"With the growing risks of assets becoming stranded by responses to climate change, it might seem necessary to ask whether not adjusting your investment strategy is wise, let alone affordable." These words were spoken by a person well-versed in economic diplomacy, with an unmistakably British sense of understatement: last September, Prince Charles was making these declarations on climate change in front of the financial community (including Ban Ki Moon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore...). This issue is the focal point of regular inquiries within the financial community itself. What risks and assets are we talking about? This issue deserves some in-depth explanation, beyond the media aspects.
In developed countries, particularly in Europe, investment has been sluggish since the 2008 crisis. And yet, money is abundant and there are many needs, especially in regard to long-term, growth-enhancing investments. But private investors are paralyzed. Is there any way out of this down-beat economic environment? Institutional investors are at the center of the game. Among them, public banks and deposits funds can play a significant role. How have these secular institutions returned in the spotlight?
As crowdfunding becomes more accepted, it's moving into new areas. One with a lot of promise: commercial real estate, where deals under $10 million are not worth the efforts of big investors, says Dan Miller, co-founder of Fundrise. These large investors do not want to have a lot of $1 million investments, they won't be able to manage it. That has left an opening for crowdfunding firms like his.
The ingredients for long-term investment are quite simple: all you need is money and favorable legal, accounting, financial and tax conditions. Despite the fact that money is readily available nowadays, the needs for long-term investments are far from being met. How can we change this situation?
Over the decades, corporate venturing has evolved through several phases. Recent initiatives reflect growing interest among large companies to include incubators as a capstone of their corporate venturing. Incubators or not, the challenges remain the same: how to grow intelligence, the life-blood of entrepreneurial environments? How can a corporate parent accelerate innovators' learning? The experiences of prolific inventors and craftsmen suggest an answer: by providing product teams with an artisanal environment that favors play, repetition and patience.
Is the global crisis behind us? The divergent development of major emerging countries, Europe and the United States reminds us that despite a strong tendency for unification during the past two decades, despite our growing interdependence, the world economy is still highly fragmented. Under the circumstance, it doesn't make sense to draw a general picture without taking a closer look at these differences: between emerging and advanced countries, between the United States and Europe, and even within Europe itself.
What kinds of lessons can providers of microfinance services in developed countries learn from microfinance practices overseas? Three experts from the microfinance industry addressed that question during a panel discussion at the eighth annual Penn Microfinance Conference, whose theme was "Microfinance: Beyond Its Roots." In addition, keynote speaker Elizabeth Rhyne, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion, discussed how the microfinance industry is moving beyond its reliance on lending into multiple new directions, including innovations in the health care sector.
Spain is one of the world's leading nations in biotechnology research, but it lags behind in technology transfer and the creation of new companies. The Spanish government is hoping to bring about a radical change in these statistics. To do so, it is focusing on the Israeli biotech sector, a world leader in creating start-ups, as the inspiration for designing an entrepreneurial and business model based on innovation. Not a bad strategy, but it should not remain unchallenged. Let's have a look.
As of the early 2000's, Internet has opened paths to a new form of collective intelligence, human or humanoid computing. Be reassured, reader, this is not a way to turn your brain into a computer. What it does is coordinate thousands of connected people together to assemble a computer power that exceeds, for certain complex problems, what is already available today via supercomputers. The specialty biochemistry was first on the track, and now we see financial affairs joining in. So, let's see what happens when amateurs take over a market trading room.
In the US, a disruptive new way for small companies to raise capital is putting a spotlight on the readiness of a tightly regulated securities market to adopt the openness of the Internet. It has sparked debate about whether the change will spur economic growth or become another vehicle for fraud.
How do financial mathematics specialists imagine the markets in five to ten years? What exactly will their role look like? To understand these issues, we need to take a closer look at the way this field has developed and at the issues that have shaped the discipline.
The Bitcoin bubble bursting is but one small part of a bigger story. The most exciting part is not speculation, but challenging the banks' control over payment solutions. This is what we should discuss. Starting now.
As the recent successful campaign to fund a movie based on the television show Veronica Mars proves, crowdfunding is now recognized as a reliable funding avenue for both start-ups and established firms. But the growth of the sector also creates more regulatory challenges and raises questions about the risks that funders take when they put their money behind a project.
Since 2008 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, global efforts have been undertaken to improve the management of finance, reduce leveraging and increase the equity capital of financial institutions. However, all these measures lack a genuine unity and show considerable differences between nations. The implementation of the new prudential banking regulation of 2012, Basel III, is being postponed indefinitely in the United States. Back to square one for global finance?
Concern is on the rise regarding financial uncertainty, its form and its nature. Is it merely exacerbated during a temporary crisis? Or, with the most unexpected phenomena always possible, is any attempt at forecasting doomed to be vain? It turns out both commonplace statements are missing the point: financial uncertainty is permanent, malleable, and resistant - it is by no means an abstraction that could be dismissed through means of calculation. Far from being constant, its structure varies throughout history: it depends on the given institutional frameworks that allow the flow and recording of economic information.
Smartphone credit cards and card readers, prepaid debit cards and other burgeoning electronic payment systems are making it easier than ever to move through the world without carrying cash. While going cashless offers some convenience to consumers, it also comes with potential fees and penalties from banks, credit card companies and others. As observers from Wharton and elsewhere note, cash is the more expensive proposition for those who handle financial transactions. But it will be tough for firms to convince consumers that dollars and cents have become a mere curio of the past.
The CEO of Paris-based AXA Private Equity is on the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women. Recently, Senequier has turned her attention to the U.S. market, acquiring investment portfolios from Bank of America and Citigroup. In this interview, she discusses the European debt crisis and notes that although the private equity market will perform strongly in the long term, exits may get delayed in the new environment.
Europe's economic crisis continues, and the way it plays out will decide the future course of the world economy. Among those who are trying to steer the continent, and especially the euro zone, away from the edge of the precipice is Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She has recommended policies such as deeper economic integration and higher firewalls to turn Europe around. Ms. Lagarde also has the delicate task of restructuring the IMF so that fast-growing emerging economies have a voice in the institution that is commensurate with their increasing economic clout, without alienating other member countries.
Bitcoin is a new payment application available on the internet since January 2009. In a way, by virtue of its open source publication, it is similar to the World Wide Web, the hugely successful internet application of the internet that now enables so many others. Much like the WWW has redefined the way mankind produces and shares knowledge, bitcoin transforms the social code underlying money supply to bring about a new degree of economic freedom. Can it be seen as a new monetary reform vehicle?
Whether it comes from ethics or from theory, the impression is that the days of the contemporary speculator are numbered. For this moody character is reckless: he is one to confuse the stock market and roulette. Economic theory has a hard time understanding him. Nevertheless, a theory of the speculator is possible.