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.

IPC Wins Two 2019 SBR Technology Excellence Awards

IPC, a leading global provider of secure, compliant communications and networking solutions for the financial markets community, today announces the win of two awards in the 2019 Singapore Business Review Technology Excellence Awards.

Best Connectivity for Financial Services – Connexus Cloud earned IPC the award for “Connectivity for Financial Services”. IPC’s Connexus Cloud is a high-performance financial markets cloud solution for data, voice and enterprise communications and compliance. Connexus Cloud helps firms trade faster, scale with greater ease, and achieve greater agility, productivity and efficiency, resulting in a significant competitive advantage.

Best Infrastructure Technology for Financial Services – IPC’s Unigy platform was named the winner of the “Infrastructure Technology for Financial Services” category. Unigy, IPC’s flagship solution, has been recognised globally for years as the industry’s dominant trading and communications platform. It is a widely adopted, secure, compliant, end-to-end solution purpose-built to address the specific needs of the global regulated financial markets community.

“We are excited by the success and recognition of Connexus Cloud and Unigy in the Asia Pacific market” said Bruce Malsen, Vice President of APAC sales at IPC. “We will continue to deliver our promise of excellent service, thereby enabling companies in the financial sector to mitigate risks, diversify and protect their assets, and seize opportunities to build wealth for their customers.”

To express its appreciation for innovative technological solutions with a wide-ranging influence, Singapore Business Review (SBR) pays tribute to firms that have launched extraordinary products, services, and strategies in the past two years. To be recognised at the 2019 SBR Technology Excellence Awards, nominees have to meet the criteria of uniqueness and innovation, effectiveness and impact, and dynamism, which are essential elements of success in the digital era.

The inaugural awards ceremony was held on May 30, 2019 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Cheang Wai Keat, Head of Advisory of Ernst & Young LLP; Darwin Thio, Director, Cybersecurity & Technology Services of Nexia TS; KPMG Head of Cybersecurity Daryl Pereira; Evelyn Lim, Executive Director, Tax Advisory of BDO LLP, and; Jonathan Kok, Co-Head of Technology, Media & Communications Industry Group of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.

About IPC

IPC is a technology and service leader powering the global financial markets. We help clients anticipate change and solve problems, setting the standard with industry expertise, exceptional service and comprehensive technology. With a customer-first mentality, IPC brings together one of the largest and most diverse global financial ecosystems spanning all asset classes and market participants. As the enabler of this ecosystem, IPC empowers the community to interact, transact and react to market changes and challenges, and we collaborate with our customers to help make them secure, productive, compliant and connected. Visit IPC.com and follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.ipc.com/

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The Wall Street Journal Reports Barron’s 2019 Top Adviser List

Greg Miller, CPA, CEO, Portfolio Manager and Co-Founder of Wellesley Asset Management, Inc., has been ranked #1 in Massachusetts for the fifth consecutive year on Barrons list of Americas Top 1,200 Financial Advisers. Featured in the March 14, 2019 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the Top 1,200 ranking is Barrons most comprehensive list of advisers which is published annually.

Following the ranking announcement, Greg Miller, a nationally recognised convertible bond expert with over 25 years of convertible bond experience, said, I am honored to have been ranked the top financial adviser in Massachusetts once again by Barrons. I believe this is a testament to our convertible bond investing strategy with the goal of principal protection, while at the same time, outperforming equities and fixed income over complete market cycles.

President, Portfolio Manager and Co-Founder of Wellesley Asset Management, Darlene Murphy, CPA, CFP, commented, It is truly an honor to be recognised again by Barrons as the top adviser in our home state of Massachusetts. This is a tribute not only to Greg Miller, but also to our team of professionals and to our loyal clients nationwide who inspire us to strive for excellence.

Michael Miller, CFIP, Chief Investment Officer added, We believe our success is directly related to investors concerns about possible upcoming market corrections and a desire for relative safety for their investments, while still pursuing equity-like capital appreciation. We believe properly selected convertible bonds offer this opportunity. In addition, convertible bonds are one of the few fixed income vehicles that have historically performed well during periods of rising interest rates.

To be nominated for Barrons Top 1,200 Financial Adviser listing, advisers must complete an extensive survey about their practice. Barrons also examines regulatory records, internal company documents, and 100-plus points of data provided by the firm. The criteria for inclusion are total assets under management and revenue generated, as well as the overall quality of the practice. Investment performance is not an explicit criterion, because it can be skewed by each clients appetite for risk. In many cases, the objective is preservation of wealth, rather than extraordinary returns.

About Wellesley Asset Management, Inc.

Wellesley Asset Management (Wellesley) is an SEC registered investment advisory firm located in Wellesley, Massachusetts specialising in the management of convertible bonds through separately managed accounts, mutual funds and a private fund. Wellesley is a trusted adviser to a diverse client base serving high and ultra-high net-worth individuals, registered investment advisers, institutions, pensions, and other investment professionals. Founded in 1991, by Greg Miller, CPA and Darlene Murphy, CPA, CFP, Wellesley invests in convertible bonds deploying absolute return-seeking strategies. Additional information about the firm is available at https://www.wellesleyassetmanagement.com/

About The Wall Street Journal & Barrons

The Wall Street Journal has been a trusted name since 1889 for unparalleled analysis and unique reporting of informing decisions that drive the world forward. Winner of 37 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism, the Journal includes coverage of U.S. and world news, politics, arts, culture, lifestyle and more. Barrons, published by Dow Jones since 1921, is Americas premier financial magazine. It is the trusted financial publishing brand that people active in the market turn to for information, ideas and insights they can use to increase their professional success and enhance their personal, financial well-being. The Wall Street Journal and Barrons are registered trademarks of Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Disclosures:

Past Performance is no guarantee of future results.

All investing involves risk, including the risk of loss. There is no assurance that any investment will meet its performance objectives or that losses will be avoided.

Rankings should not be viewed as representative of any one clients experience and should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of performance by Wellesley Asset Management and any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognised adviser. Working with a highly ranked adviser does not ensure that a client will experience a higher level of performance or guarantee results.

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The case for regulatory-driven diversification in Ship Finance

A decade ago, we all knew of at least one shipping company that felt safe receiving its debt financing from a single source (a behaviour that was, unfortunately, encouraged by some bankers), and eventually experienced immense pain when some key-lenders abruptly withdrew from ship financing.

Back at that time, sourcing finance from a handful of different – typically European – banks (as opposed to, from a single one), was considered a sound approach to funding diversification, since the key driver for a Bank’s approach to lending was its own business policies and individual circumstances.

That was then. Next, the banking crisis happened. And then the shipping one followed… Both led to (a) an increased regulatory attention to bank-lending towards the shipping industry; and (b) the regulatory framework being the dominant parameter shaping each Bank’s business activity.

One unsurprising consequence of the above was that (European) bank lending, when it came to shipping, became much less abundant. A second, and initially less anticipated, change was that the approach of lenders, regulated by the same regulator, became significantly more homogeneous. A shipowner friend recently confided to me – half-seriously, half-jokingly – that “if I remove the bank logos from the term sheets I receive, I cannot really tell which-one sent me which.” This is mostly the result of the tighter regulatory framework under which European banks are operating and, jokes aside, highlights the need for regulatory diversification.

Given the importance that debt capital has for an industry as capital-intensive as shipping is, no shipping company can afford all of its lenders to operate under the same regulatory framework. Were it to do so, the result might be that next time something important happened, its lenders would be highly likely to change their views about their shipping exposure at the same time and in the same way. It is like operating a VLCC in high-seas, with no internal bulkheads limiting cargo shifting around: you don’t want to be on it when the wind starts blowing hard…

Thankfully, the alternative financiers, who flocked-in during the last few years, are a crowd made-up by highly different animals. We can hence observe “blocks” of lenders, each defined by the main regulator they operate under, with their respective members behaving in a correlated way. European banks are such a block, with a couple of sub-blocks, defined by the risk-rating model each bank uses to rate its obligors.

Another block are the Chinese financial institutions, another are the Japanese, each having different local regulatory frameworks and/or adopting global ones (like Basel IV) at a different speed than their European counterparts. An additional regulatory diversification bonus comes from the different local central banks’ monetary policies and the impact these have on respective lenders’ balance sheets and capacity to lend.

There is, of course, the block of lenders that are completely untouched by lending regulatory frameworks, such as the various credit funds: their activity is, of course, also contingent on market realities, views, models and limitations but – and this is the key issue here – these are different from the ones traditional financiers have.

The optimal mix of funding sources is a moving target, given the constantly changing finance scene, and also it differs from company to company, depending on parameters such as fleet size, corporate structure, or employment profile (but also some more nuanced ones like specific industrial relationships). A ship-finance specialist, whether internal or external to the company, can be the key for keeping this mix as-close-as-possible to optimal at all times.

Some might argue that the above approach is an expensive one: “I have a financier who provides me with a very competitively priced product, and I feel comfortable with him” or “Why start a new relationship with a geographically/culturally distant and/or more expensive lender?” are comments sometimes made.

In a nutshell, the answer is that diversification, even at some cost, works like an insurance policy. For an industry that has grown up having insurance at its heart (who can imagine shipping without it…) the concept of paying what could appear to be a ‘premium’ to hedge against a known and accepted risk (that of lack of financing), but which could pay-off in multiples later on, should not be that strange.

The ship financing scene is trying to find again its balance, while overall volatility in the finance world is increasing. Seeking regulatory diversification of funding sources might prove to be an efficient way to avoid “déjà vu all over again” as dear old Yogi Berra would have put it…

Dimitri G. Vassilacos is a Partner at Ship Finance Solutions (SFS), a boutique financial consulting firm specializing in the shipping sector. Prior to that he had assumed a variety of positions during a 20-year-long career in the banking sector, including Head of Greek Shipping at Citibank and Manager of the Shipping Division at National Bank of Greece.