Saturday 13th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, JANUARY 12TH: Morningstar has moved the Morningstar Analyst Rating™ for the Fidelity Global Inflation Linked Bond fund to Neutral. The fund previously held a Bronze rating. Ashis Dash, manager research analyst at Morningstar, says, “The fund’s rating was placed Under Review following the news that co-manager Jeremy Church was leaving Fidelity. Lead manager, Andrew Weir, who has managed the fund since launch in May 2008, remains in charge and is further supported by the new co-manager, Tim Foster. While we acknowledge Weir’s considerable experience in the inflation-linked space, some recent stumbles and below-benchmark returns over time have led us to lower our conviction in the fund. This is currently reflected by our Neutral rating.” - Italian GDP growth looks to have stalled to 0.1pc in the last quarter of 2015, falling below analyst expectations of 0.3% growth. The Italian economy grew by just 0.6% last year having come out of its worst slump since before the pyramids were built. The slowdown will put further pressure on reforming Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, who has been battling to save a banking system lumbering under €201bn (£156bn) of bad debt, equivalent to as much as 12% of GDP. It is a serious situation and one which threatens Italy’s traditionally benign relationship with the European Union. The EU’s bail in rules for bank defaults seeks to force creditors to take the brunt of any banking failures. Italy suffered four bank closures last year, which meant losses of something near €800m on junior bond holders (with much of the exposure held by Italian retail investors). No surprise perhaps, Italian bank stocks have taken a beating this year, Unicredit shares are currently €3.06, compared with a price of €6.41 in April last year. In aggregate Italian banking shares are down by more than 20% over the last twelve months. Italian economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan told Reuters at the beginning of February that there isn’t any connection between the sharp fall in European banking stocks, as he called on Brussels for a gradual introduction of the legislation. He stressed that he did not want legislation changed, just deferred - Is current market volatility encouraging issuers to table deals? Oman Telecommunications Co OTL.OM (Omantel) has reportedly scrapped plans to issue a $130m five-year dual-currency sukuk, reports the Muscat bourse. Last month, the state-run company priced the sukuk at a profit rate of 5.3%, having received commitments worth $82.16m in the dollar tranche and OMR18.4m ($47.86m) in the rial tranche. Meantime, Saudi Arabia's Bank Albilad says it plans to issue SAR1bn-SAR2bn ($267m-$533m) of sukuk by the end of the second quarter of 2016 to finance expansion, chief executive Khaled al-Jasser told CNBC Arabia - The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (Commission) announces that the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC) will hold a public meeting at the Commission’s Washington, DC headquarters located at 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20581. The meeting will take place on February 25th from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm – Local press reports say the UAE central bank will roll out new banking regulations covering board and management responsibilities and accountability – Following yesterday’s Eurogroup meeting, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, says that “Overall, the economic recovery in the eurozone continues and is expected to strengthen this year and next. At the same time, there are increasing downside risks and there is volatility in the markets all around the world. The euro area is structurally in a much better position now than some years ago. And this is true also for European banks. With Banking Union, we have developed mechanisms in the euro area to bring stability to the financial sector and to reduce the sovereign-banking nexus. Capital buffers have been raised, supervision has been strengthened, and we have clear and common rules for resolution. So overall, structurally we are now in a better position and we need to continue a gradual recovery”. Speaking at the press conference that followed the conclusion of the February 11th Eurogroup, Dijsselbloem also acknowledged that “good progress” has been made in official discussions between Greece and its officials creditors in the context of the 1st programme review. Yet, he noted that more work is needed for reaching a staff level agreement on the required conditionality, mostly on the social security pension reform, fiscal issues and the operation of the new privatization fund. On the data front, according to national account statistics for the fourth quarter of 2016 (flash estimate), Greece’s real GDP, in seasonally and calendar adjusted terms, decreased by 0.6%QoQ compared to -1.4%QoQ in Q3. The NBS Executive Board decided in its meeting today to cut the key policy rate by 0.25 pp, to 4.25%. - Today’s early European session saw an uptick in energy stocks, banking shares and US futures. Brent and WTI crude oil futures both jumped over 4% to $31.28 a barrel and $27.36 respectively before paring gains slightly; all this came on the back of promised output cuts by OPEC. That improving sentiment did not extend to Asia where the Nikkei fell to a one-year low. Japan's main index fell to its lowest level in more than a year after falling 4.8% in trading today, bringing losses for the week to over 11%. Yet again though the yen strengthened against the US dollar, which was down 0.1% ¥112.17. Swissquote analysts says, “We believe there is still some downside potential for the pair; however traders are still trying to understand what happened yesterday - when USD/JPY spiked two figures in less than 5 minutes - and will likely remain sidelined before the weekend break.” Japanese market turbulence is beginning to shake the government and may spur further easing measures if not this month, then next. Trevor Greetham, head of multi asset at Royal London Asset Management, says “When policy makers start to panic, markets can stop panicking. We are seeing the first signs of policy maker panic in Japan with Prime Minister Abe holding an emergency meeting with Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda. We are going to get a lot of new stimulus over the next few weeks and not just in Japan. I expect negative interest rates to be used more in Japan and in Europe and I expect this policy to increase bank lending and weaken currencies for the countries that pursue it”. Greetham agrees that both the yen and euro have strengthened despite negative rates. “Some of this is due to the pricing out of Fed rate hike expectations; some is temporary and to do with risk aversion. In a market sell off money tends to flow away from high yielding carry currencies to low yielding funding currencies and this effect is dominating in the short term”. Australia's S&P ASX 200 closed down 1.2%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng settled down 1.01. in New Zealand the NZX was down 0.89%, while in South Korea the Kospi slid 1.41%. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 1.25 points or 0.05% higher to 2539.53, taking the year-to-date performance to -11.91%. The top active stocks today were DBS, which declined 0.91%, SingTel, which gained 1.13%, JMH USD, which declined 1.39%, OCBC Bank, which gained 0.13% and UOB, with a0.34% advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.50%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined0.31%. Thai equities were down 0.38%, the Indian Sensex slip 0.71%, while Indonesian equities were down another 1.16%. The euro was down 0.3% against the dollar at $1.1285, even after data showed Germany's economy remained on a steady yet modest growth path at the end of last year. Gold fell 0.7% to $1238.80 an ounce, after gold gained 4.5% Thursday to its highest level in a year. Greetham summarises: “Like a lot of people, we went into this year's sell off moderately overweight equities and it has been painful. What we have seen has been a highly technical market with many forced sellers among oil-producing sovereign wealth funds and financial institutions protecting regulatory capital buffers. However, economic fundamentals in the large developed economies remain positive, unemployment rates are falling and consumers will benefit hugely from lower energy prices and loose monetary policy.”

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A streamlined approach

Friday, 15 June 2012
A streamlined approach The European asset management industry has grown considerably over the last ten years. Assets under management (AUM) stood at €3trn at the end of 2001, and had reached €7.89trn by the end of the second quarter (Q2) 2011. This growth, which will support the savings and retirement of a large portion of the European population, means asset managers have an enormous responsibility to their end clients. By Ann Doherty and Brian Coughlin, JP Morgan Worldwide Securities Services (WSS). http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The European asset management industry has grown considerably over the last ten years. Assets under management (AUM) stood at €3trn at the end of 2001, and had reached €7.89trn by the end of the second quarter (Q2) 2011. This growth, which will support the savings and retirement of a large portion of the European population, means asset managers have an enormous responsibility to their end clients. By Ann Doherty and Brian Coughlin, JP Morgan Worldwide Securities Services (WSS).

It is inevitable that asset managers want to retain their investment gains by reducing uncertainty and risk from their activities as much as possible and increase straight through processing (STP) and transparency, particularly in today’s volatile environment. One way to achieve that is to use a custodian that can provide all of these benefits through a streamlined product offering to help reduce both costs and risks while keeping up with the ever-

changing regulatory environment.



The objectives of asset managers present their own challenges, particularly with a regulatory reform agenda framed by G20 commitments, which culminated in the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). Since 2008, regulation has been constantly evolving and expanding. In addition to those two regulations, investors also have to adjust to the second iteration of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), UCITs IV, AIFMD, FATCA, Basel III and Solvency II.

To understand and execute on what regulators expect from them, asset managers today look to their service provider for help with the provision of an industry-leading  global custody and securities services offering with innovative technology to meet their daily requirements; seamless execution to increase STP and reduce risk; thought leadership to help them understand how regulation and potential market events could affect them (as well as their end-clients) and provide appropriate and timely data analysis.

Inevitably, the most sophisticated asset managers want to work with a securities services provider that can provide global reach and which has sufficient resources of capital to invest in industry-leading systems and technology. That means all of their requirements are met in one place. Investors then benefit and can have confidence in the fact that whatever complexity is injected into the market, whether by unexpected market events or by regulators, their custodian will be able to manage it.

Next, asset managers want seamless execution to help them eliminate risk and costs. Recognising the important role that asset managers play in the savings and pensions industry, regulators are putting pressure on them to provide their end clients with transpar­ency and as little risk as possible.  To do that, fund managers must tighten up the chain in their post-trade activities. 

For their part, custodians have been moving into more consultative technology-driven services for years, which asset managers and other users of custodian and related securities services have greatly benefitted from. Increasingly, these users of securities services are looking to their providers to move even closer to their front office, even coming just after the trading and investment decision. 

In the past, using one firm’s investment bank to execute trades and using the same bank’s custodian arm might have raised concerns about whether this one-stop-shop provided the best execution and cost in the market. ­Regulations, particularly MiFID, have removed that uncertainty.

Finding a provider that can tick the first two boxes as well as provide the critical consultative thought leadership all asset managers look for to keep up with regulatory and market changes, isn’t easy. Asset managers look to their service providers to provide ­information about changes arising from the rapidly evolving regulatory environment, to ensure that new requirements are understood and ­prepared for. Large international firms that are present in multiple jurisdictions are best placed to have a view of regulatory changes and to adapt their services to new requirements on a global basis.

Lastly, asset managers also rely on service providers to help them provide up-to-date and transparent data ­analysis, which is a critical reporting requirement to regulators, governments, trustees and other stakeholders, and is part of their own internal risk reviews.

This means asset managers want detailed information about their ­transactions, securities held, and ­breakdown of the core characteristics of those assets. They also want this data delivered in a fast and efficient manner, which requires a strong STP framework. This presents a challenge and an opportunity for service providers as it is not an easy task pulling together different sets of data and presenting it in a format that asset managers can consume and customise.

To meet all of these requirements, a service provider has to continuously invest in technology, and have ­regu­latory experts who can quickly analyse new regulations and understand how they will fit and potentially impact existing regulations with which asset managers are already complying. This re­quires a delicate balance between investing in business enhancements and people, while maintaining required capital levels. Large global custodians with the capacity to invest in its technology and systems are more able to make these investments than smaller firms.  

Asset managers are looking to ­securities services providers to act more strategically then ever before. By using one bank for all activities following the investment decision, asset managers are recognising their ability to cut potentially weak links from their post-trade chain, and rationalise the number of providers they use. This coordinated servicing effort across a firm, usually a bank, enables the large and fully-integrated players to really understand an asset manager’s needs, requirements, product and geo­graphical expansion plans. This support across many distribution channels helps fund managers reduce cost,

outsource the risk by leveraging ­operational cap­abilities, risk management capabilities and therefore offers a much better and broader value proposition. Today, a service provider must have all the ­necessary tools in the tool box and be willing and able to use them.

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