Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The FIA has released a surveillance and market abuse guideline report to assist market participants in fulfilling obligations set by UK and European regulators in relation to surveillance and market abuse requirements.
The CME Group Launched an FX Options Volatility Converter Tool yesterday. This new service is the first-ever tool to price CME Group’s listed FX options liquidity in over-the-counter (OTC) terms,helping foreign exchange traders to more easily monitor price relationships, make more informed decisions across markets, and ensure best execution for their trading strategies.
The Chicago office of the Securities Exchange Commission has launched its very own Twitter account, @Chicago_SEC. The Chicago office covers IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, MO, OH, and WI.
There is a television show that I never watched, that I don’t want to name, that I did not “keep up with,” that is ending production. I can only say this is a sign of civilization returning.
Washington Compliance Roundtable is hosting a webcast discussion with the National Futures Association on the best industry practices during COVID-19, new regulatory developments including succession planning and intra-agency regulatory initiatives as well as the most recent industry trends and ways to strengthen your legal and compliance programs.
The event is scheduled for September 17, 2020 with discussion topic at 4:30 – 5:30 PM and Q&A and networking from 5:30 to 6:00 PM.RSVP at email@example.com by COB September 14th to receive log-in information.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
A CFTC task force has concluded that climate change is a threat to the U.S. financial markets, citing the cost of floods, droughts, and other natural disasters made worse by the changing climate. These disasters affect the mortgage, pension fund, and insurance markets, as well as other financial institutions, the task force report said.~MR
FIA releases surveillance and market abuse guidelines
FIA today released new guidelines to assist market participants in fulfilling obligations set by UK and European regulators in relation to surveillance and market abuse requirements. “Market abuse is a global concern and global regulators consider market participants to be the ‘first line of defence’ in the identification and prevention of market abuse,” said FIA’s Head of Europe Bruce Savage. “Our goal is to help FIA members and other market participants meet their obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation.”
*****This is part of the FIA’s “BE GOOD” campaign.~JJL
CME Group unveils FX options volatility converter tool; New FX Options Vol Converter tool will allow users to price CME Group listed FX options liquidity in over-the-counter (OTC) terms.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US derivatives exchange CME Group has launched an FX options volatility tool in a bid to help traders monitor price relationships for better execution quality during volatility. The FX options volatility tool takes price data that is functionally equivalent to over the counter (OTC) options and creates a volatility grid by tenor and deltas to provide a comparison.
*****More tools for options traders is never a bad thing.~MR
Cost risks of hosting Olympics similar to natural disasters, study warns
Leo Lewis and Murad Ahmed – Financial Times
Cities considering hosting the Olympics should compare the financial risk with models applied to natural disasters, pandemics and war, a team of Oxford university researchers have warned.
The study, Regression to the tail: why the Olympics blow up, accuses the International Olympic Committee of playing down what the researchers argue are the unavoidable dangers of big cost overruns. The report suggests would-be host cities should temper their ambitions by assuming their budgets for the games could rise threefold.
*****Nothing like planning a natural disaster.~JJL
No trick-or-treating in Los Angeles County this Halloween, health officials say
A traditional Halloween with trick-or-treaters going door-to-door for candy will not be allowed in Los Angeles County this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
County health officials have released guidelines for Halloween this year that include restrictions of some of the holiday’s most basic traditions.
*****Huge bummer for kids. I used to look forward to going trick-or-treating all year. Of course, now that I’m an adult I just buy my own candy.~MR
Alastair Walton, Australia’s Man in New York, Mixes Diplomacy with Mateship
Inside the Ice House
Despite a population and economy smaller than Texas, Australia has a Stetson-sized impact on U.S. business and culture. As his post as Consul-General of Australia to New York winds down, Alastair Walton sat down for his exit interview. On the agenda: diplomacy amid a pandemic and the special relationship between Australia and America. A banker whose journey took him from Down Under to the Big Apple, Alastair has shattered the mold of the civil servant.
*****Josh King’s latest podcast for ICE.~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was Here’s the evidence—in case you needed it—that downtown’s been seriously damaged, from the editorial board of Crain’s Chicago Business. Second was another story from Crain’s, New figures show downtown is being drained of apartment dwellers. Are you sensing a theme? Third was a New York story – by way of Denmark – Eleanor Jacobs, 91, Dies; a Force Behind the Earth Shoe Phenomenon.
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JPMorgan says staff and customers may have broken law on Covid-19 loans; Bank finds ethical breaches and conduct that ‘may even be illegal’ in state support schemes
Laura Noonan – FT
JPMorgan Chase is investigating whether its staff helped customers to gain funds illegally from the US government’s small business bailout programme. The largest US bank, which arranged $29bn of forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the end of June, said it had discovered “conduct that does not live up to our business and ethical principles — and may even be illegal”.
A Stock Selloff Without Sanctuaries Is Worth Preparing For; When haven hedges don’t work as intended, tumbles in stocks will be more painful for investors with formerly balanced portfolios
Mike Bird – WSJ
U.S. stocks have dipped from their record highs, and while the fall has only erased a month’s gains, there’s an interesting—and worrying—trend that bears watching: Not much of anything is providing good downside protection these days. To guard against falls in equities, most investors own something with a chance of rallying when stocks fall. That’s the traditional role of a mixed portfolio of bonds and stocks.
Manhattan’s Office Buildings Are Empty. But for How Long? As they grow accustomed to working from home, many businesses are delaying signing new leases until rents drop and the pandemic passes.
Julie Creswell and Peter Eavis – NY Times
Even as the coronavirus pandemic appears to recede in New York, corporations have been reluctant to call their workers back to their skyscrapers and are showing even more reticence about committing to the city long term. Fewer than 10 percent of New York’s office workers had returned as of last month and just a quarter of major employers expect to bring their people back by the end of the year, according to a new survey. Only 54 percent of these companies say they will return by July 2021.
Why Tesla Was Left Out of the S&P 500; The company was passed over for inclusion in the S&P 500 index, a move that put a halt to the parabolic run in the electric-car maker’s shares
Gunjan Banerji and Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Tesla TSLA -21.06% Inc. was passed over for inclusion in the S&P 500 index, a move that put a halt to the parabolic run in the electric-car maker’s shares. S&P Dow Jones Indices, which determines the makeup of the index, said Friday afternoon that online marketplace Etsy Inc., technology firm Teradyne Inc. and pharmaceutical company Catalent Inc. would be added in its quarterly rebalancing. Tesla—whose shares have catapulted to new highs, partly in anticipation of joining the S&P 500—was noticeably absent.
Nigerian Stock Exchange Intensifies Efforts To Introduce Derivatives To The Nigerian Capital Market
As investors anticipate the launch of Derivatives trading in the Nigerian capital market, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) continues to lay the ground work to build a standardized derivatives market. Part of these efforts include capacity building sessions such as the virtual derivatives workshop which held on Tuesday, 08 September 2020. The training was themed, Adopting Derivatives During Stressed Market Conditions and featured a special presentation from Charlie Rubin, Derivatives Consultant at C-Rubin Futures, and former Senior manager of the New York Stock Exchange, and New York Futures Exchange.
JPMorgan Chase says some customers and employees misused PPP, other stimulus programs
Ken Sweet – Associated Press
JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday that a number of its employees and customers may have abused the Paycheck Protection Program and other coronavirus stimulus programs. The New York-based bank said it is working with law enforcement in some cases, although in a memo sent to employees it did not state how many employees may have unethically misused the programs, or what exactly they did. The bank declined to comment beyond the memo.
SoftBank’s $4 Billion Tech Option Gambit Feels Like Déjà Vu; Investors aren’t celebrating SoftBank’s hedge-fund-like gamble. The company’s discount to its net assets could widen again.
Jacky Wong – WSJ
A company famous for its extravagant vision of the far-off future—which, according to its website, predicts humans will live to 200 and may coexist with “kind and intelligent robots”—is rightfully being punished for dabbling in stock speculation here and now.
Robinhood Reveals Major Changes to Options Trading Products; Robinhood tightens eligibility requirements to make it harder for options traders to qualify to trade sophisticated products.
Aziz Abdel-Qader – Finance Magnates
Robinhood is making multiple changes to its options trading products, part of the improvements the app promised to do after one of its customers died by suicide thinking he incurred losses of over $700,000.
Short Selling Stocks Proves Costly for Some Investors; Traders who have given in to the temptation to bet against a stock have often paid a stiff price
Michael Wursthorn and Geoffrey Rogow – WSJ
U.S. tech shares have posted their largest three-day decline since the March rout, but investors who have tried to bet against hot stocks this year can tell you there is no sure thing. Despite recent market turbulence, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite are all still up at least 48% from their March lows. Traders who have given in to the temptation to go short—borrowing shares, selling them and returning them in the future at what they hope to be a lower price so they can pocket the difference—have often paid a stiff price.
Is Europe the New FAANG? Not So Fast; European stock markets look more exposed than before to new-economy industries, but for better or worse it is a numerical mirage
Jon Sindreu – WSJ
European stock markets look a bit more like the technology-rich Nasdaq than they used to. Looks, though, can be deceptive. On Tuesday, the Nasdaq Composite fell again, taking the total drop since last week’s peak to 10%—so-called correction territory. This is partly the result of unraveling bets made through options contracts by both a wave of amateur day traders and mammoth Japanese investor SoftBank. European equities have fared better, falling less than 2%. They even managed to pull off an impressive contrarian rally on Monday, and bounced back in morning trading Wednesday.
JPMorgan Investigating Employees and Clients Over Coronavirus Stimulus Programs; The bank said it found wrongdoing involving the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment benefits and other government programs
David Benoit – WSJ
JPMorgan JPM -3.48% Chase & Co. has found evidence of employees and customers misusing the government’s flood of stimulus funds this spring and is cooperating with authorities, the bank’s leaders told employees Tuesday. In a memo to employees, the bank didn’t detail specific instances but said it had found customer wrongdoing involving the small-business rescue plan known as the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment benefits and other government programs aimed at easing the coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects. “Some employees have fallen short, too,” the memo said, without elaborating.
Japanese Brokerage SBI Weighs Leaving Hong Kong Amid Turmoil
Takashi Nakamichi and Takako Taniguchi – Bloomberg
SBI Holdings Inc. may become the first major Japanese financial firm to withdraw from Hong Kong following the political turmoil there. Japan’s biggest online brokerage is considering pulling out of the city by as soon as March on the view that the recently enacted national security law has eroded its attraction as a financial center, spokesman Shoichi Okayasu said by phone. SBI Holdings has fewer than 100 employees in the Chinese territory.
California Wildfires Have Already Burned More Acres Than in Any Year on Record; More than 2.3 million acres have burned this year; high winds are fueling two major blazes
Jim Carlton – WSJ
Powerful windstorms in California are creating more dangerous conditions as firefighters work to contain wildfires that have already blackened a record 2.3 million acres.
We Have Questions About SoftBank
Nasdaq futures are down sharply today, extending the rout in tech stocks. The rally before the reversal, it turns out, had a lot to do with outsize option bets made by SoftBank. The more investors learn about the Japanese conglomerate’s moves in the market, the more questions are raised — and the more fragile the recent run-up looks.
Don’t Waste the Extra Time for IM Prep
For the first time in several years, the start of September has not heralded the extension of initial margin (IM) requirements to a new group of market participants. The scope of the rules had previously widened every September since 2016, requiring gradually more firms to exchange IM. But given the seismic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, regulators recognized the need for a pause in 2020 to allow firms more time to prepare for the next phase.
AstraZeneca Vaccine Tests Face Delay After Patient Gets Ill
Michelle Fay Cortez and Riley Griffin – Bloomberg
Immunizations halted in key study as safety data is reviewed; A single unexplained illness triggered a pause in the study
AstraZeneca Plc stopped giving shots of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person participating in one of the company’s studies got sick, a potential adverse reaction that could delay or derail efforts to speed an immunization against Covid-19.
Pfizer, BioNTech in EU Vaccine Deal That’s Their Biggest Yet
Naomi Kresge – Bloomberg
Deal includes initial 200 million doses, 100 million options; EU, companies in contract talks after preliminary accord
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE reached a preliminary agreement to supply 200 million doses of their experimental Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union — the biggest initial order yet for the U.S.-German partners. The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks and will now begin contract negotiations, according to a statement Wednesday. The deal would include an option for another 100 million doses.
AstraZeneca pauses Covid-19 vaccine trial after suspected adverse event; Shares in drugmaker slide after study of coronavirus jab put on hold to ‘review safety data’
Hannah Kuchler and Sarah Neville – FT
AstraZeneca has paused all clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford university after a participant in the UK section of the study suffered a suspected serious adverse reaction
UK government alarmed over rising coronavirus cases; Range of data show Covid-19 is spreading as health secretary says ‘virus is still very much with us’
Chris Giles and John Burn-Murdoch – FT
The UK government is increasingly alarmed over rising numbers of coronavirus cases, with Matt Hancock, the health secretary, telling MPs on Tuesday that “the virus is still very much with us”.
Boris Johnson to announce tough new Covid-19 restrictions in England; Limit on gatherings to be cut from 30 to 6 as government scrambles to avert second wave
Sarah Neville and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe and Andy Bounds – FT
Tough new national restrictions on the way people in England can live and socialise, including a ban on most gatherings of more than six people, will be announced by UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday as the government battles to head off a fresh coronavirus spike.
Business Vacancies Rise on New York City’s Broadway; Coronavirus pandemic strains companies along key avenue; survey finds 78% increase in empty storefronts since 2017
Kate King – WSJ
More than 300 storefronts along Broadway are vacant, a 78% increase from three years ago, a recent survey found, as the coronavirus pandemic puts added pressure on bricks-and-mortar businesses. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and her staff counted 335 street-level vacancies in late August, when they inventoried storefronts along the avenue that spans about 13 miles and 244 blocks between the Financial District and Inwood neighborhoods. A similar survey in 2017 found 188 vacancies.
South Africa’s Economy Shrinks 51% as Lockdown Restrictions Hurt Businesses; Africa’s most developed economy sees worst quarterly decline in at least a century
Aaisha Dadi Patel and Gabriele Steinhauser – WSJ
South Africa’s economy shrank by an annualized 51% in the second quarter, its worst quarterly decline in at least a century and one of the steepest contractions recorded by any major economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Africa’s most developed economy imposed a strict lockdown in late March, closing most businesses and banning the sale of alcohol and cigarettes along with other items not considered essential.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
CME Group Launches FX Options Volatility Converter Tool
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced the launch of a new FX Options Vol Converter tool. At a time when market participants are looking for efficiencies and ways to lower their cost to trade, this new service is the first-ever tool to price CME Group’s listed FX options liquidity in over-the-counter (OTC) terms, helping foreign exchange traders to more easily monitor price relationships, make more informed decisions across markets, and ensure best execution for their trading strategies.
LSE’s potential sale of Borsa Italiana will test Rome’s appetite for intervention; Politics likely to complicate London group’s plans for Italian stock exchange and bond trading platform MTS
Philip Stafford and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli – FT
Stock and bond exchanges thrive on being global, but their fortunes have also long been tied to the politics of the nation state. This is why the industry’s top executives and dealmakers will be watching Italy, where MTS, a Milan-based platform that executes about EUR13.5bn of sovereign bond trades a day, and Borsa Italiana, the country’s stock exchange and home to many high-profile companies, may change hands for the first time in more than a decade.
Cboe Global Markets to Present Virtually at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference Tuesday, September 15
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, announced today that Ed Tilly, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Brian Schell, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, will present at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference on Tuesday, September 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Covid testing director apologises for shortage of tests in England; Sarah-Jane Marsh admits insufficient lab capacity has created a ‘critical pinch-point’
Sarah Neville, Andy Bounds and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe – FT
The director of England’s coronavirus testing programme issued “heartfelt apologies” to people unable to secure a Covid-19 test on Tuesday, admitting that insufficient laboratory processing capacity has created a “critical pinch-point”.
Subscription-based Aquis Exchange enters first period of profitability since launch; After reporting increases in revenues and market share in pan-European trading, the first half of 2020 marks the first profitable period for Aquis Exchange.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
European subscription-based equities exchange Aquis Exchange has recorded its first period of profitability since its launch in 2013, following a 42% increase in revenue in the first half of 2020.
Euronext announces quarterly review results of the AEX
Euronext today announced the results of the quarterly review for the AEX®, AMX® and AScX®. The changes due to the review will be effective from Monday 21 September 2020.
Eurex’s global MSCI offering – the perfect choice for Asia
With 136 MSCI futures and 22 MSCI options covering emerging and developed markets, Eurex is the exchange with the most comprehensive suite of global MSCI derivatives available across all time zones. Together, Eurex and MSCI, provide clients with the most diverse and innovative range of index derivatives and have signed an agreement on the long-term extension of their strategic relationship, providing the stability the market needs during these turbulent times.
TMX Group CEO John McKenzie to present at the Scotiabank Financials Summit
TMX Group Chief Executive Officer John McKenzie will present at the Scotiabank Financials Summit on September 10, 2020.
2021 Soybean Meal Futures and Soybean Oil Futures Delivery Differentials
The Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc., (CBOT or Exchange) per Rule 13106. (Shipping Plants) of Chapter 13 (“Soybean Meal Futures”), and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, hereby advises that the territorial delivery differentials, in dollars per ton, for all Soybean Meal futures delivery months (Clearing Code: 06; Globex Code: ZM) beginning with the January 2021 contract month and ending with the December 2021 contract month shall be as follows:
Addition of the CME Globex Electronic Trading Venue for all Options on Weather Futures Contracts and Related Administrative Amendments to Certain Product Chapters
(SER 8647R supersedes SER 8647 dated September 2, 2020 and is being issued to correct the US Seasonal Strips Weather Cooling Degree Day (CDD) Options product name and product seasonal strip commodity codes as noted in Exhibit 1 below in blackline format. No other amendments have been made to the original SER.) Effective Sunday, September 20, 2020, for trade date Monday, September 21, 2020, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will permanently list all options on weather futures contracts (the “Contracts”) for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform (“CME Globex”).
Change for Silver Brand
Effective immediately, Hunan Jinwang Bismuth Industrial Co., Ltd, formerly good for delivery against the Exchange’s Silver Futures (SI) contract, has been transitioned to the LBMA Former List. This list of brands is located in the “Silver (SI) Brands” tabs in the service providers table at the end of Chapter 7 of the COMEX Rulebook. New metal that is received bearing this brand mark shall not be deemed eligible for delivery.
Mark R. Slobodnik
CME Group – Disciplinary Actions
FINDINGS: Pursuant to an offer of settlement in which Mark Slobodnik (“Slobodnik”) neither admitted nor denied the rule violations upon which the penalty is based, on September 3, 2020, a Panel of the Chicago Board of Trade (“CBOT”) Business Conduct Committee (“Panel”) found that between April of 2014 and January 4, 2018, Slobodnik, acting as principal and head trader of Blue Guru Trading, LLC (“Blue Guru”), a commodity pool operator, misrepresented himself as a member of the Exchange while soliciting funds from potential investors in Blue Guru. Additionally, despite never having set up an omnibus account, Slobodnik represented to potential investors in Blue Guru that the trades he executed on CME Group markets would be placed into an omnibus account, and profits and losses would be placed into the investors’ accounts on a percentage basis. The Panel further found that Slobodnik deceived Blue Guru investors by sending them fraudulent account statements using the letterhead of its clearing firm to mislead them to believe that their investments in CME Group markets were growing.
Eagle Seven LLC
CME Group – Disciplinary Violations
FINDINGS: Pursuant to an offer of settlement in which Eagle Seven LLC (“Eagle Seven”) neither admitted nor denied the rule violation or factual findings upon which the penalty is based, on September 3, 2020, a Panel of the Chicago Board of Trade Business Conduct Committee (“Panel”) found that on trade date April 15, 2019, Eagle Seven purchased May-July 2019 Soybean Oil spreads that created intraday positions of long 9,103 MAY19 Soybean Oil contracts and short 9,094 JULY19 Soybean Oil contracts, which were 1,103 contracts (13.79%) and 1,094 contracts (13.68%) over the single month limit, respectively. The next day, Eagle Seven briefly held an intraday long position of 8,023 MAY19 Soybean Oil contracts, which was 23 contracts (.29%) over the single month position limit. After recognizing it was over the limit on each occasion, Eagle Seven liquidated its overages to bring its positions into compliance and did not profit from doing so.
Skytra Selects Moorgate Benchmarks For Index Governance
Moorgate Benchmarks, the index company driving change, today announced that it has been selected by Skytra, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus, to lead the Skytra Index Oversight Committee (SIOC). As required by EU benchmarks regulation, SIOC is the formal oversight function of the Skytra Price Indices, designed to benchmark the price of air travel in the various travel markets around the world.
Effective September 8, 2020 Through September 11, 2020, MIAX Options And MIAX Emerald 2X Opening And Intraday Valid And Priority Quote Spread Relief In All Symbols
Montréal Exchange Request For Proposal: Market Making Of The Two-Year Government Of Canada Bond Futures (CGZ)
Bourse de Montréal Inc. (the “Bourse”) is issuing a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for the market making of the Two-Year Government of Canada Bond Futures (CGZ). This RFP is intended for approved participants and foreign approved participants, as well as their eligible clients, interested in submitting proposals outlining their abilities and commitment towards market making activities for the designated contracts. The market making requirements and the conditions of the program are indicated in the attached RFP.
Roboadvisers make slow progress gaining ground with investors; Use of robos is highest among millennials and Generation X households
Rheaa Rao – FT
Many large asset managers have shelled out time and money to develop robo-advisers. But, while assets invested in them are growing, only a small proportion of investors actually use such digital services, according to a report by data and analytics firm Hearts & Wallets.
Slack’s Pandemic Growth Takes Hit From Disappointing Billings; Workplace-collaboration app reports record sales and narrows outlook for full-year loss
Aaron Tilley – WSJ
Slack Technologies Inc. WORK 0.86% enjoyed strong customer growth even as some users cut back on use of the workplace-collaboration tool, showing how pandemic-driven changes have been both a boon and burden for business-software firms.
Asset Management One deploys EMS from Virtu Financial; The asset manager based in Asia has deployed the Virtu Triton Valor execution system, as well as the firm’s trading analytics solutions.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Asia-based investment firm Asset Management One has implemented the execution management system (EMS) and trading analytics from Virtu Financial.
FinTech Helping Women’s Empowerment: Mastercard’s Sridhar
On this episode of “Bloomberg Equality,” Rama Sridhar, executive vice president of digital partnerships and new payment flows for Asia Pacific at Mastercard Inc., explains why she thinks digital commerce is critical for the empowerment of women, and discusses her company’s efforts to boost gender equality. Sridhar says Mastercard is tapping Asia’s leap into the mobile era, helping central banks build their payments networks and enrolling tech players like Alipay and Grab Holdings Inc. to use its service on their platforms. She speaks with Bloomberg’s Yvonne Man and Tom Mackenzie.
Vela Expands Fixed Income Offering with Fenics UST; Adds to DMA Platform with US Treasuries market coverage to include cash and derivatives
Vela, a leading independent provider of data and execution technology for global multi-asset electronic trading, today announced the addition of Fenics US Treasuries (Fenics UST), owned and operated by BGC Financial, to its fully-hosted and managed Direct Market Access (DMA) Platform. With Fenics, Vela expands its Fixed Income offering providing global clients with access to cash and derivatives trading venues via a single platform.
Germany’s BaFin Mandates Licensing for Crypto ATMs
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
Service providers to these ATMs will also face regulatory actions for unauthorized operations. Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, popularly known as BaFin, has mandated its permission over the installation of any new cryptocurrency automated teller machines (ATMs). The provisions were made under the German Banking Act. “Proprietary trading is a financial service and financial commission business is a banking business, for which prior approval from BaFin is required,” a translated version of the announcement stated.
Abra adds 18 new cryptocurrencies to its all-in-one crypto banking app
Chainlink (LINK), Compound (COMP), Algorand (ALGO), Tezos (XTZ), Steem (STEEM), CELO
Abra, the leading cryptocurrency banking app, today announced the launch of 18 new cryptocurrencies for trading in the Abra app. Available in over 150 countries, the Abra app enables consumers to buy, sell, hold, trade, and earn up to 10% interest on their USD and crypto holdings, all-in-one simple and trusted experience.
How China Is Closing In on Its Own Digital Currency
While there’s no launch date yet, the People’s Bank of China is likely to be the first major central bank to issue a digital version of its currency, the yuan, seeking to keep up with — and control of — a rapidly digitizing economy. Trials have been held this year in a handful of cities and tests have started with some e-wallets and online apps, with the Covid-19 pandemic and need for social distancing providing a new sense of urgency. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, dealing in the digital yuan won’t have any presumption of anonymity, and its value will be as stable as the physical yuan, which will be sticking around too. Behind China’s rush is a desire to manage technological change on its own terms. As one PBOC official put it, currency isn’t only an economic issue, it’s also about sovereignty.
Diginex Raises $20 Million Before Planned Nasdaq Debut, CEO Says
Gregor Stuart Hunter – Bloomberg
Diginex says it has raised $20 million from a group of private investors ahead of a planned listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market later this month. The Hong Kong-based parent of the institutional cryptocurrency exchange Equos completed a private placement of convertible notes with investors including family offices in London and Hong Kong and a hedge fund, said Richard Byworth, the company’s chief executive officer.
Naspers-Backed Crypto Luno Acquired by Digital Currency Group
Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Naspers Ltd.-backed cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been acquired by New York-based digital asset investment firm Digital Currency Group, according to a company release seen by Bloomberg. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. DCG has backed more than 160 blockchain companies and is the parent of units including asset manager Grayscale Investments, crypto broker Genesis Global Trading and industry publication CoinDesk, the release said. DCG first invested in Luno in its seed round in 2014, the release said.
Blockchain Players Beat Gold and Bitcoin in the Pandemic
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
Remember that saying about selling shovels in a gold rush. Gold and its digital counterpart, Bitcoin, have had a pretty good run among investors seeking a haven or those willing to take a punt on cryptocurrency. But they’ve been pipped in the past year by another investment thesis that’s perhaps a little more tangible, highlighting the old adage that it’s smartest to be selling shovels in a gold rush.
About Jonathan Rowland’s “bitcoin bank”
Jemima Kelly – FT Alphaville
The Telegraph had an interesting story on Sunday: Jonathan Rowland plans £40m float for ‘Bitcoin bank’. Rowland, the founder of the “bank” in question, Mode, is the son of property tycoon and Tory donor David “Spotty” Rowland. A man who, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, was worth about £612m as of 2019. Spotty has acted as a private financial adviser to Prince Andrew, who he’s reportedly close friends with. He’s previously given Randy Andy permission to fly around in his private jet, and was invited to the wedding of his daughter Princess Eugenie. Apparently, he’s also mates with our old favourites, the Barclay brothers. And earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that Spotty had flown to North Korea in a bid to become Kim Jong Un’s private banker. It’s a?.?.?. well-connected clan, you might say.
New Activision patent envisions drawing player performance data from public blockchains
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Game publishing giant Activision has scored a patent for aggregating player data that highlights the use of public blockchains to gather such information. The patent, first filed in 2018, was awarded on September 8. It contains language that evokes some of the core arguments of blockchain-enabled gaming — namely, the portability of information (in-game items in particular) from one game to another.
Chicago cryptocurrency startup raises $5M, rebrands to Zero Hash
Katherine Davis – Chicago Business Journal
A Chicago cryptocurrency startup has raised new financing and rebranded as it aims to build out a settlement-as-a-service business. Zero Hash, formerly known as Seed CX, has raised $5 million in a Series C round, the company confirmed to Chicago Inno. The funding round was led by tastytrade, a Chicago-based holding company that owns major broker brands including tastyworks, Dough and The Small Exchange. Existing investors Bain Capital TradeStation, CMT Digital and Monday Capital also participated.
Venezuela Blocks Coinbase, Remittance Platform MercaDolar
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
In the latest crackdown to overseas digital services, Venezuela has surprisingly blocked access to US-based cryptocurrency Coinbase and fiat remittance platform MercaDolar. Brought to the light on Tuesday evening by Venezuela Inteligente, an organization helping Venezuelans to bypass internet blocks, there is no clear objective behind this latest crackdown. The authorities did not even announce any of its plans to block the two platforms.
Bitcoin mining hardware maker Canaan announces $10 million share repurchase plan
Momina Khan – The Block
China-based bitcoin miner manufacturer Canaan Creative announced today that its board of directors has approved a stock share repurchase program. The news comes almost a year after the company listed its shares on Nasdaq, pricing them at $9 per share, raising $90 million. Since then, the company has dealt with disappointing revenue figures and internal turmoil. In July, Canaan dismissed four of its senior executives. The company did not comment on the reasoning behind the move, but China-based media outlets reported that the internal restructuring occurred in response to disputes over the company’s long-term strategy. At press time, the stock price was right around $2.
Crypto Investors Have Ignored Three Straight 51% Attacks on ETC
Muyao Shen – Coindesk
Despite three “51% attacks” in a month, Ethereum Classic’s price has demonstrated strong resilience. Though down a bit for the past month, its persistence may indicate that security is not a top priority for investors rushing to join a bull run in the crypto market.
Court Denies Bitmain $30M in Damages From Co-Founders of Rival Poolin
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
A court in China has denied an appeal by bitcoin mining giant Bitmain seeking $30 million in damages from the three co-founders of Poolin, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining pools.
Most New Customers at Japanese Exchange BitFlyer Are in Their 20s
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
More than 30% of new customers at bitFlyer, a major Japanese crypto exchange, are in their 20s, the exchange said.
Security Firms Warn of Potential DeFi Exit Scam After $2.5M in ‘Locked’ Cryptos Moved
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
Two blockchain security firms have warned that the creators of a DeFi contract on the EOS network may have fled in what appears to be an exit scam.
93% of Black Lives Matter Protests Have Been Peaceful, New Report Finds
Sanya Mansoor – TIME
The vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests—more than 93%—have been peaceful, according to a new report published Thursday by a nonprofit that researches political violence and protests across the world. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22.
US companies defy Trump’s demands to leave China; Businesses ignore ‘decoupling’ threat as economy rebounds, says American Chamber of Commerce
Tom Mitchell – FT
US companies are ignoring Donald Trump’s threats to “decouple” from China and repatriate manufacturing, according to a survey of more than 200 companies with operations in the country.
Australian Reporters Flee China After Late-Night Visits From State Security; Bill Birtles and Michael Smith describe ordeal that has set off alarms for foreign media in country
Chao Deng and Rachel Pannett – WS
The evacuation of two Australian journalists from China after late-night visits from Chinese security officials has set off alarms at a nerve-racking time for foreign press in the country.
Trump Channels Noam Chomsky on U.S. Aggression; The president is making an argument popularized by one of the left’s heroes.
Eli Lake – WSJ
President Donald Trump has positioned himself in this election as the defender of “law and order” against a scary and violent left. But on foreign policy, at least, he is sounding like a leftist hero. In a rambling press conference on Monday, Trump accused former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent, of sending “our youth to fight in these crazy endless wars.” Then he mused: “I’m not saying the military is in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs, that make the planes and everything else, stay happy.”
Brave New Words Hint at a Less Democratic Future; From Hong Kong to Poland to the U.S., there’s a pickup in the markers of authoritarian language.
Clara Ferreira Marques – Bloomberg
In politics, language is a reliable indicator of the direction of travel. Today, rhetoric from the Republican Party convention in the U.S. to India, and from Poland to Brazil, points away from liberal democracy. The change has rarely been swifter than in Hong Kong.
White supremacy is ‘most lethal threat’ to the US, DHS draft assessment says
Geneva Sands, CNN
Washington (CNN)White supremacists will remain the most “persistent and lethal threat” in the United States through 2021, according to Department of Homeland Security draft documents. The most recent draft report predicts an “elevated threat environment at least through” early next year, concluding that some US-based violent extremists have capitalized on increased social and political tensions in 2020.
‘Our democracy is deeply imperiled’: how democratic norms are under threat ahead of the US election; The principals of five major US organizations all feel profound anxiety about the state of the nation under Trump as the US election inches closer
Ed Pilkington – The Guardian
Last month Barack Obama returned to the political stage to deliver a speech about the future of the nation. He did it standing in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia against the backdrop of a facsimile of the US constitution, which was drafted and signed in that city.
The Fed Enabled a Record Expansion. Trump Is Taking Credit; President Trump has taken credit for the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, but the Federal Reserve’s patient policies laid the groundwork.
Jeanna Smialek and Jim Tankersley – NY Times
President Trump is using the prepandemic economy to make a case for his re-election, highlighting time and again that unemployment rates fell to record low levels for Black and Hispanic workers in 2019, and that wages were climbing steadily under his watch.
ASIC updates the fees and costs disclosure regime
Transparent fees and costs are important for the proper functioning of the market, and product issuer accountability. Effective fees and costs disclosure support better decision-making by consumers and the advisers who assist them.
TLS Encryption Standards
Beginning Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the FINRA OTCE (otce.finra.org) and OTC Transparency Data (otctransparency.finra.org) websites will support only TLS version 1.2 encryption standards. This change is being made to improve website security by enforcing TLS 1.2 or higher encryption for all data in transit.
OTC Transparency Data Publication Delay
FINRA is experiencing an issue this morning with the display of Weekly OTC Transparency Data for the week of August 17, 2020 (Tier 1) on the OTC Transparency Data website. However, the data is available via the API. The issue is currently being investigated and a subsequent notice will be published once the data is available on the website.
Upcoming Board Meeting
This week, the FINRA Board of Governors will meet virtually for its September 2020 meeting—the first Board meeting since Eileen Murray assumed the role of Chairperson last month, and the first for newly elected Governor Wendy Lanton and recently appointed Governors Maureen Jensen and Eric Noll. Highlighted below are some of the key items the Board committees will consider.
Amerdeep Somal appointed as Complaints Commissioner
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Bank of England have today announced the appointment of Amerdeep Somal as Complaints Commissioner.
Copia Wealth Management Limited is placed into liquidation
Mr Floyd Paterson, the sole director of Copia Wealth Management Limited, a firm authorised and regulated by the FCA, has appointed Alex Kachani of Crawfords Accountants in Manchester as liquidator.
FCA publicly censures former Worldspreads CEO for market misconduct
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published a Final Notice in respect of Conor Foley, the former Chief Executive Officer of Worldspreads, publicly censuring him for market abuse and banning him from performing any roles linked to regulated activity.
New Zealand Financial Markets Authority Files Criminal Charges In Relation To Forestlands
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has filed criminal charges against an individual in relation to the Forestlands group of companies, for alleged disclosure and financial record keeping breaches.
Investing and Trading
JPMorgan Says Three-Day Stock Drop Hasn’t Killed Bullish Trend
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
U.S. stocks remain in a broader uptrend despite a three-day tumble in share prices, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s technical strategists said. The S&P 500 index has fallen 7% and the Nasdaq-100 gauge 11% in the past three sessions. While momentum had become stretched, bearish chart patterns marking the top of a rally are absent and key support levels held, strategists Jason Hunter and Alix Tepper Floman wrote in a note.
SoftBank Buybacks Raise Prospect of Management Buyout, Analyst Says
Gearoid Reidy – Bloomberg
SoftBank Group Corp. has been repurchasing so much of its own stock that a management-led deal to take the company private is looking feasible, a Tokyo-based analyst said. SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. analyst Satoru Kikuchi mentioned the prospect in response to investor questions about the company’s new asset management company. SoftBank shares have fallen about 10% this week following reports of its bets on tech stock derivatives.
Anadarko’s $100 Million CEO Ensnared in Oilfield-Fraud Lawsuit
Rachel Adams-Heard and Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg
Stockholders say company touted overvaluation of Shenandoah; Executives got big payouts when Anadarko sold to Occidental
The meeting would mark the beginning of the end of Lea Frye’s career in oil and gas. It was February 2014. Frye, at the time a senior engineer with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., had the job of calculating how much oil was waiting to be extracted from fields Anadarko owned. She was known to be forthright about her analyses. “She tells the truth no matter the circumstances,” her manager said in a later performance review.
How the wealth industry risks failing its clients; Technology and processes must help bring people closer to their money
Charlotte Ransom – FT
An extraordinary thing happened during lockdown: many of us finally came to terms with the fact that our personal finances don’t take care of themselves. We actually have to engage with them.
Investors Shun Risky Assets as Tech Trade Stalls; ‘This is the kind of market where if you are going to be invested in equities, you have to be a long-term investor,’ one investment adviser says
Karen Langley – WSJ
The selloff in highflying technology shares has been accompanied by a broad retreat from other risky assets, raising questions about the foundation of the market recovery, as investors anticipate a potentially volatile autumn.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
It’s a Race Against Heat, and Humanity Is Losing
Laura Millan Lombrana, Akshat Rathi and Hayley Warren – Bloomberg
Add this to your already long list of 2020 oddities: Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to experience their steepest drop in modern history while the world remains on track to mark its second-hottest, if not hottest, year. The two facts demonstrate the relentless pace of climate change and the extreme measures we need to take to slow it down. It’s a perverse race: The later we cut emissions, the faster the planet warms. Right now, it’s one humanity is losing.
Natural Gas Is the Rich World’s New Coal; As Germany debates Nord Stream 2, a wider shift is under way
Vanessa Dezem, Stephen Stapczynski, Naureen S Malik – Bloomberg
Even the cleanest fossil fuel is losing its appeal to rich nations. Just a few years ago, natural gas was hailed as vital for the transition toward an economy that runs on renewable energy. But sentiment is changing and the fuel is going the same way as coal, its dirtier sibling shunned by governments, utilities and investors.
Wind-Driven Blackouts Become New Reality in California; PG&E is expected to rely on pre-emptive power shut-offs for years to reduce the odds of starting wildfires during windy periods, but is working to limit their scopeBy
Katherine Blunt – WSJ
Power shut-offs like the one that darkened parts of California this week are expected to be a regular occurrence in the state for years during wildfire season as PG&E Corp. PCG 0.33% upgrades its aging equipment and completes overdue repairs.
Deutsche Bank Hires Barr Friend to Raise Its Game in Washington
Greg Farrell, Steven Arons, Christian Berthelsen, and Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg
Frankfurt move surprised some in U.S., where probes linger; Ex-ambassador to Germany vetted Bush running mates with Barr
Deutsche Bank AG, whose global operation is under the microscope of U.S. lawmakers and criminal investigators, has enlisted an old friend of U.S. Attorney General William Barr to help the bank navigate the political waters in Washington.
BlackRock Strategists Cool on Credit After Firm Stoked Rally
Tasos Vossos and Ksenia Galouchko – Bloomberg
Research arm of firm closes overweight it’s had since April; Robeco and Unigestion also turn away from corporate debt
The Federal Reserve famously tapped BlackRock Inc. to help engineer a recovery in corporate bonds from the depths of the corona crisis. Now, strategists at the firm say the rally in investment-grade credit looks exhausted.
St James’s Place reopens frozen UK property funds; Removal of ‘material uncertainty’ clauses will help investment groups to resume trading in property funds
Siobhan Riding and George Hammond – FT
St James’s Place has become the first investment manager to reopen its UK property funds following the easing of lockdown restrictions, throwing down the gauntlet to more than £20bn worth of frozen funds to follow its lead.
Hedge funds need to deliver in their year of opportunity; Volatile markets and differences between regions should make for a happy hunting ground
Laurence Fletcher – FT
The turbulent financial market conditions dominating 2020 are providing hedge funds with one of their best chances to shine in years. Many are not taking advantage.
Simple trick can deliver outperformance in emerging markets ETFs; Avoiding state-owned enterprises has helped generate double-digit returns for two funds
Steve Johnson – FT
While research has shown that passive funds tend to outperform active funds over time, especially when costs are taken into account, research suggests there may be at least one anomaly.
Turkey to Wield Competitive Lira in Economy’s Pivot After Virus
Cagan Koc – Bloomberg
Turkey can capitalize on the legacy of this year’s global health crisis by putting a competitive lira at the heart of a new strategy to move toward a more export-focused economy, according to Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.
Super Rich Get Richer on Ant After Striking Early Deals With Jack Ma
Venus Feng, Shirley Zhao, and Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Seven tycoons could see returns of about 50% from early bets; Li Ka-shing, Taiwanese scion and French retailer are invested
Jack Ma’s Ant Group is creating a new group of super wealthy people in China while also giving a boost to some older fortunes globally. Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, the family behind a French supermarket giant, the son of a Taiwanese real estate billionaire and Chinese retail tycoon Shen Guojun are among those invested in the online payments provider, which may be valued at $225 billion when it goes public next month.
Nigeria’s Fidelity Bank Plans $261 Million Bond Sale for Capital
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Fidelity Bank Plc, a mid-tier Nigerian lender, plans to issue a 100 billion-naira ($261-million) bond in the local currency to boost its capital ratios and funding capacity. The Lagos-based bank wants to issue the debt in a series, starting with a 50 billion-naira offer in the last quarter, Chief Executive Officer Nnamdi Okonkwo said by phone. The extra funds will help increase the bank’s capital adequacy ratio by 2 percentage points, from 18.8% in June, he said.
The corporate zombies stalking Europe; A big recapitalisation plan is the only way to address the serious damage that has been done to companies
Martin Sandbu – FT
We do not yet know if the pick-up in coronavirus cases around Europe will send economies into a new downturn, or be manageable without great disruption. Governments may feel forced into lockdowns again. Even if they don’t, renewed fear may interrupt a return to normality. Alternatively, hospitalisation numbers may remain sufficiently low that most activity can resume.
Trade Shows Limp Back to Life After Lockdowns; Pandemic gives rise to hybrid fairs in Europe that pair real and digital worlds; ‘we have to scale down and test what will work’
William Boston and Eric Sylvers – FT
Trade shows and exhibitions that were shut down by the pandemic are now cautiously relaunching in Europe in a dress rehearsal for what show organizers hope will be a broader resumption of fairs next year.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Gamble Foments a Brewing Scottish Rebellion
Alastair Reed – Bloomberg
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is feuding with Europe over Brexit and facing a growing backlash from within his own party. There’s also a rebellion over the U.K.’s future that only looks set to get worse. Scotland opposes the Internal Market Bill that’s due to be published on Wednesday and has led to the latest acrimony with the European Union. Johnson’s government has said the legislation will ensure there are no barriers to trade between different parts of the U.K. The administration in Edinburgh says it encroaches on powers already ceded to Scotland.
Plans for post-Brexit UK internal market an ‘assault on devolution’
Libby Brooks and Steven Morris – The Guardian
The Scottish and Welsh governments have sharply criticised Westminster’s plans for a post-Brexit UK-wide internal market, describing them as a “full frontal assault on devolution” and “an affront to the people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”. The internal market bill, which sets out trading arrangements across the UK after the transition period – and which the UK government on Tuesday conceded breaks international law in respect of the Northern Ireland protocol – would recklessly undermine the powers of the Scottish parliament, the first minster, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned.
Brexit withdrawal treaty dispute triggered law chief’s resignation; Jonathan Jones quit after UK government planned laws to overwrite accord with EU on Northern Ireland
Sebastian Payne, Peter Foster and Jim Pickard – FT
The explosive departure of the UK government’s most senior lawyer on Tuesday was prompted by a furious dispute at the heart of Whitehall over the legal implications of Britain’s failure to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
UK government admits it will break international law over Brexit treaty; ‘This does break international law in a specific and limited way,’ says cabinet minister Lewis
George Parker, Sebastian Payne, Peter Foster and Jim Pickard – FT
Boris Johnson was engulfed in a row with senior figures in his own party and Brussels on Tuesday, after a minister said the government intended to “break international law”.
Why Boris Johnson is considering a no-deal Brexit for a bruised economy; In order to have a more activist state, the UK risks making exports to its biggest market more expensive
George Parker, Jim Brunsden and Peter Foster – FT
In an economy devastated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Britain can boast at least one new boom industry — customs. By some industry estimates, which ministers do not dispute, as many as 50,000 people could find new work as customs agents, facilitating trade between Britain and the EU under new Brexit arrangements. This army of form-fillers could soon start to rival the actual British Army in size.
French trade minister warns UK on Brexit level playing field; Franck Riester also signals rethinking of globalisation in wake of coronavirus pandemic
Victor Mallet – FT
France’s new minister for external trade has warned that a Brexit deal remains unattainable so long as the UK remains unwilling to be bound by rules that would ensure a “level playing field” in trade with the EU.
ECB supervisors turn the screw on banks’ Brexit plans; Ending up with overlapping operations in London and the eurozone is the last thing cost-cutting lenders want
Martin Arnold – FT
Europe’s top financial supervisor is fed up with waiting for big banks to prepare for Brexit. This is the message European Central Bank officials have given to banking executives this summer, while asking them for “action plans” to make their EU offshoots “operationally self-standing in key areas” by the end of this year when the Brexit transition period ends.
Brexit: EU calls for urgent meeting with Michael Gove over deal
Daniel Boffey and Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
The EU has called for an urgent meeting with Michael Gove after expressing “strong concerns” over plans to redefine the Brexit agreement. The European commission vice-president Maroš Šefcovic has asked for an extraordinary meeting of the joint committee he chairs with Gove “as soon as possible” to force UK to respond to EU concerns over the internal market bill, which is being published on Wednesday. He spoke to Gove in what was said to be a tense call following admissions by the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, on Tuesday that the UK would be breaching the international law with the new bill.
Art market report shows the severe impact of Covid-19; Smaller galleries have been hardest hit, while online selling platforms are a growing priority
Melanie Gerlis – FT
Art gallery sales fell by an average 36 per cent in the first half of this year, finds the first comprehensive analysis of the impact of Covid-19 on this sector, published by Art Basel and UBS today.