Monday 30th May 2016
NEWS TICKER, FRIDAY MAY 27TH: BGEO Group plc, the London listed holding company of JSC Bank of Georgia, has this morning announced that Bank of Georgia, Georgia’s leading bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a GEL220m (approximately £70m) loan agreement with a maturity of five years. EBRD obtained the local currency funds through a private placement of GEL-dominated bonds arranged by Galt &Taggart, a wholly owned subsidiary of BGEO. This is the largest and the longest maturity local currency loan granted to a Georgian bank, which will allow Bank of Georgia to issue longer-term local currency loans, providing essential support for micro, small and medium sized enterprises to converge to DCFTA requirements, as well as underserved women entrepreneurs. “We are keen to develop financial products and lending practices, to service specifically women-led SMEs, which will ultimately increase their involvement in developing Georgia’s private sector”, says Irakli Gilauri, CEO of BGEO Group - The UK’s CBI has responded to analysis from the Treasury showing that a vote to leave the European Union could negatively impact UK pensions. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Economics Director, says that: “All pension schemes benefit when funds can be invested across a stable, growing economy, to best support people in their retirement years. Any financial market turmoil caused by a Brexit is likely to have a negative effect on household wealth, the value of funds and damage pensions here at home, especially for those looking to retire within the next few years. The sheer weight of credible evidence points towards a serious economic shock if the UK were to leave the EU, meaning a hit to the value of our private pensions, jobs and prosperity.” - EPFR Global reports that Nine weeks into the second quarter mutual fund investors remain underwhelmed by their choices as they seek to navigate a global economy characterized by political uncertainty in Europe, lacklustre corporate profits and the prospect of another interest rate hike in the US, economic stress in major emerging markets and Japan's experiment with negative interest rates. During the week ending May 25 all nine of the major EPFR Global-tracked Emerging and Developed Markets Equity Fund groups posted outflows, as did Global, High Yield, Asia-Pacific and Emerging Markets Bond Funds, seven of the 11 major Sector Fund groups and three out of every five Country Equity Fund groups. Alternative Funds look to have taken in over $1bn for the fifth time in the past 14 weeks. Overall, EPFR Global-tracked Bond Funds added $2.6 billion to their year-to-date tally while another $9.1bn flowed out of Equity Funds. Some $12bn was absorbed by Money Market Funds with US funds attracting the bulk of the fresh money. EPFR Global-tracked Emerging Markets Equity Funds remained under pressure from many directions. China's economic data and policy shifts continue to paint a mixed picture for growth in the world's second largest economy, the US Federal Reserve is talking up the prospects of a second rate hike this summer, Europe's recovery appears to be running out of stream and the recent recovery in commodities prices is being viewed with scepticism in many quarters. All four of the major groups recorded outflows during the week ending May 25, with the diversified Global Emerging Markets (GEM) Equity Funds seeing the biggest outflows in cash terms and EMEA Equity Funds in flows as a percentage of AUM terms. Latin America Equity Funds extended their longest outflow streak since late 3Q15 as investors who bought into the prospect of political and economic change in Brazil confront the messy reality. However, year to date Brazil has been the top emerging market for all EPFR Global-tracked Equity Funds as managers bet that the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff will open the door to more centrist economic policymaking says the funds data maven. Among the EMEA markets, the firm reports that GEM managers are showing more optimism than investors. EMEA Equity Funds have now posted outflows for five straight weeks and investors have pulled over $300m out of Russia and South Africa Equity Funds so far this month, though GEM allocations for both South Africa and Russia climbed coming into this month. The latest allocations data indicates less optimism about China despite is still impressive official numbers - annual GDP was running at 6.7% in 1Q16 - and the edge the recent slide in the renminbi should give Chinese exporters. GDP growth in Emerging Asia's second largest market, India, is even higher. Elsewhere, India Equity Funds have struggled to attract fresh money as investors wait to for domestic business investment and the government's reform agenda to kick into higher gears says EPFR Global – According to New Zealand press reports, stock exchange operator, NZX, will initiate confidential enquiries into listed companies that experience large, unexplained share price movements, to determine whether they may be holding undisclosed "material" information even while remaining in compliance with the market's Listing Rules that require disclosure of material information at certain trigger points. In an announcement this morning, NZX also warned investors not to assume that a listed entity's Listing Rules compliance statements meant they did not have material information in their possession which would potentially require eventual disclosure - Asian stocks were modestly higher today, largely on the back of increasingly softening sentiment from the US Federal Reserve. Most people think there will be one rate hike this year, but likely it will be in July rather than June. Either way, it will be one and not two or three. Fed chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to talk about interest rates at an event at Harvard University today and the expectation is that a softer approach for the rest of this year will be writ large; a good signal of intent will follow today’s quarterly growth stats. The presidential election will encourage caution; continued market volatility will encourage caution and mixed manufacturing data will encourage caution. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.4% to touch 16,834.84 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9% to 20,576.52. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% to 2,829.67. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 6.65 points or 0.24% higher to 2773.31, taking the year-to-date performance to -3.80%. The top active stocks today were SingTel, which gained 1.05%, DBS, which gained 0.07%, UOB, which gained0.11%, Keppel Corp, which gained2.47% and Ascendas REIT, which closed unchanged. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.27%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.30% - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says it is taking the first step towards developing a green financial system in Kazakhstan in partnership with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Authority. EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov signed an agreement today on the sidelines of the Foreign Investors Council’s plenary session to commission a scoping study for the development of a green financing system in Kazakhstan. The study, scheduled to be completed in 2017, will assess the demand for green investments, identify gaps in current regulations, and make recommendations for the introduction of green financing standards and for the development of the green bonds market and carbon market services. The development of a green financing system would be consistent with the COP21 Paris Agreement, aligning financing flows with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development. The AIFC Authority was put in place earlier this year and is tasked with developing an international financial centre in Astana. In March, the AIFC Authority, TheCityUK and the EBRD signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support the establishment of the financial centre and to encourage and improve opportunities for the financial and related professional services industries – Turkey’s Yuksel has issued notice to holders of $200m senior notes due 2015 (ISIN XS0558618384), and filed with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, that the company has agreed a term sheet with the ad-hoc committee of noteholders and its advisors to implement a restructuring of the notes and is currently finalising the required scheme documentation with the Committee. Once agreed, the Company will apply to the English High Court for leave to convene a meeting of note creditors to vote on the scheme proposals as soon as reasonably practicable when the High Court reconvenes after vacation in June 2016 - Following the agreement in principle of the May 24th Eurogroup for the release of the next loan tranche to Greece, domestic authorities have intensified their efforts for the completion of all pending issues reports EFG Eurobank in Athens. According to Greece’s Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos, on the fulfilment of all pending issues, €7.5bn will be disbursed in mid-June, of which €1.8bn will be channeled to clear state arrears – This weekend is the second UK May Bank Holiday. FTSE Global Markets will reopen on Tuesday, May 31st at 9.00 am. We wish our readers and clients a sunny, restful, safe and exceedingly happy holiday.

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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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