Wednesday 8th July 2015
NEWS TICKER, TUESDAY, JULY 7TH: Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has assigned definitive B2 rating to the €400m senior secured notes issued by Senvion Holding GmbH and guaranteed, among others, by Rapid TopCo GmbH, following a review of the final bond documentation. The corporate family rating (CFR) of B1 and the probability of default rating (PDR) of B1-PD of Rapid TopCo GmbH remain unchanged. The outlook on all the ratings is stable. - Interactive Data, a provider of fixed-income evaluated pricing, will provide hourly snaps from its continuous evaluated pricing feed to Algomi Honeycomb (Algomi). Interactive Data will provide evaluated prices to the Honeycomb platform for high-yield and investment-grade US and European corporate bonds. The data will be available to help Algomi buy-side clients to achieve increased pre-trade transparency and price discovery. “Our goal is to give our clients the ability to access pre-trade price data which can be used to help facilitate trades in increasingly illiquid markets,” said Usman Khan, Chief technology officer and co-founder of Algomi. “Our Honeycomb buy-side clients will have access to Interactive Data’s evaluated prices as an important additional reference point that can be considered when comparing dealer bid and offer levels for execution,” he adds. Interactive Data’s continuous evaluated pricing launched in 2014 against a backdrop of a fast-evolving fixed income market structure characterized by shrinking dealer inventories, reduced liquidity, and a changing broker/dealer landscape. The continued shift to electronic trading platforms requires a supply of independent, high-quality data that allows users to assess quote quality and enhance price discovery, in the absence of traditional protocols. Continuous evaluated pricing facilitates this activity. The provision by Interactive Data of fixed-income evaluated pricing to Algomi is another deal in a succession of agreements with electronic trading and software platforms. - Federated Investors, Inc (NYSE: FII), will report financial and operating results for the quarter ended June 30th after the market closeson Thursday, July 23rd. A conference call for investors and analysts will be held at 9am Eastern on Friday, July 24th. President and chief executive officer J Christopher Donahue and chief financial officer Thomas R Donahue will host the call - Zapp today announces that Barclays has joined the financial institutions, retailers, billers and payment providers offering ‘Pay by Bank app’ mobile payments to consumers. Barclays also plans to offer ‘Pay by Bank app’ payments to customers via their existing mobile banking app later this year. Security first Pay by Bank app transactions are protected by a consumer’s existing bank app security - Singapore Exchange (SGX) reported growth in securities, derivatives and commodities activities in June. Traded value was $25bn, up 20% year on year and up 8% month on month, while daily average value was $1.2bn up 20% from a year earlier and up 8% from a month earlier. ETF trading also rose 30% from a year earlier to $237m while trading of STI stocks accounted for 68% of total trading versus 51% a year earlier. A total 37 bonds raising $12bn were listed in on SGX compared with 45 issues raising $21bn a year earlier - Following a recent Morningstar Analyst Ratings Meeting, Morningstar has moved the Kames UK Equity fund to a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Bronze. The fund was previously rated Silver. Although the fund has a strong long term track record under the current manager, Stephen Adams, returns over the medium term versus peers have been weaker. In addition, the manager has recently taken on additional responsibilities within the group, having been promoted to head of equities. Adams has passed some UK team responsibilities to his colleague Philip Howarth, but has additional non-UK equity responsibilities in his new role. Concerns over these two issues have resulted in the rating change - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 9.79 points or 0.29% lower to 3332.94, taking the year-to-date performance to -0.96%. The top active stocks today were UOB, which declined 0.47%, Singtel, which gained 0.47%, DBS, which gained0.05%, Global Logistic, which declined 0.40% and CapitaLand, with a 0.57% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.45%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined0.68% - Moody's Investors Service today upgraded Europcar Groupe S.A.'s (Europcar or the company) corporate family rating (CFR) to B1 from B3 and probability of default rating (PDR) to B1-PD from B3-PD. Concurrently, Moody's changed the instrument rating on the €475m senior notes due 2022, the obligations of which have been transferred to the company from Europcar Notes Limited after the completion of Europcar Groupe S.A.'s initial public offering (IPO), to definitive B3 from provisional (P)B3 and upgraded EC Finance Plc's instrument rating on the €350m senior secured notes due 2021 to B2 from B3. The outlook on the ratings is stable - CACEIS Bank Luxembourg – London Branch has received regulatory approval to provide depositary services to alternative investment funds. This enables the CACEIS group to provide a full range of depositary and custody services to alternative investment fund managers operating in the UK market. CACEIS has a long history of servicing UK clients, and with this approval, will be able to directly support these clients in their home market.

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Mark Wiedman, global head of BlackRock’s iShares brand. Mark Wiedman, global head of BlackRock’s iShares brand. Photograph kindly supplied by iShares, November 2011.

20-20: Turning BlackRock's ETF fortunes

Thursday, 15 December 2011
20-20: Turning BlackRock's ETF fortunes Mark Wiedman’s appointment as global head of BlackRock’s iShares brand is a concerted effort to sharpen the focus of the consortium of exchange-traded funds launched by BGI in May 2000 that combines index fund-style diversification with the liquidity of stock trading. To date, iShares accounts for roughly half of the estimated $1.1trn in US-based ETF assets. While AUM continues to grow at a steady clip, competitors have gradually whittled away at the company’s domestic market share (currently around 43%). Can Wiedman buck the trend? David Simons reports. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/media/k2/items/cache/bd3eebf32e04c907d6d9fc42f4213df5_XL.jpg

Mark Wiedman’s appointment as global head of BlackRock’s iShares brand is a concerted effort to sharpen the focus of the consortium of exchange-traded funds launched by BGI in May 2000 that combines index fund-style diversification with the liquidity of stock trading. To date, iShares accounts for roughly half of the estimated $1.1trn in US-based ETF assets. While AUM continues to grow at a steady clip, competitors have gradually whittled away at the company’s domestic market share (currently around 43%). Can Wiedman buck the trend? David Simons reports.

During a recent earnings conference call, Laurence Fink, BlackRock’s chairman and chief executive, likened the recent run-up in ETF product innovation to the pre-crisis market for mortgage-backed instruments. BlackRock, said Fink, “needs to be very assertive as a firm” in order to prevent “a lack of disclosure on these products”.

To help address issues such as transparency—while also enhancing its ETF product line—BlackRock in September 2011 announced it had tapped Mark Wiedman, managing director in charge of corporate strategy, to serve as the new global head of  iShares, the ETF provider acquired by BlackRock as part of the 2009 buyout of Barclays Global Investors (BGI). Wiedman succeeds Mike Latham, who will continue as iShares chairman. Having served as an adviser to global financial institutions on balance-sheet issues at the height of the crisis, as well as heading up corporate strategy for BlackRock, Wiedman got a “crash course” in understanding clients’ problems and mobilising BlackRock’s capabilities in order to solve them. “I worked closely with iShares throughout the BGI integration and on iShares strategy work, so I stepped into the role with some familiarity with the businesses and the terrific leadership team,” says Wiedman.



ETFs appear to be still in their infancy, and have benefited from factors that include greater use of fixed-income and commodity-based products, increased uptake among fee-based advisers, as well as new product launches within the major exchanges. These conditions will likely pave the way for larger ETF fund allocations over the near term. Wiedman claims: “ETFs are one of the top two or three socially productive financial innovations of the past 40 years, with a value proposition that speaks to a galaxy of clients, from sovereign wealth funds to retail investors. ETFs deliver efficient exposure to global markets using the most democratic, transparent, and liquid vehicle yet devised.”

From the perspective of iShares, key growth drivers over the near term include fixed-income ETFs (which currently represent only a fractional amount of total outstanding bonds within the US), as well as equity income. Meanwhile, the potential for across-the-board ETF uptake exists in nearly every market around the world, says Wiedman.

Unifying US and foreign ETF platforms was a priority for BlackRock following the acquisition of iShares, and the ability to offer both US and European product lines to investors around the globe has been one of iShares’ greatest strengths to date.  “Some 15% of the assets in domestic ETFs are currently held outside the US and in Europe in 2011, we’ve seen over 15% organic growth, in part driven by buyers from Asia. As we look forward, our UCITS-compliant European product line could possibly become the de facto global standard,” says Wiedman.

The rise in ETF fund flows has coincided with a marked increase in product complexity, and, in some instances, has sparked concerns over opacity. For its part, the SEC continues to take a dim view of derivatives-based ETF products, compelling many providers to back away from such offerings.  

Wiedman notes: “We would call products that trade on an exchange ‘exchange-traded products’ or ‘ETPs’ while reserving the label ‘ETF’ for a sub-category that meets certain agreed standards of simplicity and transparency, including backing by underlying securities, rather than derivatives. We understand that regulators around the world will have different views. However, we believe that a standardised classification system could help regulators develop appropriate rules in each jurisdiction.”

The proliferation of so-called “cheap beta” ETF products—or, in some instances, ETFs that are totally commission-free—has had a dramatic impact on the business as a whole. Rather than attempt to compete on price, however, iShares has instead turned its attention toward product development, including active ETFs, which mimic the performance of hedge funds at a fraction of the cost. In August 2011, the company sought the SEC’s permission to launch a set of actively-managed equity ETFs, each based on proprietary BlackRock benchmarks.

“If there is a one thing I learned from my past experience at BlackRock, it’s that iShares will succeed by doing what we do best—not by playing on others’ terms,” offers Wiedman. “We are the sole global player competing against regional players in every market. No one can match our global presence, scale, or brand. Capitalising on that unique position is where our future lies.”

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