Coronavirus: investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions

Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently – but most investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

Nigel Green, deVere Group chief executive and founder, is speaking out as global stock markets are rattled on fears of the potentially deadly Sars-like virus triggering major sell-offs.

The death toll has now risen to 81 and almost 3,000 people have been confirmed as infected, with 44 cases having been detected outside China, where it originated.

On Monday, the composite European Stoxx 600 fell 1.7% at the open, London’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6%, while Germany’s Dax was 1.7% lower.  The slump followed a similarly dramatic decline in Asia overnight. The Shanghai Composite fell 2.7%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.1%, and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2%.

Mr Green says: “The Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently as global investors are becoming jittery on the uncertainty.

“But whilst this health crisis will inevitably hit some sectors, such as travel and retail, most investors who have a properly diversified portfolio should avoid knee-jerk reactions.  History teaches us that most issues of this kind have a short-term impact on stock markets.”

He continues: “Most investors should monitor the situation with their financial adviser and sit tight at present. But if it is still escalating next week, with much higher casualty rates, a more defensive approach might be necessary. 

“However, the cost and effort of making such a switch means you do not do it lightly, and more evidence is needed that the virus does pose a medium to long term risk to China and the global economy.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “But that said, this should serve as a wake-up call to all investors to ensure their portfolio is well-diversified across asset classes, regions, sectors, even currencies. 

“This is the best way to mitigate risks and the best way to be well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities when they occur.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Stock markets tend to bottom with the peak in new cases during a public health issue of this kind, before rebounding.

Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently – but most investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

Nigel Green, deVere Group chief executive and founder, is speaking out as global stock markets are rattled on fears of the potentially deadly Sars-like virus triggering major sell-offs.

The death toll has now risen to 81 and almost 3,000 people have been confirmed as infected, with 44 cases having been detected outside China, where it originated.

On Monday, the composite European Stoxx 600 fell 1.7% at the open, London’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6%, while Germany’s Dax was 1.7% lower.  The slump followed a similarly dramatic decline in Asia overnight. The Shanghai Composite fell 2.7%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.1%, and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2%.

Mr Green says: “The Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently as global investors are becoming jittery on the uncertainty.

“But whilst this health crisis will inevitably hit some sectors, such as travel and retail, most investors who have a properly diversified portfolio should avoid knee-jerk reactions.  History teaches us that most issues of this kind have a short-term impact on stock markets.”

He continues: “Most investors should monitor the situation with their financial adviser and sit tight at present. But if it is still escalating next week, with much higher casualty rates, a more defensive approach might be necessary. 

“However, the cost and effort of making such a switch means you do not do it lightly, and more evidence is needed that the virus does pose a medium to long term risk to China and the global economy.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “But that said, this should serve as a wake-up call to all investors to ensure their portfolio is well-diversified across asset classes, regions, sectors, even currencies. 

“This is the best way to mitigate risks and the best way to be well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities when they occur.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Stock markets tend to bottom with the peak in new cases during a public health issue of this kind, before rebounding.

“This is a worrying and serious situation and investors must be vigilant. They should remain properly diversified and remain in the market.”

“This is a worrying and serious situation and investors must be vigilant. They should remain properly diversified and remain in the market.”

Stock Market 101: Investment Advice for Beginners

For most that do not invest in stocks, the idea of the stock market seems very risky and scary. For them, the risk appears to outweigh any potential upside. However, this is not the case!

Investment in stocks can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. This investment advice will help you start improving your investing skills today.

Stock Market 101: Investment Advice for Beginners

You may be wondering if investing is a good idea for you. Of course, it is! Every person needs to invest in order to grow their financial accounts.

Having your money tied up in traditional savings accounts alone will not do it. Not only will it provide it a low rate of return, but it probably will not even keep up with inflation.

Investment Platforms

Before we talk about the stock market in more detail, let’s talk about how you can purchase them. There are three main outlets in managing stock investments- online brokers, investment advisors, and robo-advisors.

While they are all different, one will be perfect for your personal situation and needs.

Online Brokers 

It is no surprise that many people turn to online brokers when looking to invest in the stock market. The most significant upside to online brokers is that you can handle everything entirely online. Also, you can invest in a wide variety of items.

However, online brokers are not always beginner-friendly. While they offer some investment advice, most online brokers are geared towards those with more experience and comfortable in managing their own investment portfolios.

Investment Advisors

Investment advisors are dedicated professionals that can give you personalized investment advice. These advisors work with people one-on-one and can give you direct investment advice based on your goals, timeline, and how much risk you want to take.

After discussing this with a potential investor, the investment advisor will create a diverse portfolio that is appropriate for their needs and wants. The portfolio is filled with a wide range of products.

For most beginners, it can be challenging to find an investment advisor to work with. Many advisors only work with those with an extensive portfolio or significant amount of money (starting around $250,000) available to invest.

Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are recent additions to the scene but have quickly become a popular way to invest in the stock market. Offering similar services as investment advisors, they do not require a high investment, making them within reach for all investors.

Just like traditional investment advisors, robo-advisors will evaluate your goals, needs, and tolerance to risk. They will create a personalized portfolio that will be filled with lower-cost products. This helps you save money as the fees will not be as high as other avenues.

Robo-advisors are available to investors, both new and established. No matter your income available for investing, a robo-advisor can create a portfolio for you!

Stocks

Stocks are a popular product to use when investing in the stock market. Usually, stocks highly outperform other investments and outpace inflation.

Many investors make stocks the primary investment in their portfolio. While they tend to diversify for lower risk tolerance, investors keep coming back to stocks for their high return.

So, how much of your portfolio should be stocks? For a conservative portfolio, a common rule is that the percentage of a portfolio that should be stocks is 120 minus your age. For example, if you are 40, 80% of your portfolio should be stocks. Then, when you turn 50, that number lowers to 70%.

Stocks to Invest In 

So what stocks should you invest in? As a new investor, you should focus on categories, not individual stocks. We will go over some of the standard and best stock categories to invest in as a beginning investor.

Value Stocks 

Value stocks trade at lower prices. These are usually companies that are recovering from some difficulty or had faced some legal issues. Because of this, their prices are lower than other stocks.

However, the benefit can be yours once the company recovers. Your investment in value stocks will likely outperform the stock market in general over the long term.

High Dividend Stocks 

High dividend stocks are just what their name suggests, a stock that pays out a higher dividend than the average. Since around half of the return on stocks comes from dividends, it just makes sense to invest in high dividend stocks.

These are also a great way to give a bit of protection to your portfolio. Having high dividend stocks can provide some level of protection during a downturn in the stock market.

Growth Stocks

Growth stocks are from those businesses that are growing faster than their competitors and other companies that are listed on the general stock market. Even though they traditionally do not pay dividends, the return comes from the rising stock price when help on to long-term.

Just a piece of investment advice on growth stocks: these are considered high risk. While the potential is strong for growth, they may also take significant hits when there is a downturn in the market. Just remember that these are a long-term return stock, and you should be OK.

Start Investing in Stocks 

Now that you know a little more about stocks and investing, you may wonder if you should get started. There are some steps you should take beforehand to ensure that you are ready!

First, you need to get a solid financial base. Some basics to follow includes having sufficient and stable income, an emergency fund that covers three to six months of expenses, and a track record of saving. This will help set you up for a solid beginning to your investment portfolio.

Second, you should further educate yourself about the different types of investments and products available in the stock market. Just remember to never invest in something you don’t understand. When purchasing a stock, you are actually investing in a specific business.

When investing in a business, you should educate yourself on that business and its industry as must as you possibly can.

Investment Advice

While all of this may seem overwhelming, there are many advisors and sites ready to help you with any investment advice that you need. Don’t let the fear of the stock market stop you from realizing your financial goals.

Check out our blog for more information on how to guide your investment and enhance your ROI.

Reed Smith appoints former Deutsche Bank Managing Director in London

LONDON, 7 January UK – Reed Smith today announced that Joe Kohler has joined the firm’s Financial Industry Group, marking another significant addition to its banking advisory and derivatives practice.  Kohler joins Reed Smith from Deutsche Bank, where he served as Managing Director, Legal, Corporate & Investment Banking.  In that role, he co-led the bank’s sales and trading legal function globally, with deep transactional experience across the entirety of the fixed income, currencies and commodities businesses.

Reed Smith appoints former Deutsche Bank Managing Director in London

Over the course of his 18-year career at Deutsche Bank, Kohler led the legal work on many of the largest and most important transactions the bank conducted. He managed Deutsche Bank’s legal department’s response to counterparty defaults, downgrades and worked on enforcement and asset recovery efforts during the credit crisis of 2008. He also worked on the building of the first OTC derivative clearing offerings, on the development of the related market infrastructure and contributed to trade association efforts to standardise the related documents. He then helped shape the bank’s response to new regulatory developments such as EMIR, MiFID II, the collateralisation of uncleared derivatives, Brexit and IBOR reform.  Furthermore, he also has extensive experience of merger and acquisition activity in the financial sector, having led on the acquisition and disposal of many businesses and portfolios.

Kohler has led large teams on strategically critical projects within Deutsche Bank and brings to Reed Smith a deep understanding of the inner workings of the legal department within a global investment bank.  Given his sophisticated knowledge of structured finance and products, expertise across industry asset classes, and litigation and regulatory enforcement experience, and in-house familiarity, Kohler is well placed to add to Reed Smith’s bench strength providing strategic advice to banking clients on these transactions.

“Joe’s arrival adds to the bench strength of the firm’s highly regarded banking advisory and derivatives practice,” said Ed Estrada, global chair of Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group.  “Joe is immensely respected and regarded within Deutsche Bank and throughout the investment bank community, and his reputation for providing steady and sound leadership on complex transaction and litigation matters as in-house counsel is an invaluable asset that our clients will certainly benefit from.  We are excited to have him join our team.” 

Kohler said, “As an in-house counsel, I wanted the law firms my team instructed to add something to secure a better solution than we could deliver on our own – perhaps insight, experience or capability. I was always reassured when we selected Reed Smith, because they always delivered what we had been looking for, and did so efficiently and with a profound understanding of the commercial context.  I am really excited to be joining Reed Smith’s highly impressive team.”

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. Our belief is that by delivering smarter and more creative legal services, we will not only enrich our clients’ experiences with us, but also support them in achieving their business goals.

Our long-standing relationships, international outlook, and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for the speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters.

For further information, please visit reedsmith.com.

What Is Investment Banking? (And the Top Investment Banks Out There)

Investment banking plays a key role in global economics. For instance, as of July 2019, JP Morgan constituted 9.0% of the global investment banking revenue. However, for the majority of us, investment banking is a mystery.

By learning about investment banking today, you’ll be ready to make informed choices if you want to improve your financial situation through IPO investing.

Read on as we answer the question: “What is investment banking?” 

What is Investment Banking? 

The duties of investment banks are completely different than traditional banking. While the traditional banks we’re used to visiting take in deposits from consumers and businesses and lend out money, investment banks sell securities. They also help finance large projects that traditional banking won’t touch due to the high risks involved.

Robert Johnson, Professor of finance at Heider College of Business, Brighton University, puts it simply. “Investment banking is a method of controlling the flow of money.” With the huge amounts of money at stake, investment banks have a key role in American economics. 

The projects they finance include: 

Large Financial Projects

Projects such as constructing infrastructure need large amounts of upfront cash. Investment banks are able to accumulate this cash by selling securities to investors. 

Company Sales

Instead of acquiring loans to gain capital, entrepreneurs who want to expand their companies sell portions of their companies to the public, or an initial public offering (IPO). Investment bankers are integral to this process, and it’s one of their most important functions. They find investors looking to buy and companies looking to sell.

Initial public offerings are risky investments – there’s no guarantee that they’ll increase in value, though some IPOs are wildly successful. However, if you’re ready to invest in an IPO, you can do so by opening a brokerage account. 

Typically, the IPO price is fixed for a limited group of investors who fit the eligibility requirements. For most investors, the price of the IPO will be higher once it begins officially trading. 

According to the investment bank UBS, out of 7,000 companies between 1975 and 2011, 60% had negative total returns after five years of public trading. Do your research, buy conservatively, and keep a balanced portfolio to mitigate your risks!

Mergers and Acquisitions

Another way that companies can expand is through mergers and acquisitions. Investment bankers will help companies buy another, which can be more cost-effective than trying to compete. 

Despite the risks, buying companies still has a lot of benefits. A company may want access to international markets through a company that’s already established in another region. A larger company may be interested in a smaller company’s technology. They may also want to integrate vertically, such as buying a supplier of materials they need. 

Asset Management and Brokerage Services

Investment bankers help clients manage their money and generate returns. They do this by choosing individual stocks or putting their money into mutual funds. 

The Top Investment Banks

These top investment banks were able to maintain and grow their market positions throughout volatile years. In terms of investment revenue, the top investment banks include: 

1. Goldman Sachs

Headquartered at 200 West Street, New York City, Goldman Sachs operates branches throughout the world in all major financial centres. In 2018, its investment banking revenue was $7.86 billion. In 2019, they had a market capitalization of $78 billion. 

2. JP Morgan

JP Morgan is the second largest investment bank in the world. In 2018, it reported $7 billion in revenue. It’s also one of the oldest financial institutions in the world with a history that goes back to 1799.

3. Bank of America

In 2019, Bank of America rebranded its investment arm to Bank of America Securities. In 2018, it’s investment banking revenue was $5.3 billion. 

4. Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is based in New York with branches in 40 different countries. In 2018, it’s totally investment banking revenues were $6.1 billion. 

5. Citigroup

Also located in New York, Citigroup Inc. had reported total revenue of $72.9 billion in 2018. It’s one of the big four banks in the United States and the third-largest bank in the world. 

6. Barclays 

Barclays Investment Bank, the investment arm of Barclays, is headquartered in London and has branches in 30 different countries. Its global investment banking fee share is approximately 4.2%. 

7. Credit Suisse

In 2018, Credit Suisse reported a net income of $1.8 billion, attributable to shareholders in the United States. Based in Zurich and established in 1856, it has branches in 50 countries. 

8. Deutsche Bank

This is the leading financial institution in Germany and one of the largest investment banks in Europe. It has about $2.5 billion in investment banking revenue and a market capitalization of $15 billion in 2019. It has branches in 60 other countries.

9. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers banking and investment services in 40 countries. As of 2018, it’s generated investment banking fees are $1.8 billion.

10. Jefferies Financial Group

This full-service investment bank founded in 1962 is based in New York with regional offices in London and Hong Kong. It also has offices in 30 cities throughout America, Europe, and Asia. In 2018 its investment banking revenues were $1.9 billion.

Demystifying Investment Banking

If you’ve ever asked yourself what is investment banking, you should now understand the basic premise. Investment banking is all about the flow of large amounts of money from one institution to another, and through research, analysis, and recommendations, investment bankers try to find the best deals for their clients. 

Want to read more about the state of investment banking today in the global economy? Keep reading our banking section for more informative articles. 

Deutsche Bank Near Bankruptcy, Could Retail Boss Save It?

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

When did it all start?

That the Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy is now news at all. The rumors started back in 2013 when the investment bank recognized the need for capital. To obtain those funds, they sold shares worth 4,500 euros. But that wasn´t enough and, shortly after that, they offered more shared with a 30% discount. This measure, of course, enraged those who had bought shares before.

Two years after those events, it was pretty clear that the Deutsche Bank lacked money, and it faced a net loss of almost 7,000 million euros, something that hadn´t happened since the 2008 crisis.

What put the Deutsche Bank in this situation?

According to the Professor of Economics and Law William Black, what put the Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy were the mistakes and financial crimes. He literally claimed in March 2018, that the Deutsche Bank (DB) was the “largest criminal enterprise in Germany.”

Professor’s Black words caused a huge impact, and many wouldn´t take his words seriously. However, in mid-October 2019, Chicago Federal Judge John Tharp ruled that ex-DB traders can be prosecuted for alleged “spoofing,” under the wire fraud statute. This decision will enable criminal cases against two former Deutsche Bank metal traders, accusing them of spoofing trades. Allegedly, the two men had been manipulating precious metals markets from 2009 to 2011.

Seeking solutions

In the beginning, the solution to save the Deutsche Bank, the possibility of merging it with the Commerzbank, was considered. Yet, as this other German bank had enough problems on its own, German regulators discarded the possibility since merging two entities, both with huge losses, would worsen the scenario.

Drastic measures to deal with Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy

High hopes were put into the “ruthless” retail boss Manfred Knof management, who is determined to deliver results. The recently announced decisions reducing the Executive Council, performing a rigorous restructure of the investment bank, and cutting down 18,000 job positions up to 2022, are part of the strategy of reducing costs and focusing on the activities of corporate banking, financing, currency exchange, private banking, and asset management.

Regarding most cuts, Deutsche Bank has said that most of them will affect back-office staff and support roles, located in places as distant as Florida, India, the Philippines, and Germany. This massive job cuts raised uncertainty and anxiety in all its employees, although in October 8, 2019, it was announced that the Deutsche Bank had no plans to perform further job cuts.

There´s no doubt those new and drastic measures are being taken trying to maintain the giant Deutsche Bank alive – which rather than near bankruptcy seemed to be standing at the edge of the deepest of the cliffs. Will the efforts be enough? Will “Ruthless Knof” save the monster from extinction?

Could cryptocurrency be the saviour? See also about Vatican facing bankruptcy.