Russian equities have long been cheap, reflecting political risks and perceptions of corruption, but the current earnings valuation (price/earnings ratio or PE) based on forecast earnings of around 4 is low even by historical standards. It’s also the lowest it’s been since the credit crisis. Cyclically-adjusted PEs are lower relative to the MSCI World index than during the credit crisis.
Collateral management in the insurance and fund management industry is arriving like an oncoming train, albeit a slow moving one. This is the starting point of a new report from Massachusetts-based consultancy Finadium. “It may take a while to feel its impact but it is inevitably coming,” says founder Josh Galper.
When is a 35-year irrevocable credit facility not a 35-year irrevocable credit facility? When the mortgage lender is BNP Paribas.
BNP Paribas in Geneva is determined to force me and my wife to take our modest Swiss mortgage elsewhere. It has been trying to do this for the past two years or so, firstly by demanding that I do so and now by driving up the interest rate it charges. Classic banking behaviour: make life so unpleasant for smaller customers they'll go away and stop bothering you, leaving them free to slaver over and pander to bigger customers with much fatter balances.
When they first launched this campaign, I dug my heels in and pointed out that the original loan agreement was described as a 35-year irrevocable credit. They gulped at this. Having inherited the business when it bought Fortis, which had in turned inherited us by buying Banque Mees Pierson, the original lender, no-one had consulted the documentation.
I sensed a new offensive opening up towards the end of last year when it became clear that they would no longer a fixed-rate and transferred the loan to a higher variable rate, simultaneously warning me that the rate was likely to rise, soon.
This morning I received a letter advising that it will in fact rise, significantly, in January 2015, and that this new rate 'may be revised, subject to prior notice in accordance with the provisions of your contract'. I know a threat when I read one.
Beware of bankers bearing mortgages; you never know when they might decide not to stop providing them...
ps Since writing this I have sent an email to the co-heads of BNP Paribas Wealth Management asking for their help in resolving this situation; I'll keep readers posted of any developments.
Key data & events this week: Monday, German IFO business climate; Tuesday, US Conference Board consumer confidence; Thursday, US gross domestic product; Friday, Eurozone consumer price (CPI) inflation.
Perish the thought, but the Gallafreyan emperor would seem not to be wearing any clothes. Peter Capaldi's first full outing as Doctor Who was for me underwhelming. Not because of any problem with his acting or his suitability for the role, but because writer Steven Moffat seems intent on writing up the importance of secondary and tertiary characters at the expense of the main man.
The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), the global hedge fund industry body, has published “The Case for Hedge Funds”, a compilation of AIMA’s thought leadership research since the global financial crisis.
Only 23 days left till the 2014 Jungfrau Marathon starting in Interlaken on the morning of September 13. There are still 500 bibs up for grabs, for those who think they're hard enough (it is as challenging mentally as it is physically, I can say from personal experience).
See http://www.jungfrau-marathon.ch/en for further details.
By Alan Higgins, chief investment officer, UK, Coutts.
The UK economy remains one of the strongest within developed markets. Growth in economic activity (gross domestic product) is still on track to top 3% this year, with unemployment continuing to fall steadily and the unemployment rate now standing at 6.4% – its lowest since late 2008. This has brought forward market expectations of when the Bank of England (BoE) is likely to raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressures that are anticipated to build with increasing activity.
Standard Chartered reports from Singapore that it has established a new corporate agency & trust business within its transaction banking division by bringing together its existing services to provide a comprehensive range of agency, trust, escrow and account bank services for its clients.
Just finished interviewing legendary oil and gas investor T Boone Pickens.
He was open and eloquent in response to my questions, including telling me 'that's not a very good question' at one point. He is 86, still working because he enjoys it, and works out every day he is in Dallas, on the treadmill at 06.30h with the same personal trainer he has had for 25 years!
National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, reports that Alina Akchurina has been appointed managing director responsible for developing the collateral management systems, and Svyatoslav Berezin has been appointed the company’s information security director.
Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc, a provider of technology-driven solutions for financial firms and corporate issuers globally, has reached an agreement with the Taiwanese central depository, Taiwan Depository & Clearing Corporation (TDCC), to establish direct links with the TDCC’s new electronic voting system for Taiwanese shareholder meetings, StockVote.
Standard Life Investments, the global investment manager, highlights how investor interest in a range of real assets has been building for some time and that long-term investors are increasingly considering real assets to assist with enhancing portfolio diversification and liability matching.
To be up the crow’s nest, singing my say. Shiver me Timbers, cause I’m a-sailing away..
Mark Carney steps back and puts UK rate fears on hold – until next time or the time after that. I suspect he is as worried about increasingly apparent weakness in housing as he is about wages. (RICS shows decline is coming!)