The New Stock Influencers Have Huge—and Devoted—Followings

Mar 22, 2021

First Read

$32,426/$300,000 (10.8%)
Brian Price


Coinbase Hit With $6.5 Million Fine By CFTC; Market Debut Rumored To Be Delayed
Thom Thompson – John Lothian News

Digital asset trading platform Coinbase took a $6.5 million hit on Friday when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced it had settled charges against the firm. The agency charged Coinbase with “reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting as well as wash trading.”

Coinbase did not deny the charges. “Respondent consents to the use of the findings of fact and conclusions of law in this Order … and agrees that they shall be taken as true and correct, ” according to the CFTC’s order. The charges stem from activities by the company that occurred before September 2018, old news in other words.

In its February 25, 2021 S-1 (prospectus document) filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Coinbase said it had profits of $322 million on net revenue of $1.14 billion in 2020. The privately held company is preparing for a direct listing of outstanding shares. The then-ongoing CFTC investigation was disclosed in the filing.

Coinbase shares that were recently sold by investors on private markets have valued the company at between $60 billion and $90 billion. Up to almost 115 million shares were registered by Coinbase for sale on Nasdaq during its debut.

To read the rest of this story, go here.


Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Happy birthday to Leo Melamed, who turned 89 over the weekend. I hope he has many more years to continue to celebrate, though I know it is difficult. The older one gets, the more friends one loses. Leo, like many of those from the open outcry era, had so many friends because of the unique nature of the massive throng that was the trading floors at the Merc and CBOT. The loss of Jack Sandner, who was about 10 years younger than Leo, makes this point too well. BTW, Amazon’s Alexa does not know how to pronounce “Melamed.”

I encourage you to reach out to Leo and wish him a happy birthday if you have not done so already. I can provide contact information if you need it.

Tony McCormick, who was best friends with the late Jack Sandner, has offered his own remembrance of Jack. He said he thinks many of the remembrances of Jack missed the essence of the man, whom he called “rough and tumble guy who always championed the individual trader over the big interests of commercials and Wall Street.” You can find Tony’s complete remembrance on our Jack Sandner Remembrance page on Also courtesy of Tony is a picture of Jack Sandner’s service captured from the streaming video.

Boca-V is over, so get ready for Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021 starting Tuesday, March 23. The Derivatives Forum Frankfurt 2021 will be held as virtual edition with thought leadership insights, industry debates, keynote speeches and virtual networking opportunities.

The OCC’s Amy Shelly talked with Bettye Price as part of Women’s History Month in a short YouTube video.

Coinbase settled charges filed by the CFTC and is to pay a $6.5 million fine for “reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting as well as wash trading by a former employee on Coinbase’s GDAX platform.” Meanwhile, Coinbase going public has been delayed, avoiding a March Madness direct listing.

The latest hot thing in the debt markets is volcano bonds.

Quantitative Brokers or QB, has launched algorithms on JPX. The algos will be used for equity, fixed income, and commodity futures contracts on the Osaka Exchange (OSE).

Robinhood is looking to hire some merry men and women in a cryptocurrency hiring spree.

Robert Crosby (BCC), Joseph Cosenza (COZ), Kurt Kabat (KAK), Mandino Fratto (TTO) and Michael Lysaght (ML) were each hit with $500 fines by the CME Group for violating market regulation advisory notice RA2001-3, which applies to wearing face shields or face masks while on the trading floor and maintaining proper social distancing.

Brian Price of FEX Global was the latest to give to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. Brian is a longtime JLN reader and FEX has been a loyal sponsor of JLN for many years. The Financial and Energy Exchange Group (FEX) announced they are to launch their futures exchange on Friday, March 26. The exchange will offer centrally cleared futures and options for the energy, environmental and commodity asset classes that will be centrally cleared by CME Clearing.

Thank you to Brian and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history by donating to our GoFundMe campaign.

I received my first of two shots of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, although it was a combination shot of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. The shot was Pfizer, but the Band-Aid covering the injection site was Johnson & Johnson.

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


Mergers and acquisitions are on the rise in the U.S. cannabis industry, as Nasdaq analyst Saleen Daya pointed out in a JLN podcast last week. One recent M&A example is last week’s announcement from Chicago-based Cresco Labs. The company said it planned to buy Massachusetts-based Cultivate Licensing LLC for about $158 million, elevating Cresco to a No. 3 position in Massachusetts, a state that reported nearly $1 billion in total retail sales in 2020. For more details, see the press release.~SC

FTSE Russell has published its “Equity Drivers Report” for March. Among its observations is that the expected economic boost from the Biden administration’s Covid-19 relief package has resulted not only in upgrades to GDP and earnings-per-share forecasts, but also the bond market’s repricing of inflation risk. That recalibration to a different macro outlook is contributing to market volatility, the report notes.~SC


The CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast Episode 18: Building a Better Mousetrap (David Olsson, BlockFi)

BlockFi is a New York City-based start-up cryptocurrency financial institution. It offers lots of crypto services to its customers, including lending U.S. dollars against bitcoin and other cryptocurrency as collateral, as well as accepting deposits of cryptocurrencies which pay interest to the depositor.
David Olsson is the Global Head of Distribution at BlockFi. Previously, he worked in the financial markets for two decades, managing teams at companies like Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. On this episode of the CryptoMarketsWiki Podcast, Olsson sits down to talk about how BlockFi is striving to become the global crypto bank of the future.

Listen to this podcast »


The World Will Need 10 Million Tons More Copper to Meet Demand
James Attwood – Bloomberg
Supply gap looms as mines become trickier and pricier to build; BI analysts warn of possible dearth of mine projects from 2025
Within a decade, the world may face a massive shortfall of what’s arguably the most critical metal for global economies: copper. The copper industry needs to spend upwards of $100 billion to close what could be an annual supply deficit of 4.7 million metric tons by 2030 as the clean power and transport sectors take off, according to estimates from CRU Group. The potential shortfall could reach 10 million tons if no mines get built, according to commodities trader Trafigura Group. Closing such a gap would require building the equivalent of eight projects the size of BHP Group’s giant Escondida in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine.

*****You might not be able to hear this bull market in the making, but you should be smelting it.~JJL


Japan deploys scatological strategy to explain finance to kids; Regulator turns to popular defecation-themed cartoon character in educational drive
Leo Lewis – FT
In a fast-changing financial world, where fortunes can be made in tradeable cat images and Elon Musk can wipe billions off Tesla’s value in a single tweet, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has turned to a scatological cartoon character to teach children about money.

*****My kids grew up with stories of Winnie-the-Pooh. This is a different kind of poo.~JJL


Young Bankers Have an Absurd Work Life; Junior Goldman Sachs analysts complaining about 100-hour work weeks should just suck it up, apparently. Why is investment banking so stuck in the past?
Marcus Ashworth and Elisa Martinuzzi – Bloomberg
In the first episode of “Industry,” a BBC and HBO television drama about young investment bankers, the depiction of their world couldn’t be bleaker: A graduate trainee dies in the office toilet after pulling several all-nighters. Both writers of the cult show had left banking disenchanted by their own experiences, and they had a real example to give the plotline substance. In 2013 a summer intern at Bank of America Corp. in London died from an epileptic seizure caused by overwork.

******The Masters of the Universe should be able to figure out a better solution.~JJL


Professional services face losing junior staff to burnout; Mental health problems on the rise as Covid brings greater workloads coupled with a shift to solitary working
Kate Beioley – FT
Junior lawyers and consultants are warning they are suffering burnout after working longer hours in isolation during the pandemic, sparking fears of an exodus from the biggest global law and advisory firms. Soaring demand for legal and corporate advice during the Covid-19 crisis and a global shift to remote working have resulted in a growing mental health problem among younger professional workers, according to senior partners.

******As part of my getting an electronic stimulator embedded in my back, I have been encouraged to get some counseling about how I deal with pain. That could be a euphemism for how I deal with life.~JJL


What the oddly uplifting Covid jab says about business life; Few companies can easily offer meaning and purpose at work but that should not stop them from trying
Pilita Clark – FT
How did you spend your last Sunday afternoon? If you are of a certain age and live in the UK, there is a fair chance you did what I did and found yourself sitting on a plastic chair in a converted hall while someone stuck a needle in your arm and delivered a shot of Covid vaccine.

*****A purpose-driven shot.~JJL


Friday’s Top Three
The most-read story in the newsletter on Friday was from the New York Post, Tired Goldman Sachs underlings beg to work ‘just’ 80 hours a week, instead of 100. The second most popular was about SPACs, The New York Times piece ‘The Market Seems Crazy’: Start-Ups Wrestle With Flood of Offers. Third was a John Lothian News feature on the new members of the Futures Industry Hall of Fame, FIA Boca-V: Closing Ceremony Honors Outstanding Figures and Remembers the Lost.


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Lead Stories

The New Stock Influencers Have Huge—and Devoted—Followings; Stocks surge on tweets from the likes of Elon Musk, Cathie Wood and Chamath Palihapitiya
Akane Otani – WSJ
One January afternoon, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk sent out an 11-character tweet: “Gamestonk!!” His Twitter followers sprung into action. GameStop Corp. shares surged more than 150% overnight. The next day, analysts threw up their hands. Nothing apart from Mr. Musk’s tweet—which included a link to Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum—could explain why the stock soared.

How DIY investors are posing a challenge for brokers; Brokerages fear a market downturn could extinguish new wave of interest
Madison Darbyshire – FT
Lewis Harding, a 22-year-old trainee accountant from the English city of Leeds, is the sort of investor that brokerages need — and fear. Instead of relying on professionals to invest for him, Harding is doing it himself. “You can teach yourself anything from the internet and from YouTube, for free,” he said. “Investing is one of those things.”

Federal Reserve’s Digital Dollar Momentum Worries Wall Street
Joe Light – Bloomberg
Boston Fed, MIT researchers plan to unveil platform work soon; Project could threaten banks, credit cards, cryptocurrencies
The financial services industry, braced for what could be its biggest disruption in decades, is about to get an early glimpse at the Federal Reserve’s work on a new digital currency. Wall Street is not thrilled. Banks, credit card companies and digital payments processors are nervously watching the push to create an electronic alternative to the paper bills Americans carry in their wallets, or what some call a digital dollar and others call a Fedcoin.

CFTC’s Behnam wants federal oversight of crypto markets; Proposal would make US first Western country to regulate crypto exchanges and traders
Sharon Thiruchelvam –
The acting chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rostin Behnam, has called for federal regulators to oversee spot cryptocurrency markets, a move that would make the US the only Western country to regulate the exchanges where digital assets change hands. “If we continue to see the growth in the markets, if we continue to see retail-investor interest in these markets, then there is certainly a role for the federal government, not unlike exchange-traded futures and not unlike the

NFTs Mushroom Into Billion-Dollar Market With Help From Alchemy
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Blockchain startup says it has grown 54-fold since August; All major NFT platforms use Alchemy to connect to Ethereum
The $1 billion market for non-fungible tokens has seemingly come out of nowhere to capture the imagination of artists and blockchain enthusiasts all over the world. While the projects range from eight-bit pixelated portraits to elaborate ink and paint creations, what they all have in common is the behind-the-scenes startup Alchemy.

Prices in a ‘Bubble,’ Beeple Says After His $69 Million NFT Sale
Ros Krasny – Bloomberg
Graphic designer’s piece third in price among living artists; ‘Everydays’ is a collage of images made each day for 13 years
NFT art is “absolutely” in a bubble, said the digital artist who this month sold a non-fungible token of his piece “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for an eye-watering $69.3 million. “I absolutely think it’s a bubble, to be quite honest. I go back to the analogy of the beginning of the internet. There was a bubble. And the bubble burst,” Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

NFTs Are Spurring a Digital Land Grab—in Videogame Worlds; Investors and gamers are buying millions of dollars worth of land that exists only in videogames
Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez – WSJ
Investors are pouring millions of dollars into land. But these lush fields and rolling hills only exist within videogames. Just as physical land appeals to pension funds and family offices, digital real estate is luring both investors and dedicated gamers, said Craig Russo, the co-founder of Polyient Games, an investment fund and startup incubator focused on the intersection of gaming and so-called nonfungible tokens. Those are digital identifiers which help verify the authenticity of an asset.

U.S. Weighs Global Benchmark on Climate Impact for Wall Street
Jess Shankleman, Saleha Mohsin, and Jennifer A Dlouhy – Bloomberg
Biden team’s framework to include climate disclosure, ESG; Biden to set targets in line with most-ambitious Paris goal
The Biden administration is considering ways to push the global finance industry into consistently accounting for carbon dioxide emissions and green investments, according to people familiar with the matter.

Britain and EU close to agreeing forum for financial services; Memorandum of understanding would seek to build ‘stable and durable’ basis for cooperation
George Parker in London and Jim Brunsden – FT
Britain and the EU are poised to agree a new “talking shop” for co-operation on financial services, but the deal will still leave the City of London facing major barriers to trade with the 27-member bloc.

High-Income Tax Avoidance Far Larger Than Thought, New Paper Estimates; The very top sliver of high-income Americans may underreport their income at levels far beyond what was suggested by prior IRS research, according to a new paper
Richard Rubin – WSJ
The top sliver of high-income Americans dodge significantly more in income taxes than the Internal Revenue Service’s methods had previously assumed, according to forthcoming estimates from IRS researchers and academic economists. Overall, the paper estimates that the top 1% of households fail to report about 21% of their income, with 6 percentage points of that due to sophisticated strategies that random audits don’t detect. For the top 0.1%, unreported income may be nearly twice as large as conventional IRS methodologies would suggest, the researchers wrote.

Leon Black Steps Down as Apollo Chairman in Unexpected Move; Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to succeed Black as the investment giant continues governance overhaul
Miriam Gottfried – WSJ
Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of Apollo Global Management Inc., APO -0.32% is stepping down as chairman of the investment giant in an unexpected move that is the latest in a governance overhaul kicked off by revelations of Mr. Black’s ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Visa Faces U.S. Probe Over Its Debit-Card Routing Practices
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Justice Department examining Visa’s rules online and in stores; Agency already argued Visa has monopoly power in lawsuit
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an antitrust investigation into Visa Inc.’s practices regarding debit-card transactions. The department is looking into the network’s rules for routing transactions both in stores and online, according to a person familiar with the matter. Representatives for the Justice Department declined to comment.

The Two Women Fixing the Pipeline for Black Female Economists; The co-founders of the Sadie Collective talk about their mission and bringing racial justice to the Fed.
Karen Toulon – Bloomberg
The first Black PhD economist in the U.S. Sadie Alexander wasn’t able to practice her chosen profession. Born in 1898, Alexander couldn’t find work because of her race and gender, so she turned to practicing law instead. More than a century later, Black women account for only one percent of U.S. economists.

Fight Between Commodities Giants and Shippers Leaves Seafarers Stuck; The big players have agreed to prioritize relief for exhausted ship workers. Why are so many still stranded?
Jack Wittels, K Oanh Ha, and Aaron Clark – Bloomberg
A standoff between commodities giants and shipping companies is prolonging the labor crisis at sea, with an estimated 200,000 seafarers still stuck on their vessels beyond the expiration of their contracts and past the requirements of globally accepted safety standards.

Catastrophe Debt Market Gets First Dedicated Volcano Bonds
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Notes only cover against damages caused by volcano eruptions; Loss triggers are based on model that tracks ash plume, winds
A bond sponsored by the Danish Red Cross is the first to offer dedicated insurance against volcanic eruptions, according to a statement. The project’s partners aim to raise as much as $3 million with the launch of the note, which will transfer money to Denmark’s branch of the Red Cross. Initial investors include Schroder Investment Management and Plenum Investments, a firm specializing in insurance-linked securities, according to the statement.

European Banks Urged to Recognize Loan Losses Following Covid
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
EBA’s Campa expects ‘significant’ increase in bad loan ratios; ‘Zombie banks’ that stall on losses could also hurt recovery
The European Union’s top banking regulator urged lenders to promptly write off loans that are failing in the aftermath of the pandemic, warning that without action “zombie” firms could damage the economic recovery. Jose Manuel Campa, chairman of the Paris-based European Banking Authority, said in an interview on March 19 that regulators expect non-performing loans to “increase to a significant amount” in the coming quarters, after a year of government support for borrowers and banks suppressed defaults. There should be “as early recognition as possible” of losses, Campa said.

ESG Disclosure Rules From Europe Challenge U.S. Fund Managers; Big U.S. firms have to disclose climate, diversity and governance data for investments by funds marketed in the EU
Jean Eaglesham and Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
Scores of U.S. fund managers are being forced to comply with sweeping new European rules on climate and other sustainable-finance issues, requiring them to disclose the potential harm their investments could do to the environment and society. Fund companies including Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc. BLK 0.82% and State Street Corp. STT -1.28% that sell investment products in the European Union come under the new rules that took effect this month, though details are still being finalized.

Here’s How a Central Bank Digital Currency Could Work
Johanna Jeansson and David Qu – Bloomberg
Most of global payments are already digital, yet a central bank digital currency would provide risk-free, central-bank backed money denominated in a national unit of account — like cash, though updated to the demands of a digital financial system. The motivations for issuing CBDC vary across countries and regions, and the policy approach and technical designs will also differ, according to research by Bloomberg Economics. Based on BIS terminology and what’s known from China and Sweden on CBDC infrastructure and access, a hybrid between light-touch and a full version looks like the most likely solution for a digital krona or a digital yuan.

A fallen star of the investment world; Blow for investors as popular ‘minimum volatility’ funds stumble
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
When Wells Fargo hired Fischer Black and Myron Scholes in the late 1960s to advise on its plans for the first-ever index fund, the economists made a curious discovery. The internal argument they triggered still echoes in the investment industry today. Back then, it was the heyday of Eugene Fama’s “efficient markets hypothesis”. This stipulated that the stock market was in practice unbeatable, as all new relevant information was continually baked into prices. But professors Scholes and Black found that one could outperform by simply buying stocks with lower volatility, possibly because investors systematically overpaid for more exciting, choppier securities.

Cathie Wood Is Actively Displacing Those Passive Nasdaq Whales; Her ARK Innovation ETF has revived retail investor interest in small cap stocks after a decade of funds thoughtless FAANGfare.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
In the late 2000s, when I was an equity research analyst at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., my manager would say, “To win big, you have to think small.” I worked with a team of math, finance and accounting wizards, many fresh out of graduate schools, to sift through the financials of thousands of small-cap companies, looking for some advantage or hidden pattern that the bank’s trading desks could use to make money.


Merkel Seeks Another Four Weeks of Lockdown in Blow to Germany
Arne Delfs and Mariajose Vera – Bloomberg
Draft moots compulsory tests, quarantine after travel abroad; Nine states are now over the key incidence threshold of 100
Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed keeping German lockdown restrictions in force for another four weeks after Covid-19 cases rose beyond a level that may prompt government action to avoid health-care overload.

Merkel Pledges to Ramp Up German Covid Vaccinations in April
Arne Delfs – Bloomberg
EU leaders seeking to get immunization drive back on track; German cases reach two-month high amid ‘exponential’ spread
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will accelerate its Covid-19 vaccination drive, seeking to recover from the temporary halt of AstraZeneca Plc’s shot over blood-clot concerns. With Europe facing a virus resurgence from France to Czech Republic, Merkel laid out a vista of getting a grip on the crisis while signaling Germany may need to roll back some of its earlier lockdown easing. Three available vaccines and the expected arrival of a Johnson & Johnson shot will help, she said.

Vaccine Battle Heats Up With EU Ready to Halt U.K. Shipments
Nikos Chrysoloras, Suzi Ring, and Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
EU to review, and likely block, Astra shipments going to U.K.; The move may stoke allegations of ‘vaccine nationalism’
The European Union is ready to start withholding Covid-19 shots from the U.K., risking a sharp deterioration in relations with London in a bid to turn around its lackluster vaccination campaign.

U.K. Says It’s Developing Fast Test for Covid-19 Variants
Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg
The U.K. government is developing new testing technology that would identify whether positive Covid-19 test samples contain variants of concern, and provide more rapid results.

BioNTech CEO Sees U.S., Europe Lockdowns Waning by Late Summer
Tony Czuczka – Bloomberg
Globally, another year or more to get situation under control; Vaccine schedule remains uncertain as coronavirus lingers
The U.S. and many European countries will probably be in a position to end Covid-19 lockdowns at the end of summer, said BioNTech SE Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin. Overall, though, “it will take at least a year to get the situation under control worldwide,” Sahin, whose company is Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine-making partner, was quoted as telling Welt am Sonntag. While virus mutations will emerge, “we are already preparing for that today,” he told the German outlet in an interview.

Astra Vaccine 79% Effective in U.S., Shows No Safety Issues
James Paton and Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
Independent panel looks at blood-clot risk, finds no concerns; New trial data pave way for U.S. regulatory submission
AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus vaccine fared better than expected in a U.S. clinical trial, providing reassurance about its safety and efficacy. The shot developed with the University of Oxford was 79% effective in preventing Covid-19, and an independent monitoring board found no safety concerns, the company said Monday. All those immunized were protected from severe disease and death in a study of more than 30,000 volunteers.

*****HERE is the FT version of this story and HERE is the Wall Street Journal’s version. And just to complete the circle, HERE is the New York Times verison.~JJL

Brazil Is a Bleak Covid Warning for Europe and Britain; The pandemic is a global problem and needs a global response. Nationalistic vaccine fights like the one between the EU and U.K. will only delay its end.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
The European Union and the U.K.’s spat over Covid-19 vaccine supplies is heating up, with the EU ready to block exports of AstraZeneca Plc’s shots to Britain until its own needs are met. The wrong lessons are being learned amid the scramble to immunize. As a way to boost Europe’s sluggish vaccine rollout, an export ban is unlikely to be a game-changer: Airfinity data cited by The Guardian suggest it would speed up the bloc’s immunization campaign by about a week. The delay to the U.K.’s own rollout, meanwhile, could last months, handing a win to the coronavirus and making tit-for-tat British trade reprisals likely. This could affect all drugmakers, not just the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca.

India’s Rising Virus Cases Risk Denting Economic Recovery
Anirban Nag – Bloomberg
New daily infections crossed the 40,000-mark recently; ‘Ominous’ is how the RBI has described the recent spike
A surge in coronavirus cases in India could hurt the economy’s recovery from a rare recession, as curbs to avoid a new wave creates delays in putting millions who lost their jobs to the pandemic back to work. “There is a restless urgency in the air in India to resume high growth, and incoming data point to even contact-intensive services such as personal care, recreation and hospitality gathering traction,” central bankers led by Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra wrote in the Reserve Bank of India’s latest monthly bulletin. But “another outbreak, more lockdowns and restraints, will get unbearable in spite of learning from the initial experience of living with the virus.”

Johnson lobbies EU leaders in bid to avert vaccine export blocks; Brussels rejects London’s claim of contractual right to supply from AstraZeneca plant in Netherlands
George Parker and Michael Peel and Sam Fleming – FT
Boris Johnson, British prime minister, will this week urge EU national capitals to veto a suggestion from Brussels that would block AstraZeneca vaccine exports to the UK and push post-Brexit relations to a new low. London has laid claim to millions of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab produced at a Dutch factory, sparking a fierce battle with the European Commission, which says they should be used in the EU.

Sputnik vaccine developers hit out at EU commissioner over ‘bias’; Thierry Breton said the bloc had ‘absolutely no need’ for the Russia-made jab
Henry Foy – FT
The developers of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine have accused the EU’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton of “hubris” and anti-Russian “bias” after he said the bloc had no need to use the jab.

Unvaccinated sailors risk deepening global supply chain crisis; Shipping industry warns that half of world’s sailors are from countries where vaccine rollout is slow
Harry Dempsey – FT
The international shipping industry is warning that unvaccinated seafarers threaten to tip the global supply chain into deeper crisis as countries introduce vaccine requirements at their borders. Of the world’s 1.7m seafarers, 900,000 are from developing nations, where vaccines might not be available for all until 2024, according to the International Chamber of Shipping, a trade association.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Jumping ship: Concerns raised over LSEG’s 2022 Docklands datacenter move; The project comes at a time when Euronext is considering a datacenter move, and sources speculate that Six might also be another candidate to migrate. Market participants are split on the news of the LSEG migration, with some calling it “frustrating,” while others believe the current location is unfit to house the exchange’s growth plans.
Josephine Gallagher – Waters Technology
Firms that co-locate inside the datacenters of some of Europe’s largest exchanges are looking at a potentially busy period of datacenter migrations ahead—whether they know it’s coming or not.

Investors’ doubts rise over LSE takeover of Refinitiv; Worries have increased over scale of challenge to integrate business
Bryce Elder – FT
Stock markets offer a blunt measure of buyer’s remorse. None more so than London Stock Exchange Group, whose shares have sunk more than 25 per cent from a record high in February. A month earlier LSE completed the $27bn purchase of Refinitiv, a deal that was sold to investors as transformational. It was a pitch familiar to all finance professionals — that automation and big data were burrowing their ways into all levels of decision making.

Bloomberg and Standard Chartered launch electronic platform for Korea treasury bonds; The first electronic trade was performed on Bloomberg between Standard Chartered and a global buy-side investor to mark the launch.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Bloomberg has partnered with investment bank Standard Chartered to introduce electronic trading workflow for accessing Korea treasury bond liquidity on the Terminal. The partnership aims to give investors the ability to stage, monitor, trade, process and allocate trades in Korean treasury bonds via an electronic workflow through Bloomberg’s electronic trading offering.

Euronext announces the sale of Centevo
Euronext today announced that it has completed the sale of Centevo to Profile Software, an international financial solutions provider. Centevo had been acquired in 2019 as part of the acquisition of Oslo Børs VPS. Centevo generated c.EUR5.5m of revenues in 2020.

Equity index derivatives: Introduction of Liquidity Provider Schemes for FTSE® 100 Index Derivatives and EURO STOXX® Index Total Return Futures
Eurex Circular 028/21 Equity index derivatives: Introduction of Liquidity Provider Schemes for FTSE® 100 Index Derivatives and EURO STOXX® Index Total Return Futures

Next Generation ETD Contracts – New contract identification concept and introduction of business initiatives
Eurex Circular 027/21 Next Generation ETD Contracts – New contract identification concept and introduction of business initiatives

New opportunities on the Eurex/KRX Link: KOSPI 200 Futures now available for trading
Eurex is the only trading venue that offers international investors access to Korean benchmark derivatives products outside Korean trading hours. The addition of Futures on the Korean benchmark KOSPI 200 index on the Eurex/Korea Exchange (KRX) Link complements existing Eurex KOSPI 200 Options and Mini-KOSPI Futures listed on the link. These will provide market participants operational benefits and, even more importantly, margin efficiencies.

Eurex starts Phase 2 of its RSS Futures launch
With Related Security Spread (RSS) Futures, Eurex introduced a new type of product back in June 2020. A second phase is being launched in March. Zubin Ramdarshan, Head of Equity & Index Product Design, at Eurex, talks about the development of RSS Futures in general and the specifics of the newly launched products:

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
CME RULE VIOLATIONS: Market Regulation Advisory Notice RA2001-3
Requirements and Conditions in Connection with Re-Opening the Trading Floor (in part)
The following non-exhaustive list of requirements and conditions apply to all members and employees of members while on the trading floor: Face shields or face masks must be worn in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment requirements and Enhanced Cleaning Precautions as set forth in the [Guidelines for Trading 21-1439Floor Access]; Maintenance of social distancing in accordance with the [Guidelines for Trading Floor Access]
FINDINGS: On numerous dates in February 2021, Lysaght violated socialdistancing and face shield guidelines after repeated warnings by Exchange staff.

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
CME RULE VIOLATIONS: Market Regulation Advisory Notice RA2001-3
Requirements and Conditions in Connection with Re-Opening the Trading Floor (in part)
The following non-exhaustive list of requirements and conditions apply to all members and employees of members while on the trading floor: Face shields or face masks must be worn in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment requirements and Enhanced Cleaning Precautions as set forth in the [Guidelines for Trading 21-1439Floor Access]; Maintenance of social distancing in accordance with the [Guidelines for Trading Floor Access]
FINDINGS: On numerous dates in February 2021, Fratto violated socialdistancing and face shield guidelines after repeated warnings by Exchange staff. PENALTY: $500

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
CME RULE VIOLATIONS: Market Regulation Advisory Notice RA2001-3
Requirements and Conditions in Connection with Re-Opening the Trading Floor (in part)=
The following non-exhaustive list of requirements and conditions apply to all members and employees of members while on the trading floor: Face shields or face masks must be worn in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment requirements and Enhanced Cleaning Precautions as set forth in the [Guidelines for Trading 21-1439Floor Access]; Maintenance of social distancing in accordance with the [Guidelines for Trading Floor Access]
FINDINGS: On numerous dates in February 2021, Kabat violated socialdistancing and face shield guidelines after repeated warnings by Exchange staff. PENALTY: $500

Performance Bond Requirements – Energy Margin – Effective March 22, 2021
CME Group
“As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below. The rates will be effective after the close of business on 3/22/2021.”

Notice of Summary Action
CME Group
CME RULE VIOLATIONS: Market Regulation Advisory Notice RA2001-3
Requirements and Conditions in Connection with Re-Opening the Trading Floor (in part)=
The following non-exhaustive list of requirements and conditions apply to all members and employees of members while on the trading floor: Face shields or face masks must be worn in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment requirements and Enhanced Cleaning Precautions as set forth in the [Guidelines for Trading 21-1439Floor Access]; Maintenance of social distancing in accordance with the [Guidelines for Trading Floor Access]
FINDINGS: On numerous dates in February 2021, Kabat violated socialdistancing and face shield guidelines after repeated warnings by Exchange staff. PENALTY: $500

Awards for outstanding ETF market makers
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “the Company”) established the ETF Market Making Scheme in July 2018 with the aim of improving liquidity in the ETF market, and has made a number of improvements since its establishment. Under this scheme, market makers have been continuously showing quotes for a large number of ETFs, and this has resulted in a significant improvement in liquidity for many ETFs. Therefore, in order to honor market makers who have made significant contributions to liquidity provision and to notify this scheme broadly, TSE is pleased to present awards to outstanding ETF market makers.

Notice of Revision to Earnings Forecast and Dividend Forecast


Greensill Collapse Exposes Gap at Heart of Its Technology Claims; Company’s technology capabilities were limited
Lucca De Paoli – Bloomberg
Lex Greensill promoted his business as the future of finance, talking up a technology superior to Wall Street rivals that allowed him to lend at super-low rates based on real-time information. But former staff at Greensill Capital, as well as others familiar with its computer systems, paint a very different picture of the technological abilities of the lender.

Ant’s Alipay Rolls Out Investment Advisory Platform in China
Lulu Yilun Chen – Bloomberg
Tougu Guanjia functions like a supermarket for robo advisers; Ant is working with five asset managers as part of debut
Ant Group Co. created an investment advisory platform on its Alipay app, allowing companies that offer robo adviser services to reach its 1 billion users. Five Chinese asset management companies debuted on the platform known as Tougu Guanjia, which means investment advisory manager. Users will be able to chose robo advisory services from the platform that functions like a supermarket.

BNP Paribas expands ALiX digital trading assistant beyond FX algos; The FX digital trading assistant was launched by BNP Paribas in 2019 as part of a major upgrade to its FX trading platform, Cortex FX.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
BNP Paribas has rolled out its artificial intelligence-based digital trading assistant to cover all products traded via its Cortex FX platform. Known as ALiX, the tool was launched in 2019 to access and insights on the bank’s FX algorithms alongside real time analytics and running commentary on execution to traders on Cortex FX.

Quantitative Brokers launches algorithms on JPX derivatives exchange; The execution algorithms from Quantitative Brokers launched on the Osaka Exchange are co-located at JPX, for close proximity to the exchange’s matching engines.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Algorithmic trading specialist Quantitative Brokers has launched its algorithm suite on the derivatives bourse of the Japan Exchange Group (JPX), the Osaka Exchange (OSE). The execution algorithms will be used by buy- and sell-side traders to execute orders equity, fixed income, and commodity futures contracts on the OSE.

Thoma Bravo to Acquire Calypso Technology from Bridgepoint and Summit Partners; Leading software investor to partner with Calypso to drive further growth and innovation in capital markets technology
Thoma Bravo
Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors, today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Calypso Technology, Inc. (“Calypso”) from international private equity group Bridgepoint and global growth investor Summit Partners. The deal, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As Clubhouse’s popularity skyrockets, some observers are raising questions about the spread of misinformation
Kevin Shalvey – Business Insider
In a recent Clubhouse discussion about COVID-19 vaccines, a woman digitally raised her hand, entered the conversation, and spoke at length about how the virus could be treated more effectively with herbal and natural remedies than with vaccines.

Enova Announces Acquisition of Pangea Universal Holdings, a Next-Generation Payments Platform; Pangea will leverage Enova marketing, technology, analytics and capital to accelerate its rapid growth
Enova International, Inc.
Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a leading financial technology company powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), today announced that it has acquired Pangea Universal Holdings, a Chicago-based payments platform offering mobile international money transfer services. This acquisition brings Enova’s world class technology, analytics and online business expertise to the international money transfer market with a focus on Latin America and Asia, which the World Bank estimates to be a combined $71 billion per year market in remittance outflows from the U.S.


Coinbase’s Direct Listing Pushed Back to April
Katie Roof – Bloomberg
Coinbase Global Inc., the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, is now aiming to go public in April after its plans for a direct listing this month have slipped, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because it was private.

Bitcoin Mining Revenue On The Rise: Miners Record $64M In A Single Day
Samyuktha Sriram – Benzinga
Bitcoin miners earned over $64.386 million in daily revenue on March 18 – the highest level in the coin’s history, according to data from

Robinhood plans to hire a ‘ton’ of people for its crypto business and may add some new cryptocurrencies to its platform, CEO Vlad Tenev says
Shalini Nagarajan – Business Insider
Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said on Thursday that the online brokerage plans to hire a “ton” of people for its cryptocurrency operations and may add new coins to its platform.

Galaxy Digital Announces Appointment of Mark Toomey as Head of Institutional Sales
Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd.
Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. (TSX: GLXY) (“Galaxy Digital” or the “Company”) announced that it has appointed Mark Toomey to be its Head of Institutional Sales, effective March 29th. Mr. Toomey joins the diversified financial services and investment management firm after spending over two decades in traditional capital markets at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, where he managed Equity Derivatives Sales teams that covered a range of asset management clients for a variety of derivative and structured products.

Canadian Property Firm Buys Bitcoin in Hopes of Eventually Scrapping Condo Fees
Tanzeel Akhtar – Coindesk
Saskatchewan-based Thornton Place Condominium Corp is hoping to eventually do away with condo fees by investing in bitcoin.

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor says his casual Twitter exchange with Elon Musk back in December prompted Tesla to buy bitcoin
Shalini Nagarajan – Business Insider
Elon Musk’s Twitter dialogue with MicroStrategy’s CEO influenced Tesla’s decision to invest $1.5 billion into bitcoin, Michael Saylor said in a recent interview with Time magazine.

Scaramucci Says More Companies Should Be Holding Bitcoin on Their Balance Sheets
Kevin Reynolds – Coindesk
More companies should be holding bitcoin on their balance sheet due to the explosive growth of the U.S. monetary supply, former White House Communications Director and hedge fund founder Anthony Scaramucci said on CoinDesk TV.

Podcast: What the Heck are NFT’s? Let’s Ask Beeple; The artist just sold an encrypted digital collage for $69 million. So are non fungible tokens the next new asset class, or is it all hype?
Kara Swisher – NY Times
Lactating humanoid breasts. Buzz Lightyear with a bloodied chain saw. Donald Trump getting spanked by Abraham Lincoln. These are some of the images contained in Mike Winkelmann’s “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS.” Christie’s auction house sold the digital artwork this month for $69 million. That makes the piece by Mr. Winklemann, also known as Beeple, the third highest sale by a living artist, following Jeff Koons and David Hockney.

Robinhood plans hiring spree for cryptocurrency operation
Noah Manskar – NY Post
Robinhood is planning to beef up its cryptocurrency staff this year amid an explosion of interest in trading digital coins, CEO Vlad Tenev said. The popular investment app has been hiring “a ton” of new staff as it works to roll out more cryptocurrency offerings — including the ability to move crypto assets to and from a user’s digital wallet, according to Tenev.

Navigating Bitcoin Is as Much Art as Economics; The stratospheric rise of cryptocurrencies has upended how people, companies and even governments think about money.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
As the world became increasingly digital, it stood to reason that eventually our money — how we create it, how we spend it, how we invest it — would become digital, too. The advent of Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, was a curious phenomenon, but in recent years it has skyrocketed in value (although its instability makes it not an asset for the faint of heart). Now companies are investing in crypto; the art world is enthralled by it; and governments are pondering how to manage its risks while still encouraging innovation. The only thing we’d count on? Crypto is here to stay.

Crypto Long & Short: Bitpanda’s Raise Is About More Than Market Infrastructure; The $170 million funding round highlights the explosive growth of crypto as an asset class – and the potential of the European market.
Noelle Acheson – Coindesk
The pace of startup raises in the crypto industry, especially for businesses involved in building or operating crypto market infrastructure, has passed from a gentle canter to what feels like a gallop. I keep a note of the raises that CoinDesk reports on, and did some counting this morning: 14 in January, 24 in February, and so far this month – with a week and a half still to go – we’re at 32. That’s acceleration.

The darker side of non-fungible tokens
Molly Roberts – Washington Post
You can buy just about anything these days — even what you can’t actually own. The world is in something of a fever over “non-fungible tokens” or NFTs, crypto-jargon for a concept just as tortured as it sounds. NFTs are digital collectibles, verified through the blockchain, so that an image, song, url or any other piece of data can be authenticated as “original.” Putting a price on the priceless, however, doesn’t come cheap.


Summers Sees ‘Least Responsible’ Fiscal Policy in 40 Years
Andrew Davis – Bloomberg
Summers repeatedly criticized recent Biden stimulus plan; Noble Laureate Krugman says 1970s-style inflation not a risk
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned that the U.S. is suffering from the “least responsible” macroeconomic policy in four decades, pointing the finger at both Democrats and Republicans for creating “enormous” risks. In his latest attack on the recent rush of stimulus, Summers told David Westin on Bloomberg Television’s “Wall Street Week” that “what was kindling, is now igniting” given the recovery from Covid will stoke demand pressure at the same time as fiscal policy has been aggressively eased and the Federal Reserve has “stuck to its guns” in committing to loose monetary policy.

Biden Determined to Tax Rich After Windfalls From Covid Crisis
Nancy Cook – Bloomberg
Key aides have worked on proposals to tax wealthy for years; Impetus for revamping tax regime grew with ‘K-shaped’ recovery
President Joe Biden’s economic team at the White House is determined to make good on his campaign pledge to raise taxes on the rich, emboldened by mounting data showing how well America’s wealthy did financially during the pandemic.

A Taiwan Crisis May Mark the End of the American Empire; America is a diplomatic fox, while Beijing is a hedgehog fixated on the big idea of reunification.
Niall Ferguson – Bloomberg
In a famous essay, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin borrowed a distinction from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”


US competing consolidators grapple with pricing uncertainty as SEC, exchanges battle over new Sip regime; Vendors who want to provide consolidated market data under the SEC’s new system can’t make plans until they know how they are going to be charged for market data. But the fee schedules are mired in legal action and confusion.
Joanna Wright – Waters Technology
When the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finalized a rule that made major changes to US equities market infrastructure in December 2020, it opened the door for interested technology vendors to become suppliers of consolidated market data.

CFTC Orders Coinbase Inc. to Pay $6.5 Million for False, Misleading, or Inaccurate Reporting and Wash Trading
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against digital asset exchange operator Coinbase Inc., based in San Francisco, California, for reckless false, misleading, or inaccurate reporting as well as wash trading by a former employee on Coinbase’s GDAX platform.

Coinbase Agrees To Pay $6.5M In Settlement With CFTC Over Deceptive Reporting, Wash Trading Charges
Gary Anglebrandt – Benzinga
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Coinbase Inc. have come to a settlement over charges against the San Francisco-based digital currency exchange. What Happened: The commission on Friday ordered Coinbase to pay $6.5 million over charges of reckless false, misleading or inaccurate reporting, as well as wash trading by a former employee on Coinbase’s GDAX platform.

Credit Suisse Gets Extra EU Charge Sheet Over FX Cartel
Hugo Miller and Aoife White – Bloomberg
EU supplementary objections may delay conclusion of case; Probes focuses on allegations of collusion between FX traders
Credit Suisse Group AG received an extra antitrust charge sheet from the European Commission, which may delay efforts to conclude a lengthy probe into alleged collusion between foreign exchange traders at several banks. European Union regulators and the Zurich-based bank confirmed the so-called supplementary statement of objections, which adds to earlier charges sent in July 2018. The Swiss lender continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Managers hope ‘proxy’ bitcoin funds will finally win SEC approval; Despite their popularity elsewhere, the SEC has yet to give the green light to crypto ETFs
Steve Johnson – FT
US asset managers are attempting to sidestep the Securities and Exchange Commission’s apparent reluctance to approve bitcoin exchange traded funds with applications for products that will provide “proxy” exposure. The filings with the SEC come as exchange traded products that track the price of the cryptocurrency are already up and running in Sweden, Switzerland, Jersey, Germany and Canada.

US regulator aims to revitalise shareholder democracy; Asset managers must provide clearer information on ESG votes to retail investors, says SEC chair
Chris Flood – FT
US regulators want to revitalise shareholder democracy by ensuring the views of Main Street investors on issues such as climate change and executive pay are accurately reflected by investment managers. Allison Herren Lee, acting chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it was time to ensure that small investors were able to hold companies and their top executives to account by improving the transparency and disclosure standards governing shareholder votes.

SEC forces oil companies to hold investor votes on emission targets; Regulator signals tougher stance under Biden administration by denying requests from ConocoPhillips and Occidental
Myles McCormick – FT
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has directed two of America’s biggest oil companies to hold shareholder votes on far-reaching new emissions targets, as the regulator adopts a tougher approach to climate under the Biden administration.

Information Sheet 250 Giving AFS and credit licensees information about their representatives
ASIC has released Information Sheet 250 Giving AFS and credit licensees information about their representatives (INFO 250) for Australian financial services (AFS) licensees and Australian credit licensees.

Review of how superannuation trustees supported their members during COVID-19
During 2020, ASIC took a number of actions to check on the support provided by superannuation trustees to their members during COVID-19. This included reviewing how trustees communicated to members about issues related to COVID-19, and the provision of intra-fund advice.

An Honest Conversation about ESG Regulation
Commissioner Elad L. Roisman

Remarks at Asset Management Advisory Committee Meeting
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce

Appointment of Steven Maijoor to the Governing Board of the Dutch Central Banktest
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has been informed that Steven Maijoor, whose term as Chair of ESMA ends on 31 March, will join the Governing Board of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) on 1 April 2021.

FINRA Updates the OTCBB/OTC Equities High Price Dissemination List
FINRA is publishing its quarterly OTCBB/OTC Equities High Price Dissemination List for the fourth quarter of 2020. This updated list of OTC equity securities eligible for trade report dissemination for trades of fewer than 100 shares is effective as of March 19, 2021. To view changes, visit the Daily List: Security Attribute Changes page, select the “Unit of Trades” filter and enter March 18, 2021 as the “Start” date and March 19, 2021 as the “End” date.

FCA refuses to budge on Woodford probe; The watchdog refused to hand over its ongoing probe to an independent inquiry
David Ricketts – Financial News
The Financial Conduct Authority has refused to hand over its ongoing investigation into the collapse of Neil Woodford’s flagship fund to an independent third party following calls from investor champions. Earlier this month Gina and Alan Miller, founders of the True and Fair Campaign, wrote to non-executive directors at the FCA, urging them to pass on its probe, which was started almost three years ago, to a judge or QC. They argued that any independent investigation must also look at the FCA’s own role in the scandal.

SEC Gets Tough Tough With Conoco, Occidental on Climate: FT
Jessica Park – Bloomberg
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has told ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum to hold shareholder votes on new emissions targets, Financial Times reported, citing a letter the SEC sent to ConocoPhillips that the publication has seen.

Investing and Trading

It’s Time to Talk About the Bogeyman in the Market: Inflation; Central banks unlikely to react to higher prices triggered by supply disruptions, FTSE Russell’s Lawlor says
Michael P. Regan and Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
Financial markets have become obsessed with the possibility of faster-than-normal inflation this year as economies reopen from Covid lockdowns. But inflation is a nuanced concept, so what different types of price rises should we expect? And most importantly, what does it all mean for markets in 2021? Joining the “What Goes Up” podcast this week to discuss this and other timely market topics is Philip Lawlor, head of global investment research at FTSE Russell.

GameStop to Release First Earnings Report Since Reddit-Fueled Stock Rally; The struggling videogame retailer is expected to post its strongest quarterly revenue and profit in two years
Sarah E. Needleman – WSJ
Weeks after GameStop Corp. GME -0.73% played a starring role in a Wall Street trading frenzy, the videogame retailer’s financial performance and fundamentals are returning to center stage. GameStop is slated Tuesday to issue its first quarterly earnings report since a Reddit community successfully encouraged hordes of people to buy shares of it and other heavily shorted public companies, sparking a congressional hearing and the development of at least two Hollywood productions.

A Fed With No Fear of Inflation Should Scare Investors; Markets are only just waking up to the implications of an important shift at the Federal Reserve
James Mackintosh – WSJ
It has taken four decades, but the Federal Reserve has finally shaken off its fear of inflation. The markets are only just waking up to the implications of the shift. The outlines of the turnaround have been developing for a while as the Fed’s focus has moved from its inflation mandate to a constant emphasis on its goal of full employment. Meanwhile, its measure of rising prices has moved to an average target, allowing inflation to overshoot a 2% goal to make up for past misses.

Recast as ‘Stimmies,’ Federal Relief Checks Drive a Stock Buying Spree; The government set out to prop up the economy. It may also be propping up the market.
Matt Phillips – NY Times
Abraham Sanchez knew exactly how he wanted to spend his stimulus check. Like millions of Americans, he had begun dabbling in the stock market during the pandemic. So, soon after $1,400 from the federal government landed in his bank account last week, Mr. Sanchez, a 28-year-old trumpet player in Sacramento, moved all but $200 of it into his Robinhood online trading account. He then used most of it to buy 80 shares of AMC Entertainment, the struggling movie theater chain.

Ghost of Horrific Treasury Auction Haunts Bond Market on Brink
Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
7-year note is underperforming on curve by most since 2015; Index of longer Treasury maturities sinks into bear market
A battered Treasuries market faces another trying week as it will have to absorb a massive slate of auctions focused in maturities that have gotten pummeled amid a brightening outlook for growth and inflation.

The SPAC market is booming, but there are plenty of bad buys. Here’s what 8 experts say; investors should be looking for in their next SPAC investment.
Emily Graffeo, Will Daniel – Business Insider
The SPAC market has been on fire during the pandemic. In fact, 219 special purpose acquisition companies raised a record $73 billion in 2020, representing a 462% year-over-year jump in proceeds raised by blank-check firms.

The GameStop saga didn’t revolutionize the stock market — it just proved how out of touch Wall Street has become for the average American
Paul Constant – Business Insider
It feels like a fever dream now, but for one week in late January all anyone in the media could talk about was Gamestop’s skyrocketing stock prices. In case you’ve already driven the episode out of your memory, here’s a brief recap: A Wall Street hedge fund had placed a big bet that America’s biggest chain video game retailer was on the verge of failure, and users from a subreddit called WallStreetBets rushed in to buy stock and force the hedge fund to cover their positions, thereby costing the fund billions of dollars in the process and driving the stock price up in what’s called a “squeeze.”

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

The Boring Bit on the Monopoly Board Is Now Hot
Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Little-known distribution company sells for $10.9 billion; Global annual investment in sector set to triple by 2050
The transition to clean energy is turning the previously dull world of grid infrastructure into one of the hottest investments. When a little-known U.K. energy distribution company came up for a rare sale this week, buyers clamored to get involved, resulting in a 7.8 billion pound ($10.9 billion) deal, the largest utility transaction in the U.K. in at least a decade.

Vice Is a Hard Habit to Kick as ESG Seeps Into Credit Markets
Bruce Douglas and Laura Benitez – Bloomberg
Tobacco, fossil fuel, gaming firms have easy access to credit; Rewards for investors sticking to ESG criteria remain modest
Virtue in corporate environmental, social and governance debt is becoming lucrative for investors and companies alike, but vice still has its rewards in the hunt for yield. Investors say companies in sectors that many ESG funds would exclude, such as tobacco, fossil fuel and gaming companies, can still access credit markets with relative ease, and sometimes even lower their funding costs.

Carbon Frenzy Gripping Investors Has Nordic Banks Cashing In
Lars Paulsson – Bloomberg
SEB clients trading emissions tripled in past five years; DNB sees increasing demand for carbon risk management
With the green transition in full swing and carbon prices on a tear, Nordic banks are gearing up for a surge in demand for trading.

EDF to Close Down Its Last U.K. Coal Plant After 56 Years
Rachel Morison – Bloomberg
Britain has cut coal use rapidly ahead of 2024 phase out date; Power station staff will be cut to 50 by next year from 170
Electricite de France SA will shut its West Burton A coal plant at the end of September next year, the company’s last coal station in Britain. The swift reduction of power stations burning coal in Britain has helped the country cut its carbon emissions faster than any other rich nation since 1990. The U.K. looks to be on track to fulfill its goal of phasing out the fossil fuel completely from 2024.

China Urges ‘Market Forces’ to Fill Gap in Green Bond Program
Rebecca Choong Wilkins – Bloomberg
PBOC working with Europe on common green taxonomy this year; Financial institutions also have role to play, Yi says
Public finances will only cover a “fraction” of the green financing investment needed for China to achieve its climate-change goals so the market will be encouraged to make up the difference, according to People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang. “It is therefore imperative to put in place sound public policy incentives to encourage market forces to fill in the gap,” Yi said in a speech in Beijing Sunday.

BlackRock under pressure to live up to its promises on diversity; Past and present employees of colour seek change at asset manager some call ‘WhiteRock’
Aziza Kasumov – FT
When Essma Bengabsia joined BlackRock full-time in 2018, she thought she had found the perfect launch pad for her career. Born and raised in the US, the New York University graduate looked forward to becoming one of the first hijab-wearing Muslim women to work on the trading floor of the world’s largest asset manager, a company known for promoting “sustainable” capitalism.


Ruffolo’s Return: Investor Launches Fund After Accident That Nearly Killed Him
Sandra Mergulhao – Bloomberg
Maverix to target Canada firms that have disruptive technology; Tech investor was paralyzed in September cycling accident
Six months after being struck in a cycling accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down, tech investor John Ruffolo is launching a $500 million private equity fund to help Canadian companies. Ruffolo’s firm, Maverix Private Equity, will target companies in the growth stage that are seeking to remain private as they expand globally, he said in an interview with Jon Erlichman of BNN Bloomberg Television.

Credit Suisse CEO Signals Potential Spinoff of Asset Management
Marion Halftermeyer, Rishaad Salamat, and Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Thomas Gottstein says Greensill debacle ‘a distraction’; Bank ‘100% focused’ on recovering cash from frozen funds
Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein signaled he’d consider further separating the asset-management unit from the rest of the bank after the Greensill Capital collapse, as he steps up efforts to limit the reputational damage from the supply-chain finance scandal.

Odey Asset Management loses executive pay tax battle; Hedge fund said deferred plan was response to regulatory pressure after financial crisis
Jane Croft and Laurence Fletcher – FT
Crispin Odey’s hedge fund Odey Asset Management has lost a tax tribunal case over a staff incentive plan, leaving current and former executives potentially on the hook for additional tax bills.

Interactive Investor explores IPO amid retail investing boom; UK’s second-largest fund supermarket is only big platform not to be listed
Daniel Thomas and Madison Darbyshire – Bloomberg
Interactive Investor, the UK’s second-largest fund supermarket, is exploring an initial public offering in London this year on the back of a boom in the retail investing. The group has been driving consolidation in the wealth management sector with a series of acquisitions, most recently this month buying a direct-to-consumer investment platform from rival Equiniti for £48.5m.

M&G chief John Foley battles to restore growth; New wealth platform and sustainable strategies offer promise for FTSE 100 investment group
Chris Flood – FT
John Foley, chief executive of M&G, swings an axe to relieve the stress of running an underperforming £367bn savings and investment business. “Chopping logs is serious exercise,” says the media shy Foley, whose career spans National Australia Bank, Hill Samuel, the British merchant bank, and the UK’s Prudential insurance group.

Wall Street Pros From Goldman to JPMorgan on New Inflation Era
Anchalee Worrachate – Bloomberg
Goldman touts commodities, JPMorgan Asset prefers real assets; Pimco pushes back on price fear as the market debate heats up
It’s the invisible force rocking Wall Street: An inflation revival for the post-lockdown era that could change everything in the world of cross-asset investing.


India Looking for Other Sources of Crude Supply, Sitharaman Says
Shruti Srivastava – Bloomberg
India will look for alternative sources of crude oil to ensure sustained supply of the fuel, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. New supply chains won’t likely have an impact on crude prices though, she said on Saturday. The federal and state governments will have to discuss about the inflationary impact of rising crude and its impact on consumers and the economy, Sitharaman said. A government panel is monitoring food-related inflation to ensure that supply distortions due to seasonal changes or a change in crop patterns are being addressed, the finance minister said.

Drought Is the U.S. West’s Next Big Climate Disaster; Water scarcity is baking cropland and ramping up wildfire risk from California to Texas
Brian K Sullivan, Michael Hirtzer, Kim Chipman, Marvin G Perez – Bloomberg
Normally at this time of year, Katy Kemp’s 80 head of cattle would be grazing on her family’s ranch in Staples, Texas. Instead, the herd is living off dwindling hay stores as drought dries up grassland and chokes off crops. Parts of Texas are so starved for water that ranchers are trucking feed 1,000 miles from Montana, driving up prices there and leaving hay producers completely sold out.

Credit Suisse Plans to Triple China Headcount in Major Push
Bloomberg News
Credit Suisse Group AG plans to triple its headcount in China over the next three years, ramping up its ambitions to gain market share as the nation’s financial market opens. “We are planning to more than triple our presence in term of headcount in China over the next 3 years and look forward to strengthening our position,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein said on a panel discussion at the China Development Forum on Saturday.

First Negative-Yield Quote Causes Flutter in India’s Bond Market
Subhadip Sircar – Bloomberg
A negative yield was quoted for the first time ever on India’s sovereign bond trading platform Friday, traders said, triggering intense speculation about the motive.

EU Bid Makes Montenegro End Its Citizenship-for-Investment Plan
Misha Savic and Jan Bratanic – Bloomberg
Montenegro will stop granting citizenship to wealthy foreigners who invest in the Balkan country as the European Union, which it wants to join, doesn’t approve of the program. The cash-for-passport program, designed for those who would invest at least 250,000 euros ($300,000), make a 100,000 euro deposit and pay application fees, hasn’t brought in the revenue the previous administration had hoped for.

Australia Won’t Swap Values for China Talks, Minister Payne Says
Andreea Papuc – Bloomberg
Australia won’t trade away important principles and values to restart talks with China, Foreign Minister Marise Payne told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. A senior aide to U.S. President Joe Biden came out in support of Australia earlier in the week, telling the Chinese government relations between the two superpowers won’t improve until Beijing stops its economic coercion against Australia, one of America’s closest allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Asian Shoppers Snap Up Gold Bangles to Bars Amid Price Slump
Ranjeetha Pakiam and Swansy Afonso – Bloomberg
Strong jewelry purchases for weddings seen in India, Malaysia; Chinese retailers saw robust sales over Lunar New Year holiday
Gold price’s slump to near a nine-month low is drawing jewelry shoppers in Asia to hunt for bargains. After a year of demand being in the doldrums, retailers are buying more of the precious metal to cater to people like Seema B, a 35-year-old housewife who ventured to Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar to get new bangles after months of putting it off. “The prices have come down a bit and the general worries about the virus have also eased,” she said.

Saudi Navy Starts Drills to Protect Oil Sites as Attacks Mount
Vivian Nereim – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia started naval exercises in the Persian Gulf to improve its ability to foil “terrorist attacks” on oil facilities, underscoring the kingdom’s concern about a rise in drone and missile strikes claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The exercises will enhance the security of vital installations and oil fields, and secure freedom of navigation in the region’s waters, the official Saudi Press Agency said. They will be conducted by the Royal Saudi Navy with participation from Saudi Aramco, the state oil company.

China May Be Taking Rebranded Iran Oil Amid Increased Scrutiny
Bloomberg News
Iranian crude shipments at zero in Jan.-Feb.: Chinese customs; However, analysts and traders say recent purchases increased
China released data that showed it imported no Iranian crude for the first time in months, a sign that oil from the U.S.-sanctioned nation may be masked as supplies from other countries. There were zero crude shipments from Iran during January and February, the first time China has recorded no imports from the OPEC producer since August, according to customs data. However, purchases from Oman and Malaysia — which Iranian supplies are often re-branded as — have surged this year.

SNB Threw $118 Billion at FX Campaign as U.S. Alarm Bells Rang
Catherine Bosley – Bloomberg
SNB’s interest rate decision is scheduled for March 25; Jordan is likely to keep rates ultra low, pledge interventions
The Swiss National Bank spent 110 billion francs ($118 billion) on interventions in 2020, evidence of heightened market activism that risks fueling more tension with the U.S.

Indian companies sell shares at fastest rate since financial crisis; Flurry of IPOs prompts concerns market is overheating as country faces new coronavirus wave
Benjamin Parkin – FT
A boom in Indian stocks has encouraged companies to raise cash at the fastest rate since the global financial crisis, raising fears that share prices are overheating as the country grapples with rising Covid-19 cases.

Stockholm’s start-up buzz attracts global VC attention; Big-name exports like Spotify have helped create a rich business ecosystem in the Swedish capital
Richard Milne – FT
Sweden has long punched above its weight in terms of fast-growing start-ups, being home to such trailblazers as Spotify, Klarna, Skype and iZettle. Many of its rapidly expanding companies say a trickle-down effect has created a strong ecosystem for fledgling businesses.


Brexit reality stokes fears for the peace in Northern Ireland
Padraic Halpin and Guy Faulconbridge – Reuters
The deep anger among some pro-British unionists in Northern Ireland over post-Brexit trade barriers that cut it off from the rest of the United Kingdom is emblazoned along the road from Belfast to the mainly Protestant port town of Larne.
Posters demanding “No Irish Sea Border”, “Scrap NI Protocol” and “EU Hands Off Ulster” cover much of the 35-km (20-mile) route, their opposition to the new trading arrangements emphasised by the flying of Britain’s Union Jack flag every few lampposts.

Buying a £5,000 bike from Poland has become a Brexit nightmare
Miles Brignall – The Guardian
I find myself in a Kafkaesque situation as a result of Brexit. I decided, over Christmas, to treat myself to a new £5,000 racing bicycle, but the only place I could source it was a shop in Poland.
I ordered it on 28 December 2020, and, at the time, the website indicated there would be no duties to pay on goods purchased before 1 January 2021. DPD collected it in early January, but returned it to the sender as it couldn’t negotiate the border chaos. The package was re-sent on 12 January with UPS.

Border chaos: Dutch shops complain of delays amid Brexit paperwork chaos
Suban Abdulla – Yahoo Finance
Dutch stores that sell British goods in the country have complained about product delays and cancellation, blaming it on the Brexit paperwork chaos.
Retailers have turned to Ireland for products such as bacon and sausages as the paperwork from the UK is preventing meat items from reaching the Netherlands, Dutch news reported.


Odey Was Cleared of Sexual Assault. Now Other Accusations Emerge
Nishant Kumar and Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
Women have come forward saying Odey behaved inappropriately; Hedge fund manager Odey strenuously denies new accusations
For years, Crispin Odey has been tabloid fodder for everything from his support of Brexit to his conspicuous lifestyle. He’s sparked outrage shorting the pound. He’s been mocked for his predictions of doom in the midst of the longest bull market in history.

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