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Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond 文明崩壊 上: 滅亡と存続の命運を分けるもの (草思社文庫) ジャレド ダイアモンド

In this follow up by Pulitzer Prize award winning author Jared Diamond, he continues his detailed observations of human life and their global economic impact. He uses his training in anthropology to search for how people prosper economically or just disappear after a collapse. He has a very entertaining way of comparing ancient societies around the globe. He then compares these people with the current US population in the same locations. 

This is really a scientific approach to various sections of finance. Real estate development, population control, and renewable energy impacts on economic wealth and prosperity. Using his wonderfully clear explanations with just enough numbers to keep you in full attention, you see a bigger picture of the world economy. The cost of military power, basic food and resources bring unexpected changes to the economy of each society observed.

Empires rise and fall, be they Roman, Mayan or Anasazi. Water and cheap energy show how certain communities rise and fall. They do so very quickly in fact, they collapse. Water is a key resource impacting the economy of California, and this book reflects how the modern world may have to change, as a result. South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and many other water bottle necks around the globe have a water crisis on the horizon. Major global cities like Hong Kong, New York or Mumbai may have to move.

Will people really be able to live in Southern California in the future without water? Will parts of India or China be able to sustain populations without local water supplies? If global warming melts the ice on top of the Himalaya mountains without replacing the snow, will the great rivers like the Indus or Ganges just stop flowing? Massive migration of large cities may be needed, or wide scale famine may spread afterward anyway.  The impact of Syrian refugees into Europe, will seem very minor by comparison.

Jared Diamond, paints many dark worse case scenarios in order to focus attention, but does offer the balance that they is a choice. Some societies may take the best action for survival long term. Eco habits and organic farming seem to be the kind of choices that the author hopes more people will make. Energy in the middle east may not be valuable in future, yet over half of all food is imported. What happens when there is not enough money for food? Will the Arab spring be a small sign of change to come in that region?


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how the USA, China or India thinks about the world and their economic policies. Many hard truths cannot be escaped. Globalization has both winners and losers. Some economies may fail quickly and actually collapse.

2) The economies of Europe or the USA cannot expect to stay number one without knowing how rivals economies are working and taking advantage. Facts on Africa or Russia need to be learned. Differences need to be understood.

3) When becoming a successful global investor, you have to put in the long hours, work hard and learn by experience. You have to consider a wide variety of scenarios. You never get lucky long term.

Local sustainable farms in large cities with easy transport of locally grown food, seem to be a successful long term goal. Information is now widely spread via the Internet. This was never the case with the Roman, Mayan or Anasazi empires. This access to figure out how to avoid the mistakes of the past is hopefully the choice we make. Will the current age of information help us learn to avoid the great mistakes of the past? Only time will tell, but there is a chance to minimize misery. A very thought provoking book, highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 45,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業45,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Why we want YOU to be RICH by Donald J. Trump and Robert T. Kiyosaki あなたに金持ちになってほしい: ドナルド・ トランプ + ロバート・キヨサキ

This book was a positive surprise. I expected the typical Trump style saying how "Money is a Game, and I play to Win!" However, it was quite the opposite. It was subtle and well thought out. It was even understated. Not at all what I expected from our new US President. The main concept is that for many Americans, and others globally, very basic financial intelligence is often lacking. If the average person had better insight into how finance worked, and had a higher financial IQ, they would be able to invest with more confidence and benefit greatly. 

Donald Trump teamed up with Robert Kiyosaki best known for his own best seller "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" because of an overlap at a conference in Chicago. Both were speaking at a real estate conference there, trying to help the many there to learn how to better invest in real estate. Both were speakers and crossed paths. A spark started and as they got to know each other, a clear need to help more people learn was found to be in common. The book started from there, but continues into a lot of depth that is not expected at the beginning. It is a clear set of rules and guidelines on how to be rich by investing. A key point is to enjoy the process, and see it as a game that is fun to win.

What I could not believe was the clear style of flowing ideas about how any average person could learn to be a much better investor. It touched on how China was a huge economic story with plenty of opportunity. It also underlined India, and how the rise of both of these super economies will be worth knowing more about. Facts, clear facts were used that showed clear depth of understanding about both economies.


This book was written over 10 years ago, but certainly has a clear agenda on how the USA can be better managed politically in future. The presidential aspirations are included in many of the arguments presented. This is not another basic investing 101 course that any financial advisor could give. Things like "live below your means, save, and diversify into mutual funds etc". Not at all. It actually questions it. Why would you listen and take advice from a person who takes the subway, when you drive a Rolls Royce? How wrong is it to give great respect to a US financial advisor at the retail level, when it takes fewer hours of study than a massage therapist accreditation?

This is the mentality presented and it is a good one. Not everyone can be rich, but many with the desire do not have the right tools or concepts solid in their financial education. this is who the book is aimed at, and it does so very well. There are three types of investors: (1) non-investors with no money and no financial IQ, (2) savers with some money and limited financial IQ, and (3) investors with a lot of money and high financial IQ. This book is targeted at helping people in group 1 and 2, be a successful investor like number 3.


The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how Donald J. Trump thinks about the world and his economic policies. His political campaigns have given only a superficial view. He has written many books and they include his policies. There is no single book with all of his policies, there are many, so read them all.

2) The economies of China and India are big and need to be better understood from every angle. The USA cannot expect to stay number one without knowing how rivals economies are working and taking advantage. Facts need to be learned. Differences need to be understood.

3) When becoming a successful rich investor, you have to put in the long hours, work hard and learn by experience. You cannot learn to swim from any text book. Only by doing deals and learning what works and what doesn't, can you really become rich and successful.

This was not what I expected to written in a style that I thought I would recognize. This is only one book, but certainly gives a clear indication of what the future president make be thinking about global economies. finance and the USA. That seems worth absorbing and keeping in mind when seeing what first moves come out of this new US president and his administration in 2017. This book reads like the revealing of a man's soul and true colors, the key to a unique and complex personality. A very surprising book, highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 45,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業45,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Feature Movie Review: "The Wolf of Wall Street" Leonardo DiCaprio & Martin Scorsese "ウルフ・オブ・ウォールストリート":レオナルド・ディカプリオ&スコセッシ

"The Wolf of Wall Street" is a great movie, and it is all about excess, just like our new US president. It is perfect if you are single and living life to the limit. Alternatively, it is a train wreck of misbehavior if you have matured beyond that. It confirms what could go wrong if you go down the wrong path. It seems that the answer depends on your age and desires. If you are single, (or love the single life even while married), are in the 25-35 age range,(or wish you still were without responsibilities)​ then you will love this movie. It will be nostalgic for crazy times in your past before the Lehman Brothers fiasco.

How can you not enjoy it from that point of view? It is all about tremendous everything where "too much of everything money can buy" is still never enough. This is the target market. Director Martin Scorsese, does an amazing job of taking us back to the life and times of bucket shop "boiler rooms" where the phone line is the con man's way to gold. I cannot think of a more hedonistic life on any movie screen since seeing "Caligula" many years ago. 

Having a threesome or foursome is nothing to the main character Jordan Belfort, (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) why not go for a 100 some! I have never considered it possible to have a sex orgy on a commercial airplane with 250+ people. I now have seen it on screen and think differently. Throwing midgets for sport, stripper performances in the office all change your perspective on what is normal. What can happen in the office bathroom has also changed for me, perhaps permanently.

It is a kind of visual orgy, New Roman style, but set in Long Island, New York. That is the only kind of description that could work for this movie. You may think this is a really positive thing, or you may not, but it does seem to be a kind of benchmark. For good or bad, that is the attitude on screen, and it can be amazing to watch. Or not watch in the case of Dubai, where almost 45 minutes of the 3 hour movie were cut in the local version. That is a lot of film, a pretty major slimmed down version.

Why do you watch and why can you enjoy such a movie basking in excess? You come away with different reasons. It represents a fantasy of what could happen if the financial "perfect storm" takes place during your career. The big money comes in and you have to find ways to spend it. The trouble is, it all ends badly, very badly, with many involved all part of the collateral damage, some end up dead. 

Best moments? worse moments? Too many to really count although seeing a person take so many drugs that they cannot speak on the phone and be understood was certainly memorable. Not being able to stand up or have motor skills, and being forced to crawl down stairs was another. Driving a Lamborghini Countach in such a state or even opening the door was notable. 

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about the many levels of finance within Wall Street. There is no single way to success, so be aware of every player in the financial game, bottom feeders do thrive.

2) The best rainmakers know how to make money and keep doing what they do best by maintaining their confidence. When this comes from drugs though, the end comes sooner than expected.

3) When becoming a successful rainmaker, your emotional strength from close friends or family at home, may help you perform at work. Every person has a personal life, so the more empty or fulfilling it is, the more you can succeed.

Sinking a yacht near Italy in a major storm, and seeing the rescue plane sent blow up as a sign from god or some other warning to wake up and change, all come to mind as key scenes. Stratton Oakmont, the chop shop firm in question, will be a very tough act to follow on screen or anywhere else. Perfect for your holiday weekend with a new US president who is all about excess! It is all realistic, and portrayed wonderfully by an excellent castAn amazing movie that is perfect for the holidays, highly recommended!


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 45,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業45,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Feature CEO Interview: Jeremy Kloiser-Jones, the Founder and CEO of BC Finance Group

Today, we interview Jeremy Kloiser-Jones, the Founder and CEO of BC Finance Group, a firm focused on impact investments in financial services. In 2013, the group launched a Microfinance institution in Myanmar - and is the only institution of its kind with a national footprint. BC Finance is also working on some exciting Fintech applications of Blockchain technology. 

ジェレミー・クローイザー・ジョーンズ氏は、京都大学で法学を学んだ。彼は日本語と日本語の両方に堪能です。彼は日本とアジアで多くの仕事をしてきました。彼は現在、日本と国際投資家と直接取引をしています。彼はフィンテックで博士号を取得しており、よく知られているブロックチェーンの専門家です。




1)    When did you start BC Finance? What is your main business and current scale of operations?

We have been present in Myanmar, since 2012, prior to most foreign businesses and many embassies. We received our micro finance institution (MFI) licence in 2013, commencing business in October of that year, so we have been operating for more than three years now. We have around 100 staff serving clients through 19 branches in 8 states. The national roll out that we undertook in 2013/14 was unprecedented, and we are the only national commercial MFI in the country.

We lend to individuals, micro and small enterprises. As we lend for income generating activities, in an economy growing as fast as Myanmar is - the Asian Development Bank forecasts 8.4% GDP growth this year - credit performance is excellent. Since inception, we have had zero bad loans. Although microfinance as a sector generally has very low default rates, this performance surprises even us. Going forward, bad loans will not always be zero, but should be very low. A common misconception is that microfinance clients are poor credits. They are not.

2) Why did you choose to start your firm in Myanmar? What opportunity did you see?

Many people are not aware just how large Myanmar is. It has a population of 52 million and is the second largest country in ASEAN. Banks provide for the elite, and we provide for the average person, and there are many of them. The demand for microfinance in Myanmar is tremendous, at around USD 10 billion. This compares with current supply of only USD 300 million or so. In my career I have never been involved in a business with fundamentals as good as this. We can lend everything that we have, it is always repaid (to date), and yet we have tens of thousands of clients still waiting for loans. We simply need more inventory, which is capital. Hence we are currently doing a raising.

Given the above, it is obvious that returns to investors are extremely robust, but, in addition, providing formal financial services to those who did not have them before is of significant social value. Most of our clients are women, and they are able to better care for their children with the increased income that comes from growing their businesses. Financial services for the under banked is not just about lending. As a deposit-taking institution, we also provide our clients with savings accounts. This is an important offering for their financial security.

3) Where do you see the opportunity for your firm to grow? What key advantage do you have today in Myanmar?

As touched on above, for the immediate term, the growth opportunities are in Myanmar, and few other markets could provide a similarly attractive growth profile. Our aim is to build our loan portfolio to USD 150 million as quickly as is prudent. We are fortunate to have started early in Myanmar, and hence have a licence scope that is superior to virtually all other market participants. We can support deployment of significant amounts of capital. There is no shortage of profitable lending opportunities. Our national footprint also gives us the ability to offer remittance services in a meaningful way.

That said, there are other markets that can provide significant scale or other opportunities. These include ASEAN countries such Indonesia and Vietnam, although differing regulatory requirements dictate different approaches between markets. We are also looking at Sri Lanka, and have been shown interesting transactions in Cambodia, although that market requires a different approach to Myanmar, given that it is no longer “blue sky”. The Philippines also has much to offer.  

4) Tell us about your Fintech and Blockchain initiatives for mobile banking services in future.

During 2016, we were involved in testing blockchain technology against our core banking system. Although we were the first MFI in Myanmar, to introduce a core banking system, and are satisfied with what we have, we need to seek continual improvements. Confirming that private distributed ledger (blockchain) technology could smoothly and accurately record all of our clients borrowing and saving transactions, was an important proof of concept step. We did this in connection with Japanese partners. It could form the basis for development of a next generation MIS. Personally, I see that blockchain likely has more utility in applications that are client facing and we are working on some of these. Cryptocurrency as a basis for remittance transactions, and identity or credit data verified via blockchain could offer significant benefits not just for our business, but more broadly throughout Myanmar.

We are currently developing a P2P platform for emerging markets that will further enable those who wish to borrow and those who wish lend, to connect. This platform will leverage off the network of any financial institution with clients in excess of their capacity. I can't disclose more than this for now.

5) Have lending opportunities in Myanmar changed in any way due to government actions or new technologies like Blockchain?

Myanmar actually has a fairly good core legal regime for microfinance, but there is still room for improvement. As financial inclusion is important for the average person to participate in the economic growth that the country is now experiencing - a point of concern for the new government under Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi - we expect continual improvements in the regulatory environment over the coming year. We actually had some significant deregulation a few months ago, but we expect to see even more.

Like many other countries, how regulation evolves in Myanmar, to deal with the emergence of new technologies such as blockchain, will be an important area to watch. This is of particular interest to me. In my downtime I am currently pursuing a PhD on the regulation of blockchain with an emphasis on applications in emerging markets and smart contracts.

6) Are there gaps in Myanmar lending that overseas investors do not fully understand that BC Finance try and fill?

Many misunderstand what microfinance is. The easiest way to explain it is to say that microfinance in an emerging economy such as Myanmar, fills the role of a retail bank in a more developed economy. We are the financial institution for our customers. They will have an account with us, they will have a mobile money account with us or linked to us, but they will likely never have a bank account. The opportunity is significant.

Generally, we also find that investors do not understand the high credit performance of microfinance. Commercial microfinance globally, has default rates in the low single digits. In Myanmar, defaults rates are even lower. After more than three years of operations, BC Finance is yet to experience even one bad loan - although we will, of course, experience them over time. As long as loan decisions are appropriately managed, microfinance customers are a better credit risk than the average developed market credit card holder. Like any market, there are different segments within microfinance. The provision of microcredit in a post-conflict zone in the Middle East by an NGO, is a charitable activity and would likely experience well in excess of 50% bad loans. While extremely important, this is not our business.

From a macro perspective, because credit provision in Myanmar is coming from a very low base, there is not yet a credit cycle and certainly not a credit bubble. It is a robust environment to be lending into. The opportunity for BCF is in how quickly we can supply the market. The more we can supply, the more businesses we can support, and the greater returns we will make. There are no unknowns in our business model. Myanmar is a country of wonderful people and we are proud to be building our business there, contributing as the country builds its future.

7) Where do you see your firm growing the most in the next 2-3 years? Will this continue within the mobile Fintech space? Are you seeking investors for new projects or service offerings?

Most of our growth over the next few years will come from meeting the incredible demand for credit we are seeing in Myanmar. This will be achieved by expansion of our direct balance sheet (traditional) lending, as well as via our P2P (Fintech) platform. Over that time, mobile phones will certainly become established as a primary transactional tool, in our view. Within this, we will be rolling out new products and technologies at the appropriate pace – to be neither to early nor too late to provide the right mix for the market.

As for your last point, we are seeking investors for BCF and are currently in discussions on an equity round of up to USD 7.5 million to close during the 1st quarter of 2017. We are also raising USD 15 to 20 million of debt. Aside from this, we are always open to partnering with firms who bring something to the table we do not possess and are willing to invest alongside us.


Please visit us for our Friday Feature Review where TMJ Partners will review books, movies, services and anything else with a financial theme.  Follow us now for our free weekly updates, just click hereThank you for reading and learning more about how money is made in finance!

If you are interested in Sales & Trading, Banking or FinTech focused roles in Asia or Japan then click here. Follow TMJ Partners on Twitter, the world's #1 recruiter on Twitter, over 45,000+ followers already have! click here! 

あなたアジア日本セールストレーディング,
バンキング、フィンテックの役割に興味がある場合は、こちらをクリックしてくださいティエムジェィパートナーズTwitterでフォローしてください 世界中のTwitter第1位の採用企業45,000以上のフォロワーが既に持っています!クリックしてください



For more Buy-Side or Sell-Side roles in Asia-Pacific, contact our TMJ Partners Japan & Asia Finance team in Tokyo.
                  
                              Mark  Pink                                             Shinichi Nagasawa
                      Tel + 81 3 3505 3891                                    Tel  +81 3 3505 3891
          Email pinkmark@tmjpartners.com                 Email nagasawa@tmjpartners.com