The Surge in Natural Gas Prices Is Equal to a $190 Oil Shock; Chinese energy order points to harsher gas crunch for Europe

Oct 1, 2021

First Read


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Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The FIA has released several videos from its recently completed IDX 2021 in London. The first is the opening comments from FIA CEO and President Walt Lukken. Also released were the keynote fireside chat with Chuka Umunna and the panel The Landscape in the UK and EU.

The videos of the panels UK Regulated Exchanges and Exchanges and the Roll Out of New Sustainability Products were also released.

JLN today published a video interview with ICE Futures Europe CEO Stuart Williams, which is kind of a TED Talk-like interview of his recap of the UK Exchange Leader panel discussion listed above from IDX.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago was a sponsor of the College Diversity Network Career Fair. Here are the jobs and internships they are looking to fill: Research Assistant Program, Internship Program, Assistant Examiners.

Amit Sharma has joined Broadridge Financial Solutions as chief technology officer. He was previously the CIO at Western Union. — Linkedin

CrossTower is a returning bronze sponsor of the Wall Street Rides FAR event. Wells Fargo has joined the event as a silver-level sponsor.

FIA Operations Americas Division is hosting a webinar on October 20 at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET titled “Crypto for FCM Customer Accounts.” A panel will discuss guidance published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Market Participants Division (MPD) (formerly the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight) regarding the deposit of virtual (crypto) currencies by customers and holding of these currencies by futures commission merchants (FCMs) to margin customer transactions in cryptocurrency futures. Moderating the panel is ErisX head of marketing Jessica Darmoni and panelists include Tom Anderson, Senior Vice President, ADM Investor Services International Limited; Laurian Cristea, General Counsel, ErisX; Gary DeWaal, Special Counsel and Chair, Katten Muchin Rosenman; and Ian Polakoff, Principal, RPM Financial Markets Group LLC. For more details and to register, click HERE.

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign.

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



Stuart Williams was on the exchange leaders panel for U.K. regulated exchanges at the FIA’s IDX 2021 this week, along with London Metal Exchange CEO Matthew Chamberlain and London Stock Exchange Group CEO Murray Roos. John Lothian News caught up with Williams over Zoom after the panel for details on what he and his fellow exchange leaders discussed.

Watch the video »



Redditors Are Right About the Unfairness of the Market; It’s been a bad week for capitalism, with corporate insiders, judges and policy makers all playing fast and loose with the rules about personal investments.
Mark Gilbert – Bloomberg
A rallying cry of the day traders that hang out in Reddit Inc.’s stock market forums is that only by joining forces can they prosper in an environment inherently hostile to small investors. Recent events suggest their suspicion that the decks are stacked against them is justified – which is a terrible look for capitalism.

***** There is always work to do to keep the markets fair. It is a never-ending battle.~JJL


Robinhood Redditor army makes #citadelscandal trend — and lawyers are watching
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
It’s not just the Redditor crowd that’s watching the alleged #citadelscandal. An organizer of a class-action lawsuit against the market maker accused of having a too-cozy relationship with trading app Robin Hood told The Post that lawyers are keeping an eye on social media, too. They’re looking for any clues that might bolster their case that Robinhood clients got a bum deal when the trading app routed their orders through Citadel Securities, the Ken Griffin-run firm that cleared Robinhood’s trades in exchange for a fee.

***** Citadel is finding itself in the Reddit barrel.~JJL


Citadel Securities Says It Learned of Trading Curbs on Twitter
Katherine Doherty and Annie Massa – Bloomberg
Citadel Securities said it first learned of Robinhood Markets Inc.’s trading restrictions on certain stocks during January’s meme-stock frenzy from Twitter, rebutting accusations that the two firms colluded.

***** They probably read one of my tweets.~JJL


Lou Malnati’s sold to investment firm Meritage; The Northbrook-based company had an enterprise value of more than $500 million in the sale, according to one source.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, the Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza chain, has been sold to the private investment firm Meritage Group, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Meritage is buying the company from the chain’s owners, which include BDT Capital Partners, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. The company had an enterprise value of more than $500 million in the sale, one of the people said.

*****The best deep-dish pizza in Chicago will have a new owner, but the founding family will still have an interest, which is good news. ~JJL


Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday, by many clicks, was CFTC Charges 14 Entities for Failing to Register as FCMs or Falsely Claiming to be Registered, from the CFTC. Second was MarketWatch’s Reddit rejoices as hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin fires back at those making #KenGriffinLied a trending topic on social media. Third was Global supply chains at risk of collapse, warn business leaders, from the Financial Times.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,622 pages; 235,936 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

The Surge in Natural Gas Prices Is Equal to a $190 Oil Shock
Elena Mazneva and Anna Shiryaevskaya – Bloomberg
The deepening global energy crunch has pushed natural gas in Europe and Asia to the equivalent of about $190 a barrel, something the oil market has never seen. Both regions saw fresh records in the heating and power-generation fuel this week as utilities rush to restock lower-than-average inventories ahead of winter in the northern hemisphere, while alternatives — like coal — are also in short supply.

Chinese energy order points to harsher gas crunch for Europe; Beijing reportedly demands energy supplies to keep factories working at all costs
David Sheppard and Neil Hume – FT
The natural gas crunch hitting the UK and Europe is likely to intensify after China ordered state-backed companies to secure energy supplies no matter the cost. Chinese state media quoted Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday as saying the country will secure its energy and power supplies following a series of blackouts and shortages that have forced a large number of companies to restrict output.

France to block gas and electricity price rises until the spring; Paris to lower taxes paid on power as spectre of ‘gilets jaunes’ protests looms large
Anna Gross – FT
The French government will block rises to gas and electricity prices, as it seeks to relieve the pressure of a global gas crunch and soaring energy costs across Europe. In a televised address on Thursday evening, Jean Castex, prime minister, announced that, after an already scheduled 12.6 per cent rise in gas prices on Friday, the government would block any further price increases until April.

Central bank digital currencies may not replace crypto, BIS says; Policymakers worry that growth of cryptocurrencies could lead to central banks losing control
Eva Szalay and Philip Stafford – FT
Central banks are jostling with private-sector operators of stablecoins to dominate digital money and protect consumers, the global body for policymakers has said. Private digital assets could coexist with potential digital currencies operated by central banks, the Bank for International Settlements said in a report on Thursday. Central bank versions would rely on banks and other financial institutions to act as intermediaries to create credit and help safeguard financial stability, it added.

Inside the battle to be Europe’s Robinhood; Horde of competing apps are betting on the ‘Americanisation’ of European share trading after memestock frenzy
Joshua Oliver – FT
Robinhood’s decision last summer to abandon its UK launch fired the starting gun for a race to fill the gap left by the memestock broker. A year later, an army of European contenders are trying to convince legions of ordinary people to trade with them. Start-ups offering cheap and user-friendly mobile apps for trading and investments are racing to build their presence across Europe in what they view as a fragmented and largely untapped market for people who want to buy and sell shares themselves.

Federal Reserve stock trading is dangerous; Officials should not be buying and selling individual company shares
Tom Braithwaite – FT
Senator Elizabeth Warren this week branded Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell a “dangerous man” based on perceived weaknesses in bank regulation. The language was strong but the evidence flimsy: since the 2008 crisis, Fed supervisors have taken a relatively tough approach and US banks boast record capital levels.

Euro-Area Inflation Surges to 13-Year High With More to Come
Alexander Weber – Bloomberg
Consumer prices rose 3.4% in September, core rate reached 1.9%; Debate over duration of price spike is gaining strength
Inflation in the euro area accelerated more than expected to the highest level in 13 years, adding fuel to a debate over how long the post-crisis spike will last.

UK businesses warn of ‘autumn storm’ of shortages, costs and taxes; Groups report sharp fall in confidence since the summer amid mindset shift ‘from growing to coping’
Daniel Thomas – FT
UK business leaders have warned ministers about an “autumn storm” of rising taxes, escalating costs, labour shortages and supply disruption as government Covid-19 support schemes come to an end.

How the Finance World Started Turning Against Fossil Fuels; It’s been 10 years since a think tank report titled “Carbon Bubble” first highlighted the idea of carbon-intensive stranded assets
Kate Mackenzie – Bloomberg
A quiet celebration took place in London last month. It marked the 10th anniversary of the “Carbon Bubble” report, published by the think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, that’s become one of the most influential arguments against burning fossil fuels.

Wall Street Is Beating U.K. Banks to London IPO Mandates
Swetha Gopinath and Kat Van Hoof – Bloomberg
U.K. brokers relegated to second line on big U.K. offerings; British startups are listing at the fastest rate since Brexit
Home-grown companies are listing in London at the fastest pace since Brexit, but the boom has done little for Britain’s financiers. U.S. investment banks have snapped up top positions — and hefty underwriting fees that go with them — on the biggest deals.


Misinformation online ‘has significantly handicapped public health efforts’: Doctor
Yahoo Finance
Medical Director for the Milwaukee COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center Dr. Ben Weston joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the latest coronavirus developments as YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content.

Merck Says Covid Drug Cut Hospitalization, Deaths by Half
Emma Court – Bloomberg
Drugmaker plans to seek U.S. emergency authorization shortly; Pill developed with Ridgeback would add to treatment options
Merck & Co.’s Covid-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in an interim analysis of a late-stage trial, findings that could give doctors another potent virus-fighting tool.

Merck says Covid antiviral pill halves risk of hospitalisation and death; US pharma group seeks authorisation for first drug of its kind after ‘remarkable’ clinical trial
Jamie Smyth – FT
Merck said it would ask US regulators to authorise the first antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 after a late-stage clinical trial showed the drug cut the risk of hospitalisation or death in half.

Pill Intended to Be Covid-19’s Tamiflu Succeeds in Key Study; Drug from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics cut risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in early look at progress
Jared S. Hopkins and Betsy McKay – WSJ
Merck MRK 0.03% & Co. and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP said their experimental Covid-19 pill helped prevent high-risk people early in the course of the disease in a pivotal study from becoming seriously ill and dying, a big step toward providing the pandemic’s first easy-to-use, at-home treatment.

Covid Will Soon Be Endemic, Thank Goodness; Widespread immunity, vaccinated and natural, will bring control and a full return to normal.
Monica Gandhi – WSJ
Covid-19 will soon become endemic—and the sooner the better. An epidemic causes widespread disease in a region. A pandemic affects multiple countries or continents. A disease becomes endemic when it is manageable—defined, for instance, as not causing an undue burden on hospitals or other healthcare resources—but is unlikely to be eliminated because of the pathogen’s inherent properties.

What Science Knows Now About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes; New research has uncovered when chances are higher, including during meal service. Overall risks appear to remain relatively low, but newer variants may change that equation.
Scott McCartney – WSJ
Fliers have yearned for reliable data on the risks of air travel since the pandemic began. Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers. Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning.

Australia to End Travel Ban in Pivot to Living With Covid-19; Fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave and return without seeking permission
Mike Cherney – WSJ
Australia plans to start reopening its international border in November, ending one of the world’s strictest pandemic-era travel bans as authorities pivot from trying to suppress Covid-19 to living with it.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Boerse Stuttgart Group seeks to achieve net-zero carbon emissions; Carbon neutrality in areas of direct influence by the end of 2021 // Sustainability initiative also brings new services for retail investors
Boerse Stuttgart Group
By the end of this year, Boerse Stuttgart Group and its subsidiaries will be carbon-neutral in areas of direct influence by avoidance and reduction of CO2 emissions along with carbon offsets. By the end of 2023 Boerse Stuttgart Group will initiate further steps to achieve net-zero emissions, which will also cover indirect emissions in related areas. Boerse Stuttgart Group announced this plan today at the traditional annual reception, which was attended by around 200 representatives from business, politics and society.

ASX builds ‘DLT-as-a-service’ offering to help prep market for Chess replacement; The exchange’s customer Daml sandpit has been up and running since January and has had over 20 firms log on. The next phase—its DLT cloud environment—will be ready in early October.
Wei-Shen Wong – Waters Technology
In January, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) launched its customer Digital Asset Modeling Language (Daml) sandpit, which sits within its distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions unit. The sandpit allows individuals and firms to familiarize themselves with the Daml smart contracting language, which is particularly important since it’s the language that the ASX’s Chess replacement project is based on. Participants in the sandpit can also start coding and developing applications.

LCH’s SwapClear to extend Asia Pacific operating hours; New development will deliver clearing certainty during the Asia Pacific morning for SwapClear’s regional members and clients, including the Australia market, said LCH.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Global clearing house LCH’s SwapClear service is looking to extend its traditional operating hours to 24 hours a day, five days a week, to better support market participants in the Asia Pacific (APAC region). The move will complete in March 2022 and be implemented in two phases.

AFYREN lists on Euronext Growth Paris
AFYREN takes a low-carbon, circular-economy approach to offer its industrial customers innovative solutions to replace petroleum-based ingredients with products derived from non-food biomass. FYREN’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) aims to accelerate the industrialisation of its processes on a global scale in order to pursue its sustainable growth strategy, foster the circular economy and contribute to the emergence of a low-carbon world.

Global Derivatives Awards 2021 — European Derivatives Exchange of the Year: Eurex
Eurex has been named European Derivatives Exchange of the Year by Global Capital. On its website, Global Capital gives the following reasoning for the award, citing Eurex CEO Michael Peters.

Eurex Exchange Readiness Newsflash | T7 Release 10.0 Simulation: T7 Release 10.0 Simulation: Update on access limitations to Common Upload Engine for Regulatory Reporting Solution for non-MiFIR firms and short code/algoID uploads

Cash market sales statistics for September
Deutsche Börse Group
A trading volume of EUR 156.9 billion was achieved on Deutsche Börse’s cash markets in September (previous year: EUR 149 billion). Of this, Xetra accounted for EUR 131.1 billion (previous year: EUR 124.9 billion), bringing the average daily Xetra turnover to EUR 6 billion (previous year: EUR 5.7 billion). Turnover on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange was EUR 4 billion (previous year: EUR 4 billion) and on the Tradegate Exchange EUR 21.8 billion (previous year: EUR 20.1 billion).

Nasdaq Appoints Toni Townes-Whitley to its Board of Directors
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ), today announced the appointment of Toni Townes-Whitley to its Board of Directors. Townes-Whitley is the former President of U.S. Regulated Industries at Microsoft where she led the company’s sales strategy, execution, and P&L across a $16 billion portfolio of U.S. Financial Services & Insurance, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Federal, State & Local Government and Education industries.

London Stock Exchange Group plc: Investor Education Event
London Stock Exchange Group
London Stock Exchange Group plc: Investor Education Event;London Stock Exchange Group Directorate Changes
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) today hosts a second Investor Education Event, following the initial event earlier this year on 2 July. Today’s event will focus on two businesses within the Group’s Data & Analytics division that were not featured previously, Investment Solutions and Wealth Solutions, and the FX trading business within the Group’s Capital Markets division.

The Spanish stock market trades 32.3 billion euros in September
The trading volume in equities is up 49.3% from August and 2.7% higher year-on-year; Fixed Income trading was up 26% year-on-year
Trading in IBEX 35 ® Futures contracts increased 32% from the previous month and 7.6% year-on-year
The Spanish stock market traded 32.3 billion euros in Equities in September, 49.3% more than in August and up 2.7% year-on-year. The number of trades in September was 3.8 million, up 38.3% from the preceding month and down 16.8% year-on-year.

Trading Overview in September 2021 & First Half of FY2021 (April to September)
Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in September 2021 & First Half of FY2021 (April to September).
Cash Equity Market – In the first half of FY2021, the daily average trading value for the TSE 1st Section (domestic common stocks) was JPY 2.9711 trillion.
Derivatives Market – In the first half of FY2021, total derivatives trading volume was 156,233,298 contracts.

JPX enacts measures to cut GHG emissions at the TSE and OSE buildings
Japan Exchange Group (JPX) is pleased to announce that from today, measures have been put in place to cut CO2 emissions at the Tokyo Stock Exchange Building and Osaka Securities Exchange Building, including switching electricity contracts. This is in line with JPX’s target, announced in July, to achieve carbon neutrality by FY2024. We expect that these measures should cut JPX’s greenhouse gas emissions, which were 13,500t-CO2 in FY2020, by approximately 27% (3,700t-CO2) on an annual basis

— Increase of Spot Month Position Limits for the Bitcoin Futures, Options on Bitcoin Futures, and Micro Bitcoin Futures Contracts 30 Sep 2021 — CME
— Product Modification Summary: Amendments to Micro WTI Crude Oil Futures Minimum Price Increment and Decimal Price Locator to allow Inter-Commodity Spreads — CME


QuantHouse updates leadership team amid integration into Iress; The new leadership team will be integral in developing opportunities within the wider Iress ecosystem following the acquisition, said QuantHouse.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Trading solutions provider, QuantHouse, has made senior leadership changes as part of its ongoing integration into market software provider Iress following its acquisition. As part of the transition, Pierre Feligioni, who co-founded QuantHouse in 2005 and has since acted as chief executive officer, is departing to pursue new opportunities.

Red Deer launches information management platform for active asset managers; The platform uses next-generation technology to filter out non-essential information flow, with Marble Bar Asset Management piloting the system this year.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
FinTech firm Red Deer has launched a new flagship platform aimed at simplifying information management for active asset management firms. Named Pathfinder, the platform uses next-generation technology to filter information for asset managers to help them avoid “information overload and fatigue”.

Spectrum Markets hits one billion securitised derivatives traded on its platform; Since its launch, trading volumes have increased significantly with an annual growth of more than 170% in the last year.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Pan-European trading venue Spectrum Markets has reached the milestone of one billion securitised derivatives traded on its platform following its launch almost two years ago.


Cybersecurity chief Jen Easterly on ransomware, election security
CBS News
With cyberattacks on the rise and hackers demanding millions in ransom, cybersecurity has gained new urgency. Chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes speaks with Jen Easterly, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in her first television interview since taking office.

UMass Amherst Hires Cybersecurity Firm to Investigate Racist Emails
The university’s vice chancellor told students the emails, which targeted Black students, were part of a rise in “anti-Black racist incidents” on campus this academic year.
Jesus Jiménez – NY Times
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has enlisted a cybersecurity firm to help investigate the source of racist emails that were sent to Black student organizations, its chancellor told students this week.

Ransomware attack might have caused another death
Joseph Marks – The Washington Post
A ransomware attack against an Alabama hospital may have led to a baby’s death in 2019, one of the first known cases where a cyberattack had life-or-death consequences.
The baby, Nicko Silar, was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and constricting her airway, causing severe brain damage, as the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Poulsen, Robert McMillan and Melanie Evans report. She died nine months later.
Obstetricians would typically perform a Caesarean section delivery in such cases upon learning that the baby’s heart rate had slowed.


Jim Chanos Says NFT Market Is Rife With ‘Nefarious Activity’
Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
The NFT market is rife with “nefarious activity” and conflicts of interest, short-seller Jim Chanos said. “What I worry about is that affiliated parties are setting prices for some of these NFTs at auctions, or at so-called sales, with themselves in effect,” Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates, said at the FT Live Conference Thursday.

Will the next web be built on ethereum? Developers are flocking to the platform’s blockchain but nimbler rivals are emerging
Richard Waters – FT
Interest in the ethereum blockchain has soared over the past year, as developers have turned to it to create a wave of decentralised finance projects, known as DeFi, and unique digital tokens called NFTs.

New money: Central banks lay out operating manual for digital cash
Marc Jones, Tom Wilson – Reuters
A group of central banks sketched out a potential operating manual for digital cash on Thursday as they aim to strike a balance between keeping up with cryptocurrencies and concerns that the new technology could upend commercial lenders.


How Do You Make an Algorithm Trustworthy? The U.S. and Europe’s commitment to making algorithms more transparent and accountable needs follow-through.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
Over the past 18 months, humanity has dutifully trooped into lockdown and back out again — offering up a massive amount of personal data along the way. Remote work, Zoom schooling and contact-tracing became part of daily life; even today, in the name of public health, diners in Paris have their digital health passport scanned before opening the menu.

Algorithms could guide life-changing decisions. But they need work; Many algorithms have been trained on data from a racist, sexist world, and it shows
Tim Harford – FT
Life is full of difficult decisions. Who should be hired or fired? What grades should students receive in their exams? Should an accused person awaiting trial be released or held in custody? An increasingly popular alternative is to delegate the decisions to a data-driven algorithm. The hope is that such algorithms might correct our prejudices, our emotional incontinence and our wild inconsistencies. The risk is that the algorithms automate injustice.

An Unapologetic Old Boys’ Network Is Costing Australia Billions; Gender inequality is even starker in Australia than in the U.S. or U.K. The price paid — by individuals and the economy — is significant.
Nabila Ahmed – Bloomberg
It’s the Australian Paradox. In terms of women’s educational attainment, no country does better, according to the World Economic Forum. But when it comes to women’s participation in the economy, this nation of 26 million ranks 70th on the WEF’s list — behind Kazakhstan, Serbia and Zimbabwe. As recently as 2006 it sat at no. 12.


CFTC Orders Cargill to Pay $750,000 for Swap Reporting Failures and Failure to Supervise
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order simultaneously filing and settling charges against Cargill Inc., a provisionally registered swap dealer doing business through its Cargill Risk Management business unit, for failing to comply with its reporting obligations as a swap dealer and failing to supervise its reporting obligations adequately. The order requires Cargill to pay a $750,000 civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from any further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations, as charged.

Billionaire Wise founder could face FCA sanctions after tax violation; Kaarmann fined by UK authorities for deliberately defaulting on his taxes
Emma Agyemang, Stephen Morris and Laura Noonan – FT
The chief executive of money transfer group Wise could face sanctions from the Financial Conduct Authority including being barred from the industry over his status as a “deliberate tax defaulter”, lawyers told the Financial Times.

German court orders insider trader to repay almost 6 times his profits; Former Union Investment fund manager jailed and told he must pay back EUR45m
Olaf Storbeck – FT
A former senior fund manager who admitted large-scale insider trading has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and ordered by a Frankfurt court to repay almost six times the EUR8m in profits he made. The order to seize EUR45m from the former fund manager, who worked at Union Investment, Germany’s third-largest asset manager, was made on Thursday by three professional and two lay judges at a district court following a three-day trial.

SEC Charges Former Executives of Registered Investment Adviser with Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Robert D. Press, the former CEO of the advisory firm TCA Fund Management Group Corp., and Donna M. Silverman, TCA’s former chief portfolio manager, for their roles in the firm’s scheme to artificially inflate the net asset values and performance results of several TCA-managed funds. The SEC previously charged TCA and another affiliated company, TCA Global Credit Fund GP Ltd. (TCA-GP), with fraud on May 11, 2020, and obtained the appointment of a receiver over those entities and the TCA funds. The SEC also previously charged two TCA executives for their roles in the alleged fraud.

SEC Charges Rogue Trader Who Bankrupted His Firm
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Keith A. Wakefield, a former managing director and head of fixed income trading at IFS Securities, Inc., an Atlanta-based broker-dealer, with causing millions of dollars of losses through unauthorized trading in fixed income securities, and with fraudulently obtaining approximately $820,000 in fictitious commission income.

ESMA seeks stakeholder input on shaping advice on retail investor protection
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, today publishes a call for evidence on a number of retail investor protection topics under MiFID II. These views will feed into ESMA’s technical advice to the European Commission (EC) on the development of its strategy for retail investment.

CFTC Charges Nigerian and American Citizens Operating as PrimeFX with Forex and Bitcoin Fraud and Misappropriation
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that it filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Uduakobong Udo Inyangudo a/k/a Alexander Uti Bassey of Lagos, Nigeria; Vanessa B. Okocha of Houston, Texas; Amen M. Okundaye of Houston, Texas Charles A. Ochi of Grant Prarie, Texas; Diego I. Okeh of Brooklyn, Maryland; Daniell N. Liggins of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; Victor O. Edeh of Waltham, Massachusetts; and Tochukwu Edeh of Jacksonville, Florida. The complaint alleges that during the relevant period, from approximately June 2016 to February 2019, the defendants used to fraudulently solicit and subsequently misappropriate over $1.2 million from U.S. and international customers, as part of a coordinated scheme, for purported trading in foreign currency (forex) and Bitcoin.

CFTC Staff Issues Temporary No-Action Letter to Non-Bank Swap Dealers Domiciled in Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom and the European Union
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Participants Division today issued a temporary no-action letter to non-bank swap dealers (SDs) domiciled in jurisdictions that are the subject of pending Commission review for comparability determinations with respect to capital and financial reporting requirements.

Statement of Commissioner Dawn D. Stump Regarding Time-Limited No-Action Position for Non-Bank Swap Dealers Domiciled in Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the European Union
Issuing substituted compliance determinations regarding the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC or Commission) capital and financial reporting requirements is a critical step in achieving the outcomes that the CFTC and global regulators have been working toward since the 2008 financial crisis.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Exxon Rejected Net Zero Pitch After Proxy Loss, Citi Banker Says
David Wethe and Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg
Exxon Mobil Corp. rejected a pitch from a Citigroup Inc. senior investment banker to commit to a target for net zero emissions even after shareholders staged a revolt over the company’s climate policy.

He Helped Start the ESG Movement. Now He Wants to Fix It; Steve Lydenberg, a pioneer of responsible investing, says it’s time to focus on reforming systems.
Saijel Kishan – Bloomberg
Steve Lydenberg’s passion for social change was inspired by anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, consumer boycotts, and the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. But he didn’t take to the streets. Instead, Lydenberg turned to the world of finance to help catalyze societal change.

A German Power Plant Just Ran Out of Coal in Latest Energy Shock
Jesper Starn – Bloomberg
German utility Steag ran out of coal for Bergkamen-A plant; A coal index is headed for a record after sky-high trades
The global energy crunch forced a German electricity producer to halt a power plant after it ran out of coal. Steag GmbH closed its Bergkamen-A plant in the western part of the country this week due to shortages of hard coal, it said by email. The closure is the first sign that Europe may need to count on mild and windy weather to keep the lights on as the continent faces shortages of natural gas and coal is unlikely to come to rescue.

Today’s energy crisis and the bumpy path to decarbonisation; Unexpected consequences of climate change and net zero policies are affecting the world beyond commodities
Martijn Rats – FT
As the world embarks on its journey towards net zero, a few implications seem straightforward: coal should be oversupplied, natural gas should stay abundant and the marginal cost of electricity should approach zero as renewables take over.


Goldman bankers find end of free food era hard to swallow; Group has stopped pandemic perk — which included afternoon ice cream
Bryce Elder – FT
During the pandemic Goldman began offering free breakfast — and lunch — as a perk for essential staff, mostly on the trading side. Last week the canteen reverted to a paid-for service. The policy change caught many employees by surprise.


China Is Sending Shockwaves Through South African Markets
Adelaide Changole – Bloomberg
Tech crackdown, metals-price drop hammer Johannesburg stocks; Benchmark equity index posted worst quarter since early 2020
South African stocks are feeling the pain coming from China. The country’s benchmark equity index has posted its worst quarter since the first three months of 2020 amid concern about an energy crunch weighing on China’s economic growth and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on key sectors including technology. China is the biggest buyer of South African raw materials.

Venezuela’s Battered Bolivar Gets Makeover With Six Fewer Zeroes
Alex Vasquez and Nicolle Yapur – Bloomberg
Government launches ‘digital bolivar,’ prints new banknotes; U.S. dollar is used for two-thirds of retail transactions
Venezuela is launching a new version of the bolivar in the latest attempt to salvage a currency so beaten down by years of hyperinflation that residents have adopted the U.S. dollar. The so-called digital bolivar, which is being introduced Friday, effectively removes six zeroes from the “sovereign bolivar,” which started circulating just three years ago.

Vietnam abandons zero-Covid strategy after record drop in GDP; Warnings that lockdowns were crippling businesses heaped pressure on Communist government
John Reed and Pham Hai Chung – FT
Vietnam is loosening a strict, nearly three-month lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City after a stark warning from business and a record quarterly drop in gross domestic product.

The World Wants Greenland’s Minerals, but Greenlanders Are Wary; The island has rare elements needed for electric cars and wind turbines. But protesters are blocking one project, signaling that mining companies must tread carefully.
Jack Ewing – NY Times
This huge, remote and barely habited island is known for frozen landscapes, remote fjords and glaciers that heave giant sheets of ice into the sea. But increasingly Greenland is known for something else: rare minerals. It’s all because of climate change and the world’s mad dash to accelerate the development of green technology.

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