Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Wall Street Week

The End of the Bonus Culture Is Coming to Wall Street by Katie Linsell and Lananh Nguyen (Bloomberg)

As Wall Street transitions towards a more recurring revenue-based system that is more automated and reliant on technology, bonuses are becoming a less important part of compensation schemes. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

U.S. Curbing Early Access to Sensitive Data Threatens Arms Race by Katia Dmitrieva and Vince Golle (Bloomberg)

Procedures related to the media lockup ahead of major data releases is changing and the results could force traders to go data-hunting on their own as they seek a leg up in the digestion of huge data releases that won’t have an out-of-the-box media narrative. [Link; soft paywall]

Less Research? No Problem, Hedge Funds Say. by Julie Steinberg and Paul J. Davies (WSJ)

Reduced analyst coverage of European stocks related to the advent of regulation coverage research has created opportunities for hedge funds that thrive in the darkness of less information. [Link; paywall]

Climate & Society

US power generators set for another big year in coal plant closures in 2020 by Anna Duquiatan, Taylor Kuykendall, Darren Sweeney, and Liz Thomas (S&P Global Intelligence)

2019 will mark the largest retirement of coal power capacity since 2015, further reducing coal demand and driven by the still-improving economics of natural gas and renewables. [Link]

Food & Drink

The Capitalist Way to Make Americans Stop Eating Meat by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

With carnivores challenged by the combination of animal welfare and the carbon impact of their eating habits, innovations across the spectrum of technology and culinary arts are fueling “peak meat”. [Link; soft paywall]

Panera Bread to cut meat on its menu by a third by Alistair Gray (FT)

In-line with the trends described in the prior story, Panera has moved to reduce the number of menu options which include meat over the next couple of years. [Link; paywall]

America Drank Less Wine for First Time in 25 Years by Saabira Chaudhuri (WSJ)

Less wine (on a volume basis) was purchased in 2019 than in 2018, the first sequential drop since 1994; industry groups blame less consumption of alcohol overall along with much less demand for low-price wine. [Link]


The Twitter Electorate Isn’t the Real Electorate by Helen Lewis (The Atlantic)

An argument that the flattening of newsrooms that social media has brought does not actually succeed at exposing them to opinions traditionally excluded from the media. [Link; soft paywall]

The 10 Most Checked-Out Books in N.Y. Public Library History by Concepción de León (NYT)

Dystopian science fiction, children’s books, and Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” are the most-read books in the long history of the New York Public Library. [Link; soft paywall]

Panic, Or Don’t

Few Bank Failures Could Be a Warning Sign for U.S. Financial  System by Andrew Ackerman (WSJ)

We can remember a time when the high number of bank failures was a sign things were very bad, but apparently the opposite is the case. If there was ever an effort to spin good news poorly, this is it. [Link; paywall]

Money-Losing Companies Mushroom Even as Stocks Hit New Highs by James Mackintosh (WSJ)

With the rise of hyper-growth companies and firms dependent on network effects, more and more public companies don’t actually make any money. [Link; paywall]

Time For Tech

Silicon Valley reinvents Victorianism by Jamie Powell (FTAV)

The latest tech start-up to get attention is San Francisco company that re-creates servants with an app, and without using much in the way of technology to do so. [Link; registration required]

EU considers temporary ban on facial recognition in public spaces by Janosch Delcker and Bjarke Smith-Meyer (Politico)

With privacy concerns around facial recognition picking up, the EU is considering a ban on the use of the technology in public spaces. [Link]


How the US Knew Iranian Missiles Were Coming Before They Hit by Daniel Oberhaus (Wired)

Ground-based radar and satellite detection systems are key to giving US installations and troops an early warning when hostile missiles start flying. [Link]

Shocking Revelations

‘Rich kid of Instagram’ accused of swindling investors out of millions by Amanda Woods (NY Post)

A British teen claimed to make turn 200 pounds into six figures, then used the notoriety to take advantage of investors. [Link]


The medications that change who we are by Zaria Gorvett (BBC)

Side effects from unremarkable, widely-prescribed drugs are turning up some strange behaviors from patients. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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