Tuesday 24th May 2016
News ticker: Chubb today announced the appointment of Joe Fernandez, formerly D&O and Financial Institutions Product Manager for legacy ACE in Continental Europe, to the new role of financial lines product manager for Eurasia and Africa for Chubb, as it continues to invest in building its insurance capabilities in its newest business region. In his new role, Joe will be responsible for the development and implementation of financial lines underwriting strategies in Eurasia and Africa. He will also be responsible for employee financial lines products training. Joe will continue to be based in London, reporting to Grant Cairns, financial lines manager for Chubb in the UK and Ireland. His appointment is effective immediately. Fernandez has 18 years of insurance industry experience. He joined ACE in 2004 as corporate manager for Commercial D&O. Previously he held the position of corporate manager for Commercial D&O at AIG— Commenting on Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Annual General Meeting, Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London Asset Management, said: “The senior executive pay awards last year are not sufficiently justified by the company’s financial performance. We remain disappointed that the chief executive received very close to the maximum possible bonus in a year when overall financial performance was weak. Whilst the board did exercise some discretion in reducing the awards, we believe they could have done more. We also think the peer group of four companies that Shell uses to benchmark its long term incentive plans (LTIPs) is too narrow. However, we do acknowledge that despite a tough operating year, the company has had several successes in 2015, including the completion of the BG Group deal. We also appreciate that Shell has made very positive steps in responding to the concerns raised by its investors and we will be engaging with the company going forward.” Royal London Asset Management holds shares in Royal Dutch Shell worth £936m - UBS AG has opened a stock-index futures brokerage service in China. The brokerage will support clients wanting to trade on futures on the CSI 300, SSE 50 and CSI 500 indexes as well as treasury futures say local press reports - Tuesday, May 24th: Pakistan reportedly plans to sell a 40% stake in its stock exchange according to its managing director Nadeem Naqvi who announced the sale at an investment conference organised by Renaissance Capital in London yesterday. The exchange has approached the London, Shanghai, Istanbul and Qatar stock exchanges he said, explaining that a further 20% share will be sold in the local stock market. The sell-off is part of a government led privatisation program, involving some 70 companies following the disbursement of a $6.7bn IMF rescue package back in 2013. The terms of the loan end in September - Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) has confirmed the Ba3 corporate family rating (CFR) and Ba3-PD probability of default rating (PDR) of Russian vertically integrated steel and mining company Evraz Group S.A. (Evraz), and the B1 (LGD 5) senior unsecured ratings assigned to the notes issued by Evraz and Raspadskaya Securities Ltd. The outlook on all the ratings is negative – According to defence title Janes, The China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation (CNEC) - one of China’s 10 key defence industrial enterprises - has entered an agreement with China's Minsheng Banking Corp to support its impending initial public offering (IPO) of 2.6bn shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which is expected to raise around $250m. China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), which oversees the development of the country's aerospace and defence industry, said on 23 May that the agreement with the bank will support CNEC's "leap forward" towards "strategic development" - Thailand-based developer of integrated e-logistics trading and e-business service solutions Netbay says it is planning to offer 40m shares, equivalent to 20% of the registered and paid-up capital, in an initial public offering (IPO) and expects to get listed on the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) next month. The company has the registered capital of THB200m. The firm has reportedly s appointed Maybank Kim Eng (Thailand) as financial advisor and underwriter. Netbay CEO Pichit Viwatrujira-pong says that the proceeds would be used to expand its business and increase the working capital. It targets the revenue growth of 20% this year, up from THB223m last year – Old Mutual has moved closer to the IPO of Old Mutual Wealth next year as it confirmed in a JSE announcement today that it was close to selling its stake in Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM) to Affiliated Managers’ Group in a deal valued at $1bn - Zhouheiya Food Co. is expected to file an application for a Hong Kong listing in the next couple of weeks, looking to raise up to $500m, reports the Wall Street Journal today - UK operator Vodafone has announced its Group Chief Commercial Operations and Strategy Officer, Paolo Bertoluzzo, is going to step down after 17 years with the company to take a CEO role at payment and general financial services company Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane (ICBPI). Vodafone says it will announce a successor in ‘due course’ - The number of money laundering convictions and confiscations is relatively low given the size and characteristics of Jersey’s financial sector according to the latest report on the UK’s Crown Dependency of Jersey from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), adopted in December 2015. Apparently, this is the last in a cycle of MONEYVAL evaluation reports based on methodology set out by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2004. MONEYVAL is currently evaluating its members according to the FATF’s updated 2013 methodology.

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Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund,  says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, says a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class. Photograph kindly supplied by Barings, November 2013.

Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014

Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Barings makes case for frontier markets in 2014 Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/media/k2/items/cache/9392051d1c6437a4aa44d9c49269a7c6_XL.jpg

Frontier markets such as Argentina, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have delivered strong investment returns in 2013, and the asset class is set for continued strong performance in 2014, according to international investment firm Baring Asset Management.

The firm sees every reason for investors in such markets to be positive as they look ahead to next year. Michael Levy, investment manager, Baring Frontier Markets Fund, explains why: “Frontier markets are inefficient markets at an early stage of development, providing many mispriced investment opportunities, and we expect the drivers which have supported markets in 2013 – potential for long-term structural growth combined with a low correlation to other asset classes – to remain intact. 

"We are encouraged by the political developments we have seen this year, which show that the countries in our investment universe continue to move towards economic liberalisation and democracy, albeit at a slow pace.”



Levy notes the performance of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, which has returned +16.4% in US dollar terms to mid-November, reflecting the prospect of long-term structural economic and corporate earnings growth and continued allocations from investors attracted by low correlations to other asset classes.  The performance compares very favourably with a 7.1% decline in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the same period.

Two asset classes where Barings sees particular investment potential are new energy opportunities and healthcare companies.  The former encompasses exceptionally large oil and gas deposits in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, which are likely to be brought to market shortly.  The latter reflects the rapid growth of generic pharmaceuticals production in many frontier economies as well as the increasing use of private healthcare provision to supplement public healthcare, particularly in the Middle East. 

Al Noor Hospitals, for instance, is one of the largest private healthcare providers in the United Arab Emirates and a core holding in the Baring Frontier Markets Fund.

In terms of country performance, Middle Eastern markets including the UAE stand out as one of the better performing regions, according to Barings, as the banking sector in the UAE has benefited as a safe haven at a time when continued instability has impacted some other countries in the region. 

In Africa, a continent where Barings sees the strongest long-term equity market potential, elections in Kenya have resulted in a more market-friendly government coming into power – evidence of the wider, long-term trend towards democratisation across the frontier market universe.  Nigeria’s Central Bank also continues to make good progress in managing the currency and inflation, and investments made in security and customer identification augur well for the development of Nigeria’s retail banking market, in Barings’ view.

Levy adds: “From an investment perspective, a steady flow of new companies to the market marks steadily increasing liquidity in the frontier markets asset class, and we expect further progress here next year, with potential for privatisations in Romania for example in 2014.  We recently invested in a company which has operations based in Laos, and increasingly, other Asian frontier markets, and continue to monitor new investment opportunities very closely.”

Barings launched its Frontier Market Fund in April this year, investing in markets outside developed and emerging market benchmarks.  In the six months to the end of October 2013, the Baring Frontier Market Fund has delivered a return of 9.48% versus 8% for its benchmark, the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.  The portfolio is diversified across the major Frontier markets, with significant exposure to Nigeria, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Kenya.  The top three sector holdings are Financials, Telecoms and Consumer Staples.

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