Wells Fargo eyes Asia
Wells Fargo & Co, the world’s most valuable bank, plans to expand the number of fund services clients in Asia by as much as 20 percent a year, said Christopher Kundro, co-head of the bank’s global fund services division. The administrator of US$30 billion of assets globally has 20 clients receiving its fund services in the region, New York-based Kundro said in a telephone interview. The majority of them are single-manager hedge funds, he said. Wells Fargo is trying to gain business in a region whose economic growth and potential opportunities for investment have attracted boutique shops to compete for fund clients with the likes of HSBC Holdings PLC and State Street Corp. The region represents about 15 percent of its global fund services revenue at the moment, according to Kundro.
JPMorgan reviews unit
JPMorgan Chase & Co is reviewing its correspondent banking unit and not taking on new business from foreign lenders after regulators identified deficiencies in its anti-money-laundering procedures. The bank said in a memo last week that its treasury services unit would not take on new correspondent clients or new business from existing customers who use the bank to process transactions, according to Brian Marchiony, a spokesman. The halt allows JP-Morgan to review its existing relationships, he said. The Wall Street Journal reported the memo yesterday.
Intern’s death sparks review
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday that it would be reviewing working conditions of its employees, particularly those of junior staffers, after the death of one of its interns. Moritz Erhardt, 21, died on Aug. 15 in London. Police there said the death was being treated as not suspicious, which means there was no reason to believe anyone else was involved. The circumstances surrounding the death are not yet known. Some reports speculated that long hours in a competitive environment, common practice in the financial industry, may have been a factor. A senior formal working group will “consider the facts as they become known, to review all aspects of this tragedy, to listen to employees at all levels and to help us learn from them,” the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said.
Tax cuts in the offing
Sweden’s government said on Friday it would stimulate the economy next year through reforms worth 25 billion kronor (US$3.9 billion) in next year’s budget. Most of the stimulus would come in the form of tax cuts, Minister of Finance Anders Borg said at a government budget meeting in Harpsund outside Stockholm. The Nordic country bounced back quickly from the financial crisis, but Borg said he wanted to avoid over-taxing households as the European crisis continue to “weigh” on the economy. “The reasonable starting point is to support growth and households, and we see their situation improving,” he said. The boost was “expected in view of the election” next year, Annika Winsth, chief economist at Nordea, wrote on Twitter. The government raised its growth forecast for next year to 2.5 percent from 2.2 percent and left its prediction for this year unchanged at 1.2 percent.