Posts Tagged : content marketing

It’s awards season and we’re shortlisted

Our recent microsite for Baker McKenzie, Ghosts in the Machine: Revisited has been shortlisted for Best Use of Interactivity in the annual Shorthand awards. We’re chuffed!

Ghosts2-Social Share

Revisited is the follow-up to the original Ghosts in the Machine report from 2016, and looks at the use of artificial intelligence in the financial services industry.

We’re proud to be shortlisted alongside other great players in the storytelling field like the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the BBC.

And while the Shorthand Awards jury members put their heads together to decide on a winner, we will wait patiently. In the meantime we recommend to take a look at Ghosts Revisited — happy scrolling.

To check out the competition, head over to Shorthand’s The Craft for the complete shortlist.

African Infrastructure and the Battle for International Influence
Chinese banks are the leading providers of infrastructure finance in Sub-Saharan Africa. But the US is upping its game.


“China has changed the narrative of Africa,” says Wale Shonibare of the African Development Bank (AfDB). “China wants to invest and transact for mutual benefit: it needs natural resources and new export markets and African countries require investment to develop their infrastructure.”

According to a report by Baker McKenzie, Thought Leadership Consulting and IJGlobal, the numbers speak for itself: From 2008 to 2017 China Exim Bank, the state-owned export-import bank, pumped $9.2 billion into Sub Saharan Africa infrastructure, three times the amount the International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided. And the US? Its Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC, invested $1.3 billion.

Top policy lenders SSA 2008-17

Data from IJGlobal

“Until [China] came along, the West focused on aid and issues like corruption; they didn’t see the business opportunities,” AfDB’s Shonibare says.

But Chinese engagement on the African continent is no longer going unnoticed.

“Of course we’ve also looked to see what China is doing,” German chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to African presidents and prime ministers at the Compact with Africa conference in October 2018. “China approaches your countries with very compact investment offers.”

The same day, Germany announced a new €1 billion ($1.3 billion) fund to support investment in Africa.

The US also remain engaged. Since its inception five years ago the US Power Africa programme has funded 80 transactions valued at more than $14.5 billion that are now either online, under construction,or have reached final close.

In a survey of 434 executives from the development finance community, conducted by Thought Leadership Consulting for Baker McKenzie, a small but clear majority thought that US-based development finance institutions (DFIs) and export credit agencies (ECAs) will be more active than their China-based counterparts over the next ten years.

As if to prove the the point, the US announced soon after survey closure plans to turn OPIC into the International Development Finance Corporation and double its lending ceiling to $60 billion.

The decision is widely seen as a counter to Chinese largesse in Africa and other emerging markets. The US is reportedly concerned about the security implications of China gaining control of strategic assets as a result of unsustainable borrowing by some developing countries.

The full report “A Changing World: New trends in Emerging market infrastructure finance” by Baker McKenzie in collaboration with Thought Leadership Consulting and IJGlobal is free to download.

How a San Francisco-based hedge fund uses the blockchain

Banks were among the first to recognise the need to embrace digital currencies and distributed ledger technology, but they are not the only ones.

Within the financial services industry credit card companies or insurers come to mind.

But one particularly intriguing example comes from Numerai.  In a bid to develop artificial intelligence, the San Francisco-based hedge fund developed its own cryptographic token, called Numeraire. The idea is that data scientists developing AI models stake Numeraire in an auction to quantify their confidence in the models. Those that prove their predictive prowess earn Numeraire, while those that don’t see their digital stakes destroyed.

Geoffrey Bradway Numerai

Geoffrey Bradway, VP of engineering at Numerai, expects “more and more novel coin applications in the finance realm”.

In part nine of our digital currencies series we’re going beyond banking, looking at other areas where the financial services industry considers – or already uses – distributed ledger technology.

To read the article, which we have produced in collaboration with law firm Baker McKenzie, please follow this link.

Earlier in the series, in May 2017, we looked at the potential of digital currencies and distributed ledger technology for central banks. And in June, we discussed what’s in it for banks.


Two years in – what have we learned?

Guy Dunn, CEO, Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership

It is about two years since we first started talking to potential clients about how we could help them with their thought leadership initiatives. In that time we have had hundreds of conversations with marketing professionals about what they need to position their businesses as forward-thinking authorities on the issues that matter most to their clients and prospective customers. Happily for us, a number of those discussions have resulted in our business being chosen to research, produce and disseminate thought leadership content for some very prestigious organisations.

Back in 2015, there were a number of assumptions supporting the establishment of Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership:

1. There was space for us in the market

We were aware that a number of companies were already well established in providing third party content for the purposes of thought leadership. Indeed, many of us had worked for those organisations previously. We have found that traditionally large buyers of thought leadership content are interested in having a broad and diverse range of suppliers to choose from and that there is genuine interest in new players like us in terms of what different things we could bring to the table.

2. We had something new to offer

We knew that simply replicating the approach of others when it came to thought leadership projects was unlikely to be enough. We understood that the effective dissemination of thought leading content to the right audience was equally, if not more important to organisations than its production. Indeed, we had seen many examples of great thought leadership in search of an audience. We knew we had a distinct advantage with our Thought Leaders Network of over 6 million professionals worldwide and so it has proved. It has been deeply satisfying to surprise our clients with how quickly we have been able to conduct research and at the results we have been able to achieve in driving an audience to it.

3. Links with our wider organisation would help

It is not unusual for thought leadership businesses to be set up from within established publishing organisations but we believed that our organisational structure would set us apart. Firstly, the hugely diverse nature of businesses within the Euromoney group means that our potential client base is unusually broad and extends beyond traditional buyers of thought leadership. Secondly, traditional advertising and sponsorship clients of Euromoney group businesses are increasingly looking at thought leadership as an important component of their marketing spend and we now have an “in-house agency” that can respond to those needs. As well as developing our own business directly with clients, we have been fortunate to be involved in a number of projects where we have worked in conjunction with specialist Euromoney businesses in areas such as M&A, aviation and regulations.

Looking back, it is gratifying to see that the assumptions we made have largely proved correct. Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing and start-ups like us, without a list of past projects, have to work especially hard in order to prove ourselves. We were enormously helped in this by being able to prove the worth of our survey panel through the deployment of quick-to-market “pulse surveys” that demonstrated to clients that we could conduct reliable research at speed. We were also fortunate that a couple of our early projects allowed us to prove our value in disseminating content back out through our research panel, resulting in unusually high rates of engagement for the client.

It is interesting to me to see the range of projects that we have been involved with in this relatively short space of time. There are long-established programmes where we have been chosen to bring a new dimension as well as completely new initiatives where the client is breaking new thought leadership ground and has seen us as a flexible and innovative partner. Some rely almost entirely on our substantial research panel while others are driven completely by the ability of our team of managing editors to create great content.

I had always felt confident that we would eventually be regarded as an important addition to the ranks of thought leadership providers. That it has happened so quickly is testament to the quality of what we have produced as well as the willingness of our growing list of clients to try something new.

Guy Dunn

CEO, Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership

P.S. Here are some examples of the projects that we have been working on with our partners. I hope they demonstrate the variety of research that we have been able to conduct and the innovative ways that we can deliver it:

Capital confidence – a renowned and long-standing M&A research project (produced  for EY)

Artificial intelligence – a survey-based, interactive digital report (produced with Baker & McKenzie)

Aviation finance – research and interviews with 400 senior industry executives (produced with Deloitte)

Trade secrets – survey and report of senior executives across multiple industries (produced with Baker & McKenzie)

Growth ambitions – an important new survey of 2,300 executives in mid-market and start-up companies (produced for EY)

Emerging markets – a survey-based report on the prospects for M&A in emerging markets (produced with CMS)

 Regulations – research among senior executives on the implication of BEPS legislation (produced with RSM)

Aviation Finance in the Hot Seat

Aviation finance is not an industry on everyone’s radar even though it’s huge. The term refers to the business of aircraft leasing: up to 50% of planes globally are no longer owned by airlines directly. Instead, those planes are on lease from specialist companies.
International tax reform might change the way competition among global aviation finance centres from Ireland to Singapore plays out in the future.

Leasing is an attractive way for airlines to manage their aircraft fleets. Compared to owning planes leasing increases flexibility and does not require airlines to take on huge amounts of debt.

The top 50 aircraft lessors have planes worth $260 billion under management, according to Airfinance Journal, which gives an idea about the size of this growing industry.

Aircraft leasing is concentrated in a few jurisdictions globally, and about half of that business is conducted from Ireland. It’s so important to the Irish economy that The Economist recently described aircraft finance as “perhaps the city’s [Dublin’s] most successful industry”.

This makes the country, with its population of just 4.6 million, the biggest player by far in aviation finance, competing with a handful of other territories around the world including Singapore, Hong Kong and Chinese free trade zones.

But with international tax reform on the horizon there are concerns that Ireland’s leading position will come under increased pressure from other jurisdictions.

The EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive

Being a member of the European Union, it is the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive (ATAD) that poses the biggest threat to Ireland as a destination for aircraft leasing. The ATAD, which comes – with a few exemptions – into effect in January 2019 introduces a variety of measures designed to make it harder for corporations to play the tax laws in different countries in and outside the EU against each other.

When Euromoney Thought Leadership and Deloitte teamed up recently to survey the aviation finance community, it turned out that the experts are worried about the impact the ATAD may have on their business.

53% of 400 experts surveyed told us that they expect airline’s aircraft leasing costs to increase in the wake of the directive coming into effect. Only 13% disagreed.

And 40% also believe that the ATAD will result in fewer planes being leased.

ATAD statements Q11


That sounds like bad news for Ireland, the leading aviation finance jurisdiction not only in Europe, but globally. It appears to make intuitive sense: if the ATAD puts pressure on lessors and lessees based in the EU, they’ll move elsewhere.

And indeed, our survey reveals that the industry is prepared to take action if deemed necessary. Aircraft lessors expect to relocate 28% of their business on average in the wake of anti-tax avoidance initiatives.

In addition, when asked which aviation finance location will see the fastest growth in the next five years, Chinese free trade zones and Singapore came first and second, with Ireland in third place. The data appears to confirm expectations that the ATAD might have a direct impact on Ireland as a centre for aviation finance.

Map growth expectations

But it’s not that simple. While aircraft leasing is concentrated in jurisdictions with favourable tax regimes, there are  reasons other than low taxation that make those locations attractive.

It’s not about taxation only

“Ireland’s competitive strength is its double tax treaty network, which is hard to duplicate in a hurry,” Edward Hansom, Chief Investment Officer at Seraph Aviation Management, says. Focusing on the low tax rate in Ireland would be “a bit of a red herring in the context of aircraft leasing because companies anywhere tend to have enough legitimate capital allowances to defer tax liability”.

Our survey data concurs.

reasons for picking a location (chart 2)

Yes, the effective corporate income tax rate matters (38% of all respondents say it is very important), but double tax treaty networks get an even higher score (42% of all respondents, and 54% for lessors only).

While on the one hand other factors in addition to the tax environment are at least as important to the aviation finance community, it is on the other hand also necessary to look beyond the ATAD when it comes to taxation.

EU member states set their own respective corporate tax rates, and Ireland’s 12.5% rate is the lowest within the Union. This won’t change in light of the anti-tax avoidance directive coming into effect. “The low corporate tax rate is not going to go anywhere soon regardless of what the European Commission wants to do,” Eamonn Brennan, CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority, notes.

Other aspects include the strong and supportive regulatory environment in Ireland, an effective legal system, and a strong skill set that comes from over four decades of experience in aircraft leasing in the country.

In the end, the situation might be less bleak for Ireland than the numbers suggest, when taking into account all the factors that matter. Tax is an important ingredient, but not the only one. In the words of Markus Ohlert, Head of Leasing at Deutsche Lufthansa: “In many countries purely tax driven aircraft investments are not attractive any more. You must have a real business case behind it.”

The survey and report “Game Changer not Game Over: Aviation Finance and International Tax Reform” has been prepared by Euromoney Institutional Investor Thought Leadership in conjunction with Deloitte. The complete research is available for free download here.


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Thought Leadership Consulting creates thought-provoking content for global business leaders.

With a team of independent journalists, experienced editors and professional marketers, we create reports, surveys, blogs, articles, videos and infographics. All of our content is unbiased, original, research-driven and audience-led.

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