• Теги
    • избранные теги
    • Компании66
      • Показать ещё
      Сферы1
      Страны / Регионы4
      Издания1
      Люди1
      Международные организации1
      Формат1
      Разное1
      Показатели1
Mega Financial Holding
Выбор редакции
22 мая, 06:23

Taiwan prosecutors say won't indict Mega Fin for violating anti-money laundering rules

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan prosecutors said on Monday they will not indict Mega Financial Holding or any Taiwan citizen for violating anti-money laundering rules, following an investigation into whether state-run Mega had breached U.S. anti money laundering rules.

Выбор редакции
23 августа 2016, 12:56

Taiwan to probe bank fined in US for money laundering slip

Taiwan’s financial regulator is investigating Mega Financial Holding Co. after New York state ordered its banking unit to pay a $180 million penalty and install an independent monitor for violating the state’s laws against money laundering.

27 марта 2013, 18:30

Europe is Out of Options and Out of Money

  The big news out of Europe is whether or not Cyprus will be a template for future bailouts.   Having seen that issues like personal property, rule of law, and democracy got thrown out of the window in Cyprus as soon as things got hairy, investors and depositors throughout Europe are panicked as to whether they will be targeted next when the next European Domino starts to fall.   EU politicians are out claiming the usual fluff “don’t worry, Cyprus is a one off deal, this won’t happen again!” Sure. Greece was a one off deal until it needed another bailout. Spain was a one off deal. So was Ireland and Portugal.   Obviously, European bureaucrats are the sorts of folks you can trust.   Let’s cut through the nonsense here.   Europe is totally and completely bust. The European banks are leveraged at 26 to 1 because they CANNOT raise capital… because no one in their right mind wants to invest in them… not even European countries.   European nations are bankrupt because AGAIN no one in their right mind wants to buy their bonds UNLESS they believe they can dump their investments on the ECB at a later date. Who is the greater fool there?   At the end of the day, the reason Europe hasn’t been fixed is because CAPITAL SIMPLY ISN’T THERE. Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM.   Germany has already committed to bailouts that equal 5% of its GDP. The single largest transfer payment ever made by one country to another was the Marshall Plan in which the US transferred an amount equal to 5% of its GDP. Germany WILL NOT exceed this. So don’t count on more money from Germany.   The ECB is chock full of garbage debts which have been pledged as collateral for loans. If anyone of significance defaults in Europe, the ECB is insolvent. Sure it can print more money, but once the BIG collateral call hits, money printing is useless because the amount of money the ECB would have to print would implode the system.   And then of course there are the mega bailout funds such as the ESM. The only problem here is that Spain and Italy make up 30% of the ESM's supposed “funding.” That’s right, nearly one third of the mega-bailout fund’s capital will come from countries that are bankrupt themselves.   What could go wrong?   At this point, Europe is literally beginning to run out of options. It’s only a matter of time before the Crisis goes into hyperdrive and we have an event even worse than 2008.   If you’re an individual investor worried about what Europe’s Crisis really means for your portfolio, we’ve published a FREE Special Report outlining exactly that. It’s titled, What Europe Means For You and Your Savings.   In this report, we outline the risks Europe’s banking crisis holds not only for those in Europe, but for savers around the world. We also explain how this crisis will most likely unfold, including which areas are most at risk in the financial system. And we cap it off by listing multiple backdoor plays on Europe that investors can use to profit from Europe’s Crisis.   You can pick up a FREE copy here:   http://gainspainscapital.com/what-europes-collapse-means-for-your-savings/   Thank you for reading!   Graham Summers  

16 марта 2013, 21:08

Fed President: Too-Big-To-Fail Banks Need To Be Broken Up

(Adds details from speech) By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., March 16 (Reuters) - The largest U.S. banks are "practitioners of crony capitalism," need to be broken up to ensure they are no longer considered too big to fail, and continue to threaten financial stability, a top Federal Reserve official said on Saturday. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, has been a critic of Wall Street's disproportionate influence since the financial crisis. But he was now taking his message to an unusual audience for a central banker: a high-profile Republican political action committee. Fisher said the existence of banks that are seen as likely to receive government bailouts if they fail gives them an unfair advantage, hurting economic competitiveness. "These institutions operate under a privileged status that exacts an unfair tax upon the American people," he said on the last day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). "They represent not only a threat to financial stability but to fair and open competition  (and) are the practitioners of crony capitalism and not the agents of democratic capitalism that makes our country great," said Fisher, who has also been a vocal opponent of the Fed's unconventional monetary stimulus policies. Fisher's vision pits him directly against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who recently argued during congressional testimony that regulators had made significant progress in addressing the problem of too big to fail. Bernanke asserted that market expectations that large financial institutions would be rescued is wrong. But Fisher said mega banks still have a significant funding advantage over its competitors, as well as other advantages. To address this problem, he called for a rolling back of deposit insurance so that it would extend only to deposits of commercial banks, not the investment arms of bank holding companies. "At the Dallas Fed, we believe that whatever the precise subsidy number is, it exists, it is significant, and it allows the biggest banking organizations, along with their many nonbank subsidiaries - investment firms, securities lenders, finance companies - to grow larger and riskier," he said. Fisher argued Dodd-Frank financial reforms were overly complex and therefore counterproductive. "Regulators cannot enforce rules that are not easily understood," he said. (Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa; editing by Gunna Dickson)

16 марта 2013, 21:08

Fed President: Too-Big-To-Fail Banks Need To Be Broken Up

(Adds details from speech) By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., March 16 (Reuters) - The largest U.S. banks are "practitioners of crony capitalism," need to be broken up to ensure they are no longer considered too big to fail, and continue to threaten financial stability, a top Federal Reserve official said on Saturday. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, has been a critic of Wall Street's disproportionate influence since the financial crisis. But he was now taking his message to an unusual audience for a central banker: a high-profile Republican political action committee. Fisher said the existence of banks that are seen as likely to receive government bailouts if they fail gives them an unfair advantage, hurting economic competitiveness. "These institutions operate under a privileged status that exacts an unfair tax upon the American people," he said on the last day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). "They represent not only a threat to financial stability but to fair and open competition  (and) are the practitioners of crony capitalism and not the agents of democratic capitalism that makes our country great," said Fisher, who has also been a vocal opponent of the Fed's unconventional monetary stimulus policies. Fisher's vision pits him directly against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who recently argued during congressional testimony that regulators had made significant progress in addressing the problem of too big to fail. Bernanke asserted that market expectations that large financial institutions would be rescued is wrong. But Fisher said mega banks still have a significant funding advantage over its competitors, as well as other advantages. To address this problem, he called for a rolling back of deposit insurance so that it would extend only to deposits of commercial banks, not the investment arms of bank holding companies. "At the Dallas Fed, we believe that whatever the precise subsidy number is, it exists, it is significant, and it allows the biggest banking organizations, along with their many nonbank subsidiaries - investment firms, securities lenders, finance companies - to grow larger and riskier," he said. Fisher argued Dodd-Frank financial reforms were overly complex and therefore counterproductive. "Regulators cannot enforce rules that are not easily understood," he said. (Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa; editing by Gunna Dickson)

15 марта 2013, 06:08

Crime and Punishment

I just returned from the barber (I don't like my hair getting even somewhat longish, and I find getting a haircut surprisingly relaxing). While there, I thumbed through the Palo Alto Daily Post. In it was a tiny article whose headline was "Dine and Dasher Gets Jail Time" It reads as follows: A man who dined and dashed at a San Carlos restaurant was sentenced yesterday to 120 days in jail, prosectors said. Patrick James Higgins, 43, pleaded guilty yesterday to commercial burglary for skipping out on a $70.24 check at Sneakers Pub and Grill on March 1, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said. After ordering the hefty tab on his own, Guidotti said he ran out of the restaurant to the rear alley, leaving the check behind. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, ordered to pay back the tab as restitution, and will have three years of supervised probation, she said. So let me get this straight. As a society, we have decided to let people like Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Jon Corzine, and everyone else involved in the financial crisis (including that complete douchebag from AIG) not only get away with murder, but also get breathtakingly rich while doing so, but if some guy has a meal and runs away, and he pleads guilty to the crime, we decide: (a) he needs to pay the tab (fair enough!); (b) he needs to be locked up for 4 months; (c) he needs to spend three years - at significant taxpayer expense - being closely monitored by a probation officer. Excuse me for asking, but what in the name of Jesus H. Christ is wrong with us? Oh, I forgot. If you're rich, you can do anything you want. If you're poor, you have the be the apotheosis of rectitude. And talk about swift justice! This incident took place not even two weeks ago! And yet Blankfein, a man who torture is too good for, smirks and leers his way to mega-riches. Speaking of financial criminals, Congress is going to go through the motions of pretending to hold the leadership of JP Morgan accountable for their own misdeeds. The star is going to be Ina Drew, who is closely associated with the "whale trade" of last year. Ms. Drew, of course, is the massively successful former CIO at JP Morgan. Flying in by jumbo jet tomorrow, Ms. Drew will confront some weighty charges, having to carefully balance the voracious appetite of some legislators for explanation with massive amounts of hefty evidence. Cognizant of the gravity of the situation, Ms. Drew will hopefully not sag with the colossal amount of pressure on her. The room will be thick with anticipation, but let us collectively hope no blubbering will take place on Ms. Drew's part. Tons of people will be watching, and the implications, perhaps, could be enormous.

14 марта 2013, 21:03

Landlord Blackstone Rushes To Capitalize On Housing Bubble By Launching First Ever REO-To-Rent Securitization

In addition to the phenomenon of "foreclosure stuffing" described here extensively before, one of the main reasons for the artificial drop in housing supply has been the ongoing government-subsidized, GSE/FHFA endorsed REO-to-Rent initiative, through which large asset managers have been encouraged to take advantage of government funded, risk-free financing and purchase foreclosed properties in bulk, with the intention of converting them into rental properties. The REO-To-Rent has traditionally been open to the biggest of financial companies, or at least those who don't have the stigma of legacy mortgage origination resulting in billions in litigation reserves, which means mostly hedge funds and PE firms. One of the main players in the space, Och-Ziff, decided to pull out of the landlord business in October of last year because, as Reuters reported, "the returns it is generating from rental income are less than expected and it is looking to take advantage of a recent rebound in home prices in northern California." In other words, selling while the selling is good. Of course, there is another, far more traditional way to offload risk while preserving some of the upside: dump the balance sheet exposure to others while giving them a fraction of the potential upside yield. This is precisely what the big banks were doing during the last housing bubble when massive residential mortgage-backed security portfolios were packaged, spliced, securitized (sometime without the feedback of firms like Paulson pre-shorting the MBS courtesy of firms like Goldman) and sold off to other yield-starved investors. Everyone knows how that ended. So fast forward to today, when this final missing link from the credit and housing bubble is finally here too, following news that mega-PE firm Blackstone is pushing forward with the first ever REO-To-Rental securitization. From Reuters: Blackstone is preparing a first-of-its-kind securitization of REO-to-rental properties, and the deal could come later this year, according to sources with knowledge of the plans.   Word of the plans comes a week after the private equity giant got an increased bank loan from Deutsche Bank and others to expand its significant holdings of single-family homes.   Market sources told IFR that Blackstone is planning at least one securitization to help underpin its long-term financing in the REO-to-rental sector. ... The new Deutsche Bank loan, upsized to US$2.1bn, includes an original US$600m warehouse facility in addition to investments from eight other banks and securities investors.   At least 20 banks and investors looked at participating in the loan, and some passed because their charters would only allow them to participate in bond deals and not bank loans.   Securitization specialists with knowledge of the deal said Deutsche Bank expanded the size of the facility in order to accommodate Blackstone's increased commitment to purchasing distressed single-family homes with the goal of renting them out. The missing funding link: the same dumb money that in 2-3 years will be litigating to kingdom come how nobody had any idea the bubble would pop leaving them with nothing: Starting with equity investments and now warehouse financing from investment banks, the final step would be involvement of the capital markets in the form of a securitization, experts say. The best news is that unlike in 2005-2007, there will be no rating agency scapegoats, as this time the bubble is so big, nobody is even demanding a rating! Blackstone is the largest asset manager in the sector, and demand for a securitization is thought to be so strong that any deal could go forward without needing credit ratings. Which is good - finally those imprudent speculators, once known as asset managers, will have no excuse to justify their actions, and blame it all on AAA-ratings by S&P and Moodys. So what exactly will the dumb money be getting in exchange for a BBB tranche yielding some 6-7%? Why, nothing but the best: The average size of the houses that Blackstone is purchasing in areas such as Phoenix and Tampa is 1800 to 1900 square feet, typically with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, according to sources familiar with their investment properties.   Specialists say that once the purchased properties are rehabilitated with a tenant, they become good candidates for inclusion in the traditional securitization process. Which means that, as our readers know very well, five years after the last bubble, the new bubble is back and it is bigger than ever. Does anyone care? Why, no, of course: the music is playing and one must jump both feet into the dance if one hopes to be paid anything at the end of the year. The lemming dance that is. Because everyone knows how all of this ends every time.

23 января 2013, 18:00

What Capitalism Can't Fix

Increasingly, I see people looking starry-eyed to business and markets to solve social problems. In so doing, they run the risk of dismissing the impact of nonprofits — and diminishing the value of organizations that seek to make a difference without creating the potential conflicts that come with the profit motive. My view is that pretending companies and markets hold all the answers actually puts at risk our ability to deal with our most pressing societal problems — and to help our most vulnerable citizens. The rhetoric is everywhere — from the trade press to the mainstream media to business school faculty to corporate titans to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Former GE CEO Jack Welch, writing in Business Week, characterized the nonprofit sector as a "foreign land" in which performance is not a priority and employees are guaranteed "lifetime employment." Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, wrote last year on the Wired web site, "Let's be real: The nonprofit model is broken. The 20th-century way of "guilting" people into giving to an opaque, inefficient organization with massive overhead is no longer a viable model." In a recent blog post here on HBR.org, Dan Pallotta suggests that nonprofits should use the tools of capitalism such as high pay and providing returns to investors to increase charitable giving. The rush to disparage nonprofits and the stampede to embrace the idea that for-profits — or for-profit models — can more easily combat our toughest social problems deny reality. Many crucial objectives simply cannot be accomplished while generating a financial return. Other objectives can but there is a price to be paid. In health care, for example, research indicates a decline in quality when non-profit hospitals switched to become profit making, as Eduardo Porter explained this month in the New York Times. The laudable push for companies to commit more energy to dealing with social problems should not obscure the need for strong independent nonprofits that focus on mission not profit. And while nonprofits can learn from companies and companies can learn from nonprofits, it is a mistake to deny differences. After all, there is a crucial distinction between an institution that reinvests surpluses in its mission and one that faces unrelenting pressure to distribute profit to shareholders. Consider higher education in the United States. Nonprofit universities frequently offer an education that costs more than actual tuition — the difference made up through charitable gifts and endowment returns — while for-profit institutions must cover their costs with tuition and create a profit margin. The results — and the evidence from lawsuits, media reports, and congressional and GAO investigations of for-profit universities — speak for themselves. Despite this and many other cautionary tales, an increasing number of people both inside and outside the nonprofit world seem drunk on the Kool-Aid of business superiority. Too often people equate "business thinking" with effectiveness. Even those inside the world of nonprofits and philanthropy have internalized the idea that operating "like a business" means operating effectively (never asking which business: Countrywide Financial? BP? Enron?). The stereotypes of nonprofits are just that: stereotypes. There are, of course, numerous examples of nonprofit influence and impact — from work on environmental issues to citizens' rights to reductions in tobacco use to reductions in worldwide child mortality — but also lesser known examples. Take the work of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit whose 18-month campaign to reduce hospital mortality rates has saved an estimated 122,300 lives by inspiring and guiding hospital executives, physicians, and nurses to adopt six basic patient-safety practices. As Peter Fader, a University of Pennsylvania professor and director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, has observed: Nonprofits often excel at using "their data to better understand their 'customer base.' In this area, big companies with lots of resources really can learn from their cash-strapped nonprofit cousins." The point is this: No type of organization — government, business, or nonprofit — has a monopoly on effectiveness. And nonprofits are typically tackling the most complex problems of all. If those problems could have easily been solved by government or business, they wouldn't exist at all. I'm a huge believer in free-market capitalism. I have an M.B.A. and have worked as a corporate consultant. But I think we're better off being sober about what markets can and cannot accomplish. I'd suggest three practical questions to ask in sorting through how to achieve important social goals. Does the pursuit of profit conflict with or facilitate the achievement of your goal? How likely are profit and social impact to be in tension? How will that tension be managed or resolved? What kind of choices and information do people have? Markets work best when people have choices and when there is good information, so ask, do those conditions apply? Are you looking at an opportunity — like creating products or technologies that will help poor people in some aspect of their lives — that lends itself to a free-market solution? Or are you looking at something, like the management of a prison or nursing home system for a state, where a provider is likely to have a virtual monopoly — meaning management is free to prioritize profit over the social mission without paying any kind of price? Finally, are you addressing an issue that actually results from market failure, such as, environmental degradation? If you don't understand capitalism's role in contributing to a problem, you probably won't be able to rely on capitalism to chart a path to the solution. Then decide what makes most sense, and don't assume that a pure nonprofit isn't the way to go. Follow the Scaling Social Impact insight center on Twitter @ScalingSocial and register to stay informed and give us feedback. Scaling Social ImpactInsights from HBR and the Bridgespan Group Scaling Up Without Losing Your Edge Social Impact Investing Will Be the New Venture Capital When Social Enterprise Demands Mega Scale Business Can't Solve the World's Problems — But Capitalism Can Go to the Insight Center

16 января 2013, 19:00

When Social Enterprise Demands Mega Scale

The world is increasingly concerned with the need to solve our carbon dioxide problem. There are three basic solution paths. We can reduce the use of fossil fuels, mainly by passing laws to restrict or discourage it. We can spend billions in public funds after the fact to capture and store the CO2 that is generated. Or we can plant trees in Australia. You have heard much about the first two, and almost nothing about the third. The reason: it requires a multipart, large-scale solution that no one yet has assembled the funding to get off the ground. But if they did, the solution would be self-sustaining, the world's carbon dioxide problems could go away, and the billions could be spent on other problems. Here is the opportunity. Next to the Sahara, Australia has the biggest deserts in the world. They are flat, dry, sandy, and useless. But that could change: if we built massive desalination plants on Australia's west coast, and pumped the fresh water to the deserts, we could cover this land with forests of Paulownias, the world's fastest-growing trees. Trees, of course, take carbon dioxide out of the air. We know that an acre of forest captures 11 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. If 80% of the Australian deserts were provided with fresh water and planted with fast-growing trees, Australian deserts could reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere of the planet by 2.9 billion tons per year. How much is that? The Princeton University Carbon Mitigation Initiative reports that the worldwide carbon dioxide problems of the world could be solved by capturing and converting 8 billion tons per year. This is an idea first suggested by Leonard Ornstein, Igor Aleinov, and David Rindnstein in 2009, but it got no immediate traction. The problem was that, when it was first proposed, the profit-making potential of the solution was not explored. Not only are Paulownias fast-growing, they produce the world's most valuable hardwood. The sales yield from one acre can reach $10,000 per year. Australia has 339 million acres of desert. If fresh water were pumped to 80% of these deserts and trees were planted, the result could be a world hardwood export business eventually worth $2 trillion per year. At low-enough desalination and distribution costs, this becomes a business opportunity highly attractive to private funding. So let's look at the desalination cost. The Saudis and Israelis have plants that produce fresh water from the sea for 1/5 of a cent per gallon. Each acre of managed forest produces four tons of biomass (lumber) per year but uses 960,000 gallons of water to do this. Doing the math (assuming Australian desalination firms could equal the mid-east rate), it becomes clear that Australia could solve a third of the world's carbon dioxide problem while becoming the world's largest and most profitable hardwood exporter. At the same time, managing the forests would provide tens of thousands of new jobs. If you think about what this project could do for Australia, it is similar to what happened to the Western US after 1865 when the US had acquired millions of acres of basically uninhabited land from Mexico. As with the development of the US West from 1865 to 1900, thousands will be drawn to Western Australia by the chance to earn a better living. The economy of Australia could double before the project is completed. The logic is clear, but how do we turn such a massively ambitious vision into reality? The turning point will come when we are able to demonstrate to four key groups involved—the tree planters, harvesters, and sellers; the fresh water manufacturers and sellers through pipelines; the road builders; and the Australian Government—how much they have to gain. We're taking the classic approach of using a pilot project to provide proof of concept, then scaling up from there. We have outlined a 125-square-mile area near Perth that, even at such small scale, we know can turn a profit. From there, we'll proceed gradually to create forests in the other 10 Australian deserts, one 125-square-mile section at a time. This must be an Australian project. No international body or outside multilateral group should have any participation. It's the Australian government that can acquire the land using compulsory acquisition, do surveys to break it into 800-acre tracts, plan the layout of the roads, pipelines, the living, and commercial areas. The government can lease or sell the land, and grant necessary permits—including work permits for foreign contractors and personnel. Once the value of the concept has been demonstrated to everyone, the Australian government can draw up competitive contracts for the water and pipeline companies, the tree planters, and the road builders. Contracts could be open to all including non-Australians. It should hold open bidding. The Australian government can maintain law and order and the sanctity of contract. It can be fully reimbursed for its work through land leasing and taxes. The Australian government will get the ball rolling when it passes enabling legislation and publishes the contract process throughout the world. Our role in the meantime is to build up an organizing group of people with relevant knowledge to share—parties such as the largest tree-planting firm in Australia, and the former head of the world's largest desalination plant. We are making speeches, writing articles, and holding meetings throughout Australia and the world. Right now, unfortunately, a lot of people in the world worry that CO2 levels will not be reined in, and damage to the planet is inevitable. If we can instead create a sense of inevitability about this solution, the pieces will come together, the concept will be proved, and the forests will rise. And our world will be better for them. Follow the Scaling Social Impact insight center on Twitter @ScalingSocial and register to stay informed and give us feedback. Scaling Social ImpactInsights from HBR and the Bridgespan Group Every Business Is (Or Should Be) a Social Business To Grow, Social Enterprises Must Play by Business Rules New Research: If You Want To Scale Impact, Put Financial Results First Collaboration is the New Competition Go to the Insight Center

Выбор редакции
30 ноября 2012, 23:55

Walmart Implicated In Huge Wage-Theft Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES -- Warehouse workers in Southern California have filed a petition in court to name Walmart as a defendant in a federal wage-theft lawsuit, marking a significant turn in low-wage supply chain workers' fight with the world's largest retailer. Although workers in Walmart's contracted warehouses in California and Illinois have alleged labor violations in the past, the filing on Friday is the first time Walmart itself has been directly implicated in the claims of abuse. Until now, only the retailer's subcontractors have been accused in court of shorting workers on pay and forcing them to work in substandard conditions. "Walmart's name does not appear on any of these workers paychecks, and the Walmart logo does not appear on the t-shirts they're required to wear," Michael Rubin, the workers' lawyer, said on Friday. "But it has become increasingly clear that the ultimate liability for these workplace violations rests squarely on the shoulders of Walmart." While Walmart directly manages much of its distribution network, the company outsources the operation of some of its largest warehouses to third-party logistics firms, which in turn hire low-paid temporary workers to perform the heavy lifting. These warehouses have become the target of a union-backed organizing effort through the groups Warehouse Workers United and Warehouse Workers for Justice, and several of them have been hit with employee lawsuits and labor-law violations. In the case amended Friday, six workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Riverside, Calif., sued a series of subcontractors last October, claiming they were paid less than the minimum wage, required to work in excessively hot conditions and retaliated against by superiors as they loaded and unloaded trucks and containers. Although the workers said the products they handled were destined for Walmart stores, the mega-retailer was not originally named in the suit. Worker advocates have argued all along that Walmart, as the top company in the contract chain, is morally responsible for the working conditions at the warehouses its goods pass through. By trying to bring Walmart into the lawsuit now, they hope to prove that the company is legally and financially responsible as well, arguing that Walmart controls the operation and serves as the ultimate beneficiary of the work. "I know that Walmart is responsible for all of this, even though they say they have nothing to do with us," said one of the plaintiffs, David Acosta, speaking in Spanish on a call with reporters Friday. "The boxes say Walmart, the containers say Walmart -- everything belongs to Walmart." Acosta said he and his colleagues, many of them Latino immigrants, worked 12 to 16-hour days, earning roughly the minimum wage without overtime pay. He said they received a lunch each day but no other breaks. "Our dignity was thrown to the floors," he added. The success or failure of the suit could have broader implications for workers who try to sue subcontractors. As HuffPost reported last year, much of the retail sector's supply chain is now predicated on a system of outsourcing, where larger, brand-name players subcontract the work to smaller, little-seen players, who ultimately hold the legal liability for workers' well-being. A similar arrangement now persists in many food-processing and manufacturing operations as well. According to Rubin, the workers are seeking class-action status for their lawsuit, which could involve up to 1,800 affected workers. Rubin argued Friday that the workers are on sound legal footing in suing Walmart, even though the company does not directly employ workers at the facilities. “Walmart controls the warehouses and everything that happens inside of them," Rubin said. The retailer, he said, pays "extraordinary attention to details" in the warehouses, including tracking where every truck and container is and what every worker is doing and how much time it takes them to do it. "[Walmart] owns or leases each of the warehouses at issue in this litigation. It owns all of the equipment and supplies used in those warehouses, from the forklift to the shrink wrap," he continued. "We allege Walmart has turned a blind eye to systemic violations of worker rights." A Walmart spokesman said the company would not comment to The Huffington Post, although the company has said repeatedly that the warehouses involved in the suit are operated by other parties and that the company takes the allegations seriously even if it isn't responsible for them. Several workers at the warehouses in California went on strike ahead of the high-profile walkouts and protests at Walmart stores on Black Friday. The suit filed in California last year included among its defendants the Walmart contractor Schneider Logistics, which has been named in similar suits filed by workers in Illinois. Many of the employees were employed by a firm contracted by Schneider, working for "piece rate" -- being paid according to how many containers they loaded or unloaded. The lawsuit alleged rampant abuse, claiming warehouse employees "spend their workdays performing strenuous, unskilled physical labor in an environment where the temperature often exceeds 90 degrees," where management "routinely responded with threats of retaliation and actual retaliation, including by sending the inquiring workers home without pay, refusing to give them work the next day ... and imposing other forms of discipline on them." Schneider has denied the allegations in the suit. Prior to the lawsuit, the California labor commissioner filed a number of labor-law citations against temp companies operating within the warehouse, saying many workers weren't given complete paystubs for their work. The commissioner, Julie A. Su, told The Huffington Post at the time that the alleged violations epitomized broader problems with subcontracting in the low-wage economy. "Warehouses are one example of the ever-increasing contracting out of labor. It's difficult for enforcement, and in many instances it's a deliberate effort to avoid compliance," Su said.

18 октября 2012, 06:09

Richard (RJ) Eskow: For the Unemployed, Romney's Debate Was Full of "Wind Jobs"

Mitt Romney's "binder full of women" comment has gone viral, which is pretty entertaining but has had the unfortunate side effect of crowding the phrase "wind jobs." That's a real loss, because that term could become a very useful part of our political vocabulary. Tech people talk about "vaporware," and Tuesday night Mitt Romney showed us the "wind job:" a gust of air intended to seem like something substantial, especially regarding employment. Here's an example: "I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country," said Romney. But his campaign has stated unequivocally that he would end the Wind Production Tax Credit that helped create those Iowa jobs. In another blast of hot air, Romney said he wants to grow Pell grants for students -- even though his own campaign paper says sneers at those grants and says he'll cut them back. Even worse, Mitt Romney says in that paper that they're part of our country's "expanding entitlement mentality." This is money for kids who want to go to college - to learn, to begin working on a career, to make a better life for themselves and their communities. Apparently that's too "entitled" for rich, self-satisfied Mitt Romney. Neither candidate did enough to explain what happened to our economy and how we can fix it. But man, that Romney guy takes the cake. If any jobless Americans reached for the truth while he was talking, they grabbed nothing but air. Well, as they used to say in the old neighborhood: I got yer "wind job" right here, pal. A Mighty Wind Mitt Romney says he'll create jobs by "opening up more trade," the second point in his "five point plan." On Day One as president, he says he'll sign the "Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements." Given the millions of jobs we've already lost to outsourcing -- some thanks to Romney and Bain Capital -- one can only guess at the logic: Hair of the dog that bit you? "Homeopathic economics," a Romney invention in which you ingest whatever made you sick to get better? The Romney "wind jobs" only multiplied when it came to education. Romney claimed he wants to "keep Pell grants growing," but his running mate's (and his party's) budget would cut those grants (which are already inadequate) for as many as a million students. And Romney's own position paper on education complains that "the Pell Grant program ... is on unsure financial footing." That's the paper which blames the Pell grant program's "unsure financial footing" on "the expanding entitlement mentality." Rich guy to the "47 percent": It's not me. It's you. The campaign's education paper concludes that Romney would "refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most" -- strongly implying deep cuts to the program -- in order to avoid "future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches." You know what would avoid those funding problems even more effectively? Funding. The Wind Cries Romney Romney includes deficit reduction in his "five point plan," too. Another one of his "Day One" plans is something called, "The Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act," which would immediately reduce all non-discretionary spending by five percent. Know what that means? Layoffs -- lots of them -- for teachers, first responders, postal workers and lots of other people. Romney says he'll reduce unemployment rates by putting more people out of work. Trying wrapping your head around that economic Zen koan. Romney said the words "small business" or "small businesses" 14 times during the debate, twice as much as the president did. And yet Romney's fellow Republicans on the Hill rejected tax cuts for small businesses four times this year -- three times in the House and once in the Senate -- and last year his running mate's budget imposed savage cuts to the Small Business Administration. In fact, House Republicans voted to stop all new hiring at the SBA's Office of International Trade, and to rescind $30 million in state grants to promote exports. They even gutted provisions written by a fellow Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe, that would have helped small businesses export their products. To paraphrase Harry S. Truman: In a race between a Republican and a Republican, the jobless person loses every time. Everyone Knows It's Windy Another one of Romney's "five points to create jobs" is "energy independence," by which Romney means removing all of remaining environmental restrictions on oil and gas companies, and allowing them to mine, drill and dig where they please -- with minimal regulation. It's true that oil and gas create some jobs -- but unrestrained exploitation of our natural resources creates relatively few of them, and it does so at an enormous cost in the future (and sometimes in the present). And the despoilers never talk about the jobs that have been lost as a result of their actions. Why don't you ask the folks down on the Gulf how many jobs the BP oil spill cost them? The industries Romney represents also love to say they'll bring gas prices down and make us energy independent -- but please note: At no time did Romney say the fuel produced by these changes would be sold in the United States. But step out of the wind tunnel for a second and you'll hear the dirty truth: Last year the United States exported more oil than it imported. Many of the the companies that Romney wants to unleash in the name of "energy independence," especially those along the battered Gulf Coast, can make more money selling that oil to other countries. Against the Wind An Iowa-area newspaper notes that there are only about 7,000 wind-industry jobs in Iowa, which it describes as a "tiny sliver" of the state's workforce. That's true. But that's more jobs than the Keystone pipeline will create, according to a government study - and the Republicans have been touting Keystone as a "job-creating" plan. Romney offers all sorts of special tax breaks ($4 billion a year to Big Oil alone) to jobs that are often temporary, and which cause great harm to the environment and to the overall economy. But he sneers atreal wind jobss, which are long-lasting, help restore US manufacturing, promote real energy independence, and help protect the environment. A Cornell University study has concluded that Keystone will actually cost the nation jobs - in the fifteen states where gas prices could actually rise as a result of the pipeline, and due to crop failures caused by its pollution. (That's not even counting the costs should there be a major - possibly lethal - disaster. See "Four Ways Keystone XL Could Be a Job Killer" in Cornell University, Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of XL Pipeline.) If you hate being jobless, imagine Romney's alternative: being jobless in a fouled environment, while paying even more at the gas pump. Anyway the Wind Blows Romney's the candidate who'll say or do anything to close the deal. He's flip-flopped on everything from reproductive rights to environmental protection. Now, as a paid spokesperson for mega-corporations, he mocks climate change as a myth as he pretends he's standing up for the Mom and Pop companies across the country. "I want to make small businesses grow and thrive," said Romney. But his economic policies have consistently favored giant corporations -- mega-banks and major job outsourcers -- over smaller enterprises. Why not? They're paying for his campaign. ExxonMobil. Goldman Sachs. Koch Industries. To us they're corporate predators. But for Mitt Romney, they're the wind beneath his wings. But, even knowing that, it's hard to top this comment for sheer audacity: "I came through small business," said Romney. "I understand how hard it is to start a small business." Whoosh. That was one heck of a wind. Bain Capital was set up by Bill Bain, Romney's boss. Romney insisted on a written contract from Bain guaranteeing he could have his old job back if he failed -- without even losing his scheduled bonuses. Romney never put up his own money for the business, never went without a fat paycheck, never took a chance -- in other words, he was never an entrepreneur. Romney likes to say he'd run the country like a business. But every successful business person knows there'll be times when you need to invest in your venture today for success tomorrow. That comes naturally to an entrepreneur -- if she or he believes in their enterprise. But Romney doesn't want to invest in the United States -- not in educating its workforce, or rebuilding its infrastructure, or even in research and development. Either he's not very good at business or he doesn't believe in this country. Gone With the Wind We've concentrated on Romney because of his sheer mendacity, which reached gale-force speeds on Tuesday night. But the president has work to do, too. Even though his performance last night will help him considerably, he needs to make up more ground to protect swing states. And his party remains much more vulnerable than he is. The president can seal the deal now -- but only if he pledges to do more to rein in Wall Street, offers more ambitious jobs plans and offers a more vigorous defense of government. But then, the system's rigged against that. Twenty years ago, the two major parties forced out the League of Women Voters and replaced it with a shadowy private organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates. (Glenn Greenwald has a good round-up on the CPD.) That's all but guaranteed that third-party candidates will be shut out of future debates -- which has left important economic, civil liberties and foreign policy topics and viewpoints outside the debate hall. The CPD encapsulates everything that's wrong with insider Washington. It's co-directed by lobbyist/publicist Michael McCurry (who serves the telecommunications companies, among others) and Frank Fahrenkopf (who serves the gaming/gambling industry). One of the companies McCurry's firm serves is Bain Capital. And he's the Democrat on the leadership team. Some other familiar faces are on its board, too, including good ol' Alan "310 million tits" Simpson -- the Simpson of "Simpson Bowles" Social Security-cutting notoriety. Maybe that explains why the president said he and Romney agreed about Social Security (and disagreed with the American people about it.) And why he's supporting the same three free-trade agreements Romney promised to sign on Day One. If he doesn't show a little more daylight between himself and Romney, he's putting himself and his party in danger. As for the debate itself, here's how it works: Both candidates -- and the moderator -- must agree to specific rules before the debate takes place, and this year's "Memorandum of Understanding" is a must-read. It even included this: "Each candidate may move about in a pre-designated area, as proposed by the Commission and approved by each campaign, and may not leave that area while the debate is underway." Weird, isn't it? A nation which places a premium on "free range chickens" is standing by while its presidential candidates -- and its debate -- are caged. "A pre-designated area, approved by each campaign," which a candidate "may not leave": If that isn't a perfect metaphor for our broken political process, what is? How Many Roads They're calling the debate for Obama, and I agree completely. But Romney wins one prize hands-down: the one for audacious dishonesty. And meanwhile, for unemployed, under-employed and under-earning Americans, some real questions remain unanswered. For the president: Why are you pushing Simpson-Bowles austerity when we're still in a crisis? Why aren't you fighting to prevent cuts in Social Security and Medicare? Why aren't you telling the country in clear and direct terms how we can create jobs and stimulate growth? For Mr. Romney: How can you cut the deficit by reducing tax revenues? How will your voodoo economics work tomorrow, when it didn't work yesterday and isn't working today? (And how do you keep your hair so perfect, what with so many "wind jobs" blowing in your general vicinity?) For both candidates: How does cutting public-sector jobs create private-sector jobs? Who'll rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges with all this austerity deficit-cutting going on? And with a deficit that was caused by wars and tax cuts -- and a future deficit driven by medical costs -- why aren't we addressing the root causes of the problem: excessive military spending, wealth and tax unfairness, and excessive greed in the health care economy? But in the end, the takeaway from this debate was: Man, what about that Mitt Romney? There's no there there. Romney's the ultimate phony salesman, the Joe Isuzu of American politics, the PowerPoint candidate with no product to sell. Ever sat in a corporate boardroom with a sales person like that? I have. If you ask them a substantive question you'll see a blank look cross their face for second. Then they'll go right back to reciting the bullet points on the screen. Speaking of questions, it's a funny thing: We heard a lot of discussion -- and a lot of"wind jobs" -- about employment and economic recovery. But there wasn't much talk about why the economy's in such bad shape. Why didn't anybody mention the bankers whose illegal and unethical behavior triggered the financial crisis? Why wasn't there any discussion about holding them accountable for ruining so many millions of lives? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

18 октября 2012, 06:09

Richard (RJ) Eskow: For the Unemployed, Romney's Debate Was Full of "Wind Jobs"

Mitt Romney's "binder full of women" comment has gone viral, which is pretty entertaining but has had the unfortunate side effect of crowding the phrase "wind jobs." That's a real loss, because that term could become a very useful part of our political vocabulary. Tech people talk about "vaporware," and Tuesday night Mitt Romney showed us the "wind job:" a gust of air intended to seem like something substantial, especially regarding employment. Here's an example: "I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country," said Romney. But his campaign has stated unequivocally that he would end the Wind Production Tax Credit that helped create those Iowa jobs. In another blast of hot air, Romney said he wants to grow Pell grants for students -- even though his own campaign paper says sneers at those grants and says he'll cut them back. Even worse, Mitt Romney says in that paper that they're part of our country's "expanding entitlement mentality." This is money for kids who want to go to college -- to learn, to begin working on a career, to make a better life for themselves and their communities. That's too "entitled" for rich, self-satisfied Mitt Romney. Neither candidate did enough to explain what happened to our economy and how we can fix it. But man, that Romney guy takes the cake. If a jobless American reached for some truth while Romney was talking on Tuesday, they grabbed nothing but air. It's like they used to say in the old neighborhood: I got yer "wind job" right here, pal. A Mighty Wind Mitt Romney says he'll create jobs by "opening up more trade," the second point in his "five point plan." On Day One as president, he says he'll sign the "Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements." Given the millions of jobs we've already lost to outsourcing -- some thanks to Romney and Bain Capital -- one can only guess at the logic: Hair of the dog that bit you? "Homeopathic economics," a Romney invention in which you ingest whatever made you sick to get better? The Romney "wind jobs" only multiplied when it came to education. Romney claimed he wants to "keep Pell grants growing," but his running mate's (and his party's) budget would cut those grants (which are already inadequate) for as many as a million students. And Romney's own position paper on education complains that "the Pell Grant program ... is on unsure financial footing." That's the paper which blames the Pell grant program's "unsure financial footing" on "the expanding entitlement mentality." Rich guy to the "47 percent": It's not me. It's you. The campaign's education paper concludes that Romney would "refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most" -- strongly implying deep cuts to the program -- in order to avoid "future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches." You know what would avoid those funding problems even more effectively? Funding. The Wind Cries Romney Romney includes deficit reduction in his "five point plan," too. Another one of his "Day One" plans is something called, "The Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act," which would immediately reduce all non-discretionary spending by five percent. Know what that means? Layoffs -- lots of them -- for teachers, first responders, postal workers and lots of other people. Romney says he'll reduce unemployment rates by putting more people out of work. Trying wrapping your head around that economic Zen koan. Romney said the words "small business" or "small businesses" 14 times during the debate, twice as much as the president did. And yet Romney's fellow Republicans on the Hill rejected tax cuts for small businesses four times this year -- three times in the House and once in the Senate -- and last year his running mate's budget imposed savage cuts to the Small Business Administration. In fact, House Republicans voted to stop all new hiring at the SBA's Office of International Trade, and to rescind $30 million in state grants to promote exports. They even gutted provisions written by a fellow Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe, that would have helped small businesses export their products. To paraphrase Harry S. Truman: In a race between a Republican and a Republican, the jobless person loses every time. Everyone Knows It's Windy Another one of Romney's "five points to create jobs" is "energy independence," by which Romney means removing all of remaining environmental restrictions on oil and gas companies, and allowing them to mine, drill and dig where they please -- with minimal regulation. It's true that oil and gas create some jobs -- but unrestrained exploitation of our natural resources creates relatively few of them, and it does so at an enormous cost in the future (and sometimes in the present). And the despoilers never talk about the jobs that have been lost as a result of their actions. Why don't you ask the folks down on the Gulf how many jobs the BP oil spill cost them? The industries Romney represents also love to say they'll bring gas prices down and make us energy independent -- but please note: At no time did Romney say the fuel produced by these changes would be sold in the United States. But step out of the wind tunnel for a second and you'll hear the dirty truth: Last year the United States exported more oil than it imported. Many of the the companies that Romney wants to unleash in the name of "energy independence," especially those along the battered Gulf Coast, can make more money selling that oil to other countries. Against the Wind An Iowa-area newspaper notes that there are only about 7,000 wind-industry jobs in Iowa, which it describes as a "tiny sliver" of the state's workforce. That's true. But that's more jobs than the Keystone pipeline will create, according to a government study -- and the Republicans have been touting Keystone as a "job-creating" plan. A Cornell University study has concluded that Keystone will actually cost the nation jobs -- in the 15 states where gas prices could actually rise as a result of the pipeline, and due to crop failures caused by its pollution. (That's not even counting the costs should there be a major -- possibly lethal -- disaster. See "Four Ways Keystone XL Could Be a Job Killer" in Cornell University, Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost by the Construction of XL Pipeline.) If you hate being jobless, imagine being jobless, living in a fouled environment -- and paying more for gas. Anyway the Wind Blows Romney's the candidate who'll say or do anything to close the deal. He's flip-flopped on everything from reproductive rights to environmental protection. Now, as a paid spokesperson for mega-corporations, he mocks climate change as a myth as he pretends he's standing up for the Mom and Pop companies across the country. "I want to make small businesses grow and thrive," said Romney. But his economic policies have consistently favored giant corporations -- mega-banks and major job outsourcers -- over smaller enterprises. Why not? They're paying for his campaign. ExxonMobil. Goldman Sachs. Koch Industries. To us they're corporate predators. But for Mitt Romney, they're the wind beneath his wings. But, even knowing that, it's hard to top this comment for sheer audacity: "I came through small business," said Romney. "I understand how hard it is to start a small business." Whoosh. That was one heck of a wind. Bain Capital was set up by Bill Bain, Romney's boss. Romney insisted on a written contract from Bain guaranteeing he could have his old job back if he failed -- without even losing his scheduled bonuses. Romney never put up his own money for the business, never went without a fat paycheck, never took a chance -- in other words, he was never an entrepreneur. Romney likes to say he'd run the country like a business. But every successful business person knows there'll be times when you need to invest in your venture today for success tomorrow. That comes naturally to an entrepreneur -- if she or he believes in their enterprise. But Romney doesn't want to invest in the United States -- not in educating its workforce, or rebuilding its infrastructure, or even in research and development. Either he's not very good at business or he doesn't believe in this country. Gone With the Wind We've concentrated on Romney because of his sheer mendacity, which reached gale-force speeds on Tuesday night. But the president has work to do, too. Even though his performance last night will help him considerably, he needs to make up more ground to protect swing states. And his party remains much more vulnerable than he is. The president can seal the deal now -- but only if he pledges to do more to rein in Wall Street, offers more ambitious jobs plans and offers a more vigorous defense of government. But then, the system's rigged against that. Twenty years ago, the two major parties forced out the League of Women Voters and replaced it with a shadowy private organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates. (Glenn Greenwald has a good round-up on the CPD.) That's all but guaranteed that third-party candidates will be shut out of future debates -- which has left important economic, civil liberties and foreign policy topics and viewpoints outside the debate hall. The CPD encapsulates everything that's wrong with insider Washington. It's co-directed by lobbyist/publicist Michael McCurry (who serves the telecommunications companies, among others) and Frank Fahrenkopf (who serves the gaming/gambling industry). One of the companies McCurry's firm serves is Bain Capital. And he's the Democrat on the leadership team. Some other familiar faces are on its board, too, including good ol' Alan "310 million tits" Simpson -- the Simpson of "Simpson Bowles" Social Security-cutting notoriety. Maybe that explains why the president said he and Romney agreed about Social Security (and disagreed with the American people about it.) And why he's supporting the same three free-trade agreements Romney promised to sign on Day One. If he doesn't show a little more daylight between himself and Romney, he's putting himself and his party in danger. As for the debate itself, here's how it works: Both candidates -- and the moderator -- must agree to specific rules before the debate takes place, and this year's "Memorandum of Understanding" is a must-read. It even included this: "Each candidate may move about in a pre-designated area, as proposed by the Commission and approved by each campaign, and may not leave that area while the debate is underway." Weird, isn't it? A nation which places a premium on "free range chickens" is standing by while its presidential candidates -- and its debate -- are caged. "A pre-designated area, approved by each campaign," which a candidate "may not leave": If that isn't a perfect metaphor for our broken political process, what is? How Many Roads They're calling the debate for Obama, and I agree completely. But Romney wins one prize hands-down: the one for audacious dishonesty. And meanwhile, for unemployed, under-employed and under-earning Americans, some real questions remain unanswered. For the president: Why are you pushing Simpson-Bowles austerity when we're still in a crisis? Why aren't you fighting to prevent cuts in Social Security and Medicare? Why aren't you telling the country in clear and direct terms how we can create jobs and stimulate growth? For Mr. Romney: How can you cut the deficit by reducing tax revenues? How will your voodoo economics work tomorrow, when it didn't work yesterday and isn't working today? (And how do you keep your hair so perfect, what with so many "wind jobs" blowing in your general vicinity?) For both candidates: How does cutting public-sector jobs create private-sector jobs? Who'll rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges with all this austerity deficit-cutting going on? And with a deficit that was caused by wars and tax cuts -- and a future deficit driven by medical costs -- why aren't we addressing the root causes of the problem: excessive military spending, wealth and tax unfairness, and excessive greed in the health care economy? But in the end, the takeaway from this debate was: Man, what about that Mitt Romney? There's no there there. Romney's the ultimate phony salesman, the Joe Isuzu of American politics, the PowerPoint candidate with no product to sell. Ever sat in a corporate boardroom with a sales person like that? I have. If you ask them a substantive question you'll see a blank look cross their face for second. Then they'll go right back to reciting the bullet points on the screen. Speaking of questions, it's a funny thing: We heard a lot of discussion -- and a lot of"wind jobs" -- about employment and economic recovery. But there wasn't much talk about why the economy's in such bad shape. Why didn't anybody mention the bankers whose illegal and unethical behavior triggered the financial crisis? Why wasn't there any discussion about holding them accountable for ruining so many millions of lives? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

30 сентября 2012, 22:47

Presenting The World's Biggest Hedge Fund You Have Never Heard Of

The world's largest hedge fund is not located in the top floor of some shiny, floor-to-ceiling glass clad skyscraper in New York, London, Hong Kong or Shanghai. It isn't in some sprawling mansion in Greenwich or Stamford which houses a state of the art trading desk behind a crocodile-filled moat. Instead it can be found in tiny, nondescript office in Suite 225 located on 730 Sandhill Road in Reno, Nevada. "That's not possible" one may say - the world's largest hedge fund is Ray Dalio's Bridgewater, which at last check had about $100 billion in AUM (and which has so far had a less than stellar performance in 2012, underperforming the S&P by a substantial margin). Turns out it is: the fund which was at $117.2 billion as of June 30, and which has lately been growing at a pace of about $15 billion per quarter (which would put it at about $130 billion currently), is none other than Braeburn Capital, a Nevada-based asset management corporation. Who is Braeburn? Braeburn is a subsidiary of another far more famous company, which since 2006 has had one simple task: manage the cash of the parent company. At Braeburn's inception, the cash pile was modest, yet absolutely massive in unlevered terms, at just over $10 billion. Fast forward 6 years, and the massive cash pile has now grown to be epically gargantuan. Of course, the parent company in question is none other than Apple, whose publicly reported cash horde at June 30, 2012 was a whopping $117,221,000,000. This is the AUM of Braeburn. Any substantial follow up diligence on Braeburn will not reveal much if anything. CapitalIQ has the following description of the firm: "Braeburn Capital Inc. is the asset management arm of Apple Inc. The firm invests in the public equity markets. Braeburn Capital Inc. was founded in 2006 and is based in Reno, Nevada." And that's it - there is no breakdown of which "public equity market" investments Braeburn is invested in, as is to be expected. Bloomberg provides the following minimalist information: Some more useful information cn be found in the Nevada Annual Report of tax-filing entities: Entity Name: BRAEBURN CAPITAL, INC. Filing Status: Active     Date Filed: 10/03/2005 Type: Domestic Corporation     File Number: E0667452005-7 It also lists the firm's principals: Gary Wipfler730 Sandhill RoadSuite 225Reno, NV 89521 Gene Levoff730 Sandhill RoadSuite 225Reno, NV 89521 Michael Shapiro730 Sandhill RoadSuite 225Reno, NV 89521 The LinkedIn profile of Braeburn CIO Steve Johnson is also rather bland: As is that of Braeburn Portfolio Manager Ted Mulvaney, who before taking over capital allocation of tens of billions worked at a fund named for a Douglas Adams planet. Oddly enough, the only actual personnel link between Braeburn and Apple can be found in the profile of principal Gary Wipfler who just happens to be the official Treasurer, and thus as expected, the person responsible for the mega cash stash of the behemoth tech company. For some other clues on Braeburn one has to go to the NYT, and a certain article discussing AAPL's ability to legally and quite successfully bypass American corporate tax laws. In 2006, as Apple’s bank accounts and stock price were rising, company executives came here to Reno and established a subsidiary named Braeburn Capital to manage and invest the company’s cash. Braeburn is a variety of apple that is simultaneously sweet and tart.   Today, Braeburn’s offices are down a narrow hallway inside a bland building that sits across from an abandoned restaurant. Inside, there are posters of candy-colored iPods and a large Apple insignia, as well as a handful of desks and computer terminals.   When someone in the United States buys an iPhone, iPad or other Apple product, a portion of the profits from that sale is often deposited into accounts controlled by Braeburn, and then invested in stocks, bonds or other financial instruments, say company executives. Then, when those investments turn a profit, some of it is shielded from tax authorities in California by virtue of Braeburn’s Nevada address.   Since founding Braeburn, Apple has earned more than $2.5 billion in interest and dividend income on its cash reserves and investments around the globe. Naturally, Apple is less than eager to discuss the role of its Nevada asset manager: Apple declined to comment on its Nevada operations. Privately, some executives said it was unfair to criticize the company for reducing its tax bill when thousands of other companies acted similarly. If Apple volunteered to pay more in taxes, it would put itself at a competitive disadvantage, they argued, and do a disservice to its shareholders. There is much more in the NYT article, but in short, while Apple for now uses Braeburn primarily in its capacity to find legal tax loophole all around the world and avoid paying taxes, there is no denying that with a cash balance that in a two years may be well over $200 billion, applying even a modest amount of leverage would make AAPL the best capitalized bank, mutual fund or asset manager in the world. What's more, Braeburn has no reporting obligations: there is no Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) entry on Braeburn for the logical reason that it is not an investment advisor: it merely manages an ungodly amount of cash for AAPL's millions of shareholders. There is also no SEC filing 13-F filing on Braeburn's holdings. As such, not confied by the limitations of being a "long-only", it is in its full right to hold any assets it feels like, up to and including CDS on housing, puts on Samsung, or Constant Maturity Swaps that pay if the 10 Year collapses. It just doesn't have to report any of them. Nobody knows: and that's the beauty of Braeburn. It is the world's largest hedge fund that is not really a hedge fund, nobody has heard of, and nobody knows just what assets it holds. Which is precisely what Apple wants. Incidentally, what Apple probably wants more is to keep the status quo as is. However, with the topic of finding effective tax loopholes which are perfectly legal, yet which apparently are unfair, serving as the basis of the entire presidential race to date, what Apple can be absolutely certain of is that once the farce culminating on November 6 is over, the government's eye will finally turn to minimizing "externalities" among such companies which have been able to pass through corporate tax savings to end consumers by abiding within the legal system that countless other muppet congressmen, senators and presidents have developed over the ages. Because while AAPL may have built the iPhone, very soon it will be only fair that it share its profits acquired over the years, and thus its cash balance, which at last check was double that of the US Treasury, with the general public. At that point Braeburn will almost certainly be a household name.