The finance industry briefing

The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month

News in Numbers


Opto Investments, a US-based technology-enabled solution that offers private market access to independent investment advisors, has secured an investment of $145m in its Series A round.

The round, which was led by Tiger Global, was also joined by 8VC, Michael Dell’s MSD Capital, Clocktower Ventures, FinVC, HOF Capital, among others.

Opto plans to use the funds to provide new investment options to its clients and hire additional people for its 45-member team.


Goldman Sachs has laid off nearly 25 investment bankers in Asia as dealmaking slows down across various sectors, reported Bloomberg News citing sources privy to the development.

The layoffs were carried out across the bank’s equity capital markets, health care, telecommunication, media and technology teams.

The move mainly affected junior level bankers who look after deals in Greater China, the report added.


British fund manager Schroders is set to inject nearly $1bn every year to invest in pre-existing private equity deals, representing a two-fold increase spent by the firm in the sector, reported Bloomberg.

With the move, the company aims to be benefitted from the popular trend of buyout entities being a part of the businesses for longer durations.

The company will also concentrate on secondaries deals headed by general partner, as part of the new plan.


Ethic, a tech-driven asset management firm, has secured a funding of $50m in its Series C funding round led by Jordan Park Group.

The round also saw the participation of UBS’ venture and innovation arm, UBS Next.

The company’s existing investors such as Oak HC/FT, Nyca Partners, Sound Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund and Kapor Capital also joined the funding round.


UBS Group is set to raise its ordinary dividend from $0.51 to $0.55 per share, which is 10% more than the previous year.

The board of the Swiss bank plans to put the proposal for shareholder approval at its annual general meeting to be held next year.

The Swiss wealth management giant also expects its share repurchases for this year to surpass the $5bn target.

People moves

Investment manager Hamilton Lane appoints new Southeast Asia chief

American alternative investment management firm Hamilton Lane has appointed Kerrine Koh as its new head of Southeast Asia and forged an alliance with fintech firm StashAway.

Koh will serve as managing director at Hamilton Lane’s Client Solutions group.

In her new role, she will head the group’s business development efforts and will supervise its existing partnerships with clients throughout the region.

Prior to the appointment, Koh was working with BlackRock for the past 12 years in various positions.

The appointment has increased the number of Hamilton Lane’s offices led by women. Currently, the company’s offices in Milan, San Diego, Singapore, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Tokyo operate under women leaders.

HSBC names new trust and fiduciary services head in southeast Asia

HSBC Global Private Banking (GPB) has hired Sharnika Silva as chief of its trust and fiduciary services (TFS) in southeast Asia.

Sharnika will report to the company’s global TFS head Brent York on a functional basis.

On an entity basis, she will be reporting to Philip Kunz, South Asia head of HSBC Global Private Banking.

Silva will work from Singapore and will look after HSBC Trustee’s strategic efforts in Southeast Asia.

BNP Paribas Asset Management hires new Flexible & Absolute Return chief

BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has named Mark Richards as the head of Flexible & Absolute Return, which is a part of its Multi-Asset, Quantitative & Solutions (MAQS) investment unit.

Richards has already joined BNPP AM and is currently based in London. He reports to Maya Bhandari, global head of the firm’s Multi-Asset division.

In his new position, Richards will look after BNPP AM’s flexible and absolute return funds. He will also help in aligning the company’s portfolio with the opinions of the Investment Committee.

St. James’s Place names new investment director

British wealth manger St. James’s Place (SJP) has appointed Tom Beal as its new director of investments and also added to its executive board.

Furthermore, Beal has been made a member of the company’s executive board.

He will replace Rob Gardner, who will stand down from his current position at SJP to launch a new venture focused on environment.

Beal has 14 years of association with SJP Investment and earlier served as chief investment officer at the company.

Prior to joining the firm, Beal worked at various groups including J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse, and Thomson Reuters.

The reshuffle will effective immediately. However, Gardner will remain with SJP until the year end to facilitate a smooth transition.


Goldman Sachs finishes deal for NextCapital

The Goldman Sachs Group has announced that it is has completed its acquisition of NextCapital Group.

The move accelerates the expansion of Goldman Sachs’ services to the growing defined contribution (DC) retirement market through personalised managed accounts and digital advice.

NextCapital’s platform will become part of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s multi-asset solutions business and all 150 employees join.

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.”

Fairstone to purchase PAX Financial to foray into Ireland wealth market

British wealth management company Fairstone has reached a deal to purchase Ireland’s PAX Financial, making its entry into the region.

With headquarters in Dublin, PAX offers various financial planning services to over 7,700 customers. The firm has a workforce of 66 employees and advisers.

PAX also operates the ‘AskPaul’ brand, which provides financial advices through social media platforms.

Wealth manager 360 Financial merges with Fleming Investment Group

US-based boutique wealth management company 360 Financial has merged its operations with financial planning provider Fleming Investment Group.

The merged entity will function under the brand name of 360 Financial. It will cater to more than 1,000 customers and manage around $529m in client assets, stated 360 Financial.

As part of the merger, 360 Financial founder and president Mike Rogers will remain in the same position.

Fleming Investment Group’s ex-president Brian Bohnsack will serve as senior VP at 360 Financial. Bohnsack will also work as managing principal of the company’s Elk River office in Minnesota.

The new firm will be based in Wayzata, Minnesota and will serve its customers from two locations in the state.

RBC wins final regulatory nod for £1.6bn Brewin Dolphin takeover

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has secured final regulatory approval for its previously announced deal to buy British wealth manager Brewin Dolphin for £1.6bn in cash.

The approval was granted by Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

It shows that the deal has satisfied the necessary competition law and regulatory conditions pertaining to a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of Companies Act 2006.

Acuity Knowledge Partners snaps up Cians Analytics

Acuity Knowledge Partners, which offers research, analytics and business intelligence to financial services industry, has purchased Cians Analytics for an undisclosed sum.

Cians provides affordable research and analytical solutions to financial organisations.

The company’s solutions help investment banks, private equity funds and corporations to complete their tasks within short durations and minimise their operating costs.

Its workforce includes financial researchers, developers and data scientists.

According to Cians, tough economic conditions, exodus of finance talent to the technology sector and disruptions in the financial services industry have helped its services to gain more attention.

The company’s solutions involve LeverData, a proprietary data ingestion, validation and management platform, and others. The platform is designed to allow its users to address the data reliability issues that usually create nuisance for financial services companies.

With the latest deal, Acuity aims to provide improved services in the knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) sector and help global financial firms to consolidate their operations.

The deal marks the first acquisition made by Acuity after its buyout by mid-market private equity investment firm Equistone in 2019.