Investing in real estate portfolios, private equity firms and other non-public corporate enterprises has typically been the exclusive domain of asset and wealth managers whose clients have £100,000 or more to put in. But the security of blockchain technology and the reliability of distributed ledgers mean investments can easily be broken into smaller chunks, offering opportunities to everyone. Anyone with as little as £200 can now invest in assets that were beyond reach.
Individuals and businesses increasingly demand that the packaging enclosing their products is not ecologically damaging, as awareness rises around the effect of packaging on the environment. Meanwhile, governments are pushing the packaging industry to reduce its environmental impact dramatically. Against this backdrop, cartonboard is gaining ever-greater favour and in many cases it is replacing plastic.
Funds' use of subscription lines and leverage facilities is evolving as managers seek to enhance
operational efficiencies and returns.
Debt funds and financial sponsors are increasingly calling on banks to provide subscription line and leverage facilities, in an effort to increase operational flexibility and boost returns. We speak to key market players to see how market participants are approaching these transactions.
Tax rules are updated daily around the world, which means getting purchase orders and invoices right the first time is far from straightforward. It presents a serious challenge to businesses of all sizes attempting to transact in different locations, but it also offers an opportunity to develop favoured buying relationships by getting the process consistently right.
In procurement, many departments aim to address the issue by manually keeping track of changing legislation in different parts of the world and then applying the rules to their purchase orders. But they regularly need to speak with sellers to correct tax on problematic invoices. Finding themselves over or underbilled for tax causes frustration with suppliers, aside from potential financial problems, so there is a strong incentive for buyers to ensure things are right from the start.
Consumers and companies are taking an active interest in cryptocurrencies, but there is clearly a long way to go before their eventual role in personal and business finance is fully realised. To some degree, a lack of broader awareness of what cryptocurrencies have to offer is holding the industry back. But so too is a lack of joined up thinking within some projects.
“Very few of the 2,000 or so cryptocurrencies operating have a truly business-like operational structure and a hierarchy that ensures they make good strategic decisions,” says Rowan Stone, director of business development for cryptocurrency ZenCash. “All these digital currencies are still in the phase of the geeks – too complicated and clunky for many to use. People are starting to realise that by fixing this we can make traditional finance efficient.”
Liability insurers are highly averse to risks they cannot accurately quantify and that could present major payouts. Insurers’ risk aversion can be traced back to their being swamped with claims in the wake of deaths linked to asbestos in the latter half of the last century, a phase that nearly broke the Lloyd’s insurance market.
Since those claims, “many insurers routinely insist upon exclusions for various emerging risks in their policies”, explains Bob Reville, chief executive at insurtech firm Praedicat. The company found in a recent survey that 83 per cent of underwriters see their job as “protecting their company against the next asbestos”, which might be mobile phones, wifi, nanotechnology, 3D printing, fracking or anything else. “When they do that job by adding exclusions, this can leave their clients exposed,” says Dr Reville.
Mergers and acquisitions are undergoing a period of immense change. Many corporates will spend cash assertively to beat incoming economic and disruptive challenges. For others, the changing supply of liquidity and debt will rattle nerves and provoke hesitancy. Given the economic environment, seismic shifts such as Brexit, US and Chinese trade tariffs, and Chinese capital controls, buyers have the choice to sit still or take the reins of change. Focus on target selection, diligence and execution will be paramount to capturing success.
A confluence of demand factors is opening up enormous new opportunities throughout the lithium supply chain in Europe. While the nexus between Australian suppliers and Chinese processors remains the foremost lithium supply chain set-up in the world, as a result of the strategic emphasis placed on its progress by the Chinese government, the balance is changing.
For now at least, the European lithium value chain is in development, but that could soon advance with the help of traditional open cut mines. A leading example of this is the mine being developed by Savannah Resources at its Mina do Barroso project in northern Portugal.
A revolution in data is enabling insurers to predict risk precisely, empowered by businesses’ digital footprint gathered from property and operational monitoring systems. Insurers can also use the technology to identify trends and help clients prevent accident “events”, reducing the frequency and severity of claims.
Sensors linked to the internet of things enable information to be drawn from within organisations and workplaces, then fed into businesses’ and insurers’ risk management systems. The technology works by sensing everything from air conditioning, heat, water and electricity, to movement of workers and the operation of lorries, planes and ships. Underwriters can then analyse risk continuously, predict events and understand the cause of claims.
The use of stolen identity data is on the increase. In the first quarter of 2018, more fraud attacks were noted than in the same period for each of the last three years, with a particularly large volume of automated attacks, according to the latest ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report.
As breaches increase, Europe and the United States are no longer the only especially large cybercrime zones. South America has become a hub for new account origination fraud and Southeast Asia is witnessing large amounts of identity spoofing. In addition, the proliferation of mobile usage has led to an expanding weak security point in new account creations via mobile phones.
A selection of articles, reports and other content.