Connect with us
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.

Investing

The rise of social media in trading

Published

on

Matt-ODonnell

Matthew O’Donnell, Director of Product Management at IPC

The impact of technological changes
Matt-ODonnellFrom the invention of the trading turret in the early 1970s, to the development of algorithmic trading in the 1990s, the trading industry has been greatly impacted by the development of new technologies over the years. According to a recent survey conducted by IPC at TradeTech Europe, 100% of traders surveyed agreed that technological changes have had a positive impact on their job role. The benefits of technology on the trader include increased speed and efficiency, helping them to gain crucial competitive advantage. An obvious major development in the technology space is the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, which change the way people, generate, share and consume information in their personal lives. This trend is now feeding into working environments, and the trading environment is no exception, with traders using social media to gauge market, and global news trends that have the potential to influence share prices.

The explosion of social media
Social media presents a real challenge for trading firms. Staff using social media in the workplace can cause problems for employers, particularly if the platforms are being used to influence trading decisions or to communicate information about the company. Whether social media can be relied on as a trusted information source is moot, whilst the communication of potentially price sensitive information could be construed as insider trading.

Despite these issues, the rules around the use of social media in a trading environment are not entirely clear. As a result, the majority of major banks do not currently allow the use of social media within the workplace and most have entirely cut off access to such sites. However, the smaller firms such as hedge funds and proprietary traders, where there is more self-management, tend to be more flexible in their approach to the use of social media. Both models have inherent failings, those who have no access to social information may miss out on hearing about price impacting news before their competitors, whereas those that have access to all the additional information available via social media may find it impossible to analyse it quickly enough to utilise it effectively.

Analytics are needed to gain insight
In trading, it is often not what you know but more importantly what the market knows; and the ability to be one step ahead of what your competitor knows is crucial to a traders’ success.

As a result of the huge volume of information that social media creates, the use of analytics programmes to help monitor and analyse market trends has been growing. The vast amount of unstructured data generated on social media sites cannot possibly be read by a human, so the use of analytics is the only real way to benefit from social information and gain valuable insight into macroeconomic trends in real-time. Currently such analytics programmes are being developed by niche players in the technology industry. The bigger players have existing technology which can be adapted to analyse this type of information but it will be interesting to see if they begin to develop programmes designed for this specific use.

So what are the challenges and issues?
The recent Associated Press twitter hoax is a dramatic example of the problems that social media has the potential to cause. When the Associated Press’ Twitter handle announced that President Obama had been injured in a bombing attack at the White House, the Dow Jones dropped 145 points and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost $136 billion in value within minutes. The ‘news’ was quickly revealed to be a hacker hoax but the incident served as a reminder that algorithms can only operate using the data that goes into them, and can do incredible damage in a short period of time as a result of their inability to apply a human common sense filter. Incidents such as these are rare but they do highlight the danger of relying on algorithms alone.

The use of social media in trading also expands the potential for fraudulent activity. Individuals have always been able to disseminate false information in order to influence a share price, but the advent of social media, means such information can be shared with the entire trading industry. This means the impact any one individual can have is hugely magnified. Currently, posting fraudulent information on the internet is not explicitly outlawed and so it is easy to imagine that incidents like the Associated Press hoax are happening, and will continue to happen more frequently.

One of the reasons it is difficult to create rules regarding how social data may be used, is that social data, unlike market data, is unstructured. As a result, one algorithm may interpret the data differently to another. Companies can pay to have social information analysed and have the analysis sent to staff in the form of a newsfeed but the insights traders receive will depend on the individual algorithm used. This creates the potential for traders to make decisions based on analysis which may not be entirely accurate.

Is social the future for trading?
At the moment the playing field is uneven as no-one is clear about how best to use social data, and institutions are adopting different ways of dealing with it. In time all traders will be able to access and trade off social data in the same way they can with market data. But the use of social data will need to be approached with caution. We expect to see greater market swings resulting from the use of social media –as we saw with the recent drop in Treasury prices many believe was caused by a Twitter post by Pimco boss, Bill Gross, calling the top of the bond market. Theses swings will continues until there is agreement about how social data can and should be used, and better understanding of how to inject common sense rules into the process of analysis.

Social media may also impact how institutions trade with each other. As firm’s social networks grow, workflow could be shifted from exchanges to social platforms which match buyers and sellers. This has been happening in some form for a while with companies like Liquidnet, and new players such as Currensee continue to emerge. These networks allow traders to connect directly and work in a similar way to Facebook, allowing for real-time updates and notifications.

In the future, trading will continue to be automated; however as the Associated Press Twitter Hoax highlighted there will always be the need for human intervention. Traders will need to be armed with the right tools to be able to make use of social data and also to stop any potential problems which may arise from the use of algorithms and automation.

Does the use of social media need to be regulated?
The current situation is one of uncertainty, which is resulting in a climate of fear, particularly among the big investment banks as they understandably do not want to run the risk of incurring either financial losses or reputational damage.

The use of social media clearly has huge potential benefits for the trading industry, but also presents some challenges. One way to overcome these challenges is to look at existing regulation, such as disclosure regulations. Our belief is that much of the existing regulation applies, but there is some ambiguity about how and there is a role for the institutions, regulators and industry bodies to play in coming together to agree best practice in the use of social data, and in clarifying how existing regulation applies.

 

 

 

Investing

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday

Published

on

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday 1

By Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment

The journey back to economic normality will be strenuous. COVID-19 has imbued many financial markets with a great deal of uncertainty, making accurate forecasts difficult for fear that a second spike in cases or further lockdown measures may affect market confidence at a moment’s notice.

However, ensuring investor confidence remains high in the short-to-medium term is paramount for avoiding economic stagnation throughout the rest of 2020. Without economic stimulus, the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery will remain delayed until the virus is contained globally; and given the uncertainty surrounding when this will be accomplished, the economic damage inflicted in the meantime could be grave.

The Government, of course, has been quick to recognise this. It has implemented numerous policies designed to coax activity back to some key markets, most notably in the property sector.

The stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday especially seems to be succeeding in attracting buyers back to the market, with property listing site Rightmove recording an immediate 75% increase in buyer enquiries following the policy’s implementation. Meanwhile, Halifax’s August house price index (HPI) revealed a year-on-year average house price rise of 5.2%.

After months of the government dissuading people from moving home due to COVID-19 contagion fears, it seems as though the SDLT holiday is managing to release some of the pent-up demand for property that accrued during lockdown. Domestic and international buyers alike are now compelled to take advantage of the lucrative real estate opportunities on offer, with tax savings of up to £15,000 available during the holiday.

What is crucial, however, is that this momentum is sustained. As COVID-19 case numbers begin rising once again, if people view the UK as not having a handle on the spread of the virus, they may be reluctant to make any major decisions regarding their asset portfolio.

To explore how exactly investors are currently perceiving the government’s capacity for effective COVID-19 containment, and how they are managing their financial affairs during this challenging period, FJP Investment recently commissioned an independent survey of over 900 UK-based investors. Each of the investors surveyed has an investment portfolio in excess of £10,000, excluding savings, pensions, SIPPs and residential property.

What we discovered was that, although the SDLT holiday referenced above is being positively received, there are still obstacles to overcome within the wider economic bounce-back.

Holiday time

Among those surveyed, a quarter (24%) of investors stated they are planning on buying one or more new properties to take advantage of the SDLT holiday, a figure that rises to 43% for those aged between 18 and 34.]

Given the substantial potential discounts available, it makes sense that those keen on making their first step onto the property ladder – or building a real estate portfolio – would jump at the chance while market conditions are right. With the SDLT holiday period coming to a close at the end of March 2021, buyers will be keen on finalising their transactions before this key date.

However, 43% of the investors surveyed believed that more financial incentives and support should be offered by the government. Sticking to the property sector, over half (54%) think the mortgage payment holiday relief scheme should be extended beyond its current finishing date of 31st October 2020.

Elsewhere, FJP Investment’s research showed that 57% of investors are keen to see more financial relief for businesses that have experienced disruption to their cashflow due to the pandemic.

Facilitating the strong economic recovery

More worryingly for the government, however, is the current lackluster reception of its recent public health strategy. The majority (54%) of the investors surveyed admitted they had lost confidence in Boris Johnson’s government due to their apparent mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

Increasing case numbers and unfavourable international comparisons risk deterring both domestic and international investors away from UK property – elongating pandemic-related economic stagnation for the foreseeable future.

Ensuring the government soon regains a reputation for good governance and epidemiological competence, then, should be an absolute priority for government advisers. Prospective investors – not just in property but all manner of UK-based assets – must have confidence their assets will not undergo a surprise devaluation due to factors outside of their control.

Personally, I’m confident that the right decisions will be made and the current boom in demand for UK property will be sustained. Investors will continue to be successfully attracted back to the market, and the UK can enjoy a prosperous real estate market once again – fuelling a wider post-pandemic economic resurgence across the nation.

Continue Reading

Investing

Revitalising the token market

Published

on

Revitalising the token market 2

By Gavin Smith, CEO at Panxora

With interest rates near zero and fears that whipsawing stock markets are set for further plunges, many investors are turning to alternative markets in the search for returns. Money flowing into cryptocurrency hedge funds and trusts like Grayscale is at all-time highs and the large cap coins seem to be entering a bull phase, but that capital is not trickling down into new token projects. Why are blockchain token projects struggling to attract funding?

Seed investor scepticism

Setting aside the reputational issues with mainstream investors, even those educated in blockchain tech are not signing on the dotted line. This is certainly due in part to the hangover from the early token market.

During the heady days of 2016/17, investors could buy tokens during the token sale, and if the project was legitimate – even if the business case wasn’t particularly strong – prices would soar based on market enthusiasm. Early investors purchased at a discount and cashed out almost immediately for a handsome profit – and then repeated the process again. The token sale allowed founders to amass a war chest large enough to finance the entire token project – without having to give up a large chunk of company equity. Everyone got what they needed out of the deal.

Running a token sale is far more expensive today than it was during the boom. Getting the attention of the token buying public in a market where advertorial has replaced editorial is expensive. This coupled with a regulatory framework that requires the advice of accountants, solicitors and information gathering of KYC details for investors all comes with an escalating price tag.

To accommodate the change in cost structure, tokens now need to acquire funding in two rounds. Frequently there is a first round where capital is raised from a few, large investors. This cash is then used to finance setup and marketing the main token sale. The token sale, in turn, provides the capital needed to run the entire business project.

Bridging the gap between token projects’ needs and early stage investors

To successfully get a token through the capital raising process, founders must acknowledge the risk assumed by those very early investors and reward them appropriately. And given that tokens may stagnate or fall in price post token sale means that a deep discount in token price is not necessarily attractive enough to get investors to commit.

Many tokens have turned to offering equity in the business in the effort to raise that first tranche of capital. If you look at the number of successfully concluded token sales, the downward trend has continued since Q2 2018, so offering equity is not sufficiently stimulating the market.

Two sides of the coin

So, what is the answer? It’s a complex question but one thing is certain. Any solution must be rooted in a deep understanding of what both parties need to successfully conclude the deal.

Gavin Smith

Gavin Smith

On the one hand, token founders’ needs are clear: they need enough capital to get the token ready for and through a successful liquidity event that will provide sufficient funds to build the project. The challenge lies in striking the right balance between accruing that capital and making sure not to offer so much project equity that give up either the control or the incentive founders need to drive the project forward.

On the other hand, while the needs of the seed capital investors are more complex, there are two areas of key concern: transparency and profit incentives.

Transparency can mean many things, but almost always includes providing more informative cost and profit projections, as well as answers to a whole range of questions, not least the following:

  • What happens to investor capital if the token sale event fails? Token founders must be transparent from the outset. The token market is highly speculative and early investors run the risk of losing their money should the project fail. Therefore, investors require a well-established fund governance process in place throughout the fundraising so they can make informed decisions on whether the project is worthwhile.
  • How are the assets for the entire project managed? Investors need to know that their money is in good hands and that proper treasury management techniques are being used to manage cryptocurrency volatility risk. Ideally, an independent custodian will be used to hold the funds and limit founders’ ability to draw down the capital – releasing funds to an agreed-upon schedule of milestones.
  • How are the rights of investors protected, for instance in the case of a trade sale? Investors need to know what happens if the company they are investing in is sold. What impact could this have on the value of their stake? Would a separate governance framework need to be established? These are critical questions and investors aren’t likely to settle for any ambiguity in the answers.

Profit incentives are important when it comes to encouraging early participation in a project. Investors need convincing that the proposition will keep risks to a minimum and focus on providing a strong probability of a return. This means that founders need to be able to defend the case for the increase in the value of their token.

But this isn’t the only incentive that matters. Investors can also be incentivised by preferential offerings such as early access to projects and services that might help their own business.

Let’s not forget that investors don’t support just any project. What really matters is that there is something special and unique about the business being underwritten by the token. Preferably something that could be shared upfront and directly benefit the investor – proof that the investment is really worth it.

And that’s what it all comes down to. Ultimately, while token projects are having a hard time finding funds at the moment, if they can prove their worth and provide full transparency and clear profit incentives to ease investors’ concerns, the money is out there. And deals can be done.

Continue Reading

Investing

Achieving steady returns in challenging times for later life planning

Published

on

Achieving steady returns in challenging times for later life planning 3

By Matt Dickens, Senior Business Development Director at Ingenious

The macro-economic conditions of the last five years have presented a relentless challenge for money managers seeking to produce consistent returns. It seems an all too distant memory that UK markets were caught in a happy period of low volatility and positive growth since the recovery from the financial crisis started in 2009. Enter 2016 and we have since found ourselves in an era of exceptional uncertainty. An acrimonious Brexit referendum and the following ambiguity, pressure on sterling, repeated challenges to the UK Government, a trade war between two of the world’s super-powers and now a global pandemic. All this as the world is going through a digital revolution.

Under these exceptional conditions, many investment strategies have understandably struggled to sustain the growth that investors had previously enjoyed without taking on elevated levels of risk and experiencing greater volatility and its associated negative impact. However, Ingenious Estate Planning has been operating alternative investment strategies for several years, which have produced a steady return with low volatility over this time as they possess little correlation to the main listed markets.

Real Estate

The affordable end of the UK’s residential real estate market has proven to be extremely robust during the recent uncertainty. The market benefits from some core fundamentals that have assisted it withstanding a lot of the pressures experienced by other sectors. Firstly, a large and sustained supply deficit. In 2018 the UK built 80,000 fewer houses than the actual requirement of 300,0001. This strong, inherent demand poses a clear investment opportunity to investors who can fund construction projects in the safe knowledge that there is an established demand on completion.

Secondly, this supply deficit has been recognised by Governments for several years and there has been a raft of policies enacted, all supportive of building more houses. For instance, the Help to Buy scheme has enabled many, often first-time buyers onto the property ladder. This scheme means there is a well-established and subsidised group of buyers ready to buy whenever developers complete construction. Thirdly, and more recently, the Government has acted quickly to identify the property sector as one that is key to the UK’s recovery from Covid-19. Through relaxing planning laws and offering stamp duty holidays, both the construction and sales market are being given valuable incentives that support an ongoing return for real estate investors.

Secured lending model

Despite these positive forces however, there remain some risks with investing in the property market, so a conservative investment strategy is key to protecting investors. Rather than take a 100% equity, or ownership, position in a house-builder, developer or single property, a portfolio-based, secured lending model, has a number of clear risk-mitigating benefits. For instance, by lending to a portfolio of developers, carefully selected on a project-by-project basis, and by earning a fixed rate of interest, rather than taking equity risk, there is inherently lower volatility in returns given the protection of a senior debt position on each development. Contracts set out clear loan terms meaning that regular interest is paid on the investment and upon final sale the repayment is made in full, all with the benefit of banking-style security protections. By contrast, equity investments and associated valuations can fluctuate over time as the asset price changes and so it is far more vulnerable to market conditions and sentiment, and ultimately any drop in value is suffered by the investor. In the lending model, any loss is initially felt by the borrower.

Benefits for estate planning

Ingenious Estate Planning Private Real Estate utilises this secured lending investment strategy. The Business Relief- qualifying service is commonly used by clients planning for later life. As savers and investors reach retirement and decumulation, they present wealth managers with a unique set of investment problems. Without careful planning, the start of this phase for many could signal the end of any capital growth and herald their savings being eroded to pay for life’s needs. Any investment offering both high volatility and potential drawdowns may therefore become unpalatable. And while many would wish to gift savings to their children to mitigate the risks to their beneficiaries of paying a hefty inheritance tax bill upon their death, the thought of losing both control and access to these savings when they may still need them, means many feel uncomfortable in taking that step.

However, this does not need to be a fate accepted by savvy investors and planners who can utilise a proven trading strategy that continues to both carefully and predictably grow their investment while also providing potentially full relief from inheritance tax.

Continue Reading

Call For Entries

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

Latest Articles

Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance 4 Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance 5
Top Stories60 mins ago

Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance

By Ryan Lester, Senior Director of Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn With heightened economic uncertainty and increased customer expectation becoming...

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk    6 The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk    7
Business1 hour ago

The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk   

Research by Egress reveals organisations suffer outbound email data breaches approximately every 12 working hours  Egress, the leading provider of human layer data security solutions, today released their 2020 Outbound Email Data...

Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments 8 Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments 9
Finance2 hours ago

Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments

By Fady Abdel-Nour, Global Head of M&A and Investments, PayU Over the course of the last six months, the payments...

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday 10 Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday 11
Investing2 hours ago

Investors remain worried about COVID, but positive towards stamp duty holiday

By Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment The journey back to economic normality will be strenuous. COVID-19 has imbued many...

Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services 12 Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services 13
Technology2 hours ago

Creating a culture of cybersecurity in Financial Services

By Martin Landless, Vice President for Europe at LogRhythm As the financial services sector increasingly moves online and reaps the...

How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again 14 How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again 15
Finance2 hours ago

How the financial sector can keep newly acquired customers returning time and time again

By Dicken Doe from Foolproof, a Zensar company Covid-19 has changed the financial lives of millions; what worked for people...

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder 16 Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder 17
Business2 hours ago

Creating an engaging email marketing campaign that avoids the junk folder

By David Wharram, CEO of Coast Digital With more than 280 billion emails sent every day, email marketing is a...

Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored 18 Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored 19
Banking3 hours ago

Cloud in Banking: An Opportunity That Can’t be Ignored

By David Rimmer, Research Associate at Leading Edge Forum Originally offered as a better way to build IT systems, cloud...

Increased contactless spending could be linked to higher fraud and payment disputes, warns global risk expert 20 Increased contactless spending could be linked to higher fraud and payment disputes, warns global risk expert 21
Finance3 hours ago

Increased contactless spending could be linked to higher fraud and payment disputes, warns global risk expert

The rapid adoption of contactless payments during COVID-19 may be contributing to multiple strands of fraud Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO and...

Pay and Go, why seamless checkout is essential for the customer experience 22 Pay and Go, why seamless checkout is essential for the customer experience 23
Finance3 hours ago

Pay and Go, why seamless checkout is essential for the customer experience

By Ralf Gladis, CEO, Computop Shopping for many is therapy…until they reach the queue for the checkout. It’s easier online...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now