Senate Confirms Heath Tarbert as CFTC Chairman

Jun 6, 2019

First Read

Phishing for trouble (and bitcoin)
Matt Raebel – John Lothian News

If you get an email from someone who quotes poetry at you before demanding bitcoin under the threat of physical violence, don’t panic – you’ve probably just been hit by a phishing attack.

Phishing accounts for the vast majority of cyber attacks suffered by individuals and businesses – about 95 percent of them, according to Oren Falkowitz, CEO of the anti-phishing cybersecurity firm Area 1 Security. Phishing attacks can take many forms, but they usually begin when a hacker sends an email to the intended victim designed to get the victim’s attention, or “hook” them (hence the name “phishing”), by convincing the victim they have some sort of leverage over them before demanding payment.

Cryptocurrency has gained popularity as a method of payment for hackers for several reasons. The privacy enabled by digital assets like bitcoin (BTC), Dash (DASH), or Monero (XMR), for example, makes it easy for hackers to transact with their victims while hiding the hackers’ identity. The prices of these assets also tend to be volatile – this means that an ill-gotten hacker haul can potentially go from $1 million to $2 million if it was paid in cryptocurrency. Of course, it can also go the other way…like some investors, some criminals appear to be willing to roll those dice.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Mining Troubles Take Down Ecosystem
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

Judge Janet Baer presided over a motion hearing on June 5 in the bankruptcy proceedings of Bcause, “the world’s first full-stack cryptocurrency ecosystem.” Bcause’s full stacks include mining, spot trading and futures trading, as well as a derivatives clearing organization. According to statements as recent as March 24, Bcause’s stacks were meant to comprise an ecosystem. Full-stack, a vague but “sexy” computer engineering term, has been part of the company’s branding from the start. Bcause wants to signal that it is the whole enchilada (full-stack has as much to do with enchiladas as ecosystems).

Read the rest of this commentary here.


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Congratulations to Heath Tarbert, who was confirmed as the 14th CFTC chairman in the Senate by a vote of 84-9.~JK

Futures For Kids Trustee Bill Templer reported that after the gala receipts, Futures For Kids has now raised £3 million. Congratulations to the great people behind this important charity and all who support it. ~JJL

The speakers for Chicago’s second annual Voice of Blockchain, taking place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, have been announced. They include Nadine Strossen, the president of the ACLU; Rumi Morales of Outlier Ventures; Chuck Mackie of Fathom (and a JLN contributor), and many more. You can go here to find out who else is on the list and for more information on VOB.~SR

Congratulations to Eric Stacy on his new position as senior vice president – middle office / investment operations outsourcing product lead at Northern Trust Corporation. Eric was an early subscriber to this newsletter when he worked for Trading Technologies.~JJL

There were new volume and open interest records for Mini-SPX Index (XSP) Options at Cboe and EDGX.~JJL


Rahm Emanuel, Ex-Chicago Mayor, Is Going to Wall Street; He is joining Centerview, a boutique investment bank, as a counselor to large firms
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Former Chicago mayor and longtime Democratic operative Rahm Emanuel will join boutique investment bank Centerview Partners LLC, bringing a Rolodex built over a 30-year political career.

*****Here is the Bloomberg version of the story too.~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top read story of the day on Wednesday was Medium’s Growing the MEMX Team: a Staffing Update about the new exchange. Second was the FT’s The looming 100-year US-China conflict. Third was the Nasdaq announcement Nasdaq Joins Microsoft to Increase Access to Real-Time U.S. Equity Market Data


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Lead Stories

Senate Confirms Heath Tarbert as CFTC Chairman
Treasury official joins market regulator in midst of rules changes, swaps dispute
Lalita Clozel – The Wall Street Journal
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Heath Tarbert as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, making him the second Trump-appointed official to lead the top derivatives regulator.
Mr. Tarbert, who has served as a senior Treasury official since October 2017, will join the CFTC at a time when U.S. financial regulators are changing parts of the financial rulebook put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. The Senate approved him as chairman on a 84-9 vote.

The Baby Boomer Vs. Millennial Investment Smackdown; Owning a basket of stocks that caters to young people with growing spending power sounds better than one in or heading for retirement, but the price may not be right
Mike Bird – WSJ
The millennials have come of age, but the impact of that generation on the stock-market’s returns is only beginning. Can they spur better results than the baby boomers, who are entering retirement?

Longfin CEO indicted on securities fraud charges
Kadhim Shubber – FT
The chief executive of Longfin Corp, a US small-cap that listed in 2017 at the height of the blockchain mania, was indicted on Wednesday on federal securities fraud charges.

Buy-sider calls for refinement of client clearing models to increase voluntary activity; Panelists at FIA IDX debated whether buy-side firms have increased their clearing activity for both mandated and non-mandated products.
Joe Parsons – The Trade
Current models for clearing memberships require further enhancements to accommodate pension funds and other end investors, according to a senior buy-side executive.

‘Last orders’ called on Libor benchmark; The Bank of England’s deputy governor for markets and banking has said pace of transition from Libor to Sonia must be accelerated.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Banks have been told to stop adding to their Libor exposures by the Bank of England this week as the institution’s deputy governor for markets and banking called time on the benchmark during an event in London.

LSEG chief rules out cross-border mergers in wake of ‘nationalistic focus’ on exchanges; Chief executive at LSEG, David Schwimmer, says nationalism has made potential mergers a challenge for the industry.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
The rise of nationalism and a negative focus on exchanges has made any future cross-border mergers for the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) very unlikely, according to the group’s chief executive.

Woodford fights to save career after losing biggest client; Rivals say one of best-known UK fund managers is reaching an ignominious career end
Owen Walker, Peter Smith and Caroline Binham – FT
The fall from grace of Neil Woodford has accelerated after his largest client, St James’s Place, deserted Britain’s best-known fund manager, in one stroke yanking more than 40 per cent of the assets he oversees.

St James’s Place delivers devastating blow to Woodford; Wealth management group pulls £3.5bn mandate in latest setback for fund manager
Kate Beioley, Owen Walker and Caroline Binham – FT
Wealth manager St James’s Place has terminated its £3.5bn relationship with Neil Woodford, in a devastating blow that leaves Britain’s best-known fund manager fighting to save his business.

Swiss regulator to fine banks $91m over foreign exchange cartel; Traders at Barclays, JPMorgan, Citi and RBS found to have rigged currency markets
Stephen Morris – FT
Four British and US banks will be fined about SFr90m ($91m) this week by Switzerland’s competition authority for colluding to rig foreign exchange markets, weeks after the EU handed out EUR1bn of penalties for similar misconduct.

Singapore Exchange to boost derivatives, target Southeast Asia unicorns
The Star Online
Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) aims to add products to its lucrative derivatives business and offer Southeast Asian unicorns a platform to list shares and bonds, in a multi-asset strategy aimed at sustaining growth, its chief executive said. “There’s always the focus around IPOs and associated capital markets but today, participants on our exchange look beyond just the stock market,” said Loh Boon Chye in an interview.

Female bankers say they are paid less than men in the same jobs; Survey casts doubt on claims the sector’s yawning pay gap is due to a lack of women in senior roles
Paul Clarke – Financial News
More than two-thirds of female investment bankers believe they are not paid as much as their male peers for doing the same job – casting doubt on executives’ regular insistence that the sector’s yawning gender pay gap is largely due to a lack of women in senior roles.

The SEC Can’t Keep Kik-ing the Crypto Can Down the Road
Diego Zuluaga – Coindesk
The Securities and Exchange Commission, the most important regulator for the largest capital market in the world, has been grappling with the question of how to regulate cryptocurrencies for more than two years. Yet as of mid-2019, more than 10 years since the birth of bitcoin, it cannot claim to have made much progress.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Cboe Global Markets Reports May 2019 Trading Volume
Press Release
– Futures ADV up 40% over May 2018 and up 57% over April 2019
– Options ADV up 21% over May 2018 and up 25% over April 2019
– ADV across U.S. equities and global FX up over April 2019
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today reported May monthly trading volume.

Intercontinental Exchange Reports May Statistics
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. today reported May trading volume and related revenue statistics, which can be viewed on the company’s investor relations website at in the Monthly Statistics Tracking spreadsheet.

Learning to grow: a new training program for start-ups; Modules address founders from Series A to IPO / More time for open exchange
Deutsche Börse Group
Deutsche Börse Venture Network and UnternehmerTUM have significantly expanded their joint training program for growth companies. In addition to new content, the two partners have extended the duration of the training to create more space for exchange. The next round starts on 18 June. The trainings take place in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt.

Euronext announces volumes for May 2019
Euronext, the leading pan-European exchange in the Eurozone, today announced trading volumes for May 2019. Cash trading – In May 2019, the average daily transaction value on the Euronext cash order book stood at EUR7,336 million, down -14.0% compared to May 2018 and down -1.0% from the previous month. Derivatives trading – In May 2019, the overall average daily volume on derivatives reached 573,284 contracts, down -11.1% compared to May 2018 and down -2.1% compared to the previous month. In detail:

Equity options: Changes in minimum block trade sizes
With effect from 10 June 2019, the Management Board of Eurex Deutschland decided to adjust the minimum block trade size for selected equity options and
apply various editorial changes

Marcus Addison on default management auctions; “You must be prepared. Practicing regularly helps.”
A default management process is initiated if a clearing member defaults. As part of this default management process, clearing houses can conduct auctions to manage the risks associated with a default, such as the recent Nasdaq default. What makes a successful auction and how is it conducted? Marcus Addison, Head of Default Management at Eurex Clearing, explains the important details.

Nasdaq Joins Microsoft to Increase Access to Real-Time U.S. Equity Market Data
Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) is collaborating with Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) to expand the use of real-time U.S. equity market data by individual investors. Through Excel, Bing, MSN, and other platforms and services owned by Microsoft, the general public, including individual investors and students, can now leverage real-time U.S. stock equity market data from Nasdaq Last Sale to inform research and trade ideas, while improving financial literacy.

CME Group Chairman and CEO to Present at Sandler O’Neill Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference
CME Group
CME Group announced today that Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and CEO, will present at the Sandler O’Neill Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference in New York on Thursday, June 6, at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Nadex clarifies process for contesting Compliance Department’s findings; Nadex plans to implement the changes to its rules on June 19, 2019.
Finance Feeds
North American Derivatives Exchange (Nadex), a subsidiary of IG Group Holdings plc (LON:IGG), has been keeping a close eye on any suspicious activities by members and has taken appropriate actions when necessary. For instance, in April this year, Nadex banned Evan Watson over violations of a set of rules, dedicated to prohibited transactions and activities. The Exchange plans to amend its rules concerning Investigations, Hearings, and Appeals.


Press Release
Liquidnet, the global institutional investment network, continues its expansion of its artificial intelligence (AI) investment analytics platform with the acquisition of Prattle, a leading provider of automated investment research solutions for portfolio managers, research analysts, and other financial professionals.

Liquidnet continues acquisitions with capture of NLP analytics specialist; Natural language processing specialist Prattle becomes latest acquisition for Liquidnet, following RSRCHXchange and OTAS Technologies.
John Brazier – The Trade
Liquidnet has announced its latest acquisition as it seeks to enhance its capabilities around artificial intelligence-based trade and investment analytics.

JPMorgan Closing Down Finn Digital Bank a Year After Nationwide Launch; Finn was bank’s attempt to lure younger customers to its online and mobile banking options
David Benoit and Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is killing an experiment to attract younger customers to a new digital-banking app a year after making it available nationwide.

Big Tech Is Armed and Waiting to Repel U.S. Antitrust Onslaught
Gerrit De Vynck and David McLaughlin – Bloomberg
Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple hire lawyers, plan defense; Amid mounting criticism, many saw investigations as inevitable
Investors were caught off guard by the sudden U.S. assault on technology giants this week, but behind the scenes, the industry’s biggest companies have been preparing for this moment of reckoning for months.


LongFin, the firm that pivoted to crypto and soared 2,500% back in 2017, has been charged with fraud by the SEC
The Block Crypto
Fresh off yesterday’s suit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed against Kik, the agency is staying active with a fraud action against LongFin Corp and its CEO.

Report: Facebook plans to create independent foundation to manage its cryptocurrency; will charge members $10M licensing fees for right to operate node
The Block Crypto
Facebook is creating an independent foundation to govern its cryptocurrency, according to a report by The Information. The social media giant has reached out to dozens of financial institutions and tech companies who contribute capital to the foundation and help manage the cryptocurrency’s network.

Apple’s CryptoKit Launch Paves the Way for Secure Mobile Wallets
Daniel Kuhn – Coindesk
Apple is set to launch CryptoKit, a Swift API to perform basic cryptographic operations on its upcoming iOS 13 software release. The announcement came during the tech giant’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Japanese tax authorities to combat under-reporting cryptocurrency investors
Carol Gaszcz – The Block via Yahoo Finance
Although cryptocurrency trading can lead to considerable profits, not everyone is reporting their gains, the Asahi Shimbun writes. Approximately 50 individuals and 30 companies failed to report crypto-related income over a period of several years until March. The undeclared income amounts to 10 billion yen ($93 million). The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has been investigating cryptocurrency investors; it asked cryptocurrency exchange operators to submit information regarding their clients’ business transactions from last year.

A government-backed cryptocurrency is gearing up to launch following fund creation and UN talks
Isabel Woodford and Frank Chaparro – The Block
The Marshall Islands could see its own cryptocurrency replace the US dollar, and a new fund is being launched to spur the digital asset’s adoption. The so-called SOV Development Fund will sustain the infrastructure around SOV, the digital currency recently declared the republic’s official currency. The token, which has a controversial past, hopes to solve what some view to be a major problem with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin: the fact that they aren’t backed by a government. The hope for SOV is that its adoption by the Marshall Islands, a tiny Pacific Ocean archipelago, will give it a leg up over other cryptocurrencies.

Firm That Saw Stock Boost After Crypto ‘Pivot’ Hit With New SEC Charges
Nikhilesh De – Coindesk
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed new charges against fintech company Longfin Corp. and its CEO, Venkata Meenavalli, alleging that the company committed fraud when it claimed to bring in more revenue than it had in order to secure an exchange listing for its shares. According to a press release Wednesday, the SEC is accusing Longfin, whose share price jumped some 2,000 percent in 2017 after announcing a blockchain pivot, of falsifying its revenue and fraudulently getting the company listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

New Malware Campaign Spreads Trojans Through Clone Crypto Trading Website
Max Boddy – Cointelegraph
Twitter user and malware researcher Fumik0_ has discovered a new website that spreads cryptocurrency malware, according to a report by Bleeping Computer on June 5. According to the report, the host for transmitting these viruses is a website that imitates the website for Cryptohopper, a website where users can program tools to perform automatic cryptocurrency trading. When the scam site is visited, it reportedly automatically downloads a setup.exe installer, which will infect the computer once it runs. The setup panel will also display the logo of Cryptohopper in another attempt to trick the user.

Bitcoin millionaire ‘on the run’ after second cryptocurrency scam
Anthony Cuthbertson – The Independent
An Indian businessman who made a fortune from an alleged cryptocurrency scam is on the run from authorities, according to local reports. Divyesh Darji is wanted by Gujarat police for promoting a cryptocurrency called Regal Coin, The Times of India reported, which promised customers a 5,000 per cent return on investments. Mr Darji had previously been involved with Bitconnect, a cryptocurrency firm that gained notoriety in January 2018 after it collapsed in spectacular fashion.

Galaxy Digital Fund Leads Funding Round for Blockchain-Based Game Platform
Max Boddy – Cointelegraph
A fund of cryptocurrency investment bank Galaxy Digital led a $1.8 million seed funding round for Azure’s blockchain-based gaming rewards platform, VentureBeat reports on June 5. Smart Challenge, Azure’s gaming rewards platform, reportedly allows users to create and compete in challenges on the EOSIO blockchain protocol. By using blockchain technology, the challenges are said to be verifiably fair, since participants can see all the challenge rules and how they are implemented.

Think Tank Pushes for Creation of a National Cryptocurrency in Switzerland
Diana Aguilar – Coindesk
Avenir Suisse, one of the most influential think tanks in Switzerland, released a report urging the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to start working on a national cryptocurrency. The report, called “Blockchain After the Hype,” proposes an economic model based on the blockchain. It suggests that the next step is to move forward with the creation of a “franc token” controlled by the SNB. According to the new model suggested by Avenir Suisse, developing a stablecoin could convert Switzerland into a “blockchain nation.”

Lightning Co-Creator Releases Code for Bitcoin Scaling Concept
Alyssa Hertig – Coindesk
Tadge Dryja, who co-authored the original paper underpinning bitcoin’s experimental lightning payments network, has released a new research paper outlining a proposed scaling solution that he’s been working on for the past year.

Biggest Crypto Exchange Takes on Tether With Own Stablecoins
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Binance could issue its first stablecoin within several weeks; Tether accounts for 98.7% of trading volume, Bitfinex says
Beware, Tether. Some serious competition may finally be heading your way.

Kik Suit Shows SEC Is Comfortable Regulating Cryptos, CoinList President Says
Bloomberg Video
Andy Bromberg, CoinList co-founder and president, and Stephen Palley, Anderson Kill partner, discuss the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suing Kik Interactive Inc. over a $100 million digital-token sale.

Think Tank Pushes for Creation of a National Cryptocurrency in Switzerland
Diana Aguilar – Coindesk
Avenir Suisse, one of the most influential think tanks in Switzerland, released a report urging the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to start working on a national cryptocurrency.


The Donald Thinks D-Day Is About Him; To have Trump commemorate the Normandy landings is to understand the word impostor.
Roger Cohen – NY Times
How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.

Neil Woodford fund problems to face scrutiny by MPs; Treasury select committee chair urges fund manager to waive fees
Caroline Binham and Peter Smith – FT
The rapid deterioration of the flagship fund of Neil Woodford, which froze investor withdrawals on Monday, will be scrutinised by a parliamentary select committee as its chair called upon Mr Woodford, one of the UK’s most famous stockpickers, to waive his management fees.

America is surrendering the moral high ground over Huawei; Small victories in a trade war come at the price of hard-won global leadership
Jacob Lew – FT
President Donald Trump has suggested that the US approach to Huawei could be a bargaining chip in trade negotiations. By confusing national security threats with leverage, the Trump administration surrenders the moral high ground that has been the foundation of US strength for many decades. Even if heavy-handed tactics appear successful in some cases, small victories come at the price of hard-earned global leadership and the singular power to shape global norms. We can and must take steps to protect our national security. But using those measures as bullying tactics to extract trade commitments abandons important legal and policy values.

Trump threatens China with tariffs on further $300 billion of goods
Steve Holland, Stella Qiu – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods but said he thought both China and Mexico wanted to make deals in their trade disputes with the United States.


DTCC Comments on Senate Confirmation of CFTC Chairman Tarbert
Press Release
FIA International Derivatives Expo (FIA-IDX), London, June 5, 2019 – The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) issued the following statement in response to Senate confirmation of new U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman: Heath P. Tarbert.
“We congratulate Heath Tarbert on his confirmation as CFTC Chairman. Chairman Tarbert’s experience at the Treasury, FSB and elsewhere in government, plus time in the private sector, put him in a strong position to lead the CFTC going forward…”

U.K. Treasury Backs $1.3 Trillion Plan to Cut Emissions
Jess Shankleman – Bloomberg
Person familiar says Treasury wants review before signing off; FT reports Hammond warned PM May on impact on other spending
The U.K. Treasury supports a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, but wants a review before signing off on a policy it estimates will cost taxpayers 1 trillion pounds ($1.3 trillion), according to a person familiar with the matter.

Banks Fined $91 Million Over FX as Essex Express Rides Again
Hugo Miller and Stefania Spezzati – Bloomberg
Swiss sanctions come three weeks after EU’s $1.2 billion fine; UBS exempted from fines for early disclosure of activity
Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Plc are among global banks fined a total of 90 million Swiss francs ($91 million) by Switzerland’s competition regulator for their roles in colluding on foreign-exchange rates.

UK regulator examines Woodford fund strategy; FCA says it may open an investigation where circumstances suggest serious misconduct
Caroline Binham – FT
The UK’s financial watchdog is examining the approach of Neil Woodford’s flagship fund, which blocked investor withdrawals on Monday, and its stance on European rules that cap investments in unlisted assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SEC passes new broker rules on investment advice; Securities regulator says move will protect consumers without being too costly
Kadhim Shubber – FT
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved new rules regarding the advice American savers receive about their investments, which the agency said would strengthen consumer protection without imposing onerous costs on stockbrokers.

SEC Adds Fraud Charges Against Purported Cryptocurrency Company Longfin, CEO, and Consultant
The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a new fraud action against Longfin Corp. and its CEO for falsifying the company’s revenue and, together with a former Longfin consultant, for fraudulently securing the company’s listing on Nasdaq. The SEC’s prior charges against these defendants and two others resulted in a preliminary injunction freezing more than $27 million in allegedly illegal trading proceeds from unregistered distributions of Longfin stock.

SEC Adopts Rules and Interpretations to Enhance Protections and Preserve Choice for Retail Investors in Their Relationships With Financial Professionals
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to adopt a package of rulemakings and interpretations designed to enhance the quality and transparency of retail investors’ relationships with investment advisers and broker-dealers, bringing the legal requirements and mandated disclosures in line with reasonable investor expectations, while preserving access (in terms of choice and cost) to a variety of investment services and products. Specifically, these actions include new Regulation Best Interest, the new Form CRS Relationship Summary, and two separate interpretations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

CFTC Commissioner Behnam Announces Market Risk Advisory Committee Chair and Agenda for June 12 Public Meeting
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) Commissioner Rostin Behnam today announced the agenda for the upcoming Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC) public meeting that will be held on June 12, 2019 at CFTC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the designation of Nadia Zakir, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at the Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (PIMCO), as Chairperson of the MRAC. [See CFTC Press Release 7931-19 for attending, viewing and listening instructions.] Commissioner Behnam is the sponsor of MRAC.

CFTC Chairman Giancarlo Statement on the Senate Confirmation of Heath Tarbert as CFTC Chairman
CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Heath Tarbert to become Chairman of the CFTC:

Update on LF Woodford Equity Income Fund
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today provides an update following the announcement on Monday 3 June that dealing in the units of the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund (the ‘Fund’) had been suspended. This statement provides additional information about the purpose of suspension, the FCA’s role and to address commentary around the decision to list some of the Fund’s assets in Guernsey.

Overview of major banks’ financial results as of March 31, 2019
Japan FSA
Following the announcements by major banks, etc. of their financial results as of March 31, 2019, the FSA has compiled the figures, etc. announced by these banks.

Investing and Trading

A bigger role for green bonds; IFC and HSBC launch first climate capital fund for ‘real economy’ issuers
Philippe Le Houérou – FT
Few countries understand the dangers of climate change better than Thailand. Temperatures have been rising for decades, rainfall is increasing and extreme weather events such as monsoons, floods and droughts are frequent. Without urgent action, climate change could devastate Thailand’s lucrative rice crop and eventually submerge Bangkok.

Oil trader Vitol emerges as $600m winner from volatile market; World’s largest independent energy trader judged plunge in crude price was overdone
Neil Hume and David Sheppard – FT
Vitol has emerged as one of the biggest winners from crude’s rebound in the first three months of this year, as the world’s largest independent energy trader had one of its most profitable quarters after betting fears of a global recession were overdone.

‘Hurricane clause’ in bonds helps countries struck by disaster; Investors might be willing to accept them, but only at higher interest payments
Robin Wigglesworth and Colby Smith – FT
Fifteen years ago Grenada suffered a devastating blow when Hurricane Ivan swept over the small Caribbean island.

Top oil trader befuddled by ‘complicated’ demand outlook; Doug King of Merchant Commodity Fund tries to grapple with conflicting forces
David Sheppard and Laurence Fletcher – FT
The top trader at Merchant Commodity Fund, a London-based hedge fund, has warned that oil prices are likely to remain volatile, describing the outlook for the market as “the most complicated” in years.

Fiat Chrysler withdraws EUR33bn Renault merger offer; Renault, FCA and Nissan shares fall after French government intervenes to delay approval
David Keohane, Leo Lewis, James Fontanella-Khan and Arash Massoudi – FT
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has withdrawn its proposal for a EUR33bn merger with France’s Renault, reversing plans to create what could have been the world’s third-largest carmaker.

Beyond Meat’s home in the meat aisle sparks food fight
Tina Bellon – Reuters
In a bid to directly compete with ground beef and pork sausage, Beyond Meat Inc bills itself the world’s first plant-based burger sold in the meat case of U.S. grocery stores.

How a private equity boom fuelled the world’s biggest law firm; Can the hard-charging culture at Kirkland & Ellis survive a dip in dealmaking?
James Fontanella-Khan and Sujeet Indap and Barney Thompson – Ft
When he took the helm at a Chicago-based law firm called Kirkland & Ellis in 2010, with the aim of turning it into a world-beater, few in the industry thought Jeff Hammes stood a chance.


Boaz Weinstein Sues BlackRock Alleging Corporate-Governance Failings; BlackRock says Saba knew or should have known about the funds’ bylaws when it invested
Gretchen Morgenson – WSJ
Saba Capital Management LP, a $1.7 billion hedge fund run by Boaz Weinstein, has sued BlackRock Inc., BLK 1.60% arguing that the world’s largest asset manager has moved to block outsiders from gaining board seats at three of its funds and effecting change.

Top U.K. Lawmaker Piles Pressure on Woodford to Waive Fund Fees
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
Neil Woodford is coming under mounting pressure to waive management fees on his beleaguered fund, with a top U.K. lawmaker saying investors shouldn’t be forced to pay him while they are barred from withdrawing their money.

Woodford Mired Deeper in Crisis as Loyal Backers Turn Away
Nishant Kumar and Suzy Waite – Bloomberg
An early backer accounting for 40% of assets severs ties; Rare fund freeze also attracts scrutiny of U.K. regulators
Neil Woodford, “the Oracle of Oxford,” is watching his long, storied career crumble with alarming speed. A mere two days after Woodford — perhaps Britain’s most celebrated stock-picker — stunned the world of finance by halting withdrawals from his flagship fund, his reputation is in tatters. The unraveling gathered pace on Wednesday as some supporters distanced themselves, with one key client who accounted for about 40% of assets at Woodford’s firm severing ties.

Neil Woodford broke the ground rules — now investors will pay the price; Is the fallen ‘star’ fund manager a victim? Hardly. He’s made a fortune in recent years
Merryn Somerset Webb – FT
There are rules in fund management. You learn them pretty early in your career. They aren’t complicated, but they are important.

French bank Credit Agricole forecasts slower profit growth
Inti Landauro, Matthieu Protard – Reuters
Credit Agricole, France’s second-largest listed bank, on Thursday said profit growth would slow over the next four years, adopting a cautious outlook in the face of low interest rates and a potential deterioration in its loan portfolio.

Credit Agricole CEO says no pressure, no need to grow via M&A
Credit Agricole’s Chief Executive Philippe Brassac said his bank will focus on organic growth in the coming three years as it has no pressure or need to expand through acquisitions.


How High Are Corn Prices in China? You Won’t Believe Your Ears; Amid trade tensions and production shortfalls, corn prices are near a four-year high
Lucy Craymer – WSJ
Corn prices in China are near their highest levels in four years, the result of falling domestic production at a time of tense relations with the country’s major trading partners.

Zimbabwe Plans Big Corn Imports After Bad Weather Devastates Harvest
Godfrey Marawanyika and Megan Durisin – Bloomberg
Nation expects to float a tender for 750,000 tons of the grain; Zimbabwe’s corn harvest has been slashed by cyclone, drought
Zimbabwe’s government plans to boost corn imports as adverse weather slashes the southern African nation’s harvest.

African Swine Fever Is Spreading Fast and Eliminating It Will Take Decades
Jason Gale, Hannah Dormido and Adrian Leung – Bloomberg
The deadly pig virus that jumped from Africa to Europe is now ravaging China’s $128 billion pork industry and spreading to other Asian countries, an unprecedented disaster that has prompted Beijing to slaughter millions of pigs. But stopping African swine fever isn’t so easy.

Black Market in $2 Billion of Meat Severed by Pig Fever Battle
Bloomberg News
India’s meat exports slumped as China closed its borders; Unofficial meat trade routed from India through Vietnam
China’s attempts to stop the spread of African swine fever are closing the door on a black market meat trade that’s normally worth about $2 billion a year.

A Four Day Workweek Could Be Coming to the U.K.
Scott Lanman and Stephanie Flanders – Bloomberg
If you live in the U.K., your workweek could soon be a day shorter if the political winds tilt more heavily toward the left. Jess Shankleman reports on how the proposal is gaining momentum and how it might affect Britain, then Bloomberg Opinion columnist Noah Smith joins host Stephanie Flanders for a deeper look at the economic questions raised by the four-day week.

How Korea’s yield-seeking pensioners are shaking world markets; Analysts warn that popular ‘auto-callable’ products could exacerbate turbulence
Robin Wigglesworth, June Yoon and Song Jung-a – FT
Complex savings products with names such as Super Lizard, Cobra or Boosters are flying off the shelves in South Korea, as retail investors try to juice returns while interest rates are low. But analysts warn they are causing market anomalies, and potentially fuelling wider turbulence at times of stress.


Brexit would be ‘greatest risk’ to Swedish markets, Riksbank finds; Financiers deem ‘disorderly’ UK withdrawal from EU as foremost concern
Sarah Provan – FT
A potential crashing out of the EU by the UK would be the “greatest risk to the Swedish financial system” over the next six months as market participants felt that domestic factors had faded in comparison, Sweden’s central bank found in a survey.

Trump says Brexit no threat to Irish border; Frontier will be ‘just fine’, maintains president, comparing issue to Mexican wall
Arthur Beesley – FT
Donald Trump has insisted Brexit poses no threat to the Irish border, saying before talks with Leo Varadkar that the frontier will be “just fine” after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Michael Gove calls October Brexit deadline ‘arbitrary’; Tory leadership candidate confirms he is ready to delay exit from EU to gain good deal
Laura Hughes and Sebastian Payne – FT
Michael Gove has described the Brexit deadline of October 31 as “arbitrary” and confirmed that he is prepared to delay the UK’s exit from the EU to gain a good deal.


Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary; His ideas led to early versions of modern computing and helped win World War II. Yet he died as a criminal for his homosexuality.
Alan Cowell – NY Times
His genius embraced the first visions of modern computing and produced seminal insights into what became known as “artificial intelligence.” As one of the most influential code breakers of World War II, his cryptology yielded intelligence believed to have hastened the Allied victory.

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Past Newsletters

FIA Expo, Asia conferences go virtual for 2020

FIA Expo, Asia conferences go virtual for 2020

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