A sneak peek into the world of grandiose luxury

Image source: LOM Financial

High net-worth individuals live a grand life that most people can only imagine. If you want to get a glimpse of what it’s like to live like one of the world’s uber-wealthy, you can take a look at the products and services that they consume.

The luxury industry is a growing market that is located on the upper part of the scale in terms of quality and price. Basically, it covers a wide range of goods such as designer bags, precious jewelry, luxury cars, to exclusive activities like yachting adventures, and even private-island holidays.

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One of the oldest subsectors of the luxury industry is high-end fashion. In fact, many of the world’s oldest luxury fashion companies go back to 1837. These fashion houses do not only supply luxury clothing for the wealthy, but they specialize In selling exclusive products and services such as perfumery, home furnishings, accessories, leather goods, and luxury watches.

According to 2017 data, the luxury industry grew by 5%, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods, and luxury hospitality contributing for over 80% of the total revenue. In the investing world, high net-worth individuals—who are known for their luxurious lifestyle—are esteemed clients. Discretionary portfolio services have become necessities to help them maintain their luxuries well into the far future.

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The Yachting industry is also looking more optimistic than ever. Since the referendum vote on Brexit that took place in 2016, the British luxury boat building sector has seen an unprecedented boom, with a total sale increase of 3.4% from they’re $42 billion sales in 2015.

Currently, the United States remains the largest suppliers of luxury goods, contributing a value of $96 billion for its regional market performance.

Needless to say, the consumption of these products and services are always associated with a specific social status, and the possession of these goods is more of a luxury (and exclusivity) than a necessity.

Why invest in physical gold?

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Gold is one of the most precious metals known to man and it has been valued greatly in many civilizations in history for thousands of years—even until to this day. You might be wondering, why do people invest in gold even in this modern day and age? Let’s discuss some of the financial benefits of investing in this precious metal:

  1. It can protect investors against potential market crash.

For every worst financial crisis, gold has been a go-to option for many investors – and this because, even during financial uncertainties or even political instability, gold retains its value.

  1. It’s a vital entry in a diversified portfolio.

Gold is an asset of choice and a refuge for even high net-worth individuals in times of financial panic because it’s a relatively safe investment.  It can withstand the threats that can easily crush other investment options. For this reason alone, gold should be in every wise investor’s investment portfolio.

  1. It has a global and cultural demand.

Gold is a sacred part of several cultures in the world, especially for many emerging economies. Its global demand can be credited to its cultural value as a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

For instance, in India alone, the country’s demand for gold increased by 9.1%  in 2017, from 666 tonnes in 2016 to 727 tonnes. China, on the other hand, sees owning physical gold bars as a form of savings.

  1. Despite short-term volatility, gold remains stable.

Gold has seen its ups and downs but its regular price swings won’t remove the fact that the benefits of investing in this precious metal will always outweigh the risks. Aside from being relatively easy to acquire physical especially for small investors, owning a piece of this valuable metal can be satisfying.

REPOST: Europe’s economy grew faster than the US in 2017

Last year, one of the world’s most powerful regions experienced its strongest economic performance in more than 10 years. Europe outgrew the U.S. within that period, and while not as strong as that of Asia Pacific, the growth was impressive enough to reaffirm the continent’s place in world economics. More on this from EURONEWS:

Europe’s economy grew faster than the US in 2017, according to official data released this week, which shows an increase of 2.5% in both the eurozone and European Union last year.

The results published by the EU’s statistics office Eurostat mark the best period of growth for both groupings in more than a decade, and put them slightly ahead of the US, which posted a 2.3% expansion in 2017.

Eurostat also estimated that gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro and the 28-member EU rose 0.6% during the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the previous quarter.

“It seems that the eurozone economy continues to fire on all cylinders,” said Bert Colijn, economist at ING bank.

By contrast, the UK economy grew by 1.8% in 2017, down from 1.9% the previous year and the weakest expansion since 2012.

Experts have said the results reflect the impact of higher inflation and weaker investment following the 2016 Brexit vote.

A government assessment leaked to BuzzFeed News this week found that the UK will be worse off outside the EU no matter what deal is struck with Brussels.

Financial services that put the Cayman Islands on the cutting edge

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Located in the Western part of the Caribbean Sea is the British Overseas Territory (BOT) of the Cayman Islands – a small but booming region with an economy that can equally compete with the biggest countries in the world. Aside from being a tax-efficient jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands is home to top financial industries globally trusted by international clients and corporations.

Captive Insurance

According to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), medical practice liability, medical malpractice coverage, assumer workers compensation risk, as well as workers compensation hold the largest lines of coverage reinsured by captives in the islands. On the other hand, healthcare captives make up at least half of all the captives in the island’s jurisdiction. Worldwide, the Cayman Islands rank second among the biggest captive insurance markets.

Hedge Funds

The Cayman Islands is the top offshore destination for hedge funds. Currently, the region is a home to over 11,000 regulated funds, cementing its rank as one of the leading financial centers in the world. All these were possible because of the Cayman government’s dedication to creating policies that favor and attract international fund managers. It’s quite easy to register new entities on the islands as long as they meet the requirements.


For many years, the Cayman Islands have been recognized for its international banking opportunities. According to recent data, there are 18 domestic banks in the islands and 140 foreign-controlled banking institutions that are either branches or subsidiaries. The head offices of these banks are usually in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Canada.

According to LOM Financial Cayman, private and institutional investors are attracted to the region because of its professional infrastructure, English common law framework, and robust regulatory framework. The Cayman Islands is also a stable economic and political jurisdiction, and does not directly levy any personal, corporate, or property taxes.

REPOST: Europe’s eastern tigers roar ahead

In Central and Eastern Europe, the world is looking at potentially the next economic powerhouses. The likes of Romania, Poland, and Hungary have recorded highly impressive growth rates over the past years and are expected to build new highways, modernized buildings, and a plethora of foreign investment in the next couple of decades. More insights from POLITICO:

Romania’s map is carved with a heart rate graph | Daniel Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images

BUDAPEST — Forget the politics for a moment — check out the economics.

Central and Eastern EU members are in Brussels’ bad books over democratic and legal standards but their economies have become some of the bloc’s star performers.

Romania was the fastest growing economy in the EU last year, with an estimated GDP growth rate of 6.4 percent. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are also growing more quickly than major economies in Western Europe and boast low unemployment. Of the 12 EU members forecast to grow by 3 percent or more this year, nine are former communist countries in the east of the Continent, according to the European Commission.

A visitor returning to these countries after a few years away will find new highways, modernized buildings, and a plethora of foreign investment. At the same time, low unemployment is boosting consumer confidence and domestic demand, while the continued flow of EU cohesion funds means money is still pouring into the region.

In some countries, unemployment is so low that it’s a problem. In Hungary, high demand for staff and an exodus of workers to Western Europe is making recruitment hard for some companies. Locals complain of having to wait six months just to have an apartment painted. Poland, the region’s largest economy, has thus far avoided a shortage of workers by importing labor, primarily from Ukraine.

Expected real GDP growth in 2018, divided into fastest growers (3% and over), steady growers (2-3%) and slowest growers.

Such strong economic performance is prompting political leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to demand a greater say in the future of the EU.

“Our country witnessed, at the end of 2017, its seventh consecutive year of growth,” Teodor Meleșcanu, Romania’s foreign minister, wrote in a note to POLITICO. “The first decade after the EU accession was one of growth and development, and we are confident that this next one will be one of consolidation, as we are increasingly active in all EU debates on the main themes concerning its future.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said this month the region was “making more of a contribution to the strength of the European Union than anyone would have thought back in 2004,” when eight Central and Eastern European countries joined the bloc.

Continue reading HERE.

Why the filthy rich invest offshore

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The richest people in the world have relied on very few highly-efficient investment strategies in their lifetime and offshore investing has been one of them. Basically, offshore investing looks at opportunities offered beyond the limits of the investors’ home countries, giving them the power and freedom to capitalize on the advantages of tax-reduced, confidential and wider investment pool transactions.

Aside from the unlimited bond and equity assets offered by many offshore companies, there are several reasons why the filthy rich invest offshore.

Tax-neutral jurisdictions in the Caribbean region such as Bahamas and Bermuda, for instance, have economic policies designed to provide favorable tax incentives to foreign investors. These small countries have served as ideal destinations for many corporations and high net-worth individuals, ensuring that their accounts are free from higher tax burdens imposed by their home countries.

Aside from that, investing offshore―through international financial services companies like LOM Financial―gives the rich access to a wider pool of investment options that will help them freely diversify their portfolio. This is because, accounts invested offshore can be more flexible, and more open to international markets.

These destinations also provide a healthy and safe environment for restructuring and protection of ownership of assets—without the worries of lawsuits or foreclosures and other domestic troubles. Furthermore, the same advantage of such offshore jurisdiction provides the benefit of confidentiality.

Offshore investing is a safe and tested option especially for the richest and multi-million investors―and perhaps it’s the only place in the world where their identity, asset, and wealth information, can be legally protected from the public, and more importantly, from potential competitors.

These countries have the most financially literate teenagers

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A recent study that examined young students from several participating countries have been recently published and it exposed some shocking truth about the state of financial literacy today.

One concerning data revealed that 25% of the participants did not even have the comprehension nor the right skills to make the simplest financial decisions.

In definition, financial literacy is an individual’s ability to utilize the skills and knowledge that they have learned to make educated and informed economic decisions related to investing, savings, and even the most basic financial concepts.

While a majority of the participants did not pass the criteria, these countries were able to deliver impressive results and topped the ranks for having the most literate teenagers in the world.

  1. China

According to the report published by the Program for International Student Assessment, China is the most financially literate country in the world.

While the survey focused on a population of 48,000 15-year old students and examined their skills in reading, math and science, the assessment also measured the subjects’ ability to make sound financial decisions.

  1. Canada

Canada ranked third among the 30 countries that participated in the same study. The report was released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation Developed (OECD) and the International Network on Financial Education (INFE).

  1. Belgium

Belgium also joined the league of the most financially literate countries in the world and won its own title as having the highest financial literacy in all of Europe.

The Flemish community of Belgium bested other participating European countries like Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

REPOST: How to Build on Europe’s Economic Recovery

Strengthening engines of growth, building a more collaborative working relationship between countries, and developing more concrete collective responses to outstanding challenges are some of the possible ways to increase Europe’s economic resilience and agility. More insights from Bloomberg:

Relationship status: It’s complicated. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

After years of crisis management, heightened self-doubt and even existential threats, Europe is in a much better place. Economic growth is picking up, political uncertainty has diminished, and despite (if not partially because of) Brexit, the vision of an “ever-closer” regional union is energizing some new constructive thinking in core countries. Translating this into sustainable prosperity, however, is far from automatic, and that pivot will be problematic without progress in four key areas.

The latest set of robust high-frequency numbers shows that Europe’s economy is growing at a much healthier 2 percent to 2.5 percent annual pace, with many more of its member states sharing in the growing expansion. Although youth joblessness remains an acute problem in several economies, the overall unemployment rate is coming down. And, with ample liquidity, European financial markets have been performing well, both in absolute terms and relative to others.

The endogenous economic and financial healing is opening the way for reducing the prolonged reliance on the unconventional monetary policy measures being implemented by the European Central Bank. The ECB can start thinking seriously about an exit plan for both negative interest rates and its program of large-scale purchases of securities, though it will be very gradual, which will also help to reduce a high risk of greater political challenge to its institutional independence.

France and Germany have had their key elections, and there is now hope for a constructive regional political runway anchored by a strengthened collective vision and coordinated action by the two countries. Even though German Chancellor Angela Merkel encountered some domestic political turbulence over the weekend, the relationship between her and President Emmanuel Macron of France combines new energy with deep experience and credibility, raising hopes for progress on some long-delayed elements of the European project.

The internal push for reforms is amplified by several pressure points.

The U.K.’s vote in favor of Brexit has provided an impulse for greater coordination among the other 27 members of the European Union. Since the highly uncertain days immediately the referendum, the remaining countries of the union have developed — rightly — much greater confidence in their ability to move forward without the U.K., especially now that the economic performance gap has swung against Britain and is widening.

Brexit has amplified other external pressures on the effective functioning of the EU. These include the common challenge of migration, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, uncertainties about common defense, and grumblings by some of the eastern members.

All of this places the historical European project in a different place, and not just in terms of the situation on the ground. A reactive crisis management and prevention mindset is giving way to a more confident proactive and strategic one that seeks to achieve common prosperity.

Continue reading HERE.

A brief history of the Euronext and its role in today’s markets

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At the heart of the European capital markets is Euronext, an inter-border stock exchange that has been through a lot of transformations before it became the largest in the world.

Its early history tells about the crucial 2000 merger that brought Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam stock exchanges together.  Its further acquisition of the Bolsa de Valores de Lisboa e Porto (BVLP), the Portuguese stock exchange and the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE) the following years have made Euronext a global superpower.

Its influence and markets expanded beyond Europe that in 2007, an agreed merger was reached with the NYSE Group, giving birth to the NYSE Euronext, based in New York and holds the record for the largest equities-based exchange in the world.

In the following year, it was managing different types of exchanges from six countries, with almost 4,000 (as of 2008 data) organizations representing an impressive market capitalization of $30.5 trillion. By this time, Euronext was operating and managing the most liquid exchange group across all continents.

In 2012, Euronext revealed its plans to operate listings venue in England, particularly in London under the name, Euronext London. This move boosted its visibility and reinforced its competitive seat in the Europe.

Currently, Euronext connects four of the national markets in the European regions. Aside from cash and derivatives markets, it offers listing market data, market solutions as well as settlement and custody services.

It operates trading stocks of many major companies from each of its participating countries while also managing the primary national indices related to these stocks.

As of 2016, Euronext has 259 members divided into dealers, fund agents and brokers – in which 51 are trading clearance members and 208 are trading members.

REPOST: Eastern Europe’s major economies are having an underappreciated “Goldilocks moment”

Eastern Europe is a budding economic powerhouse in the world’s wealthiest continent, but no one seems to notice it. Here is an article from Quartz for some insights:

Germany has long been the engine that drives the EU’s economic growth, but for the past few years it has been outpaced by countries further east—most notably Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic.

The three largest eastern EU members by GDP are experiencing a “Goldilocks moment” of high economic growth, low unemployment, and manageable inflation of around 2%, according to Diana Amoa, a money manager at JPMorgan Asset Management who specializes in emerging market debt.

The IMF now forecasts that “emerging and developing Europe” economies to grow 4.5% this year, upping their prediction by 1.5 percentage points from six months ago. This increased optimism is based, in part, on bumper growth in the second quarter of 2017, when Romania’s economy increased 5.7% versus a year earlier, the Czech Republic’s by 4.7%, and Poland’s by 4.4%. By comparison, the EU average was 2.4% growth over the same period.

Why are these countries growing so quickly?

All of these economies are still heavily reliant on manufacturing, exporting much of their production to the rest of the EU. For example, the Czech Republic—er, Czechia—has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU and about 35% of the Czech labor force is employed in manufacturing, the highest proportion of any EU country. When Europe is growing, demand for the things made in these economies grows. Often this means cars: automakers including Toyota, Volkswagen, and Peugeot have factories in the Czech Republic. Romania’s largest exporter is Dacia, a subsidiary of French car company Renault.

Continue reading HERE.