Posts belonging to Category Personal Finance



Draft bill to replace Obamacare would cut Medicaid

Senate Republicans release healthcare bill that will affect coverage for millions

After weeks of secret negotiations, the US Senate has released its draft of a bill that could upend the healthcare system for millions of Americans.

The Senate’s 142-page proposal, unveiled on Thursday, would eliminate or reduce key benefits provided by Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act; lower taxes for the wealthy; strip funding from the women’s reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood; and dramatically cut and restructure Medicaid, America’s public health insurance program for low-income and disabled Americans.

The legislation mirrors the bill that the House of Representatives passed narrowly last month, with modest changes intended to win support from moderate senators. Meanwhile, Republican Senate leaders emphasized that the legislation is subject to change as they negotiate details in an effort to win 50 votes, the minimum required for the bill to pass.

http://www.theguardian.com…   Fri.,  23  June 2017

Malls are doomed: 25% will be gone in 5 years

Mom and Pops shops come back

Store closings and even dead malls are nothing new, but things might be about to get a whole lot worse. Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report out this week from Credit Suisse. That kind of plunge would be unprecedented in the nation’s history.  In 1970 there were only 300 enclosed malls in the U.S., and now there are 1,211 of them. In fact, despite the recent turbulence in the retail industry, the number of malls open has actually edged higher every year. But now, as the brick-and-mortar chains die a slow and painful death, small businesses could make a comeback by filling the void, according to two Goldman Sachs executives.

“I think there will become a degentrification, for lack of a better word,”explains Kim Posnett, head of internet investment banking at Goldman Sachs.. “We will see the rents come down, and mom and pops shops will come back in a much more curated, personal way that goes along these lines of creating great service and a sense of community, and a desire to support your community.”

http://www.cnn.com…   Wed.,  21  June 2017

Icelandic bitcoin mine

Bitcoin is going nuclear

The digital currency is hitting all-time highs, with a single coin going for more than $2,197. It’s an epic bull run that has accelerated in recent months: Just a year ago, it was sitting at just $443. This is great news for bitcoin miners, the people responsible for creating new bitcoins. Their mining infrastructure is the backbone of bitcoin. Anyone who contributes computing power to help process transactions on the network is rewarded with the chance to “mine” bitcoin.

In plain English, in return for helping keep the network up and running, they have the chance of being given a newly created piece of the digital currency. This payout makes the entire process — with the right equipment — incredibly lucrative. It has helped spawned a huge and surreal industry.

You can mine at home, and many people do. But companies dedicated to mining have also sprung up, some worth tens of millions of dollars. These companies build huge data centres, or mines, that consume vast amounts of power and perform insane computations on the hunt for digital gold.

http://www.businessinsider.com…  Thu.,  25  May 2017

Quant Hedge Funds

A new sort of hedge fund relies on crowd-sourcing

“QUANT” hedge funds have long been seen as the nerdy vanguard of finance. Firms such as Renaissance Technologies, Two Sigma and Man AHL, each of which manages tens of billions of dollars, hire talented mathematicians and physicists to sit in their airy offices and develop trading algorithms. But what if such talent could be harnessed without the hassle of an expensive and time-consuming recruitment process? That is the proposition Quantopian, a hedge fund and online crowd-sourcing platform founded in 2011, is testing. Anyone can learn to build trading algorithms on its platform. The most successful are then picked to manage money. Last month the firm announced it had made its first allocations of funds to 15 algorithms it had selected.

http://www.economist.com …  Thu.,  18  May 2017

Cyber attack

Hacking group threatens to sell code

Governments turned their attention to a possible new wave of cyber threats on Tuesday after the group that leaked U.S. hacking tools used to launch the global WannaCry “ransomware” attack warned it would release more malicious code. The fast-spreading cyber extortion campaign, which has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide since Friday, eased for second day on Tuesday, but the identity and motive of its creators remain unknown. The attack includes elements that belong to the U.S. National Security Agency and were leaked online last month.

Shadow Brokers, the group that has taken credit for that leak, threatened on Tuesday to release more recent code to enable hackers to break into the world’s most widely used computers, software and phones. A blog post written by the group promised from June to release tools every month to anyone willing to pay for access to some of the tech world’s biggest commercial secrets. It also threatened to dump data from banks using the SWIFT international money transfer network and from Russian, Chinese, Iranian or North Korean nuclear and missile programs. “More details in June,” it promised.

http://www.reuters.com …  Wed.,  17  May 2017

Trump promises massive tax cut

Trump under fire over ‘huge tax cut for the rich’

The Trump administration unveiled what it called the biggest tax cuts “in history” on Wednesday, in a move that will simplify the US tax system, slash taxes for businesses large and small – including Trump’s own – eliminate inheritance taxes and set the president on a collision course with Congress over the likely $2tn-plus cost of the proposal. Critics immediately called it “basically a huge tax cut for the rich”.

The plan would cut the US’s individual income tax brackets from seven to three (10%, 25% and 35%) and slash US corporate tax rates from 35% to 15%. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big,” said Gary Cohn, chief economic adviser to Donald Trump. “This is about growing the economy, creating jobs.”

http://www.theguardian.com…  Fri.,  28 April 2017

Insurance fintech offers diabetes life & disability cover

Insurance tech company help ‘uninsurable’ diabetics

A South African insurance technology company supported by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is launching a life insurance product for diabetics in the UK. AllLife has partnered with Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual insurer, to offer a new product to diabetics previously regarded as “uninsurable” because of their condition. AllLife uses an algorithmic pricing platform called Kaliber to deliver a cost-effective life insurance product.

http://www.businessinsider.com…  Tue.,  25 April 2017

What Do Startup Insurtech Companies Do?

8 different business

The global insurance industry is worth nearly $5 trillion, and insurance companies are at risk of losing a share of this valuable market to new entrants. That’s because these legacy players have been even slower to modernize than their counterparts in other financial services industries.

This has created an opportunity for a group of firms known as insurtechs. These startups are leveraging new technology and a better understanding of consumer expectations to increase efficiencies in the insurance industry. Some are helping incumbents deliver better end products, while others are directly competing with legacy players.

http://www.leadersedgemagazine.com…  Tue.,  18 April 2017

Personal Computer business registers modest growth

Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 2.4 Percent in First Quarter of 2017

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 62.2 million units in the first quarter of 2017, a 2.4 percent decline from the first quarter of 2016, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. The first quarter of 2017 was the first time since 2007 that the PC market experienced shipments below 63 million units in a quarter.

The PC industry experienced modest growth in the business PC market, but this was offset by declining consumer demand. Consumers continued to refrain from replacing older PCs, and some consumers have abandoned the PC market altogether. The business segment still sees the PC as an important device, and it’s the main work device for businesses.

http://www.gartner.com…  Wed.,  12 April 2017

RBS road to recovery

RBS rising from ruins as shadow of former self

Nine years after the beginning of a 45-billion-pound ($56 billion) bailout by the British government, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) is emerging from its restructuring process a shadow of what was once the biggest lender in the world. RBS had a balance sheet of 2.4 trillion pounds in 2008 – almost double Britain’s annual economic output at the time – having staged a meteoric rise from being a small Scottish lender in the early 1990s.

Since the bailout it has offloaded billions of pounds of assets a week, as it tries to shrink down to being a simple UK-focused lender. Later this year RBS will shut its Capital Resolution division, which has sold off large chunks of its huge stockpile of unwanted assets. The closure will mark a milestone in the bank’s road to recovery, with its balance sheet around 1.6 trillion pounds lighter than when its great sell-off began.
http://www.reuters.com…  Mon.,  03 April 2017