Week InReview
Friday | May 28, 2021
Enough with the face time.
There’s vampirical – I mean, empirical – proof. A high frequency of video calling can cause general, social, emotional, visual, and motivational fatigue. Video calls used to be a rare treat. Now, they’re everyday soul suckers.

— The Wall Street Journal
let's recap...
Photo: Emil Lendof/ The Wall Street Journal
Senator Elizabeth Warren called JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon “the star of the overdraft show.” Her Democratic colleagues pressed him and other CEOs from the biggest U.S. banks to boost lending, raise wages, diversify staff, and save the environment. Then there was the warning from Republicans: Stay clear of politics. (Bloomberg Politics | May 26)

Federal prosecutors in New York have requested information about Archegos Capital Management from banks across Wall Street. Banks that lent to Archegos, including Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley have been contacted for information. It couldn’t be determined Wednesday what the precise focus of the inquiry was. Law enforcement authorities often open investigations when market shocks are caused by a single or small group of traders. (The Wall Street Journal | May 26)

It’s been obvious since the pandemic struck that commercial real estate would be hit hard. The demand for office, retail, and hotel space has been crimped more or less permanently by Covid-19, which taught people to do many things online instead of in person. A worker whose skills are no longer needed can switch careers, but a building will always be just a building — a brick-and-mortar sitting duck. (Bloomberg Businessweek | May 25)

Sales of securities backed by bundles of risky corporate loans are hitting records, lifted by a recovering economy and demand from yield-starved investors. Issuance of new collateralized loan obligations, which buy up loans to companies with junk credit ratings and package them into securities, totaled over $59 billion as of May 20, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD. That is the highest ever figure for that period in data going back to 2005. (The Wall Street Journal | May 24)

The pandemic has accelerated the move towards automation and digitization that was already taking place at exchanges and trading firms as a way to cut costs and meet regulatory requirements. Use of data and a focus on ESG will be other factors that shape trading and market infrastructure. (Financial News - U.K. | May 24)
the cyber cafe
CISA releases best practices for preventing business disruption from ransomware attacks

(May 26) — In light of the recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation urge critical infrastructure (CI) asset owners and operators to adopt a heightened state of awareness, as well as implement the recommendations listed in the Mitigations section of this Joint Cybersecurity Advisory.

Some of these recommendations include:
  • Filtering network traffic to prohibit ingress and egress communications with known malicious IP addresses;
  • Enabling strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching end users;
  • Implementing robust network segmentation between information technology and operational technology networks; and
  • Regularly testing manual controls; and ensuring that backups are implemented, regularly tested, and isolated from network connections.

These mitigations will help CI owners and operators improve their entity's functional resilience by reducing their vulnerability to ransomware and the risk of severe business degradation if impacted by ransomware.
binge reading disorder
The Nike x Sacai VaporWaffle in all its color clashing glory.
Illustration: Nike
The secret psychology of sneaker colors
You think they randomly choose those glaring shades of Nike, Adidas, and New Balance? Think again.

Walls move and apps rule as workers return to weirder offices
Masked, desk-bound, and unable to recognize their colleagues in an elevator, people are starting to return to offices in cities around the world where the pandemic is receding. Many will find their offices transformed, too.

How regulators killed hedge funds
Hedge funds generated much larger returns than stocks and bonds for years – but everything changed after the financial crisis. They have fallen short on their promises – and new research expects that performance will continue to trail the broader market for at least the next five years.
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