Sunday 30th August 2015
NEWS: Friday, August 28TH: The Hong Kong Monetary Authority says it has granted a restricted banking licence to Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific Company Limited (GSAPCL) under the Banking Ordinance. GSAPCL, incorporated in Hong Kong, is a wholly-owned banking subsidiary of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The number of restricted licence banks in Hong Kong is now 24 - Apple launched its first Australian dollar corporate bond issue, raising $1.2bn within two hours this morning. Strong demand for the US tech giant’s fixed and floating, four and seven year Kangaroo bonds saw the firm outstrip predictions it would raise between $500m and $1bn. Apple bonds are popular because the AA+ rated company is considered an ultra-safe investment, although yields are correspondingly low — about 3% on four-year bonds and about 3.8% on seven-year bonds - The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the responses received to the Joint Committee Discussion Paper on Key Information Document for PRIIPS. The responses can be downloaded from the regulator's website - Romania’s MV Petrom reportedly is planning a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange. According to Romanian press reports, the local investment fund Fondul Proprietatea may sell a significant stake in the company via public offering on the Bucharest Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange. OMV Petrom, with a current market capitalisation of €4.85bn has announced that it will ask its shareholders’ approval for a secondary listing in London. The general shareholders meeting is scheduled for September 22nd. Austrian group OMV, holds 51% of the company’s shares; other shareholders include the Romanian state, via the Energy Ministry, with a 20.6% stake, and investment fund Fondul Proprietatea, which holds 19%. The remaining 9.4% is free-float - Morgan Stanley (NYSE/MS) today announced the launch of a new fund, the IPM Systematic Macro UCITS Fund, under its FundLogic Alternatives plc umbrella. The fund provides exposure to IPM’s Systematic Macro strategy, which is based on IPM’s proprietary investment models that provide unique insights into how fundamental drivers interact with the dynamics of asset price returns. The FundLogic Alternatives Platform currently has more than $2.6bn in assets under management (as of 31 July 2015) and this latest addition expands Morgan Stanley’s offering of global macro strategies - Equities sold off hard this morning as continued pressure on Chinese stocks rippled throughout world markets. Chinese government intervention brought the Shanghai Composite back a positive close; but the question is now, has confidence eroded so much that the market will continue to depend on the government to prop it up? The other key element to consider today is the outcome of the debate in the German parliament on the Greek bailout. Last month, a record 65 lawmakers from the conservative camp broke ranks and refused to back negotiations on the bailout. The daily Bild estimated that up to 120 CDU and CSU members out of 311 might refuse to back the now-agreed deal. However, Chancellor Merkel is looking to secure support from the Social Democrats (SPD), Merkel's junior coalition partner, and the opposition Greens which will likely swing the final decision Greece’s way. However, a rebellion by a large number of her allies would be a blow to the highly popular Chancellor.

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FTSE Group’s March review of countering bribery criteria and FTSE4Good

Friday, 09 March 2012
FTSE Group’s March review of countering bribery criteria and FTSE4Good FTSE Group, the global index provider, has announced changes following its March FTSE4Good and ESG Ratings semi-annual review; including the roll-out of new countering bribery criteria to be applied to the assessments of over 1200 companies.  http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

FTSE Group, the global index provider, has announced changes following its March FTSE4Good and ESG Ratings semi-annual review; including the roll-out of new countering bribery criteria to be applied to the assessments of over 1200 companies. 

The changes are expected to lead to improvements in the index; supported by new research from Edinburgh University that shows that the engagement FTSE carries out with companies regarding new FTSE4Good criteria has led to hundreds of companies globally improving their environmental, social and governance practices.

The FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards, and to facilitate investment in those companies. The index series is now being complemented with the launch of the FTSE4Good ESG Ratings, to provide a broader range of ESG data and services.



The indices are governed by an independent ‘FTSE4Good Policy Committee’ which meets in March and September for index reviews.  This committee directs the evolution and development of the criteria for the index series, and approves additions and deletions to the index at reviews in line with the inclusion criteria and index ground rules. 

The FTSE4Good ESG Ratings can be used in a variety of ways, building a basis for active portfolio management, company engagement, customised indices, ESG risk analysis or research and analysis.

24 additions, 13 deletions to the FTSE4Good Index Series

The March semi-annual review has seen 24 new additions to the FTSE4Good Index Series from ten countries. This includes Siemens, a company which has faced up to the very costly and damaging bribery scandals of its past, through making considerable changes throughout its business to embed new governance and compliance systems.  Another company that has made significant changes and is added is EDF.

As a result of stringent criteria for nuclear safety and waste disposal being introduced in 2010, companies involved in nuclear power generation are no longer excluded from the index series. EDF has become only the fifth company globally to meet the detailed industry-specific criteria. The largest number of additions at this review are from the USA, contributing seven of the companies. Representation of South Korea has also seen a significant increase with four companies joining the existing eleven. At the same time, 13 companies are being deleted from the index for no longer meeting the FTSE4Good criteria. More details on additions and deletions are available on FTSE’s website (see notes section for more details). The changes to the index will be effective after the close of markets on 16 March 2012.

Details of the new criteria can be found at the following link upon free registration http://www.ftse.com/analytics/ftse4good-esgratings/

Countering Bribery Criteria Roll-Out

The practice of bribery is a risk to long term investors.  Although it can allow companies to secure lucrative contracts in the short term it can have disastrous consequences when these acts are uncovered, through litigation and impacts on intangible value such as brand and reputation.  As new bribery regulations, such as the 2011 UK Bribery Act, are introduced around the world, and with increased global communication, the risks associated with bribery are increasing.  FTSE is responding by providing investors with more detailed corporate bribery data through the FTSE ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) Ratings service and will also be incorporating this within the criteria assessments for the FTSE4Good Index Series.

Previously only those companies deemed to be facing the very greatest potential risk of bribery were being assessed, now the criteria will be rolled out to cover an additional 1200 companies that are defined as “medium risk” based on their industrial sector, countries of operation and public sector contracts.  Of these, approximately 550 are in the FTSE4Good Index Series, and 130 companies will need to make improvements in order to maintain inclusion in the index.  The criteria, set out in full on FTSE’s website, consider how well companies are reducing the likelihood of bribery and draws on Transparency International’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery Details of the new criteria can be found at the following link upon free registration http://www.ftse.com/analytics/ftse4good-esgratings/.

Edinburgh University research on the impact of FTSE4Good on corporate practices

Established over a decade ago now in partnership with EIRIS, the FTSE4Good Index has a track record of regularly strengthening the eligibility criteria. These enhancements provide investors with a more detailed analysis of ESG investment risk but also act to stimulate change in corporate practices.  FTSE’s Responsible Investment Unit undertakes a direct engagement programme with companies facing potential deletion from the index series. Research from Edinburgh University has identified that this form of engagement has been highly effective at stimulating improvements in corporate practices.  From an analysis of the responses of over a 1000 companies they found that the rate of improvement on ESG practices doubles when the company is in direct engagement with FTSE regarding FTSE4Good criteria. See Mackenzie et al (Nov 2011) at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1966474 It is expected that FTSE’s engagement with companies on the countering bribery criteria will also have this impact.

 

2 See Mackenzie et al (Nov 2011) at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1966474

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