Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
ICE is holding a 60-minute webinar on Wednesday, December 8, at 10 a.m. ET/ 3 p.m. GMT titled “The Evolution of Environmental Markets.” The webinar will “examine the state of environmental markets and their likely evolution. From case studies on how they’re being used, to where policy may focus, we’ll provide a wide-ranging view of how markets are playing a vital role in valuing in externalities (i.e., green attributes and pollution) and facilitating the energy transition.”
The speakers are Ariel Perez, managing partner, Vertree; Beatriz Yordi, director European & International Carbon Markets, directorate general for climate action, European Commission; and Bryce Smitz, CEO, LevelTen Energy. The moderator is Gordon Bennett, managing director, Utility Markets, ICE. Register HERE.
I missed this story from the 19th, “JPMorgan to pay $60 mln to settle precious metals spoofing lawsuit.” Despite $60 million being a substantial sum, the story says “The payout would recover about 7% of the estimated $915 million of classwide damages, the lawyers added.” That is a nice profit margin, especially when you neither admit nor deny the charges. — Reuters
The FT has a series “analysing how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the labour market and changed the way millions of people think about work.” The first story in the series is titled “Where did all the workers go? Labour shortages are spreading in many countries. Are they a result of reduced migration?” — FT
Yesterday I gave a shout out to Broadway Technologies for sponsoring the Traders Fulcrum event, which was the first one in two years. However, I must have a keyboard lisp because the firm’s name is Broadway Technology, not Technologies. And, with the rebrand they just announced, they are just “Broadway.” My apologies for the error. Let the show go on.
MIAX has agreed to a short-term sponsorship contract to promote its new BRIXX futures products on JLN. Also, the New Zealand Exchange has agreed to a short-term sponsorship. This would be the first time NZX has been a JLN sponsor.
JLN is not publishing JLN Options or The Spread this week due to the holiday. Both will return next week.
There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday.
I am in South Carolina with my family for Thanksgiving week, as is Jeff Bergstrom. This newsletter was written from a table in the lobby of the Hampton Inn on Sessions Way in Mt. Pleasant, which is just across the bridge from Charleston. I succumbed to the waffle smell this morning after fighting it successfully yesterday.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
COP26 may be over, but the beat goes on: PanXchange is building a market for voluntary carbon removal credits derived from croplands. The goal is to simultaneously combat climate change and reward farmers for regenerative practices, the exchange says. PanXchange is offering a course on how to get the process started on December 9. Details are here.~SC
The two-day FIA Asia-V conference is fast approaching, and the group is adding speakers and sessions to the line-up. The virtual meeting will kick off on Tuesday, December 7, with FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken, who will interview Sharon Shi, managing director, G.H. Financials (HK) Ltd. and chair of the FIA Asia Advisory Board, and Bill Herder, head of Asia-Pacific FIA. They’ll tackle issues facing the APAC exchange-traded derivatives industry in the current environment. More details are here. ~SC
‘Tis the Season for Cybercrime
By John Falck, founding partner at vSEC LLC
The holiday season offers many opportunities for cyber-criminals, as almost everyone is busier with online shopping and other activities between mid-November and the New Year. The following cybersecurity habits will help protect you and your family all the time, and are especially important during the coming weeks.
Be Skeptical of Emails
This is always true, but it can be harder to tell fake from real messages in the holidays. You probably are waiting for an Amazon delivery. If you are a customer, you usually can log in to a company website to see any message they send as an email, e.g, go to Amazon.com and check “shipping status” under Your Orders. If you want to donate money to a charity, use a search engine and go directly to their site instead of clicking on an email they (maybe) sent. If someone you don’t recognize sends you an email with a link (‘click to see your special greeting!’), either delete it or ask if it came from them before opening it.
To read the rest of this article, go here.
FIA EXPO 2021 Video: CQG Pivots To Next Generation With New Technology Tools
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, CQG is notable for its long run offering real-time and historical trading data, along with technical analysis tools, but its leaders are in no mood to fade into the sunset. Instead, they are pivoting to take on the next generation.
FIA Tech partners with exchanges and index providers to create analytic service to simplify trading of index futures; New industry solution for classifying non-US indices for US firms
FIA Tech via Mondovisione
FIA Tech, the futures industry’s leading technology provider, today announced that together with nine futures exchanges and five index providers including FTSE Russell, MSCI, Standard & Poors and Taiwan Index Plus Corporation, it has launched a new analytic service to help US trading firms and investors navigate complex regulations governing trading of non-US index derivatives.
*****FIA is busy these days. That is what happens when you have a list of things to do and people give you the resources to do them.~JJL
Exchanges at COP26: the report from Glasgow; Market leaders discuss at COP26 in Glasgow how stock exchanges can play a role in moving the ESG agenda forward for issuers and countries
Jeremy Grant, guest contributor – SSEIniative.org
The world of financial services is known for generating big numbers. And at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, there were plenty of those, including an announcement by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) that as much as $130 trillion of private capital had been committed by group’s members to transforming the economy for net zero.
***** It is nice to have Jeremy Grant’s byline show up in JLN again.~JJL
Tolkien estate vanquishes Lord of the Rings themed cryptocurrency; Estate of late author wins ruling from World Intellectual Property Organization over JRR Token project
Jane Croft – FT
The estate of JRR Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings, has successfully vanquished a cryptocurrency that styled itself as “The One Token That Rules Them All”. The JRR Token cryptocurrency launched in August, with a website that featured rings, hobbit holes and a wizard with an uncanny resemblance to Gandalf.
***** I don’t know what the JRR Token people were smoken, but the Tolkien people have every right to make it disappear.~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was FIA EXPO 2021 Video: Sam Bankman-Fried Says FTX Won’t Follow The Crypto Crowd, a John Lothian News video interview by John Lothian. Second was Options trading is poised to overtake the stock market, from Quartz via Yahoo Finance. Third was The Wall Street Journal’s Los Angeles Home of Thomson Reuters Publishing Heiress Hits the Market for $43 Million. Everyone loves a real estate story, especially one in which “A vintage copper cheese vat was converted into a bathtub.”
26,664 pages; 236,383 edits
The ‘Tesla-financial complex’: how carmaker gained influence over the markets; The company’s role in the ebb and flow of the stock market is far greater than its $1.1tn valuation implies
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
The rally in Tesla’s shares has lifted the overall stock market value of Elon Musk’s electric carmaker to over $1.1tn, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world. This year alone https://on.ft.com/3l1zlTWit has added almost $475bn in market capitalisation, equal to a Procter & Gamble, a JPMorgan — or two McDonald’s.
Brexit is a slow bleed for the City of London; After a pandemic pause, the movement of jobs and business towards the continent is set to resume
Helen Thomas – FT
Brexit didn’t, on the face of it, do the City of London a serious injury. After a negotiation process where its concerns were either secondary or entirely ignored, the split didn’t prompt a sudden exodus of institutions and jobs. Early predictions that cutting off London-based banks from European markets would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs have proved overblown. Instead, think-tank New Financial earlier this year put the total at about 7,500, probably a slight underestimate but a number echoed by other sources. That is despite more than 440 institutions moving part of their business or setting up hubs within the eurozone, and shifting assets equivalent to 10 per cent of the UK banking system.
EU warned clampdown on brokers risks hurting retail investors; One of Europe’s largest share-trading apps says a plan to ban ‘payment for order flow’ would be damaging
Joshua Oliver and Philip Stafford – FT
The EU’s ambition to encourage retail investing in Europe will be dealt a big blow if authorities ban brokers from selling customer orders on to market makers, one of the region’s largest stock-trading apps has warned. Known as payment for order flow, the practice has come under intense scrutiny in the US as the volatility unleashed by the pandemic drew more retail investors into financial markets.
JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Assigned Higher Capital Buffers; Financial Stability Board raises capital requirements for several large banks following a surge in lending during the pandemic
Clark – WSJ
Global financial regulators boosted capital requirements for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs GS 2.26% Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA BNPQY 0.98% under rules intended to help avoid a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis, in which the largest lenders were deemed too big to fail. The Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland, said the three banks would be required to set aside a further 0.5% of common equity Tier 1 capital under rules for the world’s largest lenders—the so-called global systemically important banks, of which there are currently 30. The higher requirements become effective in January 2023, the FSB said in a statement Tuesday.
Tesla short sellers back down after meteoric rise; Elon Musk ‘better at playing the public company game than anybody’, says Carson Block
George Steer, Laurence Fletcher and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Weary short sellers have unwound most of their bets against Tesla, as retail investors unperturbed by Twitter polls and talk of stock market bubbles continue to pump cash into the world’s most valuable car company.
Stablecoin Advocates Make Their Case to U.S. Banking Regulators
Jesse Hamilton – Bloomberg
Blockchain startup Figure Technologies Inc. and other firms held talks with U.S. regulators about how to issue a stablecoin that satisfies watchdogs amid deep Washington skepticism over the fast-growing corner of the cryptocurrency market. Senior officials of the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. met last week with Figure and its partners in an emerging crypto effort known as the USDF Consortium, according to people familiar with the meetings who requested anonymity because the discussions were private. Spokespeople for the agencies declined to comment.
How Jerome Powell as Fed Chair Will Affect Crypto, Hot Housing and Inflation; Wall Street loves Powell for helping lift the stock market up from its pandemic lows. But will he continue to keep rates low and credit cheap?
Claire Ballentine, Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, and Francesca Maglione – Bloomberg
The man who helped rescue the U.S. stock market from the pandemic’s chaos is headed for another four years in office. News that U.S. President Joe Biden selected Jerome Powell to serve another term as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair was met with relief across Wall Street. During the tumultuous previous two years, the Fed’s decisions to cut interest rates and its measures to support the economy helped the U.S. avoid a prolonged recession, earning Powell praise from both professional and amateur investors.
U.S. Pursues Young Briton Over $8.5 Million Bitcoin Plunder
Ellen Milligan – Bloomberg
The man is accused of helping to steal and distribute crypto; De Rose alleged to be part of hacker group “The Community”
The U.S. is pursuing a British man over allegations he helped hijack an American citizen’s identity to steal $8.5 million in crypto assets while he was a teenager. Corey De Rose, who is facing extradition to the U.S., is accused of helping hack into the man’s crypto wallet and transferring the digital currency to him and his alleged co-conspirators in 2017, lawyers for the U.S. said at the start of a London court hearing. He received 108.18 Bitcoins, valued at around $300,000 at the time.
US to release 50m barrels of oil from reserves; White House says move co-ordinated with other countries including China and UK in bid to bring down petrol prices
Derek Brower – FT
President Joe Biden has announced the release of oil from the US’s strategic stockpile in a bid to drive down petrol prices and snuff out a crude market rally that the White House has said poses a threat to the global economic recovery. The White House said on Tuesday the president was authorising the release of 50m barrels of oil in the coming months, in a move that would be co-ordinated with releases from China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK.
Where did all the workers go? Labour shortages are spreading in many countries. Are they a result of reduced migration?
Delphine Strauss – FT
Mike, a gregarious ex-rugby player who now burns excess energy by putting in miles on a road bike, is not ready to retire. Yet his job in fintech — which he began in April 2020, a week into the UK’s first Covid lockdown — has proved radically different from the one he signed up for. Working at senior level in business development, he used to enjoy spending days on the road meeting clients. Long stints of wall-to-wall Zoom calls left him stultified yet still buzzing and unable to sleep in the small hours.
Popularity of crypto funds sparks growing interest from managers; Fidelity, UBS and State Street are the latest to say they are scrutinising the crypto fund space
Ed Moisso – FT
Fidelity, UBS and State Street Global Advisors have confirmed that, like rivals BlackRock and Invesco, they are looking into the potential of offering exposure to cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. Assets in European exchange traded products and mutual funds with cryptocurrency exposure have topped EUR10.5bn, according to Morningstar data, showing the potential appeal of these products for asset managers.
As Pandemic Evictions Rise, Spaniards Declare ‘War’ on Wall Street Landlords; Protesters in Barcelona are pushing back against foreign investment firms that have bought up thousands of homes over the past decade and are forcing out residents who can’t pay the rent.
Nicholas Casey and Roser Toll Pifarré – WSJ
Ana María Banegas lives on a sun-drenched street in central Barcelona, a short walk from where her children go to school. Outside, a doormat welcomes visitors: “Home Sweet Home.” But this is where the domestic idyll ends. The building’s owner isn’t your typical landlord, she says, but rather a private equity firm thousands of miles away. And Ms. Banegas is no typical tenant: Along with a dozen other families who have been struggling financially during the pandemic, she has occupied the building since April and now refuses to leave.
Marex Solutions and Coinbase Prime to partner on crypto derivatives; Traditional provider meets digital asset prime services unit in partnership which aims to expand both their respective crypto product offerings.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Marex Solutions has partnered with Coinbase Prime with a view to broaden institutional digital hedging and crypto investment capabilities for both organisations. Marex Solutions – a division of Marex Group that specialises in customised derivative products – offers a range of products within a wide list of crypto-underlyings, either in a securitised or in an (OTC) format, representing a traditional player in the digital asset space. Meanwhile, Coinbase, is known for its retail customer base, but has been pushing its prime services unit to fill a gap in the infrastructure for incumbent market participants.
Bitcoin Is The Single Best Shot At Achieving Liberty In Our Lifetime
Dr. Wolf von Laer Bitcoin Magazine via Nasdaq
How do Bitcoin’s properties present the best opportunity to seize liberty humanity has ever seen? What do you see when you switch on the TV or scroll through your news feed on your preferred social media platform? You see a failed war ended after 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people dead, billions of dollars squandered, and the same illiberal regime in charge as before. You see a failed war ended after 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people dead, billions of dollars squandered, and the same illiberal regime in charge as before. You also see inequality, rising prices and protests. And you see pushbacks for mandates. Bitcoiners regularly reply to all the troubles in the world by saying that “Bitcoin fixes this.” Hyperbole? No, Bitcoin is the only realistic pathway to the libertarian “bon mot,” our witty remark of “fix the money, fix the world.” Indeed, Bitcoin is the best shot libertarians have to shrink the size of government, fight inflation, curtail the debt from inflation, starve the military-industrial complex, and to avoid an ever-increasing scope for government. How does Bitcoin achieve this?
‘Vaccinated, Recovered or Dead’: Europe Fights Covid Wave — and Itself; Europe is again at the center of the pandemic, and amid vaccine resistance and protests, nations are imposing new rules and pressuring people to get inoculated.
Steven Erlanger – NY Times
Austria went into a major lockdown on Monday to try to break the strong fourth wave of Covid spreading across Europe, while the German health minister, Jens Spahn, warned that by the end of this winter “just about everyone in Germany will probably be either vaccinated, recovered or dead.”
WHO Sees 2.2 Million Europe Deaths; German Warning: Virus Update
Deaths in Europe from Covid-19 will reach 2.2 million by March based on current trends, the World Health Organization warned, pushing for more vaccinations. European Union officials are trying to agree on how to manage vaccine rollouts. Meanwhile, Germany’s top health official reiterated that the country can’t rule out any measures to contain the fourth wave, and France’s prime minister has tested positive.
Chinese doctors raise questions over Beijing’s Covid contact tracing policy; Claim that strategy risks stoking public panic marks rare criticism of Communist government
Sun Yu – FT
Three leading Chinese health scholars have challenged government monitoring of mobile phone location data to identify close contacts of Covid-19 cases, in a rare instance of public opposition to the nation’s draconian pandemic prevention strategy.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
ICE Announces Planned Launch of Phase One of ICE Risk Model 2.0, a VaR-Based Portfolio Margining Methodology
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced the first phase of its futures and options initial margin methodology update from ICE Risk Model (IRM 1.0) to a Value-at-Risk (VaR)-based portfolio margining methodology, IRM 2.0.
B3 launches tool to sell soy with less risk
Yadunandan Singh – Playcrazygame.com
On Thursday (18) the Stock Exchange (B3) launched the Brazil Soy Futures contract. It will begin trading on November 29 on B3 and the Chicago Stock Exchange (CBOT), in the US. The product was developed in partnership with CBOT and the CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a Chicago Commodity Exchange). The contract is focused on being a safer protection mechanism, based on the price of Brazilian soybeans and traded on two exchanges that are world leaders.
**** So the Chicago Stock Exchange has nothing to do with the CBOT and CME Group other than their former trading floor is a neighbor. I wrote to this very busy re-write journalist to let him know that he needs to correct this story.~JJL
Euronext chief says he is eyeing Euroclear as an acquisition target in Bloomberg interview; CSD and exchange operator is observing Euroclear with “a lot of interest” its CEO Stephane Boujnah has said during an interview with Bloomberg.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
Euronext’s chief executive has told Bloomberg that the exchange group believes Euroclear would be a “natural fit” as it assesses its next acquisition targets. Stephane Boujnah added that the Nordics were also a target following recent successful deals – which have included the addition of Danish Central Securities Depository, VP Securities, back in 2020.
Nasdaq Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the Sixth Consecutive Year
Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has been named for the sixth consecutive year to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), one of the most prestigious environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ranking efforts. Nasdaq maintains its industry leadership as the only stock exchange operator selected for inclusion in the 2021 North America index, and was among eight diversified financial services companies selected from the region.
SGX broadens partnership with UOBAM with launch of yield-focused green REIT ETF
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed the listing of the UOB APAC Green REIT ETF, catering to investors’ demand for high-yielding real estate investment trusts (REIT) instruments and sustainable investing. The ETF is benchmarked to the recently launched iEdge-UOB APAC Yield Focus Green REIT Index, which comprises 50 high-yielding REITs across the Asia-Pacific region, that meet environmental factor assessments by global ESG benchmark for real assets, GRESB.
Javier Hernani and Thomas Zeeb highlight the role of the stock exchange as a gateway to Latin America
Javier Hernani, CEO of BME, and Thomas Zeeb, Global Head of Exchanges, SIX, today opened the twenty-third edition of the Latibex Forum in the Madrid stock exchange. The event will bring together more than 60 companies and 100 investors from all over the world in virtual format until November 24th through more than 500 one-on-one meetings. 63% of investors come from outside Spain. Of these, most come from Europe, with a strong presence of British investors, although there are also investors from Australia, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
— Initial Listing of Two (2) Freight (Baltic) Futures Contracts — CME
— Modification of Cleared OTC CHF, GBP, JPY IRS Products Referencing LIBOR and Limitation of Acceptance for Clearing – Effective December 03, 2021 — CME
— CME to introduce scanning-based spreads with more than five legs – Effective March 25, 2022 — CME
— BPS IRS Form 1099 Notification Tax Year 2021 — CME
The First Blockchain DAO for Milestone Collaboration Between Investors and Startup Companies
milestoneBased, the first company to leverage a blockchain DAO (Distributed Autonomous Organization) in a ground-breaking milestone collaboration platform for investors and startups, today provided an update regarding its Beta user availability and upcoming launch.
British Tech Visionaries Building The Virtual Workplace Metaverse; Virtual Workplaces Will Dramatically Redefine The Office & Work Culture Of The Future; Tech Innovators Pixelmax Outline Their Vision In Thought Leadership
British tech innovators PixelMax have outlined their vision for the hybrid work revolution and the future of the virtual workplace metaverse in a ground-breaking thought leadership blueprint that will reshape how the workplace and office of the future will evolve. With so much attention and media chatter on what the metaverse will look and feel like, PixelMax have not only outlined their visionary plans, but have also been innovating and developing in this space for the past two years.
The Metaverse, Crypto and EVs Are Among 2021’s Big Tech Winners
Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Jeran Wittenstein – Bloomberg
When Americans gather around the Thanksgiving table this week, the blistering rally in technology, electric vehicles and crypto-related stocks is likely to be a part of their conversations.
smartTrade and TickTrade Join Forces to Become a Global Leader in SaaS FX Trading Platforms; The combined company will offer the most comprehensive eFX solutions for financial institutions worldwide
smartTrade Group (“smartTrade”), a leader in multi-asset electronic trading solutions, today announced the acquisition of TickTrade Systems Inc. (“TickTrade”), a Toronto-based technology firm providing next-generation FX trading and payments SaaS solutions for financial institutions.
U.K. Fintech Startup Moves to Four-Day Work Week Without Cutting Pay
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
Working hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 34 hours per week; Fintech expects Mondays or Fridays to be default day off
Atom Bank has moved to a four-day working week, one of the most dramatic flexible working policies introduced by a finance firm since the pandemic upended office norms. The U.K. fintech, which has 430 employees, moved to a four-day week on Nov. 1, the digital lender said in a statement Tuesday. Contractual working hours will be reduced by 3.5 hours to 34 hours per week, with no change in salary.
Atom Bank moves to four-day work week without cutting pay; App-based lender becomes UK’s largest company to make the shift and expects Friday to be default day off
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan – FT
Atom Bank has moved to a four-day working week for its 430 employees, the largest company to make such a move in the UK since the pandemic forced a rethink about how useful it is to force people back into the office.
Zoom Has Some Unhappy Hours Remaining; The videoconferencing star is still adjusting to post-pandemic life as small customers remain unpredictable
Dan Gallagher – WSJ
Zoom’s new normal isn’t here yet, but it’s getting closer. The company formally known as Zoom Video Communications ZM -3.59% posted mixed results for its fiscal third quarter late Monday. Revenue of $1.05 billion was about 3% ahead of Wall Street’s estimates and the company’s projection for revenue of the same amount for the fiscal fourth quarter was likewise about 3% above analysts’ forecasts. But that also represents the first lack of sequential growth in the young company’s history, serving as yet another reminder that booming demand from the Covid-19 pandemic has largely ebbed.
Broadridge loses key asset management solutions lead; President at Broadridge Asset Management Solutions departs for platform billed as marketplace for pre-IPO equity.
Jonathan Watkins – The Trade
Broadridge has seen its global head of product and product strategy within its asset management solutions depart after four and a half years with the business. Eric Bernstein occupied a pivotal role for Broadridge, in growing its investment management offerings and was a key spokesperson in the securities services space.
Hillicon Valley — Feds issue Thanksgiving cybersecurity warning
Maggie Miller, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Rebecca Klar – The Hill
The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Monday warned organizations to be on guard against cyber threats, particularly ransomware attacks, over the Thanksgiving holiday.
In a joint alert, the agencies noted that while there were currently no “credible threats” identified, hackers had previously launched attacks during holiday weekends when workers are often at home and less likely to be paying close attention to network security.
Japan, Vietnam to cooperate on space defense, cybersecurity amid concerns about China
Cameron Jenkins – The Hill
Japan and Vietnam on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on cybersecurity and space defense as both have growing concerns about China’s actions in the region, according to The Associated Press.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi confirmed that the agreement seeks to address a “strong sense of urgency” concerning activities occurring in the Indo-Pacific region, though he did not specifically cite tensions with China, according to the news outlet.
Kishi expressed that recent talks with Vietnam’s defense minister Phan Van Giang have allowed “defense cooperation between the two countries” to reach “a new level.”
Cybersecurity: Why this beautiful city of spires could be the next tech innovation hub
Home to well-established IT and cybersecurity companies and a flourishing pool of tech talent, the Czech capital of Prague is turning heads in the European tech circuit.
Bojan Stojkovski – ZDNet
Each year, around 4,000 ICT graduates in the Czech Republic enter its tech and IT industry. According to some estimates, the IT sector in the country employs more than 300,00 people, with the demand for talent growing every day.
The mix of startups, well-established tech firms and global companies opening offices or branches in Prague makes the Czech capital a popular destination for the country’s tech workforce.
Institutional Investors Need the Right Partner for a Regulated Crypto World
Financial authorities around the world are ramping up regulations on the crypto industry. This should be welcomed by all but the most die-hard crypto fans. Increased regulation introduces rules and standards that make it harder for bad actors to commit fraud and encourage widespread adoption.
Lord of the Rings cryptocurrency taken to task by JRR Tolkien’s estate
Lucy Harley-McKeown – Yahoo Finance
A cryptocurrency named after the legendary writer JRR Tolkien has been taken to task by “The Lord of the Rings” author’s estate. According to The Verge, the website and video said that “Tokenites” — owners of the token — would earn more of that currency as more people join the network. It also said that a portion of every transaction would be added to a “liquidity pool”.
Bitcoin Bond on Horizon Sends El Salvador’s Dollar Debt Diving
Sydney Maki, Maria Elena Vizcaino and Michael McDonald – Bloomberg
Plans for a $1 billion Bitcoin bond in El Salvador sent the nation’s dollar-denominated bonds to an all-time low. El Salvador’s dollar denominated notes due in 2050 fell 2.2 cents to 64.4 cents on the U.S. dollar on Monday, the lowest ever. The Central American country’s debt was among the world’s worst performers on Monday as investors considered whether President Nayib Bukele’s plan to sell sovereign Bitcoin bonds closes the door on a deal with the International Monetary Fund.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao talks regulation and platform’s activities in Africa
Tage Kene-Okafor – Techcrunch
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao launched Binance in 2017 and, according to some sources, the company grew into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in 180 days.
Paris Hilton and Bill Ackman Back $300 Million NFT Foundation
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Origyn raises $20 million ahead of release of public token; It’s ‘just the beginning’ for NFTs, Hilton says by email
Paris Hilton is “obsessed” with non-fungible tokens — and now she’s backing a $300 million organization that is bidding to take the boom in digital art to the next level. Origyn, a Swiss foundation that offers smartphone users a way to authenticate objects of value with digital certificates, has raised $20 million from investors including Hilton and Bill Ackman’s Table Management, according to a statement Tuesday.
SoftBank-Backed Crypto Firm in Brazil Seeks Mexico Acquisitions
Cristiane Lucchesi – Bloomberg
2TM also plans takeovers in Colombia, Argentina, Chile; Company is expanding Sao Paulo team, hired former XP partner
2TM Participacoes SA, owner of the biggest Brazilian cryptocurrency brokerage, is hunting for acquisitions to enter other Latin American markets. The plan is for the company, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp., to expand into Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina to become a provider of blockchain infrastructure for financial markets in the region, including services such as custodian and fund management, Chief Executive Officer Roberto Dagnoni said in an interview.
Binance in talks with sovereign wealth funds as it seeks investments; Cryptocurrency exchange hopes ties would improve ‘perception and relationships’ with governments
Mercedes Ruehl – FT
Binance is in talks with sovereign wealth funds about them taking a stake in the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, as it seeks to buttress relationships with governments and offset aggressive regulators, its chief executive has said.
El Salvador’s ‘bitcoin bonds’ plan gets wary reception from fund managers; Investors say Nayib Bukele’s scheme could push the country further away from access to traditional debt markets
Tommy Stubbington and Joshua Oliver in London and Christine Murray – FT
Bond investors have taken a dim view of El Salvador’s plans to borrow $1bn to fund a volcano-powered “bitcoin city”, saying the scheme could push the country further from access to traditional debt markets.
Art by Anish Kapoor and David Bailey for sale as NFTs without their consent; Some artists consider legal action as images marketed for millions of pounds
Cristina Criddle – FT
Star Wars Stormtrooper helmets by artists including Sir Anish Kapoor and David Bailey have been photographed and turned into non-fungible tokens and marketed for millions of pounds without their consent.
El Salvador to Issue ‘Bitcoin Bond’ in 2022; The first nation to adopt bitcoin as national currency now aims to raise $1 billion to buy bitcoin and invest in bitcoin-related infrastructure
Caitlin Ostroff and Santiago Pérez – WSJ
El Salvador is planning to issue next year $1 billion in bonds backed by bitcoin, the latest effort by the economically stressed Central American nation to attract crypto capital.
Lael Brainard is tapped for vice chair of the Federal Reserve.
Jeanna Smialek and Madeleine Ngo – NY Times
President Biden said on Monday that he would nominate Lael Brainard as the Federal Reserve’s vice chair, the No. 2 role at the Fed and one that could give her a stronger mandate to influence everything from the cost of money to the future of digital cash.
Hillary Clinton says cryptocurrency has the potential to destabilize nations and traditional currencies
Francis Agustin – Business Insider
Hillary Clinton isn’t a fan of cryptocurrency, and she thinks its widespread adoption could undermine traditional currencies, including the dollar, and destabilize nations, big and small. The former Democratic presidential candidate and secretary of state made the comments via webcast during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Friday.
Column: Biden nominee Omarova faces an ugly attack because banks know she’d be a tough regulator
Michael Hiltzik – LA Times
Cornell law professor Saule T. Omarova faced a raft of improper questions about her background during a committee hearing Thursday. (Senate Banking Committee)
Amid all the crass stupidities and rank hypocrisy directed at Saule T. Omarova, President Biden’s nominee as comptroller of the currency, one remark stands apart. “I don’t mean any disrespect,” Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-La.) told Omarova at her Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing on Nov. 18 in his folksiest head-shaking manner. “I don’t know whether to call you ‘professor’ or ‘comrade.'”
U.K. Lets Thousands Apply to Remain Long After Brexit Cutoff
Irina Anghel – Bloomberg
Home office receives about 65,000 applications just in October; EU citizens are finding they lack papers as travel resumes
Tens of thousands of European Union citizens are still applying to remain in the U.K. months after the government’s post-Brexit deadline, a sign that many businesses may be employing people without so-called settled status. Last month alone, the British Home Office received almost 65,000 applications from EU citizens to stay in the country, according to Bloomberg calculations from official data. That brings the total received since the June 30 deadline to more than 236,000.
Fed Picks Leave Open Questions on How Central Bank Will Regulate Wall Street; Renominated Chairman Jerome Powell says he will defer to President Biden’s forthcoming nominee on financial regulation
Andrew Ackerman and Orla McCaffrey – WSJ
President Biden’s decision to reappoint Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chairman and elevate governor Lael Brainard signals continuity on monetary policy but leaves open questions on the direction the central bank will take in regulating Wall Street. The extent to which the Fed will spend the next several years tightening regulatory policy—after easing rules under Trump-appointed officials—will depend on whom Mr. Biden ultimately picks to succeed Randal Quarles, the departing central bank governor who served as its regulatory point man until last month.
CFTC Awards Approximately $1 Million to Two Whistleblowers
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced awards totaling nearly $1 million to two whistleblowers whose information led the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action. Both whistleblowers provided significant information and substantial assistance to CFTC staff during the underlying investigation.
Episode 16: Monitoring Financial Stability
It’s the job of financial stability authorities to ensure the financial system is resilient and to identify any potential vulnerabilities. The Bank of England’s deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, discusses the current areas of focus.
JPMorgan to pay $60 mln to settle precious metals spoofing lawsuit
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) agreed to pay $60 million to settle class-action litigation by investors who accused the largest U.S. bank of intentionally manipulating prices of precious metals futures and options. The settlement disclosed on Friday stemmed from sprawling U.S. government investigations into a form of illegal trading in precious metals and U.S. Treasury markets, known as spoofing.
California man who used bitcoin to launder $13 million given 3-year jail sentence
Kiera Fields – Business Insider
Hugo Mejia, a 50-year-old California man, has been jailed for three years after setting up an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange business. The firm exchanged at least $13 million in bitcoin and cash, often for drug traffickers, the US Attorney’s Office said. The crimes occurred between May 2018 and September 2020.
Lael Brainard’s stance on bank regulation sets up early test for Federal Reserve; Democratic policymaker has diverged from Jay Powell on issues including rules for Wall Street
Colby Smith and James Politi – FT
If Lael Brainard was disappointed as she stepped in front of a White House podium on Monday to accept US president Joe Biden’s nomination to become vice-chair of the Federal Reserve, she did not show it. For weeks, the Fed governor, considered one of the most talented Democratic economic policymakers of her generation, had been in the mix to lead the US central https://on.ft.com/3FDglTybank.
Regulators raise the pressure on banks over loan losses; Lenders struggle to work out true financial health of borrowers after pandemic shock
Laura Noonan – FT
As the end of the year approaches, banks across the world are scrambling to update estimates of likely losses on bad loans, a crucial number for investors in banks and watchers of economies. Calculating those losses always requires some judgment by banks but it is supposed to be largely an exercise of science. This year it will rely more heavily on guesswork. The models for estimating loan losses broke down in the pandemic, and there are no quick fixes to answer regulators’ calls for banks to do better.
FCA launches UK High Court action against former Globo executives; Mobile technology group collapsed in 2015 after accusations of accounting fraud
Kadhim Shubber and Dan McCrum – FT
The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a High Court legal action against two former top executives at Globo, the UK mobile technology company that collapsed into administration in 2015 following accusations of accounting fraud.
Melissa Caddick and Maliver found to have engaged in unlicensed conduct
The Federal Court has found Melissa Caddick and her company, Maliver Pty Limited (Maliver), carried on a financial services business without holding an Australian Financial Services licence, contrary to section 911A of the Corporations Act.
SEC Charges Oilfield Services Company and Former CEO With Failing to Disclose Executive Perks and Stock Pledges
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Texas-based oilfield services company ProPetro Holding Corp. and its founder and former CEO Dale Redman have agreed to settle charges that they failed to properly disclose some of Redman’s executive perks and two stock pledges.
ESMA publishes its 2020 annual report on the EU market abuse sanctions
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its annual report on administrative and criminal sanctions, as well as other administrative measures, issued across the European Union under the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) in 2020. The Report found that National Competent Authorities (NCAs) and other authorities imposed a total of EUR17.5 million in fines related to 541 administrative and criminal actions under MAR.
Action encouraged: Complete Firm Application and Annual Registration Update processes prior to December 3, 2021
On December 4, 2021, NFA will update the Firm Application and Annual Registration Update in the Online Registration System (ORS). In order to complete these updates, all incomplete Firm Application (FIRMAPPL) and Annual Registration Update (FIRMARU) processes will be deleted. Therefore, NFA encourages firms to complete any FIRMAPPL or FIRMARU process listed on the Processes Not Complete page in ORS no later than December 3, 2021. This system implementation will not affect any completed applications or processes.
Investing and Trading
AmEx Pitched Business Customers a Tax Break That Doesn’t Add Up; Businesses were told they could deduct transaction fees while earning tax-free cash rewards
AnnaMaria Andriotis, Richard Rubin and Heather Haddon – WSj
The pitch went out to eye doctors, McDonald’s Corp. MCD 0.61% franchisees and payroll companies: “Reduce your taxable income burden to Uncle Sam.” In phone calls, emails and in-person meetings with thousands of business owners, American Express Co. AXP -1.52% salespeople laid out the strategy. Use AmEx to pay your employees and suppliers, they said. You’ll have to pay a fee, but you’ll come out ahead. That’s because you can earn rewards on the transaction that can be converted into untaxed cash, while also deducting the transaction fees for tax purposes.
Be Careful With Volcano Bonds; Also universal proxies, JPMorgan vs. Tesla, Ken Griffin vs. ConstitutionDAO and Bored Ape Yacht Club parties.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
First of all let’s just appreciate the words here, these are good words: El Salvador has struck a deal with crypto firms Blockstream and iFinex to advance its efforts in the bitcoin market. The country is set to issue so-called Bitcoin bonds to “accelerate hyperbitcoinization and bring about a new financial system on top of Bitcoin,” according to Blockstream.
Bitcoin Could Be in Your Bond, Stock, and Commodity Funds. What to Know.
Lewis Braham – Barron’s
Most investors wouldn’t be surprised to find Bitcoin in an exchange-traded fund like FOMO, which, as its name and ticker suggest, stands for “fear of missing out.” FOMO’s manager, Matthew Tuttle, analyzes Twitter influencers’ remarks to see what’s popular, and Bitcoin, which has gone up 226% in the past 12 months (though it has sagged lately), definitely fits that bill.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Shell Plans Singapore Biofuels Plant to Meet Emissions Goal
Saket Sundria and Elizabeth Low – Bloomberg
Facility will be able to make hydrogen from cooking oils, fats; Co. making moving away from fossil fuels: Singapore Chairman
Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to build a biofuels plant in Singapore to help the company meet its target of halving emissions by 2030. The company is planning a 550,000-ton a year plant that can make hydrogen from cooking oils and animal fats, which are then used to produce diesel for road transport, aviation fuel or chemicals, according to a statement. The facility is subject to a final investment decision.
HSBC Launches Indexes That Screen Firms for Biodiversity Risk
Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Biodiversity is gaining traction as key plank in ESG investing; HSBC has pledged up to $1 trillion by 2030 to support climate
Investors looking for ESG strategies have been handed a new group of indexes promising to focus on biodiversity by excluding companies that are found to pose a threat to nature. The Euronext ESG Biodiversity Screened Index series is being launched on Tuesday by HSBC Holdings Plc, which developed the product together with Euronext NV and Iceberg Data Lab SAS. The idea is to bring liquidity to a key corner of environmental, social and governance investing seen as vital to protecting the planet.
EU Steps Up Push to Remove Carbon From the Atmosphere
John Ainger and Ewa Krukowska – Bloomberg
Bloc seeks to use technology to cut 5 million tons of carbon; Carbon removal as key to reach climate neutrality by 2050
The European Union wants to use technology to remove five million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually by 2030, as part of its goal to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. The target comes as part of the bloc’s plans to establish more sustainable “carbon cycles,” according to the draft document that is still subject to change. The EU wants to see far less reliance on the element and more recycling of it
Green Bonds Tap Small Savers to Finance the Climate Transition; The U.K.’s national savings bank and municipalities are raising money from environmentally minded investors.
Libby Cherry – Bloomberg
Skimming through the pages of her local newspaper, Lesley Hawker spotted an unusual investment proposition. Her local municipality, West Berkshire Council in South East England, was issuing a bond that would put the buyers’ money into projects such as solar panels, flood alleviation, and conservation. “We loved to see our local area becoming more sustainable and environmentally friendly—we’re happy to fund anything that can help that,” says Hawker, who is a frequent donor to environmental charities. She ended up investing £1,000 ($1,340) in the £1 million bond.
Eurozone banks told to do more to tackle climate change risks; ECB report says lenders must develop ambitious strategies to protect their businesses
Laura Noonan – FT
The European Central Bank has asked banks to “urgently” improve plans to protect their businesses from climate change risk after a review found widespread shortcomings in lenders’ approach to environmental challenges.
Jamie Dimon warns a woman is no shoo-in to replace him as JPMorgan Chase CEO
Christiaan Hetzner – Fortune
The race to succeed Jamie Dimon as the next head of JPMorgan Chase
may not necessarily be won by a woman after all. JPMorgan boasts the longest running chairman and chief executive of any major U.S. lender, and the question of who will take over for the 65-year-old Dimon has been hotly debated for months—if not years.
Deutsche Bank’s Rising Star Has a Rapid Change of Fortune; DWS greenwashing investigations have cast an unwelcome light on Asoka Woehrmann, and on Deutsche’s asset-management ambitions.
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
At the start of this year Asoka Woehrmann was sitting pretty. The boss of Deutsche Bank AG’s asset-management arm, DWS Group, had hitched his firm’s wagon to the surge in investor demand for all things ESG — promising to make “sustainability the core of what we do” — and his rebrand was paying off. Client money was pouring in and DWS’s share price was rocketing. The hunt was on for big acquisitions.
Morgan Stanley boss to young bankers: You’re ‘nuts’ if you’re not in the office
Lydia Moynihan – NY Post
Young master of the universe-in-training without a spouse or kids? Get back to the office. That appears to be the common refrain of Morgan Stanley’s execs as the bank’s leaders continue to beat the drum to get people to return to in-person work. “If you’re 21 to 35, you are nuts not to be in the office all the time,” Chris O’Dea, a Morgan Stanley managing director, said on a conference call last week.
South Africa Graft Ombudsman Holds Hearings in Renewables Probe
Paul Burkhardt – Bloomberg
South Africa’s graft ombudsman will hold a week of hearings as part of an investigation into the awarding of contracts to independent renewable power producers.
Lira Losses Snowball in Turkey’s Worst Streak in 20 Years
Burhan Yuksekkas and Tugce Ozsoy – Bloomberg
Lira plunges below 12 per dollar as Erdogan defends low rates; Rapid depreciation raises cost of living for Turkish citizens
The Turkish lira’s freefall is shattering all kinds of records as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s renewed campaign for lower interest rates pushes the country deeper into crisis. The currency fell 10% on Monday, plunging past 12 per dollar for the first time ever. The lira’s 11-day losing streak is now the longest in 20 years, and in November alone, it’s wiped out almost a third of its value.
U.K. Workforce Is Younger, Smaller and More Female Since Covid
Philip Aldrick – Bloomberg
Resolution Foundation says 586,000 workers lost in pandemic; Older men dropped out while women benefit from remote working
More younger women are in work than ever in the U.K. as the pandemic drove structural changes to the labor market, including many older workers and men dropping out. About 586,000 people have become “economically inactive” and no longer want to work since Covid-19 hit in March 2020, an analysis by the Resolution Foundation research group shows. Of those, 364,000 are younger than pension age.
Toronto Bankers Trickle Back Downtown, Echoing Wall Street Peers
Kevin Orland – Bloomberg
Traders, investment bankers leading return to office towers; Executives see possibility for large-scale influx in 2022
After languishing for months while Wall Street, by comparison, charged back to the office, Toronto’s financial district is finally starting to stir. Many of Canada’s large financial firms say they have a growing portion of their workforces back in the office and the numbers are expected to swell in the New Year. Bank of Nova Scotia has said it will begin a phased return-to-office plan on Jan. 17 and Manulife Financial Corp. will reopen its Canadian offices Jan. 24. CI Financial Corp. is planning to bring its Canadian employees back in January as well.
Uber to sell cannabis to customers in Canada; Users in Ontario will be able to make orders through the group’s Eats app to pick up in person
Dave Lee – FT
Uber is adding cannabis to the list of items that can be ordered through its app, though for now it will be pick-up only, and only for customers in Ontario, Canada.
Narendra Modi is humbled by India’s farmers; Strongman premier is learning difficult reforms cannot be conducted by fiat
The editorial board – FT
India’s farming sector, which encompasses directly or indirectly well over half a billion people, is a constituency that politicians clash with at their peril. Narendra Modi has learnt this the hard way. India’s prime minister has been forced into one of the biggest U-turns of his premiership, announcing last week that he would repeal three reform laws that had prompted year-long protests by farmers. The episode highlights once again the pitfalls of the premier’s hard-driving, strongman approach. It also risks overdue changes to agricultural markets being set aside indefinitely, or the government being forced into unwise concessions.
Goldman Analyst Turned ‘Bake Off’ Star Finds City of London Fame
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
Crystelle Pereira is a ‘Great British Bake Off’ finalist; Pereira is part of GSAM’s Insurance Asset Management team
Analysts don’t usually hog the headlines, but Crystelle Pereira is no ordinary banker. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. employee has a talent for cakes, pastries and pies, good enough to have earned her a spot in the final of the “Great British Bake Off,” the wildly popular reality-TV show known in the U.S. as the “Great British Baking Show.”