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19 октября, 18:09

Irish central bank publishes minutes of first macro-prudential committee meeting

Central Banking Governor and senior staff approve current O-Sii and C-Cyb plans Governor and senior staff approve current O-Sii and C-Cyb plans; intend to look further at impact of macro-prudential measures on housing markets

19 октября, 15:45

MGIC Investment (MTG) Beats on Q3 Earnings & Revenues

MGIC Investment (MTG) reported third-quarter 2016 operating net income per share of 25 cents, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 17 cents by 47%.

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18 октября, 13:13

BRIEF-Heitech Padu Bhd accepts purchase order from Prudential Services Asia Sdn Bhd

* Heitech padu bhd- accepted a purchase order from prudential services asia sdn bhd for disaster recovery services and office rental services

17 октября, 16:20

Necessity as the Mother of Invention: Monetary Policy after the Crisis -- by Alan S. Blinder, Michael Ehrmann, Jakob de Haan, David-Jan Jansen

We ask whether recent changes in monetary policy due to the financial crisis will be temporary or permanent. We present evidence from two surveys--one of central bank governors, the other of academic specialists. We find that central banks in crisis countries are more likely to have resorted to new policies, to have had discussions about mandates, and to have communicated more. But the thinking has changed more broadly--for instance, central banks in non-crisis countries also report having implemented macro-prudential measures. Overall, we expect central banks in the future to have broader mandates, use macro-prudential tools more widely, and communicate more actively than before the crisis. While there is no consensus yet about the usefulness of unconventional monetary policies, we expect most of them will remain in central banks' toolkits, as governors who gain experience with a particular tool are more likely to assess that tool positively. Finally, the relationship between central banks and their governments might well have changed, with central banks "crossing the line" more often than in the past.

14 октября, 23:46

Prudential Poised for Long-Term Growth Despite Headwinds

On Oct 14, we issued an updated research report on Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU).

13 октября, 23:44

Trump, Truth, And The Christian Right

The Donald Trump "sex tape" that has sent Republicans scurrying like rats from a sinking barge--just weeks before the presidential election--is spectacle enough. Now add to this cavalcade of confusion the volte-face of a handful of prominent evangelical voices who, up until this moment, declared Trump "a morally good choice." Such reversals do not signal remorse and enlightenment, however, but rather desperation and denial. Everyone who has endorsed Trump, politician or preacher, has been diminished by the association. Yet chief among these tragic figures is Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix University and author of Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, a required text in many evangelical colleges and seminaries. In late July, Grudem published a 5,000-word defense of Trump that kicked up a firestorm. No other evangelical thinker attempted such an ambitious project--the reconstruction of Donald Trump into a credible presidential candidate--couched in the language of moral theology and prudential politics. In reality, Grudem's polemic was shot through with half-truths, facile assumptions, tortured logic, and emotional manipulation. His eleventh-hour abandonment of Trump suggests something of the anguished state of militant evangelicalism. Offering not a scintilla of evidence, Grudem at first concluded that "Trump's character is far better than what is portrayed by much current political mudslinging, and far better than his opponent's character." Declaring the need to make "an ethical decision" in this election, Grudem wrote, "we should base the decision on the most likely results. In this case, the most likely result is that Trump will do most or all of what he has said." Put aside the inconvenient fact that Trump's political views are amorphous and malleable, that he shows no capacity to work with the legislative branch of government, and that much of his agenda represents an assault on the constitution and the international norms upholding human rights. Grudem ended his essay with a moral taunt about as damning as any Puritan jeremiad ever delivered: But the most likely result of not voting for Trump is that you will be abandoning thousands of unborn babies who will be put to death under Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court, thousands of Christians who will be excluded from their lifelong occupations... thousands of sick and elderly who will never get adequate medical treatment when the government is the nation's only healthcare provider, thousands of people who will be killed by an unchecked ISIS, and millions of Jews in Israel who will find themselves alone and surrounded by hostile enemies. And you will be contributing to a permanent loss of the American system of government due to a final victory of unaccountable judicial tyranny. Yes, gentle Christian voter, this apocalyptic cascade of events--the abandonment of entire classes of people to perdition and the permanent loss of American democracy--must be placed on your shoulders for failing to endorse Donald Trump for president. This is what passes as serious ethical reflection in evangelical circles. But of course that was Wayne Grudem's position in late July. The Trump video, in which the candidate boats of sexually assaulting women, apparently transformed Grudem's political theology overnight. His pious defense of the Republican nominee morphed into a slippery, Trump-like non-apology for having done so. "I previously called Donald Trump a 'good candidate with flaws' and a 'flawed candidate,'" he wrote in Townhall.com, "but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character." The deepest problem for Grudem, and others like him, is that his original manipulation of Trump's record was a deliberate evasion of the truth. Even now, Grudem cannot speak frankly, in total candor, about his previous endorsement. "I did not take the time to investigate earlier allegations in detail, and I now wish I had done so," he says. "If I had read or heard some of these materials earlier, I would not have written as positively as I did about Donald Trump." The evasion of truth persists: Grudem expended 5,000 words to reimagine Donald Trump according to his liking, but "did not take the time to investigate" Trump's public record and character? Like everyone else following Trump's ascendancy, he knew all about the lies and misstatements, the infidelities, the misogyny, the mockery of the disabled, the race-baiting rhetoric, the attacks on a grieving gold-star family, and on and on. Grudem did not merely write "positively" about Trump; he wrote dogmatically, with moral certitude. "I feel the force of the words of James," he intoned. "Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." And for all this sanctimony he offers no apology--not to his students, for whose moral formation he is partially responsible, nor to the larger Christian community he hoped to influence. In the war of words during this disgraceful campaign, on both sides of the political aisle, truth has been the most conspicuous casualty. But how do we explain the failure to uphold basic norms about truth-telling among Bible-believing Christians? History offers some clues. There is a belligerent strain in Protestant Christianity, embodied in the Calvinist tradition to which Grudem belongs, which has been willing to sacrifice moral and biblical truth in the pursuit of noble ends. John Calvin, supremely confident he had recovered a neglected view of predestination, sought to build a community of "the elect" in Geneva--and adopted a theology justifying the banishment, vilification, and execution of dissenters in order to achieve it. His doctrine was a violent rejection of the life and teachings of Christ. The English Puritans, overwhelmingly Calvinist, viewed the kingship of Charles I as the great obstacle to their hopes for a godly commonwealth. They wanted to blow up the old order. They instigated a civil war, orchestrated the king's execution, and turned to a "man on horseback" to inaugurate a new regime: Oliver Cromwell. Like the Puritan project in Salem, Massachusetts, the experiment did not end well. It is perhaps no accident that Grudem is considered a leading light among the "new Calvinists," a small but vocal group of hard-line thinkers and preachers who hold an uncompromising view of the Calvinist doctrines of election and predestination. Like the old Calvinism, the new Calvinism teaches its adherents that they are a righteous remnant battling a godless and hostile political culture. This is not the place to debate Protestant theology, but the tribalism and dogmatism of historic Calvinism may have found a political outlet. As one theologian and critic put it recently: "I think Calvinism is the Donald Trump of theology." That's a harsh verdict. Many believers outside the Calvinist or Reformed tradition, after all, have endorsed Trump, and some prominent Calvinists have denounced him as unfit for the presidency. Nevertheless, the rise of Trump represents an illness in the body politic--a politics of self-righteous rage that has an analog in militant Christianity. It is time, inside the church, for a ruthless moral inventory. As the Scripture warns: "Judgment begins in the house of God." Joseph Loconte is an associate professor of history at The King's College in New York City and the author of the New York Times bestselling book A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

13 октября, 02:02

DRAFT: Did Macroeconomic Policy Play a Different Role in the (Post-2009) Recovery?: Conclusion

J. Bradford DeLong U.C. Berkeley October 15, 2016 Thus we are left where we are today. We have essentially a full recovery as far as the unemployment rate is concerned. We have a half-recovery as far as the rise-of-the-robots-corrected prime-age employment rate is concerned. It would be very rash to...

13 октября, 01:21

DRAFT: Did Macroeconomic Policy Play a Different Role in the (Post-2009) Recovery?: Introduction

J. Bradford DeLong U.C. Berkeley October 15, 2016 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 60th Economic Conference The Elusive “Great” Recovery: Causes and Implications for Future Business Cycle Dynamics **Introduction:** The shocks of 2008-9 put us in the extreme lower tail of the distribution—or at least of what was thought to...

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10 октября, 16:15

Measuring Liquidity Mismatch in the Banking Sector -- by Arvind Krishnamurthy, Jennie Bai, Charles-Henri Weymuller

This paper implements a liquidity measure, "Liquidity Mismatch Index (LMI)," to gauge the mismatch between the market liquidity of assets and the funding liquidity of liabilities. We construct the LMIs for 2882 bank holding companies during 2002-2014 and investigate the time-series and cross-sectional patterns of banks' liquidity and liquidity risk. Aggregate banking sector liquidity worsens from +$4 trillion before the crisis to -$6 trillion in 2008, and reverses back to the pre-crisis level in 2009. We also show how a macro-prudential liquidity stress test can be conducted with the LMI metric, and that such a stress test could have revealed the fragility of the banking system in early 2007. In the cross section, we find that banks with more ex-ante liquidity mismatch have a higher stock-market crash probability and are more likely to borrow from the government during the financial crisis. Thus the LMI measure is informative regarding both individual bank liquidity risk as well as the liquidity risk of the entire banking system. We compare the LMI measure of liquidity to other measures such as Basel III's liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio, and show that LMI performs better in many dimensions. The outperformance of LMI partially results from the contract-specific time-varying liquidity sensitivity weights which are driven by market prices.

07 октября, 13:52

Global Stocks, US Futures Fall Pressured By Pound "Flash Crash" Ahead Of Payrolls

U.S. equity index futures fell, with European, Asian stocks also declining before the September payrolls data, following the stunning 2-minute "flash crash" meltdown in sterling which plunged as much as 6.1%, the most since Brexit and is set for its biggest weekly loss since 2009. Sterling tumbled 2.1% to $1.2346, after earlier reaching $1.1841, the lowest since March 1985. As observed last night, while it is unclear what ultimately unleashed the plunge in the pound, some have blamed algos as being responsible for the move, while others suggesting a possible "fat finger", either accidental or premeditated as the catalyst, exacerbated by low volumes during thin Asian pre-open trade. Others pointed to comments by French President Francois Hollande saying the U.K. must suffer the consequences of leaving the European Union, although that theory has been largely dismissed as Hollande did not say anything the market was not aware of. Derek Mumford, a director at Rochford Capital said he and his colleagues were searching for a reason for the pound’s plunge, scanning news-agency reports and the internet. “The speed of the move looks like a kind of a flash crash, some sort of failure,” Mumford said, adding that sterling is set to drop to $1.15 in the coming weeks if it doesn’t recover above $1.28. “I’m sort of struggling to justify it. I don’t think there’s any shock that the EU will be going for a hard Brexit.” In any case, as Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of currency strategy at Commerzbank in Frankfurt told Bloomberg, “this is not something you would expect in a half-efficient market,” said . “We have a liquidity situation which has eroded massively over the last few years and policy makers have largely ignored it. All the regulation that we have in place, for good reason, has the side-effect that liquidity in the FX market is much more shaky and fluctuating heavily, and we have times when it’s extremely low, especially in Asian trading.” “It caught the market wrong-footed and triggered a lot of algorithmic selling,” said Hugh Killen of Westpac. “We didn’t see any significant demand for sterling off the low. It was more of the point that the selling subsided and the market calmed and it reverted back to a level that was more realistic for the day.” Gold, crude, metals rise with dollar. Today's top news stories include pound sterling’s flash crash, the September payrolls, Hurricane Matthew’s landfall in Florida, and Deutsche Bank’s consideration of capital options. Ahead of payrolls, the dollar climbed to 10-week high and equities retreated on concerns a strong jobs report may bolster the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.  The odds of a rate increase this year have climbed to 64 percent after reports showed the fastest expansion in services in almost a year, a rebound in manufacturing and the second-lowest level of jobless claims last week in four decades. “Should non-farm payrolls exceed expectations, I would call it a positive disappointment as the equity market could get a little worried about further rate hikes earlier next year, after a likely increase in December,” said Christian Stocker, a strategist at UniCredit Bank AG in Munich, Germany. “The economy is strong enough to withstand a rate increase. But if the market expects we will see more rate hikes than currently anticipated then that could be a burden for relatively high valuations in the U.S.” The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index strengthened for a fifth day as better-than-estimated economic data this week fueled bets for rate increases. Stocks fell with bonds and gold headed for its worst week in almost two years. The pound failed to recover all of of its losses after the biggest intraday slide since the Brexit referendum. Oil extended gains above $50 a barrel. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.3 percent, with almost all industry groups except miners declining. The benchmark is on course for a 0.5 percent drop this week, as its longest stretch without losses in almost a year unraveled amid concern the European Central Bank may turn less accommodative. Germany’s Innogy SE was little changed, after RWE AG’s green energy business started trading in Frankfurt above the issue price of its initial public offering, Europe’s biggest since Glencore Plc in 2011. RWE slid 4.5 percent. S&P 500 Index futures retreated 0.3% , after U.S. equities closed little changed on Thursday. A debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is set to take place on Sunday night in St. Louis. The yield on U.S. Treasuries due in a decade increased by one basis point to 1.75 percent, climbing for a sixth day. Yields on similar-maturity sovereign debt in Australia and New Zealand jumped more than 20 basis points this week and Germany’s turned positive on Friday for the first time in two weeks. “If the payrolls number comes out around 200,000 or so, just slightly above where people are expecting, there could be a little bit of a selloff” in Treasuries, said John Gorman, the Tokyo-based head of non-yen rates trading for Asia and the Pacific at Nomura Holdings Inc., a primary dealer in Japan and the U.S. “The Fed needs to be a little bit more concerned about what’s going on in the U.S. rather than externally, and the economy is improving. I think they’ll probably be looking to hike in December.” Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 2151 Stoxx 600 down 0.4% to 342 MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.3% to 140 US 10-yr yield up 2bps to 1.75% Dollar Index up 0.28% to 97.04 WTI Crude futures up 0.4% to $50.66 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $52.71 Gold spot up less than 0.1% to $1,255 Silver spot up 0.2% to $17.36 Top Global News Millions Ordered to Flee as Matthew Bears Down on Florida: Storm downgraded to category 3, with winds of 120mph; is expected to make landfall overnight near Cape Canaveral. Pound Flash Crash Has Traders Blaming Algos for Selling Frenzy: 6.1% decline drove sterling as low as $1.18; at least one electronic trading platform recorded transaction at $1.14. Deutsche Bank Said to Weigh Capital Options With Banks: Bank holding informal talks with securities firms to explore options including raising capital should mounting legal bills require such. Goldman Said to Receive Fed Warning on UFC Buyout Debt: Federal Reserve bank supervisors cautioned Goldman over risks in deal it arranged to fund $4b buyout of Ultimate Fighting Championship debt. Verizon Asks Yahoo for $1b Discount in Deal After Hack: NYPost: AOL head Tim Armstrong flew to California to meet with YHOO execs, discuss price reduction. Honeywell Profit Misses Forecast on Weaker Aerospace Sales: 3Q Earnings were about $1.60 a share, less than the outlook of $1.67 to $1.72. Apple Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams: Co. plans to unify separate internet services groups tosingle campus to better compete with Google, Amazon.com in cloud. United Technologies Cuts Pension Liabilities by $1.77b: Co. transferring obligations to insurer Prudential, also via plan to offer lump-sum payouts to some retirees. Facebook Testing VR Headset That Doesn’t Need PC Connection: Co. working on new virtual reality product that’s advanced than Samsung Gear VR; doesn’t require PC connection. Gap Climbs After Sept. Sales Decline Not as Bad as Feared: Same-store sales gained 4% at Old Navy; analysts had projected growth of

06 октября, 18:03

Helping Countries Strengthen their AML/CFT and Prudential Regimes

​ As finance officials from around the world gather in Washington for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, facilitating continued access to the global financial system, including through correspondent banking relationships, remains an issue of shared interest.  The U.S. Treasury Department will participate in a number of multilateral events and bilateral discussions where the twin objectives of financial transparency and financial inclusion will be front and center.  These activities will take place against the backdrop of Treasury’s continued international engagement with the G-20, the Financial Action Task Force, and the Financial Stability Board, and through regional public-private dialogues on these issues.  The goal of this multifaceted effort is to ensure a well-functioning, accessible, transparent, resilient financial system.   An important aspect of this work is providing technical assistance to countries that are committed to building strong anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and prudential oversight regimes—regimes that rely on clear requirements, effective supervision, and meaningful and proportionate enforcement.  Last month, G-20 Leaders called on member countries along with the IMF and World Bank to intensify their support of expanded technical assistance directed at these efforts.  To that end, the Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) is initiating new projects and proactively assessing requests for assistance from countries that have expressed concerns about a decline in access to correspondent banking relationships in their countries, coupled with a commitment to enhance their AML/CFT regime.  For example, in Belize, OTA will help to develop the capacity of the financial intelligence unit as the central focus of that country’s AML/CFT regime.  Similarly, a recently completed OTA assessment of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which supervises banks in eight Caribbean countries, concluded that there is potential for an effective AML/CFT technical assistance engagement there.  And, in Somalia, OTA will build out its existing technical assistance engagement with the Central Bank of Somalia with the aim of facilitating remittance flows via safe and secure channels.  In all, OTA is currently executing 30 projects globally focused on helping countries strengthen their AML/CFT and prudential banking supervision regimes.   Taken together, these initiatives underscore the commitment of the Treasury Department and the U.S. government to advance the causes of financial transparency and financial inclusion, as we work to further advance a safe and sound financial system.    Larry McDonald is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technical Assistance Policy and Michael Pisa is a Senior Policy Expert in the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.   ###

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03 октября, 19:45

Newly arrived from The Bank of England: ‘Independent’ Chairman of the London Gold Market

by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com In a recent article titled “Blood Brothers: The Bank of England and the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)“, I charted the extremely close historical and contemporary relationship between the LBMA and the Bank of England. This article highlighted that: the LBMA was established in 1987 by the Bank of England the original bullion bank founding members and steering committee members of the LBMA represented 6 commercial banks active in the London Gold Market, namely, N.M. Rothschild, Mocatta & Goldsmid, Morgan Guaranty Trust, J. Aron, Sharps Pixley (former Sharps Pixley), and Rudolf Wolff & Co. the Bank of England has been involved in the affairs of the LBMA from Day 1 in 1987, and continues to this day to have observer status on the LBMA Management Committee the Bank of England has observer status on not just the LBMA Management Committee, but also on the LBMA Physical Committee and in the LBMA Vault Managers group the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also has observer status on the LBMA Management Committee although there are 2 other London financial market committees closely aligned with the Bank of England, and populated by bank representatives, that publish the minutes of their regular meetings, namely the Foreign Exchange Joint Standing Committee, the Sterling Money Markets Liaison Committee, the LBMA Management Committee does not publish the minutes of its meetings, so the public is in the dark as to what’s discussed in those meetings Note that “observer status” does not mean to sit and observe on a committee, it just means that the observer has no voting rights at committee meetings. Note also that the structure of the LBMA Management Committee has recently changed to that of a Board, so the Committee is now called the LBMA Board. One of the most interesting points in the previous article referred to the very recent appointment of a very recently departed Bank of England senior staff member, and former head of the Bank of England Foreign exchange Division, Paul Fisher, as the new ‘independent‘ chairman of the LBMA Management Committee / ‘Board’. Paul Fisher has also in the past, been the Bank of England’s representative, with observer status, on this very same LBMA Management Committee (now LBMA Board) that he is now becoming independent chairman of. Fisher is replacing outgoing LBMA Board chairman Grant Angwin, who if from Asahi Refining (formerly representing Johnson Matthey). ‘Independent’ Non-Executive Chairman This article continues where the above analysis left off, and looks at the appointment of Fisher as the new ‘independent’ Non-Executive Chairman of the LBMA Board, considers the ‘independence’ of the appointment given the aforementioned very close relationship between the Bank of England and the LBMA, and examines the chairman’s appointment in the context of the UK Corporate Governance Code, which now governs the Constitution and operation of the LBMA Board. As I commented previously: Arguably, the pièce de résistance of these Bank of England / FCA relationships with the LBMA Management Committee, is the fact that Paul Fisher, the newly appointed ‘independent‘ Chairman of the LBMA Board, a.k.a. LBMA Management Committee, has already previously been the Bank of England’s “observer” on the LBMA Management Committee.” This was confirmed in Fisher’s speech to the 2004 LBMA Annual Conference in Shanghai, Fisher, when then Head of Foreign Exchange at the Bank of England, he stated: “I am glad to be invited to the LBMA’s Management Committee meetings as an observer.” Fisher was Head of Foreign Exchange Division at the Bank of England from 2000 to 2009, so could in theory have been a Bank of England observer on the LBMA Management Committee throughout this period. The Foreign Exchange Division of the Bank of England is responsible for managing the Sterling exchange rate, and for managing HM Treasury’s official reserves held in the Exchange Equalisation Account (EEA), including HM Treasury’s official gold reserves. One would think that when the LBMA announced in a press release in July of this year that Fisher was being appointed as the new LBMA chairman, that the fact that he had previously attended the LBMA Management Committee meetings would be a fact of relevance to the appointment. However, surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, this fact was omitted from the press release. The LBMA press release, titled “Dr Paul Fisher to be the new LBMA chairman“, dated 13 July 2016, begins: “The LBMA is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Paul Fisher as the new Chairman of the Association, effective from 5 September, 2016. Paul is due to retire from the Bank of England at the end of July.” The press release goes on to say: “Paul brings with him a wealth of financial market experience following his 26 years at the Bank of England. Prior to joining the LBMA, his last role was as Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority. Paul was selected by the LBMA Board following an independent Executive search procedure.” “Previously, from 2002, he [Paul Fisher] ran the Bank’s Foreign Exchange Division where he had a constructive relationship with the LBMA and developed a working knowledge of the bullion market.” Notwithstanding the capability of the appointment, there is absolutely zero mention in this press release of the fact that Paul Fisher used to be the Bank of England observer on the LBMA Management Committee, a committee that he is now being made chair of. Why so? Was it to make the relationship appear more distant that it actually was, thereby reinforcing the perception of ‘independence’? In addition, the recently added bio of Paul Fisher on the LBMA Board listings features text identical to the press release, with no indication that Fisher previously attended the LBMA Management Committee meetings. Notice also the reference to an “Executive search procedure” being used to support the new chairman’s appointment. LBMA Board At this point, it’s instructive to examine what drove the re-definition of the LBMA Management Committee to become the LBMA “Board”, and the appointment process to that board of an ‘independent‘ Non-Executive Chairperson. It can be seen from the LBMA website archive that until July of this year, the entity providing oversight and strategic direction to the LBMA was the ‘LBMA Management Committee': Only in July following a LBMA General Meeting on 29 June did the website description change to LBMA Board: The new Board structure of the LBMA allows it to have 3 representatives from LBMA Market Making firms, 3 representatives from LBMA Full Member entities, 3 ‘independent’ non -executive directors (inclusive of the ‘independent’ chairman), and up to 3 representatives from the LBMA Executive staff, including the LBMA CEO. One of the first references to a future change in governance structure at the LBMA came in October 2015 at the LBMA annual conference, held in Rome. At this conference, Ruth Crowell, CEO projected that in the future: “To enhance its governance, the new Board will include for the first time Non-Executive Directors whilst giving more power to the Executive so as to ensure any conflicts of interest are eliminated.” On 29 April 2016, a LBMA “Future Events” summary document confirmed that a General Meeting (akin to an EGM) of LBMA members would be convened on Wednesday 29 June 2016 in London so as to “update the LBMA’s legal structure and governance“.  The same “Future Events” summary also highlighted a change in schedule to the LBMA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), which due to the 29 June General Meeting, would now be held on 27 September 2016 with an agenda item to “incorporate, into the constitution of the LBMA, the governance and legal structure changes agreed at the General Meeting in June“.  It would be quite presumptuous for any normal organisation of members, in the month of April, to not only assume that resolutions that were only being put to its membership in the month of June would be passed, but to also actually hard-code these assumptions into the agenda of a scheduled September meeting. However, this was what was written in the “Future Events” document and appears to be the pre-ordained roadmap that the LBMA Management Committee had already set in stone. On Thursday 30 June, the day after its General Meeting in London, the LBMA issued a press release in which it confirmed (as it had predicted) that “Members of the LBMA approved by an overwhelming majority a number of important changes to its Memorandum & Articles of Association“. As well as endorsing the LBMA’s expansion to acquire the responsibilities of the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM), which was the first motion for consideration at the meeting, the press release confirmed that the membership had endorsed the appointment of an independent Non-Executive Chairman: “The second change was to further enhance the governance of the Association. The UK Corporate Governance Code was incorporated and will govern both the Constitution as well as the operation of the Board. While it is vital for the Board to have a strong voice for its Members, it is important that any actual and perceived conflicts between these parties are balanced by having independence on that Board. This independence protects the interests of the wider membership as well as the individuals themselves serving on the Board. To address this, theLBMA has added an independent Non-Executive Chairman as well as two additional Non-Executive Directors(NEDs).” Notice the reference to 2 other independent non-executive directors. Nine business days later, on 13 July 2016, the LBMA issued a further press release revealing that ex Bank of England Head of Foreign Exchange and former observer on the LBMA Management Committee, Paul Fisher had been appointed as the “independent Non-Executive Chairman“. Executive Search Procedure Recall also that the 13 July press release stated “Paul was selected by the LBMA Board following an independent Executive search procedure.”” Nine days is an extremely short period of time to commence, execute, and complete an ‘independent Executive search procedure‘.  It immediately throws up questions such as which search firm was retained to run the independent Executive search procedure?, which candidates did the search firm identify?, was there a short-list of candidates?, who was on such a short-list?, what were the criteria that led to the selection of the winning candidate above other candidates?, and how could such a process have been run and completed in such a limited period of time when similar search and selection processes for chairpersons of corporate boards usually take months to complete? How independent is it also to have a former divisional head of the Bank of England as chairman of the London Gold Market when the Bank of England is the largest custodian of gold in the London Gold Market, and operates in the London Gold Market with absolute secrecy on behalf of its central bank and bullion bank customers. Since the LBMA voluntarily incorporated the UK Corporate Governance Code into the operations of its Board following the General Meeting on 29 June, its instructive to examine what this UK Corporate Governance Code has to say about the appointment of an independent chairman to a board, and to what extent the Corporate Governance Code principles were adhered to in the LBMA’s ‘independent‘ chairman selection process.  UK Corporate Governance Code The LBMA is a private company (company number 02205480) limited by guarantee without share capital, with an incorporation filing at UK Companies House on 14 December 1987. Stock exchange-listed companies in the UK are required to implement the principles of the UK Corporate Governance Code and comply with these principles or else explain (to their shareholders) why they have not complied (called the “comply or explain” doctrine). In the world of listed equities, monitoring and interacting with companies about their corporate governance is a very important area of  institutional and hedge fund management. It has to be so as the share owners are able to monitor and grasp if any governance issues arise at any of companies held within their institutional / hedge fund equity portfolios. Non-listed companies in the UK are also encouraged to apply the principles of the Code, but are not obliged to. When a private company chooses to incorporate the UK Corporate Governance Code to govern its Constitution and operation of its Board, one would expect that it would also then ‘comply’ to the principles of the Code or else ‘explain’ in the spirit of the Code, why it is not in compliance.   The UK Corporate Governance Code is administered by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The April 2016 version of the Code can be read here. The main principles of the Code are divided into 5 sections, namely, Leadership (section A), Effectiveness (section B), Accountability (section C), Remuneration (section D), and Relations with Shareholders (Section E). One of the main principles of Section B is as follows: “There should be a formal, rigorous and transparent procedure for the appointment of new directors to the board. “ Section A also addresses the independence of the chairman, and Section A.3.1. states that: “The chairman should on appointment meet the independence criteria set out in B.1.1″ Section B.1.1, in part, states that: “The board should determine whether the director is independent in character and judgement and whether there are relationships or circumstances which are likely to affect, or could appear to affect, the director’s judgement. The board should state its reasons if it determines that a director is independent notwithstanding the existence of relationships or circumstances which may appear relevant to its determination, including if the director: has, or has had within the last three years, a material business relationship with the company either directly, or as a partner, shareholder, director or senior employee of a body that has such a relationship with the company; represents a significant shareholder;” It goes without saying that the Bank of England has a material business relationship with the commercial banks which are represented on the LBMA Board, and I would argue that although the LBMA has no share capital, because the Bank of England has a material business relationship with the LBMA, and because since Paul Fisher was a senior employee of the Bank of England until July of this year, then the LBMA should “state its reasons as to why it determines that this director is independent“. Furthermore, although the Bank of England is not a ‘significant shareholder’ of the LBMA, it is the next best thing, i.e. it has a significant and vested interest in the workings of the LBMA and interacts with LBMA banks through the London vaulting system, the gold lending market, and in its regulatory capacity of the LBMA member banks. The Bank of England also established the LBMA in 1987 don’t forget, so the extremely close relationship between the two is of material concern when a senior employee of the former suddenly becomes chairman of the latter. Section B.2 addresses ‘Appointments to the Board': “Main Principle There should be a formal, rigorous and transparent procedure for the appointment of new directors to the board“ Section B.2.1.: “There should be a nomination committee which should lead the process for board appointments and make recommendations to the board. A majority of members of the nomination committee should be independent non-executive directors. The nomination committee should make available its terms of reference, explaining its role and the authority delegated to it by the board. [7] [Footnote 7]: The requirement to make the information available would be met by including the information on a website that is maintained by or on behalf of the company.“ Was there a nomination committee? As of the time of appointing the new chairman to the LBMA Board, there were zero independent non-executive directors on the Board. And, excluding the newly appointed chairman, there are still zero other independent non-executive directors on the LBMA Board. If there was a nomination committee, notwithstanding that it couldn’t by definition have a majority of independent non-executive directors when overseeing a search process for an independent chairman, then did it “make available its terms of reference” “on a website that is maintained by or on behalf of the company.” Not that I can see on any part of the LBMA website. Section B.2.4. of the UK Corporate Governance Code includes the text: “Where an external search consultancy has been used, it should be identified in the annual report and a statement made as to whether it has any other connection with the company.“ The company here being the LBMA (which is a private company). There has been no public identification as to the identity of the external search consultancy that the LBMA state was used in the appointment of Paul Fisher as ‘independent’ non-executive chairman. Section  B.3.2. states: “The terms and conditions of appointment of non-executive directors should be made available for inspection.[9] [Footnote 9]: The terms and conditions of appointment of non-executive directors should be made available for inspection by any person at the company’s registered office during normal business hours and at the AGM (for 15 minutes prior to the meeting and during the meeting). There is no reference on the LBMA website as to the terms and conditions of appointment of non-executive directors being made available for inspection by any person at the company’s registered office, nor was this communicated in the LBMA’s press release wherein it announced the appointment of the ‘independent’ non-executive chairman. It is one thing to claim to incorporate the UK Corporate Governance Code into a Board’s operations, but an entirely different matter to actually implement the principles into the operations of the Board. Given the above, I can’t see how the LBMA has done much of the latter. Further ‘Independent’ Non-Executive Director Appointments Given the opacity in the appointment of the Bank of England’s Paul Fisher as the new ‘independent’ non-executive chairman, it is therefore not unreasonable to suggest that the entire appointment process was a pre-ordained shoo-in. Without substantially more transparency from the LBMA, this view is understandable. Nor have there been any announcements about the appointment of “two additional Non-Executive Directors (NEDs)” that was claimed in the LBMA’s 30 June press release. The LBMA held its Annual General Meeting this past week, on Tuesday 27 September. During the AGM, the outgoing chairman, Grant Angwin commented in his speech that: ” I’m delighted to have by my side Dr. Paul Fisher who will be replacing me as the first Independent Non-Executive Chairman of your Association – Paul will introduce himself to you in a moment. Paul and I will Co-Chair the Board until the end of this year. This is the first major step to making the Board more independent, Paul will be joined by up to 2 other Independent Directors in the near future.“ “The Board will now comprise of 6 representatives from the market – three each in the categories of Market Markers and Full Members, up to 3 Independent Non-Executive Directors (of which one will be the Chairman) and up to 3 LBMA Executive Directors. We expect to make further announcements on these roles very shortly.” Given that the new chairman has been appointed, it is odd, in my view, that the 2 other independent directors have yet to be appointed and their identities announced. Likewise, for the 2 new directors from the LBMA Executive, who, if and when they join the Board, will give the LBMA Executive 3 seats on the Board.  Surely the AGM would have been the ideal venue in which to make these announcements, since other board changes were being voted on at this meeting. The New Board Profile For completeness, the changes to the LBMA Board’s composition that did take place at the AGM, based on Board member resolutions that were put to a vote, are explained below: Prior to the AGM last week, the LBMA Board consisted of the following members: Grant Anwin – Asahi Refining (co-chairman of Board) Paul Fisher (new chairman of Board) Ruth Crowell – Chief Executive of LBMA Steven Lowe – Bank of Nova Scotia-ScotiaMocatta (and vice-chairman of Board) Peter Drabwell – HSBC Bank Sid Tipples – JP Morgan Chase Jeremy East – Standard Chartered Robert Davis, Toronto Dominion Bank Philip Aubertin – UBS (‘Observer’ status) Alan Finn, Malca-Amit Mehdi Barkhordar, PAMP Notice that there were 5 LBMA Marking Making reps on the Board, namely from HSBC, JP Morgan, Scotia, Standard Chartered and Toronto Dominion Bank. There was also an ‘observer’ from full LBMA Market Maker UBS. There were 3 Full Member representatives, namely from PAMP, Malca-Amit (the security carrier), and Asahi Refining. At the AGM on 27 September, there was a vote on the Full Member reps to the Board, of which there are 3 positions in the new Board. The existing Full Member reps had to stand down and they, and other Full Member candidates, could re-stand for election: The voting results elected / re-elected the following: Grant Angwin, Asahi Refining (and co-chairman of the Board) Mehdi Barkhordar, PAMP Hitoshi Kosai, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo Because there were 5 Market Maker reps already on the Board, and the new Board structure only allowed 3, there was also an election on which 3 of the 5 would remain: The results were: Steven Lowe, Bank of Nova Scotia-ScotiaMocatta Peter Drabwell, HSBC Bank Sid Tipples, JP Morgan Chase Noticeably, these 3 remaining reps represent what are probably the 3 most powerful bullion banks in the LBMA / LPMCL system, HSBC,  JP Morgan and Scotia, two of which, HSBC and JP Morgan, operate large commercial gold vaults in London, and all 3 of which operate large commercial COMEX approved gold vaults in New York City. The reps from HSBC and Scotia have also been very long serving members of the LBMA Management Committee / Board, having been re-elected in 2015. The AGM voting results press release also added that: “The other two Non-Executive Directors of the LBMA Board will be announced in the near future.” Given the aforementioned profile of the new ‘independent’ LBMA Board Chairman and ex Bank of England senior staffer Paul Fisher, it will be intriguing to examine the new independence credentials of these 2 new Non-Executive Directors who will be announced in the near future. Will they be truly independent, or will they be former bullion bankers previously affiliated with the LBMA and the London Gold Market, or ex FCA people previously affiliated with the LBMA, or maybe a combination of the two. As per the UK Corporate Governance Code: “There should be a formal, rigorous and transparent procedure for the appointment of new directors to the board”. The board should also “state its reasons if it determines that a director is independent“. If an external search consultancy is used in finding either of the 2 new non-executive directors, there should be a “statement made as to whether it [the search consultancy] has any other connection with the company [the LBMA]“. If 2 extra executive directors are also added to the Board from the LBMA’s staffers, to bring the number of Board directors up to 12, who will these 2 people be? My money in the first instance would be on the LBMA’s senior legal counsel (for regulatory reasons) and the LBMA’s communications officer. Whether the minutes of future or past LBMA Board meetings will ever be made public is another matter, but given the persistent secrecy that surrounds all important matters in the London Gold Market, it would probably be very naive to think that real LBMA communication via, for example LBMA Board meeting minutes, will ever see the light of day. Original Article appeared on BullionStar's website: "From Bank of England to LBMA: The ‘independent’ Chair of the LBMA Board"

03 октября, 14:16

Котировки фьючерсов на нефть Brent после перехода на новый декабрьский контракт вернулись к отметке

Котировки фьючерсов на нефть Brent после перехода на новый декабрьский контракт вернулись к отметке в $50 за баррель, однако находятся под давлением на фоне продолжающегося роста буровой активности в США и намерений Ирана увеличить экспорт. Фьючерсы на ведущие фондовые индексы США слегка прибавляют. Основные азиатские фондовые индикаторы показывают большей частью положительную динамику. Премаркет европейской сессии в текущем моменте сигнализирует о повышении ведущих европейских фондовых индексов в начале торгового дня. Ведущие европейские фондовые индексы в пятницу не показали единой динамики. Британский фондовый индекс FTSE 100 по итогам дня потерял 0.29%, а наибольшее отрицательное влияние на его динамику оказало снижение котировок акций нефтегазового гиганта Royal Dutch Shell (-1.2%), горнодобывающей компании Rio Tinto PLC (-2.3%) страховщика Prudential (-1.7%) и банка Lloyds (-1.

03 октября, 10:17

Котировки фьючерсов на нефть Brent после перехода на новый декабрьский контракт вернулись к отметке

Котировки фьючерсов на нефть Brent после перехода на новый декабрьский контракт вернулись к отметке в $50 за баррель, однако находятся под давлением на фоне продолжающегося роста буровой активности в США и намерений Ирана увеличить экспорт. Фьючерсы на ведущие фондовые индексы США слегка прибавляют. Основные азиатские фондовые индикаторы показывают большей частью положительную динамику. Премаркет европейской сессии в текущем моменте сигнализирует о повышении ведущих европейских фондовых индексов в начале торгового дня. Ведущие европейские фондовые индексы в пятницу не показали единой динамики. Британский фондовый индекс FTSE 100 по итогам дня потерял 0.29%, а наибольшее отрицательное влияние на его динамику оказало снижение котировок акций нефтегазового гиганта Royal Dutch Shell (-1.2%), горнодобывающей компании Rio Tinto PLC (-2.3%) страховщика Prudential (-1.7%) и банка Lloyds (-1.

30 сентября, 20:34

Work and Family: The Best Companies to Work for if You’re a Mom

Balancing work with raising a family can be a tough job, but some companies make it easier. These businesses encourage a healthy work-life balance.

30 сентября, 17:25

Deutsche Bank to Boost Capital Position with Abbey Life Sale

Deutsche Bank AG (DB) inked a deal to sell its U.K. insurance business, Abbey Life, for $1.09 billion to Phoenix Life Holdings Limited, a unit of Phoenix Group Holdings Limited

29 сентября, 18:19

4 Reasons You Don't Think You're A Smoker -- But Life Insurers Do

By Alex Glenn If you want to avoid coughing up high premiums for life insurance, giving up smoking is a great start. Women who smoke pay an average of $1,071 more per year for term life insurance than nonsmokers, while men pay $1,455 more, according to NerdWallet research on rates for a 20-year, $500,000 policy at ages 35 and 45. Here's the rub: Even if you think that you've kicked the habit -- or that you never really started it -- a life insurance company might disagree. Going a month without cigarettes or switching to chewing tobacco, for instance, might be enough to remove the "smoker" label in your mind. But insurance companies are tougher to convince, and you could still face smokers' rates when shopping for life insurance even if your final drag is behind you. Here are four nonsmoking defenses that you and your life insurer may butt heads over. 1. You recently quit Seems clear enough. You no longer smoke, so your life insurer surely categorizes you as a nonsmoker, right? Well, it depends. In most cases, your life insurance quotes won't reflect your healthier lifestyle until you've been tobacco-free for 12 months. Even then, most companies reserve their best potential rates for folks who abstain longer. To crack the most affordable pricing tier, you need to avoid tobacco for three to five years, depending on the insurer. 2. You're trying to quit with help from nicotine substitutes Attempting to quit smoking is worth a pat on the back -- but not a break on your life insurance rates with some companies. In its underwriting guidelines, AIG says it still considers applicants to be tobacco users if they use any nicotine-heavy substitutes, such as gum, patches, electronic cigarettes or vaporizers. Similarly, Voya states that you will be considered a nonsmoker only if you've used "no tobacco or nicotine products in any form." However, Prudential allows nicotine gum and patch users to qualify for the company's nonsmoker prices. 3. You use smokeless tobacco Although you're not technically smoking, using chewing tobacco, snuff, dissolvables and other cigarette alternatives could still lead to higher life insurance quotes. Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco causes serious health problems and is extremely addictive due to its nicotine content, two factors that concern most life insurers. More forgiving companies may allow occasional use of smokeless tobacco. And a few, such as Prudential and Lincoln Financial, offer varying levels of nonsmoker rates even to habitual chewers and dippers. 4. You stick to weed Although most insurers have hard and fast rules on tobacco and nicotine, their attitudes toward marijuana are evolving. Some companies allow sporadic pot use, some none at all, and others don't yet have underwriting rules in place. If you have a prescription for medical marijuana, you have a chance to qualify for the best nonsmoker rates, depending on your overall health, including the condition the marijuana is designed to treat. For nonmedicinal marijuana, depending on the company, you may be considered a nonsmoker if you use weed occasionally. MetLife, for example, offers "preferred plus" nonsmoker prices for those who get high less than once a week on average. Chronic pot users without a prescription will typically be stuck with smokers' rates or could lose out on coverage altogether. For instance, Lincoln National denies policies for those who use weed four or more times per week. Transamerica is even stricter, setting its limit at nine times per month. Whether you prefer cannabis or tobacco, it's never smart to lie about your smoking habits to get better rates when you're shopping for a policy. This is illegal and could constitute fraud if you're found out -- it could come out, for example, in a life insurance medical exam. Because one insurer's definition of a smoker may not match another's, it's good to shop around and get multiple quotes. And if you happen to start smoking after you've bought a policy at a nonsmoking rate, you can relax. Your price is based on your health and lifestyle when you purchased the policy, and bad habits you start after that can't affect your rate. Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected] -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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29 сентября, 18:16

How India Listing Should Lift Prudential and its Peers

The valuation put on an Indian life insurer shows that western investors may be missing something.

28 сентября, 21:58

As Deutsche Bank Implodes, The ECB Is Making A "Strategic" Hire...

With Deutsche Bank crashing and burning for the second time in 2016, with its stock taking out all time lows and CDS spiking to record levels not seen even during the financial crisis, the ECB - which earlier denied its policies are at fault for the German lender's woes - has realized that in addition to bond buyers (if not so much sellers), it needs to beef up its staffing in one critical area: banking supervision. In a very ironic job posting announced on the ECB's twitter feed, the ECB announced a job alert according to which it is now (or, perhaps at long last) hiring a banking supervision analyst. Job alert: Banking Supervision Analyst https://t.co/DnTHQCpFVT — ECB (@ecb) September 28, 2016 While the ECB did not explicitly name Deutsche Bank in the posting, it detailed what the central bank is looking for in a qualfied candidate, one which the ECB probably should have hired years ago, as follows: Banking Supervision Analyst Functional area: Micro-Prudential Supervision III Function: The European Central Bank (ECB) is seeking professionals with experience in the prudential supervision of credit institutions, in supervisory policies, standards and principles, and/or in financial policy development with a supervisory authority, commercial bank or related consulting services, to fill the position of Supervision Analyst within its Directorate General Microprudential Supervision III (DG/MS III), in the Analysis and Methodological Support Division. The main tasks of the Analysis and Methodological Support Division include: establishing and updating methodologies for risk assessment systems and supervisory review processes for less significant institutions, as well as monitoring the risk assessments of these institutions carried out by national competent authorities (NCAs) and identifying and collecting relevant information from NCAs; developing tools for carrying out quantitative assessments of idiosyncratic and systemic risks and vulnerabilities, e.g. early warning systems and stress tests; conducting thematic reviews of broader non-institutional or sectoral risk developments; and defining the supervisory reporting requirements for less significant institutions, implementing reporting standards and data processing tools, and adapting the IT tools for supervision to the context of less significant institutions. The successful applicant will be entrusted with the following main tasks: supporting the adaptation of IT tools for supervision to the context of less significant institutions; supporting the general and sectoral oversight of the supervision of less significant institutions with detailed analyses; contributing to the analysis of technical IT project requirements and of users’ prioritisation; developing and implementing plans for communicating to users and organising and implementing methods to ensure system knowledge among users increases; fostering user satisfaction by contributing to and supporting the development, conduct and analysis of end-user surveys; providing application support to end users; assisting with data collection and the production of tables and charts for reports. Qualifications and experience: Applicants must have the following knowledge and competencies: a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. IT, economics, finance, engineering, business administration) or at least four years of relevant professional experience; ideally, two years of professional experience (or six years or more in the absence of a bachelor’s degree, as mentioned above) in banking supervision, financial services (including in consulting services in the context of financial services governance and advisory control) or IT project management; an advanced-level command of English with proven drafting ability; an intermediate-level command of at least one other official language of the EU; a good knowledge of the working methods of the Eurosystem and the European System of Central Banks and/or other relevant European and international fora would be an asset; experience in data management and IT projects would be an asset; supervisory knowledge would be an asset; a working knowledge of MS Office, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint; knowledge of document management systems such as OpenText Livelink would be an asset. Competencies: The successful candidate will have the following behavioural competencies: generates agreed results within tight time frames; uses rigorous logic and comprehensive processes in order to solve difficult problems; examines issues critically and adopts relevant approaches geared towards successful business solutions; breaks things down into their constituent parts to determine cause-and-effect relationships; makes improvements to service on the basis of feedback and has established methods of improving quality; takes the initiative in improving policies, processes and products; establishes and maintains cooperative relationships with staff and management at all levels, both inside and outside the organisation; engages others both directly and indirectly in order to communicate ideas and implement the most suitable approach; shares information and supports team members in the achievement of common goals; manages multiple assignments and tracks progress on numerous processes simultaneously; understands who his/her clients are and what their expectations are; ensures timely responses in order to serve clients. Further Information: Three-year fixed-term contract, with possible conversion to a contract of indefinite duration subject to individual performance and organisational needs. To further enhance the diversity of its workforce, the ECB particularly encourages applications from female candidates. The selection committee may place suitable candidates on a reserve list, from which candidates may be appointed to similar positions in the same or another business area. It may also be decided to fill the position(s) advertised in this vacancy notice with a suitable candidate or candidates from the reserve list resulting from a recruitment procedure for a similar position. Candidates will be informed accordingly if this happens. How to apply: Applications are to be made in English and submitted using our online application form. An "Applicants' Guide" can be downloaded from our recruitment pages. The recruitment process may include a pre-screening exercise, a written exercise, a presentation and interviews. Further information on the ECB's conditions of employment for fixed-term positions can be found at http://www.ecb.europa.eu/careers/newcomers/fixed-term/html/index.en.html. Applications are accepted from nationals of Member States of the European Union. The requirements laid down in the vacancy notice must be met by the closing date for applications. This vacancy notice may be used to fill the same position again, or similar positions, within 12 months of the selection decision. This position has been allocated to salary band: E/F