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Brazil: BTG Pactual Buys Generali’s BSI (Banca Svizzera Italiana) Swiss private-banking Unit for $1.7 Billion

Grupo BTG Pactual (BBTG11), the only investment bank publicly traded in Brazil, agreed to buy Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G)’s Swiss private-banking unit for 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.7 billion) to help build a global private-banking platform.

BTG will pay for BSI Group with 1.2 billion francs in cash and 300 million francs of shares in units listed in Sao Paulo, Generali said in a stock-exchange statement today. The Trieste, Italy-based company said it will book a loss of about 100 million euros ($136 million) for the transaction, while the deal will add about 9 percentage points to its Solvency 1 ratio.

The Brazilian lender controlled by billionaire Andre Esteves is expanding internationally as the country’s growth slows. It’s added units in Mexico and Colombia, and in January Esteves said he planned to open offices in Geneva, Houston and Singapore as the firm expanded in commodities. Last week, it agreed to acquire Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd.’s reinsurance unit Ariel Re.

“This acquisition reflects our confidence in the tradition and strength in Switzerland as a global financial center,” Esteves, the bank’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “It’s an opportunity to build one of the biggest global private-banking platforms.”

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Assicurazioni Generali SpA Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco is selling BSI as part… Read More

BTG was unchanged at 34.15 reais at 10:31 a.m. in Sao Paulo. Generali reversed earlier gains, falling 0.1 percent to 15.38 euros in Milan, valuing the insurer at 24.1 billion euros.

Global Platform

The acquisition will almost double BTG’s assets under management to create a wealth- and asset-management business with more than $200 billion in assets, BTG said. The bank plans to keep the BSI brand for its global wealth-management platform.

“The acquisition is in line with BTG’s strategy to diversify revenue,” Ricardo Kim, an analyst at brokerage XP Investimentos CCTVM SA in Sao Paulo, said in a report today. He said the transaction was positive for BTG.

Brazil’s rising inflation and slowing growth has led to a drought in the nation’s initial public offerings, reducing investment banking revenue. BTG has been building a global commodities business since last year as part of its strategy to offset declining investment banking fees.

Brazil, which hosted this year’s World Cup, has expanded at an average annual pace of 2 percent since 2011, when President Dilma Rousseff took office, the slowest economic growth for a Brazilian administration in more than two decades. Economists expect the South American nation to expand 1.05 percent this year, according to a weekly survey published by the central bank today.

U.S. Fine

Proceeds from the sale, which is scheduled to be completed by the first half of next year, may be reduced by “any fine established pursuant to the U.S. Department of Justice’s tax amnesty program relating to Swiss financial banking institutions payable by BSI,” Generali said.

BSI is one of at least 36 Category 2 Swiss banks seeking to avoid prosecution for handling undeclared American money by joining the U.S. Justice Department’s voluntary disclosure program. The U.S. is scouring Switzerland for names of tax dodgers who used the world’s largest offshore haven to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.

Under a program announced in August, about a third of Swiss banks with “reason to believe” they violated tax laws asked the Justice Department to forgo prosecution. In turn, banks must hand over data on undeclared accounts and pay penalties.

Revenue Goal

Generali CEO Mario Greco sold the unit to focus on the company’s main business, strengthen finances and boost profitability. The firm, which set a goal of 4 billion euros of revenue from asset sales by 2015, will have achieved 3.7 billion euros with the sale, Greco said in the statement.

“This sale completes the disposal process aimed at strengthening the capital base of the group, resolving a key issue for us, and allowing Generali to focus on driving forward with its core insurance business,” he said. “This result is a testament to our team’s ability and commitment to execute a complex transaction in a challenging environment.”

BSI Loss

BSI had a net loss of 722 million Swiss francs last year as it took writedowns faster than planned because of new regulations for accounting treatment of goodwill, the bank said in April.

Generali’s net income in the three months to March climbed to 660 million euros from 603 million euros a year earlier, the company said in May. The first-quarter pro-forma Solvency 1 ratio after the BSI sale will exceed the insurer’s 2015 target of 160 percent, it said today.

“Once the announced sale of BSI is concluded, Generali’s period of balance sheet repair will be complete,” Marcus Rivaldi, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a report today. “Focus now turns to how earnings and dividends can be improved.”

 

Source: 14.07.2014 Bloomberg  by editor Elisa Martinuzzi at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, News, Singapore, , , , , , , , , , ,

Avaloq positioned as a ‘Leader’ in Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking

The Avaloq group, a leader in integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, is proud to announce it has been positioned in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant by Gartner in the recently released ‘Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking (IRCB) 2013’ report. Avaloq sees this as recognition of its strong community work and ability to deliver a full-service BPO option to its customers.

For Avaloq being positioned in the Magic Quadrant is a confirmation of its success in the retail segment and its market vision. “We are convinced that our unique community including client banks, universities, associations and partners gives us that extra edge by gaining important market knowledge. The feedback coupled with our own vision and insights from our BPO centres ensure that we stay ahead of trends and develop product capabilities accordingly”, says Francisco Fernandez, CEO of Avaloq. Pascal Foehn, Head of Marketing and Sales HQ Avaloq, adds: “After having been named ‘best selling private banking solution in the world’ by IBS, we are proud of Gartner’s recognition as a leader that is able to address present and future needs of retail banks.”

In the report, Gartner positioned vendors based on two parameters: ‘completeness of vision’ and ‘ability to execute’. To be included in the IRCB 2013 report vendors had to demonstrate market traction and momentum as well as product capabilities in international retail core banking.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant on international retail core banking (IRCB) software assesses vendors on the multi-currency products they offer in support of the bank’s financial transaction management in the retail banking market. Avaloq provides a fully integrated front to back banking solution and has a worldwide customer base of more than 100 banks, including tier one banks in the most demanding financial centres.

¹Gartner, Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking, Don Free, Ethan Wong, October 8, 2013.

Source: Avaloq, 17.10.2013

Filed under: Banking, News, Wealth Management, , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis August 2013

Admist concerns on capital outflows due to U.S Fed tapering and fear of Syria war, the market retreated quite badly in August with foreign net selling of USD 41.8mn across the 2 bourses. By the month-end, VN Index lost 3.7% to close at 472.7 whilst VN30 tumbled 1.72%. HNX was the best performer of the 3 indices when it only edged down 0.49%, closing at 61.19.

Read full analysis VAM Monthly Newsletter – August 2013.

Buoyant FDI continues to support recovery

As of 20th August, registered FDI reached USD 12.6bn, soaring 19.5% from a year earlier.Thiswas backed by 768 new projects mostly focusing on the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the FDI disbursement edged up 3.8% y-o-y to USD 7.6bn and became a key factor contributing to the marked improvements in production activities. Indeed, while the employment index for the manufacturing sector in SOEs and private sector showed a negative growth, that in FDI sector still increased 5.6% y-o-y. Besides, FDI enterprises continued to be the main driving force to push export as they are contributing more than 60% of export and USD 2.7bn of trade surplus. YTD export turnovers advanced 14.7% y-o-y as of end August, however the YTD trade balance still suffers little deficit of USD 577mn due to a higher pace of import growth.

CPI accelerates but is still under control

The August general consumer price index edged up 0.83% m-o-m compared to previous month. Consequently, the year on year headline CPI was lifted up to 7.5% y-o-y, from 7.29% y-o-y in July. While aggregate demand was still weak, cost push effect became the primary reason for the return of inflation, in which electricity and gasoline price was adjusted up 5% and 2%, respectively. The healthcare basket, which was adjusted up remarkably in Hanoi, clearly produced the strongest effect. Fortunately, it only contributed little effect to the month-on-month CPI growth. The government’s inflation target of 7-8% would likely be met provided that there is no significant shock of gasoline price in the rest of this year.

Fast tracking VAMC

Sector-wide NPL figure at the end of 1H2013 was announced at 4.65%. This figure was indeed encouraging as NPL has fallen sharply from 8% by the end of 2012. 30 credit institutions that had NPL higher than 3% will be forced to bring down NPL level to 3% by selling bad debts to VAMC. In a recent interview, VAMC’s CEO said that in the next 2 months VAMC will issue bonds to swap for VND 10 trillion worth of bad debts of 10 banks. Banks with highest NPL will be given priority to sell bad debt to VAMC. The speedy execution of VAMC hopefully would help to clean up sector-wide bad debt more swiftly by year end.

More banking resolution to restructure banking system comprehensively

The PM signed a Resolution that allows SBV to assign financially strong banks or SBV itself, if there is no appropriate bank, to purchase stakes in weak banks which were unable to increase their capital or restructure themselves. Strong banks are requested to assist weak banks in both finance and management until their conditions come back to normal or acquired by other parties. This supportive resolution, together with VAMC formation, has clearly demonstrated the government’s determination to restructurethe banking system and tackle the NPL issue.

 More details on raising foreign ownership limit (FOL) plan available

According to the HOSE, the proposal on issuing Non-Voting Depository Receipts (NVDRs) was submitted to MoF. With the same model as Thailand NVDRs, an SBV subsidiary will buy and hold 10% of total outstanding shares of listed companies and issue equivalent NVDRs to foreign investors. Foreign investors holding NVDRs will be fully entitled to company financial benefit, but not voting rights. NVDRs will be converted to normal shares when foreign room is open. This NVDRs model will be applied to all companies. However, we do not think it will happen soon this year due to the amount of preparation required.

 Our View – 8 months of the year has passed and the economy has started showing some modest improvements. Inflation is under control and the government’s target would be likely to be met.  More affordable borrowing cost is supporting production activities and making business environment more attractive.  In addition, gold market has been gradually stabilized as the gap between domestic and global prices has been falling to half of previous high level. These improvements in economic conditions have prompted us to believe that the economy seems right on track for a gradual recovery.  Furthermore, the government’s serious effort in restructuring the banking sector and the future lifting of foreign ownership limit gave us reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic about the market despite recent pullbacks due to external factors, which actually revealed buying opportunities for some good stocks we have been watching.

Source: VAM, 11.09.2013

 

Filed under: Services, Vietnam, , , , , , , , ,

Brazil:Inseed Investimentos selects eFront

EFront, a leading software provider of solutions for managing alternative investments, has signed a new Brazilian client, Inseed Investimentos, a prominent venture capital firm based in Belo Horizonte.

With over 40 companies in its portfolio, Inseed Investimentos has a strong track record of investing in innovative companies with high growth potential in the early stages of development. The company will be making use of eFront’s front-to-back integrated solutions to improve efficiency and investor relationships and structure its investment operations and fundraising activity.

The client win forms the latest chapter of eFront’s ongoing expansion into Brazil where it already provides solutions to the largest private equity firm in Latin America, GP Investments. In order to support these clients and the broader regional market eFront will be opening an office in Rio de Janeiro later this year. GP Investments has invested more than USD$5 billion across 15 different sectors, and as eFront’s cornerstone regional client is a big factor in the decision to expand.

Ayman Daif, Area Sales Manager of eFront, says “With Brazil’s fast-growing alternative investment market, this is an incredibly exciting time to make inroads into the region; over the past decade the Brazilian private equity sector has deployed over USD$22 billion in capital, and this is only accelerating. Private equity funds have played a key role in Brazil’s economic rise, helping to professionalize family-owned businesses, improve corporate governance and provide much needed growth capital.

eFront’s software solutions are designed to help general partners, limited partners and fund administrators automate and optimize all aspects of managing both investment and investors. For example, with eFront GPs can automate difficult and often error-prone tasks such as issuing capital call notices, managing investor allocations and fees, and closing financial periods.

Source: Finextra 30.07.2013

Filed under: Brazil, Latin America, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , ,

Private banking in China finally taking hold

Considered one of the best retail banks in China, China Merchant Bank (CMB) has started their private banking business in 2007. At the end of 2012, CMB’s pre-tax profit from their private banking business reached 2.3 billion yuan. Other major banks in China have similarly increased their wealth management profit since 2010, when growth of the market really accelerated.

ICBC and BOC still have the largest private banking AUM among the top 5 while CMB has the most private banking centers to serve its HNWI customers. The high net worth customer segment (over 10M RMB in investable assets) is growing at 18% growth rate and reached to 700,000 by the end of 2012. It seems that banks have finally cracked the code and wealth management is set to grow in China.

Potential of private banking

Up coming Webinar on Banking and Risk Management in China on August 7th, 2013.

Source: KapronAsia, 18.07.2013

Filed under: Banking, China, Wealth Management, , , , , , ,

Avaloq announces going live of Avaloq Banking System at Moroccan investment bank CFG Group

The Avaloq Group, the international reference for integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, together with its partner Orbium, announces the launch of the Avaloq Banking System at CFG Group in Morocco. Twenty months after choosing this innovative solution, the bank draws positive conclusions regarding the implementation.

CFG Group has chosen all modules of Avaloq’s universal front-to-back banking platform, which ensures in particular the seamless integration of the securities modules with the cash modules. “Avaloq’s excellence in private banking as well as numerous references from its community dispelled any doubts we might have had about our choice. Moreover, we had already tried out the solution’s adaptability that enables us to customise and develop new operational business models. This further confirmed that we made the right decision”, says Younès Benjelloun, CEO of the CFG Group.

Based in Casablanca, CFG Group is an independent investment bank providing the full spectrum of investment banking services: corporate financing, capital market transactions, portfolio management, and venture capital. It aims to offer a wide range of value-added services to its private clients.

This demanding project was managed by Avaloq’s Premium Implementation Partner Orbium and brought about a genuine revolution within the bank. CFG Group replaced every IT system across all its business processes with the Avaloq Banking System, from accounting to finance operations, payment transactions, credits and the entire securities value chain, one of Avaloq’s areas of special expertise. All online stock exchange transactions are processed via the e-banking platform “e-services” by Avaloq’s partner Swisscom IT Services.

In addition, the implementation of the multi-entity capable Avaloq platform has enabled reorganisation measures at CFG Group by consolidating banking activities and distribution services for private clients within the CFG Group bank.

Source, Avaloq 10.07.2013

Filed under: Banking, Wealth Management, , , , , ,

B-Source (Avaloq Group) takes over Wealth Management Operations of Back-Office of Deutsche Bank (Switzerland)

Avaloq subsidiary B-Source is taking over operational responsibility for the Wealth Management Operations Back-Office of the Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd with effect from July 1, 2013 and supports the bank in further concentrating on its core business.

With effect from July 1, 2013, B-Source, a member of the Avaloq group, is taking over operational responsibility for the Wealth Management Operations Back-Office of Deutsche Bank (Switzerland) Ltd, including 80 employees in Geneva. Transformation of the core-banking platform to the integrated Avaloq Banking Suite is scheduled for summer 2014.

Markus Gröninger, CEO of B-Source, said: “Our continuously increasing community corresponds clearly to our growth path. This confirms us to be on the right track with our strategy of offering highly industrialised services that let banks concentrate on their core business and generate future growth.”

Francisco Fernandez, CEO of Avaloq, is also very pleased with the new deal: “In migrating to the integrated Avaloq Banking Suite, our clients are setting the highest standards in terms of individualising processes and industrialising operations. We love challenges like that. This is how we generate maximum added value for our clients.”

Source: Avaloq 28.06.2013

Filed under: Data Management, Reference Data, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 18 April 2013

MEXICO

Mexico Peso Declines as U.S. Earnings Crimp Outlook for Exports

Mexico says Nestle to sell Pfizer baby food business

MEXICO CITY – Swiss food giant Nestle will sell the assets of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s baby food business in Mexico, a business it acquired globally in an $11.85 billion deal last year, Mexico’s competition watchdog said on Monday.

Analysis: Mexico’s smaller homebuilders set to gain as top three struggle

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s top three homebuilders, facing heavy debt burdens and holding land where Mexicans no longer want to live, will sell fewer homes this year, leaving a market wide open for smaller rivals or even private equity funds to snap up business.

Mexican manufacturing: from sweatshops to high-tech motors

SILAO, Mexico – Made in Mexico is increasingly more likely to mean cars than clothes as the country’s manufacturing sector moves away from the low-skill, high-volume production lines of the past toward more sophisticated products.

VIP Interview: Enrique Peña Nieto, forging the future

Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, on a new spirit of democracy and cooperation, and the economic future of Mexico.

BRAZIL

Itau Bet on Stocks Outside Brazil Leads Latin America Funds

QItau Unibanco Holding SA has found a winning strategy for the Itau Latam Pacific mutual fund: avoiding shares from the bank’s home country, Brazil.

 Brazil’s Votorantim Cimentos files for $5.4 billion IPO

Votorantim Cimentos S.A., Brazil’s biggest cement producer, on Wednesday filed with regulators to raise up to $5.4 billion in an initial public offering of its units.

Brazil clears Pão de Açúcar’s appliance stores deal

BRASILIA/SAO PAULO – Grupo Pão de Açúcar SA , Brazil’s biggest retailer, won regulatory approval on Wednesday for its 2009 purchase of the Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio appliance chains in exchange for selling less than 8 percent of their store fronts.

Brazil Indian-farmer standoff intensifies, tribes storm Congress

BRASILIA – Brazilian Indians are trying to derail a congressional proposal to change the way indigenous lands are recognized, intensifying a standoff between the powerful farm sector and a carefully protected minority by literally storming the floor of Congress.

Special Report: Rough justice as Brazil tries to right past wrongs to Indians

MARAIWATSEDE, Brazil – Damião Paridzané was nine years old in 1966 when the Brazilian Air Force loaded him and hundreds of other Xavante Indians onto a cargo plane. | Video

UK-based TMO Renewables building cellulosic fuel plant in Brazil

SAO PAULO – UK-based TMO Renewables said on Friday it plans to build Brazil’s first commercially viable second-generation ethanol plant, betting on the South American country’s need for non-food-based biofuels.

Brazil’s Embraer looks to shock Lockheed with price of cargo jet

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is looking to shock rivals with the price of its KC-390 military transport plane when it starts booking firm orders within the next 12 months, according to a senior executive.

Higher volumes and more investment for Brazilian railfreight
INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY JOURNAL – Despite a slowdown in economic growth, Brazil’s freight railways invested nearly Reais 4.9bn ($US 2.4bn) in new infrastructure and equipment last year, a 6.6% increase over 2011,

LATIN AMERICA

British Firms Explore Trade Opportunities in Mexico and Colombia

A four-day trade mission to Mexico and Colombia by medium-sized British businesses took place in March, focusing on high value opportunities in key sectors.

Jamaica’s decades of debt are damaging its future

The latest IMF loan does not ‘rescue’ Jamaica, whose debt must be written off if its people are to take control of their economy

 The Logistics Hub Project and Jamaica’s Development
An ideal location midway between North and South America, in close proximity to the Panama Canal contributes to this advantage. The Panama Canal will be widened by 2015 to accommodate wider ships and Jamaica hopes to capitalise on this by expanding its port facility and affiliated infrastructure spread over four south coast parishes: namely Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and St Thomas. An IDB (2010) study on the productivity of the LAC region concluded that “ports and airports are grossly inefficient.

Latin America’s top port faces logistical woes
Santos’ cargo handling volumes made a strong start to 2013, with the port hitting a record high of 7.9 MM tons, up 27 percent year-on-year, according to Santos’ Port Authority CODESP. If the trend continues, the port is expected to close 2013 with total cargo traffic of 109 MM tons, up from 104 MM last year and 97 MM in 2011. But a record soybean harvest this year has clearly overwhelmed its storage and loading capacity. “It seems that our infrastructure can’t cope with the growth in grain production,” said Sergio Mendes, executive director of the Brazilian Cereal Exporters Association (ANEC). Last month, the logistical nightmare reached epic proportions, with a 64-kilometer traffic jam of trucks waiting to unload their soybean cargo outside Santos port. And the port congestion and resulting shipment delays led Sunrise Group, China’s largest soybean importer, to cancel an order to buy 2 MM metric tons of Brazilian soybean.

Latin America’s Largest PV Projects

As of April 1, 2013, 9.8 gigawatts of large-scale PV projects had been announced in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, the generating capacity of projects in operation is just 114 megawatts. Of the 9.8 gigawatts’ worth of announced projects, 731 megawatts have signed off-take agreements of some sort (power purchase agreements, feed-in tariff contracts, etc.) and a further 168 megawatts are under construction. These large numbers have generated a lot of hype for various Latin American markets, in particular, for Chile, Mexico, and Brazil.

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 31 March 2013

Brazil

Brazil’s Mantiq To Raise Money Abroad For Infrastructure Fund
Mantiq, which was spun off from Banco Santander Brasil SA (BSBR, SANB4.BR) last year, currently manages three private equity funds with total investments of about 2.5 billion Brazilian reais ($1.27 billion). In addition to a fund that invests in the oil and gas industry supply chain, and another that invests in renewable energy and other environmentally sensitive technologies

Brazil to help banks bolster infrastructure financing-official
The Brazilian government is considering measures to help private banks finance the massive infrastructure projects that are key to reviving Latin America’s largest economy.

Strike Shuts Down 36 Brazilian Ports

Central America

Logistics and Transport: A Long Road to Travel in Central America

Why is it more expensive shipping tomatoes from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Managua in Nicaragua than it is to San Jose, California, which is 10 times the distance? According to Google, the distance between the Costa Rican capital and Managua is 430 kilometers, whereas 5,400 kilometers separate San Jose from the Californian city.

Barletta: 2013 should be a good year for logistics development
Panama is one of the rising stars of Latin America’s economy. The construction of large infrastructure projects, such as the $5.2 billion Panama Canal expansion and a $1.8 billion subway in the capital city, have boosted the country’s economy to 10.5% growth and reduced unemployment to 4.8% in 2012.

Jamaica ahead in race to be logistics hub of the Americas
The race to be the logistics hub of the Americas has already begun with the addition of Jamaica that has revealed its intention to position the island as the rival of Singapore. A similar situation is raking place with the Dominican Republic, while in Panama there is still a debate on the need for a long-term strategy that includes where to locate logistics parks.

Filed under: Banking, Brazil, Central America, Energy & Environment, Risk Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investors News Letter 14 March 2013

Top Ranking Banks in Latin America
After a decade of unusual success, the LatAm banking sector has slowed its growth
The year 2011 closed with disturbing news. Banco Santander decided to sell its subsidiary in Colombia, which finally Chile’s Corp Group bought for US$1.225 million. At the time, the chairman of Santander, Emilio Botin, said the measure was taken to “strengthen the balance sheet” of the crestfallen Spanish giants. As he explained, “Our market share in commercial banking in Colombia is far from the 10% which we aspired to get in the markets where we operate.” …

LatAm Hedge Fund Experts Weigh In
On the Current Political and Economic Context
Though 2011 and 2012 have been strong years for LatAm hedge funds, particularly relative to other regions, the political and Workings macroeconomic context in which local managers are investing has been fraught with complicated developments.  For instance, the slowdown in China has affected commodities markets, the lifeblood of many of the region …

Investors Ditch Brazil For Mexico, Colombia

Gramercy Adds to Latin America Private Equity Investment Team

IFC Invests $100M in Energy for Caribbean, Latin America

Brazil

2013 Oil & Gas Industry Perspectives  Brazil
Brazil is heralded as the largest and most significant new oil and gas prospect of the last few decades. However, there is still a long way to go to realize the promise of a new non-OPEC stable source of supply in the top 5 world oil producers by 2020. Progress toward this ambitious target has been slow in the last year, as project development, execution and political risks have taken their toll …

Brazil Real Drops on Speculation Credit Rating May Be Lowered

First meetings on Guyana-Brazil infrastructure project begins

Paraná green lights process to start Paranaguá port infrastructure works in Brazil

ETF investors avoid Brazil

Brazil Seeks Recipe to Attract Investors at Lower Cost

Brazil May Be Next Health-Care Frontier for Global Investors

Troubled Brazil fund Laep to sell 40 mln new shares-filing

BTG Pactual shuts macro hedge fund to new money

Argentina

Argentina Is Replaying Another Inflationary Collapse

Mining investment in Argentina grows 72% despite risky business climate

Fernandez Angers Investors While Ducking Argentine Austerity

Colombia

Foreign direct investment in Colombia seen down in 2013

Chile

Top LatAm selector on working Chile’s red tape

Banchile builds with Fidessa’s sell-side trading platform and connectivity network

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Constructing $96M Oil Terminal

Peru
Peru announces major upgrade to Lima’s water infrastructure

Peru’s Private Pension Funds Want Higher External Investment Limit

Qatar “looks favorably upon” investment-friendly Peru

Peru’s Private Pension Funds Want Higher External Investment Limit

Velarde Says Peru May Allow Pension Funds to Invest More Abroa

Venezuela

Venezuela to Create New Parallel Exchange Rate, Ramirez Says

Venezuela will establish a new parallel exchange rate as it seeks to crack down on a black market in which the dollar is worth about four times more than the official rate, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

Filed under: Argentina, Banking, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – February 2013

After a long Tet holiday, rumors about financial policy changes and further arrests of top bank leaders emerged and eroded all the stock market’s gains from the beginning of February. Consequently,  the VN-Index closed the month with a 0.52% loss, whilst HNX shed 1.05%. With a 3.05% fall, the VN30 seemed to be even more sensitive to the panic.
 
Inflation subdued in the month of Tet
Thanks to the phasing out of pharmaceutical products price increases, inflation slowed somewhat in February as the consumer price index climbed 7.02 percent YoY (versus 7.07 percent YoY in January). The concerns about the “traditional” consumer price hikes during the Tet holiday did not materialize, partly due to weaker festive demand than usual. The government also decided not to raise retail prices of petroleum products including gasoline to ensure economic stability and keep inflation under control. However,  Ministry of Finance did not provide the information on price stabilization fund balance for petroleum products, so it remains unclear on how the gasoline price control will transpire in the coming time.
 
Trade surplus continued, foreign reserves given a boost
According to GSO, the trade balance in February continued to show a surplus, reaching USD900mn, the highest monthly level ever and the ninth month of surplus in a row. With this result, following the USD700mn in Jan, the YTD trade surplus is now around USD1.6bn, a comfortable level which should lend healthy support to the already strong foreign reserve (by Vietnam standard) and consequently the value of the Dong. However, exchange rate showed unexpected volatility in the first two weeks after Tet, possibly due to brisk actions in the gold market and the upsetting rumours. To comfort the market, a Central bank spokesman has stated that no depreciation is being planned for the foreseeable future.
 
Newly released NPLs figure eased concerns on banking system reform.
While the Prime Minister requested to establish the AMC in 1Q 2013, the new NPLs figure released by the Governor was encouraging. Accordingly, bad debt on banking system has come down from 8% in June 2012 to 6% as banks wrote off non-performing loan balance at the end of last year. As the Government set credit growth target of 12% in 2013 to boost economic growth and implement the “dual-targets”, the destination for credit flow is still at stagnation point. Whilst total liquidity (M2) increased 3.31% YTD, the credit growth up to 21 Feb was till in negative territory at – 0.16% YTD.
 
Business environment still appears challenging
In line with stagnation on the supply side, demand remained weak with retail sales increasing only 3.6% in Jan-Feb period, which is not different from Dec 2012’s level. While the inventory level hiked 19.9% Y-o-Y, industrial production showed no improvement. In a related note, the government released that by February, the number of enterprises going out of business was 8,600, which exceeded the figure of 8,000 newly created enterprises, implying the fact that the business environment is still very difficult.
 
A bumpy recovery progress reflected by a drop in the PMI.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, including the Tet holidays, the HSBC Vietnam Manufacturing PMI posted 48.3 in February, down from 50.1 in January. This has been the largest dip since last August. Notably, in February, the survey showed a first drop in four months of manufacturing output; a decline in the level of new order received and a sixth time in seven months increase in average input prices.
 
Our ViewAfter a long Tet holiday, the stock market was hit by negative rumors about possible currency devaluation, financial policy changes and further arrests of banking officials. Although these rumours were addressed and corrected in a timely manner by the relevant authorities, the stock market and economy in general showed its uncertainty and vulnerability. In 2013, the story will be mainly about boosting production and restructuring the economy. Fortunately, Vietnam’s leaders’ determination is supported by a relatively stable currency and a healthy trade balance.
We remain cautious and will carefully watch development in the political space and changes in macro economy as that will definitely affect the stock market. We are generally comfortable with our equity position but may look to selectively acquire more stocks if the macro environment becomes more favourable.

Filed under: Banking, News, Risk Management, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – January 2013

All indices recorded strong gains in January as investors’ sentiment improved
The VN-Index surged 15.5% to close at 479.8 while the HNX jumped 9.7% to 62.62. The VN30, after reaching its all time high at 577, eased back to 564.01 at the end of the month, gaining 16%.
 
Timely measures to give market a boost
With effect from15th January 2013, the trading band on HSX and HNX have been loosened to 7% and 10%, from 5% and 7%, respectively. Besides, SSC also introduced other measures to support the stock market such as tax incentives, allowing to issue stocks below par value, increasing margin ratio and most importantly, increasing foreign ownership limit by non-voting rights in some selective industries (namely at weak banks to over 30%, and at securities companies to 100%).
Furthermore, SBV also intends to participate in domestic gold trading to stabilize domestic gold price, closing the gap with global price, thus discouraging people from holding too much gold. Those measures to boost the stock market, especially the possibility on increasing foreign ownership and the proposal to tighten gold control have somewhat created the wave of optimistic buying in January.
 
A wave of Japanese FDI and record remittances to welcome Tet
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, FDI disbursement in January reached USD420mn in total, up 5% YoY. Total newly registered and top-up capital grew 74% YoY, of which newly approved projects registered USD257mn, a 293% YoY increase, and top-up capital touched USD24.3mn, rising 25.2% YoY. Japanese became the biggest investor making up 57.6% total newly approved projects so far this year.
Thanks to the surge before Tet holiday, total remittances this year are estimated at a record USD10 billion. The total foreign reserve has increased to USD26bn, equivalent to 2.3 months of imports, a historical high and an 8.3% increase from USD24bn as at the end of 2012. The healthier FX reserve helps to safeguard the value of the Dong.
 
Tet, on the other hand, narrows trade surplus
Januaryrecorded a smaller trade surplus as demand for imports increased before Tet holiday. Exports exceeded imports by only USD200 million in January, after a revised trade surplus of USD498 million in December. From the previous month, export value decreased 2.5% while the import value edged up about 0.4%, although both of them showed huge improvement, more than 40%, compared to the same period last year. Foreign invested enterprises continue to be the leading sector with 66% and 55% of total export and import value, respectively. They also outperform domestic sector in terms of more import growth and less export reduction during the first month of 2013.
 
Credit drop and CPI jump surprise market.
The industrial production index (IIP) decreased 3.2% from December amid pessimistic outlook for stagnation on retail sales. Indeed, consumers continued to reduce spending at the prospect of lower income and no year-end bonus. The retail sales edged up just 2.2% MoM in Jan, the month before a long Tet holiday. As a result, credit dropped 1.06% YTD, according to the press release from a government meeting.
In contrast, January’s PMI moved in a different direction with the IIP since it increased to 50.1 from 49.3, thanks to modest improvement in new order volumes from domestic market and marginal job growth. Amidst stagnation of industrial production and credit growth, a solid increase in average input prices, a component of PMI basket, after a marginal reduction in December, suggests that SBV should be more cautious about further easing as inflation risk came back from the beginning of a new year. Jumps in health care (9.5% MoM) and foodstuff (1.96% MoM) items led CPI to soar 1.25% MoM (7.07% YoY) in January, exceeding market expectation. Accordingly, inflation risk puts any rate cut rumors on hold until at least after Tet holiday.
 
Government charts out tasks for banking sector with focuses on inflation control and bad debt resolution
Main objectives of SBV in 2013 continue to be curbing inflation, stabilizing macro economy alongside with restructuring banking sector and tackling NPL issues. For 2013, the SBV targets to keep credit growth at 12%. Importantly, SBV has submitted to government the plan that allows AMC to purchase bad debts based on book value (after provision) and pay by bonds to the bank. Banks could use AMC bonds as collateral to get cheap fund from SBV at a discount rate. Commercial banks with NPLs higher than 3% will be forced to bring down their NPLs to 3%.
On the other hand, as there are many linkages between real estate market and NPL problems in banking system, government also issued the Resolution No.2, which introduces several tax incentives, credit line for low income individuals to purchase social houses and transferring commercial housing projects into social housing. However since social housing only accounts for a small portion of property sector, we think these solutions are not effective enough to rescue the whole troubled real estate market.
 
Our ViewBullish momentum remained in the first month of 2013 thanks to good round of macroeconomic indicators release. While capital inflow continued being positive, actions of authorities looked effective in boosting the market. However, as stocks ran too high and too fast during the last two months, we start to be skeptical about the strength of this momentum. A month before Tet, inflation risk seems to be coming back and industrial stagnation looks a bit tense. We maintain a cautiously optimistic view and relatively high equity holding, particularly stocks with strong fundamentals in consumers, pharmaceuticals and materials sectors. As Government is showing more and more determination to improve the economy and clean up the banking sector, stickers with strong cash flow, low debt and high beta are also in our consideration to pick up to ride the market’s uptrend.

Filed under: Exchanges, News, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , ,

Avaloq the Swiss Wealth Management Solution provider opens office in Australia

The Avaloq Group, the international reference for integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, is pleased to announce the opening of its first branch office in Australia.

As part of its continuous internationalisation strategy and aim to extend its presence in the most demanding financial markets globally, Avaloq has opened an office in Australia end of last year. The expansion to Australia – a new continent for Avaloq – comes after the company successfully established local offices in various regions in recent years.

Avaloq signed its first customer on the Australian continent – one of the reasons why the company decided to further extend its international presence and open a branch in Sydney. The Australian market bears a great potential for wealth management platforms such as the Avaloq Banking System. The fully integrated solution offers the entire field of investment products and additionally covers local tax and superannuation requirements. Combined with a team of experts, equipped with substantial know-how and experience regarding the Australian financial market, Avaloq significantly improves its local position.

“Opening an office in Australia is yet another important step in our internationalisation strategy and an additional milestone in Avaloq’s remarkable company history. Building up a local presence in the most demanding financial centres worldwide ensures that we are close to the markets and companies we work with. This allows us to cater towards our client’s needs and requirements without having to work around different time zones”, says a delighted Francisco Fernandez, CEO Avaloq. “The Australian market has immense potential, with demand for wealth management platforms increasing. Being present in Australia is the logical move for the company”, Fernandez continues.

The new Avaloq branch in Australia will significantly profit from the vast experience of the regional headquarters in Singapore, which was established in 2007. The Singapore branch has seen strong expansion in recent years under the management of Martin Frick, Managing Director Asia Pacific.

Source: Avaloq, 12.02.2013

Filed under: Australia, Banking, Singapore, Wealth Management, , , , , , , ,

VAM: Vietnam Market Analysis – December 2012

Improved economic conditions somewhat buoyed the stock market in the last month of the year as all three indices moved up
The VN-index closed at 413.7, gaining 11.23% while VN30 closed at 485.4, picking up 9.42%. HNX was the best performer of three indices, increasing 11.83% to close the month at 57.09.
 
Macro indicators showed joyful December
Market confidence was regained thanks to better-than-expected CPI, trade balance, interest rates cut and detail implementation of the Government on spurring the economy. For the first time in four months CPI slowed in December, with consumer prices rising 6.81% from a year earlier after climbing 7.08% Y-o-Y in November. Consequently, the State Bank cut benchmark interest rates for a sixth time to help companies cope with difficulties in production and business. The trade balance posted a first year of surplus (of US$284mn) since 1993. Despite a gloomy year, FDI disbursement reached USD10.5bn, dropping a marginal 5% YoY. As a result, foreign reserves are significantly improved, reaching US$24 billion, equivalent to 12 weeks of import. The Dong remains unchanged.
 
However, stability was achieved at the cost of growth
Vietnam’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in 13 years in 2012 as a slump in bank lending dampened domestic demand. GDP grew 5.03%, down from 5.89% in 2011, and the lowest since 1999. Bad debt and the gloomy business environment hampered credit growth, which ended 2012 at 6.45% YoY while total liquidity growth and deposit growth were 19.85% and 20.29% YoY, respectively.As the lenders’ liquidity position becomes comfortable and full-year inflation was a lower-than-expected 6.81%, the central bank decided to cut all policy rates and deposit cap rate by 1%, effective on December 24, in an attempt to make banks lend more. But as the real interest rate is still positive, some are speculating on another rate cut, even as the World Bank warned against easing too soon.
On the other front, the HSBC’s Vietnam PMI index fell back to deterioration in December, down to 49.3 from 50.5 last month, as a result of reduction in order inflows, disinvestment of inventory holdings and stagnating production volumes.
 
Government details its determination to spur the economy
To spur the economy and resolve the financial system, the Government started implementing a detailed action plan. Businesses may enjoy lower corporate income tax rate in 2013, i.e. 23% for large enterprises and 20% for SMEs (down from 25% earlier); real estate will receive more support based on a newly approved proposal by MoF, which includes a 50% VAT reduction, 2-year extension on the deadline of land use fees payment and the establishment of AMC aiming to solve rising NPLs. Moreover, USD300mn from Asian Development Bank in a 25-year loan package will help to restructure SOEs in 2013.
 
Authority changes rules to push the capital market
On the capital market, SSC submitted its proposal in support of the stock market to the Ministry, in which key measures might include tax incentives, allowing to issue stocks below par, increasing margin ratio and trading band and most importantly, increasing foreign ownership limit. Otherwise, SBV governor also announced that they are working on revising the Decree 69/2007, wherein special cases, i.e for restructuring commercial banks, the foreign ownership ratio might be allowed to exceed 30%. Since 10th January, the number of gold bar shops will decline from 8,000 to 2,400 including around 900 in Ho Chi Minh City and 400 in Hanoi, after SBV completes the licensing procedures. 
 
Our ViewOn the background of good macro economic indicators coming out in December and improved investor sentiments after seeing the Government’s determination to spur the economy being detailed into action plans, the stock market had a good run in the last month of 2012. We are cautiously optimistic and have started to mobilize cash into Vietnam Dong to be ready for deployment toward increasing equity level for the Fund. We are keen to buy stocks of strong companies with sound cash flow and healthy balance sheets in fundamental industries such as consumers and materials.

Filed under: Banking, Exchanges, News, Risk Management, Services, Vietnam, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin America: Investor News Letter 14 December 2012

Mexcio

With a little help from my friends; Mexico´s new Government
The rise of Mexico The US needs to look again at it´s increasingly important neigbour
Mexico’s New President Offers Much to U.S. Investors
Macquarie Mexico IPO Offers REIT Where Murder Reigned
Thor Urbana Capital Launches $500M Investment in Mexico
HSBC became bank to drug cartels, pays big for lapses
Pemex Sues Siemens Claiming Bribery in Refinery Project
How to Invest in Mexico
Peru, Chile and Mexico are Societe Generale’s favourites for LatAm investments Cemex crumbles and Latin America starts to look weak
 
Brazil
Brazil stimulates construction to spur economy
Deutsche Bank Reduces Investment Bank, Research Teams in Brazil
Brazil Subsidizes Uncertain Shipyard Success
Rousseff Seeks Investment From Spain
Alstom handed Sao Paulo infrastructure contract
GE to Build Oil, Gas Facility at LLX’s Brazil Acu Port
New trains for World Cup host cities
Brazil´s Ceará to receive $66.5 million IDB loan to improve urban infrastructure and business environment

Latin America

LatAm Wealth Management Overview
The world has gotten wealthier, but not the whole world. The engine of growth for private wealth is by far the emerging markets such as LatAm and, particularly, East Asia ex-Japan, which is outpacing the rest of the world by a long shot …

South American airports need more investment: ALTA head
Can South America Become the New European Union?
IDB Approves $153 Million in Loans to Set Up IDB-China Eximbank Equity Investment Platform

Argentina

Argentina May Abandon International Court, Treaties Over Debt Ruling
Argentina raising energy tariffs to fund investment
Argentina’s YPF buys majority stake in natgas distributor

Chile

Chile approves Endesa 740 MW coal-powered project

Colombia

Colombia is Fast Becoming a Rising Oil Giant in Latin America
Southern Cross Group Invests in Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Barranquilla (Columbia)
Holcim to double capacity in Colombia by building new US$600mn cement plant
As Panama Canal expands, Latin America rushes to be ready
Embezzlement stalling Colombia’s infrastructure development: Minister
Infrastructure in Colombia

Peru

Peru Is Clear Investment Destination In Latin America: Minister
Peruvian ports in peril?
 
FiNETIK News Summarier, 14.12.2012

Filed under: Argentina, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Energy & Environment, Latin America, Mexico, News, Peru, Risk Management, Wealth Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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