Panellists at last week’s IPE 360 conference in London highlighted a range of political concerns for investors – not all of which were necessarily on the radar yet.Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Standish Mellon Asset Management, warned of the potential for “policy mistakes” in China in the near future.“Its desire to project a military force as powerful as their GDP on the global scale could lead to them interfering more than the US,” he said.Roughly 60% of global GDP was generated in emerging markets, Reinhart said, and half of that emanated from China. “Global GDP has actually been less volatile over the last few years because much of it is being increased in a region that delivers growth at 6.5% year-on-year,” Reinhart said.But he urged investors to “consider the tail risk in China”.With emerging markets getting wealthier but global GDP growth shrinking, some parts of society were being left out in the developed world – leading to the rise of populism.Reinhart said: “These global economic readjustments create resentment and there is no growth to appease the anger, which in turn leads to voter resentment against trade, migration, etc, and to more geopolitical risk.”Turning to the US, where the effect of populism has been arguably most prevalent, Reinhart said his biggest concern was “thinking about the day when three Republican senators say they want to run for president. This would mean there is no majority government anymore and it would be an incentive for [president Donald] Trump to use executive action wherever he can.”BrexitFor Anthony Arnull, Barber Professor of Jurisprudence at Birmingham Law School, the greatest political worries were related to Brexit – in particular the difficulties facing the UK government when seeking to strike new trade deals after it leaves the EU.Apart from the “chaotic lack of preparation” both leading up to the Brexit vote as well as to the negotiations with the EU, Arnull highlighted that the UK government’s plan to “peel off” some members from the bloc was “not looking very realistic”.“The EU does not welcome the UK’s departure but it is now in a post-referendum phase, adjusted to the idea that UK is leaving,” Arnull said. “It might even think the EU will develop faster without the UK, and this is a difficult dynamic for the UK to deal with.”More uncertainty over trade was added by Donald Trump, he said. Trump has promised both German chancellor Angela Merkel and UK prime minister Theresa May that their respective markets would be “first on the list” for a trade deal. “Now the UK does not know where it is on this list,” Arnull said.Finally, Ian McKnight, CIO at the Royal Mail Pension Plan in the UK, highlighted Italy’s forthcoming election as a potential flashpoint.Discussing potential triggers for an equity market selloff, McKnight said: “There could be something with the Italian election coming up next year. A lot of Italian MPs – as I understand it – will be against the EU. That’s potentially a catastrophic event.”Italy’s next election must be held no later than 20 May next year.See the July/August edition of IPE for a Special Report on Italy’s pension system.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel spoke about the history and future of Snapchat and the nature of entrepreneurship at the event, “Fireside Chat with Evan Spiegel,” on Wednesday evening in Taper Hall.The event was planned by Ashish Soni, executive director of digital innovation at the Viterbi School of Engineering and founding director of the Viterbi Student Institute for Innovation.Snapchat, an app that allows users to share photos and videos with select recipients for durations between one and 10 seconds, is possibly looking forward to opportunities in the mobile system through music, according to Spiegel.“Music is really appealing to us right now because it has some of the same attributes that communication had when we were working on Snapchat in the beginning,” Spiegel said. “Right now on your mobile phone, music is largely non-differentiated, so you usually search for a song and you can play it. It plays from four of five different places, they roughly cost the same, but it’s also high frequency. After communication, [music is] the highest frequency behavior on your phone and so that in our view, makes it a really interesting opportunity and it’s something that we are thinking about.”Snapchat’s newest addition, Discover, allows users to view short articles and videos from various media outlets, such as CNN, Yahoo! and Vice.“The first [problem with feed based media is that] the fastest story wins and that means a lot of times, you make mistakes because you’re in such a hurry to get things on the internet,” Spiegel said. “We also found that headlines were driving distribution to different websites in the feed to try and attract people to click on them.”Spiegel said the new Snapchat feature alleviates the issue of branding issues that Twitter has created. The purpose of creating Discover was to drive viewers away from simply scrolling through their Twitter without recognizing what information they were looking at.“We also saw that brands were kind of losing their value because on Twitter, the brand wasn’t really so important and people weren’t paying attention to where they were reading their news,” Spiegel said. “So we tried to build something that tried to bring back the editorial perspective, because we believe it’s really valuable to have someone who’s smarter than us figure out what’s important, because that’s a full time job and a really hard one.”Spiegel explained that part of Snapchat’s current success comes from users not wanting to manage online profiles.“Social media in its first kind of incarnation was really about identity,” Spiegel said. “It’s about building the virtual Evan. ‘Here’s the things Evan likes, here’s all his friends, here’s pictures of Evan,’ and that just gets really boring at some points.”Spiegel further commented on the issue of building an online profile. He explained that online sites that require individual profiles are inaccurate depictions of people, as we continuously change.“Part of what makes it so tedious is that people change — they grow actually really, really quickly — so you end up with this kind of huge accumulation of things that don’t really reflect who you are at all,” Spiegel said. “Worrying about that and managing this huge identity of you on the Internet just wasn’t really fun and it was also much more fun to talk with pictures.”According to Spiegel, the app is simple because it is solely based on snaps. Spiegel described snaps as small windows into another user’s perspective.“[Snapchat] is really focused on feeling and that means that we care a lot about the essence of conversation,” Spiegel said. “I think what it really enabled people to do is focus on ‘what is this person trying to say to me with this picture,’ not ‘what are they trying to save’ and so by shifting the attention to ‘what is … someone trying to communicate to me,’ we focus on the feeling and not the appearance of image.”Spiegel also discussed the nature of entrepreneurship and explained that building a strong team of workers is one of the most important parts in creating a great startup. He commented that effective startups have leaders who are able to say no to outsiders and to stay focused.He stressed the importance of being fully aware of legality when agreeing to build a startup.“If you hear the words ‘standard terms’ then figure out actually what the terms are, because they are probably not standard and the person explaining [them] to you probably doesn’t know how they work,” Spiegel said.Soni said that one of the most important things Spiegel emphasized was the importance of team choice.“Building a company is a long, hard journey and you need good people by your side to go with the ups and the downs and the fact that the team matters is huge,” Soni said.
Manager Jose Mourinho has told Juan Mata and Michael Essien that his door is open if they want to leave Chelsea.Mata reacted furiously to being substituted in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Southampton on New Year’s Day.The Chelsea forward did not shake Mourinho’s hand after being withdrawn in the 53rd minute and he flung his arms up in the direction of the touchline, where the Blues boss was standing.The 25-year-old, who has started just nine Barclays Premier League games this season, had to be calmed down by Michael Essien, who was sat on the bench at the time.Mourinho claims Mata reacted that way because he was unhappy at the scoreline – which stood at 0-0 when the former Valencia man was substituted.Mourinho does not want to lose Mata in the transfer window, and he says he would be happy to talk to the player if he is unhappy. “I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open,” the Chelsea manager said.”The club’s door is open too so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them.”If you are asking do you want the club to sell him? I don’t want to.”Essien’s future at Chelsea was thrown into doubt when his agent suggested that he could leave the London club due to a lack of playing time.Mourinho, again, stressed he wanted to keep the player, but admitted that he could not offer the play guaranteed first-team football. “I offer nobody – not Michael, not nobody (guaranteed playing time),” the Portuguese said.”I understand that players think about national team, the World Cup and playing regularly, but my players have to think of the team before the players. Michael knows that perfectly.”
The Lion Country Safari announced the reopening of its drive-thru safari.The zoo was forced to shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.The announcement for the reopening was made on Wednesday.The zoo’s drive-thru will reopen on Thursday, May 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the last car admitted at 4:30 p.m.Zoo officials said tickets must be pre-purchased and are only valid for the drive-thru on the selected date.The walk-thru park will remained closed.
Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Westport WineryWestport Winery’s latest sculpture commemorating their platinum medal winning wine, Rapture of the Deep, is now on display. Johnny and Darlene Camp of Opal Art Glass in Cosmopolis, Washington, installed their latest contribution for the winery’s public, outdoor sculpture display the first week of March. This illuminated blown-glass creation resembling a giant blue jellyfish hangs under a black gazebo adjacent to the winery’s exotic Color Wheel Garden.The Opal Art Glass team has previously designed and built three other sculptures at the winery. The first was for Surfer with 70 arcing glass tubes that form a breaking wave, the next was Shelter From The Storm with a series of undulating glass umbrellas, and the last was Float with over 200 glass floats in a spherical metal frame. According to winery co-owner, Kim Roberts, “Working with Opal Art Glass is one of our favorite collaborations. Johnny and Darlene also produce our unique wine bottles designed to look like Japanese fishing floats. We’ve had a great time working together and have become good friends.”The winery crafts 33 different wines and three hard ciders. They have commissioned local artists to honor each wine with a sculpture on their 66-acre grounds. In addition, they have sculptures in each of their seven destination gardens along with a central figure in their lavender labyrinth. The sculpture garden is open daily, there is no charge to experience this art display, and all ages are welcome. The winery even offers complimentary umbrellas for guests who wish to stroll the gardens on rainy days. Guests are welcome to have their canine companions accompany them in touring the gardens on leash or they can enjoy the winery’s off-leash dog park as well.A portion of the proceeds of each of Westport’s wines benefit different local charitable organizations. Rapture of the Deep benefits Aberdeen’s Driftwood Theater.