Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
I don’t recommend this as an investment technique, but if you are a billionaire I guess you can do what you want. Bloomberg has a story titled “Billionaire Took Psychedelics, Got Bitcoin and Is Now Into SPACs; German investor Christian Angermayer has made a fortune on the risky and faddish. His portfolio includes crypto, weed and space travel.” — Bloomberg
Here is some good news. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon doesn’t expect stocks to crash anytime soon – but warns against ignoring Warren Buffett and trying to time the market. — Insider
The MarketsMedia 2021 Markets Choice Award winners have been announced. You will have to click on the link to find out who won. — MarketsMedia
Don’t forget to register for Eurex’s webinar titled “Finding smarter ways to interact with today’s FX futures liquidity” on April 28 at 9:30 a.m. CT. The webinar features representatives from Eurex, Flow Traders, MASA Capital, RCM-X and economist Marc Chandler for a soup-to-nuts discussion across the entire FX trade cycle. Capture FX trade recommendations, ensure you are utilizing the most efficient FX products & implementation processes, and maximize your access to new pools of deeper reliable FX liquidity. Register HERE.
Katten financial markets and funds partner Paul McCurdy will participate in the “Banding Together: Reddit, Robinhood and Regulatory Response to Market Populism” webinar on Thursday, May, 6. Panelists will discuss the events of earlier in the year, when a band of retail investors shook financial markets by driving up shares and creating a short squeeze for hedge funds. — Katten
This summer, the LME will be adding a UBC scrap contract to their aluminium suite. Join their webinar on May 5 at 16:00 BST with Argus Media to find out more about the UBC recycling industry, price development and their drive to support the circular economy. — LME
Who has less oxygen, India’s hospitals or the missing Indonesian submarine? O2 is more precious than we think. — Bloomberg
It was a year ago that bleach injections were considered as a way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We have come a long way since then, though I do wonder if bleach injections cause blood clots. — Politico
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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 Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) this week published a white paper that looked at how capital markets operations responded during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as where firms are focused in a post-pandemic future. Among the findings was evidence that cash fixed income and cash equities were the most impacted by pandemic-related market volatility. Some 30 percent to 35 percent of buy-side and the sell-side firms reported operational post-trade processing challenges, the research found. Read the paper, “Managing through a Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Capital Markets Operations,” here.~SC
MIT Economics Professor Daron Acemoglu to Receive CME Group-MSRI Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications; Panel of leading economists to discuss perils and promise of big data
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), announced its 15th Innovative Quantitative Applications Prize recipient. Daron Acemoglu, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is the 2020 CME Group-MSRI Prize winner for his work in economics and mathematics. A virtual event honoring Acemoglu will be hosted by CME Group on May 5, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. CT.
*****It was nice to see Leo Melamed quoted in this CME Group press release.~JJL
U.S. SEC picks first woman of color to lead enforcement
Chris Prentice – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday named former federal prosecutor Alex Oh as its new head of enforcement, the first woman of color to lead the division, which plays a crucial role in policing U.S. financial markets. The appointment of Oh, a native of Seoul who moved to Maryland when she was 11, is the first big move under Chair Gary Gensler and comes amid a diversity push by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The destructive green fantasy of the bitcoin fanatics; Imagine bitcoin has no environmental problem — it’s easy if you try.
Jamie Powell and Jemima Kelly – FT
You have probably heard it said that bitcoin is really bad for the environment. You might have heard it said that mining it — i.e., the computer processing that is required to produce new “coins” — is more energy-intensive than [insert increasingly large nation state]. It’s one of the major issues that crypto sceptics— crypto FUDsters, if you will — have with it, in fact.
*****Is ‘bitcoin fanatic’ redundant?~JJL
Robinhood, Three Friends and the Fortune That Got Away; A trio of school photographers in California fell into the online trading frenzy last year, emboldened by dreams, early wins and a circle of online cohorts
Rachel Louise Ensign – FT
Chris Garcia set up a second monitor at his desk in mid-January to display his Robinhood Markets Inc. brokerage account. He turned to it often, watching his balance grow to $23,400, more than four times his initial investment. Mr. Garcia, a 32-year-old school photographer, made more money in a few days from the market than a month’s work at his day job.
*****Interesting story, worth the read.~JJL
Biden Wants the Richest to Help Out the Rest
Michael Winfrey – WSJ
After one of the most prosperous decades in history for U.S. investors, President Joe Biden is ready to make the richest share their wealth. He plans to propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for those who earn $1 million or more, ending a century-old precedent of taxing investments less relative to wages and salaries, Laura Davison and Allyson Versprille report.
*****When much is given, much will be required.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Thursday was an announcement of industry news, R.J. O’Brien Promotes Christopher Bove to Chief Compliance Officer. The second was from the Financial Times, Vaccines are working: charts that show the Covid endgame. And the third was from Bloomberg, Work From Home to Lift Productivity by 5% in Post-Pandemic U.S.
CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Dogecoin (DOGE)
Users on Twitter began hyping up April 20th as “Dogeday” last week, a day in which many predicted DOGE would reach $0.69 per coin, which would nearly triple its price. The market cap of Dogecoin, the meme-inspired cryptocurrency originally created as a joke, tripled on April 16th for a total of over $52 billion, overtaking XRP as the 4th-biggest cryptocurrency by market cap. Although DOGE’s rally ran contrary to a weekend bitcoin and altcoin crash, the joke coin depicting a surprised Shiba Inu did not reach the price point on April 20th that many had predicted.
203,162,505 pages viewed; 25,695 pages; 231,882 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
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JPMorgan apologises for backing breakaway football Super League; US bank’s underwriting of EUR3.25bn in funding had been instrumental in creating competition that collapsed this week
Samuel Agini and Arash Massoudi – FT
JPMorgan Chase has apologised for backing the controversial European football Super League that collapsed this week following an outcry from fans, politicians, teams and players. The US bank was instrumental in the creation of the Super League by committing to underwrite a EUR3.25bn grant which, in effect, provided the start-up funding to rebel clubs to launch the breakaway contest.
Hedge Fund Collapse in Sweden Puts Spotlight Back on Quants
Love Liman – Bloomberg
IPM shuts its doors after losing $4 billion in the pandemic; More hedge funds closed than opened in last six years
As one of Sweden’s oldest hedge funds shuts its doors, its chief acknowledges the firm’s quantitative strategies failed to cope with pandemic-induced market ructions. Lars Ericsson, the chairman of soon-to-be defunct Informed Portfolio Management, said the fund’s medium-term models failed to handle the shock that hit markets in early 2020.
Alex Oh Named Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Director; Veteran defense attorney and former prosecutor is first major hire announced under regulator’s new leadership
Dave Michaels – WSJ
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has hired a veteran defense attorney and former prosecutor to run the agency’s enforcement division, the first major hire announced under the regulator’s new leadership. Alex Oh, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, will assume command of the 1,300-person division, which enforces civil securities laws, the SEC announced Thursday. Ms. Oh had recently co-chaired Paul Weiss’s anticorruption and foreign-bribery practice and worked on other types of securities and accounting cases, according to her law firm bio.
SGX RegCo, NUS Business School, KPMG in Singapore study shows ESG, particularly climate, important in key financial institutions’ asset allocation, lending and underwriting; Escalating stakeholder expectations, government and tax incentives are top drivers pushing the sustainability agenda in the financial services sector
Financial institutions (FIs) in Singapore place significant importance on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance, with a heavy focus on climate considerations. Majority of them said they evaluate clients’ sustainability disclosures, especially in the environmental factors of energy, water, waste and effluents, as part of their decision-making process. This is among findings from a joint study by Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s Centre for Governance and Sustainability (CGS) and KPMG in Singapore on “Perspectives of Financial institutions on Sustainability Disclosures”.
SEC chief plots first moves in new role
Sylvan Lane – The Hill
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler’s lengthy to-do list for regulating U.S. financial markets has Wall Street anxiously awaiting his first moves. The SEC’s top official took office this week amid a yearlong financial market frenzy and a flood of novel investment products with unknown implications for the broader investment industry.
Swedish quant fund IPM to close after assets tumble; Fund posted a string of weak returns as it struggled to navigate choppy markets
Laurence Fletcher – FT
Informed Portfolio Management is to close after a run of poor returns and as investors have yanked money from the computer-driven hedge fund. Stockholm-based IPM, one of Europe’s oldest computer-driven hedge fund managers, said on Thursday that it would cease all investment activities and return investor cash.
The war on Big Oil has begun
Rick Newman – Yahoo Finance
The oil and gas industry has gotten its way in Washington for decades, thanks to favorable tax policy and gentler climate regulation than in many other developed nations. That joyride may be ending. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon unveiled legislation on April 21 that would repeal longstanding tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and replace them with new ones that would incentivize clean energy. Wyden’s bill meshes with President Biden’s broad climate plan and other legislation meant to put the Biden plan into action.
Two Blowups Have Credit Suisse Paying the Price of Risky Business; CEO Gottstein needs to find a formula that makes money for the bank without putting the franchise on the line.
Patrick Winters, James Hertling – Bloomberg
On the evening of Feb. 6, 2020, Thomas Gottstein gathered his top lieutenants at his Zurich office to let them in on his secret: In a few hours, he would be named chief executive officer of Credit Suisse Group AG. They shared a group hug, and the new boss said he was going to buy some more stock in the bank.
António Horta-Osório: ‘Lloyds was about to die’; The incoming Credit Suisse chief on his battles in finance, stress, tabloid troubles — and why Rafael Nadal is his idol
Patrick Jenkins – FT
Next week, after a successful 15-year spell in the UK, António Horta-Osório will board a plane to Zurich hoping to have a similar impact in Switzerland.
Where is my family office? With assets of less than $100m, a private wealth service has seemed off-limits — until now
Tom Braithwaite – FT
After filing tax returns in two countries, reviewing pensions and investments and still making little dent in a forbidding pile of paperwork, I have come to a major decision: I need a family office.
Bill Hwang, Isaac Newton and your money; Are retail investors safe in today’s heady stock markets?
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Sir Isaac Newton was a giant of science and, for many years, Master of the Royal Mint. But neither mathematical brilliance nor financial experience saved him from investment disaster.
AllianceBernstein executes first block bond trade with multiple buyers on LTX; Recently patented RFX proprietary technology and protocol powered the trade by AllianceBernstein on LTX platform from Broadridge.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
AllianceBernstein has become the first buy-side firm to execute a corporate bond block transaction with aggregated liquidity sourced from four buyers via the Broadridge AI trading platform, LTX. The first-of-its-kind fixed income trade leveraged the LTX platform’s dealer network, allowing AllianceBernstein to sell a large block of bonds and access the aggregated liquidity from the buyers simultaneously and in real-time.
CME unveils term SOFR in face of ARRC doubts; Exchange group says benchmark aligns with ARRC principles – but committee has pushed back endorsement plans Risk.net montage
Helen Bartholomew – Risk.net
CME has forged ahead with its term version of SOFR – the official replacement for US dollar Libor – just a month after a regulator-backed working group said it would not be able to endorse such a rate before year-end. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee, which is tasked with weaning US markets off Libor, last month pushed back its planned June 2021 endorsement of a term SOFR benchmark. It argued the rate would not be robust as there was not enough volume in the derivatives that would
CEOs Speak About the Economy, the World Reopening, Crypto and More; The leaders of Citigroup, Delta and IBM, among others, discuss how business is evolving, as Covid-19 vaccinations roll out
A Wall Street Journal Roundup
This is what some of the world’s corporate leaders have said recently on issues ranging from China to the chip shortage.
Note to Junior Bankers: Stress Can Be Good; I burned out at Lehman Brothers and wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Jared Dillian – Bloomberg
An HSBC Holdings Plc contractor named Jonathan Frostick recently wrote an introspective post on LinkedIn about surviving a heart attack. What was striking about the item is that upon experiencing chest pains, Frostick immediately thought not of his wife and family, but how inconvenient it was given all the outstanding projects he had left to finish for HSBC.
Blackouts Triggered Gas Shutdowns Amid Texas Freeze, Report Says
Sergio Chapa – Bloomberg
Loss of power to wells, pipelines ranked as top factor in drop; Deadly winter storm has led to calls for more grid oversight
Power outages were the main culprit behind the shutdown of natural gas production and pipelines during the deep freeze in Texas earlier this year, according to a report commissioned by an industry group.
Chicago Professor Jenkins Talks Inequality in Muni Market
Joseph Mysak Jr – Bloomberg
Academic’s book studies postwar San Francisco muni finances; Communities still structurally rely on market actors, he says
Destin Jenkins is an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago and author of “The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City.” I was so taken by the book, which presents the postwar history of the San Francisco municipal bond market and which I reviewed on April 9, that I followed up with him, first to ask about how he came to write about municipal bonds, but also to bring his story into the present day. The interview, conducted via email, has been edited for length and clarity.
Archegos Thwarts Nomura’s Push to Join Wall Street Elite
Takashi Nakamichi – Bloomberg
Japanese broker faces estimated $2 billion claim from collapse; Fallout exposes risks of Nomura’s U.S. prime brokerage push
News of the blowup spread through financial circles in Tokyo to the pulse of a familiar refrain: not again. Nomura Holdings Inc. had run into trouble far from home, this time, with the giant implosion of Archegos Capital Management in New York. Few institutions have been as humbled by the Archegos debacle as Nomura, the forever-striving giant of Japanese finance. The question now is how, or perhaps whether, Nomura can shake off this latest blow and press on with its global ambitions. Analysts wonder if heads will roll over the Archegos losses or if Nomura will quit certain businesses.
Oxford Malaria Vaccine Becomes First to Reach WHO Efficacy Goal
Janice Kew – Bloomberg
Vaccine, trialed in 450 children, shows 77% effectiveness; Serum Institute deal promises large-scale and low-cost supply
The first malaria vaccine to show more than 75% efficacy, a World Health Organization specified goal, has been developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, according to a study published in The Lancet journal. The shot against the mosquito-borne disease was trialed in 450 children ages five to 17 months in Burkina Faso and shows a “favorable safety profile and was well-tolerated,” according to the team at the university’s Jenner Institute.
Five Things to Watch as J&J Covid Vaccine Gets CDC Panel Review
Angelica LaVito – Bloomberg
Experts meet Friday to discuss side effects, recommendations; Vaccine on hold for 10 days after rare blood clotting seen
Vaccine experts will meet Friday to review Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 shot, which has been on hold for 10 days after several cases of rare and serious blood clots. The panel of experts, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its 15 voting members will review the evidence and debate whether J&J’s shot should again be used in the U.S., perhaps with new warnings or restrictions, after federal health officials urged pausing use of the shot.
Why the Profit Motive Can’t Defeat the Pandemic in India; No healthcare system was ready for Covid-19, but years of neglect and the government’s belief in private sector solutions has left the South Asian giant in a catastrophic shambles.
Anjani Trivedi – Bloomberg
India has never been prepared for a public health emergency of the scale of Covid-19. No country has. But the government’s dislocated priorities have left the nation particularly vulnerable. It is now running short of basic infrastructure including oxygen tanks, ventilators, antiviral medication and hospital beds, with hundreds of thousands of new infections being recorded every day. On Thursday, the country added 314,835 cases, the highest daily tally in the world since the pandemic began.
French Oxygen Giant Diverts Supply to India’s Overwhelmed Hospitals
Tara Patel – Bloomberg
Air Liquide says situation in the country becoming ‘dramatic’; French firm is looking to import supplies from the Middle East
French gas giant Air Liquide SA is diverting oxygen supplies for industrial clients in India to hospitals as the country is overwhelmed by a surge in Covid-19 patients. Air Liquide is sending most of its liquid oxygen output to the health-care sector and is looking to import additional supplies from the Middle East, Executive Vice-President Francois Jackow said Friday. Demand for medical oxygen in India has soared roughly 10-fold, or by more than 50% of the country’s total production capacity, he said.
Indian hospitals running out of oxygen as Covid cases hit daily record; Authorities fight for scarce supplies as country grapples with devastating second surge
Benjamin Parkin – FT
Hospitals in India are running dangerously low on oxygen, causing panic among medical workers and raising fears that the country’s death toll from Covid-19 will rise sharply as a surge of infections overwhelms health services and funeral sites.
Japan to impose new state of emergency as Covid-19 cases rise; Restrictions to be put in place in big cities 3 months before the Olympics are due to begin
Robin Harding – FT
Japan is preparing for a short spell of Covid-19 restrictions in its biggest cities over a week-long holiday that begins this weekend in an effort to halt a rapid rise in cases.
— Vaccines Are Effective Against the New York Variant, Studies Find; The research adds to a growing number of findings suggesting the Pfizer and Moderna shots are protective against the variants identified so far. — NY Times
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq Launches Nasdaq-100 Micro Index Options (XND); Nasdaq empowers Main Street investors to harness the Nasdaq-100 index through options
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the launch of options on the Nasdaq-100 Micro Index (XND), which expands access for Main Street investors to the Nasdaq-100 index in a seamless and cost-efficient way. These new index options are now listed on the Nasdaq PHLX options exchange, and are available on many trading platforms that support index options.
Borsa Istanbul: Launch Of New SSF Contracts In Derivatives Market
New single stock futures contracts based on AEFES, ALKIM, ECILC, HEKTS, IPEKE, ISFIN, ISGYO, KARSN, MPARK, ODAS, SKBNK, TRGYO and TURSG underlyings were open to trade in Derivatives Market on April 22, 2021. Please click for the related Announcement.
FEX Global Australian Futures Exchange Deploys Itiviti’s Tbricks Connectivity Solution
Itiviti Group AB
Itiviti, a leading trading technology and service provider to financial institutions worldwide, today announced that the FEX Global Australian Futures Exchange (FEX Global) would rely on Itiviti’s Tbricks connectivity solution to provide market participants with a high-performance gateway to trade derivatives.
ICE launches new Micro Asia Tech 30 Index futures contracts; The new futures contracts will offer investors the ability to invest in the 30 largest tech-related companies across Asia-Pacific.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has announced that it will launch Micro Asia Tech 30 Index futures contracts on Singapore exchange on 26 April. The futures contracts are based on the recently launched ICE Asia Tech 30 Index (ICEAT30), which enables investors to capture the performance of the 30 largest technology and tech-related companies listed on selected Asia-Pacific exchanges.
Allfunds lists on Euronext Amsterdam; SPANISH LEADING B2B WEALTHTECH PLATFORM RAISES EUR1,88 BILLION WITH IPO
Euronext today congratulates Allfunds, one of the world’s leading B2B WealthTech platforms connecting fund houses and distributors, on its Initial Public Offering on Euronext Amsterdam (ticker code: ALLFG).
Largo lists on Euronext Growth Paris; EUR22.85 MILLION RAISED – MARKET CAPITALISATION OF EUR46.1 MILLION
Euronext today congratulates Largo, an eco-responsible French player in the refurbishment of mobile devices, on its listing on Euronext Growth Paris (ticker code: ALLGO).
Statt Torsk lists on Euronext Growth
Euronext today congratulates Statt Torsk on its listing on Euronext Growth Oslo (ticker code: STATT). Statt Torsk is a fish farming company specialising in cod farming, primarily the sea-phase of the production cycle for farmed cod.
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Set-up of technical User IDs for Algorithmic Trading in the Member Section
With this newsflash, we would like to clarify the rules for the set-up of Trading Algorithms at Eurex Deutschland, including Electronic Eyes and Quote Machines.
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Next Generation ETD Contracts
With this newsflash, we would like to draw your attention to the publication of the Trading and Clearing “Next Generation ETD Contracts” Industry Call screencasts and presentations.
TMX Group Announces Support of Amended Shareholder Proposal
TMX Group today announced that, following discussions with SHARE as a representative of the Atkinson Foundation, it has agreed to support the Atkinson Foundation’s amended shareholder proposal (the “Amended Proposal”), to be considered at TMX Group’s Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders on May 12, 2021 (the “Meeting”).
SGX and CNBC partner to create indices focused on growth economies and sectors of the future
Asia’s most international marketplace Singapore Exchange (SGX) and CNBC, the world’s number one business and financial news network, have jointly unveiled the iEdge-CNBC China Growth Economy Index, the first in a series of co-branded indices capturing key investment themes in a post-COVID world.
Trading to Continue After Declaration of a State of Emergency
The government of Japan announced today that it will declare a state of emergency effective from April 25 over the spread of Covid-19. However, trading for all of the markets on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Osaka Exchange and Tokyo Commodity Exchange will continue as usual on April 26.
— Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy, Interest Rate, and Metal Margins – Effective April 23, 2021 — CME Group
— Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture and Energy Margins – Effective April 23, 2021 — CME Group
— Resetting of Price Limits for Grain, Oilseed and Lumber Futures — CME Group
Merkel Was Oblivious to Wirecard Allegations Before China Visit
Birgit Jennen – Bloomberg
Chancellor lobbied for payments company on September 2019 trip; Reports alleging irregularities were already widely available
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was unaware of any allegations of serious wrongdoing by Wirecard AG when she lobbied for the payments company in China. As part of a broader discussion about Germany’s economic interests, Merkel broached Wirecard’s efforts to gain access to the Chinese market on the September 2019 visit at a time when media reports about alleged irregularities were already circulating widely.
Wirecard enjoyed ‘no special treatment’, Merkel says; German chancellor defends her lobbying on behalf of the fraudulent company in China in 2019
Guy Chazan – FT
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has defended her lobbying for Wirecard in China in 2019, saying there was “no reason to assume” at the time there were serious irregularities at the fraudulent payment company.
China’s central bank fights Jack Ma’s Ant Group over control of data; Beijing wants to create state-run repository to manage fintech’s most valuable asset
Sun Yu and Tom Mitchell – FT
China’s central bank is attempting to take control of Ant Group’s vast trove of consumer lending data, marking the latest front in Beijing’s crackdown on Jack Ma’s financial technology group.
HSBC expands AI index suite with multi-asset strategy; AiMAX multi-asset index from HSBC uses artificial intelligence and big data as method for portfolio construction across 15 asset classes.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
HSBC has expanded its index offering and rolled out an artificial intelligence powered rules-based multi-asset investment strategy for portfolio construction, known as AiMAX. The investment bank developed the multi-asset index in collaboration with asset manager EquBot, using IBM Watson Discovery to retrieve and analyse data from traditional or non-traditional s
UMR: The time to automate is now
Bob Stewart – the Trade
In less than six months, phase five of the BCBS-IOSCO’s uncleared margin requirements (UMR) for uncleared OTC derivatives will be implemented. Firms with more than EUR50 billion equivalent in average aggregate notional amount (AANA) of over-the-counter derivatives will be required to begin the exchange of initial margin—with their trading counterparties beginning 1 September 2021 if they exceed the minimum exchange threshold of EUR50 million per counterparty relationship.
Turkey probes cryptocurrency exchange for possible $2B fraud
Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation into a cryptocurrency exchange Thursday over allegations it may have defrauded some 390,000 investors of an estimated $2 billion.
BitMEX to Offer Custody, Spot Trading to Expand Beyond Crypto Derivatives
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX is looking to branch out with a suite of new product offerings. According to a blog post on Thursday, the Seychelles-based exchange is adding spot, brokerage, custody, information products and educational service. No time frame was given for when the products would be made available.
Schwab says needs regulatory clarity on crypto before any offerings
John McCrank – Reuters
Charles Schwab Corp is looking “closely” and “cautiously” at the cryptocurrency market and is waiting for regulators to give more guidance around the digital currencies before considering offering crypto capabilities on its platform, the head of the brokerage said on Thursday.
Facebook VP says company has ‘very, very big plans’ on digital payments
Max Zahn with Andy Serwer – Yahoo Finance
The Facebook (FB)-backed digital currency diem is set to begin a trial later this year, marking the company’s first foray into cryptocurrency since its embattled Libra project, CNBC reported on Tuesday.
Turkish crypto founder flees with reported $2 bn
Fulya OZERKAN – AFP
Turkish prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation after the Istanbul-based founder of a cryptocurrency exchange froze trading and fled the country with a reported $2 billion in investors’ assets. The Thodex exchange suspended trading after posting a mysterious message on Wednesday saying it needed five days to deal with an unspecified outside investment.
Cathie Wood’s Bitcoin Claims Are Overheated; A new report backed by the ARK investor, Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk suggests Bitcoin mining can be good for the planet. It’s a dubious argument.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg Green
Given the dizzying price of Bitcoin and its increasingly rich and high-profile backers, it was only a matter of time before a cryptocurrency lobby emerged to tell positive stories about an investment still viewed with some suspicion by politicians, regulators and consumers.
Ether Hits Record Amid Upgrades, Then Succumbs to Crypto Malaise
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrencies were languishing on Friday, but the second-biggest — Ether — has been showing some life amid network upgrades. While Ether was down along with Bitcoin, falling 10% to around $2,150 as of early afternoon in Hong Kong, it reached a record $2,644 intraday on Thursday. That compares with Bitcoin, which has been on a downward trend since its own record April 14. A coming upgrade is expected to reduce the supply of Ether, which could help boost the price.
Newly Public Coinbase Lists Tether’s Controversial USDT for Pro Traders
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
Coinbase will list Tether’s USDT (+0.06%) on its professional trading platform, allowing investors to deposit the dollar-pegged stablecoin immediately and to begin trading next week. Coinbase Pro announced late Thursday it would immediately allow “inbound transfers” for USDT in its supported jurisdictions, except for the U.S. state of New York. The stablecoin has been fraught with controversy over questions of its backing and its role in the broader bitcoin (BTC, -10.19%) ecosystem, which at one point became the subject of an inquiry by the Office of the New York Attorney General (NYAG).
Robinhood names new COO to oversee its crypto operations
Saniya More – The Block
Robinhood has named a new chief operating officer with experience in product management and operations to oversee its crypto platform, the team behind the online brokerage announced Thursday. Christine Brown has served as the vice president of Robinhood Markets’ Product Operations since 2017. According to the announcement, while at Robinhood, she developed and scaled the platform’s Operations Department. Brown will keep her VP role alongside her new role.
GBTC sinks to record low — trading at a 19% discount
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) product, which is consecutively trading at a discount for two months, hit a record low on Thursday. GBTC’s premium fell to -18.92% — its lowest point in history, according to tracker YCharts. That means the market price of GBTC shares is about 19% lower than its net asset value or NAV. GBTC started trading at a discount for the first time in late February. There are several factors behind the fall, as The Block reported last month. These include new competitive products in the market, including Canadian bitcoin ETFs, selling pressure by large investors, and no new money entering into GBTC (Grayscale, the product’s manager, halted new investments in GBTC last month).
– Robinhood appoints insider Christine Brown to oversee its crypto operations after the team tripled in size this year. — Insider
U.S. Needs Carbon Tax for Any Serious Climate Strategy, Expert Says
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
The Biden administration, as part of its strategy to get aggressive on global warming, has unveiled two key initiatives, including a plan to double cuts of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. In addition, it has ordered federal agencies to assess climate risks to the U.S. financial system and require federal suppliers to disclose emissions and climate risks.
House Passes Bill Requiring SEC, CFTC Digital Assets Working Group
Melanie Waddell – Think Advisor
The House passed late Tuesday several bipartisan financial services bills to address the burgeoning digital assets space, senior financial fraud and insider trading. The Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act, H.R. 1602, requires the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish a digital asset working group to ensure collaboration between regulators and the private sector to foster innovation.
Biden Eyeing Capital Gains Tax as High as 43.4% for Wealthy
Laura Davison and Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
People earning $1 million would pay 39.6% plus Obamacare levy; Total tax rates for New Yorkers, Californians could top 50%
President Joe Biden will propose almost doubling the capital gains tax rate for wealthy individuals to 39.6%, which, coupled with an existing surtax on investment income, means that federal tax rates for investors could be as high as 43.4%, according to people familiar with the proposal.
Modi Owns India’s Unfolding Covid Disaster; But, unlike Donald Trump, he may survive his government’s deadly mishandling of the pandemic.
Pankaj Mishra – Bloomberg
India’s healthcare system is buckling under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic: The country registered more than 1,500 deaths and nearly 300,000 infections on Monday alone. Videos of crowded mortuaries and funeral sites, and grief-stricken relatives outside packed hospitals, are circulating among middle-class Indians. The Lancet says India could suffer more than 2,300 deaths every day by June.
Private Equity’s Favorite Tax Break May Be in Danger; President Biden is weighing an end to the carried interest loophole.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
President Biden is expected to unveil a $1.5 trillion “human infrastructure” plan next week that will focus on education, child care and paid leave for workers, among other things. It would be paid for in part by new taxes on the rich, including the end of a tax break that lawmakers have tried to eliminate for years.
CFTC Staff Issues Conditional Relief from Reporting Fully Collateralized Binary Option Data to Swap Data Repositories
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that the Division of Data, the Division of Market Oversight, and the Division of Clearing and Risk have provided no-action relief to KalshiEX LLC, a designated contract market, and LedgerX, LLC, a derivatives clearing organization, from reporting to swap data repositories, data for binary option transactions executed on or subject to the rules of Kalshi and cleared by LedgerX. The no-action relief also exempts Kalshi and LedgerX from certain related recordkeeping requirements, and is consistent with staff-level relief previously provided to other similarly situated designated contract markets and derivatives clearing organizations.
No Delay for US Dollar LIBOR
It’s tempting to look at the June 30, 2023 date set for the death of most US dollar LIBOR settings and see it as an 18-month delay. That is not the case. In fact, firms need to prepare to use alternative reference rates for most new trades from the start of next year, irrespective of which LIBOR they use…
Holding the line on UK banking reform; Two years after implementation is not the time to roll back ringfencing
The editorial board – FT
Ringfencing, not Brexit, has caused most upheaval and cost for British banks in recent years — or so the banks claim. A key pillar of the UK’s response to the 2008 financial crisis, ringfencing required large lenders to separate core deposits from their investment banking units. Even though ringfencing has existed in practice only since 2019, the government is reviewing its effectiveness. This is premature.
ASIC to extend deadlines for 30 June 2021 financial reports and amends ‘no action’ position for AGMs
ASIC will extend the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports (under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001) by one month for balance dates from 23 June to 7 July 2021 (inclusive).
Cautious optimism for the post-pandemic world
Speech by Charles Randell, Chair of the FCA and PSR, to the Finance & Leasing Association
FCA chairman says regulator needs to change
Sally Hickey – FT Adviser
The chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said the approach of regulators and legislators will need to change post-Covid. In a speech yesterday (April 24) at the Finance and Leasing Association industry gathering, Charles Randell highlighted five things the regulator needs to do differently “in order to transform the FCA to be as effective as it can be in this new world”.
Investing and Trading
A Baseball Card SPAC Shows Why Distressed Investing Is So Hard
Allison McNeely – Bloomberg
As beaten-down firms dwindle, Mudrick invests in booming Topps; Highlights the difficulty distressed investors currently face
Jason Mudrick’s goal was clear. The prospectus for his blank-check company, which he listed on Nasdaq in December, mentioned “distressed” 40 times. Everybody in the industry knows Mudrick Capital Management LP invests in troubled businesses. And a pandemic was raging, so you’d think the list of stumbling firms to choose from would’ve been long for any turnaround specialist.
Bond Traders Are Falling for Treasuries Again; After the worst quarter in decades, yields are falling to key levels that may be difficult to crack.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
U.S. Treasuries aren’t exactly an asset class that people should want to root for. Sure, there are any number of bond bulls who see ultra-low yields as a permanent fixture of a world beset by aging demographics and rapid technological change. But hoping for a strong and inclusive global economy, which I’d like to think most everyone wants to see, suggests a selloff in government-debt markets practically by definition.
Allfunds soars on Amsterdam stock market debut; Spanish funds platform raises EUR1.9bn in one of Europe’s largest IPOs of the year
Kaye Wiggins – FT
Shares in Allfunds climbed as much as 17 per cent on the Spanish fund distribution platform’s debut in Amsterdam, after its owners raised EUR1.9bn in one of Europe’s biggest initial public offerings this year.
Investors plough money into US inflation-protected bond funds; Tips funds enjoy 29 consecutive weeks of inflows amid expectations of rising prices
Colby Smith – FT
Funds that hold inflation-protected bonds are enjoying their longest streak of inflows in more than a decade, as investors gird themselves for an increase in consumer prices as the US economy recovers.
SPAC Surge Pumps Up Junk-Bond Market
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Money from stock offerings is flowing into below-investment-grade companies at a pace not seen since the dot.com boom of the 1990s
The wave of cash raised by special-purpose acquisition companies is rolling into the junk debt market, aiding distressed companies and rewarding investors who own their bonds and loans. SPACs, also known as blank-check companies, have issued roughly $100 billion of stock this year, a record, to buy private companies and take them public. Some SPACs are targeting companies with below-investment-grade credit ratings, hoping to use their cash piles to pay down debt and grow the businesses.
Stock Market Investors Must Keep an Eye on the Corporate Cash Mountain; During the pandemic, cash holdings surged—and the levels convey important information about likely future returns
Mike Bird – WSJ
Major corporations are sitting on a mountain of cash: a decadelong buildup was given another sharp lift by precautionary measures taken during the pandemic. Those balances are worth monitoring, because they have important implications for investment returns in the future.
Battery Metals Are Hot, but These Miners Can’t Get Investors; Small mining companies in North America are struggling to attract funding, despite growing demand for lithium and cobalt for electric vehicles and batteries
Vipal Monga and Jacquie McNish – WSJ
Investors are pouring money into car companies, battery makers and clean-tech startups that are poised to benefit from the global economy’s shift to electric power. But many small mining companies that supply the raw materials haven’t been invited to the party.
Billionaire Took Psychedelics, Got Bitcoin and Is Now Into SPACs; German investor Christian Angermayer has made a fortune on the risky and faddish. His portfolio includes crypto, weed and space travel.
Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
It’s a strange portfolio for these strange financial times: space travel, psychedelics, movies, Covid, crypto, life extension, weed, SPACs.
Soccer Fans Are Stakeholders Too; Also Archegos, swaps disclosure, tree NFTs and Hometown International.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
I wrote the other day about how JPMorgan Chase & Co. got in some hot water for agreeing to finance the European Super League, the now apparently dead proposal to start a lucrative new league for the biggest European soccer clubs. As the financier of this plan, JPMorgan came in for a lot of abuse on Twitter from European soccer fans. “Account is now closed and this £32.25 is going elsewhere,” tweeted one former Chase customer.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
What Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey Are Missing About Bitcoin and Green Energy
William Mathis and Lars Paulsson – Bloomberg
A trio of Jack Dorsey, Cathie Wood and Elon Musk are promoting the idea that Bitcoin mining can be good for the planet actually. That’s not exactly true. The basis of the idea is that mining crypto currencies uses a lot of power and can be deployed at any time. That could help a developer make money minting coins at a time when there’s lots of wind or sunshine, but not much electricity demand. Making better use of wind and solar, where power generation can be intermittent, increases efficiency, lowers prices and helps encourage the green transition.
Four Ways Global Corporations Can Confront Inequality; Ensuring a shared recovery is in their long-term best interests.
Dambisa Moyo – Bloomberg
Much of the developed world is looking forward to a strong economic recovery, as vaccinations allow life to get back to something resembling normal. Yet there’s a great risk that large swaths of the population won’t share in the gains, leaving the gap between rich and poor even larger than it was before the pandemic hit. Global corporations must recognize the threat to society — and to their own businesses — that such an outcome would present, and do their part to address it.
Europe Debuts Hydrogen Passenger Trains in Zero-Carbon Push; The trains will ply a regional line between Buxtehude, outside Hamburg, and the beach town of Cuxhaven
Tara Patel – Bloomberg
The first hydrogen-powered passenger trains built by Alstom SA are set to debut in Germany and establish a toehold for the technology in Europe.
ESG Investing Used By 72% Of Institutional Investors, Survey Says
Karen Demasters, Raymond Fazzi – Financial Advisor
The use of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing strategies is accelerating across the investment industry, with 77% of professional investors considering ESG factors “an integral part of sound investing,” according to a survey by Natixis Investment Managers. The global survey of 3,600 professional investors in 2020 found that about 75% of respondents were implementing ESG strategies. That included 72% of institutional investors (up from 61% in 2018) and 77% of “gatekeepers” who select funds for their firms’ investment advisory platforms (up from 65% in 2018).
ESG Demand Helps Fund Manager’s Stock Outpace Aussie Peers
Thuy Ong – Bloomberg
The stock performance of an Australian fund manager that’s focused on ethical investments is trouncing its peers as ESG assets soar in popularity. Australian Ethical Investment Ltd.’s stock price has jumped 58% so far in 2021, outperforming shares of other Australian asset managers such as Magellan Financial Group Ltd. and Platinum Asset Management Ltd. While those firms consider ESG issues or have sustainable investment options, Australian Ethical’s emphasis on socially-minded companies may have given its stock an edge over its rivals. The firm’s share outperformance “signifies the thriving landscape of Australia in ESG investing,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Esther Tsang. Australian Ethical, “which may be considered as a pure player in ESG investing, is set to benefit from this strong ESG momentum.”
Wall Street’s Trillion-Dollar ESG Club Comes With Huge Tax Perks
Max Abelson and Lananh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Bank of America Corp. sparked a stir in January — and a little envy — with just a few lines of disclosure in its fourth-quarter earnings report. The lender revealed it had slashed its 2020 corporate tax rate to 5.8% from what would have been 21%, thanks to finance work involving environmental, social and governance projects. That didn’t go unnoticed by Bank of America’s competitors. Executives at one large regional bank saw it, and talked to Bryen Alperin, director of renewable energy for tax specialist Foss & Co. “Wow, look at that,” the company told him, he said. “Maybe we should be doing this.”
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon expects the bank’s employees will back in the office ‘within weeks’ and going maskless by October
Samantha Stokes – insider
Wall Street leaders haven’t been shy about expressing their skepticism of remote work. Now top banks seem to be solidifying their return-to-office plans. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday that he planned to tell employees to be back in the office within weeks, at least for a day or two.
VoxSmart appoints ex BNP Paribas and Traiana execs to drive US expansion
VoxSmart Ltd., a global leader in communications surveillance, has announced the appointment of former BNP Paribas executive Larry List as Head of North America, and former Traiana executive Scott Feldman as SVP of Operations to drive growth in North America.
‘Unacceptable’: Credit Suisse reveals further mega losses from the disastrous Archegos trade
Christiaan Hetzner – Fortune
The stunning implosion of Archegos Capital Management, whose speculative bets roiled Wall Street, is now expected to cost Credit Suisse an even 5 billion francs ($5.5 billion), wiping out in one fell swoop five years of profits at its investment banking division.
JPMorgan’s Pinto Breaks Silence on Super League, Talks SPACs
Hannah Levitt and Francine Lacqua – Bloomberg
Investment bank arranged loans to fund doomed soccer breakaway; Pinto sees strong performance in 2021 as economies bounce back
Daniel Pinto had one of the best seats in the house for the short-lived Super League. At the start of the week, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s co-president saw his firm bankrolling the breakaway soccer project, which soon inflamed the passions of fans worldwide. “We were expecting this to be emotional,” Pinto said in a Bloomberg “Front Row” interview on April 20. “We arranged a loan for a client. It’s not our place to decide the optimal way for football to operate in Europe and the U.K.”
Credit Suisse Faces Zurich Criminal Complaint Over Greensill
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Prosecutors receive complaint targeting ‘persons unknown’; Bank already sued by U.S. pension fund over Greensill debacle
Zurich Prosecutors received a criminal complaint related to Credit Suisse Group AG and the collapse of supply chain finance group Greensill Capital, adding to the Swiss bank’s legal woes.
A Hedge Fund, a Jewish School and $1.1 Billion in Cum-Ex Trades
Karin Matussek – Bloomberg
Sanjay Shah charged over trades made in Ezra Academy’s name; School ‘presumably’ not informed of alleged scam: prosecutors
Sanjay Shah, a former hedge fund manager charged in two countries over the Cum-Ex scandal, is accused by German prosecutors of using a Jewish school in New York to execute trades totaling 920 million euros ($1.1 billion) as part of a plan to deceive tax authorities. Shah and a partner at his Solo Capital Partners LLP in 2011 sought to take advantage of the tax-exempt status of Ezra Academy in Queens for the trades, Hamburg prosecutors said in a February indictment seen by Bloomberg News. The men used “purportedly authentic” documents to buy shares on behalf of the school and claim refunds, prosecutors said.
Marshall Wace Ties With Credit Suisse Reduced After Archegos
Lulu Yilun Chen, Nishant Kumar, and Bei Hu – Bloomberg
Move is said to follow reassessment made by both firms; U.K. hedge fund has been shifting business to U.S. banks
Hedge fund manager Marshall Wace and Credit Suisse Group AG have scaled back their relationship following the Archegos Capital Management implosion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Archegos saga has prompted Credit Suisse to reduce its risk appetite at its prime brokerage. Marshall Wace, in turn, has become concerned about the risk of dealing with the Swiss bank, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.
Blackstone Notches Record $1.75 Billion Profit as Growth Strategy Pays Off; Firm’s private-equity portfolio far outpaced the S&P 500 during the first quarter
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Blackstone Group Inc. BX 3.30% swung to a record quarterly profit as its focus on rapidly growing companies helped the value of its investments climb more than the broader market. The investment giant posted net income of $1.75 billion, or $2.46 a share, for the first quarter. That compares with a loss of $1.07 billion, or $1.58 a share, in the coronavirus-battered first quarter of 2020.
Bank of America’s CHRO Sheri Bronstein shares how she led a crisis response for the bank’s 200,000 employees
Aman Kidwai – Insider
The past year presented a completely new set of obstacles for Bank of America’s Chief Human Resources Officer Sheri Bronstein. When 85% of the bank’s 200,000-person staff went fully remote, Bronstein’s team was tasked with making sure workers felt secure financially, emotionally, and physically while working during the public health crisis.
Citi Retail Units Seen Fetching $6 Billion as Sales Kick Off
Nabila Ahmed, Ambereen Choudhury, and Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
With 13 units eyed for sale, Australian assets could go first; Citi will instead focus on wealth centers across Europe, Asia
Citigroup Inc. could fetch as much as $6 billion from the sale of retail banking assets in 13 markets across the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East as the lender forges ahead with plans to fine-tune its global branch network, people familiar with the plan said.
MUFG Weighs Cutting Americas Office Space in Hybrid-Work Era
Jennifer Surane, Brian Eckhouse, Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is considering ways to reduce its real estate footprint in the Americas while preparing for a post-pandemic world in which many workers come to the office just a few days a week.
Turkey Begins Manhunt for CEO of Collapsed Crypto Exchange
Onur Ant – Bloomberg
Clients say they can’t retrieve investments made via Thodex; Turks have flocked to cryptocurrencies as inflation hedge
Turkey launched an international manhunt for the founder of one of its major cryptocurrency exchanges after he stopped paying clients and fled the country. The Justice Ministry is seeking a so-called red notice under which Interpol would help find, provisionally arrest and return Thodex Chief Executive Officer Faruk Fatih Ozer from Albania to Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday.
French fishermen block British fish to protest post-Brexit restrictions – POLITICO
Marina Adami – Politico
Around 150 French fishermen on Thursday night blocked trucks carrying fish from U.K. waters from entering Europe’s largest seafood processing center in the northern town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Reuters reports. Protesters were angered by their difficulties in obtaining licenses that would allow them to fish in British waters.
U.K. Launches Global Screen Fund to Boost Content Exports, Replacing European Coin Lost With Brexit
Naman Ramachandran – Variety
The U.K’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the British Film Institute (BFI) have formally launched an export booster fund to replace the European tap that ran dry with Brexit.
Grants disbursed from Creative Europe’s MEDIA program were worth an average of EUR18.5 million ($22.2 million) a year to the cultural and audiovisual sectors in the U.K. and ceased once Brexit came into effect.
French fishermen block British lorries carrying UK-landed fish
Clotaire Achi, Pascal Rossignol – Reuters
French trawlermen angered by the slow issuance of licenses to fish inside British waters after Brexit on Thursday blocked lorries carrying UK-landed fish as they arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Europe’s largest seafood processing centre. Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union allowed the bloc’s fishermen to keep fishing deep into British waters, but only once they had received a license. Those licenses were expected to be issued swiftly but instead some 80% of the French fleet in the northern Hauts-de-France region, from whose coastline Britain’s southern shores are visible, were still waiting, French fishermen said.
Esports Take Step Closer to Becoming an Olympic Sport
Gearoid Reidy – Bloomberg
Competitive videogames may have moved closer to becoming an official Olympics sport after the International Olympic Committee announced plans to hold a virtual esports event ahead of the Tokyo Games. The Olympic Virtual Series will run from May 13 to June 23 and include events featuring baseball and racing videogames, according to a statement Thursday. This will be the first licensed Olympic esports event, though not part of the Games itself. Details of how to participate in the Olympic Virtual Series will be announced at a later date, it said.