Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The service at Old St. Patrick’s Church for Jacqueline Cashman yesterday morning was well attended in the beautifully restored sanctuary of the church where her daughter Brigid has worked at the school for the last 30 years. Jacquie and her husband Tom have been huge benefactors of St. Pat’s over the years, with Jacquie serving on the Emerald Ball fundraiser committee for many years to raise money for St. Pat’s. It was the fitting site for her service.
My entry into the futures industry came from working for Tom and Jacquie Cashman, starting when I was 17 years old. I was hired as Tom’s summer driver after he had helped his previous driver get a job with Hennessy & Associates. I drove for Tom between my junior and senior years in high school and then afterwards all through my college years, including 1981 when he helped me get a job as a runner on the old agricultural trading floor with Shearson American Express. My desk manager was Neil Lustyk, now of the CME Group. We left Williams Bay, Wisconsin at 4:45 a.m. and left Chicago by 1:45 p.m. to return, dropping off several members of what we referred to as the Irish Mafia (Burke, Wall, Donahoe) in Fox Lake, Ill., where they had traveled into Chicago by train in the morning.
While I worked for Tom, I also coached his son, Thomas F. Cashman, in Little League Baseball in Williams Bay, Wisconsin in the evenings after we returned from Chicago for the day. We have been friends ever since. I love the Cashman family and I learned much about life and how to treat people from Thomas J. Cashman. He always treated everyone so well and the same, whether a multimillionaire trader or a cab driver. Jacquie always treated me very well too, as if I were a part of the family.
Tom was such a dedicated husband that he would call Jacquie at 9:15 a.m. before the markets opened at 9:30 a.m. and then at 2 p.m., after the markets he was trading closed. I can remember Tom would call his mother every day too when I worked for him. I was often sent on trips around Chicago to pick up something at Marshall Field’s or to pick up an aunt of Jacquie’s on the southside of Chicago and drop her somewhere. I learned Chicago and learned to love Chicago, all before the advent of GPS. I also learned how to parallel park a Chevrolet Suburban.
I am blessed to have had a mentor like Tom Cashman. One big reason I became such an outspoken electronic trading advocate years ago was because I wanted Tom and people like him whose lives were dependent on the trading floor to know that I could sense there was a big freight train about to run over them and take from them their livelihoods.
Tom Cashman stayed the course on the trading floor as long as it was there. But yesterday I saw the freight train that ran over him. Grief. Looking into his eyes as our eyes locked as he recessed down the aisle of St. Patrick’s Church behind the casket of his beloved wife of 57 years, I saw the saddest eyes I have ever seen. It broke my heart and as I tried to express this to my wife Cheryl I broke and started to cry. I hope I don’t have to return to St. Pat’s for another funeral anytime soon.
Thomas J. Cashman was the inspiration for the John Lothian Profiles video series. His was the first of the series that also included Blair Hull, Neal Kottke, Lee Stern, Mike Forrester, Tom Kadlec, Bob Otter, George Gero, Ralf Roth and Steve Staszak.
It was Thomas F. Cashman who gave me the idea for the Open Outcry Traders History Project, which begot The Path to Electronic Trading video series as well. Thus, my history and the history work JLN and I are doing for the industry are intertwined in the Cashman family.
Today we have episode four of Options Discovery with Alex Teng that includes an interview with Chen Liang, the co-founder of Odds.Trade, who reached out to me after he saw the first episode. Chen has a good story to tell. We are also publishing Options Discovery and the complete interview with Chen separately.
The LME shared on LinkedIn that “Independent consultants Oliver Wyman are seeking feedback from key stakeholders and interested parties as part of an independent review they are conducting into events in the nickel market leading up to the suspension in March 2022.
Goodguy David Silverman has joined tZERO Group, Inc. as head of corporate development. I first came across David when he was an electronic trading brokerage competitor. We have become friends over the years and he even found a previous job from a listing posted to this newsletter, though that did not work out as well as we both hoped.
The Financial Times is reporting that British teens’ most popular source of news is Instagram, and TikTok was the second most popular source.
I wonder if I could talk my wife into a trip to Paris for our wedding anniversary on September 23. Not only would we be in the “City of Love” for our anniversary, but I could attend the FIA’s Forum: Paris 2022 to be held from 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM CEST at Euronext Paris. The forum will look at trends in clearing, products and operations. Paris, the city of love and clearing.
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 Spread: Options Discovery Episode 4: Institutional and retail options trading; interview with Chen Liang of Odds.Trade
In this episode of Options Discovery, Alex Teng goes over institutional vs. retail options trading and the advantages and disadvantages for both. He also interviews Chen Liang, the co-founder of Odds.Trade, who talks about generating insight from data models and how he developed tools designed for entry level retail traders. Retail trading has doubled during the pandemic and has been growing steadily since, and retail traders want tools for analytics and visualization in their toolbox that will help them with a variety of options strategies, Liang says.
Complete Interview: Chen Liang, the co-founder of Odds.Trade
Complete Interview: JLN talks with Chen Liang, co-founder of Odds.Trade, a fintech company that develops tools for retail options traders that enable them to quickly generate options strategy ideas.
American Financial Exchange Volume Levels Surge Above Pre-Pandemic Levels
The American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American banks and financial institutions, announced a significant increase in daily volume levels, reporting an average of over $2.2 billion transacted for five consecutive days in July. Additionally, the AFX AMERIBOR Benchmark reached 3.113 billion on July 19, marking one of the benchmark’s top three best trading days since inception. “AFX has been a reliable source of liquidity, providing efficient and transparent access to funds for an institution like Western Alliance. Record volumes on the platform reflect the changing dynamics of the interbank market and the economy at large,” said John Radwanski, Treasurer – Western Alliance Bancorporation.
***** Does this make us pre-normal?~JJL
ICE Extends Climate Risk Management Offering With Acquisition of Urgentem
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced it has expanded its climate risk offering with the acquisition of Urgentem, a provider of global corporate emissions and climate transition data. Urgentem’s data and analytics will enable ICE to quickly expand its climate risk offering to include extended coverage of global public and private companies across new geographies, scenario risk analysis and stress testing for fund managers and banks.
***** More data for ICE sounds like a good fit.~JJL
FaZe Clan’s Market Debut Disappoints Investors Who Don’t Buy the Hype; The group of gaming and esports celebrities helped pioneer the influencer marking industry
Cecilia D’Anastasio – Bloomberg
The frat house of the video game industry is flinging open its doors and letting the public in. FaZe Clan, a bombastic organization of gaming celebrities and esports pros that helped pioneered the influencer marketing industry, began trading on the Nasdaq Wednesday after merging with a special purpose acquisition company. It became the first publicly traded Gen-Z influencer company and one of only a handful of esports companies on the market. But FaZe’s business is built on hype and Wall Street wasn’t buying it.
**** Down 24% yesterday because, well, hype is hype, but I have a good feeling about this SPAC. But then maybe I am just going through a FaZe.~JJL
How is the jet stream connected to simultaneous heatwaves across the globe? Scientists are racing to understand the changing shape of the air currents
Leslie Hook – FT
The deadly heatwaves that have fuelled blazes and caused transport disruptions in Europe, the US and China this month have one thing in common: a peculiar shape in the jet stream dubbed “wavenumber 5”. Scientists are racing to understand whether the band of fast-moving air that controls weather in the mid-latitudes is changing in a way that makes heatwaves more frequent and persistent.
***** It starts with a butterfly here and a butterfly there.~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was How Troy Kane went from a 14-year-old trading floor clerk to global head of derivatives and FICC development, from Insider via Citadel Securities. Second was – Yessss! – the tweet by @Danny Deraney of a baby panda loudly enjoying a squash. Third was a tie between the picture of the late Ralph Goldenberg with Chris Hehmeyer and Jessica Hehmeyer, which was No. 1 on Tuesday, and The Financial Times’ How FTX plans to reshape the US futures market with crypto tech.
26,931 pages; 239,588 edits
JPMorgan Trader Spoofed So Fast Colleagues Urged Ice on Fingers
Eddie Spence – Bloomberg
Gregg Smith clicked his computer mouse so rapidly to place and cancel bogus gold and silver orders for Bear Stearns Cos. and later JPMorgan Chase & Co. that his colleagues would joke that he needed to put ice on his fingers to cool them down afterward, or that he must be double-jointed. That’s how his former protege, Christian Trunz, described for jurors how he watched Smith use so-called “spoof” trades — large orders intended to manipulate prices that were quickly canceled. Trunz, 37, said he learned how to spoof from Smith and others after joining Bear Stearns out of college in 2007, shortly before the bank was acquired by JPMorgan.
Broker IG reports record revenue after strong US growth; Performance of Tastytrade acquisition helped offset slowdown in do-it-yourself trading
Joshua Oliver – FT
Brokerage group IG delivered record revenue and profits, as growth at its US subsidiary made up for a slowdown in do-it-yourself trading as the Covid-19 pandemic waned. Strong performance at Tastytrade, the US derivatives broker that the group bought last year, contributed the bulk of IG’s 16 per cent growth in revenue in the year to the end of May. Overall revenue from continuing operations rose to £973mn but only rose 1 per cent if the US business is excluded. Brokers enjoyed a boom in demand at the height of the pandemic as people stuck at home during lockdowns surfed volatile markets and took bets with their extra savings.
Revealed: oil sector’s ‘staggering’ $3bn-a-day profits for last 50 years
The oil and gas industry has delivered $2.8bn (£2.3bn) a day in pure profit for the last 50 years, a new analysis has revealed. The vast total captured by petrostates and fossil fuel companies since 1970 is $52tn, providing the power to “buy every politician, every system” and delay action on the climate crisis, says Prof Aviel Verbruggen, the author of the analysis. The huge profits were inflated by cartels of countries artificially restricting supply.
Sucden Financial Purchases Atlantic Trading for STIR Market Making
Sucden Financial, the multi-asset execution, clearing and liquidity provider, has purchased the trading, IT and IP assets of Atlantic Trading London Limited, a proprietary market-making derivatives trading house. Atlantic Trading acted as a liquidity provider and market maker on interest rate and bond options, covering all European and select US interest rate markets for nineteen years. Their team of quantitative strategic traders utilised in-depth trading analysis and high-end visual tools, providing market insight to develop trading opportunities.
China reckons with its first overseas debt crisis; The Belt and Road Initiative has seen a surge in loans going bad, prompting Beijing to issue countries with emergency credit
James Kynge, Kathrin Hille, Ben Parkin and Jonathan Wheatley – FT
The 350m Lotus Tower that looms over the skyline in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo is one of the tallest buildings in South Asia. Funded by a Chinese state bank and designed to look like a giant lotus bud about to burst into flower, it was intended to be a metaphor for the flourishing of Sri Lanka’s economy and the “brilliant future” of the bilateral co-operation between Beijing and Colombo.
Chinese Cotton Traders Fined by ICE for Evading Position Limits
David Marino and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
China’s state-owned Chinatex Corp. Ltd. and Cofco Resources SA agreed to pay a total of $3.3 million in fines issued by ICE Futures US for working together in 2020 to evade position limits in cotton futures, the exchange said in a notice. ICE said that between April and June 2020, Chinatex allowed some employees to trade through a Cofco Resources account, allowing Chinatex to hold a position exceeding the 5,000 contract limit set by the exchange. The companies later shifted the positions from Cofco’s account to Chinatex through prearranged trades, ICE
Mario Draghi resigns after Italian coalition unravels; Development triggers alarm among investors, leading to a jump in Italian bond yields
Amy Kazmin – FT
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has resigned, ending a national unity government formed to tackle unpopular reforms and spelling trouble for Europe at a time of acute economic challenges. In a statement, President Sergio Mattarella’s office on Thursday said that Draghi would remain in charge of current affairs. Mattarella is now expected to dissolve parliament and announce snap elections.
Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Exchange FTX Is In Talks to Raise Funds After Buying Spree
Saritha Rai, Yueqi Yang and Ben Bartenstein – Bloomberg
Crypto exchange FTX, co-founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, is in talks to raise fresh funding after carrying out a shopping spree during the recent digital-assets market rout. FTX and its American entity FTX US are both fundraising, according to people familiar with the matter who aren’t authorized to discuss ongoing discussions. FTX is targeting a round at essentially the same valuation as its January fundraising, the people said. In January, FTX announced it raised $400 million at $32 billion valuation, while FTX US raised a separate $400 million at an $8 billion valuation.
LSE launches taskforce to boost UK capital market reform; New taskforce consists of a wide range of participants to ensure an inclusive and thorough debate on specific areas where change is needed can take place.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange has launched a new UK capital markets industry taskforce, bringing together participants from across the financial markets ecosystem to drive the development of the UK’s capital markets. The new taskforce looks to ensure capital markets work effectively, directing capital into the real economy to create jobs and promote innovation.
Southeast Asian crypto exchange Zipmex suspends withdrawals
Southeast Asia-focused cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex has suspended withdrawals, the company said in a tweet https://twitter.com/zipmex/status/1549699440302166016 on Wednesday night, with an executive of its Thai affiliate citing liquidity difficulties at crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius.
Korea Prosecutors Raid Crypto Exchanges, Homes in Terra Probe
Hooyeon Kim – Bloomberg
South Korean prosecutors are stepping up their investigation into Terraform Labs, whose stablecoin TerraUSD collapsed in May, setting off a rout in cryptocurrency markets. A team of investigators from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office began seizing transaction records and other material from seven local exchanges at 5:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the office said in a message.
Crypto Woes Spread as Celsius, Babel Links Hit Another Firm; Zipmex has halted withdrawals due to difficulties at partners; Has $48 million exposure with Babel, $5 million with Celsius
Philip Lagerkranser and Anuchit Nguyen – Bloomberg
Zipmex, a cryptocurrency exchange that operates in markets like Singapore and Thailand, halted withdrawals as the fallout from a series of defaults spreads further throughout the digital-assets industry. The Asian platform is the latest to encounter financial difficulties stemming from dealings with troubled crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius Network Ltd. Zipmex has $48 million of exposure to Babel and $5 million with Celsius, it said on its Facebook page on Thursday.
U.S. agrees to send Ukraine more HIMARS launchers, weaponry that is taking a toll on Russian forces
Michael Weiss – Yahoo News
To hear Ukrainian military officials tell it in recent days, the indispensable weapon in month five of their defensive war against Russian invaders is the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, an armored-vehicle-mounted long-range artillery launcher.
Treasury Official Sees Price Cap on Russian Oil by December
Daniel Flatley – Bloomberg
A price cap on Russian oil should go into effect alongside the December implementation of the European Union’s restrictions on insurance for the commodity, a Biden administration official said Wednesday night.
Russia Resumes Nord Stream Gas Flow, Bringing Europe Respite
Elena Mazneva and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Russia began sending natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline system after a pause, bringing relief to a continent whose economy is starting to wobble under the strain of reduced supplies.
Ukraine Devalues Hryvnia to Protect Foreign Reserves
Volodymyr Verbyany – Bloomberg
Ukraine devalued the official hryvnia exchange rate to protect its foreign-currency reserves as Russia’s invasion ravages the economy. The National Bank of Ukraine also held its main interest rate unchanged at 25% on Thursday and said that its monetary and exchange-rate policies are aimed at easing pressure on the local currency. It set the hryvnia rate at 36.5686 per dollar compared with 29.25, where it had been frozen for the past five months.
Russians May Face First Hague War Crimes Case by End of Year; European authorities assisting in evidence gathering for cases; Ukraine in talks to send captured Russian to the Hague
Alberto Nardelli, Jennifer Jacobs, and Alex Wickham – Bloomberg
The International Criminal Court is aiming to put forward its first case over alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine as early as this winter, according to people familiar with the matter.
‘They will run out of money’: farmers’ fight for survival in Ukraine; War-damaged infrastructure, soaring costs and Russia’s blockade are crippling agricultural revenues
Derek Brower – FT
Stay across the latest Ukraine coverage.Join the FT’s Telegram channel Combine harvesters cruise through golden crops of barley in the fields of Kyshchentsi, 200km south of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. Wheat, rapeseed and vegetables will follow as farmers gather the last spring-planted crops.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Nasdaq Appoints Johan Torgeby to its Board of Directors
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ), today announced the appointment of Johan Torgeby to its Board of Directors. Torgeby is President and Group Chief Executive at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), a leading financial services group in northern Europe headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Torgeby’s appointment is effective immediately and expands the Board to 11 directors. He will be a member of the Finance Committee.
JPX and JPXI Launch ESG Bond Information Platform
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) and JPX Market Innovation & Research, Inc. (JPXI) have today launched the ESG Bond Information Platform. The Sustainable Finance Platform Development Working Group, set up by JPX in October 2021, discussed practical issues around the creation of an “information platform” for ESG bonds. With “green” investment growing fast during the net zero transition, the Working Group pointed out the importance of enabling access to information which is useful for the operations of both issuing organizations and investors. We hope that by bringing information (security information, issuer information (including strategy), use of proceeds/impact, external reviews, etc.) which was previously scattered across the websites of individual issuers, review providers, securities companies, and others together onto one platform, we can improve convenience for market players and visibility of the products, thereby contributing to the development of the sustainable finance market.
Independent Nickel Market Trading Review – Market Engagement
Following the notification to the market of the LME and LME Clear’s (together the “LME Group”) decision to commission Oliver Wyman to undertake an Independent Review into events in the Nickel market leading up to the Nickel market suspension (LME Notice 22/168 and LME Clear Circular 22-040 dated 23 June 2022), this Notice provides further detail on the market engagement exercise.
Access to JSE Investment Challenge becoming central to learners’ school experience satisfaction
The opportunity to participate in the more than four-decades long financial literacy programme is fast becoming a factor when learners rate their over-all satisfaction with their school learning environment. There is a growing appreciation by South African learners for the need to gain exposure to a broader knowledge base beyond the school curriculum, says Ralph Speirs, JSE CSI officer. Learners from Acudeo College Crystal Park agree with Speirs. “One thing that I personally love about my experience in this school is all the wonderful opportunities that it has exposed me to, like the JSE Investment Challenge,” says Onyinye Kennedy, matric learner at Gauteng-based Acudeo College Crystal Park.
Webcast Details And Key Dates For 2022 Full-Year Results
ASX Limited (ASX) is scheduled to announce its financial results for the full-year ended 30 June 2022 on Thursday, 18 August 2022, prior to market open. After the results have been announced, ASX will hold a briefing: Date: Thursday, 18 August 2022; Time: 10:30am (Sydney time); Webcast: Register to view the briefing here. The webcast will be archived on ASX’s website.
Morgan Stanley begins trading listed FX at Eurex
Growing trend to combine on- and off-exchange business; Major milestone for Eurex’s FX liquidity hub; Morgan Stanley is a strong proponent of so-called “Exchange-for-Physical” services. The trend towards the listed FX business continues: Today, Eurex announced that Morgan Stanley has entered the listed FX business of Europe’s leading derivatives exchange. As one of the most important participants in the global FX market, Morgan Stanley joins a growing number of market participants at Eurex who are moving their business to the exchange or combining OTC and exchange-listed FX trading by using so-called “Exchange-for-Physical” (EFP) services.
EEX Group continues to provide certainty in uncertain times
In the first half year of 2022, EEX Group continued to offer liquid and secure markets for the energy and commodity community. H1 2022 has been characterised by a turbulent market environment, with high uncertainty and volatility as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Peter Reitz, EEX CEO, comments: “Open and secure markets as well as reliable clearing services, as offered by EEX Group, have shown their relevance during the past 6 months. I’m proud to say that we continued to run our markets on a stable basis, and that we were able to support our customers by offering certainty in these uncertain times”.
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Release 1.1 of the Regulatory Reporting Solution (RRS) for non-MiFIR firms: Simulation start and documentation update
Dear Eurex Participant, With this Newsflash we would like to announce that the simulation for the Regulatory Reporting Solution Release 1.1 (RRS 1.1) is approaching.
FEX $300 Strike Cap Power Contract
FEX Global advises the following planned amendments to one of its $300 Strike Cap Power contracts: The affected contract is the FEX $300 Strike Cap Power Quarterly Futures; (i) Adjust strike value from $300 to $500; (ii) Adjust 30 minute spot pricing to 5 minute spot pricing; (iii) Adjust contract name to FEX $500 Strike 5MS Cap Power Quarterly Futures. In order to ensure a smooth transition to these amendments, orders for the affected contract will no longer be accepted, commencing immediately.
Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect – Second Batch Migration to Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) New Trading Gateway Planned by SSE and Reminder on Final Practice Session for the Migration
China Connect Exchange Participants (CCEPs) are requested to note that Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) has published an announcement to inform the market of the second batch migration plan (organization of a post release test in late July 2022) with exact launch date to be announced in due course. In order to get Northbound trading under Stock Connect ready, CCEPs who registered for the final practice session to be held on 23 July 2022 (Saturday) are reminded to participate in the practice session (see the Exchange Circular (Ref No: CT/105/22) dated on 19 July 2022).
NSE Indices launches Nifty200 Alpha 30 index
NSE’s index services subsidiary, NSE Indices Limited today launched a new alpha factor based smart beta index – Nifty200 Alpha 30. The Nifty200 Alpha 30 index consists of 30 stocks selected from its parent Nifty 200 based on ‘Jensen’s Alpha’. The weight of stocks in the index is based on their alpha scores. Stock weights are capped at the lower of 5% or 5 times the weight of the stock in the index based only on free float market capitalization.
Banks Turn to AI to Help Dodge Enforcement Spotlight; Regulators increasingly expect banks and other entities to use smarter systems to help thwart potential criminal activity
Richard Vanderford – WSJ
The machines are coming for financial crime—or at least machine learning is—as an explosion in artificial intelligence offerings is driving a shift in what enforcers could expect from financial institutions and corporations. With financial-crime-detecting AI systems growing in profile, financial institutions and other regulated entities are likely to face pressure—both internal and external—to deploy more advanced technology, experts said.
TS Imagine boosts North American presence with new office in Montréal; New location will allow for increased expansion of the firm’s employee count, which has already seen an additional 100 employees recruited in H1 of this year.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
TS Imagine has expanded its presence in Montréal, Canada with the addition of a new office to boost its North American operations and drive its international growth. Established last year, TS Imagine is the result of a merger between TradingScreen and Imagine Software by investment firm Francisco Partners.
Firms are failing to effectively monitor communications as fines roll in, research finds; Bank of America, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have all received multi-million dollar fines for activities relating to off channel communication on personal devices.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The majority of firms are not yet monitoring WhatsApp despite several major institutions being recently served with major fines by regulators, research by SteelEye has found. Just 15% of investment firms are monitoring communication on the social media channel while just 9% monitor Slack and 3% monitor Signal, a Compliance Health Check report by SteelEye has found.
The US Govt and Corps Look to Fill 700K Cybersecurity Jobs – The New Stack
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – TheNewStack
Want a sure-fire tech job? Easy. Get the skills you need to help patch up our holey tech security blanket. From chief information security officer (CISO) positions to entry-level security jobs requiring only a CompTIA Security+ and a pulse, the jobs are out there. In fact, according to the White House, there are 700,000 cybersecurity positions open today. That’s not a typo. That’s 700 thousand jobs open.
China fines Didi Global $1.2 billion for violating cybersecurity and data laws
Yong Xiong, Larry Register and Laura He – CNN
China’s cyberspace regulator fined Didi Global just over 8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) on Thursday for violating cybersecurity and data laws, putting an end to a yearlong investigation into the ride-hailing giant.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement that the firm had breached the country’s cybersecurity law, data security law, and personal information protection law.
Blockchain.com Cuts 25% Workforce Amid Crypto Bear Market
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.com is cutting 25% of its workforce, equating to about 150 people, the firm said on Thursday. The company cited the harsh bear market conditions and the need to absorb financial losses. The exchange recently revealed it was dealing with a $270 million shortfall from lending to beleaguered hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.
Bitcoin Short-Seller Profits Jump by 50% in June Amid Meltdown
Vildana Hajric and Katie Greifeld – Bloomberg
A dramatic fall in the world’s largest Bitcoin trust has been a godsend for its haters. Those betting against Grayscale Investments’s Bitcoin Trust, or GBTC, have seen a nearly 50% return from the start of June to mid-July, the second-best showing for any exchange-traded fund over that stretch, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of predictive analytics at S3 Partners. The average short interest on the trust is $87 million. Its rank on a list of most profitable US ETF shorts clocks in behind only a leveraged semiconductor product. (GBTC technically isn’t an ETF but has been lumped into the list as a point of comparison, and because many treat it as if it were one, said Dusaniwsky.)
Tesla, MicroStrategy, Block Face Hit From Bitcoin
Subrat Patnaik – Bloomberg
As if the environment weren’t tough enough for one-time stock market high-flyers Tesla Inc., MicroStrategy Inc. and Block Inc., the three companies took an estimated combined hit of $5 billion on their holdings of Bitcoin in the second quarter.
Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $10M From Susquehanna to Fund Hiring, Growth Plans
Shaurya Malwa – Coindesk
Crypto exchange KuCoin has raised over $10 million in a strategic investment from Susquehanna International Group (SIG), the company told CoinDesk on Thursday. KuCoin and SIG will also collaborate in incubation and ecosystem building for crypto startups through incubation, investment, and consultation, especially the projects built on the KCC chain, the blockchain network backed by KuCoin.
Peter Thiel-Backed Crypto Lender Vauld Files for Protection Against Creditors; Vauld suspended withdrawals earlier this month and laid off 30% of its staff in June
Vicky Ge Huang – WSJ
A cryptocurrency lender backed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Coinbase Global Inc. filed for protection against creditors in Singapore after pausing withdrawals. Vauld Group filed an application on July 8 to seek a moratorium order in favor of the company, a spokesperson for the company confirmed. The move gives Vauld and its management the “breathing space it requires to prepare for the intended restructuring for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the company said in a blog post on July 11.
Finland Liquidates Seized Bitcoin Stash Amid Crypto Bust; Finland raises $47.5 million in sale of forfeited Bitcoins; Stake had been valued at almost $130 million last year
Kati Pohjanpalo – Bloomberg
Finland has sold its hoard of confiscated Bitcoins just as the market for cryptocurrencies is cooling, raising less than previously anticipated. The Customs has during the summer liquidated 1,889.1 Bitcoins via two brokers, raising 46.5 million euros ($47.5 million), it said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The coins had been seized in drug busts and had been legally forfeited to the state following court rulings.
Indonesia Plans Wholesale Digital Currency to Improve Transfers
Grace Sihombing and Chester Yung – Bloomberg
Indonesia’s central bank is on track to issue its own digital currency for banks to use, while considering ways to ensure it would be exchangeable across borders. Bank Indonesia will release the conceptual design of digital rupiah by the end of this year, Governor Perry Warjiyo said in a briefing on Thursday. “The principle of digital rupiah will be the same as paper money which is to be the only legal currency for digital transactions in Indonesia,” he said.
The US Has Lost Its Way on Computer Chips; When it comes to a semiconductor strategy, American policymakers don’t know which direction to turn.
Ian King – Bloomberg
In June 2021 the US Senate passed a bill dedicating more than $50 billion to increase the manufacture of semiconductors. At the time pandemic-related shortages in computer chips were highlighting US vulnerability to supply chain shocks, just as rising tension with China heightened national security concerns over technology. Bolstering domestic capacity to make components with such profound economic and strategic importance seemed like an easy win for officials across the political spectrum.
Sharp exchanges at hearing illuminate debate on SEC’s oversight of ESG; GOP lawmaker grills SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal on how the agency can crack down on ESG when there’s no regulatory definition of ESG.
Mark Schoeff Jr. – Investment News
That happened Tuesday at a meeting of a House Financial Services subcommittee that featured Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s director of enforcement, who took hits from Republicans over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s oversight of investing using environmental, social and governance factors. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., pressed Grewal on how the SEC can take ESG enforcement actions when there is no regulatory definition of ESG. “You can’t enforce something that’s not defined, sir,” Wagner said to Grewal during a hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets.
MPs call for review into UK regulator’s handling of pension mis-selling scandal; Financial Conduct Authority ‘failed’ to protect British Steel Pension Scheme members from ‘unscrupulous advisers’, report finds
Josephine Cumbo – FT
MPs have called for a review of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s monitoring of the pension transfer market due to concerns that thousands of cases of mis-selling have been undetected. The House of Commons’ public accounts committee made the recommendation in a highly critical report on the regulator’s role in a major pension mis-selling scandal that left thousands of steelworkers with huge shortfalls in their retirement income.
Mario Draghi Saved the Euro, But Italian Politics Defeated Him; Resignation shatters unity that won him the premiership; Former head of European Central Bank has been boon for markets
Chiara Albanese, Alessandro Speciale, and Alessandra Migliaccio – Bloomberg
Mario Draghi managed to keep the euro together at the height of the sovereign-debt crisis but he failed to keep Italian political parties in line — just as the euro-zone grapples with a new energy and inflation crisis. The premier resigned Thursday after three coalition allies withdrew their support for his government, shattering the unity which had propelled him into office in February 2021.
Notice of Annual Meeting of FINRA Firms and Election Proxy
FINRA will conduct its Annual Meeting of firms on Friday, August 19, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time in the FINRA Visitors Center at 1735 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The purpose of the meeting is to elect an individual to fill one small firm seat on the FINRA Board of Governors (FINRA Board or Board).1
Deutsche Bank Settles Money-Laundering Case for $7.1 Million
Steven Arons and Karin Matussek – Bloomberg
Deutsche Bank AG settled a probe by Frankfurt prosecutors into whether it was late to report suspicions of money laundering for 7.01 million euros ($7.1 million). The bank agreed to pay the amount and accepted an administrative penalty notice, the lender said in a statement. Frankfurt prosecutors confirmed the conclusions of the probe, which found 701 cases of failed reports of suspicious activities.
CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting July 27
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced the Commission will hold an open meeting on Wednesday, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. (EDT).
The Commission will consider the following:
Proposed Rule: Governance Requirements for Derivatives Clearing Organizations
Notice of Proposed Order and Request for Comment on an Application for a Capital Comparability Determination submitted by the Financial Services Agency of Japan
Notice of Proposed Order and Request for Comment on an Application for a Capital Comparability Determination submitted by Nonbank Swap Dealers subject to Regulation by the Mexican Comision Nacional Bancaria y de Valores
CFTC Grants AEGIS SEF, LLC Registration as a Swap Execution Facility
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it has issued an Order of Registration to AEGIS SEF, LLC (AEGIS SEF) granting it registration as a swap execution facility (SEF). AEGIS SEF is a Delaware limited liability company headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas and an affiliate of AEGIS CTA, LLC, a commodity trading advisor.
Statement of Commissioner Summer K. Mersinger on Order of Registration Regarding AEGIS SEF, LLC
I support the Commission’s issuance of an Order of Registration (“Order”) regarding the application of AEGIS SEF, LLC (“Aegis”) to register as a swap execution facility (“SEF”). The record before us demonstrates that Aegis, subject to conditions set forth in the Order, has demonstrated compliance with the Commodity Exchange Act and the Commission’s regulations, and therefore its registration as a SEF is appropriate.
Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham on Conditional Order of SEF Registration
This registration order reflects the staff’s efforts to address my concerns with respect to staff no-action letters of general applicability and the requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act. I appreciate the diligent work by the Division of Market Oversight and the Legal Division.
SEC Charges Tampa-Based Health Insurance Distributor and its Former CEO with Making False Statements to Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Health Insurance Innovations (HII) and its former CEO Gavin Southwell for concealing extensive consumer complaints about short-term and limited health insurance products HII offered. HII has since changed its name to Benefytt Technologies and become a private company.
FMA opens consultation on standard conditions for financial institution licences
FMA New Zealand
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tatai Hokohoko has released a consultation paper on proposed standard conditions for licences granted under the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Act 2022 (CoFI).
The CoFI Act will introduce a new regulatory regime for the conduct of registered banks, licensed insurers and licensed non-bank deposit takers, with an overarching principle for these institutions to treat consumers fairly.
The Bank of England, PRA and FCA set out potential measures to oversee critical third parties in a move to increase resilience of the financial sector
The Bank of England (the Bank), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and FCA (collectively the ‘supervisory authorities’) have set out potential measures to oversee and strengthen the resilience of services provided by critical third parties (CTPs) to the UK financial sector.
CTPs provide certain services to regulated financial services firms and financial market infrastructure firms (‘FMIs’) that could affect financial stability and cause harm to consumers if they fail or are disrupted. The potential measures included in the discussion paper published today aim to mitigate this risk.
Hong Kong’s asset and wealth management business remained resilient in 2021
Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong
A survey published today by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) found that the asset and wealth management business (Note 1) in Hong Kong recorded a 2% year-on-year increase in assets under management (AUM) to $35,546 billion (US$4,558 billion) (Note 2) as at the end of 2021. Net fund inflows during the year reached $2,152 billion (US$277 billion), up 6% from 2020. The AUM of the asset management and fund advisory business conducted by licensed corporations and registered institutions increased 8% to $25,888 billion (US$3,320 billion).
FSC consents the Barclays Bank Plc’s Application to Establish its Taiwan Securities Firm Subsidiary
The FSC consents the Barclays Bank Plc’s application to establish a securities firm subsidiary, Barclays Securities Taiwan Limited (BSTW), doing business as a securities broker and underwriter with the paid-in capital of NT$1 billion. BSTW shall complete the incorporation registration in 6 months from now and further apply for the FSC’s approval to grant the securities firm license.
Investing and Trading
Lithium Refining Is a ‘License to Print Money,’ Musk Says
Annie Lee – Bloomberg
Elon Musk has called for more investment in global lithium refining to ease shortages in battery materials — and promised those who seize the opportunity it’s as lucrative as “basically minting money.”
Top Egg Producer Says Supply Is Tight Even as Bird Flu Slows
Michael Hirtzer – Bloomberg
Egg supplies are likely to remain tight even as one of the worst-ever bird flu outbreaks shows signs of slowing, according to Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the biggest US producer. Prices for large eggs in the US have surged to a record high of over $3 a dozen after an outbreak of avian flu beginning in January resulted in the deaths of more than 30 million commercial and wild birds.
Phantom surge in Berkshire Hathaway trading caused by brokers such as Robinhood; Reporting of fractional share transactions has resulted in artificial increase in volumes, say academics
Eric Platt in New York – FT
When trading in Berkshire Hathaway common stock skyrocketed unexpectedly last year, investors in the sprawling industrials-to-insurance conglomerate were left scratching their heads. Three academics on Wednesday offered a startling answer: trading volumes in the most expensive stock in the US were and continue to be artificially inflated by the way brokers such as Robinhood report fractional share trading.
Global market tumult slows growth in ETF industry; Net inflows decline 30 per cent in the first half of 2022 to $464bn
Chris Flood – FT
New business for exchange traded fund providers dropped by almost 30 per cent in the first six months of the year as equity and bond markets both fell sharply in response to soaring inflation and rising interest rates. Global net inflows into ETFs reached $463.8bn in the first half of 2022, down 29.6 per cent from the same period last year, according to ETFGI, a London-based consultancy.
Heat Wave Sends Natural-Gas Prices Soaring; Futures have climbed 48% in July as power plants guzzle the fuel to keep air conditioners humming
Ryan Dezember – Bloomberg
Some of the hottest weather on record is lifting natural-gas prices, reversing last month’s plunge and reviving a key driver of inflation. Natural-gas futures have jumped 48% this month—including 10% on Wednesday—to $8.007 per million British thermal units. That is still more than $1 off the 14-year high hit just before a Texas natural-gas export facility caught fire in early June and sent prices tumbling along with the outlook for exports. Yet the power-plant and manufacturing fuel has bounced back to more than twice the price of a year ago, adding cost pressure across the economy.
The Stock Market Is On Sale. That Doesn’t Make It Cheap; Valuations have plummeted at a record rate, but that’s before Wall Street has taken account of a slowing profit growth
James Mackintosh – WSJ
The valuation of the U.S. stock market has fallen faster than in the aftermath of the dot-com crash, recording the biggest six, 12 and 18-month drops since data on price-to-forward-earnings ratios began in 1985. That should be only a slight consolation to investors. Start with the good news, such as it is: Cheaper stocks are a good thing for those investing now, and they’ve become a lot cheaper in a very short time. The S&P 500’s valuation hasn’t fallen quite so fast as the overall market, but on a longer-term measure—Yale professor Robert Shiller’s cyclically-adjusted price to earnings—the drop from November’s peak was bigger over such a period only twice since 1881, after the 1929 and dot-com crashes.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
BMO Agrees to Buy Canadian Sustainability-Advisory Firm Radicle
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
Bank of Montreal agreed to buy Radicle Group Inc., a sustainability-advisory and emissions-measurement firm, to help clients that are working to reduce their environmental impacts. Calgary-based Radicle, which has 130 employees and more than 4,000 clients, will become part of BMO Capital Markets’ global markets group, the bank said Wednesday. Financial terms of the acquisition, expected to close this year, weren’t disclosed.
Batteries Are Already Helping Power Grids Weather a Hotter World; In California, batteries now contribute 60 times more to peak capacity than they did in 2017 — a sign of things to come elsewhere, too.
Nathaniel Bullard – Bloomberg
As I write this newsletter, heat records are being broken all over the globe. On Tuesday, the UK Met Office recorded the country’s first-ever temperature above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) at London’s Heathrow Airport just before 1 p.m., as temperatures were still rising. High demand sent power prices in the UK up 5% in one day.
FTSE Russell & IdealRatings Launch FTSE IdealRatings Islamic Index Series
The new Index Series measures performance of global Islamic equities securities; Index series based on IdealRatings’ research methodology and analyzes a wide range of companies’ business activities and revenue sources; Index Series identifies more than 40 unique non-compliant categories as well as financial ratios of non-compliant activities
The FTSE IdealRatings Islamic Index Series measures the performance of the global Islamic equity securities across global markets. FTSE Russell is the benchmark administrator of the index series while IdealRatings is responsible for in depth research to identify the compliance of the index series constituents.
Japan’s MUFG Bolsters Commodity Trade Finance as Prices Rise
Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is bolstering its commodity trade-finance business, helping the industry cope with the surge in liquidity needs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Japanese bank is splitting its agriculture and metals desks in London, after setting up shop in Amsterdam earlier this month. It has also stepped up lending to core clients, as war-related dislocations and the pandemic have roiled energy, metals and agriculture markets.
HSBC installs Communist party committee in Chinese investment bank; Lender is highly exposed to escalating geopolitical rivalry between China and west
Stephen Morris and Tabby Kinder – FT
HSBC has become the first foreign lender to install a Chinese Communist party committee in its investment banking subsidiary in the country, a move that underlines the tension facing the bank as it tries to navigate between Beijing and the west. The lender’s China investment bank, HSBC Qianhai Securities, recently established a CCP committee, according to two people familiar with the decision. The move came after HSBC lifted its stake in the joint venture, which it launched in 2015, to 90 per cent from 51 per cent in April.
Calpers records first loss since 2009 in ‘tumultuous’ markets; Largest US pension plan says traditional diversification strategies proved ‘less effective’
Josephine Cumbo – FT
Calpers, the largest public pension plan in the US, has blamed “tumultuous” global markets for the fund’s first annual loss since the global financial crisis in 2009. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which manages pension and health benefits for 2mn California public employees, retirees, and their families, reported on Wednesday a preliminary 6.1 per cent loss for the financial year to June 30. At year end, its total assets stood at $440bn, down from $469bn a year ago, with the plan’s funded status slipping to 72 per cent from 80 per cent in the previous period.
Blackstone Posts Loss as Market Turmoil Hits Private-Equity Portfolio; Firm’s cash that could be handed back to shareholders nearly doubled from a year earlier
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Blackstone Inc. posted a loss in the second quarter as the value of its private-equity portfolio fell as the broader market tumbled. The New York firm reported a net loss of $29.4 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.31 billion, or $1.82, during the same period last year
Hong Kong to Maintain Rapid Covid Test Rules for Bars, Schools
Jinshan Hong and Linda Lew – Bloomberg
Hong Kong will continue to require negative Covid test results to visit a bar or attend school as infections edge past 4,000 new cases a day, the highest level since early April. Teachers and students must perform rapid antigen tests daily since the process “has so far successfully prevented major outbreaks in the schools,” said Chuang Shuk-kwan, an official at the Health Department’s Center for Health Protection. The rule that mandates bar and club-goers show a recent negative rapid test result will stay as well, while more frequent laboratory testing will be imposed on workers in care homes, she said.
Palm Oil Exports From Top Grower Set to Soar 60% in Price Blow
Eko Listiyorini – Bloomberg
Palm oil shipments from Indonesia, the world’s biggest supplier, may surge more than 60% in second half of the year from the first six months as the government ramps up exports to reduce bloated inventories.
India May Allow More Sugar Exports to Prevent Defaults
Pratik Parija – Bloomberg
India may allow sugar mills to export more than previously permitted to help them prevent defaults on contracts, according to people familiar with the matter.
Turkey Clings to World’s Most Negative Real Rates, Extends Pause
Beril Akman – Bloomberg
Turkey’s central bank left interest rates unchanged for a seventh month in anticipation that its fringe measures will be enough to reverse a steep decline in the lira and hold back spiraling prices. The Monetary Policy Committee led by Governor Sahap Kavcioglu kept its benchmark at 14% on Thursday, as forecast by all but one analyst surveyed by Bloomberg. Turkey’s borrowing costs are the world’s most negative when adjusted for prices.
Britain Is Burning Up. India Has Some Tips; In a hotter world, Britons will have to learn to live more like the denizens of their former tropical empire.
Mihir Sharma – Bloomberg
London was burning earlier this week. So many blazes erupted during the recent heatwave that the city’s fire brigades had their busiest day since Hitler sent his V-2s screaming across the Channel. The runways at Heathrow began to melt when temperatures crossed 40 degrees Celsius, while embattled railway companies feared that train tracks would buckle in the heat. Britain, like the rest of Europe, is woefully unprepared for a warming world. Here in New Delhi, it’s barely 30 degrees outside. The monsoon has finally arrived, making this parched part of the world habitable once again.
Macau Casino Crash Shifts World’s Gambling Crown to Las Vegas; With Chinese players stuck at home because of lockdowns, the territory’s gambling revenue has plunged.
Shirley Zhao – Bloomberg
In 2019 gambling revenue in Macau was six times that of Las Vegas. This year the Nevada gaming hub has edged ahead of its Asian rival as the Chinese-controlled territory grapples with the effects of Beijing’s “Covid Zero” policy, which seeks to stamp out infections no matter the cost.
Fighting financial exclusion in the Gypsy and Traveller community
Gypsies and Travellers in Britain are already marginalised, but face further problems when it comes to obtaining home and car insurance, or even banking access. The FT takes a rare inside look at the Traveller community to see how it is fighting to overcome financial exclusion and what the problem says about our financial institutions and society more generally