Saturday 23rd May 2015
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, MAY 22ND: The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Beliz Chappuie as CalPERS' Chief Auditor, effective July 31, 2015 - Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said the country will switch its energy focus to solar power as the nation envisages an end to fossil fuels, possibly around 2040-2050, Reuters reports. "In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don't know when, in 2040, 2050... we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy," Ali Al-Naimi told a business and climate conference in Paris, the news service reports. "Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?" The minster is also reported to say he still expects the world's energy mix to be dominated by fossil fuels in the near future - Barclays has appointed Steve Rickards as head of offshore funds. He will lead the creation and implementation of the bank’s offshore funds strategy and report directly to Paul Savery, managing director of personal and corporate banking in the Channel Islands. For the last four years Mr Rickards has been heading up the Guernsey Funds team providing debt solutions for private equity and working with locally based fund administrators. Savery says: “Barclays’ funds segment has seen some terrific cross functional success over the past year or so. Specifically, the offshore business has worked hand in hand with the funds team in London to bring the very best of Barclays to our clients, and Steve has been a real catalyst to driving this relationship from a Guernsey perspective.” - Moody's has downgraded Uzbekistan based Qishloq Qurilish Bank's (QQB’s) local-currency deposit rating to B2, and downgraded BCA to b3 and assigned a Counterparty Risk Assessment of B1(cr)/Not prime(cr) to the bank. The agency says the impact on QQB of the publication of Moody's revised bank methodology and QQB's weak asset quality and moderate loss-absorption capacity are the reasons for the downgrades. Concurrently, Moody's has confirmed QQB's long-term B2 foreign-currency deposit rating and assigned stable outlooks to all of the affected long-term ratings. The short-term deposit ratings of Not-prime were unaffected - Delinquencies of the Dutch residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market fell during the three-month period ended March 2015, according to Moody's. The 60+ day delinquencies of Dutch RMBS, including Dutch mortgage loans benefitting from a Nationale Hypotheek Garantie, decreased to 0.85% in March 2015 from 0.92% in December 2014. The 90+ day delinquencies also decreased to 0.66% in March 2015 from 0.71% in December 2014.Nevertheless, cumulative defaults increased to 0.65% of the original balance, plus additions (in the case of master issuers) and replenishments, in March 2015 from 0.56% in December 2014. Cumulative losses increased slightly to 0.13% in March 2015 from 0.11% in December 2014 – Asset manager Jupiter has recruited fund manager Jason Pidcock to build Asian Income strategy at the firm. Pidcock J has built a strong reputation at Newton Investment Management for the management of income-orientated assets in Asian markets and, in particular the £4.4bn Newton Asian Income Fund, which he has managed since its launch in 2005. The fund has delivered a return of 64.0% over the past five years compared with 35.9% for the IA Asia Pacific Ex Japan sector average, placing it 4th in the sector. Since launch it has returned 191.4 against 154.1% for the sector average. Before joining Newton in 2004, Jason was responsible for stock selection and asset allocation in the Asia ex-Japan region for the BP Pension Fund.

A Clarion Call for Investors in Youth-led Enterprise

Tuesday, 01 July 2008
A Clarion Call for Investors in Youth-led Enterprise At the Doha Summit on young people and employment, held in February this year, the issues of chronic youth unemployment, discrimination against women in the job market, lack of skills required for particular jobs among university graduates and the negative perception about private sector jobs were key discussion topics. In a groundbreaking development, involving FTSE Group with youth initiative Silatech, established by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar, is now leading a regional wide index project to support youth-led small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North African region. Over the medium to long term, the project hopes to encourage sustained private sector institutional investment in seed companies in the region to facilitate equal opportunity and employment. Francesca Carnevale reports. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/
At the Doha Summit on young people and employment, held in February this year, the issues of chronic youth unemployment, discrimination against women in the job market, lack of skills required for particular jobs among university graduates and the negative perception about private sector jobs were key discussion topics. In a groundbreaking development, involving FTSE Group with youth initiative Silatech, established by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar, is now leading a regional wide index project to support youth-led small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North African region. Over the medium to long term, the project hopes to encourage sustained private sector institutional investment in seed companies in the region to facilitate equal opportunity and employment. Francesca Carnevale reports.
A 2007 report by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) puts the scale of the problem in context. In the report, IBLF notes that over 290m people live in the Middle East and North African region (MENA) and the demographic is expected to double over the next thirty years. Out of today’s population, some 60% is under 24. That in turn means that 20m jobs have to be found right now to reduce current levels of unemployment, and over 100m new jobs have to come on stream in the next 20 years to meet supply.

Youth unemployment is chronic in emerging markets and for all its much vaunted riches and resources, the story is the same in the MENA region. Finding a job is the top priority for 68% of Arab youth and if the means to find work are not there, then the result could be very challenging indeed. The problem has been in mind for some time. A few years ago, at an International Fund for Agricultural Development meeting in Rome, Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) secretary-general Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah compared unemployment to a ticking bomb likely to cause a “revolt” should the region fail to act comprehensively and soon. His fears may be justified. IBLF’s report says that 80% of young Arabs do not believe they will find employment easily; while 70% of young Arabs think it is up to the government to solve the unemployment problem.



The private sector can play an important role in tackling the growing crisis of youth unemployment and perhaps for too long governments and aid agencies have been seen as the only solutions to what could be an impending crisis. However, businesses and pressure groups across the Middle East now appear to be picking up cudgels and instigating—albeit in a small way—initiatives to help create new employment and enterprise opportunities for young people. IBLF’s report was published, for instance, with the support of the Young Arab Leaders, Emirates Environmental Group, Young Entrepreneurs Association, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a consortium of companies. Now comes a clarion call to action by FTSE Group and Silatech, which together are working to attract global investors into the process of change through the launch of a special index project to support youth led small businesses in the MENA region.

The initiative will promote the creation of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) markets and indices across the MENA region in order to “facilitate their growth and development and thereby increase youth employment opportunities,” notes Imogen Dillon-Hatcher, managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa at FTSE Group. The initiative will encourage and support individual exchanges “in establishing their junior SME markets, that are lightly regulated and thereby encourage the development of smaller, entrepreneurial companies. We know that such companies are more likely to employ and even be run by the 18 to 30 age group,” she adds. The first initiative will be implemented in Qatar, where local regulator, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) is working with the Doha Securities Market to establish a ”younger market that will attract investors. The next stage is to establish credible investible indices supporting the junior markets that will attract institutional investment,” explains Dillon-Hatcher. Moreover, she adds, the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are also supporting the broader Silatech initiative.

“This initiative is about energising SMEs, which are critical to the creation of youth employment opportunities, [which is] our main goal,” says Rick Little, chief executive of Silatech. Silatech, is focused on connecting young people across MENA to encourage employment and provide new business development services, unlocking capital and encouraging new business start-ups. Moreover, other exchanges in the region have indicated their interest in the project. “We have already had the commitment of the QFMA and expect to make announcements related to other exchanges which are in accord with the project very soon,” adds Dillon Hatcher.

The initiative also has broader connotations. According to Dillon-Hatcher, “it also resonates in markets such as Syria and Yemen, for instance, where there is no formal exchange arrangement, but where we can encourage small firms to list on other exchanges in the wider region to get access to investor funds.” In Syria, for instance, the major issues are lack of skills among the youth and a high preference for the public sector; a common trend in most countries of the region. In Tunisia, unemployed youth from rural areas are increasingly migrating to the cities. In Yemen, unemployment among women is six times higher compared to that of men. These dissonances have economic consequences, and it is estimated that MENA countries are losing as much as $25bn in income every year due to unemployment.

Global firms are also investing in the initiative. Cisco Systems is in the process of creating “an incredible web based communications network supporting the project,” notes Dillon-Hatcher, “designed to appeal to 18 to 30 year olds, providing forums, chat rooms and providing advice and access to training and meeting facilities.”

It is important to remember, notes Dillon-Hatcher, that the project has sound business principles behind it. “Without that it simply would not work. Although our involvement fits neatly with our high standards of corporate citizenship driven by our relationship with UNICEF, we also have a business stake in the project. What we are creating here sits alongside our day job. That ensures its longevity and our commitment as a business. Unless it fitted in with our strategy, it could wither on the vine.” By way of explanation, she points to the perennial requirement of exchanges in the MENA region to establish national indices and pan regional indices. “Our job is to create appropriate indices for the junior markets, perhaps with different frameworks to suit local market conditions, but with a common methodology.”

Ultimately, “All exchanges in the region are keen to establish new products, such as exchange traded funds (ETFs) and this project should be seen in this regard, as a means of diversifying indices in the MENA region, and offering investors access to the growing prosperity of the region as a whole across the business spectrum. The youth opportunity project in this regard is a very exciting development, which also has significant repercussions for youth employment in the region over the longer term,” highlights Dillon-Hatcher. In other words, its business case is based on the fact that the overall success of the Middle East in increasing prosperity among its population, and in particular, younger members of that population, is of central importance to every business with long-term operations in the region.

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