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Thursday, 14 March 2019

What we’re tracking on 14 March 2019

The news cycle is so slow this morning, it’s as if time stood still, with the nothing much of note happening here at home and the global press still focused on the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 8, Brexit, and a college cheating scandal that has embroiled US business figures and Hollywood actors.

Some more doom and gloom with which to start the weekend: One in three asset managers could disappear in the next five years, says Invesco chief Martin Flanagan. A record 253 M&A transactions in the field last year was triggered by the continued erosion of fees amid the rise of passive funds at the same time as the bottom half of the income statement is being pressured by the need to invest in compliance, tech and cyber security. This comes as “many institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds or private banks are trimming how many companies they work with, which means that asset managers need to bulk up,” the Financial Times writes.

Case in point: Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management said yesterday it has taken a majority stake in Oaktree Capital in a USD 4.7 bn transaction that will “create one of the world’s largest alternative asset managers.”

Wait, we’re not done: The number of people working in fund management (globally) is going to decline this yearfor the first time in more than a decade thanks to these rising costs and lower fees.

And on a random note of doom and gloom: With one in 10 jobs possibly being destroyed over the next decade, a 30-country study by the IMF finds that women will be hit harder than men because of how many toil in clerical and other jobs that are especially vulnerable to automation.

Doom and gloom aside, have we mentioned we’re particularly delighted we have just hours left until the weekend?

The weighting of tech in investors’ portfolios have fallen to its lowest level since May 2016,equity and quantitative strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Savita Subramanian said, according to the Financial Times. Apple and a handful of other tech companies have been a magnet for investors for years, but the US-China trade war and last year’s signs of a slowing sector resulted in a bearish sentiment.

Tech hasn’t fallen out of favor everywhere, though: The drive to amp up tech expertise has pushed mergers and acquisitions in the global enterprise-software sector to a five-year high, according to a recently-published report by acquisitions advisory firm Hampleton Partners. With the value M&A rising to USD 182.2 bn in 2018 on 1,241 transactions (against 1,050 the year before), there are indications that players in both tech and traditional industries are looking to buy new knowledge and capabilities rather than build it from within, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Boeing has grounded all 371 of its 737 Max 8 aircraft following Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia, the BBC reports. The decision came as investigators found evidence of similarities between the Ethiopia crash and an accident involving a 737 Max in Indonesia last October. Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry had earlier banned the aircraft from Egyptian airspace. The US and Canada had followed suit immediately before Boeing’s announcement.

Facebook’s core app as well as Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram were down last night as users had trouble logging into and posting on the platforms, CNBC reports. Users around the world faced issues, the broadcaster says. Mashable has more.

Speaking of Facebook: The creepy company has become the subject of a criminal investigation by prosecutors in the US looking into agreements the company struck with other tech companies to access customer data, according to the NYT. The probe couldn’t have come at a worse time for the embattled tech giant, with presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren this week calling for Big Tech to be broken up.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have arrived in Egypt ahead of their performance at the Giza Pyramids tomorrow. Tickets for the show sold quickly, but the performance will be live streamed via the band’s official YouTube page and on Facebook and Twitter, the Chili Peppers announced.

PSA- Yesterday’s sand storm, which forced four ports to close yesterday, has subsided, but we’re still looking at a breezy day today with winds at 30-50 km/h gusting to more than 65 km/h. Winds will taper off over the weekend, according to our favourite weather app. Look for daytime highs of 22-24°C in the capital city today through Sunday with overnight lows of 12°C.

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