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Daily Scan: China drags Asia down; Japan’s GPIF posts record loss
Capital Markets
<p>Updated throughout the day</p> <p>November 30, 2015</p> <p>Asian markets were dragged down on Monday, with the MSCI’s broadest Asia ex-Japan index down 0.6%, after an extended selloff in Chinese stocks. The Mainland bourses only just scrapped into positive territory after a volatile day of trade that saw them shed as much a 3.2%. The China volatility, which continues from Friday's major selloff, is down to Beijing's ongoing crackdown and added caution stemming from the resumption of IPOs.</p> <p>The yuan meanwhile has continued to rebound on anticipated state intervention hours ahead of an IMF decision on whether to add it to a basket of global reserve currencies. Over in Europe, markets have followed Asia’s lead, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.5%  in early trade amid losses in energy and resources sectors.</p> <p>Japan’s GPIF posts record $64B loss in summer rout. Japan's public pension fund, the world's biggest, suffered a record 7.9 trillion yen ($64.34 billion) loss in the third quarter as financial markets turmoil triggered by China's economic slowdown knocked both domestic and overseas equities. Reuters</p> <p>Europe split over refugee deal as Germany breaks away. Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled on Sunday when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the union formally on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding. The Guardian</p> <p>More wages, more fixed investment, Kuroda repeats.  Increasing fixed investment and wages would benefit not only Japan's economy but also its companies, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech in Nagoya on Monday. He also told business leaders that now was the time for companies to shed their deflationary mindsets and step up investment. Nikkei</p> <p>Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing need to kiss and make up, says ex-PM. Former South Korea Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo told the 10th annual Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum on Monday that its high time the three nations repair their trilateral beefs and move toward closer cooperation. Easier said than done. Nikkei (paywall)</p> <p>Obama pays respects in Paris. President Barack Obama paid a midnight tribute Monday to the victims of the Paris terror attacks, ‎laying a single white rose at the Bataclan club where ISIS terrorists unleashed carnage two weeks ago. CNN</p> <p>NZ remembers rugby’s Jonah Lomu at memorial. A public memorial for New Zealand rugby great Jonah Lomu, who died earlier this month at 40, has been held at Auckland's Eden Park stadium. The former All Black was capped 63 times by his country and considered one of rugby's first global superstars. BBC</p> <p>Japan industrial production data a mixed bag. The pace of Japanese production rose at a brisk clip during the month of October, giving policymakers hope - if not more mixed messages - about the strength of the Japanese economy. Industrial production expanded 1.4% month-on-month in October, the quickest pace since a 4.1% in January, but it still fell short of expectations. Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>Turkey to stem migrant flow to Europe in exchange for cash. The European Union will also consider Turkey's application to join the 28-member group. The Sunday talks promised a package promises $3.2 billion in aid for the 2.2 million Syrians flooding Turkey.</p> <p>Obama sets his sites on Paris climate talks to clinch legacy. The U.S. President is the first to create a climate policy. He joins more than 120 leaders Sunday to launch two weeks of talks designed to create regulations that would lower greenhouse gases. Obama faces opposition both abroad and home. New York Times (paywall)<br /> You won't believe this:<br /> Men are putting glitter in their beards. So they can garner likes on their Instagram accounts. How do they get the glitter out? Vice<br /> Photo: David Dennis</p>
NexChange EMFX conference to address execution and liquidity
Capital Markets
Execution, transparency, and liquidity will take center stage at the 2015 EMFX conference in London on December 3 when experts will discuss how to manage the challenges in a world filled with new regulations and constraints. “Everyone is waiting for the regulations to come to see how it will affect market players,” says David Denison, deputy chief investment officer, Florin
EFG on the hunt for more relationship managers
<p>Despite predictions by fintechies that robo-advisors will eventually dominate the wealth management industry, there is still big demand for human advice.</p> <p>Swiss private bank EFG International plans to hire seven more relationship managers (RM) in Asia by the end of the year, Albert Chiu, EFF Asia CEO told Asian Private Banker. (paywall) The priority is to find people with strong, extensive networks among China's new rich.</p> <p>"We continue to see a very strong pipeline of senior RM candidates, and are confident to grow our numbers of senior bankers in the region," said Chiu, who has a year-end target of 115 RMs.</p> <p>That's great news for individual bankers and their own personal wealth. A shortage of talent is a common complaint in the industry, so well-connected RMs can play a rather lucrative game of musical chairs.<br /> Photo: Vincent Wong<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Barclays could exit its Asia WM business
<p>UK-based banking giant Barclays could be pulling out of its Asia wealth management business, after being in the game for 40 years, and is reportedly flirting with potential buyers.</p> <p>The Australian Financial Review reports that the bank – which is looking to focus more on its U.S. and U.K. businesses – has spoken to several interested parties but has not reached a final decision.</p> <p>The bank has been offering wealth management services in one form or another since the 1970s, with bases in New Delhi, Hong Kong, and Singapore, according to its website.  But its global wealth management business has been feeling the pain recently, with revenues dropping 17% in the third quarter, to 227 million pounds ($342 million), from the previous year.</p> <p>The sale is part of a broader effort to restore growth to the U.K. lender that has been battered by restructuring costs and expensive scandals.  The unit – which represented 4% of the bank's overall revenue in the third quarter – has posted declines for the past four quarters. The bank has not offered a breakdown of revenues for its Asia wealth management business.</p> <p>Either way, Barclay's withdrawal is perhaps good news for the likes of Credit Suisse eager to gobble up a larger chunk of Asia's wealth management market.<br /> Photo: Jeff Montgomery<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Malaysian banks contract fintech fever
<p>Maybank has followed CIMB as the latest Malaysian lender to catch the fintech bug. It has recently announced that it would act as advisory partner to accelerator programs run by Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC).</p> <p>The aim is to help boost Malaysian fintechs that "are also seeking to expand in Asean countries and for Asean startups looking to tap the growing high net worth market in Malaysia," reports Asian Private Banker. (paywall)</p> <p>CIMB took up the wealth management products of four startups in September. The firms were winners of a pilot InnoChallenge Initiative between CIMB and Multimedia Development Corp.<br /> Photo: Christian Junker | Photography<br /> &nbsp;</p>
EM corporate defaults up 40%
Capital Markets
<p>The I.M.F. warned about the threat of widespread debt defaults by emerging market companies back in late September. Slower economic growth and higher U.S. interest rates could create a credit crunch after a decade-long binge on cheap borrowing; a systemic risk to the global financial system was a likely hangover, it said.</p> <p>It looks like it is already happening. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports:<br /> Corporate defaults in emerging countries have hit their highest level since 2009 this year, and are already up 40% over last year, according to [credit rating agency] Standard &amp; Poor’s.</p> <p>For the first time in years, emerging-market companies are defaulting more often than their U.S. peers. The default rate on emerging-market corporate high-yield debt over the past 12 months has reached 3.8%, compared with 2.5% in the U.S., according to Barclays. Four years ago, the emerging-market default rate stood at 0.7%, well below 2.1% in the U.S.</p> <p>[Companies] and countries in emerging markets are due to repay almost $600 billion of debt maturing next year, according to the Institute of International Finance, of which $85 billion is dollar-denominated. Almost $300 billion of nonfinancial corporate debt will need to be refinanced next year.<br /> What are the chances that this will cause the Fed to hold off a rate hike in December?<br /> Photo: Frédéric Poirot</p>
How male advisors should dress to win clients
<p>The relationship between financial advisors’ dress and their ability to convert prospects into clients is controversial. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, dress can vary by region. It can be more formal in major east coast cities than in the Midwest or South. Silicon Valley has its own set of rules adapted to the younger, tech entrepreneurs who dominate that area.</p> <p>But some in the financial services industry believe that, regardless of your location, advisors should always dress professionally. One advisor summarized this view as follows: "If you dress professionally, people will take you seriously. Even if [your clients] are casual, you're there on a serious matter."</p> <p>Sherry Maysonave, an image consultant in Austin, Texas, echoed this stance. She was quoted as stating: "Anyone handling money must maintain a professional image even when their clients don't. Even when they're casually dressed, my clients expect their attorneys and financial advisers to still be in formal dress. The broker is handling their serious money; they don't want him in a golf shirt and khakis."</p> <p>Read more at Advisor Perspectives<br /> Photo: Robert Shele</p>
Internal bias at private banks
<p>Large wealth management firms offer their clients a comprehensive range of products and services. As well as vanilla bonds and equities, their wares include complex high yield structures, corporate advice, succession planning, passion investments such as fine art and classic cars, philanthropy guidance and access to trophy real estate assets.</p> <p>Many boast a so-called open architecture platform. That means that they also tap into their competitors'  offerings to ensure that their clients get the best and cheapest deal. The wealth management arms of Citi, UBS, CS and Deutsche, for instance, all claim to adopt this liberal practice as a matter of course.</p> <p>Yet when pressed, private bankers admit to a natural tendency towards using in-house resources for their discretionary portfolio management (DPM).</p> <p>"There is a small positive bias towards selecting internal funds because the underlying managers have better access to them," said Jean-Louis Nakamura, Lombard Odier's Asia Pacific chief investment officer at the AsianInvestor Fund Selector Forum in Hong Kong last week. (paywall)</p> <p>Patrick Grossholz, Asia Pacific head of investment management at UBS Wealth Management reckoned it "did not make any difference for any DPM whether clients choose in-house asset management or bespoke wealth management solutions."</p> <p>The key is to make sure that the client feels he is getting the best deal, he argued.<br /> Photo: Toni Blay<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
SE Asia VC Ardent blurs lines with recruitment arm
Venture Capital
<p>Gone are the days when venture capitalists would just chuck their cash at the most likely winner and hope for the best. VCs today are much more hands-on, and none more so than Southeast Asia-focused Ardent Capital which is now taking on the biggest startup bottleneck with Ardent Hired.</p> <p>The newly launched recruitment service, which claims to be the first of its kind, is a new way for Ardent to bag the best talent for its startups. The service is not entirely new, Ardent has had internal team working on recruitment for some time. Led by John Thornton, the team has made hires for Ardent portfolio companies such as aCommerce, Moxy and HappyFresh.</p> <p>Thornton will now head up Ardent Recruit to build up a network through which Ardent’s startups – and other third party clients -- can source their people. Noting the challenge startups have finding talent, Thornron recently told e27:<br /> The traditional forms of hiring and [the] way we attract candidates are changing. Companies must have a winning brand and different methods to woo the candidate … One of the things we aim to address is the ability to get in touch with the candidate.<br /> Ardent -- which describes itself as “venture capital and builder” – is as much about building an ecosystem as it is about building startups, blurring the lines between VC, accelerator, and portfolio company.</p> <p>Its flagship startup aCommerce is a case in point. The logistics firm, which provides services to Southeast Asian ecommerce startups, including Ardent’s portfolio companies, is led by Paul  Srivoakaul, who is also partner and co-founder of Ardent Capital.</p> <p>Photo: Flazingo Photos</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Best Italian ski resorts for the 2015-2016 season from an industry insider
<p>It’s less than one week left before winter – do you have your ski vacation booked yet?! Don’t know whether to choose between Cortina and Courchevel? Below you will find our short review of the most fashionable European ski resorts. FinBuzz specifically commissioned an article from Italian tourism expert Tatiana Pezzotti who has compiled a list of the best ski areas, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and more!</p> <p>We start with Italy… the country with the magnificent Alps, the most delicious food in the world, amazing people and their ‘dolce far niente’! If you love gorgonzola and prosciutto – you are on the right path!</p> <p>1. Cervinia (Aosta Valley)</p> <p>In short: The Italian resort with the longest skiing season and highest elevation. The ski area is large and has lots of runs for beginners and advanced skiers alike. For those who prefer shopping to the slopes, there are plenty of boutiques and shops in the center of town. And for photographers and the aesthetic-oriented, Cervino mountain is so beautiful that it’s really hard not to fall in love with it!</p> <p>Skiing areas: Breuil-Cervinia, Valtournenche, and Zermatt (Switzerland) are a part of the Aosta Valley area (23 ski resorts – 800 km of slopes)</p> <p>Nearest airport: Turin (120 km)</p> <p>Winter season 2015-2016: </p> <p>Breuil-Cervinia: 31 October 2015 – 1 May 2016<br /> Valtournenche: 28 November 2015 – 10 April 2016<br /> Zermatt: 28 November 2015 – 17 April 2016</p> <p>6-day ski pass: (adult: low / high season)</p> <p>Valtournenche: € 150 / € 166</p> <p>Breuil-Cervinia &amp; Valtournenche:  € 200 / € 242</p> <p>Breuil-Cervinia, Valtournenche &amp; Zermatt: € 261 / € 316</p> <p>All Aosta Valley: € 257 / € 275</p> <p>All Aosta Valley + 2 days in Zermatt: € 304 / € 331</p> <p>Ski area altitude: 1,524 m – 3,883 m</p> <p>Lifts: Valtournenche &amp; Breuil-Cervinia (19) + Zermatt (34)</p> <p>Ski runs: Valtournenche (23) + Breuil-Cervinia (49) +Zermatt (78)</p> <p>Total length of runs: Valtournenche (90 km) + Breuil-Cervinia (70 km) + Zermatt (200 km)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FinBuzz recommends:</p> <p>Hotels: Hotel Hermitage, Principe delle Nevi, Saint Hubertus Resort</p> <p>Slopeside lunch spots: Chalet Etoile, Principe delle Nevi, Bontadini</p> <p>Restaurants for dinner: Lo Copa Pan, Ymeletrob, Wood Restaurant</p> <p>Après ski: Principe delle Nevi, Tuktu</p> <p>Nightlife: Sound Club</p> <p>Must-Try Dish: Fondue of Fontina (cheese from Aosta Valley)</p> <p>2. Sestriere (Piedmont)</p> <p>In Short: The main venue of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, it is a central resort of the biggest Italian skiing area called “Milky Way” (Vialattea). It is also famous for more than 400 km of ski runs for every taste and level, excellent snow and a very long winter season.</p> <p>Skiing area: Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, Oulx, Sansicario, Cesana Torinese, Pragelato, Claviere, Montgenèvre (France)</p> <p>Nearest airport: Turin (112 km)</p> <p>Winter season 2015-2016: </p> <p>Italy: 5 December 2015 – 10 April 2016<br /> Montgenèvre: 28 November 2015 – 23 April 2016</p> <p>6-day ski pass: (adult: lowest / highest season)</p> <p>Italy: € 136 / € 196 (1 day in Montgenèvre is included)</p> <p>Italy &amp; Montgenèvre:  € 246</p> <p>Ski area altitude: 1,380 m – 2,800 m</p> <p>Lifts: 69</p> <p>Ski runs: 212</p> <p>Total length of runs: 400 km</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>FinBuzz recommends:</p> <p>Hotels: Principi di Piemonte, Club Med (Pragelato)</p> <p>Slopeside lunch spots: Chalet Raggio Di Sole, Naskira (Chalet il Capricorno), Chalet Monsoleil</p> <p>Restaurants for dinner: Last Tango Ristorante Grill, Colombiere, Il Ristorantino</p> <p>Après ski: Gargote Fashion Café, Barabba</p> <p>Nightlife: Discoteca Tabata</p> <p>Must-Try Dish: Bagna cauda, piedmontese beef steak (fassone), bunet (cocoa and amaretti pudding)</p> <p>3. Madonna di Campiglio (Trentino)</p> <p>In short: Along with Cortina d’Ampezzo, Madonna di Campiglio is the most fashionable, glamorous, and luxurious resort in the Dolomites. An ideal place for those who want to party and shop, and not only ski. The resort is very modern a