Week InReview
Friday | Sep 11, 2020
Society disrupted.
The advent of the smartphone marked the merging of man and machine. These devices might not be embedded into our forearms just yet, but they have so seismically changed how we operate and interact as humans over the past decade that we’re all effectively cyborgs now. We’re each wholly devoted to these tiny unknowable machines, rarely out of hand or at the very least rarely out of reach.

— The Wall Street Journal
let's recap...
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is backing away from a controversial plan to let banks and fund managers keep secret for two full days their biggest trades in the $559 trillion global swaps market after some financial firms complained it would hurt transparency. (Bloomberg Markets | Sep 10)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell makes no secret of his admiration for Alan Greenspan. And now, more than half-way through Powell’s four-year term, his Fed is looking a lot like that of the man once dubbed the monetary maestro. It is a Fed that, as pronouncements at the institution’s virtual policy symposium last month made clear, prioritizes flexibility in setting monetary policy as it grapples with a pandemic that has devastated the economy. There will be no hard-and-fast rules that determine when to raise interest rates and when to cut them. (Bloomberg Economics | Sep 9)

Of all the big-ticket regulations the Labor Department hopes to push through before the end of the year, three in particular worry the retirement and benefits industry because of their short comment periods, which could leave the agency vulnerable to legal challenges. (Bloomberg Law | Sep 9)

Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and requires aggressive action from Washington policy makers, according to a report from an advisory panel to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the top U.S. commodities regulator. (The Wall Street Journal | Sep 9)

The federal budget deficit hit an unprecedented $3 trillion in August, with another month to go before the end of the fiscal year, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. That figure amounts to $1.9 trillion more than the same period last year, and more than double the largest yearlong deficit on record. (The Hill (Sep 8)
OFR offers more insights into repo with new funding monitor
(Sep 10) — As funding market watchers debate the risk of rougher conditions around year end, they now have access to key data, with the Office of Financial Research unveiling its new tracker of the repurchase markets at the heart of the financial system.
  • The OFR collects data on centrally cleared repurchase agreements from the Fixed Income Clearing Corp., covering more than $1t in daily repo transactions
  • These data have been provided to help the Financial Stability Oversight Council keep tabs on risk in short-term funding markets, and are now publicly available here
  • This interactive Short-Term Funding Monitor also covers tri-party repo; data are broken down into four charts: collateral, tenor, volume, and rates
  • OFR’s cleared repo data also underpins the calculation of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or Sofr, the benchmark rate that’s supposed to replace Libor by the end of next year
  • Here’s the news release.

Source: Bloomberg Government
the cyber cafe
Wargaming cyber security
“Wargames can save lives” is axiomatic in the wargame community. But can they save your network? Wargaming is a military tool used to gain an advantage on the battlefield. However, it has also found a home beyond national security, frequently used in the private sector. Cyber security straddles the battlefield and the boardroom.

VPNs: The cyber elephant in the room
The warning signs of VPN vulnerabilities continue to flash bright red and it seems that every month a new advisory is released. In June, the NSA issued a fresh warning that VPNs could be vulnerable to attack if not correctly secured.

Microsoft Defender update now allows malware download
Once again, a Microsoft update has caused problems instead of bringing improvements to their product. This time, the issue appeared in Microsoft Defender following an update. Microsoft Defender Allowing Malware Download Reportedly, a security researcher has found a bug in Microsoft Defender antimalware that potentially allows malware download.
binge reading disorder
Trees practice social distancing
It's actually called "crown shyness" and it's what trees do to protect their own health and promote the overall health of the forest.

Is History Repeating?
The stock market barely faltered in the 1918-20 pandemic. When Covid-19 hit, a lot of bullish investors looked for lessons in the previous outbreak. But the comparisons may be misleading.

8 personal finance lessons from Benjamin Franklin
His great success came from living the virtues of frugality and industry, and his life offers us many personal finance lessons that apply to modern men just as much as they did to those living in colonial America
220 x 128 px