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Industry Leaders Back new Specialist led Investment Company for Technology Start-ups – Canada NewsWire

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The latest funding round was led by Michael Spencer’s investment company IPGL Limited and supported by a number of other industry leaders including Warren East, Christopher (Jock) Miller, Gavyn Davies, Stuart Roden, and Stephen Catlin, who also serves as a non-executive director on the Bloc Board. As part of the round, Samantha (Sam) Wren, CEO of IPGL, also joins as a non-executive director.

Bloc was founded by CEO Bruce Beckloff, CTO David Leftley, technology industry veterans from ARM and Vodafone respectively, and Chairman Paul Roy, to fill the gap in Europe  for expert led funding of early stage deep technology companies.  Andrew Griffin, former managing director of European technology equity research for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, joined as CFO in early 2019.

The team has already built a portfolio of nine companies and will use the new funds for new portfolio additions and follow-on investments in line with Bloc’s strategy to create companies of global scale with enduring value in the European deep technology market. Sectors in which Bloc has invested include high performance computing, wireless communications, networking infrastructure, and the Internet of Things. 

Commenting on this announcement, Paul Roy, Chairman of Bloc said: 

“We are very pleased to have reached this significant milestone and to welcome further notable new shareholders to Bloc, and Sam Wren to the Board. Sam brings considerable expertise and a full understanding of the perspectives of the professional investor to the table. Existing and new investors have supported Bloc in this funding round, and we are excited by the opportunity to accelerate the growth and success of our current portfolio and continue our disciplined approach to investing in new companies in the deep technology space.” 

Bruce Beckloff, Co-Founder and CEO added: 

“Our approach is to invest in companies in the deep technology sector that provide the picks and shovels for the digital world. With Bloc’s hands-on approach and tight complementary mix of experience and expertise, we are uniquely placed to identify and invest in the next generation of technology companies, whilst de-risking the journey for our shareholders by actively helping our companies optimise and scale.  It is a significant endorsement of our strategy to have such notable industry players backing Bloc. We look forward to continuing our journey to build a global brand for investing in deep technology in Europe.” 

Notes to Editors

About Bloc Ventures 

Bloc Ventures is a permanent venture capital company providing expert-led funding of European deep technology. Bloc is passionate about supporting and growing the next generation of European technology businesses at the forefront of telecommunications and computing. It provides its shareholders with access to the exciting, high growth early-stage European deep-technology landscape using an approach that lowers the risk of crystallising returns. 

The Bloc team has a tight complementary mix of technology, commercialisation and finance expertise borne out of extensive careers in the technology industry, including many years in corporate venture capital and M&A at Vodafone and ARM. They apply  expertise via detailed due diligence pre-investment, and a hands-on collaborative approach with portfolio companies to scale them rapidly post-investment.  

Bloc serves as the catalyst for its portfolio companies, moving them from early-stage to growth businesses and driving substantial value-creation. This positions Bloc as the preferred investor partner for tech businesses. 

www.blocventures.com   

About Samantha Wren

Samantha Wren joined the interdealer broker ICAP in 2009 as Group Treasurer and later became CFO and COO of the voice-broking division.  On the sale of this division, Wren became the Chief Commercial Officer for NEX Markets, which houses NEX Group’s trading venues, before becoming Group CFO and COO of NEX Group Plc.  In 2019 she became Chief Executive Officer of ICAP founder Michael Spencer’s private investment company, IPGL.  

www.ipgl.co.uk   

For further enquiries:
Bloc Ventures
Andrew Griffin (CFO) +44 20 3826 7100
[email protected]

Paternoster Communications
Catriona Woolner-Winders/Tom Buchanan/Charlie Codrington +44 20 3012 0241
[email protected]

SOURCE Bloc Ventures Limited

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Information seminar on Investment Readiness Program to be held – Windsor Star

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The new home of the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator at 1501 Howard Avenue was once Purity Dairy, which opened in the 1920s.


Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

An information session on how to access $10,000 to $100,000 in non-repayable capital through the federally funded Investment Readiness Program will be held Thursday.

The seminar, which is aimed at helping charities, non-profits, co-ops and for profit social enterprises, will be held at 4 p.m. at the Windsor Business Accelerator at 1501 Howard Ave. Unit 101.

The program aims to support new ideas and businesses with the goal of selling goods or services to earn revenue while also helping achieve positive social, cultural or environmental results.

The Windsor Essex Community and Sarnia Community Foundations are overseeing grants in Essex, Kent and Lambton. There is, $380,000 to award during the two-year pilot program.

The first application deadline closed earlier this month, but another round of applications will be accepted in the second half of the year.

The first grants, which will be between $10,000 and $100,000, will be announced in March or April.

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Nippon Life to double foreign real estate, infrastructure investment by 2021 – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Tomo Uetake and Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nippon Life Insurance Co, Japan’s largest private life insurer, plans to double its investment in foreign real estate and infrastructure by early next year, its top investment official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The move came amid growing expectation that low interest rates in Japan and other developed countries are likely to stay for a long time and therefore the insurer will need a new source of income.

Nippon Life plans to commit a total of 350 billion yen ($3.2 billion) to investments in real estate and infrastructure, mostly in North America and Europe, through funds of funds, said Kazuhide Toda, the company’s chief investment officer.

The investment would be made gradually over years, by responding to fund managers’ capital calls. The size of its investments in alternative assets was likely to about 380 billion yen by early 2021, double the level at the end of the last financial year, in March 2019, Toda said.

Like many investors in Japan and Europe, Nippon Life’s profits have been squeezed by dwindling bond yields in Japan and elsewhere.

The 10-year JGB yield stood at minus 0.04% on Tuesday, after having plunged to as low as minus 0.295% last September on fear of U.S.-China trade war.

Most European bonds also have negative yields while in the United States, now the highest-yielding among developed countries, 10-year Treasury notes yield about 1.6%, compared with more than 3.5% decade ago.

Nippon Life expects investments in the alternative assets to yield about 8% and expects to be able to afford to invest more in such illiquid assets.

On top of yield enhancement, increasing exposure to foreign real assets brings more benefits in terms of diversification, Toda said.

Partly to fund increased investment in alternative assets, Nippon Life has been expanding the use of derivatives, such as interest rates swaps and options, in its fixed income portfolio in the yen, the core of its assets.

Including group firms, Nippon Life has total assets of 81 trillion yen.

($1 = 109.70 yen)

(Additional reporting by Kazuhiko Tamaki; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Why we make bad investment decisions, the 2020 ETF Buyer’s Guide, and advice on dumping your advisor – The Globe and Mail

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Tim Ferriss is a venture capitalist – an early investor in Shopify, Uber and Facebook among numerous others – and the host of the massively popular Tim Ferriss Show podcast.

In a recent blog post, Mr. Ferriss announced his initially surprising decision to avoid reading any books in 2020 – not a single one. He confessed that he had spent too much time trying to stay on top of current events and discussions when what he actually wanted to do was get to the bottom of things.

Mr. Ferriss cited an intriguing quote by South African activist Desmond Tutu to provide a metaphor that describes his intellectual goals for the year, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

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Applied to investing, this suggests we should spend less time listing the numerous common mistakes investors make and attempt to understand the ways basic human psychology leads us to make them.

Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, And Slow was introduced as ‘the most influential living psychologist’ in a recent podcast hosted by Shane Parrish. Professor Kahneman offered insight that can be readily applied to investing, and the highlights are listed on Mr. Parrish’s Farnam Street website along with the link to the podcast.

The one-hour interview is well worth the time, as the discussion ranges through many pertinent topics including why Mr. Kahneman believes people don’t value happiness very highly, and how the colour of a room can distort decision making.

The bullet points below represent the specific highlights, in Mr. Parrish’s words, that are most relevant to investors. I suggest that readers consider each one – slowly, in Mr. Kahneman’s terminology – and look for ways these psychological tendencies might be negatively affecting their portfolios,

· Very quickly you form an impression, and then you spend most of your time confirming it instead of collecting evidence.

· We have beliefs because mostly we believe in some people, and we trust them. We adopt their beliefs. We don’t reach our beliefs by clear thinking.

· Independence is the key because otherwise when you don’t take those precautions, it’s like having a bunch of witnesses to some crime and allowing those witnesses to talk to each other.

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· What gets in the way of clear thinking is that we have intuitive views of almost everything…. What gets in the way of clear thinking are those ready-made answers, and we can’t help but have them.

— Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist

This is the Globe Investor newsletter, published three times each week. If someone has forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you or you’re reading this on the web, you can sign up for the newsletter and others on our newsletter signup page.

Stocks to ponder

Air Canada The recent share price weakness is anticipated to continue as the coronavirus spreads worldwide, the death toll rises, and news that the virus can be spread to others even when an infected person is asymptomatic. The share price closed at a record high of $52.09 on Jan. 13 and since then has dropped over 9 per cent. However, as the share price continues to fall, this may represent a buying opportunity for longer-term investors. This is a stock to watch for now; it is not yet in oversold territory. Jennifer Dowty profiles this profile of the stock.

Alpha Pro Tech This Canadian-headquarter protective apparel stock is skyrocketing on the coronavirus outbreak. Traded in the U.S., it’s been a holding of The Contra Guys for some time. They share their latest thoughts on the stock.

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CAE Inc. After Boeing Co. recommended this month that all pilots of its 737 Max planes get training on flight simulators before the grounded aircraft return to the skies, CAE Inc. shares surged to record highs. The reason? The Montreal-based flight simulation company has found itself in a sweet spot amid a swell of interest in its pilot-training services and technology. Now, though, investors are facing a tough question: How much further can this rally go? Read more from David Berman

The Rundown

How equity markets have developed their own idea of fair value

The argument about whether equity markets are too expensive rages on, while, at the same time, stock prices in Canada and the U.S. have arranged themselves into a comprehensible assessment of fair value that no one’s talking about. Scott Barlow has this analysis that could aid investors to uncover promising opportunities.

Others (for subscribers)

Rob Carrick’s 2020 ETF Buyer’s Guide: Best Canadian equity funds

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Monday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Monday’s Insider Report: CEO unloads $11-million worth of stock

Four-comma club: Predicting the next company to join trillion-dollar value elite

Hopes are high for tech stock ‘Cadillacs’; so are their prices

Ask Globe Investor

Question: For the past 20 years, my husband and I have had a financial planner at a private company, Aligned Capital Partners, Inc. He has taken care of all of our investments, including RRSPs. He charges a management fee of 1.13 per cent. When I calculated this over the 20 years we have been with him, I was aghast! I blame us for not learning enough about investing before we made the decision to go with this him.

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The returns on our investments have been good as far as I know but I’m embarrassed to say that I do not know for sure, and currently simply don’t have the time to go through all of our records.

My question is: if we “break up” with this advisor (and we would have no desire to go with any other independent financial investment company) and move all our investments to our bank (CIBC) to work with a financial advisor there, who doesn’t charge a management fee, what might the penalty be? Would the bank possibly pay this fee in order to get our money?

We have about 10 years left before we retire, and I am getting rather nervous that we might be making a big mistake by sticking with this advisor.

I’d really appreciate your advice on this because I would find it very awkward to broach this subject with him, especially as we have a good rapport with him and, silly as it sounds, I wouldn’t want him to feel bad! On the other hand, it IS our money! I would be very grateful to get your opinion on this.

Answer: For starters, a management fee of 1.13 per cent is not out of line, presuming he does not charge you for trades and is buying F-series mutual funds. The key question is the net return you are receiving. This should be on the reports you’re getting. If not, ask him for the net return for 2019, the average annual rate of return for the past five years, and the average annual return since you started doing business with him. He should have those numbers readily available. That will give you a much better insight into how you’re doing.

What about switching to the bank? For starters, a CIBC advisor cannot buy you stocks, ETFs, etc. A bank is not a brokerage and is limited in the number of products it can offer. Their advisor will be pushing mutual funds, especially CIBC’s own brand, which will come with a much higher management expense ratio than the 1.13 per cent you have been paying. The advisor will probably earn a commission on those sales. If you’re not paying one way, you’ll pay another.

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So, I suggest your first step is a meeting with your present advisor. Since you have a good rapport with him, he should be willing to answer all your questions honestly. Then, if you wish, have a meeting with CIBC. Ask exactly what investment products would be available to you and how the advisor is paid. You’ll then have enough information to make an informed decision.

–Gordon Pape

Do you have a question for Globe Investor? Send it our way via this form. Questions and answers will be edited for length.

What’s up in the days ahead

We’ll continue to track market developments connected to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Compiled by Globe Investor Staff

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