INDUSTRY FOCUS – Financial News Briefs: The Development of International Banking and Financial Institutions

The latest development of international banking and financial institutions in a global market of low oil prices, highly volatile stock performances, slower economic growth in China, and record low interest rates

By Kenny Lau


AB

Recent research by AB shows a continued decline in defined contribution (DC) plan participants’ understanding of investing in general and target-date funds (TDFs) in particular, reflecting a lack of financial literacy among US workers as confidence in saving enough for retirement among workers remains chronically low and few participants see a comfortable retirement as a reality.

Key findings include: 42 percent of workers say they’re not saving enough money for retirement to live as they do now. A quarter of them plan to delay retirement, while 32 percent say they will continue to work part-time. Less than half say they want to select their own mix of individual funds or are comfortable deciding how much to invest in each fund.

American Express

Approximately 42 million of Americans plan to move in 2016, an increase from 12 percent to 17 percent, according to AE’s Spending & Saving Tracker. Of those relocating in 2016, 53 percent will rent rather than buy, and only 40 percent plan to purchase a home in 2016, a decrease from last year’s 46 percent.

Nearly a third of millennials are said to be moving but they are not quite ready for a mortgage: 55 percent plan to rent and 41 percent plan to buy – similar to figures in 2015. A majority of millennials anticipate the market will be prime for a purchase in a year or two.

Apax Partners

PVH Corp, a global apparel company, has entered into an agreement to acquire the 55 percent interest in TH Asia Ltd (a joint venture for Tommy Hilfiger in China) that PVH did not already own. The purchase price for the transaction is approximately US$172 million, net of cash of approximately US$100 million, subject to adjustment.

The closing, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to occur early in the second quarter of 2016 and is expected to be slightly accretive to PVH’s 2016 earnings on a non-GAAP basis. The deal is advised by Apax Partners.

ASIFMA

An annex for transactions with payments denominated in offshore renminbi as part of the Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA) – which is based on the ISDA Additional Disruption Event Provisions for an Offshore Deliverable CNY Transaction and modified as appropriate for the GMRA to harmonize the alternative settlement mechanism – was launched a year ago.

It is an alternative of settlement provisions when using RMB as the funding currency and is designed to support the growth of offshore RMB centers as well as promoting overall liquidity of the market. It adds another currency to the REPO markets where settlements are usually conducted with the US dollar, British pound and EU’s euro.

Banco Santander

Banco Santander registered attributable profit in 2015 of EUR 5,966 million, a three percent increase compared with 2014. Underlying profit excluding the effect of non-recurring results grew an additional ten points, by 13 percent, and reached EUR 6,566 million in a year marked by global uncertainty with record low interest rates.

Both lending and customer funds increased by six percent and seven percent, respectively, resulting in the growth of commercial revenues by eight percent and underlying profit by 13 percent. Growing businesses allowed the bank to distribute a dividend per share of EUR 0.20 (EUR 0.16 in cash, 79 percent more than in 2014).

Bank of America NA

An automated US dollar cross-border cash pooling services for corporations operating in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone has been launched, allowing for US dollar payments and collections centralization and netting arrangements amid policy liberalization announced by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of China.

Supported by BofA Merrill’s Global Liquidity Platform, which allows corporates in China to leverage automated balance-sweeping capabilities, supports lending and borrowing quotas and enables regulatory reporting across multiple jurisdictions, it creates an approach more in line with the global enterprise cash management practices of entities by reducing cross-border payment fees, building efficiencies in cross-border settlement, and standardizing processing flows.

Bank of China (Hong Kong)

The Group’s profitability continued to increase in 2015, with profit attributable to the equity holders reaching a new high of HK$26,796 million, up by nine percent. Earnings per share was HK$2.5344. The growth was mainly driven by a strong increase in non-interest income. During the year, net fee and commission income delivered broad-based growth of 26.1 percent to reach HK$11,465 million.

As of the end of 2015, assets of the group totaled HK$2,367,864 million, an increase of 8.2 percent compared with the amount in 2014. Return on average total assets (ROA) and return on average shareholders’ equity (ROE) were 1.19 percent and 14.51 percent, respectively.

BlackRock

With the acquisition of FutureAdvisor, a provider of digital wealth management solutions with mobile and web applications as well as other technology-enabled capabilities, BlackRock has combined critical abilities to “serve the mass affluent in a convenient, scalable way,” thus improving the investment experience of a range of institutional clients.

The newly created platform will enable financial institutions – including banks, insurers, large and small broker-dealers, 401(k) platforms, and other advisory firms – to grow their advisory businesses by leveraging technology to meet a growing consumer trend of engagement through technology and to gain insights on their investment portfolios, particularly for making critical decisions around retirement.

BNP Paribas

In a new partnership, BNP Paribas Securities Services has been become AIA’s OTC derivatives operations provider in Hong Kong and Singapore, and will provide trade management, collateral management and trade repository reporting under the mandate. BNP Paribas has been operating in Hong Kong since 1958 in the market of institutional and private investors, corporates, and financial intermediaries.

AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group, and are currently in 18 markets across the Asia-Pacific region. It leads the market in Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) based on life insurance premiums, with total assets of US$172 billion as of May 2015.

BNP Mellon

BNY Mellon, a 230-year global banking institution, showcases the power of employee engagement in a series of multi-media stories covering 50,000 staff across 35 countries in a first-ever People Report – how to attract, engage and retain employees, exceed client expectations, enhance shareholder value and improve lives through sustained investment.

The 2016 report specifically explores the issue of talent management in six areas: leadership to move people beyond, support to drive powerful outcomes, knowledge and innovation for transformative results, delivery of global insights and expertise, collaboration as a unified force with shared values, and confidence in the form of trust, quality and integrity.

BVI House Asia

The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission, an autonomous regulatory authority responsible for the regulation, supervision and inspection of all financial services in the territory, has unveiled new procedural guidance for data filing particulars of businesses, with additional information on the format required by the Registrar for the filing of particulars of directors of BVI business companies.

This is in accordance to Section 118B (11) of the BVI Business Companies Act (as amended). Filing of particulars of directors of BVI business companies with the Registry of Corporate Affairs will be facilitated using the FSC’s VIRRGIN system. Filers must now explicitly make the directors details part of the public record of companies.

Charles Schwab

Nearly half of US investors make use of the tax season to address their broader wealth and financial situation, according to a survey of more than 1,000 investors. In the survey, 46 percent say they approach tax time with their total financial situation in mind, and 40 percent say they review their overall financial plan coincident with tax preparation.

Some 59 percent of survey respondents also expect to receive a federal tax refund this year. Of those: 49 percent will use tax refund for savings; 34 percent will pay off debt; 27 percent will invest (stocks, mutual funds and ETFs are most popular); and 23 percent will buy something special for themselves or someone else.

CITIC Pacific

CITIC Limited has announced the sale of a 100 percent equity interest in its subsidiary company CITIC Real Estate as well as the sale of the mainland residential property assets of another subsidiary CITIC Pacific. The estimated value of the transaction with China Overseas Land & Investment Limited (COLI) is approximately RMB31 billion upon initial appraisal.

Upon completion, CITIC will hold roughly a 10 percent equity stake in COLI, receive additional assets whose value is estimated to be approximately RMB6 billion and nominate a non-executive director to COLI’s board. The transaction is contingent upon approval by the relevant authorities and by COLI’s shareholders.

Credit Suisse

The sixth annual Emerging Consumer Survey by the Credit Suisse Research Institute – a detailed study profiling consumer sentiment and its drivers across the emerging world – indicates a drop in confidence, largely due to challenging market conditions and the global economic environment of 2015. The mega-trend of a growing emerging middle class, however, remains on track, particularly in India, China and Saudi Arabia.

With a fast growing consumer culture driven by a rapidly growing young middle class and access to technology as well as improving investor sentiments in emerging markets and currencies stabilizing, it is a “timely focus” on investment opportunities that exist in the emerging economies.

DBS

DBS Group’s net profit rose to a record SGD 4.45 billion in 2015, with fourth-quarter earnings up 20 percent to SGD 1.00 billion. Excluding one-time items, net profit increased by 12 percent to SGD 4.32 billion, while total income crossed the mark of SGD 10 billion for the first time, rising 12 percent to SGD 10.8 billion from higher net interest margin and broad-based non-interest income growth.

Return on equity rose from 10.9 percent to 11.2 percent. In terms of asset quality, specific allowances for loans rose slightly to 19 basis points of loans. The non-performing loan rate was unchanged (at 0.9 percent) while allowance coverage of non-performing assets remained at 148 percent.

Deutsche Bank AG

Deutsche Bank has developed a new effective exchange rate (EER) index for the renminbi and an associated set of sector-focused EER indexes. The new EER index, adjusted for supply-chain effects to bring a layer of analysis that goes beyond traditional trade-weighted indexes, is particularly useful for gauging China, where nearly 30 percent of imports are destined to be assembled and re-exported.

The Deutsche Bank index currently indicates a more modest appreciation of 19 percent, compared with the Bank for International Settlements’ REER index showing an appreciation of 31 percent for China since 2010. China’s loss of competitiveness from currency appreciation is, therefore, more modest than assumed.

Dun & Bradstreet

Global supply chain risk increased in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the latest Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Risk Index by Dun & Bradstreet. The result reflects the general unease about the state of the global economy with an increase in operational risk and a slowdown of the Chinese economy.

Key highlights from the index: supply chain risk in Asia Pacific continued to rise due to worsening economic conditions in New Zealand, Australia and China; sub-Saharan Africa’s supply chain risks fell slightly; and supply chain risks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remain high despite optimism about Iran’s re-entry into the global supply chain.

East West Bank

Net income of East West Bank in 2015 climbed to US$384.7 million, or US$2.66 per diluted share, an increase of US$38.8 million (or 11 percent from US$345.9 million in 2014). Total loans receivable also increased to US$23.7 billion (from US$21.8 billion as of end 2014), driven by increases in commercial real estate loans, commercial loans and consumer loans.

Total deposits in 2015 grew to a record US$27.5 billion (from US$24.0 billion in 2014), with a 17 percent increase in noninterest-bearing demand deposits, a 31 percent increase in interest-bearing checking deposits and a 10 percent increase in money market deposits. Nonperforming assets totalled US$128.4 million (US$132.4 million in 2014).

Euler Hermes

The number of overdue payments among UK businesses reached a two-year high in the final quarter of 2015, with increases reported in 14 out of 17 major industry sectors, according to Euler Hermes. It was a rise of 12 percent from the third quarter, and one in six firms reported cases of customers failing to pay for goods and services on time – suggesting challenging times ahead.

The Quarterly Overdue Payments Report – which analyses reported debtor payment incidents from 250,000 UK businesses – shows late payments were particularly acute in the construction sector, surging 26 percent year-on-year in 2015, while payment delays in automotive and electronics sectors fell 12 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

EXS Capital

The energy sector has been under tremendous pressure as oil prices touched below US$29 a barrel in January this year from a price of US$100 a barrel in September 2014. While prices of oil and gas have tumbled and made headlines around the world, it can be an asset class some investors find attractive.

Getting access to this asset class is easy, but vetting and choosing the right type of Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) based on volatility, structure and fees will require deeper analysis, according to EXS Capital in a recent discussion on the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF.

Franklin Templeton

Research Analyst of Franklin Equity Group Grant Bowers argues that a disconnect exists between the relatively strong fundamentals of the US economy and the weak performance of the stock market so far this year, leading to an extremely high level of market pessimism in the first few weeks of 2016.

Global concerns about growth in emerging markets and collapsing energy prices have led to the fear of another US recession despite generally positive domestic economic data. The US economy, in his view, is performing well and will likely surprise the global market with modest growth in corporate earnings, strong consumer spending and GDP growth between two and three percent.

General Electric

Following a previous announcement in September that it would explore opportunities to sell its investment management arm to another firm, GE has agreed to an acquisition by State Street Corp of GE Asset Management (GEAM) for up to US$485 million. The sale is part of GE’s transformation to focus on its industrial core.

The acquisition is also expected to increase State Street Global Advisors’ (SSGA) assets under management by approximately US$100 billion as it assumes responsibility of managing the assets related to GE’s primary benefit plans currently managed by GEAM including the GE pension plan – in addition to those of GEAM’s third-party client base.

Global Payments

Global Payments has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Heartland Payment Systems for US$4.3 billion. The transaction will expand Global Payments’ direct small- and medium-sized enterprise distribution, merchant base and vertical reach with Heartland’s strengths in direct sales and technology-led distribution.

The combined company is expected to serve nearly 2.5 million merchants globally and generate in excess of US$3 billion of adjusted net revenue (and US$1 billion of EBITDA) annually. As a result of the transaction, Global Payments anticipates raising its cycle guidance to high single-digit organic adjusted net revenue growth, up to 75 basis points of cash margin expansion annually and mid-teens cash earnings per share growth.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs, as announced in late 2015, will expand its clean energy target from US$40 billion (set in 2012) to US$150 billion in financings and investments by 2025 in the Environmental Policy Framework, established initially in November 2005 as a road map for continued environmental progress across each of the firm’s businesses.

Specifically, it will strive to be the first US investment bank to be carbon-neutral across its operations and business travel, target a US$2 billion green operational investment seeking to source renewable power for all of its global electricity needs, and deploy clean energy solutions to underserved markets to facilitate more equitable and affordable access.

Hang Seng Bank

The Hang Seng China H-Share Index Fund – one of the first northbound funds to have obtained approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission under the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) initiative – is now publicly available to investors in Mainland China.

The Fund as a feeder fund solely invests in the Hang Seng H-Share Index ETF through which Chinese investors can capture the performance of the H-share market. Established in 2003, it had assets under management (AUM) totaling HK$950 million as of January 2016. Under the rules of the MRF initiative, the value of units in the Fund sold to investors in the Mainland shall not exceed 50 percent of the Fund’s AUM.

HSBC

According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey of women expatriates, Hong Kong (63 percent) is a good place for career development among female expats, with China (59 percent) and Singapore (56 percent) following closely behind. Well over half of female expats in Hong Kong are able to earn more than in their home country.

Women expats in China say they are able to save more (63 percent) and they feel right at home within six months (38 percent). Top occupations for women working abroad are education (19 percent), marketing, media and creative jobs (12 percent) and financial services (12 percent).

Jefferies 

Jefferies LLC and E*TRADE Financial Corp have formed a retail alliance to provide E*TRADE customers with access to Jefferies’ underwritings of municipal securities. It builds on an existing alliance in which E*TRADE customers have access to Jefferies’ underwritings of US IPOs and follow-on equity offerings, expanding to offerings originated by the Jefferies Municipal Securities platform.

Jefferies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leucadia National Corporation, is the world’s only independent full-service global investment banking firm engaged in a full range of sales, trading, research, and strategy across the spectrum of equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and wealth management across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

JP Morgan

A new suite of indices called JP Morgan Asia Diversified (JADE) has been introduced to the market to provide investors with a benchmark that tracks local currency government bonds issued by emerging and developed Asian countries. It is an approach to accomplishing a broad inclusion of Asian countries as well as a balanced allocation of weights.

The two main composite series of the index comprise the JADE Broad and the JADE Global. The JADE Broad contains all eligible countries within Asia, excluding Japan, given they meet the index criteria regardless of capital controls. The JADE Global excludes countries with capital controls as well as those inaccessible to foreign investors.

KKR Asia

Investment firm KKR has recently announced the final closing of KKR Special Situations Fund II (KSSF II), with backing from public and corporate pensions, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, foundations, endowments, private banking platforms, family offices and individual investors. It is a US$3.35 billion global fund primarily focused on credit-oriented, deep-value investing in distressed or event-driven situations.

The firm believes the pricing environment for risk is meaningfully more attractive than in prior years as the number of credit assets trading at distressed levels has been increasing steadily for several months, coupled with the wave of redemptions in the distressed and opportunistic credit fund space.

MasterCard Asia Pacific

MasterCard has come up with a solution called MasterCard IQ series, designed to reduce the rising number of card transactions being falsely declined today, and a service called Automatic Billing Updater (ABU) which securely communicates account changes from banks and merchants to ensure a seamless experience for cardholders’ recurring payments.

The new solutions – available to issuers and merchants globally – are part of an approach to tackling safety and security while delivering uninterrupted payment services. The value of false declines per year has hit US$118 billion – more than 13 times the total amount lost annually to actual card fraud (US$9 billion), according to research by Javelin.

Moelis & Company

Moelis & Company had the best quarter of revenues since inception: it reported fourth quarter 2015 revenues of US$174.8 million, an increase of 21 percent year-on-year, reflecting growth in M&A-related activity during the second half of the year and an active restructuring business. Adjusted Pro Forma net income for the quarter was US$30.7 million or US$0.55 per share (diluted).

Revenues of fiscal year 2015 also reached a record, increasing by six percent to US$551.9 million, with adjusted Pro Forma net income of US$91.9 million or US$1.66 per share (diluted) for the year, compared with US$94.4 million or US$1.72 per share (diluted) for the same period in the prior year.

Natixis

Natixis Payment Solutions is partnering with CopSonic, a tech start-up, to create SwipeSonic, a secure payment device using ultrasound technology to encrypt information within music and voice and to transmit data entirely inaudibly to the human ear, making online purchases faster and easier while safeguarding security.

The new technology is also fast: secure online payment can take as little as 20 seconds from start to finish, without having to copy the 16-digit number, expiry date or three-figure security code of credit cards. Because it makes use of a one-time password or authentication code for each transaction, card details are not divulged to the online store.

Northern Light Venture Capital

Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) has a new addition to its portfolio of investment: it has recently become a part of a US$15 million financing package for Savioke’s Relay Delivery Robot – designed for use in the hospitality industry – along with investors Intel Capital and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

The latest round of funding has raised the total amount to US$17.6 million for the project following seed investment from Morado Venture Partners, AME Cloud Ventures, Google Ventures, and other individual investors. To date, NLVC – a China-focused venture capital firm targeting TMT, advanced technology and healthcare opportunities – has backed more than 100 companies.

Principal Financial Group

A new asset management and pension partnership is to be formed between Principal Financial Group and China Construction Bank (CCB) to jointly create business platforms for product development and market exploration in China, expanding on the existing relationship with CCB Principal Asset Management formed between Principal and CCB in 2005 for the China market.

Under the agreement, Principal will provide CCB – which received an approval from the China State Council to set up a pension company in November 2015 – with assistance beyond asset management and share its expertise in pension investment, operations, product design and other areas in the development of the new organization for China’s growing pension market.

Prudential

Group performance highlights of 2015: IFRS operating profit of £4,007 million, up 22 percent; EEV new business profit of £2,617 million, up 20 percent; underlying free surplus generation (after investment in new business) of £3,050 million, up 15 percent; and net cash remittances from business units of £1,625 million, up 10 percent.

In terms of capital and dividend: IFRS shareholders’ funds of £13.0 billion, up 10 percent; EEV shareholders’ funds of £32.4 billion, up 11 percent. Operating profits of business units: £1,324 million, up 17 percent, for Asia life and asset management; £1,691 million, up 10 percent, for Jackson life; £1,167 million, up 60 percent, for UK life; and £442 million, down 1 percent, for M&G.

Societe Generale

Societe Generale has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire 100 percent of Kleinwort Benson and Kleinwort Benson Channel Islands Holdings Ltd, the UK and Channel Islands’ wealth management business of BHF Kleinwort Benson Group SA, a company recently acquired by Oddo & Cie.

Kleinwort Benson will be acquired and eventually combined with Societe Generale Private Banking Hambros (SGPB Hambros) in a move to expand the private banking business with for the markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Both companies share a similar history of wealth management services in the UK dating back to the 1800s.

Standard & Poor’s

McGraw Hill Financial has agreed to the sale of Standard & Poor’s Securities Evaluations, Inc (SPSE) and Credit Market Analysis (CMA), two business units within S&P’s Global Market Intelligence division, to Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), an operator of global exchanges, clearing houses and data services.

Under the terms of the agreement, ICE can elect to satisfy its payment of the purchase price due at the closing of the upcoming transaction in either cash or shares of ICE’s common stock. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including required regulatory approvals.

Standard Chartered Bank

Results of a year-end Standard Chartered study on expectations of market performance are consistent with the challenging conditions experienced in the first quarter of 2016, with a conservative view to a “lackluster” market environment throughout the year among half of the 500 survey respondents.

Half of the investors surveyed, however, managed to make positive returns on their investment in 2015 through diversification. In 2016, investors are generally cautious about investment and tend to focus more on wealth protection, with a strategy of making investment in phases, holding more cash and opting for products with regular returns.

State Street Bank & Trust Co

According to data of the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for March 2016, the Global ICI increased to 114.6, up 8.0 points from February’s revised reading of 106.6, indicating a renewed appetite for risk among investors across all regions, with the North American ICI increasing from 109.4 to 123.6, European ICI from 90.2 to 95.3, and Asian ICI from 111.5 to 112.2.

The Investor Confidence Index measures investor confidence or risk appetite quantitatively by analysing the actual buying and selling patterns of institutional investors. The greater the percentage allocation to equities, the higher risk appetite or confidence, with a reading of 100 as neutral.

Tricor Services

Tricor Group, a member of The Bank of East Asia Group and a provider of integrated business, corporate and investor Services, has officially opened a new office in the Cayman Islands under the name of Tricor Services (Cayman Islands) Ltd for Cayman-incorporated businesses, in relation to entity formation, transfer agency, registered office-related facilities and other local corporate compliance formalities.

The new office will cater to companies incorporated in Cayman Islands and with securities listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, offering services available on location, including company incorporation, acting as principal share registrar and providing registered office facility as well as corporate secretarial services.

UBS AG

In a white paper titled Extreme automation and connectivity: The global, regional, and investment implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, UBS reveals that economic flexibility is vital to succeeding in 2016 and beyond amid the extreme levels of automation and connectivity, with the potential of dramatically changing the course of economic development and global distribution of wealth.

Specifically, low- and middle-skilled jobs will increasingly come under threat of replacement, further polarizing labor force and increasing income inequality. Extreme connectivity will heighten cybersecurity threats and increase geopolitical tensions, while US’ competitive advantages and reserve currency status may lead to a stronger dollar and pose a challenge for dollar-linked developing markets.

United Overseas Bank

United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) renminbi deposits in Singapore have doubled over the year of 2015 as a result of growing trade ties between China and Southeast Asia. During the year, nearly half of UOB’s client companies – mostly in the real estate, trading, natural resources as well as consumer products and services sectors – expanding into Southeast Asia were from China.

Corporate clients from China are increasing their RMB deposits in Singapore for trade, settlement and working capital in a bid to reduce foreign exchange conversion and hedging costs. Institutional clients, similarly, are diversifying their funding base as the Chinese currency becomes more widely accepted following IMF’s inclusion of the RMB in the SDR basket.

Vanguard Investments

Vanguard Investment Strategy Group puts the probability of an outright US recession over the next six months at roughly 10 percent – an outlook less bearish than is indicated by the financial markets, given the underlying momentum in the labor market. A slowdown in US job growth and a raise of US interest rates to one percent are far more likely than a recession in 2016.

The key takeaway: all recessions come with a stock correction, but not all stock corrections lead to recession. Likelihood of a US recession – as indicated in the current slope of the US Treasury yield curve – remains low.

Visa Hong Kong Ltd

In Visa’s eCommerce Consumer Monitor Survey, 64 percent of Hong Kong consumers cite quality of products and services as their top concern when shopping online, followed by high shipping costs or hidden charges/taxes (59 percent) and payment security (53 percent).

Nearly half (47 percent) of all shoppers in Hong Kong begin shopping online in one of four categories: bill payments, movies, travel and fashion; and 42 percent buy online in more than five categories. Devices for online purchases: 62 percent prefer to use a desktop or laptop; 30 percent prefer a smartphone; and eight percent prefer a tablet.

Wells Fargo Bank

The current market pessimism as a result of disappointing news out of China offers potential opportunities for investors with a disciplined approach to meeting their financial objectives, says Well Fargo’s Head Global Market Strategist Paul Christopher. The reason: despite China’s rising debt level (mostly among gov’t-owned entities), bond yields do not suggest a crisis, in part because China has a high savings rate.

Secondly, RMB devaluation is only part of a long-term strategy to open China’s financial markets to global trade while China moves from a manufacturing economy to a services economy. It is depreciating to realign with the dollar; it is not weakening against a broad group of currencies.

Willis Global Wealth Solutions

Remuneration among CEOs in Swiss Leader Index (SLI) companies increased slightly in 2015 in comparison with the previous year, on average by one percent to reach CHF 5.83 million (CHF 5.75 million in 2014), Willis’ CEO Remuneration in the SLI in 2015 reveals. But SLI companies with the highest market capitalization do not always feature top earners.

CEOs as top earners in direct remuneration: UBS (CHF 14.0 million), Roche (CHF 11.4 million) and Novartis (CHF 11.3 million). The CEO of Swisscom earned the least at CHF 1.6 million. Data of Richemont whose CEO ranked top in 2014 has not been made available.

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