Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Xiao Jianhua, one of China's richest men, reportedly taken away from the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong by Chinese police and put into custody in on the mainland, according to media reports. Mr Xiao is the founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group, a well-connected financial services company, and is worth nearly $6 billion ($4.75 billion), according to the Hurun Report, China's version of the Forbes Rich List. It's unclear why Mr Xiao has been targeted. China's ministry of public security and foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday, a public holiday in China. The Financial Times (FT) said Xiao normally keeps an entourage of female bodyguards but was led away without a scuffle.
The European Union reached a deal early Wednesday morning that should pave the way for consumers to use their mobile phones throughout the 28-country region without paying roaming fees. Three-way negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission ended just after midnight with a pact on the pace of slashing rates telecom companies charge each other, according to the office of Parliament’s rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, a Finnish member of the Socialists & Democrats, who tweeted "Goodbye roaming,".
Swiss private banking group Julius Baer reported Monday that its fiscal 2016 net profit attributable to shareholders, on IFRS basis, increased by 411 percent to 619 million Swiss francs. Earnings rose by 414% to 2.85 franc per share. The prior-year period's results included provision of $547.25 million or 521 million francs for a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice or DOJ regarding the legacy U.S. cross-border business.
Whenever the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches a new milestone the investors are used to cheer. It happened last week, when the most famous of the stock indexes broke the 20’000 mark, after flirting with this significant level for about two months. Is this new record so important for the market? To be honest, it looks difficult to find a rational reason for all this excitement, 20’000 is just a number, as they were all the round numbers that the index had reached in the past years. Psychology is important at this matter: a close above 20’000 feeds optimism and confidence, especially among retail investors, and translates into new purchases.
Swiss health insurance premiums will double by 2030. According to a study by EY (Ernst & Young), insurers will have to help reduce the costs of health care by focusing on innovation and digitalization. The consulting firm estimates that health costs are expected to rise by 60% by 2030, for a total of 116 billion francs. If in 2014 in Switzerland, the average expenditure was equal to 6% of their income for health insurance premiums, the rate is set to rise to 11% in 2030, as stated today by EY analysts in a conference call.
Benoit Hamon secured the French Socialist Party's presidential nomination on Sunday, beating rival Manuel Valls. Initial results gave Hamon 58 percent of the vote and Valls only 42. Hamon was the more left-wing choice of the two politicians. He supports a universal basic income and wants to reduce the traditional work week to 35 hours. He has also spoken in support of legalizing cannabis and increased investment in renewable energy. Valls, on the other hand, has called himself a more "Clintonite" leftist with a strong belief in pragmatism and individual responsibility.
The Volkswagen Group has become the world’s top-selling car company for 2016, despite making headlines for all the wrong reasons – chiefly its dieselgate emissions cheating scandal. VW has reported global annual sales of 10.31 million vehicles for 2016, overtaking Toyota’s annual total of 10.17 million, ending the Japanese company’s global sales hegemony of recent years. A spokesman for VW said: "2016 was a very challenging year for us." The company "made strides in resolving and overcoming the diesel crisis" and initiated fundamental change in the company's long-term strategy, he said.
Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay nearly $630m ($425m) to UK and US regulators to settle probes into whether it helped covertly move as much as $10 billion out of Russia through a process known as "mirror trading." New York and British authorities issued the fine on Monday over claims the money was moved out of Russia using so-called mirror trades among the bank’s Moscow, London and New York offices, said New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS). The DFS legal document which details the case says: "By converting rubles into dollars through security trades that had no discernible economic purpose, the scheme was a means for bad actors within a financial institution to achieve improper ends while evading compliance with applicable laws."
Despite some concerns around the start of last year, and the political shocks that unfolded over the course of the past 12 months, 2016 actually turned out to be quite a good year for investors, with most asset classes rising in value. But what can we expect over 2017, and how should investors approach the coming year? In this short outlook document we outline what we expect over the year ahead and set out what we believe could be the best-performing asset classes in each of our main scenarios.
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