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Tag Archives: In Conversation With

House View, October 2020

Asset Allocation Rising coronavirus cases accompanied by flagging recovery momentum and a fractious run-up to the US elections make prospects for equities highly reliant on 3Q results and further policy stimulus. Against this background we have downgraded our stance on euro area equities from neutral to underweight, following a similar downgrade for US equities in August. We continue to like structural growth drivers and select, high-quality cyclical stocks. We...

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Weekly View – Reality check

[embedded content] The short-term pull-back in stock prices last week on the back of persistent virus concerns in the US and elsewhere shows the market remains jittery despite the massive run-up in prices since late March. May data from China showed a relatively fast rebound on the supply side of the economy, but a much slower take-off in consumption, suggesting a ‘reverse square root’ kind of recovery for economies rather than the ‘v’-shaped one markets have been...

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Exceptional Swiss hospitality and haute cuisine

This independently managed, family-owned hotel in the City of Basel attracts guests from all over the world for its luxurious accommodation, its superb restaurant with three Michelin stars, and its talented staff team offering superior serviceThe Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, which sits on the Rhine in the historic centre of Basel, is one of the oldest city hotels in Europe. The first record of The Three Kings dates back to 1681 when it was described as an inn for gentlemen. Rebuilt in 1844 in...

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On the ground in over 80 countries – neutral, impartial and independent

The organisation that became the ICRC was founded in Geneva over 150 years ago, and has grown into a global organisation which is constantly expanding its activities while remaining true to the Swiss values that inspired it.After Henri Dunant, a Geneva businessman, had seen the devastation of the Battle of Solferino in Italy, he published a book calling for improved care for wounded soldiers in wartime. So an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded was convened in 1863 and...

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Swiss start-up grows diamonds of exceptional purity

Physicist Pascal Gallo co-founded a company in partnership with Lausanne’s Federal Institute of Technology to create ultra-pure lab-grown diamonds for demanding high-tech applications, longer lasting watches and high-quality jewelleryThe reason for developing the lab-grown diamonds was a search for ultra-pure stones that could enhance the power of energy trans­mission using lasers. Diamonds have extraordinary properties: they are the best conductors of heat which means they can create...

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A premium mode of transport for urban commuters

Technological innovations offer a Swiss solution to modern traffic problems in the form of a powerful e-bike capable of long-distance, high-speed urban commuting with full connectivity modelled on global brands such as TeslaSwitzerland may not feature on lists of the world’s leading carmakers, but it is home to the manufacturer of a state-of-the-art form of commuter transport. Stromer battery-powered e-bikes, made in the small village of Oberwangen near Bern, are capable of travelling...

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Style and status are hallmarks of high-end brands

Consumers increasingly spend more on luxury experiences and less on luxury goods, and are developing an appetite for novel benefits when buying high-end products and servicesWhen people talk about Swiss brands, they often think about the luxury products and services for which the country is justly famous – its watches, jewellery, chocolates and deluxe hotels, for example. Over the last decade, my own research and teaching activities at INSEAD have taught me that decoding luxury consumption...

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How mobile technology is changing the way we shop

As is evident when travelling on public transport, people spend a lot of their idle time on mobile phones. But according to Stephan Schambach, the serial entrepreneur behind several major innovations in e-commerce, retailers have been slow to recognise that the future of their industry lies in mobile technology. Customers will increasingly demand the online experience available in other consumer industries such as travel and tourism, and the retail brands that are first to provide it will...

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Mass customisation of breakfast cereals

When Hubertus Bessau was 16, he knew exactly what he wanted to do – or rather, he knew exactly what he did not want to do. He did not want to work for a large company where it would be hard for him to have any impact on what happened. His ambition was to find a career that he would enjoy and where he could make a difference.He was already earning his own pocket money by designing websites for friends of his parents rather than taking casual jobs like working in a bar as friends did. When he...

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The dynamic growth of collaborative workplaces

The sharing economy is disrupting many consumer industries such as hotels (Airbnb) and taxis (Uber). One traditional industry that is increasingly facing disruption is office accommodation, where co-working is growing fast around the world. As with traditional offices, there are desks, meeting rooms and other working facilities, but they are usually shared by people not employed by a single organisation who enjoy working together as a community with online services providing benefits.One of...

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