Thursday 28th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: WEDNESDAY, MAY 27TH: The S&P Capital IQ division of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE:MHFI) whose CUSIP Global Services (CGS) unit produces identifying instruments and entities that support efficient global capital markets, says Scott Preiss, currently CGS’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has been promoted to the role of Global Head & Managing Director, replacing Jim Taylor, who is retiring, on July 1st, after 28 years of service - Orezone Gold Corporation (ORE-TSX) says a mining permit application has been submitted to the government of Burkina Faso for the construction and operation of its wholly owned Bomboré gold project. The application is based upon the recently announced positive Feasibility Study (April 28, 2015) and includes an environmental and social impact assessment and a relocation action plan (RAP) for the local people affected by the project. The four to eight month permitting process includes public hearings and a complete review by the Ministry of Mines and Energy1 (MEE) and the Ministry of Environment and Durable Development2 (MEDD) and the National Mining Commission3 (NMC), a technical panel. During a weekly cabinet session in parliament the recommendations of the NMC are reviewed and once approved, the permit is a Decree signed by the President of Burkina Faso, the Minister of Economy and Finances, the Minister of MEE and the Minister of MEDD - BNP Paribas Securities Services says its BNP Paribas Dealing Services subsidiary has been selected to manage the dealing activities of RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS). RPS is the sixth largest pension scheme in the UK. Following its decision to bring some of its investment activities in house, RPMI Railpen says it was looking for a dealing desk solution to optimise the execution of its market transactions. RPMI Railpen manages the assets of the RPS on behalf of its parent company, the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited. Railpen Investments, its investment arm, is an FCA authorised investment manager with assets under management exceeding £21bn - LIM Advisors Ltd, a Hong Kong based fund manager, has signed a milestone agreement to utilise SimCorp Dimension for a full front, middle and back office platform. The $2bn fund manager will leverage SimCorp Dimension to establish full operational capability across multiple asset classes, including equity, bonds, convertibles, listed futures & options and derivatives - Botswana-based grocery retailer, Choppies Enterprises Limited (Choppies) debuted on the Main Board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in the Food Retailers and Wholesalers sector and is the sixth listing on the exchange this year. The firm raised SAR575m in a secondary listing. Choppies boasts a wide FMCG portfolio, including its own private label products and leading international food brands. As a fast growing retailer on the continent, Choppies’ secondary listing on the JSE is intended to assist the company with access to capital needed to support its organic and acquisitive growth as well as establish its presence and public profile in strategic markets in Southern and East African markets. The group is currently the top supermarket chain in Botswana, holding significant market share of the overall national food retail market. Choppies currently operates 125 retail outlets in Southern Africa, comprising 72 stores in Botswana, 35 stores in South Africa and 18 stores in Zimbabwe. Through the listing, Choppies intends to increase its footprint in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia – Small World FS, the international payment services provider says it has processed £10bn in transactions since launching in 2006. The London-headquartered financial technology business now operates the third largest payout network in the world, with a global payout network of over 250,000 locations in 188 countries. This news comes after months of rapid expansion, including the extension of its digital services into 14 sending markets, as well as inking deals with the MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile operator, and Nations Trust Bank, Sri Lanka’s fastest growing bank - Ullink, a global provider of market leading electronic trading and connectivity solutions, today announced that Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE), one of India's leading institutional brokers and a division of Kotak Securities has chosen Ullink’s UL Bridge connectivity solution. KIE has chosen UL Bridge to facilitate FIX messaging, message enrichment and order routing, to enhance its existing connectivity infrastructure. UL Bridge’s uniquely modular architecture works in conjunction with KIE’s Order Management System (OMS), allowing KIE to provide better execution services to more clients, both locally and globally - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 35.04 points or 1.01% lower to 3424.94, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.78%. The top active stocks today were DBS, which declined 1.54%, Singtel, which declined 1.89%, OCBC Bank, which declined 0.67%, UOB, which declined 1.62% and Ascendas-hTrust, with a 1.43% advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.35%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined 0.06%. The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Health Care Index, which rose 0.26%. The two biggest stocks of the Index - Raffles Medical Group and Tianjin Zhongxin Pharmaceutical Group Corporation- ended 0.46% lower and 3.48% higher respectively. The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index, which slipped 1.81%. Singtel shares declined 1.89% and StarHub declined 0.50%.

20-20: Prime broking - balance sheet, funding strength now key

Thursday, 15 December 2011
20-20: Prime broking - balance sheet, funding strength now key Expanding Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s hedge-fund business ranks high on global head of prime brokerage Stuart Hendel’s agenda. “Clients want to do business with us in this area, and so that has been a key focus during these past few months,” he says. Stock prices in the banking sector have been pummelled of late, forcing players such as BofA (whose own shares are off two-thirds since the start of 2011) to address operational redundancies and affect changes where needed. Hendel, however, remains resolute. “At the end of the day, firms need to have a solid return on the assets they use to support these types of businesses. We believe our business is differentiated by the size and strength of our balance sheet—and how we can put it to work for our clients.” http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Expanding Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s hedge-fund business ranks high on global head of prime brokerage Stuart Hendel’s agenda. “Clients want to do business with us in this area, and so that has been a key focus during these past few months,” he says. Stock prices in the banking sector have been pummelled of late, forcing players such as BofA (whose own shares are off two-thirds since the start of 2011) to address operational redundancies and affect changes where needed. Hendel, however, remains resolute. “At the end of the day, firms need to have a solid return on the assets they use to support these types of businesses. We believe our business is differentiated by the size and strength of our balance sheet—and how we can put it to work for our clients.”

Rapid response a keystone of Stuart Hendel, global head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BoA’s) prime brokerage unit. When he signed on for the job, early in 2011, from two years as head of UBS AG’s prime brokerage division, he was certain that “anytime you join a new organisation, and particularly when it’s a global business and platform, you start by learning the landscape internally”. He adds: “You also want to ensure that you have the right people in the right seats and that they are supportive of the direction you want to take.” Most of all, says Hendel, you need to act quickly, as you don’t always have the luxury of time once you’ve taken the reins. “This is especially true on the sell side—I made a number of key decisions within the first 60 days.”

The ability to think on your feet in a highly-volatile market is a business imperative and a lifeline of sorts to clients under duress. Whether the news is good or bad is almost irrelevant, says Hendel, as there is only so much market turbulence that hedge fund managers can tolerate. “One day the news out of Europe is positive and the markets move accordingly, then the next it is negative and all bets are off. Therefore, the instinct is to just deleverage. Even funds focused on the macroenvironment can’t always handle being whipsawed like that.”



A cool head is equally vital; particularly as the constant need for hedge fund managers to address counterparty risk, though positive for the industry as a whole, has ultimately kept the sell side from focusing on the job at hand—that is, making money. “This is a sector that continues to deleverage, performance is down and prime brokers are fighting for market share,” says Hendel. “We have some considerable headwinds to contend with.”

Ambiguity surrounding political and regulatory solution—rather than the outcome of regulations themselves—only exacerbates the trend. Even then, there is some upside. “As strange as it may sound, hedge funds react better to negative news than uncertain news,” says Hendel.  “As long as this kind of climate persists, deleveraging will likely continue. In fact, market fundamentals appear to be the least important aspect in determining the health of companies, sectors or valuations.”

One downside of the current environment and inherent lack of investing conviction is the effect on market liquidity. Once clarity returns to the political, regulatory and economic landscape, the market should become more liquid, which will in turn benefit everyone. “Therefore, this is something that needs to be addressed in order to preserve the well-being of both the alternative space and the prime-brokerage industry over the long haul. We believe that once Europe gets its house in order and there is more clarity, that should help markets achieve some kind of foundation,” he says.

From his vantage point, Hendel sees a much greater likelihood of consolidation within the sell side than the buy side. “No matter what happens in Europe or with governments in general, we believe there is going to be a real need for the best and brightest to achieve superior returns on behalf of their clients,” he avers. “Certain investors are questioning the actively-managed, long-only business, but we are still bullish on the hedge fund space.”

Even then, Hendel says he is “flummoxed” by the perpetually thinning margins on banks’ leveraged-based book of business. “Pricing eventually has to go in the other direction,” says Hendel. “If it doesn’t, sell side firms may re-examine the returns being generated by the prime-brokerage business. In an environment where resources are scarce, all balance-sheet businesses may be vulnerable, not just prime brokerage.”

Hendel believes that market-exacerbated balance sheet weakness could ultimately threaten the existence of certain prime brokerage businesses over the near term. “Balance sheet and funding strength are areas that we believe will continue to be distinguishing factors for BofA—having a tremendous deposit base and excellent funding resources will allow us to properly service our clients going forward.”

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