Wednesday 23rd July 2014
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The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has been transformed into a company from a mutual society, opening the way for a public listing on the bourse it operates. The ZSE has been owned and run by stock brokers since 1946, but after demutualisation the brokers now hold 68% while the government owns the remaining shares. The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) alerts the financial services community and members of the public to misuse of the DFSA's name. It has come to the DFSA's attention that a fraudulent email purporting to be from the DFSA has been sent to a number of firms both inside and outside the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The false email: purports to be about a "DFSA Anti-Money Laundering Violation"; appears to come from "Amina Alshehi" from "Audit & Compliance"; attaches a "non-compliance notice"; and uses legitimate DFSA contact details. The email is fake, warns the DFSA. - Surecomp, the provider of trade finance solutions for banks and corporations, says Nordea has gone live in Frankfurt and London with the stand-alone version of allNETT, Surecomp's Web-based trade finance front-end solution – Saudi’s Kingdom Holding Company announced a net income for the second quarter this year of SAR211.7m up 16.8% on the previous quarter. The gross operating profit was SAR420.3m up 26.2% on the same quarter in 2013. Mohammed Fahmy CFO, says: “The second payment of dividends has been deposited in shareholders’ accounts. The outlook for the company’s profitability remains strong.” - Northern Trust has reported a 20 percent rise in assets under custody and a 15% rise in assets under management for Q2 2014 compared to Q2 2013.The Corporate and Institutional Services (C&IS) and wealth management businesses also report a 9% rise in custody and fund administration services, investment management and securities lending. Frederick Waddell, the bank’s chief executive officer, says, “Our business continued to expand in the second quarter as trust, investment and other servicing fees, which represent 65% of revenue, increased 8% compared to last year and assets under custody and under management increased 20% and 15%, respectively.” - In the latest Investment Quarterly for Q3 2014, Renee Chen, Macro and Investment Strategist at HSBC Global Asset Management, looks at the investment prospects throughout the Asia region. Chen identifies macro trends that are likely to shape investment themes in Asian markets, such as economic policy reforms, economic rebalancing and regional cooperation and integration that will provide a wide diversity of investment opportunities in relevant sectors. Financial deepening, in terms of financial system reform and deregulation and capital market developments, is another macro theme. HSBC continues to see opportunities in various sectors that could potentially benefit from structural reforms in several Asian countries. In particular, effective implementation of reforms could lead to a sustainable improvement in economic fundamentals and the growth prospects of China and India, prompting a reform-led re-rating of Chinese and Indian stocks. The continued search for yield resulted in decent H1 performance in Asian credit markets and there has been continued investor appetite for emerging Asian bonds, but Chen cautions that valuations could become a constraint, with limited room for further spread compression in some sectors and markets. However, the still-low default rates and overall healthy level of leverage among Asian companies on the back of overall sound Asian economic fundamentals provide a solid base for Asian credit market in the medium-to-long term.

20-20: Ackermann looks to a new future

Thursday, 15 December 2011
20-20: Ackermann looks to a new future The internal structure of Deutsche Bank’s DNA “completely changed under chief executive Josef Ackermann,” says Konrad Becker, an analyst at private bank Merck Finck & Co. Ackermann not only extended the bank’s geographical reach and products but it also became much more client facing. He also introduced a more Anglo-American corporate governance framework with a clear hierarchy. This was revolutionary at the time. By Lynn Strongin Dodds. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The internal structure of Deutsche Bank’s DNA “completely changed under chief executive Josef Ackermann,” says Konrad Becker, an analyst at private bank Merck Finck & Co. Ackermann not only extended the bank’s geographical reach and products but it also became much more client facing. He also introduced a more Anglo-American corporate governance framework with a clear hierarchy. This was revolutionary at the time. By Lynn Strongin Dodds.

The past few weeks have tested Deutsche Bank’s chief executive officer (CEO) Josef Ackermann. He unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy to become chairman of the supervisory board and police raided the bank’s Frankfurt offices and legal department. While headline grabbing, these glitches are not expected to diminish his legacy of transforming the one-time commercial bank into a global banking powerhouse and steering it through the market tumult of the last five years.

Historically, German corporate law shunned the idea of an American-style chief executive and an Anglo Saxon board where executives take responsibility for their own business lines. The preferred model was a Vorstand, a statutory managing board that promoted collective responsibility. Ackermann struck a compromise, although at the time it was considered groundbreaking. He became CEO, shrank the Vortsand and created a 12-man group executive committee, which he chaired. The new structure gave the Vorstand a strategy-making role, while the group executive committee, on which Vorstand members also sit, run the bank’s day-to-day operations.

He also severed long-held industrial ties, raising $5.3bn in the process, including the sale of a €1.6bn stake in Munich Re. He eliminated 14,470 jobs (18% of the workforce) and cut costs by one-third by closing retail branches and outsourcing management of the bank’s computer systems and real estate, and built out the bank’s US business. The Bankers Trust $10bn acquisition in 1999 was key in this regard. Although the purchase was not done on his watch (Rolf Breuer was chairman at the time), it provided a launch pad for Ackermann’s global investment banking ambitions.

“In the middle of the last decade, UBS was very profitable and it was the bank that Deutsche measured itself against, but then the financial crisis happened,” says Becker.  Deutsche Bank weathered the storm but did not escape unscathed. Ackermann often claims that the bank did not need a government injection  of capital, but critics note that in fact the bank (along with others) received the equivalent of a back-door bailout from American taxpayers when the US government intervened to prevent the insurer American International Group from collapsing.

Moreover, the bank faces litigation in the US tied to residential mortgages and in Germany regarding the mis-selling of complex financial products to municipalities. Separately, Ackermann himself is also embroiled in legal wranglings involving a former client, the late Leo Kirsch, and in early November 2011 prosecutors raided the bank’s offices looking for evidence of attempts to mislead the court.

Overall though, Ackermann has won plaudits for the way he has navigated the bank through extremely choppy waters over the past three years. Not everyone has been as happy. “The market capitalisation has more than halved since Ackermann and this has left a bitter taste in shareholder’s mouths,” says Michael Rohr, an analyst at Sylvia Quandt Research GmbH in Frankfurt, with the caveat:  “This has more to do with market conditions. Ackermann has had a strategic vision to transition the bank into a more stable business and has done a very good job with its risk management.”

Recent strategy involves a retreat from the investment banking business which contributes roughly 70% of the group’s total pre-tax profit and a return to commercial banking, retail and private banking. Strategic acquisitions are also on the agenda, among them Deutsche Postbank and Sal Oppenheim, Germany’s largest private bank. The bank is now expected to divest its asset management division— except for its profitable DWS retail franchise in Europe and Asia. A sale could raise $4.5bn which would improve the bank’s capital position in light of impending regulation.

The strategy is widely regarded as being driven by CEO-in-waiting Anshu Jain who, together with Jürgen Fitschen, will run the bank starting next May. Even so, Ackermann was not supposed to take a back seat in 2012; but now it looks as if he will retire. He was likely caught out by German law, which holds that  a chief executive of a listed company may not become its chairman without a two-year cooling-off period, unless 25% of shareholders endorse the move. In a fickle move of fate, Ackermann may not have received the support he anticipated and was put in an untenable position. Paul Achleitner, currently chief financial officer of insurer Allianz, is now mooted as the next chairman.

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