Larry Fink warns retirement crisis looms for ageing world population

Mar 26, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The Financial Times today published a Special Report on the Future of AI that explores the profound impact of artificial intelligence across various sectors. It looks into how AI is creating new jobs, influencing lives, and reshaping employment dynamics. The report highlights AI’s role in accelerating the energy transition, transforming the energy sector while potentially affecting traditional job roles. Academics express optimism about integrating AI into education without displacing teachers. In financial services, AI is expected to enhance productivity by taking on tasks such as customer support and transaction monitoring. Healthcare professionals foresee transformative changes from AI in the next decade or so. Meanwhile, media groups are leveraging AI tools to streamline operations and complement storytelling, though roles requiring human nuance are likely to remain indispensable.

Microsoft has published a commentary titled “Five Key Principles for Implementing an AI Strategy Across Your Organization” with the subheadline “New research points to role-specific needs and pain points-understanding them will help ensure a successful rollout.”

Bakkt reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 results, with quarterly gross crypto services revenues reaching $199.4 million, offset by associated costs and fees totaling $197.8 million. Total quarterly revenues amounted to $214.5 million, contributing to full-year total revenues of $780.1 million. Operating expenses for the quarter were $293.0 million, with adjusted expenses, excluding certain costs, down 55% year-over-year to $27.8 million. The company bolstered its liquidity and balance sheet position through a recent $42.4 million gross proceeds initial closing from registered direct offerings with investors and Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”). Bakkt also expanded its institutional crypto capabilities with the launch of Collaborative Custody and plans for institutional trading services in Q3 2024. The company updated its full-year 2024 outlook, anticipating significant revenue growth to $3,292 million – $5,114 million, alongside a projected decline in operating cash flow usage of approximately 70% year-over-year to $58 million – $72 million.

E-mini S&P 500 options blocks have averaged over 134K contracts per day so far in 2024 and achieved a record trading day with 558K contracts traded on March 15, CME shared on LinkedIn.

Elisabeth Kirby of Tradeweb in its blog looks at the new SEC rules requiring the majority of trades in the U.S. Treasuries markets to be cleared through a central counterparty clearinghouse and what these rules mean for market participants. The commentary is titled SEC Treasury Clearing Mandate: What Market Participants Need to Know.

Timothy Keady, managing director and chief client officer at DTCC, is ending a 26 year run at DTCC and Omgeo/Thomson Financial Group and will be departing DTCC at the end of March, he announced on LinkedIn.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
The Short-Vol Trade Is Back: Why Some Investors Think It’s Driving Tranquility in Markets from The Wall Street Journal.
Phillip Nova offers trading of Istanbul-quoted futures via Trading Technologies link from TheEdge Singapore.
Equinix commences investigation into short-seller Hindenburg’s report Reuters via Yahoo Finance. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


BMLL CEO Paul Humphrey Talks Expansion & Quality Data in JLN Interview

BMLL is on a roll after an investment from Nasdaq and Factset allowed it to expand its content, hire more engineers to onboard the data and grow its go-to-market division, including expanding into the U.S. John Lothian News interviewed BMLL Technologies CEO Paul Humphrey at the FIA International Futures Conference in Boca Raton, FL, where he discussed the complexities traders face when testing strategies across different asset classes. He also talked about BMLL’s post investment growth and highlighted the pivotal role of high-quality data in enhancing trading outcomes.

Watch the video »


Brutally violent Mexican cartel draining Americans’ life savings in complex scam
Chris Eberhart – Fox News
A Mexican drug cartel known for gruesome public slaughtering drained $40 million from Americans, and stole many elderly victims’ life savings without a drop of blood in 2022, according to FBI stats. It’s part of a rapidly evolving timeshare scam run by the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG) that is becoming more intricate, and is now estimated to be stealing hundreds of millions from Americans each year.

***** And I thought all I had to worry about was Hilton giving me the strong arm tactics for a timeshare.~JJL


Russian Court Extends WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich’s Detention; American journalist was detained almost a year ago on a reporting trip
Ann M. Simmons – The Wall Street Journal
A Russian court extended the detention of Evan Gershkovich by three months, almost a year to the day since The Wall Street Journal reporter became the first U.S. journalist to be detained there on an allegation of espionage since the end of the Cold War. The 32-year-old reporter, whom the U.S. government deems wrongfully detained, has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison since March 29 last year, on an allegation that he, the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny.



Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was The Wacky Negative Interest-Rate Experiment Ends With a Thud, from The Wall Street Journal. Second was Food prices will climb everywhere as temperatures rise due to climate change – new research, from The Conversation. And third was Have the inflows into bitcoin funds dried up? from the Financial Times.



Lead Stories

Larry Fink warns retirement crisis looms for ageing world population; BlackRock chief’s annual letter also embraces ‘energy pragmatism’ amid attacks over climate stance
Brooke Masters – Financial Times
The world faces a looming “retirement crisis” that requires a rethink of pensions and working patterns as medical breakthroughs boost longevity, BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink warned on Tuesday in his closely watched annual letter to chief executives and investors. Fink, whose previous missives have helped boost interest in stakeholder capitalism and climate change, cited UN projections that one in six people globally would be older than 65 by 2050, up from one in 11 in 2019, as he called for increasing global use of capital markets to help workers save for old age. The BlackRock chief also warned that the rise of defined contribution pension plans had combined with the growing strain on the social security government retirement programme to leave the US particularly unprepared for a huge increase in the retiree population.

*****Here is this story from Reuters and Bloomberg.

AI Will Suck Up 500% More Power in UK in 10 Years, Grid CEO Says; Fast-developing technologies require increased data-center use; Grid upgrade is one option for the future, John Pettigrew says
Eamon Farhat and Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Electricity demand from UK data centers will jump sixfold over the next 10 years as a boom in artificial intelligence requires increased computing power, according to the head of National Grid Plc. That will ramp up pressure on the country’s electricity network, which must move vast quantities of renewable energy from as far away as Scottish wind farms to data centers around London. And it’s a grid already under strain from the accelerating electrification of home heating, transportation and industries.

The $280 Billion Climate Bond Market That Isn’t Working; Sustainability-linked bonds are supposed to provide incentives for issuers to achieve set green targets. The reality is altogether different, research shows.
Natasha White – Bloomberg
One of Wall Street’s favorite financial innovations for helping reduce corporate greenhouse gas emissions isn’t functioning as intended. That’s according to new research from the investor-focused nonprofit Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). The group’s study found that more than 80% of 768 sustainability-linked bonds issued from 2018 through November of last year aren’t aligned with global climate goals.

London Stock Exchange Will Start Market for Bitcoin and Ether ETNs
Camomile Shumba – Bloomberg
The London Stock Exchange will roll out a market for bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) exchange-traded notes (ETN) on May 28, it said on Monday. The stock exchange will accept applications for trading those crypto ETNs from April 8. The market will be subject to the approval of the U.K. regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, the notice said. The FCA said earlier in March that it would not turn down requests from Recognized Investment Exchanges (RIEs) to create a listed market segment for ETNs. The products will be available to professional investors only. At the time, the London Stock Exchange said it planned to accept applications for bitcoin and ether ETNs by the second quarter of this year.

A Way for Energy Investors to Ride the AI Boom; Investors watching artificial intelligence turn to an unlikely corner of the market: companies that own power plants
Jinjoo Lee – The Wall Street Journal
Investors looking to ride the artificial-intelligence wave have turned their eyes to a sleepier corner of the market-companies that own and operate power plants. Is the run-up justified? AI hype has helped lift Vistra stock 85% year to date. That falls short of Nvidia’s eye-watering 92% surge, but is far greater than the 12% lift that Microsoft has seen over that time. Constellation Energy CEG, the owner of the U.S.’s largest fleet of competitive nuclear generation capacity, has rallied 60% year to date, while is up 32%.

US faces Liz Truss-style market shock as debt soars, warns watchdog; Fiscal burden on ‘unprecedented’ path, says independent Congressional Budget Office head
Claire Jones – Financial Times
The US faces a Liz Truss-style market shock if the government ignores the country’s ballooning federal debt, the head of Congress’s independent fiscal watchdog has warned. Phillip Swagel, director of the Congressional Budget Office, said the mounting US fiscal burden was on an “unprecedented” trajectory, risking a crisis of the kind that sparked a run on the pound and the collapse of Truss’s government in the UK in 2022.

A turning point in central banking; Last week’s monetary policy moves mark a shift away from strict inflation targeting
Mohamed El-Erian – Financial Times
It would not surprise me if future economic history books were to look back at the last week in central banking as marking a move away from strict inflation targeting by the world’s most influential central banks. While far from being definite or risk-free, it is a shift that would be consistent with superior economic outcomes and stands a reasonable chance of working. And it is a policy approach that is to likely to be superior to others as central banks tackle an operating environment that is particularly fluid economically and politically at domestic and global levels. It is not often that you see a reputable central bank revise up its inflation and growth projections and yet strengthen a dovish tilt to its policy stance. Yet that is what happened in Washington last week when the Federal Reserve raised those projections up a notch and yet delivered two consequential signals – a willingness to tolerate higher inflation for longer and an openness to slow the ongoing reduction in its balance sheet.

Law firm conflicts ‘permeated FTX’s bankruptcy’, professors allege; Two academics surface renewed concerns about the role Sullivan & Cromwell has played in the crypto exchange’s saga
Sujeet Indap – Financial Times
Two law professors have claimed that Sullivan & Cromwell put its own interests before that of FTX’s stakeholders, reviving criticism over the law firm’s role in the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange’s rise, collapse and unwinding. The firm’s “apparent conflicts of interest permeated FTX’s bankruptcy filing and every aspect of the case”, Jonathan Lipson of Temple University and David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania wrote in a paper published online earlier this month.

Cocoa Breaks $10,000 Record, With Pricier Chocolate to Follow
Megan Durisin and Aine Quinn – Bloomberg
Cocoa futures surged above an unprecedented $10,000 a ton, extending a historic rally that’s already seen prices double this year and which is raising the cost of chocolate. The market is being rattled by poor crops in key West African growers that has put the world on course for a third straight annual supply deficit. The industry is grappling with the legacy of poor returns paid to cocoa farmers and fears are mounting about being able to source enough beans.

US SEC seeks $2 billion from Ripple Labs, chief legal officer says
Jody Godoy – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking fines and penalties totaling $2 billion in its case against Ripple Labs over sales of the cryptocurrency XRP, the company’s chief legal officer said in a social media post on Monday. In posts on X, Ripple Chief Legal Officer Stuart Alderoty said the regulator has asked U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan for the penalties in court papers filed under seal. The SEC was scheduled to file the documents publicly with redactions on Tuesday.

Binance Blocked by Philippines Securities Watchdog; The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission warned in November that the company was operating in the country without the necessary licenses.
Sandali Handagama – CoinDesk
The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission is blocking local access to the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, the regulator said in a notice published Monday. The regulator filed a formal request with the national telecommunications agency on March 12 to help in “blocking the website and other web pages used by Binance, which was found to have offered an investment and trading platform without the necessary license.” The move to block the site follows a warning from November 2023.

Exclusive: US lawmaker seeks answers on FDA inspection of Musk’s Neuralink
Marisa Taylor – Reuters
A U.S. lawmaker involved in health policy has asked the Food and Drug Administration why it did not inspect Elon Musk’s Neuralink before allowing the brain implant company to test its device in humans. Reuters reported last month that FDA inspectors found problems with record keeping and quality controls for animal experiments at Neuralink last June, less than a month after the startup said it was cleared to test its brain implants in humans.

A closer look at restricted currency execution and custody; The TRADE sits down with Scott Ferguson, lead analyst, FX and cash management at T. Rowe Price, to explore the current state of play in the restricted currency sphere including buy- and sell-side led innovation and efficiency, the shifting market backdrop, and the need for increased TCA and transparency.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
How has the market backdrop of the last few years impacted restricted currency execution and custody? Local market regulations are constantly changing what custodians and third-party providers are able to bring to market, so this is an ever-evolving landscape. When you look at some of the larger currency control moves such as Malaysia in 2016 or Argentina in 2019, they have certainly placed more eyes on internal processes and external offerings. On that note, we’ve seen a lot more players jump into the third-party FX execution space with restricted currency offerings in the last few years-some in beta testing, some with established client models. Ultimately, we (asset managers) should absolutely continue to encourage more competition in the space as it will drive efficiencies and technology improvements that benefit our end clients.

Ukraine Invasion

US targets Russian fintech operators for Ukraine sanctions evasion work
David Lawder – Reuters
The U.S. Treasury on Monday said it had imposed sanctions on Russian financial services and technology players, including blockchain firm Atomyze, for developing or offering services in virtual assets aimed at evading Ukraine war-related sanctions on Russia. The Treasury said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 13 entities and two individuals in the latest round of sanctions targeting Russia’s core financial infrastructure to block its use of the international financial system to further its Ukraine war aims.

Russian brokers launch frozen asset swap scheme
Russian brokers on Monday launched a swap scheme that could allow Russian retail investors to sell their frozen foreign securities to non-resident investors with assets stranded in Russia. Moscow presents the plan as a way for both Russian and foreign investors to free up assets that have been blocked by Western sanctions and Russian counter-measures since the start of the conflict in Ukraine more than two years ago.

Putin Blames Islamists For Moscow Attack While Still Accusing Ukraine; Friday assault on Moscow venue was deadliest in decades; Islamic State claimed attacks, Putin accused Ukraine
Bloomberg News
Vladimir Putin blamed Islamist militants for the deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall for the first time, even as he persisted in seeking to tie Ukraine and the West to the worst atrocity in the Russian capital for two decades. The Russian president said radical Islamists carried out the assault that killed 139 people at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow on Friday night, but that investigators were digging deeper to establish who was behind it.

Russia supplies oil to North Korea as UN sanctions regime nears ‘collapse’; Satellite images shared exclusively with the Financial Times point to ‘arms-for-oil’ trade between Pyongyang and Moscow
Christian Davies – Financial Times
Russia has started supplying oil directly to North Korea in defiance of UN sanctions, further cementing ties between the two authoritarian regimes and dealing a new blow to international efforts to contain Pyongyang. At least five North Korean tankers travelled this month to collect oil products from Vostochny Port in Russia’s Far East, according to satellite images shared with the Financial Times by the Royal United Services Institute, a UK think-tank.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Israel cancels Washington visit after UN resolution demands Gaza ceasefire; White House ‘perplexed’ by Netanyahu decision after US abstains in Security Council vote
Felicia Schwartz and Mehul Srivastava – Financial Times
The UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza on Monday after the US abstained, leading Israel to cancel a high-level visit to Washington. In the first such demand since the war began in October, the resolution called for an immediate cessation of hostilities for the holy month of Ramadan, of which two weeks remain.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Is the stock market open today? 10 market holidays in 2024 and 2025.
Robin Hartill – Yahoo Personal Finance
When there’s a major holiday, chances are Wall Street has the day off. In 2024, the stock market observes 10 holidays, along with three early closures. Many stock market holidays are also federal holidays and banking holidays. Is the stock market open today? The U.S. stock market’s regular hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. The two major U.S. stock exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq, each observe these trading hours. Both stock exchanges are also closed on weekends. Though you can still place orders to buy and sell stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) during extended trading hours, doing so tends to be riskier than trading during regular market hours.

JPX Publishes “Survey of TCFD Disclosure Using Generative AI”
Japan Exchange Group
Following its “Surveys of TCFD Disclosure in Japan” published in FY2021 and FY2022, Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has published a “Survey of TCFD Disclosure Using Generative AI,” covering Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) listed companies (2,198 domestic listed companies that submitted Annual Securities Reports between April 1 and October 31, 2023). This fiscal year’s survey utilizes the results of research which looked to use generative AI to automatically determine whether information was disclosed corresponding to each of TCFD’s Recommended Disclosures in the Annual Securities Reports of TSE listed companies (see JPX Working Paper “Automated Determination of TCFD Recommended Disclosures through Zero-shot Text Classification Using Large Language Models”).

Prestigious SRP Europe Award for SIX Swiss Exchange; For the fourth time in the last five years, the award for ‘Best Structured Products and Derivatives Exchange’ across Europe and the UK goes to Switzerland.
At the SRP Awards 2024 in London, SIX Swiss Exchange was distinguished as ‘Best Structured Products and Derivatives Exchange’ across Europe and the UK. After its three-year winning streak from 2020 to 2022, this return to the top spot marks the fourth win of SIX Swiss Exchange in the last five years, emphasizing its continued excellence and innovation capacity to drive the industry forward. A delegation composed of André Buck, Global Head Sales & Relationship Management, Sébastien Neukom, Head Structured Products Sales, and Francesco Marcon Fiastri, Head of Sales Issuer & Reference Data Services (Connexor), accepted the award. The ceremony is a highlight of the SRP Europe conference, the largest gathering of alternative investment professionals taking place for the 21st time in 2024.

Copper Option Open Interest Surpasses 200,000 for the First Time Ever
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced that open interest in Copper options surpassed 200,000 contracts for the first time ever after achieving several consecutive daily open interest records. “In today’s uncertain environment, market participants are turning to the robust on-screen liquidity of our options markets to express their views on copper, a key bellwether of the global economy,” said Jin Hennig, Global Head of Metals at CME Group. “This open interest milestone reflects strong global demand for these products as clients work to effectively manage their industrial metals price risk around the world.”

Derivatives funding: Smart solutions for a complex environment; Eurex’s cleared repo and GC Pooling offerings are helping market participants overcome challenges in the funding, financing and collateral markets.
Of all the factors of interest to derivatives market participants, the funding environment is one that warrants careful attention. It defines balance sheet capability, collateral pricing, trading risk appetite and more. Funding has remained top of mind as we move further into a year characterised by geopolitical uncertainty and macro-economic fluidity. And market players keep watch for central bank moves to lower base rates.

Kasikorn Securities Selects ICE for Enhanced Portfolio Analytics and Risk Management for Derivatives
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced that Kasikorn Securities, part of the Kasikorn Bank Group, a leading financial services provider in Thailand, has chosen ICE’s Portfolio Analytics-Derivatives for pre-trade pricing, analytics and post-trade risk management.

Powerfleet Secures Secondary Listing on the JSE in Strategic Expansion Move
Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Powerfleet, Inc., a leading provider in the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sector, today attained a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). This strategic move aims to harness the robust capital markets in South Africa, propelling Powerfleet’s growth and expanding its global footprint. Powerfleet listed on the Nasdaq in 1999 and, as part of its expansion move, is in the final stages of completing its business combination with MiX Telematics Limited, a South African company specialising in fleet and mobile asset management solutions.

SPAN Margin Parameters
London Metal Exchange
LME Clear Members are advised that new SPAN1 margin parameters have been set, as marked in the SPAN Margin Parameter spreadsheet located here: The changes will be made effective at close of business 28 March 2024 and will be reflected in SPS margin calls on the morning of 2 April 2024. Members are advised that Secondary SPAN margin parameters will be updated from the morning of 27 March 2024 with the new parameters as detailed in this circular.

Nasdaq to Hold First Quarter 2024 Investor Conference Call
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its First Quarter 2024 financial results announcement. Who: Nasdaq’s CEO, CFO, and additional members of its senior management team. What: Review Nasdaq’s First Quarter 2024 financial results. When: Thursday, April 25, 2024. Results Call: 8:00 AM Eastern. Senior management will be available for questions from the investment community following prepared remarks. All participants can access the conference via webcast through the Nasdaq Investor Relations website at

Regulator’s Column: SGX RegCo requires large issuers to take lead to reduce AGM crunch
Singapore Exchange Group
AGMs – Enabling Shareholders to Participate. An issuer’s annual general meeting (“AGM”) is an event keenly anticipated by many shareholders in each calendar year. AGMs serve as an important platform to enhance communication between shareholders, and the issuer’s board of directors (“Board”) and management. It provides an avenue for shareholders to receive updates from the Board and management, vote on key matters as well as engage in direct dialogue with them. It is therefore important that shareholders can attend the AGMs of all the issuers that they hold shares in.

Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montreal Exchange Closed for Good Friday
TMX Group
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange will be closed on Friday, March 29, 2024, for Good Friday. The Exchanges will re-open and resume regular trading hours on Monday, April 1, 2024.


Broadridge’s LTX integrates with TS Imagine to bolster mutual buy-side clients’ fixed income liquidity access; Integration will offer improved pre-trade transparency, price discovery and better access to aggregated liquidity.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Broadridge Financial Solutions’ subsidiary LTX has integrated with TS Imagine’s fixed income execution management system (EMS), TradeSmart Fixed Income. The integration will provide buy-side clients with improved pre-trade transparency, price discovery and better access to aggregated liquidity within existing workflows.

This AI Startup is Trying to Make Fax Machines Work Better for Health Care; Tennr has developed artificial intelligence models that can analyze and respond to key information in faxed documents.
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
A new artificial intelligence startup is attracting demand from top venture capital firms and part of its pitch is improving an outdated technology with surprising staying power in health care: fax machines. Tennr uses AI to automate manual work for health providers, including analyzing and responding to key information in faxed documents. The startup announced Tuesday that it has raised $18 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Foundation Capital, Y Combinator and others. Tennr plans to use the capital to grow its team and scale operations.

Financial services counting on AI for a productivity boost; AI set to take on customer help, pricing and transaction monitoring – leaving some workers to find alternative roles
Sid Venkataramakrishnan – Financial Times
Finance has always been a sector that has thrived on innovation, and artificial intelligence offers further opportunity to shake up the industry. Armed with cutting-edge technology, companies hope to explore new ways of working, and boost productivity.
Use cases: customer help, pricing, cyber defence, crime detection
“There are a number of areas of finance where we are seeing AI starting to have an influence,” says Peter Weston, associate director for financial services at recruiter Harvey Nash. “For instance, in investment banking and investment management, we have seen a change within IT where AI is being used increasingly as the first line of support for help desk functions.”

Media groups look to AI tools to cut costs and complement storytelling; Technology is shaking up the industry but is unlikely to replace roles where nuance is needed
Hannah Murphy – Financial Times
Could this article one day be written by a “robo-journalist”, edited by an AI assistant, and distributed by algorithms alone? Rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) is unlikely to fully replace traditional media roles but it is fast shaking up the industry. It is set to have a profound impact on the responsibilities and processes of journalists, broadcasters, creatives and advertisers, bringing much-desired speed and efficiency.

Academics express confidence that they and AI can work together; An effect of the new technology ‘doesn’t have to be the removal’ of teachers from the classroom
Javier Espinoza – Financial Times
Artificial intelligence may not be about to replace teachers and college professors altogether, but it is augmenting the way the education sector engages with learning. Robert Seamans, professor of Management and Organisations at NYU Stern School of Business, expects he and his peers will be helped to become better at what they already do by AI tools such as ChatGPT, rather than having their roles taken over.

‘Humanoid’ robot wave signals change on the production line; AI training for manufacturing workers could minimise job losses
Nick Huber – Financial Times
From steam engines to conveyor-belt assembly lines and robots on the factory floor, the manufacturing industry has long been a pioneer of new technologies. Artificial intelligence now looks set to become the next and, perhaps, biggest leap forward. But what will it mean for jobs over the next decade?

Join youth talks on AI; The Financial Times invites young people aged 15-29 to take part in an ambitious global online discussion on AI in education that launches next month
Financial Times

Healthcare professionals demonstrate immunity to AI; Transformative changes are still 10 to 15 years away, experts predict
Andrew Jack – Financial Times

AI is accelerating the energy transition, say industry leaders; The technology is transforming all areas of the sector, with new roles generated and more traditional, lower-skilled jobs at possible risk
Nicholas Fearn – Financial Times


Investment Firms Overlook AI as a Cybersecurity Risk and Remain Wary About SEC Cybersecurity Enforcement and Compliance with New Rules, Survey Reveals
Business Wire via Yahoo Finance
Nearly 40% of compliance professionals from asset management, investment adviser, and private markets firms have yet to evaluate Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a cybersecurity risk, while 44% have concerns about how the SEC’s new cybersecurity rules will be enforced, according to the 2024 Cybersecurity Benchmarking Survey, a joint project of ACA Group and the National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP).

Clorox Audit Flagged Systemic Flaws in Cybersecurity at Manufacturing Plants; An internal review in 2019 and 2020 found that production systems weren’t properly protected by firewalls and security appliances, three former employees said. Clorox says the findings weren’t relevant to an August 2023 breach.
Ryan Gallagher and Leslie Patton – Bloomberg
A few years before a 2023 cyberattack disrupted manufacturing at one of the largest US producers of disinfectants ahead of flu season, an audit warned of systemic cybersecurity flaws within the company’s production systems. Among the shortcomings highlighted by the internal audit at Clorox Co., conducted in 2019 and 2020, were outdated computers, some of them running older Windows 98 and Windows XP operating systems that left them vulnerable to intrusion, according to three former employees who described the audit’s findings. The auditors urged Clorox to create a kind of digital perimeter around manufacturing plants, about 30 in total, located in the US and overseas, isolating them to reduce the disruption of an attack, according to the former employees and two current employees.

Bridging the cybersecurity gap: a collaborative compendium for global development
Nikolas Ott – Microsoft
Today, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), and Microsoft published Cybersecurity and Sustainable Development: A Global Path Forward, a compendium of recommendations on how to ensure cybersecurity does not remain an isolated concern – which is the case today – but gets woven into the very fabric of development work.

The cybersecurity skills shortage: A CISO perspective
Jon Oltsik – CSO
CISOs have a clear view of the skills shortage and its impact on their organizations. They need to educate executives, adjust their programs, and champion proactive change. Each year, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) collaborate on a research project resulting in a report titled, The Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals. As part of this project, respondents are asked a series of questions about the global cybersecurity skills shortage.


‘Starkly fraudulent’ Scottish scheme revealed in crypto laundering case; London trial of a woman convicted of laundering bitcoin from a £5bn fraud in China highlights role of land in Scotland
Euan Healy – Financial Times
The only sign of life at a boggy field 45 minutes outside Edinburgh is a faded black and white poster dating from September 2007, illustrating a nearly two-decades-old planning application for houses that were never built. Now under new ownership, the 83-acre plot of barren land in West Lothian is, on the surface, one of three Scottish housebuilding opportunities being advertised by Alba Group, led by Dubai-based estate agent Michael James Burke.

FTX customers in line for higher payouts as crypto prices soar; Administrators raise $884mn from partial sale of stake in AI start-up Anthropic
Ellesheva Kissin – Financial Times
FTX is on track to repay its customers up to two-fifths more than the initial value of their claims as administrators for the collapsed exchange capitalise on surging prices of cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence assets. Customers are likely to be repaid as much as 120-140 per cent of what their assets were worth on the day of FTX’s bankruptcy, according to two people with knowledge of the restructuring negotiations, owing to the rising value of assets such as bitcoin and its stake in AI start-up Anthropic.

Nobody Wants to Sell BTC, Analyst Says as Bitcoin’s On-Chain Activity Limps
Omkar Godbole – CoinDesk
Bitcoin’s {{BTC}} price recently rose to new record highs above $70,000. Still, the real economic activity on the Bitcoin blockchain is limping along, not sprinting. The divergence partly represents strong holding sentiment in the market, according to one research firm. “Average on-chain transfer volume (USD Denominated) is well below the 2021 bull market peak. Hardly any value is being moved on-chain,” analysts at Blockware Solutions said in the latest edition of the Blockware Intelligence newsletter. “Nobody wants to sell.”

Outflows from Grayscale bitcoin ETF hit $1.9 billion in single week
Suzanne McGee and Hannah Lang – Reuters
Grayscale Bitcoin Trust recorded $1.9 billion in outflows last week, tipping the group of U.S. spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) into net outflows for the week ending March 22, according to data from BitMEX Research. While there has been buying interest in new funds from BlackRock, Fidelity Investments and others since the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission approved the new cryptocurrency ETFs in January, it was not enough to offset selling by Grayscale holders last week, the data showed.

Crypto Traders Dismiss Waning ETF Inflows as Bitcoin Holds Steady Over $70K
Shaurya Malwa – CoinDesk
Bitcoin {{BTC}} briefly topped the $71,000 mark early Tuesday before retreating as market sentiment grew on new bitcoin-based institutional product offerings and demand from traditional desks. Crypto markets started rising on Monday as the London Stock Exchange approved a marketplace for trading bitcoin and ether {{ETH}} exchange-traded notes (ETNs) in May, as reported. The LSE will start to accept applications from April 8. Singapore-based QCP Capital said in a Telegram broadcast there was “strong upside momentum” for bitcoin after the development, with asset managers also continuing to add BTC allocations as a “portfolio diversifier.”

Bitcoin Mining Unlocks Iceland’s $9.24 Million Food Import Gap
Susie Violet Ward – Forbes
In a world increasingly focused on sustainability and renewable resources, the conversation around bitcoin mining’s environmental impact has reached the shores of Iceland. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and renewable energy sources, Iceland has emerged as a global leader in bitcoin mining. However, the country is at a crossroads, facing a decision that could reshape its future priorities: the balance between embracing bitcoin mining and securing food sustainability.

Bitcoin: not for everyone
Bryce Elder – Financial Times

FTX to sell two-thirds of Anthropic stake for $884 million, with buyers including Jane Street and funds managed by Fidelity
Tim Copeland – The Block

*****Here is this story from the Financial Times.


NATO Is Investing EUR1 Billion in The Future of War; The military alliance has a fund for startups and is backing 13 companies working on technology for energy grids.
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
Glen Kelp was visiting a startup fair last May in Estonia to scout for support for his new company, when he walked past an unexpected booth. It was from NATO. The military alliance was recruiting for its very first business accelerator. Kelp knew the defense industry was paying more attention to technology startups – he lives in Tartu, a small Estonian city a few hundred miles from the Russian border. But that interest seemed relegated to sensors and weapons, not his field. The physicist had recently left academia with a research lab experiment: he and two colleagues had devised a method for building incredibly fine ceramic tubes, as thin as human hair, that could form lighter, more energy-efficient versions of the fuel cells used to power electronics or grids. The researchers formed a business, called GaltTec, to market their invention.

Europe’s leaders have woken up to hard power; It isn’t clear that their electorates have done the same
Janan Ganesh – Financial Times
Not enough is said about the other Donald T. Having led Poland between 2007 and 2014, Donald Tusk can take some credit as his nation approaches western European standards of living. Now in his second stint, Ukraine has no more vociferous friend in the world. Talk of Poland as the eventual heir to Britain – a pro-market, pro-American and martial voice in the EU – seems rash. It has around half the population and less diplomatic clout. But Tusk’s ease in those institutions as a former Brussels grandee narrows the gap.

China opens WTO dispute against US subsidies to protect its EV industry
China has initiated dispute settlement proceedings against the United States at the World Trade Organization to safeguard its interests in the electric vehicle industry, the Chinese mission said on Tuesday and the WTO confirmed. China said it was contesting “discriminatory subsidies” under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act that it said resulted in the exclusion of goods from China and other WTO countries.


‘If you don’t disclose, you won’t get the support of international capital’: The backlash against the SEC’s new mandate is a mistake as China closes the gap on climate disclosures
Edmund Downie, Erica Downs, Yushan Lou – Fortune
In early March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted new regulations to require U.S. companies to release information about climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions. Already, the decision is facing legal challenges. Nineteen Republican-led states have launched a pair of suits to overturn them entirely as a breach of the agency’s authority.

Sun Founder Bechtolsheim Insider-Traded on Tech Deal, SEC Claims; Early Google investor barred from executive, board roles; Bechtolsheim agrees to settlement with SEC including fine
Austin Weinstein – Bloomberg
Andreas ‘Andy’ Bechtolsheim, the billionaire co-founder of Sun Microsystems Inc. and Arista Networks Inc., will be barred from serving as an executive or board member of a public company for five years after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of insider trading. The SEC alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, California, that Bechtolsheim illegally traded on Cisco Systems Inc.’s $2.6 billion offer to buy Acacia Communications Inc. in 2019, a deal he had learned about in advance. He settled the suit right away, according to court papers.

ESMA publishes first final report under MiCA as it looks to level the playing field for crypto-asset service providers; Simultaneously, the watchdog has launched its third, and final, consultation package under the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has completed its first final report under the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), currently under review by the European Commission. These first rules regarding crypto asset service providers (CASP) are aimed at “[fostering] clarity and predictability,” as well as “[promoting] fair competition between crypto-asset service providers and a safer environment for investors across the Union”.

FCA warns firms and finfluencers to keep their social media ads lawful
Guidance for memes, reels and gaming streams promoting financial services has been published by the FCA today. The FCA has set out how adverts across social media channels must be fair, clear and not misleading, meaning they must have balance and carry the right risk warnings so people can make well informed financial decisions. Social media has become a central part of firms’ marketing strategies. Firms are on the hook for all their promotions and the FCA has warned they need to ensure influencers they work with communicate to their followers in the right way.

International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators published the Report on 2023 Survey of Inspection Findings
Financial Services Agency
The International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) released “Survey of Inspection Findings 2023”, a report on the results of its 12th annual survey of audit inspection findings identified by IFIAR member audit oversight bodies. The Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board has participated in the task force to prepare the report, and will continue to contribute to the project.

SEC plans to ask judge for $2 billion in fines and penalties from Ripple Labs
Sarah Wynn – The Block
The Securities and Exchange Commission has requested a New York judge impose $2 billion in fines and penalties on Ripple Labs Inc., according to the company’s chief legal officer. The filings, which Ripple Chief Legal Officer Stuart Alderoty said will be made public on Tuesday, are part of the continuing saga of its years-long case with the SEC. “Our response will be filed next month, but as we all have seen time and again, this is a regulator that trades in statements that are false, mischaracterized and designed to mislead,” Alderoty posted on X on Monday. “They stayed true to form here. Rather than faithfully apply the law, the SEC remains bent on wanting to punish and intimidate Ripple – and the industry at large.”

Investing and Trading

Trump Social Media Firm Soars Ahead of Post-SPAC Deal Debut
Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Former president Donald Trump’s social media startup is rising ahead of its first session as a publicly traded company after the most high-profile blank-check deal in years. Trump Media & Technology Group Corp gained as much as 30% in premarket trading Tuesday after completing a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. The deal gives the parent company of Truth Social more than $275 million of much-needed capital, and provides a windfall on paper for Trump as he faces a mounting series of legal and financial woes.

Celebrate that European safe assets have joined the EUR1tn club; Experience shows that joint financing of public goods works
Kalin Anev Janse – Financial Times
A significant milestone has been reached this month. There are more than EUR1tn of European safe assets in the market issued by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Stability Mechanism plus the European Financial Stability Facility. The number has almost doubled compared to 2014, the aftermath of the eurozone crisis.

How a New Rule Could Change the Way Advisers Handle Your Retirement Money; The Labor Department’s latest push for a new fiduciary rule would protect investors’ retirement savings and require financial services providers to change.
Tara Siegel Bernard – The New York Times
It seems like an issue everyone can agree on: Financial professionals should be required to handle our retirement money with the utmost care, putting investors’ interests first. But that type of care comes in degrees, and deciding exactly how far advisers should go has been the center of heated debate for nearly 15 years, pitting financial industry stakeholders, who argue their existing regulatory framework is enough, against the U.S. Labor Department, the retirement plan regulator, which says there are gaping holes.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

EU nature restoration laws face collapse as member states withdraw support; Brussels vote cancelled after it became clear law would not pass final stage with majority vote
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
The EU’s nature restoration laws appear on the verge of collapse after eight member states, including Hungary and Italy, withdrew support for the legislation. The laws, which have been two years in the making and are designed to reverse decades of damage to wildlife on land and in waterways, were supposed to be rubber-stamped in a vote on Monday.

EU sets out rules for external checks on ‘green’ bonds
The European Union’s securities watchdog on Tuesday proposed rules to ensure competition among external reviewers of green bonds to keep costs down for issuers. Green bonds will play a central role in raising billions of euros to help the bloc transition to a low carbon economy by 2050. The EU approved voluntary rules for companies that want to issue green bonds last October to give investors assurance that the proceeds will be spent on projects that are aligned with the EU’s “taxonomy”, which defines sustainable investments.

Investors file record number of climate resolutions for North American companies
Ross Kerber – Reuters
A record 263 climate-related shareholder resolutions have been filed so far this year for annual meetings of North American companies, a new tally showed on Tuesday, with proponents tailoring their wording to gain support. Officials at sustainability nonprofit Ceres said the trends they found show investors and corporate executives remain interested in countering rising global temperatures despite a drop-off in support for the measures from big asset managers.

US and EU differ over the future of fossil fuel subsidies in OECD talks; Second round of discussions ends without significant progress on export credit policies
Kenza Bryan, Aime Williams and Alice Hancock – Financial Times
The world’s richest countries are at odds over ending subsidies for oil and gas development as the US and EU differed over the extent of a ban, according to people familiar with the talks. OECD countries have held a second round of closed-door talks in Paris to debate proposals by the EU and UK to cut off most export credit agency loans and guarantees for oil, gas and coal mining projects, which are the biggest source of international public finance for the sector. This would follow an agreement in 2021 to stop providing such support for coal-fired power.

China’s solar billionaire feels the heat as sector faces upheaval; Longi founder Li Zhenguo is laying off thousands of staff in an industry grappling with oversupply
Edward White – Financial Times

NATO Is Investing 1 Billion euro in The Future of War; The military alliance has a fund for startups and is backing 13 companies working on technology for energy grids.
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg

PepsiCo achieves water efficiency target two years ahead of deadline; Food and beverage giant PepsiCo achieved its 2025 target to improve water efficiency at facilities in high-water-risk areas in 2023.
Sarah George – edie

Engie CEO Says EU Won’t Meet Its 2030 Green Hydrogen Goals; MacGregor sees technical, financial challenges for 2030 target; EU regulations are also complicating green hydrogen projects
Francois De Beaupuy – Bloomberg

Sinopec, Total to build sustainable aviation fuel plant in China

Biden Administration Invests $6 Billion in Industrial Decarbonization Projects
Mark Segal – ESG Today


Harassment and Drugs Plagued a Citigroup Division for Years; Interviews with 22 people suggest long-standing dysfunction inside the big bank’s equities division
Paige Smith and Max Abelson – Bloomberg
Bankers from Citigroup Inc. were partying with clients one night in May 2018 at a downtown Manhattan hot spot called Catch. One of them, a recent college grad, had landed in the equities division for her two-year rotational program at the bank and had brought her roommate along to the party. As the evening progressed, one of the unit’s bosses came up behind the roommate and surprised her by grinding his crotch against her, according to two people who said they saw him. Months later, that rotator said, a male trader told her to wear shorter skirts and higher heels to work and made multiple inquiries into her love life.

EIB’s ESG score to be re-evaluated if new weapons policy agreed, Morningstar Sustainalytics says
Marc Jones – Reuters
The European Investment Bank’s top-notch ESG score would need to be re-evaluated if it bows to pressure and starts explicitly funding weapons and ammunition, one of the world’s leading ESG rating firms, Morningstar Sustainalytics, said. The European Commission and more than a dozen EU governments have been increasing pressure on the bloc’s lending arm in recent weeks to end its near-total ban on weapons funding to help strengthen Europe’s defence industry.

Banks Shying Away From Fossil Fuels Bolster Private Credit Deals; Banks in Europe lead retreat away from oil and gas clients; Trend is expected to pick up amid tighter climate regulations
Natasha White – Bloomberg
Private credit managers are doing significantly more fossil-fuel deals now than just a few years ago, as they step into a void left by banks exiting assets they worry pose too big a climate risk. The value of private credit deals in the oil and gas industry topped $9 billion in the 24 months through 2023, up from $450 million arranged in the preceding two years, according to data provided by Preqin, an analytics company that tracks the alternative investment industry. That’s based on the limited pool of deals reported publicly or disclosed directly to Preqin.

Norway’s $1.6 Trillion Fund Voices Concern Over UK IPO Proposals
Kari Lundgren – Bloomberg
Norway’s $1.6 trillion sovereign wealth fund warned that the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority’s plan to simplify rules around public listings could undermine investor confidence in the market. “We are concerned that the FCA’s efforts to boost listings by lowering corporate governance requirements will undermine the UK’s reputation as a market with robust investor protection,” Carine Smith Ihenacho, chief governance and compliance officer at the fund, and Elisa Cencig, head of policy engagement, wrote in a March 22 letter.

Bond giant Pimco favours gilts over US Treasuries amid inflationary pressure; Fund manager projects Fed will cut interest rates more slowly than other central banks
Mary McDougall – Financial Times
Bond fund giant Pimco is holding a smaller than usual position in US Treasuries and prefers the bonds of countries such as the UK and Canada, as it believes inflationary pressures may lead the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates more slowly than other major central banks. Andrew Balls, chief investment officer for global fixed income at the $1.9tn-in-assets firm, told the Financial Times that weaker economic growth in some countries was helping ease price pressures there faster than in the US.

Work & Management

10 Best Work Management Software & Tools
Alex McFarland – Unite.AI
In today’s fast-paced business environment, efficiency and organization are more crucial than ever. With teams often scattered across various locations and projects growing increasingly complex, the need for effective work management tools has never been greater. These tools not only streamline project management but also enhance team collaboration, productivity, and overall project visibility.

20 Tips For Mastering The Art Of Remote Work Management
Despite the increased opportunities for flexibility and productivity, the remote work era has also presented challenges for human resources professionals. From ensuring employee well-being to maintaining seamless communication across virtual teams, HR departments must adapt and innovate to keep remote work arrangements efficient.

Wellness Exchange

‘It’s not true, stop lying:’ Why this artist is taking on the wellness industry
Victoria Woodcock – CNN
Nora Turato is anxious about authenticity. She’s questioning if positive affirmations are positive, or productivity, productive. As for the longevity pushers, or life coaching? “It’s the biggest pyramid scheme out there,” she said. For the past two years, the 33-year-old Croatian artist has been deep diving into what she called “this whole healing, self-development, self-optimization space”. What has emerged is “it’s not true!!! stop lying!” – a solo show at Sprüth Magers’ Los Angeles gallery, and a riposte to the wellness industry.

17 Wellness Experts Share the One Thing That Puts Them to Sleep; Including magnesium supplements, guided meditation apps and a method for optimizing circadian rhythms.
Stephanie Saltzman – Fashionista
If money can’t buy happiness, it certainly can’t buy a good night’s sleep. But there are certain tools – routines, practices and, yes, shoppable products – that can help. Plenty of wellness experts and brand founders got where they are, at least in part, by unlocking their own magic formula for getting a solid night’s rest. Some have found the value in incorporating magnesium into their bedtime routines via topical spray, beverage supplementation or a strategic evening snack. Others are all about optimizing circadian rhythms, turning their pre-bedtime skin-care processes into de-stressing rituals or relying on practices like journaling or meditation to unwind.


Malaysia Braces for Worst as Heat Wave to Run Through Mid-April; Heat wave claimed one life and caused crop yields to decline; Government ready to update heat response protocols: Nik Nazmi
Anisah Shukry – Bloomberg
Malaysia is rolling out emergency measures to deal with a worsening heat wave, after temperatures edging close to 40 degrees Celsius claimed a life and threatened crop yields. Almost half of peninsular Malaysia has been experiencing peaks of at least 35 degrees for three straight days, according to the latest data from the Meteorological Department, which expects the hot and dry spell to last until mid-April. The extreme heat has led to the death of a 22-year-old from heat stroke, heightened the risk of water shortages, and caused severe loss of yields on farms.

Security, climate pact accepted by new Tuvalu government, says Australia
Kirsty Needham – Reuters
Australia and the Pacific Islands nation of Tuvalu will go ahead with a security and climate migration pact, after Tuvalu’s new government agreed not to change the deal, Australia’s Pacific Minister Pat Conroy told parliament on Tuesday. The two nations had announced the deal in November, but it was thrown into doubt during an election campaign in the remote atoll nation of 11,000 people that is threatened by rising sea levels.


The World Can’t Get Enough Sauvignon Blanc; Here are 10 bottles across all price points to drink now.
Elin McCoy – Bloomberg
Chances are you’ve bought a bottle of sauvignon blanc in the past two weeks. You might have one cooling in your refrigerator, ready for you to open and start sipping. This isn’t just random speculation on my part. WineBusiness Monthly reports that sauvignon blanc was the sole varietal of the top 10 sold by retailers to show growth last year in both sales value (up 6%) and volume (up almost 2%)., America’s largest online wine retailer-which traded $205 million worth, or just over 6.5 million bottles, last year-lists more than 600 different vintage specific bottlings of sauvignon blanc at any one time, says Chief Executive Officer Mike Osborn. The varietal’s share of all sales stands at nearly 8%, just below pinot noir, with half of it from New Zealand.

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