Week InReview
Friday | May 31, 2019
Lunch with Warren

"A charity auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett has hit a record before it is even over.

"Bidding for the annual lunch auction reached $3,500,100 late Monday, one day after the auction opened at $25,000. The auction to meet the billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman ends Friday night. All bidders have to be prequalified to submit an offer. The auction is run by eBay and auction manager Matchfire.

"An anonymous bidder set the previous record high of $3,456,789 in 2012, and that amount was matched in 2016. Last year’s winning bid, also anonymous, was $3,300,100."

—  The Wall Street Journal
in case you missed it...
Washington says a major change in the mortgage-backed securities market could make home loans more affordable nationwide. Not everyone on Wall Street is so sure. (Bloomberg Business | May 30)

The bond market is sending powerful signals that there’s trouble ahead for the US economy. Does it mean a recession is imminent? Certainly not. Part of what makes the bond market so ominous is that it’s not terribly specific. (The New York Times | May 30)

The Treasury Department, in consultation with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is putting finishing touches on a plan to return mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private-shareholder ownership. The proposal aims to ensure the firms have adequate capital to absorb loan losses in a housing slump. (The Wall Street Journal | May 30)

US District Judge Jesse Furman told seven stock exchanges that they must face proposed class-action claims of favoring high-frequency traders over other investors. The judge had dismissed the claims in 2015, but that decision was overturned on appeal in 2017. (Reuters | May 29)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to approved new requirements next week for selling stocks, bonds, and other assets after brokers fended off the government's attempts to restrict shady practices for almost a decade. The rules are softer than Obama-era limits that they successfully sued to block. (Bloomberg Politics | May 29)
FSOC meets on nonbank designations
(May 30) — The Financial Stability Oversight Council met Thursday in closed session at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. FSOC heard the following:

  • A presentation from Treasury staff on the public comments submitted on FSOC's proposed interpretive guidance on nonbank financial company designations.

  • An update from Craig Phillips, counselor to the Treasury Secretary, regarding U.S. nonfinancial corporate credit and leveraged lending. Phillips described recent markets developments and highlighted the ongoing collaboration among financial regulators on this topic.

  • A presentation from Securities and Exchange Commission staff on several topics related to equity market structure. The presentation addressed issues including market volatility, securities exchanges’ “maker-taker” pricing model, and market data and access.

The Council also voted to approve the minutes of its March 6, 2019 meeting.
the cyber cafe
As EternalBlue racks up damages, it reminds us there's no such thing as a safe cyber weapon
Since the NSA lost control of its EternalBlue exploit two years ago, the tool has been repurposed by criminals and state actors alike to wreak billions of dollars of damage, upend the lives of citizens, damage businesses and paralyze governments. 
—  Forbes

FSB updates G20 on its work related to cyber incident response and recovery
The Financial Stability Board today published a  progress report  on its work on developing effective practices for financial institutions’ response to, and recovery from, a cyber incident, which it has delivered to G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ahead of their meetings in Fukuoka, Japan on June 8-9.

Cybersecurity giants unite to strengthen safeguards
Some of Silicon Valley's top cybersecurity companies —  including Cisco, Symantec and McAfee —  are pooling resources to help strengthen security at the national level. Information shared among the companies, which are working with the nonprofit Cyber Threat Alliance, creates more opportunity for them to recognize and stop public and private cyberthreats.
binge reading disorder
The hidden heroines of chaos
Ellen Fetter and Margaret Hamilton were responsible for programming the enormous 1960s-era computer that would uncover strange attractors and other hallmarks of chaos theory.

It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
Apple says, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” Our privacy experiment showed 5,400 hidden app trackers guzzled our data — in a single week.

10 books for beach or poolside this summer
A guidebook to life for college graduates, another work by two-time Pulitzer winner David McCullough and a meditation on thought and genius.