BMA Capital continues to attract talent

KARACHI (PR): BMA Capital, Pakistan’s premier investment group, recently hired market leaders in various disciplines, building up a strong team as it approaches its 25th Anniversary on March 26, 2017.

Umair Aijaz, a senior investment banking professional with over 13 years of experience in the financial services sector, has been appointed Executive Director and has to his credit credentials of approximately USD 700 million. Umair has significant exposure and experience pertaining to various stages of equity and debt transactions across various sectors.

To strengthen the operations department, Tahir Iqbal was given the charge as the new Executive Director for Operations. Tahir brings 28 years of comprehensive experience of streamlining operations and technology driven customer services and business activities.

Karachi Biennale 2017

inaugurates ‘Reel on Hai’

KARACHI (PR): The JS Group, being a lead sponsor for Karachi biennale 2017, recently inaugurated two art reels as part of the ‘REEL ON HAI’ initiative to help connect contemporary art to the city and its people. The Reel on Hai art project transforms a hundred cable reels into works of art by local and International artist, designers and architects and will be placed all over the city of Karachi.

The installation of two of these reels took place at Safari Park Karachi and more similar initiatives shall continue throughout the year. The works of artist Sana Burney and Bina Ali are on display and these reels were inaugurated by Muhammad Ali Charanya, Chief Operating Officer of Mahvash and Jahangir Foundation (MJSF), which is the charitable arm of JS Group.

Momentum Connect hosts startups conference

KARACHI (PR): Startups conference was organised by Momentum Connect Pvt Ltd at Expo Centre and 175 startups participated from all over Pakistan. Leading investors announced investment in Pakistani startups as well.

Umar Saif, CIO government of Punjab and Chairman of PITB, inaugurated the event and advised youth to draw inspiration from Jan Koum to be innovative, use the available resources and make this country proud. Hana Habeyb, Director Microsoft, appreciated that energy and passion in the startups was inspiring. Thanks to momentum who brought it all together.

PACRA upgrades Atlas

Insurance rating to AA

LAHORE (PR): The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA) has upgraded Atlas Insurance Ltd. rating to AA (Double A), a statement said. The rating denotes very strong capacity to meet policyholder and contract obligations. Risk factors are modest, and the impact of any adverse business and economic factors is expected to be very small. The rating depicts sustained improvement in business and financial metrics of the company in line with its relative positioning within the industry.

Mastercard MENA Leadership Forum concludes

Dubai (PR): Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, recently concluded the inaugural edition of the Mastercard MENA Leadership Forum that brought together senior banking officials from across the region for four days from 5 – 8 March, 2017, in London, UK.

Hosted by Mastercard as a customer engagement event offering key industry players a platform to explore new ideas, share the latest insights and discuss new opportunities of growth, the Forum drew attention to the digital future of the payments industry.

Family of Trump son-in-law in $4bn deal with Chinese company

WASHINGTON (AFP): A company owned by the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is set to receive more than $400 million from a Chinese firm that is investing in its Manhattan office tower, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The Kushner Companies deal with Anbang Insurance Group for the property at 666 Fifth Avenue is worth $4 billion, with real estate experts calling it an unusually favourable deal for the Kushners, the report said.

It would value the 41-story tower at $2.85 billion, the most ever for a single building in wealthy Manhattan.

The investment deal gives Kushner Companies a cash payout, an equity stake in a new partnership and refinancing of $1.14 billion in existing mortgage debt, said Bloomberg, which obtained details of the agreement which is being circulated to attract other investors.

A large chunk of a $250 million loan will be forgiven, allowing it to be cleared for $50 million, the report said.

"This is a huge, huge exit strategy for an office building," lawyer Joshua Stein told Bloomberg.

"It does sound like a home run of a transaction for Kushner and his group."

Anbang has "murky links to the Chinese power structure" and its previous investments in the United States have raised concerns over national security, Bloomberg said.

But Kushner Companies spokesman James Yolles was reported as saying that Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka and a senior advisor to the president, had sold his stake in 666 Fifth Avenue so there was no conflict of interest.

But the deal raises the possibility of a "sweetheart deal" for the Kushners, said Larry Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center.

"A classic way you influence people is by financially helping their family," he told Bloomberg.

Trump's own business links with China -- he holds at least 72 trademarks in the country and has as many as 45 such applications pending -- have prompted warnings that he could potentially violate the US constitution and leave himself exposed to charges of conflicts of interest.

Anbang's ownership is unclear. It has no publicly listed units and does not name its shareholders on its website.

Established just 13 years ago, Anbang has grown from a domestic seller of property insurance into a financial services powerhouse, making a name for itself abroad by buying New York's historic Waldorf Astoria hotel for a record $1.95 billion in 2014.

Last year, Anbang paid hedge fund Blackstone $6.5 billion for 16 luxury properties. It also made a $14 billion dollar bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, but suddenly rescinded the offer last April citing "market considerations".

At the time, respected Chinese business magazine Caixin reported that China's insurance regulator opposed Anbang's multi-billion-dollar bids for Starwood and the Blackstone properties

It remains to be seen whether Anbang's campaign to become an international hotelier will be stymied by Beijing's current efforts to stem capital outflows.

China has urged domestic companies to avoid "irrational" overseas investments, citing real estate and hotels among those fields being closely monitored by regulatory departments.