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Your new book hub
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>For the reading obsessed, whether it's investment insights, historic fiction, or a biography, BookBub has become the new go-to.</p> <p>BookBub offers readers hugely discounted ebooks in every genre, and some even for free, reports The Book Insider. Last year registered users were offered Dan Brown's bestselling "The Da Vinci Code" free for one week.</p> <p>Follow authors and genres to know when the deals you want pop up. Everyone deserves a little pleasure reading now and then!<br /> Photo: Ginny <br /> &nbsp;</p>
Real Estate Porn: Brooklyn condos
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Brooklyn may be holding on to its hipster stereotype, but the New York City borough also houses some of the most expensive and stylish real estate- all with gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline.</p> <p>This Park Slope condo holds five bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Listed with Warren Lewis Sotheby's International Realty, the property is going for just over $3.5 million.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nearby in Dumbo, this corner condo has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.</p> <p>More sleek and modern than the Park Slope property, Sotheby's lists this condo at $4.6 million.</p>
Bolstering cyber security
<p>Last week’s cyber attack on TalkTalk, allegedly by a couple of teenagers, highlights the threat posed by hackers to businesses worldwide. The British telecoms group said the details of up to 1.2 million customers had been left vulnerable as it rushed to limit the damage to its reputation and business, according to the Financial Times. (paywall)</p> <p>Now companies “are bracing themselves for an avalanche of cyber security regulation, as governments scramble to introduce rules forcing corporate groups to build stronger defences against catastrophic hacks,” says the FT.</p> <p>Other high-profile incidents in the US, such as the assaults on Target in 2013 and Sony Pictures last year, “are forcing global authorities to consider tougher regulations”.</p> <p>In Brussels, the European Parliament, 28 member states and the European Commission are working on a deal to create new data protection rules by December.</p> <p>Proposed measures include a fine for businesses representing up to 5% of global turnover or €100 million — whichever is bigger — for a privacy breach.</p> <p>“Such a fine would have wiped out most of TalkTalk’s £95 million ($143 million) of pre-tax profits last year,” notes the FT.</p> <p>However, the paper points out that the financial industry has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its cyber security teams, hiring former intelligence officials from spy agencies and recruiting young techies from hacker clubs.<br /> Photo: Charis Tsevis</p>
Video: Northern Trust- Why we’re launching a long bond ETF when rates seem likely to rise
Asset Management
<p>Northern Trust recently launched a new long duration bond ETF, right as it seems interest rates will rise. Counter intuitive? Ed Rosenberg, head of ETF Capital Markets and Analytics, says you'd be surprised at what really happens to some bonds when the Federal Reserve raises rates. Plus: Whether or not rates or high or low, investors need to match their long-term liabilities with their investments.</p>
Weekend Scan: Stock markets roar in October despite recession fears
Capital Markets
<p>October 31</p> <p>It was a great month for global stock markets. Major bourses surged to near record highs in October as investors rushed back into equities, encouraged by central bank reassurances.</p> <p>The S&amp;P 500 and the Eurofirst 300 both rose more than 8% and are now up for the year, and the FTSE World Index jumped 7.8%, its biggest monthly rise in four years.</p> <p>Policy makers rallied round and gave investors a cuddle. The US Federal Reserve has put an interest rate hike on hold, the European Central Bank indicated another bout of quantitative easing and the People’s Bank of China joined the support group by cutting its key interest rates for the sixth time in 12 months.</p> <p>Otherwise, the macroeconomic environment looks pretty bleak. Commodity prices, including oil and copper, are stagnant and US corporate earnings are falling which indicate muted demand and raise the specter of deflation.</p> <p>Meanwhile, experts ranging from the IMF and Ben Bernanke to the credit rating agencies warn about the systemic risk to the financial system of vast amounts of emerging market dollar debt</p> <p>No worries, mate! It’s a massive night in Asia Pacific. No, not that stateside festival when people do strange things with inflated pumpkins, adults dress up like pantomime witches and kids beg for chocolate. Instead, at midnight in Hong Kong Aussie and Kiwi expats will invade the Wan Chai bars, neck gallons of amber nectar and watch the All Blacks crush the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup final.</p> <p>Here's what else you need to know:</p> <p>South China Sea tensions rise. A court in The Hague took jurisdiction over seven out of 15 submissions by the Philippines against China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which is likely to encourage other Asian countries to challenge Beijing's claims. Earlier, China's navy chief warned his US counterpart that encounters between their forces could spiral into conflict, two days after a US destroyer sailed close to Beijing's artificial South China Sea islands. SCMP (paywall)</p> <p>24 hours of calamity. A Russian airliner carrying more than 200 passengers is missing on flight over Egypt's Sinai peninsula; a Bucharest nightclub fire killed 27 people and injured 155; fifteen traders including four children died in a fire at a public market in Zamboanga, Philippines. BBC</p> <p>Accusations of vote-buying in Myanmar elections. Opposition parties allege that the army-backed government is splashing out economic incentives to woo voters ahead of the November 8 election. Nevertheless, political analysts expect a coalition of groups led by Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to do well. The Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>Sharing the costs of failure. Six of the biggest US banks would have to make up a $120 billion shortfall in their long-term debt to prevent another “too-big-to-fail” systemic meltdown under a Federal Reserve proposal unveiled on Friday. The Fed estimates that compliance would increase each bank’s annual funding costs by between $680 million and $1.5 billion. Financial Times (paywall)</p> <p>Another suspected suicide in Macau. Police discovered the body of Lai Man Wa in a public toilet in Ocean Gardens on Taipa Island on Friday. Lai, who was appointed director-general of Macau Customs in December, was due to attend a security meeting in Zhuhai later that day. Initial investigations suggested she had committed suicide. Two weeks </p>
More bad news expected at Deutsche Bank
Capital Markets
<p>After posting a €6 billion loss for the third quarter and scrapping its dividend for the next two years, Deutsche Bank announced plans to leave 10 countries and cut its workforce by 35,000.</p> <p>The decisions follow a writedown at its investment bank and the firing of three of the bank's eight board members.</p> <p>It was bold shake-up by the bank’s new boss John Cryan. But his problems are far from over.</p> <p>“A sanctions settlement may also be in the making. As early as next week, Deutsche is expected to pay at least $200 million to resolve investigations into its dealings with countries like Iran and Syria,” notes Wall Street Breakfast.<br /> Photo: ConstiAB</p>
EU probes Hutchison deal
Capital Markets
<p>Hong Kong’s domestic economy is notoriously dominated by a coterie of tycoons. But, it is harder for them to carve up key business sectors in other parts of the world.</p> <p>On Friday, European Union trust busters launched a full investigation  into Hutchison Whampoa’s HK$123.06 billion ($15.9 billion) bid for British mobile phone operator O2, reports SCMP. (paywall)</p> <p>Hutchison’s planned acquisition of Telefonica’s O2 would make it the top mobile operator in Britain.</p> <p>The company, which is controlled by “Superman” Li Ka-shing, already has a UK mobile business, so the deal would reduce the number of network operators from four to three, a number that raises regulatory alarm bells.</p> <p>"The Commission has concerns that the transaction would remove an important competitive force and that the merged entity would have limited incentives to exercise significant competitive pressure on the remaining competitors," said the European Commission.<br /> Photo: akika8</p>
Nevena Couture’s top 5 rules for evening dress code in London
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>London is a magnificently fast-paced city, which naturally combines business, fashion, the arts, and “time-out” culture. There is always a gala-dinner, exhibition opening, charity event, or evening ball. What differentiates London from other vibrant capital cities can be found in its strong English tradition, giving a special recognizable flair to British society.</p> <p>Strict, detailed dress code for most evening events is ever present. Whether white tie or black tie for the evening, or cocktail versus smart casual for day parties, they all dictate the style of dress. Some day parties still expect ladies to wear a hat, even for a Sunday lunch. Having said that, the “spotless” dress policy in England requires awareness of small, but still meaningful rules, characterizing the society we live in.</p> <p>Women are emotional beings and clothes play an important role in self-representation. Evening dresses are a particular signature item for women. They can be the most inspiring fashion item and give women the opportunity to express femininity and charm.</p> <p>The desire to discover something both radiant and striking for the upcoming season inspired FinBuzz to present the Bulgarian Personal Couture London-based designer, Nevena Nikolova. A sophisticated young woman with a bright appearance, an intellectual mind, creative soul, entrepreneurial spirit and obvious charisma has shared with FinBuzz the concept behind the Haute Couture collection and the chronology of her creations in the arena of fashion.</p> <p>FB: How long have you been in the industry and what has influenced you as a designer?</p> <p>I founded the brand back in 2001 in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, my home country I left when I moved to London three years ago. I still have one boutique in Sofia and as you can see one here in London, in the renowned Belgravia neighbourhood</p> <p>My fashion path was very natural, organic, as I have always been amazed by haute couture. Influenced by Dior and Audrey Hepburn, I fell in love with craftsmanship. It used to be my hobby, which I consciously developed into my primary business.</p> <p>By profession, I am a linguist, with a major in Scandinavian languages. Being a successful student, I got a grant and went to work in Norway. Working as a translator, I was still looking for something special in terms of clothes, something which reflected a woman’s femininity and I was never attracted to mass-fashion or ready-to-wear garments. Also, working with different cultures, I learned how to transmit a message from one language to another. I worked with social phenomena and developed cross-cultural virtues. All of these invaluable experiences suggested that I should start “speaking” through dresses and couture. I believe I tell stories through my clothes to my customers.</p> <p>So what is the story of the season? And how many collections per year do you have?</p> <p>I never do seasonal stuff. There is one collection per year, which is constantly refreshed with new couture creations. For our clients, we usually organize small events, where we present my new masterpieces and talk to them. Each and every client represents an entire special universe for me. Dress creation for me is more than just creating a garment following modern trends. I always dress a mind, rather than a body. The body can be easily modified, while the mind usually grows or develops together with you. It is ‘experience’ which I put into my dr</p>
Where to look for outperforming active managers
Asset Management
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So far in my series on selecting superior active fund managers, I’ve broken the most promising research into two very different areas of focus: 1) identifying which segments of the market, or which types of funds, are most promising; and 2) what characteristics to look at in the funds themselves. The most interesting research in category 1 was the “active share” analyses by Antti Petajisto, which concluded that closet index funds (which happen to hold a near-majority of assets in the fund industry) tend to be consistent losers on an after-fee basis, while high-active-share funds with a stock-picking mentality tended to beat their benchmarks by 126 basis points a year.</p> <p>But of course not all the stock-pickers were winners, and the winning funds tended to be scattered all over the various sectors of the market. Is there a way to analyze the different segments of the global opportunity set, and determine the best places to look for those outperforming managers?</p> <p>As it happens, this is exactly the research that is being conducted by Dan Kern, president of Advisor Partners in Walnut Creek, CA. Kern has an unusual background; he spent eight years as a portfolio manager on the U.S. Growth Equity team at Montgomery Asset Management in San Francisco, and then moved over to researching funds as the managing director of Charles Schwab Investment Management.</p> <p>“Having worn both hats,” he says, “I’ve learned that investment success is frequently a temporary state of affairs. Today’s high flier is tomorrow’s loser.”</p> <p>Today, before he looks for potential outperforming funds, Kern subjects different sectors of the market to three basic tests, which tell him whether he’ll even bother to look at the funds that operate in that space.</p> <p>Payoff: the performance spread</p> <p>Test one is something he calls “payoff.” Is the potential excess return (payoff) worth the risk you would be taking if you decided to invest with an active manager in that sector? Another way to describe this factor is the “performance spread”: Where is it tightest, and least tight?</p> <p>To answer that question, Kern identified the percentage return that would qualify a fund for the upper quadrant (25th percentile) in different asset sectors, and compared it to the return that a fund would have to achieve to fall into the upper 75th percentile. He also looked at the index return. This allowed him to calculate three derivative figures: the 25th percentile return minus the 75th percentile return, the 25th percentile return minus the index return, and the percentage difference between the 25th quartile fund return and the index.</p> <p>Figure 1 shows the results for certain foreign stock and bond sectors, plus one U.S. bond sector, for the five years ending December 31, 2014. As you can see, the highest 25th-minus-75th spreads can be found in the emerging markets equity funds sector (3.02% a year), followed by foreign small/midcap equity funds (2.81%). The spread is tightest in the intermediate-term bond category. In reverse order, those two asset classes also have the highest spread between the 25th percentile returns minus the index, and the emerging-markets equity funds have by far the highest percentage difference between the highest 25% of the funds and the index.</p> <p>Figure 1 – Active-Passive Payoff Analysis</p> <p>At the other end of the spectrum, the average emerging-markets bond fund loses to the index. The other lowest payoff categories</p>
Classic books to get you in the spirit of Halloween
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” He used that theory effectively in his films, causing us to be more frightened by what we imagined than what we actually saw on the screen.</p> <p>A well-written novel can achieve the same effect. In the hands of a skilled writer, we can stay up all night with our minds running wild on what a character looks like, sounds like and acts like.</p> <p>Although there are many fine “scary” modern novels, some of the best are the classic old ones. If you have only seen film versions of these fine books, you owe it to yourself to read the real thing. And, since most of them are in the public domain and are therefore available to read free online, there is no better time to do so.</p> <p>However, if you delve into one of these classic horror stories tonight, be sure to leave a light on.</p> <p>Classic Books – Dracula by Bram Stoker</p> <p>Irish writer Bram Stoker did not invent the idea of the vampire, but he certainly is credited with popularizing the creature that transforms from human to bat form. First published in 1897, Dracula tells the story of a young British solicitor, Jonathan Harker, who becomes involved with a series of terrifying incidents after he visits a castle in Transylvania.</p> <p>This exciting tale of the supernatural has been recreated many times onstage and onscreen, and it continues to find new fans today. An interesting side note: Bram Stoker (whose working title for the book was The Dead Un-Dead) did not follow proper copyright procedures, and his novel has been in the public domain since its original publication.</p> <p>Classic Books – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley</p> <p>Mary Shelley was only 20 years old when she wrote her famous novel about a young college student who creates a monster. Although many people associate the name Frankenstein with the grotesque creature, it is actually the last name of the student who creates the monster.</p> <p>Shelley, who was the wife of Romantic poet Percy Shelley, revealed that the idea for her memorable novel came to her in a dream. She first published Frankenstein anonymously in 1818, and her name did not appear as its author until its second edition in 1823. Hollywood versions of this thought-provoking book do not capture its themes of life, morality and virtue.</p> <p>Classic Books – The Picture of Dorian </p>