledged that 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) of its assets probably don’t exist.
/bloom.bg/2YWWAm3

Cryptocurrencies

Singer Akon Is Launching a Cryptocurrency, Building Senegal City
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
When Grammy Award-nominated singer Akon tried to convert some of Senegal’s currency to euros during a trip from Dakar to Paris a few years back, he was met with resistance. An employee at the currency exchange counter in France told him, “Unfortunately, we don’t take those.” “I’m like, ‘What?'” Akon recalled in a recent phone interview with Bloomberg News. He hadn’t had time to convert one currency to the other before he left for his trip and was stuck with a pocketful of CFA francs — the currency used in many French-speaking West African countries, including Senegal — and nowhere to spend them.
/bloom.bg/313fY3s

Blackballed by PayPal, Scientific-Paper Pirate Takes Bitcoin Donations
Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
A quiet rebellion against copyright is being waged on a single website by a freelance coder, using cryptocurrency where PayPal won’t do. Bitcoin as a censorship-free money has been used by outlaws of all sorts, but this time the outlaw is a young scientist from Kazakhstan breaking through the paywalls of academic journals. Alexandra Elbakyan, a 31-year-old freelance coder, neurobiologist and phylologist, is running a database of over 80 million articles from academic journals that are normally available only through subscriptions. What started out of frustration when she was a graduate student became a free research service funded only through donations. For most people in the world, bitcoin is the only way to support Elbakyan’s work.
/bit.ly/3fSuHTj

CrossTower, a new trading platform aimed at institutional investors, lands $6 million in seed funding
Saniya More – The Block
After gatecrashing the institutional crypto exchange world in May, CrossTower is announcing a $6 million seed funding round led by technology investor Gerard Lopez. Launched in May, CrossTower aims to cater to larger investors with a crypto-to-crypto trading platform supporting 9 assets, including Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, XRP and Chainlink. The launch of CrossTower comes at a time when many crypto firms are adding services aimed at institutional investors. A press statement says the firm’s senior team members’ experience building traditional trading platforms will be an advantage.
/bit.ly/2YpZ4dU

Story from News Bitmain Co-Founder Offers Share Buyback at $4B Valuation to End Power Struggle
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
Zhan Ketuan, the formerly-ousted Bitmain co-founder who returned to power earlier this month, is proposing a solution to end the firm’s internal war. In a letter Sunday, Zhan, who as Bitmain’s biggest shareholder owns 36% of its stock, offered to buy back shares possessed by his rival co-founder Wu Jihan, several founding members and some of Bitmain employees, at a company valuation of $4 billion. Wu alone controls about 20% of Bitmain and three other founding members own about 15% in total. Bitmain’s employee stock option pool has another 19% and the remaining 10% belongs to external investors.
/bit.ly/37Sq0WH

The sudden rise of the Ethereum-based ‘social token’
Robert Stevens – Decrypt
With “social money,” crypto’s socialites create their own cryptocurrencies, then gift or sell them to their followers. Loyal fans can use the tokens to buy goods or services, or vote to influence the creator’s behavior. Roll launched in private beta last summer and currently offers about 160 social tokens. It will launch no later than last quarter.
/bit.ly/3hOHRT1

UK Financial Watchdog Warns Crypto Firms to Register Before End of June
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has told crypto businesses it will need half a year to fully process applications before the hard deadline in January. The chief financial regulator announced Monday that any company carrying out “cryptoasset activity in the U.K.” must have submitted their completed applications – outlining how they aim to follow new money laundering requirements – to the watchdog by June 30. Although the hard deadline for applications is January 10, 2021, the regulator says it wants more than six months to go through firms’ submissions.
/bit.ly/313Eq4L

New Zealand police seize $90 million from alleged BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik
Yogita Khatri – The Block
New Zealand police have seized NZ$ 140 million (~US$90 million) from Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of the now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e, and his company Canton Business Corporation (the managing shell company of BTC-e). The police said it is the largest seizure in its history. Vinnik was arrested on money laundering allegations in Greece in 2017, and earlier this year was extradited to France, where he remains in custody.
/bit.ly/2NkOEpn

Securitize’s Japan Subsidiary Becomes First International Firm to Join Self-Regulatory Group
Sandali Handagama – Coindesk
Securitize Japan became the first global token issuance platform to join the Japan Security Token Offering Association (JSTOA), the company announced Thursday. The Japanese subsidiary of U.S.-based Securitize, the company token platform could not join the association until now because JSTOA only accepts Japanese-regulated entities into its ranks. Securitize co-founder and Chief Executive Carlos Domingo told CoinDesk that a leading Japanese financial services company, SBI Holdings, was one of the founding members of JSTOA, and is a Securitize shareholder.
/bit.ly/3fJtRrK

South Korea’s move to tax cryptocurrency faces backlash
Lee Min-hyung – Korea Times
The government should not make any rash decisions in levying a “cryptocurrency tax,” as the new taxation scheme may end up blocking industrial growth in the emerging digital currency market, economists said Sunday. The nation’s financial authorities ? headed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance ? have discussed for years whether to impose taxes on virtual currencies in line with the global rise of bitcoin.
/bit.ly/2V5aOjI

Italian Banks Are Ready to Trial a Digital Euro
Sandali Handagama – Coindesk
The Italian Banking Association (ABI) announced Thursday that its banks are willing to pilot a digital euro. ABI, made up of over 700 Italian banking institutions, expressed its desire to help speed up the implementation of a digital currency backed by the European Central Bank (ECB) by participating in related projects and experiments. Last year, ABI set up a working group to research digital and crypto assets. The group shared 10 considerations for a digital euro in Thursday’s announcement, starting with, “Monetary stability and full compliance with the European regulatory framework must be preserved as a matter of priority.”
/bit.ly/2Cyyd6Z

UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund Makes Its Largest-Ever Investment
Dylan Love – Cointelegraph
Today eight technology companies from seven different emergent economies will receive an investment of Ethereum cryptocurrency from the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund. UNICEF’s crypto-enabled investment vehicle has given these companies 125 ETH, worth approximately $28,600, to use in scaling or prototyping their respective technologies over the next six months. Companies receiving this investment have already received as much as $100,000 in fiat currency from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund.
/bit.ly/2Cv8g8e

Thai Central Bank Taps Cement Company for First Digital Currency Payments
Jaspreet Kalra – Coindesk
The Bank of Thailand is developing a prototype payments system which would rely on a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The central bank announced Thursday that it would target businesses, and would design a payment system that could be integrated with the procurement and financial management system of Siam Cement Group, Thailand’s oldest cement manufacturer, and its suppliers. The bank said the digital currency prototype is being developed by Digital Ventures, a fintech-facing venture capital wing of the Siam Commercial Bank that invested in Ripple in 2016.
/bit.ly/3fKaKOj

Politics

Trump Poses ‘Danger for the Republic’ if Re-elected, John Bolton Charges; The president’s former national security adviser, in a TV interview, called the November election the “last guardrail” against a second term in which “there’s no telling what will happen.”
Peter Baker and Luke Broadwater – NY Times
President Trump poses a “danger for the republic” and would be an even greater threat if he wins a second term this fall because he would be unconstrained by future electoral considerations, John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser, said in an interview aired on Sunday night.
/nyti.ms/3dugrP2

Trump fires US prosecutor who investigated allies; Geoffrey Berman agrees to stand down as Manhattan attorney after stand-off with attorney-general
Kadhim Shubber and Lauren Fedor – FT
The Manhattan US attorney who has overseen investigations of Donald Trump’s allies agreed to stand down on Saturday, ending a power struggle with the president’s administration that has sparked a congressional probe.
/on.ft.com/2NlzOik

Jay Clayton, Low-Profile Regulator, Is Catapulted Into a Political Fight
Amid a muted tenure at the S.E.C., the corporate lawyer is now the Trump administration’s intended nominee to be the top prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.
Matthew Goldstein and Ben Protess – The New York Times
After three years at the helm of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton had made it known to colleagues, friends and the Trump administration that he was itching to go back to New York.
/nyti.ms/2BqPlLk

Bolton says Trump poses ‘a danger for the republic’; Ex-national security adviser hopes his former boss is a ‘one-term president’
Aime Williams – FT
John Bolton said Donald Trump posed “a danger for the republic” if re-elected, in a scathing interview on US television on Sunday night. Mr Bolton, who left the White House after serving for 17 months as Mr Trump’s national security adviser, described the president as “erratic and impulsive”, “stunningly uninformed”, “irrational” and motivated only by his desire to be re-elected.
/on.ft.com/3fEmylc

Sacked US prosecutor expected to testify against White House; Trump administration faces probe into claims it is purging the justice department
Aime Williams and Lauren Fedor – FT
Senior Democrats expect the US prosecutor who was fired this weekend to testify against the Trump administration as the president struggles to reignite his election campaign.
/on.ft.com/2YnInzK

World Leaders Face Dilemma: Deal With Trump or Hang On for Biden
Marc Champion and Nick Wadhams – Bloomberg
Current administration makes risks of snubbing president clear; Impact on alliances of unpredictable presidency may be lasting
America’s allies and rivals face a tough choice as Donald Trump trails in polls ahead of November’s presidential election: Wait to see if he loses to presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden, or cut deals now to avoid negotiating with an emboldened second-term Trump.
/bloom.bg/2YkrXYG

Social Media Giants Support Racial Justice. Their Products Undermine It; Shows of support from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube don’t address the way those platforms have been weaponized by racists and partisan provocateurs.
Kevin Roose – NY Times
Several weeks ago, as protests erupted across the nation in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a long and heartfelt post on his Facebook page, denouncing racial bias and proclaiming that “black lives matter.” Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, also announced that the company would donate $10 million to racial justice organizations.
/nyti.ms/37QZJrG

Transcript of President Trump’s Interview With The Wall Street Journal; President discusses the economy, the Bolton book, the coronavirus, race in America and more
WSJ Staff
President Trump sat down for an interview Wednesday evening in the Oval Office with Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender. White House attendees included press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, communications director Alyssa Farah and chief of staff Mark Meadows.
/on.wsj.com/2Yl24Ih

There’s Nothing Exceptional About Any Country; Almost every nation at some point believes it’s special and on a mission. They’re all wrong, and the sooner we get over this nonsense, the better.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
Pundits have recently proclaimed “the end” — or exposed “the myth” — of British exceptionalism. It’s hard for Brits to keep seeing themselves as uniquely heroic while bungling their response to a pandemic, fumbling through Brexit and literally boxing up statues of national idols to save them from being defaced.
/bloom.bg/3eriW5N

Here’s what Joe Biden means for markets, business and America
Andy Serwer with Max Zahn – Yahoo Finance
I say Joe Biden has a 50% chance of getting elected in November and if you buy that impartial fact, then it’s probably a good idea to understand what a Biden presidency means for the economy, markets and business. This is no small thing.
/yhoo.it/2NnuuuM

Regulation

Nikhil Rathi appointed as new Chief Executive of the FCA
UK FCA
HM Treasury have today announced the appointment of Nikhil Rathi as the new permanent Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Nikhil is currently the Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange plc. From September 2009 to April 2014, he was Director, Financial Services Group at HM Treasury. In this role, he led the Treasury’s work on the UK’s EU and international financial services interests. Nikhil is expected to take up the role in the Autumn.
/bit.ly/2YoRCzz

FCA reminds cryptoasset businesses to register before the end of June
UK FCA
The FCA today reminds businesses which carry out cryptoasset activity in the UK, that they have to be registered with the FCA to comply with new regulations. To ensure that applications are processed on time the FCA requires firms to submit completed applications for registration by 30 June 2020.
/bit.ly/37Ovrps

Firms to prepare for phased move to FCA’s new data collection platform RegData
UK FCA
We are now preparing to gradually move firms across to our new data collection platform, which replaces Gabriel. We’re pleased to announce that the new name of the platform is RegData. Since April, firms have been registering for RegData through a one-off activity when accessing Gabriel.
/bit.ly/3emsSxy

SEC Emergency Action Halts Brothers’ Cryptocurrency Offering Fraud
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed an emergency action and obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against two Pennsylvania-based brothers and three entities they control to stop an offering fraud and the misappropriation of investor proceeds.
/bit.ly/2Yneb7J

SEC Awards Almost $700,000 to Whistleblower
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of almost $700,000 to a whistleblower whose significant information helped the agency bring a successful enforcement action that resulted in the return of money to harmed investors. The whistleblower reported the problem internally before contacting the SEC in an effort to remedy the conduct, and provided continued assistance throughout the SEC’s investigation.
/bit.ly/2Yn59HN

SEC Extends Relief for Virtual Meetings of Fund Boards; SEC continues to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 on investors, funds, and investment advisers
SEC
Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it is extending conditional relief from the in-person voting requirements for fund boards that it originally provided in March 2020. That relief will now extend at least through December 31, 2020. Today’s extension is designed to provide flexibility to boards of registered funds and business development companies (funds) that may continue to face challenges meeting in person.
/bit.ly/37R7gqt

Bank regulators warned against protectionism in pandemic response; Erecting barriers to help local markets will undermine global financial stability, says industry group
Laura Noonan – FT
Banking regulators will do untold damage to global financial stability if they erect barriers to protect local markets once huge loan losses from the coronavirus crisis begin to hit lenders, the Institute of International Finance has warned.
/on.ft.com/3hX4chp

Broker-Dealer Exam Program Leader Robert Sollazzo Retiring From SEC After 38 Years
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Robert A. Sollazzo, the longtime leader of the New York Regional Office’s Broker-Dealer Examination Program, is planning to retire from the agency in July after more than 38 years of invaluable contributions.
/bit.ly/3erUEZA

Swiss Attorney General Opens Criminal Investigation Into Glencore; The company says the probe is related to alleged corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Stephen Nakrosis – WSJ
Glencore PLC on Friday said it was informed by the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland that a criminal investigation has been opened against the company.
/on.wsj.com/37OCRJk

Investing and Trading

Investors dismiss prospect of ‘V-shaped’ recovery; CFA members warn of huge risk of asset mispricing as stock markets disconnect from real economy
Attracta Mooney and Siobhan Riding – FT
Investment management professionals have rubbished the idea of a quick global recovery from the coronavirus crisis, warning of several years of stagnation and a huge risk of asset mispricing as stock markets become increasingly disassociated with economic activity.
/on.ft.com/2Z3JjIK

US shale companies face $300bn in writedowns in Q2; Deloitte says impairments could trigger insolvencies as sector accounts for oil price fall
Derek Brower – FT
US shale companies could be forced to write down at least $300bn of their assets in the second quarter, as operators begin to account for the oil-price collapse on their balance sheets, according to a new study.
/on.ft.com/2zXVnTi

A wave of liquidity will continue to wash over emerging markets; Big tests await but many Covid-19-stricken nations have been able to raise money cheaply
Jonathan Wheatley – FT
Emerging markets have rallied sharply from the panic-fuelled sell-off at the end of March, but not by as much as developed markets. This may reflect the evidence that, with the exception of a few countries, the number of coronavirus infections is still rising in the developing world even as it falls in advanced economies, and that developing countries are set to suffer the greatest economic damage.
/on.ft.com/2V92ejU

JPMorgan Says Investors Should Get More Selective in Second Half
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Investors should be more selective in the next six months as asset returns are likely to diverge because liquidity “cannot paper over specific weaknesses indefinitely,” according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
/bloom.bg/37OkuEm

What the Black Death and Spanish Flu Can Tell Us About What Comes Next
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
Nobody knows what the post-COVID future looks like. But there are some lessons to be learned from previous pandemics. On today’s episode, we speak with Jamie Catherwood of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, aka the “Finance History Guy.” Jamie talks to us about what he’s learned from studying both the Spanish Flu and the Black Death about what this crisis means for markets and the economy.
/bloom.bg/2VTK8Bb

Vatican calls on Catholics to divest from fossil fuels
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
The Vatican is urging Catholics and the private sector to “progressively and without delay” divest from fossil fuel producers and other entities that perpetuate climate change.
/cnn.it/2YkXvxM

Today’s Irrational Stock Market: A Moment in the Sun for Technical Analysts? S&P 500 has struggled to break through its year-end ‘resistance’ level to clock year-to-date gains
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
Trying to predict the direction of stock prices based on the shape of lines in a chart often seems akin to reading tea leaves. In today’s markets, however, so-called technical analysis may not be completely wide of the mark.
/on.wsj.com/3et9A9G

Creating Portfolios That Are ‘Not for the Faint of Heart’; Savers who want to build their nest eggs without relying solely on the stock market have other options. The pandemic is testing their skills.
Joshua Brockman – NY Times
Audrey Smith knows what’s it like to plant a seed and watch it grow. One of 11 children, she worked in the fields of her family’s farm in Texarkana, Ark., and ate vegetables they grew.
/nyti.ms/2Nm7gWe

Institutions

ING names veteran chief executive officer; Steven van Rijswijk will become CEO of ING in July, as Ralph Hamers prepares to take over as group chief executive of UBS
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Dutch investment bank ING has confirmed the appointment of its new chief executive as its former lead prepares to join UBS in September as CEO. ING said that Steven van Rijswijk, who is currently chief risk officer, will succeed Ralph Hamers as chief executive from 1 July this year. Van Rijswijk has been with ING since 1995 having previously held various senior roles within the bank’s mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, capital structuring and advisory teams.
/bit.ly/2Nm9MLU

Outset Global grows outsourced trading desk with buy-side veteran in New York; Edward McCabe joins Outset Global in New York after leading global equity trading for JP Morgan’s Highbridge Capital Management.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Outset Global has continued to expand its outsourced trading desk with the latest hiring of a buy-side veteran in a senior role in the US. Edward McCabe has been appointed managing director of Outset Global’s New York office. The outsourced trading provider said McCabe will focus on developing its global footprint and institutional client base.
/bit.ly/3dpyLZi

Financial wizardry breathes magic into private equity returns; Spellbound investors bewitched by claims of superior performance
Chris Flood – FT
Even Harry Potter might envy the magic that can be conjured by the wizards of the private equity industry — infinite financial returns.
/on.ft.com/2BtXVJ4

Manhattan attorney after stand-off with attorney-general
Kadhim Shubber and Lauren Fedor – FT
The Manhattan US attorney who has overseen investigations of Donald Trump’s allies agreed to stand down on Saturday, ending a power struggle with the president’s administration that has sparked a congressional probe.
/on.ft.com/2NlzOik

Fed to Assess How Banks React to Possible Covid-19 Scenarios; Central bank will use results as it sets policies on capital requirements, dividends, stock buybacks
WSJ
The Federal Reserve will use an analysis of large banks’ ability to withstand various coronavirus-related recession scenarios as it forms policies on capital requirements, dividends and stock buybacks, a top central bank official said.
/on.wsj.com/3ev10ra

Regions

U.K. Bolsters Foreign Takeover Defences as Pandemic Drives Protectionist Moves; Moves are to guard against unwanted acquisitions of domestic companies developing coronavirus vaccines or manufacturing personal protective equipment
Ben Dummett – WSJ
The U.K. is strengthening its takeover defenses, joining a wave of protectionism that is sweeping Europe as countries try to shield companies deemed vulnerable to unwanted approaches by foreign acquirers in the wake of pandemic lockdowns.
/on.wsj.com/2BvSpWg

Sacked US prosecutor expected to testify against White House; Trump administration faces probe into claims it is purging the justice department
Aime Williams and Lauren Fedor – FT
Senior Democrats expect the US prosecutor who was fired this weekend to testify against the Trump administration as the president struggles to reignite his election campaign.
/on.ft.com/2YnInzK

Japan Industry Group May Penalize Banks Breaking Debt Sale Rules
Issei Hazama and Ayai Tomisawa – Bloomberg
Working group discussed transparency issues in corporate bonds; Measures may include disclosure of investor names, purchases
A Japanese financial industry group is planning to craft guidelines to boost transparency in the nation’s corporate bond issuance market, where new offerings often go partially unsold without the knowledge of issuers.
/bloom.bg/37XM1U8

Sweden’s Credit Market Rebounds on Surging ESG Bond Volumes
Rafaela Lindeberg – Bloomberg
Sweden’s once battered credit market is finding relief in an unexpected place. As firms and governments try to recover, they’re selling more debt earmarked for ethical and social projects than ever before. That issuance has provided a lifeline to a market that suffered one of the worst crashes in its history just a few months ago.
/bloom.bg/37SuCff

Denmark Strikes Historic Climate Deal to Slash Emissions
Christian Wienberg and Morten Buttler – Bloomberg
Danish lawmakers have struck a climate agreement to ensure their country can live up to a goal of cutting carbon emissions by 70% from 1990 levels over the coming decade.
/bloom.bg/2NlYp6W

Monetary Insanity Is No Basis for Common Ground; Indians shouldn’t be expected to sell the family jewels to help authorities battle Covid-19’s economic impact.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
A rare meeting of minds between India’s Left and Right on a point of economics should alarm those who belong to neither. The two sides are tossing out similar — and similarly absurd — ideas. Before they make Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government do something silly and harmful (such as the overnight ban on 86% of currency notes in 2016), both camps should acquaint themselves with rudiments of Modern Monetary Theory.
/bloom.bg/3dmpNvZ

Pandemic Gives S.O.S. a New Meaning for U.K. Cheesemakers: Save Our Stilton; With pubs and restaurants closed, the six producers that make the famous blue cheese are fighting for survival.
Stephen Castle – NY Times
First the phones fell silent, then the email inbox abruptly emptied of orders. At Hartington Creamery, one of just six companies that produce Britain’s famous blue Stilton cheese, things looked ominous from the moment the coronavirus lockdown began and pubs and restaurants closed.
/nyti.ms/2Byimo4

Norway to Rein In Wind Power After Raging Opposition From Locals
Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
Norway is set to tighten rules for building wind turbines, caving in to massive protests from locals. A government proposal on Friday to slow down the development of onshore wind power comes after increasing local resistance mirrors sentiment in other European countries. Norway already decided to scrap a plan for a new permission framework last year.
/bloom.bg/2Yl3iU2

Brexit

Will the Brits Ever Trust Boris Johnson Again? Britain has to finally get its coronavirus response right before it can count on a speedy economic recovery.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Boris Johnson clearly wants to draw a line under the fiascoes of Britain’s handling of the pandemic and return to the “boosterism” for which he is best known. And as is often the case, his instinct is right. Doing so will be crucial to putting the economy firmly on a path to recovery.
/bloom.bg/37SxAR9

Brexit: Why hopes are rising that EU and UK could find compromise
Jim Brunsden, George Parker – FT
Boris Johnson will hammer out a new plan with senior ministers this week aimed at unblocking talks on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, with hopes rising that a month of “intensified” negotiations starting on June 29 will yield a breakthrough. Diplomats confirm that there has been a shift in mood following the British prime minister’s virtual summit last week with EU chiefs. Both sides speak of a “new phase” of less formalistic negotiations and a greater readiness to do business.
/on.ft.com/2zYac8o

Boris Johnson loves U-turns. Let’s hope this extends to a no-deal Brexit
Simon Jenkins – The Guardian
Britain could be the first developed economy to be sabotaged by maths. Not by war, ideology or disease, but maths. The prime minister is said to be mesmerised by models. One is the coronavirus model of a “second spike” and half a million deaths, creation of Imperial College London statisticians, led by the epidemiologist Neil Ferguson. The other is the Brexit model of Professor Patrick Minford, forecasting a surge of 4% in British growth in the event of a hard Brexit. Both modellers have their critics. But no matter. To Boris Johnson, the model is god. Forget common sense. Maths cannot lie. The models hover over today’s Downing Street like two swords of Damocles.
/bit.ly/3fKoys8

Brexit: UK plans to keep post-transition trade with EU flowing
Sebastien Ash – BBC News
The way British businesses trade with the European Union is set to change fundamentally at the end of the year. The UK left the EU on 31 January but remains in the single market and customs union until 31 December, while the two sides try to hammer out a trade agreement. The end of the so-called transition period in December will mean EU rules will no longer directly apply in Great Britain and the goods trade between them will be governed by new rules. But these will only be introduced gradually.
/bbc.in/3drnhoa

Germany – All financial institutions must be ready for a hard Brexit
Michelle Martin – Reuters
Germany’s deputy finance minister on Monday said that it was necessary to prepare for the worst on Brexit and urged banks to be ready for a hard Brexit, adding there is a very strong risk of a tough situation ahead. “The strategy of hope for the best, plan for the worst, I think is very prudent here,” Joerg Kukies told the Frankfurt Finance Summit.
/reut.rs/37QGvCq

Miscellaneous

Publishers Try Sending News by Text; Media companies experiment with a different type of reader experience
Ann-Marie Alcántara – WSJ
When BuzzFeed News journalist Mat Honan began texting readers the latest Covid-19 numbers and news in March, readers quickly proved that texting is a two-way street. Their replies have included photos from the travels of a long-haul trucker and a message from someone confronting an eating disorder while sheltering in place.
/on.wsj.com/3epgcWv

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