UBS, Nomura Fined $452 Million for Financial Crisis Bond Cartel; Bitcoin Falls as Much as 30% as Investors Sour on Cryptocurrencies

May 20, 2021

First Read

$42,076/$300,000 (14.0%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The American Financial Exchange (AFX) announced a new forward-looking 90-day AMERIBOR rate called AMERIBOR Term 90. This new rate is in addition to the AMERIBOR Term 30 rate launched in April and its other suite of product offerings. They are slowly, but surely developing an American alternative to LIBOR.– Mondovisione

JLN has started to produce short Quick Clips from its new videos as a way to encourage viewers to watch the complete video. This week we produced Quick Clips for the Small Exchange Donnie Roberts video and the Leo Melamed video about this new book. Check them out.

You may have noticed there has not been advertising for FIA’s IDX recently here in JLN; you can safely assume it will not be held in June, virtually or in-person. There is the possibility of a fall event, which could be in-person or hybrid if some of the protocols for travel and gatherings change in the coming weeks.

However, there is a virtual event in June from FIA and SIFMA for you to attend, the Asset Management Derivatives Forum 2021, co-hosted with SIFMA AMG. — FIA

Amid the volatility in cryptocurrencies yesterday, including bitcoin, and crypto exchanges having issues operating properly, CrossTower put out this notice on LinkedIn: “CrossTower remains up and running during this market volatility. All systems are online and functional. Come trade today!”

Bloomberg has a story titled “$Donkey Coin Billionaire: Tales From the Fringe of the Crypto Craze; Meet the thrill-seeking traders who are prowling for profits in the wildest corners of the market — all in search of the next big coin,” except the name of the coin is not “Donkey.” The name of the coin starts with A and ends with two S’s, which I don’t include because of fear of having spam filters block JLN as a result of including that world spelled out. — Bloomberg

The Washington Post reports that “India reported more than 4,500 deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday for the prior 24 hours, the worst single-day death toll in any country since the pandemic began.” — Washington Post

While reading Leo Melamed‘s new book, “Man of the Futures,” some names popped up that we did not have in MarketsWiki previously. We have added pages for Lee Freeman, Sr., the former general counsel for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange who handed the CME account over to a young Jerry Salzman. Also, we added a page for Carol “Mickey” Norton, Leo’s one-time bridge partner who is credited with being the first woman to trade on the floor of the International Monetary Market, which later became a division of the CME.

On May 26, QED Brussels will hold its 8th annual QED conference on cross-border regulation of financial services. QED Brussels is an organization promoting European Dialogue for a better understanding of EU-affairs. For you linguists, QED is an acronym of the Latin phrase “Quod Erat Demonstrandum,” which means “what was to be demonstrated.”

The QED conference will be divided into two panels, with the first panel focusing on the Global Perspective with Alexandra Jour-Schroeder, European Commission, Sharon S. Yang, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Jacqueline Mesa FIA, Inc. and Thomas Pohl, UBS Swiss Finance Council. The second panel will be an opportunity to discuss a current issue: The Future of the EU-UK Relationship. For this second part, QED Brussels will welcome Danuta Hübner, European Parliament, Paulina Dejmek Hack, European Commission, Richard Knox, HM Treasury, Nick Collier, City of London Corporation and Julien Jardelot. — QED Brussels

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft plans to pull the plug on Internet Explorer as of June 15, 2022, joining the scrap heap of 1990s technology with AOL’s Instant Messenger. These were must-use technologies that will be just part of history. — WSJ

I have a small account with the stock trading app Public and yesterday I sold out my holdings of ProShares Short ETFs PSQ and SH, which are reverse QQQ and SPY funds. It was a small hedge against stocks falling. What I don’t like is that I have to wait for the T+3 for the trade to settle before I can use those funds to trade again. In futures, you can not only trade again after you get out of a trade, but you can even use open interest gains to trade new positions. I have been spoiled by years of futures trading. Of course, one does not want to use all one’s funds for margining futures at one time. In stocks, with the higher margins and lower-to-zero leverage, that is not as much of an issue.

Where is my income tax refund? I have not received my 2019 income tax refund yet. I am not alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are 335,000 tax payers still waiting for their 2019 refunds. That number is down from 7 million at the start of the year. — WSJ

Harlan Ten Pas said I had a couple of details wrong in my story yesterday, but the essence of it was correct. I told him when the legend is better than the truth, print the legend.

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. I did shoot an Open Outcry Traders History Project video with Patrick Mulchrone, a partner at Advantage Futures, CME board member and former floor broker in T-bills and Eurodollar futures. Support our efforts to preserve industry history. You can donate to our GoFundMe campaign, or participate in one of our video series and tell your story of participating in open outcry or making electronic trading work.

Have a great day and stay safe and treat people the same way you want to be treated: with respect, equality and justice.~JJL


Register for the virtual Asset Management Derivatives Forum

FIA and SIFMA AMG are bringing you a virtual take on the Asset Management Derivatives Forum in 2021. Join us for virtual programming on June 8 and 9, during which market participants from all sides of a trade and leading regulators will examine the latest developments impacting the use of derivatives by asset managers. This year’s keynote speakers are Dan Berkovitz, commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trade Commission, Catherine McGuinness, chair of the policy and resources committee for the City of London, and Allison Herren Lee, commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Learn more and register!

Sign Up Here »


The ECB’s Financial Stability Report Is Scary Reading; As Christine Lagarde knows, this is not the time to submit to monetary hawks.
Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Christine Lagarde has a critical meeting of the European Central Bank’s governing council coming up on June 10. As usual this will encompass a quarterly review of inflation and growth forecasts, an exercise that lets the ECB take stock of the impact of its monetary policy measures. But this time the gathering will also be a serious test of ECB President Lagarde’s ability to quell the hawkish rumblings on the council.

*****Once upon a time there was a scary economist who reported…..~JJL


Kenilworth mansion with ties to World’s Fair takes 9 years to sell; A couple saved the historic property from demolition but appear to have profited little—if at all—from their effort.
Dennis Rodkin – Crain’s Chicago Business
The couple who rescued a Kenilworth mansion that is layered with historical connections sold it after nine years on the market and almost $4 million in price cuts. Sharron and Gerald Putnam sold the six-bedroom, 10,700-square-foot house on Essex Road on May 11 for $5 million. They first put it on the market in April 2012 at $8.95 million.

*****This would be the house of former Archipelago CEO Jerry Putnam.~JJL


World’s Largest Iceberg Breaks Off in Antarctica as Glaciers Retreat; The Antarctica ice sheet is warming faster than the rest of the planet
Laura Millan Lombrana – Bloomberg
An iceberg the size of the Spanish island of Majorca has broken off the coast of Antarctica, with measurements taken from satellites and planes confirming it’s now the world’s largest.

*****Anyone want to establish a new floating country?~JJL


Wednesday’s Top Three
The most-clicked story on Wednesday was an announcement from ICE, Intercontinental Exchange Makes Strategic Investment in BondLink.
The second was a JLN video interview with a derivatives industry legend, Leo Melamed Is ‘Man of the Futures.’ And the third most-clicked was a fintech release, Vermiculus Signs a New Agreement for Providing Its Microservices-Based Clearing Solution.


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Lead Stories

UBS, Nomura Fined $452 Million for Financial Crisis Bond Cartel
Aoife White – Bloomberg
UBS says impact could hit $100 million on quarter; may appeal; Traders swapped information on euro bonds from 2007 to 2011
UBS Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. and UniCredit SpA were fined a total of 371 million euros ($452 million) by the European Union for colluding on euro government bond trading during the region’s sovereign debt crisis. UBS was fined 172 million euros and Nomura will have to pay 129.6 million euros for a traders’ cartel that swapped commercially sensitive information from 2007 to 2011 when eurozone bond yields soared. UniCredit was fined 69 million euros.

Bitcoin Falls as Much as 30% as Investors Sour on Cryptocurrencies; Investors have shunned riskier assets this week, marking a sudden shift in mood that is delivering heavy losses to inexperienced traders
Paul Vigna, Alexander Osipovich and Anna Hirtenstein – WSJ
Bitcoin, the volatile digital currency that briefly became a trillion-dollar market, plunged Wednesday as its monthlong slide morphed into a frenzied selloff. Cryptocurrencies have surged over the past year on a wave of speculative excitement, spurred by famous backers as varied as Elon Musk, Paul Tudor Jones and Snoop Dogg.

How the Tiny Bahamas Beat Global Giants in the E-Currency Race; John Rolle, central bank governor since 2016, describes what his country has learned so far from its pioneering role in central bank digital currencies.
Jim Wyss – Bloomberg
The Bahamas became a global leader in e-money last year when it launched one of the world’s first central bank digital ­currencies—the “sand dollar”—beating China’s “digital renminbi” to the market by six months. Unlike cryptocurrencies, which are designed to be anonymous and free of ties to monetary authorities, CBDCs are digital fiat—the sand dollar is an extension of the Bahamian dollar. Traded online and over mobile phones, it aims to dramatically accelerate digital transactions in the Bahamas by breaking down barriers between disparate payment platforms. A government-backed common currency will permit rival mobile wallets, which often use proprietary tokens, to transact more easily with competitors.

Bitcoin’s growing energy problem: ‘It’s a dirty currency’; Elon Musk has highlighted the cryptocurrency’s environmental impact and governments are starting to take notice
Katie Martin and Billy Nauman – FT
On the shores of Seneca Lake in upstate New York, a private equity company has bought a decommissioned coal power plant and converted it to burn natural gas. It then switched it back on to become what it describes as a “power plant-cryptocurrency mining hybrid.”

Wirecard’s reluctant whistleblower tells his story: ‘They tried to destroy me’; Pav Gill, who exposed one of Europe’s biggest corporate frauds, says doing the right thing ‘always has a cost’
Dan McCrum, Stefania Palma and Olaf Storbeck – FT
Pav Gill thanks his mother for many things. Sokhbir Kaur raised him alone in Singapore’s subsidised housing, pushed him through the city’s best schools — and, when the time came, forced him to become the whistleblower who would bring Wirecard’s global fraud crashing down.

ECB warns pandemic debt burden creates financial stability risks; Governments’ and companies’ indebtedness threatens market sell-off and drag on recovery
Martin Arnold – FT
The rising debt levels of eurozone governments and companies have made it more likely that economic aftershocks from the coronavirus pandemic could trigger financial instability, the European Central Bank has warned.

The 30% one-day fall in bitcoin’s value looks like a turning point
Nils Pratley – The Guardian
The cry from the bitcoin and crypto brigade during previous bursts of volatility was YOLO, or you only live once. That’s an easy thrill-seeking motto to utter when prices decline by the odd 10%. It becomes harder to cling to when the price is down by 30% in a day, and 50% in a month, and there’s panic in the air.

Swiss Trader Accused of Laundering Mafia Money With Diamonds
Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
Man allegedly helped Italians who ran $35 million tax scam; Lugano is a historic center for Italians’ undeclared assets
A Swiss precious metals and gems trader stands trial on Thursday accused of knowingly buying diamonds worth $750,000 on behalf of Italian criminals to help them launder the proceeds of a $35 million tax scam. C., as he can only be named under local reporting restrictions, knew or should have known that the money used to buy the stones was linked to Italian organized crime, Swiss federal prosecutors wrote in their January indictment.

Chinese Commodities in Sea of Red as Global Rout Spreads East
Bloomberg News – Bloomberg
Slump follows a market meltdown in the U.S. on inflation fears; Chinese officials express concern over raw materials prices
The global rout in commodities spread to China, with futures for iron ore to coal to soybeans tumbling, as markets were gripped by inflation fears and authorities in Beijing continued to try to jawbone prices lower. Chinese exchanges saw some brutal declines, particularly in ferrous markets, with iron ore dropping as much as 7.6% and steel rebar falling 5.6%. Coking coal, used to make steel, plunged 7.5%, and soybeans slumped almost 3%.

Ex-Merrill Banker’s Trading App Valued at Over $5 Billion
Stephan Kahl – Bloomberg
Trade Republic raised $900 million investment led by Sequoia; Company likely to break even 2022, M.M. Warburg says in note
Broker app Trade Republic Bank GmbH, founded by former Merrill Lynch banker Christian Hecker, has become one of Germany’s biggest fintech firms by valuation. The Berlin-based company finished a $900 million financing round with investors including Sequoia, TCV, Thrive Capital, Founders Fund and others, it said in a statement on Thursday. The round valued Trade Republic at more than $5 billion.

Fed’s Big Role in Treasury Market to Last Long After Taper Ends
Liz McCormick and Rich Miller – Bloomberg
Bank seen rolling over its massive debt stockpile for years; Expected to keep yields suppressed even amid inflation fears
Treasury investors fretting about when the Federal Reserve will scale back its bond purchases may be missing the bigger picture: Its more than $5 trillion stockpile will make it a major force for years to come. The prospect of a pullback in buying edged a little nearer Wednesday when minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s April meeting showed that a number of officials were willing to discuss it if the economy keeps improving. Yields rose on the news.

Fictitious Regulatory Agency Notifications: Fictitious Notification Regarding The Use Of Bitcoin Wallet For Release Of Funds Supposedly Under The Control Of The US Office Of The Comptroller Of The Currency
Consumers have reported receiving fictitious email messages, which allege to be initiated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) or senior officials of the agency regarding funds purportedly under the control of the OCC. The notification informs the recipient that a “Bitcoin Wallet Address ID NO” is required to allow for a purported transfer of funds. The email contains typographical errors and reads as follows:

Small Exchange Lowers Barrier To Energy Market Volatility With SMO Crude Oil Future
Renato Capelj – Benzinga
The Small Exchange announced the launch of a new product, the Small US Crude Oil Futures (SMO) contract. What Happened: Launched last year, the Small Exchange was founded after CEO and President Donald Roberts, alongside Tom Sosnoff, founder and co-CEO of tastytrade, reflected on their experiences building thinkorswim, a brokerage acquired by TD Ameritrade in 2009 for $606 million.

Wellness Exchange

Hungary to End Pandemic Emergency Rule Earlier Than Planned
Zoltan Simon – Bloomberg
Hungary will end its coronavirus-related emergency rule earlier than planned, Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas said. His statement comes just two days after lawmakers extended the legal framework through the end of summer. Before asking parliament to rescind it, the government will review what special powers it will need to maintain due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gulyas told a briefing on Thursday.

Cascade of Rare Complications Deepen India’s Covid Misery
Bhuma Shrivastava, Jason Gale, and Chris Kay – Bloomberg
Deadly fungal infection, once deemed rare, spurs drug shortage; Doctors predict surge in inflammatory condition in children
Rare, life-threatening Covid-19 complications appear to be escalating in India, creating a fresh wave of critical medical challenges in a country that has already seen short supplies of oxygen and other basic needs.

Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shots Raise Tough Issues for Health Authorities; Western governments increase orders in case of waning immunity and variant threats, but need isn’t clear yet and much of world lacks initial doses
Jason Douglas – WSJ
While most countries are still cranking up their vaccination drives, some are already making plans to deliver millions of booster shots into arms later this year. Concerns that Covid-19 may morph into a seasonal menace are driving preparations in the U.S., the European Union and the U.K. for a winter vaccine booster program. The plans are precautionary, according to public-health officials, and it isn’t yet certain they will be put into operation or at what scale.

Australian doctors warn vaccine hesitancy makes citizens “sitting ducks”
Renju Jose – Reuters
Australia’s peak medical body on Thursday warned the country’s residents were “sitting ducks” for COVID-19, as business leaders call for the international border to be reopened faster despite a sluggish national vaccination drive.

Stench of death pervades rural India as Ganges swells with Covid victims; Stigma and cost of wood leave families with no choice but to immerse their dead in river
by Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Saurabh Sharma – The Guardian
There was a time before when the Ganges was “swollen with dead bodies”. In 1918, when the great flu pandemic swept through India and killed an estimated 18 million people, the water of this river – upon which so many lives depended – was filled with the stench of death.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

AFX Announces Addition of AMERIBOR Term 90 New Forward-Looking AMERIBOR Rate; A Milestone in the Transition from LIBOR
American Financial Exchange
The American Financial Exchange (AFX), a transparent, rules-based and self-regulated electronic market for overnight and term unsecured lending among banks, financials and corporations, announced a new forward-looking 90-day AMERIBOR rate called AMERIBOR Term 90 This new rate is in addition to the AMERIBOR Term 30 rate launched in April, and to its suite of product offerings.

Interview: On the transparency and risk management benefits using Total Return Futures
OTC-traded equity total return swaps are currently the center of attention. Since 2016, Eurex has been offering exchange-traded Total Return Futures. Reason enough for us to talk to Randolf Roth, Member of the Eurex Board globally responsible for Equity/Equity Index, and Dmitrij Senko, Board Member at Eurex Clearing and Chief Risk Officer, about transparency and risk management in a centrally cleared environment.

LSEG appoints new head of sustainable product as demand for ESG rises; In his new role, new head of sustainable finance product team will be responsible for driving ESG and sustainable investment indexes, data and analytics products at LSEG.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has appointed a new head of its sustainable product team to drive its journey to more sustainable investment. David Harris originally joined FTSE in 2002 and has since implemented several sustainable initiatives including LSEG’s development of environmental social and corporate governance (ESG) disclosure and reporting guidance models for its listed companies.

DAX ESG Target Index as the base value for the new iShares ETF
Deutsche Börse Group
Qontigo has licensed the DAX® ESG Target Index to BlackRock for the launch of a new iShares ETF registered in Germany. The aim of the new index is to map the DAX while at the same time maximizing the ESG score and reducing carbon intensity by at least 30%. The iShares ETF was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange today.

Various Amendments to the S&P 500 Stock Price Index Futures, E-mini S&P 500 Stock Price Index Futures and Related Options Contracts and Addition of Block Trade Eligibility to Options on E-mini S&P 500 Stock Price Index Futures
CME Group
Effective Sunday, Sunday, June 6, 2021 for trade date Monday, June 7, 2021, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will (1) expand the listing schedule of E-mini Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Price Index Futures contracts and related options contracts for trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform (“CME Globex”) and for submission for clearing via CME ClearPort; (2) reduce the strike price listing schedule of the Options on E-mini Standard and Poor’s 500 Index Futures contract; (3) permission block trading in all Options on E-mini Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Price Index Futures contracts; (4) amend certain Exchange fees for Options on E-mini Equity Futures; and (5) effective immediately, cease listings new contract months of the Standard and Poor’s 500 Stock Price Index Futures contract and related options for expiration dates of such contracts beyond trade date Friday, September 17, 2021 (collectively, the “Rule Amendments”).

CME STP Notices: May 20, 2021
CME Group
Enhancements to Settlement Trade ID for CME STP – This Week
Enhancement to Security Sub Type for Exercise and Assignments on Options – June 6
Enhancements to Settlement Trade ID for CME STP FIX – This Week
Enhancement to Security Sub Type for Exercise and Assignments on Options – June 6

CME Globex Notices: May 17, 2021
CME Group
Critical System Updates
GLink Network Infrastructure Rebalance at Aurora Co-Location Facility – This Week
CME Globex Performance Enhancements – Starting June 6
Launch of AIR TRF Funding Values on CME Data Insights: Settlements and Valuations – June 6
Future Spreads Launching on CME Smart Stream on GCP JSON – June 6
Update – CME FX Link Enhancements: New Zealand Dollar/US Dollar Spot FX Impact – June 27 UPDATE

OTC FX New Release – Enhancements and ClearPort GUI Update
CME Group
CME Clearing released the following product enhancements into the New Release environment today, May 19, 2021. Please note these enhancements do not impact clearing firms or the CME CORE Margin Calculator. CME will confirm the Production date in a forthcoming advisory.

Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of the Mexican Funding TIIE (Monthly Contracts) Futures Contract
CME Group
In connection with the listing of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME”) Mexican Funding TIIE (Monthly Contracts) Futures contract (the “contract”) on trade date Monday, May 24, 2021 (see SER-8757 published April 27, 2021), please note below and in Appendix B of CME Submission No. 21-178 the corresponding accountability levels (Rule 560), aggregation allocations (Rule 559.D) and reportable level (Rule 561) for the contract.

DBS, SGX, Standard Chartered and Temasek to take climate action through global carbon exchange and marketplace
DBS, SGX, Standard Chartered and Temasek to develop a carbon exchange and marketplace, Climate Impact X; providing organisations with high-quality carbon credits to address hard-to-abate emissions; Climate Impact X will use satellite monitoring, machine learning and blockchain technology to enhance transparency, integrity and quality of carbon credits; Forged as a result of Singapore’s Emerging Stronger Taskforce, Sustainability Alliance for Action (AfA), Climate Impact X will leverage Singapore’s position as a leading international financial, legal and commodities hub
DBS Bank (DBS), Singapore Exchange (SGX), Standard Chartered and Temasek today announced their intention to join forces to take climate action. Through a joint venture to be established by the four parties, Climate Impact X (CIX) aims to be a global exchange and marketplace for high-quality carbon credits.


Barchart and PRIMA Markets Announce Partnership for Global Biofuels Data
Barchart, a leading provider of market data and technology services to the financial, media and commodity industries, has announced a new distribution partnership with PRIMA Markets, a leading research company for the low carbon fuels market, specializing in renewable diesel, biodiesel, ethanol and feedstocks.

Cisco says shortages will disrupt supply chains for rest of year; Network equipment maker says it will absorb inflated prices for chips and other components for now
Richard Waters – FT
The supply chain squeeze being felt across many parts of the manufacturing sector is set to hit profit margins at Cisco Systems in the current quarter, the US networking equipment maker said on Wednesday.

IHS Markit adds cloud-based reporting platform to thinkFolio; Performance attribution and reporting FinTech CloudAttribution will be integrated into the thinkFolio for fixed income and multi-asset investment strategies.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
IHS Markit’s investment management platform thinkFolio has integrated a cloud-based performance attribution and reporting system for fixed income and multi-asset portfolio management. The partnership between IHS Markit and CloudAttribution will provide mutual institutional clients with access performance attribution through desktops, with portfolio performance evaluations for cross-asset institutional investment strategies, including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

More funding flows into Pipe, as buzzy fintech raises $250M at a $2B valuation
Mary Ann Azevedo – Tech Crunch
At the end of March, TechCrunch reported that buzzy startup Pipe — which aims to be the “Nasdaq for revenue” — had raised $150 million in a round of funding that values the fintech at $2 billion. Well, that deal has closed and in the end, Miami-based Pipe confirms that it has actually raised $250 million at a $2 billion valuation in a round that was “massively oversubscribed,” according to co-founder and co-CEO Harry Hurst. “We had originally allocated $150 million for the round, but capped it at $250 million although we could have raised significantly more,” he told TechCrunch.


U.S. has almost 500,000 job openings in cybersecurity
Khristopher J. Brooks – CBS News
Help wanted: thousands and thousands of people interested in a career in cybersecurity. There are about 465,000 open positions in cybersecurity nationwide as of May 2021, according to Cyber Seek — a tech job-tracking database from the U.S. Commerce Department — and the trade group CompTIA. The need for more web watchmen spans from private businesses to government agencies, experts say, and most of the job openings are in California, Florida, Texas and Virginia. That means for anyone looking to switch careers and considering a job in cybersecurity, there’s no greater time than now to find work, the job trackers said.

The Biden Cybersecurity EO: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly—But Mostly Good
Gordon Bitko – Forbes
President Biden’s Executive Order (EO), Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, is one of the most in-depth approaches to U.S. cybersecurity ever. And at 30 pages, it is also one of the longest EOs. Overall, it is a much-needed dedicated effort to help stem the accelerating rate of cyber-attacks that leave the United States vulnerable to espionage, crimes, and damage to critical infrastructure. While the measure takes comprehensive and critical steps to address very real and serious cyber threats, there are still obstacles that, left unresolved, could undermine its effectiveness and leave the U.S. no more prepared to manage cybersecurity risks.

The Role of Ethics in Cybersecurity Studies
Melody Kaufmann – Security Boulevard
Nobody wants to be a proverbial guinea pig; least of all, developers donating their time and energy to making the world a better place. You’d think with all the recent discussion about consent, researchers would more carefully observe ethical boundaries. Yet, a group of researchers from the University of Minnesota not only crossed the line but ran across it, screaming defiantly the whole way. In response, the Linux Foundation, which is the core of the open source community, took the unprecedented step of banning the entire University of Minnesota from contributing to the Linux kernel.

Cyberdesic Launches On-Demand Freelancer Network of Vetted Cybersecurity Experts
PR Newswire
Today Cyberdesic announced the launch of its on-demand freelancer network where companies of all sizes can tap into highly qualified talent to quickly solve any cybersecurity problem. Whether it’s tackling a cybersecurity incident, achieving regulatory compliance, or setting up a firewall, Cyberdesic’s expert freelancers are ready to help. Cyberdesic actively recruits top cybersecurity professionals from across the U.S. who are interested in freelance opportunities. Applicants to the Cyberdesic network go through a rigorous multi-step vetting process and only a small percentage are accepted to ensure that only the top talent is available to work on client projects.

Cybersecurity Focus Shifts To Energy Infrastructure
Leah Kaiser – JD Supra
The Biden Administration has committed to making cybersecurity a top priority and is now turning its focus towards energy infrastructure, which is widely recognized as vulnerable to cyberattack due to grid control systems. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a 100-day initiative to “advance technologies and systems that will provide cyber visibility, detection, and response capabilities for industrial control systems of electric utilities.”

Manufacturers Push for Mandatory Federal Cybersecurity Standards for Natural Gas Pipelines
Jeremiah Shelor – NGI
A manufacturing trade group is calling on Congress to empower FERC to strengthen physical and cyber security requirements for natural gas pipelines, similar to standards applied to the electric grid. Pointing to the Colonial Pipeline attack as a “wake-up call” for lawmakers, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) wrote in letters to the Senate and the House of Representatives that lawmakers should give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to oversee reliability and establish mandatory requirements for securing natural gas pipelines against threats.

Colonial Pipeline wants a cybersecurity manager. Who’s willing to work for a company in crisis?
Kim Bellware – Washington Post
Consumers in the Southeast spent several days last week locked in a fuel shortage after a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline that sent gas prices surging and drivers panic-buying. As with any crisis, there was also opportunity — in this case, for a job. “Colonial Pipeline seeks a Cyber Security Manager to oversee the development of standards and processes for cyber security and lead the recovery from security incidents,” read the job listing shared via Twitter and time-stamped May 12. Reactions to the job listing couldn’t resist feigned surprise — “Oh really? What happened?” — and schadenfreude. One Twitter user who summed up the daunting task that lay ahead for the potential hire simply wrote, ” … pass.”


Bitcoin Marches Away From Crypto Pack in Show of Resiliency
Vildana Hajric and Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
When crypto sells off, Bitcoin is last coin standing: Gokhman; Peers fail to shake off losses as well as the original token
Bitcoin’s rebound is making another rebuttal to those who expect the largest cryptocurrency will be overtaken by the meme-worthy heirs cropping up in droves.

Crypto Exchanges Break (Again), Showing Fragile Market Not Fixed
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
Outages at Binance and Coinbase sent Bitcoin tumbling 31%; Problems today add to $1 trillion in lost market value
It’s been a rough two weeks in the crypto world, where as much as $1 trillion in market value has evaporated. Wednesday may be the worst of it, as the world’s two largest digital asset exchanges, Binance and Coinbase Global Inc., suffered service outages, sending Bitcoin falling the most since 2013.

Bitcoin Crash Pits Wall Street Against `Shrooms; Wall Street is having a blast trading Bitcoin no matter which way it goes.
Mark Gilbert and Lionel Laurent – Bloomberg
The “Musk premium” has evaporated from Bitcoin markets, leading to the umpteenth wake-up call for anyone not on magic mushrooms: This is not the future of money. With price swings like a 26% fall in one month, the cryptocurrency is unlikely to be adopted as a widespread method of exchange any time soon. It’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot at the moment — you can’t even use Bitcoin to buy a Tesla.

Crypto Investors Fume as World’s Biggest Platforms Are Disrupted
Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Charlie Wells – Bloomberg
Binance has temporarily disabled Ethereum withdrawals; Coinbase reported partial outages before fixing the issue
The world’s biggest crypto-trading platforms were hit by disruptions as digital currencies from Bitcoin to Ethereum slid in a collapse that wiped out billions of dollars in market value. Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, temporarily disabled Ethereum withdrawals, citing network congestion, while Coinbase Global Inc. reported “intermittent downtime” on its platform, before saying it had identified and fixed the issue. Kraken said it’s working to fix some client disruptions.

Coinbase IPO Turns Out to Have Been Bad Day to Splurge on Crypto
Claire Ballentine and Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Bitcoin drops as much as 31%, with flashbacks to 2017 plunge; Retail traders head for exits on Musk tweets, China warnings
Like many things in markets, crypto managed to maximize the pain. The rise of a slew of coins went on just long enough to pull in a bunch of otherwise sensible money. And then they made them pay. The siren song reached a peak with Coinbase Global Inc.’s market debut on April 14. The direct listing of the largest U.S. crypto exchange supercharged theories that crypto had made it to the investing mainstream, that Wall Street’s embrace lent legitimacy to the asset class and the sky was the limit. Retail investors flooded in.

Crypto Lender Mistakenly Deposits Bitcoin Into User Accounts
Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Exposure is about $10 million, though coins are being returned; Snafu comes as tumbling crypto prices whipsaw investors
BlockFi Inc., a crypto-lending startup, mistakenly sent some users Bitcoin as part of a promotion and is working on reversing it. The company made what it called incorrect promo payouts in Bitcoin instead of U.S. dollars to certain customers. Though BlockFi worked on reversing them, a number of recipients withdrew the coins before the company could backpedal. (It was fewer than 100, the company said.) The firm’s exposure is around $10 million, though that amount is decreasing as more users return the coins, said Zac Prince, co-founder and chief executive officer of BlockFi.

Bitcoin Rally Was So Huge It Was Worth the Risk-Adjusted Twists
Lu Wang and Vildana Hajric – Bloomberg
Gain since September more than offsets wild price swings; Adjusted for volatility, coin has beaten major assets
Yes, you made a bundle holding Bitcoin through the top a month ago. And even with a selloff like this one, it’s probably been worth the toll on your nerves. With the cryptocurrency sinking as much as 31% Wednesday, one might ask whether the token has been a good investment over time. As scary as the sudden wipeout is, the gains have been so enormous that — even adjusted for risk — Bitcoin has done way better than other major assets.

Crypto Platform Kraken Adds Tribe Capital’s Sethi to Its Board
Gillian Tan – Bloomberg
Tribe has spent $120 million on primary and secondary equity; Company has eyed funding at a valuation of over $20 billion
Tribe Capital co-founder and partner Arjun Sethi joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, which has been in talks to raise fresh funding at a valuation that could surpass $20 billion.

Chinese province sets up hotline to report suspected crypto miners; Move comes as Beijing’s crackdown prompts volatility in global bitcoin trading
Thomas Hale, Christian Shepherd – FT
A Chinese province has asked residents to blow the whistle on neighbours they suspect of being cryptocurrency miners, in a new sign of how authorities in the country are cracking down on the booming industry.

NFTs: the race is on to pick the winners; From artworks to digital racehorses, real money is being made
David Stevenson – FT
Whenever I start writing about crypto investments I have that sinking feeling. The last time I touched on the subject was back in April 2018, when cryptos were in the deep freeze and heading south. My purchase of some bitcoin trackers when the price was around $6,000 was almost perfectly timed — to lose money.


Joe Biden can help break Northern Ireland’s Brexit deadlock; The US president should lend his authority to the Irish protocol by appointing a special envoy
Philip Stephens – FT
When Bill Clinton first stepped into the Northern Ireland conflict in 1994, his intervention provoked fury in John Major’s Downing Street. By lifting a US visa ban on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the then US president was said to be playing politics with terrorism. Five years later, critics applauded Clinton as a pivotal supporter of the Belfast peace agreement.

US Congressman Reintroduces Bill With Tax Protections for Investors With Forked Crypto Assets
James Rubin – Coindesk
One of Congress’s biggest advocates for cryptocurrency reintroduced legislation Monday that would protect taxpayers from penalties on certain gains or losses on forked assets.


ESMA appoints new executive director from AMF; The new appointment will replace Verena Ross who worked with the European watchdog for a decade.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
The EU’s securities markets regulator has named Natasha Cazenave as its new executive director, replacing the long-serving Verena Ross in the role. Cazenave will begin her role as executive director of The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on 1 June this year for a five-year term, renewable once.

ESMA appoints Natasha Cazenave as Executive Director
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has appointed Natasha Cazenave as its new Executive Director. Ms. Cazenave will take up her position on 1 June 2021.

ESMA proposes lowering the reporting threshold for net short positions to 0.1% on a permanent basis
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, recommends to the European Commission (EC) to permanently lower the threshold to notify net short positions on shares to national competent authorities (NCAs) from 0.2% to 0.1%.

Euronext expands FX division with wave of new hires; Executives from NatWest Markets, Barclays, Euronext, and GFI Group have all joined the exchange’s FX division across its liquidity management and sales operations.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Euronext has expanded its foreign exchange division with four new hires across its liquidity management and sales division in a bid to further grow the business. The new appointments were confirmed by Euronext FX and Euronext US chief executive officer, Kevin Wolf, on social media.

Former CEO of van Eyk Research Pty Ltd charged with breaches of directors’ duties
On 18 May 2021, Mr Mark Peter Thomas of Kanimbla, New South Wales, appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court charged with four counts of dishonestly using his position as a director or officer of a company with the intention of gaining an advantage for himself.

ASIC issues civil penalty action against company formerly called Equiti Financial Services
ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against DOD Bookkeeping Pty Ltd (in liquidation), which was previously called Equiti Financial Services Pty Ltd (Equiti FS). ASIC alleges Equiti FS breached the prohibition against conflicted remuneration and failed to provide appropriate financial advice and discharge its best interests duty in relation to financial advice to selected clients.

SEC Awards More Than $28 Million to Whistleblower Who Aided SEC and Other Agency Actions
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award to a whistleblower totaling more than $28 million in connection with an SEC enforcement action and a related action by another federal agency.

SEC Charges Healthcare Company and Its Founder with Multimillion Dollar Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a New Jersey-based healthcare company and its founder with fraudulently raising nearly $4 million from over 130 investors nationwide through the sale of membership units in the company.

Deadline extension for Strong Customer Authentication
We have extended our deadline for implementing Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for e-commerce transactions to 14 March 2022.

FCA charges Ian Hudson with fraudulent trading and carrying on regulated activities without authorisation
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has commenced criminal proceedings against Ian James Hudson, following an investigation. Mr Hudson appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in relation to three charges. This includes carrying on a business, namely Richmond Associates, with the intention to defraud creditors and carrying on regulated activities namely advising on investments and accepting deposits without authorisation.

FCA consults on use of new powers to support orderly wind down of critical benchmarks
Today the FCA has published a consultation on its proposed policy framework for exercising two of its new powers under the Benchmarks Regulation (BMR), which will be introduced by the Financial Services Act 2021. These powers relate to the use of critical benchmarks that are being wound down. The consultation is another important step in the wind down of LIBOR.

Investing and Trading

Bonds Have Never Been So Useless as a Hedge to Stocks Since 1999
Ye Xie – Bloomberg
Correlation between bonds and stocks has flipped to positive; Inflation concern injects volatility into both asset classes
Bonds aren’t working as a safe haven like they used to. On a day when risk aversion swept across everything from stocks and commodities to crypto currencies, Treasuries barely budged. In fact, the S&P 500 and 10-year Treasury futures haven’t been so positively correlated since 1999, with the 60-day metric reaching 0.5 on Wednesday. In contrast, the average correlation over the past two decades was negative 0.3, meaning a decline in stocks was often accompanied by a rally in bonds.

Sorry We Misplaced the Decimal Point, Iberdrola Tells Investors
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Utility’s interest rate margin is Euribor plus 0.65%, not 65%; Mistake is reminiscent of Citigroup misstating bond maturity
Investors in the floating-rate notes of a Spanish utility company received a bizarre notice: the spread is 65 basis points over Euribor, not 65%. The error was made in the term sheet when the bonds were sold about a month ago. But given that the mistake only appeared on the documentation, rather than on communication with investors, there was no harm done to Iberdrola’s 250 million euro ($305 million) notes, which were little changed.

Elon Musk Was the Shoeshine Boy
Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
Who knows if it’s true or not, but there’s a quote frequently attributed to Joseph Kennedy that goes: “If shoeshine boys are giving stock tips, then it’s time to get out of the market.” The intuition is pretty straightforward. Usually financial speculation and trading is done by professionals, and so by the time the trade idea has filtered out into the world so much that even the shoeshine boy is talking about it, that’s probably a sign of the top.

King of LNG Undercuts Rivals to Keep Dominating World Market
Anna Shiryaevskaya, Stephen Stapczynski, and Verity Ratcliffe – Bloomberg
Qatar’s lowering gas prices and planning $29 billion expansion; Green energy transition is adding to Qatar’s sense of urgency
The world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas is ramping up production dramatically and undercutting competitors in a bid to squeeze them out the market. Qatar is dropping prices and pushing ahead with a $29 billion project to boost its exports of the fuel by more than 50%, stymieing the prospects of new plants elsewhere. It’s also established a trading team to compete in the nascent spot market and pushing into Asia more aggressively, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fed officials talked about talking about tapering asset purchases; April minutes reflect dovish commitment but some pressure to discuss changes soon
James Politi and Colby Smith – FT
Some Federal Reserve officials argued that the US central bank should chart a path towards curtailing some of its vast monetary support to the economy if the recovery accelerates further. According to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting in late April, officials generally said the US economy remained “far” from its twin goals of full employment and price stability, and still required very loose monetary policy. But several argued that the time might come relatively soon this year for the Fed to change its stance.

Trading in Taiwan inverse ETF surged as stock market plunged; The Yuanta/P-shares Taiwan Top 50 inverse fund was the most traded security during May 12 turmoil
Rebecca Feng – FT
Interested in ETFs?
Visit our ETF Hub for investor news and education, market updates and analysis and easy-to-use tools to help you select the right ETFs. As the Taiwanese stock market suffered the worst one-day drop last week, one inverse exchange traded fund recorded its highest trading volume and became the most traded security on the exchange.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Deutsche Bank Speeds Up Sustainability Push as Lenders Go Green
Steven Arons – Bloomberg
Moves forward target for 200 billion euros sustainable finance; Women to hold at least 30% of senior management roles
Deutsche Bank AG is accelerating a push to align its business with environmental, social and governance criteria as global lenders increasingly move toward green finance. Germany’s biggest lender seeks to facilitate 200 billion euros ($244 billion) in sustainable finance and investments by the end of 2023, two years earlier than previously planned, it said in a press release on Thursday. Deutsche Bank also set more ambitious targets for women in leadership positions.

Men Got Higher Pay Than Women 59% of the Time for Same Tech Jobs; Female candidates for tech jobs received wages 3% lower than their male counterparts, a new survey finds.
Carolina Gonzalez – Bloomberg
The gender wage gap in tech is alive and well, albeit improving — slightly. In 2020, male job candidates were offered higher salaries than their female counterparts for the same role at the same company 59% of the time, according to data collected by Hired, a platform that matches job seekers with open technology and sales roles. On average, those salaries were 3% higher for men than women. Though certain markets have bigger gaps than others. In London, men have 10% higher pay, compared to 5% in the San Francisco Bay Area and 7% in New York.

Singapore Plans Test Bed For Trading Voluntary Carbon Offsets
Ann Koh, Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, and Ishika Mookerjee – Bloomberg
Temasek, others to launch Climate Impact X by end of 2021; ‘Degree of distrust’ in the carbon credits market today: DBS
Singapore is trying to demonstrate a proof of concept that it is possible to trade carbon offsets, which are certificates companies can buy to cancel out their emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide.

Goldman Joins Banks Exploring Green Equity as New ESG Asset
Frances Schwartzkopff – Bloomberg
Banks are looking into new products as ESG asset demand grows; Green equity could eat into market for ESG debt funding
The head of sustainable finance at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says the Wall Street firm is now experimenting with green equity, adding its weight to a new category of climate-friendly assets.

12 Investment Picks From Our ESG Roundtable Pros
Leslie P. Norton – Barron’s
Sustainable investing—often referred to as ESG, for the environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria used to evaluate companies—has turned a corner. No longer an easily dismissed subset of investing, ESG has become a force in the markets and is finally getting some respect. By one measure, a staggering one-third of U.S. assets are now managed according to sustainable principles. That is likely to increase further under the Biden administration, which has taken steps to curb global warming and is actively friendly to ESG.

CFA Institute publishes Exposure Draft of ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products
Institutional Asset Manager
CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals, has published the Exposure Draft of its forthcoming voluntary, global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Disclosure Standards for Investment Products (the Standards). The draft is an initial version of the Standards and seeks to elicit feedback on the Standards’ proposed principles, requirements, and recommendations.

Cathie Wood Knows What She Wants. Passive ESG Doesn’t
Shuli Ren – Bloomberg
We all want to invest in the future. But, to get the best returns, do we stay with professional stock pickers or buy passive index funds that track innovative fields such as green tech and clean energy? The betting is still on, with active and passive funds almost neck and neck in the race for investors. This year, about $70 billion went into active ESG, while the passive side saw a net inflow of $54 billion, data compiled by Bernstein Research show. In the broader equity fund universe, passive funds surpassed active ones in total assets under management back in 2019.


Apollo Co-Founder Harris Steps Back After Missing Out on CEO
Sabrina Willmer – Bloomberg
Josh Harris to transition to new role in early 2022, firm says; Firm tapped Marc Rowan to succeed Leon Black earlier this year
Apollo Global Management co-founder Josh Harris is stepping down from his day-to-day role after being passed over for the firm’s top job. Harris will transition to a new role when Apollo’s acquisition of Athene Holding Ltd. is completed early next year, the firm said in a statement Thursday. He’ll continue to serve as an Apollo director and the board’s executive committee.

*****Here are the FT and NY Post versions of this story.~JJL

Where is all the US bank M&A? Activity has increased slightly but it still remains easier to talk than to deal
Imani Moise and James Fontanella-Khan – FT
US banks announced 19 merger or acquisition deals last month, compared with just nine in the whole second quarter of last year. The conditions are ripe. With US interest rates near zero and weak demand for loans, acquisitions are currently one of the few viable paths to growth for many smaller banks. Many of these regionals are emerging from the pandemic with massive cash reserves and estimated bank valuations are at shocking highs, making their shares an attractive currency for dealmaking.

JPMorgan funds invested in CoreCivic debt after vow to stop financing private prisons; Scrutiny of US criminal justice system has focused attention on its financial backers
Joe Rennison and Aziza Kasumov – FT
Two years after JPMorgan Chase announced it would no longer finance the private prison industry in the US, the bank’s asset management arm has disclosed a position in a private prison bond sold last month.

Goldman bets on UK anti-money laundering start-up; Bank invests in company aiming to benefit from efforts to combat financial crime
Nicholas Megaw – FT
Goldman Sachs has invested $20m in British anti-money laundering specialist ComplyAdvantage, betting that the banking industry will plough more money into efforts to combat financial crime.

Goldman Sachs Wants to Charm Startups. It Won’t Be Easy; Bank has raised $3 billion in client money with plans to invest it in companies such as a digital bank and a food-delivery service
Peter Rudegeair – WSJ
Goldman Sachs GS -1.70% Group Inc. wants to help its clients get a piece of the next big startup. GS Growth, a unit of the bank that buys stakes in maturing startups around the world with the firm’s money, spent recent months courting outside investors, according to people familiar with the matter. Its first client fund, West Street Global Growth Partners, raised more than $3 billion by early May, capital that will be invested in fast-growing closely held companies in the financial-technology, business-software, consumer and healthcare sectors, the people said.

JPMorgan Takes Another Crack at Healthcare, Starting With Its Own; Bank is building a unit focused on employee healthcare after collapse of Haven, its partnership with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway
David Benoit and Anna Wilde Mathews – WSJ
JPMorgan JPM -0.76% Chase & Co. is trying again to transform U.S. healthcare, just months after ending a joint venture with Amazon. com Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that was supposed to do the same.

James Gorman shakes up top team at Morgan Stanley; US investment bank appoints Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein as co-presidents
Joshua Franklin – FT
Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman on Thursday made a string of leadership changes at the US bank, including promoting two top deputies, Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein, to be co-presidents.

Scam warnings on DB transfers begin to tick up
Amy Austin – FT Adviser
The number of scam warnings on defined benefit transfers has reached a three-month high, despite activity in the market falling, XPS Pensions found. Data from XPS Pensions found transfer activity in April fell to the lowest level since September last year, dropping by almost a quarter to a rate of 55 in every 10,000 members transferring per year.


China Has Bought 37% of Next Year’s Corn Imports Just From U.S.
Daniela Sirtori-Cortina and Breanna T Bradham – Bloomberg
Orders from China for U.S. corn from the next harvest ramp up; Buying comes as dry conditions threaten crops in Brazil
China has tapped the U.S. for more than a third of next season’s expected corn imports, accelerating its pace of buying from the world’s top supplier to fill its growing grain needs. The Asian nation bought about 9.5 million metric tons of U.S. corn from the 2021-22 season so far this month, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures. The agency expects China to import around 26 million tons from worldwide suppliers for the period that begins in September.

Swedish House Prices Soar at Their Fastest Pace Ever
Ott Ummelas – Bloomberg
Sweden’s housing market just set another record as ultra-low interest rates and a spike in demand fueled by the pandemic drive prices to levels never before seen in the country. Home prices rose 18.9% in April from a year earlier, according to the Nasdaq OMX Valueguard-KTH Housing Index, HOX Sweden. That’s the fastest pace since it started compiling data in 2005. On the month, prices rose 0.9%, which is slightly slower than in March, but analysts were quick to warn that the dip is probably an aberration.

KKR Offers $3 Billion to Free a U.K. Market Hostage; The buyout firm’s bid for infrastructure company John Laing targets a company that’s more hampered than helped by being listed.
Chris Hughes – Bloomberg
KKR & Co.’s latest deal to take a U.K. company private neatly illustrates why the London market is a rich hunting ground for the buyout industry. The 2 billion-pound ($2.8 billion) offer for infrastructure company John Laing Group Plc targets a business that’s more hampered than helped by being listed.

The Reinvention of Canary Wharf; London’s second financial district is searching for a new identity
Jack Sidders, Olivia Konotey-Ahulu – Bloomberg
A splashy science campus is set to rise on a site once tagged for Deutsche Bank AG’s London headquarters. A construction blitz of luxury apartments is aiming to spawn a thriving neighborhood in place of a weekend ghost town. As Canary Wharf emerges from the pandemic, the financial hub’s stab at reinvention is accelerating.

Italy Set to Dash Hopes of Expanded Tax Benefit for Bank Deals
Chiara Albanese and John Follain – Bloomberg
Measure had been designed to lure buyers for Monte dei Paschi; Government due to approve 40 billion-euros stimulus Thursday
A beefed-up tax benefit Italy’s government originally planned for mergers and acquisitions in the banking industry has been scrapped in the latest version of a 40 billion-euro ($49 billion) aid decree, according to a draft seen by Bloomberg. The article removed from the draft legislation originally expanded the duration and scope of a fiscal benefit which allowed buyers of a bank to boost capital by transforming deferred tax assets from lenders involved in a deal into credits.

Norway’s oil fund excludes two Israeli companies for West Bank activities; $1.3tn group cites risk linked to settlements that cause ‘significant harm’ to Palestinians
Richard Milne – FT
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has excluded two Israeli companies for constructing and letting out buildings in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, the first time it has made such a move in almost a decade.

EU’s anti-fraud tsar braced for pandemic recovery fund challenge; Romanian expects difficulties but says new public prosecutor’s office is ready
Michael Peel, Valentina Pop and Sam Fleming – FT
The EU’s first anti-fraud prosecutor has warned her organisation will face a “lot of troubles” as it gears up to police corruption around the bloc’s EUR800bn pandemic recovery fund bonanza. Laura Codruta Kovesi said her new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) was preparing to battle legal challenges, intimidation and resource pressures once it launched on June 1.

China’s Mutual-Fund Stars Go From Boom to Backlash; Investors thronged to market-beating fund managers. Then the market slumped, and the onetime stars became targets of online ire.
Chong Koh Ping – WSJ
China’s $3 trillion mutual-fund industry drew throngs of individual investors in thrall to market-beating star managers. But the Chinese market has slumped, dragging the funds down with it, and the stars who were once heroes are now targets of online ire.

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