Wednesday 10th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: JP Morgan Asset Management has appointed Paul Farrell as head of UK Institutional Clients. Based in London, Farrell will join JPMAM in April and will report to Patrick Thomson, head of International Institutional Clients. Farrell will be responsible for leading the sales team that manages and builds client relationships with Institutional Pension Funds in the UK & Ireland. He will have responsibility for direct client relationship management in the defined benefit as well as business development in the defined contribution marketplace and will work closely with our consultant client team led by Karen Roberton. Farrell joins most recently from Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he served as Head of UK Institutional Clients and was responsible for new business development, client service and consultant relations. Before that he was head of UK Strategic Clients at BlackRock - Vistra Group, a provider of fund admin services, has bought UK-based business expansion services provider Nortons Group, the accounting and advisory service. The Nortons team, led by Andrew Norton and Pete Doyle, is joining the Vistra Group to boost their existing range of services and benefit from Vistra’s global reach. Martin Crawford, CEO of Vistra Group, says: “Offering support services to companies moving abroad is a core business for Vistra and of growing importance. Nortons has the expertise, the experienced staff, and the network to add significant value to this service line. We are very proud to welcome Andrew Norton, Pete Doyle, and their colleagues to our international team and look forward to expanding our global reach with their experience and leadership". The acquisition of Nortons is expected to complete by the end of February and will take the combined headcount of the Vistra Group, inclusive of the soon to be merged Orangefield Group, to over 2,200 staff in 39 countries - Asian markets had another tough day. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 2.3% to its lowest closing level since late 2014, and reaffirming a trend across the last few months the yen remained near its strongest level against the dollar in over a year. Despite the Bank of Japan's decision last month to introduce negative interest rates, a policy that tends to weaken the local currency, the yen has strengthened in recent sessions to levels not seen since 2014. The Japanese 10-year treasury yield traded shortly in negative territory, and touched -0.08%, before stabilising above the neutral mark. The dollar was last up 0.1% against the yen at ¥ 115.00. Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 1.2%, the downward drift being led by energy stocks. The Australian Dollar consolidated yesterday’s gains and is currently testing the next resistance, which lies at $0.71. AUD/USD up 0.21 in local trading. Other Asian currencies did well today against the dollar. The South Korean won rose 0.74%, the Taiwanese dollar edged up 0.60%, while the Indian rupiah climbed 1.05%. That uptick was not reflected in equity markets. The Topix index slid 3.02%. In Singapore the STI slipped 2.14%, while New Zealand equities were down 0.85% respectively. China's markets are still closed for the Lunar New Year holidays – The story today is all about Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to the US Congress. Analysts say that the market is pricing in no further rate increases in the near future and given the volatility in the markets and the general air of panic right now among investors, it would be a catastrophic move for the Fed to raise interest rates even a quantum in coming months. Truth is that no matter how well Yellen paints the US economy is it a story of two halves: yes, job numbers are rising, but there looks to be a lot of slack in the overall economy and this is contributing to a gradual weakening of the US dollar (but not against the euro). In fact, Europe is making the US look good; hence the wild swings in investor sentiment. Still, bank stocks look to remain vulnerable for the remainder of the quarter. This week's economic calendar is light; hence the focus on the Fed. The other bit of advanced market news is that expectations are rising for a rate cut by Norges Bank. Emerging market currencies are broadly trading higher this morning. The South African rand rose 0.85% against the US dollar, with USD/ZAR back below the 16.0 mark at around 15.9350. The Russian ruble also took advantage of this respite and gained 0.65% versus the greenback, which helped USD/RUB to edge lower to 79.10. In terms of data, watch out for industrial and manufacturing production figures from France, the UK and Italy and CPI data from Denmark and Norway - In commodities, Brent crude oil was last up 2.4% at $31.05 a barrel in thin trade on speculation about possible production cuts, but remains down nearly 9% for the week and roughly 19% for the year. Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at Swissquote Bank explains, "Crude oil has been able to rebound off the 12-year low ($27.78) after falling sharply by nearly 8% on Tuesday. The positive catalyst was the news that Iran has indicated that they would be willing to work with Saudi Arabia on production limits. However, markets remain sceptical of this or any coordinated production cuts. There seems to be no relief on selling pressure in sight as the US government released reports indicating that demand will remain soft by lower demand growth forecasts. In addition, the Paris based International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that the supply glut will continue through 2016 as production cuts have been made at a slower pace than forecasted.” In other market news this morning, spot gold in London was down 0.2% at $1188.05 an ounce, while three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.7% to $4,463 a ton.

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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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