Financial institutions are set for a once in a generation change

The primary role of a traditional bank providing financing and capital is set to be challenged further in a post COVID-19 world by non-banks, according PwC’s report, “Securing your tomorrow, today – The future of financial services,” which predicts that alternative providers of capital are set to become an even more important part of the global financial system.

In the last 10 years, aggregate lending in USD by non-banks has outstripped the pace of growth of traditional lenders, with non-banks seeing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of lending of 2.3%, compared to 0.6% CAGR for banks. This trend is likely to accelerate as declining core capital ratios – caused by asset impairments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic – will limit the lending capacity of banks, particularly in Europe. Non-traditional sources of finance such as private equity, sovereign wealth funds, credit funds and governments themselves will need to step into the breach to finance the recovery and its aftermath.

In 2019, non-banks – including private equity funds and sovereign wealth funds – lent 41 trillion dollars compared to the 38 trillion dollars lent by traditional lenders. In particular, the analysis by PwC shows that private debt has seen substantial growth, which is set to propel the asset class into a significant category of non-bank lending. Since 2010, private debt has been growing with 11% CGAR.

For established financial institutions, the rise of alternative lending brings into question a bank’s role as a capital provider versus an intermediary, according to John Garvey, PwC’s Global Financial Services Leader, PwC US.

“The rise in alternative providers of capital and the impact of COVID-19 on traditional lenders has put a spotlight on how various funding models will evolve in the future. For traditional financial institutions, this shift will have a significant impact on their business model – and ultimately their bottom line. Banks need to rapidly think about alternative ways to participate in the value chain as the industry migrates to a platform-based model.”

For insurers and asset and wealth managers, the challenges are equally daunting.

The report argues that a combination of near zero interest rates and the rise of digital-only players will create tighter margins across product portfolios, thereby emphasising the need to digitise rapidly, gain cost efficiencies and register real gains in productivity. All of this will have to be completed as governments mandate more spending and reporting on ESG initiatives. Those that fail to do so are likely to be caught in the wrong end of the coming wave of deals and restructuring.

“While the financial services industry has stood up well in light of the pandemic, it will likely be hit hardest by second-order effects. The loss of employment, the closure of businesses, the increase in debt and the volatility in markets due to the pandemic and its after-effects, along with the continued low interest rate environment, will be negatively felt throughout the real economy for years to come. The challenge for the financial services industry is in how it is able to navigate this difficult environment while balancing cost cutting and investment. Those that execute best will be the ones to succeed,” said John Garvey.

Pinsent Masons grows its Financial Services offering in Dubai

Multinational law firm, Pinsent Masons, has appointed Banking & Finance partner Matthew Escritt to lead the firm’s Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East, based in Dubai.

Matthew joins from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he has been for the past 19 years, with the past eight spent as partner in the banking and finance team. During this time he has worked in London, Moscow, Bahrain, Singapore and Dubai.

Matthew is a banking and finance specialist, advising on all areas of structured cross border finance, including syndicated lending acquisition, development finance, asset finance, vendor finance, and structured trade and commodity finance. He is familiar with both conventional and Islamic finance funding structures. He also advises on financial restructuring and insolvency mandates. Based in Dubai, he will be leading the Banking & Finance practice in the Middle East (within the Finance & Projects group) and will focus primarily on clients in the Financial Services sector.

Commenting on Matthew’s appointment, Michael Watson, head of the Finance & Projects group at Pinsent Masons said: “Matthew’s reputation precedes him and we look forward to welcoming him as head of our banking and finance practice in Dubai. His experience and expertise will greatly strengthen the practice, enabling them to deepen relationships with existing clients as well as developing new ones. His appointment is another fantastic addition to our growing international capabilities.”

Alexis Roberts, head of the Financial Services sector at Pinsent Masons added: “Matthew’s appointment is a pivotal one in increasing our financing bench strength and will enable us to better support our clients within the Financial Services sector. His breadth of experience and the clients that he’s worked with will allow us to grow our offering across the sector. We greatly look forward to him joining the team.”

Matthew Escritt, head of Banking and Finance in the Middle East added: “I am excited to have been given the opportunity to lead Pinsent Masons’ Banking & Finance practice in the region and to be part of an international team tasked with growing a strategically important practice area to complement the firm’s existing strengths. It will also ensure that we are able to provide vital, full-service support to our clients as they navigate today’s challenging business environment. Given the diverse talents of the individuals involved and the well-known strengths of the existing practice I am confident that we are well placed to achieve our goals.”

Adding to the growing multinational Finance & Projects group, Matthew’s appointment follows that of Anthony Morton in Frankfurt, James Harris in Asia, Jim Hunwick in Sydney and Eran Chivka in Paris.

Navy Federal Credit Union Ranks #1 for Customer Experience

Navy Federal Credit Union remains the industry leader for a second consecutive year, ranking No. 1 among U.S. companies in KPMG’s 2019 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Report. The credit union is being recognised for delivering the best customer experience, taking the top spot over 295 brands across 10 business sectors.

“Our mission is to serve as our members’ trusted financial partner for all of life’s important decisions,” said Mary McDuffie, president/CEO of Navy Federal. “Our entire team is committed to meeting our members’ needs and we are always looking for new ways to make the member experience even better.”

KPMG ranked brands across Six Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence to identify the leaders in each country: Personalisation; Integrity; Expectations; Resolution; Time & Effort and Empathy. Navy Federal is one of only five brands to receive a score 8.5 or more.

“KPMG’s research shows us that leading organisations have built unique emotional connections with their customers, and continue to deliver impactful experience across the customer lifecycle,” said Julio Hernandez, U.S. Customer Advisory Practice Lead, KPMG LLP. “Navy Federal Credit Union once again tops our leaders table because our research indicates that they have a personal, individualised understanding of their members, allowing them to put their members firmly at the center of their decision making.”

The research for this year’s U.S. report was conducted via an online survey and was completed in May 2019. A total of 7,552 U.S. consumers who had interacted with a brand in the last six months were interviewed. Each brand needed a minimum of 100 consumer responses to be considered.

Year after year, Navy Federal is recognised for its dedication to creating a satisfying work environment and an exceptional member experience. Earlier this year, Navy Federal celebrated its 9th year on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® List, ranking 29th, the highest in its history. Other notable accolades include being the Industry Leader for Banks/Credit Unions (multichannel) in Customer Experience in Forrester’s 2019 CX Index™ and No. 7 in Best Workplaces™ in Financial Services & Insurance 2019.

About Navy Federal Credit Union: Established in 1933 with only seven members, Navy Federal now has the distinct honor of serving over 8 million members globally and is the world’s largest credit union. As a member-owned and not-for-profit organisation, Navy Federal always puts the financial needs of its members first. Membership is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard Active Duty, veterans, civilian and contractor personnel, and their families. Dedicated to its mission of service, Navy Federal employs a workforce of over 18,000 and has a global network of 336 branches.

Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Opportunity Employer.

UK Climate Finance Results

UK International Climate Finance (ICF) is a portfolio of investments with a goal to support international poverty eradication now and in the future by helping developing countries manage risk and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, take up low-carbon development at scale and manage natural resources sustainably. Through annual publications we set out results from these investments against a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The ICF Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) methodology notes are used to guide programme teams, delivery partners and analysts managing ICF programming in their data collection for ICF results. The breadth of programming necessitates not having a prescriptive approach. Programmes are asked to report achieved and forecast results annually against relevant KPIs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-climate-finance-results

Women in Finance Charter continues to drive change at highest level

Over 350 financial services organisations have now signed up to the Women in Finance Charter, with today’s signatories bringing the total coverage of the Charter to over 800,000 people.

The Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter asks financial firms to commit to taking action to support the progression of women into senior roles, including setting their own gender targets.

The 21 newest signatories include investment firms Allianz Global Investors and Natixis, and business-banking tech company Tide.

Alongside this, new research from New Financial finds that the Women in Finance Charter is leading to greater engagement on gender diversity at the highest levels in those organisations which have signed up to it. Women in Finance Champion, Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, said:

I’m delighted to see the Charter continue to grow. It’s the businesses that address their culture and understand the power of diversity that really succeed. The top quarter of businesses on gender diversity are 21% more likely to have above-average profits than the bottom quarter. So this is not just the right thing to do socially, it’s the right thing to do for business.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:

It’s great to see so many financial organisations signed up to the Charter, but we can’t be complacent.

We need to make sure this is translated into meaningful change across the sector. So it’s reassuring that people are already seeing the Charter as a driver for change in their companies, including on wider diversity issues too.

Signing the Charter is just the first step, and I encourage all signatories to continue this work so we can create a fairer, more equal industry.

Yasmine Chinwala, partner at New Financial and co-author of the report, said:

It is very encouraging that signatories believe the Charter is driving change both within their organisations and at industry level. The data shows the Charter has influenced signatories to take a new approach to improving diversity. It is vital that signatories continue to use the Charter to stimulate discussions at the highest levels, and maintain focus on increasing female representation.

Two-thirds of the signatories surveyed believe being a Charter signatory will drive permanent sustainable change in their company and across the financial services industry, with the majority of the rest expecting to see a shift in their own organisation over the next five years.

The research also found that this is not just a ‘women’s issue’ but a business issue, with nearly all respondents seeking ways to involve men in their Charter commitments. Four-fifths of respondents are also seeking to improve their wider diversity as well as their gender balance, most commonly focusing on ethnicity, LGBT+, disability and socio-economic background.

European stocks steady as US celebrates 4th of July

European stock markets flatlined Thursday, after an uneventful session earlier in Asia, with trading volumes thin on the US Independence Day holiday, dealers said.

“European stocks have edged a tad higher while US stock futures are unchanged following Asia’s mixed session, one day after new record highs for indexes stateside,” said Oanda analyst Dean Popplewell.

“Trading remains thin due to July 4th US celebrations,” he added but sounded caution before Friday’s data release of US non-farm payrolls — a key update on the health of the world’s biggest economy.

Vulnerable Dollar

“Currently, the dollar trades broadly flat due to the US public holiday but could be vulnerable and ruin traders’ weekends if tomorrow’s US NFP data comes in on the weaker side.”

Asian equity markets experienced mixed fortunes, despite a record-breaking performance on Wall Street, as investors turned their focus to Friday’s upcoming data while hoping for a big Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

US traders went on a pre-July 4 spending spree Wednesday to push all three main indexes to their all-time highs as a string of weak economic indicators reinforced the case for the Fed to reduce borrowing costs.

With the relief rally from Donald Trump and Xi Jinping’s trade war ceasefire running its course, dealers were turning their attention to the global outlook and pinning their hopes on central bank support.

The release Friday of US non-farm payroll figures is key, analysts say, with a weak reading likely to reinforce expectations of a rate cut.

Talk of a reduction and concerns about the economy have seen the yield on safe haven 10-year Treasuries fall below two percent.

French Negative Yield

Stephen Innes, at Vanguard Markets, said the fall in yields across several asset classes “has increased investor appetite for high dividend-yielding equity risk”.

In Europe meanwhile, the French Treasury issued 10-year bonds at negative interest rates for the first time ever, meaning investors are now willing to pay, rather than receive, interest on their bond purchases.

Dealers attributed part of the rally in eurozone bond markets to the nomination of IMF chief Christine Lagarde as head of the ECB where she would be expected to pursue loose money policies.

“With increasingly dovish central bank rhetoric throughout Europe and the US, further gains look likely,” predicted Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.

The increasing likelihood of a Fed cut has, however, weighed on the dollar, with riskier currencies such as the South Korean won, Australian dollar and Indonesian rupiah all strengthening.

However, Trump hit out at China on Wednesday in a Twitter rant, accusing it and Europe of artificially keeping the yuan and euro weak to gain an advantage over the US.

He said they were playing a “big currency manipulation game” and “pumping money into their system”, adding that the US should step up to the fight by matching them.

Oil prices meanwhile sagged, with traders disappointed by the size of the drop in US stockpiles of the commodity, while worries over the global economic outlook weigh on demand expectations.