Back to the future

Latin America: Is democracy looming?

With its history of hyper-inflation, populist governments and more recent headline distractions, Latin America is a region that many investors frequently overlook, despite covering one sixth of the planet. Corruption, a shrinking economy and a deadly virus might sound like a script for a Hollywood movie, but could the new Brazilian government with market friendly policies see democracy returning not only to Brazil but to the region as a whole?

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Going Venezuela

Will some economies ever learn?

Albert Einstein is said to have defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In Wriston’s Law of Capital and Sleeper pins, Alexander M. Ineichen has defined the term ‘going Venezuela’ as “doing the wrong thing repeatedly and with great conviction.” The two ideas are related. Both imply the absence of learning.

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Populism Paradox

Entering the New Age of Inflation

It doesn’t matter whether or not Trump wins on 8 November because the populism genie is out of the bottle. Just at the moment when Western governments (particularly in Europe) are reaching the limits of what they can do for their people, the people want more. It is now clear that peak globalisation lies behind us.

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Revolution or Evolution?

The Faltering Rise of Robo-Advice

In September 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, two researchers at the Oxford Martin School, estimated that by 2033 some 47% of jobs in the US could be replaced by computers. For many working in financial services, this will not have come as a surprise.

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Influence of Gen Z 

Centennials and the Power of Like
Welcome to a virtual world where chats disappear, anything you want to watch or listen to is free and ‘truth’ lives in a search engine. If it is that important, then there’s an app. In this world, influence is power and the priority is making sure you don’t miss out.

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Euro Clash

Should I stay or should I go, now?
On Thursday June 23rd, the British people will vote on continued participation in the European Union. An astonishing array of celebrities, domestic and international political figures have been wheeled out to persuade British citizens of the catastrophic consequences of leaving. One or two have also addressed the merits of staying.

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Innovation or Diversion?

FinTech models that challenge the status quo
Innovation is a truly slippery subject. The problem is that hype must first overcome experience: without the benefit of hindsight it’s incredibly difficult to tell a genuinely innovative development from an interesting diversion. Take eBay, for example. The idea of creating a global online auction house in which people could bid against each other to buy goods was one of the early successes of the internet age. But which aspects of this innovation proved really durable?

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No Entry

Is globalisation dead?

“No matter what your profession – doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant – if you are an American, you better be good at the touchy-feely service stuff, because anything that can be digitized can be outsourced to either the smartest or the cheapest producer.” ― Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

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Big Data & DNA

Is there a dark side to genetic databases?

“DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” ― Bill Gates, The Road Ahead
With epigenetics and cheaper ways to check for faulty genes, DNA has the potential to be big business. By next year, the DNA sequencing market could hit $10 billion and that’s before the profits of the consumer industries have been taken into account.

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FinTech & Banks

How disrupted is the banking industry?

For all the clamour about FinTech and its disruption of the traditional banking industry—well documented last year by McKinsey that suggested that between 20% and 60% of banking profits globally were vulnerable to predation by FinTech entrants—the surprise should be that it has taken this long to gain real momentum. Andy Davis suggests that the most interesting question to ask is ‘why?’.

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