The Three Big Transitions Reshaping Finance
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
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The Three Big Transitions Reshaping Finance

Three phenomena have exploded since COVID: digital assets, Robinhood, and SPACs.

By Stephen Deane
Wed, Sep 8, 2021 11:14amGrey Clock 4 min

Ever since Covid disrupted our lives, two themes have emerged. First, a feeling that we are living in an antechamber to a new and still-undefined era. And second, a pattern of hybrids, from homes converted into hybrid spaces of living/working/schooling, to expectations of a new office hybrid that will mix virtual and in-person meetings.

But what about the world of finance and securities markets? There, too, we can find patterns of transition and hybrids. Consider three phenomena that began before Covid but have exploded in growth since then: digital assets, Robinhood, and SPACs.

Start with the rise of cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and other such assets, which remain very much in a transitory stage (like the “Wild West,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler recently observed). Even as the crypto asset class has grown to an estimated $1.6 trillion, basic questions remain unanswered. Are digital tokens securities or commodities? Are decentralized finance platforms really securities exchanges? Are data miners and other digital service providers really broker-dealers? Should the SEC permit Bitcoin ETFs? And who should regulate these products, services and entities—the SEC, the CFTC, or banking regulators?

Gensler has called on Congress to give the SEC “additional authorities to prevent transactions, products, and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks.” Specifically, he wants “additional plenary authority to write rules for and attach guardrails to crypto trading and lending.” And the U.S. House has passed a bill (H.R. 1602, the Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act of 2021), which would require the SEC and CFTC to establish a working group on digital assets.

Some of what passes as crypto innovations pretty clearly seems to be old-fashioned investment products dressed up in digital garb. That would include any stablecoins that function like money market funds and those tokens that fall within the definition of a security. Nonetheless, there is no denying that crypto mixes digital technology with traditional forms of finance in a hybrid of innovation.

Second, consider Robinhood, which has exploded into view along with Redditor-fueled moonshot trades in meme stocks. Its proclaimed mission “to democratise finance for all” may invite skepticism, but the company can make a strong claim to having attracted a surge of first-time retail investors, representing a younger and more ethnically diverse customer base. Powering that success is Robinhood’s sleek mobile app—and its arsenal of gamification tools to entice and engage customers. But do the nudges and gamification tools cross the line into the realm of investment advice?

“Once individuals become customers, Robinhood relentlessly bombards them with a number of strategies designed to encourage and incentivize continuous and repeated engagement with this application,” the Massachusetts state securities regulator alleges in a lawsuit against Robinhood. The complaint points to several such techniques, from celebrating customer trades with confetti (a practice Robinhood has since abandoned) to plying customers with lists of most-traded and most-popular securities on its platform.

Should practices like these be subject to the fiduciary standard of an investment adviser? Or to the new Best Interest standard for broker-dealers? Robinhood has called the regulator elitist and says it isn’t making recommendations. Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, these gamification techniques make Robinhood appear different in kind from the (boring?) practices of traditional broker-dealers that merely execute customers’ trades. The gamification of mobile trading apps may represent a hybrid between standard broker-dealer practices and full-fledged investment advice.

Third, consider SPACs, which have been around since 2003 but have exploded in popularity in the Covid era. In a hugely successful marketing campaign, SPACs have presented themselves as a kind of poor man’s private equity. If true, that would make SPACs a hybrid between private investment opportunities and public markets.

The deSPAC merger—the key event in the life of a SPAC—is also a hybrid. This is when the SPAC merges with a private operating company, allowing the target to become a public company without going through an IPO. Or is the merger itself really an IPO?

That’s precisely the question raised by John Coates, a Harvard Law professor who has become a top SEC official. In a provocative speech on April 8, Coates argued that the deSPAC merger is an initial public offering, because it is the first time the private operating company is introduced to the public. One speech, however, does not make SEC policy. And Coates’ theory remains untested in court. Nonetheless, it suggests how the deSPAC merger can be considered a hybrid between traditional forms of IPO and merger transactions.

At a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on May 24, Michael San Nicolas, Guam’s delegate, asked how a SPAC differed from a closed-end equity (mutual) fund. The question may have seemed arcane at the time, but in retrospect it appears to have foreshadowed a series of blockbuster lawsuits against SPACs. Former SEC Commissioner Robert J. Jackson, Jr. and Yale Law Professor John Morley have joined in a lawsuit against Bill Ackman’s SPAC, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd. (ticker: PSTH), which raised $4 billion to become the single largest SPAC, and followed up with suits against two other SPACs, GO Acquisition Corp. and E.Merge Technology. The suits allege that the SPACs are really investment companies, like mutual funds and ETFs, because they invest in securities while searching for a merger partner.

“Under the [Investment Company Act of 1940], an Investment Company is an entity whose primary business is investing in securities,” the lawsuit against PSTH argues. “And investing in securities is basically the only thing that PSTH has ever done.”

Ackman says the suit against his SPAC is meritless, but warns, “Because the basic issues raised here apply to every SPAC, a successful claim would imply that every SPAC may also be an illegal investment company.” The suit suggests one more way that SPACs could be considered a hybrid—a cross between an investment company (like a mutual fund) and a publicly traded company.

One wonders how we will look back on these market developments a decade from now. Will SPACs, cryptoassets, and mobile trading apps be seen as hybrids that emerged in the antechamber we are living in now?

Reprinted by permission of Barron’s. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: September 2, 2021.



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The Great Wealth Transfer: How rich millennials will invest the billions coming their way

The younger generation will bring a different mindset to how and where their newfound wealth is invested

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Mar 1, 2024 2 min

There is an enormous global wealth transfer in its beginning stages, whereby one of the largest generations in history – the baby boomers – will pass on their wealth to their millennial children. Knight Frank’s global research report, The Wealth Report 2024, estimates the wealth transfer set to take place over the next two decades in the United States alone will amount to US$90 trillion.

But it’s not just the size of the wealth transfer that is significant. It will also deliver billions of dollars in private capital into the hands of investors with a very different mindset.

Seismic change

Wealth managers say the young and rich have a higher social and environmental consciousness than older generations. After growing up in a world where economic inequality is rife and climate change has caused massive environmental damage, they are seeing their inherited wealth as a means of doing good.

Ben Whattam, co-founder of the Modern Affluence Exchange, describes it as a “seismic change”.

“Since World War II, Western economies have been driven by an overt focus on economic prosperity,” he says. “This has come at the expense of environmental prosperity and has arguably imposed social costs. The next generation is poised to inherit huge sums, and all the research we have commissioned confirms that they value societal and environmental wellbeing alongside economic gain and are unlikely to continue the relentless pursuit of growth at all costs.”

Investing with purpose

Mr Whattam said 66% of millennials wanted to invest with a purpose compared to 49% of Gen Xers. “Climate change is the number one concern for Gen Z and whether they’re rich or just affluent, they see it as their generational responsibility to fix what has been broken by their elders.”

Mike Pickett, director of Cazenove Capital, said millennial investors were less inclined to let a wealth manager make all the decisions.

“Overall, … there is a sense of the next generation wanting to be involved and engaged in the process of how their wealth is managed – for a firm to invest their money with them instead of for them,” he said.

Mr Pickett said another significant difference between millennials and older clients was their view on residential property investment. While property has generated immense wealth for baby boomers, particularly in Australia, younger investors did not necessarily see it as the best path.

“In particular, the low interest rate environment and impressive growth in house prices of the past 15 years is unlikely to be repeated in the next 15,” he said. “I also think there is some evidence that Gen Z may be happier to rent property or lease assets such as cars, and to adopt subscription-led lifestyles.”

Impact investing is a rising trend around the world, with more young entrepreneurs and activist investors proactively campaigning for change in the older companies they are invested in. Millennials are taking note of Gen X examples of entrepreneurs trying to force change. In 2022,  Australian billionaire tech mogul and major AGL shareholder, Mike Cannon-Brookes tried to buy the company so he could shut down its coal operations and turn it into a renewable energy giant. He described his takeover bid as “the world’s biggest decarbonisation project”.

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