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Women and investing: The rise of mobile investment clubs –



  • Women are the largest, fastest-growing, and most underserved target market in financial services today
  • Reports show that women appreciate mobile investment apps that facilitate collaboration and sharing
  • Online investment clubs appear to be an ideal tool to meet the top three needs of today’s investment firms: Financial education, client acquisition, and adding value over robots!

Women are the largest, fastest-growing, and most underserved target market in financial services today. To find out how and why a mobile app is an ideal platform for women getting started in investing, Vancouver-based Voleo Trading Systems Inc (TSXV: TRAD, OTCQB: VLEOF) is used as a case study and three female leaders of investment clubs are interviewed.

“Don’t think about making women fit the world—‪think about making the world fit women.”

— Gloria Steinem

What is Voleo, and how does it work?

Currently available in the U.S., Voleo is the reigning queen of mobile investment clubs and nearly half of their investors are women.

The app lets women trade individually, join an existing investing club or create a new one. They can invite friends, family and colleagues to join the platform, link accounts and begin investing together. Inside the clubs, members propose investment ideas, discuss, then vote on whether the group will purchase the security or not. If a predetermined percentage of members approve, then the order goes to market. They then track their investment club’s performance and compete against other investment clubs around the world if desired. Each time a user votes for a trade that the club does not approve, the hypothetical decision is tracked, known as an “I told you so” feature!

Essentially the app creates a collaborative environment for women to step into the investing space on their terms.

‪‪How does Voleo incorporate women into the investing space?

Women have careers, run corporations, are the heads of their households, and are savvy when it comes to investing money, making them the number one target market for every financial services firm. Plus, many of the features that get women to invest work just as well for Millennials: Half of Voleo users are under 40!

Voleo founder, Thomas Beattie, states, “As natural connectors, women have substantial networks. Generally speaking, they consider the implications of actions more carefully. Building communities is essential and we believe women will be influential users of our unique collaborative stock trading platform.”

“Women are excellent communicators and their input and messages are integral to the future success of the financial industry.”

Women should feel as though they are represented in the investing space and Voleo is here to make sure they feel welcomed.

With over 800 women interviewed globally over the past decade of diverse ages, professions, backgrounds, and personalities, the three biggest takeaways are:

  • Women want investment forums that facilitate collaboration and sharing
  • Women prefer to invest in businesses that have a social impact
  • The process needs to be simple

Why sharing and being accountable in mobile investment clubs’ matters

One of the first female leaders of investment clubs interviewed was Randiesa Spires, the President of Florida Stock Sisters, a Voleo African American women’s investment club with eight members who meet online monthly. Spires learned about investing from her parents, but over time she started to think more seriously about taking control of her financial freedom.

She explains, “I was motivated to form the group after I started following a Facebook community of female investors and immediately had the sense that this is where I needed to be.”

She continues, “I had found my community of women who look like me, and I felt comfortable. Florida Stock Sisters has become that sisterhood we all needed and the eight of us know we can count on talking money every Wednesday at 7:30 pm. Each week one of us analyzes two companies and then presents our recommendation. Being accountable to the group helps so much – we have to be fully prepared for our meetings.”

The second leader interviewed was, Barbara Brantley, who runs Diversified Divas. Her inspiration to join a club came about when she retired after 25 years as a police sergeant for the Metro Police Department in Washington, D.C.

“I decided it was time to get serious about my money. I followed an investing Facebook community for about a year and then I joined an investment club that was starting in my area. I was drafted as the President by another member and became responsible for getting our club up and running.”

“I thought why not? What a great way to learn! We have 13 members (from diverse walks of life) ranging in age from 25 to 56. The cardinal rule is that all members have to do their own research analysis, propose stocks and be invested.”

The last woman interviewed was Angela Salley, President of Voleo’s MidWest Money Makers – she always wanted to invest, but never knew how to start. “I was apprehensive about the unknown. Three years ago, I stumbled across a women’s investment community in my Facebook feed and I started scrolling through all of the comments and watching some videos. Seeing real female investors resonated with me. I felt I could trust their advice and I loved their enthusiasm.”

“As an investor you are more accountable when you are part of a club; you have to trade. It is a must.”

Taking an inclusive approach to investing

Brantley notes, “Before I started Diversified Divas, I used the Voleo app just to practice — you can set up scenarios and track the stocks you would have bought to see how things would have played out.”

“Now I feel very confident using real money! Getting involved with a club makes investing affordable for anyone but the main reason I think women should get in is that it forces you to learn as opposed to standing on the sidelines. As a group you can cast a vote by investing in businesses that you feel are aligned with your values, you can save the world in some way.”

Additionally, Spires says, “We vote through the app at the end of the meeting. All of us have the same vision — to make money so that we can leave our families with our legacy rather than a financial burden. We are working towards common goals and it is so rewarding to look at our portfolio and see how it has grown.” Although the clubs get together, you can be anywhere at any time.

How Voleo provides a simple solution to help introduce beginners to investing

“The biggest surprise in all of this for me has been how easy it is to have an investment club using only your mobile phone. Buying stocks sounds like a lot of work but once you get into it you can do it without even thinking — just set it up and let it go. Using the app, we can keep in contact as a group, propose our ideas, vote on our stock suggestions, and review our investment portfolio,” Brantley explains.

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Voleo believes that investing doesn’t need to be intimidating, difficult or overwhelming.

“I guess I’m pretty obsessed with my Voleo app — I look at it at least three times a day and I feel very competitive with the other clubs. I want us to be number one.”

Spires states, “We each set up an auto-deposit of USD$100 per month via the app. The Voleo app is so simple: I can be on the phone with the members and simultaneously be looking at a pie chart showing the percentage of stocks we own in each sector. If I can do it and not get frustrated, then anyone can do it!”

How will mobile investment clubs pave the way for the global investment industry to attract female investors?

Online investment clubs appear to be an ideal tool to meet the top three needs of today’s investment firms: Financial education, client acquisition, and adding value over robot.

Financial education

Firms will have the ability to offer practical financial education. By using the app in a small group setting it makes learning about investing a social, fun and interesting experience for women. Hands-on trading also builds skills, confidence and competence.

Client acquisition

Attracting female investors is easier: Women love to share, and happy customers are the best advocates. They will act as ambassadors for investment clubs and inspire others to start their own, reducing customer acquisition costs.

Value over robot

Advisors who embrace the tool and set up small investment clubs with likeminded clients will now have a way to:

  • Share investment ideas and discuss collaboratively
  • Communicate with women in a language that makes sense to them via group storytelling
  • Meet women where they are, on their smartphones

Voleo Trading Systems Inc is a publicly traded fintech company that provides retail investors an innovative, gamified investing experience via its iOS, Android and web applications. Voleo operates as a discount brokerage in the U.S. and is FINRA-licensed in all 50 states. The company offers a bespoke, as well as turn-key white-label solution for financial institutions around the world looking to enhance their brokerage offering and engage customers in a unique and gamified way. The company is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Learn more about the company by visiting their website here.

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US, European Firms Rethink China Investment After Lockdowns – BNN



(Bloomberg) — US and European businesses are reconsidering their investments in China after the lockdown in Shanghai and restrictions in other cities caused major disruption to their operations.

The American and European Union chambers of commerce in separate briefings said their members are rethinking their supply chains and whether to expand investment in the face of China’s zero tolerance approach to combating Covid-19.

“The Covid lockdowns this year and the restrictions over the past two years are going to mean that three, four, five years from now, we will most likely see investment decline,” Michael Hart, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said Tuesday in Beijing. 

While this doesn’t mean an immediate shift outside of China, Hart said that many firms that source from China are asking where else they can get supplies, and whether they should be building or sourcing from somewhere else.

The outlook is shared by European companies. Many members of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China are putting investment plans on pause and starting to consider whether to leave the country, the business group’s representatives said at a briefing Monday. Uncertainties about a potential next wave of outbreaks are taking a heavy toll on business confidence, they said.

“Uncertainty is really the keyword, because there’s no view, no outlook about how long this could last, and what will be next after Shanghai,” said Massimo Bagnasco, vice president of the European chamber.

Read More: China Vows to Ease Supply Chain Woes in Foreign Chamber Meeting

Profits of foreign firms in China are falling, and companies have become increasingly vocal about the impact on their businesses from Covid lockdowns and restrictions. Earlier this month, more than half of US firms said they were reducing or delaying investment plans and expected lower revenue due to the economic fallout from extended lockdowns, which have clogged the world’s biggest port, closed highways and shuttered factories and businesses. 

And last week, respondents to a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce in China reported that nearly 30% of their foreign employees had plans to leave China because of Covid. The chamber surveyed 460 companies.

The restrictions that began in March in Shanghai and elsewhere come on top of existing travel controls, which have made it hard for employees of foreign firms to travel to China or visit headquarters overseas.

The travel restrictions have left AmCham “very concerned” about US and other foreign investment into China, Hart said at a press conference to launch the chamber’s 2022 White Paper. 

China usually ranks among the top three destinations for investment among AmCham’s member companies, but “it is falling in preference,” Hart said, adding that if people can’t travel to the country, it will “decline as an investment destination.”

European businesses continue to face challenges including lost production days, labor shortages and supply chain and logistics disruptions due to lockdown measures. The pressure to leave China will rise significantly if the obstacles don’t improve by the end of the year, said Joerg Wuttke, president of the chamber.

The economy is also unlikely to rebound this time around as sharply as it did in 2020 because of ongoing headwinds from the crackdown on the technology sector, a persistent property market slump, and capital flowing out of China as the China-US interest rate differential diminishes, according to Wuttke.

Read more: China’s Covid Exit Hinges on Seniors Who Don’t Want Vaccines

Wuttke urged China to accelerate its vaccination efforts, as the vaccine uptake among those older than 65 has slowed in recent months. 

“You cannot hold an economy hostage by 150-to-160 million people that are insufficiently vaccinated,” he said. “This has to change, it can’t go on forever.”

(Updates with details about a survey by the German chamber of commerce in paragraph eight.)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Peru mining protests risk clogging $53bn investment pipeline –



With global prices soaring on high demand, that now threatens a mining investment pipeline of some $53 billion and could stall future projects expected by investment bank RBC to make up 12% of the world’s copper supply in years to come.

“Without any world-class projects on the horizon, the prospects for sustaining production are not good,” said Gonzalo Tamayo, analyst at Macroconsult and a former Peruvian mines and energy minister.

Mining executives and analyst met last week in Peru’s capital Lima, where the main concern was falling investment tied to rising social protests. A central bank report shows investment dipping some 1% this year and 15% in 2023.

The conflicts, mainly in poor Andean areas where communities feel bypassed by the huge mineral wealth beneath their soils, have started to bite, with protesters emboldened under Castillo who won election pledging to redistribute mining wealth.

Southern Copper’sCuajone mine was paralyzed for almost two months earlier this year.

Las Bambas, owned by China’s MMG Ltd, suspended operations in April after an invasion of the mine by communities demanding what they called ancestral lands. The mine, which produces 2% of the world’s copper output, remains offline.

Las Bambas had received government approval in March to expand the mine, a plan which is now under threat.

Álvaro Ossio, vice president of commercial and finance for ​​Las Bambas, said in a presentation at the Lima event, that the country faces a big task to benefit from high global prices.

“The great challenge that remains for all Peruvians is to take advantage of this great opportunity in these future trends,” he said.

Peru’s last big mining investments were in Anglo American’s Quellaveco and Minsur’s Mina Justa of a combined $6.6 billion. Their operations starting this year will help Peru hit annual output of 3 million tonnes of copper by 2025, experts say.

However, other major projects like Southern Copper’s Tia María, Michiquillay and Los Chancas worth some $6.7 billion, Buenaventura’s near billion dollar Trapiche and Rio Tinto’s $5 billion La Granja remain up in the air.

Not all was downbeat, however.

The world’s largest gold miner, Newmont Mining, said at the event that it was considering expanding into copper production in Peru, with a potential future return to the canceled Conga project.

Analyst Tamayo, though, stressed recent protests against mining had become harder to resolve.

“Now there are protests that stop mines in full operation,” he said. “The mining firms feel that the State does not support them and that the State has ceased to be the arbiter in conflicts.”

(By Marco Aquino; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Richard Pullin)

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German Hydrogen Utility HH2E Wins Investment From UK Firms – BNN



(Bloomberg) — London-based private equity company Foresight Group Holdings Ltd. and investment firm HydrogenOne Capital Growth Plc acquired stakes in HH2E AG and will help the new hydrogen company to develop green energy projects in Germany. 

Foresight and HydrogenOne have taken minority equity stakes in HH2E and agreed to co-invest in energy projects, the German company said in a statement on Monday. HH2E — co-founded by Andreas Schierenbeck, former chief executive officer at utility Uniper — plans 2.7 billion euros ($2.8 billion) of investment to build 4 gigawatts of green hydrogen and green heat-production capacity by 2030. 

“Germany has one of the largest industrial and manufacturing sectors in the world,”  said Schierenbeck. “Leaders in these sectors know they must secure the supply of energy, control energy costs, and find low- or zero-carbon solutions soon. HH2E will be producing green hydrogen located close to the industries that need it.”

Germany aims to get almost 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2035, and is racing to expand green energy capacities as it tries to pivot away from reliance on Russian natural gas. The country plans to install 10 gigawatts of electrolyzer capacity by 2030 to scale up the hydrogen market. 

Russia’s Invasion Supercharges Push to Make a New Green Fuel

The two British investment companies will provide most of the capital needed for HH2E’s first five green hydrogen projects, which will need a total of 500 million euros in development costs and have an initial capacity of 500 megawatts. Some of them have the potential to be expanded to 1 gigawatt, according to Schierenbeck. 

HH2E seeks to produce green hydrogen cheaper than grey hydrogen — made from natural gas — in the coming years. It is “clear that the economics of green hydrogen are better than the grey and blue, as the latter two depend heavily on the cost of natural gas and carbon,” said Schierenbeck.

“This financing agreement enables a massive acceleration of our development plans,” said HH2E co-founder Mark Page. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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