Infrastructure finance has undergone a number of changes in recent years, the most noticeable being the rise of public-private partnerships and variant funding models. But as the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised and the pressure on urban infrastructure continues to grow, there is a clear opportunity for private sector financiers to increase their involvement – and to bring with them a range of new benefits. Writing in Project Finance International, Johannes Schmidt, CEO Project and Structured Finance, Infrastructure & Cities at Siemens Financial Services, discusses the changing nature of infrastructure finance, the increasing need for innovate financing solutions, and the role that private finance has to play in the future of our cities.
The government wants to encourage private sector funds into under-resourced UK road infrastructure. But how best to attract the levels of investment required from pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional investors? In a thought-piece published in Infrastructure Journal, Ashley Blows, Global Head of Infrastructure in the Project Finance group at Natixis, describes the sort of revenue structures and economic incentives that may be required.
As financial constraints and stringent regulatory proposals prompt banks to streamline their balance sheets and scale back lending, corporates are left without the vital injections of capital they require. Falcon Group – with Moorgate’s help – held its third annual trade finance forum to discuss how alternative financiers are increasingly filling the gap left by banks withdrawing from trade finance – providing corporates with sophisticated funding solutions. The event, as described in Trade & Forfaiting Review, was moderated by BBC World News’ Nima Abu Wardeh, and gathered delegates to listen to speeches made by some of the leading names in the industry. The list of speakers included: keynote speaker Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Abheek Barua, Chief Economist, HDFC Bank, Michael Spiegel, Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management for Corporates, Deutsche Bank and Mark Giles, Board Director of Alhamrani Group of Companies.
BPL Global is a name synonymous with the growth of the Political Risk Insurance (PRI) market – a growth that is producing a new medium and long term (MLT) export credit insurance market, where ECAs and private insurers compete with each other to provide comprehensive non-payment and related covers for capital goods exports, foreign projects and their financiers. Charles Berry, Chairman of BPL Global, writes in the latest issue of Trade & Forfaiting Review that a competitive market place will deliver benefits to exporters and banks by offering choice and by strengthening both ECAs and private insurers. But for it to truly thrive, regulators must update their view of export credit insurance, not least as many in the private PRI market feel the playing field is tilted in favour of the ECAs.
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Having recently been named as the “most confirming bank” for letters of credit under the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Trade Facilitation Programme for the eighth year in a row (a story that was covered in Trade Finance magazine among others), it’s fair to say that Commerzbank are well placed to discuss trade in Eastern Europe. Per Fischer, Head of Financial Institutions at Commerzbank, writes in gtnews that Eastern Europe offers an interesting trading opportunity on the doorstep of western corporates seeking foreign expansion as a means to counteract sluggish growth in their home markets. Yet he also stresses that partnering with a bank with a strong presence in the region is vital to mitigate the risks that remain prevalent.
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Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking unit prides itself on thought leadership – on its intellectual commitment to the sector as much as its strong products and services. Consequently – and with Moorgate’s help – the bank has been developing a series of white papers looking at trends and needs in this growing area of banking. The lastest offering – on supply chain solutions – is available to read here.
What still seems a novel idea, bringing risk advisory services to the forefront of asset managers’ investment decision making and asset allocation processes has long been expounded by S&P Capital IQ. Leveraging unique data-sets, research and analytics that it develops in-house, S&P Capital IQ recently launched the Global Markets Intelligence (GMI) group to work in partnership with managers, as non-discretionary advisors, to achieve exactly that.
Following the launch, our outreach resulted in coverage in Financial Times’ fund management supplement, on FT.com and in Financial News, with FTfm succinctly describing GMI as a new advisory business set up to provide “risk-based equity and fixed income portfolio strategies”.
This week, we followed up the launch announcement with news of a partnership with leading French asset manager, La Francaise Asset Management (LFAM). GMI will provide LFAM with risk advisory services for a new fund – based upon S&P Capital IQ’s “Risk-to-Price” scoring system for corporate bonds, which evaluates how well an individual security compensates its owner, through yield, for its embedded market and credit risks.
With the costs of providing a defined benefit pension scheme spiralling, managing pension risk has fast risen to the top of finance directors’ agendas. While innovative solutions provided by one of our clients, Long Acre Life, has finally made a pension buyout economically attractive for finance directors, many remain reticent about “locking-in” to a transaction when market conditions are unfavourable. In response to this, David Norgrove, former Chairman of The Pensions Regulator and current Chairman of Long Acre Life, writes in Financial Director magazine about why proactivity is essential if finance directors are to seize opportunities to de-risk when economic conditions take a turn for the better.
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