Thursday 21st August 2014
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South Africa’s central bank has disagreed with a ratings decision by Moody’s to downgrade Capitec Bank Limited (Capitec) by two notches, and place it on review for a further downgrade. The central bank says it respects the independent opinion of rating agencies but that it does not “agree with the rationale given in taking this step”. Two reasons are given for the rating action: a lower likelihood of sovereign systemic support based on decisions recently taken in relation to African Bank Limited (African Bank), and heightened concerns regarding the risk inherent in Capitec’s consumer lending focus. “With regard to the first point, it is important to reiterate that the approach taken by the SARB to any resolution to address systemic risk will always be based on the circumstances and merits of the particular prevailing situation. Decisions will also be informed, as was the case with African Bank, by principles contained in the Key Attributes for Effective Resolution Regimes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which have the objective that a bank should be able to fail without affecting the system,” notes the central bank in an official statement. “This is in keeping with evolving international best practice. In the case of African Bank bond holders and wholesale depositors are taking a 10% haircut, which is generally regarded as being very positive given that the trades following the announcement of African Bank's results were taking place at around 40% of par. Therefore in fact substantial support was provided, not reduced. Moreover, all retail depositors were kept whole and are able to access their accounts fully,” it adds - According to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) credit card receivables increased by 2.1% in the second quarter to HKD112, after a reduction of 6.7% in the previous quarter. The total number of credit card accounts edged up by 0.7% to around 16.8m.The rollover amount, which reflects the amount of borrowing by customers using their credit cards, increased by 2.9% during the quarter to HKD19.2bn. The rollover ratio also rose marginally from 17.0% to 17.1% in the same period. The charge-off amount increased to HKD569mduring the quarter from HKD528m in the previous quarter. Correspondingly, the quarterly charge-off ratio rose to 0.51% from 0.46% in the previous quarter. The amount of rescheduled receivables transferred outside the surveyed institutions’ credit card portfolios reduced to HKD94m from HK$109m in the previous quarter. The delinquent amount increased to HKD249m at end-June from HKD239m at end-March. However, the delinquency ratio remained the same at 0.22% because of an increase in total card receivables. The combined delinquent and rescheduled ratio (after taking into account the transfer of rescheduled receivables mentioned above) edged up to 0.29% from 0.28% during the same period - Harkand has been awarded a contract to support Apache with inspection, repair and maintenance work (IRM) as well as light construction (LC) across their assets in the North Sea, following completion of a competitive tender exercise. The award includes the provision of vessels, ROV and diving services for a three-year period, plus two one-year options. The firm will also support offshore marine construction contractor EMAS AMC who have been awarded a separate contract for pipe lay and heavy construction as part of the same tender process. Harkand Europe managing director, David Kerr, said: “This contract is an important step in strengthening our close working relationship and growing our North Sea business with Apache.

Sovereign wealth funds move to real estate investments

Monday, 11 March 2013
Sovereign wealth funds move to real estate investments Sovereign wealth funds around the world are moving to diversify their portfolios, according to TheCityUK’s Sovereign Wealth Funds 2013 report, with deal transaction sizes getting smaller and emerging markets accounting for a growing share of investments.  http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Sovereign wealth funds around the world are moving to diversify their portfolios, according to TheCityUK’s Sovereign Wealth Funds 2013 report, with deal transaction sizes getting smaller and emerging markets accounting for a growing share of investments. 

The trend towards diversification has resulted in a 30% increase in investment into real estate globally by SWFs over the past twelve months, with information technology and consumer goods also seeing rises in allocation. The allocation increase is largely down to low bond yields in some developed countries and the volatility in equity markets.

The UK, particularly London, has benefited from SWFs’ increased allocation to real estate. Recent transactions include China Investment Corporation’s £245m purchase of Winchester House, the London headquarters of Deutsche Bank.  Gingko Tree Investment, part of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, has also invested more than $1.6bn in at least four deals including water utility, student housing, and office buildings in London and Manchester.

Other funds which have made real-estate investments in London during 2012 include The Korea Investment Corporation, the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global.

TheCityUK’s report also found that overall direct investments by SWFs dropped to a six-year low of $57bn globally in 2012. This was down more than a third on 2011 and 46% below the peak level of activity three years earlier, as SWFs focused more on their domestic markets. However, investments picked up in the fourth quarter of the year.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, says the increased investment in property by SWFs is a blessing for London, which is a prime real estate location and seen as a safe haven market for investors.

“The UK is a leading destination for SWF investments, accounting for one sixth of global investments since 2005, second only to the US, and attracting more capital than France, Germany and Spain combined,” explains Cummings. “These investments bring numerous benefits to the UK economy, including new jobs and capital for vital infrastructure projects.

“But the UK is also an important centre for the SWF industry as a clearing house for transactions and a location from where funds are managed. Our strong position stems from the structural strengths associated with the cluster of financial and related professional services firms, broad skills base, open market and pivotal international position of English law.”

TheCityUK’s report revealed that global SWF assets under management increased for the fourth year running in 2012, hitting a record $5.2tn, due to growth in existing assets as well as the launch of a number of new funds during the year. TheCityUK’s projections are for total global SWF assets to grow to $5.6tn by the end of 2013.

There was an additional $7.7tn held in other sovereign investment vehicles, such as pension reserve funds, development funds and state-owned corporations' funds, and $8.4tn in other official foreign exchange reserves.

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