Regulators to examine crypto exchange Binance’s foray into equities

Apr 22, 2021

First Read

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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Do you know the “two-out-of-three rule” for wearing a mask outdoors? The rule is if you are outdoors, you need to be distanced or masked. If you’re not outdoors, you need to be distanced and masked. — New York Times

The U.S. has seen a significant drop in vaccinations over the past week, with an 11 percent drop. This is the biggest downturn in the seven-day average since the February storms. — Washington Post

FIA, Inc. commemorates #earthweek2021 and #earthday2021 by highlighting their work on #climatechange and #sustainablefinance. — FIA

Here is a list of CME Group product launches: Freight Route TC18 (Baltic) Futures – This Week, Freight Route Liquefied Petroleum Gas (BLPG3) (Baltic) Futures – This Week, Micro Bitcoin Futures – May 2, USD Crude Palm Oil Bullet Futures and Options – May 2 and Lithium Hydroxide CIF CJK (Fastmarkets) Futures – May 2.

Here is a list of recent product changes at the CME Group: Listing SOFR 3 Month Strip Spreads – This Week, Change to Option Style for Black Sea Corn and Black Sea Wheat Options – This Week, Change to Maximum Order Quantity for Gold Futures Calendar Spreads – May 2 and Listing Cycle Expansion for EUR/USD Monthly Volatility-Quoted Options and JPY/USD Monthly Volatility-Quoted Options – May 16.

The Federal Reserve Board is accepting applications for its Community Advisory Council. For more information, click HERE.

Julie Winkler, managing director at the CME Group, has joined the board of Women in Derivatives (WIND). — WIND via LinkedIn

Bloomberg has a story by Enda Curran with the title, “Yes, Working From Home Makes You More Productive, Study Finds.” And now you know it is not just you who works well in a pair of sweats or jammy pants. —Bloomberg

The Greenwood Project this week welcomed Emily Holthaus as director of education. Holthaus has had a 12-year career in the education sector, from teaching to systems leader for a network of schools. In addition, she supported the turnaround process with five schools and founded a non-profit school management organization.

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


R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago today announced the promotion of Christopher Bove to chief compliance officer. He previously served as RJO’s director of compliance since November 2020. Read the press release here. ~SR


Intercontinental Exchange’s Lynn Martin Walks JLN Through New ICE Portfolio Auction Platform

The world of bond trading is being swept into the electronic trading world and ICE has offered a new way to automate and make the trading of large portfolios of bonds easier. The ICE Portfolio Auction Platform leverages ICE data and risk management tools and creates an automated process for trading portfolios of bonds.

John Lothian News interviewed Lynn Martin, the president of fixed income and data services at Intercontinental Exchange, over Zoom about the exchange’s new Portfolio Auction Platform and how it works.

Watch the video »


Jim Marzano – The History of Financial Futures

Jim Marzano thought he was going to be a grain merchandiser at Stotler Grain. Instead, he ended up being a broker and a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. In fact, he made the first trade in the 30-Year Treasury bond futures pit at the CBOT.

In this video interview by Thom Thompson, Marzano shares some reflections of his favorite days on the exchange and about the volatility of the bond market after the 1987 stock market crash. He talks about the first delivery in Ginnie Mae (GNMA) futures, which almost doomed financial futures.

Watch the video »



ICE launches Micro Asia Tech 30 Index Futures contracts
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Futures contracts based on the recently launched ICE Asia Tech 30 Index; Offers the ability to invest in the 30 largest technology-related companies across Asia-Pacific
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that it plans to launch Micro Asia Tech 30 Index futures contracts on ICE Futures Singapore on April 26, 2021.

*****There is nothing micro about Asia. This will be big!~JJL


Nasdaq Launches Nasdaq-100® Micro Index Options (XND)
Nasdaq empowers Main Street investors to harness the Nasdaq-100 index through options
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the launch of options on the Nasdaq-100® Micro Index (XND), which expands access for Main Street investors to the Nasdaq-100 index in a seamless and cost-efficient way. These new index options are now listed on the Nasdaq PHLX options exchange, and are available on many trading platforms that support index options.

*****What we need here is a celebrity endorsement from Paul Rudd.~JJL


Vaccines are working: charts that show the Covid endgame
John Burn-Murdoch – FT
It is easy to feel as if the coronavirus pandemic is getting out of control again. The rate of new cases hit a record last week, with 5.2m people around the world getting infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

*****I would like to see an endgame where half the people don’t disappear.~JJL


Sleeping Too Little in Middle Age May Increase Dementia Risk, Study Finds; The research, tracking thousands of people from age 50 on, suggests those who sleep six hours or less a night are more likely to develop dementia in their late 70s.
Pam Belluck – NY Times
Could getting too little sleep increase your chances of developing dementia? For years, researchers have pondered this and other questions about how sleep relates to cognitive decline. Answers have been elusive because it is hard to know if insufficient sleep is a symptom of the brain changes that underlie dementia — or if it can actually help cause those changes.

*****When my full dementia kicks in, you will know why.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
On Wednesday, the most-clicked story was a blog post on Medium excerpted by John Lothian News, The 5 Essential Shifts of Weight Loss Mastery. The second most-clicked was Thom Thompson’s story for JLN, Cunningham Commodities to Tie Up With UK CFD Platform. Third was Bloomberg’s report on an ongoing issue at the LME, Fate of London Metals Pit Hangs in Balance After Trader Pushback.


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Lead Stories

Regulators to examine crypto exchange Binance’s foray into equities; Concerns over whether stock tokens comply with rules on transparency and corporate disclosures
Adam Samson and Philip Stafford and Olaf Storbeck – FT
European regulators are examining whether Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has complied with securities rules over its launch of trading in stock tokens. In a new initiative that started last week, Binance says it allows users outside the US, China and Turkey to “trade equity shares through crypto coins”, with tokens that “represent a share in a stock corporation”. The move marked one of the most significant forays by a leading digital currency venue in to a specialised and heavily regulated market.

Herd Immunity Is Humanity’s Great Hope, and It’s Proving Elusive; Variants have become so significant that researchers now say ending the pandemic will be gradual, with bumps along the way.
Robert Langreth, Emma Court – Bloomberg
Long before herd immunity became humanity’s shared obsession, the phrase referred to sick cows. More than a century ago, veterinarians observed that outbreaks of a highly contagious bacterial infection menacing cattle died down once they’d burned through a certain percentage of a herd, so long as new animals weren’t introduced. Soon the concept was extended to a variety of human outbreaks, where it became a staple of epidemiology.

‘Quant winter’ thaw ends long spell of drab returns for funds; AQR among the big names on the rebound as new phase of pandemic shakes up asset markets
Robin Wigglesworth and Laurence Fletcher – FT
Computer-driven investment funds are rebounding from a painful stretch, with big firms such as Clifford Asness’s AQR posting dramatic rebounds after several years of struggles, cutbacks and multibillion-dollar redemptions. Few firms were hit as hard as AQR in the “quant winter” that chilled the performance of quantitative investment strategies in recent years, with the firm shedding $86bn in assets from its 2018 peak.

Turks Suspect Big Crypto Losses as Exchange CEO Goes Missing
Taylan Bilgic and Firat Kozok – Bloomberg
Users of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex allege fraud; The market needs to be regulated, adviser to Erdogan says
Unable to retrieve their investments, users of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex have filed a complaint alleging fraud, with their lawyer saying hundreds of millions of dollars may have been stolen. The head of the exchange has been unreachable and allegedly fled the country.

‘It is much worse this time’: India’s devastating second wave; New variant suspected of stoking surge that is overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums
Benjamin Parkin, Jyotsna Singh and Stephanie Findlay, and John Burn-Murdoch – FT
Every night funeral pyres blaze on the banks of the Ganges, a grim symbol of the ferocious Covid-19 wave sparking a health crisis and human tragedy in India that is far surpassing anything seen last year. Patients are dying while their families search in vain for hospital beds. Supplies of oxygen and medicines are running low, leading to robberies of drugs from hospitals. Crematoriums and burial grounds cannot cope with the sheer number of corpses.

London Finance Firms Warned by EU Not to Expect Quick Market Access
Silla Brush and Nikos Chrysoloras – Bloomberg
Mairead McGuinness says EU in no rush to grant equivalence; Bloc is still in process of finalizing last month’s MOU
The European Union’s commissioner for financial services said the bloc isn’t under any pressure to help London financial firms access the market and warned there won’t be any decisions soon while Britain plots different rules for the industry.
Mairead McGuinness said in an interview Wednesday that the EU could hold a meeting on market access issues by the middle of the year, but it is still in the process of finalizing the memorandum of understanding on post-Brexit regulatory cooperation agreed last month.

Central banks need to take action now on climate change; Interventions needed to help the transition towards a low-carbon world
Anne Richards – FT
“There have been three great inventions since the beginning of time,” American humourist Will Rogers is widely purported to have said: “Fire, the wheel, and central banking.”

*****Richards is the chief executive of Fidelity International.~JJL

Climate Change Could Cut World Economy by $23 Trillion in 2050, Insurance Giant Warns; Poor nations would be particularly hard hit, but few would escape, Swiss Re said. The findings could influence how the industry prices insurance and invests its mammoth portfolios.
Christopher Flavelle – NY Times
Rising temperatures are likely to reduce global wealth significantly by 2050, as crop yields fall, disease spreads and rising seas consume coastal cities, a major insurance company warned Thursday, highlighting the consequences if the world fails to quickly slow the use of fossil fuels.

Credit Suisse Needs a New Strategy; Raising new capital will reassure wealth-management clients, but CEO’s attachment to a crisis-prone business mix is worrying
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
Credit Suisse’s CS 0.87% decision to raise new capital makes sense. Sticking to its current strategy doesn’t. The crisis-struck bank said Thursday it would issue mandatory convertible notes that were expected to raise 1.7 billion Swiss francs, equivalent to about $1.85 billion. Management stressed it was a proactive move to end speculation about its capital levels. The issue will dilute shareholders’ equity by about 8%, but is probably necessary to reassure wealth-management clients that the bank is solid.

R.J. O’Brien Promotes Christopher Bove to Chief Compliance Officer
R.J. O’Brien & Associates
Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates (RJO), the oldest and largest independent futures brokerage and clearing firm in the United States, announced today the promotion of Christopher Bove to Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).

Jack Ma Shows Why China’s Tycoons Keep Quiet; High-profile business leaders have been detained, sidelined or silenced as the Communist Party moves forcefully to keep companies in line. Today, the best strategy is to lie low.
Raymond Zhong and Alexandra Stevenson – NY Times
Jack Ma, the most famous businessman China has ever produced, is avoiding the spotlight. Friends say he is painting and practicing tai chi. Sometimes, he shares drawings with Masayoshi Son, the billionaire head of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

What’s next for the London Metal Exchange Ring? In January, the LME proposed to permanently close the iconic trading Ring
Bérengère Sim – Financial News
The future of the London Metal Exchange’s iconic trading Ring is uncertain after a proposal was made to permanently close it, with a consultation launched alongside it. The decision is expected in April. Financial News unpacks some of the key questions.

Yes, Working From Home Makes You More Productive, Study Finds
Enda Curran – Bloomberg
Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast. The great work-from-home experiment occasioned by the pandemic has divided opinion in the corporate suite and sparked endless debates about whether employees work as effectively from the kitchen table as they do from the office.

Nigerians Shun Naira for Foreign Currencies to Protect Wealth
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Report links currency substitution to Nigeria naira volatility; Nigerians’ use of dollars exceeds IMF’s 30% threshold
Nigerians have been accumulating foreign currencies to protect their wealth from naira volatility and surging inflation, according to a research paper in a journal published by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

European Union Aims for Clarity in Murky World of Sustainable Investing; Large U.S. banks are bracing for more ESG regulation in Europe and America
Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
The European Union put forward a package of measures that took aim at the patchy data available around sustainable investing, seen as one of the fast-growing market’s biggest problems.

Wood’s ARK Says Bitcoin Mining Can Be Good for the Planet
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
ARK is a crypto bull, with bets on Bitcoin and Coinbase shares; Fund manager says Bitcoin mining can drive solar investment
Bitcoin mining is often decried as an energy hog, but according to Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management LLC it could actually be good for the planet. Cryptocurrency mining can drive investment in solar power and make more renewable energy available to the grid, according to a post from ARK research director Brett Winton and co-authors Yassine Elmandjra and Sam Korus.

Credit Suisse to Cut Hedge Fund Lending by Third After Archegos
Patrick Winters and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Investment bank to reduce leverage exposure by $35 billion; Losses from Archegos implosion have swelled to $5.5 billion
Credit Suisse Group AG is planning to slash lending to hedge funds by a third after the Archegos Capital blowup cost the bank $5.5 billion and forced it to tap investors for additional capital.

Credit Suisse’s Exposure to Archegos Investments Grew to More Than $20 Billion; Parts of the investment bank hadn’t fully implemented systems to keep pace with Archegos’s fast growth
Emily Glazer, Maureen Farrell and Margot Patrick – WSJ
Credit Suisse Group AG CS -4.14% amassed more than $20 billion of exposure to investments related to Archegos Capital Management, but the bank struggled to monitor them before the fund was forced to liquidate many of its large positions, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Super League Went Supernova Over the Beautiful Game’s Future; European football club owners wanted a U.S.-style competition, but they failed to account for the passion of fans.
Peter Coy, Stefan Nicola, David Rocks – Bloomberg
The blowback against the European Super League can be explained in one word: risk. Fans love it, and owners hate it. In the end, the fans won. Less than two days after the idea was floated, the plan collapsed as most of the soccer league’s would-be founding members pulled out in the face of furious opposition from pundits, politicians, players, and—especially—fans.

SEC questioned Paulsboro’s Hometown deli as it lined up stock sale
Erin Arvedlund and Jason Nark – The Inquirer
When the parent company of a South Jersey deli was selling more shares amid a boom in its stock last year, the firm drew the attention of federal regulators. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission asked some pointed questions of the parent firm for Your Hometown Deli in Gloucester County, regulatory filings show.


Masks, Distancing Can Be Relaxed If You Are Vaccinated, EU Says
Nikos Chrysoloras – Bloomberg
European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control sets guidance; Those vulnerable must maintain distancing even after vaccine
Social distancing rules and mask requirements can be relaxed for those who get vaccinated, the European Union’s agency for disease prevention said, adding to signs that an accelerated rollout of shots against the coronavirus can pave the way for a gradual return to normality.

Singapore and Hong Kong Call Off Travel Bubble Announcement
Faris Mokhtar, Kyunghee Park, and Felix Tam – Bloomaberg
Thursday plans called off at the last minute by Singapore side; Quarantine-free travel was initially due to start in November
Singapore and Hong Kong called off an announcement planned for Thursday on an air-travel bubble, according to people familiar with the matter, the second time in five months the highly anticipated arrangement for quarantine-free travel between the two financial hubs has run into obstacles.

India Records World’s Highest One-Day Surge in Covid Cases
Bhuma Shrivastava and Upmanyu Trivedi – Bloomberg
Daily infections jump to 314,835, topping previous U.S. record; New wave is overwhelming India’s hospitals, crematoriums
India saw the world’s biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases ever as a ferocious new wave grips the country, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums and prompting frantic cries for help on social media. The South Asian nation reported 314,835 new infections Thursday, topping a peak of 314,312 recorded in the U.S. on Dec. 21. People took to Twitter and Instagram to call for everything from hospital beds to medicine and doorstep Covid-19 tests.

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

Where Covid Kills the Young: Brazil Shows What May Await Others
Andrew Rosati, Martha Viotti Beck, and Simone Preissler Iglesias – Bloomberg
People in their 20s and 30s are leaving hospitals in body bags; Some have to work, others don’t grasp the depth of the risk
Rodolpho Sousa, a 28-year-old Brazilian lawyer, had been working from home near Rio de Janeiro when, in late February, one of his clients was jailed. Covid was hitting the prison and he was worried about her, less about himself. He went there to get her out.

Europe Takes Steps to Reopen as Covid Vaccinations Ramp Up
John Follain, Ania Nussbaum and Paul Tugwell – Bloomberg
France, Italy, Greece move to ease pandemic restrictions; Vaccination rates have picked up, opening path to looser curbs
Western Europe is beginning to loosen restrictions to contain the coronavirus, offering relief for the pandemic-weary region as vaccination programs turn the corner. Italy will ease many restrictions on Monday, and Greece will follow suit in early May. Later on Thursday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex will announce the next steps for the country amid plans to lift some restrictions on travel and outdoor dining.

Inside Scotland’s pandemic: has it made independence more likely? As the country reopens, Nicola Sturgeon is riding high — but Covid has complicated her party’s push for self-governance
Henry Mance – FT
Almost exactly a year ago, Nicola Sturgeon appeared on TV and promised Scottish voters “a grown-up conversation”. Scotland’s first minister admitted that lockdown had been hard, but said that there was no option but to continue to “suppress the virus”.

Scientists warn of challenges to find antiviral pill to treat Covid; Creation of task force by UK government welcomed but no trials have delivered solutions
Hannah Kuchler and Sarah Neville – FT
The search for a pill to protect people from the effects of Covid-19 is confounding scientists, suggesting the UK government’s decision to set an autumn target for finding two effective antiviral drugs will be difficult to meet.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Total Markets Episode 12: Jay Ritter
Jay Ritter – Nasdaq
Jay Ritter, the Cordell Eminent Scholar at the University of Florida’s Warrington School of Business, joins Nasdaq Chief Economist Phil Mackintosh to discuss the state of the IPO market, how SPACs are trending, and what the long-term returns are for companies going public in today’s market

Nasdaq launching options on the Nasdaq-100 Micro Index
Nasdaq Inc on Thursday said it was launching options on the Nasdaq-100 Micro Index as a lower-cost way for retail investors to gain exposure to the popular Nasdaq 100 Index. Retail investors have entered the securities markets in droves over the past year as large retail brokers have dropped trading commissions, coronavirus lockdowns forced people to work from home, and as “meme stocks,” like GameStop Corp and AMC Entertainment, soared in value in January.

First Mideast Bitcoin ETF Aims to Raise More Than $200 Million
Manus Cranny and Abeer Abu Omar – Bloomberg
Canada’s largest digital-asset investment fund manager 3iQ Corp. is hoping to raise more than $200 million by listing its Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in Dubai, according to its chief executive officer. The intent of listing on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange is to get trading at all hours around the globe, said CEO Fred Pye. “We trade on the North American market times and Dubai is almost perfectly opposite of what our trading hours are,” he told Bloomberg TV.

Euronext to launch block trading for SME securities; SME block trading facility at Euronext will have a staggered roll out across local markets, beginning in France in the next two months, Euronext told The TRADE.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Pan-European exchange operator Euronext has confirmed that it is months away from launching its block trading platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) securities. Falling under the exchange’s Euronext Block division which it launched in 2017, the new SME facility is aimed at smaller brokers who specialise in the trading of SME securities.

BNP Paribas trades first Brazilian real interest rate swap on Tradeweb; The Brazilian real interest rate swap executed by BNP Paribas on Tradeweb marks the bank’s commitment to growing its electronic emerging markets footprint.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
French investment bank BNP Paribas has executed the first Brazilian real interest rate swap on electronic trading platform provider, Tradeweb. BNP Paribas said the trade represented its growing electronic emerging markets footprint.

Tradeweb joins climate initiative amid $79 billion record green bond trading volumes; As an official partner of the Climate Bonds Initiative, Tradeweb will promote its green bond trading and provide more transparency on green bond volumes.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Tradeweb has signed up as a partner of a not-for-profit movement aimed at addressing climate change through fixed income markets following a record $79 billion green bond trading volumes in 2020. The electronic platform provider has joined the partners program of the Climate Bonds Initiative, which encourages investment in projects and assets to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy.

Deutsche Börse enters new data partnership with Bolsa Mexican de Valores; New agreement will allow Deutsche Börse to licence and distribute the Mexican exchange’s market data to its clients.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Deutsche Börse and Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV Group) have formed a new partnership that will enable the German exchange operator to access Latin America’s second largest exchange operator. The cooperation allows Deutsche Börse to license and distribute the market data products of BMV Group to its customer base under a single-licence agreement. The move will extend Deutsche Börse’s global market data distribution capabilities to Latin America.

Tariq Dennison: Guide to Europe’s new micro stock index futures
In April 2021, Eurex launched micro futures on three major European benchmarks: the EURO STOXX 50®, the DAX®, and the SMI®. In this article, Tariq Dennison – a Hong Kong based Wealth Manager at GFM Asset Management – examines the three newly launched Eurex micro futures contracts and dives into several practical examples of using them for various purposes.

ETF derivatives: Introduction of new ETF options
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland took the following decisions with effect from 17 May 2021: Introduction of five new ETF options
This circular contains all information on the introduction of the new products and the updated sections of the relevant Rules and Regulations of Eurex Deutschland.

Quarterly statement Q1 / 2021
Deutsche Börse Group
Deutsche Börse Group has published its quarterly report Q1 / 2021. An analyst and investor conference will be held on Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. CEST on the business figures. To participate, please register here .

Nasdaq Announces 10% Increase in Quarterly Dividend to $0.54 per Share
The Board of Directors of Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.54 per share on the company’s outstanding common stock. The dividend is payable on June 25, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 11, 2021. Future declarations of quarterly dividends and the establishment of future record and payment dates are subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

Nasdaq Reports First Quarter 2021 Results; Delivers 21% Increase in Revenue Compared to Prior Year
First quarter 2021 net revenues1 were $851 million, an increase of 21% over the first quarter of 2020. Compared to the prior year period, Solutions segments2 revenues increased 22% while Market Services revenues increased 20%.

CME Globex Notices: April 19, 2021
CME Group
Critical System Updates
Changes to CME Globex New Release and Certification Maintenance Window – April 28
Amendments to References of CME Globex Terminal Operators – May 2
CME FX Link Enhancements – May 2
CME FX Link Enhancements: Drop Copy Impact – May 2
iLink 3 SBE Schema Update – May 16

MIAX and SIG Index Licensing to Launch Corporate Tax Rate Futures on MGEX
PR Newswire
MIAX, creator and operator of high-performance securities exchanges, products and services, and SIG Index Licensing, LLC (SIG Index Licensing) will launch cash-settled futures contracts on SIG Index Licensing’s U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Index. The new futures contracts will begin trading on May 24, 2021. Corporate Tax Rate Futures will offer corporations and investors an efficient way to manage risk in uncertain corporate tax rate environments. The futures contracts will be the first of their kind and come at a time when global corporate tax rates are subject to changing governmental corporate tax policy and post-stimulus tax recovery plans.

Britannia Expands Energy Offering With New Hires And Approval Of ICE Futures Europe Membership
Britannia Global Markets, (“Britannia”) a complete multi-asset brokerage offering execution and cleared brokerage services, is pleased to announce the expansion of its energy offering, with the approval of its membership of ICE Futures Europe (“ICE”), the leading energy trading platform, and two new hires, Marc Rowell and Marc Corban.


Barchart and Scrap Monster Announce Partnership for Benchmark Scrap Metal Price Distribution
Barchart, a leading provider of market data and technology services to the financial, media and commodity industries, has announced a new partnership with Scrap Monster, a leading provider of wholesale scrap metal prices, information, and news to the scrap metal industry.

BlackRock, Tudor Group Back Cybersecurity Startup Deep Instinct
Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc. is leading a $100 million investment round for Deep Instinct, a cybersecurity software startup. Other participating investors include Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Group, Neeraj Chandra’s Untitled Investments and 23andme co-founder Anne Wojcicki, Deep Instinct Chief Executive Officer Guy Caspi said in an interview. Existing investors Coatue Management, Millennium and Unbound also took part.

Prosus, Tencent Invest $80 Million in European Online Broker BUX
Loni Prinsloo – Bloomberg
Tech investors are expanding in fast-growing trading platforms; Negative interest rates, cryptocurrencies driving growth
Prosus NV and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are investing in European online-trading group BUX, giving the internet giants a greater foothold in the fast-growing sector. The Dutch e-commerce group and Chinese developer of the WeChat app led a funding round of $80 million that BUX will use to expand its zero-commission investment platform, BUX Chief Executive Officer Yorick Naeff said in an interview. The Amsterdam-based company will also hire more staff, especially software engineers, and adapt the platform for different European markets, he said.

Wirecard employees removed millions in cash using shopping bags; Prosecutors suspect funds linked to hidden payments operations in Asia
Olaf Storbeck – FT
Wirecard employees hauled millions of euros of cash out of the group’s Munich headquarters in plastic bags over a period of years, according to former employees, suggesting that the payments company was looted even more brazenly than previously known.

Jack Ma’s Ant shrinks money market fund as Beijing cracks down; Fintech group pushes users to move savings to other managers as pressure intensifies
Ryan McMorrow – FT
Ant Group’s money market fund has shrunk to a more than four-year low as users shifted their cash in the face of China’s crackdown on Jack Ma’s payments group.

FlexTrade adds QuantHouse market data to OEMS ; QuantFEED market data from QuantHouse will give buy-side traders using the FlexTrade OEMS access to a single source of data connectivity.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Trading systems provider FlexTrade has integrated market data solutions from QuantHouse with its order and execution management system (OEMS), FlexONE. Illinois-based hedge fund Magnetar Capital was the first buy-side client to adopt the QuantFEED market data in FlexONE in January, providing the firm with a single-source front-end data service.

Cloud9 and Glue42 to deliver remote voice trading to institutional investors; Partnership between technology providers Cloud9 and Glue42 will give institutional investors remote access to connectivity typically found on the trading floor.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Cloud9 Technologies has partnered with desktop infrastructure provider Glue42 to deliver remote voice trading to institutional investors. Under the partnership, institutional traders will gain. remote access to all the methods of communication and connectivity that they would usually find if they were present on the trading floor.

Options And Murex Celebrate Long-Term Partnership In Delivering MX.3 As A SaaS Solution
Options Technology, the leading provider of cloud-enabled managed services to the global capital markets and a long-term Murex partner, empowers MX.3 through its highly secure, enterprise-grade SaaS-enabled Managed Apps platform. Murex, the global leader in trading, risk management and processing solutions for capital markets, is continuing to meet the changing and growing needs of clients harnessing its powerful MX.3 platform through a best-in-class SaaS solution.

PwC UK Announce Latest FinTech Scale Up Programme: Wealth Tech 2021
PwC has announced the latest cohort of FinTechs who have joined the Wealth Scale programme. The programme will support nine of the brightest WealthTech businesses with their ambitious growth plans.


Coinbase to Stop Trading on German Exchange Over Missed Code
Jan-Patrick Barnert – Bloomberg
A German exchange said it will halt trading in Coinbase Global Inc. shares due to missing paperwork necessary to make the stock eligible on its platform. Coinbase shares will cease trading on April 23, Deutsche Boerse said in a statement Wednesday. The company, which listed shares on Xetra and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as part of its U.S. initial public offering, provided a code necessary for trading that wasn’t properly linked to the listed entity, Deutsche Boerse said, without providing further details.

How Ethereum Works: It Seems Like We’re Living in a Futuristic Alternate Universe
David Grasso – Worth
It’s already a mad, mad world; add cryptocurrency, and it seems like we’re living in a futuristic alternate universe. It appears that new crypto technologies are popping up every week, and more people are becoming accustomed to investing money into digital coins. But what many of us don’t understand is that blockchain—the man behind the curtain of crypto—can be used for purposes beyond our current imaginations, the second-most-popular platform being Ethereum. Recently, the ether coin reached an all-time high of $2,200. But before we dive into Ethereum, let’s do a recap on how blockchain works.

Binance’s Tesla, Coinbase Stock Tokens Under Scrutiny From UK Regulator: Report
Ian Allison – Coindesk
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, has attracted the attention of regulators for selling “stock tokens,” designed to track the performance of shares in crypto-friendly companies like newly listed Coinbase and Tesla, the Financial Times reports.

Tiger Global Makes $25 Million Bet on Indian Crypto Exchange
Saritha Rai – Bloomberg
Investment is Tiger’s first in Indian cryptocurrency market; Series B round values CoinSwitch Kuber at over $500 million
Tiger Global Management invested $25 million in cryptocurrency exchange CoinSwitch Kuber, making its foray into the fast-growing digital currency market in India. The Series B round values Bangalore-based CoinSwitch Kuber at more than $500 million, according to a statement by the company Thursday. Earlier investors include Ribbit Capital, Paradigm and Sequoia Capital India, which invested $15 million in January.

BitMEX lays out ambitions to expand business into spot, custody, and education services
Frank Chaparro – The Block
Once the poster child for the Wild West of bitcoin derivatives trading, BitMEX announced Wednesday night its intensions to gate-crash a wide range of new businesses under a regulatory compliant mission. In a blog post shared with The Block, the Seychelles-registered futures trading venue said it would expand beyond its bread and butter derivatives business by adding spot, brokerage, custody and information services to its product offering. The announcement comes after the exchange rolled out a user verification program to KYC all of the users on its platform. The exchange underwent a leadership change last year after several of its executives—including its previous CEO Arthur Hayes—were charged with violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

US House Passes Bill to Require Financial Regulators to Set Up Digital Assets Working Group
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation including a section on digital assets, according to a press release from the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. Known as the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021 (H.R. 1602), the bill was introduced by Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) in March. The legislation seeks to set up a digital asset working group with representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Regulators to examine crypto exchange Binance’s foray into equities
Adam Samson, Philip Stafford and Olaf Storbeck – FT
European regulators are examining whether Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, has complied with securities rules over its launch of trading in stock tokens. In a new initiative that started last week, Binance says it allows users outside the US, China and Turkey to “trade equity shares through crypto coins”, with tokens that “represent a share in a stock corporation”. The move marked one of the most significant forays by a leading digital currency venue in to a specialised and heavily regulated market. Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s chief executive, said that when the tokens launched they “demonstrate how we can democratise value transfer more seamlessly, reduce friction and costs to accessibility, without compromising on compliance or security”.

Turks Suspect Big Crypto Losses as Exchange CEO Goes Missing
Taylan Bilgic and Firat Kozok – Bloomberg
Unable to retrieve their investments, users of Turkish crypto exchange Thodex have filed a complaint alleging fraud, with their lawyer saying hundreds of millions of dollars may have been stolen. The head of the exchange has been unreachable and allegedly fled the country. “We’ve filed a legal complaint on Wednesday,” Oguz Evren Kilic, who represents an unspecified number of Thodex users, said by phone on Thursday. With active users numbering about 390,000, assets that remain “irretrievable” may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Kraken Receives Support from RIT Capital
Bilal Jafar – Finance Magnates
RIT Capital Partners, a London-based investment trust, announced that the company has acquired a stake in cryptocurrency exchange Kraken. Founded in 1961, RIT Capital is a leading investment trust with a market capitalization of more than $5 billion. According to the official announcement, RIT Capital invested in Kraken last month. The British firm described Kraken as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide with more than 6 million clients.

Dogecoin Is a Joke, but It’s No Laughing Matter; The meme cryptocurrency is part of a wave of excess that has spread across a bunch of speculative assets over the past year
James Mackintosh – WSJ
Dogecoin is a joke cryptocurrency that on Tuesday was briefly worth $54 billion. Is that a sign that the entire market is in a phase of wild excess? My answer: On its own no—but with some major caveats. Before explaining, start with the joke. Pretty much every serious person who mentions dogecoin points out that it was created as a parody, back when dozens of new e-coins were being set up. That is true, but shouldn’t be a barrier: If something is useful, the intent of its founders shouldn’t put us off.

More News

Huobi affiliate launches bitcoin and ether funds for institutional investorsThe Block

Maker Price Passes $4K for First Time, as MakerDAO Brings Real Estate to DeFiInsider

More than 50% of young UK investors now trade crypto, raising concerns about risk-taking </b > — Coindesk

Signature Bank Goes Head-to-Head With Silvergate in Bitcoin-Backed LendingCoindesk


Bernie Sanders Introduces New Wall Street Tax To Fund Free College Tuition
Sarah Hansen – Forbes
TOPLINE Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Wednesday introduced legislation to make college tuition free for millions of Americans, paid for by a new tax on Wall Street trades.

Is Boris Johnson Serious About Climate Change? Getting the U.K.’s ambitious climate targets into legislation is important, but only Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak can make them reality.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
The climate action shifts to President Joe Biden on Thursday as he attempts to regain U.S. credibility on the topic at a two-day green summit. But as hosts of this year’s COP26 — and as the first country to pledge to get to net zero by 2050 — there’s also a lot at stake for the U.K. It’s no exaggeration to say that “Global Britain,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit branding for an outwardly engaged country, stands or falls on what his government says is its “foremost international priority.”

Question Over Forex Reserves Rattles Turkey’s Erdogan; Turks and foreign investors alike want to know where $128 billion went.
Bobby Ghosh – Bloomberg
“Where is the $128 billion?” The question, turned into a political slogan by Turkey’s largest opposition party and emblazoned on posters and billboards in Istanbul, has rattled the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

US to propose emissions cut of at least 50% by end of decade; Goal relative to 2005 levels announced as Biden hosts 40 world leaders at climate summit
Leslie Hook and James Politi – FT
US President Joe Biden will announce the country’s steepest ever emissions cuts, as he hosts 40 world leaders on Thursday for a summit on climate change that will include China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Biden will pledge to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 per cent by 2030 relative to 2005 levels, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which the White House says will help create American jobs.


Acting Chairman Behnam to Participate in a Fireside Keynote Chat at FIA’s Law & Compliance Division Conference

Commissioner Stump to Participate on a Panel at Global Blockchain Business Council Virtual Members Summit Americas Session

Commissioners Stump and Berkovitz to Participate on a Panel at FIA’s Law & Compliance Division Conference

Australian Institutional Investor Roundtable
A speech by Deputy Chair Karen Chester, to the Australian Institutional Investor Roundtable hosted by Standards Board for Alternative Investments (SBAI), Thursday 22 April 2021.

ASIC sets expectations of life and general insurers following a review of insurers’ responses to consumers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic
ASIC reviewed the responses of major life and general insurers to consumers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. ASIC focused on ensuring that insurers were doing everything possible to support consumers in times of need.

ASIC consults on draft guidance on breach reporting reforms
ASIC has issued Consultation Paper 340, seeking stakeholder feedback on proposed updates to its draft guidance on upcoming breach reporting reforms. ASIC’s draft regulatory guide reflects reforms made to the breach reporting regime under the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Act 2020. These reforms clarify and strengthen the existing obligation on AFS licensees to self-report certain breaches of the law to ASIC and extend the obligation to credit licensees.

FINRA Reminds Members About Requirements When Using Predispute Arbitration Agreements for Customer Accounts
FINRA reminds member firms about requirements when using predispute arbitration agreements for customer accounts. Where member firms use mandatory arbitration clauses in their customer agreements, FINRA rules establish minimum disclosure requirements regarding the use of such clauses and prohibit predispute arbitration agreements from including conditions that, among other things, limit or contradict FINRA rules.

FCA commences criminal proceedings for fraud and unauthorised business
Following an investigation, the FCA has commenced criminal proceedings against Larry Barreto and Tassib Hussain.

Why black inclusion matters to us
Speech by Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition, delivered at New Financial.

Investing and Trading

How Left-for-Dead Hertz Bonds Returned 1,000%; When the rental-car company filed for bankruptcy, its debt fell to pennies on the dollar. Now investors are poised for a full recovery.
Brian Chappatta – Bloomberg
About 11 months ago, it looked as if Hertz Global Holdings Inc. would join an infamous list of companies with bonds that never paid investors a penny in interest. Known colloquially as the “no-coupon-at-all” club, its potential induction reflected the simple fact that the rental-car giant borrowed in November 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged its business and forced it into bankruptcy in May 2020.

How Much Should Investors Be Worrying About China? There’s lots to be concerned about, from economic, technology and geopolitical tensions to the threat of a Lehman-style crisis.
John Authers – Bloomberg
China: The Sum of All Fears
One thing hasn’t changed since Donald Trump’s departure from the White House. China remains high on the agenda in the U.S., and in almost every sphere conflict seems inevitable. The top three China stories on the website at the time of writing were: Momentum Grows in Congress for Legislation Confronting China, ‘Diplomatic Boycott’ of Beijing Olympics Added to China Bill, and Australia Cancels China’s Belt and Road Deal With State. A similar snapshot at more or less any other time in the last few months would have yielded a similar picture.

ECB vows to persist with faster bond purchases to prop up recovery; Policymakers leave rates on hold and wait for Covid vaccines to aid reopening of economy
Martin Arnold – FT
The European Central Bank has reaffirmed its determination to keep borrowing costs low in the eurozone, saying it will maintain its recently increased pace of bond purchases until the bloc’s economy is firmly on the path to recovery.

The worrisome 1999 vibe to markets, Ebullient mood of investors indicates stocks are vulnerable to a correction
Tobias Levkovich – FT
For equity markets, the parallels between current conditions and those of 1999 are striking and worrisome. The investor mood in markets has been in ebullient territory since last November, when high-efficacy vaccine news lifted spirits as a budding light at the end of the tragic pandemic tunnel.

Workplace software group UiPath jumps on NYSE debut; Shares in task automation business rise 23% after down-round IPO
Miles Kruppa and Aziza Kasumov – FT
Shares in workplace software company UiPath rose on their Wall Street debut on Wednesday after one of the largest initial public offerings in the sector.

Hawks press ECB to scale back bond buying despite rising Covid wave; Conservative policymakers urge central bank to lay ground for tighter monetary policy
Martin Arnold – FT
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe last year, conservative policymakers at the European Central Bank have put aside their discomfort with ultra-loose monetary policy to stand behind the region’s crisis-hit economy.

Corporate Bond Gauge Signals Dwindling Economic Risk; Speculative-grade bond spreads are narrow, a measure of investors’ outlook for the economy
Sam Goldfarb – WSJ
A key measure of the perceived risk in low-rated corporate bonds is hovering around its lowest level in more than a decade, highlighting investors’ mounting confidence in the economic outlook. The average extra yield, or spread, investors demand to hold speculative-grade corporate bonds over U.S. Treasurys dropped below 3 percentage points this month to as low as 2.90 percentage points for the first time since 2007, when it set a record of 2.33 percentage points, according to Bloomberg Barclays data.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

BNP Paribas joins the Net-Zero Banking Alliance launched by the UNEP
BNP Paribas
In line with its commitments to fight climate change, BNP Paribas has joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) launched today by the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). This banking alliance is a decisive step in the mobilization of the financial sector for climate. It is part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero chaired by Mark Carney ahead of COP26.
BNP Paribas has included the pursuit of positive environmental impacts in its ‘company purpose’ and intends to make sustainable finance a major driver of its next strategic plan. The Group is convinced that achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement requires the mobilization of the entire financial system.

Do as Banks Say—and, Hopefully, as They Do; The world’s largest financial institutions are all saying the same thing: It’s time to factor in climate change.
Nathaniel Bullard – Bloomberg
As this newsletter hits your inbox, President Joe Biden will be convening his Leaders Summit on Climate, to which the White House has invited 40 world leaders to “galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.” Biden is expected to announce plans to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least half from 2005 levels by 2030, a near-doubling of the climate target set for 2025 by the Obama administration.

Japan Pledges Stricter 2030 Emissions Reduction Target
Stephen Stapczynski and Emi Nobuhiro – Bloomberg
Nation to curb emisisons by 46% from 2013 levels by 2030; Prime Minister Suga targets net-zero emissions by 2050
Japan will strengthen its 2030 emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, amid an effort to become carbon neutral by the middle of the century. The country aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030 compared with 2013, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday ahead of the global climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. Japan had previously targeted a 26% reduction.

WPP Rallies $60 Billion in Client Spending to Hit Net Zero Goal
Ivan Levingston and Jess Shankleman – Bloomberg
Firm wants to reach net zero emissions across supply chain; Says sustainability will influence media purchasing choices
Advertising giant WPP Plc pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain to net zero by 2030 in an industry-leading push that will mobilize billions of dollars in media spending.

Hungary Is Seeking Buyers for the Longest Sovereign Green Bond
Marton Eder – Bloomberg
Eastern European nation sells more 30-year notes than planned; Debut domestic green bond’s yield is among highest in region
Hungary sold more of its debut domestic green bond than planned, as investors flocked to the high yield offered by the world’s longest maturing eco-friendly debt. Investors bid 141 billion forint ($470 million) for the local currency notes due in 2051, allowing the debt agency to sell 30 billion forint or 50% more than expected, according to auction results published on Bloomberg. The average yield was 3.69%, among the highest in Europe and a full percentage point above its conventional 10-year bonds.

Invesco launches first ‘green building’ ETF; UN estimates the building sector accounts for 38% of global carbon emissions
Steve Johnson – FT
Invesco is launching what is believed to be the world’s first “green building” exchange traded fund, aiming to fill a gap in portfolios in a world increasingly focused on climate change.

ETFs present ‘recipe for climate chaos’ study claims; Campaigning group research finds only a quarter of leading managers’ investments had coal-exclusion policies
Chris Flood – FT
Record breaking growth for index-tracking exchange traded funds represents a “recipe for climate chaos” according to a new study that blasts asset managers for failing to reduce coal exposures in passively managed investment portfolios.


Credit Suisse’s Prime Unit Risk Chief Had Been Archegos Salesman
Sridhar Natarajan and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Bank’s head of prime-services risk stepped down after blowup; Firm has been tarred by repeated risk failings in recent years
Wall Street banks have long relied on a familiar system to limit the dangers of trading with big clients: assign sales staff to win deals, and risk controllers to keep them in check — even if it sacrifices some profit.

JPMorgan Gets Caught Up in Europe’s Big Soccer League Blunder
David Hellier and Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
The U.S. bank was set to finance the project with $4.8 billion; More than half the Super League teams have now pulled out
Funding a revolution is always a risky business, and one of the world’s largest banks is now exposed to a very public defeat in the emotional arena of soccer. JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to back Europe’s breakaway league to the tune of 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion). The plan was to create a new competition that would guarantee games and revenue for the participating clubs for years to come, and help embed the U.S. financier at the center of the most popular sport on the planet.

Credit Suisse Raises $2 Billion as CEO Cuts Hedge Fund Unit
Patrick Winters and Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
Swiss regulator starts enforcement proceedings against bank; Credit Suisse has placed convertible notes to boost capital
Credit Suisse Group AG is raising $2 billion from investors and cutting the hedge fund unit at the center of the Archegos Capital Management losses as Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein seeks to recover from one of the most turbulent periods in the bank’s recent history.

Credit Suisse to raise $1.9bn of capital as it reels from Archegos losses; Swiss financial regulator opens investigation into bank’s $4.7bn trading loss
Owen Walker – FT
Credit Suisse is raising SFr1.7bn ($1.9bn) of capital from investors in a bid to rebuild its balance sheet as it reels from back-to-back crises involving Archegos Capital and Greensill Capital that have triggered investigations by the Swiss financial regulator.

Need A Meeting Room? This Bank CEO’s Office Is Open for Bookings
Harry Wilson – Bloomberg
Bank scraps dedicated offices for more than 800 staff globally; Flexible working adopted in pandemic now being made permanent
Standard Chartered Plc Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters has cleared out his London office. He’s not the latest banking boss to lose his job, but one of hundreds of managers giving up their executive suites as the lender moves to permanent hybrid working in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hedge Fund IPM Shuts Doors After Losing $4 Billion in Pandemic
Love Liman – Bloomberg
Informed Portfolio Management, a Swedish hedge fund that had relied on statistical models to devise its strategies, is set to shut its doors and return investor capital after losing roughly $4 billion during the pandemic. IPM, whose main owner is Stockholm-based investment firm Catella AB, had assets under management of close to $5 billion in late 2019, before the pandemic hit. A year later, that amount had more than halved to $2 billion, with the investor exodus since then depleting assets to about $750 million.

Greensill parent enters liquidation; Creditors vote to wind up Australia-based group that collapsed under A$4.9bn of debt
Jamie Smyth – FT
Creditors have voted to liquidate Greensill Capital’s Australian business, which collapsed last month with debts of A$4.9bn to companies including Credit Suisse and SoftBank.

JPMorgan Chase has scored a Super League own goal; The failed plan to reorganise Europe’s most popular sport spoke to the arrogance of anything-goes globalisation
Philip Stephens – FT
Perhaps JPMorgan Chase is just too rich and powerful to care. It was certainly caught unawares. Presumably, executives in Europe failed to warn the bosses back in New York that a multi-billion-dollar plan to change the face of European football for the benefit of a dozen or so super-rich club owners risked igniting a political firestorm.

Blackstone Notches Record $1.75 Billion Profit as Growth Strategy Pays Off; Firm’s private-equity portfolio far outpaced the S&P 500 during the first quarter
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Blackstone Group Inc. BX 1.02% swung to a record quarterly profit as its focus on fast-growing companies helped the value of its investments climb more than the broader market. The investment giant posted net income of $1.75 billion, or $2.46 a share, for the first quarter. That compares with a loss of $1.07 billion, or $1.58 a share, in the coronavirus-battered first quarter of 2020.

JPMorgan reportedly hiring more junior bankers to battle burnout
JPMorgan Chase is set to hire more junior bankers and support staff to tackle burnout as the largest US bank takes on record volumes of activity, a source with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday. The bank has hired about 90 junior bankers and support staff, and will hire 100 more globally, the source said.


UK companies in financial distress rise at fastest pace in 7 years; Fears mount for ‘zombie’ businesses as government Covid support will soon come to an end
Daniel Thomas – FT
The number of companies in significant financial distress has risen at the fastest rate in more than seven years, sparking warnings that “the dam of zombie businesses could be about to break” when government Covid-19 support comes to an end in the summer.

BoE plans to reshape Leeds hub in levelling-up move; Cash centre to shut but operations and ‘substantial’ number of staff to move north
Delphine Strauss – FT
The Bank of England is closing its cash distribution centre in Leeds while planning to establish a northern hub in the city as part of a move to bolster its regional presence around the UK.

U.S. Blacklists State-Owned Myanmar Timber and Pearl Companies; The sanctions come as the U.S. ramps up pressure on the military regime in Myanmar
Mengqi Sun – WSJ
The U.S. imposed sanctions on two state-owned enterprises in the timber and pearl industries in Myanmar on Wednesday, as the U.S. ramps up pressure on the military regime in the country in response to the military coup there in February, the Treasury Department said.


UK ‘throwing kitchen sink’ at making N Ireland Brexit deal work; Trade groups say efforts stepped up to implement the protocol despite Johnson’s claims
Peter Foster and Jim Brunsden – FT
Boris Johnson called some of its requirements “absurd” and “ludicrous” this week. But even as Britain’s prime minister talks up “further steps” to unilaterally mitigate the effects of his post-Brexit deal with the EU on Northern Ireland, the UK government machine is “throwing the kitchen sink” at making it work.

Brexit: Council defends Larne Port Brexit staff withdrawal
Conor Macauley – BBC News
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has defended a decision to withdraw port staff doing post-Brexit checks after allegations of loyalist intimidation. DUP mayor Peter Johnston and chief executive Anne Donaghy gave evidence to a Stormont committee on Thursday. They denied the withdrawal had been a political decision and said it was in the interest of staff safety. Mr Johnston said the council had been vindicated and would take the same decision in similar circumstances.

5 Questions for Britain’s Brexit Man on Wall Street
Matt Peterson – Barron’s
Edward Price has enjoyed a special vantage point into big changes in the global economy. He was Britain’s man on Wall Street all the way from the United Kingdom’s formal triggering of the exit process in 2017 through the its final departure from the European Union earlier this year. As a trade official with the consulate in New York, his job was to field questions from hedge funds, banks, and asset managers and feed that intel back to London. That position put him in the heart of the information flow around one of the great drivers of global uncertainty.

With an eye on voters, UK PM Johnson sets up policy delivery unit
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is setting up a new unit to deliver on his policies, his spokesman said on Wednesday, underlining the British leader’s focus on honouring promises he made to non-traditional Conservative voters at the last election. Johnson won a large majority in the 2019 election, winning over voters who had never voted for his Conservative Party by promising to deliver Brexit quickly and also to “level up” Britain to bring investment to less well off towns. His advisers have often complained that bureaucracy slows the delivery of many policies and the new delivery unit is seen as key to try to make good on promises to build schools, hospitals and create jobs before the next election in 2024.


Covid Is Turning the Closest BFFs Into Long-Lost Friends; You’ve read the headlines: People are exiting cities in droves. What happens when your best friend leaves town, too?
Candace Taylor – WSJ
I met my Brooklyn best friend at the playground one day, a few months after moving into a new neighborhood with my husband and 2-year-old son. When my son started playing with her daughter, we realized that they went to the same daycare. We were both pregnant with our second children at the time, and we bonded immediately. It turned out she and her family lived only a few blocks from us and owned a fixer-upper townhouse, just like us.

Why Wall Street is salivating over the garbage business
Josh Kosman – NY Post
Their business is utter trash — and their stocks could soar as a result. Garbage truck companies may soon be all the rage — thanks to a new report making the rounds on Wall Street that’s advising investors not to overlook the waste management sector when searching for industries that might benefit from the economic rebound being triggered by coronavirus vaccinations.

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