Category Archives: NEWS

Chicago Cubs TV Network to be Available on fuboTV

fuboTV Inc. and Marquee Sports Network announced today a carriage agreement that will bring Chicago Cubs game coverage to the leading sports-first live TV streaming platform in the coming weeks.

Through fuboTV, subscribers throughout the Marquee Sports Network territory will have access to all Marquee programming, including all non-nationally televised regular season Chicago Cubs games, pregame and postgame shows, exclusive content, original programming and much more. The regional sports network (RSN) will be available in fuboTV’s basic English language channel package in the Chicago area and surrounding regions, including Indianapolis, South Bend and Des Moines. The full carriage footprint list is attached. Fans can stream fuboTV on Android and iOS smartphone and tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Android Smart TVs, Apple TV and Apple’s TV app, Chromecast, Hisense Smart TVs, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox One’s family of devices and the web. Visit fubo.tv for more information on channel packages and pricing.

The addition of Marquee Sports Network further bolsters fuboTV’s already strong sports offering, which includes more than 50,000 live sporting events annually – many streaming in 4K – and more RSNs in its base package than any other live TV streaming platform. The agreement also increases fuboTV’s local coverage in Chicago, where it already carries ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo and Univision affiliates alongside national sports networks ESPN, FS1, CBS Sports Network, Big Ten Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network and NHL Network among many others. With fuboTV, subscribers can stream a broad mix of 100+ live TV channels, including 42 of the top 50 Nielsen-ranked networks across sports, news and entertainment (source: Nielsen Total Viewers, 2020), and more than 30,000 TV shows and movies on-demand each month.

“We are thrilled to have fuboTV offering Marquee Sports Network to Cubs fans. fuboTV has prioritized live sports and we look forward to them carrying Cubs baseball all season long,” said Marquee Sports Network General Manager, Mike McCarthy. “As we kick off the hotly anticipated 2021 baseball season, fuboTV is thrilled to bring consumers Marquee Sports Network’s extensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs,” said fuboTV’s SVP, Content Strategy and Acquisition, Ben Grad. “The addition of Marquee Sports Network to our leading sports, news and entertainment portfolio makes fuboTV a great streaming choice for Cubs fans, as well as other Chicagoans looking to cut the cord.”

“We’re excited to add Marquee Sports Network and their coverage of the Chicago Cubs to fuboTV,” said fuboTV’s Co-founder and CEO David Gandler. “Our Fubo Gaming subsidiary is headquartered in Chicago, and the midwest market, particularly Indiana and Iowa where we recently closed market access agreements, will be a key cluster for our gaming strategy in the future.”

Fitch Upgrades Microsoft to ‘AAA’; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has upgraded the Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for Microsoft Corporation to ‘AAA’ from ‘AA+’. The Rating Outlook is Stable. The Short-Term IDR has been affirmed at ‘F1+’. The ratings affect $64 billion of debt.

Microsoft is well-positioned for cloud computing services, leveraging its legacy strengths in software applications that benefit from strong network effects. Fitch expects Microsoft’s cloud-based products, including Office 365, Dynamics 365, Azure and server products, to continue to provide robust growth to mitigate the secularly weaker and cyclical PC-related products. In addition, the adaptation of the Office suite of products to the cloud delivery model effectively decouples Office products from personal computers (PCs), enabling continuing growth of Office products in spite of the secularly weaker PC industry. The coronavirus pandemic has boosted both software and hardware products for Microsoft, as remote work has increased demand for overall IT products.

Microsoft’s $64 billion of outstanding debt is manageable, supported by the company’s $132 billion of readily available cash and equivalents and normalized annual FCF of over $30 billion. Fitch expects Microsoft to have sufficient capacity to continue retiring bonds at maturity, maintaining dividend payments, repurchasing shares and making strategic acquisitions. As of December 2020, Microsoft’s gross leverage was 0.8x. The operating and financial profiles of the company are consistent for the ‘AAA’ rating category.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Cloud Services Driving Growth: Fitch expects operating performance will remain solid, driven by robust cloud products growth; these include Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, cloud infrastructure software and productivity products that have been adapted for the cloud environment. Fitch expects Microsoft to remain a leading cloud services provider over the intermediate term, with an integrated offering across infrastructure and software services, benefitting from its established footprint in legacy Windows OS and Office productivity products. Fitch projects revenue growth in the low teens over the intermediate term.

Highly Diversified Revenue Streams: Fitch expects the more profitable cloud services growth to diversify Microsoft’s revenue base and increase profitability while reducing its dependency on PCs. While Microsoft’s More Personal Computing segment still represents approximately 35% of GAAP revenues, it constitutes less than 30% of operating profits. Fitch expects operating EBITDA margins to remain at approximately 50% over the intermediate term, supported by the favorable product mix shift. With the rising scale of Microsoft’s cloud-based products, revenues and profits from these products should increasingly eclipse personal computing products.

Resilient Demand Supported By Network Effect: Microsoft benefits from network effect due to its broad installed base of Windows OS and Office products that are de facto standards for computer software and productivity tools. The standard software enables users to efficiently share applications and information. The cloud adaptation of Office enables Microsoft to extend its strong position as customers increasingly migrate to cloud environment. Given the ubiquitous installed base of these products and the benefits of network effect, Fitch expects Microsoft to maintain its dominance in these areas. Cloud-based delivery of software applications also decouples these products from specific hardware platforms, further cementing the adoption of the products.

Significant Cash Position and Strong FCF: Fitch expects revenue growth and strong profitability will result in over $30 billion of annual Fitch-calculated post-dividend FCF through the intermediate term. In conjunction with the $132 billion of readily available cash and equivalents on the balance sheet as of Dec. 31, 2020, Fitch expects Microsoft to have ample capacity to repay maturing debt, continue dividend payments, make acquisitions and repurchase shares.

Competitive Enterprise Cloud Market: Enterprise cloud services are dominated by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. While Microsoft has established a solid position as the number-two provider in the current environment dominated by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), competition from AWS and Google Cloud is fierce. In addition, smaller cloud-service providers, including IBM and Oracle Cloud, remain relevant in the growing market. Given the overall industry trend toward cloud services, Fitch expects IaaS competition to remain fierce. Fitch believes Microsoft holds a strong defensible position in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) segment relative to peers, anchored by its legacy strength in enterprise and productivity applications.

DERIVATION SUMMARY

Fitch’s ratings are supported by its view that Microsoft’s cloud-based products will remain a key growth driver as adoption of cloud services continues to grow. Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud segment, including server products and Azure, should continue to experience robust growth. In addition, Microsoft’s adaptation of its legacy perpetual-license-based productivity products to cloud-based SaaS products increases the lifetime value of customers over the long term. In conjunction with Microsoft’s strong relationships with enterprises and consumers, Fitch believes the company’s cloud-based product offerings are balanced across IaaS and SaaS, and competitive in the evolving IT industry.

Declining PC industry trends should continue to limit growth for Microsoft’s More Personal Computing segment as demand for Windows OS weakens despite the recent strength from pandemic-driven demand. As more workloads migrate to the cloud, complex applications can be run without powerful edge devices such as PCs; PC utilization has been gradually displaced by mobile devices powered by alternative OS, such as Android and iOS. Fitch expects this trend to continue as cloud adoption continues to grow.

Microsoft has been retiring its bonds as they matured since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was enacted, while maintaining its dividend payments and share repurchases. Given the strong financial position of the company, Fitch expects Microsoft to continue to reduce debt at maturity through the forecast. In conjunction with EBITDA growth, Fitch estimates Microsoft’s gross leverage to trend toward 0.5x and remain below 1.0x through the forecast.

Microsoft’s scale, customer diversification, profit profile and leverage compare well against peers in the ‘A’, ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ rating categories, including Intel Corporation (A+/Stable), Amazon.com, Inc. (A+/Positive), and Walmart, Inc. (AA/Stable).

KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Fitch’s Key Assumptions Within Our Rating Case for the Issuer Include

–Revenue growth in the low teens;

–EBITDA margins remain approximately 50% through fiscal 2024;

–Dividend payments growing in line with profits;

–Average of $5 billion of acquisitions per year;

–Debt repaid at maturity through fiscal 2024;

–Share repurchases of $25 billion annually through fiscal 2022, rising to $30 billion through fiscal 2024.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Factors that Could, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Positive Rating Action/Upgrade

–Fitch does not expect positive rating action in the long term.

Factors that Could, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Negative Rating Action/Downgrade

–More aggressive financial policies, reflected by absence of debt repayment resulting in Fitch’s expectation of gross leverage sustaining above 1.0x;

–Cash flow from operations minus capex/total debt with equity credit sustaining below 50%;

–Eroding competitive positions within core operating segments, reflected by zero or negative revenue growths and sustained operating margin compression.

BEST/WORST CASE RATING SCENARIO

International scale credit ratings of Non-Financial Corporate issuers have a best-case rating upgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a positive direction) of three notches over a three-year rating horizon; and a worst-case rating downgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a negative direction) of four notches over three years. The complete span of best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings for all rating categories ranges from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’. Best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings are based on historical performance. For more information about the methodology used to determine sector-specific best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings, visit https://www.fitchratings.com/site/re/10111579.

LIQUIDITY AND DEBT STRUCTURE

Robust Liquidity: As of Dec. 31, 2020, the company had $132 billion of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. Fitch’s expectation of over $30 billion of annual post-dividend FCF through fiscal 2022 and rising to over $35 billion thereafter also supports liquidity.

Total debt at Dec. 31, 2020 was $64.6 billion and consists of senior notes with maturities from fiscals 2021-2057. The recent debt exchange has extended maturities to 2062.

Debt Structure:

–$500 million senior unsecured notes due fiscal 2021 (repaid during fiscal 3Q21);

–$8.0 billion senior unsecured notes due fiscal 2022;

–$2.75 billion senior unsecured notes due fiscal 2023;

–$5.25 billion senior unsecured notes due fiscal 2024;

–$47.7 billion senior unsecured notes due after fiscal 2024.

ESG CONSIDERATIONS

Unless otherwise disclosed in this section, the highest level of ESG credit relevance is a score of ‘3’. This means ESG issues are credit neutral or have only a minimal credit impact on the entity, either due to their nature or the way in which they are being managed by the entity. For more information on Fitch’s ESG Relevance Scores, visit www.fitchratings.com/esg.

ASIC bans the sale of binary options to retail clients

ASIC has made a product intervention order banning the issue and distribution of binary options to retail clients.

The ban will take effect from Monday 3 May 2021 after ASIC found that binary options have resulted in and are likely to result in significant detriment to retail clients.

ASIC reviews in 2017 and 2019 found that approximately 80% of retail clients lost money trading binary options. ASIC found that binary options are likely to result in cumulative losses to retail clients over time because of their product characteristics:

  • the ‘all or nothing’ payoff structure, where one of the two possible outcomes for a binary option contract is that the retail client will lose their entire investment amount;
  • short contract duration (the average contract duration of binary options traded with one provider was less than six minutes); and
  • negative expected returns (that is, the present value of the expected payoff for a binary option contract is lower than the initial investment).

Commissioner Armour said, ‘Binary options’ product characteristics make them incompatible with investment or risk management use by retail clients. ASIC’s product intervention order will protect retail investors from these harmful products at a time of heightened vulnerability.’

ASIC estimates that retail clients’ net losses from trading binary options were around $490 million in 2018. The size of the market in Australia has since reduced significantly after ASIC issued a warning in April 2019 against providing unlicensed or unauthorised services to clients located in several foreign jurisdictions. Australian retail clients are estimated to have made net losses of more than $6.7 million in 2019.

ASIC’s binary options ban brings Australian requirements into line with prohibitions in force in comparable markets and follows the commencement on 29 March 2021 of ASIC’s product intervention order imposing conditions on contracts for difference offered to retail clients.

The order will remain in force for 18 months, after which it may be extended or made permanent. Civil and criminal penalties apply to contraventions of the product intervention order.

Background

A binary option is a cash-settled, over-the-counter (OTC) derivative entered into by two counterparties—the binary option issuer and the client. The ‘all-or-nothing’ payout under a binary option contract is determined by the occurrence or non-occurrence of a specified event in a defined timeframe. This can include an event related to movements in the price of a financial product or a market index (for example, the price of gold increasing in 30 seconds) or an economic event (such as a central bank interest-rate decision).

Regulatory Guide 272 Product intervention power provides an overview of ASIC’s product intervention power, when and how ASIC may exercise the power and how a product intervention order is made.

On 22 August 2019, ASIC released CP 322, seeking feedback on proposals to use its product intervention power to address significant detriment to retail clients resulting from binary options and CFDs (refer 19-220MR). CP 322 attracted more than 400 responses from consumers, consumer groups, CFD issuers, industry bodies and other stakeholders.

On 23 October 2020, ASIC made a product intervention order imposing conditions on the issue and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients (refer 20-254MR). From 29 March 2021, ASIC’s order strengthens consumer protections by reducing CFD leverage available to retail clients and by targeting CFD product features and sales practices that amplify retail clients’ CFD losses.

In addition to the product intervention orders, ASIC’s actions to address concerns about binary options and CFDs include:

  • enforcement action to address misconduct
  • public warning notices and other statements
  • surveillance projects and thematic reviews
  • stronger regulations
  • extensive retail client education campaigns and guidance for binary option issuers.

More information about ASIC’s supervision and enforcement work is available on our website. ASIC’s Moneysmart website has further information about binary options.

ASIC’s CFD product intervention order takes effect

ASIC’s product intervention order imposing conditions on the issue and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients takes effect from today.

The order strengthens protections for retail clients trading CFDs after ASIC found that CFDs have resulted in, and are likely to result in, significant detriment to retail clients.

ASIC’s order reduces CFD leverage available to retail clients and targets CFD product features and sales practices that amplify retail clients’ CFD losses, such as providing inducements to become a client or to trade. It also brings Australian practice into line with protections in force in comparable markets elsewhere.

The maximum CFD leverage available to retail clients will range from 30:1 to a 2:1, depending on the underlying asset class. Before now, a retail investor’s CFD exposure could be as much as 500 times their original outlay.

ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said ‘We will closely monitor compliance with the product intervention order and won’t hestitate to take appropriate action to enforce the order.’

‘We are also paying careful attention to changes in CFD providers’ reported holdings of retail client money and any mis-classification of retail clients as wholesale clients, which would risk denying them important rights and protections. Protecting retail investors from harm, particularly at a time of heightened vulnerability, is a priority for ASIC,’ Commissioner Armour said.

The maximum penalty for a contravention of a product intervention order is five years’ imprisonment for individuals and substantial pecuniary penalties of up to $555 million for corporations.

If a court finds that a person has contravened a product intervention order, a retail client may recover the amount of loss or damage suffered because of the contravention.

The product intervention order will remain in force for 18 months, after which it may be extended or made permanent.

Background

A CFD is a leveraged derivative contract that allows a client to speculate in the change in value of an underlying asset, such as foreign exchange rates, stock market indices, single equities, commodities or cryptoassets.

Regulatory Guide 272 Product intervention power provides an overview of ASIC’s product intervention power, when and how ASIC may exercise the power, and how a product intervention order is made.

On 22 August 2019, ASIC released Consultation Paper 322 Product intervention: OTC binary options and CFDs (CP 322) seeking feedback on proposals to use its product intervention power to address significant detriment to retail clients resulting from over-the-counter (OTC) binary options and CFDs (refer 19-220MR). CP 322 attracted over 400 responses from consumers, consumer groups, product issuers, industry bodies and other stakeholders.

On 23 October 2020, ASIC made a product intervention order imposing conditions on the issue and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients (refer 20-254MR).

In addition to the product intervention order, ASIC’s actions to address concerns about CFDs include:

  • enforcement action to address misconduct (for example, refer 21-051MR20-246MR, and 20-161MR)
  • public warning notices and other statements
  • surveillance projects and thematic reviews
  • stronger regulations
  • extensive retail client education campaigns and guidance for binary option issuers.

More information about ASIC’s supervision and enforcement work is available on our website. ASIC’s MoneySmart website has further information about forex trading and CFDs.

ASIC’s proposal in CP 322 to ban the issue and distribution of binary options to retail clients is still under consideration and a decision has not yet been made.

CME Group to Launch Micro Bitcoin Futures on May 3

CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it will expand its suite of crypto derivatives with the introduction of a new Micro Bitcoin futures contract on May 3, pending regulatory review.

Micro Bitcoin futures will be one-tenth the size of one bitcoin. The smaller-sized contract  will provide market participants – from institutions to sophisticated, active, individual traders – with one more tool to hedge their spot bitcoin price risk or execute bitcoin trading strategies in an efficient, cost-effective way, all while retaining the features and benefits of CME Group’s standard Bitcoin futures.

“Since the launch of our Bitcoin futures contract in 2017, we have seen steady, ongoing growth of liquidity and market participation in our crypto derivatives, especially among institutional traders,” said Tim McCourt, CME Group Global Head of Equity Index and Alternative Investment Products. “The introduction of Micro Bitcoin futures responds directly to demand for smaller-sized contracts from a broad array of clients and will offer even more choice and precision in how participants can trade regulated Bitcoin futures in a transparent and efficient manner at CME Group.”

Micro Bitcoin futures will join CME Group’s growing suite of cryptocurrency derivatives, including Bitcoin futures and options and recently launched Ether futures. In 2021-to-date, 13,800 CME Bitcoin futures contracts (equivalent to about 69,000 bitcoin) have traded on average each day. In addition, CME Ether futures have seen 767 contracts traded (equivalent to 38,400 ether) on average each day since launched on February 8.

The new contract will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate, which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Micro Bitcoin futures will be listed on and subject to the rules of CME.  

For more information on this product, please see: www.cmegroup.com/microbitcoin.

As the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) enables clients to trade futures, options, cash and OTC markets, optimize portfolios, and analyze data – empowering market participants worldwide to efficiently manage risk and capture opportunities. CME Group exchanges offer the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural products and metals.  The company offers futures and options on futures trading through the CME Globex® platform, fixed income trading via BrokerTec and foreign exchange trading on the EBS platform. In addition, it operates one of the world’s leading central counterparty clearing providers, CME Clearing. With a range of pre- and post-trade products and services underpinning the entire lifecycle of a trade, CME Group also offers optimization and reconciliation services through TriOptima, and trade processing services through Traiana.

Federal Court Orders UK Man to Pay More Than $571 Million for Operating Fraudulent Bitcoin Trading Scheme

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a default judgment against Benjamin Reynolds, purportedly of Manchester, England, finding that he operated a fraudulent scheme to solicit bitcoin from members of the public and misappropriated customers’ bitcoin. This case was brought in connection with the Division of Enforcement’s Digital Assets Task Force.

The court’s March 2, 2021 order requires Reynolds to pay nearly $143 million in restitution to defrauded customers and a civil monetary penalty of $429 million. The order also permanently enjoins Reynolds from engaging in conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, registering with the CFTC, and trading in any CFTC-regulated markets.

The judgment is the result of a 2019 enforcement action brought by the CFTC charging Reynolds, conducting business as Control-Finance Limited, with fraud and misappropriation. [See CFTC Press Release No. 7938-19]

Case Background

Between May 2017 and October 2017, Reynolds used a public website, various social media accounts, and email communications to solicit at least 22,190.542 bitcoin, valued at approximately $143 million at the time, from more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including at least 169 individuals residing in the U.S. 

Among other things, Reynolds falsely represented to customers that Control-Finance traded their bitcoin deposits in virtual currency markets and employed specialized virtual currency traders who generated guaranteed trading profits for all customers. He also constructed an elaborate affiliate marketing network that relied on fraudulently promising to pay outsized referral profits, rewards, and bonuses to encourage customers to refer new customers to Control-Finance. In fact, Reynolds made no trades on customers’ behalf, earned no trading profits for them, and paid them no referral rewards or bonuses. While Reynolds represented that he would return all bitcoin deposits to customers of Control-Finance by late October 2017, he never did and instead retained the deposits for his own personal use. Customers lost most or all of their bitcoin deposits as a result of the scheme.

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of any money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously for the protection of customers and to ensure wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the British Columbia Securities Commission and the UK Financial Conduct Authority. 

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Dmitriy Vilenskiy, Kyong J. Koh, Julia C. Colarusso, Hillary Van Tassel, Jonah E. McCarthy, A. Daniel Ullman II, Luke B. Marsh, and Paul G. Hayeck. Additionally, Daniel J. Grimm and John Einstman contributed to the case while members of the Division of Enforcement. CFTC staff members, Christopher Giglio, Lauren Fulks, and Mary Lutz, also assisted in this matter.

One River Digital Asset Management welcomes Jay Clayton, Kevin Hassett and Jon Orszag

One River Digital Asset Management (together with its parent, One River Asset Management) announced that is welcoming Jay Clayton, Kevin Hassett, and Jon Orszag to the firm’s Academic and Regulatory Advisory Council effective immediately.

Mr. Clayton joins One River’s newly formed advisory council following his service as Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) from May 2017 through December 2020. During his tenure at the SEC, Mr. Clayton focused on initiatives that promoted economic growth, investment opportunity, market integrity and investor protection. Mr. Clayton was recently appointed non-executive Chair of Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO). Prior to serving as Chairman of the SEC, Mr. Clayton led a distinguished law career, including more than 20 years with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where he was a member of the management committee and co-managing partner for the firm’s General Practice Group. Mr. Clayton has rejoined Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as Senior Policy Advisor and of counsel as well as returning to his role as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Mr. Hassett joins One River’s advisory council while currently serving as Vice President and Managing Director of The Lindsey Group, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Kevin was senior advisor to President Trump and also the 29th Chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers. He previously served as research director at the American Enterprise Institute, as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve, and as a faculty member at Columbia University. Hassett was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, and prior to that served as John McCain’s chief economic adviser in the 2000 presidential primaries and an economic adviser to the campaigns of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election and McCain in the presidential election of 2008.

Mr. Orszag joins One River’s advisory council while currently serving as Senior Managing Director and member of the Executive Committee of Compass Lexecon. Orszag has conducted economic and financial analysis on a wide range of complex issues in antitrust, regulatory, policy, and litigation matters for corporations and public-sector entities. Prior to entering the private sector, Orszag served as the Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning. In this capacity, Orszag was the Secretary of Commerce’s chief policy adviser and was responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of policy initiatives, from telecommunications issues to international trade issues. Previously, Orszag served as an Economic Policy Advisor on President Clinton’s National Economic Council. In 1999, the Corporation for Enterprise Development awarded Orszag its leadership award for “forging innovative public policies to expand economic opportunity in America.”

“We are excited to have brought together such a distinguished group with deep and varying regulatory and policy experience and will continue to broaden the council to include thought leaders with diverse backgrounds and expertise,” said Eric Peters, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of One River Asset Management.

“We were impressed by Eric’s willingness to hear our varying views on the digitization of our monetary, banking and capital markets ecosystem and One River’s commitment to transparency,” said Mr. Clayton, Mr. Hassett and Mr. Orszag in a joint statement. “We look forward to working with One River as the effects of digitization on our markets play out across the globe.”

“It is crucial to understand how digital assets will interact with existing laws and regulatory bodies, while engaging with governments in an open and transparent manner,” explained Mr. Peters. “The One River Academic and Regulatory Advisory Council will help us consider how these new digital systems and the investment opportunities they present will best fit within existing policy, while also helping us think through how to advance these frameworks in ways that ensure the US continues to lead the world in financial innovation and asset management.”

About One River Digital Asset Management:

One River Digital Asset Management is a leading asset manager in the emerging digital asset industry, with investment funds and bespoke strategies built to meet the unique needs of its institutional clients around the globe. The firm is a subsidiary of One River Asset Management, an innovative investment manager dedicated to delivering high-conviction absolute-return strategies that seeks to help its clients build superior portfolios. It sees the world in a period of major economic, policy and political transition, with the investment landscape shifting in ways that will make the coming decade look profoundly different from the past decade. Its strategies are built to profit from this dynamic environment while providing strong diversification benefits to traditional investment portfolios. Each is developed and managed by its diverse team of investment professionals with deep expertise in volatility, macro, inflation, digital asset and systematic trading/investing. One River manages over $2.5bln in institutional assets. The firm is headquartered in Greenwich, CT and was founded in 2013.

Murban Crude Oil Futures – ADM

The Murban Crude Oil Future is a physically delivered contract, basis FOB Fujairah (ADNOC) loading terminal, UAE.

The contract will provide users with an effective hedging instrument for Arab Gulf crude oil and other grades trading into the Asia Pacific Region. The underlying physical market is for Murban crude oil available without the local Abu Dhabi resale restriction.

Trading Screen Product Name

Murban Crude Futures

Trading Screen Hub Name

Abu Dhabi

Product

Murban Crude Oil, as defined in the Exchange and Clearing House rules.

Contract Symbol

ADM

Contract Size

1,000 barrels

Unit of Trading

Any multiple of 1,000 barrels

Currency

US Dollars and cents

Trading Price Quotation

One cent ($0.01) per barrel

Settlement Price Quotation

One cent ($0.01) per barrel

Minimum Price Fluctuation

One cent ($0.01) per barrel

Last Trading Day

Trading in the prompt delivery month shall cease at 16:30 Singapore Prevailing Time on the last Trading Day of the second month preceding the delivery month.

If the day on which trading is due to cease is the Trading Day preceding New Year’s Day, then trading shall cease on the next preceding Trading Day.

Daily Settlement

The Daily Settlement Price will be published at 19:30 London Prevailing Time every Trading Day with the exception of the Last Trading Day where no such prices for the expiring contract month will be published.

The Daily Settlement Price is the volume weighted average price of trades between 19:28 and 19:30 London Prevailing Time, or as determined by the Exchange, as detailed within the Trading Procedures of the IFAD Rulebook.

Exchange Delivery Settlement Price

The final settlement price, as determined by the Exchange on the Last Trading Day of the expiring contract month, will be the Marker Price published at 16:30 Singapore Prevailing Time and shall be the basis for delivery.

Markers

The Exchange will publish daily Marker Prices at 16:30 Singapore Prevailing Time and 16:30 London Prevailing Time (or as otherwise determined and communicated by the Exchange from time to time).

Each Marker will be a volume weighted average price of trades in the one minute preceding the marker time and will be published for the front three contract months.

There will be no Marker Price published at 16:30 London Prevailing Time on the Last Trading Day for the expiring contract month.

Delivery Date

Delivery shall commence no earlier than the first Terminal Loading Day of the delivery month and no later than the third Terminal Loading Day prior to the end of the said delivery month. Futures delivery shall be completed within the delivery month.

Delivery Methods

Delivery shall be made by the Seller to the Buyer on a F.O.B. basis at the Fujairah (ADNOC) loading terminal and shall be made in accordance with all applicable State and local laws and regulations. Delivery is to be made into Buyer’s Vessel during the delivery month.

A loading volume tolerance of plus or minus 0.2% of the contract volume is permitted.

There is no specified minimum quantity of Murban Crude Oil to be delivered for the purposes of this Contract. However, parties should be made aware that in relation to each Vessel the Terminal Operator imposes a minimum loading requirement (which may be amended from time to time) of two hundred thousand (200,000) Barrels for deliveries at the Terminal.

For the purposes of complying with the minimum limit imposed by the Terminal Operator, Members may co-load Barrels resulting from over the counter (OTC) transactions with Exchange traded transactions relating to the Contract.

Contract Series

Up to 48 consecutive months

Business Days

ICE business days

MIC Code

IFAD

Clearing Venues

ICEU

MiFID II position limit regime

The EU has recently adopted amendments to the position limit regime for commodity derivatives in Directive 2014/65/EU (MiFID II), which in Norway has been implemented in Chapter 15 of the Securities Trading Act. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a statement on the consequences these changes should have for the supervisory follow-up of the commodity derivatives markets in the EU until they have been implemented in national law.

The amendments to the position limit regime are part of the EU’s ‘Capital Markets Recovery Package’ (CMRP), which aims to reduce the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the European financial market. An important reason for the amendments is that the current rules have proven to inhibit the development of new and less liquid commodity derivatives markets. In addition, there have been few liquidity providers in the commodity derivatives market. The EU countries shall implement the changes in their respective national law with effect from 28 February 2022.

Pending the upcoming regulatory changes, ESMA has expressed an expectation that national competent authorities will not prioritise their supervisory actions towards:

  • natural or legal persons holding positions in commodity derivatives, other than agricultural commodity derivatives (including seafood derivatives), with a net open interest below 300,000 lots
  • positions that are objectively measurable as resulting from transactions entered into to fulfil obligations to provide liquidity on a trading venue as referred to in point (c) of the fourth subparagraph of Article 2(4) of MiFID II

Finanstilsynet has taken note of ESMA’s statement and will not prioritise such supervisory actions.

Read ESMA’s statement:

CFTC Charges Former Fuel Oil Trader with Manipulating Fuel Oil Benchmark

Trader Admits to Manipulative and Illegal Conduct, Enters into a Cooperation Agreement

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today issued an order filing and settling charges against Emilio José Heredia Collado of Lafayette, California for engaging in attempted manipulation and manipulation of a U.S. price-assessment benchmark relating to physical fuel oil products. Heredia engaged in this unlawful conduct for more than four years while employed as a fuel oil trader at a commodity trading firm and then at the U.S. affiliate of a multinational commodity trading company that acquired it. 

Heredia admits the facts of his manipulation and acknowledges that his conduct violated the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations.

The order permanently bans Heredia from trading commodity interests and requires him to comply with undertakings never to engage in other commodity-interest related activities, including applying for registration and acting as a principal, agent, officer or employee of any person registered, required to be registered, or exempt from registration. The order also imposes a $100,000 civil monetary penalty.

“This enforcement action demonstrates that manipulation of energy prices will not be tolerated, and the CFTC will aggressively protect market participants who rely on the integrity of commodity benchmarks,” said Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. 

Separate Criminal Action

In a separate, parallel matter, the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section today announced a criminal charge against Heredia in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. [See United States v. Heredia, Case No. 21-CR-0109 (N.D. Cal.)] Heredia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manipulate the price of a commodity in interstate commerce in violation of the CEA. 

Case Background

The order finds that from as early as June 2012 through at least August 2016, Heredia and others at the firms where he was employed sought to increase profits from their oil products trading by manipulating a U.S. price-assessment benchmark relating to physical fuel oil products in order to benefit the firms’ trading positions. Heredia also engaged in this conduct with the specific intent to manipulate the benchmark, and could and did create artificial prices.

The order recognizes Heredia’s entry into a formal cooperation agreement with the Division of Enforcement and his undertaking to continue to cooperate with the Division in connection with the subject matter of the order. 

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Gates S. Hurand, Peter Janowski, David W. MacGregor, R. Stephen Painter Jr., Michael Cazakoff, Matthew Edelstein, Patrick Marquardt, Jordon Grimm, Lenel Hickson Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.