It’s widely believed that uncertainty is bad for business. If you don’t have the right information, you make the wrong decisions. Or you make no decisions at all. We saw this play out during the financial crisis when there was quite a lot of uncertainty and many investors held back.
With that in mind, my colleagues and I recently looked at the effect of having greater financial information available within an industry. Specifically, we studied the impact of public firms on an industry, as public firms are required to disclose large amounts of information. They have to issue quarterly financial statements and provide information on operational details such as business strategy, expected future outlook, and business risk. Financial analysts and the business press provide even more information on those companies. Taken together, that disclosure activity can improve the information environment for firms in that industry by reducing uncertainty.
IPOs are making a comeback, according to Ernst & Young. E&Y surveyed 300 institutional investors and found that 82 percent had invested in IPO or pre-IPO stocks in the previous 12 months, compared with only 18 percent in the prior two years.
While the rebound has occurred across industries, investors clearly like certain kinds of companies more than others. Biotech has had a string of successful IPOs. This infusion of capital will allow companies to get their products to market faster, which should get us closer to curing or combating diseases. The social media industry also has been drawing IPO investors of late, despite Facebook’s bungled IPO in the spring of 2012.
From WSJ MarketWatch and MIT Sloan. Innovation@work Blog
In an effort to create a successful retirement portfolio, investors often find their way to professionals who loosely call themselves “advisers” or their services “financial planning,” even though they are de facto sales agents paid commissions by their company. This compensation structure can lead to conflicts of interest between financial professionals and their clients.
Yet, despite numerous anecdotes that pay structures influence investing advice, there is little reliable evidence about the quality of advice that financial professionals actually provide. Do financial professionals help retail investors make better financial decisions and educate investors? Or do they put their own interests first and attempt to generate more commissions and fees? Read More »
Financial engineering failed dramatically in the financial crisis, but maybe it could be used to help persuade institutions to invest in cancer research. Professor Andrew Lo of MIT’s Sloan School of Management explains how to Long View columnist John Authers.
Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, a Professor of Finance, and the Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
This is a lucrative time for intellectual property. Earlier this year, Kodak, the bankrupt company that invented the digital camera, sold its portfolio of 1,100 digital photography-related patents to a dozen licensees, including Apple, Microsoft and Google for $525 million. Last spring, Google bought Motorola Mobility with its 17,000 patents, for $12.5 billion, to protect its Android mobile operating systems from rivals. Also last year, Microsoft acquired 800 patents from AOL for more than $1 billion, only to turn around and sell 70% of them to Facebook for $550 million in cash. Read More »