Brief: A small group of hedge funds managed to overcome the fast and furious market rout in March as the coronavirus pandemic sent countries around the world into a lockdown. For them, the sell-off brought riches that some haven’t seen since … well, since the last financial crisis. Notably, these profits were derived from a wide variety of investment approaches, from macro and credit to long/short equity and oil. The crisis beaters were the exceptions. Most hedge funds, including those run by industry titans such as Ray Dalio and Michael Hintze, failed in their mission to protect investors from the market turmoil. Three in every four hedge funds lost money, with some down as much as 40% in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Brief: Asset managers have been warned they must rapidly adapt their business models to claw back investor flows and profits lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with businesses advised to ramp up their digital distribution capabilities, accelerate cost saving plans and bolster their range of alternative assets. According to a report by Boston Consulting Group, asset managers are facing a “new chapter of economic turmoil in 2020 which is likely to prompt a winner-takes-all phenomenon” not seen since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. “Overall, the market storm of early 2020 has only intensified the industry’s challenges, as asset managers find themselves in uncharted territory,” said Lubasha Heredia, a New York–based BCG partner and co-author of the report.
Brief: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a memo to stakeholders on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic is a "wake-up call" to build an "inclusive economy" that recognizes the financial situations of all parties involved.Dimon said: "This crisis must serve as a wake-up call and a call to action for business and government to think, act, and invest for the common good and confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years."The bank chief said he looked forward to sharing more ideas on how to create an "inclusive economy" that is stronger, more resilient, and offers "widespread access to opportunity." Dimon said: "From the reopening of small businesses to the rehiring of workers, let's leverage this moment to think creatively about how we can mobilize to address so many issues that inhibit the creation of an inclusive economy and fray our social fabric."
Brief: American financial conditions have loosened at the fastest pace since at least 1990, belying mounting investor skepticism that a V-shaped economic recovery will follow the pandemic-induced crash. A Bloomberg measure of market health across bond, stock and liquidity indexes has staged a revival like never before -- bouncing back to early March levels, when recorded coronavirus cases globally were around 90,000 versus more than 4.8 million today. All told, this gauge of animal spirits has improved from the nadir by 5.4 standard deviations in just 37 trading days, a feat that took 50 days back in 2008. Explaining why investors are getting their mojo back is the easy part. Thank historic policy stimulus, indications that the collapse in the investment and consumption cycle has bottomed, as well as the global race for an experimental vaccine.
Brief: More than two-thirds of professional investors doubt that the stock market jump off the March lows is the start of a legitimate new bull market, according to the Bank of America Fund Manager Survey for May. Amid a surge that has seen the S&P 500 rise 32% since the March 23 trough, some 68% of survey respondents called the move a “bear market rally.” The term implies that even though the surge tops the 20% benchmark that would signal a new bull market, the fundamentals tell a more pessimistic story. The Bank of America poll is among the most widely followed surveys of investors on Wall Street. That said, respondents still see the near-term “pain trade,” or the one that catches most investors off guard, as the market going higher. Current sentiment is consistent with an S&P 500 level of 3,020, or about 2.3% higher than Monday’s close, according to Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Global Research.
Brief: Citigroup Inc (C.N) said on Tuesday that is launching a new business unit within its corporate and investment bank dedicated to environmental sustainability to strengthen its commitment to an area that has grown increasingly important to corporate clients and investors. The New York-based company said its Sustainability & Corporate Transitions group will be led by Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory (BCMA) Chief Strategy Officer Bridget Fawcett and Keith Tuffley, who has lead the unit’s sustainability efforts so far. “The current Covid crisis will elevate the importance of ESG to our clients, as they increasingly focus on more sustainable and resilient strategies and on recovery plans that help drive the just transition to a net-zero emissions future,” global BCMA heads Tyler Dickson and Manolo Falcó said in a memo to bankers sent on Tuesday. Companies have become more focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in recent years as activists and investors put pressure on them and companies that put these considerations at the forefront are rewarded.
Brief: BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said he told President Donald Trump the U.S. needs to spend on infrastructure to generate jobs, as the country navigates the next steps to rescue a coronavirus-addled economy. “I’ve told the U.S. president, and I’ve told this to many other politicians now, that an infrastructure build is really important,” Fink said Thursday in a live-streamed interview with Sergio Rial, CEO of Banco Santander SA’s Brazil unit. The U.S. government has rolled out unprecedented spending to shore up the economy, but business leaders and politicians are already focusing on what new revival efforts should look like. Trump tweeted in March that a $2 trillion infrastructure bill would be a good way to create jobs. Fink also said in the interview that BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has been talking with central banks in the midst of the dual public health and financial crisis.
Brief: Bain Capital is planning to raise about $9 billion for its next flagship global buyout fund, as the U.S. alternative asset manager seeks to tap demand from yield-hungry investors, people familiar with the matter said. The Boston-based firm has started discussions with new and existing investors about the fund, which it aims to close later this year, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Bain’s last flagship fund closed in 2017 at $9.4 billion, which included $8 billion from investors and another $1.4 billion from the firm’s own partners. Similar internal commitments could increase the eventual size of the new fund by a further 10% to 15%, the people said. Buyout firms have been on a fundraising spree as institutional investors reach for better returns in an environment of low interest rates and poor performance from stock-picking fund managers.
Brief: Europe’s trading and hedge fund firms are calling for a removal of the temporary short selling bans issued in several countries from March, in response to the market volatility triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The trade bodies calling for the repeal represent hundreds of top firms — including the likes of Citco, Man Group, State Street, Guotai Junan Securities, Citadel Securities Europe, Bridgewater Associates and Marshall Wace — who say a removal of the ban is crucial to improving market efficiency and preventing further damage to investor portfolios as a result of the pandemic Their plea comes after the European Securities and Markets Authority said on 15 April that the short-selling ban would remain across Austria, Belgium, France, Greece and Spain until 18 May, with the possibility of a further extension.
Brief: With the broader hedge fund industry facing multiple challenges around rising costs, squeezed profits, and a shifting regulatory backdrop, the prime brokerage sector will need to juggle future disruptions and sweeping changes in client activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In a new market commentary, Anthony Bennett, head of prime brokerage at Capco, a global technology and management consultancy dedicated to the financial services industry, examined the potentially far-reaching fallout of the Covid-19 crisis on the hedge funds/PB relationship, with future success possibly hinging on the degree of diversification within a PB’s business. Gauging perspectives through recent conversations with leading prime brokers, Bennett suggested primes have largely weathered Q1’s historic volatility and de-risking and “passed the initial tests” of the recent crisis.
Brief: A prominent American hedge fund has emerged among a pack of suitors eyeing a deal to prop up Virgin Atlantic Airways as it races to secure the funds it needs to survive the COVID-19 crisis. Sky News has learnt that New York-based Davidson Kempner Capital Management is one of the prospective investors which held talks with Virgin Atlantic bosses this week. The airline, which is seeking more than £500m in debt and equity funding following a collapse in revenue, wants to stitch together a deal this month. Sources said that Davidson Kempner was on a list of financial investors in discussions with Virgin Atlantic which also includes Apollo Global Management, Cerberus Capital Management and Greybull Capital, the former owner of Monarch Airlines. Davidson Kempner, which manages well over $30bn in assets, is among the hedge funds negotiating a financial restructuring of the US department store chain Neiman Marcus.
Brief: Selwood Asset Management, one of the fastest growing hedge fund firms in London, is enticing new clients with a type of fee structure that hasn’t been seen in the industry since the last financial crisis. The firm will waive its cut of some new clients’ profits until assets in its flagship fund reach their previous peak, a threshold known as the high-water mark, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That means Selwood won’t collect a performance fee until the fund has gained 8%, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Selwood typically charges performance fees ranging from 13.5% to 30% for its main fund. Discounts like this are rare even for existing clients in an industry that’s notorious for charging high fees. Selwood, whose assets have grown to about $3.5 billion from $85 million at its launch in late 2015, is trying to raise as much as $250 million to take advantage of trading opportunities created by the coronavirus sell-off, the people said. New investors will have to lock their money up in the fund for as long as 12 months. A representative of Selwood declined to comment.
Brief: PresidentDonald Trump and his administration are confident that the U.S. economy will quickly rebound after the coronavirus pandemic is contained — but some experts are not so sure. Count hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio among the skeptics. “We’re not going to go back to normal,” Dalio tellsCNBC Make It. But he also has hope. “Soon we are going to reconsider how we are going to divide the pie and there are reasons that it won’t be good for capitalists,” Dalio says. Dalio sees the closest parallel to the world’s current economic situation as the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 well into the 1930s, and is regarded as the worst economic crisis in American history. Much like with the Great Depression, Dalio predicts that the impending downturn will require a recovery period that could last several years, even as long as five years, he says.
Brief: Jefferies Financial Group Inc. is spinning out its systematic hedge fund Quantport, with some staff leaving the firm. Jefferies may retain an interest in the new venture, and the shakeup was in the works before the pandemic, according to a person familiar with the matter. The New York-based fund, which had regulatory assets under management of $3.7 billion as of January, started as part of Jefferies’ proprietary trading desk, before overseeing external money from 2010. Led by Vlad Portnoy, it trades market-neutral strategies in equities and futures. The news was reported earlier by eFinancial Careers. The past few years have seen a number of systematic funds shut as growing competition and muted market swings eroded gains from their strategies. This year’s historic volatility has also been challenging, as the fallout from the coronavirus upended the price patterns underpinning many quant models.
Brief: Cash is king in times of crisis, according to Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s chief executive officer, and the alternative-asset manager has more than US$60 billion to weather the coronavirus pandemic. If a business isn’t prepared for situations like the COVID-19 outbreak that’s rattled markets, it’s often too late once such a crisis hits, Bruce Flatt said in a letter to shareholders Thursday. “In reflecting on what really matters to our business, it is liquidity, liquidity and liquidity, in that order,” he wrote in the letter. “The most damaging thing for any business owner is to find yourself out of business and unable to participate in the recovery, or in a position of needing to issue shares which dilute the owners, and therefore make it impossible to ever recover from undue dilution at the wrong time.”
Brief: Billionaire Michael Hintze’s CQS is spinning off its nascent equities hedge-fund business into a stand-alone firm as it focuses on core credit strategies that have been hammered by the pandemic. Paul Graham, the firm’s head of equities, will leave CQS to lead the spinoff as chief executive officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter. CQS will take an equity stake in the business and allocate some capital to it, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The abrupt move comes after sharp losses at the firm’s main hedge funds in March amid the virus-fueled sell-off. Its long-short equities business hasn’t yet started a fund and the firm was recently looking to build out its share-trading offerings under plans initiated by former CEO Xavier Rolet.
Brief: The co-founder of one of the biggest players in private equity said the industry is in “reasonably good shape” and there will be opportunities to buy companies in the coming months. David Rubenstein, a co-founder of the Carlyle Group, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that his firm and other private equity companies are waiting on the right opportunities as the economic impact of the pandemic puts stress on companies around the world. “We have a fair amount dry powder, as do the other large private equity firms. We see a lot of opportunities,” Rubenstein said. “But we don’t think that, if you don’t move in a week or two or three or a month, that you’re going to miss the best opportunities.”
Brief: Johnson’s latest projections have 2020 incentive compensation at traditional asset management declining by 20 to 25 percent. The pay cuts come as assets under management have fallen across the board, with investors fleeing stocks and bonds and rushing into money market funds or cash. Hedge funds, whose average performance is down less than the overall markets, have also suffered asset declines. Their incentive compensation is expected to be down between 15 and 20 percent this year from 2019. Johnson noted that while macro and event-driven funds have been able to capitalize on the market impact of the pandemic, most strategies have taken a hit. Assets are at a multi-year low, according to the firm. Private equity, which has the highest paid professionals in asset management following rapid growth in recent years, will also undergo pay cuts. Johnson Associates expects large private equity firms to cut incentive compensation by 5 to 10 percent, compared to 2019.
Brief: Billionaire hedge fund investor David Tepper told CNBC on Wednesday the stock market is one of the most overpriced he’s ever seen, only behind 1999. His comments sent stocks to a session low. He also said some Big Tech stocks like Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet may be “fully valued.” Before Wednesday’s sell-off, it was “maybe the second-most overvalued stock market I’ve ever seen,” Tepper said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “I would say ’99 was more overvalued.” “The market is pretty high and the Fed has put a lot of money in here,” the founder of Appaloosa Management said. “There’s been different misallocation of capital in the markets. Certainly you are seeing pockets of that now in the stock market. The market is by anybody’s standard pretty full.” The S&P 500′s forward price-earnings ratio based on estimates for the next 12 months has ballooned to above 20, a level not seen since 2002.
Brief: Carlyle Group Inc. and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte. are using fake excuses to renege on buying a 20% stake in American Express Global Business Travel, according to a lawsuit unsealed in the U.S.A unit of Centares Management LLC claims Carlyle’s losses from the coronavirus left it with a whopping case of buyer’s remorse and prompted its attempt to scrap the stock purchase, which had valued the travel entity at $5 billion when it was announced in 2019. Centares leads a group of investors in the deal, including the Qatar Investment Authority and several Carlyle entities. “The Carlyle Group’s losses do not provide defendants with a basis to withdraw from the transaction,” Juweel Investors Ltd., a subsidiary of New York-based Centares, said in the lawsuit unsealed Monday in Delaware Chancery Court. The investment fund “cobbled together a series of pretextual and transparently false excuses to justify their refusal to close” the deal, Juweel said.
Brief: The UK government’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions may have caused confusion and criticism, but some of the world’s largest investment banks have a clear message to their London employees — stay at home. According to internal memos seen by Financial News and people familiar with the matter, banks including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have told employees that their current remote working arrangements, which have forced them to radically overhaul their staff base, will remain in place for the foreseeable future.Others including Barclays and Deutsche Bank will ask a small proportion of staff to return in the coming weeks. Investment banks with huge, global operations are grappling with how to get their employees back into the office safely as various local authorities loosen restrictions on their populations, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown exit plan has largely failed to prompt any changes at finance firms.
Brief: Wall Street bonuses for 2020 could fall by as much as 25%-30% due to the deep cuts to revenues recorded by banks and hedge funds earlier this year as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to a report published Wednesday by compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc. While most compensation is expected to be down, 2020 is likely to be a year with “wide, wide variations in incentive outcomes between stronger and weaker competitors,” according to the report by Alan Johnson, whose predictions are closely watched by financial professionals. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has led to widespread shutdowns in the U.S. economy, causing gross domestic product to decline at a 4.8% annualized rate in the first quarter and forcing some 33.5 million Americans to file for unemployment benefits.
Brief: One of my favourite memes recently is the one where the world is sending us back to our rooms to reflect on what we’ve done. The act of being sent back to our rooms, to a place where we have to reset and reprioritise is an opportunity that many business leaders are seizing. Although you might think that the “nice to have” of inclusion and diversity would drop off the business agenda in a time of crisis, it is gaining more traction at firms that want to ensure they innovate and reposition themselves for recovery. Decades of research has shown that diversity brings greater levels of innovation, fosters creativity and improves financial performance. Multiple voices lead to new ideas, services and products and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
Brief: BDT Capital Partners raised $9.1 billion for its third investment fund, exceeding the amount it had initially sought, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. The fund has about 200 investors and will focus on buying stakes in family-owned businesses, said a person familiar with the strategy who asked not to be identified because the information is private. More than 90% of the investors have their own businesses or significant family office operations, and about a third are based outside the U.S., the person said. Byron Trott founded Chicago-based BDT in 2009, after an investment-banking career that included working with Warren Buffett and the Pritzker and Koch families, as well as other prominent investors. The firm has about $25 billion under management. So far, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped private equity firms from raising fresh funds. On Monday, U.K.-based Hg said it would stop accepting new money after bringing in $11 billion for three buyout funds, and KKR & Co. said last week that it had raised $10 billion over the past two months. In all, private equity firms are sitting on about $1.5 trillion of capital to invest…
Brief: London-based hedge fund Cheyne Capital is planning a new vehicle to buy up debt that’s been excessively punished by the coronavirus selloff, the latest in a number of investment firms targeting distressed credit. The firm is seeking to raise 300 million euros ($325 million) and will launch the fund as soon as next month, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Cheyne will buy up bonds and loans that it deems are now cheap and sell them once they’ve recovered, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. A spokeswoman for Cheyne declined to comment on the new vehicle. Investment firms around the globe that target distressed debt are seeking to make the most of the chaos wrought by the coronavirus pandemic by setting up new funds. Oaktree Capital Group LLC, Highbridge Capital Management and Chenavari Investment Managers are among those who are raising capital to invest in discounted debt.
Brief: JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management arm has launched a new fund to take advantage of dislocations in the public and private real estate credit markets, according to a person familiar with the matter. JPMorgan Asset Management is looking to raise $2 billion to $3 billion from institutional investors for the Real Estate Credit Opportunity Fund, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The vehicle will target 10% to 15% net returns investing in bonds and pools of loans tied to commercial real estate, according to documents viewed by Bloomberg. The fund will invest in strategies including structured credit, rescue loan origination and both performing and non-performing loan acquisition, the documents said. A JPMorgan Asset Management spokesman declined to comment.
Brief: Covid-19 is threatening another mergers and acquisitions process. Kohlberg & Co. is trying to back out of its $550m agreement to buy Decopac, claiming the company has suffered a material adverse effect, according to a lawsuit. Snow Phipps, a New York middle market private equity firm, has sued Kohlberg, alleging the firm has acted in bad faith, has breached its stock purchase agreement to buy Decopac and refused to secure financing on the terms it initially set out, according to a lawsuit filed 17 April in Chancery Court in Delaware. Snow Phipps is seeking specific performance to make Kohlberg complete the sale, the filing said. Kohlberg, of Mount Kisco, NY, agreed on 6 March to buy Decopac, which supplies and markets cake decorating products. Snow Phipps claims that Kohlberg knew about Covid-19 and the seriousness of the virus when it signed the agreement.
Brief: Assets under management at Allianz SE fell 6.2% in the first quarter, as subsidiary Pacific Investment Management Co. recorded net outflows of €43 billion ($47.5 billion). Total AUM was €2.13 trillion as of March 31, an increase of 1.4% for the year, an update said Tuesday. Group revenue grew 20% for the quarter and 5.7% for the year, to €42.6 billion. Net income dropped 17.9% for the quarter and fell 27.7% for the year ended March 31, to €1.48 billion. Third-party assets under management — made up of Allianz Global Investors and PIMCO — fell 7.7% in the first quarter to €1.56 trillion. Third-party AUM grew 0.6% for the year. Third-party net outflows were €46.4 billion in the first quarter. That compared to €20 billion and €18 billion in net inflows for the quarters ended Dec. 31 and March 31, 2019, respectively.
Brief: SkyBridge Capital, the investment firm founded by Anthony Scaramucci, is turning to some of the biggest names in the hedge fund industry to boost returns after its portfolio lost almost a quarter of its value this year. The firm is investing $100 million each in Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates and Howard Marks’s Oaktree Capital Group, according to a letter sent to clients on Monday. The fund-of-funds will allocate an additional $90 million to Dan Loeb’s Third Point. Scaramucci said all three performed well in the last financial crisis and in other periods of market dislocation. “We believe our investors will be better served -- in good and bad markets -- by greater diversification across different strategies and across different managers,” he wrote. “We learned hard lessons in March, and we are taking decisive corrective action.” SkyBridge’s flagship fund lost nearly 24% in the first four months of the year. After investing heavily in credit hedge funds, the fund posted most of the losses in March as the coronavirus fueled a market sell-off. Clients have asked to redeem 9.3% of capital for June 30, an amount Scaramucci called “manageable.”
Brief: TIAA-CREFis offering a voluntary separation program for 75% of its U.S. employees, which includes employees ofNuveen, TIAA's investment manager.The 25% of employees not eligible for the program "involve certain groups that are involved in processes and technology necessary to conduct business, and some critical client support roles," TIAA said in an emailed statement. The program offers 45 to 91 weeks' salary, depending on length of service and salary, 100% of last year's bonus and six months of outplacement assistance, the email said. "As we navigate through these unprecedented times, we are exploring a variety of measures to reduce costs while managing our business and continuing to serve our clients. As part of that process, we have introduced a voluntary separation program for our employees, which is designed to give our people the ability to decide what's best for them," the company said in the statement…
Brief: Hg will soon stop accepting new money for three of its buyout funds after raising $11 billion for its largest ever pool of capital, according to people familiar with the matter. The U.K.-based private equity firm, which focuses on software and service businesses, will divide as much as $10 billion equally between its second large-cap fund, known as Saturn, and its ninth mid-cap fund, known as Genesis, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. An additional $1.5 billion has been raised for the firm’s third small-cap fund called Mercury, the people said. Hg’s first investment from Saturn will go to increasing its stake in Norwegian cloud software developer Visma Group, the people said. Last April, private equity firm Cinven Group sold its stake in Visma to Hg and co-investors, valuing the business at more than 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion) at the time. Hg has been invested in Visma since 2006 when it led the company’s delisting from the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Brief: Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer of Guggenheim Investments, thinks that government support of corporate America in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately lead to the creation of a “new moral obligation” to help U.S. companies access credit. “Corporate borrowers are most likely on the way to becoming something akin to government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he wrote in a note dated May 10. “Many companies, including Boeing, Southwest, and Hyatt Hotels, have likely gained access to financing simply on the strength of the government’s intentions to intervene in credit markets.” Minerd, who on Friday warned that markets were sending a clear message that negative rates would soon be here, said he thought yields on 10-year Treasury notes could fall to -50 basis points in the intermediate term.
Brief: The Federal Reserve’s giant programme of corporate bond buying is about to kick in. It will hand a critical new role in propping the struggling economy to a business with increasing clout in the financial world: money management. The central bank has tapped BlackRock to help it direct money into both new and already issued corporate bonds, assisting the Fed in its recently adopted role as lender of last resort for businesses. The Fed is expected to launch the programme in coming days. The Fed also has given Pacific Investment Management Co., or Pimco, the job of helping it purchase commercial paper, or companies’ short-term borrowings. That programme is already up and running. The two firms could eventually invest hundreds of billions of central bank dollars.
Brief: Once airports and borders open again and people are able to fly freely — a process already in play as airports of all sizes around the world ready strategies to ensure healthy air travel — how much are you ready to change your flying habits? As much as was required after 9/11? Less? More? Considering some of the changes already happening and the many more recommended before airports can reopen safely to commercial routes, experts are referring to the coronavirus pandemic as ‘the new terrorism,’ triggering the biggest crisis the airline industry has ever faced. Let’s start with the entire process of checking in for flights, which some calculate that it could take up to four hours and involving social distancing, sanitation of passengers and luggage, wider spaces for various lines and waiting to board. Nine out of 10 experts expect slower turnarounds between flights due to the need of thorough cleaning of cabins and following of sanitary measures at airports.
Brief: Private-equity firm Carlyle Group Inc. and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd. are backing away from a deal to take a 20% stake in American Express Global Business Travel, whose revenue has plummeted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.The deal, announced in December, values the company at $5 billion including debt. It was scheduled to close Thursday but representatives for Carlyle and GIC informed AmEx Global Business Travel on Wednesday they wouldn't participate in the closing, the people said. AmEx Global Business Travel, which is 50%-owned by American Express Co., offers airfare and hotel-booking services mostly to large and midsize businesses. In 2014 the credit-card giant sold the other half to a group led by investment firm Certares. Carlyle and GIC, along with a group of others, agreed to purchase a portion of that stake last year.An entity acting on behalf of the sellers filed a motion this past week in Delaware Chancery Court against Carlyle and GIC, calling for it to compel the duo to proceed with the purchase.
Brief: CQS is facing its worst crisis since Michael Hintze founded the London-based credit-driven multistrategy firm in 1999. At least three of its funds are among the worst-performing hedge funds this year after posting massive losses in March alone, when the global financial markets were in free fall. Other funds have posted smaller declines. These huge losses have raised questions about the future direction of the firm, which was managing $20 billion at the beginning of the year. In March alone, the CQS Directional Opportunities Fund, which Hintze manages himself, lost more than 33 percent, according to a document from investment bank HSBC that tracks hedge fund returns. As a result, it was down 35 percent for the quarter.
Brief: Indian credit risk funds suffered large redemptions in April after Franklin Templeton’s shock decision to wind up $4.1 billion of such plans triggered fresh turbulence in the nation’s debt market. The category saw a net withdrawals of 192 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) last month, up from outflows of 55.7 billion rupees in March, according to data released Friday by the Association of Mutual Funds in India. “The Franklin event intensified redemptions in credit funds that we saw in March,” said Vidya Bala, head of research and co-founder at Chennai-based Primeinvestor.in. “There’s a clear flight to safety as flows to gilt funds have jumped and a good chunk would have moved to deposits.” Equity funds received a net 62.1 billion rupees, the smallest inflow this year, as the world’s most expansive lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus infections stalled economic activity and disrupted processes at mutual funds and their distributors.
Brief: Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake has signalled the bank could pounce on assets that come up for sale in the pandemic crisis, after slashing dividends and warning of a highly uncertain outlook. As the banking group on Friday delivered an 8 per cent slide in profit to $2.7 billion, it also highlighted a strong balance sheet and $20 billion in "dry powder" for investment by its infrastructure-focused managed funds. Markets cheered the result, with Macquarie shares gaining 5.7 per cent to $105.19 amid predictions the bank would emerge from the crisis in relatively good shape, despite taking a short-term hit. The company known as the "Millionaires' Factory" on Friday also released its remuneration report for the financial year, which showed Ms Wikramanayake was awarded $18.1 million for the year, her first full 12 months as CEO, up from $17 million last year. She was not the highest paid senior executive at Macquarie, with head of Macquarie Asset Management Martin Stanley awarded $18.9 million for the year after a surge in profit in his division.
Brief: Bondholders in one of Sweden’s biggest property firms say they fear their investment might soon be labeled junk after learning of a criminal probe with wide-reaching ramifications. The company in question is Samhallsbyggnadsbolaget i Norden AB, also known as SBB. Its chief executive, Ilija Batljan, was this week detained by police for questioning amid reports of insider trading tied to a recent acquisition. The news sent SBB’s share price and bonds plunging. The episode has struck a nerve in a market already shaken by panic selling. Back in March, 35 credit funds slammed shut to halt a client exodus as the bond market tanked. Real estate bonds played a big role in the rout, and the financial watchdog has since signaled concern over the sector’s dominance in credit markets, following its conspicuous growth.
Brief: Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (“Brookfield”) (TSX: BAM.A, NYSE: BAM) today announced the launch of a Retail Revitalization Program (“the Program”) to bring much needed capital and assist with the recapitalization of retail businesses with operations in the major markets in which Brookfield operates globally. The Program, which will be funded by Brookfield and its institutional partners, will focus on non-control investments in retail businesses to assist with their capital needs during this period of dislocation. Brookfield is targeting $5 billion to be put toward this Program. This Program will be led by Ron Bloom, Managing Partner and Vice Chairman of Brookfield’s Private Equity Group, who was a principal architect of the restructuring and rejuvenation of the automobile industry on behalf of the U.S. government during the 2008 financial crisis. “This initiative is being designed to assist medium sized enterprises in getting back on their feet. We believe this is a critical component to getting the economy moving again, and we would like to partner with companies and entrepreneurs that can draw on our capital and expertise to stabilize and grow their business,” stated Bloom.
Brief: The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked dramatic changes to the wealth management industry, making clients more cautious, more digitally savvy and more interested in sustainable investments, according to a UBS Group AG executive in Hong Kong. “The whole pandemic has transformed the business and also the way we operate,” said Amy Lo, co-head of Asia Pacific wealth for the Swiss bank. “The world has become more digital, less global and more local.” Lo says clients across the region have become more cautious, concerned about preserving their wealth and re-balancing portfolios as the global economy heads into its steepest contraction since the Great Depression. “Diversify and navigate volatility,” is the goal for many clients, said Lo, whose firm manages more than $400 billion in the region. UBS’s investments in its digital platform are paying dividends amid the pandemic, allowing clients to interact with the bank through online conferences, chats, and trading, she said.
Brief: Amundi, Europe's largest listed asset manager, has lifted a hiring freeze it imposed shortly after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, making it one of the first major investment firms to ease recruitment related restrictions. A spokesperson for the Paris-headquartered asset manager, which put a hold on making new hires globally at the end of March, toldFinancial Newsit has "resumed recruitment on a case-by-case basis". Amundi, which employs around 4,500 people and manages €1.5tn globally, previously told FNthat the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent government containment measures put in place hadprompted it to pause new hires. The lifting of Amundi's hiring freeze comes as predictions point to an uncertain future for those working in the financial services sector. According torecent figures from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, jobs available in the City have dropped by 51% since March 2019 – a drop which has coincided with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brief: Hedge funds rose 4.2% in April, the most in data going back to January 2014, as U.S. stocks rebounded to their best return in more than 30 years. Equity managers led the gains, posting a 6.5% advance in the month, according to preliminary figures from the Bloomberg Hedge Fund Indices. So far this year, hedge funds are down 6.7%. That still has outpaced the S&P 500 Index, which sunk about 9% for the first four months of the year, including reinvested dividends, as the coronavirus outbreak and measures to contain it rocked global markets. But equities were less volatile in April, with the S&P 500 jumping almost 13% -- its best month since 1987.
Brief: Neiman Marcus Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy after efforts to manage its crushing debt load unraveled amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Creditors will take control of the luxury department store chain, according to plans outlined in a Chapter 11 petition filed in Houston. The move gives the Dallas-based chain a break by letting it stay in business while management works out a recovery plan. The company, led by Chief Executive Officer Geoffroy van Raemdonck, said it has support from a substantial majority of its creditors, who agreed to put up $675 million to get Neiman Marcus through the court process. They’ll also provide $750 million in exit financing. When the company emerges from bankruptcy in early autumn, management expects to see about $4 billion cut from its existing debt load -- the legacy of a 2013 leveraged buyout by current owners Ares Management Corp. and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Neiman listed debt obligations of about $5.5 billion in its filing.
Brief: Legendary trader Paul Tudor Jones is reportedly buying bitcoin as an inflation hedge as central banks around the globe print money to relieve coronavirus-battered economies.Jones, one of Wall Street’s most-successful and seasoned hedge fund managers, revealed in a message that one of his funds holds a low single-digit percentage infutures on the cryptocurrency, Bloomberg Newsreported. He compared it to the gold trade in the 1970s, according to the report. Bitcoin futures trading on the CME jumped 5% on Thursday. Jones, founder and chief executive at Tudor Investment Corp., told CNBC in March thathe thought the stock market could be higher by Juneif coronavirus cases began to peak. The investor said at the time that he expected stocks to endure a choppy April but that, ultimately, equities would again climb.
Brief: JPMorgan could join the ranks of big investment banks shrinking their office space as its investment banking boss predicts a portion of its staff may continue to work from home after the coronavirus crisis. Daniel Pinto, who runs JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank, told Citigroup analysts that he could "envision a scenario" where employees continue to work from home on a rotational basis, according to a note seen by Financial News, as the coronavirus looks set to permanently impact how large financial services organisations work. Pinto suggested that such a move would fall in line with the bank's sustainability targets "as well as reducing square footage" of its office space. He cautioned that the bank would need new methods of measuring employees productivity in such a scenario. Around 90% of JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank employees are currently working from home - compared to a firmwide figure of 75% - and the experience could change the way the bank does business, the note said.
Brief: Conduct issues created by home working with a flatmate who works for a competitor firm has become such a worry for financial services firms that employees' living conditions could be scrutinised in the future, according to KPMG’s vice chair for financial services Kay Swinburne. Swinburne made the comments about conduct issues emerging as a result of homeworking during the coronavirus lockdown, at the City Week Covid-19 Operational resilience for financial institutions webinar series on May 5. “We’re also finding some very strange ones where you suddenly realise there are people sharing houses in a way that normally wouldn’t cause difficulty,” Swinburne said. “If you have several young investment bankers sharing a house in Chelsea it’s a problem when they’re trading portfolios they shouldn’t have knowledge of.”
Brief: Goldman Sachs is in talks to buy a big portfolio of company stakes being sold by the asset manager Invesco in a race to shift illiquid holdings whose value has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Sky News can reveal that a unit of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) is closing in on a deal to acquire the positions, which include a holding in Oxford Nanopore, a gene sequencing specialist. City sources said that an agreement to buy the private company stakes, which are nominally valued at hundreds of millions of pounds, could be finalised within weeks. One added that a team within GSAM which manages private equity portfolios was leading the transaction at the Wall Street giant.
Brief: BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink had a stark message for a private audience: As bad as things have been for corporate America in recent weeks, they’re likely to get worse. Mass bankruptcies, empty planes, cautious consumers and an increase in the corporate tax rate to as high as 29% were part of a vision Fink sketched out on a call this week. The message from the leader of the world’s biggest asset manager contrasts with the ebullient tones of a stock market that has snapped back from recent lows. Even among Wall Street luminaries, Fink speaks with particular clout. He has been advising President Donald Trump on how to navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And BlackRock is playing a key role in the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize markets, helping the central bank buy billions of dollars in assets.
Brief: City grandee Lord Blackwell has called for leniency from the UK's regulators as financial services workers navigate the "great pressure" of the Covid-19 crisis. Lord Blackwell, the chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, said staff at the UK lender "are having to make many decisions under great pressure every day": "My... ask of regulators is to recognise that, under this pressure, some of our colleagues, while trying their hardest, may not get every detail of the compliance requirements right and to be tolerant of some errors so long as bank staff are genuinely trying to do the right thing," he said, during a session of the City Week Covid-19 Webinar series on May 6. His comments come as UK banks facecalls to speed up lending to businessesunder the UK government's various coronavirus business interruption schemes, introduced to help companies weather the coronavirus crisis.
Brief: The wild swings in market volatility has been a blessing for many hedge funds this year. But for others, it's been a curse. The Cboe Volatility index, the fear tracker known as the Vix, has more than halved in the six weeks since it hit an all-time high on 16 March. Long-volatility funds have reaped big rewards — the Cboe Eurekahedge Long Volatility Hedge Fund Index returned about 40% in the first three months of 2020. Yet systematic volatility-focused hedge funds, which theoretically should be profiting at times like these, have instead endured performance meltdowns. In March, 9 out of the 38 volatility and options funds ranked in Société Générale’s Nelson Report, published last week, posted declines. Losers include Chicago-based hedge fund Wolverine Asset Management. Named after the fictional co-leader of the X-Men superhero team in Marvel Comics, Wolverine has lately more resembled Dr. Doom. The firm's volatility-focused Wolverine Intrinsic Fund was down 13.7% in March and 12% in the first quarter, according to the Nelson Report.
Brief: Natixis SA joined its French peers in taking a hit from equities trading as market turmoil and dividend cancellations following the outbreak of the coronavirus forced it to mark down assets. Equities trading revenue was more than erased by a 130 million-euro ($140 million) writedown when companies started to pull their dividends, contributing to a 204 million-euro net loss for the first quarter. Income from debt trading rose 46%, the bank said late Wednesday, beating peers BNP Paribas SA and Société Générale SA as well as the Wall Street average. The quarter ends a brief respite for Chief Executive Officer Francois Riahi, who had been trying to draw a line under a series of missteps since taking over in June 2018, including trading losses on Korean securities, a liquidity scare at its H2O Asset Management subsidiary and oversight problems. The bank put aside 193 million euros for credit losses, mainly to account for loans to oil and gas companies.
Brief: One of Canada’s biggest money managers is freezing redemptions in a large debt fund and warning that some borrowers may miss interest payments. Fiera Capital Corp. has called investors to inform them it has gated its Diversified Lending Fund, which has about C$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) under management, according to people familiar with the situation. The fund is managed by chief investment officer Francois Bourdon and two others. The fund invests in the residential and commercial construction sector through limited partnerships (LPs) with various partners that specialize in lending solutions. The fund also puts money into partnerships that offer private loans to companies and other types of loans.
Brief: Ken Griffin’s Citadel will allow investors to pull a total of $1 billion from its main hedge funds without incurring fees or penalties, a sign that clients are grappling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The move, an exception from the firm’s usual practice, is aimed at providing relief to those invested in Citadel’s flagship Wellington and Kensington funds, according to an investor letter seen by Bloomberg. Such clients are primarily institutions like pension funds. Citadel manages about $30 billion. “In the wake of the unprecedented conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognize that our investors may have different capital needs, both in size and timing, than originally anticipated at the beginning of the year,” according to the Citadel letter dated Monday. “In response to these potential demands, we are offering $1 billion of additional liquidity to investors in our multi-strategy funds on June 30, 2020 without being subject to any redemption fees or other restrictions.”
Brief: Goldman Sachs Group Inc is working on a strategy to gradually return staff to working in offices worldwide, the bank’s chief executive told staff on Tuesday in an internal memo viewed by Reuters. Goldman Sachs staff in Hong Kong, mainland China, Sweden and Israel have already started returning to work in phases, according to the memo, which was verified by a Goldman spokeswoman. “However, in certain cities, such as New York and London, it will take longer before we start to slowly increase the number of people in our offices,” stated the memo, which was signed by Chief Executive Officer David Solomon, President John Waldron and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Scherr.
Brief: The thought of a single banker spilling company secrets on a personal phone is a compliance worker’s worst nightmare. The Covid-19 lockdown and the sudden surge in makeshift home-working setups has multiplied those fears by hundreds of thousands. The coronavirus outbreak is taking its toll on the City’s compliance workers tasked with tracking the behaviour of employees scattered throughout the UK. The crisis has placed huge pressure on already stretched financial services compliance teams to get the right systems and controls in place. And it’s reigniting old tensions with bankers in the front line. Financial News spoke with several senior compliance officers and traders. All asked to remain anonymous to avoid a backlash from their colleagues or regulators.
Brief: Sycamore Partners was all set to acquire a majority stake in Victoria's Secret. For the lingerie brand's parent company L Brands, it was all part of the plan to spin off one of its most recognizable properties.But now, after a global pandemic and a lawsuit filing, the deal with Sycamore has officially fallen apart, according to a statement retail holding company L Brands sent out Monday In a statement sent to Business Insider, L Brands announced that it had come to a "mutual agreement" with Sycamore to "terminate" the company's previously agreed-upon sale of Victoria's Secret. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners had previously been interested in acquiring a 55% stake in the apparel and lingerie brand for $525 million. The private equity firm valued Victoria's Secret at $1.1 billion in February.
Brief: The market convulsions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to halt its spread might offer some answers to one of fund managers’ biggest questions: What’s the affect on financial performance of investing in companies that make a positive contribution to society and the environment? Allianz Global Investors, which oversees about $615 billion for clients, offered some insights with an analysis of how its sustainable and responsible investment mutual funds performed. The asset manager reviewed the “downturn resilience” of its funds and found that the vast majority of its sustainable strategies outperformed broad market benchmarks in the first quarter. In the past decade, fund managers who consider environmental, social and governance issues alongside regular financial metrics have gone from outliers to the mainstream with more than $30 trillion of assets now managed using a broad definition of the ESG approach.
Brief: Hong Kong’s wealth fund suffered a HK$86.1 billion ($11 billion) loss in the first quarter, its biggest ever, as stocks tumbled globally. The Exchange Fund, managed in its current form by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority since 1998, lost HK$111.5 billion on its portfolio of domestic and foreign stocks, while bonds gained HK$54.4 billion in the quarter, according to a presentation by HKMA Deputy Chief Executive Howard Lee to lawmakers Monday. The HK$4 trillion fund acts as a backstop to ensure the stability of Hong Kong’s currency and as a stabilizer in times of crisis. It joins other funds around the world in posting losses at the start of the year as markets tumbled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The MSCI global stock index slumped 22% in the first three months of the year. The fund clawed back some losses in April, seeing gains of about HK$30 billion to HK$40 billion, according to Lee.
Brief: Michel Andre Heller is looking to lend when credit is tight. The London-based real estate adviser to a billionaire family from the Middle East is lining up deals of as much as 5 million pounds ($6.2 million) for U.K. residential developments and more than double that amount alongside other investors for bigger properties, such as hotels or offices. The private debt market “is more than trickling along for us,” Heller said. “From a family office perspective, you don’t want to take on too much risk, but you still want to deploy capital.” As the coronavirus upends financial markets, family offices with money to spend are boosting private debt and credit holdings to take advantage of cheaper valuations and avoid the volatility of stock markets. Meanwhile, central banks are keeping economies afloat with cheap-money policies and negative yields, making assets that used to preserve and grow family fortunes less effective.