The finance industry briefing
The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month
News in Numbers
UK-based stock brokerage and investing app Freetrade has secured £30m through a convertible loan note to drive international expansion.
The round was joined by existing backers Molten Ventures, Left Lane Capital and L Catterton as well as new investors the Phoenix, and private investment firm Capricorn Capital Group.
The funding via convertible loan note allows the company to build up its finance without having to affix a new valuation amid difficult market conditions.
BlackRock’s iShares has decided to close two funds; its MSCI Russia and MSCI Eastern Europe exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in response to the Ukraine conflict, reported Reuters.
BlackRock joins a number of other funds which have shut down after Moscow started its military operations in Ukraine.
The US-based asset manager had suspended the funds in early March shortly after the crisis started.
BlackRock said in a statement: “Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, normal market trading conditions have remained materially impaired, and a significant portion of Russian securities are still not currently tradeable for non-Russian foreign investors.”
Japanese investment bank Nomura has struck a deal to acquire a 41% stake in Australian nature-based real assets and natural capital manager New Forests.
New Forests is said to be the second-largest unlisted forestry asset management player globally and the largest in Asia-Pacific, with $5.47bn (A$7.8 billion) in assets.
The acquisition, whose financial terms were not disclosed, forms part of Nomura’s strategy to expand its client base and product offering through partnerships and consolidation.
Indian mid-market lender Vivriti Capital has secured an additional $30m in the second close of its Series C funding round from TVS Shriram Growth Fund 3, a home-grown private equity fund managed by TVS Capital.
The initial tranche of the financing round, which took place this March, saw the firm raising $55m from existing investors Lightrock and Creation Investments.
The firm has raised close to $200m in external funding till date.
The fresh capital will be allocated between Vivriti Capital and its subsidiary Vivriti Asset Management, which focuses on closed-ended debt funds investing in mid-sized corporates.
BNY Mellon Wealth Management appoints new chief fiduciary officer
BNY Mellon Wealth Management has announced that it has appointed Erica E. Lord as its new chief fiduciary officer.
Lord will assume the new responsibility from Joe Samulski, who is retiring from the firm.
In her new role, Lord will be based in Chicago and will supervise all fiduciary administration for all trust and estate services.
She will directly report to Advice, Planning & Fiduciary Services head Ben McGloin.
Citi promotes Korea-based banker as COO for Global Wealth
Citi has promoted Valentin Valderrabano, the consumer business manager for Citibank Korea, as the new chief operating officer (COO) for Citi Global Wealth.
This appointed is effective in July, reported Reuters, which had reviewed an internal memo.
Valderrabano will report to the bank’s global wealth head Jim O’Donnell.
He has almost two decades of experience at the bank.
Valderrabano will replace the present Citi COO Eduardo Martinez Campos.
Quintet Private Bank names former HSBC executive as new CEO
Luxembourg-headquartered Quintet Private Bank has named former HSBC executive Chris Allen as the new group CEO.
The appointment is effective 1 July 2022, subject to regulatory approval.
Allen will succeed Jakob Stott, who is set to leave the firm following a brief transition.
Having joined Quintet in 2019, Stott spearheaded key projects, including the merger of Quintet’s EU-based subsidiaries.
Wetherbys Private Bank hires Hoare & Co veteran
Wetherbys Private Bank has appointed Kevin Eagles, formerly of Hoare & Co, as a private banker in its Mayfair office.
Eagles has over 30 years’ experience in financial services and joins from Arc and Co Private Finance, which he specialised in advising on mortgages and property-related borrowing.
He also spent over 20 years at Hoare & Co where he managed a varied portfolio of mainly HNWIs that included City professionals, estate owners, entertainers and entrepreneurs.
JP Morgan to beef up private banking workforce in wealth push
JP Morgan Chase & Co. is set to raise employee headcount at its private banking unit as it seeks to expand its global operations for the ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) segment, reported Bloomberg News.
JP Morgan private bank Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO Pablo Alvarez-Alonso is planning a double-digit percentage growth in headcount in the next five years.
The New York-headquartered bank last year recruited at least a dozen private banking employees from rival firms, including Citigroup, UBS and Credit Suisse, as part of this goal.
Saudi sovereign wealth fund takes stake in Kingdom Holding Company
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has purchased a $1.5bn stake in Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), an investment firm owned by Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.
Following the deal, The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will own 16.9% of KHC while prince Alwaleed will retain a 78.1% holding.
The remaining 5% of the stock will remain listed on the Saudi bourse.
KHC CEO Talal Al-Maiman said the deal is in line with the strategy of the Saudi PIF to invest in renowned companies around the world.
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.”
Clime Investment Management to take over Melbourne-based wealth firm
Australia’s Clime Investment Management has signed a deal to buy Melbourne-headquartered MTIS Wealth Management for approximately $5m (A$7m).
The transaction is expected to close on 1 July 2022.
Founded by Pauline Hammer and Anna Garuccio, MTIS specialises in wealth management, advisory, accounting and tax services.
The firm, which has a total gross annual revenue of approximately $3m, manages around $380m in funds under management or administration (FUM/A).
MTIS founders, whose experience and networks are said to be ‘highly complementary to Clime’, will remain with the firm for foreseeable future.
Mariner Wealth expands US footprint with Emerson Wealth deal
Mariner Wealth Advisors, a wealth advisory firm based in Kansas, has acquired Michigan-based Emerson Wealth for an undisclosed sum.
The deal is expected to close on 31 May 2022.
The acquisition expands Mariner’s Midwest footprint and adds its second office in the greater Detroit area and third in Michigan.
Mariner will now have a total of 71 offices across 32 states.
FNZ invests in impact data and analytics firm GIST
Wealth management platform FNZ has made a strategic investment in impact data and analytics firm GIST.
FNZ did not disclose the size of the investment, which will support GIST’s growth.
GIST provides quantitative, comparable, and verifiable measures of corporate impact and performance to investors and companies.
The investment builds on FNZ’s existing partnership and is part of a wider collaboration, which will see GIST’s data integrated into FNZ Impact, a sustainable investment solution.
The investment solution is integrated into the FNZ wealth management platform, with support for financial institutions and wealth management firms in 21 nations.
It allows clients to offer ‘hyper-personalised’ and ‘transparent’ information on the environmental and social impacts impact of investment portfolios.
GIST uses a science-based approach across four capitals — natural, human, social, and produced — to measure and value corporate impacts in monetary terms.
Walmart-backed PhonePe to buy two wealth management firms in India
Walmart-backed Indian payment firm PhonePe is set to acquire two wealth management firms in a deal valued at $75m, Bloomberg has reported.
PhonePe plans to buy WealthDesk for $50m and OpenQ for around $25m including debt, sources familiar with the matter told the publications.
The proposed deal was confirmed by a PhonePe spokesperson without divulging any financial details about the deal.
Founded in 2016, Mumbai-based WealthDesk enables customers to invest in stocks and exchange-traded funds.
OpenQ on the other hand offers trading baskets and investment analytics services to both retail and institutional investors.