It’s been a week focused on innovation, with news of index, crypto and product launches.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is working on the framework to enable the listing of daily leverage certificates (DLCs) involving liquidity provisions and underlyings, having received proposals from potential issuers. HKEX has not initiated the internal approval for the launch, which will be followed by approval from the Securities and Futures Commission.

“The product development is expected to take another six months or more. No clear timeline is available yet,” a source told SRP.

The shares of Chinese search engine Baidu closed at HK$214 in Hong Kong SAR on Friday 26, down 16.1% from its Tuesday debut. The daily turnover of listed derivative warrants (DWs) on the stock has halved to HK$407m and investors are shifting to lower strike levels.

The daily fund flow of Baidu DWs rose 28% to HK$8.28m on Thursday from Wednesday when they were introduced on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) – one day after Baidu’s IPO. The first-day figure represented approximately 15% of the flow of DWs on Kuaishou, a Chinese video sharing software, which were listed on 5 February.  

Over in the digital currency world, crypto platform Gekkoin has launched a structured cryptocurrency deposit product aimed at European residents seeking to hedge the risks of cryptocurrency volatility. The launch comes in response to the growing demand for new investment products from cryptocurrency traders and an increase in the number of classical investors making entry into the market, according to a Gekkoin spokesperson.

J.P. Morgan Chase is selling Return Notes on the J.P. Morgan Kronos+ Index in the US. The three-year registered note offers a capital return based on the positive or negative performance of the index over the investment period, multiplied by an adjustment factor of 101.5%. The J.P. Morgan Kronos+ Index attempts to provide a dynamic rules-based exposure to the S&P 500, which is determined on strategies that reference the following historical tendencies: historical outperformance around the turn of the month; historical price momentum ahead of monthly index options’ expiry; and historical mean reversion into month-end. It has been live since 22 December 2020 and since then J.P. Morgan has issued 15 products that track the index.

Staying in the digital currency sphere, Galaxy Digital Holdings has appointed Mark Toomey as its head of institutional sales, effective 29 March. Toomey joins the US investment management firm after spending over two decades in traditional capital markets at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, where he managed equity derivatives sales teams that covered a range of asset management clients for a variety of derivative and structured products.

A few noteworthy appointments include former Susquehanna International Group head of European options sales Tom Karlsson joining Dunn Capital as director of volatility strategies; Audrey Koenig promoted to CEO of Natixis Wealth Management, and; Andrea Sozzi Sabatini being appointed as a managing director at Munich Re, in Milan. Sabatini has had a long career in finance most recently at Julius Baer where he had a senior cash and derivatives role.

US-based Innovator ETFs has launched its new line of Accelerated ETFs, the first of its kind to offer investors a multiple (2x or 3x) of the upside return of a selected underlying up to a cap as well as downside protection. A total of six accelerated ETF products will be listed, four of which will seek exposure to the SPDR S&P500 ETF Trust (SPY), while the other two will be tied to the Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ).

Also in the US, annuities provider Athene USA has launched the Athene AccuMax, a fixed indexed annuity (FIA) offering three different options to get exposure to the market. The new FIA has been designed for long-term savers ‘seeking index-driven growth potential as an alternative to traditional fixed income alternatives,' according to Grant Kvalheim, CEO and president of Athene USA. The new Athene AccuMax FIA features the new AI Powered Multi-Asset Index (AiMAX1) and the Shiller Barclays CAPE Allocator 6 Index, as well as a new annual interval sum crediting strategy linked to the S&P 500 index. It is the first time the AI Powered Multi-Asset Index and Shiller Barclays CAPE Allocator 6 Index appear on SRP’s database.

For its part, Midland National Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Sammons Financial, is the first to launch an FIA aligned with sustainable investing via the newly deployed BlackRock ESG US 5% Index. The firm made the ESG index available on two of its established FIAs including the MNL IncomeVantage Pro and MNL RetireVantage, as well as its new MNL Accelerate 5 fixed index annuity which launched on 30 March 2021.

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