John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO


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

JLN Staff

Congratulations to Joanna Mallers, who will receive a $250 Amazon gift card from JLN as the winner of the JLN Demographic Survey award. Also, Glen Chalkley of LME, Matt Wolfe of OCC and Peter Lugiai of the CME Group won the award to name a charity to which a $100 donation will be made in their names. Thank you to all who filled out our demographic survey.

Matt Wolfe designated his gift to iMentor Chicago and Peter Lugiai gave the money to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign.

Thank you to Thom Thompson of JLN who took a deep dive into the world of NFTs and built an outstanding page for the subject of non-fungible tokens on MarketsWiki. As are things with wikis, it is still a work under development.

The FIA has a webinar on May 19 titled “UK/EU – Rebuilding a relationship.” The Brexit divorce was a long-drawn-out process which laid bare tensions over how best to oversee derivatives markets and enable continued cross border market access. Will Euro-denominated derivatives migrate to EU CCPs on a voluntary basis or be mandated? Will UK regulations diverge? What are the prospects for market fragmentation and the financial and operational implications for market participants? Join the FIA on May 19 as speakers from ABN AMRO Clearing Bank, Allen & Overy, LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group), Eurex and Citi answer these questions and highlight core areas of concern for the cleared derivatives industry. Register HERE.

As part of FIA’s virtual Law & Compliance Conference, FIA, Inc. and their Law & Compliance Division are raising funds for Breakthrough New York. Read about their history with this non-profit, which provides high-potential, low-income students with equal opportunity and access to top colleges. Donate HERE.

JLN is going to discontinue its Brexit section since we have an accord between the UK and EU. Further stories will either be in Regions or Politics. We are considering adding new sections to JLN. We are considering Travel as that will be a continuing issue as the pandemic eases. Also perhaps an ETF section. Do you have any ideas? Email me at if you have suggestions.

Also, we are going to try an experiment and start to write up boiled-down versions of some of the news in key sections of the newsletter, post them to and push them out via social media. Here is an example I created for the Wellness Exchange section from yesterday’s newsletter.

The Chicago Board of Trade building, built in 1930 to house the CBOT’s trading pits, was the city’s tallest building until 1955 and sits at the end of LaSalle Street. A @Hidenotslide shared this imaginative collage of pictures of the CBOT Building.

We had no new donations to our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. As a reminder, we will give donors a shout-out here in JLN, we will build you a MarketsWiki page and put a GoFundMe badge on your page to show you are a supporter, and we will list your name on a scrolling list of supporters at the end of our videos for the three history video series we currently have. Support our efforts to preserve industry history and give to our GoFundMe campaign and get your donation matched by Trading Technologies.

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


First Read

OIC 2021: Yesterday’s panel on options market structure at the Options Industry Conference ushered in a beautiful new word to the derivatives lexicon: retailization. According to the panel, the options industry’s 16 exchanges and five families of exchange operators were able to benefit from retailization over the past 15 months because of the efforts and infrastructure investments expended since the Great Recession. Panelists said they were relieved this year to be able to talk about innovation and growth more than about risk management. On the industry’s agenda are projects to reduce the number of strike prices and to market mini-size products as it competes against cryptocurrencies and sports betting for the retail trader’s dollar.
~Thom Thompson

FIA CEO Wall Lukken spoke with the acting chairman of the CFTC, Rostin Behnam, in conjunction with the trade group’s Law and Compliance Conference that ends today. While little more than reprising their conversation from last month’s virtual Boca, Behnam did provide a few more clues about what might be coming out from the CFTC. Talking about how retail trading is stimulating product innovation, the acting chairman hinted that the CFTC might be trying to apply the hedging and price discovery tests for new products to less “wholesale” kinds of hedgers (even individuals?) so that they can be allowed to trade. And Behnam’s several mentions of cryptocurrency trading should probably be taken as an indication that the commission is not about to abandon its recent fascination with the new commodity. ~Thom Thompson

Our friends over at Wolters Kluwer are sharing their insights today about the first 100 days of the Biden administration. Commodities and derivatives coverage by Lene Powell and Brad Rosen can be found on pages 47-50 and you can find the full “Special Report” here. ~Thom Thompson


Affluent Americans Rush to Retire in New ‘Life-Is-Short’ Mindset; The unprecedented surge in shares and home values during an economic crisis is easing the retirement path for those who have savings and investments.
Alexandre Tanzi and Michael Sasso – Bloomberg
Discover what’s driving the global economy and what it means for policy makers, businesses, investors and you with The New Economy Daily. Sign up here After a year of early-morning Zoom calls, the specter of a deadly virus and soaring stock and real estate values, working American baby boomers who can afford it plan to get out while the getting’s good.

******Your portfolio is at record highs and your home has never been worth more. Take the money and run seems like a good idea.~JJL


Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemic
Katie Peek – Scientific American
Since the novel coronavirus began its global spread, influenza cases reported to the World Health Organization have dropped to minuscule levels. The reason, epidemiologists think, is that the public health measures taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading also stop the flu. Influenza viruses are transmitted in much the same way as SARS-CoV-2, but they are less effective at jumping from host to host.

*****Hard to cough on someone when you don’t see anyone and when you do you are wearing a mask.~JJL


A Deep Dive into Dark Trades
Phil Mackintosh – Nasdaq
Our industry has seen much discussion about the growth of retail trading since 2019. We have also seen off-exchange trading rising to more than 50% of all shares traded on some days.

*****Phil Mackintosh of Nasdaq puts on his mask and fins and wades into the dark pools.~JJL


Vaccine Passports Are a Reality, Whatever They’re Called; It will be impossible to escape some proof of immunity to re-engage in activities such as education, travel and entertainment.
Joe Nocera – Bloomberg
I downloaded my vaccine passport the other day. Of course, it wasn’t called a vaccine passport. Rather, it was an “Excelsior Pass,” issued by New York State. In addition to verifying that I have been fully vaccinated, it has a QR code that ticket-takers can scan when I want to go to Madison Square Garden to see the resurgent Knicks or Yankee Stadium to watch the faltering Yankees. It can also show the last time the holder has tested negative for Covid-19; more on that in a moment.

*****There should be something added to people’s regular passports for this.~JJL


The ‘Disaster Girl’ Made Half a Million Dollars Selling Her Meme As an NFT
Cheryl Teh – Insider
“Disaster Girl” Zoe Roth has made bank — by selling the original image of her meme as an NFT for close to half a million dollars.
She was the subject of a viral image that became a meme favorite for humorous (and somewhat sinister) takes on life, after the photo snapped in 2005 by her father was turned into a meme.

*****Check out the Thom Thompson produced NFT page on MarketsWiki to learn more about what NFTs are all about.


Thursday’s Top Three
The top story on Thursday was from the Financial Times, Cboe set to launch Amsterdam derivatives exchange. No. 2 was from Mondovisione, Proprietary Trading Firms Set for Significant Expansion of Crypto Derivatives Trading. And the third most-read story was from Bloomberg, How Good Are Vaccines? Try 99.9999% Effective.

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