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
George Gero has passed away, reportedly after battling COVID-19. George was a widely respected futures industry statesman who was inducted into the FIA’s Hall of Fame in 2019. George was a leader in the New York markets, including as chairman emeritus of the discontinued Commodity Floor Brokers & Traders Association. This was an organization he created for all the independent brokers and traders so they could get health insurance. He was that kind of a guy, always looking out to help other people. He also always treated everyone the same, no matter what their station in life.
George was a true ambassador for the futures industry. I first met him at the Swiss Futures & Options Association Buergenstock Conference in 2004. I recall learning at the time that he spoke five different languages.
JLN will be publishing a remembrance page to honor George’s memory. If you would like to share a remembrance, please email me at email@example.com. We have three remembrances already, from CME Group’s Terry Duffy, FIA’s Walt Lukken, and former NYMEX member Frank Barbarino.
Lynn Martin, president of fixed income and data services at Intercontinental Exchange Inc., is to receive Manhattan College’s 2021 De La Salle Medal at the annual De La Salle Medal Dinner at The Pierre on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. The De La Salle Dinner raises essential, unrestricted income, the most critical form of funding for the College. Donations from this event are applied to a multitude of needs, particularly student scholarships and financial aid, making a Manhattan College education accessible for more students. Established by Manhattan College in 1951 in honor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and patron saint of teachers.
Veteran lawyer and former regulator Ken Raisler is retiring from Sullivan & Cromwell at the end of January, he has informed clients and friends. He spent 29 years at the firm in the Commodities, Futures and Derivatives team, which just added former CFTC Director of the Division of Enforcement Jamie McDonald. Also on the Sullivan Cromwell team are David Gilberg, Katy McArthur, Ryne Miller and Steve Ehrenberg. Raisler is a highly respected attorney who has served the industry well during his many years at the CFTC and Sullivan & Cromwell. Congratulations to Ken on his retirement. It is well deserved.
FTSE Russell is putting on a webinar called “The Post-Pandemic Case for International Markets” on Tuesday, December 15 at 12 PM ET. Recent positive vaccine news is clearly changing the market narrative and posing very big questions for the 2021 global investment outlook. Will 2021 see a simultaneous rotation in growth and inflation expectations? Presenters are from FTSE Russell, Franklin Templeton and SGX. Register HERE.
Eurex is hosting a webcast “Eurex VSTOXX Derivatives – Trading Opportunities in European Volatility derivatives” on Wednesday, December 16 at 11 AM CST. Participating in the webcast are RCM-X, Shore Capital Research and Equity Armor Investments. They will look at Why volatility is so relevant in today’s markets and what factors would influence the spread between VSTOXX & VIX volatility indices among other issues. Register HERE.
MotherJones.com was the latest to take a shot at Sen. Kelly Loeffler and ICE in a story titled “How Kelly Loeffler’s Firm Facilitated an Enron-Like Scandal; Intercontinental Exchange provided a platform for “excessive speculation” that cost Georgians millions of dollars.” Loeffler is also defending posing for a picture with white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader Chester Doles, according to a story in The Hill. For the record, Loeffler’s campaign spokesman, Stephen Lawson, was quoted by The Hill saying, “If she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for.”
The Wall Street Journal has called for President Donald Trump to concede the election to President-Elect Joe Biden. Today the Electoral College vote will occur, which will make concessions a moot point.
Today is the CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee Meeting.
The JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign has had 89 donors to date with $18,761 raised so far. We are very pleased with the broad-based support we have received from far and wide within the trading world. Help 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
The Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) has appointed Michelle Bond as its CEO. She is an attorney with law firm experience as well as Finra, SEC and Capitol Hill experience. In a conversation with Eventus’s Travis Schwab last week, Bond identified fintech, including cryptocurrencies, as “the hot new policy area” and went on to provide her outlook for digital asset regulation.~Thom Thompson
John informed me over the weekend that George Gero, senior vice president with RBC Wealth Management, former Nymex & Comex member, and expert in the metals markets, has died. I spoke with Gero many times on the phone as research for my metals articles and he was a great help to me in learning the ins and outs of the markets. He really knew his stuff and was generous in sharing his time with reporters. I will miss him, and my heart goes out to his family and friends.~SR
Saturday marked the ten year anniversary of the disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, whose offline identity remains a mystery to this day. While Nakamoto was known to have a few close collaborators, their online presence was the only time they appeared in public. Nakamoto’s last public post online was about securing bitcoin’s blockchain from cyber attacks on an online forum called BitcoinTalk; the post was dated December 12, 2020.~MR
SPIKES Futures (SPK) are scheduled to resume trading today on MGEX, the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, via the CME’s Globex platform. SPIKE Options are still trading on MIAX Options. For more information, check out this handy resource guide.~MR
Sam Mehta and PEAK6 Capital Management Want to Change the World
Sam Mehta and PEAK6 Capital Management Want to Change the World
John Lothian News
John Lothian News interviewed Sam Mehta, the new chief operating officer at PEAK6 Capital Management. PEAK6 Capital Management has a unique portfolio of investments, including capital market investments and something as bespoke as owning an Esports team.
The Spread: Brexit Stage Right
This week on The Spread, MIH and MGEX complete their merger, Cboe’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Carol Kennedy and the CFTC’s Chairman Heath Tarbert announce their retirement, and more.
ErisX and RSBIX Introduce Sporting Event Based Futures Contracts
ErisX is pleased to announce that today we filed a product self-certification to introduce fully-collateralized, financially settled sporting event-based futures contracts in collaboration with RSBIX. This is ErisX’s first strategic collaboration to provide listing and clearing services enabled by our recent DCO order amendment permitting us to clear derivatives on any commodity.
*****Diversification and innovation are the lifeblood of any organization. Spread your bets while helping people spread their bets seems like a pretty good plan.~JJL
*****Here is ErisX’s self certification at the CFTC: CFTC Regulation 40.2(a) Certification. Notification Regarding the Initial Listing of Eris Exchange RSBIX NFL Futures (Eris Exchange Submission #2020-11E)
Adena Friedman, CEO of Nasdaq, on the Red-Hot Market and Critics of Her Diversity Plan
Eben Shapiro – Time
Last week was pretty typical for Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman in 2020. Another record-high close. Another buzzy multibillion-dollar IPO (on Dec. 10, Airbnb’s stock doubled on its first day of trading, valuing the company at $100 billion, the latest sign of the market’s animal spirits). Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal attacked Friedman’s proposal to increase board diversity on Nasdaq-listed companies. And the FTC and many state attorneys general filed a federal lawsuit seeking to break up Facebook, alleging anti-competitive behavior. Facebook is one of the five FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) stocks that all trade on Nasdaq and that have powered much of the market’s somewhat perplexing rise in 2020, in a year where pandemic shutdowns battered the real economy and more than 10 million Americans are out of work.
*****I can’t even imagine trying to keep up with Adena Friedman.~JJL
20% Americans have reportedly gotten hurt while setting up Christmas trees in 2020: Survey
Cortney Moore – Fox News
You better watch out. Christmas tree-related injuries are on the rise. At least that’s what a survey from LendingTree’s insurance comparison resource ValuePenguin says. According to its survey, 1 in 5 Americans have reportedly been injured while setting up their Christmas tree this year. This number is 122% higher than what ValuePenguin reported last year.
*****Christmas trees can get their fir up if mishandled.~JJL
What’s the Right Way to Give in a Pandemic? Charities and donors are facing a holiday season like no other. But they have come up with solutions.
Steven Kurutz – NY Times
Talk to the staff members of charitable organizations these days and they will tell you they have never seen a year like 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the hardships it has wrought. Millions of Americans are out of work or newly living in poverty and many others are socially isolated, creating a greater-than-ever demand for services. Kenneth Hodder, the national commander of the Salvation Army, described the present moment as “a tsunami of human need” in a telephone interview.
*****Where there is a will, there is a way!~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our top story Friday by a wide margin was Bloomberg’s special report, The Essex Boys: How Nine Traders Hit a Gusher With Negative Oil. Second was the CFTC’s video, Chairman Tarbert: It has been a privilege to be the Chairman and Chief Executive of the CFTC. Third was the CFTC’s Statement of Chairman Heath P. Tarbert Announcing His Future Plans, in which Tarbert does not announce his future plans, other than to say he will resign as chairman of the CFTC early next year.