What’s the secret to trading on the financial markets?

Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM

Giles Coghlan of HYCM
Giles Coghlan of HYCM

There are countless books claiming to elucidate exactingly how to invest over the long-term. However, ask any seasoned trader what the secret is to an effective investment strategy and you’ll quickly find there is no one tactic or panacea for consistent growth.

Instead, what most traders rely on is an informed and reactive understanding of both current affairs and unfolding market trends to help inform their investment decisions. By letting this understanding dynamically inform one’s portfolio, they are able to confidently react to sudden market shocks.

Investors must therefore have one eye on the present and one eye on the future, and understand how different social, political, geographical and economic events could impact their portfolio. This understanding must be informed by an awareness of how past events have affected the prices of different assets. Thankfully, there are plenty of useful ways that investors can prep for the future.  

Markets are all about cause and effect

The fundamental operation of the financial market is one of cause and effect; one event or price movement will inevitably affect the prices of other assets. Whilst this is a simple enough concept, big political and social events often trigger a multiplicity of effects, which can in turn impact on one another.

For example, the recent outbreak of coronavirus is having a major impact on global supply chains; China’s productivity has been negatively affected, which has had a flow-on effect on major businesses that rely on China as part of its supply chain.

In terms of market volatility, there is a huge amount of historical evidence which shows how the coronavirus could impact asset prices. One central theme is likely to be the increase of value in ‘hard commodities’ — physical investments like gold, steel and oil. That is because these so-called safe haven assets are perceived as having global appeal and consistent demand, and therefore offer greater resilience in times of volatile trading conditions.

Never overlook the advantages of an informed strategy

I doubt you could find many long-term traders who have not woken up one morning to see that there has been a dip in the value of their investments as a result of an unforeseen geopolitical event. For those who find themselves in this situation, it can be easy to panic and make uninformed decisions. This is the entirely wrong approach to take.

By its very nature, finance is an unpredictable sphere of work, and unexpected shocks are par for the course. That’s why the strongest financial plans tend to include or account for the unforeseen. When prices dip or there is a sudden market shock, it has been for the most past accounted for and leaves little room for sudden trades that are informed by the heart, not the mind.

Remember to diversify (within limit)

Another way of managing market volatility is ensuring your portfolio is diverse, with investments spread across multiple markets. Doing so reduces your portfolio’s risk of suffering significant loses should one particular market or sector be adversely affected by an unexpected event. However, the key to diversification is not to cast your net too wide.

The broad points that need internalising here can be surmised very briefly: knowledge is power.

Mastering the complex nature of different financial markets is not simply about watching the fluctuating prices of assets. It’s also about understanding the historical performance of different markets, analysing previous trends and using all this as a guide to manage your investments during sudden political and economic shocks.

What’s more, any investment decision or trade needs to be part of a bigger strategy with goals, returns and risk exposure all clearly defined. Doing this ensures that investors and traders are in the position to stay on top of their financial portfolio.

High Risk Investment Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. For more information please refer to HYCM’s Risk Disclosure.

Giles Coghlan is Chief Currency Analyst at HYCM – an online provider of forex and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) trading services for both retail and institutional traders. HYCM is regulated by the internationally recognized financial regulator FCA. HYCM is backed by the Henyep Capital Markets Group established in 1977 with investments in property, financial services, charity, and education. The Group via its relevant subsidiaries have representations in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Dubai, and Cyprus.

Global sell-off could be seen by investors as best buying opportunity in a decade

The worst global market sell-off since the 2008 crash will become an important buying-opportunity for investors, affirms the chief executive of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and services organisations.

The prediction by Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, comes after equities lost a tenth of their value this week as investors piled into havens on growing concerns the coronavirus outbreak will hit the world economy and impact corporate profits.

Mr Green notes: “Until this week, the markets had largely shrugged off the impact of the outbreak of coronavirus.  We warned about complacency leaving many wide-open to nasty surprises.

“This has now changed. Investors have done a ‘one eighty’ – from a muted overly confident reaction to the serious and far-reaching global issue of coronavirus to running like headless chickens. 

“Both extremes are worrying and could potentially wreak havoc on investors’ returns.”

He continues: “However, the worst global market sell-off since the 2008 crash will almost certainly become an important buying-opportunity for many investors. 

“With markets on the brink of correction territory, panic-selling, mis-pricing of high quality equities, and lower entry points, this could turn out to be one of the key buying opportunities in the last 10 years.

“Some of the most successful investors will embrace volatility to create, maximise and protect their wealth.

“As ever in times of increased turbulence, there will be winners and losers. A professional fund manager will help investors take advantage of the opportunities that volatility presents and mitigate potential risks.

Earlier this week, Mr Green noted: “In the current volatile environment, investors – including myself – will be revising their portfolios and drip-feeding new money into the market to take advantage of the opportunities whilst reducing risk at the same time.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Global investors should not be spooked by the return of volatility on stock markets but, where possible use it to their financial advantage.  

“Of course, no–one knows for sure what will happen in the immediate future but, as stock markets typically rise over a longer-term period, now is the time to capitalise on the more favourable prices of decent stocks.

“It can be expected that in coming days, serious investors will be bargain-hunting.”

AlRaedah Finance and Sure Global Tech seal agreement providing POS Financing Across the Kingdom

26th February 2020  – Riyadh –   AlRaedah Finance and Sure Global Tech today signed an agreement for providing Point of Sale (POS) financing to SME’s across the Kingdom. Representing AlRaedah Finance, Paul Melotto, AlRaedah CEO, signed the agreement alongside Sure Global Tech  CEO, Basem Bn Abdullah Alsallom.  The Agreement brings together two industry leaders in providing a unique first of a kind financing solution to SME’s. The signing ceremony took place on the 26th of February 2020, at the MEFTECH conference hosted at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton Hotel.

POS Financing is one of the most innovative products in alternative business finance.  Put simply, it uses the business’s POS terminal to ‘secure’ short term lending — perfect for businesses without many assets, but who have a good volume of credit/debit card transactions every month. SME business owners taking advantage of POS Financing won’t have monthly payments. Instead, repayment is automatic and taken from their daily credit/debit card processing settlements. It’s simple, easy and affordable because repayment is a fixed percentage of POS transactions, and not a fixed Riyal amount. Hence, when POS sales are high, the merchant repays more; when they’re lower, they repay less.

“We have seen other POS financing-related products in the market and they were clearly often one-sided in favor of the Banks so we have tried leveling the playing field to make this product a win-win for both the SME and Financial Institution.”, said Paul Melotto, AlRaedah CEO.

The amount a business can apply for is determined by their average credit/debit card sales. AlRaedah Finance, by way of its advanced Artificial Intelligence models along with AlRaedah’s Financing platform allows it to quickly analyze data and avail funds ranging from SR50,000 to SR500,000 to approved SMEs.

Basem bin Abdullah Alsallom, Sure CEO, said that Sure Global Tech is excited to team up with AlRaedah in leading the digital transformation through effective business and digital solutions. Since the establishment of the company in 2004, Sure Global Tech has been keen on providing different governmental and private bodies with the best digital solutions as a part of its contribution in the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey.

“We are excited that Sure Global Tech has decided to use AlRaedah finance platform to provide financing to their clients” said Abdulaziz Aldawood, AlRaedah Chief Commercial Officer.

Paul added, “We are already working on enhancement to the product based on the feedback of our initial pilot group of SMEs and will continue to provide the Saudi market with new and innovative financing solutions”.

At times, it might be tough for small businesses to get funding through traditional financing. AlRaedah Point of Sale POS Finance Program, in collaboration with SURE Global Tech is the solution. With approval rates of 85%, a simple application, minimal documentation and no guarantors, SME’s can get their financing in a matter of days to grow their business.

About AlRaedah Finance

AlRaedah Finance is the pioneer of bespoke solutions for small and medium sized enterprises, (“SMEs”) seeking to achieve long-term, sustainable growth. Since its establishment in 2014, AlRaedah has become the principal financing institution for SMEs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our success is built on our simple, transparent process, our in-depth understanding of the local market, and our flexible financing programs.

AlRaedah Finance offers the most extensive coverage for Sharia’h compliant financing solutions within the Kingdom, with its headquarters located in Riyadh, a branch office in Burayda, and aggressive expansion plans. Our ease of accessibility ensures that we maintain our position within the financial services sector.

About Sure Global Tech  

Since its 2004 inception, Sure Global Tech has developed Saudi expertise with international standards to provide technological and consultative solutions for a considerable number of public and private organizations in the country. By national talents, Sure provides services of software development, infrastructure, support and operation along with the digital transformation consultations and other SME-oriented products. Recently, Sure advanced two new fields i.e. FinTech which is embodied by its new company “SurePay”; and investing in promising startups.

Coronavirus-triggered market correction could hit complacent investors

Investors remain complacent about an imminent Coronavirus-triggered market correction of up to 10 per cent, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The warning from deVere Group’s chief executive and founder, Nigel Green, comes as global equities registered losses on Monday following a surge in cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea over the weekend, and as the first cases are confirmed in Kuwait, Bahrain and Afghanistan.

Mr Green comments: “Global financial markets retreated on Monday as they reacted to the coronavirus headlines over the weekend. But it is likely that they will quickly rebound, as they have consistently done in recent weeks. 

“Indeed, stocks keep on reaching record highs.

“This is because many investors remain complacent about the far-reaching impact of coronavirus, which is continuing to spread – and a faster pace. This will inevitably hit financial markets and investors’ complacency leaves many wide open to nasty surprises.”

He continues: “Major global companies, especially those with heavy exposure to the Chinese economy, are lowering profit guidances due to the outbreak. This will have a knock-on effect across international supply chains and throughout economies.  But is the message being heard by investors?

“In addition, coronavirus has struck at a time when major economies, including Japan, Germany, India and Hong Kong are facing a downturn due to other factors such as the U.S.-China trade dispute and political protestors, which could hit the world economy.”

The deVere CEO goes on to add: “Until such time as governments pump liquidity into the markets and coronavirus cases peak, a near-term correction – of up to 10 per cent – is increasingly likely.

“We are hoping for a V-shaped recovery, but our current view is that it will be U-shaped.

“Against this backdrop and with the ongoing uncertainty over the direction of stocks and other risk assets, multi-asset portfolios might be favoured by global investors, given that they offer diversification of risk as well as of return.”

Nigel Green concludes with a warning: “Global markets are at high valuations and the impact of the coronavirus on profits appears largely underestimated.

“In general terms, stocks have hardly been deterred by the coronavirus outbreak.  This complacency is concerning.

“Investors need to ensure that their portfolios are coronavirus-proofed as cases jump and a market correction looks more likely.”

Restoring competition in ”winner-took-all” digital platform markets

Competition law and policy can help ensure open and accessible markets with fair and reasonable terms for businesses

Digital platforms are at the centre of the global economy and daily lives of consumers.

A handful of these platforms have become dominant in specific markets without facing meaningful competition. They include Amazon as a marketplace, Facebook in social networking, Google in search engines and Apple and Google in application stores.

Digital platforms rely on big data and are characterized as multisided markets with economies of scale, network effects and winner-takes-all features.

These firms offer their products for “free” on one side of the market and earn revenues from online advertising and selling user data on the other side of the market.

Digital Platforms

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The growing market power of these platforms raises concerns not only for consumers and smaller businesses but also for competition authorities.

Consumers not in control

Consumers can no longer control the use of their data.

Smaller businesses face unfair market conditions, where they compete with big platforms that offer services by self-preferencing their own products. It is now widely recognized that these markets cannot self-correct.

What needs to be done?

One effective response is competition law and policy that promotes open and accessible markets with fair and reasonable terms for businesses.

This goal is more pronounced in highly concentrated digital markets, where large platforms’ market power is enduring.

The most important competitive threats to monopolists are likely to come from new entrants, which are vulnerable to exclusionary conduct or anticompetitive acquisitions.

Governments should have in place relevant policies and legal frameworks to overcome different challenges of the platform economy. These include competition, consumer protection and data protection policies and legislation.

Adapt to new realities

There is a need for adapting competition law enforcement tools to new business realities by revising laws like in Germany and Austria or issuing regulations or guidelines as has been done in Kenya and Japan.

A 2017 law revision in Germany incorporated in the assessment of the market power of firms in the digital economy such criteria as direct and indirect network effects, parallel use of services from different providers and switching costs for users.

It also factored in economies of scale in connection with network effects, access by firms to data relevant for competition and innovation-driven competitive pressure.

This amendment allowed the Federal Cartel Office in Germany to consider these criteria in analyzing Facebook’s dominance in the social network market during its investigation into Facebook between March 2016 and February 2019. 

Merger control regimes should enable competition authorities to scrutinize the acquisition of start-ups by major platforms.

Merger analysis needs to incorporate the role of data in acquiring and sustaining market power and establishing entry barriers to new firms, thereby affecting future competition and innovation.

Not only free but also fair competition

It is important to ensure not only free but also fair competition. This is more so in digital markets, where smaller firms face challenges in their contractual relationship with big platforms.

Competition law provisions on unfair trade practices and abuse of superior bargaining position, as found in competition laws of Japan and the Republic of Korea, would empower competition authorities in protecting the interests of smaller firms vis-à-vis big platforms. 

Developing countries could consider this policy measure in revising their competition legislation or introduce a separate regulation concerning digital platforms’ dealings with their business users.

Such measures could facilitate entry of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to platform markets, thereby allowing developing countries to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

This is important as SMEs are crucial to job creation and innovation.

Both the implementation of fair competition legislation and review of acquisitions of startups by dominant platforms could play an important role in maintaining an inclusive, competitive and fair business environment in the digital economy. This might eventually enhance innovation.

Apt taxation policy needed

Another critical element needed to ensure fair competition is an appropriate taxation policy. A significant proportion of the value created in the digital economy results from users who provide data.

The current international corporate tax system is not adapted to the digital economy. There is not yet a common understanding of “value creation” for taxation purposes in the digital economy.

This leads to a disconnect between where value is generated and where taxes are paid. According to the UNCTAD Digital Economy Report 2019, taxes paid abroad by Facebook represented only 2.9% of the profits it generated outside the United States in 2017.

Ideally, an international taxation system, which is agreed upon by all countries, and recognizes the main aspects of digital businesses that have significant implications for taxation, should be put in place.

How to Get Ahead Financially: 7 Tips for Success

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can’t get ahead, you’re in the company of 78% of workers.

It’s frustrating to constantly feel like you’re playing financial catch-up. The stress of being short on money or not being able to reach your financial goals can make you want to give up.

But taking small financial steps in the right direction gets the ball rolling. Those actions eventually help you gain traction and improve your financial standing.

Instead of ignoring your financial situation or accepting your money problems, put these seven tips into action.

1. Start With a Budget

Taking charge of your financial situation requires a plan. That comes in the form of a budget.

You need to know your exact income, expenses, and spending habits to make better use of your money.

Budgeting apps can help you, but you can also create your own simple budget on paper or using a spreadsheet program. 

Start by adding up all the money that comes in each month. That could include wages from your job, child support, interest, and other investments. 

Next, write down each individual bill or recurring expense you have. This includes things such as utilities, insurance, car payments, loans, and credit card payments.

Subtract those expenses from your income to see what you have left. This is the amount you can divide up between the rest of your expenses, such as groceries, clothing, and dining out.

Once you have your budget set, you need to follow up and make sure you stick to your spending limits. If you spend twice as much as you allocate for eating out, it’ll throw off the rest of the budget. 

Monitoring your spending compared to your budget can help you spot the trouble areas. You might notice you go overboard on clothing every month. Look at those areas to see how you can control your spending better.

You may need to adjust some categories while you figure out your budget. You might spend less in some areas than the amount you allocated, so you can lower those limits while raising others.

2. Set Up Multiple Bank Accounts

Do you use a single account for everything? Having multiple bank accounts can help you better manage your money.

If you have trouble sticking to your budget, consider creating different bank accounts for individual areas of your budget. You might have one for your mortgage and other loans, another for other recurring expenses, and a third for your discretionary spending.

When you pay your bills, you know you’ll have the necessary money in those accounts. Pulling from one account for your discretionary spending gives you a hard limit on those expenses. 

If you have all of your money lumped into one account, it’s easier to overspend on extras. You convince yourself that you can splurge on that leather jacket, but you end up using money that should go to the mortgage or your credit card payments. That can cause you to fall behind financially.

3. Create Financial Goals

Why do you want to get your finances under control? Setting specific goals can keep you motivated to handle your money better. You know cutting back on spending or increasing your savings is for something you really want.

Think in terms of short-term and long-term financial goals.

Short-term goals can keep you motivated because you can reach them quickly. They’re also building blocks for your larger goals and can help you gradually improve your finances. This could be things such as building an emergency cash fund, cutting your expenses by a set amount or paying off one credit card.

The long-term goals help you improve your financial standing over time. They’re the bigger goals that keep you going and get you to the place you want to be. Examples include paying off all debt, saving for a house, or reaching a larger number in your savings account.

If you’re not sure where to focus your attention, a financial planner can help. A financial pro can look at your current situation and make recommendations for short-term and long-term financial goals.

4. Pay Off Debt

In the UK, the average debt is £15,385. Deciding whether or not to go into debt is a personal decision, but carrying high levels of debt makes it difficult to get ahead financially. The interest and fees you pay eat up money that could go toward your financial goals.

Plan to pay off your debt as quickly as possible, especially if it’s holding you back financially. Put extra money toward your debt to get rid of it faster.

5. Create a Savings Plan

No matter how financially behind you feel, setting aside money in your savings account is a smart decision. Set up your bank account to transfer money to savings automatically on your paydays. That way you ensure you set aside the money before you spend it on other things.

Include retirement savings in your plan. Starting now helps you build your retirement savings faster, so you’re financially stable when you reach retirement age.

6. Increase Your Income

Having more money in your bank account gives you more financial stability and helps you reach your goals. You can either make more money or cut your spending to increase your usable income.

Asking for a raise at your current job or looking for a new job can help you increase your income. Another option is a temporary part-time job or side gig for extra money. Think of it as a temporary sacrifice of your time to accelerate your financial goals.

7. Change Your Mindset

Many people think of cutting back on spending or saving more as a negative thing. It feels restrictive, so you don’t want to do it.

Flip how you think about financial changes. Focus on what you get from the changes instead of what you’re losing.

When you’re tempted to make an impulse buy, as yourself if the item will get you closer to your financial goals. Having meaningful goals and keeping them in your mind can help you change your thinking.

How to Get Ahead Financially

When you’re struggling with money, it can be difficult to figure out how to get ahead financially. Confronting your situation directly and tackling it a little at a time helps you improve your finances. Visit our archives for more financial information.

Combating Insurance Fraud With Machine Learning

By Georgios Kapetanvasileiou, Analytical Consultant at SAS

Most insurance companies depend on human expertise and business rules-based software to protect themselves from fraud. However, people move on. And the drive for digital transformation and process automation means data and scenarios change faster than you can update the rules.

Machine learning has the potential to allow insurers to move from the current state of “detect and react” to “predict and prevent.” It excels at automating the process of taking large volumes of data, analysing multiple fraud indicators in parallel – which taken individually may often be quite normal – and finding potential fraud. Generally, there are two ways to teach or train a machine learning algorithm, which depend on the available data: supervised and unsupervised learning.

Predictive modelling

In predictive modelling or supervised learning, algorithms make predictions based on a set of examples from historical data. You can present an algorithm with historical claims information and associated outcomes often called labelled data. It will attempt to identify the underlying patterns in fraudulent cases. Once the algorithm has been trained on past examples, you can use it to infer the probability of a new claim being fraudulent. AKSigorta Insurance is using advanced predictive modelling as part of its investigation process. The company has managed to increase its fraud detection rate by 66% and prevent fraud in real time.

There is a wide variety of predictive modelling algorithms to choose from, so users should take into account issues such as accuracy, interpretability, training time and ease of use. There is no single approach that works universally. Even experienced data scientists have to try different methods to find the right algorithm for a specific problem. It is, therefore, best to start simple and explore more advanced machine learning methodologies later. Decision trees, for example, are an excellent way to start exploring complex relationships within data. They are relatively easy to implement and fast to train on large volumes of data. More importantly, they are very easy to understand or interpret, and can be a good starting point for new business rules.

Other options for more accuracy

Decision trees can, however, become unstable over time. When accuracy becomes a priority, practitioners should look at other options. Support vector machines (SVMs) and neural networks are capable of learning complex class boundaries and generalise well to unseen cases. They have been extensively used for fraud detection. Tree-based algorithms, such as gradient boosting and random forests, have also become more popular in recent years. Ideally, analysts should try multiple approaches in parallel before deciding what works best.

Supervised learning is effective in identifying familiar cases of fraudulent activity but cannot uncover new patterns. Another challenge is the limited numbers of fraud examples with which to train the algorithm. Fraud is a relatively rare event, after all. The ratio between fraud and nonfraud cases can sometimes be as much as 1 to 10,000. This means that predictive algorithms tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of nonfraud cases, and may miss the fraudulent ones. Labelling new data for training a model can also be time consuming and expensive.

Unsupervised learning

Unsupervised learning algorithms are trained against data with no historical labels. In other words, the algorithm is not given the answer or outcome beforehand. It is merely asked to explore the data and uncover any “interesting” structures within them. For example, given certain behavioural information, unsupervised learning algorithms can identify groups (or clusters) of customer transactions that appear similar. Anything that appears different or rare could be flagged as an anomaly (or an outlier) for further investigation.

Unsupervised learning methods can, therefore, identify both existing and new types of fraud. They are not restricted to predefined labels, so can quickly adapt to new and emerging patterns of dishonest behaviour. For example, a New Zealand health insurer used unsupervised learning methods to identify cases where practitioners were deliberately overcharging patients for a particular procedure or providing unnecessary treatment for certain diagnoses.

Unsupervised anomaly detection methods include univariate outlier analysis or clustering-based methods such as k-means. However, the recent move towards digitalisation means more data, at higher volumes, from a wider range of data sources. New algorithms, such as Support Vector Data Description, Isolation Forest or Autoencoders, have been introduced to address this. These may be a more efficient way of detecting anomalies and allow for faster reaction to new fraud.

Social network analysis

These methods are useful for identifying opportunistic fraud. However, many fraudsters today operate as part of professional, organised rings. Activity may include staged motor accidents to collect on premiums, ghost brokering, or collusion between patients and health practitioners to inflate claim amounts. These career fraudsters can repeatedly disguise their identities and evolve their way of operating over time.

Social network analysis is a tool for analysing and visually representing relationships between known entities. Examples of shared entities could be different applicants using the same telephone number or IP address, or a motor accident involving multiple people. Social network methods can automate the process of drawing connections from disparate data sources and visually representing them as a network. This significantly reduces the investigation time – in one case, from 10 days to just two hours. In the UK, a large P&C insurer made £7 million savings per annum by uncovering groups of collaborating fraudsters using network analytics.

A hybrid approach

No single technique, however, is capable of systematically identifying all complex fraud schemes. Instead, insurers need to combine sophisticated business rules and advanced machine learning approaches. This will allow them to cast the net wide, but improve accuracy and reduce false positives, making fraud detection more efficient.

Snow Software Acquires Embotics

Snow fortifies its ability to deliver complete technology intelligence with Embotics’ award-winning hybrid cloud management platform

UK – Dec. 4, 2019 – Snow Software, the global leader in technology intelligence solutions, today announced it has acquired Embotics, a hybrid cloud management company. This acquisition brings together two market leaders, enabling CIOs to understand and manage their full technology stack from software and hardware to infrastructure and applications, regardless of whether they live on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment.

Embotics offers a platform-neutral cloud management solution with one of the quickest time-to-value in the industry. It provides a fast and easy way to automate provisioning, reduce costs and ensure governance across private, public, hybrid and multicloud environments. Leading enterprises such as Nordstrom, NASA and HBO, and service providers like LG CNS and NTT Data, use Embotics to drive their digital transformation.

“The rapid adoption of hybrid cloud by the enterprise has created new challenges for technology and business leaders who must maximise the efficacy and efficiency of technology without sacrificing innovation, productivity or security,”said Vishal Rao, President and CEO of Snow. “Technology intelligence is the future of asset and cloud management, moving beyond the silos created by point tools to provide the insight and manageability organisations need to gain a competitive edge. Embotics is a highly strategic addition to Snow’s portfolio. We are thrilled to welcome the team to Snow and deliver even greater value to our customers and partners.”

“We built Embotics to provide enterprises and service providers with an easier, faster, platform-neutral and fully integrated solution for managing the hybrid cloud and beyond”said Jay Litkey, Founder and President of Embotics. “Today, these organisations are strategically blending on-premises, private, public and multicloud architectures, and that requires a flexible and multi-faceted approach to gain agility through automation while controlling costs and risks. By joining forces with Snow, Embotics will continue to address these issues and answer the next generation of challenges with integrated capabilities at a global scale. Both organisations have a customer-centric DNA and commitment to innovation that will help us achieve our shared vision of technology intelligence.”

Together, Snow and Embotics will offer the first platform that delivers CIOs an integrated perspective across their entire technology stack, empowering them to tackle use cases that require insight into both on-premises and cloud services, such as cloud migration planning, Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) optimisation and hybrid cloud cost management. The process of integrating Embotics into the Snow platform will begin immediately, and the companies will have a single go-to-market strategy starting in 2020. The combined business will be optimally positioned for strong growth with an expanded market presence as well as the field and operational resources needed to deliver cloud management at a global scale.

“As IT organisations work to balance transformation initiatives with day-to-day operations, hybrid and multicloud strategies are essential for today’s enterprise,” said William Fellows, Founder and Research Vice President at 451 Research. “Workloads now span public cloud, private cloud and legacy on-premises environments, and that mix is constantly changing to address the needs of the business. With Snow’s acquisition of Embotics, the market will benefit from the combination of their respective strengths on-prem and in the cloud, most notably when it comes to solving the unique challenges of hybrid environments.”

For more information on the acquisition and Snow’s platform, visit www.snowsoftware.com.

About Snow Software

Snow Software is the global leader in technology intelligence solutions, ensuring the trillions spent on all forms of technology is optimized to drive maximum value. More than 4,000 organizations around the world rely on Snow’s platform to provide complete visibility, optimize usage and spend and minimize regulatory risk. Headquartered in Stockholm, Snow has more local offices and regional support centers than any other software asset and cloud management provider, delivering unparalleled results to our customers and partners. To find out more about Snow Software, visit http://www.snowsoftware.com/ and follow Snow on Twitter @snowsoftware.

NDB Board of Directors meets in Shanghai, approves three projects with loans aggregating to USD 937 million

On December 2, 2019, the 22nd Meeting of the Board of Directors of the New Development Bank (NDB) was held in Shanghai, China.

The Board approved three projects with loans aggregating to approximately USD 937 million, bringing the NDB’s portfolio to 49 projects with loans aggregating to USD 13.7 billion.

Hubei Huangshi Modern Tram Project

The NDB will provide a loan of RMB 2.76 billion (approx. USD 400 million) to the People’s Republic of China for Huangshi Modern Tram Project. It will address urban transport connectivity problems in Huangshi, a municipality in the southeastern part of Hubei Province, through the construction of a modern tram network with a total length of 27.33 km. The components of the Project include: i) laying of tracks, construction of stations and installation of associated facilities for the tram network; ii) procurement of rolling stock; and (iii) consultancy support for commissioning, preparation of operations and maintenance plan, capacity building and project management.

Manipur Water Supply Project

The NDB will provide a loan of USD 312 million to the Republic of India for Manipur Water Supply Project. It will address serious challenges in clean drinking water supply in Manipur, a small mountainous state in the northeastern region of India, through construction and upgrade of drinking water supply infrastructure. The components of the Project include construction and upgrade of drinking water supply systems in: i) Imphal Planning Area, the capital city of Manipur; ii) additional 25 towns; and iii) 1,731 rural habitations.

Indore Metro Rail Project

The NDB will provide a loan of USD 225 million to the Republic of India for Indore Metro Rail Project. The Project is to implement a metro line of approximately 31 km in the city of Indore. The Project will provide mass rapid transit capacity for the city’s major mobility corridors, thereby contributing to local economic development and an improved urban environment by reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

The Board also approved technical assistance totaling to USD 0.7 million for two projects from India and Russia.

Mizoram Tuirini Small Hydro Project

The NDB will provide technical assistance of USD 300,000 to the Republic of India for Mizoram Tuirini Small Hydro Project. The NDB’s technical assistance will provide consulting services aimed at preparing the Mizoram Tuirini Small Hydro Project. The project envisages construction of a small hydropower plant with an installed capacity of 24 MW in the state of Mizoram, to increase installed power generation capacity of Mizoram.

Krasnodar Cable Car Project

The Bank will provide technical assistance of USD 400,000 to the Russian Federation for Krasnodar Cable Car Project. The NDB’s technical assistance will provide consulting services aimed at preparing the Krasnodar Cable Car Project up to the stage when it can be considered by external financiers to seek approval for its financing. The project envisages the construction of a cable car network to be used as an alternative public transportation modality in Krasnodar city, Russia to relieve traffic congestion.

It is the first time that the NDB Board of Directors approved the provision of technical assistance through the Bank’s Project Preparation Fund (PPF), a multi-donor fund open to contributions by all the Bank’s members. The PPF’s objective is to support preparation of bankable projects to facilitate borrowing member countries to raise funds for such projects from the NDB or other multilateral development banks.

During the Meeting, an update on the NDB project pipeline and status of approved projects was provided to the Board. The Board also discussed matters pertaining to equity investments, funding programme, treasury related matters, membership expansion, review of NDB’s General Strategy: 2017-2021 and development impact of the Bank’s operations.

On December 2, 2019, the 13th Meeting of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee (ARC) of the New Development Bank was held in Shanghai. The ARC reviewed Quarterly Audited Financial Statements for the New Development Bank and the Project Preparation Fund of the NDB for the period ended September 30, 2019. The ARC also discussed matters pertaining to risk, internal audit and compliance.

The 8th Meeting of the Budget, Human Resources and Compensation Committee (BHRC) of the New Development Bank was held on December 2, 2019.  The Committee considered the Budget Utilisation Report for CY2019 and the Proposed budget for CY2020 as well as the three Year Budget for 2020-2022. The Committee also discussed matter pertaining to recruitment and diversity.

Background Information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. To fulfill its purpose, the NDB will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. According to the NDB’s General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank’s operational strategy for 2017-2021. The NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch and AAA foreign currency long-term issuer rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR).

High net worth millennials need professional advice. Here’s what those in finance need to know

Deloitte currently estimates that by 2020, millennials’ total net worth worldwide will be more than double what it was in 2015. There are several reasons that account for this trend, some of which include rising wages and the improving quality of life in developing countries.  

However, there is another driving force: one of the largest intergenerational transfers of wealth in history.

Baby boomers, the children of the late 40s, 50s and early 60s, were able to buy property at a low-cost relative to income. Their homes, over the ensuing decades, have hugely increased in value; in the UK the average price of a house has doubled since 1996––even after accounting for inflation.

For millennials, this has had two implications. Firstly, many are reliant on their parents if they want to purchase a house. Secondly, they could be set to collectively inherit a huge amount of wealth. Research from EY suggests that those born between 1981 and 1996 in the US will receive $30 trillion from their parents in the next 20 years[1].

Consider the fact that the global economy is valued at $80 trillion, and the scale of this wealth transfer begins to become apparent. For those who already have property, along with high net worth (HNW) and ultra-HNW individuals, investing their new wealth in stocks and shares will be the order of the day, resulting in a changing client base for financial advisers.

Some things will be consistent with what has come before, according to research from Deloitte[2]; 82% of millennials still want to discuss their financial situation face-to-face with an adviser, meaning a wholesale switch to digital communication is unlikely. Furthermore, the ultimate aim for millennial investors will still be healthy and sustainable returns.

What could change is the kind of assets new investors are interested in. The growth of “impact investing”, also known as environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, is particularly popular among millennials––EY predicts that almost a fifth of investments now under management worldwide are in sustainable financial products[3]. What’s more, two thirds of young people feel “obliged” to change the world for the better, meaning this is likely to inform their future investment decisions[4].

There are many examples of ESG investments providing good returns. The Cordes Foundation, headed by 29-year-old Steph Stephenson, has 100% of its $230 million in impact investments––and achieved an average yearly return of 8%[5].

The rise of millennial HNW individuals has one major implication for financial advisers: they need to be entirely up to speed with ESG financial products and the options available to millennial investors. With the importance of ESG products to the financial sector only likely to increase in markets around the globe, this is an important task that must be prioritised.

Alpa Bhakta is the CEO of Butterfield Mortgages Limited. Part of the Butterfield Group and a subsidiary of The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited. Butterfield Mortgages Limited is a London-based prime property mortgage provider with a particular focus on the needs of UK and international HNW individuals.


[1] EY (2017), Sustainable Investing: The millennial investor

[2] Deloitte (2015), Millennials and wealth management

[3] EY (2017), Sustainable Investing: The millennial investor

[4] Deloitte (2015), Millennials and wealth management

[5] Sarah Murray (2019), Rich millennials push to put family wealth into impact investments