R.J. O’Brien & Associates Mourns the Loss, Honors the Life of Chairman Emeritus Robert J. O’Brien, Sr. at the Age of 103
CHICAGO, Jan. 5, 2022 – Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO) today announced the passing of the firm’s Chairman Emeritus, Robert J. O’Brien, Sr., yesterday at the age of 103. The company shared statements about the news.
RJO Chairman and CEO Gerald Corcoran said: “Our hearts are heavy at RJO as we mourn the loss but honor the amazing life of Robert J. O’Brien, Sr., the patriarch of the O’Brien family who laid the foundation for the firm we are today. At the age of nearly 104, Bob was an inspiration to so many in the futures industry. His integrity, market knowledge and the knack to connect with market participants was unmatched. Bob continued to inspire us all with his profound integrity and sharp wit. He took tremendous pride in our organization and, of course, in his loving family that meant the world to him. We are truly grateful for his guidance over the years and blessed that we were able to celebrate our Centennial with him in 2014.
“On behalf of the firm, we extend our deepest condolences to his children and grandchildren – several of whom remain our majority owners, employees and active Board members today – as well as his great-grandchildren. We will miss Bob dearly, but it helps to know that he and his wife, Gerry – who passed three years ago just eight days shy of her 100th birthday – led such full and wonderful lives together.”
RJO is the last surviving founding member firm of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, now CME Group. Robert O’Brien, Sr. served two consecutive terms as the exchange’s chairman during a pivotal time in the history of the exchange, playing a significant role in making the governance structure more democratic and professional. He was on the Board of CME from 1964 through 1977 and was inducted into the FIA Futures Hall of Fame in 2007.
“A true pioneer of finance, Robert J. O’Brien, Sr. was instrumental in expanding futures trading to new users around the world,” said Terry Duffy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CME Group. “Under his leadership, R.J. O’Brien & Associates grew into the largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States. During his long and storied tenure, Bob made many significant contributions to our industry, serving as Chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from 1967-68 and sponsoring the first woman to work on the trading floor. His legacy is a testament to the value he created in his firm as well as the many relationships he built with his employees, clients and – most importantly – his family.”
Leo Melamed, Chairman Emeritus of CME Group, said: “I am deeply saddened. Bob was instrumental in joining me in the 1950s and ’60s to revolutionize the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Throughout his life, Bob O’Brien was a pillar of honesty and dignity as reflected in his firm, R.J. O’Brien & Associates. I commiserate his loss and stand ready to celebrate his life of wisdom and integrity.”
O’Brien is survived by five children, 22 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren. A native of Chicago, he returned to the city after serving in the Navy in World War II and graduated from DePaul University.
Memories shared by O’Brien when he was 96 about the firm’s first 100 years in business can be found in the RJO Centennial video at https://www.rjobrien.com/about/historical-timeline.
Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Robert J. O”Brien, Sr., an industry giant, brokerage and exchange leader whose name and initials are eponymous with the largest non-bank futures commission merchant, has passed away at the age of 102. We have honored RJO, Sr. with the complete press release above about his passing. We wish to offer our deepest condolences to the O’Brien family and the RJO organization and his many friends on his passing. A special best wish to his good friend and former CME leader contemporary Leo Melamed.
JLN was lucky enough to engage with RJO, Sr. and help tell the RJO story for their 100th anniversary video several years ago. Here is the video.
Kiyota Akira, the group CEO, director and executive officer of Japan Exchange Group, Inc. offered a New Year’s message wishing “everyone health and prosperity for the year ahead.” You can read the whole message HERE.
The Japan Financial Services Authority has updated its new International Financial Center Japan website.
The Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) set a new annual volume record of 392,202,371 contracts in 2021, surpassing its previous record of 341,393,346 contracts set in 2020 by 14.9%. Single Stock Futures (STF) demonstrated the biggest trading volume growth across all asset classes, with a total of 74,994,818 contracts traded and an average daily volume (ADV) of 307,356 contracts, an increase of 191.4% compared to 2020.
BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank have completed the transfer of the global prime finance and electronic equities business to BNP Paribas.
The law firm of Chapman and Cutler LLP has a new chief executive partner, Greg Klamrzynski, who succeeded Tim Mohan in the role. Klamrzynski has practiced law at Chapman for 26 years.
I forgot to mention a big thank you to Robert Khoury for a donation to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe Campaign to kick off the new year. Robert is the author of the book “How to Intern Successfully” that I profiled in a video interview in 2021. Thank you Robert and all who have given and all who have yet to give. The door is still open.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Bank of England’s new economics book to be published; Can’t we just print more money? is a new pop-economics book, written by the Bank of England, which will be published this May in partnership with Cornerstone Press.
Bank of England
‘Can’t we just print more money?’ is a new pop-economics book, written by the Bank of England, which will be published this May in partnership with Cornerstone Press. The book addresses ten economic questions, from, ‘Why are all my clothes made in Asia?’ to ‘What actually is money?’ Along the way, it offers idiosyncratic examples of economics in action: from the City of London to Springfield Power Plant; from Babylonian gold lending 4,000 years ago, to the economic effects of the Covid pandemic.
***** The next pop-up book will be ‘Why Are My Coins So Much Smaller?’~JJL
To live with Covid, we must plan for a permanent pandemic; Governments should adopt well-rehearsed emergency regimes that the public and business understand
Martin Sandbu – FT
Two years into the pandemic, much of Europe is holding its breath, hoping Omicron is less virulent than earlier coronavirus variants so that even record infection numbers don’t reap the death and sickness rates of earlier waves. In the US, too, Omicron is spreading like wildfire. Leaders seem uncertain about which restrictions to impose, and are scrambling to put in place everything from sufficient testing capacity to support measures for renewed economic disruption.
******This is an excellent suggestion. There is a group of people in denial that won’t like it, but those that want to grow the economy will learn to adapt and continue to learn and adapt.~JJL
The TRADE names Laurie McAughtry as its new managing editor; New managing editor brings 15 years of senior editing experience and joins publication following record-breaking year.
The TRADE is delighted to announce that experienced financial journalist and senior editor, Laurie McAughtry, has joined the publication as its new managing editor. Boasting 15 years of editorial, journalism and analyst experience, McAughtry joins The TRADE to head up its range of channels including digital, print, multimedia, events and research. Her most recent role was lead finance editor at Trading View.
***** Welcome Laurie McAughtry to The TRADE.~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was Matt Damon’s cryptocurrency advert has got everyone cringing, from Metro.co.uk. Second was the Bloomberg opinion piece, Bad News, London and New York: Finance Hubs Are Becoming Obsolete. Third was Gary DeWaal’s column for Katten, Deja Vu Again Justified?: CFTC Fines Respondents for Wash Sales Less Than Two Weeks After COMEX Fines and Suspends Two Principals for Same Offense.
26,682 pages; 236,656 edits
Trading Technologies invests $6.35 million in KRM22; enters into distribution agreement for risk management products
Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a global provider of high-performance professional trading software, infrastructure and data solutions, confirmed today that it has invested $6.35 million in KRM22 plc (AIM: KRM), the technology and software investment company that focuses on risk management for capital markets. This is the first investment TT has made since its acquisition by 7RIDGE in late December.
Omicron Pushes Wall Street Toward Work-From-Home Future; Banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman, which urged staff to return to the office last year, are starting the new year with many employees at home
David Benoit, Charley Grant – WSJ
As the new year begins, Wall Street bankers find themselves in a familiar spot: working at home. Since the Omicron variant emerged, banks have hit the brakes on bringing workers back to the office. JPMorgan Chase JPM 3.81% & Co., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., GS 3.07% Wells Fargo & Co. and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. have told employees they can start 2022 at home, at least for a few weeks. The banks are hoping that the Omicron pause is short-lived. But even after Omicron subsides, the companies could find themselves facing a more deep-seated problem. Many of their employees have grown used to more flexible working arrangements and aren’t willing to go back into the office full time. How their return-to-work experiment plays out could set the stage for other white-collar industries.
Kazakhstan government resigns amid protests over rising fuel prices; State of emergency declared in capital and mass gatherings banned
Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and Polina Ivanova – FT
Kazakhstan’s government resigned on Wednesday after protesters angry at a sharp rise in motor fuel prices took to the streets in several key cities, marking a big test for the country’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
China’s business crackdown threatens growth and innovation; The ferocity of the action taken by Beijing against private companies has shocked observers at home and abroad
Jingzhou Tao – FT
In autumn 2018, an article in Chinese media by a Beijing banker sent shockwaves through the Chinese business community. Its author declared that the historic mission of private enterprise was about to be accomplished and that communist ideology would no longer support its continued expansion. The article was so widely shared and caused such consternation that the Communist party spoke out to calm nerves.
Investment banking fees smash records for 2021; JP Morgan tops the list in the best year for investment banking fees since records began at the turn of the century.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
Global investment banking fees grew 22% in 2021 to reach $159.4 billion, their highest since records began back in 2000. The figures, from Refinitiv’s latest Global Investment Banking Review, illustrate one of the best years ever for the investment banking business, despite Covid COVID challenges. In Q4 alone fees totalled $39.4 billion, well on par with the previous quarter and marking a solid trajectory of gains.
The TRADE launches the Algorithmic Trading Survey for 2022; Buy-side respondents have until 21 February to rate algo providers, with high performers due to be recognised as part of Leaders in Trading in late 2022.
Karen Delahoy – The Trade
Institutional investors, asset managers and hedge funds are invited to rate the features and capabilities of their algo providers in The TRADE’s 2022 Algorithmic Trading Survey. Now in its 15th year, The TRADE’s 2022 Algorithmic Trading Survey will be live for buy-side participation until 21 February, with ‘Long-only’ and ‘Hedge fund’ results due to be included in the Spring and Summer issues of The TRADE magazine, respectively. We encourage algorithmic trading providers to support client participation.
Transcript: Understanding Turkey’s Plan to Stabilize the Lira
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
The Turkish lira performed horribly for most of 2021. Then in December, the government announced a new plan to stabilize the currency. The move is controversial and confusing. And while it initially caused the currency to rally significantly, much of that move has already reversed, amid high Turkish inflation. So how is it designed to work? To learn more, we spoke with Lütfullah Bingöl, economist at Albaraka Turk, to break it down. Transcripts have been lightly edited for clarity.
Gas Tankers Divert From China to Europe in Price Premium Race
Ann Koh – Bloomberg
Thirteen LNG ships re-route to Europe instead of Asia; Rare premium between Europe and Asia prices is quickly fading
More natural gas cargoes are being diverted away from China to Europe, as traders spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to take advantage of a rare price premium before it disappears.
As Omicron Overwhelms Hospitals, We Must Talk About Triage; A German court decision forces all of us to debate who should get medical care if it must be rationed.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
At some point after he became chief surgeon in Napoleon’s army, Dominique Jean Larrey started walking across blood-soaked battlefields to pick out those among the wounded who could still be saved, usually by instant amputation of limbs. In time, he developed a system of sorting and separating — trier in French — the casualties. Ignoring rank and nationality, he considered only those who had the greatest chance of surviving. His method became known as triage.
Hong Kong Scraps Flights, Shuts Bars, Gyms on Omicron Threat
Jinshan Hong and Kari Soo Lindberg – Bloomberg
Lam says strict steps are needed in race to stop viral spread; Moves come fast as Hong Kong faces a handful of omicron cases
Hong Kong is imposing strict new virus control measures for the first time in almost a year as the highly transmissible omicron variant seeps into the community and threatens to spur a winter wave.
Find Covid-19 Home Tests Using Online Product Trackers; You don’t have to run all over town hunting for self-test kits. Just keep your phone handy and be ready to buy when the shopping bot says they are in stock.
Dalvin Brown – WSJ
You don’t have to run all over town hunting for self-test kits. Just be ready to buy when the bot says they are in stock. During the holidays, getting a PlayStation 5 under the tree required patience, luck and an online bot-powered product tracker. Now, the same shopping tools can help people find at-home Covid-19 tests, which have grown scarce as the Omicron variant rages across the country.
The Next Big COVID Variant Could Be a Triple Whammy Nightmare; Future variants could combine the most dangerous traits of older COVID lineages—to devastating effect
David Axe – The Daily Beast
Even as daily new COVID cases set all-time records and hospitals fill up, epidemiologists have arrived at a perhaps surprising consensus. Yes, the latest Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is bad. But it could have been a lot worse. Even as cases have surged, deaths haven’t—at least not to the same degree. Omicron is highly transmissible but generally not as severe as some older variants—”lineages” is the scientific term.
– Scientists welcome first signs that Omicron surge is easing in London – FT
– CDC Advisory Panel Considers Pfizer Covid-19 Boosters for 12- to 15-Year-Olds; The adolescents could gain access to the shots for the first time if the panel and CDC sign off – WSJ
– Biden Administration to Increase Supply of ‘Game Changer’ Pfizer Pill – NYTimes
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Intercontinental Exchange Reports December, Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Statistics; Fourth Quarter Futures & Options ADV +16% y/y including Energy +17% y/y; Record annual volume across Brent, Heating Oil, TTF gas and Global Environmentals
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today reported December, Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at https://ir.theice.com/ir-resources/supplemental-information in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.
TAIFEX Sets New Annual Volume Record in 2021
The Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) executed a new high of 392,202,371 contracts in 2021, surpassing its previous record of 341,393,346 contracts set in 2020 by 14.9%. Of all, Single Stock Futures (STF) demonstrated the biggest trading volume growth across all asset classes, with a total of 74,994,818 contracts traded and an average daily volume (ADV) of 307,356 contracts, an increase of 191.4% compared to 2020. STF on Evergreen Marine, United Microelectronics and Innolux were among the top three performers, totalling 18,995,568 contracts, 6,752,418 contracts and 5,208,368 contracts, respectively over the year, highlighting strong demand for hedging exposures in these internationalized Taiwanese companies.
Former futures trading floor to become a substation; The sale of a onetime epicenter of the Chicago Board of Trade to ComEd underscores how times have changed in technology and investing.
David Roeder – Chicago Sun-Times
In a property deal that marks a literal power transfer, an old hub for futures trading in Chicago will become a ComEd substation. The utility has purchased the building at 333 S. La Salle St., formerly the largest trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. The site has been little used for years because the old open-outcry pits — where brokers and speculators did business via hand signals — have been replaced by electronic markets.
Equity Derivatives: Introduction of Equity Options, Single Stock Futures and Single Stock Dividend Futures, cancellation of admission to trading for Single Stock Futures and Equity Options
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland took the following decisions with effect from
24 January 2022:Introduction of two Single Stock Futures pursuant to Annex A to the Contract Specifications (Attachment 2), Introduction of one Equity Option pursuant to Annex B to the Contract Specifications (Attachment 2), Introduction of one Single Stock Dividend Future pursuant to Annex D to the Contract Specifications (Attachment 2), Cancellation of admission to trading or six Single Stock Futures and two Equity Options pursuant to Annex A to the Contract Specifications (Attachment 2), Extension of maturity for products LOGN and LOGE from 24 to 60 months, pursuant to Annex B to the Contract Specifications (Attachment 2) Inclusion of the new Single Stock Dividend Futures in the existing Liquidity Provider (LP) scheme effective from 1 February 2022 (Attachment 3).
Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | Updates January 2022
With this Newsflash, we would like to draw your attention to the upcoming publications, events and necessary actions for the ongoing initiatives:
Introduction of eligible foreign security futures products
Annual prolongation and amendment of Liquidity Provider schemes
Extension of enhanced volume rebate methodology
Next Generation ETD Contracts: Third Focus Call preparation
EURO STOXX® 50 Index Options and DAX® and Mini DAX® Index Futures
Next Generation of ETD contract: Third Focus Cal
Xetra-Gold closes 2021 with a stock of 237.6 tons; Growth of 20.7 tons compared to the previous year / Europe’s largest gold security with physical deposit
Deutsche Börse Commodities
The gold holdings in the exchange-traded bearer bond Xetra-Gold (ISIN: DE000A0S9GB0 ) rose to 237.6 tons at the end of 2021. That is an increase of 20.7 tons over the course of the year. At the beginning of January 2021, the inventory was 216.9 tons of gold. This makes Xetra-Gold the leading physically deposited gold security in Europe.
Nasdaq to Hold Fourth Quarter 2021 Investor Conference Call
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its Fourth Quarter 2021 financial results announcement.
New Year’s Message from Group CEO Kiyota
Greetings to everyone for the New Year. As JPX Group CEO, I wish everyone health and prosperity for the year ahead. I would like to begin my New Year’s message by taking a look back over the stock markets in the past year. As well as the continued Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it, 2021 was a year of big events in Japan, including the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Liberal Democratic Party leadership election which launched a new government under Kishida Fumio, and the general election. In the domestic stock markets, the Nikkei Average began the year at around JPY 27,000, and in February pushed above JPY 30,000 for the first time in over 30 years – since the end of the bubble era.
SIX’s Acquisition of BME Highlights the Increased Importance of Scale and Free Market Access
The WFE Focus Team
The pandemic has brought many changes to the way we work. In your view, what changes are here to stay that will shape the workplace of the future? Almost overnight, we had to switch to digital collaboration. SIX was in the middle of the bidding process for BME. This was a big challenge, which we successfully mastered. In the future, international collaboration will be easier, teams will no longer have to travel so much and will work together efficiently and successfully regardless of their location. However, digital collaboration will never replace physical collaboration, but it will complement it.
— Market Surveillance Position Limits, Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of Two Iron Ore China Portside (Argus) Futures Contracts – CME
— January 2022 Stock, ETF, and Corporate Bond Update – Effective January 04, 2022- CME
— Performance Bond Requirements: Energy, Equity, FX, & Metal Margins – Effective January 05, 2022. – CME
— Performance Bond Requirements: Energy – Effective January 05, 2022 – CME
Come the Metaverse, Can Privacy Exist? In immersive worlds, new technologies will siphon up data at an increasingly granular level—a person’s gait, eye movements, emotions and more—putting far greater strain on existing safeguards
David Uberti – WSJ
In its current form, the internet relies on data collection that some critics liken to mass surveillance. Technology companies and researchers are beginning to wonder whether the metaverse will be any different. Facebook Inc.’s name change to Meta Platforms Inc. signaled that businesses behind games, office tools and other services will increasingly invest in this next iteration of cyberspace. Their pitch is to create loosely connected communities where users can work, play and shop using digital avatars.
IQ-EQ Hires New Group Chief Commercial Officer To Facilitate Growth Plans
Emma Crabtree joins investor services firm, IQ-EQ, as Group Chief Commercial Officer following a year which has seen major growth. A leading figure in the industry with over 26 years of experience in financial service institutions, Emma has an established track record of delivering commercial business value in senior executive positions across the industry. Most recently, Emma held the position of Global Head of Sales of a leading global custodian securities services provider, working with a team of over 200 sales and relationship management professionals to drive global sales opportunities across existing clients and new prospects.
The investing chief of an $80 billion wealth firm reveals whether blue-chip money managers will take the plunge into the metaverse in 2022 – and explains why equities have room to rise despite inflation
Alex Sebastian – Insider
This year is poised to be a fascinating one from an investing point of view, as markets hopefully put the pandemic in the rear view mirror, while wrestling with concerning levels of inflation. Opinions among experts are split as to whether markets are heading for another good year, or a turn for the worse as investors hang on every word said by Federal Reserve head Jerome Powell and other top central bankers.
Google acquires Israeli cybersecurity company Siemplify for $500m
Ricky Ben-David – The Times of Israel
Google has acquired another Israeli company, threat detection firm Siemplify, for a reported $500 million, nine years after its $1 billion purchase of navigation app Waze. The purchase will mark Google’s fourth acquisition of an Israeli company and its first in the cybersecurity industry outside the US.
An Insider’s Guide to Landing a High-Paying Job in Cybersecurity
Rachel DuRose – Business Insider
It’s a good time to break into cybersecurity.
One estimate said there were about 597,000 cyber roles open in the US — or one job for every person in the city of Milwaukee. Many of these roles pay at least six figures, data from Columbia University indicated.
Smart Cybersecurity Budgeting in the Age of Ransomware
Darren Guccione – CPO Magazine
As organizational leaders finalize their budgets for 2022, cybersecurity costs are top of mind, especially ransomware costs. As attacks grow increasingly frequent and sophisticated, the price of mitigating an incident is rising rapidly. In 2021, the average ransomware payment rose to $570,000, compared with $312,000 in 2020. Of course, there’s more to recovering from a ransomware attack than paying the ransom – a lot more – which is why total recovery costs hit a cool $1.85 million this year, more than double the 2020 average of $761,106.
2021 Left Unfinished Cybersecurity Business
Emil Sayegh – Forbes
Despite all the advances in cybersecurity over the past decade, there are still big problems that need to be fixed. The most glaring issue is that many corporations and governments still rely on outdated technology and protocols that are vulnerable to attack.
Another issue is the lack of collaboration between different industries and organizations. Cybercriminals often exploit weak points in an organization’s cybersecurity system by targeting specific companies or sectors. If all industries were more cooperative, it would be much harder for cybercriminals to find these weak points.
Ransomware Continues To Be A Dominant Threat Type In Q3 2021, Kroll Report Reveals – Ransomware Attacks In Q3 2021 More Than Doubled Since Q1 2021, From 20% To 46%
Kroll, the world’s premier provider of services and digital products related to valuation, governance, risk and transparency, announces its inaugural Threat Landscape Report, revealing ransomware as the dominant threat type in Q3 2021. The report, which will be published quarterly, looks at the evolution of cyber threats, including the most prominent threat incident attack methods, most prominent threat actor groups, most targeted sectors and risks on the horizon.
Goldman Says Bitcoin $100,000 a Possibility by Taking on Gold
Anchalee Worrachate – Bloomberg
Bitcoin will continue to take market share from gold as part of broader adoption of digital assets, making the often touted price prediction of a $100,000 by advocates a possibility, according to Goldman Sachs Group.
Goldman Sachs says bitcoin will compete with gold as “store of value”
Bitcoin will take market share away from gold in 2022 as digital assets become more widely adopted, Goldman Sachs analyst Zach Pandl said in a research note to clients. Citing bitcoin’s $700 billion market capitalization, compared to the around $2.6 trillion worth of gold owned as an investment, Goldman Sachs said that the cryptocurrency currently has a 20% share of the “store of value” market.
Miami’s Suarez Takes Helm at Mayors Group With Pro-Crypto Pledge
Jonathan Levin – Bloomberg
Suarez took helm of U.S. Conference of Mayors Monday; Mayor is known for courting tech workers, promoting Bitcoin
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez took over as head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Monday, pledging to promote innovation and proposing that cities sign on to a “crypto compact.” Suarez, who has courted technology workers and embraced Bitcoin as mayor, said that cities should proactively fight for a crypto regulation that “embodies success” instead of turning the burgeoning industry away, citing China as an example of the latter.
Young people gamble on NFTs and cryptocurrencies because old ways to invest are out of reach; With house prices rising, and few young people investing in stocks and shares, it’s small wonder volatile new investments appeal
Will Tanner – INews
When I was a teenager, it was football stickers and Beanie Babies. Today the collecting habits of young people are less benign. During the pandemic, young people have flocked to invest in cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – essentially digital currencies and certificates of ownership. Some have made money, others have lost their shirts – and, as i reported yesterday, regulators are belatedly considering a crackdown.
India is going after crypto taxes, starting with Binance-owned WazirX
Mimansa Verma – Quartz
India’s tax authorities are going after the country’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform, WazirX, accusing it of tax evasion worth 40.5 crore rupees ($5.4 million).
Sam Bankman-Fried says a tidal wave of institutions could jump into crypto in 2022, if they get clear regulations
Shalini Nagarajan – Business Insider
Cryptocurrencies can expect to see more institutional adoption in 2022 — but whether it’s a tidal wave or a trickle will depend on what happens on the regulatory front, according to FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried.
The U.K. Is Being Consumed by Brexit More Than Covid; Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in danger of losing control of the political beast he unleashed.
Flavia Krause-Jackson – Bloomberg
When Brexit and the coronavirus blurred into a political fog engulfing the U.K. last year, at the center of it inevitably stood the leader who has been defined by both. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stuck to the line that his country was at a turning point, on the cusp of a return to greatness after leaving the European Union. A shortage of critical workers, supply chain disruption and a rollercoaster resurgence of virus infections were bumps in the road on the journey to his much-vaunted “Global Britain.”
Bulgaria to Stand Firm on Euro Adoption, New Premier Says; Bulgaria sticks to 2024 euro date, Petkov tells
Slav Okov – Bloomberg
Bulgaria’s new prime minister redoubled the government’s commitment to adopt the euro in two years in the face of fragile support among voters battered by the force of the pandemic.
France’s Macron Says He Wants to ‘Piss Off’ the Unvaccinated
Fergal O’Brien and William Horobin – Bloomberg
People without shot undermine national cohesion, Macron says; Germany also seeking to turn up pressure on unvaccinated
French President Emmanuel Macron took Europe’s aggressive stance against the unvaccinated up a notch, saying he wants to “p— off” people who don’t get their Covid-19 shot.
U.K. Gives Itself 3 Months to Find Fix for Energy Price Rise
Alex Morales and Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Suppliers meeting Business Secretary Kwarteng on Wednesday; Ofgem is due to announce a price-cap increase in February
The U.K. government is giving itself until April to find a solution to soaring gas prices since that’s when consumers would start feeling the bite of a new cap on utility bills.
ESMA publishes guidelines on delayed disclosure under MAR
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its Final Report on the amendment of the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) guidelines on delayed disclosure in relation to prudential supervision. The Guidelines are adding certain cases to the list of legitimate interests of issuers for delaying public disclosure of inside information.
SEC Punts Again on NYDIG Bitcoin ETF, Delaying Decision to March
Allyson Versprille – Bloomberg
Hold up follows pattern of prior spot Bitcoin ETF proposals; Comes after SEC rejected two similar proposals last month
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has again delayed its decision on a proposal from NYDIG, a subsidiary of asset manager Stone Ridge Holdings Group, for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
Ira D. Hammerman, SIFMA General Counsel, to Retire End of 2022
Ira D. Hammerman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), today announced he will retire at the end of 2022, after serving as the trade association’s lead lawyer for more than 18 years.
Investing and Trading
Hedge Funds Buy Up Cotton, Driving Futures Near Decade Highs
Marvin G. Perez – Bloomberg
Cotton prices climbed back near 10-year highs in New York on bets that strong demand will keep supplies constrained. Arabica coffee surged on sinking Brazilian exports. Hedge funds are actively buying the fiber, which means this year’s commodity index rebalancing may be positive for the cotton market, said Louis Rose, director of research at Rose Commodity Group. Money managers boosted their net-bullish bets on the fiber through Dec. 28 to a one-month high, government data showed.
Short Seller Who Bet Against Wirecard Wagers Tesla Is Overpriced
Craig Trudell – Bloomberg
Fraser Perring, the short seller who accused Wirecard AG of fraud years before the German payment processing company’s collapse, is betting Tesla Inc.’s stratospheric valuation will come back down to earth.
Glencore’s Former Top Copper Trader Joins Digital Metal Startup
Jack Farchy and Mark Burton – Bloomberg
Paraskevas joins Open Mineral as adviser, invests in platform; Trading platform also hires Concord’s head of concentrates
Glencore Plc’s former head of copper marketing, Nico Paraskevas, joined Open Mineral as a senior adviser after investing in the digital metals trading startup. Paraskevas, who left Glencore during a leadership reshuffle early last year, is joining the company alongside Kareem Barbir, formerly head of metals concentrates trading at Concord Resources, an Open Mineral spokeswoman said in a statement. She confirmed that Paraskevas — who had been one of the leading candidates to run Glencore before Gary Nagle took over — participated in Open Mineral’s latest funding round, without quantifying the stake size.
Adventurous investing: my 14 years of hits — and misses; David Stevenson looks back and finds some very mixed results
David Stevenson – FT
As one gets older, one’s recollection of past events and dates blurs. But November 2007 stands out for me — the month I published my first Adventurous Investor column. Fourteen years on, I’m still here on the frontiers of investing, kicking the tyres on the latest exotic ideas in the industry.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Natural gas can only be ‘green’ for now; European Commission proposals are right to add strict conditions on the fuel
The editorial board – FT
The purpose of the European Commission’s green taxonomy is clear. To hit its ambitious climate goals — reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — the EU needs to mobilise a flood of capital to finance the necessary investment, funnelling bank loans, bond investors and stock markets towards environmentally friendly “green” technologies and away from unfriendly “brown” ones. Where best to draw the line, however, is far less straightforward. The scale of the task demands a radical approach; to meet its goals the EU must start rapidly phasing out fossil fuels now. But it also requires a recognition of just how difficult it will be to deploy sufficient renewable energy.
An ESG Pioneer Weighs In on Sustainable Investing Today
Sarah Max – Barron’s
Decades before Wall Street jumped on the ESG bandwagon, Amy Domini was an early and unwavering believer in the value of considering environmental, social, and governance issues in the investment process. Her interest in sustainable investing took root when she was a stockbroker in the late 1970s. “I’d call clients with a stock tip and be startled when they would get mad and say, ‘I’ll never buy a company that makes weapons or does business with South Africa,’ ” says Domini, who started asking about such preferences on new client questionnaires.
Jefferies staff to go remote until end Jan, financial offices empty out
U.S. investment bank Jefferies Financial Group (JEF.N) has asked staff to work remotely until Jan. 31, according to an Instagram post on Monday from its Chief Executive Officer, in another sign that New York’s banking offices looked set for an empty start to the year as the Omicron variant spreads.
Passive ETFs hit by billion-dollar rebalancing costs; Research shows US index trackers lose out on nearly $4bn a year due to price moves created by front-running
Steve Johnson – FT
US index-tracking funds are throwing away $3.9bn a year by using predictable, mechanical trading strategies that are exploited by nimbler market participants, according to academic research. The losses would cost an investor who built up a $2m retirement portfolio over 30 years via passive mutual or exchange traded funds $29,000, the analysis found.
Schwab follows rivals with fee cuts on $13bn in bond ETFs; Move follows fee reductions on similar products by Vanguard and State Street
Ben Miller – FT
Charles Schwab has reduced the fees on five fixed-income ETFs from 5 basis points to 4, a recent regulatory filing showed. The expense reductions follow fee cuts that Vanguard and State Street have also made to similar ETFs. Schwab’s fee cuts place five of its ETFs on par with similar Vanguard products.
Wells Fargo’s Chief Risk Officer to Depart; Amanda Norton will leave the bank at the end of June
Richard Vanderford – WSJ
Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Risk Officer Amanda Norton will retire this summer, Chief Executive Charles Scharf said. Ms. Norton, who joined Wells Fargo in 2018, will depart the bank at the end of June, Mr. Scharf said Tuesday in an email to employees viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
BNP Paribas completes the transfer of global prime finance and electronic equities from Deutsche Bank; French bank is on the cusp of entering the top tier of prime brokers following developments over the past two years.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
BNP Paribas has completed the transfer of clients, technology and key staff from Deutsche Bank’s global prime finance and electronic equities, two and a half years after agreeing the deal. The combined unit – along with the recently announced referral of clients from Credit Suisse – is set to propel BNP Paribas into the top tier of prime brokers: alongside the likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
StanChart splits Hong Kong workforce on concerns about new COVID-19 outbreak
Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L) has started operating in split teams in Hong Kong, a bank spokesperson said on Wednesday, as the Asian financial hub announced tough new restrictions after an increase in new COVID-19 cases.
HSBC China brokerage joint venture partner selling 39% stake
HSBC Holdings PLC’s (HSBA.L) China securities brokerage joint venture partner is selling most of its equity ownership, an exchange filing showed, and a source with knowledge of the matter said the bank was expected to bid for the stake.
‘China is uninvestable,’ says Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach
Brian Sozzi – Yahoo Finance
Investors may want to think twice about putting their money to work in China, contends DoubleLine founder Jeffrey Gundlach. “China is uninvestible, in my opinion, at this point,” the bond king told Yahoo Finance in an interview at his California estate. “I’ve never invested in China long or short. Why is that? I don’t trust the data. I don’t trust the relationship between the United States and China anymore. I think that investments in China could be confiscated. I think there’s a risk of that.”
Turkey Tightens Oversight of Currency Market as Lira Weakens
Kerim Karakaya – Bloomberg
Central bank asks lenders to report large dollar purchases; Currency has dropped more than 20% over the past two weeks
Turkish authorities are keeping tabs on investors who are buying large amounts of foreign currency and asked banks to deter their clients from using the spot market for hedging-related trades as they struggle to contain the lira’s slide.
Even The World’s Top Palm Oil Producer Is Worried About Prices
Eko Listiyorini – Bloomberg
Indonesia, the world’s top oil palm grower, is finding it isn’t immune to the impact of soaring prices as it plans to subsidize cooking oil sold locally. The government will spend 3.6 trillion rupiah ($250 million) of funds raised from palm oil export levy to temper cooking oil prices by paying for the price gap and scrapping tax on 1.2 billion liters of edible oil, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Croats Told to Move Cash From Beds to Banks as Euro Nears
Jasmina Kuzmanovic – Bloomberg
Central bank calls for people to transfer funds before 2023; Croatia is preparing to swap its kuna currency for euros
Croatia’s central bank urged people to start shifting their stashed-away kuna banknotes from mattresses or sock drawers to banks to ease the country’s adoption of the euro, expected next January.
Hong Kong Bans Flights, Shutters Nightlife After Omicron Bursts Pandemic-Free Bubble; City had seen no Covid-19 cases for months until several air crew mingled in the community in late December
Natasha Khan – WSJ
The city is banning passenger flights from eight countries, including the U.S., for two weeks, closing bars and banning evening dine-in after the city’s first community Omicron infections punctured one of the world’s strictest and most effective border controls.
Media disrupters chase global audience
Sara Fischer – Axios
Calling legacy media “almost paralyzed,” two of journalism’s top disrupters — Bloomberg’s Justin Smith and Ben Smith of the New York Times — unveiled a long-secret idea for a richly-funded global news platform.
Bloomberg Media chief joins New York Times columnist to launch news venture; Justin Smith and Ben Smith pursue journalism platform aimed at university-educated readers
Anna Nicolaou – FT
News veterans Ben Smith, the media columnist for The New York Times, and Justin Smith, chief executive of Bloomberg’s media division, are leaving their jobs to start a company together. The two men, who are not related, are looking to build a journalism platform that reaches educated English-speaking readers around the world.
Boy Scouts Fall Short of Desired Vote on $2.7 Billion Abuse Settlement; In an initial vote tally, the youth group fell short of the 75% support it believes will ease approval of a chapter 11 plan covering roughly 82,200 sex-abuse claims
Soma Biswas – WSJ
The Boy Scouts of America fell short of winning the level of support it sought from sex-abuse victims for the nearly $2.7 billion settlement plan that would lift the organization out of bankruptcy, according to a preliminary vote count released Tuesday. The proposed settlement of 82,200 claims of childhood sexual abuse earned the support of just over 73% of those who cast votes, falling just shy of the 75% support the Boy Scouts were targeting. The youth group has said it believes that level of acceptance would ease court approval of its chapter 11 plan, while anything less makes it more vulnerable to challenges from the minority of abuse victims who reject it.