How Did Jim Simons’s Firm Make $100 Billion? He Told His Secrets to Our Reporter | John Lothian News (2024)

First Read

Hits & Takes
John Lothian & JLN Staff

The Wall Street Journal has a story today about why I wanted to become a reporter. The story is about the late Jim Simons and it is by Gregory Zuckerman and titled “How Did Jim Simons’s Firm Make $100 Billion? He Told His Secrets to Our Reporter.” I figured one of the best ways to learn how to become a good trader was to be able to ask good traders questions. And one way to do that is to become a news reporter. So that is what I did. I was also fascinated by the ways markets consumed information and created this thing called “price.”

Euronext yesterday reported a strong start to 2024, with Q1 revenue and income up 8.0% to 401.9 million euros. Non-volume related revenue, representing 58% of the total, grew significantly, with notable increases in custody and settlement (67.8 million euros, +6.0%), advanced data services (59.4 million, +5.5%), and listing revenue (57.7 million euros, +5.5%). Clearing revenue rose 23.1% to 37.0 million euros, driven by expanded European equities and commodities clearing. Trading revenue increased 7.4% to 138.4 million euros, despite softer cash and derivatives trading. Operating expenses decreased by 2.0%, leading to an adjusted EBITDA of 251.3 million euros (+15.0%). Adjusted net income was 164.2 million euros (+11.7%), with reported net income at 139.7 million euros (+44.8%). Net debt to EBITDA ratios improved, and S&P upgraded Euronext’s rating to BBB+ Positive Outlook. Euronext has a LinkedIn video/slideshow you can see HERE about its first quarter performance.

The SEC is seeking candidates to fill vacancies on its Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee, which advises on rules and policies for small businesses. Established by the SEC Small Business Advocate Act of 2016, the committee includes leaders, investors, and advisors working with early-stage and smaller public companies, including minority- and women-owned businesses. The committee focuses on capital raising, securities trading, and corporate governance for these companies. Interested individuals should email their letter of interest to by June 14, 2024. Relevant experience includes representing emerging and smaller public companies, professional advising, and involvement in securities markets.

ICE’s ESTR (euro-short term rate) futures reached 100,000 lots of open interest for the first time yesterday, becoming the first exchange to do so, beating rivals CME Group and Eurex, ICE shared on LinkedIn. Futures & Options World reported that ICE now holds a 51% market share in ESTR futures, while Eurex holds 26% and CME 23%. ICE’s ESTR offering can be traded alongside over 16.2 million lots of open interest in Euribor futures and options, which is the largest and most liquid pool of Euro short-term interest rate derivatives globally, ICE said. ESTR options were launched on April 22 to complement the futures offering.

ASIC, the Australian market regulator, announced that it welcomed the Australian government’s move to advance competition in clearing and settlement. The assistant treasurer issued the Corporations and Competition (CS Services) Instrument 2024, empowering ASIC to create rules for cash equities clearing and settlement services. ASIC said it aims to use these new powers promptly to ensure competitive market outcomes, enforcing the 2017 Regulatory Expectations for ASX’s cash equity services. These expectations ensure ASX’s responsiveness to user needs and provide transparent, fair, and non-discriminatory access to its services. ASIC said it plans to consult on draft CS services rules in July.

Later today in Chicago I will be attending a FIA Operations members only “Division Workshop: Clearing 24/7.” The description of the event is “Trading hours have been expanding for several decades and now the industry is contemplating extending clearing hours to accommodate weekend trading in certain products. This interactive session will cover the practical implications of clearing 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week in the current ecosystem. How would 24/7 clearing impact post-trade processing, staffing, collateral, risk management, and banking? Panelists also will address new technologies such as tokenization.”

The moderator is Kyle Tobolik, vice president, Futures & Derivatives Clearing Operations, J.P. Morgan Chase. The panelists are Jeff Arnold, managing director, COO, ABN AMRO Clearing USA; James Deighton, managing director, Futures Electronic Trading, Wells Fargo Securities; Linda Haven, BMO Bank N.A.; Joseph McGlawn, head of clearing, Cboe Digital; Brian Sayers, executive director, Post-Trade Services & Risk, CME; and Jonathan Schlamp, senior vice president, Commodities & Global Markets, Macquarie Futures USA.

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


Our most read stories from our previous edition of JLN Options were:
Meme-Stock Mania Is Hitting the Options Market, Too from The Wall Street Journal.
Options show investor calm ahead of CPI data from MarketWatch.
Hedge Funds Rush to Cover Euro Short Bets Ahead of US Inflation from Bloomberg. ~JB

Subscribe to the JLN Options Newsletter HERE (it’s free).


Cboe’s Adam Inzirillo talks about Cboe’s data offerings and growth at FIA Boca

Adam Inzirillo, the head of data and access solutions at Cboe, spoke to JLN at the FIA International Futures Industry Conference in Boca Raton, FL in March about his experience with electronic trading products before joining Cboe, the lessons he learned in his first months on the job, and the breadth of services Cboe is offering these days. Inzirillo talked with John Lothian News as part of the JLN Industry Leader video series sponsored by Wedbush.

Watch the video »


Museum of Science & Industry finally rebrands under Ken Griffin’s name
Corli Jay – Crain’s Chicago Business
The Museum of Science & Industry will be renamed to honor Ken Griffin, as originally promised five years after the Citadel founder announced he would donate a historic $125 million to the museum. The cultural institution will be renamed the Kenneth C. Griffin Museum of Science & Industry on May 19, the museum said in a news release. The $125 million gift made way for multiple new exhibits, including the “Notes to Neurons” multimedia experience that will be featured in the new Griffin Studio digital space. “The gift is being used to support our vision and our future focus (of) reimagining MSI. It will also bolster our endowment, and that will support our long-term financial health with the museum to ensure future sustainability,” Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of MSI, said in an interview with Crain’s. “We’re just excited that these new experiences are going to be fresh avenues for us to share science and industry to Chicago and the world and we could not have done it without Ken Griffin’s incredible support.” To celebrate the new name and look, the museum will offer free admission on May 19. Humphrey did not disclose the full price, only stating that part of the $125 million went toward the rebranding.

***** I think we should just rebrand Chicago “Ken Griffin-ville” and get it over with. Maybe that would attract him back to Chicago – I mean Ken Griffin-ville.~JJL


Exxon Mobil is suing its shareholders to silence them about global warming
Michael Hiltzik – Los Angeles Times
You wouldn’t think that Exxon Mobil has to worry much about being harried by a couple of shareholder groups owning a few thousand dollars worth of shares between them – not with its $529-billion market value and its stature as the world’s biggest oil company. But then you might not have factored in the company’s stature as the world’s biggest corporate bully. In February, Exxon Mobil sued the U.S. investment firm Arjuna Capital and Netherlands-based green shareholder firm Follow This to keep a shareholder resolution they sponsored from appearing on the agenda of its May 29 annual meeting. The resolution urged Exxon Mobil to work harder to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its products.

****** This is not a case of how to make friends and influence people. This is how to make enemies and keep their mouths shut.~JJL


A surging U.S. dollar presents fresh opportunity; ICE’s U.S. Dollar Index serves as a reliable global benchmark for the greenback
Dwijen Gandhi, Senior Director, Head of Product Development, ICE Data Indices
The Japanese yen has been hitting multi-decade lows against the U.S. dollar, triggering speculation of an intervention, and renewing focus on the greenback’s strength against a wide range of major currencies. For market participants, currency volatility can highlight the need to hedge their positions, take advantage of arbitrage opportunities, or promote products which trade on these dynamics.

***** ICE’s U.S. Dollar Index is an amazing story. It is a contract started because Paul Tudor Jones wanted to find a way to short the dollar and there were no good alternatives. With the help of the late Joe O’Neill of the New York Cotton Exchange, they created the dollar index. ~JJL


America is pulling up the drawbridge; The nation is growing tired of upholding the economic rules it laid out for the world after 1945
Edward Luce – Financial Times
America is in a race with itself to see which party can deglobalise faster. On Tuesday, Joe Biden slapped tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, including 100 per cent on electric vehicles. That’s nothing, said Donald Trump, who promised 200 per cent tariffs on Chinese cars, plus 10 per cent on all imports from everywhere. Biden has more to come. At this rate of bidding, US-China decoupling will be set in bipartisan stone by November. The choice will be between Biden sealing an orderly divorce, or Trump doing it in chaotic leaps and bounds.

***** I like Paul Krugman’s take on this and the implications cheap Chinese goods had on income inequality in the U.S. and thus the political landscape in key locations, due to the impact on certain industries. ~JJL


Tuesday’s Top Three
Our top clicked item Tuesday was the SEC’s notice about its 2024 Conference On Emerging Trends In Asset Management taking place tomorrow, May 16, 2024, at 9:00 am ET. Second was The Wall Street Journal’s OpenAI Launches Voice Assistant Inspired by Hollywood Vision of AI. Third was Cboe imposes $170,000 fine on Hilltop Securities, from fxnewsgroup.



Lead Stories

How Did Jim Simons’s Firm Make $100 Billion? He Told His Secrets to Our Reporter; The huge gains came both from groundbreaking insights and lots of small innovations. Being way out on Long Island didn’t hurt either.
Gregory Zuckerman – The Wall Street Journal
How did Jim Simons do it? I spent two years researching a book about Simons and his firm, Renaissance Technologies. I had long conversations with Simons-enduring his chain-smoking for hours at a time. I talked to dozens of his executives, researchers and friends. The response to the book was positive, but the question kept coming: What was really behind perhaps the most successful investment firm of all time? How did Simons and the crew of academics who ran Renaissance’s Medallion Fund produce more than $100 billion in gains and average annual returns of 39% between 1988 and 2018? Those numbers came after the firm’s enormous investor fees. They dwarf the returns of Warren Buffett, George Soros, Stan Druckenmiller, Steve Cohen and most everyone else. What was his secret?

How the ‘Harvard of Trading’ Ruined Thousands of Young People’s Lives; IM Academy promises a Wall Street education. But instead of riches, many of its members have lost everything.
Alice Kantor – Bloomberg
When Patrice Rechards entered the Rotterdam arena, pop songs were pumping, strobe lights were blinding and she could feel God running through her. She’d grown up in a relatively poor and religious Surinamese-Dutch family in Amsterdam, and she’d always known she had a higher purpose. But it wasn’t until she discovered IM Academy that she figured out what that was. Since joining the financial education platform three months earlier, the 26-year-old had learned how to trade options, crypto, stocks and foreign currencies, all in pursuit of getting rich-and she would soon share those lessons with others. Along with 15,000 other young IM members from all over Europe, she’d made the pilgrimage last spring for a three-day conference to see Chris Terry, their guru and the chief executive officer of IM, in the flesh.

Dairy me, now the CFTC wants a piece of the $191mn Cowzi scheme; Heifty stuff, even in a bull market
Robin Wigglesworth – Financial Times
Check out this CFTC complaint, which just landed in FT Alphaville’s inbox and instantly triggered eye-rolling over America’s premier “don’t forget meeeee” regulator. As alleged in the complaint, Agridime operated an online platform that purportedly allowed customers to buy and sell cattle and pitched victims with the prospect of guaranteed annual rates of return between at least 15% and 20%. As advertised, Agridime’s cattle purchase program afforded customers the opportunity to buy and sell cattle without the actual day-to-day care of the cattle, or as Agridime stated in solicitation materials, purchasers of livestock would “make money raising cattle without having to do all the work.”

Copper Short Squeeze in NY Prompts Rush to Send Metal to US
Jack Farchy, Archie Hunter and Mark Burton – Bloomberg
Copper futures in New York rallied to a record high after a short squeeze that’s prompted a scramble to divert metal in other regions to US shores. The sudden surge – which has seen Comex futures jump by more than 7% this week – has left metal for July delivery to the New York exchange trading at a record premium over later months, and at unprecedentedly high levels compared with copper on other global commodities exchanges.

Vanguard Names Former BlackRock Executive as CEO; Salim Ramji led BlackRock’s ETF business and left in January
Cara Lombardo and Justin Baer – The Wall Street Journal
Vanguard Group tapped a former BlackRock executive as its next leader, putting an outsider in charge of the asset manager for the first time in its roughly 50-year history. Salim Ramji, who led BlackRock’s exchange-traded funds and index investing until earlier this year, will start as Vanguard’s chief executive in July, the company said late Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Ramji’s appointment was imminent.

Is Roaring Kitty the Internet’s Warren Buffett? GameStop’s ludicrously high valuations before this week’s rally suggest that online subcultures might have a permanent influence on the market
Jon Sindreu – The Wall Street Journal
The question everybody on Wall Street is asking this week: How is GameStop suddenly a big thing again? However, the more interesting question might be: Why was it still kind of a thing last week? On Tuesday, shares in videogame retailer GameStop rose 60% to $49 a piece, having already gained 74% Monday. Those of AMC Entertainment were up 135% on the week at Tuesday’s close.

US Tariffs on Minerals Leave Out Markets That China Dominates
Mark Burton – Bloomberg
President Joe Biden just unveiled sweeping tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, including more than two dozen industrial raw materials. But the administration is being careful to avoid the critical minerals where Beijing’s grip on global supply is greatest. The commodities that made the duties list include ores of aluminum, manganese and chromium; rare elements, such as actinium and curium; and metals like tin and zinc. For the most part, the US doesn’t rely heavily on these products that now face a 25% import levy.

US Blames China’s CMOC for Predatory Tactics Behind Cobalt Glut
Michael J. Kavanagh – Bloomberg
China’s CMOC Group Ltd. is being accused by a top US official of using “predatory” tactics to depress prices of a key battery metal by flooding the market with cobalt from Democratic Republic of Congo mines. “What we’re seeing now, I feel, is a variation of predatory pricing,” Jose Fernandez, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, said Monday at a conference in New York sponsored by the Cobalt Institute industry group.

Humanity Protocol Becomes Crypto’s New Digital Identity Unicorn; The startup raised $30 million at a $1 billion valuation as it looks to challenge projects like Worldcoin.
Hannah Miller – Bloomberg
Humanity Protocol, a startup that aims to verify people’s online identities in an era of artificial intelligence deepfakes, has raised new funding – vaulting it to unicorn status after less than a year. The startup is building a blockchain-based identity system that recognizes individuals by using scans of people’s palms. It plans to announce Wednesday that it raised $30 million at a $1 billion valuation.

Trading volumes surge as investors return to base metals
Andy Home – Reuters
The boom times are back for base metals traders. Over 17 million contracts traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) in April, making it an all-time record month in outright volume terms. Expressed in average daily volumes, activity was the second highest on record after April 2018. That was the month the U.S. government announced import duties on aluminium, a shock to global trade patterns that generated a one-off volume spike on the LME aluminium contract.

Amazon Web Services chief steps down amid AI race with rivals; Adam Selipsky to be replaced by company veteran Matt Garman in unexpected leadership change
Camilla Hodgson – Financial Times
Amazon has announced that the head of its cloud business will be replaced by a company veteran who will help steer the tech giant as it races rivals such as Google and Microsoft to develop artificial intelligence products. In an unexpected leadership change revealed on Tuesday, Adam Selipsky, the chief executive of Amazon Web Services, will step down to “move on to his next challenge” on June 3. He will be replaced by Matt Garman, who currently serves as senior vice-president of sales, marketing and global services at AWS.

China says ‘bullying’ tariff hike shows some in US are ‘losing their minds’
A U.S. move to raise tariffs on Chinese goods is a sign of weakness, not of strength, and shows that some in the United States may be “losing their minds”, China’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, in unusually blunt comments. U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled steep tariff increases on Chinese imports including electric vehicle (EV) batteries, computer chips and medical products, risking an election-year standoff with Beijing as he woos American voters who give his economic policies low marks.

Janet Yellen’s New Too-Big-To-Fail Firms; Treasury says non-bank mortgage servicers are systemically important.
The Editorial Board – The Wall Street Journal
Surprise, surprise, too-big government is creating more too-big-to-fail financial firms. Biden Administration regulators on Friday teed up mortgage companies for designation as systemically important institutions like giant banks. “Vulnerabilities of nonbank mortgage companies can amplify shocks in the mortgage market and undermine financial stability,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen declared. A new report by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) finds “their specialized business model means they are especially susceptible to macroeconomic fluctuations in the housing market.”

As Insurers Around the U.S. Bleed Cash From Climate Shocks, Homeowners Lose
Christopher Flavelle – The New York Times
At first glance, Dave Langston’s predicament seems similar to headaches facing homeowners in coastal states vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes: As disasters have become more frequent and severe, his insurance company has been losing money. Then, it canceled his coverage and left the state. But Mr. Langston lives in Iowa. Relatively consistent weather once made Iowa a good bet for insurance companies. But now, as a warming planet makes events like hail and wind storms worse, insurers are fleeing.

Tips for Raising Money With Personal Crowdfunding Campaigns; Among other things, researchers have found that the more faces shown in the main photo, the more money people will donate
Beth DeCarbo – The Wall Street Journal
Growing up in a small Southern town, Jeff Abercrombie seemingly knew everybody-old high-school classmates, hunting buddies, friends from church and countless clients of his small landscaping business based in Pickens, S.C. So Abercrombie’s death in December at age 49 hit the entire community hard. The car accident in which he died also seriously injured his teenage daughter, who spent five days in the hospital recovering. Suddenly, Abercrombie’s 35-year-old wife and three children lost the family’s breadwinner and faced significant funeral and medical expenses.

HSBC Favors Internal Candidates as New CEO Search Gets Underway; Elhedery, Matos seen as early favorites to succeed Quinn; Search is at an early stage and no decision yet taken
Harry Wilson, Donal Griffin, and Ambereen Choudhury – Bloomberg
HSBC Holdings Plc is leaning towards appointing its next chief executive officer from a shortlist of internal candidates as it begins its hunt for a successor to outgoing boss Noel Quinn. Chief Financial Officer Georges Elhedery and Nuno Matos, head of wealth and personal banking, are viewed as the leading replacements for Quinn, who announced his retirement last month, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank has engaged an external recruitment firm to benchmark them against external candidates for the job, some of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing an internal process.

Exxon Feels the Heat as More Investors Assail Climate Conduct; Criticism of the oil giant, whose industry is the principal culprit behind global warming, has become an annual rite of spring. But this year may be different.
Tim Quinson and Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg
Exxon Mobil Corp. is again finding itself in the crosshairs of environment-focused investors who say the company is falling far short of its climate-related commitments. The criticism of the fossil-fuel giant, whose industry is the principal culprit behind global warming, has become a yearly ritual at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which this year is scheduled for May 29. But this gathering is particularly charged since Exxon has sued two climate-focused groups: Arjuna Capital LLC and Amsterdam-based nonprofit Follow This.

OTC Markets to launch overnight US dollar trading; New offering is the first of its kind in the over-the-counter markets; is aimed at expanding accessibility following demand from clients.
Annabel Smith – The Trade
OTC Markets has set out plans to launch a new overnight US dollar trading offering in the coming months in a bid to expand accessibility to the over-the-counter markets. Overnight trading takes place after market close and prior to the next day’s market open. Named OTC Overnight, the new offering will make OTC equity securities available for trading from Sunday through to Thursday between 8 pm and 4 am EST.

Ukraine Invasion

Russia says it downed 10 Ukraine-launched ATACMS missiles over Crimea
The Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday that its air forces destroyed 10 long-range missiles known as ATACMS that Ukraine’s military launched overnight at Crimea. The ministry did not say in its statement on the Telegram messaging app whether there was any damage as a result of the attack, but the Russia-installed governor of the Crimean port of Sevastopol said that missile debris fell onto a residential area.

Russia Accused of Using German Anti-War Protests for Propaganda; Military intelligence seen stoking public divisions on Ukraine; Officials warn of disinfo attempts ahead of European elections
Alberto Nardelli and Michael Nienaber – Bloomberg
Russian military intelligence has worked to exploit fringe peace demonstrations in Germany as part of a broader operation aiming to influence public opinion in the country and undermine support for Ukraine, according to European government officials familiar with the matter and documents seen by Bloomberg News. One organization targeted by the Russian GRU’s psychological operations unit 54777 is Alternative Kinder Zukunft (AKiZ) and its “Children of War” photo project, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential issues.

The West Doesn’t Understand How Much Russia Has Changed
Alexander Gabuev – The New York Times
Vladimir Putin’s trip to Beijing this week, where he will meet with Xi Jinping and top Chinese officials, is another clear demonstration of the current closeness between Russia and China. Yet many in the West still want to believe that their alliance is an aberration, driven by Mr. Putin’s emotional anti-Americanism and his toxic fixation on Ukraine. Once Mr. Putin and his dark obsessions are out of the picture, the thinking goes, Moscow will seek to rebuild ties with the West – not least because the bonds between Russia and China are shallow, while the country has centuries of economic and cultural dependence on Europe.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

Hamas Shift to Guerrilla Tactics Raises Specter of Forever War for Israel; The Islamist militant group is using hit-and-run tactics and smaller groups of fighters to show it can fight ‘for months, if not years’
Jared Malsin and Summer Said – The Wall Street Journal
Seven months into the war, Hamas is far from defeated, stoking fears in Israel that it is walking into a forever war. The U.S.-designated terrorist group is using its network of tunnels, small cells of fighters and broad social influence to not only survive but to harry Israeli forces. Hamas is attacking more aggressively, firing more antitank weapons at soldiers sheltering in houses and at Israeli military vehicles daily, said an Israeli reservist from the 98th commando division currently fighting in Jabalia.

Maps Show Scarce Shelter and Medical Care as Rafah Operation Is Underway
Leanne Abraham, Bora Erden, Elena Shao and Amy Schoenfeld Walker – The New York Times
Many Palestinians have been directed to an area along the coast designated by the Israelis as a “humanitarian zone.” Maps and analysis of satellite imagery show that the zone is already overcrowded, frequently damaged by strikes, and lacking sufficient medical services.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Euronext sees Q1 trading venues rise despite declines in cash and derivatives; Trading revenues grew 7.4% year-on-year to Eur 138.4 million, driven by strong results within its fixed income and power trading segments.
Wesley Bray – The Trade
Euronext has experienced positive earnings in the first quarter this year, attributed to strong organic growth from its diversified business model. The trading venue saw Q1 2024 revenue and income up 8% when compared to the same period last year, totalling Eur 401.9 million. Overall trading revenue grew 7.4% year-on-year to Eur 138.4 million, driven by strong results within its fixed income and power trading segments.

Euronext N.V. Annual General Meeting results
Euronext announced that in its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that took place today, all items on the agenda were approved, with the exception of resolution 3.C (advisory vote).

Eurex joins Clearstream & VERMEG partnership to expand use of collateral of its leading pan-European cash-driven liquidity pool
Eurex joins partnership with software provider VERMEG to offer clients a unique collateral management solution connecting the Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS), Clearstream’s Triparty services and Eurex’s GC Pooling. This partnership will provide new opportunities for collateral optimization via the re-use of collateral to increase clients’ Central Bank Credit Line within the new ECMS. Eurex, Europe’s leading derivatives exchange, and VERMEG, the technology provider of the Eurosystem Collateral Management System (ECMS), enter a partnership which will enable banks with new opportunities to further optimize collateral re-use.

ICE Invests in Product and Pricing Innovation, Introduces Newly Enhanced ICE PPE and Advisory Group
Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced investments focused on growing its mortgage secondary market offerings and enhancing the Encompass digital lending platform’s native product and pricing engine. ICE has dedicated resources to driving a robust roadmap of features and improvements for ICE PPE (formerly EPPS) and secondary market innovation, informed by the regular, ongoing input of the elite group of lenders making up the ICE PPE Advisory Group.

Direct Indexing poised for growth, yet barriers remain, finds FTSE Russell advisor survey
London Stock Exchange Group
79% of advisors* are not using direct indexing, but 48% plan to start in the next 1-5 years. Educational gaps remain as less than half of respondents identified the potential client benefits of direct indexing. Barriers to entry proved to be operational as well as educational. FTSE Russell, the global index provider, announced today the results from a recent survey of independent RIAs, hybrid advisors, broker dealers, registered reps and other financial advisors on their knowledge, views and use of direct indexing. Advisors across most AUM segments indicated strong interest in using direct indexing in the future, but most (79%) are not current users*.

Nasdaq to Enhance Global Market Surveillance Offering with Generative AI
Nasdaq to integrate Gen AI feature into its leading market surveillance technology for regulators andmarketplaces globally. AI functionality will improve overall quality and efficiency of market abuse investigations for our clients,enhancing integrity of the financial system. Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) today announced the new AI powered feature within its Market Surveillance technology solution that will significantly enhance the quality, speed, and efficiency of market abuse investigations performed by our clients. The solution leverages generative AI to streamline the triage and examination process involved in investigating suspected market manipulation and insider dealing, empowering regulator and marketplace clients to more effectively monitor and detect potential market abuse.

Nasdaq Announces 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Nasdaq, Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) has scheduled its 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders for June 11, 2024, at 8:00 AM ET. The virtual meeting website can be accessed 15 minutes prior to the meeting start by visiting: Shareholders of record as of April 15, 2024 will be eligible to vote and participate in the Annual Meeting. Nasdaq’s 2024 Proxy Statement and 2023 Annual Report on Form 10-K are available at The Proxy Statement contains information on voting and virtual attendance procedures.

The New York Stock Exchange Announces Launch of the NYSE Tech Council
The New York Stock Exchange, part of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), a leading global provider of technology and data, today announced the formation of the NYSE Tech Council, a group of senior technology leaders within the NYSE community that will focus on thought leadership and actionable best practices. The council will be comprised of Chief Technology Officers, Chief Information Officers and other C-suite technology leaders from NYSE-listed companies. With technology evolving rapidly, the NYSE Tech Council’s initial focus will be cybersecurity matters and AI use cases. The NYSE Tech Council will operate in a similar fashion to the other NYSE thought leadership councils, which address topics of interest to the 2,400 issuer-strong NYSE community.

SGX Taps BFix for New CNH Reference Rate and Settlement
The Full FX
SGX FX has unveiled changes to its official reference rate, as well as the timing of the Final Settlement Price (FSP) on its CNH FX futures contracts – moving to Bloomberg’s BFix from WMR and Treasury Markets Association of Hong Kong (TMA) provided reference rates. In a move SGX says is aimed at enabling FX market participants to better manage their exposures between FX futures and OTC spot markets, from today (13 May) it will change the FSP publication time to 2pm Singapore to coincide with the Tokyo 3pm options expiry. This allows, the exchange says, the capture of Asian and European liquidity.

Vitol to invest $550 million in clean cooking in Africa
Commodities trader Vitol and its unit Vivo Energy intend to invest more than $550 million by 2030 in the infrastructure required to facilitate cleaner cooking in Africa. The investment comprises of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) infrastructure from marine terminals to the high-quality cylinders required for the safe distribution of LPG, and investment in clean cooking carbon projects, Vitol said at a summit on clean cooking in Africa on Tuesday.

Malaysian carbon exchange to host first local carbon credit auction in July
Malaysia’s voluntary carbon market exchange will host an auction of its first Malaysian carbon credits on July 25, stock exchange operator Bursa Malaysia said on Monday. The auction by the Bursa Carbon Exchange (BCX) would involve carbon credits from the Kuamut Rainforest Conservation Project, which protects and restores 83,381 hectares of tropical forest in the Tongod and Kinabatangan districts in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah, the bourse said.

SPAN 2 Framework Energy Model Parameter Changes – Effective May 15, 2024
CME Group
As per normal review, CME Clearing has undertaken a review of the hypothetical stressed scenarios parameter used in the SPAN 2 framework’s natural gas pod. In particular, within the SPAN 2 framework, the hypothetical stressed scenarios parameter is incorporated in the stress value-at-risk sub-component of the market risk component. Following this review, CME Clearing has determined it will introduce hypothetical stressed scenarios parameter changes to align with current volatility across the term structure for natural gas.

SGX Taps BFix for New CNH Reference Rate and Settlement
Colin Lambert – The FullFX
SGX FX has unveiled changes to its official reference rate, as well as the timing of the Final Settlement Price (FSP) on its CNH FX futures contracts – moving to Bloomberg’s BFix from WMR and Treasury Markets Association of Hong Kong (TMA) provided reference rates.

SGX Securities wins Best SP and Derivatives Exchange in SRP Asia Pacific Awards
SGX Securities has been awarded the Best Structured Products (SP) and Derivatives Exchange in Asia Pacific at the SRP Asia Pacific Awards 2024. This recognition affirms SGX’s status as the premier marketplace in securities and derivatives trading and underscores our commitment to excellence and innovation in the financial markets.

New Product Summary: Initial Listing of Q3 Seasonal Strip Weather Futures and Options Contracts – Effective June 03, 2024
CME Group
Initial Listing of Q3 Seasonal Strip Weather Futures and Options Contracts.


Increased adoption of EMSs in fixed income expected over the next 12 months despite the pain points associated with new trading technology
Claudia Preece – The Trade
When it comes to risk transfer in fixed income trading, voice and chat continue to dominate, however results from Coalition Greenwich’s fixed income trading technology report, ‘on the verge of change’ confirm that the adoption of electronic means of trading is on the rise. This is reportedly down to two main factors: the readiness of the asset class, and improved attitudes towards electronic trading.

ION’s LIST connects FastTrade electronic trading system to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange
Wesley Bray – The Trade
LIST, an ION company, has completed the certification process to connect its FastTrade electronic trading system to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE). The development follows the successful migration of LIST’s Borsa italiana client onto Euronext’s Optiq technology earlier this year.

Chinese firms make headway in producing high bandwidth memory for AI chipsets
Fanny Potkin and Eduardo Baptista – Reuters
Two Chinese chipmakers are in the early stages of producing high bandwidth memory (HBM) semiconductors used in artificial intelligence chipsets, according to sources and documents. The progress in HBM – even if only in older versions of HBM – represents a major step forward in China’s efforts to reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers amid tensions with Washington that have led to restrictions on U.S. exports of advanced chipsets to Chinese firms.

Elon Musk’s xAI nears $10 billion deal to rent Oracle’s AI servers, The Information reports
Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence startup xAI has been talking to Oracle executives about spending $10 billion to rent cloud servers from the company over a period of years, The Information reported on Tuesday, citing a person involved in the talks. The deal would make xAI one of Oracle’s largest customers, the report said, as Musk looks to raise funds for xAI in an attempt to rival the AI offerings of OpenAI and Google.

OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever Is Leaving the Company
Rachel Metz – Bloomberg
OpenAI Chief Scientist and co-founder Ilya Sutskever is leaving the artificial intelligence company, a departure that ends months of speculation in Silicon Valley about the future of a top AI researcher who played a key role in the brief ouster of Sam Altman last year. Sutskever will be replaced by Research Director Jakub Pachocki, OpenAI said on its blog Tuesday.

Google launches Trillium chip, improving AI data center performance fivefold
Max A. Cherney – Reuters
Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday unveiled a product called Trillium in its artificial intelligence data center chip family that it says is nearly five times as fast as its prior version. “Industry demand for (machine learning) computer has grown by a factor of 1 million in the last six years, roughly increasing 10-fold every year,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a briefing call with reporters. “I think Google was built for this moment, we’ve been pioneering (AI chips) for more than a decade.”

Google Regains AI Initiative by Playing to Its Strengths; Adding generative AI to search and Android shows tech giant’s distribution muscle while lessening risk to key businesses
Dan Gallagher – The Wall Street Journal


Singapore Cybersecurity Update Puts Cloud Providers on Notice
Robert Lemos – DarkReading
The nation amends its Cybersecurity Act, giving its primary cybersecurity agency more power to regulate critical infrastructure and third parties, and requiring cyber incidents be reported.

Cybersecurity pros in high demand as hacking attacks soar
Natalie Yahr – The Cap Times
Growing up, Kayne Whitney wanted to be a cop like his dad. Now 21, he’s preparing for a different kind of career of fighting crime and keeping people safe – from behind a keyboard. As a cybersecurity student at Madison College, he learned how to hack computer systems to find weaknesses to be fixed, and how to guard personal data against such threats. He’ll graduate this month and transfer to the cybersecurity program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, setting him on track to fight the country’s fastest-growing crime, identity theft, in one of the country’s fastest-growing jobs.

Stretto Phishing Attack Affected Celsius Creditors and Three Other Bankrupt Firms; Stretto said hack impacted Celsius and three other companies; Judge said he’s ‘troubled’ Stretto didn’t notify other judges
Jonathan Randles – Bloomberg
A recent hack of legal services provider Stretto Inc. that compromised Celsius Network LLC customer information was wider than previously known, affecting at least four firms in all. The attack affected creditors of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius as well as three other companies to which Stretto provided bankruptcy related administrative services, a Stretto lawyer said during a Tuesday hearing in New York. The company said it learned it had been the target of a phishing attack on April 17.


El Salvador mined nearly 474 bitcoins, adding to state crypto holding, in last three years
Nelson Renteria – Reuters
El Salvador has mined nearly 474 bitcoins since 2021 thanks to a volcano-fueled geothermal power plant, official data showed on Tuesday, bringing the government’s total bitcoin portfolio to nearly $354 million at current prices.
The country’s “Bitcoin Office,” an official government entity, reports that government coffers now hold 5,750 bitcoins.

****Similar story from Bloomberg here.

Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum Wallet Proposal, Scribbled in 22 Minutes, Gets Positive Reviews
Margaux Nijkerk – CoinDesk
After a technical proposal to improve Ethereum wallets met with some opposition, a familiar figure swooped in last week to devise an alternative: none other than Vitalik Buterin, the blockchain’s co-founder. It reportedly took him 22 minutes.

Exclusive-North Korea laundered $147.5 million in stolen crypto in March, say UN experts
Michelle Nichols – Reuters
North Korea laundered $147.5 million through virtual currency platform Tornado Cash in March after stealing it last year from a cryptocurrency exchange, according to confidential work by United Nations sanctions monitors seen by Reuters on Tuesday.m The monitors told a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee in a document submitted on Friday that they had been investigating 97 suspected North Korean cyberattacks on cryptocurrency companies between 2017 and 2024, valued at some $3.6 billion.

Vanguard, Avowedly Anti-Crypto, Names Bitcoin-Friendly Ex-BlackRock Exec as CEO
Helene Braun – CoinDesk
Vanguard named the BlackRock executive who oversaw the firm’s launch of its bitcoin exchange-traded fund as its new CEO on Tuesday evening. Salim Ramji left BlackRock in January to “seek a new leadership or entrepreneurial opportunity outside the firm,” he said then. The move came shortly after the asset manager launched the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), which Ramji oversaw the filing and logistics for, according to Bloomberg Intelligence senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas.

State of Wisconsin Buys Nearly $100M Worth of BlackRock Spot Bitcoin ETF
Helene Braun – CoinDesk
The U.S. state of Wisconsin purchased 94,562 shares of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) in the first quarter of the year, a filing shows. The shares are worth nearly $100 million. Bitcoin rose 1% on the news, currently trading at $61,957, down 1.7% over the past 24 hours as new inflation data came in hotter than expected during U.S. morning hours.

Bitcoin-Proxy MicroStrategy Added to Key MSCI World Stock Index; Enterprise-software firm has a $13 billion hoard of Bitcoin; Company’s shares outperformed Bitcoin the over past year
Sunil Jagtiani – Bloomberg


Why Washington’s new tariffs on Chinese clean tech goods matter Joe Biden’s move looks to court blue-collar votes in electoral swing states – but will be felt far beyond the US
Aime Williams – Financial Times
Joe Biden unleashed fresh tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods on Tuesday, sharply raising the levies on clean energy imports including solar parts and electric vehicles. It was a move designed to appeal to blue-collar voters in America’s electoral swing states – but one that will have ramifications far beyond the US, raising fears of deepening trade tensions between the world’s two economic superpowers.

What’s wrong with cheap Chinese imports? A couple of things, it turns out.
Paul Krugman
Donald Trump is an old-fashioned protectionist, and he has been suggesting for a while that if elected he will quickly impose tariffs of 10 percent or more on all imports – a “ring around the collar” for the U.S. economy. nBut President Biden is by no means a free-trade purist. His signature legislative achievement, the Inflation Reduction Act – which is actually mainly about fighting climate change – contains several nationalistic provisions designed to limit subsidies primarily to manufactured goods produced in North America. And the Biden administration is now imposing tariffs as high as 100 percent on Chinese exports of electric vehicles and taxes on other imported goods, including semiconductors and batteries.

Billionaire Shark Mark Cuban Warns The SEC’s Anti-Crypto Stance Could Cost Biden The Election
Caden Pok – Benzinga
Known for his many business ventures, Mark Cuban has also been a long-term investor in crypto, specifically taking large positions in Ethereum (ETH), Polygon (MATIC), and NFTs. These investments have signaled his openness and support for crypto. He recently shared his thoughts on the current state of cryptocurrency as it relates to regulation. “If @joebiden loses, there is a good chance you will be able to thank @GaryGensler and the @NewYork_SEC. Crypto is a mainstay with younger and independent voters. Gensler HAS NOT PROTECTED A SINGLE INVESTOR AGAINST FRAUD. All he has done is make it nearly impossible for legitimate crypto companies to operate, killing who knows how many businesses and ruining who knows how many entrepreneurs,” Cuban posted on X.

Could Trump Take Over the Fed? It’s a Scary Thought
Bill Dudley – Bloomberg Opinion
The prospect of Donald Trump returning to the US presidency is generating concerned speculation: What if he exerts more control over the Federal Reserve, undermining the independence that has been crucial to containing inflation and to keeping the world’s largest economy on an even keel? It wouldn’t be easy. That said, it’s a truly frightening prospect.

Ken Griffin rips Biden for ‘incoherent’ policy on China tariffs, says Trump would be a strong president
Ariel Zilber – NY Post
Ken Griffin lashed out at President Biden over his “incoherent” economic policies though he said he is waiting to see who Donald Trump picks as his running mate before deciding whether to financially back the presumptive Republican nominee. Griffin, the founder and CEO of $63 billion hedge fund Citadel, criticized the Biden administration’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles to 100% – roughly quadrupling the old tariff rate of 25%.

China-Russia: an economic ‘friendship’ that could rattle the world; After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine trade links between the two countries have strengthened. So have Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions
Joe Leahy in Wenzhou, Kai Waluszewski and Max Seddon – Financial Times
Watching his Russian clients partying late at a karaoke bar in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou recently, Chinese factory manager Chen marvelled at their stamina. The Russians were feeling ebullient because Chen’s products – industrial valves used mainly in oil and mining – offered a low-cost alternative to the European brands they had used before the Ukraine war. “They were singing and dancing until midnight and didn’t want to leave,” says Chen, who asked to be identified only by his surname for privacy reasons.

China is now exporting its totalitarianism to the West
Benedict Rogers – The Telegraph

Slovak Prime Minister Fico Has Been Shot and Taken to Hospital
Andrea Dudik – Bloomberg


U.S. Goes After Firms Involved in Sanctioned Oligarch’s Attempt to Sell Stock; U.S. Treasury sanctions three financial firms and a Russian national that it says were part of a circuitous plan to unfreeze $1.5 billion in shares owned by Oleg Deripaska
Dylan Tokar – The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. has sanctioned three companies and a Russian national that officials say were involved in an alleged scheme by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska to unfreeze more than $1.5 billion in shares he controls in an Austrian construction company. Tuesday’s action comes after Deripaska-who has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018-tried to sell the shares he holds in Strabag, a major Austrian construction company, through what U.S. authorities described Tuesday as “an opaque and complex supposed divestment” amounting to a sanctions-evasion scheme.

‘This is Bill. Bill Hwang’: US jury hears founder’s call to Archegos lenders; Recording comes in trial over whether investor and other executives duped Wall Street banks that lost billions
Joshua Franklin – Financial Times
Bill Hwang told panicked Wall Street investment banks that his family office Archegos needed up to three weeks to “make everyone whole” shortly before the fund collapsed in 2021, which ended up costing his lenders more than $10bn. On the second day of Hwang’s trial for fraud and market manipulation, the jury in New York heard portions of a call he held three years ago with six investment banks that were on the hook for billions of dollars as the value of Archegos’s investments plummeted.

Opinion: The education of Lina Khan, whose superpower is busting monopolies; Leading the “hipsters” of antitrust law, Khan is recovering from a rough start at the FTC.
Steven Pearlstein – The Washington Post
It is one of the recurring plotlines in the psychodrama of U.S. politics: A talented and charismatic young reformer goes to Washington, is hailed for taking on a corrupt and self-satisfied establishment, but in the end is nearly undone by inexperience, naivete and unbending idealism. The latest “Mr. Smith” to hit the capital is Lina Khan, the crusading chair of the Federal Trade Commission who, at the age of 35, has become the wonky cult hero and legal wunderkind of a new progressive movement determined to break the economic and political power of Big Business and Big Tech.

Miami Federal Court Orders Multiple Individuals and Entities to Pay Over $225 Million for Foreign Currency Fraud and Misappropriation Scheme; Federal Court Also Orders Georgia-based Certified Public Accountant to Pay $467,000 in Monetary Sanctions to Settle Charges for His Involvement in the Fraud
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the Honorable Darrin P. Gayles of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued an order of default judgment against four individuals and five companies (nine defendants): Jase Davis of Brandon, Mississippi; Borys Konovalenko of Ukraine; Anna Shymko of Duluth, Georgia; Alla Skala of Grand Island, New York and/or Fort Erie, Canada; Easy Com LLC d/b/a ROFX, a New Hampshire LLC; Global E-Advantages LLC a/k/a Kickmagic LLC d/b/a ROFX, a Delaware LLC and New York foreign LLC; Grovee LLC d/b/a ROFX, a Delaware LLC; Notus LLC d/b/a ROFX, a dissolved Colorado LLC; and Shopostar LLC d/b/a ROFX, a Colorado LLC.

CFTC Charges Agridime and Its Co-Founders with a Fraudulent Cattle Scheme
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against Agridime LLC, a Texas corporation, and its co-founders, Joshua Link of Gilbert, Arizona and Jed Wood of Ft. Worth, Texas. The complaint alleges the defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud thousands of customers in at least 14 states by soliciting, accepting, and using customers’ funds to pay undisclosed commissions and used later customers’ funds to pay profits to earlier customers, in the manner of a Ponzi scheme, rather than for the purposes Agridime represented those funds would be used. Agridime claimed the funds would be used in connection with contracts of sale of a commodity in interstate commerce (i.e., the customer’s purchase of cattle). As alleged in the CFTC’s complaint, upon information and belief, from approximately 2021 until December 2023, the defendants received more than $161 million from over 2,000 customers.

Concurring Statement of Commissioner Caroline D. Pham on Novel U.S. Location Test and FCM Registration
I respectfully concur on In re Falcon Labs Ltd.[1] because the cross-border issues raised in this matter re-open decades of settled Congressional intent and well-established Commission interpretation of the Commodity Exchange Act’s (CEA) extraterritoriality and cross-border application to foreign futures and options transactions and the futures commission merchant (FCM) registration requirement, as well as to swaps activity outside the United States. These are cross-border issues that have vast implications for the over $700 trillion notional global derivatives market and the potential to disrupt legitimate activity of multinational trading firms and the end-users that depend on derivatives markets for hedging and risk management. I believe the Commission’s unprecedented interpretation today in an administrative order constitutes a legislative rule that requires notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because it may impose new CFTC registration and trading requirements on scores of non-U.S. legal entities.

Insider Trading Detection: FINRA’s Vital Role in Ensuring Market Integrity
Every day, FINRA’s Insider Trading Detection Program uses sophisticated technology and analytics to monitor 100% of trading in stocks, options and bonds for potentially suspicious activity around material news events, resulting in hundreds of referrals to the SEC and law enforcement every year. On this episode, we hear from Sam Draddy, a Senior Vice President of the Market Abuse Unit within FINRA’s Market Regulation and Transparency Services, and Karen Braine, Vice President of the Insider Trading Detection Program, about how they connect trading data, information from public sources and from companies and FINRA firms to pull together actionable intelligence.

SEC Seeks Candidates for Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee
The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking candidates to fill a limited number of vacancies on the agency’s Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee, which provides advice and recommendations to the Commission on rules, regulations, and policy matters relating to small businesses. The committee was established by the SEC Small Business Advocate Act of 2016. Consistent with statutory requirements, committee members represent a diverse spectrum of leaders, investors, and advisors who work with early-stage private companies and smaller public companies, including minority- and women-owned small businesses.

SEC Charges Hudson Valley Wealth Management Advisory Firm and Founder for Failing to Disclose Conflicts of Interest; Firm owner received undisclosed fee for investing clients’ money in films
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against New York-based registered investment adviser Hudson Valley Wealth Management Inc. and its founder, Christopher Conover, for breaching their fiduciary duties by failing to disclose conflicts of interest and making misleading statements to their clients. To settle the charges, Hudson Valley agreed to pay a civil penalty of $200,000, and Conover agreed to pay more than $600,000 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and a $150,000 civil penalty.

St. Julien et al.; SEC Obtains Final Judgment Against ForceField Energy Defendant for Role in Alleged Offering Fraud
Securities and Exchange Commission v. St. Julien et al., Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-2193 (E.D.N.Y. filed May 3, 2016)
On May 10, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a final judgment against Jared Mitchell, enjoining him from violating certain provisions of the federal securities laws. According to the SEC’s complaint, starting in 2014, Mitchell was involved in a scheme to deceive investors into buying shares of ForceField Energy Inc. (“ForceField Energy”). The SEC alleged that Mitchell and others engaged in schemes using cash bribes and other kickbacks to registered representatives and unregistered brokers who solicited investors to buy stock in ForceField Energy. The SEC further alleged that investors were unaware those soliciting them were being paid to steer them to the stock. Mitchell, a purported investor relations professional, was hired to pay kickbacks to certain registered representatives in return for their recommending and purchasing ForceField Energy stock in their customers’ accounts.

Jerry D. Guess; SEC Charges Convicted Felon for Offering Fraud
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jerry D. Guess, et al, No. 8:24-cv-00172 (D. Neb. filed May 9, 2024)
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Jerry D. Guess, a convicted felon, and his company, Guess & Co. Corporation, Inc. (“Guess & Co.”), alleging that the Defendants conducted a fraudulent offering of Guess & Co. stock.

ASIC welcomes Ministerial determination to progress competition in clearing and settlement reforms
ASIC welcomes the Government’s action to progress implementation of rules for competition in clearing and settlement. Earlier this week, the Assistant Treasurer made the Corporations and Competition (CS Services) Instrument 2024 (Instrument), which empowers ASIC to make rules on clearing and settlement (CS) services relating to cash equities.

ASIC issues information for unlicensed entities making unsolicited contact with consumers
ASIC has published Information Sheet 282 Unsolicited contact leading to financial advice (INFO 282), which outlines how financial services laws apply to unlicenced entities referring consumers to a third party for the provision of financial advice. These entities must comply with financial services laws. If they don’t, they risk substantial penalties. INFO 282 is also relevant to Australian financial services (AFS) licensees and financial advisers that receive consumer details obtained through unsolicited contact.

Taken for a ride: ASIC targets used car financing misconduct
Keynote speech by ASIC Commissioner Alan Kirkland at the Consumer Rights Forum, 14 May 2024.
Key Points: Misconduct relating to used car financing to vulnerable consumers is one of ASIC’s 2024 enforcement priorities. We are particularly concerned to hear about First Nations peoples in regional and remote communities being targeted to purchase lemon cars on finance at over-inflated prices; While the law around the sale of lemon cars is complex, there are a number of provisions under current financial services and consumer credit laws that ASIC can and does use to address these harms; ASIC is not afraid to use our broad enforcement toolkit where we see evidence of consumer harm as a result of poor lending practices – including in relation to used car financing.

ASIC announces 30 June 2024 focus areas and expanded program to support financial reporting and audit quality
ASIC today has outlined an expanded program of work to enhance the integrity and quality of financial reporting and auditing in Australia in achieving the broader goal of confident and informed investors. ASIC’s pro-active financial reporting and audit surveillance program remains a key part of our work. The program covers listed companies, other public interest entities and previously grandfathered large proprietary companies. From 30 June, it will also include superannuation funds.

Money with Mary
FMA – New Zealand
In our series “Money with Mary,” personal finance legend Mary Holm shares practical tips on a variety of money matters. Disclaimer: This information has been prepared for the FMA by financial columnist and author Mary Holm. The views and opinions provided in the guide are those of Mary Holm and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of the FMA. Mary’s advice is of a general nature, and she does not accept responsibility for any loss that any reader may suffer from following it. We encourage our audience to seek their own advice in relation to their finances.

Three charged over CFD trading pension fraud;The FCA has charged 3 individuals with fraud for their alleged involvement in a high-risk trading scheme, which targeted people’s pension savings.
Kristofer McGuire, Keith Williamson and Karla Walker have been charged with multiple offences, including fraud by false representation and fraudulent trading, after they targeted victims by persuading them to invest in contracts for difference (CFDs). CFDs are a high-risk investment product used to bet on the price of an asset.

Investing and Trading

Meme-Stock Mania Revival Hits Short Sellers With Over $1 Billion Losses
Carmen Reinicke – Bloomberg
Traders betting against some of the most heavily-shorted stocks are racking up paper losses in an unexpected revival of the meme trade this week. A Goldman Sachs basket that simultaneously goes long on the stocks most favored by hedge funds and bets against the 50 most-shorted stocks has fallen roughly 11% over the past two sessions – paring back from its worst two-day slump since the height of the retail-trading frenzy in 2021.

Ex-Jane Street Traders Cite Pay Letdown in Secrets Countersuit; Traders say they led growth of India options business for firm; They left for Millennium after disappointing 2023 compensation
Chris Dolmetsch – Bloomberg
The two former Jane Street Group traders accused of stealing an Indian options-trading strategy for Millennium Management countersued their old firm, saying they left because they were disappointed in their 2023 pay packages. Douglas Schadewald and Daniel Spottiswood said in counterclaims filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court that they led the growth of Indian options trading at Jane Street from a “relatively small operation” at the beginning of the year to a highly profitable business by the end of 2023.

EU Crop Trade Data Absent for Weeks, Raising Demand Questions
Celia Bergin – Bloomberg
The European Union’s grains export data has been missing since late March as technical issues persist, obscuring the pace of demand just as wheat prices soar. The absence of the weekly figures on the trade of grains and oilseeds from member states – released by the European Union Commission – was initially attributed to “persisting technical issues” for several weeks before the releases stopped altogether. Currently, available data runs through March 27.

Record Dividends, Buybacks Act as an Anchor for Japanese Stocks; Tokyo Stock Exchange is pressuring firms to improve valuations; Topix has rebounded after being on the verge of a correction
Hideyuki Sano – Bloomberg
Japanese companies are increasing dividends and share buybacks at a record pace, providing support to a market that was on the verge of a correction. Among companies that have reported earnings by May 10, 53% announced plans to raise dividend in the current fiscal year, according to Fumio Matsumoto, chief strategist at Okasan Securities.

Selloff But Outlook Bearish; Funds turned net buyers after longest period of selling streak; Falling yen imposes more pressure on BOJ to take policy action
Yumi Teso and Masaki Kondo – Bloomberg
Foreign investors became net buyers of Japanese government bond futures, putting a stop to their longest selling spree on record, but this is unlikely to signal a turnaround in sentiment. Global funds purchased a net ¥398 billion ($2.6 billion) of 10-year debt futures in the week through May 3 after dumping them for 12 straight weeks, which was the longest stretch in Japan Exchange Group Inc. data going back to 2014.

Homes are overvalued in much of the U.S. – with these 5 states leading the list
Aarthi Swaminathan – MarketWatch
Homes in 90% of major metropolitan areas in the U.S. are overvalued, with the sharpest increases recorded in Southern states, according to a new report. The states with the biggest increase of homes being sold at prices over the long-term average were Tennessee, Arkansas and South Carolina, according to a report by Fitch Ratings, which looked at prices in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Raspberry Pi prepares for London listing; Low-cost computer maker, which sold 7.4mn units last year, seeks valuation of $630mn
Tim Bradshaw and Jonathan Wheatley – Financial Times

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

US energy panel approves rule to expand transmission of renewable power
Matthew Daly – Associated Press
Federal energy regulators on Monday approved a long-awaited rule to make it easier to transmit renewable energy such as wind and solar power to the electric grid – a key part of President Joe Biden’s goal to eliminate carbon emissions economy-wide by 2050. The rule, under development for two years, is aimed at boosting the nation’s aging power grid to meet surging demand fueled by huge data centers, electrification of vehicles and buildings, artificial intelligence and other uses.

American AI data centres may use as much energy as new US solar farms produce; It takes a nation of PVs to host our chat
Bryce Elder – Financial Times
Generative AI uses a lot of energy, though figuring out how much is hard. There’s no point in asking ChatGPT. It won’t say. Much of the academic research around the theme has involved counting the number of AI servers shipped, but this misses all sorts of stuff. It’s impossible to know, for example, whether new hardware is replacing less efficient rigs or is additional capacity. Cooling, a big variable, could be adding 50 per cent or more to the energy requirement. Latency might also matter, since we don’t know whether servers are being used for model building, request handling, or dork currency.

Calpers to direct $25bn to green private market investments; US public pension plan says it will look at real estate, private equity and infrastructure
Josephine Cumbo and Attracta Mooney – Financial Times
Calpers, the US’s biggest public pension plan, will pour more than $25bn into green-related private market investments, in one of the largest commitments by a major fund to unlisted climate assets. The giant US pension group is examining the private equity, real estate and infrastructure markets, particularly in Asia and Europe, as it looks to deploy the capital over the next six years, a senior executive told the Financial Times.

UK policy inertia puts at risk billions in climate capital, survey shows
The British government is driving billions of pounds of investment away from the UK by failing to provide clear policies to support the transition to a low-carbon economy, a survey of 100 financial services firms showed on Wednesday. Britain has positioned itself as a world leader in sustainable finance but its leadership is under threat from a lack of clear policymaker support, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) said.

$2.2bn Africa cooking stove plan includes funds from oil and gas groups; Business and carbon schemes make up bulk of finance to tackle health issues caused by burning wood and debris
Attracta Mooney, David Pilling and Kenza Bryan – Financial Times
The International Energy Agency has marshalled $2.2bn from governments and companies, including oil and gas groups, to fund better cooking methods across Africa in the “largest ever pledge” to tackle health issues from the use of the dirtiest fuels. Public sector funds including from Norway, the Netherlands and the US committed about 30 per cent of concessional funding, as 55 countries gathered at a summit on clean cooking organised by the IEA on Tuesday in Paris.

AI Is Electrifying These Power Producers’ Shares; Outlook for higher electricity demand is lifting share prices to new heights at Vistra, NRG and Constellation
Jinjoo Lee – The Wall Street Journal
Power-hungry artificial intelligence’s effect on future electricity demand is starting to feel a lot closer to reality for power-plant owners. Forward power prices in fast-growing data-center hubs such as Texas and the mid-Atlantic region are already starting to reflect tighter future grid conditions. Around-the-clock forward power prices for 2026 in the northern part of Texas, for example, have risen some 13% since November, Vistra said on its earnings call last week. Vistra primarily owns natural-gas, coal and nuclear-power plants in Texas and the mid-Atlantic.

Comment: Why stopping children from going hungry must be part of the fight against climate change
Wawira Njiru – Reuters (opinion)

Can banks really fix the climate crisis? New research suggests that their green commitments are not paying off yet
Katie Martin – Financial Times

Asia’s Killer April Heat Wave Was Made Much Worse by Climate Change; An international group of scientists used computer models and ground observations to study the impact of global warming on the extreme temperatures.
Lou Del Bello – Bloomberg

Canada’s Fires Pollute Air as Far South as Texas: Weather Watch; Moderately bad air quality for several US states are on Bloomberg Green’s radar today.
Brian K Sullivan – Bloomberg

A turbine blade fell off in Norway. Does the wind industry have a quality problem? Manufacturers’ warranty provisions have climbed over the past five years after a rapid roll out
Mari Novik and Rachel Millard – Financial Times


Charles Schwab website ‘is a mess’: Hundreds of TD Ameritrade users complain about their new online home.
Weston Blasi – MarketWatch
Charles Schwab Corp. transitioned the last group of TD Ameritrade customers – 1.8 million clients and about $350 billion in assets – to its platform this week, and many customers have voiced their displeasure with the move. Schwab bought TD Ameritrade in 2020 and has been slowly transferring customers’ assets and accounts over to Schwab – about 17 million accounts and $1.9 trillion in assets, according to Barron’s. And when this final 10% of customers were moved from TD Ameritrade to Schwab, hundreds of account holders complained about the transition, as well as the differences between the platforms.

JPMorgan gives a lift to another troubled regional bank
David Hollerith – Yahoo Finance
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is once again providing a lift to another troubled regional lender a year after it helped calm a mini-banking crisis. The stock of New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) rose as much as 5% in premarket trading Wednesday after announcing Tuesday night that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to purchase $5 billion of its mortgages.

Bank of Ireland to Wind Down Corporate Lending in Great Britain
Olivia Fletcher – Bloomberg
Bank of Ireland Group Plc is to wind down its corporate lending arm in Great Britain, citing a range of reasons, including the ability to generate long-term sustainable returns there. The decision will impact approximately 40 employees based in London and Manchester, according to a statement from the lender on Wednesday, after the Irish Times reported the news. The wider UK business will not be affected, the statement added.

Polar Asset Raises $300 Million Fund for Booming Credit Trade; Toronto-based firm launches vehicle for credit risk transfers; Canadian banks increasingly offloading risk to other investors
Layan Odeh – Bloomberg
Canada’s Polar Asset Management Partners Inc. raised $300 million for a fund that will invest in credit risk transfers, taking advantage of a trend that sees banks offloading risk into a fast-growing corner of the credit markets. The fund offers institutional investors a way of participating in the transactions with Canadian and global banks, according to a statement seen by Bloomberg. Polar CRS Fund-1 – the acronym stands for “credit risk sharing” – is likely to be the first in a series of similar vehicles, the Toronto-based firm said.

UK Fund Managers Vent Frustration Over Stalled ESG Policies; Policy rollbacks are deterring investments, UKSIF survey finds; Warning comes as London court finds net zero strategy lacking
Frances Schwartzkopff and Greg Ritchie – Bloomberg
Britain’s failure to complete its sustainable finance framework is putting billions of pounds worth of funding at risk, according to a UK investor association representing £19 trillion ($24 trillion) of assets. Two-thirds of the biggest financial services firms operating in Britain are either planning to move – or have already moved – some investments out of the country and into other markets that are “more supportive of their sustainability goals,” according to a survey by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF).

Saudi Arabia Set to Back TPG Climate Funds in $1.5 Billion Pact
Matthew Martin – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia’s main pension fund is set to back TPG’s climate vehicle under a $1.5 billion partnership, marking the latest instance of an oil-rich Gulf state supporting efforts aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Hassana Investment Co., which manages over $320 billion for Saudi Arabia’s General Organisation for Social Insurance, is set to make “a substantial anchor commitment” to TPG Rise Climate’s new Transition Infrastructure fund, according to a joint statement Wednesday. The remainder of Hassana’s commitment will be allocated to the TPG Rise Climate II fund.

Work & Management

Germany’s Scholz tells firms to hire foreign workers for growth
Europe’s biggest economy needs companies to recruit workers from abroad to keep growing, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding no one should be swayed by populist demands such as to leave the European Union. “Germany’s economy is one of the most open in the world – our prosperity depends on it,” Scholz told the IHK Chambers of Commerce and Industry at an event in Berlin.

Most people expect to retire in their early 60s. Is that realistic? A new study reveals a significant shift in how Americans envision their post-working years.
Kerry Hannon – Yahoo Finance
There’s been a big shift in how people think about their later years: New data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that most Americans don’t expect to work beyond their early 60s. The number of workers who plan to work full time beyond age 62 has fallen to 46%, down from 55% four years ago. Only 31% of workers expect to work beyond 67, down from 36% in 2020. The declines span age, education, and income groups, but more female workers than male workers are eyeing the door sooner rather than later.

Citigroup executive responsible for implementing thousands of job cuts quits; Titi Cole, one of the most senior Black women in finance, departs, while outgoing PwC US head Tim Ryan joins bank
Stephen Gandel – Financial Times
The Citigroup executive in charge of implementing the bank’s sweeping restructuring plan has quit for a job at a non-profit firm, depriving the bank of one of the most senior Black women in finance. Titi Cole’s exit, after four years at the bank, comes a month after Citi said it had completed the core of a reorganisation that chief executive Jane Fraser unveiled in September.

Wellness Exchange

Cheating on Workplace Drug Tests Hits a Record; Substituted urine samples increased sixfold in 2023, according to Quest Diagnostics
Joseph De Avila – The Wall Street Journal
Workers are cheating on drug tests at the highest rate in more than 30 years, according to one of the U.S.’s largest drug-testing labs. The increase in tampered tests came from samples collected in 2023. About 31,000 drug screens out of 5.5 million showed signs of cheating, according to Quest Diagnostics. “Some American workers are going to great lengths to attempt to subvert the drug-testing process,” said Dr. Suhash Harwani, senior director of science for workforce health solutions at Quest.


Goldman Says South Korea Ever Closer to Joining Major Bond Index; FTSE index entry may happen in September if key hurdle cleared; As much as $60 billion of inflows may follow index inclusion
Ronojoy Mazumdar – Bloomberg
South Korea will likely enter a key global bond index in September if it achieves a breakthrough in expanding foreign investors’ access to its government debt next month, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Local media reports that Euroclear Bank SA and Clearstream will allow foreign investors to trade Korean sovereign securities from June suggest that the most important remaining key issue for the nation’s inclusion into the World Government Bond Index run by FTSE Russell should be resolved, Goldman analysts led by Danny Suwanapruti wrote in a note.

JPMorgan CEO Dimon favors full engagement with China, Sky News reports
The U.S. government is doing the right thing by fully engaging with China, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, adding that Beijing was a fierce competitor, but “not an enemy” of the Western world. His comments came a day after President Joe Biden unveiled steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports, including electric vehicle batteries, computer chips and medical products.

China-Russia: an economic ‘friendship’ that could rattle the world; After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine trade links between the two countries have strengthened. So have Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions
Joe Leahy in Wenzhou, Kai Waluszewski and Max Seddon – Financial Times
Watching his Russian clients partying late at a karaoke bar in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou recently, Chinese factory manager Chen marvelled at their stamina. The Russians were feeling ebullient because Chen’s products – industrial valves used mainly in oil and mining – offered a low-cost alternative to the European brands they had used before the Ukraine war.

Qatar to sign more long-term LNG contracts this year, QatarEnergy CEO says
Qatar has not had difficulty securing long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts and will sign more this year, QatarEnergy CEO and State Minister for Energy Saad al-Kaabi said at an economic forum on Wednesday. “We’ve actually secured 25 million tons of long-term LNG sales (in the last 12 months) and I can tell you also on this podium that we’re signing more this year,” he said.

Argentines Flock to Banks as Milei Awakens Mortgage Market
Ignacio Olivera Doll and Kevin Simauchi – Bloomberg
Argentines are rushing to banks to apply for mortgages as interest-rate reductions since President Javier Milei took power begin to wake the home-loan market from a six-year slumber. “People are very anxious, inquiries overflowed our communication channels and we are overwhelmed,” Daniel Tillard, president of Banco Nacion, the country’s largest state-owned lender, said in an interview. The bank announced it will disburse some $4 billion of mortgages over the next four years to 40,000 potential home owners.

Brazil President Lula Fires Petrobras CEO After Dividend Dispute
Mariana Durao, Martha Beck and Simone Iglesias – Bloomberg
Shares of Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA declined after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fired Chief Executive Officer Jean Paul Prates following a dispute over dividend payments. Prates’s dismissal was confirmed late Tuesday by people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. Petrobras, as the company is commonly known, said in a statement late Tuesday that Prates is expected to officially resign at an upcoming board meeting.

Singapore swears in its first new PM in 2 decades
Xinghui Kok – Reuters
Singapore’s Lawrence Wong was sworn in on Wednesday as its first new premier in 20 years and only its fourth leader since independence, capping off a carefully calibrated power transfer aimed at ensuring continuity in the wealthy city-state. Wong, 51, comes from among a crop of so-called “4G” leaders, a new generation of politicians that were hand-picked by the long-ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to take over the reins of the key Asian trade and financial centre.

Eurozone inflation to fall faster than expected, EU says; Revised figure comes as impact of Red Sea trade disruption proves milder than expected
Paola Tamma and Martin Arnold – Financial Times
Eurozone inflation is set to drop faster than previously expected this year as the impact of Red Sea trade disruption proves milder than expected, according to updated EU estimates. The European Commission on Wednesday said annual inflation in the single currency bloc is set to drop to 2.5 per cent this year, before reaching the European Central Bank’s 2 per cent target in the second half of 2025.

China Considers Government Buying of Unsold Homes to Save Property Market
China is considering a proposal to have local governments across the country buy millions of unsold homes, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be one of its most ambitious attempts yet to salvage the beleaguered property market. The State Council is seeking feedback from several provinces and government entities on the preliminary plan, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. While China has already experimented with several pilot programs to clear excess housing inventory with the help of state funding, the latest plan would be much larger in scale.


He Quit Wall Street to Coach Ivy League Tennis-and Built a Columbia Powerhouse; Howard Endelman left his job in private equity to coach his alma mater’s tennis team. Now, with lessons learned in the world of finance, he has the Lions in the Elite Eight for the first time.
Andrew Beaton and Joshua Robinson – The Wall Street Journal
Howard Endelman was busy running his own private-equity firm when he got offered the job he couldn’t refuse: assistant tennis coach at an Ivy League school. The gig wasn’t glamorous. It involved traipsing back and forth between Columbia’s campus in Morningside Heights and the university’s courts at the northern tip of Manhattan. It also required him to spend his time selling high school tennis stars on a college better known for sending graduates to the Supreme Court than to Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

How Did Jim Simons’s Firm Make $100 Billion? He Told His Secrets to Our Reporter | John Lothian News (2024)


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