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Openspace Ventures Welcomes New Team Members and Announces First Investment from OSV+ – Stockhouse

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SINGAPORE, Sept. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Openspace Ventures, focused on investing in technology opportunities in Southeast Asia since 2014, is pleased to welcome new senior members to its team as it expands its platform during a dynamic phase of ongoing development for the region.

Jessica Huang Pouleur will be joining Openspace as Executive Director and as a Member of the Investment Committee of OSV+. Jessica has been focused on Southeast Asian opportunities in TMT for over ten years. Most recently, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development, Asia Pacific for The Walt Disney Company, based in Singapore (including Southeast Asia, India, Greater China, Japan, Australasia and the Middle East). In this capacity, Jessica led and oversaw strategic initiatives and managed Disney’s investment and M&A activity across Asia-Pacific including key aspects of its US$71bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Prior to that she was with Providence Equity Partners for ten years, including most recently as Director based in Singapore leading the evaluation and management of growth-stage investment opportunities across the Southeast Asian region.

Southeast Asia is evolving rapidly as a market and my experience at Disney and Providence has given me great perspective on the exciting opportunity set. Good investment opportunities start with clear understanding of diverse regional consumer dynamics supported by relevant product development and leading technology. I am excited to join Openspace where I have known the Partners for a long time and watched with admiration as their team has helped build some of the best companies in the region,” said Jessica.

Aristo Setiawidjaja will be joining Openspace as Senior Advisor – Indonesia. He is a Board member and Managing Director of Hermina Hospitals, the largest private hospital network in Indonesia. Prior to that, he was a Director at Olympus Capital and the Head of Indonesia – Investment Banking at Daiwa. Coming from operations background at Kohler Company, he started his finance career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. He is also active in the Executive Committee of the impact chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPO).

“As we deal with the new normal due to COVID and rethink how daily life will change in its aftermath, there are plenty of emerging opportunities in Indonesia and the region. I am looking forward to contributing my perspectives to Openspace in sectors it is investing, which coincide with my domain knowledge of the sectors,” commented Aristo.

The joining of Jessica and Aristo coincides with the first investment to be made by Openspace out of OSV+, a newly established Opportunity Fund focused on mid-stage technology investing. OSV+ will primarily participate in mid-stage rounds in existing Openspace portfolio companies which are attracting strong mid-stage investor interest. It will also selectively make new growth-stage deals in investments that can benefit from the Openspace approach to supporting technology and strategy development across Southeast Asia. The first investment of OSV+ will be in Biofourmis, a leading global healthtech company which recently announced a US$100mn Series C with leading investors Softbank, Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures. Openspace led the Series A in 2017 and participated in the Series B in 2019 and is one of the largest non-management shareholders in the business.

“Openspace is now operating four funds across the region with a team of 25 diverse individuals delivering on the unique requirements of technology investing in Southeast Asia. We welcome our new team members who add to this diversity and skill set. The investment environment is attractive during this phase and we will keep executing on our busy pipeline,” said Shane Chesson, Founding Partner at Openspace.

About Openspace Ventures

Openspace Ventures focuses on investments in technology companies based in Southeast Asia. It operates out of offices in Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok with a team of 25 people across 10 different nationalities. Since launching in 2014, Openspace Ventures is now managing over US$350mn of total committed capital across three funds focused on Series A/B opportunities. Openspace Fund I has been identified as a top 5% global performer by Cambridge Associates and Preqin compared to global benchmarks. It also operates OSV+ which is an Opportunity Fund addressing the mid-stage technology opportunity in Southeast Asia with a focus on follow-ons from existing portfolio and new situations relevant to Openspace technology operations and regional value-add. Openspace has invested in 30 companies across the region including Gojek, Halodoc, Biofourmis, FinAccel, Love, Bonito, Tanihub, Tradegecko, Kumu and Whispir. More information on Openspace can be found on www.openspace.vc.

Photo – https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20200918/2920747-1

SOURCE Openspace Ventures

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Sydney's Smart Shop to reopen amid surge in downtown investment – CBC.ca

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The construction of the new Nova Scotia Community College Marconi campus on the Sydney waterfront is spurring investment in the downtown.

A notable recent development is the purchase of Sydney’s iconic Smart Shop Place on the corner of Charlotte and Prince streets, which has been sitting vacant in recent years.

“We see Sydney as booming nowadays,” said Ajay Balyan, who recently purchased the three-level building along with his brother, Ankit.

Brothers Ajay and Ankit Balyan, former CBU students from India, have purchased downtown Sydney’s iconic Smart Shop building. (Holly Conners/CBC)

It was a different picture when he moved to Cape Breton from India in 2017 to study at Cape Breton University.

A lot has changed since then, with a boom in international enrolment at CBU and unprecedented public infrastructure investment in the area, including the new NSCC campus, health-care redevelopment and a potential new regional library.

“We know after NSCC, the Sydney downtown is going to be the main spot for the students to hang out or to eat,” said Balyan. “And we’re getting good support from the community, as well. So we find it to be a good opportunity for us.”

Smart Shop Place opened in 1904 as a clothing store and long served as a retail anchor in Sydney. The Balyans plan to rename the building Western Overseas, after their family’s business in India.

Ajay Balyan, shown in the lower level of the former Smart Shop Place, which he plans to reopen as a fine-dining restaurant. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Construction is underway to convert the main floor into a small food court and the lower level into a fine-dining restaurant. The upper level will become apartments.

The brothers, with family partners in India, have similar plans for the former Cape Breton Post building on Dorchester Street, which they bought last year.

The two also own Swaagat, an Indian restaurant they opened on Prince Street in 2019.

Craig Boudreau is among a group of investors who have been buying up properties in downtown Sydney. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Meanwhile, on Charlotte Street, local entrepreneur Craig Boudreau and a group of partners recently bought four buildings and are negotiating a fifth.

Two years ago, Boudreau purchased the former Jasper’s Restaurant site on George Street. It’s currently being used as a parking lot, but he hopes to start construction next fall on a multi-story commercial and residential development.

NSCC students will need housing and the community could use more dining options, said Boudreau.

“It’s really spinoff,” he said. “It’s kind of the perfect scenario.”

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Don't let fear drive you into a fee trap when working with an investment advisor – BNN

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Spiking market volatility and a renewed threat of global economic stagnation caused by COVID- 19 has sent stressed-out investors flocking to advisors.

Many advisors have been reporting a rise in new clients since last spring’s lockdown, and a new survey commissioned by Manulife Investment Management backs it up. It shows 63 per cent of respondents plan to seek investment advice in 2020 compared with half in 2019. And more than half of respondents in Canada indicated they were interested in retirement planning and investing advice.

It’s good that more people are looking for long-term retirement plans managed by professionals, but fear can lead investors into fee traps that consume their investment dollars.

The path to those fee traps typically begins with investors looking to coordinate a mishmash of investments in their registered retirement savings plans (RRSP), and tax-free savings accounts (TFSA). For the vast majority of Canadians, the only route to a diversified, professionally-managed portfolio is through mutual funds.

The price investors pay for diversification and professional management in a mutual fund is an annual fee based on a percentage of the money they have invested called the management expense ratio (MER). MERs vary depending on the fund company and asset class, but a typical MER on a Canadian equity fund purchased through an advisor is about 2.5 per cent.

That might not seem like a lot at first glance, but on a $500,000 portfolio of mutual funds, it adds up to $12,500 annually whether the fund makes money or not. That’s $12,500 each year not invested and not compounding, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime of investing.

Baked into the MER is a hidden trailing commission, or trailer fee, to compensate the advisor who sold the fund for “ongoing advice.” A typical trailer fee is one per cent annually – or $10,000 on a $500,000 portfolio of mutual funds each year.

Trailer fees are banned in most of the developed world due to the inherent perception of conflict of interest. You have to wonder if an advisor is selling a fund because it is right for the investor or because it provides the best trailer fee from the mutual fund company. 

And it get’s worse. 

Some advisors will direct investors toward segregated funds, which are essentially mutual funds wrapped in an insurance product. Seg funds have the potential to make money from the investments they hold but are insured, or partially insured, against losses on the principal amount invested over long terms – often 19 years. Investors pay for that extra security through higher MERs. Manulife – the company that commissioned the survey – for example, sells segregated funds with MERs above three per cent.  

Segregated funds have certain advantages for small business owners wanting to protect their savings in the event of bankruptcy, but sometimes appear in workplace defined contribution pension plans. 

Advisors sometimes push seg funds on unsuspecting clients through a regulatory loophole known as “the-know-your-client rule,” which requires advisors to document a questionnaire relating to return goals and risk tolerance, and only sell investments in line with the client’s answers.  

Some clients might not understand that all investments have some degree of risk and say they expect their savings to grow risk-free. Only segregated funds fit that bill.  

Payback Time is a weekly column by personal finance columnist Dale Jackson about how to prepare your finances for retirement. Have a question you want answered? Email dalejackson.paybacktime@gmail.com. 

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TransLink in time crunch to update its 10-year Metro Vancouver transit investment plan – Vancouver Sun

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The COVID-19 pandemic and an unexpected provincial election have put TransLink in a time crunch to finish a required update to its 10-year investment plan.

Metro Vancouver’s transit authority is obligated, by provincial legislation, to update the plan at least every three years. The current plan was approved on June 28, 2018, which means the new one is due by June 28, 2021.

“Originally we had had planned for that to happen this year, but because of COVID-19 and dealing with the emergent financial challenges with that, that was not possible,” Mayors’ Council chair Jonathan Coté said following a meeting on Thursday. “But we’ve now reached the point where we need to start to work towards that.”

Priorities for the update include finding revenue to cover long-term COVID-19 losses. Although the federal and provincial governments will provide a combined $644 million to TransLink to cover its pandemic losses for 2020 and 2021, there will likely be shortfalls of $100 million to $300 million each year between 2021 and 2030.

The losses will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, the depth of economic damage and how quickly transit ridership recovers. The plan cannot show a deficit.

“Even with the near-term financial aid, we almost certainly have a fairly significant structural hole in our budget and we’re going to have to work to understand just what that hole is over the months to come,” CEO Kevin Desmond said after the meeting.

“There’s still a lot of uncertainty about the path of the pandemic.”

The investment plan will also deliver elements of the second phase of the 10-year regional transportation vision that are outstanding or were delayed due to the pandemic, plus approving projects that are already funded, such as a SkyTrain extension to Fleetwood and the next stage of the low-carbon fleet strategy.

A lot will have to be done before next June, including confirming federal and provincial contributions, finding new regional funding sources and setting rates, plus consultation with the public and local governments.

“No doubt this is going to be a significant part of our work plan and probably one of the more challenging things the Mayors’ Council is going to have to work on,” Coté said during the council meeting.

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