Industry news

Confluence teams up with FundGuard to consolidate fund reporting

21 March | Strategy

Confluence Technologies has joined forces with FundGuard, an AI-based multi-asset class investment accounting platform, to help asset managers, asset owners and fund administrators to streamline their fund reporting activities. 

Under the tie-up, Confluence’s fund administration platform Unity along with its asset management performance and risk offering Revolution will be integrated with FundGuard’s investment accounting platform. 

The integration solution will allow users to increase their operational efficiency. 

The Unity and Performance and Risk platforms of Confluence have been designed to automate and blend critical fund administration procedures, such as the collection, creation, confirmation and delivery of investment product details. 

FundGuard’s digital multi-book investment accounting platform is capable of providing asset managers and their service providers with real-time data that is integrated across different workflows. 

Using the firms’ offerings, customers can manage additional funds with reduced resources and get rid of errors.

21 March | Distribution

Blackstone to bolster presence in Germany with new office

American alternative asset manager Blackstone is set to enhance its footprint in Germany by opening a new office in Frankfurt

To be situated in the OMNITURM in Frankfurt’s financial district, the proposed flagship branch will act as a centre for the firm in Germany. 

The Frankfurt office will accommodate professionals from Blackstone’s private equity, real estate, and credit operations. 

It will also support the company’s private wealth solutions business that caters to investment professionals and individual investors throughout Europe. 

The new office’s private equity and credit teams will be led by Blackstone’s senior managing directors Juergen Pinker and Jurij Puth, respectively. 

The firm’s portfolio companies in Germany currently employ a workforce of over 7,000 people.

20 March | Research

Fear of greenwashing is a barrier to ESG investing

Apoll performed by IQ-EQ, an investor services company, revealed that worries about “greenwashing” are preventing ESG investing. 

ESG’s service assists clients in remaining compliant, managing their ESG data, and meeting ESG objectives by handling all administrative, data, and reporting obligations throughout the fund’s lifecycle. 

Fear of greenwashing, according to nearly two-thirds of respondents, is the most significant hurdle preventing investment firms from implementing sustainability into their investing strategy or marketing their sustainable credentials. 

Although different organisations describe different requirements, the lack of clear, standardised ESG criteria is a source of concern. 

The EU’s Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) has yet to reach its full potential, with gaps in understanding and compliance that ESMA is working hard to close. 

There is a clear shift from “tell me” to “show me” as sustainable finance regulation becomes more stringent and concerns about greenwashing increase. Managers are under increased pressure to back up the claims they make in their marketing materials and to show how ESG is integrated into the fund’s overall lifecycle. 

Even the most effective investment firms are struggling to clear the regulatory hurdles required to demonstrate their impact, especially when emerging markets and SME portfolio companies are involved, which lack the necessary regulatory expertise, internal procedures, and, most importantly, data to meet the reporting requirements. 

Investors are becoming more sceptical, and successful investment businesses are struggling to surmount the regulatory hurdles required to demonstrate their impact.

20 March | M&A

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. 

The deal helps FSI to deliver new asset classes and structures to its clients, enhance its global presence, diversifying its investment capabilities, among others. 

It is anticipated to be completed by third quarter of this year after receiving regulatory approvals.

21 March | Strategy

Saudi National Bank loses $1.5bn on investment in Credit Suisse

Saudi National Bank (SNB) has suffered a loss of nearly 80% on its investment in Credit Suisse after the embattled Swiss bank was acquired by UBS, reported CNBC

The bank, which is the largest shareholder in Credit Suisse, currently holds a 9.9% stake in the bank. 

In November last year, SNB invested CHF1.4bn ($1.5bn) in Credit Suisse to buy the bank’s stock at CHF3.82 per share. 

However, after agreeing to buy Credit Suisse, UBS is offering Credit Suisse shareholders CHF0.76 for each share. 

This deep reduction is aimed at bolstering the global banking system by the regulators amid the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and downfall of First Republic Bank shares, added the publication. 

Even after facing losses, SNB says that it will continue to implement its current broader strategy.

20 March | Research

Gulf presents M&A prospects in the Middle East area

M&A activity in the Gulf region has been a notable exception to the general trend of a slowdown in worldwide M&A deal activity. 

PwC Middle East published its 2023 TransAct Middle East report, titled “Gulf exceptionalism creates M&A opportunities despite global headwinds,” which provides insights on Merger & Acquisition (M&A) and Capital market activity across the Middle East region in 2022, as well as trends that may impact M&A activity in the future. 

According to the report, M&A activity in the region has been noticeable in contrast to the general trend of a drop in global M&A deal activity. 

It has effectively maintained an amazing upward trajectory in 2022, with a succession of $1bn plus transactions across various industries. 

This is attributable to “Gulf exceptionalism,” which results from favourable regional dynamics including rising oil prices and improved fiscal restraint, which helped the region experience better economic flexibility and relatively faster growth. 

In addition, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt accounted for 563 transactions, or 89 percent of the total deal volume in the Middle East in 2022, and were the main centres of M&A activity in those countries.

20 March | M&A

Dexus, AMP agree on revised deal on Collimate Capital

Australia-based DEXUS Funds Management has inked a revised deal to buy Collimate Capital’s real estate and domestic infrastructure equity business from AMP. 

The companies have entered into a binding documentation to complete the acquisition under a two-phase process. 

First completion of the deal, which was first announced in April last year, is expected to take place on 24 March 2023. 

Under the revised structure of the deal, majority of the legal entities, which include most of AMP Capital domestic assets and management rights, will be transferred to Dexus. 

During first completion, AMP will receive around A$337m ($226m) from Dexus. 

The payment will cover A$175m of the A$225m base purchase price for Collimate Capital. 

It will also include A$105m for sponsor investments as well as A$57m for the cash, net of the rest of the liabilities, held on Collimate Capital’s balance sheet. 

Dexus will pay the remaining A$50m of the base purchase price provided AMP transfers its ownership interest in China Life AMP Asset Management Company (Clamp) by 30 September 2024.

17 March | Distribution

French firm Wendel to set up asset management venture 

Wendel to spend €2bn in next two years. Credit micheile henderson on Unsplash. 

French investment company Wendel has unveiled plans to establish an asset management unit with third-party money to improve its profitability. 

This is the first strategic decision by the company’s CEO Laurent Mignon, who recently assumed the charge of the investment firm that primarily focusses on private equity investments. 

The proposed venture will leverage the family-controlled group’s investment platform and plans to hire new people.

17 March | Strategy

Manulife Securities taps Fidelity to boost advisor experience

Manulife Securities, part of Manulife Investment Management, has reached a strategic agreement with Fidelity Clearing Canada (FCC) to provide its advisors and their clients with improved advice delivery system. 

FCC offers diverse custody and clearing services and others to registered broker/dealers, portfolio managers and investment advisors. 

Under the agreement, which awaits regulatory clearance, Manulife Securities will incorporate FCC’s advisor technology platform uniFide into its portfolio. 

The integration will allow Manulife Securities advisors to avail a range of digital solutions for assisting advisors and head office employees to enhance their productivity, among others. 

Using uniFide, Manulife Securities advisors can also add new customers by streamlining their processes. 

Advisors and their teams will further be able to contact Manulife Securities on a daily basis for their queries. 

The firm plans to launch the technology for its advisors and clients later this year.

17 March | Technology

Goldman Sachs funds Saudi fintech Tamara

Saudi fintech Tamara has obtained funding from US investment bank Goldman Sachs for up to $150mn. 

Since its founding in September 2020, Tamara has received up to $366mn in funding altogether, including equity and debt. Six million people use the service in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Tamara, which offers buy now, pay later (BNPL) products to customers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, will use the receivables storage facility provided by Goldman Sachs to help finance its product and expand into new industries.