Virtually every meme and parody video making its way around the internet this week seems to have something to do with Star Wars – The Force Awakens … except one.

The band at First Round Capital went the pop music route for their holiday video and nailed it with an epic parody that spoofs a montage of videos from artists like Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Drake and Jason Derulo, among others.

The parody features First Round Capital staff and employees of numerous start ups re-enacting the videos for pop hits like Uptown Funk (remember all the dancing in the street?) and Sugar, which featured Maroon 5 crashing the weddings of some of their fans.

If you listen closely, you will enjoy the best part of the video: The First Round Capital crew changed all the lyrics to make them relevant to the start up and venture capital world. (read more…)

Financial industry leaders and policy experts addressed the thorny issue of migration in Europe after the Paris attacks during the Weathering the Global Storms: Perils and Possibilities panel discussion at CME Group’s 8th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference.

Nouriel Roubini, chairman and co-founder of Roubini Global Economics, pointed out that Europe’s economy benefits from migration in the long-term, though addressing integration and public apprehension remains challenging.

“The issue becomes even if out of a million you have five of them or 10 of them or one of them ends up being a terrorist, and attacks like in Paris, then the reaction, gut reaction of course is panic,” Roubini said.

However, Roubini noted military and diplomatic tactics are only part of the solution and that there must always be an economic aspect to any plan aimed at solving migration issues.

In addition, Roubini noted the economic downturn in Europe further alienates even European citizens, raising the risk of violence. (read more…)

Access to capital – in both large and small amounts – plays a huge role in the global water crisis. If you don’t believe that, then go ask the Terminator.

Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took the stage at CME Group’s 8th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference this week and ticked off numerous examples of how a lack of political will and the accompanying infrastructure capital is stifling efforts to solve the water crisis affecting California and other regions around the world.

“We need our leaders to develop the political will to invest in projects that won’t be ready for photo ops or the next election cycle, but will be ready for the next generation,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger said the way California infrastructure is designed to deal with rain water is one example of outdated infrastructure that can’t be updated without capital commitments. Right now, the system is designed to funnel water back into the ocean. (read more…)

Few retailers in the world have as big and complex of a supply chain as Walmart. But the interaction between suppliers and retailers has evolved in recent years. Former Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke was on hand at CME Group’s 8th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference to discuss how the retail giant’s relationship with suppliers has evolved.

Duke was interviewed by Daniel Glickman, vice president of the Aspen Institute and former US secretary of agriculture, who pointed out just how crucial Walmart has become for many companies in its supply chain.

“I’ve talked to some of your suppliers and some of them will quietly say they sometimes worry more about what Walmart says than what the US government says because they said you have more impact on their lives in some cases than some regulatory edict coming out of Washington,” Glickman told Duke.

Duke responded that the old days of simply placing demands on suppliers is over. (read more…)

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Timothy Massad believes central clearing has been “transformative” for derivatives markets and will continue to play a role in the development of sound markets.

Amid much discussion about the technical issues associated with regulatory reform, Massad reminded the audience at CME Group’s 8th Annual Global Financial Leadership Conference that it is important to not lose sight of overarching priorities. In his speech, Massad detailed the three elements that he deems critical to a healthy and sound central clearing landscape:

  1. Daily Risk Management: “We must remember that clearinghouse resiliency is primarily about daily risk management. … The daily margining practices, the stress and back testing, the oversight and ongoing risk surveillance are critically important. … No recovery plan — and no set of rules that kick in when there is a problem – can take the place of these everyday activities.”
  2. Continuity of function in the event of a default: “Our contingency planning must account for different scenarios.
  3. (read more…)