RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s annual cornerstone investment forum has drawn over 1,000 participants, with big-name U.S. financiers and business leaders back on the stage three years after many stayed away following the international outcry over the killing of a government critic.
The three-day Foreign Investment Initiative, also known as “Davos in the Desert,” wrapped up Thursday with appearances by finance titans such as Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, who joined a panel that featured Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe.
It was a stark turnaround from 2018, when most high-profile guests backed out after it was revealed that aides who worked for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had killed Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The crown prince has consistently denied any knowledge of the operation, despite a U.S. intelligence assessment to the contrary.
In the years since, the crown prince has faced continued scrutiny over the kingdom’s widespread crackdown on rights activists, business people, senior royals and perceived critics of his policies. At home, though, he remains popular among many Saudis for ushering in reforms that have transformed the kingdom, loosened social restrictions and granted women greater rights.
Most of the women at the conference, held at the exclusive Ritz Carlton Hotel, wore long-flowing robes, or abayas, over business suits, in line with local customs. But abayas are no longer required and several women opted to forgo them. Others wore colorful abayas, but no head scarves. Such a sight would have been unimaginable only a few years ago when nearly all women wore black abayas and headscarves in public, and often a face covering.
On the opening night, guests attended a gala dinner with live music – also a product of recent reforms – in King Abdullah Economic City. The crown prince hopes to lure firms to open their regional offices there and attract much of the capital now concentrated in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Saudi Arabia has told companies they have until the end of 2023 to establish regional offices in the kingdom or lose access to government contracts. The goal is to attract these companies and their employees, as well as their families, to live, spend and invest in Saudi Arabia, replacing the short fly-in trips from cities like Dubai that many consultants and others currently prefer over life in Riyadh, where Islamic law bans the sale of alcohol.
At the forum, it was announced that 44 multinational firms would be setting up new regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia. The government hopes the strategy will add $18 billion to the local economy and create 30,000 new jobs by 2030, part of a wider economic diversification plan to rely less on oil as the main source of government revenue. Some of the companies moving their regional offices to Riyadh are PepsiCo, Siemens, Unilever, Deloitte, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes, according to a government press release. It’s unclear whether such companies will scale down their operations in the UAE and elsewhere, or add staff in new offices in Riyadh.
The forum is Prince Mohammed’s signature event for trying to bring badly needed investments to the kingdom, but other than the word on plans to open regional offices, there were few major announcements around new investments.
The event is powered by The Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which is behind multi-billion dollar investments outside the kingdom and spending billions more on mega-projects inside the country. This includes new tourism destinations along the Red Sea coast and a new, sprawling modern district called Neom.
Prince Mohammed made a brief appearance at the forum Tuesday, where he sat in the front row for a session that featured Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, though he did not take to the stage as he has done in some previous conferences.
The forum opened just a day after a former senior Saudi counter-terrorism official lobbed a slew of accusations against the crown prince on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He accused Prince Mohammed of detaining two of his adult children in Riyadh to try and force his return to the kingdom, and also alleged that the prince had sent a team of agents to North America to track him down and kill him. Saudi authorities have denied the allegations.
The forum’s delegates appeared unfazed by such allegations. The event saw a flurry of networking, deal-making and business card exchanges on the sidelines. This year, many discussions focused on the kingdom’s recent “net zero” emissions pledge, a target Saudi Arabia aims to reach by 2060.
The kingdom’s net-zero pledge, however, only applies to emissions within its borders. The government has no plans to phase out its fossil fuel-burning exports to countries like China and India, where demand for energy is growing. Critics have accused Saudi Arabia of “green washing.”
Aya Batrawy, The Associated Press
Here’s why you shouldn’t shy away from investing, even if you only have a small amount of money – CNBC
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.
Robert G. Allen, author of several best-selling personal finance books once asked, “How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.”
Using a savings account and an emergency fund for short-term expenses is important, but investing for retirement and the future is arguably just as crucial. While it may feel pointless to start investing if you don’t have much money, it can still be incredibly worthwhile. Think of it this way: few, if any, start investing with a large sum of money. For many, growing your wealth happens over years and years and is a slow and steady process.
By starting slow, even with a small amount of cash, you can begin to establish the habit of investing regularly, which will hopefully lead to a large nest egg in the future.
Select details why you should start investing today, even if you don’t have a large amount of money to start with.
Subscribe to the Select Newsletter!
Our best selections in your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help upgrade your life, delivered weekly. Sign-up here.
Why you should start investing today
Investing can be an intimidating word and concept for many reasons. There are a large amount of terms, tax implications, planning and investments to understand — along with knowing there will be market fluctuations making your net worth go up and down. But by understanding the mere basics, you can begin to grow your wealth quickly.
Corbin Blackwell CFP, senior financial planner at wealth management app Betterment, told Select that, “Investing is one of the best ways to grow your long-term wealth and reach major goals for things like retirement, buying a home and college funds.”
He also said that beginning the investing journey is often the most difficult part, as growth will be limited at first. He added that, “Tools available today, like digital investment advisors, make it easier than ever to get started.”
And by getting started today, you have the best asset that any investor can have on their side: time.
By letting your money sit in the market longer, you allow for compound interest to take over — which is when your interest and gains stack on top of one another. Blackwell gives an excellent example of the power of compound interest:
“Let’s say you invested just $100 today and saw a 5% annual return – thanks to the power of compound interest, if you don’t touch your investment, in 30 years you’d have $430.”
That’s an ok return, but imagine if you invested $100 monthly for 30 years into a common index fund. An index fund is a fund that has a group of companies within it, and tracks the performance of the entire group. These groups can range in focus including the size of each company, the respective industries, location of the companies, type of investment and more. One of the most popular indices, the S&P 500, consists of the 500 largest companies in the United States, making it a relatively safe investment because of its exposure to hundreds of companies and dozens of industries.
Many consider this a ‘boring investment,’ but the results the index has produced are nothing to balk at.
The average yearly return of the S&P 500 over the last 30 years is 10.7%, but even at a conservative return of 8%, you would have over $146,000 if you invest $100 a month for 30 years. The impressive part is that your total contributions would be $36,000, which means your money would have quadrupled in value in 30 years (note that past performance does not guarantee future success).
In short, the more money and more time you have in the market, the more likely you are to grow your investment funds.
S&P 500 Index performance during the Covid-19 pandemic
How to begin investing
If growing your net worth is your goal, you can get started in just a few minutes. Here are a few things to consider:
Build a budget that works for you
Starting to invest with a small amount of money isn’t an issue. However, it’s important to know how much you can afford to invest, as you don’t want to harm your personal finances in the process. Blackwell urged, “as long as you aren’t using money [to invest] that you need to cover day to day expenses such as food, rent and high interest debt payments, I recommend you start investing.”
A budget gives you a way to see where your money is going each month, where you can possibly cut back and how much you can invest each month. You can set up a budget for yourself using a budgeting app, a spreadsheet or even a simple pen and paper. I use Personal Capital to manage my budget because I’m able to track my expenses and monitor the performance of my investments in one convenient app.
Regardless of which budgeting method works best for you, it’s important to have an established budget to understand how much you can invest each month without cutting into the money allocated towards your monthly essentials.
Select an investing “bucket” and investments
There are many different buckets you can fill with money, such as a Roth IRA, HSA, 529 or taxable brokerage account. Each of these accounts serve a different purpose and have different tax implications, so be sure to select one that makes sense for you. For example, a Roth IRA is great if you plan on being in a higher tax bracket when you retire — you’ll contribute after-tax income but all gains are tax-free after 59 and a half years old.
Once you select the type of account you want to invest within, you then must decide what type of investment to put your money into. This is the puzzling part for many, as there are an abundance of options, from ETFs to viral meme stocks to index funds and many more in-between.
For long term investors, index funds are a great solution as they have low fees, are low maintenance, provide wide exposure and many provide stable returns. In fact, John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, summarizes the effectiveness of index funds in one analogy: “Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack.”
Regardless of which investment you choose, it’s important to evaluate your risk-tolerance and understand what you’re investing in. Be sure to do your own research, and potentially connect with an accredited financial advisor to discuss the best options.
Automate your investing
Once you determine how much you can and want to invest each month, it’s important to turn on auto-investing.
This is where money is taken out of your checking account each month and automatically deposited into your choice of investments. Choosing this option is important because it takes the leg work away from needing to invest each month. Additionally, studies show that we are built for ‘present bias‘ — which is the idea that the farther away something is, the less important it is. Essentially, it’s much easier to spend now, rather than save for later. Automating transfers from your checking account or paycheck into an investment account will help ensure you don’t spend money that you were planning on investing.
By automating your investments, you will be passively growing your nest egg and getting yourself closer to reaching your financial goals.
You may also want to consider a robo-advisor like Betterment or Wealthfront. Robo-advisors work by gathering information from you on your financial situation and investing goals to suggest investments that fit your needs and risk tolerance. After supplying this information, the robo-advisor will build you a portfolio based on your answers through computer algorithms and advanced software, with little to no work on your end. Plus, it will rebalance your investments over time based on your goals and changes in the market.
Best brokerages to get started
To begin investing, you’ll need to select a brokerage account provider. These brokerages serve as the intermediary between you and the seller of the stock or security you want to purchase.
When deciding on the best brokerage for you, be sure to consider these factors:
- Fees: These can range from minimum deposits, stock trade fees, mutual fund trade fees and more. Be sure to select a no- or low-fee brokerage.
- Ease of use: Each brokerage has a different website and mobile app. While this is much more subjective, it’s advantageous to use a brokerage with a web interface and experience you understand and enjoy.
- Promotions: From time to time, brokerages will offer bonuses to new users. For example, I recently signed up for a Fidelity brokerage account and earned a $100 bonus after depositing $50.
Below are a few of our favorite online brokerages:
Information about Fidelity accounts has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.
$0 for stocks, ETFs, options and some mutual funds
Stocks, bonds, fractional shares, ETFs, mutual funds, options
$0 commission on stocks, options and ETFs
Includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, Forex, and futures
Information about the Vanguard accounts has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.
Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, CDs
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Increased scrutiny will make greenwashing tougher – Investment Executive
The global conversation around climate and social issues will make engaging in greenwashing more difficult, says Jacob Hegge, an investment specialist with J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
Hegge said the growing popularity of bonds that focus on environment, social and governance (ESG) excellence is helping to identify bad-faith players who try to appear more conscientious than they are.
He allowed that investing in green initiatives can be confusing, given unclear and sometimes conflicting definitions, but standardization is coming.
“It’s great to see all the activity around ESG, but a consequence of this increased activity means a greater dispersion in terminology,” he said. “As ESG investing continues to grow, we’d expect to see more standardization. But until then, it’s important to understand that navigating the landscape can be difficult.”
Hegge said investors should test the terminology used to define green projects.
“Is the data or testing methodology readily available for investors to use? Is it easy to understand? Are the definitions explained and easily accessible? These are things investors need to be looking out for,” he said. “It comes down to transparency and consistency. And as ESG investing continues to grow globally, we expect this standardization to be more prominent in the market.”
The hot ESG market makes it all the more necessary for investors to know what they’re buying, Hegge said. “We do think it’s important for investors to look under the hood and pay attention to what investment firms are saying when they title a fund as being ESG. They really need to make sure that investment products are staying true to the prospectus.”
Hegge said green and sustainability-linked bonds are being issued at record levels, and issues are likely to increase.
“This year alone, green social sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds are expected to reach a combined issuance of over a trillion [U.S. dollars], which is doubled compared to last year,” he said. “And … some expect that investment in green bonds will actually double and reach US$1 trillion for the first time in a single year by the end of next year.”
Hegge said many companies are at the beginning of their green journeys, and their success in meeting ambitious targets will reflect their commitment level.
“Don’t narrow your opportunity set by being put off by low ESG scores. The important part is whether these scores are improving over time. You can find sustainable bonds even if they don’t have a sustainable label in the market,” he said.
“The global fixed-income market is very large and there are a lot of opportunities out there.”
This article is part of the Soundbites program, sponsored by Canada Life. The article was written without sponsor input.
Halifax's Skinfix Secures Major Investment – Huddle Today
Reading Time: 2 minutes
HALIFAX—Halifax beauty company Skinfix has secured investment from a big name in the beauty world; Stride Consumer Partners has announced a minority investment in the company.
The deal is the first investment from the new private equity firm, which was started by a former team from Castanea Partners. Castanea is known for investing in and exiting with well-known beauty brands like Urban Decay, First Aid Beauty, and Tatcha.
The terms of the investment were not disclosed but the news comes as Skinfix is in the middle of a massive growth year. According to CEO Amy Gordinier, the company has grown by 300 percent in 2021, compared to last year.
In an interview with Huddle, Gordinier said she’s thrilled to “bring an investor to the table that has deep beauty experience” and put Skinfix in a position to scale even more quickly.
From Kitchen Table To Sephora
Gordinier founded Skinfix in 2014, after meeting the great-great-granddaughter of an English pharmacist. The woman, Karen Warren, was using a 150-year-old formula to make a skin balm in her kitchen.
Gordinier rebranded the balm and helped Skinfix expand into a host of products like its Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide line and Resurface+ line.
In 2019, the company officially launched in Sephora and quickly became one of the beauty giant’s best-selling skincare brands.
Gordinier says that journey makes Skinfix a fitting first investment for Stride.
“Some of these folks, through Castena, invested and exited some big names in the beauty industry. So, they have really good experience in scaling brands of this size and recognizing brands that have a lot of potential,” she said.
Gordinier says she’s excited to draw from Stride’s experienced team to help scale and market Skinfix.
She said Sephora will remain Skinfix’s primary customer and focus but that she sees a big opportunity in the direct-to-consumer market.
“Just investing a little bit of money and effort into our DTC we’ve almost tripled it year on year, so there’s tremendous potential with our DTC business that just requires an investment,” she said.
Along with more focus on its DTC market, Gordinier said Skinfix will also enter a new product category in January when it launches a line of acne products.
Building A Global Brand From Atlantic Canada Is Possible
Gordinier said Skinfix’s quick growth, and the interest it has attracted from big-name investors like Stride, is proof that an Atlantic Canadian company can compete on the global stage.
“These folks are in beauty and private equity and consumer private equity in the US, and seeing hundreds of opportunities. And they chose Skinfix as their first and only investment so far—and their processes is pretty rigorous,” she said.
“I think it’s exciting for the region, and for aspiring entrepreneurs, and I think it just sort of reinforces that we need to think globally and consider ourselves worthy of attention.”
She encouraged other Nova Scotian companies to “think outside of Canada.”
“Hopefully [what we’ve done] helps to inspire people to think big and to go for it,” she said.
Quick Reaction: Grizzlies 98, Raptors 91 – Raptors Republic
Realme GT 2 Pro will be among the first smartphones to use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
Singapore tests out ‘smart bandage’ for remote recovery
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Real eState22 hours ago
3 Ways A Private Mortgage Lender Will Help With Your Property Purchase
Health21 hours ago
Thousands of pediatric vaccines administered in N.B.; 124th death related to COVID-19 reported Monday – CTV News Atlantic
News22 hours ago
How To Find The Right Course For Your Grade Level
Business21 hours ago
Hip to be Square: Why Jack Dorsey should have left Twitter earlier – CNBC Television
Sports23 hours ago
Brad Gushue Punches Ticket to Beijing Olympics – VOCM
Science19 hours ago
Meet Comet Leonard: After keeping us waiting for months, the brightest comet of 2021 is now set to pass near Earth – Times Now
Sports24 hours ago
Canada gets off on right foot in World Cup qualifying by sweeping Bahamas – Sportsnet.ca
Business22 hours ago
Three Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Good Digital Marketing Strategy