Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
Welcome to the year 2022, the year in which the dystopian movie “Soylent Green” was set. This movie, starring Charlton Heston, is not one to watch on an empty stomach.
The NFA sent out an email notice saying that they really did send out “an email from email@example.com with information regarding NFA’s election for a CPO/CTA representative on NFA’s Board of Directors.” This was not spam or other internet hijinx.
New York has a new mayor and police commissioner and Manhattan has a new district attorney. Eric Adams was sworn in as mayor and Keechant L. Sewell took the oath to become New York City’s first female police commissioner. Alvin Bragg was sworn in as the Manhattan DA, replacing Cyrus Vance, Jr., who served 12 years in the office. New York also has a new daily record for the most new Covid-19 cases, with 85,476 cases reported on Saturday. Welcome to the Big Apple.
According to Mark Shore’s LinkedIn update, he has been promoted to executive director at DePaul University. He became a clinical professor of finance in September of 2021, shedding the title of adjunct professor that he had held since 2011. He is a doctoral candidate at DePaul’s Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business for the class of 2022. The title of his dissertation is “Large Hedge Funds versus Small Hedge Funds: Is Asset Size an Allocation Variable to Consider?”
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reported that 45 journalists were killed doing their jobs in 2021, down from 65 during 2020. This is the lowest number of deaths per year the IFJ has ever recorded, Axios reported.
Tomorrow your old BlackBerry will no longer work, CNN reported. BlackBerry is ending its support for the once popular devices running the Blackberry 10, 7.10 OS and earlier. All of its older devices not running on the Android software will no longer be able to send text, use data, or access the internet or even make a telephone call. But they do make a good paperweight.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Cboe Global Markets has launched its Cboe Empowers Scholars Program, part of the Cboe Empowers community engagement program announced in June. The Scholars Program will fully fund five “full-ride” scholarships to college for Black or Latinx students from the south and west sides of Chicago. To qualify for one of the scholarships, students will have to meet all of the following four criteria: 1. Self-identify as Black, African American, Hispanic or Latino; 2. Be a current high school senior at a Chicago public or private high school OR be a current college undergraduate that graduated from a Chicago public or private high school; 3. Plan to enroll as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited two or four-year school in the United States for the whole of the upcoming academic year; and 4. Have a minimum Grade Point Average of 2.3 (out of 4.0) or equivalent. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is January 31, 2022 (3pm CT). For more information, you can go here.~SR
WTF is an NFT? This $20 online course bundle will get you up to speed; Who is Beeple and why is he richer than you?
TL;DR: As of Jan. 3, get The All-in-One NFT Masterclass for Artists & Entrepreneurs Bundle for just $20. It’s valued at $2,200, so that’s a whole 98% off. You’ve surely seen or heard the term “NFT” by now, whether on social media, a podcast, or even Saturday Night Live. But if you’re like most people, you still have absolutely no idea what it means. Experts insist NFTs are sticking around, though, so you might want to figure it out — especially if you’re an artist or entrepreneur.
***** I don’t need a course to teach me WTF an NFT is at 98% off, because my scamdar is at 1000% even if it is just $20.~JJL
How NFTs became a $40bn market in 2021; Breakout year in which buyers spent almost as much on digital collectibles as traditional art
Hannah Murphy and Joshua Oliver – FT
At the beginning of 2021, only a niche group of crypto enthusiasts knew what non-fungible tokens (NFT) were. But by the end of the year nearly $41bn had been spent on NFTs, according to the latest data, making the market for digital artwork and collectibles almost as valuable as the global art market.
****** $40bn? WTF?~JJL
Magic mushroom companies are on the Nasdaq now. That’s a recipe for a bad trip; Wall Street and Peter Thiel are all investing in psychedelics. But Oxycotin showed the harm profit-hungry corporations can cause with ‘wonder drugs’
Ross Ellen-horn and Dimitri Mugianis – The Guardian
The new Hulu series Dopesick is a dramatic reminder of the devastation that has been wrought by the opioid epidemic. Like the book on which it was based, and like other journalism about the Oxycontin crisis, the show makes it clear that members of the Sackler family, Purdue, unscrupulous doctors, and the FDA all played a part in causing the rampant overprescription of Oxycontin. Suddenly every kind of pain – not only physical but also psychological and social – seemed to have a single answer: Oxycontin. Opioids are one of the oldest drugs in the human pharmacopeia, but Oxycontin’s new patents made every person in pain a source of easy money for Purdue. This led to a wave of addiction and overdose. When regulators cracked down on legal pills, many people turned to the illicit drug market, putting them in even greater danger.
******I am not a fan of mushrooms, magic or any kind. I have a deal with fungus. I don’t eat things that are related to things that grow on my feet and it does not kill me.~JJL
The world must learn to live with Covid this year; There is a good chance the global impact of coronavirus will ease
The Editorial Board – FT
Omicron, by far the most contagious coronavirus variant to date, is so rampant around the world that it is easy to feel despondent about the prospects of the pandemic easing — let alone coming to an end — in 2022. But there are good reasons to think that Covid-19’s toll on global health and its wider social and economic impact could wane this year, if governments and health authorities follow appropriate policies and if this volatile virus develops in the way that many scientists believe is most likely.
****** Paraphrasing Winston Churchill about the U.S., we will do the right thing eventually when all other possibilities have been exhausted.~JJL
Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story for Thursday, December 30, 2021 was The New York Times’ What’s the Best Book of the Past 125 Years? We Asked Readers to Decide. It was also the top story Wednesday. Second was Bloomberg’s opinion piece China Is Running Out of Water and That’s Scary for Asia. And third was another Bloomberg opinion piece, Humans Evolved to Be Negative. We Can Change.
26,680 pages; 236,637 edits
U.S. Chief Justice says judges need ‘rigorous’ training on stock-trading rules
Jan Wolfe – Reuters
U.S. federal judges need “more rigorous” ethics training to ensure they are not hearing disputes in which they have a financial interest, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts said in a year-end report published on Friday, citing a recent Wall Street Journal investigation. The newspaper reported in September that 131 federal judges broke disqualification rules and the judicial ethics code by presiding over cases involving companies in which they or family members owned stock.
Billionaires Are Embracing Crypto in Case Money ‘Goes to Hell’; Brokerage founder Thomas Peterffy says its prudent to have some crypto, while Ray Dalio views it as alternative to cash.
Scott Carpenter and Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
Thomas Peterffy took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal in 2017 warning of the dangers that bitcoin futures posed to capital markets. These days, the Hungarian-born billionaire is well versed in cryptospeak. Peterffy, worth $25 billion, said it’s prudent to have 2% to 3% of one’s personal wealth in cryptocurrencies, just in case fiat currency goes to “hell.”
The $2 Trillion Cryptocurrency Market Is Drawing Interest From Investors, Scrutiny From U.S. Regulators; Here is what you need to know about new efforts to police a lucrative but murky sector
Paul Kiernan – WSJ
As cryptocurrencies go mainstream, prices for bitcoin and other digital tokens are often displayed on cable-news tickers and finance apps as though they were just like regular stocks, bonds or oil futures. They aren’t. And that makes them a challenge for U.S. financial regulators. Oversight of cryptocurrencies, which came into existence in 2009, is spotty. Regulators in the Biden administration are working to clarify rules for a market that roughly tripled in value in 2021 to more than $2 trillion, drawing in millions of American investors and increasing concerns about financial stability.
U.S. Catches Kremlin Insider Who May Have Secrets of 2016 Hack; IT executive Vladislav Klyushin’s journey into U.S. custody is a blow to the Kremlin, say people familiar with a Russian intelligence assessment of what he may have to offer
Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik, and Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
In the days before Christmas, U.S. officials in Boston unveiled insider trading charges against a Russian tech tycoon they had been pursuing for months. They accused Vladislav Klyushin, who’d been extradited from Switzerland on Dec. 18, of illegally making tens of millions of dollars trading on hacked corporate-earnings information.
Omicron Takes a Toll on Businesses, From Airports to Bars and Supermarkets, Surging Covid-19 infections have led to canceled flights, closed stores and working overtime
Andrew Tangel, Jaewon Kang and Heather Haddon – WSJ
The rapid spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant is weighing on U.S. businesses, keeping more workers home sick or quarantined and leading some companies to cut services and reduce hours. The rise of U.S. Covid-19 infections to record levels in recent days has driven thousands of canceled flights, prompted retailers to train available employees on new jobs, and closed some stores altogether, companies said. The rapidly spreading Omicron variant is hitting businesses at a time when consumers’ demand for products and services has surged, and many companies already are struggling with staffing and supply-chain challenges.
China steps up crackdown on financial products promoted on social media, requires industry licence; A draft regulation in China would bar unlicensed sales of banking, insurance and securities services through live-streaming and social media; The booming live-streaming e-commerce market has led to influencers selling all kinds of products, including highly regulated financial services like loans
Ann Cao – South China Morning Post
China’s finance regulators have proposed new curbs on online marketing for financial products and services in Beijing’s latest efforts to set boundaries between the financial sector and internet platforms.
A draft regulation from seven of the country’s regulators, including the People’s Bank of China and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, specifies that only those licensed with “relevant industry qualifications” are allowed to promote financial products and services through live-streaming or social media, a decision that would illegalise sales of banking, insurance and securities services by most online influencers. The regulation was published on Friday on the central bank’s website.
Lessons of Jimmy Cayne’s Bear Stearns historic rise and fall
Charles Gasparino – NY Post
Jimmy Cayne is no longer a household name on Wall Street, his fame darkened by the last couple of years as CEO of the ill-fated investment bank Bear Stearns. But Cayne’s story is far more complex. It’s one of incredible achievement as well, and even more, it should be studied by business schools as a parable of how business leaders can get stuff so right for so long, only to be defined by a couple of bad and avoidable mistakes.
Libor’s Decades-Long Dominance of Rates Is Over, Axing Liquidity
Alexandra Harris – Bloomberg
The time has come for John Williams to put away the Libor countdown clock. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s president for more than two years has been counting down the days until Friday, when most versions of the London Interbank Offered Rate — with the notable exception of three-month U.S. dollar Libor — will be published for the last time. It’s the beginning of the end of its decades-long reign as the preeminent tool of the financial system, more than a decade after bank manipulation was first alleged.
Trump-appointed McWilliams resigns as U.S. FDIC chair after power struggle
Katanga Johnson and Pete Schroeder – Reuters
The Republican chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said on Friday she will step down from her role effective Feb. 4, 2022, removing a key remaining obstacle to President Joe Biden’s ambitious banking reform agenda.
Goldman Sachs Follows Wall Street Rivals in Asking Staff to Work From Home; In a shift in policy as Covid cases rise, the Wall Street firm urged U.S. employees who can work remotely to do so until Jan. 18.
Lananh Nguyen – NY Times
Goldman Sachs told its U.S. employees on Sunday to work from home for the first two weeks of the year, joining Wall Street competitors that had already given similar instructions as coronavirus cases have surged.
How to Keep Things Open; The start of 2022 has echoes of the last two years, but the landscape is also changing.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Stephen Gandel, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Here we go again
The start of this year may seem uncomfortably similar to the beginning of 2021, with surging coronavirus case counts, event cancellations and companies revising their return-to-office plans. But in 2022, there are important differences in the path of the pandemic — and the policy response to it.
London traders at Russia’s Gazprom cash in on gas price turmoil; Gazprom’s trading arm pays parent £179 million dividend as Putin stands accused of exacerbating the crisis in Europe
Jamie Nimmo – The Times
The Russian state-controlled gas giant Gazprom, which has been accused of causing Europe’s energy crisis, has cashed in a £179 million dividend from its London-based international trading arm. The huge payout is likely to intensify calls for a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies that have profited from the energy price chaos, which is set to pile immense pressure on household bills.
Reddit traders, meme stocks, and crypto gurus ruled the markets in 2021. But in 2022… Wall Street strikes back; The pandemic era has been dominated by Reddit “apes,” retail traders, anf crypto evangelists. But conditions are changing and Wall Street’s “masters. of the universe” are ready to stage. a comeback. iStock; Rebecca Zisser/Insider
Linette Lopez – Insider
The stock market of the past two years has been strange. Very strange. During the pandemic, equity markets were invaded by Reddit traders and YouTube influencers who collectively picked meme stocks to “send to the moon.” The use of free trading platforms, like Robinhood, brought tens of thousands of armchair Bud Foxes into the fold. Companies that told a fancy story about future growth saw their stocks soar as bullish investors rolled their eyes at traditional metrics for valuing companies and bought promises, not profits.
This new exchange lets investors vote yes or no on major events to hedge their portfolios
Jesse Pound – CNBC
A new exchange aims to make it easier to hedge against major business and political events. Kalshi, a firm founded by Tarek Mansour and Luana Lopes Lara, was designated as a contract market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in late 2020 and officially launched in June.
Hong Kong banks must step up preparedness for extreme climate events and carbon policy changes, stress test finds; More intense climate hazards will cause banks to suffer an annual operational loss of US$282 million, HKMA says; HKMA will conduct a similar test two years from now, CEO says
Enoch Yiu – South China Morning Post
Hong Kong banks need to step up their preparedness for risks arising from extreme climate events such as flooding and typhoons, as well as policy changes related to carbon emissions. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city’s de facto central bank, last week issued the result of its first climate risks related stress test conducted on 27 banks in January 2021, and found that flooding and typhoons represented a major risk for the lenders.
Hong Kong free press faces collapse as second news site announces closure; Citizen News says decision triggered by arrest of journalists at Stand News
Chan Ho-him and Primrose Riordan – FT
Hong Kong’s free press is on the brink of extinction after the two largest remaining independent news websites in the Chinese territory announced they were shutting down in the space of a week. Citizen News, an online news site founded in 2017, said it would cease operations on Tuesday, citing safety concerns for its reporters. The decision, which will diminish further the once freewheeling and aggressive Hong Kong press corps, was announced after pro-democracy publication Stand News closed last Wednesday.
Opinion: The omicron surge could be the worst public health challenge of our lifetimes
Michael T. Osterholm and Ezekiel J. Emanuel – Washington Post
The current omicron surge represents one of the greatest public health challenges not only of the pandemic but also of our lifetime. To deal with the surge over the next six to eight weeks, policymakers need to plan for the impact of what could be 1 million cases a day of new infections in the United States.
U.K. Tinkers With Covid Measures as Omicron Cases Spike
Ros Krasny and Adeola Eribake – Bloomberg
Government develops contingency plans for staff absences; Health services under pressure from rising volume of patients
The U.K. is trying various strategies to limit the impact of record high Covid-19 cases on health care and other sectors, while attempting to stay true to a vow to avoid new lockdowns. Among the latest moves, Boris Johnson’s government is developing contingency plans to help companies and supply chains avoid disruptions caused by rising staff absences, the Financial Times reported.
How This Pandemic Has Left Us Less Prepared for the Next One; China put up barriers to studying the origins of Covid-19, leading to a conflict that means less scientific collaboration and more mistrust among global powers that must work together to head off the next disaster
Betsy McKay, Amy Dockser Marcus, Natasha Khan and Jeremy Page – WSJ
Tiny vials of bat saliva in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, collected with help from U.S. government funding, potentially hold clues to the origin of Covid-19 or the next pandemic. They are now mostly out of reach of U.S. scientists, part of a bitter international controversy that has effectively stalled a high-stakes hunt for the source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 and also made the world less prepared for future health crises.
A WHO official weighs in on Covid, vaccines, and mistakes that were made
Helen Branswell – Statnews.com
The Covid-19 pandemic has entered its third year, with no end in sight, and the world is fed up to the gills. A new and even more highly transmissible variant, Omicron, has been scorching through holiday gatherings over the past couple of weeks. People who are thrice vaccinated are among the infected.
Omicron Variant May End Up Saving Lives; It’s far less lethal than previous versions, and its fast spread may finally push us to herd immunity.
Rob Arnott – WSJ
Should I try to catch the Omicron variant of Covid to advance the cause of herd immunity? I’ve had Covid and recovered, had the Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion, and had the double-jab vaccine—my antibodies are off the charts. With triple protection, I probably won’t catch Omicron. Yet it is spreading like wildfire. Many people with ample antibodies are catching this variant. Importantly, it seldom leads to hospitalization or death.
Why Cloth Masks Might Not Be Enough as Omicron Spreads; With the new Covid-19 variant surging, doctors advise doubling up or trying N95 masks
Clare Ansberry and Nidhi Subbaraman – WSJ
Doctors and healthcare systems say it might be time to change your face masks. With infections surging due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant, including among the vaccinated, physicians are now urging people to ditch cloth face masks, which they say may not provide enough protection against the virus. Instead, they recommend pairing cloth masks with surgical models or moving on to stronger respirator masks.
– New York Shatters Daily Covid Record With 85,476 New Cases – Bloomberg
– Kids’ Covid Hospitalizations Hit Record in U.S. Omicron Surge – Bloomberg
– New Covid-19 Pills Carry Risks: What Patients Should Know; Pfizer’s antiviral treatment can interact with other drugs, and Merck’s isn’t recommended for pregnant women – WSJ
– Southeast U.S. poised for a firestorm of omicron cases, with few safeguards in place – Washington Post
– Omicron evades immunity better than Delta, Danish study finds – Reuters
– Omicron spreading among over-50s, UK minister says – Reuters
– Fauci warns of danger of hospitalization surge due to large number of COVID cases – Reuters
– Unvaccinated U.S. travellers added to French quarantine list – Reuters
– Daily COVID cases in Saudi Arabia above 1,000, continue to climb in UAE – Reuters
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
Kinsale Capital Group Completes Listing Transfer to the New York Stock Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
The New York Stock Exchange, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, announced that Kinsale Capital Group, Inc. (NYSE: KNSL) has completed its listing transfer and will begin trading today as an NYSE-listed company.
Global Indemnity Group Completes Listing Transfer to the New York Stock Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
The New York Stock Exchange, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, announced that Global Indemnity Group (NYSE: GBLI) has completed its listing transfer and will begin trading today as an NYSE-listed company.
NYSE Options: *Reminder* Annual Penny Program Rebalancing
Effective January 3, 2022, NYSE American Options and NYSE Arca Option (“NYSE Options”, each an “Exchange”) will update the list of issues in the Permanent Penny Interval Program for Options (the “Penny Program”) pursuant to the Annual Review provided for in the Penny Program, as described below. Detailed changes to Penny Program issues can be found here.
Circular on Approving Membership Change of Two Futures Companies
China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX) approved two Trading Members, Jinpeng International Futures Co.,Ltd. and ZHONGTIAN FUTURES Co.,Ltd. to alter to Trading Clearing Member. CFFEX now has 152 members, including 27 futures-company General Clearing Members, 94 futures-company Trading Clearing Members, 26 futures-company Trading Members, and 5 non-futures-company Trading Clearing Members.
Uptick Rule will be Applied in the Session Dated 03/01/2022 in the Equity Market
It has been decided that the up-tick rule in short selling transactions to be valid for one day during the session dated 03/01/2022. Please click for the related Announcement.
Message by Shenzhen Stock Exchange for 2022
Shenzhen Stock Exchange
The Year of 2021 marks a significant milestone in the history of the Party and the country. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, guiding the direction, calmly responding to profound changes and COVID-19 pandemic unseen in a century, and leading the whole Party and the entire nation in solidarity, completed the arduous task of reform and development. The goals of eradicating extreme poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects were accomplished as scheduled. New strides were taken in building a new development paradigm, and fresh progress was made in high-quality development. A sound beginning was realized for the 14th Five-year Plan and a new journey was embarked upon to build a modern socialist country in all respects and to achieve the Second Centenary Goal.
Appointment of HKEX Risk Management Committee (Statutory) Member
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) welcomes Mr David Allen Grimme, the new chairman of Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL), to its Risk Management Committee (statutory) (RMC). His appointment was in accordance with the Securities and Futures Ordinance. Mr David Allen Grimme replaced Ms Cheung Wai Hing Daisy, HKICL’s former chairman, on the RMC.
Iveco Group lists on Euronext Milan
First admission of 2022 on Euronext Milan; Iveco Group brings the total number of companies listed on Euronext Milan to 233; Milan – 3 January 2022 – Borsa Italiana, part of the Euronext Group, today congratulates Iveco Group on its listing on Euronext Milan.
The ordinary shares of Iveco Group, which arose from the spin-off from CNH Industrial, will begin trading today, 3 January 2022, on Euronext Milan.
The Spanish stock market trades 378.1 billion euros in 2021
The number of trades in the year 2021 amounted to 45.1 million; New issues in the Fixed Income markets reach 393.4 billion euros; Trading in IBEX 35 Futures in December was up 13.7%
The Spanish stock exchange traded 378.1 billion euros in Equities during 2021, down 11.9% year-on-year. The effective volume traded in December was 27.8 billion euros, 23.5% less than in the same month the previous year and 29.6% less than in November. The cumulative number of trades to the end of December 2021 totalled 45.1 million, down 19% from the previous year, after recording 3.2 million in the last month of the year, down 28.5% from December 2020 and down 21.5% from the previous month.
Boerse Stuttgart Generates 2021 Turnover Of Around EUR 107 Billion – Exchange-Traded Products Generate Record Turnover // High Trading Volume In Equities And Securitised Derivatives
Based on the order book statistics, turnover from all trading activities at Boerse Stuttgart amounted to around EUR 107 billion in 2021 – only 4 percent less than in the extremely high-turnover year 2020. Trading in equities generated turnover of over EUR 28,5 billion in 2021. This was just slightly more than 2 percent short of the previous year’s record turnover. German equities contributed around EUR 13,8 billion to this total and international equities over EUR 14,7 billion. The most frequently traded German shares in 2021 were Daimler, TUI and Volkswagen. Turning to international shares, BioNTech, SunHydrogen and CureVac were the most frequently traded.
A Booming Startup Market Prompts an Investment Rush for Ever-Younger Companies; Investors in 2021 have pumped a record $93 billion into early-stage U.S. startups through Dec. 15, triple the amount from five years before
Eliot Brown – WSJ
Blank Street has a simple business: It sells coffee—sometimes in carts, usually in small stores. It launched its first location 17 months ago, before it began dotting Manhattan and Brooklyn with baristas. Even a couple of years ago, a rapidly growing chain of no-frills, low-cost coffee shops might have had trouble finding interest from tech investors. But in today’s booming market for early-stage startups, the New York-based company has received commitments for its third funding round in a year. The $35 million investment comes just three months after the still-fledgling company received $25 million, said Vinay Menda, Blank Street’s chief executive.
Chip Makers Contend for Talent as Industry Faces Labor Shortage; Limited supply of qualified workers poses challenge as facilities are built to bolster global supply of semiconductors
Stephanie Yang – WSJ
The world’s largest chip makers are fighting for workers to staff the billion-dollar-plus facilities that they are building around the world to address a shortage of semiconductors. A dwindling supply of qualified workers has worried semiconductor executives for years. Now that concern has been amplified by a global labor shortage, the pandemic-fueled demand for all things digital and a race among governments to bolster their local chip-manufacturing capabilities, according to industry officials.
Banks Tiptoe Toward Their Cloud-Based Future; Cloud computing is slowly changing how Wall Street banks handle their business, but concerns with security remain.
Lananh Nguyen – NY Times
Michael W. Lucas made big plans to take a trip around the world in March 2020. He arranged to travel from his home in Detroit to Tokyo, then attend conferences in Hong Kong and Bangalore, India, before making a final stop in Paris. But on his first attempt to buy plane tickets, this ambitious itinerary — costing $2,932.48 — got the attention of Capital One, which blocked the charges.
Cyber world is starting 2022 in crisis mode with the log4j bug
Joseph Marks – The Washington Post
The cybersecurity world is starting off 2022 in crisis mode.
The newest culprit is the log4j software bug, which Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly called “the most serious vulnerability I have seen in my decades-long career.” It forced many cybersecurity pros to work through the holidays to protect computer systems at Big Tech firms, large and small companies and government agencies.
But crises like log4j have become the norm rather than the exception during the past few years.
A CISO’s guide to discussing cybersecurity with the board
Sean McDermott – HelpNetSecurity
With data breaches on track to reach all-time high, chief information security officers (CISOs) are on alert to find blind spots in IT infrastructures and mitigate risks to keep their organizations safe.
Recent high-profile attacks should be enough warning for companies to take action, yet a report from Deloitte shows that cybersecurity gets a little over 10% of overall IT budgets. Without the proper resources, CISOs can’t effectively protect companies from threats – but when a company is attacked, CISOs are often the first to get blamed.
BleepingComputer’s most popular cybersecurity and tech stories of 2021
Lawrence Abrams – BleepingComputer
?2021 is over, and we can look forward to a hopefully healthier, safer, and more normal 2022.
However, it was a big year for technology and cybersecurity with massive cyberattacks and data breaches, innovative phishing attacks, privacy concerns, and of course, zero-day vulnerabilities.
Some stories, though, were more popular to our readers than others.
Below we list the ten most popular stories at BleepingComputer during 2021, with a summary of each.
Morgan Stanley to pay $60 mln to resolve data security lawsuit
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
Morgan Stanley (MS.N) agreed to pay $60 million to settle a lawsuit by customers who said the Wall Street bank exposed their personal data when it twice failed to properly retire some of its older information technology.
Binance Vows to Heed Canadian Restrictions After Regulator’s Rebuke
Geoffrey Morgan – Bloomberg
Crypto currency platform met with Ontario regulators Friday; Binance won’t allow trading in Ontario as it lacks permit
Binance said it will not allow Ontario users of its crypto currency trading platform to trade or open new accounts after a meeting Friday with the Ontario Securities Commission. The commitments come a day after the OSC publicly reprimanded Binance for an “unacceptable” letter telling its Ontario users they could keep their accounts open, despite lacking a registration as a trading platform with the securities regulator. To date, six cryptocurrency platforms are registered to trade in Ontario, but not Binance.
Half a Dozen of India’s Crypto Exchanges Searched After Alleged Rupee 700M Tax Evasion Detected: Sources
Amitoj Singh – Coindesk
India’s tax authorities have conducted searches at some of India’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges including “Coinswitch Kuber, CoinDCX, BuyUCoin, and Unocoin after what they deemed tax evasion of Rs. 40.5 Crores (400 million INR or $6 million USD approx.) was detected at cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, according to sources with direct knowledge of the searches.
Hopes for a West African single currency fade as Ghana and Nigeria launch digital money
Kingsley Kobo – Quartz
Digital currencies in Ghana and Nigeria are threatening two decades of work towards a common legal tender in West Africa. The adoption of the eco (pdf), a new currency for the entire region, would help remove trade and monetary barriers, boost economic activity, and improve living standards in the community of 385 million people, according to the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). Seven currencies are currently in use in West Africa’s 15 countries, with eight mostly French- speaking nations using CFA francs.
Samsung to introduce NFT platform within its new smart TVs
Yogita Khatri – The Block
Samsung Electronics announced Monday that its new smart TVs will allow users to purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Specifically, MICRO LED, Neo QLED, and The Frame TV models, which are set to launch sometime this year, will support NFTs.
TARP Announces Plans To Abolish Cryptocurrency Scams
TARP, a company focused on abolishing cryptocurrency scams, announced the ground-breaking launch of its new token which saw day 1 gains of over 11,000%. This community-based meme-token establishes the ideal model for how cryptocurrency tokens should be launched and managed while also providing the financial backing to achieve TARP’s end goals.
The Warren-Biden Bank Heist; A coup at the FDIC breaks norms and signals more political control of finance.
The Editorial Board – WSJ
Elizabeth Warren finally got her woman—that is, the Senator and her many acolytes in the Biden Administration have succeeded in ousting Jelena McWilliams as chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The coup deserves attention because of its norm-breaking precedent and what it signals for bank mergers and supposedly independent regulatory agencies.
US could be under rightwing dictator by 2030, Canadian professor warns; Canadian political scientist warns in op ed of Trumpist threat to American democracy and possible effect on northern neighbor
Richard Luscombe – The Guardian
The US could be under a rightwing dictatorship by 2030, a Canadian political science professor has warned, urging his country to protect itself against the “collapse of American democracy”. As in all fascist movements, contemporary forces have found a popular leader unconstrained by the rules of democracy, this time in the figure of Donald Trump. “We mustn’t dismiss these possibilities just because they seem ludicrous or too horrible to imagine,” Thomas Homer-Dixon, founding director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, wrote in the Globe and Mail.
Prepare for Right-Wing U.S. Dictatorship Before 2030, Scholar Urges Canada
Darragh Roche – Newsweek
A Canadian political scientist has urged his country’s government to prepare for the possibility of the United States becoming a right-wing dictatorship before 2030. In an op-ed published in The Globe and Mail on Friday, Thomas Homer-Dixon, an executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, warned his country had to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Germany wants G7 finance ministers to focus on recovery, climate protection
Germany wants to use its presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) to support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen efforts to improve climate protection, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Saturday.
More Americans Say Violence Against Government Can Be Justified
Ian Fisher – Bloomberg
One in three Americans say violence against the government can at times be justified, a poll by the Washington Post and University of Maryland found, almost a year after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The poll’s findings were detailed on Saturday in a Washington Post article, which said the share of respondents with that view was the highest in similar polls spanning two decades.
Roberts says federal judiciary has some issues but doesn’t need congressional intervention; In his year-end report, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. acknowledged concerns about ethical conflicts among judges and workplace discrimination within the judiciary.
Robert Barnes – Washington Post
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. acknowledged in a report released Friday that the federal judiciary has work to do in ensuring that judges live up to their ethical responsibilities and in creating a harassment-free workplace.
Biden launches crackdown on largest US meat producers; Tighter ‘Made in America’ rules could fuel tensions with trading partners
James Politi – FT
US president Joe Biden is launching a crackdown on the country’s largest meat producers, including a push for tighter “Made in America” labelling rules that could fuel tensions with US trading partners. Biden’s push was announced by the White House on Monday, ahead of a planned meeting later in the day between the president and a group of independent and family-owned meat producers.
Highlights of the FCA’s new approach in 2021; The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) mission is to protect consumers from harm, enhance the integrity of the UK’s financial system and promote competition.
The regulator is continuing to pursue these objectives while also working to become a more innovative, adaptive and assertive regulator. This approach will enable the FCA to meet the challenges of the increasingly data-driven financial services sector in the UK, the shift to a net-zero economy, the continuing effects of the pandemic, and help build a new regulatory regime after Brexit.
ESMA publishes guidance on appropriateness and execution-only requirements under MiFID II
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities regulator, has today published the final report on its Guidelines on certain aspects of the MiFID II appropriateness and execution-only requirements.
Singapore Police Force and Monetary Authority of Singapore Investigate Overseas Online Trading Platform, Samtrade FX, and its related entities in Singapore
Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched a joint investigation into online trading platform, Samtrade FX run by Samtrade FX Limited, a company registered in St Vincent and the Grenadines and into its related Singapore entities Samtrade FX LLP and Samtrade FX (SG) Pte Ltd  on 28 December 2021. Samtrade FX Limited and its related entities are not licensed by MAS, and have been placed on MAS’ Investor Alert List since July 2021.
Chair Gensler Announces Additions to Executive Staff
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the appointments of Corey Frayer, Phil Havenstein, Jennifer Songer, and Jorge Tenreiro to Chair Gary Gensler’s executive staff. “Corey, Phil, Jenny, and Jorge have exceptional experience,” said Chair Gensler. “I’ve already begun to rely on their valuable counsel on policy, enforcement, and agency operations, and I look forward to our continued work together to execute the SEC’s mission.”
Investing and Trading
This Was the Year of the Super Billionaire, With $1 Trillion in Gains
Devon Pendleton and Jack Witzig – Bloomberg
Elon Musk’s wealth surged as he tweeted about taxes and crypto; Bill Hwang’s implosion was one of the greatest wealth wipeouts
Elon Musk’s wealth soared to levels only ever achieved by John D. Rockefeller. Bill Hwang lost $20 billion in days, Bill Gates — once the world’s richest man — divorced under a Jeffrey Epstein cloud. For the wealthiest people on the planet, 2021 was a year of enormous gains, extreme losses and unprecedented scrutiny.
Commodities Notch Their Best Year Since Financial Crisis Rebound
Gerson Freitas Jr. – Bloomberg
Commodities surged the most in over a decade this year as a rebound in demand from pandemic lockdowns was met with constrained supplies, fueling inflation around the world and forcing governments to act. But 2022 may tell a different story.
Economic Forecasting and the Goldberg Variations; Making predictions for the economy in 2022 is even more difficult than normal
Justin Lahart – WSJ
In a contraption for emptying ashtrays dreamed up by the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, the bright full moon (A) causes two lovebirds to become romantic, (B) causing their perch to tip (C) and pull a string, (D) upsetting a can, (E) which sprinkles water on a woolen shirt, (F) which after several more steps eventually leads to a fuse (M) getting lit, causing a rocket to shoot out the window disposing of ashes.
Steelmakers Dive Into Junk Business to Feed New Mills; Nucor, Cleveland-Cliffs and other steelmakers acquire scrap collectors as new mills push up demand for recycled metal, tighten supplies
Bob Tita – WSJ
U.S. steel producers are buying up scrap businesses, seeking a steady supply of raw material from junked cars, old pipes and manufacturing waste for new mills. Nucor Corp. NUE 0.26% , the largest producer of steel in the U.S., Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. CLF 2.50% and North Star BlueScope Steel spent more than $1 billion for steel scrap processors in 2021 as millions of tons of annual production capacity are being added to the domestic steel market in response to rising demand. Steel Dynamics Inc. STLD 0.31% in 2020 bought a Mexico-based scrap company to help supply a newly completed mill in southwest Texas.
‘Stakes’ of activist investors need greater scrutiny; The real scale of the financial outlay of holdings is often overestimated
Jonathan Guthrie – FT
Some words are so misused they should be abolished from the financial lexicon. “Stake” is an example. To many readers, this is a shorthand for “shareholding”. It suggests that when sophisticated investors, such as Patrick Drahi or Elliott Management, “take a stake” in a publicly quoted business, their interests are closely aligned respectively with ordinary shareholders in BT Group or GSK.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Brussels proposes green label for nuclear and natural gas; European Commission paves way for investments despite concerns over waste and CO2 emissions
Mehreen Khan – FT
Brussels wants to recognise nuclear power and forms of natural gas as “green” activity as part of a landmark EU classification scheme to help financial markets decide what counts as sustainable investment.
Indonesia Suspends Coal Exports to Secure Domestic Power Supply
Eko Listiyorini – Bloomberg
Indonesia, one of the world’s top exporters of thermal coal, is pausing exports of the fuel in January to secure dwindling supplies for domestic power plants. The monthlong halt is needed to prevent shutdowns at about 20 power plants in Java, Madura, Bali and other regions, the energy and mineral resources ministry said in a statement posted on its website. The lack of supply could have affected 10 million residential and industry customers and a decision on when to resume exports could come next week.
U.S. Natural Gas Faces Wild 2022 as Foreign Crises Exert Pull; At the dawn of 2022, exports of liquefied cargoes are eating up ever bigger chunks of American gas production
Gerson Freitas Jr, Sergio Chapa, and Natalia Kniazhevich – WSJ
U.S. natural gas is in for another wild year as the insularity that once shielded North American energy consumers from overseas turmoil disintegrates. Benchmark American gas futures climbed almost 45% in 2021 for the strongest annual performance in half a decade after a deadly freeze that crippled output was followed by summer heatwaves that lifted demand and hindered efforts to stow away supplies for winter. As 2022 dawns, traders, explorers and utility operators are facing the prospect of continued volatility amid rising competition from buyers as far away as Poland and the Netherlands who are dealing with a crisis so acute that factories have shut down and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is warning there’s a “clear risk of running out of gas.”
Why ESG Reporting Could Be Your Company’s Next Winning Move; Thia is the ideal time to start aggressively implementing an ESG data strategy.
John Castner – Entrepreneur
Investors, customers, employees and now government agencies are showing increasing concern about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Reports emerged in June 2021 that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning to make quarterly ESG reporting mandatory for all public companies.
Researchers See a New Path to Curbing Methane in Rice; A new way to analyze how microbes live creates opportunity for breakthroughs in health and agriculture
Eric Roston – Bloomberg
A cup of tea in 2006 changed genetic engineering forever. Jill Banfield, a University of California at Berkeley ecosystem scientist and 1999 MacArthur Foundation fellow, had become curious in 2006 about mysterious repeating DNA sequences that were common in microbes that live in some of the planet’s most extreme environments, such as deep-sea heat vents, acid mines and geysers. She just needed a biochemist to help explain what the sequences known as Crispr/Cas9 were, and ideally somebody local.
Board Diversity Increased in 2021. Some Ask What Took So Long; Some executives say corporate boards have often overlooked qualified women and nonwhite people. That may be changing.
Peter Eavis – NY Times
Paula T. Hammond is a pioneering chemical engineer who has researched cancer and other illnesses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for years. Her work, people in her field said, makes her a natural pick to sit on the board of a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company.
As Corporate Boards Pursue Diversity, Director Training Programs Spring Up; Law firms, universities, existing board members offer classes to prepare and broaden the pool of candidates
Emily Glazer and Theo Francis – Bloomberg
U.S. companies are turning to programs aimed at preparing women and people of color for corporate board roles in a bid to comply with calls from regulators and investors to diversify their directors. Law firms, universities and current directors of companies have launched new or expanded programs over the past few years to coach prospective board candidates, offering training on topics from corporate governance to committee work. Some programs are free or sponsored by companies, while others can cost thousands of dollars.
ETFGI reports 87 new ETF BDRs with assets of US$951 million have been listed in Brazil during 2021 at the end of November
ETFGI, a leading independent research and consultancy firm covering trends in the global ETFs/ETPs ecosystem, reported reports 87 new ETF BDRs with assets of US$951 million have been listed in Brazil during 2021 at the end of November. ETFs and ETPs listed in Latin America saw net outflows of US$34 million during November, bringing year-to-date net inflows to US$4.26 billion. Assets invested in the Latin American ETFs/ETPs industry have decreased by 2.7% from US$19.46 billion at the end of October 2021 to US$18.93 billion, according to ETFGI’s November 2021 Latin America ETFs and ETPs industry landscape insights report, an annual paid-for research subscription service. (All dollar values in USD unless otherwise noted.)
Julius Baer to sell Wergen wealth management business
Julius Baer (BAER.S) has agreed to sell Wergen & Partner Wealth Management to its management, the Swiss private bank said on Monday. Julius Baer, which acquired Zurich-based Wergen in February 2017, said the company has always been profitable and had doubled its assets under management, without giving any figures.
Santander Rushes to Recoup £130 Million Mistakenly Paid Out to U.K. Accounts
Charles Penty – Bloomberg
Banco Santander SA is racing to retrieve 130 million pounds ($175 million) paid out to thousands of British customers in a Christmas Day slip-up. Spain’s biggest lender accidentally made a second payment on Dec. 25 to about 75,000 people and firms who had been due for one-off or programed payments from 2,000 businesses with accounts at its U.K. unit. The blunder has forced Santander to talk to banks whose customers received the money or, in some cases, approach customers directly. The situation was first reported by The Times newspaper.
Woodford’s dividends dry up as former fund house posts annual loss; Accounts published on 30 December show that no dividends were paid, and the former star stock picker’s firm made a £4.2m loss
Justin Cash – Financial news
Having taken millions in dividends from his eponymous fund empire before its collapse, former star stock picker Neil Woodford has seen payouts dry up from the venture. Woodford Investment Management closed its doors in October 2019, as it struggled to keep up with redemptions amid a period of poor performance and increasingly high-risk investment decisions.
As the ETF world booms, so do the risks; A brilliant financial innovation is being pushed to the extremes
Robin Wigglesworth – FT
In Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park, the chaos theorist played by Jeff Goldblum chastises the theme park father’s folly in resurrecting dinosaurs by noting: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The exchange-traded fund industry should take note.
China Rebukes Top Investment Bank Over Lenovo’s Botched Listing
China’s securities regulator rebuked China International Capital Corp., saying the country’s top investment bank has failed in due diligence on Lenovo Group Ltd.’s recent application for a $1.6 billion stock listing in Shanghai.
Evergrande suspends trading of shares in Hong Kong
Diksha Madhok – CNN Business
Embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande suspended trading in Hong Kong on Monday as the heavily indebted company contends with an ongoing real estate crisis. Evergrande said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that its trading halt was pending an “announcement containing inside information,” though it did not elaborate.
Chinese Companies Listed at Home Surge While Crackdowns Clobber Those Abroad; The total value of onshore Chinese stocks rose about 20% last year, compared with a 42% decline for Chinese stocks listed in the U.S.
Rebecca Feng – WSJ
Stock markets in mainland China swelled to a roughly $12.7 trillion valuation in 2021, showing how domestic shares have largely been immune from the regulatory assault that has rocked many Chinese companies listed abroad.
Hong Kong news outlet to close amid crackdown on dissent
Zen Soo – AP
A Hong Kong online news site said Sunday that it will cease operations in light of deteriorating press freedoms, days after police raided and arrested seven people for sedition at a separate pro-democracy news outlet.
Office space shrinks by millions of square feet in England; Workspace declined 2% last year as construction stalled and developers adapted to flexible working
George Hammond – FT
The amount of office space in England has plunged by millions of square feet during the pandemic and is expected to continue falling, with workplaces languishing empty and questions about the future of work unresolved.
How to ‘See’ Time: The Secret to Peak Entrepreneur Productivity; Put pen to paper to visualize just what can get done each day.
Arianne Cohen – Bloomberg
Entrepreneurs are a notoriously overextended and short attention-spanned bunch. They excel at burying themselves in day-to-day business happenings to the detriment of such pivotal long-term tasks as bookkeeping and long-term planning. And care and feeding. Add in family commitments and hobbies, and scheduling gets tangled—fast. Time management guru Marydee Sklar, owner of organizational training company Executive Functioning Success, helps small business owners plan productively. She shared her tips in an interview, which has been edited for length and clarity:
What Really Happens When Workers Are Given a Flexible Hybrid Schedule? Who goes into the office and when largely depends on where employees fall on the org chart.
Arianne Cohen – Bloomberg
Designing your ideal schedule and negotiating it with your boss has never been easier. The Covid-19 pandemic has redrawn corporate policies such that most major companies now offer employees the flexibility to work both from the office and from home. BlackRock Inc. mandates three days per week in person, and Apple Inc., which this month postponed its planned Feb. 1 office return indefinitely because of disruptions from the omicron variant, has chosen three specific in-office days: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.