Category Archives: Business

Launch of H + B Capital in London

It all started on 12thJune 2006 in London on a Monday and it ended on 12thJune 2018 in Singapore on a Tuesday.

I am extremely happy to announce that after having worked in financial industry for 12 years in London, Zurich and Singapore, I am finally setting my own external asset management firm in London.

It has been a lot of thinking and evaluating pros and cons of setting up a business in the last couple of months and my decision finally evolved to the current stage to resign and set up H+B Capital with my partner, Paulo Bilezikjian.

It was not an easy decision to take. After being 12 years of continuous employment, you are kind of addicted to your monthly pay cheque and you create a lot of psychological obstacles in your mind to take the step to try something by your own. It was not easy, but I am happy that I could do it.

We will be primarily focusing on Turkish, Greek and Arabian Gulf domiciled clients and UK non-domiciled clients. We will be booking assets with only top tier banks in Guernsey, Zurich, and Luxembourg.

Please see the press release: http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/former-ubs-director-and-ex-brazil-hedgie-launch-wealth-boutique/a1141597?ref=wealth_manager_all_stories_list

All the best.
Sukru Haskan

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Reading List: June 2018

Hello everyone,

We are now officially going through the half of the year and I am ready to read all these four books below to continue with my reading challenge.

Reading List:June 2018 

  1. The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
    Genre: PsychologyComment by Brina on Goodreads on 30th November 2017While economics usually bores me, I decided to read this book anyway. If Lewis is capable of making baseball appeal to non sports fans, then he can also make behavioral economics and psychology accessible to a person like myself who is either finds the subject matter dull or tedious. As with the other Lewis books I have read, I was not disappointed.Rather than jumping straight into theories on economics or psychology, Lewis chooses to open The Undoing Project with a reference to Moneyball, followed up with a chapter on how a psychologist with no sports background became an NBA general manager in charge of selecting potential players in the draft. Sports is not the first thing the average person evokes when discussing economics, yet, opening with a discourse on basketball immediately makes a difficult subject accessible to the average person. Yet, Lewis is not just discussing basketball. He offers psychological scenarios as to what people think of when they think of an NBA player. Usually that person is over six feet tall and athletic. Yet, in this situation, the general manager was also searching for players with good character and who respond favorably to a battery of questions. Lewis with this chapter put me in a positive mind frame to read about an otherwise tedious subject matter.Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman were the least likely of friends. Both were among the pioneers of the new nation of Israel, Kahneman surviving the atrocities in Europe and Tversky born a sabra (native Israeli). Tversky was always the most popular and the life of a party whereas Kahneman was a natural introvert who barely felt comfortable in their own skin. After participating in wars at the formation of the Israeli state, both their paths eventually lead them to the psychology department at the brand new Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Kahneman leaned toward behavioral psychology whereas Tversky favored the mathematical aspect of the science. Despite being polar opposites in personality, their brilliant minds lead them to each other, and by the 1960s they began to collaborate on a series of game changing papers. The duo began to think as one mind and often could not remember who came up with each idea. The partnership was a match made in heaven, and for Kahneman, Tversky, and the science behind psychology, four decades of Undoing Freudian psychological theories would ensue.Lewis alternates biographies of Kahneman and Tversky with the scientific data of their findings that eventually lead Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. The majority of economists, according to Lewis, look down upon psychologists as inferior to them; however, Kahneman and Tversky over the course of their joint careers published findings that could not be ignored by either field. Listing four heuristics, the psychologist team set out to change the way people think about a series of outcomes. Lewis cites various positive and negative gambling scenarios and writes in a way that even those not versed in economics can understand his writing. The psychologists may have posed their original questions to graduate students and doctors, but in this book, these questions became accessible to the average reader. I was especially interested in knowing that these findings benefitted medical doctors, NBA general managers, the US free lunch program, as well as the Israeli Air Force training program. The most commonly cited finding in a variety of forms was A over B, C over A, then why in the end do people select B over C or A. These behavioral findings that were revolutionary in the 1970s are now the basis of a widely studied field called behavioral economics, which was the result of this unique partnership.Michael Lewis himself has an advanced degree in economics. He actually had the opportunity to teach Tversky’s son without knowing who he was. He has made a variety of timely economic issues accessible to the average reader in a way that is both engaging and even humorous. I found myself being enthralled in behavioral theories and actually would be interested in reading Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow even if normally this is not a topic that interests me. While Moneyball is a special book, Lewis’ writing on economics and other money matters has explained complex issues in a way that is engaging and informative. A gifted writer and economist in his own right, I look forward to reading more of Lewis’ works in the future.
  2. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
    Genre: Business, Leadership
    This is a nonfiction book that explores how groups succeed achieving their goals. It describes the characteristics of successful groups in different fields including sports teams and corporate environments. A good book to read for anybody in management positions or people that have to work in groups or teams. 
  3. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
    Genre: Economics
    It is a must read list book in Eton College. It is a classic text on the ‘economics of abundance’, lays bare the hazards of individual and social complacency about economic inequality. Why worship work and productivity if many of the goods we produce are superfluous – artificial ‘needs’ created by high-pressure advertising? Why begrudge expenditure on vital public works while ignoring waste and extravagance in the private sector of the economy? Classical economics was born in a harsh world of mass poverty, and has left us with a set of preconceptions ill-adapted to the realities of our own richer age. And so, too often, ‘the bland lead the bland’. Our unfamiliar problems need a new approach, and the reception given to this famous book has shown the value of its fresh, lively ideas.
  4. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
    Genre: Psychology, Business
    Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed.How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married.

June is a month of big changes and very exciting starts for me! Keep following!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: May 2018

Dear All,

We are almost half way through the year and my reading challenge is going extremely well! I should say I am grateful that I am going through this challenge and my objective is to get this a regular challenge from onwards.

The month of May will be an interesting month for my life because it will represent some endings and beginnings for my future life. I shall be sharing these positive developments next month with you.

Reading List: May 2018 

  1. Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham
    Genre: Health, Spirituality
    Sakyong is a Tibetan lama and leader of global community of more than 200 meditation centres. In his book, he discusses physical activity could be more effective when it is combined with a meditation and particularly running is a good combination with meditation. He shares his insights about his running experience and how he developed its base within the first two years. He believes there are stages in running; lion, tiger, gradua and dragon and each stage represents developments not only in our physical strength but also our minds. Extremely insightful and useful book on running with those seeking peace of mind.I have been running for some time now, I should say it is extremely powerful tool to release energy and revitalise your mind and body. I wish I had never had a break after ending my professional volleyball career.
  2. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    Genre: Psychology, Self-Help
    Opening sentence of the book:
    “If you really want to live, we’d better start at once to try;

      If we don’t, it doesn’t matter, but we’d better start to die”
    Our lives are being spent between productive activities, maintenance activities, and leisure activities. It is extremely important to find the meaning of our lives and make a conscious effort amongst those activities to make everyday great and meaningful! Otherwise we will walk through our unaware and consciousness state of living to be open to be manipulated by the others which in turn very likely make us unhappy.This book explains these concepts in a very plain language with stunning examples. I hope most of us at once to try rather to die!
  3. Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
    Genre: Biography, Leadership
    Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of American pro sports and he was the head coach for Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. In his book, Phil Jackson shares his way of approach to leadership based on freedom, teamwork and authenticity.
  4. Blockchain: The Complete guide of Understanding Blockchain by Miles Price Genre: Science, Technology 
    Since I am trying to understand Blockchain more and more, this is a short handy book to get some more insight of Blockchain technology.

I look forward to writing my next month’s article!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: April 2018

Dear Readers,

My reading challenge is going quite well and I have finished 14 books in 2018 so far. I must say I am really enjoying each of the book very much.

During the month of March, I have decided to make a major change in my life and it had a little impact on my reading speed, but I am still ahead of the schedule.

I will be sharing more details about this exciting change of my life in the coming months with you!

Reading List: April 2018 

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    In his book, Steven Covey shares seven habits of highly successful individuals in the spectrum of life such as being politician, businessmen, and philanthropists. This book is an invaluable source of information who would like to achieve more in every single day! I would not take this book as a book to read and leave in your library for the rest of your life. It is a book which has to be revisited several times during our lives. Steven believes private victory in our lives leads us to be independent, but not sufficient by itself and prepares us for the next and the real victory: public victory which is interdependence.
  2. No Room for Small Dreams by Shimon Peres
    Genre: Autobiography, History
    Shimon Peres, 9th Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1994, passed away in September 2016. Just before he passed away, he finished his last book which gives a lot of insights about Israel’s foundation, relationships with Western countries and his personal life. Recommended by Shimon’s son, Chemi Peres, I would like to thank him for bringing this book into my attention.
  3. Powerful by Patty McCord
    Genre: Business, Leadership 
    Patty McCord, ex-Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, shares a lot of insights about talent management in her book. Given she has worked in Netflix, Pure Atria and Sun Microsystems for many years, she compares conventional HR applications versus innovative ways of recruiting new staff as well as building a culture of freedom and responsibility. In her book, Patty McCord argues why abolishing conventional corporate policies such as expense and travel and giving freedom and responsibility to employees enhances performance.
  4. The Next 100 Years by George Friedman
    Genre: Politics, History 
    George Friedman is a writer, not a fortune teller, but he tries to be provocative us by forecasting what could happen in the rest of the 21st century in this book. Imagine China fragments in 2020, a global war between the new great power of the world – US, Turkey, Poland and Japan in 2050, and Space based Energy powers earth in 2080.
  5. Becoming your Best by Steven Shallenberger
    Genre: Personal Development, Leadership
    During YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation) event held this year in Singapore in March 2018, I came across Steven’s booth and I was introduced to his books. In his book, Steven Shallenberger discusses about 12 principles of Highly Successful Leaders as opposed to seven habits discussed by Steven Covey. There would be some overlaps between Steven Covey’s and Steven Shallenberger’s book, but I think they would be complementary to each other.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Book Review: Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

Dear All,

One of the January reading list book, Fourth Industrial Revolution, was recommended by a bright young gentleman, Ogul Havayir. He was so kind to agree to write a book review on this book to share with all the followers.

Thank you dear Ogul!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Klaus Schwab starts with a very simple and visionary thesis: human beings are now facing with an unprecedented transformation of their lives from various aspects including work, relations, and institutions. Schwab defines this transformation as a fourth industrial revolution and singles out this industrial revolution from previous ones in terms of its breadth, speed, and scope. Schwab’s intention is to shed light on how this revolution will impact us and how human beings can leverage this revolution for the common good. Most of the arguments advocated by Schwab are supported by the relevant data which cements his views and illustrated through practical examples.

In my opinion, Schwab defines a great and condensed framework in outlining the backbone and the potential outcomes of this revolution not only from humankind’s perspective but also governmental, business and global perspectives through accompanying these stakeholders’ relations with very key drivers, ideas, and technologies. What I particularly like about this book is that it enables everyone to be aware of what kind of a transformation that we are currently witnessing and allows us to grasp how we can contribute it and position our lives to fully cope with it.

The book prioritizes some new developments and trends as key factors of fourth industrial revolution in 3 main fields such as physical, digital and biological. Schwab gives unique and explanatory examples to underline how deep the impact of megatrends will be. One of the most vivid examples was related to physical technological megatrends. Schwab gives an example of developments of new materials, especially a material called graphene, which is roughly 200 times stronger than steel and a million times thinner than a human hair, and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity. This material is expected to be a superior substitute of steel which numerous economies relied on. Thus, Schwab implies that when graphene becomes price competitive, it will have an enormous impact on steel-based economies such as China, Japan, and the US, and reshuffle the cards in the global economic competitiveness in that field. Several other key trends are discussed with practical examples by Schwab including but not limited to autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, robotics. Schwab also pays heed to how to direct key biological developments toward the best possible outcomes by recapping the importance of the meaning of human, which data and information should be shared with others and what rights and responsibilities we have when it comes to changing the biological genetic code of future generations.

Next key topic according to Schwab is that the fourth industrial revolution will have a profound impact on economies, businesses, societies and the individuals. As a techno-optimist, Schwab thinks that humankind has just started to be influenced by the fourth industrial revolution and his thoughts are backed by 3 main sources in which I totally accepted. Firstly, Schwab advocates that this revolution will unearth the latent demand from undeveloped part of the world through making existing products and services available for them. Secondly, the fourth industrial revolution will be facilitating us to deal with negative externalities like carbon emissions and fuel economic growth further. Lastly, businesses, governments, and civil societies will able to grasp the merits of this revolution for the purpose of fully utilizing these merits. In my view, the most important impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the economy will be related to employment. Schwab argues that through the deployment of newly-emerging technologies including AI, robotics and machine learning, various jobs and skills are expected to be automated, indicating a risk associated with the labor substitution. However, his discussion also encapsulates that acceptance and prevalence of these newly-emerging technologies will create new jobs and skills. The counter arguments give rise to the question of which effect will supersede other. Another key impact of the revolution on the economy is the potential deterioration of income inequalities across the world. Schwab argues that whether this revolution will be a winner takes all phenomenon or allow undeveloped parts of the world to catch up developed economies.

I was mostly influenced by the impacts of this transformation on the way we work, the way we operate businesses and the way we allocate our resources to create value. Schwab advocates that creation and harnessing of cutting-edge technologies will lower the entry barriers for various industries and will lead to disruption coming from startups and vanishing market shares of well-established large incumbents. These disruptions may result in fundamental changes in the value chains for various industries. According to Schwab, the fourth industrial revolution will have four main effects on business including major shifts in customer expectation, enhancement of products via data utilization and increasing collaboration among companies as well as digitalization of operating models. In my opinion, digitalization of operating models is the most vital effect among all. In order for companies to fully adopt their organizations to fourth industrial revolution, their strategic planning should be able to design the required frameworks and roadmaps to operate companies more agile and faster. Schwab stresses the importance of “platform” strategy and sees it as a disruptive and profitable. Schwab further explains the effects of platforms and underlines how the ownership is redefined with increasing scope and size of platforms. Customers become more willing to pay for services such as access to an online service such as Amazon Kindle or delivery instead of ownership of physical products.

Schwab also discussed the impact of fourth industrial revolution on governments and countries, societies and the individuals. Schwab points out that government has a very key role to nurture innovation and incentivize learning and adaptation of any developments that can contribute community. Lastly, potential impacts of this revolution on the individual were discussed by Schwab and concluded that rapid adoption of the technology could weaken basic human capacities such as self-reflection, empathy, and compassion.

Thank you again dear Ogul Havayir!

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: March 2018

Dear All,

We are almost in the last month of first quarter and my reading challenge has been going really good so far.

During the first two months, I really enjoyed reading each of the books.

If I need to highlight the best books of the month, I would choose “The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli” from January list and “Shoe Dog by Phil Knight” from February list.

I am publishing the reading list for March 2018 below. Enjoy!

Reading List: March 2018 

  1. The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton
    Genre: Spirituality, Philosophy 
    Douglas Carlton captures the visit of Desmond Tutu to Dalai Lama’s hometown and their couple of days together. Even though they believe in different religions, they show the world that they can be really good friends and they talk about happiness as well as having fun through journey of life.
  2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr Carol Dweck
    Genre: Business, Leadership
    Dr. Carol Dweck talks about the differences between the fixed and growth mindset in her book and she gives a lot of great insights from business life, parenting, and personal relationships. Such a great book to understand the difference between a boss and a leader.
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
    Genre: Economics, Personal Help 
    It is a book of small stories about how the richest man in Babylon has become the richest man in that era. There are quite a lot of practical information in this book which is easily applicable to our modern lives.
  4. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
    Genre: Business, Biography 
    Elon Musk is attracting a lot of attention nowadays, but there are not many biographies about his childhood and his  journey through Paypal, SpaceX and the other ventures.  This book enlightens us about how a great entrepreneur such as Elon Musk becomes as he is today.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Reading List: February 2018

Dear All,

As usual, time always flies. We are almost in the second month of 2018!

I hope that you have enjoyed the reading list of January 2018. Please give feedback by emailing me on sukru_haskan@yahoo.co.uk!

I am publishing reading list February 2018 below.

Enjoy!

 

Reading List: February 2018 

  1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
    Genre:Business, Biography 
    Founder of Nike, Phil Knight, talks about his journey with Nike. An inspiring true story of a giant brand which started with USD 50 loan from the founder’s father.
  2. Capital Without Borders by Brooke Harrington
    Genre:Business, Economics
    Brooke Harrington got into the world of wealth managers to figure out private banking world and share her invaluable insights about the industry.
  3. Empire by Niall Ferguson
    Genres: History
    Great book about British Empire on which sun never set at one point! Reading the book will enhance one’s vision to understand current conflicts in Asia, Africa and Middle East.
  4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek
    Genres: Business, Leadership
    Author argues that any initiative should start with a good reason rather than a materialistic short term target. Not only good reasoning helps companies and individuals to succeed, but more importantly to sustain for long term. Readers will find plenty of real-life examples from Apple and Google.
  5. Who moved my cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson
    Genres: Business, Psychology
    A book to read in an hour, but to stay with you for a life time. It is a story of two mice and two men in a maze who are after their cheese. Their attitude towards change is highly affected by their backgrounds. It is a good guide on how to deal with change.

All the best from Singapore.
Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lecturing in Hong Kong

I was honoured to co-lecture with Eric Sim, an investment banker and an adjacent professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology last week.

Hong Kong Univesity of Science and Technology has a great campus located at Clear Water Bay Road which is half an hour drive from Central Hong Kong Island. It has a great view of couple of islands.

Not only its campus makes it great, but also HKUST ranks quite highly between its peer among the globe. It had been previously ranked Asia’s No.1 by the independent regional QS University Rankings: Asia for three consecutive years between 2011 and 2013. It’s one of the fastest growing institutions as ranked #2 and #3 by QS world’s under-50 universities and Times 150 under 50 universities respectively in 2015 and 2016.

Financial Times ranks its Global MBA programme as the 15th best in the world in 2017.

My lecture topic was banking and it was an enjoyable almost an hour chat with the students about the current trends including Fintech that are affecting the financial industry as well as job description and challenges/opportunities ahead of the financial industry.

The most encouraging part for me was the Q&A session which turned out to be quite active and interesting.

This has been my third lecture after SMU in Singapore in 2014 and Renmin University in Beijing in December 2016. I hope to continue lecturing since it is a great way of giving back to society whilst improving my skills for public speaking and having a great fun!

Thank you Eric Sim for inviting!

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Fintech Jurisdiction Shopping

Hardware, software, capital and regulations are the key challenges for most of the fintech startups and regulation remains the most important external factor that could potentially lead the whole idea to be stillborn if not correctly assessed and addressed.

When the regulators are not very cooperative and do not want to take any risk, then it is almost impossible for the fintech startups such as SmartDeposit to operate and acquire clients.

The selection of the right jurisdiction for your startup will affect the performance of your company tremendously, especially at the beginning.

Imagine a regulatory environment that bans you from operating without a licence and treats you as a proper financial institution. As soon as you are treated as a financial institution rather than a fintech company, capital requirements and red tape will kick in, which will not only increase the cost of your doing business tremendously, but also disadvantage you in the competition from the very start since you must now act like a proper bank whilst you do not have millions of customers and you don’t have any capital nowhere near as any bank.

In this respect, Singapore is a great place to set up the venture since the regulator is willing to help innovative companies and they are willing to regulate only when they reach a critical mass for the industry. In addition, regulators in Singapore are communicative and have specific employees assigned to the fintech industry. I would think the only and very important disadvantage is the size of the market since it is a small city state country. Regardless, it is a great and the best option for SmartDeposit to take off due to its regulatory environment.

Since Singapore is a gateway to South-East and South Asia, a good reputable take-off could enable the company to benefit from accessing other mass markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand from Singapore. Moreover, access to capital and VCs in Singapore is relatively easy and the region is booming not only economically, but also in many other aspects.

London is a good alternative with an established ecosystem. In contrast, New York would be difficult in terms of licensing issues and other regulatory hurdles.

The regulator in the UK, FCA, is also supportive of the fintech industry and the establishment of Level 39 in the financial hub of London, Canary Wharf, is an advantage.

When you acquire the critical mass in terms of clients and deposits, you will need to leave your home country (e.g. Singapore) to find new customers to exponentially grow and this will ensure you cooperate with more than one regulator. But since you now have a critical mass from your home country, it would be much easier to go out and try to look for new markets, and most importantly, you have more negotiation power now than at the start.

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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Lecturing in China

I was honoured to give a short lecture on wealth management last week in Beijing at Renmin University. It was my first time in Beijing and I wish I could have spent more time discovering the city, but giving a short lecture was definitely more accommodating.

This has been my second teaching experience; my first one was in late 2014 at Singapore Management University.

Public speaking skill is a virtue which I really want to develop further, as it is always good to give back to society and meeting younger people to connect with different generations is always a great opportunity.

My session took about 45 minutes and I spoke about various aspects of wealth management such as its challenges and the opportunities ahead, along with its advantages and disadvantages compared to other departments in an ordinary bank.

What I am amazed by was the quality of the questions and the level of spoken English in the class.

It was such a good experience and I hope to avail of similar opportunities more regularly.

Thank you Eric Sim for the invitation!

All the best from Sri Lanka.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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