Jack Sandner: Chicago Success Story, Fighter, Lawyer, Trader, Brokerage Executive, Exchange Leader, Civic Leader and Investor
John Lothian – John Lothian News
Jack Sandner was all the things listed in the headline above, but also many more. He might be remembered for all of them, but I will remember him as a determined defender and proponent of Chicago’s futures markets, especially the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s.
I was lucky enough to interview Jack for our Open Outcry Traders History Project in 2019. The JLN video team and I went to his offices in the CME Building and amidst the clutter of his office and, bedazzled with memorabilia of a lifetime of service to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the CME Group, we set up the lights and cameras.
To read the rest of this story, go here.
Jack Sandner Remembrances
John Lothian News
Jack Sandner is remembered by industry friends, colleagues, and market and industry participants.
Terry Duffy, CME Group Executive Chairman and CEO
CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy today issued the following statement on behalf of the company:
“Today is an extremely difficult day for our company and our industry. It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Jack Sandner who was among our staunchest leaders, biggest champions and, most importantly, a dear friend to so many. As a long-running chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the predecessor to CME Group) in the 1980s and 1990s, Jack oversaw the launch of critical products during his tenure including the S&P 500 and Eurodollar futures contracts. He was a true visionary who made many contributions to our industry. It was with sheer grit and determination that he also steadied the organization through some of the biggest crises of the day including the Gold and Silver crisis of 1980 and the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Jack was a passionate family man whose children meant everything to him. He was philanthropic throughout his life not only in Chicago but elsewhere within the broader community and beyond, including his alma mater Notre Dame University.
To read the rest of this story, go here.
Hits & Takes
The futures industry is mourning the loss of Jack Sandner, who died Thursday at the age of 79 after suffering a stroke. According to a close friend, the day before he passed he raised his right fist and said “GO IRISH!” That is what you call school spirit until the end. Jack was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and a longtime member of the university’s board.
Our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of John F. (Jack) Sandner. He was a one of a kind.
The South Bend Tribune says the arrangements are pending at “Palmer Funeral Home – Hickey Chapel, South Bend.” It does not mention any times or dates. It appears he will be buried on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
JLN Editor-in-Chief Sarah Rudolph is doing well, recovering from her surgery on Friday.
Our friends at FEX Global have big news today with the launch of the FEX Global Australian Futures Exchange on March 26. Best of luck to our friends Down Under! See the notices in Exchange News from the CME about “Initial Listing of Australian Coal, Power and Asia Crude Futures and Options for FEX exchange Cleared at CME Clearing” and “CME Clearing to Launch Clearing Partnership with FEX Global.”
Our friends at Eurex are joining the small party with the announcement “Introduction of Micro Futures on the DAX, EURO STOXX 50 and SMI indices.” The new micro equity futures are the same except for the size and will start trading on April 19.
R.J. O’Brien & Associates Chairman and CEO Gerry Corcoran sent out this message to RJO employees: “Our very own Jessica McCaskill defended her multiple belt Welterweight Boxing titles last night in a rematch bout against her rival Cecilia Braekhus. Jessica won with a unanimous decision after an amazing 10 round bout! Please join me in congratulating Jessica in her victory! You make all of RJO proud Jessica!”
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign over the weekend. However, the importance of this work is magnified by the death of Jack Sandner. We were lucky to capture his story on video before he passed. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Last week’s CFTC Global Market Advisory Committee heard about a notable uptick in retail participation in futures trading from the agency’s Chief Market Intelligence Officer Mel Gunewardena. He attributed the uptick, in part, to IBs’ and FCMs’ marketing initiatives like online account opening and reduced fees and minimum balance requirements, as well as more offerings of smaller, retail-friendlier contracts by exchanges. You can find more about the commission’s retail futures trading report, as well as other topics on the GMAC’s agenda, here at Jim Hamilton’s World of Securities Regulation.~Thom Thompson
The Spread: NO Mo’ FOMO
This week on The Spread, the Senate Banking Committee scrutinizes retail trading apps, a proposal is filed with the SEC for an ETF that lets investors bet on FOMO, and more.
Educated Men Are Finding More Degrees Don’t Always Bring More Jobs; Those who have graduate and professional credentials are less likely to be in the labor force than ones with a B.A.
Justin Fox – Bloomberg
The more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job. This relationship holds true across the U.S. labor market, with one notable exception. In February, 74.6% of men 25 and older with only a bachelor’s degree were employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while just 72.7% of men with advanced degrees were.
*****I have two bachelor degrees and an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks.~JJL
Grab Your Lanyard. Trade Shows Are Plotting a Comeback; The $11 billion industry is slowly coming back to life after a lost year. Are potential attendees ready to crowd into expo halls and hotel bars with strangers again?
Dave Sebastian – WSJ
Just a year ago, a crowd of 5,000 people wandering an Orlando, Fla.-area exhibition hall would have been considered tiny in trade-show terms. This year, it was deemed a good start. The occasion was a joint event held last month by three apparel-industry trade shows, Womenswear in Nevada, Magic Pop-Up and Offprice, which relocated to Orlando from their usual home in Las Vegas. In early 2020, those shows drew about 55,000 total attendees. But the goal of this year’s gathering, organizers say, was to figure out how conference-going can work in a pandemic.
*****This was written just to make us want to be in Boca Raton, Florida, this week even more.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
The top-read story on Friday was Bloomberg’s Trader Arrested as WallStreetBets Phenomenon Finds Echo in Japan. The second most popular was John Lothian’s Zoom interview with Ram Vittal, and third was the still-fascinating Business Insider article A billionaire has been trying to sell his Versailles-inspired mansion for nearly 8 years — and it’s finally set to sell at a 47% discount. Look inside the Manhattan townhouse.
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The dawn of Australia’s new futures exchange, FEX Global
Rick Steves – Finance Feeds
FEX Global has partnered with CME Clearing to act as the counterparty in the trades. The firm’s reputation within the industry will certainly back FEX Global’s first steps and ensure its Asia-Pacific customers are being offered world standard clearing services. Australia is about to have a new exchange catering to the APAC region. FEX Global will offer centrally cleared futures and options for the energy, environmental, and commodity product classes. To be launched on March 26, 2021, the futures exchange aims to optimize hedging and risk management for market participants by providing futures and options for both commodity and energy markets, as well as emerging renewable energy and environmental markets.
Former CME leader Jack Sandner dies at 79; He was a giant of the Merc who helped lead the organization as it became the first U.S. exchange to go public.
Steven R. Strahler – Crain’s Chicago Business
Jack Sandner, whose epic battles with Leo Melamed over leadership of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reflected and defined the tumult and outsider status of the city’s futures markets, has died. He was 79. Sandner died last night at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after suffering a stroke in late February at his Lake Bluff home, according to his son Chris.
Jack Sandner, longtime Chicago Mercantile Exchange chairman, dies at 79 after suffering a stroke
Robert Channiick – Chicago Tribune
Jack Sandner, 79, the longtime Chicago Mercantile Exchange chairman who spanned the future exchange’s evolution from open outcry to electronic trading, died Thursday after suffering a stroke. As its longest-tenured chairman during the 1980s and 1990s, Sandner oversaw the expansion of the CME from agricultural commodities into new products such as the S&P 500, while steering the futures exchange into the modern era.
Jack Sandner, longtime Chicago Mercantile Exchange chairman, dies at 79; He had an almost 50-year association with the old Merc and led it into electronic trading and toward a transformative acquisition of the Chicago Board of Trade.
David Roeder – Chicago Sun-Times
Jack Sandner, chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for most of the 1980s and 1990s, used to glory in showing VIPs and everyday visitors the colorful, chaotic trading floor he oversaw. He would call it “the cathedral of capitalism,” words spoken with gratitude and reverence. But he also knew change was coming to his cathedral, and that it would have to adjust. He was involved in the first steps toward computerized trading that would change the character of futures trading, a core Chicago industry.
Statement by CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Duffy on Jack Sandner
CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy today issued the following statement on behalf of the company: “Today is an extremely difficult day for our company and our industry. It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Jack Sandner who was among our staunchest leaders, biggest champions and, most importantly, a dear friend to so many. As a long-running chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the predecessor to CME Group) in the 1980s and 1990s, Jack oversaw the launch of critical products during his tenure including the S&P 500 and Eurodollar futures contracts. He was a true visionary who made many contributions to our industry. It was with sheer grit and determination that he also steadied the organization through some of the biggest crises of the day including the Gold and Silver crisis of 1980 and the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Virtu Mourns the Passing of Longtime Board Member, Jack Sandner
Virtu Financial, LLC
Virtu Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIRT), is saddened to announce the passing of longtime Board Member Jack Sandner. Vincent Viola, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Virtu Financial said, “With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of our dear friend and advisor, Jack Sandner. For more than 30 years, Jack has been a personal friend and mentor to me and I thank God for allowing our paths to cross so long ago. I’ll be forever grateful for the guiding hand that Jack provided to me personally from the early days of my career on the floor of the NYMEX. As Chairman and later Chairman Emeritus of the CME, Jack brought invaluable insight and perspective to the Board at Virtu where we were lucky to have him join and advise us from the beginning. He was a mentor to all of us.”
In Memoriam: NFA Remembers John F. Sandner
NFA remembers John F. Sandner (Jack) who passed away yesterday. In the early 80s, Jack served on NFA’s Transitional Board of Directors that implemented NFA’s framework, governance and strong self-regulatory principles. Since NFA’s inception in 1982, Jack served close to thirty-five years on NFA’s Board. Over the years, Jack provided NFA with prudent counsel and was a strong supporter of self-regulation in the derivatives business. Simply put, Jack was instrumental in NFA’s tremendous success over the years.
Problems mount for Bank of England governor after weathering Covid storm; As Andrew Bailey enters his second year in the job, the FT considers his achievements so far — and the challenges to come
Chris Giles and Caroline Binham – FT
Andrew Bailey’s challenges as governor of the Bank of England are mounting as he enters his second year in the job, having successfully helped to steer Britain’s economy through the initial storm of the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Banks Will Turn Last Year’s Fear Into This Year’s Profits; As the economy improves, banks are expected to pare back the cash stockpiles they built up to cover pandemic-era loan losses
David Benoit – WSJ
U.S. banks are sitting on a pile of cash that could turn into billions of dollars of profits. In the coming months, banks are expected to free up tens of billions of dollars in reserves they set aside to cover soured loans—losses that still haven’t materialized a year into a pandemic that shut down swaths of the U.S. economy.
The Month Coronavirus Unraveled American Business – A WSJ Documentary; March 2020 began on a high note for American business and ended with the economy in tatters
Wall Street Journal
When the coronavirus tore through industry, commerce and society in March 2020, the U.S. economy came to a screeching halt. Top executives relive the tough decisions they made as they scrambled to weather the storm. Photo Illustration: Adele Morgan/The Wall Street Journal
Crypto’s Rising. So Are the Stakes for Governments Everywhere; Competition in the global market for cash is heating up.
Editorial Board – Bloomberg
For centuries, money issued by governments has served as the lifeblood of the global economy — the currencies in which people hold savings, make payments and keep accounts, and in which nations measure their wealth and geopolitical power. But in our digital age, it’s facing a bizarre, postmodern sort of competition. Cryptocurrencies — created to supplant the traditional, sovereign kind — have become a widespread obsession, inspiring their own counterculture and attracting hundreds of billions of dollars in speculative investment that may or may not have anything to do with their viability.
When Doing Well Means Doing Good; The S.E.C. is making E.S.G. a priority.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Allison Herren Lee was named acting chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, and since then she has been active, especially when it comes to environmental, social and governance, or E.S.G., issues. The agency has issued a flurry of notices that such disclosures will be priorities this year. Today, Ms. Lee, who was appointed as a commissioner by President Donald Trump in 2019, is speaking at the Center for American Progress, where she will call for input on additional E.S.G. transparency, according to prepared remarks seen by DealBook.
Emerging markets need support to avoid a ‘lost decade’; The IMF must use its firepower to stave off a debt crisis in poorer nations
Megan Greene – FT
The Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s and eurozone debt crisis in the 2010s both led to a lost decade of economic growth for those regions. A key question now is whether emerging markets are heading down the same path, saddled with debt incurred in response to the pandemic. Signs another crisis may be looming should prompt a rethink of the IMF’s tools.
16th-Century Traders Could’ve Predicted Zero Rates; A Q&A with Paul Schmelzing, author of a paper that traces 800 years of borrowing costs, on central banks, inflation and the U.S.-China rivalry.
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
Critics of ultra-low interest rates keep waiting for a correction that might not come. Far from being an anomaly, near-zero borrowing costs may be the historical norm and a product of powerful forces at work for the past 800 years.
AstraZeneca Shot’s European Suspensions Could Delay Vaccination Goal
James Paton – Bloomberg
Moves could push back target by up to month in some countries; Regulators said there’s no indication of direct link to shot
The suspended rollout of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine in some European Union countries over concerns about possible side effects could delay a goal of immunizing three-quarters of their populations against the resurgent coronavirus by as much as a month.
Astra Vaccine Woes Grow as Regulators Try to Ease Clot Fears
Suzi Ring and Michelle Fay Cortez – Bloomberg
Shot once seen as frontrunner now faces halts globally; Company says no evidence vaccine increases blood-clot risk
AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine for Covid-19, once expected to be a mainstay of protection for much of the world, remains shrouded in controversy as more countries limit its use even as scientists warn of the need for governments to tread carefully.
CEOs Become Vaccine Activists as Back-to-Office Push Grows
Thomas Buckley – Bloomberg
Some companies give workers time off or money to get shots; Requiring workers to be immunized is legally challenging
Some chief executive officers are so eager for their employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 that they’re granting workers time off or cash incentives to get shots.
Dubai Conducts Trial to Assess Breath Test to Detect Coronavirus
Shaji Mathew – Bloomberg
Dubai is conducting a clinical trial to assess the accuracy of a breath test to detect the coronavirus within one minute. The rapid test, developed by the National University of Singapore’s Breathonix Pte Ltd., is being trialled on 2,500 patients, according to a statement. Breathonix is carrying out the trial with Dubai Health Authority and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Hong Kong’s Vaccines Available to 30-Year-Olds as Priority Groups Shy Away
Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Vaccine campaign expanded to those aged 30-59 starting Tuesday; Students studying overseas and domestic helpers also included
Hong Kong expanded its vaccination campaign to young adults aged 30 years old and above after the vast majority of people in its priority groups shied away from taking a shot, leaving millions of doses unused. Those aged 30 to 59 years old can now sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine from Tuesday, while students from the age of 16 and above can also get one if they’re studying in foreign institutions, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip said at a briefing Monday. Domestic helpers are also now eligible.
EU member states squabble over vaccine distribution; Group of countries warn of heavy disparities in shipments across Europe
Sam Fleming and Michael Peel – FT
A row has broken out between EU member states over coronavirus vaccine allocation in the latest fallout from AstraZeneca’s worsening supply shortfalls to the bloc.
Indonesia Delays Distribution of AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine
Rieka Rahadiana and Arys Aditya – Bloomberg
Indonesia has temporarily halted the distribution of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine for its inoculation program, joining a number of European countries in suspending the shot amid concern over its side effects.
Fauci Warns Against Easing Covid-19 Restrictions; Top infectious-disease doctor asks Trump to urge supporters to get vaccinated
Catherine Lucey and Paul Kiernan – WSJ
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that the U.S. could experience another Covid-19 surge like Europe if it lifts restrictions too soon and called on Donald Trump to urge his supporters to get vaccinated.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Launch of FEX Global Australian Futures Exchange, March 26, 2021
FEX Global announced the launch date of March 26, 2021 for its futures exchange. The exchange will offer centrally cleared futures and options for the energy, environmental and commodity product classes. FEX Global is focused on enabling the optimisation of hedging and risk management for market participants by providing futures and options for both commodity and energy markets, as well as emerging renewable energy and environmental markets
Equity index derivatives: Introduction of Micro Futures on the DAX®, EURO STOXX 50® and SMI® indices
The Management Board of Eurex Deutschland took the following decisions with effect from 19 April 2021: Introduction of Micro Futures on the DAX®, EURO STOXX 50® and SMI® indices;
Introduction of a Liquidity Provider Scheme for the new products.
Eurex and Korea Exchange expand long-standing cooperation with further Futures
KOSPI 200 Futures to be listed on the Eurex/KRX Link; Eurex is the only after-hours trading venue for KRX derivatives
Eurex and Korea Exchange, KRX, are further expanding the range of products accessible via their joint link. As of 22 March, Eurex will list futures on the Korean benchmark index KOSPI 200. The new product listing emphasizes once again the partner exchanges’ commitment to connecting markets globally.
New Product Summary: New Product Summary: Initial Listing of Australian Coal, Power and Asia Crude Futures and Options for FEX exchange Cleared at CME Clearing – Effective March 25, 2021
New Product Summary: Initial Listing of Australian Coal, Power and Asia Crude Futures and Options for FEX exchange Cleared at CME Clearing.
CME Clearing to Launch Clearing Partnership with FEX Global – Effective Date March 25, 2021
Pending all required regulatory approvals, CME Clearing and FEX Global (“FEX”), a Sydney-based derivatives exchange operated by FEX Global Pty Limited, are jointly announcing the intended launch of CME-cleared energy and commodity futures and options on futures focused primarily on servicing the Asia-Pacific region effective for trading at 5:00pm Chicago time on March 25, 2021 / 10:00am Sydney time on March 26, 2021.
Update of ETF Market Making Incentive Scheme Version 2.0
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) introduced an ETF Market Making Incentive Scheme in order to improve liquidity in the ETF market in July 2018. Thereafter, TSE launched ETF Market Making Scheme Version 2.0 (Ver.2.0) in April 2019 and will now be updating said scheme on April 1, 2021.
SET Expands Alliances To Upskill Entrepreneurs Embracing Students, Startups And SMEs
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is teaming up with National Innovation Agency (NIA), Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM), Thailand Management Association (TMA), and Expara Thailand to develop an entrepreneurship curriculum by leveraging each organizations’ expertise and experience via digital media and “entrepreneurship class” activities. The move aims to reach all target groups of the value chain inclusive of university students, startups, and SMEs, expecting to draw over 30,000 enthusiasts to access to resourceful entrepreneurial knowledge in 2021.
Issue Of Ordinary Shares And Performance Rights To Employees Of NZX Limited (NZX)
NZX advises that it has issued $1,000 of ordinary shares (gross of tax) in NZX to each of its employees as at 1 February 2021 who have joined or become permanent employees of NZX since NZX’s previous issue of $1,000 of ordinary shares to employees as at 3 February 2020.
Stripe’s Value Jumps to $95 Billion, Becomes Top U.S. Startup
Katie Roof – Bloomberg
Founding Irish brothers’ fortune climbs to $11.4 billion each; Capital raised will be “a rainy day fund,” board member says
Stripe Inc.’s valuation almost tripled in less than a year to $95 billion with its latest funding round, making it the most valuable U.S. startup. The online payments processing company drew $600 million in its latest fundraising, Stripe said in a statement.
Stripe valuation soars to $95bn after latest fundraising; Payments provider becomes Silicon Valley’s most valuable private company
Miles Kruppa and Tim Bradshaw – FT
Print this page
Stripe has become the most valuable private company Silicon Valley has produced, after investors struck a deal valuing the online payments processor at $95bn. Participants in Stripe’s latest financing, which raised $600m of new equity, include Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, Allianz, Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, AXA and Sequoia Capital.
Tencent Loses $62 Billion, Wiping Out Value of Fintech Business
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Tencent Holdings Ltd. shares fell a second day on concern regulators are now turning their sights to Pony Ma’s business empire, fueling a $62 billion wipe-out that one brokerage says obliterated most of the value of its online finance business. The stock fell more than 4% in Hong Kong on Monday, following a 4.4.% drop on Friday. China’s top financial regulators see Tencent as the next target for increased supervision after the clamp down on Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co., people with knowledge of their thinking have said. Like Ant, Tencent will probably be required to establish a financial holding company to include its banking, insurance and payments services, according to one of the people.
Ant Group CEO Simon Hu has resigned from the Chinese fintech giant
Grace Dean – Business Insider
Ant Group CEO Simon Hu has resigned for personal reasons. Bloomberg first reported the news on Friday. The company confirmed Hu’s resignation in a statement to Insider. “The Ant Group Board of Directors has accepted Mr. Simon Hu’s resignation request, due to personal reasons,” a representative said. “We are thankful to Simon for the efforts he made at our company.” Ant Group is an affiliate fintech company of the Chinese retail behemoth Alibaba. It operates the Alipay digital payments network and was founded by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. Chairman Eric Jing will become CEO effective immediately, a source with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
Bitcoin Hoard Fuels One of World’s Biggest Crypto Fortunes
It’s the latest corporate strategy for companies from Tesla Inc. to Square Inc.: shift a portion of cash reserves into cryptocurrencies as digital assets become more mainstream. Still, few have gone as far as MicroStrategy Inc. Eight months after its first investment, the software firm has a Bitcoin holding worth more than $5 billion.
Japanese Court Convicts Bitcoin Tax Evader – Trader Gets a Year in Prison Plus Fine for $200K
Japanese authorities aren’t hesitating in hunting down anyone considered a crypto tax evader. A court in Ishikawa has sentenced one of them, a 56-year-old man that will spend one year in prison, plus pay a $200,000 fine.
Banned from Bitcoin Posts, WallStreetBets Turns to Crypto Miners
Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Miners RIOT, MARA are up over 7,600% amid touts on Reddit; But stocks offering indirect Bitcoin exposure come with risk
Bitcoin’s retail investor-driven surge has nothing on its miners and trading firms. Just look at WallStreetBets, the freewheeling forum favored by amateur traders whose touts led to a frenzy in videogame retailer GameStop Corp.’s stock.
Crypto Giant Binance Weighs Registering With CFTC, Baucus Says
Daniel Avis – Bloomberg
‘I think they’re moving in that direction,’ ex-senator says; Regulator is said to probe whether U.S. traders using exchange
Binance Holdings Ltd., the operator of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is weighing whether to register with the U.S.’s futures regulator, according to Max Baucus, a former Senator and ambassador to China who the firm tapped as a policy adviser. “I think they’re moving in that direction,” Baucus said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday when asked whether the company plans to register as a broker with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “That’s a policy decision that we’re discussing, and it’s a business judgment.”
Crypto’s Next Big Thing Raises Questions While the Price Surges
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Cardano’s market value recently surged to $34 billion; Founder Charles Hoskinson said, ‘I get recognized at airports’
The meteoric rise of Cardano over the past three months is catching the attention of some of the savviest investors in cryptocurrencies. Billionaire Michael Novogratz sought to crowdsource information on the digital token, also known as Ada, on Tuesday, asking for help to explain the more than sixfold surge since the middle of December that briefly made it the third-biggest cryptocurrency by market value after stalwarts Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Investors feel they ‘missed the boat’ on cryptocurrency
Aamina Zafar – FT
One-third of investors will not put their money into cryptocurrency because they feel they ‘missed the boat’, according to research. The new report, called The Great Cryptocurrency, polled 2,000 UK savers about their investment plans for 2021 and found 30 per cent will not invest in cryptocurrency due to feeling it is a missed opportunity. Despite this, the six-page report published by think tank Parliament Street found 31 per cent of investors admitted they expected the price of bitcoin to hit a valuation of £50,000 this year. Over the weekend the value of bitcoin surged past $60,000 – or just over £43,000 – for the first time.
This Isn’t the Revolution I Signed Up For
Paul Brody – Coindesk
In social networks, online chat rooms and blogs, there is an ugly alignment taking shape between disparate, radical groups that hold all sorts of distorted and misinformed views on the issues of the day. What is emerging as a common thread across all these groups is a belief that they are under siege and that blockchain might be able to fix this. Except the problems they describe are not real problems, and the solutions they propose are even worse. Paul Brody is EY (Ernst & Young)’s Global Blockchain Leader.
Citi’s government affairs co-head in Europe joins financial data DeFi DIA
Ryan Weeks – The Block
Ioana Surpateanu, formerly co-head of European government affairs at Citi, has joined DIA, the decentralized finance project focused on crowd-verified financial data. Surpateanu, whose last day at Citi was March 12 after four years with the bank, joins DIA as chief strategy officer. Part of her remit will be running DIA Labs, a grants program run aimed at financing project developers on the network. She will also work closely with the executive team to position DIA at the center of regulatory discussions in Europe. “Some concepts need demystifying and some misconceptions addressed. A reliable and regulatory compliant data layer is a central element in creating a link between DeFi and institutional investors,” Surpateanu told The Block.
Binance under CFTC investigation over trading activities: report
Wolfie Zhao – The Block
Crypto exchange Binance is reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over concerns surrounding whether it allowed U.S. investors on the platform. According to a Bloomberg report on Friday, which cited anonymous sources, the CFTC is seeking to determine whether Binance has allowed residents in the U.S to buy and sell crypto derivatives products while not being registered under the government agency’s oversight. The report noted that the exchange “hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.” BNB, the exchange’s native token, dropped by 6% shortly after the news broke.
Binance Probed by CFTC Over Whether U.S. Residents Traded
Benjamin Bain, Tom Schoenberg, and Matt Robinson – Bloomberg
Agency examines if firm let U.S. residents buy derivatives; Digital token platform hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing
Binance Holdings Ltd., the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is being investigated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over concerns that it allowed Americans to place wagers that violated U.S. rules, according to people familiar with the matter.
Indian Government Officials Give Mixed Signals Over Planned Crypto Legislation
Sebastian Sinclair – Coindesk
Discussions for proposed legislation that would usher in a blanket ban on cryptocurrency use in India are in the final stages, according to a senior government official. As reported by Reuters on Monday, trading, mining, issuance and possession of cryptocurrencies are expected to be criminalized in India with an upcoming legislative bill. The official, who was not named, said the legislation is likely to make it through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s majority-controlled parliament.
Bitcoin ATMs are coming to a gas station near you
Imani Moise, Anna Irrera – Reuters
A new feature has appeared at smoke shops in Montana, gas stations in the Carolinas and delis in far-flung corners of New York City: a brightly-lit bitcoin ATM, where customers can buy or sell digital currency, and sometimes extract hard cash.
India to propose cryptocurrency ban, penalising miners, traders – source
Aftab Ahmed and Nupur Anand – Reuters
India will propose a law banning cryptocurrencies, fining anyone trading in the country or even holding such digital assets, a senior government official told Reuters in a potential blow to millions of investors piling into the red-hot asset class.
3 bitcoin-mining experts explain why concerns around the cryptocurrency’s massive energy consumption are overblown
Emily Graffeo – Business Insider
Bitcoin’s 890% rally over the last year has reignited fears that mining the cryptocurrency is consuming a large amount of energy and harming the environment.
Bitcoin’s surge beyond $60,000 means the famed programmer Laszlo Hanyecz effectively paid $613 million for 2 pizzas
Zahra Tayeb – Business Insider
The programmer Laszlo Hanyecz has become well known in crypto circles after trading 10,000 bitcoins for two Papa John’s pizzas on May 22, 2010. The date is now celebrated in the crypto calendar as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”
If Bitcoin is a religion, then Coinbase is its Vatican
Joshua M Brown – The Reformed Broker
Make sure you don’t miss Byrne Hobart’s new writeup of the upcoming Coinbase IPO, which is sure to be a massive story on The Street as we get closer. It’s worth paying attention to Coinbase now because this might be the next $100 billion company upon coming public.
Biden Eyes First Major Tax Hike Since 1993 in Next Economic Plan
Nancy Cook and Laura Davison – Bloomberg
Tax increases would help fund long-term U.S. recovery program; Corporate, capital-gains levies targeted for hikes, aides say
President Joe Biden is planning the first major federal tax hike since 1993 to help pay for the long-term economic program designed as a follow-up to his pandemic-relief bill, according to people familiar with the matter.
Fauci Says Trump Could End Republicans’ Vaccine Hesitancy
Ros Krasny and Christopher Condon – Bloomberg
Polling shows sharp partisan divide on receiving Covid shots; Fauci: Trump endorsement of vaccines would be game-changer
Reluctance among Republicans to receiving a vaccine is one of the biggest risks to coronavirus control efforts, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser said, although one GOP governor said attitudes may change.
How Trump’s team amassed a $1 trillion war chest for Biden to deploy; Despite concerns that markets will be flooded with new U.S. government debt, the Treasury might not have to change its borrowing plans much at all.
Victoria Guida – Politico
Republicans are bashing the new $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package for further ballooning the federal debt, but it’s the Trump administration that greased the path for a smooth federal spending spree.
Provident Financial faces FCA investigation into customer complaints; Shares fall more than a quarter after subprime lender says it may have to close one of its businesses
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Provident Financial, Britain’s largest specialist subprime lender, warned on Monday that it was being investigated by the UK financial regulator and said it may have to close one of its divisions due to the volume of customer complaints.
With Its Whistleblowing Directive, EU Charts a Different Course From U.S.; European authorities are seeking to set up a minimum standard for whistleblower rules across EU member states, but they don’t favor paying for tips—a key part of an SEC program widely seen as a success
Mengqi Sun – WSJ
A difference between U.S. whistleblower laws and the regime taking shape in Europe shines a light on a key question for policy makers: What motivates people to come forward with information about wrongdoing?
ASIC permanently bans Melbourne adviser and cancels AFS licence of The Australian Dealer Group Pty Ltd
ASIC has permanently banned Mr Nizi Bhandari of Bundoora, Victoria, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities, controlling a financial services or credit business, or performing any function in relation to carrying on a financial services or credit business.
ESMA to allow decision on reporting of net short position of 0.1% and above to expire
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has decided not to renew its decision to require holders of net short positions in shares traded on a European Union (EU) regulated market, to notify the relevant national competent authority (NCA) if the position reaches, exceeds or falls below 0.1% of the issued share capital. The measure, which has applied since 16 March 2020, will expire on 19 March 2021.
New Zealand Financial Markets Authority: Start To New Licensing Regime For Financial Advice
The Financial Markets Authority welcomes the statement from the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark, introducing the new regulatory regime for financial advice.
Joint Trade Associations Letter On The Implementation Of The CSDR Settlement Discipline Regime
On March 11, ISDA and 14 other trade associations sent a letter to the European Commission and the European Securities and Markets Authority highlighting the industry’s concern with respect to implementation of the settlement discipline regime under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (CSDR) and the mandatory buy-in requirements. A key concern for members is that the current legislative timetable requires market participants to proceed with a major implementation exercise without any indication of the scope or timing of the CSDR review process, which is not expected to be finalized sufficiently before the implementation date of the settlement discipline regime in February 2022.
Investing and Trading
‘Stimmy’ Is Setting Stage for Next Wave of Retail Stock Frenzy
Kamaron Leach and Bailey Lipschultz – Bloomberg
Most Americans poised to get $1,400 as soon as this weekend; Small-time investors could help the Nasdaq 100 bounce back
Money from the government is poised to rain down as soon as this weekend for most Americans. And while many cash-strapped families will use funds from the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill to cover rent or past-due accounts, another cohort may use the $1,400 payments to ignite the stock market’s next retail frenzy.
Bond Market’s ‘Game of Chicken’ With Fed Is Set for a Reckoning
Vivien Lou Chen – Bloomberg
Investors are again reassessing one of the bond market’s premier reflation trades — the curve steepener — as expectations for growth and inflation perk up at a clip that was hard to imagine just a few months ago.
Xiaomi Jumps After U.S. Trading Ban on Phone Maker Is Halted
Stock gains the most in a month on Monday after ruling; Defense Department accused Xiaomi of Chinese military links
Xiaomi Corp.’s shares jumped in Hong Kong after a U.S. court blocked the Defense Department from restricting American investment in the Chinese smartphone giant.
US retail investors poised to deploy stimulus cheques in stocks; Online brokerage users plan to invest more than a third of payments, survey shows
Matthew Rocco – FT
Retail investors, who are playing an increasingly large role in the US stock market, are planning to deploy a significant proportion of upcoming stimulus cheques in equities, according to a poll that highlights how expansionary fiscal policy is a boon to Wall Street.
Commodities Supercycle Looks Like a Stretch; Some investors are betting prices will surge over a long period, but history suggests the conditions aren’t right
Joe Wallace – WSJ
Commodity markets are roaring, stirring a debate about whether prices are headed for an extended upswing. The history of booms and busts in raw materials suggests the conditions aren’t right. Prices for Brent crude, the international benchmark in energy markets, have jumped 82% since the end of October. Copper is more expensive than it has been since 2011. Food hasn’t cost as much since 2014, according to a United Nations index.
The $166 billion of SPAC deals in the 1st quarter exceeds all of 2020
Carla Mozée – Business Insider
Mergers conducted through blank-check companies are accounting for a growing share of the M&A market, with deals made so far this year outpacing the volume recorded last year.
The terrible advice of personal finance ‘gurus’ shows they don’t understand poverty
Bobbi Dempsey – Business Insider
When Dave Ramsey, the popular personal finance author and radio show host, spoke out recently against stimulus checks and other forms of COVID-19 relief, it was not shocking to anyone familiar with Ramsey or the personal finance industry in general.
For Wall Street, Everybody’s a Post-Covid Winner; Analysts are optimistic about Covid-19 beneficiaries and losers, but might need to recalibrate
Justin Lahart – WSJ
The trend line on jigsaw puzzles and dried beans is looking bullish, so just wait until the pandemic is over! Of course that is a ridiculous conceit, but it is also one that to some degree is playing out on Wall Street, where analysts are predicting companies that saw their sales jump during the Covid-19 crisis will keep doing better.
Investing, Not Gambling: These Apps and Services Help Young Stock Buyers Think Long Term; Riding interest in GameStop stock, apps teach stock-picking and cryptocurrency and let young investors practice investing
Julie Jargon – WSJ
Payne Porter and his sister, Piper, jumped on the GameStop GME 1.73% stock frenzy in late January. Mr. Porter, a 23-year-old clothing designer in Los Angeles, invested $5,000, while his 26-year-old sibling, who works at an L.A. marketing agency, put in $3,000, both using the Robinhood trading app.
Short Sellers Boost Bets Against SPACs; SPAC boom skeptics are betting against deals including Social Finance, Lucid and Lordstown Motors
Matt Wirz and Juliet Chung – WSJ
Short sellers are coming for SPACs. Investors who bet against stocks are targeting special-purpose acquisition companies, one of the hottest growth areas on Wall Street. The dollar value of bearish bets against shares of SPACs has more than tripled to about $2.7 billion from $724 million at the start of the year, according to data from S3 Partners.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Big Oil’s ‘Problematic’ ESG Claims Alienate $29 Billion Fund
Leo Laikola – Bloomberg
As companies across virtually all sectors try to latch on to the sustainability bandwagon, some investors are sounding the alarm. Lauri Vaittinen is the chief executive of the newly created $29 billion asset management arm of Mandatum. He says everything the unit invests in will be vetted for its credentials in environmental, social and governance metrics. He also says he’s not interested in buying products marketed as ESG if they’re sold by corporations that aren’t clean across their balance sheets, and singled out the fossil-fuel industry as a prime example.
The King of Nickel Is Betting Big on a Green Future in Batteries
Tsingshan making major investments to reduce carbon footprint; Renewables plan could ease carmakers’ concerns about emissions
Tsingshan Holding Group Co. made numerous bold moves on its path to becoming the world’s largest nickel producer, but its new plan to supply carmakers with cheap, clean metal could be its biggest breakthrough yet.
Investors scrutinise ‘real’ assets on sustainability credentials; Fund managers’ attention shifts from risks to opportunities as policymakers focus on infrastructure targets
Attracta Mooney – FT
As demand for sustainable investing has boomed, asset managers have come under pressure to focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues when buying stocks and bonds. But attention is now turning to a less liquid, but highly influential, asset class: real assets.
Climate plans of big companies need substance; Distant emissions pledges will ring hollow unless boards are held to account for progress now
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – FT
What will you be doing in 2050? As individuals, most of us struggle to picture what our lives will be like almost 30 years from now. But many of the world’s largest companies and their bankers sound serenely sure of the future.
CFA offers certification in sustainable investing; New credentials offered in response to rising demand for ESG products in portfolios
Billy Nauman – FT
The body that grants the prestigious title of chartered financial analyst is entering the world of sustainable investing by offering a certification for finance professionals who want to bolster their environmental, social and governance bona fides.
Companies’ Climate Risks Are Often Unknown. Here’s How One Opened Up; Hewlett Packard Enterprise moved operations after Hurricane Harvey, and shared its estimates of potential climate-related costs in securities filings
Russell Gold – WSJ
When Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston and dumped about 3 feet of rain in 2017, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. ‘s largest campus was heavily flooded. Its global data center was inundated, along with buildings where the tech company’s servers and data-storage gear were assembled.
Wells Fargo, JPMorgan See Ire Over Timing of Stimulus Checks
Jennifer Surane and Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
Customers unhappy with word funds won’t arrive until March 17; Social media flooded with complaints as banks cite guidelines
Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. told customers they might not receive their stimulus money until Wednesday at the earliest, sparking backlash from consumers who were hoping to see the cash hit their accounts sooner.
Citigroup Overtakes French Banks With Most Women in Boardroom; Chinese and Japanese lenders are the laggards when it comes to female representation.
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. is beating the French at their own game following the elevation of Jane Fraser to chief executive officer. Women now account for half of Citigroup’s 16-person board, the most of the 20 largest global banks, after Michael Corbat stepped down as CEO and was replaced by Fraser. Until this month, French lenders have been the most progressive about promoting gender diversity, buoyed by government rules that require large companies to have at least 40% female representation on their supervisory boards.
Ex-BofA, Carlyle Dealmakers Seek $300 Million for Consumer SPAC
Dinesh Nair – Bloomberg
Woody Boueiz, Nadim Barakat file for U.S. blank-check company; Consumer industry veterans picked for SPAC’s management team
Former senior dealmakers at Bank of America Corp. and Carlyle Group Inc. are backing a special purpose acquisition company that’s seeking $300 million to acquire businesses in the consumer sector.
Ex-Commerzbank CEO Plans Fintech SPAC Listing
Ruth David – Bloomberg
EFIC1 SPAC plans to raise up to 415 million euros from listing; SPAC is first in Europe to target fintech companies: Blessing
A SPAC backed by Martin Blessing, Commerzbank AG’s former chief executive officer, plans to list in Amsterdam and target investments in financial services and technology companies.
Goldman CEO’s Year of Empty Offices, Island Getaways and Strife
Sridhar Natarajan and Shahien Nasiripour – Bloomberg
Profits are soaring, but Solomon leadership style sparks angst; His results amid pandemic ‘speak for themselves,’ bank says
The Goldman Sachs Gulfstream descended into the sun-kissed Bahamas that Friday with a familiar passenger aboard: David Solomon. It was the final days of February, and Solomon, the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had booked another weekend getaway on the new jet — his seventh in as many weeks.
Blackstone’s Hedge-Fund Business to Launch Growth Strategy; Firm taps former hedge-fund manager Scott Bommer to roll out the ‘Horizon’ platform
Juliet Chung – WSJ
The world’s biggest investor in hedge funds has hired former hedge-fund manager Scott Bommer to launch a new growth strategy, a move aimed at expanding Blackstone BX 1.12% Group Inc.’s hedge-fund business with offerings intended to generate big returns for clients. The Blackstone Horizon platform, to be run by Mr. Bommer, will thematically invest in money managers focused on fast-growing public and private companies, Blackstone said. Horizon also will invest directly in stock markets.
Investing in women: Goldman Sachs CEO on new plan to close wage gap
In their first television interview with “CBS This Morning,” Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David Solomon and Margaret Anadu, Global Head of Sustainability and Impact for Asset Management at Goldman Sachs, unveil a new $10 billion investment plan called “One Million Black Women.” They will also discuss getting the economy back on track during the coronavirus pandemic.
Whistle-Blower Says Credit Suisse Helped Clients Skip Taxes After Promising to Stop; A former bank employee contends that the Swiss bank continued to help American clients avoid taxes long after its 2014 plea deal with the U.S. government
Katie Benner and Michael Forsythe – NY Times
Seven years after Credit Suisse promised federal prosecutors that it would stop helping rich Americans hide their wealth from tax collectors, a whistle-blower is contending that it continued to do just that, raising the possibility that the Swiss bank could face a fresh investigation and steep financial penalties.
OPEC Is Holed Below the Waterline, It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet; Plans by Abu Dhabi to let its crude oil buyers resell on the open market are a threat to the cartel’s newfound cohesion.
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
It doesn’t seem much, but the most damaging leaks often don’t. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has suffered a small crack that could grow to into a rift big enough to sink it.
Templeton Joins Funding for Agritech Firm Trying to Tame Desert
Nicolas Parasie – Bloomberg
Shuaa, Sancta Capital provide venture debt to Pure Harvest; Deal comes as Gulf nations seek to secure food supply chain
United Arab Emirates-based agricultural technology firm Pure Harvest Smart Farms raised $60 million as it looks to expand across the Gulf at a time when the pandemic has exposed risks to food security in the region.
Russian miner GV Gold joins Moscow IPO rush; BlackRock-backed company seeks valuation of as much as $1.8bn
Henry Foy – FT
Russian miner GV Gold is planning an initial public offering on the Moscow stock exchange, the latest in a rush of Russian listings seeking to tap resurgent investor interest in the country’s assets.
Colombia’s intensifying efforts to root out cocaine production threaten to create more problems
Elizabeth Dickinson – Business Insider
President Ivan Duque has his way, Colombia will soon resume aerial fumigation of coca plantations for the first time in over five years. It paused the spraying in 2015 due to growing health and environmental concerns over the herbicide glyphosate, which the World Health Organization classifies as a likely carcinogen. Colombian courts have subsequently set strict conditions for future fumigation.
EU to Start Brexit Legal Action Against the U.K. on Monday
Ian Wishart – Bloomberg
Britain could ultimately face financial penalties or tariffs; Move represents further escalation of post-Brexit disputes
The European Union is preparing to start legal action against the U.K. in a major escalation of tensions between the two sides less than three months after Brexit was formally completed.
Brexit Hands Traders a Lucrative Way to Play Power Markets
Andrew Reierson and Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Arbitrage opportunity on U.K. power prices between exchanges; Price difference increases inefficiency, boosts consumer costs
Traders have found a new way to make money in the U.K. electricity market since the country left the European Union. Since Brexit, the price of short-term U.K. power is being set on two exchanges at different times, allowing traders to exploit any deviation between the results. The price for the same contract should be the identical but the difference can be as much as 500 pounds ($697) per megawatt-hour, a seven-fold increase over the average next-day rate.
Irish assets leave London in EUR100bn post-Brexit switch; Transfer to Brussels of securities deposits follows shift of share trading away from UK
Philip Stafford – FT
About EUR100bn of Irish securities moved from London to Brussels over the weekend as UK and EU markets deepen their split following Britain’s departure from the single market.
Ireland’s Davy up for sale after bond scandal drew political backlash; Country’s largest broker sparks outrage in dent to Dublin’s post-Brexit credentials
Laura Noonan – FT
Ireland’s biggest stockbroker Davy Group is hunting for a new owner after failing to contain a scandal that casts a shadow over Dublin’s prospects as a post-Brexit EU finance centre. The country’s central bank fined the broker a record EUR4.1m earlier this month after finding that 16 Davy staff, including some senior executives, set up a consortium to buy Anglo Irish Bank bonds from a client, without telling the client they were the buyer.
EU to launch legal action over UK plan to extend Brexit grace period; Letter alleging infringement of Northern Ireland protocol expected to be issued on Monday
Lisa O’Carroll – The Guardian
The EU is to launch legal action against the UK after the government unilaterally decided to delay the implementation of parts of the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.
Does Covid Have You Feeling Like a Fraud at Work? The upheaval wrought by the pandemic has many people overworking lest they lose their job—or doubting that they can find another one.
Cordilia James – WSJ
Layoffs, furloughs and other workplace upheaval due to the pandemic have some employees second-guessing their skills and worrying that they won’t be able to find another job or measure up once they do. Such persistent feelings can signal impostor syndrome, where self-doubts engender fears of being exposed as a fraud despite one’s accomplishments. Covid created fertile conditions for impostor syndrome, as workers watched some jobs become remote while others vanished.
From Remote Work to Hybrid Work: The Tech You’ll Need to Link Home and Office; Some days you’ll go to the office, some days you’ll work from home. Your tech life is about to get messy. Here are some solutions.
Joanna Stern – WSJ
Hope your magic Mary Poppins, go-back-to-the-office bag is ready. Let’s see, you’re going to need your laptop, your laptop’s power adapter, your headphones, your headphones’ power adapter, your ring light, your ring light’s power adapter…