The World’s Newest Call Center Billionaire

Meet the world’s newest call center billionaire. Laurent Junique is quite the globe-trotter: He’s a French citizen, his company is based in Singapore and he just listed that company, TDCX Inc., on the New York Stock Exchange last week.

Junique, TDCX’s 55-year-old founder and CEO, also just joined the billionaire ranks: Junique’s 87% stake in the firm is now worth $3 billion, thanks to a 34% rise in TDCX shares since the IPO on October 1—an offering that raised nearly $350 million for the company.

Started in 1995 in Singapore as Teledirect, an outsourced call center that handled calls, emails and faxes for a variety of clients, the company rebranded as TDCX in 2019 to reflect its expansion into a range of services including content moderation, marketing and e-commerce support. (CX is short for “customer experience” in the customer service industry.)

TDCX reported a $64 million net profit on $323 million sales in 2020, an improvement from the $54 million profit and $242 million in revenues it recorded in 2019. That growth came in part due to greater use of the services that TDCX offers, including tools that help companies improve the performance of employees working from home. Still, TDCX is highly dependent on two clients—Facebook and Airbnb—which collectively accounted for 62% of sales in 2020.

“Our successful listing reflects the world-class company that we have built and our position as the go-to partner for transformative digital customer experience services,” Junique said in a statement on the day of the IPO. “We are grateful for the support of our clients, many of whom are global technology companies that are fuelling the growth of the digital economy.”

Junique is the second call center billionaire that Forbes has tracked. The first, Kenneth Tuchman, founded Englewood, Colorado-based TTEC Holdings (formerly called TeleTech), in 1982; at nearly $2 billion, the firm had about six times the revenues of TDCX last year. Tuchman first became a billionaire in 2007. Several Indian billionaires, including HCL Technologies cofounder Shiv Nadar and Wipro’s former chairman Azim Premji, offer call centers as some of the services their firms provide.

Junique will maintain an iron grip on TDCX as a public company, controlling all of the firm’s Class B shares, which make up more than 86% of the firm’s equity and represent 98.5% of voting power. He owns those shares through Transformative Investments Pte Ltd, a company based in the Cayman Islands that is entirely owned—according to public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission—by a trust established for the benefit of Junique and his family. While its headquarters are in Singapore, TDCX has also been incorporated in the Cayman Islands since April 2020; prior to the IPO, the firm was controlled by Junique through a Caymans-based holding company. A spokesperson for TDCX declined to comment.

Before launching TDCX as a 29-year-old in 1995, the French native cut his teeth studying advertising at the École Supérieure de Publicité in Paris and business administration at the nearby École Supérieure Internationale d’Administration des Entreprises, graduating in 1989. After a two-year stint at consumer goods giant Unilever, Junique—who had reportedly been cooking up business ideas since he was a child, including a glass recycling proposal he came up with at age 13—decided he wanted a more international career, but struggled to find a gig as a young graduate with little experience.

Armed with a suitcase and just enough cash to get by, he decamped to Singapore in 1995 to try his luck on the other side of the planet. Singapore offered a strategic location as a modern, English-speaking city at the heart of fast-growing Southeast Asia, and Junique started a call center called Teledirect aimed at businesses looking to cut costs and outsource customer service. Soon enough, Junique scored the firm’s first big client, an American credit card firm based in Singapore.

Two years later, in 1997, Junique sold a 40% stake in Teledirect to London-based advertising giant WPP for an undisclosed amount. Since then, TDCX expanded beyond call centers and now has offices in 11 countries across three continents, including locations in China, Japan and India. In 2018, Junique bought back WPP’s 40% stake in the call center business for about $28 million. Three years of growth later, the company now has a market capitalization of $3.5 billion.

With 2020 marking a record year for TDCX, Junique is hoping that the Covid-induced transition away from offices has made the firm’s products more necessary for its clients. “As consumers live more and more of their lives online, the expectation for things to be done simply, conveniently and on-demand will only increase,” Junique said in a statement.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Staff Writer on the Wealth team at Forbes, covering billionaires and their wealth. My reporting has led me to an S&P 500 tech firm in the plains of Oklahoma; a

Source: The World’s Newest Call Center Billionaire

.
Related Contents:

“BBC Three – The Call Centre, Series 1”. Bbc.co.uk. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2017-12-10.

Use The 4-7-8 Method To Fall Asleep Almost Instantly

If you’re looking for motivation to get more sleep, there are plenty of studies I could point you to, like this recent one showing that insufficient sleep causes toxic gunk to build up in your brain. Or how about this one that found sleep deprivation impacts your performance as much as being drunk. Or this unexpected finding that too little sleep makes you paranoid.

But while the research on the need to get enough sleep is as convincing as it is terrifying, I’m pretty sure that the reason so many busy professionals don’t get the recommended amount of shut-eye isn’t lack of motivation to sleep. Instead, if a newborn baby or a frantic deadline isn’t involved, I suspect psychology is often to blame.

We stay up too late because those dark, quiet hours after both the boss and the kids have quieted down for the night are the only ones that are truly ours. Or we behave and go to bed only to find pandemic stress means our minds are whirring too fast to drift off. A great many of us want to get to bed earlier, it’s just that our bodies and minds fight back against our good intentions.

A new find for my grab bag of sleep solutions

Finally getting to sleep at a reasonable hour will require different interventions depending on your particular circumstances. Which is why I always keep an eye out for tips and tricks to help sleep deprived professionals calm down and actually get the rest they crave, from essential sleep hygiene advice to mind tricks to shut off your whirring brain. Hopefully, if I round up enough of these tips, some combination of them can help every reader improve their sleep at least a little bit.

Today I’d like to add one more idea to this grab bag of better sleep advice that seems particularly well suited to our anxious times. It comes from Dr. Andrew Weil, the director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine via Vogue, and all it requires is a few seconds and a set of lungs.

The trick is known as the “4-7-8 Method,” and while its origins lay in ancient traditions of yoga, Weil says it’s thoroughly scientifically vetted. The simple breathing technique works to calm stress by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as “rest and digest mode.” Here’s all you have to do, according to Vogue:

  1. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  3. Exhale for eight seconds, making a “whoosh” sound through pursed lips.
  4. Repeat up to four times.

The 4-7-8 method can be used to kill stress and calm your body any time of the day, not just at bedtime. And the more consistently you use the technique, the better it works. So give it a try and see if this might be the answer to your sleep challenges.

Source: Use the 4-7-8 Method to Fall Asleep Almost Instantly | Inc.com

.

Related Contents:

How To Intervene When a Manager Is Gaslighting Their Employees

Summary

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you by instilling self-doubt. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive good employees away. Leadership training is only part of the solution — leaders must act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. The author presents five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.

“We missed you at the leadership team meeting,” our executive vice president messaged me. “Your manager shared an excellent proposal. He said you weren’t available to present. Look forward to connecting soon.”

In our last one-on-one meeting, my manager had enthusiastically said that I, of course, should present the proposal I had labored over for weeks. I double-checked my inbox and texts for my requests to have that meeting invite sent to me. He had never responded. He went on to present the proposal without me.

Excluding me from meetings, keeping me off the list for company leadership programs, and telling me I was on track for a promotion — all while speaking negatively about my performance to his peers and senior leadership — were all red flags in my relationship with this manager. The gaslighting continued and intensified until the day I finally resigned.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you. They will lie to you and intentionally set you up to fail. They will say and do things and later deny they ever happened. They will undermine you, manipulate you, and convince you that you are the problem. As in my case, at work, the “they” is often a manager who will abuse their position of power to gaslight their employees.

Organizations of all sizes are racing to develop their leaders, spending over $370 billion a year globally on leadership training. Yet research shows that almost 30% of bosses are toxic. Leadership training is only part of the solution — we need leaders to act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. Here are five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.

Believe employees when they share what’s happening.

The point of gaslighting is to instill self-doubt, so when an employee has the courage to come forward to share their experiences, leaders must start by actively listening and believing them. The employee may be coming to you because they feel safe with you. Their manager might be skilled at managing up, presenting themselves as an inclusive leader while verbally abusing employees. Or they may be coming to you because they feel they’ve exhausted all other options.

Do not minimize, deny, or invalidate what they tell you. Thank them for trusting you enough to share their experiences. Ask them how you can support them moving forward.

Be on the lookout for signs of gaslighting.

“When high performers become quiet and disinterested and are then labeled as low performers, we as leaders of our organizations must understand why,” says Lan Phan, founder and CEO of community of SEVEN, who coaches executives in her curated core community groups. “Being gaslighted by their manager can be a key driver of why someone’s performance is suddenly declining. Over time, gaslighting will slowly erode their sense of confidence and self-worth.”

As a leader, while you won’t always be present to witness gaslighting occurring on your team, you can still look for signs. If an employee has shared their experiences, you can be on high alert to catch subtle signals. Watch for patterns of gaslighting occurring during conversations, in written communication, and activities outside of work hours.

Here are some potential warning signs: A manager who is gaslighting may exclude their employees from meetings. They may deny them opportunities to present their own work. They may exclude them from networking opportunities, work events, and leadership and development programs. They may gossip or joke about them. Finally, they may create a negative narrative of their performance, seeding it with their peers and senior leaders in private and public forums.

Intervene in the moments that matter.

“Intervening in those moments when gaslighting occurs is critical,” says Dee C. Marshall, CEO of Diverse & Engaged LLC, who advises Fortune 100 companies on diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. “As a leader, you can use your position of power to destabilize the manager who is gaslighting. By doing so, you signal to the gaslighter that you are watching and aware of their actions, and putting them on notice.”

If you see that a manager has excluded one of their employees from a meeting, make sure to invite them and be clear that you extended the invitation. If a manager is creating a negative narrative of an employee’s performance in talent planning sessions, speak up in the moment and ask them for evidence-based examples. Enlist the help of others who have examples of their strong performance. Document what you’re observing on behalf of the employee who is the target of gaslighting.

Isolate the manager who is gaslighting.

If this manager is gaslighting now, this likely isn’t their first time. Enlist the help of human resources and have them review the manager’s team’s attrition rates and exit interview data. Support the employee who is experiencing gaslighting when they share their experiences with HR, including providing your own documentation.

In smaller, more nimble organizations, restructuring happens often and is necessary to scale and respond to the market. Use restructuring as an opportunity to isolate the manager by decreasing their span of control and ultimately making them an individual contributor with no oversight of employees. Ensure that their performance review reflects the themes you and others have documented (and make any feedback from others anonymous). The manager may eventually leave on their own as their responsibilities decrease and their span of control is minimized. In parallel, work with human resources to develop an exit plan for the manager.

Assist employees in finding a new opportunity.

In the meantime, help the targeted employee find a new opportunity. Start with using your social and political capital to endorse them for opportunities on other teams. In my case, the manager gaslighting me had a significant span of control, and my options to leave his team were limited. He blocked me from leaving to go work for other managers when I applied for internal roles. I didn’t have any leaders who could advocate for me and move me to another team. I was ultimately forced to leave the company.

In some cases, even if you can find an internal opportunity for the employee, they won’t stay. They will take an external opportunity to have a fresh start and heal from the gaslighting they experienced from their manager. Stay in touch and be open to rehiring them when the timing is right for them. If you rehire them in the future, make sure that this time they work for a manager who will not only nurture and develop their careers, but one who will treat them with the kindness they deserve.

During the “Great Resignation,” people have had the time and space to think about what’s important to them. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive your employees away. They’ll choose to work for organizations that not only value their contributions, but that also respect them as individuals.

By: Mita Mallick

Mita Mallick is the head of inclusion, equity, and impact at Carta. She is a columnist for SWAAY and her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, The New York Post, and Business Insider.

Source: How to Intervene When a Manager Is Gaslighting Their Employees

.

Related Contents:

Has Digital Killed Traditional Advertising and Media

Digital technology has changed our world. It has altered how we access news, entertainment and information, our work patterns, and our communication channels. How we buy and sell.

So, as digital advertising and media continue to grow, have their traditional forms become redundant?…Let’s talk…

Simon Cheng, Marketing Director, Menulog

“No, I don’t think digital has killed traditional advertising. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Digital complements traditional, as each plays their own role. Traditional will always be important for mass reach objectives and brand building. While, digital is great for performance and driving incremental brand growth through more targeted reach.

“At Menulog, we are a technology business however we invest a lot in traditional channels – TV, outdoor and radio – because they are still some of the most effective avenues for capturing the attention of mass audiences. Equally, we also invest heavily in performance media, using search and social to convert demand. After all, there’s no point investing in creating demand if you are not then capturing it or driving engagement.

“As the world of media continues to become more fragmented, advertising and communication channels need to reflect how consumers want to consume content. Marketers shouldn’t over complicate things. It’s the right message, right place, right time. The channels that fit naturally against your objectives, are those to go with.

Andrew Cornale, Co-Founder and Technical Director, UnDigital

“Digital marketing is certainly more readily accessible than traditional advertising and I would argue that it has overtaken traditional marketing in many senses, but has digital killed traditional advertising? No.

“Traditional advertising still has its place. We see successful campaigns using traditional advertising all the time. However, I’d argue that its high price point and specialised skill set makes it less accessible to the everyday business. For many businesses, digital advertising is more affordable, scalable and targeted. Plus, it’s easier to map ROI against a digital campaign where sales can be mapped directly to it.

“To me, digital marketing is a smarter strategy because decisions are backed by data with less guesswork and, generally speaking, there are just more opportunities to find customers online. If one day, we do see the death of traditional advertising, I’d say digital marketing certainly had a hand in it, but it’s not necessarily holding the murder weapon.”

Yasinta Widjojo, Senior Marketing Manager, Pin Payments

“There’s no doubt that marketing and advertising have changed dramatically in the last 10 years, alongside the advancements of technology and the internet.

“While traditional advertising relied on methods such as TV ads, billboards and print journalism, digital advertising has superseded these methods with algorithms that enable marketers to find and sell to their key audiences. Technology has opened the door to endless possibilities, when it comes to advertising, but with changes come challenges.

“Consumers are battling against a barrage of online noise, through their email inboxes, social media accounts and websites. No platform is left unturned, making creating genuine authenticity with your customers much harder.

“Interestingly enough, the feeling of digital numbness that has come alongside the pandemic, has led some customers back to traditional advertising. The pandemic has seen a rise in guerrilla advertising that harnesses both the digital and physical world, using billboards, posters or graffiti that can be scanned by a smartphone.

“As society adjusts to using their smartphones for COVID-19 check-ins or QR codes, modern marketing which amalgamates both old and new advertising methods, is being embraced. Traditional advertising isn’t dead, it’s had a system upgrade with the help of digital.”

Adam Boote, Director of Digital and Growth, Localsearch

“Changing consumer behaviours in a tech-savvy society have significantly impacted the way advertising is created and consumed. Millennials and Gen Zs are far more influenced by digital media – 49% of TikTok users purchase a product or service after seeing it on the app, and 60% of Millennials admit their purchasing decisions are influenced by what they see on Facebook.

“We’re now seeing a big wave of consumers, including small businesses, turn to digital after weighing up not only print, but broadcast advertising. Although free-to-air TV viewership is increasing with more people at home, its key objective is generating brand awareness – so you may or may not receive immediate action from viewers. Online, you can target audiences with far greater demographic accuracy, targeting the people most relevant to you and guiding them through to where you want them to go.

“For SMBs who don’t have thousands to spend on TV ads, nailing your SEO and digital presence is far more cost-effective.

“However you decide to integrate digital with traditional, when consumers do remember your business and need your product or service, you want them to be able to go online and find you. Fast and easy.”

Cary Lockwood, chief executive officer, Loyalty Now

“Traditional media and advertising still have parts to play in the cultural zeitgeist, but the real question is: are they as effective in engaging audiences as their digital counterparts?

“Traditional advertising operates by conveying a broad message to a broad audience. However, in today’s hyperlocalised economy, consumers want their individual voices heard by merchants who offer solutions tailored to their unique interests and behaviours.

“This growing customer expectation, coupled with a need for business transparency, is one of the reasons experts anticipate some digital advertising methods to become obsolete soon. This is particularly evident in the current phase-out of third-party cookies ahead of 2022.

“Instead of investing in broader advertising avenues, businesses must embrace targeted partnerships with platforms that boast highly engaged audiences, and that also let merchants leverage hyperpersonalisation to better engage their consumers. This will lead to more committed return customers whose buying power outweighs surface-level interactions with disengaged buyers.”

Simon McDonald, Regional Vice President Optimizely

“Digital platforms have revolutionised advertising. Traditional mediums lock advertising into one-way communication, whereas digital platforms provide two-way interactive capabilities. Businesses can now customise advertising to personalise any brand experience and utilise real-time metrics to monitor their campaign’s success.

“Digital advertising is constantly evolving, and so is consumer behaviour. Organisations need to embed a culture of test and learn across all of their digital strategies, allowing businesses to quickly respond and evolve with the industry and consumer trends. While traditional advertising is still around, it is always best as part of a larger digital multichannel marketing campaign that can evolve and respond to consumer behaviour.”

Nicole Schulz, Brand Reputation Practice Lead, Sefiani Communications Group

“In a time of increasing misinformation and disinformation online, traditional media has played a vital role in delivering timely, factual and credible information to Australians. The Digital News Report 2021 found that in Australia, trust in news has risen to 43%. As Australians turned to public broadcasters for critical news over the past 18 months, trust in traditional news brands has remained high. In contrast, 64% of Australians are concerned about false and misleading information online. Roy Morgan research found that TV is regarded as the most trusted source of news, nominated by nearly 7 million Australians.

“However, the same research also found that the internet is now Australia’s main source of news. There is no doubt that Australian audiences at large are continuing to shift away from traditional towards digital platforms for news but the credibility and trust attached to traditional new publishers remains paramount. To thrive in the future, traditional media will need to continue to evolve its multi-channel offering to suit and serve diverse and segmented audiences.”

Clare Loewenthal

 

By: Clare Loewenthal

Source: Let’s Talk: Has digital killed traditional advertising and media? – Dynamic Business

.

Related Contents:

 

Empathy Should Be Your Secret Sauce

“People Helping People” and “People Not Profit” have been the credos of credit unions since their founding in the United States. Recently, there’s been a significant push to promote those credos as part of the “I love my credit union” campaign. Focusing on helping people is a great way to differentiate credit unions from the rest of the banking industry, and it’s a beautiful way to meld business with altruism.

Like so many other things, saying you’re focused on people is great but only if you back up the words with action. Today more than ever, acting on the “people” component of the credit union mantra is critical to every credit union’s future viability and ultimate success. All people – members and employees – need to feel your love and experience your care, not just hear about it. In short, to truly live the mantra, your credit union needs to invest in optimizing empathy.

Investing in empathy doesn’t mean a one-time training event, and it’s not just a component of a broader DEI initiative; it’s a core component that should be fundamental to your strategic planning efforts this year. Empathy is a muscle that can be developed and strengthened for your leadership team as well as your staff. It can manifest itself in five impactful ways:

Empathy with Members
We often hear from leaders and coaches, “Show empathy with the member.” But there’s a right way and wrong way to do it. And demonstrating it the right way requires ongoing training, practice, coaching, and reinforcement. It is a learned skill.

Empathy with Co-Workers
Like our daily interactions with members, empathy is vital to forging positive, effective partnerships with peers at your credit union. Recent experience has shown that disfunction and poor support from one department to another is largely the result of a lack of shared empathy.

Empathy with Direct Reports
Leaders need to personalize their coaching and make sure they focus on what their employee needs to maximize their efforts. While we’ve talked for years about personalized coaching, injecting empathy takes coaching and leadership to a deeper level where it truly drives performance and motivates employees.

Empathy as a Culture
The credit unions who have thrived during the past 18 months have done so largely because of their strong bond with employees and members, along with a concentrated focus on total wellbeing – at work and home. Those efforts need to continue in the “next normal” to leverage that goodwill and solidify those relationships. That means weaving empathy into the fabric of your experience culture as much as possible, today and into the future.

Empathy as a Differentiator
In the spirit of demonstrating empathy instead of just talking about it, be prepared to share specific anecdotes of how you’ve helped members and employees, especially during these challenging times. Don’t be shy about it – it you don’t promote it, no one else will. It can be the best way to differentiate in your marketplaces. Word-of-mouth advertising is still the best advertising but only if you make sure the word does, indeed, get advertised.

Many credit unions have already reached out in recent months about various ways to infuse empathy throughout their culture. If you want to make empathy your secret sauce and create a thoroughly empathetic culture at your credit union, let’s talk. www.fi-strategies.com/contact-us.

Paul Robert

By Paul Robert, FI Strategies, LLC

Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a small but mighty … Web: fi-strategies.com

Source: Empathy should be your secret sauce – CUInsight

.

More Contents:

Lending Perspectives: Are home equity loans the next great growth opportunity?

This year’s highest marketing budget priorities for banks & credit unions

Optimize your vendor and partner relationships

If you build it, they will come: Financial education and DEI in today’s world with Andrea Finley

The power of data: How CAP COM makes that BABI work

Letter to credit unions updates industry on MERIT, other modernization efforts

FFIEC issues guidance on authentication, access to financial institution systems

NAFCU asks for judicious budget management from the NCUA

5 reasons your branches don’t stack up to your competition

Find the courage to put your ‘Path to Primary’ into action

Fed proposal is threat to consumers, card issuers, payments system

As COVID-19 lockdowns lift, fraudsters shift focus

Fall spending predictions: Pent-up demand drives back-to-school shopping and the return of business travel

3 applications of machine learning in financial services

Consumer compliance outlook: Effect of late notices of error and billing error notices

Preparing for impact: Credit union leadership and AI

4 Ways to Revolutionize Risk Management

In an uncertain climate where risk is rife, the call for a more holistic approach to risk management has never been greater.

Despite new risks having emerged amid the volatile global environment, existing risks such as cybercrime and climate change haven’t gone away. Compounding this are new regulations on the horizon, such as those recommended in the Brydon Review in the U.K., where it’s likely we’ll see increased scrutiny over risk management, compliance and internal controls in the coming months.

The rapid pace of change in the past year has undoubtedly created significant short-term challenges for organizations worldwide, but only now are the long-term consequences beginning to manifest themselves.

Arguably, Covid-19 has highlighted deficiencies in risk management that otherwise might never have been brought to light. What’s clear is that those who have taken a more dynamic and frequent approach to their risk practices have been better able to future-proof their business and tackle the ongoing turbulence initiated by the pandemic.

Here are some ways organizations can enhance their performance in four of today’s key risk areas, while maintaining rigorous compliance and agility:

Innovation risk,..

As innovation rises, so too do risks. Yet conversely, the risk of not innovating can be just as high. This places a considerable onus on risk managers to help their organizations strike the right balance between risk and reward.

Due to the nature of innovation, propositions are often in a constant state of development, rendering point-in-time engagement from risk executives impractical. For risk management to be effective, it must be embedded throughout the development process, with continuous interaction between risk and innovation teams. Furthermore, risk controls should be an integral part of product design, especially in the face of regulations such as GDPR, which maintains “privacy by design” as one of its leading principles.

Innovation risks undoubtedly alter the risk profile of an organization and potentially fuel other technology-related risks such as cybercrime and fraud—creating another strong case for implementing new risk controls and a wider discipline of digital conduct.

One prime example of innovation risk managed well is offered by e-commerce giant JD.com, whose radical advances in mitigation technology and robotics have increased the retailer’s stock price by 97% in the past year.

Cybersecurity risk

At the same time that organizations are expanding their digital footprints, cyber threats are growing exponentially in their sophistication. Although this has largely made traditional risk management frameworks unworkable, a data-driven approach can help businesses to better quantify cyber risk and sense check their cyber-response capabilities.

Data can be derived from multiple sources including audit findings, threat intelligence tools, asset life cycles and defect management to help build a real-time picture of risk, while providing key insights to the security team and senior leaders for more informed decision-making.

That said, a cyber-risk framework is only as good as an organization’s first line of defense: its valued employees. An all-hands-on-deck style is the surest way to instill a culture of cybersecurity accountability at all levels of the business, supported through training courses and robust policies to raise awareness of today’s ever-evolving cyber risks.

By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities before they become an issue, risk professionals can reduce the likelihood of their organization being a sitting target and thus protect their end clients as they continue their digitalization journey.

ESG risk

Rising expectations from stakeholders in recent years have indicated that high environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance can lead to improved profitability and business opportunities.

Microsoft is one such case in point, becoming the first company in its sector to target a “carbon negative” status by 2030. Since creating a $1 billion fund to reduce emissions and carbon usage, Microsoft received the highest ESG rating (AAA) from MSCI ESG Research in 2019.

A failure to incorporate ESG—covering a wide set of issues—into enterprise risk management practices could see businesses lagging behind their peers, particularly if they do not make the connection between ESG and materiality.

While laws and regulations mandating disclosure are a key driver for putting forth a robust ESG strategy, businesses should adopt an approach that transcends simply meeting compliance requirements. A critical starting point is to develop a purposeful culture around ESG that is exemplified at the top and instilled throughout the organization.

Board oversight is also crucial to the effective integration of ESG risk management and subsequent long-term sustainability. Senior leaders should work closely with risk teams to monitor ESG performance against the company’s goals, making activities such as megatrend analysis, media monitoring and regular ESG materiality assessments a core part of the wider ERM framework.

Continue Reading About risk management

Regulatory risk

With the regulatory landscape changing rapidly, businesses that rely on antiquated, reactive ways of managing compliance risks could open themselves up to a host of negative repercussions, from both a financial and reputational standpoint.

However, an integrated compliance framework facilitated by technology can not only enable companies to be more risk-intelligent, but can also help keep compliance standards in check, ensuring that policies are adhered to at all levels of the organization.

Coupled with a best-practice strategy for managing regulatory compliance risk, today’s advances in automation and regtech can provide a 360-degree view of compliance while delivering meaningful insights and highlighting gaps in processes or deviation from policy.

Moreover, as authorities place increased focus on the quality and completeness of regulatory data, businesses will need to show that they have systematic controls and tools in place to provide accurate regulatory and compliance reporting. By putting transparency at the heart of regulatory risk management through digital means, organizations can have the confidence that their regulatory obligations are being met, mitigating the chance of them falling afoul of noncompliance.

With a focus on high-level risks as well as the more granular impact of risk across the board, businesses will not only benefit from a competitive advantage in future, but also greater resilience and compliance in times of extreme disruption. Are you ready for a risk management revolution?

Discover Ideagen’s market-leading Pentana Compliance solution and how it can help to protect your financial services organization from regulatory risk.

Gordon McKeown

Gordon McKeown, Head of ARC Product, Ideagen

This article originally appeared on Business Reporter. Image credits: Header image: iStock 1181145608. Headshot: Courtesy of Ideagen.

Source: 4 Ways to Revolutionize Risk Management

.

More Contents:

Improving Both Sides of the Digital Banking Experience

The Pull of Data Gravity
Customers Make it Clear: Time to Adopt Green Packaging

Covid-19 and Wildfires Spell Big Business for the Air Purifier Industry

Third Hottest July Ever Shows How Even Modest Global Warming Looks

Biden Sets U.S. Goal for Clean Cars to Be Half of 2030 Sales

Traffic Crashes Are Getting Worse. Car Ads Are Part Of the Problem.

More People Live in Flood Zones Than Previously Thought

The Plexes of Montreal Make Room for Change

Suburbs of Surveillance

Americans Are Willing to Take Pay Cuts to Never Go Into the Office Again

London Home Buyers Are Heading for the Suburbs in Record Numbers

Ex-Wife’s Property, Utah Ranch: How Wealthy Secure High Bails

Think You Know Your Bitcoin From Dogecoin? Test Your Crypto Knowledge

Tokyo Olympics Kicks Off in the Shadow of Covid

Bitcoin’s Back to $40,000: The Week in Crypto

Billionaires Are Giving Away Their Money. Here’s Where It’s Going

Covid Shows Just How Badly We Need to Close the Digital Divide

The Woman Who Did Facebook’s Racial Audit Is About to Be Really Busy

Eskom Is Seeking $2.3 Billion From Development Institutions

Marvel Calls on Asian Superheroes to Repeat Black Panther Success

Scientists Predict Early Covid-19 Symptoms Using AI (And An App)

Combining self-reported symptoms with Artificial Intelligence can predict the early symptoms of Covid-19, according to research led by scientists at Kings College London. Previous studies have predicted whether people will develop Covid using symptoms from the peak of viral infection, which can be less relevant over time — fever is common during later phases, for instance.

The new study reveals which symptoms of infection can be used for early detection of the disease. Published in the journal The Lancet Digital Health, the research used data collected via the ZOE COVID Symptom Study smartphone app. Each app user logged any symptoms that they experienced over the first 3 days, plus the result of a subsequent PCR test for Coronavirus and personal information like age and sex.

Researchers used those self-reported data from the app to assess three models for predicting Covid in advance, which involved using one dataset to train a given model before its performance was tested on another set. The training set included almost 183,000 people who reported symptoms from 16 October to 30 November 2020, while the test dataset consisted of more than 15,000 participants with data between 16 October and 30 November.

The three models were: 1) a statistical method called logical regression; 2) a National Health Service (NHS) algorithm, and; 3) an Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach known as a ‘hierarchical Gaussian process’. Of the three prediction models, the AI approach performed the best, so it was then used to identify patterns in the data. The AI prediction model was sensitive enough to find which symptoms were most relevant in various groups of people.

The subgroups were occupation (healthcare professional versus non-healthcare), age group (16-39, 40-59, 60-79, 80+ years old), sex (male or female), Body-Mass Index (BMI as underweight, normal, overweight/obese) and several well-known health conditions. According to results produced by the AI model, loss of smell was the most relevant early symptom among both healthcare and non-healthcare workers, and the two groups also reported chest pain and a persistent cough.

The symptoms varied among age groups: loss of smell had less relevance to people over 60 years old, for instance, and seemed irrelevant to those over 80 — highlighting age as a key factor in early Covid detection. There was no big difference between sexes for their reported symptoms, but shortness of breath, fatigue and chills/shivers were more relevant signs for men than for women.

No particular patterns were found in BMI subgroups either and, in terms of health conditions, heart disease was most relevant for predicting Covid. As the study’s symptoms were from 2020, its results might only apply to the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and Alpha variant – the two variants with highest prevalence in the UK that year.

The predictions wouldn’t have been possible without the self-reported data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study project, a non-profit collaboration between scientists and personalized health company ZOE, which was co-founded by genetic epidemiologist Tim Spector of Kings College London.

The project’s website keeps an up-to-date ranking of the top 5 Covid symptoms reported by British people who are now fully vaccinated (with a Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine), have so far received one of the two doses, or are still unvaccinated. Those top 5 symptoms provide a useful resource if you want to know which signs are common for the most prevalent variant circulating in a population — currently Delta – as distinct variants can be associated with different symptoms.

When a new variant emerges in future, you could pass some personal information (such as age) to the AI prediction model so it shows the early symptoms most relevant to you — and, if you developed those symptoms, take a Covid test and perhaps self-isolate before you transmit the virus to other people. As the new study concludes, such steps would help alleviate stress on public health services:

“Early detection of SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals is crucial to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and efficiently allocate medical resources.” Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m a science communicator and award-winning journalist with a PhD in evolutionary biology. I specialize in explaining scientific concepts that appear in popular culture and mainly write about health, nature and technology. I spent several years at BBC Science Focus magazine, running the features section and writing about everything from gay genes and internet memes to the science of death and origin of life. I’ve also contributed to Scientific American and Men’s Health. My latest book is ’50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know’.

Source: Scientists Predict Early Covid-19 Symptoms Using AI (And An App)

.

Critics:

Healthcare providers and researchers are faced with an exponentially increasing volume of information about COVID-19, which makes it difficult to derive insights that can inform treatment. In response, AWS launched CORD-19 Search, a new search website powered by machine learning, that can help researchers quickly and easily search for research papers and documents and answer questions like “When is the salivary viral load highest for COVID-19?”

Built on the Allen Institute for AI’s CORD-19 open research dataset of more than 128,000 research papers and other materials, this machine learning solution can extract relevant medical information from unstructured text and delivers robust natural-language query capabilities, helping to accelerate the pace of discovery.

In the field of medical imaging, meanwhile, researchers are using machine learning to help recognize patterns in images, enhancing the ability of radiologists to indicate the probability of disease and diagnose it earlier.

UC San Diego Health has engineered a new method to diagnose pneumonia earlier, a condition associated with severe COVID-19. This early detection helps doctors quickly triage patients to the appropriate level of care even before a COVID-19 diagnosis is confirmed. Trained with 22,000 notations by human radiologists, the machine learning algorithm overlays x-rays with colour-coded maps that indicate pneumonia probability. With credits donated from the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative, these methods have now been deployed to every chest x-ray and CT scan throughout UC San Diego Health in a clinical research study.

Related Links:

Governments must build trust in AI to fight COVID-19 – Here’s how they can do it

This AI model has predicted which patients will get the sickest from COVID-19

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

What history tells us about pandemics’ impact on inflation

How to back an inclusive post-COVID recovery

Survey: How US employees feel about a full return to the workplace

Hedge Fund Launches Are Surging

1

In the first quarter of 2021, 189 new hedge funds were launched, the highest number since the end of 2017, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, 190 hedge funds were started. Since then, the number of launches has been consistently lower, hitting its lowest in the first quarter of 2020 with a total of 84 launches and 304 liquidations.

“The only ones that did get launched [that quarter] were before March,” Kenneth Heinz, president of HFR, told Institutional Investor.

Heinz attributed the newfound surge in launches to three factors: performance, inflation, and risk aversion. According to a statement, the top decile of hedge funds tracked by HFR gained 126.8 percent in the 12-month period ending in the first quarter of 2021. In this quarter alone, the top decile gained 29.7 percent.

Institutional investors are also looking to hedge against inflation, Heinz said. “As the world emerges from the lockdown, inflation is present, and it will continue to build,” he said. “The different strategies provide great protection from inflation.”

These strategies include equity hedge funds and event-driven funds. As of the first quarter of 2021, the greatest portion of industry assets — 30.42 percent — were invested in equity hedge funds. Event-driven funds came in second with 27.53 percent of total industry assets.

Heinz said these particular strategies are appealing to investors because they provide exposure to some hot “meme” stocks. Plus, as the world emerges from a global quarantine, he said there is a large appetite for strategic activity in mergers and acquisitions — a strong point for event-driven funds.

Since the first quarter of 2020 and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Heinz said investors have left their risk complacency in 2019. Heinz said 2019 was a “super beta year,” prompting inventors to worry less about risk and more about returns.

“I liken 2019 to the easiest year in the world to make money because everything went up,” Heinz said. “But then March reminded investors they had become complacent about risk.”

As they move into the new year and recover from the pandemic, investors have taken more defensive positioning against risks that were overlooked in 2019. As for the future of the hedge fund industry, Heinz said he believes the market has entered a period of expansion.

“Even though the markets have recovered and they’ve gone back to record highs, I think institutions that are allocating are still very much more cognizant of risk than they were prior to the first quarter of 2020,” he said. “I think that’s the reason that you’re seeing more capital inflows and more funds launching.”

https://i0.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Hamlin.jpg?resize=79%2C79&ssl=1

By: Jessica Hamlin

Source: Hedge Fund Launches Are Surging | Institutional Investor

.

Critics:

A hedge fund is a pooled investment fund that trades in relatively liquid assets and is able to make extensive use of more complex trading, portfolio-construction and risk management techniques in an attempt to improve performance, such as short selling, leverage, and derivatives. Financial regulators generally restrict hedge fund marketing except to institutional investors, high net worth individuals and others who are considered sufficiently sophisticated.

Hedge funds are regarded as alternative investments. Their ability to make more extensive use of leverage and more complex investment techniques distinguishes them from regulated investment funds available to the retail market, such as mutual funds and ETFs. They are also considered distinct from private-equity funds and other similar closed-end funds.

As hedge funds generally invest in relatively liquid assets and are generally open-ended, meaning that they allow investors to invest and withdraw capital periodically based on the fund’s net asset value, whereas private-equity funds generally invest in illiquid assets and only return capital after a number of years. However, other than a fund’s regulatory status there are no formal or fixed definitions of fund types, and so there are different views of what can constitute a “hedge fund”.

SPAC Success Can Hinge on This Single Factor

For founders looking to take their company public, special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) offer a less risky, shorter alternative to traditional IPOs, if a few best practices are observed. In a SPAC, companies are formed in order to raise capital in an initial public offering and then uses the cash to acquire a private company, thereby taking it public, usually within a two-year time frame.

The process recently has become popular, especially because SPACs allow founders to avoid the extensive disclosures mandated by the traditional IPO process. Often, SPAC investors don’t even know the startup they will be acquiring–earning SPACs the nickname of “blank-check companies.” In 2021, there were 30 percent more SPAC issuances than traditional IPOs, according to The Financial Times.

But if you’re considering a blank-check deal, keep in mind that there’s one factor that is the best determinant of success. According to Wolfe Research, SPACs led by “experienced operators,” or CEOs with direct operating experience in the industry of the company being acquired, had greater returns on average than those that did not. The research found that just one year out, SPACs with experienced operators averaged a 73 percent rally, whereas those lacking an industry veteran suffered a 14 percent loss on average.

As reported by CNBC, a rather volatile market led some SPAC deals to unravel, causing companies to settle for less-than-optimal targets or change the deal all together. For this reason, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors in March to re-consider putting money in SPACs, especially those run by celebrities.

“It is never a good idea to invest in a SPAC just because someone famous sponsors or invests in it or says it is a good investment,” the SEC wrote on its website. That’s why if you’re considering a SPAC, don’t be swayed by big dollar amounts or celebrity names. Instead, think carefully about the experience that the blank-check company leaders are bringing to the table.

By Brit Morse, Assistant editor, Inc.

Source: SPAC Success Can Hinge on This Single Factor | Inc.com

.

Critics:

Special Purpose Acquisition Company  also known as a “blank check company“, is a shell corporation listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring a private company, thus making it public without going through the traditional initial public offering process. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “A SPAC is created specifically to pool funds in order to finance a merger or acquisition opportunity within a set timeframe. The opportunity usually has yet to be identified”. SPACs raised a record $82 billion in 2020, a period sometimes referred to as the “blank check boom”.

Because a SPAC is registered with the SEC and is a publicly-traded company, the general public can buy its shares before the merger or acquisition takes place. For this reason they’ve been referred to as the ‘poor man’s private equity funds.’

Academic analysis shows the investor returns on SPACs post-merger are almost uniformly heavily negative (however, sponsors at the flotation of the SPAC can earn excess returns), and their proliferation usually accelerates around periods of economic bubbles, such as the everything bubble in 2020–2021, when the volume and quantity of capital raised by SPACs set new all-time records.

SPACs generally trade as units and/or as separate common shares and warrants on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange (as of 2008) once the public offering has been declared effective by the SEC, distinguishing the SPAC from a blank check company formed under SEC Rule 419. Commonly, units are denoted with the letter “u” (for unit) appended to the ticker symbol of SPAC shares.

Trading liquidity of the SPAC’s securities provide investors with a flexible exit strategy. In addition, the public currency enhances the position of the SPAC when negotiating a business combination with a potential merger or acquisition target. The common share price must be added to the trading price of the warrants to get an accurate picture of the SPAC’s performance.

References

Why Is China Cracking Down on Ride-Hailing Giant Didi?

Just days after Didi Global Inc., China’s version of Uber, pulled off a $4.4 billion initial public offering in New York, the Chinese cyberspace regulator effectively ordered it removed from app stores in its home market, citing security risks. The ruling doesn’t stop the company from operating -– its half-billion or so existing users will still be able to order rides for now. But it adds to the uncertainty surrounding all Chinese internet companies as regulators increasingly assert control over Big Tech.

1. What’s Didi?

It’s China’s biggest ride-hailing company. Didi squeezed Uber out of China five years ago, buying out the American company’s operations after an expensive price war. Its blockbuster IPO on June 30 was the second-biggest in the U.S. by a company based in China, after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, giving Didi a market value of about $68 billion.

Accounting for stock options and restricted stock units, the company’s diluted value exceeds $71 billion — well below estimates of up to $100 billion as recently as a few months ago. The relatively modest showing reflects both investors’ increasing caution over pricey growth stocks, and China’s recent crackdown on its biggest tech players.

2. What is this investigation about?

The specifics are still very unclear. Two days after the IPO, the Cyberspace Administration of China said it’s starting a cybersecurity review of the company to prevent data security risks, safeguard national security and protect the public interest. Two days after that it said Didi had committed serious violations in the collection and usage of personal information and ordered the app pulled. There are no details on what precisely the investigation centers on, when or where the alleged violations occurred or whether there will be more penalties to come.

3. Are there any hints?

The Global Times, a Communist Party-backed newspaper, wrote in an editorial that Didi undoubtedly has the most detailed travel information on individuals among large internet firms and appears to have the ability to conduct “big data analysis” of individual behaviors and habits. To protect personal data as well as national security, China must be even stricter in its oversight of Didi’s data security, given that it’s listed in the U.S. and its two largest shareholders are foreign companies, it added.

4. Is it just Didi?

No. The Chinese internet regulator has widened its probe to two more U.S.-listed companies, targeting Full Truck Alliance Co. and Kanzhun Ltd. soon after launching the review into Didi.

5. Was this out of the blue?

No. In May, China’s antitrust regulator ordered Didi and nine other leaders in on-demand transport to overhaul practices from arbitrary price hikes to unfair treatment of drivers. More broadly, Beijing is in the process of a sweeping crackdown on the nation’s Big Tech firms designed to curb their growing influence.

In November 2020 the authorities derailed the planned IPO of fintech giant Ant Group Co. and in April hit Alibaba with a record $2.8 billion fine after an antitrust probe found it had abused its market dominance. Didi, however, said on Monday it was unaware of China’s decision to halt registrations and remove the app from app stores before its listing.

6. Why does Didi matter?

You can’t really overstate just how dominant Didi is in ride hailing in China, accounting for 88% of total trips in the fourth quarter of 2020. When Didi bought Uber’s Chinese operations in 2016, Uber took a stake in the company that currently stands at 12%. Didi’s U.S. IPO was shepherded by a who’s who of Wall Street banks. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. with more than 20%, and others include Chinese social networking colossus Tencent Holdings Ltd. However, due to Didi’s ownership structure, Chief Executive Officer Cheng Wei and President Jean Liu control more than 50% of the voting power.

7. How’s the company doing?

While Didi had a net loss of $1.6 billion on revenue of $21.6 billion last year, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, its diversity cushioned it against the worst of the pandemic downturn. The company reported net income of $837 million in the first quarter of 2021. With growth in its core market beginning to slow, it has expanded rapidly into fields from car repairs to grocery delivery and has pumped hundreds of millions into researching autonomous driving technology. It’s also said to be planning to expand services into Western Europe.

8. What happens now?

On Didi specifically the critical question is what the review regarding user data finds. But analysts are already looking at the likely wider impact. Key issues are whether the action is likely to discourage other Chinese tech firms from embarking on an overseas listing, and whether the action marks a new direction for the regulatory crackdown. Didi itself said in a statement in would fully cooperate with the review. It warned though that the removal of the app for new users may have an adverse affect on revenue.

Based on the laws cited by the regulators, Didi is probably being investigated over its purchase of certain products and services from other suppliers, which may threaten national data security, according to analysts from Shenzhen-based Ping An Securities. “Didi will inevitably have to check its core network equipment, high-performance computers and servers, large-capacity storage equipment, large databases and application software, network security equipment, and cloud computing services, sort them out and make necessary rectifications to meet regulatory requirements,” the analysts wrote in a note on Monday.

Yang Sirui, chief analyst for the computer industry at Bank of China International, said that Didi went for its public listing in the US hastily, probably due to investor pressure. “Listing Didi as soon as possible meets the demands of the capital,” he said. “But if [Didi] had arbitrarily collected user privacy data, abused it, or monetized it illicitly, it will inevitably be punished by Chinese regulators.” Since its founding in 2012, Didi has undergone a number of private fundraising rounds, raising tens of billions of dollars from venture capital or major tech firms. According to its IPO prospectus, SoftBank Vision Fund is currently the largest shareholder of Didi, with a 21.5% stake. Uber (UBER) and Tencent (TCEHY) followed with a 12.8% and 6.8% stake respectively.

The Reference Shelf

— With assistance by Coco Liu, Molly Schuetz, Abhishek Vishnoi, and Colum Murphy

By:

Source: Why China is Citing Security Risks in Crack Down on $UBER rival $DIDI – Bloomberg

.

Critics:

Didi is a Chinese vehicle for hire company headquartered in Beijing with over 550 million users and tens of millions of drivers. The company provides app-based transportation services, including taxi hailing, private car hailing, social ride-sharing, and bike sharing; on-demand delivery services; and automobile services, including sales, leasing, financing, maintenance, fleet operation, electric vehicle charging, and co-development of vehicles with automakers.

In March 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank Group Corporation approached DiDi with an offer to invest $6 billion in the company to fund the ride-hailing firm’s expansion in self-driving car technologies, with a significant portion of the money to come from SoftBank’s then-planned $100 billion Vision Fund.

DiDi claims that it provides over tens of millions of flexible job opportunities for people, including a considerable number of women, laid-off workers and veteran soldiers. Based on a survey released by DiDi in March 2019, women rideshare drivers in Brazil, China and Mexico account for 16.7%, 7.4% and 5.6% of total rideshare drivers on its platforms, respectively. DiDi supports more than 4,000 innovative SMEs, which provides more than 20,000 jobs additionally.

40% of DiDi’s employees are women. In 2017, DiDi launched a female career development plan and established the “DiDi Women’s Network”. It is reportedly the first female-oriented career development plan in a major Chinese Internet company.

References

%d bloggers like this: