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Phuket business: Axiom legal financing segregated portfolio

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PHUKET: A little while back my article about litigation funding in general was published and at the time I was kind of sitting on the fence about the asset class.

One of my main hang-ups had been with the fact that generally the access to it that I had seen up to that point had been via structured notes, which had timing issues for a lot of my clients. In a response to my article I was pointed to a great fund within this space, and since then I have had a very positive response to it from just about everyone I have shown it to.

The Axiom fund provides loans to law firms trying non-frivolous lawsuits such as divorce, etc. As with the types of notes I had looked at before, all the cases are insured and there is also insurance taken out against the law firm should it fail. Thus, the protection is extremely high. The main difference is that there is no percentage split of the winnings from the cases, but this is balanced by them charging a slightly higher interest rate to the law firms.

The cases must be almost guaranteed to be settled, otherwise the insurance company will not underwrite the policy. The fund also has an average of about 1,500 loans out at one time, which means their portfolio of loans is highly diversified. Because the term of each loan is usually less than 12 months, this ensures basically the entire portfolio turns over every year and the rate at which the loans are repaid leads to extremely consistent returns for the fund. The standard deviation of returns is less than half a percent. This is even more remarkable given that the fund has averaged almost 12% per annum in its short existence (it is just over two years old).

The best part about this fund is that it is non-correlated with the financial markets and the world economy. I personally believe a 10% holding in just any portfolio provides an excellent buffer against falling stock markets or rising interest rates. I would not go too heavy into this fund as it has a short track record and is still a single fund manager, but I do believe there is not a risk profile out there for which this fund is not appropriate (with the exception of the cash under the mattress crowd).

The fund is available with a minimum investment of £12,500 through an offshore portfolio bond, and is very liquid. It deals monthly with a 30-day notice period. While it is run out of the UK and is based in pounds sterling, there are also USD and EUR tranches available. In a market such as we are currently in where bank deposits are paying virtually nothing in interest, a small allocation in this fund can give a nice little extra bit of return to your portfolio without taking an excessive amount of risk.

David Mayes MBA lives in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the world, specializing in UK pension transfers. He can be reached at 085-335-8573 or by email at david.m@faramond.com.

— David Mayes

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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