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Awards for stockbrokers, Property derivatives are next major asset class, Pension revamp at An Post, Credit derivatives hit the mainstream....
Awards for stockbrokers
In a quantitative survey of ratings on European small & mid cap stocks, NCB was rated joint 5th on a pan-European basis with a ‘value adding’ score of 66.67. The survey was conducted by AQ Research, and Austrian bank Erste Bank was voted the top broker.

Davy Stockbrokers has also received an accolade, and was voted ‘Best Equity House’ for the fourteenth consecutive year in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence.

Voting for the FINANCE Stockbroking Survey 2005 will take place during October amongst equity and bond dealers, representing over 300 investing institutions. The results of the 2005 survey will appear in the December edition of FINANCE.

‘Property derivatives are next major asset class’
Derivative specialist GFI and CB Richard Ellis have launched commercial property derivatives for Europe based on indexes run by Britain’s Investment Property Data Bank (IPD). Property derivatives comprise a swap under which the investor pays or receives a spread over the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in return for the yield on an IPD index.

GFI say that property derivatives are set to become a leading asset class in coming years, and that there is no reason why they should not exceed the size of the underlying market.

Pension revamp at An Post
An Post has restructured its €1.6 billion pension scheme, and has awarded both AXA Rosenberg and Alliance Bernstein €264 million Europem, Australia, and Far East briefs, with AXA also gaining €80 million in global small-caps. Citigroup was handed €80 million in emerging markets while €240 million in active bonds went to PIMCO.

KBC Asset Management lost €530 million in active global equities and bonds, while Irish Life AM lost €450 million of passive international equities and bonds. Bank of Ireland Asset Management lost €220 million of global equities but gained a €552 million passive brief. The restructuring was done with the assistance of Mercer human resource consulting.

Credit derivatives hit the mainstream
ABN AMRO and AXA Investment Managers have successfully closed the first-ever managed credit derivative fund for retail investors. Called the Patrimoine Obligation Croissance (POC), the fund is an innovative principal-protected credit derivative fund tailored specifically for retail investors in France and Monaco.

POC uses a strategy known as Constant Proportion Portfolio Insurance (CPPI), which aims to achieve long-term capital growth whilst ensuring principal protection at maturity, as opposed to simply tracking a benchmark index. Excess returns are generated through exposure to a portfolio of credit default swaps (CDS) – a credit derivative that pays a premium in exchange for providing protection to bond holders against issuer default. The returns from the CDS portfolio are regularly reinvested within the fund, with proceeds paid to the investor at maturity.

Property moves in Europe
AIB Capital Markets’ Polonia Property Fund L.P. has acquired a second regional office building in Poland. The property located in the heart of Krak?w is known as Lubicz Office Centre and provides over 14,000 square metres of prime commercial office and retail space. The acquisition represents the first major office transaction in Krak?w’s Central Business District at a price in the region of €30 million. The property is currently let to a mix of international and local tenants including, Cap Gemini, International Paper, Fortis Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Meanwhile, an individual Irish investor has paid €20 million for a 6,500 square metre office on the Rue Drapiers in Brussels. The deal reflects an initial yield of 6 per cent after costs. It is fully let to the European Union (European Defense Agency) on a fixed 9-year lease without breaks that is producing a rent of €1.22 million per annum, equating to €165 per sq m. As part of the deal the tenant is going to invest a further €2.5 million on the fit-out of the building.

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