The finance industry briefing
The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month
News in Numbers
Eleven major US banks have poured a total of $30bn of uninsured deposits into embattled private bank and wealth management First Republic Bank to avert panic in the nation’s financial system.
The infusion is aimed at helping stabilise the bank, which has been reeling from a crisis caused by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank last week.
A Bloomberg report stated that First Republic Bank is considering strategic options including a sale to boost its liquidity.
Among First Republic’s rescuers include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, with each contributing $5bn in uninsured deposits.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are injecting $2.5bn each, while BNY-Mellon, PNC Bank, State Street, Truist and US Bank are providing $1bn each.
GoLogiq, a US-based consumer data analytics provider, has inked a mutual non-binding letter of intent to purchase a 51% stake in Australian institutional investment advisory firm CPG Research & Advisory for $15m.
With headquarters in Sydney, CPG currently has offices in Perth and caters to clients across Australia, Bahrain, and New Zealand.
The company offers tailormade products to different institutional investors such as superannuation funds, insurers, local agencies, government authorities, sovereign funds, and family offices.
As part of the new all-stock deal, GoLogiq will issue common shares valued at $15m to the shareholders of CPG.
Once the deal is closed, CPG’s improved research and advice capabilities will further help GoLogiq to boost its fintech platform.
The acquisition is expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year.
Hong Kong-based CLSA is considering an option to double the size of its Southeast Asian investment banking workforce in the next five years, reported Bloomberg.
The move comes in the backdrop of the firm’s plan to explore the potential of the region’s increasing growth.
CLSA is owned by CITIC Securities, one of the biggest state-owned conglomerates in China.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has completed the first-ever cross-border stablecoin transfer by a major financial institution on a public layer 1 blockchain. The bank’s fully backed AUDN stablecoin, which is connected to the Australian dollar, was utilised for the intrabank transfer.
It also intends to provide corporate transactions of this nature by the end of the year.
The companies confirmed that the transaction was completed on the Ethereum blockchain and that smart contracts for seven currencies were used. These currencies included dollars from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States, as well as euros, Japanese yen, and British pounds.
The stablecoins were created as bank liabilities in accordance with the ERC-20 standard.
NAB partnered on the effort with the Fireblocks platform and BlockFold professional services professionals.
The creation of smart contracts, the secure minting and burning of its stablecoin, and the administration of direct custody of digital assets on blockchain technology are just a few instances of how they might apply their skills.
Close Brothers Group has reported profit attributable to shareholders of £8.4m for the six months ended 31 January 2023, down 91% compared with £95.1m a year ago.
The company said that its results were affected by an increase in provisions associated with the loan book of Novitas, a finance firm that serves the legal sector. Close Brothers decided to shutter Novitas that it bought in 2017.
Adjusted operating profit, excluding Novitas, dropped 27% to £117.5m in the first half of financial year 2023 from £160.5m in the year ago period.
The group’s adjusted basic earnings per share also decreased to 6.1p from 64.0p, with ordinary dividend per share remained approximately same at 22.5p.
BlackRock poaches Goldman Sachs executive to bolster APAC team
American asset manager BlackRock has appointed Nicholas Peach to serve as its new head of APAC markets and investments for iShares and index investments.
The appointment will take effect in May this year.
Peach, who joins from Goldman Sachs, will lead BlackRock’s APAC iShares markets and index investments team to deliver exchange-traded funds (ETFs), portfolios investment management and others.
Operating out of Hong Kong, Peach’s most recent position at Goldman Sachs was the head of APAC equities electronic services.
Before that, he worked as the head of algo development micro franchise strategy unit at Goldman Sachs.
Endowus names a chief investment advising officer
Hugh Chung has been named chief investment advice officer of Endowus, the digital wealth management platform in Asia.
Chung will oversee the joint efforts of the Endowus Group’s central location Investment Office, which incorporates the Endowus digital platform, Endowus Private Wealth, and as of now, Carret Private.
With more than 20 years of experience in asset management and financial advice throughout Asia, Chung was previously responsible for strategic asset allocation, portfolio development, and fund selection across all regions and asset classes as the Chief Investment Officer for a single family office.
Chung was a founder member and senior investor in two of Asia’s most successful hedge fund launches, Kadensa Capital and Azentus Capital. In addition, he previously oversaw Korea equities distribution at JPMorgan, as well as Principal Strategy Group in Asia at Goldman Sachs and SAMSUNG Securities.
Azqore appoints chief executive
Azqore, a subsidiary of Indosuez Wealth Management, has hired Pierre Masclet as its chief executive officer.
The appointment comes into effect on May 1 2023 and Masclet will succeed Pascal Exertier, who is retiring.
Furthermore, Masclet is a member of Indosuez’s management committee and reports to Jacques Prost, CEO of Indosuez.
His mission will be to further develop Azqore as a business and strengthen its value proposition to its clients.
Masclet has over 30 years of experience in wealth management within the Group. He began his career at Banque Indosuez in 1992 as Product and Wealth Planning Head. From 1995 to 2005, he also joined the front office teams of Indosuez Wealth Management in France.
Stonehage Fleming names a trustee director in Jersey
Stonehage Fleming, an international multi-family office, has announced the appointment of Sarah Bartram-Lora Reina as a Trustee Director in the Jersey Family Office Division.
Sarah has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including trust and corporate services, retail, private, and investment banking. Prior to joining Stonehage Fleming, she was an Executive Director at Ocorian Limited. Sarah previously held the position of Client Director at Zedra Trust Company (Jersey) Limited (formerly Barclays Private Bank & Trust Company Limited).
The president of JATCO, Sarah, was acknowledged as one of Citywealth’s Top 20 Trustees in 2023.
Sarah will work directly with clients, advisers, co-trustees, and across divisions and business units within the Stonehage Fleming Group in this role. She will be stationed in Jersey and report to Richard Stride, Head of Family Office Jersey.
UBS names Midwest wealth management market chief
UBS Wealth Management USA has named Mike Mimick as the new head of its Midwest market.
In his new role, Mimick will head UBS’s wealth management business as well as lead financial advisors in the region comprising Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Mimick, who joined UBS 18 years ago, has been working as a field leader at the firm since 2007.
Prior to the new appointment, he was looking after the company’s advisors in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Before joining UBS, Mimick served in different leadership roles in the financial services sector.
First Sentier Investors to purchase majority stake in AlbaCore
Investment manager First Sentier Investors (FSI) has signed a strategic deal to buy a majority stake in Albacore Capital Group, a UK-based credit manager.
Established in 2016, AlbaCore is said to manages more than $9.5bn in assets across liquid strategies, structured products, dislocation funds, among others.
The firm, which also has an office in Dublin, primarily caters to the public and private pension funds as well as sovereign wealth funds, insurance, high net worth clients and others.
Following completion of the latest deal, AlbaCore’s senior team continue to hold a minority ownership stake in the firm and will make investment in the company for a long-term.
AlbaCore will also retain its investment and business autonomy. Its existing teams, office locations or brand will continue to operate as before.
In addition, FSI will help AlbaCore to improve its distribution and capital raising competences across Asia-Pacific, North America as well as the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
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.”
Carson adds $500m in assets with The Shobe Financial Group purchase
US-based Carson Group has bought The Shobe Financial Group, a financial planning and wealth management firm in Louisiana, for an undisclosed sum.
The Shobe Financial Group has more than $500m in assets under management (AUM) and 16 employees.
The firm’s partner and chairman Ed Shobe along with co-partner and president Jason Windham will continue to head the team.
The latest deal, which represents one of Carson Group’s biggest acquisitions, offers The Shobe Financial Group a succession plan to maintain continuity for the business and its customers.
The Shobe Financial Group will also be able to eliminate business risk by becoming part of Carson Group, and support growth, according to Carson.
It will be the seventh branch wholly-owned by Carson Wealth in the US.
Barings to buy Australian investment manager Gryphon Capital
Investment manager Barings has signed a definitive deal to purchase 100% of Australia-based GRYPHON Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.
Gryphon Capital Partners is the parent company of wholly-owned Gryphon Capital Investments (GCI), which acts as the investment manager of Gryphon Capital Income Trust.
Gryphon will leverage the deal to boost its investment strategy by using Barings’ global platform.
It also allows Barings to deliver its global structured finance offerings in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) region and speed up its entry into the Australian wealth space.
Following the completion of the deal, Gryphon’s A$2.6bn ($1.7bn) in AUM will be incorporated into Barings Global Structured Finance’s $8.2bn in AUM.
Gryphon’s existing workforce will become part of Barings Global Structured Finance team, with Steven Fleming and Ashley Burtenshaw continue to serve as portfolio managers of GCI.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is anticipated to be finalised by 31 March this year.
SVB Securities’ management looking to buy firm from parent company
The management of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) investment banking division SVB Securities is looking to buy the company back from its parent entity, Bloomberg has reported.
SVB Securities head Jeff Leerink and his team are planning to help funding a possible management buyout of SVB, people privy to the development told the publication.
The team is in a hurry to broker a deal amid the US regulators pursuing a buyout for the remaining parts of SVB Financial Group after the regulators took control of its Silicon Valley Bank, added one of the people.
Late last week, California Financial Regulator seized control of SVB citing insufficient liquidity and insolvency at the bank.
SVB Securities’ plan for a management buyout is driven by its intention of not losing its talent pool and value due to the collapse of the bank, an undisclosed source said.
However, no deal has been finalised and the initiative may not materialise.
CountPlus brokers deal to buy Affinia Financial Advisers from TAL
CountPlus, Australia-based integrated accounting and wealth advisory firm, has reached an agreement to purchase Affinia Financial Advisers from life insurer TAL in a deal valued at A$3.4m ($2.2m).
Affinia currently includes 75 practices, such as holistic financial advisory firms and risk specialists.
The firm recorded net revenues of A$3.029m for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2022.
Following the completion of the new deal, Countplus will have a team of approximately 400 advisers in addition to A$16.835bn in funds under advice.
Affinia head Marcus O’Sullivan will help in the transition, while Affinia chair Steve Helmich will join the Count Financial board after the approval of the board.
The deal allows Affinia to benefit from Count Financial’s licensee capabilities.
Through the acquisition, CountPlus expects to raise its share in the wealth market and add over 100 advisers to its national network.