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Phuket business: Axiom legal financing segregated portfolio

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket business: Axiom legal financing segregated portfolio | The Thaiger

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 [email protected].

— David Mayes



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Company rolls out new computers for Chiang Mai school

The Thaiger

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Company rolls out new computers for Chiang Mai school | The Thaiger

Top executives from Thailand property development company Boutique Corporation recently visited the Intanon Wittaya School in Chiang Mai and presented them with ten desktop computers to the school.

Inthanon Wittaya School is located in Amphur Mae Jam, 111.2 kilometers from Chiang Mai, with 192 kindergarten and primary school students. The school offers a computer class but only had 11 computers available in the classroom before the donation.

Some of the students plan to participate in a computer competition, for which they had an inadequate number of computers with which to practice and prepare. Hearing of this, Boutique Corporation PCL chose Inthanon Wittaya School for its 2018 corporate social responsibility activity.

Mr. Chatchawan Wisetkhoon, the director of Intanon Wittaya School, said, “We thank Boutique Corporation for donating these computers. Inthanon Wittaya School is very grateful. Through teaching and learning activities, our school will use the computers for the maximum benefit of our students.”

The presentation was made by Prabsharan Thakral, President and Group CEO; Ekanut Ungphakorn, Chief Operating Officer; Nattaya Huatsoontorn, Chief Financial Controller; and Pornpimol Chaichanakajorn, Senior Vice President – HR Business Partner.

President and Group CEO Prabsharan Thakral commented, “Boutique Corporation PCL appreciates this opportunity to support Thailand students. It is essential for them to develop computer skills in preparation for almost any future profession. We’re pleased we can help further their education.”

This is the first donation Boutique Corporation has made to Inthanon Wittaya School. Last year, Boutique made donations to causes including “To Be Number One Under Princess Ubolratana”; the Charity Shield Golf Cup, arranged by the Fund for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities; The Department of the Interior of Krathu District, Phuket Province, to plant marigold flowers for the Royal Ceremony; and the Bowling Charity by CRMC Royal Thai Air Force Alumni.

Boutique Corporation is a leading asset developer in Thailand. The group currently operates hospitality assets under the brands Citadines, Oakwood, and its self-managed brand Journeyhub. The group is expanding its hospitality development platform across Thailand; in particular, in Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai; where Novotel Chiang Mai Nimman Journeyhub is already confirmed.

Company rolls out new computers for Chiang Mai school | News by The Thaiger

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Burn baby burn – The Netflix cash strategy to stay on top

The Thaiger

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Burn baby burn – The Netflix cash strategy to stay on top | The Thaiger

Netflix, the online TV streaming service, is gaining more viewers in the US and around the world, but is burning through astonishing amounts of cash in producing new content.

In 2018 Netflix churned through $3 billion in losses. Negative cash flow that accelerated to $1.3 billion in Q4, more than double the year before.

But it’s all a part of a plan according to Netflix. They claim they expect to burn through another $3 billion this year as well. This year’s plan is to make more original content, do more marketing, particularly outside the US and add even more subscribers.

On the plus side, Netflix continues to rapidly add new subscribers to its streaming platform and revenue continues to climb sharply.

Their intention is to keep the accelerator pedal down with spending and adding new subscribers to make it increasingly difficult for new streaming businesses to to get traction and reach critical market mass.

But CNN business reports that the business model can’t last forever.

Statista.com says, according to their calculations, Netflix will have more than 546 thousand subscribers in Thailand by 2020.

Neil Begley, Moody’s senior vice president says “It’s not sustainable.”

“Strategically, Netflix is doing all the right things. But they’ve layered over that a level of financial risk that would make a lot of people uncomfortable.”

Burn baby burn - The Netflix cash strategy to stay on top | News by The Thaiger
GRAPH: CNN International
Despite the accelerated spending spree, investors seem unfazed. Netflix shares dropped 3% on Thursday’s stock market but this is just a blip in their 26% rise in the first half month’s trading of 2019.

But Netflix says they’re addressing the income side of the business as well with a rise in subscription charges for its US subscribers.

The streaming service added a 8.8 million new paid subscribers in Q4, 2018, even topping their own forecasts. Netflix now has 139 million paying members, up from 110 million at the start of 2018.

This equates to around 10% of total US screen time, a massive and growing slice of total eyeballs, cutting into the revenues of broadcast and cable services. And they’re growing their business without any advertising revenue.

Netflix say that they will slow the cash-burn down after 2019 and expects to fund more of its production from rising subscriber income in the future. Moody’s agrees and Begley expects Netflix to break even on cash flows by about 2023.
Read more about the Netflix ‘grand plan’ in the CNN report HERE.

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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