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How fintechs are targeting small- and medium-sized businesses and pushing incumbents to fight back

11 hours 55 min ago

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Fintechs have found a way to serve small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) while still making a profit, and now incumbents want in on the action. 

SMBs have been historically underserved by financial services providers, but that's starting to change as both fintechs and incumbents continue to roll out SMB-targeted services.

This report will look at the areas in which incumbents have failed SMBs when it comes to financial services provision — including credit, digital business services, and bank accounts — and give examples of where fintechs have successfully filled the gaps. It will also provide examples of incumbents that have introduced new SMB products in response, and our verdict on which type of supplier — fintech or incumbent — will dominate each area of the market for SMB-focused financial services products.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • SMBs globally have been underserved by financial services providers because they make less revenue than large corporates, yet demand more advanced services than most consumers. As a result, they've developed a reputation among legacy financial institutions for being unprofitable to serve.
  • Fintechs are now finding ways to serve even the smallest businesses, while still realistically expecting to turn a profit — and that's changing the game in the SMB space.
  • Fintechs are filling the gap in service provision to SMBs in three main areas: provision of credit, access to critical business services, and provision of bank accounts.
  • Incumbent providers are fighting back with products of their own by partnering with fintechs or building in-house services. JPMorgan, Barclays, NatWest, and BBVA are just a few major banks leveraging new technology to better serve SMBs.
  • Some areas of the SMB market will continue to be dominated by incumbents, while fintechs will succeed in winning over these customers on other fronts.

 In full, the report:

  • Highlights how incumbents have failed to serve SMBs
  • Outlines where fintechs are successfully serving the same demographic
  • Explains how legacy financial services players are fighting back
  • Reveals which type of provider will win in each area
Subscribe to an All-Access membership to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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'The world as we know it is ending': Here's how to profit from the rise of a new world order

11 hours 59 min ago

  • Macquarie's Viktor Shvets identifies seven "themes" that will shape the future of the global economy.
  • Shvets, a strategist known for his unconventional perspectives, includes topics like "bullets and prisons" and "opium of the people" in his presentation.
  • "While themes seldom work on a consistent basis, there are times when they dominate for years (decades)," he wrote. "This is one of these times."

"The world as we know it is ending, but not tomorrow."

That's the somewhat bleak perspective put forward by Macquarie strategist Viktor Shvets in a presentation to clients this week, seen by Business Insider.

Shvets, a strategist known for his unconventional perspectives, put forward the idea that things which we once considered to be normal in the markets have now been completely flipped on their heads.

For instance, Shvets noted, conventional market wisdom would suggest that a recession should be coming in the US in the next year or two. Traditional indicators, such as the impending inversion of the US Treasury yield curve, have previously augured recessions, but this time, that's not necessarily the case.

"Neither duration of recovery, yield curves nor tightness of labour markets have the same informational values as they did decades ago," Shvets wrote in his presentation.

"The post-capitalist world has different dynamics. Much longer, shallower, uneven, distorted and unequal recoveries is the theme."

An example of that different dynamic comes in the shape of the Phillips curve — the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment. 

The relationship between unemployment and inflation "is far from perfect," Shvets says, and "although the Philips curve still underpins most of the Fed’s models, it has not been a good indicator for decades."

While the change in market dynamics makes for a headache in things like forecasting, like every major change, it presents an opportunity.

As such, Shvets identified seven "themes" that investors should look towards in their future portfolios. Rather than specific industries or sectors, Shvets puts forward an esoteric selection of concepts that he feels will boom in the coming years.

"While themes seldom work on a consistent basis, there are times when they dominate for years (decades)," he wrote. "This is one of these times."

All seven themes, Shvets said, are "focused around the concept of 'declining returns on humans and conventional capital' and 'rising returns on social and digital capital.'"

The concepts are as follows:

  1. "Replacement of humans" — This encompasses areas like robotics, automation and AI.
  2. "Augmentation of humans" — Areas like "biotechnology, gene slicing & sequencing."
  3. "Opium of the people" — Where people spend their money during their leisure time, including entertainment, gaming, and artificial reality.
  4. "Bullets and prisons" — Shvets specifies "weapon and drone manufacturers" and "operators of places of detention."
  5. "Education & skilling" — This, Shvets says, is "mostly counting on parents' desire to educate their children."
  6. "Morbid demographics" — Relying on "ageing and demographic dividends turning into curses."
  7. "Disrupters and facilitators" — Shvets' presentation does not elaborate on this point.

Shvets make clear in his presentation that Macquarie has "no quality or valuation screen" and that the topics above should only be seen as "purely themes."

A portfolio of stocks using these themes was the bank's best performing in 2017, Shvets said, gaining 27% against the MSCI AC World index.

SEE ALSO: ALBERT EDWARDS: Markets are 'bathing in complacency' and ignoring a massive threat 'lurking just beneath the surface'

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Amazon, JPMorgan, and BlackRock are all snapping up space in the new $25 billion Manhattan neighborhood that’s reshaping the city

13 hours 16 min ago

  • Tech and financial firms are increasingly moving to Hudson Yards and the surrounding area. The $25 billion neighborhood is the most expensive real-estate development in American history. 
  • Hudson Yards' tallest tower topped out this week.
  • The ritzy new neighborhood is part of a larger luxury development boom that has accelerated in Manhattan over the past several decades. Once a largely vacant industrial district, Manhattan West has transformed into a hotspot for wealthy New Yorkers.

Topping out at 1,296 feet this week, 30 Hudson Yards is the second tallest skyscraper in New York City.

The tower is part of a new $25 billion neighborhood by the same name. Hudson Yards is the most expensive real-estate development in American history. Located between 30th and 34th street on Manhattan's Far West Side, it features a mix of office space, expensive condo buildings, retail, and outdoor public space.

Big tech companies and financial firms, including Amazon, JPMorgan, and BlackRock, have moved or plan to move to Hudson Yards. These moves point to a larger corporate migration trend from Midtown to the lower end of the island. Much of the city's Fortune 500 is now relocating below 42nd Street, an area with a growing tech scene.

Hudson Yards, which will span 28 acres by 2024, is also part of a larger luxury development boom that has accelerated in Manhattan over the past several decades. The island's Far West Side was once home to warehouses, tenements, and rail yards. Today, it features bars with $14 cocktails, multi-million-dollar apartments that overlook an lush elevated park, boutiques, and restaurants founded by celebrity chefs like David Chang, José Andrés, and Thomas Keller.

Over the next three years, Amazon is hiring 2,000 more employees for its new 360,000-square-foot office at 5 Manhattan West in Hudson Yards. To attract the online retail giant, New York state provided $20 million in performance-based taxed credits through Empire State Development's Excelsior Jobs Program. New York City is also a finalist for Amazon's $5 billion second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, with Hudson Yards listed as one of four potential sites across three boroughs.

In December, BlackRock, a financial company that manages $5 trillion in assets, struck a deal with Hudson Yards developer Related Companies to headquarter there for at least 20 years, too. As The New York Times reported, BlackRock will move to 15 floors at 50 Hudson Yards in 2022, pledging to keep 2,672 jobs in Manhattan and create another 700. As it did with Amazon, the state has awarded the company special tax credits, which could be worth up to $25 million. 

Many corporations, including JPMorgan, Google Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, and Coach, have already made the move to Hudson Yards.

For JPMorgan, the new headquarters is ground zero for growing tech ambitions. The firm recently told Business Insider it has a $10.8 billion tech budget and 50,000 technologists on its payroll. Many employees moved to the Hudson Yards office this year.

Companies including TimeWarner, CNN, Wells Fargo, HBO, and the global investment firm KKR will settle into the neighborhood's tallest tower, 30 Hudson Yards, following its completion in 2019.

SEE ALSO: Amazon officials are reportedly visiting New York City in April — here's what the city proposed for HQ2

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LiveRamp is one of Silicon Valley's most undervalued companies—and insiders think there could be a 'food fight' by potential acquirers (ACXM)

13 hours 24 min ago


  • Tech and advertising types alike are dying to know what will become of LiveRamp, a marketing tech business that recently parted ways with fellow portfolio companies under Acxiom.
  • Some insiders think it could get acquired by a marketing platform company like Salesforce or Oracle, especially as M&A heats up in the space in the second half of 2018.
  • Others think LiveRamp will benefit greatly from staying independent, and that the company will be valued higher as a Software-as-a-Service company than it ever was as a unit within Acxiom.

Three week ago, employees at ad tech firm LiveRamp officially learned that they would be parting ways with more than 2,000 colleagues they worked alongside under the umbrella of parent company Acxiom

Acxiom had announced the sale of its marketing solutions business to Interpublic Group for $2.3 billion, and LiveRamp was not part of the deal. 

That's left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over LiveRamp, which makes technology to help brands reach consumers with targetted online ads. 

Inside LiveRamp's San Francisco offices, a source tells Business Insider, employees are anxious but optimistic as they await direction from management on what the next months and years hold. Overall, there is a sense that whatever change happens, it will be for the best at the company, which has maintained its startup ethos despite being owned by the Little Rock, Arkansas Acxiom corporation since 2014.

Outside the company, speculation is rife about the fate of the LiveRamp business, which could be worth billions if a larger tech company decides to buy it from Acxiom.

While Acxiom maintains a market cap around $3 billion on the public markets, bankers and insiders alike believe that LiveRamp could be valued even higher once it's looked at as a standalone company. One insider floated $4 billion as a reasonable purchase price for LiveRamp, and sources told AdAge that they see the business going for $2.5 billion to $3 billion. 

But the sale of LiveRamp is no sure thing. Management could try to run LiveRamp as an independent public company and capitalize on its growing valuation to make big impact investments, including some acquisitions and strategic partnerships of its own.

Here's what industry insiders think could happen to the company.

Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe could all take a look 

LiveRamp is a data onboarding platform, or middleware company, which moves data from across multiple websites and sources. It's used by marketers to connect vasts amounts of customer data to individual customer profiles.

It's a tool for marketers to understand their customers better, but LiveRamp itself doesn't actually own any of the data. Instead, it runs the pipes that move marketing data around the internet. 

The company hasn't stated publicly whether it's selling itself. But sources told Business Insider's Mike Shields in May that it's shopping LiveRamp around

Though LiveRamp is marketing tech, insiders believe that its new home will likely be an enterprise tech company, if not a private equity firm.

Insiders said it could attract the offers from companies like Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe or SAP, which have competing marketing platforms, or one looking to grow in that space like IBM

"Most companies don't have any idea how good the LiveRamp business is because Acxiom doesn't really describe it in anyway that is comprehensible," said one source, who believed that Acxiom chose to sell its marketing solutions business separate from the whole as a way to maximize LiveRamp's value in a future sale.  

Adding to LiveRamp's fire is that fact that it's a busy year for M&A both inside and outside of marketing tech.

Salesforce, for instance, acquired another middleware company MuleSoft for $6.5 billion in March — a 36% premium on the company's stock price at the time. And AT&T reportedly paid $1.6 billion for the ad tech company AppNexus in June. 

"I wouldn't be surprised to see an M&A food fight erupting in this space," said Paul Inouye, a partner at Union Square Advisors. "I think the back half of this year in the space is going to be active." 

LiveRamp could thrive on its own 

Acxiom, which has a market cap around $3 billion, got just 23% of its revenues from LiveRamp in 2018. But some think that LiveRamp's own market value could grow once investors start seeing it as a Software-as-a-Service company along the lines of Salesforce or Workday. 

"I've seen this before in other businesses where you just get two very different types of businesses," added Inouye, who said that Acxiom reminds him of previous iterations of Hewlett-Packard, as well as eBay and PayPal when they were under the same roof.

"I think what happens if you have that as your financial profile, your stock holder constituency is bifurcated. It makes it hard to operate because you have two different investor bases." 

This is because SaaS companies typically trade based on a high revenue multiple, where as non-SaaS companies often trade based on EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

The EBITDA model favors companies with low growth but high margins. IPG bought Acxiom's marketing assets for $2.3 billion, which William Blair analyst Adam Klauber pointed out suggests an EBITDA multiple of around 13x.

On the other hand, the median public SaaS company was valued 9.2 times its 2018 revenue, according to the Bessember Venture Partners Cloud Index. As Menlo Venture principal Steve Sloane noted in January, this tends to value smaller companies higher based off of their growth potential. 

LiveRamp's business brought in $211 million in revenue in fiscal 2018, which was up 43% from the year before. So if it fell in line with the median valuation, LiveRamp would be worth $1.94 billion — more than half of the Acxiom's overall market cap. But since LiveRamp now has $2.3 billion in cash from the sale of Acxiom's assets, the company, Klauber said, should trade in the $40 to $45 per share range — which gives LiveRamp a maximum valuation of $3.7 billion. 

Once LiveRamp is officially on its own, it could see its stock move quickly. Across the board, public SaaS companies have performed better than the rest of the market. The BVP Cloud Index is up 41.2% since the start of 2018, where as the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up just 11.4% and the more generalist S&P 500 is up just 3.8%. 

"Assuming this deal is completed, Live Ramp should be a stand-alone entity. Its characteristics should make a very attractive stock," Klauber wrote on July 2. "The unique nature of the asset suggests that this will be a compelling stock over the longer term."

Are you an insider with information on what's coming next for LiveRamp? We want to hear more. Contact Becky Peterson at

SEE ALSO: From an email to a $6.5 billion deal in 46 days: How Salesforce's bid for MuleSoft came together

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GOLDMAN SACHS: There's one market that's vulnerable to Trump's tweets (TWTR)

13 hours 26 min ago

  • Traders largely aren't moved by President Donald Trump's tweets on trade, except in the soybeans market. 
  • China relies on soybeans imported from the US to restrain the price of pork, a major staple protein in the country.  
  • Economists at Goldman Sachs used a regression analysis to look into the relationship between Trump's tweets and the performance of various asset classes. 

President Donald Trump's tweets on trade don't mean much to traders except in the soybeans market, according to Goldman Sachs

Economists at the firm looked into the link between Trump's tweets on trade and stock-market volatility, as measured by the CBOE Volatility Index, or the VIX. They found that traders largely shrugged off Trump's tweets containing the words "trade" or "tariff," even as the US engaged in disputes with China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. 

Using a regression analysis to test the relationship between Trump's trade-related tweets and various assets, while controlling for the dollar and the Economic Policy Uncertainty index, they found that soybeans was the only one significantly impacted by tweets. 

After the Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, China retaliated with similar tariffs on American products including soybeans. Soybean futures for November delivery fell last week to $8.26 per bushel, the lowest in nearly a decade

"The result is consistent with our commodity team’s view that trade tensions should have a minor impact on commodity markets with the sole exception of soybeans, where it is not possible to completely reroute supplies should China levy tariffs on US soybeans," Goldman's James Weldon said in a note on Thursday. As the New York Times reported, China's farms are generally too underdeveloped to replace a shortfall in imports.  

China is the world's largest importer of soybeans. Last year, it imported $12.4 billion worth of the legume from the US to feed its pigs, The Wall Street Journal reported. American soybeans help China lower the price of pork, a staple protein for households, and aid in the production of cooking oil.

Even though China can turn to Brazil, another major producer and exporter of soybeans, it may still feel the pangs of fewer American soybeans. 

That's why soybean traders respond when Trump tweets about trade policy.

"This is not to say that markets are not pricing trade risk or that trade tensions are not a concern," Weldon said. They're just not relying on Twitter to price the risk, he concluded. 

SEE ALSO: Bank of America breaks down its top strategies for investors to profit from the market's biggest fear

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The technologies disrupting the insurance industry and what incumbents can do to stay ahead

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 11:01pm

Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we're now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models. 

That's leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management. 

This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses. 
  • Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve. 
  • The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
  • Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they're using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
  • Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.

 In full, the report:

  • Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
  • Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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How automated investment products are disrupting and enhancing the wealth management industry

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 8:03pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Startups with robo-advisor products are failing to live up to their initial promise.

As solutions proliferate and consumer adoption remains slower than expected, many firms are re-examining and updating their strategies to survive. 

In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence scopes the current market for robo-advisors, providing an updated forecast through 2022. In addition, we explain the different types of robo-advisors emerging, detail how startups and incumbents are working to ensure the success of their products, and outline what will happen to the market over the next 12 months.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Business Insider Intelligence forecasts that robo-advisors — investment products that include any element of automation — will manage around $1 trillion by 2020, and around $4.6 trillion by 2022. 
  • Startups offering robo-advisors are struggling to acquire AUM due to overcrowding in the global robo-advisory market and lower than expected customer uptake. 
  • Incumbents are rolling out their own robo-advisor products, a trend we expect to pick up in the period to 2022. 
  • North America remains the leading robo-advisory market, but we expect Asia to catch up and outpace the region in terms of AUM managed by robo-advisors in the period to 2022. 
  • There will be a winnowing of the startup robo-advisory market as only a few firms remain stand-alone, while incumbents looking to launch their own products will profit from purchasing the technology of startups that have fallen by the wayside, at low cost. 

 In full, the report:

  • Provides a forecast for the volume of assets robo-advisors will manage by 2022.
  • Outlines the current robo-advisory landscape.
  • Explains how startups with robo-advisor products are evolving their business strategies. 
  • Provides an outlook for the future of the robo-advising industry. 
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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Celebrated Wall Street stock picker Mark Mahaney offers his best tech investing advice: When a company name becomes a verb, it's time to buy (GOOG, GOOGL, TWTR)

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 8:01pm

  • One of the most accurate stock pickers on Wall Street recently shared his list of tips on how to spot winners and losers.
  • While many investors are focused on young companies before they boom, he offered some surprising advice on a better time to buy.

Wall Street analyst Mark Mahaney, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, is widely known as one of the most accurate stock pickers on the Street.

He recently spoke at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, on the surprising methods he's developed over his 20-year career for spotting winners and losers on the stock market. 

He's the first to admit that he hasn't gotten every single call right. His misses, although rare, clearly burn in his memory.

His most major misfires, in his own words: "I put a sell on Amazon in 2003 right before it began one of its major inflection points. I've had a buy selectively on Snapchat since its IPO, and I did put a buy on Blue Apron at its IPO," he admitted on stage during his talk, to an appreciative audience.

He said that one key tenet of getting rich on tech stocks is that it's not for short term thinkers looking to make a few quick bucks.

He also warned that, no matter how solid tech companies look at the time they go public, "there will be blood." They may flourish as startups, and land big checks from a savvy private equity investors, but they "can still blow up" after they go public, he said. "It comes with the territory."

So Mahaney's top advice was to "focus on fundamentals" while thinking long term. Does the company have a real shot at growing its customer base for many more years to come? If it operates in a huge market, like global advertising (Google), global retail (Amazon) or entertainment (Netflix), the answer is yes. As big as those companies are, they have still only scratched the surface of the global spending in their industries.

He also offered one surprising tips on a good time to pounce on a tech stock: "look for the lucky lexicons." That means to listen for how people talk about companies.

"When companies become verbs, nouns, when they become part of the popular vernacular, that's usually a pretty good time to invest in the stock," he said.

For instance, it was a good time to invest in Google when people started saying they were going to "Google"for  something instead of search for it, "tweet" something instead of share on social media, it or "Netflix and chill" instead of — well, whatever their evening plans entailed.

When that happens to a company, "their need to advertise has dramatically shrunk because they are already part of the vernacular" and those companies are "usually a safer investment."

As for spotting losers, he said the telltale sign is a sharp decline in growth. This means "there's something going wrong," he said, like maybe the company has maxed out its market and can't think of new ways to expand. Tons of turnover in the CEO spot is also a "disaster" for investors.

The whole talk is excellent and punctuated with humor. Take a look.

SEE ALSO: OpenTable CEO: Sexual harassment isn't a woman's issue, it's a leadership issue

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LARRY SUMMERS: Trump just took another step toward turning the US into a 'banana republic'

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 6:58pm

  • President Donald Trump told CNBC that he's not happy with the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes, challenging central-bank independence and sending the US dollar lower.
  • Former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers says the comments are "one more step in what seems like a presidential strategy of turning the United States into a banana republic."

It's almost surprising that it took this long, but President Donald Trump has finally done it. As critics worried, his general disdain for institutions was bound to reach the Federal Reserve at some point.

And so it was on Thursday that Trump, in an interview with CNBC, broke with a long-standing tradition of US central bank independence, where presidents do not comment on interest-rate policy lest such decisions become politicized. Trump said he is not happy with the Federal Reserve's recent drive to move interest rates higher after nearly a decade of rock-bottom borrowing costs.

"Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again," Trump said in an interview set to air in full Friday. "I don't really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best."

Except it's not up to Trump to "let" the Fed do anything. The Fed's job is to try to balance maximum employment with low, stable prices. Its behavior, in good times, is dictated by the path of the economy, not the whims of politicians. 

That's why Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton and advisor to President Barack Obama, took to Twitter to criticize the president in strong terms. 

"Attacking central bank is one more step in what seems like a Presidential strategy of turning the United States into a banana republic," Summers tweeted

"What’s next?" he asked in a follow up tweet. "Tariffs? Attacks on individual companies? Big tax cuts for friends? Demonization of immigrants?Gaudy decoration of Presidential aircraft? Govt staffed by generals?Politicizing law enforcement? Economic policies to enrich the first family?"

And Trump isn't the only White House official take opine on the Fed. Just recently, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business Network he hoped the Fed would raise interest rates "very slowly."

Summers worries these types of remarks could have the opposite of their intended effect, forcing the Fed to tighten the monetary spigots more quickly to counter the overt political pressure. 

The former White House economist is a frequent critic of Trump's, having previously railed against everything from his infrastructure plan to what Summers saw as an ill-timed and poorly-conceived tax cut plan.

SEE ALSO: Trump could force a repeat of the Federal Reserve’s worst modern-day policy blunder

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Coinbase has lured a $20 billion hedge fund onto its platform, but experts say the firm could run into trouble down the road

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 6:57pm

  • Coinbase has a team of former Wall Street executives building out a business to lure big money into the crypto market. 
  • The prime broker business launched earlier this year as Coinbase Prime. But the Coinbase team is working on expanding its services. 
  • Prime brokers are commonplace on Wall Street, but don't exist in crypto which is keeping out big money, experts say. 

Coinbase is best known for being one of the largest venues for mom-and-pop investors in the US to buy cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum.

But the San Francisco-based firm also has a band of ex-Wall Street executives working on addressing the biggest pain point in the crypto market: the lack of a full scale prime-broker.

On Wall Street, middlemen called brokers sit between institutional investors, like a hedge fund or money manager, and exchanges and other trading venues. Such operations are hard to come by in the crypto world because the barriers to entry are high.

Coinbase, however, is looking to overcome these barriers. It launched earlier this year a prime broker business, Coinbase Prime, joining a family of businesses spanning asset management, venture capital investing, and retail trading. 

As part of the business, Coinbase is offering some of the services of a traditional prime broker, including the onboarding of large institutional clients and custody, which had previously been announced by the firm. What's new, however, is that Coinbase is preparing to offer margin finance as early as the end of the year, people familiar with the matter said. 

That would allow institutional investors to borrow to trade, which can help magnify returns, or leverage a short position, according to the people.

In the future, it is possible that Coinbase's broker business could help clients find the best venue to make a trade, even if that means sending it to a rival trading outfit, a service known as best execution. 

"Coinbase is pursuing a lot of different initiatives that make sense and take it closer to or are more similar to traditional finance: custody, financing, lending, security tokens, and the institutional portal," said Greenwich Associates' consultant Richard Johnson. "They have the resources to fund them and will surely have some successes."

Already, the firm has onboarded a $20 billion hedge fund through its prime business, the people said, declining to specify which fund. The team is working on getting other large hedge funds onto its trading platform. 

At the same time, the firm is actively building out its teams in New York, Chicago, and London. Notably, it hired Christine Sandler from the New York Stock Exchange as cohead of institutional sales, as well as Hunter Merghart from Barclays as a sales trader

Prime brokers arose in the equities markets in the early 1990s, about the same time the hedge fund industry started to take off. According to the banking research firm Coalition, the 12 largest banks collectively brought in $4.9 billion from their prime-broker units in the first quarter of 2018, the highest level in three years.

Colleen Sullivan, the head of the crypto venture firm CMT Digital, said the lack of a end-to-end prime broker was among the bigger issues holding back large Wall Street firms from entering the crypto space.

Having to self-finance at each exchange opens the firm to above-average risk on Wall Street. She described the lack of prime services in crypto as CMT Digital's "biggest pain point."

"Without a prime broker, trading firms are directly subject to events that an exchange may suffer like hacks, regulatory issues, operational issues, technology issues (and many more) — all of which may lead to loss of the trading firm's cash and coin," she said.

Coinbase's decision to enter into the broker business is a bit ironic. Bitcoin, the largest digital currency on the market, was founded in the aftermath of the financial crisis as an alternative peer-to-peer financial system to Wall Street that would render middlemen useless. Coinbase's entrance into the institutional broker business also raises red-flags to some market observers. 

"There are many potential conflicts of interest in such a vertically integrated model," David Weisberger, a market structure specialist and CEO of CoinRoutes, said. 

The SEC, according to Weisberger, has been keen on keeping strict barriers between different Wall Street businesses because of the various conflicts that could arise. Specifically, Weisberger said he was concerned about confidential exchange info — who is trading and what funds are sitting on their accounts — leaking over to the broker side, which could be used to provide color to trading partners.

Institutional exchanges have historically taken steps to address potential conflict of interest. 

NYSE Group sold Wave Securities, a brokerage unit, which it acquired when it bought Arca in 2005, after the SEC expressed concerns about conflicts. 

There are parallels between the two situations, insiders say, although it may take some time to play out since the crypto market is so nascent. 

"But right now, there's so many mature players, it is probably a good thing for Coinbase to do this because it is filling a much bigger gap," said Kyle Tuskey, a former Wave technologist, and current COO of Deep Systems, a financial technology firm. 

Since Coinbase is not a registered securities exchange, it isn't clear whether the SEC would have the authority to step in and create firewalls or flat out prohibit Coinbase from operating such a business. 

A representative for the SEC could not be reached for comment about Coinbase's ambitions. A spokesman for Coinbase also could not be reached for comment. 

Still, Robert Hockett, a professor of law at Cornell University, said "it seems likely the SEC will take interest in Coinbase's intention to offer prime brokerage services."

"This raises conflict concerns, given Coinbase's also running a coin exchange, reminiscent of those that the Commission has found when securities firms have attempted to combine these two roles."

SEE ALSO: Citadel Securities, a massive Wall Street trader, has made an unusual bet on humans, and it could help the firm tap into an $800 billion market

SEE ALSO: Crypto investors are complaining about the same 'biggest pain point,' and fixing it could add billions to the bitcoin market

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Google's reporting is becoming too murky to accurately value the company's financial performance, worries this Wall Street analyst (GOOGL, GOOG)

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 6:57pm

  • Ben Schachter, senior analyst at Macquarie Research, says Google withholds too much information and that this trend has begun to make it more and more difficult to evaluate the company' financial performance.
  • Schachter also stood out from other analysts for advising caution when it comes to valuing Google's side businesses.   
  • Analysts who cover Google don't expect the $5 billion fine imposed on the company by the European Union will cause much harm to the business.
  • According to reports published Wednesday by financial analysts, Google is largely expected to meet Wall Street expectations when it reports results Monday. 

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, must become more transparent about the company's financial performance if investors are to have any chance at accurately valuing the company, according to one Wall Street analyst. 

Against a backdrop of mostly positive expectations for Google heading into Monday's quarterly earnings report, Ben Schachter  senior analyst at Macquarie Research, stood out for taking a much more cautious approach to the company's shares.

"We are increasingly frustrated with the lack of visibility into GOOG’s core revenue drivers, and valuation is starting to become an issue," Schachter wrote in his report. "However, with revenues growing (at 20 percent year from last year) , we don’t think Google is wildly expensive, but see upside as limited."

Schachter has a neutral rating on Alphabet's shares. 

A lack of transparency about Google's financial performance has long been a complaint on Wall Street, and Schachter argues reporting is less clear than ever.

He wrote: "We are approaching a point where we, and we believe The Street collectively, are not understanding the size of search vs YouTube vs programmatic (advertising), which may lead to increasing volatility.”

And that wasn't his only problem. In his report, the analyst called attention to the excitement on Wall Street over the potential growth of some of Google's side businesses. This presumably includes Waymo, Alphabet's autonomous car operation, which has taken an early lead in the nascent self-driving car market.

Google has invested heavily in businesses that managers hope will one day be on par with search advertising, the company's bread-and-butter business. Wall Street too is eager for Google to diversify, a means to ensure the company can better weather any downturns in advertising as well as remain a growth story among investors. But Schachter pointed out that in terms of revenue, most of these bets have yet to pay off.  

“Advertising today still represents 86% of revenues,” the analyst wrote. “In our view, while there have been innumerable notes, articles, and discussions posted about all the fascinating technologies that Google is pursuing the single most important driver of the stock over the past five years is related to the number of ads it shows in its mobile search results.”

Most financial analysts say they believe that Wednesday’s big news, the $5 billion fine imposed on Google by the European Union, represents little to no threat to the overall health of Google’s business in the short- and medium- term.

Beyond that timeframe, there are some concerns that some of the restrictions imposed on Google by the EU could benefit some of Google’s competitors. The EU’s competition watchdog demands that Google end or alter several trade practices.

European regulators claim Google forced manufacturers to pre-install its browser and search apps on their mobile devices, and also paid manufacturers to exclusively preinstall Google search. According to the EU, this stifled competition. Google also allegedly broke the law by preventing device makers from running alternative versions of Android — known as forks — that would enable owners to run derivative software, such as Amazon’s Fire OS.

Many on Wall Street were unimpressed with the allegations or the fine.

“We view the European Commission's ruling against Google as a bit misguided, but likely a relatively minor inconvenience in the short and medium terms,” wrote Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst for Baird Equity Research. “Longer term, we see modest (but not unexpected) added risk from requirements to support forked versions of Android, and secondly, from the direct and/or indirect benefits of this ruling for Apple and Amazon.”

As for the other growth areas in Google’s business, such as advertising, cloud enterprise and retail, they appear to be running smoothly, according to analysts.

John Blackledge at Cowen Equity Research wrote Wednesday that his firm spoke to a digital advertising agency that spends $1 billion in US digital advertising “across paid search and paid social channels.”

That ad agency told Cowen that spending on Google search was up between 15% to 20% due in part to strong demand for mobile, and the growing number of ad impressions.

Blackledge wrote that according to its ad agency source, “mobile continues to drive Google Search spend." 

SEE ALSO: A Wall Street analyst says Google has 2 different choices for its car spinoff, and one of them could make Waymo a $180 billion company

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Trump's stunning comments about the Federal Reserve could actually backfire

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 5:46pm

  • President Donald Trump broke a multi-decade tradition by weighing in on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.
  • Trump said he is "not thrilled" about the Fed's recent interest rate hikes.
  • His comments drew concern that Trump was trying to put political pressure on the Fed.
  • But one JPMorgan economists thinks Trump's public desire for lower interest rates could actually backfire.

President Donald Trump upended nearly three decades of presidential precedent by commenting on the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy on Thursday, but at least one economist thinks the president's remarks could come back to bite him.

During an interview with CNBC, Trump said that while Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who took over the role in February, was a "a very good man," he did not like the central bank's recent interest rate hikes.

"I'm not thrilled, because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again," Trump told CNBC. "I don't really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best."

The Fed has been set on a slow and steady path of interest rate hikes over the past two years, leading economists to wonder if the central bank could tamp down some of Trump's promised economic growth.

Trump's remarks immediately raised questions about Trump's commitment to the Fed's political independence, a key pillar of the central bank's function. In addition to Trump's comments to CNBC, Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, also told Fox Business last month he hoped the Fed raised rates "very slowly." 

The comments raised the specter of President Richard Nixon's pressure on the Fed in the 1970s, which led to economically damaging stagflation. But JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli advanced an interesting alternate theory: Trump's comments may inspire the Fed to go the other direction.

"Given what we know about Powell, we see little chance the President has gotten in his head," Feroli wrote in a note to clients. "In fact, an argument can be made that the President’s comments may skew the Committee in a hawkish direction: if a decision is a close call then the appearance of kowtowing to the President may bias them toward raising rates."

Put another way: The best way for the Fed to assert its independence is to do exactly the opposite of what Trump suggested.

Feroli also noted that the easiest way for Trump to bend the Fed to his political will would be to fill the Federal Reserve Board of Governors with members that agreed with a low interest rate policy or were personally connected to the president. Given Trump's recent Fed picks, this doesn't appear to be the case.

"When the President took office there were several vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board; now there is only one," Feroli said. "Even if the remaining nominee were a 'like-minded low interest rate guy,' that person would be but one out of a Committee of 12."

The White House also attempted to assuage fears of the president pressuring the Fed immediately after Trump's comments were released.

"Of course the President respects the independence of the Fed," White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told Business Insider. "As he said he considers the Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell a very good man and that he is not interfering with Fed policy decisions."

SEE ALSO: An under-the-radar move by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau showed that Canada is ready to get tough with Trump on trade

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NOW WATCH: North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un 'is a terrorist'

The 34 most dangerous jobs in America

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 4:20pm

  • Some of the most dangerous jobs have a much higher risk of fatal or non-fatal injuries than others.
  • Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found the 34 jobs that had the highest rates of fatal injuries in 2016.

Some jobs have a much higher risk of fatal or non-fatal injuries than others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics documented how many people died on the job in 2016 for the equivalent of every 100,000 people who held that job.

To find the most dangerous jobs in America, we identified the jobs from the Bureau's list with the highest fatal injury rate. Each of these jobs has a fatal injury rate above the national average for all workers of 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers.

Overall, the greatest number of fatal work injuries resulted from transportation incidents, followed by violence or other injuries by persons or animals; falls, slips, and trips; and contact with objects and equipment.

Here are the 34 most dangerous jobs in America, along with their 2016 fatal and non-fatal injury rates per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, and a description of what workers in these jobs do from the Department of Labor's O*NET careers database.

SEE ALSO: The 47 jobs that are most damaging to your health

DON'T MISS: Here's how much the typical millennial, Gen X, and baby-boomer worker earns in every US state

34. Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

What they do: Lay out, install, or maintain pipes, plumbing, and sewer systems.

Fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers):  4.1

Non-fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers):  1,629

33. Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers

What they do: Manually move freight, stock, or other materials or perform other general labor.

Fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 5.2

Non-fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 3,068

31 (tie). Firefighters

What they do: Control and extinguish fires or respond to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.

Fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 6.1

Non-fatal injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 927

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Stocks fall amid US trade escalations with EU, China

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 4:04pm

Stocks fell Thursday after weaker-than-expected earnings and as trade tensions escalated on multiple fronts. Treasury yields and the dollar slipped after President Donald Trump criticized Fed policy. 

Here is the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average: 25,057.75 −141.54 (-0.56%)

S&P 500: 2,805.02 -10.60 (-0.38%)

  1. Trump said he's "not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. The comments break with a longstanding precedent of the White House not commenting on central bank policy in respect of its independence.
  2. Auto industry reps spoke out against a 25% tariff on car imports to the US at a Commerce Department hearing. The Commerce Department is conducting an investigation into whether car imports pose national security risks. The European Union's trade commissioner announced a list of countermeasures are underway.
  3. China's foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Washington blaming Beijing on progression of trade talks is "bogus." White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow suggested Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping was stalling a potential deal between Washington and Beijing. 
  4. The US federal deficit is now expected to top $1 trillion by next yearNew deficit figures submitted by the White House last week are $926 billion higher for the next 10 years than previous estimates. 
  5. Comcast dropped out of a $71 billion bidding war for 21st Century FoxThe move paves the way for Disney to acquire key parts of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, excluding Fox News Channel and Fox Business.
  6. Earnings season rolls on. Blackstone topped analyst estimates, with second-quarter earnings jumping 55% from a year ago. eBay also beat earnings expectations, but lowered its full-year guidance as Amazon's e-commerce market share continues to expand.

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

  • G20 finance ministers meet in Buenos Aires. 
  • General Electric reports earnings.
  • Retail sales and CPI are out in Canada. 
  • The eurozone reports current account numbers.

SEE ALSO: Fed chair Jerome Powell is whistling past 2 looming threats to the US economy

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Pharma giant Merck just lowered the prices of some of its medications (MRK)

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 4:01pm

Amid scrutiny over big pharma drug pricing, Merck said on Thursday it would lower the price of some of its medications. 

The pharmaceutical giant said it would reduce the cost of its hepatitis C medication Zepatier by 60%. 

"We believe that further changes are still necessary to help reduce patient out-of-pocket costs," Merck said in a statement. 

The list price of Zepatier had been $54,600 for a course of treatment, lower than its competitors. The drug had $1.6 billion in sales in 2017. 

Other Merck drugs, which the company hasn't yet named, will be lowered by 10%. 

But those drugs make up less than 0.1% of Merck's overall sales, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat said in a note on Thursday. 

The decision comes a little over a week after President Donald J. Trump singled out rival Pfizer over its price increases. The move prompted Pfizer to defer its increases until the end of the year and Novartis to commit to not increasing prices for the rest of the year. 

Merck is the first major pharmaceutical company to actually lower its drug prices in the wake of the Trump administration's drug-pricing plan, which was unveiled in May, as Pfizer and Novartis simply deferred future price increases. 

While the Trump administration didn't single out Merck recently, the firm was the subject of a tweet by Trump last August. Amid Merck CEO Ken Frazier's withdrawal from Trump's manufacturing council, Trump tweeted that the move would give Frazier more time to "LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

Here's Merck's statement: 

"Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has a long history of responsible pricing. In 2017, Merck issued its second annual Pricing Action Transparency Report, which showed that net prices across Merck’s U.S. product portfolio declined by 1.9 percent. We believe that further changes are still necessary to help reduce patient out-of-pocket costs. To demonstrate our commitment to achieving this goal, we are making the following announcement:

We commit to not increase the average net price across our portfolio of products by more than inflation annually.

We are also lowering our price on ZEPATIER by 60 percent and several other medicines by 10 percent to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients across the country. The Merck products selected were based on a range of factors including the gap between list price and actual discounted (net) prices paid in the market, the contractual obligations under existing arrangements with payers, and the opportunity to broaden access to treatment.

Going forward, we will continue to evaluate our portfolio of products to look for opportunities to further reduce costs for patients and the health care system."

SEE ALSO: 'It's akin to us cancelling scheduled ice fishing trips during July and August:' Trump is claiming a win after drugmakers committed not to increase prices for the rest of the year but it could have little impact on patients

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Airbnb and Uber explains why he started buying bitcoin in 2009

How the US regulatory environment is holding back the fintech industry

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 4:01pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Despite having one of the largest fintech industries in the world, the US is noticeably behind other regions when it comes to one factor crucial to the future growth of this burgeoning sector — regulation. 

The US regulatory environment is holding back fintechs and hindering their chances of success. 

A new report from Business Insider Intelligence examines the current regulatory landscape in the US and how it's impacting the fintech industry. In addition, it discusses the methods fintechs are using to meet regulations as best they can, and details the fintech-specific initiatives that have already been launched by regulators and their likelihood of success. It also considers the future of fintech regulation in the US and how it may shape the fintech sector long term.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The US' regulatory system involves many different players at the federal level, as well as a regulator for each state. This complexity not only makes the US regulatory environment harder for fintechs to navigate in the first place, but it's a major barrier to the development of a coherent fintech policy.
  • The US regulatory landscape means it is falling behind other major fintech regions such as the UK and EU in certain segments. These regions already have established fintech regulatory policies. 
  • US fintechs are using a number of models to achieve compliance, but none are ideal. As a result, many are finding it hard to achieve the scale necessary for success. 
  • Some US regulators have realized the need to act regarding fintech regulation, and are launching initiatives with the aim of making compliance easier. That said, a coherent fintech regulatory policy for the US is still a long way off. 

 In full, the report:

  • Examines the current regulatory landscape in the US. 
  • Explains how it is negatively affecting the fintech industry.
  • Outlines the initiatives currently in play from major regulatory agencies. 
  • Considers the future of US fintech regulation and its potential impact on the fintech sector. 
Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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Microsoft crushes earnings and reports $110 billion in annual revenue, stock jumps 4% on strong guidance (MSFT)

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 3:49pm

Microsoft reported earnings after the bell on Thursday. After initially moving not much at all, Microsoft stock jumped over 4% in after-hours trading. The jump occurred after Microsoft gave guidance for the next quarter on a conference call with investors. 

Here's what Microsoft reported:

  • Earnings per share of $1.14, versus $1.08 expected (GAAP).
  • Revenue of $30.1 billion, versus $29.2 billion expected.

Notably, this marks the end of Microsoft's 2018 fiscal year. The company reported $110.4 billion in revenue over the past 12 months, marking the first time it has passed the $100 billion mark.

For the quarter, Microsoft showed strong growth in all three of its major reporting areas — especially in cloud computing, where Wall Street most wants to see growth.

Productivity and Business Processes, the unit that includes Microsoft Office, was up 13% from the year-ago period, to $9.7 billion. Intelligent Cloud, which encompasses the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform and related technologies, was up 23%, to $9.6 billion. And More Personal Computing, which includes Windows, the Xbox, and the Surface hardware business, was up 17%, to $10.8 billion.

Notably, Azure — considered the leading rival to the dominant Amazon Web Services — saw revenue growth of 89% from the same period in 2017, though Microsoft doesn't disclose specific financials for the service.

Overall, Microsoft says its commercial cloud revenue, which includes cloud business software and services like Azure and Office 365, is up 53% year over year, to $6.9 billion.

The Windows business was up 7% from the year-ago period, drawn by a stronger demand for PCs preinstalled with the professional version of Windows 10.

Other standouts include revenue from LinkedIn, up 37% from the same time last year, and gaming revenue, up 39%, with Xbox software and services up 36%. The Surface business is up 25% from this time last year, something Microsoft credits to both a strong hardware lineup this year and a 2017 performance that set the bar lower.

Also of note is that Microsoft says its GAAP results reflect a net benefit of $104 million related to the new tax law, as well as a $306 million charge related to restructuring.

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These are the trends creating new winners and losers in the card-processing ecosystem

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 3:03pm

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Digital disruption is rocking the payments industry. But merchants, consumers, and the companies that help move money between them are all feeling its effects differently.

For banks, card networks, and processors, the digital revolution is bringing new opportunities — and new challenges. With new ways to pay emerging, incumbent firms can take advantage of solid brand recognition and large customer bases to woo new customers and keep those they already have.

And for consumers, the digital revolution is providing more choice and making their lives easier. Digital wallets are simplifying purchases, allowing users to pay online with only a username and password and in-store with just a swipe of their thumb. 

In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the digital payments ecosystem today, its growth drivers, and where the industry is headed. It begins by tracing the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across the key stakeholders. That process is central to understanding payments, and has changed slowly in the face of disruption. The report also forecasts growth and defines drivers for key digital payment types through 2021. Finally, it highlights five trends that are changing payments, looking at how disparate factors, such as surprise elections and fraud surges, are sparking change across the ecosystem.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Digital growth is accelerating the pace at which payments are becoming faster, cheaper, and more convenient. That benefits both nimble startups and legacy providers that invest in innovation.
  • Mobile payments are continuing to take off. On mobile devices, e-commerce, P2P payments, remittances, and in-store payments are each expected to rise as customer engagement shifts from more established channels.
  • Power is shifting to companies that control the customer experience. As the selling power of physical storefronts shifts to digital devices, the companies that control the apps and platforms that occupy users’ attentions are increasingly encroaching on payment providers’ territory. 
  • Alternative technologies are moving from the idea stage to reality. Widespread investments in blockchain technology last year are beginning to result in services hitting the market, promising to further squeeze margins for payments providers. 

In full, the report:

  • Traces the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across the key stakeholders.  
  • Forecasts growth and defines drivers for key digital payment types through 2021.
  • Highlights five trends that are changing payments, looking at how disparate factors, such as surprise elections and fraud surges, are sparking change across the ecosystem.
Subscribe to an All-Access membership to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to: This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports Access to all future reports and daily newsletters Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry And more! Learn More

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JetBlue is selling one-way tickets to the Caribbean for as low as $58 (JBLU)

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 2:56pm

  • JetBlue announced its "Endless Summer Sale" with one-way flights to the Caribbean for as low as $58. 
  • Departures must be out of JetBlue terminals in either Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, or New York. 
  • Destinations in the sale include Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands; Nassau, Bahamas; Cartagena, Colombia; and San Jose, Costa Rica. 

On Thursday, JetBlue announced an end-of-the month sale for tickets to the Caribbean for as low as $58 one-way and $108 round-trip. 

Advertised as JetBlue's "Endless Summer Sale," the fares include government taxes and fees. They include flights that depart from JetBlue terminals in three cities — New York City (JFK), Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando — and cover one-way or round-trip journeys to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands; Nassau, Bahamas; and Bermuda.

Flights to Cartagena, Colombia; San Jose, Costa Rica; Kingston, Jamaica; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; are included in the promotion as well. 

A flight from New York to Bermuda is available for $74 one-way, and a direct trip from Orlando to Nassau is advertised at $64. A flight from Fort Lauderdale to Aguadilla is listed as going for $108 round-trip.

This is not exactly a free-for-all, as there are restrictions. Booking must be done by July 20, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The eligible travel dates listed are between September 5 and November 7, 2018, with October 4-8, 2018 marked as blackout dates.

The fares will be available through Friday only.

This is not the first time JetBlue has offered such generous deals. Earlier this year, the company offered a promotion that targeted regional travelers, discounting tickets for flights between Atlanta and Orlando as well as between San Francisco and Long Beach, California. 

SEE ALSO: JetBlue flight attendants reportedly broke protocol to save a dog's life by giving her an oxygen mask

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NOW WATCH: Expanding Warren Buffett’s value investing approach to the socially responsible sector

Bitcoin 101: Your essential guide to cryptocurrency

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 2:33pm

Bitcoin is everywhere.

The cryptocurrency is seemingly in the news every day as investors and businesses try to understand the future of this digital finance.

But what is Bitcoin all about?

Why is it suddenly on every financial news program?

And what does it mean to you?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in Bitcoin 101, a brand new FREE report from Business Insider Intelligence.

To get your copy of the FREE slide deck, simply click here.

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