|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's range||26.47 - 26.47|
|52-week range||26.47 - 26.47|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||N/A|
|PE ratio (TTM)||10.87|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- It was the usual setup for panelists at a finance conference talking about making smart investments. They were all the same gender.In this case, all women. That probably wasn’t surprising, considering the event was hosted by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Still, Karine Hirn, founding partner at East Capital in Hong Kong, watched in admiration. She celebrated on Twitter: “Climate finance is at last opening up perspectives for great talent within the otherwise very unbalanced world of finance.”Men rule that world, except for one key field: the fast-growing arena of what’s known by the shorthand ESG. There’s big money pouring in, and there are big names promoting the idea of applying environmental, social and governance standards to the business of making money.Which means, of course, that the men may try to muscle in.“The ESG person was once seen as a junior. Now their expertise is considered essential,” said Rebecca Chesworth, senior ETF strategist at State Street Global Advisors, where she’s on a team developing investment strategies to promote environmental and social goals. “And so now many more men are paying attention.”For decades a finance backwater, responsible investing—variously also called sustainable or values based or ethical—is having its moment. Fund bosses are under pressure from shareholders, clients, employees and activists to use their resources to fight climate change or address a raft of other issues, such as workplace diversity or LGBTQ rights or corporate governance on compensation.The behemoth BlackRock Inc. announced its shift last week, when founder Larry Fink said it would redirect the roughly $7 trillion of assets the firm manages toward environmental sustainability and devoted his annual letter to sounding the warning on climate change, saying the evidence of the risk is “compelling investors to reassess core assumptions.” Because of it, Fink said, “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”That would catapult to new heights the profiles of ESG teams at banks, money-management firms and public companies, the rare area in finance where the gender imbalance in top jobs isn’t hugely lopsided in men’s favor.“As sustainable finance roles rise in prominence, so do the many women that occupy them,” said Jane Ambachtsheer, global head of sustainability at BNP Paribas Asset Management in Paris. “It’s a bit of a fast track to get women into more influential positions as more people realize connecting finance with the real economy is a critical issue.”Hard data are limited, but according to what’s available, and interviews with more than 30 ESG executives, women are unusually well represented in decision-making roles, including top spots. They lead ESG units at firms including JPMorgan Asset Management, Invesco and Fidelity Investments.“ESG was not always popular or glamorous,” said Bonnie Wongtrakool, a portfolio manager and global head of ESG investments at Western Asset Management in Pasadena, California. “If you have an important but thankless task, you give it to a female, because you know they will get it done.”Assets managed using a broad definition of the ESG approach are growing. They were at $23 trillion at the start of 2016, up 73 percent increase from four years earlier, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, whose members are financial companies, including Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. Now they’re over $30 trillion. “ESG has become a central discipline,” said Emily Chew, global head of ESG research and integration at Manulife Investment Management in Boston, Early on, “it was marginal and was not seen as attractive to young men wanting to build their careers.” Now, “there’s a war on talent that favors people who have been involved in ESG for years, including many mid-career and senior women.”Over the past five years, 44% of the top ESG jobs that recruiter Acre Resources helped fill went to women. That’s a stark difference from the industry in general. Women on average made up 17% of senior managers and investment advisers and managers in the U.K. last year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority, and their share of those roles had barely changed since 2005. In the U.S., McKinsey & Co. data show that women are in 22% of similar positions at asset managers and investment banks.A survey by Responsible Investor and the Sustainable Finance Network found that the ranks of men and women in the business of sustainable financing “to be almost equal”—though, tellingly, another finding was that men are twice as likely to be in roles commanding more than $197,000 annually.Where women are vastly outnumbered is in the dedicated investment or financial product roles, with just 19% of those filled by women, according to Acre Resources. And last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show, all but one of the top-10 best performing sustainable funds as ranked by Morningstar Inc. were run by men. The exception had three managers, two male, one female.The numbers could get worse, said Ian Povey-Hall, principal consultant for sustainable and impact investing at Acre Resources. “There could be a temptation for senior management to withdraw their support from the women that have been key to the development of those franchises in the wilderness years when appointing senior investment roles, reverting back to more jobs for the boys.”At State Street, Rakhi Kumar, head of ESG investments and asset stewardship, said she’s seen waves of applications from men. “The gender dynamics will look very different 10 years from now.”Wall Street, often criticized for its lack of gender diversity the closer jobs get to the C-suite, has an incentive to work to prevent that from happening, even if just for the sake of public relations. John Goldstein, head of Goldman’s sustainable finance group, said the talent and experience of the women in the business is too valuable for them to be shunted aside. “I would instead look for women in the space to ascend to more senior, broad based roles.”Recently, two announcements captured attention. The New York State Common Retirement Fund hired a man as its first director of sustainable investments and Man Group Plc, the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund firm, tapped Robert Furdak for the new role of chief investment officer for ESG.But two others also stood out. JPMorgan Chase & Co. put a woman in charge of a new group that intends to meet United Nations sustainability goals in providing more financing and advice for development in emerging markets, while BofA hired Karen Fang for the new role of head of sustainable finance.“This is still an emerging field,” said Lindsay Patrick, head of sustainable finance at Royal Bank of Canada’s capital markets unit in Toronto, “so there is more room and opportunity for gender equity.”To contact the author of this story: Alastair Marsh in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne Reifenberg at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Stephen Poloz, one of the few central bankers to resist the global push toward easier monetary policy last year, said the door is open for the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates if the current economic slowdown persists.The governor, speaking to reporters after a rate decision Wednesday that left the key interest rate unchanged at 1.75%, said growing slack in the economy threatens to dampen inflation pressures. The central bank chose not to cut, however, because policy makers didn’t want to fuel household debt levels that remain a vulnerability to the economy.“I’m not saying that the door is not open to an interest rate cut, obviously it is, it is open,” Poloz said when pressed on the issue, adding borrowing costs remain “appropriate” for the time being.The more negative outlook is a departure from recent communications in which officials sought to accentuate the positives of an economy deemed resilient in the face of global uncertainty. The decision to hold for a 10th-straight meeting leaves the Bank of Canada with the highest policy rate among major advanced economies, but the downturn in domestic data since the end of last year has clearly spooked policy makers.Officials expressed heightened concern about an economy that may have stalled in the fourth quarter, and revised near-term growth projections. They said global weakness may be spreading to households, affecting domestic spending more than previously thought. They also seem to be entertaining the idea that underlying factors may be behind the slowdown, rather than temporary drivers.Canada’s currency sold off after the release, depreciating 0.5% to C$1.3134 against its U.S. counterpart at 4:54 p.m. Toronto time. Two-year government bond yields dropped 8 basis points to 1.55%. Investors ramped up bets for rate cuts over the next year, with a move now fully priced in over the next 12 months. On Tuesday, markets were pricing in a 50% chance.Watching ‘Closely’The change in tone reflects a shift in growth risks to domestic from global. Three months ago, the central bank was highlighting the nation’s resiliency to elevated international risks. Since then domestic economic concerns have come to the forefront.“In determining the future path for the Bank’s policy interest rate, Governing Council will be watching closely to see if the recent slowdown in growth is more persistent than forecast,” policy makers said in the rate statement. “In assessing incoming data, the Bank will be paying particular attention to developments in consumer spending, the housing market, and business investment.”The near-term slowdown coupled with a slight upward revision to potential growth prompted the central bank to increase its estimate for the amount of slack in the economy -- from about 0.25% of output in the third quarter to about 0.75%. The bank also projected the economy will be in a state of excess capacity through the end of 2021. That build up in slack -- which bolsters the case for a rate cut -- is being weighed against the possibility that lower interest rates will fuel financial vulnerabilities, Poloz said at the press conference.All things considered, “it was Governing Council’s view that the balance of risks does not warrant lower interest rates at this time,” Poloz said. “Clearly, this balance can change over time as the data evolve.”The bank has been here before. In October, officials acknowledged they considered an “insurance” rate cut to counter growing risks associated with global trade tensions, ultimately deciding against it. Poloz indicated the motives for a future move would now be different.‘Meaningful Shortfall’If the bank cuts in the future, “it would not be a cut against a hypothetical or a possibility” rather it would mean that the forecast was showing a “meaningful shortfall on our inflation target,” he said.Even while cutting near-term forecasts, long-term estimates for growth were mostly unchanged from October, with a slightly lower growth forecast in 2020 of 1.6%, but 2021 faster than previously forecast at 2%.This suggests the base case scenario at the bank remains that the slowdown that began in the second half of last year will be temporary. The Bank of Canada anticipates that over the next two years household spending will pick up, helped in part by a recent tax cut, as will exports and business investment. It also anticipates inflation will stay around the 2% target over the projection horizon.(Updates with economist’s comment in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Shelly Hagan.To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Hertzberg in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org;Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Fournier, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Stephen Poloz is heading into the final few months of his term as Bank of Canada governor showing few signs of giving up his status as one of the industrialized world’s most hawkish central bankers.At a decision Wednesday, the bank is widely expected to hold its key interest rate at 1.75%, keeping it unchanged for a 10th-straight meeting and leaving Canada with the highest rate among advanced economies.Markets also don’t see much chance that Poloz, who leaves office in June, will lower borrowing costs in any of his final three meetings after this one, with odds of a cut at less than 40% over that time. That’s despite having reason to cut, given the economy looks to have slowed sharply at the end of last year.Here are some of the reasons why he’s seen remaining on hold:Neutral ToneIn public appearances since October, including a number from Poloz, officials have sought to accentuate the positive, highlighting the nation’s strong jobs market and on-target inflation. At the same time, they’ve been reluctant to put much stock in weaker indicators they say are transitory.Last month, Deputy Governor Timothy Lane defended the Bank of Canada’s decision to buck the global easing trend, saying the nation’s resilient economy is allowing it to “chart its own course in monetary policy.”“The more that we hear from Bank of Canada the less they seem willing” to cut rates, said Frances Donald, Toronto-based global chief economist at Manulife Investment Management.InflationUnderlying price pressure as measured by core inflation has been stable near the Bank of Canada’s 2% target for about two years. That reflects an economy running nicely at around its capacity -- neither too hot nor too cold.Of course, what matters more for policy makers is where inflation is headed rather than where it’s been, and the central bank will update its outlook with new quarterly forecasts on Wednesday. They will probably revise down fourth quarter growth estimates, from their October projection of 1.3%. Growth is trending at less than 1% for the final three months of last year, according to the latest Bloomberg survey of economists.But the net effect of the changes isn’t clear. For all of 2019, growth may be higher than the bank previously forecast because upward historical revisions by Statistics Canada means the economy probably had less slack to begin with.A weak fourth quarter also doesn’t necessarily mean the central bank will cut its growth forecasts for 2020, given the stabilizing outlook for the global economy and some positive developments on the trade front.Home PricesOfficials sometimes downplay the extent to which household debt and financial stability factor into rate setting, but the recent housing rebound and acceleration in borrowing will only amplify their concern.Poloz highlighted the possibility earlier this month that speculative activity is returning in some major real estate markets. That’s one more reason not to cut.Core MandateTo be sure, Poloz won’t hesitate to lower rates if there’s a discernible worsening in the outlook. The central bank’s primary inflation-targeting objective is aimed at ensuring the economy grows at a sustainable pace over the medium term. Financial stability is a secondary concern.So if the data continue to disappoint, a rate cut may be in the offing. While investors are sanguine about a move, nine of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg are anticipating at least one rate cut by June.Nor, if history is any guide, will Poloz’s imminent departure hinder him from acting. David Dodge cut rates in his final decision as governor in January 2008. So did Gordon Thiessen in 2001.That said, as long as the economy remains in a relatively good place and household debt levels continue to pick up, Poloz may be content to simply stand pat before he stands down.To contact the reporter on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Fournier, Stephen WicaryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The future of some Japanese regional banks looks increasingly precarious after the sector had the most credit rating downgrades in the country last year.The latest blow to the troubled lenders adds to pressure on the weakest among them to consolidate and boost profitability. Local banks are battling to revive lending as the population shrinks and negative interest rates persist in the world’s third-largest economy.Downgrades in Japan more than doubled overall last year to 49, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and of that 13 were banks. All except Japan Post Bank Ltd. were regional lenders.Read how stricken local banks in Japan are buying riskier debt to survive“Regional banks’ credit won’t likely recover unless yields start to rise,” said Shunsuke Oshida, a senior credit analyst at Manulife Asset Management in Tokyo, adding that there’s too much competition among too many lenders. “There’s a need to reduce the number of banks through consolidation.”The Financial Services Agency is seeking to make it easier for banks to merge by ensuring they are exempt from anti-monopoly rates. Core business profit at Japan’s regional lenders fell to the lowest in more than a decade in the year ended March 2019, FSA figures show.CLO InvestmentsAmong the downgrades, Shizuoka Bank Ltd. was cut to AA- from AA at Rating & Investment Information Inc., while Gunma Bank Ltd. was lowered to A3 from A2 by Moody’s Investors Service.Low rates in Japan have forced some regional lenders to buy riskier assets such as collateralized loan obligations, and dump holdings of Japanese government bonds, which traditionally made up the bulk of their investments.Upgrades overall slowed to 79, compared with 118 in 2018, according to the data from five rating agencies. Of that, only one lender’s rating increased, that of Kiyo Bank Ltd., which is based in the western prefecture of Wakayama.(Adds shift to riskier assets in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Rie Morita, Rimi Yoneya and Adam Wahid.To contact the reporter on this story: Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Monahan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Beth Thomas, Russell WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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British life and general insurer Aviva Plc will keep its operations in Singapore and China, it said on Monday, two days ahead of an expected strategy update and following speculation of a sale of the Singapore business. Aviva began a review of its Asia business earlier this year under new CEO Maurice Tulloch. "Following a thorough review of options for the Singapore business, including seeking offers ... Aviva has concluded that the best value for shareholders will be achieved by retaining the business," the company said.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Two- and-a-half years after the Indian central bank took the highly unusual step of directing banks to put 12 large corporate debtors into bankruptcy, the most closely watched of the “distressed dozen” cases has finally been resolved.With the Supreme Court in New Delhi clearing the decks for the sale of Essar Steel India Ltd., the Ruia family has accepted defeat. Control of the 10 million-tons-a-year integrated plant in western India will pass to ArcelorMittal, which will pay banks 420 billion rupees ($5.9 billion), or 90% of their claims.This final episode of a drawn-out legal saga, in which the Ruias made multiple attempts to hold on to their prized asset, was a nail-biter. At the last moment, the bankruptcy tribunal’s appellate authority had inexplicably jumped into the fray and ordered that more of ArcelorMittal’s money be given out to unsecured operational creditors and less to secured financial lenders.India’s $200-billion-plus bad debt mess is starting to attract serious global capital from pension and sovereign funds. Had expected recovery rates of 90% shriveled to 60%, private equity funds assembling this stock of patient money to take over secured lenders’ exposure would have fled. Thankfully, the court restored the power of the creditors’ committee to decide who gets what.It’s been a costly delay. When the Reserve Bank of India referred large cases to new bankruptcy tribunals, it was hoping to solve 25% of the country’s bad-loan problem in 270 days. There was interest among potential buyers, particularly for steel plants, because global metals demand was stabilizing. But with missed deadlines, lengthy litigation and suspected fraud holding back asset sales, liquidation has emerged as the default option, with only 15% of closed insolvency cases ending in a resolution plan. A lot has changed in India’s corporate distress landscape between 2016, when India promulgated its bankruptcy law, and now. For one thing, global demand for steel — and steel assets — is starting to sag. That isn’t all. With practically all sectors of India’s economy facing a demand funk, there’s trouble everywhere from real estate and roads to power and telecom.Each industry comes with its own unique challenges. In residential real estate, it’s the homeowners’ interest that makes creditor coordination difficult. In telecom, the difficulty comes from exorbitant government demands for spectrum fees. The danger of a voluntary bankruptcy filing by Vodafone Idea Ltd. has everyone from investors to the government worried. The mobile operator posted a $7.1 billion quarterly loss, the worst in India’s corporate history. A new complexity is that creditor institutions themselves — from shadow lenders to small deposit-taking banks — are becoming insolvent, prompting India to extend the bankruptcy law to nonbank lenders as well. This quick fix would further weigh on a system creaking under its case load. A steel plant can preserve value through a lengthy in-court bankruptcy by utilizing its fixed capacity. A lender has to continuously make new loans to stay in business. Without the trust of the financial markets, its enterprise value very rapidly falls to zero. Early liquidation is the best possible outcome for an insolvent lender’s creditors seeking to extract value, but it’s also the scenario that poses the biggest risk to stability of the existing financial system.The current law can’t solve this dichotomy. Rather than overburdening it, India must keep the bankruptcy tribunal focused on what it can actually handle. A recent example of overreach is the start of an insolvency petition against Aviva Plc’s local life insurance joint venture for not paying its landlord. Such things used to happen in Indonesia, where a Jakarta commercial court declared Canadian insurance firm Manulife Financial Corp.'s Indonesian unit bankrupt in 2002, and followed it up two years later by holding Prudential Plc’s local business insolvent. A higher court had to reverse those rulings. By setting right the balance between secured and unsecured lenders, the Essar judgment has scored a win above all for common sense. The verdict will rekindle hope in the integrity of India’s bankruptcy process, but it will take a lot more work to allay concerns about its effectiveness.To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Discovery is targeting 500,000 insurance clients in South Africa to take regular surveys on their mental health in an extension of a programme which rewards "good" behaviours. The South African insurer's model already offers clients insurance discounts and everything from free coffee to cheap flights for buying healthy food, exercising and driving safely. Dinesh Govender, CEO of Vitality, the insurer's behaviour change programme, said the aim, as with its physical fitness scheme, was both to make its clients healthier and over time bring down the cost of claims.
The asset and wealth arm of Canada's Manulife Financial Corporation said on Monday it had opened an office in Ireland to expand its European operations and as part of planning for Britain's exit from the European Union. Banks, insurers and asset managers have been opening offices, hiring staff and moving capital to various locations across the trade bloc to ensure they can continue to serve clients in the event Britain leaves the EU without an exit deal. Currently staffed by four employees, Manulife Investment Management's Dublin office plans to hire two more people over the next six to nine months.