The John Lothian Daily Update is a podcast turning the daily JLN hits and takes comments, our original content and the stories and quips in the top box of First Read into a daily podcast.
Hits & Takes
Janet Yellen was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Treasury Secretary, the first woman to hold the position first occupied by Alexander Hamilton. The vote was 85-14 and the no votes included some people I am sure she would not have wanted to vote yes for her.
Sarah Ponczek of Bloomberg News shared on Twitter that 32 million call options traded yesterday, the second most on record, only behind a day last November.
Former LabCFTC head Jeff Bandman has been appointed to the expert panel EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum to accelerate and strengthen Europe’s understanding and adoption of this transformative new technology. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was created as a European Parliament pilot project in 2018, and is run under the aegis of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.
Congratulations to Dan Davis, the former general counsel at the CFTC, for being hired by Katten in their financial markets and funds group as a partner in the Washington, DC office.
JLN recently negotiated a new sponsorship and subscription deal with the OCC, including a flat price deal for an unlimited number of readers for the newsletter. We already have over 35 new OCC readers.
Jeremy Grant, journalist and analyst extraordinaire, is the latest to donate to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Jeremy is most well known for his great work with the Financial Times, including stints in Chicago, London and Singapore. He is the creator of the Trading Room at the FT, now staffed by Phillip Stafford. Jeremy is now a freelance writer after a three-year stint with PWC. He is the type of journalist that inspires other journalists. And he is a friend. Thank you to Jeremy and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.
I am going to start to swear more, gosh darnit. According to a CNN Health story, swearing is a sign of intelligence and honesty and helps manage pain.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Late last week, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority said it awarded 80 grants totaling $31.5 million to dozens of organizations that serve low-income communities in the state, using revenues from 2020 cannabis sales. The grants are the first under the Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program mandated by the Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act of 2019. The Act requires 25 percent of all cannabis revenue be used to support communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. More details here. ~SC
CQG and PanXchange today announced they have added a new widget to the CQG Desktop platform. The addition gives CQG clients direct access to PanXchange’s premium benchmarks and analysis content for hemp, frac sand and East African OTC commodities. More details are here. ~SC
|?Special Report? First year anniversary workshop of TOCOM/JPX Electricity Futures
Asia’s Most Successful Electricity Futures at Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM)/Japan Exchange Group (JPX) celebrated its first year of listing in a co-hosted webinar with Quick Corp. on December 15, 2020. The event was attended by over 250 people from 152 companies.
At the workshop, Mr. Hatakeyama, Director-General for Commerce and Service Industry Policy of METI gave an opening remarks and Mr. Ishibashi of Astmax Trading, Inc. gave a keynote speech on Electricity trading and Risk management. In the panel discussion, traders from different power companies shared their experiences in using TOCOM Electricity Futures and their internal risk control systems. They pointed out that there is still a huge opportunity in Electricity Futures market in Japan and requested the exchange to list new products such as those covering the Hokkaido and Kyushu areas and change the product design to extend contract months.
For more details, please refer to the following link
Katten Adds Ex-CFTC General Counsel to Financial Markets and Funds Group
Katten announced today that Daniel J. Davis, formerly general counsel for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has joined the firm’s Financial Markets and Funds group as a partner in its Washington, DC office, expanding Katten’s industry-leading proficiency in derivatives regulation and raising the award-winning group’s global profile.
*****Congratulations to Dan Davis on joining the great crew at Katten.~JJL
Larry Fink’s New Climate Goal; The BlackRock chief plans to pressure companies to do more to cut carbon emissions, using the weight of his firm’s $9 trillion in assets.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
The BlackRock chief’s annual letter to C.E.O.s is going out this morning and Andrew has a copy, which he writes about in his latest column. Mr. Fink’s letter has driven the conversation inside corporate America’s boardrooms for years — such as his proclamation that companies must have a purpose beyond profit, which preceded the Business Roundtable’s statement on stakeholder capitalism, and his call for corporate climate disclosures, which was followed by a raft of climate pledges by companies.
*****I like leadership when I see it. Larry Fink is offering leadership right now.~JJL
IAC’s Vimeo Raises New Funds at $6 Billion Valuation
Brody Ford – Bloomberg
New round doubles Vimeo’s value in less than three months; Video software unit expected to be spun off by second quarter
Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActive Corp. said its video software company Vimeo is valued at about $6 billion after a recent funding round, nearly doubling the valuation before the unit is scheduled to be spun off early in the second quarter.
*****Vimeo is one of two video platforms we use to publish JLN videos. Youtube is the other.~JJL
What Leon Black Got for Paying Jeffrey Epstein $158 Million
Pierre Paulden and Ben Steverman – Bloomberg
Law firm report details advice on tax planning, art and planes; Services helped Apollo co-founder save at least $1 billion
Leon Black viewed Jeffrey Epstein as a “confirmed bachelor with eclectic tastes, who often employed attractive women.” The private equity titan was willing to overlook that Epstein had served 13 months in a Florida jail after soliciting an underage prostitute. That was partly because Epstein claimed the girl had lied about her age, while Black, co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc., believed in second chances, particularly for his well-connected friend.
******No matter what Leon Black paid, he overpaid for the return he is getting.~JJL
There’s No Coronavirus Baby Boom — It’s More Like a Baby Bust
Noah Pransky – NBC Washington
Not even locking couples up and obliterating their social calendars could convince more Americans to have babies, as our quarantine-inspired baby boom has failed to materialize. Instead, America has entered a pandemic-inspired baby bust. Several states that keep track of births in near-real-time – as well as some hospital systems contacted by NBCLX – recorded significant drops in Dec. 2020 birth rates, compared to the same period from one year earlier. That includes Florida (down 8% from Dec. 2019); Ohio (down 7%); and Arizona (down 5%).
*****Who has time to boom boom when they are zoom zooming all day long.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story on Monday was Crain’s Chicago Business’s Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities reaps record $6.7 billion on volatility. Second was Bloomberg’s Libor Marks ‘Important Day’ With Partial Fix for Derivative Risk. Third was The Trade’s Brazil’s B3 overtakes CME Group in rankings for largest derivatives exchange.