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A Georgetown professor says the same skill that will help you earn more money in your job can help you retire early

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 10:12am

  • Mastering a skill could help you make more money, leverage your career, and reach financial independence sooner. 
  • On an episode of the Mad Fientist podcast, Cal Newport, an associate professor at Georgetown University, says skills are our "strongest weapon" for building wealth and career satisfaction.
  • The more money you earn, the more you're able to save and invest, and the greater control you'll likely have over your future.

Whether you're after more money, a better job, or greater happiness, start by taking stock of what you're good at.

Refining or mastering a skill is our "strongest weapon" when it comes to building wealth or career satisfaction, according to Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and a bestselling author.

"You could generate more money. You could generate much more autonomy and leverage over how you generate that money. You get much more flexibility about when and how you work," Newport told Brandon, an early retiree, on his podcast the Mad Fientist. 

How close are you to being able to retire? Find out with this calculator from our partners:


"I'm huge booster in skill. I think that sometimes gets lost," Newport continued. "I could get lost in the conversations of spreadsheets and savings rate and trying to push things out. The one lever that you also could give you this huge, huge return is the better you are at something that the market values, just the more control you have over almost all those factors."

Many financial experts agree: Savings can only get you so far on the path to building wealth. The more money you earn, the more you're able to save and invest, and the greater control you'll likely have over your future. 


John, an early retiree and blogger at ESI Money, interviewed nearly 100 millionaires and said one of the biggest contributors to their wealth was investing "time and energy to grow their careers and the skills needed to get ahead." He found some of the most lucrative skills include public speaking, decision-making, writing, negotiating, and strategic thinking.

There's also immense value in mastering skills of a particular trade, like playing the guitar. Often, skills can bring you further in your career than passion, Newport argues in his 2012 book "So Good, They Can't Ignore You."

"It really is like a magic elixir for career satisfaction — be really, really good at something," Newport told Brandon. "Even if that requires a sort of in-the-desert apprenticeship type period where you're really just in the woodshed doing the practicing."

SEE ALSO: Experts say 95% of money advice focuses on the wrong thing

DON'T MISS: How much you should save depends on 3 things

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Investors focused on themes are making 5 big mistakes. Here's how UBS says they can be avoided.

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 10:05am

  • UBS says there are five common mistakes that thematic investors need to avoid for their strategies to work.
  • Laura Kane, the firm's head of Americas thematic research, offers advice mostly centered around the patience investors should exhibit when deciding when to buy or sell.
  • She also lays out how investors can avoid each of the five pitfalls she outlines.

Investing based on themes requires patience and confidence, according to one of UBS's top researchers. But actually abiding by those principles is easier said than done.

Laura Kane — the head of Americas thematic research for the firm's chief investment office — recognizes this, and has compiled a list of five common mistakes made by thematic investors of all types. She also lays out how investors can avoid each pitfall.

1) Chasing fads

Kane says it's vital to understand the difference between a long-term trend that's going to endure, and a fad that attracts tremendous hype and then fades almost as fast. Bitcoin, she says, is a fad. Meanwhile, changes in global demographics are an important trend in her view.

Kane writes that as the global population is growing rapidly and concentrating in cities, while the populations in developed countries are aging. Those have major investing consequences.

"We will see the need for healthcare technologies to cope with an aging population, as well as demand for more energy-efficient infrastructure in growing emerging cities," she wrote.

How UBS says investors can avoid this pitfall: 

Investors should focus on the three main "inescapable forces" that should transpire, regardless of the business cycle:

  • Population growth — By 2050, the global population will have surged to 10 billion from 7.5 billion at present time.
  • Aging — By 2030, individuals older than 60 will outnumber those 25 or younger in developed countries.
  • Urbanization — By 2050, UBS expects that 68% of the world's population will live in cities.
 2) Being too early

Everyone wants to be the first to identify a trend or a great trade, but there is often no advantage in being the first company to disrupt an industry. That means that, as an investor, you may not want to bet on a company that is shaking up a field because it might ultimately be beaten out by later competitors.

After all, Amazon wasn't the first online bookseller, and if you'd invested in MySpace and passed on Facebook, you've probably been dealing with some regrets. Kane says that should be on investors' minds as they consider investing in ride-hailing companies ahead of the expected IPOs of Uber and Lyft in the next few months.

"The shape of the ride-hailing industry is still being defined, as many variables continue to evolve," she wrote. "Until we get greater clarity on regulatory, liability, and even tax consequences, it will be difficult to choose winners in this space."

How UBS says investors can avoid this pitfall: 

UBS says traders should let the dust settle in fledgling industries before making any specific decisions.

3) Making just one bet

An investor might be overwhelmingly confident about or interested in one single theme, but Kane says they shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket because that's likely to lead to volatility. If a trader insists upon a single theme, Kane recommends they be careful with the rest of their your portfolio to make sure its risks and rewards are well-balanced.

How UBS says investors can avoid this pitfall:

UBS says traders should diversify holdings so as not to get caught with outsized exposure to a failing idea.

4) Not looking under the hood

Thematic investors sometimes buy into any company that fits into their favored idea. But Kane says they need to look carefully at every company — especially if they're new.

"A company could be exposed to an attractive theme, but that does not automatically mean it is a good investment," she writes.

In addition, Kane advises investors to look hard at issues like corporate governance and culture as well as financial measurements.

How UBS says investors can avoid this pitfall:

UBS said traders should do exhaustive homework on new entrants to industries and themes they're pursuing.

5) Selling too soon

Kane writes that investors often sell too quickly because they're afraid of future pain. But that haste can cause them to miss out on eventual gains that might dwarf their present losses.

"The temptation is high to walk away from long-term ideas that temporarily underperform," she says. "We advise against trying to jump in and out of long-term thematic investments."

Kane adds that over the last six decades, a buy-and-hold strategy for the S&P 500 has worked much better than trying to time market highs and lows. That's illustrated by the chart below.

Jeremy Grantham, the widely respected investor who successfully predicted the last two financial bubbles, has made a similar point: In a market bubble, getting out of too soon can be just as bad as getting out too late.

How UBS says investors can avoid this pitfall:

UBS says traders shouldn't abandon a long-term theme because of modest setbacks. It could hurt them just as much to get out too early than wait too long to exit.

SEE ALSO: The threat to bust up big tech is giving some experts painful flashbacks to the financial crisis — and one has stopped buying those stocks entirely

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America's obsession with trucks and SUVs is helping push car loan payments to a 10-year high

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 9:37am

  • The average car loan payment just hit a decade high.
  • It's a result of Americans' renewed zeal for trucks and SUVs.
  • But the keenness for big cars — and the ease with which lenders have issued car loans to even high-risk recipients — has boosted loan delinquencies to record highs.


The average car loan payment just hit a decade high, according to Experian data first reported by Automotive News

In 4Q18, the average new car loan in the US was $545 per month and $387 per month on average for a used vehicle. The average interest rate was 6.3%, also a decade high, according to Edmunds.

One driver of that is the ever-increasing American interest in SUVs, trucks, and crossovers, Edmunds manager of industry analysis Jeremy Acevedo said.

Read more: The US government is cautioning Americans that if they visit Jamaica they could be at risk of sexual assault and homicide

"Right now, one of the driving factors behind that is that Americans (are making) a massive shift to SUVs and trucks," Acevedo told Business Insider. "It's driven the prices up to unprecedented levels, so much so that today's average vehicle price is up to $36,000."

Americans have been buying more and more big cars. In the early 2010s, as Bloomberg reported, trucks and SUVs started to overtake small and medium-sized car sales. Experts now forecast that, by 2022, under 35% of new car sales will be passenger vehicles and more than 65% will be trucks and SUVs.

LMC Automotive estimated that, by 2022, 84% of General Motors vehicles sold in the US will be a truck or SUV, CNBC reported. For Fiat Chrysler, that ratio will be 97% and 90% for Ford. 

The dark side of America's big car obsession 

Middle-class Americans can't easily afford trendy big cars. Take the Ford F-Series — it's America's top-selling car, but its starting price of $28,000 doesn't render it as affordable as, say, a $14,000 Ford Fiesta. The average American household has less than $9,000 in savings, and nearly a quarter can't cover their living expenses from their emergency savings accounts.  

As a result, Acevedo said automakers have increased lease terms to stretch the length over which car payments are made. "To fit (big cars) into people's budgets, we've seen automakers do really whatever they can to make this a pill that shoppers can swallow," Acevedo said. 

And, keen on selling these big vehicles regardless, lenders have been offering loans to just about anyone — even those with credit scores under 600. As Business Insider's Frank Chaparro reported in 2017

According to data from Experian, the balance of deep subprime loans — those given to people with credit scores of 300 to 500 — increased 14.6% from 2015 to 2016.

Subprime loans — those given to people with credit scores in the range of 501 to 600 — increased by 8.6%. This is far higher than the growth of prime loans, which witnessed 6.2% growth.

But that zeal to give car loans to non-ideal candidates is starting to show its downsides. Last month, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that more than seven million Americans were at least 90 days behind on their auto loan payments — a record number. And, according to Morgan Stanley, the 30-day delinquency rate for Capital One's auto finance operations have posted year-over-year increases through January 2019 for 18 consecutive months.

Read more: A record 7 million Americans have stopped paying their car loans, and even economists are surprised

For that reason, Morgan Stanley's auto analyst team told investors to "Tread carefully" when it comes to auto stocks in a March 8 note.

"The auto credit party may not be over yet, but the lights are starting to flicker," they wrote. 

"In that post-recession auto market, access to credit is really the biggest facilitating factor," Acevedo said. "It's been extended a little farther down the market than we've seen in the past, but really it’s just a story of sheer volume, of people getting sustained low rates for a long time and in doing so they bought expensive vehicles."

SEE ALSO: The shock surge in US car-loan delinquencies gives a clue why the Fed is treading carefully even in a booming economy

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Tesla's stock doesn't trade like it used to (TSLA)

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 9:01am

Over the last year or so, Craig Irwin has taken notice of something happening incrementally with Tesla shares: they don't trade like they used to.

"We note a fundamental shift in the behavior of Tesla's stock," Irwin, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners, a Newport Beach, California-based investment-banking firm, wrote in a note to investors on Friday.

Irwin's comments came following Tesla's Model Y reveal at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday evening. 

"For the past several years Tesla's stock has behaved like an emerging growth company, where mgmt can invent their own milestones, meet these, and the stock would behave positively," Irwin wrote.

"Investors have now appropriately shifted focus to unit volumes, margins, and a practical assessment of the addressable market, in our view."

In other words, shares of the electric-car maker — known for trading in a volatile fashion over the last few years — appear to be moving more on fundamentals rather than the hope Tesla could meet its own ambitious, pioneering goals.

The shift Irwin has noticed in how the stock reacts to developments around the company has been more pronounced since the Model 3 production ramp-up in 2018, he told Markets Insider.

Read more: Elon Musk just unveiled Tesla's newest car, the Model Y SUV

More broadly, Irwin thinks there is "clearly a large market" for the Model 3, and likely one for the Model Y. But he said the announcement seemed to fall short of more aggressive expectations, and vehicle prices seemed to be "too high."

The cheapest version of the Model Y is set to arrive in 2021, at a starting price of $39,000. Three more expensive versions of the vehicle will start at between $47,000 and $60,000, and are scheduled to begin shipping in 2020.

This week's unveiling of the Model Y comes at a chaotic time for the company. The automaker is facing what analysts say is a demand problem, and CEO Elon Musk is battling with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read more: Tesla is in 'demand hell' ahead of its Model Y unveiling, Wall Street's biggest bear says

On a recent conference call with reporters, Musk said Tesla was unlikely to turn a profit in the first-quarter, a reversal from his previous expectation.

Tesla shares were under pressure on Friday, losing 5% after the Model Y launch event underwhelmed Wall Street analysts. That selling sent shares to a one-week low of $274.40. They have now fallen 29% from their August peak — reached on the day of CEO Elon Musk's infamous "funding secured" tweet.

Irwin has a "neutral" rating and a 12-month price target of $270 — about 2% below where shares were trading on Friday.

Read more Tesla coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

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You can try to catch Carmen Sandiego in Google Earth's throwback to the original video game (GOOGL)

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 8:20am

  • You can now play a minigame featuring Carmen Sandiego on Google Earth.
  • The game, "Carmen Sandiego: The Crown Jewels Caper," is an homage to the popular games of the 1980s and 1990s that featured the titular world-traveling thief.
  • Just like the original "Carmen Sandiego" games, "The Crown Jewels Caper" will test your knowledge of geography as you track Carmen around the globe.
  • The game is available for free with the Google Earth app.
  • Google says "The Crown Jewels Caper" is the first in a planned series of "Carmen Sandiego" games produced with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Decades ago, the educational "Carmen Sandiego" games gave me my first excuse to mess with my parents' computer, which eventually led to me getting hooked on video games.

So naturally, the news that Google was releasing a new "Carmen Sandiego" minigame for its Google Earth app triggered waves of nostalgia.

Earlier this week, Google unveiled "Carmen Sandiego: The Crown Jewels Caper," the first in a planned new series of "Carmen Sandiego" games coming to its mapping application. You can play the minigame for free on PCs and mobile devices.

For the uninitiated, "Carmen Sandiego" stars a legendary burglar known for leading a global criminal organization. Players use clues to track Carmen and her cohorts around the world, testing their knowledge of world places and landmarks in the process. The geography-based trivia of "Carmen Sandiego" is a great match for the global perspectives offered by Google Earth.

"The Crown Jewels Caper" stars the same animated version of Carmen Sandiego that you'll see in the the new TV series Netflix released in January. The games are being created in collaboration with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the primary publisher of the Carmen Sandiego franchise. 

You can play "Carmen Sandiego: The Crown Jewels Caper" in Google's Chrome web browser on your PC, or with the Google Earth app on iOS and Android devices.

Here's what the game's like:

SEE ALSO: We're finally going to learn who '90s super thief Carmen Sandiego is on Netflix's new TV show — here's the first trailer

You'll play as an agent of ACME, a fictional detective agency, as you track Carmen Sandiego around the world.

The game gives you a short list of international destinations where Carmen might be found, starting with London.

While you explore important landmarks in each locale, witnesses will offer you tips about Carmen's next destination.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's how Airtable raised $160 million last year — and got a valuation of around $1 billion — without a pitch deck

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 7:50am

  • Airtable, the maker of an up-and-coming cloud spreadsheet app, raised $160 million last year without having to rely on a pitch deck, CEO Howie Liu said.
  • Investors were reaching out to Airtable, so it didn't need to put together a presentation to solicit funding, Liu said.
  • Despite not having a pitch deck, Liu and his team had long discussions with potential investors about the business, he said.

It turns out that when you have a hot startup, you don't need a pitch deck — investors will give you ample funding without one.

That's what Howie Liu found out last year. His company, startup cloud spreadsheet maker Airtable, raised some $160 million in two different venture funding rounds without having to put together an official presentation for investors.

"The bizarre truth is that we didn't actually use a formal pitch deck for either of [the two] rounds," said Liu, Airtable's CEO, in an email to Business Insider.

Read this: Here’s how to use Airtable, the user-friendly spreadsheet app that’s taking Silicon Valley by storm

The reason was that investors were reaching out to Airtable, unbidden, about backing the company, he said. The company has generated plenty of buzz — and a fast-growing user base — through its spreadsheet service, which allows users to easily incorporate items such as documents and pictures and to create custom applications.

So Liu and his team didn't need to put together a pitch deck to solicit funding. 

That's not to say that Airtable, which is now valued at around $1 billion and has previously gotten backing from actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher, was able to complete its Series B and C rounds with no questions asked. Instead, Liu spoke at length with potential backers, he said. They just didn't put together a PowerPoint presentation for them.

The funding rounds "encompassed many weeks of fluid discussion with a small number of potential investment partners, diving into data, etc., but we never actually put together a deck," he said.

SEE ALSO: Elizabeth Holmes bought an un-potty trained Siberian husky as Theranos crumbled, and it was a poignant symbol of the messy situation

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A Wall Street expert explains why the US is the 'worst place' for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's favorite economic theory — and breaks down the 'absolutely horrifying' impact it could have

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 6:05am

  • Modern Monetary Theory has captured the attention of economic experts around the world, including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.
  • Vincent Deluard, a macro strategist at INTL FCStone, argues that it's the wrong time to roll out MMT in the US.
  • Deluard's argument hinges on the US dollar's unique position as the world's reserve currency. He says MMT could further diminish the greenback's status and cause problems internationally.
  • However, Deluard is not anti-MMT overall. He recognizes its merits, and says it could actually work for the eurozone, should those nations wish to implement it.

Modern Monetary Theory has thrust economic debate into the national spotlight to a nearly unprecedented degree. And it has Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York to thank for that.

After years spent toiling on the outskirts of progressive economic theory, everyone from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink weighed in on MMT after it was championed by Ocasio-Cortez.

So what is it? Put simply, it says governments can spend as much money as they want to boost the economy without worrying about national debts — so long as all borrowing is done in the local currency.

This affords the government ample room to spend without forcing it to fund that behavior with taxes. It also absolves the government from hurtling into default, since theoretically it can just generate the currency required to meet obligations.

It's been a divisive topic to say the least. And based on new research from Vincent Deluard, a macro strategist at INTL FCStone, it may be the wrong place and wrong time for the US to consider implementing such a measure.

At the core of Deluard's argument is the idea that domestic conditions in the US right now make MMT a bad fit — potentially creating a disastrous situation on a global basis. And that all stems from the US dollar's position as the world's foremost reserve currency.

According to Deluard, the massive amount the US government makes by issuing currency puts it in an entirely unique position. It's allowed Americans the luxury of being able to import close to four times their annual income over the past 27 years without truly having to pay for it.

That all traces back to the perception that the US dollar will always be an anchor of value. If that idea vanishes, Deluard warns that the positive effects of MMT would be more than offset by decreased income as the dollar gradually loses its reserve status.

In fact, Deluard says the US's reserve-currency status has already taken a hit recently. The chart below shows that foreign holders have already sold $1 trillion in Treasurys over the past four years.

"Unfortunately, MMT ideas became popular at the wrong place, and at the wrong time," Deluard said. "If the domestic conditions for MMT in the US are unfavorable, the international consequences of such a move would be absolutely horrifying."

So to summarize: Deluard thinks the "free money" the US collects from its role as a reserve currency provider would be eroded by MMT. And that would ultimately hurt both the US and its international counterparts.

"The US is the worst place for a large scale MMT experiment," he said. "[MMT's] failure to consider its international dimension is its greatest weakness."

Other considerations

With all of that established, Deluard wants you to know that he's not a staunch opponent of MMT by any means. He just isn't a fan of its implementation in the US right now.

Deluard is quick to note that worldwide quantitative easing throughout much of the 2010s was proof that MMT can work when deployed correctly. He argues that the entire process was actually MMT in practice.

Consider this: Even though more than $10 trillion in debt has been monetized around the world since 2008, the wheels haven't fallen off. Not even close.

"No government has defaulted because of excessive deficits, no central bank has lost credibility, no major fiat currency has fallen to zero, and serious inflation is yet to be seen," Deluard said. "The great QE experiment of the 2010s is perhaps the single best argument in favor of MMT."

In terms of where MMT might best work right now, Deluard points to Europe. He says that the region — unlike the US — has plentiful reserves of labor and capital. And, as a result, he thinks MMT-driven fiscal spending would have a limited effect on the private sector.

Except there's one major hurdle. Or rather, 19 hurdles — one for every country in the eurozone.

"Unfortunately, Europe is also the continent where the political and institutional architecture make MMT-inspired policies almost impossible," Deluard said.

SEE ALSO: 'Obscenely overvalued': Stocks are far more fragile than most people realize — and one expert says traders are making the same mistake they did before the past 2 crashes

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Here is all the saving, investing, and retirement advice I wish someone had told me at the very beginning of my career

Sun, 03/17/2019 - 5:12am

  • Most people do not realise that if you are not saving in a retirement plan, you're actively choosing to lose money.
  • That's because retirement savings let you accumulate free money. Learning to say yes to free money is a skill you can turn into a habit.
  • If you don't know what compounding is, this is going to blow your mind.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I enrolled in my employer's retirement savings plan. Five percent of each paycheck went into a bunch of mutual funds. For the first few months, I didn't pay much attention to my money. There wasn't very much of it, anyway. But then the stock market kept appearing on the news because the Dow Jones kept hitting new record highs.

Wait a minute, I thought. I wonder how that's affecting my savings?

So I looked at a quarterly statement and saw that my little nest-egg had gained £250 (about $330) all on its own. Whoa, I thought. That's free money for doing nothing! I wish someone had told me about this before!

Here is all the saving and investment advice I wish someone had told me at the very beginning of my career.

It's a guide to saving for retirement if you're just a normal person, especially if you're in your 20s and this stuff sounds too complicated.

Start now.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to sign up and get started, now. Especially if you are in your 20s. Failing to save in your 20s could cost you hundreds of thousands by the time you hit your 60s. (There's a good theoretical example of why that is here.)

Don't wait a decade for money to fall from the sky.

When you're at the beginning of your career it feels like you just don't get paid enough to save, and maybe you can wait until you're in your 30s. Wrong. Successful people turn their savings into assets. Do it now.

Learn to say "yes" to free money.

Retirement plans shield your money from tax. (In the US they're called 401(k) plans, in the UK they're private pension plans. They are basically the same.) Every £1 you save in a retirement plan is £1 you keep without paying tax. Every £1 you take as cash in your paycheck is taxed, and you lose that tax. Therefore if you are not saving in a retirement plan, you're actively choosing to lose money.

If you can only manage 1%, do it.

The act of saving gets you into the habit of saving, and that's important because you're going to need to do this for the rest of your life. Plus, doing it early in your career will give you an early demonstration of compounding ...

Welcome to the miracle of compounding!

Once you start saving, you will notice how quickly gains start compounding, and that is where even more free money comes from. (Again, learn to say yes to free money!) If you put £1,000 into an investment fund and did nothing else, it would double in value in 12 years, assuming you got a 6% average return (that's the rough historic average of the S&P 500).

This is double your money for doing nothing:

The gains add up much faster if you save each month.

This next chart shows someone who saves £1,000 every year in monthly instalments for 12 years. That's £83 every month. This person gets a 6% return. In total, they will have saved £12,000 of their own cash. But the gains have compounded that into £17,413 — for doing nothing! The gain alone is £5,413 in free money.

You should strongly consider saving 15% of your salary.

If you're saving less than 10% ... eh, good luck with that.

Even if the market crashes you'll still make money.

If the market crashed and your retirement savings lost 15% — which literally just happened in December 2018 — your tax-free savings would still be "ahead" of the money you took in your paycheck, if your paycheck is taxed at 20% or more.

Do not bail out when things get rough.

The market goes up and down. Some years you will lose money. When — and it is when, not if — your retirement savings go through a market crash like 2000 or 2008, it will be the scariest financial experience of your life. Do not bail out.

Market crashes make you richer, too.

As markets go down, the price of assets gets cheaper, and your paycheck is thus buying more of them. When markets go up again, you will be the proud owner of a lot of bonds and stocks that you bought at the bottom of the market, and they will gain in value at high speed. This is called "dollar cost averaging," and it means that on average you end up paying less than everyone else for stock/bonds over time. When the market rises again, you will be surprised at the compounding/rebound effect, and you will feel like a rich genius for not chickening out.

It will sharpen your perspective.

It is healthy to experience personally how markets and investing actually work, and what makes assets and savings go up or down.

Choose an S&P 500 index ETF, with the lowest fees.

Most fund managers fail to beat the market. The market as a whole does well most years. If all you do is dump 15% of your salary into the S&P for 20 years and literally do nothing else, you'll probably be ahead of the game. The S&P is a basket of 500 stocks of US companies, and they have international businesses — so you're fully diversified regionally and in terms of big, safe companies. All S&P 500 index ETFs are basically the same (they are on autopilot), so the key is to choose the one with lowest fees.

Fees are boring but important.

Take another look at that chart (below). The blue investor got a 6% annual return. But the red investor decided to go with a similar fund, except it had a bigger annual fee. (In other words, blue got a 6% return and red got 5%, after fees). Look at the difference over time:

  • Red's gains are £188 less than blue's. In a portfolio of £2,000, £188 is a significant amount.
  • Red paid fees that added up to roughly 20% of the original stake.
  • Red's return was 9% worse as a result.

And that's just on a deliberately simple one-time investment of £1,000, with interest paid annually. If red and blue had been investing every month, and the interest was paid monthly (it usually is), then blue's gains would be much greater and red's losses even worse.

Millennials and Gen-Xers were ripped off, starting in the 1990s.

In the late 1980s companies stopped offering traditional "defined benefit" pension plans that offer a guaranteed salary for life. That was to the detriment of everyone coming into the workforce after that time, in both the US and the UK. To give you an idea of how big a ripoff this was — how much money we all lost — read this. What replaced them is "defined contribution" plans, like the ones I am discussing here. They aren't as good but they're probably all you've got.

SEE ALSO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just revived a classic argument by conservative economist Milton Friedman about who pays for pollution

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These are the 15 hottest destinations billionaires are traveling to in 2019

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 11:45am

Investing in travel is becoming an increasingly popular way for the ultra-rich to signify their status — and they're extending it far beyond the classic idea of a vacation. 

Nowadays, the super-rich are taking months-long, multimillion-dollar trips to recharge or reconnect with family because they're often burnt out, Business Insider's Katie Warren previously reported. That can take shape in the form of extreme adventures, luxurious getaways, and educational excursions.

But just where are these billionaires headed?

Business Insider teamed up with boutique luxury travel agency Original Travel, which plans trips for high-net-worth individuals, to find out the hottest spots the elite are spending their money on in 2019. They based this ranking on the number of bookings and performance; the latter was assessed by feedback, their expertise, and client inquiries.

Turns out, billionaires have a taste for adventure in 2019. While a few classics made the list, such as Britain and France, far-flung countries — from Rwanda to Myanmar — made an appearance on the list, too.

Keep reading to see where the rich are getting their passports stamped this year.

SEE ALSO: What a $1 million vacation looks like in Mykonos, Greece, where you'll fly in on a private jet, sleep in an ocean-view villa, and cruise the seas in a yacht

DON'T MISS: Billionaires' vacation perks range from Ferrari-driving lessons to after-hours tours away from the crowds — here's what it's really like to travel while rich

15. Montenegro

Lesser-known than neighbors Croatia and Greece, the tiny slice of Adriatic coastline that is Montenegro has previously lacked high-quality accommodation (other than the Aman network) to rival its fjord landscapes, Tom Barber, co-founder of Original Travel, told Business Insider.

"Montenegro is set for a luxury upgrade in 2019 with the Chedi Lustica Bay newly opened and One & Only opening its first resort in Europe next year with Portonovi in Boka Bay," he said.

14. Oman

Business Insider previously reported that Oman is the next big destination for luxury travelers. Its peak travel season runs from October to April.

"Luxury brands like Anantara Hotels, which has already opened two resorts there, are claiming the country's culture and unique topography are a huge draw for travelers," reported Sarah Jacobs.

13. France

Champagne, in particular, is France's hottest destination right now, according to Barber. Belmond's new Pivoine Champagne barge launched in 2018, and the recent opening of The Royal Champagne Hotel "injected a much-needed shot of luxury and style to the hotel offerings of the region," he said.

He added: "From barge or hotel, we recommend arranging a private vineyard tour and tastings including a backstage at Bollinger experience, along with a make-your-own Champagne lesson and treehouse Champagne bar experience for a comprehensive immersion in the region."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ariana Grande is getting into private equity; Citigroup is considering working with pot companies

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:51am


Dear Readers,

Like most of you this week, I was captivated by the college admissions scandal. Some of the details that emerged were stunning: for example, wealthy parents Photoshopping their kids heads to make it appear like they were lightweight crew stars.

And the fall-out from what started as a criminal case is beginning to take shape at places like Stanford, where students are suing the school, saying that their degrees are now less valuable because prospective employers will always wonder if they were admitted to the university on their own merits (seriously?!) And just three days after the scandal broke, one journalist already got a book deal about it. Now that is hustle. 

If you're new to the Wall Street Insider newsletter, you can sign up here.

And if you're an existing Prime subscriber, please take our reader survey here.

And speaking of scandals, it's deja vu all over again in the banking world.

Wall Street firms spent the last few years repairing the damage they suffered to their reputations during the financial crisis.

All seemed to be going smoothly until, well, the banks couldn't help themselves. First, it was Wells Fargo's fake account scandal (followed by issues with other consumer businesses such as auto, wealth management, and mortgage). Then it was Goldman's 1MDB case and Deutsche Bank's involvement in a money laundering investigation stemming from the Panama Papers (and way too many other examples of wrongdoing to mention).

I guess it should come as no surprise that when Axios and Harris Poll released their annual list of the brands with the worst reputations in the US, three banks ranked in the top 10 — Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Goldman. In fact, Wells was ranked so low that the other four brands with worse rankings were embattled retailer Sears, the Trump Organization, tobacco company Phillips Morris, and of course, the US Government.

The bad news for Wells continued this week, with CEO Tim Sloan facing a grilling in front of the House Financial Services Committee for the bank's inability to curb the consumer-related scandals. Maxine Waters, Chairman of the US House Committee on Financial Services, responded that the bank was "too big to manage" while one federal banking agency said it was "disappointed" in the bank for its risk management program and poor corporate governance.

Yet, despite all this bad press, Wells' board seems tone deaf. Just a day after Sloan testified, the board voted to increase his pay by 5% to $18.4 million in 2018. Of that amount, $2 million was a bonus for Sloan's "continued leadership" in helping rebuild trust in the bank.

"Mr. Sloan shouldn't be getting a bonus, he should be getting shown the door," Waters said.

I'm not sure I disagree. Wells hasn't made many tough decisions in the last year that'll help repair their brand. Instead, the bank taken completely superficial steps such as their recent rollout of more "welcoming" ATM alcoves with cushy seating and mood lighting.

As Wells and others face increasing threats from fintechs who have built their brands around consumer discontent with Main Street banks, it's going to have to do a lot more to win back the hearts and minds of every day people.

To read many of the stories below, you can subscribe to Prime (or email me at for a free trial). As always, please reach out with any comments, tips, or feedback.

Thanks for reading!

A 257-year-old asset manager profited from Ariana Grande's hit single '7 Rings,' and it's a business Wall Street's getting excited about

Ariana Grande wanted it. She got it. And a private-equity firm owned by a major asset manager benefitted.

In the fall, the Grammy-nominated pop star went on a Champagne-fueled New York City shopping spree at Tiffany's, buying rings for her friends, including her songwriter, who told her they needed to turn the experience into a musical number. Grande's single "7 Rings" starts by detailing that day and borrows from the 1959 song "My Favorite Things," which Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music."

Tiffany & Co. wasn't the only company to benefit from the song, which spent multiple weeks atop Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Grande's managers worked with the Beverly Hills, California-based Concord Music Group to license the rights to "My Favorite Things," one of nearly 400,000 copyrights the group owns.

Concord is backed by Barings' alternative-investments arm, a $48.5 billion platform that invests in real estate, private equity, energy, and other strategies. Private equity has increasingly set its sights on music licensing, as investors seek strong, dependable revenue streams: No matter the economic climate, advertisers, movie producers, songwriters, and a host of other groups still need to license songs for their works.


Citigroup is considering working with pot companies as banks figure out ways to chase a $75 billion market

Citigroup has held talks in recent weeks about how closely it should work with cannabis companies or clients in other industries who want a loan to invest in the marijuana market, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

One particular meeting earlier this year involved Bradford Hu, the bank's chief risk officer, Ed Skyler, global head of public affairs, and Jamie Forese, the firm's president and head of the unit that houses the investment bank, according to one of the people. All three sit on the firm's operating committee.

The executives had seen competitors participating around the edges of the industry, such as by financing purchases of stakes in cannabis companies, and wanted to be proactive in considering how they'd respond if a client came to them with a similar request, one of the people said.

As more states legalize cannabis, more and more banks are looking for reasons to work with an industry that's projected to reach $75 billion in the US alone by 2030. More than 430 US banks count cannabis companies as clients in one way or another, according to a December report from the Treasury Department. Another 113 credit unions work with the industry, according to the report.


A bunch of hedge fund managers featured in 'The Big Short' are among the casualties of Citadel's most recent cuts

Citadel's most recent cuts including two hedge fund managers whose past performance nearly won an Academy Award.

Vincent Daniel and A. Porter Collins, who were featured as characters in the Michael Lewis-inspired movie "The Big Short," were cut as part of Citadel's closure of its Aptigon stock-picking unit last week, sources tell Business Insider. They were portrayed respectively by actors Jeremy Strong and Hamish Linklater in the 2015 film about the collapse of the US housing bubble.

Citadel's performance for the year has been solid, with the flagship Wellington fund returning 4.55% through the end of February, sources say. Last year, when the average hedge fund declined, Wellington returned more than 9%.

Stock-picking has been falling out of favor with investors, however. Managers like Jana Partners and BlueMountain Capital Management have cut long-short strategies this year, Carlson Capital's stock-picking fund has been bleeding assets, and investors have pulled billions from the space.


Goldman Sachs' internal idea factory hatched a plan for the Google of Wall Street, and it's now looking for the next big thing to disrupt the bank

When Goldman Sachs launched an internal idea factory last year, execs didn't know what they would get. The guidelines were kept vague, in part to spur out-of-the-box thinking.

But one of the winning submissions tells you all you need to know about Wall Street these days.

Goldman selected a project called Neon, a search engine built by the compliance division to find data, conduct surveillance, and detect pattern anomalies. Overwhelmed by the amount of data they had to sort and process and underwhelmed by other off-the-shelf tools, employees created their own. 

A future use may be for investment bankers to search for a client's name (e.g., a big technology company) to get a complete list of colleagues talking to the company on other projects across the bank, learn what meetings are planned, and see which pitch decks or presentations had been prepared in the past.


A top BlackRock exec says it’s struggling to crack the data conundrum, and the process is full of ‘headache and heartache’

Even the world's biggest asset manager is struggling to crack the data conundrum.

Firms eager to integrate traditional and alternative data in their investment processes to outperform their peers are struggling with data intake and processing.

"The amount of headache and heartache that we spend on this is unbelievable," Amer Bisat, BlackRock's head of sovereign and emerging markets alpha portfolios, said at a New York conference on Monday. "It remains a holy grail. It remains something that's more a promise than a reality."

BlackRock isn't the only major financial institution struggling with getting data into a usable format and then using it to augment the investment process.

According to a July 2016 McKinsey article, about half of the time spent by employees in finance and insurance is used for collecting and processing data. That and the large amounts of data involved in the industry make it one of the area's most ripe for disruption, according to the consultant.


The explosive growth of quant investing is paving the way for 'super managers' in the hedge-fund industry

More than a quarter of the hedge-fund industry's $3 trillion in assets are run by the 20 biggest firms, according to a new study from Barclays, and that proportion is expected to go only up.

The biggest funds — run by Ray Dalio, Cliff Asness, and Ken Griffin — accounted for 26% of the industry's assets at the end of 2018, compared to 21% of the industry's assets at the end of 2013.

The growth has been in an area that all hedge funds are trying to recruit more talent for. Quant funds offered by these managers have grown from 6% of the industry's assets to 11%, while discretionary strategies — in which investing decisions are by a person or a team of people instead of a machine — have dropped from 9% of the industry's assets to 6%.

There's a clear divide in the industry between the biggest and just the big. While the largest hedge-fund managers have gained market share over the last five years, the hedge funds outside of the top 20 that still have more than $5 billion in assets saw their market share recede.


Quote of the week:

"This palette has such an intense highlight I thought it would blind others to my privilege and toxicity," one said. "Unfortunately, it did not work and instead left me dusty AF" — a commenter on the Sephora site, complaining about a product the retailer had done in collaboration with Olivia Jade Giannulli (former Full House star Lori Louglin's daughter). On Tuesday, the FBI accused Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli of agreeing to pay $500,000 in bribes in exchange for having Olivia Jade and her sister, Isabella Rose, designated as recruits to the USC crew team to facilitate their admission to USC; neither girl participates in crew.

Wall Street move of the week:

A top Goldman Sachs sales trader is leaving to take a big role at JPMorgan

In markets:

In tech news:

Other good stories from around the newsroom:

Join the conversation about this story »

'Billions' star Asia Kate Dillon on how the show led to a revelation about the actor's own gender identity, and an emotional moment with a fan

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:45am

  • Showtime's hit show "Billions," which explores finance, power, and morality, returns for season 4 Sunday at 9 p.m.
  • Business Insider spoke to Asia Kate Dillon, who plays fan-favorite Taylor Mason, about gender identity, fan reactions, and the star's artistic ambitions including a music EP.

The world of Showtime’s “Billions” — which returns for its season 4 on Sunday at 9 p.m. — is filled with charmingly devious characters.

You can’t help but smile at them even when they are being wicked. It’s one reason why, though the show’s critique of Wall Street lives at its very core, co-creator David Levien said that by the second season, everyone on the Street was saying, “You know that was based on me, right?”

It feels like every character on “Billions” has become a cult favorite, from hedge-fund titan Bobby "Axe" Axelrod, to performance coach Wendy Rhoades, to the roguish and twirly-mustached Wags.

But perhaps the biggest fan favorite of them all is Taylor Mason, the gender non-binary whiz kid played by Asia Kate Dillon — and the Brutus to Axe’s Caesar.

Season 4 sees Mason taking an even bigger role in driving the plot, as they go head-to-head with Axe with the newly formed Taylor Mason Capital. Ahead of the season premiere, Business Insider caught up with Dillon, who spoke about how the initial casting of “Billions” helped the actor crystallize their own non-binary gender identity, what fans stop them on the street to say, and their artistic ambitions (including a music EP that’s still in the early stages).

The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Nathan McAlone: The character of Taylor was specifically written as gender non-binary. Is that an unusual thing to come across in the industry? I’m guessing it’s pretty rare to have the role written that way.

Asia Kate Dillon: I can tell you it’s the first time I’d ever seen it come my way: A non-binary identity with the they/them pronouns. My team knew I wanted to be sent out for roles they thought I’d be the best actor for, whether that person identified as a man, or a woman, or non-binary, or whatever. It wasn't strange that they sent that to me.

But I will say that prior to encountering the breakdown for Taylor, which had this word “non-binary,” I knew that word, I knew the words “gender fluid,” “gender nonconforming” — I considered myself gender fluid and gender nonconforming certainly, non-binary certainly. But I had not yet understood.

Let me back up and clarify.

All the people that I knew prior to encountering the character of Taylor who were non-binary, trans, gender nonconforming, had taken some sort of steps to medically transition their body, whether it was taking hormones or having some kind of elective surgery. So I just didn't have any representation — of either a real person or a fictional character — who was non-binary, but hadn't changed their body in some way. So I didn't fully have an understanding of how I could have my identity, my journey, which doesn’t include any kind of physical or medical transition, and still have a non-binary trans identity.

So when I got the character breakdown for Taylor and looked up “female” and “non-binary,” [I thought], “Oh, female is an assigned sex, non-binary is a gender identity. I don't have to transition my body in order to be valid as a non-binary transperson.” That was how I came to fully understand how I could be me. Does that make sense?

McAlone: Yeah, that totally makes sense. It’s really interesting that the actual phrasing of the casting helped crystallize that for you. And then how did you prep for the role? Did you dig into the world of hedge funds?

Dillon: I don't have a financial background so I definitely had to do a lot of research. The first scene I auditioned with, Taylor has one, if not two, paragraphs of heavy financial jargon. “Sell this,” “calls” and “puts” and all that. I initially attempted to memorize it without looking anything up and I couldn't. Then I looked up whatever the words were, and learned what I needed to do the scene. And that’s what I've done for every episode subsequently. Then the minute it's over it leaves my brain. People are like, “Can you give me financial advice?” I’m like, “No.”

McAlone: Is there anything that you’ll particularly miss about Taylor, the character, any piece of the character you’ll miss being able to inhabit?

Dillon: I'll miss knowing how Taylor would respond in a certain situation. I think one of the things I really admire about Taylor is their decisiveness. Like a chess player, they’ve already thought 14, 28 moves ahead. Their ability to make lightning-quick decisions and/or say exactly what’s on their mind the moment they want to say it, the way they want to say it, is something I admire and will certainly miss — among everything else about them.

McAlone: You’re a big fan-favorite character, at least among people I know who watch the show. Do you get stopped on the street now, and if so, what types of things do people say?

Dillon: I do get recognized on the street, which I love. I come from the theater and unless you scurry out the back, generally you are walking through the lobby meeting people. For me, that’s as much a part of being an artist as the art itself: Connecting with other people. Film and television, you don't have that same experience. So getting approached on the street, it is the way in which that manifests. And it's great. The show covers every demographic, every age, every skin color, every shape of person is watching this show, which I find incredible and really gratifying.

And the feedback is everything from a group of people in business attire walking by and yelling, “We love Taylor at the office,” to someone coming up to me and immediately taking my hands and peering up and saying, “My kid is non-binary and I can't tell you how much your representation has meant to them and to our family.” I'm actually tearing up right now telling you that story because that happened to me on the street, and we’re standing together crying and hugging. People are very gracious to tell me that I have helped them and/or their child, or parent, feel less alone, and I always remind them that they have made me feel less alone in that moment also. They're not just getting something from me, I’m also getting something from them, too. In that sense, I'm really grateful.

And then occasionally there are people who will say, “I love you on ‘Orange Is the New Black,’” and I'm wary of taking those conversations further because I don't know if they are complimenting my acting, or identifying with my character, who is a Nazi white supremacist.

McAlone: Do you think there are people who are saying they love your character because of that?

Dillon: I have no idea, but I don't want to inquire. You know what I mean? I've definitely gotten messages on social media that are like, “I love your character on Orange...”

McAlone: And you’re like, “Oh…”

Dillon: I don’t know what they mean!

McAlone: This “Billions” role is a step forward in terms of representation on TV, but I’d be curious to get your thoughts on which areas you think are moving in the right direction in the entertainment industry, and which areas are lagging behind in terms of various types of representation?

Dillon: Asia Kate Dillon and Taylor Mason, this character on “Billions,” we are both one example — and we are two different examples, actually — of a non-binary identity. We need more representation of all types of gender nonconforming, trans, non-binary identities, particularly people of color who have been leading the movement since long before I was born. They are the leaders of the movement and the last to be represented, always. So that's an area we need to continue to improve upon.

And I would say a show like “Billions” is doing as much as it can and is doing it right — having a non-binary character where their identity is not the focus of their storyline. They are a multidimensional person who is fully integrated into the plot, if not helping drive the plot of this show. That's extremely important.

McAlone: In terms of your own career, what types of projects are you interested in moving forward? How do you see the path of your career in your ideal world?

Dillon: I consider myself a performer. If you need me to act, I can act. If you need me to sing, I can sing. If you need me to dance, I can dance. I want to learn new skills. I want to do a project where I need to learn to ride horses. I want to learn jiu-jitsu. I always want a project to be challenging and fun, and teach me something new, and stretch my own expectations of what I'm capable of.

And then on top of that, I want to play the parts for which I’m the best actor for the role, and so to me it just feels like the world is my oyster. I'm excited for the things that come my way or the things that I manifest in my life because I don't feel like it can be defined and I love that.

As I said, I sing, I’m working on an EP right now. And maybe some time I’d love to be in a movie musical.

McAlone: What type of music is the EP?

Dillon: It may be too early to define. I’m definitely heavily influenced by pop and rock and roll, but also blues and r&b. I think it’s probably an amalgamation of all the things that have influenced me throughout my life.

McAlone: Do you have a performing name? Is it a band or solo project or what?

Dillon: Oh, I can’t reveal that.

McAlone: I didn’t know how far along it was.

Dillon: No, I appreciate you asking. Some of that stuff I’ll keep close to the chest for now.

"Billions" airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

SEE ALSO: 'Billions' star Maggie Siff on how Tony Robbins helped her prep, and why her character feels like a 'big cosmic joke'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I learned how to dance like Beyoncé from her choreographer and it was surprisingly difficult

A Canadian investment bank is quietly pursuing a critical regulatory approval that would solve one of the biggest pain points for the US marijuana industry

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:00am

One of the biggest pain points preventing multibillion-dollar institutions from investing in the US cannabis industry may soon be solved. 

Canaccord Genuity, a mid-size Canadian investment bank, is seeking approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to act as a custodian for US investors, according to a source familiar with the matter.

A custodian bank holds stock and settles trades for funds that invest in publicly traded stocks. Think of them like the plumbing that allows investors to safely buy stock in public companies.

Cannabis industry sources speculate that the bank, which is already very active working with cannabis companies, will use the FINRA approval to act as a middleman between big asset managers like Fidelity, JP Morgan, and BlackRock and Canadian Securities Exchange-listed US marijuana companies like Curaleaf and Green Thumb Industries.

This could potentially pave the way for billions of dollars of investment from US asset managers. 

BlackRock president Rob Kapito said at a Toronto conference last year that the firm "will be getting in" to the cannabis industry once custodians are able to clear cannabis stocks.

Representatives for Canaccord and FINRA declined to comment.

Canaccord has built up a lucrative practice advising cannabis companies in recent years. The bank has advised on $5.9 billion worth of cannabis deals since 2017 and has helped bring 64 cannabis companies public in Canada — amounting to $1.86 billion — over the same time period, according to data provider Dealogic. 

Read more: 'My lips are wet, my mouth is watering to get a piece of that': A war is brewing between US and Canadian marijuana companies to claim a $75 billion market

While Canaccord is one of the most active Canadian investment banks, it has doesn't yet have a large US presence. 

Because cannabis is federally illegal in the US, the government could, in theory, prosecute banks that work with US cannabis companies under federal money laundering laws. That situation poses a big problem for investors who want exposure to publicly traded marijuana companies that operate in the US: most banks won't touch the industry. 

That's severely limited the amount of capital US cannabis companies, known as multi-state operators, can raise, according to many senior cannabis executives Business Insider has spoken with. It also means raising money is more expensive — and in an industry in a rapid phase of growth and consolidation, that can make or break a company. 

But investors and banks are strategizing around how to get into cannabis. Business Insider previously reported that senior executives at Citigroup have held talks about how closely it should work with cannabis companies or clients in other industries who want a loan to invest in the marijuana market.

The potential upside for investors is huge: According to some Wall Street analysts, the US cannabis market could skyrocket to $75 billion by 2030. For comparison, the cigarette industry in the US is worth roughly $80 billion, according to the investment bank Cowen.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sales skyrocket in March

As asset management growth grinds to a halt, firms have to get creative. Here are the 3 avenues analysts say will best boost revenue.

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:00am

  • Asset managers are set to struggle with barely increasing revenue, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley and consultancy Oliver Wyman. 
  • As investors continue to flee active products in favor of lower-revenue options, managers need to be more creative about where they find growth. 
  • Analysts picked out three bright spots where asset managers could find growth: emerging markets; increasing investors' access to private markets; and new technology. 

Asset managers face a dismal outlook, as investors turn to lower-fee products and shareholders demand bottom-line growth and lower costs. 

Industry revenues are only set to grow 1% annually for the next five years, compared to 4% for the last five years, according to a new report from Morgan Stanley and consultancy Oliver Wyman.

See more: A new ETF is actually paying investors to hold it and it's the latest sign in how insane the fee war has gotten

Despite the gloomy industry picture, analysts found a three areas where asset managers can drive revenue growth.

Emerging markets: if managers can capture more money from newer markets, they could pick up $30 billion in revenue, half of which could come from China. 

"Today, the bulk of foreign asset managers’ emerging market client assets under management is sourced from large public funds investing into Western markets," the analysts wrote. "Looking forward, we think the growth opportunity will be more 'local' in nature." 

Tapping more capital in emerging markets would be a major – and expensive – effort. Right now, 85% of global assets are from clients in developed markets. China, though a high-growth market, is particularly hard to penetrate, with foreign asset manager market share below 5%.  

"We expect the opportunity will only be accessible to a handful of foreign players, though the spoils for these could be meaningful," the report said. 

Increasing access to private markets: Institutional investors have been driving growth – and asset managers' bottom lines – as they've loaded up on private investments, including private equity, real estate, and credit. In the next three to five years, per the report, more assets in those areas will come from investors that are under-allocated to private markets, largely high net worth individuals, employee-paid retirement accounts, and insurers. 

Like emerging markets, the growth opportunity comes at a price: managers need new models for distribution, operations, and products. So far, managers have found some success in finding new, though smaller-scale, investors for private debt and real assets, while private equity has proven tougher. 

New technology: asset managers are taking over some of the work that financial advisers and other groups previously did in distribution, enabled by technology. While it's a major growth area, it also comes at a high cost in time, talent, and capital. 

For example, managers have seen growth in helping clients with portfolio allocation decisions and in designing outcome-oriented products, such as funds that have different portfolios depending on an investor's target retirement date. 

While most of managers' current work is in customizing products for institutional investors, the most revenue comes from higher-margin, packaged products. Analysts expect those products to grow 5% annually in the medium term. 

Managers could also add $10-$15 billion in revenue by 2023 if they continue to expand mass customization solutions, technology that allows financial advisers to tailor their offerings to individuals. 

"Asset managers will increasingly find themselves up against technology players in the solutions space," the report said. "While this creates a wide range of interesting partnership opportunities, it also adds an onus on solutions asset managers to learn from and adopt the innovation culture of the most successful technology firms – a transition that many are grappling with today." 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Tesla's Model X was the first SUV to receive a perfect crash-test rating

Stanford scientists just gave us an unprecedented look at how well the Apple Watch detects heart problems (AAPL)

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:00am

  • Two months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company's "greatest contribution to mankind" would be in health.
  • A new study led by Stanford researchers provides a glimpse at how that vision is beginning to take shape.
  • The preliminary analysis suggests that the Apple Watch can accurately detect some heart problems.
  • But there are caveats. For one, the study didn't include the most recent Apple Watch, which has an extra feature that helps detect heart problems.
  • The study looked at whether the watch can detect atrial fibrillation, or afib, a common but potentially serious disorder. Other tech companies like Fitbit are also trying to detect it.

Roughly two months after Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company's "greatest contribution to mankind" would be in health, a new study provides the first glimpse at how that vision is beginning to take shape.

The unprecedented analysis, known as the Apple Heart Study, involved teaming up with cardiologists at Stanford University and studying more than 400,000 people. Their aim was to learn whether the Apple Watch and its heart-rate sensor could properly pick up on irregularities in people's heartbeat.

An early look at the work suggests it can. Of course, there are caveats.

The researchers are scheduled to present a summary of the Apple-sponsored study at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting on Saturday in New Orleans. The full study has not yet been published.

According to their presentation, the watch appeared capable of picking up on abnormalities linked with a common but serious condition called atrial fibrillation or afib. Afib is an irregular heart beat, and people with the condition can experience shortness of breath and poor blood flow. The condition can also increase the risk of more serious problems like stroke and heart failure.

"The study's findings have the potential to help patients and clinicians understand how devices like the Apple Watch can play a role in detecting conditions such as atrial fibrillation, a deadly and often undiagnosed disease," Mintu Turakhia, the study's lead author and an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford, said in a statement.

While the research offers a hopeful glimpse at the power of the Apple Watch to improve people's health, there is also potential for the device to overburden the healthcare system, according to some researchers. That could happen if the device tells too many people that they have a health problem when they actually don't.

Here's what you need to know.

An example for tech giants with their eyes on health

Apple isn't the only Silicon Valley tech giant with its eye on health. In recent years, companies such as Facebook, Google parent company Alphabet, and Fitbit have all made an effort to detect and prevent illness — whether it's picking up on someone who might be at risk of suicide or diagnosing a condition like afib or sleep apnea. Still, ailments like afib — which is equal parts common, serious, and preventable — are a kind of holy grail.

Outside experts who reviewed Apple's latest study see strengths and weaknesses in how it was done. Some major bright spots include the fact that it was done in collaboration with a well-respected university like Stanford, included lots of people, and took place over a fairly long time period. Additionally, the study design was kept separate from Apple, who funded it.

"This study is a great example for tech of how to design future studies," Mohamed Elshazly, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College who reviewed the study's design and saw its preliminary results, told Business Insider.

One big caveat: The study did not include the latest Apple Watch with its ECG

Still, Elshazly and other experts warn that the study had some important caveats.

The biggest? It didn't include the most recent Apple Watch, the series 4.

That watch, released after the study began, features a built-in electrocardiogram or ECG, the medical test typically used to detect heart-rhythm problems.

The series 4 was also the source of some controversy: experts worried that the device would over-diagnose irregularities, sending a lot of healthy people running to their doctors.

"Imagine the impact on a health care system as thousands of young, healthy people suddenly want to schedule appointments with cardiologists," Larry Husten, the former editor of TheHeart.Org, wrote in a recent opinion piece for Stat News.

But previous versions of the Apple Watch still have something else that can be used to check on your heart.

The series 1, 2, and 3 versions of the watch contain what are known as optical heart-rate pulse sensors. They use lights to take your pulse. So for the Stanford study, Turakhia and his co-investigators studied 400,000 people with one of these Apple Watches. The researchers also had the participants use a corresponding heart health app on their iPhones.

When people's Apple Watches picked up on an irregularity, they notified the participant with a pop-up and asked them to schedule a video chat with a doctor involved in the study. Then, to check that the irregular readings were correct, the researchers sent those participants ECG patches.

The Apple Watch identified heart problems in a small number of people

The study came away with some positive findings. They suggest that the Apple Watch does a fairly good job of detecting heart problems in people who have them, especially in cases where the problem also happens to be afib. But in some cases, the devices also detect problems when there aren't any.

This phenomenon, known in clinical parlance as a false-positive, is most concerning when it affects a large number of people. At first glance, this doesn't seem to be an issue with Apple's study: out of its more than 400,000 participants, only 0.5% (or 2,000 people) got notifications indicating they had an irregular heart rate. 

However, when you consider that several million people are already wearing Apple Watches, that 0.5% figure could actually be quite troubling, Elshazly said. It's especially troubling when you also consider the fact that sometimes the notifications are wrong.

According to comparisons with ECG patch recordings taken at the same time, the watches were correct in flagging a problem 71% of the time. In other words, in roughly seven out of 10 cases in which the watches told someone they had a problem, that problem turned out to be real. Additionally, in about eight out of every 10 abnormal cases, people were found to have afib at the time of the alert, suggesting that the Apple Watch is good at flagging people with that serious condition.

But those findings also mean that roughly a third of people who got flagged had nothing wrong with their hearts. And some of them still went on to seek medical care.

Those are the people Elshazly and Husten are worried about.

"These are people who are pursuing care when they shouldn’t have," Elshazly said.

Another problem the study doesn't address is what happens to the people with afib whose symptoms are not picked up by the Apple Watch. In contrast to the people without a problem who the Apple Watch flags incorrectly, the people with a problem that get missed by the Apple Watch might never get the care they need.

In other words, they might "feel falsely reassured by the absence of any alert," Husten wrote.

Despite these issues, researchers like Elshazly still think wearables like the Apple Watch could play an important role in helping to predict and prevent serious illnesses like afib — especially if they're provided to populations who are known to face a higher risk of those illnesses. With afib, the risk increases dramatically with age, suggesting to Elshazly that perhaps the watches should be given primarily to older people.

Detecting heart problems is just the start

"Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning," Lloyd Minor, the dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, said in a statement about Apple's study.

"This study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes," he said.

Other tech companies are working on similar applications for their devices in healthcare. Fitbit, for example, has been exploring the idea of using its fitness trackers to detect both afib and sleep apnea. Two years ago, the company enrolled in a new precertification program with the Food and Drug Administration that's designed to help speed the approval process for new digital health products.

"The billion dollar question is, does using the Apple Watch — with all its features — actually lead to me living longer and having better health?" Elshazly said. "We don’t know yet. We don't have the data."

SEE ALSO: Fitbit is playing a long game to keep itself relevant, and its latest plans hint at getting into a new, highly lucrative area

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The luxury real-estate market in Vietnam is heating up — and it's luring foreign buyers in with 'sky mansions' at a fraction of what their cost would be in NYC or Hong Kong

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 10:00am

  • Vietnam is the next luxury real-estate hotspot, Bloomberg reported.
  • An explosion of new luxe developments, fueled by a strong economy and legislation that made it easier for foreigners to buy property, is attracting wealthy international buyers.
  • These swanky condos, popping up in Ho Chi Minh City on "Saigon's Wall Street," cost a fraction of what they would in markets like New York City or Hong Kong.

Forget New York City or Hong Kong. The newest hotspot for luxury real estate is Vietnam

The Southeast Asian country has been seeing a surge in luxury real estate development, Bloomberg reported, thanks to a booming economy and laws making it easier for foreign buyers to buy property in Vietnam.

Vietnam is "where southern China was 10 or 15 years ago," Goodwin Gaw, chairman of Hong Kong-based private-equity firm Gaw Capital Partners, told Bloomberg. Prices have been going up over the past year and a half, but investing in real estate in the country is still a good bet in the long-term, Gaw said. Prices for luxury condos in Ho Chi Minh City increased by 17% in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

Vietnam's economy is seeing strong growth, according to Al Jazeera. And in 2015, a legislation change made it easier for international buyers to obtain long-term leases and buy property in Vietnam, Mansion Global reported. 

Ultra-luxury living at a low price point

A luxury apartment in the city center of Ho Chi Minh City can cost upwards of $5,000 per square meter, or $465 per square foot, Sunny Hoang, associate director of International Residential Sales at Savills in Ho Chi Minh City, told Mansion Global. Compared to other cities, that's an absolute bargain.

In Hong Kong, a similar home can easily cost four times more than that, Hoang said.

Average prime home values in Hong Kong are now at $4,660 per square foot, according to a separate Mansion Global report, while Manhattan real estate costs an average of $1,773 per square foot.

At Feliz en Vista, a four-tower luxury condominium development in Ho Chi Minh City's District 2 developed by Singapore-based CapitaLand, buyers can choose from a mix of garden villas, duplex penthouses, and "sky mansions." The property offers ultra-luxe amenities including a swimming pool with hot spring Jacuzzi and water slide, an outdoor movie theater, a treetop adventure walking bridge, a fitness center, sky garden, library, playground, tennis court, and parking.

The condos launched at prices between $232 and $290 per square foot. On the high end, this would come out to $1.56 million for one of the building's 500-square-foot penthouses.

More than 99% of the units at Feliz en Vista were sold by the end of 2018, a representative for the developer told Business Insider.

And at the The Grand Manhattan, a 39-story development that will include apartments, a hotel, and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1, known as "Saigon's Wall Street," the New York City-inspired condos start at about $557 per square foot.

Compare that to NYC, where even a tiny penthouse can cost $2,143 per square foot and it's common to see asking prices of $10 million and up. And in Hong Kong, which has one of the most expensive housing markets in the world, a modest house that many would classify as a knockdown is selling for a staggering $446 million.

Not only foreign buyers

International buyers may be jumping to invest in Vietnam real estate, but wealthy locals are giving them competition. 

"We have more and more very rich Vietnamese, particularly entrepreneurs looking for places to put their money," Neil MacGregor, a managing director at Savills Vietnam, told Bloomberg.

Vietnam now has 142 people who are worth more than $30 million, according to a 2019 report from global real estate consultant Knight Frank.

SEE ALSO: An $82 million penthouse in NYC's tallest residential building finally sold after 2 years on the market — but only after it was split in half and got a $21 million price chop

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An Uber Eats executive reveals the company's surprising strategy for moving beyond taxi rides

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 9:17am

  • Uber Eats is aggressively targeting areas outside of urban cores, especially suburbs, as it expands.
  • The business is one of Uber's fastest-growing areas, and its first that's not for taxi rides. 
  • Ana Mahoney, head of US cities for Uber Eats, sat down for an interview with Business Insider to talk strategy. 

When it comes to delivery, Chinese food and pizza are about all that many Americans are used to ordering.

Outside of New York City and other metro areas, that's often still the case, especially in the suburbs. That's the exact market Uber wants to corner with its food delivery business as the ride-hailing giant continues its quest for global domination.

"The demand that we've experienced from the suburbs over the last year and a half has been truly phenomenal," Ana Mahoney, head of US cities for Uber Eats, said in an interview with Business Insider. "It shows the power and potential to expand our business everywhere."

Uber Eats first launched more than three years ago, and has expanded to more than 350 markets served by 300,000 couriers. Not only is delivery one of the fastest-growing areas of Uber's business, it showcases the "power of the Uber platform," as executives are quick to point out. In other words, a vast global network of services powered by a phone app can mean just more than digital taxi hailing. The company hopes it can soon reach everything, and has a focus on groceries next.

But while the densely-populated New York metro area is easily the most lucrative market for Uber's ride-hailing business, delivery is growing in areas with less density, where walking to grab a takeout meal might not be an option.  In France, for example, more than half of Uber Eats orders take place outside of Paris, the company said.

Financially, that geographical difference compared to ride-hailing will be key as Uber races towards an IPO, which the company is reportedly set to being in April. Suburbs and towns outside of major urban centers are deeply unprofitable for ride-hailing companies. Uber Eats could help the company plug the $370 million hole in its balance sheet from 2018.

"We're seeing a lot of demand out there from families and people who eat differently than people do in our urban cores," Mahoney said.

Read more: Uber will officially launch its $120 billion IPO in April

It's not just diners who benefit, either. Uber can leverage its massive network of data to expand local restaurants reach. Many of those small eateries might not have even had delivery options before.

"The amount of revenue that restaurants have access to is limited to the number of tables they have. 

"The amount of revenue that restaurants have access to is limited to the number of tables they have in their restaurant as well as how quickly they can provide meals to customers and how often those tables turn over," Mahoney said.

"Delivery enables [restaurants] to, within the same fixed-cost structure, not just make money off of in-store sales, but also have a second avenue to sell their meals."

Then there are the massive enterprise deals Uber nailed down recently: Starbucks and McDonald's, neither of which had delivery options before, joined the platform in recent months. Not only has McDonald's seen higher checks on average on Uber Eats orders, but the hamburger chain has already sent out more than 10 million McNuggets, it said last year. 

Uber Eats' McDonald's trial started with a pilot in Miami before it expanded nationwide last year. "Once we found a playbook, if you will, that worked, we started expanding that across the rest of the country, "Mahoney said, adding that it was an easy process to repeat for Starbucks. 

Mahoney offered no specifics for what chains might be next on the list, but added that the company is "actively working on bringing all of our eaters favorite brands and local favorites onto our platform." 

Do you work for Uber Eats? Have a story to share? Get in touch with this reporter at 

SEE ALSO: Uber is paying $20 million to end a six-year legal battle with drivers

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Why SAP CEO Bill McDermott signs his emails 'XO, Bill' since buying Utah startup Qualtrics for $8 billion cash (SAP)

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 9:00am

  • If you get an email from SAP CEO Bill McDermott these days, you'll see him sign it "XO, Bill." But he's not sending hugs and kisses.
  • He's reminding his people why he spent $8 billion cash to buy Utah software company, Qualtrics, last fall and facing down criticism that price he paid was too high. 
  • McDermott recently outlined the virtues of the deal just as SAP began handing out pink slips worldwide. 

These days SAP CEO Bill McDermott signs his emails. "XO, Bill," he tells Business Insider.

But he's not sending virtual hugs and kisses. He's reiterating his marketing message of why he spent $8 billion cash to buy a Utah software company, Qualtrics, three days before its IPO.

The X stands for "experience data," the kind of data Qualtrics collects such as feedback from product testers, customer surveys, marketing campaigns, or employee satisfaction surveys. Qualtrics calls this "eXperience data" and it bills itself as the creator of a new category of tech called "experience management." That's when companies look across all their constituents — customers, employees, partners, etc. — to understand the kind of experiences they are having with the company and its products.

The "O" stands for operational data, the stuff SAP has traditionally collected like finances, inventory, sales and human resources information.

"When you take the 'o' data and you marry with 'x' data, you change world," McDermott told Business Insider in a 1:1 interview at Qualtrics customer conference last week in Salt Lake City. 

"We talk about the digital board room. We look at the business of SAP. We run the whole company on one single instance of SAP HANA.  So one database, one ERP system for the whole company," he says, referring to SAP big -data database, HANA, and its world-famous financial software known as enterprise resource management (ERP) software.

"In real time, we know how's our customers doing? What's our loyalty results? What's the top 25 things in terms of the commercial interests of the company at any one time," he says. 

But as good as all that data is, it doesn't answer the most important question: why? Why is this product selling but not that one? Why is this sales team exceeding expectations and that one failing? 

"With Qualtrics, we'll know how we're doing every day and why," he says.

McDermott believes that this combo will be game-changing for companies, helping them spot and fix problems instantly, and increase everyone's satisfaction.

And very satisfied customers "spend three times more money with you than those that are satisfied," McDermott says.

Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith says that several of his biggest customers, that also use SAP, have already called him and volunteered to be guinea pigs as SAP and Qualtrics integrate their products.

Ultimately, Smith believes that by combining the data they keep in their SAP systems and what they get from their Qualtrics survey/feedback systems, that companies will be able offer a level of customer service that just isn't possible today.

He gives the example of an airline.

"SAP has all the airport data. And we’re collecting all the experience data from the airlines. Imagine an airline being able to send a note to their medallion customers and let them know that the security lines are a little long. That's not their world. That’s the airport world. But that's the kind of thing that will be a available," he said.

Shocked the tech world

Four months ago, SAP shocked the software world by buying Utah-based market research software company Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash.

Qualtrics was three days from a highly anticipated IPO. It was a profitable company, earning $2.5 million in net profit on $289.9 million in revenue in 2017. It expected to raise about $495 million in the IPO at about a $5 billion valuation.

Yet, when McDermott and Smith announced their Sunday-night deal, the first question an analyst asked on the call was: "why did you spend $8 billion on a company we've never heard of?," Smith remembers.

McDermott, who rose to the corner office of Europe's biggest software company from a career as a salesman, was ready to explain.

And he's been explaining ever since, including changing the signature on his emails to XO, Bill. (Qualtrics is in on the marketing message, too. They've painted an X and an O on all their office elevator doors.)

As we previously reported, McDermott wooed Ryan Smith and his brother cofounder, Jared Smith, for months, trying to get them to sell, in a courtship that included bicycle rides, dinners with the wives, the whole nine yards.

McDermott told us his revelation, the reason he charged after Qualtrics, came from his own experience in running SAP, as well as listening to his customers lament about their decision-making processes.

SAP is an enormous multi-national company with 96,000 employees in 140 countries, 425,000 customers, hundreds of enterprise software products. When he went in search of tech to understand the "why," he found Qualtrics. He checked out the competition and made up his mind to acquire the company.

SAP wasn't a Qualtrics customer at the time but it is starting to use it internally.

"We’re now putting Qualtrics into 45 different processes in the company," he said. For example, he's using it for customer retention, asking customers why they do or don't use a product, and to better understand employee performance.

As for the ongoing criticism that the $8 billion price tag, at 20-x sales, was too high, McDermott also has an answer: The price will look cheap in hindsight.

He compares SAP's purchase of Qualtrics to when Steve Jobs went back to Apple because Apple bought his company NeXT. Or when EMC bought VMware. Or when Facebook bought Instagram.

And he notes that Qualtrics was profitable and growing at over 50%.

With SAP's massive sales force and army of consultants like Deloitte, he believes its growth will accelerate. He also says he paid in the neighborhood of the multiple Salesforce paid for MuleSoft. That was 16x sales. Or what Microsoft paid for GitHub. That was 30x sales. Although, neither of those transactions were all cash deals.

Also ... layoffs

Truth be told, McDermott has to find growth.

While SAP's revenue has been slowly growing, and the stock price has fared well under his decade of leadership, SAP is the quintessential old-school software company that's being overthrown by cloud computing upstarts.

SAP isn't, itself, a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services. Instead, it's selling more of its software on clouds run by Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Microsoft.

Qualtrics should help him show big growth in cloud software.

Ironically, on the same day that McDermott was on stage at Qualtrics conference, SAP also started implementing the layoffs it announced at the end of January.

First-hand accounts of the layoffs tweeted out by laid-off employees showed that pink slips were sent to some prominent business application developers, who worked on its old-school software.

The restructuring reportedly impacted some 4,400 employees, some of whom can apply to be transferred into other positions.

McDermott didn't discuss the layoffs much with Business Insider, except to say that the company is adding employees this year. It expects to grow by at least 4,000 net people this year to employ 100,000 at the end of 2019.

SEE ALSO: How Oracle inadvertently helped Nvidia spend $6.9 billion to win a deal away from Intel

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These 9 books will help you make sense of why we need 'better capitalism'

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 9:00am

  • Our Better Capitalism series focuses on why inequality has been hurting economic growth, and why new approaches to business and policy can be a course correction.
  • We've chosen books from writers like the economist Joseph Stiglitz and the futurist Amy Webb that make sense of where we are, how we got here, and where we should be headed.
  • This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.

For over a year, Business Insider has been exploring why we need "Better Capitalism" and how we can achieve it.

It started with the rejection of the shareholder primacy theory that grew in popularity in the late 1970s and became the norm beginning in the '80s. It's led to a short-term focus on profits above all else, and we're arguing that this has come at the expense of stakeholders like workers and communities, and has been a significant factor in the country's out-of-control wage-and-wealth inequality.

We've found that there is an increasingly loud call to tie profits to purpose, and it's not just a moral argument.

To make sense of where we are today and where we should be headed, we've gathered some of our favorite books on the economy and the role of business in society.

SEE ALSO: According to wealthy investor Nick Hanauer, the wrong approach to capitalism has been weakening the American Dream for the past 40 years

'The Shareholder Value Myth' by Lynn Stout

The late Cornell Law professor Lynn Stout rose to prominence challenging the ideas that have dominated the past 40 years. In 2012, she took on the theory of shareholder primacy, which is the idea that public companies exist above all else to serve the needs of shareholders, and that if they make decisions with this approach, customers and employees will naturally benefit.

There's an argument to be made that this approach may have made sense in the 1980s, after the stagflation of the '70s, but Stout shows that it was inherently flawed and achieving the opposite result. Shareholder primacy can benefit investors in the short term, but it's an approach considering all stakeholders that creates lasting long-term value for investors, as well.

Find it here »

'Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy' by Joseph Sitglitz

Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize-winning economist based at Columbia University, and his 2015 book looks at how shareholder primacy has been one of many policies that he believes have been hurting the American economy.

Stiglitz dismisses the argument that implementing policies that would decrease inequality would hinder growth. Instead, he explains, the wealthiest Americans have increasingly captured the benefits of the growth seen in the past few decades, which handicaps the economy from performing at its best.

Find it here »

'Conscious Capitalism' by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

Whole Foods founder John Mackey and Babson College professor Raj Sisodia kicked off a movement with their 2013 book, "Conscious Capitalism."

Stout and Stiglitz used their books to show that prevailing business theories were not only detrimental to workers and communities, but to shareholders and the economy as a whole; Mackey and Sisodia use theirs to show that businesses were already in a position to link their profits to purpose, and that investing in all stakeholders also increased the bottom line. 

Find it here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Elon Musk just revealed the Tesla Model Y — and he's still the greatest car salesman who ever lived (TSLA)

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 8:57am

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Model Y crossover SUV last week.
  • The new Tesla vehicle arrives after a difficult period for Musk and the company.
  • Musk was at his best during the unveiling — in full-on salesman mode, both for the vehicle and for Tesla's vision.

A few years back, after Tesla posted an unexpected quarterly earnings beat and CEO Elon Musk took to the opportunity to undersell what was then the yet-to-be-produced Model 3 sedan, I wrote that he was the greatest car salesman who has ever lived.

I'm not going to judge my own verdict, but Tesla did finish 2018 by delivering almost 250,000 cars, and most of them were Model 3's. That's what happens when Musk says he isn't going to try that hard.

Last week, Musk revealed the Model Y — Tesla's lastest vehicle, a compact/midsize crossover that's really the vehicle the all-electric automaker needs most, as consumers in the US switch in droves to SUVs.

Musk has endured, to put it mildly, a lot of ups and downs since I called him a great salesman. For any other CEO, a 2017 spent struggling to manufacture the Model 3 at scale and a 2018 that featured a failed go-private effort, an SEC investigation, and sort of ongoing social-media meltdown would have been justification for retiring to run your other company that just launches rockets.

Read more: Elon Musk is the greatest car salesman who has ever lived

That Musk can even take to a stage in Los Angeles, as he did on Thursday, and continue selling is a testament to his resilience. There have been some impressive, passionate, and even sort of crazy visionaries in the history of the auto industry. But if Henry Ford or Enzo Ferrari had been dealing with what Musk is up against, I'm not sure the companies that bear their names would have survived. 

Achieving impossible goals

In a relatively short period of time, Musk and Tesla have achieved two goals that more or less everybody in the car business thought were impossible: start a new auto brand and create and dominate a market for electric vehicles.

Yes, Tesla is over a decade old. But in the past five years, it's gone from selling a micro-volume two-seat sports car to three quite compelling electric cars in the Model S, Model X, and Model 3, soon to be joined by the Model Y (deliveries commence in 2020).

That progress is stunning, all the more so because Tesla's current trio of cars are some of the best vehicles ever built in an industry that's been around for over a century (that they're electric cars is even more impressive). It's safe to assume that the Model Y will continue this pattern of excellence. 

None of this means that Tesla won't have to continue to fight for its life. By the standards of the car business, it's running on a shoestring. And while it's cars are great, some new electric vehicles are headed onto the field of competition. So far, I've driven the Jaguar I-PACE, a very solid crossover, and I'm looking forward to the Porsche Taycan, a high-performance four-door. 

"This is a tough business," Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry and chairman of the company that bears his name, once told me. "You have to fight for every sale." That's what Musk has in store for him. But after establishing himself as the greatest living car salesman, he proved something else: he's nothing if not a fighter.

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SKY New Zealand pulls Sky News Australia from its platform after it aired disturbing footage of the deadly mosque shootings

Sat, 03/16/2019 - 12:17am

  • Sky News Australia has been dropped by New Zealand’s biggest satellite television provider after it aired distressing footage of a livestream video connected to the Friday shooting in Christchurch which left 49 dead.
  • At least 49 people were shot dead Friday in a terror attack that targeted two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The event marks the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history and one of the deadliest in the world.
  • As the attack was unfolding, a 16-minute live streamed video of the shooting was posted to Facebook, where it quickly spreadacross the platform, as well as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Police urged the public not to disseminate the footage further.

Sky News Australia, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, has been dropped by New Zealand’s biggest satellite television provider after the news network aired distressing footage of a livestream video connected to the Friday shooting in Christchurch which left 49 dead.

Sky News Australia is available via subscription in Australia and on New Zealand's SKY Network Television. Despite similar names, SKY is not affiliated with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News networks.

At least 49 people were shot dead Friday in a terror attack that targeted two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. A further 42 people were injured, including a four-year-old child in critical condition, authorities said.

The event marks the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history and one of the deadliest in the world.

The shooter has been identified as 28-year-old Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, who has been charged with murder. Two other suspects remain in police custody and authorities are working to determine their involvement.

As the attack was unfolding, a 16-minute livestreamed video of the shooting was posted to Facebook, where it quickly spread across the platform, as well as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

The video appears to have been shot using a helmet or body camera, and shows the gunman driving to the Al Noor Mosque before opening fire at people near the doorway. He then appears to walk indoors before shooting worshippers inside for several minutes. The gunman then leaves and gets back in his car before driving to the Linwood Mosque, some three miles away, where he opened fire again.

Police acknowledged Friday that graphic and distressing footage was circulating across the web, but urged the public not to disseminate it further. Facebook confirmed to INSIDER on Friday that it had deleted the apparent livestream from its platform and suspended the suspected shooter's profile.

In live coverage of the attack as it unfolded on Friday, Sky News Australia showed clips of the shooter's livestream footage that had spread across social media.

SKY New Zealand issued a statement about its decision to remove Sky News Australia from its platform:

"We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and are working with our colleagues at Sky News Australia to ensure coverage doesn't compromise ongoing investigations in New Zealand. We made the decision on Friday with Sky News Australia to replace their live news with sport," the statement reads.

According to the SKY New Zealand's Twitter page, the decision was made Friday evening. It said that all other news channels on its platform, including BBC World and CNN are still available on SKY GO.

INSIDER has reached out to Sky News Australia for comment.

SEE ALSO: Facebook reacts to live-streamed footage of the deadly New Zealand mass shooting that was posted on its platform

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