All posts by root

proserv
Private ClientWealth Management

Preserving a Heritage of Excellence

Preserving a Heritage of Excellence

Proserv is a global leader with a worldwide presence, offering a fresh alternative in the delivery of engineering and technical services to the energy, process and utility markets. We spoke to Andy Anderson, Regional President MEA at Proserv, to find out more about the company and its innovative services.

Andy, could you begin by providing our readers with a brief overview of Proserv Middle East and the services you offer?

“Proserv is a global leader and a fresh alternative in the delivery of engineering and technical services to the energy, process and utility markets, supporting clients throughout the lifecycle of their assets. We operate in six regions throughout 22 facilities and 12 countries, offering 24/7 local support services. Core to the Proserv offering is our ability to manufacture, deliver and support solutions locally through our highly experienced pool of technicians and engineers.

“We have been based in the UAE for over 25 years, largely servicing customers across the energy sector, including offshore and onshore services, equipment design and manufacturing. Proserv has supplied the vast majority of installed wellhead controls in the region through its legacy brands – Brisco, CAC and eProduction Solutions.

“We deliver a broad range of hydraulic safety shut down systems for wellheads, chemical injection systems, downhole and surface sampling systems, from bases across the region; all of which are backed up by a strong technical team who are able to install, commission and maintain equipment in the field.”

Talk us through your approach to client service. How do you maintain the high standards synonymous with the Proserv brand?

“Meeting and exceeding our clients’ expectations is vital to ensuring our ongoing success. We strive to develop and maintain this through establishing business relationships built upon experience, competency and trust. We focus on regular face-to-face engagement with our clients, taking the time to understand their requirements.

“We then revert with a solution that is in line with our company ethos – Ingenious Simplicity. This concept is based upon challenging convention in an industry that continues to ‘over engineer’. Ingenious Simplicity is about being flexible and responsive to clients’ needs, while reducing unnecessary levels of complexity in order to get the job done in a cost effective manner.”

Following on from this, what is it that makes Proserv Middle East unique? How do you distinguish yourselves from your competitors, and present yourselves as the best option for your clients?

“Proserv has an extensive brand heritage spanning over 40 years. Through our acquisitions, we have shown the importance of embracing this heritage alongside a commitment to constantly evolve and develop innovation.

“A key topic in our industry right now is ageing wells, and as a result E&Ps are searching for adequate partners to support their OEM requirements, without full system replacement. Many parts for the old wells are now obsolete or superseded and so Proserv has recognised this and positioned itself as a partner of choice who can re-engineer the part required to maintain production.

“Also, we actively listen and collaborate with our clients to find cost effective solutions for their maintenance and production issues. A great example of this was the development of our cost-effective Smart Box solution. Also, we are currently working on the development of an Asset Enhancement Global Intelligence Solution (AEGIS), which will be released, to our customers this June.

In order to provide quality services, exceptional staff are crucial, so please tell us more about the culture within Proserv Middle East and the things you do to maintain and develop it. What do you look for when attracting new staff and how do these traits help them integrate into your company?

“Our growth is driven by a team of dedicated and talented people who provide the company with expertise in engineering and business, creating pioneering solutions that allow us to remain competitive. As a service EPC, our people are our biggest asset and we nurture an environment that encourages creativity and employee-driven innovations.

“In the UAE, we employ more than 20 different nationalities and unite through a clear set of values. The five values – encompassing teamwork, service, communication, entrepreneurship and right thing, right way, guide each of our decisions and behaviours. When we recruit new people to join our team, we look beyond a person’s technical ability and experience and place emphasis on ensuring a person’s values are aligned to Proserv’s. Internally, we provide training for our staff, encouraging continuous development and learning through our internal ‘Proserv Academy’. One example is our ‘technician training school’ which we have developed and implemented for the needs of our Saudi business. The school will enable many young Saudis to gain the necessary skills to learn and develop as part of the Proserv family.”

As your regional headquarters are in the UAE, can you please tell us a bit more about the opportunities and challenges you experience being based there?

“The UAE has the world’s seventh largest proven reserves of both oil and natural gas, estimated at 97.8 million barrels and 215 trillion cubic feet. There is no doubt that oil will continue to provide income for both economic growth and the expansion of social services for decades to come. In the coming years, natural gas will play an increasingly important role in the UAE’s development – particularly as a fuel source for power generation, petrochemicals and the manufacturing industry.

“The industry itself is going through a difficult transition; CAPEX is not always a viable option for our end user clients and OPEX is typically only being spent to perform safety or production critical work. However, with ADNOC being restructured and the oil price creeping up towards $70 per barrel, new investments are planned for the short/medium term. These challenging times have called for a fresh approach in maintaining operational efficiency, whilst decreasing OPEX through scheduled and maintained inspections, but also longer term planning. Our approach has been to offer services across the complete life of field through locally supplied products and services. We have existing long-term service contracts with our clients, where we have proven we can repair or upgrade existing assets, rather than replacing them, thus enabling them to maintain production and reduce downtime at a fraction of the cost.

“The UAE serves as a Centre of Excellence for Proserv’s growing business and organisational presence in the Middle East and Africa market. Our regional headquarters and equipment-manufacturing facility is located in Dubai, while the service centre is located in Abu Dhabi.”

In your opinion, what are the key advantages to being based in the UAE? Are there any core areas of growth that you believe make it the ideal hub for your business?

“For some time, the UAE has been viewed as an energy hub/gateway for the Middle East region. While many companies located in the UAE solely distribute products made in the USA/EU across the Middle East market, Proserv manufactures and provides services from its local facilities in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“Proserv recognises that the best support for our clients is achieved by local, in country support. The energy industry is a 24-hour operation, and, as such, has a need for timely service capability. We are able to immediately mobilise service engineers/technicians with local visas/work permits to address unplanned events that can cause our clients expensive downtime via lost or reduced production. Also, we provide client specific intelligence solutions to map and track inventory parts, enabling us to provide or quickly call off replacement parts. Our focus remains on world-class respond and resolve solutions.”

Reflecting on the past 12 months, what have been the most prevalent trends in your industry and how has your business adapted around these?

“Last year was a year of innovation for us. Our track record, coupled with our ability to create new value for our clients, allows us to continue to expand our business. The opening of our facility in Saudi Arabia – an Aramco Approved Manufacturing and Service Facility – was a key moment for us back in 2016 with the region very much continuing to be a key growth market for us.”

Looking ahead, what does the future hold for Proserv in the Middle East? Do you have any future plans or projects you would like to share with us?

“Moving forward, Proserv will continue to secure its footprint within the GCC through the establishment of a Manufacturing & Service facility in KSA, as well as investing in expanding our service centre in Abu Dhabi. This will further strengthen our capabilities and capacity to service the increasing demand for our product and services within the region.”

Contact Details 

Company: Proserv Middle East

Address: Jebel Ali Facility, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, 16922, UAE

Phone: 00971 4 808 3500

Website: www.proserv.com

Select Element
Issues

Issue 5 2018

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Wealth & Finance Magazine Wealth and Finance Wealth & finance banking finance funds markets regulation risk management tax wealth management market trends stock trends stock market trends wealth management magazine wealth magazine finance magazine

Wealth & Finance Magazine is a monthly publication, which provides an array of news features, and articles from across both traditional and alternative investment sectors. In the fifth issue for 2018 of the magazine, we cover a vast range of subjects from financial advisors, education and training specialists, and alternative asset management firms. This month’s issue is packed full of insightful articles for you to read.

In recent news, GCM Grosvenor announced that its Labor Impact Infrastructure business has adopted a Responsible Contractor Policy that includes an agreement to proactively collaborate with the North America’s Building Trades Unions (“NABTU”). The policy will ensure “responsible contractors,” including contractors who are signatories to collective bargaining agreements, are part of the bidding and selection process for its Labor Impact investments.

In this month’s edition, we discover more about Learn to Trade, which is a forex education and training specialist. The firm offers a range of courses that help people learn about and understand the forex market and the opportunities and risks within it. We recently spoke with their CEO, James Matthews who provided us with an insight into the firm and the exceptional services they provide.

Founded in 2008, Magni Global Asset Management LLC developed the Sustainable Wealth Creation principles, based on widely accepted economic concepts, by researching the accounting, legal, regulatory, adjudicative, and economic infrastructures of countries. Today, they are a global leader in country-level research on corporate governance. We profiled the leading firm and its team which gave us an insight into the company’s extensive accomplishments.

Elsewhere in this issue, Constantine G. Varley is a financial advisor attached to Synovation Financial Services, and specialises in a vast range of services. Recently, we caught up with Constantine to discover more about both his work and successful company, Synovation Financial Services.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we hope that you thoroughly enjoy reading this month’s edition, and look forward to hearing from you.

gdpr
Global ComplianceRegulation

Debunking Five Crucial GDPR Misconceptions

There’s now less than a month to go until the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, and yet research shows that many businesses are still struggling to understand what they need to do. Worse still, many remain unaware of the full extent of the legal implications of non-compliance – whether deliberate or accidental. A YouGov poll in March found that 72% of British adults hadn’t even heard of the regulation, whilst a study by Crowd Research Partners carried out in April found that just 7% of companies worldwide were ‘fully prepared’ for GDPR’s arrival.

These figures should be cause for concern, since GDPR represents a huge change in the way in which every business uses, manages and protects personal data. It enshrines the sanctity of personal data ownership with the individual, with businesses merely the custodians. And as Jan Phillip Albrecht LL.M, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of its Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee wrote in 2016: “It is paramount to understand how GDPR will change not only the European data protection laws but nothing less than the whole world as we know it.”

With this in mind, here are the five most common myths about GDPR, and some steps you can take to ensure you’re on the way to being geared up for the change.

This isn’t just about the EU

One of the biggest misconceptions about GDPR seems to be that it’s only an issue for companies physically based in the EU. This is not the case. GDPR essentially applies to any business anywhere in the world wanting to sell products and services to EU customers, or monitor their behaviour using personal data. In other words, if you’re based in Dubai wanting to do business with a customer in Germany, then GDPR – or equivalent standards – still apply.

It’s not as simple as following the rules

One of the reasons why GDPR is causing a certain amount of angst – amongst those who have, in fact, heard of it – is that it is principle-based regulation, which means that judgement will be based on whether data has been processed in accordance with designated principles, rather than hard and fast rules. If a company is investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), then the ICO will look at whether ‘effective’ consent has been obtained by the data’s owner and whether that data is deemed ‘current’. This leaves the door open for interpretation, which would be entirely at the ICO’s discretion and involve a legal-based assessment. This means there’s a big job for the legal profession in helping businesses understand and act on their responsibilities.

It’s about more than just compliance

The other source of confusion in all of this is that many companies have assumed that this is a compliance, or even a technical issue, which can simply be left to the relevant team to deal with. The problem is that GDPR is so all-encompassing that any individual handling data in an organisation will undoubtedly require training to understand the regulatory demands and what to do in order to comply. It also means assessing processes for handling a serious data breach and examining every contract – with employees and subcontractors – to ensure that they are GDPR compliant. For some companies, it may also mean hiring a dedicated data protection officer or at the least gaining specialist legal advice on their current practice and system.

Technology is no panacea

Likewise, GDPR is not something that can be ‘fixed’ with technology. A lot of people have mistakenly assumed that GDPR is only concerned with extreme data hacking cases, but the regulation imposes draconian sanctions for a range of other breaches, too. For example, if consent of use has not been properly obtained, or the data is not processed as set out in the regulations, then serious penalties, including hefty fines, could be on the cards. There are also some data breach risks that simply cannot be fixed by technology, for example a staff indiscretion or mistake such as leaving confidential information in a public place. What’s more, GDPR forbids reliance on automated decision making, as typically seen when loan companies refuse customers based purely on an automated credit score. The point is that this regulation demands that companies take a holistic and intelligent approach to the treatment of personal data – it’s not a question of picking and choosing the bits you want to adopt or relying on your systems to do the job for you.

This isn’t just another overhead

It’s hard to overstate the risk of getting this wrong – the potential fines are on a level we’ve never seen before in data protection. Certain infringements are subject to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover – whichever is higher. Severe breaches also run the risk of class actions. But the fines only tell part of the story. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal wiped around £25 billion off the social media platform’s value in the first 24 hours after the story broke and the reputational fallout continues. Businesses simply cannot afford the reputational damage that could be wrought by such a significant change.

Not sure if you’re in breach of GDPR regulations? Take the GDPR quiz to test your resilience.

Four things you should do straight away:

1. Review your processes for data breach notification, security and risk assessment.
2. Ask yourself whether the data you handle could be anonymised.
3. Review your contracts for GDPR compliance.
4. Consider hiring a data protection officer or seeking specialist legal advice.

http://www.bestcriminaldefencebarrister.co.uk/ 

5 Benefits of Investing in Contractors
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

5 Benefits of Investing in Contractors

5 Benefits of Investing in Contractors

By: James Trowell, head of tax and accounting at contractor specialists, Dolan Accountancy

For most startups, the most common issue they face is cash flow. The need to expand to increase that level of cash flow often involves hiring staff. Whilst this is a positive in terms of managing the ever increasing workload, paying for staff is another story as it absorbs even more of your income. The solution? Look to the flexibility and expertise offered by contractors.

In this article we will explore the top 5 benefits of using contractors to help you grow your business.

 

1. Affordability

The whole process of recruiting and training staff can soon add up cost wise. Recruitment agencies will often charge a fee for filling your vacancy and even advertising yourself can have an associated cost. You’ll also have to consider the cost of your time to train that person up in the role they have filled as well as their actual salary. By hiring a contractor to fill your position, you have the option to choose someone with the expertise or specialist skills that you need so the time needed to train them is often negligible.

2. Flexibility

Unlike a permanent member of staff, contractor’s can work on a project by project basis, so you could just pay for their expertise as you need it. Contractor’s tend to choose this path as they like to be able to set their own hours, which really could be a massive benefit for you. For example if you dropped an email on a Friday night with a list of assignments, you could be coming in on Monday morning to find the list is completed! Remember a contractor is a small business like you and good ones will be keen to meet deadlines, deliver above your expectations with the hope that you will want to engage in their services again.

3. Expertise

Contractor’s are unlikely to have made the move to contracting unless they are experts in their field. This means they keep up to date with the latest industry trends, be that in technology or statistics. This is excellent news for you, as you and your company can benefit for their knowledge. For example they are likely to adopt cutting edge technology and could suggest a new piece of software which could increase your productivity. Not only do you benefit from this knowledge but you also don’t have to pay for them as a salaried employee in the long term.

4. Attitude

When a new member of staff joins a business, they tend to need weeks if not months of training before they can contribute positively to your turnover. Contractors however are used to working on their own and getting on with the job in hand immediately. This means that they ‘hit the ground running’ so you will see a positive input to your business quickly. You will need to be good at setting clear briefs and expectations though, but you shouldn’t need to sit down and explain everything. Instead you can focus on your business knowing your contractor will be completing their projects in the background.

5. Availability

The great thing about using a contractor within your business is that they only need to work for you when required. So if you have a specific project you need some help on, but dont have the capacity yourself, a contractor can come in and fill that gap in the short term. They also tend to build relationships with their employers so that they can be called back in to make additions to their work or start new projects, with the knowledge that both parties have prior experience of eachother.

About the author: James Trowell, is head of tax and accounting at contractor specialists, Dolan Accountancy. Starting off in the admin team at SJD Accountancy James’ role expanded over the years, working his way to accountant and then team manager. Three months ago, Trowell took on the head of accounting and taxation position at Dolan

Are banking biometrics about to take off?
BankingSecurities

Are banking biometrics about to take off?


Are banking biometrics about to take off?

We’ve all been there; sitting at a computer struggling to remember a password, or entering the wrong pin number at a cash point while a queue forms behind you. Thanks to the rise in biometric technology, consumers can look forward to a decreased reliance on remembering alphanumeric passwords.

Through the integration of the technology into smartphones, people around the world have been using their fingerprints to unlock their devices for years and today millions of people are familiar with biometrics and its benefits. The recent unveiling of the iPhone X and Apple’s facial recognition system moves things one step further.

These applications have shown consumers how easy it is to use their biometrics to access their personal devices. This has created a consumer who is comfortable with the technology and have it integrated into other elements of their life, like banking or at the checkout – a point reinforced when looking at a recent study, where 86 percent of consumers said they are interested in using biometrics to verify, identity or to make payments. The financial sector has begun to react to this growing level of acceptance.

MasterCard recently announced its commitment to guaranteeing that every one of its customers will have access to biometric authentication services by April 2019 – a decision made off the back of their own research with Oxford University, which found 92 percent of banking professionals wanted to introduce biometric ID, and 93 percent of consumers would prefer biometric security to passwords. As we have seen before, new technologies challenge traditional business models and transform the way organisations interact with their customers – this is no different.

Many established financial institutions and economies around the world are now getting behind biometrics. In India, NCR has been involved in a nationwide rollout of next-generation ATMs offering biometric user authentication, in addition to cash recycling and other features that could prove beneficial for banks and customers.

Bahraini Fintech firm Eazy Financial Services offers the next step in the evolution of biometrics journey of creating a seamless customer experience. The company has been working with NCR on the region’s first biometric payment network. The system will allow consumers to register their fingerprint with their bank and use this biometric data to initiate ATM or point-of-sale transactions, removing the need for a card. The combination of security and convenience this technology delivers is an attractive proposition for a customer.

Today’s digitally driven consumers want the way they shop and bank to be consistent across every channel, including how they identify themselves when making a payment. As biometric identification increasingly becomes standard across smartphone devices, the combination of these two technologies is starting to win the battle for hearts and minds when it comes to simplicity, convenience and seamlessness across all channels.

However, there are still some hurdles to overcome as far as biometric technology is concerned, particularly when it comes to customer acceptance and security. One of the biggest causes of failure for technology is low adoption, and even though the figures show that consumers want to see more of the concept, the solution must be simple, logical and easy to use it if it’s to be adopted.

Like any burgeoning technology, biometric authentication still has its fair share of challenges to meet and questions to answer. But these obstacles are quickly being overcome, partly through the work of mobile phone manufacturers, which is paving the way for biometrics to become a vital component of the 21st-century payments landscape.

physical currency
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Why physical currency in a digital economy is still a must for UK travelers

Why physical currency in a digital economy is still a must for UK travelers

Trailing closely behind Sweden and Canada, the United Kingdom is the world’s third most cashless society. According to UK Finance, cash will be used for a mere 21 per cent of all payments by 2026. Increasingly, countries around the world are making definite moves towards a futuristic economy based on fully digital transactions for goods and services, with cash often portrayed as obsolete. In Sweden, 80 per cent of all transactions are made by cards via the mobile payment app, Swish.

However, deeming the role of cash in society as obsolete – according to travel money provider WeSwap – is far from accurate. WeSwap’s Founder and CEO Jared Jesner believes that as a nation, our adoration of travel means that although we are moving closer towards becoming a cashless society within our own borders, when we go abroad this all changes- people still like the comfort of cash in their pocket when they explore the unknown. According to a report in Reuters citing the Bank for International Settlements, the study found that the use of cash is actually rising in both developed and emerging markets. “Some of the breathless commentary gives the impression that cash in the form of traditional notes and coins is going out of fashion fast,” said Hyun Song Shin, BIS economic adviser and head of research “despite all the technological improvements in payments in recent years, the use of good old-fashioned cash is still rising in most, though not all, advanced and emerging market economies.” Furthermore, the Bank for International Settlements found that in recent years, the amount of cash in circulation has increased to 9 percent of GDP in 2016 from 7 percent of GDP back in 2000. That said, the same study stated that debit and credit card payments represented 25 percent of GDP in 2016, up from 13 percent in 2000.

Cash’s resiliency comes at a time when the odds are seemingly stacked against its historically ubiquitous presence, with the critical mass of consumers owning more credit and debit cards today than ever before, using them for smaller transactions than in years past. Moreover, thanks to new technologies, consumers are able to use contactless payments via their mobile devices to pay for things in record numbers. These now societal norms have led to predictions that cash is dying as the world moves to digital payments. WeSwap asserts this prediction as flawed.

Jared Jesner, WeSwap’s CEO, was surprised to learn how integral cash remains to society when he founded the digital payments start-up. Despite being credit card-dependent at home, travelers inevitably need to access hard currency beyond UK borders, especially as UK residents going abroad can never be certain how many shops, restaurants, or tourist attractions will accept credit cards. Jesner is optimistic about the potential to change the landscape of payments, having founded WeSwap to make currency exchange cheap and fair for ordinary people “I’m incredulous to the fact that we still ‘buy’ money when we should just be swapping with each other.”

With Futurologists long predicting cash will one day become obsolete, contextualised by the advent of blockchain technology, mobile money and similar innovations, a transition towards a more cashless society is inevitable, but not to the extent where notes are no-more. For all the convenience that digital payments offer, travelers remain reluctant to fully part with their hard currency. WeSwap believes that a security-based connection secures the role of cash amongst travellers—and creates a need for a fair and transparent currency exchange.

Issues

Issue 4 2018

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Wealth & Finance Magazine Wealth and Finance Wealth & finance banking finance funds markets regulation risk management tax wealth management market trends stock trends stock market trends wealth management magazine wealth magazine finance magazine
Welcome to the 4th issue of 2018 for Wealth & Finance Magazine, hosting an array of news features, and articles from across both traditional and alternative investment sectors. On the 19th April 2018, the PenFed Foundation announced the launch of its new Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP). Through Foundation contributions and matching funding of up to $1 million from PenFed Credit Union in 2018, the program will: provide veteran-owned start-ups with seed capital to build and grow their businesses, create robust networks and enable the PenFed Foundation to perpetually re-invest returns in future veteran-owned businesses. In this month’s issue, we discover more about Infinox Capital, a global brokerage, headquartered in London who provide a range of services to its valued clients. We spoke to Jay Mawji to learn more about the firm and how it works to provide the very highest standards of support and service. Elsewhere in this edition, Are You Owed Money (AYOM) is a debt recovery specialist in Preston, Lancashire. We speak to Marketing Manager, Daniel Fletcher as we aim to gain more insight into the success of the firm. Speaking of success, FACET is a Crawley based fund manager offering a range of investment opportunities to its valued clients. We spoke to Director, Christian Holland to learn more about the successful company. Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we truly hope that you enjoy reading this issue and look forward to hearing from you.
wealth management
Private FundsWealth Management

Wealth management and digital engagement

“Hey, Siri, how do I keep my clients?” Wealth management and digital engagement

By John Wise, Co-founder, CEO and Chairman, InvestCloud

Many wealth managers are wondering why millennials fire them after an inheritance. It’s a daunting problem with a very simple cause: millennials don’t see the value that wealth managers add. This is primarily due to a lack of empathy and resonance on the wealth manager’s part with younger generations.

There is a lot of money in motion right now. As Baby Boomers retire and Gen X’ers start planning for retirement, many are selling small businesses, downsizing their homes and starting to tap their retirement plan assets. Because of these dynamics, in the US alone, over $60 trillion of assets are becoming liquid and transitioning between generations now. This money is up for grabs.

The primary inheritors are millennials, and they are becoming a major presence. This generation represents approximately 30 percent of the US population. They are the largest age group demographic in the country and a close third of the investor base – around 30 million investors. This generation is already the next big thing in investing.

Millennial money

What are millennials going to do with this money? Well, it is not the same as previous generations, as the adoption of wealth managers is low among millennials. A recent report from Accenture shows that only 20 percent of millennial investors say they will work with an advisor exclusively. This is partly due to 57 percent feeling their advisor is only motivated to make money, and about one-third feeling their advisor doesn’t get to know them.

The result is devastating for the sector: up to six 6 out of 10 clients leave their benefactor’s advisor upon inheritance – i.e., the millennial fires the advisor upon receipt of the money. This is coupled with a distrust bias toward large brands – with an exception until recently for the tech platforms they use every day. This distrust is especially true of financial brands for a generation defined by the recent global economic crisis.

This is illustrated in that 70 percent of polled millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what their banks are saying. Worse still, a further 70 percent – across all age groups – say they would accept financial advice from a Google, Facebook, Apple or robo-advice platform instead of a traditional financial business. This is an engagement crisis for wealth managers.

So how do managers reverse this trend and engage investors?

Re-booting engagement – offline and online

Millennials are reported to have poor attention spans, a fear of missing out (FOMO) and a love of digital communication methods. While these observations don’t apply to all millennials, there probably isn’t going to be a mass exodus from short playlists and social media to steak dinners and golf.

Empathy is the key to better engagement – both offline and online. First of all, an obvious point: wealth management businesses need younger people to better engage with the latest generation of investors and to speak their language.

But empathy must be both in-person and digital. If in-person means connecting with investors in real life, then digital means relating it both in browser and through mobile apps. Digital is one of the saving graces for wealth management businesses – it makes them appear younger, and millennials clearly value digital, especially in finance.

Digital requirements

Any digital offering needs to meet certain requirements. Firstly, it needs to be available at any time, any place and via any device to give millennial clients power over how and when they interact with their wealth. Think of how the services they use every day work, such as Google, or how they choose to connect – i.e., a preference for mobile, app-based platforms.

It also needs to distinctly appeal to the user. This means it must be intuitive, involved and individual. The user experience needs to appeal directly to the client, all content should be unique to them and it must be worth their time to use the platform. When it comes to engagement, it’s not just other financial service providers that are the competition. Wealth managers are up against social media and entertainment streaming platforms as well.

Thought also needs to be given to specific functionality – what does your digital platform offer? The Accenture report mentioned above goes some way to calling out the specific requirements from this generation.

For example, 67 percent want a robo component and real-time tracking of transactions, payments and other financial data from their investment manager. A further 66 percent want a self-directed investment portal with advisor access, with 65 percent needing gamification for engagement and to help them learn more about investing. Those requiring social media and sentiment indices in the platform to help with investment decisions is around 62 percent.

Remember, though, that these offerings are not one-size-fits-all – they still require tailoring to the individual.

Using the best of both worlds

This doesn’t mean a complete shift to digital-only services. If a client has significant assets – and particularly as his or her life gets more complicated – a broader advice scale is needed, rather than simply having assets allocated to a handful of ETFs. The interaction of digital and human empathy is the key to effectively servicing these specific needs.

This is hybrid wealth management: offline and online services that work harmoniously together to create a better experience for the client, and greater levels of engagement for the manager. It means a better understanding of clients and therefore leads to more opportunities to expand the share of wallet, impacting the all-important bottom line.

So, how do financial businesses resonate better with millennials? Appoint younger people. Use digital. You can still be full service – helping manage life events like retirement planning, college planning, trusts, wills, parental long-term care planning and the like. But make sure you focus your business model on delivering from a place of empathy both in-person and digitally.

crypto tax
Indirect TaxTax

Understanding your tax obligations in the crypto world

Understanding your tax obligations in the crypto world

By Arianne King, managing partner at London based commercial law firm, Al Bawardi Critchlow

With Bitcoin’s value slipping and reports suggesting that Q1 of 2018 was the worst quarter in its history, it seems the recent wild run on the crypto-scene has come to an end. Yet, digital currencies continue to attract the interest of the governments, investors, commentators and fintech innovators alike.

The reason for this is two-fold. On one hand, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies – blockchain – holds disruptive potential likened to that of the internet itself. With its transparent, permanent and immutable record keeping, the potential of the technology to secure transactions between multiple parties is hard to argue with.

On the other hand, regulators are increasingly ramping up efforts to establish the legal status of e-money as the technology matures. It is clear that traditional financial institutions and lawmakers plan to get more involved in addressing this and the current lack of regulatory oversight in the UK today.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, and others have consistently called for the crypto asset ecosystem to be held to the same standards as the rest of the financial system – and there have been some signs of progress here. Earlier this month, for example, one of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, was granted a licence to operate by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), confirming it had been assessed and met certain anti-money laundering and processing standards, deeming it suitable to acquire a regulated status in the UK.

That said, the way in which cryptocurrency is taxed is fast becoming a burning issue. This is especially the case for current and prospective investors.

 

Understanding your obligations

Worryingly, many investors may not even be aware that they owe tax on their cryptocurrencies today. As in nearly every other aspect of tax, different countries and jurisdictions will have varying guidelines for declaring tax and equally different approaches to tackling evasion. As such, depending on where you are domiciled for tax, you may be breaking the law – or about to.

In the US, tax authorities view the likes of Bitcoin, Ripple and other cryptocurrencies as a form of property, rather than a true currency, and so it may be subject to capital gains tax. Taxpayers are therefore required to declare all cryptocurrency transactions in their annual tax returns, with the applicable tax applied to each deal. Meanwhile, in Germany, Bitcoin is classified like stocks and shares – capital gains tax is applied to profits made within the first year of ownership. After this point, their transaction will fall within the scope of a non-taxable ‘private sale’, exempting them from further taxation.

When it comes to enforcement, however, the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) takes a much more active role monitoring virtual currencies and managing the infrastructure that enables trading than its European counterparts to date. In February of this year, for example, it assembled a dedicated team of investigators to counter tax evasion in the cryptocurrency industry. It argues that Bitcoin, and others like it, can be used in the same fashion as foreign bank accounts to facilitate tax dodging. It recently compelled Coinbase to send data on 13,000 of its users as part of an investigation of this kind – a move we may see from HMRC here in the UK in the future.

 

Tax in the UK

In Britain, the guidance provided by HMRC about cryptocurrencies is limited to a policy paper from March 2014. That said, while an official framework for cryptocurrency related tax remains forthcoming in the UK, the Treasury’s current regime may still mean that some individual investors are falling foul of compliance with the law as it stands.

Overall, the Revenue looks at the personal circumstances of an individual to inform a decision on whether tax is paid on crypto gains or not. The individual must prove whether they are a hobbyist or a professional investor and they will be taxed accordingly.

First of all, HMRC treats hobbyist traders in the same way that it treats those involved in other speculative activities, like gambling: they are currently exempt from paying tax on gains. This approach is fortunate in that it recognises the inherent volatility of the bitcoin market and means that a personal investor would not be hit with a tax bill for gains subsequently lost because of coin values plummeting.

Alternatively, if HMRC considers that an individual or corporation involved has a professional interest in the industry, then taxes would be payable. This is assessed on a case by case basis so the resulting decision, in this respect, will often be difficult to predict. If liable, profit and loss activity must be reflected in accounts under normal Corporation Tax rules. This is applicable to those involved at all levels of the process – whether trading, mining or operating an exchange and providing supporting services.

 

Where to next?

As with all income and gains generating assets, a tax system for cryptocurrencies will surely emerge – such a system and associated measures would also go some way towards addressing concerns that virtual currencies are still being used to enable fraud, money laundering and finance illicit activities like cybercrime.
The advice is to fully research your situation by contacting HMRC, an accountant or a tax adviser and keeping a full record of any advice given. If it appears that the HMRC are likely to find that your gains are taxable, it would be wise to put aside any gains in a contingency account to cover any tax that might fall due. Despite the decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies and the associated hype about this, they are taxable as financial assets by law in many countries. Ultimately, even in the crypto world, the old adage of  death and taxes still applies.

 

private debt
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

A better way for investors to capitalise on private debt

A better way for investors to capitalise on private debt

Simone Westerhuis, LGB Investments

As fixed income yields disappoint, secured loan notes issued by growth businesses could be an attractive avenue for investors, whether they be wealthy individuals or family offices, writes Simone Westerhuis, Managing Director, LGB Investments.

Despite the recent rising rate environment, interest rates are still very low by historical standards and as a result private debt has emerged as one of the chief opportunities for investors searching for yield. This is especially true of high net worth individuals (HNWI) and family offices, as, faced with long-term low interest rates, meagre bond returns, poor hedge fund performance and fluctuating equity markets, they have increasingly turned to alternatives: real estate, private equity and – perhaps most strikingly – to the private credit markets to secure the returns they need for their portfolios.

HNWI and family office investors are particularly well positioned to benefit from the growing appetite from businesses for non-bank funding. According to Preqin’s 2017 Global Private Debt report, the average current allocation of a private debt investor stands at 4.7 per cent of assets under management (AUM). Family offices allocate more than double this figure – 10.7 per cent of AUM – to private debt, more than any other type of investor. This, as Preqin notes, can be attributed to “fewer restrictions, increased flexibility and an appetite for higher returns compared to other asset classes”. In contrast to conventional fund managers, HNWIs and family offices are less tightly regulated and view secondary market liquidity as less important.

But as the private debt market has become more popular, its composition has shifted over the past decade. Up until about the mid-2000s, activity was mainly dominated by distressed debt and mezzanine financing. More recently the trend has been towards direct lending.

Marrying small and medium-sized growth businesses with financing from wealthy individuals, family offices and the mass affluent has considerable appeal on both sides. From the growth businesses’ perspective, it bypasses some of the difficulties that come with borrowing from banks that have retrenched in the post-financial crisis climate, making them inflexible and sluggish counterparties. Without the ability to turn to the corporate bond market to raise funds, SMEs are often willing to pay a premium for increased flexibility and speed of execution.

From an investor’s perspective, meanwhile, direct lending can seem a compelling proposition. One of the main advantages is diversification and the prospect of earning uncorrelated returns to the equity markets. At a time when stock markets have produced strong returns for over a decade one may wonder how long this trend could last. The other is the potential for higher yields relative to the public bond markets. Direct lending offers an attractive, steady cash flow in a climate where quantitative easing has driven bond yields down.

But there are also risks that need to be carefully considered. There is, of course, the heightened credit risk that comes from lending to growth businesses, coupled with the fact that that private debt has yet to be tested in an economic downturn. An important consideration is the intermediary or platform that investors use to manage their loan portfolios. While P2P platforms have simplified the distribution process, they could potentially pose a higher default risk to investors who have little insight into the quality of companies they are directly lending to. When a borrower defaults, the investor often finds himself helpless to take any action directly.

Going through investment funds or trusts, meanwhile, may provide more protection against defaults through established debt recovery procedures. But the risks can vary markedly depending, for example, on whether the manager chooses to use leverage to boost returns and cover fees. The key to success will often depend not only on the manager’s ability to analyse risk, but also on its access to deal flow and ability to fix problems when they occur.

LGB Investments has helped develop another variant of the direct lending instrument: secured loan notes. These are secured, fixed-rate instruments with maturities ranging from six months to five years. Issued by SMEs and growth businesses under the terms of a programme, which enables repeated issuance, they often have seniority in a borrower’s capital structure. Most importantly, loan note programmes will have a designated Security Trustee who holds the collateral for all noteholders on trust and will take action on behalf of noteholders when difficulties arise.

To date, the main investors in these secured loan notes have been individual wealthy investors and family offices, although they are also increasingly catching the attention of institutions. There are a number of reasons investors have found these instruments to be attractive. An obvious one is their relatively high yields and short maturities. The notes offer investment returns of around 6-10 per cent per annum, with the interest rate determined by the credit standing of the issuer and investor demand. By contrast, publicly traded corporate bonds typically generate yields of 2-5 per cent in the current climate. Secured loan notes Issues are commonly listed on a recognised stock exchange to take advantage of the Quoted Eurobond Exemption from withholding tax on interest.

We find that another real advantage is that the programmes offer frequent re-investment opportunities and can often accommodate reverse inquiries from investors sitting on cash. Investors have an opportunity to really familiarise themselves with an issuer and can increase their allocation to a name over time. Robust security arrangements help assuage some of the concerns investors to growth businesses might have about taking on excessive credit risk.

Through our Corporate Finance department, LGB & Co. has established secured loan note programmes for 20 mid-market companies raising close to £100 million to date from HNWIs, family offices and institutions. A recent example was the £40m loan note programme for Reward Finance Group Limited, one of the UK’s fastest growing alternative finance providers. Our research suggests there is substantial room for expansion and that the UK’s immediate addressable secured loan note market is worth around £500m.

Investors do need to carefully evaluate the risks of lending to SMEs – whether through secured loan notes or through other instruments – against their investment goals. But as part of a balanced and diversified portfolio, we believe that in an environment where low yields are the norm and alternatives such as hedge funds are underperforming, secured loan notes offer an attractive way to tap into private debt markets.

Issues

Issue 3 2018

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the 3rd issue of 2018 for Wealth & Finance Magazine, providing you with the latest industry news from across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, HALL Structured Finance (HSF) has announced that the company has closed a new first lien loan totalling $35.5 million to finance the construction of The Vantage multifamily high-rise in St. Petersburg, Florida. The property developer is Michigan-based DevMar Development and the project is expected to be completed in September 2019.

In this month’s issue, we discovered more about the professional, friendly and pro-active firm of Chartered Certified Accountants, Makesworth Accountants when we spoke to Sanjay Kumar Sah as we explored the secrets behind the firm’s continuous success.

On the theme of success, the multi-award winning company, MNM Developments is a family run firm of developers, specialising in luxury apartment developments in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Recently, we sat down with Michaela Teague who provided us with an insight into the success of the company, and also the Marionville Development, the firm’s current project.

Also, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd is a US $19 Billion multinational group, who boast a global presence across more than 100 countries, whilst also employing over 200,000 people. Group CIO and CFO; VS Parthasarathy (fondly known as Partha), provides us with an insight into the ongoing success of the company.

Lastly, Artis REIT is a diversified Canadian real estate investment trust (REIT) investing in office, industrial and retail properties. Recently, we profiled the firm as we take a closer look at the aggressive but disciplined growth strategy which they have executed since 2004 to build a portfolio of commercial properties in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and selected markets in the United States.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we hope that you enjoy reading this issue and we look forward to hearing from you.

crowd funding
FundsFunds of Funds

Top Five Crowdfunding Myths

Top Five Crowdfunding Myths

Joel Hughes, Head of UK and Europe at Indiegogo

Launching a crowdfunding campaign is a lot easier said than done. It takes a lot of effort before the launch, during the campaign and even after funding is complete. Despite the fact that crowdfunding has been around for almost two decades, there are still many misconceptions about what makes a successful campaign, so before you launch your crowdfunding campaign, make sure you have all your facts straight. Joel Hughes, Head of UK and Europe at Indiegogo, debunks the five most common crowdfunding myths.

Myth #1: A good idea is enough to get you funded

Reality: Having an interesting idea is often just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crowdfunding success. There are thousands of active campaigns for all sorts of gadgets and products across multiple crowdfunding platforms at any given moment.

To reach your goal, you need to develop a plan of action to spread the word about your campaign. Don’t restrict this just to your immediate network of friends and family. Make sure that everyone and anyone knows about it. There are tons of ways to spread the word including social media channels, direct emailing, LinkedIn networking events, and more. If you combine a few of these methods you’ll reach more people, so mix it up!

Myth #2: The work starts when the campaign starts

Reality: Crowdfunding requires hard work long before launch. You can’t just post a description of your project on the campaign page and expect backers to be willing to invest. You need to have all your ducks in a row before you launch.

We recommend beginning work on the campaign at least two months before your official launch date. This is the minimum amount of time needed to create a strong email list and build a community around your idea – two essential factors in your campaign’s success. Use this time to do your research, have a schedule, gather a strong team, define roles, and line up all your assets before your launch. If you prepare well in advance, you’ll be able to work in an efficient manner for the duration of your campaign.

Myth #3: It’s all about the money

Reality: A successful campaign isn’t about just reaching your funding goal. Crowdfunding offers more than just a boost in finances. It’s a great way to validate your idea and generate some buzz.

Crowdfunding is changing how entrepreneurs and innovators are bringing products to market. It is enabling thousands of innovators to generate brand awareness and facilitate a larger conversation with backers and potential customers, all while still in the product development process.

Myth #4: All crowdfunding platforms are the same 

Reality: There are a wide variety of platforms that you can choose from, so you need to understand the nuances between them in order to identify which one is best for your project. Choosing the right crowdfunding platform is important to the success of a crowdfunding campaign in converting people who view your campaign into backers.

Be sure you research what each platform offers, including fees, flexibility, customisation and support to help you run a successful campaign. Depending on your product, there may be some platforms that are more appropriate than others. Another factor to consider is the fundraising model each platform uses as there are several available, including rewards, equity, donation, hybrid, and lending.

Myth #5: A big social following is required to be successful

Reality: Social media is a great way to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign, however, it’s not the only way.

The fundamental key for effective outreach is engagement. When planning your outreach strategy, keep your request as personalised as possible in order to increase the chance of a contribution. Email, for example, is often a more effective way of reaching contributors because it’s direct and personal. Avoid sending mass ‘BCC emails’ and instead send individually tailored messages. Whilst this might take more time, it’s likely to result in more contributions.

Regardless of your assumptions about starting a business, the most important thing to remember is that crowdfunding is much more than a months’ long campaign to reach a funding goal. It can also be used to raise awareness amongst consumers and for market validation. There are a plethora of factors to take into consideration before launching a campaign such as who’ll be part of your team, what incentives you’ll be offering your backers and how you’ll be building your database of contacts. Once you have your assets all lined up and you’re ready to go. It’s time to click the ‘launch’ button and dispel the crowdfunding myths once and for all.

 

Failing business
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

Lessons From Carillion: Act Now And Ensure Auditor Independence

LESSONS FROM CARILLION: ACT NOW AND ENSURE AUDITOR INDEPENDENCE

By Mehran Eftekhar, Group Finance & Corporate Services Director, Nest Investments

With a parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of Carillion underway, Britain’s four biggest accountancy firms are facing new scrutiny. All of the Big 4 apparently failed to detect a near £1 billion overvaluation of assets in the company.

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is calling for the competition regulator to investigate audit failings leading up to Carillion’s collapse. One of the biggest issues the Carillion story has exposed is the varied quality of independent oversight in the business.

The FRC investigation will look at the ethical and technical standards of the auditors involved. Their independence and integrity will be under the spotlight like never before. The FRC’s Chief Executive, Stephen Haddrill, has told MPs there needs to be more competition in the major accounting and audit markets. Unfortunately, independence – or the lack thereof – is a contentious issue already debated but with little resulting action. Back in 2013, the Big 4 were heavily criticised for their close personal relationships with chief executives. Nothing was done.

Taking lessons from the Carillion example, and the countless before it, is vital for all growing businesses. Whilst the FRC’s investigations will take many months, there are crucial, simple steps businesses can take now to safeguard the quality of their own audits.

It starts with independence…

A key to delivering quality auditing and accountancy services is understanding the business model whilst remaining independent. This independence is characterised by integrity and objectivity when assessing clients’ businesses and accounts. Auditors must carry out their work fearlessly, freely, without bias and without vested interests in the audit’s outcome so that the reports they produce are accurate and correctly evidenced.

To be truly independent, an auditor must achieve something experts call ‘independence of mind’. This means that the auditor can make unilateral decisions and does not find itself facing conflicts of interest that impact upon financial reporting. Pressures from senior executives, as well as the auditor’s internal pressures to upsell additional services, and the emotional pull of interpersonal relationships are all factors that can impact on true auditor independence.

Can independence ever really be assured?

The short answer is no. But there are several steps that business leaders can take to ensure greater independence as their corporate governance framework develops.

1) Keep auditors separate from your Board of Directors
Understand that an external auditor makes their living from the fee that you pay them. Naturally, this creates pressure to work in a way that will not jeopardise engagement. Whether subconsciously or not, this can potentially impact upon the independence of the audit’s outcome. Many studies have found that the larger the fee, the more likely an auditor is to fluff their role and produce an audit that panders to their client, rather than giving them the advice they need. To avoid manipulation of figures, usually inadvertent or subconscious, auditors need to be protected from the Board of Directors in a way which allows them to challenge statements without fear of recrimination. Brief your Board and check egos at the door, if you want independent results.

2) Help auditors to understand your business
Very often audits start without understanding the client business model: a quick, tick-box exercise does not work. External auditors must have a purpose and the required knowledge of the processes they are auditing. It is very well checking historical information, but projections going forward with a comprehensive business plan provide valuable information. Make sure your auditors have transparent access to this in order to provide the most objective review possible.

3) Diversify suppliers
Often audit firms are large organisations that provide multiple services to one client. Tax advice, ICT consultancy and even marketing communications support are some of the additional services offered by the Big 4. Adding substantial non-audit fees into your professional relationship can seriously impact upon auditor independence. Reduce the auditor’s dependence on you, and preserve their independence, by shopping around for other suppliers.

4) Don’t keep using the same audit firm
Finding an external firm that you like can sometimes be a challenge, but it is important to rotate audit contracts so that personal relationships do not hamper auditor independence. By keeping the same audit firm year after year, it is nearly impossible for external auditors to not become conflicted between reporting financial vulnerabilities or failings and the need to maintain relations and contracts. Instead, when an auditor knows that their contract is to be replaced, they become inclined to produce work of an extremely high and independent quality, to avoid the embarrassment of the incoming audit team exposing their errors.

Currently the United States is leading the way in ensuring auditor independence. There is a legal requirement on businesses to review audit control procedures every three years, ensuring that external audits are carried out professionally and independently. No such system has been formally implemented in the UK. The Carillion story may see tides turning in the near future.

Businesses must ensure they are being provided with the highest quality audit reports. Follow the steps above to avoid the same fate as Carillion. Your reports will be of higher quality and you will secure the future of your business.

 

3EAccounting
AccountancyRegulation

A Sneak Peek into the Success Story of 3E Accounting

A Sneak Peek into the Success Story of 3E Accounting

3E Accounting Pte. Ltd. stands out as one of the leading service providers, especially in Singapore Companies Registration and Corporate Secretarial Services, with its one-stop solution that covers all of its client’s accounting and regulatory requirements. We spoke to Managing Director, Lawrence Chai, to gain an insight into the firm’s impressive success.

Throughout Singapore, many people are looking for a reliable services provider who can fulfil their accounting, taxation, secretarial, immigration, human resources, payroll, legal, marketing and other compliance need. Located in Novena, 3E Accounting makes the cut as one of the leaders in these cost-effective professional solutions for startups and small- to medium-sized firms with their principle: efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

The professional team at 3E Accounting, which comprises highly experienced and expert professionals in Singapore’s financial, tax, corporate and regulatory milieu, is one of the important reasons that factorised the success of the company.

The husband and wife team, who are also the founders of 3E Accounting, Lawrence Chai and Stephanie Chua are the driving force behind the continuous success that 3E Accounting achieves. Before starting up 3E Accounting, the pair worked for an audit firm where work-life balance was not an important part of the workplace culture. When they were expecting their first child in 2011, the thought of having more family time prompted them to start their accounting firm.

Another key factor was that they both noticed the discrepancy in services at some other firms in Singapore. Many accounting companies are offering overpriced financial services which not many people can afford. Drawing on their combined years of experience in the industry, both Lawrence and Stephanie were confident that they could start an accounting firm that offers financial services at affordable price.

“We started everything from scratch. I assumed the role of Managing Director, while Stephanie assumed the role of Director. It might sound incredible that a small firm started in 2011with two staff and limited clients would have penetrated the market (high, medium and low segment) at such an incredibly fast rate. Yet, we did it!”

“As of now, we are proud to say that 3E Accounting is currently one of the leading service providers in Singapore that supports entrepreneurs to start their business with our one-stop solutions.” said Lawrence. Having built the company from scratch, Lawrence clearly has a goal in mind and he outlines the vision of the firm, detailing what techniques will be used in order for staff to hit their targets and achieve the overall mission, something he is clearly excited about. 3E Accounting is not just a normal accounting firm, but a one-stop solution provider that offers all the services under one roof. The diversity in services shows that 3E Accounting is truly the one-stop solution services provider in Singapore.

In addition to this, expanding the geographic footprint of the business to the whole world has always been one of its core goal. 3E Accounting expanded into Malaysia in 2014, and it is currently the leading services provider in Malaysia. In 2016, 3E Accounting started its own international accounting network: 3E Accounting International network, which is managed by 3E Accounting International. It’s expanding and growing fast with 54 countries, 86 offices and 1,300 staff worldwide today. The “Best Home-grown Global Accounting Network” award was the important milestone as it endorsed the reputation of the international network.

Lawrence goes into a bit more detail about the accounting network.

“We are the Accounting Alliance that consists of top international accounting firms across the globe. 3E Accounting International accounting network only recognises accountancy companies or global corporate service providers with strong professional backgrounds and product knowledge. Our Accounting Alliance members will embrace a service culture that emphasises efficiency and effectiveness through personal touch, swift response times, reliability and innovative thinking. We work together within the global framework provided by the international alliance of global accounting firms, where most of our member firms can provide integrated one-stop solution services and international accounting services to our clients.”

Capitalising on its global success, 3E Accounting has also garnered a reputation for being a tech savvy accounting firm. It has also recently become the first accounting firm to implement the revolutionary double robotic technology. The adaptation of the emerging robotics technology in the workplace provides a flexible working environment for staff. Besides, this technology also enables the firm’s valuable workers to contribute and communicate with other team members, regardless of the geographical barriers.

Moreover, 3E Accounting is well aware of the urgency of employing software or online tools in today’s business world, and Lawrence and Stephanie understand how this can benefit all companies in the long run. Therefore, specialists in 3E Accounting will take the initiative to introduce suitable software or tool that suits their customer’s business. In relation to this, 3E Accounting is now a Xero Certified Advisor, providing Xero Cloud Accounting Software in Singapore on valuable business and tax advice that assists our client’s in setting up Xero software. Furthermore, 3E Accounting is also a QuickBooks ProAdvisors that provides QuickBooks Online Services in Singapore to our clients, as well as deep product knowledge and a stellar client service.

On top of that, 3E Accounting value talents more than anyone else does. They believe that solving the hardest problems requires the best people. “We think that the best people will be drawn to
the opportunity to work on the hardest problems and that’s where we build our firm around that belief.” The large pool of professionals in 3E Accounting is one of the notable reasons that the firm outperforms its peers. There is a right mix and number of accredited and experienced professionals in the team, such as a registered qualified accountant, qualified secretaries, a qualified tax agent and a qualified GST agent, along with a qualified HR personnel, and lastly a qualified immigration consultant. Besides, they have a strong network with professionals and specialists from different fields, who they can refer their client to for help, that consists of good lawyers, bankers, fintech companies, auditors, software vendors, property agents, insurance agents and many more. The strong network and resources are a kind of assurance to clients that they can get any required assistance when they come to 3E Accounting.

3E Accounting put client interests ahead of the firm’s. To ensure that clients are able to have an input into the firm’s operations, 3E Accounting uses its complaints system as a customer whistleblowing charter, because the firm believes that customers’ views count and should be acted upon. Their almost 100% customer satisfaction score vouches their reputation. Every complaint is personally handled by Lawrence and is taken with incredibly seriousness, and dealt with the utmost urgency. The team are committed to responding to clients within 24 hours, and the management are always monitoring the system to ensure all staff adhere to the principle.

As a leading player in the finance industry, Lawrence gives us his views on the state of the industry at present, and explains what major challenges the company and the industry face. He then goes on to describe how 3E Accounting stays ahead of emerging developments within the industry.

“Fundamentally, the major challenge that we are facing now is the adaptation of technology by accounting firms and how to transform the business to be future-ready. For 3E Accounting, we incorporate technology into our workplace and stay updated on all new developments. We adopt technology and get ourselves ready for the future, as we have migrated most of our services to the cloud as well as a hybrid IT environment with physical servers and cloud based servers.

“We have strong banking relationships with our banking counterpart – OCBC Bank. 3E Accounting has been recognised as an OCBC Platinum Partner in 2017 in Malaysia. This is not an ordinary recognition and we are one of the few companies to get it,” Internally, it is vital that all of Lawrence’s employees are working towards the same mission and heading the same direction.

He explains how he cultivates the good internal culture within the firm, ensuring that staff can provide the very best service to its clients. “Honestly, I am proud to say that we have a family-oriented working environment at 3E Accounting. We started 3E Accounting when we were expecting our first child, and that is the
main reason that we were inspired to be the best employers in a leading firm that promotes a good work-life balance in accounting industry. The company offers employees a flexible working arrangement, allowing employees to take leave at any time to take care of their family. With our family-oriented culture, we are able to attract majority of the staff force of more than 90% female for the past five years. At 3E Accounting, we wanted to make a difference.”

“Another thing worth mentioning is we have a low staff turnover rate and high staff retention rate. We do not find it difficult to get talent and we can attract talent to join us easily. Furthermore, we focus on staff professional growth. We provide opportunities and chances to our staff to grow and learn. For example, we trained our administration staff to become immigration consultant, human resource personnel as well as compliance officers. We focus on the capability and experiences rather than just certificate itself.” On 28 November 2016, the team was honoured to have the Senior Minister of State, Mrs Josephine Teo, to visit its headquarter office in Singapore. During the visit, Mrs Teo got to know the good employment practices that have been adopted by 3E Accounting, as well as the technology that the firm has used to enhance work productivity. This aspired the firm to continue to cultivate the work life balance culture.

3E Accounting’s efforts pay off with awards and recognitions. On 1 November 2017, 3E Accounting PLT and 3E Accounting Pte. Ltd were both honoured to be awarded separately, the Best Company Registration Specialist of the Year 2017/2018 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. 3E Accounting was also listed as the Top 30 Accounting Firms in Singapore, as well as being featured in Singapore Business Review’s Magazine for January 2016 issue. This global growth, together with awards and recognition from some of the world’s leading industry experts, highlights 3E Accounting’s ongoing prosperity.

Ultimately, the current management and organisation of 3E Accounting demonstrates the future of accounting firm. The team always work hard to retain its position as the leading services provider. “Our mission is to help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their businesses. We believe we will be successful if our clients are successful. Also, we aim to be the world’s leading corporate service provider, offering services beyond excellence. Lastly, we strive to help SMEs, not because we want to make profits, but because we want to see the SMEs to grow with us”

 

Contact: Lawrence Chai

Address: 51 Goldhill Plaza #07-10/11 Singapore, 308900

Phone: +65 66909262

Website: www.3ecpa.com.sg

housing investment
FundsReal Estate

Real Estate Investments Delivering Mixed Fortunes

Real Estate Investments Delivering Mixed Fortunes

Statistics from the Office of National Statistics, released this February, have shown what many experts in the property sector had been discussing for some time. With prime central London districts in desperate need of further housing, investments into this area would seemingly be a ‘no-brainer’. A large influx of property developers should be praised however it seems that their market positioning hasn’t left them in as good stead as they would have previously hoped.

It seems that many of the developers lost sight of their main audience for the projects and have left themselves in a precarious situation.in need of housing, but this housing has been developed at a price point far above the limit of those who in need of it. As planning applications frequently go to the highest bidder who has large-scale profits ahead of the need to provide ample housing.

Potential doubt over the impact that a lack of impetus from foreign investors will have across the sector, has been the topic of much speculation. With findings published by Land Registry supporting the idea that foreign investors are “shying away from the capitals market”. The figures show a 55% decrease in the number of high-end new build homes sold in London’s most select areas.

In fresh statistics (February 2018) paint a good picture of the UK market, where over the course of 2017 house prices rose by 13.7%, increasing the average UK House price to £258,580. The largest increases were found in Cambridge and the Orkney Islands at 15.7% and 18.2% respectively. These figures do not spread down into the South East where the housing market is traditionally most prosperous.

Of the areas which demonstrated the sharpest decrease, three of the top five are in Greater London, of which two are historically the most affluent areas of London in The City and Kensington & Chelsea with respective decreases of 5.3% and 10.7%. The house prices in these areas have fallen due to the trend of high-end ‘ultra-luxury’ property remaining unsold for long periods of time has been. Analysis from Hometrack has shown

Market analysis from Hometrack demonstrates how figures representing changes in asking price to agreed sale have increased as home-owners continue to take more off the value of their property to increase the likelihood of a completed sale. Over the past 4 years in central London this figure has “grown from 0.5% in 2014 to 4% today, with discounts of up to 10% registered in inner London.”

This downturn in sales has affected all parts of high-end London housing as a report by Mayfair agents demonstrates. There is a recurring pattern of exclusive housing with no residents. This couldn’t be seen in a more exaggerated fashion than when looking at The Shard, this famous building remains in the headlines for its incredible architecture, however, the infamous apartments at the top of The Shard remain unsold almost 5 years after they were initially put on the market. This is at a considerable cost of over £50m. This isn’t a unique situation, as in London alone, almost 2,000 apartments valued over £750,000 remain unsold over a year since their initial entrance into the market.

As Land Registry figures show that since the financial crash of 2008, property values have stuttered in their ability to regain the peak they hit prior to 2008. Over 10 years have passed since this peak and relatively poor performance can be seen when filtering the results by months with the highest rate of completed property sales, from 1995 onwards, there is only one single month post 2008 that features in the top 100.

This trend isn’t exclusively a problem in the United Kingdom. Prime real estate markets across Europe and the United States have suffered a fall in demand leaving the most ostentatious of properties without residents, in what the Financial Times describes as “the five-year global boom…. .appears to be ending in a global glut”

Issues

Issue 2 2018

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, your source for the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

Gracing the cover of this month’s edition, is 3E Accounting Pte. Ltd. The company stands out as being one of the leading service providers, especially in Singapore Companies Registration and Corporate Secretarial Services, with its one-stop solution that covers all of its client’s accounting and regulatory requirements. Taking time to discuss with us the firm’s impressive success, is Managing Director, Lawrence Chai who reveals more about the professional team at 3E Accounting, which comprises highly experienced and expert professionals in Singapore’s financial, tax, corporate and regulatory landscape.

In this month’s issue, we look at how for more than 28 years, Alfa-Bank has been carrying out all major types of banking operations including servicing private and corporate clients, investment banking, trade finance and asset management. We caught up with Head of Private Banking Katerina Mileeva will revealed to us more about the bank, and also its Private Banking Service

Elsewhere in this edition, we learn more about international asset manager, C-QUADRAT who seeks to realise continuous and sustainable growth for its investors. Recently, we profiled the firm and HNA Group, which has recently invested in the company, as we explore what this means for both sides going forwards.

Lastly, since its inception in 2012, B&B Analytics has equipped clients with a complete and proven operating model, enabling them to deliver enhanced transparency, safety and sustainable performance. When speaking to Guido Buehler, we began our quest to find out more about the extensive success of the company.

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

business abroard
Corporate TaxTax

What are the main tax concerns for businesses looking to set up a branch abroad?

The hundreds of different nations across the globe – all with different laws and different tax rules – offer businesses an exciting platform to expand their trade. Financial advisers can look how to best advise their business clients on how to minimise their tax bill, using their knowledge and expertise to identify the best opportunities across the world. Expanding abroad is very expensive as it is but you can save money through an understanding of the tax system.

Challenging economic times mean that companies are looking to save money where they can and reduce their tax payments to stay competitive – especially if they feel that they are paying more tax than is fair.

Tax jurisdictions deliberately attract business by cutting their tax rates

Tax jurisdictions which are struggling economically deliberately cut their corporate tax rate with the pressure to compete and attract more business. Britain is known to be exceptionally ‘high tax’, so it makes financial sense for businesses to look for alternatives-even if they do sometimes go too far!

While companies may look to pay less VAT, they contribute vast amounts to the UK economy in other ways – but they need to stay competitive in order to do so. A huge amount of tax comes from UK businesses, but only a small amount of that is corporation tax. Therefore in its current form, corporate tax is perishing, because a product is no longer made in just one country.

Location, location, location

It is universally acknowledged that companies can minimise their tax bills by setting up branches abroad. For example, Google UK operates in Ireland and Bermuda, taking advantage of the low tax rates and state that they have a responsibility to their shareholders to minimise costs. Google deliberately chose Ireland as its nucleus to coordinate marketing and sales across Europe.

When a business chooses where to locate its distribution and service hubs, headquarters and factories, it makes financial sense to choose a low-tax jurisdiction. Obviously tax is just one of the criteria when a business is looking to set up a branch abroad – they also have to locate near local suppliers and an expert workforce.

It is extremely doubtful that a universal corporate tax law will be implemented across Europe in response to this movement, as this would mean that countries such as Ireland would lose out, no longer able to offer a cheap rate to cut the amount companies must pay on profit thereby no longer attracting business when they desperately need to.

Transfer pricing

Cash-needy governments are looking to crack down on businesses saving tax abroad, but even if a company can’t set up a branch abroad it can still move its taxable profits overseas. For example, the UK part of the business lending money to other branches abroad – this is known as ‘transfer pricing’. Intercompany transactions are of course perfectly legal.

Setting up a branch abroad for the first time

With the knowledge that taxes vary from country to country, the first step is to maximise tax efficiency by finding out what tax you are required to pay in which country.

Planning your move is crucial – your financial advisor will need to look into whether you need to create a permanent establishment abroad and whether it will benefit your business better as a branch or a subsidiary.

Other factors to negotiate or consider include whether you should recruit staff locally, or bring UK staff (UK tax resident or overseas residency) and how that will impact tax you pay. You will need to register for local tax and take into account your foreign currency, banking obligations and repatriation of profits.

These are the main tax concerns which can have significant consequence for your business:

• Payroll tax obligations

Payroll Tax is worked out by your wage total that you pay out per month and is collected in each branch of the business

• The impact of the OECD BEPS programme

The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) designed a plan known as the BEPS programme, to try to reform the international tax system

• Controlled Foreign Companies legislation

The legislation is designed to prevent low tax jurisdictions benefiting from UK profits

• Withholding taxes

This is a tax deduction in wages, paid directly to the government

• Transfer of Assets Abroad

The Transfer of Assets Abroad (TOAA) prevents UK nationals using foreign transfers to save on tax

• Thin capitalisation

Thin capitalisation is where a business is financially boosted via a high level of debt compared to equity

• Structuring of operations including the foreign branch exemption

UK businesses can apply for profits of their branches abroad to be exempt from UK taxation

• Double tax treaty issues

Bilateral tax treaties alleviate double taxation when it happens – most EU countries have this in place

• Corporate tax residency

HMRC are seeking to maximise tax during this currently unstable economic time

• Operation of the UK R&D and Patent Box tax regimes

Businesses can apply for a lower corporation tax rate for profits made by patented inventions.

There are many key benefits for a business in setting up a branch abroad, including tax savings that can be found in the government incentives of the country you choose to move to.

Differing countries are sure to want to attract your business and a branch abroad offers access to a potentially untapped market, an increase in global brand identity and better business recognition and support in a more encouraging environment.

Seeking expert tax advice will allow you to watch out for the pitfalls and take advantage of the opportunity to expand and grow your business.

stock market
High Net-worth IndividualsWealth Management

2017 Was The Year Of The Bull 2018 May Not Be

2017 was the year of the bull – 2018 may not be

January is an important month in the investment calendar – this year more than most. After a bullish 2017, where most risk asset classes made consistent, if not impressive gains, many feared this long bull run would come to a shuddering halt. However, a month in to 2018 and with a round of solid economic data coming out, the mood of market participants has become increasingly optimistic.

But should they be? It is undeniable that after the tumult of 2016, 2017 saw markets perform exceptionally well, despite a tense geopolitical backdrop. Take major indices as an example. Over the course of the 2017 calendar year the FTSE100 was up 7.6%, the FTSE250 was up 14.65%, the Dow Jones closed 25% higher and the NASDAQ climbed 28%.

2018, however, will be more difficult. The aftermath of the financial crisis and the monetary policies pursued by central banks in the form of quantitative easing has led to stretched valuations across the board. The impact of an increased money supply has even trickled down in to the valuations of newer, less tangible asset classes like cryptocurrencies.

In 2017, the S&P saw 12% earnings growth against a backdrop of a 20% price rise. In other words, share prices are rising faster than earnings and this year there are similar expectations and extrapolations in terms of earnings growth across most major markets.

However, with high expectations and high valuations, danger is never far away. Global economic growth will generate some momentum, alongside the tax reforms in the US. With most major economies growing simultaneously, there may well be an accretive effect which feeds through in to global GDP growth. However, we are at a late point in investment market and economic cycles respectively.

At London & Capital we are advising clients to proceed with caution and to remember the importance of protecting capital especially when the market environment is driven by greed.

Part of the reason for caution is the prospect of further monetary policy tightening. At the very least there will be a series of interest rate hikes in the US with the prospects of a reduction in monetary stimulus in Europe and even in Japan.

However, it is the UK that represents the best example of the pitfalls from the interest rate cycle. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee’s recent hawkish rhetoric may potentially lead to a trigger for a downturn from the interest rate cycle. The uncertainty around Brexit and the stretched British consumer means that rate hikes in the UK would be a blunt instrument in dealing with temporary cost inflation from a currency devaluation which has now passed.

Additionally, with the UK consumer having taken on significant levels of personal debt since the financial crisis, interest rate rises at this stage may hamper the spending of Britons further still and create a bust in consumption from a classic rate cycle trigger.

It is on the subject of debt that we need to talk about another significant economic player: China.

China’s debt risk is considerable. Its debt to GDP ratio has surpassed 200% as the Chinese economy has pivoted from being production and export-led, to being consumption based. The 200% threshold represents a watershed moment. This is the point at which in the past countries from Japan, Spain and the Tiger economies of the Far East in the late 90s reached before they slowed significantly and endured economic discomfort.

China will likely be unable to continue growing at the 6% clip it has in the recent past given this debt level. As the world’s second largest economy, even a relatively small drop in the rate of growth could have significant consequences – not just for manufacturers, industrials and those who have seen China as the world’s workshop. It will also have an impact on retailers keen to target an increasingly wealthy Chinese consumer. Commodity prices could also be affected.

China’s demographics are also changing quickly. With the effects of the one-child policy promoted by the Chinese Communist Party in the latter part of the 20th Century becoming more apparent, China’s population is peaking, meaning a supersize generation of retirees may need to be supported by a smaller, younger cohort. This again could constrain disposable income with all the consequences that brings to business. As such, it may well be that the Middle Kingdom grows old before it grows rich.

There are plenty of warning signs which should make investors cautious about the investment landscape in 2018. This year, the old investment adage that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results has never been truer.

Roger Jones is Head of Equities at London & Capital. London & Capital is an independent wealth and asset manager. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for investment advice. Always seek appropriate professional advice.

investment
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Storefronting in investment banking – technology and the rise of ‘window-shopping’

Storefronting in investment banking – technology and the rise of ‘window-shopping’

Abhijit Deb, Head of Banking & Financial Services, UK & Ireland, Cognizant

People’s interactions with their banks have undergone an extraordinary transformation. From the emergence of app-only challengers such as Monzo to the evolution of physical branches, technology has dramatically changed the age-old relationship. However, compared to typical high street interactions, the investment banking landscape has always been markedly different, sustained by services such as capital raising and M&A advisory. Thanks to this structure, there has never been any pressure on such firms to vary the products offered to clients.

Since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, a piece of legislation that separated commercial banks from their retail counterparts and the annulment of which is considered by many to be a primary cause of the financial crisis, members of the former group have become powerhouses trading on information and access to credit. In this context, huge organisations such as JP Morgan and Merryl Lynch can draw on low-cost funding without having to interact with other banks not affiliated to them. However, combined with increased competition and the cost of regulation, recent rhetoric around breaking up the power of Wall Street has caused speculation  that the act will be re-instated. Ten years on from the financial crisis that the act’s repeal supposedly ignited, these factors are putting commercial banks and the existing industry model under pressure.

Investing in technology

While the core services around equity, debt, structured finance and M&A will endure, many of the ‘low touch’ activities carried out by investment banks are being commoditised by technology. These are typically people-intensive processes such as regulatory reporting, risk management and product control. Thanks to automation, the next 10-15 years may present a vastly different landscape in which only the most highly customised, ‘high touch’ services are handled by humans. For example, investment banks could offer customised product and pricing systems for the average institutional customer, using a fraction of the time and human intervention that is needed today.

Furthermore, services such as Know Your Customer (KYC) that are core, but non-differentiated, are becoming simplified and now take minutes rather than days, in the same way that retail outfits such as Monzo have achieved. Some organisations are already using blockchain-based platforms for instant settlements, mitigating credit and counterparty risks simultaneously and paving the way for ‘exception-only’ intervention. In fact, a recent Cognizant study found that 90% of financial services executives say their firm has identified or is currently identifying processes and functions that can be automated through the technology. Even ancillary services such as research can be easily personalised for institutional and high-net-worth clients using automation, based on buying behaviour patterns. Most novel for investment banks, technology is enabling greater collaboration between banks. Using smart algorithms, organisations can select a syndicate of lenders, giving a corporation easier access to funding, through reverse auctions taking place in real-time. Lead by mass automation, investment banks are experiencing the same kind of digital disruption felt by their retail siblings.

The dawn of the storefront model

Beyond these basic process efficiencies, technology in our view has heralded the arrival of a ‘storefront’ model in investment banking, something usually associated with the retail banks. The defining factor of this is the level of personalisation provided, in this case, to institutional clients, high-net-worth individuals and even sovereign entities. Compared with the one-size-fits-all approach of old, clients are now presented with an array of product combinations depending on their requirements, in the same way that consumers would take out a loan. For example, a bond-issue could feasibly be as easy as buying a mortgage, while a mezzanine financing deal could be carried out via a series of simple, context-dependent steps to profile, risk-score and approve the financing. Therefore, we are seeing specialist investment banks without a retail arm become sophisticated ‘virtual windows’, through which clients of all risk profiles and needs will be able to shop for services.

As this model gains traction, institutional clients will also be able to ‘test-drive’ trading portfolios and other products with simulated returns. This access to sophisticated software that banks provide their clients gives them an additional incentive to buy. It is only a matter of time before similar platforms for trading and risk management are opened up to clients, in the same way that Amazon allows us to preview a book before buying. Organisations such as Goldman Sachs are leading the way in this field, tailoring their services and marketing themselves as tech firms in the business of banking. This new model forces investment banks to re-consider how they price and design products, although they often take advantage by charging a premium for personalised products, something that increases alongside the value of the customer. While it is likely to be the smaller, more agile investment banks that move down this path first ahead of larger outfits, change is coming for organisations of all sizes.

Equally interesting is how this trend will impact the fortunes of traditional investment banks that are now foraying into more mainstream consumer banking, a prime example of which is Goldman Sachs with their Marcus  lending platform which is soon to come to the UK in 2018. In Goldman’s case they will cover online deposits and extend to lending over time, seeking to both take on established high street players as well as create a more sustainable customer-base. And once traditional sell-side firms venture into the retail space, we should start to see the full extent of this ‘store-fronting’ for a wider cross-section of customers across investment and retail banks.

Crossing the bridge to personalisation

Depending on the extent that this route is chosen, the new model will require an overhaul of an organisation’s technology infrastructure and the way they price, sell, execute, clear and maintain products, all the way through from customer experience to back-end design. Investment banks are increasingly in a position where they must adapt and differentiate, or find themselves racing to under-cut competitors on price.

Ironically, while recent years have seen a huge focus on a ‘customer experience’ revolution in consumer finance, it is the sedate world of investment banking that is primed for change. Moving away from a world of bland trading and towards more tailored offerings may result in a bigger shop window with more products than retail banks, but the impact will be similar as technology simplifies the buying experience for institutional clients. This is undoubtedly a seismic shift for the industry. Whether incremental or something that happens all at once, we will see a fundamental change in how investment banks interact with their clients. Whatever the speed of transition and style of delivery, they must remember that the primary goal is to provide customers with the most intuitive service possible.

Issues

Issue 1 2018

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the first edition of Wealth & Finance for 2018. Providing you with an insight into the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In this month’s issue, we discover more about Opilio Recruitment. The firm was established in 2010 and is the go-to digital recruitment agency for global brands and tech start-ups. We spoke to Sheba Karamat as we find out more about this knowledgeable and industry leading firm.

Also in this edition, Beckford James are experienced, independent chartered financial planners. We invited Partner & Chartered Financial Planner, Joseph Maguire to provide us with an insight into the company’s success behind the scenes.

On the theme of success, Alta Semper invests patient, flexible and strategic capital across growth markets with a specific focus on Africa. We invited Afsane Jetha to tell us more about the firm as we examine the secrets behind its success. 

Elsewhere in this issue, established in 2004, Idappcom is a privately owned security software development and security services business. We profiled the firm and sat down with CEO, Ray Bryant who reveals more about one of the rising companies in the exciting world of cybersecurity.

Lastly, as we look ahead to the possibilities that 2018 has to offer, Anthony Morrow, CEO of evestor.co.uk comments on what 2018 holds for fintech and robo-advice.

Here at Wealth & Finance, we hope that you enjoy reading this edition, and we wish you all the best for 2018.

Cryptocurrency; flash in the pan or long-term investment opportunity?
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

Cryptocurrency; flash in the pan or long-term investment opportunity?

Cryptocurrency; flash in the pan or long-term investment opportunity?

By Arianne King, Managing Partner, Al Bawardi Critchlow

Cryptocurrencies have dominated media headlines over the past few months, and no wonder with the value of a single Bitcoin – the original digital currency – growing by more than 1000% in 2017. It would be hard to think of another investment opportunity capable of delivering those returns.

Of course, these figures don’t paint the full story of Bitcoin. 2017 was a rollercoaster ride, with plenty of spectacular price fluctuations along the way, especially during the month of December, when the value of a coin rose from approximately £8,100 to in excess of £14,500 in just a matter of days. Since then, Bitcoin’s crown has slipped a little. At time of writing, a single coin is valued at approximately £8,700, but it’s still worth bearing in mind that this still represents a healthy profit for anyone who invested prior to December’s remarkable rise.

It’s not all about Bitcoin though. Other cryptocurrencies have also begun to attract the attentions of potential investors. Ethereum, Dash and Ripple are just three of note, but there are countless others springing up on a seemingly daily basis.

Investors must of course exercise extreme caution before entering this market, especially as many industry experts consider Bitcoin’s recent slide could be a sign of things to come. But nevertheless, governments, traditional banks, financial regulators, and both commercial and hobby investors are increasingly investigating how they can participate in the market.

So, could this be the year when cryptocurrencies gain traction with everyday investors?

Crypto’s image problem

To achieve mainstream appeal, digital currencies must first shake off their close associations with the criminal underworld. Their links to the Dark Web, for money laundering, funding terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as many other illegal activities, represents a major barrier to investors.

The market still has a long way to go to disassociate itself with these shady beginnings. While there are now many legitimate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) of new currencies, regulators – most notably the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) – are still warning investors to be on the lookout for bogus ICOs. Scams are so problematic that in China the government has banned ICOs altogether.

A lack of adequate security is another factor inhibiting mainstream participation. November 2017’s $31m hack on a Tether Treasury Wallet was just one in a long line of thefts.

While it’s easy to paint a bleak picture of cryptocurrencies, it is still worth remembering that not every ICO is a ruse and not every wallet is vulnerable to hackers. The modus operandi of virtual currency operators vary considerably, as do their underlying technology infrastructures. Due diligence should be undertaken before contemplating any type of investment, however small.

The role of regulation

Digital currencies have gained momentum because, for the most part, they fall outside of the jurisdiction of governments, regulators and central banks. As true global currencies, they do not recognise trading arrangements or geographic boundaries. This frictionless quality is their appeal, but it also makes them hard to monitor and regulate.

That hasn’t stopped traditional financial institutions and law makers from trying to get involved. Indeed, over recent months many of the more traditional players have shifted from being mere observers to taking a more active role.

In particular, regulation is set to be tightened. Laws being muted by the UK and some EU governments recognise the need to update anti-money laundering legislation so it is fit for the digital age. As a by-product, it could also bring much needed credibility and stability to what is an immature, volatile market.

Of course, cryptocurrency-related regulation is itself immature and in a state of flux, as law makers attempt to keep pace with this rapidly evolving market. Even though the crypto-market is open to everyone via the internet, legislation and regulations vary considerably between countries. Activity that is perfectly legal in one country, might be illegal in another. For example, in Bangladesh, crypto is outlawed completely; anyone investing could be found guilty of money laundering. At the other end of the scale, SBB, the Swiss rail operator, accepts Bitcoin as payment.

While some countries will undoubtedly use regulation to inhibit or even ban adoption, more openminded regulation may provide the impetus required to take digital currencies mainstream. That said, if momentum continues to build, the day will soon arrive when it is almost impossible for any regulator to outlaw or restrict their use.

Blockchain: the real opportunity?

Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies and, despite the headlines about wallet hacks, it is inherently secure.

Each blockchain contains a decentralised ledger of all transactions which can neither be amended or deleted. Each individual block in the chain has a timestamp and a link to the previous block; this forms a chronological chain that is encrypted to ensure records cannot be altered by others. Theft or fraud is extremely difficult, not just because of the encryption, but also because copies of each blockchain are distributed throughout a peer to peer network. No changes can be made to the blockchain without that change being applied to all blocks in the chain.

This represents a major advancement over traditional banking systems, which are often based on older technology with known vulnerabilities. Indeed, the Australian Stock Exchange recently announced its plans to replace its current clearing system with blockchain technology.

Blockchain security is likely to be the crypto market’s greatest attribute as it strives to establish its mainstream credentials.

What next for crypto?

Few people would have predicted what has happened to Bitcoin’s value over the past few months. What will happen in 2018 is largely anyone’s guess. However, there are signs that it – together with other cryptocurrencies – are beginning to appeal to a wider set of investors.

Increased interest from the regulators, coupled with mainstream financial brands incorporating blockchain technology into their daily business operations, is beginning to provide credibility and stability to what is still a very immature and unpredictable market. While it’s still very much in its adolescence, it will be interesting to see the rate at which the market grows up.



An Ode to Banks: Collaborate And Thrive
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

An Ode to Banks: Collaborate And Thrive


An Ode to Banks: Collaborate And Thrive

Open banking will soon be with us, while some people are still fighting to accept APIs as the new reality, for many the dialogue has moved on and they now look to identify partners with whom they can collaborate and thrive. Andrew H Brown, Chief Risk Officer, Earthport Plc, tells us more.

The pace of change in the financial system is ever increasing: new infrastructures, legislation and regulation, and market and product evolution. But, who pays for these changes?

Ultimately, the consumer pays for every change, either directly or indirectly, but as PSD2 goes live in January 2018, there is some anxiety about this mandated move towards “open” banking. Some of that angst focuses on who is to pay for continued development of the infrastructure. Are the costs of the required broader access to be borne by the banks or shared across the entities that provide alternative services via that access?

Such a debate is hardly surprising when the impact will be, at least in some areas, to end the banking monopoly that has existed for many years over a wide range of financial services. Should the banks that developed and maintain these utilities be forced to give “free” access to other commercial (potentially competitive) entities?

In truth, any and all costs always end up with the customer, and if there is an individual consumer behind that, with him or her. Sothe oft referenced concept of “free banking” has always been something of a fallacy, albeit one that has perpetuated for decades.

As banks and their core services become more akin to utilities, the opacity of the pricing of these services is a cause of concern, so the provision of pricing transparency in offerings such as Earthport’s own is increasingly a competitive differentiator.

During the financial crisis, the bail-out of banks via the public purse challenged the definition of a free market – at least as it had been applied to banks. A “free market” after all, removes the need for a “lender of last resort” allowing banks to operate outside of regulation and standalone.

The crisis demonstrated that banks and governments are indelibly linked, that sovereign nations need a robust and stable banking system, and that that system must not be allowed to fail in times of stress. Banks are under obligation to adhere to legislation, regulation and codes of practice, and to meet a variety of social responsibilities. These include the provision of services to the most vulnerable in society, access for rural communities etc. Sometimes these complex obligations are evident in direct legislation (e.g. requiring the provision of free or low-cost current accounts) sometimes supported through government programmes (e.g. those ensuring the provision of ATMs in remote and/or less profitable areas).

We didn’t quite get to see what would happen if the system actually unwound, but we came perilously close. Moreover, despite widespread criticism of the banks, their legacy systems, and indeed their internal cultures, we have yet to see a mass exodus of bank customers to alternative providers. Nevertheless, it should have been something of a wake-up call.

PSD2 and open banking are, at least in part, responses to the financial crisis. A recognition of too much concentration risk in the system. Banks now fear a different risk; that such legislative prescription will support their disintermediation, driving wholesale industry changes that will erode their market share across a wide range of financial services.

But for those that do adapt to this brave new world (and it is now inevitable) choosing the right partners means banks can benefit from their most valuable assets: the scale of their customer bases, the associated deep rich data, and the hard to erode Trust that consumers have in their brands. The right partners can enable banks to leapfrog development costs, unchain themselves from monolithic legacy systems and directly leverage exciting new technologies to provide cheaper, better and more efficient services.

To do this they will need to act with some urgency, some institutions continue to invest heavily in aged systems lacking the flexibility to move with the changing dynamic. However, this new regulatory framework around the “free market” will be good news for consumers.

It means a greater choice of better services. The mythical free banking era is long gone as banks struggle to make the margins they did in the past, hampered by low interest rate regimes, more challenging capital and other regulatory demands, and fresh competition from nimble providers without legacy issues.

Most banks now realise that life will never be the same as it was before 2008 – and some are already making forays into the brave new world, working with carefully identified partners, learning how to be successful after the vertically integrated model is re-tooled, determining new pricing models across multi-party chains. Given what we experienced over the past decade, sharing the risk and the reward isn’t such a bad thing, is it?

Press releases

The 2017 Finance Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, 2017– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 Finance Awards.

The finance industry is a key driver of the global economy. From asset managers through to bankers, investment advisors to software developers, the 2017 Finance Awards are dedicated to supporting and recognising these talented and dedicated firms, individuals and departments.

Now in its 4th year, the Finance awards are a prestigious program, and winning one is no mean feat.

Sophie Milner, Awards Coordinator commented on the success of the winners: “These awards are a badge of honour, a stamp of excellence, and all of our award winners are part of an exclusive and illustrious group comprising of some of the most influential names in the financial market. I would like to offer them my congratulations and wish them the very best of luck for the future.”

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

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly 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.

Issues

Wealth & Finance December 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the December edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, bringing you with an insight into the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, on the 14th December, Funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo”) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sun Country Airlines, the largest privately-held fully independent airline in the United States, from brothers Marty and Mitch Davis. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, is targeted to close during the first quarter of 2018.

In this month’s issue, we learn more about the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility, Zebra Technologies. The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Olivier Leonetti provides insights into what Zebra delivers and what it takes to be successful in the technology industry.

Keeping on the topic of success stories, Nexus Forensic Services who have been in business since 2006, play a leading role in the forensics industry through its involvement and membership in self-regulatory bodies. One of the Directors of Nexus, Mary-Anne Whittles provides us with an overview of the company’s services and future aspirations.

Also in this month’s edition, we profile full service on-site health, fitness and wellbeing management company, Aquila as we look to explore the secrets behind its ongoing success.

Finally, Infinox Capital is a global brokerage, headquartered in London and provides a range of services to its valued clients. Recently, we spoke to Jay Mawji to discover more about the firm and how it works to provide the very highest standards of support and service.

Here at Wealth & Finance, we hope you enjoy reading this thrilling edition and look forward to hearing from you.

Press releases

The 2017 Wealth & Finance Business Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, 2017– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 Business Awards.

Success in business is a challenge in today’s fast paced global market, as companies compete for customers with competitors from around the world thanks to the increased prevalence of technology in the international corporate landscape.

Despite this, many firms are flourishing and constantly seeking to offer clients the very highest standards of service and innovative products that will meet their exact needs. As such, the 2017 Wealth & Finance Business Awards aims to recognise these companies, and the individuals driving them, showcasing their achievements and successes from the past 12 months.

Commenting on the program, Peter Rujgev, Awards Coordinator expressed pride in the success of these deserving winners: “Congratulations are definitely in order for every one of my winners, and I wish them the very best of luck as they look towards bright and exciting futures.”

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

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly 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.

QICGRE and Clean Energy Finance Corporation Partner In An Australian First
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

QICGRE and Clean Energy Finance Corporation Partner In An Australian First

QICGRE and Clean Energy Finance Corporation Partner In An Australian First

In an Australian retail property first, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will invest $200 million into QICGRE’s flagship Shopping Centre Fund (QSCF) to undertake improvements in energy performance across the QSCF shopping centre portfolio.

The senior debt facility is the CEFC’s largest property investment commitment to date and will support improvements in its Australian shopping centres located in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.

Australian shopping centres, which account for 36 per cent of commercial building energy consumption, are a relatively untapped opportunity to transform energy use and reduce carbon emissions. They also provide the opportunity to make local communities “greener” by engaging with customers with initiatives to improve sustainability and reduce energy use.

There more than 1,750 shopping centres in Australia, and yet less than 10 per cent of them have attained National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) ratings that measure how well they perform in terms of energy use. That represents enormous potential for improvement.

Shopping centres have substantial energy needs with large enclosed malls and retail areas necessitating ‘year-round’ heating and air-conditioning supply. There is a range of environmental initiatives that can be implemented to deliver energy efficiencies in shopping centre operations

QSCF’s retail footprint encompasses over 1 million square metres of floor space and, each year, accommodates more than 130 million visitations, generating more than $5 billion in retail transactions.
Through the CEFC’s agreement with QSCF, QICGRE will provide a pathway to reducing energy consumption and will undertake customer engagement activities that inform shoppers of the initiatives being carried out.

Steve Leigh, Managing Director of QICGRE said the agreement reached with CEFC was an important milestone in the history of the organisation.

“All of the funds in our portfolio are guided by a firm commitment to driving improvements in ESG-related initiatives, and in particular focusing on energy reduction and security across the portfolio.

“In a broader sense, successfully delivering these initiatives contributes to achieving our triple bottom line objectives incorporating economic and environmental factors, and social priorities.

“Our ESG Strategy and operating procedures align with globally recognised standards and we partner with respected organisations to assist us in the delivery of programs designed to achieve industry best-practice.”

QSCF Fund Manager, Michael Fattouh said: “This partnership with CEFC presents a unique opportunity to align QSCF’s capital management strategy, that seeks to diversify its sources of funding, with QICGRE’s broader ESG ambitions to drive sustainability initiatives and manage energy risk across our retail portfolio. The CEFC facility is also QSCF’s first “green debt” facility and the first major investment CEFC has committed to the Australian retail sector, for which we are extremely proud.”

“QSCF is also commencing work with the CEFC to understand potential pathways to achieving net zero carbon emissions across its portfolio, building on QICGRE’s recently announced target of generating 30 per cent of all base load power for retail asset common areas from renewable energy by 2025.”

While the energy efficiency targets will be achieved through strategies specific to each building, environmental initiatives identified may include:

• onsite rooftop solar PV

• LED lighting

• heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system upgrades

• sub-metering and energy data monitoring systems to provide data to optimise energy management processes.

A series of energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives will be rolled out across the portfolio in the short and medium term. Although the shopping centres involved are of different ages and are at different levels of sustainability, QICGRE is targeting a minimum 4-star NABERS (excluding GreenPower) rating for all assets in its portfolio within 5 years, which will translate to energy savings of between 30 and 40 per cent.

Issues

Wealth & Finance November 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to November issue of Wealth & Finance Magazine, proving you with an insight into the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

Gracing the cover of this month’s issue, we meet Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Seetha Bansil who works on the Executive Management Team at Aspect Enterprise Solutions. AspectCTRM was delivered as the first web-based trade and risk solution 17 years ago. Recently, we profiled the company and Seetha as we look to find out more about her and the company’s success.

Elsewhere in this edition, we meet award-winning Communal Property Expert, Public speaker and author of the Ultimate Committee Handbook, Russell Flick. Taking time to tell us more about his recent success of being featured in Real Estate Top 100, Russell reveals what he feels has contributed to his accomplishments.

In recent news, an Australian retail property first, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will invest $200 million into QICGRE’s flagship Shopping Centre Fund (QSCF) to undertake improvements in energy performance across the QSCF shopping centre portfolio. The senior debt facility is the CEFC’s largest property investment commitment to date and will support improvements in its Australian shopping centres located in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.

Lastly, Pearl Island Bahamas is the newest island experience near Nassau and its surrounding islands, offering daily excursions and a variety of unique island experiences. Marketing & Sales Manager, Philipp Rebmann gives us an overview of the company and discusses what makes the experience so attractive to visitors.

Here at Wealth & Finance, we sincerely hope you enjoy reading this informative edition and look forward to hearing from you.

Issues

Wealth & Finance October 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the October edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, bringing you the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, one of the industry’s largest independent, full-service investment consulting firms, NEPC. LLC, announced on the 24th October the results of the 2017 Defined Benefit Plan Trends Survey, a gauge of plan sponsors’ strategic vision for their pension funds. 

In this month’s issue, we learn more about full-service real estate fund management company, ARA Korea Limited based in Seoul. The company was first founded by Macquarie Group of Australia in 2002, but was later acquired by ARA Group in 2014. We profile the firm and speak to Anthony Kang, as we gain further insight into what makes ARA Korea Limited the successful company it is today.

Continuing with this theme of success, we discover more about Star Mountain, a specialised lower middle-market investment firm founded in 2010 with approximately $500 million of assets under management. Going in to more detail about the services that the firm provides, Breck Hickey discusses being named in the 2017 Private Debt Excellence awards before outlining star Mountain’s overall mission.

Elsewhere in this issue, we discover how fully integrated real estate investment company, Carroll Organization, focuses on acquiring and managing high quality multifamily properties. Taking time to tell us more about the firm M. Patrick Carroll discusses the firm’s overall mission and explains the steps he believes Carroll Organization needs to take in order to reach their goal.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we truly hope that you thoroughly enjoy reading this edition and look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Women in Wealth Awards 2017 Press Release
Press releases

The Women in Wealth Awards 2017 Press Release

United Kingdom, 2017- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the Women in Wealth Awards 2017.

Showcasing the innovative contribution of women in the financial industry whom play a huge role in creating new possibilities for equal representation in a male dominated market, the Women in Wealth Awards 2017 were designed to recognise and celebrate the achievements of female financial professionals.

Emma Keen, Awards Coordinator, discussed these awards and their deserving winners: “Women play a core role in any industry, and in the typically male dominated wealth management market it is great to see more women working to climb the corporate ladder. I would like to wish my winners congratulations and the very best of luck for the future- I look forward to hearing about their achievements.”

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

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly 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.

Issues

Wealth & Finance September 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to this bumper edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, providing you with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, WhiteHorse Capital (“WhiteHorse”) announced the expansion of its direct lending team with the addition of Daniel Dubé as a Principal. WhiteHorse is the direct lending affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity and alternative assets investment firm with $23 billion of equity capital under management.

Creative ITC works with some of the world’s largest brands defining and delivering IT infrastructure solutions. Taking time to discuss their fresh approach to delivering quality infrastructure, is Managing Director, Keith Ali. Highlighting the reason for their success as remaining grounded and honest, which has been part of the company’s DNA from day one, Keith shares with us Creative ITC’s mission and his expert insights on the wider IT industry today.

Elsewhere in this issue, we dive into the world of indulgence when we find out more about the most anticipated audio show of the year, The Indulgence Show. The show is a major new HiFi, portable audio and luxury living experience for London.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we truly hope you enjoy reading this insightful edition and look forward to hearing from you.

Issues

Wealth & Finance August 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to this bumper edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, providing you with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, WhiteHorse Capital (“WhiteHorse”) announced the expansion of its direct lending team with the addition of Daniel Dubé as a Principal. WhiteHorse is the direct lending affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity and alternative assets investment firm with $23 billion of equity capital under management.

Creative ITC works with some of the world’s largest brands defining and delivering IT infrastructure solutions. Taking time to discuss their fresh approach to delivering quality infrastructure, is Managing Director, Keith Ali. Highlighting the reason for their success as remaining grounded and honest, which has been part of the company’s DNA from day one, Keith shares with us Creative ITC’s mission and his expert insights on the wider IT industry today.

Elsewhere in this issue, we dive into the world of indulgence when we find out more about the most anticipated audio show of the year, The Indulgence Show. The show is a major new HiFi, portable audio and luxury living experience for London.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we truly hope you enjoy reading this insightful edition and look forward to hearing from you.

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal
Derivatives and Structured ProductsMarkets

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal

To a casual observer, PayPal might seem like a dying payment program. It was once the main pioneer in online cash sharing, either for business or peer-to-peer transactions. But in a way, it’s been outstripped by some more modern competitors. In this sense, it seems like the AOL of the mobile payment industry. Services like Venmo and Square have become sexier, much like alternative email providers and browsers have largely eclipsed AOL.

But the tech that seems to pose the main threat is Bitcoin. The leading cryptocurrency is growing at an astonishing pace, and because it’s meant to facilitate easy digital payments, it can be viewed by some as a sort of death sentence not just for PayPal but for all of the payment services mentioned above. We recently learned that Bitcoin will soon beat PayPal’s market cap, which could only further the perception that it’s going to lay waste to conventional payment apps. But this outlook doesn’t really take all of the factors into consideration. A more thorough look at where things stand indicates that PayPal probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

For one thing, PayPal actually owns much of its competition—a lot of people just don’t realize it. The company acquired Venmo some time ago, and just recently bought Swift. It’s a massive company that has managed to foster a sense of competition between its own assets. Square is a legitimate alternative that seems to have gained some ground, largely by being more intuitive and more pleasant to handle than Venmo. But don’t let the advent of newer or easier payments systems fool you into thinking PayPal is a relic. It’s a big business that has mostly stayed ahead of the curve thanks to savvy management.

Another misconception is that Bitcoin is useful for secure transactions in ways that PayPal is not. While cryptocurrency does offer unparalleled anonymity, however, this is simply not the case. Online casinos offer perhaps the clearest picture as to why, given that Bitcoin has recently emerged as a payment method at some platforms. Players like the idea of security and anonymity when playing real money games. And yet, PayPal has long been favored on the same platforms precisely because bank account details and card information are not shared. There’s already a degree of security with these and other forms of payment that can be enjoyed without the need to buy and store Bitcoin.

Most of all, the reason for PayPal’s likely survival, even in the face of the growing influence of cryptocurrency, is that it’s still the most familiar service. This could change over time, but Bitcoin is still viewed as a complex and unnecessary option by many people. In today’s society, you more or less have to have a credit card, and thus you can easily open a PayPal account. You don’t need Bitcoin at all, you can have it if you want it. As long as this remains the status quo, PayPal is going to be doing just fine, and may still be our most reliable means of transferring funds electronically.

Press releases

The 2017 FinTech Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, August 2017– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 FinTech Awards.

According to the annual FinTech report, cumulative investment globally is expected to exceed over $150 billion in the months to come with key trends focusing on the security as well as the transition from offline to online. As in other financial-related industries, establishing trust in key for the investors to loosen the purse strings. 

With that in mind, Wealth & Finance International has launched the 2017 FinTech Awards in partnership with Acquisition International – the voice of corporate finance, to showcase the exceptional firms achieving true excellence in this dynamic sector.

Commenting on the success of their deserving winners, Peter Rujgev, Awards Coordinator stated: “Overall, 2017 has so far proven to be a rather exciting for FinTech after the initial turbulence that hit the sector in early 2016, thanks to all of the firms and the individuals driving them that we are highlighting through this awards programme. I would like to wish them the very best of fortunes for the future, as well as congratulate them for their hard work so far.”

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

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly 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.

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York, purchasing one of the largest solar projects in the state from Invenergy

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York, purchasing one of the largest solar projects in the state from Invenergy

– The 24.9-megawatt solar site on Long Island is under construction

In its continuing efforts to bring affordable, renewable energy to customers across the United States, Duke Energy Renewables is acquiring the 24.9-megawatt (MW) Shoreham Solar Commons project on Long Island from Invenergy.

The project, currently under construction by Invenergy, is located in Brookhaven, New York, about 60 miles east of Manhattan. It is being built on the grounds of the former Tallgrass Golf Course and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2018.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) will purchase the power under a 20-year agreement.

“We are excited to enter New York with a renewables project that offers many benefits to the state and local community,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “The solar project will help meet the energy needs of LIPA’s customers while delivering tremendous economic and environmental benefits.”

The project is expected to create more than 175 local jobs during construction and generate between $700,000 and $900,000 in annual tax revenue for the local community.

The energy generated from this project is estimated to displace 29,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and create nearly 1 million megawatt-hours of clean, renewable energy over its lifetime. Also, with the redevelopment, Invenergy is planting an additional 2,000 trees on the site.

“Duke Energy has a reputation of excellence and we are pleased to help them and their stakeholders meet the increasing demand for affordable, renewable energy,” said Invenergy’s EVP and Chief Development Officer Bryan Schueler. “Repurposing the former Tallgrass Golf Course into a solar site eliminates the use of pesticides and fertilizers on the property, protecting Long Island’s fresh water aquifer and providing environmental benefits in addition to the generation of renewable energy.”

Invenergy recently closed construction financing for the project with MUFG, the administrative agent and lead arranger.

Duke Energy Renewables will close on the transaction post-construction, pending federal and local approvals.

Duke Energy Renewables

Duke Energy Renewables primarily acquires, develops, builds and operates wind and solar renewable generation throughout the continental U.S. The portfolio includes nonregulated renewable energy and energy storage assets.

Duke Energy Renewables’ renewable energy includes utility-scale wind and solar generation assets which total 2,900 MW across 14 states from 20 commercial wind and 63 solar projects. The power produced from renewable generation is primarily sold through long-term contracts to utilities, electric cooperatives, municipalities and commercial and industrial customers. Learn more at https://www.duke-energy.com/renewable

Follow Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About Invenergy

Invenergy drives innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Poland and Scotland.

Invenergy has developed more than 15,900 megawatts of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar and natural gas power generation projects and energy storage facilities.

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board (HFSB)


Jasper Capital International (”Jasper”) has become the second China-based signatory to the Hedge Fund Standards Board (HFSB), an organization that brings hedge fund managers and investors together to set standards for the hedge fund industry. As prudent stewards of client capital and as part of a commitment to adhering to the highest international standards, Jasper welcomes the HFSB’s effort to enhance global industry standards and facilitate investors due diligence.

About HFSB

Established in 2008, the HFSB is a standard-setting body for the alternative investment industry and custodian of the Hedge Fund Standards. The HFSB provides a powerful mechanism for creating a framework of transparency, integrity and good governance which improves how the alternative investment industry operates, facilitates investor due diligence and complements public policy.

The HFSB and the Standards are supported by managers accounting for over US$ 1tn in AUM. In addition, the HFSB’s Investor Chapter includes over 60 major international investors, including pension and endowment funds, sovereign wealth funds and funds of funds.

About Jasper

Jasper Capital International is a diversified, systematic investment firm founded in 2013 in Shenzhen, China. The Co-Founders were partners at its predecessor firm, Jasper Asset Management, a U.S. hedge fund headquartered in New Jersey. Jasper’s logic-based investment approach deploys a successful discipline to capture opportunities in the Chinese equity markets. As an industry leader with extensive local and global investment and risk management experience, Jasper offers investors multiple strategies designed to capitalize on China’s domestic market inefficiencies and future Chinese growth.

Jasper currently manages US$1.5 billion across four strategies: long-only bias, long/short equity, market neutral and seasoned equity offerings. Each seeks to maximize risk-adjusted excess returns by applying a rigorous, scientific methodology to strategy identification and research, back-testing and implementation.