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How UBS is trying to change the face of financial research

For analysts at UBS, everything starts with a question.

The bank gathers between 60,000 and 70,000 questions per year from clients. These range from the macro – such as “how will a trade war impact the global economy?” – all the way to minutely detailed questions about the price of components in computers and cars.

Questions are then put into a database which the bank’s staff can look to when trying to analyse the state of the thousands companies it covers. UBS has coverage on between 85% and 88% of stocks on the MSCI World Index.

“Some of those questions are actively being thought about by the investors, some of those are in anticipation of what the markets should be thinking about in the near term,” Barry Hurewitz, global chief operating officer of UBS Group Research told Business Insider.

Question gathering is part of UBS’ long term plan to differentiate its research capability from that of other banks by taking an approach that is heavily focused on data, and applies the principles of scientific research to the world of high finance.

WeWork is looking to raise new funds at a $US35 billion valuation

The property startup WeWork is seeking to raise new funds at a valuation of $US35 billion, according to one of its biggest investors.

Rajeev Misra, the chief executive of SoftBank’s $US100 billion Vision Fund, told the CogX conference in London this week that WeWork was in the process of raising capital at the newly disclosed valuation and predicted it would be worth $US100 billion in the next few years.

Misra’s comments will raise eyebrows, given that WeWork has raised several billions in venture capital to date, as well as another $US702 million in its bond market debut, and is burning through cash. WeWork’s most recent fundraise, a series G round, reportedly valued the company at $US20 billion.

A $US35 billion valuation would also mean WeWork has overtaken Airbnb and SpaceX to become the second most valuable startup in the world, behind only Uber.

Crypto firm Paxos taking a page out of Goldman’s playbook

Paxos, the cryptocurrency company, appears to be taking a page out of Goldman Sachs’ playbook.

The firm, which runs a crypto exchange and over-the-counter trading desk via its itBit unit, is looking to leverage its crypto-custody business to lure trading volumes to its venue. It’s a move that Paul Ciavardini, the director who oversees OTC trading at the firm, says looks a lot like how Goldman offered prime brokerage services to hedge funds that turned into big profits for its trading business.

Many market observers have said that in order for large institutional firms to get comfortable trading bitcoin, there need to be reputable custody offerings to safeguard holdings.

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