Daily Briefing: Singapore asset managers drop some Malaysian bonds over 1MDB scandal; NSE tries to lure investors after SGX fallout

And Google’s new hire highlights its hiring raid on Singapore banks.

From Bloomberg Finance:

Asset managers in Singapore interviewed by Bloomberg said they are cautious about the 1MDB scandal surrounding Malaysia and consequently let go of some Malaysian bonds.

“The disclosure that the nation’s debt is almost 60 percent higher than previous estimates at 1 trillion ringgit (US$250b), largely because of hidden liabilities tied to the troubled state investment fund, is convincing even fans of the country’s bonds to cut their holdings. Throw in the removal of a goods and services tax last month, and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s new government faces an increasing fiscal squeeze.

‘Uncertainty over how the fiscal deficit will pan out will overhang,’ said Wilfred Wee, a fund manager in Singapore at Investec Asset Management Ltd., which oversees US$146b. ‘Until the dust settles, we have reduced our still overweight exposure to Malaysia, recognizing that Malaysia’s current account and overall fundamentals remain by and large still attractive versus peers.’

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From eFinancialCareers:

Google in Singapore is targeting two broad groups of bank employees: developers with programming backgrounds and digital strategists whose focus is business development. Former Standard Chartered director Guillame Van de Vyver is one of its new hires that fill in the latter.

“Guillaume Van de Vyver, a director in group strategy at Standard Chartered, started at Google Singapore last month in an APAC cloud strategy and operations role, according to his public profile. He was at Stan Chart for just seven month and previously spent about seven years in consultancy at McKinsey & Company in Paris, latterly as a senior manager, partly focused on financial services.

Van de Vyver joins a growing number of local banking professionals who’ve quit for Google in recent months, casting doubt on banks’ ability to compete with the tech giant as it boosts its hiring in Singapore. Google’s cloud team appears particularly open to banking talent. In November, Carl Bachman Kharazmi, the APAC head of cloud engineering at DBS, departed for Google.”

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From Bloomberg Finance:

The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) is trying to lure in foreign investors in their Gujarat Gift City after a fight with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that left traders lost in finding ways to manage their Indian stocks.

“Finance firms setting up units in Gift City are exempt from paying capital gains and transaction taxes in line with a similar Chinese zone called Qianhai in Shenzhen. Foreign brokers, who have no physical presence in Gift but trade on behalf of offshore investors, also want the tax exemptions, the people said. ‘We expect the tax authorities to allow all classes of foreign investors as well as the foreign omnibus brokers to get the tax exemptions,’ Ravi Varanasi, chief business development officer at NSE, said by phone.

Read more here.

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