Generation Alpha & ESG investing

We might be a long way from an active Generation Alpha but in an increasingly turbulent world, it might pay to stay ahead of the curve. Born during or after 2010, Generation Alpha will be one of the largest “buyer pools” that will dominate the markets after Generation Z. With an expected 2+ billion people buying and selling by 2025 – and although currently very young – the trends of their likes/dislikes are already apparent.

Marketers are urged to take Generation Alpha’s characteristics into consideration from now when they create, market, and sell their products so that they find themselves at the right side (the buying side) of these “mini millennials”, when the time comes.


Some of the characteristics of Generation Alpha are:

  • Environmentally and socially conscious
  • Technologically savvy
  • Brand aware
  • Interactive/prefer to be part of an experience rather than be labelled “buyers


With that in mind, today’s topic will focus on the ESG side of investing which covers a great deal most of what Generation Alpha is conscious of. With one foot in a portfolio of assets and one foot out, ESG investing has been a matter of discussion and controversy among piers for years. Do corporations align their strategies with ESG standards as part of a smart marketing approach a.k.a. greenwashing? Do they bring up ESG only to cover for poor performance? Or do they really work towards making a positive impact?


What is ESG investing?

Looking into factors other than a company’s financials, when choosing your investment vehicles. ESG stands for Environmental (carbon footprint, water usage and waste, recycling), Social (employee training, customer service, social justice) and Governance (Board and management diversity, corruption, executive compensation) and it’s the result of various past attempts towards sustainable investing. Not taking enough steps towards sustainable investing, poses risks that although might not affect the short run, could expose a company to future threats. An ESG score/rating is assigned that indicates where a company stands in its ESG efforts.

In 2021, MSCI rated Microsoft with a AAA score (more on MSCI ratings below), the highest rating they can assign. Microsoft’s energy conservation efforts are admirable, with a target of 100% renewable energy use by 2025.


What is an ESG rating?

ESG ratings zoom-in to risks not considered when looking into a company’s financials. Operational and potential litigation costs are part of those risks.

MSCI ESG Research LLC, has been rating companies based on ESG characteristics since 1999. Their rating ranges from worse – CCC/B a.k.a Laggards – all the way to best – AAA/AA a.k.a. Leaders – with average ratings of BB,BBB, A. Other ESG rating companies are RobecoSAM, which was acquired by S&P Global at the end of 2019, Bloomberg ESG Disclosures, Moodys ESG Disclosures, Refinitiv, Sustainalytics ESG Risk Ratings and many more.

Companies with a high ESG score across the board (provided by more than 2 rating companies) include Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor, NVIDIA, Adobe. Average score examples across the board include Visa, Mastercard, LVMH (France).

Rating companies, score differently ESG efforts. For example LVMH – Luis Vuitton, a luxury goods conglomerate founded in 1923, gets Average scores by Refinitiv and MSCI but a very low score from Sustainalytics. Amazon gets excellent scores from Refinitiv but average from MSCI and Sustainalytics. All rating companies have a white paper outlining their methodology and investors can tap into them to get the information they need.


If ESG is a good thing, why the controversy?

With religious roots more than anything, the way of – Ethical Investing – attempted to keep people away from “wicked” assets that represented the likes of alcohol, tobacco, weapons, gambling etc. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) became more prominent during the 70s and 80s as values-based negative screening basically told investors not to invest in a company that conflicts with their values.

As the Vietnam War came to an end, companies were still profiting from its after math. And as SRI investment pushes an industry rather than pull, religious investors steered clear from portfolios that profiteered from the war, continuing the ethical investment initiative.

The Pax World Balanced Fund provided an alternative investment vehicle and various movements/legislative acts went live relating to discrimination and environmental protection. Based on the Sullivan principles of supporting human rights, equal employment opportunities and social programs, from the year 2000 onwards ESG got more push by the United Nations who tried to integrate it into the Capital Markets.

Debates over the years relative to the social responsibility of companies date back to the 70s and include Milton Friedman’s “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”. A socially responsible act is one the corporate executive makes, not the business in its entirety. A socially responsible act would mean spending the money of the executive’s employers (shareholders) for a general social interest.

Examples in Friedman’s approach include spending large amounts of money to reduce pollution beyond the interest of the shareholders, hiring hardcore unemployed (hardcore: people jobless for a long time) rather than qualified personnel to help reduce poverty, refrain from raising product prices to help combat inflation (even if a rise is in the best interests of the business).

In all of the above examples, although the executive’s decision represents the business as a whole, spending someone else’s money for a general social interest might come in conflict with why the executive was hired in the first place. The employee acts as a civil servant although works (and is paid by) a private corporation whose interest, is maximizing returns.

According to a Harvard Business Review in March 2022 – referencing an analysis on Morningstar’s sustainability rating of more than 20,000 mutual funds – it was obvious that the highest rated funds attracted more capital, but none outperformed the lowest rated funds. Through studies they also found that to cover for earning’s underperformance, company executives often publicly talked about their focus on ESG (in contrast with overperforming results with little to no reference to ESG). An outright shoutout to investors, who might be investing in underperforming companies in an effort to support their ESG values. Last but not least, studies detected no improvement in ESG scores over a period of time indicating that the financial sacrifice funds potentially undertake for ESG investing, does little to nothing to improve the “wickedness” in the world.


Not all underperformers are created equal

NVIDIA is an example of a high ESG rated stock currently underperforming, but due for correction. A graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturer, NVIDIA is a AAA rated company. Its GPUs are used for gaming, self-driving cars, and they power the fastest supercomputers in the US and EU. They are also used for mining crypto that use the PoW consensus protocol. Post the Ethereum Merge and the transition to PoS, a reported “unintended consequence” is the drop in sales of new GPUs, since the existing ones that powered the mining equipment will no longer be needed, and will flood the market with second hand/cheaper options.

Combined with US government restrictions on the company selling its A100/H100 products to China, it all resulted in a drop of NVIDIA’s stock price. Although due for a few challenging quarters, its an example of a AAA rated company, a leader in ESG standards that treats people fairly, socially conscious both internally and externally with its suppliers taking a hit nonetheless, ultimately affecting the returns of its shareholders.

That being said, investors are looking at the price drop as a way to enter rather than exit. Cathy Wood’s ARK Innovation Fund ETF sold a small portion of the fund’s Tesla shares in the beginning of the month, to fund a new purchase in NVIDIA ($32 million worth of it), after the sales restriction announcement and a +7% drop in its price.


What about other ETFs?

From $5 billion in 2006 to $378 billion in 2022, the allocation of assets with ESG standards to ETFs saw a significant rise. The largest Exchange Traded Fund in 2022 is SPDR Bloomberg SASB U.S. Corporate ESG UCITS ETF. Its size reached $6.75 billion. iShares ESG MSCI EM ETF reached $6.51 billion.

The question remains. If you have to choose between strong returns on your investment Vs doing something good i.e. ESG investing with less ROI, what would you choose? Sustainalytics research talks of a 40% – a significant percentage of investors choosing ESG investing and accepting a lower ROI. This leaves a 60% that is not willing to take a pay cut.

New information comes out daily regarding ESG investing. Major world events shaped the world as we know it today and people’s conscious efforts towards forging an even better one, generation to generation is a testament to how powerful connected voices can be. Mini millennials will inherit – a better or worse – world than their predecessors, and they are the future consumers/investors. Their exposure to technology from a young age, awareness of the environmental dangers, their pickiness in choosing the “right” brand, the social lessons they pick up from the world stage relating to discrimination, equality and human rights are in the core of what ESG is all about. Remains to be seen, what they’re willing to do with their superpower.

#minimillenials #genalpha #esginvesting #esg #futureinvestors

The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all as investment strategies involve risk of loss.

What’s the ECB anti-fragmentation tool? Especially considering what’s coming

Two of our articles last month, touched on inflation, interest rates and bonds. Inflation in the EU is counting down the days to hit double digits, and a 75 basis point hike on interest rates is imminent. What do we know happens to bond prices when interest rates go up (and aggressively so)? They drop like flies, and as a result of the fixed coupon rate, their yields rise. 

Why is this troublesome? High yields for a country’s bonds, means it has to pay more to borrow. In the case of Italy, with an already heavy debt load, the 4% on its – Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali (BTP) – 10 year yield, is a tough one to bear. The energy crisis is making things worse, pushing for more aggressive measures, and a tool that can take some of the yield pressure off, is seen as a good thing in the eyes of our policy makers. It’s a matter for debate but to each their own. 

When government bond yields of weaker economies relative to stronger ones rise, its known as fragmentation. It needs some intervention to relieve the pressure, a tool, an anti-fragmentation tool. 


Join our capital market training to learn what it all means


What does the past tell us? 

In the past (2009 onwards), the European Central Bank had a debt crisis to tackle. Member states were in over their heads and couldn’t pay their debts. Rumors had it (it was all over the news but we’ll call it rumors), exit from the Eurozone for some countries was a possibility. 

What’s Eurozone? All the EU states that adopted the Euro as their currency. So exit from the Eurozone, would mean moonwalking back to their own currency. Thriller, right? 

To deal with the crisis and prevent the Eurozone from breaking up, the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) tool was introduced in 2012, which taught us that “pari passu” means “on equal footing” among other things. 

The ECB would buy sovereign (government) short term bonds (1-3 year duration) – as many bonds as it took – from highly indebted member states to secure their stay in the Eurozone. To onboard themselves on this ship, the countries would need to enter the EU bailout programs, cut spending and raise taxes. Pari passu referred to the treatment the ECB purchases would receive if the countries defaulted on their payment. “On equal footing” with other bond holders, means they would stand to lose just as much if things went sideways. Desirable outcome? – To drive the price of the bonds up and reduce their yields.  

Under normal circumstances, central banks buy securities for quantitative easing. An open market operation, by which they flood a market (their own market) with money to stimulate the economy. 

In contrast, quantitative tightening aims to reduce money supply by selling securities (gives people “title deeds” and takes money off their hands) often accompanied by increasing interest rates to cool down an overheating economy. 

In the case of the OMT purchases though, stimulating the economy was not the plan. The money injected from the purchases could not stay in the economy. Therefore, these injections would have to be sterilized (raised eyebrow? it’s a real term). Sterilization happens when the ECB removes from circulation as much money as it injects. How? Through interest-bearing deposits parked with the ECB, of equal value as the bond purchases. This way money supply stays the same, while the goal for doing it in the first place is achieved. In this specific case, the goal was to drive bond prices up and lower their yields. See article on asset correlation for more information on bonds prices and yields. 

Another way for ECB to sterilize its money injections, would be to issue other bonds for banks to buy and remove money from circulation or sell other assets it holds of equal value. 

When OMT was introduced along with the famous “whatever it takes” Draghi statement, it calmed investors and Eurozone was back in business. So it was never actually used, but its very much alive and ready to deploy if needed today. 

A central bank is a strong player and although able to temporarily solve problems it can also make things worse further into the future. For example, its important to note that a central bank doesn’t only finance it’s projects or pays its bills with “hard cash”. It is also able to print money to fund its programs, which is something that they do, more often than you think. And although countries like the US or EU are in better condition to deal with the consequences of printing money than smaller economies, its still a dangerous play and in the words of Charlie Munger “if you print too much money it eventually causes terrible trouble and the rate at which countries are printing money, puts us in a new territory in terms of size”. 

It happened many times before in Europe, the US, Japan. Add in your search engine “Weimar Republic wheelbarrows of money” and look at the images that come up. Even with that much cash, people could only buy regular amounts of goodies because of hyperinflation that comes with printing money. 

What is hyperinflation? When prices of goods and services rise at an alarming rate, rendering money worthless. Think of too much money chasing too few goods. Take the example of the over-reported Zimbabwe. The country’s inflation percentages are too mind boggling to even write about. A good example though, of a country with stagflation – remember Stag from a past article? A country with rising prices and low output resulting in low tax revenues, attempting to finance higher spending by printing money, just because it can. We’ll delve more into this another time. 

Newest introduction to ECB’s toolbox – The Transmission Protection Instrument (TPI) 

The OMT description above pretty much describes the idea of the new tool with some obvious differences. Firstly it doesn’t require member states to apply for a bailout program although it does ask for sustainable spending/debt. Also TPI is more flexible since it can purchase longer maturity debt of up to 10 years (rather than 3 years under OMT). It can also purchase private securities. More on the TPI on EU press release here

Last but not least, in the middle of it all, the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP). Unlike the OMT that was never used, the PEPP was heavily pushed during the pandemic (heavily as in Euro 1.850 trillion). According to ECB, it started with €750 billion, raised it by €600 billion in June 2020 and by another €500 billion in December. 

Aggressive rate hikes will take place whether we like it or not. It’s good to know that sustainable tools exist to support the markets and more importantly, that they get better over time. Its apparent that just by knowing the cushion is there, it eases the troubled minds of investors who perform their acrobatics with a safety net. Whether the new tool will be used or not, it remains to be seen. 



About allFX-Consult

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Our Capital Market Training is one of the most comprehensive training the industry has to offer.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–,

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The 13F form- how it gives insight to portfolio allocation

Stock markets and their listed companies form the backbone of every portfolio. We all have flashes, thoughts, jump scares, math done (crazy right?), to find the direction of company stocks. Like social trading though, that allows copying other traders who do the technical work for you, looking into professionally managed funds can also do the “leg work” of finding suitable buy/sell securities. That is, if you knew what their decisions entail.  

Even the best in the business get things wrong, and by no means do we imply that you should follow them down to the last detail. Even so, thorough research includes knowing what the “biggies” do as well. 

The US SEC requires Asset Managers with minimum $100 million in AuM (Assets under Management), to publicly disclose their holdings through a form called 13F. This form is filed every quarter and gives a sneak peek into the beautiful minds that run the largest funds in the world. It’s been reported that companies themselves sometimes rely on the 13F form to identify their shareholders. 

The form doesn’t include foreign company holdings and/or funds held under their holdings (whaat?). No, really, in the case of Berkshire Hathaway 13F filing (which is not a hedge fund or a mutual fund), you won’t see Gen Re’s fund called NEAM, with 178 holdings of their own (as of this Q report). You would need to search for New England Asset Management individually. 

Hedge funds are professionally managed pooled investments, that trade on liquid assets. They often use alternative investment strategies to try and outperform the markets like short selling, leverage, and derivatives. 

What is short selling? Borrowing an asset from a broker (interest and other charges vary per broker), selling it at its current price, and buying again at a lower price to profit from the difference. 

Example: Say you expect stock X to drop below $100. You borrow a number of stocks for $100 (with the associated interest/charges) and you sell. If the market drops as expected, you buy at the lower price and pay back the borrowed stocks. If the price rises though, there is theoretically unlimited risk since it can continue to rise and find a huge giant with a goose that lays golden eggs, and a harp etc. etc. (thumbs up if you know the reference). 

According to Wall Street Journal, Bridgewater’s hedge fund reported to be currently shorting European companies in a staggering +$7 billion. The shorted stocks are part of the Euro Stoxx 50. 

What are derivatives? A contract between two parties deriving its value from an underlying asset. Most common derivatives – we all know and love – are futures and options. Between Exchange Traded Derivatives and Over the Counter Derivatives, there are more types which we go through in our training sessions. 

Why referencing hedge funds? Because in today’s discussion we will take a sneak peek at 5 large funds through the eyes of the 13F form. We will use the form’s tool to compare Q1 and Q2 of 2022 and get a closer look at the largest buy/sells that they performed Q on Q. For the complete list of their holdings you’ll need to do a small research of your own. We just wanted to shed some light to the form, irrespective of the fund names or their positions. 

At the end we will also include Warren Buffet’s – Berkshire Hathaway – quarter comparison as well, just because the man is a legend (as mentioned the company is not a hedge fund or a mutual fund). He is the reason many are in this business, some richer than others but who’s counting?  


  1. Funds are randomly picked. 
  1. The sample lists are sorted by the largest number of shares bought and sold. 
  1. Under CL, the share’s class type is mentioned. Each company defines the characteristic of its share classes as they see fit in their charter. (with voting rights or not, dividend payment terms and so on) 
  1. Terms like spon/sponsored ADS or spon/sponsored ADR refer to American Depository shares/receipts 
  1. ADRs are securities of foreign companies listed on US stock exchanges. They are issued by a depository bank, to represent a foreign company’s publicly traded securities. It is how investors can get access to developed or emerging markets. See our article on diversification for information on developed/emerging markets. 
  1. Sponsored ADRs are issued with the participation/blessing of the foreign company. Unsponsored ADRs are candles in the wind. 


BlackRock Inc. Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

Sym  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Diff  Chg % 
AMZN  AMAZON COM INC  COM  29,143,882  587,459,057  558,315,175  1916% 
WBD  WARNER BROS DISCOVERY INC  COM SER A  0  166,503,034  166,503,034  NEW 
FTNT  FORTINET INC  COM  11,561,432  52,869,973  41,308,541  357% 
VICI  VICI PPTYS INC  COM  58,176,039  95,846,408  37,670,369  65% 
WISH  CONTEXTLOGIC INC  COM CL A  6,402,156  37,770,689  31,368,533  490% 
TXMD  THERAPEUTICSMD INC  COM  24,442,512  0  -24,442,512  -100% 
DISCK  DISCOVERY INC  COM SER C  24,909,437  0  -24,909,437  -100% 
TNXP  TONIX PHARMACEUTICALS HLDG C  COM  34,392,362  0  -34,392,362  -100% 
ISBC  INVESTORS BANCORP INC NEW  COM  35,715,997  0  -35,715,997  -100% 
MFA  MFA FINL INC  COM  35,786,123  0  -35,786,123  -100% 
PBCT  PEOPLES UNITED FINANCIAL INC  COM  36,670,981  0  -36,670,981  -100% 
ZNGA  ZYNGA INC  CL A  45,215,373  0  -45,215,373  -100% 
IVR  INVESCO MORTGAGE CAPITAL INC  COM  55,516,956  0  -55,516,956  -100% 
EDU  NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECHNOLOGY  SPON ADR  64,329,110  0  -64,329,110  -100% 



Bridgewater Associates, LP Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

Sym  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Diff  Chg % 
F  FORD MTR CO DEL  COM  2,199,950  4,620,739  2,420,789  110% 
WBD  WARNER BROS DISCOVERY INC  COM SER A  0  2,213,889  2,213,889  NEW 
WETF  WISDOMTREE INVTS INC  COM  156,132  2,201,350  2,045,218  1310% 
CVS  CVS HEALTH CORP  COM  1,210,917  3,146,236  1,935,319  160% 
CVE  CENOVUS ENERGY INC  COM  557,544  1,969,127  1,411,583  253% 
  NEW ORIENTAL ED TECHNOLOGY  SPON ADR  0  1,360,704  1,360,704  NEW 
T  AT&T INC  COM  2,047,133  3,393,604  1,346,471  66% 
SWN  SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO  COM  0  1,196,019  1,196,019  NEW 
PYPL  PAYPAL HLDGS INC  COM  114,312  1,267,329  1,153,017  1009% 
GLD  SPDR GOLD TR  GOLD SHS  2,107,996  1,306,455  -801,541  -38% 
IAU  ISHARES GOLD TR  ISHARES NEW  3,353,019  2,369,514  -983,505  -29% 
BILI  BILIBILI INC  SPONS ADS REP Z  1,099,588  0  -1,099,588  -100% 
KO  COCA COLA CO  COM  11,937,821  10,820,759  -1,117,062  -9% 
FXI  ISHARES TR  CHINA LGCAP ETF  3,276,798  1,612,109  -1,664,689  -51% 
JD  JD.COM INC  SPON ADR CL A  2,141,206  0  -2,141,206  -100% 
EDU  NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECHNOLOGY  SPON ADR  6,201,032  0  -6,201,032  -100% 
VWO  VANGUARD INTL EQUITY INDEX F  FTSE EMR MKT ETF  22,717,958  15,432,241  -7,285,717  -32% 
BABA  ALIBABA GROUP HLDG LTD  SPONSORED ADS  7,480,545  0  -7,480,545  -100% 
DIDI  DIDI GLOBAL INC  SPONSORED ADS  8,149,902  0  -8,149,902  -100% 
EEM  ISHARES TR  MSCI EMG MKT ETF  19,621,771  1,435,298  -18,186,473  -93% 




Renaissance Technologies Llc Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

Sym  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Diffference  Chg % 
SWN  SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY CO  COM  1,035,725  33,712,025  32,676,300  3155% 
XELA  EXELA TECHNOLOGIES INC  COM NEW  17,755  15,865,037  15,847,282  89255% 
PLTR  PALANTIR TECHNOLOGIES INC  CL A  12,514,847  28,204,147  15,689,300  125% 
SHOP  SHOPIFY INC  CL A  0  14,036,600  14,036,600  NEW 
NIO  NIO INC  SPON ADS  5,401,600  17,768,900  12,367,300  229% 
VZ  VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC  COM  10,604,493  64,100  -10,540,393  -99% 
PBR  PETROLEO BRASILEIRO SA PETRO  SPONSORED ADR  16,782,600  5,155,000  -11,627,600  -69% 
TNXP  TONIX PHARMACEUTICALS HLDG C  COM  19,200,435  0  -19,200,435  -100% 
ITUB  ITAU UNIBANCO HLDG S A  SPON ADR REP PFD  20,872,374  0  -20,872,374  -100% 
EDU  NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECHNOLOGY  SPON ADR  37,490,100  0  -37,490,100  -100% 



Tiger Global Management Llc Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

The fund managed $90 billion in assets at its peak, with tech stocks surging in 2021 amid the pandemic. According to Reuters though, the fund lost billions of dollars (approx. 50% in the first half of the year). Many of the shares it sold rebounded on Nasdaq’s +18% rally in the current quarter. 

Sym  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Difference  Chg % 
IOT  SAMSARA INC  COM CL A  0  4,649,140  4,649,140  NEW 
BZ  KANZHUN LIMITED  SPONSORED ADS  7,280,575  11,655,423  4,374,848  60% 
S  SENTINELONE INC  CL A  5,909,855  10,010,610  4,100,755  69% 
AMZN  AMAZON COM INC  COM  147,743  2,613,800  2,466,057  1669% 
TOST  TOAST INC  CL A  12,672,463  14,693,414  2,020,951  16% 
EMBK  EMBARK TECHNOLOGY INC  COM  21,293,320  9,917,027  -11,376,293  -53% 
DDL  DINGDONG CAYMAN LTD  ADS  12,141,140  118,539  -12,022,601  -99% 
JD  JD.COM INC  SPON ADR CL A  48,774,995  30,525,661  -18,249,334  -37% 
IS  IRONSOURCE LTD  CL A ORD SHS  20,500,000  0  -20,500,000  -100% 
NU  NU HLDGS LTD  ORD SHS CL A  254,788,564  203,013,206  -51,775,358  -20% 



Aqr Capital Management Llc Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

Symbol  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Difference  Chg % 
QRTEA  QURATE RETAIL INC  COM SER A  6,824,857  16,753,914  9,929,057  146% 
VTRS  VIATRIS INC  COM  3,898,552  10,095,801  6,197,249  159% 
ENDP  ENDO INTL PLC  SHS  1,264,412  6,394,925  5,130,513  406% 
T  AT&T INC  COM  4,579,612  8,286,499  3,706,887  81% 
GILD  GILEAD SCIENCES INC  COM  2,712,026  6,095,793  3,383,767  125% 
F  FORD MTR CO DEL  COM  4,423,873  2,627,116  -1,796,757  -41% 
HMY  HARMONY GOLD MINING CO LTD  SPONSORED ADR  2,206,767  320,022  -1,886,745  -85% 
KMI  KINDER MORGAN INC DEL  COM  2,891,688  714,750  -2,176,938  -75% 
INFY  INFOSYS LTD  SPONSORED ADR  6,044,325  1,016,971  -5,027,354  -83% 
VALE  VALE S A  SPONSORED ADS  9,142,394  3,132,350  -6,010,044  -66% 



And last but not least, here’s BRK: 

Berkshire Hathaway Inc Q1 2022 vs. Q2 2022 13F Holdings Comparison 

Sym  Issuer Name  Cl (stock class)  Q1 2022  Q2 2022  Diff  Chg % 
OXY  OCCIDENTAL PETE CORP  COM  136,373,000  158,549,729  22,176,729  16% 
ALLY  ALLY FINL INC  COM  8,969,420  30,000,000  21,030,580  235% 
AMZN  AMAZON COM INC  COM  533,300  10,666,000  10,132,700  1900% 
VIAC  PARAMOUNT GLOBAL  CLASS B COM  68,947,760  78,421,645  9,473,885  14% 
ATVI  ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC  COM  64,315,222  68,401,150  4,085,928  6% 
AAPL  APPLE INC  COM  890,923,410  894,802,319  3,878,909  0% 
CVX  CHEVRON CORP NEW  COM  159,178,117  161,440,149  2,262,032  1% 
CE  CELANESE CORP DEL  COM  7,880,998  9,156,714  1,275,716  16% 
MCK  MCKESSON CORP  COM  2,921,975  3,198,344  276,369  10% 
MKL  MARKEL CORP  COM  420,293  467,611  47,318  11% 
VZ  VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC  COM  1,380,111  0  -1,380,111  -100% 
RPRX  ROYALTY PHARMA PLC  SHS CLASS A  1,496,372  0  -1,496,372  -100% 
KR  KROGER CO  COM  57,985,263  52,437,295  -5,547,968  -10% 
USB  US BANCORP DEL  COM NEW  126,417,887  119,805,135  -6,612,752  -5% 
STOR  STORE CAP CORP  COM  14,754,811  6,928,413  -7,826,398  -53% 
GM  GENERAL MTRS CO  COM  62,045,847  52,877,359  -9,168,488  -15% 



There is no European equivalent form to the 13F that we know of. In the UK (for listed companies) the filings relate to shareholding percentages above 3%, with each percentage threshold of 1% (4,5,6 – 100%), to be disclosed to the exchange and the company itself. If the shareholding percentage falls below 3%, one last disclosure needs to be submitted until (if) the threshold is passed again. For non listed companies, the thresholds are different. 



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Building up to the Merge | Bite-sized piece

Building up to the Merge | Bite-sized piece

Keeping it simple – What, when, how, why 


What – The Merge is Ethereum’s transition from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake consensus protocol. The transition involves the launch of the Beacon Chain (went live in December 2020), the Merge (case in point) and the Shard Chains which will come in later to improve the network’s scalability.

Shards? Think of 12 people standing on top of each other. The one at the bottom can hold the rest, but the weight is causing some neck & back problems. Now split them up from 1 person holding 11, to 6 holding 2 or more people. Less pain, more gain.

In the case of Ethereum’s blockchain, it’s currently a single chain that holds all the network’s transactions in consecutive blocks. The sharding upgrade will break down the large database, into smaller, manageable pieces (64 to be exact). Combined with rollups (packaging many transactions in a single one and submitting it to the chain as one) reduces the data required for a transaction.

How does it improve scalability? If the network can handle thousands of transactions per second (TPS), it can serve a huge amount of users improving congestion and usage spikes.

When – EST. mid September, 2022

How – As mainnet (ETH 1.0) gets merged with the Beacon Chain the entire transactional history of Ethereum will be merged with it. The PoW model will be completely abandoned and the Beacon Chain’s PoS will be the only producer of new blocks.

gas fees

Why – To improve Ethereum’s sustainability as it currently requires vast amounts of energy for validation. It will reduce its requirements by 99.95%. It would be great if gas fees and transaction speeds got better as well, but this won’t be the case with the Merge.

Gas fees? The cost of a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain. After the London upgrade last year, the cost is derived from multiplying {the base fee (cost of gas) + optional tip} by the transaction cost.

Why do gas fees need improvement? Because as the network got more congested, these costs increased exponentially. Especially after the massive interest in NFTs. A user can’t always wait for low peak times to make a transaction (which kinda’ sorta’ fixes the problem), so improving the overall structure would be great.

Ethereum, PRE – MERGE


Ethereum (ETH) went live in 2015 to record transactions and facilitate smart contracts.

smart contract

What is a Smart Contract?  Contracts (programs) that exist (created and validated) in the blockchain’s network. After their addition to the blockchain, they are enforced by the network. No need for a third-party enforcement i.e. lawyer or bouncer.

The Ethereum platform has been extensively used for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO boom of 2017), where new tokens are launched using the ERC standard.

ERC – Ethereum Request for Comment is a standardized document with rules that Ethereum based tokens must comply with. Programmers use the ERC to write Smart Contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. The community then reviews and comments on it through the EIP.

EIP – Ethereum Improvement Proposal – the comments of the community. Once received, the developers revise and implement accordingly.

hard fork

Example of EIP 1559 during last year’s London hard fork. It split the transaction fee that used to be directed to the miners, to a base fee + tip. The base fee gets burned (removed from circulation by the network) while the tip goes to the miners. The base fee is algorithmically calculated based on network congestion. If many transactions are fighting to be included in a block, the base fee will be higher.

Note: The EIP 1559 (burning) combined with the PoS upgrade (the Merge), will reduce Ether supply by more than 80%. The event is known as triple-halving.

What is halving (as we know from Bitcoin)? When the reward for Bitcoin is halved or cut in half. So triple-halving for Ethereum, is like halving Bitcoin 3 times.

The issue of new Ether will drop significantly, the burning through the EIP1559 and the staking of Ethereum to be eligible to validate (which can’t be withdrawn for at least 6 months after the Merge) will see a huge Ethereum supply drop. Increased demand combined with decreased supply, has speculators targeting a $5,000 breach. Ethereum already came close to this target in 2021, when it climbed up to $4,800 after major updates (Berlin and Uniswap) and the sale of Beeble’s NFT for a staggering $69.3 million (Pak’s NFT “The Merge” sold for $91.8 million in December of 2021).

ERC standards in a nutshell

  • ERC20 – standard used to create fungible assets (resembling fiat currency). ERC20 tokens have a fixed supply, and they are transferrable. Some remained on the Ethereum blockchain while others jumped on their own blockchain (example of Binance and Tron).
  • ERC721 – standard used to create NFTs (non-fungible, each token is unique). Allows transfer only of individual NFTs, not in batches.
  • ERC1155 – standard (introduced in 2019) that allows mixed use of fungible and non-fungible tokens. Single smart contracts can support multiple functions i.e., user can send coins (fungible) and weapons, mascots, art (non-fungible) in one transaction.
  • ERC777 – standard used to create fungible assets like ERC20 but allows for more complex interactions when trading tokens. When tokens are sent to a contract, a function (called hook) is activated that allows sending tokens to a contract and notifying the contract in a single transaction (unlike ERC-20, which requires two transactions (approve / transferFrom).the merge

Birth of Ethereum Classic. ETC was born after the DAO hack in 2016 – set of smart contracts for a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAO was a venture fund (high risk/high reward investment pool). Its investors had voting rights on the assets that the fund would invest in. It raised millions of $ worth of ETH, a third of which was hacked and stolen.

The community proposed to hard fork ETH to restore stolen funds. Some refused. After a vote in 2016, Ethereum was hard forked to Ethereum Classic (ETC).



To place the size of these two in perspective, analyzing the numbers today (11/08/2022)

  • ETH trades at $1,853 with a market cap at $227.3 billion
  • ETC trades at $40 with a market cap at $5.5 billion

Transition phase – Ethereum transactions are currently validated through the PoW (Proof of Work) consensus protocol. Just like Bitcoin.

Quick facts about PoW: It requires advanced equipment and vast amount of electricity to solve complex equations. The better the equipment, the faster the complex equation can be solved – unfair match? Wasteful and vulnerable to attacks (51% attack – mining pools that control more than 50% of the mining hash rate). Mining pools defy the main purpose of why blockchain technology is a step forward for us all, which is decentralization.

What is hash rate? Total computational power used by the network to process blockchain transactions. In essence, how many calculations can be performed per second.

The next step in Ethereum’s evolution is the transition from PoW to Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus. PoS has a more random selection. Participants (nodes) stake their assets. Dishonest validations means losing one’s stake and reward. Some algorithmic activity finalizes the choice of validators as well (like coin age base selection where a forger’s coin age is reset to 0 after forging a new block, and a waiting time of 30 days is needed to be selected again).

Fast forward to December 2020, Ethereum 2.0 went live initiating (phase 0) of PoW to PoS transition. Ethereum 2.0 chain is called the Beacon Chain. ETH 1.0 and ETH 2.0 exist side by side until they Merge together.

One of Ethereum’s test networks called Goerli, ran a final test on August 11, 2022. It simulated the process that Ethereum will go through in September. The test validated the reduced energy requirements, and that the merger process works.

The world is now counting down the remaining time to the Merge.

Investors don’t need to do anything before or after the Merge. warns against scams with the disclaimer “you should be on high alert for scams trying to take advantage of users during this transition. Do not send your ETH anywhere in an attempt to “upgrade to ETH2.” There is no “ETH2” token, and there is nothing more you need to do for your funds to remain safe”

Original article published on

#carbonfootprint #ethereum #themerge #eth #etc #sharding #capitalmarket #capitalmarkettraining #decentralized

The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all investment strategies involve risk of loss.

Portfolio Allocation & Asset Relationships

Setting up a correct portfolio of assets is almost as hard as being convinced to “invest” rather than “just spend”. It’s debatable if everyone knows the potential benefits of investing vs. the dark pit of spending and how the potential outweighs the risk.

Many investment firms (in the front line of educating people) are a long way from becoming proper advocates of the spend/invest association, but today, we will be looking into a different type of relationship. That of asset correlation and why its relevant when setting up an investment portfolio.

Correlations are not constant as they change in different environments. Depending on inflationary/deflationary pressures or high/low economic growth, what we know as normal is anything but normal. We look into all of them in our training sessions, but examples of such changes happen with stocks and bonds or stocks and crypto assets.

What is positive, negative and neutral correlation?

Positive – when two subjects move in the same direction.

Negative – when two subjects move in the opposite direction.

Neutral – when there is no correlation between the two subjects

A statistic is used to indicate the relationship from -1 to 1, with 1 indicating positive correlation. Any number closer to 0, is in limbo.

Why is asset correlation important? 

Because a basic principle of a risk mitigated portfolio is diversification. According to the biggest asset managers, a portfolio is not diversified by investing in assets that perform the same during certain market conditions (positively correlated). It’s diversified by holding negatively correlated assets with proper allocation percentages. In a job well done, it will probably do better on a good day than lousy on a bad day, which is still proportionately positive and vice versa. portfolio

Other than holding negatively correlated assets, one also needs to account for predictability vs unpredictability. Think of insurance on your car. You pay a premium you might not need to exercise within the year but when required, it secures you from higher costs and painful bills. A portfolio is setup with a similar goal in mind. It will include assets that are expected to have a higher return but also assets that safeguard against downturns and unexpected moves. Knowing the current asset correlation can be valuable, especially if you’re prone to shock related heart conditions or passing out.

The most well-known strategy is the 60/40 portfolio allocation. 60% investment in stocks and a 40% investment in bonds. In times of economic expansion, stock markets are expected to produce higher returns and investors tend to prefer them more than fixed income (bonds). Bonds provide a cushion during economic contractions or recessionary environments due to their predictability and relative stability.

In different environments where inflationary or deflationary pressures are dominating, the correlations change. A build up of inflationary pressures like a pandemic or war (not your average cost-push or demand-pull inflation) is a good example of a positive correlation between bonds and stocks. Bonds rise first, then stocks tend to follow. The 10-year treasury is said to be a good indicator. Example of the 90s all the way to the Dot Com bubble at which point stocks and bonds parted ways (also known as decoupling, when deflationary pressures started building up. Investors were taking funds out of stocks and investing in bonds).

  • Not all bonds are created equal. From junk bonds to investment grade and everything in between, there are risks to factor in before the purchase. Bond maturity also plays a role, since from a T-bill’s less-than-a-year duration, to a 30 year bond’s duration, a lot can happen in an economy within the 30 year unpredictable gap.
  • An economic contraction doesn’t push investors completely out of stocks. It calls for a more defensive approach – hence the term defensive stocks like utilities/staples (two out of eleven sectors that categorize shock absorbing stocks), or even blue chip. portfolio
  • Cash is king (or is it?). Another defensive approach (more like a sitting duck or a babe-in-the-woods) is cash. Does sitting on a bank account with inflation eating cash like a very hungry caterpillar, make for a strong defense?

Spring chicken vs old geezer. 

Its increasingly reported that the crypto/stock markets are mostly uncorrelated. Especially when countries don’t kill each other, and masks are not covering our faces from virus-covered projectiles (too much??) Under healthier conditions of prosperity, the crypto world has its own Alfred to drive it around (even for the majority of 2021, during pandemic). All assets were pushed around by your average forces, while bitcoin was doing its own thing.

Fast forward to now, and a correlation of +0.6 indicates a strong positive relationship when things are anything but normal. It’s only a matter of time before the two markets become uncorrelated again but what does this mean for portfolio diversification using bitcoin? Right now, not so useful as you can imagine.

Correlations between indicators and assets – Example of interest rates and bond prices

During economic contractions, central banks lower interest rates to boost economic growth and make borrowing cheaper.

  • When interest rates drop, the bond prices go up because they pay better interest (coupon) than the current rate and all newly issued bonds.
  • The relationship is inverse (one down, one up). They are said to be negatively correlated
  • Bond yields, are also negatively correlated to bond prices. The reason is that interest paid on bonds is fixed. The bond price though, is fluctuating.
  • Dividing the fixed coupon with a higher bond price, will produce a lower yield
  • Dividing the fixed coupon with a lower bond price, will produce a higher yield
  • Both points above, stipulate a positive correlation between interest rates and bond yields.

Correlations like these are used frequently by analysts in their effort to get as close to making a correct choice, as many times as possible. Nothing is set in stone, reading the markets can be a hit-and-miss game.

#diversification #assetrelationships #stocks #bonds #crypto #capitalmarkets

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The information provided is strictly for informational use and is not meant in any way to be construed as investment advice. One should seek expert advice, as all investment strategies involve risk of loss.

Diversification – a closer look at current events

Diversification. We always stress the importance of being on the lookout for “what else” is moving now that the global markets are accessible by almost everyone. The US markets are following stress related trends with Nasdaq up over 4%, S&P up by 2.6%, Dow was up by 1.4% on the closing day of the Fed’s rate hike. Where the world is expecting a hard landing, the Feds take the 50 year low unemployment rate of 3.6% as a sign that the US is not going through a recession. “It doesn’t make sense that the economy would be in a recession with this kind of thing happening” said Fed Chairman Jerome. If we were to diversify, what options do we have?

Turbulent times – current risks to the global economy

Disruptions on supply chains from major events in different parts of the world resulted in flow restrictions of food, energy and technological advancements. Going back to the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which spread around the world and triggered a collapse in cross-border trade, to the pandemic, a horrific war and everything else in between – i.e a container ship blocking the Suez Canal (12% of global trade is handled by the Suez Canal which translates into a disruption of $9.6 billion worth of goods – according to an analysis by Bloomberg)


The war in Ukraine escalated geopolitical tensions. The world is not only dividing again into East/West but geopolitical tensions between any country that had scores to settle with another over the past half century, are amplified. Tensions are rising between the big and the small, the east and the west, the left and the right, the rich and the poor, the nuclear and “the other nuclear”.

Now combine:

  1. Geopolitical tensions
  2. Faster than expected tightening of financing (due to interest rate hikes) across the globe
  3. Covid related disruptions

…and you have a salad that doesn’t even taste like a salad. Confusing even to the best of us, our policy makers, who struggle with the thin line of doing too much/too fast or too little/too late.  Like your mom’s casserole dish that is either not enough, or enough to feed 4 families.


Story for another day but past the interest rates, if stricter policies are implemented by dominant countries to combat the supply chain disruptions (like export bans, price controls or subsidies on essentials i.e. food/gas), we’re heading in a whole new direction. Deglobalization and/or regionalization (example of RCEP – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed in 2020 with 15 Asia-Pacific members pinky swearing their free trade agreement) are both gaining ground. More and more countries/regions turn inwards, to decrease their interdependence that globalization created over time. Germany is a current example for why deglobalization is a hot plate, but as I said it’s a story for another day.

What is Regionalization? The way that an area of the world containing several countries becomes more economically or politically important than its individual members.

Back to diversification. What is currently happening to the rest of the world (outside North America)? According to the World Bank:

East Asia and Pacific: Growth is projected to decelerate to 4.4% in 2022 before increasing to 5.2% in 2023. Europe and Central Asia: The regional economy is expected to shrink by 2.9% in 2022 before growing by 1.5% in 2023. Latin America and the Caribbean: Growth is projected to slow to 2.5% in 2022 and 1.9% in 2023. Middle East and North Africa: Growth is forecast to accelerate to 5.3% in 2022 before slowing to 3.6% in 2023. South Asia: Growth is projected to slow to 6.8% in 2022 and 5.8% in 2023. Sub-Saharan Africa: Growth is forecast to moderate to 3.7% in 2022 and rise to 3.8% in 2023.

diversificationThe global growth trend is on a downward spiral and although we would love to see the growth rate of emerging and developing countries growing faster than the advanced/developed countries, it’s not. No one likes the classifications developing / emerging / developed but this is the plate we’ve been served. If everyone says it’s a hot-dog, we can’t go around saying we’re serving lobster.

What is a developed country? A country that meets certain criteria relative to the quality of life of its citizens. Mature economy, GDP per capita, birth/death rates, political stability, industrialization, technological infrastructure, a financial sector integrated to the global financial system. The United Nations developed the HDI Index (Human Development) that classifies from 0-1, countries with the highest quality for its residents. Any score of 0.80 is considered developed. Anything lower is developing.

Examples of developed countries include Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Singapore, US, Finland and many more – Cyprus is somewhere in there too, I promise.

Why invest in a developed country?

Due to lower risk of economic and political instability, analysing potential returns can be more accurate. Tensions between nations are constant but there’s still a degree of safety compared with less developed countries. Also, the more developed a country is, the stricter its regulations are ensuring more accurate reporting and book keeping. A broad categorization we see in ETFs include Europe, Australasia and Far East (EAFE).

Currently we see contraction throughout the EU area with Italy, Spain, Sweden PMI Composites lower, FTSE 100 lower, Italian FTSE MIB Stock index lower, Madrid’s IBEX 35 index supported by listed bank’s gains, Australian ASX 200 retreating from 7 week highs as cost of living pressures slowly deplete spending power, New Zealand’s NZX 50 up by 1.5% although its jobless rate ticked up in Q2 2022, Singapore/Hong Kong’s private sector growing amid sustained COVID 19 recovery although rising living costs are dropping people’s confidence.

What is an emerging country? A country with considerable economic growth that has some (but not all) the characteristics of a developed country. It’s said to be in transition from developing to developed. Knock-knock. Who’s there? BRIC. BRIC who? Exactly

Quick Note: nothing against the other acronyms coined over the years like RDEs, CIVETS, MINT, Next Eleven (N-11). We’re mentioning the BRICS as a diversification example (with current news worth mentioning).

BRIC is a political and economic grouping of the world’s leading emerging market economies created in 2009. It initially comprised of Brazil, Russia, India and China. With the addition of South Africa in 2010, the organization came to be known as the BRICS. If you thought the EU was heavily populated with under half a billion, think of BRICS having a little over 3 billion people working, producing, procreating (what-what), influencing.

The BRICS nations saw the need for a new financial institution resembling the IMF which materialized into the BRICS Development Bank (or New Development Bank – NDB) – established in 2014 with an initial capital of $50 billion and headquartered in China.

Russia announced in June 2022, that a new global reserve currency (resembling the IMF’s SDR) is in discussion to be comprised by Real, Rubles, Rupees, Renminbi and Rand.

What is an SDR? The Special Drawing Right is a reserve asset created to be exchanged with other reserve assets of member countries at times of need. Comprised of USD, JPY, EURO, Chinese RMB, GBP with different weightings adjusted by each currency’s current prominence. If an IMF member country needs liquidity, it can exchange its SDRs for useable currencies held by other members. Their SDR holdings go down but they get liquidity in the currencies required to meet balance of payment, add to their own reserves, pay IMF loans or add to their quota increases. If countries hold onto their SDRs they earn interest. They also pay interest on their cumulative allocations at the same rate.

Note: A mammoth $650 billion allocation of SDRs was approved in 2021 to support the IMF members in their battle against the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable ones.


Why invest in an emerging market? Because of the potential for high growth. We know that changes in the US economy tend to travel to the rest of the world. Will it be the same moving ahead with more raised eyebrows on globalization?

We currently see the Brazilian Bovespa index (Ibovespa) closing a bit higher, boosted by commodity linked stocks, bank stocks, web services (although its industrial output in June showed contraction), we see Russian Stocks extending decline with the MOEX index closing lower with forecasts for an even larger GDP contraction, Colombia’s exports of fuel, coal, briquettes, agriculture rising to $5.5 billion (Colombia has an HDI of 0.767 that meets most criteria of a developed country but is sill classified as an emerging market. Major exporting partners are the US, the Netherlands, Panama and India). India’s trade deficit continues to grow due to increase in fossil fuel imports while BSE Sensex calms down with Kotak Mahindra Bank boosting the index higher along with “Better food for more people” Zomato’s corporate earnings. Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri releasing increased earnings (Indonesia is emerging as a confident middle income country).

So what is a developing country? A country that has a low per capita income. Characterized by lower quality of life for its residents, it could be a country with less access to safe drinking water, poor quality infrastructure, no potential for technological advancements, diseases, and energy deficiencies, no regulatory oversight.

Because of no regulatory oversight, it’s very hard to develop an equity market (known to push and accelerate growth). Therefore, news relating to developing countries will be relevant to their exports/imports, inflation rates, and other economic indicators. Randomly picked examples are Uganda’s inflation rising to 7.9% (mainly due to food, transport, furnishings), Sri Lanka posting a trade surplus from exports in textile and garments, industrial products or Zimbabwe inflation reaching a staggering 257%.

There’s so much more to talk about, relevant to diversification. Morningstar’s portfolio strategists are comparing diversification to insurance (it has a cost and might not always pay off, but when it does you’re glad you had it). Diversification comes in many sizes and forms. We barely scraped the surface here by looking into country classifications. One article at a time we will be looking into jumping from asset to another asset class, assets within their own asset classes, regions, sectors, funds, portfolio allocations like the 60/40 (which might need some calibration due to the current state of global economy – although there are other ways to avoid a DIY portfolio by targeting balanced funds, or target date funds whose allocation shifts as time for needing the money comes closer).

Stay tuned!

US inflation & Interest Rates – Coming in for a Hard or Soft Landing?

Looking at inflation in the US economy from a birds eye view and contemplating the possible outcomes of its central bank taking on mano-a-mano the +9% inflation rate, using an aggressive interest rate policy. Hmmm… Soft landing? or hard landing.

But what does an aggressive interest rate policy do? Well, as you would correctly think, it slows down an economy. It makes it harder for businesses (and consumers) to raise money, pulls back on spending and inevitably investing, with the hope that inflation will be reined in before things get out of hand.

Why is inflation so high? Consider all the push to support an economy during a pandemic, as well as the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors all out of whack. The Central Bank is mandated to intervene and stimulate the economy with monetary and fiscal policies that promote confidence, spending and investments. The more the economy grows, the more confident people get, the more they spend. And as long as the Interest rates are raised but at a decent pace, things could go back to normal given enough time.



But then an invasion of-all-things-possible takes place, sending diplomacy/politics/dialogue/tea-time/ out the window. Russia fills 10% of the World’s oil supply needs and together with Ukraine fill 25% of the world’s wheat supply needs, exporters of corn, barley, neon/palladium used in the production of semiconductors (the shortage of which is expected to run through all of 2023), all disrupted by the war. And what do you know? You eat a popsicle and end up with $25 in lumber for the stick. Inflation is the new black.


Slowing down an economy while combating inflation though, is the precondition of stagflation (or recession-inflation) – currently a popular meme. Stagflation (its friends call it Stag), refers to a stagnant economy with very high inflation, and a driving force for high unemployment. Ponder this – higher costs on essentials (food/gas) and less income/jobs. Stock and Bond markets hate Stag. It’s like an archvillain to a superhero, a nemesis, a world eater. And due to the Crypto correlation to the Stock Market, we should be looking at a drop there too.

Past examples of stagflation happened in the 70s after the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement. With oil embargos creating supply shortages and increasing energy prices, the Fed’s policies to help the situation resulted in inflation dropping but with increased unemployment. As Ray Dalio (Bridgewater hedge fund founder) pointed out, “inflation was reduced by people and companies being painfully squeezed out of spending. This will be the case this time as well”. Dalio also said that “High inflation almost always requires a Recession to normalize”.

Remember: A central bank’s Primary Goal, is the balance between inflation and unemployment. Keep prices in check, with as many people as possible employed and happily spending.


Think of an economy like a garden. A beautiful garden needs water, balanced diet (fertilizer), sun, and care. Keeping everything in balance requires hard work but the outcome is almost never in your control. You might overwater, underwater, use the wrong fertilizer, overfertilize, plant in the wrong place (shady or sunny), prune at the wrong time, force majeure (or force manure) ending up destroying your hard work.

Such is the life of a central bank. Constantly caring for the garden, making decisions with the Primary Goal in mind. Problem is that when you overwater a garden, you can’t stop watering completely. When you use the wrong fertilizer, you can’t remove it from the soil. Most of these problems, you have to live through. Root rot might occur in the process leading to fungi diseases, yellowing and dropping of leaves.

Interest rate hikes will help to reduce inflation but will worsen other parts of the economy as they take away a consumer’s spending power, which is a direct hit on businesses, their stock prices and the economy’s growth as well.

So soft landing Vs hard landing when it comes to cooling down an overheating economy

How can one expect an inflation caused by disease and war to be fought with pets and sweet talks? Soft landing requires more moderate than aggressive policies and cools down the economy like a breeze in a hot summer day. Economic contraction is unavoidable but does not lead to a recession.

What is a recession? By definition, recession’s in the air when an economy is contracting (shrinking) for two or more consecutive quarters.

What about hard landing then? A plane landing at high speed (which is where the term got its name) is still a landing, not a crash. Yeah, but… how would you rate your enthusiasm (spending/investing) if you knew your plane is possibly going to hard land? Not very calmly I suppose. So aggressive measures take place, consecutive interest rate hikes with one higher than the other, to salvage what you can.

Large funds, ETFs and billionaire investors extraordinaire are not as pessimistic as most, like peaceful protestors in a situation they have no control over. Not only do they look domestically on what’s what but also internationally to take advantage of markets not overrun by recessionary triggers.

All in all, surf the market waves cautiously because these are unprecedented times we live in (unprecedented relative to this generation) and diversify. The retail investments world has come a long way to open up markets previously unattainable by your average intelligent mammal. When one market screams, another might sing. You just need to know what to look for.

Belize Forex License | Definitions and Application Requirements

Currently considered one of the top offshore forex license options, the Belize forex license has established itself among one the best to have. With a higher capital requirement, the Belize option provides some insight into the level of capital available and seriousness of the Broker associated. Belize also offers a favourable Tax framework. Although there are reporting requirements, physical presence for board meetings is not required (with other solutions being acceptable). Belize maintains a good reputation in trader communities (compared to other offshore jurisdictions).


to answer the most frequently asked questions we receive on a Belize Forex License:


  • Local office with at least 1 employee is a requirement
  • The capital requirement is $500,000


How does someone start the process to obtaining a Belize Forex License?


As with most licenses, the first step is the formation / incorporation of a Belize company followed by the process of collecting/submitting the necessary documents and finally evaluation and approval/rejection of the license by the regulator. Further questions, documents might be requested throughout the process but with the final approval, the license fees are paid to the regulator and the steps for opening a corporate bank account to deposit the capital requirement can start.

If you have Institutional business as a network and operate through a forex IB or White Label program, jurisdictions like Belize may be considered a “pricier” option when considering to start your own brokerage, but it does give a strong impression regarding the seriousness of your business. Unlike working unregulated, Belize will provide comfort to your clients who need a regulated broker to support their trading needs.


Find out which brokers are registered in Belize today as well as the country’s latest economic data.


In this regard, some of the documents required (but not limited to) are:

  • An accurately completed application form, signed and notarized
  • Details and Data on directors and shareholders with documentary evidence of information provided
  • Copies of passports, proof of country residence and bank statements separately on each shareholder and director all of which must be notarized
  • A CV for each shareholder and director
  • A comprehensive business plan
  • Clean criminal record from each of the respective countries of origin for each of the directors / shareholders
  • Letters of reference from Banking Providers

All documents that are presented in the case for application and company formation should be complete, duly signed and notarized by a Belize notary. If the original documents are not in English, these should be translated and certified locally. For government issued documents, there may be a requirement for these to be apostilled.


Information on the corporate structure requirements of a Belize forex license


Shareholders and Directors are not required to reside in Belize, however they are required to have appropriate background and experience fitting their roles. They should have a clean criminal record. There must be a local director (Belize resident) on the board. In order for the process of the license to begin, a local entity must be established with all the relevant documents and information submitted. Belize is FATCA compliant, but still maintains the discreet handling of banking and transaction details.

A company that is looking to acquire a Belize license, will be required to have a capital adequacy of no less than $500,000 and will be required to pay a yearly fee of $25,000. The company will be required to keep up-to-date records and maintain regular reporting with the regulator at the prescribed periods (Reporting will include – but not limited to – capital, income, as well as the number, volumes and values of all executed trades. It is important to select the name of the company correctly and according to the guidelines of the Belize authorities.

In order to benefit from the various corporate incentives for operation of international business, it is important to note that no transactions should be conducted with local Belize entities or individuals and that the Belize Dollar should not be a currency offered for trade / transaction.


Looking for a Belize Forex License? Contact us today too look into the details

Time frames to get the Belize forex license:

It’s in the discretion of the national regulator to approve, ask questions or even reject any application depending on its complexity and structure. Process should be completed within 3-6 moths from submission of application. Our initial (internal) assessments are usually enough to identify problems (if any) in the early stages, thus maintaining excellent time frames.



How allFX-Consult can step into this picture:

allFX-Consult is a capital markets and forex consulting agency, catering to quality rather than quantity. For over a decade, our Directors have been connecting with some of the best individuals/professionals, service providers and brokers the industry has to offer so that we can meet any forex corporate challenge.

Because of this, allFX-Consult always has a counterpart/partner for any corporate structure. Before we make any recommendations, we thoroughly examine all possibilities. We’re chosen for being discreet, detail oriented and deadline driven.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss your case through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–,

#forexlicense #offshorelicense #belizeforexlicense #forexib #whitelabel

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IFD/IFR – The new prudential framework for Investment Firms

Following the publication on the 5th of December, 2019 in the EU Official Journal regarding the Investment Firms Directive (IFD) and Investment Firms Regulation (IFR), the new IFD/IFR regime came into force on the 26th of June, 2021 as originally planned.

The idea behind the new IFD/IFR framework is to separate (via classification) past regulatory standards set to regulate large banking groups with regulatory standards proportionate to the size/activities/risk of Investment Firms, at EU level.

Although designed for reasons more sophisticated than a simple description, IFD/IFR aims to regulate in such way that depending on the business practices, size and interconnectedness with other players, a potential failure of the investment firm can be “wound down in an orderly manner with minimal disruption to the stability of the financial markets”.

The larger scale firms will be classified as Credit Institutions and be regulated according to those standards, whereas for the rest of the Investment Firms, capital requirements will be calculated according to a Permanent Minimum Requirement, a Fixed Overhead Requirement and a new set of standards called K-Factors.

K-Factors take into consideration all those characteristics that pose a threat – external/internal (Risk to Customer, Risk to Market and Risk to Firm) – and calculate the requirements accordingly.

A practical guide to the IFD/IFR was published by CySEC with all the relevant information. The guide’s link can be found in Circular 355, point 6. A summary of the guide is provided below.


Under the IFD/IFR framework, there are four (4) classes of Investment Firms:


Class 1A – Characteristics:

  • Investment Firm with current initial capital requirements of Euro 730,000 [that carry out any of the activities referred to in points (3) and (6) of Section A of Annex I to Directive 2014/65/EU (points (3) and (6) of Part I, Annex I of the Law)]
  • systemically important firm due to the Risk to Market threat its size and activities pose
  • will seek authorization as a Credit Institution
  • is not a commodity and emission allowance dealer
    • bet you didn’t know that emission allowance dealer was a thing, did ya? Google, also a thing, states the following “to incentivise firms to reduce their emissions, a government sets a cap on the maximum level of emissions and creates permits, or allowances, for each unit of emissions allowed under the cap. For a given permit price, some firms will find it easier, or cheaper, to reduce emissions than others and will sell their permits via a dealer.”
  • is not a collective investment undertaking “not investing  funds in various securities, real estate and other assets, with the sole aim of spreading investment risks
  • is not an insurance undertaking “authorised under the law of a territory within the EEA to carry on insurance business
  • the total value of the consolidated assets of the undertaking is equal to or exceeds EUR 30 billion
  • the total value of the assets of the undertaking is less than EUR 30 billion, and the undertaking is part of a group in which the total value of the consolidated assets of all undertakings in that group that individually have total assets of less than EUR 30 billion and that carry out any of the activities referred to in points (3) and (6) of Section A of Annex I to Directive 2014/65/EU is equal to or exceeds EUR 30 billion
  • the total value of the assets of the undertaking is less than EUR 30 billion, and the undertaking is part of a group in which the total value of the consolidated assets of all undertakings in the group that carry out any of the activities referred to in points (3) and (6) of Section A of Annex I to Directive 2014/65/EU is equal to or exceeds EUR 30 billion.


Class 1B – Characteristics:

  • Investment Firm with current initial capital requirements of Euro 730,000 [that carry out any of the activities referred to in points (3) and (6) of Section A of Annex I to Directive 2014/65/EU (points (3) and (6) of Part I, Annex I of the Law)]
  • will remain under CySEC supervision under CRR2/CRDV for prudential requirements(article 1(2) of IFR).
  • is not a commodity and emission allowance dealer
  • is not a collective investment undertaking
  • is not an insurance undertaking
  • total value of the consolidated assets of the investment firm is equal to or exceeds EUR 15 billion
  • the total value of the consolidated assets of the investment firm is less than EUR 15 billion, and the investment firm is part of a group in which the total value of the consolidated assets of all undertakings in the group that individually have total assets of less than EUR 15 billion and that carry out any of the activities referred to in points (3) and (6) of Section A of Annex I to Directive 2014/65/EU is equal to or exceeds EUR 15 billion
  • the investment firm is subject to a decision by the competent authority in accordance with Article 5 of IFD.


Class 2 – Characteristics:

  • default categorization for Investment Firms
  • large Investment Firms not classified as Systemically Important, they pose little to no threat to financial markets stability
  • will be subject to new Remuneration rules
  • an investment firm is categorized as Class 2 if it no longer meets any of the conditions mentioned in point Class 3 below
  • will be subject to all IFR rules.


Class 3 – Characteristics:

  • subject to IFR but with limited scope
  • non-Systemic SNI (defined as small and non-interconnected investment firms)
  • They don’t undertake higher risk activities
  • They don’t hold client money or client securities
  • AUM (Assets Under Management) measured in accordance with Article 17 is less than EUR 1,2 billion;
  • COH (Client Orders Handled) measured in accordance with Article 20 is less than either: – EUR 100 million/day for cash trades; or – EUR 1 billion/day for derivatives;
  • ASA (Assets safeguarded and administered) measured in accordance with Article 19 is zero;
  • CMH (Client Money Held) measured in accordance with Article 18 is zero;
  • DTF (Daily Trading Flow) measured in accordance with Article 33 is zero;
  • NPR (Net Position Risk) or CMG (Clearing Margin Given) measured in accordance with Articles 22 and 23 is zero;
  • TCD (Trading Counterparty Default) measured in accordance with Article 26 is zero;
  • The on‐ and off‐balance‐sheet total of the investment firm is less than EUR 100 million; 5
  • The total annual gross revenue from investment services and activities of the investment firm is less than EUR 30 million, calculated as an average on the basis of the annual figures from the two‐year period immediately preceding the given financial year. Investment firms under class 3 will be subject to the new IFR/IFD regime but with certain exceptions.


IFD/IFR Capital Requirements for Class 2 and 3:


PMR – Permanent Minimum Capital Requirement depending on activities

€75,000 – Not permitted to hold client money or securities belonging to its clients

  • Reception and transmission of orders in relation to one or more financial instruments
  • Execution of orders on behalf of clients
  • Portfolio management
  • Investment advice
  • Placing of financial instruments without a firm commitment basis


  • Dealing on own account
  • Underwriting and/or placing of financial instruments on a firm commitment basis
  • Operation of an Organised Trading Facility (where the investment firm engages in dealing on own account or is permitted to do so


All other Investment Firms


FOR – Fixed Overhead Requirement

  • Set to at least ¼ of preceding year’s fixed overheads
  • Excludes variable overheads such as profit shares, fees to tied agents, non-recurring expenses, variable remuneration, losses from trading on own account, tax expenditures


KFR – K-Factor Capital Requirement (for Class 2 firms)

  • K-factors are quantitative indicators targeting the measurement of the risk posed by the investment firm to its customers (RtC) and to the market (RtM) but also the risk posed to the firm itself (RtF).
  • A coefficient is used to multiply the K-Factor, with the result being the capital requirement. 


Risk to Client (RtC)

K-AUM: Assets under management – under both discretionary portfolio management and non-discretionary advisory arrangements of an ongoing basis (Art. 17 – IFR).

Coefficient – 0,02%

K-CMH: Client money held – captures the risk of potential for harm where an investment firm holds money for its customers taking into account the legal arrangements in relation to asset segregation and irrespective of the national accounting regime applicable to client money. Excludes client money that is deposited on a (custodian) bank account in the name of the client itself, where the investment firm has access to these client funds via a third-party mandate. (on segregated or non-segregated basis) (Art. 18 – IFR).

Coefficient – 0,4% (on segregated accounts) 0,5% (on non-segregated accounts)

K-ASA: Assets safeguarded and administered – ensures that investment firms hold capital in proportion to such balances, regardless of whether they are on its own balance sheet or in third-party accounts (Art. 19 – IFR).

Coefficient – 0,04%

K-COH: Client orders handled – captures the potential risk to clients of an investment firm which executes its orders (in the name of the client, not in the name of the investment firm itself). (Art. 20 – IFR).

Coefficient – 0,1%


Risk to Market (RtM)

K-NPR: Net position risk – based on the market risk framework (standardised approach, or if applicable, internal models) of the CRR (Art. 22 – IFR)

Or K-CMG: Clearing member guarantee – Investment firm’s clearing member – where permitted by a Member State competent authority for specific types of investment firms which deal on own account through clearing members, based on the total margins required by an investment firm’s clearing member (Art. 23 – IFR)


Risk to Firm (RtF)

K-DTF: Daily trading flow – based on transactions recorded in the trading book of the investment firm dealing on own account, whether for itself or on behalf of a client, and the transactions that an investment firm enters through the execution of orders on behalf of clients in its own name. (Art. 33 – IFR)

Coefficient – 0,1% for cash trades, 0,01% on derivatives

K-TCD: Trading counterparty default – investment firm’s exposure to the default of their trading counterparties in accordance with simplified provisions for counterparty credit risk based on the CRR (Art. 26 – IFR)

K-CON: Concentration – concentration risk in an investment firm’s large exposures to specific counterparties based on the provisions of the CRR that apply to large exposures in the trading book. (Art. 39 – IFR).


IFD/IFR – Own funds requirements


Investment firms shall have own funds consisting of the sum of their Common Equity Tier 1 capital, Additional Tier 1 capital and Tier 2 capital, and shall meet all the following conditions at all times (Art. 9 of IFR):

  • Common Equity Tier 1 capital /D >= 56% D
  • [Common Equity Tier 1 capital + Additional Tier 1 capital] /D >= 75% D
  • [Common Equity Tier 1 capital + Additional Tier 1 capital + Tier 2 capital] /D >= 100% D

Where D is the highest of own funds requirements as defined in Art. 11 of IFR and described above as:

  • Fixed overheads requirement (FOR)
  • Permanent Minimum capital requirement (PMR)
  • K-Factor Requirement (KFR)


Concentration Risk Requirements

Concentrated Risk to an individual client or group of clients is limited to 25% of the Investment Firm’s own funds


Liquidity requirements

Investment firms under class 2 and class 3 (subject to exemptions) shall hold an amount of liquid assets equivalent to at least one third (1/3) of the Fixed overhead requirement, calculated in accordance with Art. 13(1) of IFR.


Disclosure requirements

  • risk management objectives and policies (Art. 47 – IFR)
  • internal governance arrangements (Art. 48 – IFR)
  • own funds requirements (Art. 49, 50 – IFR)
  • remuneration policy and practices (Art. 51 – IFR)
  • investment policy (Art. 52 – IFR)
  • environmental, social and governance risk (Art. 53 – IFR)


Reporting requirements

For deadlines on submission dates please refer to Circular 442 – published on April 21, 2021

  • Level and composition of own funds
  • Own funds requirements
  • Own funds requirement calculations
  • Where the firm is a Class 3 firm – the level of activity, including the balance sheet and revenue breakdown by investment service and applicable K-factor
  • Concentration risk
  • Liquidity requirements


Its very important for all new and existing Cyprus Investment Firms (CIFs) to familiarize themselves with the IFD/IFR framework, its obligations and templates. The IFR became fully applicable to all EU member states on the 26th of June, 2021. The IFD was transposed into national legislation and entered into force the same day.

Useful links


How allFX-Consult can step into this picture:

allFX-Consult is a boutique forex consulting agency, catering to quality rather than quantity. For over a decade, our Directors have been connecting with some of the best individuals/professionals, service providers and brokers the industry has to offer, ensuring we can meet any corporate challenge relative to how to start a forex brokerage.

Because of this, allFX-Consult always has a counterpart/partner for any corporate structure. Before we make any recommendations, we thoroughly examine all possibilities. We’re chosen for being discreet, detail oriented and deadline driven.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss any forex related topic through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx– We specialise in training sales teams and forex corporate structures for individuals/corporations that want to Start a Forex Brokerage.


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To consult or not to consult – that is the question

When looking for a solution to a challenge, there are many variables to consider and options to choose from!  

We all think we know what we want and what’s best to do in theory. But when the dreaded time comes to make a final decision, we end up confused. To make things worse we realize that people close to us supporting our decision-making process are not enough to give us clarity, maybe because they don’t know enough or maybe because they’re biased (any future decisions affect them directly). It doesn’t really matter why because we still need to make a decision and therefore, forced to look elsewhere for answers.  


What makes a consultant a valuable ally?  


From most consultants’ perspective, if a client is reaching out with a specific request they must have thought about it enough to lean towards a certain direction. So what’s wrong with giving a direct answer to their inquiry, discussing pricing that works and giving them what they want? At the end of the day, a consultant fills a need and complicating things might not end up in his/her favour.  

Spending the least amount of time/cost and getting the most return out of each case is the common strategy for most. Why would a consultant bother going the extra mile or offer more information / potential solutions to elements that may need to be addressed, if the client didn’t ask?   

Consulting, in its core is neither coaching nor decision making. Consulting includes research/evaluation from an unbiased third-party standpoint, often beyond the limitations of the current network. Ultimately, presenting the client with feedback, strategic advice and viable courses of action.  

A consultant’s network (where the proposed solutions will be derived from) in itself can be a limitation. Why? Because no one has all the answers and if they say they do, this may be a potential red flag. Without taking into account what else could be done and adding value through the collection of more information and proper due diligence, (beyond our network when required), how can we be sure that we are proposing the most complete solution possible?   

NOTE: Before committing to a course of action or consulting agency, look for 2nd or 3rd opinions. As with important health decisions, where you accept the cost of a 2nd and 3rd opinion to cross check that the right diagnosis is given, you should spare no expense when it comes to your business’s future as well. The increasing number of SOS cases we receive is a testament to this.  

Food for thought – how can one assume that the right decision is being made only because it follows the direction of the one asking? Maybe, the wrong question was asked to begin with. For example, there are solutions to banking problems in various jurisdictions. In some cases painful (costly) and extremely risky, but possible. You can present these solutions as a direct answer and be done with it, or suggest more viable alternative structures to the brokerage that can fix the banking problem and also set the path for a sustainable future.  

When a consultant is hired, the client and the consultant’s interest are now aligned (or should be in our opinion). In the research and elimination process for the correct direction, of a more complex challenge, the following will become apparent:  

  • Most solutions noted down are of the same nature  

When you browse through your notes, you come to realize that the solutions (even though offered by different providers with minor differences) are the same in nature.   

  • Some solutions complement each other  

Although solutions are straight forward on their own, depending on the case’s requirements/limitations, when combined can form a better structure that fixes a short-term challenge and at the same time offer a long-term advantage that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. So not having enough options limits your perspective into what else you might be able to pull off with minor tweaks or combos. Almost there…  

  • You’re able to identify the white noise (all “quick fix” options that would eventually lead to problems during actual operations)  

There are so many cowboys in the crowd selling and pitching stuff (some of them quite good at it actually) and if you’re not careful, you might make emotional decisions (rush to fix your current problem and unknowingly add another). You tend to forget the rationale of narrowing down, eliminating, choosing the lesser of a few evils (because no business decision is actually perfect). You need to learn to “read between the lines” as some providers will take your project at face value and provide a direct solution to what you want (so you’re limited by your own inquiry). Some will take on your project and give temporary solutions to fix your current issue (knowing it’s a short-term fix, in many cases with potentially irreparable future damage). Some will look into the overall picture and give more options and recommendations that fit the part.  

Understood!  Now what?  

If you carefully collected the information, you should be able to cross check the questions/answers of different providers and identify future problems within the solutions they offer. Where one provider pitched a solution as the answer to your prayers, another might have a different opinion on the matter. Like using an entity (payment agent) to fix a current banking problem, that only transfers the problem to the payment agent. And here you are again with the same problem (minus a couple of thousand $$$ paid to receive this awesome solution). The more providers you approach for the same question, the better the elimination process of this “white noise” will be. You now have a clearer path as to what can actually cause headaches down the line, even though it might offer a quick fix.  

Important note: there’s no right or wrong in choosing a quick fix, as long as you are aware that it’s not going to last. The problem is when a provider pitches this as a permanent solution.

Making the right choice is rarely (at least in the years that we’ve been consulting) the answer to the direct question a client asked in the beginning. Many of our clients may have been convinced on an IB/White Label solution that kept them locked in an unproductive cycle, or chose a jurisdiction unrelated to their plan and target audience, or filed a weak application with a regulator ending up in a disaster, or were convinced on a business model that generated less than their previous operation. And the list goes on and on…  

From our experience, the best providers won’t give a client direct answers/solutions to their challenges (unless a direct solution is undeniably the correct choice). They will provide options and alternatives after proper due diligence. They will add or remove options they themselves suggested in the first place as more information comes forward, thoroughly evaluate and narrow everything down. The final result will be an educated, researched process to work with and not wishful thinking or unreachable targets that simply satisfy shareholders.  

It’s very difficult for a good consultant to take on your project at face value, knowing there could be better solutions to your case. Some people might be more knowledgeable than others but we’ve come to realize that no one is an “expert” in anything. So walking with a grounded partner down the path of deciding the future of your business, is most definitely a win because where everyone else keeps failing with inadequate information, you will always come out on top with solid structures, targeted milestones and a stronger base to work with.  

#consulting #businesschallenges #supercombo #mortalkombat #hamlet #secondopinion #thirdopinion #duediligence #brokeragesetup #capitalmarkets #solutions




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About allFX-Consult:  

allFX-Consult is a capital markets consulting agency, catering to quality rather than quantity. For over a decade, our Directors have been connecting with some of the best individuals/professionals, service providers and brokers the industry has to offer so that we can meet any corporate challenge that comes our way.  

allFX-Consult always has a counterpart/partner for any corporate structure. Before introductions/connections take place, we thoroughly examine all possibilities.  

We’re chosen for being discreet, detail oriented and deadline driven.  

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss any capital market related topic through the contact form, through our social media or one of our emails at info@allfx–, We specialise in training and corporate structures for individuals that want to Start a Forex Brokerage