Month: November 2021

ArticlesFinance

Majority Say National Insurance Hike Will Change Their Financial Behaviour

7 in 10 Brits set to adapt spending habits
The 1.25% increase in National Insurance contributions from 6 April 2022 will cause seven in 10 Brits to change their financial behaviour, according to independent financial comparison website NerdWallet.
Of those set to alter their financial habits, half of respondents said they are already making a change, while the other half will wait until the National Insurance hike comes into effect before taking action.
The National Insurance hike itself is not the only financial hurdle Brits are facing in the new year: high inflation and rising energy prices are all contributing to the nation’s anxiety about its bottom line.
And with 67% already struggling to stick with their household budgets, there are a number of actions people are considering to curb the impact on their take-home pay.
Most of the changes involve essential expenses, such as fuel and food shopping. For example, 48% of respondents said they were looking into switching energy providers, with 16%  stating they are definitely changing providers as a direct result of their reduced take-home pay.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits will be shifting where they shop due to the hike, while half (50%) are considering a change.
People were also evaluating potential changes to their non-essential spending, including cutting back on meals and take-aways (21%), social activities (16%), gym and club memberships (9%), and holidays (13%).  
The festive period, which is traditionally an expensive time of year, is also being reconsidered – with over one in 10 intending to buy less this Christmas.  
NerdWallet spokesperson Connor Campbell commented: “Deductions to the bottom line will always be unpleasant. But, before panicking, we recommend calculating the actual cost of the 1.25% hike on your net salary.
Our research showed that four in 10 respondents did not know how much they currently spend on National Insurance. However, if you calculate how much you pay, and deduct the increase from your current budget, you will have a better idea of how it will impact you directly. For example, at a salary of £30,000 a year, you will pay an extra £21.30 a month.”
“It’s always good practice to review your outgoings and spending habits, especially when there are changes to your circumstances such as rate movements, new expenses, tax increases or an adjustment to your salary. In the case of the National Insurance hike, working out exactly how much extra you will pay a month will give you a better perspective on which financial habits, if any, need to be altered ahead of April 2022,” added Campbell.
NerdWallet has put together a guide to the new National Insurance rates, how much more money will end up coming out of your wage packet and what you can do to help manage any changes to your personal finances.
Payment Market
ArticlesFinance

4 Payments Industry Predictions – What Will Disrupt the Market in 2022?

Payment Market

 
The most prominent disruptive forces, that are going to impact the payments industry in the upcoming year.

Having dealt with the initial pandemic aftershock, this year the key areas of focus for businesses were building economic resilience and improving customer experience. With the new year just around the corner, Marius Galdikas, CEO at ConnectPay, has commented on the main forces that will be shaping the payments market in 2022 as well as what payments market players should keep an eye on.

 

Internet of Payments

It is estimated that by 2025, there will likely be more than 27 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connections. The growing number of IoT devices is rapidly shaping the everyday habits of consumers, including the way they choose to pay. This led the financial world to coin a new term—Internet of Payments (IoP)—which refers to a phenomenon that enables payment processing over IoT devices, for example, smart home assistants, like Amazon Alexa, or smaller everyday accessories, such as Apple Watch. IoP is currently at a nascent stage, however, as the market is becoming more saturated with IoT-driven devices, payments market players need to develop a blueprint on how to take advantage of this disruptive force.

“The merge of IoT and payments brings consumers extraordinary convenience with reduced friction,” commented Galdikas. “As Open Banking enables third-party providers and fintechs take on the roles of IoP providers, this opens up an entirely new area for innovation. Also, IoT creates the opportunity for businesses to gather more data about the consumers, which will help to elevate user experiences.”

 

BaaS continuing to thrive

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) allows embedding financial services into any company. This gave rise to a number of new market players, which took advantage of the Application Programming Interface (API) driven platforms to enter the financial services industry. The BaaS market, valued at $356.26 Billion in 2020, is now projected to reach $2,299.26 billion by 2028.

“BaaS enables companies to leverage market-tested infrastructure without the regulatory overhang, saving a significant amount of organization’s resources. As the pandemic led many to redistribute their budget, outsourcing banking infrastructure became an even more appealing choice—leveraging banking-as-a-service enables them to direct more resources towards product innovation, rather than framework building. Therefore, BaaS providers will continue to fly high,” Galdikas commented.

 

Hyper-personalization

The need for personalized experiences followed consumers to the online space. While process automation will remain one of the top priorities for fintechs, the key will be finding the balance between providing efficient service and not losing ‘the human touch’. To secure future success, industry experts have emphasized leveraging real-time consumer data to provide personally tailored insights and proactive advice.

“With practically every business pouring investments into upgrading their tech framework, hyper-personalization becomes the main driver helping banking service providers differentiate from their competitors. That’s why refining their approach to be primarily customer-centric as well as proving it at scale will allow gaining a competitive edge,” the expert explained.

 

Focus on CBDCs

Throughout the year, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) have been gaining momentum, with countries all around the globe, such as Sweden, Norway, South Korea, China, and others pushing the rollout and testing their application in the real world. The interest in government-backed e-money is not wavering, rather the opposite, it spurred new ideas, such as launching multiple CBDC systems, that could potentially cut off billions of transaction fees annually.

“CBDCs could provide a range of benefits, for example, lowering the cost of cross-border transactions, increasing financial inclusivity, and enhancing economic resilience of domestic payments systems. This is a tool that, if implemented thoroughly, could outweigh the offerings of payment service providers, which will have to immensely step up their game,” Galdikas noted. “As for the multiple CBDC network, the main question of ‘how long will it take?’ remains, as developing a united framework seems like a Herculean task, with each countries’ efforts moving at a different pace.”

The payments market is evolving as rapidly as ever, despite some of the challenges it had to face throughout 2021. The upcoming year is looking to bring more efficiency, personalization, and tech synergy, fueling the sector’s growth even further.

Articles

Growing a Retail Business: How Improving Your Delivery System Helps

Whether you operate an eCommerce retail business or you own a high street shop, there are several steps you can take to improve your delivery system. And with a better delivery system, you will be able to more easily grow your business. Let us find out how.

Providing the Delivery Options Your Customers Want Increases Sales

You are sure to have a website where customers can place orders, regardless of whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop or you only operate within the digital sphere. So, you need to look at ways of improving the order process for the customer.

Firstly, you need to make the process as straightforward and simple as possible. Secondly, you need to provide several delivery options.

By doing so, you will attain new customers and get repeat custom, and therefore grow your business. Why? Because customer demand is changing. Consumers want to be able to place same-day and next-day orders, choose morning or afternoon slots, and have the option of doing click-and-collect at shops.

Ensuring You Provide a Quality Service Creates Customer Loyalty

To grow your retail business, you need your customers to be happy, buy from you time and time again, and recommend your business to their friends and colleagues. To achieve that, you need to provide quality service.

While quality customer service should be a priority of any business, too many retail companies overlook how important providing quality customer service is at the delivery stage.

You should consider handling deliveries in-house instead of outsourcing to a third party to ensure your couriers are trained in how to best represent your company. You can even add personal touches that go a long way when you deal with your own deliveries.

Using Route Planning Software Leads to Better Efficiency and Increased Productivity

Quality customer service is all good and well, but unless you always ensure deliveries are made on time, you will not be able to grow your retail business. Indeed, you will end up losing customers.

Thankfully, it is easy to maintain an efficient delivery service that always delivers goods on time via using GPS to locate addresses and route planners to automatically find the most optimal routes.

Once you gain a reputation for delivering on time, you will attract more customers.

Furthermore, when you use route optimization software, drivers can deliver items quicker. That means you can expand the number of deliveries you make each day, thus enabling you to increase your productivity and profits.

Expanding Your Delivery Coverage Enables You to Reach More Customers

If you own a small physical retail business, you may only deliver items in the local vicinity at present. If that is the case, consider expanding your area of coverage.

Although using an in-house delivery system could mean you need to hire more drivers and you will need more outgoings for fuel, those costs can be more than worth it.

By expanding your delivery area, you can reach more customers and grow your business further. Simple.

Even if you operate an online retail business, you could consider expanding your delivery range by partnering with third party delivery companies to ship your products to countries all over the world.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the precise steps you take to improve your delivery system and grow your business must be based on your specific situation.

For instance, some retail businesses are better off outsourcing their delivery systems while others find in-house delivery to be the best option.

The important thing is that you consider the above methods for improving your delivery system and spend time working out which options are best for you.

Issues

Q4 2021

Welcome to the Q4 edition of Wealth & Finance International Magazine. As always, every issue we endeavour to provide fund managers, alongside institutional and private investors with the very latest industry news in the traditional and alternative investment spheres.

As the finance world continues its swift recovery on the back of the uncertain climate brought in by the global pandemic, businesses have made efforts to regain lost ground. Indeed, the finance sector was better placed than most – after all, a move to almost full digitisation has been ongoing for the last decade, allowing for clients of all varieties to continue their services throughout the various lockdowns.

With that in mind, this issue contains a streamlined selection of businesses that are all making a huge difference in the world of wealth and finance. These companies are paving the way for all other others to follow, and they are improving the industry as a whole by focusing on the client experience as well as its cutting-edge technological solutions.

Whatever the next year brings, the realm of finance will continue to transform itself through the means of new deals, new skills, and new technology. All of these things will fuse together to create something that is truly unbelievable and, if this year is anything to go by, next year will bring even more incredible results than before.

Here at Wealth & Finance we truly hope that you enjoy perusing this issue and, as always, we look forward to hearing from you.

Financial advisors looking over spreadsheets and graphs
ArticlesCorporate GovernanceFundsLegalPensions

How Can Pension Schemes Align With ESG Goals?

Financial advisors looking over spreadsheets and graphs

 

By Tracy Walsh, partner in the pensions team at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson

Pension schemes and the industry as a whole are responding to the zeitgeist of ESG investing. Last year, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the UK’s largest pension scheme, announced that by 2023 it will have divested from companies involved in tobacco manufacturing, coal mining and weapons manufacturers, where this makes up more than 25% of their revenues.

The government has chosen not to impose targets onto pension schemes and is instead hoping that all schemes can learn from the actions of some larger schemes like this that have set ambitious ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment strategies, and in particular those that have voluntarily adopted net zero targets for their investments. Pension schemes will need to engage much more with their asset managers, understand what net zero really means, and be prepared to better interrogate their managers over their fund selection and how this is being monitored.

That will require Trustees to be more clued up, and to have a much different investment strategy, than perhaps they have been in the past. But the effort is likely to be worth it, for their scheme members. ESG investing is proving to be very attractive to millennials (Trustees may be surprised by just how many of their members fall into that bracket), and is bucking the assumption that ESG investing means lower returns.

Research from Bloomberg has shown that the average ESG fund fell in value by just half the decrease registered of other funds in the S&P 500 index over the same period during the Covid-19 crisis. All of which is good news for DC fund values, and also for DB schemes that are seeking to rely less and less on the employer going forward.

Trustees should not focus solely on the “E” in ESG though. The social credentials of companies seeking investment are just as important and it seems that those companies with solid scores in their area have also performed better during the pandemic, and members will likely expect further and better particulars from their schemes about how those scores are arrived at, and how it has shaped the investment strategy for the scheme.

So how can trustees ensure that managers engage positively with investee companies on their behalf? There are some key actions Trustees should take, in order to exercise the right degree of influence and accountability among their fund managers:

 

Awareness:

Trustees should educate themselves about the S and the G in ESG, not just the E. Ask the managers and other advisers to provide training on how to interpret information, and what sources are being used to asset the ESG credentials of funds (especially social factors, such as labour standards and diversity). This will enable the Trustees to better monitor their managers and understand and interrogate the information provided by them, and in turn, managers will be forced to engage positively with investee companies

 

Accountability:

Trustees should make clear in their SIP and their risk register what their position is in relation to ESG, and how they will review the performance of their managers and investments against that position. Don’t just use boiler-plate assurances that the asset manager’s policies are consistent with the Trustees’ ESG beliefs. The voting policy is an excellent tool, even where voting is delegated, and would set out how schemes check their manager’s approach (some asset managers’ policies currently offer limited coverage of social topics) and the steps that will be taken where the managers’ voting choices diverge from the scheme’s voting policy.

 

Leadership:

Require your managers to be signatories of the UK Stewardship Code. If you are a qualifying scheme, you should also sign up, to show that you are walking the walk as well.

 

Follow through:

Select managers whose approach to ESG and sustainability issues is in line with that of the scheme, and choose those that can demonstrate that they fully integrate ESG considerations into their investment process.

Tracey Walsh
Tracy Walsh
Fintech Trends
ArticlesFinance

Five Key Fintech to Watch in 2022

Fintech Trends

In the year ahead, consumer behaviour and early adoption of new technology are set to transform the financial services market. Banks need to adapt.

Fintechs and banks are in a race to innovate and shape the future of financial services. As new technologies emerge, traditional banks will have to adapt quickly to provide their customers with what they expect, and this will lead to the emergence of new business models across the financial services sector. That’s the view of Buckzy Payments, a leading real-time cross-border payments provider and global financial services marketplace.

Abdul Naushad, President and CEO, Buckzy stated: “The ongoing uptake by consumers of new ways to access and use financial services requires a complete rethink from traditional financial providers. Consumers are driving change on an unprecedented scale because of new technology and broader societal trends.

“It goes without saying that the pandemic has changed the way we live, work and buy. This in turn is impacting traditional banks and fintechs alike, who need to identify new solutions to deliver competitive advantage. We see five core trends driving that change as we move into 2022 and beyond.”

 

1. Rise of Digital/Neo banks: Banking has traditionally been a monopoly with high barriers to market entry. But the relaxation of regulations in countries around the world has paved the way for neobanks to take the initiative and attract customers with the promise of lower fees, convenient mobile banking and improved customer experience that removes in-store banking. That’s why the neobank sector was valued at $30+ billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate  of 47.7% over the next eight years.*  Neobanks are also attracting the unbanked customers with a combined purchasing power of $1.2 trillion. As more of the world’s population get online, expect digital banking to move ahead of in-store services.

 

2. Real-time cross border payments:  Approx. 40 percent of large enterprises in the US have already adopted real-time payments and this percentage is set to rise according to Levvel Research. Elsewhere in other countries and regions, approximately 50 real-time payment schemes are now up and running. Demand is high for immediacy of payment settlement that delivers competitive advantage for businesses, reduced risk for payment failure and highly improved efficiency in cash flow. As domestic schemes become more established and popular, expect real-time capabilities to extend to cross-border payments.

 

3. Open Banking:  During the pandemic our reliance on digital payments and self-service banking confirmed the need for banks to become more digital. Open banking is an API enabled, technology driven approach that allows banks and other providers to seamlessly deliver financial services using aggregated and authenticated customer data. Already, several countries have introduced regulations that have compelled banks to deliver open banking in response to customer demands.** Fintechs everywhere are incorporating open banking standards into their products and services. Banks that don’t embrace open banking will limit their capabilities to better service their clients and also limit their growth opportunities.

 

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML):  Machine learning applications enable the processing of large amounts of data sets and reaching valuable conclusions which, by using its algorithms, can drive effectiveness and  provide efficiencies including time saving opportunities. It analyses patterns in real-time enabling quick decisioning. A range of financial services applications already use AI/ML today for everything from fraud detection, lending approvals, and AML screening, to risk monitoring and investment predictions. Machine Learning is constantly evolving, and Fintech will continue to be one of main industries to benefit from the power of AI/ML.

 

5. Emergence of Banking-as-a-Services: In recent years, Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platforms and services have emerged as a cost-effective and efficient way for delivering financial services using open banking concepts.  Banks must adopt to a service-oriented and composable/modular architectural approach in the delivery of new and innovative digital services. BaaS is a critical component for traditional banks and financial institutions on their digital transformation roadmap. Expect many more legacy financial institutions to collaborate with fintechs by using BaaS services to bring innovative tech in-house and enhance their own offerings.

 

“As technologies and markets mature over the next 12 months, these core trends will create an environment for further innovation and the emergence of new business models in financial services. They create global opportunities for banks and fintechs to cooperate and extend their offerings globally in payments, lending, digital banking, instant credit and more,” concluded Naushad.

Payment Trend
ArticlesMarkets

3 Payments Trends for Emerging Markets to Keep Eye On in 2022

Payment Trend

With 2022 just a few months away, the payments industry in Fast-Growing and Emerging markets is already showing the first signs of potential three key trends for the next year.
2021 has seen an immense ongoing acceleration and development of the payments industry, giving a strong overall boost to global e-commerce—it is predicted that e-commerce sales worldwide will reach $4.9 trillion by the end of this year. While popularity of payments trends like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), projected to pass $100 billion in the U.S. alone, is expected to dominate the Western markets in the upcoming year, Fast-Growing and Emerging markets seem to be moving in a slightly different direction for 2022.
Frank Breuss, CEO of Nikulipe, a Fintech company creating and connecting Local Payment Methods to access Emerging and Fast-Growing Markets, identifies three major trends for Fast-Growing and Emerging markets that he sees taking off in 2022.

 

Importance of frictionless experiences

E-commerce and digital services continue to grow in Emerging markets, as well as globally, making frictionless experiences a key element for consumers. Breuss notes that long and oftentimes faulty checkout processes as well as lack of preferred payment methods have long been prevailing problems in these markets that are waiting to be solved.
“Consumers that were hesitant to shop online before have been pushed or prompted by the pandemic restrictions to switch their shopping habits—in most cases, shopping online for the first time. If the experience was positive they are most likely to continue with their new way of convenient shopping. This need for frictionless experiences will only increase in Emerging markets, since e-commerce there, while growing exponentially, is still figuring things out and trying to meet the consumer demands.”
Convenience and safety are likely to remain at the front of the mind for shoppers in upcoming year as well, and prioritizing this could bring increased conversion for a number of merchants.

 

Mobile payments at the forefront

With a sizable number of the population in Fast-Growing and Emerging markets still unbanked, mobile payments are most likely to continue leading the way, when it comes to preferred local payment methods (LPMs). According to Breuss, Africa could come as one of the primary regions where mobile-based payments take the key aspect for e-commerce.
“Africa has one of the youngest and second largest populations in the world—that is why there’s a broad potential for an even larger digital audience,” he explains. “In recent years, internet penetration has also been rising because of the vast expansion of mobile devices, especially smartphones, which led to mobile e-commerce domination of the online shopping scene in African countries specifically.”
The number of e-commerce users in the continent is estimated to reach over 334 million by 2021, and by 2025, it is predicted that there could be roughly 520 million users—supporting the idea that mobile payments could become a prevailing payments trend for 2022.

 

Subscription services could show even higher demand

The more home-focused consumer habits have led to an increasing popularity of subscription services, more notably video-on-demand (VOD) ones like Netflix. Breuss notes that VOD services, alongside music subscriptions, could gain even more traction in the upcoming year, since consumers in Fast-Growing and Emerging markets are putting higher demand on easily accessible and more global ways of entertainment.
“Consumers in Fast-Growing and Emerging markets have been excluded from many of popular subscription-based services due to geographical and payment restrictions for some time now. The lockdowns have only accelerated consumer demand for these services. The global subscription e-commerce market is expected to reach $478.2 billion in the next three years, and the majority of Emerging markets will be a part of it.”
In South Africa alone there are currently 7.2 million active subscriptions, from which 90% are subscriptions to digital content. The popularity of these services are only predicted to grow and by 2025 could reach 10.8 million. Eastern European numbers for subscription video-on-demand are also expected to rise—by 2026 the number should double to 40,000, compared to 20,000 in 2021.
The three key trends, which could be the ones most prominent in Fast-Growing and Emerging markets for upcoming year, all bring focus on convenience, efficiency, wider accessibility and inclusivity. Frictionless experiences, which also include growing accessibility of subscription services as well as preferred local payment methods like mobile payments, seems to be a driving force behind the Emerging markets’ payments landscape in 2022.
Private Equity
ArticlesEquityFunds

Bite Investments Launches Private Markets Portfolio

Private Equity
  • Bite Investments is launching its first ever commingled private markets product to meet the needs of high-net-worth investors and wealth managers

  • The fund is a one-stop solution offering a diversified strategy mix to support wider portfolio objectives

  • By expanding access to private markets, Bite solves an acute problem in wealth management

Bite Investments, a digital asset manager and fintech company specialised in alternative investments, launches the Bite Private Markets Portfolio, offering investors the opportunity to access a diversified allocation to alternatives with one investment.

From this week, investors can get diversified exposure across investments strategies, geographies, and fund managers in one ticket. The Bite Private Markets Portfolio will allocate capital into 8-10 underlying top-tier funds, assessed and selected by Bite Investments’ expert investment team. The minimum investment size is $100,000 and the core sectors are: Healthcare, Information Technology, Software, Business Services, Financial Services, Consumer, and Industrials.

“The promise of alternatives is excess of returns in comparison to risk. For far too long, individual investors have not been able to capitalise on this. Through technology, we are now pleased to offer them exceptional access to the best parts of private markets via a single ticket investment”, says Henry Talbot-Ponsonby, Co-Founder and President at Bite Investments.

 

Companies are staying private longer

There has been a profound change in the way companies grow and raise money, by staying private. Their eventual success may never actually be accessible via public markets. This means investors who ignore private markets now, may be limiting their potential for the future.

Not only has there been a growth in in the number of private firms, but since 2000, buyout asset value has grown 3.5 faster than public equity market capitalisation, according to Bain’s Global Private Equity Report 2020.

“Historically, individual investors have neither had access to top fund managers, nor have they been able to reap the benefits and value created as companies stay private for longer. Tomorrow’s unicorns may never even go public”, says Anna Barath, Investment Director at Bite Investments.

 

Technology removing barriers for growth investing

Private equity has been one of the best performing asset classes globally over the last 3 decades, according to McKinsey’s Global Private Markets Review 2020. However, due to a combination of high fees, high minimum investment amounts, and lack of access to top funds, wealth managers, RIAs and IFAs have not been able to access this investment strategy. As a result, high-net-worth investors are under-allocated as compared to other investors.

“By making alternatives more accessible to our clients, we are helping them diversify instantly. Using technology, we enable individual investors to access, unlock and invest bite-sized amounts into some of the most exciting private markets strategies out there”, says Henry Talbot-Ponsonby, Co-Founder and President at Bite Investments.

 

The growing market for private equity

Estimates predict that private investment markets will grow. A Deloitte Insights article forecasts global PE assets under management to reach almost US$6trillion in the next four years and it has shown great resilience to recent downturns, including the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 and the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21, as shown in McKinsey’s Global Private Markets Review 2021.

“With the public markets not generating alpha to satisfying levels and the current low-interest rate environment, investors are turning to the private markets. Our new Private Markets Portfolio is suitable for clients looking for long term capital appreciation with alpha outperformance potential provided by co-investments and venture capital strategies”, says Anna Barath, Investment Director at Bite Investments.

 

A seasoned team

All funds are assessed by Bite’s investment committee before being offered to investors. The selection basis includes, but is not limited to, underlying fund market opportunity, team, track record, fund terms and fit with Bite’s investor base.

The investment team has advised on over $13 billion of capital raises and conducted in-depth due diligence on over 100 funds and co-investments. Fund and direct commitments made across private equity, private credit, and real assets are in excess of $4.2 billion total.

Articles

A Guide on Using the IVA Procedure to Get Rid of Debt in 2021

IVA or Individual Voluntary Agreement is a legally binding agreement between yourself and the creditors that you owe money to. It is the bankruptcy alternative and will allow an individual to be debt-free in 5 years.

You will agree on an amount you can afford each month over five years. At the end of the five years, they will clear your unsecured loan.

Being in debt can be stressful, and understanding the best debt solution is equally strenuous. Therefore, you must have a guide to explain your best options.

Understanding IVA

IVA might be what you need to consolidate all your debts into one payment that you can afford monthly over five years. The IVA procedure will allow you 60 months to organize how to pay your debtors.

Over these 60 months, you can pay a lump sum to settle your debt early as there is no set time in the 1986 Insolvency Act. It can last less than five years. Here is a guide to using the IVA to get rid of debt.

Comparing IVA Companies

Not all companies that claim to represent IVA are genuine. So it would help if you took the time to compare the companies before settling on one.

As you make the comparison, remember that IVAs are not for everybody. A good IVA company should tell if it\’s good for you.

Step 2; Make the Proposal

After speaking to a good debt consultant company, they will tell you if IVA is for you. If so, they will collate all your credit information into a proposal for a case referred to an Insolvency Practitioner.

The proposal will have all the information the IP will need. Then he will present it to your creditors in a professional manner.

The Paperwork for the Proposal

Before the IVA can draft the proposal, you must provide them with proof of your financials. Your IP will need to have the details of the circumstances that have led to your current financial difficulty.

Let your IP understand your income and expenditure so that they understand whether or not you will be able to maintain the payments that the creditors will be given for assessment. The details they will need include.

Total income
Total debt
Your expenses
Family situation (about partner)
Rent, mortgages,
Assets

The IP will need paperwork to confirm the current financial situation, rent or mortgage agreement, food, utility bills, and bank statements. Your wage or payslip will also be required to verify that you can afford the proposed IVA before it is proportioned to your creditors.

Statement of Affairs

The statement of affairs will also contain the creditor details and a breakdown of income expenditure. Your IP can gauge your disposable income from the analysis, which he will use to see what monthly instalment you can afford.

Then, an interim order stops your creditors from taking further action until the IVA has been considered and either approved or otherwise.

The Sip 3 Call

Your IP will now put in a Sip 3 call when the statement of affairs is appropriately organized. This step is a legally required IVA process that helps the drafter familiarize with the applicant\’s situation.

The SIP 3 call allows the drafter to get into the history of the applicants\’ financial problems to understand how they got where they are with debts.

Step 4; The MOC

The MOC, which stands for \’meeting of creditors,\’ comes after the selected insolvency practitioner has packaged the case. Your chosen IP will arrange a venue, time, and date where the creditors will meet. However, this only happens in theory, and the creditors communicate via emails or letters.

The Meeting of Creditors Vote

All the information collected, including disposable income, debt levels, and proof of debts, is forwarded to the creditors. A proxy voting is then set up, and they either accept or reject the IVA proposal.

Here, your IP will provide a figure you can afford to pay every month.
75% of the creditors must approve the IVA for it to go through. Most creditors only agree because it is their only way of getting some money back since the other option could be bankruptcy, where the creditor receives zero.

Refused IVA

Not all IVAs will be approved, and there are various reasons why one will be refused. A common reason for rejection of an IVA is if gambling is on the bank statements. The gambling aspect will lead the creditors not to trust you to keep up with the monthly payments.

Instead of total rejection, the creditors could also ask for modifications before approving.   However, if it’s a complete denial, you may have to look for other options. 

Approved IVA

If the IVA is approved, it becomes binding by law to both you and the creditors. At the meeting of creditors, albeit not physical, is where IVAs are rejected or approved. Once it’s approved, then you will pay the agreed amount for five years. Any debts owed after the 60 months are written off.

Step 5 Starting the IVA

At this stage, the creditors’ meeting Chairman will prepare the Chairman’s report and circulate it to the rest of the creditors and your mortgage provider, your bank, and the court. ( for North Ireland cases).

The report will spell out what you need to do to complete your voluntary agreement and your Insolvency Practitioner who acted on your behalf. At this point, all your creditors will stop chasing you. The one affordable monthly payment you make will be distributed among all the creditors.

Step 6 End of the IVA

Make sure you keep the terms of your Individual Voluntary Agreement. You will be debt-free in 5 years. If you have varied or adverse changes during the life of the IVA, your supervisor may offer your creditors some variation in the terms.

IVA Completed

When you complete paying off the IVA, you are free, and you can start rebuilding your credit file. You will not be under duress, and you can have a new beginning.

Parting Shot

An Individual Voluntary Agreement is a way out for you multiple debts when you become unable to pay them. The creditors have to take whatever you can pay as presented in the IVA by your IP. After five years, you will be completely free of debt as the balance will be written off as per the agreement.

Stocks
ArticlesMarketsStock Markets

Five Explosive Stocks from the Past Year

Stocks


By Dáire Ferguson, CEO at AvaTrade

The traditional rhyme commemorating Bonfire Night begins, “Remember, remember the 5th of November”. This Bonfire night, we remember five explosive stocks from the past year.

 

Tesla

The electric vehicle manufacturer’s shares have exploded so far this year, more than doubling in the last six months alone. Tesla’s market capitalisation has whooshed past $1 trillion, making this figure nearly 1.5 times more than the combined market capitalisation of the next five largest automakers. 2021 has been a strong year for the company, with Tesla putting plans in place for its foray into India, one of the largest emerging car markets in the world, while demands for its cars are booming. For example, the Model 3 is the top-selling premium sedan in the world and it is currently the best-selling vehicle in Europe. Nevertheless, shares are significantly higher than fundamentals suggest they should be. While the company currently has momentum, the bubble could burst at any point – is a crash back down to earth at some point inevitable?

 

Macy’s Inc

The price of Macy’s, the major American department store chain, has skyrocketed this past year. Shares are up considerably over 100% since the start of the year, with the company managing its post-pandemic recovery expertly. Macy’s management team significantly reduced expenses on a permanent basis and increased the emphasis on its digital sales channel. With these moves, it’s apparent that management has acted decisively to ensure the business is in a strong position to ride out the current economic uncertainty, causing Macy’s long-term profit margins to soar like a firework. The burning question on the mind of many traders is whether the trend will continue or fizzle out.

 

Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell has sparkled. The stock plummeted after the initial outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the oil and gas giant has recovered over the course of the past year, reporting revenue figures of over $200 billion. What’s more, the recent oil and gas shortages around the world caused energy prices to skyrocket, which has also contributed to the increased share price of Royal Dutch Shell. But these shortages are not here to stay forever, so will this stock continue to rise?

 

American Express

American Express has seen its shares light up the sky with an increase of over 40% since the start of the calendar year. In terms of its quarterly performances, the credit card services company beat analysts’ forecasts by 70% and 68% respectively in the first and second quarters of 2021, and once again exceeded predictions in the third quarter. AmEx putting a greater focus on new and younger customers that may use their products for years to come has also contributed to its stock dazzling and whizzing into the top of the charts. Traders are asking themselves if this trend is sustainable.

 

Citrix Systems

For Cirtix Systems in 2021, its share price has fizzled, falling with a bang and a puff of smoke. There are a number of factors which have contributed to this fall. This includes the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider’s CEO, David Henshall, surprisingly stepping down with immediate effect last month, as well as poor financial results for all three quarters so far this year, leading to a sharp decline in the company’s profits. Will the company be able to halt this drop off, or will this downward spiral continue?

Press releases

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Fund Awards


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

Our 2021 Fund Awards programme is designed to recognise and award those businesses and professional individuals who have not only provided excellent products and services but have also provided unbeatable commitment and dedication towards their clients and customers. The industry is constantly transforming

Now running in its sixth year, the programme is never subjected to just one particular industry. Our awards programme covers a range of financial sectors from Banks to Insurance companies and Family Offices. The Fund Awards acknowledges those who have reinvented fund services with their experience and expertise and continue to do so to serve their customers with nothing less than the best.

On the success of the winners, our Awards Coordinator Steve Simpson has stated: “I am proud of all the winners of this year’s programme as we have strived to acknowledge all those who have worked effortlessly this year to provide their customers with outstanding services. I wish them all the best for their future endeavours.”

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 (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/fund-awards/) 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 (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) 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.

Digital Asset
ArticlesFinance

ADDX Launches First Crypto Product, With Listing of Institutional-Grade Digital Asset Fund by Trovio

Digital Asset


The fund, which aims to offer a reliable option for crypto investing, recorded a net return of 215% in 2020 and 205% in the first ten months of 2021

Private market exchange ADDX has launched its first cryptocurrency product, with the listing of a digital asset fund by investment manager Trovio Capital Management (TCM). The fund aims to provide accredited investors with a reliable option for crypto investing and has put in place institutional-grade safeguards in relation to the trade execution and custody of the fund’s underlying digital assets.

The TCM Digital Asset Fund takes a diversified approach to crypto investing. On top of core positions in Bitcoin and Ethereum, the fund invests in a set of seven other top-performing cryptocurrencies that are identified and reviewed regularly through a proprietary method of quantitative analysis. The fund recorded a net return of 215% in 2020 and 205% in the first ten months of 2021.

Relying on an institutional-quality infrastructure, the fund has an independent administrator, auditor and custodian. It is among the first digital asset funds to be audited by KPMG. Custody and trading services are provided by the Nasdaq-listed Coinbase. Investors on the ADDX platform can subscribe to or redeem units each month with the fund manager. The fund’s minimum investment size is US$10,000.

Founded in 2017, the Australia-based Trovio Group is led by veteran bankers Jon Deane and Bob Tucker. Trovio CEO Jon Deane has more than 15 years of experience managing large complex risk positions for investment banks, including JP Morgan and UBS AG. He was Managing Director and Head of Asia Commodities Trading at JP Morgan from 2014 to 2018.

Mr Deane said: “It has been a fantastic experience bringing our flagship fund to ADDX’s MAS-regulated platform. We are continuing to witness significantly wider adoption and appreciation of digital assets as a standalone asset class in a diversified portfolio. ADDX’s platform is enabling investors to seamlessly access these asset classes, whilst reducing friction often experienced via traditional channels. We look forward to working with the ADDX team on launching our other products over the coming months.”

Oi Yee Choo, Chief Commercial Officer of ADDX, said: “Cryptocurrencies are very likely the digital gold of our age. There is robust demand among investors for exposure to these digital assets. The traditional world of finance tried to keep a cautious distance initially. But today, major financial institutions either have a crypto offering or are seriously considering one. We believe the time for discussing whether cryptocurrencies have a place in an investment portfolio is all but over. The more relevant question now is around how one should manage the risk of crypto investments, from an asset custody as well as a price volatility standpoint. Professionally managed crypto funds with a good track record can potentially address these risk concerns for investors.”

Ms Choo added: “ADDX is pleased to work with Trovio on this first crypto offering to investors on our platform. The team led by Jon Deane has deep expertise in both traditional finance and the crypto space, and this is reflected in their rigorous approach to conceptualising and bringing to market this institutional-grade fund. As Singapore establishes itself as an important global hub for regulated crypto activity, ADDX seeks to make a positive contribution to the crypto landscape of the city, by adding to the rich diversity of high-quality offerings available to investors.”

ADDX, previously known as iSTOX, is a full-service capital markets platform with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) licenses for the issuance, custody, and secondary trading of digital securities. Launched in 2017, the financial technology company raised US$50 million in its Series A round in January 2021. Its shareholders include Singapore Exchange (SGX), Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital and Japanese investors JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ). Individual accredited investors using the ADDX platform today come from 27 countries, spanning Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas (excluding the US).

Stock trends
ArticlesMarkets

The Safest Way to Invest: A Guide for Generation Z

Stock trends


By Hamzah Almasyabi, CEO at MintedTM, an investment platform which allows individuals to buy and sell precious metals.

The pandemic has caused financial concern for many, but particularly for the younger generation, who are now facing uncertain career prospects and the rising cost of living. With more than ever to consider financially, the need to save and invest for the future has become even more apparent. Taking financial security into their own hands, Generation Z have turned to modern technology to make smart investments.

Cryptocurrencies and app technologies are changing the way people manage their money, by offering a more accessible and modern route into investing. Research undertaken by precious metals savings app, Minted, found that 71% of 16–24-year-olds are investing their money, compared with only 35% of those over 55. When looking at the financial difficulties so many young people are currently facing, this statistic comes as no surprise. Up against a higher cost of housing and rising national insurance costs, Gen Z has been left with no option but to think tactically about their future, which has led many down the path and investment. The pandemic added to this need, prompting over 60% of 16–24-year-olds to start saving more and over half to start investing. With precious metals, stocks and shares, and cryptocurrencies amounting to almost 60% of total investments for this age group, it’s clear they are not afraid of exploring differing investment options.

Social media has also played a large part in the increasing number of young investors, with terms such as bitcoin and dogecoin regularly featuring on trending pages. Platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit are useful sources of information for younger investors looking to get started and there are a number of ‘how to’ guides readily available.

Gone are the days when a physical bank is needed to support investing habits and a rise in fintech companies has seen a number of smarter investing and banking solutions hit the market, app investing being one of them. Offering users low entry costs and starting amounts, young people can delve straight into building their investment portfolio using just their smartphone.

On a mission to offer a safe and convenient route into investing, Minted is encouraging more young people to invest their money where it matters. Investing should be a viable option for the everyday person, whether they’re looking to boost their bank account, or building an investment portfolio of precious metals and cryptocurrencies.

However, as with any form of investment, a certain amount of knowledge is crucial. Proper research and education into investment routes is vital to mitigate against any potential risks. Users must be aware of the ever-changing financial landscape and that markets can be volatile, which was evident when the value of bitcoin dropped approximately 15% after Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla would no longer be accepting the currency as a form of payment back in June.

Each investment has different levels of risk. For example, cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin can be considered particularly high risk, due to their volatility. Investments into more traditional stocks and shares, or precious metals, such as gold or silver, which hold their intrinsic value, could be considered the safer option. Ultimately no matter where the money is invested, proper research and understanding is still pivotal.  

Investors relying on modern technology, such as apps, should begin by undertaking thorough research into the platform of their choice. Users should ask themselves what they are looking for from their investments and what their long-term goals are. Is it to make money quickly, or invest slowly over time for a more gradual financial growth? Are they looking for a physical product, such as gold? Establishing these goals can help ensure that the investor is making smart financial decisions that will benefit them and which suit their situation.

Looking at the credibility of platforms is also crucial; users should research how established the company is and what has been written about them online. This will give users an idea of how reliable the platforms are and whether or not they are the right option for them. Being aware of any additional fees, details of the terms and conditions, and what exactly the app is offering, is essential in preventing any nasty shocks further down the line.

For young people taking their first steps in investment, starting slow and building up experience can be beneficial in the long-term. It is generally also good practice to spread risk by investing in different asset classes and industries. Setting up a range of smaller investments, rather than one large sum, ensures that users are better protected against substantial loss and able to build a wider investment portfolio. Being realistic around affordability is another key factor to consider, as this will prevent against any financial difficulty. Markets can change quickly, so not reacting rashly to a changing landscape is vital if a portfolio is to be managed effectively.

As investment apps and cryptocurrencies continue to rapidly diversify, no one can say for certain what is on the financial horizon. Whatever the future holds for investment, it is certain that the younger generations have a significant role to play in popularising new and developing platforms, as well as challenging the stereotypes of what people invest in, and more importantly, how.