ION-Broadway deal stumbles on UK competition concerns; Covid Still Poses Challenges for Financial System, Fed’s Quarles Says

Jul 8, 2020

First Read

MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity 2020 Virtual Event Announced
John Lothian News is pleased to announce a 2020 virtual event for the MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity series. The one-day event will be held on Wednesday, July 22 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM CDT.

The online only event is FREE to registered participants. Click HERE to register.

The lineup of speakers includes PEAK6 Founder Jenny Just, Greenwood Project Co-Founder Bevon Joseph, Chicago Federal Reserve Vice President Alessandro Cocco, OCC Vice President of Talent Acquisition Andre Buckles, and author, former regulator and lawyer Eileen Flaherty

Just will address why she has stayed in the fintech industry for over 25 years and how challenging the status quo makes her company better.Joseph will talk about the effort in the Chicago financial markets to bring racial equality to the industry through an innovative intern program for inner city youth. Cocco will speak about “Will climate change impact your career in finance?” Buckles will talk about how the pandemic will change the job markets and Flaherty will talk about her career and the novel about to be published that is based on it.

The World of Opportunity series is aimed at interns, college students, new employees or anyone who is interested in a career in the financial markets. Our goal is to educate and inspire the next generation of industry professionals through insightful presentations by industry leaders.

For the rest of the announcement, click HERE.


Hits & Takes
By John Lothian & JLN Staff

We would like your help in getting out the word about our July 22 MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity virtual event. We don’t have much time to promote this, so we need as much of your help as possible. The event is FREE and you don’t have to be in Chicago to sign up, you can be anywhere. This is a good program for college students, interns, new employees or others interested in careers in the financial markets. As always, we have a great lineup of speakers at the July 22 event.

We will also be shooting additional presentations from other speakers on behalf of the World of Opportunity series and sharing them with the registered participants, and with readers of JLN. If you have a suggested potential speaker, please reach out to me at

Lynne Marek of Crain’s Chicago Business reported on some of the names from the Chicago markets who received PPP money from the U.S. government. The list includes: Dorman Trading, Budo Trading, Advantage Futures, RJO Futures, RivalSystems, Blue Fire Capital, TJM, Price Futures Group, Cunningham Commodities, LoopCapital,, BC Ziegler, Cabrera Capital, Dresner, Marathon, XMS Capital, Livingstone and Broadhaven, Eris Exchange LLC, AthenaBitcoin, SeedCX and Chicago hedge fund Gladius Capital.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler is back in the spotlight with comments about the WNBA and Black Lives Matter. She was the featured story on Yahoo News this morning when I visited the site.She is a part-owner of a WNBA team and is getting some criticism from former players questioning whether she should be an owner at all. See the two stories below for details.

Brooks Brothers has declared bankruptcy. I guess with the U.S. wearing shorts or sweatpants to go to work, formal attire has lost its appeal. I have worn a button down shirt just once in the last 4 months.

Cannabis sales in Chicago hit a new record in June. At least we have that going for us.

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


The Trade and Refinitiv are offering a 30 minute webinar on Wednesday, July 15 at 10:00 AM EST | 3:00 PM BST titled “Navigating fragmented FX markets & optimising your liquidity blend to improve execution outcomes” with panelists Bart Joris, Head of FX Sell-Side Trading Proposition Management, Refinitiv and Dan Chambers, Head of Trading, Sequoia Capital Fund Management. You can go here to register.~SR


Merkel Calls for EU Solidarity to Tackle Historic Challenges
Patrick Donahue and Raymond Colitt – Bloomberg
Compromise will be needed from all sides for recovery package; ‘We are all vulnerable,’ German chancellor tells EU parliament
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the European Union to pull together to face the historic challenges stemming from the coronavirus and changes threatening the bloc’s economic standing. In Brussels after Germany assumed the six-month rotating EU presidency this month, Merkel called for solidarity to tackle the pandemic as well as the risks posed by climate change and the transition to digital technologies.

*****Chancellor Angela Merkel is showing what leadership looks like.~JJL


Americans are the dangerous, disease-carrying foreigners now; Covid-19 means travel bans against the U.S., which has so often applied them in the past
Erika Lee – Washington Post
It’s the height of the summer travel season, and visitors from 15 countries can now visit the European Union again after pandemic-related shutdowns were lifted. But not Americans. We’re banned. Citing coronavirus concerns, the E.U. did not include the United States, which has had more coronavirus deaths and infections than any other country, on a recent list of approved nations.

*****I am so proud.~JJL


Dream co-owner Sen. Kelly Loeffler is against WNBA’s support of Black Lives Matter
Liz Roscher -Yahoo Sports
The WNBA is embracing its role in the current anti-racist political movement, but one team owner says that politics can and should be removed from sports. Georgia Republican Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler is against the WNBA’s plans to support the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

*****Loeffler might be better at making questionably timed stock trades than wading into this.~JJL


Loeffler opposes WNBA’s plan to spread ‘Black Lives Matter’ message
Greg Bluestein, Bria Felicien – AJC
U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler objected to the WNBA’s plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, warning Tuesday that subscribing to a “particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion.”

*****I believe Black Lives Matter and have a sign on my front lawn made by my two youngest children that says so.~JJL



Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was CFTC Orders Illinois Resident and Broker to Pay Over $1.1 Million for Fraud and Additional Violations from the CFTC. The broker in question is Foremost Trading LLC. Second was JLN’s So Far, So Good – Updates From Cboe’s Options Trading Floor by Matt Raebel. Third was Chinese Trading Apps Struggle as Millions of Investors Pile In During Rally from Bloomberg News.


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Lead Stories

ION-Broadway deal stumbles on UK competition concerns; CMA gives five days for remedies to be suggested in fixed income market or face in depth probe
Philip Stafford and Kate Beioley – FT
ION Group’s plans to further expand its financial data and trading business have hit a hurdle after UK regulators ruled its purchase of US rival Broadway Technology could reduce competition in fixed income markets. A preliminary study by the Competition and Markets Authority published on Tuesday gave ION just five days to suggest remedies or face a more in-depth investigation. ION declined to comment on the finding.

Covid Still Poses Challenges for Financial System, Fed’s Quarles Says; Many households face ‘bleak’ job prospects and next phase of pandemic will boost nonperforming loans, Randal Quarles says
Andrew Ackerman – WSJ
Global policy makers responded decisively to the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year but the financial system isn’t out of the woods yet, a top Federal Reserve official said Tuesday. “The COVID event is not behind us yet,” Randal Quarles, the Fed’s vice chairman for financial regulation, said in prepared remarks. “We know that the financial system will face more challenges.”

Hong Kong’s bourse reaps benefits of China homecomings; Shares have hit a record despite deepening political turmoil
Primrose Riordan – FT
Less than a year after its pursuit of the London Stock Exchange Group ended in humiliating failure, the Hong Kong stock exchange is back on the front foot. Shares in Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing have surged almost 40 per cent to a record this year as the Asian bourse shapes up to be one of the few winners from escalating tensions between the US and China.

Banks need to prepare now for Covid-19 losses later; European lenders should not be tempted to delay as they did after the 2008 crisis
Simon Samuels – FT
The Cape of Good Hope is the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, creating treacherous seas that have claimed the lives of many sailors. A similarly gargantuan battle is playing out today across the world’s economies, as plunges in economic activity never seen before are being met by extraordinary government support. And, just as at the Cape, the outcome is unpredictable.

Deutsche Bank fined for Jeffrey Epstein ‘compliance failures’; New York regulator imposes $150m penalty over dealings with sex offender and others
Kadhim Shubber – FT
Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay a $150m fine for compliance failures in its dealings with Jeffrey Epstein, the late disgraced financier, as well as Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank.

Johnson Tells Merkel U.K. Is Ready to Go Without an EU Trade Deal
Robert Hutton – Bloomberg
Speaks of ‘commitment’ to finding a deal, ‘intensified talks’; Fishing rights, courts, single market access still unresolved
Boris Johnson warned Germany’s Angela Merkel that the U.K. is ready to do without a trade deal if the European Union wasn’t prepared to compromise. The prime minister spoke to the chancellor Tuesday, as Brexit negotiators held informal talks over a private dinner. Negotiations are stuck over questions including fishing rights, the future influence of EU courts in U.K. laws, and how far Britain will be able to loosen its rules and still enjoy access to the single market.

Cities Are No Longer Escalators of Opportunity, MIT Study Finds; Black male college grads have suffered the “most disconcerting” losses, concludes economist David Autor.
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
“Superstar” cities aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially for Black male college graduates, says a new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And Covid-19 could make matters worse.

Warren Buffett Donates $2.9 Billion of Berkshire Shares to Charities
Katherine Chiglinsky – Bloomberg
Berkshire CEO has donated more than $37 billion since 2006; Recipients include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Warren Buffett gave Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares valued at about $2.9 billion to charities including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of his annual plan started more than a decade ago.

Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale; Its decision to carry on in the face of the pandemic has yielded a surge of deaths without sparing its economy from damage — a red flag as the United States and Britain move to lift lockdowns.
Peter S. Goodman – NY Times
Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

White House Warns Against Chinese Investment, Citing Risk of Further Sanctions; Economic and security officials warned a federal fund against putting retirement savings in China at “a time of mounting uncertainty” for the relationship.
Ana Swanson – NY Times
White House officials on Tuesday warned a federally administered retirement plan for railroad workers against investing in Chinese companies and said that additional sanctions could be on the way in return for China’s role in spreading the coronavirus.

Zimbabwe’s Plan to Save Its Currency: Shut Down the Stock Exchange; The exchange had served as a refuge of sorts, protecting Zimbabwe’s vibrant investor class from surging inflation
Gabriele Steinhauser and Bernard Mpofu – WsJ
Justin Bgoni, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, received an unexpected call from a colleague last month: The government had decided to shut down the world’s best performing stock market.

U.S. Threat on Hong Kong Dollar ‘Self-Defeating’, Say Economists
Bloomberg News
Other less extreme options likely to be considered, they say; China’s strong external position would help mitigate fallout
The threat of U.S. action to undermine Hong Kong’s longstanding U.S. dollar peg is highly unlikely to become reality given the practical difficulties of pursing such a path and the damage it would do to U.S. interests, economists say.


New Coronavirus Cases Hit Daily Record in U.S., With 60,000; Infections continue to rise rapidly in states such as Florida and Texas; country’s total nears three million
David Hall – WSJ
The U.S. reported about 60,000 new coronavirus cases, a single-day record, with infections continuing to rise rapidly in states such as Florida and Texas, while others expanded quarantine requirements on inbound travel and New York City stepped up testing.

U.S. Plans Testing Surge as Latest Virus Data Hints at Shift
David R Baker, Michelle Fay Cortez, and Shira Stein – Bloomberg
Median age of infected creeps up in Florida; Texas deaths rise; New temporary testing sites to open in three hard-hit states
The federal government is ramping up coronavirus testing in Louisiana, Texas and Florida, three states seeing a surge in Covid-19 infections, as health officials attempt to get a firm grasp on how the fast-moving pandemic is evolving. Eight temporary testing sites will each perform as many as 5,000 free tests a day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. Four sites opened Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while one in Edinburg, Texas, and three in Jacksonville, Florida, will open Wednesday. The sites will remain open for up to 12 days.

As Businesses Reopen, Many Americans Plan to Spend Less; More than 40% of adults say they’ll cut back on some of the very discretionary spending needed by struggling retailers.
Breanna T Bradham – Bloomberg
The novel coronavirus—which has infected almost three million people and killed more than 130,000 in the U.S. alone—has roiled the economy and brought many aspects of American social life to a halt. With many states reopening despite the recommendations of public health experts, new data show consumers may not be prepared to return to pre-pandemic spending levels.

Egypt’s Expats Become Opportunity for $61 Billion Fund Manager
Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg
$61 billion Italian money manager sets up Egyptian equity fund; Cairo stocks are at attractive valuations after steep declines
Egyptian stocks have attracted the attention of Azimut Holding SpA, with the $61 billion money manager targeting the North African country’s diaspora through a new equity fund. Azimut’s Luxembourg-based fund will initially allocate $50 million between as many as 25 Cairo-traded stocks. Egypt’s 100-million population and the purchasing power of its consumers have the potential to fuel growth for companies as the economy emerges from its coronavirus lockdown, according to Ahmed Abou El Saad, managing director of the Italian firm’s local unit.

Pandemic May Have Hurt U.K. Urgent Cancer Care, Survey Suggests
Jade Wilson – Bloomberg
Referrals fell 75% in some areas at pandemic peak: report; Backlog could persist for up to 2 years: Cancer Research UK
U.K. patients with suspected cancers are being turned down more frequently for urgent appointments to see specialists and confirm their diagnosis since the pandemic started, according to a survey of doctors.

The Virus Has Trapped $111 Billion of Luxury Spending in China
Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Chinese shoppers used to make two-thirds of purchases overseas; Luxury brands forced to go online, second-hand platforms surge
Jeff Meng, a 25-year-old watch lover from a well-heeled Guangdong family, had 160,000 yuan ($22,800) burning a hole in his pocket. He could not find the Rolex Daytona watch he wanted, dubbed “panda” for its black-and-white face, anywhere in China.

How ‘Silent Spreaders’ Make Coronavirus Hard to Beat
Jason Gale – Bloomberg
A lot of people infected with the coronavirus have very mild or even no symptoms, or ones that don’t match the usual markers of fever, dry cough or difficulty breathing. The discovery of larger numbers of so-called asymptomatic cases, initially thought to be rare, underscores a key challenge in stopping the pandemic: If people don’t know they’re infected, they’re probably not taking steps to prevent transmitting it.

How Hong Kong Sanctions Could Threaten Wall Street
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc and their peers face a threat to their massive expansion plans in China from a U.S. move that would sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in imposing a national security law on the former British colony. Wall Street and their European rival’s push for Chinese riches could be further imperiled should China retaliate.

Virus on retreat in Spain despite flare-ups, says health chief; Local outbreaks a worry but Fernando Simón confident overall infection rate is going down
Daniel Dombey and John Burn-Murdoch – FT
The doctor spearheading Spain’s fight against coronavirus has said recent regional outbreaks — particularly in Catalonia — are worrying but that in most of the country the infection rate is going down.

Israel in ‘dangerous place’ as virus infections surge; Top health official quits amid warnings that country has ‘lost control of pandemic’
Mehul Srivastava – FT
Infections are surging, the government has reinstated a partial lockdown and the country’s top health bureaucrat has quit in frustration — hopes that Israel had successfully contained the spread of coronavirus have this week been dashed.

China scales back meat imports over virus concerns; Restrictions against processing plants in US, Europe, Brazil, and Canada to push up food prices
Sun Yu, Emiko Terazono and Bryan Harris – FT
Chinese consumers face a fresh increase in meat prices and an uptick in food price inflation after Beijing suspended imports from a swath of overseas processing plants because of concerns that Covid-19 outbreaks in the plants risked importing the virus back into the country.

US triggers exit from World Health Organization; One-year notice period leaves open possibility of reversal if Biden is elected president
Michael Peel and Demetri Sevastopulo and Katrina Manson – FT
The US has begun the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization, in a contentious move that will strip the global UN body of its largest donor in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ivy League Might Take a Pass on Football This Fall; Conference officials will announce on Wednesday the status of athletics for the 2020-21 academic year
Laine Higgins – WSJ
The Ivy League hasn’t produced a national football champion since 1927, but the small eight-team conference sometimes serves as a bellwether for the giants of college sports. Which is why everyone is bracing for the prospect that the Ivy League is going to take a pass on football this fall.

How Apple’s COVID Policy Limited a Public Health App in Taiwan
Leigh Cuen – Coindesk
The Taiwanese startup Bitmark, which participated in a government-sponsored hackathon in May, was unable to promote its blockchain solution due to Apple’s pandemic moderation policy. “We were trying to essentially build a weather forecast but for public health,” said Bitmark CEO Sean Moss-Pultz. “It allowed people to volunteer their symptoms and what they are trying to do to get better, and connect that to public data from public health offices.”

Covid-19 Resurgence Threatens Travel Rebound; United Airlines warns of booking declines, potential furloughs amid new travel restrictions
Alison Sider – WSJ
Airlines are preparing to cut thousands of workers and tap government loans as a surge of coronavirus cases and fresh government travel restrictions upend a nascent recovery in travel.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Deutsche Börse launches online analytics platform with Eurex and Xetra data; Deutsche Börse has launched a new online analytics platform to provide traders with access to Eurex and Xetra market data.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
European exchange group Deutsche Börse has launched an online analytics platform, A7, that offers order-by-order historical market data in nanosecond granularity. The new platform will give clients access to data from Eurex and Xetra traded instruments at a greater speed in a bid to maximise trading efficiency and alpha generation. It includes historical and real-time data via the cloud on all instruments traded through both venues, with content updated daily.

Flow Traders appointed lead liquidity provider for new HKEX MSCI derivatives; HKEX confirmed in May it would expand its licensing agreement with MSCI to launch Asia and emerging market futures and options contracts.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Market maker Flow Traders has confirmed it has been appointed Tier 1 lead liquidity provider for Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing’s (HKEX) new suite of MSCI-based derivatives. HKEX has received approval for 33 new contracts from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, with plans to launch the derivates in phases throughout July and August. Flow Traders will make a market in 26 of those contracts during the T session in Hong Kong, and in 14 more contracts during the T+1 session.

Cboe Europe joins TNS market data network; TNS has teamed up with Cboe Europe to provide its network with market data and connectivity services from the exchange.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Cboe Europe has signed an agreement with the Transaction Network Service (TNS), making the firm a registered vendor for the exchange’s European equities market data. The move means that TNS can provide traders with low-latency access to market data and order routing services, with connectivity to Cboe’s Equinix data centre.

June monthly figures at Eurex and EEX; The OTC Clearing business at Eurex enjoyed a very positive June, while the picture was more mixed across derivatives trading, repo, and commodities at EEX.
Notional outstanding volumes in OTC Clearing climbed over 69% in June compared to the same month last year, while average daily cleared volumes grew over 57% across the same period. Average daily cleared volumes in just interest rate swaps grew from 13 million EUR in June 2019 to 21 million last month – a rise of over 56%.

Making ESG an integral part of the investment landscape
ESG continues to emerge as a consistent conversation theme in the investment community, driven by a strong storm of regulatory, political and natural change. There is a fundamental transfer of wealth to a younger, more environmentally conscious generation occurring. This makes ESG more than an investment theme or an adaptation to regulatory change; it makes ESG a tremendous business opportunity and a chance to lead by creating positive change.

Delisting of Inter-Product Spread Strategies in Fixed Income Futures
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland and the Executive Board of Eurex Frankfurt AG took the following decisions with effect from 3 August 2020:

Liquidity Provisioning: Adjustment of performance requirements and ESU fees due to T7 incident
An incident occurred in Eurex’s T7 trading system on 1 July 2020 with the result that no trading and quoting activity could take place for an extended period of time. Therefore, the performance of Liquidity Providers was not measured correctly. Eurex will address this issue by granting coverage scores for Liquidity Providers for the day 1 July 2020.

2020 Full-Year Results – Webcast Details and Key Dates

ICE Benchmark Administration Launches Beta Version of ICE Term SONIA Reference Rates; BGC, TP ICAP and Tradition provide eligible SONIA OIS data; Beta rates are for information and testing purposes
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, announces that ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (IBA) has launched an initial beta version of its ICE Term SONIA Reference Rates (“ICE TSRR”). The ICE TSRR beta rates are designed to measure average expected (i.e. forward-looking) SONIA rates over one month, three month and six month tenor periods on a daily basis.

TriOptima Extends Collaboration with DTCC to Meet Client Securities Financing Transactions Reconciliation Needs
CME Group
TriOptima, a leading infrastructure service that helps to lower costs and to mitigate risk in OTC derivatives markets, has extended data connectivity between The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) Global Trade Repository (GTR) service and TriOptima’s triResolve platform to help market participants validate their reported securities financing transactions as they prepare for Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) compliance.

Farmer sentiment rebounds amidst ongoing COVID-19 concerns
CME Group
Farmer sentiment improved in June for the second month in a row, rebounding from sharp declines that took place in both March and April, according to the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index was up 14 points from May to a reading of 117. The Ag Economy Barometer is based on responses from 400 U.S. agricultural producers with this month’s survey conducted from June 22-26, 2020.

SGX reports market statistics for June 2020
Stock market activity stays high with reopening of major economies;Equity and FX derivative volumes increase to three-month highs
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today released its market statistics for June 2020. Global financial and commodity markets reflected optimism from the reopening of major economies, even as concern that new COVID-19 infections could stymie growth continued to drive demand for risk management.

JPX Monthly Headlines – June2020
JPX group companies undertake various initiatives and disseminate information with the aim of providing the most attractive markets to all users.


Airwallex aims to upend global payments system; Fintech creates new infrastructure to replace traditional transactions dominated by Swift
Henny Sender – FT
In April, when the pace of fundraising for young tech companies had slowed dramatically, digital payments network Airwallex bucked the trend. The five-year-old start-up raised $160m from a diverse group of banks, tech groups and investment firms, in a deal that valued it at $1.8bn.

LiquidityBook Hires Chris Junge to Lead Client Support Team
LiquidityBook, a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based provider of buy- and sell-side trading solutions, today announced the hire of Chris Junge as Vice President of Customer Success.

More than 100 potential suitors signal appetite for parts of Wirecard; Administrator of defunct payments group says that due diligence can begin soon
Olaf Storbeck – FT
More than 100 potential bidders have flagged their interest in buying parts of insolvent German payments group Wirecard, the company’s administrator said on Tuesday. Munich-based lawyer Michael Jaffé has been appointed to oversee proceedings after the once high-flying group collapsed into insolvency last month in one of the biggest accounting frauds in Germany’s post-war history.

Chinese Tech Firms Get Trading Boost From Hong Kong Listings; High stock turnover, plus U.S. political pressure, could lure other New York-listed Chinese companies to the city
Joanne Chiu – WSJ
Hong Kong is becoming an active center for trading stock in some of China’s largest technology groups, bolstering the case for more secondary listings of U.S.-listed Chinese companies. The city now accounts for nearly a fifth of the shares changing hands by value in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., BABA -1.45% after the e-commerce giant’s Hong Kong listing in November, FactSet data show.

Nearly 70,000 Tech Startup Employees Have Lost Their Jobs Since March; Layoffs among tech startups reflect economic fallout of Covid-19
Angus Loten – WSJ
Technology startups have been laying off tens of thousands of workers to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, potentially blunting a key innovation pipeline for the enterprise information-technology market, according to industry analysts.


China’s Digital Yuan Gets First Big Test Via Tech Giant Didi
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
SoftBank-backed startup has been working on adoption of DCEP; Specifics of rollout aren’t clear yet, people familiar said
Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is testing China’s digital cash as a payment method on its platform, in what could be one of the first real-world applications of the electronic version of the yuan.

Crypto Stablecoins Face Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Regulator FATF calls for digital exchanges to police the coins; Coins seen posing money laundering, terrorism financing risks
Tether and other so-called cryptocurrency stablecoins have long flown under the radar of international regulators. That’s about to change. The Financial Action Task Force, with members from about 200 countries who recommend ways to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorism, said in a report Tuesday that stablecoins need to comply with standards to guard against both practices.

Bitcoin and Ethereum futures volume fell dramatically in June
The Block
Monthly volumes of both Bitcoin and Ethereum futures both fell in June, each falling back to levels last seen in late 2019 and early 2020, according to data collected by The Block. The monthly volume of Bitcoin futures fell by 40%, from $557 billion to $332 billion, after a record-setting month in May.

Nearly $60M in Bitcoin Moved to Ethereum in June
Zack Voell – Coindesk
Nearly $60 million worth of bitcoins moved to Ethereum during June, according to data estimates from Dune Analytics. Wrapped Bitcoin, the oldest tokenized bitcoin protocol on Ethereum, is responsible for roughly 75% of that growth after moving more than 4,800 BTC to Ethereum last month.

Kraken gains first MTF license from FCA for crypto futures venue; Institutional investors will have access to crypto derivatives in Europe for the first time, following Kraken’s approval from the FCA to operate a crypto futures MTF.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has confirmed it has gained approval from the UK’s financial regulator to operate a crypto futures multilateral trading facility (MTF).

Sri Lanka’s central bank begins work on blockchain-based shared KYC system
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has begun developing a proof-of-concept (POC) for blockchain-based shared know-your-customer (KYC) system. To that end, the central bank has partnered with three parties ?— local Sampath Bank along with the University of Colombo School of Computing, Sweden-based blockchain startup Norbloc AB, and local tech firms Yaala Labs and Linearsix — to develop the POC.

China’s ride-sharing giant Didi to trial central bank digital currency
Yogita Khatri – The Block
China’s ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is set to trial the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). Announcing the news on Wednesday, Didi said it had signed an agreement with the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC’s) Digital Currency Research Institute to test digital yuan, officially known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). “DCEP will become a key infrastructure of the digital economy,” said Didi, adding that it will work with the central bank to “promote the integration of the digital economy with the real economy.”

FATF Plans to Strengthen Global Supervisory Framework for Crypto Exchanges
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), whose advice is heeded by more than 200 countries, will meet in October to discuss ways to create a stronger global framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. In a report Tuesday to the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors, the international financial watchdog said regulators need to cooperate to make measures such as the Travel Rule more effective.

Aave launches new service for unsecured peer-to-peer loans on Ethereum
Mike Orcutt – The Block
Lending protocol Aave has launched a new service on Ethereum that makes it possible for users to take out loans without needing to deposit collateral. In a Twitter thread introducing the new service, Aave founder and CEO Stani Kulechov explained how people who deposit an asset on Aave can now “delegate” a credit line to another person. In Kulechov’s example, someone named Karen deposits USDT, and delegates her credit line to Chad, who is then able to withdraw ETH from the Aave protocol without having to put any collateral down.

Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis adds $13 million to its Series B funding round
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis is “doubling down” on its government business. To that end, the company has raised $13 million as part of an expanded Series B round and added a former U.S. Treasury official as an advisor. The fresh dollars have been injected by Ribbit Capital and actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures.

Blockchain Association Announces Gallant Exchange as Latest Approved Member
Blockchain Association
The Blockchain Association today announces Gallant Exchange as its latest approved member. The company joins a growing list of digital asset exchanges, which are committed to upholding the highest standards of commercial honor and best business practices in the Crypto and Blockchain spaces in anticipation of its newly launched line of Athlete Coins, a first-of-its-kind digital asset.


Trump Aides Weigh Proposals to Undermine Hong Kong’s Dollar Peg
Nick Wadhams, Jenny Leonard, Jennifer Jacobs, and Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Some Pompeo advisers support proposal among other options; Proposal hasn’t gone to Trump or senior White House aides
Some top advisers to President Donald Trump want the U.S. to undermine the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the U.S. dollar as the administration considers options to punish China for recent moves to chip away at the former British colony’s political freedoms, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google, Amazon Funnel Over $20 Million to Virus Conspiracy Sites
Maya Tribbitt – Bloomberg
Digital advertising platforms run by Google, Inc. and other tech companies will funnel at least $25 million to websites spreading misinformation about Covid-19 this year, according to a study released Wednesday. Google’s platforms will provide $19 million, or $3 out of every $4 that the misinformation sites get in ad revenue. OpenX, a smaller digital ad distributor, handles about 10% of the money, while Amazon’s technology delivers roughly $1.7 million, or 7%, of the digital marketing spending these sites will receive, according to a research group called the Global Disinformation Index.

Trump Says He’s Considering a Ban on TikTok in the U.S.
Shelly Banjo and Jordan Fabian – Bloomberg
President seeks to retaliate against China over virus spread; Justice, FTC are pursuing an inquiry, privacy advocate says
President Donald Trump said his administration is considering banning the short video app TikTok in the U.S. as one possible way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments on Tuesday came one day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said officials were looking at barring the app, whose parent company is China’s ByteDance Ltd.

Trump’s niece calls president a lying narcissist; Scathing portrait comes in family memoir that White House calls a ‘book of falsehoods’
Demetri Sevastopulo – FT
Donald Trump developed a penchant for employing hyperbole and lying after watching his “high-functioning sociopath” father demean any members of the family who showed weakness, according to a new memoir by his niece.

Mary Trump’s Book Alleges That President Led a Life of Lies
Erik Larson and Justin Sink – Bloomberg
Tell-all family memoir set to be published next week; Bloomberg News obtained copy of book ahead of publication
President Donald Trump’s estranged niece paints a portrait of a man trained in deception and braggadocio by a distant and dysfunctional father in her highly anticipated family memoir set to be published next week.

The world falls apart as the US withdraws; An administration that cannot govern makes a stark contrast with China
Martin Wolf – FT
Covid-19 has not transformed the world, at least so far. But it has accelerated its development, technologically, socially and politically. This has been strikingly true in international relations: the divide between China and the west and the failure of US leadership of the west have both deepened. The western-led world order is in crisis. If the US re-elects Donald Trump, this will be terminal.

The Upside of a New Cold War With China; Competition with the Soviet Union brought out the best in American democracy.
Hal Brands – Bloomberg
The American founders believed that prolonged rivalry and conflict abroad would eventually degrade the country’s democracy at home. Today, many of the strongest warnings against a “new Cold War” with China have a similar ring.

Investors Start to Ask: What if Biden Becomes President? While the pandemic remains the key mover of stocks, investors are beginning to worry about the implications of a Biden win in November.
Matt Phillips – NY Times
After months of fixating on the pandemic, Wall Street has something new to worry about: a possible Biden presidency.

Trump’s Former Sanctions Chief Joins Bitcoin Investigation Firm Advisory Board As Part Of Expanded $49 Million Investment
Michael del Castillo – Forbes
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, has revealed her first project since leaving Trump’s Treasury and joining venture firm Ribbit Capital earlier this year. In addition to joining the expanded $49 million Series B in cryptocurrency investigation startup Chainalysis, Mandelker will work on the startup’s board of advisors.


U.K. Fines Grant Thornton, Sanctions Ex-Managers for Audit
Chris Elser – Bloomberg
The Financial Reporting Council fined Grant Thornton UK LLP and sanctioned two of the auditor’s former executives for failing to maintain ethical standards, in the latest critique by regulators of accounting firms’ shortcomings. The accounting firm will pay 1.95 million pounds ($2.45 million) and another 207,000 pounds in costs, the FRC said Wednesday in an email. Natasha Toy, a former senior manager at the firm, and an ex-audit engagement partner, Kevin Engel, were sanctioned, the FRC said.

Deutsche Bank Is Fined $150 Million Over Jeffrey Epstein Links, Other Lapses; German lender’s relationship with banks embroiled in money-laundering scandals factors into fine by New York regulator
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
New York’s financial-services regulator fined Deutsche Bank AG $150 million on Tuesday for failing to properly monitor its dealings with late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

ESMA publishes updates to EMIR Q&As (July 2020)
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today updated its Questions and Answers document on practical questions regarding data reporting issues, under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

ESMA updates its Q&As on MiFID II and MiFIR transparency – July 2020
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, updated today its Questions and Answers regarding transparency issues under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR).

ESMA updates the CSDR Q&As – July 2020
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, updated today its Questions and Answers (Q&As) regarding the implementation of the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR).

Regulation Best Interest: Implementing a New Standard of Conduct
As of June 30, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest—or Reg BI—is officially in effect. That means brokerage firms now have to comply with a new standard of conduct when working with retail clients.

EIOPA Guidelines on outsourcing to cloud service providers
On 6 February 2020, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published final Guidelines(link is external) on outsourcing to cloud service providers for insurance and reinsurance undertakings (‘the Guidelines’).

Jersey applies asset freeze on ‘human rights abusers’
JERSEY has joined the UK in applying new ‘Magnitsky-list’ asset freeze sanctions on ‘human rights abusers’ including those linked to the deaths of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Russian auditor Sergei Magnitsky.

Investing and Trading

What Are Frontier Markets and Why Invest in Them?
Livia Yap and Constantine Courcoulas – Bloomberg
If emerging markets are the wild child of the investment family, offering potentially higher rewards in return for greater risk, then what about their smaller sibling, frontier markets? These include countries such as Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Nigeria where stock exchanges and currency markets are too small or underdeveloped to be classified as emerging markets. While frontier markets may bring investors more exotic thrills, and spills, they also somewhat counterintuitively can be a safe haven when markets are rocky.

Top Galleries, Famous Artists Got Millions in Bailout Loans
Katya Kazakina – Bloomberg
Gagosian, Zwirner galleries, artist Koons are among recipients; More than 3,000 PPP bailout recipients listed as art dealers
Some of the world’s biggest galleries and the most expensive living artist received millions of dollars in U.S. federal relief loans for small businesses. Gagosian, David Zwirner, Pace and Hauser & Wirth were among the largest recipients of aid to more than 3,000 entities listed in the “art dealers” category, with each getting aid in the range of $1 million to $5 million, according to data released by the Small Business Administration on Monday. Large artist studios including that of Jeff Koons also got federal assistance.

Italian mafia bonds sold to global investors; Instruments were backed by front companies charged with working for the ‘Ndrangheta organised crime group
Miles Johnson – FT
International investors bought bonds backed by the crime proceeds of Italy’s most powerful mafia, according to financial and legal documents seen by the Financial Times. In one case, the bonds — backed in part by front companies charged with working for the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia group — were purchased by one of Europe’s largest private banks, Banca Generali, in a transaction where consulting services were provided by accountancy group EY.

Dan Gilbert will keep strong grip on Quicken Loans after IPO; Share structure means billionaire will retain majority control of largest US mortgage lender
Robert Armstrong- FT
Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, the largest mortgage lender in the US, will retain complete control of the company following its initial public offering, as the cash proceeds of the flotation flow into a private entity under his ownership.

US volatility indices show persistent investor ‘fear’ after rally; Gauges of expected market moves remain elevated even after post-crash recovery
Colby Smith and Eric Platt – FT
Investors are betting on big swings in US stock prices, even as benchmark equity indices push steadily higher and darlings like Tesla and Amazon surge to new records.

Brooks Brothers, Hurt by Casual Fridays and Coronavirus, Files for Bankruptcy; The 202-year-old maker of business suits, and one of the last with U.S. factories, joins other apparel brands in bankruptcy court
Suzanne Kapner and Soma Biswas – WSJ
Brooks Brothers, which dressed the American business class in pinstripes for more than 200 years, survived two world wars and the shift to casual dressing. But it was no match for the coronavirus pandemic.

Barchart Releases July U.S. Yield Forecasts for Corn and Soybeans
Barchart, a leading provider of data and technology services to the financial, media, and commodity industries, announces their July cmdty Yield Forecast for end of season yield at 173.8 bu/ac for corn and 48.8 bu/ac for soybeans in the U.S. This represents an increase in forecasted corn yield relative to the June 2nd report, which forecasted end of season yield for corn 172.4 bu/ac. The forecast for U.S. soybean yield remains at 48.8 bu/ac.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Trump’s Plan to Block Pensions From ESG Won’t Help Fossil Fuels; A new rule that aims to make it harder for pensions to invest in ESG based on old assumptions about policy and performance.
Kate Mackenzie – Bloomberg
The U.S. Department of Labor is concerned that America’s pension fund managers don’t know what they’re doing. That’s the rationale, at least, for the department’s newly proposed rule restricting the use of environmental, social, and governance considerations in investment decision-making. The language reaffirms the standard interpretation of fiduciary guidelines that only financial risks and returns can be considered in the management of U.S. employer-provided pension funds; “non-pecuniary goals,” for example relating to political or public policy, should not guide pension investments.

Al Gore: Where Sustainable Investing Goes From Here; The former U.S. vice president sees the coronavirus accelerating a focus on science and governmental change that will drive a sustainability revolution.
Emily Chasan – Bloomberg
At the end of last year, sustainable investing was having its biggest moment. Climate change was a hot topic and green energy stocks were hitting new highs. Then Covid-19 hit and everything changed. The global pandemic may be just what’s required to address the environmental crisis once and for all, says former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Lagarde puts green policy top of agenda in ECB bond buying; President wants central bank to ‘explore every avenue’ in fight against climate change
Roula Khalaf and Martin Arnold – FT
Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, has opened the door to using its EUR2.8tn asset purchase scheme to pursue green objectives, promising to examine changes to all of its operations in the fight against climate change.

US offshore wind power spending has oil in its sights; From zero 10 years ago, projects set for $78bn in capital investment this decade
Gregory Meyer – FT
US investment in offshore wind power is predicted to rise from nothing 10 years ago to a level that nearly matches spending on offshore oil drilling, as an energy source established in Europe grows in popularity across the Atlantic.

Chuka Umunna joins Edelman as head of ESG; Former MP and frontbencher says ‘a different model for capitalism’ is needed
Anna Gross – FT
Former MP Chuka Umunna is to join communications company Edelman as executive director and head of environmental, social and governance consultancy, drawing a line under his turbulent political career.

Women-Led Activist Firm Bets on ESG Reforms in Emerging Markets
Heejin Kim – Bloomberg
Cartica invests in smaller Brazil, China, South Korea stocks; Firm has pressed for more female members on corporate boards
A majority women-owned activist investment firm is pressing emerging-market companies for changes in the belief that more responsible management will generate better returns.


The Hottest Hedge-Fund Strategy Is Facing an Existential Crisis
Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Lansdowne shuts flagship fund amid lack of short opportunities; Some 87% of equity hedge funds lost money in March rout
The world’s most popular hedge-fund strategy is no longer working. Lansdowne Partners this week shuttered the long-short equity fund that made it famous, raising fears about the future of peers who make money by betting on winning stocks and shorting losers. Sloane Robinson also called it a day after more than 25 years of buying and selling equities.

The Taxman Cometh: Bankers Fleeing U.K. Lockdown Told to Return
Jan-Henrik Foerster, Stefania Spezzati, and Ruth David – Bloomberg
Extended stays abroad raise complicated tax questions; FCA regulators have indicated concerns to firms as well
Bankers who waited out Britain’s lockdown beyond the U.K.’s borders are being told by their employers that it’s time to return. Unless they leave vacation homes in France or their parents’ place in Poland soon, they risk complicating their residency status and, more importantly for a government running up historic peacetime deficits, depriving the Treasury of tax payments. Firms could also become liable for paying into national insurance systems in multiple countries.

Lansdowne to shut $2.8bn hedge fund after weak returns; Developed Markets strategy known for bet against Northern Rock during financial crisis
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Lansdowne Partners, one of Europe’s oldest and best-known hedge fund managers, is planning to shut its flagship hedge fund after a long period of poor performance.

BNY Mellon fund group promotes Newton head to top job; Appointment makes Hanneke Smits one of the most powerful women in asset management
Siobhan Riding – FT
BNY Mellon Investment Management, the $1.8tn asset manager, has appointed Hanneke Smits as chief executive, making the London-based executive one of the most powerful women in asset management.

Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital to seed equities hedge fund with $1bn; New start-up comes as fund launches in first quarter drops to lowest level since financial crisis
Ortenca Aliaj – FT
Louis Bacon, the billionaire founder of hedge fund manager Moore Capital who last year announced he would return money to outside investors, is investing $1bn of the firm’s capital to back one of its managers striking out alone.

Singapore-based Hontop Energy accused of suspicious trades; CIMB allegations involving oil deals are latest scandal to hit city-state’s commodities hub
Neil Hume and Stefania Palma – FT
Collapsed oil trader Hontop Energy has been accused by its biggest lender of “suspicious transactions” in the latest scandal to rock Singapore’s commodity sector.

BNY Mellon Investment Management appoints new chief executive; Mitchell Harris has confirmed plans to retire as CEO at BNY Mellon Investment Management.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
BNY Mellon has named the new CEO of its investment management division, following Mitchell Harris’ plans to step down and retire in October.

How Much Do We Really Know About Bank Risks? Post-crisis transparency is becoming more opaque by the minute.
Mark Gongloff – Bloomberg
Hey, remember the financial crisis? Or what some of us now call “the Good Old Days?” When, sure, all the money was on fire, but you could at least hug your parents without fear of putting them in the hospital?


The U.S.-China Rivalry Is Broadening From Trade to Everything
Enda Curran – Bloomberg
Worsening tensions add to threats to world growth outlook; Deepening differences over technology, Hong Kong, human rights
The U.S.-China rivalry is shifting into new and unpredictable areas, engulfing everything from a popular video app to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub. The latest tensions are overshadowing a trade agreement in January that was meant to draw a line under the trade war and be a boon for business. Instead, differences between both powers are deepening right at a time when the world economy is facing its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Hong Kong Reports 19 Local Virus Cases as Resurgence Fears Grow
Jinshan Hong and Natalie Lung – Bloomberg
New community infections are the most detected since April 1; The virus is also roaring back elsewhere like Australia, Japan
Hong Kong reported a second day of rising local infections, disrupting a long virus-free stretch that had allowed life in the Asian financial hub to largely return to normal. The city found 19 new infections in the community with six of unknown origin, government officials said in a press briefing on Wednesday — the most since April 1. This follows the disclosure of nine new local cases on Tuesday, five of unknown origin.

Japan Drafts ‘Digital New Deal’ to Upgrade Dated Admin Services
Yuko Takeo – Bloomberg
Japan is planning to upgrade the digital infrastructure of government ministries and public services next year after the coronavirus pandemic revealed the dated nature of its administrative operations. Japan Struggles to Pump Out $2 Trillion in Virus-Response Aid

China Industrial Firms Face Refinancing Risks as Debt Wall Looms
Bloomberg News
Offshore bond issuance drops to two-year low in first half; Signs of stress emerging with defaults, missed payments
Refinancing pressure is mounting at China’s industrial firms following unprecedented pandemic-induced shocks to the sector and a dearth of bond issuance in the past three months.

Why foreign investors are losing faith in Japanese stocks; Lack of progress on corporate governance reforms helps explain lost momentum
Leo Lewis – FT
Two things were surprising about Shinzo Abe’s September 2013 appearance at the New York Stock Exchange. The first was the spectacle of a Japanese prime minister playing the broker and urging investors to “buy my Abenomics”, referring to his signature revitalisation programme. The second was how many of them took the bait.


England’s farmers braced for post-Brexit subsidy gap; Biggest funding shake-up in decades as CAP payouts under EU are set to be wound down
Judith Evans – FT
For Will Benson, taking over the tenancy of a National Trust-owned sheep and cattle farm in the Lake District seven years ago was the fulfilment of a long-held dream. But he quickly realised that without government subsidies, his farm in Grasmere — where native sheep breeds graze freely on and below the fells — would make a steep loss.

UK Brexit negotiator meets EU counterpart in bid to revive talks
Heather Stewart and Lisa O’Carroll – Brexit
The government’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, is to host his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, for a private dinner in Downing Street on Tuesday evening in an attempt to revive flagging talks on a trade and security deal. Less than six months before the status quo transition period is due to end, both sides have expressed concern about the lack of progress in the negotiations.

Germany’s Merkel says EU must prepare for no-deal Brexit
Germany will continue to push to seal a new partnership agreement with Britain by the end of the year but the European Union should prepare for an abrupt split of ties from 2021, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. “Progress in negotiations thus far has been slim, to put it diplomatically,” Merkel told the European Parliament as Germany assumed the EU’s rotating presidency for the rest of the year.

What Happens Next With the U.K., Brexit and Coronavirus
It’s hard managing the greatest health crisis of the last century on the fly; it’s even harder when that health crisis is accompanied by a global economic depression. Some countries have seemingly pulled it off. The United Kingdom isn’t one of them. And we haven’t even gotten through Brexit yet. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently responsible for leading his country through three separate, though interrelated, once-in-a-lifetime crises of health, economics, and politics… The initial returns have been far from promising.

Scotland threatens to defy UK’s post-Brexit legislation – FT
Kanishka Singh – Reuters
The Scottish government has warned it would defy a proposed UK legislation that will allow Westminster unilaterally to set food and environmental standards, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.


The World’s Cruise Ships Can’t Sail. Now, What to Do With Them? Hurricanes, humidity, expired permits—they’re all costly threats to empty ships.
Fran Golden – Bloomberg
Hundreds of people lined the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde a few weeks ago for the rare sight of a small, high-end cruise ship sailing upriver—practically into the heart of the city. The Azamara Journey thrilled socially distanced onlookers by blasting its horn, typically a heralding of lively celebration. But this time nobody was there to wave on the deck of the 700-passenger ship, aside from the couple dozen members of its skeleton crew. This was no celebratory arrival, after all: it was a vessel on life support, just like every other ship dealing with the pandemic’s brutal wake.

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Past JLN Newsletters

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