Welcome to our asset management marketing focus
This week’s round up brings you a collaborative fund suite, Women in ETFs, Tesla turmoil, and the role of a child’s sandbox in a ‘Fintech Apocalypse’.
Movers & Shakers
Is now ➜ Head of Marketing Germany at NN Investment Partners
Was: Associate Director Marketing at Fidelity International
Gildas Le Treut
Is now ➜ Managing Director – Coverage at Societe Generale Securities Services (SGSS)
Was: Global Director Prime Clearing at ABN AMRO Clearing Bank N.V.
Kurtosys expresses their best wishes to all starting in their new positions.
Website Spotlight: Cromwell Property Group
Slightly off-piste from the usual asset management website is this brand aware offering courtesy of Cromwell Property Group, based Down Under.
The first instance of great functionality is the navigational attestation for select sites based on location. The ‘country’ box in the discrete top toolbar allows users to differentiate between a global landing page for the group, as well as regional sites tailoring content to the right places.
Speaking of the global landing page, there’s a few standout features. The colour scheme is in fitting with the logo, providing a lovely hue over a photograph of a Paris skyline, as some jagged shapes (akin to the logo too) outline the global AUM. These polygons subtly act as a cool design feature across this main page, complementing the white space that has been utilised. There’s also some excellent icons used to go alongside the useful statistics given.
Cromwell Property Group’s main site is content driven. Company-centric news permeates the featured articles on the main page, and the ‘About’ pages offer the same block design, with clear calls to action. When looking for different investment opportunities, the site directs the user to the correct location-based site when necessary.
Whilst the site does describe their fund individual funds in detail, and offers interactive pricing charts and downloadable reports, these could be shown with a little more prominence on a funds’ main page for good UX.
The aesthetics of this site are certainly appealing though, and the main page (and navigational main menu in particular) render down extremely well for mobile devices.
Funds in Focus: BlackRock ESG Range
Not only does this fund focus centre on the world’s largest asset manager, it’s also a collaborative effort with another fund behemoth – J.P.Morgan – and focuses on the offerings of the moment: ESGs.
Clearly not content with a mere solitary fund this time ‘round, BlackRock collaboration with J.P.Morgan is a whole suite of open-ended ESG funds, focusing on emerging market debt and sustainability. It will use a specialist benchmark indices – the JESG EMD indices, launched by the latter manager back in April.
The four funds are as follows:
- BGF ESG Emerging Markets Bond
- Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond
- Emerging Markets Corporate Bond
- Emerging Markers Blended Bond
These are all to be actively managed and rebalanced on a monthly basis. They are weighted systematically so those issuers with the strongest ‘ESG score’ increase their weight. They are looking to incorporate sustainable investing criteria to companies in emerging markets where the gap between the environmentally-forward leaders and those lagging behind is particularly large and obvious. Investors will be given exposure to debt issued by the government and public local authorities in these markets.
Spokesperson Giulia Pellegrini – the head of EMB sustainable investing at BlackRock – has stated this:
“The gap between ESG leaders and laggards is large in the EM world, and a strong ESG data can provide forward-looking information that captures the underlying deterioration of an issuer’s creditworthiness, sometimes well before standard macro credit metrics […] These funds harness our proprietary ESG scoring and other analytic tools to help build ESG-focused investment themes that take advantage of additional alpha-generating opportunities in the EMD space.”
With advanced scoring methods and a furthered interest in globally-aware sustainable issuers from some of the world’s largest asset managers, the future of data analytical tools and the more natural aspects on the planet may continue to be bettered from such investment opportunities.
Firm in Focus: JPMorgan Japan
Honing in on a regional sub-sector of an aforementioned manager now: the JPMorgan Japanese Investment Trust.
Citywire has reported that the £745 million investment trust has become the first of its kind to issue long-term debt completely in yen. It is also the first trust in the AIC Japan Sector to issue long-term debt to a non-bank lender. It’s cost of borrowing has been cut down to a mere 1.1%. It has borrowed 13 billion yen in five loans from a private lender, with maturities between 10 and 30 years, and interest rates of 0.76% and 1.33%.
Due to this, much of the trust’s borrowing needs are now all sorted until August 2048. At this date, the largest portion of 3.5 billion yen will have to be paid at a rate of 1.33%.
It has taken a different strategy to its main rivals in the sector, who have borrowed at lower rates with short term loans from banks:
- Schroder Japan Growth has a 6 billion yen loan with Scotiabank lasting 3 years, but expiring in January 2019
- Aberdeen Japan has been paying 0.78% on a 1.3 billion draw on a two-year overdraft with ING Bank.
- Fidelity Japan has UBS as a counterparty for a ‘contracts for difference’ derivative rather than borrowing money from banks.
JPMorgan Japanese Investment Trust is ranked second in the sector with a one-year shareholder return of 23.6%. Fidelity Japan remains tops of the tree with 26%.
Elsewhere in popular funds: ETFs.
Not only that, but Linda Zhang, PhD. (CEO of Purview Investments, who we had the pleasure of interviewing ourselves) is one advisor offering ETF portfolios also set on environmental and impact strategies. She’s also a co-founder of Women in ETFs, the first group within the industry focusing on the promotion and networking of the female workforce in the ETF space.
In an interview with Business Insider UK, Linda discusses the niche nature of exchange-traded funds, balancing the client side between millennials and institutions, as well as the difference between male and female investing.
The Women in ETFs organisation now stands at over 4000 members globally, excellently addressing the issue of the gender pay gap in the financial world, connecting and supporting women and all genders.
Regulatory Matters: Oh, Elon…
Investment news has certainly centred on the (rather questionable) actions of futurist extraordinaire Elon Musk in recent times. You may all be able to recall the time his last outburst on Twitter caused a stir in the shares of Tesla, and now it seems like Elon has landed himself in hot, murky water once again. This time, it’s with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As reported by Fortune, the SEC is looking into what could be a breach of regulations from Musk, who recently discussed the possibility of Tesla going private, with “funding secured”. Here’s the original tweet from the CEO:
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
But like a curious journalist, the SEC is hot on the tail to find out the true validation for this claim, with false statements actually making one liable for fraud.
The ongoing dilemmas for Tesla’s monetary matters are seemingly on a slippery slope, which is certainly causing panic and intrigue in the investing world. On one side, creating revolutionary technology, on the other, creating upset. It’s certainly an important focus for financial and regulatory fans right now; we’ll see how it progresses.
Fintech News: Crypto on the Ascent?
Always take a title like that with a pinch of salt of course; we know how sceptical the whole crypto industry gets. But some interesting news comes courtesy of Financial News, where UK banking giant Barclays is creating an X-Men style crack team of senior staff members to investigate the potential of trading with cryptocurrencies.
The Charles Xavier, as it were, of this “digital assets project” is Chris Tyrer, the global head of energy trading and former commodity trading expert. He will be joined by Dr Lee Braine (who could easily have a Marvel alias too), a senior technologist who has been working on Barclays’ blockchain technology capabilities for the past few years. It certainly sounds like two experienced heads looking to assess the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the crypto-world which could put the banks either on the bleeding edge, or in a regulatory minefield, or both.
This places the UK firm in the same position as such goliaths as JPMorgan, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs, who have similarly invested in crypto-research teams.
However, akin to some sort of financial regulatory Interpol (the organisation, not the band who have a potentially great record dropping imminently), is a new so-called Global Financial Innovation Network, rolled out by the UK’s very own regulatory body the FCA. The members of this group so far are 11 outfits from areas including the US, the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong, all clubbing together to share policy ideas for the use of the sandbox principle. Primarily used by the FCA, the sandbox allows startups to innovate and grow without familiar restrictions hindering their progress for a short time. Given the rapid development of certain sectors, regulators need to keep up-to-date before everybody else (a tough task), hence this investigative group’s formation. It’ll mainly focus on facilitating the growth of fintech in blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
Not everyone’s too over the moon about the sandbox principle however, along with the news of a ‘controversial’ new charter in the US, whereby fintechs can now become fully fledged banking providers. This is despite reactionary measures from lawsuits courtesy of legacy banks and credit unions. Alas, it’s now a reality, and along with the Treasury’s recommendations to allow regulatory sandboxes, it’s all kicking off what The Financial Brand is dubbing a ‘Fintech Apocalypse’.
Such terms including ‘Train Wreck’ and ‘Kid Stuff’ have been banded around by professionals in regards to sandbox projects, with heads such as the FB’s own co-publisher Jim Marous seeing these reactions as OTT, whereas Brett King (fintech influencer and social media guru) identifies the lateness of adoption from the Treasury Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
Many are doubting a large influx of fintechs looking to utilise the charter, but given the unpredictable nature of the fintech vs traditional banking ecosystem (whether they’re getting closer to friends rather than foes), it really is difficult to speculate the results of this charter. Watch this space.
…possibly one of the most notable banking loan stories of the week.
Arsenal Football Club’s controlling shareholder Stan Kroenke has reportedly borrowed a £557 million loan, and financial advice, from Deutsche Bank in his complete takeover of the historic club. Having already owned 67.09% of Arsenal FC, this deal from KSE UK will buy out the 30.5% stake held by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. You can read more about the deal here.
It’s another case of private ownership that’s not gone too well, with a multitude of criticism from Gunners fans, all before the 2018/9 season has even begun. On that note, tonight’s the night people: the Premier League Season is back. Get your fantasy league going, strap in, it’s hopefully going to be another bumpy ride.
That’s all for this week, but be sure to check back soon for more asset management marketing highlights and fintech snippets from Kurtosys.
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