Options Solutions Offers Options Strategies that Seek to Boost Income and Lower Risk; Fragmentation in derivatives market top concern post-Brexit for fifth of firms

Mar 17, 2021

First Read

$31,826/$300,000 (10.6%)
Trish Foshee


FIA: Walt Lukken Kicks Off Boca-V From His Washington, D.C., Office
John Lothian – John Lothian News

Walt Lukken kicked off the FIA Boca-V conference, not from a stage in Boca Raton, Florida, but from his office in Washington, D.C. He was dressed in a dark jacket and pink tie. Normally, we are surrounded by pink at the 95-year-old Boca Resort. His opening remarks were titled “The Boca That Is,” after the Boca that wasn’t last year. The good news is that Walt has moved out of his basement office.

Lukken recommended watching a video in the on-demand section of the Boca-V website that features two resort executives, a cooking demonstration by a resort chief and a message about mindfulness and wellness. There was even a yoga and meditation example. The video was a nice plug for the resort.

Despite the desire to be in Florida, the virtual format of Boca-V is a big success, with nearly 1,500 individuals from over 30 countries registered for the event. That is a record number of registrations.

The Boca event this year features a different theme each day, from market access to innovation to sustainability. This year’s program is shortened to be “punchier and more digestible,” Lukken said.

In his remarks, Lukken spoke of the industry being better when the pandemic is over. He said, “we must become stronger and better through self-reflection and intentional improvement to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Global Exchange Leaders on Markets: Access and Regulatory Issues
John Lothian – John Lothian News

The global leaders panel of FIA Boca-V has been broken into three parts this week: trends, access and regulatory issues and geopolitics. The access and regulatory issues discussed on Tuesday focused on growth opportunities and questions about retail traders using social media sites like Reddit to compete against institutions.

Loh Boon Chye, chief executive officer of Singapore Exchange, focused his comments on opportunities in sustainability and digital assets, stating that SGX is the most international multi-asset exchange in Asia.

He noted that ESG is not just about trading opportunities, but also about creating a framework for meeting sustainability goals.

Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, talked about cloud technology and it’s moving closer to mainstream matching technology. She said Nasdaq has moved services in trading, clearing and surveillance into more cloud-native environments. Friedman noted that some markets are launching in the cloud with trading, clearing and settlement.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Exchange Leaders Share Views On Crucial Trends Facing the Markets in 2021
Matt Raebel – John Lothian News

“Global Exchange Leaders on Markets: Trends” was a session during FIA Boca-V that was stacked with top-level executives from some of the biggest exchanges in the industry. Appropriately, it was one of the first sessions that took place on Day One of the virtual conference — it’s always good to start these things off with a bang.

The leaders gave their respective takes on some of the biggest issues facing the financial markets in 2021: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political upheaval in the U.S. and beyond, the growing influence that retail traders have on the markets — especially the stock market and derivatives markets — and the looming threat of climate change. As Michael Peters, chief executive officer of Eurex Frankfurt AG said, “We live in a time of great change. Politically, technologically, socially, and not to mention even the [sic] climate change.”

Loh Boon Chye, Singapore Exchange CEO, said that the risks associated with climate change were a primary concern of his company in 2021. “Global markets have spent a big part of 2020 battling the impact of COVID-19,” he said. “In 2021 we believe the climate challenge will be the next reckoning.” He called for exchange operators and their clients to work together to help standardize and build out the infrastructure for creating climate-sensitive investment products.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: EU Commissioner McGuinness Takes Stern View Post-Brexit
Suzanne Cosgrove – John Lothian News

If there still are any doubters as to the extent of Brexit’s impact on London’s financial markets, Mairead McGuinness, European commissioner for financial services, set them straight on Tuesday. In a keynote address to the FIA’s Boca conference, she called the U.K.’s then-popular 2016 decision to leave the E.U. “a major fragmenting event” with consequences.

U.K.-authorized firms now cannot provide services across the E.U. based solely on their U.K. authorizations, McGuinness noted, adding “the good news is that our [E.U.] companies were prepared and markets have adjusted well to this new situation.”

McGuinness said she hopes the U.K. and E.U. eventually will have a flexible non-binding framework similar to that between the U.S. and the E.U.: “a voluntary structure for regulatory cooperation…to discuss how to move forward with equivalence determinations, with full respect for the autonomy of both sides.”

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Does Surviving Brexit and a Pandemic Just Mean You Get to Trade 24/7?
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

After the now-inevitable discussions of the financial industry’s successful taming of the threats presented by first the pandemic and then Brexit, the hour-long session “The Future of Markets” provided a solid 25 minutes of discussion about a couple of topics likely to affect markets as time goes on: ESG and 24/7 trading.

The Europeans among the panelists highlighted their continent’s dedication to and involvement with ESG as U.K. and E.U. governments push forward with requirements for large public companies to disclose their climate risks. Edwin Schooling Latter from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said that the U.K. government already last year had announced a timetable for the mandatory disclosures, while Eurex Clearing’s Erik Tim Mueller repeated Eurex’s thoroughgoing commitment to ESG initiatives and hinted at upcoming developments at the exchange.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Congratulations to Bill Brodsky, Michael Brodsky and Steven Sears on their new enterprise, filling a much needed hole in financial services for professionals offering options management services for high-net-worth individuals.

As the headline of their press release said, “Options Solutions Offers Options Strategies that Seek to Boost Income and Lower Risk.”

Here is what Bill Brodsky said in the release, “We have created a high-touch, disciplined and engaged approach that seeks to create a compounding engine for client portfolios while mitigating market risk. We are pleased to bring this service to market at a time when many investors are struggling to address the very challenges that options were designed to address.”

Congratulations to the Greenwood Project and co-founders Bevon and Elois Joseph. The Greenwood Project turned five yesterday and has grown from plans for five students each summer to more than 350 in the U.S. and now in London.

We have a new remembrance for Jack Sandner from Mike Dawley, formerly of Goldman Sachs.

Chuck Mackie is offering his usual insightful Boca Bits recap of the FIA conference.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here is your Irish blessing for the day: May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

The IFM’s Trish Foshee is the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Trish is a friend and colleague who is the energy and drive behind The IFM and their efforts to educate industry professionals. Thank you to Trish and to 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


Economies can survive a stock market crash; If a correction is due to higher rates and stronger growth, it would not matter much — except to investors
Martin Wolf – FT
“The long, long bull market since 2009 has finally matured into a fully-fledged epic bubble. Featuring extreme overvaluation, explosive price increases, frenzied issuance, and hysterically speculative investor behaviour, I believe this event will be recorded as one of the great bubbles of financial history, right along with the South Sea bubble, 1929, and 2000.” Thus did Jeremy Grantham, legendary investor and co-founder of GMO asset management, greet the new year. Is he right and how much would it matter to the world if he were?

*****Tell that to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick!~JJL


WallStreetBets’ Founder Goes to Hollywood With His GameStop Tale
Lucas Shaw – Bloomberg
Hollywood talent agencies in recent years have looked to YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat to find the next generation of creative talent. Now you can add Reddit to the list. Jaime Rogozinski, the founder of WallStreetBets, has signed with United Talent Agency, the home of Kevin Hart and Seth Rogen. Rogozinski is aiming to capitalize on his fame from founding a forum on the site Reddit where amateur investors trade stock tips and ideas. These traders rushed to buy GameStop Corp., sending shares of the struggling video-game retailer to new highs, only to see them crash and then continue on a roller-coaster ride.

*****The only question is, do you ask for Mark Walberg or Matt Damon to play you?~JJL


Reddit’s WallStreetBets community is pouring money into saving gorillas
Clare Duffy – CNN
The WallStreetBets community is moving beyond GameStop and AMC. But its latest investment target isn’t a stock, bitcoin or even NFTs.
It’s gorillas.
That’s not monkey business. Members of the Reddit group — who gained national attention for their role in pumping up the January trading frenzy of GameStop (GME), AMC (AMC) and other meme stocks — rallied over the weekend to use their earnings to symbolically “adopt” gorillas through donations to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

*****Some reporters live for an opportunity to write the lead for a story like this one.~SC


British Financier Alan Howard Is the Buyer of Vincent Viola’s New York Townhouse; The 20,000-square-foot, roughly 40-foot-wide mansion sold for $59 million
Katherine Clarke – WSJ
British financier Alan Howard is the buyer of Vincent Viola’s 20,000-square-foot mansion, according to property records and a person familiar with the deal. The property sold for $59 million, records show. Roughly 40 feet wide and spanning six levels, the seven-bedroom house dates back to the 1880s and had been renovated by Mr. Viola, who added a panic room. It also has a red-velvet movie theater with a balcony, a sauna and a swimming pool.

*****Alan Howard needed a panic room? Really?~JJL


‘Fully vaccinated’ hugs: The many benefits of embracing loved ones
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated. Those guidelines included being able to meet with “unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said these recommendations are a first step to returning to normal activities like hugging grandparents and grandchildren. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, explained the many benefits that come along with those “fully vaccinated” hugs.

*****I am all for grandparent hugs.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top-read story on Tuesday was the John Lothian News page devoted to Jack Sandner Remembrances. The second most read was from the Financial Times, FCA Brings Money Laundering Charges Against NatWest. And the third was a release from the CFTC, Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz on Exchange Rules and Product Terms and Conditions that Fail to Impose Limits on Crude OIl “Trading at Settlement” Transactions.


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Lead Stories

Options Solutions Offers Options Strategies that Seek to Boost Income and Lower Risk; Founder William J. Brodsky helped modernize the options market and now wants to help investors realize the benefits of conservative investment strategies using options
Options Solutions LLC
Options Solutions LLC, a specialized asset-management firm that was created to help high-net-worth investors add conservative options trading strategies to their portfolios, has formally commenced operations. Options Solutions’ investment strategies have long been used by institutional investors, including hedge funds, major asset management firms, and other sophisticated investors to often enhance returns and temper investment risks. Yet, these same strategies are less used by many others, including high-net-worth investors, for reasons ranging from a lack of awareness or investor education. Options Solutions has launched to fill this void.

Fragmentation in derivatives market top concern post-Brexit for fifth of firms; A survey by FIA has found that 23% of firms see fragmentation of markets as the most concerning impact of Brexit on the derivatives market.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
More than 20% of market participants view fragmentation in the derivatives market as the biggest concern post-Brexit, a survey from the Futures Industry Association (FIA) has revealed. FIA polled 274 respondents across exchanges, clearinghouses, banks, brokers, technology vendors, asset managers, and proprietary trading firms in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

Closure of Ring trading and new credit rules will send traders elsewhere, Minmetals warns
Jim Armitage – Evening Standard
China’s enormous state-owned metals trading corporation today declared the London Metal Exchange’s sweeping changes including closing its famous open outcry trading floor would be a “disaster” and could drive trading out of the UK to Shanghai.

Stop Losses in the Spotlight as ECU Group Updates Lawsuits
Colin Lambert – Full FX
Stop losses have always been a tricky issue in foreign exchange markets. On one hand the customer is looking for the highest possible protection but is unwilling at accept the slippage that “keeping them in” can entail, on the other, the banks holding the order are torn between a duty to protect the customer and the risk that the market gaps through the stop, leaving them with an occasionally hugely unprofitable position that was not of their own choosing.

South Africa’s Drop in Covid-19 Cases Adds to Questions About Waves of Infections; Surprising decline after surge shows scientists still have much to learn about how the coronavirus moves through society
Gabriele Steinhauser – WSJ
Earlier this year, doctors and epidemiologists in South Africa’s economic capital were bracing for the worst. A new coronavirus strain was surging across the country, thousands of holidaymakers were due to return from Covid-19 hot spots, and one in three coronavirus tests was coming back positive.

NYSE Chairman Says GameStop Surge Highlights U.S. Market Flaws
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
This year’s run-up in shares of GameStop Corp. highlights “some of the inherent flaws in the U.S. equity market,” according to Jeff Sprecher, chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Retail stock pickers have been openly coordinating share purchases and sales on Reddit forums, sending the price of GameStop, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and others on a wild series of ups and downs. The development could bleed into other markets such as commodities, Sprecher said on a panel discussion at the annual Futures Industry Association conference broadcast Tuesday. “You’re definitely seeing the democratization of markets,” he said, without elaborating on what flaws he was referring to. CME Group Inc. CEO Terrence Duffy said the trading phenomenon raises questions for market governance.

Europe Is Poised to Set Climate Standards for the World; Using a border-adjustment mechanism, the EU can limit emissions everywhere.
Peter R. Orszag – Bloomberg
An emerging flashpoint in America’s relationship with the European Union is the question of who gets to set climate-related standards — on energy efficiency, emissions disclosure and other issues. An early indicator of the brewing conflict came last week, when U.S. climate envoy John Kerry cautioned Europeans against adopting a carbon border-adjustment mechanism. Given its recent leadership in global standard-setting and its desire to show independence from the U.S., Europe may well go ahead either with or without the United States.

Central Bankers Have Lost the Plot on Messaging; Why can’t the ECB, the Fed and the BoJ just give it to us straight?
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
It’s a big week for central bank meetings, with the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday, the Bank of England Thursday and the Bank of Japan wrapping it up on Friday. My plea is that they keep it simple. Central bank messaging really doesn’t have to be as difficult as it has become lately — with a plethora of jargon-infected initiatives adding to investors’ pain. This isn’t the time to communicate intentions unclearly, nor to introduce confusing and unnecessary new policies. Give it to us straight; it’ll be easier in the long run.

Bitcoin Surge Is ‘Significant’ Investor Risk, EU Watchdog Warns
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Europe’s top markets regulator warned investors that they’re exposed to “significant risks” from the rapid rise in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Paris-based European Securities and Markets Authority used its twice-yearly risk report on Wednesday to caution that “crypto-assets are highly risky and speculative” and that “consumers must be alert to the high risks of buying and/or holding these instruments, including the possibility of losing all their money.”

Wall Street Steps Up Crypto ETF Push as SEC Verdict Unknown
Claire Ballentine and Olivia Raimonde – Bloomberg
WisdomTree is latest issuer to seek approval for Bitcoin fund; Regulator’s attitude is up-in-air amid leadership change
Issuers across the $5.9 trillion U.S. ETF industry are racing to win approval for the first Bitcoin fund, with one big hurdle standing before them: A regulator whose position right now is anyone’s guess.

Florida Teen Pleads Guilty in Last Summer’s Twitter Hack; Graham Ivan Clark, now 18, will serve 3 years in prison after impersonating high-profile users including Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and others in a bitcoin scam
David Uberti – WSJ
The Florida teenager who broke into Twitter Inc.’s systems last summer and impersonated some of its most popular users as part of a cryptocurrency scam pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the state’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Tampa. Graham Ivan Clark, of Tampa, pleaded guilty to crimes including fraud and unauthorized computer access as part of an agreement in which he will serve a reduced sentence of three years in prison and three on probation. Prosecutors alleged Mr. Clark, now 18, imitated a Twitter information-technology employee to gain access to the company’s networks, bypassing its security measures en route to account takeovers from some of the most powerful people on the planet.

AQR quant on the network effects behind GameStop frenzy; New model captures how ‘fanatical’ investors can influence asset prices
Mike Mozart, Rob Mannix – Risk.net
The wild swings in GameStop stock in recent months may hold the key to a better model for asset pricing in financial markets, according to a top quant at AQR. Lasse Pedersen, a principal at the $120 billion investment firm, says the 2,000%-plus rally in GameStop shares in January and its six-fold climb in March can be explained by network effects that are also behind broader patterns in markets, such as momentum and mean reversion.

Congress hears testimony again on GameStop, focusing on the financial plumbing behind the frenzy.
Matt Phillips – NY Times
The House Financial Services Committee is holding its second hearing on the GameStop frenzy on Wednesday, with a range of experts expected to expound on what the saga says about the stock market’s plumbing. The hearing appears likely to have a more wonkish tone than the committee’s first hearing on GameStop, which put a spotlight on Robinhood, the trading app at the center of a remarkable rally that sent shares of the struggling video game retailer up by over 1,600 percent in January,

Exchange leaders say GameStop saga highlights regulatory challenges
The recent trading frenzy around GameStop Corp and other so-called “meme” stocks highlights shortcomings and challenges in the U.S. markets as retail investors become a bigger presence, exchange leaders said.


Why European countries have suspended AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine; The decisions are centered on concerns about a rare type of brain clot
Loveday Morris – Washington Post
In the past few days, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland and France became some of the latest countries to suspend the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. They say they want time for the European Medicines Agency, the European drug regulator, to assess new data after a number of new blood-clotting incidents emerged.

Europe’s Latest Vaccine Controversy Risks Being a Crisis Too Far; EU members’ decision to suspend AstraZeneca shots threatens to deepen the bloc’s internal and external tensions
Ian Wishart, Ania Nussbaum, and Milda Seputyte – Bloomberg
The European Union prides itself on its habit of emerging stronger from crises. Its chaotic vaccine rollout may prove the exception to the rule. The move by several countries to suspend AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine over concerns about its safety — against the advice of the bloc’s regulator — is exposing flaws in the communal system that threaten to weaken the EU politically and economically.

Vaccine Nationalism Threatens WHO’s 2021 Goal of 2 Billion Doses
Chris Kay and Haslinda Amin – Bloomberg
India wanted more vaccines than planned: Serum Institute CEO; Covax struggles, vaccine inequality may prolong the pandemic
Vaccine nationalism in countries including the U.S. and India is likely to derail efforts by the World Health Organization to deliver 2 billion doses to poorer and middle-income nations by the end of the year, according to the head of the world’s biggest vaccine maker.

Africa’s Biggest Grocer Wants to Secure Vaccines on Its Own
Janice Kew – Bloomberg
Covid-19 shots needed much quicker in South Africa: Shoprite; Innoculating supermarket workers may prevent virus spread
South Africa’s private sector must be allowed to secure vaccines on their own to speed-up the slow roll out of Covid-19 shots, according to the head of the continent’s biggest grocer.

Vietnam Considers Vaccine Passport, May Resume Overseas Flights
Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and Xuan Quynh Nguyen – Bloomberg
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered ministries to study the use of a “vaccine passport” as the country is in talks to buy more shots against the coronavirus.

Pharma is riding a vaccine high, but reputational risks loom; Suspensions of AstraZeneca’s jab over blood clot concerns are a harbinger of challenges to come
Brooke Masters – FT
Pharmaceutical companies have never had it so good. The rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has made household names of Pfizer and AstraZeneca and the whole industry is winning praise for co-operation.

Half of UK managers back mandatory Covid vaccines for office work; Poll reveals high levels of support for restricting access of those who refuse jab on non-medical grounds
Daniel Thomas and Jim Pickard – FT
More than half of managers in the UK want to be allowed to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for staff returning to work, according to a survey that adds to pressure on the government to support “jabs for jobs” to help accelerate the reopening of the battered British economy.

Brussels to propose Covid certificate to allow EU-wide travel; Move comes after push by tourism-reliant countries badly hit by the pandemic
Mehreen Khan and Philip Georgiadis – FT
Brussels is to propose the creation of a Covid-19 certificate to allow EU citizens to travel inside the bloc after a push by tourism-reliant countries devastated by the pandemic.

Australia calls on EU to allow vaccine exports to aid PNG; Brussels asked to reject ‘vaccine protectionism’ as Covid-19 crisis engulfs Pacific nation
Jamie Smyth – FT
Australia has appealed to the EU to reject “vaccine protectionism” and allow the export of 1m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to address a Covid-19 emergency in Papua New Guinea.

Iceland to open to vaccinated visitors; Move will help north Atlantic island reboot its vital tourism industry
Richard Milne – FT
Iceland will open its borders to vaccinated foreigners from Thursday, making the north Atlantic island one of the first countries in the world to reopen to tourists after coronavirus.

Startup Behind AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Raises $168 Million in Step Toward IPO; Backers of biotech company Vaccitech look past rocky rollout of shot developed with Oxford University
Jenny Strasburg – WSJ
The Oxford startup behind AstraZeneca AZN 2.62% PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine has raised $168 million in new funding, which it plans to use to adopt its vaccine technology for the treatment of other diseases. The move is a step in Vaccitech Ltd.’s preparations for going public as soon as this year, according to people familiar with the plans. The moves were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Long Covid Is Not Rare. It’s a Health Crisis; Lingering symptoms from the coronavirus may turn out to be one of the largest mass disabling events in modern history.
Fiona Lowenstein and Hannah Davis – NY Times
CreditCredit…Illustration By Arsh Raziuddin/the New York Times; Photograph By Getty Images
Both of us developed Covid-19 last March in New York. We didn’t know each other at the time, but we had much in common: We didn’t imagine our symptoms would last for more than a couple of weeks. We were young and otherwise healthy, and were told we should recover easily.

Pfizer sees ‘opportunity’ to hike price for COVID-19 vaccine, CFO says
Noah Manskar – NY Post
Pfizer is looking to turn its lucrative coronavirus vaccine into an even bigger cash cow. The drugmaker sees a “significant opportunity” to charge more for the groundbreaking shot once it gets to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, one top executive says.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

China’s Baidu set to raise $3.1bn in Hong Kong stock listing; New York-listed search group sells shares closer to home as US-China tensions rise
Hudson Lockett and Mercedes Ruehl – FT
Baidu is set to raise more than $3bn in a Hong Kong stock market listing, marking the latest “homecoming” share sale by a Chinese technology group against a backdrop of tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Nasdaq technology to power US start-up trading venue backed by Goldman Sachs; The Nasdaq Execution Platform will help deliver the soon-to-launch PureStream ATS after the start-up raised $14 million from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
Annabel Smith. – The Trade
A start-up US trading venue backed by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America has chosen the execution platform from Nasdaq to power its upcoming alternative trading system (ATS). The Nasdaq Execution Platform will fully host the PureStream ATS, which is expected to launch in the second quarter of this year, including system operations management, risk controls, venue surveillance, trade reporting, and clearing facilitation.

The Role of CO2 Pricing in a Sustainable Economy
Carbon pricing is seen as a major factor in efforts to reduce global carbon emissions, and the recent election of U.S. President Joe Biden has put the U.S. back in a global leadership role. In a DerivSource Q&A, Farah Abi Morshed, Innovation Manager, ABN AMRO Clearing Bank discusses the role of carbon pricing in sustainable indices, the interplay of private markets and state interventions and what comes next.

Insteel Industries Completes Listing Transfer to the New York Stock Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
The New York Stock Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, announced that Insteel Industries, Inc. (NYSE: IIIN) has completed its listing transfer and will begin trading today as an NYSE-listed company.

Cboe Global Markets Announces Date of First-Quarter 2021 Earnings Release and Conference Call
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), a market operator and global trading solutions provider, today said it will announce its financial results for the first quarter of 2021 before the market opens on Friday, April 30, 2021. A conference call with remarks by the company’s senior management will begin at 7:30 a.m. Central Time (CT), 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET).

CME Group to Launch E-mini Nasdaq-100 Monday and Wednesday Weekly Options on April 12
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will expand its suite of E-mini Nasdaq-100 options with the launch of Monday and Wednesday Weekly options on April 12, pending regulatory review. These new options contracts will complement the existing Friday Weekly, End-of-Month and Quarterly options on E-mini Nasdaq-100 futures.

REVISED: CME Clearing to Launch Clearing Partnership with FEX Global
CME Group
Pending all required regulatory approvals, CME Clearing and FEX Global (“FEX”), a Sydney-based derivatives exchange operated by FEX Global Pty Limited, are jointly announcing the intended launch of CME-cleared energy and commodity futures and options on futures focused primarily on servicing the Asia-Pacific region effective for trading at 6:00pm Chicago time on March 25, 2021 / 10:00am Sydney time on March 26, 2021.

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

UPDATED: March 2021 Final Foreign Currency Settlement Prices
CME Group
Please find attached updated March 2021 Final Foreign Currency Settlement Prices.

DGCX To Launch The World’s First PKR Futures Contract
The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) today confirmed that it will soon launch a Pakistani Rupee (PKR) Futures Contract, the first of its kind on any regulated exchange in the world, enabling market participants to expand their trading opportunities to the Pakistani market. The launch follows extensive market research and feedback from DGCX members.


Online broker eToro in $10bn deal to go public with Spac; Israeli-based platform to merge with banking tycoon Betsy Cohen’s blank cheque vehicle
James Fontanella-Khan, Madison Darbyshire and Ortenca Aliaj – FT
Online broker eToro has agreed to go public at a $10.4bn valuation after merging with a listed blank cheque company, as the investment platform seeks to capitalise on the recent digital trading boom.

Fintech Venture Capital Firm Group 11 Closes New Investment Fund
Ivan Levingston – Bloomberg
California-based venture capital firm Group 11 has completed the first closing of its fifth fintech fund, raising more than $120 million from investors. The group has invested in startups including Next Insurance and Papaya Global, while founding partner Dovi Frances said two more so-called unicorns are on the way in the portfolio within the next 90 days, without naming them.

How Stripe became Silicon Valley’s most prized asset; Underpinning $95bn valuation is investors’ belief that payments digitisation still has some way to run
Tim Bradshaw and Nicholas Megaw and Miles Kruppa – FT
Even the co-founder of Stripe admitted there is nothing obviously attractive or exciting about the digital payments technology that is the focus of his company.

Investors warm to Lending Club, the fintech that became a bank; Shares soar after change helps company to lower funding costs and diversify products
Robert Armstrong – FT
When Lending Club was founded in 2006, it was hailed as a pioneering “fintech” company — a consumer lender that operated online without the regulatory burdens of a bank. This year, under chief executive Scott Sanborn, Lending Club has shifted gears and obtained a banking charter, reckoning that extra attention from the government is a fair price to pay for an opportunity to lower its funding costs and diversify its product offering.

QuantHouse Welcomes MarketFactory FX Platform Onto Its qh API Ecosystem Store Delivering Global Access To More Than 90 FX Destinations Through One Single API – Providing Seamless Access To A Broad Range Of FX Venues Through A Single Normalised API
QuantHouse, the global provider of end-to-end systematic trading solutions including innovative market data services, algo trading platform and infrastructure products and part of Iress (IRE.ASX), today announced that in response to increasing demand for access to foreign exchange venues and global exchanges, MarketFactory’s API based solutions are available on the qh API Ecosystem Store.

FinTech Startup Revolut Says Goodbye To Canada
British FinTech company Revolut announced this week it would suspend its Canadian operations, 18 months after launching a beta version of its platform in that country. According to BetaKit, which monitors Canadian startup and tech news, Revolut made the announcement on Twitter and in an email to users on Monday. “This has been a difficult decision, but we’ll do everything we can to make this process as smooth as possible for you,” the email said. “We really appreciate your support and trust as we work on our global expansion and we hope to be able to return to Canada in the future.” Serving 15 million-plus customers in more than 30 countries, Revolut is a challenger bank offering traditional banking services — debit cards, currency exchange, stock trading — along with a cryptocurrency exchange.


Overline Launches ‘Interchange,’ Its Cross-Chain Trading Platform With 95% Lower Fees Than Its Competitors; Overline’s Interchange introduces decentralized, collateral-based trading across multiple blockchains without wrapped tokens or expensive gas fees
Overline Network
Overline Network is officially launching its decentralized marketplace “Overline Interchange” this Thursday, March 18. Built using Overline’s interoperability protocol, the Interchange is a trading platform that embodies the core principles of decentralized finance and bridges the divide between DeFi 1.0 and Layer 2 multi-chains.

‘I’ve learned how much I don’t know’ about bitcoin, says investor Howard Marks
William Watts – MarketWatch
‘My initial response was a knee-jerk reaction without information, and that’s not a good way to behave. So 3-4 years ago I was willing to comment; now I’ve learned how much I don’t know…you shouldn’t talk about things you don’t know about.’— Howard Marks, Oaktree Capital
That’s Howard Marks, telling the Korea Economic Daily, in a video interview posted Tuesday, that he wishes he hadn’t been so quick to dismiss bitcoin in 2017, when he described cryptocurrencies as an “unfounded fad.”

Don’t Count on Bitcoin to Be a Sure-Thing Inflation Hedge; Cryptocurrency’s history is too short to judge whether it can provide protection against rising prices.
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Hardcore Bitcoin enthusiasts say the digital coin is the world’s best hedge against rising consumer prices. The logic: Unlike U.S. dollars or any other normal currency, it’s designed to have a limited supply, so it can’t be devalued by a government or a central bank distributing too much of it.

Crypto Holders Want Former Cred Executive Behind Bars
Becky Yerak – WSJ
Creditors of cryptocurrency platform Cred Inc. called for the arrest of a former executive identified in court papers as a U.K. fugitive, arguing he should do jail time unless he returns the bitcoin and other assets he allegedly took from the bankrupt company. A committee of unsecured creditors on Monday petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. to hold James Alexander, Cred’s former chief capital officer, in civil contempt for violating an earlier bankruptcy court directive and to issue a warrant for his arrest. Mr. Alexander couldn’t be reached for comment, and a lawyer representing him in Cred’s chapter 11 bankruptcy declined on Tuesday to comment.

Don’t Count on Bitcoin to Be a Sure-Thing Inflation Hedge
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Hardcore Bitcoin enthusiasts say the digital coin is the world’s best hedge against rising consumer prices. The logic: Unlike U.S. dollars or any other normal currency, it’s designed to have a limited supply, so it can’t be devalued by a government or a central bank distributing too much of it. Almost every bull case on Bitcoin has looked prescient lately—the cryptocurrency is trading at around $57,000 a coin, up from about $5,000 a year ago—so that’s added some buzz to this inflation story. With the economic outlook perking up, Covid-19 cases falling, and greater amounts of fiscal stimulus on the horizon, investors in all kinds of assets seem to expect a bit of a rise in prices. But that’s coming from a very modest base. Over the past year, the inflation rate in the U.S. has been 1.7%.

Crypto market maker B2C2 launches options and lending products
Ryan Weeks – The Block
London-based crypto market maker B2C2 is making a push into options trading and lending following its acquisition by SBI Financial Services, the Japanese finance group. The options desk is not expected to begin trading until mid-2021. B2C2 currently offers cash trading against a range of cryptocurrencies, as well as contracts for difference, but said in a press release that heightened client demand for “more sophisticated hedging instruments” drove its decision to branch out. The company has hired Brad Nagela to lead the new business. Nagela has spent time in senior FX roles at Citi, Bank of America and Societe Generale — as well as at BlueCrest Capital Management, the hedge fund. He is based in Chicago.

BitMEX Co-Founder Arthur Hayes Offers to Surrender to US Authorities Next Month
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
Arthur Hayes, founder and former CEO of BitMEX, says he will surrender to U.S. authorities to face charges the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange facilitated unregistered trading and other violations. Under a proposal sent to Judge John G. Koeltl at the Southern District of New York court on Tuesday and agreed with the U.S. in principle, Hayes would be allowed release on a $10 million personal recognizance bond secured by $1 million in cash and co-signed by his mother. Hayes intends to surrender in Hawaii on April 6, where the local FBI office would transport him to the courthouse. He would be allowed to keep his passport and stay at his home in Singapore and have pre-approved travel to the U.S.

Crypto exchange Kraken could go public next year via a direct listing
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Kraken could go public next year via a direct listing, a spokesperson of the cryptocurrency exchange told The Block. Direct listing means Kraken won’t choose the traditional IPO or the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) routes. The spokesperson said Kraken is “too big” for the SPAC route. Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino tweeted Tuesday that Kraken could go public in 2022 either via a SPAC or an IPO. Kraken’s plans of going public were first revealed earlier this year when its CEO Jesse Powell said he’d make the exchange go public at a valuation of above $10 billion. Kraken is reportedly in talks to raise funds in a move that could see its valuation reach that level.

Visa CEO talks bitcoin, stablecoin service strategy in podcast appearance
Michael McSweeney – The Block
Visa CEO Al Kelly dug into the credit card company’s crypto-focused strategy in a podcast appearance this week. Kelly’s comments to Fortune’s Leadership Next covered the bulk of what Visa aims to accomplish via a multi-pronged strategy that covers bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as fiat-backed tokens or stablecoins. In a broader sense, according to Kelly, the goal is to place the credit card giant “in the middle of” activity around new payments methods and technologies so that if they do catch on in the mainstream, Visa is able to capture the business opportunity. Recent months have seen Visa strike partnerships with firms like crypto banking startup Anchorage and community bank First Boulevard.

Coinbase files revised S-1 form, to float about 115 million shares in the market
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto exchange Coinbase filed an amended S-1 form early Wednesday, disclosing that it has registered about 115 million shares for its direct listing on Nasdaq. The revised form doesn’t yet mention a date at which Coinbase’s shares will get listed under the ticker symbol COIN. Coinbase also highlighted the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple in the revised form and said such regulatory actions could ultimately impact its operating and financial results. Coinbase suspended all XRP trading pairs on its platform earlier this year, although the digital asset represented a chunk of its trading volume and revenue.

Coinbase Pro Adds Support for Cardano’s ADA
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Coinbase Pro is adding support for Cardano’s ADA, with trading beginning Thursday once sufficient supply of ADA is established on the platform, the exchange said Tuesday. Trading will start on or after 16:00 UTC (12 p.m. ET) March 18 if liquidity conditions are met. Coinbase Pro will only support withdrawals to addresses on the Cardano network’s decentralized Shelley hard fork. Support for addresses using the previous, Byron, version will be enabled shortly, Coinbase added.

‘We’ve crossed a line’: Why Goldman Sachs says crypto is here to stay; Mathew McDermott, the bank’s most senior crypto exec, says there’s no going back on digital assets as institutional investor clients pile in
Emily Nicolle – Financial News
Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are going to be a permanent feature of banks and asset managers’ investment portfolios for the foreseeable future, Goldman Sachs’ top authority on the sector has said.

Bitcoin Suisse Pulls Bank Application Amid Regulatory Concerns
Leonard Kehnscherper – Bloomberg
Crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse AG withdrew its application for a banking license in Switzerland after regulator Finma flagged potential weaknesses in the firm’s money laundering defense mechanisms.

Coinfloor press ad slammed by UK advertising body
Posted by Maria Nikolova – FXNewsgroup.com
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found a press ad for Coinfloor Ltd, a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, to be misleading. The Authority has investigated complaints into two issues regarding this ad and has upheld the complaints.


Russia Criticizes U.S. for Pressing Brazil to Reject Its Vaccine
Jake Rudnitsky and Ilya Arkhipov – Bloomberg
Sputnik V developers say effort is unethical and costing lives; U.S. report called Russian influence a detriment to safety
Russia condemned the U.S. for applying diplomatic pressure on Brazil to reject its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, adding that attempts at political meddling in inoculation campaigns were costing lives.

Brexit has lost London for the Conservatives; Britain’s ruling party, especially as it looks north, has no chance of winning the mayorship of the capital
Sebastian Payne – FT
The murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who was abducted this month while walking home, has unleashed a tide of anxiety among Londoners about women’s safety, policing and leadership. Yet there is indifference about who should lead Britain’s capital, just 8 weeks before its mayoral election.

Russian Interference in 2020 Included Influencing Trump Associates, Report Says; The assessment was the intelligence community’s most comprehensive look at foreign efforts to interfere in the election.
Julian E. Barnes – NY Times
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday.

Wall Street Looking to Quietly Reopen Wallets for Politicians
Robert Schmidt and Bill Allison – Bloomberg
Pause on political giving was never meant to be permanent; First quarter after an election is usually a lull for donors
Wall Street firms are quietly preparing to resume political giving in the next few months, marking an end to a freeze that many corporations vowed to impose after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in January to disrupt congressional certification of Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden.


U.S. SEC sues California trader for alleged social media fraud scheme
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday it has charged a California-based trader for an alleged fraud scheme in which he spread false information about a defunct company on Twitter. Andrew L. Fassari, or @OCMillionaire on Twitter, tweeted false statements about Arcis Resources Corporation during December 2020, shortly after purchasing over 41 million shares of the stock, the SEC said in a complaint unsealed on Monday.

Former Goldman Sachs analyst and brother face trial over insider dealing; FCA files charges after pair allegedly made £142,000 from trading stocks
Caroline Binham – FT
A former Goldman Sachs analyst and his lawyer brother will face a jury trial on insider dealing and fraud charges in April next year. The Financial Conduct Authority accuses the brothers — Mohammed Zina, 32, who was an analyst for the investment bank’s conflict resolution group in London; and Suhail, 33, who was a solicitor at law firm Clifford Chance — of making £142,000 in profit from trading six stocks using insider information, including Arm Holdings and Punch Taverns, between July 2016 and December 2017.

ASIC bans Forex Capital Trading director for ten years and former employees for three to six years from providing financial services
ASIC has banned the sole director and four former employees of retail over-the-counter (OTC) derivative issuer, Forex Capital Trading Pty Ltd (Forex CT), from providing financial services for periods ranging from three to ten years.

Benjamin Heath Cooper charged with conspiracy to commit market manipulation
Benjamin Heath Cooper of Bexley NSW appeared on Friday 12 March 2021 in the Perth Magistrates’ Court charged with conspiracy with others to manipulate the market for the shares of Quantum Resources Limited.

ESMA Anniversary Conference – REGISTER NOW; Don’t miss a great line-up talking about ESMA’s achievements and the future of CMU.
ESMA turned 10 on 1 January 2021 – 10 years of growing from a committee of securities regulators to a fully-fledged supervisor, 10 years of working with and for EU citizens, 10 years of achievements and challenges in keeping investors’ trust in capital markets.

ESMA sees high risk for investors in non-regulated crypto assets
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities markets regulator, today publishes its first Trends, Risks and Vulnerabilities (TRV) Report of 2021. The Report analyses the impact of COVID-19 on financial markets during the second half of 2020 and highlights the increasing credit risks linked to significant corporate and public debt overhang, as well as the risks linked with investments in non-regulated crypto-assets.

Why diversity and inclusion are regulatory issues
Speech by our CEO, Nikhil Rathi, at the launch of the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter Annual Review.

Investing and Trading

‘The stimulus has landed’: US retail traders set to hit stock market; Fresh fuel for equities as Biden’s coronavirus relief payments land in bank accounts
Madison Darbyshire – FT
Americans are expected to pour billions of dollars into the stock market when stimulus payments begin hitting bank accounts later this week, adding fresh fuel to a retail trading frenzy that has swept Wall Street.

Why UK value stocks may be the trade of the decade; Covid and Brexit have created bargain prices that are compelling even after a rebound
Rob Arnott – FT
Predicting when markets will turn or what catalysts will trigger the move is more a fun parlour game than a reliable tool for investment strategy. Nevertheless, sometimes long-term prospects seem clear. That is notably the case now for UK stocks.

Too much, or not enough: the risks of drawdown
Taking your pension flexibly has pros and cons
Amy Austin – FT
For many people approaching retirement, there is a sense of dread when it comes to navigating the rules about accessing their pensions.Pension drawdown has grown in popularity since 2015. It enables savers to take a tax-free lump sum from their defined contribution pension, but keep the remainder of the money invested to provide an income during retirement.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Global Oil Demand Won’t Hit Pre-Virus Level Until 2023, IEA Says
Grant Smith – Bloomberg
Demand in 2025 seen 2.5 million b/d lower than last forecast; OPEC+ to dominate supply growth as U.S. shale outlook fades
Global oil demand won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, and growth will be subdued thereafter amid new working habits and a shift away from fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency said.

India Considers Net Zero Goal Around 2050, a Decade Before China
Archana Chaudhary, Akshat Rathi, and Rajesh Kumar Singh – Bloomberg
Discussions held at senior levels including PM Modi’s office; People familiar say no consensus has been reached yet
Top Indian government officials are debating whether to set a goal to zero out its greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, an ambitious target that would require overhauling its coal-dependent economy.

Record Carbon Not Enough to Curb Germany’s Dirtiest Power Plants
Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
Output from lignite increases, spurred by higher power prices; Average day-ahead power prices 77% higher so far this year
Electricity generated in Germany from lignite, one of the most carbon-heavy fuels, has increased during 2021 spurred by higher power prices. Even a rally in carbon emission permit prices to record levels hasn’t been enough to curb output from the dirtiest fossil fuel. Electricity generated by lignite plants in Germany has increased by 35% so far this year, compared with the same period in 2020, according to data compiled by research institute Fraunhofer ISE.

For Relief From Scorching Summers, Sydney Will Plant More Trees
Georgina McKay – Bloomberg
Australia’s most populated city to invest in planting drive; Program follows similar efforts in Singapore and China
For a fresh perspective on the stories that matter for Australian business and politics, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Sydney hopes that literally becoming greener will offer sweaty citizens some respite from a warming climate.

IEA Sees No Oil Supercycle as Supplies Remain Plentiful
Grant Smith – Bloomberg
Market adequately supplied despite shock OPEC+ restraints; Oil inventories are ‘ample’ and spare capacity ‘hefty’
Oil markets aren’t on the verge of a new price supercycle as plentiful supplies mean any concerns of a shortfall are misguided, the International Energy Agency said. Crude rallied to a 14-month high last week after Saudi Arabia and its allies stunned traders with plans to keep a tight grip on output. Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have called the beginning of a bull market as demand outstrips supply.

Readers divided over divesting fossil fuel stocks; Merryn Somerset Webb’s column prompts conflicting responses
Stefan Wagstyl – FT
Merryn Somerset Webb’s call for investors concerned about climate change not to sell out of fossil fuel and mining stocks struck a chord with FT Money readers.

Half of FTSE 100 companies link executive pay to ESG targets; Many measures used in judging CEO pay not deemed ‘material’ to shareholder value despite pressure for their adoption, study finds
Daniel Thomas – FT
Almost half of FTSE 100 companies have linked executive pay to environment, social or governance (ESG) targets as investors step up demands for companies to adopt these non-financial goals in the upcoming annual general meeting season.

Chevron accused of ‘greenwashing’ in complaint lodged with FTC; US activist groups ask regulator to penalise oil major for ‘climate friendly’ claims
Myles McCormick – FT
A group of environmental NGOs have accused US oil major Chevron of “greenwashing” in a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, providing an early test of what role the regulator will play in enforcing the Biden administration’s climate goals.

Carbon Capture Is Key to Companies’ Net Zero Pledges; Some carbon-dioxide removal techniques that companies rely on to improve their environmental footprints are riskier than others
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
Many companies’ plans to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions to “net zero” rely heavily on technologies to capture carbon. Some are more speculative than others. Nearly 1,400 companies have promised to cut their net carbon dioxide emissions to zero over the coming decades. So-called carbon offsets, where the gas is removed from the atmosphere, are central to many of these plans. The latest of the almost daily announcements: French oil giant Total said on Tuesday that it will plant a 40,000-hectare forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo to sequester 10 million tons of CO2 over 20 years.


JPMorgan to Bring Summer Interns Into New York, London Offices
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
Bank’s internships are set to take place in person this year; Wall Street firms altered program last year amid coronavirus
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s summer interns will get a taste of office life this year. Hundreds of summer interns in the lender’s sales and trading and investment banking divisions are set to work in its New York and London offices, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Greedy Hedge Funds Push Buyout Bidders to the Edge; Investors are testing the boundaries of what private equity firms are willing to pay in U.K. M&A deals. The risk of a messy clash is growing.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
When hedge funds are pushing private equity firms around, it’s hard to see things ending well. Merger arbitrageurs in the U.K. have been betting that deal-hungry buyout firms have infinite funds to pay sky-high prices for assets. But the arbs’ aggressiveness in driving up the shares of buyout targets may be a sign of something more troubling than optimism.

ARKK Copycat Is Beating Cathie Wood’s Original by 10-Fold
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
Direxion’s MOON also bets on innovation, but tracks an index
MOON’s $220 million in assets dwarfed by the $24 billion ARKK
A tiny ETF tracking innovative companies is quietly outpacing one of the most famous investments on Wall Street. The Direxion Moonshot Innovators ETF (MOON) has risen 39% this year, compared to ARK Innovation ETF’s 3.5% gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mizuho CEO Drops Out of Top Bank Industry Role After Glitches
Taiga Uranaka and Yuki Hagiwara – Bloomberg
Mizuho Financial Group Inc.’s chief executive said he will refrain from taking a key bank industry advocacy role next month as he focuses on addressing a series of system glitches at Japan’s third-largest lender.

Greensill family cashed out $200m before collapse; Share sale came as part of SoftBank Vision Fund investment in 2019
Arash Massoudi, Robert Smith and Stephen Morris – FT
Lex Greensill and his family sold about $200m of shares in Greensill Capital in 2019, cashing out during a fundraising round led by SoftBank Vision Fund two years before the company collapsed.

Cathie Wood Persuades Investors to Stick With ARK; The stock picker uses TV interviews, YouTube videos to put investors at ease amid a volatile period for her funds
Michael Wursthorn – WSJ
Cathie Wood’s popular investment funds have taken investors on a wild ride this year, testing their faith in the star stock picker. Shares of ARK Investment Management LLC’s five exchange-traded funds were flying high as of early February, up as much as 30% in 2021. That capped a 14-month run in which the ETFs’ stock prices more than doubled. Then the rally ended.

Greensill-Owned Bank Declared Insolvent, Causing Losses for Small German Towns; Local governments deposited money at the lender to escape negative interest rates at their usual banks
Patricia Kowsmann – WSJ
A German court on Tuesday declared that a small bank tied to a collapsed U.K. finance company was insolvent, triggering losses for dozens of small German towns.

SSGA trading head in Asia joins outsourced trading firm Outset Global; David Rogers joins Outset Global as a managing director in Hong Kong after three years as head of multi-asset trading for Asia Pacific at State Street Global Advisors.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The head of trading for Asia Pacific at State Street Global Advisors has taken on a new role with outsourced trading provider Outset Global after three years with the investment manager.

PIMCO Announces 2021 Managing Directors
PIMCO Account Management
PIMCO, one of the world’s premier fixed income investment managers, is pleased to announce the promotion of the officers of the firm to Managing Director.


Saudi Arabia Pays More Aramco IPO Fees as Wall Street Misses Out
Matthew Martin – Bloomberg
Kingdom gives $50 million of discretionary fees to IPO banks; Local firms on record-breaking deal get bulk of payments
Saudi Arabia recently paid around $50 million of extra fees to banks on the record-breaking listing of state oil company Aramco, with most of the cash going to local underwriters after Wall Street firms were sidelined, people familiar with the matter said.

Lira Doomsayers Are Preaching to the Converted on YouTube
Taylan Bilgic – Bloomberg
The audience that Turkey’s central bank most needs to break the dollar’s hold on the economy isn’t tuning in. Instead, the attention of hundreds of thousands of Turks is on YouTube, where a cottage industry of self-styled analysts, economists and journalists has been broadcasting that the worst is yet to come for the lira.

Chinese piglet prices soar as swine fever raises supply fears; Unapproved vaccines may have accelerated spread of new strains in world’s biggest pork market
Hudson Lockett and Emiko Terazono – FT
Hog futures and piglet prices in China have jumped as authorities struggled to control outbreaks of African swine fever, with virus strains and illegal vaccines prompting supply fears in the world’s biggest pork market.

Risk of Cash Crunch Leads Sweden to Expand Handling of Banknotes
Rafaela Lindeberg – Bloomberg
The central bank of Sweden, one of the world’s most cashless societies, is tripling the number of offices available to handle notes and coins. Sweden’s Riksbank, responsible for supplying the largest Nordic economy with banknotes, said in a statement on Wednesday it is opening two new locations for cash handling in addition to an existing office.


Boris Johnson Finally Tells Us What “Global Britain” Means; The U.K.’s foreign and security policy review is well crafted and ambitious, but can a middling power afford it?
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Until Tuesday “Global Britain” was a slogan and little more. Just over a year ago Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a punchy speech in Greenwich where he likened post-Brexit Britain to superman. The U.K., he said, was “ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.”

US fires warning shot at Johnson on Northern Ireland; PM urged to end Brussels stand off as Biden prepares for talks with Irish premier
George Parker, Aime Williams and Laura Noonan – FT
Boris Johnson is coming under pressure from Washington to end his stand-off with Brussels over Northern Ireland, as Joe Biden prepares to hold St Patrick’s day talks with Irish premier Micheál Martin. On the eve of the talks, Washington lawmakers published a resolution warning they would oppose any UK-US trade deal unless the British prime minister upheld the terms of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

Brexit farm workers scheme found fueling risk of slavery in UK
Kieran Guilbert – Reuters
Migrant farm workers in Britain are being trapped and mistreated by employers in conditions ripe for modern slavery, campaigners said on Tuesday, urging the government to review a scheme designed to avoid agricultural labour shortages post-Brexit.
Seasonal labourers in Scotland have been pressured to sign zero-hour contracts, made to live and work in degrading conditions, and prevented from changing employers, a study by the Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) NGO and a Scottish nonprofit found.

Brexit: Trade changes ‘challenging’ for Welsh car industry
Brian Meechan – BBC News
Wales’ automotive industry faces more challenges over future Brexit trade changes, according to experts. The Welsh Automotive Forum (WAF) said new checks on imports and new rules over where car parts can come from could add to customs disruption when they are introduced. There will be checks at the UK border on goods coming from the European Union from 1 January 2022. The UK government said new trade deals were creating prosperity.

Brexit: Cross-border medics and nurses must register in UK and Ireland
Louise Cullen – BBC
More than 100 medics and nurses must now be registered in both the UK and Republic of Ireland due to their involvement in cross-border transfers and all-island work. The five health trusts have been told affected staff must be registered by the end of March. It is because flexibility that was granted under EU legislation after Brexit is coming to an end. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland share some healthcare services. These include paediatric cardiology services, some adult cardiac services and some cancer services.

Brexit has lost London for the Conservatives
Sebastian Payne – FT
The murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who was abducted this month while walking home, has unleashed a tide of anxiety among Londoners about women’s safety, policing and leadership. Yet there is indifference about who should lead Britain’s capital, just 8 weeks before its mayoral election. One candidate has drawn the wrong kind of attention. While the police were still searching for Everard, the Conservative’s Shaun Bailey took to social media to say “as a father and husband it breaks me to think that my wife and daughter have to live in fear in their own city”. One close friend, who was minded to vote for him, called the message “despicable”; a senior Tory party official described it as “desperate” and “very poor taste”.


The Curious Case of Hard-to-Find Workers; A record-high share of small businesses report trouble filling jobs
Peter Coy – Bloomberg
It’s Fed day. This afternoon the Federal Open Market Committee will issue a statement on its latest deliberations on monetary policy and then Chairman Jerome Powell will face questions from reporters. Here’s a question I hope someone will ask: How hard is it for businesses to find employees?

Florida Horse-Meat Vigilante Richard Couto Is Fighting Criminal Butchers; From his secret compound, Richard Couto stages undercover buys to bring down unlicensed slaughterhouses. Police say they’d be happy to work with him, if only he’d follow the rules.
David Gauvey Herbert – Bloomberg
You don’t find the Dark Knight of Florida’s animal-slaughter underworld. You put out a signal, and he finds you. Last March, I flew to West Palm Beach, drove a rental car inland, and settled into a room at a chain hotel that Richard Couto had chosen for me. Then he texted me an address. The drive to his secret compound took me past orange groves, belching tractors, and homemade Trump billboards. Down a dirt road flanked by tall Australian pines, I reached a series of remote-control gates guarded by closed-circuit TV cameras and screaming eagle busts. A final fence slid open to reveal a sprawling 100-acre sanctuary. Cows, horses, and pigs grazed, rescued by Couto and his team from slaughter. I pulled up to the command center, open-air on one side, with white leather couches, standing desks, and Spanish tile. It was the Bat Cave, with a Sunshine State twist.

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