‘The Market Seems Crazy’: Start-Ups Wrestle With Flood of Offers; Short Bets Build in Treasuries Futures Causing Chaos for Bonds

Mar 19, 2021

First Read

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FIA Boca-V: Acting Chairman Behnam Looks For Expedience and Patience in CFTC’s Climate Change Response
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

In a one-on-one discussion with FIA President Walt Lukken on Thursday, Acting CFTC Rostin Behnam talked about the commission’s new Climate Risk Unit, saying the unit will let the commission pivot its attention away from the broader concerns about the effects of climate change on financial markets raised in last year’s report from the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee to a focus on derivatives’ role in smoothing the transition to zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The effects of climate change will be felt throughout the economy, leading the unit to include staff from multiple disciplines. Behnam is talking to people throughout the agency to determine how derivatives can help manage and mitigate the physical and financial risks from climate change.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi Bookends Boca with Inspiring Personal Story
Owen Rehling – John Lothian News

The FIA Boca-V conference saw a slight deviation in form with its final keynote speaker on the topic of sustainability. Instead of an extended Q&A or a roundtable discussion among many panelists seen in sessions from previous days, FIA CEO Walt Lukken gave the floor to renowned astrophysicist and former space science education lead at NASA, Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, to tell his life story.

Oluseyi’s story will also be shared in his upcoming memoir titled “A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey from the Streets to the Stars.”

Delivered somewhat like a science lecture, Oluseyi’s talk was occasionally punctuated by charts, graphs, and visual aids. He began his story with a graph demonstrating trajectory, the starting and ending point of a projectile based on its initial velocity.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Exchange Leaders, Market Makers Weigh In On Sustainability
Suzanne Cosgrove – John Lothian News

It’s hard to argue against the merits of sustainability, but making it into investable products is a work in progress among members of the financial community.

Speaking on the topic on the final day of FIA’s Boca conference Thursday, exchange leaders jockeyed for position on which exchange would lead the charge to make sustainability trading viable. Virtually all global exchanges now have at least one ESG offering, but Eurex CEO Michael Peters noted that his exchange has been a leading proponent of sustainability products in Europe for about two years.

Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, noted sustainability products are a “marturing element” of the European economy. Corporations are really engaging with the area in Europe, she noted. “It’s quite impressive, frankly, how far Europe has come, how aligned the overall ecosystem is on how to find a more sustainable way to run businesses, and also on how to address social and governance issues,” she said.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


FIA Boca-V: Closing Ceremony Honors Outstanding Figures and Remembers the Lost
Matt Raebel – John Lothian News

FIA Boca-V 2021 wrapped up with FIA CEO Walt Lukken thanking attendees and welcoming 2021’s inductees into the Futures Industry Hall of Fame.

Lukken explained that the Futures Industry Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to commemorate the FIA’s 50th anniversary and to recognize outstanding individuals whose lifelong contributions helped make the futures industry what it is. Since then, the FIA has inducted over 150 people into the Hall of Fame, including former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick H. Arbor (inducted in 2007), former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (inducted in 2016), and former Chicago Mercantile Exchange Chairman John F. “Jack” Sandner (inducted in 2007).

Lukken said that FIA has designed a display honoring all Futures Industry Hall of Fame members at FIA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., “as a constant reminder to us of the men and women who built this industry.”

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Congratulations to JLN intern Owen Rehling for his first byline story, covering the speech at FIA Boca on Thursday by Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi of NASA. Normally, Owen would be required to buy the team a beer, but we will let him off the hook for now.

Thank you to FIA for putting on a great FIA Boca-V. And thank you to the JLN team for all the hard work covering the conference. It was a true team effort. A special thanks to Suzanne Cosgrove for filling in as acting managing editor and editing all the stories in the absence of Sarah Rudolph, who is out recovering from surgery. For you PR people, remember to send releases to Suzanne Cosgrove at SuzanneCosgrove@johnlothian.com

Speaking of surgery, it was eight years ago yesterday I had my knees replaced upon returning home from that year’s Boca conference. Since then I have had a hip and a shoulder replaced and two back operations. Throw in a belly button hernia just for fun. And now I am to get an electronic stimulator in my back to help me manage pain. You have to love the advances in medicine. They can do amazing things. I don’t think I still would have been here without these surgeries, especially the back and knees, so life at this point is a gift. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but I truly feel this way.

In the meantime, I am trying to make as good of use of my time as I can. And one of them is to record industry history via our several video series. So thank you to all who have supported this effort, either through sitting for interviews or donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

However, yesterday we had no new donations to our GoFundMe campaign. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.

There is a profile of Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman in Barron’s.

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


What have we learnt from a year of Covid? ‘If you show us images of selfish covidiots, we are more likely to be selfish. Show us noble altruists and we aspire to be like them’
Tim Harford – FT
We are now about a year into the ohmygosh-this-is-for-real stage of the pandemic. A time, perhaps, for taking stock of the big decisions — and whether they were wise. To my mind, there were two big calls to be made. The first: was this virus a deadly enough threat to merit extraordinary changes to life as we know it? The second: should those changes be voluntary or a matter for politicians, the courts and the police?

******To hoard toilet paper?~JJL


What to Watch in the First Weekend of the Men’s N.C.A.A. Tournament; Gonzaga will start its quest for six more wins and an undefeated season, and four teams are dealing with virus issues.
Adam Zagoria – WSJ
The 2021 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament tipped off Thursday with the play-in games from Indiana. They included a late-night matchup of the blue bloods U.C.L.A. and Michigan State, winners of a combined 13 national championships, but the action tips off in earnest on Friday.

*****Watch everything!!~JJL


Tired Goldman Sachs underlings beg to work ‘just’ 80 hours a week, instead of 100
Alexandra Steigrad – NY Post
Goldman Sachs underlings say grueling, 100-hour weeks have damaged their health — and they claim the relentless grind has pushed them closer to ditching their coveted jobs at the Wall Street giant. The gripes come from a disgruntled group of 13 first-year analysts in Goldman’s investment banking unit who surveyed themselves about their work woes — and then organized them into a detailed PowerPoint presentation that has since spilled onto social media.

******It is a privilege to work for Goldman. Remember that.~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
The top story on Thursday was John Lothian News’ Jack Sandner Remembrances, which was No. 2 yesterday and has been widely read all week. The second most-read was also from John Lothian News, Jeff Bergstrom’s report from the FIA, FIA Boca-V: Global Exchange Leaders – Fintech. And a lead piece in the New York Times was No. 3, Penny Stocks Are Booming, Which Is Good News for Swindlers.


CryptoMarketsWiki Coin of the Week: XYM (NEM)
NEM, a decentralized digital platform based in Singapore, launched a new business enterprise blockchain product called Symbol this week. Symbol’s digital token (XYM) is based on a blockchain that uses proof-of-stake, a set of rules that regulates the blockchain similar to proof-of-work, the algorithm that governs bitcoin. NEM’s Software CTO Kristy-Leigh Minehan said that Symbol will be able to accommodate DeFi applications and NFTs.


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CryptoMarketsWiki Website»
CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages

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Lead Stories

‘The Market Seems Crazy’: Start-Ups Wrestle With Flood of Offers; As a deal frenzy mounts, propelled by financial vehicles known as SPACs, start-ups have become the prey.
Erin Griffith – NY Times
Ryan Schaffer, chief financial officer of Expensify, a start-up that makes business expense reporting software, has been relentlessly hounded since last year. It started with Expensify’s board. In the fall, members asked Mr. Schaffer whether the company would be interested in merging with a “special purpose acquisition company,” or SPAC, a type of financial vehicle that private companies were increasingly using to go public. If so, they told him, they could provide introductions. Expensify was considering going public in 2021, so Mr. Schaffer said yes.

Short Bets Build in Treasuries Futures Causing Chaos for Bonds
Stephen Spratt – Bloomberg
Open interest rises in bond futures, a sign of new shorts; Bout of futures selling led to a slump in cash Treasuries
After futures led another bruising selloff in Treasuries on Thursday, the evidence is mounting that a big short position is responsible. Open interest in 10-year notes surged by almost 150,000 contracts, according to preliminary data, the equivalent of $14 billion in the cash bonds. Coupled with the price move, that suggests new short positions were added with overall open interest climbing to the highest in over a year.

Chinese economy: Beijing’s war on the credit boom; A campaign led by vice-premier Liu He to reduce the danger of uncontrolled lending could strangle the private sector
Tom Mitchell – FT
Like many small businesses across China, Zheng Weijun’s freight company had struggled to obtain credit from the state-dominated banking system. But in 2018 the 12-lorry business discovered Fincera, a peer-to-peer platform in Hebei province that collected money from retail investors starved of returns and channelled it to borrowers, mainly small trucking and logistics companies.

eTaxman is out for art market money laundering; Auction houses face the prospect of enforcing anti-money-laundering rules as strict as those in the banking industry
John Dizard – FT
The art market’s high rollers have created a serious image problem for themselves. Over the past 30 years, and particularly at the beginning of this century, they sold the story of mystery international billionaire buyers and their glamorous hangers-on at flashy evening auctions. Answering slight nods in packed sale rooms, mellifluous auctioneers would post gasp-inducing record prices for works by artists most middle-class people only ever see in museums.

Michael Corbat’s Proudest Moment at Citigroup? Passing the Torch to Wall Street’s First Female CEO; The former chief executive of the nation’s third-largest bank talks about walking away from the only place he ever worked.
David Benoit – WSJ
When Citigroup Inc. named Michael Corbat chief executive in 2012, everyone was surprised. Including him. He had recently moved to London for what he believed was his last job, running the bank’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He had told his wife, Donna, he was a few years away from retirement.

JPMorgan to Buy $410 Million Stake in Chinese Bank’s Wealth Business; The agreement marks the first time a Chinese bank has opened up its wealth-management subsidiary to a foreign strategic investor
Jing Yang – WSJ
JPMorgan JPM 1.65% Chase & Co. agreed to pay $410 million for a stake in a leading Chinese wealth-management business, as the U.S. financial industry continues to make inroads in China.

Thoma Bravo poised to buy Calypso in $3.75bn deal; Deal highlights how flood of private equity money into technology companies has pushed up valuations
Kaye Wiggins – FT
Thoma Bravo is set to buy the trading software group Calypso, in a deal that values the San Francisco-based company at $3.75bn, according to two people familiar with the matter.

U.K. Edges Closer Toward Limited Brexit Finance Deal With EU
Birgit Jennen and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
Memorandum of understanding could help unlock market access; Agreement on regulatory cooperation adds tax policy as topic
Britain and the European Union are inching closer to reaching a co-operation agreement on financial regulation by the end of this month in a step that could help give firms in the City of London more access to the single market. The EU could grant the U.K. so-called partial regulatory equivalence for some financial products once the separate memorandum of understanding on financial regulation is reached, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Goldman’s First-Year Bankers Beg to Work Only 80-Hour Weeks in Stinging Deck
Gillian Tan, Sridhar Natarajan, and Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
Analysts complain of declining physical and mental health; Bank says it’s addressing first-year bankers’ concerns
Hundred-hour weeks on the job. Declining physical and mental health. The heightened chance of fleeing the bank in very short order. Those are among the laments of 13 first-year analysts in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s investment-banking group who surveyed themselves, according to a presentation making the rounds on social media. They shared their findings with managers. The grousing was serious enough that the Wall Street firm is enacting new measures, including forgoing some business to help keep the workload more manageable, according to a Goldman executive with knowledge of the matter.

Junior Goldman Sachs bankers complain of 95-hour week; Group of first-year analysts send slide deck to management calling for reforms to reduce workload
Robert Armstrong – FT
A group of first-year investment banking analysts at Goldman Sachs presented management with a slide deck describing arduous working conditions last month, shining a rare spotlight on the stresses faced by young people working in investment banking. Based on a survey of 13 analysts, the slide deck reported an average work week of 95 hours, with five hours of sleep a night starting at 3am.

Central Banks Should Stay Away From House Prices; New Zealand’s government wants the central bank to consider house prices when making decisions, but monetary policy is too blunt a tool to cool down property markets
Mike Bird – WSJ
The government of New Zealand is unhappy with surging house prices and wants the central bank to take more responsibility. Though the new requirement that it factor the prices into its policies falls short of changing the bank’s mandate, it will muddle its decision making—and would do the same if it were adopted elsewhere.

A Return to Wall Street’s Low-Rent District; Penny stocks are back. Critics are worried.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Penny stocks are back
Of all the trading manias in recent months — Bitcoin, SPACs, meme stocks, nonfungible tokens — the latest has a long history of fraud and scandal. That’s right, penny stocks are booming, according to The Times’s Matt Phillips, who visited the “low-rent district of Wall Street.”

With GameStop, Roaring Kitty Channels His Inner Warren Buffett; The GameStop investment tactics of a Reddit crowd favorite take a page from fabled value investor Warren Buffett and may serve as an example for others.
Tae Kim – Bloomberg
Roaring Kitty and the Oracle of Omaha may have more in common than you think. GameStop Corp.’s wild ride this year shows how. It’s only March and already the video-game retailer’s stock has had two epic rallies and one stunning collapse this year, a product of rampant speculation and a short squeeze. While many investors have been bruised by the day-to-day stock movement, Keith Gill — better known as “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube and a favorite of the Reddit crowd — has been able to profit from the stock-price volatility by putting his emotions aside and placing well-timed, reasoned bets amid the frenzy. In this way, he’s taken a page from fabled value investor Warren Buffett and may serve as an example to other investors looking to minimize the damage from what may be further violent market swings.

SpaceX Engineer Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading Using Dark Web
Matt Robinson – Bloomberg
James Roland Jones accused of selling phony tips online; He also traded on a tip provided by an undercover FBI agent
A Spacex engineer pleaded guilty to insider trading after buying information off the dark web with the goal of profiting from illegal tips about companies, U.S. prosecutors said Thursday.From 2016 to 2017, James Roland Jones used the moniker “MillionaireMike” to illegally purchase names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers to open a fraudulent brokerage account, according to a Justice Department statement. Through that account and others, Jones traded on tips, one of which was provided to him by an undercover FBI agent, according to the statement.

The finance inventor whose vision blurred at Greensill Capital; Former vice-chair Roland Hartley-Urquhart filed for a patent on supply chain finance more than 20 years ago
Tom Braithwaite – FT
Despite his name, Roland Hartley-Urquhart is not another Old Etonian with little relevant experience who rocked up at Greensill Capital in the hope of making a fast buck.

Scarcity reminds us of what we take for granted; Coronavirus disruption has led to shortages of basic goods in rich countries
The editorial board – FT
For many rich economies the pandemic has provided a crash course in an unfamiliar experience: shortages of basic goods. Globalisation has made rich-country consumers used to cheap and abundant goods often produced by those in poorer countries. The coronavirus led to sudden changes in consumption patterns and stopped goods from flowing so easily around the world. Scarcity was the result.

GameStop Saga Spurs Debate Over Payment for Order Flow Practice
Following the GameStop trading frenzy, the SEC is expected to take a fresh look at payment for order flow, a decades-old practice that’s at the heart of how commission-free trading works. WSJ explains what it is, and why critics say it’s bad for investors. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ

J.P. Morgan’s view on the key trends in listed derivatives
As the world moves beyond the Covid-19 crisis, thoughts across capital markets are turning to understanding the lessons and the long-term impact. In cleared derivatives markets, the experience has accelerated several key trends and highlighted where there is room for innovation and improvement. Eurex caught up with Eileen Herlihy, head of EMEA derivatives clearing sales, and Jamie Philip, head of EMEA futures execution sales at JP Morgan to discuss their experiences during 2020 and other key trends in the listed derivatives market.

Federal Reserve calls time on looser capital requirements for US banks; Central bank announces that capital relief introduced at start of pandemic will expire at end of March
James Politi and Colby Smith – FT
The Federal Reserve has announced that it will let looser capital rules for banks introduced at the start of the pandemic expire at the end of March. The US central bank’s decision could disappoint banks, which had been pushing for an extension of the capital relief.

U.S. B-Schools Tell Foreign Students It’s Time to Come Back; But programs elsewhere are trying to maintain the advantages they gained during the Trump era.
Chris Stokel-Walker – Bloomberg
In 2016 half of American MBA programs reported an increase in international students. The following year less than a third saw international applications climb as many foreign students, put off by the “America First” rhetoric of the new Trump administration, looked elsewhere. For the last four years there was “a perception that applying to business schools in the U.S. was a riskier proposition,” says Brigitte Madrian, dean of the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University, which saw a 60% increase in international students from 2011 to 2016 but ended the decade with fewer than it had in 2010.

Billionaire Scores 3,000% Gain Through Electric-Vehicle SPAC
Alexander Sazonov and Benjamin Stupples – Bloomberg
Arrival Ltd. founder Denis Sverdlov now worth $11.7 billion; Shareholders of blank-check firm to vote on merger Friday
Denis Sverdlov, a former Russian deputy minister, was already a wealthy man from a telecom startup when he turned his attention to electric vehicles and founded Arrival Ltd. in 2015. Four years later, he’d injected about $450 million in the truck and bus maker through an investment firm. Then in November, he merged it with CIIG Merger Corp., a Special Purpose Acquisition Corp. — or SPAC — led by Peter Cuneo, the former chief executive officer of Marvel Entertainment.


Why Switzerland Trails West Virginia in Vaccines; Supply is only part of the picture. Efficient logistics and record keeping matter a lot too.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
The European Union’s approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine Thursday will come as a relief to many governments. Britain will have vaccinated half its adult population by the end of this week, administering 40 vaccine doses per 100 people, while the EU average is around 12. The gap has become embarrassing, and the political atmosphere tense.

Italy Has the EU’s Greatest Vaccine Need; Mario Draghi is new to his job, but without a big improvement in inoculations he’ll soon erode the political goodwill that brought him to power.
Rachel Sanderson – Bloomberg
It’s no surprise that Italy was the first European Union nation to say it would restart AstraZeneca Covid vaccinations, just moments after the bloc’s drugs regulator gave its renewed blessing for the shots. All of the EU’s big member states need to jumpstart their painfully slow vaccine drives, but Italy’s need is greatest.

EU Plan for Covid Travel Pass by Summer Seen as Tall Order
Tara Patel – Bloomberg
Paris airports owner highlights technological challenges; Other mobile apps rolling out too slowly, ADP official says
The European Union faces a tough task in seeking to introduce so-called Covid-19 passports by June to get people traveling again, according to the owner of France’s busiest airport. The slow progress and uncoordinated roll-out of health passes already under development at airlines and other companies suggest the bloc’s target is “very, very ambitious,” Franck Le Gall, operations chief at Groupe ADP, which runs dozens of hubs including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, said in an interview.

U.S. States Throw Open Vaccine Eligibility Before May 1 Goal
Jill R Shah – Bloomberg
Rules loosen as millions of doses begin flowing from stockpile; Biden’s ambitious-sounding objectives seem destined to be met
A dozen U.S. states are expanding access to Covid vaccinations earlier than planned for every adult, accelerating the biggest such campaign in the country’s history and making long strides toward President Joe Biden’s May 1 deadline for eligibility.

EU threat to vaccine exports exposes mutual risks to global supply chain; Disruption and political damage from imposing controls could be ‘counterproductive’, bloc’s leaders warned
FT Reporters
The EU’s threat to restrict the export of Covid-19 jabs has exposed the mutual harm that countries could inflict on one another due to the interdependent nature of the global vaccine supply chain. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, said on Wednesday that Brussels was considering “all options” to ensure Europeans were vaccinated as soon as possible.

Scandinavian countries keep AstraZeneca vaccine on hold; Denmark, Norway and Sweden hesitate while other European nations resume jabs
Richard Milne and Donato Paolo Mancini – FT
Norway, Denmark, and Sweden continue to pause use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as the three Scandinavian countries analyse its possible role in a number of unusual deaths involving blood clots.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Cleared by EU After Blood-Clot Concerns; Benefits of using the shot outweigh its potential risks and inoculations should proceed, says bloc’s medicines agency
Daniel Michaels – WSJ
The European Union’s health agency said the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC was “safe and effective” and didn’t increase the risk of blood clots, a decision that prompted several major bloc members to say they would resume inoculation campaigns.

U.S. Rushes to Expand Covid Vaccine Eligibility in a ‘Race Against Time’; As coronavirus cases nationwide have plateaued, at least 17 states have committed in recent days to widening the list of people who may get a vaccine.
Julie Bosman and Mitch Smith – WSJ
Officials in at least 17 states have committed in recent days to opening coronavirus vaccine appointments to all adults in March or April, part of a fast-moving expansion as states race to meet President Biden’s goal of universal eligibility by May 1.

How Do We Conquer Vaccine Skeptics? We Listen; There’s a way to achieve the inoculation rates the world needs for herd immunity from Covid-19.
Clara Ferreira Marques -Bloomberg
Ask on the street in Hong Kong if passersby will get the Covid-19 vaccine, and you may hear what I did: “Sometime.” “Maybe.” “No.” Combating this hesitancy here and elsewhere will take more than opprobrium and exhortation. It requires tuning in.

EU, With Millions of Doses Unused, Is Divided on Export Ban
Alberto Nardelli and Chiara Albanese -Bloomberg
The bloc has received 70 million doses, with 50 million used; About 15 million of the used shots were given as second doses
European Union governments are divided over a controversial proposal to withhold vaccine exports to the U.K., even as the bloc sits on about 20 million unused doses. Around 70 million shots have been delivered to countries in the EU, with 50 million of those already administered, according to an EU document seen by Bloomberg. About 15 million of the used shots were second doses.

Germany Gripped by ‘Third Wave’ as EU Tackles Vaccination Woes
Daniel Schaefer and Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
Incidence rate close to threshold that triggers restrictions; France to limit Astra vaccine to people aged 55 and older
Germany’s health minister warned that the country is in the grip of a “third wave” of rising coronavirus cases as Europe tries to get its stalled vaccination program back on track.

Covid-19 Variant Vaccines in Works at Johnson & Johnson; The company, which recently launched a Covid-19 vaccine, is probing booster shots and new vaccines in case they are needed to tackle elusive virus variants
Peter Loftus – WSJ
Johnson & Johnson JNJ -0.19% is working on several next-generation versions of its Covid-19 vaccine that may be needed to bolster protection against some of the coronavirus variants that have emerged.

Companies Wrestle With Hybrid Work Plans—Awkward Meetings and Midweek Crowding; A mix of office and remote work brings new hurdles, from determining the number of days employees spend in-person to how to conduct meetings; the Mondays and Fridays problem
Emily Glazer and Chip Cutter – WSJ
Big U.S. companies are discovering that “hybrid” work comes with plenty of complications. As employers firm up plans to bring white-collar workers back into offices while still allowing them to do some work at home, many are encountering obstacles. Companies are grappling with what new schedules employees should follow, where people should sit in redesigned offices and how best to prevent employees at home from feeling left out of impromptu office discussions or being passed over for opportunities, say chief executives, board directors and others.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Intercontinental Exchange Sets Date for 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting of Stockholders
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, announced today that, in order to protect the health and safety of its stockholders, employees and other meeting attendees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be held virtually, on Friday, May 14, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Stockholders of record as of the close of business on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 are entitled to participate in, vote and submit questions at the Annual Meeting. Stockholders will also be able to submit questions in advance of the meeting at proxyvote.com beginning on Friday, April 30, 2021. Additional information regarding the Annual Meeting, including how to participate, vote and submit questions, will be provided in the Company’s proxy statement, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and will be available on the Company’s website at www.ir.theice.com in late March. A live audio webcast and replay of the Annual Meeting will be available on the Company’s investor relations website at www.ir.theice.com.

Picking a Path to the IEX Midpoint: Performance Differences Between D-Peg and M-Peg
Sean Spector – via Medium
In this blog we discuss the performance dynamics of two IEX order types: Midpoint Peg (M-Peg) and Discretionary Peg (D-Peg). If you would like a backgrounder on the baseline functionality of each order type, you can start here. This post focuses on the distinctions between the order types and how understanding those nuances may be able to help Members improve their trading experience on IEX.

New leadership appointments in Data & Analytics Division
London Stock Exchange Group
Lea Carty to lead Investment Solutions business; Arne Staal to lead FTSE Russell
LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group plc) today announces a new senior leadership appointment with responsibility for driving sustainable growth for investment management customers. Lea Carty will be based in the US and will report to Andrea Remyn Stone, Chief Product Officer, Data & Analytics.

LSEG appoints new data and analytics business leadership as FTSE chief steps down; Lea Carty and Arne Staal will become head of investment solutions and group head of indices and benchmarks, including the FTSE business, as Waqas Samad steps down in June.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Two senior executives will replace the group head of investment solutions and CEO of FTSE Russell when he leaves in June, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has confirmed. Lea Carty and Arne Staal will become head of investment solutions, and group head of indices and benchmarks, including FTSE Russell, respectively.

SIX aims to keep more than 70% of Swiss share trading after UK equivalence; After EU equivalence was suspended in 2019, SIX gained almost 100% market share in Swiss equities trading.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Swiss exchange operator SIX has said it will aim to preserve more than 70% market share in Swiss share trading following its equivalence agreement with the UK. In the exchange’s annual report 2020, SIX stated that the Swiss Stock Exchange remains the preferred venues and liquidity pool for Swiss stocks and it intends to keep much of its market share.

HKEX Enhances Product Offering with Baidu Debut
Baidu Futures and Options to be introduced on 23 March; Baidu shares to be included in Designated Securities Eligible for Short Selling on 23 March;Issuers can list derivative warrants on Baidu shares on 24 March
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) is pleased to announce today (Friday) that it will offer investors more options on Baidu, Inc. (Baidu, stock code: 9888) shares after its debut.

TMX Group CEO John McKenzie to Present at the Virtual 19th Annual National Bank Financial Services Conference
March 18, 2021 (TORONTO) – TMX Group CEO John McKenzie will present at the virtual 19th annual National Bank Financial Services Conference on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 3:15 – 3:40 p.m. ET.

Nasdaq to Hold First Quarter 2021 Investor Conference Call
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its First Quarter 2021 financial results announcement.

OTC IRS New Release – OIS Product Enhancements and CAD CDOR 6M and 12M Tenor Cessation
CME Group
CME Clearing will add the below product enhancements to the New Release environment on March 24, 2021 and to the Production environment on April 12, 2021 pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods. CME CORE support will be available from March 31, 2021 in New Release and Production April 12, 2021.

Amendments to the Spot Month Period Definition and Increase in the Spot and Single Month Position Limits of the Cash-Settled Butter Futures and Options on Cash-Settled Butter Futures Contracts
CME Group
Effective on trade date Monday, May 3, 2021 and commencing with the May 2021 contract month and beyond, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will amend the spot month period, the spot month limit, and the single month limit for the Cash-Settled Butter Futures and Options on Cash-Settled Butter Futures (the “Contracts”) as noted below and in Appendix A of CME Submission No. 21-130. Please note that the spot month limit, single month limit, and spot month period for the March 2021 and April 2021 contract months remain unchanged.

Notice of Disciplinary Action
CME Group
It shall be an offense: W. for any party to fail to diligently supervise its employees and agents in the conduct of their business relating to the Exchange.
The Exchange shall designate the products in which block trades shall be permitted and determine the minimum quantity thresholds for such transactions. The following shall govern block trades: F. Unless otherwise agreed to by the principal counterparties to the block trade, the seller, or, in the case of a brokered transaction, the broker handling the block trade, must ensure that each block trade is reported to the Exchange within the time period and in the manner specified by the Exchange. The report must include the contract, contract month, price, quantity of the transaction, the respective clearing members, the time of execution, and, for options, strike price, put or call and expiration month. The Exchange shall promptly publish such information separately from the reports of transactions in the regular market.=
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered TP Singapore to pay a fine to the Exchange in the amount of $50,000.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of the Ukrainian Wheat (Platts) Futures and Options on Ukrainian Wheat (Platts) Futures Contracts – Effective April 12, 2021
CME Group
Initial Listing of the Ukrainian Wheat (Platts) Futures and Options on Ukrainian Wheat (Platts) Futures Contracts.

Notice of Disciplinary Action
CME Group
NON-MEMBER: Mirabella Financial Services LLP
Any positions in excess of those permitted under the rules of the Exchange shall be deemed position limit violations.
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered Mirabella to pay a fine to the Exchange in the amount of $25,000.

Notice of Disciplinary Action
CME Group
No person shall place or accept buy and sell orders in the same product and expiration month, and, for a put or call option, the same strike price, where the person knows or reasonably should know that the purpose of the orders is to avoid taking a bona fide market position exposed to market risk (transactions commonly known or referred to as wash trades or wash sales). Buy and sell orders for different accounts with common beneficial ownership that are entered with the intent to negate market risk or price competition shall also be deemed to violate the prohibition on wash trades. Additionally, no person shall knowingly execute or accommodate the execution of such orders by direct or indirect means.
PENALTY: In accordance with the settlement offer, the Panel ordered Alishaev to pay a fine of $10,000 in connection with this case and companion case NYMEX 20-1307-BC ($5,000 allocated to COMEX), and to serve a five business-day trading suspension from access to any trading floor owned or controlled by CME Group and from direct and indirect access to any designated contract market, derivatives clearing organization or swap execution facility owned or controlled by CME Group. The suspension shall run from March 18, 2021 through and including March 24, 2021.

SGX RegCo clarifies process for shareholders wishing to obtain Jardine Strategic Holdings share certificates from CDP
Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”) refers to the notice of special general meeting and the circular Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited (the “Notice”, “Circular” and “Company” respectively) issued on 18 March 2021, in relation to the cash acquisition of the Company by Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited (“Jardine Matheson”) by way of an amalgamation under the Bermuda Companies Act (the “Amalgamation”).

Proof of Concept Project to Provide a Learning Environment for Trading Utilizing IT and Data Analysis – Second Data Analysis Competition to be Held –
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) launched “J-Quants”, a Proof of Concept (PoC)* Project in January 2021 to provide a learning environment for trading utilizing IT and data analysis. The second data analysis competition (hereinafter referred to as the “competition”) begins today.


ARRC Announces Refinitiv as Publisher of its Spread Adjustment Rates for Cash Products
The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) announced today that it has selected Refinitiv, an LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) business, to publish its recommended spread adjustments and spread adjusted rates for cash products, following a robust request for proposals (RFP) process. Refinitiv will publish ARRC-recommended spread adjustments to Secured

Even Garbage Is Using Blockchain Now; Pilot projects that use innovative data collection to encourage recycling and responsible waste management are underway in Argentina, India and the U.S.
Chris Malloy – Bloomberg
Where does our trash go after it leaves the curb? There’s no easy answer. Most plastics and other waste aren’t recycled; instead, they end up in landfills — or worse. But their journey is often difficult to track. There are billions of moving parts along the chain, including collectors, processing centers and even many types of refuse.

Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)-based rates and spread-adjusted SOFR-based rates for cash products that transition away from U.S. dollar (USD) LIBOR.
NY Federal Reserve

China’s VCs Join Startups in Rush to Build a Homegrown Clubhouse
Zheping Huang – Bloomberg
Beijing’s ban on Clubhouse is an opportunity for startups; Several VC firms are considering investments in the sector
Celebrities and tech luminaries turned Clubhouse into the surprise hit of 2021 by letting loose on a freer, more casual audio format. A growing number of big-name investors now hope to replicate that phenomenon in a far more unlikely arena.

Data centre buildings benefit from lockdowns; Demand for niche property has soared over past year, leading to a flurry of deals in nascent sector
George Hammond – FT
Demand for the specialist property used to house data centres has soared over the past year as locked-down workers have turned to teleconferencing and streaming services, leading to a flurry of deals in the nascent sector.

Baton Systems hires FX expert from Credit Suisse; Aaron Ayusa joins Baton Systems as director of client success after nearly 11 years at Credit Suisse in the FX space.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Post-trade and blockchain technology provider Baton Systems has hired an FX technology expert from Swiss bank Credit Suisse as director of client success. Ayusa joins Baton Systems after nearly 11 years with Credit Suisse, most recently as assistant vice president for cash products and metrics analysis.

CEO Of Fintech Lender Upstart Now A Billionaire After Shares Soar 89% In One Day
Jonathan Ponciano – Forbes
Fresh off a blockbuster earnings report that shattered Wall Street expectations, shares of AI-enabled fintech lender Upstart Holdings skyrocketed Thursday, minting a new billionaire out of Dave Girouard, the firm’s cofounder and CEO. While the broader stock market plunged over concerns about sky-high valuations, Upstart’s stock ended the day up a staggering 89%, lifting the fortune of 54-year-old Girouard, who cofounded Upstart in 2012 and owns about 14% of shares, to an estimated $1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

India Wants Court to Block WhatsApp’s Controversial Privacy Rule
Upmanyu Trivedi – Bloomberg
Modi government urges a high court to restrain WhatsApp; India says WhatsApp’s policy violates technology laws
India’s federal government has urged a Delhi court to restrain Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp from implementing a controversial privacy policy, intensifying pressure on the popular messaging service in its biggest market by users.


India Bitcoin Ban Would Be a Terrible Idea; The country’s previous attempts at currency controls impoverished Indians and prevented its companies from competing globally. This one won’t work any better.
Shruti Rajagopalan – Bloomberg
If India proceeds with a rumored ban on cryptocurrency, it wouldn’t be the country’s first attempt to impose currency controls. This time, however, a ban is even less likely to succeed — and the consequences for India’s economy could be more dire. The country shouldn’t make the same mistake twice. In the 1970s and 80s, at the height of what was known as the License Raj, Indians could only hold foreign currency for a specific purpose and with a permit from the central bank. If a businessman bought foreign exchange to spend over two days in Paris and one in Frankfurt, and instead spent two days in Germany, the Reserve Bank of India would demand to know why he’d deviated from the currency permit. Violators were routinely threatened with fines and jail time of up to seven years.

Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev Talks Crypto Growth in ‘Fireside’ Chat
Nathan Crooks – Bloomberg
Robinhood is working to expand the capabilities of its crypto trading platform and repair the reputational damage it suffered in the wake of the retail trading frenzy over GameStop, the online brokerage’s CEO Vlad Tenev said in a video of what the company called a “fireside chat” posted on YouTube Thursday. Sitting in front of a virtual backdrop featuring a fireplace, Tenev said the company has plans for growth in the crypto space and is working to ensure that an oft-requested “wallet” feature is safe before introducing it.

NFT Frenzy Buoys Stocks, Lifting Auction Houses and Game Makers
Suzannah Cavanaugh – Bloomberg
Takung Art, Oriental Culture rise after Christie’s NFT record; Entertainment companies with NFT potential climb in sympathy
A grab bag of obscure stocks are soaring after unveiling plans to get involved in the exploding digital-art scene being powered by NFTs. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are cryptographic assets used on computer ledgers referred to as blockchains, similar to the network that powers Bitcoin. They make it possible to track ownership and sales prices, as well as the number of copies in existence through each unique identifying code. They burst onto the mainstream consciousness last week when the artist Beeple’s “Everydays: the First 5,000 Days” sold for a record $69 million.

Powell Says Central Bank Digital Currency Must Coexist With Cash
Matthew Boesler – Bloomberg
Potential central bank digital currencies would need to be integrated into existing payment systems alongside cash and other forms of money, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said.
“A recent report from the Bank for International Settlements and a group of seven central banks, which includes the Fed, assessed the feasibility of CBDCs in helping central banks deliver their public policy objectives,” Powell said Thursday in prerecorded video remarks delivered to a payments conference in Basel, Switzerland.

Bank of New York Mellon Invests in Crypto Startup
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is investing in a cryptocurrency startup, the latest move by a traditional Wall Street player to embrace digital assets. The startup, Fireblocks, builds tools for the secure storage and transfer of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. BNY Mellon plans to use Fireblocks’s technology to underpin a new business that the bank unveiled last month, in which it plans to serve as a custodian for digital assets on behalf of institutional investors. BNY Mellon’s strategic investment in Fireblocks is part of a larger funding round that Fireblocks announced Thursday, after news of the investment was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Robinhood Growing Its Crypto Team ‘Hugely’ This Year Says CEO
Jamie Crawley – Coindesk
Vlad Tenev, CEO of brokerage platform Robinhood, has stated the company is planning to grow its crypto team “hugely” this year. Speaking in a video Q&A with customers, Tenev said that Robinhood wants to “make a huge investment and hire a ton of people” for its crypto business. He referred to the recent spike in demand the platform has witnessed with 6 million new customers trading crypto for the first time this year just by the middle of February. The Robinhood CEO had been answering a question from a customer who wished to see the platform “take a bite out of Coinbase.”

Wyoming’s ‘DAO law’ passes State Senate in a 28-2 vote
Michael McSweeney – The Block
The upper chamber of Wyoming’s legislature has passed a bill that, if approved, would clear the way for decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, to become incorporated under state law. The 28-2 vote took place on Wednesday, public records show, and was sent to the State House of Representatives the same day. On Thursday, the bill was formally introduced and transferred to that chamber’s Minerals, Business & Economic Development committee. Should the House of Representatives clear the bill, any differences would need to be hammered out between the two chambers before being sent to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon for signature.

SEC pushes back against Ripple execs in ongoing fight over personal financial information subpoenas
Michael McSweeney – The Block
The Securities and Exchange Commission pushed back Wednesday after two executives of distributed ledger company Ripple asked a federal court to stop the U.S. regulator from subpoenaing personal financial records. Lawyers representing CEO Brad Garlinghouse and co-founder/directors’ board executive chairman Chris Larsen asked the court to quash the subpoenas sent to a group of banks in a March 11 letter, as Bloomberg reported at the time. In that letter, representatives said that “[t]he SEC’s multi-front attempt to troll through the Individual Defendant’s personal financial information in a non-fraud litigation, where the Defendants have already agreed to produce the relevant information regarding the challenged transactions, is a wholly inappropriate overreach.”

Thai Central Bank to Regulate Stablecoins This Year
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
Thailand’s central bank said it will issue regulations on asset-backed stablecoins this year after warning against the illegal use of a new baht-denominated stablecoin that was created outside the country. The bank’s assistant governor said Friday there are plans to regulate asset-backed stablecoins only, not bitcoin, according to a Reuters report. “The central bank is receiving opinions from market regulators and participants before announcing regulations,” Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, assistant governor of Payment systems policy and financial technology group, Bank of Thailand, said at a briefing.

Japan’s SBI opens its bitcoin mining pool for the public
Yogita Khatri – The Block
SBI Crypto, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s SBI Holdings, has opened its bitcoin mining pool for the public. The move means institutions and individuals looking to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can join the SBI Crypto Pool service. SBI Crypto has been self-mining bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and bitcoin SV since August 2017. Its bitcoin mining pool is currently ranked eleventh and has a hashrate of 2.44 exahash per second (EH/s), per BTC.com. SBI Crypto said part of its pool’s service had been developed with its partner Northern Data AG to complement data center management services. SBI first partnered with Northern Data last July by becoming its strategic shareholder.

Uber, Goldman Sachs Veteran Joins Ripple as Asia MD
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
Ripple has hired Goldman Sachs and Uber tech veteran Brooks Entwistle to expand its operations in Southeast Asia. In an announcement posted Thursday, Ripple said Entwistle has been appointed as the new managing director of its Southeast Asia business headquartered in Singapore. Prior to joining Ripple, Entwistle worked for three decades in finance and technology firms, most recently at Uber, where he was chief business officer (international). Before that he spent more than 20 years at Goldman, including a stint as chairman of the bank’s Southeast Asia business. The appointment comes as Ripple is expanding its presence across Southeast Asia which includes 14 countries for its RippleNet and has seen transactions in the region grow 10 times in 2020.

Bitcoin miners worth more than $150 million have just been bought up by two firms
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Bitcoin mining machines continue to be in demand by institutions. Two more firms — The9 Limited and Blockcap — have now purchased a total of 36,000 bitcoin miners worth more than $150 million from Bitmain.


Risky Trading Targeted in Democrat Proposal for Financial Transaction Tax
Megan Howard – Bloomberg
Investors would face a 0.1% tax on each sale of stocks, bonds and derivatives under a Democrat-led proposal aimed at curbing risky trading behaviors. The new tax would apply to the fair market value of stocks and bonds, and to payment flows under derivatives contracts. Initial public offerings and short-term debt would be exempt under the bill, which was reintroduced in the Senate Thursday by Hawaii’s Brian Schatz.

Crimea’s Water Crisis Is an Impossible Problem for Putin; The Russian-occupied peninsula is thirsty, with reservoirs running low. It’s an unwelcome predicament at a time when pressures on the Kremlin are rising.
Clara Ferreira Marques – Bloomberg
A water emergency in Crimea is absorbing billions of taxpayer rubles as Russia tries to patch up an impossible problem stemming from the peninsula’s annexation in 2014. President Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea gem looks increasingly like a millstone.

Global Leaders Call for Radical Changes to Tackle Inequality
Jeff Green – Bloomberg
Women and minorities daunted by lack of care, support and pay; Bloomberg Equality Summit brought views from dozens of experts
Covid-19 showed the world undeniable evidence of the inequities faced by under-represented people. If government and business leaders don’t make radical changes, conditions won’t just stay bad, they will get worse, according to key decision makers who met this week at the fourth annual Bloomberg Equality Summit.

David Cameron lobbied for Greensill access to Covid loan schemes; Former UK prime minister urged bigger role for group but Treasury remained reluctant
Jim Pickard, Cynthia O’Murchu and Robert Smith – FT
David Cameron lobbied the UK government to increase Greensill Capital’s access to state-backed emergency Covid-19 loan schemes, months before the finance company collapsed and left the taxpayer on the hook for potential losses.

Restoring confidence in UK plc; Tighter safeguards need to avoid overburdening post-Covid business
The editorial board – FT
Trust in company accounts is the keystone of the whole edifice of business and finance. If numbers cannot be relied upon, the faith of investors, employees and the public is undermined. Confidence in UK plc has been shaken by several high-profile failures in recent years, and the response has been slow. That has left Britain facing a balancing act: introducing an equivalent to the US Sarbanes-Oxley regime without piling unfair costs and burdens on to companies struggling to recover from the pandemic.

China Buys More Iranian and Venezuelan Oil, in a Test for Biden; Increased sales and higher prices are helping Tehran and Caracas resist U.S. pressure
Benoit Faucon in London and Ian Talley – WSJ
China has sharply increased its imports of oil from Iran and Venezuela in a challenge to two Biden administration foreign-policy priorities, according to U.S. officials, undermining key diplomatic leverage Washington needs to restart long-stalled negotiations.


NFA orders former principal and associated person Daniel Morris Miller not to reapply for membership for three years
NFA has ordered Daniel Morris Miller, a former principal and associated person (AP) of Argo Wealth Management, Inc. (Argo), not to reapply for membership or act as a principal of an NFA Member for a period of three years. If Miller seeks NFA membership or principal status with an NFA Member after expiration of his three-year membership bar, he must pay a $100,000 fine. Miller is also subject to certain restrictions for an additional two years, if he is again granted NFA membership status. Argo is a former NFA Member commodity pool operator located in Akron, Ohio.

NFA orders former principal and associated person Joel Vincent Newcomb never to reapply for membership
NFA has ordered Joel Vincent Newcomb, a former principal and associated person of Argo Wealth Management, Inc. (Argo), never to reapply for membership or act as a principal of an NFA Member. Argo is a former NFA Member commodity pool operator located in Akron, Ohio.

NFA orders former Akron, Ohio commodity pool operator Argo Wealth Management, Inc. never to reapply for membership
NFA has ordered Argo Wealth Management, Inc. (Argo), a former NFA Member commodity pool operator located in Akron, Ohio, never to reapply for membership or act as a principal of an NFA Member.

Behnam details recent CFTC climate efforts at Boca-V; Acting chair sits down with FIA’s Walt Lukken a day after unveiling new Climate Risk Unit
Jeff Reeves – FIA
FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken sat down with Rostin Behnam, acting chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to discuss the agency’s recent formation of a Climate Risk Unit that will focus on the role of derivatives in understanding, pricing, and addressing climate-related risk and transitioning to a low-carbon economy

Former FSA boss picked to police Australia’s superannuation industry; Margaret Cole shook up how UK regulator approached enforcement
Caroline Binham and Josephine Cumbo – FT
Australia has appointed a former British regulator known for her tough approach to policing the City of London as the new head of its superannuation watchdog at a key moment for the A$3tn sector.

EU watchdog raises concerns on third-party reliance after exchange outages in 2020; The European regulator cited blackouts at Euronext, the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange in its report.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The markets regulator in Europe has raised concerns over trading venues’ reliance on third-party data and software providers following several major technical outages that took place globally in 2020. In its first trends, risks, and vulnerabilities (TRV) report of the year, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) cited major blackouts at Euronext, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), and warned against reliance on third-party data and software providers.

ASIC restricts TBG Diagnostics Limited from relying on reduced-disclosure rules
ASIC has restricted TBG Diagnostics Limited (ACN 010 975 612, ASX:TDL) (TDL) from eligibility to use transaction-specific disclosure until 11 March 2022. The decision means TDL will not be able to rely on the reduced-disclosure rules allowing for a reduced-content prospectus and instead must issue a full prospectus if it wishes to raise funds from investors.

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services – Opening statement – ASIC
Opening statement by ASIC Chair, James Shipton at the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, 19 March 2021, Parliament House, Canberra.

SEC Charges Co-Founders of San Francisco Biotech Company With $60 Million Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, co-founders of uBiome Inc., a San Francisco-based private medical testing company, with defrauding investors out of $60 million by falsely portraying uBiome as a successful start-up with a proven business model and strong prospects for future growth.

SEC Obtains Emergency Asset Freeze, Charges Colorado Resident with Fraud Involving Sham Bottling Company
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced it filed charges and obtained an asset freeze and other emergency relief to stop an alleged offering fraud and misappropriation of investor assets orchestrated by Colorado Springs resident Tra Jay Scarlett using two entities under Scarlett’s control, Chatfield PCS Ltd. (Chatfield) and GO ECO Manufacturing, Inc. (GO ECO).

SEC Charges California-Based Fraudster With Selling “Insider Tips” on the Dark Web
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged James Roland Jones of Redondo Beach, California, with perpetrating a fraudulent scheme to sell what he called “insider tips” on the dark web. The dark web allows users to access the internet anonymously and, as such, has often been used to host websites and marketplaces that support or promote illegal activity. This is the SEC’s first enforcement action involving alleged securities violations on the dark web.

SEC Charges Owner of Real Estate Investment Company with Defrauding Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a New Jersey resident with defrauding investors, most of whom were members of the Orthodox Jewish community, who invested millions based on false claims about investments in real estate.

ESMA clarifies application of position limits pending MiFID II change
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, is issuing a public statement on its supervisory approach to position limits for commodity derivatives. The purpose is to clarify the application of position limits and coordinate the supervisory actions of National Competent Authorities (NCAs), pending the legislative change introduced by the MiFID II Recovery Package for commodity derivatives. This legislative change will start to apply in early 2022.

FINRA Reminds Member Firms of Their Obligations Regarding Customer Order Handling, Margin Requirements and Effective Liquidity Management Practices During Extreme Market Conditions
FINRA is issuing this Notice to remind member firms of their obligations during extreme market conditions with respect to handling customer orders, maintaining appropriate margin requirements and effectively managing their liquidity.

Supervisory flexibility on RTS 27 reports and 10% depreciation notifications
We are putting in place temporary measures with respect to RTS 27 reports and 10% depreciation notifications while we consult on changes to these requirements later this Spring. These temporary measures will be in place until the end of 2021.

SIFMA Statement on Bill Prohibiting the SEC from Requiring Collection of PII Under the CAT
SIFMA today released the following statement from president and CEO Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr. on the “Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act”:

Investing and Trading

Wile E. Coyote Stocks Are Nearing the Cliff Edge; With bond yields rising inexorably, better hope that the market doesn’t look down.
John Authers – Bloomberg
To get John Authers’ newsletter delivered directly to your inbox, sign up here. It is time to take refuge once more in the animal kingdom. To try to explain what is happening in bonds, and the effect it could have on other markets, I will summon two characters from the summer of 2007. That was the period when the coming financial crisis became evident, and when equities were the last to grasp it.

GE Is Finally Trading Its Bankers’ Stripes for a Hard Hat; With the $30 billion sale of the largest remaining business of once-dominant GE Capital, the company bets that green power generation and aviation will be more financially stable.
Ryan Beene – Bloomberg
Despite its storied history as an industrial icon founded by Thomas Edison, General Electric Co. by a decade ago had morphed into a massive financial-services company bigger than all but a handful of U.S. banks. That transformation brought with it a maddeningly complex web of businesses, opaque accounting, and financial risk that dogged it for years. So when Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp on March 10 announced a $30 billion deal to unload GE’s aircraft-leasing business, the move returned something long absent from GE: simplicity.

Kodak claws back millions after share award error; Former executives were given $3.9m in stock for options they were supposed to have forfeited
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Eric Platt – FT
Eastman Kodak has recouped almost all of the $3.9m five former executives collected last year by exercising share options they were supposed to have forfeited, in an embarrassing episode that forced the film-era pioneer to overhaul its internal controls. Kodak has clawed back $3.6m of the proceeds and expects to collect $2m of the $3m of withholding taxes associated with the ex-employees’ trades, according to a securities filing that said it had imposed new measures to resolve the “deficiencies in controls”.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

ESG Investors Score Another Win at Rio, This Time on Climate
James Thornhill – Bloomberg
Rio targets fall short of Paris climate goals: lobby group; Company will support two investor resolutions at upcoming AGM
Rio Tinto Group will support two climate proposals at its next shareholder meeting, the latest win for ESG-focused investors after the miner’s destruction of Aboriginal heritage sites last year shined a spotlight on its governance.

Hydrogen: can the lightest gas turn heavy industry green? Steel, cement and chemicals industries must cut carbon footprints to meet EU emissions deadlines
Sylvia Pfeifer – FT
On the banks of the Rhine in north-west Germany sits Thyssenkrupp’s Duisburg plant, Europe’s largest integrated steel mill. The hulking facility churns out about 11m tonnes of steel a year — along with roughly 20m tonnes of carbon dioxide, close to 2.5 percent of the country’s CO2 emissions.

AI can shine digital sunlight on to company greenwashing; Transparency forces companies to improve their environmental records
Gillian Tett – FT
If you say the word “green activist” to a corporate executive, Greta Thunberg may spring to mind — and provoke fear. Today, however, there is another force to watch: robots.

Watch Out, ETFs. Here Comes Custom Indexing.
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
First there were index funds and exchange-traded funds. Then came direct indexing, in which you track an index but own the stocks directly through a separately managed account. That allows you to improve performance using tax harvesting, which can meaningfully improve returns. Now there’s custom indexing, in which you don’t seek to replicate any index at all and can employ factors like environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. One fan is Josh Brown of Ritholtz Asset Management, who calls it “the future of active management.”

Republicans Rap Labor Department for Spiking Trump ESG Rule
Austin R. Ramsey – Bloomberg Law
Republican lawmakers accused the U.S. Department of Labor of bowing to Wall Street interests when it decided earlier this month not to enforce two Trump administration rules curbing environment, social, and corporate governance retirement investing. The Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration announced last week that it wouldn’t enforce the Trump-era investment duties or proxy voting rules or pursue enforcement actions against plan fiduciaries who fail to comply with them. Officials said the department would revisit the rules.

Big Money Joins Rush for Carbon, Fueling Bets Prices Will Soar; Largest U.S.-listed ETF tripled its assets this year as rising carbon prices push up the cost of pollution for companies.
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
American investors are joining a rush to buy carbon permits, prompting bets that the cost of pollution may be about to rally further after European prices hit a record high.

There’s a Pandemic Power Crisis. But How Big Is It? Millions of U.S. households faced utility shutoffs for unpaid bills during the coronavirus crisis, a new report estimates. But data on the scale of the problem is hard to find.
Sarah Holder – Bloomberg
U.S. utility companies have shut off natural gas and electricity service to more than three-quarters of a million households across just 10 states during the pandemic, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity.

CEO Pay Tied to ESG Sets Canadian Banks Apart From the Crowd
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
March 18, 2021, 6:30 AM CDT Updated on March 18, 2021, 4:53 PM CDT
A broad 2020 study found similar policies at just 9% of firms; CIBC executive says firm ‘wanted to drive accountability’
Canada’s six largest banks have all added ESG components to their chief executive officers’ compensation frameworks, putting them in a small minority of companies that tie executive pay to such measures.


Credit Suisse Replaces Varvel, Halts Bonuses Amid Client Furor
Patrick Winters, Marion Halftermeyer and Archana Narayanan – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG raced to contain the widening fallout from the collapse of Greensill Capital as it acknowledged defaults are coming in a $10 billion group of now-frozen funds that the bank touted for their safety. Facing client furor and regulatory probes over the collapse of the short-term debt funds, the Swiss bank demoted one of its top executives, withholding bonuses for others and separating the asset management unit at the center of the scandal from the much more valuable wealth unit.

A New Wave of ETFs Is Primed to Eclipse Cathie Wood-Style Funds; The next breakout star fund could be full of companies you’ve never heard of.
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
After about a decade of growth stocks tearing up the charts, the value style of investing is having its day. More than $18 billion this year — already a quarterly record — has gone into about 80 different exchange-traded funds that focus on companies considered undervalued relative to their assets, like banks.

Behind the Back-Office Blunder That Cost Citigroup $500 Million; Clunky software led to mistaken payments to companies ready to fight to keep the money.
David Scigliuzzo, Katherine Doherty – Bloomberg
Fat-finger errors can happen at even the biggest financial companies. There was the time, three years ago, when Deutsche Bank sent EUR28 billion ($33 billion)—more than its entire market value—to one of its outside accounts. Such mishaps typically result in major embarrassment, but are quickly reversed. Then there’s the latest saga involving Citigroup Inc., where a human error forced it into a showdown with some of its most aggressive clients. The bank mistakenly paid almost $900 million to creditors of troubled lipstick maker Revlon Inc., the crown jewel of billionaire Ronald Perelman’s business empire. The error has forced Citigroup to restate fourth-quarter earnings and do a good deal of explaining in front of regulators. And the bank could ultimately be out more than $500 million.

SoftBank Seeks $1.2 Billion in Greensill Collapse
Nabila Ahmed and Harry Brumpton – Bloomberg
Administrator Grant Thornton hosted creditors meeting Friday; Firm collapsed as key backers including Credit Suisse walked
Greensill Capital owes $1.15 billion to SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the matter said, as the Japanese institution emerges as one of the main creditors to the collapsed supply chain finance firm.

CLSA’s Headcount Slid 6% Last Year Amid Executive Departures
Bloomberg News
Parent Citic Securities added 20% in staff as earnings jumped; Citic plans capital injection into CLSA after turnaround
CLSA Ltd.’s headcount declined 6% last year amid a string of departures of top managers at the Hong Kong brokerage. The firm’s headcount fell to 1,808 at the end of 2020, while its parent, Beijing-based Citic Securities Co., boosted its staff by 20% in a bumper year for trading and dealmaking that saw earnings climb 22%, according to its annual results.

Neil Woodford: the continuing fallout of a scandal; The writer of a new book argues that the fallen star manager highlighted some harsh lessons for the fund industry to learn
Owen Walker – FT
It is more than 18 months since the implosion of Neil Woodford’s business sparked the biggest British investment scandal for a decade. Yet for his former customers, the wounds are still raw.

UK government cuts stake in NatWest to under 60%; Bank has bought back £1.1bn of the state’s shares, crystallising a £1.8bn loss for taxpayers
Nicholas Megaw and Oliver Ralph – FT
The UK government has sold £1.1bn of shares in NatWest in a move the Treasury described as an “important step” in returning the bank to private ownership but which crystallised a £1.8bn loss for taxpayers.

AXA IM rolls out outsourced trading services for smaller firms; A gap in the market created by the squeezing of margins and the need for significant investment in execution and middle-office activities led AXA to offer outsourced trading.=
Annabel Smith – The Trade
AXA Investment Managers has started offering outsourced trading services to smaller asset managers as it becomes the latest player to enter the space following a supposed increase in demand.

BestEx Research adds former Citi and Liquidnet execs to client services team; David Conner and John King join BestEx Research with 40 years of experience at major institutions such as Citi, Liquidnet and JP Morgan.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Algorithmic trading platform provider BestEx Research has hired two electronic trading executives with experience at Citi, Liquidnet and JP Morgan to expand its client services team.

Goldman Sachs trades first Indian Rupee interest rate swap at Tradeweb; The launch of the Indian Rupee interest rate swaps comes as Tradeweb expands its emerging market offering.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has traded the first interest rate swap in Indian Rupees (INR) at fixed income trading platform provider Tradeweb. Tradeweb confirmed the launch of INR IRS in a post on social media, adding that the new product launch came as part of its continued expansion into emerging markets.

UBS Licenses Solactive Index For new China Technology ETF
China is pushing for technical innovation. The world’s second-largest economy is currently transitioning towards a “New Economy” where innovation and digital transformation are the key driving forces. Swiss bank UBS pooled the vast opportunities of this development in a dedicated ETF, the UBS Solactive China Technology UCITS ETF. The Exchange Traded Fund will be launched on March 19th, 2021, and it tracks the Solactive China Technology Index. This release marks a new engagement between UBS and Solactive after the successful launches of previous ETFs and Index Certificates[1].

Full Transcript of “Community Conversations: The Future of Black Banks”
Watch the original live event by clicking on the link below.


World’s Longest-Lasting Negative Rate Regime Gets a Revamp
Frances Schwartzkopff and Morten Buttler – Bloomberg
Changes to Danish monetary policy will take effect on Friday; Aim is to suppress market fluctuations hurting currency peg
Denmark’s central bank will switch from operating one negative interest rate to three by the end of this week, joining several other peers that have overhauled frameworks in a bid to fine-tune their policy levers.

Ukrainian Central Banker Probed for ‘Treason,’ Kyiv Post Says
Daryna Krasnolutska – Bloomberg
Deputy governor investigated over Privatbank’s nationalization; Rozhkova says case, if true, is aimed at discrediting her work
A Ukrainian central banker is facing potential treason and embezzlement charges over the 2014 nationalization of the country’s biggest lender, the Kyiv Post said, citing documents and people it didn’t identify.

BOJ Carves Out More Flexibility for Longer Inflation Fight
Toru Fujioka and Sumio Ito – Bloomberg
Scraps 6 trillion yen ETF buying target, will focus on TOPIX; ‘Clarifies’ 25 bp yield band; to offer incentives if cuts rate
The Bank of Japan unveiled a set of carefully crafted policy tweaks aimed at giving itself more flexibility to keep up its long quest to revive inflation. The bank set out a wider-than-previously-thought movement range for bond yields and scrapped a buying target for stock funds at the end of a three-month policy review.


U.K. Edges Closer Toward Limited Brexit Finance Deal With EU
Birgit Jennen and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
Britain and the European Union are inching closer to reaching a co-operation agreement on financial regulation by the end of this month in a step that could help give firms in the City of London more access to the single market.
The EU could grant the U.K. so-called partial regulatory equivalence for some financial products once the separate memorandum of understanding on financial regulation is reached, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Irish goods imports from Britain fall 65% in January after Brexit
Irish goods imports from Britain fell by 65% in January from the same month last year as traders grappled with new customs requirements, COVID-19 restrictions and pre-Brexit stockpiling, Ireland’s statistics service said on Thursday.
The value of imports from Britain, not including the British region of Northern Ireland, fell to 497 million euros ($593 million) in January from 1.403 billion euros in January 2020, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.

Can Technology Solve The Post-Brexit Woes Of British Exporters?
Alison Coleman – Forbes
Just a few months into the U.K.’s new relationship with Brussels, British exporters to the EU are struggling with mounting Brexit red tape and border disruption. Half (49%) of U.K.-based exporters were facing extra costs and delays in shipments to and from the continent, due to extra border checks and paperwork, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).


What We Lose When We Don’t See Our Work Acquaintances; They aren’t close friends. But daily chats and check-ins with colleagues can help alleviate loneliness and boost well-being more than many people realize.
Jeffrey A. Hall – WSJ
I miss Shawn. Before the pandemic, he worked just down the hall. Like me, he preferred working in the office rather than at home. And like me, he loved listening to post-punk music, riffing about politics, and brewing an afternoon espresso. Although few of our conversations lasted more than 10 minutes, for nearly every workday for 12 years, Shawn was part of the social fabric of my work life.

Reach says most of its staff will permanently work from home; Daily Mirror and Daily Express owner to close dozens of local newsrooms and one central London office
Patricia Nilsson – FT
The publisher of the Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers has said about three-quarters of staff will permanently work from home and it will significantly reduce its office space, citing the success of remote working during the pandemic.

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