The week in investor relations: Wealth mergers, stewardship advice and remote M&A
– Stanhope Capital and FWM Holdings agreed to merge in a transaction that will create ‘one of the world’s largest independent wealth management groups,’ reported the Financial Times (paywall). The combined firm will manage $24.2 bn. Consolidation in the industry is being driven by low interest rests and climbing regulatory costs.
– The Asset Management Taskforce, a UK government-led initiative, released a new report containing 20 recommendations for improving investment stewardship as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 outbreak, noted Investment Week. The recommendations, supported by the Investment Association, include expanding stewardship ‘beyond the traditional focus on equities’.
– The UK’s Financial Reporting Council, which oversees the country’s Corporate Governance Code, criticized companies for a box-ticking approach to governance issues, reported the FT. The regulator singled out the approach to diversity in particular, saying companies did not follow up pledges in their annual reports with action.
– Finance executives are getting used to completing deals using remote tools, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). While coronavirus appeared initially to be a major barrier to deal-making, global M&A value passed $1 tn in the third quarter of the year, comfortably beating last year’s Q3 figure. Companies are offering factory visits via video call and holding discussions on platforms like Webex and Microsoft Teams.
– Asian companies are pushing ahead with climate risk reporting and beating North American peers on some disclosure metrics, according to Bloomberg. The latest status report from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures found Asian respondents ahead on nine of 11 reporting metrics. Rebecca Mikula-Wright, executive director of the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, said there had been a big increase in awareness and action from asset managers in the region.
– The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the 30,000 mark for the first time, boosted by positive vaccine news and growing chances of a smooth presidential transition in the US, reported the Guardian. ‘With the economic data improving, a vaccine on the way and a Biden-led push for more stimulus on the horizon, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the months ahead,’ said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.