Well today is the last day of my notice period at RBS, and I am officially self-employed from tomorrow. I have been doing some dry runs on my flagship report – Amplifying Global FX, or AmpGFX for short – in the last couple of days, trying to get back into the swing of a regular market commentary. Hopefully my nervous energy will fuel the intensity and quality of my reports.
Part of this new world involves marketing my reports rather than leaving it up to a large bank sales team. This is exciting, as I am forced to think more about how to get traction in the market. But the most important thing has not changed; that is to keep up the quality, provide opinion and differentiate from the crowd. These have always been the keys to maintain a connection with the audience and something that I strive for when writing reports.
I am looking on the next year as a development year for my business, learning about how to work outside of the cozy environment of a bank, relying much more on my own analysis, and getting to know more about the value proposition to potential customers. I expect there to be a lot of trial and error.
Over the next few months there will be disruption as we move house to Breckenridge, Colorado. So I expect consistency to be a bit hit and miss for a while. For the next month or so I will be working in Singapore. Hopefully my wife will take on much of the logistics with moving the family to a new country (please Gabbi?!).
In early December we head back to Australia to spend time with our families and old friends before breaking their hearts and moving even further away. But of course the upside is that they can come visit us in future to go skiing and enjoy a white Christmas, or experience a magnificent mountain summer, golfing, rafting, fishing, biking and hiking.
On 30 December, we land in Breckenridge and I will be in the unusual place of analyzing markets from the US timezone - Mountain Time. I can see potential advantages to being able to prepare a report during the US afternoon, ready for the market open in Asia. I am hoping that this will give me more time to create a quality report that is timely for its audience. I hope to be able to work around family time and shift my hours towards the evening, overlapping some of the Asia Pacific trading day.
As you know, I have put no subscription fee on my flagship report, AmpGFX, and I expect that to be the case for some time. Overall I view the first year of operation as developing an effective and consistent product, and I hope to be in a better place to understand what direction I should take my business after that. But one thing that seems pretty clear is that the value of my product will be apparent in the number of readers of my research.
I am hoping that readership develops momentum from word of mouth. So if you like my reports, please do not keep this to yourself. Spread the word. And the easiest way is to simply forward my emails to your network of colleagues, customers and friends.
I have noticed that a lot of you that have registered on my website, have done so with your personal email addresses. This is great, I am glad that you are registering with which ever email you prefer. But there is no reason why you should not use your work email address if that is where you will be when these reports are released. The content is intended to be all business from an independent research firm, there should be no compliance problems.
There should be no problem forwarding my AmpGFX emails to your network. The research will be publicly available from an independent firm, so there can be no implication of collusion or manipulation. Furthermore, my emails will not have the full content of my reports, only a link to my website, from which the recipient of any email must hit the link to read the reports. The link will take you directly to the report (after you have logged in once and hit ‘remember me’). New users will be asked to register, and once they do, in future they will get their own email alert.
As such, even if you forward my email to your contacts, the content is limited and the recipient must take action and decide if they wish to register and log-in to read the report. This should further allay concerns that you are re-producing or infringing copyright.
In many respects, the AmpGFX report may service as a branding exercise for my business down the road. It is quite possible that I continue to have free content like this report, or content at a low subscription fee, if the report gains significant traction in the market. So if you like this report, then you give it the best chance of living on in free-form if you simply pass the word.
You can see from my website that I have placed some thought into how I can make revenue from my research business in the “premium services” page. I have decided to keep my “Real Time Analysis” section for a subscription service from the outset, offer more direct contact to a small number of potential customers, and consult on one-off projects or presentations.
“Real Time Analysis” will be the next phase of my business, after I get AmpGFX rolling. I will aim for it to offer specific and actionable ideas, detailed insight into my own trading strategy, more timely analysis of specific developments and more detail on my analysis that might appear in the AmpGFX reports. The intention is that this will be a fairly expensive product aimed at a professional audience priced in the thousands per year. Of course please contact me if and when you think this kind of service appeals to you. Early adaptors are likely to get this service more cheaply. As demand rises, so will my fee as I aim for a fairly exclusive product with limited and manageable numbers that I can interact with.
In my dry run for the AmpGFX report, I am toying with the idea of adding a bit more structure to the reports than readers of its predecessor I established at RBS may recall, so look out for some summary and quick analysis in new sections called “In the news”, “What they said”, “Economic news”, “On the Radar”, “Later this week”, “Further out”, and “Markets on the move”.
Now I need to go and figure out what I think will happen over contentious policy decisions at the Fed, RBA and RBNZ. The odds of an RBA rate cut have jumped after Westpac announced an independent rise in its standard variable mortgage rate from 20 Nov. But perversely the recent economic data in Australia are looking better, making it less likely that the RBA will be immediately goaded into a cut. Did you see that the employment component of the NAB business survey released yesterday rose from -1 to +4.5 in Sep, a high since Jun-2011? Does this mean the labour data, including the report tomorrow will be strengthening?
The market was overawed by the Chinese imports data, but that data was not weaker, it was all about price. Iron ore import volume growth remains flat on a steady trend, oil and soybean volume growth has been rising. Perhaps the Chinese activity data released next week will show incremental improvement. Service sector activity was reported to be strong over the holiday period last week in China. The news has not been as bad as advertised recently.
And in the US, a second Fed Governor said he prefers hikes to wait until next year, pushing out US rate hike expectations. But weekly mortgage approvals shot up last week, weekly jobless claims are on their cyclical and long term lows, and the small business confidence survey out last night showed the highest net percentage of firms planning to raise wages since 2007.
In New Zealand, RBNZ Governor Wheeler repeated that rate cuts were likely, but the New Zealand housing market data was stonkingly strong released on Monday.
There is plenty of conundrums to solve in this market, creating trading opportunities. Get ready for AmpGFX Mark II with new accessories, but no air-bags.
Director and founder of Amplifying Global FX Capital
+65 9238 0264