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Monday, 8 November 2021

Fresh funding comes out of COP26 + Adam Smith, but make it green + Millennial mn’aires are going DIY on their wealth

The second week of COP26 is kicking off with fresh funding pledges — but no tangible progress on containing warming: Global leaders are still working on ironing out an agreement that will help keep annual global warming at the 1.5°C threshold, with executives at the COP26 summit saying they are “optimistic” that the summit will give business an important role in achieving that target, Reuters reports. The major point of focus at the summit today is providing funding for both developing and developed nations to address climate change. Developing countries are angling for compensation for the effect of climate change from developed countries’ historic emissions, while developed countries are in need of massive investments to slash emissions and wean themselves off fossil fuels.

Getting the ball rolling: The UK government, which announced it is rolling out a GBP 290 mn funding package to “support global efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change.” The bulk of the package is earmarked for helping Asia-Pacific countries to invest in planning towards climate action and improve conservation efforts. The funding will also go towards the Adaptation Fund, “which backs developing countries to lead action,” as well as humanitarian assistance for climate-related disasters.

EMs are getting another EUR 500 mn climate-focused fund: Allianz Global Investors and the European Investment Bank are looking to raise EUR 500 mn for a new fund that will invest in climate mitigation in emerging markets, named the Emerging Market Climate Action Fund (EMCAF), Reuters reports. The fund, which was announced at the COP26 summit, is set to have backing from Germany and Luxembourg’s governments, alongside the Nordic Investment Fund, and Swedish ins. provider Folksam.

What’s the mandate? EMCAF is specifically looking at financing solar and wind energy projects, as well as “adapting infrastructure to make it more resilient” in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, according to the newswire. It remains unclear whether Egypt could be among the target markets for the fund, but private equity giant Blackrock had pointed to Egypt as one of the “attractive” markets it will target through its own climate-focused EM infrastructure fund, which it announced last week.

How would Adam Smith feel about the green transition? A group of economists are publishing a 60-page book of essays reassessing the theories put forward in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in light of climate change, Bloomberg reports. The authors argue that, in light of the challenges posed by a warming planet, Smith would likely be in favor of economic curbs to support the low-carbon transition — rather than market principles traditionally associated with the father of economics. The release of the book highlights the shift in responsibility for finding a solution from climate scientists to economists and regulators, who must take a holistic view of growth and development in light of the environmental threats the planet is facing. The book is to be presented in a three part lecture series starting today at the University of Glasgow, of which Smith was a student.

For immediate hire, no degree required: The labor shortage in the US is giving formerly overlooked applicants a long overdue break, as companies drop prerequisites, background checks and even educational degree requirements, in order to get more manpower on board, the Wall Street Journal reports. Skill-based hiring is now taking precedence over credentials, with beauty product retailer The Body Shop scrapping degree requirements, background checks and drug tests, and healthcare company CVS Health Inc. dropping high-school diploma requirements for entry-level roles. Since the covid-19 pandemic began, the US labor force has diminished by the mns, but these changes could open up around 1.4 mn jobs to people without college degrees in the next five years if the current trend continues, analysts say.

Meanwhile in Rich Kid Land: Millennial m’naires are going DIY on wealth management. Wealthy young investors are eschewing financial advisors in favor of managing their own mns, the Wall Street Journal reports. Around 70% of younger households with a net worth of over USD 500k had a strongly or mostly self-directed investment style in 2019, compared with 57% in 2010, as the rise of simple, low-cost digital investment platforms, such as Robinhood, threatens to make traditional portfolio managers obsolete. The shift has big institutional investors scrambling to get down with the kids as they seek to renew their customer base with young blood. Young m’naires are also happier to make riskier bets for bigger potential returns, with many young investors happy to pour their wealth into crypto and other riskier assets traditionally unfavored by portfolio managers.

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