Investment Management, Islamic Finance Correspondent
Cecilia's Feed
Dec 24, 2009

Aberdeen eyes RBS asset business: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Aberdeen Asset Management <ADN.L> is interested in buying the funds arm of Royal Bank of Scotland <RBS.L>, two sources familiar with the situation said, as the bank offloads a raft of assets after a government-backed bailout.

The deal, involving parts of the bank’s asset management unit, could bring RBS up to 100 million pounds ($159.5 million), one of the sources said.

Dec 9, 2009

UK start-ups get reprieve on pension provision

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Start-up companies in Britain will
not be forced to provide pensions until 2015 in a move that will
save the government over 2 billion pounds ($3.27 billion), the
Department for Work and Pensions said on Wednesday.

The government will exempt the companies for up to three
years from Personal Accounts, the state retirement savings
vehicle for workers who have no other option.

Dec 2, 2009

Dutch pension fund manager prepares UK push

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – APG, the fund firm owned by the
Netherlands’ largest pension fund, is preparing to fight for
pension management and administration business in the UK as part
of its cross-border expansion plans, an APG executive said.

In 2010 the fund manager, which has about 205 billion euros
($309 billion) under management, will pitch for mandates in the
UK with assets of hundreds of millions of euros, said Jaap
Maassen, APG’s senior vice president for international business.

Nov 26, 2009

Islamic bond problems herald due-diligence era

LONDON/MANAMA (Reuters) – Islamic bond defaults and the standstill requested for Dubai’s Nakheel <NAKHD.UL> will transform the market as investors demand more transparency and subject new issues to forensic due diligence.

Investors in real estate developer Nakheel were stunned following the announcement on Wednesday that the company and its owner state-run Dubai World would delay by at least six months repayment on billions of dollars in debt.

Nov 25, 2009
via MediaFile

Is Repubblica Berlusconi’s official opposition?

Photo

Dear Italian opposition member,I thought of you often and with mixed-feelings at the Reuters Memorial Lecture 2009 in Oxford on Monday. You might have been too busy finding yourself and exploring the meaning of life, so I thought I would send you a sum-up of a truly remarkable event, which might give you some (Italian) food for thought.It emerged that Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister,  is one of a kind — but you may hardly regard this as as news. He stands out so much in the grey political crowd that most UK people, even those not passionate about politics, would be able to identify him, an achievement of which Herman van Rompuy can only dream.And it is only fitting that a man as colorful as Signor Berlusconi should have a suitable nemesis — someone every-inch as conspicuous: Carlo De Benedetti.No, do not stare in disbelief at this, I am not telling you Ingegnier De Benedetti, the owner of the daily la Repubblica and weekly L’ Espresso, the editorial equivalents of a thorn in the side of the PM, is founding a party promising to save Italy.Does this promise sound familiar? I should hope so, because this is your role — to provide the useful opposition to Mr Berlusconi’s policies.You would have learnt a thing or two, dear Mr Opposition member, at the Reuters Memorial Lecture 2009. Do not get me wrong, it was not all facts, facts, facts: there was drama, a passionate defence of the “good old newspaper”, a just as passionate invective against the PM’s habit to speak against the press and a few good jokes in the bargain.Italian opposition, wherever you may be, you should have taken notes: Mr De Benedetti made with surgical precision an analysis of how Mr Berlusconi’s media empire and his own political role makes up most of the Italian tv channels– in a country which watches plenty of TV.Then he gave examples of how and why he thought the PM’s empire was detrimental to democracy and finally gave a clear picture of who should do what and it was not you, dear absentee Leftie Italian politician, it was La Repubblica.That’s right, a newspaper. A specimen of a dying breed which we are told is going the way of the Dodo. The same newspaper you may find in your office every morning, probably in a neatly folded bunch including other big Italian names and even the FT.  One of the same newspapers against which Berlusconi issued writs for a combined 4 million euros. (The other newspaper is another left-wing publications, called L’Unita — check tomorrow in your newspaper fold, you may find that too. )De Benedetti also defended the country’s image, refusing to draw a parallel with Russia and stressing the only threat an investigative journalist could possibly suffer in Italy would be “psychological.”You may argue at this point Signor De Benedetti has got his own axe to grind; a judge has recently ordered Fininvest, the PM’s holding company, to compensate CIR, the holding controlled by the De Benedetti family, for having bribed a judge in the takeover batter for publisher Mondadori.You may also say that his take on the role of newspapers is a tad sentimental and a tad inaccurate: You can find analysis on the Internet– something Signor Benedetti seems to think impossible. You could also argue that stoking up the battle with Berlusconi only serves his own interests — his newspapers are selling like hot-cakes only on the back of the PM’s sex and legal scandals.You would have a point, but it would still not explain why you have not yet got your act together. Politics would be better served by an opposition able to rise above the cacophony and make a point, loudly, clearly, patiently, terrier-like. Just as Signor De Benedetti did last night.When the lecture ended he was positively mobbed by well-clad,  glamorous Italians as well as less well-clad Brits. People wanted to hear more of his opinions. I was running late to catch my London train, so I beat a hasty retreat. I cannot tell you whether he was carried in triumph to the refreshments room. One thing I could tell you: he got my attention.

Nov 20, 2009

Gartmore plans IPO to cut H&F stake, debt

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity-owned fund manager Gartmore has kicked-off a much-touted run of initial public offerings among companies owned by cash-hungry buyout firms, in a deal valuing it at about 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).

Gartmore and San Francisco-headquartered Hellman & Friedman, which backed a management buyout in 2006 that valued the firm at 550 million pounds, will raise as much as that amount in the first private equity IPO in Europe this year, and the first in the UK since 2007, according to data from the Center for Management Buyout Research.

Nov 18, 2009
Nov 12, 2009

UBS to widen Islamic derivative offering -unit head

LONDON, Nov 12 (Reuters) -The Islamic division of Swiss
financial group UBS <UBSN.VX> will broaden its derivatives
offering to meet a growing demand for risk management tools.

Division head Armen Papazian told Reuters UBS’s Islamic
clients were seeking ways to hedge risks, predicting 20 percent
growth in its Islamic derivatives business in the year to
end-2010.

    • About Cecilia

      "In my professional capacity I canvass fund managers, consultants and pension schemes on investments issues and write analytical pieces on investment trends. I also consult investors on M&A matters. My brief includes Islamic finance, especially sukuk issuance and Islam-compliant asset management themes. I joined Reuters News in September 2008 from Thomson Financial News, where I was European pension correspondent."
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