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
I published a story yesterday on JohnLothianNews.com titled, Harry Potter – Sending My Oldest Son and His Friends to Hogwarts. Longtime readers may remember this story. I wanted to memorialize it by publishing this episode in my children’s and my life together. It is important to make young people use their imaginations. That was my goal for this elaborate prank I created with the help of some other parents and the principal at my son and his friend’s school.
FIA Boca-V has added two new keynote speakers to the program: Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and former Space Science Education Lead for NASA, and Derek White, vice president of global financial services at Google Cloud, are joining the lineup of keynote speakers at this year’s virtual Boca conference, Boca-V, taking place 16-18 March.
I have a prediction. Given his experience and the issues before the SEC, Gary Gensler has a chance to be the most consequential chairman of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission during my lifetime. I am rooting for you Gary!
Thank you to Sean O’Toole and Chuck Mackie for the invitations to join The Clubhouse yesterday. I am now a member and I can tell you that there are many cutting edge market professionals who are readers of this newsletter who are registered. I listened to my first session yesterday. It is like an ongoing conference that never stops with panel discussion after panel discussion with interesting speakers and topics.
Phillip Capital UK has a new website. The CEO of PhillipCapital UK is Jon Regan, a former Patsystems executive. It was at Pats that I met Jon, though we worked at different entities within the same firm back in the 1990s, Gerald Metals.
Here is your historical fact of the day. Journalist Roger Mudd died at the age of 93. According to ABC News, “Mudd, who was born in Washington, was a distant relative of Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor who was arrested for treating an injured John Wilkes Booth shortly after Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. The doctor, who was eventually pardoned, said he hadn’t been aware of the killing when he aided Booth.”
We have had a new donation from an anonymous donor to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Here are some of the comments from some recent donors who went on the record about why they donated:
Ajay Jain: As an exchange executive from CME Group, I greatly value the need for educating the broader community about derivatives and expanding the opportunity for risk management and wealth creation to the general public. Keep up the good work!
Thomas Krabbe: John and team, I probably read your newsletter every day over the last 20 years and hope the JLN will be around for at least another 20 years. The newsletter has a great format from the get go and is evolving nicely over the years with new content, features and commentary! All the best, Thomas.
Robin M. Trott: Education is important. Market Structure continuously evolves – driven by participants who are armed with an understanding of what went before.
Dan Pritchard: You’re doing great work John. Definitely Library of Congress type stuff!
Julie Bauer: In appreciation of all those in the industry who welcomed me in as a young novice, shared their knowledge with me and gave me opportunities to learn and grow.
Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donation to our GoFundMe campaign.
Last night the Pathway to Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America held their annual meeting virtually. I was re-elected as an at-large member of the Council Executive Board.
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 first-ever trade of BitVol, the bitcoin volatility index created by T3 Index, transacted today with LedgerPrime, a quantitative crypto asset management firm as the market-maker. The counterparty to the transaction was an unnamed leading global macro Crypto asset manager. The transaction consisted of a March expiry 1 x 2 BitVol call spread, where the client bought the spread at even premiums (i.e. at ‘zero cost’). BitVol is a measure of the 30-day implied volatility of bitcoin based on tradeable bitcoin options prices; it is also the first bitcoin volatility index. T3 Index previously created the SPIKES Volatility Index.~MR
Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, has announced that YouTube has settled the charges brought against them by Ripple in April 2020 for allowing fake accounts to post XRP giveaway scams on YouTube. Details of the settlement have not been publicly disclosed. Garlinghouse said that Ripple and YouTube plan to “work together” to root out and remove such scams in the future. While this sounds like an amicable resolution, I’m not so sure. YouTube has a dubious history of dealing with harmful content on its platform.~MR
LME metals traders chorus disapproval at impending twilight of the Ring; Plans for a move to all-electronic dealing meet with stiff resistance from some participants
Philip Stafford and Henry Sanderson – FT
Brokers and industrial traders are pushing back against the London Metal Exchange’s plans to permanently close its historic Ring, where traders have gathered to trade for more than 140 years. The exchange proposed shutting the trading venue in January, ending in-person dealing of commodities in Europe after futures exchanges in the City of London shut their floors in the early 2000s and transactions shifted to screens.
*****There is an open outcry against closing the ring.~JJL
Trader Buys $36 Million of Copper and Gets Painted Rocks Instead
Andy Hoffman – Bloomberg
Commodities trader Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. struck a deal last summer to buy $36 million of copper from a Turkish supplier. But when the cargoes started arriving in China, all it found were containers full of painted rocks. The saga unfolds like a gangland thriller, with the Swiss trading house saying it’s been the victim of cargo fraud. Before its journey from a port near Istanbul to China even began, about 6,000 tons of blister copper in more than 300 containers were switched with jagged paving stones, spray-painted to resemble the semi-refined metal.
*****We need a rock solid copper to break up this rock copper caper.~JJL
Robinhood CEO Rebukes Critics in Call for Ubiquitous Investing
Annie Massa and Emily Chang – Bloomberg
‘It should just be something that people do,’ Vlad Tenev says; Rejects idea that investing in U.S. markets is like gambling
Robinhood Markets Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev said investing in financial markets should be as common as shopping on Amazon.com, defending his brokerage against watchdogs, lawmakers and critics. “Investing should be as ubiquitous as shopping online,” Tenev said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. “It should just be something that people do.”
*****While I believe anyone should be able to invest, I don’t believe everyone should be able to invest. We have rules and laws about suitability. Some investments are not suitable for everyone.~JJL
New Stanford study says Zoom calls trigger our ‘fight or flight’ survival reflex
Anagha Srikanth – The Hill
Does every meeting need to be a Zoom call? Americans are marking the one-year anniversary of stay-at-home orders and remote working with a growing sense of pandemic fatigue. And a new study finds that staring at your coworkers’ faces, up-close and personal, and your own is probably triggering your “fight or flight” survival reflex.
*****I prefer to fight. Flying is dangerous.~JJL
Traffic congestion dropped by 73 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic
Jonathan M. Gitlin – Ars Technica
In 2020, the average US driver spent 26 hours stuck in traffic. While that’s still more than a day, it’s a steep decline from pre-pandemic times; in 2019 the average American sacrificed 99 hours to traffic jams. Around the world, it’s a similar story. German drivers averaged an identical 26 hours of traffic in 2020, down from 46 the year before. In the UK, 2019 sounded positively awful, with 115 hours in traffic jams. At least one thing improved for that island nation in 2020: its drivers only spent 37 hours stationary in their cars.
*****There is a daily traffic jam in my driveway with the cars just going nowhere.~JJL
Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was the Wall Street Journal’s Billionaire Vincent Viola’s New York Mansion to Sell for Roughly $60 Million. Second was Business Insider’s coverage of the same story, which includes many pictures of the house, 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. Third was the job description on Linked in for a Manager – Futures Compliance at Phillip Capital Inc.