|Bid||163.70 x N/A|
|Ask||163.80 x N/A|
|Day's range||158.80 - 164.55|
|52-week range||1.55 - 11,395.00|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||N/A|
|PE ratio (TTM)||3.79|
|Earnings date||10 Mar 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.24 (14.85%)|
|Ex-dividend date||16 Apr 2020|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As this dismally depressing year approaches its mid-point, a winner is starting to emerge from the pack of European fund managers. And while sheer scale and a diverse business model have helped DWS Group GmbH weather the first phase of this pandemic better than its peers, the firm’s ongoing frugality is what really sets it apart.The shares of asset management companies typically mirror the broader stock market, rising and falling as a proxy for equities generally. Before the novel coronavirus outbreak trashed markets toward the end of February, DWS was handily leading its rivals. Since equities have recovered, the Frankfurt-based company has rebounded to become the only European asset manager in positive territory for the year.Cost is one of the few variables a fund-management company is able to control, and investors are rewarding DWS, which manages 700 billion euros ($791 billion), for its focus on frugality. Chief Executive Officer Asoka Woehrmann has been on a cost-cutting drive since his appointment as head of the company in October 2018, seven months after Deutsche Bank AG sold and listed about a fifth of the business, retaining an 80% stake. Earlier this month, Woehrmann shrank his management board to six members from eight as part of efforts to save at least 150 million euros a year.For asset managers’ cost-to-income ratios, the direction of travel matters at least as much as the absolute level. DWS reduced its key measure to 65.8% by the end of the first quarter, down from 70.9% at the end of 2018 and more than 74% in mid-2018. It promises more to come. “We can still expand our savings efforts,” DWS Chief Financial Officer Claire Peel said in an interview published by Boersen-Zeitung last week.At the asset-management business of M&G Plc, which oversees 323 billion pounds ($407 billion), the cost-to-income ratio worsened to 63% at the end of last year from 59% a year earlier. Some of those additional expenses came as it adjusted to life as a stand-alone company, after being spun out from Prudential Plc in October.M&G has pledged to cut spending by an annual 145 million pounds in the next few years. In March, the London-based firm introduced a voluntary redundancy program aimed at trimming personnel expenses by 10% this year, but the virus may have blown that off track.Amundi SA, Europe’s biggest asset manager, with 1.53 trillion euros of assets, remains the market leader in stinginess, with its cost-to-income dropping below 50% at the end of March, down from an already impressive 53% at the end of 2018. But that leaves limited scope for further savings at the Paris-based company.Both DWS and Amundi have sizable suites of index-tracking products available, enabling them to ride the wave of investor enthusiasm for lower-cost passive products while their peers are stuck trying to extol the benefits of active strategies. As I wrote in May, stock pickers were unable to beat their benchmarks in either March or the first quarter as a whole — a period of market convulsions that should have been the time for active management to shine. It’s a lackluster performance that will only exacerbate the shift to index tracking.The fund management industry has faced straitened circumstances for several years. This year’s share-price action suggests shareholders will continue to favor those firms best able to play the parsimony game. With the income side of the equation looking as fragile as ever, more belt-tightening lies ahead.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.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
One thing we could say about the analysts on M&G plc (LON:MNG) - they aren't optimistic, having just made a major...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In investing as in comedy, timing is everything — a lesson holders of U.K. property funds are about to (re)learn at their cost. In the wake of the U.K.’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, British property funds were among the investments quickest to suffer as asset managers trapped $23 billion by halting redemptions in seven funds. With the global pandemic threatening to trash the economy, U.K. real estate vehicles are again at the vanguard of illiquidity — casting renewed doubts over their suitability as investments that offer daily withdrawal rights.Aviva Plc, Legal & General Group Plc and Columbia Threadneedle Investments are among firms that have frozen redemptions from funds overseeing about $13 billion of U.K. real estate this week. With the Association of Real Estate Funds citing “material valuation uncertainty,” and the Financial Conduct Authority saying “a fair and reasonable valuation of commercial real estate funds cannot be established” — both statements made on Wednesday — there’s a real prospect that the entire U.K. property fund sector may close for withdrawals in the coming days.The funds that have gated cover the gamut of property classes and geography, according to their most recent fact sheets. That suggests the market dislocation is widespread and not just restricted to, say, shopping malls. The Legal & General fund has 35% of its assets in industrial property, compared with less than 5% for the Aviva fund, for example. About 10% of the latter’s portfolio, meantime, is in London, compared with just 0.4% of the Threadneedle fund’s assets.New rules proposed by the FCA last year compelling fund managers to suspend redemptions if there’s “material uncertainty” about the value of 20% or more of a funds’ real estate holdings were due to come into force later this year. Asset managers clearly aren’t hanging around in the current climate for their cash holdings to be depleted by investors demanding repayment. Time and again, the hard to sell nature of office buildings and shops and warehouses, compared with the almost frictionless markets for stocks and bonds, keeps catching the fund management industry out. Investors in a 2.5 billion-pound ($3 billion) fund run by M&G Plc have been locked in since December, when the firm said it faced “unusually high and sustained outflows,” which it was struggling to meet.As I argued then, while it’s clearly desirable for retail investors to have different ways of investing in bricks and mortar, the illiquidity of real estate is incompatible with the pretense that such vehicles can be redeemed on a daily basis. Regulators need to provide official cover for asset managers to drop their pledge to let customers take their money out on a continuous basis; three- or six-month lockups make a lot more sense, provided the industry moves in lockstep. On the basis you should never let a good crisis go to waste, it’s time for the regulators to resolve the timing mismatch between the funds and their underlying asset transactions — albeit too late for the U.K. investors who currently have savings trapped in shuttered funds for the foreseeable future.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of 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.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.