Why trust and transparency are the key ingredients for strong leadership in 2021

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone, gives his 7 Top Tips on leading a remote team in 2021 

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
  1. Build a foundation of trust

Leadership is about empowering your people and one of the main ways to do this is to trust your team to make responsible decisions – just as they did in an office-based set-up. In a remote office model, it’s important to trust them to make good judgements about time and personal commitments. And whatever your leadership style, trust engenders an adult-to-adult model of interaction. This has always been the case but is even more crucial now with so any of us working from home. Leaders can also build trust by demonstrating authenticity. We’re all human and acknowledging the challenges we encounter in these strange times helps to build trust and also encourages people to speak up about any struggles they are facing.

  • Work out what really matters

Being suddenly plunged into remote working patterns in 2020 was a shock for leaders and employees alike – it’s easy to talk about being more productive but suddenly you had to deliver it. The situation forced leadership to work out what the truly key tasks were and to ensure their team delivered them. This focus continues to be a benefit of remote working and helps leaders direct their people towards a more outcome-based model of working. 

  • Intentional communication with staff

Frequent communication and contact with staff have always been important and being remote shouldn’t have changed that. What has changed is that as a leader, you now have to be more intuitive and tap into your EQ. Whereas in the office you might pick up on someone’s mood changes and check in, now you have to check in on people intentionally. After nearly a year of working remotely, this has become almost second nature for many leaders and managers. However, there is a danger that as lockdown conditions drag on, some of these good habits can fall by the wayside. Leaders must not underestimate the importance of connecting – both on a personal and a professional level. These regular connection points help people feel valued and significant – which encourages them to feel good about themselves, what they do and the value they bring. As well as being the right thing to do on a human level, on a business level, it also means people will want to do their best work. 

  • Empower your leaders to lead 

Businesses have to adapt to changing circumstances – as a leader you have to work out the most effective way to recalibrate and to communicate with your leadership team and your staff. You’ve got to keep your leaders and all your people in the loop. Leaders should also look to capitalise on opportunities and the pandemic is certainly an ideal time to embrace great internal comms.

At PayByPhone we walk the talk – we have introduced a senior management team call three times a week, which are good connection points for us. We also have a more formal leadership meeting once a month, and we have an all-staff virtual meeting every Monday morning.

  • Follow up on your promises to your staff

Many leaders tell their people how important they are, but you have to follow this through with action. There are some great examples of intentional actions and at PayByPhone we have opted to pay for Disney+ subscriptions for those employees with children as a way to support them during lockdown. For employees who don’t have children or who already have a Disney+ subscription, we pay for them to have the new Joe Wicks app to help them get active and to maintain a positive mental attitude. These are small gestures in themselves, but they are important because they help people feel valued and remind them that out-of-sight isn’t out-of-mind. 

  • Adjust your expectations 

Paying tribute to flexible working and actually demonstrating flexibility are vastly different things. At PayByPhone we were already advocates of flexible working when we were office-based so it hasn’t felt like a huge leap. For us, it has never been about ‘face time’ at your desk, or ‘presentee-ism’, it’s about getting your job done. 

Right now, however, the game changer is having multiple employees with children who need home schooling, so it’s crucial that as a leader, I adjust my expectations. A single parent trying to juggle home working and home schooling will inevitably have their work impacted, despite their best efforts. Frankly any working parent right now probably deserves a superhero cape! Accepting that some employees may be unable to give 100% focus and being aware of the pressures is vitally important as a leader. And it’s also essential to set clear boundaries and goals about the achievements and outcomes you expect. Just make sure they are realistic. 

  • Recruit from a wider talent pool and consider a hybrid-remote office

Part of good leadership is seizing opportunities and since the pandemic has accelerated the working-from-home revolution, it’s now possible to source employees from a wider area. Leaders should cast their recruitment net wide and carefully consider the kind of skills, experiences and diverse ways of thinking that would help take their organisation to a new level. By securing the very best employees, leaders can add more value to their organisation. We used to restrict our hiring pool to people within a relatively small radius of the office. Now, we’re looking within a 100-mile radius of the office, which will enable us to operate a hybrid-remote office with people in the office once a week even when we are clear of the pandemic crisis. The flexible nature of remote working has the added benefit that it attracts Millennials and Gen Z who like a portfolio approach to work. Having these digital natives on board and harnessing the mindset of different generations is all part of creating a vibrant and diverse workforce – and for PayByPhone this helps us consolidate our position as a leader within our industry. 

Digital Transformation Strategies You Need to Know

These days, companies in quite a few industries are talking about digital transformation (DT). DT involves using process improvements and new technologies to transform your operations. You have to embrace change to meet the demands of evolving business models and customer expectations.

Digital Transformation Strategies You Need to Know

The Importance Of Security

Improving security is one of the most important aspects of digital transformation. More than ever, it’s important to protect those assets that are most vital for your organization. You need to protect identities, strategies and trade secrets. Once you’ve established stellar security, you’ll have a solid foundation for achieving comprehensive DT.

What Is Digital Transformation and How Do I Sell It?

Not many people have heard of what is digital transformation since it has become more common last year due to the start of the pandemic. Increasingly, people are recognizing that DT involves telling a compelling story. Just having the right facts and figures won’t prove enough to get buy-in from critical stakeholders. Arguably, storytelling is the most important persuasion tool in your arsenal. According to science, the human brain is programmed to pay attention to stories. After all, storytelling is how traditional cultures pass on knowledge vital for survival. If you tell the right story, you’ll be able to help your co-workers overcome any qualms they have about drastic change. Fear of change is a constant in human psychology. Even forward-thinking people often balk at making major new capital investments. However, investing in digital transformation is one of the best ways to disaster-proof your business.

A story is not a sterile to-do list or a budget. A story is not a PowerPoint presentation, no matter beautifully designed your presentation may be. Instead, a story is a series of events described in a coherent order. These events can be real or hypothetical. For example, you can describe a hypothetical future where your company is outmatched by a competitor. This type of storytelling can inspire noncommittal stakeholders to take action.

Aligning Your Transformation Strategy With Long-Term Goals

DT requires willingness to make significant changes. Nevertheless, you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. At every stage of your transformation plan, be sure to align your efforts with your long-standing goals and values. Cohesion is the ultimate watchword when planning your digital strategy. Ultimately, you’ll want each one of your digital channels to serve your essential business objectives. Web design, social media marketing, e-commerce, apps; all of these channels should cohesively serve your goals.

Part of DT is making sure your messaging and content reflect your customers’ interests and values. You’ll also want to craft consistent brand messaging. To maintain cross-channel cohesion, be sure to invest in analytics. You can use each channel to gather and analyze data about your customers’ habits. If you aren’t gaining new insights from your digital channels, you’ll need to invest every available penny into DT. When it comes to transformation, it’s never too late to start turning the ship around. Even if your digital channels are producing strong revenues, maintenance isn’t enough. Revenue growth is crucial for commercial sustainability. You needn’t give in to the temptation to adopt every trendy new digital channel that comes online. Instead, focus on developing a few key channels.

Maintaining The Right Skills Mix In Your IT Team

If you want your DT to be maximally effective, you’ll need to assemble the right IT team. That may prove more complicated then ever during this pandemic time. Make sure you are fully taking advantage of teleworking. In addition, make an effort to keep your remote workers feeling heard and appreciated. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to overlook remote team members when it’s time to hand out promotions. This type of oversight can only limit the effectiveness of your IT team.

Properly executed, DT can help you achieve transformative business goals. Do whatever it takes to get your whole organization working together on DT.

5 Ways To Save Money With Your Online Shopping

Online shopping is the one thing in our life that is never going to stop. But, let’s be real, it is not surprising that we often end up spending a lot more than we have and that too in one round. If the same is happening with you, we’d suggest that you find some wholesale online shopping websites like DHGate that host a range of amazing items for half the price but double the quality.

All that aside, here’s a quick list of tips that you can use to save money the next time you think of shopping online.

  • Make a list

We can’t stress this enough but making a simple list of the items that you want to buy. This might not seem like a lot, but it can help you save a lot of coins. Firstly, you will know what you want and what you don’t. So, the moment you navigate through the website, you won’t get side-tracked by other items that you probably don’t need in your life. Instead of aimlessly scrolling around the website, you can go ahead and buy things.

  • Compare the prices

Another way to save money while shopping online is by comparing the prices. One of the best ways to do so is by comparing the prices on multiple websites. This can help you solve a lot of hassle and help you get a better idea of what’s right and what’s not. Try and choose the items across the major online portals because that helps you get a better idea of what kind of prices are trending.

  • Look out for sales

Another factor that you need to look out for is the sales that happen on online shopping websites. There are several platforms that you need to look out for. That said, the sales are often seasonal, so you need to keep an eye out for that too. Make sure that you even set up alerts or notifications for the website to get notifications about the deals that are happening around.

  • Join online shopping communities

Much like how there are several groups for foodies on this planet, there are also a few online shopping communities that you can join to get an idea of what kind of offers that you can avail and what kind of coupons that you can use. In these communities, you can also get a better perspective of things, which comes in handy as well.

  • Refrain

Several people have a bad habit of just buying anything even when they don’t need it. If you are one of them, you need to avoid giving in to that habit altogether. Make sure that you keep a check on the items that you need only. Just because there is a sale going on doesn’t mean you need to buy something.

If you are here trying to save some extra coins during your online shopping, you must keep a check on these tips before making the purchase. Remember that you don’t need to buy something if you don’t need it.

Why 3 Month Payday Loans Are Great for Holiday Sales

There are circumstances when money is needed necessarily. Contacting a bank is another trouble because the terms of the three-month payday loans will be accessible exclusively to the bank. Furthermore, high-interest rates worsen the entire situation.

Nowadays, the vast majority of citizens do not work officially. Thus, each of them can get a rejection from a banking institution to take out three-month payday loans or car repair loans here. The reason is that banks do not accept applications from customers without the presence of an income certificate and employment. Most modern citizens take 3-month payday loans to buy purchases for their loved ones on holidays.

3 Months Payday Loans: Benefits and Tips

Throughout the world, there are so-called microcredit organizations. They provide customers with three-month payday loans on favorable terms. There are more than a million users of such organizations nationwide per month who want to get three-month payday loans. The key customers of the following institutions are customarily young people aged from 25 to 35 years. Considering these statistics, the age of the audience is becoming smaller each year. Now you can even meet those who want to get a loan at 20 or even 18 years old. In this case, the borrower gets a real chance to solve all financial issues thanks to three-month payday loans. At the same time, you can get the maximum benefit from this holiday loan.

Citizens are trying to solve all their financial problems despite the complex bureaucratic system of getting a three-month payday loan in banking institutions. But even microcredit organizations come to the rescue, which provides the client with the convenience and mobility of modern services. Such services will be available anywhere and at any time convenient for the customer. A borrower only needs an Internet connection.

Here are the most popular reasons of taking out three-month payday loans before the holidays:

  • Delay in salary;
  • Money for gifts is urgently needed;
  • Purchase of expensive household appliances;
  • Organization of celebrations (weddings, anniversaries, and others);
  • Money for shopping;
  • An urgent trip.

There can be a lot of reasons. Most importantly, each of them still requires a certain amount of money, which may not be at hand. Three-month payday loans will help you cope with a difficult situation.

Benefits of Three-Month Payday Loans

Here are the main benefits to be noted in payday loans:

  • You can draw up an application and a contract remotely without leaving your home at any time;
  • High mobility of consideration of the customer’s received data. The organization issues the final decision on permission for a loan after 15-30 minutes;
  • Favorable lending conditions and a minimum interest rate of 0.01% per day;
  • Observance of complete anonymity provided to all clients, as well as the protection of their personal data;
  • In a very short time (up to 30 minutes), the customer receives the required amount. Regular customers wait until the processing is complete for several minutes.

Therefore, users should not have any doubts that the best choice would be to apply for three-month payday loans in a microcredit organization.

What Should You Pay Attention to When Applying for a Three-Month Payday Loan?

Many online lending services offer their customers to take out three-month payday loans at 0%, and regular users can also experience all the benefits of loyalty programs (for example, discounts on loans without certificates and guarantors, as well as arrange a loan in a few minutes).

In order to choose the most suitable credit organization, the customer, first of all, needs to pay attention to the characteristics of the declared services, profitable offers, periods, and how much the service can give. And, of course, find out all the conditions to make complete repayment of the three-month payday loans.

It is also very important to choose a service with an understanding and competent staff who will be able to suggest and advise exactly what the customer needs.

Making Three-Month Payday Loans Algorithm

When making an application for three-month payday loans, the service interface will be very useful. This feature will facilitate the operation. On the sites, you can fully consider all the rules and conditions to get three-month payday loans. Moreover, similar services have a section with an online calculator that can calculate the amount and period. The calculator provides the customer with the full figure along with the calculation of interest.

Loan registration in microcredit organizations will go through the following steps:

  1. The customer needs to register on the website of the organization (fill out the form indicating passport data, TIN code, e-mail number, and mobile phone number);
  2. Further, service employees process information about the customer;
  3. Then you receive a notification about the result of the check using a phone call, SMS, or email.

If the application is accepted successfully, the service sends the required amount to the borrower’s card. If the customer was refused, then the amount does not come to the card. Then you can contact the service personnel and find out the reason. Employees will tell the reason and will recommend the amount which the customer will be able to claim with great chances.

Customers of such online services are provided with more loyal conditions than in banks. Services are also focused on debt repayment in a single pay-off payment. Furthermore, MFIs do not harass customers and do not threaten them. Everything is absolutely loyal as it is possible to extend the loan for the required period.

Certainly, minor underpayments can lead to the refusal on the next loan, therefore, it is better to pay off the loan on time without delays.

South Africa as a HNWI Aestination

New World Wealth in collaboration with Steyn City recently reviewed the top factors that attract HNWIs to South Africa.

Notably, South Africa is home to over twice as many millionaires (HNWIs) as any other African country. The country ranks 30th in the world by this measure, ahead of major economies such as Greece, Portugal and Turkey. Currently, there are just over 35,000 HNWIs living in SA (as at Sept 2020).

Things that attract HNWIs to SA include:

  • Lifestyle aspects: weather, beaches and scenery.
  • A large free media which helps disseminate reliable information to investors. This sets South Africa apart from most other emerging markets worldwide.
  • One of the 20 biggest stock exchanges in the world (by market cap).
  • A well-developed banking system and large fund management sector.
  • Hub for doing business in the rest of Africa.
  • Luxury food stores such as Woolworths, which appeal to wealthy consumers.
  • Exclusive areas such as Umhlanga Rocks and the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town.
  • Top-end estates and apartments. SA is a global pioneer in estate living and is home to many of the world’s best lifestyle estates. New World Wealth estimates that over 45% of SA HNWIs either live or have homes on estates. An additional 30% have homes in luxury apartment blocks (which have been the fastest growing residential segment in SA over the past 20 years in terms of price growth).
  • Good transport infrastructure.
  • World-class shopping centres such as: Gateway, Sandton City and the V&A Waterfront.

SA wealth stats (for Sept 2020)

  • There are approximately 680,000 mass affluent individuals living in SA, each with net assets of US$100,000 or more.
  • There are approximately 35,000 millionaires (HNWIs) living in SA, each with net assets of US$1 million or more. Most of these HNWIs are based in Johannesburg (Sandton especially), Cape Town, Umhlanga and Pretoria.
  • There are approximately 1,800 multi-millionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$10 million or more.
  • There are 86 centi-millionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$100 million or more.
  • There are 5 billionaires living in SA, each with net assets of US$1 billion or more.

Note: “Wealth” refers to the net assets of a person. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities.

About Steyn City

Steyn City is a luxury residential parkland residence situated north of Fourways in Johannesburg. The lifestyle resort features over 2,000 acres of indigenous parkland, ensuring that every resident has a sprawling back garden to explore.

Steyn City residents have access to a wide array of amenities and world-class facilities, which include kilometers of running and cycling track, outdoor yoga centres, a fully equipped gym, resort pools, aquatic centre, several restaurants, a world class equestrian centre and Jack Nicklaus championship golf course with award-winning clubhouse. Added to this, the development offers a forward-thinking educational campus and outstanding office premises.

All of this makes Steyn City an obvious choice for people relocating to South Africa. The development offers all that a family or even executive could possibly need, from excellent infrastructure to a highly esteemed school – all within a safe and secure setting.

At a time when many people are reconsidering their location, now that remote working means they are no longer bound to an address close to their workplace, Steyn City stands out as a destination that makes it possible for residents to enjoy vacation-style tranquility, just minutes from the city.

The fall of Arcadia: what does it mean for the future of the high street?

The high street is changing. There’s no question. Predictions suggest over 18,000 high street premises could be left empty by the end of the year, while mainstays like high street banks are estimated to close their doors a final time by summer 2032.

The announced administration of the Arcadia group should come as no surprise in the current climate. The pandemic has sent earthquake-scale tremors through our shops and retailers. But in spite of this, there has to be some shock in the industry – after all, Arcadia, and many of the other fallen businesses, are and were huge entities. So how do businesses with such apparent strength fall with such devastating impact?

The answer lies in technology. Technology has underpinned many of the world’s greatest advancements but in retail, take up of advancements has been slow enough to shake the foundations of some of our most loved stores and leave them weak and vulnerable.

The collapse of the Arcadia group is systematic to an organisation that has failed to grasp the opportunities of technology, especially of online. The pandemic may have spearheaded online shopping’s growth, but consumers have been shopping online – or using bricks and mortar stores as ‘showrooms’ to then buy online – for years. And while stores like Primark have done well with no online presence, they have a very different value-based proposition which means it’s worth the trip to the shop to rummage through the aisles – whereas the premium products that Arcadia Group sells can make people think twice about the effort when better deals are available online.

Arcadia would have always been heading into a red territory regardless of Covid-19 due to their lack of online penetration.

Then there’s the growing movement to shop small and shop local. This, of course, is a positive movement that supports fledgling and growing brands. But it’s also a movement that puts big businesses in an even weaker position. In order to thrive in 2021 and beyond, retailers will need to consider not just their investment in technology to facilitate convenience, but in their wider values and how they support communities and initiatives that benefit the world. Focuses on environmentalism (without ‘greenwashing’) and sustainability will play an even greater role in the year to come.

The Islamic Development Bank Group, in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, organized a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Investment Outlook

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group hosted a webinar on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global investment outlook, which was organized in collaboration between the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Country Strategy and Cooperation (CSC) Department, IsDB on 17th November 2020 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on FDI and trade in OIC member countries.

The Islamic Development Bank Group, in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, organized a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Investment Outlook

 The main objective of the webinar is to present the key findings of the World Investment Report 2020 – International Production Beyond the Pandemic with a highlight on FDI trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide, at the regional and country levels and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development. In addition to presenting IsDB Group Strategy during COVID-19 and its impact on OIC Member Countries and Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).

The Webinar also proposed adopting policies and strategies to revive investment and trade in member states to advance investment promotion activities, in order to support the IsDB Group efforts to assist Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in member countries by assisting them in devising appropriate investment and trade policy responses to the ongoing pandemic

Mr. Oussama Kaissi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created a devastating global health crisis. According to UNCTAD’s 2020 World Investment Report, global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) will be under acute pressure this year as a direct result of the pandemic. In order to combat these implications in member countries, IsDB and its group members have implemented a number of initiatives to maintain trade and investment flows. ICIEC will be an important part of the long-term recovery, supporting the growing demand for risk mitigation solutions”.

Mr. James Zhan, Director, Investment & Enterprise Division, UNCTAD, made a presentation which highlighted the key findings and policy recommendations found in its World Investment Report 2020: International Production Beyond the Pandemic.

Mr. Amadou Diallo, the Acting Director-General, Global Practices at the Islamic Development Bank in his speech stated that during COVID-19, the Bank provided technical assistance programs for the Islamic Development Bank Group such as RCI and ITAP to support the Member Countries by assisting them in developing suitable plans for investment and trade policy to confront the ongoing Corona pandemic. This is in the framework of a tripartite approach centered around the “response, recovery and rebuilding” pillars.

Mr. Mohammed Bukhari, Senior Investment Promotion & Regional Cooperation Specialist, CSC Dept., IsDB delivered a presentation on the impact of COVID-19 on MCs, particularly in foreign direct investment (FDI), domestic investment and investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

It is noteworthy that the private sector institutions of the Islamic Development Bank Group played an important role during COVID-19, as Mr. Asheque Moyeed, Division Head, Infrastructure & Corporate Finance,  the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) made a presentation which focused on the efforts related to promoting investment in member countries, where the IsDB Group private sector institutions pledged with IsDB to provide $ 700 million to stimulate investment, finance trade, investment insurance and export credit in member countries. Two D-8 Egypt and Turkey are going to utilize around $270 million of this package.

The webinar brought together over 500+ participants from 113 countries, including government officials, Presidents & CEOs of local/international private sector companies, multilateral and financial institutions, individual investors, entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce & Industry, business associations, and investment promotion agencies

55 Leading International Asset Owners and Asset Managers Ask Companies to Use SASB Standards

The Investor Advisory Group (IAG) of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) today issued an updated statement calling on companies to use SASB Standards in disclosures to investors.

The IAG’s 55 members represent 12 countries and $41 trillion in assets under management (AUM). Among the updates made to the IAG Statement, when compared with the founding Statement, is the affirmation that “other reporting standards and frameworks may complement SASB Standards, but are not replacements for them.”

The IAG’s Messaging Working Group (one of six IAG working groups) took the lead in revising the Statement, which hadn’t been updated since the IAG was founded in 2016. By strengthening the statement in several key areas, the IAG seeks to send a clear market signal that leading international investors are calling for SASB-based disclosure as a foundation for corporate sustainability disclosure to investors.

Among sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, SASB Standards are tailored specifically to help companies communicate with investors. Because they are industry-specific, metric-driven, and focused on financial materiality, SASB Standards improve the comparability of ESG-related data and enable integration of ESG considerations into investment and stewardship decisions across global portfolios and asset classes.

“Amidst growing momentum this year, global investors agree that we need more standardized data on the ESG factors that impact enterprise value creation,” said Eivind Lorgen of Nordea Asset Management, North America and Chair of the IAG. “As expressed in our updated statement, the IAG wants companies around the world to use SASB Standards in order to improve the comparability and quality of ESG information we need as investors.”

“Within the broader landscape of sustainability disclosure, SASB Standards are specifically designed to meet investor needs,” says Ole Buhl, Vice President and Head of ESG at ATP and a member of the SASB IAG. “That’s why the IAG is asking companies to use the SASB Standards as a core part of their disclosure.”

SASB’s IAG was originally founded in 2016 to demonstrate investor demand for improved quality and comparability of ESG data and provide investor feedback and guidance to the organization. “I joined the IAG as Founding Chair on the condition that the IAG would be action-oriented and get things done. This updated statement—from a group that has more than doubled in size in just four years—reflects the growing momentum, strength, and internationalization of investor support for SASB-based disclosures,” says Christopher Ailman, IAG Chair Emieritus and Chief Investment Officer at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). “I’m proud to see what the IAG has accomplished and I challenge the IAG to achieve and accomplish even more in the years ahead.”

A variety of sustainability standards and frameworks assist companies in communicating with wide-ranging stakeholders. SASB is involved in efforts to integrate ESG reporting standards and frameworks into a comprehensive, global system for sustainability reporting, most recently issuing a joint statement with CDP, CDSB, GRI, and IIRC outlining a shared vision. Within this system, SASB is gaining support as a helpful tool for investor-focused disclosure. Most recently, the UK Financial Reporting Council encouraged UK public interest entities to voluntarily report using the TCFD Recommendations and SASB Standards to meet the needs of investors.

To make progess towards the vision for a comprehensive corporate reporting system, SASB is committed to working with other standard setters and frameworks and global leaders including the IFRS Foundation, IOSCO, the European Commission, and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council.

To read the updated Investor Advisory Group Statement, click here.

About SASB

SASB connects companies and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability. SASB Standards enable companies around the world to identify, manage, and communicate financially material sustainability information to investors. SASB Standards are industry-specific and are designed to be decision-useful for investors and cost-effective for companies. They are developed using a process that is evidence based and market informed. To download any of the 77 industry-specific Standards, or learn more about SASB, please visit SASB.org

Biden will deliver a boost to stock markets and economy

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver a boost to global stock markets and the U.S. and world economy, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

The observation from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Democrat candidate won the race to become the next U.S. president, defeating Donald Trump following a nail-biting vote count after Tuesday’s election.

Biden won more than 73 million votes, the most ever for a U.S. presidential candidate.

Mr Green says: “President-elect Joe Biden will deliver a boost to global stock markets and the U.S. and world economy.

“Although a Biden win was pretty much priced-in by the markets, his victory will eliminate uncertainty – which they loathe – and they will rally further as a result.

“Even possible legal challenges from Trump will be dismissed by investors who will instead be focusing on the renewed certainty and stability that a Biden White House will bring, including in key areas such as trade tensions with China, keeping the U.S. in the World Health Organization, resigning the Paris climate agreement, and abiding by other international agreements and long-standing international allies.”

He continues: “Biden will need to work with the Republican-led Senate to secure fiscal stimulus to bolster the economy.  He might struggle to get the $3trn wanted by Democrats, but some package is likely. 

“This will buoy the markets and would have investors think about a broader-based economic recovery – rather than a narrower, tech-heavy one.

“As the world’s largest economy, sustainable, long-term growth in the U.S. will have a positive ripple effect for the world economy.”

The reduced chance of massive fiscal stimulus will also mount pressure on the Federal Reserve “to inject further liquidity,” he notes.

In addition, the Biden win without full Senate support means less risk of regulation and higher corporate and personal taxes, which will give more oxygen to the markets and economy.

Mr Green adds: “In general terms, sectors to benefit from the Biden administration’s agenda include renewable energy, industrials and infrastructure, and small caps.”

The deVere CEO concludes with a warning: “Biden will need not only to work with the Senate but to heal a divided country.

“The world is looking at America, it needs to lead the world economy in a positive, forward-thinking and smartly way – and at pace.

“If it doesn’t, we can expect American economic dominance to ultimately be replaced by an emerging and fast-growing Asia.” 

What are potential investors looking for in a start-up business?

When potential investors scour the marketplace for possible investment ventures, the vetting process consists of a series of checks, investigations and an extensive due diligence process to help ensure that the selected investment opportunity is the right fit. The type of investor attracted to your start-up business will depend on a series of factors, such as investment returns available, financial growth opportunities and brand identity, all of which should be extensively detailed in a comprehensive and creative business plan, complemented by an innovative pitch.

What are potential investors looking for in a start-up business?

Your business plan will be the teller of all tales, detailing how you wish to breathe life into a concept, developing it into a fully-fledged business, worthy of investment. It will illustrate the direction that you wish to take your business in, your operational structure, marketing strategies, business development practices and a contingency plan. We share insight into what potential investors look for in a start-up business.

Return opportunities

There are numerous types of investors with varied expectations and offerings, such as industry background, sector experience, market share, vested interests and investment potential. The criteria will differ depending on the type of investor, such as family and friends which are typically the first port of call as they are easily accessible, there are no intermediaries involved and it’s a low-cost investment. If your family or friends contribute significantly to your business, mitigate the risk by signing a contract detailing the finer details and clarifying expectations.

You may turn to a traditional business loan to borrow start-up finance which will have less flexibility than an alternative finance facility and there are also government grants designed to support start-ups. In return, the bank may require you to sign a personal guarantee agreement in addition to committing to repayments. If you are unable to repay your start-up loan, the personal guarantee agreement will allow the lender to hold you personally liable for the debt, putting your personal assets at risk.

Corporate and entrepreneurial investors are dedicated to investing in new talent and nurturing new businesses from their inception. Many now have accelerators and incubators to support the birth of new businesses through knowledge sharing, providing seed capital and giving access to state-of-the-art resources. Angel investors are professional investors which can also offer mentorship in addition to flexible finance.

Each type of investor will expect a financial return differing in value or a stake in the business. It is also common practice to establish a set of targets for the start-up to achieve to access further investment.

Financial growth

The financial targets of a start-up are likely to be modest until the business establishes the brand, actively markets to consumers and accumulates cash from sales and investments. Your financial aims are a core determining factor for investors as they will actively look to invest to generate a profit, so prepare a realistic estimation of your forecasted income and financial targets to depict investment returns.

Service development

Investors looking to actively invest will be on the lookout for a start-up with a clear and established view of the future – not a short-sighted business plan. Ensure that you cover multiple eventualities for a service extension which are realistic and within your financial means. Focus on the imminent future of your start-up and provide a view into how you would establish partnerships and focus on business development to help expand your offering, e.g. taking the B2B route to target client clusters, in addition to B2B. This journey, if successful, will help increase your market share in addition to brand development, ongoing marketing efforts and advertising. 

Brand development

Start-ups can formally and informally approach investors through innovative platforms, sharing their growth journey from day one, including updates and offering product trials. Online reward and equity funding platforms, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe are examples of popular crowdfunding sites which can assist with brand exposure, in addition to encouraging contributions from professional investors and interested individuals.

If your start-up is likely to depend on establishing an online presence for conversions, invest in web development services early in the process, such as for search engine optimisation purposes. Your public relations and marketing strategy will also indicate to the investor the level of exposure your start-up is likely to receive.

Contingency and business rescue plan 

The formation of a contingency plan in the event the business takes an unexpected turn will indicate your awareness of the risks associated with starting up a business. The resilience of start-ups has been highlighted in no better way than during the coronavirus pandemic. As many have reacted fast to economic uncertainties, business growth has been inevitably limited, halting the creation of new jobs. Many young and veteran businesses have found ways to overcome the pressures of the pandemic and capitalise off new opportunities, showing how determination and creativity can help increase business prospects during unstable times.

In addition to your business plan, investors will be interested in the business driver as the success of their investment will initially lie with you. The approach you take to interact with investors will help shed light on your mind-set and risk appetite. Taking a business idea and developing this into a tangible entity requires patience and willpower, in addition to industry experience to help you make decisions in the best interests of the business. Investors are interested in ambitious start-up owners who have the passion to inspire others with their business vision, helping to build a strong infrastructure for the business.

During the vetting process, you will receive constructive criticism, helpful suggestions and recommendations, instrumental to the success of your start-up. Keeping an open mind can help give you the flexibility to steer your business in the direction required to secure investors, taking into consideration the industry understanding and market experience of your investor.

Jon Munnery is a partner at UK Liquidators, a firm of licensed insolvency practitioners providing company recovery and liquidation advice to company directors in financial distress, include Covid-19 business support services.