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jerryking : political_risk   13

Algos know more about us than we do about ourselves
NOVEMBER 24, 2017 | Financial Time | John Dizard.

When intelligence collectors and analysts take an interest in you, they usually start not by monitoring the content of your calls or messages, but by looking at the patterns of your communications. Who are you calling, how often and in what sequence? What topics do you comment on in social media?

This is called traffic analysis, and it can give a pretty good notion of what you and the people you know are thinking and what you are preparing to do. Traffic analysis started as a military intelligence methodology, and became systematic around the first world war. Without even knowing the content of encrypted messages, traffic analysts could map out an enemy “order of battle” or disposition of forces, and make inferences about commanders’ intentions.

Traffic analysis techniques can also cut through the petabytes of redundant babble and chatter in the financial and political worlds. Even with state secrecy and the forests of non-disclosure agreements around “proprietary” investment or trading algorithms, crowds can be remarkably revealing in their open-source posts on social media.

Predata, a three-year-old New York and Washington-based predictive data analytics provider, has a Princeton-intensive crew of engineers and international affairs graduates working on early “signals” of market and political events. Predata trawls the open metadata for users of Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, Reddit and other social media, and analyses it to find indicators of future price moves or official actions.

I have been following their signals for a while and find them to be useful indicators. Predata started by creating political risk indicators, such as Iran-Saudi antagonism, Italian or Chilean labour unrest, or the relative enthusiasm for French political parties. Since the beginning of this year, they have been developing signals for financial and commodities markets.

The 1-9-90 rule
1 per cent of internet users initiate discussions or content, 9 per cent transmit content or participate occasionally and 90 per cent are consumers or ‘lurkers’

Using the example of the company’s BoJ signal. For this, Predata collects the metadata from 300 sources, such as Twitter users, contested Wikipedia edits or YouTube items created by Japanese monetary policy geeks. Of those, at any time perhaps 100 are important, and 8 to 10 turn out to be predictive....This is where you need some domain knowledge [domain expertise = industry expertise]. It turns out that Twitter is pretty important for monetary policy, along with the Japanese-language Wiki page for the Bank of Japan, or, say, a YouTube video of [BoJ governor] Haruhiko Kuroda’s cross-examination before a Diet parliamentary committee.

“Then you build a network of candidate discussions [JK: training beds] and look for the pattern those took before historical moves. The machine-learning algorithm goes back and picks the leads and lags between traffic and monetary policy events.” [Jk: Large data sets with known correct answers serve as a training bed and then new data serves as a test bed]

Typically, Predata’s algos seem to be able to signal changes in policy or big price moves [jk: inflection points] somewhere between 2 days and 2 weeks in advance. Unlike some academic Twitter scholars, Predata does not do systematic sentiment analysis of tweets or Wikipedia edits. “We only look for how many people there are in the conversation and comments, and how many people disagreed with each other. We call the latter the coefficient of contestation,” Mr Shinn says.

The lead time for Twitter, Wiki or other social media signals varies from one market to another. Foreign exchange markets typically move within days, bond yields within a few days to a week, and commodities prices within a week to two weeks. “If nothing happens within 30 days,” says Mr Lee, “then we say we are wrong.”
algorithms  alternative_data  Bank_of_Japan  commodities  economics  economic_data  financial_markets  industry_expertise  inflection_points  intelligence_analysts  lead_time  machine_learning  massive_data_sets  metadata  non-traditional  Predata  predictive_analytics  political_risk  signals  social_media  spycraft  traffic_analysis  training_beds  Twitter  unconventional 
november 2017 by jerryking
Emerging markets offer clue for investors in 2017
December 31/January 1 2017 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Now (people = politicians = capriciousness/alternatively, unpredictable waves of populism) are shaping events, not established party platforms or policy programmes....the pricing of political uncertainty has moved from being an emerging market phenomenon to an emerged market issue....Is there any way for investors to adapt to this new world? ....(1) Start by abandoning the idea that asset values can be predicted by using neat economic models alone. ...investors urgently need to think about the difference between "risk" (i.e. events that can be predicted with a certain probability) and "uncertainty" (i.e. unknown future shocks). Until now, investors in developed markets have tended to focus primarily on risks and assume that these can be priced (and hedged against). But 2017 is likely to produce uncertainty. That cannot be easily priced or hedge--and investors should recognize this. (2) Investor should also embrace "optionality": the only way to prepare for a world of uncertainty is to stay as flexible and diversified as possible. Now is not the time for investors to put all their eggs in one basket, or bet on just one asset class. Nor is it time for businesses to be locked into rigid business plans: political and geopolitical upheaval could strike almost anywhere. (3) If 2017 does deliver more risk and uncertainty, expect financial markets to be "skittish" about "news" of all types, and not just economic....Bad news for those who despise market volatility (expectation: we're in for volatility like we've never seen before)....Uncertainty can deliver huge opportunity alongside risks..."good" surprises....Surviving 2017 in the developed economies requires that investors use tools beyond those found in the realm of economics: psychology, sociology and political science. Also, talk to successful emerging market investors to find out how they practice their craft.
concentration_risk  Gillian_Tett  emerging_markets  political_risk  unpredictability  Brexit  investors  Donald_Trump  uncertainty  risks  optionality  geopolitics  financial_markets  politicians  volatility  tools  economics  psychology  sociology  political_science  FT  institutions  rule_of_law  Gary_Cohn  populism  indicators  human_factor  assets  asset_values  asset_classes  diversification  dislocations  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
From terrorism to technological disruption: Leaders need to tackle risk - The Globe and Mail
DAVID ISRAELSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016

“Not only do they have to think about and worry about economic changes and what their competitors are going to do, they now have a whole new level of political and regulatory risk,” Ms. Ecker says.

“You can’t predict in some cases how a policy maker is going to move. We’re seeing that in China now.”

At the beginning of 2016, as markets began a steep slide in China, that country’s regulators twice activated a “circuit breaker” mechanism to halt trading, only to abandon it after it appeared to make the drop in the market even worse.

The lesson is that sometimes “business practices and even business products that seem acceptable today, for whatever reason, when something happens can be considered things you shouldn’t be doing. There’s more policy unpredictability than ever before,” Ms. Ecker says.

“In an increasingly risky world, a CEO needs to be increasingly flexible and adaptable. You also need to have a team and know what the latest threat might be.”

That isn’t necessarily easy, she adds. “There’s no rule book. When I was in politics, people used to ask me what we should anticipate. I’d tell them, ‘Read science fiction books.’ ”....CEOs in today’s risky world also need people skills that may not have been necessary before, says Shaharris Beh, director of Hackernest, a Toronto-based not-for-profit group that connects worldwide tech companies.

“CEOs have always needed strong skills around rapid decision-making and failure mitigation. In today’s hypercompetitive startup business climate, leaders need two more: pivot-resilience and proleptic consensus leadership,” he says.

“Pivot-resilience is the ability to tolerate the stress of gut-wrenching risks when dramatically shifting strategy. In other words, be able to take the blame gracefully while still warranting respect among your team members.”

Proleptic consensus leadership is especially important for startups, Mr. Beh says. “It’s the ability to garner the team’s support for taking big risks by giving them the assurance of what backup plans are in place should things go sour.”

This consensus building “is how you keep support,” he adds. In a volatile economy, “people can jump ship at any time or even unintentionally sabotage things if they’re not convinced a particular course of action will work.” So you have to constantly persuade.
science_fiction  law_firms  law  risks  CEOs  risk-management  disruption  BLG  leaders  pivots  resilience  consensus  risk-taking  contingency_planning  unpredictability  political_risk  regulatory_risk  policymakers  flexibility  adaptability  anticipating  people_skills  circuit_breakers 
february 2016 by jerryking
The test of true political leadership is to risk change - The Globe and Mail
BRIAN MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 28 2015

The most essential ingredient for any “Big Idea,” however, is leadership.

Leadership that not only anticipates the need for change but is determined to implement change. Not in pursuit of popularity but to serve the national interest.

The test of true leadership hinges on judgments between risk and reward.

Change of any kind requires risk, political risk. It can and will generate unpopularity from those who oppose change. The choice for Canada or the United Kingdom in a fast-changing global environment is either to adapt quickly and take advantage of the changes happening or watch from the sidelines....As Reinhold Niebuhr reminded us: “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing fine or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith.”(jk: the importance of having a long-term vision & exhibiting faith in pursuing it).

It is in this perspective that great and controversial questions of public policy must be considered.

History tends to focus on the builders, the deciders, the leaders – because they are the men and women whose contributions have shaped the destiny of their nations, here and around the world.

From the bloodied sands of Afghanistan to the snows and waters of the High Arctic, the Canada of 50 years from now will be defined by the leadership we are given today.
Brian_Mulroney  speeches  Oxford  leadership  politicians  Cold_War  9/11  NAFTA  '80s  history  leaders  risks  transformational  courage  political_risk  fast-changing  free-trade  public_policy 
may 2015 by jerryking
Blackwater's Founder Blames U.S. for Its Troubles - WSJ.com
Nov. 17, 2013 | WSJ |By Dion Nissenbaum.

Now, Mr. Prince says, he is done working for t he U.S. government. He has invested millions in setting up Frontier Resource Group, a private-equity firm that operates in more than a dozen African countries. The firm is building an oil refinery in South Sudan, owns a cement factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, conducts aerial gas and oil surveys across the continent, and is looking at taking over idle oil wells damaged by insurgents in Nigeria, he said.
security_&_intelligence  entrepreneur  private_equity  memoirs  oil_refiners  CIA  Blackwater  books  drones  covert_operations  Africa  political_risk  frontier_markets  natural_resources  Leon_Panetta 
november 2013 by jerryking
Underpricing risky business
February 1, 2013 | G&M report on Business pg B2 |by David Parkinson.

As energy and mining reserves have become increasingly expensive to find in other, more stable parts of the world, Africa's dangers have been glossed over in the quest to cash in on the continent’s still relatively undeveloped resources. Companies have been ignoring the risky reality, and investors have been underpricing it...Africa's significant growth potential has generated optimism, however, the geopolitical risks facing investors in Africa remain, for the most part, underestimated.”
The biggest threat to business in Africa, he argues, is “re1igious/ ideological militancy"--especially from Islamist/jihadist groups - which he says “has been vastly underestimated, and will pose significant risks to foreign investors in much of Africa."
He believes companies and their investors are underpricing the risks of doing business in Aŕrica, including rising security and insurance costs and cant project delays that could come from security threats, military conflicts or regime changes....Until the market starts pricing risk into African resource investments before a crisis forces the realization upon it, there will be little incentive for companies to seek less risky and less corrupt places to put their money.
And there will be more harsh and costly awakenìngs for investors who are themselves willfully blind to the risks.
underpricing  risks  Africa  natural_resources  political_risk  geopolitics  Mali  war  underestimation  frontier_markets  corruption  mining  mispricing  Islamists  jihadis  willful_blindness 
february 2013 by jerryking
The ‘new cold war’ is an information war -
Aug. 25 2012 | The Globe and Mail | Anne-Marie Slaughter.
In the many manifestations of the ongoing and growing information war(s), the pro-freedom-of-information forces need a new weapon. A government’s banning of journalists or blocking of news and social-media sites that were previously allowed should be regarded as an early warning sign of a crisis meriting international scrutiny. The presumption should be that governments with nothing to hide have nothing to lose by allowing their citizens and internationally recognized media to report on their actions.

To give this presumption teeth, it should be included in international trade and investment agreements. Imagine if the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and regional development banks suspended financing as soon as a government pulled down an information curtain. Suppose foreign investors wrote contracts providing that the expulsion and banning of foreign journalists or widespread blocking of access to international news sources and social media constituted a sign of political risk sufficient to suspend investor obligations.

Americans say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Citizens’ access to information is an essential tool to hold governments accountable. Government efforts to manipulate or block information should be presumed to be an abuse of power – one intended to mask many other abuses.
accountability  information_flows  information  journalists  censorship  political_risk  warning_signs  freedom_of_information  information_warfare  IMF  World_Bank  Anne-Marie_Slaughter  presumptions  transparency 
august 2012 by jerryking
Think Globally, Deal Locally - NYTimes.com
September 28, 2011,
Think Globally, Deal Locally
By BEN PROTESS

forging deals in developing regions comes with a unique set of uncertainties, including political, economic and regulatory risks. Wal-Mart Stores pulled out of Moscow late last year, citing an inhospitable climate for acquisitions. Ikea, fed up with corruption in Russia, suspended further investments there in 2009.

In Brazil, rising inflation has spooked investors, contributing to a 26 percent decline this year in the MSCI Brazil index.
private_equity  emerging_markets  decline  deal-making  globalization  Indonesia  investment_banking  risks  frontier_markets  uncertainty  political_risk  regulatory_risk  economic_risk 
september 2011 by jerryking
More Wealthy Investors Investing Abroad - NYTimes.com
November 19, 2010 | New York Times| By PAUL SULLIVAN.
Well-heeled American investors have been doing something lately that
they resisted for decades — becoming more like their European, Asian and
Latin American counterparts and substantially diversifying their
portfolios outside their home country. DOWNSIDE The biggest risk is
uncertainty, followed by a lack of knowledge. No one knows exactly what
is going to happen, and there are always investors who rush in too
quickly without fully understanding the risks. Those risks run the gamut
from income inequality that could create unrest, to legal systems that
have not been tested by foreign investors, to managers abroad without
established track records. There is also the unforeseen. “I witnessed
firsthand the collapse of the Soviet Union,” said Mr. Lucken, a former
foreign service officer. “That speaks to the unique political risks in
smaller developing countries.”
high_net_worth  investing  investments  investors  uncertainty  diversification  emerging_markets  wealth_management  risks  LDCs  political_risk  developing_countries 
november 2010 by jerryking
Foreign scholarships and the risky business of innovating - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 16, 2010 / Globe and Mail / Editorial. Neil Turok,
director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo,
Ont., which sets out to attract some of the world’s top scientific
minds, told The Globe and Mail’s editorial board yesterday, “Because the
rest of the world is in relative difficulty financially, now is the
time to attract global talent. Canada has an amazing opportunity.” A
good case, a difficult sell. Innovation means trying something that
can’t be proven in advance, as Roger Martin, dean of the University of
Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, says. The foreign scholarships
are a investment with a strong upside, and a high risk that is mostly
political.
Colleges_&_Universities  innovation  Ontario  scholarships  risks  talent_management  Rotman  editorials  Perimeter_Institute  political_risk  poaching  Kitchener-Waterloo  upside  high-risk  Roger_Martin  foreign_scholarships  war_for_talent 
november 2010 by jerryking
The European Union rescues Greece and Portugal
May 24, 2010 | The New Yorker | by James Surowiecki. "...The
fact is, this kind of volatility isn’t going away, because we now live
in an environment dominated by what economists call “political risk”—the
uncertainty that businesses face as a result of government actions. Of
course, government actions always affect the economy, but usually in an
undramatic way: an interest-rate cut here, a new regulation there. The
economic downturn and the debt crisis have given us instead a world
where governments are among the most important players in
markets—injecting money into economies on a colossal scale and routinely
propping up, or even nationalizing, troubled companies."
Angela_Merkel  bailouts  central_banks  debt_crisis  economic_downturn  EU  Germany  geopolitical-risk  Greece  IMF  instability  James_Surowiecki  political_risk  Portugal  sovereign-risk  uncertainty  volatility 
may 2010 by jerryking

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