Why you should care
From Myanmar’s unlikely stock exchange to musty old commodity firms, OZY reports on places to put your coin.
The last time Myanmar launched a stock exchange was during its dark days of isolation in the mid-1990s, when military intelligence operatives roamed local tea shops and companies like PepsiCo pulled products out of the country. Only two companies ever listed. Nearly two decades later and three years into a reform effort, the country — also known as Burma — is trying again. Proponents hope a stock market can be a psychological lift and a job engine, turning small companies into international players. But in some countries, stock markets have just been overrated vanity projects. Read the story here.
The next fortunes on Wall Street are being made and maintained in a new kind of investment firm that is like the love child of private equity firms (think Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital and KKR) and hedge funds. Some in the biz refer to these firms as “alternative asset manager conglomerates,” but they really should be called “hybrid hedge funds.” Just as with hedge funds, there are often no limits on the sectors these hybrids can invest in. But while traditional hedge funds are able to invest widely, the downside is that the hedge fund’s own investors have regular opportunities to pull back their money, often after only about 60 or 90 days’ notice. Read more here.
Glencore, Vitol, Archer Daniels: Sound familiar? Probably not. So here’s a hint: The big firms you should know about aren’t Google or Amazon, and they’re not McKinsey, Goldman Sachs or Citibank. Heck, they’re not even WhatsApp, Nest or Uber. No more guesses? They’re commodity firms. And they’re booming, mega-money-making, hugely influential and, yeah, a little shady. “[T]hey’re gigantic, making these bets, running markets — everything from energy to food around the world. And it is rather shadowy because outside of the stocks that trade on them, a lot of what they do is not very liquid — it’s done off balance sheets,” says Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionMONSTER and a former trader and financial commenter on CNBC. Read the story here.