Breaking News

Bitcoin and the Value of Financial Freedom; Atlanta’s Intercontinental Exchange seeks to trade bitcoin funds on NYSE

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

Women in Listed Derivatives, an organization that promotes career advancement and professional relationship-building among women in the OTC & Listed Derivatives Industry, announced its North American board of directors for 2018. The five open board seats will be filled by: Katie Cleland, Elizabeth Cook, Caroline Gillard, Ellen Greene, and Leslie Sutphen. You can find the announcement HERE.~SR

ADMIS is heading to the beach for their annual Introducing Broker conference. This year’s event was held in Clearwater Beach, FL.~JJL

CQG hosting a Live Ask Me Anything Event today at 2:30 CT.~JJL

Yesterday’s JLN Options newsletter covered needed options market reforms, a big winning trade in bonds and MiFID II developments.~SD

Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – December 20, 2017~JJL

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Seed CX Swaps Hemp For Cryptocurrencies
Spencer Doar – JLN

Bitcoin hit the derivatives mainstream, but what about its other crypto cohorts?

On Tuesday, it was announced that Bittrex, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange handling some $3 billion notional of transactions daily, took a majority stake in two-year-old Chicago fintech startup Seed CX for an undisclosed amount. Seed CX was originally launched with plans to trade industrial hemp derivatives on its CFTC-approved swap execution facility (SEF).

Now, Seed will apply its technology to spot and derivative crypto trading alongside corresponding settlement services for an institutional crowd…

Read the rest HERE.

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Donna Heidkamp – Strive for Self Improvement

MarketsWikiEducation.com

“Having the chance to be on the front lines working with the markets is an invaluable experience no matter what you do in the industry, no matter where you end up or what path you take.”

In this video from MarketsWiki Education’s World of Opportunity intern recruiting event in Chicago, Donna Heidkamp, executive director at RJO Futures, talks about her first internship with the CME and how it shaped her future. Heidkamp says high volatility is what the industry needs to keep things moving in a positive direction. When volatility is low, people get antsy and start making emotional decisions.

Watch the video here »

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Advocating for a stronger U.S. options market
John Davidson, OCC President & Chief Operating Officer, OCC
As we move closer to 2018, one thing is abundantly clear: the exchange-listed options industry will continue to be impacted by various regulations and risks in the year ahead. I recently participated on a panel at SIFMA’s annual Listed Options Symposium and had an opportunity to discuss some of the key issues that will be critical for the industry and regulators to address over the next twelve months.
/goo.gl/SdNJ7B

*****”The art of communication is the language of leadership.”- James Humes~JJL

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American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights; Sixty-eight members and over $100 billion traded since inception
AFX
American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.
/goo.gl/28y3Va

**** Here is the news from AFX that we did not have a link for yesterday.~JJL

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Singapore cryptocurrency cafe launches as regulators sound warnings
John Geddie – Reuters
Just a street away from Singapore’s central bank, a cryptocurrency firm has set up what it claims is the first cafe in the city-state to be owned and operated by a business promoting its own digital coin.
/goo.gl/GauKXZ

***** Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato, hold the Litecoin.~JJL

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Wednesday’s Top Three
Yesterday’s top story was the Financial Times’ piece US exchanges to face lawsuit over dealings with HFT. Second went to the John Lothian News column Cash and Futures in Bitcoin Are a Different Story. Third was Quartz’s Highly motivated kids have a greater advantage in life than kids with a high IQ

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MarketsWiki Statistics Sponsored by Level Trading Field
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Lead Stories

Bitcoin and the Value of Financial Freedom; For all their flaws, cryptocurrencies will always be useful to people who want to avoid prying eyes.
Leonid Bershidsky – Bloomberg
Investors’ frenzied pursuit of bitcoin has bared the flaws of cryptocurrencies, but also highlighted their main value proposition: independence from regulated, mainstream, established systems.
/goo.gl/LMs13q

Atlanta’s Intercontinental Exchange seeks to trade bitcoin funds on NYSE
David Allison – Atlanta Business Chronicle
Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc. is seeking the government’s OK to begin trading two bitcoin funds on the New York Stock Exchange, potentially moving bitcoin “closer to mainstream,” CNBC noted.
/goo.gl/ascQ2K

LSE leadership dispute was ‘slightly Kafka-esque’, says Carney; Rolet told BoE governor ‘under no circumstances’ would he go back
Caroline Binham in London – FT
The governor of the Bank of England has described the corporate governance saga at the London Stock Exchange as a “slightly Kafka-esque situation”.
/goo.gl/hMUYwj

Risky Plan to Keep London as Europe’s Financial Hub; Bank of England offers olive branch to European regulators, but can’t be sure its goodwill will be returned
Paul J. Davies – WSJ
London’s position as Europe’s financial center after Brexit is definitely under threat. The Bank of England is doing its bit to protect its status, but risks leaving itself at the back of the queue when banks get into trouble.
/goo.gl/Ta5NQn

China to Shake Up Global Market With Yuan-Based Oil Futures Contract; Chinese traders, analysts expect start by early 2018
Georgi Kantchev – WSJ
China is preparing to launch its own yuan-based oil futures contract, a move set to shake up the 96 million barrel-per-day global crude market currently dominated by trading in London and New York.
/goo.gl/FMoxQ4

Bitcoin Price Plunges, Recovers as Bitcoin Offshoot Blasts Off; Cryptocurrency trading app said it would investigate allegations of insider trading in Bitcoin Cash
Steven Russolillo and Gregor Stuart Hunter – WSJ
One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms said it would investigate allegations of insider trading after the price of a bitcoin offshoot called Bitcoin Cash climbed in value before the platform began facilitating trades in the alternative currency.
/goo.gl/3v5bKE

Bankers Begone! Spotify to Get Clearance for an ‘Underwriter-Less’ IPO; SEC gives preliminary nod for new type of public offering that does not offer new shares; expected to happen in the spring
Maureen Farrell and Alexander Osipovich – WSJ
Spotify AB is expected to receive approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to move forward with a listing of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, a key step in the music-streaming service’s plan to avoid a traditional initial public offering.
/goo.gl/g22cMi

A Closer Look at Our Bitcoin Futures Launch
Tim McCourt – CME Group OpenMarkets
With the dollar value of bitcoin having grown around 1,600 percent, and bitcoin enthusiasm reaching new heights daily, 2017 will likely be remembered as the year of bitcoin. The meteoric increase in popularity can be seen, heard and retweeted – with one Twitter estimate suggesting a 600 percent increase in mentions of Bitcoin this year.
jlne.ws/2DhNHbk

Top 10 Managed Futures Programs of November
RCM Alternatives Blog
If you ignore risk metrics, RCM’s due diligence, and exclusively sort by returns only, these are the Top 10 Managed Futures programs in November. Click through on the manager and program names to view their profiles in our database. For a much more detailed and analytical ranking system, check out RCM’s Managed Futures Rankings.
jlne.ws/2DjKbgE

Wells Fargo wants to finance metal trade in test of new rule
Patrick Rucker – Reuters
Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) has asked its main regulator if it may buy platinum and lease it to a client in a test of a new rule meant to limit banks’ exposure to volatile commodity markets, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
jlne.ws/2oYu05g

Bitcoin cash price rise spurs Coinbase to investigate potential insider trading
Lynsey Barber – City AM
A major bitcoin exchange is investigating a potential case of insider trading after the price of bitcoin cash rocketed.
/goo.gl/PKhKTB

JPMorgan Reprimanded by Swiss in 1MDB Money-Laundering Case
Patrick Winters – Bloomberg
Swiss regulator says bank didn’t properly see laundering risks; Monitor appointed by Finma for on-site review of controls
Switzerland’s financial regulator will conduct a detailed review of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s anti-money laundering controls after finding the bank seriously breached regulations in its dealings with Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
/goo.gl/qkmEcH

Bitcoin Intensifies Pain for Some as Ransom Demands Skyrocket
Sonali Basak and Jennifer Surane – Bloomberg
First the cryptocurrency eased the way for ransomware attacks; Now as bitcoin soars, criminals are demanding more, Chubb says
Hey, want those photos and files back? It may cost more than it used to.
/goo.gl/dDhZfn

E*Trade lets customers trade in Cboe bitcoin futures
Reuters Staff
The online brokerage firm E*Trade Financial Corp (ETFC.O) will allow customers to trade bitcoin futures from Cboe Global Markets Inc (CBOE.O), the company said on its website Wednesday, joining its rivals in opening the door for more mainstream adoption of the cryptocurrency.
/goo.gl/i1Us5U

Are Bitcoin Futures Foreshadowing Faster Mainstream Adoption?
by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP via JD Supra
Bitcoin futures surged as much as 26 percent in their December 10 debut on Cboe Global Markets, creating traffic on Cboe’s website that was so heavy it caused temporary outages. About twenty trading firms actively participated, with the notional value of contracts traded in the first eight hours totaling around $40 million. Although that is a drop in the bucket compared to the global $1.1 billion of bitcoin traded against the U.S. dollar during the same eight hour period, it appears to be just the tip of the iceberg for futures trading in the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. Cboe’s biggest rival, CME Group, recently joined the movement by launching a competing product on December 18, and Nasdaq Inc. has plans for its own bitcoin futures contract in 2018 (although no hard date is set).
/goo.gl/drMVTq

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

Nasdaq Sees Continued Momentum in U.S. Listings with Record-Breaking Exchange Transfers and Improved IPO Environment
GlobeNewswire
Record number of transfers valued at $379.8 billion market cap joining Nasdaq from NYSE in 2017 ; Leading U.S. exchange in total number of IPOs for 16 consecutive quarter
Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) announced today that it welcomed a total of 262 new listings so far in 2017 – including 133 initial public offerings (IPOs) and 33 transfers. The record-breaking year of exchange transfers is a validation of our long-term commitment to listed companies across all sectors at any stage of their growth journeys. Nasdaq has extended its IPO leadership to 16 consecutive quarters in the U.S. with a 62 percent win rate. Notable IPOs in 2017 included Roku, Redfin, CarGurus, National Vision, Denali and Hamilton Lane.
/goo.gl/yw1Xwg

HKEX to Introduce New Stock Option Classes and Stock Futures Contracts
HKEX
5 new stock option classes and 4 new stock futures contracts to be introduced on 5 February 2018; Commission levy for new stock futures to be wavied for the first 6 months
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) will introduce five new stock option classes and four new stock futures contracts on 5 February 2018 (Monday).
/goo.gl/GpcVQr

Fixed Income Highlights – December 2017 Edition
Eurex
Fixed income markets within Europe were relatively quiet in November. There are a number of reasons for this, such as the lack of event risk and the low level of realized volatility in the underlying rates markets. As a result, Bund volatility has failed to break out of the 4-6% corridor that we have witnessed for much of the year. While equity markets have continued to reach new highs in expectation of President Trump’s tax reform, European rates have remained anchored and traded in tight ranges.
/goo.gl/D3bBfe

BoE’s Carney thanked for ending LSE’s ‘Kafka-esque’ CEO spat
Reuters
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said he was thanked by former London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) Chief Executive Xavier Rolet for helping to end a “Kafka-esque” situation around his departure from the exchange.
jlne.ws/2DksygI

Cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta suspends service following alleged hack
Jon Russell – Techcrunch
Another day, another hack in the crypto world. This time EtherDelta, a popular exchange for buying cryptocurrencies, has suspended its service after it was apparently hit by an attacker.
/goo.gl/vHVUrV

The MICEX10 Index revised
MOEX
As from 22 December 2017, constituents of the MICEX 10 Index will remain unchanged following the conclusion of its regular quarterly review.
/goo.gl/hRcJ5U

Coinbase may have given away its own Bitcoin Cash surprise
Taylor Hatmaker – TechCrunch
On Tuesday, when Bitcoin Cash hit Coinbase, the popular user-friendly U.S.-based exchange, cryptocurrency’s reputation as the financial wild west was on full display.
/goo.gl/sh3YYb

New Platform for Green and Social Bonds
JPX
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. (TSE) will be launching a dedicated platform on our official website for both Green and Social bonds (*). The platform will be available from January 22, 2018 as part of our professional-oriented bond market, TOKYO PRO-BOND Market. The platform will allow issuers to post information about Green and Social bonds directly on our official website.
/goo.gl/hyraJW

NYSE files to list bitcoin ETFs, bringing cryptocurrency a step closer to mainstream; The NYSE formally files with the Securities and Exchange Commission to list two ProShares bitcoin ETFs; Brown Brothers Harriman would be custodian to the funds, which will track bitcoin futures; Futures trading and now, possibly, ETFs, are boosting bitcoin’s profile.
Thomas Franck – CNB
A bitcoin ETF took another step closer to reality after the NYSE filed with the SEC to list two funds tracking bitcoin futures.
/goo.gl/pEHKJT

Fintech

Fintech Brexit sectoral analysis report: Four things revealed by government papers
Lynsey Barber – City AM
The government has given everyone an early Christmas present, publishing the sectoral analysis papers for more than 50 sectors in relation to Brexit – including fintech.
/goo.gl/79oC54

Fintech Charter Is Still in Play, New Comptroller Says; Financial-technology firms fill a credit gap, according to OCC’s Otting
Lalita Clozel – WSJ
New Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said Wednesday that he supports the creation of a banking charter for fintech firms, which would allow online lenders or payments processors to be regulated nationally, instead of following different laws in every state.
/goo.gl/bKrxLz

Bitcoin as Money? Here’s How It’ll Happen
Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
When will cryptocurrencies live up to the second part of their name?
/goo.gl/uVoK8R

Politics

Cohn ‘tried 25 times’ to cut hedge-fund loophole but failed
Tae Kim – CNBC
White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn said the administration failed in its attempt to cut a hedge fund tax loophole even though it was a key campaign promise.
jlne.ws/2oWxViK

Treasury Watchdog Declines Request for Mnuchin Recusal Probe; Groups cite potential conflict of interest in Treasury secretary overseeing agencies aiding Russia investigation
Ian Talley – WSJ
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General said late Wednesday it won’t pursue a request to probe whether Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should recuse himself from federal investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
/goo.gl/WWf7CK

Regulation

WMBA becomes EVIA alongside MiFID II repositioning
Helen Bartholomew – Reuters
The Wholesale Markets Brokers’ Association (WMBA) has changed its name to the European Venues and Intermediaries Association (EVIA), reflecting the changing role of its members under MiFID II.
jlne.ws/2DfxWSh

Federal Court Orders Florida-based Mintco LLC and its Owners, Stuart Rubin and Richard Zimmerman, to Pay $340,000 in Civil Monetary Penalties for Engaging in Illegal Off-Exchange Precious Metals Transactions
CFTC
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained three related Consent Orders of Permanent Injunction against Defendants Mintco LLC of Delray Beach, Florida, and its owners Stuart Rubin of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Richard Q. Zimmerman of Wellington Florida, finding that all Defendants engaged in illegal off-exchange precious metals transactions and further that Rubin and Mintco engaged in fraud with respect to these same precious metals transactions.
/goo.gl/my86Xb

FCA statement on European Commission announcement on the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD)
UK FCA
The European Commission has announced (link is external) a proposal to push back the application date of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) by seven months to 1 October 2018, following requests from the European Parliament and Member States for a postponement.
/goo.gl/wcCFqf

Update: FINRA Board of Governors Meeting
FINRA
The FINRA Board of Governors met last week, and I am writing to share with you several updates from our discussions. During the meeting, the Board approved FINRA’s 2018 budget and a set of updated Financial Guiding Principles. In early January, we will publish—for the first time—an overview of the 2018 budget, along with the updated Financial Guiding Principles, in an effort to increase transparency around our finances.
/goo.gl/YV4bmP

TRACE for Treasuries Reporting Changes
FINRA
On Monday, January 22, 2018, in response to requests by member firms, FINRA will implement changes to the TRACE for Treasuries (U.S. Treasuries) trade reporting retention period. Currently, trade reports for U.S. Treasuries transactions are retained on a rolling 2-day period (T-1). Following the change, trade reports for U.S. Treasuries transactions will be retained on a rolling 3-day period (T-2).
/goo.gl/ARRgRx

December 2017 Board Update
FINRA
FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook, Chairman Bill Heyman, Board members and FINRA staff provide updates on the December 2017 FINRA Board of Governors meeting, including discussions around FINRA’s finances and financial transparency, 2017 accomplishments, enterprise risk management and more.
/goo.gl/oYs9BS

ASIC releases guidance on sell-side research
ASIC
ASIC today released regulatory guidance on managing conflicts of interest and handling inside information by Australian financial services (AFS) licensees that provide sell-side research.
/goo.gl/pFR5UV

ESMA delays LEI requirements under MiFID II; European regulator issues six-month grace period as it learns firms are unlikely to meet 3 January deadline.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Investment firms have been handed a temporary six-month grace period from MiFID II’s legal entity identifier (LEI) reporting requirements, less than two weeks before the regulation is to be implemented across Europe.
/goo.gl/1VbGvE

U.K. Insider-Trading Investigations Set Record as FCA Cleans Up
Suzi Ring – Bloomberg
British regulator opened 84 insider-dealing probes in 2017; FCA has been cracking down on behavior over the last decade
Junk your laptop and hide your phone; the U.K. markets watchdog opened another record number of insider-dealing investigations in 2017.
/goo.gl/W6kAPQ

Investing and Trading

Start Worrying When Investors Borrow to Buy Bitcoins; If the cryptocurrency crashes, big deal. But if speculators went into debt, look out.
Noah Smith – Bloomberg
A financial mania is an amazing thing to experience. The crash of 2008 sent a chill through the American financial system, making it seem like the psychic scars might prevent another asset-buying frenzy for decades. But then a new force appeared from outside the financial system entirely, and the heady days of price charts and bubble talk are back.
/goo.gl/gdtvjs

Bitcoin Is Not a Systemic Financial Risk, Say Top Economists
David Z. Morris – Fortune
A new survey finds that nearly 75% of a pool of top European economists do not think cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are, or will become, a threat to the stability of the financial system.
/goo.gl/E4vVmT

Top ETF Themes for 2018
WisdomTree via Barron’s
Last week on our podcast, I spoke with Bruce Lavine, my former boss and colleague and current member of the WisdomTree Investments board of directors, along with his current colleague John Davi, founder and CIO of Astoria Portfolio Advisors. We had a great conversation on Lavine’s background and history, going back to his early days at WisdomTree and the founding of the iShares business. The discussion with Davi touched on portfolio themes Astoria has worked into clients’ exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios for 2018.
jlne.ws/2Dhi1Ta

N.Z. Tech Stock Up 3,000% Is Jumping Ship for Sydney Exchange
Moxy Ying – Bloomberg
Dual-listed Xero Ltd. to stop trading in New Zealand; On track to be added to Australian benchmark: Morgan Stanley
New Zealand’s stock market has become too small for Xero Ltd., whose market value has soared about 70-fold to NZ$4.28 billion ($2.98 billion) since its debut a decade ago.
/goo.gl/wWjFSc

Carson Block Bets That a Nasdaq-Listed Chinese Internet Stock Is a ‘Fraud’
Annie Massa and Erik Schatzker – Bloomberg
He’s short selling China Internet Nationwide Financial; The stock has tripled in price since the company’s July IPO
“This thing is a complete fraud, a total zero,” Block tells Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker.
Prominent short seller Carson Block said he’s now targeting China Internet Nationwide Financial Services Inc., a Nasdaq-listed stock that went public in July.
/goo.gl/AibDeg

A Million-Dollar Bet That Bitcoin Will Hit $50,000; Trader or traders used bitcoin call options expiring next December to make the bullish bets
Alexander Osipovich and Gunjan Banerji – WSJ
Someone out there just made a bet that bitcoin will surge above $50,000 next year, trading data show—about triple its current price.
/goo.gl/nfXKcK

Wall Street Is Making Even More Billionaires of U.S. Colleges; Endowments are riding the bull market to riches, but some question whether students should get more help.
Kate Smith- Bloomberg
American universities are the richest they’ve ever been, with more schools than ever sitting on endowments valued at $1 billion.
/goo.gl/f4qpxY

Is Bitcoin in a Bear Market When It’s Still Up 1,600% for Year?
Eric Lam – Bloomberg
Bitcoin has yet to redefine the global payments system. But it could raise questions about how to define a bear market.
/goo.gl/McqtRj

Opinion: If you want to get rich, invest in Treasury bills, not FAANG stocks or bitcoin
Jared Dillian – MarketWatch
Demand curves are usually downward-sloping. That’s because people will buy more of a product when it is cheaper and less of it when it is more expensive.
/goo.gl/7Syfx4

Hull Tactical Asset Allocation (HTAA) Program Added to Kettera’s Hydra Marketplace
PRWeb
Kettera Strategies LLC today announced that the Hull Tactical program of HTAA, LLC is now available on the fast-growing Hydra marketplace. Kettera’s Hydra marketplace is a global platform giving investors access to established and emerging alternative asset managers while providing daily transparency, intra-month liquidity and notional funding capabilities.
/goo.gl/88fRxT

Institutions

Banks line up to become Sis under MiFID II
FTSE Global Markets
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of New York Mellon and Barclays are among the latest banks to have opted in as systematic internalisers (Sis) for non-equity instruments under MiFID II. More are expected to register voluntarily in the coming week as banks ramp up efforts to ease the reporting burden on clients ahead of the implementation of the European markets directive on January 3rd, to minimize any disruption in the provision of market liquidity when both the directive comes into effect and the SI regime comes in play in September next year.
jlne.ws/2oYLlem

Nomura Suspends Two Junk-Bond Traders in London
Tom Beardsworth , Stefania Spezzati , Donal Griffin , and Alastair Marsh – Bloomberg
Bank is said to suspend Jeremy Gosling and Shaun Barlow; Some traders are said to have been informed on suspensions
Nomura Holdings Inc. suspended a London-based trader and his boss, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
/goo.gl/U7Ndi7

Bankers don’t care if bitcoin is a bubble, as long as it can be traded
South China Morning Post
No longer just a refuge for criminals, cryptocurrencies have respectfully graduated to greed and speculation, aided and abetted by legitimate financial institutions
/goo.gl/K4bGuZ

Hedge Funds Target MBIA After Puerto Rico Hurricane; Short sellers are again betting against the bond insurer
Matt Wirz – WSJ
Hedge funds are increasingly betting on whether bond insurer MBIA Inc. can survive heavy losses expected from Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy.
/goo.gl/4oRTRF

Swiss Central Bank Rescues Company It Needs to Make Banknotes
Catherine Bosley and Jan Dahinten – Bloomberg
The Swiss National Bank bought a 90 percent stake in Landqart AG, bailing out the sole producer of the material needed for producing its “state of the art” banknotes.
/goo.gl/VdvnW5

What Does Mario Draghi Want for Christmas? A Blockchain Expert
Piotr Skolimowski – Bloomberg
Are you a woman into blockchain or artificial intelligence? The European Central Bank may just be the place for you.
/goo.gl/QzvUuy

Fund Manager Sues U.S. Law Firm for Fraud Over Carbon-Tax Advice
Jeremy Hodges and Nishant Kumar – Bloomberg
Tax lawyers said to profit from advice to hedge-fund manager; Carbon companies were subject of U.K. tax investigation
Fund manager David Gorton sued a U.S. law firm for fraud after its lawyers convinced him to buy into a carbon-credit investment that they had an undeclared financial interest in, according to a London lawsuit.
/goo.gl/DMu8v7

European Banks’ Post-Crisis Litigation Could Cost $100 Billion
Nicholas Comfort, Christian Baumgaertel and Hayley Warren – Bloomberg
A decade after the financial crisis, European banks’ bill for past misconduct could exceed $100 billion globally, with several lenders still facing cases potentially costing billions of dollars to settle.
/goo.gl/ieo653

JPMorgan Chase powers up robo-adviser for fintech race
David Henry, Elizabeth Dilts – Reuters
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is powering up a lower-cost computerized investment management tool this week and plans to offer the robo-adviser to some clients next March and on a wide scale in the middle of the year.
/goo.gl/hhVmUp

Regions

China Will Tighten U.S. Soybean Export Standards, USDA Says
Bloomberg News
Cargoes to be labeled for foreign-matter content over 1%; Shipments above new limit may be held back for more cleaning
U.S. officials will impose stricter quality controls on exports of soybeans headed to China in response to a request from the government in Beijing, a move that may curb some American shipments.
/goo.gl/nHzYpp

Japan’s new rules on high-frequency trade set for April; Exchange operator and government watchdog both keeping a closer eye
Nikkei
The Japan Exchange Group will impose new rules on high-frequency trading in April to make the market more transparent, as well as to reduce price volatility and prevent market manipulation.
/goo.gl/uz7NJv

North Korea Is Suspect in Hack of Seoul Bitcoin Exchange
Kanga Kong and David Tweed – Bloomberg
Attack seen as extension of April heist linked to North Korea; Youbit exchange closed and entered bankruptcy proceedings
South Korean investigators are looking into North Korea’s possible involvement in the hack of a Seoul-based cryptocurrency exchange that collapsed this week, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
/goo.gl/JXXLF8

North Korea Is Suspected in Bitcoin Heist; Pyongyang’s hackers turn to cryptocurrency and banks as Kim regime hunts for funds
Timothy W. Martin, Eun-Young Jeong and Steven Russolillo – WSJ
Investigators in South Korea are looking into North Korea’s possible involvement in a heist from a bitcoin exchange that collapsed here on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the situation, as the sanctions-choked regime develops new ways to raise money.
/goo.gl/55GhFd

Emerging Markets Don’t Control Their Own Destiny; Their fate is in the hands of big central banks. So much for the “decline of the West.”
Daniel Moss – Bloomberg
It still doesn’t pay to buck the Fed. Photographer: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images
For all the hype about the decline of the West, it still largely controls whether emerging markets thrive or suffer.
/goo.gl/2zWoiA

South Korea’s Bank Chief Warns Bitcoin Investors Against ‘Irrational Exuberance’
Reuters
South Korea’s central bank chief on Wednesday warned of ‘irrational exuberance’ in trading of virtual coins, which have risen dramatically in value this year amid frenzied speculation.
/goo.gl/pXVH94

Brexit

EU prepares Canada-style Brexit deal for UK; Bloc to make limited-access trade offer if Britain fails to clarify demands before summer
Alex Barker in Brussels, Guy Chazan in Berlin and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in Paris – FT
The EU is preparing to present Britain with a skeleton, Canada-style trade deal by the early summer if the UK is unable to clarify its demands and remains in “Brexit La-La land”, according to senior European officials.
/goo.gl/BBrm1o

EU Braces for Brexit by Tightening Rules for Investment Firms
Alexander Weber – Bloomberg
Biggest firms would be supervised by ECB under commission plan; Access criteria for companies outside the EU to be toughened
The European Union plans to plug a potential Brexit loophole by bringing the biggest investment firms in the euro area under European Central Bank supervision.
/goo.gl/VwYoEa

Miscellaneous

Overdose Deaths Drive Down U.S. Life Expectancy—Again; Last year marked first back-to-back annual decline in life expectancy since early 1960s
Jeanne Whalen – WSJ
Drug-overdose deaths drove a decline in U.S. life expectancy in 2016 for the second year in a row—the first consecutive-year fall since the early 1960s.
/goo.gl/Y4vjx7

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About Author

Bergstrom is chief information officer of John J. Lothian & Co. He edits MarketsWiki and JLN Options.