Aberdeen Standard Investments has launched a new fund that utilises machine learning to identify sources of potential returns.
The Aberdeen Global (AG) Artificial Intelligence Global Equity SICAV, launched in Luxembourg, is the product of a collaboration between Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Quantitative Investment Strategies (QIS) team and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Investment Technology Institute (MTEC)/Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (the Trust Bank) in Tokyo, Japan – a centre of excellence in robotics, artificial intelligence and financial technology.
The Fund embeds machine learning techniques within the investment process and will use a variety of quantitative techniques to time its investments.
These investments will be based on ‘factor premia’ – those sources of risk such as value, quality, momentum, small size and low volatility that can provide investors with persistent risk-adjusted excess returns.
Martin Gilbert, Co-CEO at Standard Life Aberdeen, comments:
“For active investment management firms, the ability to use machines to read and understand vast amounts of data in order to forecast market moves more accurately has spawned innovation and a resurgence in active quantitative investment approaches. To benefit from this AI-driven innovation, and to complement our highly successful active fundamental strategies, we are proud to have collaborated with the MTEC – Japan’s leading and most prestigious financial technology think-tank – and the Trust Bank to develop this active quant Fund.
Junichi Narikawa, President of Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Investment Technology Institute (MTEC), added:
“This is the first time in MTEC’s 30-year history where we have collaborated with an entity in Europe and are pleased to work with a world-class investment firm of the calibre of Aberdeen Standard Investments. We have worked with their Quantitative Investment Strategies team in London and Edinburgh over a two-year period, and developed a number of innovative AI-models to identify and capitalise upon patterns in global equity markets in order to dynamically time factor premia to generate alpha.”
David Wickham, Global Head of Quantitative Solutions at Aberdeen Standard Investments, comments:
“Recent innovations in AI, combined with rapid advances in computational power, have enabled us to harness machine learning techniques to dynamically time factor premia. This is an innovative AI-powered approach to factor timing, that enables us to systematically determine the weightings to each factor within the new global equity Fund and also allows us to time the relevant individual metrics used within those factors. We can now bias our portfolio towards the factors best suited to today’s market environment and continue to evolve the factor exposures as the market changes through time.
“This new technique builds upon our existing diversified multifactor investing strategies – namely SMARTER Beta1 and BETTER Beta2that we have successfully employed for over a decade. We believe this is a unique approach within the mainstream investment community. At present, most AI products are either thematically focused, investing in well-known and relatively expensive AI-related companies – or ‘big data’ focused where investment managers attempt to extract alpha from unstructured data sources using machine learning techniques. We’ve created an elegant approach with great return potential by embedding machine learning within the investment process to enhance factor timing.”
This new capability is an extension of the firm’s existing factor investing strategies, amounting to USD 49* billion in assets, including the recently launched proprietary SMARTER Beta multifactor equity indices and funds and the BETTER Beta range of enhanced indexation funds. Each of these strategies embed an ‘ESG Inside’ methodology to exclude those companies engaged in producing controversial weapons and, where applicable, companies that are deemed to be experiencing severe ESG controversies as rated by its ESG data partner Sustainalytics.
Estate planning for wealthy celebrities or UHNWIs
By Sean Sheridan, Client Director, ZEDRA Isle of Man
Estate planning often gets pushed aside…sometimes with disastrous knock-on effects for a family. With today’s evolving regulatory environment, future planning can be challenging and often daunting.
Despite inevitable obstacles, there are ways to minimise the burden to enable even celebrities to have future generations enjoying the benefits of their wealth. In this article we explore why estate planning gets overlooked, and why it’s so important to protect prosperity and interests.
It’s easier to put off estate planning than you’d think – even for people like celebrities or UHNWIs who have earned significant wealth. For example, it’s thought that the great Diego Maradona passed away without leaving a Will or other plans for his assets, despite recent years of ill health. There were already reports of a contested estate just weeks after his funeral. Michael Jackson, Prince, James Gandolfini and Philip Seymore Hoffmann all passed away with various issues with their estates, despite having amassed fortunes.
It’s not disorganisation or a lack of desire that stops people planning their estate. In fact, often the last thing people want is to leave family or loved ones having to deal with probate and complex legal affairs at an already difficult time. Many people simply put off estate planning, thinking they will have time later…whenever that is. Alternatively, they may not comprehend how challenging it can be to untangle an intricate estate, and what legal rules there are that surround how an estate will automatically be divided amongst heirs and spouses if forced heirship laws apply. Equally, many people may not know that some loved ones may not get any assets or be looked after if provisions aren’t made in advance.
For UHNWI a properly planned estate can also mean more privacy for family at a challenging time. Many HNWI will choose – along with advisors – a structure that will allow for maximum confidentiality and will keep the details of the estate and any beneficiaries private. Information about beneficiaries of an estate becoming public can also make them a target for press or other unwanted attention. As structures which allow for both discretion and succession planning, trusts can be very popular for this reason.
Trusts also allow for settlors to stipulate the conditions under which beneficiaries may have access to or be given money from a trust.
Trusts allow the settlor the ability to lay out one or more conditions. For example, a settlor could put aside assets in trust to support beneficiaries but not make all the assets available to them at once. This might be to support good governance or simply to protect beneficiaries from some of the hazards associated with wealth, as perceived by the settlor.
Practically, this means a settlor and their advisors might look at different conditions for a trust’s assets. For example, beneficiaries might only receive a lump sum every 10 years. Alternatively, they might get a monthly pay-out, similar to a salary. The settlor might wish that funds are paid out to beneficiaries for the sole purpose of paying for their college education or to purchase a property.
Corporate trustees like ZEDRA ensure that the settlor’s wishes are met, and the assets of the trusts are used in the way the settlor would like and as laid out in the trust deed.
Planning ahead with advisors is vital – especially for anyone with a complex assets and interests that span various geographies may be complex in terms of nature, like IP rights.
Expert advice that’s tailored around an individual’s personal situation is a must, so thinking ahead is crucial. It’s never too early to make sure you’re planning your estate and making sure loved ones or important causes will be looked after when you’re gone.
Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar lost ground on Friday as market participants favored currencies associated with risk-on sentiment over the safe-haven greenback.
Risk appetite was stoked by better-than-expected economic data and expectations that U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package will come to fruition.
“The dollar’s down against other currencies but not by a whole lot,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Bronson Meadows Capital Management in Fairfield, Connecticut. “I expect the dollar to be where it is now at the end of the year, and the main reason for that is while I see some signs of improvement in the economy, monetary policy is going to stay where it is.”
“I don’t think the dollar is underpriced or overpriced,” Pursche added.
For the week, the dollar slid about 0.2% against a basket of world currencies, the euro was essentially flat, and the yen lost more than 0.5%. But the British pound advanced more than 1.1% against the dollar, its best week since mid-December.
Bitcoin continues soar to record highs. The world’s largest cryptocurrency was last up 6.6% at $54,961.67, hitting $1 trillion in market capitalization.
Its smaller rival, ethereum, was last up 0.7% at $1,953.28.
The digital currencies have gained about 89% and 1,420%, respectively, year to date, leading some analysts to warn of a speculative bubble.
“One concern I’ve always had (about cryptocurrencies) is how susceptible they are to manipulation,” Pursche said. “But they’re going to continue to gain legitimacy.”
“While it’s great that Tesla made an investment in bitcoin, I’m more intrigued by Blackrock and other major investment firms taking a hard look at cryptocurrencies as a viable investment.”
The Australian dollar, which is closely linked to commodity prices and the outlook for global growth, was last up 1.21% at $0.7863, touching its highest since March 2018.
The New Zealand dollar also gained, closing in on a more than two-year high, and the Canadian dollar advanced as well.
Sterling, which often benefits from increased risk appetite, rose to an almost three-year high amid Britain’s aggressive vaccination program. It had last gained 0.27% to $1.40.
The euro showed little reaction to a slowdown in factory activity indicated by purchasing manager index data, rising 0.21% to $1.2116.
The yen, gained ground against the dollar and was last at 105.495, creeping above its 200-day moving average for the first time in three days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp, additonal reporting by Tommy Wilkes; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global equity markets snapped a 3-day losing streak to edge higher on Friday, as the recent selling pressure on high-flying big technology-related stocks eased even as investors showed a preference for economically sensitive cyclical sectors.
Oil prices fell from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather, while the U.S. Treasury yields extended their recent rise.
The MSCI’s global stock index was up 0.47% at 681.88, after losing ground for three consecutive sessions.
On Wall Street, stocks steadied as cyclical sectors edged higher while tech names made modest advances after concerns about elevated valuations led to some selling in recent sessions.
“What we saw (this week) represents a market that is tired and may not do very much. So we are headed for some sort of a pullback, but I don’t think we’re there just yet,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“Investors are not really pulling out of the market, but they are becoming more cautious. It already has factored in another good positive earnings season.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 119.97 points, or 0.38%, to 31,613.31, the S&P 500 gained 12.93 points, or 0.33%, to 3,926.9 and the Nasdaq Composite added 92.58 points, or 0.67%, to 13,957.93.
The S&P 500 technology and communication services sectors, housing high-value growth stocks, were among the smallest gainers in early trading, while financials, industrials, energy and materials rose more than 1%.
European shares edged higher on Friday as an upbeat earnings report from Hermes boosted confidence in a broader economic recovery. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was 0.64% higher.
U.S. Treasury yields on the longer end of the curve rose to new one-year highs on Friday as improved risk appetite boosted Wall Street, while the yield on 30-year inflation-protected securities (TIPS) turned positive for the first time since June.
Core bond yields have pushed higher globally, led by the so-called reflation trade, where investors wager on a pick-up in growth and inflation. Growing momentum for coronavirus vaccine programs and hopes of massive fiscal spending under U.S. President Joe Biden have spurred reflation trades.
The benchmark 10-year yield was last up 5.1 basis points at 1.338%, its highest level since Feb. 26, 2020.
Oil prices retreated from recent highs for a second day on Friday as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.
Brent crude futures were down 28 cents, or 0.44%, at $63.65 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 66 cents, or 1.09%, to $59.86.
Copper jumped to its highest in more than nine years on Friday and towards a third straight weekly gain as tight supplies and bullish sentiment towards base metals continued after the Chinese New Year.
Spot gold XAU= was down 0.58% at $1,785.71 an ounce.
The dollar lost ground on Friday, extending Thursday’s decline as improved risk appetite sapped demand for the safe-haven currency and drew buyers to riskier, higher-yielding currencies. The dollar index was off 0.295%.
Bitcoin hit yet another record high on Friday, hitting a market capitalization of $1 trillion, blithely shrugging off analyst warnings that it is an “economic side show” and a poor hedge against a fall in stock prices.
(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
Retailers need to deliver better rewards to ensure customer loyalty
62% feel retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them 55% believe that loyalty programmes...
Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears
By Colin Packham CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay...
GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback
By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical...
Optimising and Securing Device Management in a Corporate Environment
By Nadav Avni, Marketing Director at Radix Technologies The proliferation of digital devices used in every organisation has only grown...
Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses
By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses...
The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour and retailers need to adapt
By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI It’s no secret that the retail industry has been badly hit by the pandemic,...
2021: A year of digital enablement
By Peter O’Halloran, Vice President, Global Digital Commerce, Fiserv In 2021, digital innovation will continue to accelerate, allowing businesses to...
5 Trends Driving the Future of Customer Service in 2021 and Beyond
By Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem 2020 ignited radical shifts for contact centre operations with the move to a remote...
World shares sink as bond yields, commodities surge
By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – World shares sank on Monday as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation battered...
UK regulators need global ‘competitiveness’ remit, says UK Finance body
By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Keeping the City of London competitive should be an “across the board” objective for...