|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||26.17 - 26.50|
|52 Week Range||22.72 - 28.49|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.16|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||9.83|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.50 (5.49%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Apr 30, 2019|
|1y Target Est||34.75|
A combination of record-low interest rates, rising competition and increased regulation since the financial crisis has forced other major lenders like Nationwide to scale back their mortgage lending.
Axa has replaced the head of Axa XL, its specialist commercial insurance business, and warned that earnings from the unit will be €200m lower than expected this year. Axa XL was created after the French group bought Bermuda-based XL for €12.4bn in 2018 in a deal that was criticised by some analysts as being too expensive. Thomas Buberl, Axa’s chief executive, said on Thursday that after two years of integration it was time for new leadership at Axa XL.
AXA SA said Thursday that its earnings rose strongly in 2019 while revenue ticked higher thanks to growth in all business areas, and it increased its dividend.
A new research paper from Federal Reserve staffers finds U.S. life insurers have taken on the risks in private debt largely ceded by banks after the 2008 financial crisis.
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s Great Eastern Holdings Ltd. and Assicurazioni Generali SpA are among potential bidders for the life and general insurance businesses in Malaysia that AXA SA and Affin Bank Bhd. own, according to people familiar with the matter.Great Eastern, which is majority-owned by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., and Italy’s Generali are working with their respective advisers on potential offers, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. The first round of bidding is expected to conclude by the end of next month, the people said.AXA and Affin have been exploring options for their Malaysian joint venture, which could fetch about $650 million, Bloomberg News reported in September. They are seeking around $500 million on AXA Affin General Insurance Bhd., and as much as $150 million from AXA Affin Life Insurance Bhd in a transaction, the people familiar with the matter have said.Deliberations are ongoing and the companies could decide not to proceed with an offer, said the people. Representatives for AXA, Generali and Great Eastern declined to comment, while a representative for Affin didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.AXA Affin General Insurance is among the top medical and health insurers in Malaysia, with 5,000 agents across the nation. The company underwrote 1.44 billion ringgit ($347 million) in gross earned premiums and posted a net income of 100 million ringgit in 2018, according to its latest annual report.AXA Affin Life Insurance, set up in 2006, earned gross premiums of 463.4 million ringgit in 2018, down from 490 million ringgit a year earlier, its annual report shows. The company’s losses narrowed to 8.1 million ringgit from 17.7 million a year ago.AXA owns 49.99% of the Malaysian general business operations, while Affin Bank holds 49.95%, according to AXA’s website. In AXA Affin Life, Affin controls 51% and the rest belongs to the French insurer.\--With assistance from Flavia Rotondi.To contact the reporters on this story: Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at firstname.lastname@example.org;Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at email@example.com, David ScanlanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Axa SA is in advanced talks to sell its central and eastern European operations to Austria’s Uniqa Insurance Group AG, people familiar with the matter said.The insurers aim to reach an agreement in the coming weeks for the businesses in countries including Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, according to the people. The business could fetch about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Uniqa edged out rival bids from Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali SpA and Vienna Insurance Group AG, the people said. No final agreements have been reached, and other suitors could still try to improve their offers, the people said. Representatives for Axa, Generali, Uniqa and Vienna Insurance declined to comment.Uniqa lacks critical mass in major eastern European markets and would get a significant boost from adding the Axa units. A deal would dovetail with Axa Chief Executive Officer Thomas Buberl’s push to streamline the second-largest European insurer by pulling out of less profitable markets and pivoting away from life insurance.Axa is also considering options for its Middle Eastern operations including a potential sale, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.\--With assistance from Sonia Sirletti, Boris Groendahl and Dinesh Nair.To contact the reporters on this story: Jan-Henrik Förster in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Eyk Henning in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Dinesh Nair at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ben Scent, Adveith NairFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.The global economic expansion is on a firm footing for now, but it remains at risk of trade tensions and the long-term future is jeopardized by environmental challenges.That was the upshot of a week spent talking to policy makers, investors and corporate executives at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.The stars? President Donald Trump and 17 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose views clashed throughout the week.Here are the takeaways as the global elite leave the Alps:Boiling PointIt might as well have been called the World Climate Forum given how much the conversation revolved around rising temperatures, lowering emissions and the use of plastic.“The themes in Davos have overwhelmingly been sustainability to the point that it probably crowded out some other important discussions,” Bill Winters, chief executive of Standard Chartered, told Bloomberg Television.Can the talk turn to action? Thunberg was skeptical, calling a “climate strike” for Friday and lamenting that her “demands have been completely ignored.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel said fighting global warming was a “matter of survival,” while Trump dismissed the “prophets of doom.”The biggest oil companies did discuss more ambitious carbon targets at a closed-door meeting.Under pressure to avoid funding dirty energy, bankers are sketching out sustainability policies. But Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said banks didn’t “want to be the sharp end of the spear” and that clients should do more.The lack of international standards on what makes businesses environmentally responsible also remains a concern and governments are split over the appeal of a carbon tax.A new risk: the spreading coronavirus. Axa CEO Thomas Buberl said there will be more such viruses popping up, in part because “it’s getting warmer everywhere.”For more, check out the newly-launched Bloomberg GreenThe Trump ShowFour years since many delegates openly doubted he could win the presidency, the Davos crowd has fallen for Trump.The consensus was that he’ll secure re-election in November and thus preserve the low tax, light regulatory policy mix they like.“It was clear the business community was pretty supportive of his policies,” said billionaire David Rubenstein.With an impeachment trial hanging over him at home, Trump essentially delivered a campaign speech by highlighting his handling of the world’s largest economy. “We’ve regained our stride, we’ve rediscovered our spirit,” he said.“Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos,” said Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer. “They think he’s going to win a second term and there was zero panic about the prospect that might happen.”Trade Tensions SimmerTrump’s protectionist instincts still unnerve economy watchers even after last week’s interim trade deal with China though.He signaled he’s changing focus from Beijing to deal with the “frankly more difficult” European Union, and is willing to use the tariff playbook again.“The threat of tariffs has led to people being willing to renegotiate trade deals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.The U.S. is considering duties on European auto imports and threatening retaliation for any levies on digital services revenues. Trump also still wants a “very dramatic” overhaul of the World Trade Organization.Still, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the U.S. and Europe are making progress toward a global pact on the taxation of digital services.U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid risked a clash with Trump after suggesting the U.S. will need to wait in line for a post-Brexit trade deal until Britain finishes negotiating one with the European Union. “I thought we’d go first,” said Mnuchin.Delegates also bet the U.S. and China would soon be at odds again.Stable World EconomyThe sabre-rattling over trade aside, most seemed confident that the global economy is on a good track after last year’s recession scare. The International Monetary Fund predicted it would grow 3.3% this year after 2.9% in 2019.The “overwhelming likely scenario is the economy chugs along this year,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in an interview.While that was the majority view, there were some extreme positions on the outlook for markets.Bob Prince of hedge fund Bridgewater said central banks had ended the “boom-bust” cycle. But Scott Minerd of Guggenheim argued easy monetary policy had created a “Ponzi scheme.”The central bankers present argued that they still had room to ease monetary policy further if needed, but not much, so governments should do more to support demand.“We have to see more action going beyond monetary policy to boost growth,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.Banking GrumblesU.S. banks are stealing a march on their European counterparts.Summing up the scene, Credit Suisse Group CEO Tidjane Thiam said that he is only “moderately optimistic” about the region’s economic outlook.Executives from UBS, Deutsche Bank and ABM Amro lined up to bemoan negative interest rates. Sub-zero rates are “not a good place to be,” lamented Kees van Dijkhuizen of ABN.By contrast, Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan wants to increase market share among American consumers. Citigroup’s Michael Corbat was bullish on the outlook for credit cards and indicated he doesn’t feel pressed to cut staff in his U.S. branch network.Tech TremorsApple CEO Tim Cook returned to Davos for a second year with technology also playing a bigger role than usual.The industry’s most influential leaders, including Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, said they were less of a threat to society than the rise of artificial intelligence.A rift over the future of digital payments was also on display, while the news that the phone of Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos had been hacked unnerved many.And Facebook came under fire from Davos regular George Soros, who accused it of conspiring to hekp re-elect Trump.Read MoreDavos’s Global Elite Are Laggards in Stock-Market PerformanceWall Street’s Piano Man Plays His Part in Disrupting Davos SceneFree Markets Made Davos. Now Governments Are Crashing the PartyThree Perspectives On the Biggest Issues at DavosGoldman to Refuse IPOs If Board Is All White, Straight Men\--With assistance from Zoe Schneeweiss, Jonathan Ferro, Francine Lacqua, Tom Keene, Haslinda Amin, Harry Wilson, Sridhar Natarajan, Torrey Clark, Chad Thomas, Sonali Basak, Eyk Henning, Andrea Dudik, Aaron Rutkoff, John Fraher, Dandan Li, Javier Blas, Marc Daniel Davies, Sophia Chalmer, Salma El Wardany, Giles Turner, Amy Thomson, Natalia Drozdiak and Josh Wingrove.To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Flanders at firstname.lastname@example.org, Zoe Schneeweiss, Paul GordonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Emmanuel Macron is inching closer to passing his overhaul of France’s pension system -- and that is good news for the investment sector.While the president has made clear he wants to keep France’s public contribution-based system rather than shifting to something more like the 401(k)s in the U.S., the bill to be presented to the cabinet Friday still comes with opportunities for banks and insurers.The threshold where high earners will be exempt from contributing to the public system will come down and they will still get the same preferential tax rates on income from private retirement accounts. That should encourage companies to offer more advantageous pension plans.The changes could free up as much as 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) a year that could potentially be managed by the investment industry, according to a report by a pensions management association obtained by Les Echos newspaper. French banks and insurers such as CNP Assurances and Axa SA may be best placed to win a piece of that business.Macron’s efforts to upgrade the French public pension system is one of the flagship reforms of his presidency and provoked rolling strikes from early December that paralyzed transport in Paris at times. Since the government agreed to talks on its proposal to raise the retirement age, the more moderate unions have suspended their opposition and the demonstrations have begun to fade.The overhaul is part of a broader effort to channel French savings to more productive ends. Another law passed in October increased the incentives for private pension plans. That could also drive more business toward CNP and French asset manager Amundi SA, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.The government has also made it less attractive to invest in the Livret A, a low-risk public investment product that’s the default option for many French savers. The Livret A was created by Louis XVIII to raise funds to pay debts accrued during the Napoleonic wars.But capitalism is still controversial in France.Axa removed a presentation on the impact of Macron’s reforms from its website this month after it was cited by the government’s opponents as evidence of a plan to boost private insurers. Also this month, BlackRock Inc.‘s Paris headquarters was attacked by protesters.A spokeswoman for Axa said the document was aimed at internal staff, and that it mistakenly suggested that the current reform would encroach on pensions. The document meant to refer to a 2017 study that forecast a drop in the payments, she said.Read More: BlackRock Becomes a Populist Punching Bag: Lionel LaurentTo contact the reporter on this story: Ania Nussbaum in Paris at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tara Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Anthony Palazzo at email@example.com, Ben Sills, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Five years to the day since the European Central Bank announced massive cash injections to stave off deflation, President Christine Lagarde wants to know why price growth is still so lackluster.Economist Milton Friedman’s decades-old dictum that inflation is “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon” -- implying that prices will rise if you create enough money -- is under strain. The ECB has failed to sustainably hit its goal, much of the rest of Europe has similarly struggled, and Japanese prices have been in the doldrums for a generation.While the U.S. Federal Reserve has fared a little better, with fiscal help, policy makers there are scratching their heads in a strategic review. Now Lagarde intends to agree on the ECB’s own wideranging review at a two-day policy meeting starting Wednesday. It’s the Governing Council’s 500th gathering and comes half a decade after former President Mario Draghi announced quantitative easing as the ultimate tool for restoring price stability.Policy makers want a convincing explanation for why it hasn’t turned out that way, and how they can respond. At least they don’t have to start from scratch. Researchers have offered multiple explanations including globalization, digitalization and the demise of trade unions.Weaker WorkersPerhaps the biggest quandary is why tight labor markets haven’t generated wage increases big enough to push up consumer prices. The U.S. and U.K. have the lowest unemployment in decades.One argument in the euro zone, where joblessness is the lowest since 2008, is that the European Union’s eastern expansion led to an influx of cheaper workers. The threat that companies might move factories also restrained pay, especially in Germany, according to a 2017 paper by Christian Odendahl of the Center for European Reform.The decline in organized wage bargaining may also have a role. The share of French workers that are members of a trade union is down to 9% from 23% in 1975. In Germany, it fell to 17% from 35%. That trend has affected “real disposable incomes, consumption growth and, ultimately, inflation,” ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said in his final speech before his term ended last month.What Our Economists Say...“Those looking for the causes of low inflation in the euro area would do well to start with Germany. There, slow price gains are nothing new -- core inflation has averaged just 1.1% since 2000. In part, that reflects an agreement between employers and workers that secured jobs in exchange for pay restraint. It’s hard to see inflation picking up sustainably until that dynamic sees radical change.”\--Jamie Rush. Read more.Flat ExpectationsEven in nations where wages are picking up, the effect on inflation has been muted, casting doubt over the relationship between prices and economic slack known as the Phillips curve. ECB research has sought to prove the curve still holds, even if it’s flatter than it used to be. Perhaps key is a study in July showing inflation expectations to be the most important determinant of underlying price growth.AXA economist Gilles Moec says the implication is that “core inflation today is influenced by past episodes of very low or very high headline inflation.” For price growth to really kick in, the ECB needs plenty of patience and the willingness to let inflation to run above its target.Still, a Bundesbank paper last month suggested it’s not so simple -- perceptions about living costs also differ depending on factors such as earnings, education and job type.Connected WorldGlobalization is frequently blamed for depressing wages and inflation, as companies move production and services to cheaper locations, such as laptop assembly in China or call centers in India. Former Bank of England policy maker Kristin Forbes concluded in a paper last year that economic models need to do a better job of including global factors.Technology, such as ride-sharing app Uber, may also be a factor, aiding the rise of the gig economy with its low job security. The “Amazon effect” has intensified retail competition, forcing companies to compete globally while central banks operate within their currency area.ECB board member Yves Mersch has described how technology makes it difficult to get an accurate reading on inflation, as companies like Google offer services for free while extracting profits from advertising.Export ProblemA working paper by the Irish central bank last year found a correlation between the euro area’s current-account surpluses after 2011 and low inflation, a link acknowledged by ECB chief economist Philip Lane.That may signal European manufacturers are too reliant on foreign demand. While the services sector is growing faster than manufacturing, even that trend brings another problem. Coeure said services prices are considerably “stickier” because they have a high wage component, increasing the lag between monetary policy and price changes.Home TruthsFinally, it’s possible inflation hasn’t gone missing but is simply being overlooked. The gauge used by the ECB -- produced by the EU’s statistics office -- only gives housing costs a weight of 6.5%, well below what most people pay. About a third of the basket of goods and services tracked by the Federal Reserve is housing.Still, Greg Fuzesi, an economist at JPMorgan, has done research showing the impact on inflation from adding housing costs is overestimated.The complexity of factors affecting inflation, and the fact that some of them are outside the reach of central banks, makes finding a solution tricky. One governor, Austria’s Robert Holzmann, reckons the best strategy is acceptance -- lowflation might be here to stay.(Updates with size and scope of Governing Council meeting)To contact the reporter on this story: Piotr Skolimowski in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at email@example.com, Jana RandowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, says it will cut exposure to companies linked to thermal coal, among other climate-friendly measures. It’s a powerful signal. Unfortunately, it only scratches the surface. If BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is serious about helping to eliminate coal while reshaping finance, his outfit can use its holdings of sovereign debt to tackle governments, too.Coal power generation has fallen steeply in Europe and the U.S. in the past year or so, thanks to cheap natural gas, higher carbon prices and green pressure. Yet in Asia, once you iron out some local peculiarities, demand for the black stuff remains remarkably resilient. That suggests that even if global appetite peaks soon, as most analysts estimate, it could well remain at high levels for years to come. Analysts at UBS Group AG estimated last July that on current trends the last coal-fired power station may close only in 2079. To blame are the likes of China, India and Vietnam. Their fleet is young, still growing and often state-backed; Western money managers selling out of public securities won’t change that. There is good news. BlackRock is an investment giant, with $7.4 trillion of assets under management, so Fink’s call to arms last week marks a significant move. Cutting off funds for coal producers and driving up their cost of capital is key to suffocating a sector that is the single largest cause of increased global temperatures.BlackRock’s strategic shift is also driven by self-interest. That’s encouraging, as such initiatives tend to outlast moral outrage. Heat from activists, like the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign, helped, but Fink argues he is making sustainability the new standard because it makes financial sense. The surge of inflows into the firm’s environmentally friendly funds last week will encourage that view.The devil, as ever, is in the detail. BlackRock’s aim to divest thermal coal equity and debt will apply to its actively managed funds. Yet those amount to only under a third of the money it manages. As worrying is the threshold to be used to determine what has to go: The fund manager will sell out of any company where 25% of revenue or more is derived from thermal coal. That gets at narrowly focused producers like Australia’s Whitehaven Coal Ltd., but leaves untouched stakes in diversified heavyweights, like BlackRock’s 6% holding in Glencore Plc, the world’s top producer of seaborne thermal coal, or other sprawling conglomerates. It also tackles primarily miners, not utilities that consume the fuel.It’s possible to aim higher: Axa SA last year vowed to reduce its exposure to the thermal coal industry to zero by 2040.The bigger problem is that while such moves are necessary, they aren’t sufficient. That’s firstly because of the haven offered by private markets. If a large investment fund divests a stock or bond, or pressures companies into selling out of coal projects, what next? BlackRock investors may feel better, but will global production reduce overall? Quite possibly not. Will the world be greener? Also, possibly not, if the pit is sold to owners out of the public eye. Arguably, it may become harder to monitor. That suggests a more effective pressure point is demand, and that means tackling governments and state-backed firms still funding and supporting the fuel. Indeed, real impact will require a change in policy in Asian markets like Vietnam where coal is still a major employer and seen as a driver of economic growth. As a major investor in sovereign debt, even if much of it is in passive funds, BlackRock has enough leverage for meaningful dialogue at least.The challenge is significant. Consider China, which wants to reduce its reliance on coal. At least 200 million tons of coal capacity were ready to start production in 2019, while another 409 million tons of government-approved capacity are under construction, according to Bloomberg Intelligence numbers published last September. Together, that’s almost a quarter of China's up-and-running thermal coal capacity. In Indonesia, coal consumption may grow at the world’s fastest pace. Earlier this month, Jakarta ordered coal miners to slash production after record output last year. Prices immediately turned higher.Policy, then, is the lever to significantly reduce coal use in the region where it’s still growing: Asia. Go back to the UBS numbers. On current trends, the last coal-fired power station closes in six decades. But a red alert scenario where leaders accelerate closures would shutter the last plant in 2058, according to the bank, closer to the 2050 target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Indonesia’s tussle with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2017 — when Jakarta temporarily severed business ties over a negative research report — is a reminder of just how much emerging market governments care about perception. BlackRock can make that count. To contact the author of this story: Clara Ferreira Marques at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Clara Ferreira Marques is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities and environmental, social and governance issues. Previously, she was an associate editor for Reuters Breakingviews, and editor and correspondent for Reuters in Singapore, India, the U.K., Italy and Russia.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Last month, Gary Cohn, former director of the National Economic Council and former president and COO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), joined Hoyos Integrity, a secure mobile telecommunications company focused on the scaling of secure payment solutions. The company aims to reshape the future of payments with an impenetrable digital wallet, founder Hector Hoyos said during a conversation with Benzinga. Hoyos provides secure mobile communications solutions for the United States and its NATO allies.
AXA SA is stepping up its investment in artificial intelligence and data analytics in Hong Kong to improve health outcomes and lower medical costs, latching on to the city's proximity to many technological advancements in mainland China.The insurer expects to spend HK$220 million on technology, such as AI and big data applications by the end of this year, a 10 per cent increase from 2018, according to Ashok Krishnan, chief data officer and head of customer experience at the local unit of the Paris-based insurance group. Hong Kong makes an interesting platform for health insurers to put their tools to work, he said."The uniqueness of Hong Kong is that it is a large market [concentrated in a] small geographic area, which makes it easier to pilot something," Krishnan said in an interview. High-level of smartphone and social media usage, as well as access to new technologies being developed in China, make Hong Kong a "a very interesting" test-bed for new AI and data analytics tools, he added.That appeal has not been diminished as Hong Kong continued to post headline revenue growth in Asia and Hong Kong, according to its latest nine-month results, amid anti-government street protests and an economic slump. Health revenues contributed 1.6 billion euros, or more than a fifth of AXA business in Asia, on the back of higher volumes and positive price effects mainly from Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Beijing scientists use gene editing to find cure for superbugEarlier this month, AXA hosted its first health-related "hackathon" in the city to scour for new ideas and talents to help the firm in its digital and data strategy push to future-proof its business. It underlines AXA's strategy to move from being a traditional "payer of claims" to a proactive "health partner" to its customers, with the aim of improving their health outcomes and medical bills."Traditional insurance is, if something happens to you, we pay for the medical treatment," Krishnan said. "The new way is, how do we prevent you from falling ill in the first place. If you lead a healthy life, it also benefits us." Ageing Hong Kong's grim cancer numbers will rise, survival rates are improvingAbout 100 participants from 10 nations, comprising mostly students and start-up entrepreneurs in the medical, data science, software and business fields, formed 19 teams to brainstorm ideas and prototypes in the 48-hour hackathon. Foreign start-ups eye China's digital health care market in search for revenue modelFacial and object recognition technology would be embedded in the mobile app to help ensure data authenticity, which aims to monitor and raise patients' adherence to medical instructions. The Pill Pal app aims to track timeliness and accuracy of medication taking, and enable patients to share their experiences on side effects."About half of patients with chronic illnesses do not adhere to medication instructions, often due to a lack of motivation, forgetfulness and worries about side effects," according to Cynthia Lam Sin-nga, a member of the winning team comprising mostly senior medical students. Hospitalisation caused by such situations is estimated to have cost US insurers some US$290 billion a year, she noted. Mining and analysing data in the pill Pay app could help insurers devise incentive schemes to reward positive behaviours and reduce medical costs, she added.AXA has already launched insurance products that offer premium rebates to customers who successfully quit smoking, or completed a year-long health management programme if they suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity, Krishnan said. Rivals are also tapping into the value of health data. AIA Group offers premium discount to Hong Kong customers who go through its health screening and healthy living programmes. It also hosted a hackathon last year to generate health-related digital innovation ideas.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up...
The Hartford (HIG) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues.
Private-equity managers in Asia are increasingly turning to impact investing, or investments that generate a social and environmental impact alongside financial returns, in the search for higher returns as well as to attract more funds.Investors in the United States and Europe are increasingly favouring investments that comply with environment, social and governance (ESG) principles."Managers need to stay competitive, because this year and 2020, the fundraising environment will be more difficult. If a manager offers an ESG fund option, it could attract more capital for your fund in a competitive fundraising market," said Marcia Ellis, a partner at law firm Morrison Foerster based in Hong Kong.Companies that comply with ESG principles will also benefit from a higher return on equity. According to "ESG matters " US, top 10 reasons you should care about ESG", a report released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in September, companies rated highest in the MSCI ESG indices " which ranks companies according to the ESG principles " showed a higher median forward one-year return on equity, at about 17 per cent, compared with about 13 per cent for companies with the lowest score.AXA Investment Managers announced late last month that it would launch a fourth private-equity impact investing strategy this year. Aiming to raise US$400 million, AXA Investment Managers was planning to invest a third of the capital in South and Southeast Asian companies. These private companies should be focused on addressing the basic needs of consumers, such as promoting access to health care or financial inclusion. Hang Seng Indexes launches two new ESG benchmarksUS buyout firm KKR said it has invested US$5.3 billion over the past decade in companies whose business models help advance global, environmental, educational and workforce development as well as solutions to other societal challenges. Its global impact business was, however, created in 2018.Jonathan Dean, head of impact investing at AXA Investment Managers, said compared with investing in public companies, the private-equity approach provided better means to measure the impact created by companies."[By] being an equity holder in a fund or a direct investment, we are able to play a role in defining the impact that we seek. In listed companies, there are many investors and [our investment into these companies] is not a direct transaction, but often traded through a secondary market," he said.Banks that finance private-equity funds and their investments are also stepping in. This month, ING Group closed what it claimed to be the world's first "sustainability improvement capital call facility" for Singapore-based Quadria Capital, a health care focused manager with more than US$1.8 billion in assets. The interest rate of the facility is pegged to the improvement in the sustainability impact of the investment portfolio.The US$65 million three-year revolving facility is essentially a bridging loan that provides Quadria with financing for its new US$500 million fund, for which fundraising is still ongoing. The facility will let Quadria invest in private companies even before investors' committed capital is received.The facility's interest rate is tied to ESG performance targets that companies funded by Quadria must meet. These companies will be audited against the ESG principles by an independent analytics firm. If targets are met, the interest rate will be lowered. Most Hong Kong firms fall short in ESG disclosures, says BDO"Our aim here is to encourage active ESG engagement throughout the investment life cycle, from sourcing to asset management, by rewarding funds for making continuous improvement with lower interest rates," said Fi Dinh, director at ING's Asia-Pacific investment industry finance team.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.