A collection of stories from SmartBrief publications and around the web…

The editor of The Economist says farewell: John Micklethwait departs The Economist bound for Bloomberg. I won’t even try to summarize his farewell message. It is too good. Read the whole thing.

How the next editor got the job: Gideon Litchfield writes for Quartz about process The Economist employed to select Zanny Minton Beddoes as the new editor. Litchfield, who was also a candidate for the job, offers unique insight on the refreshingly straightforward way The Economist handled the search.

Food for thought from Davos: With the glitz and glam always stealing the headlines in Davos, many people overlook some of the research the World Economic Forum actually disseminates – during the conference or throughout the year. Kirill Shakhnov from the European University Institute shares some interesting research with this paper: How wealth inequality entices talent into finance. (read more…)

Many people and companies remain pessimistic about the economy and how they’re doing, particularly those who look to the bubble of 2004 and 2005 as a baseline or who have houses that have failed to recover their value from before the recession.

Those people are wrong, at least in terms of the state of the U.S. economy, said Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics on Wednesday at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit in Washington, D.C.

“These are the good times,” he said, and returned to that theme repeatedly during his presentation. As he argued, 2014 was a good year — just as his company predicted. The U.S. economy, despite reports to the contrary, remains the world’s largest and is growing in terms of GDP and industrial production. Employment is up, as are most leading indicators, and no one in D.C. is looking to impose austerity. 2015 will be a good year, if softer for many in terms of growth. (read more…)

CME Group recently unveiled the Futures Institute, an online platform for education, market research and simulated trading of futures. The platform features a mix of live classes, interactive modules, market research and training materials and engages participants with multiple trading strategies, including testing and simulation capabilities.

The platform’s Futures Challenge, which takes place every month, allows participants to compete in a simulated environment tracking 36 of the most liquid futures contracts across six asset classes: Energy, Metals, Interest Rates, Agriculture, FX, and Equity Indexes. The Futures Challenge incorporates training modules to educate traders on how to create trade plans, manage risk and analyze markets from both fundamental and technical perspectives.

Ahead of the first Futures Challenge, which kicks off the first week in March, SmartBrief chatted with Mark Omens, senior director and head of retail sales at CME Group, to learn more about the site.

SmartBrief: What is the genesis of this site? (read more…)

Welcome to Day 3 of SmartBrief’s roundup of financial news coming out of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Blankfein on the reality of regulation: Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein told CNBC his firm is always thinking about regulation and how it affects things like technology acquisition. On whether banks are under regulatory assault, Blankfien responded, “No choice, no problem. I don’t have to sit here and ruminate on about whether its good or its bad or I like it or not. It is what it is.”

‘Pandemic bonds’ could be a panacea for next pandemic: Gillian Tett writes in the Financial Times writes about the concept of ‘pandemic bonds’ aimed at helping finance more effective and efficient responses to global health crises. The idea, which is backed by World Bank boss Jim Kim, would see bonds issued to help governments, NGOs and other organization,. “This could help cash-strapped governments finance measures to beat disease,” Tett writes. (read more…)

Welcome to Day 2 of SmartBrief’s roundup of financial news coming out of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch a selection of Thursday’s panel discussions related to finance.

The Lady and the Gentleman: German Chancellor Angela Merkel might have been talking in Davos on Thursday, but everyone was listening to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Merkel’s call for Europe to stay the course on structural reforms was drowned out by Draghi announcing the ECB’s plan to inject $1.37 trillion into the Eurozone economy via quantitative easing. USA Today describes how many attendees at Merkel’s speech in Davos became distracted a view minutes in when Draghi’s news was announced.

Yea and Nay on European QE: Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman told Bloomberg News the ECB’s move on quantitative easing is a good thing. But according to CITY A.M., Larry Summers is not sure it is enough. (read more…)