The Crypto World Has a New Villain

Mar 27, 2024

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The New York Times is reporting that Birmingham-Southern College, the school led by president Daniel Coleman, the former CEO of GETCO and then KCG, is closing. The private liberal arts school in Birmingham, Alabama is set to close at the end of May, ending a 170-year run. The school’s board of trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to shut the school.

We profiled Coleman about the college and his plans to save it in Part 2 of an interview with him in January of this year.

Cboe is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Cboe Futures Exchange, which opened its doors with 449 VIX futures contracts trading. In 2023, total annual volumes reached 53.7m contracts.

The SEC Historical Society posted to LinkedIn that it “mourns the loss of former SEC Commissioner and long-serving SEC Historical Society Trustee Roberta S. Karmel. Roberta Karmel was the first woman Commissioner. She passed away on Saturday, March 23 at 86. To listen to her oral history, go to the Virtual Museum of Financial Regulation.”

The SEC also issued a “Statement on the Passing of Former Commissioner Roberta Karmel.”

The Federal Reserve Board released the 2023 annual audited financial statements for the Federal Reserve Banks, accompanied by unqualified opinions from an independent accounting firm. The statements confirm the absence of material misstatements and provide details on assets, liabilities, and earnings as of December 31, 2023. Total assets amounted to approximately $7.8 trillion, primarily comprising U.S. Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. Key financial data includes a deficit of $114.3 billion in 2023, compared to net income of $58.8 billion in 2022. Interest income on securities decreased, while interest expenses on reserve balances increased significantly. The Reserve Banks recorded a net income of $0.1 billion from emergency credit facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating expenses were $9.2 billion, with a deferred asset of $133.3 billion representing net excess earnings requiring realization before remittances to the U.S. Treasury can resume.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), has announced sanctions targeting entities and individuals involved in facilitating commodity shipments and financial transactions for terrorist groups such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Houthis, and Hizballah. These actions aim to disrupt the financial networks supporting these groups. Additionally, the Treasury has sanctioned individuals and entities supporting the Syrian regime through illicit financial transfers, drug trafficking, and the export of Syrian commodities. Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has upgraded the United States to “largely compliant” in beneficial ownership transparency, recognizing Treasury’s efforts to strengthen anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing frameworks.

WilmerHale is holding a webinar April 4 led by partners Zachary Goldman and Tiffany J. Smith, along with partners Michael Held, Matthew Kulkin and Jonathan Yarowsky, public policy advisors Brian Skretny and Jeffrey Wieand, and associate Nicholas D’Ambra, discussing recent achievements and upcoming priorities in cryptocurrency policy. Topics include legislative developments in 2023, key legislative and regulatory focuses for 2024, and expectations from various regulatory bodies. Participants can ask questions during the webinar, and CLE credit will be available. Register HERE.

The retail industry is undergoing a significant transformation to address restrictions on Contracts for Difference (CFDs). Findings from an Acuiti study sponsored by ION reveal that 77% of retail brokers are looking to expand into new regions, with 69% targeting growth in institutional markets. Additionally, more than half plan to introduce futures and options as alternatives to CFDs. To enhance operational efficiency, these brokers are investing in technology that streamlines trade workflows from front to back. Download the full report HERE.

Forefront Communications has a video celebrating Women’s History Month that features Laine Litman – President, Hidden Road Partners; Mireille Adebiyi – Chief Marketing Officer, Regnology; Stephanie Minister – Managing Director, Connectivity Services, LiquidityBook; Emma Hilary Gould – Reporter, WatersTechnology; Lisa Saacks – President, Trillium Surveyor; Lorna Boucher – Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Imperative Execution; Manisha Kimmel – Head of Strategic Planning Low Latency Group, LSEG; Audrey Costabile – Senior Analyst, Market Structure & Technology, Coalition Greenwich; Erin Kelly – Assistant Vice President & Director of Communications, Security Traders Association; Ann Sebert – Chief Executive Officer, CAPIS; Linda Middleditch – Chief Product Officer, Regnology ; Melissa Watras – Director of Product, Trillium Surveyor; Anna Hoekman – Head of Product Marketing, FactSet and Molly McGregor – Former Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Qontigo.

We will have another video from the JLN Industry Leader series sponsored by Wedbush from our interviews at FIA Boca 2024 published on later today. The interview will be of Rohit Bhat, Managing Director, Financial Services: Capital Markets, Digital Assets, & Exchanges, Google Cloud.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Term of the Week – Maturity, an Option’s Lifetime from John Lothian News.
Trump Media Is Now the Most Expensive US Stock to Bet Against from Bloomberg.
Reddit shares surge a day after options launch, set to nearly double IPO price from Reuters. ~JB

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


Cboe Global Markets Commemorates 20 Years of Cboe Futures Exchange and VIX Futures Trading
Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (Cboe: CBOE), the world’s leading derivatives and securities exchange network, today marked the 20th anniversary of Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) and the trading of Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) futures. CFE was launched to provide a liquid and transparent on-exchange volatility futures offering, with VIX futures being the first product listed in 2004. On March 26, 2004, CFE successfully opened for trading, with 449 VIX futures contracts trading on the all-electronic exchange. Based on the VIX Index, which has served as a premier gauge for U.S. equity market sentiment since its launch in 1993, VIX futures are among the most actively traded exchange-listed volatility futures in the world, with total volumes reaching 53.7 million contracts in 2023. VIX futures, and the addition of VIX options in 2006, were a pivotal first step in making volatility a tradable asset class, breaking down access barriers for investors and paving the way for the development of a comprehensive ecosystem including additional futures, options and other exchange-traded products (ETPs) utilizing these derivatives.

***** How time flies when you are trading volatility.~JJL


The Fight for AI Talent: Pay Million-Dollar Packages and Buy Whole Teams; Search for AI expertise heats up amid a shortage of candidates and as layoffs hit other areas of tech
Katherine Bindley – The Wall Street Journal
The artificial-intelligence boom is sending Silicon Valley’s talent wars to new extremes. Tech companies are serving up million-dollar-a-year compensation packages, accelerated stock-vesting schedules and offers to poach entire engineering teams to draw people with expertise and experience in the kind of generative AI that is powering ChatGPT and other humanlike bots. They are competing against each other and against startups vying to be the next big thing to unseat the giants.

***** Maybe the Chicago Bears should hire a whole AI team. It could not be worse than the one they currently have.~JJL


Crypto group Copper served sushi off partially clad models; Digital assets company chaired by Philip Hammond held London party after industry conference
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
The cryptocurrency company chaired by former UK chancellor Lord Philip Hammond hosted a party where guests were served sushi off two scantily clad models, raising new questions about the culture of the industry. Copper, which stores digital assets for customers, held the private party last week at the five-star Mandrake hotel in London after a large crypto industry conference.

****** Where is a copper when you need one?~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was JPX Publishes “Survey of TCFD Disclosure Using Generative AI”, from Japan Exchange Group. Second was Futures Discovery: Physical Delivery VS Cash Settlement, a John Lothian News video from our Futures Discovery video series. Third was Bitcoin Mining Unlocks Iceland’s $9.24 Million Food Import Gap, from Forbes.



Lead Stories

The Crypto World Has a New Villain; Billionaire Barry Silbert is accused of defrauding thousands of people. Should he get to keep their money anyway?
Kevin T. Dugan – New York Magazine
“I had no idea who Barry Silbert was or anything until after November 16, 2022,” Eric Asquith told me. That date was when he was pretty sure he had lost his family’s savings of $1,052,000. Asquith took what he thought was the sober route into crypto. He didn’t buy bitcoin or other meme tokens. Instead, earlier that year, he moved over cash from his business – just a little at first, then more – and converted it into digital currencies he thought were as good as cash. The digital coins were called GUSD, and each was worth exactly $1 because the company that minted them – Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’s crypto exchange, Gemini – backed each one with real money and assets. Gemini seemed different from the rest of the market with big ads that said “Crypto Without Chaos” and “The Revolution Needs Rules.” Asquith was so cautious that he didn’t even trade – he just put his million bucks into a kind of savings account called Earn, which paid him about 5.5 percent a year – far higher than what major banks were offering at the time. He wasn’t alone. Among the hundreds of thousands of other Earn customers were a grandmother who invested her entire life savings and a man saving his money for a long-needed surgery.

KuCoin and Its Founders Face Criminal Charges Over Money-Laundering Violations; Prosecutors also allege the cryptocurrency exchange operated an unlicensed money-transmitting business
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
U.S. prosecutors have filed criminal charges against KuCoin and two of its founders, accusing the global cryptocurrency exchange of violating U.S. anti-money-laundering laws. The indictment, unsealed Tuesday by prosecutors in Manhattan, charged KuCoin with violating the Bank Secrecy Act and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, along with related conspiracy charges. Prosecutors also charged two of KuCoin’s founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang, with related conspiracy charges.

Marex Group Files for US IPO After Earlier Dropping UK Listing
Michael Hytha and Ryan Gould – Bloomberg
Marex Group Plc filed for an initial public offering, adding the financial services platform to the UK-based firms going public in the US. The company said in a filing Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol MRX. The offering is being led by Barclays Plc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., along with Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Terms of the proposed share sale will be disclosed in a later filing, when the underwriters begin marketing the shares.

CFTC Charges KuCoin with Operating Illegal Digital Asset Derivatives Exchange
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging Mek Global Limited, PhoenixFin PTE Ltd., Flashdot Limited, and Peken Global Limited, which collectively operate a centralized digital asset exchange under the name KuCoin, with multiple violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. The complaint charges KuCoin illegally dealt in off-exchange commodity futures transactions and leveraged, margined, or financed retail commodity transactions; solicited and accepted orders for commodity futures, swaps, and leveraged, margined, or financed retail commodity transactions without registering with the CFTC as a futures commission merchant (FCM); failed to diligently supervise its FCM activities; operated a facility for the trading or processing of swaps without registering with the CFTC as a swap execution facility (SEF) or designated contract market (DCM); and failed to implement an effective customer identification program (CIP).

BGC forming consortium to take on CME Group’s rates empire; Banks and PTFs are being offered a stake in FMX, which has CFTC approval to launch a futures exchange Steve Mack/Alamy/ montage
Bernard Goyder –
Howard Lutnick’s BGC Group is in talks with banks and principal trading firms (PTFs) about forming a consortium that will have a stake in its electronic trading and exchange businesses, according to three sources involved with the discussions. Negotiations over the final details of the package have been underway for several weeks. The talks have involved several of the largest US Treasury dealers and PTFs.

The Crypto Reboot That Wasn’t: Why ‘FTX 2.0’ Floundered; Creditors say FTX’s post-chapter 11 management team missed an opportunity to create a valuable business from the exchange’s ashes
Alexander Osipovich and Alexander Saeedy – The Wall Street Journal
The lawyers and advisers running FTX’s bankruptcy spent more than half a year and millions of dollars in fees to explore the idea of restarting Sam Bankman-Fried’s failed cryptocurrency exchange. In the end, they decided it wasn’t worth it. To outside observers, it might seem far-fetched that FTX could be revived after it collapsed with an $8 billion hole in its balance sheet and its top executives were charged with fraud. But the idea of rebooting the exchange in some form-dubbed FTX 2.0-won support among major creditors. Dozens of prospective buyers expressed interest.

European Commission hurries through last minute revision to Mifir text to plug dark trading loophole; Action keeps dark volume caps in place until the new Commission delegated single volume caps enter into force; whether the new rules can be legally enforced is still up for debate.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The European Commission has rushed to implement a last minute draft revision to its Mifir text to plug a dark trading loophole caused by a clerical error. The draft interpretative notice on the transitional provision of the Mifir Review keeps the double volume caps in place until the implementation of the new single volume cap.

C-suite at proprietary trading firms in EU spend more than three times as much time on regulation than those in the US
The scale of regulations facing EU-based proprietary trading firms is laid bare today in the latest Acuiti Proprietary Trading Management Insight Report, which finds that senior executives at EU firms spend more than three times as much time on regulation than their counterparts in the US. The quarterly report, which was released today and is produced in partnership with Avelacom, is based on a survey of the Acuiti Proprietary Trading Expert Network, a group of senior executives at over 100 global proprietary trading firms and provides insights into the key trends facing the community.

Two thirds of prop trading firms plan to trade new exchanges this year; Sentiment is soaring following a strong start to the year with 24% ‘very optimistic’ about the Q2 outlook as firms look to further expand their reach, according to the latest Acuiti report.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
Almost 68% of proprietary trading firms are planning to trade on new exchanges in 2024, Acuiti’s proprietary trading management insight report has found.nAsia-Pacific, and Brazil were touted as key areas of focus for firms as they looked to grow, with onshore India specifically cited as a region for expansion by various respondents.

Wall Street regulator eyes office space cut, move to Wacker Drive
Danny Ecker – Crain’s Chicago Business
The group that writes and enforces rules for Wall Street brokers is set to join the crowd of downtown office tenants shrinking their footprints and moving to new space. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is in advanced discussions to lease about 40,000 square feet on two floors near the top of the building at 101 N. Wacker Drive, according to people familiar with the negotiations. If the authority – commonly known as FINRA – completes the deal, it would move to the 23-story West Loop building from its longtime home at 55 W. Monroe St., where its lease for 61,222 square feet is due to expire at the end of this year.

Chicago’s top money managers rebounded last year after a tough 2022
Sophie Rodgers – Crain’s Chicago Business
Last year was one of recovery for Chicago’s Largest Money Managers. With a tough 2022, the top firms in the previous edition of this list saw an average 12.5% plunge in total assets under management. Though as asset classes rebounded broadly in 2023 – highlighted by the S&P 500’s 24% gain – these top firms closed out the year with an average 11.4% uptick in AUM. Cresset Asset Management (No. 16) saw the greatest increase in AUM last year, up 49% from 2022. That’s after reporting a 31% increase from 2021 to 2022. Since 2020, the fast-growing firm has reported a 266% surge.

EU prop trading firms spend x3 time on regulation than US counterparts; Acuiti’s ‘Proprietary Trading Management Insight Report’ notes a dip in profitability for proprietary trading firms between 2022 and 2023, with the majority of respondents describing their profitability as “slightly worse” or “significantly worse” when compared with the previous year or their 2023 budget.
Lucy Carter – Best Execution
The Q1 2024 report is based on a survey of the Acuiti Proprietary Trading Expert Network, which consists of more than 100 global senior executives. Despite these figures, the majority rated their profitability as “about the same” when compared to an average year. This trend was seen across geographies, with both the US and Asia seeing YoY declines but the majority of respondents stating that 2023 trading was about the same as an average year.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Will Likely Block Coal Exports for Weeks; Xcoal CEO says up to 2.5 million tons of coal may be cut off; Disruptions to US supplies headed for India at question
Josh Saul – Bloomberg
The collapse of a major Baltimore bridge Tuesday is likely to shut down the port’s coal exports for as many as six weeks and block the transport of up to 2.5 million tons of coal, said Ernie Thrasher, chief executive officer of Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC. The US exported about 74 million tons of coal last year, with Baltimore the second-largest terminal for the commodity. Plugging up a major coal hub threatens to disrupt global energy supply chains that have finally begun to work out the kinks left over from pandemic slowdowns.

Asset-Backed Securities Face New Risks From a US Court Decision; Appeals court says CFPB can sue securitization trusts directly; Decision on 800,000 student loans sets broader precedent
Scott Carpenter – Bloomberg
A federal court decision has raised new legal risks for a corner of Wall Street that bundles consumer loans into asset-backed securities. A US appeals court last week for the first time upheld the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to sue trusts that issue the securities if debt-collection companies or others they hire run afoul of the law. The trusts outsource the role of collecting on the loans that they package into bonds and sell off to investors.

Ex-UBS Trader Tom Hayes Loses UK Appeal Over Libor Crimes; Ex-Barclays rate setter Palombo also has appeal dismissed; Both men have possibility of appealing to UK Supreme Court
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
Tom Hayes, the former star trader who became the face of the Libor scandal, lost an appeal to overturn his near decade-old criminal conviction after London judges dismissed the case. The Court of Appeal said Wednesday the ex-UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader’s conviction over interest rate-rigging should stand. Ex-Barclays Plc trader Carlo Palombo also lost his appeal.

Tom Hayes loses appeal against Libor rigging conviction; Former UBS and Citigroup trader had argued US judgments showed he was innocent
Alistair Gray – Financial Times
Tom Hayes has failed in his attempt to overturn his conviction for rigging an interest rate benchmark as the Court of Appeal in London upheld the guilty verdict handed to the former UBS and Citigroup trader nine years ago.

Tom Hayes, Trader at Center of Libor Scandal, Has Conviction Upheld; Hayes had fought a yearslong battle to overturn his 2015 guilty verdict in the U.K.
Josh Mitchell – The Wall Street Journal
A U.K. court upheld the landmark conviction of Tom Hayes, the alleged ringleader of a conspiracy to rig interest rates during the global financial crisis. Hayes was one of the few bankers on either side of the Atlantic jailed for misdeeds connected to the 2008-2009 crisis. The former UBS and Citigroup trader served half of an 11-year prison term and was released in 2021.

How will a US court count the cost of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crimes? Disputes over how much FTX customers have lost come to the fore ahead of sentencing of crypto exchange founder
Scott Chipolina and Joe Miller – Financial Times
When Sam Bankman-Fried is sentenced on Thursday, the US judge deciding his fate will weigh a range of factors, from the nature of his offences and history to how much his actions cost the investors and customers of the FTX crypto exchange he founded. Defining the financial fallout from his crimes has proven particularly contentious, with lawyers for the former crypto kingpin and the prosecutors who convicted him taking sharply divergent views.

Why companies are rushing to lock corn and wood underground; Also in today’s newsletter, Larry Fink embraces ‘energy pragmatism’
Lee Harris – Financial Times
BlackRock’s Larry Fink yesterday issued his annual letter to investors – days after news that investment funds in Republican states have pulled $13.3bn from the world’s largest asset manager. Although the withdrawals add up to roughly 0.1 per cent of BlackRock’s assets under management, Fink was at pains to stress he’s no eco-fanatic. Instead, he’s urging “energy pragmatism”. Read our colleague Brooke Masters’ full run-down here.

Ukraine Invasion

Opposing Teams Of Russian And Ukrainian Engineers Are Competing To Retrieve Ukraine’s Damaged Strv 122 Tanks In The No-Man’s-Land Outside Terny; So far, the Ukrainians are winning the tank-recovery race
David Axe – Forbes
There’s a four-square-mile patch of fields, paths and treelines in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, just east of Terny, where the Ukrainian army’s 21st Mechanized Brigade and adjacent units have been holding off a quartet of Russian motor-rifle regiments, some of them subordinate to the 144th Motor Rifle Division.

The Oil Weapon Against Moscow; In 1986 the U.S. and Saudi Arabia raised production. That move contributed to the Soviet collapse.
Andriy Yermak – The Wall Street Journal
Russia’s economy depends on the country’s natural resources, as it did in the Soviet era. Its growth depends on the price of oil-which contributed to the collapse of the Soviet empire and will determine Vladimir Putin’s current bid to restore the regime. It is oil that can thwart the Russian dictator’s revanchist ambitions. In 1984, 613 million tons of oil were extracted in the Soviet Union-3 million tons less than in 1983 and well below that year’s target of 624 million tons. The Soviets sustained enormous financial losses because of the shortfall, exposing the vulnerability of the economy, which was depleting old oil deposits. To increase production, the U.S.S.R. needed Western technology. It also needed Western money, which it funneled into its military-industrial complex to threaten the West. When Mr. Putin turned energy into a geopolitical weapon, he was using an old Soviet playbook.

Poland to Double Commitment to Czech-Led Ammunition Initiative
Natalia Ojewska and Aaron Eglitis – Bloomberg
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said his government doubled its commitment in a Czech-led initiative to buy hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds for Ukraine. Speaking to reporters in Riga alongside his Latvian counterpart, Krisjanis Karins, Sikorski declined to give a specific funding volume. The Czech plan involves procuring ammunition outside the European Union and delivery 800,000 shells to the Ukrainian front as Kyiv struggles to fend off a fresh Russian advance. Even as EU leaders welcomed the initiative, some of the bloc’s largest countries have yet to make concrete pledges.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Some Israelis Are Questioning Their Nation’s Dependence on the U.S.; U.N. resolution on Gaza deepens leadership split, after decades of ties with Washington forming the bedrock of Israel’s security policy
Thomas Grove and Anat Peled – The Wall Street Journal
Israel is increasingly split over its alliance with the U.S., with Washington’s decision to allow for the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza emboldening populist voices that demand Israel wrest more independence from American influence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back hard against the Biden administration’s decision to abstain from the resolution and break with an American tradition of vetoing measures Israel dislikes. In response, the Israeli leader shelved plans to send a delegation to Washington for talks on a planned ground operation in Rafah, one of Gaza’s southernmost cities.

Hezbollah Fires Rocket Barrage in Escalating Battle With Israel; Militant group hits northern Israel town, killing one civilian; Skirmishes on Israel-Lebanon border threaten to widen Gaza war
Omar Tamo – Bloomberg
Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah heightened after the Lebanon-based militant group fired rockets at a northern Israeli town, killing one person. The assault, a response to an Israeli airstrike on Lebanon that killed seven people, is likely to further fuel concerns the near-daily border skirmishes could escalate into a full-blown war, opening a new front for Israel as it seeks to destroy Hamas in Gaza.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

LIST completes migration to Euronext’s Optiq; The move follows Euronext’s acquisition of the Borsa Italiana cash and derivatives markets exchange in April 2021.
Claudia Preece – The Trade
LIST – owned by ION – has completed the migration of its Borsa Italiana clients to Euronext’s Optiq trading platform. Through this move, Euronext is replacing Borsa Italiana’s previous Millennium and SOLA technologies with the new Optiq trading platform. The move comes after Euronext’s acquisition of the Borsa Italiana cash and derivatives markets exchange in April 2021. The third and final phase follows the successful rollout of the equity and bond segments, prior to this most recent migration of its derivatives clients.

Nasdaq Study Shows Structural Reform Needed to Unlock Global Carbon Markets
Price transparency, market inefficiencies, and fragmentation remain critical structural barriers to scale; Carbon credit registry reform is the most important facilitator of growth. Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today published the results of a global survey examining the voluntary carbon market (VCM) ecosystem, with responses from over 130 decision-makers across project owners, financial investors, commercial banks, brokers, and market operators, produced in partnership with the ValueExchange. The survey reveals that the market for voluntary carbon credits is growing and attracting more diverse participants, but price transparency, market inefficiencies and fragmentation are preventing scale. Carbon credit registries are seen as having the power to address many of these challenges and unlock the potential of the industry.

Algeria Bourse Posts Sevenfold Jump in Market Cap After Bank IPO
Souhail Karam – Bloomberg
Algeria’s main stock market swelled sevenfold on Tuesday, approaching a $4 billion market capitalization after the initial public offering of state-controlled bank Credit Populaire d’Algerie. The biggest listing in the Algiers Stock Exchange’s three-decade history raised 112 billion dinars ($833 million) for the bank known as CPA, which became only the fifth firm to float shares locally in the North African nation. That took the exchange’s total market cap to 532 billion dinars from 72 billion dinars, according to data on its website.

Changes in the Management Board of ECC; CRO Dr Clemens Volkert to leave ECC / Dr Ralf Prinzler designated successor
European Commodity Clearing
Dr Clemens Volkert, Chief Risk Officer (CRO) of European Commodity Clearing (ECC) will leave the company at the end of March 2024. Clemens Volkert did not seek an extension of his contract for personal reasons. He has been CRO of ECC since July 2021. The Supervisory Board agreed to Clemens Volkert’s request and intends to appoint Dr Ralf Prinzler, currently Head of Risk Controlling at KfW, as his successor. Ralf Prinzler will join the company as Director Risk Management on 1 July 2024. The appointment as CRO is subject to regulatory requirements as well as the approval or non-objection of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and targeted for 1 January 2025. Until the appointment of the new CRO, the duties of this role will be taken over by Dr Tobias Paulun, CEO of ECC.

Reminder and Postponement: NYSE Equities: Proprietary Market Data Feeds Changes
As previously announced, the equities Proprietary Market Data Feeds and Historical TAQ products will begin supporting security status*/halt condition code of ‘6’ for Suspend according to the below implementation schedule. These changes are available for testing on all Exchange Certification environments. The production release dates regarding the change to feed start time to 2:00 a.m. ET on all equities Proprietary Market Data Feeds have been postponed and will be announced in a future Trader Update. Currently, the feed start time for the NYSE, NYSE American, NYSE Arca, NYSE Chicago and NYSE National markets is at 12:15 a.m. ET with publication coming shortly afterward.

The Role and Importance of the Repo Market; Repo transactions – otherwise known as repurchase agreements, are a type of secured borrowing, often involving fixed income securities – and they have existed for more than a century now.
The Repo Market – A Background. Initially repo was the domain of the U.S. Federal Reserve, although investment banks started using their securities holdings as collateral to obtain financing on favourable terms following the introduction of the Glass Steagall Act in 1933, a landmark piece of legislation which imposed a ban on banks utilising client funds for the exact same purpose. Historically dominated by the US, repo markets began to emerge in other major economies (i.e. the UK, Japan, Germany, Switzerland) during the mid to late 1990s. In the case of Switzerland, repos came into being after the abolition of the federal stamp tax on turnovers in 1998. Repos today play a vital role in the smooth functioning of global markets and their significance is only expected to trend upwards.

Pro Mujer: Transforming Women’s Lives in LatAm
Ellan Dineen – Luxembourg Stock Exchange
Carmen Correa, CEO of Pro Mujer. During our annual International Women’s Day celebrations on 8 March 2024, we had the pleasure of welcoming representatives from Latin America -based nonprofit organisation Pro Mujer to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) to celebrate the listing of its trailblazing gender bond at our exchange. To mark this important milestone for the organisation and the women of Latin America, we sat down with Pro Mujer’s CEO Carmen Correa to hear more about the bond and the organisations 33+ years of work.

Performance Bond Requirements: Energy – Effective March 27, 2024
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. The rates will be effective after the close of business on March 27, 2024.

Clearing Margins Advisory
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. The rates will be effective after the close of business on March 27, 2024..

Product modification Summary: Amendments to Rule 48002.C. (“Price Increments”) of the Euro Short-Term Rate (EURSTR) Futures Contract – Effective April 22, 2024
CME Group
Amendments to Rule 48002.C. (“Price Increments”) of the Euro Short-Term Rate (EURSTR) Futures Contract.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of Mini RBOB Gasoline vs. Eurobob Non-Oxy NWE Barges (Argus) (34,986 gallons) Futures Contract – Effective April 22, 2024
CME Group
Initial Listing of Mini RBOB Gasoline vs. Eurobob Non-Oxy NWE Barges (Argus) (34,986 gallons) Futures Contract.

Join us at Trading Amsterdam 2024
Hotel Hilton Amsterdam. Start 10 Apr 2024 08:00 AM; End 10 Apr 2024 07:00 PM Location Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Eurex would like to invite you to attend the Trading Amsterdam 2024, which will take place on 10 April at Hilton Amsterdam. Trading Amsterdam offers a platform for the derivatives trading community to come together to discuss cutting-edge innovations and trading technologies, stay informed about the latest regulatory changes and crypto-asset trends, explore new prospects in the Asian market, and much more.

Equity Index Derivatives: Change in Liquidity Provider Program for Futures on STOXX Semiconductor 30 Index
Eurex Circular 036/24 Equity Index Derivatives: Change in Liquidity Provider Program for Futures on STOXX® Semiconductor 30 Index. 1.Introduction. The Executive Boards of Eurex Frankfurt AG and Eurex Clearing AG decided to amend the Liquidity Provider Program for Futures on STOXX® Semiconductor 30 Index and the Product Specific Supplement (hereinafter “PSS”) “Equity Index 75 – Futures on STOXX® Semiconductor 30 Index” as of 1 April 2024.

Trading schedule on the Moscow Exchange during the May holidays
The Moscow Exchange has determined the rules for the operation of markets during the May holidays in 2024. On holidays, April 29-30 and May 10, trading will be held on the foreign exchange market, precious metals market, stock market, deposit market, loan market, derivatives market and standardized derivatives market (SDFI). Concluding over-the-counter transactions with a central counterparty (CCP) on the SPFI market on these dates will be carried out with settlements for all instruments, with the exception of SPFI contracts that provide for obligations expressed in Russian rubles.


Robinhood ventures further beyond trading with new credit card
Niket Nishant – Reuters
Online trading app Robinhood Markets (HOOD.O) launched a new credit card on Tuesday, in an effort to expand its foothold in the personal finance market and boost subscriptions to its premium tier. The credit card, available exclusively to Robinhood Gold customers, comes two years after its launch of a debit card to allow spare change investing, with the Menlo Park, California-based company looking to broaden its product offerings.

Investors Can’t Always Trust the Data, and That’s OK; The spread of analytics has been good for almost everyone, but it’s more important than ever to separate the signal from the noise.
Allison Schrager – Bloomberg
I was attracted to finance because it promised some order amid chaos. Here was this market, with billions of transactions a day – and yet it managed to set a price for each asset, a price that put a literal number on the value of future risks, or more precisely how much people value those risks in the present day. The world is inundated with information – about individual companies, about the macro economy, about geopolitical risk, about (not to get too meta) prices themselves – and this price incorporated all that, almost instantaneously. This is the definition of market efficiency.

AI Is Putting the Silicon Back in Silicon Valley; A new startup called MatX from former Google engineers reflects a renewed enthusiasm for chipmakers.
Ashlee Vance – Bloomberg
It’s taken about 25 years, but Silicon Valley finally feels like the old-school Silicon Valley again. Nvidia Corp. has so totally dominated the market for the chips that power artificial intelligence software that other companies have decided they’re willing to pursue the often-disastrous exercise of designing their own semiconductors. History tells us that designing a chip from scratch takes years, costs hundreds of millions of dollars and usually ends without victory. Yet the promise of AI is simply so great that people have decided they must try.

Three AI-Crypto Firms Are Said to Near Deal to Merge Tokens
Michelle F Davis – Bloomberg
Three artificial intelligence companies that operate on blockchain are in talks to merge their crypto tokens, a move aimed at helping them develop a decentralized AI platform. SingularityNET, and Ocean Protocol are discussing merging their tokens into an ASI token that would have a fully diluted value of about $7.5 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday, would hinge on approval from the members of each community, said the the people, who asked not to be identified because the information was private.

How AI Could Rebuild America’s Middle Class; What if new technology helps workers, instead of hurting them?
Tracy Alloway, Joe Weisenthal, and Stacey Rene – Bloomberg
AI is an incredibly exciting space, provoking both great wonder and fear. One of the big worries obviously is: What will happen to everyone’s job? Will it make more people’s livelihoods obsolete, causing even greater inequality than we have now. On this episode, we speak with an economist who argues that this concern is not just misplaced, but exactly wrong. MIT’s David Autor — famous for his work on the China shock — argues that the last 40 years of advances in computer technology have been a major driver of inequality, but that AI should be seen as an entirely different paradigm.

Stability AI CEO Exits Startup ‘Hollowed Out’ by Departures, Mismanagement; Inside the startup’s journey from AI darling to cautionary tale.
Mark Bergen and Rachel Metz – Bloomberg

Accountants Can Use the Help That AI Provides; A staid profession that’s struggling to recruit workers has a lot to gain from the new technology – if it proceeds with caution.
The Editorial Board – Bloomberg

Apple Set to Unveil AI Strategy at June 10 Developers Conference
Mark Gurman – Bloomberg

What does AI mean for a responsible business? How to navigate the opportunities and challenges posed by a technology few can afford to ignore
Sarah Murray – Financial Times

Elon Musk’s Starlink Terminals Are Falling Into the Wrong Hands; Starlink’s effectiveness as a communications tool makes the satellite internet service a target for a growing black-market trade worldwide.
Bruce Einhorn, Loni Prinsloo, Marissa Newman, and Simon Marks – Bloomberg

Visa and Mastercard agree $30bn settlement over US transaction fees; Sellers will be able to charge different prices to consumers based on the card they use
Stephen Gandel – Financial Times


Hackers Are Targeting Bitcoin Hot Wallets-Here’s How; Members of the Bitcoin Rock Discord server were targeted in a $311K cryptocurrency heist using a malicious clone of Magic Eden.
Jason Nelson – Decrypt
The founder of the Ordinal Rugs project said hackers targeted members of the Bitcoin Rock Discord server on Tuesday, stealing $1.47 BTC, around $103,003, and 4 BTC, around $208,196, worth of Ordinal inscriptions from their wallet.

Just 2% Of Organisations Have ‘Mature’ Cybersecurity Readiness
UC Today
Just two percent of organisations have “mature” cybersecurity readiness, according to Cisco’s 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index. Released at this week’s Enterprise Connect, that alarming figure marks a decline from 17 percent of organisations being mature in cybersecurity readiness last year. Just as concerningly, almost three-quarters of organisations fall into Cisco’s Beginner or Formative stages of readiness (72 percent).

EU Warns Election Deepfakes Start to Surface in Member Nations; European Commission VP Jourova spoke in Bloomberg interview; Platforms risk hefty fines under EU digital content rules
Max Ramsay and Daniel Flatley – Bloomberg
European Union officials have seen deepfakes surfacing in several member nations’ elections, prompting warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence and potential interference, according to a senior official. “It takes 30 minutes to create a deep fake” using AI, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said. “We saw it in several elections in the EU member states. We don’t have the data to assess whether it influenced radically the electoral result. But if this would be used in a massive way, we could forget about free and fair elections.”


FTX Crypto Creditors Fight Claim That ‘Sam Coins’ Are Worthless; Holders seek cash for crypto pushed by Sam Bankman-Fried; FTX says Serum, MAPS and OXY tokens have no real value
Steven Church – Bloomberg
A small group of FTX Trading customers are demanding hundreds of millions of dollars from the bankrupt crypto firm, claiming that three digital tokens known as “Sam Coins” deserve a payout even though they are closely associated with convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried . Investors who hold tokens called Serum, MAPS and OXY are asking US Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey to force FTX to raise the value of the crypto by overruling company experts who concluded the digital coins are nearly worthless. Before he gave up control of FTX, Bankman-Fried created Serum and cut deals to get control of the other two tokens, according to court papers.

Alexey Pertsev’s ‘lol’ about Ronin hack questioned in Tornado Cash trial
Inbar Preiss – DL News
Indicted dev told a Dutch court he couldn’t control who used the crypto mixer; DeFi experts attending the trial worry judges don’t understand the nature of smart contracts; Prosecutors tried to show Pertsev knew criminals were using Tornado Cash to wash illicit proceeds.
When Alexey Pertsev learned that the $625 million hack of Ronin Bridge in 2022 took five days to discover, he responded: “lol.” On day one of the Tornado Cash developer’s criminal trial in the Netherlands on Tuesday, this piece of evidence emerged as prosecutors sought to show that the 30-year-old Russian was well aware the crypto mixer was laundering dirty money from DeFi heists and hacks.

Crypto Venture Capital Backers Are Dubious About Bull-Market Hype; Funds are struggling to raise cash to put into crypto startups; Limited partners prioritize tangible gains after 2022 wipeout
Ryan Weeks – Bloomberg
Judging by a record Bitcoin rally that fueled a $1 trillion jump in the digital-asset market this year, crypto fever is back. But look beneath the surface to trends in venture capital and a far more sober picture emerges. While venture funds are rushing to try and raise cash, the limited partners they tap for money are wary of hype and mindful of the lessons of 2022. Back then, valuations collapsed alongside the implosion of crypto outfits such as hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraudulent FTX exchange.

A Turbocharged Bitcoin ETF Is More Popular Than TSMC in Korea; South Koreans have poured $122 million into BITX in March; It is the fifth most bought foreign security this month
Sidhartha Shukla and Jaehyun Eom – Bloomberg
A risky exchange-traded fund in the US that aims to deliver twice the daily performance of short-term CME Bitcoin futures is seeing strong demand from Korean investors. The VolatilityShares’ 2X Bitcoin Strategy ETF – ticker BITX – aims to generate exceptionally high returns, thanks to an effect known as “leverage compounding.” On the flip side, it suffers from “volatility drag” which may hurt investors over the long term.


Texas AG Ken Paxton makes deal to avoid felony securities trial
Molly Hennessy-Fiske – The Washington Post
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), a conservative firebrand acquitted last year in a historic impeachment trial, has reached an agreement with prosecutors to avoid trial on long-standing state felony securities fraud charges. Paxton was charged nearly a decade ago, accused of defrauding investors at a Dallas-area tech company by not disclosing that he was paid by the company to recruit them. The case has been delayed for years by pretrial disputes over the trial’s location and special prosecutors’ fees.

Mnuchin tried to force a sale of TikTok. Now he’s a possible bidder
Tony Romm – The Washington Post
In the final months of the Trump administration, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin scrambled to wrest TikTok away from its Chinese parent company, arguing that only a new U.S. owner could protect millions of Americans’ sensitive personal information from abuse. “Everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does,” Mnuchin said at the time.

The surprising reasons why Big Oil may not want a second Trump term
Maxine Joselow – The Washington Post
As president, Donald Trump vowed to unleash American “energy dominance,” while on the campaign trail, he has summarized his energy policies with the slogan “drill, baby, drill.” Yet a possible Trump victory in the 2024 election is not delighting oil and gas executives as much as one might expect, according to interviews with several industry leaders at a recent energy conference in Houston.

Tax the Rich Is Actually a Popular Bipartisan Stance, Poll Shows; Swing-state voters also like tax hikes on those earning $400,000 and more
Laura Davison – Bloomberg
The progressive rallying cry of “tax the rich” has morphed into a popular policy stance with voters in the key states that will decide the 2024 election, enjoying support even among those who prefer billionaire Donald Trump, according to the latest Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll. Fully 69% of registered voters in seven swing states say they favor higher taxes on billionaires, and they support higher income taxes on people who make more than $400,000 a year by the same margin, a potential boon to Democratic President Joe Biden’s economic agenda if he wins a second term.

Canada to Toughen Foreign Investment Rules for AI, Space Technology
Brian Platt and Laura Dhillon Kane – Bloomberg
Canada will tighten its scrutiny of foreign investments in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and space technology as the government expands its power to stall and block deals for national security reasons. Non-Canadian companies will have to give advance warning to the government before they invest in or acquire Canadian entities in those key technology sectors, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an interview with Bloomberg. The tougher rules will also apply to investments in critical minerals and potentially other sectors, he said.

In a Secret Game of Prisoner Swaps, Putin Has Held Most of the Cards
Aruna Viswanatha, Bojan Pancevski, Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson – The Wall Street Journal


Treasury Targets Qods Force, Houthi, and Hizballah Finance and Trade Facilitators
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning six entities, one individual and two tankers that are based or registered in Liberia, India, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Kuwait that have engaged in facilitating commodity shipments and financial transactions for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Houthis, and Hizballah. This action, the sixth round of sanctions targeting the network of Iran-based, IRGC-QF-backed Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal since December 2023, represents yet another step in a concerted campaign to disrupt IRGC-QF finances and its support to terrorist proxies such as the Houthis.

Treasury Sanctions Financial Facilitators and Illicit Drug Traffickers Supporting the Syrian Regime
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 11 individuals and entities supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad through the facilitation of illicit financial transfers and trafficking of illegal drugs, as well as the extraction and export of Syrian commodities. Syria has become the leading producer and exporter of Captagon, a highly addictive amphetamine-type stimulant trafficked illegally throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Financial Action Task Force Highlights Treasury’s Efforts to Counter Illicit Finance
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Today, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-the global standard-setting body for anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism, and countering proliferation financing (AML/CFT/CPF)-announced that the United States has been upgraded to “largely compliant” with FATF Recommendation 24, which relates to beneficial ownership transparency for legal persons. The FATF published the updated rating in the Seventh Enhanced Follow-Up Report of the United States, recognizing Treasury’s historic efforts to increase beneficial ownership transparency and address key vulnerabilities in the U.S. AML/CFT framework.

Minor League Baseball Players Accused of Del Taco Insider Trades; SEC sues four baseball players over trading before acquisition; Player learned of upcoming purchase of chain, told buddies
Austin Weinstein – Bloomberg
Four current and former minor league baseball players illegally traded on Jack in the Box Inc.’s $575 million purchase of Del Taco Restaurants Inc., the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Tuesday. Jordan Qsar, Austin Bernard, Grant Witherspoon and Chase Lambert allegedly made about $190,000 by trading in advance of the purchase, according to the SEC lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego. Lawyers for Qsar and Lambert didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment – nor did Bernard and Witherspoon.

BOE Probes How Private Equity Giants Use ‘Amend and Extend’; Officials eye risks ahead of analysis BOE will publish in June; Central bank notes sector has been struggling amid high rates
Greg Ritchie and William Shaw – Bloomberg
The Bank of England is probing how private equity giants and their portfolio companies are dealing with the impact of higher interest rates on their debt burdens as it seeks to understand the risks the sector could pose to the UK economy. The central bank’s Financial Policy Committee has seen private equity sponsored companies turn to “amend and extend” agreements, where companies push back payment dates rather than try to refinance the debt at a higher rate. These deals and others like it may increase the risk of “larger than expected credit losses being incurred in the future,” the committee warned.

Dynasty Gold Used Slave Labor in China, Canada Watchdog Says; Watchdog asks for penalties after investigation at Hatu mine; Dynasty calls claim absurd, saying it doesn’t operate in China
Jacob Lorinc – Bloomberg
A Canadian watchdog is calling for penalties against Dynasty Gold Corp. after it concluded the company used forced labor at its Chinese mine, which the miner denies. The Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, an arm of the federal government that investigates possible human rights abuses by companies, conducted a review of the Hatu mine in the Xinjiang region after a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations filed complaints alleging human rights abuses.

SEC Ramps Up Massive-Hack Probe With Focus on Tech, Telecom Companies; Hacked companies are asked what they knew, when they knew it; US business lobby pushes back in court, calling it overreach
Ava Benny-Morrison and Austin Weinstein – Bloomberg
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is asking tech and telecom companies how they handled the sprawling 2020 SolarWinds cyberattack, and drawing fire from the cybersecurity industry and big business for what they call overreach. The SEC, which sought the information from a broader swath of victim companies in the wake of the massive hack, has been refining its inquiries, according to people familiar with it, who didn’t identify the companies. The regulator has asked for internal communications about the cyber-assault’s impact, probing for gaps in corporate security and for other cyber incidents, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing a private matter.

North Sea Transition Authority demands ‘action across the board’ to curb oil and gas industry emissions
Stuart Stone – BusinessGreen
Regulator claims oil and gas electrification could deliver emissions savings equal to taking one million cars off the road for a year. The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has today warned oil and gas firms it could be forced to close existing fields or block plans for new offshore developments unless they take demonstrable steps to cut emissions from their infrastructure. The regulator of the UK’s oil and gas companies said a new emissions reduction plan, published today in response to a consultation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from production, highlighted the “need for action across the board on production decarbonisation”.

SEC Seeks Candidates for Investor Advisory Committee
The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking five candidates for appointment to the Investor Advisory Committee to help protect investors and improve securities regulations. The Committee was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to advise the Commission, protect investor interests and promote the integrity of the securities marketplace. Committee members represent the interests of investors, are knowledgeable about investment issues and have reputations for integrity.

SEC Charges Former Arista Networks Chairman Andy Bechtolsheim with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced insider trading charges against Andreas “Andy” Bechtolsheim, the founder and Chief Architect of Silicon Valley-based technology company Arista Networks, Inc. To settle the SEC’s charges, Bechtolsheim agreed to pay a civil penalty of nearly $1 million.

Commission Statement on the Passing of Former Commissioner Roberta Karmel
We mourn the passing of Roberta Karmel, the first female Commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Roberta began her career at the SEC as an enforcement attorney and had a number of roles at the agency in the 1960s after which she became the first female partner at a law firm she joined. Nominated by President Jimmy Carter, she served as a Commissioner from 1977-1980. She later became a professor at Brooklyn Law School where she taught securities regulation for more than three decades. Her legacy lives on through her students, many of whom have served or are currently serving at the SEC. Our hearts go out to her family and all whose lives she impacted.

SEC Charges One Current, Three Former Minor League Baseball Players with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed insider trading charges today against one current and three former minor league baseball players who made about $189,000 in profits from trading in advance of the December 6, 2021 announcement that Jack in the Box Inc. would acquire Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

SEC Charges Former Arista Networks Chairman Andy Bechtolsheim with Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed insider trading charges against Andreas “Andy” Bechtolsheim, the founder and Chief Architect of Silicon Valley-based technology company Arista Networks, Inc. To settle the SEC’s charges, Bechtolsheim agreed to pay a civil penalty of nearly $1 million.

Opening Remarks of Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson: The South African Reserve Bank Fintech Summit
Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you today for the South African Reserve Bank’s Fintech Summit. I would like to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to organize the event. I am particularly thankful for the efforts of Lyle Horsley, Divisional Head- FinTech of the South African Reserve Bank. The remarks that I will share reflect my opinion and not the views of the Commission. I would like to focus my remarks on a set of twin issues emerging in financial markets and the relevant implications. My remarks intimate that there are a number of novel financial products and new and emerging technologies, but certain products, market structures and technologies merit careful consideration.

UK accounting watchdog warns he is ‘sheriff for only half the county’; Richard Moriarty criticises ‘serious gaps’ in regulatory toolkit of Financial Reporting Council
Simon Foy – Financial Times
The UK’s accounting watchdog has warned that he is “sheriff for only half the county” and forced to “beg” for funding without long-delayed legislation to create a stronger audit regulator. Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council, said on Tuesday that there were “serious gaps” in its regulatory toolkit and asked for more powers to bring it in line with watchdogs for other sectors.

UK regulator warns ‘finfluencers’ to adhere to advertising rules; FCA says those who flout rules around financial promotions face potential criminal prosecution
Sally Hickey and Laura Noonan – Financial Times
The UK’s financial regulator has warned that so-called “finfluencers” who flout advertising rules face potential criminal prosecution, as it laid out new guidance on the promotion of financial products. The Financial Conduct Authority said on Tuesday that if social media influencers promote financial products or services without proper approval or authorisation, they may be committing a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Investing and Trading

Embracing market volatility in an election year
Paul Feinstein – Audent Global Asset Management via LinkedIn
Every year we say the same thing, it’s a different year than any other we’ve had historically. This year – with the impending 2024 presidential election – will be no different. In an election year, market volatility becomes an inevitable companion, shaping the investment landscape in unprecedented ways. For example, Super Tuesday was a key indicator of not only how this year’s election will play out, but also how the markets will be impacted. Given the ebb and flow of political rhetoric, it can send ripples across financial markets, triggering fluctuations and amplifying volatility. Investors should be paying careful attention.

American Business Stalls in China; Companies see their China trade diminish amid geopolitical tensions and the country’s weak economy
Newley Purnell and Clarence Leong – The Wall Street Journal
The decadeslong push by American companies into China is stalling. American firms in China are being squeezed by escalating geopolitical tensions, tit-for-tat measures on trade and exports, and China’s drive for self-sufficiency. Meanwhile, the Chinese market is becoming less attractive. The country’s economic growth fell to its slowest rate in decades last year; consumers there are spending less, especially on foreign brands; and its once-unstoppable export machine is faltering.

Nvidia Traders Find Reasons to Worry Beyond Sky-High Stock Price; Uncertain demand, rising competition among risks in bear case; Chipmaker has added $2 trillion in market value in 15 months
Jeran Wittenstein and Ryan Vlastelica – Bloomberg
Nvidia Corp.’s runup since the start of 2023 has been so sudden and strong that even bullish investors are raising concerns about how much room its shares have left to run. That’s what a nearly 550% gain since the start of last year will do to even the sturdiest of bull cases. While Nvidia’s profit and revenue growth are real, and sentiment on Wall Street remains overwhelmingly upbeat, runups of this magnitude tend to capture years of profit growth that haven’t yet been delivered. The stock has become one of the largest in the world, adding $2 trillion in value over the past 15 months.

Louis Dreyfus to Buy Brazil’s Top Instant Coffee Exporter; Deal makes LDC one of world’s top instant coffee producers; Traders are channeling profits into margin-boosting assets
Archie Hunter – Bloomberg
Louis Dreyfus Co. has agreed to buy Brazil’s biggest exporter of instant coffee, the latest example of commodity traders plowing record profits into production assets. LDC has signed a binding agreement to buy 100% of the shares of Cia Cacique de Cafe Soluvel, it said in a press release on Tuesday. The deal positions LDC “among the world’s largest soluble coffee producers,” said Chief Executive Officer Michael Gelchie. It’s the company’s second recent coffee investment, after it started a joint-venture instant coffee plant in Vietnam last September.

Commercial Banks Buy Treasuries at Fastest Pace Since Pandemic; RBC’s Gwinn says recent jump likely due to ‘mechanical’ forces; TD Securities strategists link the buying to Fed QT taper talk
Liz Capo McCormick – Bloomberg
US banks are snapping up Treasuries at the fastest clip since the peak of pandemic-sparked worry swept markets in 2020. Strategists at RBC Capital Markets warn the torrid pace is likely to slow. Commercial banks bought $103 billion of Treasuries and non-mortgage debt from federal agencies in the two-week period ended March 13, according to weekly holdings data compiled by the Federal Reserve. Analysts use this category to gauge demand for Treasury securities. It was the biggest two-week increase in percentage terms since June 2020, according to RBC.

Hershey Hit With Downgrade as Cocoa Prices Touch Record; BNP Paribas Exane cuts confectionery maker to neutral; Cocoa futures climb above $10,000 for the first time ever
Janet Freund – Bloomberg

It’s an Expensive Year to Be the Easter Bunny; With cocoa futures topping $10,000, don’t be surprised if your basket is all Peeps.
Jessica Karl – Bloomberg

US small-caps suffer worst run against larger stocks in over 20 years; Unusually big performance gap opens up as investors drive up big tech stocks while interest rates hurt smaller companies
George Steer – Financial Times

The unstoppable rise of Fortnox: Swedish software group attracts short sellers; Analysts question how much further $4.6bn niche business can expand
Dan McCrum and Costas Mourselas – Financial Times

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Sinking Coastal Lands Will Exacerbate the Flooding from Sea Level Rise in 24 US Cities, New Research Shows
Moriah McDonald – Inside Climate News
Flooding could affect one out of every 50 residents in 24 coastal cities in the United States by the year 2050, a study led by Virginia Tech researchers suggests. The study, published this month in Nature, shows how the combination of land subsidence-in this case, the sinking of shoreline terrain-and rising sea levels can lead to the flooding of coastal areas sooner than previously anticipated by research that had focused primarily on sea level rise scenarios.

Crypto miner, Pennsylvania hit with lawsuit over pollution from bitcoin mine
Clark Mindock – Reuters
An environmental community group on Tuesday sued Stronghold Digital Mining Inc (SDIG.O), claiming the company’s bitcoin mine in northeastern Pennsylvania that burns waste coal and old tires for energy is polluting nearby communities with dangerous chemicals. The lawsuit by Save Carbon County filed in state court in Philadelphia, also names Pennsylvania as a defendant. The group, a nonprofit whose members live near the bitcoin mine, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the company, and an order directing the state to stop allowing the pollution to continue.

Why BlackRock’s C.E.O. Wants to Rethink Retirement
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Ravi Mattu, Bernhard Warner, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – The New York Times
BlackRock’s chief wants to rethink a fiscal time bomb. As the chairman and C.E.O. of the asset management giant BlackRock, Larry Fink commands attention from companies and governments, helping spearhead movements like socially driven business and the need for companies to fight climate change. In his latest letter to investors, published on Tuesday, Fink weighs in on a new topic: a looming global retirement crisis, and what can be done to address it.

Biden’s Biofuel Push Risks Dethroning Corn as King of US Crops; US farmers have favored corn over soybeans for over a century
Gerson Freitas Jr and Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
American farmers will plant more corn than soybeans in 2024 – as they have in most years for over a century. But beyond that, a green diesel boom threatens to dethrone the king of all crops. President Joe Biden’s decarbonization plan and the huge subsidies it offers to green energy are boosting demand for soybean oil, key to renewable diesel production. That means the old adage that the US farmer likes to plant corn could become history, with soy taking the No. 1 spot in the future.

‘Humbling, and a bit worrying’: Scientists fail to fully explain record global heat
Hayley Smith – Los Angeles Times
Deadly heat in the Southwest. Hot-tub temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. Sweltering conditions in Europe, Asia and South America. That 2023 was Earth’s hottest year on record was in some ways no surprise. For decades, scientists have been sounding the alarm about rapidly rising temperatures driven by humanity’s relentless burning of fossil fuels.

Southeast Asia human trafficking now a global crisis, Interpol says
Yantoultra Ngui – Reuters

Steel, cement and – cheese? U.S. spends big to cut these carbon footprints. Some $6 billion in federal funding will help reduce emissions from industrial facilities including steel mills, cement plants and a macaroni and cheese factory
Maxine Joselow – The Washington Post

Big Oil’s climate planning not good enough, investor group says
Simon Jessop – Reuters

Fires From 2023 Smoldering Under Snow Reveal Canada’s Dangerous New Reality; After last year’s record-breaking Canadian wildfire season, dozens of smaller blazes kept burning through a warm, dry winter. Governments and companies are bracing for another smoke-filled summer in 2024.
Thomas Seal and Robert Tuttle – Bloomberg


Ex-Barclays Analyst Who Sued Over Sexist Jibe Seeks £1.3 Million; Lacatus won 2021 London sex discrimination suit against bank; Her boss referred to women as “birds” tribunal heard
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
An ex-Barclays Plc banker who won a discrimination lawsuit after her boss described women as “birds” is seeking as much as £1.3 million ($1.6 million) in compensation from the bank. Anca Lacatus, who worked as an analyst at Barclays from 2016 until she was dismissed in 2020, won the 2021 suit after judges ruled she had been the victim of direct sex discrimination. She also won a claim that the bank failed to adjust her working hours despite having a disability.

Fossil fuel-focused Africa Energy Bank on track to start this year
The proposed Africa Energy Bank, which will focus investment in oil and gas projects across the continent, is set to start operations later this year with an initial $5 billion authorized capital base, a senior official said on Wednesday. The bank, a partnership between Afreximbank and the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), is meant to help plug a funding gap in Africa amid pressure on major banks from environmental groups to shift investment dollars away from climate-warming oil and gas projects.

Italy Sells 12.5% of Monte Paschi for About EUR650 Million; Rome has long struggled to divest its stake in the lender; The sale is part of Rome’s ambitious privatization plan
Sonia Sirletti and Sunil Kesur – Bloomberg
Italy sold about 12.5% of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA for about EUR650 million ($704 million) as part of a state plan to divest from the bailed-out lender. The government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sold 157.5 million shares for EUR4.15 each, with a 2.5% discount on Monte Paschi’s closing price, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday in a statement. The pricing is 42% higher than the government’s previous placement in November.

BNY Mellon to enable buy-side to direct repo trades at point of execution; Tie-up with GLMX comes off the back of growing demand from clients seeking to expand their BNY Mellon triparty usage beyond uncleared margin into repo financing.
Chris Lemmon – The Trade
BNY Mellon has partnered with GLMX to enable buy-side clients to direct repo trades at the point of execution to BNY Mellon’s Triparty platform. The two firms said the integration comes off the back of growing demand from clients seeking to expand their BNY Mellon triparty usage beyond uncleared margin into repo financing, helping them to capture more benefits from being on the collateral platform.

Nvidia Catapults EM Stock Picker to Top Ranking and Irks Rivals; Artisan’s Kaufman takes unconventional tack to produce returns; “This is not your grandmother’s emerging-market fund”
Ye Xie and Carolina Wilson – Bloomberg
Lewis Kaufman is, depending on who you ask, a phony or a genius. First, the genius part. Kaufman has come up with a formula for generating double-digit annual returns in emerging-market stocks, a rare feat in a market that has gone nowhere for years. The phony critique: He’s done it largely by loading up the fund he manages at Artisan Partners – the Artisan Developing World Fund – with high-flying US tech stocks.

Andurand’s Hedge Fund Rebounds 20% After Record Loss Last Year; Bets on higher crude oil prices handed a 55% loss in 2023; Trader is still anticipating upside catalysts to the commodity
Nishant Kumar and Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Oil trader Pierre Andurand’s riskiest hedge fund is bouncing back following last year’s record 55% loss tied to wrong-way bets on the commodity. His main Andurand Commodities Discretionary Enhanced hedge fund, which he runs with no set risk limits, gained about 20% through March 22 this year, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

Fee cuts fail to make significant impact on European ETF flows; Only 52% of vehicles that cut fees over the past five years saw increased flows, about the same as for all ETFs
Chloe Leung and Dom Lawson – Financial Times

Work & Management

The ‘Always On, Always In’ Era Is Over; The live-to-work ethic has flipped. Now people want work-life balance and that’s transforming not just workplaces but towns and cities.
Julia Hobsbawm – Bloomberg
Of all the working assumptions people have made about work and the workplace since the Covid 19 pandemic, one stands out: That things would “go back” to how they were before. Industries have indeed bounded back – but not the workers. They are done with being always on and always in. Some of this comes down to what my colleague Matt Boyle describes as “the chaotic nature” of the return to office and some of it down to the scale and pace of change. As the authors of a World Economic Forum paper published in May 2023 noted: “While work has always evolved, its recent transformation has taken place at an unprecedented speed and affected the workforce to an unprecedented extent.”

Wellness Exchange

Puerto Rico declares public health emergency after rise in dengue fever cases; Puerto Rico has declared an epidemic after the number of dengue cases continued to rise into the hundreds. The infection has been on the rise in much of Central and South America.
Ahjane Forbes – USA Today
Puerto Rico has declared an epidemic as the number of dengue cases continues to rise. At least 549 cases have been reported so far and more than 340 people have been hospitalized, according to the island’s health department. “As of March 21, 2024, the Department of Health’s epidemiological surveillance of diseases has observed a 140% increase in dengue cases for Puerto Rico compared to the same period last year,” the department said in a press release on Monday.

Alzheimer’s may be caused by a build-up of fat in brain cells; The biggest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease appears to lead to fat droplets accumulating in brain immune cells, highlighting a possible cause of the condition that has been overlooked
Clare Wilson – New Scientist
A new understanding of Alzheimer’s disease suggests that the root cause involves a build-up of fat droplets in brain cells. Targeting these droplets could lead to more effective treatments than the current strategy of drugs that target proteins, says Michael Haney at the University of Pennsylvania. “This opens up a new avenue for therapeutic development,” he says. The commonest explanation for Alzheimer’s disease is that it is caused by a build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid in plaques between nerve cells. Another suspect is a build-up of tangles made of a different protein, called tau, stored inside nerve cells.

World Health Day 2024
World Health Organization
Around the world, the right to health of millions is increasingly coming under threat. Diseases and disasters loom large as causes of death and disability. Conflicts are devastating lives, causing death, pain, hunger and psychological distress. The burning of fossil fuels is simultaneously driving the climate crisis and taking away our right to breathe clean air, with indoor and outdoor air pollution claiming a life every 5 seconds.

Steward Health Care selling major part of operations to Optum Care
Mike Toole – CBS Boston
The struggling Steward Health Care Network is selling off a major part of its operations as millions of dollars in debt piles up. The hospital group filed notice with the state of Massachusetts Tuesday that Optum Care, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, will buy Steward’s physician network.


Japan Steps Closer to Intervention as Yen Hits Lowest Since 1990; Finance Minister Suzuki ramps up forex intervention threat; Yen may quicken drop if 152 barrier broken, say traders
Masaki Kondo, Erica Yokoyama, and Yumi Teso – Bloomberg
Japan stepped closer to currency intervention with its strongest warning yet after the yen slid to the weakest level in about 34 years against the dollar. The yen dipped to 151.97 versus the dollar early on Wednesday in Tokyo, before recovering after comments from Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, and his top currency official Masato Kanda indicating that Japan was ready to act.

It’ll Take More Than Patriotism to Save Malaysia’s Currency; In a break from history, the country is eschewing radical responses to the ringgit’s slide. A meaningful recovery will have to wait for the Fed.
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
Malaysia wants to be great again, at least in foreign exchange. The nation’s currency recently approached a level seen as near-catastrophic during the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Authorities insist the ringgit is way too cheap and blame forces outside the country, chiefly high interest rates in the US. The remedies are modest, compared with the shock therapy meted out a couple of decades ago.

China Confuses Yuan Traders With Surprise Changes to Fixing; Unclear where there’s a possible new line in the sand: Maybank; Ambiguous messaging may help PBOC achieve its goals: StoneX
Bloomberg News
Traders seeking to navigate the most crucial part of China’s foreign-exchange management are finding visibility getting increasingly cloudy. Since last Friday, authorities have flipped backward and forward with their favorite tool for guiding expectations – the yuan’s daily reference rate, which pins the currency to a level around which it’s allowed to deviate just 2%. Policymakers first triggered a yuan selloff partially by weakening the rate, before causing a rebound via stronger settings in the next two days.

China ‘Very Close’ to Ending Australia Wine Tariffs, Business Chief Says; Decision on Australia wine sanctions expected by end of March; Australia China Business Council says ‘good old days’ are over
Stephen Engle and Ben Westcott – Bloomberg
The Chinese government is “very close” to lifting the heavy tariffs on Australian wine imports, a business lobby said, while tempering expectations about all producers returning to the market after the sanctions are lifted. The Australia China Business Council hosted a meeting for business leaders with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to Australia this month, where Beijing’s top diplomat emphasized that his country was “opening up” to foreign investment, according to the lobby group’s National President David Olsson.

Egypt, Pakistan Await Verdict on Emerging-Market Demotion Threat; The two nations are on FTSE Russell reclassification watchlist; Index provider to publish results of review on Wednesday
Srinivasan Sivabalan – Bloomberg
The threat of losing their emerging-market status hangs over Egypt and Pakistan, which will learn on Wednesday whether their economic-turnaround plans are enough to avoid demotion at FTSE Russell. Vietnam is awaiting an elusive promotion. The index provider will announce the results of its first classification review of 2024 after the close of trading in New York. The rankings influence where $15.9 trillion of funds that track the company’s gauges invest their money, especially in emerging and frontier markets.

Blommer Chocolate to Cut 226 Jobs After Chicago Factory Closing
Isis Almeida – Bloomberg
Cocoa processor Blommer Chocolate Co. is cutting hundreds of jobs after announcing it will close its 85-year-old Chicago factory. The company, owned by Japan’s Fuji Oil Holdings Inc., will lay off 226 workers in the city, according to a WARN notice. The move comes as the 1939 factory became too costly to operate, maintain and repair, Blommer said in a statement last week.

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