Wednesday 10th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: KPMG has appointed Adrian Stone as its UK head of audit with immediate effect, succeeding Tony Cates who now leads KPMG's international markets and government practice. Stone joined KPMG's Sheffield office in 1984 and has been an audit partner since 1997. He previously held several senior roles in KPMG's audit practice including head of audit for the north of England and Scotland, chief operating officer for the UK audit practice, head of internal audit and head of KPMG's department of professional practice. He has been KPMG's interim head of audit since November last year - Bridge Bank says it has provided faith based Spark Networks with a $10m revolving credit facility - BNP Paribas Securities Services has been appointed by Sampo Group, the Finnish financial services group, to provide global custody and settlement services for Sampo’s €25bn of insurance assets held globally - Saudi Arabia is reportedly reconsidering the requirement for foreign companies setting up in the country to have a local partner. A committee led by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Labour, will look at ways to spur additional inward investment into the realm, according to newspaper Asharq Al Awsat. The committee is expected to ease the bureaucratic barriers for foreign firms that want access to the Saudi Arabian economy. Foreign direct investment is vital as the kingdom looks to make up foreign exchange losses and balance its $98bn budget deficit – European president Donald Tusk met with Georgian premier Giorgi Kvirikashvili today. Discussion focused on continued reforms of the Georgian judiciary, rule of law and human rights are important priorities and I underlined the EU's readiness to assist. It is crucial that criminal investigations and prosecutions be evidence-based, transparent and impartial, in line with the commitments of the Association Agreement. “I share Georgia's concerns about the continued implementation of the so-called “treaties" between Russia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I saw for myself the situation at the administrative boundary line, including the "borderisation" [sic] process, during my last visit to Georgia,” said Tusk following the meeting. The European Union will continue to give its firm support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.” - February 9th 2016: The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) at its meeting today confirmed the appointment of Małgorzata Zaleska as President of the Management Board of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, following her appointment as president on January 12th. Zaleska is the director of the Institute of Banking, Warsaw School of Economics; the Chairperson of the Committee of Finance Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences; a member of the NBP Economic Research Committee; a member of the Central Commission for Degrees in Finance – Today’s equity markets tell a tale of fears of a global slowdown with even the US considered a candidate for recession. The US session yesterday was not pretty, with the S&P500 down 1.42%. The index has lost around 9% of its value this year and is now 13% below the nominal high that it reached last year. The DJIA was down 1.1% and Nasdaq100 fell 1.59%. The Nasdaq100 is now 17.92% below the nominal high that it reached last year. Swissquote says: “The sentiment is risk-off at the moment, with gold reaching $1,200 for the first time since June. Gold’s bullish momentum continues yet commodity linked currencies such as the AUD and NZD failed to gain the advantage as outside precious metals and other commodities broadly fell. In particular, WTI Crude is now back around below $30 a barrel over continued oversupply concerns. Markets are now fearing that this period of lingering low oil prices could last a long time”. – In the Asian session Japanese stocks fell more than 5% and the yield on the benchmark government bond dropped into negative territory for the first time. The decision by the Bank of Japan to introduce negative interest rates looks to have pushed down yields for both short and longer termed bonds. In afternoon trading in the Asian session, the benchmark 10-year government bond was yielding minus 0.025; in other words, investors were willing to lend the over-indebted Japanese government money for 10 years and get back less than they put in. Remember that Japanese sovereign debt is more than double the country’s GDP. The question is now, how far down can yields go? Moreover, when will central banks stop flirting with negative interest rates. It is a dangerous policy. The stock market took the brunt of investor fears today, as the Nikkei Stock Average closed y down 5.4%, falling 918.86 points to finish at 16,085.44. This is a sizeable drop and the largest one-day fall for about two and a half years. Yet again, the yen did well, rising against the US dollar to 114.80. Financial shares took the brunt of today’s pain with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MTU) shares closing down 8.7%, and Nomura Holdings losing 9.1%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended the session 2.9% lower, and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was down 1.3%. India's Sensex was 1.2% lower. Chinese, Singapore and Korean markets are closed today. In Europe, equity futures are mixed. The CAC40 has dropped 0.22%, the DAX is down 0.21% while the FTSE100 is unchanged, but there’s still half a day’s trading to go.

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EU’s threatened financial transaction tax could magnify FX costs

Friday, 03 February 2012
EU’s threatened financial transaction tax could magnify FX costs An EU financial transaction tax (FTT), could increase FX transaction costs, says Oliver Wyman research. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

An EU financial transaction tax (FTT), could increase FX transaction costs, says Oliver Wyman research.

Research by oliver Wyman, commissioned by the Global Financial Markets Association’s (GFMA’s) global FX division, suggests that, given the tight margins that exist in foreign exchange markets, any increase in transaction costs will, in turn, hit the real economy as these costs would largely be passed on to all end users. The report, Proposed EU Commission Financial Transaction Tax; Impact Analysis of Foreign Exchange Markets’, evaluates the impact of the European Union’s proposed financial transaction Tax (FTT) on European FX markets, estimating its impact on FX cash and derivatives users in particular.
The report not only recognises that the primary impact of the tax will be an increase in transaction costs, relocation of trading and reduction in notional turnover, but also it suggests the tax will result in a potential reduction in liquidity leading to a widening of bid/ask spreads.
The research suggests that a proposed FTT could directly increase transaction costs for all transactions by three to seven times and by up to 18 times for the most traded part of the market. It could eventually result in the relocation between 70% and 75% of tax eligible transactions outside of the EU tax jurisdiction. This possible outcome, combined with reduced transaction volumes (of approx 5%), could reduce market liquidity and increase indirect transaction costs by up to a further 110%, the report suggests.
Inevitably however, the tax will predominantly hit the real economy and the institutional market, comprising pension funds, asset managers, insurers and corporations, as both direct and indirect costs are largely passed on to end‐users, which will be least able to move transactions to jurisdictions not subject to the tax.
While the tax is expected to only have a limited impact on speculative trading, as this activity will most likely relocate outside the EU tax jurisdiction, it will result in an inefficient tax on the economy as raising €1 of tax would likely cost the economy more than €1, due to the indirect costs associated with reduced and more fragmented liquidity.
James Kemp, managing director of GFMA’s global FX division, says:  “It is essential to fully understand the impact of the proposed financial transaction tax and the Oliver Wyman study is an important contribution to the debate. “The foreign exchange industry is an essential part of a stable and sustainable economy, underpinning international trade and investing. This study shows that the proposed tax would in effect penalise Europe’s businesses for sensible risk management—by using FX products to manage currency fluctuations—and also threaten to impose further costs on the investment returns of pension funds and asset managers.”
UK premier David Cameron led a charge against the tax at the Davos World Economic Forum in late January, telling Eurozone members that it was no time for tinkering in the financial markets and that the tax was “madness”.

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