Looking for bank stocks? Ditch the U.S. and head to Europe, Citi says

SARA SJOLIN | March 24, 2017

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Don’t freak out about the current selloff in banking stocks — just pick your region carefully if diving into the financial sector. That’s the message from Citigroup, which recommended ditching U.S. banks and instead looking across the Atlantic to European lenders that have a lot of things going for them at the moment.

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AmWINS Group

AmWINS Group, Inc. is the largest wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products and services in the U.S. AmWINS has expertise across a diversified mix of property, casualty, group benefits and reinsurance products. We also offer value-added services to support these products, including product development, underwriting, premium and claims administration and actuarial services.

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NFTs - A hype or a Lasting New Investment Asset Class?

Article | August 18, 2021

NFTs are at the moment a real buzz. The word NFT stands for non-fungible token, which means a unique, irreplaceable cryptographic object. It aims to manage ownership of digital content (digital collectible items) by storing the ownership in the form of a digital certificate on a blockchain (usually on the Ethereum blockchain, but other blockchains can also be used). This way the buyer can prove that he is the owner of a certain digital item. The fact that the NFT token is unique and irreplaceable, generates traceability of the owner, but also ensures authenticity and (digital) scarcity, thus resulting in its value (via its uniqueness it becomes a collectible item). This makes it an attractive asset for both buyers and sellers. For sellers, creating (= minting) an NFT gives an easy option to monetize (without intermediaries like galleries or auction houses) their digital content (products), like digital pictures, animations, music, videos…. Additionally NFTs have the feature that the author can also get a percentage of future transaction amounts (thus profiting of a future increase in value of the NFT). The buyer can invest in digital art and can be sure of the uniqueness and his ownership (i.e. the bragging right that you own the art) and the ownership can easily be transferred to any other buyer in the world (becoming the new owner) with the click of a button. NFTs started in 2017 with CryptoKitties (a game to breed and trade digital kittens) and CryptoPunks and gradually increased over the last years, but it exploded in 2021 (i.e. in 2020 the market was estimated to $250 million over the whole year, while in the month of February 2021 alone already $360 million of NFTs were traded), with some record transactions, like: The record is held by the digital composite called "EVERYDAYS: The First 5000 Days" of the digital artist "Beeple" (Mike Winklemann), which was sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. Of the same artist also a video was sold for $6.6 million. Christie’s auctioned recently also an NFT of 9 virtual rare CryptoPunks for a record amount of $16.9 million The first tweet on Twitter of the co-founder and CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey was sold for just under $3 million The Canadian singer-songwriter Grimes (also known as the partner of Elon Musk) sold for around $6 million of digital artworks, including an NFT of about $400.000 for a 50-second video. NBA’s Top Shot has generated more than $230 million in selling NFTs of NBA highlight videos, with a top transaction for a movie of Lebron James dunking, which was bought for over $200.000. These NFTs have become the digital equivalent of the paper sports collection cards. While those transactions get the news headlines for their record amounts, thousands of NFTs are also sold for a few thousand euros. E.g. a selfie of Lindsey Lohan was sold for $59.000, Bad Luck Brian yearbook photo for $36.000 or the "Charlie bit my finger!" YouTube clip was sold for $761.000, not to mention the thousands of transactions that do not get any media attention at all. These enormous prices definitely attract a lot of media attention and investors, but nonetheless NFTs remain difficult to grasp. While for traditional art, the owner has the physical artwork in his possession, this is not the case at all for NFTs. For example, the NFT for the Beeple picture sold for the record amount can perfectly be downloaded on the internet at no cost. This downloaded file will be identical to the digital file owned by the buyer (i.e. the copy is literally as good as the original). Obviously, this is a new technology which raises a lot of questions and issues, e.g. What do you actually own? The NFT is just a digital certificate on a blockchain. The blockchain does not even contain the digital artwork, but just a link to a location where the digital artwork is stored. This raises automatically questions like: What is the legal ground of an NFT? Can you claim the ownership in court, i.e. will the courts consider the blockchain as sufficient proof of ownership? Will the judge even understand it? Will it have the same legal basis in any country in the world? Can I win at court if someone exploits commercially the digital content owned by me? What happens if the link to which the NFT refers is no longer available? Does the NFT lose its value? Can the link be adapted? What is the exact digital asset I am owning? On the blockchain a hash of the digital asset, together with some ownership info, is stored. However if someone changes 1 (invisible) pixel to a digital artwork, the hash will no longer match. Do I also have the ownership of this new (nearly equivalent) digital artwork? How transparent and well-defined are the properties of ownership? E.g. do you also buy the copyright and reproduction rights? Are you allowed to ask royalties if the digital item is downloaded/published? Are you allowed to ask BigTechs (like Facebook or Google) to remove all copies they store of your digital asset? NFTs are typically sold via intermediate platform (like OpenSea, Rarible, Superrare, Foundation, AtomicHub, Nifty Gateway, KnownOrigin…), managing the contact with the artist, setting up the NFT, managing the transactions on the Blockchain and also storing the digital artwork in the cloud (i.e. location to which NFT refers). This raises a number of questions about the trustworthiness of those platforms: Will they ensure the link to the artwork remains available (i.e. not lost or broken)? Even if they go bankrupt? More and more decentral IPFS network or blockchain based storage is used to mitigate this risk. Does the platform ensure an artist does not create multiple NFTs of the same (or slightly changed) digital asset? Do they ensure that the NFS is minted by the real artist (creator) of the content and not by an imposter? Which procedures do they have in place for verifying that? Even though the decentralized nature of the underlying blockchain ensures trust, buyers and sellers still need to trust the platforms facilitating these NFT transactions. This is for me a general issue of blockchain use cases (cfr. my blog on blockchain "ttps://bankloch.blogspot.com/2020/02/blockchain-beyond-hype.html" - Blockchain - Beyond the hype), i.e. although the blockchain entry can be perfectly trusted, the end-to-end user journey is much more extensive, thus requiring still trust in a central party. How future-proof are the blockchains? With blockchains in full evolution, will the Ethereum blockchain (or other blockchain on which an NFT is held) still be around in 5 years or in 10 years (or not be replaced by a more popular and more modern blockchain)? Will it be possible to keep the decentralized nature of this blockchain while volumes increase enormously? Beginning of June 2021 the Ethereum blocksize (of the full blockchain) was over 800 GB, an increase of more than 100% compared to the year before. This shows that storing the full blockchain (and then we do not even speak about the resources required for mining) has become more and more a specialist job, hence more centralisation and less guarantee that a lot of parties will continue to keep track of the full blockchain. Furthermore it means it becomes less straight forward to prove your NFT ownership, without consulting a specialized party which stores the full blockchain. Is the energy consumption for an NFT sustainable and will it not negatively impact the future success of NFTs?. For example, the energy consumption to create an NFT of a simple animation is equal to using 1.5 million times a pressure cooker. However with blockchains switching more to Proof of Stake-consensus mechanisms this will likely be resolved in the coming years (although Proof of Stake raises naturally other new concerns about centralization and potential manipulation). Are the NFTs currently sold for a lot of money sufficiently time-lasting? This question can be raised for both the digital artworks as for the technology underpinning it: Are the digital artworks not too time-specific, i.e. linked to current, non-lasting hypes? E.g. will YouTube movies which are popular now still be remembered and popular in 5 years? In the traditional art, certain historical artists (like Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso…) have an established reputation/track record, but for this digital art there is of course no historical records to turn to and as a result it is very difficult to predict future trends. NFTs are also more and more used in games, to describe ownership of virtual plots of land or unique weapons or armors. This makes the NFT practically usable, but what is the value in a few years when the game is no longer popular? Is the technology sufficiently robust? Not only is there a risk due to the above-mentioned dependency on blockchains and the platforms for storing the digital asset, but besides that you also have to ensure the file format of the digital content can still be read or ensure you can still access your digital wallet. Due to popularity of the underlying blockchains (like Ethereum), NFTs are confronted with high transaction costs(high gas fees to get your NFT on the blockchain). While this transaction cost is marginal for the above record amount NFTs, it does pose an issue for cheaper NFTs (as transaction cost become too significant compared to the NFT price). The whole process of minting, buying and transferring NFTs is not so user friendly, i.e. you need to onboard on an NFT platform, you have to acquire the right crypto-currency (e.g. if the NFT is on the Ethereum blockchain, you need Ether coins, i.e. Bitcoins won’t be usable) and you have to pay with crypto-currencies, which is still not so user-friendly (i.e. typically via a browser plugin, which might be easy for a computer specialist, but still difficult to setup for the common layman). Clearly the concept of NFTs is great, as there is a need for managing ownership of digital content. With more and more digital content being produced and some artists even only exclusively producing digital content, there is a need for them to make money and NFTs are a good way to do this. However the too strong focus on the underlying (blockchain) technology and the bullish prices, make it still too much a playground for the (mega)-rich, than a common investment asset class. However even if it remains such a playground, it is still interesting to follow. As there are as many as 100,000 people who have $1 million or more stashed in crypto-currencies, there is an enormous audience with the means, interest and risk appetite to try out NFTs. For them, there is the cool factor of trying out something new, the potential of making same profits as with crypto-currencies, the emotional and bragging aspect of owning digital arts (compared with owning parts of the moon or owning a star. This has no legal ground, but is still very romantic and fun) and the Robinhood aspect of pushing governments to change and fighting the traditional art system (cfr. the actions on Robinhood to stop the short-sellers on the share of GameStop). This being said, NFTs are clearly an excellent real-live experiment, where fundamental questions around ownership, value, digitalization and authenticity are being addresses. The question remains however if ownership can be managed outside governments, i.e. as ownership requires laws to protect the owner, it is very difficult to manage this outside a government. Clearly governments should sponsor some kind of register of such digital ownership. This will ensure that there is legal ground and also long-term continuity, as unlikely governments will disappear/go bankrupt. However if done by a government, there is no real need for a blockchain, as you have a central, credible authority, which could perfectly store the ownership (personal details of the owner) and the full digital content (so not just a hash) in a traditional database. While governments are starting now to explore an alternative for crypto-currencies in the form of CBDCs (cfr. my blog "https://bankloch.blogspot.com/2021/05/cbdc-new-kid-on-block.html" - CBDC - The new kid on the block), this will likely happen as well for NFTs. In the meantime, it is good the conservative art world is shaken up by these kinds of innovations.

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Technological Innovation and Everyday Lifestyle

Article | July 7, 2021

Technological innovation over the recent decades has attracted increased interest of researchers and industry experts thereby becoming an integral part of everyday lifestyle. The challenge lies in resolving the dispute between a forward-looking innovative structure promoting innovation, and a proportionately meticulous schema that is capable of winning faith of consumer. Information technology is fast turning to be a key instrument in the lives of consumer across generations. In current global economy, customers across industries have been pampered and the credit goes to “Bigtechs ” like Ali Baba, Apple, Amazon, E-bay, the list being exhaustive along with “Fintech ” and “Incumbent banks ” as a result, consumers expect swift product delivery with flawless service. A review of available literature is suggestive that further expositions tend to focus on fintech and its integration in banking arena investigating the factors that underpin the choice of external partners to collaborate, design, develop and implement fintech capability while addressing the gap between research and industry evolution. Recent developments in technology have refurbished global economies at an immensely fast pace, making the business environment extremely challenging with continued margin pressure. Digital technologies are intrusive to not only the competition but also to the role of payments in businesses impacting the ultimate consumers. Investigating digital transformation has been of continuing interest across industries. Digitization might abolish some vital job roles, threatening the human workforce reluctant to digital changes. However, observations are indicative of focus towards higher-value tasks and creating unprecedented opportunities. For instance, adoption of digitization in financial industry, provides considerable opportunity to relationship managers to spend minimal time in operational activities and maximum towards advising customers. Amongst many ideas laying the foundation of fintech adoption, a growing body of literature recognizes two vital causes for the evolution of fintech companies that can be routed back to a decade. Firstly, the global economic financial crisis also called economic recession that has distinctly exhibited to consumers the flaws of the traditional system. Second, the evolution of new technologies that boosted mobility, easy flow of information, speeding up the service delivery and lowering the costs. The way banks engage the customer today has gained fresh prominence, with a movement from branch banking to digital systems, benefitting from customer insights. Aiming to enhance consumer engagement and gain competitive advantage, debates continue about the best strategies banks adopt to engage with customers that has resulted in adding capabilities and complex technology on top of systems and processes to meet dynamic customers’ expectations to gain real time personalization. Much debated question is whether organizations with traditional framework are able to come up to such expectations becoming capable of disrupting industry by prompt digital delivery using advanced algorithms and digital platforms to successfully provide unrestricted access to information bits. Promising superior experience to users, however, if industry experts hit the bulls-eye and tend to offer more competitive prices, enhanced operational controls may entitle lesser risk and probability of higher revenues. Such developments bring along advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Whereas advantage lies in reduced transaction processing times, service excellence and global integration the disadvantages lie in the fact that not many users are keen to shift to the fintech modes as far as their financial transactions are concerned since they are apprehensive of the risks associated with such adoption, witnessing this paradigm shift in the pace at which industry is developing focussing on much saturated red ocean of retail banking and gradually making a shift towards payment systems, which seems to be an untapped blue ocean of opportunities. The underpinning factors that govern the financial industry are KYC / AML and CFT together forming the basis for regulatory controls. Ethical transparent business knit together with service excellence, minimal risk, a strong regulatory framework in the competitive industry has given the incumbent banks an opportunity to partner, collaborate and codevelop with technology and consulting firms for collaborative innovation. Technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain are capable of providing effective product suite to clients resulting in scalability of business.. On the other hand, robots replacing front end customer interface causes threat of redundancy to human capital and increase the training costs. As a result, many times an informal approach to collaboration tends to delay the outcome since the senior management looks at digitization in transaction banking as a profitable step and the middle management is hesitant of human redundancy, training etc which might cause delay. Taken together, a probable explanation advocates that common goals of digitization in financial institutions are regulatory control, risk mitigation, increase in revenue and to meet dynamic customer expectations by co-developing with external partners to gain competitive advantage. This adoption may further lead to higher cohesiveness in departments, improved value chain and reduced turnaround time with higher resolution quality. The digital transformation is capable of reducing the operational costs and overheads leading to increased profits, improved efficiency, better regulatory controls with less risks and collaborative opportunities for partners taking benefit of its tech talent to reach desired results. References: Anikina, I.D., Gukova, V.A., Golodova, A.A. and Chekalkina, A.A. 2016. Methodological Aspects of Prioritization of Financial Tools for Stimulation of Innovative Activities. European Research Studies Journal, 19(2), 100-112. Boston Consulting Group 2018, Three Keys to successful digitization in Transaction Banking, Boston Consulting Group, pp1-2 Botta, et.al.,2016. Technology innovations driving change in transaction banking. [Online] Accessed on March 11, 2018 Available at:https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/technology-innovations-driving-change-in-transaction-banking Capegemini & LinkedIn, 2018, World Fintech Report, p. 9-10 Hammond, Alex, August 2017, How banks are getting the digitization of core banking wrong, pp 1-8, [Online] [Accessed on April 02, 2018] Available at:https://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/2017/Aug/23/how-banks-are-getting-the-digitisation-of-core-banking-wrong/ Johnson. et. al., 2017, Exploring Strategy chapter 3 Industry and sector analysis, pp. 62-91 Markovitch, Shahar & Wilcott, Paul, May 2014, Accelerating the digitization of business processes, Digital McKinsey, McKinsey & Company, pp 1-5 Mehrotra, Mohit, 2014, Digital Transaction Banking: Opportunities & Challenges, Deloitte Consulting Pte Ltd., pp 1-22 Olanrewaju, Tunde, July 2014, The rise of the digital bank, Digital McKinsey, McKinsey & Company, pp 1-5 Puschmann, Thomas, 2 February 2017, Fintech, Bus Inf Syst Eng 59(1): 69-76, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017 Saksonova, Svetlana, Kuzmina-Merlino, Irina, 2017, Fintech as Financial Innovation – The Possibilities and Problems of Implementation, European Research Studies Journal, Volume XX, Issue 3A, pp 1-14

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On Diversity. Learnings from Bitcoin. A Gift Idea

Article | November 24, 2020

On Diversity 1.Diversity is critical. Human life endures and evolves due to the intertwining of different gene pools. Innovation happens with fresh insightful connections between cultures, expertise and backgrounds. Treating people equally and with respect, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual identity or age, among other differences, is not just ethically and morally correct, but it leads for better outcomes in society and business. In many parts of the world, including the United States, there has been significant improvement in the life of women, minorities and LGBTQ communities if compared to a decade or two decades ago. However, while much progress has been made, there are still significant challenges and obstacles as the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements among others clearly illuminate. While all of us whether as individuals, communities or business continue to strive to ensure equal opportunity and a just society, we should not forget three other critical forms of diversity which may not have movements or focus on them, but are critical to truly build on the efforts and movements underway. These are 1) Diversity of Voices, 2) Diversity of Generations and 3) Diversity of Choices. 1. Diversity of Voices A few months ago I wrote a piece called Diverse Faces are not the same as Diverse Voices. Ensuring a diversity of faces is a necessary but insufficient step. Not only do companies need different faces around the table, but they also need diversity in thinking. We need to ensure that every person in a firm and around the table has a voice. Most importantly, it is critical to have voices that can speak truth to power, question the status quo, call out potential issues and be heard without the risk of being punished. If such voices were listened to, many companies, such as Wells Fargo and possibly Boeing, would not have suffered losses of reputation and market valuation. There were people who knew there were issues, but they either kept quiet or were silenced or ignored. For true diversity it is key that people can call out the turd on the table when everyone else is celebrating what looks like a delicious brownie. For years I have studied how to ensure such voices are nurtured and heard. There is a chapter in my book called “The Turd on the Table” which discusses my findings in detail but in the article noted above I summarize some key findings. 2. Diversity of Generations These days in my multi-faceted second career of author, speaker/teacher and advisor, I journey (virtually rather than physically given the times we live in) more broadly across business, academia, politics, art, and science around the world than every before. In just the arena of Business, I can find myself presenting to the Board of a FTSE 100/Fortune 500 company, advising a small start-up and then speaking about my book and sharing career learnings with either youthful students in a BBA or MBA program or more experienced individuals refreshing their expertise or re-thinking their careers while pursuing an Executive MBA. While I share, teach and advise, I also am constantly learning and have come to believe that while many firms having smartly incorporated women and people of color and people with different forms of expertise on to their decision making councils, they remain relatively homogenous with regard to age. Almost everyone is within the same 16 year generation. Established companies tend to have Board members in their 50’s and 60’s , while start-ups skew to the 20’s and 30’s. Established companies have young folks on what they call Challenger Boards presenting to real boards and Challenger companies have the occasional grey haired expert to serve as an advisor. Why should a Fortune 500 Company not have accomplished individuals who are a generation or two younger on the main board? Why do start-ups believe that older people cannot be mentally or technically agile? Regardless of what you may think of two very accomplished individuals in a Nancy Pelosi in her 70’s and an Alexandra Ocasio Cortez in her 30’s, I believe better decisions are made because of their different generational perspectives. This generational divide is not just in Business but in Education, Arts and every where I look. We should ask why ? 3. Diversity of Opinion and Choice. In the recent election in the United States more people (70 Million) voted for Donald Trump than voted for Barack Obama ( 69.5 million) when he won his first landslide victory in 2008. The only person who garnered more votes is President-Elect Biden with 75 million votes and counting. As someone who is friends and/or works with people who voted for each candidate and who respects and continues to respect and admire many of the voters on each side, I worry when some folks on each side paint the other as a caricature. Not everyone who voted for Donald Trump is an anti-mask, gun toting racist, science hating, selfish capitalist nor is everyone who voted for Joe Biden a tree hugging, de-fund the police, pacifist socialist. In this polarized age weaponized by social media and algorithms of enragement it is very easy to paint things in black or white but that is not what humans are. A person in two moods is often more different than two different people. Rather than demonize we should seek to understand and find points of agreement which are many ( most folks on either side would rather live in the US than in other countries, most would hope to have a better world for their children etc.) If people cannot choose and have their own opinions than most other forms of diversity don’t amount to a hill of beans. People and life are complicated. All we know is that we have opinions and belief and choices. And like humans they are incomplete, imperfect, impermanent. 2. Learnings from Bitcoin Five years ago in a blog post i wrote… Bitcoin and Blockchain are likely to revolutionize money. It is likely to become the currency of the Internet since it addresses the lack of trust in financial institutions, speaks to the need of the unbanked and leverages network technology. It’s in the early innings and too much focus on the roller coasting price. With that being said I would recommend everyone buy a bitcoin (its now about 240 dollars as I write this) and begin to understand it. In the US, Coinbase is an ideal wallet. The book to read on this topic is The Age of Cryptocurrency by Vigna and Casey two Wall Street Journal Financial Journalists. As I write this some five years later, a Bitcoin is trading around 16,000 dollars which is a 6400 percent return, magnitudes better than even if you had put the $250 in Netflix which is the best performing FAANG .( Bitcoin along the way soared to 19,891 dollars in December 2017 before crashing to the 3000’s a few months later but never being below 3000 dollars in the last three years.) I am not a financial advisor and make no recommendations ( I made my recommendation 5 years ago, since 250 dollars was not a big amount of money to risk to understand and follow a technology and eco-system that might become big). I do wish to share two learnings from Bitcoin which everybody may want to keep in mind as they make decisions at work on whom they meet and what they pay attention to … The Future Comes from the Slime and not the Heavens: Like Bitcoin, much that of the future comes from places no one is looking. IBM did not take MS-Dos and Microsoft seriously. Microsoft did not understand what Larry Page and Sergey Brin had created in the PageRank algorithm and Google Search. Bezos turned out to be more than a book seller on the Internet. Again and again, Boards and Leaders pay attention to each other, to the famous, to the powerful and to what dominates the news. David will not be found hanging out with the Goliaths. Even today, I find it amazing how incestious and uniform thinking is in so many “councils of the powerful”. The same words…disruption…personalization…platforms…data… All of us trampling on well worn paths of widespread and obvious thinking. Of course we have to work in an an omni-channel, digital first, platform dominated world with personalized data. Everybody better do so to compete and remain relevant. But then what? This is where the ball is. Where is the ball going ? Pay attention to the non-obvious, the small and weird. Take meetings with folks you would not normally do even though they have no rolodexes or fame. Remember that those behind Red Ropes may be roping themselves in rather than roping others out. Experiment quickly with new companies and technologies instead of meeting after meeting which costs more than testing out the new. Do. Do not diddle. Mindset Shifts: There comes a time when there is a mindset shift. When this happens ( it is has happened with Bitcoin, and recently with Tesla when all the "Gods of Finance” pooh poohed what they did not understand and soon will again with the reality of Climate Change and Gene Therapy), major new industries and opportunities are born and major forces of disruption and wealth creation happen. Build a case for why you may be wrong. Build a case for the opposite of what you think is true. Shift your mind before it is shifted. 3. Looking for a Christmas Gift for your friends, your team or your company? As many of you know, and many have been huge supporters of (Thank you!) a book I authored called “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data” which was published globally early in the year by HarperCollins. The book which has 12 chapters, each of which can be read in any order, provides tangible advice in four areas. 1) How to think about the future, 2) How to manage and adapt to change so it sucks less, 3) How to lead with soul and 4) How to upgrade your mental operating system. The Economist Magazine said…”During the lockdown your columnist has worked his way through four weighty tomes by managers who argue that companies have a broader purpose than simply making a profit. The books were “Trailblazer” by Marc Benioff, “Green Swans” by John Elkington, “Restoring the Soul of Business” by Rishad Tobaccowala and “Share” by Chris Yates and Linda Jingfang Cai. Perhaps the best of the books is Mr Tobaccowala’s. That is because the author, a senior adviser at Publicis Groupe, an advertising and communications firm, has a clear focus: how to ensure you can hire, then inspire, the right workers in the knowledge economy. “Employees who find work meaningful are highly productive, agile and committed,” he writes, adding that talented workers are in a more powerful bargaining position in the current economy. He also argues that companies can be too obsessed with data, and not enough with employee motivation: “The best businesses find ways to marry the math and the magic.”The book is clearly written and full of sensible and practical suggestions. “ The book has also made some Best Business Books of the Year list including form Strategy and Business which wrote “Restoring the Soul of Business, I kept thinking as I read it, is part Ken Auletta (the New Yorker media critic who, as it happens, authored the foreword), part Deepak Chopra. As detailed and all-business as Tobaccowala is, and as soberly and expertly as he makes his case here, it would be unimaginable to ruminate, at book length no less, on a subject like the importance of humanity without sounding at times like something out of the Up with People program. (One chapter is titled “How to Lead with Soul.”) Aside from its numerous how-to lists, the book is filled with helpful case studies of companies that have mastered the fusion of data-based marketing and business management with human relationships. A smart and worldly man, Tobaccowala has produced a deeply informed book about brand marketing, data science, and humanity that is a remarkably lively read. Name another book about business (or any other subject) that in one breath urges the reader to acknowledge “the turd on the table” in the boardroom and references François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Joan Didion in the next.” Read the full review here. You can read more about the book including an essay from me on why you should read the book and different purchase options ( audible, kindle, ebook, book and even CD-ROM) everywhere in the world here….https://rishadtobaccowala.com/book And for those who want to get more than 25 books or e-books reach out to me for both bulk pricing and Concierge handling from HarperCollins. If you want to upgrade and inspire your teams $10 to $20 is a great investment as a Christmas present… Regardless, thank you for the 10 minutes every Sunday or whenever you give to reading this newsletter…

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The Covid-19 impact on fintech: now is the time to boost investment

Article | April 20, 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the entire world, governments’ response to the international health crisis has led the global economy to a standstill. Extensive lockdowns and social distancing measures are leading to massive unemployment spikes and numerous businesses are already seeing dramatic loss of revenue and struggling to maintain their operations.

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AmWINS Group

AmWINS Group, Inc. is the largest wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products and services in the U.S. AmWINS has expertise across a diversified mix of property, casualty, group benefits and reinsurance products. We also offer value-added services to support these products, including product development, underwriting, premium and claims administration and actuarial services.

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