Tradebot, Pioneer of High-Speed Trading, Struggles With Profit Slump; Trading Platform iSTOX Receives Singapore Regulatory Approvals

Feb 4, 2020

First Read

Hits & Takes
By JLN Staff

Cboe Global Markets has acquired data analytics companies Hanweck and FT Options.~JJL

OCC had its highest cleared contract volume on record for January, up 23.5 percent from a year ago and its third highest month of volume overall.~JJL

The financial news publisher Markets Media Group (MMG) has acquired Best Execution World Limited (BEW), the London-based publisher of Best Execution and The DESK.~JJL

Early bird registration is now open for the 2020 Options Industry Conference April 22-24 at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. OCC’s Craig Donohue will host a fireside chat with former Congressmen Bill Schuster (R-PA) and Joe Crowley (D-NY); J. Slade Winchester of Citibank will moderate a market structure panel, and more. You can go here to register.~SR

The Hedge Fund Association is holding a symposium in Chicago February 25 on “Making an Impact: Philanthropy, Charitable Giving & Social Justice.” The topics include new trends and innovative approaches, legal and/or tax structures, and balancing social change with economic returns. A networking cocktail reception will follow. To register, you can go here. The event is not open to law firms.~SR

The Indian state of Telangana is set to launch a blockchain incubator at some point in the future. Which is weird, considering the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian government have made it pretty clear how they feel about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology over the years, especially whenever projects like these crop up. Then again, the blockchain incubator has no set launch date at this point, so it’s possible that it just won’t.~MR


Griffin’s Citadel Sends Supplies to Wuhan, Supports Vaccine Work
Amanda L Gordon – Bloomberg
Firms’ partners put up $7.5 million to help fight coronavirus; Face masks, sanitizers are en route to central Chinese city
Citadel founder Ken Griffin’s hedge fund and securities firm have put up $7.5 million to help contain the deadly coronavirus that has killed at least 360 people and infected about 17,400. The partners of both Citadel and Citadel Securities began wiring funds early last week, spokesman Zia Ahmed said Monday.

***** Do as much good as you can for as long as you can in as many ways as you can…~JJL


CFA’s First Exam Is Getting Shorter, More Frequent and Electronic
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Institute will open up test taking centers four times a year; Windows may last up to a week, and results will come faster
An era of aspiring chartered financial analysts hunched over endless rows of desks, a pencil in hand, is slowly nearing the end.

***** It is the last one I always worry about.~JJL


Milton Friedman’s World Is Dead and Gone; Five overlooked historical developments should reshape the debate between shareholder and stakeholder capitalists.
Peter R. Orszag – Bloomberg
The annual conclave of the rich and powerful this month in Davos, Switzerland, put the longstanding debate about the social responsibility of corporations front and center by proclaiming its official theme as “stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world.”

***** Friedman and his world are dead, but everyone still has a favorite dead economist.~JJL


Trading Technologies TT Platform Selected as Front-End Interface for the LME’s New Trading Platform
Trading Technologies International, Inc.
Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a global provider of high-performance professional trading software, infrastructure and data solutions, today announced that the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world center for the trading of industrial metals, has partnered with TT to supply the exchange’s trading participants with direct access to the exchange via the TT front-end interface. TT will replace the LME’s current GUI when its new trading platform launches in 2021.

***** Funny how this headline could have been from 20 years ago until today.~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top read story on Monday was Gary DeWaal’s Bridging the Week column on the CFTC’s proposed overhaul of speculative position limits. Second was The Financial Times’ Citi suspends senior bond trader over alleged theft from canteen. And third was the cover reveal of Eileen Flaherty’s new novel “The Perilous Step” (the description below the cover contains a link to JLN’s video interview of Flaherty, which we posted last week).


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Lead Stories

Tradebot, Pioneer of High-Speed Trading, Struggles With Profit Slump; An early high-frequency trader now faces falling income and an employee exodus
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
An early high-frequency trader that helped invent the business of buying and selling stocks in milliseconds now faces falling profits and an employee exodus. Dave Cummings, an engineer and former pit trader at the Kansas City Board of Trade, founded Tradebot Systems Inc. in the spare bedroom of his house in 1999 and gained wealth and notoriety from ultrafast trading. In its heyday, Tradebot made millions of small trades daily, accounting at times for more than 5% of U.S. stock-trading volume.

Trading Platform iSTOX Receives Singapore Regulatory Approvals
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Trading platform iSTOX said it received approvals from Singapore’s regulator that will allow it to expand its activities. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has approved ICHX Tech Pte, iSTOX’s Singapore-based owner, as a recognized market operator and granted it a capital markets services license, according to an iSTOX statement. The decisions will remove restrictions on issuance size and the number of investors it can access, the statement added.

How the invisible hand of the state works in Chinese stocks; ‘National team’ of government-backed companies stands ready to support asset prices
Hudson Lockett and Sun Yu – FT
As the biggest sell-off in more than four years hit Chinese equities on Monday, speculation grew that China’s so-called “national team” of state-backed buyers would enter the market and cushion the blow from the coronavirus-driven drop.

Macau Asks Casinos to Suspend Operations to Curb Coronavirus Spread
Jinshan Hong and Daniela Wei – Bloomberg
Macau asks casino operators to temporarily suspend operations; Shutdown adds another headwind for struggling casino sector
Casinos in Macau, the Chinese territory that’s the world’s biggest gambling hub, will close for 15 days as China tries to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

SEC, Telegram Startup Gird for Cryptocurrency Court Clash; Alleged violation of investor-protection laws at issue in major test of agency’s enforcement
Dave Michaels – WSJ
A startup best known for its popular encrypted messaging application is testing the limits of the U.S. government’s crackdown on digital assets, with both sides readying for a court clash in the biggest cryptocurrency case the Securities and Exchange Commission has levied.

Key Goldman Leader Behind Trading Evolution Makes Surprise Exit
Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
Adam Korn is known for backing concept of ‘traders who code’; ‘I am comfortable leaving because the team is on track’
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Adam Korn, one of Wall Street’s most prominent evangelists for rewiring trading desks with cutting-edge technology, stepped down from his senior post in the midst of initiatives aimed at doing just that.

Credit Suisse Scraps Hong Kong Conference on Virus Outbreak
Cathy Chan and Bei Hu – Bloomberg
Firm told investors today health and safety is top priority; Credit Suisse will not reschedule its annual Asia conference
Credit Suisse Group AG scrapped its annual Asia investment conference next month as the spread of the deadly coronavirus shows no sign of abating.

European watchdog eyes major changes to dark trading rules under MiFID II; ESMA is considering removing certain transparency waivers which would make the DVCs redundant, or lowering the threshold market-wide to further restrict dark trading in Europe.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
EU financial authorities are contemplating massive changes to rules for dark trading under MiFID II, which could see the removal of the controversial double volume caps (DVCs), as a review of the regulation gets underway.

Here are the risks to watch in the CLO market, says industry group made famous by ‘The Big Short’
Joy Wiltermuth – MarketWatch
The trade group made famous by “The Big Short” more than a decade ago wants investors, regulators and the public to know that it’s keeping an eye on the boom in corporate debt.

Students In Schools Across The U.S. Participate In SIFMA Foundation Competition That Fosters Financial Capability And Capital Markets Literacy
SIFMA and the SIFMA Foundation today kicked off the 17th annual Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge supported by the Charles Schwab Foundation. This national 14-week financial education competition pairs individual members of Congress with public schools in every congressional district to teach middle and high school students about saving, investing and civics.

Whistle-Blowers Should Fear Insider-Trade Ruling, Defendants Say
Bob Van Voris – Bloomberg
Two former Deerfield Management Co. partners convicted of insider trading with secret government information asked a U.S. appeals court to reconsider a ruling they claim threatens whistleblowers and good-government advocates who disclose wrongdoing by officials.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Joint Statement in relation to Results Announcements in light of Travel Restrictions related to the Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Exchange) are issuing this statement to provide guidance to listed companies and their auditors in relation to the disclosure of financial information in view of travel and other restrictions that have arisen in response to the outbreak of the Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent (SRD).

OCC Cleared Contract Volume Highest January on Record; January up 23.5 Percent from a Year Ago; Third Highest Month Overall
OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization, announced today that January 2020 total cleared contract volume was 521,727,816 contracts, the industry’s highest January ever – up 23.5 percent from January 2019, and the third highest month overall. The highest month was October 2018 with 567,833,544 cleared contracts, followed by August 2011 with 554,842,463 in cleared contract volume.

Nasdaq Acquires OneReport to Accelerate Delivery of ESG Reporting and Workflow Solution to Corporate Clients
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) announced today the acquisition of OneReport, Inc. (“OneReport”), a privately-held provider of corporate responsibility and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data management and reporting services. OneReport will accelerate the delivery of Nasdaq’s recently-announced ESG reporting and workflow solution, to be named Nasdaq OneReport. The platform is now available to companies as part of the suite of solutions offered by Nasdaq’s Corporate Services business.

CME Group Reports January 2020 Monthly Market Statistics
CME Group
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today reported its January 2020 market statistics, showing it reached average daily volume (ADV) of 18.9 million contracts during the month of January. Open interest at the end of January was 123 million contracts. Market statistics are available online in greater detail at

February Rates Recap
CME Group
BoE policy uncertainty drives record trading in SONIA futures and record traffic to BoEWatch tool
Following the Bank of England’s decision to leave their target rate unchanged at the 30 January MPC meeting, market participants are now looking to the March meeting where the probability of a rate cut has fluctuated between 25% and 65% according to the prices of MPC SONIA futures interpreted by the CME BoEWatch tool.

SGX and IPOS launch pilot programme to help companies identify and communicate intangible assets information
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) have partnered to launch the Intangible Disclosure Evaluation and Audit Scheme (IDEAS) programme exclusively for SGX-listed companies and companies preparing for a listing. The programme aims to raise awareness and encourage companies to undergo intangible assets (IA) evaluations and promote a more robust IA disclosure environment. This will help investors better appreciate the value of intangible assets, and support companies in capital raising.

Burford and London Stock Exchange set for court fight showdown in April
Mark Shapland – Evening Standard
Burford Capital and London Stock Exchange Group are set for a showdown in the High Court on April 1. The litigation funder says its shares were manipulated illegally in a short attack by US hedge fund Muddy Waters on August 7. Burford wants the LSE to hand over data showing names of traders who traded its stock on the day.

BOX Exchange: Amendment To Rule 10070, Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program
BOX Exchange LLC (“BOX”) recently filed a proposed rule change to amend BOX Rule 10070, Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program that will become effective Monday, February 17, 2020.

SIFMA Fixed Income Market Close Recommendation In The U.S., The U.K. And Japan For Presidents Day
SIFMA has confirmed its previous recommendation for a full market close on Monday, February 17 for the trading of U.S. dollar-denominated fixed income securities in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan in observance of the U.S. Presidents Day Holiday.

Cboe Global Markets Acquires Data Analytics Companies Hanweck and FT Options
Cboe Global Markets, Inc., one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, today announced it has acquired Hanweck Associates, LLC, a real-time risk analytics company based in New York, and the business of FT Providers, LLC, a portfolio management platform provider based in Chicago, commonly referred to as FT Options.

TNS Managed Hosting Solution Now Live at HKEX Hosting Data Center
Transaction Network Services
February 4, 2020 – Transaction Network Services (TNS) has today announced that its industry-leading TNSXpress Managed Hosting solution is now live at the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s (HKEX) hosting data center.


Citi automates post-trade processing with shared ledger technology; Shared ledger technology provider Cobalt gained a strategic investment from early supporter Citi in 2016.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Citigroup is looking to centralise and automate its foreign exchange post-trade processes by expanding its partnership with shared ledger technology specialist Cobalt.

The promise of synthetic data; Improvements in machine learning and computing power make it a technology to watch
Anjana Ahuja – FT
In an algorithm-driven world where data is king, one mis-step can lead to a royal mess. Netflix discovered this in 2009 when it released anonymised movie reviews penned by subscribers. By crossmatching those snippets with reviews on another website, data sleuths revealed they could identify individual subscribers and what they had been watching. A gay customer sued for breach of privacy; Netflix settled.

Exclusive: Fund giant Vanguard bypasses banks with forex algos
Tommy Wilkes – Reuters
Vanguard, the $5.6 trillion asset manager, plans to start using computer-run algorithms this year to trade FX directly with other funds, depriving banks of some of the fees they earn as the middlemen in currency deals.


CQG Partners with DVeX to Offer Front-End Platforms to New Cryptocurrency Exchange
CQG, a leading global provider of high-performance technology solutions for traders, brokers, commercial hedgers, and exchanges, today announced the establishment of a partnership with DVeX, a new cryptocurrency exchange built by and for institutional traders. The firms have collaborated to offer CQG front-end platforms to DVeX clients for cutting-edge trading tools and analytics, effective immediately.

It’s Time To Rhyme: Key Tenets For Compliance In Digital Assets
Mark Twain said that “history never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme” and the same is true for regulation in digital asset markets. The most ardent cheerleaders for digital assets and virtual currencies assert these new products and markets are distinctly unique, and they should be left outside of the regulatory framework. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Securities laws have evolved over the past ninety years to effectively serve and protect capital markets. It’s time to let history be a guide. The principles and precedents that serve as the foundation for market regulation are also the optimal framework for digital assets.

*****Note: Mark Twain probably didn’t say that.~MR

Inside China’s mission to create an all-powerful cryptocurrency
Barclay Shoemaker – Wired
This may be the year we see the world’s first sovereign digital currency. First discussed more than five years ago, China’s DCEP (short for Digital Currency/Electronic Payments) looks to be nearing completion. There have been some false starts; reports initially said there was a chance it would be released countrywide by November 11, while Caijing, a large domestic finance magazine, thought it would be debuted in Shenzhen before the end of 2019.

Twitter co-founder backs an app that lets users buy bitcoin
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, has invested in a fintech app that allows users to trade bitcoin.

BitMEX to launch XRP perpetual swap tomorrow, with up to 50x leverage
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX is set to roll out a new perpetual swap contract for the XRP cryptocurrency.

FCA Sets £10,000 Registration Fee for Crypto Businesses
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revised its fee for crypto business registration following consultation with the digital asset community. Announced on Monday, the regulator has introduced two slab fees for crypto businesses based on their size in contrast to the previously proposed flat £5,000 (around $6500) fee for all businesses.

U.S. government to auction off more than 4,000 BTC on Feb. 18
Mike McSweeney – The Block
More than 4,000 bitcoins – an amount worth approximately $37 million as of press time – will be auctioned off by U.S. law enforcement officials on February 18. The U.S. Marshals Service said on Monday that it will put up 4,040.54069820 BTC on the auction block on February 18. A $200,000 deposit is required for those wishing to participant, and would-be bidders must register by February 12.

Liquid Integrates Hummingbot’s Algo Trading Solution
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
Liquid, a Japanese digital asset exchange, announced on Tuesday its partnership with crypto trading bot provider Hummingbot. The crypto exchange has fully integrated Hummingbot’s solutions on its platform to facilitate high-frequency crypto trading using bots to all its clients.

MIT ‘Spider’ Routing Scheme Could Speed Up Cryptocurrency Transactions
Ana Alexandre – Cointelegraph
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new cryptocurrency-routing scheme to speed up blockchain-based transactions. In an announcement on Jan. 30, MIT claimed that the new solution called “payment channel networks” (PCN) is able to notably reduce blockchain-based transaction times and even boost profits.

Bitcoin SV Sees Minor Split as Blockchain Shifts to ‘Genesis’ Upgrade
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
Bitcoin SV (for Satoshi’s Vision) has hard forked with apparently just one minor issue, taking its blockchain back to the first “Genesis” iteration of the bitcoin protocol. The BSV network upgraded at approximately 02:00 UTC Tuesday, implementing Genesis rules that bring about “the full restoration of Satoshis Bitcoin protocol.” Jimmy Nguyen, president of the Bitcoin Association and bitcoin SV advocate, tweeted, adding that the “historic moment” had been confirmed at block 620539.

Minecraft Players Can Win Bitcoin on New Treasure Hunt Server
Paddy Baker – Coindesk
A new Minecraft server allows players in the blocky universe to compete against one another to find hidden treasure and receive a bitcoin reward. Known as SatoshiQuest, the challenge is to find the hidden loot within “vast Minecraft landscapes.” Users pay $1 in bitcoin for an in-game life. Entry fees are collected and most will go towards a specific treasure wallet address, which is awarded to the player who finds the loot first.

UK finance watchdog revises registration fees for crypto businesses
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made changes to its registration fees structure for crypto businesses. The new structure is based on income crypto firms generate. If their income from U.K. crypto activity is up to £250,000 (~ $325,000), businesses will be charged £2,000 (~$2,600) registration fees. While those firms with an income of more than £250,000, will have to pay £10,000 (~$13,000).

Craig Wright Stalls Bitcoin Lawsuit, Says Bonded Courier is an Attorney
Richardo Martinez
In the latest dramatic turn of events in the Kleiman v Wright lawsuit, Craig Wright has claimed attorney client privilege over 11,000 documents, from over a dozen companies he was formerly involved with. Wright has also claimed that the infamous “Bonded Courier” was an attorney, and so therefore his communications are privileged, and cannot be shared.


How Zombies Ate the G.O.P.’s Soul; Everyone with principles has left the party.
Paul Krugman – NY Times
Is this the week American democracy dies? Quite possibly. After all, everyone in Washington understands perfectly well that Donald Trump abused the powers of his office in an attempt to rig this year’s presidential election. But Senate Republicans are nonetheless about to acquit him without even pretending to look at the evidence, thereby encouraging further abuses of power.

Carbon Taxes May Not Be the Economic Gamble Governments Fear
William Horobin – Bloomberg
Study of French industry shows no net job losses from levies; Governments must consider job reallocation costs: OECD paper
France’s recent industrial history may have a lesson for governments balancing climate change and economic demands: carbon taxes can cut greenhouse emissions, and aren’t that bad for jobs either.

Iowa Might Have Botched One Caucus Too Many; The state’s first-in-the-nation primary status has been under fire for years. It’s very possible that this will be the end of it.
Jonathan Bernstein – Bloomberg
Well, that was ugly. As I write, there are basically no results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses, hours after everyone went home. Some campaigns are beginning to release their internal numbers, but it would be wise to wait for the official results. The results are intact, according to officials, but the app that was supposed to deliver them from the precincts to the state party didn’t work.

Trump Administration Clears Way for New Currency Tariffs
Shawn Donnan and Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Commerce Department says it will proceed with proposed plan; Move allows tariffs on goods benefiting from weak currencies
The Trump administration is going ahead with controversial new rules that would clear the way for the U.S. to start applying punitive tariffs on goods from countries accused of having undervalued currencies, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Xi Jinping Warns Virus May Impact China’s Social Stability
Iain Marlow and Dandan Li – Bloomberg
Vows to curb outbreak, achieve 2020 economic targets; Xi hasn’t been seen in public in days amid health crisis
Chinese President Xi Jinping called on all officials to quickly work together to contain a deadly new virus at a rare meeting of top leaders, saying the outcome would directly impact social stability in the country.


ESMA consults on MiFIR transparency regime for equity instruments
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has launched a Consultation Paper (CP) reviewing the MiFIR transparency regime for equity, ETFs and other related instruments. The CP contains proposals, based on in-depth data analysis of the effects of the current regime since January 2018, for possible amendments to the transparency regime.

ESMA advises the European Commission on Product Intervention
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities market regulator, today publishes its final Report on product intervention requirements under MiFIR.

New Rate for Fees Paid Under Section 31 of the Exchange Act; Effective Date: February 18, 2020
Effective February 18, 2020, the Section 31 fee rate applicable to specified securities transactions on the exchanges and in the over-the-counter markets will increase from its current rate of $20.70 per million dollars in transactions to a new rate of $22.10 per million dollars in transactions.

ING ordered to pay 30 million euros to settle Italy money-laundering probe: source
A Milan court ordered Dutch lender ING (INGA.AS) to pay 30 million euros ($33.17 million) to settle a money-laundering case in Italy, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

Chairman Tarbert to Speak at The Economic Club of New York’s Signature Luncheon

Investing and Trading

Global junk bond issuance hits monthly record; ‘We are still in a borrower’s paradise’, analyst says as investors search for higher yields
Jennifer Ablan and Colby Smith – FT
New bond sales by the riskiest corporate borrowers around the world set a monthly record in January, as businesses sought to take advantage of a drop in funding costs caused in part by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Market Is Betting That Competitors Won’t Catch Up to Tesla
Gabrielle Coppola and Edward Ludlow – Bloomberg
Market value advantage over top auto manufacturer VW expands; Lucid CEO sees Model 3 maker being in ‘preeminent position’
For a few tumultuous years, Tesla Inc. gave the bulls reason to believe and bears reason to doubt. Sure, Elon Musk was pulling off what legacy automakers tried and failed to do — make electric cars cool — but he was presiding over an inexperienced enterprise, and the old guard would catch up.

Carlsberg Says Coronavirus to Curb Beer Sales
Thomas Buckley – Bloomberg
Danish brewer extended some holiday factory closures in China; Carlsberg has been benefiting from growth of high-end beers
Carlsberg A/S forecast slower earnings growth as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to crimp beer consumption in Asia.

Even If World Reuses 50% Plastics, It Won’t Be Enough, Says Jefferies
Heesu Lee – Bloomberg
Outright bans, targeted taxes needed to curtail plastic use; Plastic pollution almost as big a concern as climate change
Even if countries aggressively tighten regulations, the planet will still struggle to recycle 50% of its plastic waste in 10 years time, according to a report from Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

Coronavirus spread pushes up volume of negative-yielding euro area debt
Dhara Ranasinghe – Reuters
The pool of negative-yielding government bonds in the euro area expanded in January to its biggest since September, Tradeweb data showed on Tuesday, reflecting a renewed push into fixed income as coronavirus fears gripped markets.

Alphabet Cracks the Lid on a Black Box That’s Still Too Opaque; Google’s parent shares a little more financial information with investors, but it can do better.
Tim Culpan – Bloomberg
Let me start by saying that I am new to writing about Alphabet Inc. I’m usually based in Asia, where I write about Foxconn Technology Group, Samsung Electronics Corp. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., among others.

In the FICC of It
Colin Lambert – Profit & Loss
There is a packed agenda for Galen Stops’ last In the FICC of It podcast as he and Colin Lambert discuss a busy week in FX markets – especially if you’re in the survey business!


Is Your City’s Pension Fund a Little Short? Marijuana Might Help; Public officials look to cannabis tax revenue to shore up retirement programs and budgets
Heather Gillers – WSJ
South Beloit, Ill., faces steep bills to fund its firefighter and police pensions and repave its cracked streets. Now, Mayor Ted Rehl has a plan to help cover the shortfall: marijuana.

King of Goldman’s ‘Straders’ to Leave Firm; Adam Korn supervised 5,000 engineers working to electronify Goldman trading floor
Liz Hoffman – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS 0.53% “straders,” the hybrid trader-coder whose star has been on the rise inside the Wall Street firm, are losing their ringleader.

Janus Henderson reports jump in assets despite heavy outflows; Buoyant financial markets helped mask active managers’ problems last year
Siobhan Riding – FT
Fund manager Janus Henderson has posted a rise in assets under management despite suffering heavy investor redemptions in a sign of how buoyant financial markets disguised active managers’ problems last year.

UBS and BlackRock warm to EM after long US stock rally; Giant asset managers urge clients to swap exposure for bets on developing countries
Jonathan Wheatley – FT
Two of the world’s biggest asset managers are calling time on the longest US bull run in history, saying emerging market stocks offer better value and superior growth prospects.

The ESG revolution is widening gaps between winners and losers; Fund managers find that trying to seek cheap and unloved stocks no longer pays
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Interest in environmental, social and governance-oriented investing has soared lately. It now appears to be having a subtle but noticeable impact on some stock prices, widening an already big divergence between different parts of the equity market.

Barrick Gold chief hits out at fund managers over new-found ESG focus; Mark Bristow says industry has ‘suddenly discovered’ benefits of ethical investing
Neil Hume – FT
Mark Bristow, the tough talking boss of Barrick Gold, has lashed out at the fund management industry and its new-found focus on social and ethical investing. Speaking at a major mining event in Cape Town, Mr Bristow questioned why some of the most profit hungry asset managers in the world were now refusing to invest in businesses that do not have satisfactory environmental, social and governance criteria.

Mizuho Hires Nine in Fixed Income as European Banks Retrench
Viren Vaghela – Bloomberg
Japanese broker adds staff to units after a shake-up last year; ‘We have more incoming enquiries than we can handle:’ Godall
Japan’s Mizuho International Plc has boosted its presence in high-yield trading and distressed debt in Europe as local banks scale back.

MUFG Just Posted Its First Quarterly Loss in a Decade
Taiga Uranaka and Yuki Hagiwara – Bloomberg
Japan’s biggest bank cut full-year profit target by 17%; Booked writedown on U.S. business after interest rates fell
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. posted its first quarterly loss in a decade and cut its annual profit forecast after booking a hefty charge on its stake in an Indonesian bank.

Citi Trader Suspended on Allegation of Stealing From Cafeteria
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc. suspended its head of high-yield credit trading for Europe, the Middle East and Africa after he allegedly stole from the company’s cafeteria, according to a person familiar with the matter.


How Japan Inc became a target for activist investors; The country’s risk-averse corporate world is having to rethink shareholder capitalism
Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki – Ft
For decades, Tokyo Dome has been a centrepiece of the Japanese capital: the world’s largest covered baseball stadium is home to the country’s biggest team. The site boasts a theme park, a 1,000-room hotel and the world’s first spoke-free Ferris wheel. Its revenues have been tepid and its share price flat for six years. Yet no one seemed to mind.

Renewable energy investor raises more than $1bn from Australian funds; San Francisco-based Generate Capital has worked with BYD and Plug Power
Miles Kruppa – FT
Two of Australia’s largest investment funds are backing a Silicon Valley start-up with more than $1bn to lower the costs of renewable energy projects.

Biggest Fortunes Tied to China Stocks Cut $10.4 Billion in a Day
Venus Feng – Bloomberg
Virus fears weigh on shares as markets open after long holiday; Several stocks held by billionaires fell 10%, the daily limit
The spread of the coronavirus to China’s stock market Monday erased more than $10 billion from the collective net worth of the richest 15 people whose companies trade on the mainland.

Singapore to Include More Climate Change Risks in Stress Test
Chanyaporn Chanjaroen – Bloomberg
Singapore plans to include a broader range of climate change-related risks in a future stress test of its financial industry, a government minister said.

Exclusive: India may issue $5 billion of bonds next year with no foreign investment cap, sources say
Aftab Ahmed, Swati Bhat – Reuters
India is likely to issue at least $5 billion worth of bonds with no limits on foreign investment next year, in a bid to list the bonds on global indices and attract more foreign funds, according to two finance ministry sources.

Hong Kong to ease reporting rules for companies’ results due to virus
Hong Kong’s markets regulator and stock exchange will relax rules on how companies must publish their annual results in response to challenges caused by the newly identified coronavirus, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday.


‘Thanks, goodbye and good riddance’ — EU’s parting words to UK; Croatian envoy’s Brexit message to British counterpart lost in translation
Mehreen Khan – FT
The EU’s final words to the UK as it departed the union after nearly half a century were “thank you, goodbye, and good riddance”. The misspoken farewell, spoken by the Croatian ambassador to her UK counterpart Tim Barrow last week, perhaps sums up 47 years of the Britons being lost in translation in Brussels.

The Brexit coin’s punctuation problem; With or without an Oxford comma, the wording on the 50p falls flat
Michael Skapinker – FT
The launch of a 50p coin to mark Britain’s exit from the EU prompted calls for its boycott on the grounds that its slogan “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” was poorly punctuated.

Europeans Should Say Thank You to Boris Johnson; The British prime minister has given the European Union’s 27 remaining member states good reason to stick together.
Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
One surprising knock-on effect of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, which became official last week, was to bind the bloc’s 27 remaining members closer together. The British had expected the red-carpet treatment from national governments desperate to keep selling Italian prosecco, German cars and French wine. They were instead shown the door by a united EU more focused on preserving the integrity of the single market, avoiding a return to a hard border in Ireland and settling the U.K.’s bill.

Boris Johnson Wants to Be Superman and Working Class Hero; The prime minister wants to be a global hero on free trade, while keeping his new working class voters happy. EU trade talks may make this impossible.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Immediately after his December election victory, Boris Johnson declared his principle domestic policy objective to be the rebalancing of Britain’s economy, “leveling up” those parts of the U.K. that have been left behind financially. On Monday, speaking in the Baroque splendor of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the prime minister set out his prime foreign policy goal: making Britain a global “Superman” in championing free trade.


It’s Only February and We’re Already Miserable; Bosses can go a long way toward mitigating employee burnout. With the added stress of the coronavirus, there’s no time like the present.
Rachel Rosenthal – Bloomberg
February can feel like no man’s land. The holidays are over and the weather is crummy. The gentlest iPhone chime sounds like a bugle call in the morning and you need two Americanos to have a civil conversation. Over the past week or so, you’ve been holed up in your cramped apartment and your inbox is overflowing with alerts about the spread of a deadly virus. Like 84% of the population, you’re probably stressed, according to a recent study by Cigna Corp. and Asia Care Group.

Xana Antunes, Business Journalist and Top Editor, Dies at 55; She led The New York Post and the business news site Quartz.
David Yaffe-Bellany – NY Post
Xana Antunes, a business journalist who was editor of The New York Post from 1999 to 2001 and later ran the business news site Quartz, died on Jan. 27 at a hospice care center in Manhattan. She was 55. The cause was pancreatic cancer, her husband, Scott Schell, said.

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