The finance industry briefing
The latest news, views and numbers you need to know this month
News in Numbers
Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin Group has reported an increase in net profit and assets under management (AuM) in 2020 despite the impact of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The company’s net profit in 2020 stood at CHF400.3m, an increase of 5.3% from CHF380.2m reported a year ago.
The AuM grew to CHF192.4bn driving on CHF7.2bn in net new inflows.
The private bank’s operating profit also jumped 17.2% from CHF466m in 2019 to CHF546.3m in 2020.
Additionally, J. Safra Sarasin Group’s balance sheet stood at CHF38bn at the end of 2020 with substantial liquid assets of CHF8.7bn.
Jupiter Fund Management announced a record high for assets under management (AuM) of £58.7bn ($81.63bn) across 2020, according to the firm’s annual results for the year ended 31 December 2020.
Of the firm’s mutual fund assets under management, 70% performed above the median for the last three years.
Underlying profit before tax also increased by 10% to £179m, whilst statutory profits before tax decreased by 12% to £132.6m. However, this fall was attributed to an increase in costs following the firms acquisition of Merian Global investors.
St James’ Place (SJP) wealth management has released its annual results for year ended 31 December 2020, revealing a 10.5% increase in funds under management to £129.3bn ($183.2bn), with net inflows to such funds at £8.2bn.
Facing disruption from lockdowns and social distancing, operations and performance at SJP were both hampered, evidenced by a 5.3% reduction in gross inflows to £14.3bn, when compared with 2019.
The firms underlying cash result also fell to £264.7m, a 3.08% decrease from 2019, whilst underlying cash basic earnings per share fell to 49.6p from 51.4p in 2019.
Spain-based bank Santander has announced its intention to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the group by 2050.
The goal applies to the group’s own operations and all client emissions that result from any lending, advisory or investment services provided by Santander.
Furthermore, to achieve this ambition, the group aims to do two things by 2030:
It will have stopped providing financial services to power generation clients with more than 10% of revenues dependent on thermal coal, and
Santander will also eliminate all exposure to coal mining worldwide.
Asset manager Amundi has announced the introduction of three flagship funds to retail investors in Singapore and a focus on ESG.
All three funds hold four or five star ratings from Morningstar and will strengthen Amundi expertise in Singapore. In addition, they are set to meet the evolving needs of investors.
BNP Paribas Wealth Management forms new unit to serve Dutch entrepreneurs, families
BNP Paribas Wealth Management has established a new division in the Netherlands to serve entrepreneurs and families in the country.
The new division will offer private equity, asset management mandates, and financing to Dutch clients, levering the company’s expertise in corporate and investment banking as well as in real estate globally.
As part of the development, BNP Paribas has appointed Bernt Kok as the CEO of the Netherlands division and named Arjan van Rijn as the head of Key Clients.
Rockefeller names head of philanthropy for Global Family Office
Rockefeller Capital Management has appointed Andrea Lawrence as the head of philanthropy within its Global Family Office.
In her new role, Lawrence will strategically advise the clients through their charitable giving to deliver impact and help build momentous legacies.
She will report to Rockefeller Trust Fiduciary and Family Office Services head Heather Flanagan and will operate out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
HSBC reveals regional CIO refresh
HSBC has announced a string of new chief investment officers to the wealth and personal banking division across all regions, in attempts to expand its wealth management franchise established last year.
Overseeing the new hires, Xian Chan has been appointed as the new chief investment officer of wealth management, and global head of research and insights for wealth & global private banking.
Leading regional investment strategy teams, the following regional CIOs will align with the firm’s global structure to develop an integrated investment process across the entire wealth division:
Fan Cheuk Wan: chief investment officer, Asia, private banking and wealth management
Patrick Ho: chief investment officer, North Asia, private banking and wealth management
James Cheo: chief investment officer, Southeast Asia, private banking and wealth management
Jonathan Sparks: chief investment officer, UK & CI, private banking and wealth management
Belal Khan: chief investment officer, MENA and Europe International, private banking and wealth management
Jose Rasco: chief investment officer, Americas, private banking and wealth management
Brown Shipley appoints head of wealth planning
Brown Shipley has promoted Rebecca Williams to head of wealth planning.
The Quintet private bank chose Williams, a chartered and certified financial planner, due to her experience in both the private banking sector and specialist financial advisory firms.
Standard Chartered signs strategic partnership with BlackRock
Standard Chartered has joined forces with BlackRock to deliver integrated front-to-back office investment management solutions to mutual clients through the latter’s Aladdin platform.
The partnership will serve the two companies’ customers across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The British banking group is now part of BlackRock’s Aladdin Provider Network. This is said to offer additional value for asset managers and asset owners by offering to real-time data and streamlined operational workflows across the investment management lifecycle.
The bank further stated that the tie-up boosts efficiencies and manages operational risks and costs.
Standard Chartered said that the alliance marks the first time for some of its clients that an integrated end-to-end solution is present in several of the emerging and frontier markets across its footprint.
BlackRock Solutions Asia-Pacific head Akiyoshi Takeuchi said: “We place tremendous value on Standard Chartered’s adoption of Aladdin Provider Network. It symbolises a strong partnership based on our shared commitment to helping clients.”
Standard Chartered Financing & Securities Services co-head Margaret Harwood-Jones said: “This collaboration strengthens Standard Chartered’s deep roots throughout rapidly developing markets across our footprint, by expanding the range of solutions we can deliver through a single, unified investment management platform.
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.”
MoneyLion buys financial planning tech company Wealth Technologies
Digital financial platform MoneyLion has purchased Wealth Technologies (WTI), which specialises in algorithmic financial planning technology, for an unknown sum.
Concurrent with the deal, WTI co-founder Rohit D’Souza has been named as executive chairman of the board of directors at MoneyLion.
MoneyLion co-founder and CEO Dee Choubey said: “Our acquisition of WTI adds significant new capabilities to MoneyLion by enhancing our suite of financial tools with precision-guided financial advice to help our members see the interconnectivity of short- and long-term financial decisions across their entire financial portfolio.
“With fGPS guidance, MoneyLion will bring the previously exclusive experience of private banking with personalized advice to every hardworking American.”
WTI’s proprietary fGPS Financial Goals Positioning System, which is said to be a dynamic course-correcting, comprehensive financial planning and advice system, will power the MoneyLion platform.
With this integration, MoneyLion’s new analytical framework will offer the intelligent turn-by-turn guidance its members regarding spending, credit and investing by analysing their personal assets, liabilities, incomes and expenses.
Commenting on the deal, D’Souza said: “WTI’s innovative technology, coupled with MoneyLion’s proven ability to deliver comprehensive AI-powered financial solutions to millions of hardworking Americans, can revolutionise the way the personal finance industry functions by leveraging technology to put the client’s needs and goals at the center – refocusing the business processes from product-centric, sales-oriented verticals to client-centric, outcome-oriented solutions.”
Royal London to acquire financial advice business Wealth Wizards
Royal London has agreed to acquire Wealth Wizards, a financial guidance and advice provider, from Liverpool Victoria.
The acquisition is aligned with Royal London’s plan to make guidance and financial advice more accessible and affordable for the customers.
Established in 2009, Wealth Wizards leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to offer financial advice.
The company’s portfolio includes digital financial advice platform, a digital financial guidance and advice platform and a digital financial adviser.
The addition of Wealth Wizards is expected to automate key parts of the advice process as well as enable Royal London to support employers and advisers who intend to help employees make better financial decisions.
Royal London CEO Barry O’Dwyer said: “We are impressed by the innovative technology offered by Wealth Wizards and are delighted they are joining our business. We see the positive impact of advice on customers’ lives every day and will work with advisers to help to overcome the advice gap in the UK.
“This acquisition provides us with an opportunity to enhance the leading support and service we already provide with market leading technology and processes that can help advisers become more efficient and broaden the offering we have for our workplace clients.”
RBC taps FactSet to support wealth management professionals
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has selected software firm FactSet as the primary market data and technology provider for its entire wealth management organisation.
Under a multi-year agreement, FactSet will virtually deploy an array of web and digital solutions to more than 8,000 RBC wealth management professionals. The programme, slated to start early this year, will begin with those in Canada and the US.
The solutions that will be delivered include FactSet’s web-based workstation for wealth advisors and a suite of leading content sets.
It will also include FactSet’s Advisor Dashboard that will offer personalised insights to each financial advisor in accordance with individual portfolios to improve client engagement.
FactSet Wealth Management Solutions executive vice-president Goran Skoko said: “High net worth individuals and retail investors are demanding more sophisticated data and technology to support how they manage their portfolios.
“We are seeing that demand intensify as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and are working with our clients to help them provide the high service levels required.
“RBC is taking a market-leading approach to adopting new technologies that will improve communication and efficiency and drive better results for customers.”
Orion snaps up risk analytics company HiddenLevers
Orion Advisor Solutions has acquired HiddenLevers, which specialises in risk analysis, investment process, and executive oversight in the wealth and asset management space.
Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
HiddenLevers, which was founded in 2009, manages nearly $600bn in platform assets. It is headquartered in Atlanta and its entire workforce is based in the US.
The deal will add HiddenLevers’ portfolio stress-testing to Orion’s platform.
Orion will also get access to the acquired company’s investment proposals and workflows on model construction and improvement.
Commenting on the deal, Orion founder and CEO Eric Clarke said that the acquisition of HiddenLevers adds significant value for investment committees looking to improve allocation models, and also for advisors looking to mitigate panic selling.
Clarke added: “HiddenLevers goes beyond a single-number risk analysis approach and instead, builds applications that consider a broad palette of potential economic events – essential for protecting the fiduciary sensibility of Orion customers.”