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SEC Tries to Scam ICO Investors to Show Them How Easy It Is

fraud scam alert

First Read

Hits & Takes
JLN Staff

CME Group is launching Eurodollar Term Mid-Curve Options on June 11, 2018.~JJL

The electric car market is for real. The London Metal Exchange announced it will launch contracts on lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and manganese, all battery-related components. The IEA forecasted 9 million to 20 million electric vehicles by 2020 and 40 million to 70 million by 2025.~JK

Martin Jetter, Barbara Lambert and Joachim Nagel joined the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Börse in an expansion of the number on the board from 12 to 16. These new members were elected for three outgoing members of the shareholder representatives.~JJL

‘CEOs don’t want this released’: US study lays bare extreme pay-ratio problem.~JB

Coindesk provided a recap of a fireside chat with Square CEO Jack Dorsey at Consensus 2018 on Wednesday. Dorsey was interviewed by Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs; he said, “the Internet deserves a native currency,” and he hopes it will be bitcoin. (He has not yet realized his ambition of being able to buy a cup of coffee with it, however.) ~SR

We have set up a crypto markets Google calendar for any and all events that will be part of If you have events you would like us to add, please contact me. The calendar is also available on MarketsWiki.~JJL

San Franciscans need to earn $333,000 a year to buy a median-priced home. That sounds bad but what sounds worse is the median price of a home there is $1,610,000.~JB


FIA IDX 2018 Preview with Walt Lukken

In this video, FIA President and CEO Walt Lukken previews the agenda for the International Derivatives Expo (IDX) held in London from June 4-6, including topics, speakers and the all-important Futures for Kids Kilt Challenge.

Watch the video and read the rest »


DB1’s Ankur Kamalia: Fintech Venture Capital Is All About Collaboration

Deutsche Boerse started DB1 Ventures about 2 ½ years ago with the goal of finding new fintech firms that complement the exchange’s wide-ranging technologies but also show potential to grow well beyond that. Ankur Kamalia, managing director, head of venture portfolio management at DB1 Ventures, said his group is looking at everything from post-trade to new trading platforms to regtech firms.

Watch the video and read the rest »


Fighting for Futures; Brain Tumor Awareness Month; May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month
May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month and the futures industry is teaming up to fight for one of their own and children with brain tumors.

Meet Beckett. Beckett is the son of Matthew and Millie Ryba. Becket is like most 7 year-olds except he has been battling a brain tumor since 2011. Millie works for the CME Group and Matthew used to work in banking until he left to stay at home full time to care for Beckett. Beckett is one of 28,000 children in the U.S. currently fighting a brain tumor. That’s 13 families a day who receive the devastating diagnosis that their child has a brain tumor – the deadliest of all childhood cancers.

For the rest of the story, click HERE


Itiviti Talks – Bridging the Gap Between Equities and FX
Itiviti talks is your source for the technology perspective on the global capital markets. We have created this to be an engaging forum for sharing ideas with our clients, partners and other industry professionals. You will find videos, blog posts, white papers and more that deal with the needs and challenges of brokers, market makers and trading executives.

**The interesting part is that they will only talk at noon, madam, in palindromes.~JK


Wednesday’s Top Three
Our top story is something that is on people’s minds lately: just where the US stands in its relations with allies. Bloomberg’s piece Why Germans Are Getting Fed Up with America was on your mind as well, as our top read story Wednesday. Second was Bloomberg’s Deutsche Boerse to Cut as Many as 50 Management Positions. Third made it a Bloomberg trifecta, with its story on Dan Silber in Credit Suisse Currency Executive Silber Dies Suddenly at 48


MarketsWiki Stats
126,121,348 pages viewed; 23,113 pages; 213,071 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics


Lead Stories

SEC Tries to Scam ICO Investors to Show Them How Easy It Is
Matt Robinson – Bloomberg
Agency sets up a fake ICO to warn investors about the risks; Regulator has repeatedly warned investors of fraud in ICOs
A hot new initial coin offering gives investors the chance of a lifetime to make money from sun-soaked beaches and crystal-clear waters. It also provides something even more valuable: advice on how to avoid getting ripped off by fraudulent ICOs.

Tradeweb plans push into European share trading
Philip Stafford – FT
Tradeweb, the over-the-counter trading venue, is planning a major push in European share trading after agreeing a tie-up with Plato, a consortium of some of the market’s biggest banks and fund managers.

Devvio Blockchain First to Surpass Millions of Transactions per Second
The Merkle
Devvio, a pioneer in blockchain protocols (, today announced that its Devcash blockchain has achieved benchmarking results of over 2,500,000 transactions per second, processed on-chain. The benchmarking test refers to transactions validated within the blocks of a public blockchain. The Bitcoin network can process approximately 5 transactions per second and the Visa network is capable of handling more than 24,000 transactions per second, in contrast.

BlackRock, Cboe and IHS Markit to launch US corporate bond index futures; New futures contracts are expected to launch in Summer this year and will be listed and traded on Cboe Futures Exchange.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
BlackRock, Cboe Global Markets and IHS Markit have joined forces to develop the first broad-based US corporate bond index futures.

JPMorgan Brings Alternative Investments to Masses With $100,000
Simone Foxman – Bloomberg
JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to offer sophisticated investments to a much broader clientele. The bank is slashing requirements to participate in certain alternative investments that its asset management arm once offered mainly to institutions or the ultra rich. That will allow it to accommodate more allocations made through registered investment advisers.

Supreme Court 2017 Decision Has Cost Investors Over $800 Million, SEC Says
Dave Michaels – WSJ
U.S. ?securities ?regulators haven’t been able to get more than $800 million in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains since a 2017 Supreme Court case limited the time they have to recover funds for harmed investors.

Big Four accountancy firms plan for forced break-up
Madison Marriage – Financial Times
The Big Four accountancy firms have drawn up contingency plans for a break up of their UK businesses, an option politicians and regulators are increasingly pushing to solve conflicts of interest embedded in the industry.
The pressure on the four firms that dominate the sector — KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC — to prepare for a forced break-up has increased following high-profile corporate collapses that have called into question the quality of their work as both auditors and consultants for the UK’s largest companies.

European Parliament takes hard line on EU’s euro clearing plans
Philip Stafford – FT
European parliamentarians have taken a hard line on EU plans to police London’s euro derivatives clearing business after Brexit, in a move that raises the prospect of tension with the UK and US over the prized activity.

UK’s risk of losing euro clearing after Brexit eases
The threat of clearing in euro denominated financial contracts being forcibly moved from London to the European Union after Brexit eased on Wednesday after EU lawmakers backed more detailed economic tests for relocation.

The government created a fake cryptocurrency to help you avoid scams
Anna Bahney – CNN
There’s a hot new crypto coin linked with luxury travel out there: HoweyCoins.

Trump wants to roll back banking regulations meant to prevent the type of risky behavior that crashed markets a decade ago
Joe Ciolli – Bloomberg
Bank stocks surged following Donald Trump’s election victory amid expectations of reduced regulation. Now it looks like the president is ready to follow through.

Robin Hood Is Mum on Gala Haul, But It’s More Than $54.5 Million
Amanda L Gordon – Bloomberg
Exact amount not disclosed, breaking with party’s tradition; CEO Wes Moore ushers in new era at anti-poverty charity
On Monday night, Bill Ackman, KKR’s Scott Nuttall, Dan Och, David Einhorn, Jerry Seinfeld and Travis Kalanick walked onto a red-carpeted fantasy of Times Square, where signs of all shapes and sizes lit up the space: “Tenacity,” ‘Be Kind,” and “Mahalo.”

Ex-Trader Compares Being a Barclays VP to Working at McDonald’s
Jeremy Hodges – Bloomberg
Carlo Palombo testifies for second day at Euribor trial; Ex-trader says that being a vice president is ‘junior’
A former Barclays Plc trader accused of rigging a benchmark interest rates downplayed his seniority at the bank, telling a London court that his job was comparable to working at a fast-food restaurant.

Virtu CEO comes out swinging against critics; Douglas Cifu, chief executive of the $6.1bn electronic trading firm, slams regulators over Mifid II
Samuel Agini – Financial News
Douglas Cifu, the chief executive and co-founder of the $6.1bn electronic trading firm Virtu Financial, does not seem to mind if people think he is ruthless. Asked about slashing the staff levels of KCG Holdings, which Virtu acquired last year, he said: “I don’t run offices that don’t make money.”

Barclays has hired a top data scientist from Buzzfeed to build a team to exploit a $5 billion opportunity
Alex Morrell – Business Insider
Barclays is building a new team that taps unconventional data sources to bolster its research department, and it has hired a top data scientist from Buzzfeed to lead the charge.

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

TMX Group Announces Organizational Change
TMX Group Limited
TMX Group today announced organizational changes. Effective immediately, Jean Desgagné, President and CEO, TMX Global Solutions, Insights and Analytics Strategies (GSIA) has left the company to pursue new career opportunities.

China’s ShFE plans commodities platform to set physical prices
Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) said on Tuesday it would launch China’s first real-time platform for trading physical commodities from copper to chemicals, as it seeks to improve transparency and challenge rivals in the global futures market.

Deutsche Börse extends Supervisory Board; Three new members elected
Deutsche Börse
At today’s Annual General Meeting, the shareholders of Deutsche Börse AG have given their approval to increase the number of Supervisory Board members from 12 to 16. In addition, the following new members were elected for three outgoing members of the shareholder representatives:

London Metal Exchange takes aim at booming electric car market with new contracts for battery metals; The exchange to offer contracts in lithium, graphite and manganese among others, its head says
Enoch Yiu – South China Morning Post
The London Metal Exchange will begin offering contracts in metals used in batteries within 18 months to capture the huge opportunities created by the rise of the electric car, according to its chief.

Exchanges maturing in ESG leadership as nine-in-ten embrace sustainability – new WFE survey out today
Press Release
London, Thursday 17 May 2018 – The World Federation of Exchanges (“The WFE”), the global industry group for exchanges and CCPs, today published its fourth annual Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) survey of members, which shows nearly 90% of member exchanges are embracing sustainability initiatives.
The WFE survey captured the nature and engagement with ESG issues by member exchanges in both developed and emerging markets.


Alpha Profiling, Strategy Toolkits, Broker Scorecards – the Keys to Best Execution?
Joel Clark and Mike O’Hara of The Realization Group via TABB Forum
Various tools are emerging to help buy-side firms optimize their broker selection for best execution. Examples include algo wheels, broker scorecards and bracketing frameworks that allow for effective monitoring of broker performance on an ongoing basis. What are the most effective use cases for alpha profiling and what are the challenges associated with such an approach?

Allegro and BroadPeak Announce Global Strategic Partnership; Allegro and BroadPeak Partner to Offer Customers Off-the-Shelf Interconnectivity Solutions in Commodity Trading and Risk Management
PR Web
Allegro Development Corp., a leading provider of commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) software, announced today that it has formed a strategic partnership with BroadPeak Partners, a world-renowned developer of K3 and other intuitive UI applications that provide both custom and off-the-shelf interconnectivity toward a hyper-connected enterprise.

Microsoft Plans Low-Cost Tablet Line to Rival iPad
Mark Gurman and Dina Bass – Bloomberg
Tablets priced about $400 prepped for second half of 2018; Surface computers now compete with PCs, Apple’s IPad Pro
Microsoft Corp. is planning to release a line of lower-cost Surface tablets as soon as the second half of 2018, seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple Inc. dominates with the iPad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tradeweb expands into equities with Plato Partnership block trading venture; Tradeweb and Plato Partnership to launch European cash equities block trading platform later this year.
Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Fixed income and derivatives electronic trading firm Tradeweb is expanding into the equities space with the launch of a block trading cash equity platform with Plato Partnership.

SEB deploys Itiviti and ULLINK’s MiFID II SI service; SEB expands long-standing relationship with both ULLINK and Itiviti through implementation of new SI service.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Nordic financial services group SEB has implemented a new systematic internaliser (SI) service offered by recently merged multi-asset trading technology firms Itiviti and ULLINK.


Cryptocurrency startup BCause scouts Chicago talent
Lynne Marek – Crain’s Chicago Business
Another cryptocurrency firm, BCause, is setting up shop in Chicago, tapping a Windy City exchange veteran to head up operations.
Virginia Beach, Va.-based BCause hired Chicagoan Fred Grede last May as CEO and president to build out what it’s calling the first “cryptocurrency ecosystem.” Grede is best known in Chicago financial services as the lawyer who served for a decade as trustee to the long-running bankruptcy of Northbrook-based investment manager Sentinel Management Group.

Square’s bitcoin move has caused internal disagreement – CEO Dorsey
Anna Irrera, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss – Reuters
Square Inc’s (SQ.N) decision to allow users of its mobile app to buy and sell bitcoin this year was a “pretty contentious move within the company” and remains a source of internal tension, the payment processor’s CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday.

Coinbase just rolled out 4 new crypto trading tools, and they offer a big clue to where the platform might be headed next
Zoë Bernard – Business Insider
When cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase launched in 2012, it was laser-focused on attracting individual investors to trade bitcoin. But years later, and after branching into other cryptocurrencies like ethereum, the San Francisco-based company is once again broadening its product offerings.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to talk the future of cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF
Jordan Crook – TechCrunch
Coinbase has come a long way since its launch in 2012. The company has raised more than $225 million and paved the way for cryptocurrencies to enter the mainstream by providing a digital currency exchange. Which is why we’re absolutely thrilled to have Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong join us on the main stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September.

When the Blockchain Skeptic Walked Into the Lions’ Den
IT TAKES CHUTZPAH to walk on stage in front of thousands and declare that most of the people in the room are totally full of shit. That’s how Jimmy Song, a venture partner at Blockchain Capital, entered Monday at Consensus, the biggest cryptocurrency conference of the year, at New York’s Hilton Hotel. That he did so sporting a black cowboy hat and boots was merely a bonus.

Jack Dorsey Is All In on Bitcoin as the Currency of the Future
Julie Verhage and Lily Katz – Bloomberg
Jack Dorsey, speaking to a crowd of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, showed he was completely in sync with their view that digital currencies are the way of the future.

Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson Explains What Buffett Gets Wrong About Bitcoin
Janine Wolf – Bloomberg
‘I don’t know how you can put the genie back in the bottle’; Value of ‘hypercompetitive’ networks will accrue to tokens
The value of cryptocurrencies is ultimately going to accrue to the token, not necessarily the operating business or cash flow of the networks, Union Square Ventures’ managing partner and co-founder Fred Wilson said at the 2018 Consensus Conference in New York Wednesday.

Bitcoin’s True Believers Are Still Waiting on a Conference-Fueled Rally
Janine Wolf – Bloomberg
While the Lamborghinis turned out to be rented and the street protest a marketing gimmick for New York’s Blockchain Week, what’s really leaving some virtual currency enthusiasts disillusioned is the failure of Bitcoin to rally.

Bitcoiners Take New York, but Wall Street Resists The Lure; Attendees at Coindesk’s Consensus 2018 blockchain conference fill the back of a packed panel discussion on May 14, 2018 at the Hilton Midtown in New York City..
Paul Vigna – WSJ
New York may have caught the crypto bug. But one area of the city remains resistant: Wall Street. Large crypto-conferences and related events converged on the nation’s financial capital this month, bringing thousands of bitcoin faithful with them. The largest with 8,000 attendees is the Consensus conference that began on Monday at the Hilton in midtown Manhattan. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is slated to talk about why he sees bitcoin as the future, and rapper Snoop Dogg was the headline draw at a “community night” sponsored by crypto startup Ripple.

China bans trading in cryptocurrencies, but is now ranking them
Zheping Huang – Quartz
The first government in the world to provide ratings on cryptocurrency is one that has banned its people from using it.

Bitcoin is steroids for fintech startups that big banks are afraid to touch
John Detrixhe – Quartz
Making money by trading bitcoin, whose price has fallen by about 40% this year, has been difficult lately. But startups that provide services supporting crypto markets are faring much better. Companies like Revolut, a payment app, and Robinhood, a mobile broker, scored legions of new customers after they added buying and selling of digital tokens to their services.

Founders of cryptocurrency backed by Floyd Mayweather indicted for fraud; U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami, seen in a file photo, announced the indictments.
Mike Murphy – MarketWatch
The three co-founders of a cryptocurrency promoted by boxer Floyd Mayweather and record producer DJ Khaled have been indicted by a federal grand jury, and stand accused of planning to defraud investors out of millions of dollars.

At a crypto conference in New York, it feels like 2017 all over again
Jemima Kelly – FT
If you thought the crypto hype was starting to cool down a little, you’d be right. But if you’d been at the Consensus crypto and blockchain summit in New York for the past few days, you would not have known it.


Senate votes to overturn Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal
Jon Brodkin – Ars Technica
The US Senate today voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, with all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality.

In veiled shot at Trump, Tillerson warns democracy at risk
Matthew Lee – Associated Press
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a veiled shot at President Donald Trump on Wednesday, warning that a growing national crisis of ethics and integrity has put American democracy at risk.

Tillerson says leaders who ‘conceal the truth’ risk freedom
Laura Koran, CNN
In a rare public address following his removal from office in March, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told graduating cadets at the Virginia Military Institute on Wednesday that respect for truth is paramount to American democracy.

***** We need a free press for free markets.~JJL

Tillerson warns of ethical crisis among U.S. leaders in speech
Quint Forgey – Politico
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday appeared to offer an implicit rebuke of his old boss, as he warned of a “growing crisis in ethics and integrity” during a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute.

Sally Yates warns of Trump ‘tearing down the legitimacy’ of the Justice Department
Dylan Stableford – Senior Editor,Yahoo News
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she had something to get off her chest about President Trump at the 2018 Ideas Conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on Tuesday: Don’t ignore his attacks on the rule of law.

Mueller issues grand jury subpoenas to Trump adviser’s social media consultant
Mark Hosenball – Reuters
U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued two subpoenas to a social media expert who worked for longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Missing Files Motivated the Leak of Michael Cohen’s Financial Records; A law-enforcement official released the documents after finding that additional suspicious transactions did not appear in a government database.
Ronan Farrow – New Yorker
Last week, several news outlets obtained financial records showing that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, had used a shell company to receive payments from various firms with business before the Trump Administration. In the days since, there has been much speculation about who leaked the confidential documents, and the Treasury Department’s inspector general has launched a probe to find the source.

The MAGA ETF Has Only One Strategy; It buys companies that back Republicans.
Rachel Evans – Bloomberg
Building buzz about a new exchange-traded fund often just means buying newspaper ads. Hal Lambert has a different approach: He’s hitting right-wing talk shows and roaming conservative conferences in a familiar-looking red cap.

What happened to the American dream?; A history of political slogans reveals much about US sensibilities in the age of Trump
Brooke Masters – FT
Faced with Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory, Sarah Churchwell did what many a shell-shocked academic has done before her: she retreated into the archives to see if the past could help her make sense of the present.


The SEC Has an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss: Act Now!
If you’ve ever been tempted to buy into a hot investment opportunity linked with luxury travel, the Securities and Exchange Commission has a deal for you.

MBA view: will bitcoin regulation undermine its value?
Nassia Matsa – Financial Times
HSBC this week completed the world’s first commercially viable trade-finance transaction using blockchain, the shared ledger technology. Blockchain also powers cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Buy SEC tokens! Now!
Jemima Kelly – FT
At first glance, this looks pretty much like any other initial coin scam offering’s website, complete with a “pre-ICO” countdown clock, “celebrity promoters” and improbable return promises:

FINRA Fines ICBCFS $5.3 Million For Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Deficiencies And Other Violations
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has fined Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Financial Services LLC (ICBCFS) $5.3 million for systemic anti-money laundering (AML) compliance failures, including its failure to have a reasonable AML program in place to monitor and detect suspicious transactions, as well as other violations, including financial, recordkeeping, and operational violations.

Congrats, Grads! Now It’s Time To Think About That Debt
Congratulations, Class of 2018, you did it! Now, it’s time to think about all that student debt you amassed.

CFTC Staff Issues Report Assessing Market Impacts Of LNG
Staff of the Market Intelligence Branch of the Division of Market Oversight of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued a report assessing the market impacts from expanding liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade and exports.

****The full study can be accessed here.

SEC Charges Three Former Healthcare Executives With Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against three former Constellation Healthcare Technologies Inc. executives who falsified financial and other information they provided to a private firm in the course of negotiating the private firm’s acquisition of a majority stake in Constellation. Houston-based Constellation filed for bankruptcy in March, a little more than a year after the January 2017 acquisition.

SEC Charges Owner of Alternative Investment Firm in Belize Airport Financing Scam
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged the owner of a Manhattan-based alternative investment firm with misappropriating close to $6 million in investor funds earmarked to finance the construction of an international airport in Belize.

SEC Charges Brokerage Firms and AML Officer With Anti-Money Laundering Violations
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against broker-dealers Chardan Capital Markets LLC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Financial Services LLC (ICBCFS) for failing to report suspicious sales of billions of penny stock shares.

Podcast: CFTC Talks EP043: UK’S FCA Nick Cook, RegTech and TechSprint lead, Part 1
This week on CFTC Talks, CFTC’s Dan Gorfine and I bring on UK’s Financial Conduct Authority’s Nick Cook, head of RegTech and Advanced Analytics. We cover a wide range of fintech issues from blockchain to regulatory technology to AI. Mr. Cook and FCA create hackathons with industry and government to solve challenging technology issues. This will be a two part series with part 1 released on Thursday and part 2 released on Monday.

CFTC Reduces Marketplace Barriers for Global Development Initiatives
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) today granted relief to non-US counterparties who enter into swaps with International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as development banks.

FCA consults on new guidance on variation terms under unfair terms legislation
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting on new guidance outlining factors financial services firms should consider under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) when drafting and reviewing variation terms in their consumer contracts. The CRA implements Council Directive 93/13/ECC on unfair terms in consumer contracts (the Directive).

Citigroup Global Markets fined a record HK$57 million for failing in its duties as IPO sponsor to Real Gold Mining
Enoch Yiu – South China Morning Post
Citigroup Global Markets Asia was fined a record HK$57 million (US$7.3 million) and reprimanded by Hong Kong securities regulators on Thursday for failing in its duty as a sponsor of the initial public offering of Real Gold Mining.

Investing and Trading

Williams Says Fed’s Era of Market Hand-Holding Is Nearing an End
Jeanna Smialek – Bloomberg
As he nears shift to New York, he sees changes in guidance; In an interview he also waves off concerns about inflation
It’s almost time for the Federal Reserve to stop holding the market’s hand.

Companies Can’t Hold the Line on U.S. Wages Much Longer; Workers are leaving their jobs at a faster rate, confident they can obtain bigger paychecks elsewhere.
Tim Due – Bloomberg
The Fed is watching wages closely. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP
Inflation is accelerating toward the U.S. Federal Reserve’s target, which should lead to a long-awaited pickup in wages. But if wage growth remains sluggish, even a modest overshoot of inflation could weigh on consumer spending.

Fed’s Bostic Says Job Is to Prevent Inversion of Yield Curve
Steve Matthews – Bloomberg
‘I have had extended conversations with my colleagues’; Atlanta bank chief backs 3 2018 hikes, though view could shift
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic says he’s aware of the dangers of an inverted yield curve, which in the past has been viewed as a sign of impending recession.

Number of U.S. Births Fell to a 30-Year Low Last Year
Alexandre Tanzi – Bloomberg
Fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women, a record low; The number of births for women aged 35 and older rose
The number of births in the U.S. declined for the third year in a row in 2017 to 3,853,472, the lowest level since 1987, the National Center for Health Statistics reported Thursday.


Deutsche Bank just named a new sales head of its trading division
Dakin Campbell – Business Insider
Deutsche Bank just named a new US head of a group that distributes fixed income and equities products to clients.
John O’Brien has been named head of the German lenders’ institutional client group in the Americas, according to an internal memo viewed by Business Insider.

Former Indian central bank boss says won’t apply for top BoE job
David Milliken – Reuters
Former Reserve Bank of India chief Raghuram Rajan said on Wednesday he did not intend to apply for the job of Bank of England governor which is due to come vacant next year.

What’s in a Hedge Fund Name? Apparently Booze, Boats and Boston
Brandon Kochkodin – Bloomberg
Hedge funds don’t just cluster around the same stocks. They also find the same inspiration for the names of their firms, according to research by SumZero.

JPMorgan and eBay under fire over shareholder meetings; Companies are among those trying to halt a burgeoning campaign to increase oversight
Alistair Gray in New York – FT
US companies from JPMorgan Chase to eBay have come under fire from shareholder groups for trying to neuter a burgeoning campaign to strengthen investor oversight of management.

Exclusive: RBS lawyers ask ex-staffer to destroy documents, DOJ informed
Sinead Cruise – Reuters
Lawyers for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) asked an ex-employee to destroy confidential documents, according to a letter seen by Reuters, in a move which the former staffer’s lawyer said put him at risk of legal action by the U.S. government.

Goldman Sachs Chides Hedge Funds by Arguing the Case for Oil
Heesu Lee – Bloomberg
Oil demand seen strong while market faces supply disruptions; U.S. shale, OPEC may not make up for Iran export loss: Goldman
Money managers who are reducing their bullish bets on oil are following a “dangerous” strategy, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

MSCI warns of investors facing challenges over China A-shares; Market volatility and poor environmental, social and corporate governance pose risks
James Kynge – FT
The company spearheading the inclusion of domestic Chinese shares into a global equity benchmark says investors face big challenges ranging from market volatility to poor corporate governance.

Jefferies brings in new recruit, causes split among traders
Kevin Dugan – NY Post
Wall Street investment bank Jefferies has recently sidelined a seven-year junk bond veteran to bring in a top trader from Citigroup — and has caused a split among some of its traders in the process, The Post has learned.


Italian populist parties accuse markets of ‘blackmail’
James Politi in Rome and Kate Allen – Financial Times
The leaders of Italy’s two leading populist parties took aim at global financial markets on Wednesday, accusing investors of trying to “blackmail” them by unloading Italian assets as they tried to form a new government.

Argentina Trips Up Fidelity, Morgan Stanley and Other Big Investors
Julie Wernau and Ira Iosebashvili – WSJ
Argentina’s ailing currency and stock market are pounding funds managed by some of the world’s biggest investors, including Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley, reversing some of the outsized gains they enjoyed last year.

Xiaomi’s Real IPO Killer Just Arrived From Beijing’; China Tower’s concurrent share sale raises questions over the smartphone maker’s true worth.
Shili Ren – Bloomberg
Xiaomi Corp.’s IPO killer just arrived on the scene. China Tower Corp., a telecommunications construction firm that’s owned by the country’s three state operators, is following in the smartphone seller’s footsteps, applying to go public in Hong Kong. The Beijing-based group may raise as much as $10 billion, putting it in the same league as Xiaomi, which is seeking a valuation anywhere between $60 billion and $100 billion.

House Seeks Greater Scrutiny of Chinese Investments in U.S.
Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Proposal adds ‘countries of special concern provision’; Nations include Russia, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea
Lawmakers want to include China among a proposed group of hostile nations whose companies could undergo extra scrutiny for national security risks if they seek to buy stakes in U.S. corporations.

Italian populist parties accuse markets of ‘blackmail’; Sharp sell-off follows Five Star/League call for ‘pre-Maastricht setting’
James Politi in Rome and Kate Allen in London – FT
The leaders of Italy’s two leading populist parties took aim at global financial markets on Wednesday, accusing investors of trying to “blackmail” them by unloading Italian assets as they tried to form a new government.

Ant Financial extends dominance in Chinese online finance; Alibaba’s fintech arm claims surge to 622m users and reveals scale of wealth business
Henny Sender – FT
Ant Financial has revealed a surge to more than 600m users and disclosed for the first time the scale of its wealth management business, in information for potential investors in its latest $10bn fundraising.

Ireland’s banks face long and winding road to recovery; Financial institutions have some distance to travel to overcome legacies of crisis
Arthur Beesley in Dublin – FT
It has been 10 long years since the financial crisis that led to the nationalisation of Ireland’s banking system.

China Won’t Dominate Lithium Forever; China Inc’s attempt to lock up supply of the key battery element shouldn’t panic electric-vehicle investors
Nathaniel Taplin – WSJ
Rising prices for a key commodity, high-tech industries fretting, and behind it all China, buying up supplies—if this sounds familiar, it should.


‘I Am the Mastermind’: Mohammed bin Salman’s Guide to Getting Rich; The heir to the Saudi throne and his family members have used businesses connected to government to make their fortune, including a mammoth deal involving Airbus
By Justin Scheck and Bradley Hope -Bloomberg
RIYADH—Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a teenager when he realized his father, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, was, by Saudi royal standards, a pauper. While other sons of Saudi Arabia’s founder grew wealthy from government business, Salman, then the governor of this capital city, supported his family with handouts from his brother the king. Mohammed decided to change that, he later told associates.

The Entire Economy Is MoviePass Now. Enjoy It While You Can.
Kevin Roose – NY Times
I’ve got a great idea for a start-up. Want to hear the pitch?
It’s called the 75 Cent Dollar Store. We’re going to sell dollar bills for 75 cents — no service charges, no hidden fees, just crisp $1 bills for the price of three quarters. It’ll be huge.

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy; The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You’re probably part of the problem.
Craig Cutler – The Atlantic
For about a week every year in my childhood, I was a member of one of America’s fading aristocracies. Sometimes around Christmas, more often on the Fourth of July, my family would take up residence at one of my grandparents’ country clubs in Chicago, Palm Beach, or Asheville, North Carolina. The breakfast buffets were magnificent, and Grandfather was a jovial host, always ready with a familiar story, rarely missing an opportunity for gentle instruction on proper club etiquette. At the age of 11 or 12, I gathered from him, between his puffs of cigar smoke, that we owed our weeks of plenty to Great-Grandfather, Colonel Robert W. Stewart, a Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt who made his fortune as the chairman of Standard Oil of Indiana in the 1920s. I was also given to understand that, for reasons traceable to some ancient and incomprehensible dispute, the Rockefellers were the mortal enemies of our clan. Only much later in life did I learn that the stories about the Colonel and his tangles with titans fell far short of the truth.

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