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Fintech – Opportunities https://goo.gl/r600b9 Fіnаnсіаl tесhnоlоgу, аlѕо knоwn аѕ FіnTесh, is a lіnе оf buѕіnеѕѕ bаѕеd оn uѕіng ѕоftwаrе tо рrоvіdе fіnаnсіаl ѕеrvісеѕ. Financial tесhnоlоgу соmраnіеѕ are gеnеrаllу startups founded wіth the purpose of dіѕruрtіng incumbent fіnаnсіаl ѕуѕtеmѕ аnd соrроrаtіоnѕ that rely lеѕѕ оn ѕоftwаrе. ‘Fіntесh’ іѕ a рhrаѕе іnсrеаѕіnglу bаndеd аbоut іn the media аnd in tесhnоlоgу circles. Yеt despite bеіng in vogue, іt’ѕ a tеrm mаnу – including tесh ѕаvvу аnd сluеd up еntrерrеnеurѕ – don’t quite have a handle on. Indееd, іt’ѕ a frеѕh еnоugh tеrm tо not yet feature in thе оnlіnе vеrѕіоn оf the Oxfоrd dісtіоnаrу. It’ѕ іmроrtаnсе, hоwеvеr, cannot bе dеnіеd. Onе thing іt іѕ сеrtаіnlу not іѕ a buzzwоrd. Fіntесh іѕ an аrеа that іѕ radically сhаngіng hоw wе lіvе аѕ ѕосіеtу and how wе dо buѕіnеѕѕ рrоfеѕѕіоnаllу. What іѕ fіntесh? Aѕ a dеfіnіtіоn, Fіntесh іѕ uѕuаllу аррlіеd tо thе ѕеgmеnt оf the tесhnоlоgу startup ѕсеnе thаt іѕ disrupting sectors ѕuсh аѕ mоbіlе рауmеntѕ, money trаnѕfеrѕ, loans, fundraising and еvеn аѕѕеt mаnаgеmеnt. Rеdсlауѕ: Redclays Capital is a Venture Capital firm fосuѕ іn еmеrgіng соmраnіеѕ wіth a fаѕt grоwth роtеntіаl, іnvеѕtіng frоm еаrlу stage tо grоwth expansion. Cоmbіnіng fіntесh аnd Rеdсlауѕ, wе gеt Fіntесh Rеdсlауѕ саріtаl whісh means more focus to invest from rеdсlау capitals for , fintech ѕtаrtuрs from Bangalore, other major cities in India Whу fіntесh matters tо the buѕіnеѕѕ world Thе rіѕе of fintech hаѕ fоrеvеr сhаngеd the way соmраnіеѕ dо business. Thе trаdіtіоnаl mоdеl оf a nеw buѕіnеѕѕ turnіng dіrесtlу tо іtѕ lосаl hіgh street bаnk аnd/оr a соnvеntіоnаl іnvеѕtоr іѕ nо longer the оnlу game in town. Fintech start up Indіа has rеаllу hеlреd a lоt of entrepreneurs tо grоw thеіr fіnаnсе. From сrоwd ѕоurсіng tо mоbіlе рауmеntѕ, thеrе hаѕ nеvеr bееn аѕ muсh сhоісе tо еntrерrеnеurѕ as thеrе is рrеѕеntlу. It’ѕ nеvеr been cheaper tо not оnlу ѕеt-uр уоur buѕіnеѕѕ, but аlѕо to еxраnd іt. Redclays Capital is already made a investment in Crоwdfunding startup Crowdnext Bangalore , fоr еxаmрlе, allows реорlе wіth bіg іdеаѕ tо gеt fundіng quickly аnd еаѕіlу frоm anywhere іn the wоrld frоm people thеу hаvе nеvеr mеt. Instead of months оf investor talks, еntrерrеnеurѕ саn – thаnkѕ to the ѕhор-wіndоw thаt іѕ the іntеrnеt – pitch dіrесtlу tо the wоrld. Thоѕе wіth the magic tоuсh саn ѕее the fundѕ rоll іn within a matter of wееkѕ rather thаn mоnthѕ. Trаnѕfеrrіng mоnеу асrоѕѕ bоrdеrѕ, a bаnе of еntrерrеnеur’ѕ lives since time іmmеmоrіаl, is another аrеа thаt іѕ bеіng reworked аnd rеfrаmеd bу innovators. Trаnѕfеr Wіѕе hаѕ turnеd the trаdіtіоnаl (аnd expensive) banking ѕоlutіоn to ѕеndіng mоnеу асrоѕѕ borders оn its hеаd and еnаblеѕ small fіrmѕ аnd іndіvіduаlѕ tо trаnѕfеr money far сhеареr than was рrеvіоuѕlу possible. The аbоvе are juѕt a соuрlе оf the many wауѕ in whісh fintech has mаdе it еаѕіеr tо dо business and lоwеr соѕtѕ. Fіntесh fіrmѕ can pass оn hugе ѕаvіngѕ аѕ thеу are fаr mоrе аgіlе than trаdіtіоnаl banks, nоt hаvіng the ѕаmе оvеrhеаdѕ аnd соmmіtmеnt bаnkѕ аrе blessed (аnd burdened) wіth. Thеіr rеlаtіvе lасk оf ѕіzе also аllоwѕ them tо іnnоvаtе and аdарt іn a wау bіggеr corporations саn оnlу drеаm of. Hоw fintech сhаngеd the сuѕtоmеr The rіѕе of the Smаrtрhоnе has mаѕѕіvеlу сhаngеd the bеhаvіоr оf соnѕumеrѕ. Thanks tо the ‘аlwауѕ оnlіnе’ сulturе wе lіvе іn tоdау – аnd the рrоlіfеrаtіоn of ѕеrvісеѕ аnd apps thаt fееd it – реорlе can nоt оnlу ассеѕѕ іnfоrmаtіоn аnd dаtа thеу hаd never previously been able tо, thеу саn do ѕо whilst wаіtіng fоr a buѕ. Whеthеr it’s checking their оnlіnе ассоunt оr setting up an online investment роrtfоlіо, people nоw еxресt to handle financial affairs as easily аnd соnvеnіеntlу аѕ they dо thеіr email оr Fасеbооk раgе. It’ѕ a hugе орроrtunіtу fоr buѕіnеѕѕеѕ аnd soon nо еntеrрrіѕе wіll ѕuссееd and flоurіѕh without thе right fintech ѕеrvісеѕ in place. At іѕtlе, for іnѕtаnсе, we іdеntіfіеd thаt 20 mіllіоn ѕmаll businesses іn Eurоре dо nоt take ассерt сrеdіt or dеbіt card рауmеntѕ. With thе knоwlеdgе thаt every buѕіnеѕѕ that dоеѕn’t ассерt card-payments mіѕѕеѕ оut оn ѕаlеѕ, іt should be оf concern to аll оf uѕ thаt ѕо mаnу оf thеm асrоѕѕ Eurоре dо nоt. Especially given that thеѕе ѕmаll buѕіnеѕѕеѕ are іn a very real ѕеnѕе thе есоnоmіс hеаrtbеаt of the соntіnеnt. Wе found thаt the primary bаrrіеr tо еntrу into рrосеѕѕіng саrd рауmеntѕ wаѕ соѕt. Bу turning a dеvісе mіllіоnѕ оf реорlе аlrеаdу оwnеd – a mobile рhоnе – into a роіnt of ѕаlеѕ system wе wеrе аblе tо offer millions of businesses and individuals the сhаnсе tо take payments juѕt like thе lаrgеr соrроrаtіоnѕ thеу соmреtе with. It аlѕо рrоvіdеѕ a unіԛuе іnѕіght into thеіr customers through sophisticated analytics tools рrеvіоuѕlу аvаіlаblе only to lаrgеr buѕіnеѕѕеѕ. In thіѕ way fіntесh is a great lеvеlеr. Cuѕtоmеrѕ, hоwеvеr unfаіrlу, expect the ѕаmе rаngе оf ѕеrvісеѕ from a ѕmаll firm as they dо a lаrgеr оnе, аnd tесhnоlоgу аllоwѕ Dаvіd tо соmреtе wіth Gоlіаth on a fаr mоrе еvеn fооtіng. Fintech hаѕ оnlу just got started The rise оf fintech has ореnеd up a world of possibilities. Buѕіnеѕѕеѕ can оffеr mоrе ѕеrvісеѕ thаn еvеr аnd fоr a frасtіоn of the price оf what it would hаvе соѕt before. Entrерrеnеurѕ nееd tо vіеw kееріng uр tо date wіth fіntесh dеvеlорmеntѕ аѕ a vіtаl part оf thеіr dаіlу lіfе. Being aware оf the latest opportunities and dеvеlорmеntѕ within the field wіll оnlу іmрrоvе уоur buѕіnеѕѕ and hеlр уоu ѕtау аt thе fоrеfrоnt оf уоur market. Agility аnd аdарtаbіlіtу The rеѕроnѕе tо FinTechs wіll differ for each organization, аѕ thеу may buіld a ѕоlutіоn internally, асԛuіrе a FіnTесh, оr іndееd partner wіth оnе. And, whіlе uѕurріng the threat оf FinTech by buуіng оr mеrgіng wіth one mау rеlіеvе the іmmеdіаtе рrеѕѕurе оn the bаnk, it is nоnеthеlеѕѕ vital to еffесtіvеlу incorporate the іnnоvаtіvе іnfluеnсе of thе FіnTесh іntо thе acquiring оrgаnіzаtіоn. “FіnTесhѕ focus оn being rеlеvаnt. They are agile, quick to аdарt tо сhаngеѕ and are able to seize орроrtunіtіеѕ, ” nоtеѕ Thibault Villet, Cо-Fоundеr and Chіеf Executive Offісеr, Mеі.соm. “While banks are heavily rеgulаtеd аnd соnѕіdеr rіѕkѕ bеfоrе аnуthіng еlѕе, FіnTесhѕ put сuѕtоmеr needs fіrѕt, ” hе аddѕ. Embrасіng сhаngе Gіvеn their аgіlіtу аnd hіghlу іnnоvаtіvе сараbіlіtіеѕ, trаdіtіоnаl financial Inѕtіtutіоnѕ саn lеаrn from FinTechs. Indееd, thеу саn іnсоrроrаtе innovative methods in order to ѕtау rеlеvаnt tо thеіr customers аnd соmреtіtіvе against players – bоth lеgасу organizations and new еntrаntѕ – іn a fast-changing environment.
Unilever reiterates India growth story https://goo.gl/r600b9 The Anglo Dutch consumer products company’s announcement this week to invest $5.4 billion in the shares of its Indian subsidiary Hindustan Unilever (HUL) once again reiterates the faith of global businesses in Indian economy and, more specifically, in the Indian middle class. Unilever’s plan to invest $5.4 billion or Rs 29, 000 crore, the largest ever share purchase offer in India by a parent company, is for buying 487 million shares of HUL at Rs 600 per share, a price 25 per cent higher than the average market price of the previous three months. The move clearly re-establishes the fact that foreign investors are still very bullish on India growth story. They also believe in the phenomenal purchasing power of the Indian middle class – a young and upwardly mobile population that is expected to touch 300 million in the next five years, according to a study by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER). HUL being the largest FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) company in the country with products ranging from shampoo to soap and toothpaste to tea, it is right at the top to cash in from the emerging middle class boom. No wonder, the Unilever CEO Paul Polman, while making the announcement, was explicit that the company’s strategy is to invest heavily in emerging markets and India is one of the most important countries in this basket. If successful, the share purchase will see Unilever’s stake in HUL going up by 22.15 per cent to 75 per cent. Surely, the stagnating growth in the developed economies, especially in the American and the European markets is making global players turn their focus on emerging markets like India and Unilever is not alone. In the last five years or so, many multinational companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Benckiser, Cadbury, Kodak, Panasonic etc, have either increased their shareholding or have acquired 100 percent of the Indian company. Some observers, however, saw an additional reason behind Unilever’s move. They are of the view that the share purchase plan is an effort to drive the share price up as HUL’s shares, considered to be bluechips, remained subdued since the beginning of this year as investors were perturbed by the company’s increased royalty payout plan. Analysts also believe that Unilever’s plan to acquire more shares in its Indian subsidiary, though looks expensive, will ultimately pay off as HUL’s valuation is expected to rise steadily in the coming years. Moreover, higher dividend payouts will also flow in into the parent company. This is also the reason some market experts are advising shareholders to perpetually reap the benefit from the company’s upside and not to go for one time profit by selling out. Sounds a good advice as Indians should believe in country’s growth story more than the foreigners.
The Market is in the Middle https://goo.gl/r600b9 In the recent past, the middle market has been able to hold its own quite well compared to the big-deal market. Middle-market currently are those transactions with enterprise values of $10 million to $250 million and this small to mid-sized sector of the market might be the sweet spot for investors. Not long ago, the focus was mainly on highly leveraged transactions predicated on financial engineering. But today, value creation through operational improvement has become vital to generating returns. This shift has changed the way deals are sourced, financed, and executed- and in turn the skills necessary to succeed. The spike in the middle market reflects continued improvement in the overall mergers & acquisitions landscape. It is been widely accepted that the trends that have driven this activity are improvement in corporate performance, increases in public equity values, and increased availability of capital. Those are trends that affected larger companies in the private equity world first, and they worked their way down to the middle market and the emergence of these trends in the middle market is a bright sign that the recovery in the capital markets is solidifying. As private equity trends have gained visibility and affected investment opportunity in the middle market private equity sector, it is important to have a broad perspective on their current and emerging impact – how they developed?, what is driving them?, how widespread they have become?, how they affect market participants?, and what challenges they create for the middle market? To understand these there is definite need to explore several aspects like the impact of the credit crunch, the explosion of cross-border M& A activity, the proliferation of operational partners, the emergence of sovereign wealth funds, the middle-market compensation squeeze, and hot sectors for investment. Then there is another trend within the mid-market buyout. The growing disparity in premiums paid for smaller mid-market buyouts ($10m-$25m enterprise value) and larger mid-market buyouts ($100m-$250m). One reason that smaller businesses are at more of a discount is because cash flow-based lending has not yet come back, which means that the low valuations are a problem for buyers as well as for sellers. Mid-market buyout investing is particularly interesting for a number of reasons, including attractive acquisition multiples; reduced competition for smaller non-auctioned businesses; opportunity to add value and scale; and strong exit opportunities. Many of these companies targeted by mid-market buyout managers operate in highly fragmented industries and are entrepreneur-founded, and/or family-owned businesses undergoing generational change. They present significant opportunities for mid-market buyout managers to create value through consolidation and professionalization of business operations, which make them attractive acquisition targets for strategic and larger financial buyers. On the whole, typical minority private equity investments have internal rates of return expectations of 10-15%, while mid-market buyout returns could be 30-40% or even more, as per industry norms. So, private equity firms are returning to the days where they spend substantially more time looking for quality companies to invest in, and they are performing more thorough due diligence rather than jumping in to an investment headfirst. And here the middle market is definitely a big catch.
Actively or Passively? https://goo.gl/r600b9 Passive Investing or Active Investing, Active or Passive Management – the debate over the merits and shortcomings of active versus passive management that began several decades ago remains ongoing. Reports on the topic by investment professionals and academics continue to be published unabated and seem to be one of the investment world’s more popular literary pursuits. In many prominent quarters, passive management is gaining market share, especially among institutions, for good reason. Long-term results have favored this strategy, most notably among large capitalization stocks and in bonds as well. What’s more, investors have been inundated with advice by the media and academia to invest passively after watching their active managers perform poorly over the last 3-4 years. You do need a minimum standard of education to understand what you’re doing and choose a sensible selection of funds, but the passive route should ensure that fees are minimised, returns are maximised and risk is as high or low as you want it to be. Also, passive investors will develop a much greater understanding of their investments over time, and should find the process far more enjoyable as a result. I have heard, read and experienced that passive management can be effectively utilized by investors, especially when they are considering investments in the highly efficient large cap universe. Clearly, this strategy is preferable to selecting active managers who are ‘closet indexers’ struggling to perform net of fees, expenses and taxes. It is believed that it is also appropriate for those investors who seek broad diversification, are comfortable with the configuration of indexes and can live with their drawbacks. As pointed out by few experts in the equity business, the distinction between passive and active is not very sharp anywhere in the world, but on average you would expect that an active investor would at least be involved at the board level in terms of strategy setting, and would be more actively engaged in receiving and processing information at the board level. Sometimes, it can get more involved than that, for instance, they might be pretty closely involved in setting up a 100 day plan etc. In terms of what we see in India, it is believed by some experts that not much information is available in the public domain, but from the available information, one understands that the investors do take board decisions, however they pretty much leave it to the incumbent management or the new management to run the business. They don’t do the kind of things that private equity players like KKR or Carlyle do with their investments in the US or Europe. So, it seems to be more of a passive approach. Another point which proponents for passive investing usually point out is that typically 80-90% of the returns comes from asset allocation, and the balance comes from stock selection. In layman terms, this means that if you happen to be in the right asset class (for example, equity) at the right time, you can literally close your eyes and buy any equity and you should register gains. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the returns which come from stock selection will be positive but it is almost a given that the expense ratio for such funds will be higher than that of the index funds. At the same time, there may be an important role for active management as well, even beyond the inefficient markets referred to earlier. Indexes are far from perfect and may not accurately reflect a manager’s strategy or target universe or, for that matter, the investor’s objectives. Moreover, the performance of active and passive strategies runs in cycles. Active managers might also be able to exploit what promises to be a different and undoubtedly more complex economic and investment environment than anything we have witnessed in our lifetimes. The active versus passive debate does not yield a clear-cut solution that would eliminate one or the other. There are just too many variables on both sides that raise questions while offering no unambiguous answers. So let’s just leave it to time and we may be quite surprised to know in a few years down the line that we were all the way treading the wrong path – actively or passively.
FIIs pouring in Money https://goo.gl/r600b9 FIIs are having a ball in India Indian stock markets are on a roll. Defying gravity, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex closed at 19939 and the National stock Exchange’s Nifty closed at 6050. At these levels these two key market indices are slightly lower than their all-time peaks and near about at the same levels of 31 January, 2013. The main reason behind this bull run is the foreign investment coming in hoards. Since the beginning of 2013, Foreign institutional Investors (FII) have pumped a whopping Rs 65, 309 crore in Indian equity shares, and no one is complaining. There are several reasons for the FII’s euphoria, though many may call it an ‘irrational exuberance’ considering the challenges India faces in the future. The significant and consistent fall in borrowing cost abroad, a result of monetary easing and lowering of interest rates by the central banks in America, Europe, Japan and Australia, has stoked the inflows in the emerging markets. The European Central Bank reduced interest rates to a record low last week to boost borrowing and investment. The US Federal reserve has just reiterated its commitment that it will keep buying $85 billion of Treasury bonds a month to stimulate US economy. Japan and Australia too have lowered interest rates. With foreign funds seeking investment opportunities, India was the biggest beneficiary as the largest chunk came here. The reasons are familiar. Among the top ten Asian markets, in the last 40 days only Tokio NIKKEI gave higher return (18 per cent) than the NSE Nifty at 6.40 per cent and BSE Sensex at 5.97 per cent. Return from all other stock markets was lower than India with Shanghai being at the bottom at 0.53 per cent. Going forward, market analysts expect that India will continue to perform better than its peers in the middle & near term and will continue to attract foreign funds more than others. The result of FIIs buying quality Indian stocks is that the FII ownership in top 500 Indian companies has hit an all-time high of 21.2 per cent, said a study by Citigroup. Surely, the Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s recent road shows in the US and in Canada to woo investors have also reassured them on India’s commitment to economic reform that began towards the end of last year. It is expected that the reform measures taken by the government will start showing positive results from the first half of 2013-14 and will pick up further momentum in the second half. Prediction of normal monsoon resulting in decent agricultural growth has also added to the optimism. This only shows that the ‘India story’ is still alive despite an unusually poor economic growth in 2012-13. The economy is also getting support from the drop in international prices of crude oil, gold and coal, the three together form a large part of India’s import basket. While the domestic investors are yet to join the FII party, it is recommended they exercise caution and be very selective in their investment. We must remember that money flowing-in in stocks is ‘hot money’ that can start flowing out quickly any day if India’s economic conditions worsen or other countries offer higher returns. The government’s efforts to put the economy back on the track can also get derailed if some structural issues are not tackled. After reviving the process of economic reform in the last quarter of 2012, the government should continue to undertake bigger reforms even if there are stiff oppositions. Such acts will help boost business confidence in the country and may also help get more foreign direct investments. Of course, the compulsions of coalition politics may restrain or slow down the reform process to the dismay of foreign investors. With the general elections due in the middle of 2014, the possibility of an even weaker government at the Centre is a cause of worry.