JPMorgan Chase & Co. said its business in Saudi Arabia is growing faster than any other region in the world, helped by the stock exchange’s inclusion in MSCI Inc.’s main emerging markets index.
“We at JPMorgan believe that Saudi will become the main hub in the region, as well as one of the main hubs globally,” Carlos Hernandez, head of global banking at the New York-based firm, said on the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh.
Global investment firms are clamoring to do business with the kingdom, where low oil prices have forced officials to tap international debt markets and seek foreign capital. Advisers hired for the imminent IPO of Saudi Aramco are set to split a fee pool of as much as $450 million, Bloomberg News has reported. JPMorgan is one of nine joint global coordinators on the deal.
The bank “made the decision to go onshore in Saudi about eight years ago, open our custody, and our business is growing at the fastest pace than any other region in the world,” Hernandez said.
Citigroup Inc. is pushing to close the “big big gap” of women in senior leadership positions and is committed to achieving the goal, CEO Mike Corbat said at the event.
“We review those metrics on a regular basis at my leadership table,” he said. “We are actually about 51% female. In terms of fair pay, we did the work around the globe, we found some discrepancies, and we fixed those.”
Brexit and the trade war between the U.S. and China are hurting large M&A deals, according to boutique bank Evercore Inc.
“The trade configuration and inability to sort out Brexit have a dampener on larger transactions because you have to wait a year and half, two years, to get a transaction done,” said Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein. Cross borders deals, which need the approval of 20 to 25 regulators, are particularly being hit hard.
Takeover volumes since the start of September have fallen to the lowest level in eight years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Slow growth and political turmoil in Europe have kept U.S. acquirers away from the continent — a traditional driver of M&A in the region.
“Historically, companies competed based on the quality of their products or services,” Schlosstein said. “Today we run the risk of going into a decoupled world where companies are going to compete on the basis of where they happen to be domiciled and with whom they happen to be allied. That will be an economic and growth destroyer.”
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. is selling assets that have reached maturity as the sovereign fund prepares for a market correction, Chief Executive Officer Khaldoon Al Mubarak said.
“Mubadala is preparing for a correction that’s bound to come. I don’t know when that correction is gonna come.”
Abu Dhabi, the holder of about 6% of the world’s oil reserves, has been selling stakes in some assets in an effort to diversify its economy by turning oil revenue into profitable investments.
Mubadala in April agreed to sell a stake valued at as much as $4.8 billion in Spanish oil refiner Cepsa to Carlyle Group LP. It’s also said to be exploring options for Nova Chemicals Corp., a Canadian plastics maker that could be valued at more than $10 billion.
Europe needs to revert to “normalized monetary economics” as the current policies don’t work for banks, according to Noel Quinn, acting Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Holdings Plc.
“It’s very hard to run a financial institution in an environment of negative interest rate,” Quinn said.
Job cuts announced by banks this year were approaching 60,000 last month, almost all of them in Europe, where negative interest rates and a slowing economy prompt lenders, including Germany’s Commerzbank AG, to step up cost reductions.
HSBC on Monday embarked on its biggest overhaul in years after profit missed estimates.
Blackstone Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman joined the outcry against low and negative interest rates, saying that central bankers have run out of firepower to propel economic growth.
“Interest rates around the world are so low, I don’t know what I would do as a central banker,” Schwarzman, who spoke on the same panel with Dalio, said. “You certainly run out of effectiveness. I don’t even know how to run a financial institution. We will have a downturn, it will be challenging, and we will need a lot of fiscal stimulus.”
On Monday, outgoing European Central Bank President Mario Draghi used his farewell address to make one last plea for euro-zone fiscal support, saying low interest rates can no longer provide the same degree of stimulus as in the past.
Billionaire hedge-fund founder Ray Dalio said the global economy is under threat from an explosive mix of ineffective monetary policy, a rise in the wealth gap and climate change.
The combination will lead to a “scary situation” over the next decade, according to Dalio, whose investment management firm, Bridgewater Associates, is the world’s biggest hedge fund.
“The technology and increasing use of artificial intelligence and increased productivity will also substantially increase the wealth gap, the job gap, the wealth and ideological conflicts within countries,” he said.