10 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad, in Malta as well

10 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad, in Malta as well

Ask to Maltaway for the best school and UNI fees in MALTA, local cost of living and the best way to transfer money around the world

  1. Do it while you are young and energetic, before you are tied down to one place.
  2. Meet new friends from around the world, who you can share interests with and learn new ideas from.
  3. Gain new perspectives on things you normally wouldn’t have.
  4. Instead of just visiting for a few days, you are actually living there for four months.
  5. Learn a new language and maybe pick up a few things you didn’t already know.
  6. A semester abroad looks great on a resume!
  7. Learn to be fully independent and see what you can do on your own.
  8. Immerse yourself in a totally different culture… you might really like it.
  9. Experience a different education system than your home country.
  10. Something totally different and an unforgettable experience. You will never do anything like this again in your life.

https://www.studentuniverse.com/travel-guides/study-abroad/10-reasons-why-you-should-study-abroad

 

Shot the markets? This Trade Works Like Clockwork because right now we are in the elevator.

Shot the markets? This Trade Works Like Clockwork

In the short term I think there comes some serious dislocations in the market for a host of reasons which we discussed in earnest late into the nights. I like a bit of chaos as prices typically move accordingly and in emerging markets like Colombia they tend to move more violently than elsewhere. This is due to relative illiquidity amongst other things.

I’ll have more on this next week but due to what the broader markets, especially those in the US, are delivering us right now I felt it better to provide some thoughts from our colleague Mark Schumacher.

 

This past week the Dow Jones industrial average fell almost 900 points or 5.1% from 17,352 to 16,460. The index is now 10.1% below its 18,312 peak reached on 5/19/15 crossing the 10% mark which defines a technical correction.  For all of 2015 it is down 7.7% while our portfolios are still up this year. I’ll provide a thorough summary at the end of Q3.

The catalyst for the recent correction is renewed global growth fears which are centered on concerns about China having a hard landing as it attempts to become less dependent on exports by growing its service economy. The market is interpreting (correctly in my opinion) the recent nearly 2% devaluation of the yuan as evidence that China’s problems are worse than previously thought… why else would they need to make such a move on top of all the financial stimulus they have been pumping into their system. If trouble is indeed brewing in the 2nd largest economy and #1 exporter ($2.25T vs. 1.61T for the US), than there will be ripple effects across the globe.

There is no guarantee that US stocks prices will suffer a great deal especially for domestically oriented companies, plus some US businesses will benefit from a weaker China. However in case trouble spreads or the negative momentum simply feeds on itself for a while I purchased portfolio insurance in the form of three ETFs that will appreciate during a US stock market sell off.

Insurance: How Much and Which Products

I did not purchase enough insurance to cover our entire portfolio of investments as that would be overkill and too expensive. The products we own cover 26% – 30% of our entire portfolio including assets with limited risk. I am considering increasing it to cover up to 35% depending on how events develop but currently don’t see a need to go higher than that.  Should another step be necessary for greater safety, I would simply sell some shares and hold the cash for a while, but I much prefer sitting tight as our holdings offer very good value especially at today’s prices. I expect the businesses we own to flourish for years because they are either leaders in their respective fields while benefiting from strong trends, or they are super cheap turnaround candidates that we are generating income from. We are best served by sitting tight with these investments while having some insurance rather than exiting now then trying to time when to get back in again.

Gold may appreciate during a stock market sell off but it does not always work that way, therefore I do not think of gold as portfolio insurance.

The three ETFs we purchased were:

1. SDS – moves inversely 2-1 vs. the S&P 500 index which is a basket of 500 very large US stocks spanning many industries.

2. QID – moves inversely 2-1 vs. the NASDAQ 100 which is a basket of large US technology stocks. This nicely correlates with some of our technology holdings.

3. BIS – moves inversely 2-1 vs. the NASDAQ biotechnology and pharmaceutical index which has had a crazy run up.

FYI, because these are -2x products we can cover 30% of our portfolio by investing just 15% of our assets in these ETFs. These inverse products experience some daily rebalancing decay so they are not buy and hold investments. You don’t sit on them for years. Several months is more typical, and I only plan to hold them for as long as the current market weakness continues.

Historical Chart: Corrections and Recoveries

The two biggest things I take away from observing the 20-year stock market chart below (which is on a log scale) are:

  • Corrections happen quickly while recoveries happen more gradually but last longer. This is where the saying “stock investors ride escalators up but take the elevator down” comes from. The majority of the time you will be on the escalator. Right now we are in the elevator.
  • The stock market rarely moves sideways. It is nearly always either trending up or trending down. I believe this is purely due to investor psychology rather than fundamentals such as GDP and business profits which fairly often trend sideways. Best not to ignore investor psychology at least over the near term as it drives stock price trends, in my opinion.

I would say this historical chart puts the size of the recent decline from 2,100 to 1,970 for the S&P 500 index into proper perspective which is why it is not too late to buy some portfolio insurance.

SPX Chart

20-Year Chart: US Stock Market (SPX)

The 15-year chart below is simply to demonstrate the crazy run up biotech stocks have had over just the past few years making that sector vulnerable to a price correction as many of these stocks sport multi-billion dollar valuations but don’t yet have any products on the market.

IBB Chart

15-Year Chart: US Biotech & Pharma Stocks (IBB)

Bottom Line

The stock market correction that I have been worried about for a few years is finally here. I hope it will be shallow and short lived but hope is not a defensive technique so I thought it prudent to buy some protection in case the selling continues. Having a portion of our portfolios appreciate during a sell off is even better than holding extra cash.

Furthermore, I have a plan should volatility spike really high; I will execute our time-tested strategy of buying ZIV or XIV which I will reiterate should we put that plan into action.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-30/trade-works-clockwork

Study compares the expat costs of a child’s education, great opportunity in MALTA

Study compares the expat costs of a child’s education, great opportunity in MALTA

A new report has balanced the costs UK expats face when deciding whether to send their children to boarding schools in Britain or to private schools in their host countries.

Ask to Maltaway for the best school and UNI fees in MALTA, local cost of living and the best way to transfer money around the world

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the survey by currency transfer specialists FXcompared Intelligence found that the average cost of boarding schools in Britain currently stands at £31,000 a year.

Boarding fees at the likes of Eton, Harrow and Winchester all exceed £34,000 a year, while leading day schools regularly charge more than £20,000.

By comparison, average fees at the top 50 US boarding schools stand at a little under £35,000 while private school fees for day pupils range from £13,000-£32,000.

International schools in popular expat locations such as New York, Washington, DC, and Boston, cost around £21,000 a year – the same as Switzerland – while the figure for such schools in Canada and the UAE averages around £11,000.

International schools in Hong Kong cost £16,000, while the figure is £18,000 in Singapore.

Of course, many expats in English-speaking countries, such as the US, Canada and Australasia, choose to send their children to one of the very good local, public schools.

The report quotes figures the Independent Schools Council indicating that there are more than 31,000 foreign and British students whose parents live abroad, in UK independent schools.

Some of these schools charge higher fees for overseas students, adding between eight to 25 per cent to the charges.

Daniel Webber, managing director of FXCompared, said, “There are steadily increasing numbers of pupils in the UK whose parents live overseas, part of a billion pound market for international boarders at UK schools.

“It is important that people take the time to consider how they transfer the money from abroad for school fees. Using the right methods can save around £10,000 from Years 4 to 13, meaning that a full term is basically free.”

Sara Sparling, a consultant at Anderson Education, which assists British expats place their children, said they often choose the UK because they believe the standard of education is good and it will provide stability especially in the lead up to GCSEs or A-levels.

“If your children have been living overseas for some time, they may take time to acclimatise to British culture,” she told theTelegraph.

“Boarding in the UK, particularly in the sixth form, is a popular option. Students have the opportunity to gain independence in a safe and secure environment and to adapt to life in the UK before progressing to university.”

http://www.relocatemagazine.com/articles/david-sapsted-07-d3-2015-study-compares-the-expat-costs-of-a-childs-education

 

 

The One-Man, $1.2 Billion ETF Shop, full outsourcing in finance as well.

 

The One-Man, $1.2 Billion ETF Shop, Andrew Chanin’s HACK is a rocket in an industry full of zombies.

There’s little that can’t be outsourced in ETF-land.

Starting an exchange-traded mutual fund is a little like launching a rocket. There are lots of different contractors and regulations. There are plenty of crashes.
Andrew Chanin, the 30-year-old founder of New York–based PureFunds, watched two of his first three ETFs fail before reaching Earth orbit. They liquidated because they couldn’t gather enough assets to cover expenses. A third fund barely made it aloft; it still has just $3.6 million in assets.
Chanin kept at it. In November, he launched the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (Symbol: HACK). By July, HACK had attracted $1.4 billion—one of the fastest ascents in ETF history. (On Aug. 25, after two days of turmoil in the market, it had $1.2 billion.)
It got lift from a well-timed computer breach. Just 12 days after HACK started trading, news broke that malefactors had looted the computer network at Sony Pictures Entertainment, taking terabytes of data, including Social Security numbers, salary figures, and e-mails that exposed the film studio’s leaders as the petty backbiters everyone imagines Hollywood big shots to be. Relentless coverage made computer security look like a crucial and immediate concern. And its ticker symbol advertised HACK as the way to play it.
PureFunds had, and still has, just one employee: Chanin, who looks like Ferris Bueller in a suit. He was competing against the biggest ETF companies around: BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street. But Chanin was first to market with a computer-security ETF, and he had a perfect, memorable ticker symbol in an industry that is full of them: CURE (a health-care fund), FAN (wind energy), CROP (agribusiness), IPO (recent non-U.S. IPOs), and TAN (solar).

There are 6,500 ETFs in the world, with $3 trillion of assets under management. A new one rolls out, on average, every business day. The industry is surging, for a variety of reasons. Investors are dumping mutual funds for ETFs, which have a reputation for lower fees (though mutual funds are catching up, and some Vanguard funds are cheaper). Even better, ETFs can be bought and sold like equities during the trading day, and they have tax advantages, because ETF shares are created and redeemed in kind and thus almost never produce capital gains for shareholders.
Like the cheapest mutual funds, almost all ETFs are driven by indexes. With such scant fees, it’s hard to pay human managers, and, thanks to index evangelists like John C. Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, many people think managers aren’t worth the money.
But Bogle has never rolled out indexes like these. Take GURU—the Global X Guru Index ETF. It tracks the Solactive Guru Index built by Solactive AG, in Frankfurt. The gurus in this case are hedge fund managers, the alpha dogs who move billions in and out of stocks based on their wits and, sometimes, their whims.
A group at Solactive called the Index Committee compiles a list of hedge funds from various sources (including this magazine, according to Solactive documents) and then eliminates those managing less than $500 million, making that the guru cutoff. Also, the largest holding must be at least 4.8 percent of the fund, and the manager can’t change more than 50 percent of the portfolio in a quarter. Then Solactive takes the top holding from each of those funds and puts them in an index.
But is it really an index, or is it an ever-changing list of stocks held by hedge fund managers, most of whom are active managers, Bogle’s sworn enemy? Solactive CEO Steffen Scheuble says it is an index, because the methodology is strict.
In the worst cases, the index alchemists are preying on Bogle-headed investors who think indexes are always safe and cheap, says Chris Abbruzzese, chief investment officer at Rain Capital Management, which oversees $250 million in Portland, Oregon. “Just because something tracks an index doesn’t mean that the index doesn’t have its own tortured logic,” Abbruzzese says.
Gary Gordon, president of Pacific Park Financial in Ladera Ranch, California, is more charitable. He says the biggest problem with ETFs is liquidity. Some of the small ones trade so infrequently that they are hard to sell if you own them.
That’s the dirty secret of the ETF industry. All of the innovation has led to a lot of failure. Many ETFs are zombies. They stagger on with few assets and little trading. Take ProShares UltraShort Telecommunications, ticker symbol TLL. The fund, which lets investors make a bet that telecom shares are going to crater, has $154,000 of assets, and some days no shares trade. The fund started in April 2008, so ProShares, which has 146 funds with total assets of $25 billion, has had plenty of time to market it, a tough job in a bull market. ProShares declined to comment on TLL, which was set to close in September.
There are so many zombie funds that Ron Rowland, a portfolio manager at Flexible Plan Investments in Smyrna, Georgia, chronicles them on his website, Invest With an Edge, in a section titled ETF Deathwatch. “You and I could create an index in the next five minutes,” Rowland says. And because it’s an index, we can show how it performed during, say, the last five years, and then, voilà, we have a track record.
Many ETFs fail because no one ever hears about them, Rowland says, despite catchy tickers and trendy themes. It’s hard to stand out in a crowded field. “The bottom 50 percent of these things are untradable,” he says. Just eight ETFs accounted for half the trading, in dollar volume, for all U.S. ETFs in June, Rowland calculated. More striking: 81 percent of all the listings totaled 2.4 percent of dollar volume.
The bottom line: Most ETFs live in oblivion. All the clunkers show just how remarkable HACK is. And Chanin knows luck played a big part. But Chanin, a hyper-driven millennial, was well prepared when good fortune arrived.
Chanin at ISE’s New York offices. ISE collects a piece of the $9 million in fees HACK generates annually.
Chanin at ISE’s New York offices. ISE collects a piece of the $9 million in fees HACK generates annually.
He grew up in Mendham, New Jersey, and went to college at Tulane University, where he joined a club called the Jobs Group that aimed to put members in finance positions after graduation. During his senior year, a professor from the business school arranged for a group of students to go to New York for interviews. Chanin signed up for one at Kellogg Group, a brokerage. On the way to the airport, he got an e-mail list of the students scheduled for interviews. His name wasn’t on it. He called, and the professor said she had decided to take just graduate students.
Irked, Chanin flew to New York anyway and showed up at Kellogg with 10 other Tulane students. They went in one at a time until Chanin was the only one left in the lobby. The hiring manager took pity on him and asked him in. He got the job. “It never hurts to try,” he says.
At Kellogg, he became a market maker in ETFs, buying from sellers and selling to buyers and maintaining liquidity in various funds. He loved it. After two years, he went to Cohen Capital Group, another small New York brokerage.
He talked often with ETF issuers and suggested ideas for funds that Cohen would trade. One day, an issuer asked why he was giving away his best ideas. Why not build his own ETFs?
He and a friend from Cohen, Paul Zimnisky, considered it. “We thought you had to be a big banker to launch your own,” Chanin says. Not so. He soon discovered the cottage industry that existed for building ETFs. All he needed was an idea, seed capital, and some money for expenses.
Chanin and Zimnisky left Cohen and started PureFunds in 2010. Zimnisky became CEO, Chanin COO. They had in mind three ETFs: one holding diamond miners, another tracking small silver producers, and a third made up of companies that service miners. Metals were soaring, so the new themes seemed like money magnets.
Chanin chose a New York company called International Securities Exchange to devise his indexes. ISE has cooked up indexes that track things like Wal-Mart’s suppliers; Israeli tech stocks; and companies that make things that are bad for you: gambling, cigarettes, and booze. The symbol for a now-defunct ETF that tracked that last index (or SINdex, as ISE sold it) was PUF.

There’s little that can’t be outsourced in ETF-land.

Chanin needed a prospectus, approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, an exchange listing, and a hairball of other things that go along with launching a regulated investment company, which is what an ETF is.
He chose ETF Managers Group, in Summit, New Jersey, to make all that happen. Founder Sam Masucci is trying to be a one-stop shop for ETF entrepreneurs. He also helps with marketing and sales, which is the toughest part for small ETFs. “ETFs are sold, not bought,” Masucci says. “You’re fighting for shelf space.” Chanin rolled out his three funds in November 2012. The diamond one sported the ticker symbol GEMS. Even so, it struggled to attract investors. Chanin tried to spread the word, appearing in videos on HardAssetsInvestor.com and other sites. GEMS and the mining ETF (MSXX) liquidated in January 2014.
Zimnisky left that same month (he didn’t return phone calls asking for comment), and Chanin was on his own with one ETF, the tiny PureFunds ISE Junior Silver Small Cap Miners/Explorers ETF (SILJ). He hadn’t been drawing a salary since starting PureFunds; he says he lived on a single slice of pizza for lunch, day after day.

A small-cap silver fund wasn’t going to pay the rent, not after metals plunged. But his friends at ISE were about to huck him a lifeline.
Like so many other crafts, building securities indexes has become something of a commodity. For years, ETF sponsors were required by the SEC to use indexes invented by other firms and to keep those firms at arm’s length. Otherwise, a sponsor could develop plans to change an index by adding another stock, say, and at the same time instruct employees to buy the stock. When the change in the index was executed, demand would drive the shares higher.

Keeping the fund sponsor and the index provider separate would mitigate the risk of such front-running.
Then, in 2006, the SEC allowed WisdomTree Investments to “self-index,” provided the methodologies behind its ETFs were rules-based and transparent.
Self-indexing is now widespread, and companies such as ISE have more competition. They have also lost some of the pricing power that brings them a chunk of an ETF’s fee action. ISE, for one, became an ETF venture capitalist, investing money to get ETFs up and running, in exchange for more of the fees.
Kris Monaco heads the ETF venture group at index builder ISE. HACK tracks an index created by ISE.
Kris Monaco heads the ETF venture group at index builder ISE. HACK tracks an index created by ISE.
The idea for computer security struck ISE’s ETF venture team, led by Kris Monaco, in 2012. Hacking was in the news, it was scary, and it was untapped. “There was no classification for computer security,” Monaco says.
He reached out to some fund sponsors, but no one was interested. So he shelved the idea. Then more hackers attacked, and ISE dusted it off. Index manager Mark Abssy started digging into the industry, learning about attacks and sifting companies that defended against them.
When you make indexes, you make enemies, Abssy says. ETF wonks can have strong opinions about what mix of companies should represent an industry. “I get guys calling me up with plenty of vitriol saying, ‘Why is this name in here?’” Abssy says.
For computer security, some companies are obvious, like Fortinet, which makes mostly hardware- and software-based firewalls. At other companies, like Cisco Systems, security is dwarfed by other businesses. But Cisco also controls 12 to 15 percent of the anti-hacker market, Abssy says. Monaco and Abssy decided that both focused upstarts and eclectic giants had to be included in their index.
Computer-security companies, in their analysis, fell into two broad categories: those that made infrastructure, like firewalls, and those that provided consulting and other services.
The formula for picking companies in those categories and setting their weights in the fund can be seen in the methodology guide for the ISE Cyber Security Index, a 23-page Levitical document written so strictly that the index probably could be resurrected even after an asteroid hit the Earth.
In the midst of the research, ISE reached out to Chanin at PureFunds. He loved the idea. So ISE pressed on and published the methodology on Sept. 2, 2014.
The HACK ETF launched on Nov. 12. The first headlines about the Sony hack hit Nov. 24. HACK jumped as cybersecurity stocks rallied. Then, in February, health insurer Anthem said computer intruders had stolen data on tens of millions of customers. HACK has been in orbit ever since, returning 21.7 percent from its inception through July 31, compared with 4.7 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
With fees of 75 basis points and an asset base of $1.2 billion, HACK stands to toss off fees of $9 million a year, shared by ISE, PureFunds, ETF Managers, and some of their service providers. In July, Chanin launched two new funds, one tied to mobile payments (IPAY) and another tracking companies that work with so-called big data (BDAT). He plans to hire staff.
Being the only game in town almost certainly helped HACK corral assets. On July 7, it got a competitor: the First Trust Nasdaq CEA Cybersecurity ETF. Symbol: CIBR. It had $60 million of assets after a month in business.
Chanin is still blown away by how HACK took off. “It was timing,” he says, “and a whole bunch of other things that I don’t know about and that I wish I could bottle.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-26/how-a-one-man-etf-shop-attracted-1-4-billion-in-just-8-months?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=promotedStory

Cut up your credit card , 5 predictions for the future of payments

Cut up your credit card – these innovative payment solutions will make it redundant.

Two-hundred and eighty-six is the number of times each year that the average Briton makes a non-cash purchase. In the United States, the number is even higher at 376 and in Finland it is a whopping 448. No financial product is used as frequently or as widely as those facilitating payment – but how exactly are these purchases being paid for? Gone are the days when customers need to carry around wads of cash, limiting their purchasing power at a given moment, and creating serious risks of theft. Waves of innovation from merchant charge cards, to the modern credit card, and now mobile payment solutions like ApplePay have made the act of paying seamless and secure for customers.

Today there is a revolution in financial technology underway with over $12.2 billion invested in “fintech” companies in 2014, triple the $4 billion invested in 2013. So, with a significant share of these funds being invested in finding new and better ways to pay, what can we expect from the future? Over the past year and a half, the World Economic Forum, with the professional services support of Deloitte, has conducted a research project involving over 100 experts and industry executives. The aim has been to better understand the disruptive potential of emerging innovations, including those related to payments. Based on that research, here are five predictions for the future of payments:

A “winner takes it all” environment for payment providers

M-commerce apps like Uber and Amazon promise their users a frictionless experience, and part of fulfilling that promise increasingly involves pushing the act of payment to the back of the customer’s mind. While these apps allow customers to change payment methods on the fly, most use their default card for each transaction.

By solidifying their position as a customer’s default choice, card issuers will enjoy higher transaction volume and gain a more comprehensive view of customer spending patterns. When combined with investments in analytics and innovative loyalty programmes, this data can be used by payments providers to more effectively entrench their value propositions and improve customer retention.

The death of the credit card?

The past 50 years have seen a consistent trend towards the displacement of cash as a method of payment towards cards, specifically credit cards in North American markets. Analysis of customer behavior around mobile payment technologies, for example ApplePay, suggest that this will continue over the short term as small denomination payments, say a pack of gum at the convenience store, are increasingly made through card and mobile payments rather than cash. Over the longer term, however, we could see a reversal of this trend, as the mobile payments sector starts to offer an increasing number of innovative alternatives to credit cards. These alternatives will allow customers to more seamlessly link payment directly to their bank accounts and provide users with advice and insights on their spending patterns.

Customers in need of credit to fund their purchases may increasingly turn to point-of-sale lending solutions such as Affirm, a new company from the founder of PayPal. These solutions give merchants the ability to offer installment payment plans and other forms of credit to their customers. These solutions help merchants to increase scale and access new revenue streams in the form of interest, and provide customers with an appealing alternative to higher interest credit card debt.

If these innovations appeal to customers, they will erode credit card volumes, directly threatening business models that today are built on account balances and loyalty programmes. That would create longer-term implications for retail banks, for whom the card business is a key part of their customer relationships.

The systems that enable digital currencies will modernize payments infrastructure… and more

Digital currencies, such as bitcoin, strive to make the transfer of value even simpler, through a revolutionary process of consensus-based validation whereby a digital token of value (the bitcoin, or other digital currency) is moved within a distributed ledger maintained on thousands of different computers around the world. These systems have the potential to replace the legacy information technology infrastructure that enables payments today, reducing the number of intermediaries between the customer and the merchant. In fact, these systems could be used for much more than just enabling payments, they have the potential to revolutionize the transfer of value across financial services.

By improving both efficiency and traceability in the clearing and settling of transactions, these systems could have profound implications for everything from foreign exchange and international remittances, complex clearing and settlement of securities (the processing that happens every time a stock or bond is traded). Organizations from Visa and SWIFT to NASDAQ and UBS have already begun exploring these potential applications, which could be a first step in the modernization of how financial institutions interact with one another.

Digital currencies won’t replace traditional ones – yet

Given the revolutionary nature of the distributed ledger protocols that enable digital currencies like bitcoin, it may seem curious that they are not in wider use. It is true that in their current from this technology is very appealing for merchants. Payments accepted in the form of bitcoin have a low transaction fee, the funds settle fast – sometimes even within minutes – and they offer a single global standard. But they will only take off if customers also see value in using them, and so far that hasn’t been the case. There are a few reasons for that.

First, customers need an economic incentive to use these digital currencies, but up until now the cost saving has mainly been for merchants. Second, the value of digital currencies can be volatile, which exposes customers to exchange rate risks; as a result, many people hesitate to keep their money in those digital currencies. Finally, a range of issues, including negative press, digital wallet systems with unwieldy user experiences, and a relatively small number of ways to convert dollars to bitcoins make a customer’s first foray into the realm of digital currencies a high hurdle to clear. All of these challenges are clearly solvable, and lots of dynamic start-ups are currently hard at work solving them – but they do present a significant challenge to the adoption of digital currencies by retail customers in the short term.

Of course there is no guarantee that all, or indeed any, of these predictions will come true. Today’s payment eco-system is highly complex, with many parties with entrenched and conflicting incentives working hard to build the payments solution of tomorrow. What does seem clear is that whether tomorrow’s customer reaches for their wallet, their phone, or some other device to pay their experiences will be more seamless than ever before.

https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/08/5-predictions-for-the-future-of-payments/

A Bitcoin (virtual currency) hardware wallet and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. British authorities have come out in support of digital currencies in the name of promoting financial innovation, while proposing that regulations should be drawn up to prevent their use in crime. But it is technophiles who are leading the drive to make London a real-world hub for trade in web-based "cryptocurrencies", of which bitcoin is the original and still most popular.   Picture taken May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RTX1EWOP

Le 18 cose che ho imparato veleggiando a MALTA

18 Things I Learnt Sailing In Malta

Le 18 cose che ho imparato veleggiando a MALTA

18 grandi e pratici consigli da aworldtotravel

per prenotare la tua vacanza con consigli gratis e sempre utili e ai migliori prezzi web, maltaway viaggi è per te a malta e nel mondo il tuo consulente di viaggio e personal traveller

Getting ready for a sailing trip? I mean: Who wouldn’t want to sail some turquoise waters on a yacht for a week, right?

Whether you are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime or simply gathering some inspiration for upcoming adventures, have a look to these tips.

I guarantee you they will come in handy sooner or later!

 

  • PACK LIGHT, TRAVEL FAR.

A very basic rule for having fun traveling. The less you pack for a trip like this, the more free and liberated you will feel in your cabin and, therefore, the happier you will be!

 

  • SCHEDULES ARE SET BY DAYLIGHT. AND YOUR SKIPPER.

Enough said.

 

  • RESPECT EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY.

And you will feel at home. Simple.

 

  • EMBRACE OPPORTUNITIES.

If the sun is shining right now and you feel like swimming, just do it! There might be no other chances later on. Same applies for fishing. If you are into that, just set your line and wait for the fish to come your way.

 

  • PLAN YOUR SIMPLE MEALS IN ADVANCE.

The solely fact of having limited storage room for groceries or a small kitchen area shouldn’t stop your creativity. You can create the most nutritious and yummy meals with just a handful of ingredients!

 

  • KNOW YOUR LIMITS.

You might be an adrenaline junkie or the most balanced person on earth but, here is a very important thing, being seasick is also that can happen to anybody, anytime. Even seasoned skippers and experienced sailors get seasick sometimes so there are some chances it will happen to you too. What takes us to the next point.

 

  • PACK BIODRAMINA.

Chew some biodramina chicle or gum 20 minutes before departure. And carefully pack also your medicines. There is not such thing as overseas pharmacies.

 

  • MIND YOUR BELONGINGS.

Bring everything you will most likely need outside. Sunglasses, towel, swimming costume, sweater, cellphone, camera, coffee and snacks. Going up and down to grab stuff if you tend to feel seasick is not fun.

 

  • MODERATION. MODERATION. MODERATION.

Moderate your eating. And drinking. Overdoing one or both is dangerous and, therefore, unacceptable in the middle of the sea, where there is enough to take care of already without needing extra worries.

 

  • KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED.

Take enough drinkable water on board. And drink it.

 

  • GET READY FOR UNSTABLE CONDITIONS.

Such as getting wet, dealing with extreme winds, lacking mobile network, postponing your meals.. sea conditions will determine your life rhythm once again

 

  • KEEP YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

Your cabin tidy and clean, and your gadgets safe. And this also applies for common areas like indoors and outdoors living space, kitchen and bathrooms. A boat in the water is always moving. Sometimes very smoothly, so much you could fall asleep like a baby in a berth. Some others so much that you will start wondering what are the chances of the whole thing capsizing.

 

  • SHARING IS CARING.

Pay extra care to what is needed around you and, if you can help someone, go the extra mile for that. You are sharing a limited space and you might need something tomorrow as well.

 

  • DO NOT BE THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE CLASSROOM.

Unless you are experienced in sailing, trust me, you have no idea of what you are getting into. Listen to the one who knows and is leading, the skipper is your friend! And follow the given instructions. There will be many times when you will be able to make decisions. But some others you will just have to follow orders. Safety is always first.

 

  • PRESERVE YOUR RESOURCES.

Water and electricity overall. But also food, clean clothes, energy. Plan the use of your devices in advance if possible. Once you leave the port you are unplugged. Only small devices like cellphones should be charged then using an emergency plugin. Laptops, cameras, hair dryers and more. Embrace the fact that you are experiencing something different than your average day if that is the case, and once again plan accordingly.

 

  • BE PATIENT AND YOU WILL BE REWARDED.

Accept uncertainty and lower your expectations.

 

  • DRESS THE PART.

It is very difficult to look awesome like you would in any other occasion… unless you go with the flow and accept where you are. Specially if you are a girl, choose comfortable outfits, little to no jewelry and, if you have curly hair you can also leave the straightener home. It is useless.

 

  • GET READY TO LEAVE.

Once you finally feel comfortable sailing, the sea sickness has abandon you days ago and you start thinking about actually moving to a boat, get ready to get land sickness. It does not last long, but it actually is a thing. Everything around you moves and you could feel like you are drunk. Luckily, this only last a few mins.

 

BONUS TIP!
If you are ready to give it a go, choose your destination wisely. For beginners, I’d definitely recommend Malta. This European archipelago has the perfect size to fall head over heels for sailing with all the commodities you could wish for and keeping always a short distance to the shore so you’ll be able to enjoy everything the country has to offer.

http://www.traveldudes.org/travel-tips/18-things-i-learnt-sailing-malta/64455

Freelancing Around the World

Freelancing Around the World

There are many types of freelancing work arrangements around the world.  For example, “casual engagement” contracts used in Australia and Singapore, “zero-hour” contracts in the UK, “work on request” or “job on call” arrangements used in Germany, Sweden, and Italy.

As in the U.S., young people overseas, and in particular graduates who are struggling to find full-time employment, resort to casual working arrangements, as they are faced with no other viable option.

Let’s look at how the freelance system works in a few countries:

The UK Experience

Zero-hour contracts are contracts where someone may be asked to work at any time, but is only paid for the hours actually worked. At the same time, the company is under no obligation to provide work or indicate the number of hours for which the worker will be required to work.

These zero-hour contracts have been used in the UK for many years, however, their use has increased recently.  In 2012 approximately 250,000 people were signed up to zero-hour contracts.  As of 2013 that number had grown to an estimated 1,000,000 people.

In addition to a worker only being paid for the actual time worked, s/he is typically restricted from working for another company during any waiting period.   This requirement is called an “exclusivity clause” and is included in zero-hour contracts.

Because of this “exclusivity” there is uncertainty about whether zero-hour workers are classified in law as having “employee” or “worker” status. Individuals with “employee” status are provided with a number of important legal rights and benefits which workers are not.

The Sweden experience

Since the 1990s, the number of alternative working arrangements and in particular, the number of “on-call” contracts, have increased in Sweden due to greater economic uncertainty in the market.  In the past 10 years the use of on-call contracts more than tripled from 42,000 to 143,000.

As in the UK, it is not clear whether they are recognized under Swedish law, and exactly what their employment status is.  In Sweden, however, most benefits are provided by the government not by the employer. Whether working or not, workers receive full benefits and companies have few obligations.  This may be the reason why, in contrast to the general negativity towards zero-hour contracts in the UK, there is no stigma with “on-call” contracts here.

The German experience

In Germany, “work on request” arrangements allow workers to work for different companies at the same time.  However, if a worker’s contract prohibits him/her from working for other companies, or requires the worker to carry out specific work at a specific time, it indicates that the worker is personally and economically dependent on the company.  Therefore s/he is likely to be an employee rather than a worker.

Conclusion

Some European countries have tightly regulated alternative working arrangements. For example, in France, Germany and Spain, fixed-term employment contracts are only permitted under certain circumstances — a specific temporary task, the replacement of a temporarily absent employee, a temporary increase in workload or a seasonal job. Zero-hour contracts would not be legal since any employment contract (including temporary ones) must specify a minimum working time for each worker as well as pay.

http://www.compensationcafe.com/2015/08/freelancing-around-the-world.html

4 things to look for in an entrepreneur (and in a great person as well)

One of Silicon Valley’s top angel investors explains the 4 things he looks for in an entrepreneur (and in a great person as well)

and it is much better than stupid things such as a Degree in a big branded UNI

Naval Ravikant is one of the most respected and successful angel investors in Silicon Valley.

He’s invested in well over 100 startups, including several “unicorns” that went on to become huge companies like Twitter and Uber. He is also the founding CEO of AngelList, a resource for entrepreneurs and angels to find each other and make deals.

He recently spoke with “The 4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss, who is both an angel investor and adviser to AngelList, for an episode of Ferriss’ podcast.

Since Ravikant has both been an entrepreneur and come to know countless ones over the past three decades, Ferriss asked him what he looks for in one when they have their first conversation.

Here’s what Ravikant needs to see before he makes an investment of capital, time, and energy.

1. Intelligence

Ravikant and Ferriss joke about how there can often seem like a fine line between a madman and a startup founder, but Ravikant says he first looks to see that founders not only have an ambitious idea but that they thoroughly understand their product and industry.

He says this has nothing to do with an entrepreneur’s age or experience, “it’s how deep is their understanding of what they’re about to do, so intelligence is key.”

2. Energy

Being a founder is “brutally difficult,” Ravikant says, and scaling a company requires years’ worth of tireless devotion and an ability to endure and overcome massive difficulties. “In the long run, people who succeed are just the ones who persevere.”

Ravikant looks to see if entrepreneurs have any hesitation about their plans, if they’re unsure of themselves and constantly looking for feedback, or if they’re easily upset by a setback, since these are all warning signs that these founders aren’t ready for the long haul.

3. Integrity

If you have a very intelligent and energetic founder with questionable morals, “what you’ve got is a hardworking, smart crook,” Ravikant says, laughing.

He explains to Ferriss that this is the hardest thing to judge and typically requires getting to know someone beyond just an introduction, but he’s ultimately looking for “a core set of values that rises above and beyond [their] financial incentives.”

With time, he’s learned what to look for. “So, for example, if I’m talking to a founder and they offer to do something that is slightly unfair to a shareholder or employee or founder in exchange for making me happy, that’s a red flag.”

4. Charisma

Ravikant says that being likeable isn’t required for success, per se, but he says that anytime he considers investments he needs to genuinely like the founders.

There’s a chance with any startup that it will fail or that his relationship with the founders will fall apart, but he says he needs to go into every deal with the assumption that the founders will be part of his life for the next 10 years.

If meetings and phone calls with a founder is exhausting or difficult, then “no amount of money is worth it,” he says.

He seeks out relationships with founders who will in turn make him a better entrepreneur and more savvy investor.

“My favorite founders are actually the ones who I learn from,” he says. “So every time they call me up because they need help with something I jump on it because I know [after] walking around the block with them for an hour I’m gonna [be] much smarter.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-naval-ravikant-decides-what-to-invest-in-2015-8?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=referral

 

L’AUSTRIA continua ad investire a Malta, l’Italia no….chi sarà il fesso?

L’AUSTRIA continua ad investire a Malta, l’Italia no….chi sarà il fesso?

Austria, Svizzera e Nord Europa continuano i loro investimenti a Malta, mentre gli Italiani hanno una presenza ancora marginale e rimangono interessati alle vecchie giurisdizioni che invece vedono in Malta a place to be… Italiani impreparati, conservatori o mal consigliati dai loro advisors?

Pensate con la vostra testa e guardate i flussi…

MALTAway è la tua via di accesso a Malta, per la protezione tua, della tua famiglia, della tua azienda, del tuo patrimonio……

Vienna International Airport (VIA) has tabled an offer to raise its stake in the Malta International Airport to more than 48% for around €63 million.

VIA on Monday announced it had made an offer – conditional to the approval of its supervisory board – to acquire SNC Lavalin Inc’s stake in MIA.

Since the privatisation of Malta Airport in 2002, 40% of it has been held by the consortium company Malta Mediterranean Link Consortium Limited, in which VIA has a 57.1% holding via its subsidiary VIE (Malta) Limited. VIA also provides operating management for MIA and directly holds a further 10.1% of the shares in Malta Airport through VIE (Malta) Limited.

At present, VIA’s total holding in Malta Airport equals 32.94%.

The Canadian company SNC Lavalin Inc. also has a holding in Malta Mediterranean Link Consortium Limited.

VIA said that its objective in making the offer to acquire SNC Lavalin Inc’s stake in the joint consortium company was to increase its total holding in Malta Airport by a further 15.5%.

If the offer is accepted, VIA’s total holding in Malta Airport would reach more than 48%. However, the precise structure of the transaction has yet to be decided. The purchase price offered is €3.00 per share.

“Upon successful completion of the transaction its total value would amount to approximately EUR 63 million. In case of a positive conclusion of the final negotiations, the closing can be expected within the next six months,” VIA said.

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/business/business_news/56488/vienna_international_to_raise_mia_stake_to_more_than_48#.Vd1Wxfntmko

Why emerging-market weakness is not a replay of the 1997 financial crisis

Why emerging-market weakness is not a replay of the 1997 financial crisis

LAST Tuesday Malaysia’s currency, the ringgit, did something unusual: it rose against the dollar. Granted, it was a modest one-day rise (.13%), but after a summer of steady declines it was welcome all the same. Asian currencies have taken a beating this year. The week ending August 14th they suffered the steepest drop since 2011. The Singapore dollar has fallen more than 5% against the dollar, the South Korean won and Thai baht more than 7%. But the ringgit and rupiah lead the race to the bottom, having fallen by 10.5% and 14% to their lowest levels since in 1997, when Asia’s economies were in a full-blown crisis. So is that about to happen all over again?

The short answer is no. To start, look not just at the overall decline but at the speed of the fall. The ringgit and rupiah have fallen steadily over the past eight months. Between July 11th 1997 and January 22nd 1998, by contrast, the baht, won and rupiah fell harder and faster: by 38%, 51% and 80%. When Thailand let the baht float against the dollar, it fell by 15-20% in a single day. Currencies came under speculative attack, weakening them further. High domestic interest rates had encouraged companies to seek financing abroad, often as short-term debt for risky investments; when local currencies plunged they faced massive debt-service payments. Foreign capital streamed out of these countries, depressing equity markets. It was, as we wrote ten years after the crisis, a “perfect storm” of financial and economic turbulence.

Today the story is much different. Governments learned from the last crisis, and have more macroeconomic and policy tools at their disposal. Their currencies already float, and none are running current-account deficits with fixed exchange rates. Their foreign-exchange reserves are larger (though Malaysia’s have just fallen below $100 billion for the first time in five years), and their banking systems stronger, with larger domestic-deposit bases. Their currencies have not come under attack—low oil prices are dragging down the ringgit, while concerns over long-term competitiveness are hampering Indonesia—and their economies better able to handle foreign-investment inflows. Big emerging-market firms look slightly less healthy; many have taken on large and growing piles of dollar-denominated debt, which have become less affordable as the dollar has risen in value. But these debts do not yet look a plausible source of widespread systemic financial risk.

The worry, though, is that governments have equipped themselves well to fight the last war. A panic-driven crisis may not loom, but emerging-market currencies the world over have taken hits from low commodity prices, China’s slowdown and an impending American interest-rate hike. Yet in fact, Asia’s currencies are faring relatively well: the Russian rouble, Colombian peso and Brazilian real have all fallen more than twice as much as the rupiah and ringgit. Low global demand has kept export growth low this year; a weakening yuan will make things worse. Last month Indonesian exports were down almost 30% year-on-year, a sluggishness mirrored across the region. Indeed, some now reckon that emerging markets will try to stimulate external demand through devaluation, as Vietnam did last week. That, in turn, suggests a different risk: that much of the world economy will try to cope with economic weakness by selling to the American consumer. Yet the sorts of global imbalances that result from competitive depreciation are dangerous, as the 2000s demonstrated. Americans might borrow too much as they attempt to play the role of engine of economic demand. Or they may simply tire, leaving the world without a source of economic locomotion. 

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/08/economist-explains-17?cid1=cust/noenew/n/n/n/20150824n/owned/n/n/nwl/n/n/n/email