ICE exchange expands in mortgage tech with $13bn deal for Black Knight

May 5, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Yesterday was the 28th of 28 radiation treatments for me for prostate cancer and I rang the bell after completing treatment at the Nancy W. Knowles Cancer Center in Elmhurst, Ill., signifying completion. I still have 14 ½ months of hormone treatment to go, but I got that. Thank you to everyone for all the supporting messages and prayers. It has been very helpful.

Covid is sneaking back into my life as I know several people who have contracted the virus again recently despite being fully vaccinated. The good news is their cases are mild, aided by the vaccine.

The NFA’s website will be experiencing ongoing maintenance on Sunday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. affecting the following system: Online Registration System (ORS), BASIC Data Entry, Security Futures Products Training, Online Payments, Online Arbitration Claims, Arbitrator Profile, Arbitrator Training, Employment Application and Profile System, and all Electronic Filings Systems including EasyFile, Exemptions, Annual Questionnaire, and Disclosure Documents.

And, just as a reminder, the NFA is holding its 2022 Member Regulatory Workshop virtually on Jun 1 and 2, 2022 for commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, futures commission merchant, retail forex exchange dealer, introducing broker and swap dealer NFA members. The FREE but limited space two-day workshop will cover such topics as supervision of remote offices, returning to onsite exams, cybersecurity, swap dealer capital and common exam findings, among others. For more details and to register, click HERE.

You might not be able to donate crypto to Wikipedia anymore, but you will be able to buy your next pair of Gucci loafers with bitcoin. Bloomberg reported that some Gucci stores will start to accept crypto payments. We all know that if you are a crypto bro driving a Lambo, you need to have a pair of Gucci loafers on your feet

We had an editing issue yesterday. The riff about the CFTC Commissioners following me on Twitter and the couple on the train should have said the couple had me under surveillance, not the other way around. Anyway, Chairman Rostin Behnam’s Twitter account, CFTCbehnam joined the fun yesterday and followed me too.

I will be in San Antonio, Texas starting Monday for the Options Conference, arriving in the evening. Alex Perry, Kat Lothian and Robby Lothian will be the video team there conducting the interviews, though I will do a couple of historical interviews. If you want to set up an interview at OIC, email me.

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

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FIA’s International Derivatives Expo is returning to The Brewery in London this coming 6-8 June. Standing still is not an option in today’s evolving cleared derivatives environment. Without adapting to new products, processes, technologies and regulations, your business won’t meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry. We’re bringing together industry leaders, vendors and policymakers to discuss what’s “now” in derivatives, and what lies ahead. Sign up here.

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Less than a month until our #DerivativesForum #Frankfurt takes place! Secure your tickets now to join us on site or virtually from 24 to 25 May for keynotes, panels, and networking with speakers and the many participants already registered. Tickets, agenda and further details:
https://bit.ly/3MMHAQ5 We look forward to seeing you there!

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Covid’s toll in the U.S. reaches a once unfathomable number: 1 million deaths
Elizabeth Chuck and Corky Siemaszko – NBC News
The U.S. on Wednesday surpassed 1 million Covid-19 deaths, according to data compiled by NBC News — a once unthinkable scale of loss even for the country with the world’s highest recorded toll from the virus. The number — equivalent to the population of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the U.S. — was reached at stunning speed: 27 months after the country confirmed its first case of the virus.
/jlne.ws/3FiNcxX

***** It ain’t over yet.~JJL

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Russian TV shows simulation of Britain and Ireland wiped out by a nuke
Mary Ilyushina, Miriam Berger and Timothy Bella – The Washington Post
One of Russia’s top propagandists threatened Britain with annihilation by nuclear strike twice on his Sunday prime-time show — once by air and once by sea — ramping up the war of words against Britain over its vow to oust Russian forces from Ukraine. “Why threaten horizonless Russia with nuclear weapons when you sit on a small island?” Kremlin-allied Dmitry Kiselyov said during his Sunday program on Russian state TV in a segment he called “The Sinkable Island.”
/jlne.ws/3OYqlw7

****** Do you mean Russia has cable TV too?~JJL

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Instagram must stop the scammers targeting Gen Z; Cloned accounts con followers of genuine financial content creators out of thousands
Claer Barrett – FT
This article is the latest part of the FT’s Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign
I have a question for you. How do you know it’s really me writing this article? It looks genuine. There’s a picture of my face and it’s published on a media platform you trust. What if I told you, valued reader, that I had a crypto investment opportunity that could rapidly double your money?
/jlne.ws/3sbwUlm

***** Picture this, a world without scammers on Instagram.~JJL

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Warren Buffett says ‘monkeys’ could do as good a job investing as Wall Street financial advisors
Nicolas Vega – CNBC
Legendary investor Warren Buffett calls investing a “simple game” that financial advisors have convinced the public is harder than it really is. Speaking at Saturday’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, Buffett slammed Wall Street financial advisors for “catching the crumbs that fall off the table of capitalism” and said that in most cases, “monkeys” could provide better investment returns simply by throwing money at American companies.
/jlne.ws/39GfVBd

******* Just look at the success of Bored Apes! I think Buffett is on to something here.~JJL

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At 78, Investor Preps for ‘Biggest Bear Market in My Life’; David Wright’s fund saw only small losses in 2008, 2020 routs; It’s mostly in cash and sold U.S. stocks, which are sinking
Ye Xie – Bloomberg
David Wright knows a thing or two about bear markets. His Sierra Tactical All Asset Fund barely lost anything in 2008 as the global financial crisis caused the worst market panic since the Great Depression. Its loss during the Covid rout of 2020 was also relatively small. Wright, who is based in Santa Monica, California, says another private fund he runs didn’t lose a penny when the dot-com bubble burst two decades ago.
/jlne.ws/3yimGU8

****** At 78, this is the only bear market of his life, save for a few corrections. If you started buying in 1962, you would be doing just fine.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Our most clicked item Wednesday was the Cboe Global Markets YouTube video ErisX is officially a Cboe Global Markets company! with Jessica Darmoni and Ian Grieves. Second was Wall Street Isn’t Ready for the Crackdown Coming Its Way, from Bloomberg, about the ramifications of the Archego case for other banks and investment firms. Third, also from Bloomberg, was Beware the Banter: How Trading Floor Jokes Can Backfire.

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MarketsWiki Stats
26,831 pages; 238,414 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

ICE exchange expands in mortgage tech with $13bn deal for Black Knight; Takeover of real estate software and data company is largest in history for bourse operator
Philip Stafford and Nikou Asgari – FT
Intercontinental Exchange has deepened its push into the US housing market data business, striking the largest deal in its history by agreeing to purchase mortgage software company Black Knight for $13.1bn. Atlanta-based ICE on Wednesday said it would pay $85 per share for the company, a roughly 35 per cent premium on Black Knight’s trading price before the deal was announced. The $10.5bn cash portion will be funded by newly issued debt as well as cash on hand.
/jlne.ws/3w8A8an

Singapore deal allows SocGen bankers to flee Hong Kong; French bank declares ‘business emergency’ to work around Chinese territory’s Covid curbs
Oliver Telling and Joshua Franklin – FT
Société Générale made an arrangement with the Singapore government that allowed it to relocate at least a dozen Hong Kong bankers despite the city-state’s tightening of controls on foreign hires, according to people close to the matter. Two people familiar with the relocations said they were made this year after the French bank came under pressure from staff in Hong Kong keen to escape the Chinese territory’s tough pandemic restrictions.
/jlne.ws/3LPEvxI

Global Natural Gas Crunch Amplifies U.S. Refining Boom, for Now
Gerson Freitas Jr. – Bloomberg
A global shortage of natural gas is giving U.S. fuelmakers an edge over European rivals. Refiners rely on natural gas as a crucial source of heat to distill crude oil into products such as diesel and gasoline. In the U.S., gas prices have more than doubled over the past year to top $8 per million British thermal units. But that still pales in comparison to the $32 European users have to pay.
/jlne.ws/37lnzQG

That Citi flash crash revisited; Norse remorse.
Bryce Elder – FT
On Monday morning, with volumes thinned by the UK’s bank holiday, Citigroup briefly crashed the European market. Nearly two trading days later, we’re still struggling to figure out how. Citi has placed the blame on one unfortunate in its London office, saying a unidentified trader “made an error when inputting a transaction”. As excuses go, its sounds plausible. The London Stock Exchange’s absence meant volumes across European bourses were less than half the normal level. It wouldn’t take much to set off an algorithmic chain effect, particularly among the backwater Nordic markets.
/jlne.ws/3KLoebC

Russia Fallout Hits $7 Billion for European Banks Pulling Back
Nicholas Comfort and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
European banks are counting the rising cost of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as they prepare for a wave of defaults that several fear will spread to the wider economy. Led by Italy’s UniCredit SpA, the industry has ratcheted up the amount of cash set aside to cover doubtful loans by the most in over a year. Alongside trading losses, writedowns and costs to exit the country, European lenders have so far flagged a hit of about $7 billion — with the potential for more to come.
/jlne.ws/3MTOEcC

Morgan Stanley warns of civil liability over block trading claims; Disclosure comes after Wall Street bank reveals it is being probed by US regulators
Joshua Franklin – FT
Morgan Stanley warned it faced potential civil liability stemming from allegations that the Wall Street bank caused share prices to fall before it executed the sale of large chunks of stock, the latest fallout from a US investigation into its block trading business. The disclosure in a quarterly report filed on Wednesday came after the bank admitted in February that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had been examining its block trading business since 2019 and that the Department of Justice had recently opened its own probe.
/jlne.ws/3sdKgO1

Crypto Wunderkinds Secure $85 Million to Start Own Hedge Fund
Muyao Shen – Bloomberg
Ryan Watkins, a 25-year-old former analyst at Messari Inc., and 26-year-old Daniel Cheung, who worked at Jennison Associates LLC, said they’ve formed Pangea Fund Management. They said they’re being backed by investors that include Bain Capital and ParaFi. Other participants in the funding round include Brad Burnham, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris, as well as “crypto natives” such as Do Kwon from Terraform Labs, Alameda Research and Multicoin Capital’s Kyle Samani.
/jlne.ws/37ZOmm0

German Regulator Shelves ESG Rules After Russia Energy Fears; Bafin says energy, geopolitics too unstable for regulation now; Bafin chief says fund managers can still market ESG products
Nicholas Comfort and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Germany’s financial regulator has shelved planned rules for classifying investment funds as sustainable, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves through global energy markets. “Against the backdrop of the dynamic situation in regulation, energy and geopolitics, we have decided to put our planned directive for sustainable investment funds on hold,” BaFin President Mark Branson said Tuesday at a press conference in Frankfurt. “The environment isn’t stable enough for permanent regulation.”
/jlne.ws/3FpVSCU

What the Vatican and crypto bros have in common; Plenty, if the Milken Institute Global Conference in LA this week was anything to go by
Gillian Tett – FT
American hedge fund luminaries don’t usually draw inspiration from the Pope. But when financiers assembled in Los Angeles this week for the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Vatican was an unexpected topic of dinner debate. Shortly before the conference started, the Holy See announced plans to issue non-fungible tokens on the blockchain; the aim, it explained, is to “democratise” the Vatican’s historic art collection by giving people around the world access to the paintings. (How, exactly, that’ll work remains to be seen.)
/jlne.ws/3OYeDl0

Shell makes record profits as Ukraine war shakes energy markets; First-quarter earnings almost three times higher than the same period last year
Tom Wilson – FT
Shell reported its highest ever quarterly profits as it capitalised on the volatility in global energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Adjusted earnings at Europe’s largest oil company rose to $9.1bn in the first three months of the year, almost three times the $3.2bn it recorded a year earlier. That beat average analyst estimates of $8.7bn and was up from $6.4bn in the final three months of 2021.
/jlne.ws/3FgyV4S

BitMEX Ex-CEO Hayes Asks for No Jail Time, Freedom to Travel; Letters to judge, including from his mother, seek leniency; Conviction stands as a crypto precedent, his lawyer argues
Joel Rosenblatt – Bloomberg
BitMEX co-founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes, who was prosecuted for failing to police criminal activity on the crypto exchange, is asking for no jail time and permission to live abroad and travel freely. Hayes, who pleaded guilty in February to violating the Bank Secrecy Act, included a letter from his mother in a bid for leniency from the Manhattan federal judge who will sentence him this month.
/jlne.ws/3P0a0H7

Coinbase’s NFT Marketplace Opens to All, But Users Don’t Show Up; Site, still in testing, has very low transaction volume; ‘OpenSea is going to be the leader for quite a long time’
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc.’s new marketplace for nonfungible tokens is now officially open to all — and it’s getting off to a very slow start. After letting in a select number of users from its waiting list in the last few weeks, the U.S.’s biggest crypto exchange opened the marketplace to everyone as of noon Wednesday New York time. The site — which Coinbase says is still in testing — recorded fewer than 110 transactions as of about 5:15 pm, representing less than $60,000 in sales, according to tracker Dune Analytics. That compares with $124 million in transaction volume for No. 1 NFT marketplace OpenSea on May 3, the most recent day available, per Dune.
/jlne.ws/3sdXvhF

Wall Street bonuses could plummet as much as 40 percent this year
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
Last year was an unprecedented bonanza for Wall Street bankers — and it was fun while it lasted. Bonuses for bankers at big financial firms — which hit record highs in 2021 amid a rash of big deals and a dire talent shortage on Wall Street — are expected to drop as much as 40% in 2022 as bank profits plummet, according to new data from compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates.
/jlne.ws/3kGm7eC

Bill Gates says Elon Musk could make Twitter ‘worse’ on misinformation
Thomas Barrabi – NY Post
Bill Gates said Wednesday that it’s unclear if his rival Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover will result in positive change, saying it actually could make the social media app’s problems worse when it comes to misinformation. Gates, who recently endured a barrage of mockery from Musk on Twitter after it was revealed that he is shorting Tesla’s stock, weighed in on the deal during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.
/jlne.ws/3KOnySV

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon warns ‘cold war is back,’ bigger risk than Fed rate hikes
Thomas Barrabi and Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon gave another dire warning about the Ukraine war’s potential long-term impact on the global economy on Wednesday – cautioning that an escalation in the brutal Russian invasion is a potential “disaster” that could cause an economic slowdown. Dimon indicated that he is more concerned about possible escalation in the Ukraine war than he has about the mounting fears of a recession as the Federal Reserve moves to hike interest rates to curb inflation.
/jlne.ws/3FhsYoe

Ukraine Invasion

Zelensky: ‘Russia will have to pay reparations’ for the war
Lexi Lonas – The HIll
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky said Tuesday Russia should have to pay reparations for the damage it caused to Ukraine after the war is over. “Russia will have to pay reparations. We know it clearly,” Zelensky said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit 2022. Since the start of the war, Zelensky says Russia has caused $600 billion in damage to the country.
/jlne.ws/3MOPXcU

Russia’s Oil Output Is Plummeting, And It May Never Recover
OilPrice.com
Russian oil production is falling. In March, it shed half a million bpd, which by the end of April reached a full 1 million bpd, according to BP’s CEO, Bernard Looney. And this may well grow to 2 million bpd this month. These barrels may not be returning to the market any time soon. As the European Union targeted a barrage of sanctions on Moscow, oil was excluded as a direct target but financial and maritime sanctions affected the industry. Now, the EU is proposing a full oil embargo, save for a handful of member states too dependent on Russian oil to comply, and this will mean a further loss of barrels at a time when the global oil market is already stretched thin.
/jlne.ws/3ykydCa

How the EU ban on Russian oil could benefit Russia
Tim McDonnell – Quartz
The European Union will halt all imports of crude and refined oil from Russia by the end of 2022, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on May 4. Europe as a whole currently gets one-quarter of its oil from Russia, with a wide range between countries—Germany gets just 12% of its oil from Russia, while for Slovakia it’s 96%. Oil is one of the main sources of funding for Russia’s war in Ukraine—to the tune of $285 million per day.
/jlne.ws/3FqLB9y

Belarus Admits Russia’s War ‘Drags On’
Ian Phillips – AP
Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, but he said he didn’t expect the 10-week-old conflict to “drag on this way.” He also spoke out against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine but wouldn’t say if Russian President Vladimir Putin had plans to launch such a strike.
/jlne.ws/3kESURr

Slovakia Backs EU Ban on Russian Oil But Needs Until End of 2025
Iain Rogers – Bloomberg
Slovakia backs a proposed European Union embargo on Russian oil imports but needs a longer transition period until the end of 2025 to implement it, according to Economy Minister Richard Sulik. Under the EU plan, the bloc would halt imports of Russian crude over the next six months and stop buying its refined fuels by the end of the year as part of a sixth round of sanctions to increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.
/jlne.ws/39y3Rlf

Russia’s Novatek Struggles to Trade Europe Gas on Ukraine Recoil; Gas hub trading unit in Switzerland unable to find business; Clients and peers cut company after invasion of Ukraine
Bloomberg News
Novatek PJSC, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, is grappling with a slowdown in business in Europe following the invasion of Ukraine that threatens its spot market trading desk in Switzerland. Novatek Gas & Power, a unit of the Russian firm, is struggling to attract business in European gas hubs as clients and peers cut business ties, according to three people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity to discuss private details. The company is also unable to find new traders to replace recent departures, which may ultimately result in the desk temporarily halting operations or closing altogether, the people said.
/jlne.ws/3vJGcXU

Russia Finds New Use for Nord Stream 2 as Europe Shuns Its Gas; Gas pipeline’s onshore facilities to serve Russian clients; Only one Nord Stream 2 leg now able to ship gas to EU: Gazprom
Bloomberg News
Gazprom PJSC drew up a new future for its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea, the contentious supply link with Germany put on hold by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The gas producer plans to use the project’s onshore facilities in Russia to expand supplies to customers in the northwest of the country, Gazprom said in a statement. However, the new use means only one of Nord Stream 2’s twin pipelines would be immediately available for supplies to the European Union if the bloc reconsiders its opposition to the project.
/jlne.ws/3LRKa6u

Swiss Re pushed to loss as reinsurers count cost of Ukraine war; Group estimates hit of $283mn including likely aviation losses and warns this may rise
Ian Smith – FT
Swiss Re has swung to a quarterly loss after putting the initial hit from the Ukraine war on its books at $283mn, the first estimate from a major reinsurer to include a view of likely aviation losses from the hundreds of planes confiscated or stranded in Russia.
/jlne.ws/3KMXqHW

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE to Buy Mortgage-Software Firm Black Knight for $13.1 Billion
Liana Baker and Matthew Monks – Bloomberg
ICE has agreed to pay $85 per share in cash and stock for the Jacksonville, Florida-based company, according to a statement Wednesday. Bloomberg News reported on the potential takeover earlier. ICE and other exchange operators have been branching into data and other areas of fintech in recent years as growth stalled in the traditional exchange business. Black Knight would complement Ellie Mae Inc., the mortgage-software provider that ICE agreed to buy for $11 billion in 2020.
/jlne.ws/3FkL74t

ASX Group Monthly Activity Report – April 2022
ASX
Listings and Capital Raisings
In April 2022, total capital raised was $3.1 billion, down 69% on the previous corresponding period (pcp).
/bit.ly/3sGw54D

CME Group Inc. Announces Preliminary Results from its 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders
CME Group
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) today announced the preliminary shareholder voting results from its 2022 annual meeting.
/bit.ly/3P1exsU

EBS Market Integration Notice: New and Updated Content
CME Group
EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
Subject to applicable regulatory approvals, EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.
/bit.ly/387odBE

EEX Group Monthly Volumes – April 2022
EEX
EEX Group News, Monthly Volume Report
EEX Group reports their April volumes with the following highlights:
/bit.ly/38R456M

Intercontinental Exchange Approves Second Quarter Dividend of $0.38 per Share
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, announced today a $0.38 per share dividend for the second quarter of 2022, which is up 15% from the $0.33 per share dividend paid in the second quarter of 2021. The cash dividend is payable on June 30, 2022 to stockholders of record as of June 15, 2022. The ex-dividend date is June 14, 2022.
/jlne.ws/3vMaI3j

Intercontinental Exchange Reports Strong First Quarter 2022
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2022. For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, consolidated net income attributable to ICE was $657 million on $1.9 billion of consolidated revenues, less transaction-based expenses. First quarter GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $1.16. Adjusted net income attributable to ICE was $804 million in the first quarter and adjusted diluted EPS were $1.43.
/jlne.ws/3KM76m4

Suspension of Warranting of Russian Lead Brands
LME
This Notice announces the suspension of warranting of Russian produced lead in any LME approved warehouse with immediate effect.
/bit.ly/3624ceb

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM & FCB) Stock Split
TMX
The Bourse and CDCC wish to inform you that Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”)
(TSX:CM) (NYSE:CM) announced on April 7, 2022 that its Board of Directors has approved a
two-for-one stock split of all its outstanding common shares.
/bit.ly/36dLiSh

Miami International Holdings Reports April 2022 Trading Results;
MIAX Pearl Equities Sets Market Share and Volume Records
MIAX
Miami International Holdings, Inc. (MIH) today reported April 2022 trading
results for its U.S. exchange subsidiaries – MIAX®, MIAX Pearl® and MIAX Emerald® (together, the MIAX
Exchange Group™), and Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX™).
/bit.ly/3vZctJa

Regulator’s Column: Duties of directors under the Listing Rules
SGX
Good corporate governance is essential for the long-term and sustainable growth of a company. High standards of governance entail that companies put in place robust and appropriate structures, processes and people that consider the diverse interests of shareholders, customers, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders. This is particularly important during the turbulent times of COVID-19, where directors and the executive management team work together to respond quickly to rapidly changing environments.
/bit.ly/3vKSO0G

TMX Group Consolidated Trading Statistics – April 2022
TMX
TMX Group Limited today announced April 2022 trading statistics for its marketplaces – Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange.
/bit.ly/3P1IYiT

Nodal Exchange achieves records in power and environmental futures
Nodal Exchange
Nodal Exchange today announced new records in power and environmental futures. In power, Nodal set a calendar month record for April with traded power futures volume of 244 million MWh, up 13.5% from 215 million MWh in April 2021. Nodal continues to be the market leader in North American power futures having the majority of the open interest at the end of April with a record 1.213 billion MWh representing $174 Billion of notional value based on both sides.
/jlne.ws/3w1pKB8

Fintech

Robinhood launches stock lending program in revenue diversification push
John McCrank – Reuters
Robinhood Markets Inc on Wednesday said it launched a fully-paid securities lending program, which lets the online broker’s users lend out shares they own through the popular app to market participants and passively collect a cut of the fees. The move is part of Robinhood’s efforts to diversify its income away from transactional revenue, which made up nearly three quarters of the company’s revenue in the first quarter and were down 48% from a year earlier when individual investors were piling into so-called meme stocks.
/jlne.ws/3KFoV6o

Eventus Wins Best in RegTech for Third Consecutive Year at 2022 Markets Media Markets Choice Awards
Eventus
NEW YORK, May 5, 2022 – Eventus, a leading global provider of multi-asset class trade surveillance and market risk solutions, last night won the Markets Media Markets Choice Award for Best in RegTech for the third consecutive year. The award honors the firm that most helped capital markets firms comply with regulation.
The 10th annual Markets Choice Awards (MCAs) recognize excellence in important sectors of institutional trading and technology across the market ecosystem.
/jlne.ws/3MNhNpU

Block Is Wall Street’s Top Fintech Despite Its Price Tag
Subrat Patnaik – Bloomberg
Wall Street loves Block Inc. — even with a valuation that’s frothier than tech high fliers like Tesla Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. Analysts see more than 60% upside for the payments company, while shares in its bigger rival, PayPal Holdings Inc., have a return potential of 31%, according to Bloomberg data. At the same time, Block shares are by no means cheap, trading at 76 times estimated earnings and dwarfing PayPal’s valuation at 22 times.
/jlne.ws/39tJaXG

Ellison, Binance and Sequoia back Musk’s $44bn bid for Twitter; Tesla chief raises $7bn from new investors for takeover of social media platform
Oliver Ralph and Arash Massoudi and Antoine Gara – FT
Elon Musk has revealed that he has raised $7.14bn of funding for his $44bn buyout of Twitter, from investors including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, crypto exchange Binance and asset management firms Fidelity, Brookfield and Sequoia Capital. With the new financing commitments, Musk will cut the margin loan he has taken with a group of lenders by half to $6.25bn and increase the equity commitment to $27.25bn. The remainder of the purchase price will be paid with debt raised from global banks.
/jlne.ws/3vN55SD

Deutsche Börse to include CME Group market data on its A7 analytics platform; New data will enable market participants to test their trading strategies and make trading decisions by subscribing to market data sets from one, or both, exchanges.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The market data offering on Deutsche Börse’s cloud-based analytics platform A7 has been expanded to incorporate historical market data from global derivatives giant, CME Group. Market players will be able to test their trading strategies and make informed trading decisions by subscribing to market data sets from one, or both, exchanges through the A7 platform, thanks to a new licencing agreement between the two organisations.
/jlne.ws/3FgPzS5

Liontrust extends relationship with SS&C; The technology firm has supported the fund manager through its order and execution management system (OEMS) system since 2016.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Specialist fund manager Liontrust has doubled down on its relationship with technology provider SS&C, extending its remit to help manage the majority of its £38.5 billion in assets under management and advice (AuMa).
/jlne.ws/38OnZiN

Marshall Wace Makes Hire to Focus on Blockchain Investments; London-based investment firm manages about $60 billion; Hedge funds have looked to break into digital assets
Ivan Levingston – Bloomberg
team that invests in private blockchain-related companies, hiring William Benattar for its crossover investment fund, according to people familiar with the matter. The London-based investment firm manages about $60 billion, mostly in hedge funds that bet on stocks rising or falling. Last July, Bloomberg News reported the firm was raising a new digital finance fund to bet on private companies in areas such as blockchain technology, digital payments and stablecoins.
/jlne.ws/38TkDee

Cybersecurity

Chinese hackers took trillions in intellectual property
Nicole Sganga – CBS News
A yearslong malicious cyber operation spearheaded by the notorious Chinese state actor, APT 41, has siphoned off an estimated trillions in intellectual property theft from approximately 30 multinational companies within the manufacturing, energy and pharmaceutical sectors.
/jlne.ws/3vJtPuU

White House to boost support for quantum technology while boosting cybersecurity
Jarrett Renshaw – Reuters
The White House on Wednesday will announce a slate of measures to support quantum technology in the United States while laying out steps to boost cybersecurity to defend against the next generation of supercomputers.
The U.S. and other nations are in a race to develop quantum technology, which could fuel advances in artificial intelligence, materials science and chemistry. Quantum computers, a main focus of the effort, can operate millions of times faster than today’s advanced supercomputers.
/jlne.ws/39Fqpki

Cybersecurity Without Automation Is A Losing Game
Jesper Zerlang – Forbes
From state-sponsored Russian ransomware attacks to nonstop phishing campaigns, today’s turbulent cybersecurity threat landscape places enterprise data at risk. But the widening skills gap and labor shortage mean organizations’ resources are often stretched paper thin. Human employees alone cannot catch and respond to every single data breach, yet every second counts during a cyberattack.
/jlne.ws/39tKdXC

Report: Cybersecurity Workforce Needs to Grow by Two-Thirds to Protect Assets
Frank Konkel – Nextgov
An analysis from (ISC)² indicates the worldwide cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 65% to adequately protect enterprises’ critical assets.
The Cybersecurity Workforce Study, which surveyed more than 4,700 cyber professionals working across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, attempted to measure the pool of available cyber talent in comparison to the need for such talent over 2021.
/jlne.ws/3se3936

The new cybersecurity mandate
Matthew Tyson – CSO Online
The increasing importance of cybersecurity was underlined in President Biden’s of May 12, 2021. This focus has been reiterated, and even more emphatically described in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A surprising conclusion from these governmental missives is that in the high-tech world of cybersecurity, the core challenge is not advanced cryptological methods nor quantum computing, but simply implementing known best practices in the real world.
/jlne.ws/3w68pXV

U.S. Sent Cyber Team to Lithuania Over Russia Hacking Threat; Teams scan networks and help countries bolster their defenses; Units have carried out 28 missions in 16 nations since 2018
Katrina Manson – Bloomberg
The U.S. rushed cyber forces to Lithuania to help defend against online threats that have risen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an Army general said Wednesday. “Our deployment in Lithuania was directly related to the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine,” Major General Joe Hartman, who commands the U.S. Cyber National Mission Force, told reporters at a roundtable interview in Nashville.
/jlne.ws/3LPHdmS

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin’s ‘Boring’ Trading Spurs Calls for a New Hype Cycle
Vildana Hajric and Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Over the weekend, Bitcoin’s price hardly budged. On Monday, the coin posted a negligible 0.02% drop. On Tuesday, it was yet again unchanged. Such has been trading in the world’s largest cryptocurrency that some analysts and market-watchers have resorted to calling it “boring.” In fact, Bitcoin fell 0.4% as of 12:36 p.m. in New York, poised for its fourth straight session of moving less than 1% — the longest run of dormancy since April 5. The digital currency has swung within a 5% band for a seventh straight session in a prolonged calm not seen since Jan. 19.
/jlne.ws/3LR5TeE

Binance Successfully Registers as Digital Asset Provider in France
Sujha Sundararajan – FX Empire
Binance (BNB), the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is stepping its foot into a major European nation. The firm has recently been on a rapid global expansion spree, particularly in the Middle East, securing regulatory approvals from Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. The cryptocurrency exchange has also faced various regulatory scrutiny across the globe. The platform has been subject to multiple rejections from regulators, for instance, in the UK.
/jlne.ws/3LQi8rP

Gucci to Start Accepting Crypto Payments in Some U.S. Stores; Italian brand joins Philipp Plein in taking Bitcoin payments; Luxury brands are exploring strategies for metaverse, web3
Angelina Rascouet – Bloomberg
Gucci will accept payments in cryptocurrencies in the U.S. starting this month, as the luxury industry takes tentative steps into the digital-asset universe. Customers in some stores in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Las Vegas will be able to pay using digital tokens from the end of May, the Italian fashion house said in a statement. It will adopt this payment option throughout its North American stores this summer.
/jlne.ws/3w8Yb8W

Bored Ape Thefts on Instagram Are Crypto’s Latest Hack Headaches; Users are vulnerable as crypto scams grow on social media; New types of attacks are growing on different social platforms
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
When it comes to crypto hacks, the story is often the same: Scammers take advantage of a vulnerability in a blockchain’s design and make off with millions, like in the $600 million-plus heist involving the play-to-earn NFT game Axie Infinity and the $77 million theft that took place Saturday on decentralized finance projects Rari Capital and Fei Protocol.
/jlne.ws/3LQcnu8

Coinbase’s NFT Marketplace Opens to All, But Users Don’t Show Up; Site, still in testing, has very low transaction volume; ‘OpenSea is going to be the leader for quite a long time’
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc.’s new marketplace for nonfungible tokens is now officially open to all — and it’s getting off to a very slow start. After letting in a select number of users from its waiting list in the last few weeks, the U.S.’s biggest crypto exchange opened the marketplace to everyone as of noon Wednesday New York time. The site — which Coinbase says is still in testing — recorded fewer than 110 transactions as of about 5:15 pm, representing less than $60,000 in sales, according to tracker Dune Analytics. That compares with $124 million in transaction volume for No. 1 NFT marketplace OpenSea on May 3, the most recent day available, per Dune.
/jlne.ws/3sdXvhF

Saving Ukrainian Art, and Helping Artists, One NFT at a Time; Lika Spivakovska, the owner of two art galleries in Kyiv, Ukraine, has partnered with an NFT gallery in Puerto Rico to auction off pictures of art damaged and created during the war. The money will go to Ukrainian artists and other humanitarian aid.
Eduardo Medina – NY Times
Lika Spivakovska closed her two art galleries in Kyiv, Ukraine, hours after Russia invaded her country and felt helpless as she traveled across Europe, seeking refuge with her two children. Artists stuck in Ukraine had been messaging her all week, saying that their home workshops and studios had been destroyed by attackers.
/jlne.ws/3LNqH6V

Politics

Only free societies can combat disinformation; Naive democratic governments allow hostile regimes to exploit open technological platforms to peddle corrosive lies
John Thornhill – FT
If the purpose of creating a governmental disinformation unit is to increase trust in the information flow of a free society then the launch of the US Disinformation Governance Board did not go well. A terse announcement last week, first flagged in a Politico newsletter, that the Department of Homeland Security was setting up a specialist board to address disinformation was followed by faltering attempts to explain exactly what it would do and how it would be run. In essence, it appears a modest effort, led by a respected digital expert Nina Jankowicz, to co-ordinate different departments to focus on the issue. But a cackle of conspiracy theories soon erupted among Fox TV commentators and Republican senators. The board was soon equated with George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.
/jlne.ws/3seb948

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Questions Fidelity’s Plan to Put Bitcoin in 401(k)s; In letter to CEO, Warren and another senator say the plan is too risky
Anne Tergesen – WSJ
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tina Smith of Minnesota raised questions about a plan by Fidelity Investments to let investors put bitcoin in their 401(k)s in a letter to the company’s chief executive, arguing that crypto might be too risky an investment for retirement savers. In the letter dated Wednesday, the two Democrats also said Fidelity has potential conflicts of interest. The letter asked for information on the extent to which those potential conflicts might have affected the decision to offer bitcoin. Ms. Warren and Ms. Smith said Fidelity might have a conflict offering bitcoin in retirement funds because it has mined bitcoin and offers a crypto fund for wealthy investors.
/jlne.ws/3yeNHHS

Regulation

FINRA Reminds Members of Their Sales Practice Obligations for Complex Products and Options and Solicits Comment on Effective Practices and Rule Enhancements
FINRA
The availability of complex products and options can potentially expand the investment opportunities for retail investors and, if properly understood, offer favorable investment outcomes (e.g., enhancing returns, limiting losses or improving diversification). However, important regulatory concerns arise when investors trade complex products without understanding their unique characteristics and risks. Like complex products, trading in options may pose risks if investors do not have the financial experience to understand options and options trading strategies. Therefore, we have taken steps to address complex products and options over the years, including publishing guidance regarding sales practice concerns raised by complex products and options; issuing investor-focused alerts to highlight the risks of these products; adopting rules with specific requirements for particular complex products and for options; and examining members for compliance with SEC and FINRA rules.
/jlne.ws/37gngq8

FINRA Fines Wefunder $1.4 Million for Crowdfunding Rule Violations; StartEngine Capital Separately Fined $350,000
FINRA
FINRA announced today that it has fined two FINRA-registered funding portals a combined $1.75 million for failing to comply with securities laws and rules designed to protect crowdfunding investors. “Funding portals perform an important gatekeeping role for securities that are offered to investors under Regulation CF, the crowdfunding exemption from securities registration,” said Jessica Hopper, Executive Vice President and Head of FINRA’s Department of Enforcement. “Today’s actions highlight FINRA’s vigilance over this developing area of securities regulation and our unrelenting focus on investor protection.”
/jlne.ws/3L05aqt

Bank of America Fined $10 Million by CFPB for Freezing Accounts
Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Wednesday that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender incorrectly froze accounts and garnished customer funds based on out-of-state court orders. The lender should have ensured that it was complying with the laws and protections in states where its clients lived, the CFPB said.
/jlne.ws/3saaXTp

‘Sharing my screen cost me £48,000’ – half of investors would miss signs of screen sharing scam as FCA warns of 86% increase
FCA
New research from the FCA has found that nearly half (47%) of investors would fail to identify a screen sharing scam, as it reveals an increase of 86% in cases in one year, with 2,014 cases and over £25 million in loses. In one case, a 59-year-old who was persuaded to download remote desktop software to secure an investment, lost over £48,000 while scammers accessed her banking details, her pension, and applied for loans on her behalf.
/jlne.ws/3yeEz64

Supporting consumers in challenging times
FCA
Building societies and other mutuals have been around for centuries. Your organisations collectively serve around 25 million members across the UK. With 23% of all outstanding mortgages, 18% of all retail deposits and 40% of cash ISA balances in the UK, you play an important role in providing services to a diverse pool of consumers.
Today, the values of mutuality remain strong – the vibrant Building Society sector supports members at the heart of communities throughout the regions. But over the years, the way consumers see and use financial services has changed. Societies and credit unions need to enhance their digital capability to stay relevant and deliver operational efficiencies, while not losing the essence of what makes them different and valued by consumers.
/jlne.ws/39ETV9P

Investing and Trading

Oil prices have soared. Why won’t Opec bring them down?
BBC
The world’s major oil exporters meet on 5 May, amid calls from across the globe to bring down prices. But members of oil producers’ group Opec+ – which includes Russia – are not rushing to help out.
/jlne.ws/3kIec0p

Shell Posts Record Profit on Soaring Oil and Gas Prices
Laura Hurst – Bloomberg
Shell Plc posted its highest quarterly earnings on record, as the company was buoyed by high oil and gas prices despite taking a $3.9 billion accounting charge on its planned exit from Russia.
/jlne.ws/3vNYHuo

ArcelorMittal Sees Global Steel Demand Drop on Ukraine War
Eddie Spence – Bloomberg
ArcelorMittal SA expects global steel consumption to contract this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine slows the economic rebound from the pandemic. Demand for steel — a key barometer for global economic growth — will fall by as much as 1% this year, the company said in a statement Thursday. ArcelorMittal said before the war that it saw consumption steady or growing slightly in 2022.
/jlne.ws/3vNLHVz

Bond Turmoil Threatens to Erupt Anew With Inflation Haunting Fed
Liz Capo McCormick and Michael MacKenzie – Bloomberg
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell beat back the market’s most aggressive predictions for the path of interest rates Wednesday, setting off a dovish surge in stocks and bonds. But in pouring cold water on the prospect for a jumbo-sized 75 basis point rate hike next month, he may have inadvertently set the stage for more turbulence going forward if inflationary pressures increase. Treasuries reversed some of the post-Fed gains on Thursday before trading steady.
/jlne.ws/3sd5A5W

Bond bull market ‘has come to an end’, Guggenheim’s Minerd says; Warning comes after Treasury sell-off as Fed readies bumper rate rise
Eric Platt and Brooke Masters and Joe Rennison and Kate Duguid – FT
Guggenheim Partners chief investment officer Scott Minerd called time on the long-running Treasury bull market, warning interest rates could “trend higher for a generation” as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy to combat inflation.
/jlne.ws/3FmkIne

Your investments and why it’s right to diversify; Two fundamental reasons underpin the strategy: risk and return
Giulio Renzi-Ricci – FT
In volatile markets investors can be tempted to take a chance, trying to pick a handful of stocks they believe will benefit from any recovery, while avoiding those seemingly set to lose out. But failing to diversify adequately can leave your portfolio less likely to hold the small portion of stocks that drive the market’s long-term return and lead to poor performance.
/jlne.ws/3vIJHOf

DIY retirement savers blocked from transferring final salary pensions; Financial advisers ‘rarely take on clients who want to manage their own funds’
Josephine Cumbo – FT
Experienced investors seeking to manage their own pension funds are struggling to secure transfer advice from independent financial advisers who will not do business with them unless they also sign up for costly ongoing services. Retirement savers are obliged to obtain financial advice on transferring a defined benefit (DB) fund of more than £30,000. But some investors and industry professionals say IFA firms and insurers are creating roadblocks for investors trying to take full charge of their retirement funds.
/jlne.ws/3KMeLkq

Bank of England Will Start Reversing its Credit QE in September; Aim is to end the sales process by early 2024 at the latest; Central bank owns just under 20 billion pounds of company debt
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
The Bank of England will start selling off its 20 billion-pound ($24.9 billion) corporate bond portfolio in September, unwinding support for the credit market in place since the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.
/jlne.ws/3s9Wp6v

I Listened In on Big Business. It’s Profiting From Inflation, and You’re Paying for It.
Lindsay Owens – NY Times
Last fall, as container ships piled up outside the Port of Los Angeles, it looked as if inflation was going to be with us for longer than many had predicted. Curious how C.E.O.s were justifying higher prices, my team and I started listening in on hundreds of earnings calls, where, by law, companies have to tell the truth. While official statistics on inflation such as the Consumer Price Index can tell you that prices are rising, earnings calls provide rich, qualitative data that speak to why and how.
/jlne.ws/3PaXPHQ

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Michelle Greene Joins Board of Trustees of Blackstone Credit BDCs
Business Wire
Blackstone Private Credit Fund (BCRED) and Blackstone Secured Lending Fund (BXSL), Blackstone Credit’s business development companies (BDCs), today announced the appointment of Michelle Greene, a leader in ESG, stakeholder capitalism and strategic sustainability implementation, to their Boards of Trustees, effective May 2, 2022. BCRED and BXSL are part of the direct lending platform within Blackstone’s $230 billion credit business, the firm’s fastest growing segment.
/jlne.ws/3w6bN4X

John Doerr Donates $1.1 Billion for Stanford Climate School; The gift is the largest in Stanford University’s history; Gift from Doerr and wife creates first new school in 70 years
Janet Lorin – Bloomberg
Venture capitalist John Doerr is giving Stanford University $1.1 billion to create a school focused on climate change and sustainability, the largest donation in its history. The gift from Doerr, and his wife Ann will create the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, according to a statement Wednesday. Doerr is chairman of venture firm Kleiner Perkins, which has backed tech giants including Amazon.com Inc., Google and Twitter Inc.
/jlne.ws/38NkuZX

Hong Kong Emerges as Hub for Chinese Firms Seeking ESG Loans; Sustainability-linked borrowing’s Hong Kong market share soars; Such loans tie interest rates to borrower meeting ESG goals
Lorretta Chen – Bloomberg
Chinese companies have long turned to Hong Kong for foreign-currency borrowings. This now includes a corner of the green-debt market that’s helping to stanch the city’s overall slowdown in corporate lending. Mainland firms last year obtained $6.7 billion of so-called sustainability-linked loans, which tie interest rates to corporate sustainability targets. Nearly 40% of the facilities were syndicated in Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
/jlne.ws/3OWArxv

Institutions

Elon Musk, Cathie Wood Say Passive Funds Have Gone Too Far
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Elon Musk and Cathie Wood criticized passive investing in a Twitter thread, weighing in on a long-running Wall Street debate about the growing power of index funds. Their discussion was sparked by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who said firms like BlackRock Inc. have outsized voices in many corporations because of the voting power attached to their huge passive vehicles.
/jlne.ws/3OWbzGa

JPMorgan Rebuilds in Natural Gas With Profits Too Good to Miss
Devika Krishna Kumar and Naureen Malik – Bloomberg
Less than a decade after selling much of its physical raw-materials business, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is rebuilding in the U.S. natural gas sector, and in a big way. During 2021, the bank bought or sold a total of 314.2 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of gas, up from just 43.9 trillion Btu in 2020, according to data filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
/jlne.ws/3FfU27v

SocGen Gets Boost From Higher Rates as Russia Hit Looms
Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
Societe Generale SA benefited from higher interest rates and market volatility in the first quarter, helping offset rising costs as the French lender prepares to exit its Russian business. Revenue in the first three months rose 17%, beating analysts’ estimates, driven by its international banking operations, gains in French retail banking and across the investment banking units.
/jlne.ws/3OWNsar

Apollo profits beat expectations in first results since strategy-defining merger; Private equity giant is set to diverge from publicly traded peers
Antoine Gara – FT
Apollo Global Management beat profit expectations in its first results since its merger with life insurance company Athene in January, a deal that dramatically transformed the private equity giant into a $32bn financial conglomerate. In results released on Thursday, Apollo reported a $1.2bn adjusted pre-tax profit, with $670mn earned from its newly acquired Athene operations. It also generated $310mn from the management fees it collects and $187mn from selling investments profitably, including a one-time gain stemming from the merger.
/jlne.ws/3MNdFpO

Jupiter has ‘lost its way’ and risks takeover, says former board director; Jon Little, who holds millions of pounds of shares in asset manager, calls for strategy shake-up
Harriet Agnew – FT
UK asset manager Jupiter has “lost its way” and must change its management and overhaul its strategy to preserve its independence, according to a former board director. In an open letter to Jupiter chair Nichola Pease, fund industry dealmaker Jon Little made a scathing critique of the London-listed group, claiming its chief executive Andrew Formica had “failed to deliver on the key metrics of net sales, shareholder returns and return on equity”.
/jlne.ws/39J8bOZ

Vanguard cuts fees on $81.4bn bond ETF; Fund manager makes cost changes to more than $137bn in ETFs and mutual funds
David Isenberg – FT
Vanguard has cut fees on its $81.4bn Total Bond Market ETF by half a basis point, as part of a package of adjustments resulting in lower charges for four exchange traded funds and higher costs for two mutual funds. Fees on the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF have been reduced by half a basis point from 3.5 bps to 3 bps, according to a company release.
/jlne.ws/3sfg6JX

Many VC Firms Ban Side Investing. Yuri Milner’s DST Encourages It; Partners at DST Global maintain at least two funds they use to make personal investments in startups.
Ivan Levingston and Sarah McBride – Bloomberg
Many venture capital firms frown upon or even bar their partners from using their own money to make side investments in startups. At DST Global, the investment group run by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, personal investing is institutionalized. A prevailing philosophy in venture capital is that allowing partners to broker personal investments can put their interests at odds with those of the firm. An investor might choose to bid up the valuation of a startup he holds using his employer’s money, in turn increasing his paper wealth.
/jlne.ws/3kGY531

Wellness Exchange

Coronavirus pandemic far deadlier than official count, WHO estimate suggests; Health body says 15mn people died by the end of 2021, nearly three times official death toll
Oliver Barnes – FT
The number of people who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic by the end of last year may be nearly three times higher than previously thought, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. The WHO calculation is based on an analysis of excess mortality, an approach used by demographers to measure the real impact of the health crisis that compares average death rates with those recorded during the pandemic. By the close of 2021, there were 14.9mn excess deaths “associated directly or indirectly” with the pandemic recorded globally, according to the health body. There were 5.4mn officially confirmed Covid-19 deaths in 2020 and 2021, according to research project Our World in Data.
/jlne.ws/3vKukVq

China’s zero-Covid stance is a warning to investors; Communist Party’s reputation for pragmatism has been damaged by strategy to contain the pandemic
Diana Choyleva – FT
For a long time, foreign investors’ favourite adjective for the Chinese Communist party was “pragmatic”. The CCP would not do anything that would harm China’s economic interests, the argument went, and so short-term glitches in policy would always be ironed out before they made a durable dent in growth.
/jlne.ws/39tKzxq

Regions

India Plans to Cut Taxes on Edible Oils to Cool Surging Prices
Pratik Parija and Shruti Srivastava – Bloomberg
India is planning to cut taxes on some edible oils to cool the domestic market after the war in Ukraine and Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports sent prices skyrocketing, according to people familiar with the matter. India, the world’s top importer of vegetable oils, is looking to cut the agriculture infrastructure and development cess on crude palm oil imports from 5%, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The new tax amount is still being deliberated, the people said.
/jlne.ws/3vL3ZXl

Russian Energy Firm Lukoil Wants to Know Who Its Bondholders Are
Lyubov Pronina and Giulia Morpurgo – Bloomberg
Russia’s second-biggest oil producer is looking to identify its creditors, as the firm attempts to pick its way through the complex web of new rules governing its interactions with foreign bondholders following the departure of its sanctioned co-founder.
/jlne.ws/3vK1UL9

Sibanye Says Unions Using Gold Strike to Leverage Platinum Deal
Felix Njini – Bloomberg
Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. said the almost two-month long strike at its South African gold mines is being used as leverage by labor unions for upcoming wage negotiations at its platinum operations. South African miners, including Anglo American Platinum Ltd. and Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., are entering pivotal talks over a multiyear pay deal after announcing record dividends following a rally in palladium and rhodium prices. While unions are seeking a share of the windfall profits, producers have warned that any settlement with 163,000 platinum workers must not risk the long-term viability of a key export industry.
/jlne.ws/3vKSQFQ

Germany Rents Floating LNG Hubs to Cut Reliance on Russian Gas; First of four terminals to come online around the end of 2022; Imports of Russian gas to be broadly phased out by mid-2024
Arne Delfs and Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg
Germany signed contracts to charter four floating terminals to import liquefied natural gas in partnership with utilities RWE AG and Uniper SE as it races to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Shipping companies Hoegh LNG and Dynagas will each provide two of the LNG terminals — which together have the capacity to convert at least 20 billion cubic meters of the super-cooled gas per year, about a fifth of Germany’s needs, the economy ministry said Thursday in an emailed statement. RWE and Uniper will operate them, it added.
/jlne.ws/3KHn94x

Miscellaneous

The E-Bike Effect Is Transforming New York City; As the next-generation pedal-assist Citi Bike arrives, the surging popularity of electric two-wheelers stands to reshape the city’s transportation future.
John Surico – Bloomberg
At least, it can when it’s one of Citi Bike’s next-generation models, which will begin appearing in docks across the bikesharing network this week. With a sleek silver frame and an LCD screen atop the handlebars, the new bikes are a noticeable upgrade from the standard cobalt-blue two-wheelers that have become so familiar on the city’s streets. As I rode one up Eighth Avenue with Laura Fox, the general manager of Citi Bike at Lyft, we drew stares from the sidewalk and an entourage of curious riders in our wake.
/jlne.ws/3Fhm6HF

Elon Musk, Twitter and the Attention Economy; Poised to buy the social media platform, Tesla’s CEO wants to grow its user base and the attention paid to him and his companies.
Dana Hull – Bloomberg
Stay on top of the electric car revolution by signing up to our Hyperdrive newsletter here. Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter for $44 billion and Twitter’s board is going along with it. It’s a remarkable move for the 50-year-old Musk, the rare CEO who already has his hands full running both Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, as well as the Boring Company and Neuralink.
/jlne.ws/3kLbvuU

Hedge fund exec got subordinate pregnant, ‘exposed genitals’ to employees: suit
Ariel Zilber – NY Post
A top executive at a Wall Street hedge fund was fired after he impregnated a low-level female subordinate and then lied about it — and also exposed his genitals to other workers, according to a bombshell lawsuit. William Christian, who was chief operating officer at GoldenTree Asset Management from 2004 until 2020, also had his pants pulled down while meeting with employees face to face, according to an arbitrator who was hired to settle a dispute over pay.
/jlne.ws/3KMVCPa

How Cats Are Winning the Postpandemic Economy
Long ignored by the pet industry, services for felines are starting to pick up
Gwynn Guilford – WSJ
The cat business is booming, with owners willing to spend on new services and petsitters raising their hands.
While the cat has long been considered a low-maintenance pet, the economy emerging postpandemic is challenging that notion as grooming and sitting for cats become more widespread. Cat owners are willing to pay for services from daycare to baths and exercise, to social stimulation and even a little time at the spa.
/jlne.ws/3FkMNev

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