Figure 1 J-Class Asset Management: ICO announcement

Source: LinkedIn

J-Class is a London based investment company that will provide investors with a credible way to allocate funds to the nascent and emerging blockchain/hash graph and cryptocurrency areas through a traditional investment vehicle. J-Class intends to raise up to £5.0 million working capital through an initial coin offering and use any excess funds to create an internal cryptocurrency fund. Following these two stages, a traditional investment vehicle, an open-ended fund, will be launched and listed on The International Stock Exchange (TISE) in Guernsey to invest in cryptos. It will gather assets from institutional and expert investors around the world, which will be professionally managed by the J-Class Portfolio Management team.The combination of superior investment returns, a robust trading and execution platform, an institutional quality marketing and an investor relations support effort, should result in a significant escalation in the size of assets under management, and a resulting increase in fee revenue and profitability for the Company. A variable percentage of annual profits will be used to buy back the original J-Class tokens (issued at the outset of the transaction) in the secondary market, which will allow early investors to realize a return. Daniel Stewart are acting as Financial Advisers to J-Class.   Corporate Finance

Figure 2: Aviva plc: Viva Aviva

Source: Company Website

The insurance company announced its 2017 results last week. Adjusted operating profit, the key performance measurement climbed 2% to GBP3.07 billion and Aviva is aiming to increase it again in 2018 by more than 5%. Chief Executive Mark Wilson said that in the U.K. market, Aviva increased sales, market share, and profit, with six of its eight major markets generating double-digit profit improvement,. The Company ended the year with a Solvency II ratio–which represents capital strength–of 198%, and a capital surplus of GBP12.2 billion. A final dividend of 19 pence a share was declared, bringing the total dividend for 2017 to 27.40 pence (6% yield), up 18% from 2016, and the ex-div date is April 5th. The Company expects to pay out £2 billion in 2018, broken down into £900 million for debt reduction, £600 million for bolt-on acquisitions and more than £500 million for returning capital to ordinary shareholders. There is, however, some unrest amongst preference shareholders, as the company is contemplating cancelling high yield preference shares worth £450m in order to save approx. £38m per annum. Bond expert Mark Taber has written to Aviva on behalf of 580,000 retail investors who could see their incomes hit. Investment Hub

Figure 3 Spring bargain sales: buy one Hammond get one ‘free’

Source: Google Stock Images

Who says ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ does not have a sense of humour?  Alluding to his other nickname of Eeyore, the Chancellor yesterday described himself as more ‘Tigger-like’ and, as we all know, ‘the wonderful thing about Tiggers is that Tiggers are wonderful things’. A bouncy Mr Hammond  announced a 0.2% upgrade to 1.7% in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s GDP estimate for 2017 and a 0.1% upgrade to 1.5% in the forecast for 2018. Public Borrowing as a percentage of GDP is on track to fall below 2% as soon as the next financial year and…..grrreat….inflation will fall back too while earnings move higher! The GDP forecast for this year compares with around 4% global growth and places the UK in the select company of Japan and Italy, according to OECD forecasts also published yesterday. It seems rather too Eeyorish to reminisce about 2.3% growth in  2015 and 3.1% in 2014 or to wonder how the NHS and Social Services will fare in the meantime but, of course, we are too far away from the next General Election to expect any answers.  As for the impact of Brexit: the OBR is being kept as well-informed by Tigger and friends as the rest of us. Chief Economist

By Alastair Winter

Chief Economist at Daniel Stewart