Talking Point
German auto industry: Further measures are necessary to overcome the diesel crisis
The results of the “diesel summit” are an interim solution at best. In view of the current negative sentiment towards diesel engines, diesel cars will stand a chance in the medium to long term only if the auto industry credibly demonstrates that it can keep emissions below the legal thresholds in real driving situations and in (almost) all weather conditions. If carmakers do not succeed in this endeavour, customers will increasingly turn away from diesel cars, as they fear excessive residual value losses or stricter regulation. [more]
Global financial markets
Robo-advice - a true innovation in asset management
Robo-advisors are online investment platforms that use computer algorithms to manage client portfolios and are thus part of the FinTech universe. With their user-friendly, automated and low-cost services, robo-advisors pose a challenge to traditional financial advisory services and are growing fast. Online client onboarding is the most crucial step in this process, relying on questionnaires to figure out clients' preferences. Following a conservative approach in their asset selection, robo-advisors mainly invest in ETFs. Portfolio allocation is done via mean-variance optimisation and threshold-based rebalancing is utilised to maintain targeted asset weights. Wealthier and more educated clients are joining millennials as robo-advisory clients. Fees are considerably higher in the EU than in the US where robo-advisors’ AuM are much larger. Robo-advisors can contribute to financial inclusion, while their long-term success relies on a high degree of accuracy and suitability for clients.  [more]
Germany
German defence policy: Towards a more integrated security framework
Defence policy and defence expenditures have moved into the light of public attention ahead of September parliamentary elections, fuelled by US criticism of Europe’s NATO spending, the experience of the refugee crisis but also regained momentum for European integration. While NATO membership and EU defence integration is supported by the German public, a majority rejects an increase in the military budget. To reach NATO’s 2% of GDP target by 2024, defence expenditures would have to more than double within seven years. Mainstream parties agree that a more holistic security framework is required but they are divided on the details, in particular when it comes to the question on how much to spend for it. [more]
 
 
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