ANC’s Cummings Donates US$3,000 to Bolongoidu Mosque

first_imgThe political leader of the Alternative National Congress, (ANC) Alexander B. Cummings has made good his promise to the people of Bolongoidu, Quardu Gboni District in Lofa County.During his first county tour recently, Mr. Cummings assured the inhabitants in that Muslim community of his willingness to participate in the reconstruction of the area.For his compassion for the people, Mr. Cummings made a cash donation of US$3, 000 to complete a bigger mosque that would serve the surrounding villages in the area.Making the presentation, Mr. Cummings said he remains committed to serving the people of Liberia without any discrimination.He said his donation was an initial fulfillment, and promised to revisit the district during the dedication of the mosque.Receiving the donation, Imam Amara Kamara, Chairman of the Bolongoidu Mosque Project of Quardu Gboni, expressed appreciation for the donation and pledged their support to Mr. Cummings’ quest for the presidency in next year’s legislative and presidential elections.Imam Kamara said the people of Bolongoidu will forever remember the gesture of Mr. Cummings because he is the first political leader in recent times to visit Bolongoidu .Meanwhile, to further appreciate Mr. Cummings’ gesture, the people of Bolongoidu gowned the ANC leader and presented him with a cow to demonstrate their willingness to work with him.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Libya hold Harambee Stars to frustrating draw

first_imgStars head coach Paul Put made only one change from his team that won 2-0 against Rwanda on the opening day, bringing in Mathare United top scorer Chris Oduor in place of Sammy Onyango who missed the match entirely.Compared to Rwanda on Sunday, Libya posed a bigger threat to the host nation and they were not afraid to attack, knowing they needed maximum points on their second match to boost their chances of playing in next week’s semi-final.They almost grabbed the opener in the ninth minute when Tubal Moahmed broke away on the right after evading Musa Mohammed’s tackle, gliding into the box to face Patrick Matasi one on one.However, the Kenyan shot stopper played the role of keeper-sweeper, swiftly coming off his line to slide in and sweep the ball away for a throw-in.Stars had a similar chance two minutes later when Oduor sent George Odhiambo through on goal from the left, but the Gor Mahia winger could not hit the net, Libya keeper Azzaqah Ahmed managing to keep the ball away with his feet.Libya goalkeeper Azzagah Ahmed towers to pick the ball during his side’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup match against Kenya’s Harambee Stars at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on December 5, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaTwo minutes on the turn, Odhiambo sought to make amends for missing what looked like an easy chance, collecting the ball from 25 yards out, finding shooting space and having a go at goal, but the effort went inches wide.Libya were not afraid to attack and their prowess on set pieces was especially worrying for the Kenyans. In the 15th minute, Almaryami Khalid sneaked in at the near post to glance in a header from Albadri Faisal’s corner, but the ball went over.The host side lacked the punch and pace on the wings they had against Rwanda in Kakamega, probably due to the absence of Onyango who was gassing up either wing over the weekend. Oduor and Whyvonne Isuza who were interchanging on the right failed to punch in the needed pace.Three minutes to the break, a combination of Khalid and keeper Ahmed at the near post kept off Odhiambo from hitting the opener after the ball fellfell kindly on his feet on the right, headed back in by Oduor from a Wesley Onguso corner.At the start of the second half, Masoud who seemed to have picked up ankle injury in the first half was hauled off for Kepha Aswani. The Kariobangi Sharks forward was rushed to hospital immediately.Libya’s Madeen Muhanad tracks down Kenya’s Massoud Juma during their CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on December 5, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaStars kept their feet upfront in search of an opening and five minutes after the restart, Jockins Atudo saw his freekick saved by the keeper with the rebound cleared by the defense.Put made his second change, bringing on Ovella Ochieng for Chris Oduor after 65 minutes, looking to punch up the pace on the wings.But it was Libya who almost grabbed the headline with Moahmed’s volley from the right after Faisal’s freekick was nodded down going wide from the right.Stars had two chances in quick succession go begging, first Isuza’s curling shot from inside the area after picking up Ochieng’s cut back going against the bar while Odhiambo’s returning header was tipped over the bar by the keeper.Five minutes to go, Duncan Otieno found some shooting space from range and he took one of his favorites, the ball rising over the bar by inches.On the other end, Atudo was forced to clear the ball off his line after substitute Saeid Saleh managed to tap the ball away from keeper Patrick Matasi.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Harambee Stars skipper Musa Mohammed vies for the ball with Libya’s Tubal Moahmed. PHOTO/Raymond makhayaMACHAKOS, Kenya, Dec 5- A visibly jaded Harambee Stars dropped points in their second CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup match after being held to a goalless draw by invitational side Libya at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Tuesday.Despite the draw, Kenya still maintained their lead in Group A with four points after two matches with Zanzibar second with three, though the island nation who Kenya faces next have played a match less.last_img read more

Job Vacancies: Donegal engineering company seeks staff

first_imgJob Vacancies: JC Engineering in Cloghan, Co. Donegal are looking to recruit.JC Engineering Ltd specialises in designing and fabricating and fitting mild steel and stainless steel, offering a range of metal fabrication and cladding services for commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.Welder/FabricatorJC Engineering have a vacancy for a Welder/Fabricator, the ideal candidate must be reliable, hard-working and a full clean driving licence is an advantage. Experience is essential, Safe pass is required and the role will be mainly site based.Must be able to read drawings and work as part of a team as well as on own initiative.Hourly Rate will be dependent on experience.Apprentice welderWe also have a vacancy for an apprentice welder mainly based at our workshop in Cloghan, the ideal candidate will be a motivated, hard-working and willing to learn. To applyIf you feel you are suitable to either position please send your CV to, clearly stating which job you are applying for.If you have any queries call the office on 0749133225Job Vacancies: Donegal engineering company seeks staff was last modified: July 12th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:JC EngineeringWelderlast_img read more


first_imgBREAKING NEWS: This is the scene this morning after a trailer came away from its lorry on the outskirts of Letterkenny.A serious accident was miraculously avoided after the low-loader containing a large digger broke free from the lorry and landed in the middle of the busy road close to the Dry Arch roundabout.There are now serious traffic disruptions as workmen attempt to get the low-loader back onto the lorry. An eye-witness told “It was a miracle nobody was hurt. The low-loader just seemed to break free from the lorry and plonked itself in the middle of the road.“If there had been motorists close behind then they would have smashed into the back of the low-loader because nobody knew what was happening,” he said.Nobody was hurt during the accident.It is believed another car pulled out in front of the lorry. The Gardai have arrived at the scene and are now directing traffic around the incident. MOTORISTS ESCAPE INJURY AFTER DIGGER COMES OFF LORRY was last modified: December 6th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

URA FC sign Paidah Captain Rwothomio

first_img Tags: paidah black angelsRwothomio CromwelURA FC Comments Rwothomio can play across the forward line (Agency Photo)KAMAPALA – Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Football Club have completed the signing of Paidha Black Angels captain Cromwel Rwothomio.Rwothomio who plays across the forward line thus becomes the Tax Collectors’ first signing in the current transfer window.URA are believed to have fended off competition from SC Villa who were in pole position to sign the striker.Rwothomio was a second option to Bright Stars’ Brian Kayanja and as soon as the deal for Kayanja fell through, the Tax Collectors moved fast in for the Arua based forward who they get at a whopping 14 Million.He joins an attacking force featuring Mathew Odong and Joackim Ojera and he will indeed add value to the team which struggled for goals in the early part of the season.Rwothomio becomes the third player who have previously played at Paidha Black Angels to feature at URA. The other two being Vitalis Tabu and Villa Oromochan.URA takes on Vipers this Friday at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, in their last game of the StarTimes Uganda Premier League first round.In their first 14 matches, the tax collectors have managed 21 points and currently sit 6th on the 16 team log.last_img read more

Picture Special: Donegal students shine at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

first_imgDonegal was well represented at this week’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin.Officially opened by President Michael D. Higgins, the exhibition hosted projects from some of the most innovative budding scientists across Ireland.Colaiste Ailigh student Iarlaith Mac Fhionnghaile won the first prize in the Senior Individual Social & Behavioural Sciences Category, and also the prize for the Best Project “as Gaeilge”. His study looked at the effects four units of alcohol can have on motorists’ driving, using a driving simulator to gather his data. The Geological Survey of Ireland award was presented to St Columba’s Comprehensive School Glenties students Edward Moss and Conor Mc Crossan. Edward and Conor’s project focused on coastal erosion in South West Donegal, spanning between 1951 and 2017.The Biological and Ecological Junior Individual 3rd place award went to Chloe Ní Chiarain from Colaiste Ailigh for her project “Imscrudu a dheanamh ar an gcaoi a bhfuil amalais sheileach ceangailte le strus agus scrudu simpli amalais sheileach chun leibheal strus mhic leinn a thomais a fhorbairt.”Also in the Biological and Ecological category, the Senior Group 3rd place award went to Magh Ene College students Aine Dillion, NIamh Creevy and Katie Curran for their project “A test of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis on a rocky sea shore in Bundoran.”Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair students Molly Gallagher, Katie Boyle and Saoirse Chu also proudly represented Donegal with their project “Potaí Plandaí Féin-Toirchithe.” Several projects analysed the growing use of social media usage amongst teenagers, with Maurice McGee, Colm O’Donnell, and Mikaela Greene from the Rosses Community School in Dungloe focusing in on the newly introduced Snapchat map, and Deele College student Saoirse Sheridan examining how the use of Instagram can affect young adults’ personality and psychology.Other projects from Donegal schools who qualified include:Magh Ene College“An investigation into the effect of different plant extracts on the action of amylase on starch digestion” (Biological and Ecological)“Improved electrochemical capacitor incorporating doped graphene and a liquefied gas electrolyte” (Technology)“An investigation into Biofeedback” (Social and Behavioural Sciences)“An investigation of Autumn foraging activity of four species of Irish bat” (Biological and Ecological)“An investigation into the effect of different strategies on success rate in penalty kicks” (Social and Behavioural Sciences)Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair“An éifeacht éiceolaíochta ata ag daoine ar an Earagail – The ecological impact people have on Errigal Mountain (Biological and Ecological)“An Brú a Bhaineann le aistriú ón Bunscoil go dtí an Meánscoil” (Social and Behavioural Sciences)Coláiste Ailigh “Staidear a dhéanamh ar an bhféidearthacht a bhaineann le péint bhóthair theirmeachóim mar tháscaire luath-rabhaidh ar Oighear dubh ar bhóithre na hÉireann” (Technology)“Fréamhshamhail díleáiteoir anaeróbach baile a thógáil chun áit úsáid bhreoslaí iontaise sa teach a ghlacadh (Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences)“App chun luas na gaoithe ar bharr chnoic a thomhais ón bun (Technology)Donegal Gaelcholáiste Chineál Eoghain“How Safe are we on the Internet? A Case Study- Cé Chomh Sabháil atá an Idirlíon? An Cás Staideir” (Social and Behavioural Sciences)Ruth Murphy, Chief Counsel Business and Public Sector BT presents the Biological and Ecological Senior Group 3rd place award to Aine Dillion, NIamh Creevy, Katie Curran, Magh Ene College Donegal for their project “A test of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis on a rocky sea shore in Bundoran” at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 Awards which took place in the RDS Dublin.Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell PhotographyRuth Murphy, Chief Counsel Business and Public Sector BT present the Biological and Ecological Junior Individual 3rd place award to Chloe Ní Chiarain, Colaiste Ailigh, Donegal for her project “Imscrudu a dheanamh ar an gcaoi a bhfuil amalais sheileach ceangailte le strus agus scrudu simpli amalais sheileach chun leibheal strus mhic leinn a thomais a fhorbairtGeological Survey of Ireland 
Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland presents the Geological Survey of Ireland award to Edward Moss, Conor Mc Crossan, St Columba’s Comprehensive School, Stranorlar, Donegal for their project “Coastal Erosion in South West Donegal (1951-2017)” in the Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences Intermediate Group Category at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 Awards which took place in the RDS Dublin.Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell PhotographyRuth Murphy, Chief Counsel Business and Public Sector BT presents the Social and Behavioural Senior Individual 1st place award to Iarlaith Mac Fhionnghaile, Colaiste Ailigh, Donegal for the project Pictured is Molly Gallagher, Katie Boyle and Saoirse Chu from Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair Donegal with their project ‘Potai Plandai Fein-Toirchithe’ at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 in the RDS Dublin.Karl Hussey / Fennell Photography 2018.Saoirse Sheridan from Deele College Donegal and her project ‘An exploratory study of Instagram use and personality and psychological factors among young adults’ at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 in the RDS Dublin.Photo Peter Houlihan / Fennell PhotographyMaurice McGee, Colm O’Donnell, and Mikaela Greene from Rosses Community School Donegal and their project ‘Snap Map, To Snap or Not’ at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 in the RDS Dublin.Photo Peter Houlihan / Fennell PhotographyPicture Special: Donegal students shine at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition was last modified: January 15th, 2018 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BT Young Scientist & Technology ExhibitiondonegalProjectslast_img read more

More South Africans banking

first_img6 December 2006The number of South Africans with a bank account rose by around 1.5-million between 2005 and 2006, reaching a total of 15.9-million people or 51% of the country’s 31.1-million adults (people over the age of 16).And the entry-level Mzansi bank account, introduced in 2004 to offer an easy-to-use and affordable banking solution for “the unbanked” in South Africa, has proved “undoubtedly a success”.That’s according to FinMark Trust’s FinScope SA 2006, an annual national household survey of financial services, needs and usage among South Africans.According to the survey, released this week, South Africa’s banked population increased by 11% between 2005 and 2006, far outstripping the 1% population growth in the same period.However, the ability of the banking sector to draw in the other half of the population will depend, ultimately, not on provision of easier or cheaper access, or better financial education, but on fundamental changes in the economic realities of the country.Mzansi: ‘impressive uptake’South Africa’s financial sector charter, signed in October 2003, commits the country’s financial institutions to extending first-order retail banking products to 80% of South Africans in the lowest income bracket (LSM 1-5) by 2008.According to FinScope, South Africa’s low-cost bank account, Mzansi – introduced with these lower-income customers in mind – claimed the lion’s share of new banking customers over the last year.The percentage of South Africans holding an Mzansi account rose from 2% in 2005 to 6% in 2006 – a staggering growth of around 250%. In the same period, the percentage of the banked population using Mzansi grew fourfold, from 3% to 12%.Claimed Mzansi account holders are nearing the 2-million mark, the survey finds, noting that this might be an under-reading of Mzansi’s actual size: the Banking Association SA reported that 3.3-million Mzansi accounts had been opened by June.FinScope says this discrepancy “could be because many users of Mzansi do not actually realise the type of account they hold. For example, PostBank account holders were all switched to Mzansi accounts.”Most importantly, according to the survey, Mzansi has been successful at drawing previously unbanked people into the banking sector, not solely causing account switching among the already banked.“Sixty percent of people holding a Mzansi account claim this to be their first bank account, an encouraging indicator that the product is being adopted by its core target market.”The financial divide persistsHowever, while the drive to bring more South Africans into the banking system appears to be working – and despite strong indicators that uptake of the Mzansi account will continue to grow – the financial divide between rich and poor in the country will, if it persists, sooner or later put the brakes on this growth.According to the survey, investment and even saving money is still uncommon among South Africans – and so is borrowing – with unemployment and lack of money to save being the two main reasons given for not being banked.“Where people do borrow, they do so mainly to buy food, pay for funerals, school fees or medical expenses. The reason is clearly the degree of poverty: 17% of South African say they have no income at all, and nearly one-third of South Africans testify that they do not even have enough to eat.”That over one-third of people (35%) who know about Mzansi still consider the account unaffordable “highlights the real barrier to entry that bank charges pose, no matter how low,” the survey finds.For “a great proportion of our population,” any sort of banking product is unaffordable – and, as things stand, probably unnecessary.“As such, unless the economic realities of our country change fundamentally, the Mzansi account is likely to reach a ceiling in terms of what it can realistically achieve.” reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

ARC-CO and PLC payments for this fall likely to decrease

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The tight economics of row crop production in 2017 will have many producers looking for some cash flow from farm bill programs when those payments are released this fall.Higher yields in 2017, however, will likely mean smaller payments in October of 2018 compared to last fall.“We saw yields that were pretty high for corn above trend line for some counties for the fourth year in a row in 2017. So looking forward to October of 2018,  I am expecting smaller to no payments for most counties for corn. A couple of counties in western Ohio may trigger a soybean payment but the payments are expected to be a lot less,” said Ben Brown, Ohio State University Farm Management Program
manager. “If you are counting on the money in October for cash flow, I don’t know that we will see as much. Both farmers and ag lenders need to prepare for that.“In 2017 we saw roughly $50 an acre for corn across the state. The only Ohio county that didn’t receive a corn payment was in Ashtabula County because they had higher yields in 2016. Some counties soybeans triggered substantial payments for 2017. Last October saw a pretty nice return from programs in Ohio. I don’t know that we’re going to see that in 2018.”Most of Ohio’s row-crop acres are enrolled in the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) Program, with far fewer acres enrolled in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Program.“At the start of the farm bill in 2014 there was a one-time choice over the life of the farm bill. In Ohio we saw 97% of soybean acres go into ARC-CO. The program has never returned a PLC payment for soybeans. The PLC payment was set lower than we’d expect market prices to be and it wasn’t attractive for soybean growers in the state,” Brown said. “And 98% of corn acres are in ARC-CO in Ohio. For wheat it was 82% in ARC-CO and 18% in PLC. That was different than the national average for wheat that was 60% PLC and 40% ARC-CO. Looking forward to this next farm bill, farmers will probably get to choose and forward thinking about that is going to be important for their cash flow.”It is also important to note, Brown said, that these farm bill programs only offer a safety net, not a path to profitability.“I do want to make the distinction that ARC-CO and PLC programs don’t make you whole,” he said. “They are only on 85% of the acres so the returns you get back are smaller than you would get if the market was high.”While farmers should prepare for lower farm bill payments this fall, that does not mean there will be none. The final payment numbers still have an opportunity to change from Brown’s estimates. ARC-CO and PLC payments are calculated from a formula using Farm Service Agency (FSA) yields and marketing year average prices. The estimations from Brown use National Agricultural Statistic Service yields for 2017, but the adjusted final FSA numbers will be used for the final farm bill payment calculation. Also, the corn and soybean marketing year is Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, so final prices will not be known for several more months. Brown’s estimates were made using World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) average prices from February. Marketing year average prices of $3.30 for corn, $9.30 for soybeans, and $4.60 for wheat were used for the estimates.As the marketing year progresses, it is likely that these estimates will fluctuate with price. Higher prices moving forward will result in smaller 2018 payments than estimated and lower prices will result in larger payments based upon the 2017 program year, Brown said.“More counties are expected to trigger soybean payments this fall. We have also reached a point where the PLC program is returning larger payments than ARC-CO for corn and wheat. Soybeans are not expected to trigger a PLC payment for 2018,” Brown said. “Expectations for program year 2017 corn ARC-CO payments will be smaller and rare across much of Ohio. This is largely because of the formula benchmark lowering each year as a result of lower prices. In previous years the historical five-year revenue included high prices from marketing year average 2011/12 and 2012/13. Those have been worked out of the formula and the probability of triggering a payment has lowered. The 5-year olympic average price in 2016 was $4.79 compared to a price of $3.95 in 2017. Payment variations across counties happen due to variations in yields. Highland County triggers the largest estimated payment at $37 per acre as a result of a 2017 yield of 167 bushels per acre compared to a 2016 yield of 176. The average payment in 2016 was $57 whereas in 2017 it is estimated at $12. Fewer counties are expected to receive a payment with a smaller average payment in comparison from 2016.” Prepared by Ben Brown Prepared by Ben Brown Prepared by Ben Brownlast_img read more

Discover EarthCaching and 11 Stunning Locations

first_imgEarthCache GC14W63There’s something truly spectacular about our planet earth. This month, the 7 Souvenirs of August (and the Nature Lover Souvenir) encourages you to get in touch with the extraordinary world around you through EarthCaching.EarthCaching is the magical combination of geocaching and geological discovery. The purpose of an EarthCache is to share information about a particular (and typically jaw-dropping) geological feature. EarthCaches do not contain physical containers like most geocaches. They do, however,  carry a piece of geological history that can date back millions and millions of years.A little bit about this  geocache type…There are over 17,000 EarthCaches  worldwide.EarthCaches are the most popular geocache type. They are found more often and receive more favorite points than the average geocache.EarthCaching is currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary. The first EarthCache was published in Australia on January 10th, 2004.In partnership with Geocaching HQ, The Geological Society of America facilitates the listing of EarthCache locations around the world and offers a ‘Masters Program’ where you can receive a title (and pin) based on your level of EarthCache  expertise.Now go out into the world and learn something new…Using “Advanced Search” on, you can customize your geocache search. Under the “Search for” option, select “EarthCache”.  Type in your postal code or home coordinates and voilà, nearby EarthCaches!Bring a camera (most EarthCaches encourage selfies).Be prepared to investigate. You will have to search out the answers for the educational portion of the geocache.For inspiration, here are 11 stunning EarthCaches around the world:1. GC111XM in Pumakkale, TurkeyGC111XM2. GC20010 at Lake Baikal, RussiaGC20010 SharePrint Related10th Anniversary of the EarthCacheDecember 30, 2013In “Geocaching Weekly Newsletter”11 stunning EarthCaches and how to find themJune 17, 2015In “Geocaching Info”Your Path to Platinum EarthCachingFebruary 11, 2015In “Community” 3. GC14W63 in Namib Desert, NamibiaGC14W634.  GC25643 at the Blue Lagoon, IcelandGC256435. GC11A56 at Jellyfish Lake, Ongeim’l Tketau, in PalauGC11A566. GC2PFGZ at Iguazu Falls, ArgentinaGC2PFGZ7. GC4CNMG in Western AustraliaGC4CNMG8. GC13D90 near Monsanto, PortugalGC13D909. GCPCPX in Northern IrelandGCPCPX10. GC23HNZ near Darvaza, TurkmenistanGC23HNZ11. GC1JY47 at Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, WyomingGC1Jy47 Share with your Friends:More These EarthCaches are on our bucket list. What EarthCaches are on yours?last_img read more

Robo-Advisors Are Coming. So What’s Stopping Them?

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology The Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists Marc FischerCEO and co-founder of Dogtown Media Marc Fischer is the CEO and co-founder of Dogtown Media, a mobile technology studio based in Venice Beach, California, that was named by Inc. as one of the fastest-growing companies in America. Tags:#Bots#Fintech Related Posts 6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps As technology continues its seemingly endless evolution, robots are taking over customer service and back-end data analysis. Combining those functions to create robo-advisors makes perfect sense.Unconvinced? Look at the financial sector. Experts who weighed in as part of Financial Planning’s survey believe that wealth management firms will continue to invest in robo-advisors and financial mobile app development as the two most impactful technologies. That’s not surprising, considering that robo-advisors are experiencing an estimated annual growth rate of 45.7 percent.Major questions remain before that growth can happen, however. Anyone operating in the financial field is subject to a slew of regulations — and robots are no different. Banking rules range from onerous to inexplicable, and companies must remain constantly vigilant to stay compliant. Unfortunately, these same regulations are stifling a robot renaissance.Numerous Obstacles to UbiquityThe Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) remains opaque regarding many of its rules. Between navigating an endless sea of regulations and reporting requirements, would-be FinTech disruptors must clear plenty of hurdles to achieve any success.Startups might be used to breaking rules and moving quickly, but established institutions and regulators prefer the profitable status quo. When the status quo shifts, they find creative ways to retain market dominance via half-steps.Wells Fargo, for instance, recently launched its own robo-advisor platform. While the progress is positive, the company requires users to deposit at least $10,000 to open an account with that service. The high cost to open and the associated fees for the service — which do not exist in human-managed options — indicate that Wells Fargo and other large banks would prefer to keep their customers in traditional relationships for now.As robots work to catch their big break in the financial services industry, regulatory red tape and slow industry progress present the biggest obstacles to adoption. As robo-advisors reach more audiences, the utility of the technology will encourage the market to invest further and force regulators and big banks to accept the new robotic reality.The Natural Evolution of FinTechWhile they seem like recent disruptors, machine learning and artificial intelligence have operated behind the scenes in finance for several decades. Black box trading, common on Wall Street, describes how software engineers program algorithms that complete trades in fractions of seconds (earning massive sums on thousands of lightning-fast trades). High-frequency trading is a great example.An algorithm that skips the line on the trading floor has a steep advantage. If someone can buy shares of a stock for $19.95 and then sell those same shares for $20 a few minutes later, that profit doesn’t mean much — unless that buyer makes thousands of those transactions on a daily basis.In this way, traders already use AI to pick stocks for their portfolios. Similar to analysts, machine learning and AI gauge factors like dividend growth ratios to make smarter decisions. These algorithms even account for tendencies in management teams and other soft variables.FinTech companies can’t just crash the scene and expect a warm welcome, though, even if their products would make people wealthy. FinTech startup Ripple Labs got hit with a $700,000 fine in 2015 for skirting regulations in the name of progress, for instance.Fortunately, most companies are doing things the right way — and the big banks are hedging their bets. Wells Fargo’s first foray might not be perfect, but it’s a start. Fifth Third Bancorp and Fidelity recently started working together on an automated investment service. Ally Bank, an online-only financial institution, offers automated investing to its clients. Betterment is the largest robo-advisor firm with $13.5 billion in assets.Whether regulators and industry titans like it, the robots are coming. Before these cutting-edge tools can have the most positive impact, though, a few things need to change.How to Prepare for the Robot-Focused FutureRobo-advisors are here to stay. As the technology powering them improves, they will continue to refine their offerings to entice customers with better service, higher returns, fewer fees, and superior service.Estimates from Deloitte suggest that “assets under automated management” could reach a staggering $7 trillion by 2025 (up from $2 billion in 2016). As the amount of money that robo-advisors manage continues to grow, the financial services sector must make changes in the following areas:1. Corporate StrategyIf customers can lean on robo-advisors to manage their personal portfolios, large firms could realistically use automation to manage trillions of dollars in corporate accounts. Modern companies continue to rely more heavily on data every year, and they recognize the importance of data in their investment strategies. It’s only natural that these companies should also prefer an AI-powered, data-fueled approach to their investments.2. Low Barriers to EntryAt this point, Goldman Sachs won’t take a private wealth management account worth less than $5 million. Robo-advisors democratize that personal touch, lowering the barrier to entry for less affluent people who still want individualized financial help. This race toward lower fees will force financial services companies to diversify their income streams if they want to remain profitable.3. Retirement ManagementRobots can do more than help people save for retirement. Once customers reach retirement, AI can help those users optimize their withdrawal strategies. Bucket Bliss recently debuted a robo-advisor to help its clients reach their post-retirement goals and keep their income streams consistent and sustainable. As more people are willing to put their money in the hands of robots, this type of retirement management will become more common — meaning retirees will expect banks to offer comparable services.The robo-advisor revolution has already begun to disrupt the way investors engage with their accounts. From small-time savers to billionaires, more investors at all levels will continue to lean on automated assistance as time passes. If the FinTech industry hopes to meet that consumer demand, regulators and major players must clear the way for disruption. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more