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Apple Pay gets ready for war in China
FinTech
<p>Apple looks set to take on internet giants Alibaba and Tencent by launching its Apple Pay platform in China to compete with theirs.</p> <p>The Wall Street Journal reports the mobile-payment service registered an entity in the Shanghai free-trade zone in June. Called Apple Technology Service (Shanghai), its operations will include technical consulting and services and system integration in payments.</p> <p>It comes as no surprise. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company wants to launch payments as soon as possible. But the doesn't mean it won't have a heck of a fight on its hands.</p> <p>Alibaba and Tencent have already been in the payments space for at two years. E-commerce giant Alibaba has AliPay, while Tencent has payments functionality  bundled into its WeChat platform. Like Apple Pay, both are based on near-field communication (NFC) technology.</p> <p>Apple is not incapable of pulling a China incursion off. Apple's other products have taken China by storm, its most recent result showed revenue in  Greater China rose 112% in the fiscal third quarter ended June.</p> <p>Also, iPhone sales in the region rose 87% versus 5% in the broader smartphone market. This is important as the Apply Pay service is restricted iPhone and Apple Watch owners.</p> <p>Breaking China's  payment market will not be like breaking the smartphone market, and Apple can expect a lot more fightback from well-established domestic players and, potentially, local regulators.<br /> Photo: Dan DeChiaro</p>
Full house for the Cyberport NexChange Inaugural Fintech O-2-O Meetup
FinTech
<p>Innovators, investors, finance professionals and media gathered in Hong Kong's Cyberport yesterday for the Inaugural Fintech O-2-O Meetup co-hosted by Cyberport and NexChange. Nearly 200 people in total attended the event which featured three presentations and a panel discussions on fintech trends in Hong Kong.</p> <p>The event kicked off with an introduction from Cyberport CEO Herman Lam, followed by brief presentation from NexChange CEO and founder Juwan Lee. Chris Dark, president international  at working capital marketplace C2FO, gave the keynote speech and set the tone for the event, talking about digitial disruption in the finance industry and how innovative start-ups can work with industry incumbents.</p> <p> The panel was chaired by NexChange associate managing editor Rupert Walker and included:</p> <p> Dominic Wong, head of large merchant acquisition, PayPal<br /> Jame McKoegh, partner, KPMG<br /> Mukesh Bubna, founder and CEO of Monexo.<br /> Van Ta, founder of STP-Suisse Tech Partners</p> <p>The lively discussion covered the evolution and revolution brought about by fintech and Hong Kong's role in developing the industry in Asia. Participants also had an engaging debate over the distinction between fintech - the leveraging of technology to create new financial products - and so-called "tech-fin" - using technology innovation  to support and grow the existing financial service ecosystem.</p> <p>Here are the social media highlights in full:</p> <p>[View the story "Inaugural #fintechO2O Meetup | Presented by Cyberport and NexChange " on Storify]<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Private banker Petko Bahovski reveals secrets for ultra rich in new book
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Petko Bahovski, 46, is an experienced investment consultant in Zurich, who previously worked for Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Coutts in Asia, Latin America and Europe. He is also the author of a practical guide How to Choose a Private Bank. He came up with the book idea in 2006-2007 during his transition from investment to private banking. And the idea didn’t let go until the text was published earlier this year, writes FinBuzz.</p> <p>“I noticed that banks sell themselves usually by stressing their strong points. At the same time there exists loads of information on private banking from consulting companies like BCG, KPMG, or McKinsey. But the clients themselves are usually left with bits and pieces of advice, mostly concerning how to open an account in the UK or in Switzerland,” Bahovski explained.</p> <p>Translated into English and Bulgarian (Petko’s native language), the book reveals no names but answers basic questions on private banking matters. How much do you know about your private bank? How can you possibly choose who to trust with your assets? What services can a private bank offer you? How can you find the right private bank that will best suit your purposes and needs on an individual level?</p> <p>The very mission of the book is to expand the mind of the clients before opening an account; you don’t need to be a hedge fund guru to enjoy it. The niche edition of 700 copies (plus an e-book) appeals first and foremost to a more affluent audience that has an investment portfolio of more than $1 million, but it could also serve as an educational source for finance students.</p> <p>It took Bahovski about 3 months to complete the book: the whole process was very intense and intellectually rewarding. He dedicated an entire month solely to writing. The financier worked side by side with an English-speaking editor from a professional publishing company, striving to provide the text with high-quality language.</p> <p>“I’ve received many positive reviews from my target audience. The professional community also finds it useful for their clients, as they can be a little bit more prepared and, at the end of the day, the clients are aware of what they can get from a bank,” Bahovski proudly commented.</p> <p>In the beginning of October, the new book An Introduction to Investment Funds by Bahovski comes out. It will provide a thorough up-to-date summary on the whole investment fund universe and it is certainly a must-have for any investment professional. His third book, which discusses banking fines, is forthcoming.</p> <p>5 tips how to choose a private banker</p> <p>1) Be well-prepared. You should understand what exactly you expect from the bank and its investment portfolio management. The biggest mistake you can make in private banking is to invest into products and services blindly.</p> <p>2) It is extremely important that the private banker is somebody you feel comfortable with. Even when you like the bank, if you don’t like the banker better ask for someone else. There should be a kind of chemistry between the two of you. The banker should have a clear vision of your personal financial situation and your ambitions.</p> <p>3) Don’t get hooked by a brand. Banks that almost collapsed in 2008 are now the winners. If a pharmaceutical company produces an ineffective d</p>
BAML says “Fed Blinks”; lowest interest rates in 5,000 years
Capital Markets
<p>“The Fed Blinks,” blares a headline in an investment strategy piece from Bank of America Merrill Lynch today, one that takes the tone that the Fed catered to those on Wall Street who were warning of a threat to the main street economy if the Fed lifted rates.<br /> BAML: Interest rates "lowest in 5,000 years" at depression levels<br /> As short term interest rates are the “lowest in 5,000 years,” running at the zero level not seen since the Great Depression in 1930, a BAML piece from Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett along with Investment Strategists Brian Leung and Garrett Roche notes seven primary thoughts.</p> <p>The first thought is that the Fed caved to threats that China and withdrawing stimulus from Wall Street could reverse what little main street recovery that has occurred to date. The bigger picture is that this recovery is different from others, “thanks to low rates/oil/unemployment,” but the component troubling economists, deflation, remains low as a result of three factors: debt, tech disruption, demographics.<br /> BAML: Fed in "tactical delay," also known as a "stay of execution for the 'liquidity era'"<br /> The delay in the Fed rate hike was viewed by the bank as a “tactical delay,” calling it a “stay of execution for the ‘liquidity era’” but it could have more ominous meaning if a strong rally does not ensue. The combination of an “ultra-dovish Fed” and bearish market sentiment could be hinting that a recession and/or default is imminent, according to the report, which is looking for the S&amp;P 500 to reach the 2040 to 2070 level in light of a soft touch by the Fed recently.</p> <p>A key point could be the rolling over of the Federal Reserve’s monetary base, known as M1 as the report says that liquidity could be peaking.  The peak in M1 could result in a peak in excess returns. The best anecdote to fears could be stronger global growth.</p> <p>In a “deflationary recovery,” the report recommends “growth, yield and quality” which it predicts will “remain structurally bid.” In such an environment they recommend maintaining long exposure to the U.S. dollar, long volatility as well as real estate and stocks, “but upside for risk assets now (are) constrained until unambiguous handoff from liquidity to growth” market environment occurs.</p> <p>This story first appeared in ValueWalk.<br /> Photo: Philip Dehm</p>
Daily Scan: China leads Asia rout, Macau casinos on a losing streak
Capital Markets
<p>Updated throughout the day </p> <p>September 23</p> <p>Good  evening. Asian markets plunged downward today, with China taking the lead after the Caixin manufacturing PMI disappointed expectations coming in at 47 for September - its lowest level since March 2009. The Shanghai and Shenzhen composite indices were down by 2.2% and 0.83%, respectively, as Hong Kong fared worse with the Hang Seng Index finishing down 2.26%; the H-share index down 2.7%. Among the hardest hit were Macau's casino operators. Galaxy Entertainment (-4.5%), SJM Holdings (-5.44%), and Wynn Macau (-5.8%) - which was recently rocked by $258 million heist -  all hit 52-week lows. Here is what else you need to know:<br /> India commits to $2.5 b military helicopter deal and deeper ties with Washington. The world’s largest democracies, India and the US, have agreed to deepen their security and economic cooperation, part of an ambitious drive to boost trade between them five-fold. SCMP (paywall)<br /> China open to foreign business amid economic reforms - Xi. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to reassure US business leaders, in a wide-ranging speech covering China's economic reforms and cyber crime. Speaking in Seattle, Mr Xi said foreign firms are welcome in China, and that Beijing would not manipulate its currency to boost exports. BBC<br /> EU leaders to agree on migrant quotas. EU leaders meeting in Brussels are set to approve a plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent, despite fierce opposition from some members. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against the mandatory quota scheme. BBC<br /> Volkswagen scandal could affect 11 million vehicles. The carmaker is now the subject of global criminal probes involving software designed to lie about emissions in its diesel cars. It has set aside $7.27 billion to cover potential liabilities. On Monday, the stock plunged 23% and slid another 19% on Tuesday. VW owns Porsche, Audi, and Skoda. Wall Street Journal (paywall)<br /> Malaysia won't protect its companies in Indonesia for causing haze.  Malaysia has said it will not protect its companies if they are found guilty of practising slash-and-burn to clear lands in Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia. Many oil palm concessions in the region are owned by listed plantation companies in Malaysia. Channel News Asia<br /> China president Xi’s US trip gets off to an awkward start.The White House has contacted China’s Foreign Ministry over the detention of an American businesswoman accused of spying, a spokesman said on Tuesday, in a case that blew up just as President Xi Jinping began a visit to the United States. Japan Times</p> <p>Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein diagnosed with lymphoma. Blankfein announced via email that he will be undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the next seve</p>
Want to work for Ray Dalio? Then you better be able to answer these questions!
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Getting hired at Bridgewater Associates isn't easy. As one of the world's biggest hedge funds, Ray Dalio's firm has a reputation for being incredibly intense, and maybe a little crazy. Dalio has said the self-improvement process is like "when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest," reports Business Insider. Like companies such as Google, Bridgewater is more interested in forcing an interviewee to think about a complex question than to get a correct answer.  Says Dalio:<br /> "The answer doesn't really matter. It's totally great if the person's thinking on the subject ends in a different place than the beginning, because moving forward together to get at the best answer is more important than being right from the outset."<br /> Here are some of the most interesting Bridgewater interview questions Business Insider found on Glassdoor:</p> <p> For a facilities-manager candidate: "Are there any circumstances under which torture is justified?"<br /> For an investment associate: "Would the world be better off with an open border policy?"<br /> For an investment associate: "Should hate crimes be punished more strictly than regular crimes?"<br /> For a management associate: "Should participation in a team sport be mandated for young children?"<br /> For an investment associate: "Should the U.S. be allowed to kill civilians using drone strikes?"</p> <p>Photo: Richard Toller</p>
Is fintech feeding on Wall Street's brains?
FinTech
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Is fintech partly responsible for a perceived Wall Street brain drain? It comes as no surprise that the legion of fintech start-ups coming onto the scene are gobbling up talent with gusto, but is it really to the detriment of industry incumbents?</p> <p>UK financial rag City AM came to this conclusion earlier this year. It noted that since the financial crisis a career at a major financial institution might not hold the same appeal for high-flying young go-getters.</p> <p>Data from top business schools like Chicago Booth, Wharton, London Business School, and Insead showed a 20% drop in MBA graduates entering finance between 2007 and 2013. This contrasts sharply with what's going on in the technology sector which has roughly doubled its intake of MBA graduates over the same period.</p> <p>Then again, correlation does not always equal causation. Mukesh Bubna, founder of Hong Kong-based P2P lending platform Monexo, told NexChange he has mixed views:<br /> "In Asia it is still about working for big names, but I think it is changing. A lot more people call Monexo (from the financial services space)  to say, 'Hey, we heard about you, can we join you?', but we are also very choosy about who we bring in,  because coming from a corporate world you are only doing one thing; in a start-up you do 20. Some people can't make that transition easily."<br /> It is worth noting at this point that Bubna quit his job with Citigroup to launch his fintech start-up.</p> <p>What is clear at least is that the fintech sector is hungry for talent, to the point of cannibalization. The Australian Financial Review accused the UK government not too long ago of "pinching" the best and brightest of Australia's nascent fintech industry by flying them over to London -- triggering a "global war for innovation talent".<br /> Photo: Charis Tsevis</p>
Daily Scan: The Pope has landed; Stocks fall
Capital Markets
<p>September 22</p> <p>Good afternoon,</p> <p>Stocks fell Tuesday as investors showed worry about global growth. And who knows what's going on in the Fed's mind? The Dow dropped 1.1%, recovering ever so slightly from further losses midday. The Nasdaq lost 1.5%, and S&amp;P 500 fell 1.2%. The Volkswagen scandal hit European markets hard as markets swing from optimism to pessimism on the outlook for economic expansion. The dollar gained overnight on hopes that the things are getting better while the Stoxx Europe 600 skittered more than 3% lower. It was a one-two punch. Auto stocks got crushed as the VW scandal blows up. Commodity currencies got hit hard after oil retraced much of its recent gains. We can only conclude: Markets are in a less-than-healthy frame of mind.  The next catalyst for market volatility: Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart speaks at 7 p.m. ET.</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>Pope Francis is in the U.S. The pope kicks off his historic visit with a trip to D.C. and a chat with Congress. Next up, his holiness will visit Philadelphia and New York City before the weekend.</p> <p>Brian Moynihan gets to keep his jobs. Bank of America's Chairman and CEO survived a vote of confidence, allowing Moynihan to keep both CEO and Chairman roles at the firm. Moynihan has led the bank for six years. Shareholders, including CalPERS, questioned why Moynihan needed both jobs. Wall Street Journal</p> <p>General David Petraeus will apologize to the Senate. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the retired general will apologize for his extramarital. The Daily Beast</p> <p>Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein diagnosed with lymphoma. Blankfein announced via email that he will be undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the next several months in New York. He says his form of lymphoma is highly curable, and he will be able to work as normal. Blankfein added that he will cut back on some planned travel. Politico</p> <p>China's Xi lands in U.S. at controversial moment. President Xi Jinping comes to the U.S. on his first official visit as the Chinese economy wobbles,and the stock market sits 38% below its peak --  challenging his iron grip back home. Xi begins his visit in Seattle where he will meet with high tech giants at the Microsoft campus. China has been charged with massive cyberattacks, which Xi has denied. Back in China, Xi has tightened its grip on the Internet, moving to censor activity aggressively. Xi will visit Washington, D.C., where he will meet President Obama in what is bound to be testy conversations. Xi will then go to the United Nations to address the General Assembly. USA Today</p> <p>Volkswagen scandal could affect 11 million vehicles. The carmaker is now the subject of global criminal probes involving software designed to lie about emissions in its diesel cars. It has set aside $7.27 billion to cover potential liabilities. On Monday, the stock plunged 23% and slid another 19% on Tuesday. VW owns Porsche, Audi, and Skoda. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>More than 3,000 rape kits go untested in Kentucky. The state blames a lack of resources for allo</p>
Billionaire's whole family struck with Lyme disease
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>British billionaire John Caudwell announced that he and his entire family have been diagnosed with Lyme disease.</p> <p>Caudwell, a business man and founder of Phones 4u, recently revealed that his 20-year-old son Rufus has a possibly fatal strain of Lyme disease, reports the Daily Mail. Now, Caudwell says that he, as well as his two daughters and ex-wife, have all tested positive for the disease. Lyme disease is known to spread through infected ticks, but the Caudwell case suggests it could also spread from person to person.</p> <p>Rufus had been diagnosed with mental health problems including panic attacks and agoraphobia, but Caudwell says those symptoms are linked to the Lyme disease. Rufus is currently bed-ridden as the disease has progressed.</p> <p>Caudwell says his family is fortunate that it can afford treatment outside of the National Health Service, as the NHS provides little treatment for the disease. He initially kept the diagnosis private, but as the entire family will be treated, Caudwell decided to draw attention to the disease in the U.K.<br /> Photo: John Tann</p>
Goldman jumps on ETF bandwagon
Asset Management
<p>It's official. Everybody's doing it.</p> <p>Goldman Sachs Asset Management has launched its first exchange traded fund in attempt to grab assets in the growing strategy's space, reports the Financial Times. Retail and institutional investors alike are pouring money into ETFs, as a cheap and easy option for tracking a market. GSAM's first ETF launched with $50 million and tracks the Goldman "ActiveBeta" index, which weighs equities according to value, earnings, and volatility. The firm plans to launch similar products "in the coming months."<br /> “Our clients asked us to apply our investment expertise to exchange traded funds,” Michael Crinieri, GSAM’s global head of ETF strategies, said in a statement.<br /> Moody's has called this "smart beta"-ETF space "the next battleground for asset management dollars." The ratings agency says that it expects the biggest passive asset managers and the most innovative managers to be the winners.</p> <p>Earlier this month OppenheimerFunds acquired VTL Associates to break into the ETF space. Legg Mason bought QS Investors last year, and Franklin Templeton is also eyeing the space. The multi-boutique Legg Mason requested regulator approval for its first four ETFs earlier this month.</p> <p>According to ETFGI, ETFs posted net inflows of $219.7 billion globally during the first eight months of 2015, a 16% increase from the same period in 2014.<br /> Photo: WorldSeriesBoxing</p>