FORTUNE and DesignSingapore Council Announce Global Business and Design Leaders to Participate in Brainstorm Design 2020, March 25-26

NEW YORK and SINGAPORE, Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, FORTUNE and DesignSingapore Council announced more than 20 global business and design leaders who will appear at Brainstorm Design 2020 in Singapore, March 25-26. Brainstorm Design is supported by Host City, Singapore; Host Partner, DesignSingapore Council; Supporting Partner, Singapore Economic Development Board; Partner Herman Miller, IBM, and Salesforce; and Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Company. Participants will share insights and strategies for design innovation at the conference.  

The theme for Brainstorm Design 2020 is “Designing Our Destiny,” which proposes that design determines how companies and communities will forge their paths forward. The diverse program will highlight topics including: how design is tackling the challenges of climate change, material waste, and health care access; design’s role in shaping humane technology and ethical privacy practices; and how to build and lead organizations that foster long-term design-led innovation. Host City Singapore, one of the world’s great hubs of commerce, culture and innovation, is an ideal setting for these discussions. 

Brainstorm Design gathers FORTUNE 500 executives and the world’s preeminent designers to explore the crucial question of how to achieve business results through design. These experts share their insights, along with cutting-edge design work that is transforming their industries. First held in 2018, Brainstorm Design has become a leading international forum at the intersection of design, business and technology. 

Brainstorm Design Chair Clay Chandler explained, “Brainstorm Design, now in its third year, has evolved into a unique forum convening stars from the worlds of classical, commercial, and computational design, and enabling them to exchange ideas with leaders of the world’s most powerful corporations and most dynamic startups. This year we’ll ponder design’s growing power, explore strategies for encouraging user-focused design within companies and organizations, and review the latest methodologies for assessing design’s corporate and social impact. We’ll also consider the role of designers in helping business leaders cope with complex digital technologies and debate designers’ ethical responsibilities to safeguard individual liberties, protect the environment, and promote diversity.”

Of the conference, DesignSingapore Council Executive Director Mark Wee said, “We’re looking forward to hosting another edition of Brainstorm Design, where we’ll engage and be inspired by global design leaders using design to transform the very future of business or entire new systems in efforts to tackle the world’s most complex problems. We see global companies setting up their design innovation activities here in Singapore for product innovation and understanding into the Asian market, or to design and prototype entire new systems in our city-lab environment. As the gateway to Asia and leader in innovation in the region, we are thus proud to be part of this global conversation on how design can shape a more humane and sustainable destiny for us all.”  

The current confirmed speakers list for Brainstorm Design 2020 includes: 

  • Cameron Adams, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Canva 
  • YooJung Ann, Head of Design, Waymo 
  • John Cary, President and CEO, Eames Institute 
  • Hillel Cooperman, Senior VP of User Experience Design, Oracle 
  • Chris Down, Chief Design Officer, Mattel 
  • Maria Giudice, Design Leader and Co-author, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design 
  • Paula Goldman, Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer, Salesforce
  • Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO, Parley for the Oceans 
  • Li Ningning, Senior Director of Industrial Design, Mi Ecosystem, Xiaomi Corporation 
  • Jenny Lam, Senior VP of User Experience Design, Oracle 
  • Eva Lilja Löwenhielm, Design Manager, IKEA Sweden 
  • Dr. Liu Thai Ker, Founding Chairman, Morrow Architects & Planners  
  • Dr. Lou Yongqi, Dean of the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University 
  • John Maeda, Chief Experience Officer, Publicis Sapient 
  • Mauro Porcini, Senior Vice President and Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo 
  • Eric Quint, Vice President, Chief Brand and Design Officer, 3M 
  • Alice Rawsthorn, Author, Design as an Attitude 
  • Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Aston Martin 
  • Daan Roosegaarde, Artist and Founder, Studio Roosegaarde 
  • Ole Scheeren, Architect and Principal, Buro Ole Scheeren 
  • Sarah Stein Greenberg, Executive Director, Stanford University (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) 
  • Patricia Urquiola, Designer, Architect and Founder of Studio Urquiola  
  • Harry West, Principal, Invisible Design 
  • Sam Yen, Head of Digital, Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Banking, JP Morgan Chase & Co. 

The Brainstorm Design 2020 Co-Chairs are:

  • Clay Chandler, Executive Editor, Asia, FORTUNE;
  • Tony Chambers, Founder and Creative Director, TC & Friends; 
  • Maithreyi Seetheraman, Director, Live Media Content, FORTUNE. 

For more information, visit: 

FORTUNE drives the conversation about business. With a global perspective, the guiding wisdom of history, and an unflinching eye to the future, we report and reveal the stories that matter today-and that will matter even more tomorrow. With the trusted power to convene and challenge those who are shaping industry, commerce and society around the world, FORTUNE lights the path for global leaders-and gives them the tools to make business better.

About DesignSingapore Council  
DesignSingapore Council’s (Dsg) vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. As the national agency that promotes design, our mission is to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design. The Dsg is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Press Contact: 

Alison Klooster 

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Hilco Global Expands Business Operations Throughout Australia and Southeast Asia with Launch of New Business Unit Called Hilco Global APAC

Hilco Global APAC will deliver commercial and industrial asset valuation and monetization solutions, specializing in online marketplace auctions and negotiated sales

NORTHBROOK, Illinois and SYDNEY, Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Jeffrey B. Hecktman, Founder and CEO of Hilco Global, announced today a new joint venture partnership with Macquarie Capital Limited to launch an extensive online auction and marketplace business headquartered in Australia. The new OPCO, Hilco Global APAC (, will deliver commercial and industrial asset valuation and monetization solutions, specializing in online marketplace auctions and negotiated sales throughout Australia and South East Asia.

Hilco Global management has worked closely with executives at Macquarie Capital Limited and an impressive team of seasoned asset management executives located in Australia to identify a significant business growth opportunity within the commercial and industrial sector.  The company, which began operations earlier this year, has hired over 25 highly recognized and experienced asset management/auction industry experts within the Asia-Pacific region as part of the initial launch of the business unit.  The new Hilco Global APAC team will be run by Adam Scharer as CEO, who led the GraysOnline auction and appraisal business for many years, and Michael Hayes as COO, both having served for over 20 years at GraysOnline, a leading firm in the region for many years. 

Jeff Hecktman, CEO of Hilco Global said, “The new leadership team at Hilco Global APAC greatly expands our footprint throughout the Asia-Pacific region while building on our existing Hilco Valuation Services asset appraisal, Hilco Industrial machinery & equipment monetization and Hilco Merchant Resources retail inventory practices which have been serving the Australia and Southeast Asia region for many years.”

Hilco Global APAC is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with additional offices located in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, delivering immediate national reach.  The company will open additional offices in Perth before the end of the year and in both Indonesia and the Philippines after the first of the year.

Hilco Global APAC CEO Adam Scharer said the following: “We will be providing the entire Australasian region with a best-in-class commercial & industrial valuation practice and an online marketplace auction platform that will be second to none. Our mission is to connect customers with vendors of high quality, reliable assets and gain access to international markets, through an incredibly efficient valuation and sale process and the foremost expertise to maximize value.”

Hilco Global APAC will offer our clients a broad range of monetization solutions including consignment, guaranteed minimum sale price and access to capital for outright purchase of assets. 

The new Hilco Global APAC online marketplace, which is already live at, demonstrates the depth and breadth of our operation in the region and our extensive combined knowledge of assets and industries, including the following:  Earthmoving & Mining; Civil & Construction; Mining & Quarrying Fixed Plant; Transport & Logistics; Manufacturing & Production; Agriculture & Food; Auto, Marine & Aviation; Home & Consumer Products; Insurance & Salvage, and more.  Feel free to visit the new Hilco Global APAC online marketplace at and create an account.

Gary C. Epstein
Hilco Global
Executive Vice President – CMO
+1 847 418 2712

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Firmenich Signs UN Global Compact Action Platform for Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

GENEVA, Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — On Human Rights Day, Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned Perfume and Taste company, is proud to announce it is the first in its industry to sign the United Nations (UN) Global Compact Action Platform for Decent Work in Global Supply Chains. As one of the world’s 36 UN LEAD companies, Firmenich actively advances the UN Ten Principles, starting with respecting and promoting human rights across its operations worldwide, in accordance with its Human Rights Policy.

“Signing the UNGC commitment on Decent Work in Supply Chains is a natural step for us, as a key pillar of our inclusive capitalism business model”, said Boet Brinkgreve, Chief Supply Chain Officer. “Taking care of our people, planet and communities is in our DNA. That’s why responsible sourcing and securing decent work for all our partners is core to our business success”.

With this signature, Firmenich is formalizing its public commitment to Decent Work across its Global Supply Chains, based on its six pillars, cutting across Communication and Transparency to Collaboration and Accountability. It builds on Firmenich’s Human Rights Policy, Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and Social Accountability Standards, to ensure that all its colleagues and partners firmly adhere to its standards worldwide. These standards require full compliance with national laws, International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, as well as the UN’s guiding principles on Business and Human Rights.

For instance, Firmenich responsibly sources over 170 natural ingredient varieties across 40 countries, from vanilla in Madagascar to jasmin in India to create the most transparent and ethical taste and smell experiences. Today the Group positively impacts the lives of 250,000 smallholder farmers and their local communities around the world, as it invests in their sustainable livelihoods.

As a UN LEAD Company, Firmenich is recognized as an active champion and advocate of the UN Principles and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Putting people first, Firmenich became the seventh company worldwide this year, and the first in its industry, to be globally certified as a gender equal employer by EDGE, and received the Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Award 2019 for its exemplary leadership in Diversity and Inclusion. Advancing its ambitious sustainability goals, Firmenich was recognized as a global environmental leader this year, one of only two companies worldwide, out of more than 7000, to have achieved “triple As” with CDP, in Climate, Water and Forestry. One of 87 companies, committed to a zero carbon future by 2050, Firmenich currently operates with 100% renewable electricity in North America, Europe and Brazil, on its way to 100% worldwide by the end of 2020. Putting its innovation to work, Firmenich advances its inclusive capitalism business model, by addressing key societal challenges, from nutrition and sanitation. This year alone the group removed 1 trillion calories from a range of food and beverages products. 

About Firmenich

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895. Driven by its purpose to create positive emotions to enhance wellbeing, naturally, Firmenich has designed many of the world’s best-known perfumes and tastes, bringing delight to over four billion consumers every day. Renowned for its world-class research and creativity, as well as its leadership in sustainability, each year, Firmenich invests 10% of its turnover in R&D to understand and share the best that nature has to offer responsibly. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.9 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2019. More information about Firmenich is available at



China Rapid Finance will Announce 2019 Nine Months Unaudited Financial Results on December 16, 2019

SHANGHAI, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE: XRF) (“XRF” or “the Company”), one of China’s leading fintech companies, today announced that it will announce its unaudited financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 on December 16, 2019, which will bring the company filing status to current.

Conference Call

XRF’s management will host an investor conference call on December 16, 2019 at 8:00 am, the U.S. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 pm on December 16, Beijing Time), the management will discuss the 9-month financial results, and our strategy, projects, and the business outlook.

The dial-in details for the conference call will be distributed in the announcement on December 16, 2019.

About China Rapid Finance

China Rapid Finance (NYSE: XRF) is a leading fintech company that offers award-winning decisioning technology and marketing services that addresses China’s growing consumer credit market. The Company utilizes its proprietary technology and 18 years of experience to provide its services. The Company is establishing partnerships and is currently developing strategic alternatives and new businesses in financial technology, marketing services and portfolio management. For more information, please visit  

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “aims,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “likely to” and similar statements. The Company may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its reports filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in its annual reports to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to the following: the Company’s ability to regain compliance with NYSE continued listing standards, unexpected difficulties in the Company’s pursuit of its goals and strategies; the unexpected developments, including slow growth, in the consumer lending market; reduced demand for, and market acceptance of, the Company’s products and services; difficulties keeping and strengthening relationships with borrowers or investors; difficulties of expanding data and channel partnerships, potentially costly servicing activities; competition in the consumer lending market; PRC governmental regulations and policies; and general economic and business conditions in the regions where the Company provides products and services. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in the Company’s reports filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information provided in this announcement and in the attachments is as of the date of this announcement, and the Company undertakes no duty to update such information except as required under applicable law.

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NWS' Chief Executive Officer Eric Ma (middle), Executive Director Brian Cheng (second from left), Executive Director Gilbert Ho (first from left), FTLife's Vice-Chairman Fang Lin (third from right), Chief Executive Officer Gerard Yang (first from right), together with Dr. Moses Cheng (third from left), Chairman of the Insurance Authority, and Carol Hui (second from right), Executive Director (Long Term Business) of the Insurance Authority, presided over the opening ceremony of launch event.

Grand ceremony to celebrate FTLife joining New World Group

HONG KONG, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — FTLife “Soar and Beyond” Celebration Event was held today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to celebrate the Company joining NWS Holdings Limited (“NWS”) and becoming a member of New World Group in November 2019. More than 3,000 guests, executives, strategic partners, agents and staff attended the ceremony to share this commemorative moment of marking a new milestone for FTLife.

NWS' Chief Executive Officer Eric Ma (middle), Executive Director Brian Cheng (second from left), Executive Director Gilbert Ho (first from left), FTLife's Vice-Chairman Fang Lin (third from right), Chief Executive Officer Gerard Yang (first from right), together with Dr. Moses Cheng (third from left), Chairman of the Insurance Authority, and Carol Hui (second from right), Executive Director (Long Term Business) of the Insurance Authority, presided over the opening ceremony of launch event.

NWS’ Chief Executive Officer Eric Ma (middle), Executive Director Brian Cheng (second from left), Executive Director Gilbert Ho (first from left), FTLife’s Vice-Chairman Fang Lin (third from right), Chief Executive Officer Gerard Yang (first from right), together with Dr. Moses Cheng (third from left), Chairman of the Insurance Authority, and Carol Hui (second from right), Executive Director (Long Term Business) of the Insurance Authority, presided over the opening ceremony of launch event.

FTLife is honoured to invite Dr. Moses Cheng, Chairman of the Insurance Authority, and Carol Hui, Executive Director (Long Term Business) of the Insurance Authority to officiate at the event, alongside with Eric Ma, Chief Executive Officer of NWS, Brian Cheng, Executive Director of NWS, Gilbert Ho, Executive Director of NWS, Fang Lin, Vice-Chairman of FTLife, and Gerard Yang, Chief Executive Officer of FTLife, to preside over the opening ceremony of the launch event. 

Dr. Adrian Cheng, Executive Vice-Chairman and General Manager of New World Development Company Limited, Executive Director of NWS and Chairman of FTLife expressed that he would look forward to FTLife together with other members of the New World Group exploring new horizons and opportunities with artisan spirit and passion: “FTLife is a perfect supplement to New World Group’s customer-centric ecosystem underpinned by quality products and services. In the ecosystem, our brands, with their own strong brand equity, can integrate and complement each other to serve customers in different stages and aspects of life, creating sustainable value for all stakeholders.”

Eric Ma, Chief Executive Officer of NWS, said that upon FTLife joining NWS, NWS would have four core businesses — roads, aviation, construction and insurance. He believes that the insurance business will create strong growth momentum for NWS: “We will strive to have FTLife team up with the unique products and businesses of New World Group to provide customers with innovative product solutions and enhanced customer experience. With these synergies and riding on the expanding footprint of New World Group in the Greater Bay Area, we are well positioned to achieve substantial growth in the insurance market.” 

In addition, Fang Lin, Vice-Chairman of FTLife, expressed his special thanks to the regulatory authority for its strong support for the Company in its development, as well as the management, staff and sales channels of the Company for their diligent efforts and outstanding contributions. He stressed: “FTLife is committed to creating long term values and growth, and pursuing excellence in product development , technological innovation, customer service and talent development. These strategies give infinite momentum to FTLife. We will continue to contribute sustained value to our customers, employees, shareholders and the society!”

About FTLife Insurance Company Limited

FTLife Insurance Company Limited (“FTLife”) is one of Hong Kong’s most well-established life insurance companies and a wholly-owned subsidiary of NWS Holdings Limited. Capitalising on a heritage of professionalism and excellence in serving clients, FTLife seeks to become a leading insurance group in Asia. It serves individual and institutional clients from a diverse portfolio of financial protection and wealth management products. FTLife aims to excel by cultivating lasting relationships and dedicates itself to providing clients with best-of-breed financial services to help them lead fulfilling lives.

About NWS Holdings Limited

NWS Holdings Limited (Hong Kong Stock Code: 659), as the diversified industries flagship of New World Development Company Limited (Hong Kong Stock Code: 17), invests and operates a wide range of businesses predominantly in Hong Kong and across Greater China. The Group’s core businesses include toll roads, commercial aircraft leasing, construction and insurance, while it also manages a strategic portfolio spanning sectors from environment, logistics, facilities management to transport.

About New World Development

Founded in 1970, New World Development Company Limited (“The Group”, Hong Kong stock code: 00017) was publicly listed in Hong Kong in 1972 and is a constituent stock of the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index. A premium brand infused with a unique personality best defined by The Artisanal Movement, New World Group’s core business areas include property development, property investment, roads, aviation and construction. Its operations in Greater China, especially the Greater Bay Area, had a total asset value of approximately HK$503.3 billion as at 30 June 2019. The Group’s two listed companies are NWS Holdings Limited (61%), and New World Department Store China Limited (75%). New World China Land Limited is wholly owned by the Group.

Media inquiries 

FTLife Insurance Company Limited
Branding, Marketing & Communication
Tel : 2591 8414  
Email :

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Arjun Raghavan Selected to Succeed Stan Miranda as Partners Capital CEO

Partners Capital Investment Group LLP, the $27 billion global outsourced investment office, announces its 12-month succession plan, with Arjun Raghavan taking over as CEO and Stan Miranda becoming Chairman by the end of 2020.

LONDON, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Over the course of 2020, Stan Miranda, the Founder and CEO of Partners Capital, the leading international outsourced investment office, will be transitioning his CEO responsibilities to Arjun Raghavan, currently Head of Asia. Stan will become the Chairman of Partners Capital and will remain a full-time executive, retaining his current client responsibilities while supporting Arjun and the other 13 partners on the ongoing development of the firm’s global business and investment strategy. Stan will focus on driving the firm’s key strategic initiatives including business development on the US West Coast, following the recent San Francisco office opening. Stan will continue to operate from London as his main base and continue his travel commitments to the seven Partners Capital’s offices around the globe.

Arjun Raghavan to become Partners Capital CEO by end of 2020.

Arjun Raghavan to become Partners Capital CEO by end of 2020.

Arjun Raghavan joined Partners Capital in the London office in 2007 from a Goldman Sachs hedge fund spin-out and was promoted to Partner within three years of joining. Arjun has played a critical role in evolving Partners Capital’s investment strategy, known as the Partners Capital Risk Management Endowment-Approach (PRMEA), as well as in founding and managing the firm’s $3 billion asset under management flagship multi-asset class vehicle, The Master Portfolio. In 2013, Arjun relocated to Hong Kong, and subsequently to Singapore, to build the Asian business while carrying on with his global investment responsibilities.

The succession plan was announced by Stan Miranda to the firm’s 180 global team members, assembled in London for its annual company meeting on Friday. In the announcement, Stan emphasized that “Arjun’s success in business building in Asia, along with his investment thought leadership, has instilled high levels of confidence across the firm for Arjun to take on my role as CEO”.

Arjun will split his time in 2020 between London and Singapore with his family joining him in London in 2021. Through the course of next year, Arjun will continue to work with his Asian clients, and focus on strengthening the regional senior team led by Adam Watson in Singapore. Asia remains a strategically important pillar for Partners Capital, and Arjun and Adam will continue to drive new strategic investment initiatives across the Asian region. As CEO, Arjun’s most important global role will be to strengthen the firm’s investment capabilities working closely with the Partners Capital CIO, Colin Pan, in the areas having the most direct impact on investment performance. 

Stan’s co-founder, Paul Dimitruk, will retain his responsibilities as a full-time senior partner focused on serving his North American clients and guiding the burgeoning business development effort across North America. In addition, Paul will assist Arjun in mentoring the Asian leadership team and support strategic business development across the Asian region.

In their recent communication to their 400 plus clients around the world, Stan highlighted that “the most successful leadership transitions are supported by a culture of mutual respect and support with the full executive team consistently driving the company forward as the new leader beds down in the new role. I have benefitted from that support my entire career here and Arjun will no doubt have the same partners and colleagues standing with him”.

Current Chairman and co-founder Paul Dimitruk also spoke to the global team last Friday in London on the succession plan, stating “Arjun stands out as someone all of the Partners trust and respect completely. Arjun has the intellectual capacity and energy to lead the company into the next generation of the firm’s development. I have no doubt that under Arjun’s leadership we will continue to strengthen our ability to deliver the highest levels of investment outperformance to our clients for the long term”.   

About Partners Capital

Founded in 2001, Partners Capital is a wholly independent Outsourced Investment Office (OCIO) primarily serving sophisticated institutions and senior investment professionals in Europe, North America and Asia. With offices in Boston, New York, London, San Francisco, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong, the firm is one of the few truly global OCIOs, employing 180 people worldwide and covering all major asset classes. The firm oversees assets of $27 billion. Its institutional clients include Oxford and Cambridge Colleges, Eton College, INSEAD Business School, the Research Foundation for the State University of New York, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Royal Academy of Arts, Milton Academy, the Hong Kong Cancer Fund and the Cancer Research Institute. Additional information on Partners Capital may be found at

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Saudi Arabia Announces 2020 Budget: Delivering Efficiently and Powering Private Sector Growth

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The 2020 budget indicates total expenditures of SAR 1,020 billion, and SAR 833 billion of projected revenues. The 2020 budget deficit is projected to amount SAR 187 billion (6.4% of GDP). For FY 2019, it is expected that the actual expenditures will reach SAR 1,048 billion and total actual revenues are expected to reach SAR 917 billion. The deficit is expected to amount to SAR 131 billion (4.7% of estimated 2019 GDP).

2019 saw the country improving its business environment, as recognized in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2020 where the Kingdom was the top reformer globally and moved 30 places up to 62nd. 62% of the three hundred planned reforms in this area were completed, including a new government tenders and procurement law, new commercial courts, a new competition law and planned public private partnership laws.

The 2020 Annual Budget is focused on Vision 2030 projects, continued private sector stimulus, mega project implementation and Vision Realization Programs. This will result in greatly improved efficiency and effectiveness, with many large CAPEX infrastructure projects ending and public private partnership projects increasing, reducing demands on government spending.

The government will continue to enhance the efficiency of expenditure, both for operational and capital expenditure. These efforts seek to increase the quality of public services, and their economic and social returns throughout the medium term. The budget continues its focus on the education and health sectors. The budget allocation for the health sector reaches SAR 167 billion, whereas SAR 193 billion is allocated for the education sector, amounting to a combined 35% of the approved total spending.

His Excellency Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance, said: “The budget demonstrates the government’s keenness to enhance and sustain economic growth while ensuring fiscal sustainability. We have adopted economic policies that target the growth of non-oil GDP, improving the quality of services provided to our citizens, and raising the efficiency and effectiveness of government spending, especially social spending. Simultaneously, the government continues its steadfast commitment to empowering the private sector’s role in the economy, job creation and diversification of investment under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.”

His Excellency also noted that the 2020 Budget Statement shows notable growth in various economic sectors during 2019, including a growth rate in private non-oil GDP of 3.4% during the second quarter of the year. He also emphasized that the government will continue the implementation of its strategic objectives, aimed at economic diversification, by establishing a suitable environment for investment in promising sectors while providing a stable economic framework.

The medium-term revision of real GDP growth rate projections has indicated real GDP growth of 2.3% in 2020. Growth is expected to continue at the same pace over the medium term.

His Excellency reiterated that the twenty-two private sector support initiatives targeting strategic sectors are bearing fruit in second quarter sector growth numbers. The sector of wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels grew by 5.8%. The sector of transportation, storage and communications, which includes logistics and technical services, recorded a growth rate of 6.4%. In the sector of financial services, insurance and real estate, the growth rate was 5.4%.  The sector of community, social & personal services sector including entertainment & sport, recorded growth of 7.4%. In addition, the construction sector has recorded a growth rate of 4.9%.

His Excellency concluded that the budget statement reflects the government’s efforts to reinforce transparency and improve efficiency in expenditure and fiscal performance while simultaneously focusing on the construction and delivery of the budget to achieve Vision 2030 goals.

Trustco Embraces South African Opportunity

WINDHOEK, Namibia, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — TRUSTCO is once again expanding its investment portfolio by offering to acquire all the shares and claims held by Constantia Risk and Insurance Holdings and Conduit Ventures for ZAR 2 000 004 232 (Two Billion Rand), making it one of the biggest cross-border acquisitions by a Namibia company in recent years.

Trustco Group Holdings (TGH), through its subsidiary Legal Shield Holdings (LSH), planned to expand its insurance business regionally, which will now be achieved through this transaction. Significant synergies exist between the two entities – Constantia services traditional insurance markets in South Africa while LSH services the micro insurance market in Namibia.

As such, numerous opportunities exist for the newly combined entity to consolidate their respective skillsets and create cross selling opportunities. Furthermore, the strength of the LSH balance sheet will enable new growth prospects for Constantia. Both entities have attractive business models and high growth potential, and it is envisioned that as a collective they can create even more substantial sustainable value.

The Managing Director of TGH, Dr Quinton van Rooyen, described the transaction as a huge vote of confidence in the capabilities of Namibian businesses, even in a challenging economic climate. With the economies of both South Africa and Namibia in a perceived state of paralysis, austerity seems to be the preferred political choice of growth, but Dr Van Rooyen remains convinced that austerity does not equal or ensure prosperity.

“Only by going on the investment offensive — especially in the face of economic adversity – will sustainable growth be ignited, and wealth creation secured in such a way that it will trickle throughout all layers of society.”

Dr Van Rooyen said, “It is a reminder that Namibians will have to work their way out of challenges and that having the best policies will not be enough. The best policies must be implemented and pursued vigorously if we are to improve services and enable wealth creation for all. Only then will we have the sustainable development that feeds the various economic streams and needs of the people, both in Namibia and South Africa.”

LSH is the flagship Trustco subsidiary, with Trustco Resources flexing its muscles with diamond assets in Sierra Leone and Namibia. LSH is a diversified financial services provider in Namibia with a client base of more than 280,000 members. Its clients consists of individuals and small businesses.

LSH currently holds both a short and long-term insurance licence, and a commercial banking license is held by the banking segment within TGH. LSH recently applied to the Bank of Namibia to acquire the banking segment of Trustco, after which it will be able to provide a full spectrum of services across the financial services value chain in Namibia. It is also the owner of over 4,000 hectares of high-quality real estate assets in Namibia.

The LSH Investments portfolio consist of among others the distance education unit, the well-known Institute for Open Learning (IOL) as well as several high-profile property developments, namely Lafrenz, Farm Herboths and Elisenheim, in and surrounding areas strategically located in the economic heartland of Namibia’s capital, Windhoek.

Constantia offers a range of niche insurance and risk management solutions in South Africa, covering areas such as medical malpractice cover, primary health insurance and medical gap cover products, funeral and life insurance, guarantee and indemnity solutions, medical evacuation insurance and niche motor and property lines. It operates both in the short term and long term insurance markets and has access to substantial growth opportunities if capital is made available.

At the end of its last reporting period, Constantia held assets of ZAR 2.1 billion, Capital and Reserves of ZAR 699 million, recorded Revenues of ZAR 2.1 billion and a Loss after Tax of ZAR 582 million.

Conduit Ventures owns a number of subsidiaries that offers insurance adjacent services to Constantia, as well as other insurers. These services include software solutions, risk management solutions and claims related services.

At the end of its last reporting period, LSH (including the proposed Banking and Finance segment acquisition) held assets of NAD 5.8 billion, Capital and Reserves of NAD 2.1 billion, recorded Revenues of NAD 1.5 billion and Profit after Tax of NAD 900 million. 

Incorporated in the Republic of Namibia 
(Registration number 2003/058) 
NSX Share Code: TUC 
JSE Share Code: TTO 
OTCQX share code: TSCHY
ISIN Number: NA000A0RF067 (“the Company” or “Trustco”


The Geneva Association Launches New Women in Insurance Award

First international award to celebrate women executives in insurance whose work positively impacts society.

Distinguished selection committee includes Brian Duperreault, President and CEO, AIG; Inga Beale, former CEO, Lloyd’s of London; and Lucie Martel, Head of Human Resources, Intact Financial.

Winner to be honoured at 2020 Geneva Association General Assembly in New York City.

ZURICH, Dec. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Geneva Association is launching the Geneva Association Women in Insurance Award, the first global award of its kind, to call attention to the most impactful initiatives implemented by senior-level women in the re/insurance industry. Each year the Award will celebrate a woman’s contribution to advancing the industry’s response to the greatest risks to society, from climate-related events and inadequate health cover to protecting people by leveraging innovation, to name a few.

Spotlight on the future

The Geneva Association Women in Insurance Award puts the focus on executive-level women – still underrepresented in re/insurance companies – who have implemented programs and initiatives designed to help the industry fulfil its core mission. Brian Duperreault, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIG and a member of the selection committee, said: “Ultimately, the role of the insurance industry is to provide individuals, businesses and communities the tools and expertise they need to confidently address the risks they face. As we continue to push for greater diversity within our industry, it is imperative that we recognize the women leaders who are already taking the industry forward in a major way.”

Rigorous award selection

The winner will be chosen by a prestigious jury and honoured at the 2020 Geneva Association General Assembly, to be held in New York City. The Award complements and enriches The Geneva Association’s existing academic prizes. Geneva Association Managing Director Jad Ariss, said: “For over 40 years, The Geneva Association’s awards have highlighted the excellent academic work being done to further the knowledge base of the industry. The Geneva Association Women in Insurance Award will allow us to recognize and honour women who are effecting positive change for the industry and for society.”

Nominations are now being accepted via The Geneva Association’s website. All submissions must be received by 28 February 2020, and the winner will be announced in early April 2020.

For more information contact Pamela Corn, Director of Communications, at +41-44-200-49-96 or

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Control Risks Releases Top 5 Risks for Business in 2020

In 2020, fractious geopolitics, activism and cyber warfare meet economic anxiety and world leaders who can’t see further than the next crisis. Businesses will need courage and self-reliance, says Control Risks.

LONDON, Dec. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Fractious geopolitics in a US election year, a rising tide of global activism and a new level of cyber warfare are among the Top 5 risks for business in 2020, published today by Control Risks, the specialist global risk consultancy.

Charged with managing this perilous outlook is a crop of political leaders without strategies, who can’t see further than the next crisis.

Businesses will need every ounce of courage, self-reliance and resilience to cope. The pace of events will be in the hands of twitchy protagonists. Business leaders must find strategies for an intensely tactical world.

“Global trends are now more set against the interests of international businesses than they have been for many years,” comments Control Risks CEO, Nick Allan.

“Populism, activism, protectionism, sanctions and political disruption remain the canvas on to which business tries to build global markets and supply chains. It has not been easy in 2019 and it’s going to get harder next year,” Allan adds.

The global Top 5 Risks for Business in 2020

The Top 5 risks are released as part of Control Risks’ annual RiskMap report, a global risk forecast for business leaders and policy makers across the world, published today.

  1. Geopolitics and the US campaign trail
    The US election campaign will have a palpable impact on geopolitics in 2020. The drama of the campaign trail combined with the disruption of the impeachment process will reverberate through America’s global actions. Will stunt diplomacy try to distract from impeachment? Would a deal with China help or hurt President Trump’s pitch to post-industrial workers? Will North Korea, Iran, and even Islamic State try to exploit the election cycle? How allies and adversaries hedge against the most ideological election in 40 years will heavily influence the geopolitical risk landscape for business in 2020.
  2. The activist society passes judgement
    Across the world, social pressures and coordinated activism around issues like environmental protection, political and human rights, inequality and privacy are demanding more and more from business. In the street, in shareholder meetings and in your company, the activist society will bang ever harder on the boardroom table in 2020. For companies, paralysis looms as myriad movements make demands that are increasingly loud and challenging. This uncodified morass of social, moral and political accountability will consume any company caught unawares. Conversely, companies that get this right will be embraced. Being ethical is not enough. Being compliant is not enough. Know what to stay ahead of in 2020.
  3. Cyber warfare hits a new level
    Cyber threats in 2020 will align as never before to provoke a high impact, cyber-enabled assault on critical infrastructure. Western deterrence has failed to stem the tide and hostile actors are using ever harder methods. The US will retaliate in ways that show the world it cares. In theatres of strategic conflict, unpalatable military measures will give way to cyber-attacks. And so will begin a new cycle of escalation: the west’s cyber-capable rivals and their proxies will raise their game, with unpredictable consequences. If leading companies are attaining credible cyber resilience, national infrastructures across the globe are not and present the main vulnerability in the international cyber conflict.
  4. Economic anxiety meets political fragility
    Even the most optimistic forecasts say global economic growth in 2020 will be dismally low or, as our partners at Oxford Economics put it, “grinding”. This, before any account of an economic shock that could shake an uneasy global economy. If global GDP takes a turn for the worse, we cannot expect a fragmented world to craft a coordinated policy response. Will countries riven by polarisation rally in the face of economic hardship? And what of economies dependent on resource riches, or those which still haven’t fully recovered from 2008? In the event of a downturn – or even in the best of cases – which countries will survive, and which will go to the wall? Take a global tour of economic anxiety and political fragility.
  5. Leaders without strategies
    At the helm of some of the world’s most important countries is a crop of leaders who can’t see further than the next crisis. For them, tactics will trump strategy. 2020 is shaping up to be a year when the brakes on incident escalation are absent. This is a world where resilience at the state level is weak, and long-term solutions take too much time to find. Whether it’s a global trade war, a cyber attack or a regional border skirmish, the pace of events is in the hand of twitchy, anxious protagonists. Business will need a strategy for an intensely tactical world.

The RiskMap 2020 website will be live from Monday, 9 December 2019. The world map with countries’ political and security risk forecasts will be available to download here: 

For broadcast interviews:

Control Risks is equipped with an in-house Globelynx studio for live or pre-recorded broadcast interviews. To arrange an interview with one of our London-based experts, please contact 

Note to Editors:

About Control Risks

Control Risks is a specialist global risk consultancy that helps to create secure, compliant and resilient organisations in an age of ever-changing risk. Working across disciplines, technologies and geographies, everything we do is based on our belief that taking risks is essential to our clients’ success. We provide our clients with the insight to focus resources and ensure they are prepared to resolve the issues and crises that occur in any ambitious global organisation. We go beyond problem-solving and provide the insight and intelligence needed to realise opportunities and grow.

For further information please contact:

Caspar Leighton
Global Content Director         
+44 (0)7712 391 228

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