Friday 25th July 2014
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THURSDAY TICKER: JULY 24th 2014 - New opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers, increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas imports and a positive impact on the environment: these are some of the expected benefits of the energy efficiency target for 2030 put forward today by the European Commission in a Communication. The proposed target of 30 % builds on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001. The proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings target which would be required to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. At the same time the framework on energy efficiency put forward today aims to strike the right balance between benefits and costs - The California Pension Fund (CalPERS) has told the American press that it might cutting back on its investments into the hedge fund arena by as much as 40%. A CalPERS spokesman told papers that the investment staff will make a formal recommendation to the board in the fall. CalPERS reported a preliminary 18.4% return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30th this year. CalPERS’ assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $300bn - The number of funds notifying the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) of their intention to privately place into Europe under AIFMD rules broke through the 150 mark ahead of the end of the AIFMD transitional phase this week. The JFSC figures show that, as at 22 July, a total of 164 funds had opted to make use of Jersey’s private placement route into Europe, and that the UK was the top intended market for managers, followed by Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands - Vodafone Group’s debt rating was cut one level at Moody’s Investors Service after the carrier made multibillion-dollar acquisitions to expand in Spain and Germany. The second-largest wireless company’s senior unsecured debt was cut to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade, from A3, says Moody. The outlook is stable. Newbury, England-based Vodafone reported net debt of £13.7bn ($23.3bn) for the quarter ended March 31st. It is the first time Moody’s has given Vodafone a rating lower than A3 since 2007. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings rank Vodafone’s debt at A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade. Vodafone’s acquisition of cable operators in Europe and falling revenue in some of its biggest markets contributed to the cut, Moody’s said - In a separate report issued this week, Moody's says the stable outlook on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Aaa rating reflects the bank's conservative capital and liquidity practices, which should support its solid financial performances despite the challenging operating environment. The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action. Moody's also notes that the bank benefits from very high liquidity, owing to its prudent treasury management policies, favourable debt structure and strong market access.

RBC Dexia/Accenture report says change is due in Spanish investment industry

Friday, 15 June 2012
RBC Dexia/Accenture report says change is due in Spanish investment industry The shape of Spain’s asset management industry is set to change dramatically according to a report by RBC Dexia and Accenture. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The shape of Spain’s asset management industry is set to change dramatically according to a report by RBC Dexia and Accenture.

The RBC Dexia/Accenture report predicts further concentration of Spain’s asset management industry into fewer, more specialised managers and a stronger focus on improving efficiency and performance. Improvements in technology will also be vital to success, with outsourcing high on the agenda. José Maria Alonso-Gama, managing director of RBC Dexia in Spain, sets the scene, explaining that: “Spanish fund firms are concentrating on bottom-line indicators such as fund performance and increased assets under management. They recognise the need to restore credibility and investor confidence by showing they are delivering on their performance promises.”

The report is based on a survey of 33 asset management firms in Spain in the first quarter of 2012 by RBC Dexia Investor Services and Accenture. Some 33% of respondents have more than €1bn in assets under management (AUM), 46% have between €200m and €1bn in AUM and 21% have less than €200m in AUM.

Although the industry is dominated by a small number of firms, with the top three managers accounting for 45 percent of assets under management, the average size of funds in Spain is only €57m. This compares with an average of €300m in Switzerland and €262m in the UK. The total number of funds in Spain has been contracting (down by about 20% to 2,500 in the past three years due to industry consolidation) and the report expects this trend to continue with, “The evolution of larger and more specialised companies with rationalised fund ranges”.

Also according to the report, of the 33 investment companies surveyed, 95% of local managers and 91% of foreign managers cited increased assets under management as a key indicator of success over the next two years. Fund performance was cited by 91% and 73% respectively and increased service quality by 86% and 45%. When it came to development of new products, 36% of foreign managers cited this as important but only 9% of local managers.

Over 80% of independent managers in Spain believe that the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities IV (UCITS IV) directive will make it easier to distribute investment funds abroad by creating a common regulatory environment. However, 70% of local managers were also concerned that it would lead to increased competition from overseas funds while independent managers were worried it would result in increased reporting obligations.

More than two-thirds of respondents cited improving technology as the most important factor in increasing efficiency. Most managers (90% of foreign managers and all local Spanish managers) expected an increase in the number of fund managers outsourcing certain functions in coming years. And 90% of those surveyed said there would be an increase in the diversity of functions outsourced in coming years. “The increased risks control imposed by new regulations and cross-border distribution opportunities that they also create, require increasingly sophisticated technology,” says Diego López Abellán, of Accenture’s Capital Markets practice for Spain. “Outsourcing can play a pivotal role in enabling continuous technology upgrades while avoiding costly investment.

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