By Rezaah Ahmad, CEO WiseAlpha Technologies
We have never been in more exciting times in the financial industry. The surge in new firms using financial technology to provide more efficient and transparent alternatives to banking and asset management models will bring dramatic changes to the debt capital markets.
WiseAlpha was born with the idea of bringing an online marketplace to the corporate debt markets and giving equality of access to investors of all sizes but crucially doing so in a transparent and responsible manner. Having started my career in banking, structuring corporate loans and then moving on to invest in the loans themselves, it always amazed me at how archaic the functioning of the loan market is in comparison to other financial markets. What if the credit markets were as liquid and transparent as the equity markets – would that have prevented some of the practices that led to the last financial crisis?
Although we have just launched, the mood in our office is one of anticipation and optimism as we strive to emulate the success of FinTech firms in other niches.
WiseAlpha is an online investment platform offering its members access to senior secured loan investments in large, established companies. Although from a glance many mistake us for a P2P lender our model is very different. We do not solicit, structure or issue loans on behalf of companies looking to borrow but instead we allow our members to invest in loans that have already been made by major international banks to corporate borrowers.
WiseAlpha takes the first step in selecting which loans are listed on the platform but importantly we then allow our members to assess and choose which companies they want to invest in and manage their own exposure. We want our members to feel the satisfaction of making individual investments and to have the option of avoiding the numerous middlemen that can be involved in the traditional investment chain.
Over time we aim to foster a liquid “secondary market” for members to buy and sell from each other.
The rationale for senior secured loans
In light of stock market volatility, high bond valuations and low savings account rates wiseAlpha is looking to bring senior secured corporate loans into the mainstream and offer investors an alternative asset that can provide them with income and re-investment opportunities.
For those new to senior secured loans they have the following features:
- First ranking security over the assets of the borrowing company which offers a degree of capital and structural protection for investors
- Floating rate coupons (LIBOR plus a fixed margin) provide a potential hedge against long duration and inflation. In a rising interest rate environment loans should perform well versus fixed income bonds with low coupons and extended maturities
- Typically low price volatility versus the equity and bond markets which are more closely correlated to changes in the macroeconomic and interest rate outlook. As an example during August while the stock markets swung wildly the Credit Suisse Western European Leveraged Loan Index saw a drop of only 0.17%1
- Loans are generally callable at par and can be refinanced at any time meaning that the price of the loan tends to stay relatively close to par unless there is a negative credit event reinforcing price stability
Independent studies2 show that the senior secured asset class also compares favourably on a risk-adjusted return basis versus alternative asset classes such as high yield bonds and equities.
Symbiotic relationship with Banks
New Fintech platforms have been viewed with some trepidation by banks who see these platforms as a threat to the traditional banking model. Here at wiseAlpha we see FinTech platforms like ourselves forming a co-operative approach with banks. With global investment banks now focussed on arranging and syndicating their loan exposure therein lies a symbiotic relationship with wiseAlpha’s model. Specifically we see the following benefits:
- Arranging banks free up more capital to increase their lending by being able to syndicate their loan exposure into a wider investment base but in a responsible manner
- A wider spread of risk assets to potentially longer-term income driven investors less focussed on using leverage to bolster their returns thereby reducing leverage in the banking system and the ‘shadow’ banking system3 Greater liquidity and demand in the asset class should stimulate issuance benefiting corporate issuers
Technology is at our heart
wiseAlpha is fundamentally a technology company servicing the investor and banking community.
At the corporate level the senior secured loan asset class has remained the happy hunting ground for banks and funds in a relationship driven market. This combined with the long procedures for transfer and settlement tend to put off many investors.
By running an online platform we seek to create a wider investment audience for the asset class and replace the substantial costs and complexity of investing in the product with a simpler, faster and more cost effective way to invest.
As some of my peers in the FinTech world have stated technology has successfully disrupted many industries to the benefit of society at large but to the detriment of incumbents.However it has also created opportunities for those incumbents who see the benefit of cross collaboration in creating a bigger market.
Equality of access
Today investors both small and large are prevented from accessing the asset class due to the ‘club’ nature of the asset class, high minimum denominations for specialist loan funds or because of the complexity of setting up loan investment vehicles.In addition high upfront fees, long lock-ins and opaque fund structures have also inhibited investors.
I believe wiseAlpha has the potential to profoundly improve access for investors to attractive asset classes such as senior secured loans over the coming years and as we grow to pass on the benefits of scale to investors.
Our mission of transforming the wider investment industry and the capital markets is audacious but we firmly believe it is possible.
1Credit Suisse Leveraged Finance Strategy Monthly 03 September 2015
2Credit Suisse Leveraged Finance Strategy Weekly Report 10 January 2014, Credit Suisse Leveraged Finance Strategy Monthly 03 September 2015
3The term ‘shadow banking’ was coined in 2007 by Paul McCulley, PIMCO’s former chief economist referring to the “the whole alphabet soup of levered up non-bank investment conduits, vehicles, and structures” that contributed to the lending boom from 2005-2007.
Staff training crucial for SME recovery post-COVID
- 47% of UK’s top performing SMEs provide regular, formalised training for all staff
- Despite this, 15% of small businesses report to never training staff
- New findings come as part of an independent, holistic study into small business success, commissioned by Allica Bank to support British businesses
A new study, commissioned by business bank, Allica Bank, shows that the practice of regular training correlates strongly with high performance in SMEs and will be vital to businesses’ prospects of a swift recovery post-COVID. The study analysed data from over 1,000 companies and ranked their success on a scale that evaluated factors including productivity, growth, consistency and outlook.
Post-pandemic, many businesses will be focussing on day-to-day survival; it might be easy to forget long-term planning, of which staff training is a key component. Allica Bank’s findings indicate that small businesses should incorporate training programmes into their recovery strategy to ensure long-term viability. Training will improve morale, retention and boost the company’s credibility.
The study showed that routine staff training is a common characteristic among the most successful SMEs. 47% of the 100 highest scorers on the SME Performance Index provided training for employees at least on a quarterly basis. However, nearly half of all small businesses (46%) only provide training once a year or less, inadvertently hindering their growth and success prospects.
Frequency of training also differed across sectors. 34% of legal businesses provide training for staff once a month compared to just 6% in the hospitality and leisure sector. Whilst there will always be sector-specific disparities, firms in all industries can benefit from boosting and improving their training programmes.
Chris Weller, Chief Commercial Officer, Allica Bank, said:
“With so many concerns and barriers for small businesses to navigate in the immediate term, it can be difficult for managers to focus on the training and development of their teams. However, if COVID has taught us anything, it is that adaptability and resilience are invaluable.
“The provision of regular training not only builds these characteristics into teams but serves to maintain a sense of value and togetherness that will boost morale, aide retention and improve performance – all of which contribute to the ongoing success of a business.”
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training, but it’s vital for business longevity that staff are supported with a formalised programme of some description. Customers will respond well to a company whose employees demonstrate enthusiasm and competence. Employees also need to feel that their skills are constantly being improved and expanding. These skills will contribute to the success of a company and this will feed through to the bottom line.”
Allica Bank’s SME Guide to Success identified six ‘rules to success’ that were more likely to be displayed by top-performing SMEs compared to their counterparts. The full report contains a wealth of additional data and insight into each of these topics.
As part of its mission to empower small businesses, Allica Bank is making the findings freely available and running a series of free online workshops with relevant partner organisations for businesses to attend.
Aliya Vigor-Robertson, CEO, JourneyHR, the expert partner for Allica Bank’s training workshop, adds:
“Staff need direction and the knowledge that they are advancing in their career to stay motivated and engaged at work. An unmotivated, disengaged team is no recipe for long-term success and will ultimately hamper a business. Team members that lack tangible support from above are less likely to identify with their role and its duties, which is a completely natural reaction.
“Regular staff training is a key component of tangible support and will make the team feel secure in their career development. A happy team with purpose and direction will contribute to a thriving business”
What Is Globalization
What is globalization? Globalization, or inter-connectedness, is the ever-growing process of integration and interaction among countries, individuals, businesses, and even governments all over the world. Globalization has rapidly accelerated in recent years because of advances in communication and transportation technology. This allows us to be able to get from one country to another quickly and easily. This also allows us to communicate freely use the Internet to connect with our friends and families around the world.
So what is globalization and why is it important? Globalization will benefit many people around the world who are looking to travel more freely, save money on their monthly expenditure, be able to meet new friends and relatives from different parts of the world, learn more about a new culture, and take part in trade and commerce.
Globalization will benefit all of us because there will be more opportunities for everyone to participate in global markets. People in different countries have access to resources, information, and products they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. There are also many opportunities for people to work at home.
Globalization is not just an economic boon, but it can also benefit all of us in other ways. As globalization continues, the boundaries between individuals, states, and countries will become less porous. There will be fewer political conflicts in the world, less violence, and a greater sense of cooperation, tolerance, and peace. These are all positive impacts of globalization.
However, globalization has also created some negative effects as well. It has caused people from one country to move to another to take advantage of globalization. This is also leading to some negative consequences such as a reduction of jobs in some countries. The effects of globalization also include increased competition and unemployment in many countries. Due to this decrease in jobs, wages are dropping.
The only way we can stop globalization is to make sure that we know what it is and what its benefits are. We must understand globalization and its impact on our lives and make sure we are ready to accept the changes that it may bring. if it is inevitable in the future.
The key is to be educated about globalization. There are plenty of books, websites, and television shows that explain how globalization is impacting us and the rest of the world. Globalization is not always bad, but we must be careful not to lose sight of its positives.
In the end, globalization is here to stay, so we must learn to live with it and embrace its benefits. We cannot fight it and try to fight it off, but we must learn to deal with it. And we can do that by educating ourselves. Globalization is here to stay for the long term but we must learn to adapt to it and learn how to live with it.
Globalization can be beneficial for all of us, but it has also caused many problems in the past. There were many cases of unfair trade practices and there was the rise of unfair labor practices. Some people argue that globalization has also reduced the pay of most Americans. So while globalization is definitely not all bad, we should understand that the benefits of globalization are not unlimited. and that we must be willing to give it some limitations and accept some sacrifices.
The biggest benefit of globalization is the ability for all of us to communicate with each other easily. The ability to connect with other people across borders makes it possible to share ideas, information, and knowledge. Since we can communicate with each other, the chances of getting a good price for our goods or services goes up dramatically. and it also allows us to save money by buying in bulk. This also translates to more savings on our end.
As mentioned earlier, globalization has brought about a change in the way people work and live because people are no longer tied down by jobs. They now have the freedom to travel and do what they enjoy.
As globalization continues, there will always be some people who are unhappy with globalization and are afraid to open their eyes to new opportunities that are available to them. But that is okay; this is part of the process of globalization.
What Is Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is an application and web-based collaboration tool that combines chat, videos, online collaboration, document storage, and collaboration with other applications. The service integrates well with the Microsoft Office 365 business solution and features numerous extensions that can integrate well with other non-Microsoft products, like SharePoint. There are many different versions of Microsoft Teams but here are some of the basic functions that all versions offer.
Teams also offers a variety of options for people to create and customize their own groups. This feature provides a way for people to organize their teams within Microsoft Teams. For example, there may be teams for business projects and then another group for personal tasks or social tasks. There are also different types of teams which include teams for social, personal and business.
Microsoft Teams allows users to make lists of files and documents and view them from different perspectives such as in the document viewer or from another Microsoft Teams project. This feature is called “project pane”, and it shows a summary of each of the files in the project. There are also sections for all files in the project that you can see in the “Files” pane.
Microsoft Teams gives users the ability to share information and collaborate on these shared items. A user can create a document that has other people add comments or attach files and then save the document to a list so that other people can view the document in a Microsoft Teams document viewer.
Another feature of Teams is the ability for you to invite other team members to work with you. A user can join a team and then invite other team members to collaborate with the team members who join the team. You can also invite team members to join a new team. When a team member joins a new team, they will be automatically added to your existing teams and the teams will merge together.
Microsoft Teams provides a number of different ways for you to collaborate with others and see the files and documents of others. These include groups and threads in the main document viewer. You can search your files using the search box in the document viewer and you can share your documents with others by email.
Microsoft Teams provides users with a variety of different tools to help you organize and manage your teams. You can assign members to specific teams, assign permissions to members, create custom groups, organize tasks and events, and organize files and documents into groups.
Microsoft Teams can help you build a team and create a collaboration culture that you want to create at your organization. You can use this tool to build effective teams and increase productivity and improve your relationships within the organization. Microsoft Teams offers a variety of options to help you get started and become more productive quickly and easily.
Teams are created easily. If you have several departments within your organization and need to create a team for each department you can do this easily. Teams are made easy and you can get your teams up and running quickly.
One of the best features of Microsoft Teams is the ability to invite people from around the world and let them work with the same documents and projects. You can have the documents and projects organized and shared in the same way throughout the entire organization, regardless of what country they were created in. You can create a similar project in the same language that they were created in and share it with other employees in the organization.
One of the most amazing features of Microsoft Teams is the ability to have multiple team members edit and view the documents and files in the same way. With Microsoft Teams you can have a document and have people edit the same document at the same time without any problems. The changes that you make can also be seen by other team members and can be modified by them without ever needing to send the document again.
Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool for building a powerful and effective collaboration culture. You can share documents and files in the same way that the rest of the organization can view the information.
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