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How a data scientist beat the polls by nailing the Georgia senate race

The week of the Georgia senatorial elections, I’ve been following the forecasts by Northwestern University data scientist Tom Miller, who bested most of the polls in the presidential race by missing the margin of Joe Biden’s victory by just 12 electoral college votes. In fact, Miller’s only major wrong call was forecasting a Trump win in Georgia. This time, Miller learned from his misreading of the Peach State and the nailed the outcomes of the two senatorial races. Just after midnight on January 5, Miller predicted Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would sweep both races, defeating Senators would Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue by 2% and 1% respectively.

In the final count, Warnock prevailed 50.9% to 49.1%, a margin of 1.8 points, while Ossoff won 50.5% to 49.5%, or by 1 point. Miller was just .2% off on Warnock vs Loeffler, and hit the precise mark on … Read the rest

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Editor’s Column: Time to kick the gloom into touch

 

So are 4,000 regulated firms really going to collapse this year as the FCA has warned this week could happen?

The short answer is probably not although the FCA’s warning should be taken seriously.

There’s no doubt that while Financial Planning has done remarkably well since lockdown that’s not a universal experience and many financial services firms are suffering to varying degrees.

Many regulated firms have been hit. Indeed few of the companies we cover have reported anything but a bumpy ride over the past nine months. Where I disagree with the FCA is the suggestion that thousands of firms could fail this year because they probably won’t.

According to the FCA’s Coronavirus Financial Resilience Surveys published this week 59% of regulated firms have seen their income hit during the pandemic with some of these seeing income drop by a quarter.

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The FCA’s survey suggested that 4,000 firms 

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Investing legends Carl Icahn and Jeremy Grantham see a stock market bubble

During the week of Jan. 4, two of the all-time great stock market sages—who’ve been expert at calling market frenzies for decades—charged that the bulls had lost their marbles. Carl Icahn and Jeremy Grantham went public claiming that equities are vastly overpriced and due for a steep selloff. The same week, the cockeyed optimists from Wall Street money managers to Gen Xers hooked on day trading ignored their warning, staging still another buying frenzy that on Thursday, Jan. 7, pushed the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq to fresh records.

Between them, Icahn, who’ll turn 85 next month, and Grantham, at 82, have a total of around 120 years of experience navigating the markets and skirting just the kinds of disasters they see coming. Icahn owns over 90% of industrial conglomerate and investment vehicle Icahn Enterprises (market cap: $11.8 billion), and holds billions more in shares of companies as diverse as … Read the rest

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Mattioli Woods client assets reach £10bn

Wealth manager, pensions and employee benefits firm Mattioli Woods’s total client assets have hit a milestone £10bn, according to its most recent trading update.

Gross discretionary assets under management hit £2.9bn.

The trading update was issued in advance of its interim results for the six months ended 30 November 2020, due to be announced on 9 February 2021.

The firm said it is in a strong financial position with £18m of cash at the end of the period.

During the period, Mattioli Woods completed its £25m takeover of private client firm Hurley Partners. It has acquired a number of wealth managers, Financial Planners and pension firms in recent years.

The trading update said Hurley Partners is integrating and performing well.

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Ian Mattioli MBE, chief executive of Mattioli Woods, said: “The first six months of this financial year saw a continuation of the economic and political uncertainty that was

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Elon Musk beats Jeff Bezos to become world’s richest person

Elon Musk, the outspoken entrepreneur behind Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is now the richest person on the planet.

A 4.8% rally in the electric carmaker’s share price Thursday boosted Musk past Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

The South Africa-born engineer’s net worth was $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York, $1.5 billion more than Bezos, who has held the top spot since October 2017. As chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, owner of Blue Origin LLC, in the private space race.

The milestone caps an extraordinary 12 months for Musk. Over the past year his net worth soared by more than $150 billion in possibly the fastest bout of wealth creation in history. Fueling his rise was an unprecedented rally in Read the rest

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Newton hires Aviva Investor’s ex-CEO as new head

Newton Investment Management, part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, has appointed former Aviva Investors CEO Euan Munro as its new chief executive.

The appointment is subject to Financial Conduct Authority approval.

Mr Munro will join Newton in June and will report to Hanneke Smits, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Earlier this week Aviva appointed insider Mark Versey as the new chief executive of its Aviva Investors division.

Prior to Aviva Investors Mr Munro was head of global multi-asset and fixed interest investing at Standard Life Investments. He joined SLI as an inflation-linked fund manager from Scottish Provident in 1995 and is a Fellow of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries.

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Euan Munro, chief executive officer designate of Newton, said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Newton – a global asset manager full of talented people, high quality investment solutions and an incredibly strong heritage in

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Vaccinating the world against COVID is off to a slow start. These firms think A.I. and blockchain could help

Vaccinating the global population against COVID-19 is one of the most immense distribution and logistical challenges humanity has ever faced. Some are hoping that artificial intelligence and blockchain technology can help with the task.

“This is about trying to solve the biggest data puzzle of our lifetime,” says Jason Kelley, who heads blockchain services for IBM.

So far, solving that puzzle has proved painstakingly slow. Only about 4 million people in the U.S.—just over 1% of the population—have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Worldwide, the progress is even more sluggish, with some countries yet to vaccinate any of their citizens. Even Israel, which has vaccinated the largest portion of its population so far, has given first jabs to just 12%.

The distribution of the COVID vaccine involves at least four separate but related problems: how much vaccine to ship where and when. That’s demand forecasting. … Read the rest

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Divorcing couples need pensions advice – survey

Divorce was the second biggest cause of a derailment of retirement plans according to the Great British Retirement Survey, but financial advice is often not taken during divorce proceedings.

The survey of 12,000 UK adults found that 11% of those who said their retirements had due to a ‘major life event’ cited the break-up of their marriage.

Among other big events causing retirement plans to go wrong were personal illness (24%) and death of a partner (8%).

Less than half (41%) of divorced respondents said they had discussed pensions when they got divorced, while 57% said they did not discuss pensions. Men (50%) were more likely to say they had discussed pensions than women (30%). Divorcing couples with children were also more likely to discuss pensions (45%).

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Investment platform Interactive Investor, who carried out the survey, said understanding the financial implications of a split may not be immediately

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Online lender Affirm to be valued as high as $9.2 billion in planned IPO

Affirm, which provides installment loans to online shoppers, is seeking to raise up to $934.8 million in an initial public offering, signaling last year’s record listings run is carrying over to 2021.

The San Francisco-based company said in a filing Tuesday that it planned to sell 24.6 million shares for $33 to $38 each. With the so-called green shoe shares, it is offering 28.2 million shares, the filing showed.

At the top of the range, Affirm would have a market value of $9.22 billion based on the outstanding shares listed in its filing. Including employee stock options and restricted share units, Affirm would have a valuation of more than $11 billion, the filing showed.

Its value could still change following discussions with potential investors on the roadshow for its IPO. The listing is expected later this month.

Affirm follows consumer technology companies including Airbnb. and DoorDash Inc. that propelled … Read the rest

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Aviva Investors appoints insider as new CEO

Aviva has appointed Mark Versey as the new chief executive of its Aviva Investors division.

Mr Versey will replace Euan Munro who is leaving for a new role outside the group after seven years as CEO.

Mr Versey is currently chief investments officer, real assets, at Aviva Investors. He will take up his new CEO role with immediate effect.

In his new role he joins the Aviva group executive committee and will report to new Aviva group CEO Amanda Blanc.

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Mr Versey joined Aviva Investors in 2014 and has helped build the £47 billion real assets business which includes infrastructure, real estate and private debt markets.

He is a member of the Investment Committee of the Investment Association and chairs its Sustainability and Responsible Investment Committee. He was previously chief investment officer at Friends Life Group and chief investment Officer of AXA UK. He is a Fellow of

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