Hits & Takes
John J. Lothian & JLN Staff
Black Friday was the day we were supposed to run to retail stores for great deals for holiday presents. Instead, we received a Black Friday reminiscent of the 1869 gold market crash. Today is Cyber Monday when we are supposed to rush and grab online deals. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all starting to blur into one big Thanksgiving week and weekend sale. The stock markets were on sale on Friday, but on this Cyber Monday we are getting a little bounce so far.
Of course, all this volatility is because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the low volume on Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
When the stock market crashed in 1987, Bill Mallers, Sr. told a bunch of us at First American Discount, where I was working at the time of the crash, that it was an amazing experience for us. There had not been a true crash since 1929, he said, so we would have had the experience of living through it and that would help our careers.
Of course, we have had several crashes since then that younger market participants have experienced. However, what younger market professionals and investors have not experienced is INFLATION. They have not seen this during their investing careers. How they will react to it is still to be determined. Jeanna Smialek, Sara Chodosh and Ben Casselman of the New York Times have written a story about it, Millennials Confront High Inflation for the First Time.
SGX and NZX are collaborating on dairy futures and the NZX suite of dairy futures today began exclusively trading on SGX under a partnership between the two exchanges. The partnership brings together NZX’s market development expertise in dairy and SGX’s global distribution capabilities, the exchanges said. — SGX
HKEX said it is partnering with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to pioneer an MBA elective course titled “Sustainable Finance with Business Practices”. This course will introduce the sustainable finance framework, and examine different approaches to ESG investing. — LinkedIn
On December 8th, Euronext will be joining us to present their three-year strategic plan, “Growth for Impact 2024” to FIA members – the first webinar in our latest series of exchange briefings. For more details and to register, click HERE.
Jordan Brown is joining the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago next summer as an intern within their Economic Research department. He will be part of the finance team and is a Greenwood Project Scholar. Jordan previously interned with Mesirow and Peak 6. Congratulations to Jordan and best of luck. — LinkedIn
Today JLN welcomes MIAX back as a sponsor. MIAX is promoting their new BRIXX products and other products during this campaign.
Sweden has re-elected Magdalena Andersson as its prime minister, Bloomberg reported.
Random question. When was the last time you pressed 0 to get the operator? The last time I called the operator I may have dialed 0, just to show you how long ago that was. Is there still a human when you call the operator?
You find markets everywhere these days. While traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday my airline asked me (via their app) to bid on a voucher for future travel if I was willing to take a later flight. I remember the old days of just having a gate attendant announce what the airline was willing to offer someone to give up their seat. Now it is a bidding system. An OTC market where no one knows what the other person is bidding. I put in an offer but apparently I asked for too much. ~JB
FIA Expo 2021 Video: IncubEx Primed as Interest In Cap-and-Trade Markets Surges
Timing is everything in the derivatives industry. In the case of IncubEx, which develops financial products in environmental, climate risk and related commodity markets, the company appears to be right on time.
In an interview with John Lothian News at FIA Expo, Dan Scarbrough, the founder, president and COO of IncubEx, described his start in the industry with the Chicago Climate Exchange more than 15 years ago. The Intercontinental Exchange bought the Chicago Climate Exchange and its parent company, the Climate Exchange, in 2010.
Who Is Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto? What We Know—and Don’t Know; In an age in which it is hard to be anonymous, the identity of the cryptocurrency’s inventor remains a mystery
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Thirteen years ago a person or group using the name Satoshi Nakamoto released a paper describing a new software system called bitcoin. Today bitcoin is worth more than $1 trillion and has sparked a phenomenon that, its proponents believe, might rewire the entire global financial network. There is a mystery at the heart of bitcoin, however. Who actually is Satoshi Nakamoto?
*****This is a question that I think is very important and I am glad to see it is getting some attention.~JJL
The many alleged identities of Bitcoin’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto
Grace Kay – Business Insider
The identity of Bitcoin’s creator is at the center of a Florida lawsuit over Satoshi Nakamoto’s $54 billion stake. The mystery behind the creator of Bitcoin and their over $54 billion stake has captured public attention once more, as a court case in Florida seeks to verify the creator’s identity — an unlikely effort toward unraveling an enigma that has been over a decade in the making.
***** So a question I asked myself, if Mr. Nakamoto has a $54 billion fortune in bitcoin, what do you think Mrs. Nakamoto is saying? Can we take a little profits and diversify, maybe? And if you are not taking profits, why not? The answer I came up with is “because you are making more money from bitcoin otherwise and don’t need to.” And who is making that much more money from bitcoin? Find that answer. ~JJL
Worrying new strain shows the virus is not beaten; Omicron variant highlights need to speed up vaccines to poorer nations
The editorial board – FT
Two years after it emerged in Wuhan, coronavirus has not lost its power to spring nasty shocks. The worrying Omicron variant shows signs that it may be even more transmissible than the highly contagious Delta strain, and able to evade vaccines. If so, it threatens to deal a serious setback to efforts so far to bring the pandemic to an end. If not — and this will become clear only in coming weeks — the world will heave a sigh of relief. Even then, Omicron will have provided a warning that, with millions still not fully vaccinated, a strain with dangerous new characteristics can appear at any moment.
***** We have to kill this thing once and for all before it is done with us.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Friday was from Mother Jones, How Dangerous Is Peter Thiel?, a report on a scorched-earth address by the tech billionaire. No. 2, actually a tie with No. 1, was from BookAuthority, 30 Best New Finance Books To Read In 2022, a helpful list as the holiday shopping season kicked off. (Robin Wigglesworth’s “Trillions” was the No. 1 pick.) And the third most-read was about the Bitcoin Grayscale Trust, The World’s Largest Bitcoin Fund Is Troubled. Here’s Why., which was from Barron’s.
26,664 pages; 236,391 edits
Inappropriate comments by finance workers more likely during voice chats; References to fraudulent activity or discriminatory remarks highlight persistence of poor behaviour in industry
Laura Noonan – FT
Finance workers are 10 times as likely to share inside information and make inappropriate comments during phone calls and video chats than over email and other text-based platforms, according to new research that also highlights the persistence of bad behaviour in some corners of the industry. Behavox, a New York-headquartered company that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to flag problematic conversations for clients, analysed data from 20 financial services firms through the pandemic.
LSE chief battles to save exchange from becoming the FTSE’s biggest faller; The City stalwart is one of the FTSE’s worst performers this year, says Jill Treanor. Can the boss turn it round?
Jill Treanor – The Sunday Times
David Schwimmer was celebrating. It was the summer of 2019 and the boss of the London Stock Exchange Group had just clinched the £20 billion takeover of data firm Refinitiv. The quiet American — the antithesis of the brash, fast-talking banker — had found his “transformational” deal.
Black Friday Rout Shows Dangers of Margin Borrowing; Small investors are piling into markets using borrowed funds after a long string of gains, but many say the practice increases risks of sharp pullbacks
Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Friday’s global retreat from riskier assets exposes a vulnerability of the broad market advance of the past year and a half: the rising use of leverage, or borrowed money. Traders said the Black Friday rout, which hammered stocks and energy prices from France to India to the U.S., doesn’t necessarily presage a broader pullback unless further bad news about the new variant of Covid-19 comes to light. But the reversal underscores the fragility of the rebound from the March 2020 lows, which ranks as the fastest return to record highs following a decline of at least 20% from a previous peak.
Futures association warns against loopholes in European ban on payment for order flow; The association said the European Commission’s definition of PFOF in its MiFID II amendments is vague and leaves potential loopholes for those trying to skirt the new rules.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The Futures Industry Association European Principal Traders Association (FIA EPTA) has welcomed the European Commission’s move to ban payment for order flow (PFOF) under MiFID II but warned against potential loopholes in the changes. Brussels moved to prohibit PFOF for “high-frequency traders organised as SIs [systematic internalisers]” on 25 November as part of its Capital Markets Union (CMU) action plan. Under the changes, venues will instead have to earn retail order flow by publishing competitive pre-trade quotes.
Omicron Could Fuel Surges With ‘Severe Consequences,’ WHO Says
Michelle Fay Cortez – Bloomberg
The World Health Organization is calling on member states to start testing widely for the new omicron variant, saying its divergent design could fuel future surges of Covid-19 with severe consequences. The mutations may allow the variant to escape protection from vaccination or previous infection, and could give it a transmission advantage, the global health organization said in a technical briefing document for its members.
Brussels criticised over plan for capital markets databases; Overhaul aims to make EU more attractive to investors but finance sector concerned about implementation
Philip Stafford – FT
Brussels ran into opposition from banks and exchanges within hours of proposing US-style central databases of trading information as the centrepiece of new proposals to integrate its fractured capital markets. The plans published by the European Commission on Thursday set out a pathway that politicians hope will create a “consolidated tape” — a live database containing basic trading information — to help investors find the most competitive prices for their deals.
Is Turkey on the brink of hyperinflation? Market Questions is the FT’s guide to the week ahead
Laura Pitel, George Steer and Valentina Romei – FT
Is Turkey on the brink of hyperinflation?
Turkey has thrown caution to the wind as the rest of the world frets about surging inflation. The country’s central bank cut its main interest rate for the third consecutive month to 15 per cent in November, despite the nation’s consumer price index rising 19.9 per cent year on year in October.
U.K. Looks to Compete on Financial Regulation; In addition to watchdog function, top regulators will be required to help boost growth and international competitiveness in sector
Simon Clark – WSJ
London wants to regain the mantle of the world’s busiest financial center from New York by overhauling how banks and other financial firms are regulated after Brexit. The U.K. government said this month its top financial regulators will be required to help boost growth and international competitiveness in the financial sector, as secondary mandates to existing tasks such as maintaining financial stability and consumer protection.
Omicron Reaches From Australia to Canada in Widening Spread
The omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to Germany and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains. Most infections stem from travelers carrying the disease across borders. Israel, for instance, said a confirmed case who arrived from Malawi rode on a bus from Tel Aviv. Italy’s first case traveled around the country for days before testing positive.
Brace Yourself. Brazil Is About to Rock Markets; President Jair Bolsonaro’s remarkable political reversal on welfare will be felt in soybeans, beef, chicken and even coffee.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
You might think the most important factors driving commodity markets right now are the speed at which the U.S. Federal Reserve unwinds stimulus; the state of China’s real estate industry; or geopolitical jostling within OPEC. Don’t rule out the significance of Brazilian welfare payments. Brazil’s currency, the real, has been trading around record lows in recent months, thanks largely to the President Jair Bolsonaro’s efforts to tear up a fiscal straightjacket and introduce an anti-poverty program ahead of elections in 2022. Laws that will allow the passage of the measures — a reboot of the Bolsa Familia cash welfare payment introduced by his predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that Bolsonaro wants to raise to around 400 reais ($71) a month — have already cleared the lower house of congress and are now working their way through the Senate.
Hong Kongers chafe under ‘inhumane’ quarantine regime; Carrie Lam says she will not risk the city’s safety but some foreigners have had enough
Tabby Kinder, Chan Ho-him and Primrose Riordan – FT
Katrina* was a few days into quarantine in a hotel room in Hong Kong when she received a phone call saying her infant child had tested positive for coronavirus at the airport. The pair were plunged into the labyrinthine bureaucracy of the territory’s “zero-Covid” policy, which bounced them from hospital to hotel to government facility. They were told they would not be released from isolation until late December, more than seven weeks after returning to Hong Kong.
Private equity fees: where are the customers’ jets? SEC’s Gensler must honour his promise to bring transparency on investor costs
Jonathan Guthrie – FT
A client reputedly asked Wall Street legend John Pierpont Morgan “where are the customers’ yachts?” during a stroll round a harbour jammed with fellow bankers’ leisure craft. Buyout bosses face similar questions from their own investors. Private jet flights are among the expenses some private equity executives have charged to customers alongside standard fees.
Russians Conduct $5B Worth of Crypto Transactions a Year, Central Bank Says
Anna Baydakova – Coindesk
Some $5 billion (350 billion Russian rubles) of crypto changes hands in Russia every year, the country’s central bank said in its Financial Stability Overview report published Thursday. However crypto-related risks to the country’s financial stability are currently low because they are mostly isolated from the mainstream financial system, the report said.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon continues throwing shade on crypto
Steve Gelsi – MarketWatch
JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said he remains a skeptic on cryptocurrencies, just a few weeks after he described bitcoin as worthless. “Cryptocurrency has no intrinsic value,” Dimon said in an interview Wednesday with CBS Boston, as reported by Bitcoin.com. “You are basically buying a token.”
Singapore Adds to Its Gold Pile for the First Time in Decades
Ranjeetha Pakiam – Bloomberg
Singapore increased its gold reserves by about 20% earlier this year in a largely under-the-radar move that saw holdings expand for the first time in decades.
Women-only VC fund banks $45m and targets $100m fund
Jessica Sier – AFR
Australian-based venture investors Artesian has closed the first $45 million tranche of a new $100 million fund that will only back start-ups run by women developing technology specifically for women. In partnership with Scale Investors, a network of female-focused angel investors, Artesian has locked in an initial $45 million cornerstone investment from two superannuation funds, Hostplus and Legal Super, and is scouring the market for other super funds and family offices to bring the total fund to $100 million.
U.K. Announces New Measures to Confront Spread of Omicron
Ros Krasny and Andrew Davis – Bloomberg
Johnson says variant spreads rapidly, can affect vaccinated; Two cases confirmed from people arriving from southern Africa
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures to combat the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, which he said can spread rapidly and affect those who are double vaccinated.
Omicron Is Just the Latest Covid Variant Until the World Is Immune; Rich nations have been lulled into a false sense of security by their high vaccine rates. When barely half the world’s population has had a dose, the odds are still too long.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
There’s a grim inevitability to the fact that the latest concerning strain of the Covid-19 virus — known as B.1.1.529, and now nicknamed the Omicron variant 1 — should have been first identified in South Africa.
The World’s Richest Nations Are Making a Huge Covid Mistake; High vaccination rates in developed countries have lulled them into complacency, even as another variant emerges and billions still haven’t received a shot.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
There’s a grim inevitability to the fact that the latest concerning strain of the Covid-19 virus — known as B.1.1.529, and now nicknamed the Omicron variant — should have been first identified in South Africa.
So far, SARS-CoV-2’s most devastating impacts have been in developed countries. The U.S., U.K. and European Union have accounted for about a third of deaths, compared to their roughly 10% share of the world’s population. However, it’s been in the BRICS grouping of fast-growing middle-income nations where an outsized share of new variants of concern have been isolated and analyzed for the first time. From the original strain in China, to the Delta lineage picked up in India, the Gamma variety isolated in Brazil, and now the Beta and Omicron strains from South Africa, only the U.K.-related Alpha variant has emerged outside these countries.
South African anger over ‘rushed’ Covid travel restrictions; Scientists say they are being punished for transparency over their discovery of new variant
Joseph Cotterill – FT
With the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa and Botswana this week, countries around the world have rapidly introduced travel restrictions — angering those who feel they are being punished for their scientific transparency.
China study warns of ‘colossal’ COVID outbreak if it opens up like U.S., France
China could face more than 630,000 COVID-19 infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance policies by lifting travel curbs, according to a study by Peking University mathematicians. In the report published in China CDC Weekly by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the mathematicians said China could not afford to lift travel restrictions without more efficient vaccinations or specific treatments.
Shanghai canceled over 500 flights, closed schools, and suspended hospital services because of 3 COVID-19 infections
Matthew Loh – Insider
Chinese financial hub Shanghai canceled hundreds of flights, closed schools, and suspended tourism programs on Friday after three locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases emerged in the city. According to a municipal government statement, the three positive cases were friends from the nearby city of Suzhou who attended a lecture about ancient architecture last week. They were in close contact with almost 200 people, prompting 20 hospitals to suspend outpatient and emergency medical services for three days out of caution, per the statement.
UK poised to expand Covid booster programme to all adults;Further six cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant confirmed in Scotland
Laura Hughes, Donato Paolo Mancini and Sarah Neville – FT
The government’s scientific advisers are expected to recommend an expansion of the booster programme to all adults in the UK, as a further six cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were confirmed in Scotland.
Japan bans foreign visitors to block Omicron variant; Tokyo asserts ‘strong sense of crisis’ as spread of coronavirus strain causes global alarm
Robin Harding and Leo Lewis – FT
Japan will ban foreign visitors following the emergence of the Omicron variant, in one of the strongest responses to the new coronavirus strain from a large country. Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, said on Monday that the decision would take effect at midnight on Tuesday, reversing a three-week-old relaxation of rules.
Omicron Variant Drives Rise in Covid-19 Hospitalizations in South Africa Hot Spot; Fewer patients admitted with severe disease but more young children being treated, as experts warn firmer conclusions will need more time
Gabriele Steinhauser – WSJ
The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in South Africa has driven a sharp increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations in the country’s hot-spot province over the past two weeks, although fewer patients are being treated for severe disease, the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.
Omicron Is Coming. The U.S. Must Act Now.
Zeynep Tufekci – NY Times
There’s very little we know for sure about Omicron, the Covid variant first detected in South Africa that has caused tremors of panic as winter approaches. That’s actually good news. Fast, honest work by South Africa has allowed the world to get on top of this variant even while clinical and epidemiological data is scarce.
Doctor Who Saw Omicron Early Says Symptoms Different to Delta
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
South African doctor Coetzee started seeing symptoms Nov. 18; Coetzee says currently believes it will be a mild disease
People infected by omicron in South Africa are showing very different symptoms to those suffering from the delta strain, said the doctor who alerted government scientists to the possibility of a new variant.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Saudi Stock Exchange Sets IPO Price at Top End of Range
Reema Alothman – Bloomberg
Saudi Tadawul Group Holding set the final price of its initial public offering at the top end of the range, giving the Riyadh-based stock exchange a valuation of 12.6 billion riyals ($3.4 billion). Tadawul set the price at 105 riyals per share after an institutional book-building process, according to a statement. The IPO was 121 times oversubscribed and the orderbook amounted to 458 billion riyals.
ICE Announces That One Million Contracts Have Traded on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi, Equivalent to One Billion Barrels of Murban Crude
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that a total of over one million futures contracts have traded on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (IFAD) since the exchange launched on March 29, 2021, equivalent to one billion barrels of Murban crude oil.
ASX increases oversight of CHESS Replacement following damning ASIC report into outage; ASIC looks to mitigate risks of future ASX tech upgrades by imposing additional licence conditions on three licences held by the equities exchange.
Anita Hawser – The Trade
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is strengthening its project governance and execution practices after an independent expert report into a serious outage at the exchange last November imposed additional licence conditions. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently concluded its investigation into the November 2020 day-long equity exchange outage, caused by a software issue on the refreshed ASX Trade system, which created inaccurate market data. The technical issue coincided with the launch date for the upgraded ASX Trade system.
JPX establishes new subsidiary as it aims to evolve into a smart exchange; New initiative aims to foster a new culture that is not constrained by traditional exchange frameworks.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
As part of its restructuring, Japan Exchange Group (JPX) will establish a new subsidiary, JPX Market Innovation and Research. The new subsidiary, which has a tentative commencement data of 1 April 2022, will provide data and index services related to financial instruments markets and system-related services, along with other business related to the operation of financial instruments exchange markets.
Cboe expands data and access solutions team with appointment of new director; Incoming director, formerly of AlphaSights and Worldwide Business Research, will be responsible for expanding Cboe’s offerings across the APAC region.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Cboe Global Markets has appointed Albert Torstensson as its new director of APAC market data sales for its data and access solutions division. Based in Hong Kong, Torstensson will be responsible for expanding Cboe’s entire suite of market data and analytics offerings across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Höegh Autoliners lists on Euronext Growth Oslo
NOK 1.208 million raised successfully; Market capitalisation of NOK 3.9 billion; 184th listing on Euronext markets and 64th on Oslo Børs markets in 2021
Oslo Børs, part of the Euronext Group, today congratulates Höegh Autoliners on its listing on Euronext Growth Oslo (ticker: HAUTO).
Liquidity Provisioning: Annual prolongation of the Product Specific Supplements to the Liquidity Provider Agreement
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Boards of Eurex Frankfurt AG and Eurex Clearing AG took the following decisions with effect from 1 January 2022:
tonies SE: New entry in the General Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Deutsche Börse Group
468 SPAC I SE has been listed as SPAC on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since April 2021. After the successful merger with Boxine and the subsequent name change, the company’s shares have been traded under tonies SE (ISIN: LU2333563281 ) on the regulated market ( General Standard ) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since today . Today’s opening price was EUR 12.50.
NZX’s dairy derivatives go live on SGX – with globalised access and reach
NZX’s suite of dairy derivatives will trade exclusively on Singapore Exchange (SGX) from today – under a partnership between New Zealand’s Exchange and SGX. This partnership combines NZX’s market development expertise in dairy derivatives with SGX’s global distribution capability. The joint stewardship of these important contracts unites NZX’s core dairy expertise in industry engagement, market research, and product development know-how with SGX’s international connectivity, under a working strategic partnership.
Sngular to start trading on BME Growth on Wednesday 1 December
It will be the 14th company to join BME Growth this year; It reached a value of 161.5 million euros on its market debut
The Board of Directors of BME Growth has approved the listing of SNGULAR following a thorough review of all the information presented by the company and after the favourable assessment report on its listing issued by the Coordination and Admission Committee.
BME launches digital proxy voting service for shareholders’ meetings in collaboration with Proxymity
Digital investor communications platform makes it easier for firms to comply with the Shareholders’ Rights Directive, already transposed into the Spanish Companies Act; The combination of efficiency improvements gives a benefit of up to 6 days on average when compared to current operations.
BME, through Iberclear, its central securities depository, is finalising the launch of a new digital proxy voting service for shareholders’ meetings. The service is powered by Proxymity’s digital investor communications platform and is a sustainable solution that connects Participant Entities and Issuers in a centralised way to speed up and promote the efficiency of the voting process at shareholders’ meetings.
The metaverse is just the latest incarnation of Las Vegas; Facebook’s reinvention aims to create a standardised virtual reality where the house always wins
Izabella Kaminska – FT
From December 1, Facebook Inc’s stock ticker FB will be relegated to the dust of time. The world’s largest social media company will instead officially morph into Meta Platforms, to trade under the official ticker MVRS. The move follows Mark Zuckerberg’s bold decision to tie the company’s future evolution with the development of what is loosely described as the metaverse. In coming years, Zuckerberg hopes, people will transition to seeing his empire as primarily a servicer to this new digital realm. That means investors in the near $1tn market capitalisation company — and broader society — will have to get a grip on what exactly is the metaverse.
Fintech firm Slice becomes India’s new unicorn
Business Insider India
Fintech company Slice on Monday announced it has become India’s new unicorn with raising $220 million in a Series B round, that values it at over $1 billion.
The round was led by Tiger Global and New York-based global private equity and venture capital Insight Partners.
Slice (Written as slice) is a credit card challenger to pay bills, manage expenses and unlock rewards.
Entering A New Realm Of Investing – Solactive Delivers Innovative ‘Global Metaverse Index’ For First Canadian Metaverse ETF By Horizons ETFs
Decades have passed since the establishment of the first virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft or Second Life, and developers’ aspirations to create immersive universes where users can roam freely have not reduced their pace. Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) new ‘Metaverse’ depicts the latest development in that segment, and through the inclusion of virtual reality content in real life, so-called augmented reality, both the digital and non-digital world coalesce more and more. Solactive now released its Solactive Global Metaverse Index, including publicly listed companies that potentially stand to benefit from the adoption and usage of technologies expected to grow and support the functioning of the metaverse. Canadian ETF pioneer Horizons ETF will issue an ETF tracking the index.
Israel and Iran Broaden Cyberwar to Attack Civilian Targets
Iranians couldn’t buy gas. Israelis found their intimate dating details posted online. The Iran-Israel shadow war is now hitting ordinary citizens.
Farnaz Fassihi and Ronen Bergman – NY Times
Millions of ordinary people in Iran and Israel recently found themselves caught in the crossfire of a cyberwar between their countries. In Tehran, a dentist drove around for hours in search of gasoline, waiting in long lines at four gas stations only to come away empty.
In Tel Aviv, a well-known broadcaster panicked as the intimate details of his sex life, and those of hundreds of thousands of others stolen from an L.G.B.T.Q. dating site, were uploaded on social media.
Cybersecurity graduates are doubling, but that’s still not going to fix the skills crisis
Liam Tung – ZDNet
European Union members have a collective cybersecurity skills shortage that may be partially addressed by a surge in new graduates — but even that potential solution is not without its problems.
Supply chain component strains are affecting all industries right now, but one supply chain problem that pre-existed the pandemic is the mismatch between supply and demand for cybersecurity staff.
What Public Health Can Teach Us About Cybersecurity
Andy Purdy – Forbes
The Covid-19 pandemic has made public health a hot topic over the past two years. As a way to analyze complex problems, public health actually provides a conceptual framework for addressing a wide range of issues — including cybersecurity.
With a public health model, experts don’t just look at the health of a given individual, but instead, consider data about the health of people in general. This includes the environmental, psychological and other factors that shape how people make decisions that affect their own health — and, by extension, that of the broader society.
Snowden’s ‘big brother’ legacy extends into the world of crypto
Sam Cooling – Coin Rivet
Edward Snowden shocked the world when he lifted the lid on government mass surveillance, with revelations of intensive monitoring and observation of internet traffic forever altering the dynamic between state and internet user.
Where ConstitutionDAO Failed, Another Hopeful Wins at Sotheby’s
Crystal Kim – Bloomberg
Declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention won by DAO builder; Bidder plans to eventually develop the crypto organization
It seemed like the intersection of cryptocurrency and collectibles couldn’t get any more confusing until it did, with an aspiring developer of a decentralized autonomous organization saying the group won the bidding for a historical document just days after another came up short at an auction of a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Binance says footballer Andrés Iniesta was paid for Twitter post; Spain’s market regulator chided the high-profile athlete over tweet about the crypto platform
Joshua Oliver and Samuel Agini, and Daniel Dombey – FT
Footballer Andrés Iniesta was paid by Binance for the promotional tweet that provoked a backlash from Spain’s financial regulator but the deal was not disclosed because of a “misunderstanding”, the crypto exchange has said.
India Has No Plans to Recognize Bitcoin As Currency; RBI Working On CBDC Rollout: Reports
Eliza Gkritsi – Coindesk
The Indian government does not plan to recognize bitcoin as a currency, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday. During a question and answer session in the parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman also said that the government does not collect data on bitcoin transactions, according to a report from local news site Mint.
KuCoin CEO says $100m fund will open up the metaverse
Teuta Franjkovic – Coin Rivet
KuCoin Labs, the investment and research firm spun out of crypto exchange KuCoin, has launched a $100 million fund to invest in metaverse projects. According to CEO Johnny Lyu, the KuCoin Metaverse Fund will be used to invest in GameFi, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralised infrastructure projects.
Cryptocurrency mining in Kazakhstan is leading to power shortages
Jon Fingas – Endgadge
Cryptocurrency mining consumes a massive amount of energy, and that’s prompting a crisis in Kazakhstan. The Financial Times reports the country’s electrical grid operator KEGOC said it would start rationing electricity for 50 registered miners after their demand reportedly invoked an emergency shutdown mode at three power plants in October. They’ll also be the first disconnected if there are grid failures, the quasi-public company said.
Is India Banning Cryptocurrency? How Can It Do That?: QuickTake
Jeanette Rodrigues and Suvashree Ghosh – Bloomberg
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency trading, even though the ability to trade Bitcoin and its peers freely and anonymously undermines the country’s limits on the convertibility of its currency, the rupee. The central bank is clear that it wants all private cryptocurrencies banned while it creates an official digital currency. The government, however, is open to exceptions to promote blockchain technology. Amid these competing goals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is racing to finalize legislation in time for the last parliament session of the year.
Binance Reopens Dogecoin Withdrawals After Musk Spat With CEO
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
‘Nobody is getting fired’ over technical issue, Binance said; Musk had said on Twitter last week the issue ‘sounds shady’
Binance has fully opened withdrawals of Dogecoin after a technical glitch that spurred a heated back-and-forth between Elon Musk and the exchange’s chief executive officer. Traders were unable to withdraw Dogecoin for more than two weeks because of problems related to a network upgrade, according to a statement on Monday. Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, said the glitch was “an unlikely and unfortunate coincidence” and “not quite the shady circumstances that some had suggested.”
Soaring NFT sales redraw the art market
The market for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, is soaring, reaching $10.7bn in the third quarter of 2021. For the art world it’s a new frontier, where ownership of digital assets is encrypted on the blockchain. The FT talks to artists, auction houses and collectors about how NFTs are bringing in new buyers and setting records for sales of digital works, and we follow a painter making his first NFT
$32bn Grayscale Bitcoin Trust feels the heat from cheaper ETFs; GBTC trades at a 15% discount to the value of its underlying assets
Steve Johnson – FT
The North American rollout of bitcoin exchange traded funds appears to have tipped the world’s largest crypto fund into a seemingly permanent discount to its net asset value. The $32bn Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which owns 3.5 per cent of the world’s bitcoin, currently trades 15 per cent below the value of its underlying assets.
Why China’s elite tread a perilous path; Wealth, power and fame are no defence against the arbitrary power of the Communist party
Gideon Rachman – FT
Rui Chenggang made a strong impression on me. He was a young Chinese television anchor, whose tailoring was as impeccable as his English. We met in Davos in 2014, at a press conference with Shinzo Abe. Rui asked the then Japanese prime minister a tough question — while also pointing out that, when in Tokyo, he used the same gym as Abe. In short, he was very pleased with himself.
AI weapons pose threat to humanity, warns top scientist; Stuart Russell will use BBC’s Reith Lectures to press for ban on autonomous lethal systems
Madhumita Murgia – FT
The computer scientist Stuart Russell met with officials from the UK’s Ministry of Defence in October to deliver a stark warning: building artificial intelligence into weapons could wipe out humanity.
SNP members vote for work to begin on Scottish central bank; Challenge to Sturgeon’s caution over making break with sterling as party chiefs focus on Tory failings
Mure Dickie – FT
Scottish National party delegates have called for preparations to begin for a central bank to be set up after independence from the UK, a move seen as challenging the SNP leadership’s relatively cautious currency strategy.
Juventus Offices Searched in Soccer Player Trading Probe
Alessandra Migliaccio – Bloomberg
Financial police asked to see documents on player transfers; Turin prosecutors say they are looking into 2019-2021 period
Juventus Football Club offices were searched by Italian financial police seeking information about player trading between 2019 and 2021, according to a statement from the Turin prosecutor.
China foreign exchange regulator fines Tencent’s Tenpay for misconduct
China’s foreign exchange regulator said it fined Tencent Holding’s Tenpay for violating foreign exchange rules, as authorities step up supervision of the country’s fintech industry. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) Shenzhen branch fined Tenpay, Tencent’s online payment platform, 2.78 million yuan ($436,000) for misconduct, including conducting foreign exchange business beyond the scope of its registration, according to a statement posted late Friday on the regulator’s website.
La Trobe Financial Asset Management to pay $750,000 penalty for false and misleading marketing
The Federal Court has ordered La Trobe Financial Asset Management (La Trobe) to pay a $750,000 penalty for false and misleading marketing of the La Trobe Australian Credit Fund (the Fund).
Notice on Establishment of FSA Consultation Hotline Related to COVID-19
The FSA has established the Consultation Hotline Related to COVID-19 as outlined below. The purpose of the Hotline is to accept queries regarding to which contact point at financial institutions inquiries about COVID-19 should be directed, or consultations concerning transactions with financial institutions that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Updated statistics of money lending business
The FSA updated the statistics regarding the money lending business, as of October 31, 2021.
Investing and Trading
High-Grade Bond Issuers Line Up $35 Billion as Virus Fears Flare
David Caleb Mutua – Bloomberg
Companies still need to borrow before December lull: Barclays; Primary market is ‘sloppy,’ needs a breather: BMO’s Kimball
Blue-chip companies are expected to storm primary markets next week before sales taper in a typical December lull even as investors focus on a new coronavirus variant that sparked a global rout on Friday.
Currency Volatility Soars as Traders Worry Over New Variant
Maria Elena Vizcaino and Robert Fullem – Bloomberg
Euro, yen one-month implied volatility up the most since 2020; Bloomberg dollar index weakened for the first session in six
Volatility in developed-market currencies spiked by the most in a year as traders digested the impact of the new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa.
Omicron’s Market Risk Is Already Looking Overdone; Calm is returning, unless you count holiday travel stress. But the new variant’s bigger impact could be on monetary policy, with the Fed unable to resist tightening.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Some Thanksgiving break that was. Friday, with the U.S. markets only open in the morning as Americans digested their turkey, was the most dramatic “risk-off” day in more than a year. Not since June 2020 had U.S. stocks (represented by the SPY exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500) fallen so far compared to long Treasury bonds (represented by the TLT ETF). This was a return to the old financial crisis days of “risk-on” and “risk-off” where all assets would move according to the perception of whether the environment had grown safer or more dangerous. Friday was a day when risk was off:
New Covid Variant Puts Pressure on OPEC Oil Producers; President Biden’s decision to release emergency stockpiles also adds to the pile of complications for the group.
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
The OPEC+ group of oil producers are meeting on Thursday and their job has just been made more difficult by President Joe Biden and a new coronavirus variant. The group will gather virtually to decide their production plan for January. A pause to their 400,000 barrels-a-day monthly output increases was already in the cards. OPEC’s analysts see the oil market swinging from its current deficit to a huge surplus in the first quarter of next year. Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman has even said the switch will happen as soon as December.
Didi’s Secrets Risk China’s Wall Street Future; The potential U.S. delisting of China’s ride-hailing giant shows how Beijing’s interpretation of security casts a dark shadow on investors globally.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
A possible delisting of DiDi Global Inc. at the behest of Beijing risks repercussions well beyond the fortunes of those who bought into the Chinese ride-hailing company. Tech companies from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and SoftBank Corp. to asset managers BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group need to be prepared.
The queasy ‘Enron feeling’ that directors must never ignore; Twenty years after the energy group collapsed, memories are fading — and that is dangerous for governance
Andrew Hill – FT
Probably the most consequential meeting in modern corporate governance took place on June 28, 1999. What made it so noteworthy was that those present — the board members of Enron — utterly failed to appreciate its possible consequences.
Markets are more fragile than investors think; Calm trading conditions are increasingly interspersed with sharp bouts of volatility
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Investors have been blithely skating into the Christmas period, basking in another remarkable rally across financial markets. But the ice underneath may be thinner and brittler than many realise, as Friday’s violent sell-off showed.
Investors rush into private markets in search of returns; Unlisted assets under management are forecast to top $17tn by 2025
Akila Quinio – FT
Historically low interest rates and high stock valuations are driving return-hungry investors to rush into private markets, with non-publicly listed assets under management expected to rise 60 per cent between 2020 and 2025.
Half of this year’s big IPOs are trading below listing price; High-profile flotations from Deliveroo to Paytm have flopped despite robust stock markets
Hudson Lockett and Tabby Kinder and Stephen Morris – FT
Half of the companies that raised more than $1bn at initial public offerings this year are trading below their listing price, despite robust stock markets around the world. The busted IPOs include some of the best-known names to list, such as UK food delivery app Deliveroo, alternative food manufacturer Oatly and Indian payments giant Paytm.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Climate Tech Investments Can Add Up to Net Zero; Reaching the world’s climate targets will mean expanding the use of cutting-edge technologies that already exist. Making them more accessible requires cash — and generous government support
Clara Ferreira Marques – Bloomberg
Vast sums are now pointed in the direction of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. That’s good news: We require somewhere between $100 to $150 trillion in climate investment over the next three decades, and ignoring global warming would prove a costly and potentially irreversible cataclysm. In fact, the crucial coming years need to see sums going into the energy system to more than double from the current $1.7 trillion a year. But does the promised cash add up to what the planet needs? Not quite.
Japan Labor Boss Finds Widespread Resistance to Female Leaders
Isabel Reynolds and Grace Huang – Bloomberg
First female head of labor union group speaks in interview; Yoshino expresses doubts over Kishida’s ‘New Capitalism’ plans
Attempts to appoint female leaders in Japan meet with resistance from men and women who see them as running counter to traditional values, according to the new head of the country’s biggest federation of labor unions.
Danske’s Top ESG Banker Sees ‘Clear Risks’ in Loan Market Boom
Charles Daly – Bloomberg
The explosive growth in sustainability-linked loans has exposed a number of shortcomings that need to be resolved in order to avoid greenwashing, according to the global head of sustainable finance at Danske Bank A/S.
Investment Funds Are Pushing EU Carbon Price Higher
Bo Qin – Bloomberg
Investment funds are piling into the European carbon market for the year-end squeeze. This has contributed to European emissions allowances (EUAs) breaking the psychological price threshold of 70 euros per metric ton ($79/ton) and reaching 75 euros/ton on Nov. 25, 2021.
Petrobras doubles down on hydrocarbons as part of $68bn investment plan; State-controlled group to prioritise oil and gas exploration and production
Michael Pooler – FT
Petrobras of Brazil, Latin America’s biggest oil producer, is to boost its capital expenditure to $68bn over the next five years, as the state-controlled group bets on its role as a low-cost hydrocarbon supplier in the energy transition.
JPMorgan Balks at Taking Back Trader After Unfair Firing Ruling
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t want to give a former trader his job back despite a finding that he was unfairly dismissed by the bank to “appease its regulators” in a market-spoofing probe. Bradley Jones, a former cash equities trader, is this week arguing for an order of reinstatement from the London employment tribunal that ruled in his favor in July. The U.S. bank contends his job no longer exists and no comparable role is available. It also said it wasn’t confident that Jones could be certified as fit and proper under market regulator’s guidelines, despite his successful wrongful termination claim.
AJ Bell plans commission-free share trading app in hunt for novice investors; One of the UK’s biggest investment platforms plans to tap demand that has grown in the pandemic
Joshua Oliver – FT
UK broker AJ Bell plans to launch a “no commission” trading app in a bid to broaden its appeal and fend off high-tech challengers as the competition to win over first-time investors intensifies. The UK’s second-largest listed investment platform said it would debut a new app, called Dodl, in the first half of next year, which would allow customers to buy and sell UK-listed shares and a range of funds without any trading fees.
China Fund Manager Reaping 109% Is a Die-Hard Renewables Fan
Cui Chenlong has been betting on batteries, solar power shares; Beijing’s carbon neutral goals have buoyed sentiment on sector
Don’t let valuations stop you from chasing a rally that could span two to three decades, says a top Chinese equity fund manager who is doubling down on China’s carbon neutral ambitions.
Europe’s Energy Crisis Is About to Get Worse as Winter Arrives
Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Energy prices in Europe are repeatedly breaking records even before winter really kicks in, and one of the most damaging cost crunches in history is about to get worse as the temperature starts to drop.
Erdogan’s Audit Board to Probe FX Purchases After Lira Rout
Firat Kozok – Bloomberg
Turkey’s top investigative body will focus on foreign currency purchases when it probes the reasons behind the lira’s plunge in November, a person familiar with the preparations said. Investigators from the State Supervisory Council will be authorized to seek prosecution if criminal activity is suspected, the person told Bloomberg on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential details. The state-run Anadolu Agency, which first reported the impending probe on Saturday, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the council to determine whether currency manipulation took place.
Saudi Energy Minister Not Concerned About New Covid Variant
Matthew Martin and Anthony Di Paola – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman played down the likely fallout from the new coronavirus variant that pummeled oil markets last week. “I’m a very relaxed person. I’m not concerned,” the minister said when asked how the new strain may affect demand.
China’s Companies Are Going to Any Length for a Hold on Lithium; The chip shortage that’s gripped the car industry by the throat is a reminder to EV executives of what might happen if they run short of the silvery metal.
Stay on top of the revolutions reshaping the auto world — from EVs to self-driving technology — by signing up for Hyperdrive’s newsletter here. Automobile executives in China have had a lot to contend with this year. But those operating in the electric-car space (which is almost everyone these days) have had it especially tough. Not only has the world’s biggest EV market become even more crowded in 2021 but the explosive sales — deliveries are expected to more than double this year to around 3 million units — have led to soaring prices for raw materials. That’s also weighing on battery makers’ bottom lines and sparked heated competition globally for lithium resources.
China Cash Flowed Through Congo Bank to Former President’s Cronies
Michael Kavanagh and William Clowes – Bloomberg
The Chinese businessman had walked out of a bank in Kinshasa with 13,624 hundred-dollar bills, 10,001 fifties and 43,000 smaller U.S. notes, despite explicit instructions to prevent it from happening. “The account has finally been emptied,” Yvon Douhore, head of an in-house audit team in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, wrote in an email that day, July 5, 2018, after noticing the withdrawal. “I’m at a loss for words,” a colleague replied the next day.
Twenty years on, the Brics have disappointed; The challenge of how these countries achieve higher prosperity across society remains unsolved
Jim O’Neill – FT
It is 20 years since I published a paper which formally grouped together the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China and coined the term “Brics” to describe them. I argued that since these countries were likely to continue their striking gross domestic product growth over the next decade, we urgently needed them to play a bigger role in global governance. With France, Germany and Italy in permanent economic and monetary union, I suggested their individual places in the G7 and corresponding representation at the IMF and World Bank could be consolidated into a single European seat, making way for the Bric countries to join a slightly expanded G7.
Macau Casino Stocks Slide After Arrest of Junket Boss Alvin Chau; Trading of shares in Suncity Group suspended after chairman questioned over allegations of illegal gambling operations
Elaine Yu – WSJ
Casino stocks fell and share trading of junket operator Suncity Group 1383 -7.27% Holdings Ltd. was suspended Monday morning after its chairman was held by police over allegations of illegal gambling and money laundering. Alvin Chau, chairman and a controlling shareholder of Macau’s largest junket operator, was among 11 people held for questioning in Macau on Saturday after mainland police issued a warrant for his arrest last week. Mr. Chau and others organized a cross-border gambling syndicate with operations in mainland China, the Philippines and elsewhere, police in the eastern city of Wenzhou said.
Steve Cohen’s DeFi Trader Also Co-Wrote the Kardashians’ Theme Song; Wall Street needs unconventional help grasping the “wacky funhouse version” of finance that crypto misfits are building. Aaron Lammer is happy to oblige.
Nick Baker – Bloomberg
Until October, nothing on Aaron Lammer’s resume really screamed Wall Street. There’s the “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” theme song he co-wrote, the music he made with Drake and Kanye West and the Rick Bayless cookbook he helped edit. There’s Longform.org, the website he co-founded that got famous in media circles for showcasing long pieces of good journalism. And there’s the podcasts he has hosted.
Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars; Journalists and academics are developing a new language for truth. The results are not always clearer.
Ben Smith – NY Times
On Friday afternoons this fall, top American news executives have dialed into a series of off-the-record Zoom meetings led by Harvard academics whose goal is to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.” Those are hot topics in the news industry right now, and so the program at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy drew an impressive roster of executives at CNN, NBC News, The Associated Press, Axios and other major U.S. outlets.
Millennials Confront High Inflation for the First Time
Jeanna Smialek, Sara Chodosh and Ben Casselman – NY Times
Millennials have spent much of their lives enduring economic calamity. Many were children when the dot-com bubble burst; graduated from high school in the late 2000s, when the real estate market crumbled; and had to compete with a huge generation of baby boomers in an anemic post crisis job market before Covid-19 brought the global economy to its knees last year.