President Trump and First Lady Melania Test Positive for the Coronavirus

Oct 2, 2020

First Read

Healthy Outlook for 2020 Hemp Production
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

There is some good news about industrial hemp production buried in PanXchange’s September 2020 report, Hemp: Benchmark and Analysis. Like last year, there has been a big jump this month in the monthly report of the number of planted hemp acres as the harvest progresses.

The amended report confirms that growers were not so disheartened by last year’s crop and this year’s prices that they were giving up on hemp. And the numbers weren’t so low as to make the long term commercial viability of field grown hemp look questionable.

The numbers, especially the fact that 11,000 acres of hemp for grain are now reported, also confirm an impression that field grown hemp is diversifying beyond the cash crop allure of CBD hemp. PanXchange suspects, though, that underreporting might be greater for CBD growers because they are more likely to be new to agriculture and less familiar with routine FSA reporting. Grain, seed and fiber farmers, they feel, are more likely to be experienced farmers diversifying their plantings into hemp.

PanXchange’s researchers attribute such increases in reported acres to the fact that farmers have simply not been aware of the reporting programs. In states operating under USDA approved plans, there is a clear requirement to report planted acreage to the Farm Service Agency. Hemp is a new crop, federal regulations are new, and coverage of hemp in FSA data is new.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

First things first, my prayers are for President Donald Trump and his wife, and all those who have contracted COVID-19, a quick and complete recovery. At the CFTC Technology Advisory Committee meeting on February 20 in Washington, DC, I predicted that President Trump would contract the virus. I also predicted Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders would too, so I am wrong there. Needless to say, I am sad to have been correct about this. I wish the virus on no one. I also had some more dire predictions I shan’t mention, but needless to say this will have an impact on the election just a month away.

Matt Leising of Bloomberg has a story about “Booming Decentralized Finance a Potential Haven for Money Laundering.” For me, there is no potential. My theory on the creation of Bitcoin is that it was created to be a more efficient way to launder money. Why would the money launderers not want to invest in a better way to launder money? Money laundering is the third largest business in the world. Now, there are also some good things that come along with the development of cryptocurrencies, but it should not be a surprise to us that money launderers are using these “markets” to move huge amounts of money. Some of the new innovations in DeFi have seen billions of dollars flow through in the first weeks. Who has billions to move like that? Think about it a bit, and at least some of the players have money laundering as their motive.

I admit my theory is a bit conspiratorial and out there, but for many whom I have shared it with it is more plausible than bitcoin being created by an anonymous Japanese inventor or group of inventors using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.

The Purdue Exponent, the student newspaper I once wrote for, has reported that “out of the nearly 30,500 tests the University has administered since Aug. 1, 900 of them have come back positive, according to Purdue’s coronavirus dashboard.” Purdue currently has 269 active cases and a 3.90% positivity rate over the last seven days.

We at JLN encourage you to get out and support Wall Street Rides Far this weekend. The event is now wide open to participation to all around the world, as Bryan Harkins shared with us in this video interview. You can sign up to ride and donate at

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


The Options Clearing Corp (OCC) has cleared a new annual options volume record in the “highest September ever” for the corporation. September 2020’s total cleared volume was up 65.7 percent from a year ago, at 670,994,045 contracts, bringing the total cleared contract volume to-date to 5,453,292,830 for 2020 and surpassing the annual volume record for the U.S. exchange-listed options industry. The previous record was 5.24 billion cleared contracts in 2018.~SR

Chicago-based alternative payments platform AeroPay this week announced the closing of a seed round to accelerate its growth. Terms were not disclosed. The round was led by Continental Investors, a private investment firm also located in Chicago that specializes in fintech firms, with a portfolio that includes the mobile payments platform LevelUp, acquired by GrubHub in 2018. For additional details, see the release. ~SC


Revolution scores big wins in first-ever Illinois Cannabis Cup

Chicago-based Revolution Global took first place in 6 out of 7 categories in a recent “Peoples Choice” competition judged by more than 200 consumers. John Lothian News talked with Revolution COO Dustin Shroyer to get the details.

Listen to the podcast »


US regulators step up battle with spoofing; Heavy fine for JPMorgan is a warning sign to other banks
Philip Stafford, Kadhim Shubber and Eric Platt, Colby Smith and Laura Noonan – FT
Regulators have delivered a blunt warning to banks to clamp down on high-speed financial market manipulation or risk blockbuster fines and criminal convictions for staff. US authorities this week levied a $920m fine on JPMorgan Chase for eight years of giving a false impression of market demand in precious metals and US government bonds by rapidly entering and cancelling orders — a practice known as spoofing. The penalty far outstrips previous punishments for such misconduct.

*****”I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material but I know it when I see it.” -Justice Potter Stewart ~JB


The Stock Trading Revolution: How Robinhood and Its Rivals are Changing Markets
Sarah Ponczek and Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
It used to be difficult to trade stocks. Now it’s basically as easy as downloading an app or sending a tweet and what’s more, it’s completely free. Over the past year, there has been a revolution in how people can access the stock market. After a few companies started offering free trades, a move in late 2019 by one giant brokerage — Charles Schwab Corp. — to eliminate fees rippled through the entire industry.

*****One thing’s for sure – if 2020’s retail trading numbers keep up, especially retail trades from platforms like Robinhood, the options markets will never quite be the same.~MR


‘How to move to Canada’: Americans rush to Google after unwatchable debate
Poppy Noor – The Guardian
If you watched Tuesday night’s presidential debate thinking it was the height of civility, you’re probably in the minority. For many Americans, it was enough to trigger a potential mass exodus.
Trump plunges presidential debate into chaos as he repeatedly talks over Biden
Following a debate derailed by interruptions, people speaking over each other, and insults hurled back and forth, Google reported a peak number of searches for “How to apply for Canadian citizenship” in the US.

*****American politics are hard to escape. The U.S. has a lot of economic and cultural influence on the world, which is watching this election closely. Personally, I’d rather stay and fight for change.~MR


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: Kin
After two years of litigation, a U.S. judge ruled Wednesday in favor of the SEC, which had submitted a motion for summary judgement. The motion said, “…I hold that undisputed facts show Kik offered and sold securities without a registration statement or exemption from registration…” Kik, the company that created a messaging app of the same name, as well as the digital token Kin, launched a public initial coin offering (ICO) for the coin in 2017. In 2018 Kik received an official notice that the SEC intended to prosecute the company for running an unregistered and unlawful securities sale.


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was The Wall Street Journal’s Secretive High-Speed Trading Firm Hits Jackpot With TikTok, about Susquehanna International Group. Second was The New York Times’s A YouTuber Hangs His Own Shingle With an Auction Website. Third was Why Europeans no longer dream of America, from the Financial Times.


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Lead Stories

President Trump and First Lady Melania Test Positive for the Coronavirus; President’s infection means he will need to cancel in-person events in the coming weeks
Rebecca Ballhaus and Catherine Lucey – WSJ
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19, injecting fresh uncertainty into an already tumultuous final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

US charges bitcoin exchange founders over money laundering; BitMEX executives accused of operating an unregistered trading platform
Kadhim Shubber – FT
US authorities on Thursday charged the founders of BitMEX, a major cryptocurrency exchange, with wilfully failing to prevent money laundering and operating an unregistered trading platform. The charges are the latest in a years-long effort by the US to crackdown on a cryptocurrency market that was once largely unregulated but has moved more and more under the purview of governments.

BitMEX Founders Charged With Failing to Prevent Laundering
Chris Dolmetsch, Olga Kharif, and Dave Liedtka – Bloomberg
Crypto-derivatives pioneer invented perpetual Bitcoin futures; Bitcoin falls abruptly on news, after 50% rise since December
Founders of the pioneering crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX were charged with skirting U.S. laws preventing money laundering and hit with civil sanctions as well, abruptly sending the price of Bitcoin down. Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo and Samuel Reed were indicted in New York, where federal prosecutors claim the digital-asset exchange served American customers while flouting U.S. banking laws. Hayes said the exchange was incorporated in the Seychelles because they could bribe authorities there for the cost of “just a coconut,” according to the indictment, unsealed Thursday.

Investors grapple with bizarre US election cycle; There is rising interest in using political prediction and betting markets to track political risk
Gillian Tett – FT
Once upon a time — say, a decade ago — equity and debt investors classified countries into two buckets. There were “emerging markets” countries, where investors often had to price in political risk due to fragile institutions, capricious leaders or populist swings. Then there were “developed” countries, where the political institutions were presumed to be so stable that risks could be measured with spreadsheets and uncertainty was driven more by policy than the political process itself.

Japan to order Tokyo stock exchange to report on trading meltdown; Bourse was closed on Thursday after suffering worst outage in more than 20 years
Leo Lewis – FT
Japan’s financial regulator will demand a full report into the technical problems that paralysed the Tokyo Stock Exchange and plunged the world’s third largest exchange into an unprecedented full-day shutdown.

Tokyo’s bourse to reboot trading on Friday after worst outage since 1999; World’s third-biggest equity market shut down for entire day due to system error
Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki – FT
The Tokyo Stock Exchange has announced that trading will resume on Friday, after a hardware glitch caused equity trading to be suspended for a full day in the worst outage since the world’s third-biggest bourse shifted to a fully electronic system in 1999.

FCA gives City 15 months’ grace on most post-Brexit rules; UK regulator updates action needed by end of transition, giving financial sector time to adapt after Jan 1 2021
Matthew Vincent – FT
The UK financial regulator has assured City institutions they will have 15 months from the end of the Brexit transition period to meet most of its new domestic rules — but said some extra measures would have to be complied with by January 1.

Houston Had an All-American Pandemic Response: Ignore Until It’s Too Late; The city knows about disasters. It’s got a world-renowned medical center. It saw what happened in New York. And it still couldn’t stop Covid-19.
Shannon Sims – Bloomberg
It’s Friday night in Houston: 9:30, 102F, 90% humidity, and the patio at Flava Restaurant & Bar is packed. Friends are sucking on hookahs. Waitresses hustle by in booty shorts. Someone climbs on a picnic table to twerk. The place looks over capacity. Owner Louis Watson knows it. Houston Covid Task Force Chief Keith Kennedy knows it. And judging from the expression on his face when Kennedy rolls down his tinted window, the valet knows it, too.

Companies Facilitating Ransomware Payments Could Face Penalties
William Turton – Bloomberg
Advisory limits U.S. firms paying ransoms to sanctioned groups; Payments to hackers has long existed within legal gray area
Companies that assist victims of ransomware attacks in making payments to criminal hackers could face penalties, according to a new advisory from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Londoners Told to Act to Stop Covid With City at ‘Tipping Point’
Emily Ashton and Stuart Biggs – Bloomberg
SNP politician faces calls to resign after breaking isolation; Government imposes tougher rules on Liverpool to stop spread
London residents are being told to take immediate action to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus amid warnings that the U.K. capital is at a “tipping point” in its fight with the disease. As the government announced a new crackdown on households mixing in northern England, Kevin Fenton, London regional director for Public Health England said Covid-19 cases in the city have been “steadily increasing” for the last few weeks.

CFTC Charges BitMEX Owners with Illegally Operating a Cryptocurrency Derivatives Trading Platform and Anti-Money Laundering Violations
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging five entities and three individuals that own and operate the BitMEX trading platform with operating an unregistered trading platform and violating multiple CFTC regulations, including failing to implement required anti-money laundering procedures. This case is brought in connection with the Division of Enforcement’s Digital Asset and Bank Secrecy Act Task Forces.

Central bankers have been relegated to second division of policymakers; Health officials and finance ministers are far more important for the economy
Chris Giles – FT
Who are the most important economic policymakers around the world? The answer in the 2008-09 global financial crisis was simple: the leading central bankers. Ben Bernanke at the US Federal Reserve, Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank and Mervyn King at the Bank of England were top of the league. Seen as the only game in town, their actions ultimately quelled the financial storm, providing the necessary economic stimulus and co-ordinated response globally.

Junk Bonds Set Another Sales Record With Busiest September Ever
Gowri Gurumurthy – Bloomberg
Companies sold $47 billion last month to mostly refinance; Four of the busiest months for issuance have been in 2020
The U.S. junk-bond market racked up another monthly record after borrowers sold more than $47 billion of the risky debt in September to borrow at some of the cheapest rates ever. The crush of sales, that helped push issuance to an annual record the same month, made it the busiest September on record and the third-biggest month of all time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The surge was mostly driven by refinancings that are expected to continue into October.

CEO of Norway’s Wealth Fund Has Too Much Cash for Banks
Love Liman and Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
Norway’s banks can’t absorb the hundreds of millions of dollars in cash that the new CEO of the country’s wealth fund needs to deposit as part of an agreement he struck to allow him to take on the role. Nicolai Tangen, who started running the world’s biggest sovereign investor last month, agreed to liquidate his personal fund investments and place the proceeds in bank deposits as part of his contract. The intention was to ensure that the former hedge fund manager wasn’t exposed to any conflicts of interest through his holdings.

CME Group Reports September and Third-Quarter 2020 Market Statistics
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today reported its September and third-quarter 2020 market statistics, showing it reached average daily volume (ADV) of 15.6 million contracts during the quarter and 16.9 million contracts during the month of September. Market statistics are available online in greater detail at

Why the Spac mania won’t bridge the Atlantic; Spac ETF marks high-water mark in the US; Halfords defies Haldane; Renewi wastes
Kate Burgess – FT
Cash shells and Spacs sound innocuous enough. Blind pools less so. Call them what you will. They are all the rage, at least in the US where an exchange traded fund is being launched to invest in these special purpose acquisition companies. That must mark a high water level for spacs.

Trump Just Delivered the Ultimate October Surprise; If the polls haven’t yet scared the stock market, this certainly will.
John Authers – Bloomberg
The shocking news that President Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus has added a new level of uncertainty to next month’s election. This is the latest and the most serious in a series of October surprises. Everyone should wish him the best.

Experts assess impact of new EU CCP recovery and resolution framework; “Know your CCP” more important than ever as default management evolves
Jeff Reeves – FIA
Recent regulatory actions show an increased focus on issues surrounding CCP recovery and resolution. And based on the EU’s new CCP Recovery and Resolution regime, it seems that policymakers have provided national authorities and CCPs with adequate tools to manage a crisis while also balancing incentives for all participants to appropriately manage risk.

FIA and ISDA respond to BoE’s consultation on operational resilience for CCPs
FIA and ISDA (together the “Associations”) welcome the Bank of England’s consultation paper (CP) on operational resilience of Central Counterparties (CCPs). We applaud the UK authorities for focusing on the operational resilience of the entire financial sector – including Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) such as CCPs. We agree with the Bank of England’s assessment that disruption to clearing markets is a financial stability issue and support the policy objective for CCPs to be operationally resilient to disruption events. We also support the concepts of important business services and impact tolerances.

US Justice Department Issues Favorable Business Review Letter To ISDA For Proposed Amendments To Address Interest Rate Benchmarks
US Department of Justice
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced today that it has completed its review of the proposal by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association Inc. (ISDA) to amend its standardized model documentation for derivatives to account for the potential discontinuation of certain interbank offered rates (collectively referred to as “IBORs”). The department has concluded, based on the representations in ISDA’s letter request, including its description of certain safeguards, that ISDA’s proposed amendments to its standardized documentation are unlikely to harm competition. Therefore, the department does not presently intend to challenge ISDA’s proposed amendments to its standardized documentation for derivatives.

The Modern Experts Are Throwing Out the Old Rules for Managing Money; Four up-and-coming publishing titans are writing the new playbooks for personal finance.
Emily Cadman – Bloomberg
There is a whole new generation of personal finance experts tapping into specific modern needs. Unvarnished in style, these new challengers are gaining an audience among those who find established gurus like Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman a bit, well, staid.

Female banker emerges as possible successor to Goldman Sachs CEO
By Thornton McEnery – NY Post
Wall Street can stop wondering who the most powerful woman at Goldman Sachs might be. Goldman chief executive David Solomon announced Tuesday that he has shuffled the executive ranks once again, this time making Stephanie Cohen co-head of the $2 trillion megabank’s consumer banking and wealth management group.


Half of NYC restaurants, bars may close for good due to COVID-19: audit
Bernadette Hogan, Julia Marsh and Aaron Feis – NY Post
As many as half of all New York City bars and restaurants could shutter permanently within the next six months due to the coronavirus, according to a stunning new audit released Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Colleges Learn How to Suppress Coronavirus: Extensive Testing; While many campuses are struggling with major outbreaks, some schools have successfully contained the virus.
Shawn Hubler
Shawn Hubler – NY Times
In rural Iowa, just one of the 875 students on Cornell College’s campus has tested positive for the coronavirus this semester. At Amherst College in Massachusetts, the number of undergraduate virus cases has been a bit higher: three.

Trump’s Secret Service Has Struggled With Outbreak at Training Center; At least 11 people tested positive at a Secret Service center that serves as a staffing pipeline to the presidential protective force.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael S. Schmidt – NY Times
The Secret Service sustained a coronavirus outbreak at its training facility in Maryland in August, weeks before President Trump was infected, evidence of growing infections at the agency responsible for protecting the president.

Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus; The president’s result came after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”
Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman – NY Times
President Trump revealed early Friday morning that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.

Donald Trump and first lady test positive for coronavirus; Global stocks fall as US president announces he will quarantine barely a month before election
Courtney Weaver – FT
Donald Trump and his wife Melania have tested positive for Covid-19 and will quarantine barely a month before the US presidential election.

New U.S. Coronavirus Cases Above 40,000 as Trump Tests Positive; Total confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to nearly 7.28 million, while the death toll approached 208,000
David Hall – WSJ
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 40,000 for the third day in a row, as President Trump said he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19.

‘Crazy Fast’ Vaccine Race Has Drug Companies Pushing Their Limits; As several shots hurtle toward the finish line, scientists worry about more than a few unknowns.
Robert Langreth – Bloomberg
On March 16, just two months after researchers deciphered the genetic code of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, Moderna Inc.’s vaccine began human trials. Now, no less than four Covid vaccines are hurtling toward the finish line in the U.S. Moderna and Pfizer Inc., along with its German partner BioNTech SE, are leading the pack with vaccines that require two doses, while a single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson began a late-phase trial last week. “This is beyond unprecedented,” says Otto Yang, a viral immunologist at UCLA. “It is crazy fast.”

Amazon Says Almost 20,000 Workers Had Covid-19 in 6 Months
Matt Day, Spencer Soper, and Josh Eidelson – Bloomberg
Disclosure follows criticism from employees, outside groups; Amazon says the rate of infection is lower than expected Inc. said almost 20,000 U.S. employees have tested positive for Covid-19 during a time period of a little over six months, a disclosure that follows criticism from some lawmakers and employees that the world’s largest online retailer was too secretive about outbreaks within its ranks.

Free to Work Remotely, Young Americans Are Covid Road Tripping; No kids. No mortgage. Flexible work options. Why stay in one place?
Olivia Rockeman – Bloomberg
You might think that a global pandemic isn’t a great time for a road trip. For some young Americans, it’s the perfect time. Over the summer, Bret Collazzi and his fiancee Di Gao decided to give up the lease on their New York apartment, buy a car and spend the foreseeable future traveling throughout the country while working remotely. They first spent a few weeks in the Catskills, and the plan for the fall is to drive from New York to Seattle, then head to cities in California, Texas and back through Louisiana.

How Russia Shortened the Covid Vaccine Race to Declare Victory; Putin’s bold claims for Sputnik V put Russia’s vaccine on the map. Western scientists remain skeptical.
Stepan Kravchenko, Ilya Arkhipov, Yuliya Fedorinova – Bloomberg
Russia’s version of America’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine project is located far from the Kremlin on a sleepy side street on the outskirts of Moscow. Tucked in a sandy-brick building with an office advertising medical tests and a dingy wooden door, it doesn’t look like a cutting-edge medical laboratory. But it was here that, if you believe President Vladimir Putin, Russia won the global race to develop a vaccine against Covid-19.

The Class of Covid Is Getting a Truly Terrible Deal; Universities may have little choice other than to go remote, but it’s forcing many to question the current model of higher education.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
At a press conference Wednesday, U.K. Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance showed a slide that perfectly illustrated the crisis facing universities. Take a look: Clearly, restrictions are no match for 19-year-old hormones. The Covid problems started almost as soon as universities welcomed kids back. Infection rates ticked up in both the U.K. and U.S., and one campus after another had to shut down in-person learning, often leaving students imprisoned in residence halls.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

MGEX Announces September Volume Numbers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), reports the total exchange volume for September was 164,754 contracts traded, which makes this past month the third best September in the history of the exchange. With the addition of September’s numbers, the calendar year
total exchange volume is currently 12% higher compared to 2019.

Treatment of Trades for Today
Today’s trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on-exchange trading and ToSTNeT will be conducted as usual. Various trading procedures will remain as announced yesterday .We would like to express our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused by the system failure of Tokyo Stock Exchange, and we would like to ask for your continued support and cooperation in the operation of the market.

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
CBT RULE VIOLATION: CBT Rule 807. Open Long Positions During Delivery Month
At such times and in such manner as shall be prescribed by the Manual, clearing members shall submit a complete and accurate record of dates of all open purchases for use in making deliveries. Clearing members shall be fully responsible for inventories submitted to the Clearing House. This rule shall not apply to trading in options contracts.
PENALTY: On September 10, 2020, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $2,000 was assessed against Marex North America LLC for its violations of Rule 807.

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
MEMBER FIRM: Third Coast Options, LLC
Unless otherwise agreed to by the principal counterparties to the block trade, the seller, or, in the case of a brokered transaction, the broker handling the block trade, must ensure that each block trade is reported to the Exchange within the time period and in the manner specified by the Exchange. The report must include the contract, contract month, price, quantity of the transaction, the respective clearing members, the time of execution, and, for options, strike price, put or call and expiration month. The Exchange shall promptly publish such information separately from the reports of transactions in the regular market.
PENALTY: On September 15, 2020, pursuant to Rule 512, a fine in the amount of $4,000 was assessed against Third Coast Options, LLC for its violation of CME Rule 526, and CME Rule 526.F.

TMX Group Thanksgiving Holiday Market Closures
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange and Montréal Exchange will be closed on Monday, October 12, 2020 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cash market sales statistics for September
Deutsche Börse
A trading volume of EUR 149 billion was achieved on Deutsche Börse’s cash markets in September (previous year: EUR 121.2 billion). Of this, Xetra accounted for 124.9 billion euros (previous year: 109.7 billion euros), so that the average daily Xetra turnover was 5.7 billion euros. Turnover at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange was 4 billion euros (previous year: 2.5 billion euros) and at the Tradegate Exchange 20.1 billion euros (previous year: 9 billion euros).

Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Updates October 2020
With this Newsflash, we would like to draw your attention to the upcoming publications, events and necessary actions for the ongoing initiatives:

Wiener Börse Q1-Q3 2020: Equity Turnover Increased By 10.46%, Vienna To Attract Surge In Bond Listings
This year the Corona crisis, with its massive restrictions on the economy, has taken hold of stock markets worldwide. By the end of September 2020, the equity turnover increased by 10.46% in comparison to last year. This puts the Vienna Stock Exchange in the European midfield in terms of turnover development on stock markets. The national index ATX including dividends is down 33.09% due to the heavy weighting of the financial, oil and steel sectors. The cyclical composition of the ATX is currently causing a steeper downturn, whereas in an economic upswing it also rises disproportionately

Oslo Børs: BRAbank Admitted To Trading
BRAbank has today been admitted to trading on Merkur Market (ticker code: BRA-ME).

MGEX Announces the Board of Directors Election Results
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), announced the results of its annual Board of Directors (Board) election, held on October 1, 2020. Re-elected to the Board were C

MGEX Announces September Volume Numbers
MGEX, a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), reports the total exchange volume for September was 164,754 contracts traded, which makes this past month the third best September in the
history of the exchange. With the addition of September’s numbers, the calendar year total exchange volume is currently 12% higher compared to 2019.


Jonathan Fieldman and Geoff Jones join Ideal Prediction as advisors
Ideal Prediction
Ideal Prediction (Ideal), the award winning independent trading analysis and data science company for capital markets, has appointed Jonathan Fieldman and Geoff Jones to its Advisory Board.

Capitolis expands senior team following investment from JP Morgan, Citi and State Street; Lindsey Baptiste and Hen Lotan will join FinTech firm Capitolis as senior vice president of finance and chief of staff respectively.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
New York-based foreign exchange novation platform provider Capitolis has expanded its senior management team with two new hires after JP Morgan, Citi, and State Street invested in the firm last month.

Kazakh fintech Kaspi makes second run at London IPO; Company revives listing plan as coronavirus lockdowns fire growth in ecommerce
Henry Foy – FT
Kazakh fintech company has revived its plan for an initial public offering in London a year after abandoning a previous attempt, as it seeks to capitalise on a surge in online users caused by coronavirus lockdowns.

Social Network Meets Trading in Online Brokerage Showdown
Edward Robinson and Justina Lee – Bloomberg
A showdown is coming in the fast and furious world of online trading. EToro, an Israeli-British firm that has corralled millions of millennials outside the U.S., is going after Robinhood, the Silicon Valley startup with the hottest trading app in the U.S. With 15 million registered users in dozens of countries and more than $1 trillion in trading volume, eToro is no greenhorn. Starting early next year, the 13-year-old firm finally plans to plunge into the U.S. stock market with what it touts as the newest new thing to win over a new generation of investors: a “social trading” network that lets millions around the world share their opinions and market exploits and copy the bets of the best performers on the system. Think Facebook meets eTrade.


BitMEX Co-Founders Charged With U.S. Rules Violations
Dave Michaels – WSJ
The co-founders of one of the world’s largest exchanges for trading cryptocurrency derivatives have been charged with violating U.S. anti-money-laundering rules as American authorities ramp up enforcement in one of the world’s least regulated markets. BitMEX executives Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, Samuel Reed and Gregory Dwyer were charged with one count of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and one count of conspiracy, according to an indictment made public Thursday. Mr. Hayes is known for feuding with bitcoin skeptics such as economist Nouriel Roubini and urging traders to gamble on the most esoteric digital assets.

Coinbase Workers Rattled by Politics Ban and Fear Being Muzzled
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Coinbase Inc.’s clampdown on discussing politics and activism at work — and the offer of severance packages to employees who don’t want to comply — continues to ripple through the cryptocurrency exchange and Silicon Valley. Many employees were shocked by Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong’s blog post imposing the rules Sunday, and some are concerned that he is trying to stymie discourse that should be happening, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified. Neither knew of anyone taking an exit package from the San Francisco-based company, but employees have until Oct. 7 to apply.

A question about Black Lives Matter sparked an employee walkout at Coinbase this summer
Frank Chaparro – The Block
Coinbase employees staged a walkout in early June, sources tell The Block, after CEO Brian Armstrong declined to answer a question about Black Lives Matter during an internal Ask-Me-Anything session
The walkout took place months before Coinbase would draw sharp criticism from certain corners of the tech community after a blog post penned by Armstrong outlined the firm’s apolitical mission
In an email to staff Tuesday night, Armstrong said employees uncomfortable with the stated mission could leave with generous exit packages
On Thursday, the company held an AMA to discuss tensions within the company’s Slack and external communications about recent developments

U.S. Treasury warns cyber insurers payments to hackers may violate sanctions
Suzanne Barlyn – Reuters
Cyber insurers and other financial institutions that facilitate payments to hackers to end cyberattacks risk running afoul of sanctions rules, the U.S. Treasury Department warned on Thursday. The warnings, which referenced malicious programs known as ransomware, came in advisories from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Booming Decentralized Finance a Potential Haven for Money Laundering
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
The booming world of decentralized finance, which has collected more than $11 billion in cryptocurrencies in a matter of months, is a potential haven for money laundering, according to new research. Globally, 56% of digital currency services have weak or porous “know your customer” controls, blockchain security firm CipherTrace said Thursday in a report. KYC procedures are meant to confirm the identity of users to prevent laundering. Dave Jevans, chief executive officer of CipherTrace, said regulators will be looking more closely at decentralized finance because of its astounding growth. “The last six to eight weeks have shown it to take off unbelievably,” Jevans said in an interview. “Regulators are taking note when $1 billion flows into something a week after it started.”

Kraken Adds FedWire and SWIFT Funding Options to US Customers
Aziz Abdel-Qader – Finance Magnates
Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has added domestic (FedWire) and international (SWIFT) USD funding options through Silvergate Bank to give its US clients more choice as they manage their assets. The deposit and withdrawal handling fees per wire for FedWire & SWIFT transactions are $25 and $40, respectively. The minimum deposit or withdrawal amount is $100, while the maximum amount depends on limits applied to the customer’s account.

ECB Takes Major Step Toward Introducing a Digital Euro
Carolynn Look – Bloomberg
Officials publish comprehensive report on digital currency; Central banks globally are exploring new payment technologies
The European Central Bank will start experimenting with a digital version of the euro while holding a public consultation in a major step toward introducing the technology. “Our role is to secure trust in money,” President Christine Lagarde said as the ECB published a study into the benefits and drawbacks of a digital currency. “This means making sure the euro is fit for the digital age. We should be prepared to issue a digital euro, should the need arise.”

Cryptocurrency Tax Guidance Leaves Big Holes Worldwide, PwC Says
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency investors face a tricky and fast-changing tax landscape worldwide with sparse guidance in many areas, according to a new report from PwC. Specific tax guidance “is an essential building block” to help institutionalize digital currencies, PwC Global Crypto Leader Henri Arslanian said. But there are some areas that are lacking, like in decentralized finance or DeFi, and potential pitfalls. Crypto assets are usually viewed as a type of property, which can lead to a tax charge on disposal. That’s “a major impediment to mass adoption of many crypto assets as a means of payment,” PwC said, unless technology solutions can be found to make things easier for users.

Atari Plans November Premiere for Video Game Cryptocurrency
Danny Nelson – Coindesk
The Atari Group, the company behind such classic video games as Pac-man, will begin publicly selling its Atari Token (ATRI) cryptocurrency in early November. ATRI is a self-styled entertainment industry payment method in the form of an ERC-20 token atop the Ethereum blockchain. It’s been in the works since at least early 2018. Crypto casinos, “blockchain games” and the video game distribution platform will be among the utility token’s earliest use cases, said Atari’s blockchain subsidiary, Atari Chain.


Trump Tests Positive for Covid-19 After Close Aide Becomes Ill
Jordan Fabian – Bloomberg
First Lady has also tested positive, Trump says on Twitter; Hope Hicks had traveled with him to debate, Minnesota rally
U.S. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife and one of his closest aides, throwing an already volatile campaign into deeper disarray just one month before the election. “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!,” the president said on Twitter, hours after Bloomberg News reported that the adviser, Hope Hicks, had fallen ill with the virus.

Trump’s Covid-19 Diagnosis Reshapes Election a Month From Vote
Justin Sink – Bloomberg
President will likely have to cancel events, may miss debate; Biden faces pressure to navigate new dynamic: a sick opponent
Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis has dramatically altered the closing weeks of the U.S. presidential campaign, with the president now facing not only an unprecedented health challenge but also logistical and staffing chaos about a month before Election Day.

Mayors Ask Trump to Cancel Rallies in Wisconsin Viral Hot Spots
Jonathan Levin – Bloomberg
The mayors of two Wisconsin cities are asking President Donald Trump to reconsider plans for rallies this weekend as Covid-19 hammers the Midwestern swing state. Trump will campaign at the Green Bay and La Crosse airports Saturday, and local leaders fear the events will mirror others at which masks and social distancing guidelines were widely disregarded. Wisconsin has one of the highest per capita rates of daily cases in America.

A Brief History of the Taxpayer in Chief; From Lincoln to Trump, the president’s attitude toward his taxes has shaped the public’s attitude toward theirs.
Margaret O’Mara – NY Times
This week’s investigation by The Times into President Trump’s long-hidden tax returns uncovered staggering business losses and such vigorous exploitation of loopholes that the president paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. When asked during Tuesday’s presidential debate about the revelations, Mr. Trump was unrepentant. “It was the tax laws,” he declared. His tax avoidance was “like every other private person, unless they’re stupid.”

Trump Is ‘The Largest Driver’ Of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories, Study Finds; Nearly 38% of English-language news articles containing COVID-19 misinformation mentioned President Donald Trump, Cornell University researchers found.
Marina Fang – Huffington Post
From using racist rhetoric to promoting dangerous “miracle cures,” President Donald Trump is by far the biggest spreader of COVID-19 false claims, according to a new analysis by researchers at Cornell University’s Alliance for Science, which identifies and combats misinformation and conspiracy theories about science.

At His Core, Trump Is an Immoralist; Will we let this man and his felons drag us to moral chaos?
David Brooks – NY Times
So far, the 21st century has been a century of menace and insecurity. The threats have come in rapid succession: terrorism, financial collapse, plague, climate change, the quaking of our democracy. For good reasons, a tone of heightened alarm has become the default setting across the media.

The I.R.S. Is Outgunned; The agency doesn’t have the resources to battle the tax lawyers of the ultrarich. Trump’s returns are just one example of how little the wealthy pay.
Natasha Sarin – NY Times
The president of the United States paid less in federal taxes than all but the poorest Americans the year he was elected. This is in large part because he lost more money than nearly anybody else in this country for years, a troubling fact given his promise to “run America like his business.”

Pfizer chief hits out at politicisation of Covid-19 vaccine; Albert Bourla says discussion of timeline during presidential debate had confused public
Hannah Kuchler – FT
Pfizer’s chief executive has criticised the politicisation of a Covid-19 vaccine during the first presidential debate, as the head of the drugmaker in the lead to develop an inoculation said his company would move at the “speed of science”.

The ‘Big Blue Shift’ That Could Spell Election Mayhem
Mark Niquette and Laurence Arnold – Bloomberg
There’s no shortage of worries about the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election. One is a phenomenon known as the “big blue shift.” It refers to the possibility that unofficial results on election night spur President Donald Trump to declare victory but that further vote-counting over subsequent days and possibly weeks shifts the advantage to his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Unlike other nightmare scenarios in this unusual pandemic-tinged election, this one has been building for years.

SNB Faces Gathering Storm on Work Culture With Lawmaker Scrutiny
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
The Swiss National Bank is facing intensifying national scrutiny for its work culture as lawmakers focus on emerging allegations of discrimination against women. Twelve female members of parliament have tabled a motion asking how the SNB aims to boost the number of female managers, what it’s doing to prevent ill treatment and whether it has an ombudsman to deal with complaints. The proposal has yet to be debated.

Danish Government Slammed for ‘Cheating’ Allies on Climate Goals
Morten Buttler – Bloomberg
Denmark’s government risks losing a key ally in parliament after a long-awaited proposal laying out how it will slash carbon emissions fell far short of expectations within its ruling bloc. On Friday, the leader of one of the parties the government relies on to stay in power threatened to withdraw support if the current climate proposal isn’t improved, according to Weekendavisen.

Opinion: Why Biden is better for the economy than Trump
Nouriel Roubini – MarketWatch
Biden would pursue a larger fiscal stimulus targeted at households, workers, and small businesses that need it, as well as job-creating infrastructure spending and investments in the green economy

Donald Trump Failed to Protect America, and Himself; The president now watches his political future, his well-being and his monarchical sense of entitlement circumscribed by a virus wearing a crown.
Timothy L. O’Brien – Bloomberg
“We have it totally under control. … It’s going to be just fine.” — Donald Trump, Jan. 22. The president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, has Covid-19. He failed to protect the country and then failed to protect himself.

Trump Infection Puts Large Circle of White House Aides at Risk
Jordan Fabian – Bloomberg
President traveled to Ohio, Minnesota, New Jersey this week; Widespread outbreak could interrupt congressional business
President Donald Trump interacted or traveled with a large coterie of top aides and advisers in the days before he was diagnosed with Covid-19, raising the risk of a widespread outbreak within the White House.

‘The virus spares no one’: World reacts to Trump’s positive coronavirus test
Jennifer Hassan and Rick Noack – Washington Post
As the world woke up to the news on Friday that President Trump and the first lady had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, just one month ahead of the November U.S. election, foreign leaders and lawmakers began reacting and expressing their well wishes.

At 74, President Trump Is at Higher Risk of COVID-19 Complications
Alice Park – Time
The news that U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 is a reminder of two stark truths that we’ve known since the first days that the novel coronavirus reached the United States: that the virus respects no boundaries, and that older people are at higher risk of getting infected.

Trump Blocked From Restricting Visas For High-Skill Workers
Joel Rosenblatt – Bloomberg
Argument that the ban invokes foreign affairs powers rejected; Decree targeted visas used by technology workers and families
The Trump administration was blocked from restricting H-1B visas that highly skilled foreign technology workers rely on to work in the U.S. The ruling conflicts with a pair of decisions in September in similar cases.


Statement on MiFID trade reporting and position limit obligations
On 1 October, ESMA published a statement saying that it intends to assess UK trading venues in relation to its opinions on MiFIR trade reporting and commodity derivatives position limits. If positively assessed, they will be added to the list of venues with a positive or partially positive assessment for the purposes of those opinions with effect from the end of the EU withdrawal transition period.

Coronavirus Update—Relief from the On-Site Annual Inspection of Branch Offices and Guaranteed IBs
NFA’s Interpretive Notice 9019 – Compliance Rule 2-9: Supervision of Branch Offices and Guaranteed IBs and Interpretive Notice 9053 – Forex Transactions require Members with branch offices and/or guaranteed introducing brokers (IB) to conduct an annual on-site inspection of each branch office and guaranteed IB. The Interpretive Notices provide some flexibility on the on-site requirement by permitting Members to use a risk-based approach to identify branch offices or guaranteed IBs for which the Member determines it would be appropriate to conduct an on-site inspection every other year (with the off year’s inspection conducted remotely).

Statement of Commissioner Brian D. Quintenz Regarding the Commission’s Enforcement Action against BitMEX
I commend the Division of Enforcement for their tireless efforts to ensure that market participants, especially exchanges and intermediaries, comply with the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations and don’t skirt those rules to the disadvantage of U.S. customers and law-abiding market participants. As a derivatives market regulator that supports innovation and ingenuity, it is imperative that we actively police trading platform activity and remove the bad apples so that legitimate, law-abiding marketplaces can flourish. We will not stand for any participant brazenly flouting our rules. I look forward to the successful resolution of this matter and the beneficial impact it will have in this market by holding those who deliberately ignore the law accountable.

Testimony of Commissioner Rostin Behnam before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis; “Creating a Climate Resilient America: Strengthening the U.S. Financial System and Expanding Economic Opportunity”
Chair Castor, Ranking Member Graves, and members of the committee, it is an honor to appear before you today to discuss creating a climate resilient America through strengthening the U.S. financial system and expanding economic opportunity. Before I begin, please recognize that the views I express today are my own and do not represent the views of the CFTC, its staff, or my fellow Commissioners.

CFTC Chairman Tarbert Announces New Agricultural Advisory Subcommittee and Seeks Nominations for Membership
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Heath P. Tarbert announced today that the Commission is accepting nominations for a Subcommittee to evaluate Commission policy with respect to the implementation of amendments to enumerated agricultural futures contracts with open interest (Ag-OI Subcommittee) under the CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC). Chairman Tarbert, sponsor of the AAC, is seeking nominations for membership on the Ag-OI Subcommittee through a formal request in the Federal Register. The deadline for submissions is October 29, 2020.

ESMA responds to EU Green Bond Standard consultation
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has responded to the European Commission’s (EC) targeted consultation on the establishment of the EU green bond standard (GBS). ESMA highlighted that the success of the EU GBS will be determined by whether it is seen as a reliable indicator of investment in sustainable economic activities.

ESMA faces new set of challenges in 2021
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has published its 2021 Work Programme (WP), setting out its priorities and areas of focus for the next 12 months in support of its mission to enhance investor protection and promote stable and orderly financial markets.

Director pleads guilty to breaching directors’ duties
Following an ASIC investigation, Mr Mark Hucherko, of Seaham NSW, has pleaded guilty to breaching his directors’ duties. Mr Hucherko is the former director of Tru Flow Plumbing and Excavations Pty Ltd which later became Tru Flow Plant and Hire Pty Ltd (the Company). Mr Hucherko was charged with breaching his director duties for transferring a vehicle from the Company to another at below market value in October 2015.

WA financial adviser charged with dishonest conduct
On 1 October 2020, Rahul Goel, of Success, Western Australia, appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court charged with four counts of dishonest conduct. ASIC alleges that between April 2019 and July 2019, Mr Goel contravened sections 1041G(1) and 1311(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) by engaging in dishonest conduct while carrying on a financial services business via his company AR Wealth and Finance Pty Ltd.

ANZ to pay $10 million penalty for unconscionable conduct over periodic payment fees
On 1 October 2020, the Federal Court of Australia ordered that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) pay $10 million in penalties after finding that ANZ engaged in unconscionable conduct and breached its obligations as a financial services licensee.

Treasury Warns Against Keeping Ransomware Payments Quiet; Officials urge victims and companies that help them to be wary of payments to blacklisted entities in places such as Russia and North Korea
David Uberti and Jack Hagel – WSJ
Victims of ransomware schemes and financial institutions could violate sanctions or anti-money-laundering rules—and face stiff penalties—if they facilitate or make payments to attackers, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a pair of advisories Thursday.

U.S. Probes of Chinese Researchers Draw More Organized Opposition; Kansas case presents test of Justice Department strategy and limits of government scrutiny
Aruna Viswanatha – WSJ
The Justice Department’s effort to prosecute some Chinese researchers in the U.S. accused of hiding their ties to the Chinese government is facing increasing pushback from some academics and Chinese-American groups.

New Canadian Securities Administrators Report Highlights Investor Education In Turbulent Times
Educating investors on weathering volatile markets and avoiding scams are recurring themes in the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) new report, Investor Education in Canada 2020, published today to kick off October’s Investor Education Month.

Ontario Securities Commission And IIROC Appeal For Tips On Abusive Trading
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) encourage the public to submit tips on potential abusive trading in securities of Ontario reporting issuers, including illegal insider trading, market manipulation or abusive short selling.

Investing and Trading

The traditional IPO needs a new lease of life; Direct listings mark a shift in the way in which companies are going public
The editorial board – FT
Ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange used to be a rite of passage for American chief executives. It signalled that the company had reached an important moment in its development, when it would ask the public to back its future and invest in its shares. One of the largest listings of this year, however, did something different. The chief executive of Palantir, a data analytics company, did not show up for the opening bell — and nor did he offer any new shares to the public on listing.

Inflation Targeting Is a Very Stupid Policy; In trying to increase by a fairly random amount an index of prices that they largely can’t control, central banks couldn’t have done much more harm.
Richard Cookson – Bloomberg
Much ink has been spilled in recent weeks over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will now, in effect, target inflation over the whole cycle. The message from the rest of the developed world’s central banks is similar: Most say that if necessary they’ll do more to get inflation back on target.

Adviser Flips, Code Names Cracked in Tax Probe of Texas Mogul
David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg – Bloomberg
Bob Brockman is scrutinized over use of havens, trusts; Encrypted records, secret messages to ‘Snapper’ and ‘Chum’
Robert T. Brockman was just putting the finishing touches on a new private equity fund when worrisome news arrived. Law enforcement agents had raided the home of a tax lawyer in Texas who had worked for him.

Pandemic Pain Persists for Big Oil Companies; A tepid rebound in fossil fuel demand and longer-term concerns about renewable energy and electric vehicles are driving down company values
Christopher M. Matthews and Sarah McFarlane – WSJ
Major oil companies signaled they remain under extreme financial pressure and oil prices slid Thursday as demand for fossil fuels rebounds slowly after being crushed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Secret to Setting the Right Price; A behavioral economist answers questions about selling items online, the risks of tunnel vision and dealing with grief.
Dan Ariely – WSJ
Dear Dan, I recently listed some household items for sale online—things like a coffee-maker and a vacuum cleaner. Some of them belonged to me and others belonged to my mother-in-law, who asked for my help because she’s not tech-savvy. I was surprised to see that most of the items I posted for my mother-in-law sold in a few hours, while most of mine didn’t attract buyers, even though they were similar in quality. What happened? —Barbara

Iowa Pig Farmer: ‘We’re Still in Survival Mode’; How the coronavirus has reshaped the pork market and radically altered one family’s farm
Twenty miles west of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Mike Paustian raises some 30,000 pigs along with the help of 14 employees, about half of whom are family. This year, Covid-19 has radically altered his farm’s operations and his family’s livelihood: “We’re still in survival mode.”

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Why the need for green hydrogen points to higher carbon prices; Market players are looking beyond coal-to-gas switching as a basis for carbon pricing
Mark Lewis – FT
Given the economic shock to the European carbon market from Covid, the price of EU carbon allowances has held up remarkably well in recent months.

ESG Investing Boom Is Bullish For Cleantech
Miriam Tuerk – Forbes
The coronavirus pandemic and devastating forest fires has sparked an uptick in demand for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment strategies, which will accelerate the commercial adoption of more sustainable clean technologies.

401(k) Plan Managers Will Promote ESG Funds Despite Pushback
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
More than half the asset managers of defined-contribution retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, intend to keep promoting funds that use environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, criteria in the next 12 months, despite pushback from regulators, according to a study by Cerulli Associates.

ESG Metrics: A Path Forward For Companies
Betsy Atkins – Forbes
ESG issues continue to draw great interest from both companies and investors, but despite its prevalence there remains confusion around the topic. In particular, companies face the challenge of demonstrating long-term value creation without a generally accepted international framework for the reporting of ESG factors. In January 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC (the Big Four accounting firms) published a proposed set of universal ESG metrics and disclosures.

ESG Investing Will Aid BlackRock, Eaton Vance, Analyst Says
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
Deutsche Bank upgraded BlackRock and Eaton Vance shares to a Buy, citing “powerful” demand for sustainable investing that could bring a tide of cash to the asset-management companies,
Asset growth at both firms can average “5% or better,” beating their peers, the bank said. That would allow both stocks to trade at premiums to the asset-management group, according to Deutsche analysts led by Brian Bedell.


Banks Can Only Tighten Their Belts So Much; For investors, revelations about banks and money laundering highlight just how hard it will be for banks to improve returns if both revenues and costs are under pressure
Telis Demos – WSJ
The recent revelation of financial suspicious activity reports, known as the FinCEN Files, has sparked a flurry of discussion about banks’ role in money laundering. From a bank investor’s point of view, though, the controversy may mainly serve as a reminder that banks have a built-in cost base that isn’t going anywhere.

Goldman and Morgan Stanley scaled back underwriting on Rolls-Royce cash call; Banks cut exposure by half because of concerns over pandemic and volatility in run-up to US election
Peggy Hollinger, Patrick Jenkins and Stephen Morris – FT
The leading advisers on Rolls-Royce’s deeply discounted £2bn rights issue radically scaled back their underwriting commitments to the aero-engine maker’s cash call on concerns about the pandemic and market volatility in the run-up to the US election.

Wall Street’s Biggest Banks Are Muscling Into Small Deals
Nabila Ahmed and Myriam Balezou – Bloomberg
Banking giants advise on more transactions up to $500 million; Goldman Sachs’s mid-market push pays off with rankings jump
Wall Street’s biggest banks traditionally shied away from getting their hands dirty advising on small mergers and acquisitions. Too much work for the modest fees, so they focused on the blockbuster deals.

Bank of America Stands by Pledge of No Layoffs This Year
Elaine Chen – Bloomberg
Bank to continue managing headcount through attrition; CEO sees ‘plenty of talent’ available to build diversity
Bank of America Corp. plans to stand by its pledge of avoiding staff cuts this year as some of its biggest rivals resume workforce reductions amid the pandemic.

Despite Billions in Fees, Banks Predict Meager Profits on P.P.P. Loans; Banks collected at least $13 billion in fees on Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to a New York Times analysis. But the largest lenders say costs wiped out most of what they took in.
Stacy Cowley – NY Times
Loath to be seen profiting from the economic disaster caused by the coronavirus, the nation’s biggest banks were quick to pledge that they would donate to charity any money earned from helping deliver the government’s signature small-business relief plan. That promise may be something of a mirage.


Investing in the UK is far from a lost cause; Cheap equities will break out at some point, so be prepared
Merryn Somerset Webb – FT
Back in 2015 the FTSE 100 hit 7,000. It was quite exciting. Today the FTSE 100 is 5,876. Not so exciting. Shares in some of our flagship companies look awful. Rolls-Royce hit a 17-year low this week. Royal Dutch Shell is down 60 per cent this year alone. Things haven’t been quite so awful across the board — the FTSE 250 is roughly unchanged overall since 2015. But it is still down 21 per cent this year.

China’s factories pull in the profits by making Trump merchandise; Business is booming for campaign paraphernalia despite the president’s fight with Beijing
Sun Yu in Yiwu, Qianer Liu and Tom Mitchell – FT
Ryan Li does not have a vote in the US presidential election. But if he did and was voting with his wallet, he would support Donald Trump rather than his challenger Joe Biden.

Australia’s Central Bank Is ‘Dysfunctional,’ Ex-Researcher Says
Michael Heath – Bloomberg
Australia’s central bank does little deliberation, ignores opposing views and its decision-makers “seem hostile to a consideration of evidence or research,” according to Peter Tulip, a former senior member of its economic research department. “We have a board that does not understand monetary policy or statistical research,” Tulip said in a farewell email to colleagues when he resigned from the Reserve Bank in August, according to a Freedom of Information release Friday. “So although there are lots of great people at the bank, our environment makes the organization dysfunctional.”


More than 7,500 jobs relocate from UK with £1.2 trillion in assets in Brexit preparation; In the last quarter alone, 400 job relocations were announced while 24 financial services firms declared they were transferring their assets out of the UK.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Over 7,500 jobs in financial services have been relocated out of the UK in preparation for Brexit with £1.2 trillion in assets from 24 financial firms expected to follow, according to the EY Financial Services Brexit Tracker.

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen to hold Brexit talks on Saturday; UK prime minister and European Commission president will speak after latest negotiations end inconclusively
Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden – FT
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, is to hold talks with Boris Johnson on Saturday following an inconclusive round of trade negotiations in Brussels.

Goldman Asset Sees Brexit Deal But the Good News Ends There
William Shaw – Bloomberg
Money manager is broadly neutral on pound, bonds, U.K. credit; Briscoe expects ‘thin’ deal, cites Covid headwinds for economy
Goldman Sachs Asset Management needs more than just the promise of a late-stage Brexit deal to turn bullish on U.K. assets. GSAM’s global fixed income team expects that Britain and the European Union will strike a “thin” trade pact toward year-end, yet maintains a “broadly neutral” position in the pound, gilts and the nation’s corporate credit market regardless.

Johnson to Intervene in Brexit Talks in Bid to Break Impasse
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
Prime minister to speak with Commission President on Saturday; Final round of scheduled negotiations to conclude on Friday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will intervene in the Brexit negotiations for the first time since June when he holds talks on Saturday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in an attempt to unlock a deal.


How to manage your risk of redundancy; Knowing your rights is key to managing the financial considerations of losing your job
Lindsay Cook – FT
“I can’t save every job. I can’t protect every single business.” The words of chancellor Rishi Sunak last week were of little comfort to millions of UK workers who fear being made redundant as the furlough scheme comes to an end, and the less generous job support scheme takes its place.

Going to a Football Match Is a Crazy Idea Right Now; Italy has shown what goes wrong when you let thousands of football fans gather during a pandemic. Opening stadiums is not a gamble worth taking.
Ferdinando Giugliano – Bloomberg
The pandemic has forced almost impossible tradeoffs on governments: Reopening schools risks worsening contagion, but keeping them shut means depriving children of their education and burdening the economy by forcing parents to homeschool youngsters.

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