Week InReview
Friday | Apr 26, 2019
Ban email, for cyber's sake?

Northern Trust, which oversees roughly $10 trillion, is looking at restricting the ability of some employees to send email outside the company as it beefs up its cybersecurity, according to a top executive at the company who requested anonymity because the policy hasn't yet been formalized.

The Chicago-based firm is exploring limiting external email to only employees who work with clients and other groups outside the company to avoid potential privacy breaches.

in case you missed it...
America’s budget deficits are often described by economists as a problem. In the markets right now, they look more like a solution. Even investors who worry about loose fiscal policy are finding other things that worry them more. From China’s credit bulge to the European slowdown, warning signs are flashing globally. At home, the economy’s expansion is about to set records for longevity — a reminder that it won’t last forever. (Bloomberg Economics | Apr 24)

How much longer can the good times roll? It's anyone's guess, but bull markets and economic expansions don't die of old age. Credit crunches, political uncertainty, wars and rampant speculation have ended previous bull markets. (CNN Business | Apr 23)

In practice, the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity primarily attacks divestment initiatives and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs. The information it publishes on public funds is frequently rife with errors and seemingly self-serving data. And for someone striving to make pensions nonpartisan, its founder has deep political ties. (Institutional Investor | Apr 23)

The Federal Reserve moved to make it easier for private-equity funds and other investors to own large stakes in banks without triggering its oversight, in a plan that could also make it easier for financial technology startups to obtain investment cash. (The Wall Street Journal | Apr 23)

Despite recent reforms, some hedge funds operating in the shrinking credit-default swaps market have turned to designing esoteric contracts to encourage defaulting. (Bloomberg Markets | Apr 22)
Finra opens fintech-focused office
(Apr 24) —  Brokerages pursuing new financial technology now have a unit at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority dedicated to hearing their compliance concerns.

FINRA’s Office of Financial Innovation emerged from efforts since 2017 to improve outreach to broker-dealers interested in fintech, the self-regulatory organization said. The announcement came after FINRA said in January its examiners would increase their scrutiny of firms’ involvement with cryptocurrency.

Office of Financial Innovation staff will work with their FINRA colleagues, securities industry members, and other regulators to help them better understand fintech and encourage its use in a way that protects investors. Haimera Workie, senior director of FINRA’s Office of Emerging Regulatory Issues, will lead the unit.
binge reading disorder
A history of the influencer, from Shakespeare to Instagram
On one level, “influencer” is an anodyne, commercial label, describing someone who monetizes an online following by endorsing products or services — a celebrity spokesperson for the social-media age. And yet “influencer” also sounds slightly sinister; the Influencer could be a Batman villain, alongside the Joker.

This Is the emotional quality that the world's greatest leaders all share 
Great leaders never know for sure if their plans will work, but they plunge ahead anyway. That’s why we recognize sheer audacity, well intended, even if the results aren’t known and even if the plans aren’t universally applauded.

Was Leonardo the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?
“How many specialists would we need today to attempt Leonardo’s researches?” asks Martin Kemp, emeritus professor of the history of art at Oxford University. “At least 13. Maybe more.”