Monday 20th August 2018
Mobile operator EE has said it will activate the UK’s first live 5G trial network in London’s Tech City in October –The UK government says organisations that are aiming to establish themselves or expand as Public Service Mutuals can now apply for a share of £1 million in funding -- India’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2014 to curb rising price pressures and calm financial markets as policy tightening in the US rattles emerging markets – A new report from South Africa's Reserve Bank (SARB) contains exception results for a trial of its blockchain-based system for interbank clearance and settlement. According to a release yesterday SARB says it has completed a 14-week "realistic" proof-of-concept that managed to settle the country's typical 70,000 daily payment transactions within two hours, taking an average of 1–2 seconds for each transaction while preserving full anonymity. Absa, Capitec, Discovery Bank, FirstRand, Investec, Nedbank and Standard Bank are among a slew of banks that participated in the exercise. Even so, despite the success claims, SARB says its proof-of-concept doesn't mean it plans to replace the existing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system with a live blockchain implementation, yet – According to Mickhail Shlemov, VTB’s Capital’s head of research today, “With the demerger of Bank of Georgia Group’s investment business to Georgia Capital PLC, we have revised our forecasts for Bank of Georgia Group so that they now include only the banking business. We expect the bank to benefit from this demerger amid an acceleration in corporate loan growth (although retail lending is likely to decelerate), with the total loan book expanding at a CAGR of 11% in 2017-21F. However, NIM performance headwinds are likely to stay intact. Management has reiterated its strategic targets, and we also expect the bank to show ROE of more than 20% in the next three years, with a 40% dividend payout ratio. As a result, our new 12-month Target Price is GBp 2,300/share. This implies an ETR of only 14% (the stock is up 10% since demerger day).” On May 29th, Bank of Georgia Group (BOGG) announced the completion of the demerger of the Group’s investment business to Georgia Capital PLC. As a part of the process, the bank has issued 9.8mn shares (up to 19.9% of the total share count) to Georgia Capital. Yet the capital will also be diminished by a special dividend payment of some GEL 120mn (GEL 3.10/share), similar to the proposed BGEO Group payment – Reuters reports that European parliament member Danuta Huebner says that London’s call for EU access after Brexit under mutual recognition will not work. Equivalence would let the EU set the rules – Scott Eaton, the former chief operating chief for Europe at MarketAxess has been appointed CEO of Algomi following the departure of co-founder Stu Taylor earlier this year. Eaton has taken over the role with immediate effect and will focus on developing Algomi’s fixed income services, including data aggregation and the Algomi ALFA market surveillance tool – The FCPA Blog notes today that banking giant Credit Suisse Group has agreed to pay a $47m penalty to the US Justice Department to end an FCPA investigation into hiring practices in Asia -- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted Tuesday to approve a proposal to modify the Volcker rule, the last of the five agencies responsible for the rule to do so. The proposal is now open to a 60-day public comment period. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the move "an important first step" and noted Treasury's support for "better tailoring the application of the rule, preserving liquidity during periods of stress, decreasing unintended compliance burdens and encouraging capital formation." --

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Under the Trump administration in the US, and with the rise of a new breed of ‘lifetime’ leaders, the established economic order looks to be in question. Is the comprehensive regulatory structure, established in the post 2007/2008 financial crisis enough to hold the current, more stable financial system in place? Or will the new, more aggressive breed of politicians be the undoing of the carefully reconstructed global markets?

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Kit Hamilton and Tim Humphrey have been appointed co- heads of Macquarie’s global infrastructure debt asset management business, Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (MIDIS). 

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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, has launched a comprehensive framework to regulate spot crypto asset activities, including those undertaken by exchanges, custodians and other intermediaries in ADGM. The guidelines follow on from a market consultation, which ended at the close of May and is one of the first articulations by a meaningful regulator of a firm regulatory framework covering new digital assets.

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Dutch gas transmission system owner and operator, Gasunie Transport Services will use PEGAS, the pan European gas trading platform, which is part of Powernext, as the exclusive platform for the determination and provision of the Neutral Gas Price (NGP). 

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Major bond market yields were little changed over the past week, with investors seeming to shrug off growing trade worries, as the Trump administration appeared to take an increasingly hawkish stance. The threat of tariffs saw the US dollar continue to march stronger and this continued to weigh on sentiment in emerging markets (EM), with sovereign credit, locals rates and emerging currencies continuing to re-price as investors sought to de-risk portfolios. Elsewhere, credit markets saw headwinds from new issuance, and in the eurozone, the periphery saw wider spreads following Spanish supply with markets remaining somewhat fragile. By Mark Dowding, co-head of developed markets at BlueBay Asset Management.

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Blockchain is one of the most exciting financial developments in modern times. Devised initially to host Bitcoin transactions, the technology is now being used by high net worth individuals (HNWIs) to liquefy real-world assets into “security tokens.” This new world of finance will eventually reshape both regular and cryptocurrency economies in the years to come. By Gregory Van den Bergh, co-founder and CEO of Bankorus, the first AI-powered crypto-wealth management platform built using blockchain technology.

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Economic and monetary affairs and constitutional affairs committee MEPs backed the European Central Bank proposal to bring central counterparties within the scope of its regulatory powers

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It has been some time in coming, but yesterday both Saudi Arabia and Argentina finally secured emerging markets status. The turnaround came as both countries have begun strides to normalise their capital markets and investment regimes, amid a spate of economic and political reforms by their governments. Moreover, MSCI also placed Kuwait on watch for a possible future reclassification from frontier to emerging markets status. What does emerging markets status mean and how will the markets benefit?

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