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Currency Future Opportunity Beckons

A little known asset class is currencies, but it’s not for the uneducated private investor.

Eamonn Ryan

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At 8.11am on Monday, 18 June 2007, a new asset class became available to ordinary South Africans. When the first currency future trade in South Africa was made it meant that for the first time they were no longer hostage to a wildly fluctuating rand. What this meant was that the JSE’s interest rate exchange, known as the Yield-X, had started trading in dollar/rand currency futures, and the private investor was able to participate. For the first time in South African financial markets, individuals are allowed to trade in the currency derivatives market – through a local regulated exchange. It has not yet caught on with the average investor – education alone is required, because these products are highly popular overseas.

Investment Opportunities

While they have enormous implications for business and private investment, even someone planning an overseas trip might want to lock in the rand at the current value of R7,40/dollar, rather than live in trepidation that they may have to pay up to R11,35/dollar. For a relatively small fee, individuals can now fix the price of their foreign currency by buying a contract, giving certainty to the cost of the trip.
According to Richard de Roos, director, foreign exchange at Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking division, individuals may trade over and above their R4 million foreign allowance. They may also trade the sterling/rand and euro/rand exchange rates.Primarily, it is a new asset class for the private investor, allowing individuals to diversify their local and foreign assets. Heightened volatility has inspired local investor interest in currencies as an asset class.

What are currency futures?

Currency futures are derivative contracts, which allow investors to trade the underlying exchange rate for a period of time in the future, allowing individuals to hedge against currency risk and take a view on the movement of the underlying exchange rate. They are rand denominated and cash settled. Currency futures contracts result in a zero sum game – for every buyer there is a seller and the profits of the winner equal the losses of the loser. De Roos believes the new market offers private investors “another arrow in their quiver”.
“The private investor community and the rand are no strangers to each other. The offshore market has been participating for several years in the dollar/rand market. Now for the first time, South African investors can include currencies in their basket of investments, giving them a more diversified portfolio. International best practice is increasingly recognising currencies as an asset class in itself rather than merely a vehicle to transfer between other asset classes,” says De Roos.

The market is tailored for the private individual, but can also be used by asset managers and pension funds up to their 15% and 25% offshore allowances, and by corporates, provided they have prior approval to trade. De Roos says it is a market that will require education in currency futures. “It is the most liquid market in the world, and we will be spending a lot of time with our online share trading clients as well as the broker community through a series of nationwide seminars,” he says.

Diversification

Rob Porter, Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking director and head of foreign exchange sales says there has been a greater uptake of these futures as investors have scrambled to diversify their holdings away from the rand. “There has been a realisation in favour of a diversified portfolio across currencies. This is something relatively new for the local investor who, because of exchange controls, could not previously do this. Increasingly, foreign exchange is becoming more than a tool for trade and capital flows, and is a standalone asset class in its own right, says Porter. “Pure currency holdings have a negative correlation with other asset classes,”
he adds.

Although this contradicts what many asset managers argue, Porter points to the following: “When US equity markets were at their weakest, the dollar was at its strongest, so an investor just holding dollars would have considerably outperformed someone holding US equities prior to the bottom in March 2009. You can simply invest in the currency without taking on any additional equity risk.”
Currency volatility is stimulating interest. Last year, the rand was one of the world’s strongest currencies. The year before, it was one of the weakest. Timing is therefore critical to the forex market. In 2009, the rand strengthened 35% against the dollar, so an investor holding a money market forex forward call account would have also outperformed the money market in South Africa. “In response to this interest, Standard Bank has developed a number of forex investment-type products linked to the currency futures market. We were the first to launch these instruments in 2007, have recently launched a Principal Protected FX Note, and are in the process of developing other products to take to the South African investor community,” adds Porter.

Investec, RMB and Deutsche Bank are also involved in these products.

Before becoming a financial writer and freelance journalist in 1997, Eamonn Ryan was a legal adviser, company secretary and alternate director at listed company Cashbuild Limited from 1988 to 1997. Since becoming a financial writer, he has focused on the business and financial sectors, as well as personal finance, writing for Finweek, The Star Business Report, Sunday Times Business Times, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, Entrepreneur, Corporate Research Foundation (which brings out a series of books each year ranking SA’s best employers and best managers), as well as a host of once-off and annual publications such as ‘Enterprising Women’ and ‘Portfolio of Black Business’. He also writes media releases, inhouse magazines and sustainability or annual financial reports for various South African corporates and financial services groups, including the Ernst & Young annual M&A book.

Company Posts

Balancing Business And Investment Risks

It is vital that entrepreneurs develop additional revenue streams and create wealth outside of their business to ensure their financial security. Sheldon Friedericksen unpacks the benefits of including Fedgroup’s Secured Investment offering in a diversified portfolio.

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Entrepreneurs tend to have a natural affinity for risk-taking. While carefully calculated, they bet big on their businesses, often going all-in when investing financial resources to start and grow their companies.

“Given this commitment, many entrepreneurs view their business as their ultimate retirement plan. This can be a mistake, because it places all their proverbial financial eggs in one basket,” explains Sheldon Friedericksen, Chief Financial Officer at Fedgroup.

As an entrepreneur, it’s important that you consider how a diversified investment portfolio that spreads risk can offer greater financial security, while still delivering robust returns.

“Paradoxically, while most successful entrepreneurs excel at diversification – they often pursue multiple opportunities, or pivot their business to exploit new gaps in the market – their investment portfolios seldom follow suit,” continues Friedericksen.

Exposed to volatility

This inherent appetite for risk means entrepreneurs often also employ a different approach to investing. “Allocations tend to reflect this risk profile, with portfolios heavily skewed towards high risk, high return assets such as equities.”

Related: More Than Sun In Your Eyes: Fedgroup’s Impact Farming Solar Offering

However, entrepreneurs need to carefully consider their asset allocations, taking into account their business in relation to their other investments. “As the sole or majority shareholder in a business, an entrepreneur already has massive exposure to equity risk, whether the company is listed or not,” says Friedericksen.

It’s also important to insulate investment portfolios from the potential impact of stock market corrections. The recent slump in the value of shares in companies that were previously considered mainstays in the portfolios of astute investors and leading fund managers has highlighted the variability in risk inherent in a concentrated equity investment approach.

“Since the start of 2018 a range of blue-chip JSE-listed companies have shed significant value as equities shrugged off positive market sentiment and reacted to weak economic fundamentals and, in certain instances, corporate governance irregularities,” says Friedericksen.

In the face of these developments, he believes that entrepreneurs should ask if they can solely rely on stock investments, especially when the bottom drops out of heavily-weighted shares like Steinhoff?

“While investing in equities has long been considered one of the best ways to achieve above-average returns, in the context of an entrepreneur’s risk profile there is always a need to include lower-risk, secure investments in your portfolio to ensure a degree of security and certainty.”

Your capital secured

A suitable option is Fedgroup’s Secured Investment participation (part) bond offering, which combines fixed, high returns with capital security. “We created our Secured Investment product to help investors earn a higher level of income than that offered by money market funds, while protecting their capital value.”

Part bonds are a low-risk, high-yield fixed deposit investment fund backed by first mortgage bonds on a physical properties.

This type of secured investment offers predictability with a fixed, guaranteed interest rate for the full term of the investment, allowing for accurate calculations and projections on growth.

“It is also a type of collective investment, which is governed by the same strict regulations as unit trusts and is regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (formerly the FSB). This means invested capital is secure and protected by law.”

Income or growth

Entrepreneurs can choose to invest for income, as interest earned at the nominal rate of 8.75% p.a. can be paid out monthly.

“Alternatively, investors can choose to invest for growth. By reinvesting the income, investors benefit from the power of compound interest, earning an effective rate of 10.9% p.a. over the five-year investment period,” continues Friedericksen. Investors also have the flexibility to switch from the growth option to the income option without attracting penalties.

What’s more, Fedgroup charges no fees on the investment amount, or on the interest earned, so returns aren’t eroded. “Our income is earned from the properties we finance and the interest income generated.”

Since launching its Secured Investment offering in 1990, Fedgroup has experienced significant inflows from both institutional and private investors, particularly for lump-sum cash investments. “We are currently managing over R2 billion within our Secured Investment portfolio,” confirms Friedericksen.

Related: What Should I Know Before I Invest My Hard Earned Money?

“Investing in assets that are counter cyclical to the industry within which entrepreneurs operate, and including more conservative, stable investments like our Secured Investment in a portfolio, is a smart diversification strategy for any business owner. This investment approach mitigates risk and offers greater financial security, which ultimately enables entrepreneurs to pursue a more aggressive business strategy,” he says.

The benefits of investing in a Secured Investment:

  • A high-yield, no cost fixed deposit investment
  • A low-risk investment that is secured by first mortgage bonds on physical properties and is highly regulated
  • Every property investment opportunity is objectively analysed and evaluated against a strict set of criteria, with a maximum of 75% of the asset value loaned for the mortgage
  • The fund has close on double the ratio of security (value of the properties) to outstanding loans (value of mortgage bonds), ensuring that investors are well protected
  • Offers predictability with a fixed, guaranteed interest rate for the full term of the investment
  • Offers flexibility to invest for income or growth to meet specific investor requirements

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Digital Options With Olymp Trade – Online Trading Made Simple

Remember that communicating with others makes progress easier, so feel free to share with your fellow-traders any time and increase chances of your success!

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Innovation in trading  – is gain without pain possible?

In our modern age, trading has helped a lot of people earn handsomely. However, originally it was a complex exercise, involving a considerable investment of time and financial resources to understand the market. That has restricted its acceptance among people who wish to trade but have a busy schedule and limited budget.

The problem seems to have been solved to a great extent with digital options – a special form of a financial instrument. While it requires relatively less time to learn, it also reduces the risk exposure, which accounts for the growing popularity of digital options. With this type of trading, your investment amount doesn’t have to be equal to the underlying asset’s market price. So, even if the minimum price of a stock index unit is $100, you can take an exposure of just $1 on this.

A platform, which has achieved loyalty of over 16 mln. customers, despite being a late market entrant, is Olymp Trade. The company provides particular ease of use and a comprehensive educational kit, so we will use this example to explain how digital options work.

Related: How Investors Can Take Advantage Of The Rand’s Currency Trading Rates

Olymp Trade – a closer look at digital options

This type of trading requires an investor to anticipate the price movement of the underlying asset in a short term. On the Olymp Trade platform the asset range includes currency pairs, commodities, cryptocurrency, various stock indices and some individual stocks. A trader would then need to place an “Up” or “Down” call relative to the strike price, without having to bother about how far the price would move. You are also required to specify the time limit for keeping the trade open – it is called expiration time, and could last from 1 minute to several hours.

Since there is no need to gauge the extent of movement, analysis of parameters like where to put ‘stop loss’ or when to book profit is not necessary – and this makes the process so much simpler. Profitability per each trade is always known beforehand, and with Olymp Trade it may reach 80-90%. Another essential point is that a trade could be sold back to the market, if the trend behaviour contradicts your forecast. This flexible approach allows to recover some of the invested money, if it’s not possible to lock in profits.

online-trading-1

Developing a strategy that works

Since options is only intraday, fundamental analysis has almost no relevance. As a result, most of the trading happens employing technical charts. Yet, you cannot ignore the opportunity to trade based on news flow, which could actually generate higher returns than technical analysis. So, even if you are not connected with, say, Australia but sudden floods have caused huge supply disruption in the country, you could place a ‘Down‘ trade on AUD. However, one needs to be careful when analyzing the news. For instance, even if the employment figure is higher than last month, the currency could lose sharply – in case it is lower than expectations. Conversely, even if the GDP growth is negative, the currency could see a rebound if it has survived the crisis with minor damage.

The other benefit of news-based trading is that you can earn multiple times with the same news or insight. For instance, if you think dollar is going to rise substantially over the next few hours due to Fed’s move, you can place an ‘Up’ trade with a five-minute time frame. After this trade has expired, you can put another trade with the same ‘Up’ position if your judgment has turned out correctly and you still expect the price trend to continue.

Introducing cryptocurrencies

Another asset class that has gained lot of limelight recently is cryptocurrencies. They are highly volatile – and this is tricky on one hand, but lucrative on the other. Olymp Trade gives you an opportunity to trade in crypto while keeping your risks limited.

Related: Silver-Sphere Trading Gives Top Advice About Investing In (The Right) Precious Metal

Using Olymp Trade for crypto saves you the hassle of opening another account, which is usually time-consuming and involves several verification processes. More importantly, you would have to disclose a lot of personal information, which may not be very attractive proposition because the crypto-industry is still evolving. As for reliability and security, which is vitally important in trading (no matter crypto or traditional assets), Olymp Trade can guarantee it all – the company’s activities are supervised by the International Financial Commission.

The chart below gives an idea of Bitcoin price movement on a typical day. One can see clearly that there is sufficient volatility in the price to make money here.

olymp-trade

While you cannot own or store crypto with Olymp Trade, you can certainly earn from its price movement. The platform offers a dozen different cryptocurrencies to trade, including the top ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, the returns generated for this asset class vary substantially: from 10% to 80%. You also need to note that these returns keep varying all time through. So, if you traded on an asset generating 80% return at a particular time, please confirm the offered returns when placing the next trade – as it may not be the same.

How can I really profit, if I choose trading options?

We have mentioned different trading methods – from the time-tested assets to the modern-day cryptocurrencies – and it only makes the tip of the iceberg.

In order to understand the process more deeply and start profiting, one should have a systematic approach to learning. But of course your self-study should be based on trustworthy sources. We recommend taking a look at the Olymp Trade’s “Education” section, where one can find well-structured lessons and webinars dedicated to trading. The platform provides a free demo account, so the users can put their new skills into practice straight away. The benefit here is working with platform features without depositing real money. Use virtual currency for demo trading, and take as much time as you need before getting ready to open real deals for real profits.

Online trading is a very popular kind of business nowadays. If you visit Olymp Trade page on Facebook, you will find a lot of proof to that, meeting people for whom trading has become one of the main pursuits in life. Remember that communicating with others makes progress easier, so feel free to share with your fellow-traders any time and increase chances of your success!

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11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency has had a tumultuous existence so far.

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Gold Bitcoin Coin

11 Bits about Bitcoin

Even the most tech savvy among us have a hard time wrapping their heads around Bitcoin. It’s a hot topic and a frequent point of discussion among investors, entrepreneurs and stock traders, so you should want to know all about it.

For starters, here’s an overly simplified explanation of Bitcoin: It’s a digital currency (there are more than 800 now) that isn’t controlled by a central authority such as a government or bank. It’s created by “miners,” who use computers and specialised hardware to process transactions, secure the currency’s network and collect bitcoins in exchange.

Supporters say it allows for more secure transactions over the internet. That’s in part due to blockchain, a technology that records cryptocurrency transactions chronologically in a public digital ledger.

Bitcoin is only eight and a half years old, but it’s the oldest and most highly valued cryptocurrency out there. In such a short time, it’s had a rocky and controversial history, but it’s also attracted a fair share of high-profile supporters.

Related: 6 Rookie Investor Mistakes You Must Avoid For Profitable Investing

Click through to read 11 bits about Bitcoin that will make you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about next time it inevitably comes up.

The birth of Bitcoin

birth-of-bitcoin

Starting point at 2008

The origins of bitcoin trace back to 2008, when its creator, who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published a proof of concept for Bitcoin.

The proof was then published to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2009. Nakamoto left the project in 2010 and disappeared, but other developers picked up the work.

Bitcoin’s birthday is Jan. 3, when Nakamoto mined the first 50 units of the currency.

An elusive creator

elusive

No one really knows

The true identity of Bitcoin’s creator has never been confirmed. Newsweek claimed to have found Bitcoin’s creator in 2014, identifying Temple City, Calif, resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He has vigorously denied it.

In 2015, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright said he was Bitcoin’s creator, but he couldn’t produce the evidence to support his claim.

Whoever Nakamoto is, that person is very rich, as the creator is estimated to have mined a million bitcoins in the currency’s early days.

Very expensive pizza

pizza

We wonder what was on the pizza?

The first transaction involving bitcoin was reported on May 22, 2010, when a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz said he “successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza.”

As of June 14, 2018, 10,000 bitcoins are worth about $64.8 million.


Fintech: Fusing Finance And Technology

Fintech has become a disruptive force in the financial sector that is threatening the current status quo of banking and finance. The main beneficiary of that is the consumer.


You can spend bitcoins

spend-bitcoins

How to spend your bitcoins

While it may not seem like it, people continue to use bitcoins to buy stuff.

Related: Make The Most Of SA’s Law And Initial Coin Offering

The largest businesses to accept the cryptocurrency include Overstock.comExpediaNewegg and Dish.

Federal Bureau of Bitcoin

Federal Bureau of Bitcoin

The banning of Bitcoins

At one point, the U.S. government was one of the largest holders of bitcoin.

In 2013, after the FBI shut down Silk Road, a darknet site where people could buy drugs and other illicit goods and services, it took over bitcoin wallets controlled by the site, one of which held 144,000 bitcoins.

Investors have been making a killing by bidding on government-seized bitcoins.

A mountain-sized setback

Mt. Gox

Mt. Gox

In early 2014, Bitcoin suffered a devastating loss after the alleged hacking of Mt. Gox, a Japanese exchange.

About $460 million of the currency (in 2014 value) was stolen. It was the largest loss of bitcoins ever and raised concerns about how secure the currency was.

The billionaires’ takes

warren-buffett

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, perhaps the most famous investor in the world, was not so keen on Bitcoin one of the only times he addressed the currency.

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically,” he told CNBC. “The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view.”

Fellow billionaire investor Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had even stronger words about Bitcoin:

“You can’t have a business where people are going to invent a currency out of thin air. It won’t end well … someone is going to get killed and then the government is going to come down on it.”

But not all billionaires are against Bitcoin. Mark Cuban has said its value is inflated, but he recently invested in a venture capital fund that backs cryptocurrency. Richard Branson, however, has spoken more optimistically about it.


The Currency Revolution

The rise and rise of digital currencies – and how they’re affecting your business.


Wealthy twins and a smart teen

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Other notable investors in Bitcoin include Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the Harvard-educated twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was based on an idea they’d had).

They invested $11 million into Bitcoin in 2013, an amount said to be about 1 percent of all bitcoins in circulation at that time. The Winklevoss twins have been petitioning the SEC to create a bitcoin exchange traded fund.

The agency rejected the idea earlier this year.

Another is investor and entrepreneur Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 into Bitcoin when he was 14 years old and is now a millionaire.

Celebrities want in

ashton-kutcher-2017

Ashton Kutcher

Celebrities have also expressed enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency.

Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow advises Abra, a Bitcoin wallet, and Ashton Kutcher, Nas and Floyd Mayweather have all invested in Bitcoin start-ups.

Support from a big financial institution

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments

In August 2017, Fidelity Investments became a rare standout among financial institutions in embracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The company allows its clients to use the Fidelity website to view their bitcoin holdings held through digital wallet provider Coinbase.

“This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them,” Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, told Reuters.

A hard fork

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash

On Aug. 1 2017, Bitcoin experienced what’s being called a “hard fork” as a result of a few issues, including the limited number of transactions that can be processed per second. Essentially, the cryptocurrency split into two, with Bitcoin Cash debuting.

Here’s how Rob Marvin of PCMag explains the situation:

“The Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what’s more important: Preserving the decentralised nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments.”

Bitcoin Cash allows larger blocks of currency and more transactions per second.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.


Related: 10 Ways To Make Money While You Sleep

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