The Global Economy Is Suffering: Is The U.S. Responding Wisely?

The Global Economy is Suffering by David E. MickeyAfter Brexit, the already weak global growth is likely to be eroded even further. The world has a wage-depressing surplus of labor and excess capacity. Oil prices will likely plunge even lower than their already low prices. Corporate profits are unstable and deflation is posing an issue for central banks. Given these conditions, it would be logical to expect financial markets to have increased demand for safe-haven U.S. Treasuries. You’d probably also expect to see falling commodity prices, a soaring dollar, emerging market debt, and increasing aversion to junk bonds on the part of investors. This, however, is not the case.

This year, commodity prices such as oil have risen. For months, the 10-year Treasury yield has been flat. Emerging market bonds and junk bonds are attracting increasing amounts of money. It is likely that these conditions may lead to major market correction so that prices will be in line with economic fundamentals once again. When we look at the slow economic growth and negative interest rates that occur in countries with super-aggressive monetary policies, we see that perhaps things are out of alignment and the resolution will be a shocking process for many market participants.

The valuations may not be justified, but there are a few possible explanations for current market conditions that could also serve to lessen the blow of an abrupt reversal. Despite historically high price-to-earning ratios, U.S. stocks still may be cheap. Equities continue to be attractive when the dividend yield on the S&P 500 index is compared to those available on 10-year government debt. When we make this comparison, it seems stocks may be undervalued by more than 60 percent.

There is also a possibility that a fiscal stimulus program will emerge in order to revive growth. Even central bankers are admitting that meaningful economic growth has not been generated by monetary policy, and politicians will be increasingly pressured to their part in both the U.S. and in the euro zone.

Once we have a new U.S. president, both political parties may be able to reach a middle ground through infrastructure spending. The U.S.’s infrastructure certainly needs an upgrade, from the bridges and roads to the public transportation. According the the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Competitiveness Ranking, the U.S. is third overall in competitiveness, but it ranks 13th for infrastructure quality as a whole. It is estimated that each driver is paying an extra $377 annually due to aging roads and bridges.

The National Association of Manufacturers believes that for the next three years, $100 billion should be spent on major infrastructure each year. The association also points out that between 1956 and 2003, outlays grew 2.2 percent, but from 2003 to 2012, it fell 1.2 percent annually, for a total of drop of 19 percent in the 2003 to 2012 time period.

If the post-election climate brings a better political climate and a decrease in the amount of spending, investors may still be too calm about the outlook. The S&P index is up about 6.2 this year, and the VIX index, a measure of expected volatility for the future stock market, is staying at historically low levels.

If things reverse, the U.S. might follow in Europe’s footsteps. The European region has erased almost all of 2015’s gains with a benchmark Stoxx 600 index that is down more than 5 percent. For investors in this economic climate, it is best to hold universally large cash positions until the future is a bit more clear.

The world is in a time of economic turmoil. The U.S. may not be spending in the best way possible given the conditions, but there is a lot that is unknown in the financial and political landscape of the U.S. Only time will tell where our country’s economy is headed.

 

Switzerland’s Visa Cardholders to Gain Early Access to Apple Pay

IPhone_5S_main_cameraVisa Inc., a global payments technology company, has announced that approximately 1 million Visa cardholders in the nation of Switzerland will gain early access to the Apple Pay, which offers users a secure, efficient, and private way to complete transactions.

Cornèrcard and Bonuscard.ch customers will be able to use Apple Pay at over 100,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals in Switzerland. In less than for yours time, it’s expected that all Visa payment terminals will accept contactless payments.

“With today’s launch of Apple Pay, a global mobile payment solution based on credit cards and NFC (contactless) entered the Swiss market,” said Stefan Holbein, Country Manager Visa Europe Schweiz, in a public statement. “Given the iPhone population in Switzerland is extremely high, the launch of Apple Pay is sure to make it the most convenient mobile payment solution for Switzerland.”

Retailers won’t need to make any changes to point-of-sale infrastructure or terminals. Apple Pay will be accepted wherever Visa contactless payment is currently accepted, as it utilizes the same technology. Throughout Europe, contactless payment has grown in popularity. Since just a little over one year ago, Visa Europe has facilitated more than 3 billion contactless payments. In fact, this form of payment is so popular, contactless payments via smartphones and cards now represent approximately 20 percent of Visa transactions at payment terminals. Since 2014, usage has more than quadrupled, increasing from 4.1 percent to 21.1 percent.

Apple Pay promises that privacy and security are at the heart of its service. The payment card details for the Visa card added to Apple Pay won’t be stored on Apple’s servers of the device. Instead, Visa will generate a device account number, which will be assigned and stored on the device. This device account number or unique token protects consumers because they can be utilized for payment with direct access to card information or an account.

In the case that a token-carrying device, such as an iPad or an iPod is lost or stolen, the associated token can quickly be disabled, protecting against theft. This can occur without a need to cancel a card or have the card reissued because information hasn’t been compromised. Apple Pay users are able to enjoy all of the perks of a credit card without the fear of digital fraud or theft. The tokenization service is rooted in privacy and allows for Visa cardholders to select the card currently associated with iTune or a new card.  

Apple Pay is a digital wallet and mobile payment service developed by Apple Inc., allowing users with iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and iPad Mini 3, Apple Watch-compatible devices, and similar devices. The service was initially announced during an Apple’s iPhone 6 event on September 9, 2014, after Apple CEO Tim Cook described the magnetic stripe card payment process on credit cards as an  “outdated and vulnerable magnetic interface”, hosting “exposed numbers”, and insecure “security codes.”

Apple Pay has been integrated into the payment services for a number of iPad and iPhone applications, and it’s been launched in Canada, Singapore, the U.S., U.K., China, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Spain, and now Switzerland.

RepreZen Helps to Quickly Design and Deliver World-Class APIs and Microservices in a Fraction of the Time

studiologo_with_trademark-150dpi-Padded-800x257RepreZen, the first fully integrated API design workbench, helps to quickly design and deliver world-class APIs and microservices in a fraction of the time. Selected for the premier accelerator Startup Bootcamp FinTech in early 2016, the application program interface designer worked on their strategy over three months while exploring potential engagements with  SBC FinTech partners, including MasterCard, Deutsche Bank, Thomson Reuters, Santander, and others.

The accelerator facilitated the diverse and talented team, connecting to program mentors and the Startup Bootcamp’s extended network. The were also able to partially work in SBC’s Silicon Alley workspace with a handful of other promising fintech startups. During the Selection Days weekend event, the RepreZen team attended an engaging series of meeting with sponsors and mentors. The team, which includes Ted Epstein, CEO of RepreZen, Integration Lead Andy Lowry, and CTO Tanya Fesenko. participated in an orientation, and pitch and presentation training.

Even if RepreZen hadn’t been selected by the accelerator, the preceding weekend had already plied attendees with useful introductions and insights. Some important that was reaffirmed through chats with enterprise IT professionals was API Management helps, but only after API design and implementation; integration is on the critical path for every strategic IT investment; and an API design platform that addresses interface mismatch at the source. Following gruelling interviews and meetings, the ReprenZen team spent at Tavern 29 while the Startup Bootcamp Fintech partners deliberated. Partners then returned with hugs, champagne, and handshakes, announcing that RepreZen had been selected, sharing the honor with nine other startups.

ReprenZen provides an integrated environment that harmonizes API designs, brings API design into focus for an entire team, and it generates APIs that are comprehensive and clink into client apps. RepreZen API Studio is said to “empowers software teams to define their API contracts, specifying the standard models, methods and patterns that make their APIs work together.” Users have also said that it’s an ideal tool to design and document REST APIs because the modeling environment is intuitive, allowing for users to focus on the architecture and functionality of an API resource model.

RepreZen API Studio has everything you needed to design, document and delivers end-to-end API solutions.

Fintech Startups Aren’t Going Anywhere & They’re Changing the Way We Do Business

23273130005_f8c800bcfe_oThe sizzling hot buzzword, fintech, an amalgamation of finance and technology, has appeared within the pages of countless publications. This term packs power because of  its disruptive abilities. In fact, Netflix, Apple, and Facebook are prime examples of companies that have disrupted industries and sparked new initiatives and startups. Fintech is impacting every modern industry.

Apple and the other companies understand that fintech plays an active role within their industry, altering the way money is invested and managed. Also, it alters the way people get loans and do financial research. For this reason, fintech will only get bigger. Last year, global investment into fintech companies reached nearly $20 billion, with most of that backing coming from venture capitalists. Within just two years, the number of venture capitalists acting as investors increased by 106 percent in 2014.

OurCrowd is a company that allows the public to invest alongside angel investors and venture capitalists, with funds directed toward pre-vetted startups. Platforms, such as Slingshot Insight, is revolutionary. It brings crowdfunding to research, enabling the public to pool money in order to access analysis and interviews from industry experts. This can be helpful for those who seek advice from doctors about digital medicine and biotech stock. The platform TipRanks is now a go-to source for those researching analyst ratings. This particular platform makes it easier to select the right select the correct stock while the application Quantcha makes it easier to search through trade options.

When it comes to finding information about an active return on an investment or the performance of an investment against a market index, Prattle, Running Alpha, Metricle, and HedgeSPA are valuable companies, offering investors unique data points for investors. Also, for those interested in ways to organize and analyze new data, companies like uxMarketFlow, Ormsby Street,  and Alpha Hat are incomparable resources. SeedFeed is valuable for those interested in a comprehensive platform that has aggregated crowdfunded real estate investments.

All of this is to say that fintech is more than investing, it’s responsible for alternatives in lending and financing. Credibly and similar companies are responsible for helping to rescue smaller businesses, and Financial lends a hand by helping businesses connect with the best possible lenders to provide owners with personal loans. Once a business owner has secured a loan and found that they’re struggling with repayment, they can turn to CommonBond, which helps them to refinance.

While fintech is about far more than investing, it has made investing easier for those without the time or energy to do their own research, or they require recommendations or direct stock picks. Tradespoon, Trade Ideas, Stockal, and Vetr are some of the companies responsible for educating men and women about investing and trading.

While fintech is relatively new, it’s already changing. Traditional institutions are bending to adapt to new competition, proving to be better for investors. The fintech realm will only expand. The aforementioned companies are just a small chunk of the industry, and what’s happened barely hints at what’s to come. Traditional brokerages and banks will introduce their own fintech product, which will be better for investors looking to keep their funds attached to brick and mortar institutions.

 


David E. Mickey is a financial executive based in Buffalo, New York, and he’s an Enterprise Sales Executive at Docupace Technologies. Please visit his websites to learn more: http://davidemickey.com; http://davidemickey.net/; and http://davidemickey.org/.

4 New Fintech Startups Primed to Take on the Finance Industry

18293552513_e473df2764_oThere were four new fintech startups recently fingered at London’s O2 arena, where companies pitched to investors and enthusiasts. The event was hosted by Barclays and Techstars, which is one of the world’s largest startup accelerators.

Curva

One of those fintech startups happens to be Cuvva, which is a British startup that permits users to purchase car insurance for someone else’s vehicle by the hour. This is done via a smartphone app. This enables friends to use another’s car legally, equipping them with flexible insurance. The iPhone app (the Android app is still underway) verifies users by taking a photo of an individual’s driver’s license and a selfie. A number of metrics are taken into account to calculate the cost of hourly insurance. The developer hopes to want to maneuver the app into a marketplace platform, and he’s in major car insurer to purchase hourly coverage of their own car.

Zighra

Zighra, another selected startup, has devised a method by which a user’s behavioral traits, rather than eye scan or fingerprint is used as a way to gain entrance to one’s smartphone. The pressure applied to the screen of the phone and the angle in which they hold their phone. This tool is used as an application for other institutions, and will not be a separate app. This proposes an invisible layer of security that reacts to interaction with the screen. Interaction with the screen generates an individualized score by the user, which differs from anyone else. Presently, Zighra is working with one of the nation’s top insurance companies and Canada’s top two banks to integrate solutions into their program.

Helm

Helm is yet another incredible fintech startup, which was founded by an ex-JPMorgan compliance chief. The app can inform businesses when they aren’t meeting regulations and laws. The software stands as a database that houses rules, and it notifies compliance managers at firms. This removes the need for lawyers and eases steps toward compliance. Additionally, Helm enables regulators to consult institutions via the platform forthcoming regulations.

DigiSEq

Co-founded by Terrie Smith, one of the developers of Apple Pay, is DigiSEq, a platform that allows companies producing devices with devices with near-field communication technology, removing the complexities of security and delivering secure application data. The company partners with a number of manufacturers to make sure they offer a complete array of services.

Fintech will truly bring forward a future where consumers can feel secure, protected, and informed.


David E. Mickey is a financial executive based in Buffalo, New York, and he’s an Enterprise Sales Executive at Docupace Technologies. Please visit his websites to learn more: http://davidemickey.comhttp://davidemickey.net/; and http://davidemickey.org/.

 

Green Finance Becoming a Reality

Palm with a plant growng from pile of coins

The European economy is recovering – albeit slowly – and sustainable finance may just be a major component of growth. The urgent need that exists to invest capital into sustainable infrastructure and technology may contribute to driving job growth in European nations. Individual investors, as well as national institutions, are prioritizing the need to invest in sustainability. The new movement is sure to become a contributing factor in Europe’s overall economic growth.

Individuals, companies, and central banks are supporting the transition to a greener economy. Surprisingly, Europeans are putting more of their savings in assets supportive of sustainability, while European financial institutions recognize the importance of sustainability in their business models. According to Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program, the transition has been underway for sometime but has quickened since Europe’s major climate agreement. This and other international agreements have signaled to global markets the importance of sustainability and environmental concerns on future global developments.

Some major European institutions are already attempting to influence financial policymakers. The Bank of England has delivered an assessment of what climate change can mean for the insurance sector. France has introduced new labels to help consumers choose financial products that are sustainable, or at least, sustainability-oriented. Other countries like Spain, Germany, and Portugal have undertaken similar policies. Sweden, on the other hand, has enacted policy to link the financial world with sustainable development.

According to Steiner’s article, the European Fund for Strategic Investment approved 42 new projects, of which more than half of those are sustainability-related. Climate action, resource efficiency, and sustainable development are some of the included components. The Capital Markets Union even provides easier access to sustainable finance through financial instruments like green bonds, which facilitate financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Major European companies like Allianz, and Amundi are committing themselves to these greener initiatives by aligning their portfolios with carbon-reducing assets.

Key elements of these efforts include an array of other financial strategies. These include: “reallocating capital, assessing risk, clarifying responsibility, and improving reporting. ” The movement is becoming global as well. China is hoping to raise 400 billion in green investments every year for five years, mainly from financial and capital markets.

Green finance is becoming a reality, and as global concerns of climate change continue to rise, so will the need for financing in sustainable projects. If you liked this post and would like to read more about global finance, check out my twitter @DavidEMickey for more.


David E. Mickey is a financial executive based in Buffalo, New York, and he’s an Enterprise Sales Executive at Docupace Technologies. Please visit his websites to learn more: http://davidemickey.comhttp://davidemickey.net/; and http://davidemickey.org/.

Invest in Recent College Graduates

MOS-2003
Today, a college degree does not equal a job offer. With the increasing amount of recent graduates flooding the workforce, there is simply not enough supply of professional jobs to meet the demands of an ever larger labor force. As a result, a college degree has lost its negotiating power, and many are left jobless without the work experience or skills necessary to grant them a job. However, recent college graduates can still present an array of benefits that older, more experienced workers simply cannot offer. The generational gap may indeed provide both pros and cons between possible employees, presenting employers with various options for both types of applicants. As an employer, a simple cost benefit analysis will allow you to weigh the benefits of hiring a recent college graduate.

Firstly, what are college grads doing to stand out in the job market? There are certainly a few possible steps recent college graduates can take to set themselves apart from the general applicant pool. The first obstacle recent college graduates meet is the experience trap. Most employers look for applicants with at least a year or two of experience in the relevant field. Recent college graduates should look into finding internships and temp roles that help them fill in any gaps in their resume. Another way of defeating the experience trap is by obtaining licenses and certifications in relevant fields. For example, if you’re looking into administrative or office management roles, Alex Vanover of business.com suggests obtaining a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification, or becoming a Certified Administrative Professional (CAP). If you’re looking to fill an accountant role, a CPA or CMA is professional certifications that are well-regarded in the financial world. If you’re looking for minor roles, a Quickbooks Application Certification will work just fine. Such certifications prove to employers your commitment to the field you’re looking to break into.

Employers though worry that recent college graduates are simply not up to the challenge of a full-time job. A full-time job entails responsibilities that recent college graduates simply have not proven to fulfill. Therefore, it is certainly a risky proposition for employers to invest the time and effort necessary to train this demographic. However, some of the benefits recent college graduates bring to employers are quite great. For example, recent college graduates naturally require less compensation for their work than those more experienced workers. These individuals expect lower salaries because of their lack of experience, compared to individuals who already have years of experience ahead of them. Another benefit includes training. Training individuals on your company’s’ methods may be difficult when an individual has other methods already ingrained. A recent college graduate is much like a clean slate; they can be easily taught your methods without the worry of other ingrained methods interfering in the process.

If you’re an employer, definitely take a moment to consider hiring a recent college graduate. The benefits of hiring them should far outweigh any risks you may be concerned about. If you liked this post, check out my blog @David E. Mickey for more news and info. Thanks for reading!


David E. Mickey is a financial executive based in Buffalo, New York, and he’s an Enterprise Sales Executive at Docupace Technologies. Please visit his websites to learn more: http://davidemickey.comhttp://davidemickey.net/; and http://davidemickey.org/.