Finance experts note importance of workforce diversity, global collaboration

The Japan Times

Against a backdrop of startling international developments, such as Brexit and the Hong Kong protests, Japan's financial sector is uniquely positioned to step out of the shadows of its competitors in Singapore and Hong Kong. This is the assessment of The Organization of Global Financial City Tokyo -- also known as FinCity.Tokyo -- which, on March 19, held its FinCity Global Forum at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi to explore the opportunities and challenges that await Japan in its pursuit to become a top global financial hub. Established in April 2019, FinCity.Tokyo is an organization that promotes Tokyo as a global financial hub and supports foreign financial services firms set up in Tokyo. In addition to the keynote and other speeches, the forum consisted of a series of panel discussions that invited industry veterans to discuss a wide array of topics, ranging from regional revitalization and socially oriented asset management to competition and collaboration among international financial cities. The first panel, centered on the theme of "Advancement of the Asset Management Industry and Global Financial City Initiative," invited panelists Yasumasa Tahara, director of the strategy development division at the Financial Services Agency; Kazuhide Toda, managing executive officer and chief investment officer at Nippon Life Insurance Company; and Oki Matsumoto, chairman and CEO at Monex Group Inc., to share their thoughts on how the industry can improve its asset management environment.

The Fed brings the global financial system back from the abyss

The Japan Times

Sitting calmly in front of a bookshelf filled with thick volumes of the "Federal Reserve Bulletin," Jerome Powell this week set out to offer a simple explanation for the complicated steps the U.S. central bank is taking to relieve dire stresses in the global financial system. "Many places in the capital markets, which support borrowing by households and businesses -- I'm talking about mortgages and car loans and things like that -- have just stopped working," the Fed chair told NBC's "Today" show, in a rare television interview. "So we can step in and replace that lending under our emergency lending powers." Powell's typical mild-mannered delivery belied the historic actions under way to put out various fires raging in the financial system because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The system is still far away from normal, and troubling stress points remain.

Financial stimulus in rich countries could worsen fates of poorer economies

The Japan Times

A massive exodus of capital from emerging economies has left many in a Catch-22 position, where adopting the kinds of monetary and fiscal stimulus measures the rich world is deploying could perversely make things worse. Interest-rate cuts can help households and companies, but in an increasing number of countries they're driving rates so low that they don't even compensate for inflation -- adding to incentives for foreign funds to pull out. And fiscal expansion can prompt the kind of funding concerns that still afflict emerging nations, raising the prospect of credit rating downgrades and calls for international rescues. "We should be worried about emerging markets," said Barry Eichengreen, a University of California Berkeley economist. In addition to suffering disproportionately from the collapse of commodity prices, supply chains, trade and spending, they're facing "clearly, the mother of all sudden stops" in capital flows, he said.

From Alibaba to Zynga: 28 Of The Best VC Bets Of All Time And What We Can Learn From Them


These venture bets on startups that "returned the fund," making firms and careers, were the result of research, strong convictions, and patient follow-through. Here are the stories behind the biggest VC home runs of all time. In venture capital, returns follow the Pareto principle -- 80% of the wins come from 20% of the deals. Great venture capitalists invest knowing they're going to take a lot of losses in order to hit those wins. Chris Dixon of top venture firm Andreessen Horowitz has referred to this as the "Babe Ruth effect," in reference to the legendary 1920s-era baseball player. Babe Ruth would strike out a lot, but also made slugging records. Likewise, VCs swing hard, and occasionally hit a home run. Those wins often make up for all the losses and then some -- they "return the fund." "If you do the math around our goal of returning the fund with our high impact companies, you will notice that we need these companies to exit at a billion dollars or more," he wrote.

COVID-19 fears return to Wall Street as S&P 500 takes huge hit

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – Fear swept back through the stock market on Thursday as worries about the viral outbreak in China knocked the S&P 500 off its record high and had it on pace for its worst day this month. Stocks had started the day off higher following another round of stronger-than-expected reports on the U.S. economy, but the market slumped suddenly in the late morning. The S&P 500 was down as much as 1.3 percent at one point, Treasury yields fell and the price of gold rose, before the moves moderated in the afternoon. Market watchers said they didn't see one clear trigger for the movements, which reminded them of the market's sudden shifts during the height of the U.S.-China trade war, when stocks would swing sharply following tweets from President Donald Trump. "You have this push and pull between good U.S. economic data and coronavirus fears," said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual.