US stock exchanges sue SEC over data rule changes

Feb 10, 2021

First Read

$28,101/$300,000 (9.4%)


Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Chris Hehmeyer is merging his firm, Hehmeyer, LLC, with Nortide, creating Hehmeyer Nortide AG. The new firm of crypto market makers will unite to attempt to deliver better prices and service to clients and counterparties.

FIA’s president and CEO has penned a letter to President Biden titled “FIA letter to President Biden highlights priorities and opportunities.” The op issues include market access, regulatory harmonization, innovation and sustainability. Nice to see Walt so productive in the laundry room.

Last summer Quaker Oats announced they would be changing the name of their Aunt Jemima brand. The new name is The Pearl Milling Company.

OSTC and Evenbreak have announced a partnership to promote employment equity for disabled workers. OSTC deserves a nice pat on the back for this effort.

There were no new donations to the JLN MarketsWiki Education GoFundMe campaign yesterday. We have had 123 donations and just over $30,000 given to the campaign, including a couple of donations given outside the GoFundMe app.

Sometime today MarketsWiki will pass the 200 million pageview mark. You can see the pageview counter right on the front page of the site.

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


Here is New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham‘s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “The NYSE Isn’t Moving—Yet” about the threat from the revived transaction tax on stocks. ~SR


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Hehmeyer to Merge with Nortide, Creating Hehmeyer Nortide AG
Hehmeyer LLC
The complementary crypto market makers unite to deliver better prices and a superior service to their clients and counterparties
Hehmeyer LLC, a Chicago-based market maker in digital assets, today announced its agreement to merge its electronic liquidity provision business with Nortide Capital AG (with its operational subsidiaries Nortide Trading AG and Nortide Brokerage AG), a Swiss-based market maker in digital assets. The new firm, Hehmeyer Nortide AG, will dedicate itself to serving users of cryptocurrencies globally and will be headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.

***** Hehmeyer goes global and we might see Chris Hehmeyer real estate shopping in Zug.~JJL


We must vaccinate the world — now; The cost of jabs for all would be a rounding error; it is also the only way to end the pandemic for good
Martin Wolf – FT
The world economy is recovering from the depths of the Covid-19 crisis. But that crisis will not depart for good until the pandemic is under control. Since the virus knows no frontiers, it cannot be under control anywhere unless it is under control everywhere. The alternative is for us to remain inside national prisons indefinitely. Alas, that is what we risk if leaders do not raise their gaze from their own countries.

*****There is but one mission. To save human beings from this pandemic. So this is the right thing to do.~JJL


Man Who Spent $446 Million on Pizza Has Advice for Tesla Fans
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Hi, Olga here. Laszlo Hanyecz said he wouldn’t spend his Bitcoins on a Tesla. Hanyecz knows what he’s talking about: In 2010, he paid 10,000 Bitcoins, worth about $446 million at current prices, for two pizzas. It was the first known commercial transaction of cryptocurrency. Back then, Bitcoin’s price stood at less than a penny. It hit an all-time high of about $47,000 on Tuesday, the day after Tesla Inc. said it bought $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and will accept the digital currency for the purchase of cars.

*****When I was a small boy and would take baths in the bathtub, there was a soap we would use called Mr. Bubbles. From now on when I think of Mr. Bubbles, I will be thinking of Elon Musk.~JJL


Do Fed Policies Fuel Bubbles? Some See GameStop as a Red Flag; Analysts warn that low-interest rates are promoting speculative bubbles. The Fed itself has downplayed the possibility that it’s behind asset prices.
Jeanna Smialek and Matt Phillips – NY Times
Before it fueled the run-up in GameStop’s stock, WallStreetBets, the Reddit message board, had another claim to fame: It helped popularize a series of memes centered on the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, and his central bank’s policy of keeping interest rates near rock bottom while buying government bonds to bolster the economy.

*****After the GameStop episode, there is a shortage of red flags in the U.S.~JJL


Reddit user who appeared to tip Tesla’s Bitcoin buy reveals himself as a German prankster on Acid
Bhargav Acharya – Reuters (via Financial Post)
A Reddit user who claimed in a post a month ago to be a Tesla Inc insider and knew about the electric car maker’s purchase of Bitcoin said on Tuesday that his assertions were not true.
The user’s original post stating Tesla was buying bitcoin drew little attention when it appeared Jan. 2. But it received a second look this week after the electric carmaker and its CEO Elon Musk disclosed a US$1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency that sent bitcoin to fresh highs.

*****I always dream of bitcoin when I have acid reflux.~JJL


OSTC And Evenbreak Announce Partnership To Promote Employment Equity For Disabled Workers
OSTC, one of the world’s leading derivatives trading and education companies, has today announced a partnership with the disability job board Evenbreak to promote employment equality for disabled workers.

*****Nice work, chaps.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was CBS This Morning’s Alex Kearns died thinking he owed hundreds of thousands for stock market losses on Robinhood. His parents have sued over his suicide. Second was Crain’s’ Gamestop Fueled Lawsuits Could Force Citadel to Pry Open Its Black-box. Third was the Wall Street Journal’s Hong Kong Exchanges Names JPMorgan’s Nicolas Aguzin as CEO. Nicolas Aguzin was also our MarketsWiki Page of the Day yesterday.


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Lead Stories

US stock exchanges sue SEC over data rule changes; NYSE, Nasdaq and Cboe oppose move to expand access to their feeds
Kiran Stacey – FT
The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have sued their regulator over new rules that would force them to share more data in an effort to increase competition in the sector. The exchanges, along with Cboe Global Markets, filed court petitions against the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday over an attempt by the regulator to make them provide expanded access to their data feeds.

Nasdaq, NYSE Sue SEC to Block Market Data Overhaul; Agency approved plan in December that threatens exchange operator’s data revenue
Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Nasdaq Inc. NDAQ 0.15% and the New York Stock Exchange sued the Securities and Exchange Commission to block the regulator’s plan to overhaul the public data feeds that broadcast stock prices to investors. The plan, which the SEC approved in December, threatens the exchange operators’ data revenue, a major part of their businesses.

Fidelity Holds Secret Weapon to Take On Robinhood and Vanguard; Firm’s offspring, Geode Capital Management, is strong competitor in era of low-cost investing
Justin Baer – WSJ
Blocks from Fidelity’s headquarters, a team of quants toil in relative anonymity. They’re also a key weapon in the investment firm’s fight to take on all rivals, from Vanguard Group to Robinhood Markets Inc. Geode Capital Management Inc. was spun out of the Boston-based firm nearly two decades ago. At the time, Fidelity Investments Inc. was content to be undercut by rivals in the low-cost index business and didn’t want to overshadow its powerful and famous stock pickers.

The Tesla-Bitcoin Singularity Is Here at Last; Elon Musk’s preoccupation with crypto has now been taken to its logical conclusion. It is as disconcerting as it is inevitable.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
Tesla bought Bitcoin. It feels as if that sentence should properly begin with “Imagine if …” and a wry chuckle. But no. Imagine no longer. Tesla Inc.’s annual report disclosed the electric-car maker updated its investment policy last month and then bought $1.5 billion of the crypto. That news added roughly $5,000, or 14%, to said crypto on Monday morning, sending it to an all-time high. Tesla’s own stock rose about 3%, adding roughly $11 billion in market cap, because — well, probably because of this. I don’t know.

After GameStop, A Better Way To Take On Wall Street?
NPR – Planet Money
In the economist’s utopian vision of the stock market, clearheaded investors diligently evaluate companies and invest only in the ones they expect to grow and thrive. In the process, investors direct resources where they’ll be most productive, benefiting the overall economy.

How Not to Run an Investment Bank; Repeated trading losses and funds that ran wild — it’s little wonder that Natixis’s parent firm wants to take it private.
Elisa Martinuzzi and Marcus Ashworth – Bloomberg
Natixis SA’s 14 years as a publicly traded bank will be best forgotten. Losses during the global financial crisis pushed the French firm, which trades securities and owns an asset manager, to the edge soon after its 2006 creation.

French Bank Natixis, Plagued by Setbacks, to Go Private in $4.5 Billion Deal; Financial group BPCE offers to buy out Natixis shareholders, ending the bank’s bumpy run as public company
Noemie Bisserbe – WSJ
French financial cooperative BPCE said it plans to buy out minority shareholders of its listed investment bank, Natixis SA, taking private the unit that has been plagued by bad bets and trading losses.

FT returns to indices business with Wilshire partnership; Venture to focus on ESG products as rise of passive investing drives indexing boom
Michael Mackenzie – FT
The Financial Times is returning to the index business by partnering with Wilshire, an investment advisory group, to develop indices with a particular focus on environmental, social and governance investment products.

Direct indexing looks set to disrupt the retail ETF market; Industry participants expect bespoke ETF index customisation will become widespread
Steve Johnson – FT
So-called “direct indexing” is spreading its wings beyond the very wealthy in the US and threatening to disrupt the rapidly growing global retail market for exchange traded funds. The nascent concept allows investors to customise existing indices to create bespoke portfolios tailored to meet their personal preferences for investment factors, such as tilts to value or quality, their personal environmental, social and governance (ESG) beliefs, and potentially to minimise tax liabilities.

How herd behaviour drives action on r/WallStreetBets; Oxford research shows influence of social contagion on stocks such as Tesla and GameStop
Ian Goldin – FT
From the US Capitol to Wall Street, the power of social media to mobilise crowds is evident everywhere. It has introduced a new risk to the effective functioning of markets as it has to politics, exposing the limitations of politicians and regulators to manage viral campaigns.

Amundi appoints Valérie Baudson as chief executive; She will take over from Yves Perrier as head of Europe’s largest asset manager
Chris Flood – FT
Amundi has appointed Valérie Baudson as its next chief executive, replacing Yves Perrier, who spent a decade building the French group into Europe’s largest asset manager.

China’s Covid-19 Vaccine Makers Struggle to Meet Demand; Countries depending on Chinese shots report delays while Beijing’s domestic rollout gets off to a slow start
Chao Deng and Jared Malsin – WSJ
Chinese vaccine makers are racing to meet the needs of China and a growing list of countries, but there are signs that inoculations are going slower than planned. In the Middle East and North Africa, countries that were depending on Chinese vaccines are experiencing delays as they try to inoculate their populations. The U.A.E, the first country outside China to approve a vaccine by Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm, has switched to giving priority to the elderly, chronically ill and other select groups. It had been offering shots to everyone, which left residents waiting weeks for appointments.

Wall Street’s New Favorite Deal Trend Has Issues; Known as SPACs, these shell companies allow businesses to sell shares to the public with different disclosure than usual. What could go wrong?
Andrew Ross Sorkin – NY Times
In Wall Street’s usually brash way, a new saying is making the rounds. It isn’t in good taste, but it speaks to a phenomenon that is transforming finance and corporate America. “I know more people who have a SPAC than have Covid,” several financiers have told me recently. (If you’re wincing, you’re not alone. I am, too.)

Colin Kaepernick Targets a Socially-Driven Billion-Dollar Company With New SPAC; The former 49ers quarterback will serve as the co-chair of a new blank-check company that will target businesses with an enterprise value of more than $1 billion
Andrew Beaton – WSJ
Colin Kaepernick is leading a group taking a blank-check company public, as the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback turned activist tries to bring his social justice causes to the booming SPAC industry.

NY money manager pleads not guilty to $1.8 billion Ponzi-like fraud
Jonathan Stempel – Reuters
The founder of a New York money manager who authorities said ran a $1.8 billion fraud resembling a Ponzi scheme that fleeced thousands of investors pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges on Tuesday.

Canada stock market rules curb platforms linked to churning U.S. stocks
Nichola Saminather – Reuters
Stock brokers in Canada cannot use marketmakers to execute trades for a fee, under a government rule that has restricted the growth of zero-commission trading platforms like Robinhood, whose booming business in United States was linked to wild swings in GameStop Corp and other “Reddit rally” stocks.

Cash flush Americans buying shares as pandemic limits spending options
Reuters Staff
Americans stuck at home and with more discretionary funds at their disposal but fewer spending options because of the COVID-19 pandemic are piling into the stock market and sprucing up their homes, a survey showed on Tuesday.

JP Morgan’s board rejects switch to stakeholder-focused entity
Ross Kerber – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon has led calls for companies to consider the needs of workers, communities and customers as well as those of shareholders.

What If GameStop Actually Thrives After the Gamestonk Saga? Internet entrepreneur Ryan Cohen beat Amazon at its own game as co-founder of Chewy. Can he do it again at GameStop?
Tae Kim – Bloomberg
Don’t count out GameStop. Really. While the prevailing consensus says that the frenzy surrounding the video-game seller’s stock is purely speculative and that the eventual demise of the brick-and-mortar retailer is a foregone conclusion, some positive developments are brightening the outlook for its business transformation. And with a little magic from Inc. founder Jeff Bezos’s playbook, a real turnaround is a distinct possibility, one that has the potential to make GameStop Corp. an e-commerce powerhouse for gaming, PC hardware and consumer electronics.

Coleman Leads $23 Billion Payday for 15 Hedge Fund Earners
Tom Maloney and Hema Parmar – Bloomberg
His Tiger Global gained 48% to put him atop Bloomberg ranking; Jim Simons, Ken Griffin, Bill Ackman also land in the top 15
It’s more than enough money, at going prices, to buy one GameStop, two AMC Entertainments and four Bed Bath & Beyonds. Not shares — those darlings of the r/wallstreetbets crowd – – but the entire companies. The estimated sum is $23.2 billion, and it’s the amount that the hedge fund managers on Bloomberg’s annual list of the top 15 earners collectively made in 2020, a year that will loom large in the annals of Wall Street.

Single Dose of Pfizer Shot Gives Two-Thirds Protection, Data Suggests
Tim Ross and Emily Ashton – Bloomberg
Real world data emerges from U.K.’s mass immunization program; One Pfizer dose gives as much as 65% protection; two doses 84%
One dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers two-thirds protection against coronavirus, data seen by the U.K. government suggests. Early findings from the U.K.’s vaccination program, due to be released within days, show that the first dose reduced the symptomatic infection risk among patients by 65% in younger adults and 64% in over-80s, a person familiar with the matter said.

Derivatives client clearer of the year: JP Morgan; Risk Awards 2021: bank avoided tech snags and margin call surprises that plagued peers during crisis
The extreme market volatility unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic last year tested bank clearing businesses to the limit, resulting in operational mishaps that hurt both the banks and their clients. JP Morgan is a rare exception.

Hong Kong stock exchange names JPMorgan banker as chief executive; Nicolas Aguzin joins HKEX as questions loom over city’s future as international financial centre
Hudson Lockett and Tabby Kinder – FT
The Hong Kong stock exchange has picked a senior JPMorgan banker as its new chief executive as it seeks to build its fast-growing pipeline of new share offerings and trading link-ups with mainland Chinese bourses.


White House Tells Governors It’ll Boost Vaccine Allocation Another 5%
Keshia Clukey – Bloomberg
The federal government plans to increase vaccine allocations by another 5% for the next three weeks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The additional 5%, announced on a White House call with governors Tuesday, follows an initial 20% increase and then a subsequent 5%. Cuomo, during a call afterward with reporters, said he doesn’t expect a major supply boost until Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine is produced.

Mexico Now Has the Most Deadly Covid Outbreak in Latin America
Andrea Navarro – Bloomberg
Country passed Panama to have 59.2 fatalities per million; Mexico City excess deaths highest in world per capita: report
Mexico has surpassed Panama and Peru to become the deadliest spot for Covid-19 in Latin America. A recent surge in deaths has brought the virus’s toll to 59.2 per million people, just above Panama’s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mexico’s fatalities are now the 15th highest worldwide per capita.

Britain’s Virus Fight Enters its Guerrilla War Stage; The battle against Covid’s new variants is winnable if the U.K. manages to get test and trace, quarantines and compliance right this time.
Therese Raphael – Bloomberg
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to provide a roadmap out of England’s lockdown restrictions on Feb. 22, but those in his party who want the curbs lifted are growing impatient. The U.K. government is on track to reach its target of vaccinating the top four priority groups by the middle of the month. The over-50s could be largely vaccinated by May. Infection rates and deaths are down by more than a quarter over the past week.

South Africa’s Astra Vaccine Snub Raises Serious Questions; A shot seen as a key tool in the Covid-19 fight has been sidelined in at least one country. What are the implications?
Bloomberg Opinion – Bloomberg
Sam Fazeli, a Bloomberg Opinion contributor who covers the pharmaceutical industry for Bloomberg Intelligence, answered questions about the implications of South Africa’s decision this week to temporarily halt the rollout of the AstraZeneca Plc-Oxford University vaccine after a trial showed the Astra shot had limited efficacy against a new variant of the virus that emerged there. In the meantime, the country will speed up its supply of shots from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

India’s Capital Reports No Virus Deaths for First Time Since May
Bibhudatta Pradhan – Bloomberg
Half of India’s states also report zero deaths on Tuesday; India is second-worst virus-hit country in the world
India’s capital New Delhi didn’t report any coronavirus-related deaths for the first time in nine months, a milestone for a city that had emerged as a hotspot for the pandemic. With a population of about 16 million, it has reported 10,882 deaths since the city recorded its first casualty on March 13, according to health ministry data. The last time the city reported a zero figure before Tuesday was on May 11.

Ursula von der Leyen acknowledges errors in EU’s Covid vaccines strategy; But European Commission president calls on bloc to stick with current approach
Sam Fleming and Michael Peel – FT
The European Commission president acknowledged mistakes in the EU’s coronavirus vaccine strategy, but warned that failing to pursue a collective approach could have torn the union apart by pitting big member states against smaller ones.

How the UK boosted its vaccine manufacturing capacity; Four companies are now making or preparing to make Covid jabs and two rapid response centres are under construction
Clive Cookson – FT
As the UK government and biotechnology industry began to respond to the nascent coronavirus pandemic last year, they faced the uncomfortable truth that the country’s vaccine manufacturing capacity was extremely limited.

Heineken to cut 8,000 jobs as pandemic hits brewer; Group seeks EUR2bn of savings as Covid-19 pushes it to a loss
Judith Evans – FT
Heineken is to cut 8,000 jobs and seek EUR2bn of savings over two years as new chief executive Dolf van den Brink reshapes the world’s second-largest brewer in a pandemic that has dealt the drinks industry its worst blow in decades.

Travellers to England face jail for hiding trips to high-risk countries; Health secretary Matt Hancock announces tough new measures as concerns about Covid variants grow
Jim Pickard, Anna Gross and Alice Hancock and Mure Dickie – FT
Passengers arriving in England who try to conceal they have been to countries on a list of high-risk destinations face up to 10 years in jail as part of a series of tough new quarantine restrictions announced on Tuesday by health secretary Matt Hancock.

Japan suffers rise in female suicides during Covid-19 pandemic; Spate of deaths prompts questions over whether support services are helping those in need
Robin Harding – FT
When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Japan’s suicide prevention specialists were most concerned about vulnerable retirees and the group that historically accounts for the country’s high suicide rate: middle-aged men suffering job loss or business failure.

Covid needs Big Pharma to set aside old rivalries; Sharing resources is an attractive concept, but it is difficult for a sector where competition is hard-wired
Carlo de Notaristefani – FT
For the pharmaceutical industry, working to combat Covid-19 has been palpably different from business as usual. This time it is not about developing a product that will be a success commercially. Nor is it about finding the solution to a disease or condition before a competitor. It is a race against time, knowing that no company will win alone. Many vaccines will be needed if we are to get a handle on this borderless pandemic.

After a Brutal Winter Rise, U.S. Virus Deaths Are Declining
NY Times
Having risen sharply since November, the number of coronavirus-related deaths remains high but appears to be falling steadily. California’s death toll surpassed New York’s to become the highest in the nation.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

NYSE chief warns it may exit New York if stock transfer tax is imposed
The New York Stock Exchange may leave New York State if Albany imposes a transfer tax on stock sales, the president of the Intercontinental Exchange-owned exchange operator said on Tuesday in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. NYSE President Stacey Cunningham said she and 25 other representatives of New York’s securities industry sent a letter last Wednesday to state legislative leaders warning against the unintended consequences of imposing such a tax, which would ultimately be borne by investors.

CME Group Inc. Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Financial Results
CME Group Inc.
CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020. The company reported revenue of $1.1 billion and operating income of $515 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. Net income was $424 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.18. On an adjusted basis, net income was $497 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.39. Financial results presented on an adjusted basis for the fourth quarter of 2020 and 2019 exclude certain items, which are detailed in the reconciliation of non-GAAP results.1

Derivatives markets respond to dividend and ESG demands
2020 was an unprecedented year for global derivatives markets as volatility gripped global markets fueled by the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. elections and Brexit negotiations. In this article, Eurex speaks with Daniel Mannion from Susquehanna International Group (SIG) about the impact this had on trading as well as a closer look at the growth of dividend futures, ESG and pro-rata pricing and a look ahead to growth areas in 2021.

ICE to Launch LNG Freight Futures Based on Spark Commodities’ Assessments in Key Milestone for Global Natural Gas Markets
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
New contracts will sit alongside ICE’s fast growing TTF and JKM LNG (Platts) benchmarks; TTF Futures OI +29% y/y; JKM LNG (Platts) Futures and Options OI +37% y/y
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of mortgage technology, data and listings services, announced today that it plans to launch LNG freight futures contracts based on Spark Commodities’ (“Spark”) price assessments, marking a milestone in the evolution of the LNG market.

BME sponsors Bankinter’s “III Game of Traders” awards through its training courses
The bank launches a new edition of this game, through which young people can learn how to invest in equities live on the bank’s platform; ·Instituto BME provides the prizes for the winners of the competition, consisting of 12 different courses from its top-level training offering
Bankinter’s “III Game of Traders” kicks off on 15th February. BME will participate by sponsoring the prizes for the winners with courses from Instituto BME’s training offering. It is a gaming initiative aimed at young people aged between 18 and 30, in which participants gain an insight into investing in the stock market in an environment that simulates market operations as if they were real. During four weeks, participants will be able to carry out unlimited virtual trading operations in the domestic market on the trading platform provided by Bankinter. To this end, they will have 100,000 virtual euros (with no real market value) to trade. They will have to base their decisions on real-time price information and factor in all circumstances associated with the transaction, including trading fees. The aim is to maximise the value of the portfolio by the end of the game, on 12 March.

EPEX SPOT and ECC extend offering in Central Europe by launching Polish Day-Ahead products
New block orders, cross-margining clearing and access to European one-stop-shop will further foster development of Polish electricity market
Leipzig / Paris, 10 February 2021. The European Power Exchange EPEX SPOT and its clearing house European Commodity Clearing (ECC) successfully launched their Day-Ahead market in Poland, extending their offering in Central Europe. This was enabled through the Polish Multi-NEMO Arrangement (MNA) implemented on 9 February.

Performance Bond Requirements: Interest Rate Margins – Effective February 10, 2021
CME Group
As per the normal review of market volatility to ensure adequate collateral coverage, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Clearing House Risk Management staff approved the performance bond requirements for the following products listed in the advisory at the link below.

Amendments to the Three-Month Eurodollar Futures and Options on Three-Month Eurodollar Futures Contracts to Implement USD London Inter-bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) Fallback Provisions
CME Group
Pending Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) approval, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (“CME” or “Exchange”) will amend the Three-Month Eurodollar Futures and Options on Three-Month Eurodollar Futures contracts (the “Contracts”) to incorporate procedures to apply from the effective date of a permanent discontinuation of the Three-Month USD ICE LIBOR reference rate (“USD LIBOR”) or from the effective date that USD LIBOR is deemed by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (as supervisor of the administrator of USD LIBOR) to be unrepresentative of the underlying market or economic reality (each a “Fallback Event”) (collectively, the “Rule Amendments”) effective on March 29, 2021, subject to regulatory approval.

Approved Application for Spot Call Nonfat Dry Milk and Spot Call Dry Whey Regularity
From Registrar’s Office
CME Group
The Exchange has approved the application of Classic Transportation & Warehousing located in Wayland, MI (1175 147th Avenue) to be designated as an Approved Warehouse for delivery of Spot Call Nonfat Dry Milk and Spot Call Dry Whey.

SGX RegCo’s Statement on Sen Yue Holdings Limited’s Independent Review Report
Singapore Exchange Regulation (“SGX RegCo”) refers to the announcements made by Sen Yue Holdings Limited (the “Company” or “Sen Yue”) on 10 February 2021, in relation to findings by independent reviewer, Foo Kon Tan Advisory Services Pte Ltd (“FKT”).

SET Synergizes With CMDF To Strengthen CMRI In Conducting Quality Research For Capital Market Development
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has joined forces with the Capital Market Development Fund (CMDF) to reinforce the Capital Market Research Institute (CMRI) in conducting quality research studies for the development of Thailand’s capital market, economy and society.

15 February Is Non-Trading Day For US Securities On MOEX
On 15 February 2021, Moscow Exchange markets will be closed for trading of shares of US companies through MOEXs central T+ order books.

BOX System Maintenance
BOX Options Market (“BOX”) will perform maintenance on its system on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 8:00 am EST to 5:00 pm EST. Participants connectivity to BOX may be impacted during that time.

Thailand Tops The World’S Sustainability Ranking By Number With 11 Firms Selected As ‘Gold-Class’ By S&P Global
The Stock Exchange of Thailand revealed that 11 Thai firms have been awarded in Gold Class, the world’s highest ranking by number in sustainability aspect in “The Sustainability Yearbook 2021” conducted by S&P Global. Of the total 11 companies, 10 are SET-listed companies and the other one is a Thai company, strikingly resonating that the sustainability approach is viable and has leveled up the country’s capital market to be widely recognized in international arena.


LiTDX: Voting now open for the FinTech of the Year 2020 award; In a first for Leaders in Trading, the FinTech of the Year award winner will be decided by an industry-wide vote with the results announced on 19 March during LiTDX.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
The TRADE is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2020 Leaders in Trading: The Digital Experience (LiTDX) FinTech of the Year award, in partnership with Instinet, with voting now open to decide the winner.

ION Investment Group to acquire DASH Financial Technologies; The deal will see ION acquire the options technology and execution provider from private equity firm Flexpoint Ford, which acquired DASH in 2018.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
ION Investment Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US agency brokerage DASH Financial Technologies. ION will acquire DASH Financial Technologies from private equity firm Flexpoint Ford which has owned the options technology and execution provider since 2018 when it acquired it from private equity firm GTCR in a management-led buyout.

Perfect Channel Ltd appoints John Lee as new CIO as part of 2021 growth strategy – i-Invest Online
Perfect Channel Limited
Perfect Channel Limited, a leading digital marketplace developer and business partner, has today announced the appointment of John Lee as its new Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a member of the company’s Management Committee. Lee has previously held roles as CIO at PayPoint PLC, Director of Systems Development at NYSE Euronext Market Solutions, and Group CTO at the London Metal Exchange. More recently, Lee has been acting as a consultant for Airbus Industries to help it launch SKYTRA, designed to help the air travel industry manage the financial risks of volatile revenue streams. His experience covers the management of a wide range of IT projects and systems, utilising new technologies and globally distributed platforms.

Capitalab named OTC Infrastructure Service of the Year
Capitalab, a division of BGC Brokers LP, an entity within the BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) group of companies, has been named the winner of the 2021 OTC Infrastructure Service of the Year award by, the financial industry’s leading publication for in-depth news and analysis on risk management, derivatives and regulation.


Tesla’s Bitcoin-Equals-Cash View Isn’t Shared by Crypto Owners
Olivia Raimonde and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
Mere 0.3% of 2020 merchant transactions made with crypto; Holders remain unwilling to spend Bitcoin amid the price surge
Elon Musk’s decision to stash 8% of Tesla Inc.’s cash reserves in Bitcoin animated the crypto universe. Now was Bitcoin’s moment, its arrival on the fourth-biggest company’s balance sheet is a gateway to wider acceptance as a cash alternative. Longtime booster Mike Novogratz suggested soon “every company in America” would accept it as payment. Michael Saylor, whose company, MicroStrategy Inc. parked more than $1 billion in Bitcoin, said the dollar’s days as a reserve currency are toast. RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves urged Apple Inc. to follow suit.

Why a U.S. Bitcoin ETF Could Be a Real Thing in 2021
Claire Ballentine and Katherine Greifeld – Bloomberg
Looking for the adrenaline rush of investing in Bitcoin but without the bother of crypto-exchanges and digital wallets? An exchange-traded fund might appeal, except an investor won’t find one tracking Bitcoin in the $5.8 trillion U.S. ETF universe — at least not yet. While exchange-traded crypto-tracking products exist in Europe, U.S. regulators have repeatedly batted down attempts to introduce them citing concerns about potential manipulation and thin liquidity. Yet with the world’s largest digital coin rallying to new heights and a change of leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prospect of a first U.S. Bitcoin ETF appears to be rising.

JPMorgan Sees Tesla Bitcoin Bet as Too Bold for Others to Follow
Vildana Hajric and Lu Wang – Bloomberg
Main issue is Bitcoin’s volatility, say strategists in report; Crypto coin advances to record after Tesla buys $1.5 billion
Don’t count on other large companies to emulate Tesla Inc.’s decision to add Bitcoin to its balance sheet, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. “The main issue with the idea that mainstream corporate treasurers will follow the example of Tesla is the volatility of Bitcoin,” strategists at the bank led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note. Still, they argue, its move puts a spotlight on the trend.

Nouriel Roubini: bitcoin is not a hedge against tail risk; Elon Musk may be buying it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should follow suit
Nouriel Roubini – FT
Claims that bitcoin is the new “digital gold” are feeding a new bubble in it and other cryptocurrencies. The last one in 2017-18 saw bitcoin go from $1,000 to $20,000 and then fall back to $3,000 by the end of 2018.

Tesla and bitcoin: the accounting; Reality just became even more distorted at Elon Musk’s company.
Jamie Powell – FT
In case you missed it, on Monday green energy pin-up Tesla announced it had spent $1.5bn on bitcoin in January in its 10-K filing. Plenty of takes, of course, followed. Questions raised include whether Elon’s pumping of the coin earlier this year will attract regulatory scrutiny, why a ‘technology’ company would spend more than its entire research and development budget on a Keynesian beauty contest and whether other corporate treasuries will follow suit. (FT Alphaville’s answers to those questions is: no, you’re getting warmer, no.)

A month-old Reddit post appears to make public Tesla’s bitcoin strategy; Post from ‘u/TSLAinsider’ appeared on the bitcoin subreddit five weeks ago.
Jemima Kelly and Claire Jones – FT
We found out yesterday that Tesla isn’t Fiat. But how exactly did it spend $1.5bn of its reserves buying up bitcoin? There are some clues here:

Why Bitcoin Hasn’t Gained Traction as a Form of Payment; The cost of using the digital currency, and its volatility, make day-to-day transactions impractical
Paul Vigna – WSJ
Want to buy your next car with bitcoin? What about your next cup of coffee? Elon Musk, a longtime advocate for bitcoin, will soon give Tesla Inc.’s TSLA -1.62% customers the chance to buy the company’s electric vehicles using the digital currency. The news—along with Tesla’s move to acquire $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency for its corporate treasury—sent the price of bitcoin up 25% from Sunday to a new intraday record of $48,226 on Tuesday.

Tether’s market cap has crossed $30 billion as large investors are buying bitcoin
Yogita Khatri – The Block
The market capitalization of stablecoin Tether (USDT) has crossed the $30 billion mark. At press time, USDT’s market cap stands at about $30.5 billion, meaning there are more than 30 billion USDT in circulation, each pegged to track one U.S. dollar. Tether has since long been the largest stablecoin in the market, but its popularity has surged even higher in recent months. Why? Because institutions and corporates are buying bitcoin, Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino told The Block.

BlockFi officially launches its new Bitcoin Trust
Michael McSweeney – The Block
BlockFi has gone live with its new Bitcoin Trust, according to a Tuesday announcement. The firm registered the trust with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) late last month, per a public filing. With Tuesday’s launch, BlockFi’s bitcoin-focused trust joins the small but growing ranks of investment vehicles that aim to connect the crypto world with institutional investors. “The Trust will issue shares via private placements, and the investment objective of the Trust is for the value of the shares to reflect the value of BTC held by the Trust less the Trust’s expenses and other liabilities. Trust shares will be available to global institutions and other qualified investors in the near-term, and later this eligibility will be expanded to include accredited individual investors in the U.S,” BlockFi said Tuesday.

DeFi’s Curve Finance Is Branching Out to Polkadot; It costs a lot to swap assets on Ethereum. So, Equilibrium is building out a cross-chain version of Curve Finance on Polkadot.
William Foxley – Coindesk
Curve Finance’s AMM is making its way to another blockchain – Polkadot. Money market Equilibrium is building a cross-chain implementation of Curve Finance on its Polkadot parachain. Once finished, the automated market maker (AMM) will exist on both Ethereum and Polkadot. Curve Finance is one of the largest automated market makers (AMM) on Ethereum. The protocol enables low-slippage swaps of stablecoins such as tether (USDT, -0.04%), dai (+0.03%) and USDC (-0.14%). For example, Curve processed $400 million in volume in one day last month, according to CoinGecko. “We’re excited to see the demand for stablecoin liquidity driving the technology to other chains,” Curve Finance CEO Michael Egorov said in a statement. “Deep liquidity is vital for adoption of new applications like Equilibrium, as well as for the adoption of new blockchains themselves.”


Wall Street wants Biden to crimp tech rivals; Banks see a chance to direct tougher regulation against Facebook, Google and fintechs
Robert Armstrong, Mark Vandevelde and Laura Noonan – FT
Wall Street executives see the prospect of tougher regulation under the Biden administration as a threat — but also as a chance to neutralise a new generation of high-tech competitors. Bank lobbyists and executives say a priority will be persuading the incoming administration that tech giants such as Facebook and Google, as well as upstart fintechs, should not be allowed to provide services that compete with banks without being subject to the same rules.

The Upper Crust Has Its Candidate. Don’t Call Him ‘the Black Bloomberg.’; Raymond McGuire has lived a grand New York life, conquering Wall Street and kibitzing with Steve Martin. But in his campaign for mayor, he is eager to reach beyond his wealthy supporters.
Matt Flegenheimer – NY Times
At last, Raymond J. McGuire was among friends. “I see my crew from Citi!” he called out to his Zoom gathering, midway through a virtual fund-raiser for his mayoral campaign, its grid of video feeds looking like a chapter meeting of the 1 percent: grand libraries and fire-warmed living rooms, Steve Martin in a smart white button-down, a Tisch, a Seinfeld, a Knick.

Markets Don’t Think Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Covid Relief Is Too Much; Investors are predicting the sort of inflation they like, slightly higher in the next few years but moderating back down after that
James Mackintosh – WSJ
A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. A fierce argument has erupted between well-known left-leaning economists about President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, with warnings that it is so large it risks runaway inflation and the crowding out of other, more productive, spending plans.


Corporate finance director sentenced for conspiring to manipulate market
Corporate finance director, Mr Ananda Kathiravelu, of Perth WA, has been convicted in the Supreme Court of Western Australia for conspiring to manipulate the market. Mr Kathiravelu has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, released forthwith on recognizance in the sum of $10,000 to be of good behaviour for seven months.

ASIC imposes additional licence conditions on Poynter Hargraves Financial Consultants Pty Ltd
ASIC has imposed additional conditions on the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Poynter Hargraves Financial Consultants Pty Ltd (Poynter Hargraves).

Judge disputes Bailey account of why he asked not to be named in LCF probe; BoE head allegedly misrepresented his reasons to MPs about his attempts to have name removed from Gloster report
Matthew Vincent – FT
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has been accused of misrepresenting his reasons for asking not to be named in a highly critical report of his handling of a £236m investment scandal.

ESMA Withdraws the Registrations of Fitch Entities Following Merging with Fitch Tradings Ireland
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has today withdrawn the credit rating agency (CRA) registrations of Fitch France, Fitch Polska, Fitch Italia and Fitch Ratings España following the merger with Fitch Ratings Ireland.

ESMA organises workshop on “CCP margins and procyclicality in times of crisis”
The European Securities and Markets Authority, the EU’s securities markets regulator, is organising a workshop on CCP margins and procyclicality in times of crisis which will take place on 17 February 2021 from 2:30 to 6:00 PM (Paris time).

Social Isolation and the Risk of Investment Fraud
FINRA, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the staff of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy have joined to raise awareness that increased social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can have a devastating impact on senior investors.

Encore | Augmenting the Exam and Risk Monitoring Program with Data Analytics and Technology
Technology is opening up new possibilities when it comes to solving business challenges. And that’s important when it comes to optimizing an organization’s most valuable limited resource: its people.

Statement of Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee on Empowering Enforcement to Better Protect Investors
Acting Chair Allison Lee – SEC
In consultation with Division of Enforcement Acting Director Melissa Hodgman, today I restored a vital tool to our enforcement program to better protect investors by authorizing senior officers in the division to approve the issuance of a Formal Order of Investigation. This will empower senior officers to exercise the delegated authority of the Commission to authorize staff to subpoena documents and take sworn testimony. This delegation of authority will enable investigative staff to act more swiftly to detect and stop ongoing frauds, preserve assets, and protect vulnerable investors.

Collapse of odious retail bucket shop could destroy BoE governor and shows extent of regulatory nepotism – FinanceFeeds
Andrew Saks – Finance Feeds
In the United Kingdom, it depends who you are and which school you attended as to whether you will be culpable for your actions as the regulators show their true colors. Disgusting really Egg on the face of high ranking government officials, court judges and central bank officials is never easy to remove, and in the United Kingdom where the stiff upper lip and regimented class system pervade every aspect of public service, this is perhaps more notable than anywhere else.

Update On Bank Of England And Financial Conduct Authority Memorandum Of Understanding On The Supervision Of Market Infrastructure And Payment Systems
Domestically, the Bank co-operates with both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) in relation to supervising market infrastructure and payment systems respectively.

Investing and Trading

Inflation Risk Is Rising. Here’s How to Protect Your Investment Portfolio; Buying gold is just one of the available options if talk of rising prices has you worried.
Emily Cadman, Eric Lam, and Katharine Gemmell – Bloomberg
Do you need to start preparing your portfolio for rising prices? It’s a question that’s being hotly debated in financial circles at the moment. With a new U.S. administration looking to spend big and propel a economic recovery, and the Federal Reserve determined to hold off on raising interest rates until a rebound is well underway, financial markets predict U.S. inflation will drift up to a little over 2%. A gentle uptick is expected in other developed economies as well.

Disappointed GameStop Traders Should Take These Lessons to the Next Mania
Suzanne Woolley – Bloomberg
To judge by the Reddit-fueled rollercoaster ride in shares of GameStop Corp., AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and silver, you might think investing is supposed to be exciting, the financial world’s equivalent of a stadium packed with screaming Super Bowl fans. And financial planners are killjoys — diversify holdings, don’t chase hot stocks, don’t try to time the market. Where’s the fun in that? The sense of being part of something bigger?

Pimco Sees Risk in Premature Calls on Pandemic and Inflation
Ruth Carson – Bloomberg
Price gains not a concern for the next 12 months, says Mead; HSBC’s Major sticks with year-end yield targets despite climb
One of the biggest risks in 2021 is betting that vaccines will bring a quick end to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Pacific Investment Management Co. With growth-linked assets at or near records, “the biggest risk is probably the market prematurely pricing the end of the pandemic,” said Robert Mead, Pimco’s co-head of Asia-Pacific portfolio management. “It’s easy for markets to get a little too optimistic.”

Rocket Internet Co-Founder Files for $250 Million Tech SPAC
Amy Thomson – Bloomberg
Executives are joining a boom in SPACs targeting tech firms; Listing in U.S. led by Rocket CEO and co-founder Oliver Samwer
The management of German startup incubator Rocket Internet SE are creating a special-purpose acquisition vehicle that will look for a technology deal outside of the U.S. Rocket’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Oliver Samwer, board member Soheil Mirpour, and Donald Stalter, who managed North American investments for private equity firm GFC Global Founders Capital GmbH, will run the blank-check company, which will sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the group said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Credit Traders Lose Money Like It’s 2018 on Record Rate Risk
Tasos Vossos – Bloomberg
Apple, Bayer among issuers flooding market with long debt; Stimulus bets, vaccine rollouts awaken yields from slumber
The corporate world’s zeal for selling long-dated debt is hitting bondholders as long-feared interest rate risks finally break out. Bonds with at least 10 years left to maturity have produced losses of around 3.2%, the worst start to a year since 2018 and more than twice the broader credit market’s decline, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes. In the euro market, long bonds have fallen 0.8% in total-return terms against a broadly stable market.

Searching for Money’s New Standard; Five decades after the gold standard ended, history shows efforts to control money rarely last long.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Volatility of markets is virtually a given. Putting a price on assets whose value is derived from the future will always require judgment calls, and masses of traders gathered together will always be prey to the herd psychology that leads to overshooting. And yet it’s also human nature to seek to control that volatility. The financial history of the past 50 years is in many ways the story of a series of attempts to find a different anchor to replace gold as the mechanism of control. Each new regime has been greeted with a change in the trend of the price of stocks in gold terms.

America Went on a Borrowing Binge, but Banks Were Left Out; Lenders are flush with cash they want to put to use, and banks hope loan growth will pick up in 2021
Ben Eisen – WSJ
Last year was a banner one for debt, but it didn’t look that way for America’s big banks. Large U.S. lenders saw their loan books shrink in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Jason Goldberg, a banking analyst at Barclays. The 0.5% drop was just the second decline in 28 years.

How a ‘Surefire’ Bet on Ant Group Has Trapped Global Investors; Unconventional terms of a 2018 investment deal mean foreign money managers have to wait for Ant to revive its listing plans
Jing Yang in Hong Kong and Julie Steinberg – WSJ
Some of the world’s biggest investors were on the cusp of a multibillion-dollar windfall from their bets on Ant Group Co. Now they are stuck with shares that won’t pay off soon.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Bill Gates-Led Fund Backs Tech to Use Natural Gas Without the Carbon Impact; C-Zero splits methane into hydrogen and solid carbon, eliminating much of the greenhouse-gas impact
Akshat Rathi – Bloomberg
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the fund helmed by Bill Gates, led a funding round to raise $11.5 million for California-based startup C-Zero Inc. The company has developed technology to lower the greenhouse-gas emissions from using natural gas. Instead of burning the fuel to produce carbon dioxide and water, C-Zero passes the gas through a mixture of molten salts. Doing so splits methane — the main component of natural gas — into hydrogen gas and solid carbon. When the hydrogen burns, it produces water; the solid carbon goes to landfills.

The Boom in ESG Shows No Signs of Slowing; Governments, corporations and other groups raised a record $490 billion last year selling green, social and sustainability bonds.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
The numbers are simply astounding. Governments, corporations and other groups raised a record $490 billion last year selling green, social and sustainability bonds. A further $347 billion poured into ESG-focused investment funds—an all-time high—and more than 700 new funds were launched globally to capture the deluge of inflows.

Just Add an ‘M’: The ‘EMSG’ Take on ESG Investing
Todd Shriber – ETF Trends
Amid expectations of a global economic recovery, emerging markets assets are rebounding and more investors are getting in on the action. They can join the party in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) fashion with the Xtrackers MSCI Emerging Markets ESG Leaders Equity ETF (EMSG). EMSG seeks investment results that correspond generally to the performance, before fees and expenses, of the MSCI Emerging Markets ESG Leaders Index. “Investors have recently favored emerging market stocks over the those in the U.S. That is a reflection of their confidence in the global economy’s recovery, given that those stocks typically perform well when growth picks up steam,” reports Jacob Sonenshine for Barron’s. “A net $5.7 billion flowed into emerging market stocks this week, according to Bank of America strategists.”

ESG Investor? How Do You Allocate Between E, S, and G?
Debbie Carlson – The Ticker Tape
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing has become an increasingly popular choice among investors, particularly among young investors. A recent report by US SIF, a group that tracks sustainable investing, shows that one-third of total U.S. assets under professional management (about $17 trillion) use sustainable investing strategies. As the ESG investing style has grown, it’s led to more ways to invest, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. But ESG-focused funds aren’t all the same. Although there are some broad-based funds that try to incorporate all three pillars of ESG, many funds concentrate on just one criterium. In 2020, US SIF identified 718 mutual funds and 94 ETFs that consider ESG criteria, so there’s potentially an investment vehicle to suit anyone.

Global Investors Accelerate ESG Investments in Response to Pandemic, According to MSCI Survey; Interconnected Risks Present Challenges
Businesswire (press release)
The global pandemic has highlighted both the importance of ESG issues and is accelerating ESG integration by institutional investors, according to the respondents of MSCI’s 2021 Global Institutional Investor Survey1, a survey of 200 asset owner institutions with assets totaling approximately $18 trillion. The survey of sovereign wealth funds, insurers, endowments/foundations, and pension funds found that over three-quarters (77%) of investors increased ESG investments “significantly” or “moderately” in response to COVID-19, with this figure rising to 90% for the largest institutions (over $200 billion of assets).

The Boom in ESG Shows No Signs of Slowing; Governments, corporations and other groups raised a record $490 billion last year selling green, social and sustainability bonds.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
The numbers are simply astounding. Governments, corporations and other groups raised a record $490 billion last year selling green, social and sustainability bonds. A further $347 billion poured into ESG-focused investment funds—an all-time high—and more than 700 new funds were launched globally to capture the deluge of inflows. And 2021 is shaping up to be just as frothy. Moody’s Investors Service expects sustainable-debt issuance to reach $650 billion while money flows to ESG funds show no signs of slowing. This will be the year of “green stimulus as major economies attempt to integrate their economic recovery and job creation initiatives with their longer-term efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” Moody’s wrote in a recent report.

Providing Timely ESG Information Is Becoming More Crucial for CFOs; Analysts and investors rely on data when evaluating a company’s outlook, creditworthiness
Kimberly Chin and Dieter Holger – WSJ
Providing frequent updates about the sustainability of their business is becoming more crucial for finance chiefs, as analysts and investors increasingly rely on this information when evaluating a company’s outlook and its creditworthiness.

Airlines Push to Reduce Carbon Footprint With Greener Fuels; In the coming decade, more sustainable jet fuels could help make flying greener
Oliva Bugault, Dieter Holger – WSJ
Can the world’s jet fuel ever be green? Under pressure to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, airlines are experimenting with so-called sustainable aviation fuels, or SAF. The most advanced contender is biofuel, mainly made from cooking oil, animal fats, agricultural crops and unused wood, though it is a struggle to use on more than a small fraction of flights because of the lack of supply and the high costs. In the coming decade, different types of alternative fuels could make flying even cleaner.


SocGen to Return Capital After First Losing Year in Decades
Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
Equities and debt trading slumps in strong quarter for peers; Bank pledges to resume dividends, may start buyback this year
Societe Generale SA vowed to return capital to investors even as it ended its first losing year in more than three decades with a slump in trading. In contrast to double-digit gains at Wall Street peers, SocGen saw equities revenue — its traditional strength — fall 7% from a year earlier and fixed-income trading drop 16%. Net income in the fourth quarter fell less than analysts had expected and the Paris-based firm pledged to return about 940 million euros ($1.14 billion) to investors this year if regulators let it.

Amundi Asset Management CEO steps down; Valérie Baudson will replace Yves Perrier as chief executive officer at Amundi when he steps away from the helm in May to take up his role as chairman of the board.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
European asset manager Amundi has appointed its deputy chief executive officer, Valérie Baudson, to replace chief executive officer Yves Perrier as he prepares to step down from the role after 10 years.

Tier1 Expands Relationship With Jefferies Bolstering The Firm’s ‘Client-First’ Service Model http://
Tier1 Financial Solutions announced today that Jefferies Financial Group has signed an expanded five-year renewal contract with Tier1 Financial Solutions (“Tier1”), a leading client relationship management (“CRM”) technology provider for capital markets and banking. The multi-thousand seat agreement increases Jefferies’ licenses by 50 percent, demonstrating the firm’s client-first approach and commitment to providing premium relationship management tools to their organization to meaningfully engage clients amidst a shifting industry landscape.


Up to a Million People Fleeing Hong Kong Might Suit China Just Fine; Many are looking for an exit, and the exodus could be for good this time.
Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
Albert Ho shuffles across the dining room of Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club in a suit jacket and black scarf and slumps into his seat. The 69-year-old lawyer, democracy campaigner, and opposition politician has just come from visiting two friends in prison.

Riksbank Sticks With 0% Rate as Inflation Goal Won’t Be Hit for Years
Rafaela Lindeberg and Niclas Rolander – bloomberg
Sweden’s central bank Governor Stefan Ingves made clear he’s more worried about withdrawing monetary support too soon rather than too late, given the severity of the current crisis. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ingves said he’s in “no hurry” to adjust the Riksbank’s guidance, which shows a key interest rate of zero into 2024, as inflation remains stubbornly below the 2% target for years to come.

Kenyan Banks Seen Facing More Bad-Loan Woes Than Nigerian Peers
Emele Onu – Bloomberg
Kenyan lenders face more challenges managing bad loans this year than their Nigerian counterparts even as credit losses threaten to increase in both nations, according to Renaissance Capital. Banks in Kenya are more exposed to small- and medium-sized companies as well as retail businesses, which are more sensitive to economic shocks, said Adesoji Solanke, director for frontier and sub-Saharan Africa banks at Renaissance Capital in London. Nigerian lenders have larger exposure to dollar loans and big firms, with a higher capacity to survive downturns, he said.

HNA Units Make Plans to Claw Back $17 Billion Misused Funds
Shirley Zhao and Daniela Wei – Bloomberg
Hainan Air, HNA Infra, CCOOP demand parents make up for losses; Shareholders gave illicit debt guarantees, embezzled funds
Three listed units of China’s indebted HNA Group Co. announced plans to recoup at least 112 billion yuan ($17 billion) of misused funds, undisclosed debt guarantees and questionable investments by its major shareholders and their affiliates.

Spain draws EUR65bn orders in sale of 50-year bonds; Latest blockbuster debt deal comes as Italy’s borrowing costs reach historic lows
Adam Samson and Martin Arnold – FT
Spain has attracted more than EUR65bn in orders for a new 50-year bond on the same day Italy’s borrowing costs reached a historic low, underscoring the sizzling conditions in Europe’s debt markets.

China’s Coal War With Australia Fuels Shortage at Home; The trade dispute has forced Chinese buyers to pay steep premiums for imports amid a supply crunch
Chuin-Wei Yap – WSJ
China’s ban on Australian coal imports is intensifying a crisis in its coal market, which is battling surging prices, supply shortages, conflicting policy goals and a cold winter.


Brexit Threatens to Spoil U.K. Hospitality’s Post-Covid Recovery
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
Just as Britain’s pubs, restaurants and food retailers prepare to emerge from lockdown in the coming months — generating an expected surge in business — Brexit threatens to deal the beleaguered sector a fresh setback. From April, the U.K. will start imposing new controls on food and drink coming from the European Union, the source of about a third of the country’s supply. The prospect is causing concern among executives, who fear any delays or disruption will leave them struggling to meet demand from consumers. “It’s going to be like a Big Bang, a peak season of all peak seasons,” said Peter Ward, chief executive of the U.K. Warehousing Association.

Brexit: UK pig exports ‘facing a crisis’
A “perfect storm” of Covid impacts and post-Brexit bureaucracy threaten to plunge British pig farmers into a crisis, an industry body has warned. The National Pig Association (NPA) said there were 100,000 animals in the UK unable to enter the food chain. Farmers in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which has about a third of the backlog, said prices had dropped as pigs grew too fat to meet industry standards. The government said it continued to work closely with producers. NPA policy adviser Charlie Dewhurst said members had reported delays due to “excessive bureaucracy” and new rules governing exports since Britain officially left the EU.

Real-Time Data Say Brexit Dent to Trade Isn’t Improving
Lizzy Burden – Bloomberg
The impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union’s single market isn’t letting up after five weeks of the new trade deal. High-frequency data show that freight volumes from the U.K. to the EU were down by about 25% from year-ago levels last week because of Brexit red tape and the impact of the coronavirus, according to the logistics platform Transporeon.

Brexit, COVID cast shadow over UK finance tax contributions, report says
Huw Jones – Reuters
Britain’s financial sector paid 75.6 billion pounds ($104.08 billion) in tax in 2020, but receipts are forecast to drop this year as unfettered access to the European Union ends and fallout from the pandemic continues, a report said on Wednesday. The City of London Corporation, which administers the capital’s historic financial district, said the tax contribution in the year to March 2020 was little changed from 75.5 billion pounds in the prior period, despite uncertainties over Britain’s future relations with the European Union.

U.K.-EU Relations ‘More Than Bumpy’ Since Brexit, Frost Says
Joe Mayes – Bloomberg
The U.K. government said its relations with the European Union have been “problematic” since Brexit, following disputes over issues including vaccines, trade and Northern Ireland. “It’s been more than bumpy in the last six weeks,” David Frost, the U.K. representative for Brexit and International Policy, told a parliamentary committee Tuesday. “I hope we’ll get over this. It is going to require a different spirit, probably, from the EU.” Frost, who negotiated the free-trade agreement with the EU on Britain’s behalf, identified the EU’s criticism of the U.K.’s approach to its vaccine roll-out, border hold-ups, and the accreditation of diplomatic missions as issues that have arisen so far in 2021.

London’s Lord Mayor Says Regulation Won’t Weaken After Brexit
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
Bankers hoping that Brexit would usher in an era of low regulation and tax cuts are set to be disappointed, according to the ambassador for the U.K.’s financial services industry. William Russell, the Lord Mayor of London, is set to underline the importance of regulation in prepared remarks at a talk Wednesday evening. He will also call for London to remain open to international business and talent and embrace new sources of growth, such as financial technology. “This emphatically does not mean pushing for sweeping deregulation and tax cuts,” Russell said. “High regulatory standards are one of our biggest advantages, and can continue to support innovation in areas like fintech and green finance.”

Call for UK to rethink £1bn Brexit red tape plan for chemicals; Letter from 25 industry leaders warns that new regulatory system risks driving business overseas
George Parker, Jim Pickard and Peter Foster – FT
Ministers have been urged by industry leaders to radically rethink a post-Brexit chemicals regime, amid warnings it could cost £1bn to implement, drive business away and lead to “additional and repetitive animal testing”. In a strongly worded letter, seen by the Financial Times, 25 business heads said they remained “extremely concerned” about current plans for a new system of chemicals regulation, and warned it would “hit UK industry hard across a range of manufacturing sectors”. Boris Johnson’s government is now facing protests from various sectors as the impact of the Brexit trade deal becomes clearer, ranging from musicians to shellfish exporters and traders in Northern Ireland.

Brexit: ‘Under-loved’ fish renamed for British tastes
BBC News
Fishermen are to rename two of their biggest exports in a bid to attract British consumers after post-Brexit difficulties selling to the EU. Megrim sole is to be sold as Cornish sole, with spider crab being rebranded as Cornish King crab. It is being driven by the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO) after research with chefs and consumers. Paul Trebilcock from the CFPO said: “There is something about the names that has negative connotations.” Both species primarily rely on exports to Europe, which he explained that “in the current climate is not a pleasant experience”.

What Brexit means for financial services
The much-debated Brexit deal was finally signed on Dec. 31, bringing some degree of resolution to the issue but leaving many questions for the financial services industry. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the U.K. and the European Union does not include any material specifically on financial services other than the limited material on services in general. Instead, there is a broad commitment to cooperate and the promise of a further statement in March.


Super Bowl Audience Plunges to Lowest Mark in Over a Decade
Gerry Smith – Bloomberg
Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast on CBS attracted an audience of 96.4 million TV and digital viewers, falling to the lowest mark in over a decade. The championship, featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lopsided 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, marked a setback for the National Football League, which played many of its games in empty stadiums this season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s broadcast on Fox drew an audience of 102 million, or 113 million with out-of-home viewing included. CBS’s audience of 96.4 million included people watching outside their homes. The 15% decline from last year made it the fewest people to watch the big game since 2007, when 93.2 million TV viewers tuned in to see the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears.

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