Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns; Eurex to offer next generation of ESG derivatives on MSCI indexes

May 18, 2021

First Read

$42,076/$300,000 (14.0%)
Trading Technologies, John McPartland


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The CME Group got the jump on the Small Exchange after the startup announced its plans for a new exchange offering smaller, retail friendly-sized contracts. The CME responded by offering its instantly popular Micro-Emini S&P futures and other micro-sized contracts. However, yesterday the Small Exchange launched a new Small US Crude Oil Futures for trade. The CME yesterday announced plans to launch its own micro-sized WTI contract on July 12, giving the Small Exchange an opening to be first mover in this energy trading niche.

In COVID news, responding to criticism, the U.S. decided to share some 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine with other countries. It is nice to see something we learn in kindergarten, sharing, in action. — FT

More U.S. retailers are altering their mask wearing policies in light of the recent advice from the U.S. CDC that people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in most situations. — FT

There are so many scams occurring around COVID that Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general, announced a task force to combat them. — U.S. DOJ

Our friends at the Financial Times have published a short special report titled: “Exchanges, Trading and Clearing: The New Landscape.” What the post-Brexit divide on equivalence means for swaps in the UK; London plays catch-up on IPOs; calls for action after 2020’s spate of exchange outages. — FT

The three stories in the special reports are titled:

– Brexit rift pushes swaps market trading out of London; New York and Amsterdam are the main beneficiaries of UK-EU divide on regulation. — FT

– Reforms aim to sharpen London’s listings edge;The capital is trailing rivals in the race for big IPOs — but new recommendations divide opinion — FT

– Exchange outages spark demands for action; A series of shutdowns last year put failures — and how to avoid them — in the spotlight —FT

Eurex has announced a next generation of ESG derivatives on MSCI indexes. There are five new futures contracts based on the MSCI’s ESG Enhanced Focus Index family. HERE is the press release from Eurex and HERE is coverage from The Trade.

JPX has announced the creation of a working group with the task to find ways to strengthen the functions of the cash equity market. —JPX

Bloomberg has a video titled, “The Day Oil Went Negative, These Unlikely Traders Made $660 Million.” It tells the story about how “over the span of a few hours one day in April 2020, a guy called Cuddles and eight of his pals from the freewheeling world of London’s commodities markets rode oil’s crash to a $660 million profit.” The bad news is that the regulators are “scrutinizing their once-in-a-lifetime trade.” — Bloomberg

In people news, former DTCC, OCC and Securities Week veteran Jim Binder has landed a new job. He is now a public relations consultant III at Black Knight, a provider of integrated software, data and analytics solutions across the homeownership life cycle. Congratulations to Jim on his new gig.

The great John McPartland was the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. Also, Trading Technologies matched the donation from last week. McPartland is a popular industry figure who has left his imprint on Continental Illinois Bank, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Federal Reserve. He retired from the Chicago Fed, but is now working for a hedge fund with bold ambitions in our space. McP, as he is known, is the founder of the MNM group, a regular networking group that met at Ceres in the CBOT Building before the pandemic shut things down. Thank you to John and TT and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.

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


Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis firm known for finding 650,000 of the missing bitcoin stolen from Mt. Gox, has published a new cybersecurity report. The report includes notable ransomware activity that has taken place this year so far, including the growth of third-party ransomware infrastructure providers and attacks against the social media accounts of government officials. Chainalysis will also be holding a webinar on May 25 in which cybersecurity experts will weigh in on ransomware trends in 2021.~MR

The Small Exchange Monday marked its first day of trading Small US Crude Oil Futures (SMO), a cash-settled contract whose underlying is a U.S.-referenced blend of domestic light sweet crude oils. Like the Small Exchange’s other offerings, SMO aims to attract retail investor interest with its smaller size and expense than a full-size futures contract. As of Monday’s close, June SMO futures posted first-day volume of 623 contracts. More trading details can be found here. ~SC


Small Exchange CEO Donnie Roberts Excited By First Year Of Trading

The Small Exchange did not get started when CEO Donnie Roberts wanted it to in 2020. Just as it was finally given regulatory approval, the pandemic hit in March of 2020. The exchange didn’t start until June 1st and when it did, the initial focus was on making sure all the systems worked properly. John Lothian News spoke to Roberts last week about the exchange’s first year of trading.

Watch the video »


The Small Exchange Introduces Small US Crude Oil Futures; Through SMO, Smaller Investors and Traders Can Now Access Institutional Quality Crude Oil Instruments
The Small Exchange
The Small Exchange, a futures exchange offering smaller, simpler products aimed toward retail customers, has launched Small US Crude Oil Futures (SMO) – a trading product presenting a small, efficient line to one of the most consumed energy sources in the world. “At Edge Clear, we have been pushing for a small-sized crude oil product for a long time. With the existing contracts, the independent online trader is having to use a lot of leverage, and the risk of physical delivery is too high” SMO allows smaller investors and traders access to the US Crude Oil market with the same institutional quality instruments as larger traders. SMO contracts are less expensive than most existing futures and more capitally efficient than comparable exchange-traded oil funds all while providing pure exposure to one of the most actively traded commodities in the world.

*****See the video above for a first-person report on the Small Exchange’s first year from their very happy CEO, Donnie Roberts.


CME Group to Launch Micro WTI Futures on July 12
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will expand its suite of micro-sized futures contracts with the introduction of Micro WTI futures. The contracts are expected to launch on July 12, pending regulatory review.

*****The timing of this announcement has all the markings of a knee-jerk response to the Small Exchange’s new contract.~JJL


Attorney General Announces Task Force to Combat COVID-19 Fraud
U.S.. Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.

*****There are some Elon Musk impersonators who scammed $2 million in a cryptocurrency scam, which for some is a redundant phrase. But it is not just bleach injections that are being pushed in COVID scams.~JJL


The rise in scams and the threat to a legitimate financial services industry
Speech by Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, delivered at the City & Financial Global – FCA Investigations & Enforcement Summit.

*****There are so many U.K. scams it makes my tea boil and my crumpets crumble.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top read story Monday was Bloomberg’s The World Economy Is Suddenly Running Low on Everything. This time, instead of consumers hoarding toilet paper, producers are stocking up on copper, iron ore, corn, coffee, and semiconductors, among other materials. Second was Long Working Hours Are a Killer, WHO Study Shows, from U.S. News. (The problem is the worst among people living in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, the article says.) Third was a New York Times opinion piece, Drag Commodity Traders Out of the Shadows, which focuses on the Israeli mining billionaire Dan Gertler and his relationship with Glencore.


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Lead Stories

Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns; A landmark report from the International Energy Agency says countries need to move faster and more aggressively to cut planet-warming pollution.
Brad Plumer – NY Times
Nations around the world would need to immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline-powered vehicles if they want to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.

Eurex to offer next generation of ESG derivatives on MSCI indexes
Gruppe Deutsche Börse
From pure exclusion of companies to integrating ESG scores and carbon metrics; Launch of five futures on MSCI’s ESG Enhanced Focus Index family
As demand for sustainable investments has increased, so has the need for more advanced methods to select ESG investments. From 31 May, Eurex will expand its globally leading ESG derivatives suite by including futures on the MSCI ESG Enhanced Focus Indexes. By using these ESG integration indexes, Deutsche Börse’s derivatives arm is supporting investors seeking higher ESG scores while at the same time staying close to the benchmark.

SEC Charges S&P Dow Jones Indices for Failures Relating to Volatility-Related Index
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC for failures relating to a previously undisclosed quality control feature of one of its volatility-related indices, which led S&P DJI to publish and disseminate stale index values during a period of unprecedented volatility.

Statement on S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC
Commissioner Hester Peirce – SEC
Today the Commission announced a settled enforcement action against S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC (“S&P DJI”). The Commission charged S&P DJI with violating Section 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act, which prohibits, in the offer and sale of securities, engaging in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit on the purchaser. In charging S&P DJI, the Commission addresses conduct that is outside the reach of Section 17(a)(3). Moreover, this precedent, if not appropriately confined to its particular facts, will open the door to subsequent expansions of the securities laws to reach all manner of actors and conduct with even more tenuous connections to the offer and sale of securities. Accordingly, I do not support bringing this action.

World’s Oranges, Coffee at Risk as Brazil Runs Out of Water
Fabiana Batista – Bloomberg
Rainy season was driest in decades in key Center-South region; Arabica-coffee and orange are among crops threatened
Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice, just had a rainy season that brought hardly any rain.

Elon Musk Is Now Blowing Up the Wall Street Case for Bitcoin
Yakob Peterseil and Anchalee Worrachate – Bloomberg
Tesla CEO’s tweets have fueled crypto volatility and confusion; About a quarter of Bitcoin’s value has been erased in a week
Elon Musk helped legitimize cryptocurrencies in the eyes of Wall Street investors. Now, his tweets are scaring them off. About a quarter of Bitcoin’s value has been wiped away in the span of a week, in part thanks to headspinning tweets from Musk on everything from Bitcoin’s toll on the environment to whether Dogecoin is the better digital currency. The token is now worth about as much as it was when Tesla first disclosed in February its intention to buy some.

Elon Musk’s Bitcoin Fun Continues; Also a Musk Doge bot, Ethereum Allen, boredom markets and NFTs.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Oh Elon
I am sorry to keep talking about it because it is so stupid, but there really is something unprecedented and amazing and almost magical about Elon Musk’s continuing ability and inclination to move the prices of Bitcoin and Dogecoin with his slightest whim. Imagine if you had gone to Warren Buffett 30 years ago — or J.P. Morgan 120 years ago — and told him: Here is a lamp.

Eurex announces next generation of ESG derivatives on MSCI indexes; German exchange expands its ESG suite with the launch of five futures based on MSCI’s ESG Enhanced Focus Index family.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Eurex will expand its environmental social governance (ESG) derivatives suite later this month by launching futures on the MSCI ESG Enhanced Focus Indexes. The new products come in light of increased demand for sustainable investments and the need for more advanced methods to select ESG investments.

How cultish social media accounts fuel trading in penny stocks; An FT investigation found dozens of privately traded shares that showed sudden surges following endorsement on Twitter
Hannah Murphy and Philip Stafford – FT
“ALERT!!!”, shouted a Twitter post on February 3 by a user called Alexander Delarge, whose profile picture is the sociopathic protagonist with a similar name from A Clockwork Orange. The message was a bombastic plug for a little-known penny stock called MedX Holdings, a “brands and acquisitions” business looking at the emerging cannabis industry.

What It Was Like to Fly London-New York as Soon as It Was Legal; A breeze through quiet airports made up for pre-flight glitches.
Andrew Davis – Bloomberg
When a family reunion coincided with the resumption of leisure travel from the U.K. after months of lockdown, I took the plunge. After almost two years without seeing loved ones, the prospect of quarantine and costly Covid tests didn’t faze me. I booked a flight from London Heathrow to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport for May 17, the first day it was legal to fly again.

Short sellers flood back into South Korea after ban partly lifted; Foreign investors make more than $6bn in bets against stocks since restrictions removed
Song Jung-a – FT
International short sellers are charging back into South Korea after the country lifted a 14-month ban on betting against blue-chip stocks, piling pressure on shares favoured by retail investors.

Fidelity’s Pitch to America’s Teens: No-Fee Brokerage Accounts; There are some 27 million teens in the U.S., and several million households already have an account with the wealth manager
Justin Baer – WSJ
Fidelity Investments Inc. plans to open the door to a new generation of investors who will be able to trade stocks even before they learn how to drive or head to college. Fidelity said Tuesday it will issue debit cards and offer investing and savings accounts to 13- to 17-year-olds whose parents or guardians also invest with the firm. The accounts will let teens buy and sell U.S. stocks, Fidelity mutual funds and many exchange-traded funds.

Energy groups must stop new oil and gas projects to reach net zero by 2050, IEA says; Radical move would have to be compensated by huge investment in clean energy
Leslie Hook and Anjli Raval – FT
Energy groups must stop all new oil and gas exploration projects from this year if global warming is to be kept in check, the International Energy Agency said.

Denmark on brink of returning to pre-Covid normality; Only nightclubs to remain closed as country plans to phase out its coronavirus passport
Richard Milne – FT
Denmark will reopen almost completely on Friday and will phase out use of its domestic coronavirus passport and even face masks over the summer as it aims to be one of the first European countries to return fully to normal from the Covid-19 pandemic.

China’s Biggest ‘Bad Bank’ Tests Beijing’s Resolve on Financial Reform;Chinese regulators say they want to clean up the country’s financial system, but a state-owned conglomerate may ultimately get in the way.
Alexandra Stevenson, Keith Bradsher and Cao Li – NY Times
BlackRock gave it money. So did Goldman Sachs. Foreign investors had good reason to trust Huarong, the sprawling Chinese financial conglomerate. Even as its executives showed a perilous appetite for risky borrowing and lending, the investors believed they could depend on Beijing to bail out the state-owned company if things ever got too dicey. That’s what China had always done.

Wellness Exchange

It’s Time For America’s Fixation On Herd Immunity To End, Scientists Say
Geoff Brumfiel – NPR
The end of this pandemic sometimes gets boiled down to two words: herd immunity. But now, as an academic debate swirls over when or even if America can get to a high enough percentage of people with immunity to reach that goal, some scientists say it’s time for the public to stop worrying about it.

Singapore Seeks First Vaccination of All Adults by End August
Philip Heijmans – Bloomberg
Country will lengthen time between doses to six to eight weeks; Vaccine rollout extended to 40-44 age group from Wednesday
Singapore will lengthen the time between vaccination doses to six to eight weeks, in an effort to stretch out limited supply that could see its entire adult population receive a first shot by the end of August. The revised strategy comes amid a new wave of infections that has forced the city-state to return to lockdown-like conditions and caused the cancellation of high-profile initiatives like the World Economic Forum and an air travel bubble with Hong Kong.

‘Entire Families’ Wiped Out by Covid’s Carnage in Rural India; Citizens say they’ve been left by the government to fight the pandemic alone.
Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Bibhudatta Pradhan, Shruti Srivastava, Ruth Pollard – Bloomberg
After devastating India’s biggest cities, the latest Covid-19 wave is now ravaging rural areas across the world’s second-most populous country. And most villages have no way to fight the virus. In Basi, about 1.5 hours from the capital New Delhi, about three-quarters of the village’s 5,400 people are sick and more than 30 have died in the past three weeks. It has no health-care facilities, no doctors and no oxygen canisters. And unlike India’s social-media literate urban population, residents can’t appeal on Twitter to an army of strangers willing to help.

U.K. Rushes to Vaccinate as Contagious Covid Variant Advances
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
The U.K. is battling to contain a highly contagious Covid variant first discovered in India so it can follow through with plans to fully reopen on June 21. Authorities have identified 2,323 cases of the Indian strain of coronavirus in the U.K., Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday. It represents a far more rapid rate of transmission than other variants, including B.1.351, first detected in South Africa. That’s according to the latest data from Public Health England, which showed the Indian strain had more than doubled in a week. The government has limited entry for travelers from India.

US to share at least 20m more Covid vaccines with other countries; Biden commits FDA-authorised jabs on top of previous pledge to send AstraZeneca supplies
Lauren Fedor – FT
Joe Biden said his administration will send at least 20m doses of US-authorised Covid vaccines to other countries in the coming weeks, vowing to provide an “arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world”.

Coronavirus variant gaining ground in England, data show; Jump in cases of strain first detected in India underlines task to speed up immunisation
Sarah Neville, John Burn-Murdoch and Anna Gross – FT
The strain of coronavirus first identified in India is gaining ground in parts of England, according to new data showing that the number of local authorities where it makes up more than half of sequenced cases has almost doubled in a week.

More US retailers drop mask rule for fully vaccinated customers; Target and CVS among those revising policies after health agency eases restriction
Nikou Asgari – FT
Starbucks and Target are the latest large US companies to re-examine their mask policies after the country’s health agency said last week that fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear them indoors.

Why Covid-19 Vaccines Are Showing Up in Unusual Places; Health officials try to reach ambivalent Americans by offering vaccines in restaurants, factories and other unlikely locations
Julie Wernau – WSJ
Celeste Shaw says she is bribing people with her grandmother’s famous oatmeal in exchange for getting vaccinated. Her farmhouse-style restaurant, Chaps, in Spokane, Wash., sees 700 people a day on the weekends. And now they are also serving up Covid-19 vaccines in collaboration with state health officials. It is a lot nicer than the dreary hospital where she got her shot, she says.

Meet the Four Kinds of People Holding Us Back From Full Vaccination
Sema Sgaier – NY Times
Getting everyone vaccinated in the United States has become much harder now that demand for the Covid-19 vaccine is flagging. America’s vaccination strategy needs to change to address this, and it starts with understanding the specific reasons people have not been vaccinated yet.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

ICE Benchmark Administration Launches GBP SONIA Spread-Adjusted ICE Swap Rate® ‘Beta’ Settings
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (“IBA”) has launched GBP SONIA Spread-Adjusted ICE Swap Rate® ‘Beta’ settings.

China Mobile to List in Shanghai as It Departs NYSE; China Mobile, two smaller rivals lost appeals against being kicked off New York Stock Exchange
Joanne Chiu – WSJ
China Mobile Ltd. said it plans to sell billions of dollars’ worth of shares in Shanghai, days after learning it would definitely be ejected from U.S. markets under a Trump-era investment blacklist. The company, the world’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, said late Monday it planned to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. As part of that plan, China Mobile will issue up to 964.8 million shares. That implies a deal size of nearly $6.1 billion based on its shares’ closing price in Hong Kong on Monday.

MSCI index derivatives: Introduction of additional futures and options
Eurex Circular 044/21 MSCI index derivatives: Introduction of additional futures and options

Aquis Stock Exchange granted equivalence by Frankfurt Stock Exchange open market; Through the agreement companies with a quotation on Aquis Stock Exchange can seek a dual quotation on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s open market and vice versa.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The Aquis Stock Exchange has reached an equivalence agreement with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s open market, meaning the pair are able to offer dual quotations despite Brexit. The agreement means that if a company has a quotation on the Aquis Stock Exchange it can also seek a dual quotation on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange effective from 3 May even though the UK and Europe have not been able to reach a decision on equivalence in share trading following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

TMX Group CEO John McKenzie to present at the Barclays Americas Select Franchise Conference
TMX Group Chief Executive Officer John McKenzie will present at the Barclays Americas Select Franchise Conference on May 18, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Performance Bond Requirements: Agriculture, Energy – Effective May 18, 2021
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

June 2021 Delivery Date Memo
CME Group
Important dates and events through the month relevant to delivery and clearing procedures.

Establish the Working Group for Strengthening the Functions of the Cash Equity Market
In order to respond to changes in market environment and diversifying investor needs, we will establish the Working Group for Strengthening the Functions of the Cash Equity Market.

Timing of Start of Derivatives Holiday Trading
Osaka Exchange, Inc. (OSE) and Tokyo Commodity Exchange, Inc. (TOCOM) are currently discussing the introduction of derivatives holiday trading from the perspective of further convenience for investors through provision of hedging opportunities during national holidays, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of Japan’s derivatives markets. In January 2020, OSE established a “Working Group on Derivatives Holiday Trading” consisting of market participants, and published a summary of the results of said Working Group’s discussions in the form of a report* in June 2020.

The 20th Annual General Shareholders Meeting; Matters Disclosed on the Internet Concerning Notice of the 20th Annual General Shareholders Meeting icon-pdf
The Notice of the 20th Annual General Shareholders Meeting above is scheduled to be sent to shareholders on May 26, 2021. The same notice was disclosed on the Internet on May 18, 2021 to provide shareholders with information early after the completion of the legal procedure.


Despite client concerns, LSE’s new Sedol fees take hold; Under the new fee policy, some of the largest users of the LSE’s identifier codes could see their Sedol spend more than double, though the exchange says the “vast majority” of clients will see no increase.
Max Bowie – Waters Technology
Five months into the rollout of a new pricing policy for its Sedol global identifier code, some of the London Stock Exchange’s data clients have not yet signed a declaration acknowledging the new fees. And while LSE officials say the number of holdouts is dwindling, some client firms—and the industry associations that represent them—continue to voice objections to the new policy.

Bank of America Joins Paxos Blockchain Stock-Settlement Network
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
The lender is the largest addition so far to the Paxos system; Potential for real-time settlement threatens DTCC’s dominance
Bank of America Corp. joined the network created by Paxos Trust Co. to settle stock trades in minutes rather than days by using blockchain, the latest sign of Wall Street’s growing adoption of the technology.

Taiwan Aims to Keep Chip Production Humming as Covid Spreads
Debby Wu and Miaojung Lin – Bloomberg
Authorities push companies to take measures to curb outbreak; GDP growth may drop a half point if outbreak is extended
Taiwan’s government pledged to try to keep the world supplied with chips even as Covid-19 cases escalate, while anticipating a limited impact from its worst outbreak so far. If only domestic consumption is hit, and the outbreak ends by June 30, gross domestic product growth may be cut by 0.16 percentage points, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin said at a briefing in Taipei today. If the outbreak extends into the third quarter, the hit could be 0.53 points. But the economy could still expand over 5% this year, said Kung, whose agency isn’t responsible for assessing GDP.

Dominic Cummings swaps Barnard Castle for the blockchain; Our Dom is a massive tech bro and he wants you to know it.
Jemima Kelly – FT
Ahh, celebrity life. It’s so transient. One minute you’re all over the front pages, and the next you’re ousted from Downing Street and fresh out of tales about the prime minister’s girlfriend’s expensive taste in wallpaper.

Goldman Sachs launches pre-trade analytics on newly merged TS Imagine platform; Through their expanded partnership, TS becomes the first vendor to gain access to pre-trade cluster analytics from Goldman Sachs.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has integrated its pre-trade analytics onto the newly merged end-to-end investment management platform, TS Imagine.

JP Morgan expands buy-side data platform with tool to examine execution costs; TradingHub’s Transaction Efficiency and Accuracy Monitor (TEAM) will be available to buy-side institutional clients of JP Morgan through its open data and analytics platform.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
JP Morgan has further expanded its data platform for buy-side trading clients with a tool that helps firms evaluate execution costs through a new partnership with TradingHub.


Biden Proposes Billions for Cybersecurity After Wave of Attacks
Jennifer Epstein and Kartikay Mehrotra – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes billions of dollars tied to improving cybersecurity, an area of intensified interest after the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline Co. sent U.S. gasoline prices soaring last week. But the exact amount that will be spent on improving cyber defenses remains to be seen. The $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, as the infrastructure proposal is known, includes $20 billion for state, local and tribal governments to modernize their energy systems contingent upon meeting cybersecurity standards, as well as $2 billion for grid resilience in high-risk areas that will be contingent on meeting cybersecurity targets, the White House said in a fact sheet obtained by Bloomberg News ahead of its release Tuesday.

Corporate Boards Can’t Underestimate Role in Cybersecurity Oversight, FTC Warns
Jonathan Nelson – Security Boulevard
Just before the pandemic, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) surveyed more than 500 public-company directors and found that 61% would be willing to compromise on cybersecurity to achieve business objectives. Despite this concerning lack of cybersecurity prioritization, Gartner’s Board of Directors Survey from last year revealed that cybersecurity-related risk is rated as the second-highest source of risk for the enterprise. In a separate 2021 global study, Protiviti and NC State University’s ERM Initiative found that managing cyber threats was a major concern to executives as they focus on how such events might interrupt core operations. Clearly, business leaders recognize the importance of a strong cybersecurity posture, but too many fail to adhere to cyber hygiene best practices – and this disconnect could cause organizations millions of dollars in losses.

ERISA Cybersecurity Lessons for Employers
National Law Review
Retirement plans are increasingly subject to cybersecurity issues, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is taking notice. On April 14, 2021, the DOL published cybersecurity guidance “for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers and plan participants on best practices for maintaining cybersecurity, including tips” for hiring service providers and online security tips for participants. In recent years, DOL guidance that eased rules related to electronic communications to plan participants might have helped make participants more susceptible to phishing attempts that masquerade as official plan communications.

Cybersecurity Experts Push President Biden To Protect GPS Satellites And The Connected Car
Steve Tengler – Forbes
Sometimes when you exclaim the sky is unprotected, they mentally label you as Chicken Little and ignore your alarms. Or sometimes they might believe your warnings yet quietly follow the group inertia that’s the cornerstone of groupthink. And then a watershed event or three occurs: cybersecurity attacks against SolarWinds SWI -0.6%, Microsoft Exchange and the Colonial Pipeline. And those who spoke-up look like geniuses in bittersweet fashion akin to the mortgage doubters from The Big Short.

Method To The Madness: Five Mantras For Cybersecurity Standardization
Saket Modi – Forbes
In 1846, doctors were stepping away from tantric solutions to conducting autopsies for scientific answers to the then mysterious diseases. However, Hungarian physician Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was struggling with a unique situation. Vienna General Hospital was seeing an unusually high number of maternal deaths as compared to childbirth at home. Upon investigation, he concluded that doctors were unintentionally introducing diseases from autopsied bodies to the mothers during childbirth. He suggested that doctors wash their hands with chlorine before the procedure.

Our cybersecurity ‘industry best practices’ keep allowing breaches
Allen Gwinn – The Hill
The fact that the Colonial Pipeline is slowly getting back online and replenishing the gas supply in the Southeastern United States does not diminish the financial loss and sense of vulnerability that citizens from Florida to Virginia faced last week, and still are. The hacking at Colonial Pipeline is the latest in a series of breaches that have impacted a long-and-growing list of other businesses — all ambushed by some individual or group that managed to hack through cyber security “industry best practices.” It is only getting worse. Reports surface daily about new incidents involving prominent health care providers, government agencies or retailers hit by hackers — thus releasing millions or billions of pieces of sensitive information all over the dark web.


Elon Musk Keeps Trolling the Bitcoin Purists; The cryptocurrency’s price hangs on Musk’s every tweet, trashing the narrative that Bitcoin’s price surge is based on solid fundamentals.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
The future of money apparently looks something like this: Tesla Inc. techno-king Elon Musk posts a one-word tweet — “Indeed” — that suggests his company may have sold its stash of Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s price sinks to a three-month low. Musk then posts a new tweet, clarifying that Tesla hasn’t sold any. Prices perk up again.

BitTorrent Founder’s New Cryptocurrency Sends Shares of Hard-Drive Makers Soaring
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
Chia is a brand-new cryptocurrency developed by Bram Cohen, who most people know as the creator of the p2p filesharing protocol BitTorrent. The timing of the launch is auspicious. Because we’re in this huge crypto bull market (the last few days notwithstanding), the new coin already has a fully diluted market cap of nearly $28 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Even more notable, perhaps, is that Chia uses a security model that advertises itself as less energy-intensive than traditional mining, which, thanks to Elon Musk, is suddenly a thing that a lot of people are very focused on.

Elon Musk impersonators stole more than $2m in cryptocurrency scams; US regulator reports ‘huge spike’ in fraudsters targeting consumers caught up in bitcoin craze
Madison Darbyshire – FT
Scammers impersonating Elon Musk have stolen millions of dollars from US consumers in cryptocurrency frauds, as online financial cheats seek to capitalise on public interest in trading highly volatile cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Consumers lost more than $80m to cryptocurrency scams between October 1 and March 31, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which on Monday reported a “huge spike” in this type of fraud.

We’re divorcing — has my husband got hidden bitcoins?
He boasted to friends about the investments, but there is no evidence they exist
Lucy Warwick-Ching – FT
Over the past year or so I have overheard my husband telling his friends about how well his bitcoin investments have done. We are now getting divorced and I realise I have no idea how much his cryptocurrency holdings are worth or even how to find that out.

XRP Wallet Moves $93 Million Worth of Cryptocurrency
Bilal Jafar – Finance Magnates
XRP whales have accelerated the movement of the world’s 7th most valuable cryptocurrency after a price jump of nearly 12% in the last 24 hours. A large XRP wallet has transferred $93 million worth of digital currency to an unknown wallet today. According to the latest data published by Whale Alert, a blockchain tracking and crypto analytics platform, XRP address moved 61.99 million coins to an unknown wallet on 18 May at 00:17 UTC. The latest movement came after a crypto wallet executed a transaction of 25 million XRP worth over $38 million from cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex to a digital wallet on 17 May 2021.

The FDIC wants to know more about use cases for crypto at US banks
Kollen Post – The Block
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) put out a request for public feedback on depository institutions holding digital assets on May 17. The FDIC insures bank deposits in the United States — insurance that is a requisite for depository institutions to operate in the country. Today’s announcement is a call for “current and potential digital asset use cases” at insured institutions. Otherwise, the FDIC’s interest is broad in its scope. The announcement calls for information on digital assets in payments, settlement, reserve holdings, custody and investing at member banks.

Grayscale’s Cryptocurrency AUM Drops to $42 Billion
Bilal Jafar – Finance Magnates
The latest correction in the cryptocurrency market has caused a massive dip in the total value of Grayscale’s digital assets under management (AUM). The company now has $42.2 billion worth of crypto AUM, down from $53.1 billion on 13 May 2021. According to an official announcement by Grayscale on Twitter, the world’s largest cryptocurrency asset manager now has nearly $29 billion worth of Bitcoin under management. The company holds a total of approximately 650,000 BTC.

CrossTower Provides Wall Street Infrastructure For Crypto
Shanny Basar – MarketsMedia
Kapil Rathi, co-founder and chief executive of CrossTower, said the investment and trading firm is providing traditional Wall Street infrastructure to allow institutions to trade cryptocurrencies, which he expects to become regulated. Rathi told Markets Media: “Five years down the line when crypto assets are regulated we will be ready, which is a differentiator.”

MicroStrategy Buys the Dip, Adds Another $10M of Bitcoin to Treasury
Daniel Palmer – Coindesk
Publicly traded business intelligence firm MicroStrategy is making the most of the downturn in bitcoin prices, buying another 229 BTC for $10 million in cash. Disclosed by CEO Michael Saylor on Twitter and in an SEC filing Tuesday, the firm bought the cryptocurrency at an average price of $43,663 per bitcoin. The purchase means MicroStrategy now holds 92,079 BTC bought for a total of $2.251 billion at an average price of approximately $24,450 per bitcoin. That means the firm has doubled its money since it started investing in the cryptocurrency, with the total holdings now being worth $4.150 billion, according to CoinDesk’s price calculator.

Swiss Asset Manager Valour Launches Cardano and Polkadot ETPs
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Valour, a Swiss digital asset investment firm, is launching exchanged-traded products (ETPs) offering exposure to cryptocurrencies from Cardano and Polkadot. The Valour Cardano SEK ETP launched on the Nordic Growth Market Tuesday under the code CH111478796. The Valour Polkadot SEK (CH1114178770) is to follow later this month, according to an announcement Tuesday. The products are fully backed by ADA (-4.38%) and DOT (-1.73%) purchased by Valour, a Zug-based subsidiary of Canadian decentralized finance (DeFi) asset manager DeFi Technologies.

FTX partners with Magnus Carlsen’s chess company to sponsor tour and bonus prize of $100K in bitcoin
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange FTX has partnered with Norway-listed chess company Play Magnus Group, founded by current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen, for a long-term deal. As part of the deal, FTX will become the official crypto exchange partner of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and the presenting partner of the next Major of the Tour, the FTX Crypto Cup, which runs from May 23 to May 31.

FIX Trading Community And Global DCA Agree To Join Efforts In Digital Asset Knowledge Share
The FIX Trading Community, the non-profit, industry-driven standards body at the heart of global financial trading and the Global Digital Asset & Cryptocurrency Association (Global DCA), the global self-regulatory association for the digital asset & cryptocurrency industry, each recognize that their complementary efforts can be strategically combined to further promote standardization for trading digital assets. The organizations have therefore agreed to share information and experience to achieve their common goals.


REX pays $66,000 penalty for alleged continuous disclosure breach
Regional Express Holdings Limited (REX) has paid a penalty of $66,000 after ASIC issued an infringement notice alleging it had not complied with its continuous disclosure obligations.

Macquarie Securities pays $126,000 infringement notice
Macquarie Securities (Australia) Limited (‘MSAL’) has paid a penalty of $126,000 to comply with an infringement notice given by the Markets Disciplinary Panel (‘the MDP’). The MDP has reasonable grounds to believe that MSAL contravened Rule 3.3.1(b) of the ASIC Market Integrity Rules (Securities Markets) 2017 (‘the Rules’) by entering into a market transaction that was not in accordance with the client’s instructions.

Former CFO sentenced for market manipulation and fraud offences
Mr Zhonghan Wu (also known as John Wu), former chief financial officer of Traditional Therapy Clinics Limited (TTC), has been sentenced in the District Court of New South Wales to one year and 10 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to market manipulation.

SEC Awards More Than $31 Million to Whistleblowers in Two Enforcement Actions
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced whistleblower awards to four individuals totaling more than $31 million. In the first order, the SEC awarded almost $27 million to two claimants who provided SEC staff with new information and assistance during an existing investigation, including meeting with the staff in person on multiple days. Their information and cooperation helped the Commission bring the enforcement action, which resulted in the return of millions of dollars to harmed investors.

In the Matter of Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services LLC, et al.; Admin. Proc. File No. 3-20030
On September 18, 2020, the Commission instituted and simultaneously settled cease-and-desist proceedings (the “Order”) against Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services LLC, Northern Trust Global Fund Services Cayman Limited (collectively, the “Respondents”). In the Order, the Commission found that from at least 2013, through mid-2017, Donald S. LaGuardia (“LaGuardia”), through the investment adviser he controlled, L-R Managers, LLC (“L-R Managers”) (collectively with LaGuardia, the “Advisers”), defrauded the Funds and their investors, misappropriating money from the Funds and directing that some of the misappropriated amounts be recorded as a promissory note and receivable “due from” L-R Managers to the Funds to conceal the misappropriation.

Investing and Trading

Billionaire Family Offices Reveal Biggest Equity Picks
Devon Pendleton – Bloomberg
Duquesne boosted stakes in Starbucks, Expedia, exits Disney; Family offices for Soros, Tsai and Bonderman report new stakes
Stanley Druckenmiller said last week that pretty much anyone could make money in the markets right now and that he was up 17% this year. The latest regulatory filing from his Duquesne Family Office shows some of the ways he’s done this and what he’s betting on going forward. The investor, worth $10.4 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, took a new $154.6 million position in Citigroup Inc., and a smaller stake in JPMorgan Chase & Co., a bet that could benefit from rising rates.

Meme Stocks Roar Back to Life With GameStop, AMC Catching Fire
Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
GameStop surges almost 13% on Monday, AMC gains over 7%; Renewed interest on social media seems to be fueling rallies
Day traders who have been flocking to all things crypto in recent weeks have rediscovered their zest for meme stocks. GameStop Corp. surged 13% Monday, its second double-digit rally in three days. AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. closed 7.5% higher, building on last week’s 36% jump. A basket of stocks caught up in January’s Reddit-fueled meme-stock frenzy rose 5.6% for its best performance since late March.

Buffett dumps bulk of his remaining Wells Fargo shares; Disclosure comes three decades after Berkshire Hathaway first invested in the US bank
Eric Platt – FT
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold the vast majority of its stake in Wells Fargo in the first quarter, unloading an investment that has been a staple of the conglomerate’s portfolio dating back to 1989.

The myths behind the current stock market bubble; Central bank liquidity cannot support elevated valuations indefinitely
John Hussman – FT
The legendary value investor Benjamin Graham once advised: “The habit of relating what is paid to what is offered is an invaluable trait in investment.” Amid recent record highs in numerous stock market valuation measures, investors face a rare, possibly once-in-a-generation opportunity for the critical thinking that Graham encouraged.

Start-up focused on painkilling effects of cannabis to list in London; Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies emerged from university research project into potential treatments
Clive Cookson – FT
Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, a biotech company developing medicines that mimic the painkilling effects of cannabis, is to float on the main London market later this week.

Elliott Urges Duke Energy to Consider Separation Into Three Companies; Activist investor seeks board seats and wants utility to form strategic-review committee
Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca – WSJ
Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. is urging Duke Energy Corp. DUK -0.59% to consider separating into three companies, in what would be a major transformation of one of the nation’s biggest utilities.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

The World’s Top Energy Agency Reckons With Net-Zero Emissions; The era of marginal change has to end, according to the International Energy Agency’s new report.
Akshat Rathi and Eric Roston – Bloomberg
Ours is a global society accustomed to eternal debate and marginal change distributed over many years. But it won’t do in the era of climate change.

Solving Economics’ Diversity Problem; More can be done to ensure that the policymakers who influence our lives take decisions informed by broad experience as well as economic nous.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
The Bank of England has four big job vacancies this year and there’s hope that several will be filled by women. Even if that happens, central banks still have some way to go to tackle the lack of diversity in policymaking. Without more progress, this risks becoming a crisis of legitimacy.

Ancient Swedish Hamlet Holds Lessons for Future of Clean Power; Villagers capture and store solar energy in batteries at home as EU’s Clean Energy Package will encourage more mini-grids
Lars Paulsson, Jess Shankleman, Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
A thousand-year-old Swedish village could become a blueprint for local energy grids of the future. Simris, with a population of about 200, has shown that operating independently from the national grid is technologically possible. Villagers use locally produced renewable energy stored in freezer-sized batteries in their homes.

U.K. Aims to Secure G-7 Pledge to End Subsidies for Fossil Fuels
Alberto Nardelli and John Follain – Bloomberg
Britain also wants G-7 to ditch coal as soon as possible; Draft ministers’ statement seeks more funds for transition
The Group of Seven nations are closing in on agreement this month to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies after the U.K. won backing for the proposal from Italy.

Averting Climate Crisis Means No New Oil or Gas Fields, IEA Says
Grant Smith – Bloomberg
Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 requires immediate action; Big gains in efficiency, solar, electric cars also necessary
The world has a choice — stop developing new oil, gas and coal fields today or face a dangerous rise in global temperatures. That’s the bold assessment from the International Energy Agency, the organization that has spent four decades working to secure oil supplies for industrialized nations. In its new road map for achieving net-zero global carbon emissions by 2050, the IEA laid out in stark terms what the planet must do to avoid harmful the climate change — and just how far that is from our current reality.

California Farmers Facing Drought Are Choosing Empty Fields
Daniela Sirtori-Cortina and Breanna T Bradham – Bloomberg
California it’s so dry that farmers aren’t even bothering to plant crops this season. Growers north of San Francisco have begun pulling out of local farmers markets and produce-box programs.

Coal industry feels heat as Germany doubles down on climate goals; Adoption of more ambitious CO2 targets could have huge knock-on effect for industrial regions
Guy Chazan – FT
In January 2020, the German government clinched a historic EUR40bn deal with the country’s coal-producing regions to phase out coal power by 2038, a key step in the transformation of its energy system. But now, less than a year and a half later, that hard-won agreement looks increasingly obsolete. A new climate law adopted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet last week will probably require Germany to shut its coal-fired power plants much more quickly than envisaged in the 2020 deal.

‘Say on Climate’ campaign faces first big test at investor meetings; Support for shareholder resolutions on emissions strategy is at a high despite clashes
Attracta Mooney and Billy Nauman – FT
One month ago, Chris Hohn, the billionaire hedge fund investor, urged investors in Royal Dutch Shell to vote against the oil major’s climate strategy. At first glance, the decision by Shell to give investors a regular say on climate plans at its annual meeting on Tuesday should have pleased Hohn.


Bankers Accused of $472 Million Tax Scam Tried in Germany
Bankers veiled strategy as ‘arbitrage deals,’ prosecutors say; Five bankers dubbed their alleged scheme the ‘German Pair’
Five former bankers at bankrupt Maple Bank GmbH appeared in a Frankfurt court on Monday accused of orchestrating Cum-Ex transactions costing German taxpayers 388.6 million euros ($472 million).

Burry of ‘Big Short’ Fame Places Big Bet Against Musk, Tesla
Jeremy Herron and Elena Popina – Bloomberg
His firm Scion reported put options on 800,100 Tesla shares; Tesla has plunged 35% since closing at a record on Jan. 26
Michael Burry, the investor who rose to fame for making billions off bets against mortgage securities during the financial crisis, has placed a sizable wager against Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. Burry’s Scion Asset Management owned bearish puts against 800,100 shares of the electric-car maker as of March 31, according to a regulatory filing Monday. The puts give Scion the right to sell Tesla shares on or before an unidentified date in the future.

Credit Suisse Bankers Exit as Post-Archegos Defections Mount
Gillian Tan, Kiel Porter, and Liana Baker – Bloomberg
Investment bankers in Asia, U.S. are leaving for rivals; Departures follow bank’s hit from Archegos, bonus upheaval
More than half-a-dozen senior Credit Suisse Group AG bankers have left the firm in recent weeks, the latest in a raft of defections following the implosion of Archegos Capital Management and uncertainty about future bonuses.

*****Here is the WSJ version of this story.~JJL

Thousands of Danske Bankers Seek Financial Aid to Work From Home
Morten Buttler – Bloomberg
More than 17,000 Danske Bank A/S employees have applied for financial support to improve their home-office setups as they prepare to take advantage of flexible working terms that will continue after the pandemic. Denmark’s biggest lender has already said it’s ready to accommodate employee demands, after an overwhelming number of staff said they wanted to continue working from home a couple of days a week even after the Covid crisis is over.

Credit Suisse Crisis Overhang Sends Bond Funding Costs Higher
Alice Gledhill – Bloomberg
Spreads to remain elevated at least in short term: ABN Amro; Euro and sterling bond sales on Monday drew strong demand
Credit Suisse Group AG is still feeling the effects in bond markets of two major missteps this year. The lender on Monday issued its first euro and sterling notes since the collapse of Greensill Capital and Archegos Capital Management. While the sales left demand for the bank’s debt in no doubt — orders passed a combined 4.7 billion euros-equivalent ($5.7 billion) — they also highlighted increases in the bank’s funding costs since March.

CLSA Loses Head of Rates, Currency Trading in Latest Departure
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Tim Yip is second fixed income leader to exit since January; Yip’s business contributes about 40% of FICC revenue
CLSA Ltd.’s global head of rates and currencies trading, Tim Yip, has resigned from the Hong Kong brokerage, adding to a spate of departures from a unit that’s been a key revenue earner.

Edmond de Rothschild plans to double assets in deals push; President Ariane de Rothschild sets out ambitions as Amundi’s chair Yves Perrier joins board
Harriet Agnew – FT
Edmond de Rothschild Group plans to double its assets under management and capitalise on the fallout from scandals such as Greensill Capital that ensnared wealthy investors, according to the firm’s president Ariane de Rothschild.


Japan’s top bank MUFG beats profit view, forecasts lower credit costs
Japan’s top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) posted on Monday a better-than-expected 47% rise in full-year net profit, after last year’s earnings were hit by an impairment charge on its units in Southeast Asia.

Orcel Clash With Santander Heads to Court With Botin Testifying
Macarena Munoz Montijano and Sonia Sirletti – Bloomberg
Court hearing scheduled for Wednesday after being postponed; Orcel since took over as UniCredit CEO, complicating matters
Andrea Orcel’s legal battle with Banco Santander SA is finally headed before a judge, setting up a showdown between two of Europe’s most high-profile bankers over a rescinded job offer, secret tape recordings and millions in lost pay. The hearing at a Madrid court Wednesday, which was twice postponed, is expected to include testimony from Santander Chairman Ana Botin. Orcel, who took over as UniCredit SpA’s chief executive officer last month after being out of a job for more than two years, isn’t required to attend in person. The hearing may still be canceled if both sides reach a last-minute settlement.

QIA Mulls Injecting HSBC Headquarters Into Singapore REIT
Elffie Chew – Bloomberg
City Developments vehicle set to list as soon as third quarter; London tower would boost REIT portfolio to 1.8 billion pounds
Qatar Investment Authority is in talks to inject HSBC Holdings Plc’s London headquarters building into a planned property trust being listed by City Developments Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said. The potential deal would boost the value of the real estate investment trust portfolio to 1.8 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) from 600 million pounds, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

Commodities Send Loonie Soaring, Creating Quandary for Canada
Theophilos Argitis – Bloomberg
Past booms for raw materials aided some regions, hurt others; Bank of Canada says its policies aim for a ‘shared recovery’
The broad rally in raw materials that’s lifted prices for crops, energy and metals is a bonanza for Canada’s economy and a major challenge for the nation’s policy makers, who are under pressure to ensure that everybody benefits.


She’s the Guarded Widow Inheriting a $90 Billion Banking Empire; Vicky Safra and her children are now owners of Switzerland’s J. Safra Sarasin and Brazil’s Banco Safra.
Felipe Marques and Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Vicky Sarfaty had just turned 17 when she married the man who would become the world’s richest banker. Five decades later, she’s now the guardian of the vast Safra fortune, built over 180 years across three generations and four continents, making her one of the wealthiest women on the planet.

Why gaming ‘modders’ should be celebrated; Tampering with games to alter graphics and gameplay has become a widespread form of creative expression
Tom Faber – FT
The most frightening thing in Capcom’s new horror game Resident Evil Village is not the mutilated hand of protagonist Ethan Winters, nor the 9ft-tall Lady Dimitrescu with her razor-sharp fingers: it is Thomas the Tank Engine. Just days after the game’s official release, members of the online modder community, who hack games to alter graphics and gameplay, have already offered a raft of ludicrous additions to the game, including replacing the face of a baby with that of a grizzled soldier and swapping every monster in the game with Barney the Dinosaur.

*****Hear, hear.~MR

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