From the Margins to the Mainstream: Marijuana

Written by Garrett Brandon on . Posted in Global Briefing

With recreational marijuana use permitted in a number of US states, cannabis is moving from the margins to the mainstream of society. It's rapidly shedding its image as the drug of choice for disillusioned, disenfranchised stoners, and coming to be seen as a sophisticated inebriant for the open-minded and curious. And with its entry into the mainstream, there are big business opportunities that early movers are already beginning to exploit.

Greenland's Ready

Written by the Online Editor on . Posted in Global Briefing

There is extensive political agreement in Greenland that the country’s mineral sector should be developed into a principal industry contributing positively to economic development and the creation of new jobs. This objective is a vital element of the plan for long-term economic development, which includes the development of business sectors as an alternative to the fisheries sector. Greenland’s government aims to maintain a high level of mineral exploration to further incentivize the mineral resources industry to obtain exploration and exploitation licenses. In an interview, Julie HollisHead of Geology Department; Ph.D.Ministry of Mineral Resources and Henrik Stendal of the Ministry of Mineral Resources explain this strategy.

Supplier Relationships – Resetting the Corporate Mindset

Written by Simon Atkinson Managing Partner of procurement specialists Occumen. on . Posted in Global Briefing

The relationship between large organisations and their suppliers, particularly in the retail sector, has become headline news in the UK media in recent months.  At Board level, supplier relationships are moving up the agenda as procurement becomes intertwined with reputation management.

The relationship between large corporates and their smaller suppliers has, in fact, been an issue for some years. In the summer of 2012, the Wall Street Journal was one of many to publish an article highlighting the challenge small firms faced as corporate payment periods lengthened – a legacy of the recession years.

The Next Generation of High-Rise

Written by Susanne Steinböck on . Posted in Global Briefing

Demographic change means that companies today are facing a previously unknown challenge: the battle over the best employees. Only companies that are able to keep good employees are able to increase productivity, grow and survive amid the competition.

But the very employees they are in search of, the young "Generation Y", have become choosy. A commensurate salary and good career opportunities go without saying. A comparative study of the years 2004 and 2014 by the Centre of Human Resources Information Systems of the University of Bamberg established that Generation Y placed particular importance on soft factors such as work climate (2004: 53%, 2014: 94.3) flexible hours 2004: 28%, 2014: 85.9) and work/life balance (2004: 27%, 2014: 67.9%) when choosing an employer.

SA Business moves to backup plans as power crisis drags on

Written by Sue McDermott on . Posted in Global Briefing

 South African enterprises are moving toward multi-faceted power plans as the power crisis shows no sign of coming to an end in the foreseeable future, say power sector experts on the POWER-GEN Africa Advisory Board. 

Bertha Dlamini, Managing Director of EON Consulting and a member of the POWER-GEN Africa Advisory Board, says EON’s consultants are seeing a significant increase in the number of local enterprises taking a multi-faceted approach to dealing with the power problem.

Forget the Billion Dollar Club, let’s create the Billion Pound Club, says Powa CEO Dan Wagner

Written by Jamie on . Posted in Global Briefing

Following recent wave of $1bn valuations, the founder of the $2.7bn commerce specialist believes the global investment spotlight has fallen on the UK

London, 29 January 2015: As the UK shows signs of establishing its own billion dollar start up club with a wave of new investments, one company that stands out is Powa Technologies, the mobile commerce specialist founded by veteran entrepreneur Dan Wagner. Powa Technologies was valued at £1.78bn ($2.7bn) after a series of heavyweight international investors recognised the transformational potential of its mobile commerce platform PowaTag. The company has secured more than $150m in institutional investment over the last two years, including a record-breaking $90.7m Series A round, the largest ever secured by a technology start up.

Central Bang

Written by Marino Valensise Chairman Strategic Policy Group Baring Asset Management, London on . Posted in Global Briefing

In the last few years, the willingness and ability of central banks, and governments in general, to suppress volatility and minimise economic and market risk have not been questioned. There has been a strong belief that authorities will not allow excessive market movements, and that they would avoid or manage any sudden changes which would derail economic recovery and employment. The dramatic fall in the price of oil and – more recently – the sharp rise in the Swiss franc both signal that, in certain situations, market forces are uncontrollable and that even central banks might fail in curbing volatility.

The ECB’s theory of quantitative easing is put to the test

Written by Jaisal Pastakia, Investment Manager at Heartwood Investment Management on . Posted in Global Briefing

Time will tell whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB) €1.1 trillion quantitative easing (QE) package will have the desired impact on the real economy. Beating deflation is the paramount objective - how many times does the ECB have to reiterate its explicit mandate of maintaining price stability? Raising inflation expectations is to be achieved by incentivising the banks to lend to corporates and households, using a three-pronged strategy. First, the interest rate reduction on the TLTRO (targeted long term refinancing operations) programme - a zero-cost 4-year financing facility for banks - should allow banks to raise cash available for lending to the private sector. Second, since the negative deposit rate went into effect in July 2014, there is cost to parking cash (potentially raised through TLTRO) in the ECB’s deposit facility, which provides more incentive to lend to the private sector.

The oil price: a windfall or foreshadow of economic weakness?

Written by Martin Perry, Investment Director at Heartwood Investment Management on . Posted in Global Briefing

We believe that a lower oil price is a clear positive for the US economy because of its impact on the consumer, while lower input costs should be supportive to companies. In US dollar terms, the oil price ‘windfall’ is as large as some of the major fiscal stimulus packages of recent years, which bodes well for consumer spending. Nonetheless, there are concerns that a lower oil price will have negative implications for the wider US economy.  Huge reductions to capital expenditure in energy can be expected. Some of the current major exploration/drilling projects require an oil price of $90 or above to be profitable. The average break-even price in the shale industry is considered to be $60 before the likelihood of forced capital expenditure cuts.

Regulators’ focus on market abuse means firms must invest in policing the market

Written by the Online Editor on . Posted in Global Briefing

Market abuse is expected to be one of the primary focuses of regulators in the coming year, according to a recent survey of nearly 300 finance professionals worldwide conducted by Kinetic Partners, a Division of Duff & Phelps, the premier global valuation and corporate finance advisor. Regarding what respondents believed the priority for regulators would be in 2015, twice as many senior executives cited market abuse as those who named tax-related investigations, the next most commonly cited issue.

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