Jackson Hole Symposium


Jackson Hole, Wyoming

From 25-27 August, Kansas City Federal Reserve hosts the biggest US monetary policy event of the calendar in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Since 1978, the world’s most influential central and commercial bankers, finance ministers and economic academics have packed their suntan lotion and gathered round the BBQ to chew the fat about economic issues, implications, and policy options connected to the biggest economic policy question of the year in the world’s biggest economy.

This year that question is “Designing Resilient Monetary Policy Frameworks for the Future.” What this means to you and me is that they will mull over whether or not the current system and the beliefs that underpin it work and if they don’t, what it could be replaced with. This is the finance world’s version of Olympics with a touch of naval-gazing thrown in – are we the best at what we do? if we are not, how should we change? and, how can we keep on top?

Speculation is rampant among financial pundits. With the next Fed policy statement due on Sept 14th, traders will be agog to see if a rate hike is on the cards or even a complete overhaul of monetary policy. San Fran’s Fed president, John Williams, has called for an increase in inflation targets while other Fed presidents have called for caution. The contradictory statements coming out of the Fed in recent days has left traders bewildered and frustrated. So it’s clear something has to change. A failure to increase rates will be seen as an admission that current policies are failing and could send markets plunging though maybe more like John Smith and less like Chen Aisen.

Improved household spending and last week’s better than forecast employment figures could give Yellen reason to hint at a rate rise on the 14th and a wide range of media pundits support this view though the Federal Funds futures doesn’t agree with only an 18% probability rate rise priced in.

Across the media there is a sense that there are two routes ahead – either a rate hike in response to improved conditions, or a major rethink on monetary policy if that’s not seen as a good enough indicator of improved economic health. The Fed’s own San Fran president John Williams has stated he wants to see a revised inflation target.

With attendees from major financial institutions across the globe, traders will be paying close attention to news updates from the Symposium across all three days. Expect lots of movement on USD FX pairs as well as the USD index and other US-based market indexes across the week. If you’re busy elsewhere then cancel during Yellen’s speech on Friday as well as first thing on Monday 29th as there will probably be a reaction when markets open.

There are certainly plenty of bears around Jackson Hole so let’s see if the markets go the same way when they hear what the world’s finance bigwigs have to say.

jackson hole bears

A Jackson Hole bear








Press Release: Nous raises £500,000 (US$750,000) for ultra-low risk trading

Tuesday 15 December 2015, London, UK. For immediate release

Nous beats expectations, raises £500,000 (US$750,000) from Angels and crowdfunding, to bring an ultra-low-risk trading service to millions of customers around the world.

London-based start-up Nous Global Markets today announced it has completed a successful round of funding that exceeded the initial target.

The company, which was created to educate people about the enjoyment and the challenges of financial markets, originally aimed to raise £350,000 but quickly reached that target and chose to halt over-funding at £500,000. The money was raised from a combination of Angel investors, Venture Capital and crowd-funding.

The investment is an important validation both of Nous’s traction since going live in 2014, having reached over 300,000 users at very low cost, and of their future plans. Nous will use the funds to release a revolutionary new trading application designed specifically for individuals that are excluded by current products.

Nous’ first round of funding was raised from private investors, predominantly senior finance and technology professionals at global investment banks. This second round brought crowd-funded investment via Syndicate Room‘s platform; as well as strategic investors such as Tantalus Capital, and K.V. Rao, CEO of California-based predictive analytics firm Aviso.

Justin Short, CEO of Nous, says:

“With the great success of our Spark Profit application we realised that there were millions of people with discretionary capital and the desire to trade in financial markets, but no way for them to do that economically. We will put the world’s most consumer-friendly trading system into their pockets: low-cost; ultra low-risk; and with up to 20x returns.”

Nous Global Markets was founded in September 2012 by Justin Short and four other former Merrill Lynch traders and technologists. Originally based in Tokyo it has since relocated to London and has received EIS Advance Assurance.

In January 2014, Short and his colleagues launched their free-to-play virtual trading game — ‘Spark Profit’ — which enables players to predict financial market movements with no risk, in return for cash prizes. Spark Profit’s uniquely visual, beginner-friendly interface and weekly cash rewards have already attracted over 300,000 users in 200 separate countries.

At the beginning of 2015, while learning more about their customers’ needs, they found that 95% of regular players wanted to trade their own money, preferably inside Spark Profit itself. A thorough review of the competition showed that there was indeed a very large opportunity to create a simple, low-risk way for people to trade — which would be a natural progression of the existing app and a validation of Nous’ “profit together” ethos. The new trading application will feature a unique combination of consumer-friendly features unavailable elsewhere. It is due for soft-launch in Q1 2016.


Justin Short / CEO, Nous Global Markets / +44 207 117 2942 /[email protected]

About Nous

Nous, positioned at the intersection of Finance, Gaming and Education, was founded in 2012 by Justin Short and four other highly experienced traders and technologists. They saw an opportunity to empower people around the world to discover their own talents and benefit from access to global opportunities, via their smartphones. Nous launched Spark Profit, the free-to-play virtual trading game, in January 2014.


Nous on TV: IntelligentCrowd.tv live interview with Justin Short

Yesterday evening our CEO was interviewed live on IntelligentCrowd.tv, to find out more about our plans to build the world’s most safe, simple and rewarding app for trading financial markets.

You’ll need to create an account to watch the video, due to regulatory restrictions. Check it out at the link below:


Getting paid in the UK? Great news!

If you pay UK income tax, you probably didn’t realise that there is a much better use for your hard-earned money than lining the tax-man’s pockets. EIS is a government scheme designed to encourage investment into high-growth startups, by removing a whole lot of the risk from investing and also by adding extra returns on top. That means you have an unbeatable risk/reward combination that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world – and it certainly beats paying tax!

First Off: 30%

Let us quickly show you the benefits in a worked example, using a worst-case / best-case comparison. Suppose you are planning to invest £10,000 in a company with EIS Advance Assurance. The first bit of good news is that you can immediately take 30% of the investment value (£3,000) off your income tax, either for the current tax year or the previous one. So really you have just paid £7,000 for £10,000 of shares. Very nice work!

Worst case: Losses Under Half

Suppose things don’t go to plan and a year later the company goes out of business. Those shares are worth nothing now… except that you can actually claim the additionally lost value against your income. Since you’ve already claimed 30% this means you can claim the remaining 70% against your income. Assuming you’re paying the 40% tax rate, you’ve paid £10,000 for shares, received a total of £5,800 in tax credits, resulting in a net loss of just £4,200! (Higher-rate taxpayers only lose 38.5%). For a worst case scenario that’s really good.

Best case: Far Better ROI

Now suppose instead that things go to plan and your shares are now worth 10x what they were – £100,000. Normally you’d have to pay 20% capital gains tax on that, so your profit would be £72,000 = 80% * (100,000 – 10,000). You invested £10,000 so your ROI – return on investment – is 720%. That sounds great until you compare it to EIS, where your returns are £93,000 and your ROI is an eye-watering 1,329%.

Expected Returns

Let’s recap. In the worst case you’ve lost 42% of what you invested. The stock market is not nearly so forgiving! But in the best case you’ll get way better returns, on what is already a great investment.

EIS is probably the best investment scheme in the world right now.

Next Steps

Now you need to find a few potential investments, ideally companies with EIS Advance Assurance and an excellent chance of big returns. Nous is currently fund-raising in an EIS round – we have a strong team, proven traction, a consumer-friendly, defensible product, and potential for a 30x increase in company valuation over the next 5 years. (As you can see from our handy-dandy EIS calculator that is a risk:reward ratio of over 48x!). Go forth and multiply, friends!

Remember that you should only invest as part of a diversified portfolio and that your capital is at risk. The availability of EIS tax relief depends on the individual circumstances of each investor and may be subject to change in the future. You should obtain independent tax advice before proceeding with your investment.