First Read

ICAP’s blockchain initiative would slim down middle and back office processes
Sarah Rudolph, JLN

Excitement about blockchain technology and debate about the potential uses for it were top of mind at last month’s FIA Boca conference, and one of the more likely possibilities for its use is to streamline post trade operations for banks and their FCMs.

ICAP, the largest broker for OTC trading, just completed a successful proof of technology test case using blockchain technology and the company believes it could transform the middle and back office, cutting down dramatically on the number of processes necessary and therefore on time and cost.

“Banks own large amounts of technology and spend considerable time validating and re-checking data,” Jenny Knott, CEO of ICAP’s Post Trade Risk and Information Services division, told JLN. Sarbanes Oxley helped with this somewhat, but the processes banks must go through in clearing and settling a trade are still needlessly complex, she said.

The biggest problem is that the banks don’t feel they can trust their own data.

“The ability to transparently attest that the risk data in every platform worldwide has been aggregated robustly on a real time basis and can be disaggregated for decision making is a big step forward,” she said.

Read the rest of the story at


Bits & Pieces
By John J. Lothian

A correction from yesterday: Elisabeth Samuels is the marketing director, not managing director, of Green Key Markets.

Congratulations to Bill O’Brien on his new position with Direct Match, which is an ironic pairing with the company name given Bill’s well known conflict with one of the key subjects in the book “Flash Boys.” When I see a flash, I look for a Boy Scout with matches.

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2016 Exchange CEO Series: Hong Kong’s Charles Li Looks To Keep Building Bridges To China

As Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing looks at extending its services as a bridge to mainland China, HKEx CEO Charles Li said that it’s now embarking on a new three-year plan to bring China’s market to the rest of the world.

HKEx posted record earnings in 2015 and has a current market cap of about US$28 billion, posted the first full fiscal year with the London Metal Exchange under its umbrella and launched the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, which links the two equity and, potentially, derivatives markets. The exchange ranked 17th among global derivatives markets, with annual volumes up 12.4 percent to 359 million contracts in 2015, according to the FIA Annual Volume Survey. Watch the video »

Nasdaq adds Bloomberg’s Allan Schoenberg in global comms role
PR Week
Nasdaq has hired Bloomberg’s Allan Schoenberg as its VP of global communications. Schoenberg’s responsibilities include positioning Nasdaq as a thought leader, developing relationships with the press that raise the company’s profile, and creating strategies that support company initiatives.

***DA: JLN first reported Schoenberg’s move a couple weeks ago, but here is the story in PR Week. Of note, there is a job opening at Bloomberg for a senior communications professional. Also, see Schoenberg’s updated MarketsWiki bio HERE


Sol Waksman of BarclayHedge to receive CTA Expo’s Lifetime Achievement Award
CTA Expo
CTA Expo, with its fourth Lifetime Achievement Award, is honoring this year Sol Waksman, CEO and founder of BarclayHedge, a provider of alternative investment performance data, analytical tools, and consulting services for institutional and high net worth investors. The award will be presented during the CTA Expo’s annual New York conference, April 21, 2016.


Wednesday’s Click Race
Leading the pack yesterday, by a wide margin, was a thoughtfully written piece by Matt Levine in Bloomberg View, Prosecutors Are Not Amused by Hidden Trading Markups. From it we learned that the magic words “please” and “thank you” have been replaced by “Is this fee is the sole revenue for you or any of your affiliates?” Second prize goes to the story behind it, State Street bankers charged for secret commissions scheme, from the Trade News. Third place went to the latest in the LSEG/DB merger, London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet fires warning shot towards US rivals as merger battle heats up, from City AM.


The Panama Papers Actually Reflect Pretty Well on Capitalism
By Megan McArdle – Bloomberg
The leak of confidential documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca has had many interesting results. We’ve seen the biggest dump of confidential documents in history. Prominent international figures have been revealed as the holders, or near-holders, of shadowy offshore accounts. The prime minister of Iceland has resigned over allegations of impropriety.

***** Good article about the value of laws and enforcement to promote capitalism.


Split Fed sees ‘appreciable’ global risks
Sam Fleming in Washington – FT
Many Federal Reserve policymakers were warning of “appreciable” risks to the US economy from global developments at their latest meeting as a deeply divided body of officials debated how soon to further increase short-term interest rates.

***** When the AMC cable network show “The Walking Dead” is the number one television show, you know there are a lot of global risks out there.


Jamie Dimon Says J.P. Morgan Chase Could Absorb Every Big Bank’s Stress Test Losses; Capital, reserves and loss absorbing debt to take $350 billion of losses
The fortress is big enough to protect everyone. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. chief Jamie Dimon is fond of describing his bank’s balance sheet as a fortress. In his annual shareholder letter, released Wednesday night, Dimon points out that the bank could, if necessary, absorb the theoretical losses of every single bank subject to the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests.

***** How can Jamie Dimon walk down the street with an ego that big?


Burning Wood Is Metal Maker’s Plan to Revive U.K. Steel Industry
Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Switching to biomass from coal means cheaper power to run mill; Gupta to melt scrap rather than iron ore to profit amid glut.
Sanjeev Gupta is convinced there’s still a profitable life ahead for Britain’s nearly bankrupt steel industry, and he’s planning to use wood pellets and sea tides to save it.


MarketsWiki Spotlight
IOMA: WFE’s Clearing & Derivatives Conference, 17-19 April, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The World Federation of Exchanges represents 64 regulated exchanges across the world, and acts on behalf of a total of 99 organizations including affiliate members and clearinghouses.


The WFE’s IOMA conference brings together clearinghouses, exchanges, regulators and other stakeholders from around the world to discuss the key market structure and business issues of the day. The focus of the 2-day annual conference is post-trade and derivatives market issues. For more on the WFE, visit its page in MarketsWiki HERE

“Company Spotlight”
is brought to you by:


Lead Stories

Direct Match hires ex-equity exchange chief in launch push
Joe Rennison and Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
A former US equity exchange chief has joined a start-up Treasury trading platform, hoping to break open a market historically dominated by large banks.

***** See the WSJ story on Bill O’Brien’s latest job here. Or the Bloomberg version here

Vitriolic Presidential Primaries Quelling Economic Uncertainty
Michelle Jamrisko – Bloomberg
Falling policy index reflects lack of real debate on issues; Trump, Sanders trade rhetoric could boost gauge at some point
Americans can’t be blamed for thinking this year’s presidential contest is more about style than substance. That’s what the numbers are saying, too.

EU Lawmakers Approve MiFID II Market Rule Delay by One Year
Julia-Ambra Verlaine – Bloomberg
European lawmakers agreed to delay the overhaul of Europe-wide market-rules known as MiFID II by a year in a vote on Thursday in Brussels. The European Parliament adopted the European Commission’s proposal to postpone the start date for MiFID II, the complex law that affects nearly every financial firm operating in the 28-nation bloc, by a year to 2018 and solidified a position on “targeted amendments” that should be made, including exemptions on certain securities-financing transactions in the law.

Key Pieces of Dimon’s Annual Letter: Risks, Rates and Trading
Hugh Son – Bloomberg
Brexit outcomes are `large and potentially unknown,’ he says; He and Pinto list areas where investment bank is recruiting
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon used his annual letter to shareholders to warn about emerging geopolitical risks, predict U.S. interest rates are more likely to rise — potentially too fast — than go negative, and explain why he’s standing by certain types of trading while rivals pull back.

Wall Street Dodged a Bullet on the Retirement Fiduciary Rule
by Joshua Brown – Fortune
The industry is 5 years ahead of regulators.
I spent yesterday at the Tiburon CEO Summit in lower Manhattan rubbing elbows with some of the most powerful people in the wealth management industry. But the name on everybody’s lips was actually an acronym: DOL.

Financial Advisers Are No Longer Allowed to Rip You Off So Much, Huzzah
Hamilton Nolan – Gawker
That odd sound you hear this morning is the groaning of a million financial con artists who are complaining that their business model—ripping people off—is being undermined by good governance. Dang.

Why Dividends Are a Destructive Desire for Bank Investors; Bank of International Settlements chief economist believes that banks are paying out too much
Investors’ attachment to dividends may be doing them more harm than good, especially in banking.

Wall Street Is Edging Toward Win on Derivatives Capital Rule
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Basel proposes new ways to reduce exposure to derivatives; Banks had argued that regulations were too expensive, onerous
Wall Street is making progress in its effort to soften a crisis-era capital requirement that banks argue places onerous expenses on trading.

Hedge Funds Are the New Venture Firms
In Silicon Valley, hedge funds with billion-dollar reserves are becoming the new venture capitalists. Tiger Global, a $20 billion investment firm started by Chase Coleman as a hedge fund, is one of three investors that has helped Nubank, a digital finance company in Brazil, raise tens of millions of dollars.

Fintech Firms Are Taking On the Big Banks, but Can They Win?
Andrew Ross Sorkin – NY Times
Banking has long been viewed as one of the last traditional, old-school, stuck-in-the-past industries. When you think of banking, you might still think of wood-paneled walls and pinstripe suits.

JPMorgan chief Dimon warns on dangers of undermining US banks
Ben McLannahan in New York – FT
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, has mounted a defence of the biggest US banks, saying attempts to undermine them could cost America its global leadership in financial services — most likely to China.

‘Mad Punter’ Used Journalists to Beat Stock Market
Liam Vaughan, Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Iraj Parvizi testifying in biggest U.K. insider trading trial; Alleges he could ‘get a feel’ for next day newspaper stories
One of the traders on trial in the U.K.’s biggest ever insider trading probe said he spoke to journalists at the Financial Times and Daily Mail newspapers to try to get clues on what they would be publishing the following day.


Summers Criticizes Minneapolis Fed President’s ‘Too Big to Fail’ Push; Former Treasury secretary calls Neel Kashkari’s speech ‘blatantly political’
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers on Wednesday sharply criticized the “style and tone” of Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari’s recent push to address whether taxpayers may have to rescue the biggest U.S. banks in the future.

OCC Gratified by Changes to DOL Fiduciary Rule That Benefit Users of Listed Options
Business Wire
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization and a leader of the U.S. Securities Markets Coalition, said today that it is gratified that the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule appropriately moved away from limiting the ability of investors to hold listed options in their retirement accounts. However, OCC continues to review the final rule to determine whether it may inappropriately limit options education provided by firms to their retirement customers.

The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA, ESMA – ESAs) has finalised its proposal for regulatory technical standards (RTS) on Key Information Documents (KIDs) for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs).

Low-Key Lew Becomes Sledgehammer With $160 Billion Deal Breakup
Andrew Mayeda – Bloomberg
Treasury secretary known as cautious, behind-the-scenes player; `He doesn’t have much of an ego,’ predecessor Paulson says
Jacob J. Lew did something that’s been a rarity in his three-plus years as U.S. Treasury secretary: surprise people.

Basel Committee Move Is Win for Wall Street; Regulators propose switching to new method on derivatives, which would benefit firms such as J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley
Wall Street scored a victory Wednesday as global regulators proposed critical changes in how banks account for their derivative exposures.

Esma hits out at trade repositories over data delays
By James Rundle – Financial News
Europe’s top markets regulator has toughened its data standards for trade repositories just days after fining Europe’s largest facility for reporting failures. The way in which data is provided has been “insufficient”, it said, as it announced the amended rules.

Meeting investors’ expectations
We are reporting the findings of our thematic review that considered how firms ensure they manage funds and segregated mandates as they say they will. We also considered how firms monitor the appropriate distribution of their funds.

FCA reminds asset managers of importance of meeting investors’ expectations
Asset managers included in a review undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are generally taking the right steps to ensure they manage funds as they say they will. But while most funds in the sample are investing in line with their stated strategy, the FCA did find examples of unclear product descriptions and inadequate governance or oversight.

FCA warns of asset manager failings on closet trackers and soft closed funds; Thematic review showed most funds correctly marketed
Daniel Flynn – InvestmentWeek
The Financial Conduct Authority has urged asset managers to ensure correct management and marketing of funds, after finding several closet trackers and soft closed funds with unclear product descriptions and inadequate governance.

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

London Stock Exchange Group joins Climate Bonds Partnership Program
London Stock Exchange Group
Becomes first global exchange group to partner with the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI); LSEG committed supporter of green financing; Builds on launch of dedicated green bond segments
London Stock Exchange Group today announces that it has become the first global exchange group to become an official partner of the Climate Bonds Initiative. LSEG is a committed supporter of green finance and in July 2015 launched a full range of dedicated fixed income segments specifically designed for green bond issuance. Today there are 27 green bonds* listed

Casablanca Stock Exchange unveils first 12 companies joining ELITE in Morocco; ELITE Morocco is the first launch of the ELITE model in partnership with another exchange; ELITE is LSEG’s successful programme for ambitious high growth companies; Demonstrates LSEG’s commitment to supporting worldwide SME growth & open access philosophy; Follows collaboration agreement signed between LSEG and CSE in 2015
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today announces that its successful business development programme, ELITE, has been launched by Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) in Morocco. CSE has unveiled 12 ambitious Moroccan companies joining the ELITE programme, which also marks the first launch of the ELITE model in partnership with another exchange.

Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange Kick-off TSX Ignite Live Event Series
Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) launched this year’s TSX Ignite live event series today in Toronto. Founded in 2014 in collaboration with key members of the Canadian start-up community including incubators and accelerators, this innovative program is designed to help support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

CBOE Holdings CEO Edward Tilly Comment On DOL Fiduciary Proposal
Comment from CBOE Holdings Chief Executive Officer Edward T. Tilly on the Department of Labor Fiduciary Proposal:

CME Chairman Terry Duffy: Timing a Rebound in U.S. Oil Production
Fox Business
Terry Duffy, CME Group executive chairman and president said on FOX Business Network’s Countdown to the Closing Bell, the problem is simple: Producers are getting out of the market because the revenues simply aren’t there.


Wall St is pretty certain Hillary Clinton will be president
Jeff Cox – CNBC
In the polling places and on the airwaves, there remains a high level of uncertainty about who will be the next U.S. president. Not so on Wall Street and the markets.

The Alt-Right Is Wrong: Trump Is an Enemy of Western Civilization, Not Its Champion; If your candidate opposes free trade and free speech, he’s not a defender of classical liberalism.
Robby Soave –
Some of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters believe he is the only candidate who will defend Western culture from its enemies both foreign (illegal immigrants, Muslims) and domestic (cultural relativists, campus leftists). The U.S. is besieged by forces that want to destroy its cultural heritage, and Trump is the only one who gets that, they say.

`Brexit’ Risk and Investors’ View of U.K. Interest Rates; Market pricing could shift dramatically in the event of stay vote
Emma Charlton – Bloomberg
“Brexit” — it’s clouding the outlook for everything, especially U.K. interest rates.

Clinton attacks Sanders over banks break-up proposal
Courtney Weaver in Washington – FT
After a bruising loss in Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton is hitting back at Bernie Sanders, alleging that the Vermont senator is not ready for the White House.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Hedge Funds With Billions at Stake Face Pirate Rules in Iceland
Omar Valdimarsson – Bloomberg
Pirate Party would be biggest in parliament in snap election; Iceland still needs to get through $2.4 billion in FX sales
With Iceland’s government at the brink since losing a prime minister this week, it’s worth looking to the polls to see who would win an election.

Hedge Funds Have a Lot Riding on Iceland Coalition Surviving
Omar Valdimarsson – Bloomberg
Finance Minister says ending capital controls most important; Iceland 10-year yields jump to highest since mid-February
Hedge funds waiting for the final exit from Iceland’s capital controls have a lot riding on the survival of the current government coalition.

So Just How Much of an Overshoot on Inflation Will the Fed Tolerate?; An extra 50 basis points above target may be the limit for the U.S. central bank.
Timothy A Duy – Bloomberg
The author is the professor of practice and senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon and the author of Tim Duy’s Fed Watch.
The Federal Reserve formally adopted a 2 percent inflation target back in January of 2012.

Money Again Seen Making Economies Go Around for Central Bankers
Simon Kennedy – Bloomberg
Standard Chartered economists say ‘Divisia’ measure works; Money supply growth suggests stimulus needed, report says
It was a decade ago last month that the Federal Reserve stopped publishing a once key-measure of money supply.

Mega deals morph into mega problems for Wall Street
If 2015 was a dream year for Wall Street’s top dealmakers, 2016 is starting to take a nightmarish turn.

Private equity firms are raising the roof
By Becky Pritchard and Yolanda Bobeldijk – Financial News
It’s nice to be told things upfront – how many bedrooms the house you are buying has or the maximum speed of your new car, say.

Banks & Brokers

Banking’s Biggest Mess Has Legs
Duncan Mavin – Bloomberg Gadfly
Italy’s bank chiefs gathered in Rome this week to discuss what could be done to solve the industry’s woes. So far, they have announced precisely nothing.

Downfall of ex-Goldman banker linked to Malaysian financier
By Post Staff
Ex-Federal Reserve worker gets off easy for leaking documents
Former Goldman Sachs highflier Tim Leissner was brought down by his ties to a murky Malaysian financier at the center of a massive money-laundering scandal, a new report reveals.

BNY Mellon Markets appoints Piers Murray as COO
BNY Mellon has appointed Piers Murray as chief operating officer (COO) of its Markets business, effective 15 June, 2016. Murray will be based in New York and report to Michelle Neal, president of BNY Mellon Markets.

Citigroup’s new bonus cap fails to sway executive pay critics
Alistair Gray in New York – FT
Citigroup has failed to mollify critics of its executive pay scheme even after the bank introduced a new cap on bonuses to address their concerns.

Clearing & Settlement

OCC Gratified by Changes to DOL Fiduciary Rule That Benefit Users of Listed Options; Remains Focused on whether Rule Limits Options Education Provided by Firms
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, and a leader of the U.S. Securities Markets Coalition, said today that it is gratified that the Department of Labor’s final fiduciary rule appropriately moved away from limiting the ability of investors to hold listed options in their retirement accounts. However, OCC continues to review the final rule to determine whether it may inappropriately limit options education provided by firms to their retirement customers.

Brazil’s Cetip agrees to BM&FBovespa offer, source says
Cetip SA Mercados Organizados (CTIP3.SA), Brazil’s biggest securities clearinghouse, has agreed on most terms of a revamped, unsolicited offer by bourse BM&FBovespa SA (BVMF3.SA), a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. The boards of both companies, which are based in São Paulo, were expected to give their blessing to the deal within the “next 48 hours,” said the source, who requested anonymity because the process is under way.

Clearing the pitch
Business Standard
Trading derivatives entails taking a calculated risk and hoping for the best. So does overseeing the banks that do it. That helps make sense of the Basel Committee’s latest consultation on how these weapons of financial mass destruction should be regulated.

Performance Bond Requirements: Crude Oil and Refined Products Margins – Effective April 7
CME Group

Product Modification Summary: Delisting of Five (5) Gulf Coast Gasoline Futures Contracts – Effective April 6, 2016
CME Group

Wall Street Moves to a Win on Derivatives Rule
University of Houston Finance Professor Craig Pirrong discusses derivatives regulation, clearing houses and the banking industry. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.”

Indexes & Products

What next for Thomson Reuters’ FX benchmark?
By: Solomon Teague – Euromoney
Thomson Reuters has acquired the WM benchmarks business in a move that makes it arguably the single most-important institution in the global benchmarks industry. It has no plans to change the offering for now, but some wonder whether it could begin a period of change in the broader business, with new providers competing on calculation methodology.

Stability and style: two traits, one benchmark
Catherine Yoshimoto, Sr. Index Product Manager, FTSE Russell
As the indexing landscape continues to evolve, new index launches abound. But how does an index provider know whether a new index will be of value to investment professionals? As demonstrated with FTSE Russell’s Stability combined style indexes, assessing how new indexes would have performed in various market environments can indicate whether they represent distinct new styles—thus making them useful for investors looking to further segment the opportunity set.

S&P/CSE Sector and Industry Group Indices Jointly Launched by S&P Dow Jones Indices, Colombo Stock
PR Newswire
The S&P/CSE Sector and Industry Group Indices were developed based on the universe of common stocks listed on the CSE. Featuring a transparent, rules-based methodology, all indices are weighted by their total market capitalization. The index family includes the following sector indices, which are further divided into industry group indices

Necessary, but not sufficient
Indexology – S&P Dow Jones Indices
The conversation around climate change has a propensity to become mired in polemic, politics, and accusations of bad faith. This is a shame. It is quite possible to examine the current trends in the light of objective and impartial data. Through the range and scope of our indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices can provide data on where the impact might be felt, and which investment styles may benefit. Such analysis of the make-up, importance and distribution of corporate emissions is provided in our latest paper: the S&P Dow Jones Indices Carbon Emitter Scorecard.


Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology Proves Itself in Wall Street Test
Banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. have successfully tested the record-keeping technology behind bitcoin on credit-default swaps, a move that could help it gain a foothold in mainstream finance. The new test showed that a portion of that record-keeping task could be accomplished using “blockchain,” a common ledger that each party can view in much the same way that multiple users can work on shared computer documents.

BNP Paribas and SmartAngels blockchain pilot targets Europe’s growing crowdfunding sector
Brave New Coin
BNP Paribas Securities Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group. With approximately US$9 trillion in assets under custody, Accuity’s Bankers Almanac ranks BNP Paribas as the largest bank in France, and fourth largest in the world.

Move Over, Rat Pack and Brat Pack: Here Comes the Snap Pack
On a warm-for-March night, a foursome led by a 23-year-old fledgling fashion designer named Andrew Warren shimmied themselves into an Uber S.U.V. They were heading from a pajama-themed party at the Dolce & Gabbana store on Fifth Avenue to dinner at a new restaurant, Vandal, on the Bowery.


Ex-Barclays Trader Used Greek Bar as Libor-Fixing Lure, SFO Says
Jeremy Hodges – Bloomberg
Five ex-Barclays traders on trial for conspiracy to defraud; 170 requests made to change libor rate over two years: SFO
One of five former Barclays Plc traders accused of rigging benchmark interest rates extended an open invitation to his bar on a Greek island and offered a glowing mention in his memoirs in exchange for help keeping Libor where he wanted it, U.K. fraud prosecutors said at a London trial.

FINRA’s Overall Sanctions: The Dramatic Increase in 2015
by Smarsh
According to an annual analysis of FINRA sanctions released by law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, overall sanctions from the regulator increased dramatically in 2015. That’s because the amount of restitution (payments for harmed investors) ordered by FINRA tripled, even though fines declined from 2014’s total.

Best Places to Work for Women; Why do so many successful Chicago women leave their jobs? And what can companies do to encourage female talent to stick around?
A new survey commissioned by Crain’s and executive women’s group the Chicago Network reveals a startling statistic: Of the 1,000-plus women who took the survey, 42 percent voluntarily left positions within the past five years because they didn’t feel recognized and didn’t see opportunities for advancement. That’s 2 women for every 5 across a breadth of industries who are highly concentrated in management, upper management and the C-suite.

Environmental & Energy

Google to Provide Seed Funding for Renewable Energy in Asia
Bloomberg News
Effort to start in Taiwan with certificates for clean power; In July, Google committed to boosting clean-energy purchases
Google is providing seed funding to the Center for Resource Solutions to set up renewable energy certification programs across Asia, which will help companies to know the power they buy comes from clean sources.

China’s ‘teapot’ oil refineries pose challenge to majors
Lucy Hornby in Beijing – FT
China’s independent oil refineries, known as “teapots”, are gaining in market share as a slowing economy rewards their more flexible business model, piling further pressure on margins at the country’s beleaguered oil majors.

Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels; Record clean energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1.
Tom Randall – Bloomberg
Wind and solar have grown seemingly unstoppable. While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels.

21 Countries That Reduced Carbon Emissions While Growing Their GDP
By Nate Aden – World Resources Institute
As countries embark on the transition to a new climate economy, there’s a debate about whether growth can drive or even coexist with, climate stabilization.

Carbon taxes pave way for economic prosperity, says report
By Charles Mandel – National Observer
Canadian provinces that introduce carbon taxes will reap enormous economic windfalls that will enable them to lower taxes, improve crumbling infrastructure and more, according to a new report.

7-Year-Old Files Climate Change Lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Pakistan
A 7-year-old girl, Rabab Ali, through her father and pro bono environmental attorney Qazi Ali Athar, and on behalf of all the Pakistani people, filed a climate change lawsuit Tuesday against the Federation of Pakistan and the Province of Sindh in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.


Firmer yen flies in the face of negative rates
Jennifer Hughes and Michael Mackenzie – FT
When a central bank implements negative interest rate policy, one of the effects should be a sharply weaker currency. So-called NIRP has, however, backfired in the case of Japan and the eurozone, with both the euro and the yen appreciating in value this year.

Barclays to Sell Singapore and Hong Kong Wealth Management Business
Barclays said on Thursday that it had agreed to sell its wealth and investment management business in Singapore and in Hong Kong to the Bank of Singapore for $320 million.

Korea-Mexico Summit: Korea, Mexico Open New Chapter for Mutual Growth
At the summit meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on April 4, President Park Geun-hye jumpstarted the resumption of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Korea and Mexico, which holds the key to Korean companies’ advancement into the fast-growing Mexican market expansion and the large-scale North American and Latin American markets.

Hong Kong Faces Ghosts of the Asian Financial Crisis, Daiwa Says
Hong Kong, which for years rode a wave of cheap capital and China’s economic boom, is as vulnerable now as it was before the 1990’s Asian financial crisis as those drivers reverse, according to analysis by Daiwa Capital Markets.

Frontier Markets

Meet Africa’s first tech Unicorn – helped by MTN, setting stage for a flood
While tech “unicorns” coming out of Silicon Valley are starting to sound like a dime a dozen, the first tech unicorn to come out of Africa, Africa Internet Group (AIG), is causing a stir. Growing into a unicorn — a privately held technology company valued at $1 billion or more — is a significant milestone for AIG, says Wharton management professor David Hsu.

From Russia to Thailand, with love , Opinion News & Top Stories
The Straits Times
Shunned by allies since its May 2014 coup, facing mounting political resistance at home, and battling economic headwinds, the Thai military junta has few options that could help patch its wafer-thin political legitimacy. Fortunately for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government, help could soon arrive from an equally isolated country – Russia.

Exim Bank keen on Laos
The Manila Times Online
THE state-run Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank) plans to set up an office in Laos this year to help investors make inroads in the neighboring country. The bank set its sights on Laos because of the country’s high growth potential, said chairman Manas Jamveha.


The Sharing Economy Doesn’t Share the Wealth; As Airbnb and Uber inch toward profits, tax authorities worry.
David Kocieniewski – Bloomberg
Every time Ian Haines rents out his spare room in the Australian port city of Albany, Airbnb takes a 13 percent cut. Haines, who’s semi-retired, uses the extra money to supplement his income running a local farmers market. He says he’s careful to pay taxes on the Airbnb money, because the San Francisco company may report the transactions to the Australian government.


Alert: Tax Scam Warning from IRS
The IRS has seen a surge of scams, see the most recent below. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

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