April 20, 2021
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SEC's Gensler makes key hires
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has hired four senior staffers, including the AFL-CIO's Heather Slavkin Corzo as policy director. Gensler's priorities are expected to include environmental, social and governance issues, special-purpose acquisition companies and the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (4/19),  The New York Times (4/19),  ThinkAdvisor (free registration) (4/19) 
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The continued rise of equities markets, widening market breadth and influx of retail investors have contributed to a sharp decline in short-selling bets. "Short selling of what were historically the 'go-to' shorts has slowed dramatically and not been replaced by 'new' shorts," a team of Morgan Stanley analysts told clients.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19) 
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Credit Suisse's John Dabbs and Ryan Nelson, co-heads of the bank's prime brokerage unit, are departing after the bank saw a $4.7 billion loss from the implosion of Archegos Capital Management. Dabbs and Nelson will assist the bank through a transition period until mid-May.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (4/19) 
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Banks including Citigroup are making it a key part of their strategy to cater more to ultra-wealthy individuals, with Bank of America and Morgan Stanley noting significant increases in the account balances of such clients over the past year. "Demand for advice is surging," said Andy Sieg, president of Bank of America's Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, who expects to see more requests for high-net-worth wealth-management services.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19) 
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President Joe Biden said ahead of a second bipartisan discussion with lawmakers on his infrastructure plan he was "prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do, what we get together on." Republican lawmakers have said they want a more modest package than the $2 trillion-plus proposal from Biden.
Full Story: CNBC (4/19),  Reuters (4/19) 
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The House has voted 321-101 to approve the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, which would let banks do business with legal cannabis companies without violating federal law. A companion bill with 32 co-sponsors has been introduced in the Senate.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19),  MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (4/19),  Bloomberg (4/19) 
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Payments
Capital One is looking to expand its business air travel offerings by giving cardholders access to airport lounges. The lounges, set to open in Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington airports in the months ahead, will offer benefits and facilities that Capital One vice president Matt Knise says will be different from other lounges.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19) 
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Industry Watch
Chinese markets are being monitored for big inflows and outflows of foreign money, says Fang Xinghai, chair of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The commission is confident it can keep capital markets steady while widening access, Fang says.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19) 
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Citigroup has selected Philip Drury to head a new investment banking group that advises data, entertainment, media, technology and telecommunication companies. Drury will relocate to San Francisco, according to an internal memo.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19),  PYMNTS (4/19) 
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Sustainable Finance
John Morton, a partner with climate change advisory and investment firm Pollination Group, will head the US Treasury's "climate hub," where he will support efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the department said. Some climate activists were disappointed the job did not go to a regulator who would press financial institutions to back green investments.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19) 
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Digital Assets
The UK Treasury and the Bank of England are studying a central bank digital currency. The institutions say they are forming a task force to coordinate preparations for a digital currency that would "exist alongside cash and bank deposits, rather than replacing them."
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19),  The Block (4/19),  BBC (free registration) (4/19) 
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Central bank digital currencies do not threaten cryptocurrencies because they have different characteristics and are used for different purposes, Morgan Stanley analysts say. Unlike cryptocurrencies, CBDCs are less likely to use blockchain, the analysts say.
Full Story: Bitcoin (4/19) 
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Data of the Day
The four largest banks gathered $919 billion in additional deposits last year, which was kept in cash and securities holdings, data from the Federal Reserve shows.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/19) 
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About the Editor
Colin Hogan
Colin Hogan
Colin Hogan is the editor of several SmartBrief newsletters focused on the global financial system and capital markets.

If you like MMSB, hate MMSB or want to submit a story, shoot me an email.
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
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