Former Wallabies player Scott Staniforth sells in Turramurra

Graceview Turramurra

A WELL-KNOWN Wallaby is once again doing the media rounds on the north shore — but this time, instead of promoting an upcoming tour, he’s trying to sell you a property.

Scott Staniforth played for the national rugby side several times, but he’s now 38, and working as a general manager for property developer Pindan Capital.

The company’s latest project is Graceview in Turramurra, a complex which Mr Staniforth says offers beautiful interiors in a much-loved location.

“The residences are defined by stunning architectural quality and attention to detail with each apartment having corner views, which is unique in this type of development,” he said.

 

 

[Source:- Realestate]

 

2016 year in review: It’s been a bad year for…

polling station

Media agencies

Media agencies have been scrutinised like never before this year since the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed highly controversial practices taking place within the US ad industry.

A report by the ANA found evidence of a “fundamental disconnect” between advertisers and agencies, highlighting a far greater need for transparency as the prevalence of cash rebates and kickbacks from media owners to agencies was brought to light.

A  study by marketing consultancy ID Comms published before the ANA’s report suggested that agency rebates are the main cause of distrust between global advertisers and agencies, more than 70% of which believe it will hinder relationships in the long term.

You have to be free to choose your own suppliers, not have a media partner tell you who to use.

Debbie Morrison, ISBA

And brands do not expect the situation to improve any time soon given that only 7% said trust would increase ‘a lot’ in the near future.

To help repair relations, ISBA introduced a new contract template in April designed to create more transparency for advertisers, after highlighting the lack of detail around viewability, brand safety and click fraud.

At the time, ISBA’s director of consultancy and best practice Debbie Morrison, spoke of the “unacceptable position” caused by media agencies dictating which suppliers a client should use, which has been exacerbated by the rise of digital marketing.

“You have to be free to choose your own suppliers, not have a media partner tell you who to use. Certain agency groups only use certain auditors and it all looks very fishy,” she said.

As a result of the rise in automated ad buying Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson believes the industry is “rapidly turning into a shadowy black box filled with turds and spiders”.

The soft drink sector has not had the easiest of years. In March,then Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to introduce a sugar tax, which will place a levy on all sugary drinks and come into effect by the end of 2018. The sugar tax will reportedly raise £520m, which will be used to help support school sport and fitness programmes, but Mintel expects it to have a “severe impact” on sales.

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Red Bull will be affected, as will beverages with lower sugar content such as tonic water and alcohol-free shandies. Innocent’s head office probably issued a collective sigh of relief, as the new levy will not be paid on milk-based drinks, smoothies or fruit juices.

READ MORE: Soft drink brands should embrace the sugar tax

But it is not just the sugar tax that brands have to worry about. British consumers are increasingly worried about how sugar is affecting their health. Mintel figures show that 32% of soft drink consumers say sugar concerns have prompted them to limit their intake of non-diet variants.

Brands are not sitting still as the war on sugar rages on. Coca-Cola relaunched its ‘Coke Zero’ variant as ‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’, and ran a £10m campaign to promote it. It wants 50% of its sales by 2020 to come from its no-sugar options. Other brands such as Lucozade have also launched low- and no-sugar variants.

Yet the industry still has a lot of work to do to turnaround a decline in soft drink sales. According to Canadean, volume sales of carbonated soft drinks were down 0.89% in 2015, while fruit juices fell by 4.1% and sports drinks by 11.2%.

Political polling

The political pollsters had promised they had improved their models following a disastrous UK general election in 2015, when they failed to predict a Conservative majority, the extent of support for the SNP and the decimation of the Liberal Democrat vote. Yet this year the majority failed to predict that ‘Leave’ would win the UK’s vote on its membership of the European Union or that Donald Trump would be the next US President, not Hillary Clinton.

The issues are similar to those found during the general election. The evidence shows pollsters tend to underestimate conservative voters, hence the Conservative, Brexitand Trump wins. Many people simply did not want to admit, even in an anonymous survey, that they were voting for Trump or to leave the EU.

Joe Twyman, head of political and social research at YouGov, says the popular vote in the US, which Clinton won despite losing the presidency on electoral college votes, fell within its margin of error but in a few key states its preliminary analysis shows it “slightly underestimated” turnout among Trump supporters.

READ MORE: What brands can learn from election polling failures

It is clear that polling methodology needs to be scrutinised. Although the polling of voting intentions in the EU referendum was unique, it seems clear there is a common problem. Declining response rates to phone polls mean they are increasingly costly and that online should become research companies’ favoured method. But pollsters will need to do more tweaking to ensure their respondents are representative.

Twyman agrees: “We will continue to refine our processes, building on the work we have already done incorporating a large amount of additional data from users’ responses to form detailed models of turnout.”

It all started so well for Samsung. Its latest flagship phone launch, the Galaxy S7, gave it a sales boost leading it to post its biggest profit in two years. Plus it won the Creative Marketer of the Year award at Cannes Lions. But then it all went up in flames, literally. Its Galaxy Note 7 phones had to be recalled as their batteries were prone to catching fire, while a problem with its washing machines caused some to explode and led to another recall.

Unsurprisingly, the brand’s image has taken a hit. According to YouGov BrandIndex, its ‘Buzz’ score, a measure of the positive and negative things said about a brand, fell by a significant 3.3 points to 8.4 in October. This led to Samsung plummeting down a list of mobile operators and handsets from first to 32nd.

To top this off it reported its worst ever decline in smartphone sales in its third quarter results, down by 14.2%, causing its global market share to fall to 19.2%, from 23.6% in the same period last year.

As a result of its declining sales and brand image, the company had no choice but to end production of the Galaxy Note 7 and reassess the situation. But that cost is $2.3bn in what could prove to be one of the costliest product safety issues ever in the tech industry.

The focus for Samsung has been on reassuring its customers and trying to convince them that its products, including Galaxy S7, are safe. “Samsung stands behind the quality and safety of the Galaxy S7 family,” it said in a post released on its site. Yet it will take more than that to rebuild trust in the brand and its products.

Flashy CEOs

Once upon a time it did not matter how many super yachts Sir Philip Green was papped on. The over-the-top parties with A-list celebrities came with the territory. Yet following this year’s demise of BHS, the historic British retailer Green sold to Retail Acquisitions for £1 in March 2015, the archetype of the flashy CEO is starting to feel very outdated.

In a year to forget, MPs demanded Green be stripped of his knighthood, blaming his rush to sell BHS for the retailer going into administration and 11,000 people losing their jobs. And critics claim Green’s inability to publicly acknowledge his role in the demise of BHS has made his adventures on super yachts feel like a slap in the face to thousands of Britons.

Sports Direct’s CEO Mike Ashley, another billionaire with a penchant for flashing wads of £50 notes in public, also came in for criticism after it emerged staff at his Derbyshire warehouse were paid below the minimum wage and fined for turning up to work late.

“I don’t like it when I see CEOs out there in the public eye. It smells of money. I don’t want to think about how much someone owns and how much they make – it is ugly and the public don’t like it,” was the verdict of Ted Baker’s CEO Ray Kelvin. “These people – like [Green and Ashley] – all they want to do is show off how much they earn. That turns people off.”

While Kelvin might just be another over-confident, multimillionaire CEO, it is difficult to imagine many disagreeing with his verdict. Do not be surprised if CEOs make a conscious effort to stay out of the limelight in 2017.

[Source:- Marketingweek]

Dubai beats London, Paris as top expat city

If you’re living in Dubai and you sometimes fancy looking for new employment opportunities in other European and Asian cities, like Paris, London or Hong Kong, it may be a good idea to just stick around.

According to a new research that polled more than 14,000 foreigners living or working abroad, expatriate life in Dubai is still better than in a lot of cities in popular tourist destinations.

Dubai, as well as Abu Dhabi, has been voted as one of the 25 best places for foreigners looking to live and work overseas.

The third edition of the annual InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, which looks at the general living situation of expatriates by polling more than 14,000 respondents around the world, ranked Dubai as the 22nd best destination for expatriates, ahead of London, Paris and Rome. Abu Dhabi occupied the 20th place.

The two cities earned high approval ratings in the area of personal safety, with 64 expats in Abu Dhabi and 63 per cent of expats considering their personal safety to be “very good”, much higher than the global average of 38 per cent.

The two emirates also received positive feedback for political stability, with 51 per cent of expats in Dubai and 44 per cent in Abu Dhabi rating political stability as “very good.”

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have also been credited for making it easy for foreigners to settle in. Dubai takes the 11th spot in the study’s Ease of Settling Index, while Abu Dhabi follows close behind in the 12th spot. Both cities do particularly well in the friendliness and language subcategories. In Abu Dhabi, for example, 25 per cent of the respondents said the local population is very friendly.

However, like many other Middle Eastern cities, there are certain aspects that Abu Dhabi and Dubai need to work on, including the areas of leisure, health, travel and transport and personal finances. The two cities didn’t get as much positive feedback from expats under these categories.

Still, there are other places that gained more scores from expats. Overall, Melbourne has been voted as the number one city, followed by Houston, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Singapore, Vienna, Munich, Sydney, Mexico and Toronto in the top 10.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are, however, ahead of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Brussels, Beijing, London, Paris, Istanbul, Doha, Milan and Rome, among others.

InterNations is a huge global network and information site for people who live and work abroad. It has 2.4 million members in 390 cities around the world.

 

[Source:- Gulfnews]

 

Could a railway force Chanel No 5 out of its historic home?

Chanel No5 bottles

Chanel has said it will leave a historic perfume site in France if plans for a high-speed train line affecting its jasmine fields go ahead.

French rail operators say modernisation work on the French Riviera network is desperately necessary.

But in an open letter, the luxury brand said it would be a disaster for its “artisanal activities” in Grasse.

The company says it takes about 1,000 jasmine flowers to make a 30ml bottle of its famous No 5 perfume.

The iconic perfume was created by Coco Chanel when she met local perfumer Ernest Beaux in Grasse during a summer holiday on the Cote d’Azur in 1920.

Part of Chanel’s perfume production has been located in the region for decades and the town near the Cote d’Azure is often considered the world capital of perfume.

But French state-owned railway company SNCF has said its whole network in the region is in dire need of investment and wants to route a TGV line through the area.

According to the rail operator, the route from Marseilles to Nice is the most congested in the country outside of Paris.

The 6.7bn euro ($7bn; £5.5bn) investment is expected to cut an entire hour off the trip between the two towns.

But Chanel said “the construction of a viaduct and the regular passage of high-speed trains over these fields of flowers” would force the company “to cease supporting its artisanal activities in the region”.

The firm describes the quality of the flowers in the region as “unique and exceptional” and “indispensable for the creation of Chanel perfumes.”

 

 

 

[Source:- BBC]

Melbourne suburbs lead the country for number of house sales

28 Baltic Circuit, Point Cook for Herald Sun Reale

HOUSES in a group of Melbourne suburbs are among the country’s most popular.

CoreLogic figures for the 12 months to July revealed, seven of the country’s 10 top-selling suburbs are in Melbourne, with Point Cook leading the way.

Demand is high in these areas with many of them consistently chalking up the highest number of house sales in recent years.

Point Cook dominated the market in terms of house sales, chalking up 1031 transactions in the past 12 months.

This was followed by Pakenham, with 1014 sales and Craigieburn, 880.

Barry Plant, Point Cook, director Tony Skrekovski said it was no surprise Point Cook sales figures were so high.

“It’s an area where it’s easy for people to buy,” Mr Skrekovski said.

“A lot of buyers who are frustrated after missing out at auction after auction in the inner city are looking at Point Cook as a really good and affordable alternative.”

With developers “flying along” and releasing new land, Mr Skrekovski the suburb offered all the amenities buyers were looking for.

“It has absolutely everything a buyer could want in a new suburb. The amount of growth there has been in the past 12 months is phenomenal,” Mr Skrekovski said.

“Young families are flocking to the area and in turn there extended family are selling up in established areas and migrating to Point Cook.”

TOP TEN SUBURBS FOR HOUSE SALES IN AUSTRALIA

Point Cook, VIC — 1031

Pakenham, VIC — 1014

Craigieburn, VIC — 880

Orange, NSW — 863

Berwick, VIC — 809

Port Macquarie, NSW — 798

Dubbo, NSW — 742

Werribee, VIC — 669

Mildura, VIC — 661

Frankston, VIC — 643

In terms of unit sales, Melbourne CBD trailed Surfers Paradise for the most sales in the past year.

The CBD recorded 1296 unit or apartment sales in the 12 month period compared to Surfers Paradise’s 1616.

TOP TEN SUBURBS FOR UNIT SALES IN AUSTRALIA

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast — 1616

Melbourne — 1296

Southport, Gold Coast — 876

Southbank, VIC — 736

Adelaide, SA — 643

Hope Island, Gold Coast — 634

Labrador, Gold Coast — 572

Dee Why, NSW — 551

South Yarra, VIC — 533

Brisbane city — 530

Southbank and South Yarra were the only other Victorian suburbs to make the list.

Queensland led the way for apartment sales, with five of the top 10 suburbs in the sunshine state, four of which are on the Gold Coast.

 

 

[Source:- Realesate]

Poor data is costing brands 6% of annual revenue

money drain

Around 6% of annual revenue is being lost through poor quality data, according to new research by Royal Mail.

Given the positive impact well-maintained contact data can have on campaign performance, it’s perhaps surprising that around 70% of the 300 companies surveyed admit to having incomplete or out-of-date customer data. And the problem is getting worse given this figure is up 12% compared to 2014.

However, 34% of marketers fail to fully understand the financial impact of poor quality data, according to the study.

Jim Conning, managing director of Royal Mail Data Services: “CMOs and marketing directors all understand the importance of accurate customer data but I’m not sure more inexperienced members of the team understand the increased ROI of more accurate data.”

He reckons retailers alone could save £500,000 a year through data cleansing and argues that marketers need to address the “dysfunctional” silos within their businesses to capture data effectively.

Multiple departments have responsibility for data collection, regulation and strategy with varying levels of involvement. The marketing function tends to take responsibility most often for setting the data strategy (54%), data collection (49%) and regulation (42%). When it comes to strategy, the board (36%), data management teams (27%) and strategy (26%) also have a level of responsibility, while for data collection, behind marketing, it is the CRM department (40%), customer service (34%) and sales (33%) so these teams must work together more cohesively.

In a way life event data is the most important data of all, because there’s the potential to project future needs.

Gaelle Comte, Unbiased

Websites are the primary source of customer data collection (87%), according to the study, while less than half of data is collected via the mobile web (44%). However, only 44% of companies automatically validate data at the point of entry online and 19% have no validation at all.

Financial advice platform Unbiased captures the majority of its data via a form customers are required to fill in with their financial details and advice needs. The team also collects data from the website’s ‘find an adviser’ search tool and newsletter sign-up form.

“The consumer data we handle tends to be sensitive – not just their contact details but also the value of their assets, which is necessary in order to match them with the best available adviser,” explains head of marketing Gaelle Comte.

“The data captured is a mix of defined answers with regards to products held or wanted and free text, which provides the context of the enquiry and gives real insight into how an adviser may be best able to help.”

Social media is better for driving traffic rather than capturing data, says Comte, whose team developed its own data capture technology so it is in full control of the insight and how it can inform new products and services.

Ecommerce platform Thread is hoping to turn personal styling on its head by using its own algorithms to offer an ‘ultra-personalised’ experience. Led by head of applied research Ed Snelson, who joined Thread from Microsoft’s AI labs, the team has developed powerful machine-learning mechanisms that enable the website to scale the styling experience.

The system uses complex ‘decision trees’ to group users into millions of ‘micro-buckets’ across more than 100 criteria including age, style, brand, fit, colour and fabric. This means if one customer loves Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, he will have a completely different experience to another who only loves Ralph Lauren, explains co-founder Kieran O’Neill.

“Signing into Thread is effectively like walking into a store where everything is in your size, in your budget, by your favourite brands and approved by a stylist. This is structurally impossible to do offline, as we have more than 3.7 billion outfit combinations to choose from,” O’Neill explains.

“We’ve developed our own proprietary, internal score for measuring the personalisation and quality of outfit recommendations. When we first began, it was frankly pretty poor. We tried pretty standard algorithm approaches such as collaborative filtering, and they yielded quite uninspiring results, like suggesting a grey T-shirt to a guy who likes black T-shirts.”

Thread therefore evolved its data strategy, drawing on a number of metrics including users’ ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ and ordering propensity. The algorithm is now 20 times more powerful and has helped push sales tenfold, increasing the propensity of first-time users to buy something and growing site visits.

Tracking life stages

Whether a customer is having a baby, moving or getting married, 61% of marketers consider life event data useful as it offers reasons to engage (61%) and creates sales opportunities (59%), according to the research.

As financial planning and legal advice is driven by life stage, Unbiased is keen to capture life event data to help deliver relevant content. The company recently mapped and profiled its existing data to Experian customer segments, which is tied to life stages.

Accurate life state data is also helping Unbiased tailor its email communications to specific segments. So customers who have just started a family will be sent one kind of message, whereas someone about to retire will receive a different tailored message.

“In a way life event data is the most important data of all, because there’s the potential to project future needs,” says Comte.

“For instance, someone aged 50 will probably need pension advice within five years, while someone starting a career may soon need mortgage advice, so you can see potential new clients coming onstream even if they don’t revisit the site in the interim.”

Permission and the value exchange

The number of marketers using third party data sources is on the decline, according to the research. Only 47% of marketers use third party data, compared to 56% in 2014, which Conning attributes to a loss in confidence that third parties are compliant with GDPR regulations. Some 43% of marketers say they are worried about third party compliance, with 58% concerned about their own data compliance.

READ MORE: A third of marketers feel unprepared for new data laws

As it is difficult to get permission, social media is largely used as an advertisingchannel rather than a targeted ad channel, says Conning. “Engagement with customers on social media adds colour and updates on what people may be doing rather than definitive data.

“It’s important to build properly permissioned, insightful data along with social insight. For example, some 10% of people move once a year, which is a huge proportion of any database. Therefore social can add colour to the redirections data we collect,” he adds.

Achieving customer intimacy is crucial to reach true personalisation, as is appreciating the value exchange, says Conning, who recognises that marketers need to work harder to build value in the customer’s mind and stop them moving on to a different brand or provider.

We tried standard algorithm approaches such as collaborative filtering, and they yielded quite uninspiring results.

Kieran O’Neill, Thread

To achieve better data clarity brands should set up standard permissions to collect data and move away from siloed structures to achieve a single customer view, advises Conning, which will be key to generate customer loyalty. He also recommends integrating insight from social media and properly permissioned third party sources.

Comte agrees that data has to be earned and consumers are happy to share details about their lives as long as they feel they are getting a valuable service in return. The challenge for Unbiased is therefore to visualise the data and extract its full potential.

Forging an ongoing relationship with customers is the best way to earn trust, meaning they are happier to share data, adds Comte, who is working on using this insight to surface relevant data, showing past searches and predicting what help customers will need based on their previous behaviour.

Having a human element

For O’Neill and the team at Thread, while data is crucial to the business model, the human element of the brand is just as vital. “Our stylists also work closely with our data science team to build and improve our algorithm, making tweaks like adding new parameters to better capture an element of personal style, or changing the weightings of different elements of the algorithm to improve each user’s recommendations,” he adds.

The website teams its ten human stylists with the in-house proprietary algorithms, which assist the stylists in making recommendations. Consumers can also message their stylists directly for advice.

Brands that are committed to maintaining accurate data are set to reap the financial rewards, as long as they do not lose sight of the need to build customer intimacy and trust.

[Source:- Marketingweek]

Facebook to open new London HQ, create 500 jobs

Facebook

Facebook will open a new London headquarters next year and create another 500 jobs, the leading social network said Monday, despite uncertainty over Brexit.

The group said the move will take its UK workforce to 1,500 staff, adding that Britain “remains one of the best places to be a tech company”, amid ongoing jitters over the nation’s looming exit from the European Union.

The news comes one week after US tech giant Google confirmed it would expand its vast London campus in a move that could bring 3,000 more jobs.

The Facebook announcement will be confirmed later at the annual meeting of top business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry, which is the country’s top employers’ organisation.

“The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company and is an important part of Facebook’s story,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, the company’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“We came to London in 2007 with just a handful of people, by the end of next year we will have opened a new HQ and plan to employ 1500 people,” she added in a statement.

“Many of those new roles will be high skilled engineering jobs as the UK is home to our largest engineering base outside of the US.”

A spokeswoman added that the new office is currently under construction in the bohemian central district of Fitzrovia.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the news from the US giant.

“Facebook’s decision to expand in London is further evidence that London’s strength as a tech hub keeps on growing,” Khan said.

“It follows news that London remains the best city in Europe for digital startups.

“The capital’s vibrant tech scene is the envy of Europe and Facebook’s continuing commitment is another sign that London is open to talent, innovation and entrepreneurship from all four corners of the world.”

Last Tuesday, Google revealed it will add a new office building to a complex currently under development behind London’s King’s Cross train station.

An estimated 3,000 jobs will be created by the move. A total of 7,000 Google staff will eventually be working at the hub, which is set to open in 2018.

 

 

[Source:- Gulfnews]

Referendum adds to Italian banks’ woes

Banca d'Italia logo

The focus of the news from Italy this weekend will be political – there’s a referendum on constitutional reform.

The Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has said he will resign if the proposals are rejected.

This could be followed by new elections which could in turn benefit the Five Star Movement, an anti-euro group led by the former comedian Beppe Grillo.

The Movement is one of many protest parties that have surged in popularity across Europe in recent years.

But behind the politics in Italy there’s a background of persistent economic weakness and a more immediate problem in the banking industry.

There are real concerns that a defeat for Mr Renzi’s proposals could unleash a chain of events that would set back the country’s economy once again.

turn of the century

Italy’s banks are currently one of the main trouble spots for the eurozone.

They are struggling with a burden of bad debt, loans that are unlikely ever to be repaid fully.

The banks are a potential flashpoint in an economy that has for some time been seen as posing wider risks to the EU’s currency area.

However, it is the size of the Italian economy and government debt that make the country a smouldering financial volcano. The risks are aggravated by the political situation.

Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone. The government debt burden, depending on which figures you look at, is certainly one of the largest in the eurozone. In fact, on one measure its debt burden is the largest.

One of the roots of the problem is Italy’s two decades of dismal economic performance. Measured by total economic activity (gross domestic product, or GDP), the economy remains about 8% smaller than it was at the onset of the international financial crisis.

It is roughly the same size as it was at the turn of the century.

That has made it harder to generate the tax revenue needed to keep the government’s debt burden down. It has also increased the chances of businesses getting into difficulty and being unable to maintain their loan payments.

The result: Italian banks are weighed down with a massive problem of bad debts, or non-performing loans (NPLs), worth €360bn (£307bn), equivalent to about a fifth of the size of country’s economy.

Heavy losses

The problem has been exacerbated by the country’s bankruptcy legislation, which made it very slow for lenders to get their money back when a borrower has failed financially. The law has been changed under the government of Matteo Renzi, but it has taken time to make itself felt in practice.

One way that banks can deal with problem loans is to sell them to other investors. But the delays in the foreclosure procedures that enable creditors to recover the money mean these deals involve deep discounts.

That, in turn, would mean the banks would have to acknowledge heavy losses in their accounts, further undermining their financial foundations.

At best, the NPL problem inhibits the banks’ ability to provide the new credit that Italian businesses need to generate a more convincing economic recovery.

] banks, is trying to raise €5bn to deal with bad debts

At worst, there is a risk that the failure of a large bank could set off a wider financial crisis and set the recovery back more severely.

One of the banks at the centre of this crisis is the world’s oldest and Italy’s third-largest, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. It has been ordered by the European Central Bank to reduce its holdings of bad debt.

The bank is trying to raise new capital to the tune of €5bn, and plans to do it by issuing new shares and by asking some creditors to convert the debts they are owed into shares.

Several other banks have problems too.

Political uncertainty

The referendum plays into this problem simply because repairing the banks is more difficult in the face of profound political uncertainty. The worry is, will investors want to put their money into a struggling lender when the political environment is so hard to read?

The Five Star Movement is anti-euro, although that does not mean that eurozone exit would directly follow a defeat for Mr Renzi in the referendum.

] proposed reforms

There are many steps that would have to be taken first, and in any case European Commission surveys have consistently suggested Italian public opinion favours sticking with the currency.

But then, who would bet that those surveys are a reliable gauge to how a referendum might turn out? There is plenty in Italian politics to unsettle financial markets.

One option that has been considered for the banks is a bailout by the Italian government. There are two problems with that; one financial and one legal

The financial issue is that the Italian government’s dismal finances mean it really doesn’t need the additional burden of propping up the banks.

The legal point is that European Union rules, agreed in the wake of the financial crisis, require a bank’s creditors, in particular its bondholders, to take losses before the taxpayer steps in.

It’s an approach that can make sense. Bondholders are usually professional investors who can handle losses and are also, in theory, better able to monitor banks and discourage them from taking excessive risks in the first place.

]

But in the case of Italy, many of these bonds are owned by retail investors. So, following the EU rules and imposing losses on this group would be very unpopular in Italy and many would say unfair.

The rules are part of a very important project in the eurozone, called banking union. It was a response to the region’s financial crisis, intended to make the banks more resilient and to break the malign link between weak banks and financially-stressed governments.

Those are two serious problems in the case of Italy and the referendum brings them once again into focus.

 

[Source:- BBC]

Full House creator buys the home from the show

Full House home - 1709 Broderick St San Francisco

The veteran TV producer plans to use the home in filming for the Netflix revival series, Fuller House, and he may later rent it out to the public.

The three-bedroom home had been on the market for just over two months before Franklin bought it in August for $US4 million, just shy of its $US4.1 million asking price.

The 1883 home was handpicked by the show’s creator nearly 30 years ago to serve as the Tanner household in stock shots and the title sequence.

From 1987 to 1995 the show’s eight seasons were largely filmed in a recording studio rather than inside the house.

The show starred Bob Saget as Danny Tanner, a widow who raises his three daughters with the help of his brother-in-law and best friend.

The popular show also launched the careers of the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, who as toddlers shared the role of the youngest daughter Michelle.

Scores of Full House fans have visited the home to take pictures out the front while playing the show’s theme song from a smartphone.

The fan visits have annoyed both previous owners and the neighbours.

Franklin accepts that fans will continue visiting the home, and will likely come in droves now that he has painted the door red in preparation for the filming of Fuller House.

Victorian gem

The traditional Victorian home is located in Lower Pacific Heights, just a short drive from Golden Gate Park.

The 290sqm property features high ceilings, a home office and a well-manicured garden.

Since the show ended the distinctive home has undergone a makeover and now has a more modern look with darker hues, contrasting trimmings and patterned carpet.

There have been suggestions the property’s contemporary interior decor may have put some buyers off.

While fans might remember the house’s beige and white façade from when the show first aired, the exterior now features a much darker hue.

But the interesting history of this home predates its role in the popular television show.

Originally constructed in 1883, the house was a product of Charles Lewis Hinkel – a son of German builder who immigrated to San Francisco in 1852.

Through the work of Hinkel and his three sons, other Italianate-style homes were built in the area and many of them are still standing.

 

 

[Source:- Realesate]

 

Ford looks to ‘disrupt itself’ with focus on driverless cars and shuttle services

Mark Fields President and Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company delivers his speech during the Ford Go Further Event Ford of Europe Go Further 2016. 29 November 2016 Photo: Neil Turner/Timbismedia for Ford of Europe

Ford is increasing its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles and plans to test and launch a city shuttle service in Europe, as it looks to offset disruption in the transport sector by tech giants.

Autonomous vehicles will have contributed a total of £14.5 trillion to Europe’s GDP by 2015, according to a report commissioned by Nissan Europe, leaving the auto industry open to disruption from technology companies eager to grab a share of the market.

In addition to carmakers, tech giants such as Intel, Uber and Google are already testing driverless cars with various degrees of success. Ford is the latest to announce plans to test autonomous vehicles, bringing them to European roads in early 2017.

Having completed tests in the US, the tests in the UK and Europe will allow the car marque to identify differences in road conditions, regulations unique to Europe, infrastructure and take into account the increased interactions with pedestrians and cyclists compared to the US.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new Ford Fiesta 2017 range in Cologne, Germany, chief executive, Mark Fields, said: “It’s our intention to put the first Ford autonomous vehicles on the road in 2021, in either a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.”

He added: “There’s a lot of talk these days about technology companies and how they could disrupt the auto industry, but at Ford we are already well into the process of disrupting ourselves.”

‘Not just about selling cars’

Fields  said the long term vision for Ford is “not just about selling more cars” as it looks to move into the “bigger business” of transportation services. The traditional auto industry generates £1.8 trillion in revenue each year whereas transportation services are worth £3.5 trillion, according to the CEO.

He said: “For us this isn’t about going from an old business to a new business, it’s simply about moving to a bigger business.”

The company is launching its app-based crowd-sourced shuttle service Chariot, which is already live in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, and will work with four more cities in Europe over the next 15 months.

The service uses Ford Transit vans to pick up and drop off customers across a city, adapting to customer demand. Fields said for every shuttle that is put into service in peak times, urban congestion could be reduced by up to 25 vehicles.

“Here is an automaker talking about taking vehicles out of the city – that sounds pretty disruptive to me,” he added.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Roelant de Waard, vice president of marketing, sales and service at Ford of Europe, said the aim was not to compete with the likes of Uber but instead came from a “a detailed analysis of the offering in the market place” and the spaces that Ford wanted to be in and not be a part of.

He said: “We believe there will be different forms of ownership in the future. The way people consume and pay for [transportation] will be very different. [Chariot] is a hybrid between a taxi and a private car it’s a way of allowing people to select the kind of transportation that fits their need.”

Ford also announced a £3.6bn investment in electric cars by the end of the decade and the introduction of 13 electric vehicles to its portfolio worldwide.

 

 

[Source:- Marketingweek]