|Bid||3,485.00 x 0|
|Ask||3,488.00 x 0|
|Day's range||3,424.00 - 3,490.00|
|52-week range||34.49 - 3,641.00|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.23|
|PE ratio (TTM)||21.46|
|Earnings date||04 Mar 2021|
|Forward dividend & yield||1.14 (3.32%)|
|Ex-dividend date||20 Aug 2020|
|1y target est||3,276.00|
(Bloomberg) -- Investment manager Schroders inked an agreement with Lionheart Strategic Management for distressed and transitional U.S. real estate property lending in mostly urban areas.Schroders and Lionheart, an affiliate of real estate investment firm Fisher Brothers, plan to target pandemic-hit properties through a loan acquisition agreement, according to a representative of Lionheart. The $250 million joint venture will focus mainly on top 20 metropolitan statistical areas and urban locales on the assumption that cities will make a strong recovery.“There will be a lot of pent-up demand; entertainment will come back, hotel and travel, too,” Winston Fisher, chairman of New York-based Lionheart and partner at Fisher Brothers, said an interview. “Shopping in person will change, but there’s opportunity. That’s why we’re lending. We believe in the recovery.”The two firms will co-originate loans, with Lionheart helping Schroders source, service and allocate financing for construction and land loans, as well as transitional properties in the process of being redeveloped for another use. They’ll also invest in other distressed real estate opportunities that may bring in a safe, attractive return, Fisher said.Lots of Opportunities“We’re seeing incredible opportunities in the market as a result of the pandemic and its impacts on commercial real estate markets,” Fisher said, noting that his firm is a developer as well. “We underwrite each real estate investment as if it were equity, with a deep analysis on the properties.”Widening spreads on commercial real estate loans -- a result of the upheaval caused by the pandemic -- means good risk-adjusted returns, Fisher said, especially since they are targeting fairly low-leverage projects, with loan-to-value ratios typically no higher than 75%.The venture will undertake everything from mezzanine financing -- a riskier type of second mortgage that sits between senior debt and equity -- to whole loans from banks as well as new construction projects.“Our loan acquisition agreement with Lionheart allows us to continue to deploy capital through partnerships with real estate experts,” said Michelle Russell-Dowe, head of securitized credit at Schroders, the U.S. unit of London-based Schroders Plc. “Schroders buys securities and we also lend, including making or buying whole loans. There are many opportunities to provide financing in this market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Webster’s dictionary defines bipolarity as “characterized by two directly opposing opinions, natures, etc.” Three years after the mega-merger that created Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, it’s still trying to cure itself of just such an affliction. New chief executive officer, Stephen Bird, needs to get the firm pulling in a common direction.Since taking over at the start of September, Bird worked quickly to demarcate the U.K. asset management company’s businesses into four areas — global asset management, fund adviser platforms, strategic partnerships, and retail savings and wealth. Each division has its own leadership and, importantly, growth targets. With the relentless industrywide pressure on fees and income showing no signs of abating, a shrinking asset manager can rapidly become an unviable one.Next up on Bird’s to-do list: sorting out the marketing. The company currently has six brands, each with its own website. That’s arguably five brands too many, diluting the prestige that should flow from almost two centuries as a steward of other people’s money. The confusing stable includes both the Standard Life Aberdeen and Aberdeen Standard Investments monikers, as well as the utterly unmemorable 1825 trademark referencing the firm’s year of establishment. The more than 600 individual funds available could also benefit from judicious pruning.Although the company was a frontrunner in identifying the importance of scale, it’s fumbled its execution of the merger. Combining two cultures was never going to be easy, but it was made harder by the initial mistake of installing co-chief executive officers, Standard Life’s Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen’s Martin Gilbert. That produced what one insider called a “Noah’s Ark” approach to decision making that tried to keep both camps happy instead of following business logic.That blurred vision and hurt morale. A survey just after the merger showed only about half of the staff felt positive about going to work, with a fifth feeling negative. Returns for investors suffered. In 2018, about half of funds under management lagged their relevant benchmarks measured over three years. In 2019, 40% of them still underperformed.Customers have pulled money out of the firm every year since 2016, with assets dropping to 512 billion pounds ($695 billion) by the middle of this year, well short of the $1 trillion club the merger was designed to qualify for. Chairman Douglas Flint cleaned house after arriving in early 2019. Gilbert quickly relinquished his seat, and in June this year Skeoch announced his departure.Bird, a veteran of more than two decades at Citigroup Inc., seems to have the right background to succeed. A Scot, he built the U.S. bank’s wealth business in Asia and headed its consumer banking unit. Since he joined Standard Life Aberdeen, investors have driven the share price up by more than 25%, outpacing gains at rival firms including Schroders Plc, Amundi SA and DWS Group GmbH.His experience will be valuable. With individuals taking more responsibility for building their own old-age savings, fund management firms are in a race to build the best mousetrap to win that business by selling products either directly to retail clients or via their financial advisers.But it’s an increasingly crowded marketplace. Schroders displaced Standard Life as the U.K.’s biggest standalone investment company by assets earlier this year, and it’s teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group Plc to target well-heeled Brits. And U.S. behemoth Vanguard Group Inc. is moving Brent Beardsley, its head of strategy, to London next year to head its direct-to-consumer business as it scents opportunity in the growing U.K. pensions market.More than half of the U.K.’s 27,000 financial advisers use Standard Life’s Wrap or Elevate investment platforms to service their clients, giving it leverage in that market. Aberdeen Standard Capital manages about 8 billion pounds directly for affluent customers and the company’s 1825 service offers investment advice. Now it needs to target the mass market through better branding and marketing as well as improved technology to make it easier for individuals to keep track of investments and to entice them with new products.An expansion in the fast-growing passive products market is overdue. Skeoch had zero interest in growing the low-margin business that relies so much on economies of scale. But with demand for index trackers heading in one direction, Bird has acknowledged the firm needs to offer a full suite of services. Exchange-traded funds, including actively managed ETFs, are liquid, transparent and cost-effective wrappers to deliver new investment themes to customers, Bird says.Both corporate morale and investment performance were improving before Bird took charge. Almost three-quarters of employees said in July they were proud to work for the company, with only 7% saying they felt negative. The portfolio managers have got their mojo back. At the half-year point, two-thirds of funds managed were beating their indexes.But at about 6.2 billion pounds, Standard Life Aberdeen’s current market capitalization is half what it was at the time of the merger. Bird has a long road ahead if he’s to restore all of that shareholder value.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The U.K. government is finally adding green to the shades of gilts available to fixed-income investors. It’s unfashionably late to a party that’s been in full swing for several years. And its tardiness means a missed opportunity for the City of London to dominate an area of finance that will only increase in importance.Sales of green bonds — debt whose proceeds are used to finance environmentally friendly projects — have soared in recent years. Asset management firms are under increasing pressure from customers to demonstrate that their capital isn’t being allocated to activities that damage the planet, so there’s a ready source of demand. Pacific Investment Management Co., for example, launched a bond fund last month that it said was dedicated to finding “the likely winners of the transition to a net zero carbon economy.”Other nations have been quicker than the U.K. to take advantage of that growing appetite. France has led the pack, with a bond it first sold in January 2017 now the biggest in the market at more than 27 billion euros ($32 billion). In September, Germany’s debut green bond attracted 33 billion euros of bids for 6.5 billion euros of 10-year securities. The European Union has announced that green debt will comprise about 225 billion euros of the 750 billion euros it plans to raise for its pandemic recovery fund.JPMorgan Chase & Co. dominates the league table of green bond underwriters, managing about 6.5% of 2020’s worldwide sales. But French banks fill out the next two of the top three slots, with BNP Paribas SA and Credit Agricole SA coming in second and third, respectively, each with about 5.3% of this year’s deals. London-based banks Barclays Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc trail in fourth and fifth place, each with less than 4.5% of the new issues business.The City has been pleading with the U.K. to enter the green market. Some 32 firms with more than $13 trillion of assets, ranging from Schroders Plc to NatWest Group Plc, backed a “Green+ Gilt” proposal submitted to the Treasury last month. As Britain prepares to leave the EU, London needs to hang on to as much capital markets activity as possible. Moreover, with the U.K. chairing the Group of Seven industrialized nations in 2021, it’s an auspicious time to get its green act together.Issuing green debt might even save the government money as it widens the net of eligible investors particularly from ethical and ESG-related bond funds. But just as importantly it will pave the way for other U.K. borrowers to get with the program and tap into green finance too. For example, Daimler AG raised 1 billion euros by selling 10-year green bonds the day after Germany’s inaugural green government bund. It really does pay to set the right example.In order to attract the biggest following, it makes sense if the U.K. creates a green syndicated benchmark in the five- to 10-year part of the curve as this is where the bulk of corporate issuance is sold. That would maximize the benefits of creating a greener bond world in the City of London as part of its gambit to remain the center of European finance after Brexit.Britain, though, is still dragging its feet. The first green gilt sales won’t arrive until next year, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said Monday. By then, Germany will already have five-, 10- and 30-year issues in circulation. Sunak’s plans to make it mandatory for companies to disclose their exposure to climate-change risks by 2025 will burnish the U.K.’s green credentials as it prepares to host a series of United Nations meetings on the climate emergency next year. But by delaying further, he’s missing the chance to make London the hub of green capital markets in Europe.So two cheers for the green gilts. They’re an idea whose time is long overdue. If only the government had acted sooner. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.