At this time of year, everyone in accounting, investments, and securities departments who have to close out the end of the month, quarter, and year dread the long days and weekend work. It is a time of high stress for these employees—the pressure is so high, and the fear of making or finding a mistake and of not making the year-end numbers has everyone burned out before the New Year even gets started. I know and understand firsthand because I live with one of these people and have several of them who are great friends. What I also understand even better, again with firsthand knowledge, is that working in these roles within the insurance industry is even worse than in other industries.
I just returned from the 2019 NRF (National Retail Federation) conference in New York. It’s a gathering of about 38,000 people at the Javits center, and if you’re at all interested in the things that make retail work, it’s where you need to be in January. Every type of business that supports retail is present and in force. Here are some of my observations from my few days in retail land:
New mobility options, such as on-demand scooters and bicycle-sharing operations, are popping up in cities all over the world. As these types of mobility options proliferate and use grows, accidents and injuries are sure to follow, resulting in property damage and liability claims. Unfortunately, the existing marketplace for this type of situation is murky at best.
Will your existing auto insurance cover you if you are using a bike-sharing program for 30 minutes? What about when you rent an electric scooter and use it on sidewalks? What if you do not have auto insurance or own a vehicle? Who is responsible for providing insurance, and how do you protect yourself?
Anyone who has seen me on a panel about technology talent or innovation (or even seen me sitting in the audience when there’s a mic nearby) will know I have strong views on how and where the capital markets (and other areas of the financial services industry, I’m sure) are going wrong in trying to attract and retain tech staff. This is not about offering individuals the ability to wear a pair of jeans to work—a shift in mindset and even policy is required.
As the sun rises on 2019, it will also be shining on a new equities exchange application. The launch of Members Exchange (MEMX), founded by a consortium of nine financial services firms, was announced this week, and according to the press release, it will apply for U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval in early 2019. Given the IEX exchange application approval and the public fights between the incumbent exchanges and their members, the introduction of a new exchange application should be no surprise. There are already 13 exchanges and over 45 equity alternative trading systems (ATSs) operating in the U.S.; MEMX will make number 14.