Wall Street Traders Muscle Into the Middle of Crypto

Jan 19, 2022

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The Biden White House has arranged for lots of free stuff to be given away, normally the bane of conservatives who think it is vote buying. It may be. But it is life saving first and foremost. They are giving away N95 masks and COVID-19 testing kits.

Katten Financial Markets and Regulation Chair Gary DeWaal will participate in the “Lawfirm Panel” discussion on Jan. 25 during the Commodity Markets Council State of the Industry 2022 conference.

Boerse Stuttgart Group CEO Dr. Matthias Voelkel explains the strategy of the group in a Youtube video titled “Our strategy for 2022.”

The Bucharest Stock Exchange, or BVB, is making some records. The BVB reported that “the cumulative value of transactions with all types of financial instruments on the Regulated Market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) exceeded, for the first time, the threshold of RON 20 billion, the equivalent of over EUR 4 billion. The average daily liquidity for all types of financial instruments registered a new maximum: RON 79.4 million or EUR 16.1 million.”

Deutsche Börse announced a partnership with the Guangzhou Futures Exchange (GFEX) to promote the development of emissions trading on so-called carbon markets and thus the green transformation of the Chinese and European markets. Representatives of Deutsche Börse and GFEX signed a letter of intent today.

MGEX reported its trading results for December and the full year of 2021 and set an annual record for futures and options volume. Volume was a record 3,873,016 contracts, up 40.0% from 2020, the highest ever annual total. MIAX, which owns MGEX, also set volume records in 2021.

Inflation is roaring so much that Germany’s 10-Year Bund yield actually turned positive for the first time since 2019. I am not sure how much more I can take.

It is better to be king of the jungle than a hamster when it comes to COVID-19, it turns out. Over 2000 hamsters now are reported to have been killed/culled in Hong Kong, while in South Africa there are reports of lions contracting the virus from their human caretakers at a zoo.

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



The Greenwood Project Expands High School FinTech Program with Support from Citadel and Citadel Securities; New partnership doubles the number of high school students served by the program, providing critical skills and exposure to opportunities in finance for high-performing, Black and Latinx students.
Greenwood Project
The Greenwood Project today announced a new partnership with Citadel and Citadel Securities to significantly expand its summer program for Chicago high school students. With funding from Citadel and Citadel Securities, The Greenwood Project will expand its summer FinTech Institute to serve 60 high school students in 2022, primarily from Chicago’s South and West sides. The initiative launched in 2016 with five students in the pilot program and has since served more than 470 Black and Latinx students in Chicago. Over 75% of the program’s alumni are working in finance.

***** Ken Griffin gets some snark for his real estate deals, but this is a deal that deserves our respect. Thank you Ken for making this investment.~JJL


OCC Receives Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas Designation for Second Consecutive Year
OCC is proud to share that in 2022, for the second year in a row, we have earned the Best Place for Working Parents™ Dallas designation in recognition of our family-friendly policies and practices. Fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for working parents is part of OCC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Value and ensures OCC continues to attract, retain and develop talent with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.

***** But if the OCC parents are working from home, where is the place?~JJL


Work From Home Is Becoming a Permanent Part of How Jobs Are Done; Data show we can expect 30% to 40% of workdays to be remote, long after the pandemic is over.
Justin Fox – Bloomberg
In the second-to-last week of December, 42.4% of U.S. workdays were worked from home. That’s according to a monthly survey commissioned by a trio of economists studying remote work, who couldn’t get the answers they needed from government data. It’s probably the best measure we have of how entrenched working from home has become since the arrival of Covid-19.

*****I had it at 42.3%, so I was close.~JJL


U.S. to let teens drive big rigs in test apprenticeship program to help ease supply chain backlogs
Associated Press via ABC 11 News
The federal government is moving forward with a plan to let teenagers drive big rigs from state to state in a test program. Currently, truckers who cross state lines must be at least 21 years old, but an apprenticeship program required by Congress to help ease supply chain backlogs would let 18-to-20-year-old truckers drive outside their home states.

****** They have so much experience driving already virtually, with “grand theft trucking,” why not?~JJL


Regulators must act on exchanges’ market data monopoly; UK regulator set to investigate market data competition concerns
Tom Eckett – ETFStream.com
The Financial Conduct Authority is the latest regulator to launch a consultation into the monopoly exchanges have over market data and the fees they charge broker-dealers and asset managers, a contentious issue that shows no sign of resolution anytime soon. Last week, the UK watchdog announced plans to investigate access to wholesale trading data amid concerns that “limited competition may increase costs” for investors and “could affect the quality of wholesale data.

***** Piling on the data monopoly bandwagon.~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top story Tuesday was the press release Deutsche Börse expands its analytics suite with ‘Eurex® Open Interest Insights’. Unfortunately, the link led to an error message on the DB web site. Again, the correct link to the release is here. We apologize for the bad link. Our No. 2 clicked story was PFOF Is Alive and Well in Europe, by Optiver’s Edward Monrad on LinkedIn. And third was John Lothian’s commentary, which was No. 1 yesterday, New Non-price Oriented Risks To Manage: Covid And Cancer.


MarketsWiki Stats
26,691 pages; 237,102 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

Wall Street Traders Muscle Into the Middle of Crypto; It’s called decentralized finance, but the established pros still want a cut.
Nick Baker – Bloomberg
When Christoffel and Jan Raphoen invented market-making in Amsterdam around the 1620s, their job was small in scope: Buy shares of Dutch East India Co., the world’s first publicly traded company, from people who wanted to sell, and sell to those who wanted to buy. The brothers were “the missing link,” according to historian and economist Lodewijk Petram, connecting buyers and sellers “who happened to be not at the same place at the same time.” Four centuries later, the role of market makers hasn’t really changed. Whenever there’s a financial asset to swap, they find a way to stand in the middle and rake a little money off the top in exchange for providing traders with the liquidity they need.

Deutsche Börse and Guangzhou Futures Exchange start cooperation in emissions trading; – With its EEX commodity exchange, Deutsche Börse is actively supporting the development of a derivatives market for emissions trading in China and worldwide
Deutsche Börse
Deutsche Börse has announced a partnership with the Guangzhou Futures Exchange (GFEX). Both exchanges want to promote the development of emissions trading on so-called carbon markets and thus the green transformation of the Chinese and European markets. Representatives of Deutsche Börse and GFEX signed a letter of intent today. Both sides will jointly explore opportunities for the development of green financial products and services. An important element of the partnership is the cooperation between the European Energy Exchange (EEX) and GFEX.

Exegy Announces Record Sales Growth in 2021
Exegy Inc. today announced record-breaking sales growth in 2021 and for the quarter ending December 31. Exegy added 15 new clients in the fourth quarter, delivering 48% growth from Q3 and 55% revenue bookings growth compared to the same period last year. These results are driven by an expanded and integrated portfolio of low-latency market data and execution solutions, predictive trading signals, and hardware-acceleration technology following the May 2021 merger with Vela Trading Systems.

Qontigo adds ESG risk data leader RepRisk to growing sustainability partner ecosystem; Open architecture data approach is core to Qontigo’s ESG strategy
Qontigo, a leading provider of innovative risk, analytics, and index solutions has entered into a partnership with RepRisk, a pioneer and leader in ESG data science. Under this new partnership, Qontigo will enable solutions and access to RepRisk ESG risk data via Axioma portfolio analytics and risk models, and build indices under its STOXX family of brands.

Crypto project launches token to provide incentive to data suppliers; Trading houses could earn extra fees for contributing to price feed
Philip Stafford – FT
Pyth — a crypto project built by some of the world’s largest high-speed traders — is to add a governance token to its network, in a bid to spur users to supply top-quality data to its feed of trading prices. The digital token, called PYTH, could bring its owners fees from the information they supply to the Pyth project. Pyth acts as a price feed of data from equity, conventional currency, crypto and commodity markets.

Analysis: Governments no match for markets in European energy crunch
Susanna Twidale – Reuters
European governments have spent tens of billions of euros trying to shield consumers from record high energy prices, and themselves from voters’ wrath, but the measures look set to fall short. From Athens to Oslo, lawmakers across Europe, some facing elections this year, have scrambled initiatives such as removing VAT on home energy bills or providing targeted help for the most needy households. read more

Wall Street banks eye ‘new normal’ for trading revenue
Matt Scuffham – Reuters
Wall Street banks are expecting trading revenue to settle at a “new normal” somewhere between pre-pandemic levels and the highs of the past two years, top executives and analysts say.

Hamsters, Wings, Shrimp Ensnared by China’s Covid Zero Zeal
Bloomberg News
Hong Kong suspects delta-variant cluster is linked to hamsters; Beijing warns residents to minimize purchases from overseas
As the goal to stamp out coronavirus infection becomes harder to reach, with more transmissible variants and a world awash with the pathogen, mainland China and Hong Kong are pointing to a wide range of non-human routes as potential evaders of their strict control measures.

MSCI Collaborates in Digital Assets
MSCI Inc., a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community, announced today its collaboration with Menai Financial Group (“Menai”), a leading provider of institutional-grade digital asset investment products and trading services.

Covid-19 Infected Lions Prompt Variant Warning in South Africa
Lions, pumas were infected by handlers at a Pretoria zoo; Animals got sicker than largely asymptomatic zoo staff
Antony Sguazzin and Renee Bonorchis – Bloomberg
Lions and pumas at a zoo in the South African capital of Pretoria got severe Covid-19 from asymptomatic zoo handlers, raising concerns that new variants could emerge from animal reservoirs of the disease, studies carried out by a local university showed.

Crypto ATMs Halted in Singapore After Marketing Clampdown
Chanyaporn Chanjaroen – Bloomberg
Cryptocurrency ATMs, one visible reminder of Singaporeans’ rising appetite for digital tokens, are being closed down as the city-state moves to dramatically limit consumer marketing of crypto. Daenerys & Co., Singapore’s biggest operator of the machines, ceased its services to comply with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s request, the company said late Tuesday. “MAS’s new guidelines regarding ATMs were an unexpected surprise,” Daenerys said in a reply to questions from Bloomberg.

Pyth Network Rolls Out Rewards for Robust Data
Colin Lambert – The FullFX
Financial market data network Pyth has unveiled an incentive scheme for its providers – typically high-speed traders and native crypto trading firms and exchanges – to be rewarded for the quality and robustness of their data.

Louis A. Simpson, Once Seen as Warren Buffett’s Successor, Dies at Age 85; Investment manager tended Geico’s portfolio for decades and won high praise from his better-known boss in Omaha
James R. Hagerty – WSJ
Louis A. Simpson could hardly have done better in terms of endorsements: He was one of Warren Buffett’s favorite fund managers. When Mr. Simpson was in charge of investments at insurer Geico, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Mr. Buffett let him do his own thing, without supervision from Omaha. The two were so compatible that, under a 2000 emergency succession plan, Mr. Simpson would have become investment director of Berkshire Hathaway if Mr. Buffett had died while holding the reins.

Tales From Crypto: A Billionaire Meme Feud Threatens Industry Unity; A dispute over “web3” in the cryptocurrency industry was publicly exposed in a Twitter spat between Jack Dorsey and Marc Andreessen. Here’s what it’s all about.
Ephrat Livni – NY Times
Jack Dorsey tweeted this esoteric salvo in late December, not long after he stepped down as the head of Twitter to focus on advancing his Bitcoin ambitions. The post, swiping at the power held by venture capitalists and their limited partners as they try to reorganize the internet around blockchain technology, an effort known as web3, soon set off a public feud among members of the Silicon Valley ruling class. The dispute over what many herald as the next arena of technological revolution has drawn increasingly hard lines. Elon Musk is with Mr. Dorsey; Marc Andreessen is his enemy.

Developing Contractual Standards for Crypto Derivatives
The extraordinary growth of crypto assets in recent years has become one of the defining features of modern finance. With a market value of around $3 trillion, this is now a well-established asset class that is increasingly attracting the attention of institutional investors and banks. As in any wholesale market, over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives have a vital role to play in broadening market access, facilitating risk management and price discovery, deepening liquidity, and providing greater certainty and flexibility to market participants.


Betting Omicron has peaked, Johnson drops COVID rules in England
Alistair Smout
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures introduced to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases.

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.

Hong Kong’s Hamster Cull ‘Excessive, Unjustified,’ Experts Say
Michelle Fay Cortez and Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
Two thousand small family pets to be put down on virus fears; City ramps up Covid eradication efforts amid ongoing outbreak
Hong Kong’s decision to kill thousands of hamsters, rabbits and chinchillas on the never previously seen risk that they could spread Covid-19 to humans is an overreaction borne of Covid Zero politics that may have no impact on the pandemic, experts said.

Fauci says COVID-19 won’t go away like smallpox, but will more likely become endemic
Scott Neuman – NPR
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top White House medical adviser, says that the coronavirus pandemic won’t end with the elimination of the virus. Instead, he says that a less dangerous and disruptive strain of the virus will likely take hold and become endemic.

Airlines Step Up Hygiene to Keep Covid Out of the Air
K Oanh Ha and Kyunghee Park – Bloomberg
In that long-ago time before the pandemic, most travelers chose an airline based on a single, straightforward factor: price. Those who didn’t grab the cheapest fare typically steered their business toward a carrier where they had frequent-flyer miles. Cleanliness, by contrast, barely registered.

Omicron May Cut Future Severity of Coronavirus, Study Shows
Antony Sguazzin – Bloomberg
Omicron can infect those who’ve had delta, but not vice-versa; Study led by Alex Sigal of Africa Health Research Institute
A strong wave of coronavirus infections driven by the omicron variant could hasten the end of pandemic disruptions as it appears to cause less severe illness and provides protection against the delta variant, South Africa-based researchers said.

Pfizer’s New Covid-19 Pill Works Against Omicron in Lab; Three separate, unpublished lab studies indicate Paxlovid is effective against the variant despite its mutations
Jared S. Hopkins – WSJ
Pfizer Inc.’s PFE -1.53% new Covid-19 pill, Paxlovid, was effective against the Omicron variant in laboratory tests, an encouraging early sign the drug will be an important tool while the strain spreads. Pfizer said Tuesday the drug’s main component, nirmatrelvir, worked in three separate laboratory studies. Patients take two tablets of nirmatrelvir with one tablet of another antiviral called ritonavir twice a day for five days.

U.S. to make 400 million N95 masks available for free to fight COVID-19 pandemic -official
Jeff Mason – Reuters
The U.S. government will make 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from its strategic national stockpile available for free to the public starting next week, a White House official said, marking the Biden administration’s latest effort to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The face masks will be shipped to pharmacies and community health centers this week, the official said, and available for pickup late next week.

Bulgaria posts record of more than 11,000 daily COVID-19 cases
Free N95 Masks to Be Made Available at Pharmacies, White House Says

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Global Capital Markets And The Big Bang Of Finance: HKEX Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Aguzin
When I joined HKEX in May 2021, I was incredibly excited to be joining a firm set to play a major role in shaping the future of global markets; a connected, necessary, complex and fast-evolving industry. And over the recent holidays, I took some time to reflect on those thoughts of nearly a year ago, becoming ever more convinced that Hong Kong is pivotal both to the dynamic and vital role of markets but also to our collective shared future and prosperity.

ETC Group Announces Listing Of Popular Crypto ETPs On The Swiss Stock Exchange SIX – The Listing Of Polkadot, Solana And Cardano ETPs Marks A Year’s Anniversary Since ETC Group’s Physical Bitcoin BTCE Was Launched On SIX In January 2021
ETC Group (www.etc-group.com), Europe’s leading specialist provider of institutional-grade digital asset-backed securities, has announced that it will list its physically backed Polkadot (Ticker: PLKA), Solana (Ticker: ESOL) and Cardano (Ticker: RDAN) ETCs on SIX Swiss Exchange from today.

Astana International Exchange and Euroclear Bank launch Enhanced Settlement Service
Astana International Exchange
Astana International Exchange (“AIX”, “Exchange”) and its Central Securities Depository (“AIX CSD”) and Euroclear Bank are pleased to announce the launch of a new Enhanced Settlement Service. Under the arrangement, institutional investors can settle trades in Euroclearable securities admitted to trading on AIX either in a Euroclear Bank account (if both members of Euroclear Bank and AIX) or via a custodian account at Euroclear Bank.

Miami International Holdings Reports Trading Results For December And Full-Year 2021- MIAX Exchange Group Sets Multiple Volume And Market Share Records

MGEX Reports Trading Results For December And Full Year 2021 – Sets Annual Futures And Options Volume Records
Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEXTM), a Designated Contract
Market (DCM) and Derivatives Clearing Organization (DCO), today reported record 2021 trading volume of 3,873,016 contracts, a 40.0% increase from 2020 and the highest annual total ever.

FX: a market in flux; First published on fx-markets.com on 18 January 2022
Jens Quiram, global head of FX at Eurex, outlines how the changing nature of FX trading could open up new opportunities for market participants

Market Surveillance Position Limits, Accountability Levels and Large Trader Reporting Requirements in Connection with the Initial Listing of Japanese Power (Day-Ahead) Tokyo Base-Load Average Price Option Contract – CME
Expansion of the Strike Price Listing Schedule for the Options on Bitcoin Futures Contract – CME
Performance Bond Requirements: Interest Rate Margins – Effective January 19, 2022 – CME
Product Modification Summary: Expansion of the Strike Price Listing Schedule for the Options on Bitcoin Futures Contract – Effective February 14, 2022 – CME


British digital banking app Revolut launches U.S. stock trading
Hannah Lang – ReutersBritain-based digital banking app Revolut launched commission-free stock trading in the United States on Wednesday, a move that will see it compete with online brokerages such as Robinhood Markets Inc and Charles Schwab Corp.

Oracle opens data centre to provide cloud services across Africa
Supantha Mukherjee and Promit Mukherjee – Reuters
Oracle (ORCL.N) opened a data centre in South Africa on Wednesday to provide local cloud services across Africa for the first time, joining the likes of Microsoft and Amazon in setting up facilities in the southernmost country on the continent.

Wirecard Investors Can’t Hold Bafin Responsible, Court Rules
Karin Matussek – Bloomberg
Regulator isn’t liable to individuals under German law: court; More than 60 lawsuits doomed after Frankfurt judgment
Investors who lost money from investing in Wirecard AG shares can’t make Germany’s financial regulator Bafin compensate them, a Frankfurt court ruled. The tribunal on Wednesday threw out four suits by shareholders who claimed they lost between 3,000 euros ($3,404) and 60,000 euros after the former payment company went bust in Germany’s biggest accounting scandal. Bafin isn’t liable to individuals even if the regulator made blunders, so they cannot sue, the court said in a statement.

MSCI announces strategic alliance with Menai Financial Group; Menai to provide advice to MSCI in connection with its development of digital asset solutions for institutional investors
MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), a leading provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community, announced today its collaboration with Menai Financial Group (“Menai”), a leading provider of institutional-grade digital asset investment products and trading services. This strategic alliance marks one of MSCI’s first collaborations in the digital asset
space. MSCI will aim to develop innovative tools for institutional investors seeking to capitalize on the growth of blockchain technology and digital assets.


Banking Group Looks to ‘Critical Providers’ to Help Curb Hacking
Andrew Martin – Bloomberg
Effort is aimed at thwarting threats to digital supply chain; Program seeks to boost sharing of cyber tips and strategies
A global cyber-intelligence group for financial institutions has launched an information-sharing campaign to help members combat a surge in cyberattacks on the digital supply chain. The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center plans to share data and strategies on cyber threats with its members and the firms that host, connect and protect much of those institutions technology. Akamai Technologies Inc., a global cybersecurity company, will be the program’s first “critical provider,” with the idea that others will eventually join.

CISA adapts to address cybersecurity threats
As ransomware attacks continue to plague IT teams across all sectors, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is working to counter them through a variety of means. With Log4J giving the cyber and IT community a scare with how easy it was to exploit, it became clear that a paradigm shift was necessary.

How Will Cybersecurity Capture International Attention In 2022?
Cybersecurity is a true crossover niche of the technology industry. On the one hand, it’s a deeply technical and specialist set of disciplines that requires the experience and expertise of professionals worldwide.
On the other hand, it regularly grabs the interest of mainstream media, which, this year, has enthusiastically covered a wide range of security stories, from ransomware and nation-state attacks to the disruption of critical infrastructure and mass data breaches.

Cybersecurity Trends From 2021 To Keep An Eye On In 2022
In a digital era where the adoption of technology solutions across industries has been accelerated by the wider rollout of 5G and scaled remote working policies, 2021 saw a continuance of trends from the previous year. Enterprises scrambled in 2020 to implement practices that would guarantee business continuity, and previously unthought-of cybersecurity issues arose. As a result, 2021 saw increased scrutiny on business practices with more organizations emphasizing the lessons learned from the start of the pandemic and honing in on the critical role cybersecurity plays in digitization efforts.

Ways To Make Cybersecurity A Team Effort
Chris Novak – Forbes
Whether it’s adopting a zero-trust architecture, embracing two-factor authentication or moving to secure, cloud-based applications, there are many practical ways businesses can better protect themselves from potentially devastating cybersecurity threats and breaches. But the most important factor in ensuring cybersecurity protocols are successful is not always the technology — it’s your employees. No matter the scale of the threat or the size of the business, employees play a critical role in thwarting the efforts of hackers, data thieves and other bad actors.

The next frontier in cybersecurity: Mitigating normalcy bias
Trevor Collins – Security Magazine
It’s no secret that protecting corporate networks by implementing security best practices and policies is critically important to protecting (and guiding) users. It can take days, weeks and even months to set up the proper security solutions to help meet those goals. And even after all that, some organizations still experience breaches from silly mistakes made by users. But not all the blame falls on the user base. Security professionals are often missing an important element of security — mitigating normalcy bias.


Soros, Winklevoss Invest in NFT Creator Now Valued at $5 Billion
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Animoca raises $359 million in round led by Liberty City; Company’s valuation has grown from $1 billion in July
Soros Fund Management and the Winklevoss twins’ venture capital firm are among investors in a funding round that’s more than doubled the valuation of Animoca Brands Corp., a non-fungible token and metaverse company, to $5 billion.

Blockchain at 13: Will It Be The “Terrible Teens” for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) in Financial Services?
Andrew Dunmore – Maven Wave
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) turned thirteen years old in 2021, and like most rambunctious teenagers, it had its fair share of hijinks: from “meme coins” of little to no value (other than being promoted by social media influencers) to eye-popping thefts at insecure cryptocurrency exchanges that sometimes totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars. So it’s easy to give an eye-roll and wonder if DLT is ever going to grow up.

Crypto Bank Silvergate Sees Any Launch of Fed Digital Currency ‘Years Away’
Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
California bank aims to issue U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin; Fed to publish report on digital currencies in coming weeks
Silvergate Capital Corp. Chief Executive Officer Alan Lane said any launch of a U.S. central bank-backed digital currency is “likely years away” and he’s not concerned about the potential competition as the cryptocurrency-oriented bank gears toward issuing a dollar-backed stablecoin in 2022.

U.K. Watchdog to Restrict Crypto Ads to Wealthiest Investors
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
The Financial Conduct Authority is proposing to restrict marketing of cryptoassets to only wealthy and experienced investors, part of a broader push to strengthen consumer protections around high-risk investments. The British watchdog said in a statement Wednesday that it plans to categorize qualifying cryptoassets as “restricted mass market investments.” That means consumers “would only be able to respond to cryptoasset financial promotions if they are classed as restricted, high net worth or sophisticated investors.”

Bitfrost Appoints Former Chairman Of Coinfy As New Chairman
Today, Bitfrost, the fintech ecosystem, announces the appointment of Alfred W. Moeckli as the new Chairman of the Board. Moeckli joins from his previous position as Chairman of Coinify.

Digital Trade Finance Network Contour Names Elaine Ng As Head Of Innovation
Contour, the digital trade finance network, has appointed Elaine Ng to the newly created role of Head of Innovation. Based in Singapore, Elaine will head up Contour’s Innovation Lab and manage the process of bringing new and innovative products and processes to market for the trade and trade finance industries. Working with Contour’s senior management and product and engineering teams she will conceptualise, formulate, and strategize new product development and partnership opportunities for inclusion into the company’s product roadmap.


‘In the name of God, go’: UK’s Johnson faces demands to resign
William James and Alistair Smout – Reuters
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday rebuffed calls to resign from opponents and some of his own lawmakers, fighting to save his premiership amid a deepening revolt inside his party over a series of lockdown parties in Downing Street.

Millionaires group calls for wealth tax at virtual Davos
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Simon Jessop – Reuters
A group of more than 100 billionaires and millionaires has issued a plea to political and business leaders convening virtually for the World Economic Forum: make us pay more tax.

Macron Says London Must Respect Brexit Pledges to Stay Friends
John Follain – Bloomberg
French president speaks to European lawmakers in Strasbourg; European Union, U.K. have pledged to intensify Brexit talks
President Emmanuel Macron said the only way for France to remain friends with the British government is if London respects its post-Brexit commitments. Setting out the priorities of France’s six-month presidency of the European Union, Macron told European lawmakers in Strasbourg on Wednesday that Europe and the U.K. “must get back on the path of trust.” His comments come a week after U.K. and EU Brexit negotiators agreed to intensify talks on resolving differences over trade in Northern Ireland.

Big Tech and Foes Spar Over Bill to Curb Market Power of Dominant Internet Platforms; Tech lobby launches ad campaign to block bipartisan bill by Klobuchar, Grassley
Brody Mullins, Ryan Tracy – WSJ
Big technology companies and their critics are ramping up lobbying efforts in Congress this week as a key Senate panel takes up legislation that seeks to blunt the market power of dominant tech platforms. The antitrust legislation, set to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, would bar dominant online platforms such as Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN -1.99% e-commerce site and Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG -2.50% Google search engine from preferring their own goods and services over other companies.

Business leaders have to play a better political role; Like it or not, they are potent players in our fragile democratic politics and in global decision-making
Martin Wolf – FT
We in the western world confront two crises: a collapse in trust in our democratic political system and a planetary environmental threat. The former requires the renewal of common purpose at home. The latter requires not just common purpose at home, but shared global purpose. These are things business cannot provide. It will take effective politics, instead. A big question is whether business will be able to promote the needed political solutions or just create political problems.


Companies worry U.S. SEC climate rule may require broad emissions disclosures
Katanga Johnson – Reuters
As the U.S. securities regulator wraps up a draft of a landmark new climate change rule, environmental campaigners and activist investors want it to require companies to disclose not only their own greenhouse gas emissions but those generated by their suppliers and other partners.

KPMG fined $5.8 million over “Bargain Booze” audits in Britain
Huw Jones – Reuters
Britain’s accounting watchdog on Wednesday fined KPMG 4.3 million pounds ($5.85 million) for audits of drinks store chain Conviviality, whose brands included Bargain Booze and Wine Rack, before it went into administration in 2018.

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.

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.

FCA to strengthen financial promotions rules to protect consumers
The FCA is acting to address concerns about the ease and speed with which people can make high-risk investments by proposing a significant strengthening of its rules on how high-risk financial products are marketed.  This is a central element of the FCA’s Consumer Investments Strategy, published in September 2021, which aims to give consumers the confidence to invest and reduce the number of people who are investing in high-risk products that are not aligned to their needs.

CP22/2: Strengthening our financial promotion rules for high risk investments, including cryptoassets
We are consulting on proposals to strengthen our financial promotion rules for high-risk investments, and for authorised firms which approve and communicate financial promotions.

SEC Charges Colorado Man with Fraud Related to Cryptocurrency Venture
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Paul A. Garcia, No. 1:22-cv-00118 (D. Colo. filed January 18, 2022)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Paul A. Garcia of Severance, Colorado, for allegedly defrauding investors by stealing approximately one quarter of investor funds raised for Gold Hawgs Development Corp. (“Gold Hawgs”), a failed cryptocurrency venture.

Investing and Trading

Analysis: High U.S. meat prices: packer profiteering or capacity crunch?
David Lawder – Reuters
The Biden administration is targeting a small group of meat packers for high beef, pork and poultry prices that it says are squeezing consumers and fueling inflation, arguing that they are abusing their market power.

Traders Bet That Oil at $100 Is a Question of When, Not If
Andrew Janes and Serene Cheong – Bloomberg
Demand is surging, while OPEC+ is struggling to raise output; U.S. shale comeback or China virus outbreak could stifle rally
Surging demand, fading omicron fears, and OPEC+’s inability to ramp up output have underpinned an eye-watering rally in oil prices. Global benchmark Brent crude has jumped 25% to around $88 a barrel since the end of November. Some in the market now think it’s now a question of when — not if — oil hits triple digits, somewhere it hasn’t been since 2014.

Markets Bet Things Are Different This Time. Really? Rates probably will rise, as widely signaled and now priced in. The murkier question remains how inflation will behave.
John Authers – Bloomberg
Are We Really Ready for Inflation?
The market has decided that things are different this time. But has it really? In the bond market, the shift upward in yields is growing dramatic. In nominal terms, the 10-year Treasury yield is at last back where it was at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic. The real yield is still much lower, but has risen almost 50 basis points since its low near the end of last year:

When Will Monetary Tightening Hit Financial Conditions? A disconnect increases the risk of a policy mistake and undue damage to livelihoods.
Mohamed A. El-Erian – Bloomberg
There is little doubt that advanced countries in the first half of 2022 will pull back, albeit partially, on the ultra-stimulative monetary policies they have pursued for several years. What is more consequential, yet less certain, is when and how this will lead to a meaningful tightening of financial conditions and what the spillover effects will be for the global economy. These issues are of interest not only to policy makers around the world but to businesses, households and investors as well.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

‘Sustainable’ firms raise record amount of equity in 2021
Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Simon Jessop – Reuters
Companies in “sustainable” sectors including renewable energy raised a record amount of equity in 2021, Refinitiv Eikon data showed, boosted by surging demand for investments addressing social and environmental problems.

Thematic, Climate and ESG ETFs Drive Expansion in ICE’s Asian Index Business
Intercontinental Exchange
Growing use of ICE thematic, climate and ESG indices leads to near quadrupling of AUM for APAC ETFs benchmarked to ICE indices
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of data, technology and market infrastructure, today announced strong 2021 growth in assets under management (AUM) for thematic, climate and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ETFs listed on Asian exchanges using ICE’s indices as benchmarks. This growth was driven by a record number of issuers selecting ICE Indices for new ETFs in growing Asian markets, including Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Meet The Female Founder Of A Unique Trading Platform With A Social Spin
Melissa Houston – Forbes
When you are investment trading, it can feel lonely and intimidating. But investing just got a lot more fun when you can do it with friends and set up friendly competitions! Among Americans, 56% own investments in the stock market, and that’s down from 60% ownership in 2008, before the crash. Investing in stock and having your money make money for you is an ideal way to build your wealth.


Bank of America profit jumps on M&A boost, loan growth
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) reported a jump in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, benefiting from loan growth and a frenetic pace of global dealmaking activity that helped drive its investment banking business.

Big Credit Suisse investor Harris backs new chairman – paper
One of the largest shareholders of Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) has backed the embattled bank’s new chairman, Axel Lehmann, the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said on Wednesday.

Big U.S. banks see higher expenses from workers’ rising wages
Elizabeth Dilts Marshall – Reuters
Big U.S. banks will spend more on salaries and benefits this year, as inflationary pressures, pandemic risks and the tight labor market force them to raise wages to get and keep workers.

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.

Vanguard Hunts for Personal Finance, Advice Experts in London
Loukia Gyftopoulou – Bloomberg
The U.S. asset manager is hiring dozens of staff in the U.K.; The firm also plans to start an advice service in Germany
Vanguard Group Inc. has launched a hiring spree in the U.K. to staff its personal investment business that includes a newly created financial advice unit in the country.

JPMorgan Raises Salaries for Junior Bankers for Second Time
Tom Metcalf – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is raising the pay for its junior bankers. Again. The U.S. lender is increasing pay for first-year investment banking analysts to $110,000, up from $100,000, according to a person familiar with the matter. The bank is raising second-year analyst pay to $125,000 and third year pay to $135,000. Salaries in the markets unit will also see similar jumps.

Interactive Brokers Reports Q4 Revenue Miss
Sam Boughedda – Investing.com
Interactive Brokers Group Inc (NASDAQ:IBKR) announced earnings per share of 83 cents on revenue of $603 million. Analysts polled by Investing.com anticipated EPS of 83 cents on revenue of $671.17 million. IBKR’s commission revenue increased $32 million, or 11%, from the same period last year on higher customer options and futures trading volumes and higher average per share commission in stocks.


Banks Warn ‘Money Mule’ Scams Are Rising in The Philippines
Ditas B Lopez – Bloomberg
Bank of the Philippine Islands has flagged rising cases of criminals using another person’s bank account to launder money. “Money mules,” or depositors who facilitate the transfer of illegal funds in behalf of someone else, have increased in the last two years amid a rapid shift to digital transactions, BPI said in a statement on Wednesday. East West Banking Corp. earlier issued a similar advisory.

China Notifies Firms of Tougher Investment Rules for Big Tech; Requiring tech firms to seek regulatory approval for investment deals could curb companies’ growth
Keith Zhai – WSJ
China has notified some companies of new rules that require the country’s biggest internet firms to seek approval for investment deals, a mechanism that is likely to curb domestic technology giants from growing even bigger through acquisitions, according to people familiar with the issue.


How to Navigate Rising Food Prices as Inflation Surges; Planning your grocery store trips and making smart substitutes are just a couple of strategies to help you with rising prices
J.J. McCorvey – WSJ
Sticker shock is becoming a regular feature of many consumers’ grocery store trips. Given it is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon, consumers should evaluate changes to their shopping habits. The consumer-price index, which tracks what consumers pay for goods and services, hit 7% in December, marking its fastest pace since 1982. The increases were broad-based with the cost of rent and a host of other regular budget items rising fast.

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