When Executives Stop Selling Stock, a Big Deal Might Be Ahead

Jan 13, 2023

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

Welcome to Friday the thirteenth for all of you who suffer from triskaidekaphobia. The mini-crash in 1989 occurred on a Friday the thirteenth.

Yesterday’s news that the SEC was suing Genesis and Gemini over a lending product called Gemini Earn is another example of regulators giving themselves a bad name, as the SEC never sent either one a Wells Notice, according to press reports. I am all for regulation, but civility and letting someone respond before charges are brought can save a lot of time and money for regulators and taxpayers.

According to Business Insider, Sam Bankman-Fried does not talk to any of his former colleagues or friends, and his parents bought him a dog. Dogs are a man’s best friend, even ones confined to home.

A Twitter follower reached out to me because she used to work for Gilbert Leistner and had lost contact with him and wanted to reconnect. She saw that she was referenced in the video we did with Leistner, though not by name. She recognized herself from the situation Leistner described in the video.

A couple of nights ago during dinner I turned on the Netflix series about Bernie Madoff and started watching it with my wife. About three quarters of the way through the first one I went to bed and she kept watching, and watching, and watching. She ended up streaming the whole series that evening, she was so fascinated by the documentary.

The FIA will hold its 2022 Annual ETD Volume Review on February 2, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. ET. You can register HERE.

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. There will be an edition of JLN, but no JLN Options on Monday. After we publish JLN the staff is given the rest of the day off.

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

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The EU’s Innovation Fund Programme presents a free conference webinar, Financing Innovative Clean Tech, on January 19, 2023, from 10:00-16:00 CET. The webinar focuses on first-of-a-kind low-carbon technologies and is geared to public and private financiers. You can learn more and register here~SAED

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Gilbert Leistner – Open Outcry Traders History Project – Part Three
JohnLothianNews.com

In part three of his interview with John Lothian News for the Open Outcry Traders History Project, veteran trader and educator Gilbert Leistner says the only thing he saw in his years of trading that spontaneously stopped trading was the Challenger space shuttle blowing up. The floor went silent for 30 seconds and it was two minutes before he heard his first tasteless joke, he said.

Watch the video »

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A Gambling Tycoon and Two British Lords Team Up for £10 Billion Crypto Lawsuit
Will Louch and Lucca de Paoli – Bloomberg
In May last year, dozens of guests gathered at a cabaret club in London’s Soho district to celebrate the birthday of Calvin Ayre, an online gambling tycoon-turned-crypto evangelist. Friends of the Canadian entrepreneur partied late into the night, sipping champagne and mingling with dancers. Among them was Craig Wright, an eccentric Australian computer scientist who claims to have invented Bitcoin and who has for years worked alongside Ayre to promote various crypto ventures.
/jlne.ws/3WcO9yC

***** But were the Lords a leaping?~JJL

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Mike Novogratz Wants to Punch Disgraced Crypto Titans in the Face; The Galaxy Digital founder, down $3 billion, is looking to sort through the wreckage of an industry that’s supposed to be his big shot at redemption.
Sonali Basak – Bloomberg
Michael Novogratz wants to get something straight: It’s not his fault you lost money on crypto. OK, sure: Bitcoin is headed to $500,000, he predicted this time last year. Luna? To the moon. He got a howling wolf tattooed on his shoulder and, for kicks, tweeted out a selfie. Reality, he’d grant you now, has fallen a little short of his hopes – $2 trillion short. That’s a best guesstimate of how much has been lost on cryptocurrencies since the late 2021 peak.
/jlne.ws/3iySuhR

***** How many billions of dollars of satisfaction do you get from a punch to the nose?~JJL

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A Snowless Davos Tells the World’s Elite All They Need to Know; As the rich and powerful gather for the World Economic Forum, these photos show how the impact of global warming is getting harder to ignore.
Akshat Rathi and Hugo Miller – Bloomberg
In the week before Davos plays its usual wintry part as host of the World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree, the biggest question isn’t what might be discussed among business and political leaders, but whether there’ll be enough snow for skiing. Though it’s perched at an altitude of 1,560 meters, this year’s rare winter heat wave saw the Swiss town basking in temperatures well above freezing in early January, with its mountainsides covered in dead, brown grass and hikers out with their dogs.
/jlne.ws/3XactCy

****** Remember those pictures of Davos with heaps of snow in the background? Not this year.~JJL

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MLK Holiday to Feature Tributes, Commitments to Race Agenda
Aaron Morrison – Associated Press
Annual tributes and commemorations of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which begin nationwide on Friday, typically include a mix of politics, faith and community service. For this year’s celebration, the 37th since its federal recognition in 1986, a descendant of King hopes to spur progress by helping more Americans personalize the ongoing struggle for racial equity and harmony. Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights icon, said people must move beyond platitudes and deepen their own commitments to the needed progress.
/jlne.ws/3X8ZJfA

****** It all starts with a small step, a single act of kindness.~JJL

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The Only Living Boy in Palo Alto; Scenes from a surreal, often sad, otherworldly visit at home with Sam Bankman-Fried.
Theodore Schleifer – Puck.news
The first thing that I noticed when Sam Bankman-Fried greeted me in the doorway of his family home, just off the Stanford campus, was the 75-pound German shepherd by his side named Sandor, a Hungarian spin on a name meaning “defender of men.” Sam seemed hazy on how exactly Sandor had gotten there-the dog had “just shown up” in his retelling, a gift over the last few days from his parents. But he was certainly a young man in need of both defense and a friend. After all, the second thing I noticed about Sam was, naturally, the G.P.S. monitor strapped tightly to his left ankle.
/jlne.ws/3vYHhuj

****** Having watched all the movies on Netflix, SBF needed something else to keep him occupied, so his parents bought him a dog.~JJL

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Five Ways Wine Will Change in 2023; This year you’ll be hearing more about mindful drinking, sustainable wine packaging and vino from Sicily, Switzerland and even space.
Elin McCoy – Bloomberg
Wine news in 2022 was both concerning and upbeat. Once again, scorching heat, record-breaking drought, spring frosts, hailstorms and wildfires reminded vintners of the dire threat and cost of climate change, which will cause more eco-anxiety in 2023. On the positive side, vintners and drinkers are taking sustainability ever more seriously, and more innovations and adaptations are coming.
/jlne.ws/3IHUFKR

******I have heard about mindless drinking before, not mindful drinking. I may have even experienced mindless drinking in my youth.~JJL

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Thursday’s Top Three
Our top story Thursday was Lender seizes Chicago Board of Trade Building, plans revamp, from Crain’s Chicago Business. Second was Coinbase Strikes a Massive Blow to Bankman-Fried and FTX, from TheStreet. Third was FTX bankruptcy documents show list of investors set to be completely wiped out, including Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, from Business Insider.

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MarketsWiki Stats
27,128 pages; 242,281 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

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Lead Stories

When Executives Stop Selling Stock, a Big Deal Might Be Ahead; Pause in insider sales can be a clue for investors, past bids show
Ben Dummett and Julie Steinberg – The Wall Street Journal
Investors learned of Amgen Inc.’s $28 billion bid for Horizon Therapeutics PLC in December. But a clue to a potential deal emerged months earlier, when insiders in the target company stopped selling stock. The halt to stock sales by executives and directors at Horizon has been mirrored at some other big companies involved in recent deal making. The pattern shows why some hedge funds and other investors scrutinize activity by corporate insiders in the hope of identifying candidates for mergers and acquisitions, generating outsize gains in the process.
/jlne.ws/3H41Njw

SEC Sues Crypto Firms Genesis and Gemini Over Lending Product; The program, called Gemini Earn, allegedly violated investor-protection laws
Dave Michaels and Vicky Ge Huang – The Wall Street Journal
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday sued Genesis Global Capital LLC and Gemini Trust Company LLC over a $900 million crypto-lending program that allegedly violated investor-protection laws. The SEC filed its civil lawsuit in Manhattan federal court alleging that Genesis should have registered the product, which would have required providing clients with detailed financial disclosures. The companies began marketing the program to individual investors in February 2021 and raised billions of dollars’ worth of crypto assets from hundreds of thousands of investors, the SEC said.
/jlne.ws/3XvEoNk

JPMorgan Says Frank Was Fraud; Also SBF’s Substack and premium bond taxation.
Matt Levine – Bloomberg
In 2021, JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid $175 million to acquire Frank, a financial technology company that helps students fill out college financial aid forms. It is not obvious why this would be a lucrative business for JPMorgan, or Frank, but that was not really the point of the acquisition. The point of the acquisition is that helping students fill out college financial aid forms, while not itself lucrative, might help you build long-term financial relationships with them at an early and impressionable point in their lives. If Frank helps a student fill out her financial aid forms, she might like Frank, so when Frank emails her and says “hey now that you’re in college you should set up a checking account, here’s one,” she might open the checking account – at JPMorgan – that Frank recommends. Later, she might get her mortgage through a Frank recommendation. JPMorgan was buying Frank’s customer relationships, so that it could use them to sell financial products that were lucrative.
/jlne.ws/3ZxkYt2

The S.E.C.’s Crypto Crackdown Intensifies; The agency has charged the crypto trading firms Genesis Global Capital and Gemini with operating an illegal lending service that lost customers millions.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Ravi Mattu, Bernhard Warner, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni – The New York Times
Washington’s legal crackdown on crypto is intensifying, with the S.E.C. accusing some of the biggest names in the sector of operating an illegal lending service that racked up huge losses for customers. The S.E.C. complaint: The agency charged the crypto lender Genesis Global Capital and its erstwhile business partner, the crypto exchange Gemini, with selling unregistered securities through a high-yield financial product called Gemini Earn. Genesis is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, founded by the crypto magnate Barry Silbert; Gemini is run by the billionaire twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
/jlne.ws/3w1rye0

How Europe Avoided Blackouts With Help From Free Markets
Bloomberg
In the febrile months of summer 2022, when gas and power prices broke records, there was much speculation that Europe’s energy markets were close to breakdown. Faced with the risk of power cuts, gas shortages and economic collapse, there were predictions that individual nations might hoard whatever domestic supplies they had, shut down cross-border energy flows and generally make a bad situation worse with beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
/jlne.ws/3OZeRsL

A trillion-dollar blind spot for asset managers; Despite ESG push, firms continue to compete to work for authoritarian states with records of human rights abuses
Toby Nangle – Financial Times
Senior asset management executives have a blind spot. It’s one I shared for years. Investment firms across the globe love to trumpet their credentials as responsible capitalists. Their purpose statements speak of things like “contributing to a more equitable world”, “leading by example” and “driving change”. But many also work to directly increase the fiscal capacity of authoritarian states facing accusations of serious human rights violations. The contradiction is glaring once you see it.
/jlne.ws/3ZzKXQr

Gold Giant JPMorgan May Move Into Precious Metals Clearing in Zurich; Zurich clearing has long been dominated by two Swiss banks; The American lender is the world’s dominant bullion bank
Eddie Spence – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is looking to start clearing precious metals trades in Zurich, something that for years has been dominated by just two Swiss banks. The lender may begin to offer to settle its clients’ trades using metal located in Zurich, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the information is private. So-called loco Zurich transactions have long been almost exclusively handled by UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG.
/jlne.ws/3IJymUY

Former AQR Partner Thinks Most Greenwashing Is Merely A Misunderstanding
Jacob Wolinsky – Forbes
European regulators have been cracking down on so-called “greenwashing” among fund managers, resulting in “mass frustration” among managers. In the last few weeks, some of the largest asset managers in the world have removed the much-sought-after ESG (environmental, social and governance) classifications from their funds. However, that’s not the only source of decreases in the number of available ESG funds
/jlne.ws/3Xaj3Jh

Sam Bankman-Fried Blogs Like a Crypto Robin Hood, but in Court He’s Not So Charitable
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
Sam Bankman-Fried’s surprise Substack post Thursday included these charitable lines: “Nearly all of my assets were and still are utilizable to backstop FTX customers,” he wrote. “I have, for instance, offered to contribute nearly all of my personal shares in Robinhood to customers.” It sounds like the British folk hero and outlaw of the same name, Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor. As Bankman-Fried tells it on Substack, FTX users can have the stake in trading app Robinhood – worth about $450 million, though now seized by the U.S. Department of Justice – that he bought. A nice gesture, surely, as their money remains locked up.
/jlne.ws/3wjscDP

Elon Musk Fan With 2,900% Gain Sees $1.5 Million Wiped Away; Tesla’s brutal performance in the stock market has hammered the fortunes of retail investors who stayed loyal to the once high-flying company.
Claire Ballentine – Bloomberg
Doug Coyle’s son told him to sell the shares. The 68-year-old retired landscaper first started investing in Tesla Inc. in 2012 after hearing about Elon Musk, who wasn’t nearly as famous at the time. Over the next decade he put about $100,000 into the stock, and his investment value ballooned to about $3 million at the peak in November 2021.
/jlne.ws/3X8mNet

Goldman Lost $1.2 Billion in Just Nine Months in Newest Unit; The disclosures offer guide to Apple Card impact on earnings; Execs privately forecasting unit won’t break even until ’25
Sridhar Natarajan – Bloomberg
Three months after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. carved out a new division to house what’s left of its once-ambitious foray on Main Street, it’s giving shareholders a clearer look at those financials. The collection of businesses – including Goldman’s Apple Card – now packaged into the segment dubbed Platform Solutions racked up more than $1.2 billion in pretax losses in last year’s first nine months, with the drop accelerating every quarter.
/jlne.ws/3k3Ib5O

Goldman Sachs Lost $3 Billion on Consumer Lending Push; Wall Street firm’s push into Main Street businesses has proven costly
AnnaMaria Andriotis and Charley Grant – The Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said a big chunk of its consumer lending business lost slightly more than $3 billion since 2020, revealing for the first time the costly toll of the Wall Street giant’s Main Street push.
/jlne.ws/3H1HWRH

Cboe Clear Europe becomes first non-UK CCP to receive permanent UK recognition; The European CCP had previously been operating under the UK’s Temporary Recognition Regime following the end of the UK and the EU’s transition period in 2020.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
Cboe’s Amsterdam-based clearing house, Cboe Clear Europe, has become the first non-UK CCP to receive permanent recognition. The recognition was effective 10 January, and applies to cash equities and equity derivatives. Cboe Clear Europe had previously been operating under the UK’s Temporary Recognition Regime following Brexit, while it awaited permanent recognition.
/jlne.ws/3GEdI6b

BlackRock, World’s Largest Asset Manager, Buys Stake in Small-Business 401(k) Startup; By taking a minority stake in an online 401(k) provider, the company seeks access to an underserved corner of retirement investing
Anne Tergesen – The Wall Street Journal
BlackRock Inc. is taking a minority stake in a 401(k) provider that caters to small businesses, a long-ignored segment of the retirement market that is starting to attract more interest. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, on Friday said it is making the investment in Human Interest Inc., a San Francisco company that has offered 401(k) plans since 2015.
/jlne.ws/3GG6XAM

A Q&A With Klaus Schwab, the Founder of the World Economic Forum; The first World Economic Forum was held in 1971. Here’s how he sees the state of the world.
The Wall Street Journal
The past year brought war in Europe, surging inflation and an energy crisis, all while the world is still fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and related disruptions. Company executives are evaluating global supply chains and considering what they could make closer to home.
/jlne.ws/3H32B8f

When Terminator Robots Police Loan Markets; Is decentralized finance a 21st-century utopia or dystopia? Two opposite views are starting to emerge.
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
Nine days after Avraham Eisenberg began to borrow curve cryptocurrency tokens on Aave, a decentralized lending platform for digital assets, he found his $38 million 1 loan abruptly liquidated by terminator bots. An estimated $10 million loss on a failed punt sounds only mildly annoying, compared with everything else going on in Eisenberg’s life – the self-described “applied game theorist” was arrested in Puerto Rico recently for allegedly draining $110 million from trading platform Mango Markets. Still, the zapping of the trader’s short CRV position, as the curve tokens are known, has sparked a lively debate.
/jlne.ws/3vYmtCX

Saudi Aramco bets on being the last oil major standing
Tom Wilson – Financial Times
In Abqaiq, the biggest oil processing facility on the planet, there is no sense the world may be coming to the end of the oil era. The complex, about 25 miles from the coastline of the Persian Gulf, is the size of about 350 football pitches. In one of three control rooms, a dozen Saudi Aramco staff sit behind computer screens monitoring a system that can process as much as 7mn barrels of oil per day, representing one in every 14 barrels sold worldwide.
/jlne.ws/3H3g13Y

Sam Bankman-Fried Says Law Firm Worked Closely With FTX Before Bankruptcy; The founder and former chief executive of FTX said Sullivan & Cromwell was one of FTX International’s two primary law firms and was FTX U.S.’s primary law firm before the bankruptcy
Mengqi Sun – The Wall Street Journal
Sam Bankman-Fried said cryptocurrency exchange FTX had a closer relationship than previously disclosed with its bankruptcy law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, adding to questions about the law firm’s work for past FTX management.
/jlne.ws/3k4y00O

Exxon Scientists Predicted Global Warming, Even as Company Cast Doubts, Study Finds
Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times
In the late 1970s, scientists at Exxon fitted one of the company’s supertankers with state-of-the-art equipment to measure carbon dioxide in the ocean and in the air, an early example of substantial research the oil giant conducted into the science of climate change. A new study published Thursday in the journal Science found that over the next decades, Exxon’s scientists made remarkably accurate projections of just how much burning fossil fuels would warm the planet. Their projections were as accurate, and sometimes even more so, as those of independent academic and government models.
/jlne.ws/3XtIa9W

The Global Economy of 2023 Is Going to Be a Wild Ride; The pillars of prosperity that supported 30 years of growth have crumbled. Now the world has to cope with inflation, labor shortages and geopolitical unrest.
Stephanie Flanders – Bloomberg
Not for nothing has this been dubbed the “dangerous decade.” Already, a global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the return of inflation have shaken the 21st century global economy to its core. After the shocks of 2022, a recession for large parts of the world in 2023 seems a safe bet. Tougher to gauge, and more frightening, is the long-term impact of money itself being repriced and the assumptions that underlie more than 30 years of global economic history being overturned.
/jlne.ws/3QDtHG7

A millennial founder who sold her company to JP Morgan for $175 million allegedly paid a college professor $18K to fabricate 4 million accounts. Their email exchange is a doozy
Tristan Bove – Fortune
A fintech startup bought by JP Morgan Chase for millions may have been built on a bed of lies, according to a new lawsuit filed by JP Morgan. And if the investment bank is to be believed, it all went wrong with an $18,000 check to a New York City-area data science professor.
/jlne.ws/3vXlaEu

ECB urges lenders to fix risks in trades with hedge funds and family firms; Supervisory chief’s call reflects unease about potential for contagion from other corners of financial markets
Laura Noon – The Finacial Times
The European Central Bank has warned Europe’s lenders they will face regulatory intervention unless they urgently fix “material shortcomings” in managing risks from trading counterparties such as hedge funds, family firms and commodity traders. The ECB’s supervisory chief Andrea Enria delivered the warning in a blog post outlining counterparty credit risks, calling on them to make a range of improvements such as implementing better stress-testing exposures to shadow banks, relying less on the discretion of individual desks, and introducing other safeguards. The ECB’s call reflects growing regulatory unease about the potential for contagion after the implosion of family office Archegos in late 2021 revealed gaping weaknesses in the counterparty risk management of banks’ capital markets operations. The Bank of England on Tuesday wrote to its leading lenders, criticising them for not doing enough to mitigate risks in their dealings with non-bank financial institutions.
/jlne.ws/3CNpARY

Ukraine Invasion

Goldman and JPMorgan Diverge on Response to Richest Russian’s Sanctions; Charity set up by Vladimir Potanin engaged banks before war; JPMorgan cut ties to charity while Goldman remains in place
Benjamin Stupples and William Shaw – Bloomberg
When Russia’s richest person was sanctioned in the aftermath of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, both JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had to decide whether to stop managing money for the UK charity set up by Vladimir Potanin before the war.
/jlne.ws/3X8fraV

Putin ‘will nominate his chosen heir this year rather than risk being toppled’ as Russia’s military disaster sees his popularity plummet, former ally says
Will Stewart – DailyMail
Vladimir Putin will nominate his chosen successor this year rather than risk being toppled as the Russian President’s popularity continues to plummet amid a series of military defeats in Ukraine, his former ally has claimed. Putin will seek to hand over power to a chosen heir and retire to his £1billion Black Sea ‘palace’ rather than risk the ignominious fate of toppled tyrants like Muammar Gaddafi, said Abbas Gallyamov, Putin’s former speechwriter.
/jlne.ws/3CLduJ3

Where Will Europe Get Its Diesel From in 23 Days’ Time? Ban on seaborne deliveries from Russia begins in early Feb.; Europe relies on imports from overseas to power its economy
Jack Wittels and Prejula Prem – Bloomberg
In just over three weeks, seaborne deliveries of diesel from the European Union’s single biggest external supplier will be all but banned. Who will step in to plug this enormous supply gap? And, will there be enough? Is the bloc sleepwalking into a fuel crisis?
/jlne.ws/3H2nC2H

The west has changed its thinking on how to outsmart Putin; Helping Ukrainian forces to expose Moscow’s weaknesses could give Kyiv the edge in this winter stalemate
Lawrence Freedman – Financial Times
There has been a significant shift in western attitudes to Ukraine’s war with Russia. Thinking has moved a long way since the hopes earlier in the war that it would be enough to keep Ukraine in the fight until an opportunity for a peaceful settlement came along. The consensus now among leading western states is that the only way to persuade Russia that it cannot succeed in its war of conquest is for Ukraine’s armed forces to liberate much more territory.
/jlne.ws/3W2RpN2

Why Olaf Scholz is reluctant to send battle tanks to Ukraine; Germany’s chancellor resists move for fear of provoking Vladimir Putin
Laura Pitel and Guy Chazan, Ben Hall – Financial Times
Olaf Scholz is under growing international pressure to make a momentous decision: whether or not to give the green light for German battle tanks to be sent to Ukraine. Berlin’s western allies have been turning the screws on the German leader as Kyiv pleads for more weapons to consolidate its gains against Russia and recapture occupied territory as the war approaches its first anniversary.
/jlne.ws/3X53PFs

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Euronext launches CAC SBT 1.5° Index; New climate-focused version of the CAC 40, in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement; Index launched with the support of Amundi, CDP and SBTi
Euronext
Euronext today announced the launch of the CAC SBT 1.5° (gross return Bloomberg code: CASBT15P), an index investing solely in companies within the SBF 120 Index that have emissions reduction targets approved to be in line with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. After the successful launch of the Euronext CAC 40 ESG Index in March 2021, the CAC SBT 1.5° will provide a climate-focused version of the CAC 40 and respond to the growing demand for sustainable investment tools from investors and from the market.
/jlne.ws/3iCRv04

Webcast Details For Half-Year Results And 2023 Key Dates
ASX
ASX is scheduled to announce its financial results for the half-year ended 31 December 2022 on Thursday, 16 February 2023. The 2023 key dates and information on the half year results briefing by webcast are set out below.
/jlne.ws/351gPmZ

Cboe BZX Exchange to Suspend Trading in VanEck Russia ETF (RSX) and VanEck Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ) and Commence Delisting Proceedings
CBOE Global Markets
Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”) announced today that its Listing Qualifications Department has determined to commence proceedings to delist the VanEck Russia ETF and VanEck Russia Small-Cap ETF (collectively, the “Funds”) — ticker symbols RSX and RSXJ, respectively — issued by the VanEck ETF Trust (“VanEck”) from the Exchange. Trading in the Funds on the Exchange has been halted since March 4, 2022 and will be suspended immediately.
/jlne.ws/3kce8Ji

JSE Training courses I 2023 Registrations are open & new trainings added
JSE
Dear valued client, The JSE is committed to creating an environment that develops and empowers market participants and the broader eco-system to build an inclusive and prosperous future for all. It is for this reason that the JSE Training Academy is excited to bring you the below courses that will enhance your skillset as a Company Secretary which will benefit you and your organisation.
/jlne.ws/3ked3ki

NSE Indices launches Nifty SDL Dec 2026 Index
NSE
NSE’s index services subsidiary, NSE Indices Limited today launched a new target maturity index Nifty SDL Dec 2026 Index. The Nifty SDL Dec 2026 Index follows a target maturity structure with maturity date of December 31, 2026. It includes State Development Loans maturing six month ending December 31, 2026. The Nifty SDL Dec 2026 Index has a base date of January 11, 2023, and a base value of 1000. The index will be reviewed semi-annually.
/jlne.ws/3Zwd7ff

Fintech

Apex Group acquires PFS-Paxus
Apex Group – Finextra
This acquisition follows Apex Group’s longstanding partnership with PFS through the use of PFS-PAXUS and will expand use of the technology platform to enhance the delivery of timely, accurate and independent portfolio accounting, fund and investor reporting. Founded in 1999, PFS supports the investment fund clients via its core PFS-PAXUS product. PFS-PAXUS is a specialist accounting and administration software that fully supports the administration of all manner of open and closed ended traditional and alternative funds, including hedge funds and private equity investment vehicles. PFS-PAXUS is used by more than 4,000 individual users at over 100 clients managing over $1 trillion of assets under management.
/jlne.ws/3ZL7rOT

Quantum computing is harder than herding kittens; Whether the industry will rewrite the future of cryptography and computation is still up for fierce debate
John Thornhill – Financial Times
Quantum physicists embrace uncertainty. After all, one of the field’s foundational tenets is Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle stating that we cannot accurately know both the position and speed of a particle. By contrast, governments, companies and investors tend to hate things they do not understand. And huge uncertainty swirls around the latest attempts to build powerful quantum computers. Is quantum computing going to rewrite the rules of computation, cryptography, logistics and materials science, as enthusiastic supporters claim? Or are we heading into a “quantum winter”, where the diabolical difficulties of building a functional quantum computer lead to a collapse of confidence?
/jlne.ws/3X5Vi56

Microsoft Bets Big on the Creator of ChatGPT in Race to Dominate A.I.
Cade Metz and Karen Weise – The New York Times
When a chatbot called ChatGPT hit the internet late last year, executives at a number of Silicon Valley companies worried they were suddenly dealing with new artificial intelligence technology that could disrupt their businesses. But at Microsoft, it was a cause for celebration. For several years, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, had been putting the pieces in place for this moment.
/jlne.ws/3XqdUg3

BGC Partners’ Announces February 27, 2023, As Updated Date For Its Fourth Quarter 2022 Financial Results Announcement
BGC press release via Investors Observer
BGC Partners, Inc. (Nasdaq: BGCP) (“BGC”), a leading global brokerage and financial technology company, today announced that it has updated its fourth quarter 2022 financial results conference call to take place on Monday, February 27, 2023 , at 10:00 a.m. ET .
/jlne.ws/3kgOFhK

Cybersecurity

Royal Mail hit by Russia-linked ransomware attack
Tom Espiner & Joe Tidy – BBC
The cyber-attack has affected the computer systems Royal Mail uses to despatch deliveries abroad. Royal Mail has been warning customers since Wednesday of disruption due to a “cyber-incident”. Its latest advice is for people not to try to send international letters and parcels until the issue is resolved. Ransomware is malicious computer software that encrypts data and locks up systems. The ransomware used in the attack is “Lockbit”, according to a source close to the investigation.
/jlne.ws/3QyUEe5

Royal Mail hit by ransomware attack by prolific hacker gang; Document claims LockBit has stolen data from UK postal service, halting parcel exports
Oliver Telling and Tim Bradshaw – Financial Times
Royal Mail has suffered a ransomware attack by a criminal group threatening to publish or block access to its data unless they receive a payment. A document seen by the Financial Times claimed that prolific hacker group LockBit had stolen and encrypted data from the UK postal service and was demanding a ransom payment.
/jlne.ws/3QAozma

Salesforce’s Taher Elgamal Leaves Cybersecurity CTO Role for VC Firm
Brody Ford – Bloomberg
A second Salesforce Inc. cybersecurity executive has left the company within the span of a few months, another shake-up in the top ranks of the software maker that is struggling with slowing revenue growth. Taher Elgamal, chief technology officer of security, announced Wednesday in a LinkedIn post that he is leaving Salesforce after 10 years with the company. Elgamal is credited as a pioneer of SSL, a formative encryption method, according to Salesforce.
/jlne.ws/3ZxLUJf

Nine Universities Receive $29 Million In NSF Grants To Prepare More Cybersecurity Workers
Forbes
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected nine universities to receive more than $29 million in total funding as part of its CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, a major agency initiative to strengthen the security of America’s cyber space. The CyberCorps SFS program aims to boost the number of well-trained cybersecurity professionals for careers in the public sector, particularly in government agencies and organizations. The nine new awardees join 89 academic institutions that are already part of the CyberCorps® SFS program, which now extends across 39 states.
/jlne.ws/3iG0wp9

AWS security heads offer top cybersecurity predictions for 2023
Taryn Plumb – VentureBeat
Last year (2022) was an unprecedented one for cybersecurity, in both good and bad ways. On the positive side, we saw increased use of passwordless and multifactor authentication (MFA) and zero-trust methods; on the negative, the cost of data breaches reaching an all-time high, the rise of commoditized cybercrime (ransomware-as-a-service), and massive breaches of Twitter, WhatsApp, Rockstar and Uber.
/jlne.ws/3GG3zpy

Cryptocurrencies

SBF’s New Substack Blames CZ for ‘Quick, Targeted Crash’ That Brought Down FTX
Alys Key – Decrypt
With no job and under house arrest, Sam Bankman-Fried has taken the next logical step and launched a Substack newsletter. In the first post of the aptly-called “SBF’s Substack,” the disgraced former FTX CEO blamed Binance CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao for the demise of the crypto exchange’s sister firm Alameda Research. “An extreme, quick, targeted crash precipitated by the CEO of Binance made Alameda insolvent,” SBF wrote, adding that contagion from Alameda spread to FTX “and other places.”
/jlne.ws/3QDhaCn

Crypto Market Maker CyberX Gets $15M From Foresight Ventures
Brandy Betz – CoinDesk
Crypto market maker CyberX has raised $15 million in a strategic investment from Foresight Ventures, a crypto venture capital firm with about $400 million in assets under management. CyberX will use the funds to expand its teams in Asia and North America, add more integrations with exchanges and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and build out its trading infrastructure. Decentralized finance refers to financial transactions carried out on a blockchain without the use of traditional middlemen.
/jlne.ws/3w0akxn

FTX Loan Wiped Out $800M in BlockFi Executives’ Equity, Court Filing Reveals
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
Executives from bankrupt crypto lender BlockFi granted themselves pay rises of as much as $275,000 each, after they saw $800 million in their equity holdings wiped out because of a loan from collapsed crypto exchange FTX, a court filing shows. A statement of financial affairs for BlockFi, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, contains thousands of pages of transactions that took place in the run-up to BlockFi’s collapse. The firm had gross revenue of over $4 million for 2022 until its bankruptcy filing in November.
/jlne.ws/3XtubAN

SBF thought it was a good idea to start a Substack; The disgraced founder of crypto exchange FTX claims that he didn’t steal funds.
Kris Holt – Engadget
Sam Bankman-Fried is in a world of trouble. He’s facing up to 115 years in prison if he’s convicted of federal fraud and conspiracy charges. And yet the embattled founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX – who has pleaded not guilty and is out on a $250 million bond while awaiting trial – figured it’d be a great idea to write about his perspective on the saga in a Substack newsletter. In his first post, which is ostensibly about the collapse of FTX International, Bankman-Fried (aka SBF) claims that “I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away.”
/jlne.ws/3X6HxD7

Crypto.com to shed 20% of staff in latest industry job cuts; Group that splashed out on LA stadium naming rights during crypto bull run hit by ‘unforeseeable’ events
Scott Chipolina and Mercedes Ruehl – Financial News
Digital assets exchange Crypto.com has revealed plans to shed a fifth of its workforce, in the latest round of sweeping lay-offs to hit the cryptocurrency industry after last year’s crisis. The job cuts at Crypto.com come just days after US-listed rival Coinbase said it would reduce its headcount by almost 1,000 employees in an attempt to “weather downturns in the crypto market.”
/jlne.ws/3H2p7Ot

Crypto Firms Are Cutting More Than 1,600 Jobs Already This Year; Coinbase, Crypto.com among firms making further job cuts; Dismissals coincide with downsizing of tech, finance sectors
Yueqi Yang – Bloomberg
Crypto companies are once again tightening their belts, as the bear market enters the second year and the industry suffers from major meltdowns that damage its outlook. Coinbase Global Inc., Blockchain.com, Genesis and Crypto.com are among companies embarking on a new round of layoffs. The four firms, along with exchange Huobi, crypto bank Silvergate Capital Corp. and Ethereum software firm ConsenSys, collectively are shedding thousands of jobs in the first two weeks of 2023 – with a tally of more than 1,600 lost even before Crypto.com.
/jlne.ws/3WaFahv

Canadian Crypto Exchanges Coinsquare, WonderFi in Advanced Talks to Merge: Bloomberg
Nelson Wang – CoinDesk
Coinsquare Ltd. and WonderFi Technologies (WNDR) are in advanced talks to merge and become Canada’s largest crypto exchange, according to a report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. An official announcement could come in the next few days, Bloomberg said. Shares of the Kevin O’Leary-backed WonderFi were halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange following the release of the news on Thursday afternoon. WonderFi’s shares closed up 29% to 31 cents.
/jlne.ws/3IMgYz4

FTX Liquidators Lost $74K in Wrapped Bitcoin in ‘Embarrassing On-Chain Faux Pas’
Stacy Elliott – Decrypt
The liquidators become the liquidated. The restructuring team that is trying to locate and recover customer funds as part of the bankruptcy process for FTX and sister company Alameda Research is having a difficult time navigating the DeFi space. The team recently attempted to move funds into an Alameda Research-owned multi-sig wallet but in the process lost 4 Aave Wrapped BTC (aWBTC), worth approximately $72,000, according to a report from blockchain intelligence firm Arkham Intelligence.
/jlne.ws/3ZyX943

Sullivan & Cromwell’s role in FTX bankruptcy under rising scrutiny
Joshua Oliver and Sujeet Indap – Financial Times
Sam Bankman-Fried and another former top FTX executive have said Sullivan & Cromwell understated the scale of its work for the exchange before its collapse, sharpening the scrutiny of the law firm’s lucrative bankruptcy appointment. Sullivan’s appointment as counsel to FTX, which filed for Chapter 11 in November, has been challenged by a creditor to the cryptocurrency exchange and questioned by four US senators who argue its close links to FTX before its collapse mean the firm cannot impartially investigate the company’s demise.
/jlne.ws/3XwL1il

Tom Brady’s FTX shares were once worth $45 million. Will he lose it all?
Weston Blasi – MarketWatch
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried lost his entire $16 billion fortune in just a few days after his crypto company filed chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, but he’s not the only high-profile investor who may lose money amid FTX’s downturn. As interest in crypto and crypto exchanges exploded in recent years, more high profile individuals like professional athletes and other entertainment personalities joined financial institutions in investing in FTX. One of those athletes is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
/jlne.ws/3w0wJKY

Crypto Traders Are Already Placing Bets on Ethereum’s ‘Shanghai Hard Fork’
Jocelyn Yang – CoinDesk
Ethereum’s historic shift last year to a proof-of-stake network – known as “the Merge” – was one of the biggest stories of the year in crypto markets. Now all eyes are on Ethereum’s next major upgrade expected to take place in March, known as the “Shanghai hard fork,” which will allow participants on the network to unlock ether (ETH) they had staked on the blockchain, inaccessible for months.
/jlne.ws/3Hc3TOp

Vitalik Buterin on eating sushi in Ukraine, how crypto can help in a crisis, and what’s next for Ethereum
Anna Tutova – Fortune
Vitalik Buterin is one of the most influential people in crypto. Nine years ago, he dreamed up Ethereum as a way to leverage the blockchain technology underlying Bitcoin for all sorts of uses beyond currency. Since then, it’s emerged as the bedrock layer of what advocates say will be a new, open-source, decentralized internet.
/jlne.ws/3ZxHnGJ

Sam Bankman-Fried says both FTX and Alameda were raking in billions in profits in 2021 before token values plunged in crypto winter
Phil Rosen – Business Insider
Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, published a lengthy Substack article Thursday and claimed that his crypto exchange as well as trading firm Alameda Research were highly profitable enterprises in 2021 before the crypto winter began the following year. “FTX International and Alameda were both legitimately and independently profitable businesses in 2021, each making billions,” he wrote in the post titled “FTX Pre-Mortem Overview.”
/jlne.ws/3GHm24W

Crypto exchange WonderFi confirms merger talks with Coinsquare; The exchanges are yet to finalize the potential merger, with WonderFi releasing a public statement in response to market speculation and a surging share price.
Luke Huigsloot – Cointelegraph
Crypto exchange WonderFi, which is backed by crypto investor and billionaire Kevin O’Leary, has confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with fellow Canadian crypto exchange Coinsquare over a possible merger. In a statement on Jan. 12, WonderFi responded to a Bloomberg report suggesting the two exchanges were in “advanced merger talks” to “create a Canadian crypto giant.”
/jlne.ws/3ZwUoAj

Web3 can help artists and companies manage music metadata: B2B music exec; Web3 features such as NFTs and blockchain-based systemization offer clarity and new accessibility to managing music metadata.
Savannah Fortis – Cointelegraph
The music industry has not shied away from its keenness to adopt Web3 solutions. From nonfungible tokens (NFTs) helping artists connect with their communities, to various blockchain use cases, including event ticketing. Another relevant implementation of the technology to be considered by industry insiders is how Web3 tools can help artists and companies manage music metadata.
/jlne.ws/3X8gEPv

800 victims of ‘massive’ Bitconnect fraud to receive $17M restitution; The millions will be distributed among the select number of victims, but thousands more were impacted by the $2.4 billion fraudulent scheme.
Jesse Coghlan – Cointelegraph
A group of crypto fraud victims of the BitConnect investment scheme will see some respite from the multi-billion dollar fraud scheme after a court ordered they receive a share in a $17 million restitution. The United States District Court for the Southern District of California ordered the restitution for the “massive” scheme on Jan. 12, according to a release on the same day by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
/jlne.ws/3keKcwf

Cardano ecosystem set to expand with custom-built sidechains; The toolkit will allow for creators of sidechains to choose their own consensus mechanism and other application-specific features, whilst inheriting the security of the main chain.
Brayden Linrea – Cointelegraph
The team behind the Cardano ecosystem will release a software toolkit later this month that will enable developers to deploy custom-built sidechains on Cardano aimed at improving the ecosystem. The news was announced on Jan. 12 by Input Output Global (IOG), a blockchain engineering company founded by Charles Hoskinson and formerly known as Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK). The announcement included the official technical documentation for the sidechain toolkit.
/jlne.ws/3w5vxG4

Gemini and Genesis Battle It Out (Podcast); The Winklevoss twins’ feud with Barry Silbert is just the latest evidence of the dysfunction in the crypto market
Stacy-Marie Ishmael and Sharon Beriro – Bloomberg
Something we say often on the Bloomberg Crypto team is that a week in this asset class can feel like a year.And as we wrap up the second week of 2023, it’s starting to feel maybe more like a decade. On the proverbial docket this week: a public and ugly fight emerging between Gemini, a crypto exchange that’s owned by the Winklevoss twins, and a company called Genesis, which was one of the biggest crypto lenders in the world.
/jlne.ws/3XstFDb

Politics

Letter From US Senators ‘Inappropriate,’ Won’t Sway Me, FTX Bankruptcy Judge Says
Jack Schickler – CoinDesk
A bipartisan letter from four U.S. senators is an “inappropriate” intervention in bankruptcy proceedings that won’t sway judicial decisions, Delaware Judge John Dorsey told a court hearing Wednesday. The letter, from John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) called for an independent examiner to be appointed to investigate the collapse of the crypto exchange.
/jlne.ws/3XtSChv

Brexit Customs Deal Close With UK-EU Talks Poised to Intensify; Negotiators aim to announce key step if talks progress well; Cleverly, Sefcovic to talk Monday with eye on wider deal
Ellen Milligan, Alberto Nardelli, and Kitty Donaldson – Bloomberg
The UK and European Union are nearing an agreement on customs aimed at reducing trade friction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as they prepare to intensify wider post-Brexit negotiations. Officials hope to announce significant progress toward a solution for customs arrangements if discussions go well over the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter. Talks are ongoing and a successful outcome is not guaranteed, the people said.
/jlne.ws/3GBk1Y5

Regulation

Drax Fined £6.1 Million for Charging Extreme Energy Prices; Firm says it has taken steps to prevent excessive pricing; Regulator is looking at ways to curb costs of balancing market
Todd Gillespie – Bloomberg
UK power firm Drax Group Plc agreed to pay a £6.1 million ($7.5 million) fine for breaching its license, after charging the grid operator excessive prices to reduce its generation. The penalty comes as regulator Ofgem reviews the rules for Britain’s balancing market, where the grid fine-tunes electricity supply and demand. Ofgem is looking to reduce record balancing costs – which are spread across consumer bills – by curbing the excessive profits of generators.
/jlne.ws/3IHRxyB

Commissioner Pham Announces Members of the CFTC’s Global Markets Advisory Committee
CFTC
CFTC Commissioner Caroline D. Pham, sponsor of the Global Markets Advisory Committee (GMAC), today announced the new and returning GMAC members. The first public meeting of the GMAC will be announced soon.
/jlne.ws/3QECY0x

Commissioner Pham to Participate in a Fireside Chat at the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Blockchain Central Davos
CFTC
Commissioner Caroline D. Pham will participate in a fireside chat on Regulation and Risk at the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Blockchain Central Davos.
/jlne.ws/3W8MnOY

Commissioner Johnson to Deliver a Keynote Address at Emory Law School’s 2023 TI:GER Innovation Conference
CFTC
Commissioner Kristin N. Johnson will deliver keynote remarks at Emory Law School’s 8th Annual TI:GER Innovation Conference.
/jlne.ws/3GxLfie

NFA orders Chicago, IL swap dealer StoneX Markets LLC to pay a $1,000,000 fine
NFA
NFA has ordered Chicago, Illinois swap dealer Member StoneX Markets LLC (Stone) to pay a $1,000,000 fine.
/jlne.ws/3H1Hbbn

SEC Charges Genesis and Gemini for the Unregistered Offer and Sale of Crypto Asset Securities through the Gemini Earn Lending Program
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Genesis Global Capital, LLC and Gemini Trust Company, LLC for the unregistered offer and sale of securities to retail investors through the Gemini Earn crypto asset lending program. Through this unregistered offering, Genesis and Gemini raised billions of dollars’ worth of crypto assets from hundreds of thousands of investors. Investigations into other securities law violations and into other entities and persons relating to the alleged misconduct are ongoing.
/jlne.ws/3ILCkwb

SEC Charges Los Angeles Individual with Perpetrating a $47 Million Affinity Fraud Targeting Members of the Orthodox Jewish Community
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed charges against Yossi Engel for perpetrating a $47 million affinity fraud from December 2018 to January 2020, targeting at least 29 members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
/jlne.ws/3ZBd9m0

Covington & Burling LLP (Release No. LR-25612; Jan. 12, 2023)
SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it has filed an application seeking an order directing the law firm Covington & Burling LLP (“Covington”) to comply with a narrow subpart of an investigative subpoena for documents.
/jlne.ws/3H1LYK5

SEC also investigating Mango exploiter Eisenberg: CFTC Commissioner
Benjamin Robertson – The Block
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating self-confessed Mango Markets exploiter Avraham Eisenberg over his role in extracting $110 million from the decentralized protocol. Kristin Johnson, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioner, noted the SEC’s parallel investigation in a statement published Monday. The CFTC filed its charges against Eisenberg, alleging manipulation of the decentralized swaps markets. A spokesperson for the SEC did not immediately respond to an email sent out of hours seeking comment.
/jlne.ws/3W2m8tC

Crypto firms Genesis and Gemini charged by SEC with selling unregistered securities
Rohan Goswami – CNBC
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged crypto firms Genesis and Gemini with allegedly selling unregistered securities in connection with a high-yield product offered to depositors. Gemini, a crypto exchange, and Genesis, a crypto lender, partnered in February 2021 on a Gemini product called Earn, which touted yields of up to 8% for customers.
/jlne.ws/3kfbQJf

Gemini and Genesis Sued by SEC Over Crypto ‘Earn’ Program; Regulator alleges that firms illegally raised billions; Program pays clients interest for lending crypto assets
Austin Weinstein – Bloomberg
US regulators sued crypto brokerages Genesis Global Capital and Gemini Trust Co. for breaking securities rules. The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday that the firms illegally raised billions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of investors through the so-called Gemini Earn program. That product, which let customers loan out their assets in exchange for interest payments, amounted to the offering of unregistered securities, the SEC said.
/jlne.ws/3QyVuYh

U.S. securities regulator charges Genesis, Gemini with unregistered offerings
Hannah Lang and Chris Prentice – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday said it has charged Genesis Global Capital LLC and Gemini Trust Company LLC with illegally selling securities to hundreds of thousands of investors through their crypto lending program. Genesis, a part of Digital Currency Group, entered into a deal with Gemini in December 2020 to offer Gemini customers the chance to loan their crypto assets to Genesis in exchange for earning interest, the SEC said. Beginning in February 2021, they raised billions of dollars’ worth of crypto assets from investors, the SEC said.
/jlne.ws/3izyfk6

SEC sues Gemini and Genesis over crypto asset-lending programme; US regulator says Gemini Earn was not properly registered as a securities offering
Stefania Palma and Joshua Oliver – Financial Times
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has sued digital asset-trading group Genesis and Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, saying a crypto asset-lending programme was not properly registered as a securities offering. The SEC enforcement action announced on Thursday focuses on the Gemini Earn crypto asset-lending scheme, which as of October offered net interest rates to investors of up to 8.05 per cent, according to the regulator. Starting in February 2021, Gemini allowed its customers to loan their crypto tokens to Genesis in exchange for a generous interest rate.
/jlne.ws/3kbEqvd

S.E.C. Charges Crypto Companies With Offering Unregistered Securities
Ephrat Livni – The New York Times
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged the cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global Capital and the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini Trust with offering unregistered securities through a program that promised investors high interest on deposits. The S.E.C. said that Genesis, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, and Gemini, which is run by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, had raised billions of dollars of assets from hundreds of thousands of investors without registering the program, which was called Gemini Earn.
/jlne.ws/3WaHk0B

Crypto lender Nexo under investigation in Bulgaria; Sofia prosecutor’s office says it is probing possible money laundering and other criminal offences
Scott Chipolina – Financial Times
A Bulgarian office belonging to crypto lender Nexo has been raided by prosecutors as part of an investigation into money laundering and other offences, as global authorities step up their scrutiny of companies that lend customers’ crypto assets in search of big returns.
/jlne.ws/3H2Iozh

Investing and Trading

Bed Bath & Beyond Quadruples as Retail Traders Fuel Latest Burst; Shares soar for fourth day amid renewed retail trader interest; Rally could spur ‘massive’ short squeeze, S3 Partners says
Bailey Lipschultz and Katrina Lewis – Bloomberg
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. continued to surge on Thursday, rising for a fourth day and closing at the highest level since late October, after the company’s bankruptcy warning reignited interest from retail traders. Shares in the home-goods retailer climbed 50%, adding to 166% gains from the previous three sessions. Other so-called meme stocks also added to gains Thursday after jumping Wednesday. Carvana Co. rallied 46% in the biggest advance on record while meme-stock poster-children AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and GameStop Corp. saw more modest gains.
/jlne.ws/3W91fwZ

Cathie Wood’s ARK Adds Nearly $3.3M Shares of Coinbase
Sam Reynolds – CoinDesk
ARK has added 74,792 shares of Coinbase (COIN) to the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), according to an investor email on Thursday. The shares purchased by the exchange-traded fund were worth around $3.28 million, based on Coinbase’s last closing price of $43.79 on Wednesday. At the time of writing, the shares were up around 3% at $44.7 in pre-market trading. The additional buy comes a day after the tech investment fund made a $1.45 million purchase of the crypto exchange’s shares, adding 33,756 shares of COIN to the treasury of ARKK.
/jlne.ws/3QDwkrs

Musk Poured Rocket Fuel on Tesla’s Stock Crash; The company’s technoking sold some stock right at the top and then kept selling, accelerating a steep slide through 2022.
Liam Denning – Bloomberg
Tesla investors begin the new year trying to escape the shadow of 2022, when more than $670 billion of value was wiped out. At the center of that, in a very real sense, is Elon Musk: Tesla Inc.’s chief executive, technoking and biggest shareholder. Not as big as he was 14 months ago, though. Musk began heavy selling of Tesla in November 2021. Concerns about weakening demand in China – and, conversely, hopes that the worst is over – have taken center stage of late, especially as Tesla missed delivery estimates for the fourth quarter. But that shouldn’t distract investors from taking a long, hard look at the scale and pattern of Musk’s sales.
/jlne.ws/3XwKyN7

A 29-Year-Old’s Alleged Fraud Has Stained Jamie Dimon’s Acquisition Spree
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has spent the past year reassuring analysts and investors that the bank’s multibillion-dollar binge on technology ventures is part of a carefully designed plan that will pay off. But a lawsuit filed by the bank against the founder of one of those ventures – a complaint alleging she concocted millions of fake customers – risks renewing concerns about JPMorgan’s rapid deployment of shareholder cash in recent years.
/jlne.ws/3H1rocA

Samsung Fund Unit Considers More Hong Kong Crypto Products After ETF; Samsung Asset Management rolling out futures-based Bitcoin ETF; Firm might consider starting spot Bitcoin fund if rules change
Joanna Ossinger – Bloomberg
Samsung Asset Management indicated the firm could consider starting a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in Hong Kong if the city allows such products under a push to become an Asia-Pacific center for crypto. The company is launching the futures-based Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active ETF in Hong Kong on Friday and is monitoring the territory’s changing rule book for digital assets in case a path opens up to a product investing directly in coins.
/jlne.ws/3XfmKh6

Why Banks Are Suddenly Borrowing From the Fed’s Discount Window; A deeper understanding of this ‘just-in-case’ borrowing facility
Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal – Bloomberg
The discount window at the Federal Reserve allows banks to borrow money at an above-market rate in exchange for high-quality collateral. The facility is always available to use, but typically nobody does. Not only is the borrowing costlier, there’s also a “stigma” associated with its usage, since the perception is that if you use it your institution might be in some kind of financial distress. So why has some entity (or multiple entities) been using it lately? On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Bill Nelson, chief economist at the Bank Policy Institute and a former employee of the Federal Reserve who helped design and manage the discount window for 10 years. We discuss what the program is, its history and how it’s used today.
/jlne.ws/3Wb3C26

Private Credit Muscles Out Banks, With Worrisome Consequences; The opaque $1.4 trillion industry has become a magnet for high-flying finance executives and a hunting ground for asset managers.
Davide Scigliuzzo – Bloomberg
War, inflation and recession fears proved to be devastating for financial markets in 2022. Yet in private credit-one of the most opaque corners of Wall Street, where small groups of institutions and financiers make loans directly to companies-the picture has never looked brighter.
/jlne.ws/3H3DgLg

How the Global Economy Has Been ‘Rewired’ and What That Means for Your Portfolio; Ruffer’s Investment Director Alexander Chartres shares his inflation expectations and the massive pain he sees coming for venture capital funds.
Sommer Saadi and Merryn Somerset Webb – Bloomberg
Not many investment trusts made a positive return last year. The Ruffer Investment Company did — partly by using strategies not open to the retail investor but also using ones that are. In this week’s Merryn Talks Money, the firm’s Investment Director Alexander Chartres talks host Merryn Somerset Webb through what worked for Ruffer in 2022 and what might work in 2023.
/jlne.ws/3W2Npfu

Advice plans under scrutiny after Peter Hargreaves’s criticism; Billionaire’s attack raises questions about retail financial advice
Emma Dunkley – Financial Times
Billionaire Peter Hargreaves’s attack this week on Hargreaves Lansdown, the funds supermarket he co-founded, has not only raised awkward questions about the company’s strategy. It also highlighted concerns about a key development in the retail investment market – the expansion of low-cost financial advice to savers with too little money to benefit from full-blown personalised financial advice.
/jlne.ws/3QEEOhO

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

Explainer: Why weeks of rain in California will not end historic drought
Daniel Trotta – Reuters
California has been deluged since Dec. 26 by seven atmospheric rivers that have dumped up to 30 inches (76 cm) of rain over some areas, but the drought that has gripped the western United States remains far from over. Virtually none of the storms has reached the Colorado River basin, which means the river that provides drinking water to 40 million people in seven states will continue to be endangered. Even with more atmospheric rivers in the immediate forecast, and larger and more frequent ones predicted in the future, California cannot solve its long-term water crisis without major infrastructure investments to capture more storm water, restore flood plains and recycle wastewater.
/jlne.ws/3QEIlN6

U.S. to simplify offshore wind regulations to meet climate goals
Reuters
The U.S. Department of the Interior will reform its regulations for the development of wind energy facilities on the country’s outer continental shelf to help meet crucial climate goals, it said in a statement on Thursday. The proposed rule changes would save developers a projected $1 billion over a 20-year period by streamlining burdensome processes, clarifying ambiguous provisions, and lowering compliance costs, the statement said.
/jlne.ws/3kd6y1d

Post-COP27, Carbon Markets Turn Focus to Pricing
OpenMarkets – CME Group
The race to carbon neutrality faced headwinds in 2022, including uncertain progress at the U.N. climate talks. However, corporations are keen to press ahead with a variety of tools to get the job done, such as embracing the voluntary carbon offset market. A positive backdrop for business in the coming year will be the persistent evolution of benchmark prices in those carbon markets, providing investors transparency and reference prices, similar to the way benchmarks have evolved in everything from gold to grains.
/jlne.ws/3INapwc

Despite their net-zero pledges, deforestation remains a big blind spot for bankers
Mark Hillsdon – Reuters
Despite the contribution of deforestation to global CO2 emissions, only 17% the 557 financial institutions that are part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) recognise deforestation as a risk, according to Global Canopy; Asset managers in GFANZ retain forest-risk investments worth an estimated $8.5 billion, just 3% less than a year ago; BlackRock, Vanguard, which has since left GFANZ, State Street, Deutsche Bank and ABP all appear to have increased their reported exposure to ‘forest-risk’ investments between September 2021 and September 2022, according to analysis by Global Witness; Only 35 GFANZ members have signed a commitment to eliminate commodity driven deforestation from their portfolios and joined the Finance Sector Deforestation Action coalition.
/jlne.ws/3CLTGW8

What’s the Legal Definition of Greenwashing? Nobody knows for sure, and that’s causing some big regulatory problems.
Tim Quinson – Bloomberg
Greenwashing may be the biggest risk to the future of ESG investing, but there’s no firm agreement on what it means in a legal or regulatory context. The term has become ubiquitous with the rise of ESG. It’s typically used when companies, people or governments overstate, misrepresent or just plain lie about their climate credentials. For example, a company says it’s reducing its carbon footprint-but fails to say that the calculation excludes massive emissions produced by its customers or suppliers. Or an asset manager overhypes the environmental, social and governance standards it uses to allocate clients’ money. But know-it-when-you-see-it doesn’t translate well into statutory authority.
/jlne.ws/3CKQFFq

Private jets rule in Davos, as Europe’s leaders try to quash short flights
Michael Birnbaum – The Washington Post
European policymakers are trying to reduce short flights and usher their citizens onto the continent’s dense network of speedy, climate-friendly trains. They may have some more work to do as the world’s economic elite gathers in Davos, Switzerland, next week. Private jet flights to nearby airports nearly doubled in the week of last year’s conference, according to an analysis from Greenpeace released Thursday.
/jlne.ws/3H1VXik

Exxon’s Secret Climate Projections Were Highly Accurate, Study Says; A review of the oil giant’s own climate research found that Exxon correctly forecast global warming while downplaying the threat in public.
Carly Wanna – Bloomberg
A new study of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s own climate projections offers fresh evidence that the oil giant’s models accurately forecast global warming even as it publicly sowed doubt about the climate crisis. A review of climate projections made by Exxon for the years 1977 through 2003 found that the company anticipated warming of roughly 0.20°C each decade, according to a new study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science. That projection aligns with academic and government studies, as well as observed increases in temperatures over that time period.
/jlne.ws/3XtwNi5

ESG accounts for 65% of all flows into European ETFs in 2022; Proportion has jumped from the 51% recorded last year despite relatively poor returns
Emma Boyde – Financial Times
Exchange traded funds aligned with environmental, social and governance outcomes accounted for 65 per cent of all net inflows into European ETFs in 2022, even as ESG strategies underperformed.
/jlne.ws/3GHj00H

Girl Guides of Canada Drops Brownies Name; The organization adopted a new name, Embers, for the branch after current and former members said that the old one was a barrier to belonging.
Amanda Holpuch – The New York Times
The Girl Guides, Canada’s equivalent of the Girl Scouts, has renamed its Brownies branch in an effort to become more inclusive, after current and former members who are people of color said that the name had caused them harm. Girls in the branch, which is for 7- and 8-year-olds, will now be called Embers after an online vote by members, the Girl Guides of Canada announced on Wednesday.
/jlne.ws/3XcdHxo

Last year tied as world’s fifth-warmest on record, U.S. scientists say
Kate Abnett – Reuters
Last year was the world’s joint fifth-warmest on record and the last nine years were the nine warmest since pre-industrial times, putting the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5C in serious jeopardy, U.S. scientists said on Thursday. Last year tied with 2015 as the fifth-warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, NASA said. That was despite the presence of the La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which generally lowers global temperatures slightly.
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Explainer: Why Malaysia is considering a ban on palm oil exports to the European Union
Mei Mei Chu – Reuters
Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm oil producer, on Thursday said it might stop palm exports to the European Union after the bloc imposed additional import restrictions on the edible oil due to concerns over deforestation.WHAT IS THE DISAGREEMENT ABOUT? Malaysia and Indonesia have for years been at loggerheads with the European Union over curbs on imports of palm oil, which the two countries say are trade barriers and protectionist measures for the bloc’s domestic oilseed industries.
/jlne.ws/3Xk4ZwC

At Walt Disney, the G in ESG stands for goofy
Jennifer Saba – Reuters
It’s sadly fitting that Walt Disney persists with Mickey Mouse corporate governance. The $176 billion entertainment empire on Wednesday appointed Nike Chairman Mark Parker to run its board, too. He is also being tasked with finding yet another successor for Chief Executive Bob Iger. And he’ll be squaring off with pushy investor Nelson Peltz. The silly drama never ends. In November, Disney abruptly ousted Bob Chapek shortly after giving him a new three-year deal to reign over the Magic Kingdom and brought Iger out of retirement. Parker, who has been a director at Disney since 2016, was around for all of it. It makes him an odd choice to put in charge of rectifying the mismanaged transition in which he played a role. https://jlne.ws/3CGRRcP

An Oil Exec Running COP? This Isn’t a Joke; The UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber has green credentials but also a commitment to pumping more oil. It’s a recipe for controversy and slow action.
Lara Williams – Bloomberg
Greta Thunberg once summed up world leaders’ empty climate promises with the words “Blah blah blah.” After the appointment of an oil executive as president of COP28, they will ring true to many climate advocates all over again.
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UAE names oil boss to lead climate summit, worrying activists
Maha El Dahan and Gloria Dickie – Reuters
The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday that the head of state oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company would lead this year’s COP28 climate summit, fuelling activists’ worries that big industry is hijacking the global response to environmental crisis. Sultan al-Jaber, also UAE’s minister of industry and technology and its climate envoy, will help shape the conference’s agenda and intergovernmental negotiations to build consensus, his office said in a statement.
/jlne.ws/3H2trNB

EU to Fight Rogue Climate Claims in Greenwashing Push; Companies would have to ensure ads are backed up by science; Rules would work alongside the EU’s own ecolabel requirements
John Ainger and Alberto Nardelli – Bloomberg
The European Union’s executive branch will put forward measures to tackle misleading climate claims by companies, stepping up its efforts to curb widespread greenwashing in product advertisement. EU countries will have to ensure that environmental assertions made by companies about their products are backed by scientific evidence, according to draft European Commission proposals seen by Bloomberg. Under the plans, firms that want to tout the positive climate aspects of their offerings also have to highlight the detrimental effects.
/jlne.ws/3W3hyeN

Institutions

Citadel boss Ken Griffin urges Mayor Eric Adams to make NYC crime top priority
Thomas Barrabi – New York Post
One of the Big Apple’s billionaire landlords urged Mayor Eric Adams to make the city’s crime problem his top priority on Thursday. Citadel boss Ken Griffin spoke about the importance of public safety to a business-friendly environment during a closed-door roundtable meeting attended by about 60 people, including Adams, KKR & Co. co-founder Henry Kravis and Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf. The Partnership for New York City hosted the summit at KKR’s offices in Hudson Yards. Partnership for New York CEO Kathryn W
/jlne.ws/3W7B2Pk

Minibubbles in US Banking Are Popping With Costs in the Billions; A pattern is emerging of small banks soaring, crashing on fads; Now, as crypto fuels losses, regulators are sounding warnings
Hannah Levitt – Bloomberg
A two-century-old bank in the New England countryside suddenly became one of the hottest stocks in US finance a couple of years ago after making an unlikely proclamation: It was willing to help cryptocurrency ventures. Provident Bancorp Inc., whose first chairman fought under George Washington in the Revolutionary War, watched its stock skyrocket 140% in just 14 months as Bitcoin hurtled toward a record high in November 2021. But as crypto prices fell and took down the FTX exchange last year, Provident’s stock plunged, ultimately going lower than where it started.
/jlne.ws/3CK06VR

Carlyle sounds out Wall Street bankers over chief executive role
Antoine Gara, Joshua Franklin and Kaye Wiggins – Financial Times
Carlyle Group has sounded out two senior Wall Street bankers about becoming its next chief executive as the private equity group tries to conclude a months-long process to find a new leader after the abrupt departure of Kewsong Lee last year. The Washington-based group has in recent months held discussions with Citigroup chief financial officer Mark Mason and outgoing Morgan Stanley chief operating officer Jonathan Pruzan, said multiple people briefed on the matter. Mason, a highly regarded veteran at Citigroup, has helped oversee a trimming down of its sprawling global footprint since being named chief financial officer in February 2019.
/jlne.ws/3W7erCC

Wall Street’s Lucrative Leveraged-Debt Machine Is Breaking Down; Big banks are stuck with about $40 billion of risky debt on their books – blocking the M&A machine that’s enriched bankers and private-equity executives over the past decade
Lisa Lee, Claire Ruckin, and Jill R Shah – Bloomberg
One of the most lucrative money-making machines in the world of finance is all clogged up, threatening a year of pain for Wall Street banks and private-equity barons as a decade-long deal boom goes bust. After driving a flurry of mega buyouts that contributed to a $1 trillion profit haul in the good times, some of the world’s largest banks have been forced to take big writedowns on debt-fueled mergers and acquisitions underwritten late in the cheap-money era. Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter Inc. is proving especially painful, saddling a Morgan Stanley-led cohort with around $4 billion in estimated paper losses, according to industry experts and Bloomberg calculations.
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Fosun Weighs Sale of Belgian Diamond-Grading Firm IGI, Sources Say; Chinese firm working with Deutsche Bank on proposed divestment; Deal could value Antwerp-based company at around EUR200 million
Vinicy Chan – Bloomberg
Fosun International Ltd. is weighing a sale of International Gemological Institute in a deal that could value the diamond-grading firm at about EUR200 million ($215 million), according to people with knowledge of the matter. The Chinese conglomerate is working with Deutsche Bank AG on the potential divestment of the Antwerp, Belgium-based institution, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is confidential.
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Citi Traders Reap Record as Bank Girds for Tougher Times; Fixed-income trading revenue was most ever for fourth quarter; Bank sets aside more than expected for loans, citing economy
Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
Citigroup Inc.’s fixed-income traders turned in a record-setting finale to 2022 as the bank, under pressure to improve returns, braced itself for a less certain economy. Customers’ bets on rates and currencies boosted revenue from fixed-income trading 31% to $3.2 billion, the firm’s largest haul ever for a fourth quarter. Total trading was up 18% – trouncing the 10% increase predicted by executives just last month.
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SocGen’s Incoming CEO to Face Staff Doubts on Strategy From Day One; Only 40% of workforce thinks strategy going in right direction; Slawomir Krupa to replace outgoing CEO Frederic Oudea in May
Alexandre Rajbhandari – Bloomberg
One of the first challenges that Societe Generale SA’s incoming chief executive officer Slawomir Krupa will face this year is convincing staff that the bank is on the right track. Only 40% of the French lender’s employees agree with its strategic direction, according to the results of an annual internal survey seen by Bloomberg News. That’s less than the 43% recorded last year, and far below the 75% score seen across the financial industry in a broader poll conducted by Ipsos. Among the bank’s top 1,400 managers, that figure rose to 80%.
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BlackRock Gets $146 Billion of Fresh Cash After Market Rout; Fink says environment ‘unlike anything we’ve seen in decades’; Assets under management climbed to $8.59 trillion at year-end
Silla Brush – Bloomberg
BlackRock Inc. clients continued to pour money into the firm’s long-term investment funds in the fourth quarter, seeking to capitalize on the preceding rout in stock and bond markets. Net flows into those products totaled $146 billion for the period, the world’s biggest asset manager said Friday in a statement. That beat the $124 billion average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Total net flows, which include outflows from the firm’s cash-management accounts, were $114 billion.
/jlne.ws/3QDVTZt

Brazil’s Top Hedge Funds Are All Avoiding One Thing: Brazil; Money managers have cut domestic holdings amid political woes; Investors bracing for volatile 2023, betting oil to advance
Vinicius Andrade – Bloomberg
Brazil’s best performing hedge funds are kicking off the new year betting on a bit of everything: a rally in crude prices, the impact of China’s reopening on global activity and shorting strategies for another slump in US stocks. The one thing they are avoiding? Their own country. Funds have been avoiding large Brazilian bets amid fiscal risks and renewed fears of political instability, which were highlighted this week as rioters who refuse to accept the result of presidential elections won by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stormed government buildings in the nation’s capital.
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JPMorgan profits beat expectations but bank warns on profit margins; Net income for the final three months of 2022 was $11bn, up 6 per cent year on year
Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
JPMorgan Chase reported better than expected results in the fourth quarter but warned that its profit margins may suffer as it is forced to pay more for deposits next year. JPMorgan said on Friday that net income for the final three months of 2022 was $11bn, or $3.57 per share, up 6 per cent from $10.4bn in the same period last year.
/jlne.ws/3GDSLrR

Work & Management

People who work for a small business now have a better shot at retirement security
Jessica Hall – MarketWatch
Small businesses – and the people they employ – got a boon from new retirement rules that could make it easier and more cost-effective for such companies to offer retirement plans and ultimately help narrow the gap in retirement savings at smaller firms. Roughly 5 million businesses with nearly 57 million employees lack retirement plans at work, according to AARP. As part of the federal spending bill that was signed into law at the end of December, a batch of new retirement rules were put in place.
/jlne.ws/3GGyXEc

Unlimited Time Off Is Often Better for Employers Than Employees; More companies are shifting to unlimited vacation. Here are the benefits and drawbacks.
Jo Constantz – Bloomberg
Microsoft Corp. is the latest company that’s moving from set allowances of paid time off to unlimited vacation, joining a growing list of employers like Adobe Inc., Netflix Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. While only 6% of employers offered unlimited leave, according to a 2022 employee benefits survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, the high-profile additions lead many to ask: Is the perk as good as it sounds, and who benefits the most?
/jlne.ws/3w54pac

LendingClub to Cut 225 Workers, Take Charges of $5.7 Million
Paige Smith – Bloomberg
LendingClub Corp. plans to cut 14% of its employees and take pretax charges of about $5.7 million as demand for the company’s loans declines. The cuts will reduce the San Francisco-based company’s workforce by 225 employees, and trim compensation and benefits by about $25 million to $30 million this year on an annualized basis, the lender said in a statement Thursday. About $4.4 million of the charges will be in results for the fourth quarter of 2022.
/jlne.ws/3khM1so

Morgan Stanley Names 184 to Managing Director in Smaller Class
Daniel Taub – Bloomberg
Morgan Stanley elevated 184 employees to managing director, a smaller number of promotions to the firm’s top rank from last year. A record 38% are women, pushing the share of female MDs at the New York-based firm up to 24%, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Of the US-based employees who were promoted, 5% are Black, 2% Hispanic and 21% Asian, the person said.
/jlne.ws/3CMjJfL

Wellness Exchange

New ‘kraken’ subvariant is most contagious version of COVID yet. Here’s what the Chicago area needs to know.
Angie Leventis Lourgos – Chicago Tribune
Medical experts say the new COVID-19 subvariant dubbed “kraken” is the most contagious version of the virus to emerge since the pandemic began – and it’s becoming the dominant strain in the United States. As cases of this latest subvariant, known as XBB.1.5, surge across the northeastern section of the nation, local physicians are urging Chicago-area residents to get their booster shots and stock up on COVID tests. They are predicting that a wave will soon hit the Midwest.
/jlne.ws/3k9O3KW

Gas or Electric? Talk of a Stove Ban Sparks Debate About Which Cooks Better; For many cooks, climate and health concerns can’t sway their love of gas.
David R Baker and Immanual John Milton – Bloomberg
The controversy erupting from mere talk of banning gas stoves has sparked a culture war that’s about more than politics- it’s about food. And it boils down to one question: Which cooks better, gas or electric? For most home chefs forced to choose between gas ranges that heat quickly or electric-coil stoves that are inefficient and ugly, the answer is simple: gas. But there’s a third option: induction stoves, which heat with a tightly controlled magnetic field rather than a flame.
/jlne.ws/3IHrU0R

China Stops Reporting Covid Tally as Data Criticism Grows; China hasn’t reported daily Covid cases, deaths since Monday; WHO renewed call for more data; countries target travelers
Jinshan Hong – Bloomberg
China hasn’t updated its daily Covid reports for three days, adding to global concerns that the information vacuum is masking the true impact of the world’s biggest outbreak. The last time the country published its daily Covid situation update, including cases – though they’d already been rendered meaningless by the roll back of frequent testing – and the number of severely ill patients and deaths, was on Monday. While there hasn’t been an official notification about the cessation, health officials said last month that China would switch to monthly reports as part of its downgrade of virus management, without providing a specific date for the change.
/jlne.ws/3ZvKCyr

US Releases Stockpiled Tamiflu Supplies Amid Cold, Flu Treatment Shortages; Severe respiratory disease season hurts flu drug supplies; Buyers didn’t order enough Tamiflu, manufacturers say
Immanual John Milton, Riley Griffin, and Ike Swetlitz – Bloomberg
US health officials have released supplies of the flu drug Tamiflu from a national stockpile as shortages of cold and respiratory medications persist nationwide. More than 52,000 treatment courses were sent to 10 states and one territory, according to an official from the Department of Health and Human Services who spoke on condition of anonymity. All states that requested Tamiflu received supplies, according to the official, who asked not to be named discussing matters that aren’t public.
/jlne.ws/3ZyWv6D

Regions

Philippines May Not Fill Onion Imports on Tight Conditions: USDA
Manolo Serapio Jr – Bloomberg
The Philippines is unlikely to meet a plan to import 21,060 tons of onions due to the tight requirements, including delivery before the end of January which could favor Chinese suppliers due to proximity, the United States Department of Agriculture said. The Southeast Asian nation plans to purchase onions to tame domestic prices that have surpassed those of meat and helped push inflation to a 14-year high. The Philippines’ agriculture department has told importers they need to bring in shipments by Jan. 27 and any late arrivals would be rejected. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is also the agriculture secretary.
/jlne.ws/3Xr259d

Chinese Oil Demand Seen Hitting Record on Covid Zero Pivot; Daily consumption may expand by 800,000 barrels, survey shows; Recovery may pick up from second quarter, Wood Mackenzie says
Bloomberg
Chinese oil consumption is expected to hit a record this year as the world’s biggest importer leaves the straitjacket of Covid Zero behind, bolstering the global demand outlook and aiding prices. Daily demand – which contracted last year – will climb by 800,000 barrels a day in 2023, according to the median estimate of 11 China-focused consultants surveyed by Bloomberg News. That would take consumption to an all-time high of about 16 million barrels a day, the survey showed.
/jlne.ws/3kezoOE

China moves to take ‘golden shares’ in Alibaba and Tencent units; Beijing changes tack in its efforts to secure a firmer grip on the country’s tech giants
Ryan McMorrow, Qianer Liu and Cheng Leng – Financial Times
China is moving to take “golden shares” in local units of Alibaba and Tencent as Beijng formalises a greater role in overseeing the country’s powerful tech groups. The Chinese government has responded to a stuttering economy by backing away from the tough fines and sanctions that were a hallmark of its campaign to rein in the country’s largest tech groups, but which also scared off foreign investors.
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Swedish Miner Finds Europe’s Largest Rare Earth Deposit; Deposit holds more than 1 million tons of rare minerals; Application for exploration concession expected in 2023
Jonas Ekblom – Bloomberg
The largest known deposit of rare earth minerals in Europe has just been discovered in Sweden’s Arctic, with potential to help the continent break free from China’s dominance on the market for the resources. The deposit, found by Swedish state-owned mining company LKAB, contains more than 1 million tons of rare earths, according to a statement on Thursday. Work is still in an exploratory phase and the full extent of the deposit, just north of the company’s biggest mine in the Arctic town of Kiruna, is not known, LKAB said.
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TotalEnergies, Swiss Trader MET Book New LNG Capacity in Germany; Capacity booked at Deutsche ReGas’s terminal in Lubmin; Floating LNG terminal will be officially opened on Saturday
Anna Shiryaevskaya and Vanessa Dezem – Bloomberg
TotalEnergies SE and Swiss energy trader MET Group booked capacity at a new LNG terminal in Germany, helping boost supplies to Europe’s biggest economy as it looks to replace Russian gas. TotalEnergies contracted 2.6 billion cubic meters per year in the terminal at Lubmin, it said in a statement. The French company, which has provided a floating storage and regasification vessel with annual capacity of 5 billion cubic meters capacity, will send liquefied natural gas from its global portfolio and become one of Germany’s main supplier of the fuel.
/jlne.ws/3k8HNTH

Soaring Egg Prices Are the Latest Bad News for Mayonnaise Inflation
Tracy Alloway – Bloomberg
The troubles for mayonnaise are spreading. While US inflation data released this morning revealed a slowdown in the pace of price increases, anyone who consumes an outsized amount of mayonnaise won’t be happy. Mayo inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index category of ‘other fats and oils including peanut butter’ jumped to a stunning 18.2% year-on-year. That’s at odds with overall CPI which fell 0.1% on a month-by-month basis in December, with the annualized inflation rate now running at 5.7%.
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Miscellaneous

Fanatics to Launch Sports Betting at Commanders Stadium Next Week
Gerry Smith – Bloomberg
Fanatics Inc., the team apparel giant, will take its first sports bets next week when it debuts a retail operation inside an NFL stadium in Maryland. Fanatics Sportsbook will open Jan. 20 and be located inside FedExField, home of the Washington Commanders. Fanatics partnered with the team to get a sports betting license in Maryland.
/jlne.ws/3IFMuyC

Crypto and Football Don’t Mix, and Now We Have Proof; UK football teams were happy to take crypto money, and crypto money was happy to invest in football. The results are in.
Stephen Smith – Bloomberg
It was a mouthwatering match for sports enthusiasts and City of London traders alike: football and cryptocurrency, together at last! One was an all-consuming passion that only fans could understand, and the other was football. With their huge overhead, including the wage bills of players, football clubs are always looking for new streams of revenue. Back in the heady days of early 2021, crypto in all its forms (sponsorships, NFTs) was an attractive new source of funds, especially as the pandemic threatened traditional sources of income. Newly rich crypto evangelists, for their part, seemed to relish the opportunity to raise their profile via sports with mass appeal.
/jlne.ws/3kcVmlc

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Music financing boom reverberates to markets

Music financing boom reverberates to markets

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