UK Treasury to crack down on ‘misleading’ crypto promotions

Jan 18, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Thank you to all the JLN readers and friends who reached out yesterday after my column “New Non-Price Oriented Risks to Manage: Covid and Cancer,” where I disclosed I tested positive for COVID-19 and had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was particularly moved by those who shared their own stories of being impacted by prostate cancer, including several who were just diagnosed or just underwent surgery. You are truly remarkable people of incredible strength, resilience and compassion. Thank you. I greatly appreciate all the prayers, notes and offers to talk.

On a completely different note, the Financial Times is reporting that Hong Kong is culling more than 1000 hamsters and sending 150 pet store visitors into quarantine after a pet store employee “who had received two BioNTech/Fosun vaccinations tested positive for coronavirus.” Culling is a polite way of saying killing, of course; there is not a huge hamster herd in Hong Kong.

Brad Levy, the CEO of Symphony, is the guest in a podcast with a focus on “Mastering Your M&A Growth Strategy, Scaling a Global Powerhouse, & Why Generalists Thrive in a World of Specialists.”

The latest video on OptionsBrewTV by Tradier is an interview with ORATS’ Matt Amberson, who gives a sneak preview of the new ORATS options scanner and back tester.

We had three new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe Campaign yesterday. The first was by the one and only Sean Smith of Qontigo. Qontigo is a recent sponsor of JLN and the home to such products as AXIOMA, DAX and STOXX. The second is from Michael Walsh, managing director of IncubEx, an incubator for exchange traded products, services, and technology solutions. IncubEx is a product and business development firm that works in conjunction with its global exchange partner, European Energy Exchange (EEX), and other leading service providers and stakeholders to design and develop new financial products in global environmental, reinsurance, and related commodity markets. Lastly, JLN Advisory Committee member Diane Saucier contributed to the GoFundMe campaign. Diane is a managing director at Pure Storage and a founding board member of WILD. Thank you to Sean, Michael and Diane and all who have given and all who have yet to give. Support our efforts to preserve industry history and educate the next generation of industry professionals and market participants by giving to our GoFundMe campaign.

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



Horta-Osório’s departure is the revenge of the rank and file; From the former Credit Suisse chair to Novak Djokovic, the arrogance of a privileged few sticks out amid the pandemic’s restrictions
Brooke Masters – FT
Call it the revenge of the rest of us. Just after tennis star Novak Djokovic’s deportation from Australia over breaking Covid rules and revelations of lockdown-busting parties in Number 10 Downing Street, high-flying banker António Horta-Osório has resigned the chairmanship of Credit Suisse. His position became untenable after a board investigation found he broke quarantine twice, once each in Switzerland and the UK, including a visit to the finals of Wimbledon.

*****We are all in this together, well….except for those few for whom the rules don’t apply?~JJL


Why gamers are turning their backs on NFTs; Developers see new revenue streams but players are suspicious of more in-game purchases
Tom Faber – FT
You would think that there could be no mass audience better primed to embrace non-fungible tokens (NFTs) than the world’s 3bn gamers. Outside of the small, frenzied community of cryptocurrency investors, these certificates of ownership, linked to a digital file and registered on a secure blockchain, can prove mystifying in their complexity and intangibility. But many of the conceptual hurdles to comprehending NFTs are already second nature to gamers, who are often fluent in the workings of in-game virtual currencies and the idea that digital assets have real financial value — see the booming trade in virtual items, a consumer market forecast to hit $50bn this year.

****** How about the ethos of “I could make that same piece of digital whatever you call that for free and save myself the money.”~JJL


Monday’s Top Three
Our top story Monday was John Lothian’s personal commentary, New Non-price Oriented Risks To Manage: Covid And Cancer, in JLN. Second was Ken Griffin, financial prodigy turned industry giant, from The Financial Times. Third was London Stock Exchange Proposes Special Listings for Private Companies, from the Wall Street Journal.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,691 pages; 237,096 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

UK Treasury to crack down on ‘misleading’ crypto promotions; Plans to bring ads in to line with other financial products in growing regulatory pushback
Philip Stafford and Joshua Oliver – FT
The UK Treasury has set out plans to change the law to increase consumer protections and bring advertising for the fast-growing crypto industry under the same standards as other types of financial products. In a statement on Tuesday, Rishi Sunak, UK chancellor, said crypto assets could offer people new ways to transact and invest “but it’s important that consumers are not being sold products with misleading claims”.

Deutsche Börse expands its analytics suite with ‘Eurex® Open Interest Insights’; New offering provides unique and actionable insights into futures and options markets
Deutsche Börse Group
Deutsche Börse’s Market Data + Services department has launched a new data offering, ‘Eurex® Open Interest Insights’, providing customers with unique insights into market positioning and dynamics, as well as allowing an in-depth view into the distribution of exposure in futures and options. Eurex® Open Interest Insights captures proprietary data from behind the exchanges network and provides a daily analysis of the positions of market participants such as agents, market makers and proprietary traders. The offering is also supplemented with ‘Open Interest’ measures, enabling users to gauge trading participants’ risk appetites and convictions.

Larry Fink Defends Stakeholder Capitalism; Companies thinking beyond profits isn’t “woke,” the BlackRock founder argued in his latest letter to Wall Street chiefs.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Stephen Gandel, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Larry Fink plays defense
As the founder and C.E.O. of BlackRock, Larry Fink commands the attention of business leaders, thanks to the $10 trillion that his investment firm manages. After years of pushing corporate America to look beyond profits and embrace a broader social purpose — which has attracted criticism from all corners — he is using his latest annual letter to C.E.O.s to clarify, and defend, his approach.

EU to Extend U.K.’s Post-Brexit Clearing Waiver Until June 2025
Marion Dakers – Bloomberg
Mairead McGuinness outlines proposed extension in Brussels; EU will continue to push for more of the business: McGuinness
The European Union’s commissioner for financial services said she will propose extending a temporary waiver that allows its banks and money managers to clear trades in the U.K. through to June 2025. “We envisage proposing an extension of the equivalence decision to three years until the end of June 2025,” Mairead McGuinness said at an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels Tuesday. The existing temporary waiver expires in June this year.

Post-Brexit crackdown: City watchdog threatens to boot EU firms out of London if they are not in the capital for the long haul
Jack Barnett – City AM
The City watchdog has today threatened to chuck European finance firms out of London if they do not intend to stay in the capital for the long haul in a bid to take back control of the Square MIle after Brexit. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a stark warning to EU banks, brokers and fund managers that use a reprieve scheme but do not intend to stay in the UK in the long-term.

PBOC Pledges to Use More Policy Tools, Avoid Credit Collapse
Bloomberg News
China’s central bank pledged to use more monetary policy tools to spur the economy and ease credit stress as signs of a property market slump worsens. The People’s Bank of China will “open monetary policy tool box wider, maintain stable overall money supply and avoid a collapse in credit,” Deputy Governor Liu Guoqiang said Tuesday at a briefing in Beijing.

******Rainy days and Lehman always get me down.~JJL

Nickel Market Caught Up in Fresh Squeeze
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
The nickel market is facing its biggest squeeze in more than a decade as buyers are forced to pay huge premiums for immediate supplies with exchange inventories plunging. Cash contracts on the London Metal Exchange reached a $90-a-ton premium to those expiring a day later, the highest since 2010 and nearing levels seen in 2007 during a historic squeeze. It’s more evidence of acute supply stress in metals, following turmoil in copper and tin markets last year.

Clampdown on misleading cryptocurrency adverts announced; The promotion of cryptoassets will be subject to Financial Conduct Authority rules, in line with the same standards as other financial promotions.
Vicky Shaw – Evening Standard
Cryptocurrency adverts will have to meet the same standards as other financial promotions, such as insurance, to help protect people from potentially misleading claims. Promotions will be brought into line with other financial advertising, ensuring they are fair and clear, and helping people to make informed decisions, the UK Government said.

PFOF Is Alive and Well in Europe
Edward Monrad – Optiver via LinkedIn
Even for a topic that’s a lightning rod for controversy, payment for order flow (PFOF) has gotten an outsized amount of attention lately. After the GameStop drama, SEC Chair Gary Gensler announced that a PFOF ban in the U.S. was “on the table.” And amid the flurry of opinion pieces written in response, one Republican senator even introduced a bill that would prevent an outright PFOF ban.

How Horta-Osório’s long-haul Credit Suisse turnround became a flying visit; Bank’s chair resigned after board lost confidence over quarantine breaches and jet use
Owen Walker, Stephen Morris and Arash Massoudi – FT
On Sunday afternoon, António Horta-Osório was told that the Credit Suisse board he had chaired for just over eight months no longer supported him after serial Covid-19 quarantine breaches. For the Portuguese banker, who was brought in last April to turn round the scandal-ridden Swiss lender, it was an ignoble end to his short tenure at Credit Suisse.

Goldman’s big bonus payouts weigh on quarterly profit; Dealmaking booms but drop-off at trading arm also contributes to a fall in earnings
Joshua Franklin – FT
Goldman Sachs’s net profit fell 13 per cent year-on-year in the last three months of 2021, as the Wall Street bank paid out bigger bonuses than analysts had forecast. In fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, Goldman reported net income of $3.8bn, or $10.81 per share, compared with $4.36bn, or $12.08 per share, in the same period last year.


What Will it Take to Vaccinate the World? A Q&A with vaccine scientist Peter Hotez, author of “Preventing the Next Pandemic,” on developing a low-cost Covid-19 vaccine, combating vaccine disinformation and why omicron won’t be the end of the pandemic.
Clara Ferreira Marques – Bloomberg
This is one of a series of interviews by Bloomberg Opinion columnists on how to solve the world’s most pressing policy challenges. It has been edited for length and clarity. Clara Ferreira Marques: You’re a veteran advocate for global health, vaccines and tropical-disease control, and served as a U.S. science envoy during the Obama administration. You’ve now developed a low-cost Covid-19 vaccine, Corbevax, using a tried-and-tested method. It’s a recombinant protein vaccine, which means it should be easy to scale. The technology will be available for anyone to reproduce. How do you expect it to contribute to global vaccination efforts?

HSBC Splits Hong Kong Team to Different Locations to Manage Quarantine Risks
Denise Wee – Bloomberg
Bank says risk isn’t merely infection but also quarantine; Hong Kong has one of world’s strictest quarantine policies
HSBC Holdings Plc warned traders that one of the main risks to business continuity is the city’s quarantine policy as the Asian financial hub tightens to contain a fifth wave of infections.

Merck to Supply Unicef With 3 Million Courses of Covid Therapy
John Lauerman – Bloomberg
Drugmaker Merck & Co. said it will supply the global relief organization Unicef with up to 3 million treatment courses of molnupiravir, the drug for Covid-19 developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP. The companies will provide the doses in the first half of the year for distribution to more than 100 low- and middle-income countries following regulatory authorizations, according to a statement Tuesday.

Omicron drives record cases of child Covid hospitalisation; Surge in young patients in England, France and US but the vast majority have mild symptoms
John Burn-Murdoch and Sarah Neville, Leila Abboud and Jamie Smyth – FT
Countries with high exposure to the Omicron variant are recording record numbers of child coronavirus hospitalisations, adding to the pressures on healthcare systems, although health experts have stressed that the vast majority of cases were mild.

Omicron May Be Peaking in Parts of U.S., but Hospitals Are Strained
NY Times
There is still no guarantee that the population is building enough natural immunity to turn the virus into a mundane part of daily life. Several cruise lines are canceling trips because of the variant.

Fourth Pfizer Dose Is Insufficient to Ward Off Omicron, Israeli Trial Suggests
Daniel Avis – Bloomberg
Preliminary data found inoculation did increase antibodies; Those with 4th shot only slightly less likely to get variant
A fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was insufficient to prevent infection with the omicron variant of Covid-19, according to preliminary data from a trial in Israel released Monday.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Deutsche Börse adds Eurex Open Interest Insights to its analytics portfolio; The new offering will provide users with insights into market positioning and dynamics as well as futures and options markets.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Deutsche Börse’s Market Data + Services department has launched Eurex Open Interest Insights, a new data offering to provide users with insights into market positioning and dynamics. In addition, the solution will offer insights into the distribution of exposure in futures and options.

First State Housing Finance Authority (HFA) Automates Loan Delivery with ICE Mortgage Technology’s Artificial Intelligence and Loan Delivery Solutions; Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) Leverages Encompass® Investor Connect™ and AIQ™ for Automated Loan Delivery and Document Recognition
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
ICE Mortgage TechnologyTM, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced that Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has integrated Encompass Investor Connect and AIQ into its technology, enabling faster and easier loan delivery and funding.


Abu Dhabi Finance Hub CEO Cutis Leaves for Fintech Work
Ben Bartenstein – Bloomberg
Cutis was part of ADGM’s innovation in digital asset space; The Abu Dhabi finance veteran also worked at ADIC and Adnoc
Abu Dhabi Global Market Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutis has left the financial center after one year in the role, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Cutis is shifting gears to devote more time to his own business ventures, including potential work with biotechnology, cryptocurrencies and tokenization, said the people, who requested anonymity as the information is private.

Exegy and Vela leverage further acquisitions to create front-office offering spanning entire trading lifecycle; The merger of the two entities announced in May last year saw the pair consolidate their market data and execution platform offerings.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Exegy Incorporated and Vela Trading Systems have set out plans to inorganically grow their offering to span the entire front-office lifecycle of a trade through new acquisitions. Announced in May last year, the pair consolidated their offerings with the support of $7.5 billion investment firm Marlin Equity Partners.

Peel Hunt taps ION platform to grow European equity market making business; The renewal of its relationship with ION’s Fidessa platform builds on Peel Hunt’s existing 18-year relationship with the trading technology provider.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
UK investment bank Peel Hunt has renewed its long-term partnership with ION Markets, deploying its Fidessa platform to expand its European equity market making business. The development builds on an existing relationship between ION and Peel Hunt which has been using the trading technology provider’s platform to access the European markets and retail service provider (RSP) market making networks for 18 years.

oneZero expands institutional product team with former Thomson Reuters and Bank of America appointments; Incoming product manager and designer previously operated at Thomson Reuters, Bank of America, Lehman Brothers and the London Stock Exchange Group’s FXall.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Broker-dealer trading technology provider oneZero has expanded its institutional product team with former executives from Bank of America, Thomson Reuters and FXall. Indu Maheshwari has been appointed product manager, responsible for the development of oneZero’s over the counter (OTC) liquidity ecosystem.


Cyberattacks on Ukraine Could Spread Globally; Fake ransomware that hit dozens of government agencies resemble Russia’s 2017 computer worm attack around the world.
Parmy Olson – Bloomberg
In cyberwarfare, the toughest question to answer definitively is “Who did it?” It’s no surprise then that Microsoft Corp. avoided the attribution on everyone else’s lips in its analysis of last week’s cyberattacks on Ukraine. That would be Russia. But several clues suggest they not only came from the Kremlin but will follow a pattern of spilling into other countries in Europe and the U.S., too. That ratchets up geopolitical tension across the world: Ukraine is currently bracing for potential military action from Moscow; Russian President Vladimir Putin has 100,000 troops at the border; and Moscow’s security talks with the U.S. and NATO have broken down.

How The Internet Of Things Impacts Your Company’s Cybersecurity
Sean McDermott – Forbes
Ordinary, everyday objects that connect to the web and cater to our needs — such as wearable health monitors, smart toasters or air quality sensors — are examples of the Internet of Things (IoT). As described by TechTarget, IoT is “a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” In the business world, this includes videoconferencing devices, large smart screens or any controlled utility such as a smart thermostat — which can all disrupt workflow if attacked by cyber hackers. Even the most advanced technologies are never bulletproof.

Bosses think that security is taken care of: CISOs aren’t so sure
Danny Palmer – ZDNet
Organisations could find themselves at risk from cyberattacks because of a significant gap between the views of their own security experts and the boardroom.
The World Economic Forum’s new report, The Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022, warns there are big discrepancies between bosses and information security personnel when it comes to the state of cyber resilience within organisations.

95 Percent of Cybersecurity Breaches Are Caused by Human Mistakes, World Economic Forum Says
Zia Muhammad – Digital Information World
Cybersecurity has become an issue for pretty much everyone because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up causing problems both for individuals as well as for companies and larger corporations. The occurrence of cyber crime incidents has increased quite a bit over the past few years, and this has prompted several companies to try and bolster their security to some extent or another.

Cryptocurrencies Suspends Withdrawals After ‘Unauthorized Activity’
Emily Nicolle – Bloomberg
Crypto traders report suspicious transactions on the platform; customers will have to reset security measures said it stopped all deposits and withdrawals while it investigates “unauthorized activity” on some accounts. The crypto wallet provider and trading platform said in a Twitter post that the measure was temporary to allow it improve security and it would resume activity once the update was complete. The company added that all funds are safe. Several users had reported on social media that their cryptocurrencies, at times equating to tens of thousands of dollars, had disappeared from their accounts in recent days. A spokesperson from didn’t respond to a request for comment.

European VC Blossom Capital Raises $432M Fund For Tech, Crypto Investments
Parikshit Mishra – Coindesk
London-based venture capital (VC) firm Blossom Capital has raised a $432 million fund to invest in early-stage technology startups in Europe, including crypto.

Kleiner Perkins, Coinbase Among Backers of Gulf Crypto Firm Rain
Nicolas Parasie – Bloomberg
Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins co-led a funding round by crypto company Rain Financial at a valuation of $500 million, joining backers including Coinbase Ventures as digital currencies rapidly gain ground in the Middle East.
/ expands venture arm to $500 million to back early-stage web3 startups
Manish Singh – Techcrunch, a popular cryptocurrency exchange, has extended its venture arm’s fund size to $500 million as it looks to more aggressively back early-stage startups to help the nascent ecosystem grow, following similar moves by rivals Binance, Coinbase and FTX.

Female-Backed VC Firm to Boost Crypto Bets With New Fundraise
Swetha Gopinath – Bloomberg
Blossom Capital has raised $432 million to back early-stage tech startups in Europe, a third of which has been earmarked for cryptocurrency investments, founder Ophelia Brown said in an interview.

U.K. Proposes Tougher Rules to Stop Misleading Crypto Ads
William Shaw – Bloomberg
Crypto ads will be regulated like other financial products; Spain’s market watchdog made a similar announcement this week
Crypto billboards, which have popped up across the London subway system, will come under tougher restrictions as the U.K. government seeks to stamp out false advertising. The Treasury said on Tuesday that it plans to regulate crypto advertising like other financial products and ensure that promotions are “fair, clear and not misleading.”

How to mint crypto and influence people; Amazon halts Visa ban, wonder of Wordle, Balmuda’s toaster oven
Chris Nuttall – FT
If you’re looking for sound and unbiased financial advice on investing in cryptocurrencies, then social media “influencers” should not be your first port of call. In something of an EU first, Spain moved to nip such an encounter in the bud on Monday, with its national securities market commission being given the power to regulate crypto advertising. The measures, which take effect in a month’s time, require influencers and their sponsors to pre-notify authorities of some posts and to warn of crypto’s risks or face fines. Singapore also placed new restrictions on crypto advertising on Monday.


BlackRock CEO Says Stakeholder Capitalism Isn’t ‘Woke’
Silla Brush and Russell Ward – Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink warned that companies will be left behind if they don’t embrace sustainable business practices, hitting back at critics who say that considering environmental impact in investing decisions is a politically motivated fad.

BlackRock’s Fink rejects accusations of being ‘woke’; Head of world’s biggest asset manager defends ‘stakeholder capitalism’ in annual letter to chief executives
Harriet Agnew and Robin Wigglesworth – FT
Investors that focus on the interests of wider society rather than pure profits are not “woke”, BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink has said after stinging attacks from US conservatives. The head of the world’s largest asset manager, which last week crossed the $10tn mark for the first time, used his annual corporate missive to chief executives to fight back against accusations that BlackRock was using its influence to push a progressive agenda.

Business Doesn’t Need a ‘Social Purpose’ Revolution; The U.K.’s Better Business Act and other similar laws will keep companies from doing their basic job — competing to produce the best services and products at the lowest prices.
Adrian Wooldridge – Bloomberg
There is no shortage of candidates for the title of the most dangerous business idea of the moment. Management-by-algorithm may remove what humanity there is left in the corporate world. The office-less future may dissolve workers into angst-ridden atoms. I want to suggest a less obvious contender for the title: “social purpose.” The idea of social purpose can be heard wherever high-minded people gather to talk about business. In America, BlackRock Inc.’s CEO Larry Fink argues that companies should have a “social purpose beyond financial performance,” and that this purpose should involve a “positive contribution to society.”

Yellen, in MLK Address, Says Economy ‘Never Worked Fairly for Black Americans’
Simon Kennedy – Bloomberg
Treasury chief says Biden considered equity in pandemic plans; Yellen says more needed to be done to narrow racial wealth gap
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen marked Martin Luther King Day by declaring that the U.S. economy has “never worked fairly for Black Americans — or really for any American of color.” In a speech prepared to be delivered to a breakfast hosted by the National Action Network, Yellen said the Biden administration had taken steps to change that, including by taking equity into account when crafting pandemic relief programs and by making the Treasury Department more inclusive.

Some Lawmakers Push to Ban Stock Trading by Colleagues; Proponents cite sensitive information and possible conflicts, while critics point to costs and existing laws
Natalie Andrews – WSJ
Federal judges and central bank officials have faced stepped-up scrutiny over stock trades, due to concerns about possible conflicts of interest or access to nonpublic information. Now, the spotlight is turning to Congress. Last week, Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Jon Ossoff of Georgia introduced legislation that would prohibit all members of Congress, their spouses and dependent children from trading individual stocks and would require them to place their stock portfolios into a blind trust. Both of the freshman senators have put their holdings in such a vehicle, where control over their trades is given to a trustee.

Congress Can Trade Stocks or Keep the Public Trust. Not Both.
Michelle Cottle – NY Times
Most Americans believe that most politicians are corrupt. How depressing — not to mention how terrible for the health of democracy. After all, if the system is broken and everyone is a crook anyway, why not elect a reality TV grifter with a smashed ethical compass to be president?


The SEC Is Sounding Very European About Unicorns; America is far behind on financial reporting by private businesses. It could learn a lot from Britain in particular.
Chris Bryant – Bloomberg
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is considering forcing large private companies to routinely disclose more financial information to the public. To some, this may sound like a shocking imposition on private enterprise. But it’s really not if you consider how such financial reporting works elsewhere. Europe — and especially Britain — shows there’s an alternative to the extraordinary opacity of America’s private markets.

UK regulator fines Mastercard and four others over prepaid cards cartel; Groups to pay more than £33m after being found to have broken competition law
Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan and Oliver Ralph – FT
Mastercard and four other companies have been fined more than £33m for operating a cartel in the market for prepaid cards for vulnerable people. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said on Tuesday the companies had broken competition law by agreeing not to poach customers for the cards, which are used to distribute welfare payments to vulnerable people such as the homeless and victims of domestic violence.

UK should fix Brexit red tape, says trade group; British Chambers of Commerce warns border procedures and insufficient worker visas are disrupting business
Daniel Thomas and Peter Foster – FT
The British government should fix post-Brexit red tape over customs and trade processes and issue more visas to address labour shortages, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. In a wide-ranging report ahead of the “Brexit day” anniversary on January 31, the trade group, which represents tens of thousands of businesses across the UK, raised concerns about the disruption caused by the departure from the EU’s single market. It called for Britain and the bloc to further streamline new customs and trade processes to reduce the burden of paperwork and prevent delays.

FCA to probe index providers over potential competition law breaches; Respondents to watchdog’s consultation say there are multiple barriers to switching indices
Sandra Heistruvers and Ed Moisson – FT
The Financial Conduct Authority is looking into potential breaches of competition law after a consultation revealed that benchmark index prices have been increasing. The UK financial watchdog’s decision to launch an investigation into index providers’ business practices was prompted by concerns that “competition may not be working well in the provision of benchmarks”.

Regulators’ Wrangling Won’t Stop VC Stampede; The SEC wants to tame the unicorns. Good luck with that.
Laura Forman – WSJ
The wranglers at the Securities and Exchange Commission are trying to tame wild unicorns, but they are both fantastic and elusive by design. The U.S. agency is working on a plan to require more privately held companies to routinely disclose financial and other information, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. While Commissioner Allison Lee told the Journal she isn’t interested in forcing such reporting on smaller companies, she noted big firms “can have a huge impact on thousands of people’s lives with absolutely no visibility for investors, employees and their unions, regulators, or the public.” Former blood testing company Theranos comes to mind.

BGC Partners pays $110,250 infringement notice
BGC Partners (Australia) Pty Ltd has paid a penalty of $110,250 to comply with an infringement notice given by the Markets Disciplinary Panel. The Markets Disciplinary Panel found that, on two occasions on 22 March 2019, BGC Partners transacted pre-negotiated business orders on the ASX 24 market without making the required enquiry through the trading platform’s message facility. The Markets Disciplinary Panel noted that there had been previous compliance failures of this type by BGC Partners.

Statewide Superannuation to pay $4 million penalty for misleading correspondence to members
The Federal Court has imposed combined penalties of $4 million on Statewide Superannuation Pty Ltd (Statewide) for providing members with misleading information regarding their insurance and failing to breach report the issue to ASIC in the time required by law.

ESMA Issues 2021 Report On Accepted Market Practices Under MAR
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today published its annual report on the application of accepted market practices (AMPs) in accordance with the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR).

FCA confirms approach to European firms temporarily operating in the UK
European firms wishing to remain in the temporary permissions regime (TPR) need to meet the FCA’s standards to continue operating in the UK. The regime was designed to ensure that European firms operating in the UK via a passport when the Brexit transition period ended could continue operating temporarily while they seek full authorisation in the UK.

Public Consultation on Cabinet Office Order to Partially Amend Cabinet Office Order on Financial Instruments Business, etc.
Japan FSA
The Financial Services Agency (“FSA”) has now launched a public consultation on Cabinet Office Order to partially amend Cabinet Office Order on Financial Instruments Business, etc. Key Points of the Amendment. On January 12, 2021, FSA has established the “Financial Market Entry Office” (the “Office”) in order to expand Japan’s role as an international financial center. Expanding the functions of the Office, this proposal allows an applicant who meets the following conditions to submit application document for registration and other subsequent documents in English.

IOSCO Good Practices Aim To Foster Cooperation Through Global Supervisory Colleges
The Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) today published a set of good practices related to the use of global supervisory colleges in securities markets, with the aim of increasing cooperation and information-sharing among securities regulators.

IOSCO consults on measures to address risks arising from digitalisation of retail marketing and distribution
The Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) today published a Consultation Report to assist its members in adapting their regulatory and enforcement approaches to meet the challenges posed by recent technological developments and the rapidly evolving digitalisation and online activities.

Investing and Trading

De Beers Implements Big Diamond Price Hike as Demand Runs Hot
Thomas Biesheuvel – Bloomberg
De Beers pushed through one of its most aggressive diamond price increases in recent years as the world’s biggest producer of the stones cashes in on a buying frenzy for uncut gems. De Beers raised prices by about 8% at its first sale of the year, according to people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The biggest increases were for smaller, cheaper stones.

Short sellers need not fear transparency; And more on growth stocks and real rates
Robert Armstrong and Ethan Wu – FT
Don’t sell market transparency short
Short selling — selling borrowed shares in the hopes of profiting from a price decline — is good. It draws attention to overextended stocks, aids price discovery, and sniffs out the odd fraud. Short selling has gotten harder since the financial crisis, and it should be encouraged where possible.

Europe’s metals industry calls for release of gas reserves to curb prices; Producers urge Brussels to act now or face further plant closures
Neil Hume – FT
Europe’s metals industry will be hit with another wave of curtailments and closures unless steps are taken to address soaring energy prices, a group that represents some of the region’s biggest producers has warned.

In Battle for Workers, the Humble 401(k) Gets Richer in 2022; Facebook, KPMG among companies sweetening retirement plan contributions this year in tight job market
Lauren Weber, Anne Tergesen – WSJ
Facebook’s parent and consulting firm KPMG U.S. are among a growing number of companies putting more money into employees’ 401(k) retirement accounts, employing another lever to attract and retain staff amid high turnover and competition for talent.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Treasury’s Yellen sees ‘much more work’ ahead to narrow racial wealth divide
Andrea Shalal – Reuters
The U.S. Treasury took key steps over the past year to address longstanding economic injustices facing Americans of color, but still has “much more work” ahead to narrow the racial wealth divide, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday.

ExxonMobil aims to cut oil and gas emissions to net zero by 2050; Oil major to release ‘road map’ for fossil fuel operations by end of 2022 as it faces investor pressure
Justin Jacobs – FT
ExxonMobil has announced a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at its oil and gas operations to net zero by 2050 as it responds to investor pressure to clean up its business. The Texas-based supermajor said it would publish a “road map” by the end of 2022 demonstrating how it would reduce emissions at its own operations but stopped short of including the carbon emitted from the fuel it sells.

Big boost to UK offshore wind capacity from Scottish auction; Half of 25GW seabed rights will use ‘floating’ technology turbine technology for the first time at large scale
Nathalie Thomas and Leslie Hook – FT
The Scottish government has awarded 25 gigawatts of offshore wind project development rights, more than double the UK’s existing offshore wind capacity, in one of the biggest auctions of its kind in the world. More than half the projects, with a total capacity of 13GW, will use “floating” wind turbines, the first time that this technology, which is tethered to the seabed, will be deployed commercially at a large scale.

A North Sea Auction Produces Big Plans for Scottish Wind Farms; Oil giants like BP and Shell propose to spend billions on renewable energy, bolstering Scotland’s efforts to move away from an economy based on fossil fuel.
Stanley Reed – NY Times
Oil giants like BP and Shell as well as Iberdrola, the Spanish utility, look like the big winners in Scotland’s first offshore wind auction, whose results were announced on Monday. If the proposed wind farms are constructed, they would triple Britain’s capacity to generate electricity from turbines at sea.


Lloyd’s of London Weighs Future of Headquarters in Flexible Era
Jack Sidders – Bloomberg
The institution is mulling whether to leave its current office; Lloyd’s moved into the protected building in London in 1986
Lloyd’s of London is reviewing its real estate needs as the historic insurance market embraces flexible working. “As we adapt to new structures and flexible ways of working, we are continuing to carefully think about the future requirements for the spaces and services our marketplace needs,” according to an emailed statement. React News reported the review earlier.

Ex-Citi Banker Says He Lost Job Over ‘Toxic’ Dubai Claims
Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
Former sales director suing bank in U.K. for unfair dismissal; Citi says it doesn’t recognize Dahab as a whistle-blower
An ex-Citigroup Inc. banker is fighting to get his job back after he alleged that he was fired for blowing the whistle on a “toxic” culture at the bank’s Dubai office. Faycal Dahab, a former sales director for the Middle East and North Africa, told a London employment tribunal how sales employees were told by a senior banker they should be grateful as “they earn more than employees of Starbucks,” according to court documents prepared by Dahab’s lawyers.

Credit Suisse’s Surprise Chairman Exit Leaves Its Bankers Unfazed
Marion Halftermeyer – Bloomberg
CEO Gottstein seen back in saddle after Horta-Osorio resigns; New chairman signals he’s opposed to selling Credit Suisse
The mood at Credit Suisse Group AG’s town hall on Monday, hours after its chairman quit in the bank’s latest drama, was described by some attendees as almost one of relief.

Goldman Sachs Sees Profit Slip 13%; The Wall Street giant said that fourth-quarter trading revenue fell 7%
Charley Grant – WSJ
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS -2.52% profit fell in the fourth quarter, even as the deals market stayed strong. The Wall Street giant said Tuesday that profit declined 13% to $3.94 billion, or $10.81 a share. That fell short of the consensus forecast of $11.77 a share among analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue grew 8% to $12.64 billion. That beat the forecast of just over $12 billion.

Credit Suisse’s António Horta-Osório Lost Board Support Over Covid-19 Rules Breach; The chairman’s jet use also raised concerns, with some board members fearing he lacked credibility to fix what had come to be seen as the bank’s broken culture
Margot Patrick, Emily Glazer – WSJ
He came to fix Credit Suisse Group AG’s broken culture. Then he became part of the problem. António Horta-Osório was hoping for a slap on the wrist Sunday from the Credit Suisse CS 0.38% board for breaking coronavirus quarantine rules on trips to events, according to people familiar with his departure. Instead, he had to leave his job as the bank’s chairman for not upholding the high standards he set when joining Credit Suisse eight months ago.

BlackRock’s Climate Stance Is About Profits, Not Politics, Larry Fink Says; In his annual letter, the money manager’s chief makes the capitalist case for pushing companies on hot-button issues
Justin Baer – WSJ
Larry Fink’s efforts to get companies to adopt climate-friendly policies have led some to call him an activist. The BlackRock Inc. BLK -2.19% chairman and chief executive prefers a different label: capitalist. In his annual letter to the CEOs of the companies in which BlackRock invests, Mr. Fink said businesses that don’t plan for a carbon-free future risk being left behind. The quest for long-term returns, and not politics, is what animates the money manager’s efforts, he wrote.

Citigroup Nears Sale of Taiwan Consumer-Banking Business; Final details of the deal with Singapore-based DBS are under deliberation, and the transaction is likely to be valued at $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion
Jing Yang – WSJ
Citigroup Inc. C -1.25% is nearing a sale of its retail banking franchise in Taiwan to DBS Group Holdings Ltd. DBSDY 1.07% for around $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the New York-based bank speeds up its strategic shift in Asia. A deal with Singapore-based DBS could be announced before the end of this month, and it would include the transfer of all of Citigroup’s Taiwan consumer-banking staff, the person said. The U.S. bank’s Taiwan retail business includes 45 branches, mortgage lending and a large credit-card business.

Credit Suisse’s New Captain Needs to Show Early Turnaround Progress; Replacing António Horta-Osório as chairman puts pressure on the bank to show it is serious about reform after last year’s series of scandals
Rochelle Toplensky – WSJ
Credit Suisse’s CS 0.38% New Year’s resolution for a steady, boring 2022 has already fallen by the wayside. António Horta-Osório’s surprise resignation late Sunday from the helm of the beleaguered lender raises the suspicion that his departure might be due to more than the chairman’s stated coronavirus infractions. The outsider had promised to deliver a much-needed shake-up of the Swiss bank’s culture. His exit puts pressure on successor Axel Lehmann to show that the transformation will continue.

BNP Paribas Asset Management makes senior appointments in Global Client Group
BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has appointed Roger Miners as Head of Distribution for Europe, with immediate effect.Miners is based in London and will report to Steven Billiet, Head of Global Client Group and member of the Executive Committee. Miners will retain his current role of UK CEO, which he has held since July 2020. He will be succeeded in his role as Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) by Paul Van Eynde who will join BNPP AM before the end of February, reporting to Steven Billiet and also based in London.


World’s Biggest Chicken Exporter Taps Banks for $1.4 Billion Share Sale
Felipe Marques, Vinícius Andrade and Cristiane Lucchesi – Bloomberg
BRF SA, the world’s biggest chicken exporter, has picked a syndicate of 11 banks to handle a share sale that could raise as much as $1.4 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The Sao Paulo-based company is working with Citigroup Inc., Banco BTG Pactual SA, Banco Itau BBA, Morgan Stanley, Banco Bradesco BBI, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS BB Investment Bank, Banco Santander Brasil SA, Banco Safra SA and Bank of America Corp., the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Citi in Talks With Fubon on $1.5 Billion China Asset Sale, Sources Say
Manuel Baigorri – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc., which has been shedding some of its retail operations as part of a global revamp, is in advanced talks with Taiwan’s Fubon Financial Holding Co. for a sale of its mainland China consumer business, people familiar with the matter said.

Citigroup Hires 5,500 Young Staff in Asia, Ahead of 2023 Target
Cathy Chan – Bloomberg
Consumer bank makes up 48% of new hires, 31% for institutional; Citigroup earlier targeted to hire 6,000 youth in Asia by 2023
Citigroup Inc. said it has hired 5,500 young employees for its Asia businesses over the last two years, ahead of its target to recruit 6,000 by 2023, after stepping up efforts to help cushion the region from soaring youth unemployment amid the pandemic.

Canadian Investors Shatter Records By Putting $115 Billion in Foreign Securities
Geoffrey Morgan – Bloomberg
Canadians are shunning their domestic market and investing record amounts abroad, according to National Bank of Canada Financial Markets. Net purchases of overseas securities by locals soared to C$144.4 billion ($115.4 billion) in the first 11 months of 2021 — shattering a previous record of C$73.3 billion set in 2006, the bank said, citing Statistics Canada. Canadians spent a record C$81.8 billion on U.S. securities.

Swedes End Record Year for Fund Investing With Fixed Income Bets
Love Liman – Bloomberg
Swedish retail investors ended a record year dominated by equity investments by boosting their ownership in fixed income funds. Both short and long fixed income funds were popular investments in December as they attracted 46 billion kronor ($5.1 billion) combined, according to data from the Swedish Investment Fund Association. Hedge funds experienced a small net outflow as many suffered from the volatility in rates markets in November.


A Fascinating Page-Turner Made From an Unlikely Subject: Federal Reserve Policy
Jennifer Szalai – NY Times
There’s something undeniably gratifying about an elegantly crafted morality tale — and the business reporter Christopher Leonard has written a good one, even if you suspect that the full shape of it isn’t quite as smooth as he makes it out to be. “The Lords of Easy Money” is a fascinating and propulsive story about the Federal Reserve — yes, you read that right. Leonard, in the tradition of Michael Lewis, has taken an arcane subject, rife with the risk of incomprehensibility (or boredom), and built a riveting narrative in which the stakes couldn’t be any clearer.

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