Horizons newsletter – Week 49 // 2017
Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
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Premium or freemium research
The MiFiD II rules coming into force in January will have significant impact on the securities market, requiring unprecedented transparency in order to curb potential conflicts of interest. Broker research, which is typically bundled with other broker services, is an example of a possible “inducement to trade”. So asset managers will have to pay hard dollars for research and adhere to other MiFID II requirements, however only half expects to be compliant. Free research containing short-term market commentary or statistics – e.g. newsletters – are exempted, however recipients still have to determine for each publication whether they can receive it or not. To prevent issues, several banks have decided to make their research publicly available*, thus qualifying it as minor non-monetary benefit. Nevertheless, questions remain, for instance regarding supervision and contradictory regulation: MiFiD II clashes with U.S. laws, which require institutions selling research to register as an investment adviser and comply with stricter rules. For now, the SEC has issued a temporary 30-month relief period, however the market needs more clarification and regulatory agreement to create an international level-playing field on investment research.
* Dasym has decided to follow a similar route and will now publish its Horizons newsletter on the Dasym website prior to distributing it by email.
Searching for the sound of silence
Technology has radically changed our living world, which is most evident with our visual senses: someone from the early 20th century will perceive the 21st century as an explosion of visual stimuli, as advertisement images scream for our attention, electric lights color the sky and video’s light up from our screens. Our ears are also increasingly aroused: global megacities are cacophonies of sounds, digital voice assistants and voice-recognition technology will increase sound in places like public transport while streaming devices and services allow us to listen to music anytime and everywhere. Just as visual overload from our smartphones and computers can lead to ‘screen fatigue’, the ubiquity of sounds has become an important cause of physical and mental problems, like myocardial infarction and depression. New practices and inventions have been developed as a response to this ‘noise pollution’. For example, noise-cancelling headphones, initially invented for airplane pilots, are increasingly popular and German engineers recently developed noise-cancelling train seats, while popular ‘digital detox’ retreats head back into silence (among other things). When noise is abundant, the sound of silence becomes increasingly valuable.
Inspiring new world exploration
Recently theme park operator Merlin – which operates amongst others Madame Tussaud – revealed plans to create a Bear Grylls Adventure attraction and to establish Peppa Pig-themed hotels worldwide. Competitor Parques Reunidos meanwhile collaborates with Lionsgate and will open its first indoor entertainment center at NY Times Square in 2019, containing a Mad Men dining experience and a Divergent-themed obstacle course. By using existing intellectual properties (IP), attractions capitalize on established story content with a built-in audience. In addition, this fits the consumer demand for more immersive experiences that empower consumers to create their own story in an existing storyworld. Moreover, beyond the obvious advantages of these location-based brand extensions for both theme park operators and IP owners, this form of marketing can also provide new data, insights and inspiration. Audience interaction, tracked by location-based sensors, could allow IP owners to crowdsource new storylines or characters. Attractions could even become a format on their own, e.g. a Divergent variation of the obstacle course competition Ninja Warrior. Let the games begin, immersive storyworlds are waiting to be explored!