The week in investor relations: Amsterdam ousts London, FT returns to index business and Bumble goes public

Feb 12, 2021
This week’s other IR-related stories that we didn’t cover on IRmagazine.com

– Amsterdam knocked aside London as Europe’s top share-trading hub, reported the Financial Times (paywall). Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise saw a four-fold increase in trading from December to January as the Netherlands scooped up business lost by the UK since Brexit, noted the paper. An average €9.2 bn ($11.14 bn) in shares a day were traded in Amsterdam in January while volumes in London fell sharply to €8.6 bn, ‘dislodging the UK from its historic position as the main hub for the European market.’

– The FT announced its return to the index business via a new partnership with Wilshire, an investment advisory group. The two have plans to develop indices with a particular focus on ESG investment products. Mark Makepeace, Wilshire chief executive and former head of FTSE Russell, one of the top index providers alongside MSCI and S&P Global, said ‘the FT is going back to its roots’. The FT Group sold its 50 percent stake in what later became FTSE Russell to the London Stock Exchange for £450 mn ($621 mn) in 2011.

– Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager, named Valérie Baudson as its new CEO, succeeding Yves Perrier, who is stepping down after more than a decade at the top of the firm he has led since its creation in 2010, reported Bloomberg. Amundi has more than doubled its assets under management on Perrier’s watch to €1.73 tn at the end of last year. The CEO transition will happen in May.

– The S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed just shy of record highs, according to Reuters, on the US stimulus package and the expectation of positive earnings. ‘Analysts now expect fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 firms to grow 3 percent, versus forecast of a 10.3 percent drop at the beginning of January, per Refinitiv data,’ noted Reuters, adding that ‘the tech sector and semiconductors hit record highs, while economy-linked energy and industrials took a back seat.’

– Nasdaq also saw success with the IPO of dating app Bumble, reported The Guardian. Shares soared in its first day of trading this week, with the Texas-based company valued at $14 bn after shares opened at $76, wrote the paper – far above the IPO price of $43. Bumble is backed by the private equity firm Blackstone, and The Guardian notes that it joins other tech firms including Snowflake, Airbnb and DoorDash in enjoying strong first days following their debuts last year.

– It was a bad week for US oil majors, though. ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips had their credit ratings lowered after S&P Global Ratings followed through on its recent warning and revised the industry’s risk profile due to climate change and weak earnings, according to Bloomberg. ‘The downgrades come days after Big Oil posted its worst earnings in decades due to last year’s record crude-price drop,’ it reported.

– Reddit, which has been at the center of the battle between retail investors and short-sellers in recent weeks, has itself gone to market to raise $250 mn in new funding, reported the New York Times. The capital-raise values the social news start-up at $6 bn, reported the paper, as it aims to turbocharge user growth and double its work force.

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