Louth Online http://louthonline.com/ Fri, 21 Jan 2022 17:01:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 http://louthonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/louthonline-icon-70x70.png Louth Online http://louthonline.com/ 32 32 Intelligent Process Automation Can Give Your Business a Powerful Competitive Advantage http://louthonline.com/intelligent-process-automation-can-give-your-business-a-powerful-competitive-advantage/ Fri, 21 Jan 2022 16:34:13 +0000 http://louthonline.com/intelligent-process-automation-can-give-your-business-a-powerful-competitive-advantage/

Over the past two years, we’ve seen digital players enter verticals with astonishing speed, introduce radically new offerings, disrupt the way businesses interact with customers, and raise the bar for simplicity and personalization. . Driven by this rapid change, traditional businesses are looking to reinvent themselves, stay relevant and thrive.

A set of disruptive technologies are maturing in the business operations space, enabling companies to improve the way they create and deliver value. Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is emerging from the back office to help businesses create adaptive, resilient, and efficient operating models and deliver seamless experiences for customers and employees.

McKinsey defines IPA as “a set of business process improvements and modern technologies that combine fundamental process redesign with robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning ( ML) and cognitive technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) It helps organizations redesign processes and workflows by aligning them with customer journeys for better fluid experiences, digitize data for personalization and insights, and automate mundane tasks to achieve breakthrough increases in productivity.

Exponential growth

In the world of operations, IPA is a Swiss army knife. CEOs love its power to transform customer and employee experiences; CFOs appreciate its potential for exponential efficiency growth; line-of-business leaders appreciate the clear results it delivers; CIOs are embracing it as a digital accelerator and way to demonstrate business results.

A US health insurer, after adopting IPA across its business, found it could process claims six times faster. An agriculture and agribusiness company improved productivity by 75% with a fourfold return on investment. And one of the world’s leading providers of consumer credit and debit card services has saved more than $160 million by automating its accounts payable, accounts receivable and purchase order workflows.

At best, automation also makes tasks more human, empowering employees with new capabilities through analytics and AI and freeing up time for creativity and critical thinking.

Successful automation adopters invest in effective talent and change management programs that close skills gaps and enable frontline employees to understand and adopt related technologies. Amazon’s multi-year automation program, Hands off the Wheel, has elevated the roles and responsibilities of its employees by reducing their focus on algorithms, which ML handles more efficiently, and freeing them to imagine and innovate, while by increasing productivity.

Five Emerging Automation Themes

To understand how increasingly sophisticated automation tools can handle repetitive tasks and create smarter process flows to tackle business complexity and foster resilience, Cognizant recently surveyed 4,000 global executives in the framework of the study The work ahead. Five key themes emerged from our research and analysis:

  1. Automation is coming of age. Automation is already an integral part of modern business. Respondents also cite AI and analytics as crucial to enabling intelligent automation.
  2. More and more process work is turning to machines. The volume of work performed by intelligent machines is growing rapidly, and many organizations are leveraging automation to make sense of a deluge of process data. Respondents expect the volume of complex, routine decisions performed by machines to increase by approximately 50% between 2021 and 2023. As automation approaches incorporate AI and other cognitive technologies, organizations will move even more processes to machines.
  3. Large-scale automation deployments are rare (yet). Only 8% of respondents say they have deployed automation at scale. Most organizations implement automation piecemeal, targeting process pain points rather than integrating processes into a workflow. This strategy will change as companies understand the value of implementing increasingly sophisticated automation tools across all business functions and focus on supporting employees in the new way of working. .
  4. The more processes you scale up, the greater the returns. Respondents who augmented more business processes through automation, AI, and analytics perform better than those who augmented fewer processes. Areas of higher performance include operational efficiency, decision making, risk reduction and better customer experience.
  5. Scaling automation requires new skills and organizational models. As workplace automation grows, organizations will increasingly need soft skills such as decision-making, learning, and creativity. The sea change will occur when automation moves beyond a series of isolated initiatives to become the defining factor of a workflow, reshaping the way the business does its work.

A powerful competitive advantage

“Companies with advanced automation programs will annihilate — not just beat — the competition,” Forrester Research recently predicted. Yet many companies still take a siled approach to automation, unable to realize the full potential of IPA to help them transform their business.

To accelerate scale and achieve lasting advantage, organizations must make automation across all functions and beyond IT a strategic board-level priority, a critical enabler of an adaptive and scalable operating model.

Chart a step-by-step path to the future with intelligent process automation at cognizant.com/neuro.

Is COVID-19 the main reason for declining business confidence among Kiwis? http://louthonline.com/is-covid-19-the-main-reason-for-declining-business-confidence-among-kiwis/ Wed, 19 Jan 2022 03:10:58 +0000 http://louthonline.com/is-covid-19-the-main-reason-for-declining-business-confidence-among-kiwis/

With the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and resulting lockdowns in Auckland, Kiwi business confidence fell sharply in the fourth quarter ending December 2021. The Institute’s Business Opinion Survey New Zealand Economic Research Institute (NZIER) also showed that demand also fell in the same quarter.

The survey showed that many companies raised prices in the December quarter and 65% planned to do so in the current quarter. Thus, adding to inflationary pressures on the economy in 2022. The survey’s capacity utilization measure fell to 89.5% from
96.1% from the previous quarter.

Image source: © 2022 Kalkine Media New Zealand Ltd

The disruption and uncertainty caused by the Delta Variant outbreak weighed on overall economic activity.

Read also : Report: The world’s richest got richer during the pandemic
Interesting reading: Does Australia face stagflation in 2022?

The survey reflects the continued weak labor market conditions and capacity constraints businesses are facing due to international and national border restrictions. According to the survey, given the uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic, companies have become cautious about investments.

34% of companies expect general economic conditions to deteriorate compared to 11% of companies feeling pessimistic in the last quarter.

Labor shortages are the biggest problem

Businesses in all sectors are facing severe labor shortages. Most companies looking to hire, there is a shortage of skilled and unskilled labor. The companies have tried to sweeten the deal for the workforce, but this leads to higher costs for the companies.

According to the survey, 61% of companies reported an increase in costs in the December quarter. However, the retail and construction sectors saw the largest cost increases due to global supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

Due to high cost pressure, more than half of the companies raised prices in the quarter and others expect to increase in the next. This would lead to higher inflation and lower demand.
Also read: What does 2022 look like for the global housing market?

Sluggish manufacturing and service sectors

Almost all sectors are feeling the heat, but the manufacturing sector was the most pessimistic with 34% of manufacturers expecting the economy to deteriorate in the coming months. The pessimism was driven by slowing domestic and export demand and growing cost pressure.

Also read: The spread of Omicron: how much can it impact the global recovery?

The services sector was also sluggish due to the impact of tighter containment measures and strong cost pressures. The construction sector also reported a continued increase in costs during the December quarter.

Will interest rate hikes help the business climate?

In 2022, the main task of the Reserve Bank of NZ (RBNZ) is to control inflation. When it announces its monetary policy in February, it should raise the interest rate to control inflation. The actual inflation figures will be revealed when Stats NZ releases its December quarter figures next week to see if there has been an increase from the previous quarter’s 4.9%.

Also Read: Uncertainty Over Economic Recovery Deepens Amid Global Supply Chain Crisis

Even though the Central Bank may raise interest rates to calm demand, supply-side constraints remain due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the Treasury expected the economy to rebound after the Delta variant lockdowns, the new Omicron variant added to the uncertainty and pessimism.

Conclusion: Many analysts are now predicting an economic slowdown and falling prices that would force the RBNZ to halt interest rate hikes.

Lithuanians pave the way for EU legal migration initiatives with Sub-Saharan Africa http://louthonline.com/lithuanians-pave-the-way-for-eu-legal-migration-initiatives-with-sub-saharan-africa/ Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:01:30 +0000 http://louthonline.com/lithuanians-pave-the-way-for-eu-legal-migration-initiatives-with-sub-saharan-africa/

The European Union faces a shortage of specialists. The reality of demographic and labor market characteristics dictates that the legal migration of talent to the EU is a unavoidable need. Yet current pathways for specialized migration fall short. So the EU is looking for new ways to connect European companies to foreign labor markets, teeming with talented young jobseekers, and has launched a series of pilot projects to test the waters. Quite unexpectedly for many, Lithuania was the first to join the initiative and its digital explorers have become one of the most successful in terms of tangible results.

The main objective of the Digital Explorers— contracted by ICMPD on behalf of the European Commission, filled vacancies in Lithuanian technology companies with Nigerian ICT talent; therefore, he explored models of international collaboration between business and government, with a non-governmental organization as the intermediary. In light of the previous limited engagement between Lithuania and African countries, this is truly a groundbreaking experience, participants and partners agree.

While the current European mobility tool for professionals, the Blue Card initiative, provides a simplified set of legal migration requirements for highly skilled workers from non-EU countries, the number of talents attracted is moo. A recent revision of the Initiative aims to solve this problem by widening access to the framework for young, more qualified specialists, but modifying the regulations may not be enough. A significant bottleneck is the real and perceived risks to the private sector of hiring talent from outside the EU.

“The legal migration paths for young specialists to the Union can solve multiple problems, including the shortage of talent in the EU, the lack of opportunities for young specialists in third countries, and address the unknowns that the sector private is faced. They could also help build mutually beneficial partnerships with third countries on comprehensive migration management. We are looking for ways to facilitate the process with EU Member States, in line with the New Pact on Migration and Asylum,” says Magdalena Jagiello, Deputy Head of Legal Paths and Integration Unit, Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME).

A success story to build on

Even though EU-based companies willing to hire abroad are inevitable initiators of staff migration, mobility projects act as catalysts by providing a missing link between participating countries as well as between companies. and the public sector.

“While private companies were initially skeptical of the possibility of this unexpected connection, we spoke their language, a language that is at the heart of ICT companies. Our team members had a diverse background in ICT and law and direct knowledge of the African technology market. Therefore, we were successful in addressing hiring companies’ concerns and got answers to key questions, including recruitment and matching strategies, and potential skill level,” says Mantė Makauskaitė, Project Manager from Digital Explorers.

“We also had a long-term vision that the project would empower us to create new mutually beneficial connections between the Baltic and African ICT markets, and stakeholders were excited about this way forward,” she continues.

Through the Digital Explorers journey, 26 young men and women moved from Nigeria to Lithuania via two mobility models: a one-year job and a 6-month paid internship. They joined 13 companies working in the ICT, engineering, fintech and data science markets. Both parties were supported throughout the program – Nigerians underwent technical and non-technical training to further enhance their career prospects, while companies were consulted on the integration of international and diversity management practices . After the program, 18 participants were retained by Lithuanian ICT companies, while others continue their careers in Nigeria, making it a win-win initiative.

“The Lithuanian ICT sector is growing rapidly and the shortage of specialists is difficult to solve by relying only on local talent. We were open to hiring talent from outside the EU, but needed help establishing contacts, aligning with potential employees from third countries and making paperwork easier,” says Vaidas Laužeckas, CEO of Metasite Data Insights .

With the help of Digital Explorers, Metasite Data Insights initially hosted a junior data scientist; after the program, the company hired another. Both explorers started as junior specialists in internship positions and finished as mid-level specialists within 6 months.

Another Lithuanian company that has benefited from a connection to Nigeria, Telesoftas, was deeply impressed by the new opportunities offered by the African IT talent market and made the strategic decision to set up a Nigerian branch and open an office in Abuja with the aim of hiring at least 30 engineers by the end of 2022 and up to 100 in 2023. “The potential offered by Nigeria is simply too great to ignore. An on-site subsidiary could act not only as our main delivery center, but also as a connection, allowing Lithuanian teams to seek talent to fill their ranks and create new business opportunities,” says Algirdas Stonys, CEO of Telesoftas.

Go forward

A collaboration between Lithuania and Nigeria has emerged as an excellent example demonstrating the importance and mutual benefits of legal migration. Building on lessons learned from Digital Explorers and other projects, the EU is working to build talent partnerships. “Digital Explorers have demonstrated a successful way to connect businesses, employees and governments internationally, and could become an example of future cooperation. A better match between skills from outside the EU and labor market needs within the EU is badly needed and benefits all stakeholders in multiple ways. This would be the key aspect of talent partnerships that would improve legal pathways to the EU, while strategically engaging partner countries in migration management,” says Jagiello.

A collaboration between Lithuania and Nigeria has established itself as a prime example for larger-scale projects in Talent partnerships. “Digital Explorers have demonstrated a successful way to connect businesses, employees and governments internationally, and could become an example for future projects. A better match between skills from outside the EU and labor market needs within the EU is badly needed and benefits all stakeholders in multiple ways,” says Jagiello.

According to Makauskaitė, who is already exploring ways to expand digital explorers from the Lithuanian scale to the Baltic scale, including other African countries, such partnerships could create even more European added value if our legal systems were more harmonized and if the cross-border scale would not require understanding completely different regulations. However, for now, at least in-depth knowledge of the match between the existing talent pool and business needs can be used by other European countries.

“The match may not be perfect right away, but it’s important to know how to perfect it,” concludes the leader of Digital Explorers.

Think give-and-take to develop business relationships http://louthonline.com/think-give-and-take-to-develop-business-relationships/ Mon, 17 Jan 2022 16:16:37 +0000 http://louthonline.com/think-give-and-take-to-develop-business-relationships/

Since India turned its back on the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), New Delhi has sought to insure us against Asian trade isolation with a renewed focus on free trade agreements (FTAs) bilateral with privileged partners. “Look West” was widely appealing, but progress was slow. With the EU, as both sides agreed to relaunch negotiations, a deal seems a long way off. Talks with the United States, marred earlier by the presidency of Donald Trump who called India a “tariff king”, have not made much headway under US President Joe Biden. Agreements with Australia and Canada have also been slow. The bag is one with the United Arab Emirates, with whom a full trade agreement could soon be finalized. The ongoing talks with the UK should not be breathless over the outcome, given our shared enthusiasm, but the search for a quick interim agreement on sensitive issues. set aside for a final pact later suggests a lack of ambition.

After leaving the EU, the UK under its Brexit chief Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appeared keen to make up for its departure with quick new trade alliances, a program that could be crucial for a considered administration. as having wavered on public health issues and in need of commercial gain. This should push the UK and India to seize every win-win opportunity. Ideally, this is accomplished by lowering import barriers both mutually and widely across borders for the mutual gains of specialization to materialize, with domestic markets only being prohibited with rare exceptions. In the opinion of the World Trade Organization, this is good for free trade in general. The market New Delhi explored with London, however, remains so riddled with hanglists that partial coverage of goods (up to 65%) and services (up to 40%) is the best that appears on the table. While a halfway deal might be an easy way out, it would be a compromise whose piecemeal nature could expose us to charges of trade discrimination under WTO rules. A full-scale FTA in the true spirit of free trade would be preferable. Deals that go too close to sector specifics risk taking too much energy to accomplish too little. In addition, the more fine-tuned the impact analysis, the more likely it is that voices calling for import protection will become stronger.

Proponents of a gradual path advise caution and cite the example of earlier interim pacts – such as with Thailand – which lost local support for their completion once the benefits began to look lopsided. While it is true that some FTAs ​​have fueled export pessimism, this could be because our extent of free trade was insufficient for our global integration gains to materialize. Free trade tends to rattle local markets on either side, but the big bet is on possible net gains for both. This enjoins us to keep our nerves on short-term effects as we prepare for an export surge, which typically depends more on how we sharpen our competitive edge than market access. As our overlaps in value creation with the UK are not too great, import doors can be opened more easily by both. However, accounting concerns often seem to outweigh the dynamism of trade. Our high tariffs on Scotch whisky, for example, serve to fill customs coffers rather than create local jobs through import substitution. Similarly, UK labor market bars fail to protect UK jobs while depriving employers of a wider range of Indian talent. With a few concessions to guide the talks, we should aim for a comprehensive trade package.

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How has Bolsonaro changed Brazil’s role in the world? http://louthonline.com/how-has-bolsonaro-changed-brazils-role-in-the-world/ Sun, 16 Jan 2022 07:04:47 +0000 http://louthonline.com/how-has-bolsonaro-changed-brazils-role-in-the-world/

How long will this last?

In terms of foreign relations, Brazil’s “past” also persists today. His aid to Latin America and Africa and to international organizations continued, although it did not reach the levels attained during the boom years of Lula’s policy. globalism, from 2003 to 2013. Like most other donors, Brazil used most of its aid to help its companies enter new territories. In Angola and Mozambique, for example, infrastructure and mining giants Odebrecht and Vale have become major players thanks to Lula’s forceful South-South diplomacy and the use of Brazil’s state-owned development bank BNDES as a vehicle for foreign aid.

As for multilateralism, Bolsonaro denounced it. But as the Dutch say, soup is never eaten as hot as when it is served. Indeed, his government is showing growing enthusiasm for the main multilateral bodies. He is working hard to secure Brazil’s admission to this old, elite OECD conclave. In Washington DC, Bolsonaro’s finance minister urged the IMF to intervene more vigorously in the affairs of member countries. For Bolsonaro, the World Trade Organization must be strengthened and cooperation between the BRICS intensified. He may denounce the United Nations, but his government continues and has indeed intensified its engagement with various UN agencies.

Would it be an exaggeration to lament Bolsonaro’s repudiation of multilateralism? It is true that his government, unhappy with the IMF’s public pessimism about Brazil’s economic prospects, has demanded that the IMF close its offices in Brazil in 2022. But in many other respects, Brazil continues to follow the orthodoxies of the established multilateral order.

Brazil’s relations with the Pentagon and US arms producers, for example, have never been seriously threatened. Under Lula, military ties were formalized and expanded. Today, relationships are better than ever; in 2019, Trump granted Brazil official “major non-NATO ally” status, allowing it to buy American goods and bid on some American defense contracts. Brazilian companies continue to export arms, sometimes in violation of the International Arms Trade Treaty, which Brazil ratified in 2018, over the objections of then-MP Bolsonaro.

On China, on the other hand, Bolsonaro has strained relations with Washington. Upon becoming president, he abandoned his previous anti-China rhetoric. Conforming to the interests of agribusiness and other businesses, he has made Brazil’s trade and investment relations with China a priority. Today, as yesterday, Brazil’s foreign ministry must seek a balance between the interests of domestic elites (as well as sometimes those of its neighbors) and the interests of the powerful elites who drive policy in Washington. Faced with the pursuit of autonomy and the exaltation of South-South ties, Western diplomats have ridiculed Brazi for acting by sitting down when issues important to Western powers are at stake. As the American drums on China intensify, with or without Bolsonaro, Brazil will face pressure to line up.

Finally, Brazil’s soft power is evident in many parts of the world, including Europe. Here, thanks in part to a vibrant Brazilian diaspora, people flock to hear choirs and the samba, to devour feijoada, marvel at the photography of Sebastião Salgado and appreciate Brazilian films and literature. Yet Brazil also demonstrates another kind of soft power. Articulated by figures such as Paulo Freire and João Pedro Stédile of MST, the movement of landless workers, these are ideas and practices to promote power from below.

Brazilian movements, activist organizations and municipal leaders have shown enormous creativity and courage for decades in testing and producing these ideas. Practices such as “participatory budgeting” may not work perfectly, but they seem to me to be far more beneficial exports than soybeans, weapons, hardwood and oil.

This article was originally published under a different title by CartaCapital and republished with permission. Read the original here.

Investors are increasingly looking to cannabis debt investment as a diversification opportunity http://louthonline.com/investors-are-increasingly-looking-to-cannabis-debt-investment-as-a-diversification-opportunity/ Sat, 15 Jan 2022 17:31:00 +0000 http://louthonline.com/investors-are-increasingly-looking-to-cannabis-debt-investment-as-a-diversification-opportunity/

The traditional option of corporate debt financing is now fueling the future of cannabis, delivering strategic returns for investors

Most often, cannabis investors have generally focused on equity investments. Early believers plunged into space, spurred on by wild speculation about future legalization. The rise of debt financing in the industry is just the latest opportunity to lure new investors into the space.

In the current low yield environment, investors face a limited number of attractive debt investment opportunities. Investors looking for yield have typically been forced to seek out distressed investment opportunities or illiquid markets. It’s no surprise that investors have therefore started exploring the cannabis industry to find higher returns without taking on the risk of distressed investments. For traditional debt investors, cannabis industry loans offer an opportunity to add exposure to a growing market with greater structural protections and reduced risk compared to traditional equity investments.

Unlike equity investments, if a company defaults on its debt, there are ways to recover capital from investors. The borrower’s assets, which can be in the form of licenses, equipment and inventory, can be sold to recover the money owed to the investor. The result is an opportunity that can increase the chances of a return on investment in a short period of time on short-term loans with durable assets.

The recent surge in mergers and acquisitions in the cannabis industry has provided a growing and healthy supply of debt investment opportunities for investors. As more lenders open their checkbooks to loan capital for cannabis businesses, interest rates have started to drop and the growing appeal of these loans to cannabis entrepreneurs has boosted investor confidence. . Today, cannabis debt investing has become an extremely stable way for investors to enter the space, and more investors than ever are relying on them to add cannabis exposure to their portfolios with a significantly lower volatility than equity investments.

The appeal of debt financing for cannabis businesses has never been stronger, as more businesses view it as a non-dilutive source of capital. Cannabis company founders recognize the potentially expansive value of their potential exit opportunities. These outflows can reach over $100 million, which means that every drop of capital has value. But to reach this potential, capital injections are needed for continued growth. Debt financing offers the solution to fund this growth, without sacrificing equity that can be worth millions of dollars down the line.

Despite the surge in cannabis debt issuance, there remains a significant pool of demand from institutional investors that could further bolster the industry. Non-traditional forms of financing will continue to thrive as federal legalization winds through the lengthy legislative process. Even after federal legalization occurs, major financial institutions will likely continue to view cannabis as a high-risk space, which will keep the cost of capital higher in this industry relative to other markets.

That being said, federal legalization is just one of the many challenges investors face when working in the cannabis space. Banking limitations will continue to be a challenge as cannabis matures, and the complex web of different state and local regulations will continue to burden the industry.

The rise of debt financing is an absolutely encouraging and significant moment in the history of the industry and will allow businesses to grow and stay nimble without sacrificing growth opportunities. Loan capital is a tool that has been a mainstay in the operation of traditional businesses and is finally widely available to cannabis businesses of all sizes.

George Mancheril is Managing Director of Custom Financial Inc., which was founded in 2018 as the first licensed commercial lender focused on the cannabis industry.

Consumer Spotlight: A Shift to Alternative Assets http://louthonline.com/consumer-spotlight-a-shift-to-alternative-assets/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 15:48:23 +0000 http://louthonline.com/consumer-spotlight-a-shift-to-alternative-assets/


Alternative assets can generally be defined as assets that fall outside the traditional definition of stocks, bonds, or currency investments. In recent years, there has been a democratization of access to investments in alternative assets, such as startups, investment funds or real estate projects.

Various platforms have been created over the past decade to enable individual investors to participate in private markets that otherwise would not have been accessible to them. The most recent trend? Access to cultural investments – unlocking a new asset class.

Investment platforms such as Alt, SNKRS, Rally Rd, Otis, and GOAT not only allow individuals to purchase a new class of assets in an organized fashion, but also allow fractional ownership of those same assets.

While investing in culture has been a big trend, the boom in alternative asset investing spans many verticals ranging from NFTs to real estate, art, crypto and farmland. The movement towards the “financialization of everything” will allow individuals to create value and earn according to their interests and skills. Investing in assets will move away from a market owned by “financial professionals” and instead usher in a new class of investors.

In the news

On Wednesday, January 12, it was announced that streetwear e-commerce platform StockX would seek to go public in the first half of 2022.

The company was last valued at $3.8 billion after its $60 million Series E capital raise in April 2021. Additionally, it was announced that StockX has tapped investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to work on the transaction.

What is StockX? The Company is an e-commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers of designer and streetwear accessories, footwear, electronics, luxury watches, and other collectibles. The company has recently expanded its offering to more and more consumer goods as a platform that captures various verticals within the “culture” space. Items such as sought-after game consoles, consumer electronics, and trendy accessories are often listed as the platform is product type independent (SKU) and instead focuses on capturing a cultural zeitgeist. .

StockX is one of the first “cultural” investment platforms that will grace the public markets. Ebay and Craigslist are successful examples of Internet retail marketplaces that have existed and thrived in the past. The likes of StockX and other similar marketplaces represent an “unbundling” of an existing business model.

This unbundling is not only seen in the culture market. Earlier this month, Fanatics agreed in principle to buy Topps trading cards for $500 million. Additionally, PSA/Collectors Universe went private for $850 million at the end of 2020 as the collectible card and sports nostalgia market hit its initial peak during the pandemic.

Whichever way you slice it, investing in alternative assets is becoming mainstream.

current market

As we examine the current market for investing in alternative assets, various verticals have formed as investor interest drives demand for new and innovative platforms to invest in. Below, we’ve outlined some of the major verticals that have seen new investment platforms. The map includes some of the larger players that we have identified which we believe provide a representation of the current market.

Our market map provides context on how capital has flowed to these different platforms over the past few years. According to funding data, the highest areas of concentration can currently be classified into the following categories:

  • Culture
  • Infrastructure
  • Crypto
  • Crowdfunding

What we can see from the formation of these different verticals is that there is a shift in investing from public assets (stocks, bonds, ETFs) to private assets such as those in our market map above.

Previously, these private markets were not accessible to the general public. But with the introduction of splitting and platform trading, we can anticipate a shift in capital. For context, JPMorgan and BlackRock released their Global Alternatives Outlook which covers how institutions are spending on traditional alternative assets. Both investment firms pointed to the increased volume of investments in alternative assets and cited low interest rates as one of the driving factors. More specifically, in 2021, the institutional market for alternative assets experienced:

  • $1.1 trillion in new assets under management in private debt, infrastructure, natural resources, private equity (“PE”) and real estate.
  • Total alternative assets under management exceeded $9 trillion.
  • PE investments reached $ 737 billion in new funding and a total of PE under management of $ 5.8 trillion.

Why is this important? Institutional investors (eg large banks, pension funds, insurance companies, etc.) have historically dominated all markets – public and private – by more than 90% according to NASDAQ. Retail investors, however, have seen their volume increase in recent years, with a sharp increase especially during the pandemic era. The trend shows that retail (i.e. non-institutional) investors have been more active in markets in general, a positive sign for emerging alternative asset markets.

The global macroeconomic trend of ordinary individuals accessing markets, actively seeking returns or returns, and participating in investment activities, is a tailwind for further adoption of alternative assets – an asset class that opens the appeals to a wider population.

NFT Market vs Collectibles

To look at the alternatives market on a more granular level, we’ll look at NFTs and collectible cards, two verticals that have seen incredible growth during the pandemic until today. In terms of collectible cards, the pandemic has seen a massive increase in the adoption and value of these assets. According to eBay data, domestic card sales increased 142% in 2020, indicating that an additional 4 million cards changed hands in the past year. An additional note: according to a PWCC study, if you had invested in a basket of high-end trading cards (sports, Pokemon, etc.) in 2008 instead of an S&P 500, your returns would have been 175% compared to 102 %.

Looking ahead, the domestic trading card market size is expected to grow from $10.6 billion in 2020 (last recorded data) to $62.1 billion in 2027, according to research by Research and Markets. Growth represents an annual growth rate of 28.8%.

NFTs are also rapidly gaining popularity. According to data from blockchain research firm DappRadar, the total volume of NFTs traded in 2021 was $16.7 billion including Web3 assets and $13.1 billion including only NFTs. The number represents an increase of approximately 43,000% from 2020, when trading volume only reached $33 million.

However, it is important to note that some trends seem to persist at a higher rate than others. When looking at Google’s search volume traffic and trending data, it appears that NFTs have retained internet interest while trading cards have seen a steady decline or “leveling off”. since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic. Collectibles as a whole are also showing increased interest. Supporting data included below:

Across all platforms, we anticipate increased adoption, regardless of vertical. The general trend of retail investors increasing their overall investment activity will drive the most change.

Why is this important?

The big picture would indicate that transaction platforms (think of everything from PayPal to Airbnb) have the ability to scale, generate revenue, and succeed in today’s market. While there are winners and losers, like any market, there are indications that these platforms could gain mass adoption. In the future, it is possible that major investment managers such as BlackRock, Nuveen, Invesco, VanGuard, etc. partner with platforms such as GOAT or StockX to form real ETFs for people to invest in the stock market.

The possibilities are vast in the “financialization of everything” version of the world. From a cultural investment perspective, the sports industry is squarely in the middle of the trend. We anticipate continued growth from both a platform perspective and a market participation perspective.

capex: Nippon India’s Ashutosh Bhargava picks four major capex games for 2022 http://louthonline.com/capex-nippon-indias-ashutosh-bhargava-picks-four-major-capex-games-for-2022/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 11:02:00 +0000 http://louthonline.com/capex-nippon-indias-ashutosh-bhargava-picks-four-major-capex-games-for-2022/ “I expect the overall growth momentum to continue, driven by urban consumption and capital expenditure. Areas like roads, urban infrastructure and renewable energy need to be watched,” says Ashutosh Bhargava, fund manager and head of equity research, Nippon India Mutual Fund.

How do you think this year will go? Which space is your top pick for 2022?
Hopefully 2022 will be a year of normalization where the cyclical recovery we saw just before the Omicron wave continues with less disruption on the supply side or disruption due to the pandemic. I think inflation would be subdued in the future. I expect the overall growth momentum to continue, driven by urban consumption and investment spending. Areas like roads, urban infrastructure and renewable energy and then you have private sector investment in areas like China plus one and LIP recipients like electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals and some new sectors – these sectors initially lead the investment recovery and last but not least the housing recovery. We are all very excited about this. The housing market is in good shape, even on the household investment spending side, which comes in the form of home registration and housing activity, which would also hold up. So out of the three pillars we’re all familiar with, consumption, exports, and capital spending, we’re the most positive about FY23 capital spending.

How would you play capex? Is it capital goods, road infrastructure, cement or parts of real estate or a mixture of all?
I’m thinking of capital goods, infrastructure, real estate and banking. These are the four ways you can play. In most of these sectors I think what we can expect is a very strong tailwind to earnings and if that happens you will probably see all of these sectors outperform. Obviously, we have to be selective here, but we are quite confident in the ability of these sectors linked to the recovery of domestic investment to post very good results.

What is the shape of the economic recovery and what indicators are you reading to verify this?
Consumption is a bit tricky. It’s a kind of recovery with several rhythms. It’s the K-shaped recovery. I’m sure you’ve heard of it where you have a formal sector that’s more urban, high-income consumers, they’re maybe in the best shape possible and that’s reflected just before the Omicron wave. These are reflected in data points such as SUV demand, retail sales, credit card spending. Even the housing activity is a sign that affluent consumers, rich urban consumers have very good purchasing power and confidence is also high, but you have a larger number of consumers mainly related to the informal sector, the he agricultural economy, to rural India, to their purchasing power has been impacted by COVID and even previous shocks before COVID. So what you’re seeing is pronounced weakness in that segment, the buying power there and the data points that we track like two-wheeler sales or FMCG company feedback, for example, we know that this segment is lagging so on an overall basis the consumption would chug but there are huge disparities within the different consumption segments and as investors we need to be aware of the consumption we are talking about.

We will certainly be affected by global factors such as tapering, tapering shrinkage and rate hikes on the one hand and on the other hand the global economy is also shrinking. Export demand is on the up and global investment spending seems to be taking shape. So how do you also put this piece into perspective?

The global liquidity and demand environment has helped us a lot – whether it’s earnings on the IT side or on the metals side or whether it’s on the valuations side. Our valuations have risen in line with global valuations. It’s a headwind where if the cash withdrawal is there or if the rate hikes are there. But at the same time, we have approached this year with great pessimism regarding global earnings. So I was following the data for the United States or for Europe by adjusting the redemptions that they generally do. We’re talking low single-digit earnings growth. So I think some downgrading is certainly possible, but there is a possibility of surprise that I would personally look for in per se, global benefits, or local benefits. So that’s the kind of tussle we’re facing, the valuation on one side ensures that the return expectation should probably be moderate, but at the same time the attractiveness of the earnings or the possibility of a surprise from the earnings, the low hurdle rate in terms of earnings expectation makes us constructive in the market regardless of higher valuations. So that’s the kind of environment we’re dealing with – a little confusing, I must say.

One of the big events in the short to medium term would be the Union budget. What would be your main control elements in the budget?

The importance of budgetary overtime has declined. So it’s an important event, but overall reform is an ongoing process. So that’s the first thing we have to keep in mind. Second, in this budget the government is using a lot of unspent resources. They couldn’t spend for various reasons. This budget is not lacking in resources. So I expect public spending to increase. The government would show good numbers. The areas that they would probably focus on are the ones that they talked about even last year where the execution was lacking but the intent is there which is infra capex and I think what’s needed is to provide a K-shaped recovery support that I mentioned to provide support to that low-income rural informal segment that has been impacted by COVID or other shocks. I’m sure something would happen in the form of income support or low cost housing for the rural or urban population, but some sort of targeted ad that helps improve the purchasing power of that low-income segment income/rural, I think that’s what it takes.

A word against? As in, for the year, which sector can actually surprise the street? Where should people look for value or good bets or stories backed by profits?

When I look at Nifty earnings, people are positive on a lot of the cyclical sector. I think there has been a lot of pessimism about raw materials. In fact, for FY23, FY24, this is an area where the consensus expects you to know that the Materials sector is dragging earnings rather than contributing to dragging earnings. There is a downturn that people are expecting, which I think might surprise if the demand environment picks up after Omicron and liquidity remains supportive. So, if there is a counterpart trade that one can look for, it is raw materials, energy, metals and chemicals. These can surprise in terms of earnings and therefore stock market performance.

Ships from the North: Why autarky can’t be New Zealand’s answer to climate change http://louthonline.com/ships-from-the-north-why-autarky-cant-be-new-zealands-answer-to-climate-change/ Thu, 13 Jan 2022 22:57:56 +0000 http://louthonline.com/ships-from-the-north-why-autarky-cant-be-new-zealands-answer-to-climate-change/

DAILY BLOG EDITOR Martyn Bradbury recently warned readers that climate change mitigation is now Aotearoa New Zealand’s only viable option. Reversing the steady rise in global temperatures might have been possible if the major industrial powers had taken action fifty years ago. Tragically, they refused to make the necessary changes, and now it’s far too late. Accelerating climate change is already upon us and its effects will only get worse.

The “vague affiliation of millionaires and billionaires” (to use Paul Simon’s superb expression) who actually run this planet know that it is far too late to save industrial civilization as we know it. Their strange preoccupation with spaceships and interplanetary travel betrays this grim realization.

They want to leave behind the mess they’ve created, spreading the deadly virus of ruthless environmental exploitation across the universe. All nonsense, of course. There is nowhere in our solar system where human beings could establish a sustainable colony remotely, and it is doubtful that the technology necessary for interstellar travel will ever be invented. Physics is physics – and physics says “No”.

All of this begs the question, “Can we live with climate change?” Right here in Aotearoa-New Zealand, is it possible to build an economy and a society capable of supporting a population of five million? Is autarky a serious option?

For those unfamiliar with the term: “Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency, generally applied to societies, communities, states and their economic systems”. (Wikipedia)

Only Maori can speak with authority about the type of economy and society produced by living self-sufficiently in Aotearoa. From the beginning of the 14th century to the end of the 18th century, the inhabitants of these islands lived entirely without contact or outside help. All production of food, tools, and medicine was internal, as was trade in goods and services. For about five hundred years, in a multitude of small communities, the Maori lived entirely alone in these islands at the end of the world. However, at any time between 1300 CE and 1800 CE, it is generally accepted that the combined population of these isolated human communities never exceeded 150,000 individuals.

Can we hope to do better? Our first instinct is to say “Of course!” But a little reflection should be enough to dampen our optimism. New Zealand as we know it would be impossible without a rudimentary global system of transport and trade. If climate change were to fundamentally weaken industrial societies in the northern hemisphere, the supply chains that New Zealanders depend on would be increasingly disrupted. How long could our society last if the ships from the North stopped coming?

Now, at this point, many Kiwis will say that New Zealand is one of the most efficient food producers in the world – so at least we won’t starve. The truth, however, is that New Zealand really isn’t that agriculturally productive. Without the fertilizer we extracted from Nauru and now import from the Kingdom of Morocco, we would miss the grass that our entire primary production sector depends on. These ships of the North are essential to our well-being.

TDB recommends NewzEngine.com

Pharmaceuticals that keep deadly diseases at bay in the world are not the least important elements of all these cargo manifestos. Currently, New Zealand does not have any pharmaceutical production facility worth mentioning. So if the ships stop coming, tens of thousands of people will die for lack of medicines that we currently take for granted.

Among the first priorities of a self-sufficient Aotearoa-New Zealand would therefore be the creation of a basic pharmaceutical industry. The use of the word “basic” is quite deliberate, because in a global economy significantly disrupted by the intensified effects of climate change, acquiring the highly sophisticated technology needed to produce anything other than the simplest drugs would become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. .

This problem: getting your hands on vital machines and the machine parts needed to run them; can only get worse.

If you’ve ever wondered about images of ramshackle, rusty, overgrown tanks in desolate Third World landscapes, then you’ve already encountered the paradox of “parts.” Tanks are extraordinarily complicated machines, always breaking down. If the spare parts needed to operate them become unavailable, these terrifying combat machines become completely useless – mere scrap metal.

What is true of tanks is, of course, also true of John Deere tractors and all the other farm equipment that makes New Zealand cockies so productive.

This issue should give serious thought to anyone who argues that to prevent these islands from being overrun by climate refugees, we will need to arm ourselves to a degree never seen in our history. Defense spending, they say, will have to increase – by a lot. But unless we have the (unrealistically) intention of creating a large, vertically integrated arms manufacturing industry, the ‘Fortress New Zealand’ argument makes no sense.

Any country that arms itself immediately makes itself militarily and diplomatically dependent on the nation-state that supplies it with arms.

Just consider acquiring the most basic military tool, the automatic rifle. Once firing begins, a nation’s stored ammo quickly depletes. What does he do then? Basically, he’s begging his arms supplier for more. If for any reason the US, UK or Australia says “No” to New Zealand. Or, more likely, “Sorry, mate, we can’t spare any right now,” so those automatic rifles instantly become nothing more than expensive metal clubs. Obviously, if the weapons your nation is looking for are fighter jets or warships, then the supply and maintenance issues are multiplied a thousandfold.

“Fortress New Zealand” is a pipe dream – unless, of course, we allow ourselves to become a full-fledged colony of the United States or Australia (the most likely option, if only to ‘a geographical point of view) or, perhaps, from China. Even then, the whole survival scenario hinges on the assumption that armed ships from the North keep coming.

Anthropologists tell us that soon after the first Polynesian travelers made landfall on these islands, the large ocean-going canoes that had carried them here traveled back and forth between Aotearoa and their Pacific island homelands. Eventually, however, the canoes from the North stopped coming. The men and women who had arrived on these, the last significant landmasses to succumb to human occupation, were finally and entirely alone.

Until new sailboats arrive from the North.

If these ships had not arrived, “Aotearoa” would have survived. But, without its constant and extensive connections to the rest of the world: the very connections most threatened by accelerating climate change; “New Zealand” cannot exist.

Chamath Palihapitiya and other SPACs to watch http://louthonline.com/chamath-palihapitiya-and-other-spacs-to-watch/ Thu, 13 Jan 2022 01:36:23 +0000 http://louthonline.com/chamath-palihapitiya-and-other-spacs-to-watch/
  • SPACs have been volatile in 2021, with frantic activity at the start of the year followed by a significant slowdown.
  • SPAC shares often skyrocket once a merger or acquisition is announced, generating significant returns for the retail investors who own the stock.
  • Insider caught up with 3 SPAC market experts, who shared their outlook for 2022.

The dark before

after-sales service

The market made headlines last year, with more than 600 blank check companies listed on the stock exchange, up from 248 in 2020.

Almost half of them occurred in the first quarter, before a prolonged decline in activity. But there were glimmers of hope for a rebound in the fourth quarter after news of a potential “SPAC meme” merger between DWAC and Donald Trump’s new media startup brought retail investors back into the fray. space.

A SPAC, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company, raises money through an IPO and then aims to acquire or merge with another company. These blank check vehicles raised $96 billion in the first quarter of 2021 alone, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Early investment in the right SPAC can generate significant returns, as the company’s stock price will often skyrocket once a potential merger is announced. For example, Churchill Capital Corporation IV saw its shares soar 7% in a single day in July after shareholders approved SPAC’s merger with electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors.

“The market is moving fast, and it’s swinging between super hot and frosty feelings,” SPAC arbitrage investor Julian Klymochko, whose firm Accelerate Financial Technologies runs an actively managed SPAC ETF, told Insider in a recent interview. “It’s quite manic-depressive – you can go from a frenzy to a

bear market

very quickly.”

Insider asked Klymochko and two other SPAC experts about their expectations for 2022. Klymochko also shared 18 publicly traded blank check companies that could rise this year if they announce suitable acquisitions.

Investment outlook 2022

Klymochko said better trade execution could be an important theme for the SPAC market in 2022. One of the risks of investing in these vehicles is that they may not be able to find business appropriate to target – and after two years of listing on the stock exchange, these unsuccessful SPACs must return all their funds to investors.

“2022 has to be a year of execution — we have to see business combinations,” Klymochko told Insider. “If we don’t see high-quality mergers, all of this will have been for naught.”

Kristi Marvin, who founded the industry research firm SPAC Insider, fears SPACs could struggle this year if the sell-off in tech stocks continues. Blank check companies tend to see higher growth companies as attractive acquisition targets.

“The macro environment is weighing on the stock market as a whole,” she told Insider in a recent interview. “For SPACs, which tend to combine with growth or technology companies, this is going to be even more pronounced and burden an already overly competitive field.”

But Enrique Abeyta, an executive at famed investor Whitney Tilson, Empire Financial Research, shrugged off concerns about spinning from growth to value. He told Insider that the SPAC market struggles in the second half of 2021 created an opportunity for investors to “buy the dip” in blank check companies this year.

“Last year, the excitement flared up exceptionally, retail investors flooded in, and then the market went from boiling to cold very quickly,” Abeyta said. “But now SPACs are trading at incredible valuations because the SPAC brand itself is a bit tainted.”

PSPC to watch

“High-quality SPAC sponsors have a clear advantage – they have pipeline investors who will back them because of who they are, and that means they can have legitimate conversations with companies looking to sign up,” Abeyta added. “That’s why retail investors should look for household names.”

Marvin told Insider that these types of SPAC sponsors can often draw on significant experience during the difficult merger process, improving their ability to execute deals.

“If you’re buying a SPAC that hasn’t announced a deal yet, you want to do some due diligence with the sponsor team,” she said. “If a team was previously able to navigate the SPAC process, it will have an advantage over other teams.”

Klymochko agreed that it is crucial for retail investors to prioritize investing in blue chip SPAC sponsors. It highlighted 18 SPACs from four sponsors – Churchill Capital, FTAC Ventures, the Gores Group and Social Capital.

Churchill Capital featured in one of the major SPAC market stories last year when its fourth fund launched Lucid (LCID) in the market. Its current blank check offerings trade under the symbols CCV, CCVI and CCVII.

Industry veteran Betsy Z. Cohen has been sponsoring fintech SPACs since 2015. She is currently president of three blank check companies – FTAC Athena, FTAC Hera and FTAC Parnassus.

Private equity firm Gores has closed $36 billion in SPAC deals to date, including bringing 3D spatial data company Matterport and premium electric vehicle maker Polestar to market. It currently sponsors six SPACs – GSEV, GIIX, GTPA, GTPB, GGPI and GMII.

Social Capital founder Chamath Palihapitya is one of the most prominent names in the SPAC industry. IPOF, as SPAC to watch.

“Those are the four main sponsors that I had suggested,” he told Insider. “Top sponsors are always worth following, and these four have all been successful in the past and have multiple SPACs listed at the moment.”