2 top energy execs share why the oil-price rebound won’t derail clean-energy investment

oil derrick

Oil prices have rebounded significantly since last year’s pandemic-driven plunge.

You might think that would be bad for clean energy. But contrary to expectations, energy executives say that it’s actually good news for clean-energy investments.

Oil giants like Shell have turned a close eye to clean energy and created new targets to reduce the ‘intensity’ of emissions over the next three decades.

Other corporations like Facebook are joining in by buying huge amounts of solar and wind power. Smaller startups have in the meantime made progress on breakthrough technologies like batteries that last for days – a key component to transitioning to cleaner energy.

The new administration has also signaled that clean energy is a key priority. President Joe Biden set forth an ambitious climate-change agenda, and investment in clean-tech is booming. Energy executives told Insider they’re watching closely and hope to see alignment of regulatory authorities and support to offshore wind industries among other moves from the new president.

Insider’s Benji Jones gathered four top executives in the energy industry for a live roundtable earlier this month to talk about how Big Oil can make good on its promises, how to generate returns for shareholders while pivoting into cleaner energy products, and which breakthrough technologies are needed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Panelists also discussed how rising oil prices may actually benefit investments into clean energy, as contrary as that may sound. West Texas Intermediate crude trades for about $61 a barrel, around pre-pandemic levels. Crude tumbled last year as COVID-19 put a stop to travel and manufacturing, driving down demand for oil.

The panelists included: Urvi Parekh, Facebook’s head of renewable energy; Mateo Jaramillo, Form Energy’s cofounder and CEO; Shell’s EVP for renewables and energy solutions, Elisabeth Brinton; and Francois Austin partner at Oliver Wyman in the UK and head of the group’s energy practice.

Brinton told Jones that Shell – known for being a major oil and gas company – is investing in energy storage well as many other cleaner technologies.

“We’re involved in offshore wind, onshore wind, onshore solar, storage, hydrogen. So green hydrogen for industrial and transport uses,” Brinton said. “We have the largest LNG business in the world, and so we have a lot of experience moving ships and transport.”

Shell is “technology agnostic,” according to Brinton, who added that the company is really focused on use cases and how it can help various sectors reduce their carbon footprints.

Oliver Wyman’s Austin told Insider that the oil-price recovery isn’t putting the investment case for clean energy at risk. On the contrary, Austin said, the rising prices will actually “enable the Shells of this world to finance this transition” to clean energy.

“I think society has shifted. I think COVID has been a wake-up call,” he said. “Momentum is there.”

Austin said that oil and gas are going to continue to be part of the energy mix as far out as 2040 or 2050. The transition to clean energy is expected to take a long time as new technologies develop over time.

Brinton agreed, adding that she believes the near-term price of oil actually helps speed up the transition by funding it.

“That’s a really important point because a lot of people think, ‘Well, that’s bad. It’s going to slow things down,” she said. “Actually, it’s very helpful.”

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Credit Suisse is overhauling its asset management business and has suspended bonuses after Greensill collapsed

Credit Suisse
The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland October 28, 2020. Picture taken October 28, 2020.

  • Credit Suisse is shaking up its asset management business following the collapse of Greensill.
  • Ulrich Körner will become the new CEO of the bank’s asset management business from April 1.
  • Three senior asset management employees have temporarily stepped aside.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Credit Suisse is overhauling its asset management business as it faces regulatory investigations into its dealings with Greensill Capital, warning on Thursday that its results and client confidence could be hit by the finance firm’s collapse.

Switzerland’s second-biggest bank and its asset management arm are reeling from the implosion of around $10 billion of funds related to British supply chain financier Greensill, heaping pressure on CEO Thomas Gottstein.

Credit Suisse said in its annual report that Swiss regulator FINMA was looking into the matter and reviewing its impact in relation to the bank’s so-called Pillar 2 buffer, which is capital banks hold against risks.

“We can confirm that we have also imposed a Pillar 2 buffer in this context as stated by the bank in its annual report,” FINMA said, adding it was in contact with other authorities.

Credit Suisse stuck to its guidance on capital and said plans to buy back at least 1 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion) worth of stock this year were still on.

The bank named Ulrich Koerner as its new head of asset management and said it would separate the business into its own division from April 1. It has been part of the international wealth division run by Philipp Wehle.

Koerner will return to Credit Suisse from arch-rival UBS, where he most recently served as adviser to the CEO from 2019 to 2020. He ran UBS Asset Management from 2014 to 2019. Koerner was previously a senior executive at Credit Suisse Financial Services and ran the Swiss business.

Current asset management head Eric Varvel, who is also chairman of Credit Suisse’s investment bank and head of its U.S. holding company, will focus on his other roles.

Credit Suisse’s annual report said some unidentified fund investors had threatened litigation over the Greensill affair and the ultimate cost may be “material” to operating results.

“The portfolio manager has been informed that certain of the notes underlying the funds will not be repaid when they fall due,” it added.

“We might also suffer reputational harm associated with these matters that might cause client departures or loss of assets under management,” it said.

Three senior asset management employees who helped oversee the Greensill funds have temporarily stepped aside.

The annual report showed the bonuses for a number of senior employees involved, “up to and including Executive Board members”, had been suspended.

Credit Suisse shares gained 2.5%.

The new structure bucks a trend for blending Credit Suisse products and services in a seamless offering to its wealthy clients. It could, however, help address suggestions that the model lent itself to internal conflicts of interest.

Asset Management lost 39 million Swiss francs ($42 million)before taxes last year after a hefty writedown on an investment in a U.S. hedge fund.

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The rise of Cathie Wood, the rockstar stock-picker whose ETFs are dominating 2021

cathie wood ceo ark invest profile 2x1
Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood.

So far, this year has belonged to Cathie Wood. You could argue last year did too.

The founder of ARK Invest has seen flows into her active exchange-traded funds beat those of massive franchises like BlackRock’s iShares, thanks to her blockbuster 2020 performance, which was driven by bets into mega-growth stocks like Tesla.

Her funds have delivered eye-popping returns, with her flagship fund up more than 150% in 2020.

Wood has built such a large following that an announcement about a new ARK fund moved markets. Her podcast has landed big-name guests such as Elon Musk. She’s become a favorite of the r/WallStreetBets crowd.

Insider spoke with investors in both Wood’s business and funds, longtime colleagues, analysts at her firm, and fans who chart her rise through newsletters and memes. They describe her leadership, which comes with four decades of investing experience, and her curiosity, which keeps her analysts on their toes.

But threats are also looming: Talk of a stock-market bubble and an impending correction are brewing; the easy conditions created by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus could taper off as the economy recovers from the pandemic; and Wood’s highly concentrated funds have ballooned, which has raised concerns about capacity.

SUBSCRIBE NOW TO READ THE FULL STORY: Cathie Wood made a career betting on the future. Insiders discuss how the ARK Invest founder won the funds (and hearts) of memelord traders and boomer investors alike.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Inside the rise of Cathie Wood, the rockstar stock-picker whose ETFs are dominating 2021

cathie wood ceo ark invest profile 2x1
Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood

  • Cathie Wood has reached a cult-like status with day traders and professional investors alike.
  • In 2020, ARK’s ETFs grew at the fastest proportional rate of any ETF or mutual-fund manager.
  • Insider spoke with investors, analysts, and fans about whether ARK’s rise is sustainable.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

So far, this year has belonged to Cathie Wood. You could argue last year did too.

The founder of ARK Invest has seen flows into her active exchange-traded funds beat those of massive franchises like BlackRock’s iShares, thanks to her blockbuster 2020 performance, which was driven by bets into mega-growth stocks like Tesla.

Her funds have delivered eye-popping returns, with her flagship fund up more than 150% in 2020.

Wood has built such a large following that an announcement about a new ARK fund moved markets. Her podcast has landed big-name guests such as Elon Musk. She’s become a favorite of the r/WallStreetBets crowd.

Insider spoke with investors in both Wood’s business and funds, longtime colleagues, analysts at her firm, and fans who chart her rise through newsletters and memes. They describe her leadership, which comes with four decades of investing experience, and her curiosity, which keeps her analysts on their toes.

But threats are also looming: Talk of a stock-market bubble and an impending correction are brewing; the easy conditions created by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus could taper off as the economy recovers from the pandemic; and Wood’s highly concentrated funds have ballooned, which has raised concerns about capacity.

SUBSCRIBE NOW TO READ THE FULL STORY: Cathie Wood made a career betting on the future. Insiders discuss how the ARK Invest founder won the funds (and hearts) of memelord traders and boomer investors alike.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is reportedly eyeing a $100 million investment in the Apollo Pharmacy chain, further expanding its healthcare plans

Amazon Pharmacy
Amazon considers $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain

  • Amazon is looking to invest nearly $100 million in Apollo Pharmacy, the Indian pharmacy chain, two people familiar with the plans told the Economic Times Wednesday.
  • Amazon’s plans to expand in India come after the launch of its own Amazon Pharmacy service in the US November 17, allowing people to buy prescription drugs through its website.
  • The potential investment would come amid competition in India from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which recently bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.
  • Indian trader groups say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is reportedly considering a nearly $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain Apollo Pharmacy, close on the heels of its launch of an online pharmacy to deliver prescription drugs in the US.

The company is looking to face up to Reliance Industries Ltd and Tata Group in India’s fast-growing drug market, the Economic Times reported Wednesday, citing two people aware of the plans. 

Amazon already delivers medicines in India and the potential investment would come amid rising competition from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.

Both Amazon and Apollo Hospitals, which owns Apollo Pharmacy, declined to comment to Reuters.

The growth of e-pharmacies has left many Indian trader groups feeling threatened. They say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification and the entry of large players can cause unemployment in the sector.

Amazon’s plan to further expand in India comes after it launched its US Amazon Pharmacy service November 17, increasing its competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart.

US customers can now buy drugs through Amazon’s main website.

Amazon Prime members would get benefits from the service including two-day delivery and big price cuts on generic and brand-name drugs, the company said.

Read more: Read the leaked talking points that Amazon Web Services employees are using to explain its recent massive cloud outage: ‘There is no compression algorithm for experience’

Since 2018, when the company bought a small drug-delivery startup called PillPack, industry watchers have been expecting Amazon to move into delivering drugs.

In June 2019, Amazon launched a brand of over-the-counter medication, and in August 2020, the company launched a health-monitoring wristband called Halo.

Business Insider reported in November that as the retail firm expands into healthcare, it would need to be careful not to scare consumers who may be concerned about their data privacy.

Read the original article on Business Insider