Saturday 23rd May 2015
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, MAY 22ND: The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Beliz Chappuie as CalPERS' Chief Auditor, effective July 31, 2015 - Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said the country will switch its energy focus to solar power as the nation envisages an end to fossil fuels, possibly around 2040-2050, Reuters reports. "In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don't know when, in 2040, 2050... we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy," Ali Al-Naimi told a business and climate conference in Paris, the news service reports. "Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?" The minster is also reported to say he still expects the world's energy mix to be dominated by fossil fuels in the near future - Barclays has appointed Steve Rickards as head of offshore funds. He will lead the creation and implementation of the bank’s offshore funds strategy and report directly to Paul Savery, managing director of personal and corporate banking in the Channel Islands. For the last four years Mr Rickards has been heading up the Guernsey Funds team providing debt solutions for private equity and working with locally based fund administrators. Savery says: “Barclays’ funds segment has seen some terrific cross functional success over the past year or so. Specifically, the offshore business has worked hand in hand with the funds team in London to bring the very best of Barclays to our clients, and Steve has been a real catalyst to driving this relationship from a Guernsey perspective.” - Moody's has downgraded Uzbekistan based Qishloq Qurilish Bank's (QQB’s) local-currency deposit rating to B2, and downgraded BCA to b3 and assigned a Counterparty Risk Assessment of B1(cr)/Not prime(cr) to the bank. The agency says the impact on QQB of the publication of Moody's revised bank methodology and QQB's weak asset quality and moderate loss-absorption capacity are the reasons for the downgrades. Concurrently, Moody's has confirmed QQB's long-term B2 foreign-currency deposit rating and assigned stable outlooks to all of the affected long-term ratings. The short-term deposit ratings of Not-prime were unaffected - Delinquencies of the Dutch residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market fell during the three-month period ended March 2015, according to Moody's. The 60+ day delinquencies of Dutch RMBS, including Dutch mortgage loans benefitting from a Nationale Hypotheek Garantie, decreased to 0.85% in March 2015 from 0.92% in December 2014. The 90+ day delinquencies also decreased to 0.66% in March 2015 from 0.71% in December 2014.Nevertheless, cumulative defaults increased to 0.65% of the original balance, plus additions (in the case of master issuers) and replenishments, in March 2015 from 0.56% in December 2014. Cumulative losses increased slightly to 0.13% in March 2015 from 0.11% in December 2014 – Asset manager Jupiter has recruited fund manager Jason Pidcock to build Asian Income strategy at the firm. Pidcock J has built a strong reputation at Newton Investment Management for the management of income-orientated assets in Asian markets and, in particular the £4.4bn Newton Asian Income Fund, which he has managed since its launch in 2005. The fund has delivered a return of 64.0% over the past five years compared with 35.9% for the IA Asia Pacific Ex Japan sector average, placing it 4th in the sector. Since launch it has returned 191.4 against 154.1% for the sector average. Before joining Newton in 2004, Jason was responsible for stock selection and asset allocation in the Asia ex-Japan region for the BP Pension Fund.
Europe

The EU issued a consultation in February as a first step towards a possible initiative creating an EU framework for simple, transparent and standardised securitisation. ESMA’s response to the consultation focuses on transparency and disclosure information. ESMA’s response presents the view that provided investor’s interests are appropriately safeguarded, securitisation could provide an alternative to bank funding. This would however require a credible regulatory framework to ensure investors can assess all the relevant factors before making an investment decision. 

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New research from the SWIFT Institute shows that mutual fund service outsourcing can bring benefits to investors; lower subscription fees and fund performance top the list. The research investigates the consequences of outsourcing different types of services by mutual funds in Europe. While most research has focused on the US funds market and middle/back office services, the SWIFT Institute examines the full scope of services that are outsourced by administrators, transfer agents, custodians, advisors, trustees, and auditors across Europe. 

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The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest", such as investigative journalists, under new rules already agreed with the Council and endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to step up the fight against tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved.

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It would have come as a surprise if the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) had not responded positively to a raft of potential financial market legislation currency in formulation by the European Commission (EC). The European market regulator and the Commission are inevitably involved in a life-long embrace. ESMA has issued responses at the same time to three important legislative elements of the EC’s extensive legislative programme: namely, the Prospective Directive, the Securitisation Directive and the compass of the flagship Capital Markets Union initiative.

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What a difference eight years makes. In a startling reversal of fortunes, the eurozone will record the largest current account surplus in the world in 2015 at $358bn, according to Standard & Poor's enhanced free database for Sovereign Risk Indicators (SRI) released today. The eurozone surplus is 62% larger than that of second-placed China, and also exceeds the surplus of China, all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Japan combined (which together add up to $354bn).

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Yes, according to an expert panel at last week’s Guernsey Funds Forum 2015, some fund managers are passing up European investment opportunities in a bid to steer clear of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

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Eight new European Power futures have contracts have been launched on CME Europe.  European Power futures are base load and peak load contracts covering the German, French, Spanish and Italian markets and are all cash settled against the leading power auctions for each market.

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European high-yield bond volumes were solid in April 2015 at $18bn, but remained well below the $27bn recorded in April 2014, says Moody's.Rated leverage loan volumes trailed behind at $3.8bn for April, significantly lower than the $17bn recorded in April 2014 and the lowest monthly level for 2015.

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