|Bid||714.20 x 0|
|Ask||714.40 x 0|
|Day's Range||709.10 - 723.00|
|52 Week Range||537.50 - 738.20|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.85|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||12.27|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.47 (6.58%)|
|1y Target Est||750.80|
Britain's impending departure from the European Union is creating expansion opportunities for specialist general insurers who buy up and manage policies closed to new customers. Whether Britain leaves the European Union without a deal or under a so-called hard Brexit, British insurers selling policies into the EU will need a local subsidiary, and vice versa. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Britain and the EU had agreed a new Brexit deal, but he still faces resistance from other parties in parliament.
On the day I went to visit the Manhattan studio of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the architect couple had just been announced as recipients of the 2019 Praemium Imperiale, the Japanese cultural awards which span the arts and come with a ¥15m honorarium and a gold medal. You might expect an architecture practice that devotes itself to cultural and educational projects and the occasional private house, and which refuses to work for developers, to reside in SoHo or perhaps Tribeca. “I used to live at Carnegie Hall,” says Williams, “and I heard about this apartment.
Sometimes it takes a thorough retrospective to reveal the full scope of a protean talent — but in the case of Vija Celmins, the expansive treatment at New York’s Met Breuer winds up diminishing her accomplishments, mixing the harvest from several repetitive decades with a shorter flowering of originality. This two-floor exhibition devotes far too much space to her paintings and drawings of starry skies, oceans and desert rocks.
, which has been lauded as a tour de force by actor Joaquin Phoenix. Apparently, Phoenix brings the famous comic book villain, a mentally impaired man who goes truly nuts after being brutalised in a nihilistic Gotham, to life in a way that virtually guarantees an Oscar.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Asset managers face “tough industry conditions with flows difficult to come by and fees under pressure,” says Standard Life Aberdeen Plc Chief Executive Officer Keith Skeoch. He’s not wrong; but competitors are weathering the ongoing storm far, far better than his firm is this year.As the chart above shows, SLA’s performance this year is dismal, with its shares languishing at their lowest level since March. Last week Skeoch made his first solo outing at the top of the greasy pole, unveiling the company’s first-half performance five months after Martin Gilbert was moved to the vice chairman role following a couple of years as co-CEO of the firm he and Skeoch created in a merger. The numbers didn’t look good.With $577.5 billion pounds ($700 billion) of assets under management at mid-year, it isn’t just the declining pound that’s prevented SLA from joining the $1 trillion club. Net outflows in the first six months of the year were 15.9 billion pounds; in the past two years, clients have pulled more than 87 billion pounds from the firm. The merger has turned out to be more of a distraction than a savior.QuicktakeActive vs. Passive InvestingIt’s not a good look when, a few minutes into your earnings conference call with analysts, you’re touting the recent appointment of a new head of human resources as one of the key leadership changes that will steady the ship. Asked on a media call on Wednesday about low morale at the company, Skeoch acknowledged that merging two different cultures has not been easy. “It’s something we take seriously and we’re working really hard at.”Lackluster performance by SLA’s portfolio managers has taken its toll on customer appetite for its funds. By the end of June, 47% of the assets managed by the firm were trailing their benchmarks on a one-year basis. While that’s an improvement on the 53% that were underperforming at the end of last year, it’s not exactly going to help the sales force when pitching to customers, even though the three-year performance improved to 65% of assets beating their benchmark.The most significant number associated with SLA, though, may be its market capitalization. At a smidgen over 6 billion pounds, its core business is valued at just 800 million pounds once you discount what it calculates are its 900 million pound stake in Phoenix Group Holdings Plc, the 1.5 billion pounds it has invested in HDFC Asset Management Co. and the 2.8 billion pounds it owns of HDFC Life Insurance Co.The first stake arose from SLA’s February 2018 decision to sell its insurance business to Phoenix. SLA views it as a strategic holding, along with its 30% ownership of India’s HDFC Asset Management. But the latter has to increase its publicly-traded float to a minimum of 25% in the next two years, up from about 14% currently; SLA says it is likely to participate in that process. The 23% holding in India’s HDFC Life is deemed non-strategic and has already been reduced by more than 6% by sales earlier in the year (although SLA says it’s obliged to hold 9 percentage points until March 2021).So let’s indulge in a game of fantasy M&A. Even at its reduced market capitalization of 6 billion pounds – down from almost 10 billion pounds a year ago – SLA would be a mouthful for even the most cash-rich of private equity buyers, especially after building in a takeover premium.But there’s 5.2 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) worth of publicly-traded assets on the balance sheet. And while it would take time to find buyers for those shares, it isn’t too much of a stretch to envisage a couple of private equity firms viewing SLA as a break-up candidate and teaming up to dismember the firm.Skeoch said last week that he’ll “remain focused on ensuring that we unlock the value of the assets on the balance sheet.” If he doesn’t get a wiggle on, he may find that others are more than willing to take SLA off the market and liberate those stakes for themselves.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The S&P 500 has breached 3,000 for the first time – but the market for initial public offerings is certainly not celebrating.The world’s biggest stock sale of the year looks likely to price at the lower end of its price range, and a big U.K. listing has just been pulled. Rising markets may be making issuers greedy. Buyers of IPOs are mean.Companies going public face two headwinds. Stocks are increasingly owned by passive funds: Greater flows into indexes may push these benchmarks up indiscriminately, but active funds – the natural buyers of newly issued shares – are dwindling as a force.That structural problem has coincided with growing unease about the economic outlook and doubts about whether stocks can go much higher. Active investors are concerned about geopolitical risks and growth. No one want to own a new issue when markets turn.The IPO of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s Asian business has the qualities to overcome these obstacles. The brewer is growing rapidly and is also gigantic – a likely market value of about $60 billion should guarantee its place in the benchmark indexes. IPO investors know that passive funds will follow them in. Pricing at the bottom of the range would bring no shame; the guidance was too bubbly to begin with.Swiss Re’s ReAssure Group Plc is still big – the company was set to have a market value of about $4.1 billion – but not big enough to have qualified for inclusion in the U.K.’s FTSE-100 Index immediately.It also suffered competition in the form of Phoenix Group Holdings Plc, another consolidator of life-insurance funds. Investors in vehicles of this type crave income and ReAssure would have had to price its shares at sufficiently low a level to offer an even higher dividend yield than Phoenix’s lofty 6.5%.Swiss Re and fellow shareholder MS&AD would still have had big stakes in the business, creating the risk of more shares unexpectedly coming on to the market at a later date, hurting the stock price.It’s possible that Europe’s MiFID II directive also played a part. Equity research coverage, and with it equity sales, has become more fragmented. Underwriters’ tentacles don’t have the same reach into the market as they used to.In the end, Swiss Re didn’t need the money enough to swallow the embarrassment of a lower valuation than might have been achieved from an outright sale.The last three months have seen IPOs surge, with the technology industry in particular booming. But issuers would be wrong take the buoyant stock market as a guide to the new-issues market. IPO investors are active and, with that, picky. Smaller companies may just have to stay private until they are too big to ignore.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
British retailer Marks & Spencer's pension scheme has transferred a total of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.77 billion) in liabilities to two insurance groups Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) and Phoenix, the insurers said on Thursday. British companies are increasingly offloading risks linked to their pension schemes to specialist insurance companies, partly because of increased life expectancy. PIC is insuring 900 million pounds in liabilities of the 10 billion pound Marks & Spencer Pension Scheme in its first transaction with the scheme, it said in a statement.
Barron's published an article this weekend on U.K.-based insurer Phoenix Group Holdings PLC (PHXXF)(PHNX.L). Phoenix services annuities that were sold by other insurance companies. The stock trades for 7.04 pounds ($9.19), there are 720.21 million shares and the market cap is 5 billion pounds ($6.7 billion).