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FICO-EFMA SURVEY: EUROPEAN RISK MANAGERS SAY INCREASING LENDING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN INCREASING CAPITAL

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european risk managers say increasing lending is more important than increasing capital

Customer experience and profitability are also top priorities

As European economies recover from the recession, risk managers say increasing lending will be a higher priority for 2014 than increasing capital. That was one finding from the ninth European Credit Risk Survey, conducted by FICO (NYSE:FICO),a leading predictive analytics and decision management software company, and Efma.

european risk managers say increasing lending is more important than increasing capital

european risk managers say increasing lending is more important than increasing capital

At the top of the list of risk management priorities for 2014 were improving risk management processes and systems (96 percent of respondents named it a priority or a top priority), improving the customer experience (also 96 percent) and growing the profitability of existing customers (93 percent). These were also the top priorities for risk managers in the U.S. and Canada, according to a similar survey by FICO and PRMIA released today.

Some 85% of respondents said increasing lending to consumers is a priority, and 74 percent said the same for lending to small businesses. By contrast, more than half of respondents (51 percent) said increasing capital to meet regulatory requirements is not one of their bank’s risk priorities for 2014.

“Regulatory compliance is still top-of-mind for banks, but the pressure to build capital has eased and banks need to apply their capital to support new business growth,” said Daniel Melo, senior director of Fair Isaac Advisors, FICO’s consulting group. “New lending to consumers and small businesses is a higher priority, but the use of capital today demands better results, so risk managers will focus not only on increasing customer profitability but also on improving the customer experience, to build loyalty and fuel new sales.”

“This forecast is good news for consumers and the European economy,” said Patrick Desmarès, secretary general of Efma. “While credit demand will not return to normal for some time, the supply side of the equation appears to be recovering.”

While the priorities for capital may have changed, the focus on regulations has not. “Like most other financial institutions, our priority continues to be driving forward the regulatory compliance agenda,” said Denis Hall, chief risk officer of GE Capital International. “The demands from our lead regulator, the Federal Reserve, as well as from regulators across all the countries we serve, continue to increase, and that will not stop in 2014. The greatest concern I have is how to ensure that this heightened risk awareness continues once times return to the heady days when volume is king.”

Lenders Take New Collections Approaches

The forecast for delinquencies is more optimistic in the new survey, with fewer than 50 percent of respondents forecasting an increase in delinquencies for all products, and most respondents expecting mortgage and auto loan delinquencies to remain at their current levels. However, these forecasts vary widely by market, and lenders interviewed for the survey discussed new ways they are working with distressed borrowers.

“We continually optimize our strategies for working with customers who experience financial difficulties,” said Maria Topaler, credit and risk head at Germany’s Targobank. “For example, during the 2009 crisis, unemployment in Germany increased only slightly, but some of our customers experienced a temporary income reduction because of the short working hours program, which was introduced by the German government to help avoid major layoffs and encourage companies to keep qualified workers through the crisis.  We implemented a new remedial tool for the impacted customers: a temporary reduction of monthly installments for the duration of the short working hours program. I think this was a very timely measure that helped both our customers and our bank to get through the difficult times.”

“We have put in place a debt restructuring policy that enables our customers with difficulties to spread their repayments over a period which takes account of their financial capacity,” said Michel Galiay, director of risk for retail banking in France at SociétéGénérale. “We have organised our recovery procedures to ensure that they are more reactive, in order to improve our efficiency. At the same time, by being proactive before difficulties emerge, we are able to avoid worst-case scenarios and adjust repayment schedules to reflect the new financial constraints of our customers.”

Some 73 representatives from 32 European countries and 66 institutions participated in the ninth European Credit Risk Survey. A detailed report, including specific results for the UK/Ireland, Germany/Austria/Switzerland and Central and Eastern Europe, is available online.Participants included credit-granting institutions ranging from local banks to global institutions.

About Efma

As a global not-for-profit organisation, Efma brings together more than 3,300 retail financial services companies from over 130 countries. With a membership base consisting of almost a third of all large retail banks worldwide, Efma has proven to be a valuable resource for the global industry, offering members exclusive access to a multitude of resources, databases, studies, articles, news feeds and publications. Efma also provides numerous networking opportunities through working groups, online communities and international meetings.

For more information: www.efma.com

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO), formerly known as Fair Isaac, is a leading analytics software company, helping businesses in 80+ countries make better decisions that drive higher levels of growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. The company’s groundbreaking use of Big Data and mathematical algorithms to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries. FICO provides analytics software and tools used across multiple industries to manage risk, fight fraud, build more profitable customer relationships, optimize operations and meet strict government regulations. Many of our products reach industry-wide adoption — such as the FICO® Score, the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States. FICO solutions leverage open-source standards and cloud computing to maximize flexibility, speed deployment and reduce costs. The company also helps millions of people manage their personal credit health. FICO: Make every decision count. Learn more at www.fico.com.

For FICO news and media resources, visit www.fico.com/news.

FICO and “Make every decision count” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the US and other countries.

Investing

What is the procedure for proving a missing or lost Will?

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Intermediaries will be key to Investment Houses navigating the Covid19 crisis

By Alexa Payet, Partner at Bolt Burdon and listed specialist in the Certainty

Contentious Probate Hub & Area

Initial steps

When an individual dies it is necessary to search their paperwork to establish whether they made a Will and gather information regarding their estate. This is important because the personal representatives of the estate have a legal duty to distribute the estate correctly and could be held financially responsible for any mistakes made through any breach of duty.

Where a Will cannot be found but is believed to exist there are a number of steps that can be taken to help confirm its existence, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • making enquiries of the deceased’s family and friends;
  • making enquiries with the deceased’s professional advisors;
  • instructing The National Will Register to undertake a Certainty Will Search.

Presumption of revocation

Where the original Will is known to have been in the testator’s possession before their death and cannot be located afterwards, there is a rebuttable presumption that the Will was destroyed by the testator with the intention of revoking it. If an order for the proof of a copy is to be obtained then this presumption must be rebutted.

Procedure for proving a copy Will

The procedure for proving a copy Will is set out in Rule 54 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (‘NCPR’).

The application is made to the Probate Registry at which the application for the grant will be made and the order can be made by a district judge or registrar.

The application must be supported by evidence in the form of an affidavit (although during the global pandemic the rules have been amended by the Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/1059, to provide for the use of witness statements as an alternative to affidavits).

The evidence must set out the grounds of the application and any available evidence that the applicant can adduce as to the Will’s existence after the death of the testator or, where there is no such evidence, the facts on which the applicant relies to rebut the presumption that the Will was destroyed by the testator during his/her life.

The applicant must ensure that the Court has the best available evidence of what happened to the testator’s Will in order that effect may be given to his/her testamentary wishes.

It is important to understand that the applicant does not need to demonstrate that the Will has been lost (it is the fact of its loss which gives rise to the presumption of revocation). Instead, the applicant must establish, by evidence, that the Will was not in fact revoked.

What is a Certainty Will Search and why is it necessary?

A Certainty Will Search searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register (circa 8.7 million Will registrations in the system) and for Wills that have not yet been registered in geographically targeted areas where the deceased used to live and/or work. A Certainty Will Search is extremely important as it will be necessary to notify the probate registry of any persons who would be prejudiced by the grant if the copy Will is proved. If no such person exists then the registrar is more likely to grant the application. Alternatively, if such a person does exist then you should seek to obtain their written consent to the application. The written consents can then be lodged with (or following) your application.

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Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half

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Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half 1

By Shadia Nasralla

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices climbed on Tuesday as optimism that government stimulus will eventually lift global economic growth and oil demand trumped concerns that renewed COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns globally are cooling fuel consumption.

Brent crude futures for March rose 72 cents to $55.47 a barrel by 1152 GMT after slipping 35 cents in the previous session.

“The perception that any retracement will be quick as confidence in economic and oil demand recovery is unlikely to fade away,” said PVM analysts in a note.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $52.65 a barrel, up 29 cents. There was no settlement on Monday as U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday. Front-month February WTI futures expire on Wednesday.

Investors are upbeat about demand in China, the world’s top crude oil importer, after data released on Monday showed its refinery output rose 3% to a new record in 2020.

China also avoided an economic contraction last year.

Investors are watching out for U.S. oil inventory data from the industry association API, due on Wednesday, the same day U.S. President-elect Biden’s inauguration speech will likely give details on the country’s $1.9 trillion aid package.

The International Energy Agency cut its outlook for oil demand in 2021, but pointed to a recovery in demand in the second half of the year to an annual average of 96.6 million barrels per day.

“Border closures, social distancing measures and shutdowns…will continue to constrain fuel demand until vaccines are more widely distributed, most likely only by the second half of the year,” it said in its monthly report.

(Additional reporting by Florence Tan, editing by Louise Heavens)

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Investing

Can Thematic Investing provide investors with growth opportunities in uncertain times?

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The impact of COVID-19 on the investment market

New whitepaper from CAMRADATA explores

CAMRADATA’s latest whitepaper on Thematic Investing, considers the role this type of investing can play in asset management and explores trends that can permeate society and traverse sectors. The whitepaper includes insights from guests who attended a virtual roundtable on Thematic Investing hosted by CAMRADATA in November, including representatives from CPR Asset Management, Sarasin & Partners, Impact Investing Institute, PwC, Quilter Cheviot, Scottish Widows and Stonehage Fleming.

Sean Thompson, Managing Director, CAMRADATA said, “In these seminal times, thematic investing has the potential to shape how the future unfolds. Yet running a successful thematic fund is no easy feat – it is a bit like navigating unchartered waters trying to identify the trends and the long-term opportunities.

“Trends such as AI and biotechnology are still in their relative early days, for example, and global economies are undergoing dramatic changes. But mapping out certain trends, identifying potential sustainable returns through a unifying thread that spans multiple sectors, could help future-proof investments. “Our roundtable guests considered current key themes, which themes worked well, and which have not and how thematic investors could identify trends with the potential to offer future growth.”

The guests named themes they currently like which included artificial intelligence, China, climate change, clean energy, automation, evolving consumption, ageing, digitalisation, water, waste management, biodiversity, and board diversity.

After discussing themes that have worked or not, the guests looked at total allocation to themed funds, and whether clients might be blinded by themes to the overall risk exposure in their portfolios.

Key takeaway points were:

  • Themes have a habit of coming and going. One guest recognised that automation and robotics, for example, were cyclical, which means that investors will have to think carefully about entry-points.
  • It was agreed that the commodities ‘super cycle’ of the 2000s came about with the economic development of China. Many commodities-based products found their way into mainstream investing, but this is unlikely to happen again.
  • One guest was surprised by some of the themes that interested their customers; with their research showing that Board Diversity was almost the lowest-ranking concern among the ESG choices they listed.
  • There was correlation between environmental impact and social benefits to investing. The theme that concerns the Impact Investing Institute, which is less than two years old, is improved measurement of such relationships.
  • In terms of successful themes, one clear winner due to COVID had been digitalisation.
  • One theme that has not done so well is the Ageing theme focused on older people travelling and enjoying experiences abroad later in life.
  • One guest said their firm used themes for ideas generation, not as a shortcut for portfolio construction. They said themes lead to good ideas, but they then spend at least three months researching a stock, so that the best themes are represented by the best investments.
  • The final point was that there are sensitivities for any global investor in allocating to themes, even the biggest one of all, Climate Change.
  • But on a positive note, one guest added if all stakeholders can resolve their differences on definitions such as impact and ethical investing, then more capital will be readily transferred into opportunities.

The whitepaper also features two articles from the sponsors offering valuable additional insight. These are:

  • CPR Asset Management: ‘Central Banks: leading the path towards Impact Investing’
  • Sarasin & Partners: ‘Theme or fad? How to invest for the long term’

To download the Thematic Investing whitepaper, click here

For more information on CAMRADATA visit www.camradata.com

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