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The Moneyist: My bank accidentally deposited $10K in my account. I reported it, then moved it to my savings account. Have I done enough?

‘I have made an earnest attempt to get the bank to take their money back, so I was wondering if at any point or time the money would become legally mine.’.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchSep 23rd, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Check out 22 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Quantum computing made easy QC Ware CEO Matt Johnson. QC Ware Even though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant models Kirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders. Beacon A fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck US equity futures, already sharply higher overnight, jumped this morning as a risk-on mood inspired by stellar bank earnings, overshadowed concern that supply snarls. a China property crunch, a tapering Fed and stagflation will weigh on the global recovery. Nasdaq futures jumped 1%, just ahead of the S&P 500 which was up 0.9%. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to about 1.5%, and with the dollar lower as well, oil jumped. Bitcoin and the broader crypto space continued to rise. Shares in Morgan Stanley, Citi and Bank of America jumped as their deal-making units rode a record wave of M&A. On the other end, Boeing shares fell more than 1% after a Dow Jones report said the plane maker is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner. Here are some of the biggest other U.S. movers today: Occidental (OXY US) rises 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell its interests in two Ghana offshore fields for $750m to Kosmos Energy and Ghana National Petroleum Plug Power (PLUG US) rises 3.3% premarket, extending gains from Wednesday, when it announced partnership with Airbus SE and Phillips 66 to find ways to harness hydrogen to power airplanes, vehicles and industry Esports Entertainment (GMBL US) shares rise 16% in U.S. premarket trading after the online gambling company reported its FY21 results and reaffirmed its FY22 guidance Perrigo  (PRGO US) gains 2.8% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgrades to outperform following acquisition of HRA Pharma and recent settlement of Irish tax dispute AT&T (T US) ticks higher in premarket trading after KeyBanc writes upgrades to sector weight from underweight, saying it seems harder to justify further downside from here Avis Budget (CAR US) may be active after getting its only negative rating among analysts as Morgan Stanley cuts to underweight with risk/reward seen pointing toward downside OrthoPediatrics (KIDS US) dipped 2% Wednesday postmarket after it said 3Q revenue was hurt by the surge in cases of Covid-19 delta variant and RSV within children’s hospitals combined with staff shortage Investors continue to evaluate the resilience of economic reopening to supply chain disruptions, a jump in energy prices and the prospect of reduced central bank support. In the earnings season so far, executives at S&P 500 companies mentioned the phrase “supply chain” about 3,000 times on investor calls as of Tuesday -- far higher than last year’s then-record figure. “Our constructive outlook for growth means that our asset allocation remains broadly pro-risk and we continue to be modestly overweight global equities,” according to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist at Aviva Investors. “However, we have scaled back that position marginally because of growing pains which could impact sales and margins.” Europe's Stoxx 600 index reached its highest level in almost three weeks, boosted by gains in tech shares and miners. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose over 1% to best levels for the week. FTSE 100 rises 0.75%, underperforming at the margin. Miners and tech names are the strongest sectors with only healthcare stocks in small negative territory. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: THG shares advance as much as 10%, snapping a four-day losing streak, after a non-executive director bought stock while analysts at Goldman Sachs and Liberum defended their buy recommendations. Steico gains as much as 9.9%, the most since Jan., after the insulation manufacturer reported record quarterly revenue, which Warburg says “leaves no doubt” about underlying market momentum. Banco BPM climbs as much as 3.6% and is the day’s best performer on the FTSE MIB benchmark index; bank initiated at buy at Jefferies as broker says opportunity to internalize insurance business offers 9%-16% possible upside to 2023 consensus EPS and is not priced in by the market. Hays rises as much as 4.3% after the recruiter posted a jump in comparable net fees for the first quarter. Publicis jumps as much as 3.7%, the stock’s best day since July, with JPMorgan saying the advertising company’s results show a “strong” third quarter, though there are risks ahead. Kesko shares rise as much as 6.1%. The timing of this year’s third guidance upgrade was a surprise, Inderes says. Ubisoft shares fall as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan Cazenove (overweight) opened a negative catalyst watch, citing short-term downside risk to earnings ahead of results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, boosted by a rebound in technology shares as traders focused on the ongoing earnings season and assessed economic-reopening prospects in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, as a sub-gauge of tech stocks rose, halting a three-day slide. Tokyo Electron contributed the most to the measure’s climb, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed up 0.4% ahead of its earnings release. India’s tech stocks rose following better-than-expected earnings for three leading firms in the sector. Philippine stocks were among Asia’s best performers as Manila began easing virus restrictions, which will allow more businesses in the capital to reopen this weekend. Indonesia’s stock benchmark rallied for a third-straight day, as the government prepared to reopen Bali to tourists. READ: Commodities Boom, Tourism Hopes Fuel Southeast Asia Stock Rally Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX, said FOMC minutes released overnight provided Asian markets with little direction, which may offer some opportunity for recouping recent losses. The report showed officials broadly agreed last month they should start reducing pandemic-era stimulus in mid-November or mid-December. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields stayed below 1.6%, providing support for tech stocks.  “Markets seemed to conclude the near-term narrative is on pause until further evidence,” Spivak said. Shares in mainland China fell as the country reported factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September. Singapore’s stock benchmark pared initial losses as the country’s central bank unexpectedly tightened policy. Hong Kong’s equity market was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were steady to a tad higher, underperforming Bunds which advanced, led by the long end.  Fixed income is mixed: gilts bull steepen with short dates richening ~2.5bps, offering only a muted reaction to dovish commentary from BOE’s Tenreyro. Bunds rise with 10y futures breaching 169. USTs are relatively quiet with 5s30s unable to crack 100bps to the upside. Peripheral spreads widen slightly. In FX, the Turkish lira was again the overnight standout as it weakened to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three central bankers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell and the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, with risk-sensitive and resource-based currencies leading gains; the euro rose to trade above $1.16 for the first time in a week.  The pound rose to more than a two-week high amid dollar weakness as traders wait for a raft of Bank of England policy makers to speak. Sweden’s krona temporarily came off an almost eight-month high against the euro after inflation fell short of estimates. The euro dropped to the lowest since November against the Swiss franc as banks targeted large option barriers and leveraged sell-stops under 1.0700, traders said; Currency traders are responding to stagflation risks by turning to the Swiss franc. The Aussie advanced to a five-week high versus the greenback even as a monthly jobs report showed employment fell in September; the jobless rate rose less than economists forecast. The kiwi was a among the top performers; RBNZ Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said inflation pressures were becoming more persistent China’s yuan declined from a four-month high after the central bank signaled discomfort with recent gains by setting a weaker-than-expected reference rate. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains with WTI up ~$1 before stalling near $81.50. Brent regains a $84-handle. Spot gold drifts through Wednesday’s highs, adding $4 to print just shy of the $1,800/oz mark. Base metals are well bid with LME copper and aluminum gaining as much as 3%.  Looking at the day ahead, we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,382.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 464.38 MXAP up 0.7% to 196.12 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 642.66 Nikkei up 1.5% to 28,550.93 Topix up 0.7% to 1,986.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,558.28 Sensex up 0.7% to 61,190.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,311.73 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,988.64 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 93.84 German 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to -0.143% Euro little changed at $1.1615 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.13/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A flattening Treasury yield curve signals increasing concern Federal Reserve efforts to keep inflation in check will derail the recovery in the world’s largest economy China’s factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September, potentially adding to global inflation pressure if local businesses start passing on higher costs to consumers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired monetary policy makers wary of cutting interest rates further, driving the lira to record lows against the dollar with his midnight decree Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy settings, strengthening the local dollar, as the city-state joins policymakers globally concerned about risks of persistent inflation Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China mixed with Covid-related supply chain snarls is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, intensifying fears retail shelves may look rather empty come Christmas A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk A constructive mood was seen across Asia-Pac stocks with the region building on the mild positive bias stateside where the Nasdaq outperformed as tech and growth stocks benefitted from the curve flattening, with global risk appetite unfazed by the firmer US CPI data and FOMC Minutes that suggested the start of tapering in either mid-November of mid-December. The ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher as tech stocks found inspiration from the outperformance of US counterparts and with the mining sector buoyed by gains in underlying commodity prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.5%) was the biggest gainer amid currency-related tailwinds and with the latest securities flow data showing a substantial shift by foreign investors to net purchases of Japanese stocks during the prior week. The KOSPI (+1.5%) conformed to the brightening picture amid signs of a slowdown in weekly infections, while the Singapore’s Straits Times Index (+0.3%) lagged for most of the session following weaker than expected Q3 GDP data, and after the MAS surprisingly tightened its FX-based policy by slightly raising the slope of the SGD nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). The Shanghai Comp. (U/C) was initially kept afloat but with gains capped after slightly softer than expected loans and financing data from China and with participants digesting mixed inflation numbers in which CPI printed below estimates but PPI topped forecasts for a record increase in factory gate prices, while there was also an absence of Stock Connect flows with participants in Hong Kong away for holiday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after the recent curve flattening stateside and rebound in T-notes with the US longer-end also helped by a solid 30yr auction, although gains for JGBs were capped amid the outperformance in Tokyo stocks and mostly weaker metrics at the 5yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer Shares Fall on Debt Crisis: Evergrande Update Japan’s Yamagiwa Says Abenomics Fell Short at Spreading Wealth China Seen Rolling Over Policy Loans to Keep Liquidity Abundant Malaysia’s 2020 Fertility Rate Falls to Lowest in Four Decades Bourses in Europe have modestly extended on the upside seen at the European cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) in a continuation of the firm sentiment experienced overnight. US equity futures have also conformed to the broader upbeat tone, with gains seen across the ES (+0.7%), NQ (+0.8%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.7%). The upside comes despite a lack of overly pertinent newsflow, with participants looking ahead to a plethora of central bank speakers. The major indices in Europe also see a broad-based performance, but the periphery narrowly outperforms, whilst the SMI (Unch) lags amid the sectorial underperformance seen in Healthcare. Overall, the sectors portray somewhat of a cyclical tilt. The Basic Resources sector is the clear winner and is closely followed by Tech and Financial Services. Individual moves are scarce as price action is largely dictated by the macro picture, but the tech sector is led higher by gains in chip names after the world's largest contract chipmaker TSMC (+3.1% pre-market) reported strong earnings and upgraded its revenue guidance. Top European News German 2021 Economic Growth Forecast Slashed on Supply Crunch U.K. Gas Shipper Stops Supplies in Another Blow to Power Firms Christmas Toy Shortages Loom as Cargo Clogs a Major U.K. Port Putin Is Back to Building Financial Fortress as Reserves Grow In FX, the Dollar and index by default have retreated further from Tuesday’s 2021 peak for the latter as US Treasury yields continue to soften and the curve realign in wake of yesterday’s broadly in line CPI data and FOMC minutes that set the schedule for tapering, but maintained a clear differential between scaling down the pace of asset purchases and the timing of rate normalisation. Hence, the Buck is losing bullish momentum with the DXY now eying bids and downside technical support under 94.000 having slipped beneath an early October low (93.804 from the 5th of the month vs 93.675 a day earlier) and the 21 DMA that comes in at 93.770 today between 94.090-93.754 parameters before the next IJC update, PPI data and a heavy slate of Fed speakers. NZD/AUD - No real surprise that the Kiwi has been given a new lease of life given that the RBNZ has already taken its first tightening step and put physical distance between the OCR and the US FFR, not to mention that the move sparked a major ‘sell fact’ after ‘buy rumour’ reaction. However, Nzd/Usd is back on the 0.7000 handle with additional impetus via favourable tailwinds down under as the Aud/Nzd cross is now nearer 1.0550 than 1.0600 even though the Aussie is also taking advantage of the Greenback’s fall from grace to reclaim 0.7400+ status. Note, Aud/Usd may be lagging somewhat on the back of a somewhat labour report overnight as the employment tally fell slightly short of expectations and participation dipped, but the jobless rate fell and full time jobs rose. Moreover, RBA Deputy Governor Debelle repeated that circumstances are different for Australia compared to countries where policy is tightening, adding that employment is positive overall, but there is not much improvement on the wage front. CAD/GBP/CHF - The next best majors in terms of reclaiming losses vs their US counterpart, with the Loonie also encouraged by a firm bounce in oil prices and other commodities in keeping with a general recovery in risk appetite. Usd/Cad is under 1.2400, while Cable is now over 1.3700 having clearly breached Fib resistance around 1.3663 and the Franc is probing 0.9200 for a big figure-plus turnaround from recent lows irrespective of mixed Swiss import and producer prices. EUR/JPY - Relative laggards, but the Euro has finally hurdled chart obstacles standing in the way of 1.1600 and gradually gathering impetus to pull away from decent option expiry interest at the round number and just above (1.5 bn and 1 bn 1.1610-20), and the Yen regrouping around the 113.50 axis regardless of dovish BoJ rhetoric. In short, board member Noguchi conceded that the Bank may have little choice but to extend pandemic relief support unless it becomes clear that the economy has returned to a pre-pandemic state, adding that more easing may be necessary if the jobs market does not improve from pent-up demand, though he doesn't see and immediate need to top up stimulus or big stagflation risk. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are continuing the grind higher seen since the European close yesterday as the risk tone remains supportive and in the aftermath of an overall bullish IEA oil market report. The IEA upgraded its 2021 and 2022 oil demand forecasts by 170k and 210k BPD respectively, which contrasts the EIA STEO and the OPEC MOMR – with the former upping its 2021 but cutting 2022 forecast, whilst the OPEC MOMR saw the 2021 demand forecast cut and 2022 was maintained. The IEA report however noted that the ongoing energy crisis could boost oil demand by 500k BPD, and oil demand could exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On this, China has asked Russia to double electricity supply between November-December. The morning saw commentary from various energy ministers, but perhaps the most telling from the Russian Deputy PM Novak who suggested Russia will produce 9.9mln BPD of oil in October (in-line with the quota), but that Russia has no problem in increasing oil output which can go to 11.3mln BPD (Russia’s capacity) and even more than that, but output will depend on market situation. Long story short, Russia can ramp up output but is currently caged by the OPEC+ pact. WTI Nov extended on gain about USD 81/bbl to a current high of USD 81.41/bbl (vs 80.41/bbl low) while its Brent counter topped USD 84.00/bbl to a USD 84.24/bbl high (vs 83.18/bbl low). As a reminder, the weekly DoEs will be released at 16:00BST/11:00EDT on account of the Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices have also moved higher in intraday, with the UK Nat Gas future +5.5% at the time of writing. Returning to the Russian Deputy PM Novak who noted that Nord Stream 2 will be ready for work in the next few days, still expects certification to occur and commercial supplies of gas via Nord Stream 2 could start following certification. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been drifting higher as the Buck wanes, with spot gold topping its 200 DMA (1,7995/oz) and in striking distance of its 100 DMA (1,799/oz) ahead of the USD 1,800/oz mark. Over to base metals, LME copper is again on a firmer footing, owing to the overall constructive tone across the market. Dalian iron ore meanwhile fell for a second straight day in a continuation of the downside seen as Beijing imposed tougher steel output controls for winter. World Steel Association also cut its global steel demand forecast to +4.5% in 2021 (prev. forecast +5.8%); +2.2% in 2022 (prev. forecast 2.7%). US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%; YoY, est. 8.6%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 7.1%, prior 6.7% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; YoY, est. 6.5%, prior 6.3% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 326,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.67m, prior 2.71m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 53.4 Central Banks 8:35am: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in Virtual Discussion 9:45am: Fed’s Bostic Takes Part in Panel on Inclusive Growth 12pm: New York Fed’s Logan Gives Speech on Policy Implementation 1pm: Fed’s Barkin Gives Speech 1pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Conference on Small Business Credit 6pm: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Inflation dominated the conversation yet again for markets yesterday, after another upside surprise from the US CPI data led to the increasing realisation that we’ll still be talking about the topic for some time yet. Equities were pretty subdued as they looked forward to the upcoming earnings season, but investor jitters were evident as the classic inflation hedge of gold (+1.87%) posted its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the US dollar (-0.46%) ended the session as the worst performer among the G10 currencies. Running through the details of that release, headline US consumer prices were up by +0.4% on a monthly basis in September (vs. +0.3% expected), marking the 5th time in the last 7 months that the figure has come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, though core prices were in line with consensus at +0.2% month-over-month. There were a number of drivers behind the faster pace, but food inflation (+0.93%) saw its biggest monthly increase since April 2020. Whilst some pandemic-sensitive sectors registered soft readings, housing-related prices were much firmer. Rent of primary residence grew +0.45%, its fastest pace since May 2001 and owners’ equivalent rent increased +0.43%, its strongest since June 2006. These housing gauges are something that Fed officials have signposted as having the potential to provide more durable upward pressure on inflation. The CPI release only added to speculation that the Fed would be forced to hike rates earlier than previously anticipated, and investors are now pricing in almost 4 hikes by the end of 2023, which is over a full hike more than they were pricing in just a month earlier. In response, the Treasury yield curve continued the previous day’s flattening, with the prospect of tighter monetary policy seeing the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to a post-pandemic high of 0.358%, whilst the 10yr decreased -4.0bps to 1.537%. That move lower in the 10yr yield was entirely down to lower real rates, however, which were down -7.4bps, suggesting investors were increasingly concerned about long-term growth prospects, whereas the 10yr inflation breakeven was up +3.3bps to 2.525%, its highest level since May. Meanwhile in Europe, 10yr sovereign bond yields took a turn lower alongside Treasuries, with those on bunds (-4.2bps), OATs (-4.0bps) and BTPs (-2.3bps) all falling. Recent inflation dynamics and issues on the supply-side are something that politicians have become increasingly attuned to, and President Biden gave remarks last night where he outlined efforts to address the supply-chain bottlenecks. This followed headlines earlier in the session that major ports in southern California would move to a 24/7 schedule to unclog delivery backlogs, and Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to push for the passage of the infrastructure plan. That comes as it’s also been reported by Reuters that the White House has been speaking with US oil and gas producers to see how prices can be brought lower. We should hear from Mr. Biden again today, who’s due to give an update on the Covid-19 response. On the topic of institutions that care about inflation, the September FOMC minutes suggested staff still remained optimistic that inflationary pressures would prove transitory, although Committee members themselves were predictably more split on the matter. Several participants pointed out that pandemic-sensitive prices were driving most of the gains, while some expressed concerns that high rates of inflation would feed into longer-term inflation expectations. Otherwise, the minutes all but confirmed DB’s US economists’ call for a November taper announcement, with monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases of $10 billion for Treasuries and $5 billion for MBS. Markets took the news in their stride immediately following the release, reflecting how the build-up to this move has been gradually telegraphed through the year. Turning to equities, the S&P 500 managed to end its 3-day losing streak, gaining +0.30% by the close. Megacap technology stocks led the way, with the FANG+ index up +1.13% as the NASDAQ added +0.73%. On the other hand, cyclicals such as financials (-0.64%) lagged behind the broader index following flatter yield curve, and JPMorgan Chase (-2.64%) sold off as the company’s Q3 earnings release showed muted loan growth. Separately, Delta Air Lines (-5.76%) also sold off along with the broader S&P 500 airlines index (-3.51%), as they warned that rising fuel costs would threaten earnings over the current quarter. European indices posted a more solid performance than the US, with the STOXX 600 up +0.71%, though the sectoral balance was similar with tech stocks outperforming whilst the STOXX Banks index (-2.05%) fell back from its 2-year high the previous session. Overnight in Asia equities have put in a mixed performance, with the KOSPI (+1.17%) and the Nikkei (+1.01%) moving higher whilst the Shanghai Composite (-0.25%) and the CSI (-0.62%) have lost ground. Those moves follow the release of Chinese inflation data for September, which showed producer price inflation hit its highest in nearly 26 years, at +10.7% (vs. +10.5% expected), driven mostly by higher coal prices and energy-sensitive categories. On the other hand, the CPI measure for September came in slightly below consensus at +0.7% (vs. +0.8% expected), indicating that higher factory gate prices have not yet translated into consumer prices. Meanwhile, equity markets in the US are pointing to a positive start later on with S&P 500 futures up +0.32%. Of course, one of the drivers behind the renewal of inflation jitters has been the recent surge in commodity prices across the board, and we’ve seen further gains yesterday and this morning that will only add to the concerns about inflation readings yet to come. Oil prices have advanced yet again, with Brent Crude up +0.69% this morning to be on track to close at a 3-year high as it stands. That comes in spite of OPEC’s monthly oil market report revising down their forecast for world oil demand this year to 5.8mb/d, having been at 5.96mb/d last month. Elsewhere, European natural gas prices were up +9.24% as they continued to pare back some of the declines from last week, and a further two energy suppliers in the UK collapsed, Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, who supply quarter of a million customers between them. Otherwise, copper (+4.4x%) hit a 2-month high yesterday, and it up a further +1.01% this morning, Turning to Brexit, yesterday saw the European Commission put forward a set of adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a part of the Brexit deal that’s caused a significant dispute between the UK and the EU. The proposals from Commission Vice President Šefčovič would see an 80% reduction in checks on animal and plant-based products, as well as a 50% reduction in paperwork by reducing the documentation needed for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It follows a speech by the UK’s David Frost on Tuesday, in which he said that Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, could be used “if necessary”. Mr. Frost is due to meet with Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Running through yesterday’s other data, UK GDP grew by +0.4% in August (vs. +0.5% expected), and the July number was revised down to show a -0.1% contraction (vs. +0.1% growth previously). The release means that GDP in August was still -0.8% beneath its pre-pandemic level back in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and on the calendar we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Check out 21 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Simplifying quant models Kirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders. Beacon A fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Mansions for kids - Life after Google Plex - Citco"s AWS journey

The top finance news for Oct. 13, including the latest on boomers' borrowing habits and Citco's massive transition to the cloud. Welcome to Insider Finance. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.On the agenda today:Wealthy baby boomers are using loans to buy their children homes and save on taxes.Banks that partnered with Google on its digital bank account describe what's next.Citco gave us an inside look at its massive migration to AWS.Let's get started. Wealthy parents are using cheap loans to buy their adult children homes Jessie Casson/Getty Images For affluent parents, using the low-interest loans can be a way to pass down their wealth - and save on taxes. Baby boomers borrowing against their investment portfolios are feeding the all-cash bidding frenzy. Here's how it works.What's next for banks that partnered with Google AP Photo/Matt Rourke The 11 banks that signed on to help Google offer its checking account share what's next for them in the wake of the project getting scrapped. Some said they'd partner with Google on future projects, while others said they intend to leverage the development. See what banks are doing now that Google's digital bank account is no more.Harry and Meghan get into the investment business Taylor Hill/WireImage/Getty Images The couple told DealBook they're joining Ethic, a $1.3 billion asset manager, as "impact partners." With $1.3 billion under management in the environmental, social, and governance space, the pair hopes it'll encourage younger people to invest in sustainable firms. More on their move into investing.A newly minted $2.2 billion credit fund is on the hunt for tech deals Samantha Lee/Insider Tech investor Francisco Partners just closed its second credit fund, a $2.2 billion effort dubbed FP Credit Partners II. The fresh funding, set to be deployed over three years, will target healthcare opportunities, fintech, security, and industrial technology companies. Here's how it'll put the money to work.Inside Citco's transition from physical data centers to AWS Tableau Citco has moved $1 trillion in assets under administration to AWS. The firm took 18 months to migrate 10,000 accounts from more than 550 clients to the cloud. Get an inside look at the massive cloud-migration project.Celsius Network's valuation soars 2,400% INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images Cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network has raised $400 million in its latest fundraising round, pushing its valuation to $3 billion. The latest cash injection will be used to expand its offerings and products, Celsius said. More on that here.On our radar:Bloomberg spoke with five traders, who gave them tips for surviving disrupted markets. Get a glimpse inside traders' lives.Bond platform Trumid has raised $208 million, per The Financial Times. More on that here. eFinancialCareers reported that Goldman Sachs' 2021 layoffs are probably not happening. They explain why.The SEC opened an inquiry into how Wall Street banks keep track of employees' communications, according to Reuters. Get the rundown here.The New York Times reported on new research that found racial bias skewed small-business relief lending.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 13th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising US equity-index futures erased earlier declines, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8% helped by the start of the European session and easing mounting concerns about stagflation from rising energy prices, signs of widening regulatory scrutiny by China, and the upcoming third-quarter earnings which is expected to post a sharply slower pace of growth and beats than recent record quarters. At 730am ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 46.75points, or 0.31%. Oiil rose 0.3% to $83.86/bbl while the dollar dipped and 10Y yield drifted back under 1.60%. Gains in tech stocks kept Nasdaq futures afloat on Tuesday, while energy names rose as Brent resumed gains, trading around $84/bbl on expectations that a power crisis from Asia to Europe will lift demand and tighten global balances. Higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers ahead of the third-quarter reporting season that kicks off on Wednesday with JPMorgan results.  "We believe that market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group. In the pre-market, Tesla rose 0.7% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago. Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, as Brent crude hit a near-three year high on energy crunch fears. Here are the notable movers: China’s Internet sector is one of the “most undervalued” in Morningstar’s coverage, says Ivan Su, an analyst, adding that Tencent (TCEHY US) and Netease (NTES US) are top picks MGM Resorts (MGM US) rises 2% in U.S. premarket trading after stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral and price target more than doubled to a Street-high $68 at Credit Suisse Quanterix (QTRX US) jumped 20% in Monday postmarket trading after the digital-health company announced that its Simoa phospho-Tau 181 blood test has been granted breakthrough device designation by the U.S. FDA as an aid in diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Relay Therapeutics (RLAY US) fell 7% in Monday postmarket trading after launching a $350 million share sale via Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Cowen, Guggenheim Securities Westwater Resources (WWR US) rose as much as 26% in Monday postmarket trading after its board of directors approved construction of the first phase of a production facility in Alabama for battery ready graphite products TechnipFMC (FTI US) in focus after co. was awarded a substantial long-term charter and services contract by Petrobras for the pipelay support vessel Coral do Atlântico Fastenal, which was one of the first companies to report Q3 earnings, saw its shares fall 2.4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the industrial distributor said the Covid-related boost was fading. The company said growth in the quarter was slightly limited by either slower expansion or contraction in sales of certain products related to the pandemic, when compared to the previous year quarter. While there was an uptick in sales of certain Covid-related supplies, the unit price of many products was down significantly, the company said in a statement.  Third-quarter sales and profit were in line with the average analyst estimate "While investors want to believe the narrative that stock markets can continue to move higher, this belief is bumping up against the reality of how the continued rise in energy prices, as well as supply-chain pressures, are likely to impact company profit margins,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. In Europe, losses led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks, pulling the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1%. Metals miner Rio Tinto was among the worst performers, dropping 2.7%. European equities climbed off the lows having lost over 1% in early trade. Euro Stoxx 600 was down -0.35% after dropping as much as 1.3% initially, led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks. The DAX is off 0.3%, FTSE 100 underperforms in a quiet morning for news flow. Miners, banks and autos are the weakest sectors after China reported a sharp drop in auto sales; utilities, tech and real estate post modest gains. European tech stocks slide, with the Stoxx Tech Index dropping as much as 1.4% in third straight decline, as another broker downgrades TeamViewer, while Prosus and chip stocks come under pressure. TeamViewer shares fall as much as 5.1% after Deutsche Bank downgrades the remote software maker to hold from buy following recent guidance cut. Asian stocks fell, halting a three-day rally as uncertainty over earnings deepened amid elevated inflation, higher bond yields and the risk of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 1.2%, led by technology and communication shares. Alibaba plunged 3.9% following a rally over the past week, while Samsung Electronics tumbled to a 10-month low after at least five brokers slashed their price targets, as China’s power crisis is seen worsening supply-chain disruptions. “Given the run-up in tech so far, it’s not difficult for investors to harvest profits first before figuring out if techs can maintain their growth when yields rise,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. Shares in Hong Kong and the mainland were among the worst performers after Chinese authorities kicked off an inspection of the nation’s financial regulators and biggest state-run banks in an effort to root out corruption. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 12% from a February peak, with a global energy crunch lifting input prices and the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group weighing on the financial sector. Investors are waiting to see how this impacts earnings, according to Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia.  “Increasing concerns on inflation potentially being more persistent have started to show up,” he said. “This comes along with the global risk-off mood overnight, as investors look for greater clarity from the earnings season on how margins are holding up, along with the corporate economic outlook.” Japan’s Topix index also fell, halting a two-day rally, amid concerns about a global energy crunch and the possibility of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The Topix fell 0.7% to 1,982.68 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.9% to 28,230.61. SoftBank Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s drop, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 373 rose and 1,743 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Market conditions were improving yesterday, but pushing for higher prices got tough when the Nikkei 225 approached its key moving averages,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.  The Nikkei’s 75-day moving average is about 28,500 and the 200-day moving average is about 28,700, so some investors were taking profits, he said. Japan’s spot power price increased to the highest level in nine months, as the global energy crisis intensifies competition for generation fuel before the winter heating season. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an overnight gain as the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies led gains, followed by the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The pound was little changed while speculators ramped up wagers on sterling’s decline at the fastest rate in more than two years, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, further breaking the link between anticipated rate increases and currency gains. The yen steadied after three days of declines. The Turkish lira extended its slide to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a possible military offensive into neighboring Syria. Fixed-income was quiet by recent standards: Treasury futures were off lows of the day, improving as S&P 500 futures pare losses during European morning, and as cash trading resumed after Monday’s holiday. The 10Y yield dipped from 1.61% to 1.59% after hitting 1.65% based on futures pricing on Monday, but the big mover was on the front end, where 2-year yields climbed as much as 4bps to 0.35% the highest level since March 2020 reflecting increased expectations for Fed rate hikes, as Treasury cash trading resumed globally. Two coupon auctions during U.S. session -- of 3-and 10-year notes -- may weigh on Treasuries however.  Treasury and gilt curves bull-flatten with gilts outperforming at the back end. Bunds have a bull-steepening bias but ranges are narrow. Peripheral spreads tighten a touch with long-end Italy outperforming peers. In commodities, Crude futures drift higher in muted trade. WTI is up 0.25% near $80.70, Brent trades just shy of a $84-handle. Spot gold remains range-bound near $1,760/oz. Base metals are mixed with LME lead and nickel holding small gains, copper and aluminum in the red. Looking at the day ahead, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September which came in at 99.1, below last month's 100.1. The IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,351.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 454.90 MXAP down 0.9% to 194.41 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 635.42 Nikkei down 0.9% to 28,230.61 Topix down 0.7% to 1,982.68 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,546.94 Sensex little changed at 60,149.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,280.73 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,916.38 German 10Y yield fell 6 bps to -0.113% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1565 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $84.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,757.84 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 Top Overnight Headlines from Bloomberg The EU drew record demand for its debut green bond, in the sector’s biggest-ever offering. The bloc registered more than 135 billion euros ($156 billion) in orders Tuesday for a sale of 12 billion euros of securities maturing in 2037 Investors are dumping negative-yielding debt at the fastest pace since February as concerns about inflation and reduced central bank stimulus propel global interest rates higher French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 30-billion-euro ($35 billion) plan to create the high-tech champions of the future and reverse years of industrial decline in the euro area’s second-largest economy British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates. As the Biden administration and governments around the world celebrate another advance toward an historic global tax accord, an obscure legal question in the U.S. threatens to tear it apart Chinese property developers are suffering credit rating downgrades at the fastest pace in five years, as a recent slump in new-home sales adds to concerns about the sector’s debt woes German investor confidence declined for a fifth month in October, adding to evidence that global supply bottlenecks and a surge in inflation are weighing on the recovery in Europe’s largest economy Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s bid to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor is running into its first test as tensions emerge in talks to bridge policy differences with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats A more detailed breakdown of global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly lower following the indecisive mood stateside where the major indices gave back initial gains to finish negative amid lingering inflation and global slowdown concerns, with sentiment overnight also hampered by tighter Beijing scrutiny and with US equity futures extending on losses in which the Emini S&P retreated beneath its 100DMA. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was subdued as weakness in energy, tech and financials led the declines in Australia and with participants also digesting mixed NAB business survey data. Nikkei 225 (-0.9%) was on the backfoot after the Japan Center for Economic Research noted that GDP contracted 0.9% M/M in August and with retailers pressured after soft September sales updates from Lawson and Seven & I Holdings, while the KOSPI (-1.4%) was the laggard on return from holiday with chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix subdued as they face new international taxation rules following the recent global minimum tax deal. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.3%) adhered to the downbeat picture following a continued liquidity drain by the PBoC and with Beijing scrutinising Chinese financial institutions’ ties with private firms, while default concerns lingered after Evergrande missed yesterday’s payments and with Modern Land China seeking a debt extension on a USD 250mln bond to avoid any potential default. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked minimal gains amid the weakness in stocks but with demand for bonds limited after the recent subdued trade in T-note futures owing to yesterday’s cash bond market closure and following softer results across all metrics in the 30yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Alibaba Stock Revival Halted on Concerns of Rising Bond Yields Iron Ore Rally Pauses as China Steel Curbs Cloud Demand Outlook China’s Star Board Sees Rough Start to Fourth Quarter: ECM Watch Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ European bourses kicked the day off choppy but have since drifted higher (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as the region remains on standby for the next catalyst, and as US earnings season officially kicks off tomorrow – not to mention the US and Chinese inflation metrics and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and reside in relatively flat territory at the time of writing, with broad-based performance seen in the ES (Unch), NQ (+0.2%), RTY (-0.2%), YM (Unch). From a technical standpoint, some of the Dec contracts are now hovering around their respective 100 DMAs at 4,346 for the ES, 14,744 for the NQ, whilst the RTY sees its 200 DMA at 2,215, and the YM topped its 21 DMA at 34,321. Back to Europe, cash markets see broad-based downside with the SMI (-0.1%) slightly more cushioned amid gains in heavyweight Nestle (+0.6%). Sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias but have since seen a slight reconfiguration, with Real Estate now the top performer alongside Food & Beverages, Tech and Healthcare. On the flip side, Basic Resources holds its position as the laggard following yesterday's marked outperformance and despite base metals (ex-iron) holding onto yesterday's gains. Autos also reside at the bottom of the bunch despite constructive commentary from China's Auto Industry Body CAAM, who suggested the chip supply shortage eased in China in September and expected Q4 to improve, whilst sources suggested Toyota aims to make up some lost production as supplies rebound. In terms of individual movers, GSK (+2.3%) shares spiked higher amid reports that its USD 54bln consumer unit has reportedly attracted buyout interest, according to sources, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 Dec future by 14 points in the immediacy. Elsewhere, easyJet (-1.9%) gave up its earlier gains after refraining on guidance, and despite an overall constructive trading update whereby the Co. sees positive momentum carried into FY22, with H1 bookings double those in the same period last year. Co. expects to fly up to 70% of FY19 planned capacity in FY22. In terms of commentary, the session saw the Germany ZEW release, which saw sentiment among experts deteriorate, citing the persisting supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products. The release also noted that 49.1% of expects still expect inflation to rise further in the next six months. Heading into earnings season, experts also expect profits to go down, particularly in export-tilted sectors such a car making, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. State-side, sources suggested that EU antitrust regulators are reportedly likely to open an investigation into Nvidia's (+0.6% Pre-Mkt) USD 54bln bid from Arm as concessions were not deemed sufficient. Top European News Soybeans Near 10-Month Low as Supply Outlook Expected to Improve EasyJet Boosts Capacity as Travel Rebound Gathers Pace Currency Traders Are Betting the BOE Is About to Make a Mistake Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ In FX, the Buck has reclaimed a bit more lost ground in consolidatory trade rather than any real sign of a change in fundamentals following Monday’s semi US market holiday for Columbus Day and ahead of another fairly light data slate comprising NFIB business optimism and JOLTS. However, supply awaits the return of cash Treasuries in the form of Usd 58 bn 3 year and Usd 38 bn 10 year notes and Fed commentary picks up pace on the eve of FOMC minutes with no less than five officials scheduled to speak. Meanwhile, broad risk sentiment has taken a knock in wake of a late swoon on Wall Street to give the Greenback and underlying bid and nudge the index up to fresh post-NFP highs within a 94.226-433 band. NZD/AUD - A slight change in fortunes down under as the Kiwi derives some comfort from the fact that the Aud/Nzd has not breached 1.0600 to the upside and Nzd/Usd maintaining 0.6950+ status irrespective of mixed NZ electric card sales data, while the Aussie takes on board contrasting NAB business conditions and confidence readings in advance of consumer sentiment, with Aud/Usd rotating either side of 0.7350. EUR/CAD/GBP/CHF/JPY - All rangy and marginally mixed against their US counterpart, as the Euro straddles 1.1560, the Loonie meanders between 1.2499-62 with less fuel from flat-lining crude and the Pound tries to keep sight of 1.3600 amidst corrective moves in Eur/Gbp following a rebound through 0.8500 after somewhat inconclusive UK labour and earnings data, but hardly a wince from the single currency even though Germany’s ZEW survey missed consensus and the institute delivered a downbeat assessment of the outlook for the coming 6 months. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to hold within rough 0.9250-90 extremes and the Yen is striving to nurse outsize losses between 113.00-50 parameters, with some attention to 1 bn option expiries from 113.20-25 for the NY cut. Note also, decent expiry interest in Eur/Usd and Usd/Cad today, but not as close to current spot levels (at the 1.1615 strike in 1.4 bn and between 1.2490-1.2505 in 1.1 bn respectively). SCANDI/EM - The Nok and Sek have bounced from lows vs the Eur, and the latter perhaps taking heed of a decline in Sweden’s registered jobless rate, but the Cnh and Cny remain off recent highs against the backdrop of more Chinese regulatory rigour, this time targeting state banks and financial institutions with connections to big private sector entities and the Try has thrown in the towel in terms of its fight to fend off approaches towards 9.0000 vs the Usd. The final straw for the Lira appeared to be geopolitical, as Turkish President Erdogan said they will take the necessary steps in Syria and are determined to eliminate threats, adding that Turkey has lost its patience on the attacks coming from Syrian Kurdish YPG controlled areas. Furthermore, he stated there is a Tal Rifaat pocket controlled by YPG below Afrin and that an operation could target that area which is under Russian protection. However, Usd/Try is off a new ATH circa 9.0370 as oil comes off the boil and ip came in above forecast. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are choppy and trade on either side of the flat mark in what is seemingly some consolidation and amid a distinct lack of catalysts to firmly dictate price action. The complex saw downticks heading into the European cash open in tandem with the overall market sentiment at the time, albeit the crude complex has since recovered off worst levels. News flow for the complex has also remained minimal as eyes now turn to any potential intervention by major economies in a bid to stem the pass-through of energy prices to consumers heading into winter. On that note, UK nat gas futures have been stable on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm. Looking ahead, the weekly Private Inventory data has been pushed back to tomorrow on account of yesterday's Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow will also see the release of the OPEC MOMR and EIA STEO. Focus on the former will be on any updates to its demand forecast, whilst commentary surrounding US shale could be interesting as it'll give an insight into OPEC's thinking on the threat of Shale under President Biden's "build back better" plan. Brent Dec trades on either side of USD 84/bbl (vs prev. 83.13-84.14 range) whilst WTI trades just under USD 81/bbl after earlier testing USD 80/bbl to the downside (USD 80-80.91/bbl range). Over to metals, spot gold and silver hold onto modest gains with not much to in the way of interesting price action, with the former within its overnight range above USD 1,750/oz and the latter still north of USD 22.50/oz after failing to breach the level to the downside in European hours thus far. In terms of base metals, LME copper is holding onto most of yesterday's gains, but the USD 9,500/t mark seems to be formidable resistance. Finally, Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures retreated after a four-day rally, with traders citing China's steel production regaining focus. US Event Calendar 6am: Sept. SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM 99.1,  est. 99.5, prior 100.1 10am: Aug. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 10.9m 11:15am: Fed’s Clarida Speaks at IIF Annual Meeting 12:30pm: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on Inflation at Peterson Institute 6pm: Fed’s Barkin Interviewed for an NPR Podcast DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s my wife’s birthday today and the big treat is James Bond tomorrow night. However, I was really struggling to work out what to buy her. After 11.5 years together, I ran out of original ideas at about year three and have then scrambled round every year in an attempt to be innovative. Previous innovations have seen mixed success with the best example being the nearly-to-scale oil portrait I got commissioned of both of us from our wedding day. She had no idea and hated it at the closed eyes big reveal. It now hangs proudly in our entrance hall though. Today I’ve bought her a lower key gamble. Some of you might know that there is a US website called Cameo that you can pay famous people to record a video message for someone for a hefty fee. Well, all her childhood heroes on it were seemingly too expensive or not there. Then I saw that the most famous gymnast of all time, Nadia Comăneci, was available for a reasonable price. My wife idolised her as a kid (I think). So after this goes to press, I’m going to wake my wife up with a personalised video message from Nadia wishing her a happy birthday, saying she’s my perfect ten, and praising her for encouraging our three children to do gymnastics and telling her to keep strong while I try to get them to play golf instead. I’m not sure if this is a totally naff gift or inspired. When I purchased it I thought the latter but now I’m worried it’s the former! My guess is she says it’s naff, appreciates the gesture, but calls me out for the lack of chocolates. Maybe in this day and age a barrel of oil or a tank of petrol would have been the most valuable birthday present. With investor anticipation continuing to build ahead of tomorrow’s CPI release from the US, yesterday saw yet another round of commodity price rises that’s making it increasingly difficult for central banks to argue that inflation is in fact proving transitory. You don’t have to be too old to remember that back in the summer, those making the transitory argument cited goods like lumber as an example of how prices would begin to fall back again as the economy reopened. But not only have commodity aggregates continued to hit fresh highs since then, but lumber (+5.49%) itself followed up last week’s gains to hit its highest level in 3 months. Looking at those moves yesterday, it was a pretty broad-based advance across the commodity sphere, with big rises among energy and metals prices in particular. Oil saw fresh advances, with WTI (+1.47%) closing above $80/bbl for the first time since 2014, whilst Brent Crude (+1.53%) closed above $83/bbl for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese coal futures (+8.00%) hit a record after the flooding in Shanxi province that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, which has closed 60 of the 682 mines there, and this morning they’re already up another +6.41%. So far this year, the region has produced 30% of China’s coal supply, which gives you an idea as to its importance. And when it came to metals, aluminium prices (+3.30%) on the London Metal Exchange rose to their highest level since the global financial crisis, whilst Iron Ore futures in Singapore jumped +7.01% on Monday, and copper was also up +2.13%. The one respite on the inflation front was a further decline in natural gas prices, however, with the benchmark European future down -2.73%; thus bringing its declines to over -47% since the intraday high that was hit only last Wednesday. With commodity prices seeing another spike and inflation concerns resurfacing, this proved bad news for sovereign bonds as investors moved to price in a more hawkish central bank reaction. Yields in Europe rose across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds up +3.0bps to 0.12%, their highest level since May. The rise was driven by both higher inflation breakevens and real rates, and leaves bund yields just shy of their recent post-pandemic closing peak of -0.10% from mid-May. If they manage to surpass that point, that’ll leave them closer to positive territory than at any point since Q2 2019 when they last turned negative again. It was a similar story elsewhere, with 10yr yields on OATs (+2.6bps), BTPs (+3.9bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) likewise reaching their highest level in months. The sell-off occurred as money markets moved to price in further rate hikes from central banks, with investors now expecting a full 25 basis point hike from the Fed by the end of Q3 2022. It seems like another era, but at the start of this year before the Georgia Senate race, investors weren’t even pricing in a full hike by the end of 2023, whereas they’re now pricing in almost 4. So we’ve come a long way over 2021, though pre-Georgia the consensus CPI forecast on Bloomberg was just 2.0%, whereas it now stands at 4.3%, so it does fit with the story of much stronger-than-expected inflation inducing a hawkish response. Yesterday’s repricing came alongside a pretty minimal -0.15% move in the Euro versus the dollar, but that was because Europe was also seeing a similar rates repricing. Meanwhile, the UK saw its own ramping up of rate hike expectations, with investors pricing in at least an initial 15bps hike to 0.25% happening by the December meeting in just two months’ time. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading in the red with the KOSPI (-1.46%), Shanghai Composite (-1.21%), Hang Seng (-1.20%), the Nikkei (-0.93%) and CSI (-0.82%) all trading lower on inflation concerns due to high energy costs and aggravated by a Wall Street Journal story that Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasing scrutiny of state-run banks and big financial institutions with inspections. Furthermore, there were signs of a worsening in the Evergrande debt situation, with the firm missing coupon payments on a 9.5% note due in 2022 and a 10% bond due in 2023. And there were fresh indications of a worsening situation more broadly, with Sinic Holdings Group Co. saying it doesn’t expect to pay the principal or interest on a $250m bond due on October 18. Separately in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he will raise pay for public workers and boost tax breaks to firms that boost wages to try and improve the country’s wealth distribution. Back to yesterday, and the commodity rally similarly weighed on thin-volume equity markets, though it took some time as the S&P 500 had initially climbed around +0.5% before paring back those gains to close down -0.69%. Before the late US sell-off, European indices were subdued, but the STOXX 600 still rose +0.05%, thanks to an outperformance from the energy sector (+1.49%), and the STOXX Banks Index (+0.13%) hit a fresh two-year high as the sector was supported by a further rise in yields. On the central bank theme, we heard from the ECB’s chief economist, Philip Lane, at a conference yesterday, where he said that “a one-off shift in the level of wages as part of the adjustment to a transitory unexpected increase in the price level does not imply a trend shift in the path of underlying inflation.” So clearly making a distinction between a more persistent pattern of wage inflation, which comes as the ECB’s recent forward guidance commits them to not hiking rates “until it sees inflation reaching two per cent well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, as well as having confidence that “realised progress in underlying inflation is sufficiently advanced to be consistent with inflation stabilising at two per cent over the medium term”. Turning to the political scene, Brexit is likely to be in the headlines again today as the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost gives a speech in Lisbon where he’s expected to warn that the EU’s proposals on the Northern Ireland Protocol are insufficient. That comes ahead of a new set of proposals that are set to come from the EU tomorrow, with the two sides disagreeing on the extent of border controls required on trade from Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Those controls were put in place as part of the Brexit deal to prevent a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst also preserving the integrity of the EU’s single market. But the UK’s demands for adjustments have been met with opposition by the EU, and speculation has risen that the UK could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, if the protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”. On the data front, there wasn’t much data to speak of with the US holiday, but Italy’s industrial production contracted by -0.2% in August, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, andcentral bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September. In Europe, there’s also UK unemployment for August and the German ZEW Survey for October. Lastly, the IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook.     Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 12th, 2021

Check out 20 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Invoice financing for SMBs Stacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders. Now About a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain - but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system. "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digital Jamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder. Ladder Fintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

South Dakota now rivals offshore tax havens for financial secrecy, Pandora Papers say

81 of the offshore accounts detailed in the Pandora Papers are in South Dakota, making it the state in the US with the largest number of trusts. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock South Dakota is sheltering assets from individuals previously accused of financial crimes, the new Pandora Papers say. "South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy," the Washington Post reported. The documents reveal that $360 billion in customer assets are sitting in trusts in South Dakota. See more stories on Insider's business page. Financial secrecy laws in South Dakota have made the state a prime location for foreigners who want to conceal and protect their assets, with tens of millions of dollars tied to people accused of financial crimes and human rights abuses, according to newly public documents. The Pandora Papers, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), explores the secretive offshore system the wealthy and power use to shield their money. The millions of pages of documents were shared with media partners including the Guardian, BBC Panorama, Le Monde, and the Washington Post. The documents reveal that $360 billion in customer assets are sitting in trusts in South Dakota. Over the years, state lawmakers in South Dakota have approved legislation drafted by trust industry insiders, protecting their customers' finances and adding additional benefits, according to the ICIJ. Over the last decade, the total dollar in these accounts has quadrupled from $57.3 billion."South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy," the Washington Post reported.In 2019, for example, family members of the former vice president of the Dominican Republic, who once led one of the largest sugar producers in the country, finalized several trusts in South Dakota. The trusts held personal wealth and shares of the company, which has stood accused of human rights and labor abuses, including illegally bulldozing houses of impoverished families to expand plantations.Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with a population of less than 200,000, hosts tens of millions of dollars in trusts belonging to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing, the Post reports.South Dakota is so appealing to the ultra-rich because they want the best security, the best income, and the lowest costs, the newspaper says.The state's laws have moved to allow for more financial security to protect asset holders, the Guardian explains. In a normal bank, the government taxes the interest earned by the account. Even if that money is protected from taxes it can still be lost through a divorce or legal proceedings.However, in South Dakota, all assets are protected from any civil claims, the Guardian reports. Assets are not protected from criminal investigation. Because the state has no income tax, no inheritance tax, and no capital gains tax, finances there are also sheltered from the government, the outlet said.81 of the offshore accounts detailed in the Pandora Papers are in South Dakota, making it the state in the US with the largest number of trusts from the report, according to the ICIJ. "Trusts set up in South Dakota and many other U.S. states remain cloaked in secrecy, despite enactment this year of the federal Corporate Transparency Act, which makes it harder for owners of certain types of companies to hide their identities," the ICIJ said. The news outlets involved are expected to publish more details from the Pandora Papers in the coming days. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 3rd, 2021

El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip

Will the country's adoption of the digital currency help its people, or just its president? When Roman Martinez was growing up in El Zonte, a small coastal village in El Salvador, the American Dream loomed large. Beyond the local fishing industry, which Martinez’s parents worked in, there weren’t a lot of opportunities. “Young people just wanted to leave, to go to the U.S.,” he says. “But now we have a Salvadoran dream.” It’s a dream about Bitcoin. Two years ago an anonymous American donor sent more than $100,000 in the decentralized digital currency, or cryptocurrency, to an NGO that Martinez works for in El Zonte to pay for social programs. As the team began encouraging families and businesses to use Bitcoin, many of the town’s residents, most of whom had never had a bank account, began saving their money in the currency, making gains as its value surged. Curious tourists flooded into the town and foreign businesses set up shop. The project gave El Zonte the nickname “Bitcoin beach,” simultaneously a philanthropic endeavour and one of the world’s largest experiments in cryptocurrency. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “People with little income, who didn’t have access to a financial system, with $5 worth of Bitcoin they can start building something that can be the legacy they leave to their children,” Martinez says, over video call, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with Bitcoin’s orange logo. It was partly El Zonte’s experiment that inspired El Salvador last month to become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender—alongside the U.S. dollar, which El Salvador has used as its currency since 2001. The Bitcoin law, which came into force on Sept. 7, makes taxes payable in Bitcoin, obliges all businesses to accept it, and paves the way for the government to disburse subsidies in it. The government has built a network of 200 Bitcoin ATMs and a digital Bitcoin wallet app, called Chivo, through which it has distributed $30 worth of Bitcoin to every Salvadoran citizen in a bid to kickstart the Bitcoin economy. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele claims 2.1 million Salvadorans have used Chivo so far, in a country of 6 million people. Bukele is touting Bitcoin as a way for Salvadorans to reduce the fees they pay to send and receive remittances—which make up 22% of El Salvador’s GDP, mostly from the U.S.—and as a way for the 70% of Salvadorans who are unbanked to access financial services. He’s not alone in advocating for cryptocurrencies as a way for developing economies to bypass a global financial system in which access to services and investment are geared towards the world’s richer countries and individuals. Crypto has achieved its highest penetration mostly in countries where banking systems are costly and complicated to use, or where local economies and currencies are unstable. But critics say making Bitcoin—notoriously volatile and not subject to controls by any central bank—into legal tender is an unjustifiable gamble for El Salvador’s already ailing economy. The $200 million of taxpayer money congress has devoted to the project equates to 2.7% of the government’s total budget for 2021, or almost three times the agriculture ministry’s budget for the year. The uncertainty introduced by the Bitcoin policy has sent the price of government bonds tumbling, and halted negotiations for a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the country is seeking to plug a $1.5 billion hole in its public finances. ‘The coolest dictator in the world’ For the President, a 40 year-old with the casual wardrobe and cheeky communication style of a tech entrepreneur, Bitcoin is about more than its immediate economic impact, though. It’s a chance to rebrand El Salvador, from a country known primarily for gang violence and a sluggish economy that drives emigration to the U.S., to an independent, modern crypto pioneer. For young Salvadorans like Martinez, that means creating a Salvadoran dream. For the international community, it’s a rebuke to a world order that casts El Salvador as the backyard to the U.S.—which Bukele has increasingly railed against since taking power in 2019. Instead, he casts El Salvador as an independent hub of innovation, aligned with the anti-establishment crypto community, members of which have flooded and celebrated the country in recent months and will return for a large crypto conference in November. Envisioning the transformation he witnessed in El Zonte taking place across the country, Martinez is excited—despite doubts among the wider population. “We’re used to new things happening in the U.S. or Canada or Europe,” Martinez says. “Now we’ve changed the narrative about El Salvador and started moving forward. Michael Nagle—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesNayib Bukele, El Salvador’s president, speaks in a prerecorded video during the United Nations General Assembly via live stream in New York on Sept. 23, 2021. But there’s another narrative unfolding in El Salvador. Since Bukele’s party, New Ideas, won a landslide victory at parliamentary elections in February, he has moved rapidly to undermine the structures of El Salvador’s democracy. In May, parliament voted to replace opposition-linked judges on the supreme court with Bukele allies, bringing all levers of power under his control. In September—a few days before the Bitcoin launch—the same court ruled that Bukele can run for a second term in 2024, in defiance of El Salvador’s constitution, triggering sanctions from the U.S. He has also stepped up attacks on the media, including launching criminal investigations into news organizations and kicking critical journalists out of the country. Analysts say the Bitcoin experiment is part of Bukele’s proto-strongman trajectory. “He’s fallen in love with his own power and wants to nurture this cool millennial President image through this adventure into the Bitcoin world,” says Tiziano Breda, a Central America analyst at the International Crisis Group, a think tank. It’s working for him, largely. The Bitcoin law has sparked the first major protests of his presidency, with 8,000 people marching in San Salvador on Sept. 15— a significant number of people in a country where street protest is unusual. But the President’s approval ratings still stand above 85%. With that backing, Bukele is deeply dismissive of global concern about his leadership. On Sept 18, he changed his bio on Twitter to “Dictator of El Salvador,” clearly trolling the international press. Then, a couple of days later he changed it again, to “The coolest dictator in the world.” El Salvador’s rapid transformation On the night that Bitcoin launched in El Salvador, Nelson Rauda, a reporter for independent newspaper El Faro, went to a party. At a sleek hotel bar next to an infinity pool overlooking the pacific ocean in the department of La Libertad, crypto enthusiasts and internet celebrities from the U.S., including YouTuber Logan Paul, danced and let off fireworks to celebrate a major moment for the cryptocurrency. Some wore headdresses and carried orange signs featuring Bitcoin’s white B logo. Almost everyone was speaking English. ”The scenery, and the location was a beach in El Salvador, but it could have been anywhere else in the world,” Rauda says. “[The crypto community] want to portray themselves as bringing a future and development to El Salvador through Bitcoin— a kind of white saviorism in that sense. But most of them are not interested in the country, just business.” Bukele’s government welcomes their business. The President claims that if 1% of the world’s Bitcoin were invested in El Salvador, it would raise GDP by 25%. He has offered permanent residency to anyone who spends three Bitcoin (currently around $125,000). He has also highlighted the fact that, since Bitcoin is legal tender, rather than an investment asset, foreigners who move to El Salvador will not have to pay capital gains tax in the country on any profits made if the cryptocurrency’s value increases. To that he adds, in English, “Great weather, world class surfing beaches, beach front properties for sale” as reasons that crypto entrepreneurs should move to El Salvador. This pragmatic, salesman-like tone is something that Salvadorans appear to appreciate from their President. Though he served as mayor of the capital, San Salvador until 2018, Bukele ran for the presidency in 2019 as a political outsider. He used his direct link with millions of followers on social media to pit himself against the right and leftwing parties that had ruled the country since its civil war in the 1980s. That conflict, in which the U.S. played a decisive role by funding opponents of leftist rebels, sowed the seeds of many of El Salvador’s current problems: chronically low economic growth, weak institutions vulnerable to corruption, the world’s worst rates of gang violence and one of the lowest rates of direct foreign investment in Central America. Bukele argued, convincingly, that the postwar governments had failed to meaningfully address those woes over three decades. Since taking office, Bukele has projected an image of ruthless efficiency. In February 2020, he and a group of armed soldiers stormed into parliament in order to pressure lawmakers to pass his budget plan. He has slashed rates of gang violence, with the country’s homicide rate falling from 51 per 100,000 in 2018 to 19 per 100,000 in 2020 (Experts debate whether this is a result of Bukele’s security policy, gang trends independent of him, or a secretive quid pro quo deal he may have struck with gang leaders). He adopted a hardline response to COVID-19, ordering one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns and giving security forces the right to put any rule-breakers in detention centers, a move human rights watchdogs say led to violent repression. The unprecedented popularity Bukele has enjoyed has allowed him to move faster than Latin America observers expected to take anti-democratic steps, such as intervening in the judiciary, Breda says. “For many other sort of authoritarian governments in the region, it took [many] years to do the things that Bukele has done in such a sweeping way. The pace is definitely surprising.” Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesIlluminated drones form figures inspired by the Bitcoin logo in El Sunzal Beach, El Salvador, on Sept. 7, 2021. ‘Bitcoin is costing the country dearly’ Those who are most sceptical of Bukele—conservative economists—see his Bitcoin law as new packaging for an old move for populist authoritarian leaders in Latin America. The policy was labelled a “Bitcoin scam” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “They’re always trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat,” says Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the John Hopkins University and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. “They say: ‘We’ve had all these financial problems because of all these irresponsible leaders we’ve had in the past. And now here I am riding a white horse and I’ve got some new gimmick that’s going to solve it all. It’s called Bitcoin.’” Hanke helped advise the Salvadoran government on the country’s dollarization, when it adopted the U.S. dollar as its sole currency in 2001. From 1993 the Salvadoran colón had been pegged to the U.S. dollar on a fixed exchange rate, in a successful effort to keep previously rampant inflation under control. After eight years, the government opted to fully replace the colón with the dollar. That made the economy more stable and lowered the cost of borrowing, but limited Salvadoran governments’ freedom to spend money, particularly in times of financial crisis. Hanke and others have speculated that the Bitcoin move is a first step towards scrapping dollarization altogether and issuing a national digital currency. That would both enable looser public spending, and reduce the impact of U.S. sanctions. But for local economists, the immediate concern is how Bitcoin could complicate El Salvador’s path out of a deep pandemic recession. “Public finances in El Salvador are on a knife edge. Public debt stands at close to 90% of GDP and the government needs to find almost $1.5 billion to close the year and pay its obligations,” says Alvaro Trigueros Arguello, director of economic studies at FUSADES, a San Salvador-based development thinktank. Though El Salvador’s economy is growing—with the Central Bank saying Sept. 29 that GDP is on course to surge by 9% this year—Trigueros Arguello says this is mostly due to a temporary factors, including the reopening of businesses after COVID-19 restrictions and a surge in remittances after the disbursement of pandemic aid packages in the U.S. The Bitcoin rollout has complicated El Salvador’s relationship with the IMF, from which it is seeking a $1 billion assistance package. In June the fund denied a request by El Salvador to assist in its Bitcoin rollout. It cited the lack of transparency in cryptocurrencies, arguing that the difficulty of tracing who makes Bitcoin transactions has facilitated criminal activity elsewhere, as well as environmental concerns about widening the use of Btcoin, which requires vasts amount of energy to produce. Fears over the cryptocurrency’s impact on El Salvador’s macroeconomic stability have stalled negotiations between El Salvador and the IMF, Trigueros Arguello says. “The government needs international credit and because of Bitcoin, it’s not getting it,” Trigueros Arguello says. “Bitcoin is costing the country dearly.” Camilo Freedman—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesDemonstrators hold signs during a protest against President Bukele and Bitcoin in San Salvador on Sept. 15, 2021. The backdrop to El Salvador’s experiment hasn’t undermined the excitement for those who want crypto currencies to be more widely used. Bitcoin Twitter has filled with tweets celebrating how easy it is for Salvadorans to use the currency in places like Starbucks, and praising Bukele’s foresight. “I’m totally excited about what’s happening in El Salvador. [Particularly] the fact that it’s happening in Latin America,” says Cristóbal Pereira, CEO of Blockchain Summit LatAm, a regional conference covering the blockchain technology that underlies Bitcoin, which will host events at El Salvador’s own Bitcoin conference in November. “If people end up using it widely, there’s a good chance other countries and people will end up using it more too.” It’s too early to tell if the buzz will be matched by the significant investments Bukele is hoping for. Analysts say businesses will likely wait and see how the bitcoin rollout affects El Salvador’s economic stability before striking any major deals. Mike Petersen, an American who moved to El Zonte in 2005 and helped found the Bitcoin beach, says he’s received a “a huge flood of [enquiries from] businesses that want to set up shop here, because, for the first time they are realizing, hey, Salvador is a forward looking country.” Those include companies in the Bitcoin space, such as exchanges and ATM networks, but also real estate developers, manufacturing companies and “some lighting and architectural companies that are now outsourcing, hiring architectural students here to do design and and put together bids for them. Because they can pay them in Bitcoin.” Peterson says he doubts that concern about the political situation in El Salvador will have any impact on investors. “Elite media circles are the ones that are more focused on that. I think, in the business climate, people are more pragmatic and practical about things. And they see that Bukele is extremely popular.” What’s not necessarily popular, so far, is Bitcoin. Bukele claims that a third of Salvadorans are actively using Chivo, but it is unclear how many are only using the app to access the initial $30 gift from the government. Media outlets in El Salvador reported long queues for the ATMs, where most people were converting their Bitcoin to take dollars home with them. In the first week of the rollout, one of the country’s largest banks told The Financial Times that the cryptocurrency accounted for fewer than 0.0001 % of its daily transactions. Rauda, the El Faro reporter, says he knows “no one” who’s using Bitcoin on a regular basis. Teething troubles The government gave itself just three months after parliament approved its Bitcoin law in June to introduce the currency, leading to a series of technical issues with the Chivo wallet app. Crypto bloggers reported cash taking days to show up in their Chivo accounts after being transferred by other users, bugs making the app unusable, and an initial inability to transfer any sum below $5. Bukele, who took to Twitter throughout the launch to offer emoji-laden tech support messages, claimed most of the technical problems were resolved within a few days. The bumpy rollout helped trigger a 10% fall in the value of Bitcoin against the day it became legal tender, and further falls since. On Sept. 20 Bukele said his government had “bought the dip” and acquired 150 more coins, bringing the country’s total holding to 700 (around $22 million). Chaotic rollouts of new government programs are not unique to El Salvador. But some in the Bitcoin community have concerns about the structure of the country’s experiment, beyond the initial hiccups. Marc Falzon, a New Jersey-based Bitcoin YouTuber who visited San Salvador to document the rollout, says he became concerned about Salvadoran taxpayers footing the bill despite opposition to the policy, and about Article 6 of the Bitcoin law, which says that all economic actors in the country must accept Bitcoin if they have the technical capacity to do so. “Forcing people to accept a decentralized currency from a centralized authority ebbs away at the legitimacy of not just Bitcoin, but cryptocurrency in general,” he says. Supporters of the project point out that Salvadorans don’t have to keep their money in Bitcoin if they don’t want to, with the government guaranteeing their ability to transfer them into U.S. dollars via its national development bank and a range of services allowing businesses to make that transfer automatically. But Falzon says that the positive image of EL Salvador’s rollout generated by Bitcoin influencers on Instagram and Twitter didn’t reflect what he saw. In a health store near his hotel, for example, the shopkeeper said she couldn’t afford to restock because so many Bitcoin payments made by customers had simply never shown up in her Chivo app account. “For people in the Bitcoin and crypto community, El Salvador is a ‘told you so moment,’ proof that this isn’t just a fad. And I think that in that enthusiasm, we can lose sight of both the bigger picture—in how future countries may start to follow suit—and also of the individual experiences of the people that are in these countries.” Some individuals are happy though. Martinez, the community activist who grew up in El Zonte, says the town’s experience suggests hesitancy to use Bitcoin—and opposition to the Bitcoin law—will fade as Salvadorans become more used to the technology, and become widespread within a few years. He’s not concerned, he says, by how Bitcoin may play into Bukele’s larger political project. “As an NGO, we’re apolitical. We support anything that can make a better El Salvador. And I think we’re walking towards a better future.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 1st, 2021

How to withdraw money from the Robinhood app

To withdraw money from Robinhood, look for the "Transfers" page which is found within the Accounts tab of the mobile app and website. After you submit a request to withdraw funds from your Robinhood account, it can take a few trading days for the funds to settle in your account. Rachel Mendelson/Insider To withdraw money using the iOS or Android apps, you'll have to navigate to your account settings and then click on the transfers option using the website or app. But before you can withdraw money from your Robinhood account, you'll have to meet certain requirements, depending on where the money came from. You can make up to five withdrawals a day and are limited to $50,000 per business day. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. Robinhood is one of the most popular trading platforms for young investors, but not all users are happy. If you want to switch from Robinhood to one of Insider's top-ranked investment apps, you can either directly transfer securities out of Robinhood into your new brokerage account, or you can sell your stocks and crypto and transfer the money into your bank account. It's easy to withdraw money from Robinhood on your iOS or Android mobile device - or by using their website. If you can, it's best to withdraw your cash into the same bank account you used to fund your account. Otherwise, Robinhood may ask you for extra documents to prove that you own the bank accounts in question. Before you withdraw your fundsRobinhood users should look out for a few rules that limit how and when they can withdraw their cash from their accounts. You may be required to wait up to five business days after depositing funds. Robinhood has an "Instant Deposits" policy, which means some customers can start trading as soon as they've moved cash into their Robinhood account from their checking or savings account. But there's a catch: even though you might be able to buy and sell stock with your "instant deposits," you won't be able to transfer your cash back out of Robinhood right away. Once you've moved money into your Robinhood account, you're typically required to wait up to five business days before you can move that money out. After selling stock, you must wait for the trade to settle. When you buy or sell stocks, ETFs, or options in the United States, it takes three business days for those trades to "settle," which means the trade is officially complete. If you're a Robinhood Gold or a Robinhood Instant user, you may be eligible for instant settlement, which means you can withdraw any proceeds right after you sell stocks, ETFs, or, options. You can make only five withdrawals per business day. If you've already hit that limit, you'll have to wait until the next business day to make any additional transfers.You can withdraw only $50,000 per business day. If you have a large balance that exceeds that amount, you will have to withdraw money in lump sums.You have to wait 30 days to withdraw funds from selling free stock. You know that free stock you received from Robinhood's Referral program? Robinhood will let you sell that stock right away if you want, but you have to keep the cash value of that stock in your account for 30 days before you can withdraw it. You'll face special rules if you're switching bank accounts. Watch out if you funded your Robinhood account with one bank account, and want to move your money into a different bank account. That can look suspicious, and Robinhood has some special rules that apply in that situation. They may ask you to send some documents to prove you're really the owner of both bank accounts, like sending pictures of your photo ID or bank statements. To avoid the hassle, it's best if you can withdraw your cash into the same bank account that funded your Robinhood account.You may not be able to withdraw money while your account is restricted. Robinhood sometimes restricts users' accounts. That can happen if the user has a negative balance, had a bank account transaction reversed, if the user is suspected of fraud, or for a few other reasons. If your account is restricted, you may not be able to withdraw any money until you've contacted Robinhood to clear things up.How to withdraw money from Robinhood on iOS Tap the account icon in the bottom-right corner. The account icon can be found at the bottom of your home screen. Elena Botella Click on the three lines located in the top right corner (often called a "hamburger"). Tap this icon to open the account's Menu. Elena Botella Select Transfers. Find Transfers near the top of the Menu. Elena Botella Tap Transfer Money. "Transfer Money" is the first option in the Transfers menu. Elena Botella Enter the dollar amount and hit Continue. Select Robinhood for the "From" field and then the bank account of your choosing for the "To" field. Then select Transfer. Select a dollar amount and hit Continue and you'll be taken to this screen. Elena Botella How to withdraw money from Robinhood on AndroidTap the account icon in the bottom right corner. The account icon is at the bottom of the home screen. Jasmine Suarez Click on the three lines located in the top right corner (often called a "hamburger"). Tap this icon to open the Menu of your account. Jasmine Suarez Tap Transfers. Transfers is near the top of the Menu. Jasmine Suarez Tap Transfer to Your Bank. "Transfer Money" is near the top of the Transfers menu. Jasmine Suarez Enter the dollar amount and hit Continue. Select Robinhood for the "From" field and then the bank account of your choosing for the "To" field. Then select Transfer. It may take 5 days for money to transfer. Jasmine Suarez How to withdraw money from Robinhood on the webNavigate to the Transfers screen. First, click Account and then click Transfers. Elena Botella Fill in transfer details and select Review transfer. In the "From" field, select Robinhood. In the "To" field, select the bank you want your money transferred to.Then select the dollar amount and then Review Transfer. Elena Botella Click Submit. It may take a few days for your money to transfer. Elena Botella The financial takeawayYou can easily transfer money out of Robinhood into your bank account. But there's a few catches. Most importantly, you can't take money out until five business days after you've transferred that money into Robinhood. You'll also need to wait three business days after selling stocks, ETFs, or options before you can withdraw the proceeds. On the iOS or Android app, get started by tapping the "Account" button in the bottom right of the screen, which looks like a cartoon person. From your browser window, get started by clicking "Account" in the top right, and then click "Transfers."Is Robinhood safe? Experts weigh in on using the commission-free investing appStart investing in mutual funds in 4 stepsHere are all the fees you'll pay when using the Robinhood app - and how to avoid themStock trading: How to get started for beginnersRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 30th, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Check out 18 pitch decks that fintechs looking to disrupt trading, banking, and lending used to raise millions

Check out examples of real fintech pitch decks. You'll see pitch decks from Qolo, Lance, and other startups that nabbed millions in VC funding. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Embedded payments for SMBs The Highnote team. Highnote Branded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lender Daniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor. Tricolor An alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team. TomoCredit Kristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternatives Henry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar. Rocket Dollar Fintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investors Hum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg. Hum Capital Blair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechs Qolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi. Qolo Three years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders - who together had more than a century of combined industry experience - to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancers Worksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen. Worksome The way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text away Yinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert. Albert The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of Relief Relief For lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process. Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize. Securitize Securitize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business banking Michael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo. Kristelle Boulos Photography Business banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs. Spring Labs A blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round. So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancers JGalione/Getty Images Lance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisors Jason Wenk, founder and CEO of Altruist Altruist Jason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon. HoneyBook While countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurers Fiordaliso/Getty Images Onboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot. Fakespot Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital banking Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley HMBradley Consumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

GOP Senators Introduce Bill To Block Biden’s "Weaponization" Of IRS Bank Account Surveillance

GOP Senators Introduce Bill To Block Biden’s 'Weaponization' Of IRS Bank Account Surveillance Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden’s proposal for a radical expansion of IRS monitoring of Americans’ bank accounts would be stopped in its tracks under a proposal introduced by two Senate Republicans concerned about protecting privacy rights. “What they’ve done is, they are weaponizing the IRS, they’re pushing many, many billions of dollars into that and they will be hiring tens of thousands of new agents,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told The Epoch Times late on Sept. 23. “So this is all about looking at everybody’s transactions and then hoping that perhaps they find something that’s not getting reported so they can come after you and get that income,” Boozman said. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), joined by fellow Republican Senators, speaks on a proposed Democratic tax plan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 4, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) The Biden proposal would drop the dollar threshold for transactions at which federal tax agents would be allowed to examine an individual’s private bank account to just $600 from the present $10,000. Biden also wants to double the IRS workforce by adding 87,000 new government agents under the president’s “The American Families Plan Tax Compliance Agenda.” Biden and Democratic allies in Congress claim the actions are needed to close the “tax gap,” the difference between what current federal law requires to be collected by the government and how much actually goes into the Treasury. Boozman said Biden’s unprecedented explosion of new federal spending is the major reason behind Biden’s push to double the size of the IRS and give it virtually unlimited power to monitor how much income Americans earn and where they spend it, Boozman said. “They want this new authority to look at transactions of $600 or more rather than $10,000 or more because they have a $3.5 trillion, or some say up to a $5 trillion bill, depending on how you score it, so they desperately need pay-fors. This shows how desperate they are,” he said. Boozman said the $10,000 threshold was approved decades ago to enable the IRS to assist federal law enforcement efforts against drug cartels, terrorist groups, and organized crime rings. “Today, $600 is such a small amount of money. To put this in perspective, this law was passed several decades ago, and when they did this, $10,000, if you tied inflation to it, it would be $50,000 today,” Boozman said. “What they’ve done is taking what perhaps was a good idea at the time and weaponizing it such that they can get into your bank account.” The Biden proposal requires all financial institutions, including banks and savings & loans, to report to the IRS every time an individual or family has a transaction of at least $600, with a breakdown of how much of the transaction was in cash, whether any of it came from an account in a foreign country, and if it represented a transfer from another account. The new reporting requirement, which would take effect in 2022, would apply to both private individual and commercial business accounts owned by a taxpayer. The secretary of the Treasury would also receive broad new regulatory authority that would likely result in further expansion of invasive IRS actions. In addition to his concerns about individual privacy rights, Boozman pointed to the likelihood of massive hacking of the mountain of new IRS records on millions of Americans’ finances and damaging compromises of account numbers and login information. The IRS already has a major problem with maintaining the confidentiality of the tax records it has now. A fact sheet prepared by Boozman’s staff noted the recent leak from the federal tax agency of 15 years’ worth of the private tax records of thousands of wealthy Americans to ProPublica, a liberal nonprofit foundation. “The ‘confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica’ were described, by the publication, as ‘a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.’ The FBI is investigating the leak for personal income and tax data,” the fact sheet observed. Boozman also pointed to the massive hack of retirement, personnel, and compensation records for millions of federal career civil servants maintained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2015. “Right now, all of these deposits, everybody’s records, are distributed all over the country, so it’s safer in that regard. It would be very difficult to get into everybody’s records,” Boozman said. “But when you start pulling all of these records together and centralizing them, that’s also a recipe for a huge breach, which we have seen before, so there are all kinds of reasons to be adamantly opposed to this,” he said. Boozman is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) known as the Tax Gap Reform and IRS Enforcement Act that would establish “guardrails” to prevent abuse by IRS employees of tax records. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has introduced the proposal in the House of Representatives. “Under the guise of closing the ‘tax gap,’ Democrats are seeking to increase IRS funding by a massive $80 billion over the next 10 years to expand ‘enforcement and compliance activities’ at the IRS, and to create a ‘comprehensive financial account information reporting regime,’ under which gross inflows and outflows of taxpayers’ financial accounts are reported by financial intermediaries to the IRS, effectively acting as IRS agents,” Crapo said in a statement. “In light of recent proposals to massively expand the IRS, with unprecedented amounts of mandatory funding, and the IRS’s continued abuses of taxpayer rights and privacy, any additional IRS funding and monitoring of Americans’ private finances must come with guardrails to help protect against abuses. “This legislation places important guardrails around IRS funding to protect taxpayers’ rights and privacy.” Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Retain Walgreens (WBA) Stock for Now

Investors are optimistic about Walgreens (WBA), given the strong performance in the International segment and notable product launches. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. WBA is gaining from a slew of product launches and partnerships. The company exited third-quarter fiscal 2021 with better-than-expected results. Strength in the International segment buoys optimism. The accelerated investment in VillageMD instills investor confidence. However, weak solvency scenarios and stiff competition do not bode well for the stock.Over the past year, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has gained 35.3% compared with 40.8% growth of the industry and a 36.9% rise of the S&P 500.The renowned pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise, has a market capitalization of $41.87 billion. Its earnings for third-quarter fiscal 2021 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 24.3%.Over the past five years, the company registered earnings growth of 3.9% compared with the industry’s 6.4% rise and the S&P 500’s 2.8% increase. The company’s long-term projected growth of 6.9% compares with the industry’s growth projection of 6.6% and the S&P 500’s expectation of 11.2% growth. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Let’s delve deeper.Factors At PlayQ3 Upsides: Walgreens Boots exited third-quarter fiscal 2021 with better-than-expected earnings and revenues. Strong growth in the International segment, aided by the formation of the company's joint venture in Germany, coupled with solid growth in the United States segment is encouraging. The robust sales of Boots.com instill investor confidence. The rapid adoption of the Walgreens Find Care platform is an added advantage. The company has raised its 2021 guidance, which is indicative of the bullish trend to continue.Strategic Alliances: Walgreens Boots’ notable partnerships with Verizon in the United States, Genpact and Kroger raise our optimism. In March 2021, Walgreens Boots, partnered with InComm Payments to launch a bank account for its customers at MetaBank with a Mastercard debit card.In its update for March, the company confirmed the collaboration with Nuance to introduce COVID-19 vaccination bookings on its MyWalgreens app. Meanwhile, the portion of net proceeds from the sale of the company’s Alliance Healthcare businesses to AmerisourceBergen in June 2021 will be used to fund the company’s previously announced initiatives. The initiatives involve investment in VillageMD as well as the company’s acquisition of a majority stake in iA.Product Launches: We are upbeat about Walgreens Boots’ slew of product launches in the past few months. In April 2021, the company launched the No7 Beauty Company. In third-quarter fiscal 2021, the company launched Boots ONLINE DOCTOR, as part of the Health Hub. In the fiscal second quarter, the company launched a business-to-business service called Test & Protect and announced the nationwide rollout of same-day delivery with Instacart.DownsidesContinued Pressure on Margin: Walgreens Boots’ margins have been impacted by a slowdown in the generic introduction in past few years. Of late, the company’s margin has significantly been hampered by increased reimbursement pressure and generic drug cost inflation.Weak Solvency: Walgreens Boots exited third-quarter fiscal 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $1.35 billion compared with $1.03 billion recorded at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2021. The total debt stood at $15.70 billion at the end of the quarter under review. Further, the current-year payable debt of $7.96 billion exceeded the short-term cash level. This is particularly concerning in terms of the company's solvency since during a period of economic downturn, the company does not have enough cash on hand to repay short-term debt.Competition: Walgreens Boots competes with notable drug store retailers like CVS Health CVS. Following the termination of the Walgreens-Express Scripts contract, CVS Caremark’s retail division witnessed a record market share gain. While Walgreens Boots’ sluggish performance is improving with the return of consumers, CVS management’s commentary on retaining a majority of the client wins raises concern.Estimate TrendWalgreens Boots has been witnessing a positive estimate revision trend for 2021. Over the past 90 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its earnings has moved 0.2% north to $4.75.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 revenues is pegged at $33.18 billion, suggesting a 4.49% fall from the year-ago reported number.Key PicksTwo better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. IDXX and Envista Holdings Corporation NVST, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.IDEXX has a long-term earnings growth rate of 19.9%.Envista Holdings has a long-term earnings growth rate of 27.4%. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report CVS Health Corporation (CVS): Free Stock Analysis Report IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (IDXX): Free Stock Analysis Report Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA): Free Stock Analysis Report Envista Holdings Corporation (NVST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Are You Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Customers Bancorp (CUBI) is a Great Choice

Does Customers Bancorp (CUBI) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out. Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.Below, we take a look at Customers Bancorp (CUBI), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of A. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Customers Bancorp currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>Set to Beat the Market?Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for CUBI that show why this bank holding company shows promise as a solid momentum pick.A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.For CUBI, shares are up 2.9% over the past week while the Zacks Banks - Southeast industry is up 0.65% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 13.64% compares favorably with the industry's 5.16% performance as well.While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics -- such as performance over the past three months or year -- can be useful as well. Shares of Customers Bancorp have increased 20.26% over the past quarter, and have gained 247.96% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 1.8% and 28.9%, respectively.Investors should also pay attention to CUBI's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. CUBI is currently averaging 225,065 shares for the last 20 days.Earnings OutlookThe Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with CUBI.Over the past two months, 3 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost CUBI's consensus estimate, increasing from $7.23 to $7.27 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 4 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.Bottom LineGiven these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that CUBI is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of A. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Customers Bancorp on your short list. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Customers Bancorp, Inc (CUBI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacks8 hr. 43 min. ago

What"s in the Cards for State Street (STT) in Q3 Earnings?

State Street's (STT) Q3 earnings are likely to have been positively affected by the steepening of the yield curve and strength in equity markets. State Street STT is slated to announce third-quarter 2021 results on Oct 18, before market open. The company’s revenues and earnings are expected to have increased on a year-over-year basis.In the last-reported quarter, the company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results gained from provision benefits and rise in fee income, partly offset by a fall in net interest revenues (“NIR”) and higher expenses.State Street has an impressive earnings surprise history. The company’s earnings outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the surprise being 7.53%, on average. State Street Corporation Price and EPS Surprise State Street Corporation price-eps-surprise | State Street Corporation QuoteThe Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.92 for State Street’s earnings for the to-be-reported quarter has moved 1% lower over the past 30 days. The figure, however, indicates growth of 32.4% from the year-ago reported number. The consensus estimate for revenues is pegged at $2.95 billion, indicating a 6% rise.Major Factors at PlayNet Interest Revenues: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for average interest-earning assets is pegged at $265 billion for the to-be-reported quarter, which suggests a marginal fall from the quarter-ago reported number.Economic growth gained traction, demand for loans improved modestly and yield on bonds steepened during the third quarter. Thus, State Street’s interest income might have received some support from this avenue during the quarter. Yet, the low interest rate environment continued to be a concern and is expected to have adversely impacted the company’s net interest margin in the to-be-reported quarter.Management estimates NIR to be in the range of $460-$470 million in the quarter, assuming rates do not deteriorate and premium amortization continues to fall. The consensus estimate for NIR (on a fully taxable-equivalent basis), $469 million, indicates a slight sequential decline.Fee Revenues: During the third quarter, foreign exchange (FX) trading volatility and volumes were down. The consensus estimate for foreign exchange trading services indicates a quarter-over-quarter fall of 8% to $263 million.Given the widening spread between the three-month LIBOR and the Fed funds rate, securities finance revenues are likely to have been adversely impacted during the quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same, $101 million, suggests a 7.3% decline from the previous quarter.Driven by decent client activities, strength in equity markets is likely to have boosted the company’s servicing and management fees in the to-be-reported quarter. The consensus estimate for servicing fees of $1.42 billion indicates a 1.3% sequential rise, while the consensus estimate for management fees of $520 million implies 3.2% growth.Overall, for the September quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for total fee revenues of $2.48 billion indicates a 1.4% fall from the prior quarter.Management anticipates overall fee revenues to be up 7% to 8% year over year in the third quarter, with servicing and management fees each expected to be up 7-9%. Given the current improvement in short-end rates, the company expects money market fee waivers on management fees to be nearly $20-$25 million.Expenses: Due to higher information systems and communication expenses, as well as acquisition and restructuring costs, the company has been witnessing a steady rise in expenses over the past few quarters. The same trend is likely to have persisted this time as well.Management expects third-quarter expenses to be relatively stable year over year.Major Deals During the Third QuarterIn September, State Street acquired Mercatus Inc., in an effort to offer a fully integrated platform for growing private market segments like infrastructure, private equity, real estate, private debt and fund of funds. Financial terms of the deal, announced in July, have not been disclosed.In the same month, the company inked a $3.5-billion cash transaction to buy Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.’s Investor Services business. The deal will ramp up and expand State Street’s core custodian business of servicing investment firms further across the globe. Upon the deal’s closure, the company will become the leading asset servicer globally. The transaction will be accretive to the company’s revenues and earnings, and also lead to substantial cost savings.What the Zacks Model RevealsOur proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for State Street this time around. This is because it does not have the right combination of the two key ingredients — a positive Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better — to increase the odds of an earnings beat.You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.Earnings ESP: The Earnings ESP for State Street is +0.00%.Zacks Rank: The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.Banks Worth a LookHere are some bank stocks that you may want to consider as these have the right combination of elements to post earnings beats in their upcoming releases, per our model.Zions Bancorporation ZION is slated to report quarterly results on Oct 18. The company has an Earnings ESP of +2.49% and currently carries a Zacks Rank of 3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Fifth Third Bancorp FITB is slated to report quarterly earnings on Oct 19. The company, which carries a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy) at present, has an Earnings ESP of +0.46%.The Earnings ESP for KeyCorp KEY is +0.56%. This Zacks #3 Ranked company is scheduled to report quarterly numbers on Oct 21. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): Free Stock Analysis Report State Street Corporation (STT): Free Stock Analysis Report KeyCorp (KEY): Free Stock Analysis Report Zions Bancorporation, N.A. (ZION): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacks19 hr. 11 min. ago

What the History of Money Says About Its Future

We may be on the cusp of a currency shift now When Franklin Roosevelt told his economic advisers he was about to take the U.S. off the gold standard, they freaked out. The President was leading the country into “uncontrolled inflation and complete chaos,” one of them said. Another said it was “the end of Western civilization.” Roosevelt’s aides weren’t wild-eyed reactionaries; their view was conventional wisdom. The gold standard, almost everybody agreed, was the natural way to do money. Under its rules, anybody who wanted to could trade in paper money for a fixed amount of gold. In the U.S., $20.67 got you an ounce of gold, year in and year out. That unchanging value was the whole point of the gold standard. Take away the gold, and money would obviously be just worthless paper. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This worldview turned out to be completely wrong. Clinging to the gold standard was part of what created the Great Depression in the first place. Leaving it in 1933 was an essential step toward economic recovery. So why were Roosevelt’s advisers, and most of the leading economists of the day, blinded by their devotion to gold? There’s this thinking error we almost always make with money. The way money works at any given moment feels like part of the natural order, as with water or gravity. Any alternative to the way money works seems like some absurd game. Paper money not backed by anything? That’s like expecting water to flow uphill! Then some political or technological or financial shock comes along, and suddenly there’s something new: paper money backed by metal, or paper money backed by nothing, or simply numbers on a screen. Pretty soon, we get used to the new money. It comes to seem like the natural state of things, and anything else is foolishness. We may be on the cusp of one of those shifts now. It’s impossible to say for sure how things will play out, but history provides some deep insights into what should make us hopeful about the future of money—and what should scare us. Money Is Technology Around A.D. 100, a Chinese court official ground up a mash of mulberry bark, rags and fishnets, and invented paper. A few centuries later, someone—maybe a Buddhist monk who was tired of writing the same sacred text again and again—carved a sacred text into a block of wood and invented printing. A few centuries after that, a merchant in the capital of Sichuan set out to solve another problem: the money his customers were using was terrible. It was mostly iron coins, and it took a pound and a half of iron to buy a pound of salt. It would be the modern equivalent of going grocery shopping with nothing but pennies. So the merchant told his customers that they could leave their coins with him. In exchange, he gave them a claim check—a piece of paper that could be used to retrieve the coins. People started using the claim checks themselves to buy stuff, and paper money was born. It was a huge hit. Pretty soon, the government took over the business of printing paper money, and it spread throughout China. In an era when there was no mechanized transport, the ability to move value around on a few pieces of paper—rather than a wagon full of metal coins—was a breakthrough. Read More: The U.S. Is Losing the Global Race to Decide the Future of Money Paper money relied on paper and printing, which were a kind of technology. But paper money itself also was a new technology—a tool that made trade easier. This led to an increased exchange of ideas and more economic specialization, which in turn meant people could grow more food and make more stuff. Paper money helped China get richer. At the same time, that new technology came with risks—it meant rulers could print lots of money, which sometimes led to ruinous inflation. Today, new technologies allow us to move money using the supercomputers in our pockets. In the coming years, technology will drive even more dramatic changes in money, as the full impact of crypto-currencies becomes clear. Like paper money, these new technologies will continue to bring new opportunities, efficiencies and risks. Money is both public and private One key dynamic to watch as digital currency evolves is the tension between the government and private firms, a theme that runs like a golden thread through the history of money. Consider the case of America in the mid–19th century, when almost any bank could print its own paper money. The $2 bill from Stonington Bank in Connecticut had a whale on the front; the $5 bill from the St. Nicholas Bank of New York City had a picture of Santa Claus. At one point, private banks were printing more than 8,000 different kinds of money. This was still the era when paper money was a claim check for gold or silver. If a bank went bust, the valuable claim check was suddenly just a piece of paper with a picture of Santa Claus on it. This presented a problem for merchants who faced customers using thousands of kinds of money. How could they know which banks were sound? For that matter, how could they tell real money from counterfeit? Publications called banknote reporters sprang up to solve both problems. They were little magazines that listed bills from all around the country, with brief physical descriptions and recommendations for whether to accept the money at full value or, in the case of shaky banks, at a discount. That world disappeared around the time of the Civil War, when a new federal tax on paper money drove most of the old banknotes out of existence. But even as the variety of paper money declined, money created by private banks persisted. Even today, banks create new money out of thin air every time they make a loan. This money, stored as balances in checking and savings accounts, is not so different from the paper money banks used to print. Well into the 20th century, depositors in the U.S. could lose their money when a bank went bust—just like their ancestors who were left holding worthless pieces of paper. It was only in the 1930s, when the federal government started insuring most bank deposits, that this risk disappeared. In other words, modern banks create money that is in turn guaranteed by the federal government. Is this money public or private? It is both! Read More: Thinking of Investing in a Green Fund? Many Don’t Live Up to Their Promises, a New Report Claims The original dream of cryptocurrency was purely private money—a currency that needed neither governments nor banks. And although this remains a technical possibility, it’s striking that more than a decade after Bitcoin was invented, almost no one uses crypto-currency in the ordinary way people use money—to buy stuff in everyday life. If crypto-currency does become ordinary money, it probably won’t be as some purely private libertarian money, but as the kind of public-private hybrid that money has almost always been. In fact, regulators have started to crack down on so-called stablecoins, a type of crypto-currency designed to substitute for our existing money. Stable money is risky money What should we worry about when we worry about the future of money? Sure, there are plenty of new cryptocurrencies whose values fluctuate wildly from week to week. But if we’re worried about broader risks—to the economy, rather than just to speculators—maybe we should focus on stablecoins. Rather than promising overnight wealth, many stablecoins offer stability with the claim that each virtual coin will be worth exactly $1 today, tomorrow and forever. As more and more people trade a growing number of crypto-currencies, stablecoins such as Tether and USD Coin have exploded in popularity. And in the history of money, we often find the promise of boring stability is ultimately more risky than the promise of quick riches. Money-market mutual funds are a telling example. They were invented in the 1970s, and the idea was to offer something that seemed like a bank account but paid higher interest. As Bruce Bent, the inventor of the money-market fund, said again and again, “The purpose of the money fund is to bore the investor into a sound night’s sleep.” Even the name is dull. Money-market funds worked like banks. Investors put money in. The fund then lent that money out, collected interest and paid some of the interest back to the investors. People and companies put trillions of dollars into money-market funds for safekeeping, and it seemed a lot like money in the bank—put a dollar in, take a dollar out, plus interest. But, unlike bank deposits, money-market fund investments were not guaranteed by the federal government. In September 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. As it happened, a large money-market mutual fund had lent $785 million to Lehman Brothers—and the bankruptcy meant that the fund might not get that money back. Investors in the money-market fund started demanding their money back. But the fund couldn’t deliver. In the parlance of money-market mutual funds, it “broke the buck”—investors could no longer take out a dollar for every dollar they put in. The moment an asset that seemed safe suddenly seems risky can be profoundly destabilizing. Overnight, investors started trying to pull hundreds of billions of dollars out of money-market mutual funds. It was like a bank run, and as often happens in a run, the money-market funds weren’t going to be able to come up with all the money. Within a few days, as part of an effort to prevent a broader economic collapse, the federal government stepped in. The most popular stablecoins work a lot like these funds. When people buy stablecoins, some of the companies that run stablecoins turn around and invest that money. When people want to redeem their stablecoins for dollars, the creators of the coins have to sell off those investments. If the investments lose a lot of money, or if everyone suddenly wants to redeem their stablecoins at once, stablecoins might prove unstable—investors might suddenly be unable to get a dollar out for every dollar they put in. Regulators know this. And over the past few months, some of the most powerful economic officials in the country have suggested that stablecoins may soon come in for stricter regulation. The rise of stablecoins, and the government’s response, is the history of money and the future of money playing out in the present: a new monetary technology that brings new benefits, new risks and new fights between public and private interests......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

Metro Phoenix Bank Reports Earnings of $1,927,000, or $0.51 per Diluted Share in 3Q 2021; Loan Growth (Net PPP) Is Flat at 0.70% for the Quarter; Asset Quality Remains Strong as Non-Performing Asset Ratio Is 0.00%

PHOENIX, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- MPB BHC, INC. (OTC:MPHX), the holding company for Metro Phoenix Bank ("Bank"), announced net income for quarter ending September 30, 2021 of $1,927,000, or $0.51 per diluted share, up from $1,703,000, or $0.45 per diluted share in second quarter 2021. Net income increased 18.88% from $1,621,000 in the third quarter of 2020. Metro Phoenix Bank's third quarter earnings reflect the positive impact of a fully funded allowance for loan & lease losses (ALLL) and strong SBA lending activity. Stephen P. Haggard, Bank President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "Although net loan growth was flat for the quarter, the lending team has done a very good job in protecting our baseline earning asset level while a commercial loan rate-refinance frenzy is occurring in our market. We will win on some of these and lose on some, but at this time we are maintaining a pricing discipline to keep our cumulative year-to-date net interest margin north of 4.00%. I believe that we are positioned well to hold off additional margin compression as we have deep vertical expertise in SBA lending and Outdoor Media lending, which are both more inelastic when it comes to interest rate sensitivity. However, that definitely is not the case when it comes to owner-occupied commercial real estate and quality C&I lending, which are both experiencing aggressive pricing competition. "At this stage, the remaining PPP loans are essentially a non-factor on the Bank's loan portfolio and income statement. We currently have less than $11 million on the books and we anticipate our PPP portfolio will be retired by year end. "Asset quality remains unchanged and the Bank is operating with an ALLL that has a surplus, or unallocated balance in the reserves. The portfolio appears to be performing well in light of the recent disruption created by the COVID-19 Delta variant. Mitigating the impact of the Delta surge is the fact that Arizona has essentially remained opened for business throughout this pandemic, which has led to robust economic growth for most well-managed and well-capitalized small- to medium-sized businesses and commercial real estate projects; staffing & supply chain issues appear to be the two common denominator threats affecting future operations. "In summary, our loan pipeline remains healthy, but production needs to account for new loan growth as well as replacing the payoffs that are occurring due to rate-refinance activity and underlying real estate loan collateral being sold in a very favorable cap rate market. Nonetheless, loan opportunities remain abundant as MPB focuses on continued quality loan growth." Third Quarter 2021 Highlights Net Income for the quarter was $1,927,000 or $0.51 per diluted share. ROA of 1.85% for the quarter ROE of 18.96% for the quarter NIM of 3.72% for the quarter, with the cost of funds increasing to 0.30%; relatively unchanged when compared to the linked quarter cost of funds of 0.29%. SBA Gains on Sale of $827,361 for the quarter. Provision Expense of $0 for the quarter. Efficiency Ratio of 50.27% for the quarter. Loan growth (net PPP) of 0.70% for the quarter. Deposit growth of 4.13% for the quarter. Non-Performing Asset Ratio is 0.00%, no significant change from the linked quarter. Balance Sheet Total assets grew by 4.04% to $411.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 27.07% compared to $323.8 million a year ago. Total loans decreased by 2.31% to $283.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 10.40% compared to $256.7 million a year ago. Excluding PPP loans of $10.9 million at the end of 3Q, loans increased 0.70% compared to 2Q and increased 26.80% compared to a year ago. Total deposits increased by 4.13% to $366.4 million at September 30, 2021 and increased 30.53% compared to $280.7 million a year ago. The allowance for loan losses totaled $3.755 million at September 30, 2021, or 1.32% of total loans. Excluding the PPP loan balance of $10.9 million, an adjusted allowance for loan losses equates to 1.38% of total loans. No material changes have occurred in the reported credit quality of the loan portfolio since the preceding quarter. Shareholders' equity increased to $41.37 million at September 30, 2021, from $39.45 million the preceding quarter and increased 10.67% compared to $37.38 million a year ago. At September 30, 2021, book value and tangible book value were $11.88 per share compared to $11.32 per share at June 30, 2021 and $10.74 per share a year ago. Capital Management The Bank's capital ratio exceeded the regulatory guidelines established under Section 201 of the Economic Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. Effective January 2020, community banks are tested for capital health based on a single capital ratio, the Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR). The Bank reported the following capital ratio: Regulatory Capital Ratios Bank09/30/21 Regulatory Minimum Requirement Community Bank Leverage Ratio 9.95% 8.50% About the Company Metro Phoenix Bank, Inc., established in 2007 and headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a full-service community bank that caters to small- to mid-sized businesses and real estate professionals. MPB offers commercial clients a variety of services ranging from Commercial Real Estate Lending, Outdoor Media Lending, SBA financing solutions, and a robust treasury management platform that includes a Homeowners Association (HOA)/Property Management specialty program. The bank holding company (MPB BHC, INC.) is traded over the counter as MPHX. For additional information, visit: www.metrophoenixbank.com. Forward-looking Statements This press release may include forward-looking statements about Metro Phoenix Bank. These statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following factors: competition, fluctuations in interest rates, dependency on key individuals, loan defaults, geographical concentration, litigation and changes in federal laws, regulations, and interpretations thereof. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available at the time of the release. Metro Phoenix Bank assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement. Unaudited Summary Financial Information (dollars in thousands, except per share data or noted otherwise) For the Three months For the Nine months ended September 30, ended September 30, Year-End 2021 2020 2021 2020 2020 Summary Income Data.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021

China has at least 65 million empty homes - enough to house the population of France. It offers a glimpse into the country"s massive housing-market problem.

In the US and Japan, abandoned homes have earned cities the titles of "ghost towns." But China's are different - they're not abandoned, just empty. Unfinished buildings and vacant streets in Xiangluo Bay. Yujiapu & Xiangluo Bay, a new central business district under construction in Tianjin, was been expected to be China's Manhattan. Now it's a Ghost city. Zhang Peng / Contributor / Getty Images One-fifth of the homes in China - at least 65 million units - are empty. That amount of empty real estate is enough to house the population of France. The ghost cities are a testament to China's reliance on real estate as a driver of economic growth. See more stories on Insider's business page. If you drive an hour or two outside Shanghai or Beijing, you'll find something odd. The cities are still tall, and they're still modern. They're also, generally, in good condition. But unlike their bustling, Tier 1-city counterparts, they're basically empty.These are China's ghost cities.Their existence has been well-documented. In one prominent example, CBS' "60 Minutes" ran a 2013 segment on China's ghost towns that opened with the correspondent Lesley Stahl on a major road at rush hour with barely a car in sight.But as China's real-estate market has risen to the forefront of the global conversation with Evergrande's $300 billion debt looming large, so, too, have ghost cities become a renewed source of interest. While they're a testament to China's reliance on real estate as a driver of economic growth and in its belief in the sector as a safe investment, their exact quantity is hard to define.Li Gan is a professor of economics at Texas A&M University and the director of the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance at Chengdu's Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. He's also considered one of the top experts on China's housing market. When I asked him how many ghost towns there were in China, he didn't have an answer."I don't know if there's any definition of 'ghost town,'" he said. "So I don't know if there's any number."What are China's ghost towns?The best known of China's ghost cities may be Ordos New Town, also known as Kangbashi, in the region of Inner Mongolia.The city was intended in the early 2000s to eventually house a million people, a number that was later scaled back to 300,000. But as of 2016, a mere 100,000 people lived in it. Kangbashi eventually managed to lure residents after China moved some of its top schools into the city, Nikkei reported earlier this year.In 2015, the photographer Kai Caemmerer traveled to China to explore ghost cities. His photos show endless rows of high-rises with barely any indication of human life. They're photos, in fact, that might remind people of what locked-down cities around the world looked like during the coronavirus pandemic.These unoccupied units constitute a significant portion of China's enormous housing market, which is twice the size of the US residential market and hit $52 trillion in value in 2019. Data from the most recently published China Household Finance Survey, which Gan runs, shows that 21% of homes - some 65 million - were vacant as of 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.That many empty units could house the population of France.But unlike parts of the US and Japan, where homes in various states of abandonment and decay have prompted cities and regions to be called ghost towns, China's are different. They're not abandoned; they're just unoccupied.As Gan put it, these ghost cities are "a unique China phenomenon." The empty street in the Kangbashi district of Inner Mongolia, China, in February 2017. South China Morning Post / Contributor How did China end up with all this empty real estate?The first thing to understand about China's ghost cities is that they are not cities in states of disrepair. Instead, they are full of new builds that were bought as investments. They're also a symptom of mismatched supply and demand."These homes being empty means they are sold out to investors and buyers, but not occupied by either the owners or renter," Xin Sun, a senior lecturer in Chinese and East Asian business at King's College London, told Insider.On the supply side, Sun said, the government gets big sales revenue from leasing out land to developers. "This gives the government very strong incentive to encourage development instead of limiting it," he said.Every year, China starts building 15 million new homes - five times as many as the US and Europe combined, The Economist reported in January.In addition to the government promoting development and driving supply up, there's the matter of China's urbanization rate. Data from the World Bank indicates that 61% of China's population lived in cities as of last year, up from 35.8% just two decades earlier.Gan said there were flaws in China's urbanization-rate metrics, however, one of which is tied to reclassified areas. When rural areas are reclassified as urban, the people in those areas already have houses. So while they never moved, and won't need a new place to live, they still contribute to the urbanization rate, he said."Part of the problem is that China overestimated its urbanization rate - how many people would want to move from rural to urban areas," Gan said.A culture of real-estate investmentOn the demand side, the general upward trend of house prices has spawned huge demand for second and third properties, Sun said."Within two decades, house prices have grown multiple times in many places, including major cities," Sun said. "Most people in China haven't experienced a substantial real-estate bubble burst like what the US experienced in 2008 or Japan in the 1990s.""This leads to a strong popular belief that real estate is the best way to preserve and generate wealth," Sun said. "And this stimulates the demand for buying additional properties."Homeownership rates in China are high: More than 90% of households are homeowners, according to a January research paper on homeownership in China from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. More than 20% of homeowners in China own more than one home. The US, for comparison, has a 65% homeownership rate. Real-estate holdings also account for an outsize proportion of household wealth in China: 70% of household assets - far higher than what you'd find in Western economies - are held in real estate.Demand for units, however - and this is where the mismatch comes into play - has been affected by a series of factors, said Bernard Aw, an economist overseeing Asia Pacific for Coface. Among these factors is the increasing unaffordability of homes, an aging population, and slowing population growth. Aw pointed to China's 2020 census, which recorded the slowest population growth since the 1970s."They built an oversupply, and then they sold it," Gan said. "And that's why you see the vacancies." Residential buildings in which only few people actually lived in Kangbashi in 2017. South China Morning Post / Contributor While the Evergrande crisis looms, China has ways of mitigating risk - including stopping home salesEvergrande has more than 1,300 developments spread across 280 cities in China, which collectively house more than 12 million people, its website says.But Evergrande also has $300 billion in debt, making it the most indebted company in the world; it has 1.6 million undelivered apartments hanging in the balance, and it keeps missing its bond payments.Despite the size of Evergrande's scale and debt, the developer accounts for only a fraction of China's housing woes. "Evergrande is linked to the vacancy problem, but you cannot blame them for it," Gan said. "Their market share in China is still small.""They're both part of a big problem," Gan added, pointing to Evergrande and the vacancy rate. An aerial view from a drone of the Evergrande City last month in Wuhan, China. Getty Images In 2017, Bloomberg described Beijing's nightmare scenario as one in which people rush to sell off their second properties if cracks in the market appear, thereby sending prices on a downward spiral. When I asked Gan whether this was the scenario now unfolding in China, he said it wasn't - but not because there aren't cracks in the market.Instead, the government is making it so difficult to complete a sale that it's dissuading homeowners from selling, Gan said."China can stop a transaction. The government can change the number of years you have to own a home. Or if prices are too low, the government won't give you a certificate of sale," Gan said. "That is what's happening now.""You won't see the price drop substantially, but you will see the transaction volume drop massively," he added. "They'll stop the sale. By doing that, they can prevent the look of a massive price drop. They can prevent the crash."This very move - suppressing home sales - stands to hurt those who need to sell their homes to access cash, Gan said. "Real estate is a massive chunk of people's wealth," he said. "If they need that wealth for education, or health problems, or retirement, the liquidity sellers will suffer."Gan stressed that the stopping of sales was not singularly, or even directly, linked to Evergrande's debt crisis: "This was happening before Evergrande became evident," he said.Heightened contagion fearsIn addition to liquidity sellers, households that own only one home are thought to face the greatest risk."People who own one home, because of high prices and low income, they have some risk," Gan said. "For many of them, their down payment is borrowed from friends, from relatives - not from banks."It's a different story for well-off families with money invested in second and third properties, Sun said: "The risk of default for these families is relatively low unless a massive, unprecedented economic crisis leads to massive unemployment.""But aside from that worst-case scenario, the risk of default is relatively low," Sun added. On a broader scale, Evergrande poses a risk to the larger Chinese economy. Experts say Evergrande's debt problems could affect other property developers in China and might create a new wave of defaults. Just last week, the Chinese property developer Fantasia missed a $206 million repayment deadline. And a leaked letter from September 2020 shows the company's debts are tied to at least 128 banks, Reuters reported.Another danger is that the Evergrande crisis stands to change China's perception of real estate as a safe investment, Sun said. That's a problem when the real-estate sector makes up 29% of the country's gross domestic product."The government is heavily reliant on households continuing to invest in real estate," Sun said. "So if the bubble bursts, it will inevitably compromise people's confidence in real estate and undermine their perception of real estate as the best way to preserve and generate wealth."That means a slowdown in real estate will cause a deterioration of economic growth and government finance."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

China has at least 65 million empty homes - enough to house the entire population of France. It offers a glimpse into the country"s massive housing market problem.

In the US and Japan, abandoned homes have earned cities the titles of "ghost towns." But China's are different - they're not abandoned, just empty. Unfinished buildings and vacant streets in Xiangluo Bay. Yujiapu & Xiangluo Bay, a new central business district under construction in Tianjin, was been expected to be China's Manhattan. Now it's a Ghost city. Zhang Peng / Contributor / Getty Images One-fifth of the homes in China - at least 65 million units - are empty. That means there's enough empty real estate in the country to house the entire population of France. China's ghost cities are a sprawling testament to its reliance on real estate as a driver of economic growth, and in its belief in the sector as a safe investment. See more stories on Insider's business page. If you drive an hour or two outside of Shanghai or Beijing, you'll find something odd. The cities are still tall, and they're still modern. They're also, generally, in good condition. But unlike their bustling, Tier 1-city counterparts, they're basically empty.These are China's "ghost cities."Their existence has been well-documented. In one prominent example, CBS' 60 Minutes ran a 2013 segment on China's ghost towns that opened with correspondent Lesley Stahl on a major road at rush hour with barely a car in sight.But as China's real-estate market has risen to the forefront of the global conversation with Evergrande's $300 billion debt looming large, so, too, have ghost towns become a renewed source of interest. While they're a testament to China's reliance on real estate as a driver of economic growth and in its belief in the sector as a safe investment, their exact quantity is hard to define.Li Gan is a professor of economics at Texas A&M University and the director of the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance at Chengdu's Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. He's also considered one of the top experts on China's housing market. When I asked him how many ghost towns there are in China, he didn't have an answer."I don't know if there's any definition of 'ghost town,'" he said. "So I don't know if there's any number." What are China's ghost towns?The most famous of China's ghost towns may be Ordos New Town, also known as Kangbashi, in Inner Mongolia.The city was designed to house one million people, a number that was later scaled back to 300,000, Insider's Melia Robinson previously reported. But as of 2016, a mere 100,000 people lived in it. Kangbashi eventually managed to lure in residents after China moved some of its top schools into the city, prompting students and their families to follow suit, Nikkei reported earlier this year.In 2015, photographer Kai Caemmerer traveled to China to explore ghost cities. His photos showcase endless rows of high-rises with barely any indication of human life. They're photos, in fact, that might remind people of what locked-down cities around the world looked like during the pandemic.These unoccupied units constitute a significant portion of China's enormous housing market, which is twice the size of the US residential market and hit $52 trillion in value in 2019. Data from the most recently published China Household Finance Survey, which Gan runs, shows that 21% of homes - some 65 million homes - were vacant as of 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.That means there are enough empty units in China to house the entire population of France.But unlike parts of the US and Japan, where unoccupied homes in various states of abandonment and decay have earned cities and regions the titles of "ghost towns," China's are different. They're not abandoned - they're just unoccupied.As Gan put it, these ghost cities are "a unique China phenomenon." The empty street in Kangbashi district, Ordos city, Inner Mongolia, on Feb. 16, 2017. A large number of new style buildings were built, but many were suspended due to lack of continuous financial support. South China Morning Post / Contributor How did China end up with all this empty real estate?The first thing to understand about China's ghost cities is that these are not cities in states of disrepair. Instead, they are full of new builds that were bought as investments. They're also a symptom of mismatched supply and demand."These homes being empty means they are sold out to investors and buyers, but not occupied by either the owners or renter," Dr. Xin Sun, a senior lecturer in Chinese and East Asian Business at King's College London, told Insider.On the supply side, Sun said, the government gets big sales revenue from leasing out land to developers. "This gives the government very strong incentive to encourage development instead of limiting it," he said.Every year, China starts building 15 million new homes - five times as many as the US and Europe combined, the Economist reported in January.In addition to the government promoting development and driving supply up, there's the matter of China's urbanization rate. As of 2020, 61% of China's population lives in cities, up from 35.8% of its population 20 years earlier, data from the World Bank shows. However, Gan said there are flaws in China's urbanization rate metrics, one of which is tied to reclassified areas. When rural areas are reclassified as urban, the people in those areas already have houses. So while they never moved, and won't need a new place to live, they still contribute to the urbanization rate, he said."Part of the problem is that China overestimated its urbanization rate - how many people would want to move from rural to urban areas," Gan said.A culture of real-estate investmentOn the demand side, the general upward trend of house prices has spawned huge demand for second and third properties, Sun said."Within two decades, house prices have grown multiple times in many places, including major cities," Sun said. "Most people in China haven't experienced a substantial real-estate bubble burst like what the US experienced in 2008 or Japan in the 1990s.""This leads to a strong popular belief that real estate is the best way to preserve and generate wealth," Sun said. "And this stimulates the demand for buying additional properties."Homeownership rates in China are high: More than 90% of households are homeowners, according to a January research paper on homeownership in China from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. More than 20% of homeowners in China own more than one home. The US, for comparison, has a 65% homeownership rate. Real-estate holdings also account for an outsized proportion of household wealth in China: 70% of household assets - far higher than what you'd find in western economies - are held in real estate.However - and this is where the mismatch comes into play - demand for units has been affected by a series of factors, said Bernard Aw, an economist overseeing Asia Pacific for Coface. Amongst these factors is the increasing unaffordability of homes, an aging population, and slowing population growth. Aw pointed to China's 2020 census, which recorded the slowest population growth since the 1970s."They built an oversupply, and then they sold it," Gan said. "And that's why you see the vacancies." Residential buildings in which only few people actually living in Kangbashi district, Ordos city, Inner Mongolia, on Feb. 16, 2017. South China Morning Post / Contributor While the Evergrande crisis looms, China has ways of mitigating risk - including stopping home salesEvergrande has more than 1,300 developments spread across 280 cities in China, which collectively house more than 12 million people, its website states. As Insider's Matthew Loh recently reported, that means more people live in Evergrande properties than in entire countries, like Greece, Portugal, or Sweden.But Evergrande also has $300 billion in debt, making it the most indebted company in the world; it has 1.6 million undelivered apartments hanging in the balance; and it keeps missing its bond payments.Despite the enormity of both Evergrande's scale and debt, the developer accounts for a fraction of China's housing woes. "Evergrande is linked to the vacancy problem, but you cannot blame them for it," Gan said. "Their market share in China is still small.""They're both part of a big problem," Gan added, pointing to Evergrande and the vacancy rate. An aerial view from a drone of the Evergrande City on September 24,2021 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Getty Images In 2017, Bloomberg described Beijing's nightmare scenario as one in which people rush to sell off their second properties if cracks in the market appear, thereby sending prices on a downward spiral. When I asked Gan if this is the scenario currently unfolding in China, he said it's not - but not because there aren't cracks in the market.Instead, the government is making it so difficult to complete a sale that it's dissuading homeowners from selling, Gan said."China can stop a transaction. The government can change the number of years you have to own a home. Or if prices are too low, the government won't give you a certificate of sale," Gan said. "That is what's happening now.""You won't see the price drop substantially, but you will see the transaction volume drop massively," he added. "They'll stop the sale. By doing that, they can prevent the look of a massive price drop. They can prevent the crash."This very move - suppressing home sales - stands to hurt those who need to sell their homes to access cash, Gan said. "Real estate is a massive chunk of peoples' wealth," he said. "If they need that wealth for education, or health problems, or retirement, the liquidity sellers will suffer."Gan stressed that the stopping of sales is not directly, or singularly, linked to Evergrande's debt crisis: "This was happening before Evergrande became evident," he said.Heightened contagion fearsIn addition to liquidity sellers, households who own only one home face the greatest risk, the experts said."People who own one home, because of high prices and low income, they have some risk. For many of them, their down payment is borrowed from friends, from relatives - not from banks," Gan said.It's a different story for well-off families with money invested in second and third properties, Sun said: "The risk of default for these families is relatively low unless a massive, unprecedented economic crisis leads to massive unemployment.""But aside from that worst-case scenario, the risk of default is relatively low," Sun added. On a broader scale, Evergrande poses a contagion risk to the entire Chinese economy. Experts say Evergrande's debt problems could affect other property developers in China and potentially create a whole new wave of defaults. Just last week, Chinese property developer Fantasia missed a $206 million repayment deadline. And a leaked letter from September 2020 shows the company's debts are tied to at least 128 banks, Reuters reported.Another very real danger is that the Evergrande crisis stands to change China's perception of real estate as a safe investment, Sun said. Given that the real estate sector makes up 29% of the country's GDP, a softening of trust could send shockwaves through the Chinese economy. "The government is heavily reliant on households continuing to invest in real estate. So if the bubble bursts, it will inevitably compromise peoples' confidence in real estate and undermine their perception of real estate as the best way to preserve and generate wealth," Sun said. "That means a slowdown in real estate will cause a deterioration of economic growth and government finance."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 14th, 2021