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.

London tops European rankings as preferred hotel investment destination

Written by Celine Gordine-Wright - Deloitte LLP on . Posted in Global Briefing

London is the most attractive hotel investment destination in Europe, according to a new survey of senior hospitality industry figures by Deloitte ahead of the 26th Deloitte European Hotel Investment Conference.Over half (51%) of respondents rank the UK’s capital ahead of Paris (33%), followed by Barcelona (30%) and Amsterdam (23%).  However, views appear mixed on value with 52% considering London to be overvalued whilst 45% cite it as fairly valued.

European leaders relieved after Scotland rejects independence

Written by Martin Gold on . Posted in Global Briefing

European officials have expressed unconcealed relief at Scotland's vote against independence from Britain. In Brussels, the European Commission said the Scottish vote was good for a "united, open and stronger Europe". EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that "The European Commission welcomes the fact that during the debate over the past years, the Scottish government and the Scottish people have repeatedly reaffirmed their European commitment.”

Dollar on high against yen; pound rebounds

Written by Howard Byrom on . Posted in Global Briefing

The dollar climbed to a new six-year high against the yen and rallied against the euro after the Federal Reserve gave more guidance on its intentions to raise interest rates amid an economic recovery in the US. The dollar rose by 1.1% against the yen to a high of ¥108.39, its strongest level since September 2008. The euro fell as low as $1.2852, a new 14-month low. Emerging-market currencies also weakened against the dollar, with the Turkish lira hitting a fresh six-month low.

Investors have bet heavily on the dollar in recent weeks believing that a strong US recovery would prompt the Fed to send a stronger signal on when it would raise interest rates from near zero. The dollar has recently gone on its longest winning run in more than 17 years, rising against a broad basket of currencies for nine straight weeks, according to the ICE US Dollar Index. Higher interest rates would make the dollar more attractive to yield-seeking investors.

BRIC COUNTRIES ARE READY

Written by Henry Martin on . Posted in Global Briefing

With more investors looking past the BRIC countries for the next big emerging market opportunities, Africa is ready for an investment boom. There are several challenges when it comes to investing in Africa, including unemployment, poverty, corruption and conflict. All of these are genuine obstacles to the business environment, but Africa’s economic foundations have been strengthening. Developed economies are only just shaking off the side-effects of the global economic downturn of 2008-2009, but Africa recovered quickly and is now displaying strong economic fundamentals.

Russian firms face funding crisis

Written by Fergal Hogan on . Posted in Global Briefing

Usually regular borrowers on global markets, Russian companies are finding their funding lifeblood cut off by banks and asset managers who worry their investments will get caught up in the stand-off between Moscow and the West. According to Bloomberg data, corporate offerings of foreign-currency bonds since the Crimea incursion have fallen by 69% to $7.1 billion so far this year from the same period last year.  With military tensions still running high between Russia and Ukraine and the ongoing imposition of tough Western economic sanctions, it has become more and more difficult for companies to issue bonds or obtain loans, a situation that could eventually threaten some of them with default.

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