Saturday 25th April 2015
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, APRIL 24th 2015:Luc Luyet, CIIA – Senior Market Analyst AT Swissquote says that yesterday, “the SNB surprised the market by announcing that the number of sight deposit account holders that are exempt from negative interest has been reduced. This decision doesn’t change much the domestic banks’ situation as the “20 times the minimum reserve requirement” rule is still running. On the other side, the institutions associated with the Confederation, such as the pension fund of the Confederation or the pension fund of the SNB, are no longer exempt of negative interest. Consequently, only the account holders of the national social security system are still fully exempt.” - High yield debt issuance remains buoyant. Issuance volume for the week ending April 17, 2015, slowed down a bit from the previous week, but remained strong. Junk bond, or high-yield debt, issuers continued to issue bonds as yields remained favourable. High-yield debt is tracked by the SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond ETF and the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund. According to data from S&P Capital IQ/LCD, dollar-denominated bonds amounting to $10.75bn were issued across 16 transactions in the week ending April 17th. The issuance volume fell by 3.2% from the week ending April 10. Pricing was evenly spread across the week. The number of transactions fell from 18 to 16 week-over-week. Last week brought the total US dollar issuance of high-yield debt to $115.8bn in 2015 YTD, up some 15% from the same period in 2014, the bulk of which is refinancing of older debt - Moody's says EMEA auto ABS performance remained stable during the three-month period ending February 2015. The sector's average performance trend was positive in terms of delinquency ratios and cumulative losses. The 60+ day delinquencies decreased to 0.66% in February 2015 from 0.77% in February 2014, while cumulative defaults decreased to 1.06% from 1.20% over the same period. This decrease was due mainly to the good performance of the German and Dutch markets. The prepayment rate increased slightly to 13.49% in February 2015 from 13.30% a year earlier. As of February 2015, the pool balance of all outstanding rated auto ABS transactions was €27.55bn - According to Sino specialists Red Pulse, China’s State Council is considering allowing daily repatriation for QFII. Currently, RQFII enjoys T+1 repatriation while QFII is restricted to T+5. QFII is the largest channel for foreign investment into China with quota of USD150bn, however, only half of the quota is in use, like at least partly due to the five-day repatriation stipulation - Malaysia’s state pension fund will offer a Shari’a-compliant investment option for its members by 2017, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today. Najib says it will create the largest Shari’a fund of its kind in the world. Malaysia has one of the world’s largest Islamic finance sectors and the authorities are keen to develop it further. They envision the industry accounting for 40% of the country’s total banking assets by 2020 compared with latest figures of around 23% released last year. The $160bn (MYR577.4bn) Employees Provident Fund (EPF) already invests about a third of its portfolio in stocks and bonds that comply with Islamic principles, which ban interest payments and pure monetary speculation. The fund reportedly hired consultants last year to study the feasibility of a state-backed pension fund focusing entirely on Shari’a-compliant investments. Additionally, local press reports says that Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional has received regulatory approval to issue a MYR1billion (around $275m) socially responsible Islamic bond - The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share on the company's outstanding common stock, an increase of 67% from the prior $0.15 per share quarterly dividend. The dividend is payable on June 26TH 2015, to shareowners of record at the close of business on June 12TH 2015 - Lazard Ltd today reported operating revenue1 of $581m for the quarter ended March 31st. Adjusted net income was $103m, or $0.77 (diluted) per share for the quarter. These results exclude a pre-tax charge of $63m relating to a debt refinancing2. Q1 2015 net income on a U.S. GAAP basis, including the pre-tax charge, was $56m, or $0.42 (diluted) per share. "Our Financial Advisory and Asset Management businesses continue their strong performance," says Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lazard. "In the first quarter, we refinanced and repaid a portion of Lazard's long-term debt, significantly reducing our interest costs," adds Matthieu Bucaille, chief financial officer of Lazard. "Consistent with our capital management objectives, we have increased the quarterly dividend by 17%, the fifth increase in as many years." -

Hedge Fund Association asks SEC for clearer rules on vetting investors; supports hedge fund advertising in comment letter

Wednesday, 06 June 2012
Hedge Fund Association asks SEC for clearer rules on vetting investors; supports hedge fund advertising in comment letter The Hedge Fund Association (HFA), an international organisation that represents hedge funds, service providers and investors, says liberalised advertising and solicitations rules contained in the new Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act could help hedge funds raise assets and “encourage emerging managers to continue to enter the industry.”  The HFA has also asked the SEC for clearer rules to verify that potential investors are indeed accredited as a way to “add further stability to the industry.” http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

The Hedge Fund Association (HFA), an international organisation that represents hedge funds, service providers and investors, says liberalised advertising and solicitations rules contained in the new Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act could help hedge funds raise assets and “encourage emerging managers to continue to enter the industry.”  The HFA has also asked the SEC for clearer rules to verify that potential investors are indeed accredited as a way to “add further stability to the industry.”

The HFA’s position is outlined in a comment letter submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 6th.  The SEC is soliciting comments before implementing regulations, scheduled to be published July 5th this year, which are expected to allow hedge fund management companies to communicate directly with potential investors for the first time in their history. Hedge funds would still be restricted to selling their securities to accredited investors such as individuals with a minimum $1m net worth and qualified institutional investors.

Hedge funds have been banned from soliciting or advertising their private offerings to the general public in exchange for being exempt from having to register their interests or shares with the SEC under Rule 506 of Regulation D. The lack of a clear definition of a solicitation has created confusion about what hedge fund managers can disclose in their marketing materials, at conferences or in the media.



Richard Heller, chairman of the HFA’s Regulatory and Government Advisory Board and author of the letter on behalf of the HFA, says the JOBS Act provision lifting the advertising ban does not weaken existing anti-fraud provisions forbidding people from using false or misleading statements to induce investors to invest in hedge funds. If anything, he wrote, “providing rules to strengthen a manager's decision to accept a subscriber's investment by following the rules to be drafted by the SEC that will for the first time provide a road map for managers to rely upon will, we believe, add further levels of compliance that the Dodd-Frank Act initiated.” 

The HFA’s comment letter comes two months after the historic signing of the JOBS Act, which the association praised at the time as being a boon to emerging hedge fund managers.  The HFA’s comment letter, says the association’s President, Mitch Ackles, ensures that regulators are able to consider the views of the whole industry, including its service providers, investors and those smaller managers which represent a majority of hedge fund firms.

“In addition to promoting a better understanding of and education about hedge funds, our association’s mission is to give a voice to the concerns of industry participants who may not otherwise have been heard,” says Ackles.  “That’s why we include all of our members in developing policy initiatives,” he adds.

A transcript of the letter, addressed to Elizabeth M Murphy at the SEC is provided below:


The HFA believes that amending the rules that relate to capital formation is fundamental to the continued growth of the hedge fund industry and that allowing general solicitations to further that outcome will encourage emerging managers to continue to enter the industry. Further, providing rules to strengthen a manager's decision to accept a subscriber's investment by following the rules to be drafted by the SEC that will, for the first time, provide a road map for Managers to rely upon will, we believe, add further levels of compliance that the Dodd-Frank Act initiated. While Managers have had subscription agreements in place (and internal policies to provide checks and balances for the manager), having rules in place to verify that potential investors are indeed accredited will add further stability to the industry.

The HFA recognises that the SEC may be concerned that opening the door to general solicitation may, to some degree, open the door to people who wish to perpetrate fraud in connection with false or misleading statements to induce investors to invest in hedge funds. We would remind the SEC that the JOBS Act in no way limits Section 10b-5 promulgated under Section 10 of the Exchange Act, nor does it limit Section 17(a)0 of the Securities Act. All of the state securities or "Blue Sky" rules relating to fraud remain unaffected by the JOBS Act and hedge fund managers continue to be subject to the anti-fraud provisions of the Investment Advisers Act.

Lastly, we note and support the changes to Section 3(c)(7) and would hope that the SEC will amend the language of the Investment Company Act as being available only to offerings not involving a public offering to be consistent with the JOBS Act.

The letter is signed by Mitch Ackles, president of the Hedge Fund Association and
Richard Heller,  chairman, Regulatory & Government Advisory Board, at the Hedge Fund Association.

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