The finance industry briefing
The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month
News in Numbers
Switzerland’s banking lobby has revealed that the wealthy Russians have stashed away more than $200bn in the country’s banks.
The rare disclosure from the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) follows Switzerland’s move to break its long-observed neutrality and join the US and other western countries in sanctions against Russia over its continuing military attack in Ukraine.
The SBA estimates show that Swiss banks may hold between CHF150bn and CHF200bn on behalf of Russian clients in offshore accounts.
European digital asset investment firm CoinShares has acquired an additional 20.8% stake in Swiss firm FlowBank.
CoinShares will pay $26.5m (CHF 24.74m) for the deal, which has been approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
The firm first acquired a 9.02% interest in FlowBank in October 2021 as part of strategic investment.
One in three (32%) female entrepreneurs have experience sexism as a business owner, while one in five (19%) have also experienced gender inequality. This includes unequal access to opportunities. The statistics for women in business show that there is a long road ahead before equality in the sector.
This is according to a study by Simply Business. It also found that 91% of female entrepreneurs say gender bias and inequality is prevalent in business. A third descried it as “widespread” or “severe”.
Over a fifth (22%) have faced investors, colleagues or customers making quick assumptions about them or underestimating them.
Goldman Sachs’ GQG international equity fund has slashed Russian exposure to approximately $222m from more than $1.7bn six months ago, according to a Reuters report.
The fund, which has holdings in Russia’s Lukoil, Rosneft, and Gazprom is said to be the only Goldman Sachs fund with exposure to Russia.
According to a statement by the US investment giant, the fund’s Russian exposure was 0.99% as of the end of February 2022.
Shares, the social trading app, has secured $40m in a Series A funding round, confirming our scoop from February. The round brings the total venture capital injected into the fintech startup to $50m. The company stayed mum about what the cash injection means for its valuation, but sources with intimate understanding of the deal that spoke to Verdict put it somewhere around €180m ($200m) ahead of the announcement.
Valar Ventures led the round. The venture capital firm is run by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel who recently announced that he’s leaving Meta’s board. He was an early investor in Facebook, but has since become a controversial figure following his support of ousted US president Donald Trump. Other investors backing Shares’ Series A round included Singular, Global Founders Capital and Red Sea Ventures.
The Series A round will enable Shares to expand its app from the UK, where it has only been accessible the 60,000 people on its waitlist, to Europe. The start-up has offices in London, Paris and Krakow.
REYL Intesa Sanpaolo selects chief impact officer
REYL Intesa Sanpaolo, the Swiss banking group majority-owned by Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, has hired Jon Duncan as chief impact officer.
His role will be to develop and implement the bank’s impact strategy in Geneva. In addition, he will lead the group’s impact activities and align the business with the global transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and socially-inclusive growth path.
Furthermore, his task is aligning and coordinating impact practices and tools across REYL Intesa Sanpaolo’s business lines. This includes leveraging the approach to impact measurement developed by Asteria Obviam, an impact and financial research platform using big data and machine learning.
Stonehage Fleming appoints director to wealth planning team
International family office Stonehage Fleming has expanded its wealth planning team with the hiring of Nick Toubkin as director.
As director, Toubkin will work with the existing Stonehage Fleming team and assist in developing and delivering the wealth planning offering to UK and international markets.
In addition, he will be based in the London office and report to Susie Hillier, partner and head of wealth planning. The appointment is effective immediately.
BNY Mellon CEO to retire in August; names Robin Vince as CEO-elect
The Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) has announced that its CEO Thomas Gibbons will step down from his role and the company’s board on 31 August 2022, after 36 years of service.
The firm has named vice chairman and global market infrastructure head Robin Vince as the new CEO.
Vince will serve as CEO-elect and president and work closely with Gibbons to ensure an orderly transition of responsibilities.
Before joining BNY Mellon, Vince worked at Goldman Sachs for 26 years.
He held several key roles at the firm, including the positions of chief risk officer and member of the management committee.
Credit Suisse strengthens asset management arm with senior hires
Credit Suisse has made three senior appointments for its asset management unit, which is set to operate under the company’s new structure from next month, reported Reuters.
The latest appointments include two external hires as well as an internal promotion, a spokesperson for Credit Suisse Asset Management told the news agency.
The Swiss wealth manager has hired Colin Fitzgerald from Invesco as head of distribution and Jo McCaffrey from PineBridge Investments as global head of product.
The firm also promoted Filippo Rima to the position of global head of investment.
Standard Chartered India appoints head of wealth management
Standard Chartered Bank India has appointed Saurabh Jain as its head of wealth management.
Jain will take over from Samrat Khosla, who is taking on a new role within the firm. He was previously CEO of Standard Chartered Securities and before becoming the head of deposit products and client acquisition with Standard Chartered Bank India.
Furthermore, he will report to Kusal Roy, Head, Consumer, Private and Business Banking (CPBB) India and Eugene Puar, Head, Wealth Management ASEAN, South Asia, and Singapore.
Sanctuary Wealth acquires minority interest in EverNest Financial
Sanctuary Wealth has acquired an undisclosed minority position in Indianapolis-based EverNest Financial Advisors.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
EverNest Financial has over $390m in assets under management. The firm provides financial planning and investment advisory services to high-net-worth (HNW) individuals and families.
British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne, following UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the Freeports selection process will see the first sites in England set up by the end of 2021:
“This is a welcome development and by being more inclusive in terms of the number of freeports there might be, the government can now explore how to better deliver on its levelling up agenda without picking regions over each other. Coastal communities are often in areas of high deprivation and have also experienced challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown so this potentially transformative policy will be welcomed across a range of suitable locations.”
Dubai’s Shuaa Capital acquires controlling stake in fintech Souqalmal
Dubai-based asset management and investment banking platform Shuaa Capital has acquired a controlling stake in Souqalmal as part of its strategic investment in the fintech firm.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The investment will provide the growth capital needed for Souqalmal to drive its growth plan in the next 24 months.
The firm is planning to strengthen its offering and launch a personal finance management platform that will include financial education and awareness.
It will continue to be led by CEO and founder Ambareen Musa.
Brookfield to scoop up La Trobe Financial for $1.1bn
Brookfield Business Partners has signed a deal to buy Australian non-bank lender and asset manager La Trobe Financial for approximately $1.1bn.
The deal price includes a contingent payment linked to the business meeting certain performance milestones.
Brookfield plans to fund the initial investment with approximately $765m worth equity, with Brookfield Business Partners investing around $250m, and the remainder from institutional partners.
Wealth Enhancement continues acquisition streak with double deals
Consolidator Wealth Enhancement has acquired Northern California-based RIAs Napa Valley Wealth Management and TrueNote Investment Advisors for an undisclosed sum.
Led by president and chief investment officer Kelly Crane, the acquired firms will be part of Wealth Enhancement’s InConcert Napa Valley Team.
Headquartered in St. Helena, California, the firms oversee over $400m in client assets. They also have additional offices in Walnut Creek and El Cerrito.