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CAMRADATA publishes Investment Research Reports for Q1 2018

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CAMRADATA publishes Investment Research Reports for Q1 2018

CAMRADATA, a leading provider of data and analysis for institutional investors, has published its investment research reports for Q1 2018, which chart the performance of investments and asset managers across six asset classes – Global Equity, Diversified Growth Funds, Multi Sector Fixed Income, Emerging Markets Equity, UK Equity and Emerging Markets Debt.

The newly designed format for 2018 includes an overview of activity in each asset class, a 2018 investment outlook and an easy to read highlights section at the start, followed by more detailed analysis of each universe, assets under management, market share, performance and distribution in each asset class.

In each report over three years’ worth of data from CAMRADATA Live (its online manager research platform) at 31 March 2018 was analysed to produce the six reports and key investments trends emerged for Q1.

The first quarter of 2018 brought “regime change” to global asset markets, with positive returns hard to come by and volatility rising. This was largely expected after the very strong gains for global asset markets and abnormally low levels of volatility experienced in late 2016 and throughout 2017.

Sean Thompson, Managing Director, CAMRADATA said, “The key factors behind the recent market oscillations have been concerns over global trade, rising market interest rates and a return of inflation. Global trade has been growing impressively, but with the opening salvo of a mutually impairing trade war, between the US and China, having been fired, obstacles to free trade have been raised.

“All around the world equity markets have posted negative returns in the first few months of this year. Volatility in equity markets and losses in government bond markets have also triggered a significant fall in the price of many assets around the world, including property, commodities and even investments like gold which should have benefited from increasing political uncertainty in the first three months of this year, have actually lost money,” adds Mr Thompson.

Below are Q1 highlights in each asset class

Global Equities

  • Over the last quarter the Global Equity universe saw positive inflows which totalled $7.23bn.
  • The first quarter of 2018 saw a downturn of positive performance with only 40% of products achieving a breakeven or positive return, compared to 100% in Q4 2017.

Emerging Markets Equity

  • Over the last quarter the EME universe saw positive inflows which totalled just over $4.8bn.
  • In Q1 2018 just over 82% of managers achieved positive returns in the Emerging Market Equity universe. The lowest return produced is -3.24% and the best performing product achieved 8.08%.
  • NS Partners achieved the largest percentage growth in AuM seeing its assets increase by 158.44%, followed by DePrince, Race & Zollo Inc., AXA, Mirae and Lombard Odier.

Diversified Growth Funds

  • Over the last quarter the DGF universe has seen £3.23bn in net outflows, following the trend from Q4 2017, which witnessed the first outflow in three years.
  • Since Q4 2017 DGF assets have decreased by £6.2BN following the trend from Q4 2017 which saw the first drop in assets in 36 months.
  • William Blair achieved the largest percentage growth in AuM seeing its assets increase by 149.68% in Q1 2018, followed by Threadneedle, Dimensional, Amundi and Fidelity.

Multi Sector Fixed Income

  • Over the last quarter the MSFI Absolute Return products achieved positive inflows of just over £3bn. This continues the positive trend for inflows with this asset class receiving positive inflows for the last eight quarters.
  • Since Q4 2017 MSFI absolute return assets have increased by just under £2.9BN
  • T Rowe Price continued to hold the hold the largest asset inflows totalling £2,458m, in converted sterling, during Q1 2018. They were followed by Western Asset Management, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan and Newton. Since Q4 2017 MSFI absolute return assets have increased by just under £2.9BN.

Emerging Market Debt

  • Over the last quarter the EMD universe continued to see new inflows of just over $3bn, continuing the trend of positive inflows over the past five quarters.
  • The first quarter of 2018 saw a downturn of positive performance with only 44% of products achieving a breakeven or positive return, compared to 97% in Q4 2017.
  • BlackRock had the largest asset inflows totalling $2,846m during the quarter. They were followed by Ashmore Group, Global Evolution, Van Eck Associates and Franklin Templeton Investments.

UK Equity

  • UK equities continued to see outflows this quarter with £3bn having been withdrawn. In fact, this asset class has seen outflows of assets in each of the past 12 quarters.
  • In Q1 2018 the UK Equity universe saw 100% of managers produce a negative performance. The lowest quarterly return produced is -10.77 % and the best performing product achieved -0.8%.
  • UBS Asset Management took the top spot in the asset manager inflows table with £1,897m inflows in Q1 2018, followed by Old Mutual Global Investors (UK) Limited, Vanguard Asset Management, Jupiter Asset Management Limited and RWC.

Sean Thompson concluded, “Our new look quarterly investment reports are easier to read and provide more detailed commentary and analysis of each of the six asset classes to help investors stay up to date with what’s happening across the markets.

“We are committed to fostering and nurturing strong, productive relationships across the institutional investment sector and are continually innovating new solutions to meet the industry’s complex needs.

“Our CAMRADATA Live tool helps investors keep abreast of the issues that are likely to affect the markets, enabling them to make informed investment decisions. Our quarterly reports are essential reading to find out how each asset class has recently performed as well as historically over the past three years,” adds Mr Thompson.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 1

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 2

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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