we make you look great
A custom publication is your organisations best marketing material,
and we create great publications.
To start a conversation about your publication.
CEO is a human being, and not a human doing
Human Rights in a State of Perpetual Emergency
26 A DUFF & PHELPS HIRES SPORTS EXPERT TREVOR BIRCH
GameChangers™ welcomes news and views from its readers. Correspondence should be sent to email@example.com For more information about GameChangers™ visit www.acq5.com/posts/ gamechangers/ GameChangers™ Copyright © 2017 GameChangers™ No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without permission. SAFE HARBOR The interviews in this publication may contain certain forward looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations of the businesses profiled. These statements and forecasts involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors which could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward looking statements and forecasts. The statements may have been made with reference to forecast price changes, economic conditions and the current regulatory environment. Nothing in these announcements should be construed as a profit forecast.
KENNETH BORTON JOINS H.I.G. CAPITAL AS MANAGING DIRECTOR
The World's Most Powerful People
Augentius - 2017 Through our Industry's Eyes
TINUES TO MODERNISE?
s are also investing in astructure with nearly espondents spending technology in 2016 5, and 60% expecting even more on gy in 2017.
INVESTOR SPEND ON TECHNOLOGY
ws all round for the gy providers!
THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATORS?
EXPECTED OUTSOURCING PERCENTAGE FOR 2016 C0MPARED TO 2017
und administrators eports and accounts r than the Managers ves, (according to the s), more than 60% ndents value the t provided by a third ministrator and 65% administrators give ue for their services.
ce, the fund tration industry o be delivering what stors are looking for.
Big Deals, Big Data
Sisley Austin LLP Adds Additional Restructuring
PPENED IN 2016, AND WILL HAPPEN IN 2017, MOST MANAGERS ARE CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL SO IMMUNE FROM POLITICAL CHANGE?
r concern for all – and of course there is undoubtedly more change on the horizon. The industry whatever it may be faced with.
se – whether it be through specialist third party providers or other solutions. Given the need for vestors, this process will only continue to gather pace.
p 97 5455 ntius.com
Alexander Traub +65 6420 6991 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugh Stacey +44 20 7397 5463 email@example.com
TEAM David Rogan - President & Editor-In-Chief Jon Van Dyke - Editorial Director James Wiltshire - Publisher EDITORIAL J Robson - Editor-At-Large L. B. Kooler - Deputy Editor P Ramone - Senior Editor J LaRusso - Copy Chief M-C Fisher - Editorial Assistant B Sancheze - Senior Staff Writer ADVERTISING A Bott - Digital Advertising Director J Downey - Advertising Director Z Wolfel - Business Development Director C Thomas - Account Executive H Smith - Account Executive ADMINISTRATION A Kessler - Finance & Admin Director T Dolby - Technology Manager P Hughes - Operations Coordinator T. A. Black - Office Manager
2017: KEY TRENDS TO WATCH IN ALTERNATIVE LENDING Connectivity and interdependence have increased in most industries, including financial services in the last decade. In the wave of digital transformation, new business models are born. From the crisis of 2008 to date, EUR 19 billion has been invested in Fintech companies (CB Insight, 2016) with hundreds of them newly founded. Though this number may not seem very high in the context of the balance sheets of the entire financial sector (EUR 28 trillion) or the recent fines some banks needed to pay, there are many aspects that are clearly changing in the landscape of financial services. Customer expectations drive changes in business models. New partnerships as well as methods of connecting borrowers and lenders are born. Herein I provide my reflection on recent trends and highlight some key predictions for 2017 in the Alternative Lending landscape in Europe.
Regarding outlook, the quantitative easing program is being extended so any interest rate hike is pushed well into the future. This environment forces banks to be more efficient with all of their key resources: people, branch network, system and their balance sheet. In practice, this implies closing down branch offices, reduction of headcount, further consolidation and tighter balance sheet management. Since the peak of 2008 till 2016, more than 350,000 jobs disappeared. This seems high, but between 2000 and 2008, almost 1 million jobs had been added to the sector. In this context, there might be still potential for job cuts. (The figures are based on listed banks representing approximately 80% of the total assets of the European sector.)
1. Banks will continue to shrink their Balance Sheets and will invest in new business models and partnerships Europe relies heavily on banks. Therefore, in order to assess the lending ecosystem, I always start with what is going on with the banks. Banks have been shrinking their balance sheets since the crisis. In 2008, the total assets of banks in the Euro region stood at EUR 33 trillion and declined to EUR 28 trillion by 2015 (ECB, 2016). Just to put this number into context, the decline is higher than the combined balanced sheet of five major banks (Rabobank, ING, ABNAMRO, Deutsche Bank and Unicredit) as of June 30, 2016.
Banks will further explore alternative lending avenues and strengthen cooperation with institutional investors and Fintech companies. This creates new attractive opportunities for investors or potential partners that may have limited business origination or risk management capabilities but offer balance sheet capacity or more efficient business execution. 2. Political support to alternative lending will strengthen
In terms of profitability, it did not really improve this year. Interest rates continued to be low, capital requirements became harder, compliance rules and penalties remain harsh. The first 6 months of financials in 2016 indicate declining trends in many aspects, including revenue and deposits. The net interest margin of the Top 10 listed banks in the sector further reduced to below 1.5%, which is structurally lower than in the US. Return on equity was 5.8%, which remains below the cost of capital, estimated to be around 9%. The prolonged low profitability is very challenging, especially as it coincided with a low equity base and increasing capital requirements.
The funding needs of the European economy remains larger than ever. The sentiment that Europe in terms of economic growth is lagging behind the USA seems more widespread than ever. The need for a more diversified funding source in Europe is more urgent than ever. I see strong evidence that the conviction among key decision and policy makers in Europe is leaning towards increased lending via alternative sources. Over-reliance on banks made us too vulnerable and constrained our economic development and we need to increase resilience via diversifying funding sources towards the European economy.
This vulnerability of Europe is clearly illustrated by the Basel IV debate in recent months. The proposed legislations, which had been discussed in Santiago some weeks ago, favor a regime shift towards a less risk-based approach for credit risk. These would need to be aligned and inserted in capital requirements of European banks (Capital Directive) with very significant potential impact on the economy, including mortgage lending.
Proposals to increase capital requirements for lower risk-weight portfolios, such as mortgage loans are disproportionately hitting European banks (Fitch, 2016). As the European banking system finances about 75% of the economy, the potential adverse impacts are a lot higher. In contrast, only 25% of the US economy is financed by banks. It is largely capital market-based and long-term residential property risks are covered by government agencies (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). This diversification enables the US banks to operate with lighter balance sheets and any new legislation has less impact.
European banks have about 1.5% net interest margin and lend at an average interest rate of 2.5%. The bulk of the traditional banking products are safer assets and can be an excellent alternative to traditional fixed income products. Some of these new assets classes (like Dutch mortgages) has been favored by many institutional investors recently and a lot of similar product initiatives are likely to come. 4. Fintech: Getting more mature, more regulated with new collaborations
European banks are more sensitive to any regime shift and could be forced to decrease their direct lending to corporations and households. More importantly, any of these adverse changes in lending capacity has a direct impact on the economy. They understandably issued a strong pushback on the proposal.
Many companies were formed with a mission to implement a new business model in the financial services industry.
This illustrates profound vulnerability. As Olivier Guersent, DG for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union at EU pointed out this month, “We have to set the rate of retention in securitization market to make sure that there is a market. Legislations are no use if there is no market anymore.”
The market will understand the significant differences between certain sub-segments of Fintech companies. Payments and blockchain services are likely to cause the most disruption and we will see further diversification of deposits payments from retail clients.
This implies a stronger push for support for developing alternative lending channels, securitization market and capital market union initiatives. There is also likely to be more scrutiny and consequently, regulation to ensure consistency and a more level playing field between risks of banks and non-banks and transparency to investors about risks they are taking. 3. Institutional investors will show increasing acceptance to alternative fixed income products (e.g. private debt) The search for yield remains a key theme in a low-return, volatile environment. Those who can deal with and accept the illiquid nature of the asset class will find a safe haven in private debt. These assets have limited liquidity and mark-to-market pricing; consequently, they “look and feel” stable.Institutional investors (insurance companies, pension funds, etc.) are inherently more suited to participate in funding the economy because they capture a large percentage of long-term savings. However, the infrastructure to facilitate this remains mostly at the banks and the investments need to be channeled via capital markets and partnerships. The growth of partnerships has been painstakingly slow. There needs to be significant education and convincing done also at supervisory board level at these institutions. Last but not least, investors seem to have high return expectations from private debt instruments that need to be managed. At the moment, a high percentage of investments are going to the highest risk basket in private debt (e.g., direct lending with return exceptions of 6-10%). The potential private debt universe is a lot larger than lending at 6-10% to sub-investment-grade companies.
2017 is likely to be an important year for Fintech when many of these business models will be tested on their ability to scale and operate under increasing regulatory scrutiny.
Some new companies will simply run out of money to support their business model. The market is likely to test the real value contribution of “smart algorithms”. With increased interdependence, potential defaults will have negative impact on others in the sector. Fintech companies will further recognize the importance of operating in a regulated environment in order to build trust and scale their business model. Regulations above a certain size is inevitable and unfortunately, extremely costly (systems, KYC, compliance and risk management costs). In contrasts, risk management and compliance are core competencies of banks and the associated costs are already inherent. Rather than perceiving Fintech companies as competitors, financial services companies will be reviewing avenues to develop collaboration models for mutual benefit and assess to what extent they can incorporate innovative business ideas in their incumbent setup. Many financial services companies (e.g., BBVA, Santander, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan) have established incubation centers, dedicated VC activities and M&A departments to capture on the most interesting opportunities. A recent survey conducted by Roland Berger confirms that over 85% of Fintech companies anticipate stronger cooperation with incumbents. The most important reason mentioned was the access to a stronger customer base. The power of this approach is to ensure that business or product innovation can be scaled up in a regulated environment, create a mode of comfort and eventually generate a critical mass.
FINAVIA INVESTS IN DIGITAL SERVICES FOR CHINESE PASSENGERS: HELSINKI AIRPORT AMONG THE FIRST AIRPORTS IN EUROPE TO ACCEPT ALIPAY Chinese passengers are the most rapidly growing customer group at Helsinki Airport. Being able to use a familiar payment method will further improve their service experience at the airport. Helsinki Airport is among the first airports in Europe to enable AliPay. The first commercial operators at Helsinki Airport adopted the Chinese AliPay mobile payment application in December 2016. Chinese passengers are the most rapidly growing customer group at Helsinki Airport, and the group that use the most money.
“We work hard to offer them the best possible service experience. Familiar and easy payment options increase the feeling of smooth and safe travel for Chinese passengers, says Finavia’s Elena Stenholm, director of commercial services at Helsinki Airport.” Helsinki Airport is among the first airports in Europe to enable AliPay
“As far as we know, the only other airports accepting AliPay are Munich and Frankfurt. Seven commercial service points have now adopted it at Helsinki Airport, and many others are interested. China UnionPay is already available at most airport outlets”, Stenholm says. AliPay can now be used to pay at the airport’s Iittala, M-Box, Finspiration, Lindroos and Moomin shop outlets. Finavia’s intent is to have all airport’s commercial operators accepting AliPay. “We work in close cooperation with our commercial partners to develop the customer experience. AliPay has been received very well, and we encourage businesses to enable it. If the biggest commercial operators at the airport come along, the amount of outlets accepting AliPay will increase tenfold at once,” Stenholm says.
AliPay is a part of world’s largest online trading company Alibaba. AliPay is China’s leading mobile payment giant which has approximately 400 million users according to its own website. Chinese passengers a high priority for Finavia Helsinki Airport has seen a sharp increase in the number of Chinese passengers in recent years. The number of Chinese passengers is expected to continue increasing for both transfer connections and overnight stays in Finland. In Finland, Lapland is a particular attraction for Chinese tourists. Alibaba’s travel service provider AliTrip has announced that it will bring 50,000 Chinese tourists to Rovaniemi during 2017. Finavia has responded by bringing Chinese-speaking service guides to Helsinki Airport and by adding signs in Chinese. In autumn 2016, the staff exchange program between Finavia and Beijing Airport helped increase knowledge of the Chinese service culture and the needs of Chinese travellers. Helsinki Airport has an account Chinese social media channel Weibo. A WeChat account will be opened in 2017. Weibo has approximately 300 million and WeChat more than 800 million active monthly users. Helsinki Airport is the leading hub for air traffic between Europe and Asia. It offers the fastest and shortest route between the continents.
GLOBAL SURVEY REVEALS OFFSHORE PRIVATE EQUITY TO REMAIN STRONG IN 2017 Study reveals most Limited Partners (LPs) will maintain or increase their investment in offshore private equity funds. Well over half of LPs globally (60%) plan to increase or maintain the amount of capital they have invested in PE funds in offshore locations in the next five years, according to research commissioned by leading offshore law firm, Mourant Ozannes. The research, which polled 260 Limited and General Partners across the world, also found that when it comes to mid-shore jurisdictions, 51% of LPs expect to increase or maintain investments. The billions of dollars raised from global investors in 2016 and into 2017 by private equity mega-funds established offshore support these survey outcomes.
Mourant Ozannes Funds Partner, Ben Robins, said: “It is clear that both GPs and institutional investors across the globe remain positive about the role well-regulated and transparent offshore financial centres play in the PE market. A significant majority are refocusing their attention on jurisdictions that provide tested, flexible and cost-effective structures for holding or financing international assets or operations.” Ben Robins added: “The research also indicated that the location of a fund is high on the list of factors that influence investment decisions. It is heartening to see that the PE market as a whole remains undeterred by media hype that paints a negative picture of all offshore centres, failing to differentiate between those that have taken a global lead in transparency and regulatory initiatives and those that have clung to an outmoded secrecy model.”
The threat of cyberattacks really can’t be underestimated, as recent events have demonstrated, such as the breach of 500 million Yahoo accounts; the widespread outages of websites resulting from denial-of-service-attacks on Internet infrastructure provider Dyn, now being acquired by Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL). Companies offering protection have become highly sought targets for acquisition. Among the firms expected to continue snatching up cybersecurity providers are the Chertoff Group, Thoma Bravo, TPG and Vista Equity Partners. The ongoing transition to cloud computing, which leverages networks of remote servers hosted on the Internet to deliver efficient, inexpensive services, will continue to fuel PE investments by firms, including Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO), the Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), HGGC, the Riverside Co. and Thoma Bravo. Innovations in medical devices will continue to drive M&A. Genstar recently sold Mountainside Medical, which makes instruments, such as laparoscopes and endoscopes, to Tecomet Inc. Ben Robins, Funds Partner, Mourant Ozannes
Makers of specialty chemicals used in agriculture are increasingly in demand, as the need for more food rises with the global population.
“It is a fact that sophisticated offshore and mid-shore jurisdictions play key roles in oiling the wheels of efficient international financial transactions, and the industry is sending a very clear message through this survey that it understands this. Sentiment across the private equity industry globally remains upbeat as we kick off 2017.”
Advent International is one firm focusing on the sector.
According to the Mourant Ozannes study, almost nine in ten (88%) PE professionals worldwide hold a positive outlook on the private equity market over the next twelve months.
Platinum Equity and Wind Point Partners have made recent deals.
This actually increases to 93% amongst UK-based PE professionals, the largest proportion globally, while in North America, 85% of private equity professionals are optimistic about the PE outlook over the next six months.
SEVEN SECTORS TO WATCH IN 2017 Aircraft parts, packaging for consumer goods, construction materials and cybersecurity are some of the industries expected to see strong M&A activity Momentum is building in the middle market, and dealmakers are predicting that 2017 will be a good year for M&A. Innovations in technology and shifts in consumer populations all over the world promise to drive private equity investment in these seven subsectors: cybersecurity tools; cloud-computing services; medical devices; specialty chemicals for agriculture; packaging for consumer goods; construction materials; and aircraft parts and services.
Mass markets of consumers are developing in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and companies that produce packaging for the surge of consumer goods are quickly becoming desirable targets.
Construction spending is up, driving M&A in a wide array of related industries, from hardwood to foam insulation. Among recent PE buyers are: Arsenal Capital Partners, Audax Private Equity, CenterOak Partners and Meridian General Capital. Airline passenger traffic throughout the world has been growing and is expected to continue, fueled by a growing middle class in key emerging markets and intercontinental hubs in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. PE firms are investing heavily in the sector, including AE Industrial Partners LLC, which raised a $680 million debut fund to focus on the aerospace industry. Air traffic is expected to double over the next 20 years. In addition to these industries, some dealmakers predict there will be an uptick in M&A in financial services, infrastructure and defense, due to the outcome of the U.S. election.
BRICKNODE LAUNCHES FULL BROKERAGE SYSTEM IN THE CLOUD Bricknode launched the Software as a Service solution for financial brokers and dealers called Bricknode Broker (www. bricknodebroker.com) where brokers can launch a complete online brokerage system with a click. Historically, brokerage firms has been forced to integrate numerous software solutions in order to launch an online brokerage service which has led to high implementation costs and overhead. Bricknode Broker is the first international software service in the cloud where a brokerage can launch an online brokerage within minutes.Bricknode Broker contains a full suite of integrated user interfaces to cover back office, financial advisory and customer portal. Bricknode Broker can be expanded with add-on applications on the go by activating apps through the Bricknode Marketplace. If need be the brokerage firm can even build their own apps using the open API of Bricknode Financial Systems or integrate with legacy systems. By using a pay-as-you-go model a brokerage firm can start using Bricknode Broker for as low as $70 per month and activate or cancel functions in real time.
Bricknode wants to help individuals and companies to improve their financial lives. Bricknode does this by bringing new financial services to the market. Bricknode offers a cloud based platform and ecosystem for partners who share the same values and beliefs. Bricknode aims to be the premier ecosystem within finance as a platform provider for financial institutions, FinTech innovators, app developers and consultants.“We started out by creating a new operating system for the financial industry and now we are launching our first applications that are specialized for certain user groups like Bricknode Broker for brokerage firms. During 2017 we are going to follow up with a launch of Bricknode Advisor for financial advisors and Bricknode Fund Manager for fund companies which can be used as a complete solution for managing and administer their funds and investors.Bricknode is one of the few that is really offering a complete business system for financial institutions on a pay-per-use basis and I think that is the only way forward for this industry. As an operator of financial institutions since 1998 myself I have gone through most of the issues that you face when operating online within this area.” said Stefan Willebrand, CEO and Co-Founder of Bricknode.
SERVIER APPOINTS MASTHERCELL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ITS CAR-T CELL THERAPY MANUFACTURING PLATFORM Servier, the independent international pharmaceutical company, and MaSTherCell SA, the full-service contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in the delivery of optimized process industrialization capacities to cell therapy organizations, announce the signing of a master service agreement for the development of a manufacturing platform for allogeneic cell therapies. Under the master service agreement, MaSTherCell is developing a CAR-T cell therapy-manufacturing platform, which will enable industrial and commercial manufacturing of Servier cell therapy products. This is a critical step in development of these products for later stage clinical trials. Cell therapies have shown promising results in treating cancers. However so far, successful development has been mainly limited to autologous therapies. This approach, where the patient’s cells are collected then used to create a drug for that specific patient, is limited by the lack of possibility of industrialized manufacturing, thus restricting its access to few patients. Allogeneic therapies, or off-the-shelf treatments, potentially offering the technology to a higher number of patients, are developing very rapidly. However the challenges of their manufacturing scale-up still lie ahead. One of the most advanced cell therapies is based on CAR-T technology, where the T-cells are armed with a Chimeric Antigen Receptor. Servier is developing UCART-19 (see below About UCART-19 for more information), with two clinical trials currently ongoing in Europe, in relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), in pediatric and adults patients.
Servier selected MaSTherCell because of its leading global cell therapy CDMO position as well as its essential broad expertise in immunotherapy products. MaSTherCell has a track record of designing and delivering cost-effective cell therapy manufacturing platforms. MaSTherCell anticipates that it will complete the development of the initial CAR-T platform in 2018. This will then be an efficient complement to the bioproduction facilities that Servier is developing at its site at Gidy (France), which will mainly focus on the production of antibodies. “This partnership will result in developing solutions for one of the biggest challenges to the ongoing development of the cell therapy sector. MaSTherCell has quickly built the most extensive CDMO experience in manufacturing and process industrialization development in the cell therapy industry,” said Denis Bedoret, CBO at MaSTherCell. “This enables MaSTherCell to leverage that experience to deliver solutions to contribute to the Servier cell therapy pipeline. We will thus be able to directly contribute to delivery of life-saving cell therapy treatment to patients.” “The scale up of manufacturing for late scale clinical trials still remains one of the biggest industry-wide challenges in the cell therapy sector, and especially in a CAR-T field still in its infancy,” said Marielle Anger-Leroy, Director of Biotechnology Industrial Development at Servier. “Being pioneers with these innovative therapies means that we have to find the best partners to maximize the chances of delivering these therapies to patients with few alternative options.”
BARCLAYS HELPS BUSINESSES TO STAY VIGILANT AGAINST EMAIL IMPERSONATION FRAUD WITH NEW VIDEO TO RAISE AWARENESS Impersonation fraud has cost UK businesses £32million according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau Barclays has launched a new video to help its business customers stay protected from an increasing type of fraud impacting SMEs - email impersonation. The video shows how easily the scam can occur; when an imposter poses as an employee’s boss and demands an urgent transfer of money is made. The imposter has done their research on the business and, thanks to social media, knows the boss is on holiday making it a key time to strike. The employee, not knowing the importance of always checking email addresses doesn’t notice the slight difference in the email address, and is placed under time pressure to meet the payment deadline, not realising that the request isn’t genuine. By encouraging businesses to take a moment to check and verify and to think carefully about what they and their employees are putting in the public domain, the bank hopes to help SMEs become more vigilant and better protect themselves from fraud and scams. Barclays Business is also hosting regular free cyber-security workshops.
Led by Barclays Digital Eagles across the country, in a bid to educate SMEs on the types of fraud their business could be vulnerable to, and to learn about how to protect themselves and their employees from cyber-attacks. Research from Barclays and the IOD last year found that while 9 in 10 (91%) business leaders said that cyber security was important, only around half (57%) had a formal strategy in place to protect themselves and just a fifth (20%) held insurance against an attack. Adam Rowse, Head of Business Banking at Barclays, said: “Prevention is of upmost importance in putting a stop to this crime - companies need to consider fraud as critical to their business operation as cost or cash flow. We want to help businesses by providing information and guidance to keep their money safe from any attack and to fight back against the fraudsters. With the number of customers going online rapidly rising the issue of fraud prevention has never been more important.” Top tips for SMEs to keep safe • Some of the actions that businesses can take to get fraud smart include creating a cyber-security strategyraise awareness amongst staff of the common cons used to commit cybercrime.
• Keep contact details up to date: ensure your bank has up-to-date mobile/telephone contact numbers for your business, so they can speak to you if they spot unusual or suspicious activity on your account. • Get up to date security software: make sure your computer systems and any web-enabled phones are protected with up-to-date internet security software. • Treat all unsolicited emails with caution: don’t click on links or open attachments in emails you weren’t expecting or are not sure about. • Use strong passwords: passwords should have a mix of letters, numbers and symbols –avoid obvious things like your name, birthday or phone number that others can guess. • Protect yourself from Invoice fraud – have at least two people authorised to perform signatories for financial payments, to help verification. • Verify any new supplier payment details you may be sent, if suspicious speak to the supplier directly to confirm they have changed their details, before making a new payment. Video: https://goo.gl/nJ7bP8
IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH VIA YOUR SMARTPHONE: THRIVE RAISES OVER £500,000 IN SEED CAPITAL Thrive, a software company that develops mobile apps to empower people to manage their mental health independently, announced that it has exceeded their fundraising target of £500,000 with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. Thrive plans to use the funding to develop more products and grow the commercial capacity of the business. According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. The Health & Safety Executive reports that mental health problems cost companies £15 billion annually in the UK alone, an average of £500 per employee per year. However, access to traditional face-to-face therapy and ongoing support is often limited due to long waiting lists and high-related costs, and stigma attached to mental health prevents many from seeking the help they need.
Led by leading psychiatrist Dr Andres Fonseca, and videogame legend Richard Flower, Thrive uses gamification and augmented reality to deliver psychologically proven methods for managing mental health. By doing things digitally, Thrive is able to provide support at a fraction of the cost of traditional, private therapy, achieves a greater degree of treatment completion and reduces users’ worry about stigma or judgement. Thrive currently has three apps available for use: ‘Arachnophobia Free’ helps users overcome the fear of spiders using exposure therapy; ‘Agoraphobia Free’ treats the fear of open spaces through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT); and ‘Feel Stress Free’ uses CBT to prevent, detect and treat depression and anxiety – the two most common mental health conditions globally.
Thrive is looking to expand their number of apps to tackle a wide range of issues such as agitation in dementia and selfmanagement in psychosis. Individual users can download and use all three apps without the input of a health professional, and Feel Stress Free is available on license to businesses that are looking to improve their employees’ wellbeing. Thrive Chairman and Clearly Social Angel investor Stephen Murdoch, said: “We’re very excited by recent studies done on Feel Stress Free at UCL and three other UK universities. We discovered that Feel Stress Free reduced the average recovery time by half, from 8 weeks to 4, for students suffering from clinical depression or anxiety. On average students used it 2 or 3 times a week for an average of 7 minutes per session, despite Thrive not prompting them in any way at all.
This shows Thrive has the potential to be a game changer for overwhelmed services in any organisation.”Robin F, a user of Thrive, added: “What really stands out for me about Thrive is its usability – they have a perfect blend of good design and psychological know-how. I’ve been impressed that an app, with no human interaction, can be so motivating, without making me feel pressured. I feel like I’m able to take control of my mental health.” Further commenting, Hayley Collen, investment director at ClearlySo, said: “Mental health awareness has never been higher and its great that Thrive offers an innovative self-treatment option. The combination of clinical and entertainment expertise at Thrive clearly gives their products an edge. Their apps have the potential to positively impact millions of lives, and I’m excited to see what they do next.”
NEW RESEARCH REVEALS ONE THIRD OF UK MID-SIZED CORPORATES ARE TARGETING THE US FOR GROWTH Businesses must understand the US market to succeed New research* by CIL Management Consultants conducted amongst 100 high performing mid-sized businesses with sector-leading levels of growth and profitability, shows that one third (33.5%) are actively focusing on US expansion as part of their post-Brexit growth strategy. The US is the biggest individual country when it comes to importing UK goods, with a 20% share of UK exports worth £45 billion. This is set to increase as the UK exits the EU and pursues an international trade agreement with the US. In addition to understanding the demand for specific products and services, the growth opportunities and competitive environment, the research also reveals some very important insights from businesses with US operations in terms of the specific quirks about the American market of which British companies should become fully aware. Made in America / Buy American: There is a historical domestic preference to government contracts (Buy American Acts and provisions) and this often carries over into B2B and B2C preference for American products, or at least those perceived to be - a sentiment clearly echoed in Trump’s inauguration speech.
To address this purchasing preference, a British company may need to adapt the product and branding, ensure they have a mostly American workforce – especially in sales. For example, using Inc. rather than Ltd. Not homogenous: A challenge facing UK companies is not only navigating the differences between the UK and US, but also internally between regions/ States. The US is made up of 50 states all with their own regulatory and tax systems, laws (employment, etc.), rules around registration and structure of corporate legal entities, education and welfare systems, transportation networks, culture and landscape/ environment. Logistics: The United States is 33 times bigger than the land area of the UK. The sheer scale of the country brings up some important logistical and supply chain questions, as well as choosing the right region to locate the business depending on existing industry networks and where customers are based. Business structure. Businesses need to consider whether they use distribution partners or sales representatives to cover multiple regions, or set up a local presence in multiple places. What impact will this have on end price (industry variant, what terms and services will distribution partners demand, i.e. exclusivity, etc.)?
Supply chain regulations can vary by state, adding another layer of complexity. Getting a foothold. Going in solo and building from scratch is very difficult (due in part to the Made in America hurdle). Options for entry: enter with a current or supply chain partner, which can introduce potential customers, establish a JV, or make an acquisition. Regardless of entry method, lead times to first sales can be long. Pre-entrance networking and fact finding are vital. To help start building up the brand, it is recommended businesses consider attending conferences and trade shows and sign up to industry associations. People and culture: Differences in language, culture and attitudes towards work can create recruitment difficulties for British companies entering the US. Experienced help on the ground is recommended. Commenting on the research, Jon Whiteman, Partner and head of the industrial practice at CIL Management Consultants, said: “It is clear that the UK Government has the US in its sights as a key trading partner when article 50 is triggered and this is underlined by Prime Minister May’s meeting with President Trump this week. The US is certainly a land of opportunity for those businesses which invest the time to understand both the market and the culture.”
PAVILION ALTERNATIVES GROUP™ HIGHLIGHTS SEVEN KEY CHALLENGES FACING PRIVATE MARKETS IN 2017 2016 produced another strong year of returns, but there are a number of challenges facing investors in 2017. One of the biggest facing limited partners (LPs) will be drawing a distinction between private equity fund managers that are genuine value creators versus market beneficiaries. Investors will face the complex task of selecting which general partners (GPs) to back in what is likely to be a more challenging investment environment. According to Pavilion Alternatives Group™ (Pavilion), this, together with weighing the risks and opportunities of investing in GPs raising larger funds, and dynamic political environments represent some of the concerns identified in its annual review: ‘Key Challenges Facing Private Markets in 2017’.
Brexit and investing in the UK
Commenting on the outlook for the private equity market in 2017, Donn Cox, President & Managing Director of Pavilion Alternatives Group™, said: “The challenges for 2017 are those relating to the sector’s ongoing success. Our biggest concern for the year ahead is the continued increase in valuations as capital has flowed into the private equity sector.
Solving the Asian investment conundrum
At some point, the economy will slow, and it will be interesting to see if certain investments can meet their return expectations. We attempt to manage this by advising clients to invest steadily across vintage years to ensure balanced exposure over time.” Determining whether the manager or the market made the difference While the last few years have been the best exit years in the history of private equity markets leading to record levels of distributions, there remains a problem for LPs: the reinvestment decision. How much of the attractive returns can be attributed to the market and how much to the manager? According to Pavilion, making the distinction between market beneficiaries vs. value creators requires extensive experience in the various private equity markets as well as deep knowledge of the individual fund managers including their team dynamics, their strategy and their value creation capabilities. Positives and negatives to larger fund sizes Private equity investors increasingly face the decision of whether to continue to back a successful GP that is raising a larger fund than their previous fund. Larger fund sizes can be a double-edged sword for LPs. While investors often rely on larger fund sizes to gain access, there are concerns about how more capital can impact the firm and strategy, potentially diluting those characteristics that made it successful in the past. Pavilion advises that assessing the impacts of a larger fund size, such as strategic consistency, investment process, investment size and post-investment execution should be part of any due diligence process in order to understand the merits and potential risks.
In assessing the impact of Brexit on the private equity market in the UK, Pavilion contends that even if there is some decline in activity at certain points in time, it is hard to envisage the UK moving from being the biggest force in European private equity to a minor player. For LPs looking to have exposure to European private equity, it remains important to continue to invest in the best GPs in the UK and to remember that private equity as an asset class tends to outperform in periods of uncertainty as buying opportunities may emerge.
Turning to Asia, Pavilion highlights the conundrum facing large institutional investors. Since they are increasingly focused on reducing the number of fund manager relationships globally, they make larger investments into the biggest pan-Asian funds and end up with concentrated exposure to this end of the market. But it is often the niche strategies and smaller, country-focused funds providing exposure to the smaller end of the market that offer the potential for outsized returns. Therefore to enhance their overall returns, investors should consider the benefits of supplementing their core exposure to certain Pan-Asian funds with a satellite portfolio of select country-specific funds. Impact of Trump on U.S. direct lending Looking at private credit strategies, Pavilion explores the impact of the new Trump administration on direct lending activity in the United States. Far from having a negative impact, the expected rise in GPD growth should benefit the mid-market segment in particular, which is expected to increase its demand for flexible lending solutions. Private credit fund managers are better equipped to offer these solutions than traditional bank lenders. On the regulatory front, Pavilion notes that there is a limit to what Trump can do to change the status quo. But to maintain an attractive premium in this growing and competitive area, Pavilion believes it is critical to understand how private credit managers differ in their offerings. Direct investments done the family office way Pavilion charts the growing enthusiasm among family offices for direct investing as they seek to diversify their assets in order to prepare for family succession. Families’ interest in pursuing direct deals stems, in part, from their own entrepreneurial backgrounds and many have direct investments comprising between 25% and 50% of their overall alternatives allocation. While family offices often end up “doing it themselves” since the investment office is viewed as a cost centre instead of a wealth creator, as their direct investing exposure increases, Pavilion suggests getting quality advice to avoid resourcing challenges.
BRIEF Managing allocations and the pressure to invest
Asia Pac loans hit a three-year low despite Chinese M&A boom
According to Pavilion, the current up-market will present a major challenge to institutional private equity teams in 2017 as it leads to an increasing gap between target private equity allocation numbers and actual allocations. The cause is twofold: there are lags in private equity valuation move in comparison to public market valuations, and the private market asset class self-liquidates (as companies are sold, cash is returned to the investor, and NAV is reduced). This may result in pressure to deploy capital at a velocity matching the trajectory of the public markets and private equity fund distributions. Current public market performance, along with increasing LP allocations to private equity, has made prudent investing that much more difficult.
Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) loan volumes fell for the second consecutive year, totaling US$463.8 billion in 2016, a threeyear low. Bloomberg reports that “slower economic growth and geopolitical turbulence curtailed bank lending” despite a boom in M&A activity in China (i.e., ChemChina US$43.45 billion bridge loan).
SYNDICATED SCOOP: WHAT MADE 2016 A YEAR FOR THE BOOKS? Intralinks for Financial Services – Syndicated Scoop is a newsletter providing a recap of the month’s top stories and insightful commentary related to the commercial and syndicated lending industry. Read on for a quick summary of this month’s Syndicated Scoop: • US: Bank earnings from underwriting leveraged loans sank to a four-year low • EMEA: 2016 saw the lowest total overall loan volume since 2012 • APAC: Loan volumes fell for the second consecutive year, despite an M&A boom This Month’s Syndicated Scoop... Refinancing drags fees on US leveraged loans to a 4-year low Bank earnings from underwriting leveraged loans sank to a four-year low – falling by 12 percent in 2016 to about US$8.1 billion, the lowest since 2012. At the same time, total leveraged lending in the US rose by almost 12 percent in 2016, according Thomson Reuters LPC data. According to Freeman Consulting Services, these volumes alongside lower fees can be explained by sluggish business leading up to the US presidential election followed by a fourth quarter that saw a rush of refinancing deals that typically pay lower fees than new loans. EMEA lending slumps to a four-year low of US$914bn in 2016 According to Thomson Reuters LPC data, syndicated lending in EMEA fell to US$914 billion – showing a whopping 21 percent year-on-year fall, and the lowest since 2012. Experts tie this fall to factors such as: lower-than-usual refinancing activity, patchy acquisitions and global economic and political developments. With persistently low oil prices, UK’s shock vote to leave the EU and the US elections, companies were hesitant to chance market volatility.
TILNEY BESTINVEST REBRANDS AS THE TILNEY GROUP Leading UK financial planning and investment group Tilney Bestinvest has announced that it has rebranded as the Tilney Group. The rebrand marks the successful completion of its integration of Towry following a landmark transaction to combine the two groups, which completed in August 2016. The integrated business will now operate under the Tilney brand for financial planning, investment management and investment advice. The enlarged Tilney Group is a truly nationwide firm with over 300 financial planners, investment managers and advisers supporting over 100,000 clients from a network of 30 offices across the UK. The Tilney Group will also continue to build on the Bestinvest brand’s heritage as a pioneer and leader in the execution-only segment through its award-winning online investment service, which is backed up by telephone support. Tilney’s services to self-directed investors will therefore continue to operate under the Bestinvest brand, which will be described as ‘powered by Tilney,’ but which has had a creative facelift. As one of the UK’s leading discretionary investment managers, Tilney has also long worked with third-party firms of financial advisers to provide their clients with professionally managed investment solutions. In recognition that its partners now also include other professional service firms such as consultants, lawyers and accountants in the UK and overseas it has rebranded its Tilney for Intermediaries division as Tilney for Professionals. Peter Hall, CEO, of Tilney Group commented: “The rebrand is a very significant moment for us, demonstrating that the 2016 integration of Tilney Bestinvest and Towry is now complete. We are truly one business built on the combined strengths of the legacy firms and with a clear and compelling service proposition which is reflected in a new, fresh visual images and logo.” “With a range of services to support clients across the UK and a really top quality team of advisers, I believe this business is exceptionally well positioned for the future. We have now entered a new organic growth phase and will be investing significantly in building the brand with the launch of a major advertising campaign*. We are also kicking off a significant recruitment drive to seek out additional high calibre financial planners and investment managers who want to be part of a successful and growing firm that is committed to the very highest standards of professionalism.”
â€œGamechanger: A visionary strategist bringing fresh and unique ideas to the table, an individual or business that stands out from the crowd with ideas that inventively change the way a situation develops.â€?
BOWMARK AND FIVE ARROWS SELL AUTODATA Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, and Five Arrows Principal Investments, the private equity business of Rothschild Merchant Banking, have agreed to sell Autodata, Europe’s leading provider of technical information to the automotive aftermarket, to Solera Holdings, Inc. for a consideration of £340 million. Solera is a leading provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to complete in February 2017. Established in 1975, Autodata publishes technical information on approximately 40,000 vehicle models from 136 manufacturers. Its products provide over 90,000 professional workshops with access to a comprehensive suite of up-to-date technical data and guidance on cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles, enabling them to carry out service, repair and diagnostic work. Since Bowmark and Five Arrows Principal Investments acquired the company in May 2014, Autodata has significantly enhanced its content and technology platform, and expanded its customer base in Europe and Australia. It has also made three strategic acquisitions in France, Sweden and Finland. Its latest online product, which attracts over 840,000 page views per day, provides an essential workflow tool to over 120,000 automotive technicians, enabling them to conduct their day-to-day activities efficiently and effectively. Rod Williams, Autodata’s chief executive, commented: “With the support of Bowmark and Five Arrows, we have achieved significant growth over the past two and a half years, driven by new product innovation, investment in people and expanding our footprint in our core markets. Our products and services represent an excellent fit with those of Solera, and we are excited at the new opportunities which being part of the Solera group will bring – to Autodata, its customers and its employees.” Bowmark partner, Julian Masters, said: “Since 2014, Bowmark and Five Arrows have worked closely with Autodata to enhance its product offering and accelerate its growth. The company is well-positioned to continue its success under its new owner.” Javed Khan, co-managing partner of Five Arrows Principal Investments, said: “Autodata is clearly a great franchise with an outstanding reputation in its marketplace. We are grateful to Rod and the rest of the management team for their dedication to the business and we are delighted to have played a role in the development of Autodata during our ownership.”
AMUNDI ENERGY TRANSITION COMPLETES ITS FIRST ENERGY TRANSITION-RELATED FINANCING TRANSACTION Amundi Energy Transition (AET), the asset management company jointly owned by Amundi and EDF, has completed the acquisition of a majority interest in a portfolio of gas-powered cogeneration plants from Dalkia, a leading French energy services company and EDF subsidiary. This is AET’s first transaction and is valued at over €150 million. The cogeneration assets consist of 132 facilities producing heat and power for industrial and public sector clients, and have a total capacity of 330MW. The combined heat and power generation (‘CHP’) provides for enhanced energy efficiency and a significant reduction in primary energy consumption. It also contributes power to the French national grid supply. These facilities are able to recover heat produced as a by-product of power generation, and reuse it in a number of sectors and applications including industrial processes, producing energy for use in hospitals and public housing, as well as urban heating networks. Cogeneration plants are part of the reserve margin of the French grid and improve energy efficiency and for this reason they benefit from a specific regulatory framework for a maximum period of 12 years. This is the first transaction of AET, which received its authorisation to operate from the French financial markets authority (AMF) last April. It demonstrates AET’s ability to structure innovative investment vehicles on energy transition that can attract major investors. These energy infrastructure products offer an investment opportunity decorrelated from traditional market performance, and contributes directly to French energy transition by financing real assets. As part of the transaction, Dalkia will maintain control of the assets in order to drive the business relationship and ensure that customers have the expected operational performance. Matthieu Poisson, Chief Executive Officer, Amundi Energy Transition and Head of Infrastructure at Amundi, says: “We are very excited about our joint venture with EDF. This inaugural transaction matches perfectly our strategic approach for Amundi’s Real and Alternative Assets division. The selected structure, a joint shareholder and operational investment between two leading players in finance and energy, will serve as a blueprint for future funds to be developed by AET across new energy sectors.” This first transaction also paves the way for replication in other sectors of energy transition business. A second deal, involving the acquisition of a separate 170MW portfolio of Dalkia cogeneration projects currently under construction, is in the pipeline for 2017.
BONELLIEREDE ADVISES TRENITALIA ON ITS ENTRY IN THE UK RAIL MARKET BonelliErede advised Trenitalia UK on the agreement with National Express Group PLC for the acquisition by Trenitalia of all shares of the company NXET (National Express Essex Thameside), which manages the C2C (City to Coast) franchise operating service between London and Shoesburyness, in the South Essex region. The total consideration is expected to be in the region of £70 million. Completion of the acquisition is conditional upon final consent from the UK Department for Transport. Massimiliano Danusso, managing partner of the London office, and comprised of counsel Helen Roberts and senior counsel Gianpaolo Garofalo, led the BonelliErede’s team advising Trenitalia UK. Partner Claudio Tesauro and managing associate Leonardo Armati assisted the client on competition law matters. BonelliErede’s team acted in synergy with a team of the UK-based law firm Stephenson Harwood led by rail partner Tammy Samuel. Ashurst advised National Express Group with a team led by partners Jan Sanders and Tom Mercer.
CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL ADVISES FM CONWAY ON ITS ACQUISITION OF UNITED ASPHALT Clearwater International has advised leading infrastructure services company FM Conway, on its acquisition of United Asphalt from Ross and Lisa Snape. United Asphalt employs 32 staff and operates two asphalt plants, Theale in Berkshire, which is a mainly delivered plant, and Croydon in South London which has been highly successful in the collect trade. Croydon also gives better coverage south of London, together with a re-cycling depot at Coltrop, Berkshire. The Theale plant is rail fed and completes the company’s aspirations of having a rail facility to the West of London. Theale also allows cover further west along the M4 corridor. They both have 24 hour operations and are fairly new. Coltrop is seven miles away from Theale and produces recycled materials. The locations of Coltrop and Theale complement FM Conway’s recent acquisition of Berkshire Macadam and provide a stepping stone into the south west of England. The acquisition provides FM Conway with a much wider market spread for all divisions within the organisation.
“This is an extremely exciting acquisition for us, which supports our self-delivery model and puts us into an excellent position to provide high-quality products on demand for our customers on both the strategic and local road networks. “The new plants provide a much wider market spread for all divisions within our organisation, supporting both our existing contracts and future projects. The Croydon plant will support our delivery within and to the south of London. Theale, together with our recently acquired Reading plant, now gives us excellent access to the M4 corridor and to the south west of England.” Through its self-delivery model, FM Conway offers a comprehensive service across the entire lifecycle of a project, from production and design to construction and maintenance. The model ensures that in-house expertise is available across the breadth of the company’s services and results in higher standards, lower costs, and more efficient delivery for clients. Partners Chris Smith, Jon Hustler, and Robert Britton led the Clearwater International team, with support from Senior Associate Daniel Rossington. Chris Smith, Partner, Clearwater International commented: “This transaction enables FM Conway to enhance its position within the market and utilise the expertise of this business. With its in-house model, FM Conway is able to offer a wide spectrum of services from start to finish and now with further opportunity to increase its customer base.”
CLESSIDRA TO SELL BUCCELLATI TO GANGTAI GROUP Clessidra and the Buccellati family announced the sale of an 85% stake of Buccellati Holding Italia (“Buccellati”) to the Chinese conglomerate Gangtai Group. Clessidra and the Buccellati family will retain a 15% stake in Buccellati. Buccellati, founded in Milan in 1919, is one of the most prestigious Italian jewelers. The company has a wide international presence especially in Europe and the United States with both direct stores and distribution agreements. Clessidra acquired a 67% stake in Buccellati in 2013 with the remaining 33% retained by the founding family. During the investment period, Clessidra and the family have made significant investments to further boost the image of the brand, expand its distribution network, support the product offering and strengthen the management structure. Marco Carotenuto, Managing Director of Clessidra commented: “We are particularly satisfied with the agreement reached with Gangtai Group. We have strongly supported Buccellati in the last three years achieving a 60% growth in revenues since acquisition. We believe that the company is now ready for a new growth cycle that Gangtai Group will support, considering also its experience in the jewelry market and its strong presence in China.”
Andrea Buccellati, Chairman of Buccellati added: “Our family founded this company almost 100 years ago and will continue to be fully involved to support its development, the creative mastery and production craftsmanship that enabled the establishment of a unique and recognizable style in jewelry and silverware. We welcome the commitment of Gangtai Group to invest significant resources to further develop the Buccellati brand and platform.” Closing of the transaction is expected by the second quarter of 2017 and is subject to Chinese government approvals. Post-closing, Andrea Buccellati will retain his role as Creative Director and Honorary Chairman of Buccellati. Mr Gianluca Brozzetti will retain his role as CEO of Buccellati. Other members of the Buccellati family will also retain their involvement in the business. The deal team at Clessidra included Manuel Catalano (Managing Director), Marco Carotenuto (Managing Director) and Giulio Torregrossa (Investment Director). The sellers were advised by Mediobanca, Unicredit and Partners CPA as financial advisors and by law firms Gattai Minoli Agostinelli & Partners and Pedersoli e Associati for the legal aspects. The purchaser was advised by law firm Simmons & Simmons for the legal aspects.
EQUITEQ ADVISES P2 CONSULTING ON MBO LED BY LONSDALE CAPITAL PARTNERS Equiteq, a consulting sector M&A specialist, announced that it has advised its client P2 Consulting on a management buyout led by the existing management team and supported by Lonsdale Capital Partners. Equiteq acted as exclusive financial advisor to P2 Consulting. The transaction closed on December 23, 2016. London headquartered P2 provides senior project management support to international blue chip clients that are undertaking significant change initiatives. P2 has grown significantly year-on-year since being established in 2013 and currently generates revenues of around £10m, principally from clients in the financial services and consumer/retail sectors. With Lonsdale’s investment and wider support, P2 intends to accelerate its growth by expanding into new sectors and geographies, and capitalizing on attractive acquisition opportunities in a fragmented space. P2 is aiming to continue its impressive growth trajectory and realize its ambition to become the world’s leading brand in project and programme management.
Commenting on the deal, P2’s Managing Director, Douglas Elliott, said, “This is a very exciting new phase for the P2 business. With Lonsdale as our partner for growth, we look forward to achieving our ambition to become the world’s leading project and programme management company. We also look forward to taking advantage of significant growth opportunities whilst retaining our absolute focus on clients and our commitment to delivering the best possible outcomes for them.” The founders will remain very involved with the business, with Pip Peel assuming the role of Chairman. Regarding Equiteq’s role in the transaction, he stated, “Given their consulting sector M&A experience, Equiteq was the natural choice for us when we started to explore options for the business. Equiteq ran a comprehensive process and, guided by them, we concluded that a private equity backed MBO would give the best outcome to shareholders, management and the company going forward. Equiteq introduced Lonsdale and we immediately recognised their experience and the cultural fit would make them the ideal partner.” Ed Groome, Director, who led the Equiteq team, commented, “Pip and his co-founders have built a very impressive business in a short space of time with deep expertise in project and programme management and a growing blue-chip client base as a result. With so much change and delivery required in today’s large corporates, P2, led by an impressive management team, is ideally placed to capitalize on the opportunity. Lonsdale’s investment enables management to take a greater role in the business and for the founders to realize some of the value they have created to date. We thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the team and believe that, in Lonsdale, we have found the ideal partner to help management realize their ambitions.”
GRAPHITE CAPITAL SELLS MICHELDEVER TYRE SERVICES TO SUMITOMO RUBBER INDUSTRIES FOR £215 MILLION Graphite Capital, a leading UK mid-market private equity specialist, has agreed to sell Micheldever Tyre Services (MTS), the UK’s second largest distributor of car, 4x4 and motorcycle tyres, to Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI). Listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, SRI is the sixth largest tyre manufacturer in the world. The transaction is subject to European Commission approval. The sale price of £215 million represents a return of approximately 3.7 times Graphite’s investment in the company. MTS is the UK’s second largest distributor of tyres to independent retailers and the third largest retailer of tyres, offering all major premium tyre brands and a number of exclusive mid-range and budget brands. It supplies around six million tyres each year to more than 6,000 retailers and direct to motorists through its Protyre retail chain.
Graphite originally backed the £85 million management buy-in/buy-out of MTS in 2006, with the objectives of driving consolidation of the highly fragmented tyre retail segment in the UK and supporting MTS’ organic growth strategy. Under Graphite’s ownership, MTS has made 36 bolt-on acquisitions, growing its Protyre retail chain from 16 to 99 outlets. It has developed successful divisions servicing vehicle dealerships and fleet operators, whilst also expanding its wholesale customer base by opening additional warehouses and further strengthening the product range. As a result of the unrivalled depth of its product range and its strong focus on customer service since Graphite’s investment, the company has grown turnover from £150 million to over £320 million. During this period, its workforce has increased from approximately 500 to 1,600 employees. Duncan Wilkes, MTS’ chief executive, commented: ‘Graphite has been a highly supportive owner of MTS and helped us drive the expansion of the business. SRI is fully committed to the UK market and to supporting our proven approach to growing the business. The transaction ensures continuity of both management and of our successful multi-brand, multi-segment strategy. We look forward to working with SRI in the further development of the business.’
Graphite senior partner, Markus Golser, added: ‘MTS is a high-quality business run by an exceptional management team. Under our ownership, the company has consolidated its leading position in the UK and it remains extremely well placed to take advantage of the substantial growth opportunities in the tyre wholesale and retail markets.’ Partners Omar Kayat and Mudassir Khan worked with Markus Golser in managing the transaction for Graphite.
INDEPENDENT GROWTH FINANCE FUNDS £35M TO SMES IN 2016 Commercial finance firm doubles funding post-acquisition IGF, the leading commercial finance provider for SMEs, has provided £34.7m of lending to SMEs across the UK following its acquisition in April 2016. As of close of business on 1st December 2016, the business has doubled its ‘funds out’ to small and mid-market organisations since its management buy-in/buy-out earlier this year. John Onslow, CEO of Independent Growth Finance says: “This is a fantastic achievement for IGF and we are ending a successful year on a high. The IGF team is vital to the success of the business and we are in a strong position to realise our growth plans for 2017.”
MAVEN CAPITAL PARTNERS LEADS £2.7 MILLION FUNDING ROUND FOR MOBILE ORDERING AND PAYMENT BUSINESS QIKSERVE Funding will enable rapid roll-out of QikServe’s innovative software platform across the hospitality sector • QikServe’s platform addresses increasing demand for self-service technology – helps hospitality sector satisfy millennials’ demand for mobile solutions • Software platform is fully-integrated into world-leading EPOS provider Oracle • QikServe’s technology delivers an uplift in spend per head of between 50% and 73% • Business targeted at multi-chain restaurants and cafes Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), one of the UK’s most active private equity houses, has led a £2.7 million (US$3.4 million) investment in QikServe Limited (“QikServe”), which has developed a patented B2B cloud-based platform aimed at hospitality operators, enabling customers to order and pay for items from a smartphone, tablet or self-service terminal. Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Daniel Rodgers and Ronnie Forbes, QikServe’s software has undergone a number of years of investment and development and more recently successful pilot schemes have led to contracts secured with a number of global hospitality businesses.
The funding, which includes a £2 million investment from Maven, alongside £700,000 of additional backing from existing investors, Par Equity, Equity Gap and Scottish Enterprise, will support the global roll-out of QikServe’s innovative platform, including major expansion into the United States, growing the firm’s workforce in key areas, and supporting channel partners. QikServe’s platform enables customers to discover restaurants, check-in to tables, browse menus, place orders, save and redeem loyalty points or vouchers, and pay their bill directly from their mobile phone or tablet. The platform targets the increasing consumer adoption of mobile solutions and also brings significant advantages to restaurants by improving efficiencies, reducing labour costs, and increasing average spend; QikServe’s pilot schemes have seen an uplift in spend per head of between 50% and 73%. Edinburgh-based QikServe is the only accredited mobile ordering system that is fully integrated with a world-leading EPOS provider, Oracle Hospitality, and provides QikServe with access to over 330,000 accounts across 180 countries. Its software offers Oracle’s multi-site operators a quick and cost-effective solution for deploying a self-service model across large estates.
Daniel Rodgers, CEO at QikServe, said: “A dramatic global shift in hospitality economics is resulting in increased uptake of digital self-service technology. Mobile ordering and payments are now pressing concerns for businesses across the global hospitality sector as they seek to improve service, reduce costs and meet the expectations of the modern consumer. We are already working closely with billion-dollar hospitality companies and this funding, combined with our Oracle integration, will accelerate our global footprint, strengthening our position at the forefront of enterprise solutions for hospitality. We are delighted to welcome Maven to the QikServe team and look forward to working with them to help transform hospitality for today’s digital society.” David Milroy, Investment Director at Maven, added: “We are looking forward to working with Dan, Ronnie and the team. We have been hugely impressed by the functionality and capability of the QikServe platform and believe that the technology offers a differentiated service to hospitality clients who are keen to realise the potential self-service offers in terms of increasing order value and reducing costs. The hospitality market needs to adapt in the same way that the wider retail market has responded to evolving consumer habits. With Millennials in particular demanding mobile solutions there is a clear need for the hospitality sector to embrace technology. The hard work and efforts of the QikServe team over a number of years have put them at the leading edge of their market and once again it is great to see another exciting technology business originating out of Edinburgh which is capable of satisfying a global market.” The investment in QikServe represents Maven’s sixth Venture Capital Trust transaction and in total its 12th Private Equity investment in the past year. Maven was advised by Burness Paull on the transaction.
MERIDIA CAPITAL ACQUIRES A LOGISTICS AND RETAIL PORTFOLIO OF FOUR ASSETS MAINLY IN MADRID Meridia Capital Partners, SGEIC, S.A., (“Meridia Capital”) announced the acquisition of a 24,063 sqm portfolio of four assets located primarily in Madrid. The portfolio includes a logistics platform and three retail units. All the assets have been acquired through Meridia II for approximately €20 million. The logistics platform has a total gross leasable area (GLA) of 16,385 sqm and is located in one of the main logistics areas in Madrid (CLA, Getafe), which concentrates recognized logistics and end-user companies (e.g. DHL, Decathlon, Flex, Conforama). The three retail units have a total GLA of 7,678 sqm and are leased to important food retailers such as Mercadona - the leading Spanish food retailer - or Dia - ranked third.
Launched in 2014, Meridia II is a €150 million real estate fund (€400 million including debt), mainly focused on Spanish logistics, retail and office sectors. After this last transaction the vehicle is almost fully invested (94%). Juan Barba, Partner, Managing Director for Real Estate at Meridia Capital, said “This deal is yet another example of the good value-add opportunities that the Spanish market offers. The presence of many prominent tenants in the area of our recently acquired logistics platform proves the relevance of this prime location. This deal further strengthens our retail/ logistics exposure in Spain, complementing our previous acquisitions of a warehouse in Valencia plus the Consum and Aecus retail portfolios. This transaction adds the seventh Mercadona unit to our portfolio, thus consolidating our relationship with the top food retailer in Spain.” Meridia Capital was advised on this deal by Aguirre Newman and Cuatrecasas while the seller was advised by CBRE.
OST INFORMS AVIVA’S 60.5 MW UK WIND PORTFOLIO PURCHASE Leading technical advisor oversees Aviva’s acquisition of five UK wind farms from developer RES OST Energy (OST), a leading independent engineering consultancy, has supported Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (Aviva), in the acquisition of a 60.5MW, four-project wind energy portfolio from developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES) and is providing ongoing support in the acquisition of a fifth project. Prior to the acquisition, OST acted on behalf of Aviva as Technical Advisor, providing technical due diligence, yield analysis and contractual support services to inform the purchase of the 15MW Jacks Lane, 10MW Woolley Hill, 18MW Den Brook and 17.5MW Turncole wind farms in the UK. The business was then engaged as Owner’s Engineer (OE) to carry out construction monitoring support at Den Brook and Turncole, focussing on the inspection and monitoring of works on site, along with health and safety and quality assurance. Den Brook achieved commercial operation in October, with Turncole scheduled to be commissioned in early 2017. OST will subsequently deliver operational monitoring services for all four wind farms. In order to ensure that Aviva’s newly acquired UK wind portfolio delivers long-term benefits, OST was engaged to provide an independent perspective that will help mitigate project risks for a period encompassing the acquisition, construction and early operational phases. In advance of the acquisition, OST provided comprehensive technical due diligence reporting, covering all critical project documentation, from permits to supply contracts and power purchase agreements, in order to minimise contractual risk.
OST reviewed the existing Energy Yield Assessments (EYA) for each of the projects, in addition to the Operational Energy Yield Analysis for those currently in operation. This work allowed OST to advise on measures to mitigate performance risk and ensure that each wind farm is well placed to deliver against long-term expectations.
“That said, the ability of the market to retain this interest is contingent on its ongoing capacity to deliver low-risk, steady return on investment. Staying on top of project risks, from the point of acquisition, throughout the construction and operational phases, is a huge part of ensuring that a wind energy investment meets this requirement.”
Following on from the OE role, OST will monitor operational risk at each of the projects by means of quarterly and annual reporting on asset management performance. RES will continue to provide asset management services to the projects, with responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the wind farms, including delivering and managing community benefit initiatives.
“OST Energy has proven an excellent partner in assessing the reliability and performance of this UK wind portfolio,” said Jolanta Touzard, Assistant Fund Manager - Infrastructure, Aviva Investors.
“UK wind energy continues to set extremely high performance standards, and its appeal to the domestic and global investment communities is clear to see,” said Nick Fleming, Director of Wind, OST Energy.
“A lot of work goes in during the early project phases to ensure that generation assets are well-placed to deliver the steady long-term income stream we need to support our clients. OST’s technical due diligence has helped us determine that these four initial assets are a fine addition to our existing portfolio of wind energy investments.”
PALAMON ACQUIRES LEADING INTERNATIONAL SOCK BRAND, HAPPY SOCKS Palamon Capital Partners (“Palamon” or the “Firm”), a pan-European growth investor, has acquired a majority stake in Happy Socks (“The Company”), a leading international brand of design socks. The transaction values Happy Socks at SEK 725 million, with SEK 40 million of growth capital being injected to support the continued expansion of the business, leading to a SEK 765 million post-money enterprise value. Founded in 2008 in Sweden by Mikael Söderlindh and Victor Tell, the Company’s mission is to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colourful design piece with a high standard of quality, craftsmanship and creativity. Happy Socks is a globally recognised brand sold in more than 90 countries through more than 10,000 points of sale, supported by a fast growing online channel and an expanding portfolio of own-branded retail stores. The Company has disrupted the global sock wear market by offering high quality, attractively priced, colourful patterned socks promoted through creative point of sale displays, celebrity collaborations and a strong social media presence.
Happy Socks has achieved more than 50% revenue and EBITDA annual growth over the last three years, generating retail sales of €100 million in 2016.
Mikael Söderlindh, Co-Founder of Happy Socks, commented,
Following the transaction, the founders will remain actively involved in the Company.
“We have transformed the company into a real growth engine by strengthening our operational platform and our global presence.”
Ali Rahmatollahi, Partner of Palamon Capital Partners, said, “Happy Socks is a phenomenal company with a very distinctive brand DNA that resonates with consumers around the world. Palamon’s investment stems from the Firm’s ongoing effort to identify well-positioned European specialty retail brands with strong growth potential in a global market.” Ricardo Caupers, Partner of Palamon Capital Partners, said, “We are delighted to be investing in Happy Socks, the original fashion sock brand offering high-quality socks for every occasion, mindset and style. We are thrilled to partner with founders Mikael Söderlindh and Victor Tell and look forward to supporting Happy Socks in fulfilling its global growth potential.”
“In the last two years Happy Socks has grown beyond our expectations.”
“We have achieved the best of both worlds by securing a strong new partner in Palamon and remaining significant owners in a great business that we will continue to build in the years to come.” Palamon’s previous investments in the specialty retail sector include: dress-for-less, a German online retailer for designer apparel; feelunique.com, the leading pure-play online retailer of premium beauty products in the UK; Il Bisonte, the Italian leather goods brand and The Rug Company, a leading global brand in luxury handmade rugs. Palamon’s investment strategy targets founder-led, service sector businesses across Europe with the potential to capture the shift in consumer demand toward authentic, high quality and well-priced products and grow revenue at more than 20% per annum.
TRAXPAY AND NORD/LB TO ENTER COOPERATION The leading universal bank in northern Germany will introduce Traxpay’s Financing Platform to provide automated supply chain financing services to its corporate customers
The cooperation emphasizes NORD/LBs business approach to keeping processes as simple as possible and minimizing manual administration on the part of the client.
Traxpay, pioneer in the automation and optimization of B2B financial transactions, and NORD/LB, one of Germany’s largest wholesale banks with extended expertise in the corporate and structured finance businesses and its subsidiary NORD/LB Luxembourg S.A. Covered Bond Bank, announced a planned cooperation to support the bank’s digitalization strategy. With Traxpay’s Financing Platform NORD/LB will be able to streamline Supply Chain Financing (SCF) services through a direct plug-in to customers’ ERP systems. They will benefit directly through accelerated response times, transparency, flexibility, and administrative efficiency.
Traxpay’s Financing Platform provides banks, corporations, and B2B networks with a turnkey solution for digitizing supply chain financing transactions.
“Traxpay’s technology will help us support our corporate customers to optimize processes, and increase efficiencies in their supply chains by making use of the data and intelligence they already have within their systems. Digitalization in our sophisticated SCF transactions will allow for reduced administrative complexity and spending, faster response times, and a high level of flexibility in transacting with us and their trade partners.” said Olaf Hugenberg, Head of Corporate Finance at NORD/LB. Having a broad track record and extensive experience in corporate finance products, NORD/LB is keen to provide its clients with contemporary technical means to enable efficient and easyto-install solutions for working capital financing. The envisaged cooperation with Traxpay is an important strategic landmark for the bank, reflecting customer demand and securing future opportunities in a competitive market.”
Trading partners can connect their ERP systems easily not only to one another but also to banks backend systems, essentially automating communications between all parties. As such, complete invoice data is instantly available to accelerate all processes required for efficient SCF transactions. These services offer corporates a great deal of flexibility and advantages due to optimized working capital and cash flows, better liquidity, and minimized risk. Banks benefit from enhanced customer relations and minimal administration associated with managing their SCF product portfolios. Markus Rupprecht, Traxpay’s Founder and CEO: “In a global business climate that is extremely competitive, corporations are continually seeking technologies to increase efficiencies and transparency into their complex value chains. Our cooperation with Nord/LB is a perfect example of how banks and FinTechs can work together to improve existing processes, create new revenue streams, provide superior customer service, all of which represent a differential advantage in today’s financial services landscape.”
BOWMARK AND FIVE ARROWS SELL AUTODATA Bowmark Capital, the mid-market private equity firm, and Five Arrows Principal Investments, the private equity business of Rothschild Merchant Banking, have agreed to sell Autodata, Europe’s leading provider of technical information to the automotive aftermarket, to Solera Holdings, Inc. for a consideration of £340 million. Solera is a leading provider of risk and asset management software and services to the automotive and property marketplace. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to complete in February 2017. Established in 1975, Autodata publishes technical information on approximately 40,000 vehicle models from 136 manufacturers. Its products provide over 90,000 professional workshops with access to a comprehensive suite of up-todate technical data and guidance on cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles, enabling them to carry out service, repair and diagnostic work.
Since Bowmark and Five Arrows Principal Investments acquired the company in May 2014, Autodata has significantly enhanced its content and technology platform, and expanded its customer base in Europe and Australia.
“Our products and services represent an excellent fit with those of Solera, and we are excited at the new opportunities which being part of the Solera group will bring – to Autodata, its customers and its employees.”
It has also made three strategic acquisitions in France, Sweden and Finland. Its latest online product, which attracts over 840,000 page views per day, provides an essential workflow tool to over 120,000 automotive technicians, enabling them to conduct their day-to-day activities efficiently and effectively.
Bowmark partner, Julian Masters, said:
Rod Williams, Autodata’s chief executive, commented: “With the support of Bowmark and Five Arrows, we have achieved significant growth over the past two and a half years, driven by new product innovation, investment in people and expanding our footprint in our core markets.”
“Since 2014, Bowmark and Five Arrows have worked closely with Autodata to enhance its product offering and accelerate its growth. The company is well-positioned to continue its success under its new owner.” Javed Khan, co-managing partner of Five Arrows Principal Investments, said: “Autodata is clearly a great franchise with an outstanding reputation in its marketplace. We are grateful to Rod and the rest of the management team for their dedication to the business and we are delighted to have played a role in the development of Autodata during our ownership.”
ANACAP SIGNS AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE LEADING GERMAN PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDER HEIDELPAY
“We are extremely excited about partnering with AnaCap for the next chapter of developing Heidelpay. Over the past years, we have built a fully independent, fast- growing and leading German Payment Service Provider. To realise the platform’s full potential and capitalise on the continued vast market growth opportunity, we are confident now is the right time to partner with a professional investor. With its deep expertise in European financial services and proven track record of supporting fast- growing companies, AnaCap is the ideal investor for our next stage of development.”
AnaCap Financial Partners (“AnaCap”), the specialist European financial services private equity firm, has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Heidelpay, a leading German online payment service provider (PSP).
AnaCap was advised by Norton Rose Fulbright and EY. Heidelpay was advised by Corestar Partners and Herbert Smith Freehills.
As part of the transaction, the Co-Founders and existing management will retain a minority stake in the business. Founded in 2003, Heidelpay is a full-service PSP that facilitates payment acceptance on behalf of online merchants. The platform is 100% proprietary, serving more than 14,500 primarily online businesses across the DACH and Benelux regions, and processes transactions across more than 200 payment methods, covering online, mobile and point-of-sale channels. Heidelpay operates in a fast-growing market driven by the continued expansion of global e-commerce. Processed volumes globally are estimated to grow by around 17% a year and are likely to reach close to €4 trillion by 2019, while the addressable market in Europe alone is estimated to be around €154 billion at present. Heidelpay itself has seen significant expansion over the past three years. It processes a significant share of e-commerce volumes in its target markets with an above market CAGR of more than 20% since 2013. Heidelpay intends to grow its business organically and inorganically, broadening its offering in existing jurisdictions and across the payments value chain, launching additional products and functionalities, and potentially entering other select EU markets. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, the German Federal Bank and the Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Authority. This announcement follows AnaCap’s signing last month of an agreement to acquire the French retail banking operations of Barclays, which will become AnaCap’s sixth banking platform. Tassilo Arnhold, Director at AnaCap, commented: “We are delighted to invest in what is a highly innovative, fast-growing business led by an ambitious and committed management team with over 20 years’ experience in the payments industry.” “Heidelpay operates in a vast and high-growth addressable market in which there is a scarcity of nimble independent PSP providers, thus offering an exciting opportunity to capture further market share through investing in the business and driving the next phase of expansion.” Mirko Huellemann, Heidelpay Founder and CEO, commented:
EQUITIN INVESTS IN TIME FOR WAX, A LEADING PLAYER IN THE BEAUTY SEGMENT IN POLAND Equitin Partners has acquired a majority stake in Time for Wax Sp z o.o. Together with the founder and management, Equitin will accelerate the company’s development in the waxing business as well as opening or acquiring other specialized beauty concepts. “Time for Wax has now been servicing thousands of customers in Warsaw for almost 10 years and last year we have opened new locations in Wrocław, Gdałsk and Gdynia. The success has been built on great customer service and quality of the waxing treatments. It is now time for us to take the company to the next level and I am very happy to team up with Equitin” said Iza Makosz, founder of Time for Wax. “We are very impressed by what Iza and her team has created. The company’s outstanding reputation for service and quality makes it a strong platform for organic growth across Poland. We also believe there will be opportunities to expand in related beauty segments” stated Piotr Kulikowski, Co-founder and Partner of Equitin.
H.I.G. CAPITAL INVESTS IN SPANISH TOURIST APARTMENTS COMPLEX H.I.G. Capital, LLC (“H.I.G.”), a leading global private equity and alternative asset investment firm with €20 billion of equity capital under management, announced that one of its affiliates has completed an investment in a real estate asset consisting of the apartment complex Valle Romano located in Estepona, Málaga. Financial terms were not disclosed. Valle Romano complex is strategically placed within Valle Romano Golf and comprises 430 apartments with its correspondent facilities including swimming-pools, gym, restaurants, and paddle courts amongst others. Total area is about 46,000 sqm. Riccardo Dallolio, Managing Director at H.I.G. in London, commented, “This is our seventh investment in Spain in the past three years. Spain represents an important part of our European strategy and we continue to seek additional small and midcap, value-add, investment opportunities to increase H.I.G.’s presence in this market”.
PINEL ADVOCATES ADVISES ENHANCE GROUP
Andrew Pinel, Partner, Pinel Advocates (left) and Oliver Hughes, Senior Associate, Pinel Advocates (right)
Pinel Advocates acted as counsel to Enhance Group in respect of Financial Services Opportunities Investment Fund’s purchase of a 20% shareholding in Enhance Group. Andrew Pinel, Partner of Pinel Advocates said: “We were delighted to assist Enhance Group with this exciting stage of the development of their business. The investment will support Enhance Group’s continued growth and we wish them every success for the future.” Andrew Pinel was supported on the transaction by Senior Associate Oliver Hughes.
MOURANT OZANNES ADVISES EAST AFRICAN MINING COMPANY ON LSE MAIN MARKET LISTING Mourant Ozannes’ Guernsey corporate team has advised on the successful admission to trading by way of placing of Rainbow Rare Earths Limited (Rainbow Rare Earths), an East African mining company, on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Commenting on the transaction, Helen said:
Rainbow Rare Earths, incorporated and registered in Guernsey and administered by Artemis Trustees Limited, is a mining company engaged in the exploration and development of the Gakara Project, a rare earth deposit in Burundi, East Africa.
“The transaction involved complex structuring issues and a demanding timeframe.”
On Admission Rainbow Rare Earths has a market capitalisation of approximately £15.2 million. The funds raised will capitalise the Gakara Project through trial mining and into production in 2017. Mourant Ozannes Partner Helen Wyatt led the team advising on the Guernsey aspects of the placing, assisted by corporate Senior Associate Dylan Latimer. Memery Crystal acted as UK counsel.
“We are very pleased to have been able to assist Rainbow Rare Earths with this successful placing which was oversubscribed.”
Mourant Ozannes’ corporate team is a leading practice known for acting on the most complex and demanding transactions, with a particularly strong reputation for corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and private equity. The Rainbow Rare Earths launch onto the LSE follows closely on the heels of the successful admission of NewRiver Retail Limited onto the main market segment of the LSE in August 2016.
â€œGamechanger, what we define as an individual or business that aims to create a new model that leaves the older model obsolete. Gamechangers impact how the game is played from one objective and ruling model to a completely new vision â€“ changing the face of how we know something.â€?
AQUILA CAPITAL EXPANDS ITS QUANTITATIVE STRATEGIES PROPOSITION Aquila Capital has expanded its quantitative investment expertise with the appointments of Urs Schubiger, Patrick Gander and Egon Rütsche. Under the leadership of Urs, the Systematic Trading Group will assume responsibility for the company’s existing Risk Parity products and extend its range of systematic strategies. The team shares a comprehensive and longstanding expertise in modelling and managing systematic strategies and combines more than 30 years of experience in asset management. Most recently, they worked for an alternative investment manager based in the US. Urs held several senior management positions in different companies. He was a member of the management committee at Vescore AG and the Chief Investment Officer of 1741 Asset Management. Patrick led the research department at 1741 Asset Management where he was Co-Head of the Research Group. Egon was previously a senior researcher at Man AHL. Roman Rosslenbroich, CEO and CoFounder of Aquila Capital, said: “We have known Urs for many years and have the highest respect for his expertise. He and his colleagues share our passion for markets and quantitative strategies. In an environment of rapid digitalisation and with the exponential growth of data that influences decision-making processes, quantitative strategies that can process this development will be of ever growing importance.” Manfred Schraepler, Head of Financial Assets and Liquid Private Markets, added: “Financial Assets are an integral part of Aquila Capital’s DNA.”
”We expect that the market environment will remain challenging and see this as an opportunity to offer investors a broad range of liquid and diversifying investment strategies as an alternative to conventional investment solutions.” Lars Meisinger, Head of the Zurich office, commented: “Switzerland is an ideal location for our activities. Zurich offers an excellent academic background and pool of resources for the team to continuously expand its research.”
DUFF & PHELPS HIRES SPORTS EXPERT TREVOR BIRCH Duff & Phelps, the premier global valuation and corporate finance advisor, announced that Trevor Birch has joined the firm as a Managing Director in London. Drawing on his extensive experience advising the sports sector, he will work across all practices to support on valuations, transactions, and restructuring and corporate advisory. Trevor brings to the business more than 30 years of valuable expertise in professional services and the sports sector. A former professional footballer, he continued his passion for the sport whilst transitioning into a career in accountancy, working as a partner at EY and Deloitte. Trevor is best known for his executive appointments at a number of football clubs. In 2002 he became Chief Executive of Chelsea FC where he led the £180 million sale to Roman Abramovich in July 2003. He was subsequently appointed Chief Executive of Leeds United FC, which led to the successful sale to a local consortium following a restructuring. Most recently, Trevor was a Partner and Head of the Professional Sports Group at BDO LLP during which he acted as Administrator of Portsmouth FC, leading a successful sale of the club to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.
Trevor Birch, Managing Director, Duff & Phelps
Trevor will augment Duff & Phelps’ existing sports focused team, which has worked with football clubs such as Manchester United, Norwich City and Fulham as well as a number of Formula One teams including Red Bull and Caterham. Yann Magnan, Managing Director and the EMEA Markets Leader at Duff & Phelps, commented: “We see considerable potential for foreign investment in the sports sector in Europe.” “Trevor’s specific set of skills and unparalleled experience in the sector will be invaluable to expanding our offering in this high-growth area.” “Adding to our experience in the valuation of sports teams in the U.S. and Europe, Trevor will advise across Europe on all aspects of the business of sport, tapping into the increasingly complex nature of valuing international agreements, brand rights and broadcast licencing and the associated transactions.” Trevor has also served as Chief Operating Officer of Sportfive GmbH, a €600m sports rights agency and is a chartered accountant.
INDEPENDENT GROWTH FINANCE HIRES INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHT, MARK LINDSAY, AS INVOICE FINANCE MANAGING DIRECTOR IGF, the leading commercial finance provider for SMEs, has announced the appointment of Mark Lindsay as Managing Director of its Invoice Finance practice.Following the rapid development of IGF’s asset based lending facilities; IGF is seeking to replicate this trend across its entire product offering. Lindsay will be responsible for increasing the client base and lending book of the business’ established Invoice Finance division, developing new financial products and continuing the firm’s recent hiring run across the country. Lindsay moves from his previous role as Managing Director at Bibby Trade and International Finance, where he spent more than five years leading a team of Trade Finance experts providing finance solutions to SMEs. Prior to this, he was a Regional Manager with Aldermore Invoice Finance, Business Development Director at Mitchell Charlesworth and Head of Business Development at RBS Invoice Finance. Mark Lindsay, Managing Director of Invoice Finance, Independent Growth Finance, comments: “IGF is a respected brand that clients and the industry value, so it has a solid base to grow its invoice finance offering. Businesses are becoming more aware of alternative financing and I look forward to working with the team at IGF to combine our expertise and strengthen this longstanding brand.” John Onslow, CEO, Independent Growth Finance, and comments: “IGF had a record year in 2016 and we have big ambitions as we move in to 2017. It is essential that we have an experienced leader with a deep understanding of growing a business and supporting clients to grow IGF’s Invoice Finance division. Across the board, our clients continue to benefit from a senior management team that sets us aside from challenger brands, and Mark is a key part of this.”
MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR CHARLIE BAKER APPOINTS USI MASSACHUSETTS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, TODD JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN OF MASSACHUSETTS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ADVISORY COUNCIL USI Insurance Services (“USI”) announced that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, has appointed Todd R. Johnson, senior vice president and property-casualty practice leader of the USI Massachusetts offices located in Woburn, Needham, and West Springfield, to a two year term as chairman of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). Joseph Fico, USI New England regional chief executive officer, said: “Todd is a trusted professional with extensive knowledge and more than 25 years of experience in the workers’ compensation industry. I have seen his talent, drive and work ethic first hand, and I know he will play an integral role in advancing the founding principles of the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. I congratulate Todd on this well-deserved and prestigious appointment, and I am proud to have him as a member of the USI family.”
In addition, he serves as an elected municipal selectman for the town of Tewksbury, overseeing a municipal budget of approximately $110 million dollars. During his tenure, the town has emerged from a severe fiscal picture to earn an AA+ bond rating. Johnson graduated from Merrimack College with a B.A. in political science and has a J.D. from the Suffolk University Law School. He also holds professional insurance certifications in risk management and claims management. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, which consists of 10 voting and 6 non-voting members, was established during a series of workers’ compensation reforms that were signed into law in 1985. Its purpose is to monitor, recommend action, give testimony and report on the State’s workers’ compensation system.
Johnson has been with USI for more than six years and has been a member of the Massachusetts WCAC for over four years, holding the council’s insurance and self-insurer representative positions.
The council’s advisory responsibilities involve budget oversight, judicial appointments, legislative initiatives pertaining to workers’ compensation, and issuance of an annual report evaluating the operations of the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA).
As senior vice president and property-casualty leader for the USI Massachusetts offices, Johnson is responsible for driving revenue growth for a wide range of industries throughout the Commonwealth.
As chairman, Johnson is responsible for running the monthly council meetings and helping to establish its agenda. These meetings are open to the general public pursuant to the Commonwealth’s open meeting laws.
SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP ADDS ADDITIONAL RESTRUCTURING PARTNER IN LONDON
BAIRD CAPITAL ADDS ANDY TSE AS PARTNER ON ASIA INVESTMENT TEAM Baird Capital, the direct private investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird), announced that Andy Tse, CFA has joined the firm as a Partner to help lead its investment efforts in Asia. Tse is a member of Baird Capital’s global team working to identify and pursue investments in the technology & services sector. A veteran executive with more than 20 years of private equity experience, Tse most recently served as Managing Director of AIF Capital where he led investments in industrial and services sector across Greater China, South Korea, South East Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Australia. Prior to AIF Capital, Tse worked with Hopewell Holdings Limited and Consolidated Electric Power Asia Limited in Hong Kong where he was actively involved in the investment, development, financing, construction, operation and management of infrastructure and manufacturing investments across Asia. “I’ve been very impressed with Baird Capital over the years and am happy to be joining this talented team,” said Tse.
Jennifer Brennan, Restructuring Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP has announced that Jennifer Brennan has joined the firm as a partner in its Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy practice. She was previously with Linklaters LLP. Ms. Brennan is the latest in a number of partner additions in London and Munich as the firm continues to expand its offering to private equity and other fund clients in Europe and elsewhere. “We are very pleased to welcome Jen to Sidley,” said Matthew Dening, managing partner of Sidley’s London office. “Jen has rejoined her former colleague Yen Sum and is a member of our growing London restructuring group.” With 1,900 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide, Sidley has built a reputation as a premier legal adviser for global businesses and financial institutions. They work to deliver compelling results for clients in all types of legal matters, from complex transactions to “bet the company” litigation to cutting-edge regulatory issues.
“Lower middle market companies in Asia are looking for a financial partner with access to relationships and markets in Europe and North America, and I believe Baird Capital’s global platform will be a significant differentiator for Asian entrepreneurs.” “We have known Andy for over a decade and we are thrilled to be adding him to our global platform,” said Gordon Pan, President of Baird Capital. “Andy brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our global team, and will be a valuable asset as we look to invest behind leading entrepreneurs in Asia.” With investment and operations professionals in the United States, United Kingdom and China, Baird Capital takes a global, collaborative approach to sourcing investments, supporting portfolio companies and driving portfolio value. “We pool the collective expertise across our platform to help our portfolio companies compete in today’s international marketplace,” said Pan. “Adding Andy is an important step as we continue to help our companies grow outside their domestic markets.” Tse holds a bachelor’s degree with honors and an MBA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
SHAHEN N. PRADHAN JOINS HSA ADVOCATES AS ASSOCIATE PARTNER IN THE DISPUTES PRACTICE HSA Advocates (HSA) has roped in Shahen N. Pradhan as Associate Partner in the Mumbai office. Shahen joins to further strengthen the firm’s Dispute Resolution practice, and joins at a time when HSA is growing at a rapid pace towards achieving Vision 2021. Shahen was Principal Associate at J Sagar Associates (JSA). During his tenure at JSA, he was on secondment for a year with Slaughter and May in their London office. He has also worked under Senior Counsel, A.K. Abhyankar. His expertise in Dispute Resolution includes extensive experience in Litigation and Arbitration in diverse areas of Corporate & Commercial Disputes, Land Acquisition, Port etc. He has primarily been practicing in the High Courts, City Civil Court, Company Law Board and various Arbitral Tribunals. Shahen will work out of HSA’s Mumbai office, but will be instrumental along with the partnership collegium, in enhancing the firm’s reach and repute both domestically and globally. “We are thrilled to have Shahen on board with us to further ramp up our Dispute Resolution practice. He is a perfect fit for our collegium of Partners, who are cherry-picked, likeminded people, endeavoring towards a common goal. HSA has been flourishing over the last year with the increase in benchstrength and expansion across the country, and Shahen is a valuable addition to this growth story that is unfolding” says Amitabh Sharma, Managing Partner, HSA.
ZEDRA APPOINTS NEW LONDON MD TO SPEARHEAD EMERGING AND EUROPEAN MARKETS GROWTH • David Inglesfield brings more than 30 years experience with him to the role • London remains as one of the world’s most dynamic cities and serves as an important jurisdiction for ZEDRA’s future growth plan under David’s precise management ZEDRA, the independent specialist of corporate, trust and fund services, has announced the appointment of David Inglesfield to the newly created post of managing director for its London office. David is a highly experienced business leader, having successfully developed businesses within the high net worth wealth management sector across Africa, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. Previously, David held the post of regional director for the Asiaciti Trust group, where he was responsible for leading the development of the Singapore based Asiaciti Trust’s business in Europe, where he positively built a strong portfolio of clients, prior to his current appointment. David has also held regional directorships at both Standard Chartered Private Bank and Barclays Wealth, which he joined as an international graduate in 1986. He served in a range of client relationship and business leadership roles across four continents. With approximately 380 staff worldwide based in 11 jurisdictions, ZEDRA is one of the fastest growing trust and corporate services providers. Independently owned, the Group aims to offer clients fresh thinking in a market which increasingly demands genuinely tailor made client solutions to global wealth structuring and administration challenges. “London has long been the destination of choice for the new wealth being created in the emerging market economies” explains David. “One of my key challenges will be to harness my experience of delivering growth across these markets. ZEDRA’s offer of an open architecture platform which allows clients to select specific expert advisers, allied to its global network, means it is perfectly positioned to serve these fast growing markets.”Niels Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer adds, “David comes to us with a proven track record across key growth markets. He has extensive operational, risk and regulatory management experience and joins us at an important time in our growth plans, as we expand our business in carefully selected jurisdictions around the world.” David is a STEP qualified trust and estates advisor, holds the Chartered Institute of Tax’s Advanced Diploma in International Tax and the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
GLC ADVISORS STRENGTHENS ADVISORY AND M&A EXPERTISE WITH ADDITION OF SENIOR BANKERS IN DENVER AND NEW YORK Addition of Several Industry Bankers Including Former St. Charles Capital Professionals Deepens Firm’s Expertise and Relationships Across Technology, FIG, Consumer, Retail and Energy Industries GLC Advisors & Co., LLC (“GLC Advisors”) has welcomed nine seasoned M&A professionals, including former Partners and professionals of Denver based St. Charles Capital, LLC. The additions extend GLC Advisor’s geographic presence in the Western United States through the opening of the Denver office, and add a nationally-recognized team of tenured and talented M&A professionals. The Denver-based advisory team will leverage past M&A and investment banking successes and will complement the firm’s existing New York and San Francisco based advisory teams. GLC Advisor’s Denver-based professionals will continue to provide mergers and acquisitions and private capital raising advisory services, as well as corporate valuations and fairness opinions to founder, venture capital, and private equity owned businesses. In Denver, Adam Haynes and David Bluth will lead GLC Advisors’ efforts in Technology, focusing on Software, Internet and IT services while continuing to build the firm’s technology, media and telecom team. Messrs. Haynes and Bluth, supported by Jim Williams and Anita Lombri, bring together over 100 successful M&A and capital raising transactions totaling over $6 billion in value, and will remain focused exclusively on providing sector focused M&A advisory services to leading middle market technology businesses, nationwide.
Having executed successful outcomes for tech leaders for the last 16 years, the team is thrilled to bring its reputation for excellence in execution and industry knowledge to GLC Advisors. Also in Denver, Adam Fiedor and Michael Richter will lead GLC Advisors’ efforts with Financial Institutions and Specialty Finance companies. Messrs. Fiedor and Richter, supported by Michael Fleschner, bring 30 years of collective corporate finance and investment banking experience and their M&A practice is consistently ranked as one of the most active in the United States by SNL Financial. Their transactional experience includes over 50 successful M&A transactions and financings for Community Banks, financial services companies and SBIC funds. “Both industry groups in Denver will grow their presence in their respective markets, in the way we did with our previous firm. We’ll leverage our excellent track record of superior client outcomes, as well as our drive to get deals done,” said Mr. Haynes. “Joining a firm with GLCs reputation, global reach, and client relationships, particularly in the middle market, is an extremely exciting opportunity, and we look forward to building a first-class, industry-focused M&A boutique with their assistance and talent,” added Mr. Fiedor. In New York, Bill Detwiler and Tatyana Donova have joined the GLC Advisors team. Mr. Detwiler will focus on M&A as well as equity and debt private placements and Ms. Donova will focus on advising energy companies. Mr. Detwiler has operating and advisory experience in energy services, consumer and retail sectors, as a strategic advisor, investor and board member.
Mr. Detwiler joins GLC Advisors from United Safety Ltd., a global energy safety services company with operations in 20 countries where he served as Chief Investment Officer. Previously, Bill was a founding partner of Three Ocean Partners, a New Yorkbased merchant bank. Prior to Three Ocean, he was a senior managing director and co-head of the Consumer, Retail and Healthcare group at FBR Capital Markets in New York, where he joined after selling Watch Hill Partners to FBR in 2009. Ms. Donova joins from the Energy Investment Banking Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (“BAML”). Prior to joining BAML, Ms. Donova was employed by the Global Industrial Group at Jefferies. “These professionals are a significant addition to GLC Advisors, as we meaningfully increase the firm’s investment banking footprint. Expanding into industry-focused advisory has been a long-term goal for us and we are pleased to have found the ideal partners to accelerate our growth.,” added Thomas Benninger, Managing Director and the Chairman of GLC Advisors & Co. “We look forward to combining our broader product suite with our new partners’ sector expertise, unmatched reputation and extensive relationships to build on the firm’s long history of success.” “Finding like-minded professionals, talented and tenured in their practices, who – like GLC – emphasize a culture of collegiality and hard work, is rare. We look forward to helping the new team grow and succeed. We are pleased to have taken this important next step to expand GLC Advisors offerings.” said Soren Reynertson, Managing Director and the Managing General Partner of GLC Advisors & Co., which he co-founded in 2009.
ORRICK PROMOTES SUSHILA NAYAK TO PARTNER IN LONDON Orrick has promoted Sushila Nayak, a member of the firm’s Structured Finance practice resident in London, to partner, effective January 1, 2017. “Sushila is an enormously talented finance practitioner with a sophisticated practice, and we are thrilled to promote her and to continue the growth of our London office,” said Douglas Lahnborg, Orrick’s London Office Leader. Since January 2015, Orrick’s London office has added nine partners in Finance, Tech, Private Equity, and Energy & Infrastructure. Dual qualified in New York and England and Wales, Sushila advises on structured finance and derivatives transactions, corporate debt offerings and loans in Europe and the U.S. Most recently, she represented Telenor on the sale of a portion of its stake in VimpelCom and counseled Millicom in various financing transactions. Sushila earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia, School of Law.
KENNETH BORTON JOINS H.I.G. CAPITAL AS MANAGING DIRECTOR
MODERN ENERGY MANAGEMENT HIRES KYLE KATOSKI FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Emerging market specialist boosts South-East Asian team as it ramps up for substantial growth in Pakistan, Vietnam and Myanmar Modern Energy Management (MEM), a specialist in delivering project lifecycle certainty to renewable energy developers, financiers and investors, has announced the appointment of Kyle Katoski to the position of Head of Project Origination for South-East Asia. With extensive experience across Asia, Kyle will lead business development from the firm’s Singapore headquarters. The appointment comes as MEM prepares for considerable growth in 2017. In particular, the firm will be looking to Pakistan, Vietnam and Myanmar as three of its key markets in the coming year, whilst continuing to build on its project development heritage in Thailand.
Kenneth Borton, Managing Director, H.I.G Capital
H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity investment firm with €20 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kenneth Borton as Managing Director of WhiteHorse Capital, the direct lending affiliate of H.I.G. Capital. He will be based in London. Kenneth has over 17 years of experience in direct lending, structured finance and special situations. Prior to joining H.I.G. WhiteHorse, he was a Managing Director at Citi with responsibility for the Credit Opportunities business in EMEA, managing over $500 million of direct lending transactions across sectors and throughout the region. Kenneth received a BSc in Economics and Politics from the University of Bristol, after which he spent 6 years as an infantry officer in the British Army. In commenting on the appointment, John Bolduc, Executive Managing Director, noted, “I am delighted to welcome Kenneth to the firm. He is a very experienced, international direct lending investor who augments the capabilities of our team. I am confident he will play an instrumental role in continuing to grow H.I.G.’s direct lending activities in Europe”.
Notably, Pakistan is set to more than triple the number of operational wind farms in the country by 2018, while Vietnam aims to generate 10% of its total power capacity from renewable sources by 2030. Working in these markets to turn around projects and bring them to an investment grade standard, Kyle will play a key role in supporting project investors to select developments that significantly enhance their internal rate of return. “Kyle’s wealth of experience in the region will be invaluable to MEM’s work in the emerging markets,” noted Aaron Daniels, Managing Director at MEM. “As the opportunities for developing renewables in these markets proliferate, MEM continues to invest in our project team in order to keep pace with demand.” “For the past 5 years Kyle has been developing business and working directly with clients in many of our primary markets, and he’ll be a valuable asset to help us further our own growth, and to promote growth of renewables across South-East Asia.” Prior to joining MEM, Kyle served as the ASEAN Head and In-house Counsel at 5 Capitals, an environment and management consultancy, based in Dubai. At 5 Capitals, Kyle led the company’s regional growth strategy to build partnerships with stakeholders by helping them to overcome structural challenges to sustainable growth in the country, most notably by mitigating E&S risks and liabilities for project development. Kyle commented: “MEM offers a unique proposition to clean energy development in regional emerging markets. The team’s understanding of financial project risk means it’s in an excellent strategic position to work with investors and to deliver returns that most wouldn’t think are possible in these countries. I look forward to working with MEM’s growing team on new projects in the region.”
PETER BRUGES APPOINTED GROUP FINANCE DIRECTOR AT PRAXISIFM PRAXISIFM has appointed group finance director following significant growth in 2016 which saw two acquisitions and expansion of its global reach. Peter Bruges takes up the newly created role, which encompasses group financial reporting, corporate governance, corporate finance as well as supporting the development and expansion of the business. ‘Peter has a wealth of experience across a broad range of sectors. He is the perfect fit for PraxisIFM, which is one of very few independent financial services groups with a global footprint headquartered in the Channel Islands,’ said Simon Thornton, group CEO at PraxisIFM. Mr Bruges has held senior finance, IT and programme management roles in the retail and finance sectors. Having run a sales business in the UK, he held the position of head of internal audit and finance programmes at Specsavers Optical Group, and became a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2005.
In 2008 he joined Terra Firma to establish the Guernsey office as finance and operations director. Mr Bruges has also held CFO roles with The Channel Islands Co-operative Society and Hark Capital, a family office where he remains on the investment committee for the family trusts. Mr Bruges said it was an exciting time to join PraxisIFM, which now has 300 staff across 10 jurisdictions. ‘The sector is in an interesting position – smaller companies don’t want to lose their heritage and culture by being acquired by large banks or private equity firms, but an acquisition by a private group like PraxisIFM is more attractive, as it adds value and creates opportunities for shareholders, staff and clients,’ he said. ‘I intend to use the experience I have gained in previous roles to assist PraxisIFM in achieving further growth.’
RISKIQ DEEPENS DIGITAL THREAT MITIGATION CAPABILITIES WITH ACQUISITION OF MACCABIM Increase in Brand Abuse, Malvertising, Spearsphishing, Spoofing Requires More Automated Digital Threat Triage, Legal Coordination and Response RiskIQ, the leader in digital threat management, announced that the company has completed the acquisition of brand threat project management company Maccabim.com Ltd and has appointed Jonathan Matkowsky, its founder, to vice president of intellectual property and brand security. With the acquisition of Maccabim, RiskIQ expands its threat mitigation technology, including dispute resolution proceedings and takedown functions, to expedite brand governance processes. According to Forrester Research, takedown capabilities are the second most sought-after feature of surveyed digital risk monitoring (DRM) customers. DRM vendors routinely interact with cyber, fraud, and compliance stakeholders at major digital channel providers, along with registrars and registry operators. These frequent interactions reduce the time it takes to submit and complete related requests. In specific cases, DRM vendors establish technical partnerships that expedite their submissions.* “Enterprises must be able to identify and validate brand abuse across web, social and mobile channels, and also have means to efficiently respond to preempt and moderate damage,” said Elias Manousos, co-founder and CEO of RiskIQ. “Jonathan brings a wealth of expertise and experience that will fortify our market leading threat mitigation capabilities and we welcome him to our team.” “The enormity of online brand and domain infringement is staggering and affects a broad spectrum of a business’s intangible assets.” “This requires organisations and their legal counsel to advance tools and processes in order to better systematically uncover and counter digital exploits,” said Jonathan Matkowsky, vice president of intellectual property and brand security.” “I am incredibly thrilled to be a part of RiskIQ which has the technology, vision and passion to help customers defend their online brand, intellectual property and reputation in a constantly evolving digital threat landscape.” Matkowsky has been a pioneer in the threat remediation space with focus on internet security and brand protection. Maccabim, under the leadership of Matkowsky, offered an online project management system to facilitate threat data, legal case and take down processes. Matkowsky brings 17 years of combined trademark and internet law experience to RiskIQ, and is an active member in numerous industry consortiums.
â€œGamechanger: A visionary strategist bringing fresh and unique ideas to the table, an individual or business that stands out from the crowd with ideas that inventively change the way a situation develops.â€?
Bodytrak exploits the only body site from which all vital signs can be measured. From one small non-invasive, in-ear device, metrics including core body temperature, heart rate, VO2 and motion (speed, distance, cadence) are sent wirelessly to the user in real-time via a smart phone, smart watch or internet hub. By utilising miniature components, it cleverly provides two-way communications, music playback and ambient sound transparency to meet the different needs of the sport, defense, first response, health and safety, and healthcare markets. Since Bodytrak accesses the ear, it detects changes in body physiology rapidly and accurately due to its close proximity to the brain, more effectively than when measuring at the periphery of the body like many other products alike.
Sleep Number, 360
Automatically adjusting to your sleep position to make you comfortable; detecting snoring and elevating your head to stop your snoring; figuring out how well you slept based off your heart rate, breathing, and your tossing and turning; and equipped with foot warmers – The Sleep Number 360 smart bed is beyond impressive and an innovation in sleeping technology.The 360 has three layers that are integral to making it work. There’s the actual mechanics at the bottom of the bed that physically move you up and down, but there’s also the air chamber, which adjusts to your position to make you comfortable. On top of all that, there’s the cushion layer that makes the bed something you’d actually want to lay on. Sleep Number tells you the air chamber has pressure sensors inside of it that help detect where your body is on the mattress and make adjustments accordingly. The air chambers can also pick up on vibrations, which indicate whether you’re snoring or moving, with a sensor at the end of the bed that collects all this data and sends it back to the Sleep Number app on your phone over Bluetooth. Its algorithm factors all that information into a score that represents how well you slept that night.
Samsung, Chromebook Pro
The Chromebook Pro and Chromebook Plus have full access to Android’s app store; offer a 2-in-1-hybrid experience, and stylus support. They both share the same, metal chassis and many of the same components, but an ARM chip powers the Plus, whereas the Pro packs a more powerful Intel M3 chip. Elsewhere in the specs department, the new Chromebooks feature a 12.3-inch screen with 2400 x 1600 resolution, 4GB of RAM, two USB Type-C ports, (which support charging and 4K video output), an SD card slot; and 32GB of internal storage, and only weighing in at 1.08Kg, and measures just 13.9mm thick. The Pro and Plus both comes with a stylus (very similar to the Note 5’s), which can be used to write and draw on the touch screen. The stylus can be used to take notes in Google Keep, which become searchable through Google’s optical character recognition.
LG, Hub Robot
LG’s eye-catching Hub Robot takes the concept of the smart home to the next level. By connecting to other smart appliances in the home, the Hub Robot uses Amazon Alexa’s voice recognition technology to complete household tasks such as turning on the air conditioner or changing a dryer cycle with simple verbal commands. The Hub Robot is equipped with an interactive display that can showcase a wide variety of information such as images of contents inside of the refrigerator and recipes, complete with step-by-step audio instructions. With its friendly, anthropomorphic design, LG’s Hub Robot can interact with the entire family in a variety of different ways. It can move and swivel in place, as well as express a wide range of emotions by displaying a face on its display. The Hub Robot is designed to respond to consumers using body language, such as nodding its head when answering simple questions, and is always aware of activities inside the home, such as when family members leave, come home and go to bed. And because the Hub Robot is able to distinguish different family members’ faces with its camera, it can be programmed with a different greeting for each family member.
LG, 4K HDR OLED TV
LG’s new 4K HDR OLED TV is just 2.57mm thick and, what’s more, there’s Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos built-in. The new W7 comes in both 65-inch and 77-inch sizes and is designed to look like a ‘picture on the wall’ rather than a TV thanks to the same super thin design we previously saw with the B7 and C7 series LG TVs. As in LG’s older OLEDs, the W7 also features pixel-dimming tech to render blacks with a limitless contrast ratio but tthe new model also has an expanded color gamut. If you want to mount it on the wall you’ll be using magnets to do so - this ensures there’s no gap between the TV and the wall. The HDR tech in these sets has been dubbed ‘Active HDR’ by LG, as the TVs process the picture frame by frame, enabling the TV to offer the best picture even if the original HDR content contains static or no metadata at all. And all of LG’s 2017 OLED TVs all HDR formats - Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and are Advanced HDR by Technicolor ready. A new HDR Effect feature, which processes standard definition content frame-by-frame to improve contrast ratios and brightness in specific areas. The W7 OLED TV series builds on LG OLED’s revolutionary pixel dimming control technology, which renders perfect black without any light leakage to with one billion possible colors. What’s more, all LG’s 2017 OLED TVs use ULTRA Luminance technology to deliver greater brightness where needed.
Motiv Smart Ring
The titanium ring, which comes in either slate gray or rose gold in seven sizes, uses three sensors (an optical heart rate sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer and a smart LED sensor) to keep track of its wearer’s activity and heart rate at all times. Along with standard fit tracking measures like steps and calories burned, its heart rate sensor gives additional insight to keep up with resting and active heart rate. Motiv is waterproof up to five meters, so the user wouldn’t need to worry about daily wear or even taking it in the pool for a swim. Like most other wearables, its companion app provides personalized feedback and wellness goals for activities and sleep alike. Motiv’s battery can last between three to five days, depending on use.
Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset
With the G533, Logitech merges killer audio performance, customization, and solid design at a price point that obliterates most similarly priced headsets.The G533 is for Windows PCs only, representing an evolution and simplification of its $200 G933 predecessor, which was intended primarily for console use. The new headset carries over the same Pro-G audio drivers, and I’m glad that it does. The sound is exceptional by the standard of the G533’s nearest competition, and it provides a very pleasant listen even when compared to cans that focus firmly on high-fidelity music. Featuring enhanced audio performance: G533 wireless headset with 7.1 Surround technology accurately recreates the in-game environmental and positional sound effects as game developers intended you to hear; Pro-Grade wireless; Using high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques, the G533 wireless gaming headset is designed to be a durable, yet lightweight, ideal to wear for hours and 15 hours battery life. The new headset uses a USB dongle, roughly the size of a regular USB memory stick, to create a proprietary wireless connection (using a protocol provided by a company named Avnera), which is claimed to extend a full 15 meters (nearly 50 feet).
It has been reported the Vive Tracker is the first step in growing an ecosystem of third-party accessories that will change how we interact with virtual experiences and provide consumers and businesses with an unlimited amount of content opportunities. The Tracker itself measures in at only 85 grams in weight, with a diameter of 99.65 millimeters, and a height of 42.27mm. At CES in particular, it was shown off in conjunction with a handful of properly equipped accessories such as the world’s first VR camera, numerous VR shooter rifles, haptic gloves, and training apps for both MLB players and firefighters. HTC wants the Vive Tracker to spur a ecosystem of VR accessories. This is an area of potential that has been surprisingly barren so far, because accessories don’t have an established, standardized way to communicate with the headset and its sensors. Vive Tracker should solve that problem, at least for the HTC Vive.
Hues of OF vert From emerald to crushed velvet, bringing sultry brightness to a room sprouting with style
IWC, Portuguese Chrono Boris Becker, Limited Edition
Boca Do Lobo, Limited Edition Diamond Emerald sideboard
Bentley, Blower Model Car
Pamono, Italian Emerald Green Lounge Chairs, Set of 2
Lalique, Languedoc Vase
Soho Home, Bleecker Table Lamp, Green
â€œGamechanger: A visionary strategist bringing fresh and unique ideas to the table, an individual or business that stands out from the crowd with ideas that inventively change the way a situation develops.â€?
CEO is a human being, and not a human doing Peter is the CEO of a major company, and he is extremely dedicated to his organisation. Outwardly he’s successful, both trusted and respected by colleagues and business partners. However, he finds that he sleeps little at night, doesn’t eat well, and is detached from the world around him. He feels as though he is living on autopilot: he is physically present when working or spending time with his family, but his mind is elsewhere. It seems as though while trying to do it all, he is actually experiencing very little.
For some people, coping with the ever-increasing demands of modern life creates a brain overload, as we attempt to multitask, to manage our time and to make the right decisions. Our connection to everything outside of the bubble is lost, which results in a lack of clarity and presence.
Together, we can re-programme ourselves to become human beings, and not human doings. Stress is an issue that has been a “hot topic” in recent years, with researchers citing it as a key cause for many issues affecting not just our mental health, but our physical health and overall quality of life.
In the always-on world we live in, we are bombarded with constant distractions and are attempting to multitask at an alarming pace; we simply cannot keep up.
In the business world awareness is increasing of the impact of stress on businesses, but many leaders are still either unaware of, or in denial about, just how detrimental it can be.
Someone in Britain is made sick by work-related stress every two minutes. While this is a fictional scenario, the story may sound familiar. Unfortunately, this story may sound all too familiar. It’s something I both experienced and witnessed when working in senior roles at global companies and has become all too common in the modern workforce: stress.
There is growing evidence that many of us are developing what researchers refer to as ADT (Attention Deficit Trait), making us distracted and impatient, and that Mindfulness is how we can manage this ‘rewiring’ of our brains. This is how we can keep ourselves and our employees healthy, happy and productive.
Employee turnover and absenteeism are just two of the ways that stress can contribute to financial costs. So, how can we save money, properly care for employees, and combat the frantic work environment? The answer is Mindfulness. Studies show that every dollar spent on Mindfulness training generates a $9.76 return.
COVER When applied to a business context, Mindfulness is about cultivating resilience, compassion, and clarity to create more attentive and understanding leaders, and to achieve optimal performance throughout the organisation. Evidence is growing on the benefits of Mindfulness with wide-ranging outcomes such as increased focus and attention, improved decision making, enhanced productivity, plus reduced stress and anxiety, being reported by both researchers as well as companies that have implemented Mindfulness programmes. For example, some of my clients have reported an average 25% improvement in the listening & prioritisation skills and happiness levels in their workforces as a result of a 6-week Mindfulness programme. They join a growing list of global companies, such as Google, IBM, and EY that have integrated this transformative practice into their employee wellness programmes. The Mindfulness Initiative, a private sector working group affiliated with the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK, published a report in 2016 on the impacts of Mindfulness training titled ‘Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace.’ The research found that companies who embrace Mindfulness enjoy increased wellbeing and resilience, improved working relationships, enhanced performance and decision-making, and more creativity and innovation. Companies report that the result of this is a more focused workforce and a quantifiable, positive impact on ROI - their bottom line. For example, mental health conditions are a leading cause of illness absence in the UK, with over 15 million working days lost due to stress, anxiety, and depression in 2014 according to Public Health England. A study conducted by Trades Union Congress found that someone in Britain is made sick by work-related stress every two minutes. This is costing the economy at least £70 billion, according to the UK Statistics Authority.
How do you introduce Mindfulness into an organisation? The way that I work is to collaborate with CEO’s and executive managers to tailor the right solution for their business. Depending on the needs of an organisation we offer employee workshops, leadership training and full 6-week programmes that designed to improve organisational culture as a whole, embedding Mindfulness into the fabric of the organisation. As well as teaching Mindfulness meditations, a key focus of our programmes is to equip employees with innovative tools such as Mindful Meetings, Unitasking, Mindful Decision Making and Mindful feedback to address specific issues unique to organisations. By implementing such a programme and investing in employee wellness, companies can help to promote a healthy work-life balance, foster engagement and compassion, and change workplace culture for the better. Dana Zelicha is a leading academic on the topic of Mindful Leadership, and a former corporate high-flyer who’s first-hand experience with the mounting stress and pressure of the modern workforce inspired her to launch OWBA — The Well Being Agency (wellbeingagency.com). Her goal is simple: to help the organisational world become more Mindful. To arrange an informal conversation, email Dana at - firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information please contact Iroquois PR Suzanne Hobday Suzanne@iroquois.co.uk or call on 0207 490 2099.
IN A CHANGING WORLD,
BY THE TIME YOU MASTER HUMAN RIGHTS IN A THE GAME, THE RULES HAVE CHANGED. STATE OF PERPETUAL
EMERGENCY Dr Katherine Alexander-Theodotou is a Senior Solicitor & founder and Principal at Highgate Hill Solicitors, the Principal of K. Theodotou LLC, Nicosia, Cyprus and Founder / Chair of the European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights Gamechangers Magazine speaks at length with the ACQ5 Global Award 2016 winner who went to great lengths to tell us about her continued fight for justice.
ANTICIPATING YOUR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT At Securities Services, we support your business in adapting to ever changing regulations. Our expertise across the globe ensures your assets are serviced effectively in over 100 markets. www.securities.bnpparibas
The bank for a changing world Gamechangers 44
As a first-class human rights lawyer launching Highgate Hill Solicitors in 2003, can you tell us about your role and practice there? The firm was set up in order to serve human rights in all spheres of life. Human rights ‘embraces’ a variety of different situations and upholds the principles of fairness and equality and justice for all the community. I dealt with instructions relating to a) immigration; b) the rights of elderly and lonely people; c) battered wives; d) disabled people almost abandoned; e) the rights of mothers not to be deprived of their children in divorce proceedings; f) the rights of people not to be dismissed unfairly. Generally, the rights of everyone not to be discriminated against. Also, I dealt with human rights of people living abroad who became the victims of war and division, in particularly the Middle East and Cyprus. I spent considerable time in Iraq during the invasion and I struggled together with others to protect the rights of people against the invader and against the extremist. It was a time of the year that an involvement in that area was extremely risky and I received many warnings that I may not survive my campaign to protect human rights. There were a few incidents which could have risked me my life but I was not deterred from continuing my task in order to assist the people who were supressed and completely undermined. We had been shot at twice, once after leaving a meeting at the Palestine hotel with other NGO teams as there was an exchange of fire between the American troops and rebels. I was walking through the square together with a German NGO when the fire started and we were right in the middle of it. We both decided to walk naturally as we discovered from previous examples from others that if you run you become a target. A second example occurred when I stayed outside the Palestine hotel which was in the green triangle, so that I would be very close to the hospital where I volunteered to work. I was sent a message that I had to visit a certain house in order to see a wounded child. At the same time, I was doing some work for the Kurdish population, and I was given a Kurdish guard to be with me in case I was kidnapped and killed, the way it happened to other people. I therefore directed myself to that place and the Kurdish friend with a gun was following me. We soon discovered, on approaching the door, that this was a trap. As soon as they saw that I was with another person who was armed, two men started running away. It was obvious, a trap, as some of the extremist groups were prone to killing for publicity. It was therefore with this background when I opened the firm of Highgate Hill Solicitors where I operated as an English solicitor. I am also a Cypriot Advocate and I was operating in Cyprus at the same time. I was fortunate to be able to work in Highgate and to assist the categories of people stated above. I disrupted on many occasions my work in order to travel to the Middle East being called to assist people who were arrested and beaten up, or, to look after wounded and abandoned children. I also campaigned to end the persecution of the Kurds and to assist in the establishment of a completely independent state, which is necessary, as the Kurds have been a persecuted nation for a considerable time now. I found out in the process of my work in Highgate, that although UK was not a war zone, in London there were a lot of cases in lack of human rights. There was a lot of prejudice against immigrant people and also lack of care for the elderly and vulnerable people. In the meantime, it was and still is my experience that a lawyer who is much more inclined to serve the humanitarian site of legal actions becomes also a victim himself or herself. One has to deal with a Regulatory body which consists of people who never had my experiences and who could easily intervene in our tasks under their own regulations. This is one of the areas that to the present date I have not been able to overcome. Therefore, my role as the founder of Highgate Hill Solicitors, and as the principle of this firm, was strongly based on the support on those in need, to protect their rights against all consequences, whether they are resident in the UK or abroad.
What does it mean to you to be awarded as “Human Rights Lawyer of the Year” by ACQ5? I am grateful because this is the recognition of my work and a great deal of encouragement to continue the task to which I dedicated myself. I was also surprised because many people in the same position like myself and including myself, never receive any recognition for tasks which to the majority of the people are unusual and demand personal sacrifices. My task is continuing on the war front with visits to the Middle East and I am now organising a campaign in support of the Yazidi women. The Yazidi are an ethnic minority whose beliefs are different from the Sunni or Shias. The Muslim extremists have killed and tortured a large number of them but although there is condemnation for their acts against these people we have not yet seen a decisive policy by any organisation in order to offer them an official place in the Security Council or the activities of Unesco. Hundreds of Yazidi women are sold by the extremist and are continuously tortured and raped. There are rumours that babies born from these women are sold at a minimum price in order to be equally violated and then killed. The women are always a victim when it comes to war and the military troops. The example of the Yazidi women shows that the barbarity has reached the extreme end and the international community must campaign to rescue these women and to take them out of that area to rehabilitate and turn them into human beings again. I have seen the same situation occurring in Cyprus during the Turkish invasion where hundreds of women were abused to such a degree that many of them attempted to commit suicide. I am trying to organise a presentation at the European Parliament in order to press upon the European countries the obligation to rescue these women in any way that they can, together with their children. A second campaign that I am campaigning for years now, is the rights of the Kurdish community in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. As a chair of the Euro Kurdistan committee I am advocating the liberation of all the regions and the establishment of the Kurdish state autonomous from any other nation in the area. Your distinction is helping me and encouraging me to continue my great fights.
Can you tell us a little more about your background, what motivated you to immerse yourself in law and how has this impacted your wok today? I was born in Cyprus and by coincidence I was born at the village of Myrtou as my parents were there for a brief holiday. The village is now under Turkish occupation and the famous church and monastery of Saint Panteleimon (the Saint of blessings), which dates back to the ninth century AD has been completely destroyed and all the dedications in silver and gold have been stolen. The icons which are of great value, have been sold to private collectors in Europe and the area is used for a Turkish military camp of over 30,000 troops. I grew up knowing well the British presence and experiencing the effects of the revolution against the British rule. It is known to me that the Island was united together for a long time and there were not hostilities between the Turks and the Greeks. The island was divided by the colonial policy because the Cypriots wanted their independence and the British were not forthcoming. The constitution of Zurich which was given in the year of 1959 as being the constitution “of a free island” is a stigma in the history of humanity because it advocated the divisions and led to the separation and the Turkish invasion subsequently. As a young person, I was very preoccupied with the issues of freedom and independence and like the rest of the young people who were aspiring to a free country away from any foreign rule and influence. I grew up in historically difficult times and the revolution against the British which led to the cruel death and hanging of many innocent people severely affected me. The background, gave me the love for human rights and my hatred against the suppression of liberty and freedom. As a youth, I was a very good student and have been awarded several prizes at school and I distinguish myself as a painter in successfully participating in the commonwealth painting exhibition at that time. As at that time, I was very curious to find out about the ancient world because Cyprus is one of the cradles of civilisation. I pursued my love for antiquity by studying classics and history in my first degree and then specialising myself in a PHD in the textual criticist of Papyrus. I completed my studies on classics with distinctions and I worked as a teacher in further education for a few years in this country and in Cyprus. My father was a Barrister specialising in criminal law and I was impressed with his cases which he told me were in protection of the rights of individuals. I was therefore inspired to read law which I did, with a special area in human rights and European law. I studied for a doctorate at Queen Mary Westfield College and I attended lectures in Brussels on European Law.
Human Rights is an area where the Principal of the firm has campaigned with great success. I became particularly involved with the rights of workers in this country, and I made a special study which was given to the Ministry Trade and Industry relating to 82 clothes factories which were as close as possible to slave shops of work. People were working long hours without breaks in unsuitable accommodations, being paid minimum money and with no protection. They were also engaging a number of women who worked from their own houses and when the factory was closing the women were left without any payment and no compensation of any kind. I discovered that these women were working over 20 hours a day in order to gain a small amount of money. These women were of immigrant background. Also at the same time I discovered that a large number of distinguished and wealthy firms were having their garments produced in countries where child labour was used. This happens today as well. I felt that my legal qualifications may assist these people. Similarly, I did a lot of voluntary work for old people’s homes and I discovered how badly elderly people are treated with no respect and with no intention to better their position and to respect their experience and intelligence. I had old people telling me that they don’t want to be called “darling” or “dear” because they have names and their names should be used to call them.Again, I discovered that the law is not strong enough for the elderly or the vulnerable. Human Rights help to improve the society but today the government is struggling to abolish it by attacking the Human Rights Act. As a lawyer, I also became very critical of the professional bodies whose actions may be characterised as out of touch and by some, as discriminatory and racist. That is the reason why I have been campaigning for a humanitarian approach by the regulators. The law has impacted on my work enormously as I stated above, but also in leading new cases which have to do with the purchase of off plan properties by a large number of British people who believed with their own thought or have been brainwashed by others that by investing in foreign property they would be able to make enormous profits for themselves. On the contrary they lost a lot of money to the point on bankruptcy and they came to me to assist. Almost about 1000 people in desperate situations came for our advice, and I enthusiastically turned myself to the task although I also knew that they contributed to their downfall. I am proud to say that I have resolved all the cases but at the same time I became the victim of discrimination for which I will speak later.
How does your education and life’s work support and encourage the activism of human rights? My education is a humanitarian education especially the studies of classics, ancient history and philosophy. The Greek philosophers of the antiquity always ask the question ‘what is man’? Poetry and literature of the ancient work always raise the question of ones’ rights in the community and in the family. The Greek philosophy, through Socrates, advocated the knowledge of yourself. The knowledge of one’s self involves the position of man amongst other human beings in a wider society. Aristotle says “a human being is a social animal” the issues of inequality and fairness have always been presented in the Greek Tragedies. The history of the ancient word is a continuous debate about justice and injustice. There are scenes of horror, of conquest and cruelty over those conquered. The conquered react by a strong feeling of repulsion to inequality hence you get revolutions in order to better the position of people in the society. We reach the days of Alexander the Great where an 18-year-old king nurtured by the philosopher Aristotle goes through the whole of Asia and gives the freedom to the subject people of the Persian Empire and others. Later Christianity raises the issue of human rights advocating the abolition of slavery. Christ is crucified as a rebel and subsequently Christians are executed, burned or thrown to lions because they want to bring equality as they are children of ‘one God’. Our life in its entirety consists of a continuous struggle to liberate ourselves from bad conditions to better conditions. The background of my education has assisted me and nurtured me in the principle that every individual should live free and with dignity. It is on account of my background that I strongly believe in protecting the rights of every individual to live free and to be respected and protected by the society and laws.
What lead to the launch of your Justice for Lawyers campaign? Why were you interested in this issue? I have always been questioning authoritarian bodies which are not elected as abusing their powers and being discriminatory. The legal body is a strong body and obviously it has to be regulated but the regulations must be reasonable and they must assist the lawyer to expand their work in order to offer more services to the community as a whole. The firms in London especially of solicitors are divided between the ‘privileged’ firms which consist of hundreds of partners and they’re rich and powerful and they can withhold the interventions from the regulatory body. Interventions occur on matters of conduct, which include topics such as whether you have given a retainer and what type of retainer, also whether the retainer complied with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The other matter relates to charging the client and this involves that if the client complains that he has been overcharged then the regulatory body intervenes and asks for explanations. A large number of these complaints occur after the Bill of Costs has been given to the various clients. Some of these complaints may be real but a lot of these complaints are intentionally fabricated to prevent a client to pay their fees. The big firms have a Practice Department consisting of 20-50 lawyers who deal with such complaints. During the process of the investigation, the litigation department or any other department which has been the subject of the complaint, can work uninterruptedly. This is the privilege of the big firms. The smaller firms, in particularly the ethnic minority sole trading firms like myself are not able to sustain this continuous ‘intervention’ of the professional body known as SRA or the Legal Ombudsman. The smaller firms have to spend a minimum of 6 months of continuous correspondence, answering innumerable letters, which flow uninterruptedly from the regulatory bodies without any consideration as to the ability of the firm to spend considerable time in answering the question and trying to cope with the workload. There are many cases which reach the court relating to actions by the regulatory bodies against a solicitor’s firm. A number of these cases have been thrown out because they were completely wrong. The victim is normally the firm, the sole trader, and any employees of that firm. It is in one of these situations that an elected body from the firms would have been more knowledgeable of the needs of each firm and would have been more competent in managing complaints fairly and justly. There are a number of employees of the regulatory bodies who are not lawyers themselves or if they are lawyers they have not worked in any firm or had their own firm to understand the burden on the firms when the investigation begins. Recently at the conference in Prague which was called by the small practices, there was a general outcry by the small firms that the regulatory body have to change their tactics because they would not be able to continue their business with a long-term investigation preventing the firm from undertaking new business or continuing the existing business. The ethnic minority firms receive the largest number of complaints against them, not because they are all incompetent but because they are an easy victim to attack. The regulator receiving a complaint by a client, ‘a) that their case has been delayed intentionally’; ‘b) that they have been overcharged; ‘c) that they have not been informed regularly’; ‘d) that they have not been given a retainer’; ‘e) that they have complained to the firm but the firm did not reply’. The regulatory body will immediately form the suspicion that this ‘foreign lawyer’ is not capable of understand how an English solicitor works or to understand the regulations of the English professional bodies. The investigation begins investigating the accounts, investigating time sheets and anything that they can think of. The material is given to the complainant to read and to produce their answers. This material is not given to be seen by the firm. The complainant could produce evidence which is completely false but the solicitor would have no access to this evidence. The regulatory body may visit the firm and they would try to intimidate the solicitor into confessing that they are in the wrong.
I was told once by an ethnic minority mature solicitor that the best policy when the SRA or the Ombudsman sends you a complaint is to admit it and to subject yourself to payments of compensation. This process has been going on for a lengthy period of time. At the meeting in Prague we raised questions with the officials from the SRA and the Ombudsman but none of the questions were directly answered. I have not been one of the organisers for the Prague seminar but a large number of us feel, that the seminar ought to have been organised in London where a larger number of representatives of small firms could have attended. In any event I must relate my own story as this story is what one tells ‘THE STORY OF THE STORIES’.
My story: In 2010, I was approached by a number of 6 people who had bought off plan properties in Cyprus and who borrowed money from a local bank putting a minimum deposit from themselves. The properties were sold through English agents mostly and they believed the agents propaganda, that they would make a big profit out of the purchase. I never dealt with such cases before but I decided to assist them as some of them were absolutely desperate and pocket less. Following various meetings, a fixed fee was agreed. This fee collected by Highgate Hill Solicitors went entirely to pay the Barristers and the receipt of the money and payments are all accurately evidenced. As the cases progressed in time we were able to gradually win to get them out of their problems and forcing the Banks to come into negotiations with us. In the meantime, we had won a very big battle in 2012 for the Jurisdiction of one big case which involved over 500 clients. This attracted the attention of other firms of medium size who thought we are probably making millions of pounds in profit. In fact, this was not the case because till the present date I have not been paid for my lengthy and tedious tasks. One of these firms misled clients into believing that they should not negotiate an agreement with the Bank but that they should continue the action at the court in order to obtain enormous compensation. This firm was telling clients what they wanted to hear namely that they were overcharged and that the solicitor was betraying them to the Bank and that they should engage in litigation instead of negotiating with the Banks. Some people were very greedy and they believed that they should not negotiate but that they should continue fighting at the courts although they had no money for the costs.
Human rights ‘embraces’ a variety of different situations and upholds the principles of fairness and equality and justice for all the community. The QC’s on the case advised them that it is not likely that the court will give them what they want and they would be on the safe side to negotiate as the cost would be enormous. In fact, they did not listen and believed the propaganda produced by the other firm. A number of people left to join the other firm and from there on they tried to organise a massive attack against myself. The attack was the following: 1. They falsely accused me to the SRA that I had abused clients’ money; 2. The propagandist encouraged certain members to go and visit members of the House of Commons, that is their constituency MP and to ask the MP to write to the SRA for an official investigation into the abuse of money and breaching the rules of conduct. The propagandist of the other firm is not even a lawyer but a lay person. Obviously, he was producing all this propaganda in order to obtain 500 clients for his own the employers benefit; 3. We received a letter by the SRA that we are going to be visited by an investigator but no clear information on the reasons for the visit; 4. The investigator came with another person and the first question they asked was my name and whether I am a solicitor. We gave him evidence and also the committee of the group also spoke to him. He then came a second time. In the meantime I was seriously engaged with 200 writs issued against this group by the Bank and others on this case in Cyprus. As I stated earlier I am also a fully qualified Cypriot Advocate and I have a firm in Nicosia which is still fighting the writs of some cases. At the same time we were negotiating with the Bank intensely as the majority of the 520 clients wanted to negotiate. This was a very difficult and important time in the history of litigation. We received a letter from the SRA requesting me to surrender all the case files for the investigation ignoring the fact that there was continuous litigation in Cyprus and intense negotiations with the Bank who were considering of abandoning the litigation against the clients for a compromise;
5. I offered to give them copies of the files as I needed the files for the cases. I also needed considerable time to produce copies from 2000 files. Following a warning letter, they took an action against me to surrender the files and on the 18th December 2015 I was at the High Court in London explaining that I need the files to fight the case of my clients. Luckily the court understood the problem and a consent was signed to give the files after selection within a reasonable time in order to assist me to continue the cases; 6. The investigators again came back to the court asking for an enormous amount of money for their cost, I had to go in February 2016 another time to avoid paying enormous costs. In the meantime, we had no money of any kind for continuing the cases, and this can be verified by the accountants Kingston Smith. The decision was to close down the firm laying unemployed also 10 other people, losing the cases in Cyprus, discontinuing the negotiations with the Bank and leading to disaster 420 people. This was a great dilemma and I had to make a decision as the investigations prevented any client paying money to the firm. I therefore decided not to close down the firm but to fund the action from my own savings and borrowing money from my family. The cost of running the firm to date is paid by me and to date I have no salary and no reimbursement apart from continuously paying money to the firm.
The victory: I was running the following cases: Stephen William Aston v A. Chacolis Developers and others 1. Case 1 - This case includes 50 people again purchasing off plan properties. I negotiated successfully after defeating the other side in Cyprus that my clients are not liable to pay any loans for the purchase for these completed properties apart from a relatively small amount of money and to walk away. We must bear in mind that the minimum loan for each person is 400,000 euros; 2. Case 2 – I won against several developers, nearly 70 contracts are rescinded. Unfortunately, we have now a complaint that after the rescission of the client’s contracts which was worth nearly 400,000 euros, the client refuses to pay the fee and to avoid paying it they put a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman against us. The usual continuous flow of correspondence of lies and the usual number of replies with documents proving that the client is lying and that they don’t want to pay the fees after I won the case for them. We must also note that all these cases are Cypriot cases mainly under the jurisdiction of Cyprus because the limitation period depends on the Cyprus limitation period. The enforcement of this action and the recognition is a matter of Cyprus. Probably and legally speaking here, the Ombudsman has no place in a case under the Cyprus Jurisdiction. 3. We have 6 other actions and are now settled by negotiation to the satisfaction of our clients. This is again the result of our performance in Cyprus. I must also emphasise that the cost in Cyprus have not been paid by any of the clients. This involves a total of over 700 clients. It is admitted by pronounced and distinguished lawyers in London that ‘no other lawyer has managed to resolve successfully such a number of cases without any damage caused to the client. Most importantly, the solicitor without being paid and using her own money to pay for the cases’. The investigation of the SRA is still continuing. It is a matter of Human Rights and there has never been a similar situation before. Historically, this is a precedent. I therefore request that this is publicised as a case on Human Rights as I intend to apply to the court of human rights in Strasbourg. A warning has been given to the regulatory body. The situation of the minority firms is very unpredictable. Their existence and welfare depends on the issue of being given protection by the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman in investigating properly and reasonably any complaints. The Justice for Lawyers was set up, mainly in order to assist victims such as me to fight against injustice and prejudice. We are campaigning for a democratic elected regulatory body which is annually elected from amongst the members. We also request that there should be a Legal Ombudsman to investigate and scrutinise the investigations against solicitors and to listen to the solicitor’s story in order to give a balanced and fair opinion. Justice for Lawyers is applying to various European bodies for their support.
Can you tell us more about the justice system for Lawyers and its principles? As regards this country I have not seen any development in the system for Lawyers, we are advocating that in order to bring justice to the Lawyers there should be an elected committee from amongst the members to investigate complaints of any kind. This committee must listen to the lawyers as well as to the complainant, in person producing their evidence and judging independently and unbiasedly. It must appear to the principles of a) equal opportunity; b) fairness; c) ethics; d) justice; e) human rights. The lawyers must all support this system which is based on the fairness and transparency of every complaint on any situation.
In your opinion, what are the most crucial developments that you have seen in human rights since your work during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus? I have seen a lot of cases and examples since my work in the Turkish invasion. I have particularly been involved and studied the recent situation in the Middle East as from 2003 onwards. I have seen the treatment of immigrants in Great Britain and in Europe. I have seen the effects of Brexit, the assassination of an MP and the attacks on several foreigners in England. I have not seen any serious development which would strengthen and enforce the principle of human rights. Human rights must be supported by every government, every institution and by strong laws, which must be introduced on a national and international basis in order to uphold the rules of human rights. Democratic countries are trading and are in relation with countries known for the suppression of human rights and execution of people who are considered to be enemies of their regime. As in the example of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, china and various other small nations such as Qatar. It seems that financial interests are much higher than human rights. One questions the rules which govern the approach to human rights by the countries trading with the violators of human rights. I have not seen any pressure bodies or larger groups demonstrating against the abuse that happens to victims such as those in the Middle East, to prisoners, to the system of executions in the United States and the death penalties which exist today in the so called civilised countries. In Cyprus over 2000 people are missing since 1974, who were taken as hostages from the Turkish army and there is no indication whether these people are alive, prisoners or dead. Similar situations exist in other parts of the world. Each country member of the international community must raise their voice and co-operate closely to bring strong international rules to protect the entire universe from the abuse of human rights. This is a necessity otherwise there is not going to be a successful outcome.
What are your most recent highlights from your campaigns and work at Highgate Hill Solicitors? As stated above Highgate Hill Solicitors in London and my firm in Nicosia, Alexandrou Theodotou LLC have managed to resolve 700 cases which have value of 300 million euros’ minimum for the benefit of over 700 people. This was done with great sacrifice and being at the same time victimised by false accusations and by the SRA exhibiting all their might empower against me. As regards my activities in the Middle East I have been able to campaign for the establishment of refugees in Greece and Cyprus, I have been able to campaign for the freedom of Kurdish people and now I am campaigning for the victims of war, and for a large number of Yazidi women. I would like to invite all the women organisations all over the world to stand up and raise their voice in support of these victims of barbarity and to join hands together to prevent a similar situation occurring. I will personally visit the places where these women’s camps can be found. I am only a very small voice but I believe that my voice must be heard and be joined by others for the sake of justice, truth and equality.
Present during the war in Iraq, in Baghdad, advocating human rights for prisoners and for those harmed by the military operation. Since launching in 2003, what have been your greatest achievements? One of my greatest achievements was my active participation in Iraq during the invasion by the ‘allies’. I was present and actively participated in the march of parents in Baghdad to prevent the Americans using the yards of schools for stationing their tanks and armed vehicles and preventing the children to use the school yard for their games. The kids needed the school yard because the roads in Baghdad were full of victims and debris. The children had nowhere else to go but the school yard. I joined the committee of the parents and we marched towards the head office of the allied forces. We knew that this was dangerous and that we could be fired upon. In fact, this happened and a number of people were seriously wounded. I was lucky not to be one of them. I felt proud of my work that I managed to have the courage to support the Iraqis who were protesting for a very humanitarian cause. I considered it to be a highlight in my campaign. Following that occasion I was received by many Iraqis in their houses and considered to be a ‘sister’ of theirs. Therefore, to me this was a great success and a highlight to offer my services and my life for the principle of justice and truth.
In your career, what kind of hardships have you faced during these acts and requests? If you are engaged in these kinds of activities, you are expecting that you would undertake a great deal of hardships and risks to your life. As stated above I was shot twice but I was very lucky not to be hit. Secondly there was a kidnapping attempt and again I was lucky to escape and was supported by a Kurdish friend. Thirdly, in the demonstration of the parents I felt the bullets thrown above me but in any event I kept holding my placard in the Arabic language stating “leave our schools alone.” In another incident, I was trying to get one of the Kurdish leaders Mr Qatar Aziz to travel from Baghdad to Brussels to speak to the European Parliament regarding the hardships of the Kurdish people. In Baghdad, the German airline refused to allow him to be a passenger. We had to sleep on the floor of the airport until early morning to travel to Paris on a French airline prior to travelling to Strasbourg. Our luggage was lost and we arrived in Paris with no extra clothes or money. There are numerous other examples of hardships and ill health on account of hardships. Also, we must not forget my hardships on account of unreasonable investigations by the SRA.
In your opinion, what is the key to succeeding as a human rights lawyer? The most important thing is dedication, personal sacrifice and the belief in what you are doing.
And finally, we’d love to know what the future holds for you. What are your current areas of interest in human rights and where do you see your career venturing? As stated above I am campaigning for the liberation and protection of the Yazidi women. I have the support of many other women in Syria and Iraq. I am also campaigning for the establishment of Kurdistan as an independent state I am trying to have the support of European countries. I am campaigning for the release of all the political prisoners in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Also, the abolishment of death penalties in America and other parts of the world. I have been campaigning since 1974 until the present date for the reunification of my island and for the rights of its people to live together. As stated earlier I am a small voice but try to get others to join me. I am personally satisfied that a number of my actions have been noted and other people are supporting me and my actions.
A lawyer whose life and work revolves around the dignity of the individual and the suppression of injustice. Activities in the past: 1. In 1974 as a young woman she was the first to cross the no-mans-land line during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The invasion resulted in the displacement of 200,000 people, who fled from their own homes in terror pursued by the Turkish invading forces and became refugees. A large number of children were left behind in the panic and confusion of the invasion. Katherine dared to face being shot and crossed over the no-mans-land danger zone to meet the Turkish senior military officer and persuade him to release 600 children who had been left behind in the confusion and hell of the invasion. 2. The same daring approach for the benefit of humanity was repeated in Iraq in 2003 during the invasion. She travelled from London on her own to Jordan and from Jordan in a car driven by an ex-officer of the Iraqi army, who had been tortured by Saddam Hussein, to reach Iraq at the time of the invasion and to volunteer in this horror to assist the sick and wounded in the Al Qadisiya Hospital in Baghdad. She helped also to raise the issue of human rights by investigating missing persons in Iraq. These people were taken as prisoners in Kuwait and other places by extremist and most of them were executed. 3. She organised seminars in the European Parliament supporting the rights of migrants and refugees and demanded that all clandestine refugees be given the “right to remain” in the country where they are presently residing.
4. She is a campaigner for animal rights and she has helped in the rescue and security of thousands of abandoned animals. 5. She founded the Anglo-Hellenic and Cypriot Law Association, the representative organisation of Greek, Cypriot and English lawyers. She is now campaigning for the free circulation of lawyers within the European Union (and EEA) and the uniform organisation of regulatory bodies throughout Europe. She is chair of Justice for Lawyers, which aims to assist lawyers to improve their professional standing and to have a common regulatory regime throughout Europe. 6. She worked closely with the homeless and the elderly and she does free work for those who are without means to protect themselves, namely elderly women and children. In her legal work, she deals with some of the most complicated legal actions, which are bilateral, i.e. between two or three countries. These complicated cases require strategy and hard work.
She achieved the following landmark: 1. The jurisdiction on the enormous lands of Mr Panareti the developer. 2. She is a lawyer with a strategy. Her strategy won many cases. 3. One great innovation that she has adopted as regards care is this. The client works with her. She lets the client participate in defending herself. She is a writer and one of the best Classical researchers. She is presently writing a legal dictionary of Athens of the 4th century BC. She participated in televised debates such as the Greek election and the Troika. See: https://goo.gl/Jj6Mp1 She is also the chair of the European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights, which is against loans in Swiss francs and risky currencies. The Committee represents around 14 European countries. The committee provides support for the consumer and helps individuals to release themselves of burdensome loans. She founded a school/college for cultural activities and the promotion of ethnic minority cultures. Also, she acts free of charge for complaints on discrimination as regards education. She has assisted many ethnic minority parents and students. Links to video films relating to some of the activities Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Athens 2015 - K. Alexander introduction to the conference https://goo.gl/4zusj1 Dr. Katherine Alexander-Theodotou a ciprusi konferencia utรกn https://goo.gl/Nqm3xT Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Cyprus - Dr. K. Alexander https://goo.gl/bQ6fpw Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Cyprus, 4th day in Paphos https://goo.gl/leBKDr https://goo.gl/x2NbjV Animals https://goo.gl/FB0X9H Greek School https://goo.gl/ZGpggX Greek and Cypriot Cultural Centre at Language Live Show 2015 https://goo.gl/Q5Frg0
â€œA Gamechanger changes the way that something is done, thought of or made; they transform the accepted rules, processes, strategies and management of business functions. They shift behaviour, shape culture and make clever happen.â€?
WO R LD VI EW - PR IVATE EQU ITY
2017 THROUGH OUR INDUSTRYâ€™S EYES USA CAYMAN BVI UK GUERNSEY JERSEY LUXEMBOURG THE NETHERLANDS CYPRUS HONG KONG SINGAPORE MAURITIUS Gamechangers 54
WO R LD VI EW - PR IVATE EQU ITY
THE AUGENTIUS ANNUAL SURVEY IS FAST BECOMING AN INDUSTRY TRADITION WITH MORE MANAGERS FROM THE AMERICAS, EUROPE AND ASIA, PROVIDING INPUT THAN EVER BEFORE. FOR THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE ALSO INCLUDED INVESTORS IN THE SURVEY, PROVIDING INTERESTING FEEDBACK ON WHAT THEY REALLY THINK. WITH MORE THAN 200 RESPONDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, OUR SURVEY GIVES A SOLID INDICATION OF THE KEY TRENDS AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD.
THE MARKET OVERALL In last year’s survey 40% of the respondents suggested that 2016 was going to be better than 2015 – and they were exactly right! In our 2017 survey exactly 40% of the respondents reported they had a better year. But this wasn’t a global feeling. Managers from the Americas and EMEA felt that 2016 was either better, or as good as, 2015, whilst over 50% of Asian managers didn’t have such a good year. Similarly there are some diverse views on 2017. Asian managers have concerns regarding the effect on fund raising that Brexit and the other European elections taking place in 2017 may have. Others expressed the feeling that the election of Donald Trump may result in a more inward-looking US, making fundraising and investment harder for Asian managers.
These views were not, however, reflected by Managers from the Americas and EMEA where neither Brexit, the US elections nor the forthcoming European elections are perceived to have any major effect on investment strategy or opportunities. Indeed more than 60% of Managers from the Americas believe that 2017 will be better than 2016. There is a view that the election of Donald Trump may reduce the level of regulation and create new investment opportunities for investment – both in smaller companies and infrastructure. The political changes of 2016 and 2017 also seem to have had little effect on Investor thinking, although some are anticipating an increased investment into US funds and others are more wary of “pan-European” funds given the political changes that have occurred.
MARKET CLIMATE IN 2017 BETTER
40% 43% 55 Gamechangers
WO R LD VI EW - PR IVATE EQU ITY
THE CHALLENGES? Managers the world over were substantially challenged by market regulation in 2015. This has continued to be the case in 2016 and remains a major concern for 2017. Both Managers in the Americas, and to a slightly lesser extent, Asia, were also challenged
by fundraising during the year, and again this is considered to be a concern for 2017. Investment opportunities were considered to be of major concern in last year’s survey and they remain as a real concern, across all regions, for 2017. We
have seen the M&A markets slow down in 2016 and there is obviously concern that this trend will continue in 2017. Investors have anxieties about the number of good investment opportunities available to them. This was an issue last year and not
much has changed for 2017. Their second largest concern for 2017 is “Valuation Issues” – this is a new and emerging issue (26% recording it as a concern in 2016 growing to 46% in 2017) and one that Managers need to pay attention to.
CHALLENGES FACED BY MANAGERS
% 24 FUNDRAISING
% 24 MARKET
AND THE FRUSTRATIONS? We asked the Investors what their biggest issues are in the day to day administration of their portfolios and both “Late Reporting” and “Lack of Transparency around Fees” came out as the biggest concerns, closely followed by “Insufficient Detail”. There are some genuine worries here, but when the Management community was asked about its concerns for 2017, “Investor Communications” came out at the bottom of the heap (the same in 2016). There is obviously a mis-match here. Investors have some real needs and wants and Managers must continue to develop their reporting and relationships with their Investors if they are to continue to attract new investment.
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AROUND FEES
LATE MANAGER REPORTING
AUGENTIUS.COM Gamechangers 56
INSUFFICIENT DETAIL IN REPORTING
WO R LD VI EW - PR IVATE EQU ITY
THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO MODERNISE? Over 50% of all Managers in EMEA and the Americas spent more on technology last year (as forecast in our 2016 survey) than in the previous year and 60% expect to spend more in 2017. This is in contrast with Asian Managers - 50% spent more in 2016 but only 30% expect to invest further during 2017.
Investors are also investing in their infrastructure with nearly 50% of respondents spending more on technology in 2016 over 2015, and 60% expecting to spend even more on technology in 2017.
INVESTOR SPEND ON TECHNOLOGY
Good news all round for the technology providers!
OUTSOURCING AND THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATORS? The trend for Managers to outsource across a wide range of disciplines continues, including legal, taxation, regulatory reporting, fund administration and compliance. On average over 40% of respondents outsourced work during 2016 (31% forecast in last year’s survey), and this trend is likely to continue throughout 2017. Asia is the exception, where only 22% of managers anticipate outsourcing work in 2017. Fund administration continues to be the most
popular outsourced function.
EXPECTED OUTSOURCING PERCENTAGE FOR 2016 C0MPARED TO 2017
Whilst fund administrators deliver reports and accounts no faster than the Managers themselves, (according to the Investors), more than 60% of respondents value the oversight provided by a third party administrator and 65% feel that administrators give good value for their services.
In essence, the fund administration industry seems to be delivering what the investors are looking for.
CONCLUSIONS DESPITE THE POLITICAL CHANGE THAT HAS HAPPENED IN 2016, AND WILL HAPPEN IN 2017, MOST MANAGERS ARE CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL BE “BUSINESS AS USUAL.” IS OUR INDUSTRY SO IMMUNE FROM POLITICAL CHANGE? Changing legislation continues to be a major concern for all – and of course there is undoubtedly more change on the horizon. The industry will need to adapt further to accommodate whatever it may be faced with. Finally – our industry continues to modernise – whether it be through specialist third party providers or other solutions. Given the need for transparency and detail, as demanded by Investors, this process will only continue to gather pace.
Brendan Tyne +1 917 484 8222 email@example.com
JP Harrop +44 207 397 5455 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander Traub +65 6420 6991 email@example.com
Hugh Stacey +44 20 7397 5463 firstname.lastname@example.org
WO R LD VI EW
5 Business Trends That Will Take Off in 2017 An example: The “one-size-fits-all” approach went away along with mobile strategies and the B-52s
Loyalty programs provide multiple points of interaction through objects already available in our environment.
Last year, 2016, is in our rearview mirror, Entrepreneur has looked to the trends in 2017 that will change how we do business.
These programs have the ability to help companies make decisions based on large amounts of customer data from a wide variety of channels; this data provides consumers personalized and real-time/live answers.
While it’s no secret that millennials have taken over the workforce -- according to Census Bureau data, they are now the largest living group -- how we groom them for leadership is a test many of us will face in 2017. Sure enough, a Bersin by Deloitte report has predicted that 2017 will be a disruptive year, during which more than three million company chiefs are set to retire, leaving those jobs wide open for up-andcoming young professionals. So, here’s some advice: Plan ahead. Give your young employees the tools to be leaders now. Don’t wait until you have a void to fill to train them. That’s valuable time you’ll be wasting; and, in business, wasted time is hardly a valued commodity. Here are five more trends that will be making a splash in 2017. 1. Elevated customer engagement We have already seen a shift on how brands engage customers -- in person and digitally. Customer engagement will continue to dominate as merchants move to a more digital-based business model. Relationships matter, and we have forgotten that intimacy can exist in a digital environment through data, responses and personalization. Customers want brands to become experts on them and to be treated as though they matter -- which they do. Already, some retailers are delving into personalized services; for example, Nordstrom is offering fashion advice; and home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have instructional sessions. If companies show that they’re personalizing their experiences, rather than just selling something, those actions will build trust, curate the quality of the product and deliver value. Takeaway: Understand that the process is always about the customer, never about the salesperson, the brand or the store. This should be a rule, never the exception. 2. Customer data collection How do you help people become more productive? Give them a higher level of service. To do that, study what customers consume and how they consume it, and use that information to give them what they want. Sounds simple enough, but not everyone has learned this lesson. Brands have always collected data on their customers but are only now learning to use it to their advantage. The Internet of Things (IoT) is one way to increase customer engagement and provide brands a way to build stronger relationships.
An example: I almost always fly United and the airline knows my flying habits. Through my customer data, it can personalize my experience and the treatment I receive. The more the airline knows about me, the more amenities it can provide to guarantee I have a comfortable flying experience. So far, the result for me has been a win-win situation. Similarly, every brand, business and organization needs to pay attention to the top 1 percent of their own clientele. Takeaway: Know how to use the data your customers provides you with, and know when (and where) to draw the line. You can have all the data in the world, but if you don’t use it properly, what’s the point of having it? 3. Automation Growing up, I remember watching The Jetsons and wanting a robot like “Rosie” to perform my household chores. In business, chatbots perform a much more important role for companies like Microsoft and Bank of America. Last year, companies began recognizing the advantages and limitations of chatbots for customer engagement. But more is coming to that space: As LiveWorld chairman and CEO Peter Friedman predicts, “In 2017, brands will strategically and seamlessly integrate humans into chatbot interactions to scale and advance the effectiveness of their chatbot programs.” The infusion of voice-based technology into consumer products, and the ways in which brands are shifting from social media to social messaging strategies were the subject I addressed with Epsilon Chief Digital Officer Tom Edwards, during a recent interview. Edwards told me how “disruption is the new normal” and how chatbots are the next thing chief marketing officers will have to deal with as technologies keep evolving. Takeaway: Soon, we will begin to see new immersive experiences, like social messaging married to artificial intelligence, and holographic computing; these trends will redefine how marketers connect with consumers. 4. Crowdfunding Crowdfunding isn’t something people think of when talking business. Instead, they associate it with movies, artisan projects and other specialty industries. However, more businesses are using crowdfunding to validate their own products in the market. In fact, crowdfunding raised $34.4 billion in 2015, on pace to surpass venture capital globally by the end of 2016.
WO R LD VI EW
Using crowdfunding for product validation allows companies to engage and learn from a small, but vocal, user community early in the process. Customers are your best source of information about your product, so what better way to gain valuable insight early on in the process? As a CMO, I’ve gone on to the floor of a store that sold our products -- not to check on employees, but to ask customers directly what they thought about our products. There, I took in the good, with the bad and even the ugly; and those candid encounters provided me with feedback I never would have had access to had I stayed in my office poring over graphs and projection sheets. Companies like GE Appliances are already capitalizing on this trend. GE launched FirstBuild, a global co-creation community and micro-factory that looks for insights on how to improve the way major home appliances are created, designed and manufactured. Takeaway: Just because something doesn’t fit the mold doesn’t mean it’s not useful to you. Crowdfunding may not be “mainstream” yet, so break the mold. Think outside the box. Your best focus group may be the market itself. 5. Specialization Gone are the days when companies would hire one person to perform numerous tasks. Nowadays, companies are hiring specialists who are assigned to perfect one skill, instead of trying to be proficient in ten. Think about it this way: When you go to the doctor, you want a specific diagnosis that applies solely to you, not one that’s general and ambiguous. It’s the same in business. As consumers, we are averse to generic messages that may not pertain to our specific needs. However, some entrepreneurs remain skeptical about their market segments being too small to address on an individual-by-individual basis. To me, that’s the wrong approach. You can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach anymore. Even if your market is small, every single customer should feel as if he or she matters. If they do feel that way, they’ll evangelize your brand, in return. Also, tailor your approach specifically to the audience you’re trying to reach. This isn’t about being a people pleaser, either, but about knowing whom you’re targeting, and being strategic about it. Think about what Netflix or Amazon is doing and how they’re constantly delivering content and communication tailored to customers’ preferences. Takeaway: Be laser-focused on what your customers want. The one-size-fits-all approach went away along with mobile strategies and the B-52s. Narrow your focus, hire specialists and give customers what they want. While entrepreneurs should always keep an eye out for emerging technologies and techniques, don’t forget to remember the basics -- cash, sales and good people. Having this solid foundation in place will allow you to focus on the bigger picture and move your business forward. Jeffrey Hayzlett, Prime Time TV and Radio Show Host, Author, Speaker
Original Source: https://goo.gl/RUomkV
WO R LD VI EW
Mary Ellen Callahan, Partner and Chair of Jenner & Block’s Privacy and Information Governance Practice
Nancy C. Libin, Partner in Jenner & Block’s Privacy and Information Governance and Communications, Internet & Technology Practices
For example, data regarding an individual’s health or medical care must be evaluated to determine whether the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act applies, and online services directed to children under 13 may trigger the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Diligence must therefore include questions about the mechanisms and tools the seller uses to comply with all applicable privacy laws.
Furthermore, the ECJ’s decision demonstrates the challenges companies face in determining the costs and value associated with deals in an ever-shifting legal landscape.
Companies considering international transactions must conduct a similar analysis regarding any personal data — including data about individual employees — governed by the local laws in the relevant international jurisdictions. The buyer must consider in particular whether and how the seller has complied with relevant international data protection laws and whether the transaction and transfer of data from the seller to the buyer would trigger any additional restrictions. It is essential to determine the value of any international transaction with reference to both of these privacy concerns. Otherwise, the valuation may misrepresent — and most likely underestimate — the costs of compliance. The European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) October 2015 decision invalidating the U.S./EU Safe Harbor mechanism for transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S. provides a compelling example. As a result of the ECJ’s decision, over 4,000 U.S.- based companies that were certified under the Safe Harbor program had to reassess how they could continue to lawfully transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S. This decision affected corporate transactions with EU-based entities that were in progress at that time and illustrates not only the significant impact data protection laws can have on M&A, but also the necessity of understanding — through comprehensive privacy due diligence — the various data implicated in the potential transaction.
Buyers cannot afford to ignore the risks and costs of compliance not only when valuing the deal, but also in considering how to successfully integrate the newly acquired assets into their current systems. Developing and implementing a thoughtful integration program for electronic systems and data flows is essential to maintaining privacy compliance — especially across borders as the international data privacy landscape continues to develop. Despite the growing importance of privacy and cybersecurity, the traditional due diligence process often treats privacy and cybersecurity questions as a secondary consideration. Parties may not appreciate these risks because privacy and cybersecurity analyses often require a different skill set than do typical transactions. In our experience, thorough privacy and cybersecurity analysis has identified deficiencies that may not have been discovered during traditional due diligence and that have resulted in the material modification of the terms of transactions. Companies should incorporate corporate privacy and cybersecurity assessments proactively into the transaction and due diligence process to avoid these pitfalls, taking into account current standards for commercial reasonableness. In this way, sophisticated companies and their privacy counsel will be able to understand the privacy risks and their potential costs, bringing the diligence and the deal to a successful close.
Mary Ellen Callahan and Nancy C. Libin, Jenner & Block LLP
WO R LD VI EW
Emerging markets are becoming the world’s environmental pioneers For those of us who invest in emerging markets, the speed of economic change can be intoxicating. It offers huge opportunities, but also presents significant challenges; we can’t ignore these social and cultural issues because only by overcoming them can we hope to sustain the growth we want to see. There is no greater challenge than the impact of global warming. More than seven million people die prematurely every year from environmental pollution; more than one in four premature child deaths are linked to broad environmental causes. Global temperatures in 2016 were the hottest on record for the third year in a row, with global surface temperatures nearly 1C warmer than in the midtwentieth century. But global warming is not only the single biggest threat to human health, it also has the potential to become the single biggest driver of economic transformation in human history. The decarbonisation of our economies affects every aspect of our world, encompassing not just the way we generate power, but how we grow our food, travel and live our everyday lives. It is often said that the sins of developed economies, whose factories belched out fossil fuels throughout the twentieth century, are being visited on emerging markets at the very point they are experiencing stellar economic growth for the first time. They are being required to decarbonise just as demand from a nascent, voracious middle-class is taking off. But, as an entrepreneur and investor, I look at every problem as a potential opportunity. The Emerging Markets Symposium, which is sponsored by C & C Alpha Group, brings together great minds from around the world to debate the challenges faced by developing societies. This year’s symposium, the eighth since it first met at Green Templeton College in Oxford in 2008, considered the issue of health and environment in emerging markets. What struck me during the opening session was the sense of optimism despite the scale of the challenge. The symposium’s chairman, Shaukat Aziz, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, hailed the Paris Accord as a historic, watershed moment, presaging a new era of global collaboration and an acknowledgement that environmental health is an issue that doesn’t have borders. Not only is the right to breathe clean air a basic human right, but it is also essential to increase productivity and thus prosperity.
Interestingly, the innovation curve is moving east to west and north to south, with the most dramatic shifts in approach coming from emerging markets themselves, according to Achim Steiner, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, who gave the opening address. Thailand advertises itself as a ‘sufficiency economy’, Bhutan talks of ‘gross national happiness’ – but these are not merely theoretical concepts, they are national branding strategies which feed through to political implementation.In China, a new narrative of ‘ecological happiness’ is embedded in public policy and has formally entered the language of its Five-Year Plan. It is recalibrating every aspect of the country’s infrastructure and will play a role in shaping the next stage of China’s economic development. It is also shaping the political debate; the environment minister recently issued a public apology to the Chinese people for unacceptable pollution levels, an event that would have been unimaginable not so long ago. Mr Steiner believes emerging markets are now at the forefront of innovation – eight years ago, Kenya decided that it would generate at least 75% of its electricity from renewables – but only if treasuries do not define their investment choices too narrowly. The debate about renewables cannot focus solely on the cost per kilowatt hour, it must also include the cost to human health. This is the circular economy: the cost of reducing air pollution is outweighed by the benefits to human health. As an investor, it is obvious that an explosion in green finance will be needed to fund the transformation of infrastructure. Hundreds of billions of pounds will have to be committed to overhauling transport systems and digitising energy networks. That too is an opportunity, provided we have the imagination to embrace it. Once, we thought we could use our wealth and technology to make ourselves independent of nature. Now, we are more dependent on it than ever and we recognise that we need to protect nature in order to survive. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the Emerging Markets Symposium’s deliberations when they publish their report later this year; I am sure it will be a valuable contribution to this urgent and necessary debate.
Bhanu Choudhrie, Executive director, C & C Alpha Group
London is officially a less stressful place to work than NYC People living and working in the City are enjoying a better quality of life than Wall Street staff, new research by serviced apartment provider TheSqua.re has revealed. London and New York City are both known for being densely populated locations with a high price tag, but in a study that looked at more than fifteen aspects of everyday life. The Squa.re found that the grass is definitely greener on the British side -despite the higher wages found on Wall Street.
• City workers take around 15 days more holiday per year than Wall Street staff. • The average working week in NYC is 42.5 hours, compared to London’s 33.5. • Life expectancy for inhabitants of the City of London is almost 2 years longer than that of Wall Streeters. • People employed in the City of London and on Wall Street have a life expectancy 4-7 years above the local average.
Here are some of the key findings from their report:
“People underestimate how great London can be, both for local business people and for those who are visiting on business from elsewhere.” CEO Sid Narang said.
• New York’s population density is 130% higher than London’s. • London has more than three times more green space than New York City.
“Not only do workers in areas like the Square Mile usually have more free time, they enjoy lower costs when dining out, a wider array of nightlife options and a considerable amount more green space than their Wall Street counterparts.”
WO R LD VI EW
Business travel made a total contribution to the global economy of 1.11 trillion US dollars last year, and long-stay business trips in cities like New York and London are proving to be increasingly common in finance and other industries. Wall Street workers visiting London may not appreciate the 43 extra rainy days a year, but working weeks coming in 9 hours shorter and with more than twice as much paid leave allowance will likely feel like a good compensation. “More and more now we’re seeing business travellers staying for many months at a time, or workers who are in the process of actually moving to a new country.” Sid went on to say.
Sid went on to say. “People are keen to know what their new home will be like, be it permanent or temporary, and I think this research gives us some great insight into the quality of life business people can expect in each city.” Wall Street workers may earn the most, but spend almost 500 hours more in the office each year – and that’s before you take Londoner’s more generous holiday allowances into account. With London offering lower crime rates, longer hours of daylight and more than twice as much holiday than the Big Apple, it’s no wonder City workers are living longest, enjoying an overall less stressful life.
For a full list of the results, visit the full study: https://goo.gl/o6j6nV
WO R LD VI EW
Market Gravity predicts banking and finance industry trends for 2017 Technology will continue to be one of the biggest disrupting forces in the banking and finance sector in 2017, with innovations such as blockchain, chat bots, robo-advice and virtual reality finally breaking through. In 2016, we saw the time it takes to go from breakthrough technology to mass market application reducing as technology disruptors reshaped big business practice, and this breakneck pace doesn’t show signs of abating as we enter a new year. Gideon Hyde cofounder of Market Gravity, the proposition design consultancy, shares his predictions for 2017 and advises what business leaders in the banking and financial services sectors should be doing to recognise ‘tomorrow’s business’ and ensure they enhance their offerings to stand out in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Blockchain Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen cites blockchain as “one of the most fundamental inventions in the history of computer science”. Put ‘simply’, blockchain uses complex cryptography to ensure that financial transactions can be verified and can’t be tampered with, with minimal third party involvement. Bitcoin is the best known application of blockchain so far, but its potential extends far beyond digital currencies. The blockchain process makes error and fraud easier to spot and it can remove the need for a middleman, thereby reducing costs. Indeed, experts say it is set to disrupt every industry where transactions and trust are key. Robo-advice An increasing number of banking organisations are developing and launching robo-advice services for customers. Roboadvice involves replacing face-to-face advice with online, automated guidance and execution – not from an actual robot, but from an algorithm which engages with customers to create an improved experience. The savings and investment sector, in particular, has adopted this new technology to engage with customers in a way that adds value and helps create an improved brand experience. Take the Standard Life Financial Butler, for example; an automated chat-based app that provides customers with a new way to explore and interact with their pensions and investments, make changes to their account information and get quick and easy access to Standard Life experts. While its growing popularity could mean the beginning of the end for traditional face-to-face advice, there is an opportunity for advisers who are willing to consider incorporating these automated services into their offering. Major banks are already beginning to do this by targeting potential customers considering their first steps into financial advice. This low-cost stepping stone can help get customers on side ready for when they may require more comprehensive guidance. Frictionless retail With the growing popularity of the new megatrend known as ‘frictionless retail’, wallets, checkouts and queues could be set to be things of the past. Actually, frictionless retail has been on the cards since around 2005, when Apple introduced a mobile POS system across its US stores which allowed staff to roam the shop floor taking payments in order to make the customers’ shopping experience quicker and less painless. However, it now seems to be one of the biggest buzz phrases in the sector with retailers, payment providers and tech developers working together to create more ways to eliminate friction.
One of the latest innovations doing just that is the Amazon Dash button, which makes re-purchasing and paying possible with the simple push of a button. Satisfying the rising demand for contactless payments and digital wallets such as Apple Pay, will continue to enable payment providers, banks and tech developers to increase sales, improve the customer journey and build brand loyalty. Chat Bots – the rise of the chat interface More and more financial services and banking companies are using chat bots to hold automated conversations with customers to help them make decisions and respond to queries. The advantages to banks considering using them are that they are less expensive to produce than apps, they help raise brand awareness and they can save human resourcing costs, effectively replacing the work of customer service agent. The prospect of bots actually replacing human jobs is still a way off, however. Banks, payment providers and financial services organisations should look at augmentation rather than replacement. Bots can help make employees’ lives easier by taking away some of the strain but, when enquiries become more complicated, customers will still require the help of a human being. Voice and motion control interfaces Recent developments in user interface (UI) - the way human beings interact with a device - are now offering us much more attractive options than a simple keyboard and a mouse. Take voice recognition technology, for example, Apple’s Siri - a personal assistant application designed to work through IOS. And, launched much more recently, Amazon’s Echo. Using advanced voice technology, ‘Alexa’ can tell you the time, deliver news updates, play your music choices, notify you of your day’s appointments and much more. Another emerging UI was first foretold by Tom Cruise in the 2002 sci-fi movie, Minority Report when he was seen donning his magic gloves and gesturing at a screen to manipulate images and datasheets on his computer system. Now motion control, or gesture interface, is actually beginning to show us a future where computer systems will be able to interpret human hand gestures and emotion recognition from the face via mathematical algorithms. VR and AR Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have started to hit the mass market (see Facebook’s Oculus Rift) but the way in which they will affect banking businesses has yet to evolve. In 2017, the consumer and business content and application of VR and AR will become clearer. VR and AR has huge potential to control a flow of information to the consumer, integrated across mobile, wearable technology and IoT etc. allowing rooms and spaces to connect with consumers, virtual worlds and conversations. It’s possibly one of the most exciting areas to be working in for finance and banking brands right now. Gideon is one of the co-founders and a partner of Market Gravity and is passionate about creating growth and innovations businesses across the UK and beyond. He is an expert in helping big businesses launch significant new ventures into the marketplace and take them to scale. He led the programmes to develop B for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group and to design and launch Retiready, Aegon’s digital retirement service.
WO R LD VI EW
The World’s Most Powerful People A look into the Top 15 most powerful in 2017 It’s that time of year again and Forbes has released their The World’s Most Powerful People list. With Vladimir Putin taking lead for a fourth year running now and Mark Zuckerberg still standing strong as the youngest, Gamechangers takes a look at the newcomers, the none-movers and everyone else currently ruling our globe.
1. Vladimir Putin Organisation: Russia, Age: 64
2. Donald Trump Organisation: United States, Age: 70
3. Angela Merkel Organisation: Germany, Age: 62
The world’s most powerful person for four years running, Russia’s president has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe; from the motherland to Syria to the U.S. presidential elections, Putin continues to get what he wants. Unconstrained by conventional global norms, his reach has magnified in recent years. In 2016 Russian hackers were accused of tapping into email accounts owned by members of the U.S. Democratic Party in a bid to aid the campaign of Donald Trump, who has regularly praised Putin’s leadership style. The Kremlin denies the charges, and President-elect Trump has also dismissed the possibility of outsiders tampering in the election, despite a reported CIA memo suggesting otherwise. Either way, with a likely ally entering the White House, Putin’s power may go largely unchecked for years to come.
Donald Trump is trading in Trump Tower for the White House. The New York native will become the first billionaire president of the United States, after upsetting Hillary Clinton in a surprising election victory, when he takes over the Oval Office in 2017. He has said that he will hand over the reins to his real estate empire, which includes office towers, private golf clubs and luxury hotels, to his children. Trump, who made illegal immigration and global trade the centerpiece of his abrasive campaign, started his career working for father Fred, who developed low cost housing across Brooklyn and Queens. The younger Trump expanded into Manhattan, then got into branding and licensing after his business was nearly wiped out in the real estate crash of the early 1990s. Wife Melania, who was born and raised in Slovenia, says she will make anti-bullying the focus of her time as First Lady.
As populist, right wing political movements spring up around the world, many have labeled Germany’s Chancellor as the last bastion of Western liberal power. Merkel, who faces a challenging reelection bid in 2017, has been tasked with maintaining a united European front in the wake of Brexit, balancing growing Russian influence on the continent and managing more than 1 million migrants who have entered Germany in recent years. This is hardly the first difficult political climate Merkel has been dealt. She guided her country through a recession with stimulus packages and subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and Germany entered 2016 with a budget surplus of 12.1 billion euros ($13.1 billion) and an AAA rating from credit rating agencies. She has also used her power against ISIS, breaking the post-Nazi-era taboo of direct involvement in military actions by sending arms to Kurdish fighters.
WO R LD VI EW
4. Xi Jinping Organisation: China, Age: 63
5. Pope Francis Organisation: Roman Catholic Church, Age: 80
Xi Jinping is more powerful than ever after being elevated to a Communist Party “core” leader in 2016, an honor previously bestowed upon Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. After ascending to the presidency in 2012, Xi was quick to see the benefits of privatization-friendly reforms, and further signs of fresh thinking are everywhere. He has a surprisingly assertive public profile, even allowing the state media to publish a day-in-the-life account of his workday. Xi has fought harder than his predecessors against corruption and in favor of greater economic and security alliances. Still, he has showed a willingness to engage in strategic moments of confrontation. China has doubled down on its presence in disputed territory in the South China Sea, and continues to exert influence over political affairs in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Pope Francis is the spiritual leader to nearly one-sixth of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people. He has made it his personal mission to transform the longstanding conservative image of the Catholic Church. In November 2016 he gave priests the power to forgive women who undergo abortions, and has continued to push for climate change reform, better management of the global refugee crisis and greater attention to persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East. Still, Francis has kept some traditional aspects of the Church in place as well. Also in November, he affirmed a historical ban on female clergy members, despite pressure from progressive Catholics.
Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, has been reluctant to raise domestic interest rates. Since beginning her tenure in 2014, she has hiked rates just twice, including a tweak in December 2016. Performing neither as wizard nor innovator, Yellen instead asserts her power by way of plain sentences and easy logic, making it easy to forget that the Yale- and Brown-educated economist is perhaps the world’s top market-mover. As the first female Fed chair, she holds unmatched influence over American monetary policy.
6. Janet Yellen Organisation: United States, Age: 70
7. Bill Gates Organisation: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Age: 61
From his perch atop the world’s largest private charitable foundation, Gates keeps pushing to save lives in the developing world through efforts to eliminate polio, attack malaria and expand childhood vaccinations. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is also focused on K-12 education in the U.S., although it admitted this year that it’s a “real struggle” to make changes to the system. In June 2016 his team created a chicken coop in a Manhattan skyscraper to showcase the importance a few chickens can have for some of the world’s poorest people. “There is no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens,” Gates said at the time. America’s richest person for 23 years running, he stepped down as Microsoft’s chairman in 2014 but remains a technology advisor and board member of the company he cofounded in 1975.
WO R LD VI EW
8. Larry Page Organisation: Alphabet, Age: 43
In October 2015, Larry Page went from CEO of Google to CEO of Alphabet, the newly created parent of Google and its sister companies. Alphabet shared financial details in February 2016 for the first time about those other companies, which include smart-thermostat firm Nest, broadband Internet provider Google Fiber and life-sciences firm Verily. These “other bets” had $448 million in combined 2015 revenue-- pennies compared with Google’s $74.5 billion-- and were far from profitable. In late 2015 Page passed the reins at Google to Sundar Pichai, who is focused on artificial intelligence. Outside of Alphabet, Page is reportedly funding two flying-car startups: Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero. He cofounded Google in 1998 with Sergey Brin.
India’s populist prime minister remains hugely popular in his country of 1.3 billion people. In November 2016 he unexpectedly announced plans to eliminate India’s two largest bank notes in a bid to reduce money laundering and corruption, creating a nationwide frenzy to quickly swap out the bills. Modi has raised his profile as a global leader in recent years during official visits with Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. He has also emerged as a key figure in the international effort to tackle climate change, as planetary warming will deeply affect millions of his country’s rural and most vulnerable citizens. 9. Narendra Modi Organisation: India, Age: 66
10. Mark Zuckerberg Organisation: Facebook, Age: 32
11. Mario Draghi Organisation: European Central Bank, Age: 69
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan made an audacious bet in late September, promising to spend $3 billion of their fortune over the next decade to manage, cure or prevent all disease by the end of the century. The move follows the couple’s decision in December 2015 to give away 99% of their Facebook stock over their lifetime “to advance human potential.” The potential payout to the world has risen as the price of Facebook stock increased by 15% between the announcement and December 2016. The higher share price has added billions to Zuckerberg’s fortune, lifting him into the top 5 on The Forbes 400 for the first time. Under his leadership, Facebook is reaping billions from mobile ad sales. In April it is introducing the ability to stream live videos with Facebook Live. In March of 2016, two years after it bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion, Facebook began shipping its virtual reality headsets. Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, founded the social network in 2004 when he was 19.
As president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi has presided over an era of disintegrating faith in European unity, culminating in the June 2016 Brexit vote. He has worked to promote growth in the Eurozone through an aggressive course of quantitative easing, and has famously championed negative interest rates on the continent. Draghi’s work is likely far from finished; Greece’s credit problems have only been postponed, not solved, and European populism will likely make economic cooperation increasingly difficult. If anyone is up for the task, it’s “Super Mario,” who earned his nickname for his heroic ability to navigate Italian politics.
WO R LD VI EW
12. Li Keqiang Organisation: China, Age: 61
13. Theresa May Organisation: United Kingdom, Age: 51
14. Jeff Bezos Organisation: Amazon.com, Age: 53
15. Warren Buffett Organisation: Berkshire Hathaway, Age: 86
In September 2016, Chinese premier Li Keqiang insisted that U.S.-China relations would strengthen “no matter who” won the November presidential election. With Presidentelect Donald Trump now engaging with Taiwan and threatening to use the “one-China” policy as a bargaining chip, Li’s prediction will be put to the test. Either way, China’s second-most powerful politician has been circling the globe securing economic partnerships for his nation of 1.4 billion people. In October 2015 he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced $2.5 billion worth of investment deals and cooperation with Volkswagen, Daimler and other German companies. Li, who was educated at Peking University, a school known for its liberal teaching, came from modest beginnings through the Communist Party and remains loyal to the party.
Theresa May became Britain’s prime minister in July 2016 after the Brexit referendum forced David Cameron to resign. Since taking office, she has pushed to limit immigration into the U.K., a priority for many of Brexit’s initial supporters. May will soon be charged with guiding Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union without overexposing its economy, a difficult task that will be intensified by pressure from EU member states. May, an Oxford grad, will perhaps look across the pond for support. Her party has received praise from U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, though the leaders have gotten off to an awkward start. In their first telephone call after Trump’s election, he casually told May to “let [him] know” the next time she stopped by the United States. Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos added $20 billion to his net worth over 14 months through December 2016, the largest gain of anyone in the world. The online retailer’s stock has shares soared thanks in part to its booming cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services. Bezos boasted at the 2016 shareholders meeting that Amazon is the fastest company ever to reach $100 billion in annual sales, which it cleared in 2015. Big gains often come from taking bold risks. “We are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins,” Bezos wrote in his last annual report. Raised by his mom and stepdad, a Cuban immigrant who adopted him, he quit a lucrative New York hedge fund job in 1994 with the simple idea to sell books online. Now Amazon sells nearly everything a consumer might want. His other passion is space travel: His aerospace company, Blue Origin, is developing a reusable rocket that Bezos says will carry passengers.
The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett ranked number two on the Forbes 400 for 15 years straight. That streak ended in September 2016 when he was overtaken (by Jeff Bezos) despite adding $3.5 billion to his fortune in the previous year. The last time he ranked so low, Bill Clinton was in the White House. He spent parts of 2016 stumping for Hillary, and promised to release his tax returns if Donald Trump did the same. Unlike Trump, Buffett does not think America needs to be made great again. “The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history,” he wrote in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. “For 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start.” Such optimism makes sense coming from one of the most successful investors in history. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway remain near all-time highs. One investment not doing well: Wells Fargo.
â€œGamechanger, what we define as an individual or business that aims to create a new model that leaves the older model obsolete. Gamechangers impact how the game is played from one objective and ruling model to a completely new vision â€“ changing the face of how we know something.â€?
Gamechangers Gamechangers Gamechangers 0 68
REPORTS A PRESENTATION OF FACTS OR FINDINGS
2016 Global Cartel Enforcement Report
Global M&A activity down 18 percent in 2016 says new review
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Full Report
Bureau Van Dijk
Venture Capital Report
Global M&A volume and value decline in 2016
r epo rt
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
In the days leading up to a bid announcement, significant trading in the shares of the target company can indicate information is leaking about the deal. While not providing absolute confirmation of a leak in an individual deal, significant pre-announcement trading (SPAT) across a large sample can be used to examine patterns and trends in leaking across time periods and geographies. The Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report analyzes and reports on deal leaks globally. This report looks at deal leaks for the period 2009-2015, while placing emphasis on the 2015 findings compared to previous years. The analysis of data for this report was conducted in association with the M&A Research Centre at Cass Business School, City, University of London. Report: https://goo.gl/u6gtRv Gamechangers 70
r epo rt
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
A study by the M&A Research Centre at Cass Business School, City, University of London | December 2016 ÂŠ Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved.
r epo rt
1 | Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
ÂŠ Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved
r epo rt
Contents Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 Methodology ....................................................................................................................... 3 Key findings ........................................................................................................................ 4 What explains these results?............................................................................. 6 Regulatory enforcement in 2015 .....................................................................................6 Benefits to leaking deals: too tempting?................................................................7
About Cass .......................................................................................................................... 7 About Intralinks............................................................................................................... 7 Contact .................................................................................................................................... 8
ÂŠ Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved.
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report | 2
r epo rt
In the days leading up to a bid announcement, significant trading in the shares of the target company can indicate information is leaking about the deal. While not providing absolute confirmation of a leak in an individual deal, significant pre-announcement trading (SPAT) across a large sample can be used to examine patterns and trends in leaking across time periods and geographies.
M&A transaction data for announced deals during the period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2015, share price and index price information were sourced from Thomson Reuters. The criteria for inclusion in the sample were that the target must be a listed entity, that the transaction must involve the acquisition of majority control of the target and that the target’s equity must have a sufficient trading history for its returns to be calculated. The final total sample of deals for the period 2009-2015 was 5,024. A transaction was identified as involving a leak of the deal prior to its public announcement using the event study methodology, which compares the cumulative daily returns of the target in the period from -40 to -1 days prior to the public announcement of the deal with its expected returns. The target’s expected returns are calculated using a linear regression model of the target’s returns during a “normal” trading period against the market return. A transaction was identified as involving a leak of the deal if the cumulative daily returns of the target in the period -40 to -1 days prior to the public announcement of the deal was statistically significantly different compared to its expected returns, at the 95 percent confidence interval for a normal distribution – meaning that there is only a 5 percent probability that the target’s observed returns compared to its expected returns would occur in a random distribution of data, i.e. would be due to pure chance. Unless otherwise indicated, all references to the region or country location of the target refer to the target’s primary listing location. The total number of leaked deals for the entire period was 378 out of the total number of deals of 5,024.
The Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report analyzes and reports on deal leaks globally. This report looks at deal leaks for the period 2009-2015, while placing emphasis on the 2015 findings compared to previous years. The analysis of data for this report was conducted in association with the M&A Research Centre at Cass Business School, City, University of London.
3 | Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
© Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved
r epo rt
Key findings Globally, M&A deal leaks increased in 2015 compared to the prior year: 8.6 percent of all deals in 2015 involved a leak of the deal prior to its public announcement, compared to 6 percent in 2014 and an average of 7.5 percent over the seven-year time period. Figure 1. Percentage of deal leaks globally 10% 8.8%
6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% 2009
Average Over the period 2009-2015, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) had the highest average percentage of leaked deals at 8.9 percent, whereas North America (NA) had the lowest average percentage at 6.9 percent. However, since 2014, this trend has reversed: in both 2014 and 2015, the percentages of deal leaks in NA were significantly higher than in EMEA. This trend reversal is due both to a fall in deal leaks in EMEA (below historical averages) and to a sharp increase in deal leaks in NA: the incidence of NA deal leaks has increased for four consecutive years since the beginning of 2012, to a seven- year high of 12.6 percent in 2015. The data for Latin America (LATAM) is very volatile due to the relatively small sample size in that region. Figure 2. Percentage of deal leaks by region
25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%
ÂŠ Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved.
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report | 4
r epo rt For the top ten countries with the most M&A activity, the top three countries for deal leaks in 2015 were India, Hong Kong and the United States (US). Ranked in 5th place for deal leaks in 2015, the United Kingdom (UK) remains below its long-term average. Both the US and Canada had significantly increased incidences of deal leaks in 2015 compared to both 2014 and their long-term averages. Figure 3. Percentage of deal leaks by country Target Listing Location
On a sector basis, globally, the top three sectors for deals leaks in 2015 were Real Estate, Healthcare and Energy & Power. The Real Estate sector maintained its position as the one with the highest incidence of deal leaks. Figure 4. Percentage of deal leaks by sector Target Sector
Energy & Power
Consumer Products & Services
As in all but one of the previous years, in 2015 targets in leaked deals achieved significantly higher takeover premiums than those in non-leaked deals: the median takeover premium for targets in leaked deals was 53 percent compared to 24 percent for non-leaked deals, a difference of almost 30 percentage points. Figure 5. Median takeover premium 2015
In 2015, as in the majority of the previous years, leaked deals had a higher incidence of attracting rival bids: 6.4 percent of leaked deals attracted one or more rival bids compared to 4.4 percent of non-leaked deals. This may partly explain the higher takeover premiums for leaked deals. Figure 6. Percentage of deals attracting rival bids 2015
5 | Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
ÂŠ Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved
r epo rt Our analysis also shows that while there is some evidence that leaked deals take longer to complete than non-leaked deals (although the difference in 2015 was only slight), there is no consistent evidence, over the longer term at least, that leaked deals have a higher or lower completion success rate than non-leaked deals. Figure 7. Median time from announcement to completion (days) 2015
Figure 8. Median completion success rate
What explains these results? Globally, the incidence of leaked deals increased last year, breaking above the average of the last seven years. This is a reversal of the trend that we highlighted in our last Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report, which saw deal leaks fall to a six-year low of 6 percent in 2014. So what happened in 2015?
Regulatory enforcement in 2015 Regulatory enforcement statistics for 2015 show an aggregate rise in both enforcement actions and financial penalties by five major financial services regulators – the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Figure 9. Global enforcement statistics (data courtesy of Duff & Phelps’ Global Enforcement Reviews 2015 and 2016)1 CFTC
No. of enforcement actions 2015
Financial penalties (USDm) 2015
Globally, regulators appear to be stepping up their game, introducing new regulations and frameworks, and enforcing fines pertaining to insider trading. In 2015, the SEC charged 87 parties in cases involving trading on the basis of inside information2, a 67 percent increase on the 52 charges brought in 20143. Despite this increase in enforcement actions, according to the data in our latest Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report, the US saw a sharp rise in the incidence of deal leaks in 2015 compared to 2014: from 8 percent to almost 13 percent. Our report also found that India replaced Hong Kong as the country with the highest incidence of deals leaks in 2015, with Hong Kong moving into second place having significantly reduced its percentage of deal leaks from 22 percent in 2014 to 13 percent in 2015. The SFC has made significant investments in 2015 and the previous two years in an attempt to combat Hong Kong’s reputation as a financial center with a more permissive culture as far as market abuse is concerned: staff numbers and expenditure increased by 6 percent and 9 percent respectively in 2015 following similar increases in 20144.
The Global Enforcement Review 2015 and The Global Enforcement Review 2016
© Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved.
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report | 6
r epo rt In India, at the end of 2014, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced an overhaul of the insider trading rules governing Indian capital markets. It wasted no time enforcing these rules and, in 2015, SEBI found the top two executives at Indian technology firm Palred Technologies guilty of insider trading. Despite this new-found zeal, India moved into top place for the incidence of deal leaks in 2015, with 20 percent of all deals found to be leaked, up from 16 percent in 2014. In the UK, the FCA is adopting a new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), which came into effect on 3 July 2016. It aims to increase market integrity and investor protection, enhancing the attractiveness of securities markets for capital raising. MAR is intended to strengthen the existing UK market abuse framework by extending its scope to new markets, new platforms and new behaviors. It contains prohibitions of insider dealing and market manipulation, and provisions to prevent and detect these. The new MAR came too late to affect deal leaks in 2015: the UK moved up from 6th place in 2015 to 5th place in 2015, with the incidence of leaked deals in 2015 increasing to almost 7 percent in 2015 from 5 percent in 2014. In early March 2016, the FCA also introduced the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to increase accountability by individuals within authorized firms. Senior managers can be held accountable for misconduct that falls within their area of responsibility and individuals working at all levels can be held to appropriate standards of conduct.
Benefits to leaking deals: too tempting? Are increasing regulation and the threat of enforcement enough to deter deal leaks? In 2015, it appeared not to be the case, as the global incidence of deals leaks increased. It seems that the benefits of leaking deals remain too tempting despite the risks. According to our analysis, there are obvious benefits to leaking a deal. Deals that leak are more likely to encourage rival bids and the valuations of targets in leaked deals (as measured by takeover premiums) appear to be significantly higher. Against the benefits, those leaking deals must also weigh the risks. Increased regulatory enforcement and new market abuse regulations in Europe mean that the reputational and regulatory threat from leaking deals is unlikely to decrease, so, despite the increase in deals leaks in 2015, we would expect the long-term trend in deal leaks to continue to decrease.
About Cass Cass Business School, which is part of City, University of London, is a leading global business school driven by world-class knowledge, innovative education and a vibrant community. Located in the heart of one of the world’s leading financial centers, Cass has strong links to both the City of London and the thriving entrepreneurial hub of Tech City. It is among the global elite of business schools that hold the gold standard of triple-crown accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). For further information visit: www.cass.city.ac.uk or on Twitter follow @cassbusiness
About Intralinks In 1996, Intralinks (NYSE: IL) pioneered the use of software-as-a-service solutions for business collaboration and transformed the way companies work, initially for the debt capital markets and M&A communities. Today, Intralinks empowers global companies to share content and collaborate with business partners without losing control over information. Through the Intralinks platform, companies, and third parties can securely share and collaborate on even the most sensitive documents – while maintaining compliance with policies that mitigate corporate and regulatory risk. Intralinks Dealspace® is the most widely used deal management and virtual data room solution that supports all parties involved throughout the M&A lifecycle: from deal preparation through to marketing, due diligence, closing, and post-merger integration. Intralinks Dealspace enables financial advisors, legal advisors, and M&A and corporate development professionals to securely collaborate and share confidential information while maintaining complete control over content. Intralinks Dealnexus® is the world’s largest M&A professional social network, used by over 8,100 firms, including private equity, financial advisory, corporates and family offices, to originate and source acquisition opportunities and potential buyers for divestments. Intralinks Fundspace® is the industry-leading platform used by Alternative Investment firms for fund raising and LP reporting. Over 4.1 million M&A, legal, corporate development and private equity professionals at 99 percent of Fortune 1000 companies, investment banks, law firms and private equity firms have depended on Intralinks’ 20 years of experience in helping to facilitate transactions and business collaborations valued at more than US$31.3 trillion across all industries. For further information, visit www.intralinks.com or on Twitter follow @Intralinks.
7 | Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report
© Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved
r epo rt
Contact North America New York – Corporate Headquarters
150 East 42nd Street 8th Floor New York, NY 10017 Tel: +1 212 342 7684 Email: email@example.com
3455 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 500 Atlanta, GA 30326 Tel: +1 404 995 6670
404 Wyman Street, Suite 1000 Waltham, MA 02451 Tel: +1 617 648 3500
200 W. Adams Street Suite 2650 Chicago, IL 60606 Tel: +1 312 327 8502
101 California Street Suite 2710 San Francisco, CA 94111 Tel: +1 415 365 9577
Europe, the Middle East & Africa London
4th Floor, The Rex Building 62 Queen Street London, EC4R 1EB Tel: +44 (0) 20 7549 5200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Herengracht 448-450 1017 CA Amsterdam The Netherlands Tel: +31 64 662 8201
28-30 Academiei Street 1st District, 7th Floor Romania Tel: +40 724 731 266
1910 Shatha Tower Dubai Internet City United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 (0) 4 375 3498
An der Welle 6 60322 Frankfurt am Main Germany Tel: +49 69 767 576-100
Plaza Carlos Trías Bertrán, 4 2ª Planta 28020, Madrid, Spain Tel: +34 914 184 507
Via Torino, 2 20123 Milano Italy Tel: +39 02 8903 8625
18, rue Volney 75002 Paris France Tel: +33 (1) 82 63 51 74
Birger Jarlsgatan 18 114 34 Stockholm Sweden Tel: +46 852500646
6 Battery Road #37-01A Singapore 049909 Tel: +65 6908 6990 Email: email@example.com
Level 18 Wheelock House 20 Pedder Street Central Hong Kong Tel: +852 3626 9370
9th floor, Platina, G Block, Plot C 59 Bandra Kurla Complex Mumbai, 400 051 India Tel: +91 9930491248
Level 43, Three IFC, 10, Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 07326 Tel: +82 2 6138 4312
Suite 2, Level 27, State Street Building 420 George Street Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia Tel: +61 (0) 2 9227 5600
New Otani Garden Court 10F 4-1 Kioicho Chiyoda-ku 102-0094 Tokyo Japan Tel: +81 (0) 3 4510 7900
Santiago de Chile
Ciudad de México
Rua Tenerife, 31, Bloco A, cj. 121 Vila Olímpia São Paulo CEP 04548-040 Brasil Tel: +55 11 4949 7700 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intralinks Cono Sur SpA Avda. Apoquindo 3600 (El Golf) Piso 5, Ofc. 520, Las Condes Santiago de Chile Chile Tel: +56 (2) 2446-8467 Tel: +56 (2) 2656-7443
Torre Virreyes, Pedregal #24, Piso 3 Of. 365 Molino del Rey, Miguel Hidalgo Ciudad de Mexico, D.F. 11040 Mexico Tel: +52 (55) 8000 7586
© Intralinks 2016. All rights reserved.
Intralinks Annual M&A Leaks Report | 8
r epo rt
2016 GLOBAL CARTEL ENFORCEMENT REPORT AUTHORITIES LAUNCHED NEW CRIMINAL PROBES, OBTAINED GUILTY PLEAS FROM COMPANIES AND EXECUTIVES AND IMPOSED HEFTY FINES AS AGGRESSIVE ENFORCEMENT CONTINUED Several significant developments occurred in cartel enforcement in 2016. New record fines were imposed by enforcement authorities in the European Union and the United Kingdom. EU and India fines exceeded $1 billion. Fines of more than $100 million were imposed in the European Union, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, and the United States. Several investigations produced their first criminal guilty pleas in 2016. In December, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) brought its first charges in the generic drugs investigation as two executives agreed to plead guilty. In the seafood packaging investigation, the first charges were also filed by the DOJ in December against two senior vice presidents who both agreed to plead guilty. Based on public statements by the DOJ, both of these investigations are expected to grow over the coming months. www. morganlewis.com
There were also several significant firsts in cartel enforcement in 2016: • The DOJ’s Antitrust Division (DOJ) announced that it will open criminal investigations and prosecute employers, including individual employees, who enter into certain “naked” wage-fixing and no-poaching agreements. • Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed its first criminal cases against a corporation under the cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act. Australia’s first two corporate criminal antitrust cases arose from the ongoing global investigation of roll-on roll-off shipping. • Spain’s National Authority on Markets and Competition (CNMC) fined executives in an antitrust investigation
r epo rt
Global M&A activity down 18 percent in 2016 says new review Global M&A Review First Quarter 2016 Full Year 2016
After three consecutive year‐on‐year increases, 2016 global M&A volume of $3.84tr dropped from the 2015 annual record high of $4.66tr. While volume fell 18% year on year, M&A revenue was down only 2%. Cross‐border M&A was down 3% globally year‐on‐year but China outbound volume hit a record high ($225.4bn) as did US inbound M&A ($486.3bn). 4Q global M&A ($1.27tr) hit the $1tr mark in the first week of December, the biggest quarter since 4Q 2015 ($1.40tr) and only the tenth time that quarterly volume has surpassed the trillion mark
Key highlights from full year 2016 were:
AT&T’s $107.9bn bid for Time Warner in October 2016, the largest M&A deal of the year
With $600.8bn, October 2016 was the biggest month on record for global M&A
$225.4bn Technology China outbound M&A volume the highest on record in 2016
For only the second time, Technology led, with $612.9bn, closing on the 2015 record of $691.4bn
Top advisor for global M&A volume in 2016, followed by Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan
r epo rt
Venture Capital Report
Venture Capital Report Europe | 4Q | 2016
The following report presents Dow Jones VentureSource’s quarterly findings for European venture capital fundraising, investment, valuation, and liquidity. The included charts and graphs offer a comprehensive view of the trends currently affecting the venture capital market. Highlights for 4Q 2016 include: • European venture capital fundraising increased slightly both compared to the prior quarter and to the same quarter in 2015; • Venture capital investment into European companies increased significantly from 3Q 2016; • The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) was one deal lower, but the total amount raised in M&As increased from the previous quarter; • While the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) increased slightly, the total amount raised decreased noticeably from 3Q 2016. Report: https://goo.gl/sb12QY Gamechangers 82
r epo rt
Global M&A volume and value decline in 2016
M&A Review Global Full year 2016
M&A value rises in MENA, declines in all other regions Both the volume and value of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) declined in 2016 after a record-breaking year on both fronts in 2015, according to information collected by the leading M&A database Zephyr. In all there were 96,665 deals worth a combined USD 4,734,165 million announced over the course of the 12 months. Value declined 21 per cent on 2015, when dealmaking of USD 6,011,581 million was announced, while volume fell 10 per cent from 107,182 over the same timeframe. Both volume and value were also surpassed by the 102,176 deals worth USD 4,802,023 million announced in 2014. However, despite the relatively disappointing showing when compared with 2014 and 2015, the latter of which was a record-breaking year, 2016â€™s value is still significantly higher than any other year since the previous record deal levels of 2007.
Zephyr Quarterly M&A Report Global, Q3 2015
Report: https://goo.gl/6oCN9y 83 Gamechangers
GameChangers™ is a network for today’s most influential organisations and individuals. We offer insight into every facet of leaders’ professional lives by telling their stories - from department structure and team management to intellectual property and emerging technology. With engaging editorial, we bring local and global innovators across industries together to share their stories, learn from each other and connect. GameChangers™ is an opportunity for you to become a part of the larger corporate community by discussing your work from your perspective. By conveying these successes, our goal is to create a space for all leaders to share and learn as we all navigate an increasingly complex business environment. GameChangers™ welcomes news and views from its readers. Correspondence should be sent to email@example.com For more information about GameChangers™ visit www.acq5.com/posts/gamechangers/ GameChangers™ Copyright © 2017 GameChangers™ No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without permission.
GameChangers™ is a network for today’s most influential organisations and individuals. We offer insight into every facet of leaders’ profess...
Published on Feb 21, 2017
GameChangers™ is a network for today’s most influential organisations and individuals. We offer insight into every facet of leaders’ profess...