Month: August 2021

Cloud Finance
ArticlesFinance

Mitigating Financial Institutions’ Shift to Cloud

Cloud Finance


Accelerated by COVID-19, financial institutions are shifting to cloud to increase their infrastructure capacity and accommodate the growing demands of consumers. However, heavy reliance on cloud providers is raising new risks regarding the stability of the financial systems.

The need to be better equipped to compete in the present-day economy accelerated by COVID-19 nudged many financial institutions to migrate their operations onto the cloud. However, storing critical data in the hands of cloud providers is likely to create new challenges for finance market players. Marius Galdikas, CEO at ConnectPay, has shared his insights on mitigating related risks and maintaining the necessary levels of fraud resilience.

 

Legacy vs cloud — what is better for the financial sector?

Big Tech cloud providers, such as Amazon or Google, have played a major role in developing innovative cloud solutions and services. However, there has been rising chatter about the unbalanced concentration of power as a result of this ever-increasing data migration to the cloud. Recently, the Bank of England issued a report singling out opaque practices of major cloud providers, calling into question whether the current regulatory oversight is enough to ensure the security of cloud systems and sensitive financial data.

While security warnings might lead some companies to deploy a private cloud, Galdikas notes that, in terms of risk, setting up infrastructure, that matches the standards of Big Tech, from scratch is a difficult and expensive undertaking and, at the end of the day, probably will prove to be a riskier choice than choosing a public cloud service.

“Public cloud providers, Big Tech included, have significantly contributed to innovation in the finance sector, whereas IaaS and SaaS solutions are now the usual building blocks of every new company. Moreover, public cloud streamlines scaling, enabling to bypass capacity issues or sinking millions into underutilized infrastructure upfront,” Galdikas said.

 

Same goal, different approach

Fintechs and traditional financial institutions have been noted to take a different approach to cloud adoption.

While Fintechs at scale choose to migrate some of the operations to the private cloud, according to the Bank of England, established banks are doing quite the opposite—moving critical infrastructure onto the public cloud.

According to Mr. Galdikas, the two approaches vary for historical reasons. Fresh fintechs tend to use public clouds because it is an affordable solution to streamline processes and manage operations from afar. As they grow in terms of size and resources, some shift to private cloud to have a firmer grip on the security of their data. Switching to the latter diversifies the risks, considering that moving all of the critical services onto the infrastructure of a single provider might place the company in a vulnerable position. Banks, on the other hand, started with a long-standing legacy infrastructure set up and are moving to the public cloud as part of their digital transformation efforts. Even though their approach might differ, banks and fintechs share the same goal—to provide faster and safer services.

 

Distribution over different platforms to reduce risks

Overall, the increasing amount of critical data is hinting at a need for a more robust security framework. While setting up more regulatory safeguards should be left to the authorities, Galdikas emphasized what can be done from the financial institution’s (FI’s) point of view to mitigate the transition risks.

“The ecosystem that FIs operate in needs to be distributed between different platforms and providers both in the form of SaaS, public cloud, private cloud, and local Infrastructure service providers,” he noted. “New data protection laws are continuously being put in place worldwide, which makes operating a digital ecosystem an even more cumbersome task. For example, some countries, regions require customer data to be captured and stored, first and foremost, on infrastructure physically present in the country or dictate specific encryption algorithms to be used for such data stored,” Galdikas explained, outlining why distribution over different service providers might be more efficient in reducing risks than opting for more regulation.

He concluded by emphasizing that FIs should be leading the efforts in ensuring that systems meet the levels of fraud resilience necessary for the financial services sector.

“It is up to financial institutions to ensure that the operations they run and data they process is always secure, as they are the ones bearing the trust of their customers. Yet there are specific areas for cloud providers to maintain standards in, for instance, monitoring that safeguards are kept up to date with the current technology. Ultimately, in order to maintain the stability of the financial sector and mitigate risks, both sides will need to stay on top of technological challenges.”

A pink piggy bank wirth coins around it, sitting on a wooden surface
Wealth Growth
ArticlesWealth Management

How You Can Build Wealth Throughout Your Life

Wealth Growth

You don’t have to be born with a silver spoon to build wealth throughout your life. You don’t even have to be a financial expert. A few simple principles can help you acquire and build wealth over a lifetime.

 

Go to College

The key to accumulating wealth is to make more than you spend. Going to college is one way to increase the likelihood of making a high salary. Do your research to find out what industries are growing and which ones are the most highly paid, and choose one that interests you. You can take out loans to finance your tuition costs, including student loans from private lenders. The process of checking your eligibility for private loans is usually quick and easy.

 

Avoid Debt

With the exception of your student loans and the mortgage on your home, you should avoid going into debt. This means only using credit cards if you can pay off the balance monthly and postponing the purchase of things you want until you have saved up enough money. You should avoid common mistakes like mishandling your credit, at all costs. One of the main benefits of avoiding debt is that you won’t find yourself paying interest rates that can eat up a significant amount of your income.

 

Save Money

Always having an emergency fund is the key to avoiding debt. Even the most fiscally responsible people may find themselves falling into debt when something unexpected happens, from a sick pet to a car accident to job loss. An emergency fund that initially has a few hundred dollars in it, then a few months’ worth of expenses and finally a year or more of expenses in it can carry you through these events. You won’t have to turn to credit cards or other types of loans if an emergency does happen. Be sure that you keep these savings in an account that is easily liquidated.

 

Max Out Your Retirement Account

If your employer offers a retirement account, you should put the maximum amount allowable in it. If your employer doesn’t offer one, you should save for retirement yourself via an account that you put the maximum amount into. You might think that because you are young you don’t have to worry about this, but that is actually all the more reason to do so. Money that you put away in your 20s can grow exponentially, leaving you in a great financial position when it comes time to retire.

 

Invest

On top of your emergency savings and your retirement account, you need to be investing. In order to really build up wealth, you’ll have to take some risk, so it’s important that you can afford to lose this money. You might want to work with a financial adviser to help you determine what the best investments will be for you based on your age, your goals, your income and other factors. However, teaching yourself about investing and doing it on your own is also easier than ever before thanks to apps and online brokers. Diversification should be your watchword so that you have your money spread across various investment vehicles.

Online Payments
ArticlesBanking

Limited Access to Baltics’ E-commerce Market Addressed with New Tailored Payment Option—banklinq

Online Payments

The continuing global e-commerce boom highlights old issues of Local Payment Methods (LPMs) some regions, like the Baltics, still face. Offering a region-tailored solution, Nikulipe, a Fintech company, is launching a new LPM to tackle the problem.

E-commerce in 2020 has seen an impressive surge as worldwide retail online sales saw a 27.6% growth rate with sales reaching over $4 trillion. This upward trajectory is expected to continue—by 2023 global e-commerce is predicted to be worth a sound $6.5 trillion, up by 22% from 2022 estimates. The Baltics are no exception in this—Lithuania’s e-commerce revenue is projected to reach $889 million in 2021, while Latvia and Estonia are expected to reach $345 million and $405 million respectively.

The continuing e-commerce boom, however, brings back one of the key problems some regions still face—current LPM (local payment method) options do not reflect the needs of global merchants, this way limiting the access for them and potential consumers.

The Baltics region is experiencing this issue as well. More than 65% of Baltic shoppers have a preference of paying through online banking, which has become the dominant payment method in the region. However, only around 20% of them have a credit card—roughly 17% of Lithuanians and Latvians, and 29% of Estonians—bringing limitations to consumers in terms of shopping on international e-commerce platforms, as well as restricting market access for international merchants; well over 60% of Europeans tend to abandon their shopping cart, if they cannot pay with their favourite payment method. In addition, global payment providers which service the Baltic states, are often unaware of the market needs, offering access only to a small traditional and challenger bank network.

One way to address this issue is by offering an innovative payment method, specifically tailored for the region, that would be able to connect global merchants to the Baltics market in an easy and hassle-free way. Nikulipe, a Fintech company creating and connecting Local Payment Methods to access Emerging and Fast-Growing Markets, is the first one to undertake the issue that the Baltics are facing, by launching a new product for the region—banklinq.

Banklinq will be the first Local Payment Method to address regional complexities by combining the local know-how and global experience, helping international merchants become more familiar with and trusted by local shoppers, paving the way to access new user markets.

“By connecting the largest number of leading local financial institutions in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, including major traditional and challenger banks, we are easing the access for international merchants that are looking to expand their businesses and reach new customers, but are limited by regional intricacies, like regulatory processes,” explains Frank Breuss, CEO and co-founder of Nikulipe. “Incorporating region-specific payment solutions puts businesses one step ahead in the game as the local knowledge goes a long way with customers, who are used to certain ways of paying for goods and services.”

Built upon open banking and adhering to EU regulations, banklinq will offer a payment option that covers all relevant banks in the region, bringing the Baltic consumers to global merchants. One convenient API ensures an efficient market entry without being caught up in technicalities, as the local regulatory landscape, processing, collection, reconciliation, settlement, remittance and other processes will be navigated by banklinq experts.

“The Baltics is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Europe, contributing to the worldwide e-commerce growth rate of 26% last year,” observes Breuss. “This growth is attracting a number of new businesses to the region, but the current Local Payment Methods are, unfortunately, not fit for international merchants and make it more difficult for them to access the market. We want to change that.”

The growth that the global e-commerce continues to experience is, in turn, bringing back some of the rooted issues in Local Payment Methods which have not been addressed yet. The Baltics being one of the regions facing these problems as well, the region-specific solution like banklinq could be the answer to the limited access international merchants and consumers experience in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Close up of a person's hand as they use an ATM
Three young work colleagues stood together, looking at their phones and smiling
ArticlesBankingPrivate FundsTransactional and Investment BankingWealth Management

Minted Launches Market-First Precious Metals Savings App

Three young work colleagues stood together, looking at their phones and smiling

Minted, an FCA licensed UK-based fintech company, has launched a new savings app, aimed at making precious metals accessible to all. The platform’s easy-to-use app allows customers to invest as much or as little as they want each month, and to withdraw their physical gold if they wish.

 

The brainchild of founders Hamzah Almasyabi and Haroon Siddiq, Minted is tapping into a national savings mindset and breaking down traditional barriers to investing in gold. Through the platform, savings plans start from as little as £30 per month, with users buying gold of the highest purity from an LBMA approved delivery partner. Minted also provides customers with free insurance and the option to store their gold for free in a high-security London vault.

 

Gold is well-known globally as a ‘safe haven’ asset, which holds its intrinsic value and performs well compared to equity investments on a short and long-term basis. At a time of significant stock market volatility and low interest rates, gold offers investors stability and growth potential.

 

Minted’s app has been designed with user experience in mind, making it easy to open an account and start saving. The app allows users to control regular savings plans and see detailed insights into account balances. Once they have saved enough for a gold bar, customers can then withdraw or sell their physical gold, if they choose. Users can pay by credit or debit card, as well as PayWithMyBank and other e-wallet options.

 

Becky Hutchinson, MD at Minted, said: “Right from the start, we wanted to make investing in gold a possibility for absolutely everyone. There is no reason why it should still be thought of as the preserve of the extremely wealthy or experienced investors. These are uncertain times and investing in precious metals can provide stability and the prospect of strong growth.

 

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our app is easy to use, intuitive and gives customers just the right amount of information to guide their investment decisions. The fintech sector is evolving rapidly and the boundaries are constantly being pushed in terms of the investment products and services coming to market. It is extremely important to us that our platform stands out from the crowd.”

 

Unlike other investment options, which simply offer investors exposure to gold prices, Minted’s customers actually own physical gold and can withdraw or sell at any point they choose. By investing incrementally, even customers with relatively little disposable income can build their own precious metals portfolio over time. Currently, Minted offers gold bars ranging in size from 10g to 1kg and is set to add other precious metals to its platform.

 

Hutchinson continues: “People may have various reasons for choosing gold: diversifying their investments, building an emergency fund, putting away money for their families in a safe place or simply saving enough to splash out on a big purchase. We believe Minted offers options for everyone, and we are extremely proud to be bringing this new product to market.”

 

Minted’s platform is live in the UK. Visit www.theminted.com for more info or search for ‘Minted’ on the App Store and Google Marketplace.

Real Estate Investment Purchase
ArticlesFinance

4 Tips for Purchasing Real Estate When You’re Self-Employed

Real Estate Investment Purchase

Statistics show that many people in America are taking early resignation from their jobs to start their businesses. This is because self-employment brings in some sense of flexibility and time to tap one’s inner abilities. The only challenge at times comes when one wants to acquire a property through a mortgage.

At this point, one may lack the W-2 forms as before or the documentation to show monthly income flow. However, does it mean that it is impossible to find a lender to offer you the credit you want? The answer is no, as several approaches can guide you to securing financial support for purchasing real estate.

 

1. Smooth the Wavering Income periods

Generally, a bank will provide you with financial support depending on your financial strength. The aim is to reduce challenges when recovering their finances, say after a delay in payment. It is, therefore, necessary as a self-employed person to think around this. It is where you focus on your income generation patterns.

Try to find a method of stabilizing your income for every financial year. It may be challenging to make this happen, especially since a startup can experience some teething problems in the infancy level. However, for the sake of creating an appealing image to the lenders, consider smoothing any irregular income periods.

 

2. Proof of Income: Pay Stubs Online

These days, workplaces are highly using pay stubs due to the endless benefits. These documents act as evidence for a specific payment or payments to workers. The other significant thing is that they are easy to create. All one needs is to find a check stub maker online. As a worker of a previous company, you may have used such e-files a lot, and they still hold your previous payment information.

While taking a mortgage, the financial service provider will want to see your financial history as a way of determining your credit score. Besides the stubs showing the payments, they also capture the taxes you owe or paid and other commissions. This is crucial during the mortgage application as it shows how responsible and capable you are with the finances.

Even for your current business, consider having the same approach-ensuring your staff has pay stubs as this will assist you when managing the payrolls. It sounds unnecessary for a startup with few workers. However, as you grow, the benefits will become more apparent.

 

3. Understand the Net Income

From your income, there is a lot of analysis which the lenders will do before making a decision on giving you financial assistance or not. One of them is to check your gross income but, most importantly, the net profits. They do this by deducting all the expenses and taxes from which they see what you have made.

They base their decision on these final figures. Sometimes, a business can receive a substantial gross income after the sales or service delivery. Many business owners fail to consider the impact of write-offs on taxable income. To be specific, all the running expenses such as meals, transportation, warehouse charges will all reduce your taxable income.

 

4. Prepare Sufficient Paperwork

Any mortgage lender intends to give you support after being sure of your current and future stability. This makes them need a lot of data from you. A full-time worker can have an easier time due to the W-2 form which they have. For your case, you may need to provide documents that show that you have been self-employed since you began business.

Additionally, they may want profit and loss statements and tax return files alongside your business license. Some even need your bank statements, assets, or any other source of income you may have.

Purchasing a property through mortgage support can be challenging when self-employed. This is because you lack documents such as W-2 forms. Even so, you have options in securing your loan. One way is through stabilization of your income and having the proper documents with you.

Business man using a laptop to trade stocks
Open Banking
ArticlesBanking

Finastra and Salt Edge Collaborate to Provide a More Personalized Banking Experience

Open Banking


Combined offering provides instant PSD2 and global Open Banking compliance for an open, secure and personalized banking experience

Finastra today announced its collaboration with Salt Edge to improve the speed of compliance with the Payments Service Directive 2 (PSD2) and other global Open Banking standards, for banks and Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) worldwide. The integration of the Salt Edge Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, Open Banking Compliance, with Finastra’s core banking solutions, Fusion Essence and Fusion Equation, enables institutions to build the necessary architecture to support end-to-end banking requirements and compliance through one Application Programming Interface (API). The integration is carried out via Finastra’s open development platform, FusionFabric.cloud.

In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, banks and EMIs are under pressure to optimize their core processes, increase profitability, reduce the time to market for new products, and continue to innovate and personalize their offerings. The opening up of data has provided a good foundation for achieving this. In fact, Finastra’s State of the Nation research found that, globally, 94% of professionals at financial institutions agree that Open Banking is important to their organization, with 63% reporting that it has enabled them to improve customer experience and 59% stating that it has helped attract new types of customers. However, complying with PSD2 and regional Open Banking standards can be a time-consuming, expensive and complicated task.

Dmitrii Barbasura, Co-Founder & CEO at Salt Edge said, “Finastra’s commitment to unlocking the power of finance for everyone supports our goal to simplify all components of Open Banking and PSD2 compliance for both financial providers and end customers. The partnership extends our network coverage from our existing      customers to Finastra’s wide customer base, while the pre-integration of our combined best-in-class solutions allows end customers to benefit from more inclusive financial services thanks to Open Banking.”

Open Banking Compliance provides full coverage of regulated markets with cross-bank and pan-European API standards, such as Open Banking UK and The Berlin Group in the EU, as well as newly regulated markets such as AustraliaBrazil and the GCC. The comprehensive set of APIs gives Third-Party Providers (TPPs) access to instant and secure account information, payment initiation and a full-stack developer portal. Additionally, the integration provides added security, with a TPP verification system and mobile-first application to comply with strong customer authentication (SCA) and dynamic linking requirements.

Anand Subbaraman, General Manager, Banking at Finastra said, “Salt Edge has a proven track record of success with more than 100 API implementations for financial institutions globally. Bringing Open Banking Compliance into our suite of core banking solutions makes compliance quick and seamless for both Finastra and Salt Edge customers, while giving them the tools to create better and more personalized products and services. For the end user, the benefit is a much quicker, more secure and relevant banking experience that truly accommodates their needs. We are excited to partner with Salt Edge and welcome them into our ecosystem.”

Stocks
ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)MarketsStock Markets

Quick Tips to Help You Start Buying and Selling Stocks on a Busy Schedule

Stocks

Very few of us are blessed with a lot of spare time at the moment. The pandemic has hit us all extremely hard, and if we’re not worrying about our health or our jobs, we’re looking for ways that we can shore up our finances with some good investments in case there are more rainy days to come. Now, you might think that the only way to make any real money on the stock market is to treat it essentially as a full-time job. But buying and selling stocks and shares has never been easier, and if you know what you’re doing, it is a great way to improve your investment portfolio.

If you want to get started trading quickly, then there are a few simple steps that you need to take. Some are about making you more confident and capable to make the kinds of moves that you need to be making to actually see a return on your investment. Some are about keeping you safe in both in terms of potential losses and from cybersecurity threats. Let’s break down the most important things that you need to know before you dive in.

 

Research Which Trading Platform You Want to Be Using

The easiest way to get trading quickly and to make sure that you’re comfortable doing so is by finding the right trading platform. There are many different platforms out there and most of them are aimed at different kinds of traders with different kinds of needs. For example, people in high finance who have been trading for years would not be using the kind of platform aimed at a nervous first timer who wants to keep things as low-stakes as possible.

One of the most common things that both veterans and rookies look for is an ETF platform. ETF stands for exchange-traded funds, which means that you can make one investment which translates into investing in hundreds of different funds. You can create a diversified portfolio with a single click. There are several different platforms that provide this, but you will need to be keeping an eye out for fees, the range of assets, markets and economies you can invest in, customer support and the regulation it is subject to. Instead of scrolling results for best ETF trading platform UK, read this guide to the pros and cons of each of the major platforms. BuyShares offers detailed breakdowns to trading and investing for every experience level.

 

Know How Much You Have to Spend

If you want to get started trading as soon as possible, then you need to make sure that you have the funds to do so. Most platforms will offer you a few different payment options, whether that’s through your credit or debit card, PayPal and so on, but the important thing is that you absolutely must know how much you have to work with.

Having a crystal-clear idea will allow you to sell and buy with confidence, and it will also help you to avoid spending more than you can afford. It is important to remember that there are no guarantees on the stock market, and that even a “sure thing” is vulnerable to fluctuations. Do your budgeting before you get started so you don’t make any mistakes you can’t fix.

 

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Some investors are what’s known as “passive.” That means that they are perfectly happy to buy their shares and leave them to (hopefully) appreciate in value with as little involvement from them as possible. Everyone else is described as “active”, meaning that they are constantly checking on their stock performance to see if now is the time to check out or double down on their investment.

If you’re going to be the latter and you want to get started right away, then you should make sure that you have the tools and the time. Choosing the right trading platform will give you a great head start, and many will have a mobile app to help you keep tabs on your investments wherever you are. Online trading has seen a real boom during the pandemic so you won’t be short on options.

 

Get Your Security In Place Now

It probably won’t have escaped your notice that online scams and cybercrime rose to deeply worrying levels over the course of the pandemic. These scams aren’t just about people getting text messages about missed deliveries, vaccine appointments or people lying about their COVID status. We’ve seen everyone from major corporations to small businesses face issues with their finances and data. If you’re looking at getting into trading, then security is not a step that you can afford to miss, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in. Check out your platform’s security measures and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have any particular causes for concern. Set up a different email address for trading, take greater care with your passwords and be as careful as you can.

ESG Digital
ArticlesFunds

New Paper Predicts the Rise of Custom Equity Portfolios for Institutional Investors

ESG Digital

Managing customised equity portfolios in-house is one of the biggest trends to develop over the next few years among institutional investors, according to a new report from quant technologies provider SigTech.

In his whitepaper ‘How custom equity portfolios are disrupting pension funds’ ESG and index investing,’ Daniel Leveau, who manages SigTech’s strategic initiatives for institutional investors, argues that the combination of digitising the value chain of the investment management industry, ESG taking centre stage in the investment process and investors’ need to customise their equity investments, has created new opportunities for the industry. 

“Five years ago, the idea of creating and executing your own index strategies in-house would have been a daunting task. Today, it is 100% achievable. Custom equity portfolios allow institutional investors to define the investable universe and tailor their investment strategy to incorporate specific ESG policies and to directly hold individual securities”, comments Leveau. 

“By applying the concept of alternative indexing methods, investors can gain exposure to various risk factors that are optimal for them. One might want global equity exposure with larger downside risk, another a larger bias to small caps, whereas a third investor might desire a stable income from dividend payments. The same goes for ESG. No two ESG policies are alike. By owning the securities directly, investors can decide to what degree they want to be an active owner through voting and direct engagement.

“Investing is not about searching for an existing product that offers the best possible fit to the investor’s needs. It is about creating a product that 100% fulfils the investor’s requirements.”

Below we look in more detail at how ESG and indexing can be combined effectively and how the digitisation of the investment management sector now enables transparent, customised solutions that are created in direct alignment with the asset owner’s requirements.

 

ESG and indexing in combination

How does combining ESG and indexing work in practice? Today, investment products are mostly offered in “one size fits all” versions in the form of mutual funds or ETFs. An increasing number of index products that implement ESG policies have entered the market recently, but it is unlikely that these are fully aligned with an individual investor’s specific ESG policy. Aside from a lack of alignment, investors struggle with ESG rating agencies which often assign wildly divergent ESG scores to companies. 

The divergence is attributed to how the rating agencies define and measure ESG performance. Many of the criteria are hard to measure and assigning a rating for a specific criterion is often not as precise as using input from a firm’s financial statement. This ambiguity around ESG performance makes it hard to form a universal standard for ESG ratings.

Apart from this suboptimal situation, investing in a pooled investment vehicle – as opposed to owning the individual securities directly – such as an index fund or an ETF, makes it even more difficult for an investor to become an active owner. A pooled investment vehicle only gives the investor indirect ownership of a security. Investors don’t have the right to vote at a company’s annual meeting and it is more difficult to actively engage with these companies to constitute change. Lately, large institutional investors have increasingly come under fire for being anonymous owners and not taking full responsibility over their investments. 

Instead, Investors would be better off tailoring equity investments according to their desired risk factor exposure and incorporating their unique ESG policy. “One-size-fits-all” products are not the solution, investors need to embrace customisation and direct ownership of securities.

 

Digitisation

The commoditisation of investment strategies (e.g., through rules-based products such as index and smart beta products) is driven by technological advancements and has resulted in fee pressure for asset management products. Gradually it is also impacting the distribution process. Instead of offering pre-packaged products, fully transparent customised solutions are created in direct alignment with client’s requirements. To enable investors to profit not only from efficiency gains, but also from customisation, scalable turnkey solutions are now offered by service providers.

 

Rethinking equity portfolios

The investment management industry is undergoing tremendous change. Indexing and ESG are reshaping investor portfolios, whereas digitisation is impacting the industry’s entire value chain. Investors no longer need to look for an existing investment vehicle that is most closely aligned to their needs. They can now create a bespoke product that meets their requirements fully.  Custom equity portfolios are expected to become one of the biggest growth areas in asset management and are one of the industry’s most exciting new developments.

Trading Chart
ArticlesMarkets

3 Things to Remember Before You Start Trading

Trading Chart


Trading is not something you can engage with on blind optimism alone. To succeed, you require a specific frame of mind.

Professional traders buy and sell financial instruments, such as stocks and bonds, and time their exchanges with precision for optimum returns. They don’t invest long-term either, but rather make a succession of deals so that they can turn themselves a faster profit.

Still, the trading challenges are plentiful, and you can expect to face some degree of hardship on your journey. Instead of learning through trial and error, we’ve compiled some advice to help you get started below.

 

Know Yourself

Traders know who they are at their core and don’t buckle under pressure. They aren’t overly ambitious, nor do they rush their decision-making processes.

You need to be a headstrong individual if you’re to succeed in trading, eager to follow your instincts and chart your own path to success. However, it’s vital to undergo a measured approach and to know your limits from the start.

Small-time investors often use online investment platforms, but the pressures can be insurmountable if they’re inexperienced in the world of trading. Unless you have a sizable amount of trading capital you can freely squander without consequence, this isn’t something you can throw yourself into with vague hopes. Craft is required first.

Traders also bring much of themselves to their pursuit. You’ll need to power through stress, make sacrifices in your timekeeping, and continuously research trading strategies to polish your skills. If you feel you possess that level of commitment, you’re ready to proceed to the next step.

 

Adopt a Learner’s Mentality

Traders’ instincts are sharp, and they refine them over the sum of years. They also pair their intuition with learned knowledge.

If possible, find a mentor figure whose wisdom you can tap into. Regularly consult them for guidance throughout your trading career. Be sure to temper your expectations with the perspective afforded by your experiences.

Traders are smart enough to know that the learning process never stops. They’ll embark on trading courses to embolden their prospects and learn about algorithmic trading. These programmes will help you unearth market efficiencies, recognise profitable market patterns and make trades at higher frequencies. Algorithmic trading courses are aimed at professional traders and newcomers alike, so keep them in mind as you advance your career.

 

Anticipate Changes

Traders are often mischaracterised as deceptive individuals, but they operate firmly within the bounds of many laws.

These laws vary from country to country. For instance, Thailand has their own trading rules and regulations that must be adhered to. Foreigners are banned from operating in specific sectors, while business there is generally conducted in an intensely personal and formal fashion. Certain jokes are unwelcome, and you can expect any associates to want to know you deeply before lifting a finger in trading with you.

It’s essential to be sensitive to any cultural differences when you’re trading internationally. Otherwise, you’ll encounter numerous roadblocks, and time is money for traders. Conduct all your research of what is required in each country and then commence with your plans. 

Trader’s must be confident, intuitive, and educated if they hope to succeed in their endeavours.

Grow Wealth
ArticlesWealth Management

Try This Quicker and Better Plan to Grow Your Wealth

Grow Wealth

At some point in your life, you will face the decision of growing your income. If you decide to commit to this idea, you might have made plans to rise up the corporate ladder, put a small down payment on a new house, and build an excellent credit score. You may even have decided to set aside a certain amount of money each month for unexpected expenses. 

While these are all good ideas, you are more likely to grow your wealth at a faster rate by leveraging wealth-building strategies such as increasing your credit limits, starting your own business, and getting serious about investing. 

Let’s take a closer look at how these strategies can help you build more wealth than merely becoming a better corporate citizen. 

 

Increase Your Credit Limit 

When you apply for a credit line to increase your credit limit, you will be able to get the help you need to get your finances in order. The additional funds can help pay down debt and put food on the table. Being able to use your card will give you a confidence boost and make you feel more secure about making future purchases. Utilizing a credit line app to facilitate this process can be a more streamlined approach.   

Extending your credit limit helps you increase your overall financial security by reducing the risk of over-drafting or failing to make payments on time. In addition, by giving lenders more information about your credit history, they may be more willing to approve loan requests — especially given that they may not have access to information about your overall financial health.  

 

Start Your Own Business 

Starting a small business can provide many benefits to its owner beyond getting rich. These include increased income, better working conditions, freedom from debt, and the satisfaction of owning your own business. 

Being a business owner can be exciting and empowering. But you don’t need to sacrifice your lifestyle or give up all the things that make you happy. Successful entrepreneurs have made their business of choice work without sacrificing their standards of living. Independent business owners have found that being self-employed is more rewarding than working for someone else. 

As you build your business, keep your exit strategy in mind. Constantly look for ways to add to the value of your company. The more value you can create, the higher you will be able to ask for it when you’re ready to sell it. 

 

Get Serious About Investing 

When it comes to investments, the stock market is a great place to start. 

Becoming a great investor requires a combination of skill, luck, and discipline. With a little money and some time, most people can buy and sell stocks successfully. But if you want to succeed at investing, you need to go beyond simply following trends. You need to identify which stocks are likely to provide good results for you over the long term, even if they don’t pay as much as you’d like right now.  

Focus on stocks with a high multiple and provide solid evidence that they’re undervalued. When you’ve identified good stocks to buy, don’t sell them cheap just because they’re depressed. Instead, use your knowledge of the market to drive your price up while ensuring that the underlying business is healthy. 

Most investors will lose money when they try to time the market or pick profits. But a few dedicated people actually make money by choosing the right companies and time periods and then playing the stock rise and fall guessing game just right. They understand that stocks go up because corporations are spending more on advertising and selling products and that both factors affect a company’s earnings per share (EPS). They also recognize that EPS is the most reliable way to measure economic growth in any market. 

Growing your wealth is a big decision that carries significant consequences. But the benefits of making that decision far outweigh any drawbacks. To grow your wealth at a faster rate, try one or more of these suggestions. 

Smart Investments
ArticlesBankingFinance

4 Smart Investments You Can Make in College

Smart Investments

Early investing is an opportunity to set yourself up for greater wealth over the long-term. And you don’t need to wait until you get a career to do it. There are ways that college students can invest now, and some of them require very little input. People think of investing for things like retirement, but investments can fund other things as well. You could leverage investment income to travel, pay off debts, send your kids to college, and so much more. While some investments should be set aside for retirement, others can be used to enjoy life with.

 

Real Estate

Imagine living rent-free in college. If you can purchase a home, this is possible. You get roommates, and they foot the bill for the mortgage. After college, you can expand your real estate portfolio, sell it, or even continue living in it rent-free. Real estate is always considered a good investment because it’s an asset that appreciates in value if it is well-taken care of. If you purchase a multi-family home, there is even greater opportunity. Investing in duplexes and four-plexes can give you a place to live while also bringing in an income from renting out the other units.

 

Retirement Fund

Even an extra $100 a month into a Roth IRA can be a great way to store up for the future. You can start one of these as soon as you turn 18 as long as you meet the income requirements. It’s one of the easiest ways to invest for the future before you start your career. Once you get into the working world, you may be eligible for things like a 401K and company matching. These investment accounts can increase your wealth and give you a comfortable nest-egg to retire with. Some people retire earlier than others because they invested earlier.

 

Cryptocurrency (Maybe)

Right now, cryptocurrency is gaining in popularity, but is it a wise investment? Let’s look at what it is. In essence, cryptocurrencies are units that are backed by a technology company, a technology process, or a technology product. There are also meme coins like Dogecoin that are popular, but don’t have anything tangible to back it. Cryptocurrencies run on the Blockchain and in many ways are similar to stocks in that they rise and fall in value, can be sold, and traded to get something different.

Cryptocurrencies leave many people feeling like it’s just gambling. While others see the value in the technologies and what they can do for people. If you plan to invest in some cryptocurrencies, it’s best to think about it like the stock market. Don’t put anything in that you can’t afford to lose. Do your research to find crypto coins with good use cases. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Just like a stock portfolio, cryptocurrency investments should be diversified.

These are a great investment for college age students because the barrier to entry is low. You can put in amounts as low as a few dollars to start. There are apps and videos explaining how it all works, and some apps even give you free coins to learn more about cryptocurrencies.

 

Education

The last thing that college students want to think about is more education, but it’s a very wise investment for many students. In education for instance, teachers with a Master’s degree can command up to $3,000 more in salary in their first year of teaching. This rate increases significantly as the years of experience go up. It also qualifies them for positions in education that are not available to those with only a Bachelor’s degree. Nurses who complete a BSN to DNP program for instance are able to practice medicine under a Physician. They have an immense opportunity to diagnose and treat sickness.

Why is education such a good investment? It’s because once you get it, it cannot be taken away and you will always have it. College students should consider education in fields that are in high demand with a good outlook on income potential if they want to maximize their investment.

 

Conclusion

The keys with investing in college is to never invest money you can’t afford to lose and to diversify your investments. This means investing in different kinds of things. A diverse investment portfolio will be an asset during college and beyond. 

Saas Technology
ArticlesFinance

Zeelo Raises $12M for Expansion After 600% Growth

Saas Technology
ZeeloEurope’s leading smart commuter mobility platform for organizations, has raised $12M to accelerate its expansion in the US, Europe and Africa, investment in its SaaS technology offering and continued rollout of fully electric bus shuttle programs. Zeelo has recorded 600% revenue growth over the past 18-months, reaching regional profitability, by supporting companies in logistics and manufacturing industries, as well as post-pandemic hybrid workplaces and schools; enabling access for people in car-dependent areas to reach work and education by sustainable transportation.
The company works with employers, schools and fleet operators to deliver affordable and convenient bus programmes that provide a viable alternative to driving a car, in order to support staff recruitment and to reduce CO2 emissions from commuting. Through the use of Zeelo’s mobile apps, client workplace planning tools, route-optimisation software and asset-light vehicle model, costs are reduced by up to 42% versus using a traditional bus operator and CO2 emissions are reduced by 78%, with 30 cars being taken off the road for every trip. Zeelo offers both turnkey and SaaS solutions to multinational customers such as Ocado, Amazon and Wincanton.
“Outside urban centres, the vast majority of people need a car to access work and education. Amongst our shift-worker customers, 30% of candidates don’t turn up to the job interview in the first place because they can’t get there. Zeelo is playing an important role in improving social mobility and decarbonising transportation. In the past 18 months, employers have realised the importance of it too. Now it’s time to bring this to the masses,” said Sam Ryan, Co-Founder & CEO.
Zeelo will use the capital to accelerate US and European expansion, as well as rolling out its technology platform as a SaaS solution to fleet operator partners and encouraging the transition to zero-emission buses and coaches. The round was led by ETF Partners, with participation from InMotion Ventures and various angel investors including Neil Smith, Founder of Transit Systems.
“Zeelo’s focus on public transport deserts directly tackles the issues of car-dependency, transport emissions and social mobility. The growth of the business during the pandemic has been extraordinary and we are delighted to continue to support the business. The world needs more affordable and sustainable mass transit – Zeelo is defining the category,” added Patrick Sheehan, Managing Partner at ETF Partners.
Tax Help
ArticlesTax

The Most Common Tax Problems You Can Avoid By Being Aware

Tax Help

It is the responsibility of businesses and individuals to file their tax returns and ensure all taxes are paid on time. Typically, tax returns are filed with no issues, although occasionally the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and local tax authorities may notice problems with a tax return that they wish to investigate by carrying out an audit. 

Tax audits can be done by mail or office visits and IRS agents usually only focus on certain items in a tax return, which they will likely request supporting documents for to confirm their accuracy. 

Sometimes, tax audits can become complicated, time-consuming, and even costly if fines are imposed, this is especially the case when a taxpayer is unprepared for an audit. 

Even though there is always a risk of being given notice of an audit, there are several tax problems and ways to solve them that every taxpayer should be aware of, which you can read more about in this article. 

 

Poor Record Keeping

One of the most common causes of receiving an audit notice is inaccurate, missing, or suspicious items either in the recorded income or deductible items sections of a tax return. Therefore, to ensure all their records are accurate and honest, a taxpayer should ask themselves questions like ‘How Long Should You Keep Tax Records in Case of an Audit?’, ‘Which records are the most important?’ and ‘What should you do when records are missing?’. According to federal law, taxpayers are required to keep copies of tax returns for three years, however, some audits where the IRS suspects someone has underreported their income by more than 25 percent, may request records from as far back as 6 years.   

Messy record-keeping can make it difficult to find documents that support the accuracy of a tax return and increase the chance of being audited.  On the other hand, well-organized financial records can make an audit a small affair, the documents and records a taxpayer should carefully collect and store include bills, canceled checks, employment records, ledgers and logs, legal papers, loan agreements, receipts, and shareholding income. 

 

Overestimation of Donations

Charitable donations are encouraged by the IRS as they offer a deduction in return for donating cash, clothes, food, and other essentials. One problem that arises from this is that the value of the donated goods is determined by the taxpayer when filing a tax return, and as a result, the value may end up being excessively inflated leading to a larger deduction that someone may not be entitled to. Ideally, the IRS prefers to see taxpayers value donated items at between 1% and 30% of the price they were purchased for. 

 

Mathematical Errors

Another common mistake found in tax returns that will gain the attention of the IRS is math errors due to columns not adding up or calculations for items such as capital gains not being completed correctly. Therefore, it is vital that taxpayers carefully check over their tax forms to ensure all the calculations and total figures are correct. 

 

Failing to Report Income

Reducing the amount of declared income may be tempting for some taxpayers when filing time comes around as it would decrease their tax liability. However, this is not recommended by accountants and tax experts, and if someone gets caught by the IRS for failing to report income they will have to pay back taxes, a fine, and interest on the money owed. 

 

Filing a Tax Return Late

It is important to complete and file a tax return before a deadline set by the IRS expires, typically the filing deadline is in April, May, or June with the 2020 deadline being May 17, for example. 

Taxpayers that fail to file their returns and pay any owed taxes by deadline day will be liable to pay interest and penalties. The penalty for late filing is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month of lateness. 

Taxpayers can apply for an extension, usually until the autumn, to provide them with more time to complete and file their returns, although they will be charged a penalty of 0.5% of unpaid taxes and interest. 

 

Overdoing Expenses

Businesses and individuals alike can claim for deductible costs and expenses which can reduce the amount of tax owed, examples of deductibles are expenses related to clothing, a home office, education, donations, and travel. 

Whilst it is fair to list work-related expenses in a tax return, people must also be careful not to list items that could be deemed as personal expenses as these cannot be legitimately claimed and will be highlighted by the IRS for an audit. 

Filing a tax return is something that everyone must do on an annual basis and most of the time things go smoothly, tax is paid on time and the IRS is satisfied. Unfortunately, occasional errors are made when filing tax returns which can cause problems and potentially an IRS audit, however, this can be avoided if taxpayers remain aware of the possible mistakes when completing returns so they can learn to avoid them.  

Fintech Awards 2021
Press releases

Winners of the 2021 FinTech Awards Announced

United Kingdom, 2021- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2021 FinTech Awards.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the financial landscape has been dominated by long-standing brick and mortar establishments for decades. But, times are rapidly changing, and new ground is ripe for the taking for those with the expertise, experience and drive to take it. Over just the last ten years, we’ve seen start-ups capitalise on adaptability and agility– alongside technological innovation – to provide exceptional services that are client centric and dynamic.

Now in its fifth year, Wealth & Finance magazine’s FinTech Awards was launched to recognise the firms that are redefining finance and banking for the modern age, and for the ever-changing modern consumer.  

At launch, Awards Coordinator Emma Pridmore commented: “I offer a sincere congratulations to all of the winners of this year’s programme. It has been wonderful to correspond with you all, and I hope you have a fantastic rest of the year ahead. Here’s to a fantastic remainder of 2021 and beyond.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Note to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

Awards

Showcasing the companies who have worked hard in striving to give their clients the best service and products is important to us. We know and understand how tough making a successful business can be, and so everyone at AI Global Media takes great pride in our awards programmes.

Our awards programmes run across each brand and are completely free to enter, take part in and win. All our winners are offered complementary marketing packages, meaning all businesses despite their size and marketing budget can be rewarded. Additionally, we offer a wider range of marketing materials which winners can purchase for extra coverage on our platform including: cover features, magazine articles and newsletter inclusions.

Financial Health
ArticlesFinance

5 Tips to Boost Financial Health

Financial Health

Words by Donna Torres, General Manager of SMB Sales & Operations UK & EMEA,  Xero

Most people would agree that things like nutrition and exercise lead to a healthier and happier individual. This same principle applies to the financial health of your business. In order to maintain a successful and thriving business, it’s important to stay healthy when it comes to your finances. Here are five ways to boost your financial wellbeing as we come out of lockdown this summer:

 

1. Take Control Of Your Financial Situation

Establishing a comprehensive bookkeeping system is essential to monitoring your financial situation. Cloud accounting software, like Xero, can be used from any device – all you need is an internet connection. It gives you an up-to-date snapshot of how your business is performing,  giving you the insights you need to make the right decisions for your company. The time consuming accounting tasks are automated, and anyone from your team can access information and collaborate on activity.

 

2. Find Ways To Save Smartly

In addition to paying yourself, it’s important to set aside money and look into growth opportunities. Saving doesn’t have to feel drastic. There are opportunities to save smartly in all areas of your business, from project management to hiring. Making sure that you have the best deals from suppliers, negotiate better deals with long-term product merchants, and look at saving small amounts on a monthly basis that can be used for future projects are three ways to start saving. 

 

3. Check Your Insurance Regularly

From professional liability and property to product liability and vehicle insurance, there are many different types of insurance. Take the time to decide which ones are most suitable for your business. This will not only save you from unnecessary stress in the long term, but will also save you from hefty costs if things go wrong. 

 

4. Keep On Top Of Invoices 

Dealing with invoices can be a hassle. Monitoring them closely and keeping them clear, neat and timely will ensure clarity and will catch any errors as soon as possible  – avoiding unwanted mistakes that could impact the financial health of your business. 

 

5. Build A Cash Flow Forecast

Even if you aren’t immediately concerned about running out of cash, a cash-flow forecast is essential for any business. With the help of a cash flow forecast, you can map what has been going out and coming in, while getting an up-to-date view of your business’ cash flow. The first step when drawing up a cash flow forecast is to consider your revenue. Making realistic revenue projections based on customer buying habits in the last year is important at this stage. Then you should consider how much of this will actually go into your business’ pocket by examining your expenses. 

 

As we come out of the lockdown this summer, we all want our businesses to bounce back better. By following these five simple steps, you can ensure the financial health of your business easily and efficiently – and do just that. After all, healthier businesses are more successful businesses – and have happier owners.