Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Our friends at Eventus have big smiles on their faces these days as they closed out a record year in 2022, according to a press release they issued this morning. Eventus also has plans for enhancing the Validus platform in 2023. The release said Eventus more than doubled revenues from 2021 as more firms doing business in multiple asset classes across the globe “deployed its customizable Validus platform and collaborated with Eventus experts in markets and regulatory affairs.” Nice work, keep it up!
One thing has been certain during my six decades on this planet and that was that the number of Chinese citizens would increase every year. Well, that did not happen in 2022 for the first time in 60 years, The New York Times reports. The Chinese government said today that “9.56 million people were born in China last year, while 10.41 million people died.”
Births in China were down from 10.6 million in 2021, which was the sixth straight year of declines. China’s population stands at 1.41 billion people.
Patrick Young, in a LinkedIn version of his Exchange Invest newsletter reported that “Nick Carew Hunt, the long-time Market Secretary of LIFFE has passed away after a relatively short period of illness.”
CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero reported on LinkedIn that her office is looking for summer interns. You can find out more about the jobs HERE.
We are sending out invoices for 2023 subscriptions to JLN. The cost of an individual subscription is $200 and an enterprise subscription for firms with five or more readers is $150 per reader. If you are just an occasional reader of JLN and don’t feel like the $200 is appropriate for the value you receive, there is another choice. You are welcome to make a contribution to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign at a level you feel comfortable with and you can do it under your own name or anonymously. We will still know who is making the contribution by the email attached and will credit your account. Something to consider to help give us the resources to provide you with the newsletter that you are enjoying and finding valuable, if only occasionally.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
The UNEP FI Regional Roundtable North America 2023 is taking place online and in Toronto, Canada, on March 1, 2023, from 08:00 – 17:00 EST at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. The event will convene members and supporting institutions of the United Nations Environment – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) as well as regulators, civil society, policymakers and academia to discuss the future of sustainable finance in the region. In-person attendance is limited. You can learn more and register here. ~ SAED
The New Case for Social Climbing; Meritocracy is make-believe. It’s all about who you know.
Xochitl Gonzalez – The Atlantic
I was born to be a social climber. The Evita score was ever present on my grandparents’ stereo when I was growing up, and I idolized Eva Peron, who made her way from poverty to the highest echelons of government and society. She was a woman who, at least from the musical’s point of view, saw clearly where she was in life and decided she wasn’t going to stay there.
***** Interesting story that rings too true from my experience.~JJL
Scaramucci Recalls ‘Betrayal’ by SBF: ‘I Considered Him a Friend’
Jason Nelson – Decrypt
Anthony Scaramucci detailed his close relationship with former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, his family, and how he felt after the extent of the FTX collapse came to light during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “I had a close relationship with [Sam Bankman-Fried], I considered him a friend,” Scaramucci said during Casper Labs’ Blockchain Hub event. “So I have to tell you that the betrayal and fraud-it’s bad on a lot of different levels. It certainly hurt me reputationally.”
****** Anthony Scaramucci has been friendly to me. I would give him this advice. If he wants a friend, get a dog. That is what SBF did.~JJL
Investors should be cautious about the forces driving the new year’s rally
Mohamed A. El-Erian – Bloomberg
Financial markets have started the new year in a buoyant mood, bolstered by an elusive alignment of stronger global growth prospects, falling inflation and less hawkish central banks. The broad-based rally in asset prices and the resulting loosening of financial conditions have opened the way for issuers to tap the capital markets for funding at quite attractive levels relative to those in 2022.
****** It is the risks you can’t see that are the ones to really worry about.~JJL
China’s Population Shrinks to 1.41 Billion in 2022, First Drop in Six Decades
China’s population started shrinking in 2022 for the first time in six decades, the latest milestone in a worsening demographic crisis for the world’s second-largest economy. The country had 1.41 billion people at the end of last year, 850,000 fewer than the end of 2021, according to data released by the National Statistics Bureau on Tuesday. That marks the first drop since 1961, the final year of the Great Famine under former leader Mao Zedong, and coincided with figures showing China’s economy expanded last year at the second-slowest pace since the 1970s.
******* At first I thought this was a Marvel headline related to an upcoming Antman movie.~JJL
Who Owns Your Coins? (Podcast); A bankruptcy judge has ruled that thousands of former Celsius customers don’t own their own accounts. The case could have far reaching implications
Janet Babin – Bloomberg
It was an unwelcome ruling for about 600,000 Celsius account holders, who are probably wishing they’d read the fine print more closely before investing. Or put more stock in the crypto mantra, “not your keys, not your coins.” Earlier this month, federal Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn found that when people deposited assets with the now bankrupt crypto lender Celsius – and in exchange received interest on those deposits – those assets became the property of Celsius. That makes customers of the so-called Celsius “Earn Program” unsecured creditors who are unlikely to get all their money back from the lender (again because, well, bankruptcy).
****** High returns = High Risk = Unforeseen Risks.~JJL
UK Penny Stock With China Ties Can’t Explain Sudden 4,900% Surge
Joe Easton – Bloomberg
Grand Vision Media Holdings Plc can’t explain a surge in its stock price, after the tiny London-listed firm rallied as much as 4,900% in two days. The company “notes the movement in its share price and confirms that it knows of no commercial or operational reason for the increase,” it said in a statement Tuesday. Grand Vision Media, founded in Hong Kong, makes 3D billboards and has installed over 200 screens in Chinese cities, according to its website.
****** Shouldn’t that be a “pence stock?”~JJL
Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was The Crypto Collapse and the End of the Magical Thinking That Infected Capitalism, an opinion piece in the New York Times from a Harvard Business and Harvard Law professor. Second was Sam Bankman-Fried was a spiteful and insecure boss who gaslit anyone that challenged him, FTX’s former US chief says, from Business Insider. Third was A millennial founder who sold her company to JP Morgan for $175 million allegedly paid a college professor $18K to fabricate 4 million accounts. Their email exchange is a doozy, from Fortune.
27,131 pages; 242,304 edits
TSX slams Canada over Chinese lithium divestment order; Exchange says intervention threatens free flow of capital on which mining companies rely
Harry Dempsey – Financial Times
The Toronto Stock Exchange has called on Canada’s government to do more to replace lost capital after Ottawa ordered three Chinese companies to divest their stakes in Canadian producers of critical minerals. Dean McPherson, head of business development for mining at TSX’s operator TMX Group, said the intervention by Justin Trudeau’s government risked harming the free flow of capital on which mining companies rely to explore and develop resources.
Euronext to switch derivatives clearing to Italy in 2024; Exchanges group prepares to move financial and commodity derivatives away from French capital to Milan
Nikou Asgari – Financial Times
Euronext has agreed a deal to move part of its clearing business from a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange Group, reducing its reliance on its British rival in a controversial area of Europe’s capital markets. Euronext, the biggest operator of stock markets in Europe, has agreed a EUR36mn termination fee with LSEG that ends a dispute between the two over the future over clearing of Euronext’s equity, derivatives and commodities business.
Central-Bank Digital Currencies Are Coming-Whether Countries Are Ready or Not; The game-changing development could have a profound impact on the banking system. But few people still understand it.
Christopher Mims – The Wall Street Journal
“Central-bank digital currency” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But you might want to get used to saying it. These so-called CBDCs, or digital versions of dollars, yuan, euros, yen or any other currency, are coming, say those who study them. And depending on how they are designed and rolled out, their impact on the banking system could be profound.
Saudi Arabia Says Open to Settling Trade in Other Currencies
Abeer Abu Omar and Manus Cranny – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia is open to discussions about trade in currencies other than the US dollar, according to the kingdom’s finance minister. “There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it is in the US dollar, whether it is the euro, whether it is the Saudi riyal,” Mohammed Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday in an interview in Davos. “I don’t think we are waving away or ruling out any discussion that will help improve the trade around the world,” Al-Jadaan said.
Euronext to pay LCH EUR36 million early termination fee to kick-start derivatives clearing migration plans; The exchange operator is planning to migrate the clearing of its Euronext derivatives markets to its internal clearing house by the third quarter of 2024.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Euronext is set to pay EUR36 million to LSEG’s clearing house LCH SA in exchange for the early termination of its derivatives clearing agreement. Following the agreement, Euronext intends to migrate the clearing business of its listed derivatives and commodities markets across Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Oslo BÃ¸rs and Paris from LCH SA to Euronext Clearing by the third quarter of 2024. Euronext Milan’s listed derivatives business is already cleared by Euronext Clearing.
Companies race to work around choke points in world trade; Geopolitical risks are driving efforts to diversify but there are no quick solutions
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson – Financial Times
It is a year since New York Federal Reserve economists unveiled the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index. The barometer of port backlogs and freight costs, looking back over 25 years, showed that constraints on moving goods around the globe peaked in late 2021, at a level for which they could find no precedent.
Central banks have varying roles in climate change; What matters is that monetary policymakers follow mandates given by lawmakers
The editorial board – Financial Times
The Federal Reserve should “stick to its knitting”: that was the verdict delivered last week by Jay Powell, the US central bank chair, who stated that the Fed is “not a climate policymaker and never will be”. He argued that exceeding its remit to pursue “social benefits that are not tightly linked to our statutory goals” would risk the central bank’s independence. Such a position puts the Fed at odds, at first blush, with other major central banks such as the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. Both have prioritised the fight against climate change and taken steps to “green” their corporate bond holdings.
Boards behaving badly should watch out; Norway’s oil fund expects business leaders to sharpen up their act on climate and executive pay
Nicolai Tangen – Financial Times
Norway’s oil fund has more than $1tn in assets. For a large investor like us, it is vital to express clear expectations of the boards of the companies we are invested in. Strong and independent boards that can exercise effective oversight of management are fundamental for value creation. This week, I am at the World Economic Forum in Davos to talk to other investors and companies. Our message to them is clear: we expect boards to sharpen up. They must become increasingly effective in overseeing business strategy and management in a complex business environment.
Wall Street Dealers Become Bit Players in US Bond Sales
Elizabeth Stanton – Bloomberg
Wall Street bond dealers are moving rapidly to the sidelines of US Treasury auctions – the very activity that defines their status at the heart of the world’s biggest bond market. Until 2008, the roughly two dozen “primary dealers” designated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had a virtual stranglehold on the distribution of new US government debt, capturing at least 60% of every 10-year note auction and usually more than 80%.
UBS CEO Says Bank ‘Bucking the Trend’ as Rivals Fire Bankers; Middle East, Asia providing support to wealth management: CEO; US focus remains on building scale, digitization: Hamers
Myriam Balezou, Manus Cranny, and Steven Arons – Bloomberg
UBS Group AG doesn’t plan to make the large-scale job cuts seen at global peers as the business of making investments for wealthy clients continues to see robust growth, Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said. “We are not in retrenchment mode,” Hamers said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. “We are hiring for what we call critical jobs. In Asia Pacific, in the Middle East, we are hiring absolutely because we have the momentum,” he said.
Founders of Bankrupt Three Arrows Capital Plan Trading Platform for Distressed Crypto Debt; Startup’s pitch estimates $20 billion market for claims against fallen companies
Caitlin Ostroff – The Wall Street Journal
The founders of a bankrupt crypto hedge-fund firm are seeking to launch an exchange where creditors to insolvent digital-assets firms, including their own, would be able to buy and sell claims. Su Zhu, a co-founder of the bankrupt crypto hedge-fund manager Three Arrows Capital Ltd., said that he and others are seeking to raise $25 million in seed money for the new platform. A pitch deck to potential investors, seen by The Wall Street Journal, referred to the company as GTX, a poke at the fallen crypto exchange FTX.
Elon Musk’s Tesla Tweets Could Cost Him Billions More – in Court; Investor lawsuit alleges deception about take-private plan; His lawyers say pretrial ruling could turn jurors against him
Joel Rosenblatt – Bloomberg
It took only a couple of tweets to plunge Elon Musk into the morass of a securities fraud trial that could cost him billions of dollars from his rapidly diminishing fortune. The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer is set to be the star witness at a jury trial that starts Tuesday in San Francisco federal court over his infamous tweets 4 1/2 years ago about a plan to take the electric-car maker private with “funding secured.”
What is wash trading, the fraudulent practice that some experts say accounts for 70% of transactions on crypto exchanges?
Jennifer Sor – Business Insider
Illicit crypto transactions skyrocketed in 2022 as scammers and hackers made off with billions, but there’s another type of fraud lurking in the industry-wash trading, the fraudulent practice some traders and crypto firms can use to pump prices, dupe investors, and make trading appear more liquid. A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that wash trades accounted for up to 70% of all transaction on non-compliant crypto exchanges, suggesting most trades on these platforms are fraudulent.
China’s bid to leave covid behind could determine global economy’s fate; The U.S., European and Japanese economies are seen in the latest forecasts as likely to underperform
David J. Lynch – The Washington Post
China is powering through an epic wave of coronavirus infections, setting the stage for a rebound in consumer and business activity that could prevent the global economy from tumbling into recession. In recent days, Wall Street analysts at firms such as Goldman Sachs and Capital Economics have upgraded their forecasts of Chinese growth, citing signs that the coronavirus outbreak is peaking sooner than expected.
Larry Fink Says ESG Narrative Has Become Ugly, Personal; Fink says he’s never experienced such personal attacks; He is trying to change the narrative, address misconceptions
Loukia Gyftopoulou, Silla Brush, and Francine Lacqua – Bloombereg
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the narrative around ESG investing has become ugly and is creating “huge polarization.” “I’m taking this very seriously,” Fink said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We are trying to address the misconceptions. It’s hard because it’s not business any more, they’re doing it in a personal way. And for the first time in my professional career, attacks are now personal. They’re trying to demonize the issues.”
Warning of unprecedented heatwaves as El Nino set to return in 2023
Damian Carrington – The Guardian
The return of the El NiÃ±o climate phenomenon later this year will cause global temperatures to rise “off the chart” and deliver unprecedented heatwaves, scientists have warned. Early forecasts suggest El NiÃ±o will return later in 2023, exacerbating extreme weather around the globe and making it “very likely” the world will exceed 1.5C of warming. The hottest year in recorded history, 2016, was driven by a major El NiÃ±o.
Goldman Sachs Profit Plummets From Deal-Making Drought; Quarterly profit was $1.33 billion, down 66% from a year ago
AnnaMaria Andriotis – The Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported sharply lower profits for the fourth quarter, hurt by a big slowdown in deal making. Goldman on Tuesday said quarterly profit was $1.33 billion, down 66% from a year ago. That amounted to $3.32 per share, missing the $5.56 per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.
Bernstein Says Custody Services Are the Foundation for Institutional Crypto Adoption
Will Canny – CoinDesk
The collapse of crypto exchange FTX has led to a greater focus on using regulated custodians, and the custody revenue opportunity could grow to $8 billion by 2033 from less than $0.3 billion today, Bernstein said in a research report on Tuesday. “Crypto custody is the foundational enabler for institutional adoption,” analysts Gautam Chhugani and Manas Agrawal wrote, adding that “unlike legacy custody, crypto custody is all about securing the private key,” which makes it a more technological endeavor.
Crypto loans: Winklevoss product exemplified unregulated risks; Without a comprehensive regulatory framework, all digital asset trades are equally dangerous
The price of bitcoin has passed $20,000 for the first time since November. Ethereum prices are up a quarter in the year to date. But even if the world’s largest cryptocurrencies stabilise, the crypto lending boom should remain on pause. Crypto lending products advertised high rates of interest for those willing to deposit their tokens. These were used for reinvestment. The trade had looked like a smart way to mimic the interest payable on deposits of fiat money. No longer.
Those tokens are up to something; FTX FTT WYD?
Louis Ashworth – Financial Times
The media’s silence about the exploding market in FTT, the on-platform token of evil crypto empire FTX, speaks volumes. Scroll down the FT’s homepage and you’ll find nothing about how this token has nearly tripled its value in a matter of days.
Davos 2023: Scaramucci’s SkyBridge bets on $35k bitcoin, targets credit
Divya Chowdhury and Lisa Pauline Mattackal – Reuters
SkyBridge Capital is betting on a sustained turnaround in cryptocurrency markets in 2023, the firm’s founder Anthony Scaramucci said, while admitting this view was “overly bullish”.
Sell-side clearing firms are rethinking margin processes in response to increased market volatility, finds new research; New survey produced by Acuiti found that more than 50% of respondents were calling clients for more intra-day margin.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Sell-side clearing firms in the derivatives market are calling clients for margin intra-day and increasing treasury buffers due to greater margin costs resulting from volatility experienced last year, according to new findings from Acuiti. The survey, produced in partnership with margin optimisation provider Quantile, found that more than 50% of respondents were calling clients for more intra-day margin, with 64% of surveyed participants already using or planning to use optimisation solutions to manage margin costs.
JP Morgan reports Q4 results, Dimon warns of economic uncertainty ahead; The bank saw both reported revenue and net income increase year-on-year, but is maintaining a fortress balance sheet in expectation of turbulent times ahead.
Laurie McAughtry – The Trade
JP Morgan has released its Q4 2022 results, and the bank finds itself in a relatively robust position compared to some of its peers. Reported revenue came in at $34.5 billion for the fourth quarter, up almost 18% from $29.3 billion in Q4 2021. Net income for the quarter was reported at $11 billion, up 6% from $10.4 billion the previous year.
Russia’s weaponization of oil and gas exports to neuter Europe on Ukraine is backfiring badly
Peter Weber – The Week
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ploy to use oil and gas exports as “a weapon of financial war” in its campaign to conquer Ukraine “is increasingly backfiring, threatening the core of Russia’s beleaguered economy and curtailing its geopolitical influence,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Moscow Details Plan to Boost Military as Kyiv Warns of Fresh Russian Offensive; U.S.-led assembly is set to gather later this week to discuss sending supplies to Ukraine
Matthew Luxmoore and Georgi Kantchev – The Wall Street Journal
Russia detailed its plans to boost the size of its military as Ukraine warned that Moscow may be preparing an offensive and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western allies to accelerate the provision of arms to the country.
Russia to Boost Troops in West, Expanding Army to 1.5 Million People; New commands, divisions planned as army ranks expand; Putin ordered boosting number of troops to 1.5 million
Russia will create new commands near Europe as it expands its military to 1.5 million people amid deepening tensions with the US and its allies over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. New structures in the regions around Moscow, St. Petersburg and Karelia on the border with Finland will be created under the program, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told commanders Tuesday, saying the major changes will start this year and continue through 2026. In addition, he said, “self-sufficient” units will be set up on the Ukrainian territories that Russia has illegally annexed.
For Ukraine to Win the ‘Maneuver War,’ Germany Must Move First; Chancellor Olaf Scholz seems to have finally figured out the Ukrainians need battle tanks to defeat the Russians. Eventually, they’ll need fighter jets too.
Andreas Kluth – Bloomberg
European politics got a huge burst of kinetic energy this week, thanks to the realization in places like Berlin that the war in Ukraine will become kinetic again come spring. That’s when the Russians are expected to launch a new offensive – and the Ukrainians their own counter-attacks to retake occupied territories. For the Ukrainians to succeed in that next phase – which think tankers describe as “maneuver warfare” – they’ll need super-mobile Western weapons such as battle tanks. But for Kyiv to get those, Western leaders such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz must first become unblocked. With a new German defense minister and a new stance toward arms shipments, he finally seems to be getting close.
A Wagner fighter defects to Norway, promising to expose Russian war crimes in Ukraine; The rare defection by a former member of the notorious Russian paramilitary force could aid investigations into Moscow’s atrocities.
Anatoly Kurmanaev, Henrik Pryser Libell and Michael Schwirtz – The New York Times
A former member of a notorious Russian paramilitary force has surrendered to Norwegian authorities, a rare defection that his lawyer and Russian human rights activists say could aid international investigations into Moscow’s atrocities in Ukraine.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Euronext to switch derivatives clearing to Italy in 2024
Huw Jones – Reuters
Pan-European stock exchange Euronext (ENX.PA) will shift clearing of derivatives trading to its new clearing arm in Italy by the third quarter of next year, it said on Monday, to compete directly with London Stock Exchange Group and Cboe. Euronext currently clears its derivatives transactions at LCH SA, owned by London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) (LSEG.L), but wants to build up its own in-house clearing operation, in tune with European Union efforts to deepen the bloc’s capital market after Brexit.
CME Group to Launch Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 and S&P 500 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Weekly Options on February 13
CME Group, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, today announced it will expand its suite of weekly options expiries for its Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 and S&P 500 futures with the launch of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Weekly options on February 13, pending regulatory review. These new weekly options contracts will complement the existing Friday Weeklies, End-of-Month and Quarterly options on Micro E-mini Nasdaq-100 and S&P 500 futures.
Euronext confirms the expansion of Euronext Clearing to derivatives markets for Q3 2024
Euronext, the leading pan-European market infrastructure, today announces that the European expansion of Euronext Clearing to Euronext derivatives markets is planned for Q3 2024. Since April 2021, Euronext has been the owner of a multi-asset clearing house, Euronext Clearing (formerly CC&G), and is thus in a position to directly manage its clearing activities to complete its value chain. In November 2021, Euronext announced its ambition to internalise the clearing activity of its cash and derivatives flows, today operated by third-party providers. As a result Euronext Clearing will become Euronext’s clearing house (“CCP”) of choice for cash equity1, listed derivatives and commodities markets.
Results of “Availability of English Disclosure Information by Listed Companies” Survey as of End of December 2022
Tokyo Stock Exchange
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) has promoted listed company English disclosure to enhance convenience for overseas investors and allow them to make appropriate investment decisions based on information disclosed by listed companies. As part of this effort, since 2019, TSE has been conducting surveys on the availability of English disclosure by listed companies and providing a list of the results through its website to a wide range of people including overseas investors.
LME Group General Counsel Tom Hine to step down
London Metal Exchange
The London Metal Exchange (LME) today announces that Tom Hine, LME Group General Counsel and Head of Enforcement, will step down at the end of January after 17 years of service. LME Chief Executive, Matthew Chamberlain commented: “Tom has been a much valued colleague and member of the Group Executive Committees for many years. Tom was instrumental in the HKEX acquisition of the LME in 2012, as well as the LME’s warehousing reforms and related litigation wins and enforcement actions. His knowledge of the Exchange, the Clearing House and metals industry more broadly, have proven invaluable and he will be missed. Together with the Management Team, we would like to sincerely thank Tom for his contributions to the LME and wish him the very best in his next career adventure.”
Circular on Releasing the Revised Futures Contract Specifications and Related Implementing Rules
Shanghai Futures Exchange
The Board of Directors of the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) has approved the 15 revised futures contract specifications such as the SHFE Copper Cathode Futures Contract Specifications and 6 implementing rules such as the Delivery Rules of the Shanghai Futures Exchange and the Standard Warrant Management Rules of the Shanghai Futures Exchange. All these revisions have been reported to the China Securities Regulatory Commission and will be implemented as of April 2, 2023 (Among them, the revised provisions on the delivery date of the contract will start from the 2304 contracts of the 15 products except Gold ).
Taiwan Futures Exchange recognized as TC-CCP by ESMA
Taiwan Futures Exchange
On December 16, 2022, the Taiwan Futures Exchange (TAIFEX) has been recognized as a Tier 1 third-country central counterparty (TC-CCP) by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), and the recognition decision will be applied from December 31, 2022. The recognition shows that the central clearing mechanism in Taiwan conforms to international standards and trends, realizing the vision of the Financial Supervisory Commission’s capital market blueprint in building a fair, efficient, innovative, open, diversified, and internationalized capital market to further attract foreign financial institutions to participate in Taiwan’s capital market and enhance Taiwan’s international status and visibility. In particular, Taiwan’s financial supervisory framework has been deemed equivalent to the European Union’s, putting Taiwan on par with other countries, which is conducive to strengthening cross-border supervision cooperation and information exchange, helping financial institutions implement risk management and regulatory compliance, and stabilizing the whole financial industry.
Eventus closes out record year, with significant plans for enhancing Validus platform in 2023
Eventus via PR Newswire
As financial markets compliance professionals faced some of their toughest challenges to date, Eventus – a leading global provider of multi-asset class trade surveillance and market risk solutions – today said that the firm continued its significant growth trajectory in 2022 with another record year. The company more than doubled revenues from 2021 as more firms doing business in multiple asset classes across the globe deployed its customizable Validus platform and collaborated with Eventus experts in markets and regulatory affairs.
Broadway’s Dan Romanelli Elected President of the Security Traders Association of Chicago Broadway Technology
Broadway Technology, a leading provider of high-performance front-office solutions, today announced that Global Head of Sales and Account Management Dan Romanelli has been elected president of the Security Traders Association of Chicago. In his role, Romanelli will be instrumental in setting the organization’s strategic direction, enhancing knowledge transfer between past and current board members, and driving new membership growth. He will also be integrally involved in administering the STAC Fund which awards college scholarships to deserving local students and makes grants to various charitable and educational institutions.
Next wave of DeFi will be driven by decentralized identity solutions
Amit Chaudhary – VentureBeat
Today, decentralized finance (DeFi) is still something of a “wild west.” With many different players, each with their own claims and ambitions, there is no obvious law of the land. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some users being dealt a bad hand after deciding to experiment with the ecosystem. Stories of scams and rug pulls are still common, and algorithmic protocols coming undone by negative market conditions disturb users’ trust. DeFi can seem unsafe and confusing for many users, even when projects and the teams behind them have the best of intentions.
Looming Twitter interest payment leaves Elon Musk with unpalatable options; Billionaire faces tough choices to meet financial obligations of takeover financed by $13bn debt
Tabby Kinder and Richard Waters and Eric Platt – Financial Times
The bill for Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is coming due, with the billionaire facing unpalatable options on the company’s enormous debt pile, ranging from bankruptcy proceedings to another costly sale of Tesla shares.
Lazarus Group Moves 41,000 Ethereum Nabbed From Harmony Bridge Hack
Will McCurdy – Decrypt
North Korea-linked cybercrime syndicate Lazarus Group has reportedly transferred $63.4 million in Ethereum from 2022’s mammoth Harmony bridge hack, depositing it on Binance, Huobi, and OKX. According to on-chain sleuth ZachXBT, the group used the privacy and anonymity system Railgun before consolidating the funds and depositing them on the exchanges. Railgun is an Ethereum-based smart contract system that lets users obscure the nature of their crypto transactions, removing identifying information.
President Biden’s new cybersecurity policy allows U.S. agencies to preemptively hack into the computer networks of criminals and foreign governments.
Fred Kaplan – Slate
President Biden is about to approve a policy that goes much farther than any previous effort to protect private companies from malicious hackers-and to retaliate against those hackers with our own cyberattacks. The 35-page document, titled “National Cybersecurity Strategy,” differs from the dozen or so similar papers signed by presidents over the past quarter century in two significant ways: First, it imposes mandatory regulations on a wide swath of American industries. Second, it authorizes U.S. defense, intelligence, and law-enforcement agencies to go on the offensive, hacking into the computer networks of criminals and foreign governments, in retaliation to-or preempting-their attacks on American networks.
Hackers Can Abuse Legitimate GitHub Codespaces Feature to Deliver Malware
Ravie Lakshmanan – The Hacker News
New research has found that it is possible for threat actors to abuse a legitimate feature in GitHub Codespaces to deliver malware to victim systems. GitHub Codespaces is a cloud-based configurable development environment that allows users to debug, maintain, and commit changes to a given codebase from a web browser or via an integration in Visual Studio Code.
Europe Beefs-Up Cybersecurity Law, Trumping The UK
Stewart Room – Forbes
The EU has introduced two new significant pieces of legislation that are intended to increase cybersecurity resilience in the European economy and the overall resilience of critical infrastructure providers to incidents that have the potential to significantly disrupt their services. These new laws represent a massive leap-forward for the EU while casting a shadow over the UK which is now lagging behind the pace of its former economic and social partner.
Royal Mail Still Disrupted Almost One Week After Cyberattack
Eamon Akil Farhat – Bloomberg
Royal Mail said no personal data was compromised during a cyberattack detected last week, though the UK postal firm continues to grapple with the situation and letters and parcels are still not being exported. Chief Executive Officer Simon Thompson told a House of Commons panel Tuesday that based on the investigation so far, no data breach took place, though the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates data privacy, has been informed.
A Large Crypto Market Maker Is Already Distancing Itself From New 3AC Venture
Eliza Gkritsi – CoinDesk
Wintermute, the large crypto market maker, was quick to distance itself from a new fundraise by the co-founders of bankrupt hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), echoing similar sentiments from the community. The co-founders of Three Arrows Capital, Su Zhu and Kyle Davies partnered with Mark Lamb and Sudhu Arumugam, co-founders of crypto exchange CoinFlex – which is going through a restructuring process – to raise $25 million for a new exchange called GTX, according to a pitch deck seen by CoinDesk.
As crypto hackers and thieves make off with billions, there’s another kind of fraud lurking in the industry.
Phil Rosen – Business Insider
Happy Tuesday, readers. I’m Phil Rosen. By the end of the month I’ll be back in wintry Manhattan, but for now I’m writing to you from Los Angeles. Like a limp handshake, the downfall of FTX has served as a sorry introduction for readers without previous exposure to the nascent crypto industry. A once-niche segment of finance has been thrust into the mainstream, and now everyone and their mother knows the name Sam Bankman-Fried.
Binance Will Enable Crypto Collateral Off Exchange For Institutional Investors
Binance will allow institutional investors to keep their collateralized crypto used for leveraged positions off the platform. The exchange will enable investors to post collateral with Binance Custody, which will hold the assets off the internet, in cold storage wallets, Binance said in a statement on Monday. Once trades are settled, the assets would then become accessible to the user again. “The Hash” panel weighs in.
Failed hedge fund Three Arrows Capital is pitching a marketplace where crypto victims can sell their bankruptcy claims – and calling it ‘GTX’ in an apparent nod to FTX
George Glover – Business Insider
The founders of failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital are reportedly trying to launch a new exchange – where people who lost money in the collapse of a digital asset company would be able to buy and sell bankruptcy claims. Su Zhu and Kyle Davies are seeking to raise $25 million from investors to fund a new platform that they are currently calling ‘GTX’, according to a pitch deck seen by Insider.
Crypto Long-Term Adoption Depends On Regulation, Coinbase Exec Says
Fran Velasquez – CoinDesk
Crypto’s recent rally is a beacon of hope for the industry, but its lasting presence will depend on clear regulatory guardrails, according to Tom Duff Gordon, vice president of international policy at Coinbase (COIN). Joining CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” live from the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos 2023, Gordon said crypto has the potential to reach mainstream adoption, but that’ll depend on regulation that can then “generate confidence for retailers.”
Ethereum Hits 500,000 Validators Ahead of Scheduled Shanghai Upgrade
Will McCurdy – Decrypt
The number of Ethereum (ETH) validators has hit 500,000, per data from BeaconScan, ahead of March’s scheduled Shanghai upgrade. A validator secures a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain by validating transactions on the network and protecting it from double-spending errors, among other activities.
Bitcoin Miners and Average HODLers Are Back in the Black
Andrew Throuvalas – Decrypt
After a long crypto winter, Bitcoin miners and average BTC investors are now back in the black, according to a report today from blockchain intelligence firm Glassnode. Bitcoin rallied over the weekend and is now trading above $20,000 for the first time since the spectacular collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX. This means it’s now profitable again for mining companies to run the expensive hardware necessary to mine the Bitcoin network. It also means that your average Bitcoin hodler, if they sold their stash now, would no longer be selling for a loss.
CoinFLEX Users Irate Over Leaked GTX Pitch Deck From Three Arrows Founders
Andre Beganski – Decrypt
CoinFLEX users are up in arms after a pitch deck revealed that the bankrupt exchange’s co-founders were seeking funding for a new venture with none other than Su Zhu and Kyle Davies. The pitch deck obtained by Decrypt showed that Zhu, Davies, as well as Mark Lamb and Sudhu Armugan of CoinFLEX are looking to raise $25 million for a new crypto exchange called GTX.
This Is What It Means to ‘Mint’ an NFT
Emma Newbery – The Motley Fool
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were so popular in 2021 that Collins Dictionary made it the word of the year. Several NFTs sold for millions of dollars, with one piece — Pak’s “The Merge” — selling for over $90 million. Interest in pretty much everything crypto related fell away last year, including NFTs.
Oxfam echoes Bill Gates in calling for new taxes on the rich with ‘billionaire-busting policies’
Chloe Taylor – Fortune
International poverty charity Oxfam has called for “a systemic and wide-ranging increase in taxation of the super-rich,” echoing recent calls from billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Research published by Oxfam on Monday found that billionaires’ fortunes were increasing by an average of $2.7 billion every day. Meanwhile, 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wage growth, the charity said. Oxfam said imposing a tax of up to 5% on multimillionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion annually-enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty.
UK Draws More Than 100 Bids for New Oil, Gas Sites in North Sea
Will Mathis – Bloomberg
The UK drew 115 bids from 76 companies to lease areas of the seabed to look for oil and gas resources, the North Sea Transition Authority said in a statement on Tuesday. The leases are the first step in a years-long process to potentially develop new fossil fuel resources in the UK. The government has touted this leasing round as a key tool to improve energy security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even as the country transitions away from dependence on burning fuels that contribute to climate change.
Brexit Rules Cost Britain 330,000 Workers, Economists Say; Clampdown on cheap labor from EU hit retail and hospitality; Higher prices and lower output likely due to the shortfall
Tom Rees – Bloomberg
Brexit immigration curbs have led to a shortfall of 330,000 workers in the UK, contributing to a tighter labor market and fueling inflation, a report showed. Low-skilled sectors including retail and hospitality have been hit hardest by the end of freedom of movement following the UK’s departure from the European Union, an analysis by the Centre for European Reform found.
Kremlin Revenue Under Pressure as Crude Price Falls on Sanctions; Urals price for February tax calculations fell to $46.82/bbl; The price includes freight and insurance costs: Interfax
The Russian state’s oil revenue came under further pressure as the average crude price the government uses to calculate its taxes dropped to the lowest in more than two years. The country already had a record federal budget deficit in December as it spent heavily on the invasion of Ukraine while the price of oil and gas – the single-largest source of government revenue – declined. The main export price for Russian crude nearly halved in 2022 on a combination of a slowing global economy and waves of international sanctions in response to the war.
Commissioner Sean Hughes to depart ASIC
ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes will end his term as Commissioner on 3 February 2023, after accepting a role in the commercial sector. ASIC Chair Joe Longo said ‘We are grateful for the contribution Sean has made to ASIC in his role as Commissioner and wish him well in the next stage of his career.’ Mr Hughes was due to end his five-year term on 1 December 2023. The appointment of an ASIC commissioner is determined by the Treasurer.
Cigna to pay $3.5 million penalty for making false and misleading representations about customers’ insurance premiums and cover
Financial Markets Authority
The Wellington High Court has ordered Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited to pay a final pecuniary penalty of $3,575,000 for making false and/or misleading representations relating to inflation benefits in certain life insurance policies provided by the company. In August, Cigna admitted to breaching the Fair Dealing provisions of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act), following proceedings brought by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana TÄtai Hokohoko. The case proceeded to a penalty hearing in October, where the parties made submissions on the appropriate amount for a penalty. Justice Mallon has now issued her judgment.
Michael Nascimento sentenced for failing to pay confiscation order
In 2018, Mr Nascimento was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for his role in a Â£2.8 million investment fraud, where he was convicted with five associates of defrauding investors through a series of boiler room companies. Members of the public were cold-called and subjected to high-pressure sales tactics to persuade them to buy shares in a company that owned land on the island of Madeira. Investors were promised guaranteed returns of between 125% and 228%. The money was, in fact, used to maintain the fraud and to fund the lifestyle of Mr Nascimento.
India’s market regulator proposes separating brokers from investors’ money
Jayshree Pyasi – Reuters
India’s capital market regulator has proposed discontinuing the current practice of an advance transfer of funds to stockbrokers before secondary market trades are executed. Such a move will prevent misuse of client funds, brokers’ defaults and the consequent risk to investors’ capital, the regulator said in a discussion paper to seek views before it finalises the rule.
Thailand’s SEC issues new regulations for crypto custody services
Zoltan Vardai – Forkast
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand issued new rules for cryptocurrency custody services on Tuesday, in hopes of improving investor protection.
Investing and Trading
‘It feels like way too much to lose.’ We had $550K invested and told our adviser we wanted a ‘conservative approach.’ Since then we’ve lost $88K. Should we fire him?
Alisa Wolfson – MarketWatch
Question: Two years ago my husband took an early retirement when offered by his company. At that time we had a 401(k) with about $550,000 that we gave to a big financial services firm rep to handle. Since then we’ve lost $88,000 due to poor market conditions and decisions. We expressed our need for a conservative approach. A large portion is tied up in bonds and that amount feels like way too much to lose!
Activist Investor Ryan Cohen Takes Stake in Alibaba and Pushes for More Stock Buybacks; Cohen first contacted the Chinese e-commerce giant’s board in August to say he saw the company’s shares as undervalued
Lauren Thomas – The Wall Street Journal
Activist investor Ryan Cohen has built a stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA 3.41%increase; green up pointing triangle worth hundreds of millions of dollars and is privately pushing the Chinese e-commerce giant to accelerate and further boost its share-repurchase program, according to people familiar with the matter.
Commodities Warrant Cautious Optimism, Not Exuberance, in 2023; U.S., China and Europe have better outlook, sparking metals-price rally
Megha Mandavia – The Wall Street Journal
Commodities bulls have left the pen, ready for a long run. Odds are that 2023 will end with industrial-metal prices, at least, higher than they are now. But there are a few important caveats, especially for the economic bellwether, copper. For now at least, the bulls are in charge. Three-month copper futures are trading at $9,100 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, already up 9% in 2023 according to FactSet. Aluminum futures are up 13%. And iron-ore prices rallied by almost 50% from early November to the end of 2022, according to CEIC, a data company.
Euro Area’s Best Bond Trade of the Year Is at Risk of Unwinding; Italy 10-year yield over Germany fell to lowest since April; Lombard Odier, Royal London Asset Management are bearish
Libby Cherry – Bloomberg
Investors are looking to bet against Italy’s peer-beating bond rally, saying the gains have gone too far. They argue the European Central Bank is expected to keep hiking interest rates and is unlikely to stand in the way of a selloff given how narrow the spread over German bunds remains. In this camp are Lombard Odier and Royal London Asset Management, while BlueBay Asset Management is considering joining them.
Yen Traders Brace for Wildest Day Since Global Financial Crisis; FX pair’s overnight implied volatility at highest since 2008; Traders are bracing for another potential shift in BOJ policy
David Finnerty – Bloomberg
The Bank of Japan’s policy decision due Wednesday is shaping up to be the biggest risk for the dollar-yen pair since the global financial crisis, with traders betting on a possible swing of 2% or more in favor of either currency. The pair’s overnight implied volatility jumped to the highest since November 2008 as traders positioned for another policy tweak following a surprise move in December. Since the BOJ raised the ceiling for its yield curve control program last month, traders have turned up the heat on the central bank by pushing the 10-year bond yield above its ceiling for three straight days.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
New finance leadership group to support development of international agreement to end plastic pollution
Following the adoption of the historic resolution to forge an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution by 2024 endorsed by UN Member States in March 2022, UNEP FI is convening a core group of leading financial institutions who will play an important role in supporting the development of the agreement and implementing it across the global finance sector. Announced today by ING at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Finance Leadership Group on Plastics will provide input and suggestions to the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) on the desired outcomes for banks, insurers and investors. It will also build readiness in the finance sector to act on plastic pollution through awareness raising, capacity building, and target-setting support.
Nest Co-Creator Wants You to Pay $33 a Month Not to Trash Your Food; Matt Rogers helped create the smart home. Now he wants to reinvent your kitchen garbage.
Mark Bergen – Bloomberg
The device blends right into the room. It looks like a trash can-one of those sleek, steel models, cream-colored with a small foot pedal at the base. Matt Rogers skips across the room to show it off. He taps the pedal to open the bin’s lid and reveal a pile of what looks like thinly shaved brown mulch, the dehydrated remnants of three week’s worth of his colleague’s household kitchen scraps. This mush once included discarded fish bones, now unnoticeable. Fish, banana peels, eggshells, an entire turkey carcass after Thanksgiving-Rogers says it can all go in. He hired a mechanical engineer, who once built motorcycles, to design the grinders at the bin’s bottom, stainless steel paddles and hammer blades that churn and pulverize the foodstuff.
Heavy-Duty Electric Truck ‘Subscriptions’ Could Clean Up Polluting Ports; Diesel drayage freight trucks are a major source of toxic emissions. Forum Mobility replaces them with electric models for a monthly fee.
Todd Woody – Bloomberg
Every day, dozens of heavy-duty diesel trucks rumble into a freight yard lined with shipping containers near the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. As the big rigs pick up some of the 11 million cargo containers that pass through the ports each year, they spew an invisible mix of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. The toxic exhaust is not only cooking the planet, but damaging the hearts and lungs of drivers and residents in surrounding low-income communities of color.This is the hidden health and climate cost of consumer goods carried by tens of thousands of “drayage” trucks that shuttle shipping containers from ports to warehouses for distribution across the United States.
Davos 2023 Day 2: the economy and the climate
It’s a fragmented world – can humanity learn to cooperate to solve the big issues? Bloomberg climate change reporter, host of the Zero podcast, Akshat Rathi, joins us to look at Day 2 of Davos 2023. Saadia Zahidi, head of the Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society picks her priorities for Davos 2023 and, as the World Economic Forum published its latest Chief Economists Outlook, ADP’s Chief Economist Nela Richardson gives her assessment of the economy in the year to come.
Larry Fink Says ESG Narrative Has Become Ugly, Personal; Fink says he’s never experienced such personal attacks; He is trying to change the narrative, address misconceptions
Loukia Gyftopoulou, Silla Brush, and Francine Lacqua – Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the narrative around ESG investing has become ugly and is creating “huge polarization.” “I’m taking this very seriously,” Fink said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We are trying to address the misconceptions. It’s hard because it’s not business any more, they’re doing it in a personal way. And for the first time in my professional career, attacks are now personal. They’re trying to demonize the issues.” Fink, 70, has been outspoken about investing with environmental, social and governance goals, making it a focal point in his annual letters to the industry. The firm has become a political punching bag from forces on both ends of the spectrum, with some on the right alleging its policies harm the fossil-fuel industry and others on the left arguing it’s not doing enough to respond to climate change.
Davos Latest: China Sees Economy Steadying Amid Property Risks
China Vice Premier Liu He joined the chorus of cautious optimism from the global elite in Davos by projecting that the world’s second-largest economy will normalize as Covid restrictions ease. Despite tentative signs of economic resilience, the lack of snow on the slopes is a reminder of the climate crisis that will dominate much of the discussions in the Swiss Alps. Concerns about political stability are also high on the agenda and other topics will include the end of the era of cheap money and food and energy security.
French Pension Scheme Benchmarks Euro 300 Million Fund to Climate Impact Index
Jack Grogan-Fenn – ESG Investor
ERAFP – the Euro 41.7 billion additional pension scheme for French civil servants – has awarded a circa Euro 300 million mandate to be benchmarked to Scientific Beta’s Eurozone Climate Impact Consistent EU Paris Aligned Benchmark Compliant index. Its decision reflects ERAFP’s climate commitments made within the framework of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance. The mandate will be awarded for a four-year term, with two separate opportunities to extend for a further year, bringing the maximum term of the mandate to six years.
Social Climate Fund Inches EU Closer to a Just Transition; Calls for a definition of ‘vulnerable communities’, the exclusion of fossil fuels, and a clear plan of action to make sure funding goes where it is most needed.
Emmy Hawker – ESG Investor
The Social Climate Fund (SCF) will play a key role in supporting a just transition in Europe, but EU lawmakers have been urged to prioritise support for the most vulnerable when addressing unanswered questions about how the fund will work in practice. “The success of net zero or climate change-related policies depends on the integration of social considerations to ensure a just transition, and the SCF clearly highlights that the EU is mindful of the social ramifications of an extended Emissions Trading System (ETS),” said Brendan Curran, Policy Fellow for Sustainable Finance at the London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (LSE GRI).
Portfolio manager: Culture war on ESG is ‘a political ploy’ that’s ‘doomed to fail’
Grace O’DonnellÂ·- Yahoo Finance
Investing that considers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors suffered a series of setbacks in 2022 – including fresh debate on what ESG is and a growing backlash against the practice. Major banks and asset managers like BlackRock (BLK) – which had become vocal proponents of ESG-fueled stakeholder capitalism while continuing to invest in fossil fuels – faced accusations of “greenwashing” while also seeing more than a dozen U.S. states move to block them from government contracts amid conservative criticism.
ESG To Add Value To The Point-Of-Sale (POS) Terminal Industry: Astra ESG Solutions
The environmental, social and governance (ESG) landscape has gone mainstream in the point-of-sale (POS) terminal industry. Robust digital payment technologies have potentially removed or reduced paperwork and bureaucracy and minimized the need for cash. Predominantly, automated payment processes are fostering corporate work, while retailers have exhibited an increased inclination for POS terminals as sustainability factors garner traction among shareholders, investors, customers and other stakeholders. Payment companies have furthered their traction for ESG pillars to propel social credibility, enhance brand position and place social goals on top of the agenda.
How a shift to renewable energy will optimize Bitcoin Mining?
Roland Hutchinson – Geeky Gadgets
Good progress towards making the Bitcoin mining process green. Despite the hue and cry for the mining thing, we see some reasonable progress being made on it. Now, the big question is: how can Bitcoin mining become green? However, if you look at how Bitcoin mining gives out the greenhouse in the atmosphere, it is now losing the toxicity for the surrounding. As per the ECI (Electricity Consumption Index) of Bitcoin given by Cambridge University, the greenhouse effect has decreased recently.
Europe’s Energy Crunch
The rising cost of gas and electricity is stressing household energy bills, threatening businesses productivity and testing government policy. This winter follow Europe’s energy emergency with key updates from Bloomberg News.
Biden’s Green Energy Bank Races to Leverage $394 Billion to Scale Cleantech; The Energy Department office that helped Tesla – and made a bad bet on Solyndra – is hustling to get loans out as the GOP vows scrutiny.
Zahra Hirji and Ari Natter – Bloomberg
An obscure arm of the US Energy Department is racing against the clock to leverage as much as $394 billion to speed the country’s fight against climate change. Mostly sidelined by the Trump administration, the agency’s Loan Programs Office has been revived under President Joe Biden and armed with more money following the passage last year of the country’s landmark climate law. But the office’s window of opportunity to support innovative low-carbon technologies could be short, with two years left in Biden’s term and no guarantee that a future president will prioritize it.
Iron-Air Batteries 10 Times Cheaper Than Li-Ion Will Start Mass Production in 2024; Started in the labs at MIT, Form Energy is the company that improved a 140-year-old battery technology to revolutionize energy storage. Its iron-air battery, which is 10 times cheaper than current Li-ion cells, will start production in 2024 at a new facility that’s being built in West Virginia.
Cristian Agatie – Autoevolution
Li-ion batteries may be today’s best energy storage solution, but they are far from perfect. This is why scientists constantly develop new technologies, some more promising than others. Among those less popular are the metal-air batteries, which were first designed in 1878. If you’re unfamiliar with this battery type, the zinc-air cells used in hearing-aid devices are a variation of the metal-air cells. Current metal-air batteries are not rechargeable because they begin to corrode pretty quickly once the airflow starts.
Bain Capital Co-Chairman to Retire; Steve Pagliuca is retiring after a 34-year career at the private-equity firm
Laura Cooper and Dana Mattioli – The Wall Street Journal
Bain Capital co-chairman Steve Pagliuca is retiring after a 34-year career at the private-equity firm. Mr. Pagliuca will remain a senior adviser at the firm, and will continue to be involved in the portfolio companies in which he holds a board seat, and he will be a significant investor in Bain’s funds, part of a plan put in place years ago, he said. Co-managing partners John Connaughton and Jonathan Lavine will continue to run Bain, roles they assumed in 2016.
Goldman Sachs misses profit estimates on dealmaking slump
Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Tuesday reported a bigger-than-expected 69% drop in fourth-quarter profit due to heavy losses in its consumer business and a slump in dealmaking that hit its investment banking unit.
BNP Paribas prepares first Irish ETF launches; French fund house apes rivals in seeking to tap into Dublin’s preferential tax status
Sandra Heistruvers – Financial Times
BNP Paribas Asset Management is preparing to launch its first Ireland-domiciled exchange traded funds, shortly after domestic rival Amundi started offering Dublin-registered ETFs. The asset management arm of French lender BNP Paribas said the fund house was currently awaiting approval from the Irish regulator, the Central Bank of Ireland, for its first locally domiciled ETFs.
Goldman Chided for ‘Woefully Short’ Disclosure in Analyst Note
Harry Wilson and Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may be the top bank for advising many of the world’s largest companies but its own financial reporting leaves much to be desired, according to Wells Fargo & Co. analyst Mike Mayo. Responding to the Wall Street bank’s update of its financial disclosures last Friday, Mayo issued a scathing critique, saying it should provide far more detail on how its new divisional reporting compared to past periods. Goldman Sachs released the new information days before the release of fourth-quarter earnings – a measure that didn’t give the market enough time to digest the changes, Mayo said.
Work & Management
How to internalize your success and beat imposter syndrome once and for all; Make your thoughts work for you instead of against you.
Melody Wilding – Fast Company
My client Jill, a seasoned marketing strategist, had a long list of achievements. Over her 20-year career, she had received numerous industry awards and was even promoted twice in one year. Despite these accolades, Jill was constantly haunted by thoughts of her inadequacy. When we first met, she told me, “I worry that, at any moment, my boss and colleagues will realize I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not truly an expert; I’m simply making things up as I go along.”
FTC Plan to Ban Noncompete Clauses Shifts Companies’ Focus; A partial or full ban could prompt employers to use deferred pay and nondisclosure agreements
Lauren Weber – The Wall Street Journal
Businesses and lawyers are beginning to assess what the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban of noncompete clauses in employment contracts could mean for worker mobility, wages and the way future compensation agreements are structured. While a full or partial ban could expand the pool of potential hires, it also would weaken a tool that employers have come to rely on to retain talent and protect trade secrets and other proprietary information, lawyers say. More companies likely would turn to a patchwork of alternative mechanisms to keep people from leaving and taking valuable information with them, including nondisclosure agreements and employment contracts that reward longevity, they say.
Credit Suisse Chair Warns on Bonuses After ‘Horrifying Year’; Lehmann says client outflows have started to reverse slightly; After ‘huge losses, it is clear that the budget gets cut.’
Myriam Balezou and Francine Lacqua – Bloomberg
Credit Suisse Group AG Chairman Axel Lehmann warned employees should brace for bonus cuts as the Swiss lender embarks on a painful and costly turnaround after a grim year that forced it to tap shareholders for fresh funds.
Amazon HR Staffers Turn From Hiring to Seeking Jobs Themselves; With job cuts mounting across the tech industry and beyond, even recruiters at Amazon are turning on green LinkedIn “open to work” badges before they’ve been formally laid off.
Jo Constantz – Bloomberg
With job cuts mounting across tech, finance and other industries, why wait to get fired when you can skip directly to being hired? The move, called “career cushioning,” involves lining up a plan B while still fully employed, especially when job cuts are imminent. This is usually done discreetly – perhaps a networking call taken during lunch, or taking the time to connect with old colleagues.
Covid face masks RETURN in new advice from World Health Organisation
George McMillan – GBNews
Covid face masks are set to make a return as the World Health Organisation releases new advice. The virus has spread rapidly through the world yet again after the mass lifting of restrictions in China. The WHO have suggested people wear face masks in crowded areas. On top of this, the XBB.1.5 strain is expected to sweep across Europe in just weeks, as experts fear the strain is the most transmissible yet.
Crash Course: Covid-19 Vs. the Bottom Line; A handful of innovators, including Moderna Inc., developed Covid-19 vaccines in record time – and then butted heads to secure riches.
Timothy L. O’Brien – Bloomberg
This is the second episode of a new Bloomberg Opinion podcast, Crash Course, about business, political and social disruption – and what we can learn from those collisions. This installment focuses on a handful of extraordinarily innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that developed Covid-19 vaccines in record time during a daunting global pandemic – and then butted heads in a race to secure riches. Moderna Inc., one of those miracle workers, offers a case study in the ups and downs of disruption. Join your host, Tim O’Brien, and his guest today, Dr. Monica Gandhi, as they discuss all of this. Gandhi is a leading virologist and epidemiologist who teaches at the University of California, San Francisco. She’s also the author of a new book, “Endemic: A Post-Pandemic Playbook,” which will be published this summer.
Why health-care services are in chaos everywhere; Now is an especially bad time to have a heart attack
The imposition of lockdowns during the covid-19 pandemic had one overarching aim: to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Governments hoped to space out infections, buying time to build capacity. In the end, however, much of this extra capacity went unused. England’s seven “Nightingale” hospitals closed having received only a few patients, as did many of America’s field hospitals. A study of Europe’s experience in Health Policy, a journal, found only one example where there were more covid patients than intensive-care beds: in the Italian region of Lombardy on April 3rd 2020. Although there are now stories of overwhelmed Chinese hospitals, as the country confronts a great exit wave, it is too soon to know whether these are isolated examples or represent broader, systematic failure.
Sickle Cell Cure Brings Mix of Anxiety and Hope; Some people who have long lived with the disease say they worry about living as a healthy person, while others worry about the obstacles to getting treatment.
Gina Kolata – The New York Times
Terry Jackson lives a life dominated by sickle cell disease. The genetic disorder, in which misshapen red cells become wedged in blood vessels, causes him daily bone pain and lower back pain and has sent him to the hospital for pain treatment and life threatening emergencies for five decades. He has frequent transfusions of fresh blood. “You can’t escape it,” said Dr. Jackson, who owns a science communication business. “It is life-changing. It is each breath you take.”
China’s Economic Growth Fell to Near-Historic Lows as Covid Took a Bite
Jason Douglas – The Wall Street Journal
China’s economy grew at one of its slowest rates in decades last year as repeated lockdowns hammered households and businesses, emphasizing the high cost of zero-tolerance Covid-19 policies that Beijing abruptly abandoned at the end of 2022. China’s economy expanded 3% in 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday, a sharp slowdown from the 8.1% pace recorded in 2021. Aside from 2020, when the economy grew only 2.2%, last year marked the worst year for gross domestic product growth in China since 1976, the year that Mao Zedong’s death ended the decade of strife known as the Cultural Revolution, according to World Bank data.
China Posts Record Fossil Fuel Output as Security Trumps Climate; Steel output drops a second year as China reins in emissions; Aluminum production closes in on government’s capacity ceiling
Fossil fuel production in China soared in 2022, with coal and gas hitting record highs, as environmental targets took a back seat to energy security after a tumultuous year for prices. That swamped some good news for the climate from the steel sector, where China cut output for a second consecutive year to make good on its promise to rein in emissions from the worst-polluting industry after power generation.
Banker’s Heirs Sue Japanese Insurer Over Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’; Sompo paid $40 million in 1987 for oil drawing of sunflowers; Heirs say iconic artwork was sold under duress during Nazi era
Reed Stevenson and Nao Sano – Bloomberg
Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting should be returned to the family of its former owner by Sompo Holdings Inc., the Japanese insurer that bought the famous artwork despite its tainted Nazi-era past, according to a lawsuit filed by the heirs. They’re seeking more than $1 billion in damages for the oil drawing, which made its way to Japan about 35 years ago after it was sold at auction for almost $40 million – the highest price ever paid for a painting at the time.