1. South Korean real estate: DWS

The South Korean real estate market is now the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific region for invested stock and transactional volume among international investors.

Korea keeps its fifth position in Asia Pacific in terms of size of Grade A office stock and invested real estate stock value, of which 20% are owned by REITs and funds, according to Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, DWS.

‘Subdued demand held office vacancy rates at elevated levels in the CBD and Yoido, while Gangnam remained relatively tight. Average office gross rent in the Seoul CBD has grown stably in the last few years, though rent-free periods in the CBD recently expanded to four months per year,’ DWS research wrote in a report.

In the residential sector, rental houses have emerged a comparably affordable option for tenants.

Average vacancy rate of modern logistics assets in Greater Seoul remains low as the rental growth cycle continues, while a record amount of supply is expected to come consecutively in 2018 and 2019.

The average hotel occupancy rate in Seoul recovered to 75% in 2016 from 69% in 2015, but is expected to soften again. 

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1. South Korean real estate: DWS

The South Korean real estate market is now the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific region for invested stock and transactional volume among international investors.

Korea keeps its fifth position in Asia Pacific in terms of size of Grade A office stock and invested real estate stock value, of which 20% are owned by REITs and funds, according to Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, DWS.

‘Subdued demand held office vacancy rates at elevated levels in the CBD and Yoido, while Gangnam remained relatively tight. Average office gross rent in the Seoul CBD has grown stably in the last few years, though rent-free periods in the CBD recently expanded to four months per year,’ DWS research wrote in a report.

In the residential sector, rental houses have emerged a comparably affordable option for tenants.

Average vacancy rate of modern logistics assets in Greater Seoul remains low as the rental growth cycle continues, while a record amount of supply is expected to come consecutively in 2018 and 2019.

The average hotel occupancy rate in Seoul recovered to 75% in 2016 from 69% in 2015, but is expected to soften again. 

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2. ANZ in Japan

Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) will launch a securities unit in Japan in the coming months. In May, ANZ received approval for a securities license in Japan from the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The license will allow it to sell Australian, New Zealand and Asian bonds, as well as structured notes, repurchase agreements and other securities products to Japanese investors.

Farhan Faruqui, Group Executive International, said Japan is an important market for its customers.

‘This new license will allow us to significantly broaden our offering to local and global clients in Japan, where we’ve operated for almost 50 years,’ he said.

ANZ Japan currently operates under a banking license, which allows the bank to offer foreign exchange spot, forward, rates derivatives and commodities-related products.

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3. What about Northern Trust?

Wealth and asset management service provider Northern Trust has partnered with Lumint Corporation, a provider of currency management services, to enhance its suite of foreign exchange solutions for asset managers and asset owners globally.

Northern Trust said the partnership strengthens its platform for currency hedging, including portfolio overlay, share class hedging and look-through hedging.

Meanwhile, the firm is also expanding operations in the Middle East, with three new hires.

Michael Slater was named head of the Middle East and Africa, and is responsible for Northern Trust’s business across the region.

Edgar D’Mello was appointed as head of client management and is responsible for the oversight of relationship management and client activities.

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4. Banking, FinTech collaboration

Both traditional financial services companies and FinTech firms stand to gain from a symbiotic, collaborative relationship.

FinTechs, innovating with emerging technologies, are revitalizing the customer journey through financial services, according to the World FinTech Report 2018.

This year’s report found that collaboration will be essential to foster long-term success for both FinTechs and traditional financial firms.

More than 70% of FinTech executives said their top challenges to collaborating with traditional financial firms was their lack of agility, while traditional firms perceive negative impacts on customer trust, brand, and changing the internal culture as their top challenges.

Although FinTechs have raised nearly $110 billion since 2009, the report found that most are likely to fail if they do not build an effective partnership ecosystem.

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5. ESG data a top concern

A majority of individual asset owners are now pursuing sustainable investing to manage risk and drive returns, according to a new survey by Morgan Stanley.

Asset owners cited risk management and potential for returns as top drivers of interest in sustainable investing. But despite the recognition of these opportunities, asset owners still highlighted the need for better data and investment information as challenge to greater uptake. 

‘The survey results identify a strong commitment to incorporating ESG criteria into investment strategies among asset owners,’ said Hilary Irby, co-Head of global sustainable finance at Morgan Stanley

‘However there is still a gap between interest and implementation – with investors citing access to quality ESG data as a top concern,' he said.

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