Saturday 5th September 2015
NEWS TICKER, THURSDAY, September 3rd: The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 28.3 points or 0.98% higher to 2906.43, taking the year-to-date performance to -13.63%. The top active stocks today were SingTel, which gained 0.82%, DBS, which gained 0.80%, UOB, which gained 1.40%, OCBC Bank, which gained1.13% and CapitaLand, with a 0.36%advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.55%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.24% - Madrid City Hall announced it would dedicate €10m out of its 2016 budget to a "welcome plan for refugees" to include housing, integration, psychological support and legal aid, City Hall spokeswoman Rita Maestre (Ahora Madrid) said during a press conference on Thursday. Maestre said a budget had been decided upon but that specific numbers had not: "We want to welcome all those who are fleeing from war", adding that given their situation "a permanent housing solution" would be needed in the city. The Mayor of the Spanish capital, Manuela Carmena, said on Wednesday that a decision would be taken at the city government meeting today: "The city of the hug must, of course, be ready to welcome refugees" - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is joining international efforts to clean up Tunisia’s Lake Bizerte with a €20m loan and technical assistance to support the expansion and rehabilitation of the sewerage network of the Bizerte region and the rehabilitation of three wastewater treatment plants located near the lake. The EBRD’s investment is part of an integrated environmental programme aimed at de-polluting Lake Bizerte and reducing sources of pollution through investments in wastewater, solid waste and industrial effluents. This programme is labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean and is part of the Horizon 2020 Initiative, which aims to de-pollute the Mediterranean by the year 2020. The European Investment Bank is providing a €40 million sovereign loan to the programme while the European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility is contributing a €15m grant for both capital expenditure and technical cooperation - Analysis of illicit financial flows (IFFs) by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) shows that over the period 2003-2012 the global volume of IFFs grew by more than 9% annually (. In 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), illicit flows were estimated at close to $1trn. In response to this unfettered surge in illicit capital leaving developing nations, the UN has endorsed target 16.4 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which commits the global community to “significantly reduce” IFFs by 2030. This UN action “represents an historic moment in development policy given that it is the first time the international community has recognized the illicit flows problem and pledged to address it,” says GFI President Raymond Baker - US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker named Eduardo Leite, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Baker & McKenzie LLP, as the new chair of the US section of the US-Brazil CEO Forum. “Mr. Leite has served on the U.S. section of the CEO Forum for several years, and I am pleased that he has agreed to serve as Chairman,” said Secretary Pritzker. The new US section chair was named after the former chair, Ms. Patricia Woertz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Archer Daniels Midland Company, submitted her resignation from the role. However, Woertz will remain a member of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum, and Leite will complete the current three-year term, which ends on August 13th 2016 - MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:MKTX), the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, today announced total monthly trading volume for August 2015 of $75.5 billion, consisting of $43.7 billion in U.S. high-grade volume, $26.7bn in other credit volume, and $5.1 billion in liquid products volume. MarketAxess is providing both the reported and adjusted estimated US high-grade TRACE volumes on its website. The Company believes that the adjusted estimated volumes provide a more accurate comparison to prior period reporting.

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North America

Mercer, a consulting firm in health, wealth and careers and a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), has announced the appointment of Simon O’Regan as president in North America.  Previously president of the Mercer EuroPac, region which includes Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand, he is succeeded by Martine Ferland, previously senior partner and leader of the retirement business for EuroPac. Pat Milligan will assume a newly created role focused on growth of the firm’s multinational clients.

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In a speech to the DerivOps North America 2015, CFTC chairman Timothy Massad highlighted market uncleared swaps – SEF confirmations and confirmation data reporting and error trades are now in CFTC sights. 

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State Street Global Exchange today released the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for February 2015. The Global ICI decreased to 105.2, down 1.4 points from January’s revised reading of 106.6. Confidence among European investors declined the most, with the European ICI falling 8.2 points to 105.9, down from January’s revised reading of 114.1, while in Asia the ICI fell by 5.3 points to 93.8. However, the North American ICI rose by 3.1 points to 104.3.

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Fidessa group plc (LSE: FDSA) today announced a key appointment for its sell-side business, Jay Biancamano is now head of equities product marketing for the Americas. Based in New York and reporting to James Blackburn, global head of equities product marketing, Biancamano will focus on driving the strategic direction of Fidessa's sell-side equities products to provide new and innovative services to its clients which deliver them real business value.

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Apex Fund Services, the independent fund administrator, has appointed Dennis Westley as managing director, North America with immediate effect. Westley will have responsibility for growing Apex’s North American operations and integrating potential acquisitions. Reporting directly to Apex’s Global CEO, Bill Salus, Westley will also manage Apex’s offices in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Toronto.

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Fitch Ratings-New York-09 February 2015: North American Exploration and Production (E&P) companies continued to announce reductions to 2015 capital spending in Q4 earnings calls as a function of lower oil prices, according to Fitch Ratings. Capex cuts are ongoing as the price of West Texas Intermediate has dropped over 50% since July of last year, and now stands at just over $50/barrel.

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Kames Capital has added to its equity capabilities with the appointment of Matt Harding. Harding joins the team as an investment analyst focussing on North American equities, reporting to Marcus Chandler, Kames’ head of North American equities.

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Aviva Investors will manage a new global tactical asset allocation retail mutual fund which is intended to address demand for risk-managed options for equity allocations, and is the latest addition to Virtus’ portfolio of open-ended mutual funds.

The Aviva Investors Multi Strategy range, AIMS, launched in the UK on the 1st of July 2014 and has since gathered over £480 million in assets* from investors looking for products that clearly align with their investment goals. Aviva Investors’ Target Return Fund aims to provide a specified target return by investing in a globally-diversified multi strategy portfolio, while limiting the volatility of those returns compared with global equities.

Commenting on the strategic partnership, Euan Munro, chief executive officer of Aviva Investors says: “Key to our approach is a commitment to delivering outcomes central to investors’ financial well-being and clearly aligned to their investment goals. We believe that our range of solutions can appeal to a broad set of investors from around the world, who in the current low-yield environment are seeking to secure positive returns across various market conditions.

“We’re delighted to be working with Virtus, as not only will the partnership widen Aviva Investors global distribution footprint by providing access to Virtus’ strong product development and distribution capabilities, it will also provide US retail clients with access to Aviva Investors’ specific expertise in the management of outcome-oriented multi-strategy solutions.” 

George R Aylward, president and chief executive officer of Virtus, adds: "When we develop new investment solutions for the mutual fund market, we want to get the best strategies from high-quality investment managers, so we look forward to working with Aviva Investors to offer multi-strategy investment solutions and then adding Aviva Investors as a manager as we expand into other strategies.

"We are particularly pleased to work with Aviva Investors Chief Executive, Euan Munro, who has been a pioneer in the development of multi-strategy investment solutions.  His team has specialised in using a collaborative, disciplined, transparent approach that seeks to create consistent and explainable performance in up and down markets.” The fund is expected to be available to investors in the second quarter of 2015 subject to regulatory approval.

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    Kathleen Hughes at Goldman Sachs Asset Management explains how UK corporate pension schemes risk underperforming as a result of historic asset allocation biases.
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    Richard Titherington, Chief Investment Officer for emerging market equities at J.P. Morgan Asset Management Performance so far this year across the emerging market (EM) equity…