Andrew Mauck, Ernesto Pinto and Brian Rice
Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The NFA is holding a Town Hall Webinar on Tuesday, April 20, at 9:30 a.m. CT. NFA Board Chairwoman Maureen Downs, NFA Public Directors Ron Filler and Doug Harris, President and CEO Thomas Sexton and NFA’s officers will provide a short update on NFA’s recent initiatives and respond to questions submitted by members.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., announced that its new Murban Crude Oil futures contract traded 14,419 contracts on April 7 and a total of 38,712 traded on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi since its launch.
The University of Chicago is putting $20 million behind quantum startups, in the school’s latest move to become a top player in a hot new technology, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.
The New York Times has a story titled Investing Made Simple for Beginners and Everyone Else; Managing your money for the long run can be easier than you might imagine. Yes, you read it here, investing can be simple. The easy answer is to give your money to a robot, one with a good track record.
It turns out one of the hobbies people have taken up during the pandemic is making maple syrup. The New York Times has this sweet story.
One of the things my church, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Elmhurst, Illinois, did during Lent was to encourage members to do random acts of kindness. This could be buying the person in line behind you their coffee or dropping off cookies at the local fire station. A good example of a random act of kindness was in the news yesterday featuring Shaquille O’Neal, or Shaq for short. He paid off a random guy’s engagement ring in a jewelry store he was visiting. Shaq is known for doing all kinds of random acts of kindness like this. Shaq is an accomplished businessman who has parlayed his millions from playing basketball into a nice portfolio of investments, including in the Papa John’s pizza company. Nice work Shaq!
In South Korea, there is a highway with solar panels in the middle that has a bicycle path underneath – cyclists are protected from the sun, isolated from traffic, and the country can produce clean energy. H/t @ValaAfshar
We had three new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign: Brian Rice of ever.ag, Drew Mauck, formerly of Strategics, and Ernesto Pinto of Trading Technologies. Brian is a longtime JLN reader and industry broker specializing in risk management for the dairy and grain sector and beyond. ever.ag also offers insurance and technology solutions to market those sectors. Drew Mauck is a longtime JLN reader and friend who launched his own public relations firm, 3Points Communications. 3PTS is a PR firm for TT and many other firms in the markets space. Ernesto Pinto is the São Paulo, Brazil country manager for TT. Thank you to Brian, Drew and Ernesto and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Thank you also to TT for matching these donations. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign and have TT match your donation.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz published his take on cryptocurrency futures exchange ErisX‘s NFL gambling contracts proposal yesterday, seemingly in an effort to warn ErisX off a substantially similar resubmission of the contract. In addition to saying that the exchange had not sufficiently demonstrated the economic purpose of the contracts, Berkovitz took issue with ErisX’s proposed limitation to selected participants who are ECPs (eligible contract participants): “It would be anticompetitive to allow bookmakers to trade these contracts on the exchange so they can sell them to the public at casinos, racetracks, and other betting establishments, while at the same time prohibiting the public from obtaining those contracts through open, transparent, competitive trading on the exchange.” ErisX certified the contracts on December 15 of last year and withdrew its proposal shortly before the CFTC was expected to act on it two weeks ago. ~Thom Thompson
Going global: Exchange Analytics, a U.S. provider of regulatory compliance training and support services founded by Larry Israel and led by former OCC chief compliance officer Joseph Adamczyk, on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with Ekur Advisors, a Geneva-based advisory firm that also specializes in governance, risk and compliance. More details are here.~SC
Exchange Analytics and Ekur Advisors Announce Strategic Partnership
Exchange Analytics, a leading provider of regulatory compliance training and support services, today announced a strategic partnership with Ekur Advisors, a Geneva-based boutique advisory firm specializing in governance, risk and compliance, serving clients across the globe. Joe Adamczyk, President of Exchange Analytics, said, “I have known Brian Lewis for nearly 15 years, and his new advisory practice with Phillip Goodswen will be an excellent complement to our current product offering. This partnership will allow for cross marketing of each other’s services.
***** EA is a company on the move.~JJL
After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again; I learned the hard way that no publicly traded company is a family.
Emi Nietfeld – NY Times
I used to be a Google engineer. That often feels like the defining fact about my life. When I joined the company after college in 2015, it was at the start of a multiyear reign atop Forbes’s list of best workplaces. I bought into the Google dream completely. In high school, I spent time homeless and in foster care, and was often ostracized for being nerdy. I longed for the prestige of a blue-chip job, the security it would bring and a collegial environment where I would work alongside people as driven as I was.
*****You can have a bad boss anywhere, but when you have drunk the Google Kool-Aid it makes it that much more difficult and painful. This is a good story about sexual harassment and the way it can influence a woman’s career. We need to do better.~JJL
Investing Made Simple for Beginners and Everyone Else; Managing your money for the long run can be easier than you might imagine.
Paul B. Brown – NY Times
“I know you may not believe me, but managing your money can be simple.” That’s the way I began the conversation I had with each of my children when they got their first real jobs and had questions about retirement plans and how they were going to prepare for their financial futures. Boiled down, it amounted to this:
******It is as easy as 1, 2, 4.~JJL
Wednesday’s Top Three
The most widely read story on Wednesday was from the Financial Times, How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts. The second most read story was from Bloomberg Opinion, The Pandemic Isn’t Over, But We’re Over It. And third was an Associated Press story via Yahoo News, Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states.
202,466,490 pages viewed; 25,588 pages; 231,483 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
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SGX and NZX seal partnership on dairy derivatives to unlock growth
Singapore and Wellington – Singapore Exchange (SGX) and New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX) have today signed a strategic partnership agreement to unlock and accelerate the growth potential of NZX’s dairy derivatives. This partnership brings together the complementary capabilities of the SGX and NZX to scale up market distribution and liquidity in the global dairy derivatives markets. It will take effect in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. This follows a Heads of Agreement that was mutually signed in October 2020 to explore the listing of NZX’s suite of dairy contracts on SGX’s trading and clearing platforms.=
SEC Official Warns on Growth of Blank-Check Firms; Special-purpose acquisition companies have significant, undiscovered issues, says the acting director of the SEC’s Corporation Finance division
Dave Michaels – WSJ
A top securities regulator warned about the surge in fundraising by blank-check companies known as special-purpose acquisition companies. Speaking at a legal conference Wednesday, Securities and Exchange Commission official John Coates said there are “some significant and yet undiscovered issues” with SPACs, which allow private companies to go public with a structure that offers outsize potential rewards to backers while bypassing some safeguards of a traditional initial public offering.
Crypto market maker Jump Trading details launch of DeFi data project built on Solana
Kollen Post – The Block
The crypto market-making firm Jump Trading is working on a new initiative that aims to decentralize real-time trading data. Jump’s involvement in the Pyth Network was discussed during a new episode of its “The Jump Off Point” podcast, published on April 7. During the episode, president and chief investment officer Dave Olsen detailed the project, which was incubated by Jump.
CME Group to Launch Lithium (Fastmarkets) Futures on May 3
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced that it will launch Lithium Hydroxide CIF CJK (Fastmarkets) futures on May 3, pending all relevant regulatory reviews. Lithium futures are designed to help market participants manage their battery metals risk, and they represent the latest tool the exchange has launched to help establish a forward curve for a key material in the green economy, joining the recent launch of CME Group’s Cobalt Metal (Fastmarkets) futures.
Credit Suisse Ignored Warnings Before Archegos and Greensill Imploded; Bank is examining how, after years of beefing up compliance and risk, it pushed into risky trades that it couldn’t easily exit
Margot Patrick, Julie Steinberg, Juliet Chung and Duncan Mavin – WSJ
Credit Suisse Group AG’s CS -0.91% double-barreled financial crisis shares a common theme: a bank that looked the other way when warning signs argued for pulling back on lucrative corners of its business. The Swiss bank with a big Wall Street presence was caught off guard starting in late February when $10 billion in complicated investment funds it ran with financing firm Greensill Capital unraveled, despite years of internal warnings about the relationship.
Commemorative Ceremony Held for Japan-China ETF Connectivity
On April 8, new ETFs were simultaneously listed under the Japan-China ETF Connectivity scheme established by Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX), Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE). JPX and Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) held a commemorative ceremony for Japan-China Connectivity on the same day. Akazawa Ryosei, State Minister of Cabinet Office for Financial Services and Matsushita Koichi, President of Daiwa Asset Management Co. Ltd. were joined by market participants in Japan. SSE President Cai Jianchun and SZSE Supervisory Board Chairman Yang Zhihua offered their congratulations in the form of video messages in celebration of the further development of Japan-China ETF Connectivity.
ICE Announces That a Record 14,419 Murban Crude Oil Futures Contracts Traded on April 7; 38,712 contracts traded in total on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi since launch; 38 firms traded on IFAD since launch
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced that a record 14,419 ICE Murban Crude Oil Futures contracts traded on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (“IFAD”) on April 7, marking its highest volume day since the contracts launched on March 29. Alongside ICE Murban Crude Oil Futures, IFAD launched trading in 18 Murban-related cash settled derivatives and inter-commodity spreads, offering the market the broadest range of ways to trade and hedge Murban crude oil.
RBC CEO Says Burnout Is Major Problem, Gives Staff Extra Day Off
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
Bank will give all 86,000 employees access to meditation app; McKay extols benefits of reading, guitar-playing in memo
Royal Bank of Canada is giving employees an extra paid day off this year, and its top executive acknowledged that staff are more burned out now than at any time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chief Executive Officer Dave McKay said in companywide memo on Thursday that many employees have said they’re exhausted and that the bank needs to “eliminate the stigma associated with asking for time to focus, concentrate, and in some cases, log off and recharge.”
Credit Suisse Has Some Painful Choices to Make; The immediate need is for strong leadership to steady the ship and keep hold of the best performers during a dark moment for the firm.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG is suffering serious financial pain after stepping on several rakes at once. It should be able to cope, but it can’t afford to put another foot wrong. The Swiss bank’s global wealth business is its most prized asset and there’s a danger that its reputation — especially among Asian and Middle Eastern clients — will be contaminated by the lender’s woeful risk management, revealed by its exposure to last month’s blowups of Greensill Capital and Archegos.
Marex Releases Record Full Year Results
18% increase in net revenues and 15% increase in adjusted operating PBT;Significant successes from acquisitions and organic growth despite Covid-19;Seventh consecutive year of increased earnings
Marex (the ‘Group’), an essential tech-enabled liquidity hub connecting clients to global energy, commodity and financial markets, has today reported record results for the year ended 31 December 2020. The Group continued its positive trajectory with its seventh consecutive year of increased adjusted operating profit before taxation, as well as diversified earnings across geographies, products and clients.
After Wirecard, Germany’s Proposed Audit Overhaul Worries Finance Executives; Proposed legislation calls for higher fines for audit firms and more oversight of regulator BaFin
Nina Trentmann – WSJ
Auditors and finance chiefs of some of Germany’s biggest businesses are worried that a new regulatory proposal intended to improve audit quality in the wake of the Wirecard AG scandal will lead to higher costs and less competition. German lawmakers currently are debating draft legislation for the so-called Act to Strengthen Financial Market Integrity. The law is expected to pass over the next few months, ahead of the country’s national elections in the fall.
State Street Currenex to support launch of institutional interbank crypto platform; Pure Digital has entered into a technology agreement where State Street Currenex will provide trading infrastructure for its upcoming digital asset platform.
Kiays Khalil – The Trade
Investment bank State Street is set to provide its trading technology infrastructure to startup institutional digital asset platform, Pure Digital, as it prepares to launch. The Pure Digital interbank crypto marketplace for institutional investors will gain trading infrastructure and technology provided by State Street’s Currenex platform. Both firms have also agreed to continue exploring the digital asset space further.
Bill Gates Is Right About the Crazy Rush for SPACs; Canoo’s inauspicious start on the stock market shows the pitfalls of a company going public too soon.
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
When’s the right time to join the stock market? These days companies taken public by special purpose acquisition companies are raising billions of dollars based on little more than a few prototypes and a business plan. Never mind profits, many of the businesses targeted by SPACs for mergers don’t even have revenues yet, especially in the electric-vehicle industry. Money from blank-check companies — which raise cash in an initial public offering before finding a promising private firm with which to combine — is helping fund capital-intensive factories and technology development. But Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates worries that we’ve flipped from an environment in which companies were waiting too long to go public to one where they’re doing it too soon.
Fink Says In-Person Meetings Are Top Priority After Covid
Annie Massa – Bloomberg
BlackRock CEO misses personal connections, ‘unexpected ideas’; Annual letter comes as firms consider how to open up offices
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the thing he looks forward to most in the post-pandemic world is meeting with clients again, as the U.S. vaccination campaign continues and companies weigh how to unwind remote-work setups. In his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, Fink said there’s no substitute for in-person meetings. His comments add to earlier remarks that he fears corporate culture can erode over time while working from home.
Carbon dioxide spikes to critical record, halfway to doubling preindustrial levels; The concentration of the heat-trapping gas topped 420 parts per million, while the planet has warmed more than two degrees
Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow – Washington Post
For the first time in recorded history, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or CO2, was measured at more than 420 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a disconcerting milestone in the human-induced warming of the planet, around the halfway point on our path toward doubling preindustrial CO2 levels.
IMF Launches Climate Change Indicators Dashboard
Washington, DC The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today launched a new Climate Change Indicators Dashboard—an international statistical initiative to address the growing need for data in macroeconomic and financial policy analysis to facilitate climate change mitigation and adaptation.
NZX appoints specialist global expert to the Technology Committee
NZX today announced the appointment of a specialist global expert in stock exchange computer systems, Peter Jessup, to its Technology Sub-committee of the NZX Board. Mr Jessup brings more than 35 years’ IT experience – predominantly in stock exchange and related areas, including trading and post trade systems. Prior to establishing an independent consultancy in 2018, he was Senior Vice President at Nasdaq’s Global Technology Services group, leading an international team of software product engineers and support personnel of over 250 across four geographical locations.
Maktoum bin Mohammed appoints new DFSA Chairman; The appointment of Al Ali comes after the retirement of Saeb Eigner in June 2021.
The Khaleej Times
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), appointed Fadel Al Ali, as Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The appointment of Al Ali comes after the retirement of Saeb Eigner on first of June 2021. Eigner had 17 years of dedicated service and his hard work and diligence
More Contagious Virus Variant Is Now Dominant in U.S., C.D.C. Chief Says; The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in Britain, is now the source of most new coronavirus infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Zimmer – NY Times
A highly infectious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in Britain has become the most common source of new infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. The worrisome development comes as officials and scientists warn of a possible fourth surge of infections.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon outlines ‘serious weaknesses’ of virtual work
Julia La Roche – Yahoo Finance
While JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the largest U.S. bank by assets, quickly transitioned its operations to function virtually, CEO Jamie Dimon spotted some “serious weaknesses” in virtual work.
Archegos: How Wall Street’s hubris is a lesson for retail traders
Jared Blikre – Yahoo Finance
As Wall Street still clamors to untangle the levered Archegos bets on ViacomCBS (VIAC) and other stocks, lessons are emerging that ring true for both institutional and retail investors. However, while Wall Street lives on to trade another day, the retail crowd may not be as fortunate.
UK advises under-30s take offer of alternative to AstraZeneca vaccine; European regulator also establishes link between jabs and rare blood clots
Donato Paolo Mancini, Anna Gross, Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe and George Parker – FT
The UK has abruptly changed its guidance over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, recommending that people aged 18-29 be offered alternative jabs, in a move that could complicate Britain’s inoculation programme.
The World Needs the Not-for-Profit AstraZeneca Vaccine, Minus the AstraZeneca Drama; A series of unforced errors by the British pharma company has turned hope into hesitancy.
Stephanie Baker, Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Mene Pangalos, head of biopharmaceuticals research for AstraZeneca Plc, went to bed on Monday, March 22, feeling good for the first time in a while. After working around the clock through the weekend, he’d just announced better-than-expected interim results from the company’s large U.S. vaccine trial: The shot was safe and 79% effective at preventing cases of symptomatic Covid-19. Positive news, at last, after months of questions about everything including safety and supply shortfalls.
In Currencies, Europe’s Vaccine Trade Is Now Reversing
Greg Ritchie, Jill Ward, and Vassilis Karamanis – Bloomberg
Euro recorded biggest jump against sterling of 2021 on Tuesday; Hedge funds are closing bullish positions on U.K. currency
Currency traders have reaped gains this year betting on the U.K.’s vaccine success and against Europe’s stumbles. Now that trade is going in reverse. The euro is on course for its best week against sterling since September, trading above 86 pence on Thursday. Investors have been selling the pound on concerns relating to AstraZeneca Plc’s shot — which the U.K. is heavily dependent on — while the shared currency has been buoyed by projections the bloc will hit immunization targets earlier than expected.
Is the AstraZeneca Vaccine Safe or Not? Regulators in the U.K. and Europe still back the shot despite the risk of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots. Here’s what you need to know.
Sam Fazeli – Bloomberg
Last month, several European countries suspended use of the AstraZeneca Plc Covid-19 vaccine amid safety concerns after some blood-clotting events that regulators feared might be tied to the shot. At the time, the U.K. — which had already distributed the vaccine to millions — didn’t seem to have the same experience. That’s changing. U.K. regulators are now signaling there may be a link to rare but potentially life-threatening clotting — especially among younger people — and are recommending that those under 30 receive the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot or Moderna Inc. vaccine instead. European regulators are leaving this type of recommendation up to individual member states, and both European and U.K. regulators say the benefits of the Astra vaccine still outweigh the risks. Here, Sam Fazeli, a Bloomberg Opinion contributor who covers the pharmaceutical industry for Bloomberg Intelligence, answers questions about these recent developments and the potential risks.
Australia Avoids AstraZeneca Shot for Under 50s on Clot Risk
Ed Johnson – Bloomberg
The Australian government is guiding against giving AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine to people under the age of 50 amid warnings of a link to a rare type of blood clots. In line with expert health advice, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the government now preferred the Pfizer vaccine for the under 50s.
AstraZeneca Worries Complicate Bid to Vaccinate the World
James Paton, Tim Loh, and Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
U.K., EU regulators find possible link to blood clots; Many countries stick with Astra plans despite new warnings
Growing worries that AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine causes rare blood clots could hinder immunization campaigns across the world, from London to Seoul. Reviews by U.K. and European Union regulators finding potential links to the unusual side effects are another blow for the shot, a cheaper and easier-to-deploy product that many nations are counting on in a bid to end the pandemic.
Vaccine guidance leaves UK facing challenge of supply and confidence; Government remains bullish on programme to tackle Covid-19 despite new advice on age groups
Clive Cookson – FT
The NHS and ministers face two main challenges as they try to keep the UK’s vaccination rollout on track, after regulators advised that adults under the age of 30 should be offered alternatives to Oxford/AstraZeneca.
Spain and Italy to restrict AstraZeneca’s Covid jab to over-60s; Australia and Belgium also issue new age restrictions, in policy shifts that could complicate countries’ efforts to step up vaccination programmes
Daniel Dombey and Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
Spain and Italy have moved to limit the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged above 60, in shifts that will complicate the countries’ efforts to step up their vaccination programmes. The decisions by Madrid and Rome on Wednesday night came after the European Medicines Agency said earlier in the day that there was a link between very rare blood clots in the brain and the AstraZeneca jab.
Breton seeks to inject drive into EU’s stuttering vaccine push; French industrialist and former minister has clashed with UK and AstraZeneca over jab supply
Sam Fleming and Michael Peel and Peggy Hollinger – FT
It was never going to be an easy encounter. In early February, days after AstraZeneca disclosed crushing coronavirus vaccine delivery shortfalls to EU officials, Thierry Breton, the internal market commissioner, held a video call with the company’s chief executive Pascal Soriot.
Origin of Covid-19 Pandemic Is Sought in Old Blood Samples; Frozen specimens stored in China and elsewhere could show how long new coronavirus had been circulating before first cases were discovered
Betsy McKay and Amy Dockser Marcus – WSJ
As part of an international effort to pinpoint the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic and prevent future disease outbreaks, scientists are looking for new clues in frozen blood. Their efforts span the globe. Organizations including the American Red Cross and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are testing old blood specimens for the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Blood banks in the U.S., Europe and other regions are discussing new approaches to testing blood samples for signs of infection.
China Blasts Taiwan Over Efforts to Help Ally Paraguay Get Vaccines
India poised to send 100,000 more of the shots to Paraguay; Paraguay said in March it got offers to break ties with Taipei
China slammed Taiwan over its efforts to help one of its few remaining allies get coronavirus shots, the latest squabbling over vaccines between the two sides of the strait.
Among the Covid sceptics: ‘We are being manipulated, without a shadow of a doubt’; Who are the people who have come to follow wild conspiracy theories about Covid-19?
Samira Shackle – CNN
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Anna, a young woman from Bradford, was waiting for surgery for endometriosis. The surgery was cancelled, leaving her in excruciating pain. She was forced to close her business, a small tattoo studio that she had opened two years earlier, at the age of 24. She could no longer pay for the weekly counselling that had been helping her deal with her troubled childhood. Her partner lost his job. Anna was convinced that if she caught Covid, she would die. “I was in a terrified bubble, having the news on constantly, crying, worrying, panicking,” she told me. For weeks, she waited anxiously for news about support for shuttered businesses. The cash grant, when it finally came, fell far short. Other business expenses – insurance, bills – went on her credit card. She considered suicide.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Tokyo Stock Exchange would be shamed by a Toshiba delisting; The bourse has already been through multiple contortions to protect the Japanese industrial icon
Leo Lewis – FT
According to one bleak Japanese adage, you should expect rain tomorrow and assume people are thieves. The Tokyo Stock Exchange, as a granter of corporate respectability and gatekeeper of shareholder capitalism, may not have done enough of either. In the past, those deficiencies have rankled but not cost the TSE’s reputation as dearly as they might. The bourse, via its parent the Japan Exchange Group (JPX), has somehow weathered the various scandals, misdeeds and governance horrors of its listed members. But Toshiba may change that.
LSE Probes Hours-Long Outage on Eikon Markets Platform
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
London Stock Exchange Group Plc is investigating an outage on Eikon, the financial information platform at its new Refinitiv unit. The problems started at around 8:30 a.m. during morning trading in London, according to Reuters. “We’re aware of an issue disrupting our service to customers,” LSE said in an emailed statement. “We are currently investigating the cause of the issue and working hard to resolve the problem.”
LSEG suffers data outage on Refinitiv platform; An outage across several of the data products and services provided by Refinitiv is being investigated by LSEG.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) is investigating an ongoing outage that has impacted several products and services offered by its recently acquired Refinitiv data unit. LSEG confirmed the ongoing outage on the Refinitiv Eikon platform began at 8:30 am GMT on 8 April and remains ongoing.
The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) Announces Its Transformation Into A Holding Company (Saudi Tadawul Group) In Preparation For IPO
The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) today announced its transformation into a group structure, and reinforcing its capabilities in technology innovation. This transformation marks a new chapter in the Group’s history and signals its readiness for the IPO in 2021.
Credit and Open Trading volumes reach new record at MarketAxess; In March, MarketAxess reported record monthly trading volume for credit and its all-to-all trading platform Open Trading.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Fixed income platform provider MarketAxess traded record volumes in March this year across credit and its all-to-all platform Open Trading. MarketAxess confirmed total credit average daily trading volume reached a record $12.7 billion, with a total credit trading volume of $292.6 billion. Open Trading credit trading volume also surged to a record $94.4 billion.
Exchange’s Disciplinary Action against My Heart Bodibra Group Limited (Stock Code: 8297) and Two Directors
The GEM Listing Committee of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited
CENSURES:(1) My Heart Bodibra Group Limited (Stock Code: 8297); (2) Mr Chan Lin So Alan, former executive director and compliance officer; and(3) Mr Yiu Koon Pong, former executive director and chief executive officer of the Company. AND STATES, by reason of Mr Chan and Mr Yiu’s persistent failure to discharge their responsibilities under the GEM Listing Rules, had they remained in office, their retention of office would have been prejudicial to the interests of investors.
ASX Group Monthly Activity Report – March 2021
EBS Market Integration Notice: New and Updated Content
EBS Market Integration onto CME Globex
In Q4 2021, subject to applicable regulatory approvals, EBS Market’s Central Limit Order Book and eFix Matching Service will launch on CME Globex. You will receive subsequent notices with additional details and actions required to support the EBS Market integration onto CME Globex.
Notice of Disciplinary Action
NON-MEMBER: WAI CHEONG ARTHUR CHAN
RULE VIOLATION: COMEX RULE 534. WASH TRADES PROHIBITED
COMEX RULE 576. IDENTIFICATION OF GLOBEX TERMINAL OPERATORS
PENALTY: Based on the record and the Panel’s findings and conclusions, the Panel ordered Chan to pay a fine in the amount of $50,000 and serve a two year suspension from access to any trading floor owned or controlled by CME Group and from direct and indirect access to any designated contract market, derivatives clearing organization or swap execution facility owned or controlled by CME Group. The suspension shall run from April 7, 2021 through April 7, 2023, inclusive.
Notice of Disciplinary Action
NON-MEMBER: YOUNG MYOUNG KIM
RULE VIOLATIONS: NYMEX RULE 575. DISRUPTIVE PRACTICES PROHIBITED (in part)
NYMEX RULE 576. IDENTIFICATION OF GLOBEX TERMINAL OPERATORS
PENALTY: Based on the record and the Panel’s findings and conclusions, the Panel ordered Kim to pay a fine in the amount of $50,000 and serve a five year suspension from access to any trading floor owned or controlled by CME Group and from direct and indirect access to any designated contract market, derivatives clearing organization or swap execution facility owned or controlled by CME Group. The suspension shall run from April 7, 2021 through April 7, 2026, inclusive.
JPX Monthly Headlines – March 2021
JPX group companies undertake various initiatives and disseminate information with the aim of providing the most attractive markets to all users. Every month, we showcase the highlights of these efforts in short and concise summaries just for you.
NZX Annual Meeting 2021 – speeches and presentation
Please see attached the content being presented today at the NZX Limited 2021 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting by Chair James Miller and CEO Mark Peterson, starting at 10.00am.
SET market report for March 2021
The SET Index closed the first quarter of 2021 in positive territory, rising 9.5 percent to 1,587.21 from the end of 2020. For the first time the SET Index in March bounced back to the pre-pandemic level. Comparing with 2020 year-end performance, industry groups that outperformed SET Index were Financials, Agro & Food Industry, Industrials, Services, Consumer Products, and Property & Construction.
Twitter Held Discussions for $4 Billion Takeover of Clubhouse
Katie Roof, Kurt Wagner, and Scott Deveau – Bloomberg
Talks no longer active between Twitter, social media startup; Clubhouse is seeking to raise funding at a similar valuation
Twitter Inc. held talks in recent months to acquire Clubhouse, the buzzy audio-based social network, according to people familiar with the matter. The companies discussed a potential valuation of roughly $4 billion for Clubhouse, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Discussions are no longer ongoing, and it’s unclear why they stalled, the people added. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment. A Clubhouse representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Machine learning futures algo trading surges at JPMorgan; Peter Ward, global head of futures and options electronic execution at JP Morgan, tells Hayley McDowell that buy-side adoption of its reinforcement learning FICC futures algorithms has surged in recent years, accelerated by the market volatility in 2020.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Growth in fixed income futures algorithmic trading at JP Morgan has accelerated rapidly in 2020 as buy-side traders globally turned to the investment bank’s machine learning-equipped algos to grapple with intense market volatility. Speaking to The TRADE, Peter Ward, global head of futures and options electronic execution at JP Morgan, explains that while the volatility contributed to recent growth, adoption of futures algo trading has picked up pace with clients significantly in the last
SteelEye raises $17 million to support US expansion; High demand for cloud-based compliance technology and remote working conditions brought on by the pandemic were key drivers for SteelEye to expand into US.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Regulatory technology provider SteelEye has confirmed it secured $17 million in funding rounds last year, which it plans to use to support its expansion into the US. The RegTech firm raised $17 million in two separate funding rounds in 2020, led by Fidelity International Strategic Ventures and Illuminate Financial, and US-based investor Beacon Equity Partners respectively.
US fintech Plaid raises $425m in Series D funding round
Joanna England – Fintech Magazine
The US-based unicorn startup, Plaid, has more than doubled its total capital following a Series D funding round of $425m. Plaid is a financial services company based in San Francisco, California. The fintech builds a data transfer networks that empower financial and digital finance products. Plaid’s cutting-edge technology platform links financial data from customer accounts to apps such as Coinbase, Expensify and Venmo, to enable better money management. According to reports, Plaid’s technology platform connects information from 11,000 banks and financial institutions to more than 4,500 fintech customers. These include Robinhood, Google, Microsoft and PayPal.
How To Become A Fintech Market Participant
Aleksandrs Malins – Forbes
According to a Chinese proverb, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The journey to the changes in the worldwide payment ecosystem began in 1998 when PayPal was launched. After a while, the story was repeated with N26, Revolut and other cases, and fintech companies can still change or at least affect the financial market. As PwC mentioned in a survey, “fintech is a combination of technology and financial services that’s transforming the way financial businesses operate, collaborate and transact with their customers, their regulators and others in the industry.” E&Y added that “fintech is an industry that has evolved beyond its early stages to significantly move the dial on customer expectations.”
Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable
Max Chafkin – Bloomberg
Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and conservative political donor, urged the U.S. government to consider tighter regulations on cryptocurrencies during an appearance at a virtual event held for members of the Richard Nixon Foundation. The statements seemed to reverse a long-held position for Thiel, who is a major investor in virtual currency ventures as well as in cryptocurrencies themselves. In comments Tuesday night, he described himself as a “pro-crypto, pro-Bitcoin maximalist,” but warned that Bitcoin “threatens the U.S. dollar.”
‘Coinbase Effect’ Means Average 91% Token Price Gain in 5 Days, Messari Says
Damanick Dantes – Coindesk
In cryptocurrency markets they call it the “Coinbase effect” – the theory that up-and-coming digital tokens like cardano tend to experience a quick price pop after they’re listed on the big U.S. exchange Coinbase.
State Street to provide tech for cryptocurrency trading platform; US asset manager to help power Pure Digital venue as financial firms inch into market
Eva Szalay – FT
State Street, one of the world’s biggest asset managers, is tiptoeing into the crypto market by forging a deal to lend its trading technology to a digital currency trading venue. The US-based financial group said on Thursday it would partner with Pure Digital, a start-up that aims to be the main institutional platform for bitcoin.
Why Coinbase’s stellar earnings are not what they seem; It’s easy to be profitable if your real unique selling point is being a beneficiary of regulatory arbitrage.
Izabella Kaminska – FT
Coinbase, one of the most popular crypto exchange and wallet services operating in the regulated financial sector, shared its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday ahead of its Nasdaq direct listing on April 14. Top line results showed revenues sky rocketing to $1.8bn in the first quarter of 2021 versus $191m in the same period last year, with net income climbing to c$730m.
Excitement over the ‘Coinbase effect’ is spilling over ahead of its stock market debut
Robert Hackett and David Z. Morris – Fortune
There’s an enduring concept in the world of cryptocurrency investing called “the Coinbase effect.” The idea is that the price of cryptocurrencies that are going to be listed for sale on dominant crypto exchange Coinbase start rising in the days after the news becomes public. The phenomenon is no surprise. Coinbase is the U.S.’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange. Speculators can reasonably expect that enthusiasm for an up-and-coming digital coin will mount in the lead-up to a listing, when a widened audience of potential buyers and sellers will gain access to it.
Chinese province Hainan to test digital yuan this month
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Chinese island province Hainan is said to be piloting digital yuan from April 12 to 25. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s Hainan branch, the People’s Bank of China’s Haikou branch, and Sansha city’s municipal government will conduct the pilot, 21st Century Business Herald reported Wednesday. Specifically, the test will be conducted on Yongxing Island in Sansha city to promote digital yuan usage.
Wyoming’s New Online Sports Betting Law OKs Crypto Wagers
Danny Nelson – Coindesk
Wyoming has legalized online sports betting with a new law that also allows gamblers to place their wagers in crypto. House bill 133, which the governor signed Monday, lets sportsbooks accept “digital, crypto and virtual currencies” bets in lieu of greenbacks – so long as those cryptos are cash-convertible. The law’s crypto rider highlights how lawmakers in America’s least-populous state are embracing digital currency as an essential part of their legislative agenda. First came the bills to woo crypto business. Now, Wyoming legislators told CoinDesk, crypto inclusion is almost second-nature. “I think that Wyoming legislators are getting more comfortable with cryptocurrency as the issue evolves in our state,” said state Sen. Jeff Wasserburger (R-Gillette), one of the bill’s sponsors, noting “there was very little discussion” about including crypto in the bill.
Bitcoin ATM operator Coinme enters Florida via Coinstar partnership after obtaining regulatory approval
MK Manoylov – The Block
Coinme, the second-largest bitcoin ATM operator in the United States, has obtained the proper licensure to offer its services in Florida, according to a company statement. The company will now place 300 machines in grocery stores across the state through its partnership with Coinstar, the physical kiosk manufacturer. While Bitcoin ATM operators are federally regulated through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, state guidelines also limit where they can actually set up shop. Coinme already had 5,607 locations across the United States, according to a map of available Coinme locations, including some in Florida’s neighboring state Georgia.
Etrading Software Calls for New Members for its Digital Token Identifier Committee; Product Advisory Committee to provide recommendations on the ISO standard implementation
Etrading Software (ETS), global provider of technology-led solutions designed for financial institutions and industry initiatives, acting as an exclusive Registration Authority, (RA), for the new International Organization for Standardization’s, (ISO), standard for Digital Token Identifiers (DTIs) is today calling for new members for its Product Advisory Committee (PAC) with an application closing date of 17th May 2021.
Binance-Owned WazirX Launches India’s First NFT Platform
Omkar Godbole – Coindesk
India now has a marketplace for digital collectibles. On Monday, the Mumbai-based WazirX exchange, the largest in India, launched a non-fungible tokens (NFT) platform through which creators can auction their digital assets and earn royalties.
Blockchain firm LBRY tries to rally sector against SEC; critics allege a ‘cryptocurrency suppression program’
Chris Matthews – MarketWatch
The Securities and Exchange Commission last week sued blockchain company LBRY Inc. for alleged selling unregistered securities in a case that could threaten Americans’ ability to buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether, experts say.
MoneyLion to Empower Members to Buy, Sell and Earn Cryptocurrencies via Strategic Investment in Zero Hash; Investment in leading digital trade settlement infrastructure provider will add crypto-based investing and rewards offering to MoneyLion’s all-in-one digital platform
MoneyLion, an award-winning, data-driven, digital financial platform, today announced that it will introduce new capabilities enabling members to buy, sell and earn digital currencies. This includes a strategic investment the company has made in Zero Hash, the leading, regulated digital asset settlement provider. The strategic investment in Zero Hash provides MoneyLion the ability to power its cryptocurrency offering as part of its all-in-one digital financial platform and gives the company an ownership stake in the leading cryptocurrency liquidity and settlement infrastructure for digital and traditional banking and brokerage providers.
Singapore Leadership Plan Upended as Heir Apparent Bows Out
Faris Mokhtar, Philip Heijmans, and Michelle Jamrisko – Bloomberg
Finance Minister Heng calls for younger leader to succeed Lee; Move paves the way for Lee to stay on several more years
Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat stepped aside as the designated successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a surprise move that will likely push back a long-telegraphed power transition in the city-state. In a letter addressed to Lee on Thursday, Heng — who turns 60 this year — said the pandemic meant that he would likely be too old to take over as prime minister “when the crisis is over” roughly five years from now. He said a younger leader should take over instead, adding that he stands ready to support whomever is chosen by party officials.
Biden’s Tax Plan Aims to Raise $2.5 Trillion and End Profit-Shifting; The plan detailed by the Treasury Department would make it harder for companies to avoid paying taxes on both U.S. income and profits stashed abroad.
Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport – NY Times
Large companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have long employed complicated maneuvers to reduce or eliminate their tax bills by shifting income on paper between countries. The strategy has enriched accountants and shareholders, while driving down corporate tax receipts for the federal government.
Ex-Gunvor Oil Trader Claims His Supervisors Knew About Bribes
Patricia Hurtado and Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Kohut pleaded guilty to aiding bribes for Ecuador oil deals; Unsealed documents reveal secretly recorded conversations
A former Gunvor Group Ltd. employee who helped bribe Ecuadorian officials to win oil deals told co-conspirators that certain executives at the Swiss trading company were aware of their activities, according to secret recordings unsealed in U.S. court filings.
Statement of Commissioner Dan M. Berkovitz Related to Review of ErisX Certification of NFL Futures Contracts
Sports Event Contracts: No Dice Unless There is an Economic Purpose and the Exchange is Open to the Public
Federal Court Orders Alabama Company and its Owner to Pay Over $1.1 Million for Commodity Pool Fraud
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that Judge Liles C. Burke of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered a default judgment against Negus Capital Incorporated (NCI) of Muscle Shoals, Alabama finding that it, through its owner Aaron B. Butler, engaged in fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation, and registration violations in connection with binary options trading.
ASIC warns time is fast running out for insurance claims handling AFS licence applications
Today ASIC called on insurance claims handling firms to lodge licence applications (new and varied) as soon as possible, and by no later than 7 May 2021. Since 1 January 2021, claims handling and settling is a financial service which requires a licence by 1 January 2022.
ASIC commences proceedings against Westpac for alleged misleading and unfair sales of consumer credit insurance
ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac), alleging it mis-sold consumer credit insurance (CCI) with credit cards, and other credit facilities, to customers who had not agreed to buy the policies.
ESMA makes recommendations for Organised Trading Facilities under MiFID II/MiFIR
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its Final Report on the functioning of Organised Trading Facilities (OTFs). The report contains recommendations and possible amendments to MiFID II/MiFIR with a view to reducing the level of complexity for market participants and making the legal framework more effective.
ESMA Report Highlights Liquidity Concerns for Alternative Investment Funds
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU securities regulator, today publishes its third annual statistical report on the Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) sector. The report has found that the sector increased by 15% in 2019 to EUR 6.8trn in net assets from EUR 5.9trn in 2018.
ESMA Publishes Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on Changes to CCP’s Activities and Models
The European Securities and Markets Authority, the EU’s securities markets regulator, today published its Final Report containing draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) relating to changes to central counterparty (CCP) services and activities, as well as models and parameters under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).
Lifecycle of a FINRA Investigation
Join FINRA staff as they walk through the stages of a FINRA Investigation and Enforcement process. Panelists provide detailed descriptions of each step in the process, explain potential pitfalls, and suggest effective practices.
2021 Town Hall Webinar
To provide members with an opportunity to ask questions of NFA’s leadership, NFA will conduct a Town Hall webinar on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET. During the webinar, NFA Board Chair Maureen Downs, NFA Public Directors Ron Filler and Doug Harris, President and CEO Thomas Sexton and NFA’s officers will provide a short update on NFA’s recent initiatives and respond to questions submitted by Members.
Japan’s regulators to check high-risk trades after Archegos – Nikkei
Japanese regulators will heighten scrutiny on high-risk trades by domestic financial institutions in the wake of the Archegos fallout, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday. Top investment bank and brokerage, Nomura Holdings, was one of the highest-profile casualties while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) warned of a loss of around $270 million.
Investing and Trading
‘It’s the end of the road’: UK’s sugar beet farmers face rising pressures; Future of production in question after disease and poor weather ravage 2020 crop
Judith Evans – FT
Tom Wright’s family grew sugar beet on their mixed farm near Moulton St Mary in Norfolk for more than a century, but this year they have planted none. “We’ve considered the future of the crop very carefully over the last 10 years, and we know that at the current prices it’s not making money any more,” Wright said. “It’s sad. My family have grown it for five generations, since 1912, and there have been bad times before, but now it really is the end of the road.
A 6,400% Reddit-Fueled Penny Stock Rally Is Reversing in Sydney
Ishika Mookerjee and Jackie Edwards – Bloomberg
IOUpay is top Asia media stock of past year despite 44% slump; SE Asia-focused co.’s buy-now-pay-later model faces contest
The Reddit meme stock fizzle is roiling an Australian penny stock. IOUpay Ltd., a fintech firm that went into overdrive on a social media-backed retail trading frenzy, has plummeted in the past two months. The stock is set for more declines as the firm’s newly launched buy-now-pay-later services — which allows customers to purchase goods and then pay for them in installments — faces intensified competition in Southeast Asia from larger Australian rival Afterpay Ltd., say analysts.
The UAE Stock That’s Up 70% in Three Weeks and Nobody Knows Why
Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg
Shares gained in every session in 12 days through Wednesday; Company’s market value surpasses $40 billion for first time
By most standards, the recent performance of International Holdings Co. PJSC has been an investor’s dream. Shares in the Abu Dhabi-based group have jumped more than 70% since March 22 in an uninterrupted 12-day winning streak that’s propelled the company’s value past the $40 billion mark for the first time, higher even than the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank.
Canadian Crop Production & Yield Forecasts Now Available from Barchart
Wheat, Corn, and Soybean yield and production forecasts are now available for Canada, with initial 2021 estimates to be released on July 6th;Semi-monthly estimates will be made available to the public through our free Canadian Crop Production Report;Forecasts are produced daily throughout the growing season, and are available to cmdtyView Pro subscribers at no additional charge
Barchart, a leading provider of data and technology services to the financial and commodity industries, announces the launch of production, yield and harvested area forecasts for Canadian field crops. This latest release extends Barchart’s coverage of geospatial products internationally, and demonstrates the power of Barchart’s cmdty product line, which is becoming the leading platform for global commodities pricing and data.
Investors Big and Small Are Driving Stock Gains With Borrowed Money; The past year’s rally has been boosted by Robinhood day traders and big investment firms
Alexander Osipovich and David Benoit – WSJ
Investors are borrowing huge sums of money to buy stocks. Is that a problem? The “everything rally” that started in stocks last year has been boosted by investors betting money they have borrowed. That includes both small players like the day traders on Robinhood Markets Inc. and heavyweights like Archegos Capital Management, the investing firm that triggered a mini meltdown for several companies’ stocks.
Why Treasury Market Spasms That Shouldn’t Happen Keep Happening
Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
The U.S. Treasury market is the biggest, most liquid market in the world. Its smooth functioning is also crucial to the economy and the financial system. Yet it keeps experiencing bizarre, seemingly inexplicable bouts of volatility. We saw it in February. We saw it big time last March. And we saw it multiple times in recent years before then. On this episode, we speak with Yesha Yadav, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, who argues that these episodes can be explained by the inadequate patchwork of regulations governing this market.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
BlackRock Raises $4.8 Billion to Invest in Renewable Power
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
Fund raises almost double from investors than expected; BlackRock closes third global renewables-focused fund
BlackRock Inc. has raised $4.8 billion for a new fund to invest in renewable power assets around the world – almost double its initial target. The company’s real assets division closed on its third global renewable power fund, drawing money from over 100 institutional investors. It’s the latest sign of increasing interest from investors to buy into the surging green power sector.
Axa IM places EUR800m bet on return to the office in Europe; Asset manager to focus on UK, France and Germany as well as demand for low-carbon workspaces
George Hammond – FT
One of the world’s largest asset managers has raised almost EUR1bn to develop offices in Europe, betting that demand for modern workspaces will bounce back after the pandemic.
Record rise in global methane emissions in 2020; Scientists are concerned about how levels of the gas, as well as climbing CO2, will affect global warming
Leslie Hook – FT
Methane levels in the atmosphere surged during 2020, marking the biggest increase since records began in 1983, in what scientists called a worrying development for the planet.
SSE, Equinor Plan World’s First Hydrogen Power Plant in U.K.
Lars Paulsson and Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Two power stations will be built in England’s northeast; Companies looking at blending hydrogen for existing gas plant
Norwegian energy major Equinor ASA will work with SSE Plc to develop two new low-carbon power plants in the most polluting part of the U.K, including the first in the world running on hydrogen.
BlackRock Borrows Against Diversity; Also Archegos, Greensill and Wallstreetbets.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
The basic idea of green bonds is that some investors want to finance environmentally friendly projects, for reasons of their own, and they are willing to pay more to do so. So if a company can issue bonds at a 4% yield to finance its regular business, perhaps it can issue green bonds at a 3.9% yield to finance its green projects. There is extra demand for sustainable finance — demand from individual investors who care about sustainability, or from institutional investors with sustainability goals in their mandates — and so issuers of green bonds can get a “greenium,” that is, get more money at lower interest rates than they could by issuing regular bonds.
Anglo American to Spin Off South African Coal Assets. Why That Matters for ESG Investors.
Callum Keown – Barron’s
Anglo American stock climbed on Thursday as the mining giant announced plans to spin off its thermal coal operations in South Africa as it seeks a “responsible transition” away from the fossil fuel. The Anglo American said it will demerge its South African thermal coal operations to a new holding company, Thungela Resources Limited—subject to shareholder approval on May 5. Thungela will then be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Thungela is a leading South African producer and exporter of thermal coal.
ESG trend is changing asset management
Katherine Lampen – FT
Investment in companies that integrate environmental, social and governance factors continues to gain traction across public and private markets. Once considered a niche, the zeitgeist has gone past the notion of a ‘seismic shift’. Instead, integration of ESG underpins most, if not all, debates about the future of the investment industry. This aligns with broader commentary on stakeholder capitalism, new forms of corporate governance and an understanding of corporate purpose.
ESG Considerations Gaining Traction Amongst Investors
Environmental, social, and governance investment strategies are gaining traction among the investment community, notably younger investors who are more amenable to sustainability initiatives. “Investors plan to move funds to support companies with a positive ESG rating or impact,” according to a study conducted by EIS fund OnePlanetCapital, Bloomberg reports. The study projects investments in the ESG market will double in 2021, with about 12% of investors expected to shift to ESG related funds. “ESG is now a key factor for investors when making decisions about their portfolio,” OnePlanetCapital said, adding that research is “suggesting investors are becoming increasingly concerned about global environmental issues such as climate change.”
Goldman Secrecy in Harassment Claims Faces New Challenge in Vote
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Glass Lewis recommends shareholders vote in favor of report; Wells Fargo ended its forced-arbitration policy last year
After Wells Fargo & Co. became the first of the largest U.S. banks to do away with mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment complaints last year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is being urged to take steps in the same direction. Goldman faces a vote at its annual meeting later this month on whether it should publish a report on how its mandatory-arbitration policy impacts employees and workplace culture. The bank is asking shareholders to vote against the proposal, filed by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, while prominent shareholder-advisory firm Glass, Lewis & Co. is recommending that investors vote in favor.
Credit Suisse CEO Faces Anger in the Ranks After Archegos Mess
Patrick Winters and Jan-Henrik Foerster – Bloomberg
Conference call of managing directors vented ire to Gottstein; Embattled CEO points to new chairman for strategy review
For the second time in a little more than a week, Thomas Gottstein was facing a tough crowd: his own bankers. The chief executive officer of Credit Suisse Group AG gathered dozens of managing directors at the global bank on a conference call late Tuesday, as part of crisis-management efforts after the lender announced that it stands to lose as much as $4.7 billion amid the meltdown of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management.
Robinhood Seeks More Bank Credit Ahead of Planned IPO
Matthew Monks and Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
Company is in talks with lenders to add to credit lines; Planned listing expected to be one of 2021’s most watched
Robinhood Markets Inc. is seeking to boost its bank loans ahead of an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter. The company, which pitches its trading platform to novice investors, has been holding talks with lenders about adding to its revolving credit lines, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. It isn’t clear how much the company is seeking.
Bill Hwang Had $20 Billion, Then Lost It All in Two Days; The fast rise and even faster fall of a trader who bet big with borrowed money.
Erik Schatzker, Sridhar Natarajan, Katherine Burton – Bloomberg
Before he lost it all—all $20 billion—Bill Hwang was the greatest trader you’d never heard of. Starting in 2013, he parlayed more than $200 million left over from his shuttered hedge fund into a mind-boggling fortune by betting on stocks. Had he folded his hand in early March and cashed in, Hwang, 57, would have stood out among the world’s billionaires. There are richer men and women, of course, but their money is mostly tied up in businesses, real estate, complex investments, sports teams, and artwork. Hwang’s $20 billion net worth was almost as liquid as a government stimulus check. And then, in two short days, it was gone.
Greensill’s demise turns spotlight on Marsh; US insurance broker was responsible for finding cover for the supply chain finance group
Ian Smith – FT
Last summer, Marsh McLennan, the world’s largest insurance broker, aimed a shot across the bow of The Bond & Credit Co, a little-known Australian underwriting company. Marsh’s job was to find insurers to back the supply chain lending agreements of Greensill Capital, a London-based company that imploded spectacularly last month after a chunk of its cover expired.
Norway Wealth Fund Could Allocate Up to $80 Billion to Outside Firms
Lars Erik Taraldsen – Bloomberg
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, wants to allocate a larger chunk of its $1.3 trillion portfolio to external asset managers, describing their performance so far as “fantastic.” The Oslo-based investor already raised its allocation target for external asset managers at the end of last year, bringing it to 5% from just under 4%. It will now “increase that somewhat,” up to 6%, according to Trond Grande, the fund’s deputy chief executive officer.
Foreign investors face critical legal test for $82bn in China bonds; Restructuring of state-linked group could signal how Beijing plans to handle rising defaults
Edward White – FT
The secretive restructuring of a high-profile Chinese group with ties to Beijing has emerged as a critical legal test for foreign investors holding tens of billions of dollars in bonds issued by companies in China.
Drought in Taiwan Pits Chip Makers Against Farmers; The island is going to great lengths to keep water flowing to its all-important semiconductor industry, including shutting off irrigation to legions of rice growers.
Raymond Zhong and Amy Chang Chien – NY Times
Chuang Cheng-deng’s modest rice farm is a stone’s throw from the nerve center of Taiwan’s computer chip industry, whose products power a huge share of the world’s iPhones and other gadgets.
Nigeria’s Oil Curse Could Become an Opportunity; Its output was never big enough to spark a Middle East-style economic miracle. That gives renewable power an opening.
David Fickling – Bloomberg
Third in a four-part series on oil-dependent economies and their transition to a zero-carbon future. Read part one on Saudi Arabia here and part two on Russia here. Part four, on Canada, will be published tomorrow.
After 100 Days, Here’s What Leaving Feels Like: Beyond Brexit
Lizzy Burden – Bloomberg
What’s happening? Riots erupt in Northern Ireland and London’s equities trade drifts across the pond. Almost 100 days since Brexit was formally completed, we spoke to readers who kindly responded to this newsletter to share their experiences of how the new trading relationship is working. We love hearing from you — thank you. Their stories were good, bad and ugly: from a Northern Ireland manufacturer crippled by additional surcharges, to a trucker south of the border who has never been busier.
Post-Brexit violence rocks Belfast for another night, threatening region’s uneasy political balance
Belfast, Northern Ireland — Rioters set a hijacked bus on fire and hurled gasoline bombs at police in Belfast in at least the fourth night of serious violence in a week in Northern Ireland, where Brexit has unsettled an uneasy political balance.
Youths threw projectiles and petrol bombs at police on Wednesday night in the Protestant Shankill Road area, while rioters lobbed bricks, fireworks and petrol bombs in both directions over the concrete “peace wall” separating the Shankill Road from a neighboring Irish nationalist area.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: Brexit ‘cannot possibly be a positive’ for UK in short term
Oscar Williams-Grut – Yahoo Finance
The chief executive of JPMorgan (JPM) has said Brexit “cannot possibly be a positive” for the UK economy in the short-term and warned that the bank may eventually move all of its European operations out of London.
Jamie Dimon wrote in his annual letter to the bank’s shareholders: “In the short run (ie, the next few years), this cannot possibly be a positive for the United Kingdom’s GDP – the effect after that will be completely based upon whether the United Kingdom has a comprehensive and well executed strategic plan that is acceptable to Europe.”
Brexit is the catalyst for rioting in Northern Ireland
As surely as spring follows winter, warmer weather brings rioting to Northern Ireland. It comes in two varieties. What is known locally as recreational rioting is localised and not too violent. Serious street disorder, of the sort seen during the past week, usually involves politics.
Since Good Friday, mobs have taken control of streets in loyalist areas of Belfast and Londonderry on most nights. Such eruptions often last only a few days. Even if that happens, the disorder will leave a lasting mark on some lives. A policewoman’s leg was broken in two places while taking an alleged rioter into custody, and scores of her colleagues suffered head wounds, leg injuries or burns after being attacked with masonry, metal rods, fireworks, manhole covers and petrol bombs. There will be consequences for some of the culprits, too—criminal records for young people, some of whom police say were no more than 12 years old, who are at the front of the riot, often being urged on by older paramilitary bosses at the rear.
‘Better off here’: Returnee Czechs happy to be home after Brexit
Tim Gosling – Al Jazeera
In 2004, frustrated with “the old corrupt ways” and meagre wages, newly-graduated Blanka Kaše jumped at the chance to escape to London. Fourteen years later, she returned to the Czech Republic as a wife, mother and businesswoman, taking up residence with her family in a large homestead set in the rolling hills of southern Central Bohemia. “I told my sister: ‘I’ve gone crazy! I’m thinking of moving back to the Czech Republic’,” the 41-year-old told Al Jazeera, speaking from her kitchen, where the walls feature colourful drawings by her sons aged six and seven. Kaše, who now runs a language school from her home near the town of Sedlcany, 60km south of Prague, said although it was not the only reason to leave the United Kingdom, Brexit was a push factor.
Labour attacks ‘arrogant’ Tory government over EU trade deal effects
Peter Foster – FT
Boris Johnson’s government is being “arrogant in the extreme” for refusing to order an economic impact assessment of its EU trade deal following a sharp fall in goods exports to the bloc since January 1, the opposition Labour party has claimed. Rachel Reeves, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said the Conservatives had been “disturbingly relaxed” about the travails of a significant number of British exporters hit by border bureaucracy created by the post-Brexit EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The rare intervention on Brexit from Labour, whose leadership has largely shied away from the hugely divisive political issue since January, came after Richard Hughes, chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent fiscal watchdog, set out the economic costs of Britain’s exit from the EU in a letter to Reeves.
U.K.’s Johnson ‘Deeply Concerned’ by Northern Ireland Violence
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he’s deeply concerned by ongoing violence in Northern Ireland, which has seen more than 40 police officers injured in rioting in recent days. A bus was hijacked and set on fire in Belfast on Wednesday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said on Twitter. Officers have been targeted with petrol bombs and multiple vehicles have been burned, the PSNI said. Tensions have flared in Northern Ireland over the last few months, as pro-British loyalists protest against the placing of a border in the Irish Sea as part of the Brexit settlement. Northern Ireland’s first minister Arlene Foster condemned the violence.
Justin Welby: ‘We have a national case of PTSD’; The Archbishop of Canterbury on grief, Goldman Sachs and the Church’s battle to remain relevant
Henry Mance – FT
Almost as soon as I meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, he is apologising. All it needs is a momentary dither over which chair to take in his spacious office at Lambeth Palace. “We’re normally making it up as we go along!” he says, cheerily but contritely. Over the next two hours, he finds various other reasons to excuse himself: “I haven’t got any hair”, “I’m slightly deaf”, “I’m totally non-spatial”, “I’m really geeky”.
Maple Syrup Making Also Boomed as a Pandemic Hobby; At-home evaporators sold out, and attention to the maple sugaring classifieds surged.
Michelle Sinclair Colman – NY Times
Stress-baking and panic shopping. Vegetable regrowing and crafting. Now we can add another hobby to a year of quarantine trends: backyard maple sugaring. Among the many indicators that it’s on the rise: a run on at-home evaporators and other syrup-making accouterments. A surge in traffic and subscriptions to maple-syrup-making websites and trade publications. And, of course, lots and lots of documentation on social media. (The Facebook group Backyard Maple Syrup Makers added some 5,000 members, almost doubling the number of people in its community, in the past year.)