SEC Says Self-Reporting Key Factor in Reducing Off-Channel Communication Fines

Apr 4, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Yesterday was the 176th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Board of Trade in a flour store attic. It opened on April 3, 1848 as a cash market for grain and offered “to-arrive” or “forward” contracts.

The Futures for Kids Fun Run is set for May 23 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London. If you are interested in sponsoring the Fun Run, contact Emma Davey of the FIA

EEX CEO Peter Reitz wrote on LinkedIn that EEX’s inaugural week of power trading in the Nordic region has yielded promising results, marking a successful launch into the market. Initial turnover with the new zonal power futures saw ten trades conducted in the Swedish (SE3) and Danish (DK1) market areas, totaling 32,811 MWh in volume traded. Notably, the first trade was executed between Norlys Energy Trading A/S and Uniper in the SE3 market area.

Cboe Global Markets reported its March 2024 trading volume. Among the highlights were a record-setting block trade in Cboe iBoxx iShares $ High Yield Corporate Bond Index (IBHY) Futures, executed on March 22nd, representing $75 million in notional value. Also, Cboe Japan achieved a new monthly lit market share record of 5.3%, surpassing its last record set in February 2023.

Mohd Saleem, director of derivatives market at Bursa Malaysia, announced on LinkedIn a new record for the Bursa Malaysia Crude Palm Oil Futures (FCPO) contract, reaching a daily trading volume of 141,691 contracts on April 3, 2024, surpassing the previous high of 126,755 contracts on March 17, 2020. This surge coincides with a bullish trend in FCPO prices, with a 2.2% increase in the benchmark third-month contract, closing at RM4,407 per tonne. He said experts attribute this rise to strength in rival edible oils, firm crude oil prices, and anticipation of increased demand ahead of Eid al-Fitr. Additionally, the open interest for all derivatives products combined reached a new high of 366,962 contracts on March 26, 2024.

ICE’s Chris Edmonds was interviewed at FIA Boca by Sean McMahon on the Modern Money SmartPod in a podcast titled “Road Trip: ICE’s Chris Edmonds Talks AI and Other Data Trends in Capital Markets.”

The theme of the GCSI Annual Conference 2024 on April 18, 2024 at the Illinois Institute of Technology this year is “Building Cyber Resilience – Surviving threats today and tomorrow.” You can see the agenda HERE. I will be conducting a fireside chat at the conference at 10:45 with Darin Hurd, CISO of Guaranteed Rate.

CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam is set to discuss global regulatory priorities and participate in a Q&A session at ISDA’s 38th Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, from 3:50 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. (Tokyo/JT) at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo, Japan. Additionally, he will engage in an interview at the same venue on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at 11:05 a.m. (Tokyo/JT).

CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham is slated to address the topic of “The New World of Digital Assets” on a panel at HSBC’s Global Investment Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. (Hong Kong/GMT+8) at the Grand Ballroom Level LL of the Conrad Hong Kong.

In the latest Open Call session organized by the Security Traders Association, Brett Harrison, the founder and CEO of Architect Financial Technologies and former CEO of FTX US, took the spotlight. Harrison delivered a presentation titled “Machine Learning: The Next Piece of the Puzzle?” where he looked into the potential role of machine learning in the financial industry.
Watch HERE. Listen HERE.

Greenwood Project Co-Founder Bevon Joseph has been recognized with the Alumni Impact Award by DePaul University School of Continuing and Professional Studies, he shared on LinkedIn.

If you are attending the Options Conference in Asheville, NC on April 30 to May 2 and have news and would like to be interviewed by John Lothian News, please contact me at to set it up.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Turmoil in India’s exchange-traded FX options on forced position unwinding from Reuters.
Options Insider Radio Interviews: Talking 0 DTE, Bitcoin Options, 1-Day VIX and More with Cboe Global Markets from Options Insider.
Rate Cuts from Cboe (video). ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


Johnson to greenlight four Loop office-to-residential conversions
Danny Ecker – Crain’s Chicago Business
Four projects that would use massive taxpayer subsidies to help turn outmoded office buildings on and near LaSalle Street into nearly 1,100 apartments are poised to move a key step closer to reality. Mayor Brandon Johnson is expected to announce tomorrow that the city will move forward with negotiations for proposed office-to-residential conversions of properties at 111 W. Monroe St., 208 S. LaSalle St., 30 N. LaSalle St. and 79 W. Monroe St., according to people familiar with the plan. The planned redevelopments are part of the LaSalle Street Reimagined initiative launched in 2022 by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

****** For years it felt like I lived on LaSalle Street. Now I really can.~JJL


Want to swim the Chicago River? Open-water event gets the green light.
Jack Grieve – Crain’s Chicago Business
Open-water swimming will return to the once heavily contaminated Chicago River this fall during an event organizers are pitching as a celebration of the waterway’s environmental turnaround. Five hundred people are expected to participate in the organized swim, slated for the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 22. Swimmers will opt for a 1-mile or 2-mile route, with the course looping the main stem of the downtown river corridor between State Street and Wolf Point.

***** Green is the operative word here.~JJL


Collectibles – an enjoyable way to lose money; Don’t try to pretend that collecting books, coins, whisky or classic cars is investing
Simon Edelsten – Financial Times
I have a recollection of some 18th-century Frenchman once writing: “Collectors are like a man who eats oysters – he chooses the best at first but ends up eating them all.” Collectors will recognise this tendency. I confess I count myself in this camp, though I am having counselling to resist the urges. For me it started with buying a first edition of Raymond Chandler’s 1953 classic, The Long Goodbye. Next it became a full set of American first editions. Then others. They were always books that meant a lot to me – like Molesworth, Pooh or Dickens. With Dickens it was bound copies of some of his books as they were first published in monthly instalments. The pleasure was in reading him as those first readers had nearly 200 years ago.

******* My brother Dave will never get his money out of his beer can collection, but then most of them were garbage picked. Still, those cone-tops can still get a pretty penny in return.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story Wednesday was Cboe eyes physically-delivered VIX options for US futures traders, from FOW. Second was Polestar’s Head of Sustainability Has a Plan to Make EVs Even Cleaner, from Bloomberg. Third was New bills aims to give Californians better work-life balance, from NBC Bay Area.



Lead Stories

SEC Says Self-Reporting Key Factor in Reducing Off-Channel Communication Fines; A senior enforcement official said the regulator considers several factors in determining the size of penalties imposed on financial institutions over recordkeeping violations
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
A financial firm’s decision to disclose recordkeeping rule violations directly to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission can potentially reduce the fine it receives by a significant amount, a senior enforcement official said. Sanjay Wadhwa, deputy director of the SEC’s enforcement division, on Wednesday detailed how the regulator assesses fines in such cases, adding that he was responding to “a critique from the defense bar” that the agency was “picking numbers at random.”

The big trading shake-up that is about to hit fund managers; Investors need to ready for the T+1 change in processing or risk unwelcome costs
Gerard Walsh – Financial Times
For fund and investment managers around the world, every sliver of a percentage point of return matters. That is why they need to be ready for what is known as T+1 – an imminent US, Canadian and Mexican rule change on trade processing that risks adding unwelcome costs and a drag on performance. In the smartphone era, buying and selling financial instruments is a superficially simple act. A few taps and you can be the proud owner of an exchange traded fund or shares in a far-off country.

Did One Guy Just Stop a Huge Cyberattack? A Microsoft engineer noticed something was off on a piece of software he worked on. He soon discovered someone was probably trying to gain access to computers all over the world.
Kevin Roose – The New York Times
The internet, as anyone who works deep in its trenches will tell you, is not a smooth, well-oiled machine. It’s a messy patchwork that has been assembled over decades, and is held together with the digital equivalent of Scotch tape and bubble gum. Much of it relies on open-source software that is thanklessly maintained by a small army of volunteer programmers who fix the bugs, patch the holes and ensure the whole rickety contraption, which is responsible for trillions of dollars in global G.D.P., keeps chugging along. Last week, one of those programmers may have saved the internet from huge trouble.

Ripple Plans to Launch Dollar-Backed Stablecoin
Vicky Ge Huang – The Wall Street Journal
Crypto firm Ripple Labs plans to issue a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin this year. The token will be 100% backed by U.S. dollar deposits, short-term U.S. Treasurys, and other cash equivalents, Ripple said Thursday. These reserve assets will be audited by an as-yet undisclosed third-party accounting firm, and Ripple will publish monthly attestations, it said. Attestations show a snapshot of a stablecoin’s reserves and liabilities, compared to more-thorough audits.

Google considers charging for AI-powered search; Proposals would mark first time any of the software group’s core product falls behind a paywall
Madhumita Murgia and Richard Waters – Financial Times
Google is considering charging for new “premium” features powered by generative artificial intelligence, in what would be the biggest ever shake-up of its search business. The proposed revamp to its cash cow search engine would mark the first time the company has put any of its core product behind a paywall, and shows it is still grappling with a technology that threatens its advertising business, almost a year and a half after the debut of ChatGPT.

Commodity trading profits hit record $104bn last year; New entrants including tech-focused traders and hedge funds helped drive unexpected increase in earnings
Tom Wilson – Financial Times
The commodity trading industry made record estimated profits of $104bn last year, a McKinsey report said, even as market volatility decreased and earnings at some of the biggest groups fell. The surprise increase from 2022, when the fallout from the war in Ukraine pushed up prices and supercharged profits, was driven by a wave of new entrants into the sector – including tech-focused traders and hedge funds – and rising returns from power trading activities, according to a report by consultants McKinsey.

China’s quant funds count the cost of regulatory clampdown; Executives fear end of outsized returns after Beijing targets small cap trading strategies
Cheng Leng – Financial Times
Computer-driven traders in China’s $250bn quant sector are overhauling their strategies in response to a regulatory crackdown that threatens to curb industry growth and returns after a decade of gains. Funds including Lingjun Investment and High-Flyer Capital Management, which each managed Rmb60bn ($8.3bn) at their peak, are changing their complex trading algorithms to comply with restrictions on speculative bets as Beijing tightens its grip on Chinese markets following a heavy sell-off.

Regulator fines broker-dealer for recommending leveraged ETPs; Finra orders two Stifel divisions to pay $2.3mn after losses incurred by 381 customers who held the products too long
David Isenberg – Financial Times
The US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority hit two Stifel broker-dealer divisions with $2.3mn in fines and restitution over unsuitable recommendations on leveraged exchange traded products. The Stifel broker-dealers failed to implement policies that would limit recommendations of leveraged and inverse ETPs and ETFs to only be held briefly, according to a settlement published last week.

Trump Media’s Founders Are Fighting; Also Hunterbrook’s consulting budget, Blue Owl and insurance, and Endeavor private planes.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
Trump SPAC
Probably Donald Trump should have just issued a crypto token, called it “DJT,” gone around saying “this is the crypto token of me, Donald Trump,” kept 90% of it for himself, and let it trade. People who like Trump would buy it, it would go up, his stake would be worth billions of dollars, and he could sell tokens to raise money for himself. Just a straightforward memecoin. I suppose the problem with this is that Trump has a lot of older, less crypto-native fans, and this would not be an effective way to tap them for money.

US bank regulator eyes scrutiny of asset manager stakes in banks
Pete Schroeder – Reuters
A top U.S. banking regulator is considering a plan to ensure asset management giants BlackRock , Vanguard and State Street stick to their passive roles when it comes to investments in U.S. banks, a senior regulatory official said on Tuesday. Jonathan McKernan, a board member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), is championing an order that would direct FDIC staff to regularly examine large asset managers who own a stake of more than 10% in FDIC-regulated banks to ensure they are not improperly influencing their operations.

SEC Enforcement Chief Touts Progress in Coinbase Case
Dave Michaels – The Wall Street Journal
A top Securities and Exchange Commission official highlighted a federal court’s favorable decision in the lawsuit regulators filed against Coinbase Global last year and scolded the broader crypto industry for trying to undermine the agency’s authority. SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal made the remarks Wednesday at a legal conference in Washington. Grewal quoted portions of U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla’s recent order allowing the SEC’s case against Coinbase to proceed.

Majority of recent CO2 emissions linked to just 57 producers, report says
Kate Abnett and Riham Alkousaa – Reuters
Emissions traced to fossil fuel, cement producers. Most companies expanded production since 2016. CO2 data already being used in climate lawsuits. The vast majority of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions since 2016 can be traced to a group of 57 fossil fuel and cement producers, researchers said on Thursday. From 2016 to 2022, the 57 entities including nation-states, state-owned firms and investor-owned companies produced 80% of the world’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement production, said the Carbon Majors report by non-profit think tank InfluenceMap. The world’s top three CO2-emitting companies in the period were state-owned oil firm Saudi Aramco, Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom and state-owned producer Coal India, the report said.

Fed Blocks Tough Global Climate Rules for Wall Street Banks; ECB has been pushing Basel Committee to set requirements; US, European officials differ over approach for new standards
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
US regulators, led by the Federal Reserve, have thwarted a push to make climate risk a focus of global financial rules, according to people familiar with the matter. European central bankers have been advocating for the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to agree on requiring lenders to disclose their strategies for meeting green commitments. In closed-door meetings, US officials have cited their narrow mandate and concerns that the Basel Committee was overstepping its purpose, some of the people said.

Ukraine Invasion

Exclusive-U.S. sanctions hamper Russian efforts to repair refineries, sources say
Robert Harvey – Reuters
When engineers at Russian oil firm Lukoil discovered a turbine had broken at their largest refinery on January 4, they quickly realised the problem was far from trivial. There was only one company that knew how to repair the gasoline-producing unit at the NORSI refinery, located on the Volga River, some 430 km (270 miles) east of Moscow. The problem was that the company is American, according to five sources familiar with the incident.

Russia says backup power line to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has gone down
A backup power line supplying the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has gone down, the Russian-controlled management of the plant said on Thursday. Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power company, Energoatom, said the main 750 kilovolt (kV) power line, recently restored by Ukrainian engineers, was still running.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres says Israel targeted staff in Gaza ‘car by car’
World Central Kitchen (WCK) founder Jose Andres has accused Israeli forces in Gaza of targeting his aid workers “systematically, car by car”. Monday’s strike which killed seven members of his staff was not a mistake, he said, repeating that Israeli forces had been told of their movements.

US defence secretary rebukes Israel over killing of aid workers in Gaza; Lloyd Austin warns strike highlights dangers of Israeli plan to attack Rafah
Guy Chazan – Financial Times
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has rebuked Israel over the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza, warning that it highlighted the dangers of Israel’s intention to attack the town of Rafah, where more than 1mn civilians are sheltering. The Pentagon’s description of Wednesday’s call between Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant said the deaths of the World Central Kitchen workers “reinforced the expressed concern over a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, specifically focusing on the need to ensure the evacuation of Palestinian civilians and the flow of humanitarian aid”.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Cboe Clear Europe adds two key players to launch of securities financing transactions clearing service; Bank of America and State Street are set to support the service from its launch, anticipated in Q3 2024, adding to the likes of BNY Mellon, Citi and JP Morgan who are already behind the initiative.
Sophia Thompson – The Trade
Cboe Clear Europe has garnered additional support from key players to launch its Central Counterparty (CCP) clearing service for securities financing transactions (SFTs). With Bank of America and State Street onboard, the total number of launch participants now stands at nine, encompassing banks, clearing firms, asset managers and custodians.

Euronext MTS to facilitate European Central Bank’s euro-denominated bonds electronic trading platforms; The contract covers euro-denominated European government bonds and bills, corporate bonds, senior unsecured bank bonds, covered bonds, and supranational, agency and sovereign bonds.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Euronext’s dealer to client trading platform MTS has secured the contract to supply the European Central Bank (ECB) with electronic trading platforms for euro-denominated bonds.MTS covers rates, credit and repo. The contract agreed with the ECB covers euro-denominated European government bonds and bills, corporate bonds, senior unsecured bank bonds, covered bonds, and supranational, agency and sovereign bonds.

Tradeweb Reports March 2024 Total Trading Volume of $36.2 Trillion and Average Daily Volume of $1.81 Trillion; March 2024 ADV up 19.9% YoY; First Quarter 2024 ADV up 39.1% YoY
Tradeweb Markets
Tradeweb Markets Inc. (Nasdaq: TW), a leading, global operator of electronic marketplaces for rates, credit, equities and money markets, today reported total trading volume for the month of March 2024 of $36.2 trillion (tn)[1]. Average daily volume (ADV) for the month was $1.81tn, an increase of 19.9 percent (%) year-over-year (YoY). For the first quarter of 2024, total trading volume was $116.9tn and ADV was a record $1.90tn, an increase of 39.1% YoY, with preliminary average variable fees per million dollars of volume traded of $2.56.[2]

Vanguard begins clearing NDFs on LCH; Addition of mutual fund giant gives big boost to client-cleared activity on ForexClear Dennis Diatel/Alamy
Joe Parsons –
US mutual fund manager Vanguard has begun clearing its non-deliverable forward (NDF) transactions at LCH ForexClear, according to three sources. It is understood the Philadelphia-based firm started clearing its NDFs through a clearing member bank earlier this year.

Cboe Global Markets Reports Trading Volume for March 2024
Cboe Global Markets
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), the world’s leading derivatives and securities exchange network, today reported March 2024 trading volume statistics across its global business lines and provided guidance for selected revenue per contract/net revenue capture metrics for the first quarter of 2024. The data sheet “Cboe Global Markets Monthly Volume & RPC/Net Revenue Capture Report” contains an overview of certain March trading statistics and market share by business segment, volume in select index products, and RPC/net capture, which is reported on a one-month lag, across business lines.

QuayStreet Asset Management Recognised with Double Morningstar Win: Fund Manager and KiwiSaver Manager of the Year.
New Zealand Exchange
QuayStreet Asset Management (QuayStreet) is proud to acknowledge two significant industry awards from Morningstar in recognition of delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to clients. Anna Scott, CEO of NZX’s Smartshares unit, said the awards for both Fund Manager and KiwiSaver Manager of the Year, attest to the QuayStreet team’s hard work and dedication to clients; and are also a timely endorsement of the NZX’s investment in QuayStreet and commitment to retain people and investment process.

Ethiopian Stock Exchange Gets Bids for Twice the Shares on Offer; Interested investors include the TDB, FSD Africa and NGX Group; The bourse planned to raise $11.1 million to start operation
Eric Ombok and Fasika Tadesse – Bloomberg
The Ethiopian Securities Exchange said it received bids for more than twice the shares it offered investors as the Horn of Africa nation’s bourse raises funds to start operations. Investors bid for more than 1.51 billion birr ($26.6 million) of shares, surpassing the firm’s target of raising 631 million birr, Chief Executive Officer Tilahun Kassahun told reporters in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Euronext Corporate Services launches new Governance solutions with Annual General Meetings Voting Insight and ESG Data distribution
New AGM Voting Insight service pioneers shareholder voting analysis for Investor Relations. IR.Manager SaaS investor relation platform now enhanced with new enriched ESG data on funds and investment organisations. Euronext Corporate Services releases new solutions to support listed companies in their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy and their shareholder engagement with the launch of an Annual General Meetings (AGM) Voting Insight solution and a new version of its SaaS investor relation platform IR.Manager, now including ESG data distribution.

Capital Mortgage Services selects MSP loan servicing system from ICE
Intercontinental Exchange
Capital Mortgage Services has chosen MSP to help scale its servicing operations; The mortgage banking firm will also use MSP’s integrated solutions to support an exceptional customer experience. Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, announced that Capital Mortgage Services , a Lubbock-based mortgage bank with clients across the 50 states and the Virgin Islands, has selected the MSP® loan servicing system and a suite of integrated solutions to help scale its operations, lower costs and to continue to deliver a stand-out customer experience. MSP is a comprehensive, end-to-end platform that supports all aspects of servicing – from loan boarding to default – for first mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit, on a single system.

Suspension Of Copper-Grade A Brand Cf-Tiefeng
London Metal Exchange
Summary. Please be advised that no further deliveries of Copper-Grade A brand CF-TIEFENG, produced by Chifeng Yuntong Non-Ferrous Metals Co., Ltd, will be accepted for LME warranting with effect from 04 July 2024.

Suspension Of Aluminium Alloy Brand Jbmi
London Metal Exchange
Summary. Please be advised that no further deliveries of Aluminium Alloy brand JBMI, produced by JBM International Ltd, will be accepted for LME warranting with effect from 04 July 2024.

Suspension Of Cobalt Brand Huayou
London Metal Exchange
Summary. Please be advised that no further deliveries of Cobalt brand HUAYOU, produced by Quzhou Huayou Cobalt New Material Co., Ltd, will be accepted for LME warranting with effect from 04 July 2024.

Suspension Of Nasaac Brand Jbmi
London Metal Exchange
Summary. Please be advised that no further deliveries of NASAAC brand JBMI, produced by JBM International Ltd, will be accepted for LME warranting with effect from 04 July 2024.


The Derivatives Service Bureau calls for industry input on OTC Derivative Identifier Services; Upcoming DSB consultation seeks stakeholder views on the evolution of OTC ISIN, UPI and CFI Services
The Derivatives Service Bureau
The Derivatives Service Bureau (DSB), the golden source of reference data for Over-the-Counter (OTC) derivatives, has released the schedule for the 2024 industry consultation relating to the OTC International Securities Identification Number (ISIN), Unique Product Identifier (UPI) and Classification Financial Instrument (CFI) service provisions. The DSB annual industry consultation plays a vital role in shaping the DSB’s services. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate to ensure a broad range of views are considered, so the DSB can continue to meet the needs of its user community.

How Singapore became Asia’s go-to hub for start-ups; The city-state’s location, high reporting standards and reputation for stability make it an attractive base in the region
Mercedes Ruehl – Financial Times
Singapore, despite its modest size and population, is home to more businesses in this year’s ranking of high-growth companies in the Asia-Pacific region than any rival city. This is not unusual for the city-state of just 6mn people. A trading entrepôt between east and west, the island nation has long been a leading destination for entrepreneurs and investors thanks to its strategic location within south-east Asia, supportive government policies, strong legal frameworks, and a mix of both local and foreign workers.

Google Considers Fees for AI-Fueled Search Features, FT Says
Davey Alba and Julia Love – Bloomberg
Google is considering charging for new “premium” features run by artificial intelligence, the Financial Times reported, marking the first time it would put any of its core product behind a paywall. The tech giant is mulling options such as adding certain AI search features to its premium subscription services, the FT reported, citing three unnamed people familiar with the plans. Engineers are developing the technology to roll out the service but executives haven’t decided whether or when to launch it, according to the report. Google’s ubiquitous search engine would continue to be free and ads would appear alongside search results even to subscribers, the FT said.

Nvidia Partner Bets $3.9 Billion on the Midwest’s Chip-Making Potential; SK Hynix plans facility in West Lafayette, Ind., amid uptick in Midwestern semiconductor projects
Jiyoung Sohn and John Keilman – The Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s said it plans to invest $3.9 billion in an advanced chip-packaging facility in West Lafayette, Ind., the latest win for Midwestern states seeking a bigger piece of America’s burgeoning semiconductor industry. The planned plant is set to mass-produce high-bandwidth memory, or HBM, a critical component to artificial-intelligence computing, SK Hynix said Wednesday. The facility, which will also host research-and-development activities, is expected to start mass production in the second half of 2028 and bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the region, the firm said.


BlackBerry reports surprise profit on demand for cybersecurity services
Canada’s BlackBerry (BB.TO) reported a surprise profit for the fourth quarter on Wednesday, helped by higher demand for its cybersecurity services amid growing online crimes and high-profile hacks. U.S.-listed shares of the company rose 6.4% after the bell.

EU drops sovereignty requirements in cybersecurity certification scheme, document shows
Foo Yun Chee – Reuters
Amazon, Alphabet’s Google and Microsoft may find it easier to bid for EU cloud computing contracts after draft cybersecurity labelling rules scrapped a requirement that vendors should be independent from non-EU laws, according to the document seen by Reuters. The European Union has struggled to agree to a cybersecurity certification scheme (EUCS) to vouch for the cybersecurity of cloud services and help governments and companies in the bloc to select a secure and trusted vendor for their business.

US gov’t commits $3.6M to address cybersecurity skill shortage; NIST allocated nearly $3.6 million in cooperative agreements to enhance the cybersecurity workforce aiming to combat the growing threat of cyberattacks.
Savannah Fortis – CoinTelegraph
The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said it awarded cooperative agreements of almost $3.6 million, aiming to build a workforce to help guard businesses against cybersecurity risks. The NIST, an agency of the Department of Commerce, announced on April 3 that 18 education and community-focused organizations in 15 states will receive grants of roughly $200,000 to address the shortage of skilled cybersecurity employees.


As Halving Approaches, Miners Turn Record Profits Into New Strategies; Halving hype and ETF inflows have left Bitcoin miners with all-time profit margins. Firms are accumulating money in a mad dash, and reinvesting it to prepare for the imminent halving.
Landon Manning – Bitcoin Magazine
With Bitcoin’s next halving set to take place this month, miners are using record profits to adapt their business models for chaotic opportunities. The halving is almost upon us. As the whole world of Bitcoin waits with bated breath for mining rewards to be cut in half, the potential for new revenue streams has left us wondering how the space will react to new market conditions. Halvings in the past have generally been associated with prosperity for Bitcoin, but they’ve also been known to shake up previously-held assumptions in a big way. We’re already seeing a few examples of these market changes; just to name one, the larger miners have been modernizing their equipment to ensure maximally efficient hardware. This has led to a fire sale of outdated equipment from these companies, with many thousands of mining rigs finding their way to aspiring miners in Africa and Latin America. The cheap hydroelectricity from Ethiopia has already been attracting international capital to become a new mining hub, and a large portion of these rigs are going there for pennies on the dollar.

Quant Momentum Trade Is Hot Again in Crypto
Denitsa Tsekova – Bloomberg
To the crypto faithful, buying and holding Bitcoin is the only trading game in town – offering about a 50% return so far this year alone for new investments. For quantitative hedge-fund investors and a spattering of academic researchers, however, there’s a better way to capture the volatile asset’s rally, while also profiting from the huge drawdowns: Simply follow the wisdom – or folly – of the crowd.

Binance Says Compliance Exec Detained in Nigeria Has No Decision-Making Power at Firm
Camomile Shumba – Bloomberg
Binance’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance Tigran Gambaryan, detained in Nigeria by local authorities, has no decision-making power at the company and should not be held responsible in ongoing discussions between the exchange and government officials, the crypto exchange said in a Wednesday statement. Nigerian authorities invited, then detained, Gambaryan and the exchange’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, in February. Anjarwalla made headlines in March for having reportedly escaped custody. Around the same time, Nigeria’s tax authority filed charges of tax evasion against Binance and the two executives.

Bitcoin boosts 60/40 returns without adding much volatility, fund manager finds
Steve Goldstein – MarketWatch
Adding a volatile asset to a portfolio naturally increases that basket’s volatility, but not necessarily by as much as you would think. The fund manager WisdomTree ran the numbers on adding bitcoin to a 60/40 portfolio of stocks and bonds. They say that bitcoin’s BTCUSD, 2.43% volatility is around 70%, but the impact of adding a 5% allocation to a 60/40 portfolio is just 0.83%, far lower than the 3.5% that would be the case without diversification effects.

Bitcoin ETF Trading Volumes Tripled in March as the Largest Cryptocurrency Hit Record Highs; Trading volumes for the exchange-traded funds soared to $110 billion, three times higher than either January or February, led by BlackRock’s IBIT.
Shaurya Malwa – CoinDesk
U.S.-listed bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) captured over $110 billion in trading volume in March, a figure three times higher than the volumes in January and February, as the largest cryptocurrency soared to record highs. Trading was led by BlackRock’s IBIT, which comprised almost 50% of the total, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas said on X. Grayscale’s GBTC was next with 20% of the total share, followed by Fidelity’s FBTC at 17%.

U.S. SEC Calls for Comments on Spot ETH ETFs
Jesse Hamilton – CoinDesk


Xi, Biden agree to advance cooperation; Steady development of ties discussed in ‘candid and constructive’ phone talk
Mo Jingxi – China Daily
President Xi Jinping and United States President Joe Biden affirmed in a phone conversation on Tuesday the progress achieved so far in bilateral ties since their meeting in San Francisco in November, and agreed to strengthen communication to avoid misjudgment in order to push for the steady development of China-US relations. The two heads of state considered their phone conversation to be “candid and constructive”, according to a news release from the Foreign Ministry after the phone talk. The phone call was their latest interaction after exchanging congratulations on the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries on Jan 1.

Billionaires’ love for Trump could backfire; Admiration for the former president among businesspeople is politically naive
Simon Kuper – Financial Times
A while ago, I gave a talk to investors in which I mentioned that Donald Trump was a threat to democracy. It seemed to me a banal statement of the obvious. Trump doesn’t believe in the rule of law, as witness his incessant attacks on “biased” courts; and he doesn’t believe in elections, as witness his baseless mantra that the one he lost was “rigged”. Well, rule of law and elections are the two main pillars of democracy. The investors were unimpressed. Some literally rolled their eyes. Just another leftie with Trump Derangement Syndrome, they thought. Trump was a “business guy” who would unlock the economy.

Yellen Says US Has Option to Shield Industries Against China
Christopher Condon and Viktoria Dendrinou – Bloomberg
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested the US will retain the option to protect new industrial sectors against China after what she described as the Asian nation’s massive state investments in areas including clean energy. Yellen made the remarks while speaking with reporters Wednesday en route to China, which she’ll be visiting for the second time in nine months. Asked whether she plans to brief her counterparts on likely fresh trade barriers to address China-driven overcapacity in clean energy sectors, Yellen said she “wouldn’t want to rule out other possible ways in which we would protect them.”

The Only U.S. Lawmaker Born in Ukraine Is Now Skeptical of More Aid; Rep. Victoria Spartz speaks of atrocities witnessed by friends and family in Ukraine-but says she won’t vote for the proposed $60 billion aid package for Kyiv
Katy Stech Ferek – The Wall Street Journal
Rep. Victoria Spartz speaks in highly personal terms about the horrors that her friends and family in Ukraine have witnessed since Russia invaded her home country more than two years ago. Her 95-year-old grandmother died several months after a bomb blew out the windows in her apartment. “The stress was hard on her,” she said.

Why Scaramucci Is Predicting Trump Will Lose; The SkyBridge Capital founder and former White House communications director tells In the City the consensus from Davos is not to be believed.
Sommer Saadi, Francine Lacqua, and Adrian Wooldridge – Bloomberg (podcast)
Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street veteran and former communications director in Donald Trump’s White House, joins Francine Lacqua and Bloomberg Opinion columnist Adrian Wooldridge on this week’s In the City to explain why he thinks a second Trump presidency would be “dangerous.” He also talks about why he isn’t voting for his former boss and why he doesn’t think the majority of Americans will either.

India Isn’t Expected to Stop Russian Oil Imports, US Official Says; Government officials addressed the public at an event in Delhi; It’s in US interest to keep crude flowing, official says
Sudhi Ranjan Sen and Rakesh Sharma – Bloomberg


Two plead guilty to insider trading in Kodak before Trump loan announcement
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
A former pharmaceutical executive and his cousin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to insider trading in Eastman Kodak, based on tips that the company was arranging a surprise $765 million loan from the Trump administration to make drug ingredients. Andrew Stiles and Gray Stiles each admitted to one count of securities fraud at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams in Manhattan.

Two plead guilty to insider trading related to Trump Media merger
Jody Godoy – Reuters
Two men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to insider trading in securities in the company that ultimately took former U.S. President Donald Trump’s media business public. Michael Shvartsman, 53, head of Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital, and his brother Gerald Shvartsman, 46, each pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud before U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman in Manhattan.

Swiss regulator seeks to block investors from accessing Credit Suisse AT1 files; Move comes as authorities face $9bn in legal claims over rescue of failed bank
Owen Walker and Robert Smith – Financial Times
Switzerland’s financial regulator has attempted to block the release of key documents to investors who are suing it after $17bn of bonds were wiped out in the rescue of Credit Suisse. The bank’s state-ordered takeover by UBS last year has led to at least $9bn of legal claims, largely related to the decision by Swiss regulator Finma to write down billions of dollars of Credit Suisse debt to zero.

Commissioner Johnson Announces CFTC Market Risk Advisory Committee Meeting on April 9
CFTC Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson, sponsor of the Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC), announced today the MRAC will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT) at the CFTC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. “At each meeting over the last two years, the MRAC has advanced a series of recommendations and reports on several of the most critical issues facing our markets,” said Commissioner Johnson. “Consistent with the MRAC’s mission, the diverse stakeholders on the MRAC Subcommittees have considered critical issues, highlighted systemic risk concerns, and advanced an agenda that examines how best to mitigate and minimize these risks, offering pragmatic solutions that support the resilience of derivatives markets and the integrity and stability of our markets.”

SEC Charges Advisory Firm Senvest Management with Recordkeeping and Other Failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against registered investment adviser Senvest Management LLC for widespread and longstanding failures to maintain and preserve certain electronic communications. The SEC also charged Senvest with failing to enforce its code of ethics. To settle this matter, Senvest admitted the facts set forth in the Commission’s order, acknowledged that its conduct violated the federal securities laws, and agreed to pay a $6.5 million penalty and to implement improvements to its compliance policies and procedures.

Remarks at SEC Speaks 2024
Gurbir S. Grewal – SEC
I want to start by thanking PLI for organizing this event and making it available for free to all this year. It is important for us to speak directly to not just the securities bar, but also to everyone that is interested in our work. And that is precisely what we’d like to do today-speak to you directly. In a few moments, my Enforcement Division colleagues will talk to you about the “what” of our work – in other words, the issues that are top of mind for us.

Remarks at SEC Speaks 2024
Sanjay Wadhwa – SEC
I want to echo Gurbir by thanking PLI for providing free access to the online stream of this program. It is important that those who are interested in the work of the SEC have an opportunity to hear from us. In the spirit of addressing a wider audience, we have deliberately tried to include practical tips and best practices in this panel discussion and in the Enforcement workshop later this afternoon.

We Will Rock You: [1] The Small but Mighty Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation
Stacey Bowers – SEC
I have officially been the Director of the Small Business Advocacy Office for 79 days now-some might say, too short of a duration to know much of anything; and others might say, long enough to have it all figured out… At this point, I know two things for sure: one, just like the Grateful Dead sang, “the first days are the hardest days”[2]-but fortunately the Office’s small but mighty team has made them easier; and two, George Jones was onto something when he asked “who’s gonna fill their shoes?”[3] Indeed, although I have a vision for what I want the Office to achieve, I recognize that I have big shoes to fill as the new leader. Not just those of the inaugural Director, Martha Legg Miller, who stood up this Office in 2019, but also those of the Deputy Director, Sebastian Gomez Abero, who carried the torch upon her departure, and Amy Reischauer, the most recent Acting Deputy Director, who stepped in after Sebastian to keep the Office flourishing.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against a Rhode Island Investment Adviser Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
On March 29, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island entered its final judgment and a permanent injunction against Rhode Island-based investment advisory firm ClearPath Wealth Management, LLC, for defrauding the funds it advised and the investors in those funds.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against California Trader Engaged in Manipulative Trading Scheme Involving COVID-19 Claims
On March 28, 2024, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against Jason C. Nielsen. According to the SEC’s complaint, beginning around March 2, 2020, Nielsen attempted to drive the stock price of Arrayit Corporation securities higher using online posts encouraging investors to purchase shares, including numerous messages repeating a false assertion regarding an approved COVID-19 test, without telling them about his large position in Arrayit stock or his plans to sell the shares while others were buying. Nielsen also allegedly created the false impression of high demand for Arrayit stock by placing and subsequently canceling several large orders to purchase shares in a tactic known as “spoofing.” According to the SEC’s complaint, Nielsen made approximately $137,000 in six weeks, but based on questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of publicly available information concerning Arrayit, the SEC temporarily suspended trading in Arrayit securities on April 13, 2020, before Nielsen was able to profit further from the scheme.

SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against CodeSmart Defendant for Role in Alleged Offering Fraud
On April 1, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a final judgment against Ronald Heineman, enjoining him from violating certain provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering him to pay civil monetary penalties. According to the SEC’s complaint, starting in 2013, Heineman was involved in a scheme to manipulate the price of the securities of CodeSmart Holdings, Inc. (“CodeSmart”). The SEC alleged that Heineman, as chief compliance officer of Halcyon Cabot Partners, Ltd. (“Halcyon”), ignored red flags related to trading in CodeSmart and the conduct of one of Halcyon’s registered representatives. Specifically, the SEC alleged that Heineman was aware one of the principals of the scheme was using Halcyon to facilitate his sale of CodeSmart shares while Halcyon clients were purchasing those shares. The SEC further alleged that Heineman engaged in matched trading for the purpose of inflating the price of CodeSmart securities.

SEC orders Senvest Management to pay $6.5 million penalty for recordkeeping failures; The investment advisor has acknowledged that its conduct violated the federal securities laws and agreed to implement improvements to its compliance policies and procedures.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Senvest Management for widespread and longstanding failures to maintain and preserve certain electronic communications. Senvest Management is a registered investment advisor based in New York, employing investment strategies across approximately $3 billion in assets under management.

FCA secures £1.6m for investors from alleged unlawful investment schemes
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has secured court approval to obtain £1.6m from Argento Wealth Ltd (AWL) and its sole director Mr Daniel Willis, who promoted 2 alleged unlawful investment schemes.

Investing and Trading

Memes to Millions: The Tax Implications of Sudden Crypto Wealth; Don’t let meme coin season become a tax planning nightmare, TokenTax CEO Zac McClure writes.
Zac McClure – CoinDesk
Meme coin seasons are known for frenzied market activity, driven by the meteoric rise of viral crypto projects that transform modest investments into fortunes overnight. The world knows dogecoin (DOGE) is the original meme coin, but a gang of newcomers has stormed the 2024 meme season. There’s a puppy wif a hat {{WIF}}, a smirking frog (PEPE), a clumsy sloth {{SLERF}} and more. Memes are fun, especially when you find six or even seven figures in your portfolio overnight. But with market mania and potential for generational wealth come tax considerations and the potential for astronomical mistakes.

Why shorting Trump’s DJT stock could cost you a 500% fee
Tomi Kilgore – MarketWatch
Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. have fallen since they began trading last week with former President Donald Trump’s initials as the ticker symbol – but don’t blame short sellers for any further weakness. If the social-media platform’s stock DJT keeps falling, it will be because of selling by former bulls who are now getting out of their investments, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of financial analytics at S3 Partners. That’s because there aren’t many shares available to short, and the cost to make a bearish bet can be prohibitive.

Private equity stakes unloaded at a discount as investors seek exits; Pensions and endowments turn to secondary market to cut exposure and raise needed cash
Sun Yu – Financial Times
US institutional investors are selling more of their private equity holdings at a discount as they cut exposure to the illiquid asset class. Led by pension funds and endowments, big investors sold 99 per cent of their private equity holdings at or below their net asset value on the secondary market last year, according to Jefferies, the most since the investment bank began tracking the figure in 2017. The figures were 95 per cent in 2022 and 73 per cent in 2021.

Gold or gilts: which is best for inflation protection? An all-time high for the yellow metal is a sign drawdown investors should examine their reasons for holding it
Moira O’Neill – Financial Times
On reaching a savings milestone, your first thought might be to preserve the real value of your capital. This is most likely to happen when you scale back on work after a lifetime of investing, but might also occur when you reach your first £10,000 or £100,000 saved. Inflation’s assault on consumers is easing. Some commentators, such as consultancy Oxford Economics, think UK inflation is returning to its 2 per cent target. The Bank of England has recently made some optimistic comments, though it said it can’t rule out another global shock that keeps inflation high. Even if it goes away in the short term, there’s always the worry that it might return – with even low levels a concern for retirees.

Momo goes vertical; The trend has been a friend. Will it stay that way?
Edward Cole – Financial Times
In physics, the more momentum an object has, the harder it is to stop. We’ve now witnessed several periods in which the momentum factor seemed to be running out of steam, only for it to come surging back. But ‘Momo’ now is on a tear to such an extent that it feels like it might be time to declare mean reversion a thing of the past and be done with it.

This Small-Cap Stock Index Has Some Jumbo-Size Tenants; Combined market value of Super Micro Computer and MicroStrategy-the two largest stocks in the Russell 2000-has swelled to $87 billion
Charley Grant – The Wall Street Journal

Trump’s Dazzling Truth Social SPAC; His social media site lost millions. Then it made him $5 billion in a single day.
Daniel Henninger – The Wall Street Journal

Dalio Defends His Decades-Long Investment in China
Jacob Gu – Bloomberg

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Janet Yellen says US will protect green tech from China competition; Trade barriers not ruled out by Treasury secretary ahead of talks with Beijing officials
Claire Jones and Joe Leahy – Financial Times
Washington will not allow a glut of Chinese production to wipe out American manufacturers of green technology, US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has warned ahead of a trip to China. Yellen is visiting Guangzhou and Beijing and is expected to place accusations that China is flooding global markets with cheap green tech at the core of talks with officials including the finance minister, vice-premier and central bank governor.

Biden administration awards $20 bln for clean energy investment in low-income communities
Valerie Volcovici – Reuters
Vice President Kamala Harris and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Michael Regan on Thursday announced eight organizations that will oversee the spending of $20 billion in grants to fund tens of thousands of clean energy and transportation projects in disadvantaged communities across the United States. The $20 billion, made available through the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) created in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, will largely be invested in projects ranging from home energy retrofitting programs to off-grid renewable energy in communities that have not had access to green financing.

EU launches 2 probes into China solar manufacturers; Brussels says subsidies distort European market in ‘strategically important’ sector
Alice Hancock and Edward White – Financial Times
The EU has launched two investigations into Chinese solar panel manufacturers that Brussels said have benefited from market-distorting subsidies. The probes reflect a hardening stance in Europe towards cheap Chinese imports, which the EU’s solar industry has blamed for the heavy losses and plant closures of several European solar panel manufacturers.

A $290 Billion ESG Bond Market Faces EU Snub in New Proposal
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
A key ESG bond market may not be green enough to merit being included in a European Union review of sustainable flows in the region. The Platform on Sustainable Finance, which advises the European Commission on environmental, social and governance policies, is proposing that flows generated through sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs) be excluded from an EU exercise designed to monitor how well the bloc’s green rules are working.

NYC Pensions Reach Deal With RBC to Publish Green-Funding Ratio; City retirement plans agree to withdraw shareholder proposal; Other banks still face call to disclose clean-financing ratio
Christine Dobby – Bloomberg
New York City retirement plans reached an agreement with Royal Bank of Canada for the lender to disclose how much financing it provides for clean-energy projects relative to fossil fuels. Canada’s largest bank is the third financial giant to agree to begin disclosing the ratio after New York Comptroller Brad Lander and the city’s public-pension boards filed shareholder resolutions with six banks in January. The proposal was set to be voted upon at Toronto-based Royal Bank’s annual meeting next week.

Goldman Sachs’s UK gender pay gap widest in six years; Mean hourly pay difference reaches 54% as bank struggles to promote more women to top positions
Joshua Franklin and Arash Massoudi – Financial Times

Boom in mining for renewable energy minerals threatens Africa’s great apes; Researchers applaud move away from fossil fuels but say more must be done to mitigate effects on endangered species
Phoebe Weston – The Guardian

***** This story from Inside Climate News.

Study finds mercury contamination in Brazil’s Yanomami people
Fabio Teixeira – Reuters

Inside the Climate Watchdog Holding the UK Government to Account; “The minute that you get complacent about [political consensus], you risk losing it,” Chris Stark, head of the UK’s Climate Change Committee says on this week’s Zero.
Akshat Rathi, Mythili Rao, and Magnus Henriksson – Bloomberg (podcast)

ESG is rising as an M&A factor. Just ask U.S. Steel
Grant Harrison and Nico McCrossan – GreenFin Weekly

Faltering Tesla Faces a Familiar Question: Is It an ESG Stock? The debate over whether Elon Musk’s company deserves the green label is back just as the company’s stock tanks on bad sales figures.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg

After 11 consecutive days, Santiago ends the longest heat wave in its history
Carlos Montes – Latercera

A big week for climate policy in Australia: what happened and what to make of it
Adam Morton – The Guardian


Clear Street to offer clearing services in listed US equities and options; The move follows the successful third tranche of Clear Street’s Series B funding in December 2023 which raised the firm’s valuation to $2.1 billion.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Clear Street has launched clearing services for registered market makers in listed US equities and options. The move represents Clear Street’s first successful entry into the professional clearing market in almost a decade. The offering leverages the firm’s proprietary, cloud-native prime brokerage platform, to allow users comprehensive insight into effective strategies.

News-powered hedge fund raises $100mn to trade on reporters’ scoops; Target of Hunterbrook’s first story questions ethics of it taking a short position in its stock
Kate Duguid and Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
A US hedge fund has raised $100mn to make trades based on articles by its affiliated newsroom, launching a novel experiment in funding investigative reporting as the media industry suffers a fresh round of lay-offs. The business is an effort to pair the sort of investigative journalism typically done by newsrooms with a long-short hedge fund. The fund, Hunterbrook Capital, places trades based on scoops uncovered by reporters at the newsroom, Hunterbrook Media, which is separated by a layer of compliance. Those scoops would only be based on publicly available information.

Work & Management

The British Are Coming for Your White-Collar Job; Surging wages and staff shortages in the U.S. are spurring companies to look across the pond
Chelsey Dulaney – The Wall Street Journal
When Margot Robbie hosted a pool party at the Barbie Dreamhouse in last year’s hit film, she was thousands of miles away from sunny Malibu, on a soundstage in a commuter town about an hour outside of London. “Barbie” was mostly filmed at Warner Bros.’ U.K. studios, the flashiest example yet of Britain’s rising role in global film production. “I want Hertfordshire to be the next Hollywood,” U.K. Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt told a newspaper here last year.

Goldman Slips on Female Pay in the U.K.
Margot Patrick – The Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs got a mixed report card in an annual look at how much it pays women in the U.K. The bank, which has a big international hub in London and runs a retail arm in the U.K., has experienced an exodus of senior women executives, many of whom have encountered challenges moving into the company’s highest ranks and who have found better opportunities elsewhere. Goldman showed a 54% gap between what it pays men and women at its main U.K. unit in 2023, based on average hourly pay, and 28.5% by median pay.

California bill would let employees ignore boss’ after-hours calls, messages
Daniella Genovese – Fox Business via NY Post
Workers in California may legally be allowed to disregard messages from their boss after the work day ends. The pressure to respond to work messages after hours has rapidly increased in recent years, especially as remote work during the pandemic blurred the line between work and personal life boundaries.

The Case Against Crowdfunding in the Work Chat; Meta employees lost big on real estate investments touted by a colleague.
Aisha Counts – Bloomberg
Among the many channels on Meta Platforms Inc.’s internal messaging system is a group for employees to chat about investing in real estate. In 2019 an engineering recruiter named Sief Khafagi, who worked in Meta’s Los Angeles office, began posting about Scoutpads, a service he’d set up that connected users with developers to put money into real estate.

The Big Work Lie: Being Indispensable Will Save Your Job; Becoming the only staffer with certain skills might feel like insurance. To some bosses, it’s a red flag.
Callum Borchers – The Wall Street Journal
It’s career advice we’ve all heard: Make yourself indispensable. Many who thought they’d accomplished that goal have been burned in recent white-collar layoffs. Jilted workers and others who’ve witnessed job cuts say there’s no such thing as an irreplaceable employee. Some contend striving to be untouchable at work can backfire or invite exploitation. You can naively do more than what’s required, thinking effort means job security, then get axed anyway.

Wellness Exchange

The next pandemic is coming. Will we be ready? WHO member states are struggling to agree the terms of the first global treaty to deal with the threat of another Covid-19
Michael Peel – Financial Times
In March, officials from 194 countries came together to agree on a global plan to deal with a threat known as “Disease X”. The ominous code name refers to the as yet unknown illness expected to one day ravage the world in a repeat of Covid-19 – or perhaps inflict even worse damage. This fear has now driven nine rounds of painstaking international negotiations on the text of the world’s first pandemic treaty, which must be nailed down before the World Health Organization’s decision-making annual assembly meets in May.

BlackRock’s Larry Fink Has It Almost Right About Aging
Howard Gleckman, Senior Contributor – Forbes (opinion)
In a letter to investors, Larry Fink, who is CEO of the massive investment firm BlackRock, warned that retirement “is a much harder proposition than it was 30 years ago. And it’ll be a much harder proposition 30 years from now.” One reason, he says: “As a society, we focus a tremendous amount of energy on helping people live longer lives. But not even a fraction of that effort is spent helping people afford those extra years.” Fink is exactly right, as far as he goes. But he ought to be thinking more broadly about the challenges of old age in the US.


Switzerland Is Reworking Its Rulebook to Stop Another Banking Meltdown
Bastian Benrath – Bloomberg
Switzerland is accelerating efforts to reform its banking regulations a year after the collapse of Credit Suisse – and handing more power to those who will enforce them. The government is due to unveil long-awaited proposals for legislation in the coming days that are likely to touch on all of the main pillars of bank oversight, from capital and liquidity rules to controls on governance. UBS Group AG – the country’s sole remaining globally-systemic bank that’s now over twice the size of the domestic economy – is in for heightened scrutiny.

Goldman Sees Korea Share-Sale Boom on Ongoing Corporate Reforms; More share sales from the industrial sector are expected; Korean blocks, placements jumped to record $4.1 billion in 1Q
Filipe Pacheco and Youkyung Lee – Bloomberg
South Korean companies may boost share sales as authorities look to enhance corporate governance and lift a short-selling ban, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A plan to encourage firms to improve valuations through better management practices should bring more share sales from low-value traditional businesses, including industrials, said Phyllis Wang, the head of Asia ex-Japan ECM syndicate at Goldman Sachs.

Indian Smallcaps Roar Back in Weeks After $80 Billion Rout; NSE’s small-cap gauge has advanced for 10 straight sessions; The index is about 1% below its record reached in February
Ashutosh Joshi – Bloomberg
A key gauge of India’s small-cap stocks recouped the month-long losses sparked by the regulator’s concern over market froth, as the meltdown offered investors an opportunity to buy the dip. The NSE Nifty Smallcap 250 Index rose as much as 1.1% Thursday to briefly recover from the decline since Feb. 27 when the regulator flagged the risk of a bubble in the smaller firms. The gauge gained 0.6% at the close, capping its longest winning run since December.

Ukraine’s Kernel boosts grain export capacity with new vessel
Ukrainian agricultural group Kernel has expanded its sea fleet and can now export 100,000 metric tons of grain per month by ship, it said on Thursday. Ukraine usually exports 95% of its farm exports via Black Sea ports and Ukraine’s own ships can ensure exports even in the face of military dangers associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Detained Binance executive in court on Nigerian tax, money laundry charges
Camillus Eboh – Reuters
One of the two executives from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, detained in Nigeria appeared in an Abuja court on Thursday to face tax evasion and money laundering charges. Binance and two of its executives Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is a regional manager for Africa, have been charged with four counts of tax evasion and with laundering over $35 million.

Egypt Buys LNG in Rare Move to Avoid Summer Gas Crunch; It recently bought at least one cargo and wants more: traders; Nation’s $50 billion bailout gives leeway to avoid blackouts
Stephen Stapczynski and Salma El Wardany – Bloomberg

Kenya Central Bank Wants Higher Capital Requirements for Lenders; Proposal intended to reduce risk, fund regional expansion; Minimum funding level is currently equivalent to $7.6 million
David Herbling – Bloomberg


What is next for billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s giving?
Thalia Beaty – Associated Press
Much about billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s giving remains a mystery, but those receiving grants from her recent open call for nonprofits do offer some insights, experts say. Scott’s grants, announced in March, largely fall in line with her usual themes – with equity and justice, education, health and economic security and opportunity being the largest categories. However, a slightly larger percentage of the most recent grants went to democracy-focused organizations, said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of Panorama Global.

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Past JLN Newsletters

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