Business, Finance and the Markets: Growth, Fragility and Precaution

Modern day world runs on business deals, the respective structures constructed to govern and administer business relations and business people trying to expand business markets and increase profits. In such a scenario, finance becomes one of the most important fields of business, enabling aspiring parties to make good use of their money or find access to new sources of capital to undertake bigger projects. Business financing is therefore a force to be reckoned with as it continues to govern corporate relations, determine the boundaries and constraints of global business, while also opening brand new frontiers for aspiring minds and their projects.

The world of finance has always enjoyed a close connection to the domain of computer technologies and therefore the digital age has brought nothing short of a revolution for its matters. Robinhood, the popular millennial stock trading application, is a groundbreaking tool that has made financial investments mainstream, bringing $69 million in order routing revenue in 2018, tripling its revenues of such origin in 2017. The Menlo Park, the company that owns Robinhood, currently has 6 million users and a valuation of $5.6 billion, which is impressive considering that the company has been in existence for only five years. Robinhood’s policies have been receiving criticism lately due to its heavy reliance on high-frequency traders and their contributions to the ‘dark pool’ in global finance, which has been held responsible for the large-scale market swings that “allow institutional investors to gain an upper hand over smaller retail investors.” However, skeptics of such criticism point out that the entire industry witnessed 42% increase in order-routing revenue last year, meaning that The Menlo Park and Robinhood did not step outside of the boundaries of legality with their finance business, but merely enjoyed a global trend, signaling further financial success stories for the application.

Canada houses one of the most stable economies in the world but this does not mean that the country’s economy is invulnerable to crises as evidenced by the recently emerged issue of debt delinquency and how consumer delinquencies are expected to climb even higher in 2019.  Equifax Canada points out that as the 90-day delinquency rate rose by 1.5% in 2017 to 0.18% in 2018, the mortgage rates also rose by 0.4% to 1.07% the same year, resulting in a 15% rise in bankruptcies in Canada. For Canadian citizens of ages 65 and above, the delinquency rate increased by 7.2% last year, with the number of overdue payments for such seniors being on the rise for three consecutive quarters. According to Equifax’s findings, the total consumer debt of Canadian citizens, including the mentioned mortgages, also rose to $1.91 trillion in 2018 from its previous level of $$1.82 trillion in 2017. With respect to actual figures, such an alarming reality reveals that the average non-mortgage consumer debt was $23,520, having rose by 3% in 2018. As a general statement, it can inferred that the Canadian citizens need to take notice of the situation as well as possible action to slow down such increasing rates for the sake of preserving and maintaining the Canadian lifestyle.

When it comes business and finance, there is probably no other institution in the world as determinant and powerful as the Federal Reserve Bank of America, which makes the election of the members of the institution’s Board of Directors an important issue. Quite recently, the US President Donald Trump announced that the former Republican Herman Cain would not be running for a seat on the Board, fueling speculations that the president has political plans for America’s central bank as he sees the independent nature of the institution’s governance a threat to America’s political stability. Trump has previously demanded that the Fed should lower the interest rates for the sake of American businesses, which is a direct opposition to the general attitude of American presidents regarding monetary policy. Trump’s stance on the issue has been perceived as a continuation of his isolationist economic policies, due to the fact that the president aims at increasing economic welfare and stability in America by keeping production and jobs at home. For such a purpose, Trump claims that he requires financial privileges and freedom, both of which he expects and demands from the Federal Reserve System.