Category: Private Funds

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Can You Predict The Future Price of Bitcoin?

You can’t spend five minutes reading about cryptocurrencies without stumbling across at least one prediction for the future price of Bitcoin.

Across forums, social media, newsletters, blogs, news sites and every other corner of the internet — financial analysts, expert investors, bankers, tech icons, and new enthusiasts offer up their views.

Some cite careful analysis, some base it on past trends. While others are guessing or acting on their ‘intuition.’ Their predictions are varied, ranging from a plummet to zero, to millions.

With all this noise surrounding the Bitcoin price, you might be wondering whom to believe. Or if you should believe anyone at all. Is it possible to predict the future?

Investing begins with education, not buying. So it’s important to think about the information you base your buying decisions on.

How do people make price predictions?

There are two types of analysis used for predictions: fundamental and technical.

They’re used for everything from the stock market to Bitcoin. While other types of analysis do exist, these are the main ones.

Fundamental analysis

Fundamental analysis is all about intrinsic value. You look at the factors that give something value, then decide if it’s under or overvalued. Publicly traded companies release lots of information to help with this. So, for a stock you might look at a company’s:

  • Revenue (how much money it’s making)
  • Profit margins (how much of the revenue is profit)
  • Growth potential (how much money it could make in the future)
  • Management (how competent the people in charge are)

Some of these factors can be defined in numbers. Others come down to the judgement of the analyst.

For a cryptocurrency, you might look at its:

  • Price growth (how the price has grown over time)
  • Scalability (if it has the potential to keep growing)
  • Security (if the network is secure and safe from attacks

​Technical analysis

Technical analysis is different as it focuses on an asset’s price, not the asset itself. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase ‘past performance is not an indicator of future performance.’ But technical analysis bases future predictions on the past. This can be based on a short time frame (hours or even minutes) or long (months or years.)

To do this, you look for patterns and trends in price charts, such as:

  • The average price over a chosen time span
  • The price at which a lot of investors start buying
  • The price at which a lot of investors start selling
  • The overall price trend

Do fundamental and technical analyses work?

There’s no straightforward answer to that question. Both techniques can be useful, but they also have their limitations for cryptocurrencies.

Fundamental analysis works when investors base their decisions on fundamentals. This isn’t always the case for Bitcoin. Many investors base their decisions on the decisions they expect others to make.

Technical analysis assumes that a market follows rational rules and patterns. It’s less useful for cryptocurrencies because the market is still young. There isn’t as much past data to analyse. Cryptocurrencies also have less liquidity than something like stocks.

Self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecies

When we talk about price predictions, we run into an important concept: self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecies.

Making a prediction about the future can end up changing what actually happens.

The prediction about the future creates the future.

This isn’t the case when we talk about a system like the weather because we can’t change it.

But when you make predictions for a system involving people, it’s different.

Hearing predictions can cause people to change their behaviour.

Sometimes this happens in a way that prevents the prediction from coming true — a self-defeating prophecy — or it can cause the prediction to come true — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Predictions about cryptocurrency prices have the power to influence how investors act. If it’s predicted the Bitcoin price will increase, this encourages more people to buy. This can drive up the price, and vice versa.

That brings us to incentives.

The issue of intentions

Incentives are what motivate people to do what they do. It’s an important concept in investing. Financial gain is a powerful driving force.

Most investors understandably want to do whatever will make them the most money. This can include making predictions that benefit them.

Let’s say you come across an article where the author claims Bitcoin will be worth $100,000 by December 1st 2019. Rather than taking that at face value, it’s important to ask: why are they saying this? If they know for certain, why don’t they put all their money into Bitcoin, and make a huge profit? Why are they sharing that information?

Likewise, if someone claims Bitcoin will drop, you might wonder why they’re saying that. If they know for certain, why don’t they keep quiet, short it, and make a big profit?

In both cases, we need to consider the underlying incentives.

If someone stands to profit from the Bitcoin price increasing, it’s natural they’ll predict it’s going to do that. They’re hoping this will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone stands to benefit from it decreasing or to suffer if it increases, it’s not unexpected that they’ll predict it’s going to decrease.

Luck and probability

But if no one can predict the future, how come some people do make correct predictions?

Maybe you heard that your brother’s roommate’s cousin’s coworker’s uncle correctly predicted the price of Bitcoin. Or you’ve seen someone on Youtube who seems to always get it right.

The fact that no one can predict the future doesn’t mean no one can make correct predictions.

It comes down to luck, probabilities, and information asymmetries.

First, luck. Every day, thousands of people make predictions about Bitcoin prices. It’s inevitable that some of them will be correct by luck.

As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. With so many people making predictions, it’s likely a percentage of them will be correct.

When professional forecasters make predictions, they usually base them on probabilities. What’s the most likely outcome? A weather forecaster might say it’s going to rain tomorrow because there’s a 62% probability. They don’t know it for sure. It’s just more likely than not.

Then there’s insider information. If you know something most investors don’t, you have a big advantage. For example, if you have insider information that Apple is about to release a new product, it’s reasonable to expect the stock will go up. But other investors buying Apple stock aren’t aware of that information, so they can’t predict it.

Insider information is less meaningful for cryptocurrencies. There’s a less direct link between fundamentals and prices. Events that seem like they should cause an increase or decrease can do the opposite or nothing.

Conclusion

The next time you look at a cryptocurrency price chart, imagine a crowd of people in a stadium, all moving at different times but appearing to create an organised rippling motion. Because that’s what you’re seeing: the combined actions of many people.

There’s no mystical, secret order to it. There’s just lots of people making decisions based on the information they receive.

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Underestimating the digital wealth start-up threat

A recent report from GlobalData found that only 10% of wealth managers perceive robo-advisors as an immediate threat.  With the entire financial industry racing towards widespread digital adoption, it begs the question – shouldn’t they be more worried?John Wise, CEO, Co-Founder and Chairman of InvestCloud investigates.

The biggest mistake wealth managers are making is holding on to the long-standing belief that robo-advisors will only serve the lower retail market. This is the same mistake ‘brick and mortar’ stores made in sizing up Amazon as a threat; they fail to appreciate the competitive advantage a digital platform has.

Many high earners are turning to robo-advisors and digital processes for a better return on their portfolio. A recent survey from InvestCloud found that 49% of investors are using mobile apps to manage their wealth. A further 48% are using a firm’s digital offerings as a key differentiator when choosing their manager. As investors continue to be more digitally savvy, this will certainly increase.

As things stand, digital can feel like the enemy to traditional wealth managers.

The need for hybrid wealth management

What many wealth management firms are failing to recognise is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. By deploying a hybrid model of digital and traditional services, these firms can compete successfully in this changing digital environment.  

Traditional ‘brick and mortar’ wealth managers are faced with two key challenges today. The first of these is the well-documented fee compression. The second is the transfer of wealth from aging boomers to younger, more tech savvy and less financially educated generations – Generation X, Millennials and – soon – Generation Z.

At this inflection point, everyone has one question on their mind: How are firms going to attract new clients and retain existing ones in a cost-effective manner? 

The hybrid model of human and digital advice means advisers can use cost-effective technology from the robo space and combine it with differentiated and engaging client experience. This will be key to serving younger demographics. Hybrid advisors will be able to scale like a robo-adviser, being able to serve more clients, while ensuring continued engagement with existing clients through face to face interactions and digital empathy tools.

This change is already happening. Those who can see it as an opportunity and not as a threat will have the upper hand.

Creating a truly personailsed digital service

 

While automation plays a critical role in increasing a firm’s profitability, it is only one side of the equation. Clients will measure the quality of a service by what they see, so continually improving the quality of their digital experience is critical.

When an adviser cannot speak and interact with clients face-to-face, it can often be difficult to create and maintain a strong relationship that keeps a client sticking with your business. Instead, advisers need to create the same level of service online. Financial institutions instead need to build digital relationships, where each client can be engaged on their own terms.

This is why the digital experience is so important. It is not just about providing online services – wealth management clients also require a truly personalised, beautifully designed, intuitive and easy-to-work-with platform that caters to all their individual needs.

But this should not be one-sided. The client and adviser portals need to be directly linked, so the adviser can see what the client is looking at, or even influence the dialogue remotely using chat, video or direct messaging. This way, advisers can deliver complete personalisation.

The importance of data

Firms can not solely focus on the client-facing aspects of their business. Looking behind the scenes is equally important.

Getting information correct and accessible is key to success when operating at scale. Adopting a data warehouse is the most important aspect of any digital strategy. Information is power – but only if it is correct, gathered in one place, and is in a structured format.

Many traditional firms fail to appreciate how information from correctly managed data can be leveraged to better serve their customers. To use the Amazon analogy again – the amount of client information they can use from customer profiles is something brick and mortar stores can only dream of.

Using the right digital platform, wealth managers can collect client data, but also monitor how this information changes. For example, they can see which demographic pays closest attention to market changes, or how a client’s investment objective or risk tolerance changes over time.

Those using the right digital platforms can access deep behavioral analytics, which in turn helps them support more clients with less resources. Data in today’s digital environment goes beyond ‘csv’ files to include text, chat, documents, and pictures. Imagine an advisor on a call where the client is asking about a recent capital call transaction. Centralised platforms enable advisors to access all relevant client information, including primary documents from the custodian or fund administrator.  

The last piece of the puzzle is adoption. How are digital platforms helping wealth management firms increase adoption and retain existing clients?

Behavioral science functions combine unique and customisable digital personas. The right platform will allow financial institutions to connect with all their clients, despite vast differences in wealth, age, outlooks, and all the numerous facets that make them unique. Digital engagement requires human empathy, and personalised platforms can make each user feel  that their financial concerns are understood, whether they are Baby Boomers, Generation X or Millennials.

These elements are what constitutes a great overall digital strategy in 2019. Armed with the right tools, advisers will have an advantage over the robo advisers.

This is the holy grail of hybrid wealth management: Automated digital processes combined with the advantage of human insight. Being able to undertake ad hoc tasks for clients or difficult-to-do exercises that are a challenge, can now be automated with the click of a button. Digital empathy – expressed through the right tools – will set you apart. Longer retention, higher AUM growth and improved quality and operational efficiency all await.

With the right digital strategy, robo advisers have nothing on you.

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REDCABIN ANNOUNCES AIRCRAFT CABIN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING SUMMIT

• Conference takes place from 6 – 7 March at the Etihad Airways Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi
• Hosted by Etihad Airways Engineering
• Features keynote speeches and interactive workshops from Etihad Airways Engineering, Airbus, Diehl Aviation, Air New Zealand and Lufthansa Technik

BERLIN: Aviation conference specialist, RedCabin, today announces its Aircraft Cabin Additive Manufacturing summit to take place 6 – 7 March at the iconic Etihad Airways Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Hosted by Etihad Airways Engineering, the summit aims to bring together leading figures from the world of aviation to collaborate and innovate new ways for the industry – and passengers – to benefit from additive manufacturing (AM).

The lifespan of an aircraft, typically between 20 – 30 years, makes maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) a key component for airlines that want to keep up with changing consumer trends and evolving technologies. According to a recent Airbus Global Market Forecast, the MRO market in commercial aviation is set to double in the next 20 years to $120 billion – presenting a significant opportunity for 3D printing to reshape aircraft design and maintenance.

The RedCabin summit will host senior executives from the world’s leading airlines, manufacturers, and suppliers of 3D printing solutions to discuss challenges in the aviation industry and formulate new ways to collaborate. Attending this year’s conference are senior level personnel from companies such as Etihad Airways Engineering, Air France KLM, Air New Zealand, Safran, Airbus and ASTM International.

Across two days of keynote speeches, panel discussions and interactive working groups, delegates can network with industry figures and participate in open and honest discussions focussed on ways to support the manufacture and development of AM products, as well as how to accelerate the creation of a standardised framework for certification.

Monica Wick, founder and CEO of RedCabin commented: “Additive manufacturing has huge potential to alleviate supply chain constraints, reduce waste and support the development of new lightweight products – ushering a new era in commercial aviation. The summit represents a vision for a better future, creating a forum for progress whereby those working in the aviation industry can share their knowledge and experiences to support positive change.

“I would also like to give a special thank you to our commercial partner BASF, and our event sponsors: EOS and Stratasys. Their support has ensured RedCabin can continue to be a hotbed for innovation.”

For more information, please visit: https://aircraft-cabin-additive-manufacturing.redcabin.de/

To download the full conference agenda, click here.

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Private FundsWealth Management

Wealth management and digital engagement

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

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

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

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

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

Millennial money

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

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

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

So how do managers reverse this trend and engage investors?

Re-booting engagement – offline and online

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

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

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

Digital requirements

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

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

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

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

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

Using the best of both worlds

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

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

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

BlueCrest to Become Private Investment Partnership
Private FundsWealth Management

BlueCrest to Become Private Investment Partnership

Following the transition, BlueCrest will manage assets solely on behalf of its partners and employees.
It will continue to trade all current major strategies and retain all the firm’s offices around the world and anticipates strong growth in employees and AUM over the next several years under the new business model.

During its 15 year history, BlueCrest has delivered trading profits of over $22bn for its investors, and has won numerous industry awards for excellence. It has built an industry leading global team of over 250 investment professionals in nine offices operating in fixed income, currencies, emerging markets, credit and equity trading.

However, ongoing secular changes in the industry, including trends in fee levels, the cost of hiring the best trading talent, and the challenges in tailoring investment products to meet the individual needs of a large number of investors, have weighed on hedge fund profitability. A Private Investment Partnership strategy of concentrating on a reduced number of funds, managed exclusively on behalf of BlueCrest’s partners and employees, will facilitate higher returns and greater profitability for the firm’s stakeholders, and give it greater flexibility to compete aggressively for trading talent.

BlueCrest’s existing partner fund, BSMA, will continue to hold assets managed in the fixed income, currency and credit trading strategies, and the BlueCrest Equity Strategies Fund and the BlueCrest Emerging Markets Fund will be retained as the vehicles through which partners and employees invest in equity market and emerging market trading strategies respectively. All other funds, including BlueCrest Capital International, and the AllBlue Fund, are expected to close during 2016.

The process of closing the client funds has been agreed with the Boards of Directors of those funds and communications with clients as to the timetable is now taking place. Clients are expected to receive approximately 75% of their investment capital before the end of January and 90% by the end of Q1 2016. The divestment of investment portfolios will be carried out in an orderly manner, balancing the requirements for speed and value for investors.

BlueCrest’s founder and Chief Executive, Michael Platt, said:

“Firstly, I would like to thank all of the investors who have entrusted money to the BlueCrest funds over the last 15 years and to wish them well in their future investment endeavours.”

“We are embarking on an exciting new phase in the development of BlueCrest. We will be stronger and more flexible under our new business model, and see exciting opportunities to grow significantly in terms of numbers of trading teams and assets under management. The new model provides the opportunity to create significant value for our partners, our traders and our staff, due to a step-change in our profitability. It will also allow us to enhance further our ability to attract the highest quality investment talent in markets across the globe. We have delivered industry-leading returns to our investors over the past 15 years but believe that BlueCrest is now better suited to a Private Investment Partnership model.

We have always been an industry innovator, and this transition will be no exception. We have sold and repurchased a stake in our business, we have seeded new strategies using bank loan financing, and been among the first to launch a permanent capital vehicle in the UK. We seeded and spun out BlueMountain Capital and more recently have spun out and divested of a significant stake in Systematica, a major business division. This transition, though not unique, will make us one of the largest and most diverse managers to adopt a Private Investment Partnership model.”

UK Employers Favour Initial Tax Relief for Pension Contributions
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UK Employers Favour Initial Tax Relief for Pension Contributions

The survey reveals that a significant majority (68%) of employers favoured retaining at least some level of initial tax relief for pension contributions.

Offering one level of tax relief for all savers was the most popular option (29%), with no changes to the current structure close behind (27%). The Chancellor’s proposal of levelling pension tax relief with the Individual Saving Accounts (ISA) regime polled less than 1 in 4 (24%) of the vote. A further 12% of delegates favoured removing higher rate tax relief for high earners.

Commenting for Jelf Employee Benefits, Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy said: ‘Employers have had pension duties forced upon them by successive governments, so it is only right that their voice should be heard on this really important issue. And the message is clear – employers want to retain some form of initial tax-relief to encourage pension savings by their employees.

‘It’s also worth pointing out that this is very much a view from the UK employer coalface, with small and large private sector employers represented, as well as many organisations in the third sector and even some large public sector departments. This broad cross-section of organisations provides a very good indicator of the wider employer views on this key topic.’

The survey also revealed that, should a major change to tax reliefs take place, employers want and expect adequate time to adapt current practice and employee communications to the new tax relief environment. More than half of the employers questioned (52%) would ideally like a minimum of two years to undertake such change, with 12% expecting at least three years for this exercise.

Herbert concluded: ‘The employers we questioned have been under increasing and unrealistic time pressures with regard to recent changes to pension legislation, so it’s to be hoped that HM Government listen to this call for adequate planning and implementation time should any major changes arise from this consultation.’

Growth Slows in Challenging Period for Fund Managers
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Growth Slows in Challenging Period for Fund Managers

Assets managed by the world’s 500 largest fund managers rose by just over 2% in 2014 to reach a new high of $78.1trn, compared to $76.4trn the year before, according to research by global professional services company Towers Watson and Pensions and Investments, a leading U.S. investment newspaper. The Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 research shows that asset managers have added almost $30trn globally since 2004, despite growth slowing to its lowest rate in a decade.

For the first time, we have observed asset growth at the very large and smaller ends of the size spectrum, but not much in the middle,” said Brad Morrow, Towers Watson’s Americas region head of manager research. “The big, passive houses are the beneficiaries at the large end, while smaller managers are attracting a greater proportion of active mandates as they ‘resource up’ and become more competitive.”

The research reveals that in the past 10 years, the number of independently owned asset managers in the top 20 has more than doubled and now accounts for the majority, overtaking both banks and insurer-owned firms, which both declined in the same period. In 2014, there were 11 U.S.-based managers in the top 20, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all assets, with the remaining managers all being Europe-based.

“We’re in the longest period of almost uninterrupted asset growth since the research began,” said Morrow. “However, headwinds persist not only from markets and the medium-term outlook for the global economy but also regarding asset management’s perceived value proposition and its general role in society. This challenging environment presents an opportunity for innovative and adaptable investment companies to stand out, and we have seen more willingness to engage on these issues than ever before.”

According to the research, traditional assets make up almost 80% of reported assets (45% in equity, 34% in fixed income), an increase of about 12% from the previous year and now totaling over $37trn. Since 2004, assets managed by the leading passive managers have also grown, by almost 13% annually compared to around 5% annually for the top 500 managers as a whole. In 2014, assets managed by the leading passive managers grew by around 12% to reach a record high of over $15trn, up from around $4.6trn a decade ago.

“It’s hardly surprising that passive managers continue to attract institutional assets at such a rate, given the competition for diminishing returns as well as significant innovation in the passive space,” said Morrow. “We would caution investors to look very carefully at some of these passive product claims and to remember that, governance permitting, they are no substitute for real investment skill and good active management.”

Socially Responsible Investing: The Next Big Thing?
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Socially Responsible Investing: The Next Big Thing?

There has been an increasing trend in some parts of the world to focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR is a term frequently used to encompass a whole range of corporate activities but which fundamentally encompasses corporate self-regulation: how large corporates ensure that their businesses respect the law and certain ethical and moral standards and in many cases give something back to the community.

A good example is companies ensuring that their products are not made by children or people working in unsafe factories. This has impacted and raised standards in many countries which previously took a more relaxed approach to such concerns, with the rag trade in particular suffering first-hand the tragic consequences of inadequate and unstable warehouse foundations.

In many parts of the world CSR remains an alien concept or at least one which is not embraced as it is seen as interfering in the ultimate goal of maximising profit.

Also, there are and presumably always will be industries which require investment but are perceived by some as antisocial, immoral or contrary to public decency. Arms, gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, pornography and no doubt others may be considered to fall into this category, but it is unlikely that these industries are going to disappear soon and therefore innovation and investment will continue in those sectors and there will be entrepreneurs investing in existing and new businesses occupying those spaces, and there will be start-ups seeking to exploit those markets with new solutions and products. Such start-ups are likely still to attract investment.

Socially responsible investing (SRI) takes CSR a step further and seeks to encourage corporate practices that promote sustainability, consumer protection, human rights and diversity. Certain investors and funds will deliberately avoid the above mentioned sectors and make a virtue of not investing in, what some may perceive as, these ethically lacking concepts.
Impact Investing, Community Investment and Positive Investing are all terms used in the context of SRI and which are self-explanatory.
But does SRI mean lower profitability? Morgan Stanley produced a report in April 2015 which concludes that sustainable investment has “usually met and often exceeded, the performance of comparable traditional investments”.

Many jurisdictions have responded to and also encouraged SRI by introducing corporate vehicles with, in some cases, fiscal incentives, to create a legal framework for businesses with a social purpose – for example, B-Corporations in the US and Community Interest Companies in the UK.

It is of course emotive to seek to label entrepreneurs as social or antisocial depending upon how the sectors they invest in are regarded. Views on this change frequently and often with the fashion du jour. The biggest proponents of gambling are the world’s governments hungry for hefty tax revenue generated by casino houses and online betting companies. Given that many of these are elected governments, can gambling really be branded antisocial?

It is worth noting, too, that a business engaged in what might be regarded as an “antisocial” sector is also capable of engaging in considerable positive action through CSR, SRI etc.

Britons’ Top 5 Misconceptions About Debt Revealed
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Britons’ Top 5 Misconceptions About Debt Revealed

Research from the UK’s top discount brand has discovered that only a fifth of respondents understand the possible repercussions for missing a debt repayment.

The team at www.vouchercloud.com conducted the study as part of ongoing research into the financial habits of Britons. A total of 2,439 adults over the age of 18, all of whom stated they had at one point been in debt, either with a credit card, finance deal or loan, were quizzed about their knowledge of finances and debt.

Initially, all respondents were asked ‘When you took on the debt, did you fully read the terms & conditions?’ to which the majority of respondents, 63%, stated ‘no – not at all’. The remaining respondents stated either that they ‘started to read them and gave up’ (25%) or ‘yes – read them fully’ (12%).

Wanting to delve a little deeper and see how much the respondents understood about finances in general, all those polled were then provided with a list of financial statements and asked to state whether they believed each statement to be true or false. Once all of the results were collated, the top 5 misconceptions that Britons have about debt were revealed as:

1. If you ignore the company you owe money to for long enough, they’ll eventually go away and the debt will be forgotten / cleared – 42%
2. Once you declare yourself bankrupt, you are bankrupt for life – 39%
3. I’ll lose my home if I miss a mortgage repayment – 35%
4. All debt is bad for your credit rating – 33%
5. Banks will give you a mortgage based solely on how high your salary is – 27%

All respondents were then asked ‘When you initially took on your debt, did you understand the repercussions if you were to miss one or more payments?’ Only 27% stated that ‘yes’ they did, with almost half of respondents, 49%, stating that they ‘had a rough idea’ and the remaining 24% stating ‘no’ they didn’t understand at all.

Chris Johnson, Head of Operations at vouchercloud.com, commented:

“The results of this survey are, quite frankly, shocking. Not just the fact that Britons access credit without fully knowing all of the facts, or that we seem to be so blasé about being in debt, but also that Britons don’t understand the repercussions of what debt mismanagement can do to them and their future.

“Britons needs to educate themselves on all matters of debt, whether it currently effects them or not – because it might do one day. Credit cards, loans, mortgages, every type of debt, whether considered a good or bad, can land you in trouble if you don’t fully understand the legal agreement that you’re entering into.”

Reuters Wealth Management Summit
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Reuters Wealth Management Summit

Wealth managers and regulators from Hong Kong, Singapore, Geneva, London and New York will visit Reuters bureaus on June 8 through 11 to discuss where people are putting their money and topics including digital currencies, alternative investments, millennials and Generation X, regulatory issues, consolidation and more. The stories and videos from the closed on-the-record sessions at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit will be posted online at http://www.reuters.com/summit/Wealth15.

Wealth management is changing faster than ever, with managers battling to keep up with developments in regulation, technology and demographics. They are doing so against a backdrop of uncertainty following the worst financial crisis in decades, making investment decisions tougher and returns harder to achieve. Wealthy clients from established and emerging markets want trusted advice, returns, flexibility and security, while regulators demand transparency, increased surveillance and more capital.

This week at the Wealth Management Summit, Reuters will interview wealth managers and regulators asking how they are adapting their business models to serve “Generation X”, what greater regulatory scrutiny means for margins and where they are looking for growth and consolidation to secure their future.

Reuters Wealth Management Summit, which will generate exclusive stories and investable insights, as well as online videos and blog postings.

Guests speaking at the Summit will include:
• Merrill Lynch Head of Wealth Management John Thiel
• Citi Private Bank Global Head Peter Charrington
• President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management & Morgan Stanley Investment Management Greg Fleming
• Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Ketchum
• Nutmeg Founder and Chief Executive Nick Hungerford
• Lombard Odier Asia Head of Private Banking and Singapore Chief Executive Vincent Magnenat
• Securities Litigation and Consulting Group PhD and Principal Edward O’Neal
• Banque Reyl CEO Francois Reyl
• DBS Managing Director and Group Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management Tan Su Shan

Reuters Summits bring together top executives from key industries in exclusive sessions with Reuters News global teams of specialist journalists. During the course of Reuters Summits, exclusive news stories and video interviews are posted on Reuters.com, providing valuable insight into specific companies, business sectors, and economies.

InvestYourWay Offer Bitcoin as Part of a Fully Diversified Fund
Private FundsWealth Management

InvestYourWay Offer Bitcoin as Part of a Fully Diversified Fund

InvestYourWay, the bespoke online fund building platform, today announced the addition of Bitcoin as a new investable product, offering more choice to clients. InvestYourWay believes in making such products available as part of a diversified portfolio and not just to those who can afford personalised fund management services, as clients only need as little as £2,500 to begin using their service.

From the start, InvestYourWay has done things differently. In partnership with IG, a FTSE 250 company, InvestYourWay created a unique no leverage Contract For Difference (CFD) designed for long term investment. CFDs are widely used by professional traders and do not require people to lock their capital up in the underlying markets; instead, money sits in an instant access brokerage account with the broker crediting or debiting the account as the underlying markets move. This makes them an ideal product to use when investing in Bitcoins as clients benefit from the changes in the value of Bitcoin without incurring the risk of needing to hold the product directly.

InvestYourWay is a completely new way to invest money in the market, giving clients complete real-time control over their investments. In under a minute clients can build a bespoke fund tailored to meet their needs. Be it a low risk fund investing in Europe and gold, to a high risk fund investing in Asia and the UK tech sector, InvestYourWay funds are constructed and managed with each client receiving a completely unique and bespoke solution. With this latest development clients can request that these unique, personalised funds include Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is still a relatively new product and the value of them can be quite volatile. To ensure that this risk is managed appropriately, InvestYourWay will only include Bitcoin as one holding within a diversified fund, thereby reducing exposure and managing risk. InvestYourWay are also only making Bitcoin available to those clients who are able to demonstrate a sufficient amount of investment experience when signing up to the service.

Michael Newell, CEO of InvestYourWay, said: “Unlike traditional fund managers who are restricted by the funds they have on offer, we have built this business on the principle of the right for a client to be able to choose the type of investments we include in their bespoke fund, from particular global regions to individual products. With this latest enhancement clients can now choose to include Bitcoin as part of that solution. We believe it is all about providing the kind of bespoke service that would be available to the high net worth individual but making it accessible to all within a well managed and balanced portfolio.”

Peer to Peer Lending
Private FundsWealth Management

Peer to Peer Lending

In simple terms, peer to peer lending connects individuals or companies looking to borrow money with investors who would like to invest it, usually over the medium to long term. On average interest rates are between 4% and 15% which makes peer to peer lending an appealing option for savers stifled by record low interest rates. One of the unique advantages of peer to peer lending is that as well as being used to preserve and grow capital it can also be used to provide a regular monthly income. This is made up of the capital and interest payments received each month from the business or individual you have lent to. A SIPP is very similar to a pension but there is one key difference. A SIPP gives you much greater choice about where you invest your pension whereas a traditional pension will limit your options to the providers fund selection. This means you can maintain a tax efficient way of saving into your pension but have greater freedom about where it is invested.

1. How/where would you start if you wanted to invest your P2P loan in a SIPP?
Do your research. As with any investment make enquiries into what you are investing and what each provider offers. Some providers focus on personal loans whilst others on property or business loans. Any provider worth their salt will be a member of the P2PFA and regularly publish performance statistics on their website. The P2PFA has a useful video explaining what peer to peer lending is http://p2pfa.info/.

2. What is the minimum/maximum amount you can invest in a SIPP?
There doesn’t tend to be a minimum amount you can invest through a SIPP, but it all depends on which firm you ask to manage it. However, it is important to compare the fees that you’ll be charged for managing or administrating your SIPP.

3. What are the benefits of investing your P2P loan in a SIPP?
Investing in Peer to peer through a SIPP means get the same tax relief that comes with a traditional pension whilst also getting access to higher interest rates than offered by most pension funds or high street savings options. Additionally, if you are looking to preserve your capital and take a monthly income peer to peer enables you to do this.

4. How can you take an income from a peer to peer lending through a SIPP?
Peer to peer lending means you get your capital repayment from the borrower each month plus the agreed interest payment. You can either take both as monthly income or preserve your capital by just taking the interest payment as an income.

5. What are the main risks of this type of investment?
Peer to peer lending is very different from investing in the stock market which can go up or down. With peer to peer lending the interest rate you agree to at the start of the investment will remain the same until the loan term is over. It is important to recognise that if a borrower defaults you could lose all of your investment. You can spread your investment over a number of loans and look at whether the peer to peer provider offers secured loans. Secured loans mean that the borrower provides security so in the event they cannot make repayments their security can be called upon to repay the lender.

6. Is P2P investment in a SIPP just for the sophisticated investor?
SIPPs are generally considered to only be suitable for those who feel confident choosing and managing their own investments. And as with all investments if you do not feel confident seek advice or don’t invest in it.

7. What words of wisdom would you give to an investor?
P2P is a comparatively new asset class but has shown a reliable growth pattern over the past five years as well as low default rates. The P2P Finance Association is the trade body which controls standards and the FCA also regulate the industry too. I’m a big believer in getting different points of view, so I’d recommend before any investment speaking to as many people as possible before investing in anything. ThinCats have an online lender forum packed full of people who have been investing through peer to peer.

8. What does the risk and return profile of a typical P2P SIPP look like?
Loans on the ThinCats platform are currently returning an average of 10% gross interest. With % interest determined on each loan where the risk is reflected in the interest rate it attracts through the auction process. All loans are available to the SIPP and therefore it is up to the lender to determine the level of risk they wish to take. You must also factor in the additional tax relief that come with a pension.

9. What are the charges/fees involved in peer to peer lending?
This varies depending on the provider but as a ThinCats lender it costs

Nothing to join or transact on the ThinCats website. As previously mentioned though, it is important you check the SIPP provider’s management and administration charges.

Kevin Caley, Managing Director and Co-Founder of ThinCats comments:
“Low interest rates have in the most hit those who are saving for the long term hardest but new pension rules have provided more options for people to invest their pension savings where they see fit and take a more flexible approach to taking an income. An increasingly popular way of investing for retirement is through a SIPP. SIPPs allow people to maintain all the tax benefits of a traditional pension plan but give allow a wider range of investment options, including peer to peer lending.

One of the unique advantages of peer to peer lending in a SIPP is that as well as being used to preserve and grow capital it can also be used to provide a regular monthly income. This is made up of the capital and interest payments received each month from the business or individual you have lent to.”

ThinCats is a peer to peer lender founded in 2011, under Kevin Caley, Peter Brown and Paul Meier. ThinCats connects experienced investors with established UK business borrowers and provides a real alternative for investors and for businesses that need funding. Investors registering on the platform are able to bid directly on UK businesses, all of which have been vetted by ThinCats’ sponsors, who each have local, industry specific and banking expertise. The network is expertly placed to meet the needs of anyone managing an investment portfolio (including individuals, pension fund managers and companies with cash deposits), and provide direct access to the low risk market sector traditionally occupied by high street banks.

The personal lending/borrowing experience at ThinCats is underpinned by a minimum loan size of £1,000. This was deliberately designed to interest serious investors able to carefully consider the businesses they choose to lend to. Now, more than 4 years later less experienced investors are benefiting from that expertise and intensive ‘crowd due diligence’.

Advise on Pensions and Investments
Private FundsWealth Management

Advise on Pensions and Investments

In time for the upcoming elections, where the future of pensions is uncertain, Harewood Associates Managing Director, Peter Kiely, believes that it’s imperative to be equipped and aware of any possible pitfalls when investing pension funds into private companies and properties.

Peter stresses that it is vital to research any companies, using Companies House to ensure there is a strong set of accounts and testimonials present. There are also several reasons to be wary of any cold calling companies or upfront fees, reputable companies would never advocate this.

Above all, questions should be asked and you should have access to any legal agreements prepared by a reputable Solicitor, the Land Registry can help with this.

“We don’t want to alarm people but believe that greater freedom within pension investment options is essential. Not all companies operate with the same integrity and honesty as Harewood Associates, we truly believe it is a privilege to be entrusted with client’s money and we look after their best interests to maximise their returns.”

Money expert, Martin Lewis, backs up Peter’s opinions by saying, “I’m concerned many will be nervous about releasing the cash in case they’re left with none in old age and will therefore sit on it, never spending it, depriving themselves of the benefit and living a worse life than necessary. If you’ve a sizable pension pot its worth spending the £300 to £1,000 it’ll cost to get an independent financial adviser.”

About Harewood Associates

Peter Kiely launched Harewood in 2010 which was during the middle of the recession. The company is now projecting a £40 million turnover next year and £50 million the following year with offices covering the North West and Mayfair, London.

Harewood offer up to 30% per annum return from investing in new residential developments.

The Share Deal gives investors the opportunity to invest in a variety of high profit residential developments. Each development is owned by a single purpose vehicle (or SPV). This is a simple, private limited company set up for the sole purpose of buying, developing and selling a single residential development. As an investor, you will own shares in this company and therefore when the property is sold, you will receive a share of the profits in proportion to the amount of the shares you own.

Technology Enables Inclusion of Alternative Assets in UMA
Private FundsWealth Management

Technology Enables Inclusion of Alternative Assets in UMA

While UMA portfolios have traditionally included mutual funds, stocks and bonds, managers are quickly appeasing the growing appetite for alternative strategies like hedge funds, variable annuities, futures, and options. As these assets are highly sought-after, their inclusion in UMA programs is helping raise awareness of the entire managed account industry.

The Power of the Sleeve
Sleeves are synthetic UMA partitions, which can facilitate access to the broader pool of assets in demand by investors, while providing a cost-effective and highly-efficient apparatus for managers and sponsors. Most notably, though, sleeves provide the functionality for managers to include both alternative and traditional investments in UMA portfolios.

By permitting multiple strategies and sleeves in a single account, UMA offers a natural flexibility and incentive for managers to present sponsors with a wider array of investment opportunities.

Accordingly, UMA platform providers are taking notice and enhancing their technology to allow for the trading and accounting of more assets and currencies. As this happens, the UMA structure can easily accommodate newer sources of funds with additional sleeves.

Industry Consequences
It is clear that investors are driving the need for multi-sleeve, multi-strategy UMA platforms. That said, managers and sponsors have an imperative to support this evolving service model.

The multi-sleeve UMA structure enables tremendous benefits for all managed account participants:
• Managers have greater opportunities for product adoption among individual investors
• Sponsors reserve more investment options to help clients meet their respective financial goals
• Investors can reduce risk by diversifying assets within a single account – in lieu of opening and managing multiple accounts

In the bigger picture, we are also witnessing a subsequent evolution among large UMA providers, as many are consolidating and integrating legacy managed account systems onto a single platform. While this denotes an extensive undertaking, it will allow for the streamlined delivery of many different asset classes – particularly those in hot demand by investors.

UMA to UMH
Another reason for the growing relevance of a single UMA platform stems from the industry’s commitment to deliver the Unified Managed Household (UMH). Broadly defined, UMH provides a comprehensive approach to manage all assets and liabilities of a household, helping investors achieve an overriding set of household goals.

A UMA platform capable of holding a variety of asset types and investment strategies in a single account, with sleeves essentially acting as sub-accounts within a master, providing the technological infrastructure for the industry to deliver UMH. Once investors make the connection between UMA and UMH, logic tells us there will be even greater adoption in the future.

When all is said and done, the continuous ascension of UMA is expected in the years ahead, and leveraging alternative assets in UMA portfolios will help drive this outcome.

Written By Tirdad Shojaie
Head of Product, Marketing and Business, Fiserv

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Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoins Could Transform Consumer Communication Services
Private FundsWealth Management

Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoins Could Transform Consumer Communication Services

Cryptocurrency is a term that has not seen wide recognition. Among those involved in international banking, though, the concept is becoming more important and, in fact, is seen by many experts as a game changer. For the first time in history, currency, the primary medium of exchange, can be issued by individuals without recourse to governments. The implications of such a change are profound: money, after all, is more than simply a surrogate for value that supports economic transactions based on a common assessment of worth; it is a system by which government manages the flow of trade, collects taxes and imposes economic control.

Now, imagine that a government need not issue currency – need not even know about a financial transaction – and one begins to understand the threat that cryptocurrency poses to existing banking and economic structures. Once money is an artifact of one- to-one transactions, the economy moves largely out of the control of central banks.

Communication services are increasingly compatible with cryptocurrency: as communications migrate to broadband delivery, there is an opportunity to integrate financial experiences into the overall communication experience. Although the evolution of cryptocurrency is very preliminary, communication service providers should begin considering the implications of synthetic currency now.

For more information please visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wbndsj/cryptocurrency

 

Cinedigm Prices Private Offering of $64
Private FundsWealth Management

Cinedigm Prices Private Offering of $64,000,000 Aggregate Principal Amount of 5.5% Convertible Senior Notes

Cinedigm Corp., a leading independent content distributor in the United States, announced today that it priced its previously announced private offering of $64,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 5.5% convertible senior notes due 2035 to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. The size of the offering was increased from the previously announced aggregate principal amount of $60,000,000. The Company expects to close the note offering on April 29, 2015, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. After deducting specified uses of proceeds and estimated offering expenses and fees, the sale of the notes will generate approximately $28.5 million of cash proceeds for the Company’s balance sheet.

The notes will be senior unsecured obligations of the Company and will bear interest at a rate of 5.5% per year, payable semiannually. The notes will mature on April 15, 2035, unless earlier repurchased, redeemed or converted. The notes will be convertible at the option of holders of the notes at any time until the close of business on the business day immediately preceding the maturity date. Upon conversion, the Company will deliver to holders in respect of each $1,000 principal amount of notes being converted a number of shares of its common stock equal to the conversion rate, together with a cash payment in lieu of delivering any fractional share of common stock. The conversion rate for the notes will initially be 824.5723 shares of common stock per $1,000 principal amount of notes (equivalent to an initial conversion price of approximately $1.21 per share of common stock), representing an initial conversion premium of approximately 25% above the closing price of the Company’s common stock on The Nasdaq Global Market on April 23, 2015. The conversion rate will be subject to adjustment if certain events occur. Holders of the notes may require the Company to repurchase all or a portion of the notes on April 20, 2020, April 20, 2025 and April 20, 2030 and upon the occurrence of certain fundamental changes at a repurchase price in cash equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be repurchased plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. The notes will be redeemable by the Company at its option on or after April 20, 2018 upon the satisfaction of a sale price condition with respect to the Company’s common stock and on or after April 20, 2020 without regard to the sale price condition, in each case, at a redemption price in cash equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be repurchased plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any.

The Company estimates that the net proceeds from the note offering will be approximately $60.7 million, after deducting the initial purchaser’s discount and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company. The Company expects to use approximately $18.2 million of the net proceeds from the offering to repay borrowings under and terminate the Company’s term loan, approximately $11.4 million of the net proceeds to fund the cost of repurchasing approximately 11.8 million shares of its common stock pursuant to the forward stock purchase agreement described below, approximately $2.6 million of the net proceeds to fund the cost of repurchasing approximately 2.7 million shares of its common stock concurrently with the closing of the offering from certain purchasers of notes in privately negotiated transactions and the remainder of the net proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes, including development of the Company’s OTT channels and applications and possible acquisitions. However, the Company has no current commitments or obligations with respect to any acquisitions.

Concurrently with the offering of notes, the Company is entering into an amendment to its credit agreement. Upon repayment of the term loan under the credit agreement with approximately $18.2 million of proceeds from the offering, the amendment will, among other things, extend the term of the revolving loans to March 31, 2018, provide for the release of the equity interests in the Company’s subsidiaries that are currently pledged as collateral without affecting the remaining collateral, change the interest rate as described below, replace all financial covenants with a single debt service coverage ratio test commencing at June 30, 2016 as applied to the revolving loans and a $5.0 million minimum liquidity covenant, and provide consent to the issuance of the notes. After the effectiveness of the amendment, the revolving loans will bear interest at Base Rate (as defined in amendment) plus 3% or LIBOR plus 4%, at the Company’s election, but in no event may the elected rate be less than 1%.

In connection with the offering, the Company intends to enter into a privately negotiated forward stock purchase transaction with a financial institution, which is one of the lenders under the Company’s credit agreement (the “forward counterparty”), pursuant to which the Company will purchase approximately 11.8 million shares of common stock, subject to adjustment, for settlement on or about the fifth year anniversary of the issuance date of the notes, subject to the ability of the forward counterparty to elect to settle all or a portion of its forward stock purchase transaction early. The forward stock purchase transaction is generally expected to facilitate privately negotiated derivative transactions between the forward counterparty and holders of the notes, including swaps, relating to the Company’s common stock by which we believe holders of the notes have established or will soon establish short positions relating to the Company’s common stock and otherwise hedge their investments in the notes.

The Company’s entry into the forward stock purchase transaction with the forward counterparty and the entry by the forward counterparty into derivative transactions in respect of shares of the Company’s common stock with the purchasers of the notes and the Company’s repurchases of shares of its common stock from certain purchasers of notes in privately negotiated transactions could have the effect of increasing, or reducing the size of any decrease in, the price of the Company’s common stock concurrently with, or shortly after, the pricing of the notes.

The notes and the shares of the Company’s common stock issuable upon conversion thereof have not been, and will not be, registered under the Securities Act or applicable state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States except pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.

This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sales of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

One Year On
Private FundsWealth Management

One Year On, Classic Plus Is Still Putting Money Back in People’s Pockets

Over three-quarters (78%) of people believe things generally get better with time – this is certainly true for people who have earned interest with TSB’s Classic Plus account.

One year on and TSB’s market leading account is still rewarding people with 5% credit interest on balances up to £2,000, without all the usual funny stuff. Unlike others, TSB’s Classic Plus doesn’t offer a ‘teaser rate’ so there is no need to worry about the interest being whipped away after 12 months.

TSB’s Classic Plus account was designed to be the most rewarding and accessible bank account on the market, and it’s proven to be just that – with 875 accounts opened daily.

Some things in life just keep improving with time and over a third (36%) of people believe interest earned on bank accounts should be one of these. Other things that people expect to get better with time include: wine (56%), relationships (46%), photo collections (28%), books and diaries (20%), money-saving perks (19%), leather sofas (18%) and jeans (17%).

One-in-five (21%) people say they put the interest earned on their current account towards everyday spending and over three-quarters (71%) would close their account and move to another bank if they stopped receiving interest.

TSB Classic Plus customers can earn up to £100 a year in interest, they must simply pay in £500 a month and register for internet banking, paperless statements and correspondence. People have the flexibility to manage their money however suits them best, either in branch, over the phone or online.

Andy Piggott, Head of Current Accounts at TSB says: “Earning interest on your bank account is a useful way of topping up your everyday spending. If people are looking to open an interest paying banking account, they should make sure the account doesn’t just offer interest for the first year as they may miss out further down the line.

“TSB isn’t like other banks. The 5% interest rate isn’t an introductory rate so we won’t whip it away after a year. We understand that banking is about the whole experience which is why we continue to put money back into our customers’ pockets, not just for the first year.”

GreenPath Announces 2015 Personal Finance Library Programs
Private FundsWealth Management

GreenPath Announces 2015 Personal Finance Library Programs


GreenPath has scheduled more than 30 programs at libraries in six states (New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas) in April, May and June. This initiative will provide consumers with reliable, unbiased financial information and tools at convenient public library locations.

“At GreenPath, we think it is vital to go into the communities we serve to provide personal finance programs,” said GreenPath President and CEO Jane McNamara. “These free library programs are another way we can help people better understand budgeting, credit reports, identity theft prevention, and more.”

Nearly Half of Americans Saving Virtually Nothing
Private FundsWealth Management

Nearly Half of Americans Saving Virtually Nothing


Roughly one in five (18%) are saving nothing at all, plus 28% who are saving something, but not more than 5%.

America’s best savers are the middle class. More than one-third (35%) of households with annual income between $50,000 and $74,999 are saving more than 10% of their incomes, a rate that outpaces even the highest-income households.

“This proves the old adage that what counts isn’t how much you make, but how much you have left over,” said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst.
Overall, fewer than one in four Americans (24%) are saving more than 10% of their incomes. That figure includes 14% (one in seven Americans) who are saving more than 15%.

Those in the western U.S. are out-saving their counterparts elsewhere around the country; 31% of westerners are saving more than 10% of their incomes, compared with just 20% of southerners. The picture isn’t entirely rosy out west, however, because 19% of westerners aren’t saving anything. That’s worse than all other regions.
Although Bankrate.com’s Financial Security Index dipped slightly from February’s all-time high of 104.8 to 103.7, it’s still at the second-highest level since its inception in late 2010. Readings above 100 indicate improved financial security compared to one year previous.

• Those who are feeling more secure in their jobs than one year ago outnumber those who are feeling less secure by a margin of greater than two-to-one (27% to 13%).

• Consumers’ comfort level with debt decreased slightly over the past month, but continues to remain positive relative to a year ago. 23% of respondents are feeling more comfortable with their debt and 20 % are feeling less comfortable than March 2014.

• Americans’ overall financial situation is progressing, with 29% stating that their situation has improved from one year ago and just 18% saying it has deteriorated.

• Savings remains the weakest of the Financial Security Index’s five components, but improvement is evident.

• 24% of respondents are more comfortable with their savings now compared to one year ago, while 27% are now less comfortable. That is the slimmest margin to date.

• For the first time, men are demonstrating more comfort with their savings than one year previous.

• Between 2010 and 2012, Americans who were less comfortable with their savings than 12 months earlier outnumbered those who were more comfortable by a three-to-one margin.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI).
PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (500, including 298 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from March 5-8, 2015. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Societe Generale to Sell Private Banking Activities
Private FundsWealth Management

Societe Generale to Sell Private Banking Activities

The transaction will be structured as a business transfer. At completion, Societe Generale group will receive a cash consideration of US$220m for the franchise (subject to adjustment based on the net asset value and assets under management at completion) and will free up around US$200m of equity.

Further to the transaction, Societe Generale announces that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with DBS to develop a commercial partnership combining the strengths of the two franchises for the benefit of their respective clients. The partnership will give Societe Generale’s clients access to DBS’ Private banking offering in Asia. In addition DBS’ clients will have access to Societe Generale Private Banking’s offering in Europe as well as to Corporate and Investment Banking solutions.

The transaction is subject to approvals from the relevant authorities and is expected to be completed in Q4 2014. It is expected to have a positive impact on the Group net income and on the Basel 3 Common Equity Tier 1 ratio.

Societe Generale Private Banking will be in a position to free up investment capacities to accelerate its development in its core markets and to further strengthen the services offered to its clients in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Societe Generale remains committed to Asia, in particular in Corporate & Investment Banking, where it has successfully focused on its strengths over the past three years and reached a strong sustainable growth.

In Asia Pacific, the Group is present in 11 countries, where it has more than 6,000 employees. Leveraging on its universal banking model and leading positions, the Group offers domestic and international clients present in the region solutions ranging from financing and investment to cash management services.