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Peter Thiel's venture fund just announced Hereticon, a conference for 'troublemakers' to discuss immortality, doomsday prepping, and UFOs

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 2:42pm  |  Clusterstock

  • On Tuesday, Founders Fund announced Hereticon, a conference in New Orleans for "dissenting thinkers." The conference will run for three days in May 2020, according to a blog post announcing the news.
  • The conference will include discussions on topics that would be "banned from other conferences," such as immortality, doomsday preparation, biological modification, UFOs, and drag culture, according to the post.
  • Founders Fund says that Hereticon will welcome speakers that have been banned from other tech conferences.
  • As the founder of Founders Fund, Peter Thiel is one of the most controversial venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, and one of the industry's most vocal Trump supporters
  • Founders Fund vice president Michael Solana told Business Insider that "We believe dissent is essential to human progress and hope Hereticon will spark important conversations within our community and beyond — that's really the only goal."

Ever wanted to learn about immortality or UFOs from Facebook board member Peter Thiel? You may just be in luck.

On Tuesday, Thiel's venture firm Founders Fund announced Hereticon, a conference for "ideological outcasts." The conference will run for three days in May 2020 in New Orleans at an undetermined location, according to a blog post announcing the news.

"We believe dissent is essential to human progress and hope Hereticon will spark important conversations within our community and beyond — that's really the only goal," Founders Fund vice president Michael Solana told Business Insider over email.

Read More: Peter Thiel's Founders Fund is making its first cybersecurity investment in a $37 million deal with 2 former Air Force pilots

The post lists a range of topics up for discussion, including immortality, doomsday preparation, biological modification, UFOs, and drag culture, among others. The form linked at the bottom of the post allows those interested to submit any topics or ideas they would also like to discuss if outside the already lengthy list outlined in the post.

"After dark, on the top floor of our hotel, in a hidden room plastered in newspaper clippings of sightings and secret bases, there may be a talk or two on UFOs and literally a séance. Let's get weird," Solana wrote in the post.

Worth noting is Thiel's reputation in Silicon Valley, where he's known as a contrarian and an iconoclast. Thiel is one of the most vocal supporters of President Trump in Silicon Valley, historically a liberal enclave. He's also been known to use controversial blood transfusion therapies in pursuit of his dream of living forever. 

Hereticon will welcome intellectuals from all walks of life that have been banned from other conferences, the post says. The announcement invokes thinkers like Galileo and Jesus Christ, saying that without dissent, growth is all but impossible.

"But while our culture is fascinated by the righteousness of our historical heretics, it is obsessed with the destruction of the heretics among us today," Solana writes in the blog post. 

Founders Fund is reportedly an investor in some of the controversial industries that leave more traditional investors hesitant, including a cybersecurity startup and Palmer Luckey's secretive digital border wall startup Anduril. 

"A world without heretics is a world in decline, and in a declining civilization everything we value, from science and technology to prosperity and freedom, is in jeopardy," the post concludes.

SEE ALSO: Social fitness startup Strava's CFO says the recent IPO flubs show it's time for Silicon Valley to rethink the 'grow at all costs' mantra

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $160 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money

After months of contemplation, I finally upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 10-minute phone call

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 2:35pm  |  Clusterstock

I recently upgraded my go-to rewards credit card from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve

The Reserve commands a $450 annual fee — more than I ever anticipated paying for a credit card — but from the annual travel statement credit to 3x the points on dining and travel purchases, the perks and benefits more than soften the blow.

I spent more than three years using the Sapphire Preferred — and recommending it to everyone I talked to — but I could no longer resist the higher-tier option.

The Sapphire Preferred was a phenomenal credit card to start with as a recent college grad, but I've begun spending more on travel lately (weddings galore) and I want to maximize those purchases. It's not the right time for me to open a new credit card entirely, so I decided that upgrading my current go-to was the next best thing.

Thankfully, the process to upgrade couldn't be simpler.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Read more: Preferred vs. Reserve — how the Chase Sapphire credit cards stack up

How to upgrade from the Sapphire Preferred to Sapphire Reserve 1. Call the number on the back of the card

The number on the back of my Sapphire Preferred card sent me to an automated list of options, but I opted to stay on the line and connect with a real person. I figured I would have to talk to a customer service agent to request the upgrade, so why go through a maze of menus first. I waited about five minutes until someone came on the line.

2. Ask to upgrade

I told the woman my name and asked if I could upgrade my current Sapphire Preferred card to the Sapphire Reserve. She asked one or two questions to verify my identity and pulled up my account.

3. Move credit or increase your limit, if necessary

After looking at my account, the agent told me I would need to increase my credit limit to qualify for the upgrade. She said the Sapphire Reserve requires that cardholders have a $10,000 line of credit, at minimum, and mine was $8,400. 

I hesitated for a moment because I just requested a credit limit increase on another card a few months ago, and I know this type of thing requires a hard inquiry on your credit report. But the agent told me it was actually possible to shuffle some of the credit line from my other Chase card to this account to make the minimum and it wouldn't require a hard inquiry. I agreed and she transferred $1,600 over from my other card.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve card review

4. Approve the disclosures

The agent then read me a list of disclosures and asked me to verbally approve.

Aside from your run-of-the-mill banking disclosures, she also clarified that I would not be eligible to earn the 50,000-point, new member spending bonus on the Reserve. Sapphire Preferred cardholders who upgrade aren't eligible, for one. But even if I canceled my card and then applied for the Reserve, I still wouldn't be able to earn the spending bonus. The agent said you can only earn one spending bonus every four years on Chase products and I had already earned my 50,000-point bonus back in 2017.

5. Wait for the card to arrive

By the time I got off the phone, my account had already been updated with the Reserve dashboard. From that point forward, all purchases qualified for the Reserve's higher rewards point earnings. I was even able to earn the $300 travel statement credit before the new card arrived at my doorstep a few days later.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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NOW WATCH: This is the shortest route for a road trip across the US to see 50 national landmarks

BlackRock's global head of active equities data has left the $6.9 trillion asset manager

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 2:25pm  |  Clusterstock

The global head of data for active equities at the world's largest asset manager has left, Business Insider has learned.

Paul Booth, who served in the role at BlackRock since April 2017, has left the $6.94 trillion New York-based asset manager, according sources familiar with the matter. Booth stepped down from his role to take a job at another large global investment firm, according to one of the sources.

Booth was responsible for helping BlackRock source, build, and evaluate data for the asset manager's fundamental and scientific active equities businesses, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

Strategy around how to manage and use data has taken center stage on Wall Street. With artificial intelligence tools relying on large swaths of data, firms have had to consider what to do with the massive amount of information that passes through their organizations. 

In May, Business Insider reported on BlackRock's plans to expand its AI Labs group by hiring a senior data scientist, among other roles, to focus on projects such as building out new lending platforms and automating human tasks. 

A spokesperson for BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Booth declined to comment. 

Read more: BlackRock is quietly building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform

Booth joined BlackRock in February 2016 as the Americas director of research for data and analytics for equities, according to his LinkedIn. Prior to that, he spent over 12 years at Citi, working in various roles within the research department. 

See more: BlackRock's head of trading lays out how the $6.5 trillion firm is navigating the electronic transformation of fixed income trading

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NOW WATCH: This is the shortest route for a road trip across the US to see 50 national landmarks

Silicon Valley's top VCs are convening a special 'summit' after recent IPO failures

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 2:24pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Silicon Valley investors and executives are holding a big summit to explore alternatives to Wall Street's system for initial public offerings, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
  • The summit will examine the system in place for IPOs which is based largely on rules set by the financial industry and run largely by underwriters. 
  • The gathering will look into alternative processes, including the use of direct listings based on cutting-edge software algorithms.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

Prominent Silicon Valley investors and executives, fed up with recent initial public offering fumbles, are holding a big meeting to explore alternatives to Wall Street-style IPOs, a Bloomberg report said Tuesday.

The Silicon Valley summit features major venture capitalists, executives and other leading tech figures, including author Michael Lewis, will examine the prevailing system for IPOs which is based largely on rules set by the financial industry and dominated by underwriters.

The gathering will explore alternative systems, including the use of direct listings based on cutting-edge software algorithms.

"I'm not anti-banker, I'm pro-algorithm," Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark, a venture capital firm, and one of the summit organizers, said in the report.

Got a tip about a  tech company? Contact this reporter via email at bpimentel@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @benpimentel. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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WeWork is reportedly considering selling its stake in women's coworking space The Wing

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 1:53pm  |  Clusterstock

WeWork is considering selling its stake in the women's coworking space The Wing, Gillian Tan at Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. 

WeWork reported in its IPO filing in August that it owns 23% of The Wing, worth over $58.8 million as of June.

The Wing's valuation was around $400 million in December 2018 when it raised $75 million in its series C funding round led by Sequoia, a source familiar with The Wing told Bloomberg.

WeWork and The Wing both declined Business Insider's request for comment on the report.

SEE ALSO: The 30 most coveted tech companies to work at, according to thousands of tech workers

WeWork is looking to cut costs

WeWork is reportedly looking to cut costs during the turmoil surrounding its delayed initial public offering and the resignation of cofounder Adam Neumann from his CEO position.

Selling its stake in The Wing could bring WeWork millions of dollars.

Read more: The WeWork IPO fiasco of 2019, explained in 30 seconds

The Wall Street Journal reported on September 24 that WeWork's new co-CEOs, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, wrote in an email to employees that they planned to "closely review all aspects" of the company and that staff should expect "difficult decisions ahead."

WeWork, the 9-year-old coworking-space startup, publicly filed for its IPO in August as part of The We Company; the IPO has since been shelved.



WeWork and The Wing

WeWork led a $32 million series B funding round for The Wing in November 2017; at the time, it was WeWork's largest investment to date.

The Wing cofounder Audrey Gelman also called this funding round one of the largest series B fundraising efforts by female founders ever at that time.

Read more: WeWork just led a $32 million funding round for a female-run startup that's basically a social club for women 

The Wing was connected to WeWork through its advisor, SoulCycle founder Julie Rice. Rice became WeWork's chief brand officer in November 2017, according to Fast Company; she left WeWork in August, The Real Deal reported.

Jennifer Berrent, a Wing board member, is also WeWork's co-president and chief legal officer.



A coworking space for women

On its website, The Wing calls itself a company keen on "advancing women by gathering them together" through "a network of work and community spaces designed with you in mind."

The Wing currently has eight locations across the US, and it has plans to open five new locations in 2019 and 2020. The Wing is opening its first international location this fall in London.

Membership at The Wing starts at $185 per month. Amenities at The Wing's first location in the Flatiron District of New York City include a roof deck, cafe, and beauty room.

Becky Peterson contributed to this report.



IPO proceeds slowed 50% in the third quarter as investors lost their appetite for high-risk companies

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 1:24pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Money raised by companies entering the public markets declined more than 50% in the third quarter, compared to the second quarter of 2019, according to data from Renaissance Capital
  • Initial public offerings raised a total of $10.8 billion in the third quarter, less than half of the $25.1 billion in proceeds during the second quarter. 
  • The dip in fundraising comes as investors appear to be souring on high-risk, high-growth companies with uncertain paths to profitability. 
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

2019's rush of initial public offerings is slowing down. 

Newly public companies raised less than 50% through initial public offerings during the third quarter than in the second quarter of 2019, according to data from Renaissance Capital

Thirty-nine companies raised a total of $10.8 billion in the third quarter, compared to the 62 companies that brought in $25.1 billion in the second quarter, the firm found. For comparison, IPO proceeds totaled $11.2 billion during the third quarter of 2018 and $13.1 billion in the second quarter. 

"The third quarter started off in high spirits but ended with a hangover," Renaissance said in the report. "The combination of poor aftermarket returns and a dip in initial filings suggest that IPO activity will finish the year at a slower pace than previously thought, with greater price concessions on the part of issuers."

Technology and healthcare accounted for more than 60% of all new offerings during the period thanks to an influx of biotech startups and US tech unicorns, Renaissance said. 

The decline in fundraising comes as public market investors appear to be growing more hesitant to back high-risk companies with unproven business models. 

"The two largest offerings were both high-growth, high-profile disappointments, with SmileDirectClub and Peloton raising more than $1 billion but falling on their debuts," the firm said in the report. Other billion-dollar IPOs including Uber and Lyft have also fallen bellow their offering prices this year. 

WeWork's postponed public offering suggests investors might done "overpaying for blazing-fast growth," Renaissance added. 

Read more: Dan Fuss is revered as 'the Warren Buffett of bonds.' He walked us through the investing approach that's delivered market-beating returns and turbocharged his 61-year career.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is the shortest route for a road trip across the US to see 50 national landmarks

China is nearing a record number of state-backed investments in private companies

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 1:00pm  |  Clusterstock

  • As strains on the second-largest economy pile up, the Chinese government is increasingly taking up stakes in private companies. 
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that government-backed buyers in China purchased 47 stakes in listed private companies in the first half of the year
  • The past two years marked a sharp break from much of the past decade, when those annual totals have amounted a dozen or fewer stakes.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

As strains on the world's second-largest economy pile up, the Chinese government is increasingly taking up stakes in private companies. 

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that government-backed buyers in China purchased 47 stakes in listed private companies in the first half of the year, according to Fitch Ratings, a near record and almost equal to the total for all of 2018. 

The past two years marked a sharp break from much of the past decade, when those annual totals have amounted a dozen or fewer stakes. The Journal reported the most recent Fitch figures could underestimate the full degree of the shift toward state involvement.

While President Xi Jinping has pledged "unwavering" support for private businesses, the government has strengthened its role in the sector in recent years

But the stake purchases appeared to be an effort to stave off additional financial stress in the economy, according to the Journal. Private businesses, which account for about 60% of economic growth in China, have faced particular challenges in the face of a recent crackdown on unregulated lending. 

Trade tensions with the Trump administration have added to pressure on Chinese growth, which government figures showed expanded at its weakest pace since the early 1990's in the second quarter. The 6.2% figure was far below the double-digit increases seen over recent decades.

Now read: US factory activity unexpectedly hits 10-year low as Trump's trade war persists

Read more: Dan Fuss is revered as 'the Warren Buffett of bonds.' He walked us through the investing approach that's delivered market-beating returns and turbocharged his 61-year career.

SEE ALSO: Senate GOP leader says Trump's tariffs have been 'very tough' on American farmers

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Blockchain startup Block.one settles with the SEC for $24 million over unregistered crypto offerings

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:51pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Blockchain startup block.one will settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $24 million to resolve allegations of conducting an unregistered initial coin offering.
  • The company allegedly sold cryptocurrency tokens to investors without adhering to securities laws, and didn't provide investors with disclosures they were entitled to, the SEC said in a statement.
  • Block.one is "committed to ongoing collaboration with regulators and policy makers," the company said in a statement. The company neither admitted nor denied the agency's findings.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Blockchain startup block.one will settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $24 million after being charged with conducting an unregistered initial coin offering.

The company, which has operations in Virginia and Hong Kong, held an ICO between June 2017 and June 2018, according to an SEC statement. The offering landed in the midst of the crypto boom, and the startup brought in "several billions of dollars" in the 900 million coin offering, including a portion from US investors. The tokens issued were sold on the Ethereum blockchain, according to block.one.

Block.one didn't register its ICO as a securities offering and didn't seek an exemption from relevant laws, the agency noted.

"Block.one did not provide ICO investors the information they were entitled to as participants in a securities offering," SEC Division of Enforcement co-director Steven Peikin said.  "The SEC remains committed to bringing enforcement cases when investors are deprived of material information they need to make informed investment decisions."

Read more: Dan Fuss is revered as 'the Warren Buffett of bonds.' He walked us through the investing approach that's delivered market-beating returns and turbocharged his 61-year career.

The crypto startup noted it is "committed to ongoing collaboration with regulators and policy makers" as digital assets grow in popularity around the world. Block.one neither admitted nor denied the agency's findings.

"We will continue to fight for the development of our industry to achieve as much alignment around policy and best practices as possible," the company said in a statement.

The SEC began a greater look at ICOs and cryptocurrencies in 2017, as the deals often fell outside of existing securities laws. Cryptocurrency offerings have slowed as regulation increased and coin prices plummeted from their record highs in December 2017.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Airbnb reportedly opts for direct listing over traditional IPO ahead of 2020 market debut

Charles Schwab says it will cut online stock and ETF fees to zero — and all the major brokers are getting clobbered

YouTube star Alisha Marie uses Instagram direct messages to land brand deals. Here are the DMs she sends.

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I built a multimillion-dollar business in two years. Here are 3 templates I used to make my first $10,000 in 3 months.

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:41pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Luisa Zhou has built a career around teaching people how to start their own six-figure-plus businesses working for themselves.
  • Within less than a year of striking out on her own, she was bringing in over a million dollars in sales — and her business has only increased from there.
  • Getting your first paying client is where it all begins, she writes.
  • Below, she shares the three email templates she used to get her first paying clients and make her first $10,000. They include the  "I can help" and the "Doors are open" template.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The first time that "You've got money" Paypal notification hit my inbox, I screamed. I couldn't believe it! I had just gotten my first paying client for my fledgling digital advertising coaching business.

That email was life-changing for me. Not only was it the moment that my business went from dream to reality, but it was also the moment I really started believing that my goal of building a business to eventually replace my salary was possible.

Even though it's been quite a few years since then and my business now helps others go from employee to entrepreneur as I did, I still remember that instance as if it were yesterday. After all, if you're serious about building your own business, getting your first paying client is where it all begins. 

Here are three templates I used to get my first paying clients and make my first $10,000 in business. 

SEE ALSO: I went from earning $65 an hour to building a multimillion dollar business on my own in two years. Here are the 4 most important steps I took.

1. The “I can help” template

This is the template I used when I was scouring the internet looking for potential clients. I searched in Facebook groups and internet forums for terms that my potential clients might be asking about, like "ads" or "campaign." 

When I found someone asking for help, I would email or message them a version of this template:

Hi [name], 

[Share how you found them. This can be as simple as, "I saw your question about running Facebook ads in a Facebook group."] 

[1-3 sentences describing your experience as it relates to your business & why you're qualified. For example: "I manage Facebook ads for big companies like BMW and Coastal Contacts in my job."] 

I would love to help you — for free. 

Here are a few things that might be helpful right away: 

[Describe 2-3 tips] 

If you'd like my help implementing these and more, let me know. I'm happy to set up a call to discuss. 

[Sign-off] 

If they responded and wanted to take me up on my offer of free advice, I would schedule a call with them. At the end of the call, after I had delivered on all the free advice I had promised, I would then ask if they'd be interested in hiring me to get even bigger, better results.

Read more: A fill-in-the-blank template that'll make writing an effective LinkedIn profile summary way easier than doing it yourself

 



2. The “Doors are open” template

I used this template to re-connect with people in my network — including acquaintances — who I thought might be interested in hiring me based on past conversations.

In general, this is a great way to notify people who have expressed an interest in your help or advice. (For example, if you're a career coach, use this with people who've asked you for career tips in the past. If you're a health coach, use this with people who've asked for your weight loss tips.) 

Hi [name], 

After speaking with you and others who were interested in potentially getting my help with [describe the result you'd help with], I've started offering consulting/coaching to do just that. 

Based on our past conversations, I'd love to offer you 30 minutes of free private coaching—no strings attached. The call is primarily about helping you, although if you find it helpful, I may spend a few minutes at the end sharing how I can support you further. 

If you'd like my support to help you [result] with that free 30-minute session, let me know and we'll schedule a time for our call. 

[Sign-off] 

If they felt they had gotten a lot out of the free session, I'd ask if they'd be interested in hearing about what we could accomplish long-term by working together.

Read moreThere are 11 types of emails you'll send when you launch a business. Here's a template for each that will help you gain new clients and keep your old ones loyal.



3. The “Ask for a referral” template

And finally, don't overlook the power of your existing network! I didn't have a lot of friends or acquaintances who were interested in hiring me, but I figured they probably knew people would might be.

This is the template I used to ask for referrals:

Hi [name], 

As you know, I [describe experience/accomplishment/expertise that led to your business creation]. 

After having so many people ask me about it, I decided to start a consulting business to help others with [result]. 

As I look to grow my business, I'm reaching out to friends to help get my name out there. It's my goal to help as many [describe your ideal client] as I can to [result]. 

Are there one or two people you know that could use my help? If so, can you please send me their contact information? 

I'd love to offer them 30 minutes of free private coaching — no strings attached. The call is primarily about helping them, and if they find it helpful, I'll spend a few minutes at the end of it sharing a little about how I might be able to continue supporting them. 

Thank you in advance for your time and referrals. I so appreciate it! 

And of course, if there's anything you're working on that I can give you a hand with, let me know how I can support you! 

[Sign-off] 

Notice that I didn't ask them to connect me with their friends and acquaintances so I could pitch them. Instead, I made it easy for them to refer someone to me because I was offering free coaching first.

Every successful business starts from the same place — zero! No revenue, brand recognition, or audience. 

That's good news, though, because it means that if you're willing to do the work — of repeatedly finding clients, building trust, and pitching yourself — you'll be putting yourself on the same path to success that every profitable business has gone through.

Luisa Zhou is the creator of the Employee to Entrepreneur system, which teaches people how to leave their day job and start their own six-figure-plus business working for themselves. She's been featured in Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Success magazine, and more. Get her free blueprint for building a profitable online business that frees you from the 9-5.



Morgan Stanley breaks down how the next market downturn could upend what even the most prepared investors are expecting

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:37pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley's chief US equity strategist, says it's time for investors to position themselves for the end of the economic cycle as corporate earnings weaken.
  • Investors have piled into a small number of positions while waiting to find out if stocks are likely to rally or fall further, Wilson wrote. He says that crowding means risks are rising.
  • Still, he said market bears were going to be disappointed because a steep immediate drop in the broad S&P 500 index is unlikely.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

US stocks are stuck in neutral, and Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley's chief US equity strategist, is telling investors they won't get unstuck soon.

Wilson has taken a downbeat stance on the market based on forecast recession in company earnings, as S&P 500 profits are essentially flat this year, while smaller companies are reporting a decline. And he said there was reason to expect further weakness, since profit estimates will soon fall as well.

Meanwhile, he thinks the risk of a recession is increasing as the trade war with China lingers, and that there are signs the economy is losing steam, with growth falling short of what investors hoped for. So investors are making broadly similar trades, meaning that much of the market's risk is concentrated in just a few areas.

"Returns have come from a narrower group — defensives, high quality, and secular growth — while cyclical or low quality stocks have lagged," he wrote in a recent client note.

He added that trying to figure out when the situation would change has been "frustrating and unprofitable" for investors.

Why the next downturn will defy expectations

Wilson said fading earnings and worsening growth would hurt stocks, but he thinks a market slump may not look like investors expect. In the end, he expects bearish investors to be disappointed.

That's because the S&P 500 itself has turned into a defensive asset during times of turmoil, as it attracts a lot of passive investment that supports prices. He also said that its transparency, quality, and liquidity were all high relative to other indexes around the world.

Still, based on the challenges he is anticipating, Wilson says it's time for investors to unwind some of their trades. He advises investors to go long on those companies and short secular-growth companies, as well as firms with high valuations and negative cash flows.

"We are moving from the perception that this is late cycle to end of cycle, and, when that happens, defensive stocks outperform growth stocks," he wrote in a note to clients. "Late 2015/2018 growth scares saw defensives outperform secular growth by ~25% and recent moves only put us halfway there."

Ways to play a downturn

Investors looking for basic broad exposure to defensive stocks can gain it through exchange-traded funds like the Invesco Defensive Equity ETF.

Wilson added that he was also shorting semiconductor makers because the stocks have traded higher relative to some recent manufacturing data, and they're vulnerable to cuts in earnings estimates.

In his view, Wall Street struggles to predict corporate earnings that are more than a year away and just assumes that whatever trend is current will continue. The result, he said, is that the stock market is forecasting decent growth even though results are getting worse.

"We think the market (at the index level) has generally ignored the poor results to date simply because the 12 month forecasts have yet to fall," he said in a note to clients. "That should put downward pressure on the index like it has for the small and mid cap indices all year."

He shows those falling earnings projections in this chart, saying the S&P 500 could follow the small cap Russell 2000 and S&P 400 MidCap indexes lower.

That means that even if the S&P 500 were defensive, there's little hope for major improvement in an environment of weakening growth and earnings.

"Even with this inherent advantage, the S&P 500 has delivered subpar returns over the past 12 months with increasing volatility," Wilson said.

SEE ALSO: A CIO managing $195 billion for the state of Florida says global industrialization is fading. Here's why he thinks enterprise tech is the best way to continue grabbing growth.

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François Pinault just gave $109 million to help rebuild the Notre-Dame. Meet the French billionaire who owns Christie's and founded the luxury giant behind Gucci.

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:29pm  |  Clusterstock

François Pinault, currently the second-richest person in France, finalized his $109 million gift to help rebuild the Notre-Dame Cathedral on October 1, according to the Associated Press

Soon after the Cathedral caught fire in April, Pinault's son announced that the family would donate €100 million, or $113 million, to repair the 800-year-old building. In the aftermath of the devastating fire, France's superrich collectively pledged over €400 million, or $452 million, to the iconic cathedral's repairs; that includes fellow fashion mogul Bernard Arnault, who also announced that he'd be pledging $226 million to the cause. However, in the ensuing months, many of those promises were left unfulfilled.

Read more: Bernard Arnault just keeps getting richer. French billionaires have made more money this year than their counterparts in any other country, and they partially have China to thank

François Pinault is tied to some of the biggest names in fashion: Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. As the owner of Kering luxury group, his family manages over a dozen high-end brands.

Alongside other major holdings, such as a winery in Bourdeaux and a cruise line in Marseille, Pinault is one of the world's biggest private art collectors. His collection includes over 3,000 works of art and is worth over $1.2 billion.

Keep reading for a deeper look at Pinault's life, from his company's origins to his most recent business investments.

SEE ALSO: Meet Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe, who's worth $80 billion and controls LVMH, the world's largest maker of luxury goods

DON'T MISS: 9 unlikely items that have become luxury status symbols among the elite

François Pinault is one of the most powerful men in the fashion industry.

According to Bloomberg, he is the 23rd-richest person in the world with a net worth of $34.3 billion ...

Source: Bloomberg



... and the second-richest person in France.

Source: Bloomberg



The richest man in France is Bernard Arnault, who controls LVMH, the world's largest luxury group.

Source: Forbes, The Guardian, New York Times



Over the years, Pinault's successful career has included many calculated business moves and key partnerships. However, some of his most important decisions were made early on in France, where his company originated. Pinault was born in Les Champs-Géraux, a commune in Brittany, France.

Source: Google Maps, Britannica



Pinault's first job was working for his father's lumber business.

Source: The Guardian, Bloomberg



In 1963, Pinault founded Établissements Pinault, a timber trading company, in Rennes, France. Pinault also briefly attended College Saint-Martin in Rennes, but left school at age 16.

Source: Kering, The Guardian, Bloomberg



In 1988, the company first appeared on the Paris Stock Exchange and two years later, in 1990, the company took on retail distribution.

Source: Kering



In 1994, the company became Pinault Printemps Redoute after acquiring La Redoute, a French mail-order retailer, and Le Printemps, a major French department store chain.

Source: Kering



After several years in retail, the company began shifting its focus to luxury in 1994 after purchasing a 42% stake in the Gucci Group.

Source: Kering



The acquisition of Gucci followed a nearly two-and-a-half-year battle with fellow billionaire Bernard Arnault. The New York Times previously labeled the legal war "one of the most bitter fights in corporate history."

Source: New York Times



During this time, Pinault also acquired luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent ...

Source: Kering



... and Italian fashion houses Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga.

Source: Kering



In 2005, Pinault Printemps Redoute shortened its name to PPR. Pinault has three children; his son, François-Henri Pinault, was named the company's new face and CEO.

Source: Kering



Under his son's direction, the company continued to acquire brands, with a special interest in luxury fashion houses ...

Source: Kering



... and was renamed the Kering luxury group in 2013.

Source: Kering



The new Kering company sold its remaining shares of PUMA last year, thus completing Pinault's final transformation to a luxury-only group.

Source: New York Times, CNBC



Pinault's son is an active member of the fashion community, regularly attending fashion shows ...

Source: Kering



... along with red carpets with his wife, actress Salma Hayek.

Source: Business Insider



The two married in 2009.

Source: CBS News



Their daughter, Valentina, is one of Pinault's grandchildren ...

Source: Reuters



... along with Francois-Henri's son from a previous marriage, also named François Pinault.

Source: Reuters



Pinault and his son and daughter-in-law are sometimes seen at soccer games. Pinault currently owns Stade Rennais soccer club, based in Brittany near his hometown.

Source: Reuters



Pinault has also sponsored French swimmer Laure Manaudou.

Source: Reuters



Along with his professional sports endeavors, Pinault currently owns the Château Latour vineyard ...

Source: New York Times, Variety



... has holdings in Vail Ski Resort in Colorado ...

Source: Britannica



... and owns the iconic Christie's auction house through Groupe Artémis, his holding company, otherwise known as Artemis, S.A.

Source: Britannica, The Guardian



Originally founded in 1766 by James Christie, the luxury auction giant has locations in London, New York, Paris, and other major cities. In 2017, Christie's sales totaled $6.6 billion.

Source: Christie's



Pinault purchased the company in 1998, and has served as a chairman since 2017.

Source: CNN



On top of his involvement with Christie's, Pinault is regarded as one of the biggest private art collectors in the world ...

Source: Business Insider



... and has taken part in many art events over the years, both public and private.

Source: Reuters



Pinault has come to collect historic pieces, along with more contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol.

Source: Reuters



Pinault owns the Palazzo Grassi art gallery in Venice ...

Source: Reuters



... and can be found on the Venice canals, arriving at gallery openings and special events by boat.

Source: Reuters



Most recently, the Pinault family made headlines for their announcement of a contemporary art gallery supplied by their Pinault Foundation at the historic Bourse du Commerce in Paris.

Source: Reuters, The Guardian, New York Times



Pinault is supplying the $55 million dollars for renovations, which will be headed by Tadao Ando, along with his impressive collection, which includes over 3,000 works of art.

Source: Reuters, New York Times



Along with his circle of high-profile artists, Pinault is close friends with former French president Jacques Chirac. The Guardian previously reported that Pinault was one of the few people to have the president's personal phone number.

Source: The Guardian, Reuters



Pinault has been married to his wife Maryvonne Pinault since 1970.

Source: Bloomberg



The couple recently entered the luxury cruise and yacht business, purchasing the cruise line Ponant on Maryvonne's suggestion.

Source: Bloomberg



The Pinaults own multiple houses, such as a mansion in London ...

Source: Business Insider, The Telegraph



... and in 2013, he purchased a Bel Air home from late celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon.

Source: Business Insider, Wall Street Journal



Though Pinault is 82 years old, he still serves as director of Artemis S.A., a chairman of Christie's, and honorary chairman of his Kering giant.

Source: Bloomberg



On April 15, the Notre-Dame Cathedral caught fire. Pinault's son announced that the family would donate €100 million, or $109 million, to repair the iconic landmark. In the aftermath of the fire, France's superrich collectively pledged over 400 million euros, or $452 million, to rebuild 800-year-old cathedral.

Source: Business Insider



However, the church didn't get the money immediately, leading a representative to publically criticize Pinault and the other billionaire donors, telling the AP that "the big donors haven't paid. Not a cent." The vast majority of the funds that paid for the initial clean-up came from American citizens who donated to the church's Friends of Notre Dame charity.

Source: Insider



Pinault finalized his $109 million gift to the Cathedral on October 1. A representative of the family also told the AP that the Pinaults also gave more than €10 million ($11 million) in June at the Cathedral's request.

Source: Associated Press



If the Trump administration limits investment in China, experts say it's US investors who could pay a steep price

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:11pm  |  Clusterstock

  • If the Trump Administration were to limit US investment flows into China, it could ultimately hurt US investors, industry watchers told Markets Insider. 
  • Experts say this is because billions of dollars are in assets that track indexes exposed to China. 
  • In addition, if US foreign investment to China were limited, it could weaken the yuan further and undermine tariffs levied by the US. 
  • Read more on Business Insider.

If the Trump White House were to curb investment in Chinese companies, it could harm US investors, industry watchers say. 

"The impact on American investors could be significant," Arthur Dong, professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, told Markets Insider in an interview.

This is because billions of dollars of assets track indexes that have exposure to China, a high-growth emerging market, he said. 

A number of indexes have been ramping up allocations to Chinese equities and debt. As it stands right now, about 33% of the MSCI Emerging Market Index is in Chinese stocks. In 2017, MSCI estimated that $1.9 trillion in assets are benchmarked to the EM index, and that more equity ETFs benchmark to MSCI than any other index provider. 

Other providers have high allocations to Chinese debt. In January, Bloomberg confirmed that Chinese renminbi-denominated government bonds and policy bank securities would be added to the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index. In April, the index announced it would add 364 onshore Chinese bonds to the index over 20 months, which analysts estimated could attract as much as $150 billion in foreign inflows to China's bond market. 

Read more: Wall Street titans including JPMorgan and Pimco are flagging a striking disconnect in markets that exposes how worried investors are about another crash

If indexes had to drop all exposure to China, investors in the US would "potentially miss out on some opportunities where those opportunities may be very high growth or high flying companies now or into the future," Dong said. 

Recent events suggest investors are wary of the potential limits. US stocks fell on Friday when Bloomberg first reported the White House discussed curbing investor flows to China. On Saturday, US Treasury officials walked back the Friday report, saying that there are no plans to stop Chinese companies from listing on US exchanges.

A control on capital flows would be yet another escalation of the trade war between the US and China, Dong said. If the US were to close off foreign direct investment to China, it would likely hurt businesses as companies from Alibaba to Baidu have been able to access the American capital markets, Dong said. For some companies, the depth and breadth of US markets has accelerated their development and growth, he said. 

But there would be unintended consequences as well, wrote Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citigroup Private Bank, in a note to clients Monday. One is that less investment in US dollars would negatively impact the Chinese yuan, which could drag down other emerging-market currencies.

A weaker yuan also directly undermines Trump's trade goals by easing the impact of tariffs levied against China — this is why when China let the value of the yuan slip below 7 to the US dollar, Trump and the US Treasury called the country a currency manipulator. 

"The US has made it clear that policies leading to US dollar appreciation are anathema to the manufacturing sector revival it seeks," Wieting said.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Animated map shows where American accents came from

Wall Streeters say AI is going to disrupt their business more than any other tech. Many big investors are getting left behind.

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:02pm  |  Clusterstock

  • A recent survey conducted by the research firm Greenwich Associates found that only 23% of hedge funds and asset managers are using artificial intelligence on their trading desks.
  • That's compared to 63% of banks and 60% of trading venues using the cutting-edge tech.
  • As hedge funds and asset managers face shrinking fees, the cost required to internally build AI tools is viewed as too high. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

There's no denying the impact artificial intelligence will have on Wall Street, but one portion of the industry has been slow to adopt the cutting-edge technology. 

In a recent survey conducted by the research firm Greenwich Associates, only 23% of those on the buy side — meaning firms such as hedge funds and asset managers — said they were using artificial intelligence in trading. By comparison, the majority of respondents from banks (63%) and trading venues (60%) said they were already using the tech.

And while 31% of respondents at hedge funds and asset managers said they planned to incorporate the tech within two years, 46% had no plans for using AI.

All of this comes at a time when AI is far and away considered the technology that will disrupt Wall Street the most in the coming years. More than half of respondents (56%) said AI would be "very disruptive" to the industry. Cloud computing was the second-highest choice, with 33% picking it to be "very disruptive."

Read more: POWER PLAYERS: Meet the 8 executives leading the most innovative tech projects on Wall Street

What's stopping hedge funds and asset managers from diving into the tech that nearly all agree will be important boils down to the amount of investment it requires, the report said. With fees continuing to shrink, buy-side firms are happy to outsource AI techniques to vendors, as opposed to spending time and resources trying to develop a tool of their own that might not pan out. 

"The ability to easily tap into new, fully-vetted tools through a third-party provider alleviates this problem considerably, reducing the risk while still allowing the asset manager or hedge fund to put cutting-edge technology to work on the trading desk," the report said.

It's also worth noting that the area where firms are seeing AI have the biggest impact is algorithmic trading (41%), something many hedge funds don't see as a differentiator. Meanwhile, areas like risk management (13%) and the generation of trade ideas (6%), which are key to many firms, haven't had huge traction yet.

Read more: Meet the 8 people with new ideas about data, fees, and tech who are shaking up the $3.2 trillion hedge fund game

To be clear, not all hedge funds are keen to pass off the development of AI tools and techniques to others. Funds like Renaissance Technologies and Two Sigma are arguably more sophisticated than anyone else on Wall Street when it comes to using AI. 

"On one hand, the lack of AI sophistication on trading desks is a bit disappointing, given the level of talent in financial services and the billions of dollars capital markets participants and service providers spend on developing technology," the report said. "On the other hand, the world of trading has only scratched the surface of the true power of AI."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Animated map shows where American accents came from

Is 72 the new 65? Many Americans aren't rushing to retire, and it's clear why

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:36am  |  Clusterstock

  • Americans have a fairly loose definition of retirement these days.
  • While Americans can begin claiming full Social Security benefits between ages 66 and 67, many are continuing to work for both personal and financial reasons, according to a new survey from Provision Living.
  • Most keep working either because they need the money or they still enjoy their job. On average, the survey respondents don't expect to leave work completely until age 72. 
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Retirement isn't quite what it used to be.

More seniors today are putting retirement off for both financial and personal reasons, according to a new survey from Provision Living, a network of senior living communities in the Midwest. The survey asked about 1,000 Americans over age 65 who have yet to retire about their motivations to continue working. 

On average, the respondents don't expect to retire fully until age 72. Over one-third of the seniors said they're not financially prepared to retire yet, 23% are continuing to work to support their family, and 19% are doing it to pay off debt

But it's not just about the money for everyone. Nearly 40% of the respondents said they haven't quit work entirely because they still enjoy it (45%), are trying to avoid boredom (18%), or don't want to give up their workplace camaraderie just yet (6%), among other reasons. Those who switched to part-time work — just over half of the total respondents — said they did so around age 61.

In many ways, the long-held retirement benchmark of age 65 has grown obsolete. A previous analysis of US Census data by United Income, an investment and financial-planning firm, found that about 20% of Americans over age 65 — a total of 10.6 million people — are either working or looking for work, representing a 57-year high.

According to the Provision Living survey, the working seniors have an average of $133,108 saved for retirement. When broken down by education, college-degree holding respondents have more than twice as much saved ($169,180) as non-college educated individuals ($80,221). Still, the majority expect to rely on Social Security and pensions before tapping into their personal savings. 

The earliest age a person can claim Social Security benefits is 62. But the full retirement age for most of today's working-age Americans is between 66 and 67, when they can begin to claim the full amount of their benefit. For each year a person delays taking Social Security, however, their benefit will increase by up to 8% until age 70.

Interestingly, those staying in the workforce — regardless of when they claim Social Security — are the ones in the best financial shape for retirement, the United Income report said. Rather than being driven by money, some are motivated to keep working simply because they're healthy enough.

But not all Americans have the good fortune of working well into their 60s and 70s. Often, health issues crop up and stifle job opportunities, forcing people into retirement with little savings to fall back on, reports Business Insider's Liz Knueven. Downward social mobility in retirement is a mounting issue for many middle- and working-class Americans, she writes, and working longer isn't the panacea many believe it to be.

More savings and retirement coverage

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NOW WATCH: What El Chapo is really like, according to the wife of one his closest henchman

Mark Cuban just revealed he has nearly $1 billion in Amazon stock. Here are all the ways the 'Shark Tank' investor made and spends his $4.1 billion fortune.

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:02am  |  Clusterstock

  • Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion, according to Forbes.
  • He's earned his fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, and investments made on ABC's "Shark Tank."
  • He also just revealed he has nearly $1 billion in Amazon stock alone, according to CNBC.
  • Cuban has spent millions on private airplanes, a yacht, and a luxurious Dallas home, not to mention $2 million in fines from the NBA.
  • The billionaire investor has also sold majority stakes in his two cable networks — AXS TV and HDNet Movies — to Steve Harvey and Anthem Sports for an undisclosed sum.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mark Cuban is one of the wealthiest people in America, with an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion, according to Forbes — but getting there wasn't easy.

Cuban's journey to becoming a billionaire included living in a "dumpy" apartment, where he stayed up late eating chicken wings and teaching himself to code. His unglamorous life of an aspiring entrepreneur included taking no vacation time for seven years and stealing towels from the Holiday Inn.

The late nights ended up paying off: The businessman and investor earned his fortune with a series of shrewd business deals starting in the 1990s, most notably the sale of his streaming site Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in stocks. He continues to make major moves in the industry, most recently through selling a majority stake in his two cable networks, AXS TV and HDNet Movies, to Steve Harvey and Anthem Sports for an undisclosed sum, Deadline reports.

He even has nearly $1 billion in Amazon stock alone, according to CNBC. The billionaire has previously said that Amazon and Netflix were his biggest holdings, though this is the first time he's offered specifics.

Read on to see how Cuban earned — and spends — his fortune.

SEE ALSO: A look inside the daily routine of billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who starts working the minute he wakes up and falls asleep to 'Law & Order'

DON'T MISS: A look inside the marriage of billionaire investor Mark Cuban and his wife Tiffany, who met at the gym, are worth $3.3 billion, and insist he won't run for president

Mark Cuban is worth an estimated $4.1 billion, according to Forbes. That ranks him among the 500 richest people in America.

Source: Forbes



Cuban made his fortune over a lifetime of shrewd business deals. He's the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks …

Source: Forbes



… he's the co-founder of 2929 Entertainment, which owns the production companies behind films like "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Good Night and Good Luck" …

Source: Biography



… and he's also a regular on ABC's "Shark Tank," in which hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of celebrity investors.

Source: ABC



But Cuban made his fortune years before any of those ventures. He got his start in the early 1980s selling software for a company called Your Business Software.

Source: CNBC



In 1982, he started his own company, MicroSolutions, which he sold eight years later for $6 million. Cuban made $2 million off the deal.

Source: CNBC



But Cuban would really make his name with his next business venture: an Internet radio company called Audionet, which eventually became Broadcast.com.

Source: Biography



Cuban took control of the company in 1995. The site streamed broadcasts of sports games, political conventions, and other events.

Source: Biography



In 1999, Yahoo acquired Broadcast.com for a whopping $5.7 billion in stock. Cuban netted $1 billion when he sold his shares.

Source: CNN



Around that time, Cuban bought a Gulfstream V business jet for $40 million. To this day, it holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest purchase ever conducted over the internet.

Source: Guinness World Records



Cuban called the plane one of the smartest purchases he's ever made. "It's obviously brutally expensive, but time is the one asset we simply don't own," he wrote for Men's Health. "It saves me hours and hours."

Source: Men's Health



Coming off the heels of his billion-dollar payday, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million in 2000.

Source: Biography



He raised his profile by sitting courtside at Mavericks games and drew attention for his animated reactions and media outbursts.

Source: Orange County Register



His frequent criticisms of NBA refs have cost him a small fortune — as of February 2018, the NBA had fined him close to $2.6 million for his comments and antics over the years.

Source: The New York Times



He's given to numerous charities over the years, including Autism Speaks, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Source: Look to the Stars



After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Cuban lent his private plane to Mavericks point guard and Puerto Rico native J.J. Barea to fly food, water, and supplies to the island.

Source: ESPN via Business Insider



In response to an NBA investigation — prompted by a Sports Illustrated report — that unearthed evidence of the Mavericks organization having been a discriminatory and toxic workplace for women, Cuban pledged $10 million to women's causes and domestic violence awareness.

Source: Sports Illustrated, Associated Press



Today, Forbes estimates the Mavericks are worth $2.3 billion — $2 billion more than what Cuban paid for the team 18 years ago.

Source: Forbes



Cuban has done his fair share of spending. On top of the private plane, in 1999 he paid $17.6 million for a 24,000-square-foot mansion in Dallas, where he and his family still live.

Source: D Magazine



The 7-acre property reportedly features 10 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a separate guest house in the back.

Source: Forbes



In 2018, Cuban also bought a $19 million vacation villa in Laguna Beach's exclusive Montage Residences community. The modern, six-bedroom home has walls that disappear to open up to the outdoor space and a private pool.

Source: Villa Real Estate

Read more: Mark Cuban just bought a $19 million Laguna Beach vacation home that comes with concierge service and walls that open up to views of the Pacific Ocean. Here's a look inside.



When the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011, Cuban reportedly spent $110,000 on his team's bar tab that night. "Worth every penny," he told The New York Post.

Source: The New York Post



The next year, Cuban chipped in $40,000 to save the local Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade when the group running the annual event ran out of funding. "You just can't let a Dallas tradition like that die," Cuban said.

Source: KXAS-TV



Cuban leveraged his fame into a short-lived 2004 reality series called "The Benefactor," in which contestants competed to win $1 million of Cuban's money. However, the show was panned as a ripoff of "The Apprentice" and was cancelled after six episodes.

Source: IMDB



Another TV show he's on, "Shark Tank," has proven much more successful. The long-running series is now entering its 11th season.

Source: ABC



Over the course of his years-long stint on the show, Cuban has made close to 100 deals and has invested millions of dollars in startups and small businesses.

Source: Sharkalytics



The largest deal he ever offered on the show came in 2015, when he proposed to buy the dating-app company Coffee Meets Bagel outright for $30 million. The owners rejected the deal.

Source: Business Insider



Cuban recently sold his two long-standing cable networks — AXS TV and HDNet Movies — to Steve Harvey for an undisclosed sum.

Steve Harvey joined Anthem Sports & Entertainment to take over the two networks from Cuban. ASX TV's programming includes wrestling and MMA fighting, and HDNet Movies shows a variety of films.

Cuban will continue on with the two companies as an equity partner, while Anthem is taking over operational control.

Source: Deadline



The savvy investor revealed his biggest holdings were in Netflix and Amazon. He has "close to a billion dollars" in Amazon stock alone.

Source: CNBC



Cuban previously said one of the best purchases he ever made was an unlimited first-class American Airlines ticket for $250,000 — a promotion that the airline offered from 1981 to 1994. Cuban and 25 other ticket-holders continue to enjoy free airfare for life.

Source: The Hustle



Of course, considering he now owns two private jets and a yacht, first class might actually be a step down for Cuban.

Source: Dallas News



Despite his sometimes lavish spending, Cuban keeps a frugal mentality much of the time. For example, he insists on buying items in bulk, especially items he knows he'll need such as razors and toothpaste.

Source: NPR



And he advocates for people to achieve financial independence by paying off debt and stashing six months' worth of income in the bank.

Source: Entrepreneur



It's a combination of relentless work ethic and financial smarts that have not only made Cuban one of the richest people in America, but kept him that way. As he once said, "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you."

Source: Inc.



Here's how fintech is taking over the world — and what's coming next

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:01am  |  Clusterstock

Digital disruption is affecting every aspect of the fintech industry.

Over the past five years, fintech has established itself as a fundamental part of the global financial services ecosystem.

Fintech startups have raised, and continue to raise, billions of dollars annually, pushing incumbent financial institutions to get in on the action. Legacy players have begun using fintech to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape.

So what's next?

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores recent innovations in the fintech space as well as what might be coming in the future in our brand new exclusive slide deck, The Future of Fintech: How Fintech Is Taking Over The World and What Comes Next.

To get your copy of this free slide deck, click here.

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Spies, suicide, and a clash over a bulldozed house — here's what we know about the scandal rocking Credit Suisse

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 10:44am  |  Clusterstock

  • The secretive world of Swiss banking has been rocked by a wild scandal involving spies, a suicide, and a clash at a cocktail party.
  • Credit Suisse hired private investigators to spy on Iqbal Khan (above), its former head of wealth management, after he feuded with CEO Tidjane Thiam and left for the bank's local archrival, UBS, earlier this year.
  • The fiasco has culminated with the resignation of both the Swiss bank's operating chief and head of global security, and the death of the contractor who hired the spies to follow Khan.
  • Here's a timeline of what happened.
  • Watch Credit Suisse and UBS trade live.

The secretive world of Swiss banking has been rocked by a public scandal involving spies, a suicide, and a clash at a cocktail party.

Credit Suisse hired private investigators to spy on Iqbal Khan, the head of its wealth-management division, after he feuded with CEO Tidjane Thiam and left for the bank's local archrival, UBS, earlier this year.

The fiasco has culminated with the resignation of both the Swiss bank's operating chief and head of global security and the death of the contractor who hired the spies to follow Khan. Here's a timeline of what happened:

Tidjane Thiam and Iqbal Khan join Credit Suisse

Background: Tidjane Thiam was appointed CEO of Credit Suisse in March 2015 after running the UK insurer Prudential for six years. The French-Ivorian, a former McKinsey consultant, launched a three-year turnaround program that resulted in the Swiss bank posting its first annual profit in four years in 2018.

Iqbal Khan, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Switzerland at the age of 12, spent 12 years as an auditor at Ernst & Young. He joined Credit Suisse's wealth-management division in 2013 and rose to CEO of the unit two years later. He oversaw an 80% increase in divisional profit and helped bring in upward of $46 billion in net new assets from 2016 to 2018, according to the Financial Times.

Khan buys the house next door to Thiam, bulldozes it, and spends 2 years on new construction

January 2019: Thiam hosted a cocktail party at his home in the tony Herrliberg area on the "gold coast" of Lake Zurich, according to the Financial Times. Khan and his wife — who bought the house next door, bulldozed it, and then spent nearly two years redeveloping it — were among the guests. Thiam complained to Credit Suisse's chairman, Urs Rohner, about the disruptive construction work, the Financial Times reported.

After Khan and Thiam's partner squabbled over some trees planted on the CEO's property, Khan and Thiam had an argument away from the other guests. Khan's wife had to separate them, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported.

Khan complains to Credit Suisse; he meets with UBS and others

Spring and summer: Khan complained to Rohner and Credit Suisse's board about the incident, widening the rift between the two and creating an unpleasant working environment, the Financial Times reported.

Khan was allowed to quit with a shortened "gardening leave" period of three months. During meetings with UBS, Julius Baer, Goldman Sachs, and other prospective employers, he expresses a desire to recruit former Credit Suisse colleagues across structured trading, lending, relationship management, and other functions, the Financial Times reported.

Khan leaves the company

July 1: Credit Suisse announced Khan was leaving the company. He made the move after growing frustrated with his profile within the bank, his low number of public appearances, and a lack of assurances from Thiam and other executives about his potential to rise further up the ranks, according to the Financial Times.

"He's in a rush, wants a huge job, and had become a bit frustrated because there's no room at the top here — Tidjane isn't going anywhere and he wasn't comfortable in his seat," a person familiar with the developments told the newspaper.

UBS hires Khan; Credit Suisse's COO gives the order to observe him

August 29: UBS announced Khan would become its copresident of global wealth management on October 1. Pierre-Olivier Bouee, Credit Suisse's operating chief, ordered the bank's security chief to begin observing Khan out of concern he might be planning to poach clients and former coworkers. Bouee's worries were elevated by the fact that Khan continued to socialize with key Credit Suisse employees.

Credit Suisse hired Investigo, a security firm, to keep tabs on Khan. Investigo assigned private detectives to trail Khan and identify everyone he met.

Khan confronts one of his tails after a foot chase on the street

September 17: During a shopping trip, Khan spotted and confronted one of his tails in downtown Zurich. He exited his car and photographed the license plate of the private investigator's vehicle. The investigator confronted him, asked him to stop, and told Khan to hand over his phone. Khan shouted for police help, and the investigator departed.

Khan filed a complaint with Zurich's public prosecutor saying three men chased him and his wife through the streets of Zurich by car and on foot. He said things turned physical behind the Swiss National Bank, when the men tried to take his mobile phone as he was photographing them and their car.

The detective, however, provided a sworn statement to Credit Suisse and authorities that he was alone that day and that Khan chased him, the Financial Times reported. The bank instructed the investigator to follow Khan only on weekdays from a suitable distance and take note of the people he met, without breaking any criminal or traffic laws, according to a document seen by the newspaper.

Credit Suisse halted its observation of Khan on September 18.

The bank announces an external inquiry into its decision to observe Khan

September 23: Credit Suisse's board said it had appointed external consultants and lawyers to inquire whether executives signed off on the decision to hire private investigators and whether the move was justified.

Zurich's public prosecutor's office confirmed it had opened a criminal case for coercion and threat and said the city police had made three arrests, the Financial Times reported.

A Credit Suisse contractor who hired Investigo dies by suicide

September 24: An unnamed contractor who hired Investigo to trail Khan on behalf of Credit Suisse died by suicide. A lawyer for Investigo later confirmed the death to the Financial Times.

Pressure mounts on Credit Suisse to address the scandal

September 26: "It's something of extreme gravity; in Zurich it is becoming a time bomb and you can feel the panic," a major investor in the bank told the Financial Times. "Both sides have been damaged, but especially Credit Suisse." 

"We have said to the chairman and board they have to provide a clear outcome and explanation; whoever did wrong has to pay," the investor added.

The Swiss bank's board meets to discuss the findings of the investigation

September 30: Inside Paradeplatz, a Swiss financial blog, reports the contractor's death by suicide. Credit Suisse's board meets to discuss the findings of an investigation into the spying scandal by Homburger, a law firm.

Credit Suisse's COO and head of global security resign; Thiam is cleared of wrongdoing

October 1: Bouee resigned as Credit Suisse's chief operating officer after Homburger found he independently made the call to follow Khan. The bank's head of global security also resigned.

"The Board of Directors considers that the mandate for the observation of Iqbal Khan was wrong and disproportionate and has resulted in severe reputational damage to the bank," Credit Suisse said in a statement.

The Homburger inquiry failed to find any evidence that Khan tried to poach employees or clients, the bank added, or any indication that Thiam approved the spying or was aware of it before it ceased on September 18.

Credit Suisse said Bouee alone, "in order to protect the interests of the bank," ordered the observation of Khan and didn't discuss it with Thiam or any other executives.

Zurich's public prosecutor continued investigating the matter.

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NOW WATCH: Animated map shows where American accents came from

George Vanderbilt started building himself a private mansion in North Carolina in 1889 — and 130 years later, it's still the biggest house in the US. Take a look inside.

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 10:42am  |  Clusterstock

The Biltmore Estate is home to the largest privately-owned house in the United States.

George Vanderbilt, a prominent businessman from the late 19th and early 20th century, began constructing the Biltmore House in 1889.

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the 250-room home took six years to build.

Asheville is a mountain city known for its scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area's most popular destinations include the Blue Ridge Parkway — a 469-mile road around the mountain's peaks — and, of course, the historic Biltmore Estate.

Read more: Take a look inside the 100-square-mile Texas ranch that T. Boone Pickens, the oil magnate who just died at 91, listed for $250 million in 2017

Vanderbilt opened the Biltmore House in 1895. Over the next 35 years, the estate played an important role in Vanderbilt's family life. In fact, his daughter, Cornelia, and two of his two grandchildren were born there

George Vanderbilt died in 1914. After his death, his wife, Edith, sold around 87,000 acres of the estate to the United States Forest Service.

In 1930, Cornelia and her husband John Cecil opened the house to the public. According to the Biltmore website, it was opened during the Great Depression to boost the area's attraction. 

Since then, there have been various additions to the estate, including the Biltmore Winery, the Inn on Biltmore Estate, and the Antler Hill Village, which features the Village Hotel.

The Biltmore Estate, which now spans a total of 8,000 acres, is covered with gardens designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

The main house, America's largest, includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

Keep reading for a look inside.

SEE ALSO: The most famous home in every US state, from LA's Playboy Mansion to a 'Beer Can House' in Houston

DON'T MISS: The 25 best places to live in America

The Biltmore Estate is located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Source: Biltmore



Asheville is a mountain city known for its scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As of 2017, the city's estimated population is 91,902. Its median home value, according to Zillow, is $280,000.

Source: Zillow, City-Data



The Biltmore Estate is home to the Biltmore House, which is the largest privately-owned house in America.

Source: Biltmore



It was constructed in 1889 by George Vanderbilt, a prominent businessman from the late 19th and early 20th century.

Source: Biltmore



With the help of around 1,000 people, the home was completed in six years.

Source: Biltmore, Arcadia Publishing



It was officially opened by Vanderbilt in 1895.

Source: Biltmore



Over the next 35 years, the estate played an important role in Vanderbilt's family life. In 1900, his wife, Edith, gave birth to their daughter Cornelia in the Louis XV Room. Two of their grandchildren were also born on the estate.

Source: Biltmore



The main house includes 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces.

Source: Biltmore



Here's a close-up of the butler's pantry ...

Source: Biltmore



... and of the library. According to the Biltmore website, from 1875 to 1914, Vanderbilt read around 81 books a year.

Source: Biltmore



Vanderbilt died in 1914. After his death, Edith sold around 87,000 acres of the estate to the United States Forest Service.

Source: Biltmore



The property has a history of collecting various pieces of artwork and artifacts. In fact, during World War II, artwork from Washington DC's National Gallery of Art was stored in the house.

Source: Biltmore



There is even a smoking room with blue-patterned walls and two bookshelves.

Source: Biltmore



The home also boasts a variety of amenities. Below is an emptied swimming pool.

Source: Biltmore



There is also a bowling alley ...

Source: Biltmore



... and a garden.

Source: Biltmore



In 1930, Cornelia and her husband John Cecil opened the house to the public. Since then, there have been various additions to the estate, including the Biltmore Winery, the Inn on Biltmore Estate, and the Antler Hill Village which features the Village Hotel.

Source: Biltmore



Outside, the estate, which now totals 8,000 acres, includes acres of gardens designed by American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Source: Biltmore





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