Clifford Capital’s CEO on scaling infrastructure debt financing | FinanceAsia

Clifford Capital is an equipment credit leasing program focused on creation, distribution, and investment across infrastructure and other genuine assets globally.

The Singaporean government supports the business, which has a plan authority to boost exports and foreign investments, and has pledged to fund projects around the world since it was founded in 2012. &nbsp,

The largest transaction to date for Clifford Capital recently sold for$ 5 million, making it the fifth public infrastructure asset-backed securities ( IABS ) transaction. A subsidiary of Clifford Capital and a wholly owned and newly incorporated distribution vehicle of Bayfront Infrastructure Management ( Bayfront ), which also includes the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ( AIIB ) as a shareholder, is Bayfront Infrastructure Capital V ( BIC V ).

BIC V features a collection size of approximately$ 508.3 million multiply across 37 personal money and bonds, 36 tasks, 15 states and 10 market sub-sectors. BIC V has an original aggregate main balance of US$ 218.4 million of ready green and social resources, as defined under Bayfront’s Sustainable Finance Framework, which represent 4 % of the overall principal balance of the profile.

FinanceAsia&nbsp, recently caught up with P. Murlidhar ( Murli ) Maiya, Clifford Capital’s group chief executive officer, to discuss the infrastructure debt financing landscape and its scalability.

FA: Describe your company and the sweeping changes being made to the environment of structured financing options, especially in network purchases, on which Clifford Capital focuses.

Maiya ( pictured&nbsp, above ): &nbsp, Clifford Capital was established 12 years ago, with the support of the Government of Singapore, to address a financing gap in long-tenor credit for infrastructure companies and projects with a nexus to Singapore. We as a group enjoy over$ 5 billion in government guarantees, which give us the ability to raise money at a very competitive price, which in turn allows us to extend credit across long tenors.

Our main areas of focus have always been on the power and coastal infrastructure sectors. However, the concept of system has evolved significantly over time, especially with technological&nbsp, development and the growing emphasis on responsible and socially equal development. As a result, we internally redefined infrastructure to encapsulate all sectors that provide essential services to people and raise the standard of living.

From a credit standpoint, conducting an in-depth analysis of the organization’s or project’s likely cash flows has always been a part of infrastructure financing. One of the keys to our success has been our constant effort to uphold a high standard of analytical rigor throughout the credit process. This analytical rigor is readily applicable to what is now a much wider range of relevant infrastructure sectors, enabling us to provide clients with creative debt financing solutions even for those that were previously viewed as infrastructure.

FA: Could you describe some of the subtleties of these industries and how you see them as the originators of long-term debt financing deals?

Maiya: Beyond renewable energy and digital infrastructure, there is a lot of interest in the data center market, which will grow as demand increases as AI becomes more prevalent. Unlike conventional real estate projects, data centres often enter long-term contracts with hyper-scalers, like major cloud service providers, and these long trem contracted cash flows provide the basis on which non-recourse debt can be structured.

Given the important roles that social infrastructure plays in society and their advantages over traditional long-tenor financing, such as schools, universities, and hospitals.
In industrials and transportation, we see sectors like steel, cement, and aluminum in transition to cleaner and more energy efficient production methods. Financing for intriguing new technologies is also being fueled by a combination of policy support and corporate sustainability goals.

Additionally, the transportation sector is undergoing significant changes, particularly in the electric vehicle space. Parts of the electric vehicle ( EV ) value chain, such as charging infrastructure and batteries lend themselves to infrastructure-like financing solutions. This evolution demonstrates how important verticals, such as transportation and industrials, are both experiencing significant shifts in sustainability.

Lastly, for our natural resources vertical, our focus is on new resources like green hydrogen, green ammonia, and key mineral resources like lithium, nickel, etc. to propel the upcoming sustainable economy.

FA: Given your various strategic priorities, how do you decide which client opportunities to pursue?

Maiya: We primarily assist businesses with debt financing when they want to invest regionally or globally. We do this by supporting those with strong ties to Singapore. We look into any financing issues they might have in commercial markets. Notwithstanding our government support, we operate on a commercial basis, and always ensure rigorous credit assessment and market-based pricing.

Our industry groups all benefit from our credit analysts ‘ expertise. We have been making real progress on this front, and sustainability is another area of focus for us. In 2023, 52 % of new primary loans originated were for infrastructure projects that are green and/or sustainable.

FA: Could you elaborate on how sustainability is affecting the industry you run in?

Maiya: The rise of green and sustainable initiatives has a significant impact on the growth trajectory of infrastructure debt financing. Across client organisations, we’ve observed varying approaches, but they all converge on a common challenge: the immense funding needed for the green transition to achieve net zero emissions. The Asia-Pacific region receives only about 10 % of global funding, despite having a third of the world’s funding needs. This discrepancies offer significant opportunities for businesses like us.

Another powerful tool is blending finance, which can sometimes be a challenge in Asia, to unlock funds for sustainable development. Local governments, multilateral development banks, and other concessional capital sources are making tangible commitments to blended finance.

For instance, the MAS’s Financing Asia’s Transition Partnership ( FAST-P), a blended finance initiative that aims to mobilize up to$ 5 billion to finance transition and marginally bankable green projects in Asia.

Clifford Capital is also responsible for its commercial operations, and it is crucial to demonstrate positive commercial outcomes. By delivering returns to our private sector shareholders, we are also demonstrating our ability to combine public policy objectives with private capital initiatives. This demonstration demonstrates that it is possible to incorporate a public policy goal into a successful business model, allowing it to catalyze other sources of capital over time.

FA: How do you stand out from the competition when it comes to providing debt financing for infrastructure projects?

Maiya: Due to our ability to take on greenfield construction risk and longer tenor financing, we have a unique approach in comparison to most institutional capital providers. Institutional capital frequently struggles with construction risk, preferring to invest in already-active assets that generate cash flow.

Our area of expertise is in managing risks at this stage. We develop a specialized financing plan that addresses the needs of the borrowers while upholding a code of ethics for creditworthiness and market-clearing pricing. Due to the variations in contracts and economic business models, this combination calls for specialized technical skill sets that vary by industry. We have invested a lot of time in developing teams and procedures that make it easier for us to operate in the demanding world of infrastructure credit.

FA: How do you intend to expand your debt-free solutions to make room for the significant funding gap?

Maiya: Clifford Capital has a proven method for distributing infrastructure credit. We established the Infrastructure ABS asset class in Asia and still run a highly profitable securitization business under the name” Bayfront.” We also obtain loans from both primary and secondary loan markets, primarily from the banking industry, in addition to originating our loans from corporate clients. Then, based on their risk appetites, we then divide the loans into securitized portfolios and divide them into various tranches. We keep a sizable portion of these structures ‘ original losses.

Our end-to-end origination and distribution model makes the company’s ability to raise significant capital quickly, allowing us to fund higher credit volumes without having to rely solely on our own, expanding the company’s scalable business model. Through Infrastructure ABS, our efforts to bring institutional debt capital into the infrastructure market bridge the financing gap in the Asia Pacific region for green infrastructure. &nbsp,

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Why global uncertainty won’t undermine transition goals | FinanceAsia

When FinanceAsia editorial board member, Sunil Veetil, took on his Singapore-based leadership role as head of Commercial Banking Sustainability for Apac at HSBC back in summer 2022, Asia was in the throes of pandemic uncertainty. Market to market, the approach of each governing authority proved to be heavily nuanced: Singapore had not long lifted restrictions to social gatherings and would soon abandon the mask mandate; while Hong Kong’s decision makers would deliberate for a further seven months before considering any such easing.

Yet, with hindsight being 20/20 (some may recoil at reference to the fateful numerical sequence), there was a sense of steadiness – albeit slow – in the unravelling of pandemic protocol which sits in stark contrast to today’s atmosphere of fast-paced-but-frequently-wavering global political and socioeconomic uncertainty. With over half of the world going to the polls this year – and a lot riding on upcoming election outcomes including France’s hung parliament and the final months of campaigning in the US; geopolitical complexities and tensions are pervading all market developments, not least the macroeconomic and inflationary outlook.

Reassuringly, however, Veetil is resolute in his resolve that global climate aspirations will forge ahead in spite of current conditions. “When you talk climate, you have to look long term,” he told FA. “Whilst there are short-term disruptions and changes – some of which have been positive; for example, the supply chain dispersion that has been taking place across the Asian region – it’s important to view climate from a longer perspective.”

He pointed to the outcomes of last November’s COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, which served as a global stocktake of progress achieved by key economies towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, at the halfway point to their ultimate delivery by 2030. While the event publicly affirmed failure in capacity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century; for the first time, it achieved consensus among all 196 heads of state and government officials to sanction the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era, with efforts to eradicate their use by 2050. The conference laid the ground for a “swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance”, a strategy which complements HSBC’s own ambitions to align its financing portfolio to net zero by 2050, as announced by the bank in 2020.

Climate management, Veetil explained, involves tackling a “perfect triangle” of challenges: politics, climate and the overall socio-economic picture. “The socio-economic impact of climate upon people is becoming all the more evident as we proceed… and to bring this all together, is the flow of capital.” He noted that while a lot of climate policy frameworks and trendsetting comes from Europe, the impact – “where the rubber hits the road” – is in Asia “and this is where the complexity is.”

Expanding on his comments for FA’s analysis of Asia’s debt capital market (DCM) activity, in which sustainable transactions were highlighted as playing an increasingly significant role within regional DCM dealmaking, Veetil said that typically, it continues to be the larger regional entities who lead the way in terms of raising significant capital to support sustainability aims. “The large tickets will always be driven by the sovereigns; and then it’s usually state-owned-enterprises (SOEs) or those large-cap private operators active in oil and gas or power and utilities, who are signing the big-ticket transactions.”

This seems to have been the case in 2024 so far, with Asia’s main players pioneering innovative climate transactions. In February, Japan followed up on its 2021 introduction of a transition finance framework by auctioning the world’s first sovereign climate transition bonds as a financing tool to support market growth alongside industry decarbonisation; while during the same month, HSBC participated in the first global multi-currency digital green bond offering, issued in Hong Kong.

“However, we are seeing green loans and sustainability-linked loans (SLLs) pick up at the mid-level and below this, in response to sustainable supply chain requirements. Of course, Asia is a supplier to the world.”

Veetil noted how European and North American buyers have become accustomed to outsourcing their emissions to Asia and that this had contributed some positive social and economic repercussions across the region, including an overall rise in income levels. With increasing pressure to report on and regulate sustainability, he explained that Asia-based manufacturers are not only on top of scope 3 metrics, but are pushing for capital expenditure (capex) to contribute to longer-term sustainability: to counteract those emissions that extend beyond the products themselves such as packaging, as well as manufacturing machinery. 

“Take a textile manufacturer that supplies to one of the big fashion brands. It’s not just that they want a sustainable supply chain and a robust working capital requirement; they’re also looking at how to install a wastewater treatment plant or rooftop solar. They are actively seeking capex investment plus working capital that is sustainable.”

Additionally, he highlighted the emergence of a circular economy to facilitate long-term sustainability, as being a growing trend: “Look at the battery ecosystem for example, a huge industry is developing around the recycling of batteries – additionally the recycling of solar panels, turbines and so forth is being considered. The recycling industry is becoming larger as ultimately, unless there is a circular economy around it, resources will be wasted. New action is being taken to develop a fully circular product lifecycle.”

The role of tech

Veetil emphasised various strides made across the field of technology, as being key to the future direction of the sustainability market. He commended Japan’s move to funnel over 55% of the proceeds from its recent climate transition issuance into research and development (R&D). “The future impact of investment going into research is set to be significant,” he said, noting the market’s action to invest in and develop domestic hydrogen production.

“Hydrogen has real potential to drive transition across hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, construction and aviation. But currently the market is ‘grey’ as it requires coal power to extract it from H2O.” He added that China and India are also investing heavily in the development of hydrogen. “It’s a space to watch.”

Climate-related research and technology is one of the areas which HSBC’s New Economy initiative aims to support. Since June last year, the bank has launched two fundraising strategies in Asia to invest in early-stage high-growth and tech-focussed businesses, to promote regional innovation. The first strategy, a $3 billion New Economy Fund (NEF) targets opportunities in Hong Kong and the surrounding Greater Bay Area (GBA), while a more recently launched $200 million vehicle targets investment across Singapore and Southeast Asia. Last month, the latter signed its first dedicated social loan to support Vietnamese venture-backed biotech start-up, Gene Solutions, which aims to enhance the accessibility and affordability of essential healthcare services across Southeast Asia. Another recent contribution included a $30 million green and social loan to Indonesia’s acquaculture and intelligence start-up, eFishery, which works to empower smallholder fish and shrimp farmers through tech, by increasing feed efficiency and reducing waste.

Veetil agreed that there is a strong socio-economic angle to sustainability developments in Southeast Asia, offering the example of electronic vehicle (EV) two-wheelers: “In certain areas in Southeast Asia (such as Vietnam and Indonesia) – as well as India, the majority of the population can’t afford to buy cars. We are going to see EV two-wheelers becoming more prevalent, popular and impactful… In fact, this is already happening and will continue to do so in the short- to medium-term.”

He added that the technologies emerging around carbon capture also offer real potential, but they “haven’t yet reached a sweet spot for mass adoption.”

Regulatory developments

But perhaps the most influential factor set to shape the sustainability landscape to come, is regulatory development and with it, clarity around how to deliver and enact a shared vision.

“What I am monitoring most closely on the regulatory side of things, is progress around the development of a country taxonomy,” Veetil disclosed.

“Reporting requirements are evolving quickly. Markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore have been very much at the forefront of this, but huge strides are also being made in geographies such as China and India, with new reporting requirements being introduced for listed companies.”

Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Authority (Acra) together with Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) have mandated that listed companies start disclosing their climate impact in a phased manner, from financial year 2025.

“Over the next three years, most companies based in Singapore will report their climate data, which will certainly have an impact on the corporate mindset operating in the region,” Veetil said.

“Similarly, regulation being introduced elsewhere, such as in Europe, is taking effect globally. Take for example the new European deforestation regulation that has been published; as well as the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), which will soon take effect.”

“This is where we need a unified body to monitor and manage the direction of shared sustainability efforts. Currently this is something that is missing.”

Veetil suggested that various international entities are exploring options; and he proposed that efficacy could be found through a consortium of international central banks; or an governmental body such as the United Nations (UN) forming a platform involving corporates and financial institutions.

“We live in a very seamless economy, regulations in one country will definitely have an impact on the other.”

 


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Cryptos, gold and the end of the dollar – Asia Times

The US federal debt, which is currently approaching US$ 35 trillion or 1200 % of GDP, is alarming a growing number of economics and financial analysts. Prior to defence spending and rights, interest payments on the debts have grown to be the most important item in the US federal budget.

In earlier June, previous US House Speaker Paul Ryan proposed that the US government may recognize stablecoins, resource- backed bitcoin, as settlement for US Treasuries. According to Ryan, the initiative would lead to an “immediate, tough increase in demand for US debts, which would lessen the chance of a missed debt auction and an ensuing financial and economic crisis.”

Ryan’s plan serves as a testament to how serious the US loan issue has grown. Cryptocurrencies were conceived as anti- stablecoins currencies. They are modern currencies that are privately issued and can be used anywhere in the world in an anonymous manner. Bitcoin, the first bitcoin, was meant to be a system for a new economic system that could start with a clean slate.

In the US, as of 2024, crypto advocates are calling for the regulation of asset-backed cryptos ( stablecoins ) so that they can be used to buy US Treasuries and pay taxes. Cryptocurrencies may be able to save the imperfect financial system that they were supposed to replace.

US Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced a bill that would allow Americans to give their federal income tax in Bitcoin two days after Ryan submitted his plan. Gaetz claimed that the dramatic change would encourage creativity, increase efficiency, and give Americans more freedom.

This is a courageous step in the direction of a future where digital currencies are essential to maintaining the US’s position as a leader in scientific development, according to Gaetz.

Is it possible for a fiat currency to survive with personally issued currencies? In the last 50 years, the dollar lost 90 % of its value, and it is still losing money annually at a rate of about 10 %.

Altcoins vary widely in price, but almost all of them are priced in dollars. They are therefore susceptible to a potential ( some economists say unavoidable ) devaluation of the dollar. &nbsp,

Bitcoin Pizza Day

A bit of bitcoin history. A computer programming using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published a report on a crypto bulletin board on October 31, 2008, to proclaim Bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. People may “mine” Bitcoins by completing complicated mathematical puzzles and receive rewards for the newly created coins.

Nakamura argued that the economic system was corrupt and benefited a tiny elite by using taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street in 2008. Bitcoin would be the person’s income, beyond the power of governments. It may make it possible to pay someone anywhere in the world almost completely for free.

Just 21 million Bitcoin could be mined, making fiat currencies defense to inflation brought on by overwhelming money stamping, a criterion found in fiat currencies.

Bitcoin is based on systems that existed, among them modern names.

In 2010, Bitcoin recorded its first commercial exchange. Who delivered two pies to his Florida residence in the form of a Bitcoin worker named Laszlo Hanyecz offered 10, 000 BTC to him?

American computer Jeremy Sturdivant accepted the offer. He had two pies delivered to Hanyecz’s house at a cost of$ 25, and Hanyecz transferred 10.000 bitcoin to Studivant’s Bitcoin budget. Bitcoin was valued at$ 0.0041 during the transaction.

Currency’s initial purchase, remembered as Bitcoin Pizza Day, generated broader involvement in the modern money. Entrepreneurs started crypto exchanges to facilitate the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies, and they invested in server farms to stone cryptocurrencies. In a simple 15 times, Bitcoin’s cost went from almost zero in 2009 to a maximum of &nbsp,$ 75, 830 in early 2024.

Bitcoin’s potential as a pay method was unsuccessful. Just a small percentage of Bitcoin transactions are made for retail use. The remainder involves crypto investing.

Crypto companies have created a number of different kinds of altcoins. Among them are bitcoins. Some cryptocurrencies are backed by assets like real estate, corporate debts, and even other cryptocurrencies, people are backed by reserves of stablecoins assets held in bank transactions. A bitcoin named DigixDAO has a” stain backed by physical gold” that is supported by 1 ounce of silver that is stored in a bunker.

Ironic is the rise of cryptocurrencies that are gold-backed. The US government’s decision in 1971 to remove the money from the gold standard was largely responsible for the difficulties in the financial system, which allegedly contributed to the development of Bitcoin.

The consists

After WWII, the US dollars became the global reserve currency. The dollar was purged from gold at a fixed price of$ 35 per ounce under the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944. &nbsp, The English lb, the French franc and assets of different countries were pegged to the money, and hence indirectly to silver. By limiting the amount of money that can be issued, metal resources impose fiscal discipline on nations.

In the 1960s, many European nations expressed concern that the US state was damaged financially, which was the outcome of a pricey war in Vietnam and the introduction of social plans ( the War on Poverty ). Economists in Europe speculated that the US was printing more money than gold had again.

The French state made its issues known in a serious manner. It demanded ore in exchange for sending a warship full of dollars to New York. Many other countries followed suit, albeit without ships, and they progressively drained US silver resources.

At the end of World War II, the US had 21 measurement tons of gold. In 1971, just 8.133 plenty remained. The US government announced that it would temporarily shut the so-called golden windows, defaulting on the Bretton Woods Agreement, in order to lose its remaining property.

In exchange for military protection, the US in 1974 persuaded Saudi Arabia to buy all of its oil in dollars to maintain the worldwide demand for the currency. The deal mandated that all oil-importing countries keep dollar reserves, leading to an ever-increasing demand for dollars.

The so-called petro-dollar strengthened the status of the US dollars as the world supply money. The oil trade represents only 7 % of the global economy, but it is essential to the other 93 % of the economy.

Exploding loan

The US government has quickly increased its bill, no more constrained by the restrictions imposed by the gold standard. In 1971, US debt was$ 400 billion, in 2024 it reached$ 34 trillion, or 120 % of GDP.

To fund its shortfalls, the US government issues attention- bearing Treasuries. Backed by” the full faith and credit” of the US state, Treasuries have been regarded as a risk- completely purchase. The major customers were private owners, international institutions, pension funds and insurance companies.

Silver has been replaced as the dollar system’s core by US debts.

But history is repeating itself. In the late 1960s, France was concerned about the US silver deposits. Currently, China is concerned about US Treasuries.

China developed a sizable trade surplus with the US, bringing in at one point$ 1 billion a day net as it became the factory of the world. China became the world’s largest borrower to the US with a portion of its dollar to buy US Treasuries, joining Japan and Japan as the only other country to do so.

Next came the renowned Wall Street loan and the global financial crisis of 2008. China came to the conclusion that the US lacked the desire to control its investing or overhaul its political or economic system. China eventually cut back on its US bill purchases throughout the 2010s. Also, it started to lay the foundation for an alternative economic structures.

De-dollarization

Om 2021, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the UAE announced they were developing mBridge, a digital alternative to SWIFT ( Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ). Importantly, mBridge is based on a variation of bitcoin, the technology used in most bitcoin.

The standard structures of mBridge, the BRICS solution to Smooth

mBridge is designed to work with Central Bank digital currencies and serves as the most good case study for a monetary settlement system for the BRICS nations. The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf ( GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, has tested its own CBDC Bridge that will be connected to mBridge.

BRICS is also developing a trading forex system that could be backed in part by silver, oil, and other supplies. The biggest obstacle to the money has been a gold or oil-backed currency. Despite their strange appearance, golden and petrol have remained close to balance for more than a century. Their individual rates move within a very small area.

In 1971, when the US closed the golden window, an ounce of gold sold for$ 35. It reached$ 2, 450 in first 2024. In 1971, a barrel of oil was$ 3.60. In recent years it has traded between$ 80 and$ 100 a barrel. Measured in silver and oil, the money lost about 90 % of its value in the last 50 years.

If the BRICS introduces a coin that is pegged to gold, it might have an impact on the prices of everything from copper and gold to aluminum and the crucially important rare earths used in natural technology.

A developing BRICS will not only be the largest manufacturer of many industrial and consumer goods, but also have the ability to control a sizable portion of international assets. The latest BRICS people ‘ complete economic output has already surpassed that of the G7.

Saudi Arabia made the announcement to visit both BRICS and mBridge in June of this year. The Saudis had now begun selling non-dollar oil, but the statement made it clear that their commitment to the petro-dollar had come to an end.

The Saudi choice elicited a reaction from Michael Saylor, inc- founder of crypto big MicroStrategy. According to Taylor, the Saudis were making a error and should have chosen Bitcoin otherwise.

He wrote:” Picture a planet where 50, 000 businesses use cryptocurrency with P2P settlements with each other. Ask the Bank of Australia, the Bank of Austria, or the Bank of China if they would n’t like to have an asset that does n’t lose 7 to 10 % of its value annually. Ask them if they would n’t prefer to be able to make deals with any other banks in the world, peer- to- gaze. It’s an advancement over the existing system”.

Saylor perhaps knows better. Why do countries in the BRICS, including Saudi Arabia, China, and other BRICS nations, exchange their goods or commercial goods for dollars while deviating from the money system?

Crypto or metal?

Severe forms of economic engineering have made the US debt problem worse. Introducing bitcoin into the monetary system takes this a significant step further. Cryptocurrencies can be used secretly and across borders, making it ideal for duty evasion. It was, according to scholar Michael Hudson, change the US into” the new Switzerland”.

Hudson wrote:” The US sees acting as the place for the country’s tax evaders, criminals and others as a good regional strategy. The intention is not to criticize tax violence and more violent criminal acts, but to make money by serving as lender for these activities.

The US has three options, according to macroeconomist Luke Gromen, none of which are painless: it must reduce defence spending and privilege by at least 30 %, it is partially mistake, or it can fill the bill, barring a productivity miracle caused by AI or a breakthrough in cheap energy. Only in a national incident, which may lead to years of incredibly high inflation, are the first two options politically feasible.

Also, says Gromen, the US will have to re- flourish to reduce its reliance on foreign companies for even the most simple of items. The second US president will need to develop an commercial policy, or, better still, a national strategy to reimagine society.

In the short term, there is no reason for optimism. Donald Trump, a former US president, granted cryptocurrencies. He has pledged to chastise nations that stop using the money and that his reelection strategy accepts donations in bitcoin.

That does n’t sound like a plan. Reserve economies are on the verge of extinction. They are still present in the colonial period.

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Sustainable transformation: making transition finance stick | FinanceAsia

The Asia Pacific region is currently facing a significant gap in the race to fund decarbonisation – estimated at $US1.1 trillion by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

However, this is not the only problem for a region whose coal-fired economies represent around half of global emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

China alone accounts for 35% of global CO2 emissions, the agency says.

Speakers at the Sustainable Finance Asia Forum 2024 said that regulators will need to rebalance sustainable investment priorities – placing more emphasis on adaptation rather than mitigation – if the region’s most heavily polluting emerging economies are to meet their carbon zero targets.

Debanik Basu, the head of responsible investment and stewardship APAC at APG Asset Management, told a panel on harnessing transition finance for sustainable transformation that investment in mitigation (reducing greenhouse emissions at source) now represented the majority of transition funding.

He said the often more complicated task of climate adaptation – the need to change systems, behaviours and whole economies – was receiving scant attention.

“Currently the region is getting around $300 billion in transition finance so there’s a massive gap that needs to be addressed,” he told the conference. “Even within the small portion of finance that we are getting, more than 80 per cent of the funds are moving towards mitigation.

“Consensus estimates suggest that ideally it should be 50/50 between mitigation and adaptation.”

He said the other critical problem was that aspects of climate finance were not well understood and appreciated by the market overall, in particular within the agriculture and forestry segment.

“When you look at the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contribution) put out by a lot of countries, there are specific targets around climate change, but there aren’t explicit targets around forestry and agriculture,” he said.

“And even when there are targets, there is no clear roadmap. What all this means is that the institutional capacity is lacking. There are gaps in infrastructure and there are gaps in knowledge.

“As an investor, conversations with companies around biodiversity are at a very nascent stage.”

A question of taxonomies

Kristina Anguelova, senior advisor and consultant on green finance strategy APAC at the World Wildlife Fund, told the conference that regulation was moving in the right direction, guided by hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

She added that the unofficial rivalry between Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of developing regulatory taxonomies was having a positive effect on the transition finance landscape in the region.

“I think the competition between Singapore and Hong Kong in this case is a good thing because it’s advancing regulation in the region quite a bit,” she said. “The Singapore Asia Taxonomy lays out transition taxonomy criteria across eight sectors.”

While the regulation is tailored to Singapore, she said she believed it would lay foundations for others to follow.

“It’s so important as a regulatory piece because it can serve as an incentive for investors to start to scale transition finance comfortably and confidently without the loopholes and the risks of potentially being accused of greenwashing,” she said.

In terms of biodiversity, she highlighted the nascent stage of biodiversity finance compared to climate finance, discussing the need for capacity building, regulatory clarity, and financial instruments to support nature-based solutions.

A case in point, she said, is the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) which is developing standards aimed at developing a high-quality, comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures focussed on the needs of investors and the financial markets.

“On biodiversity, I think we’re moving a bit slowly, but we’re getting there. Obviously coming from a science-based NGO, efforts can never be fast enough,” she said. “But the good news is that the ISSB will also be integrating the TNFD or the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures soon.

“Those jurisdictions that have adopted or committed to the ISSB will also be adopting those nature regulations.”

The challenge as always, she added, was that regulators had to strike a balance between mitigating financial risk and overregulating such that it slowed economic development.

Blended solutions

Building capacity, both speakers argued, would be critical to transition finance solutions to climate change and that new instruments, particularly in blended finance, were likely to be leading the charge.

“We are seeing beyond transition bonds to different types of instruments that are designed to go into blended finance structures such as transition credits which are based on the assumption that we can get carbon savings out of early retirement of coal-fired power plants,” Anguelova said.

One avenue that was currently being explored in a number of jurisdictions was concessionary capital: i.e. loans, grants, or equity investments provided on more favourable terms than those available in the market.

These terms could include lower interest rates, longer repayment periods, grace periods, or partial guarantees.

Of these instruments, Basu said, guarantees were evolving as one of the methods currently being pursued in several markets.

“What we are also seeing is that, apart from concessionary capital, a lot of public institutions are more comfortable with providing guarantees instead of direct capital because that then keeps the overall cost of capital down,” Basu said.

“It might be at a very nascent stage – and it is difficult to say if this is going to be the future – but it is developing,” he said.


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BlackRock tasks Yik Ley Chan to lead SEA private credit as demand increases | FinanceAsia

Global investment giant BlackRock has appointed Yik Ley Chan to lead the firm’s private credit team in an expanded remit for Southeast Asia (SEA). 

Chan (pictured) will be based in Singapore and will become responsible for the origination and execution of private credit investments. The appointment takes effect next month in July, according to a company media release. He will also join the firm’s Asia Pacific (Apac) private credit leadership team. 

Chan has 16 years’ experience in financial services, of which more than 13 years were spent on structuring private credit and financing solutions. He was most recently Asia head of private credit at Jefferies, where he oversaw markets in SEA including Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Yik Ley previously played a senior structurer role for Credit Suisse, covering SEA and frontier markets.

BlackRock’s global private debt platform manages $85 billion across the asset class. The global private debt team has over 200 investment professionals in over 18 cities globally as of December 2023.

BlackRock’s Apac private credit platform currently invests in opportunities throughout Australasia, South Korea, Japan, Greater China, India, and SEA.

Celia Yan, head of Apac private credit, BlackRock, said in the release: “SEA is an exciting region offering promising opportunities for private credit, as corporates look for ways to finance transformation beyond traditional avenues. Yik Ley’s wealth of investment experience and local insights will be of immense value to our clients, while strengthening our investment capabilities throughout developed and emerging markets in Apac.”

Deborah Ho, country head of Singapore and head of SEA, BlackRock, added: “Client demand for private markets investments has increased dramatically – a trend we believe is here to stay.”

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Bangladesh sets contractionary budget, cuts growth target | FinanceAsia

Bangladesh has proposed a contractionary funds in the legislature for the macroeconomic time 2024-25 starting July 1, 2024 in the face of unflinching global economic conditions and a significant dollar absence. &nbsp,

 

Additionally, it anticipates being heavily rely on foreign debt for development projects and to borrow heavily from the finance industry.

 

The budget was put in place on June 6 by Bangladesh’s finance minister, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, who had been widely criticized for having no effective strategies to lower inflation, which had been at a high rate of 10 % for more than a year, causing severe pain for lower-mid-income groups of people as the condition deteriorated since the end of the war in Ukraine.

 

Only a few weeks after the local currency experienced a sizable depreciation against the US Dollar following the introduction of a” crawling peg” system to determine the exchange rate, the BDT7.97 trillion ($ 68 billion ) budget was agreed. This was in line with the International Monetary Fund’s ( IMF)’s ) recommendation to stop foreign currency reserves from falling as they were free.

 

Currently Bangladesh has just$ 18.6 billion of foreign currency reserves, according to the IMF’s computation method. However, the online trading supply now stands somewhat over$ 13 billion, hardly enough to cover three weeks’ of goods.

 

The government was forced by the paltry forex reserve to substantially reduce imports over the past few years, which negatively impacted business outputs and increased inflation.

 

Progress target&nbsp,

 

For the next fiscal year, the finances has proposed a 6.75 % fiscal progress, which economists and economists predict is not possible. The government has predicted 5.8 % growth at the end of the fiscal year while its initial growth goal was 7.5 %.

 

The government has also set a goal to reduce the current rate of nearly 10 % to 6.5 % in the upcoming fiscal year. The federal has planned to lower import duties on big, important commodities in order to achieve the target. The finance minister, a moment after presenting the budget to parliament, at a article- budget media briefing, but said, people will have to wait until next December to get the rate of inflation down to a” reasonable limit”. &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,

 

However, the economists ruled out the possibility of sluggish prices because they believe a duty cut on commodities alone would not be effective in lowering prices. Moreover, they believe the government, in the funds, has announced to change energy oil prices four times a month to reduce rebate spending, fuel prices will go further up in the coming days leading to the further escalation of inflation. A rise in fuel prices always leads to higher prices for other goods and services.

 

The finance minister’s proposed budget has a deficit of BDT 2.56 trillion, which accounts for 4.6 % of the nation’s gross domestic product ( GDP ). The finance minister wants to use domestic and foreign borrowing to pay off the deficit. Of the total, some BDT1.61 trillion will be borrowed from domestic sources of which BDT1.375 trillion will come from the banking sector.

 

Non- performing loans

 

Already Bangladesh’s banking sector is plagued with non- performing loans worth BDT1.82 trillion, the highest in the history of Bangladesh. Additionally, billions of taka are encased in the courts as loan defaulters are sued by banks. &nbsp,

 

Five banks with poor financial health are set to merge with five relatively strong banks to avoid closure, in another sign of trouble. Exim Bank would acquire Padma Bank, Sonali Bank would acquire Bangladesh Development Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank would acquire Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, National Bank would buy United Commercial Bank, and City Bank is set to acquire BASIC Bank in accordance with potential merger plans, while City Bank is set to acquire BASIC Bank.

 

To support development projects, the government has set a goal of borrowing BDT970 billion from abroad in the upcoming fiscal year. With external debt already exceeding$ 100 billion in March, the target is viewed as very high. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the world economy struggles, and Bangladesh is failing to permit the repatriation of profit by foreign investors due to its severe dollar dearth, economists fear that foreign direct investment will decline in the new fiscal year. &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,

 

Businesses believe that excessive government borrowing will dry up resources, which means that the private sector may not be able to grow their businesses. Employment generation will also be hindered severely, with the rate of unemployment increasing.

 

” The excessive borrowing by the government from the banking sector hinders the credit flow to the private sector”, Mahbubul Alam, president, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( FBCCI), said in a reaction.

 

There is no directive in the proposed budget on how to help maintain local industry, especially given the country’s rising cost of doing business, according to Anwar Ul Alam Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI).

 

The leading think tank, the country’s Centre for Policy Dialogue, claimed that the government did not take into account the impact of the proposed budget’s ongoing macroeconomic policy adjustments.

 

” The inflation projection for FY 2025 certainly appears to be overambitious”, the CPD said.

 

Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, a former governor of Bangladesh’s central bank said, the proposed budget will fail to meet various targets as it does n’t have enough “bold steps”.

 

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Bank of Singapore creates global advisory council; appoints chief portfolio strategist | FinanceAsia

To support the bank’s Chief Investment Office’s ( CIO ) research capabilities and to gain client insights, Bank of Singapore established an independent investment advisory council.

According to a declaration from the bank, eight members of the CIO Global Advisory Council have been chosen based on their track records in finance, public policy, political research, resource allocation, and investment management. &nbsp,

The members are: Belinda Boa, head of Apac engaged investments and key investment officer of emerging markets, BlackRock, Ken Caplan, world co- key investment officer, Blackstone, Fabiana Fedeli, key investment officer, equities, multi- asset and sustainability, M&amp, G Investments, Robin Hu, Asia chair, Milken Institute and advisor senior director, Temasek, Stewart James, co- head, office of government affairs Apac, Goldman Sachs, Yuichi Murao, chief investment officer, Nomura Asset Management, Adam Posen, president, Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Paula Campbell Roberts, chief investment strategist for global wealth, KKR.

Jean Chia, global chief investment officer, Bank of Singapore, said in the statement:” Building intellectual capital is a key part of the bank’s strategy to become the top private bank in Asia. In today’s knowledge-driven economy, we are strengthening our competitive advantage by utilizing our research capabilities, including creating a global advisory council that complements our internal insights.

Since January 2024, the CIO has reported to Bank of Singapore’s chief executive officer Jason Moo. According to the statement, the CIO manages client assets while the advisory and discretionary portfolio management teams manage client assets. &nbsp, &nbsp,

While the CIO Global Advisory Council will offer insights, the Bank of Singapore’s house view– which guides investment decisions – uses the CIO’s in- house research, investment strategy and asset allocation expertise, the bank explained. &nbsp,

The CIO established a wealth management and investment management technology earlier this year that asset managers and institutional investors use. One of the first private banks in Asia to use the platform for clients of private banking is Bank of Singapore. &nbsp,

Bank of Singapore is owned by OCBC, and has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, Luxembourg and Dubai, and a representative office in the Philippines, according to its website. &nbsp,

Rickie Chan introduced the position of the Hong Kong branch’s chief executive on April 17. Chan added it to his role as head of private banking, Greater China, and replaced Cindy Wong, whose last day at the bank was May 31, 2024. She became the Hong Kong branch’s CEO in 2021 after joining the Bank of Singapore in November 2015. &nbsp,

New chief portfolio strategist

Additionally, the Bank of Singapore has appointed a chief portfolio strategist. Owi Ruivivar, who has over 30 years of experience in economics, investment strategy and portfolio management, has assumed the new role, starting on June 3.

Ruivivar, who is based in Singapore, will be a member of the bank’s investment committee, which decides on client calls for strategic and tactical asset allocation. She reports to Chia.

The newly created position will assist in the creation of a” systematic, robust, and risk-based multi- asset allocation framework that will guide clients as they build long-term investment portfolios,” according to a statement.

Ruivivar comes to Singapore from GIC, where she oversaw the department’s department’s department’s investment and investment strategy department’s investment-oriented thematic research. She also served as the head of the team responsible for investing in future markets, which managed multi-asset investments in emerging markets countries. Prior To GIC she spent 17 years with Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Chia said:” In today’s knowledge- driven economy, we aim to enhance our competitive advantage by hiring and developing talent in research and portfolio management capabilities”.

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Bank of Singapore creates global advisory council; hires chief portfolio strategist | FinanceAsia

To support the Chief Investment Office’s ( CIO ) research capabilities and gain insight from clients, Bank of Singapore established an independent investment advisory council.

According to a statement from the bank, eight members of the CIO Global Advisory Council have been chosen based on their track records in finance, public policy, political research, resource allocation, and purchase control. &nbsp,

The members are: Belinda Boa, head of Apac engaged investments and key investment officer of emerging markets, BlackRock, Ken Caplan, world co- key investment officer, Blackstone, Fabiana Fedeli, key investment officer, equities, multi- asset and sustainability, M&amp, G Investments, Robin Hu, Asia chair, Milken Institute and advisor senior director, Temasek, Stewart James, co- head, office of government affairs Apac, Goldman Sachs, Yuichi Murao, chief investment officer, Nomura Asset Management, Adam Posen, president, Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Paula Campbell Roberts, chief investment strategist for global wealth, KKR.

Jean Chia, global chief investment officer, Bank of Singapore, said in the declaration:” Building intellectual money is a vital part of the company’s strategy to become the best personal bank in Asia. We are investing in research capabilities in today’s knowledge-driven economy, including creating a global advisory council that complements our internal insights.

Since January 2024, the CIO has reported to Bank of Singapore’s chief executive officer Jason Moo. According to the statement, the CIO oversees the asset allocation framework, investment views, and securities research, while the advisory and discretionary portfolio management teams oversee client assets. &nbsp, &nbsp,

While the CIO Global Advisory Council will offer insights, the Bank of Singapore’s house view– which guides investment decisions – uses the CIO’s in- house research, investment strategy and asset allocation expertise, the bank explained. &nbsp,

The CIO established a wealth management and investment management technology earlier this year that asset managers and institutional investors use. One of the first private banks in Asia to adopt the platform for private banking clients is Bank of Singapore. &nbsp,

Bank of Singapore is owned by OCBC, and has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, Luxembourg and Dubai, and a representative office in the Philippines, according to its website. &nbsp,

Rickie Chan introduced the Hong Kong branch’s position as its chief executive on April 17. Chan added it to his role as head of private banking, Greater China, and replaced Cindy Wong, whose last day at the bank was May 31, 2024. She became the Hong Kong branch’s CEO in 2021 after joining the Bank of Singapore in November 2015. &nbsp,

New chief portfolio strategist

Additionally, the Bank of Singapore has appointed a chief portfolio strategist. Owi Ruivivar, who has over 30 years of experience in economics, investment strategy and portfolio management, has assumed the new role, starting on June 3.

Ruivivar, who is based in Singapore, will be a member of the bank’s investment committee, which decides client requests for strategic and tactical asset allocation. She reports to Chia.

The newly created position will assist in the creation of a” systematic, robust, and risk-based multi-asset allocation framework that will guide clients as they build long-term investment portfolios,” according to a statement.

Ruivivar started at the department of economics and investment strategy at Singapore’s GIC, where she oversaw the department’s investment-focused thematic research. She also served as the head of the team responsible for investing in future markets, which managed multi-asset investments in emerging markets countries. Prior To GIC she spent 17 years with Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Chia said:” In today’s knowledge- driven economy, we aim to enhance our competitive advantage by hiring and developing talent in research and portfolio management capabilities”.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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Bank of Singapore creates independent global advisory council | FinanceAsia

To support the Chief Investment Office’s ( CIO ) research capabilities and to gain client insights, the Bank of Singapore established an independent investment advisory council.

According to a declaration from the bank, eight members of the CIO Global Advisory Council have been chosen based on their track records in finance, public policy, political research, resource allocation, and investment management. &nbsp,

The members are: Belinda Boa, head of Apac engaged investments and key investment officer of emerging markets, BlackRock, Ken Caplan, world co- key investment officer, Blackstone, Fabiana Fedeli, key investment officer, equities, multi- asset and sustainability, M&amp, G Investments, Robin Hu, Asia chair, Milken Institute and advisor senior director, Temasek, Stewart James, co- head, office of government affairs Apac, Goldman Sachs, Yuichi Murao, chief investment officer, Nomura Asset Management, Adam Posen, president, Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Paula Campbell Roberts, chief investment strategist for global wealth, KKR.

Jean Chia, global chief investment officer, Bank of Singapore, said in the statement:” Building intellectual capital is a key part of the bank’s strategy to become the top private bank in Asia. We are investing in research capabilities in today’s knowledge-driven economy, which includes convening this global advisory council in addition to our in-house insights.

The Chief Investment Office has received a direct report from Chief Executive Officer Jason Moo since January 2024. The advisory and discretionary portfolio management teams manage the clients ‘ assets in accordance with their return expectations and risk appetite, while the chief investment office establishes the asset allocation framework, investment views, and securities research.

While the CIO Global Advisory Council will offer insights, the Bank’s house view– which guides investment decisions – is built upon the Chief Investment Office’s in- house research, investment strategy and asset allocation expertise, the statement said. &nbsp,

Asset managers and institutional investors use wealth management and investment management technology, which the Chief Investment Office established earlier this year. One of the first private banks in Asia to adopt the platform for clients of private banking is Bank of Singapore. &nbsp,

The Bank of Singapore is owned by OCBC and has offces in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, Luxembourg, Dubai and a representative office in the Philippines, according to its website. &nbsp,

Rickie Chan introduced the Hong Kong branch’s position as its chief executive on April 17. Chan replaced Cindy Wong, whose last day at the bank was May 31, 2024, by adding it to his role as head of private banking, Greater China. She became the CEO of the Hong Kong branch in 2021 after joining the Bank of Singapore in November 2015. &nbsp,

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Citi hires from BNP Paribas for Thailand head of markets role | FinanceAsia

Citi has appointed Nattaphan Assavavisessivakul as head of industry, Thailand. &nbsp,

Starting in August, Assavavisessivakul will be based in Bangkok, according to a May 29 multimedia news from Citi. &nbsp,

With a proper and international approach, Assavavisessivakul has been given the task of driving business growth and leading the bank’s markets franchise in Thailand. He did report to Sue Lee, Citi’s head of industry, Asia South, and to Fourth Narumon, Citi state official and bank mind, Citi Thailand.

Assavavisessivakul, who has over 20 years of experience in banking and financial solutions, is joining from BNP Paribas, Thailand, where he led and managed the buying sales and government team as head of world markets and ALM Treasury. He reportedly joined the French institution in June 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He also previously served as head of resolved salary, supplies and economies sales at Bank of America, Thailand. Assavavisessivakul began his career at KPMG Thailand, where he concentrated on economic modeling and monitoring.

Thailand is a important market for Citi, according to Narumon in the news, with more international consumer flows into the nation and more local property managers making overseas investments. As the largest cross-border banks in the world, we are specializing in facilitating those travels for our clients.

With Nattaphan’s extensive network and proven track record, Lee continued,” I’m convinced that his command will further strengthen how Citi Markets Thailand fulfills its goal of being the best lender for our customers.”

The interview is subject to normal regulatory approvals.

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