Category: Banking

DIV 50 Index Licensed to Deutsche Bank
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

DIV 50 Index Licensed to Deutsche Bank

 

STOXX Limited, a leading provider of innovative, tradable and global index concepts, introduced that the newly launched STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index has been licensed to Deutsche Bank to be used as the basis for structured products. The index selects the 50 stocks with the lowest beta out of the members of the STOXX Europe 600 Index with a dividend yield which is higher than the EURO STOXX 50 Index’s dividend yield. It is the first index of its kind, and is designed to act as an underlying to structured products and other investable products, such as exchange-traded funds.

“The STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index creates a hybrid portfolio of high dividend and low risk investment strategies based on Europe’s two most favored benchmarks, “said Hartmut Graf, chief executive officer, STOXX Limited. “The innovative and transparent concept, combines screens based on the composition of the underlying STOXX Europe 600 Index with thresholds derived from the fundamental values of the EURO STOXX 50 Index.”

Giulio Alfinito, Head of Equity Investor Products Europe at Deutsche Bank, said: “STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index is a significant development in the low volatility and low beta investment space. The intuitive selection mechanism provides access to stocks with low historic exposure to systematic risk. The index is an ideal candidate for investors seeking partial or full capital protection through options and other structured products”.

The STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index is derived from the STOXX Europe 600 Index. To be eligible for inclusion in the new index, companies must have a net dividend yield for the past twelve months that is higher than the overall net dividend yield of the EURO STOXX 50 Index over the same time period. All those companies are then screened for their beta to the EURO STOXX 50 Index over the past twelve months, and only those 50 companies with the lowest beta are selected. A cap of eight companies per country is applied to ensure diversification in the index.

The STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index is weighted by liquidity measured through components’ three month average daily trading volume (ADTV), with a single component’s weight cap of 5 percent. The index is reviewed annually in December, with the cutoff date for dividend yield and beta data being the last trading day of the previous month.

The STOXX Europe Low Beta High Div 50 Index is calculated in price, net and gross return versions and available in Euro and USD. Daily historical data is available back to December 23, 2002.

Embrace the Bull in the China Shop
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Embrace the Bull in the China Shop

 

A rise in negative investor sentiment towards China ignores a number of stronger positives and the long-term investment case remains firmly intact, believes Investec Wealth & Investment (“IW&I”).

The thrust of most negative reports centres around six key issues: that China has grown at an unprecedented rate; has a lot of debt; struggles with corruption; has unreliable statistics; is suffering a growth slowdown; and, because of its size, if it goes wrong could be a real problem for the global economy.

However, China is fully aware of its challenges, believes IW&I. The current slowdown is largely self-engineered by the new leadership, whose efforts to rein in lending and tackle corruption have imposed a significant austerity burden on growth – IW&I estimates over 3% of GDP. As China ‘cleans house’, bankruptcies and insolvencies will increasingly be part of the regular news-flow from China – but this is a sign that markets are being allowed to work, not a harbinger of imminent disaster.

John Haynes, Head of Research, Investec Wealth & Investment, said: “China has a lot of debt – the total burden of public and private sector debt has risen from around 150% of GDP to over 200% of GDP since 2008. But the country also has a lot of assets, even beyond the $3.8trn of foreign exchange reserves which amount to around one-third of GDP.

“Only a small fraction of investment over the past five years has been in ghost cities or corrupt projects; a good deal has been in productivity enhancing infrastructure, including housing and transportation. To the extent that it has been in ‘bad’ assets, these have largely been sponsored by regional/provincial governments whose credit will ultimately be supported by the remarkably solvent central government.”

Current concerns over the “shadow” banking system in China have a high profile because their products have been sold to consumers, but the sector is a small part of the overall debt burden, according to IW&I. The rise in China’s debt over the past five years has in fact predominantly come from the corporate sector – largely a function of loans to State Owned Industry. Once again, this is government debt by another name and the Chinese government is “good” for its debt, believes IW&I.

John Haynes continues: “For a crisis to develop either politics or the financial system must be unstable. Neither is the case in China. We know from our experience of the Eurozone crisis what to watch for – namely bankruptcies (or the possibility thereof) of key banks. This will not happen in China because the key institutions are state-owned and well funded: banks’ loan to deposit ratios are only around 70%, savings are all locally sourced, there is no risk of deposit flight and foreign funds in China are in illiquid investments.

“Many China watchers appear to be confusing the signals generated by a necessary tightening of control in the financial sector with an imminent crisis. We think this will prove to be overly pessimistic. We are not factoring-in a China ‘surge’ in our positive investment outlook for the year but simply a stabilisation. Since we think China is in control of its own destiny, to us this seems like a modest expectation.”

Fisch Asset Management AG joins GBAM
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Fisch Asset Management AG joins GBAM

Fisch Asset Management is an independent asset management boutique based in Zurich and is one of the leading convertible bond managers worldwide.

The Group of Boutique Asset Managers (GBAM) is a global network of like-minded, independent specialist asset managers who have come together to improve their presence in international marketplaces. Members do so by sharing information and promoting their presence both individually and collectively to potential investors.

The principle activities of GBAM are:-

• To foster cooperation among member firms.
• To identify best practice and share experiences in all aspects of asset management (research portfolio management, risk control, marketing etc).
• To improve understanding of operating in international markets.
• Improve recognition in the marketplace of the advantages offered by small, specialist businesses by providing a representative voice in the media.
• To support members by highlighting their expertise in their chosen fields.

The chairman of GBAM José Luis Jimenez said, “We are delighted that a boutique of the calibre of Fisch has joined our group. Since our inaugural meeting in Valladolid under a year ago the group has now grown to 16 members, representing asset managers from Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia and managing over €100bn of asset under management.”

Dr. Pius Fisch, chairman and founding partner of Fisch Asset Management said, “I am very pleased to be working with a range of different specialist boutiques from around the world. I’m sure I will learn much from their expertise while making a useful contribution to the Group.”

Interest Rates to Rise Next Spring
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Interest Rates to Rise Next Spring

Mike Franklin, Chief Investment Strategist at Beaufort Securities says, “Given the significance of the timing of an interest rate rise after the prolonged period of no increase, it is unsurprising that much speculation surrounds any hints from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee or from any individual members of the Committee about when the next move would come.

The Bank of England has now decided to move from the level of unemployment as a sole threshold for reviewing interest rates to a much wider range of criteria. This is probably more realistic but complicates the situation for ‘rate twitchers’.”

Mike continues, “The perception of the timing of a rate change is a particularly important component of equity market sentiment. The current hot spot for estimates is spring 2015 and, more specifically, May 2015.

Of course, a lot can change in the world economy before then and the ramifications for the UK economy could be significant. Consequently, even the Central Bankers here and elsewhere, including the Federal Reserve, cannot know for certain when in the future they will decide to move rates.

It is axiomatic that, given the sacrifices that have been made already to nurture economic recovery around the world to a sustainable level – that is, without the need for long term Central Bank intervention – Central Bankers will not wish to jeopardise the recovery by raising rates too soon.

However, that does not mean that they will get their timing right and that is part of the risk facing equity and bond markets as well as the many companies attempting to formulate their plans for future investment.”

Mike concluded, “In a nutshell, if economies recover much more quickly to a level where they are deemed to be able to cope with a rise in interest rates, then interest rates will probably rise sooner. If Central Banks are right on this, then any rise in itself should not be a problem.

With question marks over the rate of growth in the Chinese economy and Latin America, some moderation of global growth in 2015 looks possible, in which case, interest rates would be unlikely to rise before the second half of 2015.”

Name Change for China Private Equity
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Name Change for China Private Equity

 

AIM-quoted China Private Equity Investment Holdings Ltd (CPE) has been renamed Adamas Finance Asia Limited (AFA). The Company’s new AIM ticker is ADAM.

The renaming follows the completion of an Agreement announced last December which sees control pass to the Hong Kong-based asset management group Adamas Asset Management (Adamas).

Adamas has approximately US$500 million under management, and was winner of the Acquisitions International Best Mezzanine Fund Award 2012. In recognition of its specialist expertise, it has also been nominated by Private Debt Investor alongside KKR and Oaktree for the forthcoming Best Asia Lender Award 2013.

Adamas’ investment professionals will provide AFA with investment management services, and with access to consistent deal flow. Their investment policy will target SME’s needing capital in Asia, with a focus on Greater China. Transactions will be structured as senior debt, bridge loans, mezzanine finance and other types of structured private financing, with a targeted internal rate of return of 20% per annum.

H.I.G. Capital Strengthens London Team
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

H.I.G. Capital Strengthens London Team

Leading global investment firm, H.I.G. Capital has announced that two experienced private equity investors, Johannes Huttunen and Johan Pernvi, have joined the London team.

Johannes was formerly at Silverfleet Capital where he worked on the origination and execution of transactions as part of the team in London. Before that he was at European Capital, working on UK buyouts, and in the healthcare M&A team at Deutsche Bank in London. Johannes has a first class honours degree in Management Sciences from the London School
of Economics.

Johan was previously a Senior Investment Manager at publically listed Swedish private equity company, Ratos, where he worked on buyout transactions. Before that he was at Bain & Co. Johan has an MSc from Stockholm School of Economics and a BSc from Lund University, School of Economics and Management.

Commenting on the appointments Paul Canning, H.I.G. London Managing Director said: “We are delighted to welcome Johannes and Johan. These appointments will further strengthen our team’s in-house operational, financial and strategic expertise as we continue to seek opportunities to drive value creation working with businesses in the mid-market.”

Pay-Day Loans Masking  UK’s Credit Crisis
BankingCash Management

Pay-Day Loans Masking UK’s Credit Crisis

Pay-day loan and ‘debt management’ industries could be masking the full extent of the personal debt crisis in the UK, according to top 25 accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy LLP.

The latest figures published today show that there were 101,049 individual insolvencies in England and Wales last year, down by 7% on 2012. This included 24,536 bankruptcies (down 22.8% on 2012), 27,546 Debt Relief Orders (DROs) (down 11.7% on 2012) and 48,967 Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) (up 4.9% on 2012).

There were 109,477 individual insolvencies in England and Wales in 2012. This included 31,756 bankruptcies, 46,694 Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), and 31,027 Debt Relief Orders (DROs).

However, Wilkins Kennedy note that the growth of the payday loans and debt management industry means that many individuals that are effectively bankrupt are not caught by these figures.

Louise Brittain, Insolvency Partner at Wilkins Kennedy says: “we know that massive and highly targeted marketing campaigns are attracting more and more individuals into using Debt Management Plans and Pay Day loans as ways to manage their debts.”

“In many cases the arrangements are rolled over from one month to the next, and because of the punitive interest or high, front-loaded fees, very little capital is repaid and the individual’s financial difficulties get worse, not better.”

“However, because these companies are not required to register their schemes, it is difficult to know exactly how big the scale of the problem really is. I am concerned that many people using Debt Management Plans and Pay Day loans will at best eventually end up formally insolvent or at worst taking desperate measures to repay their creditors.”

Wilkins Kennedy adds that this year’s bankruptcy figures are likely to be swollen by recent difficulties in the legal sector. The profession has been suffered as a result of legal aid cuts, and over 130 firms were unable to secure Professional Indemnity Insurance, without which they are unable to practice and must be dissolved.

Louise Brittain comments: “This has been a bruising year for the legal profession – with even major names like Cobbetts and Manches experiencing financial difficulty, and some smaller firms faring far worse. Problems with obtaining Professional Indemnity Insurance also put the nail in the coffin of over a hundred firms that were already struggling financially, forcing the individual partners to liquidate.”

Spain’s Largest SICAV Doubles Assets
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Spain’s Largest SICAV Doubles Assets

The inflows into Torrenova confirms March Gestión’s position as Spain’s most successful home grown asset management business with assets trebling over the past five years in a local market which has
largely stagnated.

With an aggressively customer focused mind-set, simple, transparent products based on its global equity skill-set and backed by Europe’s best capitalised bank, Banca March, the asset manager has UK and European expansion firmly in mind.

Using Torrenova to enhance and protect Spanish investor’s assets over the past 25 years (including those of the March family whose policy is to co-invest in March Gestión funds)* March Gestión now has its eyes firmly fixed on those UK investors who seek long term growth with lower average volatility in a highly transparent investment vehicle.

March Gestión CEO José Luis Jimenez said today that by targeting European CPI plus 2% Torrenova’s simple transparent bond/equity mix had shown all the hallmarks of a total return fund – one which had seen consistent growth while demonstrating defensive qualities. During the last 10 years average return has been 4.7% while volatility has been reduced to 2.56%. In 2013 the fund returned 6.2%,.

José Luis said, “For those who seek greater certainty in a simply uncomplicated fund Torrenova is a straight forward, transparent global equities plus bond fund whose success has been driven by the stock picking and asset allocation skills of Juan Berberana – a manager with over 20 years’ experience – and the rest of the team at March Gestión.

The fund also avoids the lack of clarity surrounding some well-known total return funds by avoiding complex financial instruments to manage returns and that, we believe, is valued by many investors.

“With a proven track record over 25 and more years the fund has been the investment of choice for many investors who are keen to protect and supplement their wealth without taking the sort of significant risks which severely impact their investments.

Even during the financial crisis of 2009 when markets plummeted, Torrenova proved itself with a modest fall of just -5.4% compared with far more significant equity market falls (see illustrative chart in notes to editors). Now, within a UCITS structure, it has become available in the UK market to those wealth managers who seek this style of investment for their customers,” said Jimenez.

FXCM Japan Business Improvement Order Lifted
BankingFX and Payment

FXCM Japan Business Improvement Order Lifted

 

FXCM Inc. today announced that the Business Improvement Order issued by the Kanto Financial Bureau in July 2012 has been lifted for its Japan entity, FXCM Japan Securities Co. Ltd.

FXCMJ has worked extensively over the past year and a half to enhance and strengthen its internal control systems including its risk management system. FXCMJ has also improved the customer protection system throughout
the company.

“We will continue reinforcing our internal control system,” said Kazunori Iida, President, FXCMJ. “We recognize that regaining our customers’ trust is our top priority and strive to meet customers’ needs.” Iida added, “We always look to offer our customers our best service, to support their trading experience with FXCMJ and to contribute to further development of the Japanese financial market.”

“Again we express our sincere apology to our customers and related parties for the great concern and inconvenience that this may have caused,” said Drew Niv, CEO and president of FXCM Inc. “We appreciate your continued support,” he added.

FXCM recently deployed a global matching engine in one of Equinix’s IBX data centers in Tokyo to further expand its business and provide high-speed and reliable online trading for customers in the Asia Pacific region.

Nick Hamilton to Join Oakley
BankingCash Management

Nick Hamilton to Join Oakley

Oakley Capital Management Limited appointed Nick Hamilton, Head of Institutional Business at Colonial First State in Sydney to work in its retail asset management business.

Prior to joining Colonial First State, Nick spent nine years as Head of Global Equity Products at Invesco Perpetual.

The appointment follows the news that Craig Newman, former Head of Sales at Invesco Perpetual has joined Oakley Capital Management as Head of Retail Asset Management.

Craig Newman said: “Nick brings a wealth of experience in growing assets, building businesses and leading teams. Nick shares our vision of building a market leading asset management business of the future.”

Oakley Capital Management is providing the infrastructure which will allow the team to manage retail and institutional clients’ money from the beginning of May 2014. This transitional arrangement will provide an environment in which the team can have the autonomy and flexibility to best serve the interests of clients’ money immediately after Neil Woodford’s employment with Invesco terminates on 29th April 2014.

Exact details about the firm and its offerings will follow in due course, but Neil Woodford’s unconstrained, fundamental and disciplined approach to investing will remain the same.

Genii Capital Appoints Andrew Ruhan
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Genii Capital Appoints Andrew Ruhan

Genii Capital SA has appointed Andrew Ruhan as Partner. This appointment will enable Genii to strengthen and broaden its reach in the real estate, oil and gas, automotive and financial services sectors.

Having worked with Andrew on a number of projects in the past, this appointment is part of Genii’s strategy to further enhance its credentials in these core areas. In real estate, this will mean access and implementation of major global projects, including in Central Europe, the United Kingdom and major cities in the United States.

There are also a number of synergies in the oil & gas sectors, particularly in supply and distribution, initially focusing on distribution in Africa. Genii automotive division, which will be managed by Patrick Louis, will also benefit from Genii’s stronger position.

On the appointment Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Genii Capital, said: “having teamed up with Andy on a variety of projects in recent years, we know that we work well together and share the same values and ambition to pursue exciting business opportunities across a variety of different industries.

In addition to being a savvy investor and a fine strategist with an impressive proprietary deals track record, Andy shares our passion for excellence and is results oriented. Outside our business relationship, we share a strong friendship and have several interests in common, such as racing.”

Andrew Ruhan said: “I am delighted to be joining the Genii team at this exciting time for the business, when it is continuing to focus on major new projects. Genii Capital has an excellent reputation around the world for its work, in particular in investing and financial transactions.

We have already identified a number of projects to pursue, which will enable us to leverage our investment management capabilities and global network. I am confident this will be a very successful long term partnership.”

Loans: A Tactical  Investment Opportunity
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Loans: A Tactical Investment Opportunity

“At Insight we believe that senior loans in Europe will return 5% in 2014 despite tightening spreads across most credit markets, with the benefit that loans are typically senior in the capital structure with a higher implicit
credit rating.

“This is an investment opportunity that has arisen due to the hunt for yield across asset classes and many investors lacking the specialist expertise to access the loan market. Five years on from setting up the fund, the asset class remains as relevant as ever,” says Singh Lakhpuri.

The appeal of loans is likely to increase as investors anticipate the normalisation of monetary policy. Loans are floating rate products, meaning that the interest they pay intermittently resets with market rates, thus offering some protection against rising interest rates. The Insight Loan Fund is benchmarked against three-month Libor and targets absolute returns.

The Fund has returned an annualised 6.0% in the last three years compared to 0.7% for three-month sterling Libor, with a one year return of 6.3% vs. 0.5% for three-month sterling Libor. These returns have been produced with exceptionally low volatility with a Sharpe ratio of 2.4 vs. 1.6 for the Credit Suisse Institutional Western European Leveraged Loan Index (“CS Loan Index”) over the three-years to 31 December 2013 proving the strong risk-adjusted performance of the fund.

UFXMarkets to Offer Bitcoin Trading Online
BankingFX and Payment

UFXMarkets to Offer Bitcoin Trading Online

 

UFXMarkets is proud to be among the only Forex trading platforms facilitating investment in Bitcoin alongside more traditional national currencies. Bitcoin, the growing peer-to-peer digital currency, is gaining traction as a trading instrument as much as for use in business and retail.

“Forex traders don’t need to care how economies are doing or whether something new will catch on,” said Chris Judd, Chief Analyst at UFXMarkets. “Volatility creates great opportunities for Traders. That means that no matter what you think about the future of Bitcoin, it’s an ideal trading asset.”

Due to Bitcoin’s dramatic price fluctuations, even relatively low leverage allows each Trade to have remarkable results. The currency will have 24-hour-a-day trading hours and is available with leverage of 1:10.

Ride a White Swan
Tristan Nagler Joins Aurelius Investments
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Tristan Nagler Joins Aurelius Investments

Tristan Nagler joined Aurelius Investments, London, on 2 January 2014 as Managing Director.

He will lead Aurelius’ London office and be responsible for sourcing, identifying and executing equity investments across the UK and Ireland. Aurelius´ focus remains on companies and corporate spin-offs with development potential generating revenues of between 30 – 750 million euros across all industries.

Tristan started his career with KPMG in 1998, transferring into KPMG Corporate Finance in 2001 where he became a director in the London-based M&A team. In 2010 he joined Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance as a senior banker originating and executing a number of UK mid-market debt facilities including company refinances, MBOs and acquisition finance transactions.

Dr. Dirk Markus, CEO of Aurelius AG says: “We’re delighted to welcome Tristan to Aurelius. We have ambitious plans for targeting investment opportunities in the UK market and expect this appointment to be followed by further new hires to our London based team in 2014, augmenting our presence and enhancing our position in London”

Tristan Nagler, Managing Director of Aurelius Investments comments: “The Aurelius Group’s financial strength coupled with its investment and operational track record means now is an exciting time to be joining Aurelius in London. There is already strong momentum in the business and with the benefit of improving market conditions, I am confident Aurelius’ offering will be increasingly sought after in the UK market”