Friday 31st October 2014
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FRIDAY TICKER: OCTOBER 31TH 2014: - The re-election of President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday has important implications for Brazil's Baa2 sovereign rating, as well as for the credit quality of the country's banks, corporations and securitisations, says Moody's. The rating agency says the narrow margin of her victory underscores the challenges she faces as she looks to revive Brazil's lacklustre economic performance - Facebook has reported third quarter results, again showing strongest year-on-year growth in mobile, where daily active users (DAUS) rose by 39% to 703 million, while overall daily users rose 19% to 864 million DAUS - Francisco Partners, a global technology-focused private equity firm, today announced it has completed the acquisition of Vendavo, Inc., a leader in business-to-business (B2B) pricing solutions. David Mitchell, an operating partner of Francisco Partners, will join Vendavo as CEO and lead the company’s worldwide business strategy and operations. Incumbent CEO Neil Lustig will transition into an advisory role with Vendavo. Francisco Partners now has a controlling stake in the Silicon Valley company. The acquisition by Francisco Partners provides additional resources to bolster Vendavo’s aggressive growth strategy, enabling the company to expand sales and marketing while accelerating cloud development. Vendavo completed a record first half of 2014, with nearly 30-percent growth in bookings, and the release of two breakthrough solutions for price and sales effectiveness. Based in Mountain View, Calif., Vendavo provides revenue and price optimisation solutions for B2B mid-market and enterprise companies.Francisco Partners was advised by JMP Securities, and Vendavo was advised by William Blair. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed – The International Finance Corporation, or IFC, issued the four-year, triple-A rated bond only to Japanese retail investors, tapping into the growing interest in low-risk investments with a social or environmental focus. The World Bank, has sold several billion dollars in green bonds over the past six years, with proceeds going to help countries and firms cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The latest offering, Inclusive Business bonds, would finance firms that work with or sell to the 4.5bn people in the world that make less than $8 a day. IFC said while most poor people do not spend a lot individually, as a whole they represent an estimated $5trn consumer market that firms could tap into - NAKA Mobile, a telecoms and technology specialist based in Switzerland, has claimed the industry’s first virtualised evolved packet core (vEPC). Utilising Cisco’s NFV services, NAKA claims it will transform its network architecture, expand beyond Switzerland, and provide its mobile Internet services to customers across the world - The Internet Society and Alcatel-Lucent have agreed to provide support and equipment for the development of the Bangkok Internet Exchange Point (BKNIX). The project will utilise the Internet Society’s Interconnection and Traffic Exchange (ITE) programme and is intended to deliver a stronger and more robust Internet infrastructure for South East Asia.

Volcker Rule likely delayed until after US presidential elections

Monday, 16 April 2012
Volcker Rule likely delayed until after US presidential elections As mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker Rule—named for its author, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—prohibits commercial banks from using their own capital to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds, unless such activity is deemed “systemically important” (that is, is related to market making, securitisation, hedging, and/or risk management) and is limited to a three-percent ownership stake. With nary a fan on either side of the pond, the much-maligned Volcker Rule could be ripe for modification—though any change is more likely to happen later than sooner. David Simons reports. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

As mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker Rule—named for its author, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker—prohibits commercial banks from using their own capital to invest in hedge funds and private equity funds, unless such activity is deemed “systemically important” (that is, is related to market making, securitisation, hedging, and/or risk management) and is limited to a three-percent ownership stake. With nary a fan on either side of the pond, the much-maligned Volcker Rule could be ripe for modification—though any change is more likely to happen later than sooner. David Simons reports.

Regulators had hoped to have the Volcker Rule finalised by mid-July. However, ironing out the increasingly complex proposal—which includes newly added exemptions needed to placate the bill’s many opponents—will likely take much longer.

Retiring Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, head of the House Financial Services Committee and co-author of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, has suggested something of a compromise; that regulators work towards completing a simplified version of the law by early September. "The agencies [have] tried to accommodate a variety of views on the implementation,” says Frank, “but the results reflected in the proposed rule are far too complex, and the final rules should be simplified significantly.”



Financial institutions may be struggling to regain public trust in the wake of the 2008 credit meltdown; however that has not stopped officials from taking aim at the proposed Volcker legislation during the SEC’s comment period which closed on February 13th. Speaking on behalf of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Tim Ryan, SIFMA’s president and chief executive officer called the proposed regulations “unworkable” and “not faithful to Congressional intent”. Moreover, Ryan says they will have negative consequences for US financial markets and the economy.

Echoing a common theme among Volcker critics, Ryan contends that the new law could result in drastically reduced market liquidity for investors, and make it more difficult for companies to raise capital. SIFMA’s five-part comment letter includes proposed modifications to proprietary trading restrictions and hedge fund/private-equity fund investment activity under Volcker, and expresses concern over Volcker’s impact on municipal securities and global securitisation.

Like almost everything else drafted by the Obama White House, the Volcker Rule has virtually no support in the GOP, and includes among its detractors Daniel Gallagher and Troy Paredes, the two Republican members of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Speaking at an Institute of International Bankers conference held in Washington last month, Gallagher suggested that regulators re-examine their initial efforts and, if necessary, “go back to the drawing board to make sure we regulate wisely, rather than just quickly.”

Not that all of the criticisms have had political overtones. An exception to the rule allowing US banks to continue trading treasuries and municipal bonds has drawn fire from state and local government agencies, which have demanded that they receive the same exemption. The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the US-based firm charged with protecting investor interest in the municipal-securities space, has urged regulators to expand the rule’s proprietary trading exemptions to include municipal-bond brokers. It’s an effort to avoid “bifurcation” within the municipal securities market, says MSRB, warning current exemptions “are not useful in the municipal securities market,” and unless modified will “prevent a free and open market from prevailing.”

Nor has Volcker venting been limited to the US. In a comment letter issued in February, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), the representative association for Europe’s investment-management community, argued that exemptions favouring US institutions pose a serious threat to European funds due to the potential shift in the balance of power. Accordingly, regulators should take the necessary steps to prevent any negative impact on liquidity and operational efficiency abroad, said the group.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who along with Senator Carl Levin of Michigan helped draft some of the Volcker provisions, bristled at suggestions that substantial modifications would be required. If anything, said Merkley, the rule needs to be tougher, though not “as vague or complex as regulators are making it.” Also in favour of a stronger Volcker is former Citigroup chief executive officer John S Reed, who has argued that in its present form the rule “does not offer bright enough lines or provide strong enough penalties for violation."

Having made regulatory reform one of its chief priorities, the Obama administration is unlikely to cede any ground in the months leading up to the US presidential elections in November. Hence, even the most vocal of Volcker opponents admit that change is unlikely to happen until after the new Congress convenes in January of next year.

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