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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Europe

It may be running Target-2 Securities, but the European central bank also needs to connect to the new centralised settlement platform. To this end it will migrate to SIA and Colt’s value-added network infrastructure in June 2016. The two companies will also provide the ECB with a message processing solution based on INTERCOPE’s BOX Messaging Hub, facilitating the integration of ECB’s application software to the TARGET2-Securities central platform.

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Last October, the European Court of Justice delivered judgment in the “Safe Harbour” case, declaring invalid this legal mechanism for the transfer of personal data from Europe to entities in the United States. Very soon afterwards the European Data Protection regulators issued a statement that set EU and US politicians a deadline of January 31st this year for the resolution of the problem, failing which enforcement of EU data protection law could follow. That deadline has passed, without the required resolution. Commenting on the passing of the deadline for the US and European Union to resolve the Safe Harbour case, PwC partner and head of data protection and privacy at PwC Legal, Stewart Room says, "Clearly, the failure by the US and European Union to reach a resolution over the Safe Harbour case is unhelpful, but there is no need for entities to panic. They are still in charge of their own destinies, for three reasons.

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From high frequency trading, to the commodities markets and beyond, MiFID II has sent shockwaves throughout the financial services industry.  Despite these issues stealing the headlines, there are also a raft of comparatively under-discussed changes that could, if handled improperly, add an unnecessary burden to company operations and balance sheets. James Foley, vice president of Customer Experience at smartnumbers, provided by BT, outlines the issues.

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In a sometimes damning report, European Court of Auditor’s report on the efficacy of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) role as the single supervisor of credit rating agencies (CRAs) in the European Union (EU) states that the regulator is not “fully effective”. ESMA took over the supervision of CRAs in July 2011, under the CRA Regulation. The report covers the period from the start of ESMA’s supervisory role to September last year and highlights deficiencies in the thoroughness of ESMA’s supervision of ratings agencies.

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European IPOs finished 2015 on a high with total annual proceeds up 16% (to €57.4bn) and average offering value* up 27% (to €248m) year on year. London IPO proceeds decreased by 16% as the market was affected by general election fears, Chinese contagion and tumbling oil prices. PwC’s London outlook remains cautious and less optimistic than this time last year, with overall proceeds expected to fall in 2016 The London IPO pipeline still contains attractive investment opportunities, but increases in the number of postponed or cancelled deals are expected in 2016 as companies battle against market volatility and challenging market conditions, according to PwC’s latest IPO Watch, published today. Some 61 IPOs were postponed or withdrawn in 2015 (compared to 49 in 2014), 44 of which were due to market conditions.

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The European Commission must prioritise non-bank finance and deeper capital markets as part of its regulatory review, according to the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA). AIMA made the comments in its response to the European Commission’s Call for Evidence on the EU regulatory framework for financial services, published in September last year.

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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a consultation paper on a portion of Europe’s Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), which comes into force in July this year. Key to this convoluted consultation is understanding how best to sound out market participants about getting involved in a securities transaction and when the information they are given constitutes inside information and when it doesn’t. It is a highly nuanced paper.

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The amount of outstanding Euro commercial paper (CP) and certificates of deposit (CD) increased over the week ending January 27th, according to CMDportal data. Outstandings increased by $4.1bn to $869.8bn, with the government sector again responsible for the increase. All other sectors had decreases in outstandings. In the last week, government outstandings increased by $5.4bn to $229bn, outstandings have increased by U$20bn (9.6%) in the last three weeks.  

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