The AIM program is pleased to web host Michael McMillan, CFA, monday on, March 20, 2017. Dr. McMillan is the CFA Institute’s Director of Ethics and Professional Standards. He holds a Ph.D. Accounting and Finance from George Washington University – he also received his MBA from Stanford University and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Chris Merker, CFA, Director of Private Asset Management with Robert W. Baird & Co., teaches Investment Ethics in Marquette’s AIM program. Dealing with Dr. McMillan, Mr. Merker is completing a CFA Ethics ‘Train the Trainer Program’ and will have the CFA Institute’s Certificate in Ethics Training. Michael and Chris will educate classes to the AIM Class of 2018. Dr. McMillan is the author of the CFA’s Specifications and Ethics of Practice course. The ‘train the trainer’ is a strategic element in the CFA’s response to meeting the demand for ethics training. We are very happy to web host Chris and Michael to Marquette College or university.

In some ways the Vision Fund operates like any other technology account. They have welcomed pitches from a couple of hundred hopeful young companies. Founders visit its offices in San Carlos in San Francisco’s Bay Area or its opulent town house in London’s Mayfair, in both accepted places greeted at the door by Pepper, a cheery robot created by SoftBank’s robotics arm. Less than 5% of the entrepreneurs who seek financing receive it, which is more generous than most VC firms slightly. When My Son has chosen his targets, he believes in the power of capital and the potential for synergies between his companies to help reap rewards.

The recipients of cash fall under three main areas. First you have the “frontier” -bets support Mr. Son’s instincts about groundbreaking technologies in areas such as the internet of things, robotics, artificial cleverness (AI), computational genomics, and biology. Second comes investments made to bring new tech to old industries such as transport, logistics, and property.

Ride-hailing falls into this category (see article). And the 3rd area is technology, media, and telecoms, where SoftBank has been investing for nearly 25 years. Its stakes stretch from Fanatics here, an internet-sports-merchandise retailer to Wag! But alongside the futuristic eyesight operates a hard-nosed, opportunistic understanding of the charged power of capital to create winners.

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Mr Son lately said that, if Steve Careers brought to Apple a knowledge of art and technology, his own formula is technology plus finance. Time and again he has bullied and cajoled founders and chief executives into accepting his money, handing out a lot more than they were asking for often.

Fundraising pitches are atypical of the tech world. A videoconference call to Tokyo with an uncomfortable audio delay produces stilted dialogue. After ten minutes, Mr. Son often interrupts, as one creator tells it: “Stop, I know. I’ve heard enough, how much would you like? ” He then offers up to 4 or 5 times what the entrepreneur suggests. Any questions over what the firm would do with this much money and Mr Son threatens to place the money into a rival, usually leading to capitulation. During talks with Uber, he threatened to purchase Left.

SoFi, Didi, Grab, and Brain Corp., which build machine brains for robots, all got variants of the procedure. Money is not the thing that the finance offers; so is the privilege of becoming a member of the “family”. After the Vision Fund has committed to 70-100 roughly companies, it will have the world’s biggest collection of young technology companies. They will create an ecosystem where they’ll be each other’s customers, will merge with each other, and swap advice and help, says Mr Misra. The idea is that such ties will help companies grow more quickly.

Mr. Son is purpose on taking American and European startups into Asia, and vice versa, and Asian ones into close by countries. SoftBank will become a guide-its network in Japan, for example, is a benefit to Slack, a messaging company where it has a sizeable stake, as it expands there.

Marquette AIM Program Blog
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