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Great Expectations Ahead
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Great Expectations Ahead

To celebrate the success of Azizi Bank winning the Finest in Finance – Best Bank in Afghanistan award, Mohammad Salem Omaid, President and CEO writes about this bank’s amazing array of services, plus their emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, as well as women’s emancipation in the workplace.

First of all, I must say that it is a moment of tremendous pride and honour for me on behalf of Azizi Bank, Afghanistan (the largest bank in the country), to win this prestigious Finest in Finance – Best Bank in Afghanistan award from the team at Wealth & Finance International. These sentiments were expressed sincerely by my colleagues Samrat Dutta and Mohammad Osman Nowrozi when they visited the offices of the esteemed Wealth & Finance International magazine on 29th March to collect their trophy for this prestigious award. They greatly enjoyed their visit to the UK, enjoying the stunning countryside viewed from the train and the City of London equally.

This award means a lot for me Azizi Bank, which I believe is the place to do banking in Afghanistan, with our superior customer service approach, state-of-the-art technology in line with banks from other countries. We are currently in a growing phase, and we have great expectations for the future, indeed we dream of becoming the best quality bank in Afghanistan, providing nothing but world class services.

We need such international recognition to build upon our brand and sustain its strong image. I am once again gratified to your esteemed organisation in recognising a bank from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for this prestigious award. I believe that Afghanistan should be viewed in a positive way, and be supported by bigger banks in other countries.

In terms of my own background, I have been associated with the bank since its inception. I started my career as a teller – and I then moved into various positions which included credit and finance – before becoming the President and CEO in August 2016. I have also served as the Azizi Bank’s Deputy CEO for 5 years. I have been widely responsible in developing local human resources and personally founded the capacity building programme at the bank.

In addition – I have a doctorate in Financial Management from one of the leading Indian University – plus an MBA with specialisation in Banking, Risk Management and Finance.

Azizi Bank and its role in the banking sector
Azizi Bank is a commercial bank in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan set up in 2006. It has been the vision of Mr. ‘Mirwais Azizi of the distinguished Azizi Hotak Group and their family, to set up an establishment in the country that provides banking services to all sectors of the population. This came at a time when banking services in the country were having challenges of their own, after the time of the Taliban regime.

The bank was initially set up with a capital of $5 million and 25 employees. Today – we have statutory paid up capital of more than $80 million with the central bank – and employ more than 1500 members of staff. The bank remains the largest banking group in Afghanistan today, with more than 145 branches spread across the country. Presently, Azizi Bank is the market leader in the country in terms of absolute business, percentage share and network.

Azizi Bank banking products
Azizi Bank is currently offering all types of banking products as per the customer needs and requirements. We offer current and savings accounts in four currencies – AFN, US Dollars, Euro & GBP. The following are the other products and services currently being offered by Azizi Bank, apart from the vanilla CASA:
• Fixed deposits with attractive rates in AFN and US Dollars;
• Salary savings & current accounts for corporates and institutions;
• Trade finance products which includes – bank guarantees, letter of credit and term loans;
• Business loans;
• Treasury products;
• Domestic and international remittances;
• Master credit and debit cards, ATM cards;
• Master pre-paid cards and;
• Western Union and SWIFT.

The bank, by the second quarter of 2017, will increase its CASA variants by introducing products targeting children, students, women, senior citizens and high net-worth corporate individuals.

The bank also offers the following services:
• Internet and mobile banking;
• 24-hour call centre facility;
• Instant account opening at all branches;
• Biometric finger print recognition at branches for enhanced security;
• Green channel at branches for fast and efficient cash dealings;
• Dedicated priority counters and lounges for VIP customers;
• Dedicated relationship manager for VIP and high net worth customers;
• ATMs, cash dispensers and video kiosks (the latter is coming soon);
• Branch less banking through POS devices and;
• Extended branch business hours.

We are evaluating further digitalisation process to enhance the level of service for customers, by introducing more innovative features and services in line with the best practices at the other international banks, thereby creating an impetus in the individual and national growth of the country.

Social responsibility in the community
Azizi Bank is extensively into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. In 2016, amongst other activities, we donated the first digital library at the esteemed Kardan University, which was inaugurated by HE – the Ambassador of India to Afghanistan. We have also ensured that we support the underprivileged section of the society, especially the NGOs supporting the orphanages.

Apart from other activities, we contributed to the development of the Women Breast Cancer Hospital in Kabul this year on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. We are entering into a MOU with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on various projects of the ministry which will also include efforts to improve educational opportunities for women.

In addition, we will shortly be organising an event for women entrepreneurs where we will be announcing customised small scale loans for this group at a reduced rate of interest, to support their empowerment in the country. We have also launched a special programme in collaboration with the provincial municipalities to plant trees for a greener Afghanistan.

The First Islamic Bank in the Republic of Afghanistan
We are converting our 100% subsidiary bank – Bakhtar Bank – into a full-fledged Islamic Bank by the end of first quarter of 2017. This will be the first Islamic Bank in the country. The total bankable population in Afghanistan is around 12% of the 32 million who live here.

Being in an Islamic country – this strategic move will further increase the banking population – and will play a pivotal role in our financial inclusion programme.

Women’s emancipation in the workplace
More than 16% of our workforce are women, all of whom play a quiet but effective role in their empowerment and emancipation. We have been constantly encouraging women to break the shackles and join the main stream. We have tied up with local agencies, backed by the USAID projects in the recruitment of talented women into the system.

The bank has always encouraged women to take up leadership positions. Indeed, we have women leading few of the major branches as branch managers and as deputies at some of the key departments in the head office, in addition to the other roles being managed at the branches and other departments.

Human resource capital
Our human resource capital consists of more than 1500 employees. The management team here has a mixture of youth and experience. We have a strong in-house state-of-art training department, who provide all kinds of training and refresher programmes, right from the orientation of new employees and basic banking up to international trade and credit programmes.

In order to provide international exposure, we also send our work force for training abroad in countries such as the UAE, India and Pakistan. Our board of supervisors and the board of management includes expatriates from the US, India and other countries with an average experience of more than 18 years in the banking, financial and administrative sector across the globe. Their experience, mixed with the local enthusiasm in developing a better brand, have certainly played a significant role in the undoubted success of Azizi Bank.
Customer satisfaction and feedback
We have a systematic approach towards customer satisfaction at our branches. The branch staff are provided with regular training on customer service and delivery TAT. We have introduced a customer level feedback programme on the quality of services we provide. The call centre department makes regular calls to the customers to ascertain the quality of services provided, and updates management on the feedback and action taken on any anomalies.

Azizi Bank have been awarded the Best Bank – Customer Service and Best Retail Bank, 2016 award by the International Finance magazine, London and South Asian Partnership Summit, Sri Lanka respectively last year.

We have been receiving quite encouraging responses from our customers. The bank has seen a transformation change on the level of customer service provided over the last 18 months. Amongst all the banks in Afghanistan, Azizi Bank have the highest customer acceptance on Facebook, with a rating of 4.5 on a scale of 5. Azizi Bank is also widely accepted on the other social media pages. Last year, we received an award from an international firm for being the best socially acclaimed bank in Afghanistan.

Opportunities and challenges in the future
Azizi Bank has completed a tough and challenging, yet quite interesting journey of more than 10 years of existence in the country. We are foreseeing opportunities for the bank rather than any challenges. Success cannot be achieved unless you beat all the challenges. Our team is committed and ready to face all the challenges.

We have already incorporated the Vision 2020 plans and have very positive feelings about that, something that reverberates throughout all of our energetic team here. We have engaged one of the top US based international consultancy firm – Alvarez & Marshall, to strategise our vision of sustained growth in a systematic and phased manner.

On these premises, Azizi Bank has developed its strategic plan, with a keen eye for progress and development. The bank has planned an aggressive growth strategy through reconstitution of the sales team and various marketing strategies, i.e. tie-ups with corporates, various international joint venture initiatives for investment in the country etc.

Accordingly, Azizi Bank has drawn up our financial plan projecting strategies for growth. In its Vision 2020 initiative, the bank will witness a significant growth on all sectors thereby maintaining its position as clear market leaders and catering to the customer requirements and expectations.

Azizi Bank has initiated several measures, aimed at vigorous marketing efforts specifically branding of the bank, co-branding with other organisations, tie ups, technological innovations with an eye to cater and partner all in the developmental cycle. The bank is getting engaged in expanding the business activities into other areas through cross sale of other products, i.e. insurance products, acting as collection agents for bill collections to several service providers.

The future of the banking industry
Banking services are the economic backbone for any nation. One of the important aspects of unifying people and bringing peace in this nation – is developing the economy – and making people financially secure and independent. Azizi Bank is playing a major role here. The job market has seen a reasonable improvement over the last 3 years. Many employment opportunities are created from the government. There are several international NGOs working in the country, who believe in taking the energetic and the talented youth of the country. The mass exodus from the country have reasonably decreased over the last year.

Performance of the bank is of course dependent on various eco-political factors. In a country of Afghanistan’s stature with political insecurity, with instability looming in the minds of all there is less capital inflow as donors are uncertain of investment outcomes, as it is difficult to predict them.

However, given the present prevailing situations, and the World Bank survey reports, optimism is prevailing in selected infrastructural sectors of the economy, indeed there are prospects of substantial growth. There is much promise for foreign direct investments, and tremendous scope for the developmental of mining, quarrying (with one of the world’s richest resourceful countries), low inflation, improving education rates, more and more integration of the provinces with the capital, more sponsored infrastructure and more economic benefits trickling down owing to economic integration with other countries etc.

Real GDP growth is projected to increase to around 3.90% in 2017, from its present position of 3.10% in 2016. It is expected that these economic benefits will trickle down to the entire population. The economy will continue to be stable in the next 2-3 years.

With the economic depression, apart, a substantial quantum of investments has been planned for road infrastructure, the power sector, power transmission lines, power generators, electricity generation, the agriculture, IT, oil and gas sectors and so on are estimated to be in the tune of $2 billion.

In closing, I would like to stress that Azizi Bank will be the bank of the future in Afghanistan. As it strengthens its presence, Azizi Bank continues to review compliance, risk management skills, systems and processes and where appropriate – it aims to enhance these further.

The commitment applies to Azizi Bank’s relationship with its shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, regulators and the community in which it operates. In addition to our vision 2020 plans, Azizi Bank will expand its presence to neighbouring countries and will open new offices in India, China, UAE, Turkey and other neighbouring CIS countries over the next 1-3 years. Finally, I would like to say that I strongly believe we are the bank of the future.

Company: Azizi Bank
Name: Mohammad Salem Omaid, President and CEO
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.azizibank.com
Address: Azizi Bank, Head office
Ankara Square, Opp Turkish Embassy
Main Road, Kabul, Afghanistan
Telephone: 93 (0) 701 80 15 15

Driving Force
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Driving Force

Opening its first location in 1972, today Meineke operates nearly 1,000 locations across the globe. It is also a member of the Driven Brands family, the largest automotive aftermarket franchisor with more than 10 brands and 2,500 locations. Meineke offers overall car care maintenance and repairs to customers, with services including fluid, filters and belts as well as brakes, tires, suspension and steering.

Ed Pearson is Vice President of Franchise and Sales Development for Meineke. He tells us more about the franchise’s objectives and tells us a little more about its recent successes. “Our goal is to provide a total car care experience to our customers. We’re in the relationship business, not transactional, and because of that our customers continue to come back time after time.

“Many people have a preconceived notion of the automotive industry, especially when it comes to repair and maintenance centres. At Meineke, we are constantly breaking that mould with new and innovative solutions to increase not only traffic to our centres but customer retention for our franchisees. We’ve developed and utilised new tools like online scheduling, the Meineke rewards app, and Revvy, a device customers plug into their car, to make our services more easy and accessible for customers in the communities we service.

“Additionally, from a corporate level, we are continuing our growth in the fleet sector by leveraging the current $100 million fleet footprint of our sister brand in the rental car, fleet management, private and government space, to provide even more work to our franchisees. Because of these initiatives, we’ve had a lot of success growing within our existing franchise base, which truly speaks to the strength and longevity of the Meineke franchise opportunity.”

A key aspect of Pearson’s job is to grow the Meineke brand with the right franchise partners. “To have a successful brand you have to have strong franchise owners,” he explains. “With my team of development managers, we work across North America and Puerto Rico to scope out and award licenses to those top prospects.”

It is clear to see why Meineke is such a lucrative investment opportunity. As a needs-based business, Meineke is predictable and sustainable for the long-term. “We won’t experience huge upticks or downticks,” states Pearson. “When a franchisee opens a location, costs will be kept to a minimum because of proper project coordination. Some 80 percent of new openings are through the conversion of existing buildings, rather than being built from the ground up, which keeps the investment amount low. In this regard, Meineke is versatile in its real estate model.

When franchisees don’t lose money in real estate, they’re faster to break even and become cash flow positive.

“Meineke has success under its belt as it celebrates 45 years of automotive experience and brand recognition. The name “Meineke” is instantly recognisable for most. We’ve figured out what works from business plans to day-to-day management and it’s that kind of knowledge and experience we pass onto our franchisees. This opportunity is right for franchisees looking for a brand name and a proven, predictable and scalable model. Many of our owners have multiple locations because we are designed for growth. Our IT platform allows franchisees to monitor the health of one or multiple locations without being on-site.”

With regards to potential franchisees, Pearson tells us that, whilst they look for a diverse range, an important aspect of a good franchisee is a that they are committed and an integral part of the franchise.

“All of the business systems and tools Meineke has cannot be auto-piloted by an absent franchisee. In order to achieve success, our franchise owners have to be committed contributors to their centre(s), which can be defined in a variety of ways but regardless the person we want will take charge of his or her business. We want someone who’s able to follow a system, as we’ve established and will provide our proven playbook for success.

“You don’t need to have been a mechanic in order to become a franchisee, in fact 90 percent of our prospects have zero automotive experience but they recognise Meineke’s scalable and dependable business systems. The majority of people applying today are C-level individuals from the corporate world, having had direct reports, management experience and profit and loss knowledge. Many have led by example their whole lives. All of these skill sets easily transfer to being a successful Meineke franchisee.

“Initially, we want to make sure the prospect is educated on the Meineke franchise model – what we do, our systems, our emphasis on customer service and our relationship-focused system. Obviously, there are financial requirements, real estate reviews and operational interviews to make sure expectations are the same on both ends. We get to know the prospective franchisee so we can ensure a long-lasting relationship.”

As Meineke continues to revitalise its business systems there are becoming increasingly more opportunities for franchisees to become successful. Pearson embellishes on what the future holds for the brand and its franchisees.

“We are continuing our growth and dominance within the automotive aftermarket through technology initiatives like our KPI dashboard and online scheduling application which cater to a more modern customer. Additionally, through our parent company Driven Brands we are able to leverage the power behind our parent company to provide franchisees not only with fantastic support teams but continued opportunities to not only grow their business but save more money through fleet and procurement partnerships.

“Our association with Roark Capital has given us the ability to share best practices with some of the biggest brands in franchising, furthering our goal to continue being the consumer’s first choice for all of their car care needs. Lastly, because of economic situations and cars being built to last longer, with the average vehicle around 11.5 years of age, people are choosing to keep and maintain their cars, which are both great factors for our business. Competition is always a challenge that we’re mindful of, but with over four decades in the automotive aftermarket we pride ourselves on always staying one step ahead.”

For more information on franchising with Meineke, please feel free to get in touch with them with the contact details provided here.

Company: Meineke Car Care Centers Name: Ed Pearson Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.meinekefranchise.com Address: 440 S. Church Street Suite 700 Charlotte, NC 28202 Telephone: + 1 866 675 7687

Fundamental for Success
FinanceSustainable Finance

Fundamental for Success

Coupland Cardiff (CCAM) is a specialist Asian and Japanese fund management group, focused on managing capacity constrained, performance focussed funds within a risk controlled framework.
Richard Cardiff is CEO of the firm and he tells us more about its ongoing strategy. “We follow a bottom-up, fundamentally driven research process, focusing our time on detailed company visits and proprietary analysis. We believe that over time this will achieve superior results.

“In order to further enhance returns for our investors, we believe that all funds should be capacity constrained, concentrated and freed from any benchmark constraints. This allows us to express our best ideas.

“The stability of the firm over the last 12 years and the quality of portfolio managers and analysts we have in place enables us to continue to deliver exceptional returns for investors over the coming years in the fastest growing markets in the world. These are markets that have not only grown rapidly over this time but also have excellent prospects for the longer term. We’re confident that we will continue to deliver superior returns and service our clients around the world to the highest quality.”

In December 2015 CCAM launched the CC Japan Income & Growth Trust plc, the first Japanese Investment Trust for 20 years. It was also the first income orientated Japanese investment trust to be launched. Managed by Richard Aston, who also runs a similar open-ended strategy and despite difficult market conditions, it now has nearly £100m in net assets. In addition, last year the trust met its stated dividend of 3p per ordinary share. The share price has also increased by 22.4%.
As CEO, Richard is tasked with overseeing the management of the firm, sales and marketing activities, as well as overseeing the management of all operational aspects involved in delivering excellence to clients, however he is quick to praise his dedicated team.

“Being a boutique asset manager, our staff are everything to CCAM and the quality of our staff is, we believe, second to none. All play a significant role in the success of the firm from front to back office. CCAM is wholly owned by members of the team and as such is not distracted by external factors or required to make compromises to our main objectives, which are to achieve excellence in three key areas: investment performance, operations and client service. Testament to this is the fact that staff turnover has been very low.

“Our fund management team have spent their careers investing across Asia and Japan and have strong track records. All 7 portfolio managers are specialists in their investment field and between them they undertake around 2000 company visits a year. We believe that the combination of scrutinising data as well as analysing companies at a face-toface level allows us to truly understand a stock, interpret markets with greater clarity and deliver superior performance.”

Indeed, the feedback received from CCAM’s clients is very encouraging. “The key feedback we get is that they very much like the concentrated portfolios and our commitment to capacity constrained products. Also that we specialise in investing in Asia and Japan instead of trying to be a ‘jack of all trades.’ The fact we are single area specialists and are prepared to be frank about the prospects of regions, whether good or bad, sets us apart from more generalist investors and is of great appeal to our clients.”

With regards to the future, Richard sees both opportunities and challenges ahead, for 2017 and beyond. Not least the fact that more investors are moving away from the crowded and unproductive centre-ground offered by more generalist funds into both the EFT and the highly active fund specialist market. “As a specialist, we are perfectly placed to benefit from this trend,” he comments.
“The challenges we’ll face are similar to many other asset management firms and will be based around regulatory changes and any potential challenges that might materialise as we move closer toward Brexit. It’s also important for us to continue to ensure we have the highest quality of staff to service our clients around the world.”

“Speaking of the wider industry, again, it’s the continuing deluge of new regulation coupled with how we will have to operate as a business in the new post-Brexit world – when we discover what Brexit means for the industry. No-one knows what that will look like yet so our strategy in Europe will undoubtedly adapt to any potential new model.”

Company: Coupland Cardiff Asset Management Name: Richard Cardiff Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.couplandcardiff.com Address: 31-32 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HD Telephone: 44 207 321 3470

Earning Their Stripes
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

Earning Their Stripes

Zebra Technologies’ products and solutions are currently used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies across the manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and logistics and retail industries. Zebra’s IoT-enabled devices and solutions have improved everything from efficiency for global shipping networks to retail stocking environments. With the unparalleled visibility Zebra provides, enterprises can become as smart and connected as the world we live in.

Among the firm’s recent innovations is the Zebra SmartSense™ for Retail asset visibility solution, an Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI) offering that delivers deeper visibility into retail operations, provides better business insights and enables smarter decisions. This innovative solution combines UHF RFID, video and a new micro-location capability — to identify and track the journey and location of merchandise, associates and shoppers in a retail store in real-time.

A powerful edge analytics engine analyses data from these sources to provide intelligent, actionable insights to achieve optimal stocking levels, detect and identify misplaced merchandise or assets, pinpoint theft and enhance store promotions and product placement activities.

In addition, Zebra’s TC8000 touch mobile computer drives significant gains in productivity in warehouse operations and decreases worker fatigue with its ergonomic design. This product earned the Red Dot Award for Design Innovation in 2016. Zebra also recently introduced the next evolution in enterprise mobile computing: the TC5 Series touch mobile computers.

As part of its dedication to supporting clients and providing them with the very best solutions that meet their needs, many senior staff work closely with clients, including CEO Anders Gustafsson. Working with customers, partners, investors, employees and other stakeholders to help improve enterprises by connecting the physical and digital worlds to drive innovation, efficiencies and global economic growth, Anders supports the creation of the “intelligent enterprise”.

The rate of technological change is rapid, and businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to keep up. Zebra’s solutions offer real-time operational visibility into their enterprises to help them achieve this goal, as he is keen to emphasise.

Gustafsson said, “At Zebra, we believe data is perishable. Its value is time-sensitive and has a limited shelf life. Businesses must make sense of data before it expires. However, enterprises are losing valuable insights as there are many disjointed sources generating and collecting data on their own, contributing to only bits and pieces of the big picture, instead of rendering a broad view. Decoding these data collected through IoT-enabled devices and wearables will help companies accelerate their decision-making processes and make more informed business decisions.”

“According to IDC, every person online will create 1.7 megabytes of new data every second by 2020. At this rate, the concept of “perishable data” is more relevant than ever. We see that one of the challenges next year will be for businesses to translate captured data into actionable insights as fast as they can.”

“Furthermore, the future of connection known as the Internet of Things (IoT) is already here. Enterprises will spend $235 billion this year to connect devices to the IoT, Gartner estimates. That’s up 22% from 2015.”

“Overall, the greatest challenge in our increasingly connected world is successfully adopting and leveraging new technology to provide operational efficiency and agility in real-time. Despite the potential that IoT presents, it is only with the proper set of enabling technologies that enterprises can extract the full value from their IoT investments. Zebra is helping enterprises adopt a more dynamic workflow through IoT-centric sensor technology, powerful cloud computing software, and connected enterprise-class mobile computers.

The IoT has enabled everything from improved efficiency for global shipping networks to devices that receive environmental feedback from home appliances and minimize their energy use. Thousands of new use cases are in development right now such as smart toothbrushes and intelligent can openers. The good news is many organisations already have the building blocks in place to digitise their operations.”

Therefore, in order build upon this success, over the coming years Zebra will continue to work toward realizing its company’s vision to create a smarter, more connected global business community, together with its partners, to offer better operational visibility to enterprises around the world.

Focuses will include converting the physical to the digital, giving businesses insights into the location, motion and state of their assets, people and transactions and then harnessing this new wave of technology with Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI). EAI refers to a businesses’ ability to obtain real-time visibility into every aspect of its operations, enabling them to improve productivity, reduce expenses, empower mobile workforces and increase opportunities for sustainable growth.


Company: Zebra Technologies Web Address: www.zebra.com

The Real Estate Market
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

The Real Estate Market

Stephan Gietl is the COO and CFO of the company and focuses on all legal, operational and number work for the firm. He tells us more about the firm and the rationale behind its inception.

“Initially the company focused on acquiring distressed assets and, as markets started to recover in 2012, the company was an early mover with luxury waterfront high-rise developments in Edgewater, Miami, amongst others The Crimson, which name has been derived as reminiscent to the great time at the AMDP program at Harvard University. The Crimson is one the only luxury boutique waterfront condominium development in Edgewater featuring a unique lifestyle only a boutique development can deliver.”

The company is currently in the middle of its 284-unit residential development 50 Paramount in Sarasota, Florida, which is slated for its grand opening in November 2017.

“The company has delivered to its investors exceptional returns up to 60% IRR due to its highly professional and diligent approach in executing projects,” explains Stephan.

“The company’s credo spending significant time on every detail of a project, rather than relying on consultants has dramatically paid off to all stakeholders of the company. The company is highly committed to achieve outstanding results from a design & quality perspective. As such the company is delivering with its 50 Paramount project, rental units which have been designed by interior designers and caters features such as integrated shower niches, opposite faucet control, glass enclosed showers and amongst others island kitchen design which usually can only be found in high end hotels or condominiums. Besides the development activities the company offers a full integrated real estate service such as Brokerage and Property Management. In the last couple of years, the company has created assets exceeding $200 million.”

Stephan tells us more about the dedicated staff members, who play a crucial role in the firm’s overall success.

“We select our staff very carefully,” he says. “We try to match the growth of our firm with the growth potential of our employees. We are proud that that we have a very high retention rate of all our personnel and a very international team to boot.”

Customers are often very impressed by the professional handling of each development step and appreciate the attention to detail that McKafka gives, as well as the quality of the final product. “We are never overpromising and deliver according to our specifications,” explains Stephan.
With regards to the future, Stephan foresees challenges ahead which the company will tackle head on, in order to retain its success rate.

“As the real estate market has turned very hot in the recent 18 months it is currently most difficult to identify reasonably priced development opportunities.

“Looking at the wider picture, changes in interest rates is the single most relevant driver for the next 12 to 24 months.”

Company: McKafka Development Group Name: Stephan Gietl Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.mckafka.com Address: 20900 NE 30th Ave., AVENTURA, FL 33180 Telephone: +1 305 331 5936 (cell)

Issues

Wealth & Finance February 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the February 2017 edition of Wealth & Finance International magazine, which boasts a remarkable array of features on e-commerce, banking, real estate and private investment to name a few.

The start of the New Year has already brought with it some important developments for Britain’s SMEs explains Luke Davis, Co-founder of Crowdfinders and CEO of IW Capital in a special guest article.

In another comment piece, Diana Chambers, family wealth mentor and philanthropic advisor, outlines why wealth management is as much about feelings as figures.

In an inspirational interview, Allied Wallet’s tech billionaire Dr. Andy Khawaja shares his thoughts on the future of the e-commerce industry and the important role that Allied Wallet will play in shaping the future of how the world transacts.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition.

Interaction in Investing
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Interaction in Investing

Described by the co-founders as the “e-Harmony for real estate fundraising,” Peloton Street is focused on how technology can make the process of marketing deals and deploying capital more efficient by helping the investment community focus only on the opportunities that are right for them, so they can close more deals faster.

Across the corporate landscape, data-driven solutions designed connect people have been hugely successful, with everything from flat sharing to dating supported by a range of online platforms created specifically to support users in connecting with one another. However, so far nothing of this kind has been offered for the private capital markets and specifically commercial real estate finance industry; which is where Peloton Street comes in.

Peloton Street’s online platform uses data science and machine learning (a subset of artificial intelligence technology) to help facilitate actionable results and engagement between members of the investment community – a solution analogous to how online dating platforms helps 41 million Americans find “friends, dates, and relationships, and everything in between.”

By reliably collating the criteria used by investors when evaluating and deploying capital into such deals, both sides of a transaction are better ensured the outcome they are seeking. Investors are shown only the deals that they most likely to invest in, while dealmakers can focus their marketing efforts on the leads that are most likely to invest in their deal – instead of “carpet bombing” everyone out there when raising capital. Tabish explains, “The process of raising private capital is not all that different from dating and searching for a soul mate – except, that the first date in context of what we’re doing is meeting with an investor.”

Peloton Street’s artificially intelligent matching platform looks at thousands of professional investors and calculates a match for deals based not only on an assessment of investors’ preferences and similarity to other deals that they may have participated in the past but also their interaction with any new deal flow presented to them through the platform. “We believe that this behaviour is foretelling of how an investor feels about a particular deal – it’s just like the first date… if he or she is just not that into you from the get-go, then you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.”

Drawing on a vast wealth of expertise by working professionally in commercial real estate finance and investing for over 12 years, Tabish has a strong knowledge of the industry. It is how he and his technical co-founder – Neville Jos, a 20 year old computer science prodigy with a passion for data science who has been coding since the age of 12, conceived the idea for Peloton Street. Originally founded in 2013 as a crowdfunding platform with a different team, Tabish and Neville pivoted
Peloton Street to the current value proposition about a year ago after restructuring the company. “We learned the hard way that syndicating private real estate investment opportunities online was not really a scalable business model” – at least, not one that necessarily benefited from the use of technology to generate revenue.

“We found ourselves dealing with all of the same social and regulatory ‘mishigas’ that traditional investment bankers have to deal with when marketing a deal. It just wasn’t going to work; and, rather than burn through our seed round raised from friends and family, we decided to pivot and not have to deal with a lifetime of awkward dinner table conversations.”

Together, they are still working on the original mandate of helping investment capital flow to the most deserving deals, but by tackling another problem that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the commercial real estate industry. “Discretionary capital for investment is the Holy Grail, but it’s gotten a lot harder to raise today. Investors have become smarter and are more sophisticated; and, so many of them like to call the shots.”

Tabish explains that the new regulations introduced following global recession are inadvertently responsible for this new norm. According to him, the financial services industry “underwent a disaggregation that no one really likes to talk about;” however, the diaspora of financial professionals displaced during recession “have seeded a whole bunch of new companies, instead of seeking gainful employment elsewhere.” Smaller players, such as boutique private equity firms and family offices, are gaining market share and are now at the helm of an increasing number of transactions each year.

The increasing number of finance professionals “hanging their own shingles” is in part likely responsible for why capital from private unregistered securities now outpaces the amount raised through publicly registered securities (totalling more than $2 trillion in 2014). “More and more people are chasing after private capital, which in our opinion has actually made it harder to raise capital and do deals,” Tabish surprisingly explains.

“While the market is seeing more activity, this deal flow lacks homogeneity and creates a steeper learning curve for investors.” The definition of a “good deal” is highly subjective, often based on the divergent investment criteria. This environment has motivated even more investors to eschew the fund format in favour of deploying capital on a deal-by-deal basis, simply to stay in control. Peloton Street sees a significant market opportunity in using its technology to help facilitate more actionable engagement between these “users” and “providers” of capital, as players on both sides scramble to source deals and deploy capital.

Peloton Street is a FinTECH start up that uses big-data to help real estate dealmakers and investors come together and transact. We caught up with Co-Founder and CEO Tabish Rizvi to learn more about this innovative and dynamic firm.

Since commercial release of the beta platform in late October last year, Peloton Street has been signing up about 1 to 2 new users a week and having conversations with several more interested in learning more about how the platform could help them with their equity and debt fundraising efforts. “It’s going to take a little time for people to wrap their heads around how an online platform can shortcircuit the process of identifying the right investor for a deal – something that has traditionally taken weeks and months to do. The same thing happened to online dating sites and online discount brokers two decades ago,” says Tabish.

After gathering feedback from a core group of users, Peloton Street recently introduced simpler subscription-based pricing where users can pay $79, $129, or $199 depending on the features that best suit them. “We are immensely thankful to our first 50 users, who have in effect helped us put the finishing touches on the airplane as we fly,” explains Tabish. Peloton Street has been selected to join the Spring 2017 cohort of AREA.build, one of the world’s leading real estate tech incubators based in New York City; and, is “looking forward to working with and learning from the accomplished advisors and extended network. It is our opportunity to learn from the best-of-the-best in the industry.” Tabish is keen to build upon this opportunity and grow the business, all while executing effective marketing campaigns and supporting a growing client base over the coming months and years.”

Company: Peloton Street Name: Tabish Rizvi Email: [email protected] Web Address: pelotonstreet.com Address: 79 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 1001

Winners Directory January 2017
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

Winners Directory January 2017

Winners Directory – January 2017

Private Equity Investor of the Year 2016
Company: Universal-Investment
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.universal-investment.com
Address: Theodor-Heuss-Allee 70, 60486 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Telephone: +49 69 71043-114


Real Estate Fund Manager of the Year
Company: TH Real Estate
Name: Gemma Young
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.threalestate.com
Address: 201 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3BN
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3727 8000

Lloyds Bank trials British Sign Language translation technology
BankingSecurities

Lloyds Bank trials British Sign Language translation technology

New technology provides innovative way of interacting with Bank literature Lloyds Bank has become the first financial services company to undertake a trial with Signly – a British Sign Language (BSL) translation tool. Lloyds Banking Group’s Innovation Labs trialled the technology to understand how Signly could offer an alternative option for up to 250,000 people in the UK who use BSL each day. Since undertaking the trial, the Bank is now looking to test the technology with a wider group of customers.

BSL is a unique language with its own sentence structure and contains a number of key differences to both spoken English, and Signed Supported English (SSE). This means that for customers who use BSL as their first language, many communications are often hard to understand.

Signly enables customers to scan Signly-enabled literature on their smartphone which provides translations into BSL through augmented reality. The trial incorporated Signly’s functionality into both written and online material, enabling hard of hearing and deaf customers to use BSL to understand the financial material they were being shown.

In addition to trialling Signly functionality, Lloyds Bank currently provides a wealth of ways for customers to interact with their bank. These include Text Relay and SignVideo, a signed video service which provides deaf customers with access to an online interpreter. For those with visual impairments, customers can access large print, braille and recorded literature.

Nick Williams, Lloyds Bank’s Consumer Digital director said,

“We are always looking for new ways to support our customers and trialling this new technology is a great example. Alongside SignVideo, Text Relay and our interpreting service, Signly provides a new tool to make it easier to engage with the Bank. Improving our services to make them simple and intuitive for all our customers is key to removing barriers of financial exclusion.”

Issues

Wealth & Finance January 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to the January 2017 edition of Wealth & Finance International magazine, which has a rich and varied range of content, including real estate, wealth management and tax plus much more!

Every year at this time, individuals and corporations renew the time-honoured tradition of making commitments to be better this year than last. For most, the intentions are good, however the results tend to be lacking writes Richard Tyler in the latest instalment of his excellent Tyler Tips®.

In comment from first direct, home ownership has fallen in most areas of the UK, according to the parliamentary Home Ownership Statistics report. While Scotland appears slightly immune to the trend, with a 0.8% rise in ownership since 2011, and ownership amongst those aged 70+ has also risen by a similar margin, other areas in the UK aren’t seeing the same growth.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition.

BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

21 Credit Unions Benefits from Lloyds Banking Group Development Fund

As part of its commitment within its Helping Britain Prosper Plan*, Lloyds Banking Group is awarding a further £1m in grants to an additional 21 credit unions through the Lloyds Banking Group Development Fund, run in partnership with the Credit Union Foundation.

Established in 2014, the Fund is designed to strengthen the financial position of credit unions and give them the capacity to develop new strategies for sustained and effective growth and to provide additional much-needed responsible lending to communities across Britain.

The Fund features two kinds of grant: large awards between £50,000 and £100,000 and seed funding awards between £10,000 and £20,000.

Eleven credit unions will receive large awards, intended to provide a contribution to a their reserves and help remove barriers to growth and innovation, with another ten receiving seed funding awards to help make the changes they need to apply for a large award in a subsequent year or to pay for the costs of merger. Recipients of awards were selected by an independent grants panel.

As well as Lloyds Banking Group’s £4million investment over four years to the Fund, it also signposts customers it is unable to help, where appropriate, to their local credit union and provides volunteering support.

Robin Bulloch, Managing Director, Lloyds Bank & Bank of Scotland at Lloyds Banking Group said: “We undertook the largest survey of credit unions to date and they told us the most important role we can play in the credit union movement is as a funder. We are committed to being the leading supporter of credit unions in the UK, and our Development Fund underlines our public commitment to help Britain prosper. The £4million fund will help the sector to lend an additional £20 million to their customers1.

Liz Barclay, Chair of the Credit Union Foundation and Development Fund Grants Committee said: “The Credit Union Foundation is proud to work in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group. Their £4 million investment over four years is innovative and pioneering and now that we’re into the third year of the scheme we’re seeing a big impact on sustainable credit union growth. Credit unions provide an ethical and affordable financial service to some of the hardest to reach and most financially excluded communities in the UK. We’re seeing good quality applications for these capital awards from credit unions committed to expanding and improving the services they offer those communities.”

Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“Credit unions play a vital role in their communities, providing access to affordable credit for those who need it most. This funding from Lloyds will extend the reach of the sector even further and I look forward to seeing other banks following suit.”

Press releases

The 2017 Banking Excellence Awards Press Release

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

The banking system forms the backbone of our society: from supporting those looking to start a business to those seeking to provide for their retirement, these institutions have made our financial industry what it is today.

As such the 2017 Banking Excellence Awards were established to ensure that the banks, and the individuals behind them, are recognised for their hard work, dedication and commitment.

Commenting on the program Awards Coordinator Edward Kemplen said: “It has been a true pleasure showcasing the talent and commitment of our deserving winners, and I would like to offer them my congratulations and best wishes 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-intl.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.

Darlingtons Solicitors: Raising the Bar
Due DiligenceRisk Management

Darlingtons Solicitors: Raising the Bar

Established in 1999, Darlingtons is a fast growing boutique law firm in London, a modern practice with 50 staff. Covering a wide range of specialisms, the firm serves clients ranging from investors and entrepreneurs to long established, international businesses. Debbie talks us through the firm’s core practice areas and how it aims to provide excellence in these areas.

“At Darlingtons our corporate and commercial team deals with a full range of corporate transactions and advisory services. We are regularly involved in sale and purchases of businesses or assets and shares, MBO, MBI, corporate restructuring, contracts and commercial, advising shareholders and directors on corporate issues. The team also specialises in advising directors and shareholders in relation to disputes that have arisen between themselves and fellow shareholders and directors. Our reputation is built on commercial, practical and insightful advice.

“Expertise and experience are key to our success, but not far behind is the working relationship between lawyer and client. We are dynamic and proactive, taking the time to understand how clients operate and what their objectives are, resulting in structured and tailored advice at the right cost and according to the client timescale.”

Legal practice is changing rapidly, clients are ever more discerning, with perceptions of service quality as well as advice quality just one example of the changes. Debbie outlines how the firm’s ongoing focus remains firmly on providing valuable services in the future.

“Clients have historically seen accountants and not lawyers as their primary trusted advisors. Whilst there are good reasons for this, lawyers are also valuable business advisors, not just to instruct when a transaction is needed or for a contract or a dispute. As lawyers, our challenge is to build proactive, valued business advisor relationships with clients and to remain adaptable and flexible to changing market and clients needs.”

Company: Darlingtons Solicitors LLP
Name: Debbie Serota
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.darlingtons.com
Address: Darlingtons House, Spring Villa Park, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7EB
Telephone: 0208 951 6666

Libero Development Fund: Absolute Excellence in Absolute Returns
FundsFunds of Funds

Libero Development Fund: Absolute Excellence in Absolute Returns

Libero Funds was developed through a combination of over 50 years’ experience in Alternative Assets Services, Funds and Financial Services and a deep frustration with poorly performing market correlated investment strategies. In 2012, Mary Murphy (Former Executive Managing Director of IFS) and Iain Cahill decided to create an investment strategy which is low risk with low volatility but generates strong returns in all market conditions.

This strategy became the Libero Development Fund, an absolute return offering with a pioneering strategy which Iain is keen to explain.

“Our Libero Development Fund strategy is truly unique in how it is structured and operates. It is designed to achieve consistently positive returns with low risk and low volatility. Based on the fund structure and key risk management policies, and agreed with the Auditors, the Fund only recognises income earned. By not recognising unrealised gains the monthly NAVs reflect actual income earned by the Fund.

“Overall we see our fund as having the potential to aid other funds who hold large cash balances and are concerned about deploying them in the current market environments. As we all know from the moment investor capital is raised, we have a duty of care to both protect their capital but also have it working. Libero can help to bridge that gap for other fund managers.”

All of Libero’s funds are offshore, non-US investor, funds that offer a flexible framework with several funds for experienced investors who include Family Offices, Fund of Funds and Sophisticated Investors who are seeking a real alternative investment to cash or bond equivalent low risk strategies while at the same time seeking strong capital growth or income. Iain explains how the firm supports clients and ensures that its investment products meet their individual needs.

Key to how Libero Funds work, is listening to investor requirements and working with experts in all aspects of the funds operation. The fees charged by hedge funds are still a focus for investors and that challenge is a fair one. However, ultimately the onus is on any Fund to first deliver a fair return to investors, and as such we aim to offer the best risk adjusted returns possible.

“As a growing fund our time is spent between fund raising and investment management. While our internal investment team make the day to day trading decisions, we maintain full oversight on the activities. As any investor in a hedge fund should expect, we took the time and effort to ensure that our service providers are best in class which allows us to spend a great deal of our time with both existing and prospective investors. With such a vast array of funds in the market, our ongoing challenge is to create the right investor attention through strong returns which are low risk and with low volatility.”

Owing to investor demand, Libero have recently launched a complementary second fund, the Libero Growth Fund which seeks to create an important offering for those looking for a more mezzanine type fund and is already garnering significant investor interest. As such the future looks bright for Libero Funds, and in his concluding comments Iain outlines the firm’s exciting future plans and how it aims to ensure that clients continue to receive the best possible returns and service across all of the firm’s funds.

“During 2017 at Libero Funds we intend to grow our Libero Development Fund strategy and deliver additional Fund strategies where we see opportunities driven by investor demand. For now, Our driving ambition is to see the Libero Development Fund become a true benchmark fund within the Absolute Returns sector.”

Company: Libero Development Fund
Name: Iain Cahill CIO and Mary Murphy COO
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Web Address: www.liberofunds.com
Address: 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1LB
Telephone: 0044 7496 057894

10 Relationship Challenges in Family Businesses and Legacy Families
Family OfficesWealth Management

10 Relationship Challenges in Family Businesses and Legacy Families

At Aspen Consulting Team (ACT), we work with family businesses and legacy families as they walk the balance beam between love and money, socio-emotional wealth. Using a metaphor from the golf course—we go into the deep weeds and thicket of family dynamics and get the ball out to the short lgrass—so family members and their financial and legal advisors can move it forward. We work with family businesses and legacy families at the top 1% financial level.

The organizing principle in our consultation, including work with our colleagues David Bork and Dr. Will Bledsoe at Family Business Matters Consulting, is based on the Biblical message— build before the rain, from the story of Noah. There will be “rain” in a family business and a legacy family. We believe four pillars—alignment, boundaries, communication, and competence—provide a framework for building strategy, synergy and structure for managing the relationship challenges and conflicts in a family business and legacy family.

Over the years, we have worked for family businesses with 5 employees to over 15,000 employees and legacy families with $50 million to $5 billion in assets under management. At the ownership level, the relationship dynamics are very similar. It is first about trust, then alignment, boundaries, communication and competence at the ownership, family and management levels.

Recently, we helped a third generation (G3) family business transition to the fourth generation (G4). This involved the owners doing both strategic and succession planning for the business and establishing a Family Council. We have worked with several family businesses where there was a death by suicide of an heir. Helping these families understand and heal from such a tragedy was critical to their continued success.

How ACT helps families sustain and grow their wealth
Both psychological and economic theories frame our work. Our task is to resolve and restore breakage in relationships that block and prevent positive economic interaction, longevity and harmony in a family business and legacy family. The foundation of a good family is love and care, and the goal of a successful business is profit and return on investment. These can be in conflict in a family business and legacy family.

We define a family business as a company in which two or more family members hold a management, board or ownership position. We define a legacy family as a family unit or office that has $50 million dollars or
more in assets under management. Our work is influenced by six theories as we help families sustain and grow their wealth and at the same time, maintain personal and relationship harmony.

1. Love and money in a family business or legacy family are symbiotic and immiscible—they are connected but don’t mix together naturally. Love and money, what we call emotional economics, influences nearly everything in business and family relationships. There are no major emotional decisions without an economic dimension, and no major economic decisions without an emotional dimension. Pre-nuptial agreements are an example.

2. Family business and legacy family members must have “thick trust”. The first stage of psychosocial development is trust versus mistrust. We believe there are three types of economic trust. Exchange trust is the basic form, “trust, but verify”’, where we expect to be served and to pay for the meal we ordered. Mutual trust, “tit for tat”, is the most typical type of transaction in business, where we move in response to the first actor. Thick trust, long-term interactions and exchanges, is the only, but hardest, trust strategy for family members to avoid discord and have the advantage of effectiveness and speed. Negotiations are an example.

3. When emotions compete with economics, both lose. In many important decisions, the emotional tail can wag the economic dog. The oldest part of our brain is the emotional system. It evolved long before our economic system to help us survive. When our emotional system works in a healthy and mature manner it will provide a positive guide to decisions, when it malfunctions in business and economic decisions it will derail productivity, profit and reputation. Succession is an example.

4. A healthy endowment effect can turn into an unhealthy entitlement effect if not managed. Nearly every parent wants to endow his or her child with special opportunities. There is a thin line between endowment and entitlement. Entitlement happens when endowment expectations are not clearly defined and managed and financial gifts enable negative behaviours. Addiction is an example.

5. Every generation must manage their ‘commons’. The Boston Common, the historical park in downtown Boston, is an example of what economists call “the tragedy of the commons”. After 200 years of commercial use by many, it was closed because of overuse by a few. Affluent families and family businesses must have agreements on how to grow resources, limit extravagances and avoid rivalries and feuds that divide and destroy the common assets. Family constitutions are an example.

6. Parents must identity, understand and manage the dynamics of equality and equity, the ‘fairness monster’, among their children. Equality is identical apportionment and exact division of quantity. Equity is justice tempered by ethics and division based on contribution and need. One illustration is how the turkey is carved at the dinner table. Equality would mean that everybody would get the same size and type (white/dark meat) of turkey. Equity would mean that the carver would divide the turkey according to needs and perhaps even wants. Balancing these two dynamics in a legacy family requires the Wisdom of Solomon. Gifting and distributions are examples.

How love and money are mixed for the best possible outcome for families, businesses, and individuals is where the rubber meets the road. Relationships follow predictable, evolutionary life cycles that can either create advantage or discord. For legacy families and family businesses to successfully grow, share and transfer financial assets and social values, attention needs to be given, equally and systematically, to wealth, interpersonal, spiritual and human capital, what we call WISH™ investments.

Family wealth has a history of not surviving beyond the 3rd generation, called “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves”. Dr. John Ward, professor at Kellogg School of Management and co-founder of Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., conducted a study on family business succession. He found that only 30% of family companies survive through the second generation, 13% survive through the third generation and only 3% survive beyond the third generation. Less than 5% continue through appointment of a successor from the next generation.

In one effort to answer the question of why the transfer of wealth in an affluent family is so problematic, Roy Williams and Vic Preisser, authors of Preparing Heirs: Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Family Wealth and Values, interviewed members of families with net worth ranging from $5 million to over $1 billion. They asked questions about how the failed transitions of wealth differed from the successful ones. They found that the involvement of all family members in the decisions about the transition of wealth required both trust and communication skills, which helped avoid the dynamic of parents dictating the future to their children.

Conducting a quantitative assessment, Dr. Michael Morris, along with Roy Williams, Jeffrey Allen, and Ramon Avila, interviewed 209 family business owners from the second and third generations. Their report, “Correlates of Success in Family Business Transitions’” concluded that relationships within the family had the single greatest impact on the successful transition of ownership and wealth: The dominant variable in successful business transition appears to be family relationships. Family business leaders’ first priorities should be building trust, encouraging open communication, and fostering shared values among the family members.’

The work of Morris, Williams and Preisser reached the conclusion that the major causes of financial failure have more to do with psychological patterns in the family than with legal, financial or business planning. According to their research, 30% of legacy families are successful in transiting wealth, but 70% lose control of their assets.

• Success rate in legacy families (30%);
• Collapse in trust and communication in the family system (42%);
• Failure of parents to adequately prepare their heirs for creating and managing the wealth (17%);
• Lack of proper governance structure (8%); and
• Insufficient tax and legal planning (3%).

Both financial interest and interpersonal dynamics can be successfully managed when family leaders give systematic attention to the following four areas.

Alignment
Alignment in a family business and legacy family requires collaboration, coalition and movement to the same target. Family businesses are poised for long-term success when family members, owners, executives and employees have similar values and are united toward the same goals. The best companies are the best aligned. Strategy, purpose and organisational capabilities must be in sync. Without clear alignment family businesses are vulnerable. Even hairline cracks in the family business can widen and invite disaster.

On the one hand, family businesses are the source of family happiness; on the other hand, they can be the source of family heartbreak. Misalignment creates discord, tension and conflict. Alignment creates a process that reinforces the company strategy, increases family and organizational harmony and promotes accountability and profitability. Keep the focus on the business! Its success is what makes other things possible.

Boundaries
Like a Trefoil clover, family businesses have three components: the family, ownership and enterprise. Boundary skills determine how family members, owners, non-family executives and employees will interface for the advantage of the business. ‘Good fences make for good neighbours.’ Unclear boundaries are at the root of many of the problems in family business. Boundaries need to be clear and constantly maintained if they are going to do the job for which they were intended. In order to create and maintain good boundaries family business leaders must define roles, responsibilities and accountability for owners, managers and employees and methods for handling certain personal matters. Family members must not meddle in areas for which they do not have responsibility. When a business is large enough to hire family and non-family professionals, use outside advisors, and establish governing boards clear boundaries prevent conflicts of interest.

Communication
Communication is one of the recurring issues that owners and executives in family business identify as a major obstacle to productivity. In a business with more than 200 employees, about 14% of the working week is wasted because of poor communication between staff and management. In a family business, poor communication can turn into personal and professional conflict. It is a family’s ability to manage and resolve conflict that determines its maturity and emotional health. Communication is more than transmission of information; it is the interactional heartbeat of the organisation.

All communication is grounded in relationships. Unless we’ve been otherwise educated, most of us unconsciously enact styles of communication and conflict we learned in our families and carry them into the workplace. Whether it’s resolving relationship issues, confronting challenges, managing conflicts or planning for succession, effective communication skills guarantee that every situation will be addressed and resolved in a thoughtful, deliberate, constructive and comprehensive way. Clear, constructive communication must always be the goal.

Competency
Competence is about the maturity, fortitude and talent to be an effective leader and team member in the business and successful leader in the family. In a survey of directors serving on boards of family-owned businesses, only 11% reported that the company was effective at developing talent. From those making decisions in the boardroom to those carrying out the day-to-day operations, everyone contributes to the success of the business by knowing how to play his or her position at the highest level. You can’t afford people who are doing just OK. You need high performers.
Due to the unique and subtle connections in a family business, leadership and employment standards must be clearly defined, established, reinforced, and rewarded (or not) at every level in the company. This is critical in any succession plan and process. The family in business must understand sound business practice and how it is affected by family dynamics. Competency principles and procedures of leadership and employment improve the company culture.

Roles and responsibilities must be consistent with the company strategy and at the same time encourage every employee to have a personal feeling of ownership and investment, to think and act like a leader, and to give their best efforts. This entails attracting, training, retaining and rewarding talent, having the right people in the rights seats and the appropriate family members at the Family Council table.

MAPS for Men, A Guide for Fathers and Sons and Family Businesses (first person – Edgell)
MAPS for Men, A Guide for Fathers and Sons and Family Businesses (M4M) involves over forty years of studying male psychology and working with professional men, especially around the relationship between fathers and sons. I first presented a paper on this topic in 1995 at the Vienna Chief Executive Organization University.

Tom had a very successful career with a national business before starting his training firm. When Tom, who has a master’s in psychology, joined me at ACT, we decided we needed to work on our relationship before we worked with other fathers and sons on their relationships. M4M is one of the results. We are both a little intense and competitive, so it was an interesting and fulfilling process.

MAPS for Men is about how our relationships with our fathers shape much of our self-esteem and professional drive and how this impacts a family business. Interestingly, before writing M4M, I had never worked with a female CEO; since writing M4M I now work with two female CEOs.

Succession planning in a Family Biz
Succession in a family business is often the greatest challenge and it impacts many people, from family members to employees. We have been and are currently involved deeply in helping family business founders’ deal with what we call ‘succession anxiety’. David Bork, in his book, Family Business, Risky Business, identified the issue within a family business, “When succession is left to the whims of fate, the family’s empire begins to crumble under waves of emotion”. There are two succession paths, often walked at the same time, management succession and ownership succession.

On average, succession in a family company happens about every twenty years and can create a flood of anxiety, rumours and speculations. In the best of times, succession is a form of stewardship, where our legacy is not limited to what is accomplished in our lifetime, but extends in the hearts, minds and actions of those who follow us. One measurement, in the words of Ken Blanchard from his book, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons for Everyone from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time, is “how well we have prepared others to carry on after our season of leadership influence is completed”.

The endgame and often the most challenging issue in a family business, is the process of transitioning ownership and management from one generation to another. Ivan Lansberg, co-founder of the Family Firm Institute and author of Succeeding Generations: Realising the Dream of Families in Business, emphasises the central problem, “the lack of succession planning has been identified as one of the most important reasons why many first-generation family firms do not survive their founders.” In our work, we address the father-son succession process in a family business as both a management and ownership issue.

Family financial, political and psychological anxieties can be roadblocks and barriers to succession development and execution. John Davis, an expert on family business management and lecturer at Harvard Business School, believes that family elders are appreciated for their wisdom, but not necessarily liked by all the relatives. “Leaders tell me that they have a gratifying but tough and often thankless job. Many successful family business leaders tell me that they spend half of their time working to address family and ownership issues and to maintain unity.”

It is a guarantee that tension will increase during what John Ward and Denise Kenyou–Rouvinez, in their book, Family Business Key Issues, call the “hot phase” of the succession process because of the intense work of combining emotions and economics. Customers, clients, non-family managers, financial institutions and family members can apply pressure. The tension can cause announcements, solutions and directions to be presented before issues are clearly defined and processed. How important decisions are handled and communicated will depend on the family and company culture developed over many years.
Relationships follow predictable stages that can either create advantage or discord. In healthy families, an endowment effect takes place the day a child is born, we give our children special emotional and economic attention simply because they are our children. When an adult child joins a family business this can carry over into the business in the form of an entitlement effect and a special position that can create tension in the family and the business.

Succession anxiety can come from many directions. The father-son team and their advisors, must manage not only the corporate process but also the relationship dynamics. A basic psychological rule is that the first thing to fall into a void, real or perceived, is anxiety. There are two types of anxiety. Normal anxiety, like fear, is essential to the human condition, proportionate to the threat, and disappears when the risk is adjusted or removed. Neurotic anxiety is unspecific, vague and attacks the core foundation of a person’s life.

Rollo May, a minister and one of the best known American existential psychologists, wrote in his book, The Meaning of Anxiety, “Anxiety is the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value that the individual holds essential to his existence.” Succession can be a time of anxiety, when a father is measuring how he lived his life and a son is planning how he will live his life. Spouses, siblings, children, employees and customers will often have an emotional and perhaps a financial stake in the process and outcome.

Working together in a family business can be a long trek of personal development and organisational transformation for a father and son. The succession hot phase can be like be a fork in the road or a mousetrap on a major highway. Relationship issues, like entitlement, parentage and nepotism, must be understood and managed. The primary skills needed, by both the father and son as they move through this process, are high trust and clear communication around ownership and management issues.

Succession benchmarks are driven by time. The first issue is the transition style of the founder/owner, the second is the selection of the next family business leader, (either family or non-family) and the third is in the task of transitioning resources and power to the next generation.

The first step in the transition and succession process is to define the retirement style of the founder/CEO to overcome a sense of impermanence and indispensability. Harvard Business School Professor, Dr. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, interviewed executives from over thirty of the best-known corporations for his book, The Hero’s Farewell: What Happens When CEOs Retire. He concluded that many chief executives become like folk heroes within their organisation and depart (or not) in four ways.

• Monarchs – who do not leave until they are forced out or die
• Generals – who leave only when forced out, but plan a return to power
• Governors – who rule for a defined term, then pursue other ventures and interests
• Ambassadors – who leave willingly, then returns to a high advisor role

It is naturally tempting, but simplistically dangerous, for founding parents to direct, or coerce, their children into the family business or for children to assume a role in the business without maturity and autonomy. Every founder/parent needs to do a realistic assessment of what the business permanence, its economic potential, governance structure and management systems, would look like with one of more of his or her adult children in control.

Many younger generation members grew up in the business, doing summer jobs and listening to business conversations at the dinner table. This does not qualify them for a serious management role in the company. While blood may be a qualification for entry into the family business, adult children must have the following attributes in order to grow and succeed in the business. The founder parent is in charge of filling out the details on this list.

• Character: trust and communication
• Competence: education and performance
• Commitment: loyalty to the company and family
The question of when a family heir should start working in the family business is one we are often asked. There is no obvious answer. The life cycle between a family business leader and his or her adult child will have an impact on the decision.

Psychological development influences the business relationship between a father and son. John A. Davis, co-author of Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, earned a doctorate from Harvard Business School. Renato Tagiuri received his PhD from Harvard and completed the program in psychoanalysis at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, before teaching and writing extensively on the topics of management, leadership and family business.

Davis and Tagiuri used their business and psychological backgrounds to conduct a research project focused on the quality of the work relationship between a father and son. They identified and examined the respective life phases of the father and son based on Erik Erikson’s concept of life stages.
They concluded that the quality of the work relationship varies as a function of the respective life-stage development of the father and son. They presented their research in a paper entitled “The Influence of Life Stage on Father-Son Work Relationships in Family Companies.” At an early age, most sons admire and even worship their fathers. In a family business, this could be the beginning of a thirty-year journey resulting in the father also being the boss.

The successful long-term growth of a family business, as with every organisation, requires turning over power to a successor. Max Weber, the German sociologist, referred to this process as the institutionalisation of charisma and saw it as one of primary challenges of leadership.

Succession in a family business is a process not an event. In the best-case situations, it is a 3-5-year process, where a strategy is in place before the tension or crisis of transition. This requires a realistic assessment of the skill level of their candidates for handling the wealth or business, pragmatic discussion with all involved family members, practical involvement of senior management and balanced advice from outside legal, financial and business advisors.

The paradox is that only a few family companies give serious attention to the task of handing the business down to the next generation. Resistance factors can come from the founder, family owners, senior management teams and/or family members.

The second step of succession—outlining if, when and how a successor from the family will be the next leader—can be a time of celebration or challenge. The heir should be graded against these twelve ideal standards.
1. Innate interest in the business (pre-teens)
2. Natural leadership abilities in the family and school (teens)
3. Exposure and work in the company (late teens)
4. Excellent education and training experiences (early 20’s)
5. Apprenticeship in similar industry (middle 20’s)
6. Success in a comparable business (late 20’s)
7. Desire and commitment to join the family business (early 30’s)
8. Successful progression through different department (mid 30’s)
9. Senior managerial responsibilities (late 30’s)
10. Partnership with the company CEO (early 40’s)
11. Executive and personal leadership respect in the family and company (40’s)
12. Mature succession, the ‘de facto leader’ (mid 40’s)

It is important to determine the qualifications of the successors and to avoid the trap of an inadequate successor, from within or outside the family, such as the following persons.

• Good Son – a person with family loyalty, but limited leadership skills
• Loyal Servant – a conscientious helper, but impotent leader
• Watchful Waiter – a good performer, but with inadequate executive abilities
• False Prophet – a talented person, but with the wrong expertise
• White Knight – an exceptional leader, but with limited commitment to the business

The third step is to create a successful succession. In a family firm this will have four stages.
1. Owner-Management Stage – father is the only family involved in the business
2. Training and Development Stage – the son learns the business
3. Partnership Stage – father and son share percent of ownership and management
4. Power Transfer Stage – responsibilities and control shift to the successor

When family leaders and members work well together in the family and the family business, they can promote a level of leadership transition, company loyalty, brand commitment, long-range investment, effective decisions, rapid action and stewardship impact for which nonfamily businesses yearn, but seldom achieve.

Though we have been involved with many families at their most intense levels, we have never been fired from a case and only once left a case unresolved. The feedback we get is that we are genuine and pragmatic. As financial success increases in a family the relationship complexity and intensity also increases, thus we have worked with some clients over several years.

We are a small consulting firm in a mountain resort town. Professional relationships are key to our success and how to scale is always a challenge.

Company: Aspen Consulting Team, LLC
Name: Edgell Franklin Pyles, PhD Thomas Edward Pyles, MA
Email: [email protected]
             [email protected]
Web Address: www.AspenConsultingTeam.com
Address: Box 503, Snowmass, CO USA 81654
Telephone: Edgell +1 970-948-1415, Tom +1 303-518-3520

World-Class Quality Services
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

World-Class Quality Services

Swiss International is a financial services company that facilitates the entire process of participating in global financial markets. Being an integrated service provider – they cover the entire process from ‘research and advisory’ services – to the ultimate ‘execution and clearing’ of a transaction. In a special interview, the firm’s Ahmad Shibley reveals more about the world-class quality services they provide for their clients’, and their unrivalled reach into global markets. The firm is both an asset management company and a finance Boutique with exciting plans and high hopes for the future.

We have worked hard to put together a highly-qualified team of professionals, from the most junior sales executive to the senior management. A cosmopolitan culture consisting of people from various cultural, social and professional backgrounds allows us to interact with and accommodate effectively clients with differing backgrounds and expectations. Some of the most respected and highly renowned names in the country provide the backing and support to our company, which lends us the highest level of recognition socially and professionally.

What specific areas does your firm specialise in?
Our reach in global markets is unrivalled in the local markets by providing brokerage accounts for clients to execute their trades. Our coverage includes most geographical and product markets. From simple currency
crosses in the spot market to the complexities of the derivatives market, we deal across the spectrum. The products/markets that we currently offer work on the principle of ‘leveraged trading’ (leverage means trading
with a face value much larger than the amount provided upfront as a deposit/security) and this leads to unmatchable rates of returns.

Whatever and wherever clients want to trade, our trading platforms offer unparalleled access to the most liquid financial markets in the world. Online and mobile trading services ensure that you are never more than a click or two away from the client’s next trade.

How does your firm stand out from the crowd in these competitive times?
We are continuously working on developing our IT infrastructure 24/7, we have a specialised IT team of about 15 individuals from various IT backgrounds, all of whom work nonstop to improve and introduce new products to our clients. In the world of finance, IT is crucial to ensure that we can offer services to clients and meet their expectations. We have recently launched our new client onboarding and management platform, called ‘Private Cabinet’ which has improved the effectiveness and speed of client onboarding on a real-time basis.

Hence clients can open up an account online from anywhere in the world, and have it approved in real time and fund their account in real time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This has proved to be very successful with many of our clients who come from a variety backgrounds and cultures, since our ‘Private Cabinet’ product is available in several languages. Through this product, our clients can also open real-time sub accounts, carry out internal transfers (real-time) and perform withdrawals and funding. Clients can also try out our ‘Private Cabinet’ by visiting my.swissfs.com (which is mobile friendly and we will soon be launching an app on smart phones platforms, but trading platforms are already available as an app). Technology is therefore our backbone and it as what we work on to give us a competitive edge against others in the market.

How does it feel to have won the award Asset Manager of the Year 2016?
It feels great to have been nominated, and indeed to win this prestigious award! This will give the whole team here much motivation to work even harder and to achieve other awards too. The asset management side of the business here is a fairly new division, because our core focus and strength is on providing clients that want to trade international markets with a brokerage account, and we have provided such a platform for over 15 years. While this had been the firm’s core focus, a few years ago, we started received queries from existing and new clients asking about managed accounts, because they did not have the time to trade on their own or the experience to do so.

How is your company performing at present?
The company is currently in its growth stage and we are expanding to other countries and regions, indeed we are really excited about our expansion progress and we will soon open up two new offices in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh and Jeddah. On a personal level, my focus is on leading the expansion strategy that has been approved by the board here.

Can you tell me about your own role in the firm as CEO, and the reputation you have gained for providing your clients innovative and successful money management and advisory services?
I am currently the CEO of Swiss International Financial Brokerage Co, having been a founder of the company. Since its inception in 2001, I have worked in all the departments from back office to sales and so on. As the CEO, my overall focus is on the achieving the goals set by the board, whilst at the same time achieving full client satisfaction.
As for providing our clients with innovative new products, we recently launched our Emerald Fund Managed Account Program in 2016. It has proved to be an instant hit with our clients. Having achieving above average returns, whilst at the same time reducing the risk and overall exposure. The program is managed by one of our expert fund managers, who has over 22 years’ experience as a trader.

Can you provide some more insight into the Emerald Fund Managed Account Program?
Emerald Currency Fund offers investors the opportunity to invest directly in the FX Market and potentially benefit when this decreases or increases in value, relative to others. ECF is actively managed on a day-to-day basis and may hold long and short positions in up to twenty currency pairs. The fund is a combination of long-term trend trading and day trading, based on intraday volatility. ECF team has been testing different trading strategies for years and has built the model that consists of our best strategies, which combine long and short term trading.

We have a dedicated trading team who work around the clock – monitoring our trades, positions and model and adjust parameters – based on the expectation, news or any possible shock to market. Moreover, we collaborate with a team of analysts that are feeding our trading desk with exclusive research and potential moves in the currency market, based on fundamentals.

What role the staff play in the success of your company?
First of all, we are proud of our people, and secondly the technology we use. I believe that one does not work without the other. Indeed, it is our people who create growth, builds value and the overall growth that we have achieved. Our staff come from a variety of different cultures, something that brings more tolerance and understanding of each other, because the staff spend more time with colleagues their families at times. We are therefore proud of the firm’s culture and are continuously working on improving the human capital aspect of our work.

What challenges and opportunities do you and your company face in the future?
Swiss International Financial Brokerage’s most important challenge is always working around the clock to beat our current technology and outpace the market with new and exciting developments. Our second challenge is that along with our expansion into new markets, we have had to work with new regulations that are sometimes more like a barrier to entry into such new markets. As for opportunities in the future, with our expansion into new markets we are working to turn the firm into a publicly listed company that the employees can have a percentage ownership into the company that they helped to build, hence working harder!

Is there anything you would like to add?
Just a reminder to our readers is that Swiss Finance is not just an asset management company, but it is also a finance boutique. The company is actually a brokerage house with an asset management department. Hence, we essentially provide a one-stop-shop to all our financial needs and requirements. I would be always more than happy to be answer any questions your readers may have and they can get in touch at any time by using the contact information below.

Company: SWISS INTL. FINANCIAL BROKERAGE CO. K.S.C.C.
Name: Ahmad Shibley
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.swissfs.com
Telephone: +965-22020490

Adar Capital Partners: Hedging Their Bets
Private ClientWealth Management

Adar Capital Partners: Hedging Their Bets

Adar Capital Partners provides a range of investment vehicles which stand out thanks to their forward thinking attitude and collaborative work ethic, as Diego outlines.

“Here at ACP our investment decisions are not biased by the media, we invest in fundamentals. As such we prepare portfolios for significant political and social events such as Brexit and the US Elections, so that we are able to consider the options. We have a small and efficient structure with great communication and full support between our team, all of
whom work together to ensure that we offer our clients the best possible service. Our staff share the same values, investment philosophy and culture, which makes for a great team whose core focus is always our investors’ interests.”

The firm’s investment approach concentrates on a few annual investments with mid-term horizons of two to five years. After fundamental analysis of each investment, the firm keep it until they reach a target, even when in the short term it does not perform as expected. This patience, dedication is what sets the firm apart, as they go the extra mile, traveling to every company they invest in in order to understand the essence of the deal and monitor the investment.

Moving forward, the future looks exciting for ACP, as Diego concludes by discussing how well the firm has performed over the past 12 months and how the company is prepared to adapt around new developments it foresees.

“During the past year we obtained 30% net return in US dollars for our investors. We believe that current portfolios still have more success to achieve, and as such we are confident that 2017 is going to be also an excellent year achieving good results and providing great satisfaction to our investors.”

“Looking ahead, we believe that the world is changing and that brings new challenges for us to adapt to and educate our investors around. Economy, politics, information and technology are changing the way to invest and these all represent opportunities which we look forward to exploring.”

Company: Adar Capital Partners Ltd
Name: Diego Marynberg
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.adarcapitalpartners.com
Address: One Capital Place, Shedden Road, George Town, Cayman Islands

The Cutting Edge of Finance and Technology
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

The Cutting Edge of Finance and Technology

The reporting and analytics team at Qtrade is the other half of the finance team along with the corporate accounting team. While each team has their core responsibilities, the two teams are tied at the hip and have a reliance upon each for information and data exchange.

As previously mentioned, Qtrade is multi-entity, multi-line of business corporation that offers a variety of solutions
along the wealth continuum. While each line of business is focused on their own activities, it is up to the reporting and
analytics team not to only provide reporting and analytics to the individual entities, but also provide key, critical corporate data and maintain a holistic view of Qtrade.

At most firms, the role of Business Intelligence (‘BI’) usually falls under the realm of IT. BI is traditionally an IT based function that consists of databases and technical based employees who use databases to create code to produce reports for business users. While the technical employee is familiar with the data and producing code, it is the business users who provide most of the analysis and vetting of the output. However, in 2015 Qtrade essentially created a new reporting and analytics department under the CFO to take over the BI function. It is my honour and responsibility to lead this team.

At Qtrade, BI is part of the reporting and analytics team, meaning that unlike most firms it is a finance function and not an IT function. In order to accomplish this goal of moving the BI function to finance two things had to occur; first an investment in technology and second, creating a team of financially based analysts who could not only perform the analysis, but write the code to draw upon the data themselves.

For the technology part, Qtrade has created a SQL based data warehouse. While data warehousing is not unique or proprietary to Qtrade, it is an evolutionary step forward for the firm. The challenge with being a multi-line of business firm is that many of the lines of businesses have their own or multiple pieces of software that are used during the course of the day, all containing data. While the data warehouse is now functional at Qtrade, we are still adding new data sources to it. At Qtrade we have identified 26 disparate systems of data we will be incorporating into the data warehouse to provide a single source of information for the whole firm.

Combining these disparate data sources, of which two are the finance database and the ERP into one centralised system allows the reportingand analytics team to create some very thorough financial analysis oftrades, assets, clients, lines of business etc. to create new holistic reports,channel profitability statements, an A to Z cost per trade analysis and so on.

These are items Qtrade would not have been able to produce without this new team. The team does not have to go looking for information, we are the single, central point of data and information. We ensure that when there is a report, a KPI, a data point, that it should only be provided by reporting and analysis to create reporting and data integrity across the firm. In too many firms, and historically Qtrade was no exception, you had multiple people producing similar reports with inconsistent output. At Qtrade we are well down the path to eliminating this.

While the reporting and analytics team does have a technical resource on it to maintain the ETL’s and databases, the rest of the team are finance based analysts who have the ability to code. The team has a mixture of finance, economics and statistical undergraduates and almost every member of the team has or is pursuing a financial designation such as the CPA, CFA and MBA. At Qtrade, we expect that our financial analysts to be fluent in coding and be able to talk about such items as data fields and schemas as well as profitability and gross margins. At Qtrade we firmly believe we are the new breed of financial analysts where finance and IT crossover. We are a hybrid of finance and IT.

By being a hybrid of IT and finance, this creates many opportunities for Qtrade, not the least being efficiencies. By being the familiar with the source data and also being financially savvy, it reduces the amount of back and forth between the end business user for who the reporting and analytics is being created for. However, since the analyst can do both the coding and analysis and is familiar with not only that particular line of business, but what is happening corporate wide, it allows the analyst to provide additional insight to the request. It also allows the team to create their own analytics to support both the CFO and CEO. We turn data into information that decisions can be made on.

The hiring challenge for Qtrade is to find this unique set of individuals, who also possess soft skills such as customer service as the team does see itself as a customer service team to both our B2B partners and internal customers. However, we hold the firm belief that in 10 years from now the hybrid analyst will become the industry standard and we here at Qtrade are trying to be on the cutting edge of creating the new hybrid world of finance and technology!

Name: Gregory Hood
Company: Qtrade Financial Group
Email: [email protected]

The Dawn of Major Technological Breakthroughs in Cancer Medicine?
EquityFunds

The Dawn of Major Technological Breakthroughs in Cancer Medicine?

Specifically, within the private equity space, what services/funds do you offer?

Our funds offer investors an opportunity to invest in well managed, selected emerging breakthrough companies with high projected revenue growth in biotech and technology with an upcoming projected liquidity event typically 1-3 years out. We focus on hard to source but well known exceptional growth tech companies.

How does it feel to win this prestigious award?

It feels great and I am thankful to Wealth & Finance International for their recognition and the award and appreciate their support of our industry!

What do you feel is the secret behind your firm’s success?

The secret is nothing new. Finding great companies to invest in. Putting in the hard work to help these companies, surrounding yourself with those smarter than you in your areas of weakness, learning from those smarter than you, being humble and building great relationships that last was instrumental to our firm’s success.

Formulas change, investment strategies change but relationships don’t and neither does having a good heart and great integrity. I also learned that it is important to sell what sells. Just because you have a great investment strategy doesn’t mean people will invest in it.

What is your firm’s mission and what steps do you take to achieve it?

Our firm’s mission is to help eradicate cancer and invest in human progressive endeavours. We can do this by helping and investing into great companies with strong management teams and by working side by side with companies and being an integral part of the management team. Our work at Genprex will continue indefinitely and we believe it will become a major game changer in the cancer biotech industry. We believe mankind is at the beginning of the Great Age of Biotech.

I think Genprex could be a global leader in cancer gene therapy. Dr. Jack Roth, the inventor of Oncoprex is a gene therapy pioneer and leading lung cancer surgeon so supporting him, the officers and the company during this development phase was key to its current success. The potential to save and improve the lives of millions of cancer patients around the world is an honour and a major responsibility at the same time. Please give us an overview of the private equity industry in your region currently. What are the major challenges and opportunities you encounter? The venture capital and private equity markets in Seattle is very vibrant and busy. We have amazing tech and biotech start-ups emerging from Seattle all the time and it is a hub of the tech titans from Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and so on.

For the most part start-ups are getting funding for great ideas and startups are more focused on the bottom line than they have previously. The ability to scale with technology and the lowering of operating costs due to Amazon Web Services and Azure has helped many tech start-ups control costs and cash burn and helped move into profitability quicker. Talent has never been better as very smart entrepreneurs either graduate or leave established companies looking to fill niche areas in the marketplace and tech scene. Major opportunities that I am focusing on moving forward, in my opinion is biotech and space endeavours.

The Cosmos and the Microcosm present equal challenges and major opportunities. Biotech has a faster ROI but ‘space’ has infinite revenues. I can’t speak glowingly enough about Elon Musk and SpaceX’s mission.
It reminds me of the Vanderbilt’s construction of the railroad system in the 19th century. The railroads created new commerce hubs and major cities thus expanding the GDP of the country and SpaceX is fulfilling the same destiny but for interplanetary commerce, colonisation and ultimately building whole new global sources of GDP. SpaceX is building railroads to the stars and when you map out the potential revenues, one can see that infinite revenues are possible in the longer terms and that growth looks potentially unlimited. This is the first time I have ever used the infinite symbol when describing long term revenue growth. In my opinion, SpaceX could be the first trillion-dollar market cap company, if not the first, one of.

What does the future have in store for your business? Do you have any specific projects or plans you would be willing to share with us?

Genprex will keep me busy for a long time, as will working on my foundation and managing our VC funds. Cancer has been exceptionally difficult to treat due to the thousands of different genetic mutations of cancer. Humans are waging a major molecular biological war. I believe we are on the cusp of major technological breakthroughs in cancer medicine. These innovations will also give us the ability to eradicate most cancers or control them within the next 25 years. Immunotherapy, regenerative medicine, gene therapy, gene editing, stem cell therapies and robotics will all play a role in helping treat the 10,000 diseases that afflict the human body.

We are also planning a documentary on Genprex, biotech start-ups and on the cancer biotech industry later in 2017, chronicling the Genprex story, our journey and to support the fine men and women at our hospitals and research centres, trying to find the cure and to ultimately destroy or control cancer, once and for all.

Do you have anything you would like to add?
Yes, look for Genprex’s (GPRX) IPO in late Q1 on Nasdaq, invest in us if  you believe in our mission and company and to follow our story.

Name: Viet Ly
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.inceptionfunds.com; www.genprex.com
Address: 5400 Carillon Point Road Building 5000, 4th Floor Kirkland, WA 98033
Telephone: + 1 855-22-FUNDS

BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Darlingtons Solicitors: Raising the Bar

Darlingtons Solicitors: Raising the Bar

Darlingtons Solicitors LLP is a London based law firm with a reputation for dynamism and practical advice, valued by both business and individual clients throughout the city and beyond. We invited Partner Debbie Serota to tell us more.

Established in 1999, Darlingtons is a fast growing boutique law firm in London, a modern practice with 50 staff. Covering a wide range of specialisms, the firm serves clients ranging from investors and entrepreneurs to long established, international businesses. Debbie talks us through the firm’s core practice areas and how it aims to provide excellence in these areas.

“At Darlingtons our corporate and commercial team deals with a full range of corporate transactions and advisory services. We are regularly involved in sale and purchases of businesses or assets and shares, MBO, MBI, corporate restructuring, contracts and commercial, advising shareholders and directors on corporate issues. The team also specialises in advising directors and shareholders in relation to disputes that have arisen between themselves and fellow shareholders and directors. Our reputation is built on commercial, practical and insightful advice.

“Expertise and experience are key to our success, but not far behind is the working relationship between lawyer and client. We are dynamic and proactive, taking the time to understand how clients operate and what their objectives are, resulting in structured and tailored advice at the right cost and according to the client timescale.”

Legal practice is changing rapidly, clients are ever more discerning, with perceptions of service quality as well as advice quality just one example of the changes. Debbie outlines how the firm’s ongoing focus remains firmly on providing valuable services in the future.

“Clients have historically seen accountants and not lawyers as their primary trusted advisors. Whilst there are good reasons for this, lawyers are also valuable business advisors, not just to instruct when a transaction is needed or for a contract or a dispute. As lawyers, our challenge is to build proactive, valued business advisor relationships with clients and to remain adaptable and flexible to changing market and clients needs.” Company: Darlingtons Solicitors LLP

Name: Debbie Serota
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.darlingtons.com
Address: Darlingtons House, Spring Villa Park, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7EB
Telephone: 0208 951 6666

Press releases

The 2016 Finance Awards Press Release

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the 2016 Finance Awards Winners

United Kingdom, December 2016- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2016 Finance Awards.

The finance industry is a vital part of keeping the global economy growing. From asset managers through to bankers, investment advisors to software developers, the 2016 Finance Awards are dedicated to supporting and recognising these talented and dedicated firms, individuals and departments.

Now in its 3rd year, the Finance awards are a prestigious program, and winning one is no mean feat. It is 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.

Commenting on the program Awards Coordinator Laura Hunter said: “The financial sector is crucial to health of the global business market, and as such it is a real pleasure to be able to showcase some of the very best talent from across the market. I would like to wish every one of my deserving winners the very best of fortunes going forward.”

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-intl.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.

UK House Price Index for October 2016
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

UK House Price Index for October 2016

The October data shows an annual price increase of 6.9% which takes the average property value in the UK to £216,674. Monthly house prices have risen by 0.1% since September 2016. The monthly index figure for the UK was 113.6.

In England, the October data shows an annual price increase of 7.4% which takes the average property value to £232,655. Monthly house prices fell by 0.1% since September 2016.

Wales shows an annual price increase of 4.4% which takes the average property value to £147,065. Monthly house prices have risen by 1% since September 2016.

London shows an annual price increase of 7.7% which takes the average property value to £474,475. Monthly house prices fell by 1.2% since September 2016.

The regional data indicates that:

– the East of England experienced the greatest increase in its average property value over the last 12 months with a movement of 12.3%;
– the East of England also experienced the greatest monthly growth with an increase of 1.3%;
– the North East saw the lowest annual price growth with an increase of 2.7%;
– the North East also saw the most significant monthly price fall with a movement of -1.3%.

Home sales in the UK increased by 1.0% between September and October. Compared with October 2015 the level of home sales in October 2016 is 8.0% lower. See the economic statement.

Sales during August 2016, the most up-to-date Land Registry figures available, show that:

– the number of completed house sales in England fell by 20.3% to 67,396 compared with 84,565 in August 2015;
– the number of completed house sales in Wales fell by 11.6% to 3,558 compared with 4,025 in August 2015;
– the number of completed house sales in London fell by 39.3% to 6,607 compared with 10,881 in August 2015;
– there were 514 repossession sales in England in August 2016;
– there were 45 repossession sales in Wales in August 2016;
– the lowest number of repossession sales in England and Wales in August 2016 was in the East of England.

Access the full October UK HPI. For more information, click here.

Banking Industry Should Learn from Telecoms Sector in Approach to Product Sales
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Banking Industry Should Learn from Telecoms Sector in Approach to Product Sales

Emily Farrimond, Director, Baringa Partners says: “The news that HSBC – who historically placed a strong emphasis on its local branch presence – has closed over 200 branches this year is just the latest in a series of branch closures across the industry as banks react to changes in customer behaviour and the need to reduce operating costs. However, ongoing closures is not sustainable and a new approach to product sales is needed. The banking industry should learn from the telecoms sector and create ‘The BankStore’, the Carphone Warehouse of banking.

“The BankStore would allow customers to compare the prices of retail banking products from a range of providers under one roof. Sales assistants would be able to provide independent advice on a range of products and customers would then be able to buy from any provider. If customers then want to purchase additional products from a different provider, they wouldn’t have to provide any further information as it would all be registered with The BankStore.

“As well as increasing competition in the banking industry, a key focus for the regulator, The BankStore would also support vulnerable customers who do not have access to digital channels or do not feel comfortable using them. The question is, will banks take the lead or will a new challenger step up to the plate?”

FCA Publishes Interim Feedback on Review of the Rules for Crowdfunding
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

FCA Publishes Interim Feedback on Review of the Rules for Crowdfunding

Based on a review of the feedback received, issues seen during the supervision of crowdfunding platforms currently trading and consideration of applications from firms seeking full authorisation, the FCA believes it is appropriate to modify a number of rules for the market.

Initial findings

Loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding

For both loan-based and investment-based crowdfundingplatforms they have found that, for example:

• It is difficult for investors to compare platforms with each other or to compare crowdfunding with other asset classes due to complex and often unclear product offerings;
• It is difficult for investors to assess the risks and returns of investing on a platform;
• Financial promotions do not always meet their requirement to be ‘clear, fair and not misleading’ and;
• The complex structures of some firms introduce operational risks and/or conflicts of interest that are not being managed sufficiently.

Loan-based crowdfunding

In the loan-based crowdfunding market in particular they are concerned that, for example:
• Certain features, such as some of the provision funds used by platforms, introduce risks to investors that are not adequately disclosed and may not be sufficiently understood by investors;
• The plans some firms have for wind-down in the event of their failure are inadequate to successfully run-off loan books to maturity and;
• The FCA have challenged some firms to improve their client money handling standards.
Proposals for new rules to be considered in Q1 2017
The FCA plan to consult on additional rules in a number of areas. These include more prescriptive requirements on the content and timing of disclosures by both loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding platforms.

For loan-based crowdfunding, the FCA also intend to consult on:
• Strengthening rules on wind-down plans;
• Additional requirements or restrictions on cross-platform investment and;
• Extending mortgage-lending standards to loan-based platforms.

The FCA’s current rules on loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding platforms came into force in April 2014. They aimed to create a proportionate regulatory framework that provided adequate investor protection whilst allowing for innovation and growth in the market.

The call for input in July 2016 launched a post-implementation review of these rules. The paper summarised market developments since 2014 and some of the FCA’s emerging concerns. 

Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA said, “our focus is ensuring that investor protections are appropriate for the risks in the crowdfunding sector while continuing to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers. Based on our findings to date, we believe it is necessary to strengthen investor protection in a number of areas. We plan to consult next year on new rules to address the issues we have identified.”

Further work

Their on-going research and investigatory work should be completed early in 2017. At that stage, the FCA will complete the post-implementation review and determine whether further consultation on rule changes is needed.
Responding to his update from the FCA on proposed new rules for the crowdfunding sector, RSM financial services partner Damian Webb commented, “The increased focus and oversight in the peer to peer sector has to be welcomed.

The peer to peer sector has grown exponentially over the past five years, from small start-ups we now have large established financial institutions. The sector has benefitted from the “light touch” approach previously adopted by the FCA but noting the current and forecast scale of these institutions it is only right that the FCA looks to bring the sector in line with existing regulations and best practice.

“There is a real risk that in the absence of the FCA regularising the sector, practices could emerge which undermine the position of investors. Any fall-out could fundamentally undermine our growing FinTech sector and undermine the UK’s reputation for financial probity.”

ClearlySo Launches ATLAS Impact Assessment Solution for Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors
EquityFunds

ClearlySo Launches ATLAS Impact Assessment Solution for Private Equity and Venture Capital Investors

ClearlySo ATLAS helps private equity and venture capital investors assess the social and environmental impact of their investments and provides practical suggestions for action. Research increasingly shows that there is a positive correlation between impact and financial return, and lack of awareness about negative impact is a risk.

The methodology ClearlySo ATLAS uses to assess impact combines current best practices, industry-wide expertise and years of in-house experience developed at ClearlySo. Private Equity Reporting Group, Principles for Responsible Investment, European Union Directives and Red Line Voting are all considered and the results are mapped to the UN Sustainable Development Goals ensuring investors engage with the latest market expectations.

Luke Hakes, investment director at Octopus Ventures commented: “We are delighted to be working with ClearlySo to assess the social and economic impact of the companies we back. We are incredibly proud of our portfolio companies which include Antidote and Big Health and the brilliant work they do in their respective sectors. We know that High Growth Small Businesses have a disproportionately high impact on our domestic economy and we are excited to be able to work with ClearlySo to analyse the impact of our venture capital investments.”

Further commenting, Lindsay Smart, head of impact innovation at ClearlySo said: “The launch of ClearlySo ATLAS marks a new chapter in assessing the role of impact and sustainability in the venture capital and private equity sphere. We spent 18 months collaborating with industry experts to develop a solution at a time when corporate and financial action continues to garner much scrutiny. We look forward to working with our customers, including our first, Octopus Ventures, renowned for leadership in innovative thinking, as they seize the opportunity to be standard setters for private equity and venture capital investment.”

To learn more about ClearlySo ATLAS please visit www.clearlyso.com/ATLAS/.

November Winners’ Directory
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

November Winners’ Directory

International Real Estate Excellence
Company: Angels Sales and Lettings
Name: Prem Singh
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.angelshomes.co.uk
Address: 184 Hertford Road, Enfield EN3 5AZ
Telephone: 44 (0)208 443 1000

UK Corporate Excellence
Company: LED Eco Lights Ltd
Name: Sophia Burr
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.ledecolights.com
Address: Unit 7, J4 Camberley, 15 Doman Road, Camberley, Surrey
GU15 3LB
Telephone: 01276 691 230

Money Management Awards
Company: MacIntyre Hudson
Name: Holly Brookes
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.macintyrehudson.co.uk
Address: 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ
Telephone: 01908 662255

UK Regional 2016 – Recognised Excellence in Open Source Solutions
Company: OpusVL
Name: Stuart J Mackintosh
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: http://opusvl.com/
Address: Drury House, Drury Lane, Rugby,
Warwickshire, CV21 3DE
Telephone: 01788 298 450

Press releases

The 2016 Wealth & Finance Business Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, 2016– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2016 Business Awards.

It goes without saying that, the team at Wealth & Finance International encounter many well-run, successful and well-respected firms each and every day, across all regions and too many industries to mention.

However, once in a while, something comes along that makes even our team of seasoned professionals sit up and take notice. It could be a new firm making waves in its industry, an established company raising the bar in its sector or even the announcement of a business’s latest round of results that have seen them surge ahead of the competition, all we know is, we recognise something truly special when we see it.

As such the 2016 Wealth & Finance Business Awards have been set up to bring these truly special firms, their work and their people to the wider audience they deserve.

Commenting on the program Awards Coordinator said: “The corporate landscape requires great skill and commitment to successfully navigate, and as such it is a great honour to be able to turn the spotlight on all of our deserving winners. I would like to wish them continued success in 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-intl.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.

Real Estate Asset Investment
FundsReal Estate

Real Estate Asset Investment

Ethika Investments is a real estate private equity firm formed to provide investors access to a unique platform by tactically investing in opportunistic real estate assets primarily in the United States.

We invited Ethika President Jean Paul Szita to talk us through the firm and how it came to win this prestigious accolade.
Ethika Investments, an affiliate of Laurus Corporation, a real estate investment and development company that specializes in hotel and resorts, office buildings, multifamily and mixed-use properties, is a Registered Investment Advisor which specializes in management of private equity real estate funds with a vertically integrated solution.

The firm’s fund partners vary throughout each real estate cycle, but generally are a 65% /35% split between foreign and domestic capital sources.

Its clientele includes a wide variety of investors, from large institutional pensions to private sovereign wealth funds. Jean Paul explains the firm’s investment strategy and how it aims to provide these clients with the best possible financial solutions which meet their needs.

“Here at Ethika, we believe timing and diversification are the key components to any successful investment strategy.
“Therefore, our team focuses on investments in value-add and credit strategies where our team can stabilize the assets to produce dependable yields as well as upside opportunity, or provide financing that requires a deep understanding of transitional assets outside of the purview of traditional commercial real estate lenders to produce outstanding risk-adjusted yields. In today’s market, underperforming transitional assets remain attractively priced, and continue to deteriorate as distressed owners are unable to continue investing in them. After the strong acquisition period that occurred post 2009, we are finding that today is the era of strategic execution of value-add investment business plans and maximization of end value.

“Partnering with a local private equity real estate fund like Ethika provides foreign investors a trustworthy alignment of interest. Our funds also allow for vested interest as well as a clear objective, breadth of cycle-tested experience and an expansive skill set.”

It is this strategy which sets the firm apart within the financial market and highlights the suitability of its investment offering to clients, as Jean Paul explains.

“Ethika is vertically-integrated, serving both as a fund manager and real estate services provider, and working in tandem with our affiliate Laurus Corporation, we are directly involved in the management of the business plan for every investment, ensuring execution of the value-add process from start to finish.

“The company puts together entire strategies for investing that encompass everything from sourcing the asset, underwriting the asset, escrow, design, construction, repositioning, accounting, investor relations and property management, consolidating the entire process to a single operation, again minimising risk and the room for error. Ethika also has a highly diverse client base and prides itself on developing and maintaining relationships with their clients as the core of its business.

Central to the firm’s success is its experienced and dedicated staff, who are ambitious and eager to support clients however possible.

“At Ethika our staff are integral to the firm’s continued expansion, into new markets and alternative investment strategies, as we explore unique approaches to value creation while upholding our commitment to delivering outstanding risk-adjusted returns to our investors. As such we look for individuals that prioritize relationships with clients and who possess a diversified and substantial background in the industry.

“Individuals who have a history of excelling in their careers both professionally and academically and in particular, value those who have demonstrated their ability to provide leadership in their prior organizations are highly sought after, and we aim to support them and provide a working environment in which they can flourish and grow in their careers.” Within the wider financial market, while there seems to be no shortage in available capital, funds and investment managers are taking their time, carefully combing for smart deals, and adopting a wait and see approach as the market transitions.
“An experienced fund manager like Ethika Investments relishes this period in the market cycle because our team possesses a deep understanding of the nuances within the real estate marketplace and an ability to spot the pockets of opportunity, not only in the commercial office sector, but across the great real estate landscape, that will undoubtedly arise from this period of uncertainty”, Jean Paul comments proudly.

While there are some challenges in the hospitality sector as the gap widens between buyers and sellers, office and retail are offering solid investment opportunities with a substantial upside if you know where to look.

For the office sector, positive projections for the next three years anticipate absorption of existing office space to total 175 million square feet, which is more than the past eight years combined. Jean Paul explains how his firm works to ensure that it stays ahead of market shifts in order to remain at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

“At Ethika, we diligently track trends in market level economic and real estate fundamentals and demographic shifts to predict where markets are growing, and maintain diversification across each fund. It’s important to look at opportunities that are not purely cycle-driven, selecting strong investments that take into account macro trends. Our team buys assets that are not perfectly stabilised in order to acquire properties at an attractive price. These practices place us as a leader in the investment market and build our clients’ trust in our investment judgment.” Looking at the challenges the market faces, additional interest in U.S. real estate is increasing competition, making it imperative that fund managers understand the subtleties affecting regional deals and dig deeper into secondary markets, moving beyond U.S. gateways. Ethika’s recent investments in Minneapolis, San Antonio and San Diego are cases of upside opportunity brought about by the dynamic growth in these local markets and beyond and are testimony to the success of the firm’s approach to investment.

Moving forward, an increased migration of both domestic and institutional capital into alternative investments is predicted, with the real estate market set to increase its focus on funds that strive for alpha creation, or with respect to yield driven investments, which are insulated from risks of cap rate expansion. As such Jean Paul concludes by highlighting Ethika’s focuses for the coming months, which are revolve around supporting these industry changes.
“Looking ahead, our plan is to continue to focus on our most recent fund, Ethika Diversified Opportunity Real Estate Fund II. The fund focuses on opportunistic and value-add investments in the top 30 U.S. markets, continuing to capitalize on underperforming assets priced below replacement cost with significant upside potential.

“Additionally, the firm is enhancing its focus on credit strategies with its first platform dedicated strictly to debt investments launching in Q4 2016. With more cumbersome regulations impacting the desire and ability of banks and traditional debt capital channels to lend, the market for private lending continues to grow at an exponential rate. Ethika’s specific experience in value-add real estate provides the firm a unique capability to provide borrowers with financing solutions on projects not able to fit a narrowing criteria of bank, CMBS and traditional balance sheet lenders.”

Company: Ethika Investments
Name: Jean Paul Szita
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.ethikainvestments.com
Address: Suite 1016, 1880 Century Park East, Suite 106,
Los Angeles, CA, 90067
Telephone: 1.310.954.2009

Press releases

2016 Women In Wealth Awards Press Release

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the 2016 Women in Wealth Awards Winners

United Kingdom, November 2016- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2016 Women in Wealth Awards.

Women play a huge role in the financial landscape: from asset management to banking and financial governance, the industry is full of extraordinary women working against the odds to succeed in a male dominated market.

As such we have created the 2016 Women in Wealth Awards, which showcase the very best women from across the financial environment.

Commenting on the program Awards Coordinator Daisy Johnson stated: “Women’s contribution to the finance industry cannot be underestimated, and as such this awards programme is showcasing the most committed, successful and professional women from across the market. I am truly proud to be able to highlight the hard work of every one of my winners and would like to wish them an even more prosperous 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-intl.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.

70% of Students Are Already 'Skint' and Living in Their Overdraft
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

70% of Students Are Already ‘Skint’ and Living in Their Overdraft

1 in 5 prospective students expected to be financially stable with no money worries at all, yet a huge 70% label already themselves as skint and already in their overdrafts.

Interestingly, prospective students shared that they expected their parents to support them financially each month, contributing on average £179 every four weeks to fund their wild and wonderful lifestyle. However, the reality data shows that 50% of students receive nothing!

Those that do get financial help from their parents receive on average £2568 a year (£214 a month). With an estimated 1.1 million students in the UK, and 50% of those receive help… the total amount coming from banks of mums and dads across totals to £1.4 billion per year.

The average student spends £65.70 a month on food, £354 a month on rent, £93.50 a month on bills, £38.50 a month on travel, £62 a month of beauty/fashion treats, and £64.50 on getting drunk and partying.

With total outgoings of around £678.20 a month but an average income as a student of £469 a month – there’s no doubt that 70% of students are already in their overdrafts

Despite the struggles, 53% of UK students don’t work whilst at University.

44% of students said they spent the majority of their money in fresher’s week on rent however a huge 42% said going out was their priority during fresher’s. 18% of students threw their money straight into a shopping trip during fresher’s week and 2% booked a holiday.

14% of students have a credit card as well as their loan to ensure they can make the most of their time living away from home.

Living costs across the UK of course vary meaning the cost of being a student (income vs outgoings) are different for each region.

The Reality of a Student House

When it comes to student housing, the majority of current students live in a run-down house shared with complete strangers. A huge 95% of students expected to live in a warm house – however, just 5% enjoy such a luxury. 15% of students can’t afford to heat their homes throughout winter, and, because of this, 1 in 5 live in a house that suffers with mould. It was found that many choose to sleep in numerous jumpers just to keep warm.

Case study, Robert from York St Johns, lived in a corridor with a bed sheet as a curtain for 12 months to evade sky high renting costs in the city. Read about his experience here.

Students were found to spend just £16.40 on their weekly shop with 1 in 4 expecting to share meals with everyone in the house, cooking large batches to make it cheaper per head. However, a huge 70% of students said they don’t share their food and 18% even admitted to arguing over cupboard and fridge space.

1 in 3 expected to lose weight as a student, but the majority don’t! On average each student adds 14lb to their waistline. However, this can’t be blamed on an increase in takeaways – as a huge 36% said they can’t even afford one!

Reality of Life after Graduation

Expectations of life after graduation are a bit more realistic! Just 16% of students expect to graduate with a first class degree, the majority expect to have a salary of less than £15,000 a year and just 12% of students expect to own their own house once they finish.

The reality data of life after graduation shows that the majority (42%) graduate with a 2:1, interestingly the average student moves onto a post-grad salary of £24,498.35 a year.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for some! More than 1 in 4 graduates move back in with mum and dad and their dreams of travelling the world before starting their career are diminished!

Explore the full study here.

THe.MiS Attorneys -at-Law
LegalRegulation

THe.MiS Attorneys -at-Law

Our goal is to help our clients assert their rights and empower them during the whole legal process. Throughout this process, we build up a professional and close relationship with our clients, which we view as our partners. As well as litigating on individual cases, we provide general company and compliance advice to both Taiwanese and foreign corporate clients.

As an internationally focussed firm, we provide legal services in Chinese, English, Japanese and French. As a boutique law firm, we believe that our stature enables us to provide a more personalised service for our clients.

Ethics are the core of everything we do, and our associates and staff are fully aware of the value of their role as counsel and companion to our clients we assist by providing legal service. The main concern of our firm is human rights, especially gender equality. This is the reason why our partners are all activists in human rights movement in Taiwan, such as the movement for women’s rights, the movement for migrants’ rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

We take great pride in the fact that we are a female owned law firm, and believe all three of our partners bring their own unique set of skills to the firm. We all practice three distinct styles, have three different personalities, but at the same time share the same passion for gender equality and human rights issues.

Over the years, we have developed a network with other law firms, with ties in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Furthermore, we are hoping to work with other law firms in other country in Asia Pacific area and other continents in the field of International family law in the near future.

Company: THe.MiS Attorneys-at-law
Email: [email protected]
Web Address www.themislaw.com.tw
Address: 10F, No.123, XinSheng S. Road, Sec.1, Taipei 106, TAIWAN
Telephone: +886-2-8771-8611
Fax: +886-2-8771-9181

Asia Plantation Capital Expands its Horizons
FinanceInfrastructure and Project Finance

Asia Plantation Capital Expands its Horizons

Award-winning plantation management company Asia Plantation Capital held its Thailand Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 21 October 2016, at the Renaissance Bangkok, Thailand. Asia Plantation Capital is delighted to announce that despite the slowdown in global economic activity, its revenues grew 6% in Thailand and similarly increased by around 4.5% in Singapore in FY2015.

Addressing the crowd of 300 Thailand-based plantation owners and stakeholders, Mr. Barry Rawlinson, Chief Executive Officer of the APC Group, opened the AGM by detailing how the company expanded its horizons with exponential growth throughout 2016, despite facing several challenges. Mr. Rawlinson also spoke about the ongoing effects of climate change in the agriculture sector, and how the company has worked tirelessly to address the relevant issues and mitigate the negative effects.

Asia Plantation Capital remains steadfast to its ethos of ‘holistic sustainability’. Throughout 2016, the company has embraced programmes and directives that are more than mere Corporate Social Responsibility projects, ensuring that equal care, consideration and encouragement are given to all members of staff — from top and middle management all the way through to plantation workers and their families.

Jinda Tonkhambai outlined the details of past projects, as well as those that have been carried out over the last year, from which many local communities have benefited. Asia Plantation Capital’s projects have focused on local infrastructure – such as schools and places of worship – improving the lives of all the people who live in and work around the company’s areas of operation.
Three 4th year students from the Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, were also presented with scholarships at the meeting, comprising the payment of tuition fees of up to THB 150,000 over the course of four years.

In light of the company’s ongoing expansion and the additional plantations that are needed to meet the growing demand for products, Phanitta Matwangsaeng from General Administration, updated attendees on the processes and due diligence carried out prior to the purchase of land. Technical details, such as the land designing process, plot diagrams, water systems, and tree management systems, were also further explained by architect, Phoom Matwangsaeng.

Nadiah Abdullah, Operations Manager, presented the significant milestones that have been reached this year on behalf of Asia Plantation Capital Berhad (APCB) – the Malaysian arm of the APC Group – with the emphasis placed on the major joint ventures that have been entered into, as well as the breakthroughs that were made in research and development.

The factory – the largest agarwood distillery in Southeast Asia – now sees some new manufacturing processes, as well as an expanded nursery facility and a laboratory with state of the art equipment to monitor oil quality and production methods.

One of the most significant achievements for APCB has been the recent recognition and unconditional approval of its products by the SSM (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia) which is Malaysia’s equivalent to the MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK.

Experts in the field, Robin Jewer – Agricultural Director, and Boonchuay Jomkhamsee – Forestry Specialist, provided information on the current state of Asia Plantation Capital’s plantations that were affected by excessive rainfall, along with the measures that were taken to deal with erratic weather patterns. For example; all company plantations now manage the risk by using rain gauges and moisture measuring metres to ensure that a tree has access to just the right amount of water. This in turn, significantly reduces water usage, as well as the power that is required to pump water.

Special Scientific Advisor and Associate professor, Dr Pakamas Chetpattanondh, from the Prince of Songkla University, also presented the audience with her ongoing research on the medicinal and healing benefits of Oud oil – specifically regarding its anti-ageing properties and its potential efficacy in treating various forms of cancer.

Described as ‘the miracle plant’, Asia Plantation Capital is now heavily invested in bamboo as another ‘agrocrop’ in which the group of companies perceives a great deal of potential. As yet another part of the group’s commitment to securing innovative, sustainable, commercial solutions and new technologies, it is supporting Boo-Tex™, which is developing a new range of luxury bamboo fabrics for the fashion and sportswear industries. Mr Roger Hargreaves, Chairman of Asia Plantation Capital Thailand, took the opportunity to update the attendees on the exciting developments in the sector and provided a comprehensive overview of the ever-expanding commercial bamboo landscape. 

The audience was also given updates on French, niche, luxury perfume house, Fragrance Du Bois, by Clotilde Antoine, Brand and Retail Manager. The young and innovative brand scaled new heights this year with new partnerships being forged, and openings in Paris, Hong Kong, Milan, Marbella, and its very own European flagship boutique in Geneva.
Additionally, the brand also decided to widen and augment its portfolio of products with the introduction and launch of an alcohol-free ‘Lite Attars’ collection and ‘Nature’s Treasures’ – an original collection of hand-blended, non-Oud based perfumes, using only natural ingredients of the finest quality.

Asia Plantation Capital also announced that it will be entering into exclusive ‘off-take’ agreements with Fragrance Du Bois and a to-be-announced beauty and personal care company – ultimately increasing the demand for the Oud supplied by Asia Plantation Capital, and further securing the end market for Asia Plantation Capital produced agarwood products.
It was also revealed during the meeting that the Asia Plantation Distilleries ‘super distilleries’ are expected to be fully operational by the year 2020.

In his closing speech, APC Group’s CEO, Barry Rawlinson said, “2016 has been an exceptionally good year for all of us at Asia Plantation Capital, as we have reaped the rewards that have accrued from the ‘hard yards’ and the long hours we have put in. Despite the challenges we have faced, we have managed to ensure that performance, growth and momentum across all regions have been maintained.”

Rawlinson concluded, “On behalf of the company, I would like to thank all our stakeholders, shareholders and every member of staff for their contribution and support. These are exciting times for our company, and you can rest assured that as stakeholders, we have your best interests in our hearts and minds, as well as at the forefront of each and every decision that we make.”

Lloyds Banking Group - Member of the Council for Digital Inclusion
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Lloyds Banking Group – Member of the Council for Digital Inclusion

Lloyds Banking Group is now playing a vital role in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Council for Digital Inclusion.

Chaired by Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, the Council brings together
representatives from government, the voluntary and private sectors to work together to create the
environment for more people to become digitally engaged and make the most of opportunities
offered by the internet.

In particular, the Council will focus on increasing levels of basic digital skills and reducing the
number of people in England who do not regularly or never access the internet at all.
Nick Williams, MD, Consumer Digital for Lloyds Banking Group is joining the quarterly sessions
and is acting as an adviser to help deliver the Council’s aims and work.

Still in its infancy, the Council has laid out some early action plans and ensuring it plays a pivotal
role in making sure organisations in social housing, charity, banking, telecoms, retail and
government work together to commission and deliver initiatives to increase digital inclusion.

Nick said, “I’m delighted that Lloyds Banking Group is playing an important role in this Council. It’s
staggering that an estimated 12.6 million adults in the UK still don’t have basic digital skills, which
means people are missing out on improved job opportunities, better health and social and financial
inclusion.

“Our research in both our Consumer Digital and Business Digital Indexes show that clearly there is
more we all can do to ensure individuals and businesses are aware of the opportunities available
to them just by being online. For example we found that the average person could save £744 a
year by shopping around for online deals.”

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “It’s essential everyone in the UK
has digital skills to create a society that works for all and keep our businesses competitive in a
fast-changing world.
“We’re taking action to help, which is why we set up the Council for Digital Inclusion to bring
together leaders from business, charities and government to help more people realise the benefits
of being online.

“We have also recently committed to make sure all adults in England who need it can receive free
training in basic digital skills.”
As well as being part of the Council, Lloyds Banking Group has also been asked by the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport to lead a ‘task and finish’ group to specifically increase
the digital skills of small businesses and charities in England.

The ‘task and finish’ group was set up following an audit by the Digital Inclusion Delivery board that
identified a lack of digital skills provisions available.

The group is made up of key cross sector leaders who will pool resources, create partnerships
across sectors and devise initiatives to help reduce the gap in basic digital skills for small
businesses and charities.

Nick adds, “Our 2016 Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index shows the link between digital
maturity and organisational success, and we know that the most digital businesses are more likely
to see increased turnover – so this cross sector group, focused on helping increase basic digital
skills, is crucial to increasing the awareness of the benefits and the motivation to increase digital
skills.”