Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff
The character actor Ned Beatty has died at the age of 83. He acted in 150 movies, including the iconic “Network.” While the movie Network might be better known for the Howard Beale rant, “I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more,” there is another scene from the film that is more important. It is a scene where Beatty speaks to Beale across a long conference room and table and gives a speech about how “The world is a business, Mr. Beale.” He talks about many political and economic aspects of the world, including the international currency markets. If you have not seen Network in a while, it is worth rewatching. HERE is the link for the Beatty speech.
The CME Group has issued the following notice: “Amendments to and Delisting of Certain CME and CBOT Products in Connection with the Elimination of Most CME and All CBOT Open Outcry Trading Pits and Related Frequently Asked Questions for Members and Member Firms.”
In connection with the decision to permanently close all CBOT open outcry trading pits and all CME open outcry trading pits other than the CME Eurodollar options trading pit, the following CME and CBOT product delistings and product amendments are being implemented. — CME Group
In comments prepared for the Financial Stability Oversight Board, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler talked about Warren Buffett and Hans Christian Andersen. Of the latter, he quoted from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” to comment on Libor. Gensler wrote: “The emperor had no clothes.” — SEC
The American Financial Exchange co-hosted a webinar titled “A Conversation on Banking and Sustainability in the 21st Century with Mark Carney,” on May 27. Carney is the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Prime Minister Johnson’s Climate Finance Advisor for COP26. He was introduced by Richard L. Sandor, Aaron Director Lecturer in Law and Economics. Following the keynote, Dr. Sandor hosted a roundtable with Carney; the Hon. J. Chris Giancarlo, former Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and AFX’s independent director; and Thomas J. Miles, Dean and Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics, the University of Chicago Law School. — University of Chicago Law School
I have sleep apnea. I use a CPAP machine from Phillips to mitigate this issue and help me sleep overnight without gasping for air because I stop breathing. Today, Phillips announced a recall for their CPAP respirators and other devices because of a foam part meant to help keep it quiet that can break apart and potentially cause cancer. Just another case of what doesn’t kill you can kill you.
JLN reader Bruce Sunderland, a retired systems analyst/contracting consultant at small companies in Washington, D.C., who was not in the financial markets industry, has donated to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign. As a retiree he is eligible to receive JLN for free and he does. In appreciation of our service, he gave a donation to our campaign.
Here is a testimonial he wrote for JLN in 2020:
I am retired and manage my own investments from the Washington DC area. I have been reading the JLN for several years. It is an excellent aggregation of financial and business articles along with John Lothian’s editorial comment on industry topics. Subject matters are in sections that steer readers to areas of interest. As the world changes, JLN has added appropriate sections, for example, Brexit. Another reader aid is a list of the most viewed articles from the previous day. This is a great newsletter and a daily must read.
Thank you to Bruce and to all who have given and all who have yet to give. Join Bruce in supporting our JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign and help us preserve industry history.
Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL
Just to clarify: On Friday, we mentioned that the Small Exchange announced plans to list cannabis futures later this month. The Small Exchange contract is based on an equity index. All cannabis-industry-related equities measured by the index are listed individually on the NYSE or Nasdaq. The futures contract will be cleared by the Options Clearing Corp.~SC
Market veterans mourn slow death of historic trading pits;London’s metals trading ‘Ring’ lives on while Covid-19 hastens market modernisation
Robin Wigglesworth and Philip Stafford – FT
When a young law student called Leo Melamed arrived at 110 North Franklin, Chicago, for a job interview at what he thought was a legal firm in 1952, the chaotic scene he witnessed blew him away.
*****This story mentions the Open Outcry Traders History Project and includes quotes from yours truly.~JJL
The end of privacy; Central banks plan to launch digital coins; As regulators crack down on cryptocurrencies, policymakers develop state-run versions
Eva Szalay, Colby Smith and Thomas Hale – FT
The dilemma central banks face over how to tackle the world’s rapidly growing cryptocurrency market has been thrown into stark relief in recent days by two very different announcements. On Thursday, global regulator the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said that cryptocurrencies are some of the world’s riskiest assets, and called for tougher capital rules and stricter oversight of investors’ holdings.
*****That kind of backfired for the libertarian-leaning crypto crowd.~JJL
Fastly’s cautionary tale of internet fallibility; Digital outages periodically reveal the web’s inherent flaw — human beings
Richard Waters – FT
Excessively fragile, overdependent on unproven companies and prone to human errors that can wipe out service to millions — the outages that often hit online services can make the internet feel like a house of cards. Digital life has become so important during the pandemic, why do we depend on a communications network whose reliability seems so volatile?
*****Should you be mapping your exposure to different internet hubs, or concentrations of firms with your investments all using the same services?~JJL
Bitcoin and the wealthy; The very rich are adding fuel to the bitcoin boom but many are wary of a bubble
Eva Szalay – FT
Ten years ago, Sandra Ro was working in finance in London when some currency-trading friends told her about bitcoin. The cryptocurrency had been released only a couple of years previously and was still far from a global phenomenon. “Bitcoin was only really known in geeky tech circles and eventually currency traders in London found out about it around 2010,” says Ro. She invested in the cryptocurrency, made a substantial fortune and is now chief executive of the Global Blockchain Business Council, a Swiss non-profit organisation that promotes the technology behind cryptocurrencies.
*****Former CME Group executive Sanda Ro, now chief executive of the Global Blockchain Business Council. What I want to know is if she is a HODLer.~JJL
Friday’s Top Three
Our most clicked story Friday was The Wall Street Journal’s How the FBI Got Colonial Pipeline’s Ransom Money Back. Second was Bitcoin Plan Roils Crypto World Seeking Regulatory Clarity, from Yahoo Finance. Third was What Is Payment for Order Flow? Behind the Trading Controversy at Robinhood and Other Brokers, from Barron’s.
206,710,222 pages viewed; 26,017 pages; 233,216 edits
|CryptoMarketsWiki, our archive of the cryptocurrency and blockchain world, is going strong and keeping pace as this area of finance grows and evolves.Recently Updated Pages
1,535 pages; 14,073 edits
U.S. regulators urge financial firms to quickly ditch Libor rate benchmarks
Pete Schroeder and Katanga Johnson – Reuters
U.S. financial regulators urged market participants on Friday to accelerate their efforts to detach financial products from Libor interest rate benchmarks, while casting doubt on new benchmarks built to compete with their preferred replacement.
The inflammatory Toshiba report may finally change corporate Japan; A detailed exposure of wrongdoing shows the extent to which shareholder interests have been sidelined
Leo Lewis – FT
For the past 17 weeks, Japan’s hit Sunday night show has dramatised the life of Eiichi Shibusawa — face of the new Y10,000 note and “father of Japanese capitalism”. The show still has months to run, but we already know how it ends: Japan emerging from the 19th century with a unique, ethically and socially superior brand of stakeholder capitalism whose qualities resonate powerfully in the present day.
Man Group-Oxford Quants Say Their AI Can Predict Stock Moves
Amy Thomson – Bloomberg
Machine-learning program hits 80% success rate over 30 seconds; Tape bombs and processing power are challenges to deployment
Man Group Plc-backed researchers at the University of Oxford say they’ve created a machine-learning program that can project how share prices move — notching an 80% success rate for the equivalent of about 30 seconds of live trading. Artificial-intelligence experts at the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance exploited principles from natural-language processing to trawl liquidity data across limit order books, a record of buying and selling at preset prices.
Russell Index Rebalancing Brings Meme Stocks Into the Mainstream; GameStop and other volatile names may be included when the new lineups are announced on June 25.
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
Later this month, FTSE Russell, the global index provider, will rebalance its family of U.S. stock indexes, which serve as benchmarks for about $10.6 trillion in assets. The reshuffling opens the door to the slew of meme stocks that Reddit traders have driven skyward. The can of memes is open.
A Meme Stock Is Born: How to Spot the Next Reddit Favorite
Matt Turner – Bloomberg
Heavily shorted shares are a common theme among the group; The big stock-price gains often come alongside big drops
Trying to keep up with the frenzied rise of so-called meme stocks might feel a bit like playing a game of whack-a-mole, bewildering analysts and investors alike. While there’s no steadfast definition of what constitutes a meme stock, one common thread across the many names being pitched on social media is a focus on heavily shorted companies. Shares of Reddit icon GameStop Corp. jumped as much as 2,500% in January after day traders noticed its short interest had ballooned to record levels.
How Japan’s Big Bet on Hydrogen Could Revolutionize the Energy Market; The country’s effort to be carbon-free by 2050 relies on a fuel source many see as too expensive and unrealistic
Phred Dvorak – WSJ
Japan built the world’s third-largest economy on an industrial base powered by imported oil, gas and coal. Now, it is planning to shift a big chunk of that power to hydrogen, in one of the world’s biggest bets on an energy source long dismissed as too costly and inefficient to be realistic.
Corporates know transition from Libor is painful but necessary; Companies are still not prepared enough for switch from borrowing benchmark
Claire Jones – FT
It used to be all so simple. Corporates, wanting to borrow at a floating rate, could take out loans or issue bonds safe in the knowledge that it could be underpinned by Libor, a benchmark that, for all its flaws, was easy to use and used the world over. No longer. Libor, or to give it its full name the London Interbank Offered Rate, is in its death throes.
Companies Spend Big on ESG Investments, Hoping for Long-Term Payoff; Utilities and vehicle makers are spending heavily on efforts to reduce emissions; Philip Morris bets on smoke-free products
Kristin Broughton and Mark Maurer – WSJ
Companies are racking up hefty bills as they invest in new facilities and products to reduce emissions or meet other targets, hoping for a payoff down the road. Businesses increasingly are coming under pressure from investors, lawmakers and regulators who demand more details on their spending plans and the progress they are making to achieve their environmental, social and governance goals.
ISDA Launches Consultation on Fallbacks for GBP LIBOR® ICE Swap Rate® and USD LIBOR® ICE Swap Rate
ISDA has today launched a new consultation on how to implement fallbacks for certain swap rates published by ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA). Following the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) March 5 announcement on LIBOR’s future cessation and/or loss of representativeness, IBA is consulting on its intention to cease publication of the sterling LIBOR ICE Swap Rate for all tenors (from one to 30 years) immediately after publication on December 31, 2021. While IBA has not yet consulted on any intention to cease publication of the US dollar LIBOR ICE Swap Rate immediately after publication on June 30, 2023 (or on any other date), the FCA’s announcement is expected to have implications for this swap rate as well.
Citadel Securities Settles With Fund Over Secret Algorithm
Jonathan Browning – Bloomberg
U.K. suit over attempted hiring of senior trader halted; Automated trading strategy cost $100 million to develop
Citadel Securities reached a truce with a British hedge fund over the attempted hiring of a senior trader, ending a lawsuit that was set to consider the makeup of a secret algorithm. Ken Griffin’s market maker and GSA Capital Partners LLP reached a confidential settlement, GSA said in a statement Thursday. The agreement followed claims that GSA Capital obtained information on a closely-guarded trading strategy when it sought to recruit a former quant researcher, Vedat Cologlu, at Citadel Securities.
CME, FICC to overhaul Treasury market margining; Clearers eye deal to dramatically improve cross-margin savings, aim to extend offsets to end-users
Costas Mourselas – Risk.net
CME Clearing and the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (FICC) are working on a major overhaul of the two central counterparties’ (CCPs) cross-margining service for US Treasuries. The deal could unlock billions in margin offsets for major banks and liquidity providers, as well as – further ahead, they hope – the market’s end-users. The two clearing houses already facilitate relatively limited cross-margining for direct clearing member firms that clear both cash Treasuries and Treasury futures
UK bank office return plans hang in the balance; Preparations pegged to June 21 now in doubt because of Delta variant’s spread
Owen Walker and Joshua Franklin – FT
UK bank bosses are anxiously awaiting further government guidance on the easing of lockdown as they plan for when their staff can return to the office. Restrictions on social distancing are set to be lifted on June 21 in the UK, but the rapid rise of the Delta variant first identified in India has led ministers to consider pushing back the date by several weeks.
California Defies Doom With No. 1 U.S. Economy; The Golden State has no peers when it comes to expanding GDP, raising household income, investing in innovation and a host of other key metrics.
Matthew A. Winkler – Bloomberg
When misfortunes multiplied during the coronavirus pandemic, observers seized on a four-letter word signaling end of days for the largest state with one-eighth the U.S. population and 14% of its gross domestic product. “California doom: Staggering $54 billion deficit looms,” the Associated Press concluded a year ago in May. “California Is Doomed,” declared Business Insider two months earlier. “Is California doomed to keep burning?” queried the New Republic in October. California is “Doomed” because of rising sea levels, according to an April EcoNews Report. Bulletins of people leaving the world’s fifth-biggest economy for lower-cost states because of high taxes and too much regulation stifling business continue unabated.
From Marines to Wall Street, Mercedes Elias Defied the Odds
Liz McCormick – Bloomberg
Elias was named AmeriVet’s co-chief executive in May; AmeriVet is among a small group of veteran-led brokerage firms
Mercedes Elias approached her career on Wall Street much like her decade-long ascent through the U.S. Marine Corps. Failure wasn’t an option. “I didn’t want my gender or race to determine any sort of path for me,” said Elias, the recently appointed co-chief executive officer of AmeriVet Securities Inc. — a broker-dealer whose founder is Elton Johnson Jr., a disabled Marine and Army veteran. She said after being in the Marines, “I realized that I perform better in a male-dominated industry. That’s why I decided to go into finance, plus I really liked math.”
One of NYSE’s largest market-makers is joining a Solana-based data project
Frank Chaparro – The Block
One of the largest trading firms making markets on the New York Stock Exchange announced last week that it is breaking into the decentralized finance space by joining a Solana-based market data project.
Johnson to delay lockdown easing for England on Monday; Prime minister likely to say postponement could be kept to 2 weeks if data improves
Sebastian Payne and Gavin Jackson – FT
Boris Johnson on Monday will approve a delay to the final easing of England’s lockdown restrictions on June 21, with the postponement kept to two weeks if the vaccination and infection data prove better than expected.
Vaxxinity hopes its Covid jab technology will help treat Alzheimer’s; US biotech says pandemic has helped it accelerate development of new class of drugs
Kathrin Hille and Hannah Kuchler – FT
US biotech company Vaxxinity has raised the prospect of breakthroughs in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as a result of the unprecedented resources and energy channelled into vaccine research since the start of the pandemic.
Novavax Covid Vaccine Is 93% Effective Against Variants in Trial
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
Novavax Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate showed strong efficacy against the coronavirus, including mutated variants, in a large trial. The shot was 90% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid and 100% effective at preventing moderate and severe symptoms, the U.S. biotech firm said Monday. The shot was 93% effective against variants of concern, it said.
Prepare for the Worst If Covid’s Origins Are Human; We fear man-made threats more than we do natural ones, and humanity isn’t known for its rational responses.
Brooke Sample – Bloomberg
Ever since President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate reports that the Covid-19 virus might have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, commentators have argued over what difference it makes if the theory turns out to be right. Here’s why the answer matters: The discovery that the virus had a human origin would give the coronavirus saga what it’s lacked — a villain. And that’s a problem.
G-7 Commits to 1 Billion Extra Covid Shots in Final Communique
Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
Leaders cite Hong Kong, Xinjiang in China human rights section; Russia should stop ‘destabilizing behavior,’ communique says
Group of Seven leaders promised to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year in the most dramatic element of the bloc’s effort to help bring an end to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 Visa Backlogs, Travel Curbs Strain Businesses in Need of Workers; Lenox’s CEO quit after being stuck in Denmark visiting family; Cedar Point amusement park is closed two days a week because of labor shortages
Michelle Hackman – WSJ
Danish executive Mads Ryder recently quit his post as chief executive of fine-china manufacturer Lenox Corp., after tiring of international travel restrictions that hampered travel between his company in the U.S. and his family in Europe.
Exchanges, OTC and Clearing
SGX seeks feedback on proposed rule changes regarding GIFT Connect
Sharanya Pillai – BusinessTimes.com.sg
THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) is seeking market feedback on proposed amendments to its derivatives clearing rules and the SGX Derivatives Trading (SGX-DT) futures trading rules. This consultation is in relation to the “GIFT Connect” trading link with India’s National Stock Exchange, under which Nifty futures contracts on the SGX are executed in India’s special economic zone, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, or GIFT.
SGX launches the world’s first ESG REIT derivatives
SGX Nikkei ESG-REIT Index Futures to meet rising demand for integrating ESG considerations into investment portfolios;Launch deepens SGX’s decades-long partnership with Nikkei Inc.
Singapore Exchange (SGX), the leading international market for real estate investment trusts (REIT), today launched the world’s first ESG REIT derivatives, fast-tracking access to the growing Japanese REIT sector for global asset managers and investors.
Regulator’s Column: What SGX RegCo expects of issuers’ internal audit function
COVID-19 has brought on unprecedented challenges and uncertainties for many listed issuers. Nevertheless, issuers should continue to maintain good governance practice and this must start at home, with the Internal Audit (“IA”) function.
ICE Reports Record Total Futures and Options Open Interest of 85.8 Million Contracts
Total Open Interest +10% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology, and market infrastructure, today announced record open interest of 85.8 million contracts on June 10, 2021. The record depth of liquidity across ICE’s markets is being driven by products including: ICE Low Sulphur Gasoil, the global benchmark for refined products, open interest is up 22% year-over-year (“y/y”) across futures and options; ICE TTF natural gas futures, which is at record open interest of 1.96 million contracts, up 21% y/y;
ICE Mortgage Technology Acquires eVault Technology from DocMagic for Encompass eClose
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
ICE Mortgage Technology™, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced it will deploy an eVault solution for secure storage of digital mortgages and notes, based upon technology acquired from DocMagic, Inc.
De Volksbank joins Eurex direct access clearing model; De Volksbank is the first Dutch bank to join the ISA Direct model from Eurex which offers direct clearing membership to institutions.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Dutch bank de Volksbank has joined the ISA Direct Model from European derivatives exchange as the clearing scheme extends from the buy- to the sell-side. Eurex said that de Volksbank is the first Dutch bank to enter the scheme that provides direct clearing connection. The addition of de Volksbank marks the extension of the scheme to include sell-side participants. ABN AMRO Clearing Bank will act as a clearing agent for the bank.
De Volksbank joins Eurex’s ISA Direct
First Dutch bank to join Eurex’s direct access model; ISA Direct continues to gain momentum
De Volksbank is the first Dutch bank to join Eurex’s ISA Direct model, designed to offer the benefits of direct clearing membership to a broader range of institutions. ABN AMRO Clearing Bank is acting as Clearing Agent.
Affluent Medical lists on Euronext Paris; EUR25 million raised – market capitalisation of over EUR156 million
Euronext today congratulates Affluent Medical, a French MedTech company specialising in the international development and industrialisation of innovative clinical-stage medical prostheses for the treatment of urinary incontinence and mitral valve pathology, on its listing on Compartment B of Euronext’s regulated market in Paris (ticker code: AFME). Euronext is the number one listing venue for MedTech companies in Europe.
T7 Release 9.1: Important information for production start
Deutsche Börse Group will launch Release 9.1 of the T7 trading system on 28 June 2021. The support window for T7 Release 9.1 will take place on Saturday, 26 June 2021, between 15:00 and 17:00 CEST. Connectivity testing during the support window is strongly recommended for all Participants and Multi-Member Providers.
Invesco Expands Longstanding Partnership with Nasdaq with Two New Thematic Technology ETFs; Innovative ETFs will track well-recognized Nasdaq Indexes with nearly 30 years of live track record
Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ), a leading global asset manager, announced today the launch of two new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that capture timely technology themes – biotechnology and semiconductors. The new ETFs will track the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index. These indexes, which are maintained by Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq), are the longest-standing benchmarks for each of the themes that have increased in relevance through the current events of the past year.
Amendments to the Gulf Coast LNG Export Futures Contract
Effective Sunday, July 11, 2021 for trade date Monday, July 12, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (“NYMEX” or “Exchange”) will implement various amendments to the Gulf Coast LNG Futures contract (Rulebook Chapter 240; Commodity Code LNG) (the “Contract”).
Amendments to and Delisting of Certain CME and CBOT Products in Connection with the Elimination of Most CME and All CBOT Open Outcry Trading Pits and Related Frequently Asked Questions for Members and Member Firms
In connection with the decision to permanently close all CBOT open outcry trading pits and all CME open outcry trading pits other than the CME Eurodollar options trading pit, the following CME and CBOT product delistings and product amendments are being implemented.
Product Modification Summary: Amendments to Trade-at-Marker (TAM) Holiday Calendar for the Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures and Brent Crude Oil Last Day Financial Futures Contracts
Effective Sunday, June 6, 2021 for trade date Monday, June 7, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, please be advised that the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX or EXCHANGE) will amend the trading calendar for the products listed below on CME Globex and available for submission for clearing on CME ClearPort. These products are now available on Singapore business days that are U.S. holidays. CLS and BZS trading halts at the marker time, daily, at 4:30 p.m. Singapore time (2:30/3:30 a.m. CT).
CME Direct Software Enhancement Coming June 27
On Sunday, June 27 (trade date Monday, June 28), there will be a CME Direct software upgrade. The software release includes:
EGX Adopts the Methodology of “Tamayuz” Index for the SMEs Market
Egyptian Exchange Posted
The Egyptian Exchange’s (EGX) Index Committee adopted the methodology of “Tamayuz” Index to include listed companies in the Egyptian SME market. The index is to be launched within days. The methodology of “Tamayuz” index is based on main criteria; to measure the strength and quality of financial and operational performance, in terms of annual accumulated growth rate of revenues generated from the main activity as well as cash flows from operation, as well as other indicators used to assess the performance of those companies. The Index includes 8 companies with a base date of 1 January 2019, and a base value of 1000 points.
Google Revamps Workspace to Rival Microsoft, Embrace Remote Work
Nico Grant – Bloomberg
Company upgrades Meet teleconference service for hybrid future; New tools offered to boost productivity for small businesses
Google revealed a raft of updates to its Workspace productivity suite, including new features for free users, a paid plan for entrepreneurs and fresh capabilities for its Meet videoconferencing system in an effort to better compete with Microsoft Corp.’s products.
Investors Clamor for a Bigger Piece of Payments Company Stripe; Shopify, Sequoia Capital and others recently bought about $1 billion of shares in fintech Stripe, which could go public late this year or next
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Stripe Inc. has yet to go public, but investors are still craving a piece of it. The company, which processes payments for e-commerce businesses, recently offered investors the chance to acquire sizable stakes in the company from existing shareholders, including current and former Stripe employees, according to people familiar with the transaction. Bids from those investors exceeded $4 billion, some of the people said.
Gedik Investment expands algo trading partnership with Horizon Software; The implementation of the TWAP and POV trading strategies builds on a pre-existing relationship between Gedik Investment and Horizon Software.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Istanbul-based broker Gedik Investment has expanded its partnership with trading technology provider Horizon Software to deploy its platform for equities algorithmic execution.
BMO Financial Group teams up with AWS on cloud transformation; Under the deal, Amazon Web Services will drive the cloud transformation of BMO’s banking platforms and develop cloud-based digital financial services applications.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
BMO Financial Group has confirmed a new partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive its cloud transformation across its platforms. AWS will build digital financial services applications based in the cloud as part of the deal which will see AWS act as its strategic cloud provider and manage operational workloads for investment banking, wealth management and other banking divisions at BMO.
Biden says he is open to exchange of cybercriminals with Putin; US and Russian presidents to meet amid heightened tensions and surge in ransomware attacks
Lauren Fedor – FT
US president Joe Biden said he was open to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s proposal to hand over cybercriminals to the US if Washington did the same for Moscow, just days before the two leaders meet for a summit in Geneva.
Ransomware hackers now bigger cyber threat to UK than hostile states; Head of GCHQ arm warns Britain neglecting growing risk to national security from online attacks
Helen Warrell – FT
Criminal hackers carrying out ransomware attacks now represent a bigger risk to UK national security than online espionage by hostile states, Britain’s cyber defence chief will warn on Monday. Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre — a branch of GCHQ — will accuse Britons of neglecting the threat from ransomware hackers, in a speech to London’s Royal United Services Institute.
An Amazon employee’s husband was sentenced to prison for insider trading- and earning a $1.4 million profit
Dominick Reuter – Insider
The husband of a former Amazon employee was sentenced Thursday to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty in November to insider trading, the US Attorney for the Western District of Washington said
New bank rules restrain and recognise crypto; Banking rulemakers rightly view digital currencies as an official but highly risky asset
The editorial board – FT
It is a rare event that unites bitcoin believers and crypto critics. But both largely welcomed the news from the global rulemaker for big banks that it plans to apply the most punitive capital rules to lenders that hold crypto assets. It is plainly right to do so. Its action must be matched by co-ordinated policy around the world to make safer an asset whose popularity seems destined to keep growing, despite the risks that crypto finances organised crime and terrorism. Crypto’s volatility imperils increasing numbers of retail investors, not to mention posing credit risks for lenders.
Crypto is a transparent fad, just like fiat currencies; Put it in the context of economic history, and crypto is little more than another expression of capitalism’s inherent monetary schizophrenia.
Edward Price – FT
Money, we are told by the economics textbooks, serves three purposes: it is a medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account. This trio is ubiquitous. Economic activity (or exchange) and capital (or value) interact over time, forming GDP (that is, accounts).
Bitcoin Jumps After Musk Says Tesla Will Use When Mining Cleaner
Joanna Ossinger and Jim Silver – Bloomberg
Bitcoin prices are approaching $40,000 after a weekend rally; Musk wants Bitcoin miners to use about 50% of clean energy
Elon Musk said Tesla Inc. would allow transactions in Bitcoin once mining is done with more clean energy. The executive said in a tweet that he wants miners to use about 50% clean energy. The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance has estimated that 39% of crypto mining is powered by renewable sources, mainly hydroelectric.
Wannabe Bitcoin ETFs Are Mushrooming and Getting More Creative
Claire Ballentine and Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
As odds of approval look grim, crypto-adjacent funds take off; Invesco is largest asset manager yet to join with two filings
With at least nine applications for Bitcoins ETFs collecting dust in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s in-box and clients baying to buy crypto funds, U.S. issuers in the $6.4 trillion industry are cobbling together a growing number of workarounds.
‘You Can Tokenize a Building’ in State Street’s New Digital Push
Chris Anstey – Bloomberg
$40 trillion global asset administrator sets up digital unit; Results from ‘intensity’ of client requests, says Chakar
State Street Corp., one of the world’s largest money managers, is moving hundreds of its staff into a new digital unit to meet surging interest in everything from cryptocurrencies to transforming investments as traditional as real estate.
Bitcoin on the Balance Sheet Is an Accounting Headache for Tesla, Others; Tesla and other companies that hold the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency often must record impairment charges when its value falls
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Elon Musk’s curious Twitter war with bitcoin is expected to hit Tesla Inc.’s TSLA -0.04% bottom line this quarter. Mr. Musk is widely blamed by investors for starting the digital currency’s most punishing slide of the year after announcing on Twitter that Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles. He added fuel to the fire earlier this month, tweeting breakup memes with “#bitcoin” and a broken-heart emoji. Bitcoin has slumped 30% since the original May 12 tweet.
South Africa Plans to Regulate Crypto Trading in Phased Manner
Roxanne Henderson – Bloomberg
Nation’s daily crypto-trading values hit $147m high in January; Crypto assets remain inherently risky and volatile, group says
South Africa has laid the foundation for finance watchdogs to set crypto-asset controls as the nation seeks to curb growing cases of fraud and improve the management of cross-border flows.
No DOGE Allowed? Thai SEC Bans Meme, Fan and Exchange Tokens as Well as NFTs; The move by the Thai SEC is just the latest action by the regulator as it works to provide a framework for crypto in the kingdom.
Kevin Reynolds – Coindesk
Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Friday it’s banned several of the hottest types of tokens in cryptocurrency including meme tokens, fan tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in an apparent attempt to rein in trading in crypto instruments in which the prices are largely determined by social whim.
Public bonhomie, China nuance and Brexit bickering filled G7 menu; Summit sought to call time on Trump years with show of fresh appetite for co-operation on economy, health and rights
George Parker and Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe – FT
The images of Joe Biden and fellow G7 leaders chatting at close quarters on a Cornish beach as they enjoyed barbecued lobster may not have been the best advert for social-distancing rules in times of pandemic. But the beach cookout was designed to send another message: under renewed American leadership, the world’s leading western democracies are back in business.
US charges Jho Low and ex-Fugee with 1MDB back-channel lobbying; Prakazrel Michel and the Malaysian financier are also alleged to have sought the return of a dissident to China
Stefania Palma – FT
The US has charged a Malaysian financier and a former member of the hip hop trio Fugees with back-channel lobbying to drop a probe linked to the 1MDB Malaysian state investment fund embezzlement scandal and to extradite a Chinese dissident based in the US.
100 business leaders warn Johnson planning reforms risk green goals; Bosses say prime minister’s proposals may leave UK in breach of binding targets
George Hammond – FT
More than 100 business leaders have warned Boris Johnson that his plans to tear up the planning system in England risk opening up protected land for development and may leave the UK in breach of legally-binding environmental targets.
Ukraine ready to take action against Gazprom over central Asian gas; Naftogaz head says Kyiv is seeking ways to unblock supplies to mitigate loss from Nord Stream 2
Roman Olearchyk – FT
Ukraine is prepared to take legal action against Gazprom to unblock natural gas supplies from central Asia, a move that could ensure it has sufficient domestic supply and transit revenues even if Russia’s nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline comes on stream this year.
Ex-EU Brexit negotiator Barnier: UK reputation at stake in Brexit row
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s former Brexit negotiator, said on Monday that the reputation of the United Kingdom was at stake regarding tensions over Brexit. EU politicians have accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of not respecting engagements made regarding Brexit. Growing tensions between Britain and the EU threatened to overshadow the Group of Seven summit on Sunday, with London accusing France of “offensive” remarks that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK.
EU and UK’s ‘sausage war’ sizzles at G7 as Macron and Johnson spar
Michel Rose, Michael Holden – Reuters
Growing tensions between Britain and the European Union threatened to overshadow the Group of Seven summit’s conclusion on Sunday, with London accusing France of “offensive” remarks that Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom.
Private Inequity: How a Powerful Industry Conquered the Tax System; The I.R.S. almost never audits private equity firms, even as whistle-blowers have filed claims alleging illegal tax avoidance.
Jesse Drucker and Danny Hakim – NY Times
There were two weeks left in the Trump administration when the Treasury Department handed down a set of rules governing an obscure corner of the tax code.
Federal Court Sanctions Australian Trader for Spoofing and Engaging in a Manipulative and Deceptive Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a consent order on June 4, resolving CFTC charges that Jiongsheng Zhao, a trader based in Australia, engaged in spoofing and manipulation in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange E-mini S&P 500 futures market in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.
An Amazon employee’s husband was sentenced to prison for insider trading- and earning a $1.4 million profit
Dominick Reuter – Insider
The husband of a former Amazon employee was sentenced Thursday to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty in November to insider trading, the US Attorney for the Western District of Washington said
SEC Announces Annual Regulatory Agenda
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs today released the Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The report, which includes contributions related to the Securities and Exchange Commission, lists short- and long-term regulatory actions that administrative agencies plan to take.
SEC Charges Dentist-Turned-Investment Adviser for Three Separate Frauds
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Edgar M. Radjabli of Boca Raton, Florida, and two entities he controlled for engaging in three separate securities frauds of escalating size.
Prepared Remarks Before the Financial Stability Oversight Council
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Money Market Funds Statement
Thank you. I am honored to be here rejoining the Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting, today for the first time as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. I believe in this Council’s mission to identify and respond to financial stability risks and to better promote market discipline. Financial stability is also a part of my remit as Chair of the SEC.
Prepared Remarks Before the Financial Stability Oversight Council
Chair Gary Gensler – SEC
Thank you. I’d like to discuss the transition from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). ‘d also like to talk about Hans Christian Andersen and Warren Buffet. Now you might be wondering why I’m thinking about these two men — born 125 years and an ocean apart — in the context of LIBOR. I’ll get to that in a minute.
ADF Timestamp Granularity Change for Trade Reporting
On November 15, 2021, FINRA’s Alternative Display Facility (ADF) will begin supporting timestamps up to nanosecond granularity (HH:MM:SS.sssssssss) in accordance with amendments to FINRA’s equity trade reporting rules. Please refer to FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-41 for additional information on firms’ reporting obligations under these amendments.
FCA launches consultation on new ‘Consumer Duty’ rules for retail financial markets
John Maslen – Asset Finance International
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has revealed plans for a new Consumer Duty, which will set a higher level of consumer protection in retail financial markets.
A practitioner’s guide to managing and measuring compliance risk
Joe Adamczyk – SC Magazine
How do top security managers respond when the CEO asks: “Are we compliant?” Will the response change if a regulator asks the question during an examination? Or an attorney at a deposition?
Companies must comply with laws and regulations, so it’s a question to prepare for, particularly if the company works in a heavily regulated industry such as financial services, pharma, food and beverage, or energy. Those companies can have thousands of requirements to comply with, ranging from data privacy and cybersecurity to HR and accounting.
Jones Day Talks®: Energy Derivatives and Regulatory Enforcement by the CFTC and FERC
The energy markets are highly regulated, and producers, transmitters, and consumers of energy all use the highly regulated derivatives markets to hedge their energy risks. How do the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) respond when there are price disruptions, like with Winter Storm Uri, or evidence of manipulation or other potential wrongdoing in those markets? Listen as our partners and former senior FERC and CFTC regulators David Applebaum and Joshua Sterling share their views on how those agencies bring enforcement actions and how they will seek to address climate change and other issues relevant to the energy markets.
Investing and Trading
Investor behind Moderna raises $3.4bn biotech-focused fund; Sum amassed by Flagship Pioneering is among largest in pharmaceutical industry
Nikou Asgari – FT
Flagship Pioneering, the venture capital company behind Moderna, has raised its largest fund as it aims to build the next generation of biotech companies. The $3.4bn fund is one of the biggest amassed in the pharmaceutical industry and comes at a time when investment is flooding into the sector, fuelled by the numerous early-stage companies racing to make treatments and vaccines to tackle Covid-19.
Funds trim negative US stocks bets; Pullback shrinks scope for amateur traders looking to punish short sellers
Aziza Kasumov – FT
Amateur traders are on the hunt for further opportunities to bulldoze over funds betting against their favoured stocks, ranging from the medical insurer Clover Health to the former smartphone maker BlackBerry.
The rebirth of Hertz: vaccines, meme stocks and Wall Street’s crazy year; The inside story of how optimism about post-pandemic travel inspired a bidding war for the bankrupt car rental company
Sujeet Indap – FT
At 2am on the morning of May 11, Thomas Lauria poured himself a glass of Jack Daniel’s even though he was still at work. A partner in the Miami office of law firm White & Case, Lauria had spent the previous 15 hours overseeing a tense auction between two rival private equity consortiums for Hertz, the bankrupt rental car group.
Undertones of The Clash in great inflation debate in markets; Investors face tricky bet on sustainability of spike in prices as economy recovers
Michael Mackenzie – FT
Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Funds this week added some colour to his monthly slide deck presentation of market and investment talking points. The bond manager and a former punk rock drummer paid homage to The Clash’s second album Give ‘Em Enough Rope.
Lumber Prices Post Biggest – Ever Weekly Drop With Buyers Balking
Marcy Nicholson – Bloomberg
U.S. lumber futures have slid 40% from last month’s record; ‘There was plenty of lumber available from the mills’
Lumber futures posted their biggest-ever weekly loss, extending a tumble from all-time highs reached last month as sawmills ramp up output and buyers hold off on purchases. Prices in Chicago fell 18% this week, the biggest decline for most-active futures in records going back to 1986. Lumber has now dropped almost 40% from the record high reached on May 10.
Out-of-Control Shipping Costs Fire Up Prices From Coffee to Toys
Alex Longley, Catherine Bosley, and Deirdre Hipwell – Bloomberg
Zero slack in shipping system to keep freight pricey into 2022; Economists weigh inflation risk of long period of costly rates
The skyrocketing price of shipping goods across the globe may hit your pocketbook sooner than you think — from that cup of coffee you get each morning to the toys you may want to buy for your kids.
Meme-Stock in Denmark Hit by Selloff as Broker Warns of Risk
Morten Buttler and Christian Wienberg – Bloomberg
Denmark’s first meme stock, Orphazyme A/S, was hit by a deep selloff on Monday morning as last week’s sudden spike during U.S. hours crashed into reality once local investors returned from the weekend.
Oil Price Hits Pandemic High as Investors Bet on Green Energy; Wall Street’s preference for renewables could mean oil producers will now struggle to meet demand
Amrith Ramkumar and Joe Wallace – WSJ
Some investors are wagering that Wall Street’s preference for green energy will depress spending on oil extraction, setting the stage for supply shortages and higher fuel prices. The bets come as money managers line up trillions of dollars for wind, solar and other renewable programs and expenditures on oil projects tumble. The drop in fossil-fuel spending is becoming so severe that energy companies could struggle to quench the world’s thirst for oil, some analysts say.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
Orsted chief warns on seabed leasing drought for wind farms; CEO Mads Nipper says governments must improve availability if global climate targets are to be met
David Sheppard, Leslie Hook and Nathalie Thomas – FT
The head of the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms has warned that governments must speed up the leasing of seabeds if climate targets are to be met.
UK ‘energy tech’ draws backing at home and overseas; Surge of investments from global utilities seeking access to smart software platforms developed by Ovo and Octopus
Nathalie Thomas – FT
As the pandemic triggered record plunges in UK energy demand last year, some electric car drivers were making money from surplus supply. A new breed of electricity tariffs allows customers using “vehicle-to-grid” chargers to top up their batteries when electricity consumption is low and sell it back at a profit when demand is higher.
ETF providers have been leading buyers of new fossil fuel bonds, finds study; BlackRock and State Street were largest purchasers of the securities
Chris Flood – FT
New bonds sold by fossil fuel companies were being snapped up by leading exchange traded fund providers including BlackRock and State Street even as these managers were preparing to pledge to slash their carbon emissions exposure, researchers have found.
Swiss reject law to help country meet Paris carbon emissions goal
John Revill – Reuters
Swiss voters rejected a trio of environmental proposals on Sunday, including a new law intended to help the country meet its goal for cutting carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
BP joins consortium seeking wind power off Norway
British oil major BP (BP.L) will join Norway’s Statkraft (STATKF.UL) and Aker Offshore Wind (AOW-ME.OL) to bid for permits to build offshore wind power projects off Norway, the companies said on Monday.
Bashing Big Oil Won’t Save the Planet; As long as we depend on CO2-emitting cars, ships and heating, lots of companies will be willing to keep pumping crude wherever it is.
Julian Lee – Bloomberg
Forcing the world’s big publicly-traded oil companies to go green won’t save the planet from the impact of the climate crisis. Sure, they’re perfect targets for anger. They’re huge companies and household names. Their logos are on filling stations around the world. They pump millions of barrels of crude out of the ground every day, shipping it in vast tankers and processing it in sprawling complexes of pipes and tanks emitting clouds of who-knows-what into the atmosphere.
Shell Mulls Sale of U.S.’s Largest Oil Field During Climate Push
Riley Griffin – Bloomberg
Royal Dutch Shell Plc is reviewing its holdings in the largest oil field in the U.S., a possible sale that could raise as much as $10 billion, according to Reuters.
BNP under fire from Europe’s top wine exporter over lossmaking forex trades; J. García Carrión is demanding compensation for about EUR75m in losses incurred from alleged illicit transactions
Stephen Morris, Olaf Storbeck and Daniel Dombey – FT
BNP Paribas is facing allegations that its traders mis-sold billions of euros of lossmaking foreign exchange products to Europe’s largest wine exporter, the latest accusations in a widening controversy that has also enveloped Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.
BlackRock’s ETF assets race past $3tn; The industry’s global assets have surged to fresh all-time highs in May
Chris Flood – FT
Assets in BlackRock’s exchange traded fund business raced beyond the $3tn milestone for the first time in May as the ETF industry’s global assets surged to a fresh all-time high above $9tn.
CLOs draw in new support after showing resilience; Hedge fund Diameter lines up 6 launches of loan-backed debt vehicles after $250m seed funding
Joe Rennison – FT
One of Wall Street’s hottest hedge funds has pulled in a quarter of a billion dollars from a small group of investors seeking out returns from an obscure corner of capital markets: collateralised loan obligations.
Goldman Sachs ramps up cobalt trading; Battery metal in hot demand because of electric vehicle boom but hedging options are scant
Henry Sanderson – FT
Goldman Sachs has stepped up its trading in battery metal cobalt, latching on to one of the hottest corners of the commodities market as carmakers transition to electric vehicles.
Ares Management and Maven Capital Partners back acquisitive new business; Titan Wealth Holdings looks to grow assets under management to £20bn-£30bn over next 5 years
Harriet Agnew – FT
Private equity groups Ares Management and Maven Capital Partners have teamed up with a family office to back the launch of an acquisitive new business in the UK wealth and asset management market.
Bankers May Be Slowing Return to Office on Variant Fears
Thomas Buckley and Jeremy Scott Diamond – Bloomberg
Workers in London’s financial districts may be slowing their return to the office as Covid-19 cases rise, in part because of the highly contagious delta variant.
Shares linked to Indian tycoon Adani tumble as foreign funds frozen; Rally in shares of Adani Group companies had propelled him to position of Asia’s second-richest man
Stephanie Findlay and Hudson Lockett – FT
Shares in companies linked to Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, one of Asia’s richest men, fell sharply after the country’s largest securities depository froze accounts of foreign funds holding stakes worth billions of dollars.
Adani Stocks Cut Loss After Denying Freeze on Investor Accounts
Nupur Acharya and P R Sanjai – Bloomberg
Report on freezing of overseas funds “blatantly erroneous”; Proxy adviser seeks regulator probe into concentrated holdings
Shares of companies controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani recouped a part their day’s losses after refuting a local report that said accounts of three Mauritius-based funds that own the group’s stocks were frozen.
Singapore offshore-listed companies consider ‘homecoming’ flotations; Tech groups approached for share sales in potential boost to city-state’s struggling market
Tabby Kinder and Stefania Palma – FT
Some of Singapore’s largest offshore-listed companies have considered whether to hold “homecoming” share sales in the city-state after approaches from its stock market and investment bankers.
A Top India Fund Turns Against Riskier Debt After Covid Woes
Rahul Satija – Bloomberg
Edelweiss’s Dalal says level of stress in economy isn’t clear; Wary of non-AAA corporate debt at least until October: Dalal
A top Indian fund manager is shunning lower-rated rupee corporate bonds until the impact of the world’s worst Covid-19 crisis on weaker borrowers is better understood. The level of stress in the economy especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises is still unclear after states locked down to curb the spread of a second virus wave from March, said Dhawal Dalal, who oversees $4.8 billion of debt assets at Edelweiss Mutual Fund. Dalal, who manages one of the best-performing debt funds over the past year, has added only AAA rated corporate notes to his portfolio since March.
We should pull the plug on pointless after-hours emails; In a burnout epidemic, the right to switch off is needed more than ever
Pilita Clark – FT
Imagine buying a supersized, sugar-soaked tub of peanut butter ice-cream and finding a message on the label headed: “Ten top tips to lose weight.” If you think tip one could well be, “Give up peanut butter ice-cream”, then you do not think like Tim Cook, the boss of Apple. Last week, Apple announced its iPhones would soon have a “powerful tool” called Focus to better manage the blizzard of bleeps and pings that can make both concentration and relaxation hopelessly hard. Users will be able to muzzle Twitter if busy at work or mute work emails on the weekend.
Keynote speakers thrive in a booming virtual market; Authors, academics and thought leaders who lost income when live events stopped have become a pandemic success story
Jill Martin Wrenn – FT
The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping the lucrative global speaking market. Speakers who could command six-figure fees for in-person keynote addresses before March 2020 now find themselves accepting a fraction of that amount for a virtual event.
Philips recalls ventilators, sleep apnea machines due to health risks
Toby Sterling – Reuters
Dutch medical equipment company Philips (PHG.AS) has recalled some breathing devices and ventilators because of a foam part that might degrade and become toxic, potentially causing cancer, it said on Monday.
Fed-Up Young Workers Fear They Need Offices to Save Their Careers; Fears of stunted careers and struggles with loneliness are driving many back to their desks.
Marc Daniel Davies – Bloomberg
Managers hoping to lure employees into offices may find their youngest and newest staff are their strongest allies. Young white-collar staff feel caught between a rock and a hard place — they value quality of life over old-fashioned 9-5 commuting, but are even more worried about seeing their careers stall unless they head back into an office. That’s encouraging many to be among the first to return to their desks.
Remote workers put in longer hours but were less efficient, study says
Isabel Vincent – NY Post
Employees are beginning to trickle back into their offices just in time — after a new study found that remote work reduces productivity. The study, which surveyed the remote work habits of 10,000 employees at an Asian technology company between April 2019 and August 2020, found a 20 percent decrease in output, according to a recent report.
Yahoo Finance’s Serwer to receive Bell Award
The New York Financial Writers’ Association announced that Andy Serwer, editor in chief of Yahoo Finance, is the 2020 recipient of the Elliott V. Bell Award, which honors journalists who have made a significant contribution to the field of financial journalism.