The investment route to becoming rich envisages investing money in various assets in the hope that that they would appreciate in value over time. When you adopt this strategy to become rich, you would need to create an investment portfolio. The investment portfolio is nothing but a collection of the assets that you own or intend to own. These assets would be purchased with the intention of earning money from them through income or to sell them when their value increases. Creating an investment portfolio is not just making a list of assets. It needs to be prepared after a lot of thought and analysis. This portfolio will make you rich and hence you need to put in time and effort to create it.
Let us look at the steps involved in creating a good investment portfolio that can help you become rich.
- Asset allocation
This is by far the most important part of the process of creating an investment portfolio. There are many assets that you can invest in to make you rich. You need to decide which assets you would like to buy and how much money you would like to allocate to each of these assets. The following are some of the assets that you can consider:
Equity represents ownership of a company. It is generally used to refer to stocks or shares of a company that are owned by shareholders. These shares are traded on the stock market and their price varies depending on many factors including company performance, industry performance and the state of the economy. Shares can increase in price by leaps and bounds. This can help you become rich very quickly, provided you pick the right stocks.
Equity is also used to refer to mutual funds and exchange traded funds. These funds are managed by professional fund managers who use investment collected from the public to invest in stocks (and other options too). If you buy mutual funds, you would be indirectly investing in stocks. The difference is that when you buy stocks the decision is yours, whereas in a mutual fund the decision is the fund managers.
Equity carries risk, as the stock market is volatile in nature. However, staying invested over a long period of time helps to reduce the risk. Historically, investment in stocks and mutual funds has yielded good returns over the long term. It is a good way to earn money and be rich. Your investment portfolio must have equity to help you earn more money.
Debt refers to borrowings made by companies or by the Government. When the Govt. or a company is in need of funds, they can borrow money from the public through the use of various debt instruments. Treasury bills, bonds, debentures, and deposits are some of the debt instruments used to raise funds. A company that needs money for a project or for expansion can offer bonds to the public for sale. You can buy these bonds and are assured of getting interest on the money you invested. The company would invest the money raised through bonds for its work and payout regular interest. Once the term or the bond period is complete, you can redeem the bond to get its value in money.
You cannot earn a lot of money from debt instruments. Generally, they would be around the same that you would earn from banks as interest or a little more. The reason why you need to invest in debt is for safety. Investing in government debt instruments offers 100% safety. Investing in private debt has an element of risk. To reduce risk, you need to look at the credit rating of the bonds and buy only those that are rated highly for their safety.
People invest in debt instruments for capital protection, so that the capital you invest will not be depleted. You can also hope to earn a decent return on your investment. Once again, we must point out that the returns you earn here will probably be half or less than half of what you can earn in the stock market. It is safe and hence preferred by many investors. You must include debt instruments in your portfolio.
These are physical assets like gold, silver, diamond, and other precious metals. They may be purchased in the form of bars or in the form of jewelry (where their value is slightly reduced due to processing). Commodities like gold generally rise in value. It is observed that even if the stock market were down, the value of commodities would rise. This is not a certainty, still it is a good investment to help you balance your portfolio.
Apart from buying commodities physically, you can also buy them virtually through the commodities market. Here, apart from metals you can also buy wheat, rubber, oil, and other such commodities in the derivatives market. You would be not buying to own these commodities but would buy futures and options. This is essentially speculating the future price of these commodities to earn money. It is a risky investment but can help you make money. You can consider this only if you have sufficient knowledge about the market.
- Real estate
Real estate involves the purchase of land and buildings. Real estate, just like other assets would increase in value over time. You can buy property today and then sell it at any time when it rises in value. Unlike the stock market, prices will not be volatile. In general, there is a good demand for real estate, and you can expect very good returns over a long term. If there is a fall in the market, then it may take a very long time for prices to pick up again. Unlike other assets, real estate requires a lot of money to invest. This is an asset you can consider for inclusion in your portfolio.
- Alternative investments
This includes investing in assets that are not conventional in nature. This can include investing in artwork like paintings. These investments are usually done by high net worth individuals. Other such investment options include bitcoins and hedge funds. These can potentially earn you huge returns but are highly risky in nature. They are meant for investors who have sufficient knowledge of these assets.
- Retirement fund
There are some experts who say that a retirement fund is not actually an asset. However, saving money for retirement is one way to become rich. Your employer may offer a retirement plan by which money is deducted from your pay every month and transferred to a retirement fund. The fund would invest your money in the stock market, debt instruments and other options of your choice. By the time you retire, the fund would have grown in value and would help you generate money for your retirement needs. Apart from what the employer provides, there are other retirement accounts or retirement plans that you can consider during the process of creating an investment portfolio.
- Understand your risk
Now that you have understood the different types of assets, where you can invest money, you need to understand about risk. In simple terms, risk is the possibility of your assets losing value. From the above assets, debt instruments have very low risk, especially instruments backed by the government, which have zero risks. All other assets have varying levels of risks. Stocks are risky; but when held over a long period of time can lead to a reduction in risk. Bitcoins and derivatives are very risky. To create a portfolio, you need to understand your risk tolerance.
Risk tolerance is how much risk you can tolerate. If you are not ready to tolerate any risk, then you must invest 100% of your portfolio in debt instruments, and only in government backed debt instruments. The returns you earn here will be less, but there is no risk. If you ready to take a little risk, you can invest in private debt instruments. The higher the risk you are ready to tolerate, the more diverse your portfolio can be. Based on how much risk you are ready to tolerate; you can be classified as:
- Aggressive investor: is ready to take more risk. If you are in this category, you can invest more money in stocks and in real estate and derivatives.
- Balanced investor: is one who is willing to take a risk in return for reward. However, this type of investor would want to invest some money in safe options to balance the possibility of losses from aggressive investments.
- Conservative investor: This investor is more interested in protecting capital and would be willing to take low levels of risks by investing little money in stock/real estate.
- Safe investor: is one who is not ready to take any risk and is happy investing all the money in debt instruments.
- Create your portfolio
Having understood the types of assets and risks, it is now time to allocate money for assets and create a portfolio. If you are confused about the process, you can meet a financial advisor who can help you understand your risk tolerance and then advise you on how to allocate assets. If you are confident that you can do it on your own, then you can consider the ‘100 minus age’ rule. This rule states that you should invest 100-your age in equities. If you are 30 years old, you can invest 70% of your money in stocks and mutual funds and the rest in debt instruments. This is just a thumb rule; you can follow the pattern of investment that suits you.
Before you start allocating assets, you need to identify your investment goals. You are investing money to become rich; but how much money do you need? When do you need the money and what for purpose? The answers to these questions would help you decide your investment goals. For instance, you may need 100,000 in five years to buy a new house. This could be one investment goal. You may need a million in 25 years for your retirement. This could be another investment goal. Here, you can consider your retirement plan and also invest additionally to meet your target.
When you carry out asset allocation, you need to keep an important principle in mind, which is asset diversification. Diversification is spreading assets across different types to reduce risks. For instance, your asset allocation may look something like this:
- Real estate – 100,000
- Stocks – 100,000
- Large cap stocks – 50,000
- Mid cap stocks – 20,000
- Technology stocks – 20,000
- Small cap stocks – 10,000
- Debt – 30,000
- Bonds – 20,000
- Bank deposit – 10,000
This is an example of a diversified portfolio. You are investing in different types of assets and within each asset, you are further diversifying. When you buy stocks, you can invest in large cap funds of top companies that are usually safe. You can invest in mid cap funds that can be volatile but can earn you more returns. Since technology is popular, you can invest some money to buy stocks of technology companies. Small cap funds are low cost stock investments where you can gain huge returns or lose a lot of money. Diversifying your investment creates a balanced portfolio where the risk is reduced.
- Start investing
Once you create the portfolio, you can then start investing. For this, you may need to open a brokerage account to buy stocks/mutual funds. Make sure you stick to the portfolio you have created and invest money as per your plan. Periodically, you may need to rebalance your portfolio. This is required to remove assets that are deadwood and is not generating returns. You can replace such assets with better ones.
When you create an investment portfolio wisely, you can look forward to earning money from it and becoming rich. Some of the investment types like real estate can generate regular rent. Similarly, stocks can generate dividend. It would be better to reinvest this money to buy more assets. This will help you earn more money, to achieve your goal of becoming rich.
EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection
The EU Commission published a new intellectual property action plan. The action plan, touted as “an intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience” outlines possible future moves, noting that intangible assets are “the cornerstone of today’s economy”, with IPR-intensive industries generating 29.2% (63 million) of all jobs in the EU during the period 2014-2016, and contributing 45% of the total economic activity (GDP) in the EU worth €6 trillion.
The action plan also notes that the quality of patents granted in Europe is among the highest in the world, and that European innovators are frontrunners in green technologies, and leaders in specific digital technologies, such as connectivity technologies. That being said, the action plan notes that while smart intellectual property (IP) strategies can act as a catalyst for growth, European innovators and creators often fail to grasp the benefits of IP.
The action plan indicates that the Commission is willing to take stronger measures to protect European IP, to increase IP protection amongst European SMEs and to help European companies capitalise on their inventions and creations.
Ambitiously, the action plan also notes that the EU aspires “to be a norm-setter, not a norm-taker” and is keen to seek ambitious IP chapters with high standards of protection in the context of Free Trade Agreements, to help promote a global level playing field.
Some of the key takeaways are noted below.
Unified Patent (UP)
The implementation of the Unified Patent is seen as a priority in the action plan, indicating that it will reduce fragmentation and complexity, and will reduce costs for participants, as well as bridging “the gap between the cost of patent protection in Europe when compared with the US, Japan and other countries”. The action plan also indicates that it will “foster investment in R&D and facilitate the transfer of knowledge across the Single Market”.
With the introduction of 5G and beyond, the number of standard essential patents (SEPs), as well as the number of SEP holders and implementers, is increasing (for instance, there are over 95,000 unique patents and patent applications supporting 5G). The action plan notes that many of the new players are not familiar with SEP licensing, but will need to enter into SEP arrangements, and that this is particularly challenging for smaller businesses.
One area that has garnered a lot of press attention recently relating to the licensing of SEPs, and in particular to businesses that are perhaps not as familiar with SEP licensing, is that of the automotive sector. The action plan acknowledges this and notes that “although currently the biggest disputes seem to occur in the automotive sector, they may extend further as SEP licensing is relevant also in the health, energy, smart manufacturing, digital and electronics ecosystems.”
To this end, the Commission is considering reforms to further “clarify and improve” the framework governing the declaration, licensing and enforcement of SEPs. This includes potentially creating an independent system of third-party essentiality checks, and follows off the back of a pilot study for essentiality assessments of Standards Essential Patents and a landscape study of potentially essential patents disclosed to ETSI also published alongside the action plan.
Modernising EU design protection
The Commission has indicated that it wants to “modernise” EU design protection “to better reflect the important role design-intensive industries play in the EU economy”. At present, the Commission is asking for stakeholder feedback on the options for future reform. Recent results of an EU evaluation show that the current legislation works well overall and is still broadly fit for purpose. However, the evaluation has also revealed a number of shortcomings, including the fact that design protection is not yet fully “adapted to the digital age” and lacks clarity and robustness in terms of eligible subject matter, scope of rights conferred and their limitations. The Commission also considers that it further involves partly outdated or overly complicated procedures, inappropriate fee levels and fee structure, lack of coherence of the procedural rules at Union and national level, and an incomplete single market for spare parts.
Updating the SPC system
While the Commission notes that, following an evaluation, the Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) framework finds that the EU SPC Regulations “appear to effectively support research on new active ingredient, and thus remain largely fit for purpose”, it believes the EU SPC regime could be strengthened to reduce red tape, improve legal certainty and reduce costs for business. One option being touted is to introduce a centralised (‘unified’) grant procedure, under which a single application would be subjected to a single examination that, if positive, would result in the granting of national SPCs for each of the Member States designated in the application. The creation of a unitary SPC, complementing the future unitary patent, is listed as another option.
Patent pooling in times of crisis
The EU Commission notes how the pandemic has highlighted the importance of effective IP rules and tools to boost innovation and secure fast deployment of critical innovations and technologies, both in Europe and across the globe, but that it sees a need to improve the tools in place to cope with crisis situations. To this end, the action plan includes proposals to introduce possible mechanisms for rapid voluntary IP pooling and better coordination if compulsory licensing is to be used.
Increasing access for SMEs to IP protection and the introduction of an “IP voucher”
The action plan notes that only 9% of EU SMEs have registered IP rights. It aims to help SMEs better manage their IP and improve their competitiveness by giving EU SMEs easier access to information and advice on IP. Through the EU’s public funding programmes and further rolled-out at a national level, EU SMEs will get financial aid to finance so-called IP scans (comprehensive, initial, strategic and professional advice on the added value of IP for the individual SME’s business), as well as certain costs related to IP filings.
This will happen through the implementation of an “IP voucher”, which is made available in co-operation with the EUIPO, providing co-funding of up to €1,500 for:
- IP Scans: up to 75% of the cost and/or
- registration of trade marks and design rights in the EU and its Member States: up to 50% of the application fees.
SMEs will be able to apply as of mid-January for the IP voucher, through a dedicated website. We understand that the voucher will be provided on a “first come first served” basis.
The action plan also indicates the EU Commission’s intention to make it easier for SMEs to leverage their IP when trying to get access to finance, and that this may be done for example through the use of IP valuations.
EU toolbox against counterfeiting
The EU commission notes that counterfeiting is still a major problem for European businesses and proposes that an “EU toolbox” is set up to set out a co-ordinated European approach on counterfeiting. The goal of this EU toolbox should be to specify principles for how rights holders, intermediaries and law enforcement authorities should act, co-operate and share data.
AI and blockchain technologies
The action plan notes that in the current digital revolution, there needs to be a reflection on how and what is to be protected – perhaps a nod to the recent litigation we have seen regarding whether an AI can be considered as an inventor. The action plan in particular notes that questions need to be answered as to whether, and what protection should be given to, products created with the help of AI technologies. A distinction is made between inventions and creations generated with the help of AI and the ones solely created by AI. The action plan notes that the EU Commission’s view is that AI systems should not be treated as authors or inventors, which is the approach taken by the EPO, but that harmonisation gaps and room for improvement remain and the EU Commission has indicated that it intends to engage in stakeholder discussions in this respect.
There is much to take in from the action plan, and we will closely monitor developments in all of the above areas to see what will be implemented and when.
Tech talent visa sees 48% increase in applications over one year as global founders look to the UK
- Demand for Global Talent Visa applications has increased over two consecutive years since 2018 – up 45% and 48% respectively
- Demand is expected to increase from 2021as, from January, the Tech Nation Visa will be opening up applications to exceptional tech talent from the EU hoping to work in the UK
- 52% of those endorsed for the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa are employees, while 28% of those endorsed are tech founders
- App & software development, AI & machine learning,and fintech are the most common sectors for visa holders. Most endorsed applications come from India, the US and Nigeria
- 41% of Global Talent Visa applicantschose to reside outside of London to work in the UK’s strong regional tech hubs
Today, Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, launches a new report, which reveals changes in the international talent landscape and growing interest in the Global Talent Visa.
The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa
As the race for global tech talent heats up, many countries have been making their pitch to attract the best and brightest tech talent to grow their tech industries and create jobs. The Global Talent Visa, for which Tech Nation is the official endorsing body for Digital Technology, plays a key role in enabling international tech talent to contribute to the UK economy and to the growth of high priority sectors such as AI and Cyber.
The visa has seen applications increase significantly over the past two years, with 45% and 48% increases respectively. Since November 2018, the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa has received 1,975 applications and endorsed 920 visas from over 50 countries worldwide. Demand is expected to increase in 2021 with the EU coming into the route.
52% of those endorsed for the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa since 2014 are employees at some of the UK’s leading tech firms, helping to fill existing talent gaps, while 28% are tech founders bringing ideas, talent and capital into the UK’s fast growing tech sector. In 2020, the visa enabled 421 founders to set up business in the UK, up from 400 in 2019.
This global talent is distributed right across the UK. 41% of endorsed applicants for the visa are based outside of London, working in the UK’s strong regional tech hubs. App & software development, AI & machine learning, and fintech are the most popular sector destinations for visa holders, reflecting growth in those tech sub-sectors. India, the US, and Nigeria are the top three countries from which exceptional talent has come into the UK with the Tech Nation visa.
A surge in demand and interest
Labour markets around the world and in the UK have undergone profound shifts in 2020. The data released today shows that there has been a 200% increase in the volume of users in the UK searching online for terms explicitly related to ‘UK tech visas’ between April and September 20201. This surge in interest to work in the UK’s digital tech sector is reflected globally too, with a 100% increase in users internationally searching for these terms in countries like the US and India.
Digital tech roles remain in high demand in the UK. Cyber skills are becoming increasingly important within the UK, particularly in regions such as Wales and the East and West Midlands where there has been a huge increase in demand between 2017 and 2019 (351%, 140%, and 86% respectively). Demand for AI skills has increased by 111% from 2017 to 2019, with Northern Ireland and Wales seeing the greatest increases in demand – 418% and 200% respectively.
Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage said: “It’s no surprise the UK’s world-beating technology sector appeals to international talent. Our dynamic companies reflect the UK’s long-standing reputation for innovation and are renowned on the global stage. We are open to the brightest and the best talent, and this visa scheme makes it easier for companies across the country to recruit the talent they need to grow.”
Stephen Kelly, Chair of Tech Nation, comments: “The UK is a global talent magnet for Tech founders. The UK provides rich opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up, flourish and scale a business. The Global Talent Visa is crucial to making this process easy and accessible. Tech Nation’s Visa Report shows that, despite the pandemic, international interest to work in the UK tech sector has never been higher. Attracting tomorrow’s tech leaders to the UK is crucial to the continued growth of the sector, the UK’s place in the world, and driving the nation through recovery to growth in the digital age.”
Trecilla Lobo, SVP, People at BenevolentAI and Tech Nation Board Director, said: “The UK tech ecosystem continues to contribute to the creation of jobs and to innovative products and services. The Tech Nation Visa enables the UK tech sector to maintain its competitive advantage by attracting the best talent in specialist skills in tech, research and AI and a more globally diverse perspective to help us innovate and create amazing products and services. As an immigrant to the UK in my late teens, the UK visa scheme has enabled me to bring my experience, expertise and contribute to the people agenda for tech scale-ups in the UK, and helped me build a successful career in tech. I am really excited that the Tech Nation Visa will open opportunities and streamline the visa process for future global tech talent.”
Hao Zheng, Co-founder & CEO at RoboK, based in Cambridge and Newcastle, said: “I decided to work in UK tech because of the well-established ecosystem, world-class research and innovation and the high-level of experience that is extremely valuable for startup technology companies.”
Congcong Wang, Head of Operations at TusPark, based in Cambridge, said: “The UK is a world leading innovation hub, particularly in the fields of AI and Healthcare. Its environment fosters young talent, breeds disruptive innovation and creates amazing companies. Also, the culture of the UK is nurturing and tolerant for innovation, as it is considered a “safe place” for those inspired to take on the more risky route of entrepreneurship.”
Sumit Janmejai, Data-Driven Cybersecurity Professional at Capgemini, based in London said: “Having studied in the UK and worked with UK professionals, I could appreciate the fact that the UK is fast becoming the center of innovation, research and development in the Tech Industry. Besides that, the country offers an excellent life, welcoming culture, and a safe environment. It was an easy choice.”
Are bots eating your Facebook budget?
By Mike Townend, founding CMO of Beaconsoft Ltd
In an increasingly digitised world, social media has arguably become the most powerful and influential tool at the disposal of businesses, both large and small.
With more than 3.6 billion active social media users worldwide today, it is no surprise that many companies view it as an unparalleled means of marketing their products and services to new and otherwise unreachable audiences, as well as an opportunity to better understand consumer demand and habits.
Facebook is often regarded as one of the very best social media platforms for marketers – not least because of its targeted digital advertising service – but many firms using it may not realise just how much of their budget could be being wasted due to ad fraud.
Numerous studies suggest digital ad fraud affects between 10% and 60% of all types of digital advertising, with businesses of every size falling prey to so-called ‘bots’ – automated programs used by scammers to undercut deals, divert visitors or steal clicks.
But how do bots work, how might they be affecting businesses’ Facebook budgets, data and analytics, and what can be done to combat them?
How do bots work?
A report published by security firm Imperva found that bots – both good and bad – are responsible for 52% of all web traffic, while a separate study by White Ops concluded that as much as 20% of websites that serve ads are visited exclusively by fraudulent click bots.
In simple terms, a click bot is specially designed to carry out click fraud – in other words, the bot poses as a legitimate visitor to a webpage and automatically clicks on pay-per-click [PPC] ads, buttons or other types of hyperlinks.
Their purpose is to trick a platform or service – in this case, Facebook – into believing that real users are interacting with the webpage, app or ad in question.
Usually, bots will not just click a link once; they will click it over and over again to give the impression that the webpage is receiving a high level of traffic.
Why is this a problem?
The presence of click bots on Facebook is particularly problematic because they can effectively drain a business’ online marketing budget without many of its targeted ads reaching real users who might have a genuine interest.
There are a number of reasons why click fraud could be used – for example, competitors may employ a ‘click farm’ – a group of low-paid workers or bots hired to click on paid advertising links – or organised criminals may have found a way to profit from clicking on a business’ links.
In other cases, apps and software are created to collect the payout for a company’s ads, often with the help of bots.
Considering the average cost per click in the UK is £0.78, according to Hubspot, with some ad campaigns for popular key phrases running at £10 per click, or even more, it is clear to see how easily this could mount up if a firm’s budget were to be hijacked by scammers.
How might bots affect data and analytics?
Negative click bots have the potential to produce skewed analytics from Facebook advertising campaigns.
Because many businesses are unable to distinguish between fake clicks and legitimate ones, the data that they collect can lead to false conclusions and decisions that could have a detrimental impact on the business. For example, firms may choose to overspend or under-invest on a campaign based on findings that are substantially erroneous.
Businesses must be confident that they are making sound decisions that are informed by reliable data and analytics – and fortunately, there is a way that they can do this.
Taking the fight to the bots
There are a number of methods that firms can use to identify bot clicks, some more straightforward than others.
Frequently checking Facebook analytics for irregularities in traffic that could be attributable to bots can make this task considerably easier.
Specific things to monitor include the average number of page views, the average session time, and the source of referrer traffic – if there are any glaring anomalies in the data, bots could be the source.
Big spikes in page views caused by a higher number of visits than usual can also be indicative of bot activity and are especially dangerous given their propensity to slow down the page for genuine visitors.
Once malicious traffic has been identified, steps can then be taken in blocking it at source, although this is not a simple process and requires technical knowledge and know-how.
After removing negative click bots, companies can take comfort in knowing they are optimising their campaigns by gaining accurate insights that help to increase efficiency, lower the cost per visit, and improve return on investment.
Defeating the bots that are impairing a business’ performance on Facebook is by no means easy, and it requires time and effort to keep malicious traffic under constant surveillance.
Having experts on your side who are well versed in identifying and removing instances of click fraud can help to turn the tide in the battle against bots and ultimately allow a company to make big savings on its advertising spend.
Firms not only owe it to themselves, but to their customers also, to knock these harmful and disruptive programs offline for good.
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