Connect with us

Investing

POLAND – THE ROAD FROM ADVERSITY TO PROSPERITY

Published

on

Pawel Szczepankowski

Pawel Szczepankowski
Managing Director Atradius Poland

Poland’s post-war transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. From the devastation of the Second World War, followed by over four decades of Communist rule, Poland has emerged as a fully functioning market economy. Its political stability and economic prosperity is well illustrated in that it was the only EU country to escape recession during 2009.

It is precisely because Poland has achieved so much in the face of adversity that Atradius has made it the subject of the latest in our series of reports on the opportunities for profitable trade offered by emerging markets. ‘Trade successfully with Poland’ highlights many of the factors that make this burgeoning market such a compelling destination for foreign goods, services and investments, while at the same time providing advice on the issues that must be addressed to ensure the success of commercial ventures in Poland.

Pawel Szczepankowski

Pawel Szczepankowski

Location, location, location…

On the plus side, Poland is ideally located – at the very heart of Europe – to ease the way for international trade. Poland’s location, effectively a bridge between east and west, north and south, while a curse in earlier war torn times, is now a real opportunity for foreign businesses. And having a presence in Poland is a wise move strategically. That is evident from the growing number of new limited liability companies being established in this central European hub: in recent times increasing by 20% a year and now totalling some 300,000.

Poland is proving the most successful of the recent intake to the European Union, and the confidence that the EU clearly has in its future prospects is evident in the extent of the Union’s funding: Poland is already the major beneficiary of funding under the EU’s European Cohesion Policy (€68 billion so far) and, between now and 2020 is destined to receive another €73 billion which will fund its many infrastructure and modernisation projects – the road and rail network, airports, rural modernisation, internet services and scientific research and energy sourcing. And that is in addition to considerable funding under the Common Agricultural Policy.

This opens doors for foreign companies to provide the expertise, products and services needed to make good use of that funding. The Polish construction industry, for instance, is very open to bids from overseas contractors. However, while many foreign companies do bid for Poland’s infrastructure projects, care needs to be taken not to be so competitive on price that no cushion is left against the very real possibility of rising material or labour costs. As some have found to their cost, the rule is not to overpromise because, especially with government-run projects, the successful bidder will be held to the terms of their original bid.

Other foreign suppliers that can benefit from Poland’s EU funding are those involved in energy sourcing – covering the whole gamut from nuclear power to shale gas exploration and wind farms – as well as in industries such as airport equipment and services, and information/communication technology.

Make sure the price is right
As Poland grows in affluence, the potential for foreign retailers becomes ever more compelling. Poland has a population of 38 million and a growing middle class eager for foreign goods. But it still needs to be remembered that the average net disposable household income in Poland is around €11,500, compared to averages nearer to €21,000 across Western Europe, although, as everywhere, this masks considerable disparity of net disposable income across the population: over €22,000 for the top 20% of Polish households and €4,610 for the bottom 20%. Foreign suppliers need to bear those figures on mind when setting their pricing strategy.

Demand for foreign goods is led by electronics and white goods, used cars and textiles. With Poland’s new middle class fast developing a taste for foreign high-end products and the economy continuing to flourish, the market for luxury goods too will grow.

Poland may still be classed as an ‘emerging’ market, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it lags behind its more established neighbours in the use of online shopping. And, like everywhere else, consumers are turning to online shopping as a way to save time and money. As a result, e-commerce in Poland is growing faster – admittedly from a low starting point – than in any other EU countries. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 75% of Polish households are expected to have internet access by 2015. Foreign companies are already seizing the opportunity: household equipment, electronics, books, computer games and cosmetics are widely bought online. Foreign supermarket chains are getting in on the act too, with Polish consumers now able to buy their foodstuffs online and collect them from drive-in locations.

A balancing act
But foreign suppliers need to make sure that they have the background knowledge to make their venture into Poland a success: taking into account the business culture, legal requirements and customs regulations, and, as already stressed, making sure that their products are correctly priced for this market. A fine balance also has to be achieved between security of payment and competitiveness.

Credit insurance – protection against the possibility of not getting paid for goods and services sold on credit terms – can play an important role in more ways than one. It ensures that the seller’s cash flow is protected in the event of non-payment. That in itself will give the seller the reassurance to be able to offer more open and competitive terms of payment. It is vital to check and monitor the credit worthiness of any potential customer and in a market like Poland, where a business’s financial information can be difficult to obtain, using the services of a credit insurer is the surest way to gain insight into a buyer’s financial strength.

The author

Pawel Szczepankowski is Managing Director of Atradius in Poland. He began his career in credit and bond insurance 15 years ago, firstly in reinsurance at Polish Re and then underwriting surety bonding at Allianz. Since 2002, he has focused on direct credit insurance: initially as a sales manager, then regional manager and now heading up Atradius’ operations in Poland.

He holds Masters degrees in Finance & Banking (Warsaw School of Economics) and Law (Kozminski University) and is a member of the Credit Insurance Sub-Committee at the Polish Insurance Association.

You can read the report ‘Trade successfully with Poland’ and listen to the webinar ‘The key to business success in Poland’ at www.atradius.com

Investing

Northern Trust: Outsourcing Accelerates Through Pandemic as Investment Managers Seek to Improve Margins, Enhance Business Resilience, and Future-Proof Operations

Published

on

Northern Trust: Outsourcing Accelerates Through Pandemic as Investment Managers Seek to Improve Margins, Enhance Business Resilience, and Future-Proof Operations 1

White Paper Sees Increase in Managers Outsourcing Middle and Front Office Functions to Achieve Optimal Business Structures

According to a white paper published today by Northern Trust (Nasdaq: NTRS), investment managers of all sizes and strategies have been prompted to undertake a comprehensive review of their operating models as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has accelerated existing trends that are compounding cost pressures. This has led increasing numbers of managers to outsource in-house dealing and other functions, such as foreign exchange and transition management, hitherto seen as core.

While cost savings remain a core driver, and indeed are one outcome of outsourcing, costs are no longer the only focus. Far from being solely a defensive reaction to increased pressure on margins, the white paper (‘From Niche to Norm’) describes outsourcing as part of the target operating model, or moving toward the ‘Optimal State’ for many investment managers, and  explains how the focus “has expanded to the variety of other potential benefits offered – enhanced capabilities, improved governance and operational resilience.”

Gary Paulin, global head of Integrated Trading Solutions at Northern Trust Capital Markets said: “The pandemic has challenged a range of operational assumptions. Working from home has, for example, questioned the need for a portfolio manager to be in close proximity with the dealing desk. Previously considered essential, the pandemic has effectively forced firms to ‘outsource‘ their trading desks to remote working setups and the effectiveness of this process has disproved the requirement for proximity, in turn, easing the path to third-party outsourcing. Many investment managers are actively considering outsourcing to a hyper-scale, expert provider as a potential, cost efficient solution – one that maintains service quality and, hopefully, improves it whilst adding resiliency.”

Northern Trust’s white paper compares outsourced trading to software-as-a-service stating: “instead of carrying the cost and complexity of running an in-house solution, firms move to an outsourced one, free up capital to invest in strategic growth and move costs from a fixed to a variable basis in line with the direction of travel for revenues.” 

Guy Gibson, global head of Institutional Brokerage at Northern Trust Capital Markets said: “The opportunity to deploy capital to build new fund structures, develop new offerings, focus on distribution and enhance in-house research has been taken up by several of our clients to the benefit of their investment approach, and to the benefit of their investors.  Additionally, in the last two months alone, many firms have recognized that outsourcing to a well-capitalized, global platform has enabled them to take advantage of cost-contained growth opportunities in new markets.”

A further development, which has echoes of the journey the technology industry has already undertaken, is the move towards ‘whole office’ solutions, which represent the next potential wave in outsourcing.

According to Paulin; “recently we have observed a growing number of managers wanting to outsource to a single, hyper-scale professional service provider who can do everything, everywhere. This aligns with Northern Trust’s strategy to deliver platform solutions for the whole office, serving our clients’ needs across the entire investment lifecycle.”

The white paper can be downloaded here.

Integrated Trading Solutions is Northern Trust’s outsourced trading capability that combines worldwide locations and trading expertise in equities and fixed income and derivatives with access to global markets, high-quality liquidity and an integrated middle and back office service as well as other services, such as FX. It helps asset owners and asset managers to meaningfully lower costs, reduce risk, manage regulatory compliance and enhance transparency and operational efficiency.

Continue Reading

Investing

How are investors traversing the UK’s transition out of lockdown?

Published

on

How are investors traversing the UK’s transition out of lockdown? 2

By Giles Coghlan, Chief Currency Analyst, HYCM

Just when we thought we had overcome the initial health challenges posed by COVID-19, the UK Government has once again introduced lockdown measures in certain regions to curb a rise in new cases. This is happening at a time when the government is trying to bring about the country’s post-pandemic recovery and prevent a prolonged economic downturn.

This is the reality of the “new normal” – a constant battle to both contain the spread of the virus but also avoid extended economic stagnation.

Of course, no matter how many policies are introduced to spur on investment, traders and investors are likely to act with caution for the foreseeable future. There are simply too many unknowns to content with at the moment.

To try and measure investor sentiment towards different asset classes at present, HYCM recently commissioned research to uncover which assets investors are planning to invest in over the coming 12 months. After surveying over 900 UK-based investors, our figures show just how COVID-19 has affected different investor portfolios. I have analysed the key findings below.

Cash retreat

At present, it seems that by far the most common asset class for investors is cash savings, with 78% of investors identifying as having some form of savings in a bank account. Other popular assets were stocks and shares (48%) and property (38%). While not surprising, when viewed in the context of investor’s future plans for investment, it becomes evident that security, above all else, is what investors are currently seeking.

A third of those surveyed (32%) said that they intended to put more of their wealth into their savings account, the most common strategy by far among those surveyed. This was followed by stocks and shares (21%), property (17%), and fixed interest securities (17%).

When asked about what impact COVID-19 has had on their portfolios throughout 2020, 43% stated that their portfolio had decreased in value as a consequence of the pandemic. This has evidently had an effect on investors’ mindsets, with 73% stating that they were not planning on making any major investment decisions for the rest of the year.

Looking at the road ahead

So, it seems that many investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach; hoping that the promise of a V-shaped recovery comes to fruition. The issue, however, is that this exact type of hesitancy when it comes to investing may well slow the pace of economic recovery. Financial markets need stimulus in order to help facilitate a post-pandemic economic resurgence, but if said financial stimulation only arrives once the recovery has already begun, the economy risks extended stagnation.

It seems, then, that there are two possible set outcomes on the path ahead. The first is a steady decline in COVID-19 cases, then an economic downturn as the markets correct themselves, followed by a return to relative economic stability. The second potential outcome is a second spike of COVID-19 cases which incurs a second nationwide lockdown – delaying an economic revival for the foreseeable future. At present, the former of these two scenarios is seemingly playing out with economic growth and GDP steadily increasing; but recent COVID-19 case upticks show that it’s still too soon to be certain of either scenario.

A cautious approach, therefore, will evidently remain the most common investment strategy looking ahead. But investors must remember that, even in the most uncertain times, there are always opportunities for returns on investment. Merely transforming a varied portfolio into cash savings risks a long-term decline in value.

High Risk Investment Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. For more information please refer to HYCM’s Risk Disclosure.

Continue Reading

Investing

Hatton Gardens 5 top tips for investing in Diamonds

Published

on

Hatton Gardens 5 top tips for investing in Diamonds 3

By Ben Stinson, Head of eCommerce at Diamonds Factory

Investing in diamonds can be extremely rewarding, but only if you know what to look for. For investors who lack experience, finding your diamond in the rough can be quite daunting.

For even the most beginner of diamond investors, the essentials are fairly obvious. For instance, you need to ask yourself will the diamond hold its value over time? What’s the overall condition of the stone and the jewellery? Is there history behind the item in question?

Although common sense plays a big part in investing, people often need insider tips and tricks to go from beginner to expert. Tony French, the in-house Diamond Consultant, at Diamonds Factory shares his professional knowledge on the 5 most important things to look for when investing in diamonds.

1: Using cut, weight and colour to determine value

Firstly, consider the shape, colour, and weight of your diamond, as this can play a pivotal role in guaranteeing growth in the value of your item. Granted, investing trends change with time, but a round cut of your diamond will almost always be the most sought after. The cut of your diamond is incredibly important, as it can influence the sparkle and therefore, the overall value. It’s a similar story for the intensity of some colours, such as Pink, Red, Blue, Green etc. Concerning weight, the heavier (bigger) stones will generally increase in value by a bigger percentage. Collectively these factors also contribute to the supply and demand aspect, which will determine their high price, and will ensure your item is re-sellable.

2: Provenance

Looking for significant value? Well, aim to own jewellery or diamonds that come from an important public figure. If you’re lucky enough to own a piece that has significant history, or was owned by a celebrity or person of interest, it’s an absolute must to have concrete evidence of this. Immediately, this proof will increase an item’s overall value, and there’s a good chance the stardom of your item might drum up interest amongst diehard fans, increasing the value even further…

Equally, it’s possible to proactively bring provenance to unique diamonds of yours. For instance, you can offer to loan bespoke, or unusual pieces for film, theatre, or TV performances – then it can be advertised as worn by xyz.

3: Find the source

Ben Stinson

Ben Stinson

Establishing your diamond’s source is one of the most important things you can do when investing in diamonds. If you’re starting out, try to purchase diamonds that have NOT been owned by too many people, as the overall value of the diamond will reflect multiple ownership. Alternatively, I’d always recommend buying from suppliers like ourselves or other suppliers and retailers, who buy directly from the people who have had them certified.

Primarily, this will allow you to have a greater degree of transparency, which is crucial when buying such a valuable item. Next, you should immediately see an increase in value of your diamonds, as identifying a source will allow traceability and therefore, market context.

4: Certification

Linked closely with my previous point, is the requirement to ensure that your diamonds are certified by a credible lab, and you have the evidence to prove so (a written document with specific grading details about your diamonds) – this will remove any doubts of impropriety.

It’s essential to remember that not all labs are the same, and many labs are better than others. Both the AGS (American Gem Society) and GIA (Gemological Institute of America) have great reputations and are world renowned. I’d recommend doing your own research into the labs, and when you’ve found the pieces that you’d like to invest in, then make an informed decision based upon your findings. Ultimately, proving certification will make your stones easier to insure, and deep down, you can have peace of mind knowing you have got what you have paid for.

Don’t forget to keep this paperwork in a safe location as well – you’d be surprised how many people we’ve met who have lost, or forget where they’ve placed it.

5:  Patience is a virtue…

If the market is strong, it might be tempting to look for an immediate sale once you’ve purchased a high value item. However, I suggest holding onto your diamonds for some time before even thinking about selling. More often than not, an item is more likely to increase in value over a few years than a few days – try and wait a little longer!

Equally, I would encourage having your diamonds, or jewellery professionally valued regularly. If you don’t have the knowledge to make a rough judgement on how much your pieces are worth, a consultant or expert can provide both a valuation, and contextualise that amount in the wider market. From there, you should be empowered with the knowledge to decide whether to keep or sell.

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal 4 The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal 5
Technology18 hours ago

The importance of app-based commerce to hospitality in the new normal

By Jeremy Nicholds CEO, Judopay As society adapts to the rapidly changing “new normal” of working and socialising, many businesses...

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 6 The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector 7
Finance18 hours ago

The Psychology Behind a Strong Security Culture in the Financial Sector

By Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4 Banks and financial industries are quite literally where the money is, positioning...

How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world 8 How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world 9
Banking18 hours ago

How open banking can drive innovation and growth in a post-COVID world

By Billel Ridelle, CEO at Sweep Times are pretty tough for businesses right now. For SMEs in particular, a global financial...

How to use data to protect and power your business 10 How to use data to protect and power your business 11
Business19 hours ago

How to use data to protect and power your business

By Dave Parker, Group Head of Data Governance, Arrow Global Employees need to access data to do their jobs. But...

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI 12 How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI 13
Business19 hours ago

How business leaders can find the right balance between human and bot when investing in AI

By Andrew White is the ANZ Country Manager of business transformation solutions provider, Signavio The digital world moves quickly. From...

Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it? 14 Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it? 15
Finance19 hours ago

Has lockdown marked the end of cash as we know it?

By James Booth, VP of Payment Partnerships EMEA, PPRO Since the start of the pandemic, businesses around the world have...

Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 16 Lockdown 2.0 – Here's how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room 17
Top Stories19 hours ago

Lockdown 2.0 – Here’s how to be the best-looking person in the virtual room

By Jeff Carlson, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Luminar 4 and Take Control of Your Digital Photos suggests “the product you’re creating is...

Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points 21 Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points 22
Banking19 hours ago

Banks take note: Customers want to pay with points

By Len Covello, Chief Technology Officer of Engage People ‘Pay with Points’ – that is, integrating the ability to pay...

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger 23 Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger 24
Business20 hours ago

Are you a fighter or a freezer? The 4 “F’s” of Surviving Danger

By Dr.Roger Firestien, Author of Create In a Flash. The fight, flight, freeze survival response – or FFF for short...

Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for 25 Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for 26
Technology21 hours ago

Why the FemTech sector might be the sustainability saviour we have been waiting for

By Kristy Chong, CEO & Founder Modibodi ® Taking single use plastics out of circulation is no easy feat, but...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now