On December 15, US bank Goldman Sachs announced what many believe to be the strongest restrictions on fossil-fuel activity by any major bank in the United States. Most notably, the bank has become the first big American lender to restrict financing on any part of the oil-and-gas sector, with a particular focus on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
There are times when no one wants to see history repeat itself, and that’s the case among today’s investors in technology stocks. Some fear that the dot-com bubble burst of 2000 may repeat itself 20 years later. Although some tech stocks may be overvalued, the flourishing Fourth Industrial Revolution displays no signs of running out of steam any time soon. Caution is advised but not panic.
Many commodities have watched their prices drop, but iron ore is one exception; its price has surged to levels not seen since 2014. The price of iron ore, the main ingredient of steel, is being propelled upward by the combination of growing shortage and intensifying demand. Devastating circumstances affecting the world’s top producers, Brazil and Australia, along with booming demand in China are mainly to blame for the supply shortfall.
In recent weeks, the eyes of the financial world have been firmly fixed on Turkey, since its lira plunged in reaction to a doubling of trade tariffs by the United States.
Many banks have given up the fight and are working to get along with those fintech upstarts, but not regarding one area in particular: top-notch tech talent. When it comes to tech staff, the gloves are off, and banks are fighting to both recruit and hold on to the cream of the crop, recognizing how indispensable experienced professionals have become in the digital world.
On August 8, US bank Goldman Sachs reported that the amount raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain start-up companies through early-stage venture-capital funding had been surpassed by that raised by ICOs (initial coin offerings) during the months of June and July.
On November 8, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, addressed his nation to announce that Rs 500 (approximately $7.25) and Rs 1,000 notes would be withdrawn from circulation. Indian citizens have until the end of 2016 to swap their holdings of old notes, effectively giving them just over 50 days to get rid of currency that is soon to be defunct.
The road ahead for investment banks remains bumpy and curvy, and navigating it will require that each institution take bold action to enact the business model that will enhance its strengths in today’s challenging economic climate. Despite some recent gains, factors such as high costs and product complexity are still weighing the sector down.
The traditional business model of investment banks is facing challenges on several fronts simultaneously. Trading commissions are falling as digitally aware customers seek ever lower rates, while the proliferation of electronic platforms has led to low-commission, discount-brokerage models rapidly gaining market share.
The fears of a Brexit-inspired recession seem to be receding fast. Fresh data is emerging that shows that the British economy is performing more robustly than originally expected.