Friday 6th March 2015
NEWS TICKER, FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH 2015: —BNY Mellon has been appointed by Accor, the hotel operator based in France, as depositary bank for its sponsored American depositary receipt (ADR) program. Accor previously traded in the US as an unsponsored DR. Each sponsored ADR represents one-fifth of an ordinary share and trades on the OTC Markets under the symbol ‘ACCYY.’ Accor’s ordinary shares trade on Euronext Paris under the code ‘AC’— The US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) says the FATCA IDES User Guide has been updated for March 2015 and includes user enhancements and additional instructions. Copies can be downloaded from the IRS websiteimage003.pngThe Federal Reserve Bank of New York has reported gross purchases from February 26th through March 4th of $4,737m worth of agency MBS transactionsimage003.png More than 100 members of European Parliament (MEPs) have signed an open letter to the European Union’s Telecoms Council, urging it to adopt a more relaxed stance towards roaming charges. The Council is looking to extend the “phasing out” of charges until mid-2018, more than two and a half years later than initially laid out in the Roaming III regulation established in 2012. Roaming III, one of Neelie Kroes’ flagship motions in the move towards a single digital market, had previously required the abolishment of all roaming fees by the end of this year. “The Council stance sets up a new pricing mechanism, which will make it much cheaper to use your mobile phone when travelling abroad in the EU,” it said. “Within certain limits to be determined, consumers could make and receive calls, send SMSs and use data services without paying anything extra on top of the domestic fee.” It also suggests limitations under which operators will be able to levy charges against roamers. “Without a strong Telecoms Single Market, the much needed Digital Single Market cannot flourish,” they said, in an open letter to the Council of the European Union. “The European Parliament urged an end to roaming charges by the end of this year (2015). We consider proposed delays by three years (2018), or a suggestion to allow for 5MB without charges per day, to lack ambition. Such outcomes will undoubtedly seriously disappoint citizens. The gap between ending roaming charges, and 5MB per day is immeasurably large.” The open letter to the Telecoms Council concluded with a plea to put an end to roaming charges and clearly define net neutrality, stressing its significance for the future of Europe’s digital economies—Danish dedicated wind company Vestas has placed a seven year €500m eurobond with an interest rate of 2.75%, which the firm says will broaden the firm’s funding structure. The bonds, which will be listed in Luxembourg, will be repaid on March 11th 2022. According to Vestas CFO Marika Fredriksson, this is the first time a "green bond" had been issued by a dedicated wind company—An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD; the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Clive Bellows, Country Head Ireland at Northern Trust say the bank will expand its operations in Limerick by creating up to 300 new jobs over the next three years. The expansion is supported by the Department of Jobs through IDA Ireland —Despite reduced market volatility in February, total traded volume on the Tradeweb European-listed ETF platform amounted to €7.7bn in the month. This was the platform’s third best performance since launch, only beaten by last October’s €7.9bn and January’s record-breaking €10.7bn volume. According to the firm, there was a clear buying trend across all asset classes on the platform, with “buys” outstripping “sells” by 26 percentage points as a proportion of the overall traded volume. “Buy” requests for equity-based ETFs climbed to 42%, while “sell” requests fell 8 percentage points to 31 per cent compared to the past 12 months. Three of February’s ten most heavily traded ETFs invest in fixed income, offering exposure to government debt and USD-denominated high yield bonds—Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc says Mark Hunt has joined as senior managing director in the firm’s Forensic & Litigation Consulting practice. Mark will be based in London. As a Senior Forensic Partner with over thirty years’ experience, Mark specialises in financial and regulatory investigations, audit and accounting negligence, expert determinations and accounting disputes. His work has included a number of complex international disputes for both claimants and defendants, as well as acting as an expert on issues relating to complex financial instruments. Mark joins FTI Consulting from BDO, where he led their Financial Services practice, which included conducting FCA/PRA Skilled Persons Reviews. Prior to joining BDO in 2007, Mark was a Partner at KPMG, and he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. In his new role, Mark will join the EMEA Financial Advisory Services leadership group, working with Jeannette Lichner, Stephen Kingsley, Andrew Durant and Nick Hourigan to continue building FTI Consulting’s practice— The Straits Times Index (STI) ended +22.24 points higher or +0.66% to 3417.51, taking the year-to-date performance to +1.56%. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.21% while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.38%. The top active stocks were SingTel (+1.70%), DBS (+0.98%), Noble (+4.98%), Keppel Land (-0.22%) and Genting Singapore (-2.63). The outperforming sectors today were represented by the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index (+1.52%). The two biggest stocks of the FTSE ST Telecommunications Index are SingTel (+1.70%) and StarHub (unchanged). The underperforming sector was the FTSE ST Health Care Index, which declined -0.55% with Raffles Medical Group’s share price declining -0.51% and Biosensors International Group’s share price declining -0.77%. The three most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) by value today were the STI ETF (+0.59%), iShares USD Asia HY Bond ETF (-0.85%), SPDR Gold Shares (-0.42%). The three most active Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by value were CapitaMall Trust (-0.94%), Ascendas REIT (-0.40%), CapitaCom Trust (+0.28%). The most active index warrants by value today were HSI25000MBeCW150429 (-4.12%), HSI24200MBePW150429 (+0.60%), HSI24400MBeCW150429 (-2.99%). The most active stock warrants by value today were DBS MB eCW150420 (+8.65%), OCBC Bk MBeCW150803 (unchanged), UOB MB eCW150701 (+2.10%).

Sovereign wealth funds investing locally

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Sovereign wealth funds investing locally Sovereign governments and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are investing less internationally than they have done at any point in the last three years, according to the third annual Invesco Middle East Asset Management Study. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sovereign states have deployed wealth into local economies throughout the Arab Spring and SWFs show signs of diverting away from international trophy assets and other global investments. The findings come as something of a surprise given the current penchant for some of the GCC’s most high profile SWFs to continue to invest in strategic companies abroad. However, says the study, sovereign wealth fund surpluses may reduce despite oil price rises as local investment continues. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Sovereign governments and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are investing less internationally than they have done at any point in the last three years, according to the third annual Invesco Middle East Asset Management Study. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sovereign states have deployed wealth into local economies throughout the Arab Spring and SWFs show signs of diverting away from international trophy assets and other global investments. The findings come as something of a surprise given the current penchant for some of the GCC’s most high profile SWFs to continue to invest in strategic companies abroad. However, says the study, sovereign wealth fund surpluses may reduce despite oil price rises as local investment continues.

Invesco’s study has analysed sovereign revenues and defined the investment behaviours of major SWFs in the GCC region. These SWFs account for 35% of global SWF flows, representing $1.6 trn, a huge market which major global economies, including the UK, rely on for investment. This is Invesco’s third asset management study of the GCC region (comprising the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman). 

Invesco worked with independent strategy consultants NMG to conduct an in-depth market study based on over 100 face-to-face interviews on retail and institutional investor preferences across the GCC. The study shows the international flow of money directly from GCC sovereign governments and from SWFs has changed considerably in light of the current unrest, with large commodity-linked surpluses in these regions increasingly being put to use locally. (Please refer to Figure 1)



Even so, and despite stable and high oil prices, the available surplus, or investable assets, of governments in the GCC region is forecast to reduce by 9% in 2012 (compared to 2011) and surplus forecasts have been revised downwards since the Arab Spring, says the study. This is illustrated by the fact that forecast funding rates for the recipient SWFs have declined this year.

The findings of the survey look to undermine some of the latest news to emerge from the mega SWFs of the GCC. The Qatar Investment Authority, one of the largest and most diversified sovereign wealth funds in the GCC for example continues to veer from the norm. The latest news from the Gulf is that the SWF is about to increase its allocation to Shell, which will add to a growing roster of western investments by the fund. The Anglo-Dutch company declined to say what the size of the QIA holding is, but stock exchange rules in the United Kingdom meant that any stake over 3% will automatically trigger a public statement. Other reports suggest that the Qataris are in the middle of negotiations to buy a stake in Italian oil major ENI. It already holds a minority stake in Total, the French energy group. The QIA has also recently bought into Xstrata, as well as Barclays Bank.         

Moreover, Abu Dhabi’s normally secretive SWF opened up last October with the release of an official report which showed that the sovereign wealth fund remains diversified across all major global markets. Although over a year old, according to the report, ADIA’s assets are largely allocated to developed equity investments. With an estimated $350bn in assets, the fund allocates 60% of its total portfolio to externally-managed indexed funds. Overall, roughly 80% of the fund’s assets are invested by external fund managers. Allocations to developed equity markets constitute 35% to 45% of the fund’s portfolio. Emerging market equities make up 10% to 20%. Government bonds make up 10% to 20% of the portfolio.

In terms of geographic prevalence, ADIA allocates 35% to 50% in North America, 25% to 35% in Europe, 10% to 20% in developed Asia, and 15% to 25% in emerging markets, according to the report. However, Invesco’s latest study may point to a sea change. The Invesco study did not elucidate the detailed investment strategies of individual funds.        

There are other deals in train. Most recently new banking venture NBNK has  reportedly held talks with Middle Eastern SWFs to bolster its bid for 632 Lloyds branches that are up for sale, according to a recent Reuters news item; NBNK refused to com­ment. The venture was set up in 2010 by former Lloyd’s of London insurance head Peter Levene, aiming to bring com­petition to a market dominated by four lenders. It is run by former Barclays and Northern Rock executive Gary Hoffman. Separately, the UK’s Sunday Telegraph reported that NBNK had held discussions with Qatar Holdings and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala fund.

One of the fund’s subsidiaries, Mubadala Healthcare (a business unit of Mubadala Development Company) and Dubai Health Authority (DHA) have signed a memorandum of under­standing to discuss several key collab­or­ation areas that will facilitate knowledge-sharing, partnership initi­atives and improved access to care for patients in Dubai. The initial areas for collaboration outlined in the MOU relate specifically to three of Mubadala Healthcare’s facilities—Wooridul Spine Centre, Tawam Molecular Imaging Centre and National Reference Laboratory—and focus on the facili­tation of patient and laboratory test referrals, knowledge exchange and the inclusion of these facilities in the Gov­ernment of Dubai’s Enaya network.

While the investment approaches of the GCC SWFs remain mixed, one thing looks certain. According to Invesco’s study, in 2011 funding rates grew at 13% compared to an increase in GCC government revenue of 25%, this year funding rates rose just 8%, despite GCC government revenue increasing by 31%. Funding for sovereign pension funds on the other hand rose from 8% growth in 2011 to 13% growth in 2012. There is an expectation that spending will continue to increase over time potentially outstripping commodity prices and shrinking surpluses further.

Of the sovereign surplus that is available for SWFs, those with local objectives are expected to benefit. Invesco forecasts SWF assets invested in benchmark driven SWFs who prioritise international asset manager products or ETFs have fallen by 1% since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011. At the same time sovereign wealth fund assets allocated to SWFs investing locally, in infrastructure for example, have risen by 10%7, which illustrates a major shift (see Figure 2).

Nick Tolchard, head of Invesco Middle East commented: “It’s clear that sovereign states are redirecting revenues and SWF assets from international investments back into the Middle East. The most common change across the region is money into local wage inflation, with healthcare and education a real focus for Saudi Arabia and Oman. Major infrastructure is a focus for Qatar due to the World Cup, and there are significant developments taking place in Abu Dhabi as it seeks to grow and set up as a major financial centre.”

Tolchard continues: “Western governments, including the UK, have approached SWFs from the Middle East to help with economic recovery, but many will fight a losing battle. There is certainly less money to invest internationally so the stakes are higher. Those courting GCC money from outside the region will only win with a deep understanding of what is driving the thinking of SWFs, and a long term commitment to building ­bi-lateral relationships which add value to their investment policy.”

Last year, Invesco created the first ever framework that categorises the core objectives of SWFs and revealed the drivers behind the investment strategy and preferences of these huge investment funds.

Last year, the study revealed that traditional investment SWFs (diversification vehicles and asset managers) appeared to be favouring developed markets, with around 54% of GCC SWF assets held in this region with the highest exposure to North America (29%) and to Western Europe (19%). Investment in North America is now down this year at 14% and Western Europe down at 6%, as a result of the Eurozone crisis. The clear shift in terms of geographic allocation of investment money has been towards the local region. Investment in assets related to the GCC moved up from 33% to 56%, with local bonds seeing a rise from 6% of SWF investable assets to 14%. Property and infrastructure have also take a large proportion of the investable assets from these SWFs, 13% and 14% respectively.

 “The story this year is that it is no longer a given that large sovereign governments are going to direct their oil revenue surpluses around the globe, pumping cash into other global economies. There will be high profile, strategic investments like the proposed RBS deal, or indeed other large trophy assets, but it’s a changed market. There will be contestable assets for fund managers in core relevant markets but with more money being deployed into the local economies it is likely to be a much more competitive landscape as long as the unrest continues,” says Tolchard.

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