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Nov 25, 2022

The week in investor relations: Goldman Sachs fined, Luberef IPO gets approval and World Cup market impact

Our pick of the IR stories from around the web you might have missed this week

– The SEC charged Goldman Sachs Asset Management with failing to follow its policies and procedures involving environmental, socially oriented and other investments, and fined the company $4 mn. Reuters (paywall) reported a statement from the regulatory agency that stated the charges were specifically over ‘policy and procedure failures involving two mutual funds and one separately managed account strategy marketed as ESG investments’. Without admitting or denying the regulator’s findings, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay the $4 mn penalty, the SEC added.

– Saudi Aramco Base Oil, a unit of the state-owned oil producer, received regulatory approval for an IPO in Riyadh, as the world’s biggest crude producer looked to list some of its subsidiaries. In a report, Bloomberg (paywall) said the IPO will consist of the sale of 50 mn shares – a 29.7 percent stake – in the company. The unit, also known as Luberef, makes base oils used in lubricants for motor vehicles, ships and industrial machinery.

 –Equity investors hoping for a better year in 2023 will be disappointed, according to Goldman Sachs Group strategists, who said the bear market phase is not over yet, Bloomberg(paywall) reported. ‘The conditions that are typically consistent with an equity trough have not yet been reached,’ the strategists noted. They said a peak in interest rates and lower valuations reflecting recession are necessary before any sustained stock market recovery can happen.

– As the FIFA World Cup kicked off, Qatar was gearing up for an equity market boom as the country’s stock exchange was set to benefit from the colossal event. A report from Aljazeera noted that with more than $4 bn of foreign inflows in the first 10 months of this year alone, equity market experts say Qatar’s stock market – like most previous soccer World Cup host markets – outperformed peers in the run-up to the mega-contest and is expected to continue along similar lines in the year after the tournament.

– The SEC’s more-than-enthusiastic crackdown on the crypto industry is being seen as a positive signal for the majority of crypto investors, reported Taking data from a Bloomberg survey, the media group said around 60 percent of 564 survey respondents viewed the recent flurry of crypto crackdowns as a positive sign for investing in the asset class. Critics have called out the SEC’s ‘regulation by enforcement’ tactics but, to some investors, it’s a positive sign to invest in digital assets.

– In the UK, the FTX bankruptcy saw 80,000 regional crypto investors lose funds, noted Yahoo!Finance. Worldwide, 1 mn creditors have been left with funds locked on the exchange or lost in the revolving doors of fund transfers between FTX and its trading arm Alameda Research. There is at least $1 bn in investor assets missing after the collapse of the Bahamas-based exchange. Bankruptcy hearings that have now begun in Delaware, US, revealed that 8 percent of the creditors are British.

– The Financial Times (paywall) reported tax rises and spending cuts announced in the UK government’s autumn statement were unlikely to persuade the Bank of England (BoE) to moderate future interest rate rises, citing the central bank’s deputy governor statement earlier this week. Sir Dave Ramsden seemed to undermine the contention of UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who said in his statement that the government’s £55 bn ($66.6 bn) of budgetary consolidation would allow interest rates to be ‘significantly lower’. Ramsden said the measures to reduce public borrowing would take effect too late to influence BoE monetary policy in the months ahead.

– Meanwhile, according to CNBC, Credit Suisse shareholders approved a SFr4 bn ($4.2 bn) capital raise aimed at financing the bank’s strategic overhaul. Credit Suisse’s capital-raising plans are split into two parts. The first, which was backed by 92 percent of shareholders, grants shares to new investors including the Saudi National Bank via a private placement. The second capital increase issues newly registered shares with pre-emptive rights to existing shareholders and passed with 98 percent of the vote. Credit Suisse chair Axel Lehmann said the vote marked an ‘important step’ in the building of ‘the new Credit Suisse’.

– Nasdaq put the brakes on IPO preparations of at least four small Chinese companies while it investigates short-lived stock rallies of such firms following their debuts, reported Reuters. The stock exchange operator’s actions come amid a surge in the shares of Chinese companies that raise small amounts, typically $50 mn or less, in their IPO. These stocks rise by as much as 2,000 percent in their debuts, only to nosedive in the days that follow, bruising investors who are bold enough to speculate on penny stocks.

– In COP27 news, Africa took climate action into its own hands – and it’s time for Asia to do the same, wrote Aljazeera in a report. By launching a climate risk facility, Africa showed it is running out of patience with the West’s failed promises. The launch of the African Climate Risk Facility – a $14 bn local, market-based funding tool to help African countries increase the resilience of their vulnerable communities – is a wake-up call for a world frustrated by the hollow commitments of wealthy countries. The financing is a climate solution designed by Africa, for Africa, to support losses and damage caused by climate change.

Staff Writers

The staff writers on IR magazine are from our team of highly experienced journalists.