Monday 8th February 2016
NEWS TICKER: February 8th 2016: SimCorp, a provider of investment management solutions says Vescore AG, a Swiss asset manager with $14bn in assets under management, has completed the implementation of SimCorp Dimension. Other divisions of the Vescore group will migrate to SimCorp Dimension in phase 2 of the implementation project, so the whole business will then operate on an integrated platform, designed to support modern, internationally active asset managers as they realize their growth potential. Frank Häusgen, senior sales & account manager at SimCorp says: “Vescore is another example that the ‘Investment Book of Record’ (IBOR) is so much more than a buzzword.” - S&P Capital IQ and SNL has rebranded as S&P Global Market Intelligence. The division’s new name is a strategic move forward as part of the integration of the two previously separate businesses, S&P Capital IQ and SNL Financial, under parent company McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE: MHFI). The businesses originally combined following the successful completion of the SNL Financial acquisition by MHFI on September 1, 2015. MHFI also recently announced its intention to rebrand at the corporate level as S&P Global, subject to shareholder vote in April of this year - RPMI Railpen has announced three new appointments to the in-house investment team for the Railways Pension Scheme. Sweta Chattopadhyay has joined as senior investment manager of the Private Markets team, joining from Adveq, a global alternative investment firm. Matthias Eifert has also joined the £22bn pension scheme from Macquarie Securities, and will take up the role of investment manager focusing on fundamental equity analysis and managing concentrated equity portfolios. Meanwhile, Tony Guida has joined the Alternative Risk Premia team at Railpen as an investment manager, from EDHEC Risk Institute - BCA Research, a provider of investment research, says has partnered with FiscalNote, a technology startup building a platform for analysing government risk, to integrate US policy data and analysis onto BCA’s digital platform BCA Edge. The collaboration will enable investors to factor in today’s complex regulatory landscape into their investment strategies and better understand how individual companies and industries are impacted by legislative actions, to identify alpha generating investment opportunities. The agreement with FiscalNote follows BCA’s collaboration with crowdsourced financial estimates platform Estimize to incorporate earnings and revenue estimates data on the BCA Edge platform - BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ: BSFT), a global unified communication software as a service (UCaaS) provider, has acquired Transera, a provider of cloud-based contact center software for small-medium business (SMB) and large enterprises. The acquisition positions BroadSoft to lead the fast-growing Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) market, while enabling service providers to offer a comprehensive cloud contact center portfolio with minimal new investments, rapid time-to-market, and seamless integration with BroadSoft's BroadWorks and BroadCloud solutions. BroadSoft believes that Transera's omni-channel (voice, email, chat and social) and analytics-driven cloud contact center software will enable businesses to optimise operational efficiency, strengthen financial performance and improve the business outcomes of customer interactions. "Today's acquisition brings together the leading cloud unified communications provider with a pioneer redefining contact center performance through omni-channel and big data analytics," says Michael Tessler, chief executive officer, BroadSoft. "The multi-billion-dollar contact center market is ripe for cloud disruption, and we now offer service providers a single stack solution with the flexibility to scale from SMB to large enterprise." "Cloud is rewriting the rules when it comes to how businesses can deliver a superior customer-engagement experience through simplicity, on-demand scalability, and advanced analytics," adds Prem Uppaluru, chairman and chief executive officer, Transera, who will assume the role of General Manager and Vice President of BroadSoft Cloud Contact Center - Singapore state-fund Temasek Holdings’ wholly owned investment arm Vertex Venture Holdings’ fourth Israel fund has been oversubscribed by as much as 50%, and is set to see its final close at $150m, according to Singaporean press reports. In the meantime, Temasek says it is set to close a new fund, Red Dot, also worth up to $150m to invest in mature Israeli high tech firms - Wealth manager Charles Stanley says it has appointed Vicky Casebourne and Elizabeth Feltwell as intermediary sales managers. Feltwell joins from The Ingenious Group and will work with financial advisers, solicitors and accountants across Scotland, Northern Ireland and London. Casebourne joined Charles Stanley in 2011 as a trainee investment manager from Brewin Dolphin. She worked as a central investment product specialist, assisting intermediaries with in-depth product analysis before moving to an intermediary sales manager role - Thin and thinner news from Asia today as Chinese New Year celebrations take over from worries about falling stock markets. The focus today is all on Japan: the Bank of Japan released the notes backing its decision to introduce negative interest rates (see news story below). Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.1%, but is still down 12% from the beginning of the year and is still at 12.8 times this year’s earnings according to S&P Capital IQ. Thailand's SET was up 0.4%. India's Sensex is up 0.1% (essentially flat), while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended down 0.01%. Other markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. The pace of the US Federal Reserve’s tightening on monetary policy still hangs heavy on the market, as last Friday’s jobs figures showed a 151,000 increase in jobs while insurance claims for joblessness stayed flat overall on the previous month. Contrast that with slower and still slowing growth in China, a nervous monetary policy from the PBOC, which is being steered rather than steering markets, still volatile crude oil prices (which can only get worse not better as inventories continue to rise), a collapsing market in Brazil, concerns about NPLs at Indian banks, and the threat of ever looser monetary policy in Europe and you can see why investors are running on empty. Crude oil prices remain sharply lower compared with several months ago, but the pace of falls might be easing. New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in March traded at $30.86 a barrel, down three cents from the previous close. The words rock and hard place come to mind this week as the US Federal Reserve will have to steer a delicate monetary course. On the one hand an increase might help cool the economy (but that won’t help US stocks); but if it says that the reason it doesn’t raise rates is because of worries about the global outlook, it will shake investor confidence in the markets and trigger another round of sell offs. The other key trend has been the steadily appreciating US dollar. The US dollar has risen since Friday, factoring in perhaps the possibility of an additional rate rise. The dollar was at ¥ 117.28 in late Asia, up from ¥ 116.82 late Friday in New York. The euro was at $1.1139, down from $1.1160. We’ll find out midweek, as Federal Reserve chair Yellen will testify before Congress on the progress of monetary policy on Wednesday.

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Policy intervention needed as momentum stalls on ‘sustainability’ says new Aviva Investors’ report

Monday, 18 June 2012
Policy intervention needed as momentum stalls on ‘sustainability’ says new Aviva Investors’ report Trends in Sustainability Disclosure: Benchmarking the World’s Composite Stock Exchanges, a report produced by Aviva Investors in partnership with CK Capital, reveals that while a number of European stock exchanges reflect a high level of integrated sustainability reporting from constituents, only 52 companies out of 4,001 mid large and mega caps around the world engaged in ‘complete’ first generation sustainability disclosure in 2010.  The paper has been prepared for the Sustainable Stock Exchange 2012 Global Dialogue, hosted by UNCTAD in Rio. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Trends in Sustainability Disclosure: Benchmarking the World’s Composite Stock Exchanges, a report produced by Aviva Investors in partnership with CK Capital, reveals that while a number of European stock exchanges reflect a high level of integrated sustainability reporting from constituents, only 52 companies out of 4,001 mid large and mega caps around the world engaged in ‘complete’ first generation sustainability disclosure in 2010.  The paper has been prepared for the Sustainable Stock Exchange 2012 Global Dialogue, hosted by UNCTAD in Rio.

The report says that while the majority of the world’s mid, large and mega-caps engage in some form of first generation sustainability reporting, it is now clear that the proportion of companies voluntarily disclosing each of the first generation indicators is slowing. Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, says, “Investors are increasingly demanding sustainability information from companies to inform their broader decision making, deepen the quality of market information available and ultimately the quality of our capital markets, so this decline is cause for concern. Our study shows a clear divergence across exchanges and sectors on the level of disclosure on sustainability issues and growing evidence of a slowdown in the uptake of sustainability reporting practices.  This reflects the lack of a co-ordinated reporting framework.”

“We see a real opportunity for policymakers to step in and define a common set of sustainability indicators. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition launched last month, which represents investors with assets under management of approximately $2trn, is urging all nations at Rio+20 to commit to develop an international policy framework. This framework should look to foster the development of national measures requiring, on a report or explain basis, the integration of material sustainability issues within the corporate reporting cycle of all listed and large private companies.” Doug Morrow, Vice President of Research at CK Capital and lead author of the report, adds: “This study shows that while the majority of the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation report some first generation sustainability indicators, the ‘actionability’ of this data for investors and other stakeholders is constrained by a lack of completeness, standardisation and timeliness.”



The wonder of it all is that with all the problems companies face right now in finding new business opportunities and markets that any investors are insisting on these kinds of constraints.  However, be that as it may, the report ranks the world’s composite stock exchanges* according to the sustainability disclosure practices of their listed companies.  The report investigates disclosure rates and timeliness for a range of seven “first generation” sustainability indicators:  energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, waste, lost time injury rate, payroll costs and employee turnover.

In a ranking of the world’s composite stock exchanges by overall sustainability disclosure, the Netherlands comes out on top, with Denmark (2), Finland (3) Spain (4) and South Africa (5) also in the top five. The Nordic countries rank particularly well with four countries appearing in the top ten. The two emerging market exchanges that score well are South Africa (5) and Brazil (9)**. 

Certain countries are also excelling in disclosure around particular “first generation” indicators with: 

Finland scoring the highest disclosure rate on four of the seven indicators: payroll data (91%), waste (83%), energy (78%) and GHG emissions (52%) South Africa has the fastest growing disclosure rate, ranking first in five of the seven indicators: water, waste, GHG emissions, employee turnover and lost time injury rate

Companies trading in Denmark are the world’s most timely sustainability reporters; 57% of all large companies on the Danish composite with a Q4 2011 financial year end had published 2011 sustainability data by 1 May 2012

Overall, financial companies had the lowest sustainability disclosure of all industries, ranking last on five of the seven indicators; energy, GHG emissions, water consumption, waste and lost time injury rate 

Utility companies came out on top in most indicators and ranked first on disclosure around GHG emissions, water consumption, waste and employee turnover

Regionally, Europe and South East Asia scored highest as being the quickest to market with sustainability data. Waygood concluded: “Markets are driven by information. If the information the market receives is short term, then these characteristics will define the way these markets operate. It is time for regulators to act.”

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