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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

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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