Category: Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)

Stock Trends
ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

The Top Stocks to Watch Out For in 2022

Stock Trends

Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Research at Freedom Finance Europe  


The global economy is gradually rebounding back to its pre-pandemic state, but with 2022 just around the corner now is the time to be researching and identifying the stocks that are most likely to perform well in the coming year. Since the start of 2021, the S&P 500 Index is up another 21.3%, but while most industries are showing signs of recovery, there are many businesses that have started to deliver promising double-digit growth.

Trying to navigate the investment path and settle on which of these high-growth companies will yield the greatest return can often be a difficult task. With this in mind Freedom Finance Europe have outlined three of the top stocks to watch out for in 2022.


Meta Platforms (FB)

Facebook currently remains the largest social media group in the world, with more than two billion active users a month interacting with each other via its many apps. Facebook announced its third quarter results on 25 October, and for this reporting period, revenue rose 35% year-on-year to $29 billion. In addition, net profit was $9.2 billion. Facebook’s digital advertising business still continues to grow steadily, which is partly to do with the soaring demand from small businesses, retailers and entertainment venues such as restaurants. In addition, the meta-universe – a market expected to reach $280 billion by 2025 – represents explosive growth potential over the long term. The average target price is at $405 (about 21% upside).


Visa (V)

The opening of the global economy will have undoubtedly been a boom for the credit card company Visa as consumers began increasing their spending on travel, holidays and restaurants. However, even though there are now more competitors within the field, Visa still has a significant market share. Visa’s shares are relatively lagging, but this creates an attractive entry opportunity. The company is also taking steps to stay ahead of the curve by acquiring a number of smaller financial technology companies to help expand its presence in digital payments. There is also talks of Visa even experimenting with cryptocurrency payments. The average target price is at $275 (about 30% upside).


Alibaba (BABA)

Alibaba has an excellent business and a large market capitalisation. However, the biggest risk comes from Chinese regulators. The company currently has a market capitalisation of $457bn which is down more than 50% from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2020. This being said that doesn’t seem entirely reasonable, as nothing has fundamentally deteriorated at Alibaba. The Chinese government’s actions are difficult to predict, so Chinese derived companies may bear more risk. However, now, at these prices, this risk can be factored into the price, which looks very attractive, and if regulatory hurdles disappear next year, perhaps Alibaba shares will come back to life and continue to rise. The average target price is at $240 (about 97% upside).

Stock Market
ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

What to Look For in a Stock Market API

Stock Market

The financial market is one of the industries that has relied heavily on technological innovations for its operations. In the last few years, there have been new solutions developed to streamline the industry and make its operations seamless. One of the major driving forces for these solutions has been APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces). They have opened a channel through which companies come up with innovations to handle all their transactions and to meet the demands of the modern investor.

APIs are computing interfaces through which applications can communicate and share information with each other. This means that when building an application, developers do not have to work day and night getting the data needed for their application to meet its obligations. They can simply implement an API and obtain the data from other applications. This has made software development easier and faster. 


What are Stock Market APIs?

As discussed above, APIs allow applications to exchange data and communicate with each other. Similarly, stock market APIs provide stock applications with financial market data for their operations. Traders and investors use APIs for stock to obtain structured data from complex market data while developers use them when implementing the functionality of their applications.

A few years ago, before developers and traders started using APIs, they had no option but to collect and analyze the financial data on their own. This was raw data from different sources such as newswires, indices, and stock exchanges. Such data was difficult to analyze and compare and often led to many investment mistakes. APIs solved this problem and made things easier.

When choosing a stock market API, there are a number of things one should look for. They include;



Latency refers to the time a stock market API takes to send data from the source to the application that made the request for data. APIs with low latency are accurate with their data and sent it faster than those that have high latency. You should make sure that you choose a stock market API with low latency for the successful transmission of data.


The Scope and Source of Data

It is important to choose APIs for stock that offer a wide scope of financial data. For instance, you need an API that guarantees you data such as stock data, exchanges, forex, news, commodities, options, and economic data among others. You should test the API to make sure that all this data is available. In addition, you do not need an API that gets its data from a public source. Such data might not only be illegal but also unreliable.


Data Being Transmitted

There are free and premium stock market APIs, with each offering different types of data. Before getting one of them, you should analyze the style you use when trading and choose the one that fits you better. The free APIs will get data sometime after its publication, usually about thirty minutes later. On the other hand, premium APIs will get data in real-time. There are also other APIs (or both the free and premium APIs) that offer historical financial data. The right API depends on the style of trading one employs.



There are traders interested in trading in a specific country while others trade in international markets. Trading in a specific country requires one to use that country’s currency since exchange rates might affect the value of money. International traders need to understand different currencies and choose an API that matches their requirements. 



The stock market is one of the most unpredictable industries we have today. There are times when everything will remain normal while other times things are below normal. However, there are times when things could spike, and the API you choose needs to be scalable enough to handle such spikes.



Trading in the stock market is a confidential affair. Traders spent a lot of money buying and selling stocks. It, therefore, means that they need to work with a secure trading API. When choosing a stock market API, make sure that you get the one using secure servers and systems.

Finally, developers should choose an API with the functionality that meets their requirements. They need an API that is flexible and can integrate easily with the programming languages and the development environments that they use. With such considerations, both developers and traders will get the APIs that meet all their requirements.

ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)MarketsStock Markets

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


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

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


Research Which Trading Platform You Want to Be Using

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

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


Know How Much You Have to Spend

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

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


Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

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

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


Get Your Security In Place Now

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

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ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)MarketsNatural Catastrophe

Markets Have More Upside Potential Despite Second Wave Fears

financial markets

Markets have more upside potential despite second wave fears

By Luc Filip, head of private banking investments at SYZ Private Banking

While fears of a second wave of coronavirus bring renewed volatility to Europe and the US, investors are looking East for reassurance. China, which entered the pandemic three months ahead of the rest of the world – and now boasts positive economic growth – offers a useful template for the trajectory of the rest of the developed world. 

As witnessed in China, we expect a significant pickup in activity from Europe and the US now that social distancing measures are relaxed. The downward trend has finally slowed in these areas and economic indicators have risen above April lows, marking a positive first step in this direction. This was, and will likely continue to be, led by activity in the service and consumption sectors, as social distancing measures are lifted further and people learn to live in the new post-Covid environment. 

We anticipate the recovery will be faster than consensus expects, with the real possibility most economic activity could return close to pre-crisis levels by the beginning of next year. In fact, we believe the unprecedented amount of fiscal and monetary policy stimulus might fuel a temporary overshoot of economic growth in 2021 – before falling back toward more subdued long-term trends. 

Despite the very real risk of a second wave, of which we are already seeing signs, we do not believe this will result in another full- blown lockdown in developed countries. Instead, we would likely see more targeted measures, which would not derail economic recovery. Nevertheless, the recovery will remain concentrated in developed countries following in China’s footsteps, while the rest of the developing world – countries mostly dependent on manufacturing and commodity export – are likely to experience a far less robust recovery. 


Positioning for recovery

Before these positive developments are fully priced in by markets, now is still the time to increase risk exposure. But with ultra-low bond yields and sky-high equity valuations, many investors do not know where to turn. The key is to consider every aspect of an asset’s characteristics, including its merits compared to the available alternatives, as there is always relative value to be found.

Equity valuations, which regained pre-crisis highs in some sectors, may appear expensive given the current economic situation. However, it is necessary to go beyond purely intra-equity market metrics and consider equity valuations within the current rate environment. Taking into account the excess return currently offered by stocks over cash and bonds, equities are not expensive at all. In the US, this equity risk premium is close to a historic high. Therefore, combining both internal equity metrics and risk premia, we still see value in equities. 


Covering all bases 

Nevertheless, our confidence in the economic recovery does not discount the high probability of volatility in the markets – due to downside risks such as the speed of the recovery, the geopolitical situation, the likelihood of a second wave and a second lockdown. 

Therefore, diversification is crucial – across asset classes, regions and sectors. In the eventuality of a negative surprise, our exposure to gold, long treasuries and hedging equity strategies will protect the portfolio. Meanwhile, we increased our exposure to US and European equities in May through passive instruments to obtain wide-ranging coverage across all sectors. We also took advantage of the recent lower volatility to purchase additional portfolio protections as they became cheaper. 

Another key to managing downside risk is to focus on quality. We prefer holding proven quality assets which are continuing to perform well – even if they are more ‘expensive’. On the equities side, this means stocks with strong balance sheets, cashflow and brand, which are well positioned for the new normal of digitalisation – such as Google, Mastercard and L’Oréal. On the credit side, we reduced our exposure to high yield, as we anticipate a painful recovery for many companies, and reinvested the money into investment grade corporates – which are supported by the Federal Reserve’s purchasing programme. 

Generating performance while managing risk requires a flexible active approach to asset allocation. Through the crisis, our preference for quality, rigorous diversification and tactical protection have enabled our portfolio to participate in the market recovery, while mitigating downside risk. 

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Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

What is the Post-Brexit Outlook for Sterling?

banksy brexit

What is the Post-Brexit Outlook for Sterling?

As we head through the agreed Brexit transition period, many questions remain. One of these uncertainties is that there’s no definitive answer whether by 2nd January 2021, a deal will be in place. One of the key areas of concern is what effect Brexit will have on the standing of sterling as, inevitably, the currency will be affected.

It seems like far more than four years ago now that the UK made the momentous, and unexpected, decision that it no longer wanted to be part of the EU. Since then, a great deal of metaphorical water has passed under the bridge and it was only Boris Johnson’s bold election move last December that finally achieved the Tory majority needed to pass the legislation.

But, as we head through the agreed transition period, many questions remain. One thing that is for certain is that there will be no extension to this beyond 1st January 2021. However there is no definitive answer yet on what the arrangements will be concerning the UK’s dealings with the EU after then. It’s equally uncertain whether, by 2nd January, a deal will be in place, and some observers believe that a no-deal Brexit is becoming a real possibility.

One of the key areas of concern is what effect Brexit will have on the standing of sterling as, inevitably, the currency will be affected.

Volatility is key

Perhaps the early signs weren’t good, as its value on the currency markets immediately plunged by around 10% on the announcement back in June 2016 that the country was set to go it alone. Since then, the trend seems to have been that its value has rallied whenever rumours of a softer, more negotiated split with the EU have been circulating. For example, back in October 2019 when it was believed, incorrectly as it turned out, that the transition period might be extended, the value of the currency rallied strongly on the world markets.

But, each time there is a feeling that the future is a little more uncertain, sterling’s essential volatility comes to the fore, once again causing considerable turbulence in the currency exchanges.

Good news for some…

Of course, this isn’t necessarily bad news for everyone – with people who derive some benefits from forex trading being a case in point. Through making the right decisions, and operating using a recommended forex broker, traders stand to benefit from significant changes in relative values between paired currencies. For those in this category, choosing an effective broker is a relatively simple process as in-depth reviews of said brokers abound.

… but not for others
Cargo Ship, By Szeke

Volatility in the value of sterling is, unsurprisingly, not such good news for many other sectors of the UK economy. A prime example is the country’s manufacturing industry, especially in the case of firms that rely on importing components and materials from abroad. At a stroke, they can find themselves having to pay more to continue operating – a cost that they are generally likely to pass straight on to the consumer.

Incidentally, this is not the only impact that Brexit is predicted to have on UK industry. There is a very real fear that it will limit the amount of investment available for research and development which could well have a far wider knock-on effect.

Because the value of sterling has always been so closely linked with confidence in the economy as a whole, the consequences of a country hamstrung in its efforts to develop and innovate could also make themselves apparent.

Looking on the bright side

But we should perhaps be wary of falling into the trap of becoming too pessimistic and gloomy about the prospects for sterling in a post-Brexit world. Deal or no-deal, the UK will definitely be able to open up new trade deals with the rest of the world once the restrictions imposed by EU membership have been lifted. Depending on the nature of those deals, this could mean sterling receives a real shot in the arm and that, now more than ever, will be what everyone should be hoping for.

Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)CommoditiesFX and PaymentStock Markets

Top five things you need to know about commodities


Top five things you need to know about commodities


Commodities are the lifeblood of commerce and economic growth. Daily FX, the leading portal for forex trading news, has built an interactive tool showing global commodity imports and exports over the last decade.

This unique tool allows traders to spot developments in the flow of commodities and the growth of both supply and demand while comparing the changes to critical economic indicators.

‘Global Commodities’ takes the form of a re-imagined 3D globe where the heights of countries rise and fall to show the import and export levels of a range of commodities over the last decade. The data visualisation allows users to switch views from a single commodity or market and show information relevant to that commodity or market’s performance.

John Kicklighter, Chief Currency Strategist at DailyFX, has used the tool to put together his top five things you need to know about commodities:

1. Will the US-China trade war lead to trade peace and synchronous growth to help commodities?

The US-China trade war is seen globally as a hindrance to growth, and as such, a hindrance to the demand for commodities. The International Monetary Fund warned governments to be  “very careful” and that the global economy remains vulnerable, and presumably, so do commodities until the issue is sorted out.

2. Will the US dollar strength continue and continue to suppress commodity price gains?

Since commodities are priced in US Dollars, a stronger USD as evidenced by the 6% gain in the US Dollar Index since the start of 2018 has had a positive impact on commodity price gains.

3. Will inflation pop up to increase the demand for commodities as a value store?

The lack of inflation has baffled central bankers and kept speculative buyers of commodities at bay.

4. Could a renewed China stimulus plan give industrial metals like copper the price boost and reverse weak sentiment?

Chinese stimulus via credit growth and top-down building projects have helped commodities in recent years find renewed demand, and the hope among commodity buyers is that there is more stimulus left in the tank.

5. Will US manufacturing turn around after falling at the start of 2019 to also lift commodities’ outlook?

A significant reading of the US Manufacturing Sector, the Institute of Supply Management recently touched the weakest levels since 2016 alongside Chinese Manufacturing weakness that has heavily weighed on commodities in general and especially metals like copper.

To learn more about Global Commodities visit:

ArticlesCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsTaxWealth Management

Meet the company recouping hundreds of thousands for UK business in R&D tax relief


Meet the company recouping hundreds of thousands for UK business in R&D tax relief


While growth in R&D tax relief claims has increased by 35% annually since inception in 2001 to over £4bn last year, and has already returned £26bn in total tax relief to businesses across the nation, the scheme is yet to be fully utilised by UK business according to R&D tax credit specialists RIFT Research and Development Ltd.

RIFT secures each client an average of more than £60,000 in tax relief due to R&D across sectors such as construction, manufacturing, agri-foods, ICT, advanced engineering, business and finance, mining and even education, but believe many are still failing to take advantage of the financial benefits. 

Introduced by the Government, the scheme is almost two decades old and encourages scientific and technological innovation across a plethora of UK business sectors. 


What is it?

It’s essentially Corporation Tax relief that when utilised, could reduce your company’s tax bill and in some cases, it can even result in you receiving payable tax credits.  

A company can qualify for R&D relief when they carry out research and development within their respective sector with the intention of advancing the overall knowledge or capabilities of science and technology within that field.  


R&D tax relief schemes

There are currently two R&D tax relief schemes in operation although the most beneficial is that aimed at SMEs which considers companies with a headcount of less than 500, a turnover of £86.3m or a balance sheet total below £74.3m – learn more.

If you want to see if your company qualifies and the types of costs you can reclaim, RIFT can also help you – learn more.


R&D sector success stories

RIFT has worked with countless companies who weren’t just unaware of R&D tax relief but had been incorrectly told by their accountants that they didn’t qualify.   

Here are some of the highest value claims.

Automotive: RIFT worked with an automotive industry tool manufacturer and identified £900,000 worth of qualifying costs, of which, the company was able to recoup £180,000 worth of previous costs.

Construction: RIFT worked with a leading construction company and identified £2m worth of qualifying costs for ongoing innovation across the entire business. Their accountant had identified just £50,000 worth of qualifying costs relating only to some new software they had developed and failed to recognise the gravity of the work they were doing within the sector. 

Architecture: Working with a private limited company practice within the architecture space, RIFT identified £1,000,000 worth of qualifying costs per year, after their accountant had told them their activities didn’t qualify as R&D.

Software: Thanks to RIFT, a client developing software was able to claim back a huge £750,000 from HMRC after £2.3m in qualifying costs were identified.

Head of RIFT Research and Development Limited, Sarah Collins commented:  

“Across the UK we have such a wealth of great businesses driving their respective sectors forward through research and development and it’s only right that they should be recognised in one form or another for doing so.  

However, time and time again, we see companies who are really leading the charge but are failing to maximise the return on their efforts by neglecting R&D tax relief. Some aren’t aware of the scheme full stop, while some are, but just didn’t realise that the innovative work they’re carrying out qualifies.  

Particularly now, while many SMEs are struggling with the potential implications of leaving the EU and the reductions in funding this might bring, R&D tax relief provides a very real, Brexit proof opportunity to maximise financial viability.”

BankingCapital Markets (stocks and bonds)

How the finance industry has evolved


How the finance industry has evolved

Industries are constantly trying to keep up with the fast-paced landscape in which they operate, be it technological changes, customer demands or simply just making things easier for their consumers.

But it is the speed at which the technological advancements have reached that has forced traditionally slow-moving financial institutions to heavily invest to remain relevant to their consumers and remain competitive in the marketplace.


Banking is one of the oldest businesses in the world, going back centuries ago, in fact, the oldest bank in operation today is the Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472. The first instance of a non-cash transaction came in the 20th century, when charga-plates were first invented. Considered a predecessor to the credit card, department stores brought these out to select customers and each time a purchase was made, the plates would be pressed and inked onto a sales slip.

At the end of the sales cycle, customers were expected to pay what they were owed to the store, however due to their singular location use, it made them rather limiting, thus paving way for the credit card, where customers that had access to one could apply the same transactional process to multiple stores and stations, all in one place.


The way in which we conduct our leisurely expenditure has changed that much that we can now pay for services on our watches, but it wasn’t always this easy. Just over a few decades ago, individuals were expected to physically travel to their nearest bank to pay their bills, and had no choice but to carry around loose change and cash on their person, a practice that is a dying art in today’s society, kept afloat by the reducing population born before technology.

Although the first instances of contactless cards came about in the mid-90’s, the very first contactless cards associated with banking were first brought into circulation by Barclaycard in 2008, with now more than £40 million being issued, despite there being an initial skepticism towards the unfamiliar use of this type of payment method.


Due to the changes in the financial industry leaning heavily towards a more virtual experience, traditional brick and mortar banks where the older generation still go to, to sort out their finances. Banks are closing at a rate of 60 per month nationwide, with some villages, such as Llandysul closing all four of its banks along with a post office leaving it a ghost town.

The elderly residents of the small town were then forced into a 30-mile round trip in order to access her nearest banking services. With technology not for everyone, those that weren’t taught technology at a younger age or at all are feeling the effects most, almost feeling shut out, despite many banks offering day-to-day banking services through more than 11,000 post office branches, offering yet a lifeline for those struggling with the new business model of financial firms.

Future innovations

As the bracket of people who have grown up around technology widens, the demand for a contemporary banking service continues to encourage the banking industries to stay on their toes as far as the newest innovations go.

Pierre Vannineuse, CEO and Founder of Alternative Investment firm Alpha Blue Ocean, gives his comments about the future of banking services, saying: “Artificial intelligence is continuing to brew in the background and will no doubt feature prominently in the years to come. With many automated chatbots and virtual assistants already taking most of the customer service roles, we are bound to see a more prominent role of AI in how transactions are processed from all levels.”

Technology may have taken its time to get to where it is now, but the way in which it adapts and updates in the modern era has allowed it to quicken its own pace so that new processes spring up thick and fast. Technology has given us a sense of instant gratification, either in business or in leisure, we want things done now not in day or a week down the line.

Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Transactional and Investment Banking

London Tech Week: Blockchain for Business Summit launches today

Blockchain for Business Summit starts today as part of TechXLR8, London Tech Week’s flagship event. Now in its third year, the summit leaves hype, speculation and cryptocurrencies behind to focus on real-world use cases from industries and business leaders who are reaping the rewards of blockchain right now.

Daniele Mensi, CMO of NextHash, spoke at the Global Blockchain Congress in Dubai and gave the following commentary: 

Digital securities, Security tokens, tokenised securities or investment tokens are Financial securities that are compliant with SEC regulations and can provide investors with equity, dividends, revenue or profit share rights. With Digital Security offerings, the lack of complexity ensures that fundraising can be consolidated and the reduced need for middlemen means that investors experience a shorter lockup period. Often, these digital securities represent a right to an underlying asset such as proof of real-estate, cashflow or holdings in another fund. These benefits are all written into a smart contract and the digital securities are traded on a blockchain-powered exchange.

Because the blockchain market is decentralised and active 24/7 by nature, it is in a state of virtual liquidity when compared with the traditional financial markets. That is, one can trade 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the market is never closed.

Ana Bencic, President of NextHash, has provided commentary on the potential of blockchain technology.

“Cryptocurrency trading spearheaded the rise of blockchain and these now provide a conduit between investors and businesses, utilising the technology to provide secure transactions for companies and institutions. As blockchain technology grows ever more popular with investors and traders everywhere, countries and companies that have adopted the technology at an early stage will be the front runners of this new technology. Others would be wise to use London Tech Week as an opportunity to see the true benefits of blockchain in financing businesses and get involved in tomorrow’s unicorns now.”

Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)MarketsStock Markets

What Game of Thrones stocks and shares do you hold?

By Alister Sneddon, Genuine Impact



It is hard to believe that the Game of Thrones (GoT) saga is coming to a close and we’ll soon find out who’ll win and take the Iron Throne.


Finding a winner relates to the quest to pick stocks and shares too.  Just as we’ve analysed the characters in GoT, and made our assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, we can assess a stock by looking at its Quality, Value, and Momentum.


Based on these three criteria, here are some stock picks for three favourite GoT characters:


Jon Snow

Jon has a lot of backing and support from the public. He has also proven he can withstand even the most unexpected of events. There is a spark of innovation to be found: joining forces with the enemy of my enemy turned out to be an excellent move against the Night King’s army, but is it a cursed alliance joining forces with Daenerys?


Paddy Power Betfair PLC

Paddy Power and Betfair now operate as a single company having joined forces in 2015. Coming together brought them back from infighting to concentrate on ruling.


Paddy Power Betfair is an excellent Quality stock. The company has a strong balance sheet and plenty of cash. Jon isn’t cash rich, but he has resources: endless people to call upon when required. Paddy Power Betfair’s cash reserves, make them resilient to any new gambling regulations or other changes.


A company’s value is based on today’s price per share, versus how much money the company generates. The higher the value the cheaper it is to buy this company now compared to how much money it’s bringing in i.e. the money being generated will grow into bigger profits (and returns) in the future. Paddy Power Betfair scores highly for Value. They bring in a lot of revenue compared to the stock price today. If they can convert this money into bigger profits there’ll be higher returns for investors. If you’d invested in Jon before you knew about his true heritage, you’d be collecting rewards now!  Investing in Paddy Power Betfair has potential for more to come.


Finally, a company’s Momentum. Momentum takes views from industry experts, e.g. big banks and financial institutions, and aggregates them. Do the experts believe this company will barely beat expectations or perhaps completely exceed everyone’s wildest dreams? Paddy Power Betfair is very average in terms of future Momentum. They’re hitting or beating their targets. The industry feels positive, without expecting anything amazing soon.



Quality Score: High

Value Score: High

Momentum Score: Low



Arya Stark

Arya is a force to reckoned with, she is still human and makes mistakes, but there is no doubt she will keep on going.  While Arya might not want the Iron Throne, she is capable of taking it. Thankfully she is happy with her own path and continues to influence the world around her.


Taylor Wimpey PLC

One of the largest house building companies in the UK, Taylor Wimpey is often used as a barometer for the Brexit impact. Like Arya, Taylor Wimpey is a force unlike anything else.


Taylor Wimpey is no stranger to scandals or scraps. Unlike Arya however, Taylor Wimpey has the cashflow to make its problems and challenges negligible. Regarding the Quality score Taylor Wimpey has a lot of purchasing power, but housing market regulation is prone to change and Brexit has shaken us, so they are keeping an eye on their war chest.


What about Value – the future potential based on what you pay today? Taylor Wimpey scores extremely well for Value; the company generates a lot of income compared to its current share price. If it can convert the incoming revenue into higher margins the results will be impressive.


For Momentum, the industry experts seem to agree. There is plenty of potential upside in the future. Once the Brexit air clears it will be business as usual, and like Arya, Taylor Wimpey will show up ready to fight.


It’s a promising outlook across the board, however starting from such a strong position means it’s tough to exceed expectations.



Quality Score: High

Value Score: High

Momentum Score: High


Night King

Terrifying, unyielding, and never-ending. There has never been a threat as serious and all-consuming as the Night King and his army of the undead. It doesn’t matter how many you kill or how far you run, he will always be there.


Sports Direct International PLC

Very much like the Night King, Sports Direct picks up dying companies and recruits them into the Sports Direct family, giving them new life

Buying up assets and companies on the cheap is still expensive. So, Sports Direct doesn’t have the happiest of balance sheets. The Quality score is very low, cash in the bank is not the strategy here. It’s spending money to make money.

In terms of Value there is potential. Sports Direct’s current share price is lower than expected when compared to the amount of revenue and income they generate. The Value is lower than expected, but not enough for this company to be labelled a deep value long term buy and hold.

With worse than expected accounts, even with the company being offered “at a discount” (medium Value) experts don’t have high hopes for the future.

However, Sports Direct has proven they’re experts at navigating the unknown. The ratings are more a reflection of the feeling that there will be hardships for the time being.

Like the Night King, Sports Direct hasn’t given us an incredible show yet but hopefully, unlike the Night King, it’ll be part of our lives for many years to come.


Quality Score: Low

Value Score: Medium

Momentum Score: Low


Disclosure, Alister does not hold positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

The Next Generation of Traders
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Stock Markets

The Next Generation of Traders

This new generation of traders is smart. Find out how traders have evolved with technology

James Mathews, CEO of Learn to Trade

The reality of trading taking place on the floor of the stock exchange, with traders shouting down telephones and punching in orders is long gone. As are the days of having to call your stockbroker and place an order. This perception might continue on TV, but the reality is that the modern trader is equipped with a mobile phone.

This new generation of traders is smart. Empowered by hyper-connectivity’s offer of unprecedented volumes of knowledge and 24/7 access to the market, they are tearing down societal constructs and preconceptions. This generation wants to be its own boss. Social media has become a platform to learn from, emulate and showcase success. Wealth creation has gone mainstream. With the millennial and Gen Z traders being some of the most enterprising members of our society, it’s little surprise that an entirely new generation of traders is now emerging. Characteristically, they are entrepreneurial and in many cases self-starters ready to follow their own paths. But, how has technology made trading and finance more mainstream to these generations?

Crypto as catalyst
The appeal of trading has in recent years been catalysed by the public’s fixation on cryptocurrency. With the allure of quick money, Bitcoin epitomised this fascination. Sage traders sceptically watched as this strange decentralised network of digital tokens became mainstream, while novices made their millions. Yet what goes up must come down, and once its value was done exploding, it started spectacularly falling. But with media hype and fabled success stories, the concept of crypto began to tempt casual observers. The ensuing rush to develop user friendly trading apps made the concept even more accessible to the everyday person.

Contributing to this has been the residual sour attitude toward the financial crisis. People have become more suspicious of and disillusioned with the “so called experts” entrusted with handling their hard-earned money. ‘They’ had nearly brought the global economy to its knees. Further backlash was also brought about from charging a lot of money to trade, whether it be pension funds or otherwise. This combination of discontent and new accessibility drove this new wave of do it yourself trading. 

Celebrity of social
Trading is complex. There’s jargon, complicated explanations, and understanding the thinking that went into a certain trading position can be almost impossible at times. Social media has changed all this too. Now there is an active, always online, accessible community of people to simplify, explain and advise. It’s easy to find out what’s going on in the market in seconds. And what’s more there is the celebrity, a new wave of Twitter traders, amateur and professional alike, who have established themselves as trading gurus to be followed, mimicked and aspired to.

The concept of “piggy backing” on other people’s trading is age old, but never before has it been so prolific. It’s proved to be extremely popular, both as a way of profiting from others’ expertise and as a way of learning. But new traders need to remember that sometimes you might be following a loser, and that making correct trades doesn’t always mean you’re being profitable overall.

Good bye 9 to 5
Trading’s popularity has risen along with the ‘side-hustle’, freelance, and sharing economy. Technology has without question been an enabling force behind all of these, as people strive for more reward and flexibility in their working lives. Indeed, there has been a concerted effort to break away from the traditional construct of 9 to 5. How trading maps to this is clear but it is not without risks. It can be seen to promise a lot, with some traders claiming to live off of one trade a day. However the reality the modern trader is facing is that it is just like any other employment in that it takes persistence, patience and grit. What it does offer though is autonomy and flexibility.

With the ever-increasing interest in the viability of pursuing a career in trading for the millennial and Z generations, an onus of responsibility has formed. We expect that in the next few years we will start to see the wider education focus shift, to start to cover money management and investment too. For far too many who missed out on this knowledge it seems like too little too late. Baby boomers now coming into retirement are left considering whether they have enough to see them through, or how they can manage their own account without having to pay people to do it for them. Increasingly, there will be more of a push from all demographics to have an entry point to the market. But with enough knowledge, experience and foresight to understand market volatility and risk anyone can trade with the technology out there and available to them.

Benchmark of Success
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

Benchmark of Success

Communications Strategy Group (CSG) creates targeted, measurable traditional and online influencer relations campaigns that tie directly to its clients overall marketing and strategic objectives.

Powerful and effective marketing communications is based on a content value exchange whereby organizations engage prospects, customers and influencers through relevant and purposeful content in exchange for their attention, engagement and patronage.

“At CSG, we leverage our deep understanding and network of influencers in the industries we serve to create, package, distribute and promote compelling and impactful content to and through influencers on behalf of our clients,” explains senior vice president and head of financial and professional services at CSG, Dan Mahoney.

Dan has a long track record of working with innovative FinTech companies and has also worked with more established global brands, such as Janus Capital, Farmers Insurance, Charles Schwab, Invesco PowerShares, The Bancorp, NACHA, Wolters Kluwer and the Financial Planning Association to achieve a wide variety of business goals through strategic communications.

“Public relations is not reserved for strict, traditional media relations anymore,” he states. “What PR encompasses is changing every day; but as it stands today, PR is everything from television, print, social media, online news sites, apps and more.”

Organizations gain a competitive advantage by leveraging and engaging with influencers and influential organizations, such as media, analysts, associations, non-profits, politicians, customers, social media communities and bloggers. This form of engagement is what CSG defines as influencer relations.

“Influencer relations focuses on deeply understanding an industry and effectively communicating with the right people in the right places at the right time, often at the ‘point of need,’” Dan embellishes. “We find stakeholders who can have impact; establish an authentic voice among champions who can help spread your message; build and maintain channels of communication; and engage your prospective and existing clients and customers. We help you establish a clear path and approach to influencers, exponentially driving sustainable and profitable longterm growth.”

CSG is composed of a team of people who take an unusual level of pride in their work and care deeply about their clients’ success.

“We describe ourselves as ‘work horses’ not ‘show horses,’ which is a significant distinction in the communications arena. We are determined, thoughtful, ingenious, passionate, hardworking, caring and talented professionals who serve as an extra set of arms, legs to help you get work done, and thoughtful minds and hearts with which to collaborate.

“Our team is further enhanced by our ability to tap our partners in the IPREX network of communications agencies around the globe. With more than 1,500 professionals in over 100 offices worldwide, IPREX affords CSG clients a global footprint of reliable and proven communications solutions providers that are equipped to achieve clients’ objectives.”

As the financial services practice director at CSG, Dan oversees all of the practice’s sectors, including banking, personal finance, payments, insurance, financial technology, legal, accounting and asset management, which allows him to share best practices and lessons learned among the various teams.

Previously, Dan provided strategic communications guidance to high-profile national, state and local political campaigns, and on behalf of issue advocacy organizations. Dan graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“The most compelling ingredient of CSG’s success is our commitment to exceptional work. Our work is based upon creative approaches to challenges and opportunities, followed by good old-fashioned elbow grease to achieve intended outcomes. The culture and the company have been built upon this dedication and the delivery of meaningful, measurable work.

“Our content-based influencer relations philosophy allows us to deploy a broad spectrum of strategies and tactics that deliver the benefits of a well-constructed content value exchange. Whether it is a content audit, creation of highly compelling content, packaging it in various formats or promoting through traditional, online PR and social media, it’s all designed to achieve short- and long-term objectives.”

While there are vast opportunities within the communications realm, the strategic challenge is to identify the initiatives that will most effectively impact a clients’ bottom line, triple or otherwise.
“We work to direct efforts and dollars toward the areas that will most benefit your business, whether it is building thought leadership, lead acquisition, conversion, reputation management, crisis communications, loyalty and retention, or business-to-business versus business-to-consumer solutions. We offer you measurable outcomes, which keeps our course, expectations and deliverables in check.

“Success doesn’t always look how you thought it would. By measuring these different facets of impact, you can find ways to effectively measure how targeted audiences received and interacted with your campaign. But remember, it all starts with setting the proper benchmarks.”

An Alpine Luxury Resort of the Highest Calibre
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

An Alpine Luxury Resort of the Highest Calibre

An Alpine Luxury Resort of the Highest Calibre

On the flight there with Swiss International Air Lines AG, I will not forget my first glimpse of the snow covered mountains I spotted, and the thrill of seeing them for the first time. On the train ride from Zürich Airport, I could not keep my eyes away from the stunningly large lakes and the opportunity to see the snow covered mountains. I have never been to Switzerland, but fell in love with it straight away.

The journey to St. Moritz was very smooth indeed, with no delays, as the transport system in the country is remarkably efficient and organised in my opinion. Although most of my train journey to St. Moritz was in the dark, it was exciting to see the snow outside, and when I arrived there the drop in temperature was noticeable. Having said that, the quality of the air was remarkable and wonderfully fresh. An evening meal in the historic Kulm Country Club, in the grounds of the Kulm Hotel, was very welcome indeed after a day of travelling.

The Kulm Hotel

My welcome to St. Moritz was a remarkable one, with a Kulm Hotel taxi taking me from the train station to the hotel where I checked in and taken up to my room. As I walked into my room, most of the ceiling and walls were covered with local wood, which were visually stunning and boasted very fine craftsmanship, and emanated a very pleasant smell in the at all times. The room was the same size of my flat, possibly a bit bigger, so there was certainly no shortage of space.

By way of background, it is worth noting that the Kulm Hotel was the first hotel to be built in St. Moritz and opened in 1856. It was the stage for the first electric light in Switzerland and also hosted the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Winter Games in its grounds. Today, the hotel boasts 172 rooms and suites with stunning views of Lake St. Moritz and the formidable slopes of the Corviglia / Piz Nair mountain range. There are also five restaurants, an expensive spa and six conference rooms plus the 9-hole Kulm Golf Course, three tennis courts and a natural ice rink.

My hotel room featured an impressive array of lighting, and the incredibly tall windows really struck me, not to mention the many comforts the room offered. An area to relax in and wind down on a sofa with a coffee table was offered, as well as coffee making facilities and sparkling or still bottled water. The room also has the most comfortable and well made bed you have ever slept in, with beautifully soft and clean cotton sheets. There were an interesting assortment of pillows available to order, and I was intrigued by the heated cherry scented pillow, so I ordered this and it was delivered to my room very promptly. It felt marvellous on my neck and helped me to truly relax and get to sleep.

I cannot fault my hotel room in anyway. The size of the wardrobe was very generous indeed, and I was very easily able to hang my suit up. The bathroom has two sinks in it, and a mirror covering one of the entire walls on the side of the bath. An impressive array of Asprey shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner were on offer not to mention a very fine collection of high quality flannels and towels.
Waking up during the first morning there, I felt enormously privileged to enjoy a spectacular mountain view from my hotel room window. There was even a balcony with a table and chairs, so I was able to sit down there and enjoy the remarkable view of the snow covered and sun topped mountain ahead of me and the town of St. Moritz as well.

At the Kulm Hotel, the sumptuous breakfast buffet on offer at Le Grand Restaurant was fit for a king, with cooked breakfast items, cereals, yoghurts and fruit juices on offer, not to mention real coffee.
I was fortunate one day to have a professional spa treatment on a lower floor of the Kulm Hotel, overlooking the breathtaking mountains. The massage was totally relaxing and stress reliving for me and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to completely unwind.

The effect of the Kulm Hotel’s second to none facilities and the beauty of the surrounding area made me feel immensely refreshed and relaxed during my entire stay. The sheer wonder and beauty of the area will stay with me for all of my life. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this region of Switzerland to anybody who wants to get away from the fast pace of life, and to basically enjoy a stress free holiday.

Skiing on Corviglia St. Moritz is the largest winter sports region in Switzerland, indeed winter tourism was born in the region in 1864, and the country’s first ski school was opened there in 1929. The town has also hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships many times and the region has four main peaks and 350 kilometres (93 miles) pistes and over 220 kilometres (136 miles) of cross-country ski trails, not to mention 350 kilometres (93 miles) of winter walking paths. It is no wonder that St. Moritz is one of the most varied winter sports regions in Switzerland and perhaps the most inspiring.

On the first morning of my visit, the skiing on Corviglia was a marvellous new experience for me, which started off with me being kitted out at the ski shop in the Kulm Hotel. The shop was superbly stocked and it was certainly an enjoyable challenge to get the hired ski boots on my feet! The boots were not easy to walk in and were very heavy, so whilst that was physically very challenging, I nevertheless relished the opportunity to take part in something I had never done previously.

A journey up in the ski lift brought me and one other member of the party to a beginner’s slope, overlooking stunning mountain scenes. I was given a skiing lesson by a professional instructor, who I must say totally put me at my ease. The instructions given on how to ski were very clear indeed, and what stuck in my brain was the wide ‘pizza shape’ one had to make when ‘braking’. The instructor said that I did superbly for somebody that hasn’t done skiing before, so this pleased me greatly.

Restaurants in the region The morning skiing on Corviglia was followed by a superb five-course lunch at the legendary Marmite, one of the best mountain restaurants in Switzerland, renowned for its truffle pizza. I must say that the truffle pizza was second to none and I could not have wished for a better view when eating it.

There are around 300 restaurants in the region, of which 30 have been awarded a total of 453 GaultMillau points and 8 Michelin stars between them. It struck me that there are an amazing collection of restaurants there are in the region, which were expensive in my eyes, but the quality of the food and the service provided reminds me of the adage that ‘you get what you pay for’.

One of the excursions I took part in was to the Kulm Hotel’s sister property, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, which has been welcoming guests since 1848 and is today an outstanding example of 19th century Alpine hotel design. It is located in Pontresina, six miles away from St. Moritz. I enjoyed a formal dinner in the stunning Grand Restaurant, under the Neo-Baroque arches, indeed it is here that I enjoyed a five course meal that included deer. I also was given a tour of the hotel, which was upgraded in 2007 with 28 new guest rooms and a stunning spa complex covering more than 2000 metres.

Every meal I had during the visit was served with bread and butter, including the meal remarkable cheese fondue at the Chesa al Parc. One of my favourite meals during the stay was at the Kulm Hotel’s ‘The Pizzeria’, a typical Italian trattoria and the spaghetti Bolognese I had there was prepared, cooked and served to utter perfection. The cold coffee with ice cream in it after was cool and refreshing, and very welcome indeed after a satisfying meal.

Afternoon skijoring Afternoon skijoring on the first day of my visit to the region was very exciting, and started after a short journey out of St. Moritz, again this was a totally new experience for me but. I had got used to wearing skis in the morning, but this time a wild horse pulled me along a track of snow. The lady on the horse had a rope, which split into two, so a handle could be accommodated for me to hold on to.

The feeling of fresh air and sun on my face, whilst being pulled along by a horse is one I will never forget, and felt very exhilarating indeed. It was truly a joyous experience, and tremendous fun – even when I fell over (and very quickly let go of the rope when this happened).

Afternoon husky mushing The next day, the press party I was a part of returned to the same spot to be greeted by a large group of husky dogs. The opportunity here was to have a four of them pulling one person on a sled, which importantly had brakes on! There were three simple commands I was instructed to give to the obedient huskies, which were ‘okay’ (to go), ‘easy’ (to slow down) and ‘woah’ to stop! I was also able to brake using my feet, so knowing how to stop was definitely a comfort to me!

The dogs were very energetic to begin with on the sled ride, some of which was on a frozen lake. Thankfully I did not fall off, but there was one time when the sled went at quite an angle to the right and I thought that I might! Later into the journey, the dogs got tired and slowed down somewhat. I am not a dog person, but I must say these particular breeds totally won me over in their impressive efforts.

Muottas Mutragl sledding Sledding down Muottas Mutragl was much harder than I thought. The steep lift to the top of the mountain was the easy part as we ascended from an altitude of 1,738 metres to 2456 metres (5,702 – 8,058 ft) above sea level. Once we got to the top, we were on and overlooking many snow covered mountains.

It felt remarkable to be there and to briefly enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains and the surrounding area. You have to be there to capture the wonder and the awe of it. I believe it has for many years been a source of inspiration for poets, writers and artists and of sheer delight for guests. The sled track itself was excellent, but very icy higher up, so it was not easy to stop when pushing ones feet firmly to the ground!

Rhaetian Railway’s Albula and Bermina line The train journey on the Rhaetian Railway’s Albula and Bermina line from St. Moritz to Zürich was remarkable, as it all took place in daylight, so I was able to enjoy the many picturesque UNESCO protected sites not to mention the viaducts and tunnels though the many mountains.

The experience of the whole trip was a remarkable one, and I have nothing bad to say about it. My whole experience of visiting Switzerland was marvellous, and I certainly found a very warm welcome from all the people I came into contact with, when carrying out the aforementioned activities. For those who want to escape the stresses of this world, look no further than St. Moritz. Whilst you can take part in energetic activities, you have ample opportunity to rest and relax. You can truly get away from it all here.

Further sources of information Kulm Hotel St. Moritz Rates at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, which is open next winter season from 3 December 2017 to 2 April 2018, start from CHF 675 for two people sharing a double room on a half-board basis; book online at

Switzerland Tourism For more information on Switzerland visit www. or call their Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information [email protected]; for packages, trains and air tickets [email protected].

Swiss International Air Lines UK & Ireland to Zurich: SWISS offers up to 119 weekly flights from London City, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh (seasonal) and Dublin to Zurich. All-inclusive fares start from £67 one-way*, including all airport taxes, one piece hold luggage and hand luggage, plus meal and drink. SWISS are also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance.

UK & Ireland to Switzerland: SWISS offers more than 180 weekly flights from London City, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh (seasonal) and Dublin to either Zurich or Geneva.

All-inclusive fares start from £54 one-way*, including all airport taxes, one piece hold luggage and hand luggage, plus meal and drink. SWISS are also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance.

For more information visit or call 0345 601 0956

Swiss Travel System By road, rail and waterway throughout Switzerland: The Swiss Travel System provides a dedicated range of travel passes and tickets exclusively for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination. Prices are £116 in second class and £188 in first class.
For the ultimate Swiss rail specialist call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit www.

EBRD Launches Pioneering Index-Linked Eurobond in Kazakh Tenge
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

EBRD Launches Pioneering Index-Linked Eurobond in Kazakh Tenge

The Bank’s 34 billion tenge eurobond, issued this Monday, has a five-year maturity and pays a spread of 10 basis points per annum over the 3-month CPI rate. The issue will settle on 21 November 2016, and is lead managed by Citi Global Markets Limited. The bonds will be cleared through Euroclear and Clearstream in tenge and listed in London. The EBRD will also apply to the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) to seek a domestic listing for the Notes, and subsequently will request the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) accept them for their repurchase operations (REPO) with domestic banks, thereby increasing their liquidity.

Philip Brown, Managing Director & Head of SSA DCM at Citi said: “Citi was delighted to work with the EBRD on this ground-breaking transaction, it’s interesting to see demand for inflation protection from the increasingly sophisticated investor base in Kazakhstan. This trade highlights the useful rolem the EBRD can play in helping local investors meet their needs and in doing so, develop new markets.”

With the introduction of an inflation targeting regime in August 2015, the NBK is creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth in an environment of low interest rates – a policy very much supported by the EBRD. The NBK’s visible efforts to improve the monetary transmission mechanism, including through better inflation forecasting and efficiency in communicating its monetary policy, have encouraged the Bank to link both its tenge assets and liabilities to CPI.

Isabelle Laurent, Deputy Treasurer and Head of Funding at the EBRD said: “With our inaugural CPI-linked issue, Kazakh nstitutional investors, and pension funds in particular, will be better able to match their liability profile, while the EBRD’s Kazakh clients should benefit from long-term funding for their projects linked to a transparent and credible index”.

Given the importance of a credible instruments for capital market development, the EBRD, has for many years been actively promoting and participating in the creation of a competitive and transparent interest rate-setting mechanism in countries where it operates.

The EBRD is both a significant tenge lender and borrower and has taken an active part in developing local capital markets. It issued its first tenge-denominated bond in February 2009.

The EBRD’s triple-A rating has been confirmed by all three leading international rating agencies with stable outlook.

Precious Metals Shine As Bonds Lose Their Lustre
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

Precious Metals Shine As Bonds Lose Their Lustre

• Expansive QE alongside an absence of lower-bound limits to policy rates force markets to price-in a negative interest rate environment extending across the bond markets’ entire term structure.
• When real inflation adjusted yields turn negative income streams from traditional safe haven HY bonds are no longer.
• When returns are driven solely by price, high grade bonds become increasingly speculative assets to hold, elevating gold to an equally safe, if not safer asset.
• Asset allocation view: gold’s strong performance could add to diversification of multi-asset portfolios because of its negative correlation with equities and bonds.

Just when fears of China’s slowdown receded earlier in the year and commodities along with the broad equity market recovered globally, the “Brexit” vote short circuited market confidence anew. Risk amplified and safe haven asset prices look ever more dislocated, particularly in Europe. While dividend yields of equity markets are at a ‘post-financial crisis’ high, yields of high grade government debt have fallen to new all-time lows. To add insult to injury, sovereign bonds for indebted countries now look vulnerable amidst an exhaustive monetary stimulus playbook unable to stem the pressure of its deeply discounted banking sector, rekindling fears of systemic risks. 

Gold: the comeback king

Gold, a previously tarnished safe haven asset, has once again regained appeal. This year, precious metals have rebounded sharply, with gold and silver futures rising 29% and 46%. The upbeat sentiment is evident in this year’s strong inflows in gold ETPs: $21 billion in Gold ETCs this year, a marked reversal from the $3.4 billion redeemed in 2015.

2011-2015: “Real” interest rates environment drives sentiment to safe havens

The perception of precious metals has changed over the last year since the spectacular fall of 2011. Seen as a safe haven during times of heightened uncertainty and high inflation, investors bought into gold when central banks’ monetary policy became ultra-loose and commodity prices, led by oil, soared to feed inflation expectations. During and in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, this was clearly the case. However, since the gold bubble burst between 2011 and 2015, gold has remained largely despondent amidst some of the highest politically and economically uncertain times.

This was evident most notably during the failure of Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the subsequent “shutdown” of the US government in the Autumn of 2013. In this brief episode which effectively threatened the very existence of the bond market, initial reverberations in money markets were instantly violent, with yields on US T-Bills spiking multi-fold in the first two weeks of October. Yet during that period gold was fast asleep and contrary to what one would expect, gold and silver futures fell, helping precious metals to close 2013 deep in bear market territory.

What happened and why?

A key driver for gold’s failure to take off in 2013 was that the market “priced in” higher and positive long term interest rates when The Fed hinted its intentions to unwind its government bond buying programme, a.k.a. the “QE taper”. The signal for tightening was enough for investors to become more bearish on bonds, and in the process sharply reverse the trend of falling interest rates, both in nominal and real terms.

2016: Ultra-loose monetary policy stance and negative rates a boon for gold

Consider the US now and the picture for gold and bonds is the reverse: The appeal for gold will remain strong insofar as the macro backdrop continues to be disinflationary. Having fully unwound its QE program in early 2015 and instigated the first policy rate hike in more than a decade (to 25-50 bps in December that year), The Fed’s stance is still by any standard very loose: core inflation around 2% and recently climbing against a spending stimulus policy which remains largely in place.
In Japan, the economic situation is supportive of a pro-inflation biased monetary policy stance and has taught The Fed – along with Europe’s central banks – that it is easier to fight inflation than deflation. Japan’s move to lift sales tax from 5% to 8% in April 2014 (and to 10% in October 2015) sent consumer spending into reverse and destroyed the inflation momentum the BoJ’s QE programme had painstakingly worked to instil.

Consequently, future US rate hikes, if they occur at all this year, are expected to come in a slow, modest fashion. The Fed would need to see red-hot wage inflation to be convinced broader consumer prices can grow sustainably at around the 2% long term target. With an absence of demand-led forces spurring inflation on, a delayed rate hike cycle will mean that the yields on US Treasuries are unlikely to offer investors income that sufficiently compensates for inflation. In fact, much of the US Treasury yield curve – from maturities up to 5 years – is trading at yields below headline inflation. And, when volatile food and energy is excluded, even the 10Y US Treasuries Note is falling short, leaving investors no choice but to take on significant term or credit risk to earn any real income from US bonds.

Disinflation drives relentless bond yield suppression

The exceptional loose policies and a growing output gap have driven European bond yields to new negative extremes. Long term dated government bonds have recently gone into negative territory – not just in nominal terms, but also in real terms. As Chart 2 also shows, the market now expects long term real interest rates in Germany, France, Sweden and recently the UK to follow Japan’s, hovering around a negative 0.8-1.0%. If nominal bond yields were negative in a deflationary environment, it may still benefit to own bonds for example in scenarios where deflation is higher than the negative nominal yield. For instance, because real purchasing power was sustained, Japanese households have been allocating into cash and low-yielding bonds for decades. However in scenarios when the nominal yield falls below inflation and bonds are held to maturity, purchasing power is destroyed. The net present value of coupons and principle will be less than the initial investment, translating into a real total return loss for investors.

Europe following in Japan’s footsteps

ECB QE and zero/sub-zero policy rates of Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland are unlikely going to go away soon too, as most of Europe has yet close the output gap lost during the financial crisis, making these economies vulnerable to deflationary risks. These deflationary risks cannot be underestimated as seen in Chart 2: Consumer prices everywhere in Europe have struggled to grow to the 2% target followed by central banks since 2009, with most having seen either no consumer price inflation or, like Switzerland, have experienced outright deflation. A good gauge for how long the negative interest rates environment may last in Europe is to look at how long it took the US to close its own output gap. For instance, when loosely measuring the output gap as the number of jobs lost since the financial crisis, than the plus 4 million of net job creations in the US since 2008 coincided with multiple iterations of Fed QE, lasting nearly 40 months[1]. Over the same period the Eurozone lost 3.3 million jobs, yet the ECB’s QE programme is barely a year old. Hence, prolonging QE beyond 2017 is in all likelihood the default scenario to consider for the Eurozone, as is the spreading of the negative yields beyond Bunds, affecting most of the long-term structure of high-grade sovereign issues of likes of France, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium and Finland.

Approximately 25% of outstanding Eurozone government debt is negative yielding. If issuers of debt get paid to borrow, buyers accept a haircut to the money they lend. Unless investors expect outright deflation, it makes little sense to hold negative yielding bonds to maturity. In that regard, fixed income investing becomes increasingly speculative, driven by expectations of price appreciation and credit spreads compression, rather than the purchasing power of coupons and principle. Against precious metals which have no income stream to account for, fixed income has started to look increasingly akin to gold.

Bullish on gold insofar there is a trend towards deflation.

The appeal for gold is fuelled on QE on the one hand and the still large output gap of the Eurozone that needs to be closed. Investors looking to diversify their portfolios may find that gold has become a more viable asset to hold.
Investors sharing this sentiment may consider the following:
• Boost Gold ETC (GLD)
• Boost Gold 2x Leverage Daily ETP (2GOL)
• Boost Gold 3x Leverage Daily ETP (3GOL)
• Boost Gold 3x Leverage Daily ETP (£) (3LGO)
• Boost Silver 2x Leverage Daily ETP (2SIL)
• Boost Silver 3x Leverage Daily ETP (3SIL)

For investment professionals only. This communication has been provided by WisdomTree Europe Ltd which is an appointed representative of Mirabella Advisers LLP which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Please view the full disclaimer.

Shenton International Asset-Backed Mini Bond Launches
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

Shenton International Asset-Backed Mini Bond Launches

Today sees the launch of the Shenton International Asset-Backed Mini Bond, an opportunity for UK-based investors to potentially benefit from carefully selected real estate projects in Germany, North America and Brazil.

The mini bond, a form of corporate loan that pays ten per cent per annum gross interest for four years, is issued by Shenton Holdings, the Singapore-based alternative investment house. With more than 10,000 customers, Shenton has invested more than £390m into 51 international real estate projects in four years.

Launching today, the asset-backed mini bond will be open until 31st October 2016, allowing individuals to make minimum investments of £1,000 (multiples of £1,000 thereafter). Funds will then be invested by Shenton’s senior investment team into heritage real estate projects in Germany, residential developments in the US state of Iowa, and prime beachfront hotel refurbishments in the resort of Natal in Brazil.

Helen Chong, founder of the Shenton Group and CEO of Shenton Holdings, said: “We launched the Shenton Group in 2011 with the aim of giving Singaporeans access to international real estate investment opportunities. Today we’re excited to be offering UK investors the same opportunities to access international real estate investment, with the same types of returns. The Shenton International Mini Bond – our second mini bond – enables investors to access real estate markets in North America, South America, and Europe, with funds secured against tangible assets.”

“In the current financial climate, with investors facing uninspiringly low interest rates and having struggled to generate satisfactory returns, companies have found it hard to secure finance from traditional sources. Meanwhile, stock market volatility has reminded people that the value of their investments really can go down as well as up. In this testing financial climate, we believe that mini bonds represent a great opportunity to secure a strong fixed-rate return over a defined period – and with investments secured against assets, the ShentonInternational Mini Bond offers a level of security that we believe can normally only found with products paying a much lower rate.”

“We see mini bonds as an exciting alternative opportunity for individuals to invest directly into a business of their choice. We are working with Black Swan Edge, specialists in applying data analysis to finance marketing, to ensure we reach suitable investors.”

Paul Davis, managing director of Black Swan Edge, said: “Shenton International is an exciting company with ambitious plans, and we are excited to be working with the team to help this mini bond be successful. We will be augmenting their depth of understanding of the real estate market with data-driven insights into the investor community to ensure that the mini bond is being promoted to as many of the right people as possible.”

The value of these untradeable and non-transferable bonds, and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and as such, your capital is at risk if you invest. Shenton International Asset-Backed Mini Bonds is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The content of this financial promotion has been approved, for the purposes of section 21 of the Financial Services & Market Act 2000 (FSMA) by Resolution Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 574048).

European Broker of the Year 2016 & Best for Long-Term Investments 2016
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

European Broker of the Year 2016 & Best for Long-Term Investments 2016

In terms of our expertise, we are a universal broker and offer a broad spectrum of investment products and tools, such as the ability to trade in stocks, futures, foreign exchange (‘Forex’), contracts for difference (‘CFDs’), indices, options and many other financial derivatives.

Through building long-term relationships with our clients, we create a foundation of trust and a culture designed to promote on-going education and understanding of concepts that have traditionally been perceived as complex and intimidating. We strive to achieve excellence in investment results and client servicing through personal commitment, experience, and innovative thinking.

As you may already know, there are a lot of forex companies out there. However, we believe that there are a number of factors that help us stand out from the competitors. Our first differentiator lies in regulation. While being regulated by a high profile organisation such CySEC, we are also a member of the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF), which allows our clients to receive compensation for any successful claim subject to a maximum compensation of 20 000 Euro. All of our clients’ funds are kept in segregated accounts in order to maximise the security of funds. Additionally, we offer our clients superior customer support which is available 24 hours a day. Alongside this, we are also an ECN Broker and therefore are interested in successful trading from our clients, because we only receive our profit from the commissions generated by them. In this sense, we are unlike market maker companies, who receive their profits from the losses of their clients. Therefore, we do not have any trading restrictions for our clients, and we send all of our clients’ orders directly to the market.

Moreover, we are not limited to offer trading only in forex, and have access to almost any market available in the world, such as; CFDs, futures, options, stocks, ETFs and many more. Furthermore, we offer our clients a choice between there platforms for trading, where each platform has its own unique features, which in turn help our traders to maintain their trading environment.

Lastly, but certainly not least, the technology behind our investment platforms enables us to automatically submit your trade requests to our liquidity providers with the best bid/offer and wait for a confirmation prior to sending accept or reject message to our clients.

In terms of our approach towards dealing with clients, we believe that all of our clients are valuable assets of FXFINPRO Capital and as a result, we dedicate a sales manager to every client. As such, the managers can be contacted by any possible way, including Skype and Whatsapp. We offer individual consultations and advice on which account to open, which will be suitable for a particular trader. We also offer various trading accounts, with different trading specifications. As a result, we have trading accounts, which will be suitable for any strategy. As mentioned earlier, our dedicated support team will answer any question a client might have in a professional and formal manner, anytime of the day.

Once the client is on board, we make constant follow-ups in order to check whether the client requires any assistance or has any suggestions, regarding our company. Even if a client is new to the Forex industry, we will be more than happy to provide all the teaching material and assist to enrol for online education with our partners.

When it comes to large institutional clients, our senior members of the company are willing to travel anywhere in the world in order to greet the clients and introduce them to our products and services. We believe that such face-to-face meetings are very productive for the client, as he or she can receive detailed answers to any complex questions.

In order to prevail in our highly competitive industry, we are constantly improving the quality of our products and services. Among our future plans is to open company branches in major capitals worldwide, thus making it accessible for anyone to visit us face-to-face We believe it is very important for clients to know that they can visit our company branch, in case they require any further assistance.

We also plan to add another world class liquidity provider, and one of the key aspects of the brokerage services is the speed order execution. Thus, we are eager to work with large liquidity providers that will offer our clients the best trading environment. Moreover, we plan to add more payment systems for deposits/withdrawals. It is crucial to have as many methods as possible, in order to make it accessible for anyone in the world to work with FXFINPRO Capital and gain their financial freedom.

Likewise, we are also increasing the capacity of our sales team. Due to increased registrations from all over the world, we are planning to hire multicultural staff that will be able to assist our clients in different languages. As a result, the advantages and specifications of our services will be easier to understand.

Also in the pipeline is the development of our own trading platform. Our team of IT specialists, along with our marketing and risk managers will be able to create a modern, easy to use, universal trading platform that will make trading – even simpler.

With the demand for forex trading on the rise, we are establishing forex schools with trading rooms. We believe that our skilled and experienced lecturers will help anyone to learn the basics of trading and as a result, gain financial freedom. All of our schools will have trading rooms, where students and graduates will be able to trade and communicate between each other.

As for the award, we believe that it is a great achievement by our team to win such awards from such a prestigious publisher! We are proud that our efforts were noticed and awarded correspondingly, and we aim to continue improving the quality of our services and justify the trust put into our company by our current and potential clients.

Company: FXFINPRO Capital
Name: Georgy Agasandyan
Email: [email protected]
Web Address:
Address: Nikou Pattichi 82, Maritania court,
office 101, area code 3070 Limassol, Cyprus
Telephone: +357 2526 2102

Institutional Investors’ Exposure to Investment Grade Bonds Expected to Rise
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Institutional Investors’ Exposure to Investment Grade Bonds Expected to Rise

According to new research conducted by NN Investment Partners (NN IP)¹, more than twice as many institutional investors will increase their exposure to investment grade fixed income over the next three years compared with those who will decrease it. The study found nearly two in five (39%) of respondents believed institutional investors will increase exposure versus just 16% who believe it will be reduced.

The most common reason cited for this was the desire for – and the security of – the income (31%). One in four (26%) said it was because of the need to match liabilities while 22% said they expect market conditions to deteriorate and they provide a safe haven; another 17% said IG bonds generally have benefitted from enhanced liquidity.

Sylvain de Ruijter, Head of Global Fixed Income at NN Investment Partners, commented: “The anticipated rate rise in the US will be key for bond markets but our research shows that despite the low yield environment, the income from investment grade credit, as well as high yield credit, has again become attractive in the last few months, assuming the Western developed markets can avoid a sharp slowdown.

“However, markets can, and do, change rapidly. For many investors, the solution lies in partnering with managers of global fixed income strategies that have more flexibility than traditional bond funds and are managed by asset managers who have the ability to make active, high quality judgement calls.”

On average, respondents in the survey estimated that in three years’ time, inflation in the US will be 3.3%, 2.5% in the Eurozone and 3.0% in the UK. They said the US is currently at a recovery stage in its credit cycle (44%) while the EU and Japan were judged to be in a state of repair (63% and 51% respectively) and Emerging markets are in a downturn (44%).

Whilst yield challenges remain, NN Investment Partners believes that there are still fixed interest opportunities without investors having to ramp up risk levels. Institutional investors will benefit from a partnership with fixed income experts who have a proven track record of identifying opportunity in adversity and translating that into returns. Indeed, NN Investment Partners’ investment process is based on detailed analysis of long- and medium-term fundamentals,
aiming to provide its clients with consistently high yield.

NN Investment Partners’ fixed income boutiques have experienced management teams  consisting of portfolio managers, analysts and strategists. These dedicated teams have a global presence with locations in The Hague, New York, London, and Singapore. With a proven proprietary investment process that has been honed over more than 20 years, the award-winning investment team’s experience and expertise is combined with a client-centric process that forges a partnership with customers to help them meet their investment needs through a platform of innovative products.

Freedom Finance Becomes Zmarta Group and Enters the German Market
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Freedom Finance Becomes Zmarta Group and Enters the German Market

Zmarta Group also expand their operations to Germany, as well as broadening their service offer to include comparison and brokering services related to savings, credit cards and insurance.

In 2013, Zmarta Group, at the time called Freedom Finance, was acquired by H.I.G. Capital. In conjunction with the acquisition a new strategy was laid out with the aim of creating Northern Europe’s leading digital brokering service within consumer finance. In February earlier this year, as part of the new strategy, the consumer finance platform Zmarta was launched in Sweden. This was followed by launches in neighboring countries Finland and Norway where the company already had an established presence through Freedom Rahoitus and Centum respectively.

”The move towards greater digitalization is the biggest challenge for our industry. With the launch of Zmarta we not only meet this challenge, we take a leading position, both in Sweden and internationally. It only seems natural that the corporate name mirrors this investment”, says Björn Lander, CEO, Zmarta Group.

Zmarta Group now expand their operations further through the launch of Zmarta in Germany. With the digital platform the company hope to establish itself quickly on the German market.

”Zmarta has proved successful on our home market and we strongly believe in the concept. The German market is big, but it’s also very fragmented with many banks and extensive competition. As a broker of financial services, this is positive for us. In addition, the German market is very mature, with relatively few brokers active today”, says Björn Lander.

US Money Market Funds' Exposure to China Slowing
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US Money Market Funds’ Exposure to China Slowing

As of the end of July, 16 of 125 US prime money funds had exposure to Chinese issuers, based on data from Crane Data LLC. The median exposure among the 16 was 2.9% of each respective fund’s total assets. The highest exposure among the 16 funds was 10.3% held by the $6.1 billion HSBC Prime Money Market Fund, which is not rated by Fitch.

So far, the short-term tenors of holdings help mitigate the risks US money funds take investing in China, with 63% of all Chinese securities in US prime money fund portfolios maturing within seven days and 96% maturing within two months (as of July 31). Only about 3% of securities mature in more than six months. The short maturities generally allow portfolio managers to respond to market developments quickly and limit the impact of volatility on funds. Indeed, a number of funds have reduced their exposure to Chinese issuers following the recent volatility, generally by allowing positions to mature or roll down the maturity curve.

Most of the Chinese short-term paper in US money funds is issued from major state-controlled or affiliated banks, such as China Construction Bank, whose credit strength is based on an assumption of support from the Chinese government. However, a few funds have recently invested in bank-guaranteed commercial paper issued by private industrial firms, such as Midea Group. The limited supply of short-term debt from US and European issuers in the US market, and the increasingly global reach of some large Chinese issuers, until recently made investments in Chinese paper attractive for certain money funds.

However, the recent volatility points to the risks inherent when investing in China and other emerging economies. These investments may be less liquid and more thinly traded, presenting heightened spread risk and making it harder to exit positions as credit conditions deteriorate.

The rise of US money fund exposures to China over the past three years may be seen here. The right axis of the chart shows the progression of internationally issued Chinese bonds over the same period, which stood at about $80 billion as of March 2015, up from $19 billion as of the end of September 2012. The Chinese bond market is now the third largest in the world, with about $4.4 trillion as of the end of September 2014. US money funds only invest in dollar-denominated paper, including from issuers whose home domicile is China.

Fortex Moving into Chinese Market
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Fortex Moving into Chinese Market

The Shanghai office is focused on helping clients and investors capitalize on the opportunities in the high-growth FX investment sector.

Grand opening ceremonies were held at the Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel in the heart of Shanghai’s downtown. More than 80 local and foreign FX industry executives attended to celebrate this significant milestone with Fortex. Attendees also discussed the role of technology in advancing Asian FX firms, high-demand products for FX brokers, and the latest industry trends. Guests of honor included Alexander Braid, Chief Operating Officer at AdvancedMarkets; Simon Blyth, Senior Vice President at Sun Hung Kai Forex Limited, FX and commodities department; Xiaolong Chen, Founder of BestCNY; Yuyang Wang, President at GKFX China; Yubin Sheng, Chief Executive Officer at Currenstone; and Junjie Chen, Founder of Doo Holding Group Limited.

Simon Blyth stated that this was an important step forthe company.

‘I believe that Fortex technology will bring completely new execution standards to Chinese traders and elevate the whole
industry to the next level. Sun Hung Kai Financial is delighted to share its great experience of working with Fortex and its staff with the Asian market. Having a strong on-the-ground presence in Shanghai will strongly position Fortex to efficiently serve its client base in the region.’

Opening ceremonies included sessions on industry trends. Jake Zhi, Institutional Products Consultant at Fortex, shared his view of how to create a safe, transparent trading environment with top global banks using Fortex technology. A panel also discussed “How to Balance Risk Management and Clients’ Experience in Post-SNB Era.” In the Post-SNB Era, trading platform stability and risk management systems have become critically important. Guest panelists had a comprehensive and detailed discussion on the significance of risk management and innovative FX tools available in the
market. Panelists also acknowledged the stronger demand for pre- and post-trade transparency from their executing venues.

The Fortex ECN platform is designed for high-frequency, low-latency performance and optimized for buy-side and sell-side institutions. It offers direct access to Tier 1 liquidity from all major money center banks. The Fortex XCloud server grid offers dedicated dark fiber connections, eliminating the need to use the public Internet and delivering sub-1ms speed and 480-Gbps throughput. The powerful Fortex XBook matching engine represents each trader’s order in the interbank market to match with the best liquidity available, including hidden liquidity pools. Broker dealers and traders using MT4 can access the Fortex platform through Fortex MT4 Bridge middleware to gain unified global execution venues and aggregated segmented liquidity pools.

MTG Invests in Europe’s Online TV Market
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MTG Invests in Europe’s Online TV Market

MTG has acquired 51% of Zoomin.TV, the online video entertainment network, content production and advertising sales house. This follows MTG’s announced investments in ESL, the world’s largest e-sports company and Splay, Scandinavia’s number one MCN and digital content creator in the last few weeks.

These new ventures reflects MTG’s strategy to invest in relevant, complementary and scalable digital brands, content and communities. MTG’s fast growing digital portfolio also includes the Viaplay Nordic subscription video on demand service, e-sports platform Viagame, and numerous advertising video on demand TV sites in 8 European countries.

Zoomin is the 5th largest MCN in the world, attracting more than two billion monthly video views and 100 million subscribers worldwide on YouTube. The online TV provider also has a network of 2,000 publishers, which
includes leading media brands such as Yahoo, AOL, Bild and Telegraaf. Their daily production includes more than 400 premium short video clips in 18 languages and 27 categories from video journalists all around the world.

In addition to this, the online network’s in-house sales team sells advertising solutions on Zoomin and third party channels in 45 territories to leading consumer brands including P&G, Philips, Volkswagen and Unilever. Zoomin has generated 36% average sales growth over the past 5 years, and 70% growth in 2014 alone, making it a wise investment for MTG and signifying their rapid growth strategy in the European online TV market.

The agreement sees MTG acquire the shares based on an Enterprise Value of €88 million. Zoomin’s two founders, Jan Riemens and Bram Bloemberg, who founded the firm in 2002 in Amsterdam, will continue to drive the company’s development.

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG President and CEO was keen to emphasise that moving forward the two firm’s hoped to expand on Zoomin’s expansion in the industry using MTG’s experience.

‘This combination of global web talent and content, massive reach amongst millennials, and proven monetization capabilities confirms our position as a leading player in the global online video entertainment space. It is now clear that we are creating an online video eco-system that is fully prepared to capitalise on the next steps in the evolution of social video. It will enable both Zoomin and our other market leading digital brands to expand even faster by leveraging our combined consumer insight, reach and cross-promotional potential. We will now operate right across the digital video entertainment spectrum, just as we have done so successfully with our TV content production studios, channel brands and distribution platforms. So…welcome to the Zoomin team, and we look forward to realising some big ambitions together.’



Poor Performance by Pound
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

Poor Performance by Pound

The currency which outperformed the pound the best was the Trinidad and Tobago dollar which rose by nine point five percent over the last year against the pound.

Other high performing currencies included the Chinese renminbi, which increased by nine point one percent year on year; the Maldives rufiyaa increased by nine percent and the American dollar rose by eight point three percent.
There were countries whose currency depreciated in value compared to the pound over the last year, such as the Ukranian hryvnia which recorded the largest decline against the pound, falling by 62% over the past year. This was due to country’s ongoing economic crisis and political problems as fighting has continued in eastern Ukraine.

Richard Musty, International Private Bank Director at Lloyds Bank, commented that the results were mixed.
‘Sterling has had a very mixed performance over the past year. The pound has appreciated against those economies that are facing particularly severe problems such as Russia, Ukraine and Brazil. UK travellers going to much of Europe will have benefited from the further reduction in the euro’s value against the pound. Those going to the US or China, however, will find that their money goes less far.’

The pounds bad performance against foreign currencies will affect the investment markets, with funds which deal heavily in international currencies having seen a mixed result over the last twelve months. However, China’s current economic turmoil will doubtless see the renminbi lose its power against the pound, allowing British investors in that market some possible reprieve.

NovaBay Announces $6.86 Million “At Market” Private Placement
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NovaBay Announces $6.86 Million “At Market” Private Placement

Investors have agreed to purchase 10,893,648 units consisting of one share of NovaBay common stock and a warrant to purchase an additional one-half share of common stock. The cost per unit is $0.63. The warrants, totaling rights to 5,446,824 shares, exercisable beginning on the date six months after the date of issuance, entitle the holders to purchase one share of common stock at a price of $0.78 per share, and include a provision for forced conversion if the common stock trades at or above $1.00 for 10 out of 20 consecutive trading days. This warrant will expire, unless exercised, 18 months following the date of issuance. If fully exercised, these warrants would bring approximately $4.2 million of gross proceeds to NovaBay. The closing of the private placement is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The offering is expected to close on or about May 22, 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

China Kington Investment Co Ltd acted as the sole placement agent of the offering, with Maxim Group LLC acting as financial advisor to NovaBay. Eric Wu, Executive Director of China Kington Investment, commented on the private placement by affirming his company’s support for NovaBay. “We are optimistic about NovaBay’s future prospects through its ability to establish a large sales network and grow its market share in the global eye care market. We also believe that NovaBay has the potential to become a leading pharmaceutical company in Asia with its partner China Pioneer Pharma. We plan to be the company’s long-term financial partner to support these goals.”

NovaBay intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, including research and development, clinical trials and selling, and general and administrative expenses, including sales and marketing expenses related to launching its Avenova™ product across the U.S.

The foregoing securities were offered in the private placement and have not been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or under applicable state securities laws. Accordingly, these securities may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an effective registration statement or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and such applicable state securities laws. As part of the transaction, NovaBay has agreed to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for purposes of registering the resale of (i) the shares of common stock sold to the investors, and (ii) the common stock issuable upon the exercise of the warrants.

This notice is issued pursuant to Rule 135c under the Securities Act and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities, nor shall there be any sale of the securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of such state. Any offering of the securities under the resale registration statement will only be by means of a prospectus.

Banks are to pay £3.6bn for Forex Rigging
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Banks are to pay £3.6bn for Forex Rigging

Four banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges.

The fifth, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.

Barclays was fined the most, $2.4bn, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by UK, US and Swiss regulators.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that “almost every day” for five years from 2007, currency traders used a private electronic chat room to manipulate exchange rates.

Phil Beckett, partner at Proven Legal Technologies – the corporate forensic investigation and e-disclosure experts, comments on the latest news that five banks are to pay a total of £3.6bn worth of fines for forex rigging.

He says “The Forex scandal brings to life the real need for effective communications monitoring. Serious employee malpractice could have been captured by a more thorough analysis of communications in a proactive context. Intelligent analysis of company data and communications – such as chat messages – on a regular basis can provide early warnings of issues such as those uncovered in the Forex scandal.

“Until now, audits of company data have primarily been used posthumously as way of finding out “what went wrong”. However, prevention is always better than cure, and the financial services sector needs to get much better at using technology to spot problems before they occur if we are to avoid future crises – and penalties – such as these.”

Global Bitcoin Exchange
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Global Bitcoin Exchange, itBit, Starts Accepting U.S. Customers Nationwide.

 Through a trust company charter, granted by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), itBit has established the itBit Trust Company, organized under New York State banking law. This makes itBit the only U.S.-chartered and supervised bitcoin exchange able to offer unique protection and security for customers in full compliance with New York and federal law.

“Our mission at itBit has always been to create a trusted, institutional-grade exchange and regulatory compliance is an important pillar of that mission”

“Our mission at itBit has always been to create a trusted, institutional-grade exchange and regulatory compliance is an important pillar of that mission,” said itBit CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla. “Regulatory approval from the NYDFS allows us to serve as a custodian for our clients’ assets and expand our services to U.S. customers – the largest market of bitcoin traders in the world – and allows us to do so with the highest standard of care afforded by any Bitcoin company.”

With oversight from the NYDFS, the itBit Trust Company provides unparalleled security and protection for all client deposits and assets. All client deposits and assets, including both bitcoin and fiat currency, are held for customers in secure custodial accounts in order to ensure the safe return of customer balances. In order to provide further heightened protection, itBit has partnered with an FDIC-insured and regulated U.S. banking institution to provide assurances to all U.S. clients that their fiat balances are held in the U.S. and with the benefit of FDIC-insurance (up to $250,000 per account).

Sequa Petroleum N.V. Closes Convertible Bond Offering of U.S.$300 Million
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Sequa Petroleum N.V. Closes Convertible Bond Offering of U.S.$300 Million

Following the launch on 21 April 2015 of the offering of a convertible bond of up to U.S.$300 million maturing in April 2020, Sequa Petroleum N.V. announced that pricing of the Bonds took place on 24 April 2015 and settlement completed today.

The Bonds, which were issued at par in an initial aggregate principal amount of U.S.$300 million and will be convertible into approximately 85.7 million new Sequa Petroleum N.V. ordinary shares, representing up to approximately 30% of the ordinary shares of Sequa Petroleum N.V. following conversion in full of the Bonds.

Proceeds from the offering will allow the Sequa Petroleum group to finance its acquisition activities as well as being used for its general financing and corporate purposes.

The Bonds were issued with an annual coupon of 5.00% (which will be payable semi-annually in arrear). The initial conversion price is U.S.$3.50 per ordinary share. The conversion price is subject to customary adjustments pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Bonds. The Bonds were issued by Sequa Petroleum N.V. and are intended to be listed on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange on or before the first interest payment date in respect of the Bonds.

The repayment obligation under a previously existing shareholder loan (drawn down in an amount of approximately U.S.$126 million with approximately U.S.$3 million of accrued interest) was settled by issuing Bonds in exchange for that loan on a dollar for dollar basis, free of payment.

In addition, U.S.$95.6 million in aggregate principal amount of the Bonds were issued and are held on behalf of the Issuer for the purposes of prospective sales to third party purchasers outside the United States. Any such Bonds which have not been sold during the period of six weeks immediately following today’s closing will be cancelled and holders of the Bonds will be notified of the final issue size following the expiry of the six week period referred to above.
U.S.$75 million of the proceeds from the issuance of the Bonds (less certain fees and expenses) were paid to Sequa Petroleum N.V. at closing.

Anoa Capital S.A. is acting as Sole Global Coordinator, and, together with ADS Securities LLC, Abu Dhabi, as Joint Bookrunner. In addition, Sapinda Asia Limited, an existing shareholder of Sequa Petroleum N.V. has entered into a commitment, subject to regulatory approvals, to subscribe for up to U.S.$62.5 million of additional ordinary shares in Sequa Petroleum N.V. during 2015.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Prices €1.15 Billion of Senior Notes
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Bristol-Myers Squibb Prices €1.15 Billion of Senior Notes

€575,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of 1.000% notes due 2025 and €575,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of 1.750% notes due 2035, in an underwritten public offering.BNP Paribas, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch International and Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc are acting as joint book-running managers of the underwriters.

Bristol-Myers Squibb intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to fund the redemption of €500 million aggregate principal amount of 4.375% Senior Notes due 2016 and €500 million aggregate principal amount of 4.625% Senior Notes due 2021. The offering is expected to close on May 5, 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

The final prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus, when available, may be accessed through the SEC’s website at Alternatively, the issuer, the underwriters or any dealer participating in the offering will arrange to send you the prospectus and prospectus supplement if you request it by calling BNP Paribas at 1-800-854-5674, Goldman, Sachs & Co. at 1-866-471-2526, Merrill Lynch International at 1-800-294-1322 or Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc at 1-866-718-1649.

These securities are offered pursuant to a registration statement that has become effective under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. These securities are only offered by means of the prospectus supplement and prospectus relating to the offering. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any offer or sale of these securities in any state or other jurisdiction, where the offer, solicitation or sale of these securities would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or other jurisdiction.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.

Sequa Petroleum N.V. Launches Convertible Bond Offering of up to U.S.$300 Million
Capital Markets (stocks and bonds)Markets

Sequa Petroleum N.V. Launches Convertible Bond Offering of up to U.S.$300 Million

The Bonds, which will be issued at par, are expected to be convertible into up to approximately 85.7 million new Sequa Petroleum N.V. ordinary shares, representing up to approximately 30% of the ordinary shares of Sequa Petroleum N.V. following conversion in full of the Bonds.

Proceeds from the offering will allow the Sequa Petroleum group to finance its acquisition activities as well as being used for its general financing and corporate purposes.

The coupon (which will be payable semi-annually in arrear) will be determined via an accelerated bookbuilding process currently expected to take place on 21 and 22 April 2015, the results of which are expected to be announced on no later than 23 April 2015. The initial conversion price will be U.S.$3.50 per ordinary share. The conversion price will be subject to customary adjustments pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Bonds. The Bonds will be issued by Sequa Petroleum N.V. and are intended to be listed on the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange on or before the first interest payment date in respect of the Bonds.

The repayment obligation under an existing shareholder loan (drawn down in an amount of approximately U.S.$126 million with approximately U.S.$3 million of accrued interest) will be settled by issuing Bonds in exchange for that loan on a dollar for dollar basis, free of payment.

The remainder of the Bonds will be offered to third party investors outside the United States.
Anoa Capital S.A. is acting as Sole Global Coordinator, and, together with ADS Securities LLC, Abu Dhabi, as Joint Bookrunner.

In addition, Sapinda Asia Limited, an existing shareholder of Sequa Petroleum N.V. has entered into a commitment, subject to regulatory approvals, to subscribe for up to U.S.$62.5 million of additional ordinary shares in Sequa Petroleum N.V. during 2015.

FairFX - First FX Apple Watch App
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FairFX – First FX Apple Watch App

The free app will enable users to monitor online money transfer and currency exchange rates on the go, with the next iteration also allowing FAIRFX customers to check their prepaid card balances and monitor their spending wherever they are.

FAIRFX already offers an iOS and Android app to its customers, and this latest release for the Apple Watch meets demand for smart devices as customer preferences change and shift towards wearable tech.

Over the coming months, an updated version of the app for the Apple Watch with increased functionality will allow users to manage their prepaid currency card balance from the app.

CEO of FAIRFX Ian Strafford-Taylor, said: “FAIRFX customers use our mobile and web services to save money and hassle on foreign exchange, so it’s key to offer them a choice of the latest technologies that fit with their active and busy lifestyles. We are proud to offer an app which enables people to stay up to date with currency rates and make smart choices about when to transfer money internationally or order travel money.”

The app will be available to download from the iOS app store shortly after the Apple Watch is released on Friday (April 24th 2015).

Synergy FX Announces over 150 % Gain in First 19 Months for Funds Management
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Synergy FX Announces over 150 % Gain in First 19 Months for Funds Management

The extreme performance, along with the company’s varied innovative products, such as the Hybrid ECN account, are primary reasons Synergy FX is on the verge of dominating the Forex broker market.

CEO Christian Dove had this to say: “We are very pleased with the results of our Funds Management team. The gain for the first 19 months indicates an annualized return rate of over 95 percent, which is unheard of for fully regulated funds of this type, and displays a truly robust nature. Coupled with our new Hybrid ECN account, which offers a completely innovative approach to trading, our results show precisely why Synergy FX is a market leader. In the future the company will continue to innovate and surprise the market with additional high performance funds management products such as the upcoming “Arbidyne” equity based product, cementing our dominant position in the industry.”

Synergy FX recently launched the Hybrid ECN account as a result of Black Thursday, when many traders took a massive hit after the National Bank of Switzerland removed the ceiling on the Swiss franc, causing the currency to double in value almost overnight. Thousands of accounts were wiped out, with many going steeply into a negative balance. The market demanded a solution, which Synergy FX quickly offered.

“The Hybrid ECN account has been designed to offer traders protection from negative balances, which are automatically forgiven. This is a promise we make in writing and is guaranteed for every trader who holds a Hybrid ECN account. What makes this account unique in the marketplace is that it also offers excellent performance thanks to raw bank spreads and our low commissions,” Dove said of the Hybrid ECN account.

Synergy FX has seen a massive spike in new accounts after launching Hybrid ECN, and the company has expanded accordingly by taking on staff and investing in server and network capacity upgrades to make sure the increased load can easily be handled.

New Investment Platform Launches to Unlock the Potential of Frontier and Emerging Markets
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New Investment Platform Launches to Unlock the Potential of Frontier and Emerging Markets

The platform is the brainchild of Co-Founders Lucien Moolenaar and Will Tindall and aims to link ambitious, well-run companies seeking finance with international investors pursuing the potential of higher returns from some of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Many small and medium-sized businesses around the world find themselves in a ‘funding gap’, where banks and private equity firms have failed to provide much needed financing for growth. Emerging Crowd offers qualifying businesses an alternative financing solution using state of the art crowdfunding technology.
The first two companies to list on Emerging Crowd are Bozza and Neo:

• Bozza is an exciting new mobile and desktop platform for downloading and streaming music, video and spoken word content created by emerging and established artists from across Africa. “About 60% of Africa’s population is under 25, and they’re eager media consumers willing to pay for quality online content” says Bozza founder and CEO Emma Kaye, a veteran of several successful startups and a globally recognised leader in mobile innovation. The unique Bozza catalogue goes beyond platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Netflix, bringing a diverse range of new programming to a global audience while letting artists stay in control of their content. Bozza has set an initial funding target of £500,000 to scale its unique mobile-centric platform throughout the continent and the globe.

• Neo is an established and fast-growing chain of coffee shops in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. Founded in Lagos in 2012 by two brothers, former bankers Ngozi and Chijioke Dozie, it already has the largest number of coffee shops of any chain in West Africa. Neo’s CEO, Ngozi Dozie, explains: “Nigeria’s consumers are only just discovering coffee shop culture — the growth potential is huge. To put this in context, South Africa, with a GDP of $350bn and a population of 50 million, has over 200 outlets owned by branded coffee chains. Nigeria has a GDP of $520bn, three times the population and a middle class that has grown by 600% over the past 15 years, and yet Neo, with just a handful of locations, is already the largest branded chain of coffee shops in Nigeria. Well executed coffee shop chains are a proven business model that has been hugely successful in the world’s richer countries, and the trend is now taking off among the millions of aspirational middle-class Nigerians.” Neo is looking to raise £500,000 of equity on Emerging Crowd to expand across Nigeria.

Interested investors can view detailed disclosure documents and financial information on the Emerging Crowd platform and can ask questions directly to Neo’s and Bozza’s management teams before deciding to invest. Emerging Crowd also offers a streamlined investor relations service so that investors in any deal can monitor their portfolio on the platform and see how their money is being put to work over the lifetime of their investment.

Emerging Crowd’s Co-Founder, Will Tindall, said: “Our aim is to build an online community of investors who are passionate about the exceptional growth opportunities available in frontier and emerging markets. Until now the vast majority of investors have had no way to reach these types of companies, let alone consider buying a stake in them.”
Neo and Bozza are the first of many promising companies to be successfully pre-screened and to be admitted to Emerging Crowd. “We’re committed to investor protection, and all companies on the platform are subjected to world-class legal and commercial due diligence, conducted by Emerging Crowd’s team of experienced investment analysts and external legal and due diligence specialists. The minimum investment in any opportunity is £500, and investors pay no fees to the Platform.

Emerging Crowd’s Co-Founder, Lucien Moolenaar added: “Frontier and emerging markets can offer investors significant growth and income as part of a diversified investment portfolio. Emerging Crowd allows investors to access individual growth-stage companies that would not otherwise be accessible. We combine best practices from private equity, capital markets and crowdfunding, including extensive background checks, thorough due diligence and unparalleled disclosure on every deal. We also require companies to provide quarterly and annual updates, allowing our members to monitor their investments and see the impact they are having in these rapidly growing markets.”

Emerging Crowd is secure and transparent, and the investment documents are governed by English law. Investors will nevertheless need to be comfortable with the higher risks associated with investing in unlisted companies in frontier and emerging market countries. In order to invest on the platform, Emerging Crowd investors will need to meet the eligibility requirements laid down by the Financial Conduct Authority for investment-based crowdfunding.
Emerging Crowd is an appointed representative of Resolution Compliance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 574048).

Bluerock Residential Growth (BRG) Announces Second Quarter 2015 Common Stock Dividends
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Bluerock Residential Growth (BRG) Announces Second Quarter 2015 Common Stock Dividends

Bluerock Residential Growth today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized and the Company has declared monthly cash dividends for the second quarter of 2015 equal to a quarterly rate of $0.29 per share on the Company’s Class A common stock and $0.29 per share on the Company’s Class B common stock.

The monthly dividend on the Class A common stock and Class B common stock will be as follows: $0.096666 per share to be paid on May 5, 2015 to shareholders of record on April 25, 2015; $0.096667 per share to be paid on June 5, 2015 to shareholders of record on May 25, 2015; and $0.096667 per share to be paid on July 5, 2015 to shareholders of record on June 25, 2015.

LV= Comments on UK Inflation Rate
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LV= Comments on UK Inflation Rate

Steve Lewis, LV= Head of Retirement Distribution commented: “The current economic environment creates a real challenge for someone retiring today. The Governor of the Bank of England has clearly stated that the outlook for inflation in 2015 may well be negative and yet in the next few years inflation will return to target and then rise a little further. The impact on interest rates in the short term has been negative and the knock on effect to annuity rates has been inevitable. Some may therefore take the view that higher rates in 3 to 5 years’ time may provide more attractive conditions for locking into long term guaranteed returns.

“The retiree has to recognise that inflation is perhaps the biggest risk to their retirement income plans. Setting out for a lifetime in retirement based on an expectation that today’s environment will continue would just be wrong. Individuals and advisers need to understand and plan for inflation.

“Pension Freedom regulations coming into force on the 6th April do offer a helping hand to anyone looking to access their pension funds today. The ability to secure a baseline income to cover the household essentials and use the balance of the retirement savings to provide a fund for lifestyle expenditure is now possible. It is still of course essential for individuals to make sure they are underwritten before they look to secure any annuity. Identifying health issues, or lifestyle factors, is not only a good thing to do, but can also result in a significantly higher guaranteed income from an annuity.

“One of the most popular solutions in the LV= portfolio today is the guaranteed income drawdown, commonly referred to as a fixed term annuity, as this offers the individual a guaranteed income for an agreed period of time, with a guaranteed maturity value. It is of course not without risk. Inflation is a very important factor, but predicting inflation for the next 5 years is a lot easier than for the next 25 years.”

New Report Debunks the EU Jobs Myth
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New Report Debunks the EU Jobs Myth

Jobs are associated with trade, not membership of a political union, and there is little evidence to suggest that trade would substantially fall between British businesses and European consumers in the event the UK was outside the EU.

Politicians who continue to claim that three million jobs are linked to our EU membership should be publicly challenged over misuse of this assertion. Jobs are associated with trade, not membership of a political union, and there is little evidence to suggest that trade would substantially fall between British businesses and European consumers in the event the UK was outside the EU.

In a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs, author Ryan Bourne calls for a rational debate, acknowledging how the structure of the UK labour market is fluctuating constantly; prior to the financial crisis, the UK saw on average 4 million jobs created and 3.7 million jobs lost every single year.

Leaving the EU would see a multitude of new policy decisions which would affect trade flows and the composition of the workforce, from trade arrangements through to the regulatory policies adopted. Whatever the policy climate, it can be said with certainty that three to four million jobs are not at risk if the UK leaves the EU. There may well be net job creation or a range of other possible outcomes which should be debated reasonably.

Five reasons why three million jobs are not dependent on our membership of the EU:

1. Import substitution
The three to four million number is calculated as the number of jobs linked – both directly and indirectly – to exports from the UK to customers and businesses in other EU countries. Even in a hypothetical world where trade completely broke down between the UK and EU, there would still not be the loss of this many jobs, as ‘import substitution’ would partially offset the fall in exports and trade would develop with other parts of the world.

2. Trade is more important than political union
The worst case scenario would be a failure to negotiate a free trade deal in the result of Brexit. If this were the case, both parties would be bound by the World Trade Organisation’s ‘most favoured nation’ tariffs paid by other developed countries, which would prevent the imposition of punitive tariffs by the EU following the UK’s exit. Job losses would not be significant.

3. The UK labour market is incredibly dynamic
It would adapt quickly to changed relationships with the EU. Prior to the financial crisis, the UK saw on average 4 million jobs created and 3.7 million jobs lost each year – showing how common substantial churn of jobs is at any given time. The annual creation and destruction of jobs is almost exactly the same scale as the estimated 3-4 million jobs that are associated with exports to the EU.

4. A move away from a customs union could boost free trade
The UK’s trade patterns shifted significantly after joining the EU, focusing on intra-EU trade at the expense of the rest of the world. Whilst not facing tariff barriers within the EU, the UK currently faces high external tariffs on importing goods from many other countries. In the event of a Brexit, Britain would be likely to divert more trade outside the EU. The overall economic impact would thus depend on what new trade relationships could be negotiated.

5. A changing policy framework
Ultimately, whether EU membership is a net positive or negative for jobs and prosperity in the UK depends on what policies the UK pursues outside of the EU in relation to employment regulation, welfare and tax, the way the UK decides to use its saved contribution to the EU budget, and the extent of new trade deals adopted with third parties. For a healthy labour market, liberal economic policies in each of these areas should be pursued.

Confidence and Competition Sees Investors Shift Strategy
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Confidence and Competition Sees Investors Shift Strategy

KPMG surveyed investors, who together control real estate assets in excess of €580 billion, about their investment strategies for 2015.

The results showed that competition over prime real estate has prompted investors to look further afield and diversify their portfolios. 64% of respondents are now targeting investments globally, rather than in just one continent, compared to just 39% in 2014.

Suburban offices and high street retail are also back on the acquisition agenda, with 44% and 68% of investors stating they planned to invest in these asset classes over the next 12 months.

However, competition is already pricing out some players from property hot spots in Western Europe. One in ten investors said they planned to reduce their holdings in the region this year.

“Western Europe is slowly heating up and investors are keen to realise their gains and free up capital to invest elsewhere,” said Richard White, UK head of real estate at KPMG. “Intense competition over prime assets has already forced some investors out of the market if they are unable to meet, or justify, the pricing levels.”

However, barriers to growth remain. 48% of investors surveyed said a sustainable supply of suitable stock is the main threat facing their business and this had the greatest potential to constrain growth. One in four also cited the performance of the global economy as an area of concern.

“The prolonged economic downturn caused a halt in speculative development and there are simply not enough finished assets to satisfy investor demand. This mismatch between demand and supply is prompting fears of a price bubble in certain markets, which are simply becoming overcrowded,” said White.

“While investor confidence has significantly improved, it remains vulnerable to shocks.The recent slowdown in GDP across a number of the key global real estate markets has caused understandable concern within the real estate industry. Poor economic performance could cause investors to suddenly retrench to perceived safe havens of Western Europe, rather than venture further afield.”