Investing in Smart Beta
Interest in “smart beta”, or “strategic beta,” has grown rapidly in popularity over the past decade. This interest has led fund companies to introduce hundreds of smart beta funds, giving investors a wide range of options for integrating the smart beta concept into their portfolios. As with any investment, though, investors should have an understanding of what smart beta is and how it works before determining if smart beta can help them achieve their investments goals.
Smart beta is based on the more comprehensive factor investment strategy, which has its roots in the discovery of various attributes, or factors, of stocks that help explain their returns. The first factor identified was the well known CAPM Beta. Developed by Willian Sharpe in the 1960s, CAPM is an equation that calculates the expected return of an equity based on a measure of risk called Beta.
Re = βe x ( Rm – Rf ) + Rf
Re is the expected return of the stock in question
Β is the Beta of the stock in question
Rm is the return of the market
Rf is the risk free rate of return
In CAPM, the higher the Beta, the greater the return of the security. And since Beta is a measure of the risk of a security compared to the risk of the market as a whole, CAPM can be distilled to “higher risk, higher return.” The first factor, then, is risk as measured by Beta.
A number of other factors have since been identified. In the 1990s, Eugene Fama and Kenneth French developed the Fama-French Three Factor Model. This model identified value and size as new factors along with Sharpe’s Beta and was the result of research which showed that small companies (size factor) and companies with lower valuations compared to those of their peers (value) tended to outperform over time. Other asset pricing models using these and newer factors, such as the momentum and quality factors, have been developed since then.
There are now hundreds of funds that target these factors. Most will target one individual factor, but other may take a multi-factor approach. They all allow investors to target specific segments of the market which have outperformed historically without investing in expensive, actively managed funds. This is not to say that investors should just blindly invest in smart beta funds. Investors should do their research to understand the risks involved and should be mindful of their investment goals before adding these funds to their portfolios.
With the rapid growth of the smart beta segment, it is easy to find differences in factor definitions between funds. For instance, some funds may have a higher valuation threshold for size than others, so two size targeted funds may have different makeups, even if the stock universe that they pull from is the same. Sometimes terms can be different between funds, with momentum occasionally called “trend,” and “quality” and “profitability” being interchangeable in some cases, but not in others. In addition, newer, less well-known factors may have much less research behind, them and some of the more established factors may have actually underperformed in recent periods. Understanding exactly what you are investing in is as important as ever with smart beta funds. Take the time to know both the factor and its history and how the fund uses that factor before making an investment.
Smart beta funds are generally considered passively managed funds, but while index-based fund holdings are according to market weight, smart beta funds are a bit more complex. Weighting is done to target factors, and some funds will use screens to filter out more than just their factors screens would allow. Each fund develops its own set of rules to determine how to best target a certain factor. Comparing smart beta funds to a benchmark can be difficult as well, as they tend to pull from all areas of the market when targeting a specific factor. Performance will likely vary widely from common market benchmarks such as the S&P 500.
Diversification can also be an issue when investing in smart beta funds. Despite data showing long term outperformance, individual factors can go though years long periods of underperformance. Targeting just one factor in a portfolio can decrease diversification, increasing risk unnecessarily and adversely affect returns if that factor’s performance falters. In addition, targeting some factors can leave you overexposed to certain market segments. The low volatility factor, for instance, can overweight the utility sector. If you’re already invested in that sector through other strategies, targeting the low volatility factor can increase risk in your portfolio.
As with asset class strategies, returns from smart beta tends to be driven by returns from a few well performing companies. Its important to ensure that your smart beta investments are well diversified within an asset class as well as across asset classes to avoid missing out on returns from that handful of companies.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the cost of your investment. Because smart beta focuses on easily definable metrics, smart beta funds are generally fairly inexpensive, but they are not as cheap as index funds. Furthermore, turnover in a smart beta fund may be higher, especially with a shorter-term factor such as momentum. Higher expenses can quickly eat up any outsized returns a fund generates, so it is critical to be aware of how much these funds cost to invest in.
Finally, don’t lose sight of your investment goals. When a hot new strategy comes along, its easy to be tempted to go all in chasing returns and expose your portfolio to unnecessary risk and expense. Take the time to evaluate the smart beta strategy and understand how integrating it into your portfolio will align with your financial plan and help you achieve your investment objectives.
The Upside of Tracking Employees’ Time With Timesheet Management Software: 5 Convincing Reasons
The greatest asset to any organization is its employees. The greatest challenge in running a business is managing the timing and attendance of the employees. With timesheet management software, you can ensure that your employees are working to their fullest potential. Doing so eventually increases productivity and efficiency in the company.
Research states that time theft affects 75% of companies and costs up to 20% of every dollar they make. Time tracking can track the performance time of the employees in your company to the T. You can see, compare, evaluate and set benchmarks within your company for new hires to follow, which ensures that the quality of work and company growth doesn’t take a hit.
5 benefits of timesheet management software
Employee tracking systems were once a painstaking process that demanded the complete attention of the managers. In lieu of creating timesheets manually, companies couldn’t come through with many other important processes and deadlines. With the increasing competition and advancement in technology, the pressing priority was a tool or a platform that streamlined operations and automated time tracking. The answer was timesheet management software which provided the following benefits.
Increase in productivity
With timesheet management software, you can:
- Constantly monitor the status of projects and teams. You can see the hiccups in the process and provide quick steps to resolve the issue.
- Similarly, instead of manually filling in the performance and working hours of employees, the software automates this and updates data in real time.
- The people working in your company will become more aware of their time, knowing that they’re under supervision. This pushes them to utilize time properly and complete pending tasks.
- The software takes over many processes of the company, which means more time on hand. You can use this time to focus on the important aspects of your company.
Fewer errors in performance and payroll data
A manual method of tracking time may be inaccurate, as people may punch in their work shifts incorrectly. Sometimes, they can override the system and enter the wrong data to fool companies into paying them more. However, with timesheet management software, you can avoid such errors as it records data based on actions. It reduces absenteeism and tardiness in the company by measuring the hours put in and the output generated by each employee.
Seamless project management
Timesheet management software plays a surprising role in managing projects. It not only lets you know the status of a project but also records each individual’s role in it. The data you receive concerning the people will be helpful in deciding the qualification of any employee for a new project. You also get to know the proficiency of each employee and can decide which area of the business is best suited for them based on their skills.
Legal compliance and transparency
Incorrect data concerning the attendance of your employees will land you in legal trouble. You can’t always trust manual punching in time as it can lead to an accumulation of falsified data. With timesheet management software, you can rest easy knowing well that the recorded attendance is correct and legally compliant. Showing up on time becomes the topmost priority when you know that you can face legal action.
Futuristics technological solutions
No business in the current scenario can run away from the new technology taking over. Businesses need advanced solutions in some capacity or the other. Managers, on the other hand, need to be involved with every other area of the business. They need constant updates on projects, available at the click of a button on a timesheet management software. Additionally, the software records all actions that take place in the company. When you use this software, you’re making your company future-proof in this dynamic global market.
Making the most of the lost time
Time is the most valuable resource in life, not just within businesses. With proper utilization of the time you have, reaching and redefining success won’t be a herculean task for your company. Good timesheet management software reduces errors, increases efficiency, improves payroll management, and simplifies operations. Once you start using such software, it’s a guarantee that you won’t go back to previous working styles in your company.
Business Model Canvas for Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations play a vital role in the world by addressing societal issues and providing essential services to communities. However, like any other business, nonprofits need a clear understanding of their business model to effectively achieve their goals. The business model canvas is an excellent tool for non-profit organizations to create a comprehensive view of their operations and guide decision-making processes. A free Business model canvas trial tool for your non-profit organization !
The business model canvas is a strategic management tool that provides a visual representation of an organization’s business model. It is made up of nine sections, including key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer segments, channels, revenue streams, and cost structure. In this blog, we will explore how non-profit organizations can customize the business model canvas to create a sustainable and impactful business model.
Defining the Value Proposition
The first section of the business model canvas is about defining the value proposition. For non-profit organizations, this may include addressing a societal issue or providing essential services to a particular community. The value proposition should clearly outline what the organization does and why it matters.
When defining the value proposition, it is essential to consider the organization’s mission and vision. Nonprofits need to have a clear understanding of their goals to create a compelling value proposition that resonates with their stakeholders. The value proposition should be measurable and aligned with the organization’s overall strategy.
Identifying Key Partners
The second section of the business model canvas is about identifying key partners. For non-profit organizations, this may include other non-profits, government agencies, or private corporations. These partners may provide funding, resources, or expertise to support the organization’s mission.
When identifying key partners, it is essential to consider their values and goals. Nonprofits should look for partners who share their vision and have a vested interest in the organization’s success. Building strong partnerships can help nonprofits to leverage resources and increase their impact.
Defining Key Activities
The third section of the business model canvas is about defining key activities. For non-profit organizations, this may include providing services, conducting research, or advocating for a particular cause. It is essential to identify the key activities that are critical to the organization’s success and prioritize them accordingly.
Nonprofits should focus on activities that align with their mission and have the most significant impact on their stakeholders. They should also consider outsourcing non-critical activities to other organizations or volunteers to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Determining Key Resources
The fourth section of the business model canvas is about determining key resources. For non-profit organizations, this may include human resources, such as staff and volunteers, as well as physical resources, such as office space and equipment.
Nonprofits should identify the resources that are critical to their operations and ensure that they have the necessary resources to achieve their goals. They should also consider ways to leverage resources to increase their impact, such as partnering with other organizations or using technology to streamline operations.
Identifying Customer Segments
The fifth section of the business model canvas is about identifying customer segments. For non-profit organizations, this may include the individuals or communities they serve, as well as their donors and sponsors.
When identifying customer segments, it is essential to consider their needs and preferences. Nonprofits should tailor their services and communication to meet the unique needs of their stakeholders. They should also consider ways to build long-term relationships with their customers to increase their impact and sustainability.
The sixth section of the business model canvas is about developing channels. For non-profit organizations, this may include fundraising events, online campaigns, or advocacy efforts.
Nonprofits should develop channels that align with their mission and goals. They should consider the most effective ways to reach their stakeholders and build relationships with them.
Assessing Cost Structure
The final section of the business model canvas is about assessing cost structure. For a non-profit organization, it is important to carefully manage expenses to ensure that resources are being used effectively to achieve the organization’s mission and objectives.
Non-profit organizations may have unique cost structures that differ from for-profit organizations. For example, non-profit organizations may rely heavily on volunteers to minimize labor costs. It is important to carefully evaluate expenses and look for opportunities to reduce costs while still achieving the organization’s goals.
Customizing the business model canvas for non-profit organizations involves identifying key partners, defining key activities and resources, identifying customer segments, developing value propositions, identifying channels, and assessing cost structure. By carefully considering each of these elements, non-profit organizations can create a sustainable business model that effectively achieves their mission and objectives. The business model canvas provides a valuable framework for non-profit organizations to plan and implement their strategies, and it can be adapted to meet the unique needs of any organization.
How to Spot the Biggest CVV Shop: A Comprehensive Guide
With the widespread use of credit cards, credit card fraud has become a major concern for individuals and businesses alike. Fraudsters use various tactics to obtain credit card information, which they use to make unauthorized transactions. In this article, we will discuss how to identify credit card fraud and spot the biggest CVV shop.
Understanding Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud occurs when someone uses another person’s credit card information without their permission. Fraudsters may obtain credit card information through various means, including phishing scams, skimming devices, or hacking into databases containing credit card information.
Types of Credit Card Fraud
There are different types of credit card fraud, including:
- Counterfeit Fraud
Counterfeit fraud occurs when a fraudster creates a fake credit card using stolen credit card information. They may use the fake credit card to make purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs.
- Lost or Stolen Card Fraud
Lost or stolen card fraud occurs when a fraudster uses a lost or stolen credit card to make purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs.
- Card Not Present Fraud
Card not present fraud occurs when a fraudster uses stolen credit card information to make online purchases or transactions over the phone.
Signs of Credit Card Fraud
There are various signs that can indicate credit card fraud, including:
- Unauthorized transactions on your credit card statement.
- Unexpected declined transactions.
- Receiving a new credit card in the mail that you did not request.
- Unfamiliar charges or inquiries on your credit report.
- Receiving calls from debt collectors for debts you do not owe.
How to Spot the Biggest CVV Shop
A CVV shop is a website or online marketplace that sells stolen credit card information. CVV stands for Card Verification Value, which is a three-digit number found on the back of credit cards. Fraudsters use CVV shops to sell stolen credit card information to other criminals who use it for fraudulent transactions.
Signs of a CVV Shop
There are various signs that can indicate a CVV shop, including:
- Dark Web Listings
CVV shops are often found on the dark web, which is an anonymous network of websites that are not indexed by search engines. These websites require specific software and credentials to access.
CVV shops often sell credit card information for a fraction of the card’s actual value. If a website is offering credit card information at unusually low prices, it may be a CVV shop.
- Payment Methods
CVV shops may offer payment methods that are difficult to trace, such as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This makes it harder for authorities to track down the fraudsters.
How to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud
There are various ways to protect yourself from credit card fraud, including:
- Keeping your credit card information secure and not sharing it with others.
- Monitoring your credit card statements regularly for unauthorized transactions.
- Using strong and unique passwords for your online accounts.
- Being cautious of phishing scams and not clicking on suspicious links or emails.
- Contacting your bank immediately if you suspect credit card fraud.
Credit card fraud is a serious issue that can have significant financial consequences. Understanding the different types of credit card fraud and signs to look out for can help you identify potential fraud early. By being aware of the signs of a CVV shop and taking steps to protect your credit card information, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud.
Towards a Sustainable Future: The Importance of Biobased and Eco-Friendly Packaging
The importance of sustainable packaging has been increasingly recognized in recent years, as businesses and consumers alike seek to reduce their environmental impact. One approach to achieving this goal is through the use of biobased packaging, which is a type of eco-friendly packaging made from renewable resources.
Biobased packaging refers to packaging materials that are derived from biomass, which includes a wide range of organic matter such as plants, trees, and agricultural waste. This is in contrast to traditional packaging materials such as plastic, which are made from non-renewable resources such as oil and gas. Biobased packaging can be made from a variety of materials, including bioplastics, paper, and cardboard.
One of the benefits of biobased packaging is that it is biodegradable, meaning that it can break down naturally in the environment. This is in contrast to traditional packaging materials, which can take hundreds of years to decompose and can contribute to pollution and litter. Biobased packaging also often requires less energy to produce than traditional packaging, as it is made from renewable resources that require less processing.
In addition to being biodegradable, biobased packaging can also be compostable, meaning that it can break down into organic matter that can be used as fertilizer. This can help to reduce waste and support sustainable agriculture. Some biobased packaging materials are also recyclable, meaning that they can be reused to create new products.
One example of biobased packaging material is a bioplastic, which is a type of plastic made from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugarcane. Bioplastics can be used to make a wide range of products, including food packaging, bags, and utensils. They are biodegradable and compostable, making them a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastic.
Another example of biobased packaging is paper-based packaging, which is made from renewable resources such as trees. Paper-based packaging can be recycled and is biodegradable, making it a more eco-friendly option than plastic. In addition, paper-based packaging can often be produced using less energy than plastic packaging, as it requires less processing.
Eco-friendly packaging is another term that is often used to describe sustainable packaging. Eco-friendly packaging can refer to a range of packaging materials and practices that are designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. This can include biobased packaging, but can also include other sustainable packaging practices such as using recycled materials or reducing packaging waste.
One example of eco-friendly packaging is minimal packaging, which involves reducing the amount of packaging used for a product. This can help to reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of the packaging. Another example is reusable packaging, which involves designing packaging that can be used multiple times, reducing the need for single-use packaging.
While biobased packaging and eco-friendly packaging have many benefits, there are also some challenges associated with their use. One challenge is the cost of producing these types of packaging, which can be higher than traditional packaging materials. However, as demand for sustainable packaging increases and production processes become more efficient, the cost of biobased packaging is likely to decrease.
Another challenge is the availability of biobased packaging materials. While there are a growing number of companies producing biobased packaging, the availability of these materials can still be limited. This can make it difficult for businesses to switch to sustainable packaging options.
Despite these challenges, the use of sustainable packaging is an important step towards reducing our environmental impact and creating a more sustainable future.
By choosing biobased packaging and eco-friendly packaging options, businesses and consumers can help to support sustainable practices and reduce waste.
In conclusion, sustainable packaging is becoming increasingly important as we seek to reduce our environmental impact. Biobased packaging is one type of sustainable packaging that is made from renewable resources and can be biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable. Bioplastics and paper-based packaging are examples of biobased packaging materials, while minimal packaging and reusable packaging are examples of eco-friendly packaging practices.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, it is important for businesses and consumers to consider the environmental impact of the products they use and the packaging they choose. By choosing biobased and eco-friendly packaging options, we can help to reduce our impact on the environment and support sustainable practices. While there are challenges associated with the use of these types of packaging, the benefits are clear and the demand for sustainable packaging is only likely to increase in the years to come.
In addition to choosing sustainable packaging, there are many other steps that businesses and consumers can take to reduce their environmental impact. These can include reducing energy consumption, using renewable energy sources, and minimizing waste. By working together and taking these steps, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.
Which Types of Software Does Your Company Need?
Workspace digitalization will undoubtedly continue to grow. Business opportunities are unlimited since the internet connects the right applicants with the right employers all over the world.
However, any good idea needs a solid implementation strategy. Specifically, the need to communicate effectively and to share knowledge seamlessly grows.
Thankfully, the market is ever-expanding. When there is a global need, solutions always emerge. Digitalization is rapidly expanding to affect all fields, including communication, task scheduling and administration, file sharing, and so on.
While this is good news, it also poses a conundrum: which tools to pick and which ones to avoid?
With so many options available, it is essential to decide the exact tools your business needs.
Here are our top picks.
Call Center Automation
Call center automation is definitely a good idea, as it can be deployed for various processes, including:
- Empowering employees
- Connecting with customers
- Driving continual improvement
The finest of call center automation tools come with conversational AI capabilities and deliver unified RPA. Both factors are critical, as they help businesses optimize processes and streamline procedures with ease.
A pro tip would be to use speech analytics for your call center. Speech analytics is the process of decoding audio recordings and using that information for advanced business intelligence. It has multiple uses and is certain to improve your business’ contact center performance.
For streamlining manual tasks, consider VoIP protocols, IVR systems and ACD systems.
VoIP protocols (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a method for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over IP networks. It has been around for a while and pretty much all businesses have used it at some point.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems allow customers to interact with a computer-operated phone system through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via a keypad.
ACD (Automated Call Distribution) systems are telephony devices that answer and distribute incoming calls to a specific group of terminals or agents. Typically, ACDs deploy a voice menu to direct callers based on the caller’s selection.
Using dispatch software is always a good idea as it enhances logistics operations dramatically. It is a type of field service management software and its main purpose is to assist businesses in managing and automating their dispatch operations.
Dispatch software combines multiple functionalities such as client information, scheduling, dispatching, employee productivity, and automated billing and invoicing, to name a few.
Performance Management Software
Performance management is the process entailing communication and feedback between managers and employees. Its main goal is to uphold the company’s strategic goals.
There are five steps in the performance management cycle, as follows:
- Planning — communicating goals
- Monitoring — monitoring employee performance
- Developing — using insights obtained during the monitoring phase to improve employee performance
- Rating — performance appraisal
- Rewarding — rewarding good performance
Updated performance management software can streamline these otherwise complex steps, so it’s important to choose wisely. Also, keep in mind that new tech can only help if you have a strategic vision — automating random processes won’t do much to improve your performance management procedures.
eLearning and Gamification
Learning is one of the most desired benefits for new recruits. If you focus on adopting an innovative strategy in this area, you may lead by example.
Gamification and other eLearning options are rather popular these days, so you should definitely consider them.
What is gamification?
As the term portends, it is the application of game elements in other contexts. In the context of eLearning, gamification focuses on certain game elements that can boost training. The three main standards of the approach are meaningfulness, conditioning, and communication. Gamification specifically targets the extrinsic motivation of the learner (in plain words: external rewards).
Typical elements of gamification are points, badges and leaderboards. Points identify progress, nadges display achievements, and leaderboards are used for ranking.
Additional elements (optional) include progress bars, incentives, rewards for the milestones achieved, a narrative, feedback and interactive elements.
Beyond gamification, you may want to consider augmented reality (AR) learning. Once reserved for musings of science fiction writers, AR has gone a long way to reach its present status. Even when we can’t see it, AR technology is all around us.
Augmented reality is a synthesis of the real world and computer-generated environments. AR apps interact with users, offering a rewarding user experience.
As AR apps overlap with other technologies, it’s not unusual for students to be able to use social media to send messages while learning.
Knowledge Management System
Knowledge management systems are yet to earn their rightful place and there’s no doubt that will happen eventually. The current state of knowledge management and sharing is far from optimal but it’s still better than not doing anything. Conventional methods can document only ca. 20% of organizational knowledge.
It’s no rocket science that offering learning opportunities is simpler than managing knowledge, specifically in the case of large organizations.
Modern knowledge management systems bring together technology, organizational processes, and learners. Information is stored in a central location, meaning it’s easily accessible anywhere, anytime.
Project Management Tools
When it comes to project management tools, options are close to endless.
There are so many apps that it’s impossible to compare them all. Thankfully, clients usually go for popular choices, so you may start there until you learn the ropes and come across a better solution.
Typically, businesses need to combine project management tools with communication tools and file management tools, for obvious reasons.
Pick the apps that integrate with others and focus on the following points: file sharing, task conversion, visualization, and unified inbox.
Keeping Track of New Tech
Considered here are some of the must-have apps, which we’re hoping you’ll find helpful. Additional ideas may come to mind but stick to simplicity.
Alas, it’s too easy to get lost in the variety, and not all software solutions are necessarily good solutions.
Since workplace digitalization is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it’s perfectly valid to turn to other businesses for advice.
New tools keep popping up all the time and they make a point of including new trends. Keep an eye on the offer and adjust away.
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